Texas Tech University

Fall 2012 Seminars

All sections 001 unless otherwise noted.

ENGL 5301: Old English Language

Dr. Brian McFadden
MWF Noon-1:00 PM
Requirements: Early British; English High Proficiency

This course will introduce students to the grammar, syntax, vocabulary, phonology, and morphology of Old English and examine its relationship to the language we speak today. Our primary focus will be to develop a reading knowledge of Old English for the study of basic Old English prose and poetic texts, as well as preparing students to begin reading Beowulf in the Spring 2013 semester (this course is a prerequisite). Course requirements: daily translations; midterm exam, periodic quizzes, and one final translation/transcription project. Texts: Moore, Knott, and Hulbert, The Elements of Old English; Mitchell and Robinson, A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary; possibly a coursepack of supplemental materials (delivered via Dropbox).

ENGL 5305: Studies in Shakespeare

Dr. Marliss Desens
Tuesday 9:30 AM -12:30 PM
Requirements: Early British; Drama genre requirement
  • Class canceled

ENGL 5307: Studies in Eighteenth-Century British Literature
Eighteenth-Century Readers and Authors

Dr. Marta Kvande
Monday 2:00-5:00 PM
Requirements: Later British; Book History

This course will bring together the approaches of traditional literary scholarship and of scholarship on the history of the book to study eighteenth-century ideas about readers and authors---and how those ideas shaped and were shaped by the literary texts of the period. The eighteenth century was a period of enormous changes, including changes in the marketplace for texts, the dominant means of producing and circulating texts, the costs and availability of texts, the laws governing copyright, the practice of reviewing, among many others. All of these changes influenced ideas about who did and should read as well as what and how they should read and how readers were affected by what they read. In much the same way, these changes reshaped the notion of what it meant to be an author: beliefs about who wrote, who should write, why they wrote, and their relationship to the texts they wrote all underwent major revisions during the course of the eighteenth century. We will study these changes by reading eighteenth-century primary texts as well as modern scholarship on these issues, and we will practice the scholarly methods of both literary analysis and book history. Coursework will include at least two shorter papers, an annotated bibliography, a presentation, and an article-length paper.

ENGL 5323: Studies in Nineteenth-Century American Literature
Melville and Twain

Dr. John Samson
Wednesday 6:00-9:00 PM
Requirements: Early American; Fiction genre

The course will focus on the parallel careers of the two novelists, Herman Melville and Mark Twain, usually considered the greatest in 19th-century America. We will read and discuss the following pairings: early novels about young boys' adventures (Redburn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer); masterworks (Moby-Dick, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn); destructive critiques of social class (Pierre; or, The Ambiguities, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court); portraits of enigmatic, ostracized characters (Israel Potter, Pudd'nhead Wilson); and final, unfinished, deconstructive fictions (Billy Budd, Sailor, No. 44, The Mysterious Stranger). Students will present two 10-minute reports on contexts (critical or historical) and write two shorter (5 pp.) interpretive essays (one on each author) and a longer (10 pp.) research essay.

ENGL 5324: Studies in Twentieth-Century American Literature
“The New Black”: African American Aesthetics at the Start of the 21stCentury

Dr. Michael Borshuk
Wednesday 9:00 AM – Noon
Requirements: Later American Literature

This course will examine contemporary African American aesthetics across diverse media. Focusing on literature primarily, but with forays into film, music, and visual art, we will consider continuities and ruptures among a wide range of young African American artists all born, for the most part, after the climax of the Civil Rights Era. Beginning with a discussion of different historical arguments about black aesthetics, from the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 30s, to the Black Power/Black Arts period of the 1960s and 70s, to Trey Ellis's “New Black Aesthetic” and Nelson George's “post-soul” era of the 1980s, we will think about the lingering imperatives these contemporary artists have inherited about the intersection of race, identity, and politics, and how they respond to these directives in kind. We will look at their diverse range of influences, and question if we even can point to any consistency in African American aesthetics at this late historical date, in an era the journalist Touré calls “post-black.” Ultimately, we will speculate if there is still a need for minority voices to speak as a politicized collective in the age of Obama, and if the category of black art is effectively dismantling itself from the inside at this point. Students will be expected to make an in-class seminar presentation, keep an ongoing online reading journal/blog, and compose an article-style research paper.


