Courses and Seminars


Below is a list of English graduate courses for current academic year. All students must receive permission from the instructor and/or the English Graduate Program in order to enroll. If you have finished coursework and hold a GA, please register for GRAD 6950-06, class #4323, for the Fall 2021 (1218) semester.

2021-2022 Academic Year

Fall 2021


5100-01 Theory and Teaching of Writing

Blansett/Gatten

5182-01-04 Practicum in the Teaching of Writing (1 credit)

Blansett/Gatten

5150-01 Research Methods

Smith

6550-01 Seminar in Rhetoric & Composition: Classical Rhetoric and the Institution of Slavery

Winter

6600-01 Seminar in Creative Writing Workshop: Writing into the Feminist Archives

Dennigan

6650-01 Seminar in Digital Humanities: Reading and Writing the Age of Digital Distraction

Booten

6750-01 Seminar in Language and Literature: Memory, Literature, and Culture

Tribble

6750-02 Seminar in Lang. and Literature: Labor, Utterance, and Meaning in the Maritime World

Bercaw-Edwards

6850-01/AMST 6850/HIST 6850 American Studies: Cultures of Political Reaction

Vials

Spring 2022


5160-01 Professional Development

Somerset

5530-01 World Literature: Shipwrecked: Oceanic Trajectories of World Literature

Shringarpure

6400-01 American Ethnic Literature: Multi-Ethnic Graphic Narrative and the Idea of History

Cutter

6500-01 Seminar in Literary Theory: Theory of Allegory

Mahoney

6540-01 Seminar in Literature and Human Rights: Testimony

Coundouriotis

6550-01 Seminar in Rhetoric & Composition: Theories of Making and the Practices of Creativity

Blansett

6750-01 Seminar in Language and Literature: The Gothic Novel and Its British and Irish Contexts

Burke

6850-01 American Studies: Keywords: Disability Studies

Brueggemann

Fall 2021 Calendar

Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday
9:30 AM-12:00 PM ENGL 6650-01
Booten
AUST 216
ENGL 6550-01
Winter
AUST 216
ENGL 5182-01/02
Gatten/Blansett
9:30–10:45 AM
11:00 AM–12:15 PM
1:30-3:30 PM ENGL 6750-01
Tribble
AUST 216Grad Exec. Meetings
ENGL 6600-01
Dennigan
AUST 216
Keep Open ENGL 6850-01
Vials
AUST 216
4:00-6:30 PM ENGL 5150-01
Smith
AUST 216
ENGL 5100-01
Blansett/Gatten
AUST 245
Department Meetings
7:00-9:30 PM ENGL 6750-02
Bercaw-Edwards
AUST 216
Spring 2022 Calendar

Spring 2022 Calendar

Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday
9:30 AM-12:00 PM ENGL 6540-01
Coundouriotis
Literature and Human Rights: Testimony
ENGL 5530-01
Shringarpure
Shipwrecked: Oceanic Trajectories of World Literature
ENGL 6400-01
Cutter
Multi-ethnic Graphic Narrative and the Idea of History
1:00 PM-3:30 PM ENGL 5160-01
Somerset
Professional Development
ENGL 6500-01
Mahoney
Theory of Allegory
ENGL 6750-01
Burke
British and Irish Gothic Novel and Its Contexts
4:00 PM-6:30 PM ENGL 6850-01
Brueggemann
Disability Studies
ENGL 6550-01
Blansett
Theories of Making and the Practices of Creativity
Projected 2022-2023 Seminars

Projected 2022–2023 Seminars

Fall 2022


5100 Theory of Teaching and Writing

Blansett/Gatten

5150 Advanced Research Methods

Smith

5182 Practicum in the Teaching of Writing

Blansett/Gatten

5650 Introduction to Digital Humanities

Igarashi

6200 Small Wonders: Childhood and Scholarly Inquiry

Smith

6320 Shakespeare on Screen

Semenza

6450 The Contemporary US Bildungsroman in Context

Knapp

6750 The Politics and Poetics of Passing

Williams

6850 American Studies Keywords: Nature

Menrisky

Spring 2023

 

