Department of English, College of LAS, University of Illinois


Graduate Studies in English

Spring 2015 Course Descriptions

402 1U/1G DESCRIPTIVE ENGLISH GRAMMAR, D. Baron.  TUTH 2-3:15 (32124)

same as BTW 402

NONE 

This is a course in English linguistics. We will study the English language: how we use it; how it uses us. We will learn and practice techniques for describing English, both its words and sentences and larger elements of discourse in context. We will look at the social, historical, and political forces that shape language and its use. And we will suggest ways to use what we learn about language both in the classroom and in the professional world.

          Text: Curzan, Anne, and Michael Adams, How English Works: A Linguistic Introduction. Latest edition.

 

404 U3/G4 ENGL GRAMMAR FOR ESL TEACHERS.  MWF 11 (43879)

same as EIL 422

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, L. Newcomb.  MWF 12 (54465)

British 1485-1660 & MFA Literature

This course explores seven Shakespearean plays from a cross-section of dramatic genres.  We’ll look especially at the features that made these plays popular in their day:  their open staging, their playful language, their laying bare of the period’s familial, national, gender, and racial tensions.  But we’ll also find consider how the meanings of ‘Shakespeare’ have proliferated thanks to the constant, sometimes subversive, reinvention of the plays by literary critics, performers, and adapters world-wide.  That diversity compels us to use multiple interpretive frames to look at the plays:  close reading; informal staging; film analysis; feminist, historicist, postcolonial, and queer studies critical approaches.  Be ready for proactive discussion, performance experiments, and a visit to the rare book library.  Written assignments include informal journals, a response to at least one on-campus Shakespeare production, two focused short papers, a longer paper based on guided research (7-9 pp.), and a final exam.

 

TEXTS:     (Required) Greenblatt et al, eds., The Norton Shakespeare: Essential Plays (2nd edition, ISBN 978-0-393-93313-0); McDonald, ed., Bedford Companion to Shakespeare (2nd edition, ISBN 978-0312248802); at least one individual play edition, probably tied to the What You Will spring season.

 

426 1U/1G EARLIER 18TH C LITERATURE, Pollock.  TUTH 2-3:15 (61768)

British Lit 1660-1800 & MFA Literature

In this course we will read a wide range of texts written in England between 1660 and the 1740s, and we will study some key frameworks and debates in eighteenth-century studies. Our investigation throughout will be focused on the issue of “genre” in at least three senses. First, we will ask what cultural functions were served by differentiating between various genres of literature. How did authors use generic distinctions to police or to critique boundaries—those between elite and mass culture, virtue and vice, geniuses and hacks—in an era whose “free” press enabled an explosion of printed matter and public debate? We will also ask how these texts construct, enforce or destabilize differences of sex and gender, increasingly contested categories during a period which saw the development of both the “domestic woman” ideal and the professional woman writer. Finally, we will consider how these texts imagine kinship and affiliation (“genre” in the sense of “kind”) along cultural lines; what models of national identity do these texts promote during the advent of imperial Great Britain? Readings will likely include poems by Dryden, Rochester, Pope, Swift, and Montagu; plays by Wycherley, Behn, Etherege, and Congreve; prose fiction by Behn, Defoe and Haywood; as well as other contextual materials by Hobbes, Astell, Locke, Addison, Steele and Mandeville.

          Requirements: regular participation and brief presentations, informal journals, two shorter essays, and an extended research project.

 

431 1U/1G TOPICS IN BRITISH ROMANTIC LIT, Wood.  TUTH 12:30-1:45 (32164)

TOPIC: Green Romanticism

British Lit 1800-1900 & MFA Literture

The extraordinary literary outpouring of the Romantic period (1780-1830) co-incided with the beginnings of our modern industrialized system—an economic and infrastructural “new world” of fossil fuels, global trade, urbanization, and rapid growth. Writers such as Wordsworth, the Shelleys, Austen, and Byron also witnessed the emergence of the modern climate and earth sciences, which introduced controversial concepts of environmental change and deep time. The reactions of Romantic writers to this scientific revolution, and to the changing economic world system around 1800, were complex and ambivalent: they embraced elements of our carbon-based modernity, while at the same time eulogizing a lost connection with organic processes and the pre-industrial past. This course re-examines a wide range of Romantic-era authors often mistaken for idealistic celebrants of nature, with a view to understanding their crucial role in the creation of modern ecological discourse, and as eloquent first witnesses to the accelerated human re-engineering of the planet scientists now designate the Anthropocene.