Aaron MacGruder, A Right to Be Hostile (2003); ZZ Packer, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere (2004); Colson Whitehead, Sag Harbor (2009); Danzy Senna, Where Did You Sleep Last Night?: A Personal History (2009); Danielle Evans, Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self (2011); Evie Shockley, The New Black (2011); Gary Jackson, Missing You, Metropolis (2011); Toure, Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness?: What It Means to Be Black Now (2011); Mat Johnson, Pym (2012)


Medicine for Melancholy (2008), dir. Barry Jenkins; Pariah (2011), dir. Dee Rees


Outkast, Stankonia (2000); Don Byron, A Fine Line: Arias and Lieder (2000); Janelle Monae, The ArchAndroid (2010); The Robert Glasper Experiment, Black Radio (2011)

Visual Art:

Works by Kara Walker, Glenn Ligon, Rashid Johnson and others.

ENGL 5340: Research Methods

Dr. Ann Hawkins
Section 001: Tuesday 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Section 002: Wednesday 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Requirements: PhD/MA program requirement

This course prepares students to undertake intensive literary research on the graduate level. Students will gain a thorough grounding in using library resources and in applying bibliographic theory. They will create enumerative and annotative bibliographies and write a textual history and/or research guide for their topic. Students will consider the technological aspect of books by analyzing their physical characteristics (binding, cover, printing, font, impression, etc) as well as their nature as socially constructed material objects. Students should expect to complete a variety of practical skills-building exercises in analytical and descriptive bibliography and in textual editing (including a project in TEI-coding for electronic editions). Note: This course covers traditional literary research methods, not strategies more associated with field research such as interviews and surveys. This is not a course in literary analysis or literary criticism, but in the historical, cultural and technological contexts of books, contexts which are essential to any understanding of a literary work.

ENGL 5342-001: Critical Methods

Dr. Yuan Shu
Wednesday 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Requirements: PhD/MA program requirement

This course investigates critical theories that have informed and reshaped English studies in the past few decades. We begin by raising a rhetorical question, “Who killed Shakespeare?” and examining the status quo of English studies in the context of the declining humanities and the changing university environment. Then we explore diachronically formalism, structuralism, post-structuralism, Marxism, and feminism. The focus of our course will be on globalization theory attentive to what critics call “the transnational turn in literary studies” as well as the “planetary consciousness” with postcolonial and ecological implications. We conclude by bringing up another rhetorical question, “What happens after post-history and post-theory?”


Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan, Literary Theory: An Anthology; Michael Ryan, Literary Theory: A Practical Introduction; Paul Jay, Global Matters and the Transnational Turn in Literary Studies. A collection of essays will be available on the Moodle.


Karen Tei Yamashita, Through the Arch of the Rain Forest; Zakes Mda, The Heart of Redness


Students are expected to write five short response papers (2-3 pages) to the required primary and critical texts, lead discussion on essays and book chapters in class, present a portion of the final paper at the mini conference, and finish the research paper during the final exam week.

ENGL 5342-002: Critical Methods

Dr. Jen Shelton
Friday 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Requirements: PhD/MA program requirement

Contact instructor for description.

ENGL 5351: Studies in Film

Dr. Michael Schoenecke
Monday 6:00 PM- 9:00 PM
Requirements: Film/Drama genre requirement; Film and Media studies area requirement

Everyone who sees film based on written texts feels comfortable to comment, at levels ranging from gossipy to the erudite, on the nature of the success of the adaptation involved. Interest in adaptation, unlike other aspects of film, permeates our world. And it ranges backward from those who talk of novels being “betrayed” by boorish filmmakers to those who regard the practice of comparing film and written texts as a waste of time. Filmmakers have been drawing on literary sources, particularly novels in varying degrees of cultural prestige, since film first established itself pre-eminently a narrative medium. In view of this fact, and given that there has been a long-running discourse on the nature of connections between literature and cinema, it is surprising how little systematic, sustained attention has been given to the process of adaptation. This is surprising since the issue of adaptation has attracted critical attention for more than eighty years in a way that few film issues have. English 5351 will discuss the major approaches to adaptation; each person in class will try to define and explore the meaning of adaptation. Can an adaptation be based on an historical event? A person such as Jackie Robinson, Rudy, or a superhero villain or hero?

