Spring 2019 Course Descriptions
ENGL 504-01: ADVANCED CREATIVE WRITING II, POETRY: I. STANSEL
ENGL 506-01: TEACHING OF WRITING: T. JOHNSON
ENGL 507-01: TEACHING CREATIVE WRITING: K. MAXWELL
This course offers students an opportunity to study methods of teaching creative writing and explore conversations regarding our ability (or inability) to teach creativity. Students will read, discuss, and respond to a variety of texts on critical, theoretical, and practical approaches to the teaching of creative writing and will learn about the emergence of creative writing as a field of study in the university. We’ll consider best practices for teaching in different environments, including, but not limited to: universities and colleges, K-12 classrooms, community centers, and centers of rehabilitation. Students will have the opportunity to create and test out writing activities and lesson plans and will learn how to facilitate a creative writing workshop.
ENGL 510-01: MA LEVEL INTERNSHIP: S. SCHNEIDER *Permission Required
ENGL 522-01: THE STRUCTURE OF MODERN ENGLISH: T. STEWART
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. Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:
- distinguish between language issues that are fundamental to the construction of English sentences and those that constitute “pet peeves” and “complaint triggers”;
- identify English examples in terms of grammatical categories, inflectional forms, clausal functions, and syntactic constructions;
- produce original examples of each of the types listed in (2) above; and
- 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: THE HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE: T. STEWART
ENGL 541-01: STUDIES IN OLD & MIDDLE ENGLISH LITERATURE: J. DIETRICH
We will read Sir Thomas Malory’s The Death of Arthur and pay particular attention to the transition from the Medieval to the Modern era. We will consider various hypotheses about the origin of self-regulating individualism as a cultural ideal. Students will be asked to write two short papers and a ten-page research paper.
ENGL 550-01: STUDIES IN AFRICAN AMERICAN LITERATURE: D. ANDERSON
This course will focus on African American literature, art, and music in Chicago the 1930's, 40's, and 50's. As the Harlem Renaissance was winding down in the early 1930's, an even larger and more vibrant arts movement was starting up in Chicago, which was an important destination for African Americans leaving the South during the Great Migration. Chicago became a center of blues, jazz, and gospel music, as well as a center for visual artists (such as Archibald Motley) and such varied writers as Richard Wright, Margaret Walker, Gwendolyn Brooks, Frank Marshall Davis, and Dorothy West. The course might end with Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun in the 1950's, but might even take a peek at the Black Arts Movement in the 1960's. But the class is a good opportunity to study mid-century music, visual art, and literature, as well as race relations and housing practices that have profoundly influenced American life in the 21st century.
ENGL 551-01: JEWISH ID IN GRAPHIC NOVELS: R. OMER-SHERMAN
In recent years the graphic novel has received considerable attention as an explosive cultural phenomenon. Today one cannot walk into any chain bookstore without noting the ever-proliferating bookshelf space afforded for the display of graphic memoirs and novels, as many in the publishing industry have become aware of their artistic and literary, as well as commercial, vitality.
As Hillary Chute asserts, graphic novels embody “an embrace of reproducibility and mass circulation as well as a rigorous, experimental attention to form as a mode of political intervention.” This course offers students a substantial encounter with the variety of challenges to Jewish identity (both collective and individual) represented in the graphic novel’s enduring fascination with the consequences of the erasure/repression, as well as celebration, of ethnic/racial origins. We will examine how graphic novels (and even the comics genre) can embody a powerful composite text of words and images that produces effects significantly different from more traditional forms of literary narrative. And this creative power becomes especially striking when placed in the service of racial, religious, and ethnic identity exploration.
This course explores the profound influence of the Jewish imagination on the art of visual narrative from the creation of Superman to graphic memoirs (fiction and nonfiction) about Auschwitz and well beyond. Students will have the option of writing formal research papers or in the case of those interested in art and creative writing, producing their own graphic narrative, by prior arrangement with the instructor.
ENGL 552-01: FROM REALISM TO THE ABSURD: H. STANEV
This course will investigate a diverse selection of plays that have exerted considerable influence on the development of theatre and dramaturgy in the United Kingdom and the United States during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We will begin with some of the high accomplishments of Realist and Naturalist drama, and proceed to discuss the modernist avant-garde stage and the drama of the absurd which came to prominence during and after the World Wars. Topics will include the intellectual, aesthetic, cultural, and gendered milieu of mainstream and experimental performances, as well as an evolving register of social attitudes and commentaries that came to define a dynamic, though often fragmented and non-linear, body of dramatic production. The learning outcomes of this class will establish familiarity with, and appreciation of, the development and evolution of theatre during a time of significant cultural and political turbulence and change on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as cultivate in-depth awareness of the values, ideas, and methods that gradually influenced and shaped the meaning and expressive power of contemporary British and American dramatic productions.