 

 

450 1U/1G AMERICAN LIT 1865-1914, Carico.  W 1-2:50 (39267)

American, Civil War to Present & MFA Literture

Between the end of the Civil War and the outbreak of World War I, the United States thoroughly transformed. The nation’s cities grew, as it became one of the world’s major economies, and American territory expanded, as its empire stretched west and south and overseas. The transcontinental railroad was completed, and the modern corporation developed. The phonograph was invented, and the motion picture was born. At the same time, immigrants were starving in urban tenements, blacks were suffering Jim Crow laws and lynch mobs, and women were struggling to escape the confinements of patriarchy.

          This semester, as we read the essays and poems and novels of this period, we will consider how American literature grappled with all these changes—from the social to the cultural, from the economic to the technological. We won’t be reading in a vacuum, though. We’ll view photographs and films beside the novels of realism and naturalism, for example, and we’ll listen to early sound recordings as we discuss the folk stories of the U.S. South. All the while, we’ll be thinking not only about how American literature mirrors and describes these many transformations but also, and more importantly, about how these historical processes transformed literature itself.

 

455 1U/1G MAJOR AUTHORS, Hansen.  TUTH 10-11:50 (32205)

TOPIC: David Fincher, Christopher Nolan and the Age of Perpetual Crisis

NONE

Over the last decade, we’ve grown quite accustomed to hearing politicians talk about economic crises, military crises, and even religio-historical crises.  We live in an age where the crisis, the state of exception, never really seems to end. By focusing on the films that David Fincher and Christopher Nolan directed between 1995 and 2012—the era of New Media and instant news coverage—this course will examine how the psychology of mass-fear has re-mapped the ideological terrain of contemporary society.  Framed to some extent by the horrors provoked by 9/11, Nolan and Fincher produced a series of films that both predicted disaster and responded to the failure of Western economic and military power.  Along the way, films such as ‘fight Club” and “The Dark Knight” interrogate some of our deepest psychological concerns about modern masculinity, sadism, masochism, and consumer culture.  By examining what’s at stake in the Nolan/Fincher films from this period, we will attempt to engage with the often concealed and genuinely troubling concerns about our society and ourselves that these films have come to embody.

          The course will meet twice a week in a lab format.  Course requirements include two 8 page research papers, 1 in-class presentation, a daily reading journal, and two exams.

 

456 UJB/GJB TOPICS IN AMERICAN INDIAN LITERATURE, Byrd.  TUTH 11-12:15  (50271)

same as AIS 459

TOPIC: American Indians, Popular Culture and Genre Fiction

American, Civil War to Present & MFA Literature

Representations of American Indians have played a significant role in the formation of popular culture and popular genres.  From the imagination of Stephen King that grounds horror within “Indian burial grounds” to X-Men comic books, references to American Indian history and characters continue to function as a cultural touchstone within U.S. popular texts.  This course examines the intersections between literary and cultural representations of American Indians and the ways in which American Indian authors have reimagined some of the core genres of popular fiction—ranging from historical romance, science fiction/fantasy, horror, and mystery—to not only transform those representations, but challenge the expectations that American Indian literature is a sub-genre within American literature. Texts may include Daniel Heath Justice’s Kynship, Cynthia Leitich Smith’s Tantalize, Drew Hayden Taylor’s The Night Wanderer and Stephen Graham Jones’ Demon Theory.