5160 Professional Development

Somerset

5530 World Literature in English

Coundouriotis

6500 Lyric Theory

Mahoney

6500 African American Literary Theory

Salvant

6550 Writing the University

Deans

6600 Environmental Writing

Pelizzon

6700 Darwin, Hardy, and Woolf

Winter

6750 Medical Humanities

Cutter

 

Course Descriptions

Fall 2021 Courses

ENGL 5100-001/002: Theory and Teaching of Writing

(Blansett/Gatten, class #11929/8981): 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 (5182) 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 5182-001/002: Teaching College Composition: Practicum

(Blansett/Gatten, class #9044/9045): 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 5150-001: Advanced Research Methods

(Forbes Smith, class #10340): Forthcoming.

ENGL 6550-001: Seminar in Rhetoric and Composition: Classical Rhetoric and the Institution of Slavery

(Winter, class #13126): This course traces connections among classical rhetoric, political theory, and human rights by focusing on the history of the institution of slavery from antiquity through the nineteenth century. Rhetoric is linked to slavery in Plato’s Gorgias: the sophist tells Socrates that the rhetor has the power to make other men his slaves by persuading the multitude. But rhetoric also becomes a tool for the enslaved to use against their oppressors in classical tragedy and historiography and in late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British and American abolitionism, arguably one of the first modern political movements explicitly to articulate a modern definition of universal human rights as a basis for social, political, and legal activism. The vulnerable or powerful body and speech of the rhetor/slave—including female rhetors/slaves—as well as the history of political theories of slavery/mastery and the rhetorical antithesis of slavery/freedom in the history of political thought will be key areas of focus throughout the term. The course serves as a graduate level introduction to classical rhetoric, and it will also provide an opportunity to consider the various roles of political rhetoric in the history of democratic societies and under imperial rule. Finally, students will have a chance to learn about new antiracist historical, critical, and teaching approaches across the fields of Classics, rhetoric, and the history and literature of slavery/abolition. The course readings can provide students with a basis for teaching general education courses including Classical Greek and Roman texts and genres, and could also enable research on Medieval rhetorical traditions for students in Medieval Studies. Comparative research projects on transatlantic slavery are also possible. Pre-1800 credit in English can be fulfilled with approval of DGS; approved for credit toward Grad Certificate in Human Rights.

We will read important works of political philosophy dealing with slavery and human rights, and end with a set of case studies on American and British abolitionist rhetoric, with particular attention to anti-slavery writings by Thomas Clarkson, Ottobah Cugoano, and William Lloyd Garrison, and slave narratives by Olaudah Equiano, Mary Prince, Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Jacobs. Readings in classical rhetoric, philosophy, and literature in translation include works by: Euripides, Thucydides, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Quintilian, Longinus, and Augustine; political philosophy by Locke and Hegel; secondary critical readings on the history of abolitionism and human rights, and critical theories of plantation slavery, capitalism, human rights, and ant-racism. Texts read in English translation or in original languages. Two oral presentations, one of which may be focused on teaching; a weekly 2-3 page short analysis paper focused on the class readings for the week; literature review essay on a topic of your choice relevant to your final paper; final seminar paper, 20-25 pages, or two short papers, 10-12 pages each.

ENGL 6600-001: Seminar in Creative Writing Workshop: Writing Into the Feminist Archives

(Dennigan, class #11681): A feminist world is one we have to create, and this seminar is an invitation to creation of world and form. The writer's humility as they read becomes gratitude as they write becomes forward motion--and perhaps, someday, a fertility that promotes human rights. This course is for anyone who wants to experience / digest these texts in visceral, imaginative, emotive, and contrary modes: Assata Shakur, Assata: An Autobiography; Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life; Gwendolyn Brooks, Maud Martha; Andrea Long Chu, Females; Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera; Alexis Pauline Gumbs, ed., Revolutionary Mothering; Cindy Milstein, ed., Rebellious Mourning; Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider; Saidiya Hartmann, Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments; Toni Cade Bambera, ed., The Black Woman, An Anthology; Caryl Churchill, Cloud Nine; Myung Mi Kim, "Discussion of Procedure" (a lecture), and other selected texts. Mixing genres and moods and experimenting with formal constraints, your writings will respond to the readings with the aim of melding two languages: intuitive and academic. How can responses to and interrogations of feminist texts be challenging and rigorous-- and also lively, inventive, strange? How can attending to these writers help us write a bearable world into existence? Expect to write weekly in and out of class, in received and in invented forms, and to make one extended hybrid piece by semester's end.

