Graduate Course Descriptions Spring 2016

ENGL 504-01: Advanced Creative Writing II – Fiction: Professor Stansel: MWF 11:00AM – 11:50AM

This upper-division fiction course offers students who have already completed introductory and intermediate workshops the opportunity to further refine their craft. The discussion-based class will focus on longer works, with students reading and responding to short story collections and novels, and discussing strategies for sustained engagement with the reader. Week-by-week, the class will examine different aspects of the storytelling craft, including scene-building, plot and sub-plot development, writing voice, among others. In addition to creating and workshopping short stories, students will work on developing story ideas and structuring approaches for a longer piece of writing.

ENGL 506-01: Teaching Writing: Professor Olinger: TTh 4:00 PM – 5:15 PM

English 506 is an introduction to theories, research, and practices of teaching writing. We’ll examine perspectives on what writing is; how people develop as writers throughout their lives; and how writing can be taught. We’ll also explore various approaches to teacher and peer response, assessment, and other aspects of writing pedagogy. Ultimately, students will leave the course with the ability to connect theory and practice, a deeper understanding of their own philosophy of writing and writing pedagogy and their own literacy experiences, and materials to use in future classroom settings.

ENGL 507-01: Teaching Creative Writing: Professor Stansel: MW 4:00PM - 5:15PM

This course offers students an opportunity to investigate the methods of teaching creative writing. Students will read, discuss, and respond to a variety of texts on critical, theoretical, and practical approaches to the teaching of creative writing, as well as on the history of creative writing in the classroom. Though written assignments and in-class presentations, successful students will come away from the course with a solid foundation of understanding on how to design and lead a creative writing workshop.

ENGL 510-01: MA Level Intership

*This course requires permission from the Graduate Program Director.

ENGL 518-01: Foundations of Language: Professor Swinehart: M 4:00PM – 6:45PM

This course introduces graduate students to aspects of theoretical linguistics including phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics and familiarizes them with perspectives on the foundations of language from the adjacent fields of anthropology, psychology, and philosophy.

ENGL 520-01: World Englishes: Professor Soldat-Jaffe: MWF 1:00PM – 1:50 PM

English has rapidly spread throughout the world over the last few decades; it has replaced other (national) languages or taken the function of "the other" (additional) national language –a so-called intranational language. Why English? Is it just a historical accident? How can we understand the role of English in a foreign country if a (national) language is generally been used as a tool for unifying a nation, for establishing political boundaries, and for creating dissent. What do the different World English varieties have in common and how do they differ? We will explore how English varieties have their own sociological, linguistic, and literary manifestations in different countries, and we will investigate what the motivations and attitudes favoring the spread of English are. What is the perceived status of English? Is it an institutionalized or just a performance variety? And, last but not least, what is the difference between an international and a global language? Is it World Englishes or World English? This is a sociolinguistic course exploring the above questions in an interdisciplinary manner by using critical thinking.

ENGL 522-01: Structure of Modern English: Professor Stewart: TTh 2:30 - 4:35 PM

*Sections 50 & 51 are distance learning courses

This course is designed as a linguistic exploration of the various forms and combinations of words, phrases, and sentences that contemporary speakers of English typically recognize as belonging to that language.

To help in this exploration, students will:

  • examine both popular and technical conceptions of “grammar”
  • examine that variety of English referred to as Standard American English (SAE)
  • consider some of the ways in which one can vary from SAE and still be speaking English
  • consider the role of situation, audience, etc., in determining “appropriate use”
  • acquire terminology and methods that permit clear description of English grammar
  • collect real-life examples of actual English usage for detailed description
  • identify and monitor trends in English usage to evaluate “changes in progress”

Note: This course can count in the Theoretical Track concentration or as an Elective for the Undergraduate Minor in Linguistics. For more information, see

Student learning outcomes:

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. distinguish between language issues that are fundamental to the construction of English sentences and those that constitute “pet peeves” and “complaint triggers”;
  2. identify English examples in terms of grammatical categories, inflectional forms, clausal functions, and syntactic constructions;
  3. produce original examples of each of the types listed in (2) above; and
  4. describe, compare, and contrast example English structures in detail through the rigorous application of the concepts, categories, and methods of descriptive linguistics.
ENGL 523-01: History of the English Language: Professor Stewart: TTh 9:30AM – 10:45AM

Description: This course traces the development of English from Old English (Anglo-Saxon) origins, through the Middle English (e.g., Chaucer) and Early Modern English (e.g., Shakespeare) periods, to Present-Day English. The course has a double emphasis:

  • internal history (diachronic change), or how grammar and vocabulary change with use over time and space, and
  • external history (language and dialect contact), including influences such as the 9th century settlement of Vikings in Britain and the 11th century Norman-French conquest of Britain.

