Department of English, College of LAS, University of Illinois

Graduate Studies in English


          same as BTW 402

Area Requirement:  None

An introduction to English linguistics with emphasis on the phonetic, syntactic, and semantic structures of English; language variation, standardization, and change; language legislation and linguistic rights; English as a world language; and the study of language in American schools.


403 1U/1G HISTORY OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE, Russell. (CRN 42951) MW 2-3:15

Area Requirement:  None


There are clear camps when it comes to the English language:  For some, it is “the most perfect all-purpose instrument,” “the grandest triumph of the human intellect,” “the lingua franca of the angels,” and, for others, it is “a weapon of war,” “a steamroller,” “the language of the criminal who committed the crime.”  It’s the engine of angels or the cudgel of demons.  But of course, English is not simply one or the other of these things.  Over time, it has been lots of different things to lots of different people.  And the purpose of this course will be to explore those uses and users throughout the history of the English language in order to answer the following questions:  What is English?  What does it look like?  Who uses it?  Where is it used? What does it mean to use it?  Readings for the course will include primary texts (in Old, Middle, Early Modern, and Present Day Englishes) as well as contemporary histories of the language.  Coursework will include lectures, discussions, presentations, exams, and short essays.  No prior knowledge of historical Englishes or linguistics is necessary.



          same as EIL 422

Area Requirement:  None

This course is designed to help prospective teachers of English as a Second or Foreign Language (ESL/EFL) enhance their understanding of English grammar and develop pedagogical approaches to teaching English grammar. This course has two main components: (1) instruction in English grammar, with particular emphasis on those areas that present difficulties for ESL students; and (2) development of pedagogical approaches for teaching English grammar. In order to provide practical teaching experience, the course also offers a tutoring practicum where participants tutor ESL students on topics of English grammar that have been covered in the course, using pedagogical materials that are sound in light of current second language acquisition (SLA) theories, research findings, and teaching methodologies.


418 1U/1G SHAKESPEARE. (CRN 40436) TUTH 2-3:15

Area Requirement:  British, 1485-1660 & MFA Literature

Survey of the plays and poems of William Shakespeare. Reading assignments will reflect the generic diversity and historical breadth of Shakespeare's work.


421 1U/1G LATER RENAISS POETRY & PROSE, Gray. (CRN 40364)  TUTH 12:30-1:45

Area Requirement:  British, 1485-1660 & MFA Literature


Most literary historians like to claim their period as a turning point, but scholars of the seventeenth-century have an edge: in 1649, the English took the unprecedented step of trying their King for treason and then beheading him. In this course we will explore the artistic and intellectual questioning that characterizes seventeenth-century poetry and prose. Focusing on some of the major poets and prose writers of the time, we will lay out some of the traditional ideas about literature, religion, politics, and gender as they occur early in the century, and then watch as they mutate in the context of Revolutionary debate.


423 1U/1G MILTON, Mohamed.  (CRN 40365)  TUTH 3:30-4:45

Area Requirement:  British, 1485-1660 & MFA Literature


In an essay on Milton, T. S. Eliot famously remarked that ‘of no other poet is it so difficult to consider the poetry simply as poetry, without our theological and political dispositions, conscious and unconscious, inherited or acquired, making an unlawful entry.’ While we may not share Eliot’s scorn for Milton in this regard, we can certainly see the truth of his statement on the inescapable presence of political and theological controversy in Milton’s poetry. This course will examine in detail all of Milton’s major poems and introduce the numerous and fascinating political and theological controversies in which he engages in his prose—his arguments for the relaxation of divorce laws, his attacks on English bishops, his criticism of state censorship, his defense of the execution of Charles I, his apologies for Cromwell’s rule, and his model of an English republic.

          Milton demands our attention as the most influential and important European poet of the past four centuries.  Our reading of him is made all the more rewarding by the fact that he forces us to confront questions that continue to bedevil our ethical and political engagements. What is the relationship between truth, reason, and liberty? When is one justified in killing—even morally obliged to kill—one’s ruler? Must we sometimes set democratic principles aside in truth’s defense? 

          This course will include a visit to our Rare Book & Manuscript Library, which houses one of the world’s premier Milton collections.







429 1U/1G 18TH CENTURY FICTION, Pollock. (CRN 40392)   MWF 1

Area Requirement:  British, 1660-1800 & MFA Literature


This course will examine the link between European colonialism and the development of recognizably modern fiction during the course of the long eighteenth century—a period commonly referred to as the Enlightenment—in England, France, and the Americas.  One of the central tasks in our project this semester will be to understand the significance of travel both as a literal means of disseminating “enlightenment” between cultures, and as a metaphor for describing the developmental trajectory of the self-cultivating individual.  Each of the fictions we will read presents us with characters who undertake a movement out of their own cultures—even out of themselves—into trans-cultural or inter-cultural spaces where complicated ethical and political dilemmas must be negotiated.  Perhaps the most influential legacy of these Enlightenment fictions (or fictions of Enlightenment) has been their formulation of cosmopolitanism as a solution to the often violent clash between cultures.  The popular narratives we’ll study in this course test the Enlightenment’s cosmopolitan ethos by putting European observers in places as diverse as Africa, Brazil, Persia, Tahiti, and the Caribbean.  Time permitting, we will finish by reading some recent philosophical work on the question “What is Enlightenment?” and we will attempt to answer that question ourselves.  Texts by Montaigne, Behn, Defoe, Montesquieu, Swift, Montagu, Johnson, Voltaire, and Equiano. 