ENGL 5353: Studies in Poetry
Emily Dickinson and Mystery: Example and Inheritance

Dr. Jacqueline Kolosov
Tuesday/Thursday 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM
Requirements: Poetry genre requirement; Early American

Class Canceled

ENGL 5370-002: Creative Writing Workshop
Poetry Writing

Dr. Jacqueline Kolosov
Tuesday 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Requirements: Poetry genre; Creative Writing workshop requirement

What one seems to want in art, in experiencing it, is the same thing that is necessary for its creation, a self-forgetful, perfectly useless concentration—Elizabeth Bishop

In Bishop's words, we recognize that delicious opportunity that writing allows—the freedom to lose or forget ourselves so that we might find a way into something larger… In essence, this is the goal of this workshop, enabling each poet to find that ‘forgetful, perfectly useless concentration' and generate poems that will be discussed, workshopped, and revised. Alongside enabling each poet to further his/her own poetic practice, we will read poems from a wide range of backgrounds and traditions including but not exclusively Herbert, Donne, Dickinson, Eliot, C. K. Williams, Mark Strand, and Bishop. Throughout the semester, we will supplement our discussion of poetry with critical and craft essays, in particular an ongoing reading of James Longenbach's brilliant The Resistance to Poetry. It is Longenbach's premise that poems and poetry are resisted precisely because “their language is the language of self-questioning—metaphors that turn against themselves, syntax that moves one way because it threatens to move another, voices that speak because they are shattered.” In essence, then, the resistance to poetry is built from within and is simultaneously the poem's strength. The aim of the poems generated and revised in this workshop will thus be to embody precisely that resistance. At the term's end, each poet will submit a portfolio of 10 poems along with an aesthetic statement.

ENGL 5370-003: Creative Writing Workshop
Fiction Writing

Dr. Jill Patterson
Monday 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Requirements: Fiction genre; Creative Writing workshop requirement

Contact instructor for description: jill.patterson@ttu.edu

ENGL 5380-001: Special Topics in Literary Studies
Translation Theory: A Workshop

Dr. Curtis Bauer
Monday 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Requirements: Comparative Literature

This course is extremely important for us—poets, fiction writers, linguists, literary critics, technical writers…all—in the grand scheme of an education in the arts. We must not only be aware of basic grammatical, syntactical and phonological nuances, but also a writer's craft, literary tradition and contemporary literary contexts. This course will be a combination seminar/ workshop in which we will read and discuss translation theory and then put it to practice by translating literary texts from a foreign language into English.

Literature in its original language is not a static, fixed entity whereby the translator need only extract its core and carry it over into the new language. Nor is the work as it enters the new language arriving at a fixed destination. It is more like a moving target, constantly subject to change in whichever stage of transformation it may currently occupy. Translations deaden over time, because they are marked by the literary conventions of their translators. Thus new translations of The Divine Comedy are ever being published. We have read Dante as John Ciardi, as Robert Pinsky, as Anthony Esolen. But you might say that only Dante's translators (and his medieval readers) have ever really heard Dante. For to translate Dante, you must hear with Dante's ear. To translate is to fully read; it is “a kind of reading, the assumption or transformation of one personal idiom into another,” writes Mark Strand. The act of translation, as you will hear from its various practitioners in essays and articles, intensifies our comprehension. Translation is good for writers (notorious skimmers) because we must parse; research; say out loud. We make conscious, clear decisions about words and idioms and sounds and rhythms. Further, we discover that the process is not about us, our egos, or what we want to say.We kneel at the altar of the other, not the altar of the self. Here's the idea: that by discovering the other, we find ourselves. And we become better writers through the writing of others.

It is recommended but not required that students bring some knowledge of a second language to the course. Assignments will include several short papers, the translation of a contemporary literary text and a final essay. You will be encouraged to publish your translations at the end of this course.

ENGL 5380-002: Special Topics in Literary Studies
World Science Fiction: Alien Encounters

Dr. Bruce Clarke
Monday 9:00 AM - noon
Requirements: Elective; Comparative Literature; Fiction genre

Developed with the aid of a grant from the State University of New York's Center for Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL), in this hybrid on-site/online seminar, we will connect to Professor Dirk Vanderbeke's seminar at the University of Jena, Germany, for a collaborative study of world science fiction in English. The theme of “alien encounters” is meant to cover both the literature we will read and the virtual classroom we will inhabit.

