Seminars Spring 2015
ENGL 5303: Studies in Medieval LiteratureBeowulfDr. Brian McFadden
This course will be an in-depth translation and analysis of the first major epic poem in the English language. Topics to be discussed: the Anglo-Saxon conception of monstrousness; Germanic social structure as depicted in the poem versus the realities of Anglo-Saxon society; the role of women in the poem and women in Anglo-Saxon society; the tension and accommodation between Christian and Germanic elements in the poem; the paleography and codicology of the text. Prerequisite: ENGL 5301 (Old English Language). Requirements: oral presentation; one 20-25 page seminar paper; weekly translation and reading in Old English.
Requirements fulfilled: Pre-1700 British literature; poetry genre
ENGL 5306: Milton and the English RevolutionDr. Ryan Hackenbracht
This course introduces students to John Milton (1608-74), the great English epicist, religious radical, and political insurrectionist. Whether advocating rebellion, crafting an epic about Satan's resistance to an unjust God, or championing freedom of speech against censorship, Milton left an important mark on English thought and literature that continues to this day. Over the semester, we will explore the major works including Paradise Lost and Samson Agonistes; minor works such as Lycidas and Comus; and prose treatises like Areopagitica. Our primary focus will be the formal aspects of Milton's poetry and prose, and we will come to master a range of literary forms, such as epic, elegy, panegyric, prose treatise, and dramatic poem.
Seminar discussions will incorporate topics relevant both to Milton's own time and to scholarship on his works today. Our survey of historical contexts will cover subjects like gender roles and proto-feminism, censorship and book burning, early modern science and Galileo's heliocentric universe, the politics of the English Revolution, and apocalypticism. We will ask such questions as, how does Milton use literature as a means of political resistance? Is he best understood as a misogynist or an advocate of women's rights? In addition, our analysis of the critical landscape will focus on topics of major interest, such as nationhood, religious toleration, and early modern proto-capitalism. We will ask, how did the seminal works of C. S. Lewis, William Empson, and Stanley Fish shape Milton studies into what it is today? How do the self-styled New Milton Critics attempt to redirect the scholarly conversation?
This is also a course in academic professionalism, research methods, and article writing. We will learn about the publication process, give conference paper presentations, construct annotated bibliographies, navigate electronic resources like Early English Books Online, and write article-length seminar papers that could potentially be submitted to journals for publication.
Requirements fulfilled: Pre-1700 British, poetry genre
ENGL 5307: Studies in Restoration and Eighteenth-Century LiteratureDr. Jennifer Snead
Print, Literacy, and the Discourse of Human Rights
This course traces the development of the concept of human rights in Britain and America, from its roots in 16th and 17th-Century political, philosophical, and religious debates, through the long eighteenth century, as it was intertwined with the concepts of printing, literacy, and progress. We'll read key primary and secondary texts in the history of human rights and literacy, from Hooker, Hobbes, Locke, and Astell, through Wollstonecraft, Paine, Godwin, Macaulay, Warren, Jefferson, Price, and Burke, to contemporary scholars on the subject like Elizabeth Eisenstein, Lynn Hunt and Amartya Sen.
We'll engage with issues of copyright, women's rights, animal rights, and abolition, always with an eye to how those discourses used printing, literacy, and access to texts as both litmus and boundary-markers for what it means to be a) human and b) entitled to certain rights. We'll also consider how technological changes in textual format and transmission—manuscript to print—shaped definitions of humanity, and concepts of “progress” and entitlement.
Students will participate in hands-on, practical printing sessions in the LetterPress Lab as well as traditional class meetings and discussions. All students will be expected to complete a printing project in the LetterPress Lab (group or individual, depending on enrollment) as well as regular written assignments, a longer research paper, and an annotated bibliography.
Please note: in order to work in the LetterPress Lab, all students taking the course must complete basic lab and chemical safety testing as required by the University, as well as entry-level LetterPress Lab safety and orientation assessments, by the second week of classes. I'll contact all enrolled students towards the end of the fall semester with explicit details and instructions!