 

460 1U/1G LIT OF AMERICAN MINORITIES, Labella.  TUTH 2-3:15 (40853)

TOPIC: Filipino American Literature

American, Civil War to Present & MFA Literature

Filipinos form the third largest ethnic group in Illinois, according to the 2010 census by the U.S. government. Until recently, however, their presence largely has been ignored beyond the occasional visibility in the media. This course is designed to trace, in broad strokes, the story of the Filipino diaspora in America. Through fictions, memoirs, poems, and films, ENGL 460 allows the student to analyze the enduring concerns that Filipino Americans share with America as a community.

          Some of these texts are humorous, others are heartbreaking. In terms of the periods covered, they span the American colonial regime in the Philippines, the Second World War, the Marcos dictatorship, and the present. They offer reflections on Philippine-American alliances as well as the crises faced by Filipino migrant laborers. They recall Filipino American contributions to the ongoing struggle for civil rights. They consider the challenges faced by minorities caught up in the tensions between the vaunted notion of diversity and the demand for assimilation.

          The course is covers the following topics: (1) the joys and travails of migration and cross-cultural encounter, (2) the historical intimacies between the United States and the Philippines, (3) the family relative to larger socio-cultural changes, and (4) the questioning of identity markers as a means for human recognition. The main requirements for the course are: two short papers, a group presentation and, as final requirement, an essay written either a personal reflection or a piece of literary criticism.

 

460 2U/2G LIT OF AMERICAN MINORITIES, D. Wright.  12:30-1:45 (46884)

TOPIC: America at the Nadir: Race and Representation from the Reconstruction through the Harlem Renaissance

American, Civil War to Present & MFA Literature

In this course, we will use a multi-disciplinary approach to explore the perceived role, or “place,” of blacks and other marginalized groups (including women and the poor) in US society as it was represented in popular forms of expression, such as literature, film, theater and music at the turn of the twentieth century. We will begin with cultural production from the Reconstruction and progress through the Harlem Renaissance and explore such themes as identity and representation; “black face” minstrelsy; “manifest destiny” and modernity; etc.

 

461 1U/1G TOPICS IN LITERATURE, Saville.  TUTH 2-3:15 (58625)

TOPIC: Soul Talk: Soul-Politic and Body-Politic in Democratizing Britain (1840-1885)

British Lit 1800-1900 & MFA Literature

In “Signs of the Times,” his 1829 polemic against utilitarianism, Thomas Carlyle rages against the growing pragmatism of British society: “It is no longer the moral, religious, spiritual condition of the people that is our concern, but their physical, practical, economical condition, as regulated by public laws. Thus is the Body-politic more than ever worshipped and tended; but the Soul-politic less than ever” (“Signs of the Times,” 71). Carlyle was not alone in his concerns. Novelists like George Eliot, essayists like John Ruskin, Walter Pater, and Oscar Wilde and above all poets like the Brownings, Algernon Charles Swinburne, and Walt Whitman used “soul-talk” to address the spiritual well-being of their own and neighboring European and transatlantic communities as they evolved into modern democracies. As we read the work of these and other writers (for instance, Plato, Aristotle, and Jeremy Bentham), we will interrogate the merit of Carlyle’s complaint, asking ourselves what “the soul” actually meant to them, why it might be considered the special bailiwick of poets, and what prose writers (both fiction and non-fiction) might also contribute. We will consider whether the conceptions of soul in skeptics and atheists like Eliot, Swinburne, and Whitman differ from those of believers. We will also debate the political value of the category today, especially in the light of work by political theorists like William E. Connolly and others.

 

461 2U/2G TOPICS IN LITERATURE, Loughran.  MWF 1 (39306)

TOPIC: Old and New Media: Print and Digital Culture from Gutenberg to Google

MFA Literature

What does it mean to study literature at the start of the 21C?  Are print and its major aesthetic forms archaic or simply mutating? What’s at stake in the shift from analog to digital forms of representation?  What was “a reader”—and what will reading be in twenty or a hundred years? To get at these questions, we will work with conventional literary forms (like poems and novels) and consider the material formats in which these genres have historically been consumed (the freestanding “codex” book, cheap serial formats like magazines and newspapers, but also—now—the Kindle and the iPad). But we will also look at photographs, watch movies, play one or two video games, use apps, and navigate webpages.  The way something is produced—its “mode of production”—will, in this way, become an important part of how we think about what literature is. 