ENGL 6650-001: Seminar in Digital Humanities: Reading and Writing the Age of Digital Distraction

(Booten, class #13128): Do digital media harm our minds---attenuating our attention spans, leaving us depressed and anxious, and (despite their “social” aspects) alienating us? Do these media threaten print-based literacy and, with it, certain forms of "deep" thinking and feeling that we would be wise to protect? Or are the pundits who make such dire suggestions unable to see the positive, even liberatory affordances of digital media? This course is an opportunity to consider these questions in light of the ways that digital media have changed the nature of literary production, reception, and imagination. On the one hand, it will focus on key examples of computer-generated poetry, hypertext fiction, Twitter bots, and other self-consciously experimental genres that are sometimes together called “electronic literature,” “digital literature,” or “littérature numérique.” At the same time, the course will also attend to the ways that more quotidian examples of computational media (e.g. digital word processing, search engines, social networks) have changed what it means to write and read poems, novels, and other literary texts that are not obviously or self-consciously computational. Readings from media theory and philosophy (Bernard Stiegler, Katherine Hayles, Yuk Hui, and others) will help us to think beyond commonplace arguments about the ways that digital media are or are not harmful to our minds. Requirements for the class will include weekly reading responses, a final paper, and several practical introductions to creating “electronic literature” using various software.

ENGL 6750-001: Seminar in Language and Literature: Memory, Literature, and Culture

(Tribble, class #11533): Memory is a field divided by a common vocabulary; there is often little overlap between memory studies as conceived in the social sciences and humanities and memory as it is studies in the psychological sciences. This seminar will seek to bridge that divide by bringing together recent memory studies research alongside influential work in the cognitive sciences that sees memory as fundamentally embodied and distributed and includes domains such as affect, emotion, skill, and movement within an ecological model of memory. We will trace the genealogy of memory from its classical antecedents to the early modern period, concluding with an examination of modernist and post-modernist reconceptions of memory. Throughout we will examine the memory-work of literary texts alongside influential theories and practical applications of the memory and the mnemonic arts. Assessments;

  • A commonplace book
  • A speech composed and delivered using the classical theater-of-memory techniques studied in class
  • A narrated walking-tour of a place of memory
  • A semester-long project on memory in text chosen by the student (students seeking pre-1800 credit must do a final project/essay on a pre-modern or early modern text)

ENGL 6750-002: Seminar in Language and Literature: Labor, Utterance, and Meaning in the Maritime World

(Bercaw-Edwards, class #13652): For as long as history has been recorded, sailors have stepped on shore with a tale to tell. Until the laying of telegraph cables across oceans finally outpaced sailing ships in carrying messages in the 1850s, the sight of a sail on the horizon might be the first herald of news of many kinds: political, cultural, financial, or personal. The figure of the sailor as a storyteller stretches back beyond the earliest written records. The gulf of ocean between the sailor and the port and the events or circumstances that sailor described lent a paradoxical mix of authority and doubt regarding stories sailors told. The writers we will consider in this course inherited willingly or unwillingly the long heritage of these sailor storytellers. This course will examine the chronological development of a literature wherein the sea functions as physical, psychological, and philosophical setting. The course will begin by investigating early uses of the sea in literature and ways in which early works influenced later writings. It will continue with the use of the sea in contemporary literature and literature by writers of color. Through the use of literary theory and maritime history, the course will establish the context in which these works were produced as well as closely examining the works themselves. The requirements for the course will include presentations, several short papers, and a longer final essay.

Spring 2022 Courses

ENGL 5160-01: Professional Development

(Somerset class, #6933): Required for all MA/PhD and PhD students before the end of coursework.

