100- thru 500-Level Literature

Course Descriptions



English 101 provides students with a foundation in the methods of close reading and analysis essential to an understanding of poetry and, more broadly, to the study of literature. Furthermore, it introduces students to the ways we write and make arguments about poetry. The course addresses the basics of prosody, aspects of poetic language (such as diction, metaphor, image, tone), and major verse forms (such as the sonnet, elegy, ode, ballad, dramatic monologue, free verse). In addition to the formal qualities of poetry, students will also study poems from a range of literary periods and movements in order to learn how these formal qualities change and develop over time as well as how poems are both shaped by and, in some cases, even manage to shape their (and perhaps our) world.

Students will write twelve to fifteen pages of interpretation or criticism, spread out over two or more essays, and also take a midterm and a final examination.

101 T INTRO TO POETRY, Saville. TUTH 3:30-4:45

The English Department Course Catalogue provides you with a check list of what in theory you will be offered in this course (see below). But it does not mention the pleasures that lie in store for us as we commit to fifteen weeks of poetry-reading. Among these I hope you will experience the pleasure of listening (because poetry is the art of structuring sound), the luxury of postponing hasty arrival at meaning (because the best poetry has so much to say and such special ways of saying it), and the great rewards of patience (because poetry teaches the complexity of somatic, emotional truth, and the enormous difficulty of establishing it). Our textbook will be The Norton Introduction to Poetry, Ninth Edition, BUT BUY EARLY TO AVOID HIGH PRICES.

English 101 provides students with a foundation in the methods of close reading and analysis essential to an understanding of poetry and, more broadly, to the study of literature. Furthermore, it introduces students to the ways we write and make arguments about poetry. The course addresses the basics of prosody, aspects of poetic language (such as diction, metaphor, image, tone), and major verse forms (such as the sonnet, elegy, ode, ballad, dramatic monologue, free verse). In addition to the formal qualities of poetry, students will also study poems from a range of literary periods and movements in order to learn how these formal qualities change and develop over time as well as how poems are both shaped by and, in some cases, even manage to shape their (and perhaps our) world. Students will write twelve to fifteen pages of interpretation or criticism, spread out over two or more essays, and also take a midterm and a final examination.

102 E INTRO TO DRAMA, Perry. MWF 1

Explores such topics as the history of dramatic form, the major dramatic genres, the dramatic traditions of various cultures, and key terms used in the analysis of dramatic works. Reading plays from the ancient Greeks to the contemporary theatre, students will be taught skills in close reading and literary interpretation. Students will consider the importance of performance, considering how meanings might be represented through visual and aural means.


An introduction to the study of literature and literary history at the university level. Explores such topics as: the historical role and place of fictional narratives, the idea of genre, relationships between context and meaning in fictional works. Student will develop a critical vocabulary for interpreting and analyzing narrative strategies. Credit is not given for both ENGL 103 and ENGL 109.


same as MACS 104

We all like films, but do you know how film has developed over time as a technology, as a social institution, and as a political tool? Do you know how films vary around the world, or why we as film viewers understand and enjoy them? Come and explore these questions in small classes that allow you to have meaningful discussions with accomplished faculty and other smart, engaged students. By the end of this course, you’ll have acquired the skills to appreciate and analyze movies of many different genres, styles, time periods, and cultures. Students in this course will need access to online streaming services to watch at least one film per week. Course work includes quizzes, papers, and one or more exams. Intro to Film is an appropriate prerequisite for more advanced film courses in English and MACS. This course earns 3 credit hours and qualifies as a General Education course in Humanities and the Arts.


English 109 is designed to introduce students to the critical analysis of prose fiction. By reading a wide range of short and long fiction across several historical periods, we will examine how such narrative strategies as plot, character, point of view and language construct meaning. Individual instructors will bring a variety of texts and interpretive methods to their courses, but special emphasis will be placed on concepts and skills central to good literary critical writing.

Course requirements include papers and paper revisions totaling 25-30 pages. Papers are assigned according to the judgment of individual instructors, but will include assignments of various lengths and several opportunities for review and revision.

TEXTS: Readings vary from section to section but always include an anthology of short fiction and three or four novels.


This course is designed to acquaint students with examples of the rich diversity of British prose, poetry, and drama. Works selected will vary from section to section, but instructors usually rely upon the Norton Anthology of English Literature, Major Authors Ed., along with a few supplementary paperbacks, for the assigned readings. As a basic introduction to English literature, this course does not offer a complete chronological survey of all or even most major writers. It offers instead a series of literary texts, often thematically related, which appeal to modern readers and at the same time provide interesting insights into the cultural attitudes and values of the periods which produced them.


This course will cover a small sampling of literature written by American authors; the sampling may include essays, narratives, drama, and poems from various periods in American literary history. Texts for reading and discussion will include literature representing a variety of gender and ethnic perspectives.


same as CWL 119

Harry Potter and More: When Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published in June of 1997, it was largely regarded as a piece of children’s fiction about a ten-year-old orphan boy who discovers he has supernatural powers and goes off to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It seemed nothing more than a charming piece of fantasy lit destined for the shelves of the young adult sections of bookstores and libraries. What then made the Harry Potter novels suddenly transform into a cultural phenomenon that captured the imaginations of both children and adults? Why have these novels become the backbone of a global literary empire? What is the magic behind Harry Potter?

In this course, we’ll explore the mythos of the Harry Potter novels and how they’re steeped in a rich tradition of both canonical British literature. We’ll focus on social justice and examine the political forces that led to the formation of fantasy literature as a separate genre in the UK and what makes British fantasy novels unique. Our excursion into fantasy literature will reveal how these tales became a covert way to explore the inequalities that the Industrial Revolution ignited; a rising entrepreneurial middle class and a permanent urban underclass held in place by rigid policies guided by genetic superiority. We’ll examine fantasy novels as discrete organic political entities that grew into a vast literary network of interlinking commentaries on British social issues such as class, education, social welfare, disability, gender rights, and racial equality. Ultimately, we’ll explore how the Potter novels explore the rise of the Alt-Right and a dark speculative vision of the Brexit vote.

Students will be expected to engage actively in in the classroom and to write three papers and give oral reports on the historical and political history of the novels we’re studying. Novels include but may not be limited to: The Fellowship of the Rings, The Golden Compass, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows.


Introduction to the study of science fiction, the genre that has both contributed to scientific knowledge and attempted to make sense of the changes that have taken place in the world since the Enlightenment, the onset of industrialization, and the acceleration of technology. Texts are taken from a variety of literary and pop culture sources: pulps and magazines, novels and films, comics and TV shows

120 M SCIENCE FICTION, Cole. TUTH 9:30-10:45

This course explores science fiction by attending to the many literary questions it raises, including how authors and critics have defined the genre. Science fiction author Judith Merrill claimed the role of science fiction is “to explore, to discover [or] to learn” something about the nature of “reality”; at the heart of this course, then, are also philosophical, historical, and ethical questions crucial to the humanities, sciences, and social sciences. What, for example, is the relationship between works of imagination and technological innovation? Between technological innovation and the relationships among humans, non-human animals, and machines? In the 21st Century, what does it mean to be “human,” and how does the category of gender relate to that of species, or biological kind? Drawing on representative science fiction texts, supplemented by video, film, and critical articles, we will discuss these and related issues.


same as MDVL 122

Explores the use of medievalism in contemporary popular culture. Instructors may draw from film, television, music, fiction, graphic novels, gaming, and other sources, and they approach the material from a variety of cultural, historical, and aesthetic traditions. The goal of the course will be to understand how the medieval periods of world cultures have been reinvented in modern times, and how modernity has been constructed in relation and in opposition to the medieval imaginary.


Requirement: REPCIS

same as AFRO 105

The Afterlife of Property. Literary critic Saidiya Hartman writes in her 2008 essay “Venus in Two Acts” that “Wrestling with the [enslaved] girl’s claim on the present is a way of naming our time, thinking our present, and envisioning the past which has created it.” In this survey of African American literature from 1746 to the present, structured by Hartman’s conception of the relationship between the past and the present as “the afterlife of property,” we will read a collection of texts that speak to what it has meant to be a black subject in the United States over the past three centuries. How does history inform the way that African American experiences are transformed into literary expression? What links can we as contemporary readers draw between literature that emerges from past sociocultural and political contexts and our present-day understandings of racial (and gender, sexuality, and class) identity? Beginning with slave narratives and considering fiction, drama, poetry, essay, and contemporary film, we will attempt in this class to understand African American literature as a tradition haunted and informed by the fraught history of black bodies in the Americas, continually speaking to and reaching beyond “property” as legacy and inheritance.


TOPIC: Publishing and Editing

This course is designed for students who anticipate working with or in the trade or academic publishing industry. Topics covered include developmental editing and line editing; proofreading; language usage; intellectual property and permissions; developing a marketing plan; submitting queries; electronic publishing; tables, graphs, images, and page layout. Abundant writing and editing practice will be required.

Required texts will include the Chicago Manual of Style

199 UNDERGRAD OPEN SEMINAR On-Line 2nd 8 week section(s)

TOPIC: Writing To Get That Job

(March 13 – May 3, 2017)

Through conceptual development and context-sensitive lessons/assignments, students will: [1] develop/improve writing skills particularly germane to successfully applying for an internship, a post-baccalaureate job, or an advanced-degree program and [2] apply those skills to create a polished set of recruiter-ready texts relevant to their career plans and a career-relevant, currently-advertised job/internship/program.