          Some questions we might ask include:  what aesthetic problems seem to have emerged when old media (like print, photography, cinema, and television) were still new?  What aesthetic forms and affects did this old media tend to generate and why?  How are the debates that were once generated by old media reflected in our contemporary experience of new media? Does “new” media—websites, video games, apps—create the conditions for a new kind of art, and what aesthetic experiments (Twitter novels? Vine movies? YouTube channels?) Are these forms producing? Our “primary” archive will include material drawn from a range of old and new media; secondary readings will include both classic and contemporary theory. Our goal will be threefold: to identify, describe, and theorize a robust array of 15C-21C aesthetic experiences from within the material contexts that produce them.

 

461 WHU/WHG TOPICS IN LITERATURE, Hassan.  M 3-4:50 (54510)

meets with CWL 471

TOPIC: International Literary Relations

NONE

Study of specific relations between authors of different countries; influences of certain works, concepts, or tastes on another work, author, or country; and literary interaction between Eastern and Western cultures. Emphasis changes from term to term.  Contact the department of Comparative and World Literature for additional information.

 

462 AU3/AUG TOPICS IN MODERN FICTION, Mehta.  TUTH 12:30-1:45 (48033)

meets with CWL 441

TOPIC: Empires of the Novel

MFA Literature

The subject of this course is the genre of the novel and its concordance with the political and cultural worlds of the bourgeoisie in the 19th and the early 20th century.  The students will read French, German, Dutch and British novels as well as critical writings by a variety of scholars, to explore a wide range of connected issues, such as (a) the novel’s exploration of gender and sexuality in their normative or deviant forms, (b) the overlapping discourses of colonialism, capitalism, and modernity, (c) the interactions of the novel with the reading public in different stages and ages of capitalist development, and (d) the construction of the public and private spheres in fiction and how  that coincided with a new configuration of labor and leisure.  All texts read in English.

 

470 1U/1G MODERN AFRICAN FICTION, M. Basu.  TUTH 2-3:15 (52394)

same as AFST 410, CWL 418, FR 410

MFA Literature

“Modern African Fiction” endeavors to highlight the connections and links (as well as the disparities) between representative writings from different regions of the African continent. Indeed, the term modern calls for precisely such an inter-textual understanding. After all, the regions we somewhat loosely territorialize as ‘modern Africa’ are also congruous in so far as they were almost all irredeemably transformed by the experience of colonialism. The term ‘modern’ has in fact since then come to be inextricably tied to the distinct twists and turns of the colonial encounter in various parts of Africa. What Simon Gikandi calls “the colonial factor” will therefore be an important entry point into our comprehension of the isomorphisms between the required texts for the course. We will also take the term ‘modern’ seriously in so far as it emerges from a manner of periodization that has had a great deal to do with the novel as a generic form. As we read for the course, we will thus attempt to understand how African writers have kneaded this particular genre to the specificities of their colonial and postcolonial conditions. Given that this course reads modern African fiction in relation to theorizations of colonial and postcolonial conditions in the continent, we will not only concentrate on developing abilities such as close-reading, comparative analysis, and argumentative logic, but will also attempt to broaden the horizons of our interpretation by allowing the close reading of an individual text to be informed by readings of social structures and political-cultural events.