          Requirements: active participation, journal responses, two major essay projects, and a final exam.


435 1U/1G 19TH C BRITISH FICTION, Courtemanche. (CRN 40394)  TUTH 2-3:15

Area Requirement:  British, 1800-1900 & MFA Literature


An optimistic note of progress is the keynote of many 19th-century novels: characters learn and grow, society works through conflict, secrets are uncovered. But in British fiction, this process of discovery and growth is often complicated by nostalgia and fears of loss.  Sometimes the characters discover that what they were looking for was in front of them all along, or find they can never truly untangle the dark origins of the problems that entrap them.  In this class, we’ll be focusing on this particular mixture of romance, Bildungsroman, the detective story, and Gothic historicism.  Our readings will include Jane Austen’s Emma, Charles Dickens’s Bleak House, Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone, Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Joseph Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness.  These novels are tremendously fun to read, but also very long, so be prepared for a great deal of reading (both fiction and secondary criticism). The course will require one close-reading paper, one research paper, a midterm and final, weekly written assignments, and active class participation.




442 1U/1G BRITISH LIT SINCE 1930, I. Baron. (CRN 40397)   TUTH 2-3:15

Area Requirement:  British, 1900 to Present & MFA Literature


Technology and Dystopia In British Literature:  At the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics, Danny Boyle created a pageant of British history entitled Isles of Wonder that evoked two conflicting views of the island-nation’s past, present and future. Beginning with the pastoral idylls of Shakespeare’s England, Boyle conjures up an easy life of shepherds and shepherdesses at one with nature on this sceptered isle set in the silver waters of the North Atlantic. But the rarified air of this Edenic landscape is soon contaminated by the engines of capitalism, churning up soot and human misery in the dark Satanic mills of England’s green and pleasant land. Boyle’s spectacle of a British utopia decimated by technology became an overarching literary theme in the hands of twentieth century writers as the hazards of mechanization led to two World Wars and a complete restructuring of the sociopolitical system that had dominated the island nation since the Norman Conquest.

          In this course, we’ll explore the effect that the Industrial Revolution had on Britain and the lasting impact of technology on reconfiguring British political paradigms in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. We’ll examine the image of the crumbling British estate house as industrialization drove millions of individuals to the cities looking for work to escape poverty prior to WWI, and how the cities themselves transposed into icons of urban decay. In the midcentury modernist period, as the Welfare State emerged and the country rebuilt itself up from the ashes of the Blitz, we’ll concentrate on the rise of the Labour party and how it shaped the mindset of working class writers. And finally, as we approach and pass the new millennium, we’ll explore how the media, the Internet, terrorism and biotechnology have the power to permanently enhance or destroy Britain—creating another pastoral utopia or a dark dystopian universe where no one survives.

          Students are expected to actively participate in class discussions. There will be two papers and a final project. Novels and films may include: Brave New World, Brideshead Revisited, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, The Children of Men, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Skyfall.


451 1U/1G AMERICAN LIT 1914-1945, Parker. (CRN 40398)   TUTH 9:30-10:45

Area Requirement:  American, Civil War to Present & MFA Literature


This course will sample American poetry and fiction from between the world wars, closely studying a set of individual texts and their roles in literary and cultural tradition. Along the way, we will ponder literary responses to changing gender and race relations, World War I, the roaring twenties, and the Great Depression. We will also consider the growth of Modernism and its revolutions in literary form as well as the relation between experiments in literary form and the era’s social and political conservatisms and radicalisms. We will read work by some of the most celebrated writers in American literature—Ernest Hemingway (short stories), William Faulkner (The Sound and the Fury), and T. S. Eliot—as well as work by less canonized or more recently canonized writers, including poetry by Langston Hughes and a selection of Imagist poets, Nella Larsen’s Passing, Dorothy Parker’s short stories, Anita Loos’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, James M. Caine’s The Postman Always Rings Twice, Tom Kromer’s Waiting for Nothing, and Carson McCullers’ The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. (These writers and titles provide only a tentative list, but the list gives a picture of the course-plan in progress.) This course offers you the chance to read one of the stunningly great but forbiddingly difficult works in American literature—The Sound and the Fury—in the helpful company of others working it through with you, but be prepared to work hard and read it twice, as it makes far more sense on a second reading. Take this course only if you plan to attend class regularly and join actively in class discussion. Know yourself: if you cannot regularly get up to arrive on time and alert for a 9:30 am class, or if you don’t want to speak in class, then do not take this class. Writing requirements will probably include several papers and a final exam.