Attending regularly-scheduled, online class meetings is expected of all students because: learning how to successfully apply writing concepts is a skill, and such skills are acquired through ‘enactive’ experiences.

200 B INTRO TO THE STUDY OF LIT, Murison. MW 9:30-10:45

Why are we drawn to read and write about literature? What can literature reflect back to us about ourselves and our worlds? In short, what do we do as English majors, and why? In this gateway course to the major we will tackle just such questions, from foundational ones about how to write and talk about different genres to larger questions about the purposes and uses of literature today. To narrow our scope just a little, we will look at a variety of forms (drama, poetry, novels, and films) about love and romance, marriage and divorce, seduction and betrayal. By holding steady this theme, we can see how questions about romance (What is the relation of romance to the institution of marriage? How is sexual desire mediated by literature and culture? What are the elements of a compelling love story?) have long been central to imaginative writing as well as how the social and cultural urgencies of romance change over time and in different cultural settings. We will read a little in theories that will help us gain a purchase on this topic (in form/genre and in sexuality studies), but mainly we will read some dazzling literature from different eras, including (but not limited to) Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Alcott’s Little Women, Butler’s Kindred, Kushner’s Angels in America, Lynch’s Mulholland Drive, and poetry by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Walt Whitman, and Natasha Trethewey.

200 Q INTRO TO THE STUDY OF LIT, Spires. TUTH 12:30-1:45

This course has been aptly called, “How to Be an English Major.” It’s your introduction to literary studies—what we do, how we do it, and why—and will help you develop the core reading habits and analytical skills needed for upper-level coursework. We’ll think about how literary texts produce meaning, how that meaning production affects the world literature inhabits, and how definitions and ideas about literature’s “work” have changed over time. We will read a variety of texts—prose fiction, poetry, drama, comics, film, and some that defy easy categorization—from a variety of literary traditions and eras. In each instance, we’ll use primary texts in conjunction with criticism to think about genre and form as historically contingent and fluid categories shaping and shaped by our experiences with literature. Our goal will be to cultivate a vocabulary, theoretical toolbox, and set of reading and writing practices for constructing persuasive, evidence-based arguments about and through literature. Assignments will include regular reading journals and three short essays. Writers up for consideration: Phillis Wheatley, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Octavia Butler, Kate Chopin, Franz Kafka, August Wilson, James Baldwin, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and others.

200 S INTRO TO THE STUDY OF LIT, Pollock. TUTH 2-3:15

This course is designed to help students develop analytical skills that will be crucial to their success in 300- and 400-level courses in literary and cultural studies. We will spend several weeks on each of the three primary literary genres taught in the English Department—poetry, prose fiction, and drama—paying close attention both to the defining characteristics that distinguish the genres from one another and to the structural elements they have in common. Throughout the semester, we will build up a critical vocabulary for articulating persuasive, detailed, and evidence-based arguments about literary texts, and we will think about interpretation itself as a form of action with political, ethical, and social-historical implications.

Requirements: regular attendance and participation, informal responses, three essays.


Requirement: Pre-1800 (Long 18th Century)

There is certainly no moment in history when the world suddenly ceased to be old and became new or modern. But Europe in the long eighteenth century, during the period known as “the Enlightenment,” witnessed unprecedented social, economic, cultural, and political changes that produced a giant leap towards the world we inhabit today. It was an age of revolution and newfound faith in the rights of the individual, though these rights were by no means extended to all. It was an age of reason, of tremendous advances in science and technology, though reason was by no means the only altar at which so-called enlightened men and women worshipped: God and sentiment remained powerful forces in eighteenth-century European life. This course offers an introduction to Enlightenment literature and culture by focusing on a select group of highly influential literary and non-literary works of the period, primarily from Britain, and to a lesser extent, from Continental Europe. Our readings bring into focus three quests that feature prominently in Enlightenment letters: the pursuit of property, the pursuit of virtue, and the pursuit of knowledge. In combination or as alternatives, these quests—for property, virtue, and knowledge—were thought to lead to happiness, the new master goal of the eighteenth century, which replaced the earlier understanding that man’s job on earth was to do his duty as determined by God and his superiors (rather than to be happy). We will try to understand the Enlightenment’s core values and ask how they relate to our own.


Requirement: 1800-1900

Study of literature, philosophy, visual arts, and social criticism of the British Victorian period, with attention to broader cultural issues.

209 AL1 BRITISH LIT TO 1800, Perry. Lect: MW 10; Disc: various

Historical and critical study of selected works of British literature to 1800 in chronological sequence. For majors only. Prerequisite: Completion of the Composition I requirement and ENGL200.

210 P BRITISH LIT 1800 TO PRESENT. TUTH 11-12:15

Requirement: 1800-1900

Historical and critical study of selected works of British literature after 1800 in chronological sequence.


Requirement: pre-1800 (Shakespeare)

This course explores seven Shakespearean plays from a range 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. We’ll also consider how the meanings of ‘Shakespeare’ proliferate through the constant, sometimes subversive, reinvention of the plays by literary critics, performers, and adapters world-wide. Be ready for proactive discussion, performance experiments, a library visit, and attending at least on live production of a Shakespeare play on campus. Written assignments include informal writings, focused short papers, and a final exam.

TEXTS: (these print editions are required) Greenblatt et al, eds., Shakespeare: Essential Plays (3rd edition, 2015, ISBN 978-0-393-93863-0); McDonald, ed., Bedford Companion to Shakespeare (2nd edition, ISBN 978-0312248802).

220 M LITERATURE AND SCIENCE, Markley. TUTH 9:30-10:45

This course explores some of the intriguing relationships between the reading and writing of literature and the practices of science. It is designed to introduce students from a variety of majors and backgrounds to the interdisciplinary, or cross-disciplinary, field of Literature and Science. Please note: no formal training in the sciences is required. We will read a variety of texts—including a healthy dose of science fiction—that can be ground under three broad, and broadly related, areas: the environmental humanities; media studies and digital humanities; and alternative visions of human beings and human society. Readings for the course will include science-fiction novels by H. G. Wells, Octavia Butler, Kim Stanley Robinson, Richard Powers, and Margaret Atwood, and articles by contemporary writers and critics, including Donna Haraway, Bruno Latour, Stacy Alaimo, Katherine Hayles, Richard Lewontin). And we will watch some classic science-fiction films and a few episodes of television series. Course requirements: regular attendance and participation, three 3-5 page papers, a midterm, and a final.

245 P THE SHORT STORY, Pollock. TUTH 11-12:15

same as CWL 267

A wide-ranging introduction to shorter works of fiction, this course will cover some influential texts from the nineteenth century, as well as a generous selection of stories from the turn of the twentieth century and modernism, but we will spend at least half the semester studying innovative and diverse works produced in the last five decades, often by writers with a complicated or frankly oppositional relationship to these canonical traditions. Along the way, we will consider the role of historical and cultural context in shaping our interpretations of these literary texts, and we will put into practice some key terms drawn from narratology and various schools of critical theory.

Requirements: regular attendance and participation, informal responses, three essays, and a final exam

247 S THE BRITISH NOVEL, Gaedtke. TUTH 2-3:15

Doppelgangers, Doubles, and Divided Minds: This course will survey the transformation of the British novel through an analysis of Doppelganger narratives across more than three centuries. We will examine the ways that doubles recur and evolve from eighteenth- and nineteenth-century gothic fictions of rivalry and demonic persecution to the psychological splitting of the mind that manifests in twentieth-century post-Freudian fiction and a contemporary neuronovel. While observing the formal changes that emerge over the course of three centuries, we will also explore the ways that the Doppelganger becomes a way of expressing larger political and ideological divisions that threaten the notion of Britishness as a stable identity. Religious and national identities are often allegorized in the dark, paranoid worlds of Doppelganger novels as personal rivalries and persecutory agents. This course will not only provide an introduction to the British novel but will ask questions about the ways that identity is both grounded in otherness and divided by it. Readings will include works by William Godwin, James Hogg, Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginia Woolf, Rebecca West, Ian McEwan, and others.

250 M THE AMERICAN NOVEL TO 1914, Jones. TUTH 9:30-10:45

Requirement: 1800-1900

What makes the American novel “American”? How do novels register and shape social relationships, moral authority, and political power? How can novels help us understand our relationship with the environment? How have practices of writing and reading novels changed over time? This course invites you to engage these questions by reading American novels from the 18th through the 20th centuries. Our readings will take us from the glamorous expat circles of Gilded Age Europe to the horrific antebellum New Orleans slave market, and from frontier Nebraska to the Reconstruction South. Course readings may include novels by Charles Chesnutt, Henry James, Willa Cather, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Herman Melville, Harriet Wilson, and Susanna Rowson.

You will learn and practice a range of critical strategies for reading novels, and you will exit the course with a broad understanding of keynterms in American literary and cultural history. Students will write two critical essays and a large volume of informal writing. Students will also be assessed based on periodic quizzes, exams, and on active, engaged participation in class discussion.

