Graduate Seminars

Click on a title for a description box to show, or view listing of all courses for the Spring 2019/Fall 2019.  All students must receive permission from the instructor and/or the Graduate English Office in order to enroll. To officially register for the course, please use the PeopleSoft Class Number (PSC#) in parenthesis.  Registration through PeopleSoft starts on Monday, October 22, 2018.


Spring 2019 Seminars

ENGL 5160-0 (class#11319) PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: (Ford Smith):  This seminar provides the space and opportunity to discuss the contours and direction of your intellectual career at UConn and beyond. Our work will balance theoretical and practical approaches to academia and their intersections. Throughout the semester, we will discuss larger issues and questions about the profession, such as the myriad cultures of academia, the politics of diversity and difference in university settings, the role of humanities in the corporate university, and the changing nature of the job market for English PhDs, including opportunities in alt-ac employment. We also will develop concrete strategies to navigate the professional expectations that underpin a career in literary studies: writing and publishing in scholarly journals, responding to revise-and-resubmit reports (which will include some vital talk about failing in academia), locating and working in archives, presenting and networking at conferences, thinking strategically about your research and teaching agenda, applying for grants and fellowships, composing instrumental documents such as CVs and research statements, reviewing articles and books, writing letters of recommendation, and designing effective and relevant upper-level syllabi. Participants will be expected to engage in class discussion and complete a series of writing assignments and workshops, most geared toward producing a publishable scholarly article.
ENGL 5650-01 (class#17316) INTRO TO DIGITAL HUMANITIES:  (Igarashi):  This introduction to the “digital humanities” (“DH” for short) focuses on DH in the context of literary study as a discipline, DH’s contributions to our understanding of literary history, and the theoretical questions occasioned by this new field. An introduction to selected DH tools and methods will supplement our weekly readings on the above topics. There are no prerequisites for this course, and seminar requirements will include shorter written assignments and a presentation, leading up to a seminar paper or final project. This seminar counts toward the “Digital Humanities and Media Studies” graduate certificate.
ENGL 6290-01 (class # ) NON-FICTION PROSE: (Brueggemann): Narrative and Documentary in Disability, Disease, and Illness” takes as its intersected major methods and squared theoretical foundations the following:
• Critical Disability studies and theory;
• The new(er) field of “narrative medicine”;
• Trauma (as it intersects with the experience of disability, disease, illness) and its literary representations, particularly in non-fiction forms;
• Literature and human rights.This course will engage narrative and documentary that is not necessarily limited to (but definitely still including) the U.S. (as well as the “the Western hemisphere”). The texts of this course will, in sum, be global. Course texts will include:
(1) NARRATIVE (memoir, personal essay, letters, blogposts, graphic fiction/non-fiction, interviews, and Op-Ed series like the New York Times “disability” series now with over 50 entries:;
(2) DOCUMENTARY FILMS (of many varying lengths); and
(3) CRITICAL/THEORETICAL (secondary) texts that might help frame the narratives and documentaries. The intent here is not to freeze-frame certain texts with certain theories or ways of reading but to offer a persistently toggled and braided account of possible primary texts with critical approaches and secondary texts.Interdependence and collaboration marks and makes the landscape of disability, disease, illness.
As such, for course activities and assignments, participants would be asked to:Compose approximately 5 brief (250-300 word) responses (could done as a blog, etc.)
–OR a 10-15 page conference paper presentation
–OR a 5-10 min. documentary/video production or podcast
–OR other multimodal and multimedia forms are invited
–Choices will depend on what each student most wants to gain from the class experience in relation to their own professional plans.
Carry out one collaborative class leadership session
Complete one collaborative piece of writing with classmates
Final Highlights Reel of work in the course (5-8 mins)For further information about likely texts and course activities, please contact:
ENGL 6310-01 (class#17317) SEMINAR IN BEOWULF:  (Biggs):  English literature begins or—and this is even cooler—probably begins with a monstrously difficult text that would justify learning a new language and becoming immersed in the rapidly changing histories of at least five interrelated cultures—the Christian Romans, the Celts, the Norse, the Carolingians, and the Normans—even if it were not just a tenth of the immediate and equally fascinating poetic corpus that surrounds it. You may think you know this poem, but once you have read it in the original you will see how much more remains to be learned about it. Over the semester, we will translate the entire work while introducing the major scholarly discussions of it. Class presentations. Final exam. Research paper.