455 1U/1G MAJOR AUTHORS, Nazar.  (CRN 40444)  TUTH 2-3:15

          TOPIC: Jane Austen

Area Requirement:  British, 1660-1800 & MFA Literature


Amanda Price, the heroine of the ITV miniseries Lost in Austen (2008), is a spirited, present-day Londoner with a boring job and an equally boring boyfriend.  Amanda’s idea of heaven-on-earth is a quiet evening at home, immersed in the pages of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.  Defending her obsession with Austen’s novel, she observes: “I love the love story…I love the manners and the language and the courtesy.  It has become part of who I am and what I want.  I…have standards.”  Amanda is by no means alone in her admiration for Austen’s second published novel, which ranked second in the BBC’s 2003 survey of the British public’s favorite fiction (and the only book in the top five to be published before the twentieth century).  Today, Jane Austen is a cult figure: a classic writer with remarkable popularity in the English-speaking world, whose six novels have spawned not only a massive academic industry but also a “Janeite” popular culture, which includes weekly blogs, online games, literary spinoffs (such as Bridget Jones’s Diary and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), and seemingly endless film and television interpretations.  In her own lifetime, however, Austen enjoyed only minor celebrity, traveled little, lived quietly in the bosom of her family, and was buried without any pomp in a grave that makes no mention of her ever having been a writer.  The quietness of her life, the marriage plots of her novels, and her own representation of her art as that of the miniaturist (who painted on “two inches wide of ivory”), has led many observers to describe her as one of the most apolitical of English novelists.  On these accounts, the lady-like Austen resolutely ignored the great historical changes taking place in her lifetime—for example, the social and political upheavals wrought by the French revolution of 1789—to focus on small private matters, such as the love and manners that Amanda Price cherishes so greatly.  This course seeks to “politicize” Austen’s fiction, as well as recent responses to her work, both academic and popular.  It vivifies the historical and political contexts of Austen’s novels and asks questions such as the following: Are there any meaningful connections to be made between the 1790s, when Austen began to write, and the 1990s, when interest in her fiction reached new heights?  What are the “standards” that Austen celebrates in her work and how do these compare with those upheld by Austen fans like Amanda Price?  We will read not only major works such as Pride and Prejudice (1813), Emma (1815), and Persuasion (1818), but also Austen’s outrageously funny teenage writings or “juvenilia.”  Class assignments will include regular forays into the popular culture surrounding Austen’s work, including a consideration of films such as Amy Heckerling’s Clueless (1995) and Gurinder Chadha’s Bride and Prejudice (2004).


455 2U/2G MAJOR AUTHORS, Murison.  (CRN 40445)  TUTH 12:30-1:45

          TOPIC: Poe and Hawthorne

Area Requirement:  American, Beginning to Civil War and MFA Literature


“Of Mr. Hawthorne’s Tales we would say, emphatically, that they belong to the highest region of Art — an Art subservient to genius of a very lofty order.” So Edgar Allan Poe wrote in his review of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Twice-Told Tales in 1842. Poe and Hawthorne are two of the most recognizable names from nineteenth-century literature, and both were, as Poe’s review of Hawthorne suggests, absorbed with the question of what constituted literary art. This class will consider Poe and Hawthorne in dialogue and in their historical context. Both were and are famous for their gothic romances, for their desire to elevate the nation’s literary profile, and for feeling alienated from the popular and powerful ideologies of the age. In this course, we will consider the connections and the stark differences between these two popular authors. Course requirements include three papers, a class presentation, and a lot of fun, albeit eerie reading.


455 A MAJOR AUTHORS, Sobol.  (CRN 60089)  TUTH 3-4:20

          meets with RUSS 323, CWL 323

          TOPIC: Tolstoy

Area Requirement: MFA Literature


An overview of Tolstoy’s major works in the context of his philosophical ideas, ethical search, and artistic innovations.  No knowledge of Russian is necessary.


459 1U/1G TOPICS IN AMER INDIAN LIT, Warrior. (CRN 57641)   TUTH 3:30-4:45

          same as AIS 459

          TOPIC: Native American and Indigenous Nonfiction Writing

Area Requirement:  American, Civil War to Present & MFA Literature


Nonfiction writing has been central to Native American and other Indigenous literary and intellectual histories for over two centuries. This course focuses on the trajectories of those histories of writing, including consideration of authors from the 18th to the 21st centuries. The course will include a broad range of nonfiction writing, from life writing to journalism to memoir to film. We will also examine recent scholarly work about the history of Native American books and the adoption of the technology of writing by Indigenous people. Authors will include Sherman Alexie, N. Scott Momaday, Louise Erdrich, Gertrude Bonnin, William Apess, Samson Occam, Gerald Vizenor, Alanis Obomsawim, and Lee Maracle.  Rhetoric and Writing Studies students are welcome.