Requirements fulfilled: Early American; Later British; Literature, Social Justice, and Environment; Book History/Digital Humanities
ENGL 5323: Studies in Nineteenth-Century American LiteratureDr. Daghistany Ransdell
Civil War Fiction
In this course we will study the fiction of the American Civil War. We will examine texts written within or close to the period itself, (1861-5) as well as fiction written decades later. We will also read history and criticism of class, gender and race in this period. We will study then-contemporary concepts of race that were instrumental in shaping the defense and opposition to slavery.
We will look at the impact of gender upon Civil War partisans, and how women were expected to respond, as well as how they resisted expectations. We will see the influence of various battles upon the war. In addition, we discuss how the Civil War evoked the nobility as well as the corruption of human nature, and its fictional interpretation then and now.
Finally, we will study the attitudes towards war and death that influenced patriotism, recruitment, care for the wounded, and burial of the dead. We will read John William De Forest's Miss Ravenal's Conversion, Louisa May Alcott's Alternative Alcott: Alcott's Civil War Short Stories, written before, during and after the Civil War, Ambrose Bierce's Civil War Stories, Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps'sThe Story Of Avis, John Fox's The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come, Michael Shaara's The Killer Angels, Ross Lockridge's Raintree County, Margaret Mitchell's Jubillee. Other texts: George M. Fredrickson, The Black Image in the White Mind: the Debate on Afro-American Character and Destiny, 1817-1914. Drew Gilpin Faust, This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War, National book award finalist. Larry J Reynolds, Righteous Violence: Revolution, Slavery and the American Renaissance. Elizabeth Young, Disarming the Nation: Women's Writing and the American Civil War.
Students will read the assignments, write frequent response papers, three short fiction/film papers, as well as a 15 page paper within an assigned range and an oral presentation
Requirements fulfilled: Early American; Literature, Social Justice, Environment
ENGL 5327.001: Studies in Multicultural LiteraturesDr. Michael Borshuk
Jazz in 20th-Century American Culture: Sound, Discourse, Image
Jazz, writer Alyn Shipton announces at the onset of his New History of Jazz, is the most significant of all twentieth century musical forms. While some accuse Shipton of overreaching, there's no doubt that by the turn of the twenty-first century, jazz music had long transcended its rough and tumble vernacular beginnings to achieve ubiquitous institutional commendation and almost universal veneration. Memorialized in Ken Burns's epic PBS documentary, taught within college conservatory programs, associated in advertising with elegance and prestige, jazz was no longer perceived as the sound of New Orleans bawdy houses or Greenwich Village bohemian hangouts, but regarded instead, quite loftily, as “America's classical music.”
This course will examine jazz in 20th-Century American culture, beginning, of course, with an examination of the music itself—across stylistic changes, through debates about labeling and categorization—before we broaden our focus to consider jazz music's legacy in American writing, visual art, and mass culture. Along the way, we will be attentive to the music's relationship to American self-definition in juxtaposition with other national cultures; its correspondence with American race relations and civil rights politics; its influence on other expressive forms; and its shifting place in mainstream culture, moving from the far margins of American life to its center by century's end.
Students will be expected to write two brief review essays, contribute to an ongoing class blog, prepare an annotated bibliography and research prospectus, and compose an article-length research paper. Aside from the tentative reading list below, we will, naturally, listen to much music (ranging historically from the Original Dixieland Jazz Band in the 1910s to Wynton Marsalis in the early 2000s) and watch a number of film examples, including excerpts from The Jazz Singer (1927), The King of Jazz (1930), Cabin in the Sky (1943), Paris Blues (1961), Lady Sings the Blues (1972), and Mo' Better Blues (1990).