ENGL 6325-01 (class#17319) SEMINAR IN RENAISSANCE: THE EARLY MODERN SCIENTIFIC IMAGINATION:  (Sarkar): This course will (a) introduce graduate students to epistemological traditions that flourished across “scientific” and “literary” forms of writing around the time of the so-called “Scientific Revolution” and (b) expose them to key theoretical and conceptual issues in the dynamic trans-historical scholarly field of “Literature and Science.” We will look closely at evolving theories and practices in natural philosophy, experimentation, mathematics, “secrets” or occult knowledge, and medicine, and we will ask how poets and dramatists imaginatively engaged with notions of a changing cosmos. The class will historicize early modern forms – poetry, drama, and prose – through ideas explicated in key texts of the period instead of applying modern disciplinary divisions. We will engage with questions of literary form, intellectual history, history of science, critical theory, history of institutions, media studies, and the history of rhetoric. While our primary readings will be drawn from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the course will tackle issues that range beyond the literary-historical period. Drawing on writings from literary scholars, historians of science and technology, and philosophers of science as our methodological guides, we will examine the implications of early modern paradigms for modern problems: How do theories of rhetoric and philosophies of language shape scientific practice? How do “literary” and “scientific” forms of writing deviate from each other? How does the institutionalization of science change across time? What is the relationship between scientific expertise and politics? How can theories of the environment, eco- criticism, and the post-human enhance traditional paradigms of science studies? How does the focus on pre-modern science help us see convergences, and not only separations, between the “two cultures” of the humanities and the sciences? Our broader methodological concerns will also necessarily traverse literary-historical periods, as we chart how intellectual categories inherited from the classical and medieval periods were adapted to new social, political, and institutional conditions during the “Scientific Revolution,” or as we trace how emergent ideas of scientific probability and objectivity were institutionalized during the Enlightenment.  Students do not need any previous experience in early modern literature and culture to take the course. Requirements: One oral presentation, one 6-8 page paper and a 20-25 page research paper.
ENGL 6540-01 (class #17320) SEMINAR IN LITERATURE AND HUMAN RIGHTS: HUMAN DIGNITY (Coundouriotis): Human dignity is a core concept of human rights and perhaps the one that has generated the most vigorous interdisciplinary debate. Affirmed in the preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), dignity is taken as an a priori, or ground zero for the architecture of the ideas, principles and laws that make up the international regime of human rights. Although presumed to be beyond critique as a principle, it has been troubled by problems of definition: what dignity means is at once the ground for broad agreement and spirited debate. How does such a universal principle gain traction and when does it fail us? What do such failures reveal? This course will lay out the philosophical, legal and historical parameters of these questions and then focus on an in-depth exploration of the role of literature, and narrative especially, in affirming and complicating the idea of human dignity. Indeed, it is to this concept that human rights scholars and practitioners have turned to most frequently when wanting to assess the contribution of literature to the interdisciplinary discussion in the field. Works of literature focusing on human suffering and oppression have long sought to establish the human dignity of the downtrodden, the marginalized and victimized. Literary works have also challenged us to humanize perpetrators or oppressors and draw them into a more capacious understanding of the human experience. Yet whereas one contribution of literary works might be to make legible what we often can’t quite define in the term dignity, artistic explorations have just as frequently challenged us to rethink the concept and even to question its premise on inclusion and universality. The course will be divided in three sequences. The first will explore definitional questions through theoretical and philosophical texts. The second will take the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a case study of the mobilization of dignity as a political concept, and most especially the TRC’s claim that in the reconciliation process we might arrive at different types of truth, one of which is narrative truth (distinct from forensic and social truths) whose articulation and recognition dignifies the victim and helps the recuperation from trauma. The third section of the course will examine the critiques of the concept via comparative readings that will range from nineteenth century naturalism to postcolonial fiction.
