Graduate Seminars - Spring 2009
5303.001 Studies in Medieval LiteratureJulie Nelson Couch
Chaucer and the Invention of Middle English Literature
When Ian Robinson claimed, in 1972, that “Chaucer made English capable of poetry” his was only one in a long tradition of myth-making statements that have privileged Chaucer's poetry as the originary moment of English literary history. More recently, critics, including Christopher Cannon and David Matthews, have challenged the entrenched notion of Chaucer as the Father of English literature by exposing the idea's historical constructedness and by offering more plausible historic and linguistic readings of Chaucer. In this class, we too will interrogate Chaucer's relation to English literature and English literary history and especially, in following from the study of Middle English in ENG 5380, Chaucer's relation to language. We will situate his poetry in its cultural and linguistic contexts and trace its reception through English literary history. To examine Chaucer within his own medieval milieu, we will read his works alongside other Middle English and continental writers. We will then go beyond the fourteenth century to examine the modern reception of Chaucer. In addition to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and other medieval poetry, readings may include medievalist works by Wordsworth, Dryden, and Morris as well as editions, anthologies, and other forms of criticism by Cannon, Matthews, Thomas Tyrwhitt, Thomas Warton, D. W. Robertson, and G. L. Kittredge. Assignments: oral presentation, conference-length paper (9-10 pages), annotated bibliography, and a longer research paper.
*This course satisfies the requirement in pre-1700 British literature and Genre: Poetry.
5304.001 Studies in Renaissance LiteratureMarliss Desens
Women in Renaissance Drama: Not Always Chaste, Silent, and Obedient
One of the numerous Renaissance handbooks on female behavior (written by men of course) specifies that a woman should be “chaste, silent, and obedient.” Although some critics have taken the existence of such handbooks as a sign of a strict code of female conduct, it is more likely that these handbooks exist as a desperate, and mostly unsuccessful, attempt to rein in women who asserted themselves and spoke their minds. In this class, we will examine female characters, in the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, who rebel against these purported ideals of female behavior. Among the questions we will ask: Are there ways that women can work within the structures of such societies to get what they desire? What does a woman need in order to have the power to rebel? Is a rebellion always a rebellion or is it actually an acknowledgment that the woman accepts the strictures of a patriarchal society?
Note: The seminar meets for three hours one day a week, so we need to hit the ground running. For the first meeting, please read Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay. Please send your e-mail comments to me by noon of the day prior to the first seminar meeting (see Requirements, below). If you would like to have a copy of the syllabus before the winter break, e-mail me the first week in December, and I will send one to you electronically.
Required Texts:The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd. ed. Ed. G. Blakemore Evans and J.J. M. Tobin (Note: If you choose, you may buy individual copies of the Shakespeare plays, as we are only reading a few.Acceptable editions: Arden Shakespeare, New Cambridge, Oxford); English Renaissance Drama. Ed. David Bevington Norton; Bussy D'Ambois. George Chapman, ed, Nicholas Brooke. There may be one or two other texts of secondary criticism. I will know once I have checked on availability.
Recommended Text: Reading Shakespeare's Dramatic Language. This book is helpful in learning to understand the conventions of language and drama that Shakespeare and his contemporaries used. I particularly recommend it if you are new to Shakespeare, but even more advanced students will find it enlightening.
Requirements: Active participation in class discussion; E-mail submission of 5 substantial discussion points by noon of the day before class, since for each class meeting, students will be expected to lead short discussions on at least one of the points they submit; 7-8 page critical research paper and oral presentation of it; Presentation of Final Paper's Work in Progress; 15-20 page critical research paper. Feel free to make the final, long paper an expansion of your earlier shorter paper. That earlier paper is the length of a typical conference paper. Scholars generally try out ideas at conferences, get feedback, and then expand those shorter papers into longer, publishable essays.
*This course satisfies the requirement in pre-1700 British literature and Genre: Drama.
