Graduate Courses - Fall 2020
MFA Workshops/Forms Courses
ENGL 7006 - Fiction Workshop
12:30 – 3:20 W
This seminar will follow the familiar format of workshop. Students will submit fiction for workshop (3 fictions OR 2 fictions and a revision of one of those fictions), write short responses to their peers' fictions, and participate in workshop discussion. This workshop will be structured in a flexible format that accommodates students writing short stories, novels, story cycles, and hybrid works. In addition to workshop, each student will choose a short story (or article/interview/craft essay/novel excerpt) published within the last two years for class discussion and lead the discussion of their selected text.
Approximate weekly reading load and content: Students will read two student fictions each week (approximately 15-20 pages per submission) and the text chosen by that week's discussion leader (no more than 25 pages).
Anticipated assignments: 3 Fictions (page length will depend on student's current project, but usually fall between 7-20 pages)
ENGL 7008/THTR 7008 - Dramawriting
3:30 – 6:20 M
A playwriting workshop designed to expand the student’s creative imagination, desires and opportunities of writing for the theatre stage; an organic process resulting in the writing of two one-acts or a full-length. All plays will be read and critiqued in class; no requirement of a formal playwriting experience.
ENGL 7107 – Poetics of the Archive
3:00 – 5:50 T
What do we treasure and what do we trash? Ideas about the transient and the durable form the basis of our value system, structuring our relationship to the realities we attempt to hold onto or reject. Archives preserve against loss and construct cultural memory, while the dump or landfill becomes the site of all we want to forget or ignore—but anyone can tell you how thin the line is, as the song says, between love and hate. Assigned texts addressed to or emerging from dump and archive (think “The Wasteland,” Precis, Under Flag, and Zong!) will ground a productive creative exploration of questions of memory and forgetting over the course of the term.
Approximate weekly reading load and content: 3-5 book-length poems based on archival materials: including ZONG! ARK HIVE, &and 7 American Deaths and Disasters; 20 or so poems from a variety of poets, and some criticism / nonfiction including Farge's The Allure of the Archive.
Anticipated assignments: Students would be required to produce at least 20-30 pages of poetry over the course of the semester, and they would be expected to revise initial drafts in response to criticism working toward the goal of publication.
ENGL 7020 – Proseminar in Graduate Study
6:30 – 9:20N W
Required seminar for students entering the MA and PhD graduate study program. This course introduces English graduate students to the profession of literary and cultural criticism. We will survey various theoretical and methodological approaches as well as an assortment of fields within the discipline, focusing on the practical production of scholarship. We will learn how to use digital databases and physical archives. We will cover how to make a strong critical argument (analyzing and interpreting primary texts of various kinds; synthesizing secondary materials; finding, selecting, and presenting evidence; situating research within appropriate fields; documenting research; and honing prose). We’ll talk about reading, research, and writing processes. We’ll discuss what to expect in your graduate program and how best to succeed in it. We will work on adjusting to the profession: learning academic etiquette; writing conference proposals; presenting conference papers; organizing conference panels; writing book reviews; submitting articles to journals; seeking grants and other opportunities; fostering collaboration through reading and writing groups; balancing teaching, research, and service; exploring time and stress management; setting a timeline for conference and publication goals; using course work to prepare for the general exams and the dissertation; and using your graduate training to prepare for diverse careers.
ENGL 7030 – Arthurian Literature
12:00 – 2:50 T
Love, betrayal, war, giants, fairy queens, Christmas games, the search for the magical and for the divine. These are only some of the elements that make up the rich and varied tapestry of Arthur, his queen Guinevere, the sorcerer Merlin, and knights like Lancelot, Gawain, Galahad, and Percival. Arguably the most popular story in the Middle Ages (and beyond), the exploits of Arthur not only entertained and captivated many, but also served as a narrative canvas for exploring the relationship to the past, the problems of the present, and the hopes for the future. We will explore the Celtic roots of the Arthur myth, and we will read widely in the both the French and English traditions of what can be called The Matter of Britain. We will consider the historical underpinnings of chivalry and the social and cultural contexts which produced chivalric literature, and we will also explore how Arthurian literature provides an intriguing opportunity to interrogate diverse theoretical and critical questions such as the construction of the subject, the relation to the nonhuman world, embodied difference, and much more.