ENGL 6600-01 (class#11972) CREATIVE WRITING WORKSHOP: FICTION: (Litman): In this seminar we will attempt to create cohesive narrative structures using a combination of genres (poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, dramatic writing, literary translations, art and photography, and more). Together we will consider what constitutes a hybrid or genre-bending narrative, and we might use as our guides such authors and artists as Anne Carson (and her novel-in-verse Autobiography of Red), Sophie Calle (True Stories), George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo), Claudia Rankin (Citizen), Maggie Nelson (Bluets or Argonauts), Bhanu Kapil, W.G. Sebald, and probably a few others. The students might begin in a genre of their choice, but will be encouraged to experiment with other genres. We will start with a series of building-block exercises to get us going, but eventually everyone will develop his or her own narrative project, portions of which we will workshop in class.
The past is not dead,” Faulkner once said, “In fact, it is not even past.” Mindful of the confederate ghosts currently stalking national news and the polemicization of highly redacted visions of American history, this course turns to two writers who built their towering careers in no small measure out of deliberate and extensive repurposings of the past. The overarching question is how each writer renders history palpable in fiction and to what ends. Morrison and Faulkner have constructed two of US literature’s most influential (and often troubling) frameworks for thinking about racial formation, and so we will also consider the relationship of race to history.
Faulkner and Morrison are also related to each other in ways that seem almost intimate. Morrison has made provocative yet ambiguous comments about Faulkner, her fellow Nobel laureate (and the subject, along with Virginia Woolf, of her Cornell MA thesis). For instance: “He could infuriate you in such wonderful ways. It wasn’t just complete delight–there was also that other quality that is just as important as devotion: outrage. The point is that with Faulkner one was never indifferent.” (And few words are more characteristically Faulknerian than “outrage.”) She describes Faulkner as “the only writer who took black people seriously”–but then goes on to add, “which is not to say he was, or was not, a bigot.” But curiously, in Playing in the Dark, Morrison’s often-cited study of canonical white American writers’ response to what she calls the “Africanist presence,” she mentions Faulkner only in passing. In addition, Morrison insists her work is “not like Faulkner,” and she’s right: for one thing, she is every bit as original. So if the relationship between Morrison and Faulkner cannot be reduced to one-way influence, how might we conceptualize it? (Notably, the monographs and articles looking at Faulkner and Morrison in tandem are almost uniformly disappointing.) This course also invites reflection on the implications of old canons and new. Has Morrison’s cultural capital impacted Faulkner’s?
Reading list: Morrison: Beloved, Song of Solomon, Jazz, Paradise, Home and selections from Playing in the Dark
Faulkner: Go Down, Moses, The Sound and the Fury, Absalom, Absalom!, Light in August, Sanctuary
Assignments: one short conference length paper, one long paper, two class sessions of “co-teaching,” in which student signs up to help lead discussion on the day’s reading, in final session of class, annotated bibliography and presentation to class of final paper-in-progress.

ENGL 6750-01 (class#14081) SPECIAL TOPICS IN LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE: PROPERTY, PERSONHOOD AND THE NOVEL IN THE 19TH C. BRITAIN AND ITS EMPIRE: (Winter):  Through readings of both canonical and lesser-known novels, this course will interrogate the relations between property and legal personhood in the constitutional history of Britain and its Empire. A central interest of the course will be to explore the way jurisdiction in the history of the common law derives from property. We will begin by reading sections of Sir William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765-69) to uncover the connections between personhood as a status at law and the ownership of land and chattels, with particular attention to laws governing real property (land) and inheritances, including primogeniture and entail, as well as relations between masters and servants or apprentices; landowners, tenants, and peasants who labor on the land; husbands and wives; parents and children; and colonial laws governing relations between masters and slaves. Another area of focus will be to study the history of colonial and business corporations, and the piecemeal development of the imperial constitution, as well as the reasons for the silence of the common law in relation to colonial slavery as viewed from the perspective of a series of famous eighteenth-century cases concerning the status of fugitive slaves in England. We will develop these inquiries through readings of novels that explore the problem of legal personhood as a field for both individual subjective and collective political struggle, including slave rebellions in the West Indies. In the process, we will consider the legal dimensions of such common liberal ideas as liberty versus enslavement; free labor; married women’s legal disability and female emancipation; individual conscience and the duties of citizenship; the abolition of slavery; and individual personal rights versus property rights. We will also pay attention to the interaction of these questions with novelistic generic experimentation in satire, romance, sensation fiction, and realism. In addition to novels by authors including Austen, George Eliot, Earle, Godwin, Scott, Trollope, and Wollstonecraft, and slave narratives by Olaudah Equiano and Mary Prince, we will read selections from historical and critical studies, including work by John Barrell, Lauren Benton, Colin Dayan, Christine L. Kreuger, Ruth Perry, Robert J. Steinfeld, Daniel M. Stout, and Tim Watson. The course will enable students to gain familiarity with methods in law and literature, as well as the legal history of the British Empire. In addition, students will learn to conduct research on legal history by accessing reports of trials, registers of statutes, parliamentary debates, and legal treatises.Course requirements include: a 20-page seminar paper; a scholarly literature review paper; two class presentations; complete all readings and regular discussion participation; weekly 2-3 page short analysis paper on the class readings.