In this seminar we’ll investigate the different facets of academic life, from practical details such as composing CVs and syllabi through to larger issues such as the role of the humanities in the twenty-first university and the adjunctification of the profession. We will learn about the types of jobs within and beyond the academy that UCONN alumni have made their own, and consider how the various roles you are asked to play as graduate students and in your developing careers might complement one another to form a life worth having. Students will participate in selecting what we focus on: topics might include activism in a changing profession, diversity and difference in the academy, the academic job market and beyond, working in archives, presenting at conferences, balancing teaching and research, making time for your well-being, applying for grants and fellowships, and how to write in genres such as the book review, the CV, the reader’s report, the letter of recommendation, the teaching statement, the research description, the conference abstract, etc. You will be asked to blog about our readings on a weekly basis, and to complete small writing assignments and participate in class workshops leading to two class projects: a pedagogy assignment that will ask you to develop a syllabus and assignments for a course of your own design, and an exercise in academic publishing (selecting possible journals, revising a course or conference paper into an article, responding to reader’s reports).

ENGL 5530-01: World Literature, Shipwrecked: Oceanic Trajectories of World Literature

(Shringarpure): Fulfills the post-1800 req. and, with appropriate research and instructor consent, the pre-1800 req.

“World literature” is an academic field that serves to complicate literature’s long-standing relationship with nation, translation and circuits of global dissemination. At once a theory, a method and a particular set of texts, “world literature” gains impetus from decolonial and postcolonial histories, the Cold War and our rapidly transforming technological landscapes. This seminar will focus on literature’s “world-making” potential by honing in on the ways in which writers and artists invest in, upon and across aquatic trajectories. When poet Dionne Brand writes that “the sea was its own country, its own sovereignty” she is referring to the allconsuming nature of the sea, its life-giving and life-taking force. Water is our anchor and islands, coastlines, shores, banks, archipelagoes, peninsulas, ships and pirogues become the site of life-worlds while we remain cognizant of the death-worlds of slavery and the mass graves that lie at the bottom of the sea. We will examine theoretical, affective and cultural formations such as the Black Mediterranean, Black Atlantic and the Black Aquatic and will work within the shadow of the fact that today, perilous migrations across the seas evoke the Middle Passage and reproduce precarity for Black and Brown lives. Texts include novels, poetry, film, and theory. Students will make 3 presentations on a theoretical text and write a research paper of 20-25 pages.

 

Literature

  • Claire of the Sea Light, Edwidge Danticat
  • Dragonfly Sea, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor
  • Belly of the Atlantic, Fatou Dioume
  • Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi 
  • A Door to the Map of No Return, Dionne Brand
  • Zong, NourbeSe Philip
  • Black Mamba Boy, Nadifa Mohamed
  • Derek Walcott, selections
  • Mahmoud Darwish, selections

 

Films

  • Atlantics, Mati Diop
  • La Pirogue, Moussa Toure
  • John Akomfrah (selections)
  • Aleel/Seashell, Abdulcadir Ahmed Said
  • Salt of this Sea, Annemarie Jacir

 

Theory (selections)

  • Paul Gilroy
  • Edouard Glissant
  • Saidiya Hartman Christina Sharpe
  • Rinaldo Walcott

ENGL 6400-01: American Ethnic Literature: Multi-Ethnic Graphic Narrative and the idea of History

(Cutter class, #9190): Fulfills the post-1800 requirement.

This class takes seriously the emergence of comics as a legitimate site of interdisciplinary inquiry and scholarly engagement. Indeed, since the publication of Scott McCloud’s ground-breaking Understanding Comics (1993), the study of sequential graphic narratives has developed exponentially. Moreover, as a Business Insider article published on August 26, 2014 makes clear, domestic sales of comics and graphic novels “have been rising for years, reaching $870 million last year, up from $265 million in 2000.” From mainstream superhero serials to book-length graphic novels, from Marvel to manga, comics as blended image/text genres traverses multiple disciplines and geographical or political spaces.