          TOPIC: Brown and Black Existentialisms

Area Requirement:  American, Civil War to Present & MFA Literature


Within European circuits, existentialism reigned as a popular mode of inquiry during the mid-20th Century. Existentialist philosophers, literary scholars, novelists, and playwrights demanded attention to individual experience, different historical trajectories, the politics of alienation, and an acknowledgment of the body and its sensorial practices. Although rooted in Europe, existentialist thought influenced minoritarian writers abroad committed to the ideas of existence, meaning, consciousness, and specific Black and Brown ways of being within worlds.

          While Black existentialism arose at the height of the movement circa 1940s and 1950s, the term Brown existentialism has not been similarly documented within U.S. Brown literary and philosophical traditions. Instead of recovering an archive, however, we will expand historical parameters to create a language by which to speak of Brown existentialist thought as a relational mode of analysis in conversation with Blackness and philosophy. In this course, we will attend to the following questions: how do the tenets of existentialism help us reimagine Black and Brown life-worlds? What are the limitations of this school of thought in reference to gender, sexuality, and coloniality? And what is the relational and ideological function between existentialism and Black and Brown movements? To add, this course will focus on some of the following authors: Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Frantz Fanon, Thomas Rivera, José Antonio Villarreal, Pedro Pietri, Tori Morrison, Josefina Niggli, Maria Irene Fortes, Salvador Plascencia, Jean Paul Sartre, and others.


461 1U/1G TOPICS IN LITERATURE, C. Wright.  (CRN 51247)  TUTH 11-12:15

          TOPIC: Old Irish

Area Requirement:  British, Beginning to 1485


An intensive introduction to the Old Irish language, with readings in Old Irish prose and poetry. No prior knowledge or linguistic expertise is required.  While Old Irish—the language of early medieval Ireland—is a very difficult language, the goal of this course is not to master its intricacies, but to acquire a level of familiarity sufficient to enable you to read Old Irish texts in edition with full glossaries and notes, and with a grammar at your side to consult as you read.  We will work through the basic grammar of the language and read as we go the parodic tale Scéla Mucce Meic Dathó (The Story of Mac Datho’s Pig), followed by selections from the epic Táin Bó Cuailnge (The Cattle-Raid of Cooley) as well as some lyric poems.  There will be language quizzes, a midterm, and a final, but no term paper. 


TEXTS:     R. Lehmann and W.P. Lehmann, An Introduction to Old Irish; J. Strachan and O. Bergin, Old-Irish Paradigms and Selections from the Old-Irish Glosses; Antony Green, Old Irish Verbs and Vocabulary; Selections from the Táin, ed. R. Thurneysen.




461 2U/2G TOPICS IN LITERATURE, Freeburg.  (CRN 40447)  MWF 12

TOPIC: The Musical Life of Modern American Writing

Area Requirement: American, Civil War to Present & MFA Literature


This course examines how several modern American novelists incorporate blues, jazz, and other musical forms in their writings.  Part of the course will be listening to and observing blues and jazz performance to figure out what kinds of existential and political questions emerge in them.  In addition to learning about music in this way, we will read the rich cultural history of blues and jazz in the U.S.  We will be particularly concerned with how writers such as Toni Morrison, Albert Murray, Ralph Ellison, Gayl Jones, and James Baldwin draw upon music to create rich characters that find themselves grappling with their moral convictions.


475 1U/1G LIT & OTHER DISCIPLINES, Carico. (CRN 49208)   W 2-3:50

TOPIC: Slavery’s Afterlives

Area Requirement:  American, Civil War to Present & MFA Literature


In this seminar we’ll think about what happens to slavery in America after 1865. Does it simply vanish? Or does it somehow remain, and if so, where do we find its remnants in our national life? We’ll spend much of our semester together surveying the boundary lines imagined to separate slavery and freedom. This also means that we’ll be questioning the times and spaces that are thought to be proper to “slavery” and “freedom.” Anchored in nineteenth-century America but extending into our present, our readings will address the loopholes of freedom, the life and death of the slave commodity, and the meaning of mass incarceration. We’ll approach slavery in America as a kind of historical crisis, as a crime that isn’t redressed and as a story that resists being told. Working with slave narratives, novels, paintings, and films, alongside the work of contemporary scholars, we’ll examine accounts of slavery that grapple with that institution’s legacy. From Frederick Douglass’s narrative to Django Unchained, a host of questions will attend our journey: What’s the connection between an enslaved past and a “free” present? How does one write about a slavery that hasn’t yet ended, and where do we locate slavery’s continued presence? To whom does slavery’s inheritance fall? And what are the possibilities for beginning, at last, to tell a free story?


475 SRU LIT & OTHER DISCIPLINES, Ruiz.  (CRN 61971)  M 3:30-5:50

          meets with LLS 496

          TOPIC: Latina/o Performance: Bodily Practices

Area Requirement: American, Civil War to Present & MFA Literature


In this course, we will focus on Latina/o performances from the 1960s to the present to underscore the relationship between exercises of everyday life and acts on stage. In doing so, we will pay particular attention to the body and take as a basic premise that all bodies ask to be read—whether these bodies are socially, culturally, racially, and/or sexually coded, or even bodies of work. Additionally, we will attend to how the Latina/o body is an essential instrument of the subject—oftentimes unheard, unsayable, and unnoticed. Thus, how does one learn to read a body, a body of work? In this course, a double gesture in bodily reading will occur: one that brings to the fore performance as an intellectual corpus, and the other that highlights specific enduring bodies in time within certain sites. To that end, we will critically engage with performance theory, performative scripts, media works of performances, theorizations of Latinidad and the body.


