Course Descriptions—Graduate Studies

DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH
400- thru 500-Level Literature
Course Descriptions

FALL 2018

402 1U/1G DESCRIPTIVE ENGLISH GRAMMAR, Baron, D. MW 1230-145  CRN 34483 
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.

404 ENGL GRAMMAR FOR ESL TEACHERS  CRN 62761
       Same as EIL 422. See EIL 422.
Area Requirement: None

418 1U/1G SHAKESPEARE, Perry.  TR 2-315  CRN 40436 
Area Requirement: British, 1485-1660 & MFA Lit     
Survey of the plays and poems of William Shakespeare. Reading assignments will reflect the generic diversity and historical breadth of Shakespeare's work. 3 1U/1G MILTON, Gray. TR 11-1215  CRN 40365

Area Requirement: British, 1485-1660 & MFA Lit  

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.

441 1U/1G BRIT LIT 1900-1930, Gaedtke. TR 1230-145  CRN 49201
       TOPIC: Literature of War: Disability, Gender, and Modernism
Area Requirement: British, 1900 to Present & MFA Lit

Modern British culture was forever transformed by The Great War. Thousands of soldiers returned from the front physically and emotional disabled, resulting in new conceptions of the body, mind, and masculinity. Efforts to explain and treat these soldiers included new theories of psychic life, and modern literature was altered by its fascination with these new theories. The war effort also enlisted the labor of women in ways that transformed gender roles, and these changes would become sources of excitement and uncertainty for many works of modern fiction and poetry. This course will examine the fascinating forms of literary experimentation that emerged in order to represent and manage the experiences of anxiety, trauma, and loss of World War I. The turn toward stream of consciousness narration during this time can be understood as an attempt to render these lived experiences. As a result of the war, poetry would never look or sound the same. We will combine our readings in modernist literature with work in trauma studies, disability studies, and medical humanities, and we will conclude the semester by reading a more recent novel written about the lived experiences of The Great War in the style of modernist fiction. While reconstructing the traumatic era of modernism, we will ask reflexive questions about the limits of remembering in literature and history. Readings will likely include works by Rebecca West, Virginia Woolf, Ford Madox Ford, T.S. Eliot, Mina Loy, Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, Wyndham Lewis, Sigmund Freud, W. H. Rivers, and Pat Barker.

451 1U/1G AMERICAN LITERATURE IN THE AGE OF MODERNISM , Parker. MWF 10-1050  CRN 40398
Area Requirement: Later American, Civil War to Present & MFA Lit

This course will sample American literary writing from between the world wars, closely studying individual writings and their roles in literary and cultural tradition. Along the way, we will ponder literary responses to changing gender and race relations, World War I, the roaring twenties, and the Great Depression. We will also consider the growth of Modernism and its revolutions in literary form as well as the relation between experiments in literary form and the era’s social and political conservatisms and radicalisms. We will read fiction by some of the most celebrated writers in American literature—Ernest Hemingway (short stories), F. Scott Fitzgerald (short stories), William Faulkner (The Sound and the Fury)—as well as equally amazing novels and stories by less canonized or more recently canonized writers, including Nella Larsen’s Passing, Dorothy Parker’s short stories, Anita Loos’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, short fiction by Bruce Nugent, Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon, and Carson McCullers’ The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. We will also read a greatest hits selection of a wide variety of poems by H.D., William Carlos Williams, Marianne Moore, Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Wallace Stevens, and others. (These examples provide only a tentative list, but the list gives a picture of the course-plan in progress.) This course offers you the chance to read one of the stunningly great but forbiddingly difficult works in American literature—The Sound and the Fury—in the helpful company of others working it through with you, but be prepared to work hard and read it twice (if you have not read it before), as it makes far more sense on a second reading. Take this course only if you plan to attend class regularly and join actively in class discussion.

