Graduate Courses - Spring 2023
ENGL 7106 Fiction Writing
J. Fawkes T 12-2:50
If you’re drawn to the place where “literary” and “genre” fiction collide, this class is for you. Through an examination of works by authors like Charles Yu, Rachel Ingalls, Colson Whitehead, Octavia Butler, Susanna Clarke, Toni Morrison, Alexander Chee, Patrick DeWitt, Shirley Jackson, and Percival Everett, as well as a close look at the concepts of defamiliarization and parody, we will explore the ways in which every text is a careful balance of formula and innovation. We will then use what we discover in the writing of our own fictions. Touching on “genre” as both a type of text (poem, novel, essay) and a catch-all term for formulaic prose (fantasy, sci-fi, romance), we will attempt to answer such questions as: is every story, at heart, a mystery?
ENGL 7009 Workshop: Writing Scripts for TV/Film
In this workshop, you’ll write a complete rough draft of a feature film or tv pilot. Each week we workshop/spitball pages (in about 15-page segments) using and learning story-building techniques/tools as we go. You will also discover format and structure as you write. Don’t worry if your story and characters change as you write, that’s the journey: evolving your story as this workshop revolves around it. In addition to working on your rough draft we may watch films or tv shows in class. Out of class, you’ll watch or read scripts then write short papers or PowerPoints on them (choosing your own topic). Please leave perfection expectations at home. This workshop is not about that. It’s about exploring and producing pages while finding your story’s home – its heartbeat- therefore, assignments may vary and change as your stories develop. I’m looking forward to all your stories!
ENGL 7050 Environment and Enlightenment: Verdure or Verge?
Writers of the “long” eighteenth century discovered “the environment.” They transformed the intuitive notion of our living place into the far more elaborate notion of a complex system where the story of life unfolds. Nature was re-conceived as a voluminous theater filled with overlapping plots. Unlike our own time, which privileges healthy or pleasing environments, the Enlightenment prized variety and extremity. The period abounds with portrayals of life amidst disasters, in faraway places, on the fringes of the cosmos, while a castaway, during natural disasters, in the backwoods, while wars or epidemics rage, within dungeons, underwater, atop volcanoes, underground, in cold, in heat, in darkness, and at high altitudes. This course will use Enlightenment renderings of extreme environments as windows on eighteenth-century art, literature, and thought. It will cover the full sweep of the “long” eighteenth century, drawing on both canonical and underappreciated work from 1650 through 1820.
ENGL 7221.001/CPLT 7120.001 Literature and Disability
R. Godden T 3-5:50
This course will introduce you to Disability Studies and to the study of disability in literature. We will consider varied representations of disability, including physical, cognitive, and sensory impairments. Often viewed merely as moral symbols or instances of sentimentality and pathos, we will explore how figures of disability challenge and interrogate such familiar concepts as normal or human. What do these terms mean? Who decides? We will pay special attention to how disability intersects with gender and race, and we will also examine related concepts, such as monstrosity and posthumanism. Readings will include literary texts and selections from theoretical texts.
ENGL 7221.002 Critical University Studies: Academia and Institutional Life
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 fictions that reflect and shape academia, from classic nineteenth-century novels through contemporary narratives such as Jennine Capó Crucet's Make Your Home among Strangers and Bradford Taylor's Real Life.
ENGL/LING 7714 Multilingualism: Sociocultural Value and Uses
This graduate seminar uses the tools of sociolinguistics to study the use of multiple languages and language dialects in a range of applications and cultural contexts. We will discuss the functions of multi-language use, its effects on audiences, and negotiations of its social value in communicative interactions. We will learn and develop tools for linguistic analysis of multilanguage use in speech and writing, including non-mainstream dialects (e.g., Cajun English and Cajun French, African American English), functions and structures of code switching, interaction theories, audience perceptions, and more. We will also read texts and critical articles about the issues surrounding multilanguage use in public and professional spheres, including literature, educational policies, work spaces, and more. Finally, we will work together as each student applies these tools to develop their own original research project in linguistics, literary study, creative writing, education, speech communication, language policies, etc.
ENGL 7920 Dissertation Workshop
The Dissertation Writing Workshop is for PhD students at a variety of levels, but having passed your general exams or working currently on your dissertation prospectus is a requirement. At the beginning of the semester, each student will choose of one of the following three goals: completing your dissertation prospectus, completing a new chapter of your dissertation, or transforming a dissertation chapter into an article. Over the course of the semester, your classmates and I will workshop your work and provide constructive feedback. We will also study a variety of exemplary models of academic writing in order to think about what makes a good chapter, a good book, etc. The course will also discuss writing strategies in order to help each student achieve their goals. It is important to note that this course will be pass/fail.
ENGL 7971 Sexual Modernity and the Southern Plantation
M. Bibler W 12:30-3:20
This course explores questions of sexual “modernity” in relation to the history, literature, and myth of the (U.S.) southern plantation. We will read literary works from the pre-Civil War era to the present, focusing especially on representations of queer and normative forms of gender, sexuality, and race. We will pair these literary readings with critical and theoretical works that will help us craft a better understanding of the fields of queer theory, queer-of-color critique, and the history of sexuality, as well as theories and criticism pertaining to the plantation as a literary, economic, racial, colonial, national, and environmental construct. How is sexuality linked to the concept of modernity? What kinds of sexuality count as “modern”? How is the idea of sexual modernity linked to what Amy Clukey has called “plantation modernity”? What is the role of the plantation in shaping modernity as well as the epoch of the “Plantationocene”? How do race and gender shape plantation sexualities? How does sexuality shape both racial oppression and resistance? Primary readings may include works by Edgar Allan Poe, Ellen Glasgow, Pauline Hopkins, Arna Bontemps, William Faulkner, Robert Jones Jr., Kate Chopin, and/or Sherley Anne Williams.
ENGL 7983/CPLT 7140 Empathy and Postcolonial Fiction: Otherness, Ethics, Affect
This course will explore how postcolonial fiction engages the ethical and affective ambiguities of empathy. Reading fiction by writers such as Aminatta Forna, Chris Abani, Hisham Matar, J.M. Coetzee, Kamila Shamsie, Mirza Waheed, and Yaa Gyasi, we will ask: what role does empathy play in discourses of otherness, othering, universalism, and essentialization? How does empathy interact with different affects and emotions to shape one’s relationships with others and oneself? How does postcolonial fiction evoke readers’ empathic responses, and how does it attune readers to the ethical and political implications of those responses? In addition to studying focused works on empathy, we will read theoretical texts across the fields of postcolonial studies, affect studies, and literary ethics; the reading list may include texts by Achille Mbembe, Ato Quayson, Frantz Fanon, Jacques Derrida, Gayatri Spivak, Leela Gandhi, Sara Ahmed, and Sianne Ngai.