We will consider the ways in which graphic narrative presents a unique approach to U.S. history that questions dominant accounts of racial progress and mainstream characterizations of American exceptionalism. From Jim Crow segregation to the Holocaust, from the forced relocation of Native peoples to the Japanese American incarceration/internment, and from de jure discrimination to systemic state violence, graphic narratives have become a literary genre in which to contemplate the contradictions of U.S. personhood, selfhood, and nationhood. We also will consider the ways graphic novelists transform “personal” history into something that is political or historical. Although our main focus is North American narratives, we may also look at works that have been influential to the understanding of graphic narrative and history, such as Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis (2000-2004), which as of 2018 had sold more than 2 million copies worldwide.

Readings will likely include the following works: Will Eisner, A Contract with God (1978) (Part One of The Contract with God Trilogy); Art Spiegelman: Maus I &2 (1986-1992); Ben Katchor, The Jew of New York (1998); Kyle Baker, Nat Turner (2008); John Lewis, March (Trilogy Slipcase Set) (2016); Lila Quintero Weaver, Darkroom: A Memoir in Black and White (2012); Howard Cruse, Stuck Rubber Baby (2001); Gene Luen Yang, The Shadow Hero (2014); GB Tran, Vietnamerica (2011); Mat Johnson, Incognegro: A Graphic Mystery (2009); Allison Bechdel, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (2006); Cristy C. Road, Spit and Passion (2012); Lynda Barry, One Hundred Demons (2005); Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis (2000-2004); Iskwe and Erin Leslie, Will I See? (2016); Moonshot: The Indigenous Comics Collection, Vol. 1, ed. Hope Nicholson (2021); and Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics (1993). Other secondary readings will be assigned throughout the semester.

 

Requirements: 1) You will have the opportunity to lead class discussion once and then write a short (5-6 page) paper (25%). 2) Husky CT postings or short written responses (10%) (open topic). 3) Long paper or final project (65%). You may write a traditional seminar paper or choose a creative project (your own graphic novel or illustrated fiction, for example), a pedagogical project (syllabus or lesson plans for teaching graphic narrative, for example), or a DH project (such as a website on alternative comics, for example). Other options are possible with instructor consent.

ENGL 6500-01: Seminar in Literary Theory: Theory of Allegory

(Mahoney, class #15440): Fulfills the theory req. and, with appropriate research and instructor consent, the pre-1800 req.

How to define allegory? And what to do with it – or despite it? Etymologically, the Greek allegoria (“other speaking”) can be taken as meaning either “saying something other than is meant” or “meaning something other than is said.” (How … ironic.) However construed, allegory insistently points to the unavoidable gap between “saying” and “meaning” – and thus draws our attention to its unmistakably figurative nature. The Roman rhetorician Quintilian understood allegory as “continued metaphor,” an elided definition which underscores the figural nature of allegory – and raises the question of whether we can understand it in isolation, or must necessarily do so comparatively, in relation to other rhetorical figures (such as metaphor, symbol, and irony). It can be an unsettling, potentially threatening figure. The Romantic critic William Hazlitt notoriously warned intimidated readers of Spenser’s Faerie Queene that “if they do not meddle with the allegory, the allegory will not meddle with them” (thereby deploying another rhetorical figure – chiasmus – to try and harness the disruptive nature of allegory). For Paul de Man, allegory could only be understood in relation both to the symbol and to irony. A contemporary theorist of allegory, Gordon Teskey, characterizes the phases of a reader’s response to allegory in terms of the tension between “hermeneutic anxiety,” “interpretive play,” and “the narcosis of repose in the truth” (if there can in fact be any rest from the play of signification and interpretation). Allegory is an unavoidable aspect of literary experience, one which benefits from being positioned in relation to both complementary and competing rhetorical figures (as well as constructs of pleasure and truth), and which permeates writing in the western tradition in every era and every mode.