Because English hasn’t been “perfected” (whatever that would mean), it hasn’t stopped changing and it won’t, as long as people use it as a living language. In order to speculate as to how English might change in the future, this course will also consider regional dialects, and both current and post-colonial English vernaculars around the world.

Successful completion of this course will provide the student with:

  • greater appreciation for the fluidity of language usage,
  • broader understanding of the socio-political contexts for language change, and
  • increased ability to describe language phenomena objectively.
ENGL 535-75: Applied Linguistics for English Teachers: Professor Stewart: W 7:00PM - 9:45PM

With all that is known about how languages work and how human beings use their languages, what can be done to put that abstract knowledge to work, developing and implementing concrete solutions to practical problems? This course, Applied Linguistics, presents an approach to language study designed to address real-world language issues encountered in teaching, learning, translation, public policy, medical and legal contexts, and more.

Topics for this course include the following:

  • Language in everyday use
  • Language variation
  • Discourse analysis
  • Language policy & planning
  • Language, learning, and education
  • Literacy
  • Bilingual & multilingual education
  • Language instruction
  • Language and Expert Uses
  • Translation
  • Lexicography (dictionary-making)
  • Language and the law

By participating in this course, students will:

  1. engage in discussions of contemporary language controversies,
  2. experience specialist methods in language analysis, and
  3. address practical language-related problems with an eye toward generating realizable solutions.

This course is particularly recommended for language teachers, speech-language professionals, translators, linguaphiles, and problem-solvers.

Required textbook:

  • C. J. Hall, P. H. Smith, & R. Wicaksono (2011). Mapping Applied Linguistics.    London/New York: Routledge. ISBN-13: 978-0-415-55913-3.

Prerequisites for enrollment:

  • Junior standing & LING 325 or ENGL 325 “Introduction to Linguistics” for undergraduates.


  • Cross-listed with LING 535.75
  • Provides Track-B (Applied) or Elective credit for undergraduate Linguistics Minor.
ENGL 546-01: Victorian Stories: Criminality and Insanity: Professor Rosner: MW 2:00 – 3:15 PM

Victorian readers were fascinated by crime and its causes, with some of those causes traced to different kinds of madness likely to affect "weak" individuals. In this 500-level course designed for advanced undergraduate and beginning graduate students, we will read and discuss Victorian non-fiction and fiction related to Victorian crime and Victorian  insanity.  Some readings will involve crime in part; some will involve madness in part, some will involve both.  We will also read and discuss work done by the students and by critics.

ENGL 547-01: Easter 1916: Literature and Revolution: Professor Clukey: MWF 10:00AM – 10:50 AM

Easter weekend 1916: a ragtag group of Irish intellectuals and rebels declared Ireland a free republic and occupied several buildings in downtown Dublin. Although the rebels were quickly captured and executed by the British army, their deaths ignited a revolution that divided Ireland and ended hundreds of years of brutal British occupation on much of the island. As W.B. Yeats put it, Ireland was “changed, changed utterly: a terrible beauty is born.”

ENGL 575-01: African American Novel: Professor Chandler: MWF 12:00PM – 12:50 PM

In this course we will explore African American writers’ use of the novel form from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. One objective of the course will be carefully examining how black novelists have used the form for common preoccupations in fiction—representing being, time, and place. Also important will be exploring how aesthetic and larger cultural contexts have affected African American novel-writing. To facilitate this line of inquiry, we will read a selection of relevant criticism.

Do the syllabus’ novels represent a tradition of African American literature? If so, in what ways? How do they make us think about conventional ways of categorizing literature by genre, expressive mode, and the authors’ race? What ideas about identity, society, history, language, and art do the novels inspire? How are novels for adults distinct from those for young readers?

Required books may include: Harriet Wilson, Our Nig; James Weldon Johnson, Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man; Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God; Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man; Gwendolyn Brooks, Maud Martha; Percival Everett, God’s Country; Virginia Hamilton, Zeely; June Jordan, His Own Where; Toni Morrison, A Mercy; Dinaw Mingestu, All Our Names.

