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Department of English Language and Literature

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Graduate Course Descriptions - Fall 2022

Note: All courses except ENGL 691 are full-semester courses and are three credit hours.

ENGL 600     Seminar in Verse Composition     Sam Amadon     Mon     5:50pm – 8:35pm     Gambrell 123

In this course, students will write and revise new poems. Our goal in workshop discussions will be to discuss each poem in terms of the poet’s particular aesthetic, while also encouraging each other to push our work in new directions. Toward that aim, students will write some poems in traditional verse forms and some poems that result from constraint-based and experimental prompts, and we will read and discuss essays and books of contemporary poetry from poets with a variety of aesthetic leanings. The final portion of the semester will be devoted to workshopping portfolios, and our discussion will turn to larger issues in each poet’s work. Prerequisites: admission to the MFA program in poetry, or admission to another graduate English program with permission of the instructor. CRN 10687.

ENGL 602     Fiction Workshop: Short Story     Instructor TBA     Wed     5:50pm – 8:35pm     Gambrell 103A

Instruction in the writing of fiction taught by a contemporary prose writer. Prerequisites: admission to the MFA program in fiction. CRN 10698.

ENGL 603     Non-Fiction Prose Workshop     James Barilla     Thur     6:00pm – 8:45pm     Gambrell 103A

This course is an intensive workshop in the writing of creative nonfiction. We will explore the boundaries, aesthetics and traditions of the genre, with an emphasis on memoir. As this is a workshop, the bulk of our time in class will be spent discussing student writing, but the course will also include exercises in craft and close examination of innovative work in the field. CRN 26891.

ENGL 691     Teaching Literature in College     Mike Gavin     MW    2:20pm – 3:35pm     Close-Hipp 337

Introduction to the methods of teaching critical reading and composition, with emphasis on current pedagogical practice and theory. *This course meets during the first seven weeks of term and provides supervision of graduate students (first-time GTAs) teaching ENGL 101. This course is two credit hours. CRN 14763.

ENGL 700     Introduction to Graduate Study of English     Brian Glavey     T/Th    2:50pm – 4:05pm     Coliseum 3006B

This course is designed for graduate students in their first year who want a formal opportunity to think through three distinct types of key questions about graduate studies in English. The first set of questions is personal: What am I doing in an English graduate program? How can I best set myself up to get what I came for? How do I need to adjust the rhythms and assumptions that worked for me as an undergraduate in order to be successful at the graduate level? The second set is practical and intellectual: What skills and genres of writing do I need to get comfortable with in order to do my coursework, develop mastery in a field, and prepare to do scholarly research? What does “professionalization” mean for a humanities graduate student, and how can I do that? The third set of questions is contextual: What is this world of higher education in which I’ve chosen to immerse myself beyond the BA? What scholarly trends and institutional pressures shape the kind of work that comes out of an English department in the twenty-first century? How can I approach my graduate program in a way that makes me feel less like a cog in the wheel of higher education and more like an agent for (positive) change?

This class is primarily designed for first-year students who are brand new to graduate study, and who are working in fields centered around critical rather than creative work. That said, MFA students and students who are further along in their graduate careers do sometimes enroll, and have reported finding the course useful for their needs as well. Please feel free to contact me with any questions about whether this class is right for you at CRN 20345.

ENGL 721     Special Topics in 19th Century American Lit.     Cynthia Davis     T/Th     10:05am – 11:20am     Hamilton 232

“The Long Gilded Age”

The historian Leon Fink coined the term “The Long Gilded Age” to describe the period from 1880 to 1920. Traditionally understood as consisting of two segments—the Gilded Age followed by the Progressive Era (a.k.a. “the GAPE”)—the decades surrounding the turn into the twentieth century remain among the most volatile in U.S. history. This 40-year period saw the rise of Jim Crow after the failure of Reconstruction, the final push in the successful fight for woman’s suffrage, the announcement of the frontier’s closing, Indigenous genocide, ongoing labor conflict, scandals involving government corruption, attempts at Progressive reform along with the emergence of eugenics, a cycle of economic depressions, seemingly unbridled urban-industrial expansion, and the ascendancy of monopoly and consumer capitalism. This special-topics graduate course will focus on key works of literature produced during these four pivotal decades without losing sight of the relevant historical context. Writers studied could include Horatio Alger, Charles Chesnutt, Stephen Crane, Kate Chopin, Theodore Dreiser, W.E.B. Du Bois, Mary Wilkins Freeman, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, William Dean Howells, Henry James, Jack London, Jacob Riis, Upton Sinclair, Mark Twain, and Edith Wharton. CRN 26892.

ENGL 741     Special Topics in African-American Literature    Qiana Whitted     T/Th     1:15pm – 2:30pm     Gambrell 103A

Slavery, Literature, and Culture

How do literary texts and other cultural forms grapple with the historical realities of slavery? How do these representations shape the way we remember the past and relate to one another in the present? What are the scholarly interventions that can help us to develop cogent arguments about these texts? In this course, we will examine how the experiences of enslaved black Americans are adapted through novels, poetry, comics, film, and other media. Our goal is to raise questions not just about historical accuracy, but about ethics and aesthetic choices, creative freedom, taste, and cultural appropriation. Along with studying select slave narratives, we will discuss the depiction of slavery across a range of genres and mediums, including science fiction, satire, romance fiction, and children’s books. Assignments will include weekly response papers and discussion board posts, a class presentation, and a final paper of 12-15 pages with annotated bibliography. CRN 21862.