 

475 1U/1G LIT & OTHER DISCIPLINES, Trilling.  MW 2-3:50 (43335)

TOPIC: The Middle Ages on Film

NONE

Many of us first encounter the Middle Ages through film: from Robin Hood to Tristan and Isolde, The Lion in Winter to Lord of the Rings, movies about the Middle Ages enchant and excite us. In this course, we will survey a wide range of films about the Middle Ages, placing them in conversation with medieval source material, historical contexts, and contemporary political issues. What makes Games of Thrones appeal to such a wide audience? What makes the legends of Robin Hood and King Arthur endure across so many historical periods and narrative formats? How does experiencing these stories through film differ from experiencing them through poems, plays, or novels?

          Class meetings will consist of weekly film screenings on Mondays and seminar-style discussion on Wednesdays. Requirements for the course include regular attendance and participation, occasional film reviews, a midterm, a final exam, and an independent research paper.

 

476 1U/1G TOPICS LIT & ENVIRONMENT, Jones.  TUTH 12:30-1:45 (57533)

TOPIC: Literature and the Sea

American, Civil War to Present & MFA Literature

The sea is a persistent metaphor for ideas as vast as the ocean itself:  sexual awakening, freedom, death, fluidity, and escape.  At the same time, the sea is a factory and workplace, a place where cultural exchange, trade relationships, and political power are all made material in the bodies of working sailors.  This course will explore oceanic texts, answering questions such as:

 

  • What does the sea mean for authors of various races, genders, sexual identities, and ethnicities?

  • How has the literature of the sea contributed to environmental (and environmentalist) concerns?

  • How does American literature respond to the decline of maritime industry and the rise of seashore tourism?

  • How does sea literature construct new categories of local, national, and global belonging?

 

We will read American literature of the 19th and early 20th centuries, exploring works by Herman Melville, Frederick Douglass, Kate Chopin, and Sarah Orne Jewett. The course ends with a short unit on contemporary maritime culture:  container shipping, leisure cruising, and globalization.  Along with literary texts, we will study book illustrations, tattoos, paintings and magazine articles. We will explore a variety of critical approaches, including oceanic studies, critical race theory, ecocriticism, and visual culture.

          Students will write two critical essays and a large volume of informal writing.  Students will also be assessed based on exams and on active, engaged participation in class discussion.

 

TEXTS:     Henry David Thoreau, Cape Cod; Herman Melville, Moby-Dick; Herman Melville, Benito Cereno; Sarah Orne Jewett, Country of the Pointed Firs; Kate Chopin, The Awakening

 

481 1U/1G COMP THEORY AND PRACTICE, Russell.  MW 9:30-10:45 (44165)

Critical Theory for Writing Studies

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.

 

482 1U/1G WRITING TECHNOLOGIES, D. Baron.  TUTH 12:30-1:45 (44168)

same as LIS 482

TOPIC: Communicating in the Digital Age

NONE

We will examine the impact of the new digital technologies on our reading and writing practices and look at ways in which readers and writers impact the direction of communication technology. We’ll look as well at the relationship of today’s digital genres—everything from text to Twitter--to earlier, more traditional genres; how they develop unique conventions and practices; how they self-regulate, moving from freewheeling anarchy toward definable forms and expected behaviors; how they deal with violations of conventional norms; and how new practitioners learn and perfect their art.  We’ll consider how the new genres create an aesthetic, and we’ll examine the legal and ethical problems these new technologies pose.

All readings will be available online. Students will write short essays and a term paper or semester project on an appropriate topic.

 

503 HISTORIOGRAPHY OF CINEMA, Turnock.  TU 1-4:50 (62035)

same as MACS 503, CWL 503

FILM

While the title of this course is “Historiography of Cinema,” it is designed to incorporate issues of moving image culture more broadly.  Cinema studies provides the longest and most thorough discourse on moving image culture, and therefore this course introduces methodology and theory beneficial to students working on topics in television, video art, advertising, and digital media-making, and more.  The aim of this class is to introduce and train students in research methods and approaches in moving image studies, and discuss how the long tradition of cinematic scholarly discourse can impact research in other areas of media and various periods of technological emergence.  Each class session includes a screening (usually about 90 min) of a film appropriate to the following week’s reading.