This seminar proposes to examine the theory of allegory both rhetorically (not least in relation to related figures such as metaphor, symbol, irony, and prosopopoeia) and “literarily,” in relation to (and as performed in) a variety of western literary texts from Dante to the twenty-first century. While the explicit emphasis will be on the “theory” of allegory, it will also be a priority of the seminar to engage “primary” literary texts from a variety of western languages (in addition to English; all readings will be available in English). With its scrutiny of a rhetorical figure (or a trope or a mode – there is no one adequate term) that is legible and dynamic across centuries, this seminar may be of interest to students interested in materials as various as Medieval literatures, English Renaissance and Protestant allegory, British and German Romanticism, German and French poetry and criticism of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and the American novel. The intertwined objectives of the seminar will be to become better readers of literary / critical theory as well as of allegorical literature (or, literature “in an allegorical mode”).

Organized (more-or-less) historically, the reading will emphasize criticism of the last 100 years, and will likely include selections from the following writers and texts:

 

Pre 1960:

  • Quintilian, from Institutio Oratoria
  • Puttenham, from The Arte of English Poesy
  • Coleridge, from Lectures: On Literature, 1808-19; from Biographia Literaria; from The Statesman’s Manual
  • Hazlitt, from Lectures on the English Poets
  • Baudelaire, “Of the Essence of Laughter,” “The Painter of Modern Life”
  • Benjamin, from The Origin of the German Trauerspiel
  • Auerbach, from Scenes from the Drama of European Literature

 

After 1960:

  • Fletcher, from Allegory: Theory of a Symbolic Mode
  • Frye, from Anatomy of Criticism; “Allegory” (PEPP 2nd edn) § De Beauvoir, from The Second Sex
  • De Man, “The Rhetoric of Temporality”; from Allegories of Reading
  • Quilligan, from The Language of Allegory; “Allegory and Female Agency”
  • Greenblatt (ed), from Allegory and Representation
  • Jacobs, “Allegories of Reading Paul de Man”
  • Warner, from Monuments and Maidens: The Allegory of the Female Form
  • Kelley, from Reinventing Romantic Allegory
  • Halmi, from Genealogy of the Romantic Symbol
  • Dieke, from Allegory and Meaning
  • Machosky, “Trope and Truth”; (ed) from Thinking Allegory Otherwise
  • Teskey, “Allegory” (Spenser Encyclopedia); “Allegory” (PEPP 4th edn); from Spenserian Moments
  • Johnson, from The Vitality of Allegory
  • Jameson, from Allegory and Ideology

 

“Primary” texts TBD, depending on the interests of enrolled students, but likely to include selections from Augustine, Dante, Chaucer, Christine de Pisan, Edmund Spenser, Mary Wroth, John Milton, John Bunyan, William Blake, S. T. Coleridge, P. B. Shelley, M. W. Shelley, E. A. Poe, Herman Melville, Charles Baudelaire, Rainer Maria Rilke, Franz Kafka, and Philip Pullman.

 

Requirements: regular attendance and participation; weekly writing (app. 500 words); one seminar presentation; midterm conference paper (10pp); final seminar paper (7500 words) or DH project.

ENGL 6540-01: Seminar in Literature and Human Rights: Testimony

(Coundouriotis, class #8712): Fulfills the post-1800 requirement.

Testimony and witnessing are central to human rights discourse. Whether we consider the work of uncovering and reporting abuse (by international organizations, NGOs, journalists, etc.), the legal prosecution of abuses, or the individual and communal processes of recovery from trauma, human rights practice is centered on the activities of testimony and witnessing. It is no surprise that much of what has been labeled “human rights literature” draws from testimony for its rhetorical power. In this course we will examine a range of testimonial practices, textual (literary and not), oral, and visual. We will contrast testimony to witnessing and read the theoretical literature that examines this difference. Beginning with the paradigmatic case of testimony of the Holocaust, we will then broaden our range of reference to examine Latin American testimonio and the literature about two key events in Africa: the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission proceedings and the Rwanda genocide.

Assignments include an oral presentation, a formal response to fellow student’s presentation, and one of the following: a) a final exam similar to a PHD area exam, b) a 20-25 page research paper, or c) two papers, approximately 10 pages each, turned in at midterm and finals week.

ENGL 6550-01: Seminar in Rhetoric and Composition: Theories of Making and the Practices of Creativity

(Blansset, class #13126): Fulfills the theory requirement.

