Course Descriptions—Graduate Studies

400- thru 500-Level Literature
Course Descriptions
FALL 2019

        Area Requirement: None
An introduction to English linguistics with emphasis on the phonetic, syntactic, and semantic structures of English; language variation, standardization, and change; language legislation and linguistic rights; English as a world language; and the study of language in American schools.

407 1U/1G  INTRO TO OE, Trilling TR 2-315 (49440)
        Area Requirement: British, Beginning to 1485-1660
Old English is the language spoken and written in England between roughly 500 and 1100 AD, and it offers a window to the past through a wide range of beautiful and evocative texts. In this course, you will encounter the very oldest English literature in its original form—the tales of kings, battles, heroes, monsters and saints that have inspired writers from John Milton to J.R.R. Tolkien. Because Old English is almost like a foreign language to Modern English speakers, the course will begin with intensive work on the basics of Old English grammar and translation practice before we move on to more in-depth study of the literature and culture of Anglo-Saxon England. Please note: This course fulfills the Pre-1800 requirement for English majors, and it may be used to fulfill the language studies elective option for Teaching of English students (with permission from an advisor). Requirements: daily attendance and participation, homework and quizzes, prepared translation, a midterm, and a final. Students taking the course for graduate credit will meet one extra hour per week (time TBD) and will write a seminar paper in addition to the regular course requirements.

418 1U/1G SHAKESPEARE, Gray TR 930-1045 (40436)
        Area Requirement: British, Beginning to 1485-1660 & MFA   
This course aims to give you a strong grounding in analyzing Shakespeare’s drama, including some of his lesser-known works, by reading at least seven or eight of his plays, from Taming of the Shrew to Coriolanus, alongside background essays, source texts, and scholarly articles. We will explore Shakespeare across a range of dramatic genres: history, comedy, tragedy, romance, and the “problem play.” Across these genres, we will investigate the development of his poetic skill, looking closely at his language. We will think about his plays as historical artifacts, produced within a specific context and responding to prior works, but also as living texts that continue to be performed today. We will therefore intertwine multiple methods in our analysis: close reading of his dramatic verse, analysis of historical background and source texts, consideration of recent scholarly debates, and the performance of key scenes.

435 1U/1G 19C BRIT FICTION, Courtemanche MWF 2-250 (40394)
        Area Requirement: British, 1800-1900 & MFA Literature  
An optimistic note of progress is the keynote of many 19th-century novels: characters learn and grow, society works through conflict, secrets are uncovered. But in British fiction, this process of discovery and growth is often complicated by forces that pull you back into the past: nostalgia, loyalty to family, love of a peculiar landscape. 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.

451 1U/1G AMERICAN LITERATURE IN THE AGE OF MODERNISM, Newcomb, J.  TR 930-1045 (40398)
        Area Requirement: Later American Literature, Civil War to Present & MFA Literature
Life in the United States may have changed more drastically between 1914 and 1945 than in any thirty years of the nation’s history. In these three decades Americans lived through a war of unprecedented carnage, a bizarre decade of pleasure-seeking and financial speculation (and illegal alcohol), a worldwide economic depression, and finally, an even more destructive global war. American writers of these decades found ways to address crucial questions about the failings and possibilities of a world of dizzying technological change, and political upheaval so drastic that they often felt compelled to doubt the future of American democracy. Compelled to write about the new challenges of an urbanizing and modernizing world, writers and artists rejected lingering Victorian prohibitions on subject matter. Dissatisfied with inherited forms and styles of writing, they experimented tirelessly with new ones that they hoped would better captured the 20th-century world’s wrenching instability. We’ll examine this eventful period through the theme of “the city” as the arena where modernity took place. By 1900 the United States (like most countries in the industrialized world) had crossed a fundamental threshold from primarily rural to primarily urban. But not all urban spaces are the same; we’ll trace how competing models of urban space shaped the literature and politics of the early 20th century, and investigate how the emergence of the city as the dominant modern space made American society what it is, for better and worse. Among the questions we’ll consider: What makes the “modern world” modern? How did concepts like nation, race, gender, class, mass culture shape 20th-century identity? How did life-changing technologies, and the unpredictable sociopolitical changes they brought, produce new styles of behavior, compulsion, and creation? Where, if anywhere, is God in such a world? How might the arts reveal, and conceivably change, that world? Before we’re done we’ll come to see that the intense responses of these writers to their challenging world helped to define modern culture, and offer us a lens for imagining where we might be heading a century later.