 

533 R SEMINAR ROMANTIC LIT, Underwood.  TU 1-2:50 (43358)

TOPIC: Distant Reading the Long Nineteenth Century

British, 1800-1900 & MFA Literature

This course approaches distant reading, not as an alternative to other methods, but as an interpretive option that all literary scholars may want to have handy, in order to set a critical problem in a larger context or relate it to other social questions. Learning to do this in a single semester is admittedly a challenge. Distant reading is an interdisciplinary collection of methods rather than a single tool. You often need to do a bit of programming to get your data, and learn a bit about statistics to interpret it. We’ll spend most of the course developing confidence in these unfamiliar domains: there will be problem sets! But we’ll also use quantitative methods to grapple with real open questions about long-nineteenth-century literary history. Did writers really stop talking about money in the early twentieth century (as Thomas Piketty claims)? Did nineteenth-century poetic diction really become plainer after William Wordsworth’s intervention? How did characterization and point of view intersect with gender? Does our received map of genre actually cover this period, or are big things still being left out? Our texts will include Matt Jockers’ Text Analysis with R for Students of Literature, as well as critical works by Nancy Armstrong and Franco Moretti, a bunch of articles, and about a hundred thousand books published between 1780 and 1923.

 

537 E SEMINAR VICTORIAN LITERATURE, Courtemanche.  W 1-2:50 (32276)

TOPIC: The Best Recent Criticism of Victorian Novels

British, 1800-1900 & MFA Literature

Since Victorian novels are generally full of “stuff”—excess details, long descriptive passages, and moral reflections that seem intrusive to modernist sensibilities—criticism written about these novels has tended to be historicist, with special attention to political and economic contexts. But every decade offers a new twist on this historicism: in the 1990s, Foucauldian cultural theory opened new insights on domesticity and gender, as well as the subtle structures of queer passions and imperialist racism. Since 2000, we’ve seen among other things a renewed defense of realist form and genre theory, attention to religious politics and transatlantic sentimentality, histories of neurology and finance, and reflections on the materiality of technology (including book history and digital humanities). In this course we’ll attempt to survey what seems to be happening now, and what might be next (perhaps affect theory, new materialisms, or neo-anarchism?). Readings will include the novels Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, Middlemarch by George Eliot, and The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde; and criticism by D.A. Miller, Harry Shaw, Fredric Jameson, Franco Moretti, Audrey Jaffe, Kent Puckett, Talia Schaffer, Alex Woloch, and Elaine Freedgood—among others.

 

553 G SEMINAR LATER AMERICAN LIT, Rodriguez.  M 3-4:50 (32278)

meets with LLS 596

TOPIC: Readings in Contemporary Latina/o Literary and Cultural Studies

American, Civil War to Present & MFA Literature

This seminar examines recent work in the field of Latina/o literary and cultural studies. Our approach will entail putting novels, essays, short stories, and poetry in conversation with recent scholarship by Ariana Vigil, John Alba Cutler, Juana María Rodríguez, Claudia Milian, Julie Avril Minich, Ramón Rivera-Servera, Randy Ontiveros, and Deborah Vargas. Topics include assimilation, war, blackness and brownness, disability, sexuality, social movements, and popular culture.

 

559 R SEMINAR AFRO-AMERICAN LIT, Freeburg.  TH 1-2:50 (39298)

TOPIC: The Idea of Black Culture

American, Civil War to Present & MFA Literature

This course investigates black culture and performance from the Reconstruction era to World War II. We will begin with by looking at how the remnants of West African music, folklore, and religion shape black art forms like the spirituals, blues, jazz, and the black pulpit.  Through the course we will analyze how various writings from the ethnographic journal of Thomas Higginson to the paintings of Henry Tanner to the novels of Zora Hurston reveal how institutions shape black life and likewise how black artists see themselves as challenging oppressive institutional constraints.  The robust history of black culture is also crucial to most notions of black politics.  The final course emphasis will draw on recent debates by literary critics and cultural theorists over the political uses of black culture.