In this seminar, we will explore the concept of creativity through representations of and the practices attached to the concept across domains and disciplines. Creativity as a concept serves up origin stories for multiple cultures, but creation as world-making is situated deep in a past, beyond even history, a process wholly owned by non-human (pre-human) makers. What has happened to creativity between genesis and the Anthropocene? How has creativity been imagined as both process and presence, at once a sequence of actions but also an event? How can creativity be both conceived of as both innate and learned? How is creativity used as a moral measure, and yet adjudged a process that can lead to decadence? How does creativity become the irrational complement to reason and also the result of a well-reasoned process like design thinking, which is currently promoted as our only hope to recovering our happiness, reinvigorating world economies, and restoring our planet? We will pose many questions and seek many connections to create a new understanding of what we mean by creativity.

Readings will range from texts from Plato to Deleuze and Guattari. Course activities will include making in multiple modes, as well as planning and participating in a "research-creation" event.

Graduate students and advanced undergraduates across departments are invited to enroll.

ENGL 6750-01: Seminar in Language and Literature: The British and Irish Gothic Novel and Its Contexts

(Burke, class #9194): Fulfills the post-1800 req. and, with appropriate research and instructor consent, the pre-1800 req.

This seminar will broadly consider Irish, British, and American Gothic writing from the eighteenth- to the twenty-first century, with attention to the British and Irish particularities of the genre and to the novel and novella forms. Students will have the opportunity to utilize major theories and foci of interpretation, from queer theory, Marxism, feminism, gender, race, 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. Eagleton claims that politically tumultuous colonial Ireland did not possess the conditions required for realism, but are there other reasons why Ireland produced so many writers of Gothic? The question of the predominantly British readership of Irish Gothic its appetite for narratives of the counter-Enlightenment Celt (Anolik; Malchow) is pertinent. Writers used Gothic to probe issues specific to their own cultural and/or geographic “fringes” (Brontë) but we will resist notions of coherence. The colonial relationship between Ireland and Britain 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. Foster reads this “siegementality” Protestant Irish class as preoccupied with its own impending extermination (Bowen). As hybrid, conflicted figures, the Anglo-Irish were well positioned to nurture 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 archaic as site of terror (Walpole; Lewis) and its emphasis on the return of the dispossessed Other. Nevertheless, the prevailing theorization of Anglo-Irish Gothic does not account for the other colonizer-settler cohort in Ireland, the Ulster-Scots, nor for the cultural productions of or about their descendants in America (the Scots-Irish) by important names in American Gothic such as Poe, James, and Faulkner. Thus, we will set earlier themes and texts into relief and broaden our lens on race and colonialism by pivoting to the Americas and the authors just listed, closing with a recent Gothic metafiction centered on a rapacious Anglo-Irish settler-colonial family in midcentury Mexico (Moreno-Garcia).

 

SOME of the literary texts to be assigned

Walpole, Horace. The Castle of Otranto

Poe, Edgar Allen. “William Wilson”

Brontë, Emily. Wuthering Heights

Le Fanu, J. Sheridan. Carmilla (novella)

Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray (novella)  Stoker, Bram. Dracula

James, Henry. The Turn of the Screw (novella)

du Maurier, Daphne. Rebecca

Yeats, Purgatory

Bowen, Elizabeth. “The Demon Lover”  Faulkner, William. Absalom, Absalom!

Welty, Eudora. “The Bride of the Innisfallen”

Moreno-Garcia, Silvia. Mexican Gothic

ENGL/AMST 6850: Disability Studies

(Brueggemann, class #15759): Fulfills the theory and post-1800 requirements

This is a course about “doing disability studies” in the arts and humanities. In order to maintain some focus we will center our reading and work on AMERICAN texts (literature, film, popular culture artifacts) and the important (and sometimes also obscured) contexts, history, cultural, political, and rights movements that have shaped and grounded the field of Disability Studies. The course is intended to be interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary –as currently aligns with the burgeoning field of Disability Studies itself –and although our focus will be “American” we will make many transnational and global connections. (For example: exploring the

United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, UNCRPD, alongside the Americans with Disabilities Act, ADA –and their impacts on cultural, political, and literary production by people with disabilities.)