455 1U/1G MAJOR AUTHORS, Loughran TR 2-315 (40444)
       TOPIC: Weird Writers: Poe, Lovecraft, VanderMeer, Miéville
        Area Requirement: Later American Literature, Civil War to Present & MFA Literature
This course will be devoted to two centuries of the strange, as imagined in the minds of Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Jeff VanderMeer, and China Miéville. “Weird fiction” is a real and very popular genre, carrying with it an implicit celebration of the odd, the otherworldly, the deviant, the scientifically implausible, the unimaginable—the weird. For these four authors, that means a series of knowledge-defying encounters with madmen, mushroom-people, extra-terrestrials, and other Lovecraftian blob-monsters of the deep. Some questions we might ask include: what is the relationship between weird literature today and earlier (also weird) literary modes like the Gothic and science fiction? Why are weird stories, which often carry with them some 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? Along the way we’ll read many weird novels and stories, play at least one weird videogame (called Bloodborne), and investigate some (also) pretty weird scholarship from of today’s most powerful feminist theorists and “speculative” philosophers--who, it turns out, are just as interested in weird things as these weird writers are.

459 1U/1G TOPICS IN AMERICAN INDIAN LIT, Byrd TR 1230-145  (57641)
        Area Requirement: Later American Literature, Civil War to Present & MFA Literature
Indigenous Futurisms - Representations of American Indians have played a significant role in the formation of popular culture and science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres. From the quintessential Columbusing frontier narratives of discovering new planets and new civilizations to Westworld, references to American Indians, conquest, and cultural encounters continue to function as cultural touchstones within U.S. popular media that include films and television as well as graphic novels and videogames. This course examines the intersections between literary and cultural figurations of American Indians and the ways in which American Indian and Indigenous authors have reimagined some of the core genres of popular fiction—ranging from historical romance, science fiction/fantasy, horror, and mystery—to not only transform those genres, but to imagine the possibility of decolonial futures for Indigenous peoples, lands, and stories.

481 1U/1G COMP THEORY AND PRACTICE, Russell MW 2-315 (40460)
        Area Requirement: Writing Studies
The constellation of skills that comprise composition—invention, selection, combination, construction, framing, curation, reasoning, argument, presentation, delivery, and so on—have been taught in Western worlds since classical time. This course will review the long and rich history of composition theory in order to understand what composition has been (e.g., an craft, an art, a civic action, a moral exercise), who composition has served (e.g., citizens, lawyers, preachers, social climbers, students, activists), and what composition has helped people accomplish (e.g., persuasion of others, expression of self, disruption of social order). We will consider how these historical theories of composition inflect the approaches to teaching composition that have emerged in the last fifty years, including pedagogies grounded in process theory, expressivism, social constructivism, feminism, multimodality, and multiculturalism. In light of these historical and contemporary contexts, we will articulate our own goals as writers and teachers of writing, asking what practices will allow us to achieve our goals in the contexts of the communities in which we live and teach.

500 INTRO TO CRITICISM & RESEARCH, Gaedtke W 1-330 (30190)
        Area Requirement: Critical Theory
This course will provide graduate students with an introduction to the major theoretical and methodological approaches to literary and cultural studies that have evolved over the last few decades. No prior knowledge of theory will be assumed. Our readings will include foundational and exemplary works of structuralism, deconstruction, psychoanalysis, Marxism, gender and sexuality theory, critical race theory, postcolonialism, disability studies, and ecocriticism. While we consider how these theoretical approaches have reconfigured the goals and methods of literary studies, we will also critically assess their agendas and practical implications. The course will also discuss recent meta-theoretical debates about the limits and futures of “Theory” and the kinds of reading that it has encouraged. Finally, we will determine how best to engage with these theories in our research and writing as we consider their usefulness with regard to several works of literature and film.