ENGL 6800(class#16430)/AMST 6000 (class#  ), HIST 6000(class# ) AMERICAN STUDIES:  METHODS AND MAJOR TEXTS: (Vials):  This course serves as a survey and overview of American Studies as a discipline and a methodology, which we will approach through major texts in the field, past and present. We will explore what it means to examine culture through this particular interdisciplinary lens. First institutionalized in the 1950s and 1960s, American Studies was initially organized around the question, “what is an American?” and often sought to answer this question by tracing the ways in which American writers imagined “the Frontier” as myth and symbol. It has since expanded its scope to the study of the United States in a global context, examining the ways in which the nation has been transformed – and how it has shaped other nations and territories – through the transnational flow of cultures, peoples, and institutional power across its boundaries. As our readings will illustrate, contemporary American Studies has drawn insights not just from a range of disciplines, but from a range of other interdisciplines as well, including empire studies, postcolonial studies, comparative ethnic studies, gender and sexuality studies, Marxism, indigenous studies, and cultural studies.We will briefly begin with the “Myth and Symbol school” of the 1950s and 1960s then shift our attention to the 1980s, when American Studies was transformed by ethnic studies and cultural studies. However, we will devote most of our time to discussing contemporary directions in the field as established by its major texts published over the last 20 years. These take as their starting point the “transnational turn” of the late 1990s, wherein the discipline increasingly called into question the sanctity of borders and the ideology of empire. We will also devote special attention to how American Studies has provided frames for understanding cultural memory and memorialization, a persistent theme in the field. Readings will consist mainly of scholarly monographs.
Course requirements will include an oral presentation, a review essay, and one seminar paper (15-22 pages).



Fall 2018 Seminars

ENGL 5100-0 (class# 10986) THEORY AND TEACHING OF WRITING: (Brueggemann/Blansett):  This course brings together theory and practice in the college-level writing classroom. We will contextualize the histories, theories, and principles of teaching writing in a post secondary context. Our work will take place in a highly interactive, collaborative, multi-modal learning environment. The course and its co-requisite practicum (5189) offer a space to support new instructors as they develop their theories of teaching and writing while collaboratively composing a repertoire of effective course materials.
ENGL 5182-01/02/03 (class# ) Practicum in the Teaching of Writing: (Blansett):  One credit course. Required of all incoming graduate-student FYW instructors. Practicum in the Teaching of Writing: Guided development of teaching in the University of Connecticut First-Year Writing Program. We will be implementing theories of teaching and writing; meeting program goals and objectives; selecting texts; drafting writing assignment prompts; developing classroom work; guiding peer feedback; reading, responding to and evaluating student work. Supervision includes one-on-one, group, and peer.
ENGL 5150-01 (class #10987) RESEARCH METHODS:  (10987): (Shringarpure): One-credit course. This course introduces students to the rudiments of literary critical practice by exploring current research methodologies in English studies. To that end, a broad sampling of the English graduate faculty will come to our class and introduce students to the ways they approach literary and cultural criticism. We will discuss the ever-shifting terrain of graduate study, examining how our research methods persistently re-define what constitutes the objects of literary-critical analysis.