ENGL 591-01: Plato – New Criticism: Professor Dietrich: TTh 1:00PM – 2:15 PM

We will study in some depth a number of key texts in literary theory from the classical era to the mid-twentieth century. We will focus on their different ways of answering these questions:  how do literary texts construct meaning? What makes a work good? what is the  appropriate relationship of art to society? We will also consider the relationship of theory to practical criticism.  Students will be prepared to engage in contemporary debates about literary criticism by developing their skills in analysis and evidence-based argument and through examination of various historical perspectives on central issues in the field. Graduate students will be asked also to examine the wider cultural contexts of particular texts and to develop their pedagogical skills by teaching the material to the class in a thirty-minute period.

ENGL 599-01: Visual Rhetoric: Professor Johnson: TTh 4:00PM – 5:15PM

During any given day, countless individuals wake up in rooms with walls covered in images they value, dress in clothes covered with symbols that signify all sorts of messages, drive to school and work on roads flanked by billboards, fill the time between studying Powerpoint slides with videos (of the news, or people dumping ice water on themselves, or of cats), memes, and photos of friends, and go to bed streaming movies and television shows. There is little doubt that we are living in the age of the visual. Amidst these countless visual messages circulating about, understandings of the self, interpersonal relationships, bodies, marketplaces, nature and the natural, knowledge, and culture are all being shaped and reshaped. In this course we will work to make sense of the rhetorical power and narrative complexities of visual culture in the twenty-first century.

During the first unit of this course, we will explore theories of the visual and multimodal while analyzing a variety of texts: scholarly articles on the subject, popular films, documentaries, advertisements, YouTube videos, maps, websites, photographs, and built spaces. In the second unit, students will practice archival and textual research methods to compile a set of existing visual texts and a theory about the cultural/rhetorical dynamics through which these images work. Finally, using this research, students will produce a multimodal essay exploring the subject of their choice and the role that the visual has played in shaping this subject. On the whole, then, students will leave this course with the knowledge understand and use visualized information in its many forms.

ENGL 599-02: Advanced Academic Writing Across the Disciplines: Professor Olinger: 2:30 PM – 3:45 PM

This course is designed for graduate and professional students in any department, as well as for advanced undergraduates in any department who are considering graduate school or conducting research and writing theses. Students who speak English as a second, third, or fourth language are especially welcome.

In this course, students will:

  • Investigate best practices for research, writing, and publishing in their discipline
  • Reflect on their literacy and language background, habits, and goals
  • Analyze articles in their discipline for particular linguistic and rhetorical patterns
  • Apply what they’ve learned to an extended writing project of their design
  • Improve their ability to edit for grammar, word choice, and punctuation and to craft more incisive prose
  • Participate in a community of peers who share their work

Feel free to contact the instructor, Dr. Andrea Olinger (, if you have any questions about the class.

ENGL 601-01: Intro to English Studies: Professor Griffin: T 4:00PM – 6:45 PM

What have been the “key” terms of literary study? How and why have they changed? Of course, such questions could take us back to the classical era. For purposes of this course we will focus on three examples: Raymond William’s Key Words: A Vocabulary of Culture & Society, Frank Lentricchia & Thomas McLaughlin’s Critical Terms for Literary Study, and Bruce Burgett and Glenn Handler’s Keywords for American Cultural Studies. In addition to these books, there will be shorter readings: literary, critical, and theoretical. We will also study, and engage in, some of the “key” forms of professional writing in the field. During the course of the seminar participants will:

  • “Follow” a scholarly journal relevant to your area(s) of interest
  • Evaluate a scholarly electronic research resource
  • Write an abstract for a presentation at a professional conference
  • Write and present a 20 minute paper based on that abstract
  • Workshop the presentation with an eye towards revising into an article
ENGL 603: Studies in Genre – Film: Professor Williams: T 7:00PM – 9:45PM

This course will both use film studies as a way to approach a critical investigation of genre, and use genre theory as a way of understanding film. We will be reading and discussing genre theory and talking about the nature of genre - and the complexities of the concept - and thinking about how we make use of it in our interpretation and analysis of texts. We'll be applying theories of genre to film and seeing how such theories operate in film, what kind of critical and rhetorical work they do, and what tensions and inconsistencies are involved in such an approach. We will explore how genres develop and the historical, material, and cultural forces that shape our conceptions of genre. In addition, we will think about how genre in a popular medium such as film reproduces or disrupts dominant ideologies. What, for example, do our conceptions of genre tell us about our culture at a given moment? Our discussions will include considerations of narrative, rhetoric, identity, culture, and material conditions. We'll be watching and talking about a rather lengthy, and eclectic, range of films.