Approximate weekly reading load and content: Generally one literary text plus two critical essays/chapters.
Anticipated assignments: A presentation of a primary source, nine Moodle forum posts of 300-400 words each, a 1-2 page research prospectus, an annotated bibliography, and a seminar paper of approximately 6000 words. Throughout our semester together, each seminar participant will develop a set of portable academic skills, including leading discussion, presenting academic papers, teaching undergraduates, developing a theoretical vocabulary, conducting research and writing for an academic audience.
ENGL 7221.001 – Critical University Studies: Academia and Institutional Life
12:30 – 3:20 M
In Discipline and Punish, Michel Foucault identified prisons, hospitals, and schools as disciplinary institutions. We rarely acknowledge post-secondary education as one of those institutions, however, more often assuming an ideal closer to the "dreaming spires" of Christminster in Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure to which individuals of merit can aspire. In this seminar, we're going to distance ourselves from this deeply familiar culture and re-frame our understanding of the university through historical, social, and theoretical analyses, with particular attention to the roles of women, under-represented minorities, and the working class. These analyses will range from John Newman's The Idea of a University through contemporary Critical University Studies such as Herb Childress's The Adjunct Underclass. We'll also explore texts that reflect and shape academia, whether Kingsley Amis's classic Lucky Jim, Zadie Smith's On Beauty, or Jorge Cham's Piled Higher and Deeper.
Approximate weekly reading load and content: Extensive (but great) reading that will be the equivalent of a novel or critical study every week.
Anticipated assignments: Anticipated assignments include reading journals, 3 one-page, single-spaced essays, 3750-5000 word final essay, and class presentation. Modified final project option available for M.F.A. students.
ENGL 7221.002 – Marx and 21st-century Marxist Theory
12:00 – 3:20 Th
The course offers an advanced introduction to historical materialism. About a quarter of the semester will be devoted to the foundational works of Marx and Engels, the remainder to selected later--and mostly quite recent--Marxist theorists like Adorno, Marcuse, Badiou, Zizek, Jameson, Jodi Dean, Mark Fisher, and Nina Power. Classes will be divided between formal student presentations and (mostly) general discussions in which everyone will be expected to participate.
Approximate weekly reading load and content: The weekly reading load will vary--with fewer pages assigned of the more difficult texts--but should average between 100 and 200 pages of theoretical prose. For example, one week might be devoted to half of Badiou's ETHICS, another to the entirety of Marcuse's AN ESSAY ON LIBERATION.
Anticipated assignments: Each student will be required to deliver two 20-30-minute formal oral presentations, and to write a full-length term essay of about 6000-9000 words (with the option, for those who prefer it, of writing two shorter essays). It is hoped that ALL student work will be highly creative, but a "creative option" in the narrow sense can be a possibility in some cases.
ENGL 7321: Readings (with) Eve Sedgwick
3:00 – 5:50 Th
“What does it mean to fall in love with a writer?” When Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick posed this question in Touching Feeling (2002), she could hardly have been thinking (too modest for that) of the innumerable readers who loved her—whose lives had been, and would yet be, irrevocably changed by her pioneering work in queer theory, her experimental and often quite personal literary criticism, and her exhilarating explorations of affect. In this class, while keeping this question of love in mind, we’ll read Sedgwick and read with Sedgwick. The class will be an exercise in reading closely together, and it will also serve as an introduction to this most lovingly difficult of theorists--a thinker whose complexity is belied by the apparent obviousness of her first and most challenging axiom in Epistemology of the Closet (1990), “People are different from each other.”