ENGL 5315-01 (class#12398) MEDIEVAL LITERATURE:  (Somerset): 
This course is the foundational survey course for students planning to specialize in the medieval period, and a useful opportunity to broaden one’s reading for other students whose interests intersect with medieval topics (e.g., those working on 20th century poetry and poetics, early modern literature, nineteenth century medievalism, or children’s literature). It does not require the same range of linguistic competence as more advanced medieval courses, and so is easily accessible to students in these other fields, and to medievalists in other departments. This year, we will consider periodization in a global frame as we read a selection of literary works (mostly in translation) written between 500 BCE and 1500 CE across Europe, Asia, and Africa. What is at stake in the designations “classical”, “medieval”, “renaissance”, and early modern, high modern, or postmodern, and how are they variously applied to cultures across the globe? Students will be encouraged to develop research in their own area of interest (e.g. a children’s literature specialist might investigate how short stories from this time period are reworked as children’s tales; a poet might look at modernist or contemporary translations of medieval poetry).
ENGL 5550-01 (class#12400) RHETORIC AND COMPOSITION: (Deans): This seminar will explore the intersections of critical university studies and composition studies. We’ll trace the entwined histories of American higher education and writing instruction (and to some degree literary studies). That will help us contextualize many ongoing challenges—equity, access, teaching, assessment, research, labor practices, technological change, globalization—especially as those play out in English departments and writing programs. Readings will include histories of composition and literature (Brereton, Berlin, Crowley, Graff, Hawk, Miller, Russell); critical reassessments of how universities work (Bousquet, Larabee, Newfield, Tuchman); and proposals for going forward (Davidson, Losh). Assignments will include brief weekly reading responses, a seminar paper, and a journalistic opinion piece like those found in the Chronicle of Higher Education or Inside Higher Ed.
ENGL 6315-01 (class#12404) SEMINAR IN MEDIEVAL LITERATURE: (V.P., K. Kennedy):  Originally designed as a full-term course offered by a resident faculty member, this iteration of “The Book: Cuneiform to Cyberspace” will pick and choose a bit, emphasizing introduction to manuscript and early print codicology and intellectual property issues as they developed from early print to the present digital era. Area rare books collections will furnish labs in which we will work, thinking about how book studies might supplement our own developing projects, but also how we might inject book studies lessons into our teaching at all levels. Readings will include selections from the following:
Clemens and Graham, Introduction to Manuscript Studies 978-0-8014-8708-8
Joseph Dane, What Is a Book? 978-0-268-02609-7
Elizabeth Eisenstein, The Printing Press As an Agent of Change 978052129955
Sebastian Sobecki, Unwritten Verities 978-0-268-04145-8
Mark Rose, Authors and Owners: the Invention of Copyright 9780674053090
Adrian Johns, Piracy 9780226401195 .
6320-01 (class#12405) SEMINAR IN SHAKESPEARE: SHAKESPEARE AND HIS CONTEMPORARIES: (Tribble): Shakespeare is usually taught in isolation from the other playwrights of the period, but this practice distorts our sense of his place within the context of playing in early modern England. Shakespeare was intimately involved in the theatre of his time, as playwright, sharer in his company, collaborator, and competitor. We will examine the repertory of Shakespeare’s companies and of his rivals, investigating how Shakespeare participates in larger thematic, commercial and cultural trends in the early modern theatre.A primary focus will be on the stagecraft of Shakespeare and his contemporaries: did they have a common theatrical vocabulary, and how can we reconstruct it? Did different companies have distinct working practices, and what approaches did they share? How did different playwrights shape similar material and sources? We will look at thematic clusters as witchcraft (Macbeth, The Witch of Edmonton), sorcery (Doctor Faustus, The Tempest, and the Alchemist); revenge (Hamlet, The Spanish Tragedy,) gender-bending and cross-dressing (Galatea, Twelfth Night), as well as the ways that playwrights respond and rewrite popular material (for example, Ford’s ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore as an incestuous revision of Romeo and Juliet).

We will also explore a variety of contemporary methodologies for understanding early modern theatre, including practice-as-research, repertory studies, the intersections of print and theatrical cultures, cross-gender casting, embodiment and gesture, and authorship/ attributionist debates.  Assessment will include two ‘pitches,’ in which you make a case for including a particular play in the repertory; short methodology exercises, and a research essay.