TEXTS: Susanna Rowson, Charlotte Temple (Penguin, ISBN: 0140390804); Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin (Norton, ISBN: 978-0-393-93399-4); Melville, Benito Cereno (Bedford, ISBN: 031245242X); Henry James, Washington Square (Penguin, 0140432264); Charles Chesnutt, The Marrow of Tradition (Norton, ISBN: 0393934144); Willa Cather, O Pioneers! (Dover, ISBN: 0486277852); Harriet E. Wilson, Our Nig (Penguin, ISBN 0143105760)

251 M THE AMERICAN NOVEL SINCE 1914, Freeburg. TUTH 9:30-10:45

This course will cover classic American Novels after the first World War. We will read fascinating and groundbreaking fiction from globally recognized writers like William Faulkner, James Baldwin, Saul Bellow, Marilyn Robinson and Toni Morrison. We will study why these great texts were so transformative in the world of art, history, politics and morality. There will be two papers, a mid-term, a final, and brief responses rooted in class discussion.


Despite the fact that video games have been coded, shared, and played for at least 40 years, such forms of narrative and story continue to be dismissed as mindless entertainment at best and violent time-wasters at worst. In fact, Roger Ebert went so far as to assert that video games can never be art. And yet, in 2011, the Supreme Court determined that, “like the protected books, plays and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas—and even social messages—through many familiar literary devices (such as characters, dialogue, plot, and music) and through features distinctive to the medium (such as the player’s interaction with the virtual world).” This class will consider the relationship between literature in its emerging new media, digital, and technology formats by looking specifically at the shared and divergent narrative strategies that old and new mediums use to construct worlds and tell stories. Over the course of the semester, we will consider the history of material formats, look at how videogame play has transforms novels, and consider some of the larger questions emerging from videogame studies. What are games and where do they fit within cultural, literary, racial, social, and gender studies? How do technologies and mediums affect access to and experience of story, aesthetics, and design? What are the cultural and social ideas communicated through games and how do the means of their production function within global economies? Finally, we will have hands on time with virtual reality headsets as well as an archive of new and old games to explore as part of the class content.

255 AL1 SURVEY OF AMERICAN LIT I, Loughran. Lect: MW 12; Disc: various

This course asks you to think broadly about American culture from some of its earliest iterations up until the crackup called the Civil War. By looking at a wide variety of texts—paintings, novels, songs, poems, and even a few films—we will try to get to know American culture both through its parts (specific genres, texts, and authors) and through our own cohesive reconstruction of these parts into an integrated whole—a story, which we will call, in our class, “American Literature, Part I.” To do this, we will draw our reading material both from “then” and “now”—reading literature from an earlier moment alongside literature by writers today who are thinking about that moment. Our reading list will thus include distant genres (like the captivity narrative, the slave narrative, the lyric poem, and the sentimental novel) and more contemporary genres (like the graphic novel, the conceptual poem, the hip-hop song, the postmodern film). This will thus be a course that will not just introduce you to the basic facts of American cultural history but challenge you to theorize the practice of “literary history”— a particularly powerful form of storytelling when wielded by a reader who knows it.

256 P SURVEY OF AMERICAN LIT II, Freeburg. TUTH 11-12:15

This course arguably studies the most prolific period of U.S. literature. From the origins of the U.S realist novel to the poetics and poetry of modernism to various postmodern forms of expression, this course surveys major aesthetic shifts and the social history that shapes them. We will focus upon novelists like Henry James and Ralph Ellison, poets like William Carlos Williams and Gwendolyn Brooks, as well as essays by figures such as Gertrude Stein and James Baldwin. Through these authors, their eras and movements, this course will repeatedly return to idea of ‘the human’ in a world said to be beyond humanism. There will be two major papers, a mid-term, a final, and weekly response papers.


Requirement: REPCIS

same as AFRO 260, CWL 260

Historical and critical study of Afro-American literature in its social and cultural context since 1915.

261 Q TOPICS IN LIT AND CULTURE, Cole. TUTH 12:30-1:45

TOPIC: Introduction to Animal Studies and Literature

The purpose of this course is to engage “the question of the animal” as that has helped shape literary and cultural theory over the past three decades. Animal Studies (sometimes called “Human-Animal Studies, or Animality Studies) is an interdisciplinary field overlapping with posthumanism, ecology, feminism, critical race studies, queer theory, affect theory, disability studies, and science studies; it has spawned novels, philosophies, book series, films, and serious doubts about whether or not what call the “human” can be taken for granted. Our course will focus mostly on recent works widely cited by literary scholars. It is designed, however, to help students develop reading and writing strategies easily transferable to any historical field.

Philosophical and theoretical texts to be discussed include Jacques Derrida’s “The Animal That Therefore I Am (More to Follow)”; Giorgio Agamben’s The Open: Man and Animal (excerpts); chapters from Donna Haraway’s Primate Visions, The Companion Species Manifesto, and When Species Meet; readings by Erica Fudge, Cary Wolf, and Stacy Alaimo; works by and about Temple Grandin.

Literary texts to be discussed include H.G. Wells, The Island of Dr. Moreau; Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis; J. R. Ackerley, My Dog Tulip; J.M. Coetzee, Lives of the Animals; selected poems and film.


same as AIS 265

Introduces students to the study of American Indian literature by focusing on texts by contemporary American Indian novelists, poets, and playwrights. Over the course of the semester, students will consider how indigenous aesthetics shape narrative in addition to examining how American Indian authors engage the legacies of colonization and the histories of their tribal communities through their stories.

266 AL1 GRIMM’S FAIRY TALES IN CONTEXT, Johnson. Lect: MW 2; Disc: various

same as GER 251, CWL 254

Special attention is paid to the Grimms’ tales in terms of traditional narrative genres, elements of life in early modern Europe, and versions from Italy and France as well as Germany. Course is conducted in English.


same as GER 260, CWL 271

Postwar Holocaust Representation in Literature and Film. As the Holocaust recedes into the historical past, our knowledge of it increasingly comes from representations of it in books and films. This course does not focus on the Holocaust as a historical event that remains in the past but instead focuses on how films, books, comic books, and even monuments depict the Holocaust for contemporary audiences. This course will focus on two objectives. First, we will examine the various debates and controversies surrounding the issue of artistic representation of the Holocaust and discuss some of the theoretical and philosophical texts that have formed the core of Holocaust Studies by critics such as James Young and Marianne Hirsch. Second, we will explore the ways in which literature and film, both fictional and documentary, have attempted to represent the events of the Holocaust. We will examine texts from various countries but we will place a particular emphasis on American representations. Central to our investigation will be to question how different times and places affect the way the Holocaust is depicted, what role memory plays, and the problems and limits of language.

270 D AMERICAN FILM GENRES, S. Camargo. MW 11-12:50

TOPIC: Crime Films

Crime has figured in our laws and in our literary texts from the earliest days, both as an element in our moral education and as a social problem. It was only in the 1840s, however, that crime became bracketed to mass entertainment. In this course we will look at crime from two perspectives. The first group of films focuses on agents of disorder, professional and nonprofessional criminals alike; the second group on detectives and police, agents of law and order. Through these opposing lenses, we will analyze fictional representations of crime from a range of perspectives: character studies, motivations, victims, detection methods, representations of the police, social impact of crime, class, gender, race, censorship, and spectator address.

Evaluated work will include three medium-length papers and several shorter ones, as well as active participation in class discussion. While experience in film studies is a plus, it is not required for enrollment in this course.


TOPIC: Technology and the Future: Speculative British Fiction

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 and present. Initially, 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 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 Industrial Revolution and the impact that it had on fiction in the 20th and 21st centuries. We’ll study how it drove writers to create grim pieces of speculative fiction that presaged a dark Dystopian future for Britain. 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 writers. We’ll explore the issue of the postmodern surveillance state and how some novels like Deathly Hallows, presage the Brexit vote, examining how the Alt-Right, 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 four short papers and an oral report. Novels and films may include: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, Brave New World, A Clockwork Orange, The Children of Men, Never Let Me Go, Skyfall, V is For Vendetta, The Last Enemy, The Golden Compass, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

276 R ASIAN FILM GENRES, Curry. TUTH 1-2:50

Requirement: REPCIS

same as CWL 276, EALC 276

This brand new film studies course (which earns General Education credit in Non-Western Cultures and Literature and the Arts) offers a close study of popular film genres produced and circulated in Asia that have had impact on cinema and other cultural forms across the region and beyond. The course takes a necessarily selective and focused historical and transnational comparative approach to analyzing shifting narrative and visual and other cinematic realizations of each genre across different contexts, including Western reception and cross-cultural adaptations.

Filmmakers in myriad Asian countries now produce a wide range of genres that this course might consider, including martial arts, horror, musicals, anime, melodramas, science fiction, monster movies, and comedy. On its first offering in Spring 2017, the course will emphasize the first three genres listed above, to trace how those genres have emerged since the 1960s and more recently particularly in East and Southeast Asia. (We will focus initially on mid-20th century films made in Japan and Hong Kong, with attention then turning to more recent works also from Thailand, South Korea, and the Philippines as well as India). Students may with instructor approval be allowed to write one of the two required essays about (an) additional genre(s) and/or producing country or countries.

Requirements: scrupulously regular class attendance and participation; attentive, timely reading in the substantial course packet of critical essays (no other course textbook); assigned out-of-class viewing of some feature films (some viewing occurs in class); and willingness to work (with instructor help) on honing writing skills through several short Moodle postings and two rather formal 5-page writing assignments. You will need to meet with fellow students outside of class to prepare a group oral presentation on an assigned reading or film. The course will conclude with a final given during the regular time-table-scheduled time which will test mastery of key terms, developments, figures, approaches and concepts through both objective “identifications/definition” and essay questions.