476 1U/1G TOPICS IN LIT & ENVIRONMENT, Wood. (CRN 56412)   MWF 12

          TOPIC: The Literature of Catastrophe

Area Requirement:  MFA Literature


In an age when the costs of natural disasters have escalated far beyond historical norms, and news headlines are filled with extreme weather, floods and droughts, this course investigates the literature of catastrophe across the centuries and across cultures. We will trace a poetics of disaster and collapse through tales of devastating storms, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, epidemics, famines, dustbowl migrations, and climate change. The Romantic figure of the ruined civilization—which appropriated the Biblical apocalyptic tradition for modern science and history—will also guide our readings in contemporary disaster journalism and dystopian fiction and film. Authors include Defoe, Voltaire, Byron, Steinbeck, Eggers, and McCarthy, in addition to select non-fiction and scientific works from Cuvier to Jared Diamond.


481 1U/1G COMP THEORY AND PRACTICE, Russell. (CRN 40460)  MW 3:30-4:45

Area Requirement:  Critical Theory for Writing Studies ONLY

The constellation of skills that comprise composition—invention, selection, combination, construction, framing, curation, reasoning, argument, presentation, delivery, and so on—have been taught in Western worlds since classical time.  This course will review the long and rich history of composition theory in order to understand what composition has been (e.g., a craft, an art, a civic action, a moral exercise), who composition has served (e.g., citizens, lawyers, preachers, social climbers, students, activists), and what composition has helped people accomplish (e.g., persuasion of others, expression of self, disruption of social order).  We will consider how these historical theories of composition inflect the approaches to teaching composition that have emerged in the last fifty years, including pedagogies grounded in process theory, expressivism, social constructivism, feminism, multimodality, and multiculturalism.  In light of these historical and contemporary contexts, we will articulate our own goals as writers and teachers of writing, asking what practices will allow us to achieve our goals in the contexts of the communities in which we live and teach.


500 Q INTRO TO CRITICISM & RESEARCH, Parker. (CRN 30190)   TUTH 12:30-1:45

Area Requirement:  Critical Theory

This course is a survey-introduction to the concepts and methods of recent critical theory. In short, it is a ticket to engaged fluency in the dialogues and opportunities of contemporary criticism, designed for newer English graduate students (and more experienced graduate students) who do not already have a broad background in critical theory. We will proceed through a series of cumulative, overlapping units on new criticism, structuralism, deconstruction and poststructuralism, psychoanalysis, feminism, queer studies, Marxism, historicism, cultural studies, critical race theory, postcolonial studies, reader response, ecocriticism, and disability studies. We will also participate in the Modern Critical Theory Tuesday evening lecture series sponsored by the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory and including parallel graduate seminars from other departments. Depending on scheduling and student interests, we may devote sessions to such practical concerns for graduate study in English as research methods, graduate writing, preparing for publication, and organizing and planning one's graduate studies and academic progress intellectually and administratively. Attendance, inquisitiveness, and active participation in class discussion are crucial. (Students who prefer to be seen but not heard should not enroll.)


503 1 HISTORIOGRAPHY OF CINEMA, Turnock. (CRN) M 1-4:50

          same as MACS 503, CWL 503

Area Requirement: Film

Seminar on historical perspectives on cinema as an institution, a body of signifying practices, a product to be consumed, a phenomenon of modernity, and a cultural artifact, and on cinema in relation to other screen media.


505 G WRITING STUDIES I, Pritchard. (CRN 35705)   W 3:30-5:20

          same as CI 563

Area Requirement:  Writing Studies

This graduate seminar, an introduction to the discipline of writing studies, will survey a range of scholarly works that explore the role of writing as associated with educational institutions, and as a practice that occurs in the everyday. We will read scholarship in writing studies that cross multiple time periods (e.g. classical, 18th - 20th century, and the contemporary), and representing a diversity of major theories, noted debates, and writing research methodologies. We will also read one or more scholarly texts from related disciplines (e.g. philosophy, sociology) that cover issues relevant to the writing studies texts that form the basis of the course. This reading widely will also serve as a practice to navigating the intersections of writing studies with a cluster of related fields and disciplines. Reading these texts, the seminar will pursue questions such as: What is writing studies? What are its key critical terms? How has writing studies been defined and redefined over time? In what ways has writing studies grown from the productive tension of being accountable to the ways writing functions as a social, political, cultural, economic, and moral force in everyday life? What have been the most salient shifts and developments for writing instruction as a result of those productive tensions? 