5307.001 Studies in 18th-Century British LiteratureJennifer Snead
Gender and the Literatures of Dissent
This course examines Dissenting literatures (novels, criticism, sermons, poetry, hymns) written by men and women during the long eighteenth century, with a focus on the relationship between gender, writing, and religious experience during the period. Twentieth- and twenty-first century literary scholarship often posits modern authorial subjectivity as rooted in the discourse of late seventeenth- and early-eighteenth-century Dissent; the beginnings of authorial subjectivity are also often located within contemporary explorations of feminine interiority. Our readings and class discussions will explore and question the intersection of these and other, related issues, such as: the so-called decline of religion during the period; twentieth-century feminism's orientation towards religion; genre and gender. The authors we'll read include but are not limited to: Defoe, Dutton, Whitefield, Wesley, Bosanquet, Fletcher, Priestley, Barbauld. Assignments will include an annotated bibliography, a conference paper, and a longer research paper.
*This course satisfies the requirement in post-1700 British literature.
5309.001 Studies in 19th-Century British LiteratureMarjean D. Purinton
Romantic Ghosts and Grotesques
The British Romantic period (1780-1830) generated much social upheaval, political change, religious uncertainty, familial disruptions, and identity confusion. It was a revolutionary time when literature challenged and championed the prevailing attitudes and customs. One of the many revolutionary dimensions of British Romantic culture was that of science, medicine, and psychology—discourses and practices that attempted to explain the mind and body. We see Romantic preoccupations with the mind and body in the period's literature with haunting frequency. The Romantic period revolution in science produced multiple forms for mediating post-Enlightenment dualisms, such as biochemistry, and magic, romance and Gothic, medicine and quackery, bodies and spirits. Discursively constructed monsters or aberrations were embodied as grotesques, their corporeal representations connected to the body, its anatomy, its physiology, it potential for disease and deformity, its propensity for physical disabilities and socio-sexual transgressions. Creatively constructed ghosts represented scientific scrutiny and speculation about mental disorders—hallucinations, hysteria, deliria, madness, mania, nervous disorders—all charged with new medical significations.
In this seminar, we will explore literary representations of Romantic ghosts and grotesques that sought to explain, expose, and contain the mysteries of the mind and body addressed by the period's discourses of science, medicine, and psychology. Our readings might include (final decisions are still in flux) Horace Walpole's novel The Castle of Otranto and play The Mysterious Mother; Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein and essay “On Ghosts”; Richard Brinsley Peake's play Presumption; or The Fate of Frankenstein; John Polidori's novel The Vampyre; Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poems Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Christabel; John Keats's poems “The Eve of St. Agnes”; Matthew Lewis's play The Castle Spectre and novel The Monk; Mary Robinson's poem “The Haunted Beach”; Joanna Baillie's play De Monfort; The History of Mary Prince; Charles Lamb's essays “Night Fears” and “Dream Children”; Lord Bryon's short fiction “The Vampyre” and play Manfred; Thomas Lovell Beddoes's play Death's Jest Book. Since final selections have not been made, I'm happy to hear your interests and suggestions.
Our learning environment will be interactive, reading and writing intensive, but fun. Activities will include short response papers, group work, discovery activities, an annotated bibliography, and ample class discussion. Your final project will be an analytical and documented essay that could well serve you as a writing sample for your dossier, a paper for a conference presentation, or wok in progress your thesis or dissertation project. Because my scholarship and pedagogy are informed by feminism, you will encounter instruction facilitated by de-centered authority. You are invited to participate in your own learning/discovery process. Be prepared to be challenged as a critical reader and analytical writer. Be willing to consider new ideas and perspectives. Be prepared to have fun and to learn something about yourself and the human condition.
*This course satisfies the requirement in post-1700 British literature.
5313.001 Studies in 20th-Century British LiteratureJen Shelton
This course will explore modernist thought and writing through the fiction, essays, and drama of one of its most influential theorists and prolific writers, Virginia Woolf. A central figure of the modernist movement, Woolf's thoughts on what the modern novel could and should do as well as her own experimental fiction profoundly affected readers and critics in her day. Her Hogarth Press published some of the most important texts of modernism, including the first English editions of Sigmund Freud's theories. In this course, we will explore modernist theory and practice through Woolf's writings, exploring as well current critical understandings of modernism. Planned primary texts will include Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, A Room of One's Own, Freshwater, Flush, Woolf's short fiction and essays.Students will write a book review and conference paper, participate in our own mini-conference, lead discussion, and engage in other activities yet to be designed.
*This course satisfies the requirement in post-1700 British literature and Genre: Fiction.