280 S WOMEN WRITERS, Somerville. TUTH 2-3:15

Requirement: REPCIS

same as GWS 280

TOPIC: Black Women Writers

Audre Lorde wrote that “poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought,” emphasizing that literature does not simply reflect the world around us, but actively produces new ideas and possibilities. This course will consider a wide range of writing—including poetry, fiction, autobiography, comics, and essays—by selected black women writers from the nineteenth century through the present. Our discussions will explore their literary strategies and political visions, along with the aesthetic, historical, and cultural contexts of their work. Authors may include: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Toni Cade Bambara, Gwendolyn Brooks, Octavia Butler, Edwidge Danticat, Zora Neale Hurston, Harriet Jacobs, June Jordan, Jackie Kay, Nella Larsen, Audre Lorde, Paule Marshall, Janet Mock, Toni Morrison, Jackie Ormes, Claudia Rankine, Maria Stewart, and Alice Walker.


same as GWS 281

TOPIC: Women in Public Culture

This course will focus in particular on the issue of women’s access to and participation in the public culture that—through old and new forms, genres, and media—continues to shape women’s self-presentations and representations. Starting with Queen Elizabeth I and ending with Hillary Clinton, however, we will do so by coupling two very different periods of literary history in two countries. This will help us to think, inter-historically, about the continuities and divergences in the production and circulation of “images of women” in the cultural and literary imagination, as well as the multiple methodologies we can bring to such a topic.

We will begin in Renaissance England by approaching gender from a historicist angle: what were the particular contours of gender hierarchy at this moment? How might iterations of patriarchy and its subversion or rejection be historically specific? In what ways are gender norms yoked to broader and historically-determined socio-political structures and assumptions about sexual identity, marriage, and the reproduction and dissemination of state power?

In the second half of the course we will change tack, using feminist and queer theory in particular to add new questions as we consider recent, twentieth- and twenty-first American texts and public culture. We will ask to what extent can gender be considered a performance and what are the implications of doing so? How might theories of racial difference, sexuality, and transgender identity complicate, even undo, any sense of a stable or unified category of “woman”? To what extent and how does gender remain a useful category of analysis, politically or culturally, in our present moment?


TOPIC: The Afterlives of Slavery

This course focuses on slavery, performance, and the idea of black culture from Zora Neal Hurston’s writing on black singing to W.E.B’s historical texts to Saturday Night Live’s (SNL) comedic skits. In addition to these cultural texts we will examine important debates about slavery and black social life from the 1950s to the present as well as visual and performance artists’ responses to these very public conversations about America’s past. By enriching and expanding what counts as social life, self-revelation, and freedom, this course will discuss slavery and black culture beyond abstractions like “resistance” and “power.” We will bring together and analyze materials from literary studies, performance studies, and theories of culture. This course has two goals, to think critically about writing and to explore the emergence and representation of slavery through a variety of genres that include poetry, fiction, and artistic performances. We will focus on developing close readings of texts, locating and incorporating secondary sources, and revising and editing critical essays.


TOPIC: Heroism and National Identity

Over the last few years we’ve been subjected to a great deal of heroic rhetoric, much of which has had a particularly partisan and political flavor. Of course, in the wake of global terrorism, we’ve witnessed nations that invoke bellicose rhetoric, but we’ve also seen a nearly unprecedented wave of superhero and super-spy texts that attempts to respond to, challenge, and, in many cases, foster this rhetoric. Why have heroes become so political? Well, that’s precisely what we’ll aim to figure out in this course. The class will trace out the logic of Western cultural nationalism by assessing its need to establish heroic ideals as ideological apparatuses. Certain heroes, it seems, pop into the cultural imaginary at moments of crisis, and this course will explore what function these fictional heroes serve for a nation’s real populace. We will also pay close attention to texts that question traditional models of heroism, texts that tend to think that heroism, like more vulgar forms of nationalism, never really hold up to careful scrutiny.

Readings will include theoretical texts by Louis Althusser, Etienne Balibar, and Frantz Fanon and literary texts such as: Virgil’s The Aeneid, Poetry by Alfred Tennyson and Wilfred Owen, Arthur Conan Doyle’s Major Sherlock Holmes Stories, W.B. Yeats’s Cuchulain Play Cycle, H.Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines, Ian Fleming’s Goldfinger, Siegel and Schuster’s original Superman stories, Lee and Kirby’s Fantastic Four Masterworks Vol. One, Lee and Romita’s The Death of Gwen Stacy, and Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. We will also view and respond to several films.

Requirements will include weekly short essays, three 6-8 page essays, and active class participation. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.


TOPIC: Strange Victorian Love Poetry

Strangeness can take a broad spectrum of forms from the unfamiliarity of the past that with a little study becomes accessible, to the more radical strangeness of difference so shocking that we cannot accept it no matter how hard we try. The first layers of strangeness in this course concern love within marriage of the British Victorian period (1837-1901)—a time of intense debate over the injustice of many laws especially those affecting women. Not surprisingly, with the reform of marriage laws, love and marriage became prime topics of public conversation with many myths and narratives circulating about ideal male and female lovers. Studying these will lead us into ever stranger textures of love: some voices like those of Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s and Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s sonnet singers may be only mildly strange for they prefigure models we recognize today, but others may be more troubling even to those of us who think of ourselves as “progressive.”

By virtue of the imaginative and challenging ethical questions they pose, strange Victorian love poems make inviting material for exercises in writing about literature. Examining such instances as the Sapphic love of Michael Field, the deadly obsessives in Robert Browning's “Porphyria's Lover” or “My Last Duchess,” or the alienating passion of necrophiliacs and sado-masochists in Algernon Charles Swinburne's “The Leper” and “Anactoria,” we will undertake a variety of writing exercises: for instance, unpacking a poetic metaphor, shaping a précis of a critical argument, integrating secondary material into literary discussions, as well as researching and documenting a substantial critical paper. We will aim to produce approximately 25 pages of graded writing in the course of the semester.

[Textbook warning: We will use Victorian Literature 1830-1900 edited by Dorothy Mermin and Herbert F. Tucker. Buy early and your book should cost less than $10. Buy late and it will get very expensive.] It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.


This course will introduce you to some of the most significant contemporary interpretive methods in the study of literary texts. However, it will do so always keeping in mind the primacy of the literary text itself. At the center of the class then, we will have at least two representative literary texts which generated excitement, criticism, and debate in their own times as well as later. With these texts and their times as the ‘stuff’ of our business, we will study such critical movements as new criticism, deconstruction, psychoanalysis, feminist and gender studies, Marxism, new historicism, postcolonial studies, cultural studies, and reader response theory.

As it prepares students for future literature classes, this course helps us understand and question the relations between reading literary texts and thinking critically, and more profoundly perhaps, between reading, criticism, and the practices involved in putting ourselves irrevocably amidst others. This course is required for English literature majors. Most English majors should take English 301 in the second semester of their sophomore year or the first semester of their junior year, but only if they have already taken several literature courses. The most common complaint about this class comes from seniors who regret not taking it sooner. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.


How do we think with literature? What are the roles of the author and the reader in determining what a text means? How do we determine what might be hidden beneath the surface of a text, and is there more to the “surface” than meets the eye? If novels, poems, and plays express unspeakable desires, what do they want? As readers, how should we relate to other cultures and moments in history? What is meant by “Theory?” This course will examine major theoretical and methodological approaches to literary and cultural studies that have evolved over the last few decades. Our readings and discussions will clarify the debates and claims of structuralism, Marxism, deconstruction, psychoanalysis, feminism, queer theory, critical race theory, post-colonial studies, and disability studies. While we consider how these theoretical approaches may be useful for analyzing literature, we will also consider their ideological agendas and test the value and limits of “ideology critique.” Finally, we will determine how best to “use” and engage with theory in our own writing and research as we apply these methods to several short works of literature. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.


This course will introduce students to the various issues and debates central to contemporary literary studies. If you have ever wondered why people interpret certain texts, and even certain events and actions, as they do, then this is the course for you. The class will begin by exploring the ways in which three profoundly different thinkers, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud, introduced a peculiarly suspicious form of reading, a way of interrogating texts and the world that looks beneath the surface and doubts that what you see is what you get. We will go on to explore how literary critics in the 20th century worked to map this Modern “hermeneutic of suspicion” onto political, psychological, and philosophical issues that still have an effect on us today. Finally, the course will engage with literature’s relationship to questions of sexual and racial difference, of power, and of technology. Requirements will include active class-participation, weekly journal entries, two short papers, and two exams.

Texts will include Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams, Marx’s The Communist Manifesto, Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals and a Course Packet with essays by critics in the Gender, psychoanalytic, Marxist, and Post-Structuralist traditions. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.


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 MACS 373

TOPIC: The Disney Phenomenon from Cultural, Artistic and Global Economic Perspectives

Over the 94 years since the founding of the Disney Company in 1923, the name has become a household word not only in the U.S., but also internationally, particularly in recent decades through both the global marketing of DVDs and extension of Disney theme parks abroad. This rarely offered film topics course critically explores the distinctive contributions and widespread impact of “Disney” from multiple perspectives: as an artistic and narrative style; an American biography; a key component of the U.S. film industry; a factor in shaping American childhood and social values; an expansionary business model; and a crucial site at which to study textual representation of race, gender, and familial relations.

We will consider the cultural, economic and political impact, domestically and abroad, of the Disney productions, from early cartoons, animated features, and live-action films to the corporation’s ownership and development of television, video games, and theme parks and model communities. The central course goal is that students come to master key critical, historical and theoretical methods that enable a grasp of Disney’s force as both a particular phenomenon and an exemplary case for studying 20th-21st century media and popular cultural production.