ENGL 607: Advanced Creative Writing (II): W 4:00PM – 6:45 PM

This graduate-level workshop is for writers of poetry, fiction, and drama. Because this is an advanced course, I expect students to demonstrate a working knowledge of the basic literary terms appropriate to each genre. This workshop-style course invites students to continue developing their own writing practices, while adding new compositional and critical techniques to their repertoires. We’ll devote most class sessions to reviewing peer-generated works-in-progress, but we’ll also discuss some published texts in each genre and take time to explore other relevant elements of the creative process. Students should be prepared to participate energetically in group critique sessions (i.e., “workshop”) in addition to polishing their own writing. Students will assemble a portfolio (containing 30-60 pages of prose/drama OR 20-30 pages of poetry OR some combination of these) at semester’s end. Each student will also write significant responses to each peer manuscript and compose 4 brief responses to selected published pieces. The final grade will be calculated based on the above items, plus attendance and participation.

ENGL 610-01: PhD Level Internship

*This course requires permission from the Graduate Program Director

ENGL 615-01: Thesis Guidance

*This course requires permission from the Graduate Program Director

ENGL 654-01: The Postcolonial Romance: Dr. Willey: W 1:00PM – 3:45 PM

‘Romance” is a multivariate term in literary studies ranging from a term used to describe a literary movement in the first half of the 19th century (“Romanticism”) to a kind of story of nostalgic remembering and longing (the romance of empire) to the modern pulp genre of drugstore romance novels.  In this seminar, w e will be examining how all three meanings of romance have been adopted and adapted by Postcolonial writers to question 19th century understandings of nationalism, critique nostalgia for empire, and interrogate the postcolonial subject’s interpellation into the modern/global world systems of cultural production and reception.  Readings will most likely include a few early examples of the romance of empire—Aphra Behn’s Oronooko, and Shakepseare’s Othello or The Tempest--and move on to contemporary reworking of the romance by authors from formerly colonized areas such as M.J. Vassenji’s Book of Secrets, Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea, Salman Rushdie’s The Moor’s Last Sigh, and Chimamanda Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun.

ENGL 671: History of Rhetoric I: Professor Rabin: TTh 2:30PM – 3:45PM

This course will trace the development of rhetorical theory from its origins in ancient Greece through its transformation and appropriation by Roman, medieval, and renaissance thinkers. In particular, we will seek to understand how concepts of rhetoric shaped and were shaped by social and intellectual history. We will consider how rhetoric functioned as a means of articulating models of ethical psychology, political identity, and gendered subjectivity. These are only a few possible topics, and I suspect our discussions will encompass issues as diverse as the texts themselves.  As this is a graduate seminar, students will be strongly encouraged to bring their own intellectual interests into the classroom and to seek ways of linking the material covered in this course to their own programs of study.

ENGL 681-01: Teaching Literature: Theory and Practice: Dr. Boehm: Th 4:00PM – 6:45PM

Why do we assume that everyone who gets a PhD in English knows how to teach literature?  This course begins by asking that question, but we will ask many others:  What is the relation of reading literature to teaching literature?  What is the relation of theories of literature to theories of teaching?  What is the relation of theories of literature to the practice of teaching literature?  What is the relation of writing pedagogy to literature pedagogy?  What does it mean to teach literature rhetorically?  And finally, an overriding question of the course will be “Why should students read literature?”  This question will force us to deal with questions about the function of literature at the present time, the role of English in the college curriculum, and others.  This course will provide with the tools you need to make decisions about the kinds of reading and writing assignments you’ll develop depending upon how you answer the question, “Why should students read literature?”

We will read a variety of texts (mostly article length, although there will be one or two books) about the art of teaching literature. There will some short response papers and practical assignments, as well as the opportunity to team teach an article that you’ll pair with a short literary text.   The major project for the course will be your adoption of a literary text around which you will complete a variety of assignments, including a syllabus for a course in which you would teach that text, a teaching outline including sets of discussion questions, a writing assignment, a theoretical essay in which you consider how some of the works we’ve read would inform the teaching of the text, and so on.  The hope is that you will have a portfolio of useful materials by the end of the term.

ENGL 681-02: The Poetics of Paper: Professor Lutz: TBA: M 4:00 – 6:45PM

What was it like working as a novelist or poet in the nineteenth century? What were the materials of the craft, and how did writers like Mary Shelley and Emily Brontë piece together their notes and manuscripts and send them out into the world as published books? In this class we will explore the material culture of literature, its creation, and its accessories. We will think about the materiality of writing both as a theme and as a condition of creating the writing itself. Our areas of study will include letters and the epistolary, marginalia and inscription, albums and scrapbooks, bookbinding and paper crafts, epigraphs and paratexts, and all sorts of collections, libraries, and archives. We will focus primarily on Britain in the nineteenth century, but we will also go further afield. Readings will include works by (and the writing processes of) Mary Shelley, Elizabeth Gaskell, Emily Brontë, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, and Charles Dickens. We will read the non-fiction and theory of Walter Benjamin, Leah Price, Andrew Stauffer, and others. In addition to a seminar paper and a research presentation, you will be required to attend at least three lectures outside of class. There will also be a community engagement requirement involving archival research at nearby collections and/or other sorts of participatory activities off-campus. We may take some fieldtrips to demonstrations or exhibitions of papermaking, bookmaking, binding, or art books.