5325.001 Studies in 20th-Century American FictionMichael Borshuk
“Shadows, Acts, and Omni-Americans”: Ralph Ellison and Albert Murray
As African American literary studies have developed and spread within English departments over the past four decades, the work of Ralph Ellison has occupied a central place in most critics' conceptualization of the African American canon, and its relationship to American literature more broadly. Ellison's 1952 novel Invisible Man, for instance, with its comprehensive use of vernacular and literary sources, is inextricable from both conservative definitions of the American canon and “radical” reconsiderations of that ostensibly unified tradition. Moreover, to take a broader view of the writer's oeuvre is to see that Ellison's writing is as varied and ambitious as the American culture he simultaneously idealized and criticized. Reading his work in its entirety (including, of course, Invisible Man, but also his early short fiction, his unfinished second novel, and his essays) is to be engaged with multiple, seemingly contradictory visions of American identity and culture at once. Less well-known, though, is the writing of Ellison's close friend and literary associate, Albert Murray: a similarly diverse body of work that includes four novels; critical essays on race, politics, and American culture; a study of jazz and blues musical traditions; a memoir about the South; and the autobiography of the great black bandleader and jazz musician Count Basie. Attention to Murray allows readers of American literature to see how Ellison's formulations about American literature and culture did not develop in a vacuum, but rather, often in dynamic but sympathetic exchange with Murray as his kindred spirit.
This course will study Ellison and Murray's work in their various forms to chart these writers' shared importance within dominant conceptions of the African American literary tradition, and in relationship to broad traditions in American letters. We will consider their fictive and non-fictive texts, as well as their published correspondence, to map the “America” that Ellison and Murray wrote into being together, through their complementary celebration of, and faith in, African American vernacular materials, modernist literary aesthetics, and the redemptive power of art amidst the United States' contentious cultural politics. Reading Ellison and Murray together, we will consider not just one of the great productive friendships in American letters, but also how both writers, through their mutually sympathetic dialogue, might be considered together more centrally in any vision of African American and American literatures.
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. The tentative list of readings is: Ralph Ellison, Flying Home and Other Stories; Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man; Ralph Ellison, Juneteenth; Ralph Ellison, The Collected Essays of Ralph Ellison; Ralph Ellison and Albert Murray, Trading Twelves: The Selected Letters of Ralph Ellison and Albert Murray; Albert Murray, The Omni-Americans; Albert Murray, Train Whistle Guitar; Albert Murray, The Spyglass Tree; Albert Murray, The Seven League Boots; Albert Murray, The Magic Keys; Albert Murray, Stomping the Blues; Albert Murray, South to a Very Old Place; and Albert Murray, The Blue Devils of Nada. There will also be a coursepack of related criticism and supplementary materials.
*This course satisfies the requirement in post-1900 American literature and Genre: Fiction.
5337.001 Studies in LinguisticsMin-joo Kim
Semantics and Pragmatics
This course is concerned with linguistic meaning. Every word has some sort of meaning but some words are harder to give a denotation for, since they affect the meaning of the entire sentence when they themselves do not have a concrete meaning (e.g., only, even, still). Giving an appropriate treatment to such words would be one of the major concerns of this course. Another primary concern is how words are put together to produce a sentential meaning. Along the way, we will investigate why ‘Every man loves a woman' can be ambiguous, whereas ‘A woman is loved by every man' is not. In addition, we will address some issues on pragmatics such as why we are not asking a question when we say ‘Could you please pass me the salt?', and why we may be implying something about Mary when we say ‘Mary got pregnant and then got married,' as opposed to ‘Mary got married and then got pregnant'.
5343.001 Studies in Literary CriticismKanika Batra
Sexuality and its Discontents: Queer Studies
Michel Foucault's claim about the proliferation of discourse on sexuality in Victorian England is equally applicable to globalized world we inhabit at the beginning of the twenty first century. Representations of sexual diversity are considered by some as the recent fashion trend in the literary and cultural marketplace. The increased acceptability quotient of such representations have also led to charges that they glamorize ‘sinful' and ‘unnatural' desire. These polarized reactions sometimes obscure the long, arduous decades of activism supported by research and publishing that created the conditions for public discussions of sexuality.