Requirements: First, scrupulously regular class attendance and participation and quite substantial reading, including a scholarly book (Janet Wasko, Understanding Disney, 2001), a short popular book (Carl Hiassen, Team Rodent: How Disney Devours the World, 1998), and a course packet of additional critical essays that will be available at the IUB, as will the books. Further requirements are some assigned out-of-class viewing (some viewing occurs in class); and willingness to work to hone writing skills through two short reports about out-of-class explorations of Disney manifestations, a ca. 3 pp. synopsis (following an oral presentation) on assigned readings, and a 5-6 pp. final research or interpretive essay (or a possible alternate creative assignment of comparable scope, with instructor approval). In lieu of a final, the course will have a three-quarters exam (probably given in the 12th week in class) that will test mastery of key terms, developments, figures, approaches and concepts studied up to that point through an objective “identifications/definition” section and an exam essay question.

Students interested in the topic should approach the course knowing that it does NOT address “Disney” from a “fan” perspective, but rather expects students to be willing to analyze critically the company’s representational practices (in films, theme parks, etc.) over time and its regular business policies as well as the evidence of their (sometimes arguably damaging) “cultural, artistic and economic” impact, also internationally.


same as MACS 373

TOPIC: Film Style and Politics

While the narrative aspects of fiction films (character, plot, setting in time and space; narration, focalization, etc.) remain important sources of pleasure for audiences, films are not novels with occasional pictures. Film is by definition an audiovisual medium and, even if we may not be consciously aware of it, decisions about cinematography, editing, mise-en-scène, and sound affect us. Simply put: How we look at films is determined by how films look.

One primary goal of this course, therefore, is to deepen your understanding of the various cinematic tools used in film storytelling and of how film scholars categorize and analyze them. We will discuss the choices that filmmakers have made and how those choices reflect three primary influences: institutional goals, political aims, and conceptions of the relationship between a film and its spectators. With that last element in mind, a second important goal of this course is to help you to be more aware of ways in which filmmakers invite us to participate in the experience that they have created for us and of what happens to us when we accept or reject that invitation.

Evaluated work includes three medium-length papers and several shorter ones, as well as active participation in class discussion. While experience in film studies is a plus, it is not required for enrollment in this course.


same as GWS 378

Discusses how femininity and gender formation are related through fairy tales. As children grow they are taught the difference between male and female roles. One of the main ways this instruction takes place is through the pleasurable media of fairy tales in books, poems, and more recently, films. Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Beauty and the Best, and the Little Mermaid, among others, will be examined to understand how sexual identity is constructed differently in different cultures, and how issues such as rape and incest are addressed within the narratives. The readings explore the ways that fairy tales work to express psychological reactions to maturation while conditioning both characters and readers to adopt specific social roles in adulthood.

380 X TOPICS IN WRITING STUDIES, Pritchard.MW 12:30-1:45

Requirement: REPCIS

meets with GWS 395, AAS 390, LLS 396

TOPIC: Black Freedom Movement Rhetorics

This course explores historical and contemporary rhetorics of freedom by people of the African diaspora as they emerge in social movements from the 19th century to the present. Merging rhetorical analysis with Black feminist and Black queer theory and praxis, we will examine the rhetorical strategies people of African descent have employed in speeches, essays, photography, visual arts, popular music, and fashion/style, to assert their right and desire to define their life on their own terms and discuss the world as they see and experience it. Among the movements explored will be those for the abolition of slavery, desegregation, voting rights, Black Power, Black Feminisms, Black LGBTQ sociopolitical activism, organizing against political imprisonment, #BlackLivesMatter, and the wave of student activism against racism and discrimination on college campuses. These movements for Black Freedom—varied and complex in their own right—will be discussed alongside assigned readings in rhetorical theory, Black feminist and Black queer theory, African American/African diasporic history, Women’s and Gender history, LGBT history, queer theory, and fashion studies. Doing so, students will gain a more complex understanding of Black Freedom Movement Rhetorics that spans time, circumstance, and a diversity of publics. Though not required, it would be helpful if students have taken a previous course in rhetoric, African American Studies, critical race/ethnic studies, feminist and gender studies, or LGBTQ studies. In sum, students will be expected to do the work required to become critically engaged readers and writers on the topic of the history and theory of Black Freedom Movement Rhetorics.

Courses numbered 396, 397, and 398 are honors seminars.English majors with an overall GPA of 3.33 or greater are eligible to enroll in the honors program.See Nancy Rahn in EB200 for more information about the program, or to register for a seminar.

396 C HONORS SEMINAR I, RussellM 10-11:50

TOPIC: Profanity, Obscenity, Vulgarity

This course surveys profanity, vulgarity, and obscenity in cultural context.It considers what profanity looks like, who uses it, what it is used to accomplish (pragmatically and aesthetically), who and what it most often targets (with special consideration of religion, ethnicity, race, class, embodiment, disability, gender, and sexuality), and what circumstances allow for its reclamation or recuperation.The course explores when and why profanity comes into and falls out of fashion by asking how profanity, vulgarity, and obscenity are socially constructed, within historical and political climates and through institutional and cultural mechanisms.

396 F HONORS SEMINAR I, Ruiz, W 2- 3:50

TOPIC: A Lover’s Discourse: Literature, Theory, and Performance

How do we tell the truth about love? InA Lover’s Discourse: Fragments, literary theorist and philosopher Roland Barthes reflects on love—lost, unrequited, imagined, and painfully and beautifully real. He offers us a language for discussing the complicated politics of intimacy. As he explains: “to try to write love is the muck of language: that region of hysteria where language is both too much and too little,” and yet he succeeds in making us ask: What is love? How does it work? What’s love got to do with it all? In order to critically consider the philosophical, physical, and aesthetic manifestations of love, we will use Barthes’s book as a starting post; we will then turn to texts ranging from Plato’s Symposium to Beyoncé’s Lemonade, exploring love letters between writers, artists and philosophers like Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera to Rilke and his young poet, and performance sites including visual art, popular music, dance, and drama to analyze different ways of seeking and giving affection. We will also examine what it entails to love another or “an other” across difference, turning to how race, gender, and sexuality wonderfully complicate a lover’s expression.

397 X HONORS SEMINAR II, Trilling.W 12-1:50Requirement: 1800 (Medieval)

TOPIC: Medieval Bodies: Materiality in the Middle Ages

When we think of medieval attitudes toward the body, we tend to focus on notions of the flesh as a site of sin and corruption. But, like us, the Middle Ages viewed the body in a variety of ways: as an object of beauty, as the seat of subjectivity, as a visible sign of an individual’s character, and even as a vehicle for redemption. In this course, we will begin with an overview of different theoretical models for thinking about the body before moving on to accounts of the body ranging from medical treatises, hagiography, sermons, and penitentials to romance, travel narratives, and epics. Students will gain knowledge not only of these primary texts, but also of how literary studies have approached the question of the body in the past fifty years. They will be asked to address questions of gender, race, sexuality, disability, and anthropocentrism, and we will also reflect on how current engagements between contemporary modes of thought and historically distant objects continue to restructure the assumptions we make about texts. The course will culminate in an independent research project, in which students will select their own topics, texts, and methodologies to investigate aspects of the body in the Middle Ages that are most interesting to them.


same as EIL 422

Adaptation of modern English grammar to meet the needs of the ESL/EFL teacher, with special emphasis on the development of knowledge and skills that can be used in the analysis of the syntax, lexis and pragmatics of English.

411 1U/1G CHAUCER, Barrett.MWF 11Requirement: Pre-1800 (Medieval)

same as MDVL 411

The poems of Geoffrey Chaucer entangle themselves in the nonhuman world: the narrators of Chaucer’s dream visions encounter lecturing eagles and sexy daisies, while the pilgrims of the Canterbury Tales tell stories of mudbound oxen, deadly black rocks, and blabbermouth crows. Indeed, in Chaucer’s worldview, humans are themselves entities caught between heaven and earth, spirit and flesh, reason and instinct. They are simultaneously “creatures” (God’s premiere creations) and “critters” (Donna Harraway’s homespun term for “the motley crowd of living beings including microbes, fungi, humans, plants, animals, cyborgs, and aliens”). We’ll use these ecologically-inflected insights as points of entry into Chaucer’s poetry, working our way over the course of the semester through the dream visions (Book of the Duchess, Parliament of Fowls, House of Fame, and Legend of Good Women) and a sizable selection of Canterbury Tales. As we’ll see, medieval ideas of nature necessarily impinge on concepts of culture: Chaucerian critters will help us explore (among other topics) the imminent obsolescence of chivalry, the urgent necessity for female counsel, and the role of faith in an age of heresy and clerical corruption. The “English literature” we study here at the University of Illinois comes into being in Chaucer’s late fourteenth-century England, an island society struggling to recover from the depredations of Yersinia pestis, the microbial critter responsible for the demographic disaster known as the Black Death. Our task in ENGL 411 will be to explore Chaucer’s place in the mesh of this medieval natureculture.

A note about language: we will be reading Chaucer’s poems in their original Middle English (and I’ll be testing you on your facility with that earlier form of the English language). But you will have lots of opportunities to practice and develop your Middle English skills before any sort of evaluation takes place. (I’m thinking the midterm exam is the logical place to test Middle English comprehension, leaving the final exam to concentrate on the interpretative side of things.) Written work will include a few short methods-based papers, but the primary research focus of the course will be the Critter Project, an assignment asking you to become in-class experts on a variety of Chaucerian critters.