ENGL 6400-01 (class#12406) AMERICAN ETHNIC LITERATURE:  ASIAN AMERICAN LITERATURE AND ASIAN AMERICANIST CRITIQUE: (Schlund-Vials): Asian American Literature and Asian Americanist Critique” is intended to highlight numerous developments and shifts within what has become an identifiable Asian American literary canon; such movements are necessarily inflected by demographic changes, student activism, the institutionalization of Asian American studies within the U.S. academy, U.S foreign policy (specifically the Cold War and conflicts in Southeast Asia), and the emergence of “diaspora” and “transnationalism” as oft-accessed terms to describe and encapsulate Asian American authorship. Accordingly, this course takes as a central focus the connection between literature, history, and migration.
A key analytic for the course engages what cultural critic Lisa Lowe productively characterized as an identifiable “Asian Americanist critique.” As Lowe summarizes, “Asian American culture is the site of more than critical negation of the U.S. nation; it is a site that shifts and marks alternatives to the national terrain by occupying other spaces, imagining different narratives and critical historiographies, and enacting practices that give rise to new forms of subjectivity and new ways of questioning the government of human life by the national state” (Immigrant Acts 29). Correspondingly, students will explore the turbulent interactions among immigration and national identity, exclusion/inclusion, attachment to the nation-state and critiques of it through varied and variegated Asian American literary manifestations.
ENGL 6500-01 (class#12407) SEMINAR IN LITERARY THEORY: ADAPTATION: (Semenza): At one point or another—regardless of our chosen field—we all work on adaptations and appropriations: poetic adaptations of the Bible and folklore; modernizations of literary classics; cinematic adaptations of popular novels; pop culture adaptations of legendary films; videogame adaptations of historical events. The list is endless, and yet while working on these adaptations, we often take for granted the complex intertextual work performed by them, the shaping impact of this work on adaptations themselves, and the ways we as readers experience and process the products of this work. Thus in our seminar, we will be theorizing “adaptation” in three ways: as a process of textual production, as a specific type of text, and as a process of reception. We also will consider the homology between biological and cultural forms of adaptation in terms of transhistorical evolution.
We will read widely across a range of theoretical texts that defines what constitutes adaptation/appropriation, how adaptation works on both the production and reception ends of communication, and the degree to which the forms and functions of adaptation differ within specific historical and aesthetic contexts. The primary method of weekly study will involve combining theoretical texts with actual examples of adaptation in order to encourage interrogation of each theory’s premises, applicability, and persuasiveness. Regularly adapted hypotexts we will explore include, but are not limited to, stories from Greek mythology (Rilke’s poem “Orpheus. Eurydice. Hermes”) and the Old and New Testaments (Aronofsky’s film Mother!); plays such as Shakespeare’s Macbeth (three films including Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood); short stories and novels by such writers as Annie Proulx and Jane Austen; historical events (Davis’s The Return of Martin Guerre and Oppenheimer’s documentary The Act of Killing); and artworks such as the paintings of Vincent van Gogh.
Assignments will include a final seminar paper, a paper proposal and abstracts, and a bibliographic presentation.
ENGL 6750-01 (class# 10049) SPECIAL TOPICS IN LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE: PROSODY: (Pelizzon): A course for poets and scholars who would like to feel more confident about meter and prosody as they teach poetry, write critically about poetics, or compose their own poems. Even advanced writers comfortable with other aspects of poetics are often still timid about prosody. Yet those who write about (or teach) poems without understanding prosody are only grasping part of a poem’s effect. We’ll address this issue through intensive reading and scansion practice of brilliant poems both old and new. As understanding and practical skills develop, participants will find that — rather than being dull or forbidding — prosodic expertise opens poems to new insights and pleasures. Class meetings will open with discussion of historical and contemporary readings on prosody theory. In the second half of each meeting, we’ll read aloud from a wide range of poems, discussing what we’re hearing. The course will progress through different meters, with a reading packet of exemplary poems each week. As we move further into the semester, we’ll study how meter – the horizontal measure of a poem—interacts with the vertical measures of rhyme and stanza form. By the end of the course, participants should feel confident teaching prosody and its soundwork in English poetry from any period. Projects will include short weekly scansion practice, 2-3 presentations on different aspects of prosody, and a seminar paper or significant creative project dealing with some aspect of our topic (e.g. a study of prosody in the work of a poet(s) you find important; a survey of contemporary free verse prosodies and their precursors; a manuscript of poems exploring different metrical possibilities).