Our focus in this course will be on the proliferation of queer discourse through a selection of texts – historical, literary, filmic, anthropological, and legal -- to examine the institutionalization of Queer studies as a mode of critique from the late 1970s since the publication of Foucault's seminal History of Sexuality, Volume 1 to the present moment marked by its conjunctions with Black studies and Postcolonial studies. One of the central concerns governing our enquiry will be the relationship between academic and the social. To this end, we begin by examining key moments in the global histories of gay and lesbian organizing, including organizations such as the Aids Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) in the US, the Gay Freedom Movement (GFM) in Jamaica, and the Humsafar Trust in India. We will then discuss the emergence of the category ‘queer' marked by a conjunction of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender concerns. The final section of the course will focus on modes of analysis that point to the exclusions in queer activism and theory and call for theoretical and social engagements across race, class, sexual and geographical differences.
Judith Butler. Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex.” New York: Routledge, 1993.
Judith Butler. Undoing Gender. New York and London: Routledge, 2004.
Michel Foucault. History of Sexuality: An Introduction, Volume 1. 1976. Trans. Robert Hurley. London: Penguin, 1979.
John d' Emilio, William Turner and Urvashi Vaid, eds. Creating Change: Sexuality, Policy, and Civil Rights. New York: Stonewall Inn, 2002.
Judith Halberstam. In a Queer Time and Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives. New York: New York UP, 2005.
John C. Hawley, ed. Postcolonial Queer: Theoretical Intersections. Albany: State U of New York P, 2001.
Audrey Lorde. 1982. Zami: A New Spelling of My Name. Freedom: Crossing P, 2001.
Dwight A. McBride. Why I Hate Abercrombie and Fitch: Essays on Race and Sexuality. New York: New York UP, 2005.
Michael Warner. The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and Ethics of Queer Life. Harvard UP: 1999.
Gloria Wekker. The Politics of Passion: Women's Sexual Culture in the Afro- Surinamese Diaspora. New York: Columbia UP, 2006.
Movement Histories and Activism:
Aids Coalition to Unleash Power and Queer Nation (USA)
Gay Freedom Movement (Jamaica)
Humsafar Trust (India)
Essays and Interviews:
M. Jacqui Alexander. “Imperial Desires/Sexual Utopias: White Gay Capital and Transnational Tourism.” Pedagogies of Crossing: Meditations on Feminism, Sexual Politics, Memory, and the Sacred. Durham: Duke UP, 2005. 66-90.
Lauren Berlant and Elizabeth Freeman. “Queer Nationality” boundary 2 19.1 (1992): 149-80
Judith Butler and Gayle Rubin. “Merely Cultural.” Social Text. 15.3-4 (1997): 265-77.
Caroline Dinshaw. “The History of GLQ, Volume 1: LGBTQ Studies, Censorship, and Other Transnational Problems.” GLQ 12.1 (2006): 1-22.
Martin Manalansan. “A Queer Itinerary: Deviant Excursions into Modernities.” In Out in Theory: The Emergence of Lesbian and Gay Anthropology. William Leap and Ellen Lewin (eds) Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2002. 246-263.
Gayle Rubin. "Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality" in Henry Abelove et al (eds.), The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader. Routledge: New York, 1992. 3-44.
*This course satisfies the requirement in Genre: Nonfiction.
5343.002 Studies in Literary CriticismJohn Samson
Nietzsche and Postnietzschean Criticism
This course might also be subtitled "How to Think Differently about Criticism and Culture." We will begin in the 1870s and 1880s with three of Friedrich Nietzsche's representative books:The Birth of Tragedy, Beyond Good and Evil, and Thus Spoke Zarathustra, works that changed how critics and intellectuals thought about literature, philosophy, and culture and how Western Europeans and Americans conceived of "the modern." They also later influenced the conception of postmodernism and poststructuralism, and we will read and discuss three works from 1980 and later: Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari's A Thousand Plateaus, Peter Sloterdijk's Critique of Cynical Reason, and Hakim Bey's T.A.Z.: The Temporary Autonomous Zone. These works form a core of radical reinterpretation, individual freedom, and general weirdness in literary and cultural studies. Students will writer three shorter (4-5 pp.) papers and a longer (15 pp.) paper interpreting or applying a text studied.
*This course satisfies the requirement in Genre: Nonfiction.