The German semester begins in October, so we will take our first month to review and survey the history of the genre; to establish critical and theoretical foundations, with readings in Gunn and Candalaria's Speculations on Speculation: Theories of Science Fiction; and to sample and test online technologies and practices. Once connected with the Jena seminar we will have a number of synchronous discussions (our 9 a.m. is their 3 p.m.) of mutual course readings. Students will form international teams and design their own asynchronous methods for carrying out collaborative research and criticism assignments.

We will be inventing the collaborative component of the seminar as we go along and counting on student input to shape its scholarly outcomes. A short paper will be due at the end of our preparatory phase, and a term paper at the end of the semester. Students will also pursue collaborative initiatives as sketched above. Beyond that, we hope that our international online connection will enable explorations that self-organize into unforeseen forms of intellectual activity. The current reading list allows room for the international student teams to generate further content.

Drawn from a range of national literatures, each assigned work tells a version of the classic science-fiction story in which human characters encounter alien beings, be they extraterrestrial or Earthly. We will investigate the literary techniques of these science-fictional discourses and the multiple encodings inscribed in their stories.

United States:

Octavia Butler, Dawn (book 1 of the Xenogenesis trilogy)

Fredric Brown, “Arena”

Philip K. Dick, “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale”

Terry Carr, “The Dance of the Changer and the Three”

England: H. G. Wells, The War of the Worlds

Poland: Stanislaw Lem, Fiasco

India: Amitav Ghosh, The Calcutta Chromosome

ENGL 5380-003: Special Topics in Literary Studies (CRN 27709)
Ecocritical Theory

Dr. Sara Spurgeon
Thursday 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Requirements: Later American; LSJE required course

Class Canceled

ENGL 5380-004: Special Topics in Literary Studies
Nineteenth-Century Book History

Dr. Sean Grass
Friday 9:00 AM - noon
Requirements: Later British; Book History

Class Canceled

ENGL 5390-001: Writing for Publication

Dr. Julie Nelson Couch
T 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Requirements: MA/PhD program requirement

Note: this section of ENGL 5390 is geared toward graduate students in English literature, creative writing, and linguistics and will probably not be appropriate for students from other disciplines. Students from other departments should contact Dr. Joyce Carter (joyce.carter@ttu.edu) to see if the Technical Communication and Rhetoric division of the English Department is offering a section of ENGL 5390 in the spring which may be more suitable to their needs.

This course focuses on the process of preparing an essay for submission to a peer-reviewed journal. Each student begins with a previously prepared 15-25-page essay (usually a paper from a previous graduate seminar) that he or she wishes to revise. Students prepare and present a conference-length version of this research and determine an appropriate conference for presenting such a paper. They also consider appropriate journals for their essays, in part by analyzing critical approaches and emphases found among articles in various journals, and then tailor their submissions for their target journals. In addition to revising their own essays, students participate in peer-editing workshops, write cover letters, and learn about related academic and professional issues, such as how one obtains grants, publishes book reviews, and develops book proposals. While this course takes a practical approach to scholarly publication, we also consider what defines scholarly success. Each student develops a personal research agenda that he or she can continue to pursue after fulfilling the requirements of this course.

ENGL 5390-002: Writing for Publication

Dr. Marta Kvande
Tuesday 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Requirements: MA/PhD program requirement

Note: this section of ENGL 5390 is geared toward graduate students in English literature, creative writing, and linguistics and will probably not be appropriate for students from other disciplines. Students from other departments should contact Dr. Joyce Carter (joyce.carter@ttu.edu) to see if the Technical Communication and Rhetoric division of the English Department is offering a section of ENGL 5390 in the spring which may be more suitable to their needs.

This is a pragmatic course focusing on the process of preparing an essay for submission to a peer-reviewed journal and on professional activity more broadly. Students must begin the course with a previously-prepared article-length critical paper (5,000 to 7,000 words), usually one from a previous graduate course. Revising this essay for publication (including peer workshops and other revision practices) will be one of the major projects of the course. In addition, students will also learn and practice other aspects of the scholarly process, such as preparing and presenting conference-length papers, determining appropriate venues for their work (both conferences and journals), composing cover letters, applying for grants, writing book proposals, and writing book reviews, among other scholarly genres and conventions. As they learn more about the process of professionalization, students will also develop research agendas to help encourage their professional success.