          In addition to course readings and discussion, students will take a turn leading a portion of a class discussion on an assigned text of their choice, submit a short writing assignment, and submit a final semester project of either a seminar paper (of article-length) or multimedia project. The primary goal of this course is for students to gain a foundation in and appreciation for the discipline of writing studies that will support the practice of establishing connections to the body of scholarship that will prove most useful for their individual research trajectories. Additionally, it is intended that students will engage in regular dialogues about the implications of this scholarship for their teaching and other areas of professional development.


TEXTS:     In addition to a course reader of articles/essays, course texts may include: Allen, Danielle, Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship Since Brown V. Board of Education (U of Chicago Press, 2004); Kynard, Carmen, Vernacular Insurrections: Race, Black Protest, and the New Century in Composition-Literacies Studies (SUNY Press, 2013); Gee, Jim, Social Linguistics and Literacies: Ideology in Discourses, 3rd ed. (Routledge, 2008); Miller, Susan, The Norton Book of Composition Studies, (W.W. Norton & Co., 2009); (select chapters) Murphy, James J. (Editor), A Short History of Writing Instruction: From Ancient Greece to Modern America, 2nd ed. (Lawrence Erlbaum, 2001); (select chapters) Villanueva, Victor, Jr. (Ed.), Cross-Talk in Comp Theory (National Council of Teachers of English, 1997).


514 E SEMINAR IN MEDIEVAL LITERATURE, Barrett. (CRN 34487)  M 1-2:50

          same as MDVL 514

TOPIC: Middle English’s Greatest Hits

Area Requirement:  British, Beginning to 1485 & MFA Literature

In this seminar, we’ll undertake a survey of Middle English literature from approximately 1200 to 1500 CE, concentrating on those works that graduate students most need to know as practicing medievalists and early modernists: Ancrene Wisse, a thirteenth-century guide for female recluses; Havelok the Dane and Bevis of Hampton, chivalric romances featuring border-crossing heroes; William Langland’s Piers Plowman, a series of vision quests to save England’s soul; John Gower’s Confessio Amantis, a lover’s penance for his misdeeds; Thomas Hoccleve’s Series, a fraught attempt to cure madness through narrative; Julian of Norwich’s Shewings, a recluse’s account of her communications with God; The Book of Margery Kempe, a English housewife’s autohagiography; Thomas Malory’s Morte Darthur, a history of King Arthur’s rise and fall; and Robert Henryson’s Moral Fables, witty recastings of Aesopian tales. (Geoffrey Chaucer and the Gawain-poet have been left off this reading list to make room in the graduate curriculum for other interesting Middle English works.) Sex/gender will be an obvious concern of the class, as will nation/region, natureculture, and narrativity itself. We will be reading all of our texts in well-glossed Middle English editions, usually from the TEAMS Middle English Texts series—an option that gives us access to free, keyword-searchable online versions of most of the works. Expect to read relevant literary criticism as well! Your written work for the course will consist of one or two short diagnostic pieces early in the semester followed by the multi-stage production of an article-length research essay.



524 E SEMINAR IN 17th C LITERATURE, Stevens. (CRN30191) W 3-4:50

TOPIC: Modernisms and Early Modernisms: Brecht on Marlowe, Eliot on Middleton, Artaud on Ford

Area Requirement:  British, 1485-1660 & MFA Literature

This course will consider modernist engagement with early modern tragedy, paying especial attention to the shaping influence of early modern dramaturgy on Piscator and Brecht’s concept of “epic theatre”, Brecht’s formulation of the “estrangement” effect, and Artaud’s advocation for a “Theatre of Cruelty.”

Expect to read a range of theoretical writings and secondary criticism; beyond various artistic manifestos, primary sources will include Marlowe’s Edward II; Ford’s ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore; Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi; Middleton’s The Revenger’s Tragedy; Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus; Brecht’s The Life of Edward II of England and Duchess of Malfi; Artaud’s Jet of Blood.


543 T SEMINAR MODERN BRITISH LIT, Mahaffey. (CRN 30195)   TH 3-4:50

          TOPIC: Angela Carter: Feminist Interventions

Area Requirement:  British Literature, 1900-Present & MFA Literature

In England, the Virago Press was started in 1973 as “the first mass-market publisher for 52 percent of the population.” It published its first reprint in 1977 and launched Virago Modern Classics in 1977. In 1979, Virago published Angela Carter’s controversial non-fiction book, The Sadeian Woman, along with reprints of five of her novels. Carter takes up issues of pornography and feminism, using the Marquis de Sade’s Justine for shocking illustrations of the two roles available to women in society. In this course, we will examine Angela Carter’s role in this feminist intervention into print culture. The history of Virago will provide a context for our analysis of Carter’s novels as well as her retelling of feminist theory as a “horror story” based on Sade. 