5343.003Studies in Literary CriticismSara Spurgeon
Gender, Race, and Nature in Ecocritical Theory
This course will explore the broad spectrum of critical and theoretical approaches to examining the ways “nature” and concepts of the natural are reflected, constructed, and deployed in literature, and how ideas about the natural differ historically and across ethnicities, gender and class boundaries. Some questions that will guide our inquiries: How is the idea of the “natural” used in literature to construct categories of gender, race, class, and sexuality? What are the origins of various literary myths about nature, and what might the consequences be for the environment? In what ways have postcolonial studies, Queer theory, and feminism shaped current debates in the field of ecocritical theory?
*This course satisfies the requirement in Genre: Nonfiction.
5351.001 Studies in FilmMichael Schoenecke
American Films of the 1970s
For the Spring 2009 term, English 5351 will focus on films of the seventies as well as the relationship between social history and the youngest art form. As we address the films and the decade, we will keep in mind what Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. in his lecture “Film and History: An Equivocal Relationship” posited: “Movies must have something to tell us not just about the surfaces but about the inner mysteries of American life. They must cast light on the way people seek meaning in daily existence, how they understand themselves, and their society and their destiny.” As Peter Lev points out, we will notice that the films of the seventies, as with any decade, present conflicting visions of America.
We will keep four questions in mind as we weave our way through the seventies and its films: first, what were the decade's most important events, trends, and social attitudes? Second, how did those events, trends, and attitudes change/impact the society in which they occurred? Third, how have those events, trends, and attitudes influenced the evolution of our society? How have those events, trends, and attitudes affected films today?
Some of the films we will discuss contain mature themes, graphic violence and sex.
*This course satisfies the requirement in post-1900 American literature and Genre: Drama.
5352.001 Studies in FictionYuan Shu
Literature of the American War in Vietnam
This course investigates the diverse representations of the American War in Vietnam in terms of what Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri call “Empire,” which not only designates a new global order but also articulates such an order as a global extension of U.S. sovereignty as well as a new development in late capitalism. We begin by scrutinizing Graham Green's Quiet American and examining the differences between the European colonial power and the U.S. system of Empire. We then read Joan Didion's Democracy and Norman Mailer's Armies of the Night, and discuss how democracy and history are envisioned and intertwined in these texts. Our focus is on Michael Herr's Dispatches, Philip Caputo's A Rumor of War, Tim O'Brien's Going after Cacciato, and Lynda De Devanter's Home before Morning, which would invoke the critical notions of time-space compression, simulation and simulacrum, and the return of the repressed. Meanwhile, we also have a glimpse of the war from the North Vietnamese perspectives and explore Bao Nin's Sorrow of War and Duong Thu Huong's Novel without a Name in light of what Shu-Mei Shih dubs “the exceptional particular.” We conclude by reading the recent work of Vietnamese immigrants, Le Ly Hayslip's When Heaven and Earth Changed Places, and critiquing the relationship between Empire and migration.
Primary Literary Texts: Philip Caputo, A Rumor of War; Lynda De Devanter, Home before Morning; Joan Didion, Democracy; Graham Green, The Quiet American; Le Ly Hayslip, When Heaven and Earth Changed Places; Michael Herr, Dispatches; Duong Thu Huong, Novel without a Name; Norman Mailer, The Armies of the Night; Bao Nin, The Sorrow of War; Tim O'Brien, Going after Cacciato.
Primary Visual Texts: From Hollywood to Hanoi, Kim's Story, and The Legacy of Vietnam.
*This course satisfies the requirement in Comparative literature (for those pursuing that specialization) and Genre: Fiction.
ENGL 5355.001 Studies in Comparative LiteratureAnn Hawkins
Too often we read literary works in isolation: the isolation of a literary “period” or of territorial boundaries between countries. As a result, we often forget that the boundaries between periods and countries are permeable: Susanna Rowson's Charlotte Temple was published in England to lukewarm response, but became a smash bestseller in the US. In the months before writing Frankenstein, Mary Shelley was living in Switzerland and reading American author Charles Brockden Brown; at the same time, Percy and Byron made a tour of the locations where Jean Jacques Rousseau's fictional heroine Julie (the “Nouvelle Heloise”) was supposed to have lived and died, a tour that Byron records in Childe Harold 3.