 

578 T SEMINAR LITERATURE & OTHER DISCIPLINES, Rothberg.  Lect: TH 3-4:50; screening: M 5-8 p.m. (54471)

meets with CWL 561

TOPIC: Documentary Aesthetics: History, Memory, Trauma

Critical Theory & MFA Literature

This seminar will focus on non-fiction cinematic works that depict and reflect on key moments in twentieth-century history. It will be team-taught by Lilya Kaganovsky, a scholar of Russian and Soviet film, and Michael Rothberg, a scholar of memory, trauma, and genocide. In order to explore the documentary impulse as a broad aesthetic tendency, we will juxtapose film with other documentary experiments in photography, literature, and painting. We will be especially interested in works that thematize memory, trauma, testimony, and forgetting and engage with some of the most extreme events of the last century, including World War II, the Holocaust, and the Leningrad Blockade as well as the formation and deformation of the Soviet and Nazi states and the upheavals of the 1960s. Drawing on experiments with documentary form by American, French, German, Israeli, and Soviet/post-Soviet filmmakers, we will pursue questions of referentiality, aesthetics, and archiving and inquire into the politics of non-fiction representation. Discussion of particular films will be supplemented by critical and theoretical work on documentary cinema, cultural memory, trauma, and historical representation.

 

581 G SEMINAR LITERARY THEORY, A. Basu.  W 3-4:50 (32282)

TOPIC: Subaltern Theory, Literature, and Film

Critical Theory

In this course we will read and discuss some of the signal texts that can be affiliated, strongly or loosely to the Subaltern Studies movement (Guha, Chatterjee, Chakravarti, Spivak, Mignolo). They will be explored in concert with foundational works in European political philosophy (selections from Hegel, Locke, Rousseau, and Marx) and some critiques of the collective (Sarkar, Chibber). We will also look at resonances that can be set up between the concept of subalternity and contemporary theories of the financialization of the planet, state violence, Empire, and matters of citizenship (Agamben’s refugee, Butler’s Precarious Life etc.)  We will further our critical understandings of the subaltern by ‘worlding’ it in relation to a few cinematic (Ray, Sembene) and Literary texts (Mahasweta Devi, Achebe).

          This will be primarily a reading/discussing course. Students will be expected to do in-class presentations on one or two topics in the course of the semester and write a 25-30 page term paper. 

 

582 E TOPICS IN RESEARCH AND WRITING, Ritter.  M 1-2:50 (32283)

same as CI 565

TOPIC: Historiographies of Writing

Writing Studies

In this seminar, we will explore methods for doing archival/historiographic work in writing studies. This will include a discussion of the value and use of archives; the theories guiding historical research; the pitfalls of various kinds of historical approaches (and how these approaches resemble or differ from other methods in writing studies); and the representation and analysis of local historical and archival studies published in the field today. Students will be asked to engage with an archive (either in person or in a digital space) and build a final 20-25 page seminar paper or other equivalent project that employs historiographic methods. Possible texts for the course include White’s The Content of the Form, Goggin’s Authoring a Discipline, Ramsey et al.’s Working in the Archives, historically focused monographs such as Lamos’ Interests and Opportunities and Fleming’s From Form to Meaning, edited collections that gather various smaller historical studies (e.g., Gold and Hobbs, Donahue and Moon), and individual articles on historical methods and case studies (e.g., Glenn/Enoch, Connors, Gold, Fitzgerald, Finnegan, Mendenhall, Skinnell, Lerner, Miller, S., Varnum, “Octalog”). If we are very lucky, we may also have one or more in-person or Skype-connected guest speakers to join our discussion. Students from CWS-affiliated units besides the English department are very welcome in this course.