553 E SEMINAR LATER AMERICAN LIT, Hutner. (CRN 34483)  W 1-2:50

          TOPIC: The American Novel, 1980-2000

Area Requirement:  American Civil War to Present & MFA Literature

This version of 553 focuses on the history of US novel during the last twenty years of the past century.  By reading several representative texts from each decade, we will observe the normative changes that the novel witnesses in this era, including the decline of midcentury values, the rise of others, like neo-realism, and the shaping of values perhaps only now coming to fruition.  The course will attend to the interest of these novels’ critical reception as well as the scholarly attention that they have generated.  At the same time, from week to week, we will also be concerned with the general problem of historicizing the recent past as well as how these texts can be read on their surface as well as in depth.  A significant component of the course will also be producing a scholarly essay to be circulated for publication, so students will also be developing their skills at drafting this kind of article and finding an appropriate venue for it.  Seminar papers will be devoted to novels not on the syllabus but one of the student’s own choosing in this period.  In that way, students of various traditions within American literary studies will have the opportunity to write for publication in their projected research interest.  Similarly, students of English literature are also welcome, especially if they are engaged in transatlantic literary studies. 


559 R SEMINAR AFRO-AMERICAN LIT, Spires. (CRN 43014)  TU 1-2:50

          TOPIC: Early African American Print Culture

Area Requirement:  American, Beginning to Civil War & MFA Literature

This course focuses on early African American print before the Civil War (from Phillis Wheatley to William Wells Brown) and the emergence of early African American print culture as a field in our own time.  In examining print as both a cultural form and a marketable commodity, we will situate texts within a variety of distributional, technological, political, and discursive networks.  Along the way, we’ll look at narratives from former slaves, serial fiction, periodicals (Freedom’s Journal, Colored American, Frederick Douglass’s Paper, and the Anglo-African Magazine), state and national conventions.  While the course will use the antebellum U.S. for its historical frame and African American literature for its case studies, its methodologies will be transferable to all literary fields.  In this way, we will not only think about what the study of print culture might bring to early African American literary studies, but also what early African American literary studies might bring to print culture.


564 G SEMINAR LIT MODES & GENRES, Goodlad. (CRN 43016)  M 3-4:50

          TOPIC: Realism and Seriality

Area Requirement:  British, 1800-1900 & MFA Literature

This course undertakes in-depth exploration of serialized realism as a genre central to nineteenth-century fiction as well as late-twentieth/early twenty-first century television series.  In addition to a broad selection of critical readings that situate serialized realism as a form, genre, aesthetic material object, and historical phenomenon, we will read a selection of nineteenth-century fiction (by authors including Balzac, Flaubert, George Eliot, and Trollope) and we will view the first two seasons of Mad Men (2006-present) and a second series to be selected by the class.  Students are advised to view additional serial television shows in advance—most especially The Wire (2002-08).


578 AWS SEMINAR LIT & OTHER DISCIPLINES, Stenport. (CRN 61218) M 2-4:50

          meets with GER 576, CWL 581, SCAN 593

          TOPIC: Imagining the Arctic

Area Requirement:  None

“The Arctic” has historically been imagined by Southerners as remote and desolate, as a white or blank space upon which to project dreams and fears, while the circumpolar region has provided a bountiful home for indigenous populations for millennia. Focus on the Arctic is increasing in the wake of climate change, accelerated resource extraction, and augmented geopolitical tension. Through the burgeoning field of Critical Arctic Studies, humanistic inquiry is contributing new ways to understanding the region’s past, present, and future, by providing a rich set of interpretive approaches that counter dominant epistemological models of the Arctic influenced by policy generation and the natural sciences.  This interdisciplinary course investigates representations of the Arctic in literature, art, cinema, media, and scientific and geographical writing over the past century and a half, spanning material from North America (documentaries, experimental cinema, and Hollywood features by Robert Flaherty, James Balog, Stan Brakhage, and Howard Hawks), Britain (figurations of the lost Franklin expedition; films by Stan Brakhage), continental Europe, and the Nordic Region. Interpretive approaches include ecocriticism; post-colonialism; indigenous studies; visual, film and media theory; and Cold War studies.  Open to graduate students from any humanities or social sciences discipline, the course emphasizes cross-disciplinary interaction and engagement. In addition to a final research project, the course will include the creation of digitally networked content and approaches to building a portfolio of Arctic-related teaching material of relevance to students' primary disciplines.



581 R SEMINAR LITERARY THEORY, Koshy.  (CRN 62718) TH 1-2:50

          meets with AAS 590

          TOPIC: Post-Racial Formations

Area Requirement:  Critical Theory

The last decade has produced several calls to reconceptualize contemporary racialization as post-racial or post-identitarian. This course traces the shifting theorizations of race and identity in the United States in order contextualize recent debates about the end of race. The transition from a liberal state-led economy to a neoliberal market economy in the 1980s produced a sea change in racial forms and meanings that confounds the paradigms of race inherited from the civil rights era. The implications of these racial transformations have only recently begun to be theorized, highlighting a lacuna in critical race theory, which has largely focused on neoconservative threats to racial justice projects rather than neoliberal embrace of them. Similarly, most theoretical accounts of neoliberalism have left the reconstitution of race, gender, and sexuality in the present untheorized. Working with and between materialist accounts of the present and theories of race, gender and sexuality, this course begins the work of examining the unstable and shifting terrain of neoliberal racialization.