452 1U/1G THE POSTWAR ERA AND CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN LIT, Hunt. MWF 2-250  CRN 64568
Area Requirement: Later American, Civil War to Present & MFA Lit

Examines American literature from the end of WWII to today, an era when U.S. society, politics, and culture came under pressure from such upheavals as the feminist movement, the Civil Rights movement, the Cold War, Vietnam, and the rise of neoliberalism—all of them occurring under the ever-present threat of nuclear annihilation. While writers struggled with the changes and dangers of a nation and world in such unprecedented flux, the poetry, plays, fiction, memoirs, and films they produced in response to this new precariousness forged a fertile artistic moment, in popular literature that sustained previous traditions (in realism, science fiction, children's literature, and romance) and in an avant-garde opposed to all forms of social and literary conformity. Writers studied might include Gwendolyn Brooks, David Pyncheon, Amiri Baraka, David Foster Wallace, Toni Morrison, Tony Kushner, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Alice Walker.

455 1U/1G MAJOR AUTHORS, Pritchard. TR 2-315  CRN 40444
Area Requirement: Later American, Civil War to Present & MFA Lit
This course will focus on the major African-American writer Audre Lorde.     

470 1U/1G MODERN AFRICAN FICTION, Basu, M. MWF 10-1050  CRN 36665         
     
same as AFST 410, CWL 410, FR 410
Area Requirement: Anglophone Literature & MFA Lit

Modern African fiction is the fiction of a continent that includes many nation-states, languages, and ethnicities. It is therefore by no means a homogenous entity, and in many ways our course attempts to express this very diversity through a reading of texts from Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Egypt, South Africa, and Sudan. At the same time however, “Modern African Fiction” also endeavors to highlight the connections and links between representative writings from different regions of the continent. Indeed, the term modern calls for precisely such an inter-connected understanding. After all the regions we somewhat loosely group together 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. To follow these twists and turns, we will not only read through a wide array of fictional material, but also through a range of critical essays that demonstrate how questions of colonialism, modernity, feminism, nationalism, and literature/culture converge upon one another. You will notice right away that we are not following a necessarily chronological approach in our reading of this literature, but rather one that allows us to foreground the above thematic connections. That is, summarizing the plot of the texts will not be the work of this class. Our texts will resist this kind of reading in favor of an investigation that asks how the mechanics and structures of language weave an intricate tapestry in which texts refer to each other, dialogue with each other and speak back to each other. At the end of this course, students should not only be familiar with symptomatic texts of African literature, but also should be able to read, write, and, think about these texts in an insightful manner, concentrating on developing abilities such as close-reading, comparative analysis, and argumentative logic. Finally, students should also be able to move outwards and to broaden the horizons of interpretation by allowing the close reading of an individual text to be informed by readings of social structures and political-cultural events.

475 1U/1G LIT AND OTHER DISCIPLINES, Cole. TR 930-1045  CRN 49208
        TOPIC: Literature, Medicine, Ecology
Area Requirement: Later American, Civil War to Present & MFA Lit

Advanced topics seminar exploring the intersection of literary study and other scholarly disciplines. The disciplines students study vary each term, but past courses have examined connections between literature and psychology, forensic science, environmental studies, and the law.

477 ADVANCED ENVIRONMENTAL WRITING, Schaffner. MW 11-1215  CRN 69327
       Same asESE 477
Area Requirement: None

In 2018, reaching an audience interested in environmental issues means creating compelling texts for an array of print and online platforms. Students in this course will write short articles, record podcasts, make videos, craft memes, and author multimodal texts. Come prepared to conduct research both in archives and the field as you create dynamic and compelling stories about environmental issues. We will pay close attention to the local, studying the ecological footprint of the U of I Campus and high-stakes environmental issues in the local community. Students from across campus are encouraged to enroll.