ENGL 748     Special Topics in Postcolonial Literature     Ann Gulick     T/Th     11:40am – 12:55pm     Gambrell 103A

Decolonizing Knowledge in Literature and Theory

This course has two interrelated goals. It will offer an intellectual history of anti- and postcolonialism from the mid-twentieth century to the present; and it will explore how that history might inform how U.S.-based academics (students and faculty) might approach their own relationship to the values and institutions associated with intellectual work in the present moment. We’ll explore how writers from the global South (especially those from Africa and the Caribbean) have envisioned the work of “decolonizing the mind” for well over a hundred years, from J.E. Casely Hayford’s 1911 Ethiopia Unbound to Aimé and Suzanne Césaire’s mid-century insistence on liberation through poetics to Frantz Fanon’s 1961 articulation of decolonization as a fundamentally pedagogical project, and Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s efforts to decolonize both the English department and the institution of literature just a few years later. We’ll explore how postcolonialism, along with Black studies, women’s studies, and other “interdisciplines,” gained institutional legibility in the U.S. academy in the late twentieth century, engaging the work of some of the field’s most canonical thinkers (including Edward Said and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak) and asking why so many “postcolonialists” have been reluctant to identify as such. We’ll read twentieth-century theorists of radical critical pedagogy—Paulo Freire, Audre Lorde, bell hooks—alongside more recent critiques of institutionalized DEI, student debt, sexual harassment in higher education, and the legacies of settler colonialism and slavery on college campuses. We will animate the insights from all of this critical material via rich, incisive literary works that interrogate how we imagine education, development, and study—and gesture toward new possibilities for how to do so on better terms in the future. Literary texts will likely include Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions, Ken Saro-Wiwa’s Sozaboy, Phaswane Mpe’s Welcome to Our Hillbrow, Dinaw Mengestu’s All Our Names, and the Baxter Theatre Company’s The Fall.

Students should read as much of Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions by the first day of class as possible. If you are unable to purchase a copy of the text before your first stipend check in the middle of September, please be in touch with me so that I can help make one available to you before then. CRN 26893.

ENGL 792     Classical Rhetoric     Chris Holcomb     Tue     6:00pm – 8:45pm    Gambrell 103A

This course surveys key texts on rhetoric from ancient Greece and Rome. We’ll start with the Greeks, including Plato’s Gorgias and Phaedrus and Aristotle’s On Rhetoric. We’ll then trace developments during the Hellenistic period (or what Jim Kinneavy calls the “Age of Codification”) and its influence on Roman rhetorics, including the anonymous Ad Herennium, Cicero’s De Oratore, and Quintilian’s Institutio Oratoria. As we read these texts, we’ll try to reverse-engineer from them the situations that were available for rhetorical practice and the material and political conditions that enabled or constrained them. We’ll also attend to one of my current research interests—the rhetoric of humor—and we’ll find that several ancient rhetoricians (particularly Cicero and Quintilian) had quite a lot to say about humor’s rhetorical powers and pitfalls. Assignments will include a research proposal and final research paper. CRN 26894.

ENGL 796     Special Topics in Teaching of English     Hannah Rule     Mon    5:50pm – 8:35pm     Gambrell 103A

The Pedagogically Possible: Imagining College Writing Instruction Otherwise

First-year or required university writing courses can get a bad rap -- they gatekeep; they are slow or tough to change; their missions are sometimes overambitious or untenable. In this course, we'll work to complicate this image, multiplying our sense of what college writing instruction might be capable of by looking to visionary work from writing pedagogues and theorists both historical and contemporary. As this this course builds a foundation in the literature on composition pedagogies and takes a teacher-research approach through which students will be invited to observe and experiment in their own teaching practice, it will be of interest to those who are invested in teaching and the teaching of writing. CRN 26896.

ENGL 797     Current Scholarship in Rhetoric and Composition     Byron Hawk     Thu     6:00pm – 8:45pm     Gambrell 123

This course will examine articles in the field's predominant journals from the past year and books published in the past two to three years to identify current issues in research and models for scholarly writing. Central themes will be academic writing, genre analysis, citational networks, and academic editing. The course will ask students to analyze various rhetorical frameworks, examine journal articles and books for how these play out, and develop projects aimed toward a specific disciplinary sub-field that utilizes these strategies. This could take the form of a literature review, a seminar paper revised as a journal article, a draft or a revision of an MA project, or a newly developed dissertation proposal or chapter. CRN 26897.

ENGL 803     Seminar in Literary and Cultural Studies     Holly Crocker     Tue     6:00pm – 8:45pm     Hamilton 232

Complaining Women in Premodern England

This seminar asks what happens to women’s complaints across the conventional divide between medieval and early modern periods. What happens if we think about complaining women as point of convergence between medieval and early modern representations? Do certain formal features or rhetorical tropes connect such literatures, or are there identifiable sites of difference that might pertain to specific historical contexts? If Chaucer’s narrator “bores” of the Ovidian tradition of women’s complaint, what kinds of complaining women feature in his and other late medieval literatures? If early modern poets “return” to women’s complaint, how does the classical tradition overwrite or supersede other representations of complaining women? This class considers women’s legal, poetic, and narrative complaints, from discourses that are both institutional and ephemeral, formal and fleeting. From ballads and lyrics, to epyllia and drama: how do complaining women cross period boundaries, or challenge what we think we know about the traditional divide between medieval and early modern literatures. CRN 18125.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.