583 E TOPICS WRIT PEDAGOGY & DESIGN, M. Camargo. (CRN 39503)   W 1-2:50

          same as CI 566

          TOPIC: Writing Instruction from Classical Antiquity to Renaissance Humanism

Area Requirement:  Writing Studies

The seminar will trace major developments in the theory and practice of writing pedagogy from the Athenian schools of the fifth century B.C.E. through the Humanist schools of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Among the topics that may be considered are the disciplinary overlaps and oppositions between grammar and rhetoric, the relationship between oral and textual “delivery,” the nature and function of the sequenced elementary exercises known as progymnasmata, imitation and variation as inventional techniques, genre-based pedagogies, Latinity vs. emergent vernacular textuality, and changing social and institutional contexts for writing instruction. Course requirements include participation in class discussion, one or two oral presentations, and an article-length research paper.


584 T TOPICS DISCOURSE AND WRITING, D. Baron. (CRN39504) TH 3-4:50

          same as CI 569

          TOPIC: Seminar in the Rhetoric of the Law

Area Requirement:  Writing Studies

Test Case: In District of Columbia v. Heller (554 U.S. 570 [2008]), the nine highly-educated Supreme Court justices, who spend their entire professional lives dissecting the meaning of language, came to two completely opposite interpretations of a single 27-word sentence, the Second Amendment (the one about the right to bear arms). How the case was argued in the lower courts, in the Supreme Court, in the media, and in the scholarly legal literature, offers a highly-visible, and still controversial, example of legal rhetoric at work.

          After looking at Heller, we’ll consider other other important aspects of language, rhetoric, and law, centering on the First Amendment (from the Alien and Sedition Acts to George Carlin’s “7 Dirty Words You Can’t Say on TV” to the USA Patriot Act); and the right to privacy (from the telegraph and telephone to the digital age); and the communication rights and limitations of teachers and students, employers and employees, reviewers and the reviewed (minority language rights, limits on expression, SLAPP suits—Selective Lawsuits against Public Participation).

          We’ll consider the impact of digital technologies on intellectual property concerns (Digital Rights Management, wrap contracts, piracy and copyright infringement). Finally, we’ll consider some topics in forensic linguistics, including the rhetoric of arrest (there are 400+ variants of the Miranda warning), interrogation, and testimony.

          Readings—all of them available online—include legislation, court cases, and analyses of various language and law issues. Students will write a seminar paper and do a class presentation on an issue of their choice.

          For further information, email me at


593 D PROF SEMINAR COLLEGE TCHNG, Ritter. (CRN32361) M 11-12:50

          TOPIC: The Teaching of Rhetoric

Area Requirement:  None

This is a course for students new to the teaching of college composition. Over the course of the semester, we will explore connections between theories of written composition and teaching practices. In particular, students in the course will theorize practices relating to: syllabus and assignment design, conferencing with students, responding to student work, dealing with conflict, maintaining language diversities in the classroom, and developing teaching personae. Requirements for the course include reading, participating in class discussion, blogging, drafting a statement of teaching philosophy, and creating a reflective teaching portfolio.


593 N PROF SEMINAR COLLEGE TCHNG, Erickson. (CRN 32365)  TU 10-11:50

          TOPIC: The Teaching of Business and Technical Writing

Area Requirement:  None

This professional seminar is designed to ground graduate students in some of the salient genres, discourse conventions, and styles privileged by discourse communities engaged in business, as well as help those students construct a sophisticated conceptual understanding of writing well suited to the instruction/learning of writing-as-a-verb for those discourse communities. More importantly, this seminar will help its students critically engage useful pedagogical theory and theory from the field of business/technical writing, so they might improve their effectiveness as classroom instructors. This seminar is required of all graduate students teaching business/technical writing for the first time.





Division of Creative Writing

500-Level Course Descriptions

FALL 2014



500 AS THE CRAFT OF FICTION, Shakar. (CRN 45291)  M 5-6:50 p.m.

Area Requirement:  None


Examination of the creative process of fiction from the perspectives of aesthetics and techniques, illustrated from the work of selected authors.


502 T PROBLEMS IN POETRY WRITING, Madonick. (CRN 45292)  

TH 3-5:50

Area Requirement:  None


Examination of the creative process of poetry from the perspective of aesthetics and techniques, illustrated from the work of selected authors.


504 E WRITING WORKSHOP IN FICTION, Graham. (CRN 45293)   W 1-2:50

Area Requirement:  None


Directed projects in fiction writing, either short stories or sections of a novel, with group discussion and critique.  There will be a course packet for the class, featuring short stories and essays on the writing of fiction and related topics; there will be a discussion of these readings at the beginning of each class meeting. 


506 R WRITING WORKSHOP IN POETRY, Harrington. (CRN 45294)  TU 1-2:50

Area Requirement:  None


Directed individual projects, with group discussion in fiction.