Graduate Seminars

Click on a title for a description box to show, or view listing of all courses for the Fall 2018/Spring 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, March 19, 2018.

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.

Spring 2018 Seminars

ENGL 5160-0 (class#9906) 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 5410-01 (class# 11529) AMERICAN LITERATURE I (Origins to 1776) (Franklin):  Our readings will range widely from the medieval sagas (Eirik’s Saga and Greenlanders’ Saga) and related texts (e.g., Landnámabók) through the surviving/reconstructed texts of Native American groups (e.g., Broken Spears: The Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico) and the coordinate European records (e.g., The Letters of Cortés, Cabeza de Vaca’s Relation). Later readings from within what would eventually become the mainland English colonies and then the U.S. will emphasize cultural contestation not only between indigenous and colonizing groups (via a cluster focused on the Pequot and King Philip’s Wars) but also between competing colonizing powers. For this latter emphasis, we will examine both primary documents (including selections from Hakluyt and Purchas; John Smith and William Bradford; “Captivity” narratives; texts by Champlain and other French writers such as Jean-François-Benjamin Dumont de Montigny; other non-English works such as the descriptive and polemical works of Adriaen van der Donck) and a selection of recent scholarly work in several fields (e.g., one of Donna Merwick’s four books on the Dutch in North America; parts of Bernard Bailyn’s The Peopling of British North America; Kathleen DuVal’s The Native Ground: Indians and Colonists in the Heart of the Continent). Our approach to the period of the American Revolution will explore how the demographic array of peoples then in and around the colonies were directly and indirectly affected by that complex event (the varied writings of Olaudah Equiano, St. Jean de Crèvecoeur, Anne MacVicar Grant, and Susanah Rowson, and Gilbert Imlay will provide us with a collective set of answers). My method is interdisciplinaery, immersive, and crosscultural.
ENGL 5530-01 (class #14468) WORLD LITERATURE: (Coundouriotis):  A world literature in English is one legacy of the extended history of the British Empire and its aftermath. Either writing back to empire or appropriating and adapting the English language as their own, postcolonial subjects have shaped a hugely diverse and rich literary history. The focus of our course will be to learn something about the arc of this literary history by reading canonical works as well as works that fall outside established paradigms of reception. A key goal of the course is immersion in the primary literature. We will pay close attention to writers’ own statements about their vocation and understanding of their roles in society. Through the creation of annotated bibliographies, we will study the critical reception and academic dissemination of key texts, and how they have figured in the evolution of critical debates within the field of postcolonial studies. Our focus will be on works from Africa, India and the Caribbean. The assignments for the course (class presentation, annotated bibliography, research paper) will be linked so that students can develop a sustained research focus over the course of the semester. Authors on the syllabus will include Doris Lessing, Bessie Head, Ayi Kwei Armah, Jean Rhys, J.M. Coetzee, Nuruddin Farah, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Margaret Cezair-Thompson, and Amitav Ghosh among others.
ENGL 5550-01 (class#11531) RHETORIC AND COMPOSITION:  (Deans):  This seminar will cover the most influential figures in composition studies; sample work across several subfields (composition theory, first-year writing, basic writing, writing across the curriculum, writing assessment, second language writing, writing program administration); and survey the diverse research methods used in the field. The course should be of interest not just to those planning to specialize in rhetoric and composition but also to anyone with a keen interest in teaching writing.
ENGL 6315-01 (class#11532) SEMINAR IN MEDIEVAL LITERATURE: THE WILD HISTORY OF THE EXEMPLUM: (Hasenfratz): After the Fourth Lateran Council called for a broad system of lay outreach and education, a number of encyclopedic collections of exempla or sermon stories began to circulate in Europe in the 13th century. The stories in these collections, perhaps surprisingly, are often wildly entertaining, attention-grabbing narratives that draw on the elements of the exotic, the supernatural, the comic, the tragic, and even the salacious. In this seminar we will be examining the long history of the exempla collection, from its origins in the west to its fate in the Early Modern Period. Exempla collections draw their illustrative narratives from a number of sources, many of them outside of Europe, and sometimes from different religious traditions, which should give us an opportunity to explore how global medieval studies can inform our work. The first prominent collection of such sermon stories, the Disciplina Clericalis, was compiled by a Muslim convert to Christianity, Petrus Alphonsus. Others like the Gesta Romanorum are grab-bags of entertaining anecdotes drawn from secular sources followed by allegorizing and moralizing commentary. And in a fascinating irony, many such sermon stories (with their wild and sometimes racy stories) ended up in the jest books of the Early Modern period: the jest book has some of the DNA of an exempla collection in it. We will trace this trajectory over several centuries. Students will have the opportunity to study the use of the exemplum in such texts as Ancrene Wisse, Handlyng Synne, and Gower’s Confessio Amantis as well as Early Modern jest books like A Hundred Merry Tales or Greene’s Groatsworth of Wit (among others).