Byron's Don Juan, for example, shows evidence of such cosmopolitanism: though his hero is Joo-uhn, not Hwan, Byron knew his readers would read his text as a response to the Spanish hero. In fact, he expected it, and at every turn he toyed with the expectations his readers gained from their own reading of Quixote. So we'll also consider how authors (and their publishers) played to and with the expectations of their audiences; the “romantic” penchant for revision and reshaping of works already published; and the importance of the material form in which books appeared in influencing the ways in which they were bought, read, and received.
This course then will step outside and across traditional boundaries to examine the movement we call Romanticism. We'll begin with some theoretical readings that problematize the word itself and its relation to the literary movements occurring between 1750 and 1850—and we'll consider shifts in the art and music that parallel the literary shifts we will see taking place. We'll look at some texts considered to represent watershed moments, such as Wordsworth and Coleridge's Lyrical Ballads, and place them in the context of works of even more contemporary importance, but until recently hidden from our view, such as Joanna Baillie's Plays on the Passions.
We'll frame our course on one end with the American Revolution and on the other with British 1832 Reform Bill, and in between we'll consider how writers from both sides of the Atlantic grappled with the upheavals (cultural, political, and literary) associated with such disturbances as the American and French Revolutions, the Irish Rebellion, the Napoleonic Wars, the Peterloo Massacre, the Catholic Emancipation Act, and the First Reform Bill.
Though we will read some European works in translation (like Rousseau's Julie), we will largely take a transatlantic focus, and we'll likely read more poetry than prose. And, given Byron's immense stature on the European, American and British stage, a big hunk of his poetry: “Darkness,” Manfred, Childe Harold 3, Don Juan 1-5, and perhaps if time allows, Sardanapalus. For texts read in translation, we'll also think about the challenges of reading texts in a language not their original. In addition to a class presentation on a major European figure (whether in literature, art, or music), students will write a long paper placing a book in its cultural and intellectual contexts.
*This course satisfies the requirement in Comparative literature (for those pursuing that specialization).
5370.001 Creative Writing WorkshopPam Houston
No description available.
5370.002 Creative Writing WorkshopDennis Covington
No description available.
5370.003 Creative Writing WorkshopJohn Poch
In this class, in addition to writing poems each week, we will be reading in and around contemporary and modern poetry (verse, criticism, pedagogy, and theory). Classes will be discussion-oriented. Recitation of a poem is a requirement. A final portfolio of poems is due at semester's end. The goal of this class is to produce poems that make a substantial contribution to contemporary literature.
5380.001 Advanced Problems in Literary StudiesJill Patterson
In this course, students will study the history of literary journals in America, beginning with those published in the early 19th century and ending with the most contemporary ones being published today. We'll see how journals have changed, for better or for worse, and what the future might hold for literary magazines. Additionally, students will learn the business of editing and publishing a literary journal: each student will create his or her own journal, design a logo, establish a mission statement, formulate rejection and acceptance letters, learn how to manage subscriber and submitter databases, practice selecting manuscripts for publication, and, most importantly, learn how to typeset (using QuarkXpress) and how to copy edit (using MLA, Chicago, and AP stylesheets).
By the end of the semester, students will have produced one issue of their literary magazine. Students will be required to purchase The Fine Art of Copyediting by Elsie Myers Stainton, and students will also need to have access to the MLA, Chicago, and AP handbooks (students can purchase online subscriptions to these handbooks). Students may wish to share the style handbooks with one another, although all copyeditors should have these handbooks in their libraries. Finally, students will be required to access a list of literary journals since the university bookstore will not handle such textbook requirements: these journals will include several specialty journals (32 Poems, Quick Fiction, Alimentum), two cutting edge journals (Rattalpallax and Ninth Letter), two regional journals (Carolina Quarterly and Concho River Review), a tabloid journal (Literal Latte) and two heavy-hitters (Missouri Review and Georgia Review). Students may wish to share these journals, as well. Class will meet principally in a face-to-face classroom setting but once a month in an online chat-room.
*This course is a suitable elective for the Graduate Certificate in Publishing and Editing.