Tentative Text List
- Ted Gioia, The History of Jazz (2nd edition, 2011)
- Billie Holiday, with William Dufty, Lady Sings the Blues (1956)
- Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones), Blues People (1963)
- Charles Mingus, Beneath the Underdog: His World As Composed by Mingus (1971)
- Sascha Feinstein and Yusef Komunyakaa, eds., The Jazz Poetry Anthology (1991)
- David Meltzer, Reading Jazz (1993)
- Robert O'Meally, ed., The Jazz Cadence of American Culture (1998)
- Eric Porter, What is This Thing Called Jazz?: African American Musicians As Artists, Critics, and Activists (2002)
- Robert O'Meally, Brent Hayes Edwards, and Farah Jasmine Griffin, eds., Uptown Conversation: The New Jazz Studies (2004)
- Sascha Feinstein and David Rife, eds., The Jazz Fiction Anthology (2009)
- Robert Farris Thompson, Aesthetic of the Cool: Afro-Atlantic Art and Music (2011)
Requirements fulfilled: Later American; Literature, Social Justice, and Environment
ENGL 5327.002: Studies in Multicultural American Literature (Hybrid)Dr. Yuan Shu
Globalization and Transnational Asian American Literature
As the term, “globalization,” continues to designate the flow of information and capital across national boundaries, it has increasingly been articulated in terms of homogenization of cultures, ecological change and environmental degradation, migration and movement of labor forces around the globe, as well as expansion and dominance of neoliberal capitalism. How do we theorize this phenomenon in relation to ethnic identities, cultural locations, local and transnational communities? This course investigates how Asian American literature has been shaped by globalization as well as how Asian American authors have actively intervened in the process linguistically, formalistically, culturally, and historically.
We begin by investigating how Asian immigration has been informed and shaped by the global expansion of Western capitalism since the late nineteenth century. In reading the works of Carlos Bulosan and Maxine Hong Kingston, we consider how the emigration of Asians to North America has been related to Western imperialist practices in the Pacific Rim and explore how East Asia and Southeast Asia have been reconstructed as geopolitical spaces in the process. Then we interrogate how the Cold War in Asia has turned anticolonial and postcolonial issues into a conflict between totalitarianism and democracy. As we focus on Ha Jin's War Trash, Le Ly Hayslip's When Heaven and Earth Changed Places, David Henry Hwang's M. Butterfly, as well as Jessica Hagedorn's Dogeaters, we not only examine how the two major U.S. wars have devastated Asian populations and environment but also discuss how neocolonialism and neo-imperialism have continued to impact Asia and Asian America. We conclude by revisiting the issue of local and global and scrutinizing Karen Yamashita's I Hotel, Chang-Rae Lee's Native Speaker, andJhumpa Lahiri, The Namesake in terms of racial formation, political consciousness, and cultural sensibilities.
- Jessica Hagedorn, The Dogeaters
- Le Ly Hayslip, When Heaven and Earth Changed Places
- David Henry Hwang, M. Butterfly
- Ha Jin, War Trash
- Maxine Hong Kingston, China Men
- Jhumpa Lahiri, The Namesake
- Chang-Rae Lee, Native Speaker
- Shirley Geok-lin Lim, Asian-American Literature: an Anthology
- Karen Yamashita, I Hotel
- David Harvey, Spaces of Global Capitalism
- Paul Jay, Global Matters: the Transnational Turn in Literary Studies
- Shirley Geok-lin Lim et al, eds., Transnational Asian American Literature
- Michael Omi and Howard Winant, Racial Formation in the United States
- On-line essays
Requirements : Students are expected to write five short response papers (2-3 pages) to the required literary and critical texts, lead a class discussion on one of the required readings, give a presentation on the final project, and finish the research paper in the final exam week.
Requirements fulfilled: Comparative Literature; Later American; Literature, Social Justice, and Environment
ENGL 5335D: Principles of Language (Distance)Dr. Mary Jane Hurst
This online offering of English 5335 will provide a graduate-level introduction to the study of linguistics. In this course, we will learn about the underlying principles and theories of language by examining systems of words, sounds, grammar, and meaning (i.e., morphology, phonology, syntax, and semantics), and we will also consider how the principles of language are important for various applied fields such as sociolinguistics and historical linguistics. In addition, students will have opportunities to pursue other topics of their own choosing related to the principles of language.