ENGL 563-75: MILTON: D. BILLINGSLEY
This course focuses on intensive reading of Paradise Lost, with collateral readings in Milton's prose and other poetry. Graded course work includes regular contributions to a Blackboard discussion group, occasional brief in-class exercises, and a long paper. Graduate students will also publish on Blackboard one assigned review of current secondary criticism. If this course is successful, at its end you should be able to do the following:
- Read and begin to understand the poem in the cultural context of its original creation, within the fabric of Milton’s work overall, and as received in critical study.
- Demonstrate your understanding of the poem in your own brief close readings and critical commentary.
- Participate in and synthesize other readers' perceptions in oral and written discussion.
- Comprehend and express an informed historical-critical understanding of thematic and cultural issues prompted by the poem in clearly organized, competently argued and well-supported academic prose.
ENGL 567-01: POST COLONIAL VOICES: K. LOGAN
This seminar will address some major trends in the development of postcolonial African literature, delineate, and explore the historical, socio-political, aesthetic, and cultural conditions/forces that occasioned its advent, production, and dissemination. Participants will read, discuss, and critique selected primary texts (prose fiction) produced by writers from across the continent, as well as diverse theoretical and critical reflections that contextualize related key issues/topics the course seeks to address: imperialism, colonialism, neocolonialism, decolonization, post-colonialism, apartheid, orature, hybridity, gender and identity politics, tradition and modernity.
ENGL 603-01: STUDIES IN GENRES - AUTOBIOGRAPHY: K. CHANDLER
This seminar will explore how U.S. authors have used the genre of autobiography in shaping personal and/or family histories into public stories. In addition to examining various ways in which autobiography can negotiate between the private and public, the course will consider other recurring questions in theories of autobiography, including the conflict between the constructed nature of stories and expectation that autobiography ring true. We will consider different kinds of autobiography, starting with traditional written narrative and moving to film documentary and comics. One recurring focus will be how textual dynamics, generic conventions, and rhetorical address shape autobiographical texts and their contributions to culture. Assigned texts will include Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Mary Antin’s The Promised Land,Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera,Allison Bechdel’s Fun Home, Richard Wright’s Black Boy, Mary Karr’s The Liars Club, Tobias Wolff’s This Boy’s Life, and films by Jerome Hill, Camille Billops, and James Hatch. Other readings will include short non-fiction and critical texts. Required work for the course will include short response papers, oral reports, an annotated bibliography and a final interpretive essay.
ENGL 607-01: CREATIVE WRITING II: P. GRINER *Requires Permission
This is a graduate level workshop-style course in the writing of original fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, or drama. Class sessions are used primarily to discuss work written by class members, which is distributed and studied in advance of the discussion.
As is true of most workshops, students know far better than I what they hope to get from this course, but I expect them to do a lot of reading and writing, to attend and participate in every class, and to revise thoroughly at least one of the pieces they workshop. I also expect to see all of them improve as writers, and as readers and critics. That doesn’t necessarily mean I expect them to become more “polished” writers; in some cases it may mean they're more willing to take risks, while in others it may mean they'll gain greater expertise in things they've already learned to do well. Through readings and workshops, discussion, written work, etc., they will be working constantly at the art of revising, a crucial skill for all writers, but especially advanced ones.
ENGL 610-01: PHD LEVEL INTERNSHIP: S. SCHNEIDER * Requires Permission
ENGL 615-01: THESIS GUIDANCE: S. SCHNEIDER *Requires Permission
ENGL 632-01: SHAKESPEARE: S. BIBERMAN
Shakespeare and his Rivals: Shakespeare's limitations and strengths emerge most clearly when his work is studied alongside his rivals efforts. In this seminar we will seek to discover a sense of Shakespeare by reading a selection of his plays in the context of contemporary drama. For example we will study Othello alongside Heywood's A Woman Killed with Kindness, Macbeth alongside Dr. Faustus, and Midsummer Night's Dream alongside Beaumont's Knight of the Burning Pestle.
Requirements: Students are expected to participate actively in the seminar and to submit a range of writing, from in class "free writes" to polished academic papers. Verbal requirements include the following: lead class discussion of one text during the semester, provide brief verbal "walk throughs" of both midterm essays and final projects, and generally engage in class discussion. Written requirements center around a midterm set of two brief essays and a final seminar project (where the "default" assignment is to write a paper on this seminar's subject matter but suitable for presentation at any academic conference of your choice). Final projects can deviate from the default assignment (past examples include designing high school lesson plans, creative writing, digital media projects, etc.) but all such experimental projects are subject to the professor's approval.