Approximate weekly reading load and content: Roughly 50-75 pages of critical theory per week, occasionally paired with a novel, play, or poems. Readings will range across Sedgwick’s oeuvre—from the early Between Men and Epistemology of the Closet to her final collection, The Weather in Proust, plus some of her poetry and textile art—plus literary texts that Sedgwick wrote about (Shakespeare’s sonnets, Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest), writings about Sedgwick (by Lauren Berlant, Judith Butler, and others), and texts that inform our understanding of her work (by Freud, Klein, Tomkins).
Anticipated assignments: brief daily journals; 2- to 3-page weekly writings; 15-page critical and/or creative final writing project.
ENGL 7915: Teaching College Composition
9:00 – 10:30 T Th (Sec.2)
10:30 – 12:00 T Th (Sec. 1)
Prereq: Students must be graduate teaching assistants in the English Department or have permission of instructor.
Course is designed for graduate students teaching in the First-Year Writing program. Theoretical and pedagogical issues in the teaching of college writing.
ENGL 7920 – Dissertation Workshop
3:00 – 5:50 T
This course is for ABD students: Ph.D. students who have passed their exams and are working on their dissertations. The course is Pass/Fail, and you must complete all assigned work to receive a Pass. The course aims to help you become more productive and efficient in writing your dissertation. It also encourages you to develop writing and project-completion habits that will stand you in good stead whether in an academic career or other career paths. Through presenting, receiving, and giving feedback on work in progress, you will maintain steady progress on your dissertation while also working toward publication in a number of venues, including scholarly journals.
ENGL 7971 - Plantationocene
3:30 – 6:20 W
This course explores recent theories of "the Plantationocene" as an epoch akin to the Anthropocene with a particular focus on the interconnections among settler colonialism, African slavery, and the extractive techniques of plantation monocultures (cotton, sugar, etc.) in the U.S. South. While most theories of the Plantationocene are built on readings of contemporary literature, film, and culture, this course asks what early literature of the 19th century can teach us about the Plantationocene that current scholarship may have missed. We will read plantation novels, ex-slave narratives, frontier humor of the "old Southwest," Indigenous writing and culture, and naturalist writing, focusing primarily on the region we call the U.S. South, but also including the Caribbean.
Approximate weekly reading load and content: Weekly critical and historical readings and "literary" works--primarily fiction--either weekly or spread over two weeks (depending on length)
Anticipated assignments: Short essay(s), response papers, presentations, a syllabus, creative option for MFA students.
ENGL 7981: International Modernisms: Poetry of the Avant-Garde
6:00 – 8:50N TH
As critic Peter Nicholls observes, enthusiasm for all things post-modern has often produced a caricature of Modernism as monolithic and reactionary. It can be argued, however, that the distinctive feature of Modernism is its striking formal diversity. Focusing on poetry, this course will take up the explosive variety of literary movements that characterize the Modern period. Starting with the French Symbolists, we will survey the poetic practices of Futurism, Expressionism, Cubism, Dada, and Surrealism—movements that will allow us to experience Anglo-American Modernism in an entirely different light. We will also explore the connections between new stylistic innovations and the shifting discourses around gender, sex, race, disability, nationalism, and class revolution. For context, we will also read manifestos, view slides of Modernist and avant-garde art, examine collaborative artists’ books, and watch several short films, including Luis Buñuel’s Un Chien Andalou and René Clair’s Entr’acte.
Approximate weekly reading load and content: On average, students can anticipate reading selections from two or three collections of poetry per week, supplemented with several essays to provide historical and theoretical context. Poets we will read include Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbuad, Stephan Mallarme, Guillaume Apollinaire, Blaise Cendrars, Gertrude Stein, F. T. Marinetti, Mina Loy, Baroness Else von Freytag-Loringhoven, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Velimir Khlebnikov, Tristan Tzara, Kurt Schwitters, T. S. Eliot, Jean Toomer, Ezra Pound, Langston Hughes, Djuna Barnes, William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore, André Breton, Aimé Cesaire, Cesar Vallejo, and Antonin Artaud.
Anticipated assignments: Students will be responsible for keeping a journal of informal responses to weekly readings and will also make a class presentation. Students may choose to pursue either a critical or creative project for their final project