Interested students from all programs within the English Department – as well as interested students from all other departments – are welcome to enroll. No prior knowledge of linguistics will be expected or needed for success in this class. Those who do have previous experience with linguistics will have the option of substituting projects relevant for their earlier studies or current goals in place of assignments that are planned for students with no prior study in the field.
Students in English 5335 will be expected to:
- Complete listening, reading, and writing assignments each week;
- Access materials online through the library and through Blackboard; and
- Participate in interactive discussions.
The two required books for English 5335 are as follows:
- Clark, Virginia, Paul Eschholz, Alfred Rosa, and Beth Lee Simon, eds. Language: Introductory Readings. 7th Edition. New York, NY: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2008. ISBN 9780312450182.
- O'Grady, William, John Archibald, Mark Aronoff, and Janie Rees-Miller. Contemporary Linguistics: An Introduction. 6th Edition. New York, NY: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2010. ISBN 9780312555283.
Because this is an online course, students will need reliable Internet access, and their computers must be set up for compatibility with the university's official online learning platform, Blackboard. (Guides can be found at www.blackboard.ttu.edu, and individualized assistance is also available through IT Help Central). Students will also need Skype, a free program that can be downloaded from the Internet at www.skype.com, to communicate with their professor; students with older computers may need an external microphone in order to use Skype. For more information about this course, contact Dr. Hurst at firstname.lastname@example.org. Before the semester begins, Dr. Hurst will e-mail welcome messages to all enrolled students, providing detailed information about how to get ready for and how to begin the class.
Requirements fulfilled: Linguistics area requirement; Language/tools course requirement
ENGL 5337: Studies in LinguisticsDr. Aaron Braver
Perception, Cognition, and Language
This course explores the various interactions between perception, cognition, and language. Some representative questions include:
Is the way things look influenced by the language you use? Some linguists, for example, believe that your perception of color varies based on the words for colors in your native language. Can your beliefs make things look or sound different? Some psychologists and philosophers have recently suggested, for example, that chess boards look different to experts than to novices, and that speakers of a language hear utterances of their language differently than utterances of other languages. If your language categorizes, e.g., snow in a fine-grained manner, are you in a better position to think about the varying kinds of snow than someone who speaks another language? These questions all suggest various ways in which perception, cognition, and language interact with one another; at the same time, there is persuasive evidence that the mind is modular—that these systems are isolated from one another.
Topics we will discuss include:
- Modularity of mind: how much interaction is there between different cognitive processes
- The relationship between cognition and perception and language
- Whether language limits (or extends) the way we think
We will approach these topics from the perspectives of philosophy, linguistics, and cognitive science, with the goal of determining the extent to which our minds are shaped by forces other than pure reason.
This course is offered by Dr. Alex Grzankowski (Philosophy) and Dr. Aaron Braver (English/Linguistics).
Requirements fulfilled: Linguistics area requirement; Language/tools requirement; Literature, Social Justice, and Environment
ENGL 5345: Letterpress Printing History and PracticeDr. Jennifer Snead
This course will examine the history of hand- or letterpress printing in the West (with some comparative excursions to printing in other geocultural locations), from Gutenberg and his competitors to the present day. The focus of the course will be both practical and theoretical, manual and intellectual. Students will engage not only with the actual techniques and practices of printing (through sessions in the LetterPress Lab), but also with the social, political, legal, cultural, and economic contexts of printing, from Henry VIII's coupling of state censorship and private monopoly via the Stationers' Guild, to issues of guild, copyright and authorship in the 17th and 18th centuries, to the small-press artisanal movements of the 19 th and 20th centuries and their resistance to industrialization, to 21st- century debates about the place of print in a digital era.
Throughout, we will engage with overall issues of how technology, society, and culture shape one another. Students will be expected to complete a project (group or individual depending on enrollment) in the LetterPress Lab, as well as completing regular writing assignments, a longer research paper, and an annotated bibliography. Please note: in order to work in the LetterPress Lab, all students taking the course must complete basic lab and chemical safety testing as required by the University, as well as entry-level LetterPress Lab safety and orientation assessments, by the second week of classes. I'll contact all enrolled students towards the end of the fall semester with explicit details and instructions.