ENGL 6750-02 (class#14210) SPECIAL TOPICS IN LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE: TRADITION AND ANTI-TRADITION: THE GOTHIC NOVEL AND ITS BRITISH and IRISH CONTEXTS: (Burke):   This seminar will broadly consider Gothic writing from the eighteenth through to the twentieth century, with attention to the British and Irish particularities of the genre and to the novel and novella. Students will have the opportunity to utilize major theories of interpretation, from queer theory, Marxism, feminism, and psychoanalysis to postcolonial studies.Any call to “tradition” potentially elides questions of origin and naturalizes complex political, literary, and cultural relations between Ireland and Britain (Killeen). Nevertheless, it is difficult to create a literary history of the British Gothic without considering the impact of Anglo-Irish writers such as Maturin, Le Fanu, Stoker, Wilde, Yeats, and Bowen as well as a British writer born to an Irish father such as Brontë. Why did Ireland produce a remarkably large number of writers who utilized Gothic conventions and whose work has, historically, been situated within the British Gothic? Echoing Eagleton’s later claim that politically tumultuous colonial Ireland did not possess the conditions required for realism and that even seemingly realist accounts of Ireland are often disrupted by non-realistic elements, Maturin renders the whole country as a Gothic space: “It is the only country on earth, where, from the strange existing opposition of religion, politics, and manners, the extremes of refinement and barbarism are united, and the most wild and incredible situations of romantic story are hourly passing before modern eyes” (The Milesian Chief, 1812). Irish Gothic was written in a language (English) not used by the bulk of the population of Ireland before the famine of 1845, so the question of the predominantly British readership of Irish Gothic and that readership’s appetite for narratives of the perverse, irrational, superstitious, counter-Enlightenment Celt (Anolik; Malchow) will be pertinent. Irish writers used the Gothic mode to probe issues historically specific to their “Celtic fringe,” but we will resist notions of coherence. The colonial relationship between Ireland and Britain and the ruptures caused by successive political tumults in the islands means that the course will be less of a literary history and more of an anti-tradition of discontinuities, fracture, gaps, silences and fragments (McCormack; Watt). One of the few coherent connections between most Irish Gothic writers is their origins in or links to the colonial order or “Anglo-Irish” cohort (a unifying term that effaces theological, political, and class distinctions; see Backus). Foster reads this “siege-mentality” Protestant Irish class as preoccupied with its own impending extermination. As hybrid, conflicted figures, the Anglo-Irish were well positioned to foster an important strain in a literature that emphasizes “hesitancy over certainty, and which refuses to dissolve binaries such as living/dead, inside/outside, friend/enemy, desire/disgust” (Killeen). Thus, there is a specifically colonial context to Irish Gothic’s use of the broader British tradition’s deployment of the Catholic or archaic as site of terror (Walpole; Lewis) and its emphasis on the return of or desire for the dispossessed Other.
ENGL 6750-03 (class#12408)/WGSS 5398-01 (class#14825) SPECIAL TOPICS IN LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE: FEMINISM AND ITS DISCONTENTS, (Shringarpure): While feminists across the world may seem united by similar agendas, racialized, queer and transgendered subjects claim that there, in fact, exists a gap between mainstream understanding of feminism and themselves. Third World feminists have sought to dismantle the uniform understanding of “woman” upon which feminist ideals of the 1960s and 1970s were based. Gayatri Spivak observes that “First World women” and “Western-trained women” are often complicit in their degradation of Third World women and that they are often represented as the victimized “other.” Women from the global South are indeed constrained by the existence of a monolithic feminist script. Queer and trans subjects express their discontents with feminism because of its tendency towards generating essentialist categories of gender and sexuality. Alternative and counterpoint histories of feminism have continually worked to destabilize imperial, essentialist and centralizing paradigms. This course will focus on an oppositional body of work that, Chicana feminism, queer theory, transgender studies and indigenous feminism, among others. We will examine feminist thinking through the prisms of race, nationalism, indigeneity, queerness, digitality, globalization, technology, colonialism, and intersectionality. Readings will include bell hooks, Audre Lorde, Hortense Spillers, Saidiya Hartman, Maria Mies, Gloria Anzaldua, Vandana Shiva, C.Riley Norton, Jasbir Puar, Donna J. Haraway, Lila Abu-Lughod, Sara Ahmed, Wendy Brown, Gayatri Spivak, Lisa Duggan and Jin Haritaworn.