ENGL 651-75: THE BRONTES: D. LUTZ
In this course we will immerse ourselves in the lives and works of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë. We will begin with the imaginary worlds of Angria and Gondal, created by all four siblings (including their brother Branwell) when they were children. We will then read some of their poetry and all of their major novels in the order they were written: Wuthering Heights, Agnes Grey, Jane Eyre, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Shirley, and Villette. We will consider how these young writers drew on late Romantic and early Victorian literature and culture, but we will also be attentive to their utterly anomalous qualities. Gender roles and early feminism will be central to our discussions, as will such themes as madness, outcasts, dangerous lovers, incest, the gothic, and reading and writing as ways of forming the self. Another focus will be the material culture of the time and its place in the Brontës’ lives and literature. We will explore (and look at pictures of) needlework, letters, jewelry made of human hair, boxes, portable desks, and other domestic ephemera that gave texture to everyday life. Important to our understanding of their work will be our study of their manuscripts as material objects: they recorded their early tales in miniature booklets they made by hand; they kept notebooks; and Emily composed her poetry on tiny snippets of paper, often recycled.
ENGL 674-75: WRITING PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION: B. HORNER
Most of those earning PhDs and taking jobs in rhetoric and composition can expect to be asked to serve as writing program administrators at some point in their professional careers. Yet the relationship of writing program administration to the larger work of composition teaching, theory, and research is ambiguous. This seminar will explore the historical and potential relationship between the two through readings in the scholarly literature of, by, and about writing program administration and institutional documents of writing program administration. In so doing, we should grow more familiar with the interplay between theories of writing and program administration, on the one hand, and the practices of writing program administration, on the other, and with the various issues currently faced by writing program administrators and those with whom they work, including issues of teacher education, labor, assessment, curriculum design and development, and institutional change, and we should develop a sense of how best to navigate these in our current and future work as teachers, scholars, and (likely) writing program administrators. Particular attention will be devoted to the rise of transnational writing program administration. Seminar members will write weekly response papers and a long seminar project. Drafts of members’ seminar projects will constitute the final set of our readings for the seminar.
ENGL 677-01: WRITING IN THE DISCIPLINES: A. OLINGER
This course is designed for graduate and professional students in any department. 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org), if you have any questions about the class.
ENGL 681-75: DIGITAL MEDIA AND COMPOSITION PEDAGOGY: B. WILLIAMS
No one who teaches writing needs to be told that digital media are changing the way we, our students, and most people in the culture, compose and interpret texts. The rapidity of the changes in how we can create and read texts raises questions that are central to how we think about literacy education. Among the questions we will address in this class will be:
- What digital media should we embrace in the writing classroom? What new pedagogical approaches do new media offer to us?
- How do we connect composition pedagogy developed around print to new ways of creating and interpreting texts?
- How do questions of identity, of class, gender, race, culture, affect how we should approach teaching with digital media?
- How have the changes in the nature and mobility of texts changed the nature of our courses?
- How do we connect our teaching practices to the multimedia literacy practices students engage with outside the classroom?
- Can we tell the difference between an important new way of writing and a fad?
- What are the material conditions that are shaping what we can or should do with digital media in a writing classroom, both face-to-face and online?
- How have our jobs changed in the past twenty years and what should they look like now?
- What attention should we be paying to fields such as film theory or graphic arts when we create pedagogies that draw on digital media?
In this course we will explore these and other questions. We will read from a wide variety of sources, including scholarship on composition pedagogy, digital writing, media studies, popular culture, new literacy studies, graphic arts, and visual rhetoric. This class will be more than just reading and discussion, however. We will also work with digital technologies to learn how to produce and imagine new pedagogical approaches for our classrooms. I think it will be fun.
ENGL 687-75: THE RHETORIC OF PUBLIC MEMORY: PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE: S. SCHNEIDER
This course will examine how we commemorate the past, and shape our commemorations to serve the needs of the present. We’ll specifically examine how public memory has been shaped in the US, with focus on three key areas. The first is the emergence of nineteenth-century commemorative culture around military and nationalist achievements. We’ll then look at two key developments that both expanded and challenged the normative narratives established by nationalist memorials. First, we’ll look at attempts to commemorate trauma and disasters, a development that emerged after WW2. Second, we’ll look at more recent attempts to commemorate minority achievements and social justice efforts, and the manner in which they both “democratize” public memory even as they create new normative (and often problematic) understandings of regional and national history.
More broadly, then, we’ll ask what the rhetorical uses of the past might be, and how these uses often lie between official versions of history and more vernacular memorial cultures.
ENGL 689-01: DIRECTED READING - EXAMS: S. SCHNEIDER *Permission Required
ENGL 690-01: DISSERTATION RESEARCH: S. SCHNEIDER *Permission Required
ENGL 691-01: CONTEMPORARY INTERPRETIVE THEORIES: K. KOPELSON
This course surveys key, canonical developments in contemporary interpretive or critical theory from, roughly, its inception in the mid -20th century to present. Theories surveyed include structuralism, reception theories, poststructuralism/ deconstruction, feminisms, gender studies and queer theory, race, colonial, and postcolonial studies, and posthumanism. Course requirements include rigorous class participation, weekly written responses to the readings, and two take-home essay examinations.