416 1U/1G TOPICS IN BRITISH DRAMA TO 1660, Stevens.MWF 11Requirement: Pre-1800 (Renaissance)

TOPIC: Drama of Shakespeare’s Contemporaries


When the bad bleeds, then is the tragedy good: so says Vindice in The Revenger’s Tragedy. This course surveys several of the more lurid tragedies written by such writers as Thomas Kyd, Thomas Middleton, John Webster, John Ford, and William Heminge between 1585 and1638/9. Notable highlights from these plays include the severing of a tongue, the presentation of a heart on a dagger’s point, the dancing of a host of ‘madmen’, and the ‘much searing’ of a heroine’s breasts. Works up for consideration are as follows: The Spanish Tragedy; The Revenger’s Tragedy; The Lady’s Tragedy; The Duchess of Malfi; The Changeling; Tis Pity She’s a Whore; and The Fatal Contract. Although our focus is on non-Shakespearean drama, we will also read Romeo and Juliet in conjunction with the 2017 Department of Theatre production of this play, and students will have the opportunity to write about Shakespeare plays not listed on the syllabus.

Our focus on early modern tragedy will allow us to consider a range of questions about genre, authorship, gender, the performance of violence, and the transformation of theatrical conventions from the early days of popular theater to the last years before the theaters go dark in 1642. A particular point of emphasis will be the plays’ production histories from their earliest stagings to contemporary revivals and adaptations; to this end, our textbook will illuminate early modern ‘original practices’ for us, and help us understand what sixteenth- and seventeenth-century spectators would have seen (and heard) when they attended a play at, say, the Globe or the Blackfriars theatres. Assignments will include short essays and response papers; a group performance project; and a final examination. Familiarity with Shakespeare helps but is not necessary.

*Please note: this class is restricted to eligible undergraduate students in the departments of English and Theatre. Any graduate student wishing to enroll in this class may do so with the explicit permission of the instructor.

TEXTS: Renaissance Drama: A Norton Anthology (Bevington, Engle, Maus, Rasmussen); Tiffany Stern, Making Shakespeare from Stage to Page; and a course packet and/or critical readings distributed over email.

418 1U/1G SHAKESPEARE, L. Newcomb.TUTH 2-3:15Requirement: Pre-1800 (Shakespeare)

This course explores seven Shakespearean plays from a range of dramatic genres and from a variety of critical approaches.We’ll look especially at the features that made these plays popular in their day:their open staging, their playful language, and their laying bare of the period’s familial, national, gender, and racial tensions.We’ll also consider how the meanings of ‘Shakespeare’ keep multiplying, 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, a rare-book library visit, and attending at least one live production of a Shakespeare play on campus.Written assignments include informal writings, two focused short papers, a longer paper based on guided research (7-9 pp.), and a final exam.

TEXTS:(these print editions are required) Greenblatt et al, eds., Shakespeare: Essential Plays (3rd edition, 2016, ISBN 978-0-393-93863-0); McDonald, ed., Bedford Companion to Shakespeare (2nd edition, 2001, ISBN 978-0312248802); one individual play edition TBA.

423 1U/1G MILTON, Gray.TUTH 2-3:15Requirement: Pre-1800 (Renaissance)

This course introduces you to one of the greatest British writers—John Milton.Milton was a blind seer, a regicidal prose-writer, and an inspired poet.He also wrote arguably the most ambitious English epic, one that aimed to explain the origins of life itself: Paradise Lost.This class will explore Milton’s prodigious and ostentatiously learned output in the context of his own life and the historical turmoil of the mid-seventeenth century that transformed it. We will focus on the complex issues of religion, gender, and politics he engages, looking at his often contradictory responses to the ideas, literature, and men and women of his time. We will also trace his carefully crafted public image, thinking about Milton’s view of the role of poetry and polemic within a revolutionary historical context.

427 1U/1G LATER 18TH C LITERATURE, Markley.TUTH 12:30-1:45Requirement: Pre-1800 (18th Century)

Between 1720s and the 1820s the landscape of Great Britain changed in radical ways: as the population of the British Island almost doubled, deforestation, agricultural intensification, industrialization, and the growth of an imperial empire transformed both the British people and the environment in which they lived.We will focus this semester on three interlocking developments that complicate our understanding of the Enlightenment: 1) the growth of what we might now call an ecological understanding of the natural world; 2) colonialism and the slave trade devoted to securing overseas the resources that Britain did not have or could not produce; and 3) and the increasingly active role that literature played as a forum for exploring changing notions of authority, liberty, and gender identity.We will read texts by important writers active in the second half of the eighteenth century, including novels by Jane Austen, Anne Radcliffe, and Charlotte Smith; the autobiography of Oladuah Equiano; poetry by William Blake; Anna Barbauld, Anne Yearsley, Oliver Goldsmith; and nonfiction by Mary Wollstonecraft, Adam Smith, and others.Course requirements: regular attendance and participation, two essays, a midterm, and a final exam.

435 1U/1G 19TH C BRITISH FICTION, Courtemanche.TUTH 11-12:15Requirement: 1800-1900

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 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.

449 1U/1G AMERICAN LITERATURE 1820-1865, Murison.MW 11-12:15Requirement: 1800-1900

Have you reckoned a thousand acres much? Have you reckoned the earth much?

Have you practiced so long to learn to read?

Have you felt so proud to get at the meaning of poems?

Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems…

—Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, 1855

American Romanticism.Whitman’s brash challenge to his readers—his declaration that there is something more to life beyond ownership and measurement, beyond formal education, even beyond the poem in the book you’re reading—serves as a perfect opening to the concerns of this course. There are few eras more tumultuous than the period between the signing of the Missouri Compromise in 1820 and the outbreak of the Civil War. Marked by economic panics, westward expansion, and brawling electoral politics, and over it all the fierce debates over and daily urgencies of slavery, this is also the era of American Romanticism, where we see writers urging fellow citizens to dispense with the past and engage in an original relation with the universe. Together we will read such writers as Herman Melville, Frederick Douglass, Lydia Maria Child, Henry David Thoreau, Harriet Jacobs, and, of course, Walt Whitman, all of whom posed this romantic challenge to their generation—through their experimental writing and in their urgent political commitments. The aim of the course is twofold: a deeper appreciation of the literary movement of American Romanticism (including those authors who dissented from its more optimistic modes) and a firmer understanding of the relation of romanticism to political activism in the fight against slavery.

455 1U/1G MAJOR AUTHORS, Loughran. MWF 10

TOPIC: Weird Writers: Poe, Lovecraft, Vandermeer

This course will be devoted to three centuries of the strange, as imagined in the minds of Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, and more recently Jeff Vandermeer. “Weird fiction” is now a legitimate generic designation (Google it!), carrying with it an implicit celebration of the abnormal, the odd, the otherworldly, the deviant—the weird. For these three authors, that means a series of encounters with madmen, mushroom-people, extra-terrestrials, and other Lovecraftian blob-monsters of the deep. Some questions we might ask include: what the relationship between weird stories today and the early Gothic? Why are weird stories, which often carry with them some coded form of horror or discomfort, so pleasurable and so popular? But most of all, what makes something weird—and does the when of that weird matter? In what sense, in other words, are Poe’s maniacs nineteenth-century maniacs? How are Lovecraft’s monsters archaeological artifacts from the early twentieth century? And what might we learn about the norms of our own moment from the fungalpunk and steampunk fantasies of Jeff Vandermeer? Along the way we’ll read novels and stories from these three major authors, possibly play a videogame or two based on their imaginings, and investigate supporting scholarship from queer, postcolonial, and feminist theorists---a body of work that, it turns out, is just as interested in weird things as these three weird writers are.

455 2U/2G MAJOR AUTHORS, T. Newcomb. MW 1-250

TOPIC: Citizens Coen: The Cinema of the Coen Brothers

Over nearly thirty years Joel and Ethan Coen have occupied a distinctive place in American cinematic culture, as postmodern auteurs who gleefully violate the stylistic “rules of the game” while also paying reverent homage to previous moments in the history of cinema. Their films consistently foreground their own roles as creators, which has made them key predecessors for later “star” directors such as Tarantino and Spike Jonze; yet in their personal lives they don’t court flamboyant celebrity but remain quietly devoted to their art. They have won many awards including the Oscar, yet they are still regarded with skepticism by some critics who find their films all about style and genre pastiche rather than substance. This class will explore these contradictions and many others as we survey the Coens’ work of the past three decades, along with some of the “originals” that have inspired them to rethink cinematic genres, especially the screwball comedy, the Hitchcockian thriller, the gangster picture, and the hard-boiled film noir. The syllabus will certainly include, among others, Blood Simple, Raising Arizona, Miller’s Crossing, The Hudsucker Proxy, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men, O Brother Where Art Thou?, and The Man Who Wasn’t There, along with Sturges’ Sullivan’s Travels and the original “Ealing comedy” The Ladykillers.

The class involves a two-hour weekly screening and a two-hour discussion session, both of which are mandatory. You can expect essays, quizzes, brief oral presentations, and a final exam.