481 1U/1G COMP THEORY AND PRACTICE, Schaffner. MW 2-315  CRN 40460
Area Requirement: None

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 middle- and high-school: Why teach writing? What is academic writing good for? Is there such a thing as good writing? Are phones good writing machines? Do writing pedagogies privilege certain people? This course is designed with future language arts teachers in mind, so you'll complete the class ready to: design compelling assignments that challenge your students, respond effectively to student writing, create thoughtful 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 school.

482 WRITING TECHNOLOGIES, Gallagher. MW 2-315  CRN 40463
       TOPIC: Writing and Rhetoric in an Age of Algorithms
Area Requirement: None

What is an algorithm? How do algorithms affect us? How is our writing inextricably tied to algorithms?This course responds to these questions by examining the role of algorithms in digital contexts such as social media. It asks students to consider the ways that algorithms play a role in their lives, both culturally and economically. Assignments include critiquing an algorithm, redesigning a writing interface, and writing a paper drawing on course texts and outside research. This course is designed as a cultural investigation into algorithms and therefore does not require any coding background.

500 INTRO TO CRITICISM & RESEARCH, Koshy. W 3-450  CRN 30190
Area Requirement: Critical Theory
Introductory graduate course in methods and techniques in research and literary criticism. This course also requires attendance at a weekly series of critical theory lectures organized by the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory.

505 WRITING STUDIES, Prior. W 1-250  CRN 35705
       TOPIC: An Introduction to Theory, Research, and Practice
Area Requirement: Writing Studies
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 to help students 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 also select, explore and write on an issue central to their own interests in greater depth.

514 SEMINAR IN MEDIEVAL LITERATURE, Barrett. W 1-250  CRN 39510
       TOPIC: Ecocriticism and Early English Drama
Area Requirement: British, Beginning to 1485 & MFA Lit
This seminar surveys early English drama through an ecological lens, exploring the enmeshment of nature and culture on public and private stages in the three centuries leading up to the closing of the theatres in 1642. We’ll begin with the transcorporeality of Christian psychomachia in the early fifteenth-century Castle of Perseverance and end with the enclosure and privatization of common green spaces in Richard Brome’s 1635 Sparagus Garden. In between we’ll consider such topics as agency and ecofeminism (e.g., the N-Town Mary plays and William Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor), ecological apocalypse (e.g., the York Last Judgment play, John Lyly’s Galatea, and Thomas Nashe’s Summer’s Last Will and Testament), environmental justice and race (e.g., John Rastell’s Play of the Four Elements and Ben Jonson’s Masque of Blackness), and the oceanic “blue humanities” (e.g., the Digby Mary Magdalene and John Fletcher and Philip Massinger’s Sea Voyage). Other topics will emerge over the course of the semester—I certainly intend to work a Harawayan approach to critters into our discussions whenever possible, and student interests will formally become part of the class through the regular composition and publication of brief Instigator posts on the course website. Finally, I will be breaking the usual Seminar Paper assignment into two stages for easier handling: students will first generate a proposal for workshopping in class during the week before Thanksgiving Break and then write an essay based not only on their research but on the feedback their proposal received from their peers.