 

The course will have four (interwoven) movements (we might call them “units” in a conventional sense). First:

we will begin in a space of “key words” and “core concepts,” exploring groundbreaking and foundationbuilding critical vocabulary and analytical frames. The normate, normalcy, narrative prosthesis, complex embodiment, staring (gazing), passing, crip time, betweenity, métis, overcoming/coming over –these are just a sample of the grounding vocabulary. Second: we will draw upon the rights-based, advocacy, activist frames and materialities (social, political, educational, medical) that have shaped American disability studies and have also then inspired much of its creative production. Third: we will insert disability into identity politics (and identity politics into disability) as we consider disability in complex relationships to other identities and how, once again, that complexity has forged creative and critical production for the field. Fourth: we will need to engage the issues inherent in accessing the archives around disabled lives –particularly in an American context—and how disability diagnosis and embodiment challenges and invigorates historical excavation and archival work.

 

Our own reading/approaches to these movements and their materials will be methodologically complex: rhetorical analysis; narrative and literary analyses (of many kinds); historical and archival work; human rights policy analysis, etc.

 

Course Elements and Activities:

  • Weekly participation in interactive class activities
  • Annotations and index for 2-3 Disability Keywords entries
  • Five short compositions (multimodal –but accessible—compositions are encouraged) in response to any 4 or 5 weeks of texts/discussions. Preliminary prompts offered by instructor.
  • Articulation of a final project (determined upon consultation with instructor): a project comprising 1520 hours of intellectual labor (need not be finished)

 

Texts (in whole or part):

  • Rachel Adams et al., Keywords for Disability Studies. NYU Press. As a resource book (not required). UConn Libraries has an e-copy.
  • Cece Bell. El Deafo. Amulet Books, 2014. (YA/Children’s Lit)
  • Brenda Brueggemann et al. Disability in the Arts and Humanities. Sage, 2012.
  • Susan Burch. Committed: Remembering Native Kinship in and beyond Institutions. North Carolina UP, 2021.
  • Susan Burch, ed. Encyclopedia of American Disability History (3 vols). Facts on File. 2009.
  • Peter Catapano and Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, eds. About Us: Essays from the Disability Series of the New York Time Liveright/W.W. Norton, 2021.
  • William and Ellen Craft. Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom. U Georgia P, 1999.
  • Lennard J. Davis, The Disability Studies Reader. 5th Ed. Routledge, 2016.
  • Disability Studies Quarterly (DSQ). Including the archives back to 1982 in the Ohio State University Knowledge Bank. Special attention to new/emerging special issues on Disability and Indigeneity and Disability and COVID-19 (in 4 languages). Open access, online.
  • Jay Dolmage. Academic Ableism. U. Michigan Press, 2017.
  • Tamar Heller et al. Disability in American Life. Tamar Heller et al. ABC-CLIO, 2018.
  • Judy and Paul Karasik. The Ride Together. A Brother and Sister’s Memoir of Autism in the Family. Simon & Schuster, 2004.
  • Riva Lehrer. Golem Girl: A Memoir. Penguin Random House, 2020.
  • Kim Nielsen. A Disability History of the United States. Beacon, 2013.
  • Kim Nielsen. Money, Marriage, Madness: The Life of Anna B. Ott. U. Illinois P, 2020.
  • Brian Selznick. Wonderstruck. Scholastic Books, 2008. (YA/Children’s Lit) Tobin Siebers. Disability Theory. U. Michigan P, 2009.
  • Dalton Trumbo. Johnny Got His Gun. 1938.

 

Possible films:

  • Alice Elliott, The Collector of Bedford Street. (Oscar-nominated film, 2014)
  • James Gandolfini, Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq. 2007
  • David Mitchell & Sharon Snyder, Vital Signs: When Crip Culture Talks Back (documentary film, available on youtube.) Original from 1995.
  • Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution. Michelle & Barack Obama, Exec. Producers. (Oscar-nominated film, 2020)
  • Rubin & Shapiro, Murderball. (Oscar-nominated film, 2005)
  • Jessica Yu, Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O’ Brien (Oscar short documentary winner, 1994)