ENGL 6420-01 (class#11535) AMERICAN LITERARY MOVEMENTS:  THE CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN NOVEL: (Knapp):  Literary critics agree that we have moved beyond postmodernism and into a new aesthetic mode, but precisely what that mode is has proven harder to pin down.  A variety of periodizing concepts and frameworks have emerged, whether post-postmodernism, late capitalism, neoliberalism, the post-civil rights era, the post-human, or the Anthropocene, in order to define what has been called, as if by default, the Contemporary.  Sixteen years into the new century, amidst rapid technological advances and globalization, this course takes up the challenge of defining the current moment by examining a literary form that some have argued is obsolete: the American novel.  And yet, American literary production over the past couple of decades has abounded, with some of our most prominent writers exuberantly experimenting with genre fiction—the detective novel, sci-fi, comic books, melodrama– once relegated to the mass market to create new forms entirely.  By engaging these works in the context of current economic, political and social circumstances, we will consider the ways in which the novel, as a literary form, has been adapted to respond to conditions particular to the 21st Century: ground-shifting events like 9/11 and the worldwide economic crisis, certainly, but also interminable war and terror around the globe, grand-scale environmental disasters, new communication networks that have simultaneously erased geographic boundaries and divided us into increasingly vitriolic, isolated tribes, and a planet itself hanging in the balance.  In order to understand what is truly new about the current literary landscape, we will consider how the contemporary American novel both emerges and diverges from earlier literary periods and trends—not just postmodernism, but also modernism and realism as well as metafiction, minimalism, multiculturalism, and what David Foster Wallace called the “New Sincerity.” We will also read current literary, cultural, and theoretical scholarship to determine how these recent novels imagine or perhaps reimagine and reshape readers’ understanding of being and belonging in a world whose problems demand their response.

Each student will give a 7-10 page comparative presentation on one of the novels in order to situate it alongside an earlier model, as well as write an 18-20-page seminar paper that may or may not expand on this presentation, but will also engage the critical conversation as it is evolving in relatively new platforms such as the Post-45 Collective, the Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present, and V21, as well as established venues such as Contemporary Literature, TCL, Modern Fiction Studies, and American Literary History, among others.

6500-01 (class# 11536) SEMINAR IN LITERARY THEORY:  THE WAKE OF ROMANTICISM: (Mahoney):  [This is not a seminar concerned with Romanticism per se, but with post-structuralism, and the ways in which (what came to be denominated) Romanticism made possible certain inflections of post-structuralist thought. As Terry Eagleton has put it, “we are ourselves post-Romantics, in the sense of being products of that epoch rather than confidently posterior to it.”]Romanticism poses a problem. At the same time as it occupies a pivotal position in literary history (simultaneously the ending of a narrative “from Classic to Romantic” and the beginning of a narrative “from Romantic to Modern”), it calls into question the very legitimacy of such concepts as literary periodization, historical narrative, the “concepts” of criticism, and even discipline and disciplinarity. In doing so, Romanticism also names a particular moment when literature (according to Maurice Blanchot) first begins to think (about) itself as such. To that end, Romanticism marks a seminal moment in the formulation and institutionalization of what we now call literary theory – that is to say, both the theory of the literary and (as Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and Jean-Luc Nancy formulate it) the understanding of theory itself as literature. Partially because of these and other critical cruxes, Romanticism invariably seems equally to compel and to resist interpretation. Consequently, this seminar takes as one of its central premises that (as Paul de Man put it) “the interpretation of romanticism remains for us the most difficult and at the same time the most necessary of tasks.” Integral to this difficulty is that (again citing de Man), “we have experienced [Romanticism] in its passing away” – that is to say, we continue to read and write, to act and interpret, in the wake of Romanticism.

Writers to be considered include A. W. and F. Schlegel, Fichte, Kleist, Schelling, Hegel, Coleridge, Benjamin, Blanchot, Hartman, Lacoue-Labarthe and Nancy, and de Man, as well as numerous recent and contemporary critics, e.g., Giorgio Agamben, Ian Balfour, Cathy Caruth, Jonathan Culler, Rodolphe Gasche, Carol Jacobs, and Marc Redfield. (All assigned readings will be in English.) Likely requirements include weekly response papers (500 words), one oral seminar presentation, midterm conference paper (10 pp), and seminar paper (7500-8000 words).