527 SEMINAR IN 18TH C LITERATURE. Nazar. R 1-250  CRN 46745
       TOPIC: Feminism and Liberalism in the Enlightenment
Area Requirement: British, 1600-1800 & MFA Lit
The question of the relationship between feminism and liberalism remains hotly contested in contemporary critical and social theory. Are feminism and liberalism natural allies or foes? Do they imply subject-centered politics in equal, and equally oppressive, ways? How should we interpret their claims of representativeness? This seminar seeks to put these informing concerns of the contemporary humanities into historical perspective by examining the coterminous development of feminism and liberalism during the Enlightenment. While the words “feminism” and “liberalism” did not come into circulation until the nineteenth century, the conceptual groundwork for both movements was laid in the long eighteenth century. And their conceptual beginnings entailed extensive mutual engagement, through both dissent and agreement. Hence, if Mary Astell’s Reflections upon Marriage (1700) instantiated early feminism (or proto-feminism) as a rejoinder to Locke’s assumption of “natural liberty” in the Two Treatises of Government (1689)— “If all Men are born free, how is it that all Women are born slaves?”—Locke’s own rejoinder to Robert Filmer’s absolutist Patriarcha (1680) required a seemingly feminist revision of the Eve narrative of Genesis. This seminar explores how gender is figured in early liberal writings, especially by John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and how the liberal rhetoric of rights, justice, liberty, and self-government is taken up and revised in the work of feminist theorists such as Mary Astell, Catharine Macaulay, and Mary Wollstonecraft, as well as novelists such as Eliza Haywood, Samuel Richardson, and Sarah Scott. We will conclude by considering the implications for our current understandings of gender and the sexual contract of the Enlightenment’s often contentious, but always intriguing, exchange between early feminists and liberals. The course is designed to be of interest not only to students of eighteenth-century literature and culture but also to anyone interested in gender theory and theories of sovereignty, consent, and representative government.

553 SEMINAR LATER AMERICAN LIT, Hutner. M 12-150  CRN 32356
Area Requirement: Later American, Civil War to Present & MFA Lit
The new topic is Very Recent US Fiction.  We will be discussing major novels from 2015, '16, and '17  and tracing some of the dominant forms of the most contemporary fiction as well as analyzing their thematic concerns, historical consciousness, political engagements, and social preoccupations.  The class will discuss some of the more familiar novelists of our time as well as newer ones. Some of the writers on our syllabus include Colson Whitehead, Jesmyn Ward, Mohsin Hamed, Viet Nguyen, Jennifer Egan, Louise Erdrich, and Adam Johnson.

The course will take shape by closely studying  six representative texts, novels chosen for the representative currency they enjoy.  During the early weeks of the course, students will commit to writing a research paper that can take one of three forms:  (a) a synoptic reading of two or three novels related to a class text; (b) a study of one of our class texts within that author's oeuvre; (c) a historical analysis of a novel, not among our class texts, from the same three years.  (Students interested in contemporary fiction other than American may find this to be an especially attractive feature of the course.) 

These seminar papers will be prepared through various stages of the semester rather than at the close.  We will be reading them as a class to develop ideas about what goes into writing a critical essay and preparing such essays for article publication.  Students from previous classes have had excellent success under this format and have sometimes had their essays accepted by journals.    Although not every paper will becomes an article, many students believe that they develop  a much stronger understanding of what goes into making their future work publishable as a result of the course workshop.  Our format is very similar to the publication  seminar I sometimes offer as a four-week summer seminar, so this class also may be of interest to students who are unable to take that course.

The class enrollment will dictate the number of oral presentations that students will make, but, ideally, students should count on making two different kinds of presentation during the first half of the course.

563 SEMINAR THEMES AND MOVEMENTS, Gaedtke. R 3-450 CRN 39513
       TOPIC: Neurodiversity, Self-Narration, and The (Post-)Human
Area Requirement: British, 1900 to Present & MFA Lit
Many recent works of fiction, memoir, and theory attempt to represent the lived experiences of neurologically atypical or disabled subjects. Some of these works tacitly assume that discursive self-representation performs essential functions such as construction, maintenance, or repair of subjectivity; other theorists, such as the philosopher Galen Strawson and medical humanities scholar Angela Woods, have raised interesting challenges to these assumptions. This seminar will examine these debates by asking in what ways categories such as “subject,” “person,” and “human” are thought to be underwritten by a capacity to give an account of oneself, and what might count as such an “account.” We will examine recent examples of fiction and memoirs of neurological difference such autism, schizophrenia, and brain trauma in light of recent work in medical humanities, disability studies, philosophy of mind, and psychiatry that address the politics and aesthetics of neurodiversity. We will also consider how theories of “the posthuman” might transform many assumptions about cognitive and affective difference. Might our understandings of disability or difference change if prosthesis is no longer regarded as an exceptional, minoritizing condition but as the norm? What role can the study of language, literature, and narration play in these debates? Readings will likely include works by Siri Hustvedt, Will Self, Mark Haddon, Elyn Saks, Richard Powers, Ian McEwan, Tito Mukhopadhyay, Rita Charon, Nikolas Rose, Michael Bérubé, Judith Butler, Katherine Hayles, Angela Woods, Galen Strawson, Jason Tougaw, and others.