5380.002 Advanced Problems in Literary StudiesPriscilla Ybarra
Chicana/o Environmental Thought
Ecocriticism has been a growing field of literary study since the 1990s. Initially focused on U.S. nature writing, ecocriticism combined a concern about the environment with an emphasis on the role of cultural production in addressing environmental issues historically and in our own time. However, its early emphasis on U.S. nature writing largely limited ecocritical studies to narratives of privilege and anti-anthropocentrism, and therefore has left out a diverse, global array of voices ranging from ethnic minorities to urban dwellers to queers and women. Through the study of Chicana/o environmental thought, this course will explore the ways that diversifying ecocriticism revitalizes and reinvents this important field of literary study. Although the course emphasizes Chicana/o environmental thought, readings and discussions will offer students ecocritical tools that can be applied to a wide-array of literatures. Texts will include Chicana/o environmental theory as well as primary texts from contemporary environmental writers such as Cherríe Moraga, Ray Gonzales, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Pat Mora, and Patricia Preciado Martin.
*This course satisfies the requirement in post-1900 American literature.
5380.003 Advanced Problems in Literary StudiesJames Whitlark
Religion in Twentieth-Century American Literature
This is an American Literature course, focusing on some of the religious diversity that has significantly influenced a variety of genres. No prior knowledge of these religions is required, in that we shall be studying them through the literary forms through which they have expressed themselves. By the twentieth-century, the nineteenth-century Transcendentalist program—an American World Literature, bridging the faiths of Europe, Asia, and the American Continent--finally was more than a vague promise. Going from Harvard studies including Sanskrit, Pali, Hinduism, and Buddhism to the Church of England, T. S. Eliot was definitely a bridge maker, able in one of his most Christian poems to pause and wonder how the god Krishna might fit into his theology. Coming from the beginnings of the Depression, Faulkner's short novel As I Lay Dying presents a darker view of Christianity, steeped in an American mythology with Transcendentalist roots. Gary Snyder's tiny volume Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems manages to take relatively authentic bits of several Asian religions and yet reorganize them in a distinctively American way. Jack Kerouac then wrote his short novel The Dharma Bums about Snyder's work, providing an explicitly Beat context for it. Ursula Le Guin's little book A Wizard of Earthsea, although ostensibly for children, has become a classic for adults, because of its achievement as a connection between Eastern and Western spiritual philosophies. Charles Johnson's powerful, yet brief Oxherding Tale manages to be both a scathing, African-American indictment of racism and a compassionate guide to spiritual development. Orson Scott Card's slender, fantasy novel Seventh Son reinvents America, with an American William Blake as one of its would-be prophets, with a Native American leader as another of them, and with an indigenous, American religion, The Church of Latter Day Saints, running as a metaphor throughout.
Assignments: a term paper (including a brief annotated bibliography) and two tests.
Texts: T. S. Eliot, Complete Poems and Plays: 1909-1950; William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying; Gary Snyder, Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems; Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums; Ursula Le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea; Charles Johnson, Oxherding Tale; Orson Scott Card, Seventh Son.
*This course satisfies the requirement in Comparative literature (for those pursuing that specialization).
5392.001 Teaching College LiteratureBryce Conrad
Intended for graduate students in their final semester of course work who are interested
in applying for a 2000-level literature teaching assignment, ENGL 5392 offers an introduction
to the challenges of teaching college literature. We begin with an overview of theoretical
issues associated with the teaching of college literature (What is college literature?
Who gets a say in the answer to this question? To whom/what are college literature
teachers responsible? What are their responsibilities? What kind of writing does/should
occur in college literature classrooms? And so on) but move quickly to actual praxis.
Students in 5392 will prepare reading/writing assignments, engage in grading of those
assignments, and ‘teach' selected texts to the rest of us in class. By the end of
the semester, each student will prepare a sample syllabus and writing assignments
for a 2000-level course at TTU, will be video-taped while doing a practice teaching
session, and will have a start on a teaching philosophy statement and a teaching portfolio.
Readings for the class include a range of theoretical and practical essays, as well as sample works of literature. Assignments include a few personal meditations (“what values have you taken in/on during your education in literary studies?”), reports on classroom observations, responses to readings, and the production of classroom materials (syllabi, assignment descriptions, grading rubrics, power point presentations).
*This course satisfies the requirement in Teaching College Literature.