ENGL 6500-01 (class# 11537) SEMINAR IN LITERARY: AFRICAN AMERICAN LITERARY CRITICISM AND THEORY: (Salvant):  We will read selected texts of 20th- and 21st-century African American literary criticism and theory, ranging roughly from the 1920s to today. Rather than providing a chronological overview, readings in the course will focus on 2-3 particular movements within the critical tradition (such as the vernacular theory, the blues aesthetic, Black feminist criticism). We’ll examine the central claims and projects of each movement and try to attend to linkages between them. Classic texts will often be paired with their (sometimes rebellious) scholarly or intellectual progeny. We’ll become familiar with past movements in order to better understand current trends and debates in African American literary criticism. Before the course begins, students are encouraged to read as many titles as possible from a reading list of primary texts. Assignments will include regular participation, fairly frequent discussion questions, and a 20-25 page seminar paper.
ENGL 6600-01 (class#11538) CREATIVE WRITING WORKSHOP: POETRY OFF THE PAGE: (Dennigan):  An invitation to actively examine connections between creative practice, shared spaces, contemplation, and compassionate action. The course will likely include the films of Nick Twemlow and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, records of Wanda Coleman, dream delivery service of Mathias Svalina, plays of Khadijah Queen and Joyelle McSweeney, performances of Cecilia Vicuna, walks of Josh Edwards, text sculpture of Ragnhildur Jóhannsdóttir’–rooted in poems, all–as well as poetry books by Gwendolyn Brooks, Hiromi Ito, and others. Participants will write abundantly. Weekly meetings will be an opportunity to share work and to take part in experiments that explore movement, memorization, collaboration, ephemerality, and community. Final projects will be off the page. Graduate students in all disciplines are welcomed.
ENGL 6700-01 (class#11542) SEMINAR IN MAJOR AUTHORS: DARWIN, HARDY, WOOLF: (Winter):   This course will focus on three major writers whose work will help us to chart a trajectory from late-Victorian to modernist developments in literature, science, and the disciplines. In addition to studying Darwin’s evolutionary theory, we will be particularly interested in these writers’ representations of human psychology, biology, sexuality, the emotions, language, art, and embodiment, particularly insofar as they are viewed as sources of aggression and even war. Texts will include: Charles Darwin: travel writings; excerpts from The Origin of Species and The Descent of Man, and The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals; Thomas Hardy: Far From the Madding Crowd, The Return of the Native, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Jude the Obscure, and selected poetry; Virginia Woolf: selected autobiographical writings, Jacob’s Room, To the Lighthouse, Three Guineas, and Between the Acts; selected theoretical writings and criticism. Course requirements include: a 20-page seminar paper; a scholarly literature review paper; two class presentations; class participation; weekly short analysis paper on the class readings.
ENGL 6750-01 (class# 14471) SPECIAL TOPICS IN LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE: THE FINN CYCLE: (Visiting Professor, Geraldine Parsons):  This course considers what was the most popular genre of story and poetry among speakers of Gaelic-languages for almost a millennium and what is now undergoing a resurgence in terms of scholarly interest. Fíanaigecht, or Finn Cycle, literature survives in written texts from as early as about the seventh century AD, and dominated the imagination of medieval and modern Irish and Scottish Gaelic speakers alike, from the twelfth to the twentieth centuries. (An interest in the literature is also evident in the Isle of Man). Dominating the cycle in terms of its length and the scholarship it has generated is the great work Acallam na Senórach ‘The Colloquy of the Ancients’, composed c. 1200, probably in the west of Ireland. That work will give focus to our exploration of the tradition concerning the legendary warrior Finn mac Cumaill and his fían (‘warrior band’); we will consider the shifting conventions of the cycle, the themes of violence and gender, the interplay of oral and written traditions and the question of how this material might express important ideas about collective, including national, identities among Gaels. The primary focus will be on medieval works, but there will be some opportunity to explore the modern tradition. The course focusses on the Irish and Scottish Gaelic language texts concerning Finn and the fían (rather than James Macpherson’s Ossianic ‘translations’ in English). It will include instruction in Old and Middle Irish, to allow texts to be read in the original languages. Assessment will consist of short in-class tests, oral presentations and a final research paper.
AMST 6500 (12858), HIST 6500 (12857), ENGL 6850 (14507) AMERICAN STUDIES: SPECIAL TOPICS; QUEER PASTS, PRESENTS AND FUTURES: (McELYA): This American Studies special topics seminar examines the increasing centrality of the temporal and/or conditions of temporality within Queer theorizing, scholarship, and cultural production in the late-twentieth and twenty-first centuries. While focusing largely on recent works, the class will consider earlier iterations and the deeper American histories of this recent “temporal turn” in LGBTQ scholarship and cultural practices, while simultaneously looking to destabilize—or queer—some of its national and nationalist contours. Connected to this, we will situate the trend in relation to diverse feminisms, intersectionality, postcolonial theory, and Queer of Color Critique. Assignments include a short book review and final critical review essay or primary research paper.


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