581 SEMINAR LITERARY THEORY, Basu, A. T 1-250  CRN 30196
       TOPIC: Sovereignty, Liberal Crisis, and Decisionism
Area Requirement: Critical Theory
The world today is marked by a general anxiety about the political legacy of liberalism. There has been a rise in unflinching nativisms of both blood and soil varieties -- jus sanguinis as well as jus soli. Isolationist fantasies, militant sub-nationalisms, crises of post-colonial nation states, rise of authoritarian populists, and a range of murderous fundamentalisms have posed serious thymotic challenges to the once new world order. These circumstances seem to have called for a rethink the Nazi jurist Carl Schmitt’s famous postulate: that all modern political concepts were transposed theological ones. The modern state, with its artifice of reason can be rendered possible only after what he calls the concept of the ‘political’ has been settled and protected from alien incursions. Schmitt would therefore argue that India can be a functional liberal democracy only after it is comfortably Hindu in an originary political sense and the United States can ‘return’ to a state of vanilla Rawlsian peace only after the country has been made WASP again.

Keeping these questions about sovereignty, religion, self, and contemporary authoritarian temptation in mind, this class intends to visit some key texts in western political philosophy and jurisprudence. We will read excerpts from or entire classic texts like Hobbes (Leviathan), Machiavelli (Discourses), Hegel (Philosophy of Rights), Kant (Selected essays), Locke (On Toleration), Marx (18th Brumaire, Jewish Question), and Mill (Liberty and Representative Government). We will follow them up with twentieth century authors like Schmitt (Concept of the Political, Political Theology), Arendt (Origins of Totalitarianism), Strauss (Natural Rights and History), Adorno (excerpts from the Authoritarian Personality), Foucault (Society Must be Defended) and seminal essays and notes by Walter Benjamin and Antonio Gramsci. Students will be expected to do occasional presentations in class, maintain a journal of observations, and write a 20-30 page term paper on a topic of their choice, preferably related to their research. 

584 TOPICS DISCOURSE AND WRITING, Prendergast. R 1-250  CRN 39504
        Same as CI 569
        TOPIC: Economies of Literacy
Area Requirement: Writing Studies
You lived the practice during the strike, now read the theory. This course presents the opportunity to examine the conversation between two domains of knowledge: economics and literacy studies. Economic theory has long influenced research in literacy. Similarly, economics is filled with metaphors that speak of literacy. We will read classic texts in literacy studies with and against texts in economics that inform them, are misused by them, and/or that they could inform. In addition to course readings, students will serve as collectors of economic theory (either by sitting in on an economics lecture on campus or joining a MOOC) and will bring that knowledge back to the class. Students will have choice in devising their final project for the class, whether a traditional seminar paper, or proposal for further study.

593 PROFESSIONAL SEMINAR COLLEGE TCHING, McDuffie. T 930-1150  CRN 32361
       TOPIC:  Seminar in Pedagogy and 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.

DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH
Division of Creative Writing
Course Descriptions
FALL 2018

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, Shakar.  M 5-6:50 CRN 45291
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, Harrington. W 1-250 CRN 45292
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, Wright, D. W 3-450 CRN 45293
Directed individual projects, with group discussion in fiction.

506 WRITING WORKSHOP IN POETRY, Madonick. R 3-5:50 CRN 45294      
Directed individual projects, with group discussion in poetry.

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