505 WRITING STUDIES, Prior R 2-430 (35705)
        Area Requirement: Writing Studies
Writing Studies I: An Introduction to Theory, Research, and Practice. This seminar offers an introduction to writing studies, an interdisciplinary field that emerged in the 1980s and explores the theory, research and practice of writing in any context (school, workplace, home, community). Across these contexts, the course will examine such issues as how to study and engage with writing processes; the collaborative nature of writing and varied types of authorship; intersections of writing with other modes (reading, talk, visual representation) and varied technologies (paper, screen and other materials for production and distribution); the nature of specialized genres and genre systems; and situated forms of learning and pedagogy (whether formal or informal). This seminar aims at helping students to engage in scholarship in writing studies. Each student, for example, will select a journal in the field to present in class (and identify shared readings that illustrate the journal and relate to their own interests). Beyond common readings, participation in activities, and regular informal writing, each student will select, explore and write on an issue for a final project related to writing theory, research, practice, or pedagogy.

519 SEMINAR IN SHAKESPEARE Stevens M 1-330  (30191)
        TOPIC: Shakespeare and Shakespeare Criticism
        Area Requirement: British, 1485-1660 & MFA Literature
This course will cover a range of Shakespeare’s plays as well as engaging with the state of Shakespeare criticism today. Coverage, topics, and written and oral assignments will be driven, as far as is practical, by the interests and needs of the students enrolled. Expect a sub-focus on so-called Shakespearean ‘original practices’ (the material conditions under which Shakespeare wrote and plays were performed in their original theatrical contexts). *Please note: those graduate students outside of English wanting to enroll need instructor permission to do so*.

537 SEMINAR IN VICTORIAN LIT,  Courtemanche M 330-6 (30193)
       TOPIC: The Uses and Abuses of Victorian Historicism
Area Requirement: British, 1800-1900 & MFA Literature
The field of Victorian studies has recently begun to challenge and rethink its dominant methodology of culturally-inflected historicism. Some scholars call for a renewed attention to form, to theory, or even to “presentism,” the long-deplored error of projecting your own era’s values onto the distant past. Complicating matters is the fact that secular historicism was a profoundly influential intellectual paradigm during the Victorian age, transforming the fields of theology, science, literature, and politics—including the romantic idea of the nation and fantasies of empire. In this class, we’ll try to understand the current theoretical debate by contrasting the Victorians’ own approaches to historical inquiry with our own. Readings will be drawn from Edmund Burke, Walter Scott, George Eliot, Walter Pater, William Morris, Oscar Wilde, Lytton Strachey, Walter Benjamin, Georg Lukács, Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, Gertrude Himmelfarb, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, the editors of Victorian Studies, members of the V21 Collective, and the volume Ten Books that Shaped the British Empire (ed. Burton and Hofmyer).

553 SEMINAR LATER AMERICAN LIT, Hunt R 330-6 (32356)
        Area Requirement: American, Civil War to Present & MFA Literature
This seminar will study comedy as a strange form of intimacy with what we’ve lost for good. Comedy is usually thought of as a form of detachment, but we will explore it as the interplay between closeness and distance to and from the subjects and the things one has lost: dreams, lives, histories, and futures, none of which can be recovered. I do mean to emphasize that overlap between subjects and things, for we will also be probing the promiscuities between the lives of the subjected and object ontologies. We will be thinking of comedy not only as a genre, “a scene of affective mediation and expectation” (Berlant and Ngai), but also as a time, a temporal structure. We will examine how comedy constructs a time in which mourning is not a triumphalist process, a “salvific wish,” to use Candice Jenkins’s lapidary term, but a lingering in ruptures, in simultaneities, in wakes that is also uncomfortably a lingering in pleasure. Our central question is twofold: what kinds of temporalities does comedy bear and what kinds of mourning does that time allow? Full texts or excerpts will be taken from 20th & 21st century black artists: Louis Armstrong, George Schuyler, W. E. B. Du Bois, Bill Bojangles Robinson (and other minstrel and vaudeville performers), Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Fran Ross, Nina Simone, Richard Pryor, Paul Beatty, Kara Walker, Jordan Peele, Suzan-Lori Parks, and others. Our theoretical apparatus will be drawn from Hegel, Kierkegaard, Bergson, Freud, Kenneth Burke, Susanne Langer, Hartman, Moten, Alenka Zupancic, and more. Come ready to enjoy how this motley crew of black avant-gardes refashions what we know about humor, affect, memory, redress, fugitivity, and time.