460 1U/1G LIT OF AMERICAN MINORITIES, Jenkins. TUTH 12:30-1:45 Requirement: REPCIS

meets with AFRO 498

TOPIC: Theorizing Hip Hop: Hip Hop (as) Narrative

In this seminar we will apply the tools of literary theory and criticism to hip hop artistry. We will think about rap music not only as a poetic or lyric form, but as a narrative one: a medium of storytelling. While we will explicate individual performances and recordings, our larger goal will be to theorize hip hop as national discourse and contemporary cultural artifact. To that end, our study will include a great deal of recent scholarship on hip hop, particularly new analyses of hip hop aesthetics that expand upon earlier, purely historical treatments. In our work with both primary and secondary texts, we will consider the kinds of stories that rap music tells, including those that it tells about the nature of hip hop itself (hip hop meta-narratives). We will also explore the ways that hip hop culture is deployed in the telling of other types of stories, and in other media (the novel, television and film, visual art). Focusing primarily on work produced in the last fifteen to twenty years, the course will be organized thematically, addressing key topics that recur in the music and in the culture more broadly. Our primary objective will be to gain a more nuanced understanding of rap music’s aesthetic and cultural significance, through critical analysis of hip hop as performance and as social metaphor. Attendance and participation, short responses, online postings, midterm and final paper.


TOPIC: America at the Nadir: Race and Representation from Twain to Hurston On-Line 2nd 8 week section (March 13 – May 3, 2017)

This course will use a multi-disciplinary approach to explore the perceived role, or “place,” of blacks and other marginalzied 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.


Requirement: REPCIS

same as AFST 410, CWL 410, FR 410

“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.


Teaching writing is always labor intensive, often challenging, and occasionally terrifying. In this course, we will explore a core set of questions that inform the teaching of writing in our schools: Why teach writing? What is academic writing good for? Is there such a thing as good writing? Do effective writers gain any power in contemporary society? This course is designed with future language arts teachers in mind, so you'll leave the class ready to do such things as: design compelling assignments that challenge your students, respond effectively to student writing, create thoughtful group writing assignments, support various forms of multimodal writing, and work with writers who challenge what you know and how you think. Students who take this class should be prepared to question how you were taught to write in high school. Students should also be prepared to write in new ways.


same as LIS 482

This class examines the impact online writing technologies have on our reading and writing practices. The class will investigate the relationship between today’s digital platforms, i.e., Twitter, Reddit, Snapchat, and earlier methods of writerly communication such as cuneiform tablets, scrolls, the printing press, and letter writing. We will address some of challenges writing technologies pose, including the role gender, race, and class play in social media as well as legal and ethical challenges writers face in the 21st century. Assignments include (a) a mid-term and final paper, (b) class participation, and (c) a creative media project about the history of an obsolete writing technology.


same as MACS 504, CWL 504

This semester the course begins with a review of basic and formative film theory, understood within the historical context in which it was and is written and received. Building on this groundwork, the course then moves on to consider rhetorical aspects of film theory and asks what theories film scholars can use to address the relationships among film, politics, and society.

508 G BEOWULF, Trilling. W 3-5:50

same as MDVL 508

Beowulf has been a foundational text of the English literary canon since J.R.R. Tolkien’s 1936 lecture on “The Monsters and the Critics,” and it formed the bedrock of philological studies long before that. Although most students will have encountered Beowulf in at least one undergraduate literature course, this course offers an opportunity to work with the text in its original language of composition. During the semester, students will work through Beowulf in Old English while also working through the poem’s critical history. Beginning with the landmark Tolkien essay, students will survey a range of Beowulf criticism, from its philological origins to the most recent theoretical reappropriations of the text. We will consider major critical issues such as the dating of Beowulf, its manuscript context, Christian and pagan influences, sources and analogues, historical background, orality and literacy, gender, empire, and canonicity. We will make use of 21st century tools such as The Electronic Beowulf to bring the manuscript into the classroom, and we may even have time to discuss modern reflexes of the poem, such as the Julie Taymor opera Grendel and the film Beowulf directed by Robert Zemeckis.

Our primary text will of course be Beowulf itself. Readings will also include a course packet of secondary literature. Students will be responsible for less formal in-class discussions, prepared presentations to the rest of the seminar, and a formal seminar-length paper at the end of the term. A reading knowledge of Old English is required for this course; students who have taken “Introduction to Old English” or the equivalent will be adequately prepared. Undergraduates may register with the consent of the instructor.

527 R SEMINAR IN 18TH C LITERATURE, Nazar. TH 1-2:50

TOPIC: Enlightenment Narratives of Education

In “What is Enlightenment?” (1784), Immanuel Kant described enlightenment as the emergence from “self-imposed tutelage” into critical and moral independence. Kant’s well-known formulation obscures, however, how shedding the shackles of tutelage was understood by the eighteenth century to be itself a matter of tutelage or education. This seminar considers the paradoxical rhetoric of education—tutelage to be free from tutelage—permeating eighteenth-century letters. It also reassesses, in light of the period’s concern with education, some key liberal legacies of the Enlightenment, such as its norm of autonomy or self-governing agency. The idea that reason is less an inborn capacity than a construction or development—a product of experience and hence capable of being shaped by human intervention—constitutes one of the most powerful and contested legacies of Enlightenment modernity. It found particular appeal amongst women, who used it to contest long-standing essentialist notions of women’s biological and mental inferiority. It was a crucial shaper, too, of the new genre of the novel, of which a principal subset was the Bildungsroman or “novel of education.” Navigating the intersecting fields of eighteenth-century theories of education, histories of the novel, and feminist/gender theory, we will consider questions such as the following: What are the principal goals of education according to Enlightenment thinkers and novelists? How do considerations of race, class, and gender mark the period’s discourses of education? How do various authors imagine the relationship between inherited custom and critical independence, and between teachers and students? What do we make of the period’s rhetoric of “nature” and how does it evolve over the course of the century? Why do so many women educationists deploy a separatist rhetoric, best exemplified by Mary Astell’s argument that women should retreat from a corrupt and corrupting social world into a “Protestant nunnery”? How do the texts we read challenge the conventions of literary periodization—for example, the separation of “eighteenth century” and “Romantic”? These preliminary questions are expected to be refined and supplemented by the questions you bring to the seminar table.


TOPIC: Genre and Seriality

This course undertakes in-depth exploration of the nineteenth-century fictional genres that both exemplified and fueled the great wave of serialized print culture which began in the 1830s with the advent of Balzac and Dickens. While comparisons to such genres are visible in the novels and novel series of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the most salient afterlife of Victorian-era fiction is arguably to be found in the millennial surge of serial television which has flourished on cable and streaming platforms since The Sopranos, The Wire, and Mad Men. Our critical readings will focus directly on theories of genre, seriality, and the relevant material cultures including classic work by Bakhtin and Todorov as well as recent criticism by John Frow, Robyn Warhol, Franco Morretti, Jason Mittell, Sean O’Sullivan, Susan Bernstein, and others. Our fictional readings will include Balzac’s Lost Illusions, Trollope’s Framley Parsonage, and a George Eliot novel to be chosen by the class. We will also watch the first season of the Danish television series, Borgen. Students are advised to view additional serial television shows in advance—most especially the first two seasons of The Wire.


TOPIC: Yeats and Bowen: Imagination and History as Twin “Realities”

Jane Bennett, before writing Vibrant Matter, published a book on Enchantment in Modern Life in which she argued that in a disenchanted age, it is important to reconsider the unexpectedly ethical potential of moments of enchantment. In this course, we will look at enchantment as a literary goal and as a political plight for the Irish (effectively immobilized by the British). For the section on W.B. Yeats, we will explore Yeats’ interest in magic and his desire to have his poems sung (accompanied by a psalter) as different responses to the complex dangers and possibilities of enchantment, a word that comes from the French verb “to sing” (chanter). We will probe the kinship between magic and imagination in an effort to ascertain in what sense the imagined or the vanished may be experienced as “real.” We will investigate the history of fairies in Ireland as ancient gods and goddesses who can still be experienced through nature in the present, and we will analyze Yeats’ assertion in his late poems that death and life are also products of the human imagination.

When we turn to Elizabeth Bowen, we will begin with selected stories that insist on the continuing reality of people and places that have vanished or that exist only in the imagination. Then we will read three of her novels—probably The House in Paris, The Last September, and Eva Trout—in order to test the hypothesis that things can be sentient, with a “magical” vitality that exceeds human reason.

Readings will include chapters from Bennett, from Thomas Moore’s The Re-enchantment of Everyday Life, and selections from Heidegger. Literary works will include Yeats’ poetry, selected plays and stories, selected short stories by Bowen, and two-three of her novels.


TOPIC: Black Aesthetics in the Long 19th Century

This course will examine the development of a self-conscious black aesthetic and literary criticism over the course of the long 19C century, beginning with Phillis Wheatley’s Poems on Miscellaneous Subjects (1793) and ending with W.E.B. Du Bois’s Souls of Black Folk (1903). We will give special attention to form and genre, particularly serialized fiction and poetry, in a way that challenges the slave narrative-to-novel trajectory that dominated twentieth-century criticism and challenges us to theorize a black literary culture that emerged well before the “Harlem Renaissance” of the twentieth century. We’ll think how an expanding archive and a different relation to that archive has and will continue to change the way we construct African American Literary histories (plural). We will also question the relationship between black artists and Western aesthetics, a tradition that was often overtly hostile to black expressive culture. In that sense, we will simultaneously probe early black aesthetic discourse and situate it within and against aesthetic discourse(s) more broadly. Artists up for consideration include: Frederick Douglass, Frances E. W. Harper, Harriet Wilson, Pauline Hopkins, and others.