ENGL 681-76: Writing/Translation in Theory and Practice: Professor Horner: M 7:00PM – 9:45PM

As a consequence of patterns of globalization, translation studies are becoming something of a growth industry currently, and cross-language (a.k.a. “translingual”) relations have become a growing area of interest in composition, with increasing demands for compositionists with expertise in “multilingualism” and “multilingual composition.”  Nonetheless, translation as a specific writing practice has been largely neglected in the field of rhetoric and composition in its teaching and research (with second language writing scholarship a growing exception), and the field of translation studies has until recently largely neglected scholarship in rhetoric and composition. Participants in this seminar will address these gaps by studying the ways in which 1) translation constitutes a distinct form of writing, and 2) writing inevitably takes the form of translation.  We will do so by reviewing contemporary theories of translation, scholarship in second language writing, and its teaching and theories of writing and writing pedagogy informed by translation and “translingual” theory; by experimenting with and reflecting on efforts at translating, as conventionally defined, in discourse in the scholarship of writing studies to and from English; and by considering the uses to the teaching and study of composition of engaging translation as theory and practice.  Participants should have reading knowledge of at least one written language other than English but will not be expected to have “native” competence in more than one language (whether anyone has any such competence in any language is a matter we will dispute).  I will be proposing to the graduate committee that passing this seminar with a grade of B or higher will count as the equivalent to passing the graduate program’s “foreign” language requirement.

ENGL 682-01: Language and Culture: Professor Swinehart: W 4:00PM – 6:45PM

This course examines the properties of human language that enable its users to interpret, act in, and shape their cultural worlds. Topics include: the semiotic properties of human language; principles of linguistic and cultural categorization; the relationship of language structure to language use; language as a system of representation; language use in social interaction; markers of social identity and relationship; registers of social conduct; the textual organization of discourse; the role of discourse in the formulation of norms, and the institutionalization of modes of conduct.

ENGL 687-75: Rhetoric and Social Movements: Professor Schneider: Th 7:00PM – 9:45PM

This course explores what it means to study the rhetoric of social movements, and specifically the challenges involved in assessing the rhetorical aspects (and products) of collective political action.  To that end, we’ll start with two theoretical questions that animated social movement studies in the late 1970s and early 1980s: specifically, what is a social movement and how do we know one when we see it, and; are social movements essentially rhetorical in form and function?  We’ll use these questions to explore both the history of social movements (primarily in the United States) and the history of social movement studies.  As a result, this seminar will be both historical and interdisciplinary in nature.

We’ll likely focus on the history of social movements in the twentieth century, beginning with those campaigns focused on women’s rights, labor activism, and civil rights.  From there, we’ll look at how different social issues and protest strategies have develop throughout the twentieth century and into the twenty-first century.  Possible movements we’ll consider include the Women’s Suffrage Movement, U.S. Labor Movement, the Civil Rights Movement, Environmental Activism, the Anti-Globalization movement, and Occupy.  We’ll also examine the major theoretical models that have informed social movement studies, beginning with the classical “strain” model for explaining discontent and then moving to resource mobilization, political process, political opportunity structure, and framing models.  We’ll ask what affordances and limitations these models place on the study of social movement rhetorics.

ENGL 691: Contemporary Interpretive Theory: Professor Hadley: M 4:00PM – 6:45PM

This graduate-level introductory course proposes to introduce students to recent developments in contemporary theory through the study of primary texts; to deepen and refine students’ skills in reading and critical analysis; to increase students’ awareness of the variety of issues and approaches available for literary interpretation and criticism; and to give students the opportunity to work with these materials through discussion (both verbal and online), Louisville Conference attendance, drafting a project proposal, and through a comprehensive exam. The bulk of course readings will be taken from Rivkin & Ryan’s Literary Theory: An Anthology (Blackwell, 2004). In addition, and to illuminate critical and theoretical materials within a literary context, each week’s convergence of theoretical issues will be applied to some aspect of our touchstone literary text, which will very likely be Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.