Requirements fulfilled: Book History/Digital Humanities, Later British
ENGL 5347D: Scholarly Editing in Digital Environments (Distance)Dr. Anne Hawkins
How do we come by the texts we read? Do they proceed unaltered from the pen of the
writer into the hands of a reader? or are they 'socialized' (to use Jerry McGann's
term) by the process of production? What sorts of interventions do editors (and others
make) in the text itself, what sorts of editions do they produce, and how do we judge
them? What sorts of editions do editors create? What is the difference between documentary
and scholarly editing and when should editors do one or the other (or both)?
This course examines the nature of documentary and scholarly editing. The course will survey its history, its theories, its best practices, and its (digital) future. This course prepares students to evaluate and create editions, both in and out of electronic environments. Students will become conversant in the theories that undergird documentary and scholarly editing; learn the basic mark-up practices of the Text-Encoding Initiative (TEI); and gain familiarity with a range of tools developed to help editors in creating robust editions (collex, juxta, XQUERY, XSLT, etc). All students will create or further develop a digital edition of materials in their field. This course is offered ONLINE.
Requirements fulfilled: Graduate Certificate in Publishing and Editing; Graduate Certificate in Book History and Digital Humanities
ENGL 5351: Studies in Film and LiteratureDr. Allison Whitney
Teaching Film and Media Studies
In this course, students will learn practical strategies for teaching film and other audio/visual media, while also becoming versed in the history of film instruction, and in the array of ethical, legal, and technical concerns facing educators in this field. While the course will be appropriate for students whose primary focus is film studies, it will also provide valuable expertise to students in other fields who wish to integrate the study of media texts and/or the use of media-based assignments into their curricula, whether at the college or secondary level.
Throughout the semester, students will design syllabi, lesson plans, assignments, and assessment strategies that are germane to their interests, and will also have the opportunity to visit classrooms. Topics will include teaching critical viewing and listening skills, media literacy in multiple disciplines (including both humanities and sciences), media-based assignment design such as audio and video essays, accessibility for students with disabilities, the ethics of representation in the classroom (including violence and obscenity), multicultural course design, service learning and community engagement, undergraduate research, copyright law, and online teaching.
Requirements fulfilled: Film and Media Studies; Literature, Social Justice, and Environment
ENGL 5353: Studies in PoetryDr. John Poch
Forms and Functions
In W.S. Merwin's essay “On Open Form” he states, “The consideration of the evolution of forms, strict or open, belongs largely to history and to method. The visitation that is going to be a poem finds the form it needs in spite of both.'” In this class we will study a variety of verse forms and formal techniques, especially traditional forms that emphasize regular accentual syllabic structures. We will investigate history, method, and the forms “in spite of” and as a result of tradition. We will begin with meter and rhythm in verse, types of rhyme, examine blank verse, and discover the formal qualities and quantities of couplets, villanelles, sonnets, sestinas, nonce forms, prose poems, and odes.
Just to wet your whistle, a few of the poets we will consider: Stallings, Williamson, Lowell, Meredith, Brock, Wilbur, Cullen, Frost, Schnackenberg, Alvarez, Hacker, Auden, Dickinson, Bishop, Edson, Tate, Walcott, Ashbery, Dawson, Mehigan. All students will write a midterm critical paper. Creative writing students are encouraged to work within the given forms and submit a portfolio of seven poems and a brief introductory statement rather than write the required final term paper. There will be a final exam.
Requirements fulfilled: Poetry genre, Later American
ENGL 5355: Comparative LiteratureDr. Kanika Batra
Future Perfect Comparatism: Worldings, Globablization
When Gayatri Spivak famously announced the “death” of Comparative Literature (CL), her call was also for a reinterpretation of the discipline. Encompassing cross-linguistic, cross-national, and increasingly, cross-disciplinary models of analysis via translation, CL has been variously defined in European, American, and Postcolonial contexts. In this course we will read a selection of works theorizing CL to arrive at a methodology for comparisons. We will examine various models of literary comparison including “world literature,” “literatures in English other than British or American,” “postcolonial literature,” and most recently, “global literature.” Our aim is to examine the disciplinary specificities of literary studies and its possible cross-disciplinary affiliations underlining a planetary consciousness. Such a consciousness is evident in interdisciplinary humanities scholarship in “biopolitics,” “slow violence,” and the “anthropocene,” towards what Ursula Heise has recently called “a comparatism of the future.”