578 G SEMINAR LIT & OTHER DISCIPLINES, Underwood. M 3-4:50

TOPIC: The Popular and the Canonical: Understanding the Reception of Fiction, 1780-1960

Literary scholars can hardly get through a conversation without characterizing books as canonical or non-canonical. But it is far from clear what we mean. Is there a single canon? Who defined it? When did canonicity and popularity become distinct things? Are they blurring together again, or has a “middlebrow” terrain emerged between them? If a formerly non-canonical work gets adopted on syllabi, does it become canonical?

These questions sprawl across the boundary between the history of literary criticism and the sociology of culture. We’ll approach them first of all theoretically, reading influential statements about literary judgment by William Wordsworth, Q. D. Leavis, Theodor Adorno, and Pierre Bourdieu, as well as histories of reading by John Guillory, Andreas Huyssen, Deidre Lynch, and Gordon Hutner. But we will also consider reception as a practical research problem for scholars writing about particular works. How can we recover ordinary readers’ responses to a book, or survey the whole history of its critical reception? Meredith McGill, Robert Darnton, and Janice Radway will guide us toward archival resources and empirical methods that cast light on those questions. We will integrate theory and methodology to look closely at a few case studies where readers’ judgments about a work have been especially volatile and interesting—ranging from Jane Austen’s Emma (1815) to H. P. Lovecraft’s “The Call of Cthulhu” (1928). Finally, we’ll pull all these elements together to form tentative hypotheses about the changing relationship between popularity and canonicity. Although the syllabus emphasizes literary examples drawn from the United Kingdom and United States, 1780 to 1960, seminar papers about reception in other periods and national contexts are welcome.

578 R SEMINAR LIT & OTHER DISCIPLINES, Littlefield. TU 1-2:50

TOPIC: Techno-Cultures

Radio, telephone, television, computers; brain imaging, pharmaceuticals, artificial hearts; fax machines, refrigerators, automobiles; artificial sweeteners, frozen food, GMOs. If you’re interested in the history of technologies; intersections between technology, science, and culture; and really great stories, then this is the seminar for you. We’ll read in and around some foundational texts from the history of technology, (feminist) science and technology studies, and literature and technology (Kittler, Kuhn, Haraway, Latour, Star, Marx, Wajcman). Then we’ll move on to some excellent case studies and fiction. Our goal is to think critically about the ways that technologies are not only invented and introduced to various publics, but how their production and use becomes ubiquitous and invisible. Topics will partially depend on student interest. All are welcome; previous experience with science and technology studies is NOT required.

Possible texts may include, but are not limited to:

Empty Pleasures: The Story of Artificial Sweeteners from Saccharin to Splenda (2010)
Drugs for Life: How Pharmaceutical Companies Define Our Health (2012)
Magnetic Appeal: MRI and the Myth of Transparency (2008)
Refrigeration Nation: A History of Ice, Appliances, and Enterprise in America (2016)
The Internet of Us: Knowing More and Understanding Less in the Age of Big Data (2016)
Feeling Mediated: A History of Media Technology and Emotion in America (2014)
Our Biometric Future: Facial Recognition Technology & the Culture of Surveillance (2011)
The End of Sex and the Future of Human Reproduction (2016)
fiction by Margaret Atwood, Philip K. Dick, William Gibson, Kyle Kirkland, Robert Scherrer, China Miéville, George Saunders . . .
Students can take one of two paths in this course:

  1. Response papers and a final seminar paper (in stages: proposal, bibliography, draft)
  2. OR
  3. A set of smaller assignments but NO seminar paper; these might include a brief scholarly edition, book review, funding proposal, and/or conference paper


meets with LLS 596

TOPIC: Minoritarian Aesthetics

For bell hooks: “aesthetics is more than a philosophy or theory of art and beauty; it is a way of inhabiting space, a particular location, a way of looking and becoming,” or too, a pathway into the complicated political life of minoritarian subjects. In order to assess such complexity, this course will go beyond the aesthetic as merely a visual and aural construction to include touch, taste, smell, and the sense of the minoriatrian body in time and space. By drawing on and departing from traditional constructions of aesthetic theory, this course will turn to philosophy, performance studies, literary theory, visual culture, cultural studies, and ethnic and area studies to answer the following questions: how can the aesthetic help inform our understanding of difference, and resistance? And how can minoritarian politics engage with the sensorium, moving deeply into the realm of the senses, and the social spaces of the communal?


same as CI 566

TOPIC: Writing Program Administration: Theory and Practice

This seminar will focus on the theory and practice of writing program administration in the context of both the field of Writing Studies and the ongoing dichotomy between “management” and faculty (including non-tenure-track) that characterizes, if not dramatically shapes, the operations of writing programs on US college campuses. While our primary focus will be writing program work at the first-year/general education level, we will also consider allied sites of writing, such as writing centers and WAC/WID programs. We will examine and interrogate—as well as experiment with—methodologies for policy creation and maintenance, data collection and research, and archival practices in program administration, in addition to examining the theories informing those methods.

By the end of the seminar, students will be able to (1) Locate and situate key institutional and curricular issues facing writing program administrators (WPAs) today; (2) Understand the historical conditions under which WPAs have labored and how those histories affect current WPA theory and practice; (3) Differentiate between multiple theories of leadership, management, and administration, including those rooted in collaborative models; and (4) Articulate the relationship between the intellectual work of writing program administration and sound program leadership.

Writing assignments for the seminar tentatively include an extended case study, policy analysis, critical book review, and a job “package” (statement of administrative philosophy, mock job letter, and accompanying materials). In addition, active participation and deep engagement with weekly readings is expected. This course is open to MA and PhD students in English/Writing Studies as well as graduate students from outside the department, however, students from outside English are strongly encouraged to consult with the instructor before registering.


same as CI 569

TOPIC: Protest Rhetorics

We live in a world that is seething with protest rhetoric. By looking at the expressive tactics deployed in an array of contemporary movements coming from both the political left and the right (e.g., #BlackLivesMatter, Second Amendment rights advocacy, environmentalism, grazing rights, Occupy Wall Street, the debate over restroom use by transgender people, and more), we will explore instances of high-stakes rhetorical action that involve social media (slacktivism?), physical occupation, gestural expression, performance, spoken and written discourse, and direct action. Students will explore contemporary protest rhetoric through various primary documents (video, images, audio recordings), journalistic accounts, academic research, and theories of communication and rhetoric. Historical work will also be encouraged. Students from departments across campus are invited to enroll and bring varied research interests and methodologies into the class.


same as CI 569

TOPIC: Fashion Rhetorics

In this graduate seminar we will read scholarship at the intersections of rhetoric and fashion studies, a scholarly discourse cutting across a range of disciplines and fields including rhetoric and composition, literary studies, history, performance studies, ethnic studies, and sociology. We will examine a diversity of adornment performance—past and present, in everyday life and as rendered in cultural productions (e.g. arts, literature, and film) to document the emergence of fashion and style’s impact on social, political, and economic terrain, but also a myriad of critiques of fashion and style emerging from scholarly works in the field as well as in popular media. This course will especially emphasize research on rhetoric and fashion in relation to critical race theory, feminist theory, and queer theory. Engaging this scholarship, we will posit the implications of this research for the current state and next steps of fashion as an interdisciplinary field of study generally, and what the place of that field is and can be within rhetorical studies, literary studies, American Studies, and Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies in particular.

The course will also support the development and support of each student finding or further developing their own fashion and style studies research, writing, and creative projects, with an eye toward exploring the broad implications of their interests for theory, methodology, and pedagogy of this field. Course readings will include texts by Roland Barthes, Carol Mattingly, Minh Ha T. Pham, Valerie Steele, Tanisha C. Ford, Reina Lewis, Tiffany M. Gill, Vicki Karaminas, Anne Hollander, Elizabeth Wilson and others.


TOPIC: The Teaching of Literature

This seminar concentrates on preparing graduate students to teach literature courses in three of the most common pedagogical genres within English studies: the introductory-level course for non-majors, the national or period literature survey course for majors, and the upper-division topic seminar. We will read and discuss some pedagogical theory, but the class will primarily focus on the practical, with an eye toward generating a teaching portfolio containing documents of value on the academic job market: a statement of teaching philosophy, sample syllabi for each genre of course, sample lesson plans for the same, and sample course assignments. This portfolio will be put together week by week during the semester, and much of it will be generated and revised through peer review—expect to talk to one another about not only planning for the literature classroom but also about debriefing what happens within it! From time to time, I’ll bring in faculty speakers to share their own experiences grappling with pedagogical issues.


TOPIC: The Teaching of Film

This course is designed to equip graduate students with fundamental skills for teaching undergraduate film in the age of new media. The seminar will focus on lesson planning, creating audio-visual toolkits, moderating discussions, crafting assignments, and other pedagogical issues. We will therefore focus on four principle undertakings: 1) drawing up lesson plans around a textbook and learning to augment them with information from other sources; 2) making persuasive audio-visual material that illuminate the technical and critical aspects of cinema; 3) sharpening a teaching philosophy that informs the whole pedagogic project and clarifies why a study of cinema is important in our media driven age; and 4) practical matters like effective syllabi and assignments. By the end of the semester, participants will have a portfolio of key documents and digital material that will be of practical use in the teaching of film and in the presentation of a competitive teaching profile in the academic job market.

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