581 SEMINAR LITERARY THEORY, Hassan R 2-430 (40464)
        TOPIC: Novel, Postcolonialism & Lit
        Area Requirement: Anglophone Literature & MFA Literature 
This seminar focuses on the confluence of three bodies of work: narrative theory, postcolonial studies, and the idea of world literature. Considered the (post)colonial genre par excellence, the novel nonetheless has roots in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, 12thcentury Japan and 16thcentury China. How do feminism and postcolonial studies speak to the classical European theory of the novel (from Lukács to Bakhtin, Watt, and Moretti)? How do themes of resistance culture, including the challenge to patriarchy and Eurocentrism, address the globalization of the novel and the imperialism of English? In addition to the above-mentioned theorists, readings from major contributions to each of the three fields may include Ortega y Gasset, Jameson, Radway, Armstrong, Doody, Said, Spivak, Casanova, and Damrosch.

584 TOPICS DISCOURSE AND WRITING, Russell M 330-6 (39504) 
       Same as CI 569
        TOPIC: Rhetoric and the Body
        Area Requirement: Writing Studies
The discipline of rhetoric has been around for an estimated twenty-six centuries, and, for the majority of that time, it has been described as an art of language. While the measured performance of writing, speaking, debating, arguing, and persuading in words has long been at the heart of rhetoric, so too have veins of rhetorical thinking long been concerned with bodies. Bodies have been variously read as conduits of, complements to, or liabilities in rhetorical performance; they are sometimes seen as objects to be trained or styled in the service of persuasion, sometimes as themselves arguments persuasive precisely because they bypass words. This seminar will explore theories of the body as it has emerged in rhetorical thinking, ancient to contemporary. Coursework will focus on key concepts from rhetoric (e.g., delivery, gesture, elocution, comportment, style, ethos, timing, spectacle), but it will also draw on ideas that animate thinking about bodies across disciplines (e.g., performativity, materiality, affect) and mobilize various matrices for complicating how we think of “able” and “ideal” bodies (e.g., disability, gender, race, class, sexuality). In addition to reading theories of rhetoric and the body, this course will invite you to engage in and reflect on embodied activity.

       TOPIC:  The Teaching of Rhetoric
        Area Requirement: None
This is a course for graduate students new to the teaching of college composition. We will explore pedagogical theories and best practices in teaching writing, from cornerstone concepts like writing as a process to contemporary research on genre and transfer. We will theorize and develop pedagogical approaches to topics such as: teaching rhetoric and argument; maintaining language diversity, including second-language writing; facilitating digital literacies; developing research practices; responding to and evaluating student writing; and cultivating teaching identities. The required work for this course includes active participation in class discussion, weekly readings, reading responses, and reflective teaching materials.

Division of Creative Writing Course Descriptions
FALL 2019

All courses in the creative writing series emphasize the student’s own work and are taught as workshops.  The classes have an enrollment limit of 18 to insure the maximum efficiency of the workshop and to permit adequate individual attention.  Class attendance and participation will be counted as an extremely important part of the course requirement.

500 THE CRAFT OF FICTION D. Wright, W 2-4:30 (45291)
               Area Requirement: MFA
Examination of the creative process of fiction from the perspectives of aesthetics and techniques, illustrated from the work of selected authors.

502 PROBLEMS IN POETRY WRITING Van Landingham M 2-4:30 (45292)
        Area Requirement: MFA
Examination of the creative process of poetry from the perspective of aesthetics and techniques, illustrated from the work of selected authors.

504 WRITING WORKSHOP IN FICTION Hassinger T 2-4:30 (45293)
        Directed individual projects, with group discussion in fiction.

506 WRITING WORKSHOP IN POETRY  Harrington, J R 2-4:30 (45294)
       Directed individual projects, with group discussion in poetry.

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