Anthropological and sociological writing on globalization and urbanization included in the course will enable students to make connections between comparative work in literature and other disciplines. The course encourages independent research in a literary or extra-literary field/period/genre of your choice using a working knowledge of CL methodologies. Required Texts: Bassnett, Susan. Comparative Literature. London: Routledge, 1995.; Saussy, Haun, ed.Comparative Literature in an Age of Globalization. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006; Spivak, Gayatri.Death of a Discipline. The Wellek Library Lectures. New York: Columbia UP, 2005; Apter, Emily.Against World Literature: On the Politics of Untranslatibility. London: Verso, 2013; Appadurai, Arjun.Fear of Small Numbers: An Essay on the Geography of Anger. Durham: Duke Up, 2006; Simone, AbdouMaliq. For the City yet to Come: Changing African Life in Four Cities. Durham: Duke UP, 2004; Essays, blog posts, speeches by Amitav Ghosh, Teju Cole, Zadie Smith, Rana Dasgupta in English, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Orhan Pamuk, Mahasweta Devi in translation.
Requirements fulfilled: Comparative Literature; Literature, Social Justice, Environment; Non-fiction
This course is required for students wishing to complete a concentration in CLGT
ENGL 5370.001: Creative Writing WorkshopDr. Dennis Covington
Requirements fulfilled: Creative Writing Workshop
ENGL 5370.002: Creative Writing WorkshopDr. Katie Cortese
Shapes of Nonfiction
This course will primarily center on reading and critiquing students' nonfiction with a special focus on the conventions, challenges, and benefits of crafting essays that conform to the requirements of four distinct styles. With that in mind, students will write a selection of flash nonfiction pieces in the first quarter of the class, experiment with research-based or investigative journalism in the second, complete a short graphic memoir or video essay in the third, and finally turn in an essay embracing a style or shape new to the author in the fourth. The secondary focus of the course involves the close reading, practical analysis, and discussion of published essays and craft articles by established, contemporary writers.
A very tentative reading list includes The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction, the 2014 Best American Essays anthology edited by John Jeremiah Sullivan, Leslie Jamison's The Empathy Exams, Eula Biss's On Immunity, Jessmyn Ward's Men We Reaped, Matthew Parker's Larceny in My Blood: A Memoir of Heroin, Handcuffs, and Higher Education, and a selection of TBA essays and excerpts by Lee Gutkind, Alison Bechdel, Dinty W. Moore, Philip Lopate, Patricia Hampl, and others. Assignments will include several flash pieces, at least one research-based essay, a short graphic memoir or video essay, and a fourth piece in a style new to the author, as well as a final portfolio including at least three revisions, three literary citizenship contributions, and a statement of aesthetics.
Requirements fulfilled: Creative Writing Workshop
ENGL 5370.003: Creative Writing WorkshopDr. Jackie Kolosov
Requirements fulfilled: Creative Writing Workshop
ENGL 5392: Teaching College LiteratureDr. John Samson
This course is required for doctoral students who wish to teach college literature. We begin with an overview of theoretical issues (theories and problems of teaching college literature), but move quickly to actual praxis. Students in this course make teaching a conscious practice by reflecting, in discussion and writing, on what we do in the literature-based classroom. Students will construct lesson plans, make assignments, grade essays, and visit classrooms of other college literature instructors. Finally, students will practice-teach texts selected for sophomore classes at TTU, discuss the strengths of our pedagogical strategies, listen to commentary from our fellow teachers, and prepare syllabi for future classroom use. Ultimately, the course should prepare students to search for faculty positions as highly-trained teachers of English.
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