 

584 G TOPICS DISCOURSE & WRITING, Russell.  M 3:30-5:20 (32287)

same as CI 596

TOPIC: Rhetoric and the Body

Writing Studies

The discipline of rhetoric has been around for an estimated twenty-six centuries, and, for the majority of that time, it has been described as an art of language.  While the measured performance of writing, speaking, debating, arguing, and persuading in words has long been at the heart of rhetoric, so too have veins of rhetorical thinking long been concerned with bodies.  Bodies have been variously read as conduits of, compliments to, or liabilities in rhetorical performance; they are sometimes seen as objects to be trained or styled in the service of persuasion, sometimes as themselves arguments persuasive precisely because they bypass words.  This seminar will explore theories of the body as it has emerged in rhetorical thinking, ancient to contemporary.  Coursework will focus on key concepts from rhetoric (e.g., delivery, gesture, elocution, comportment, style, ethos, timing, spectacle), but it will also draw on ideas that animate thinking about bodies across disciplines (e.g., performativity, materiality, affect) and mobilize various matrices for complicating how we think of “able” and “ideal” bodies (e.g., disability, gender, race, class, sexuality).  In addition to reading theories of rhetoric and the body, this course will invite you to engage in and reflect on embodied activity.  Requirements include active participation, weekly reading and writing assignments, and a final conference paper or comparable piece of performance.

 

593 R PROFESSIONAL SEMINAR COLLEGE TEACHING, Bauer.  TU 1-2:50 (32290)

TOPIC: The Teaching of Literature

NONE

This graduate seminar will focus on teaching literature courses and on critical reflections about pedagogy, including syllabi, lesson plans, lectures, PowerPoint presentations/media, and course assignments.  We will develop both practical and theoretical perspectives that will help you negotiate your classroom dynamics, including syllabus design, facilitating discussion, responding to student writing, and developing effective reading and writing skills.  Students will read and discuss many of the major statements about teaching—pedagogy, philosophy, content, theory—by the teachers who write about their experiences in the classroom, including Edmundson, Berube, Tompkins, Linkon.

          Debates about professional ethics—concerning instructor/student interactions, academic freedom; and how race, class, gender, sexuality, religion enter the classroom—will also be part of our course.

          Along with a number of oral presentations, two major assignments are due in this course:  a critical book review (see Pedagogy for examples) and a teaching philosophy statement.  Visiting faculty will include Andrea Stevens, Kirstin Wilcox, and Ricky Rodriguez, among others.

 

 

CREATIVE WRITING GRADUATE SEMINARS – SP15

 

504 T WRITING WORKSHOP IN FICTION.  TU 3-4:50 (43388)

 

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 T WRITING WORKSHOP IN POETRY, Kelly.  TH 3-4:50 (43390)

 

Directed individual projects, with group discussion in fiction.

 

563 G SPECIAL TOPICS, Graham.  M 3-4:50 (54485)

TOPIC: The Art of Travel Writing

 

This will be a multi-genre readings and writing course that will take a wide look at the various possibilities of travel writing.  The main texts will feature classic travel writing in poetry, fiction and nonfiction.  The four main texts for the course will be:

 

Basho, The Narrow Road to the Deep North (poetry); Italo Calvino, The Baron in the Trees (fiction); Michele Morano, Grammar Lessons (nonfiction); Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel

 

          Short readings for the course will include poems by Elizabeth Bishop, Emily Dickinson, Tony Hoagland, Wislawa Szymborska, Walt Whitman and others, James Baldwin’s essay “Stranger in the Village,” short stories by Keith Lee Morris and Roy Kesey, and excepts from Ryszard Kapuscinski’s The Soccer War, Faith Adiele’s Meeting Faith, Mary Morris’s Nothing to Declare, Bruce Chatwin’s In Patagonia, David Eagleman’s Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives, and Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age.

          Besides the readings, students will write examples of their own travel writing, in whatever genre they might choose, and all student writing will be workshopped in class.  In addition, students will write short response papers to the four main texts (1-2 pages).  At the end of the semester students will have the choice of writing a paper (4-6 pages) on a book of travel writing (taken from an approved list, though additions to this list are more than welcome), or writing a paper of similar length on a self-chosen excursion (some actual, local travel) taken during the semester.