Spring 2022 Course Descriptions

  ENGL 504-01: Place & Being in Poetry - Prof. Kristi Maxwell

This creative writing class will revolve around writing poems, developing confidence about reading and discussing poetry, and providing feedback on peers’ work. Our reading will focus on poems of place and being, exploring the work of poets interested in how sites affect selfhood and poetics, be it the Alaska of Christine Hume’s Alaskaphrenia, the New York of Frank O’Hara’s Lunch Poems, the Southern rurality of C.D. Wright’s Deepstep Come Shining, the imagined resort town of Cathy Park Hong’s Dance Dance Revolution, the volcanic terrain of Anne Carson’s Autobiography of Red, or the Virginia of Kiki Petrosino’s White Blood. Participants will submit poems for workshop; produce new work in response to experiment-based prompts; and read and discuss published work. You’ll leave the class with a short book of poems (also known as a chapbook) and insight into submitting your work, should you be interested in pursuing publication. 

  • This course can be used as an elective.

ENGL 504-02: Fiction - Prof. Ian Stansel

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 the study and creation of linked stories, with students reading and responding to stories from linked collections and discussing strategies for both short-term and sustained engagement with the reader. 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 storytelling.

  • This course can be used as an elective.

ENGL 506-51: Teaching of Writing -WR; CUE (DE) - Prof. Bruce Horner

This 100% online asynchronous version of English 506 will be devoted to making useful sense of scholarship on the teaching of writing.  We will examine the terms, concepts, assumptions, and concerns that seem to be key in some of the literature constituting that scholarship, such as writing processes, writing assignments, reading in the learning and teaching of writing, evaluation of student writing, errors, language difference, and modality in composition.  This is not a “how to teach writing” course but a course in which we try to make sense of the subject of teaching writing: what writing might entail, how it is learned, what and how conceptions of these have and might shape writing pedagogies. 

 For this course, I have selected readings that represent a small network of past and recent scholarship addressing writing pedagogy from the perspective of the teaching of college writing—something about which all of you will by now have had some experience.  You should approach the readings as representing ongoing scholarly conversations and debates that, as students advanced in your college careers and therefore with some experience with college writing, you are in a position to begin to engage and to contribute to.  Your contributions will include but are not limited to frequent short response essays, discussion board forum postings, and position papers. Students enrolling in the graduate section of this course will be asked to prepare a 20-25 page research project in addition to contributing response essays, discussion board forums, and position papers.

 Because this section of English 506 is taught entirely online as asynchronous, all classwork and class communication will take the form of digital written texts.  Accordingly, all students should have access to reliable internet and be able to check the course Blackboard website daily, and all students should expect to contribute some form of writing—even if only a discussion board forum posting—every few days—and to receive frequent responses from me to their written contributions.  One benefit of this course is that it will provide you with experience useful for imagining what is entailed in the teaching of writing in an entirely online environment—a growing phenomenon in the US and abroad.

 Please note that the teaching of creative writing is taught in a different course offered by the UofL English department—English 507. We do not address creative writing in English 506.

  • This course can be used as an elective.

ENGL 543: Stuart and Commonwealth Literature: Reading Milton; Reading Shakespeare DE - Prof. S. Matthew Biberman

In the fall of 2019, literary scholars were stunned to learn of a new discovery.  Handwriting experts had identified the marginalia in the Philadelphia's Public Library's copy of Shakespeare First Folio (1623) to be from the hand of John Milton. In this seminar we will examine Milton's annotations in order to get a better sense of what the author of Paradise Lost thought of Shakespeare.  Milton's folio suggests that he was particularly interested in the following plays: Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, The Tempest, Henry IV, As You Like It and King Lear.  In addition to the first four of these plays, we will read Paradise Lost.
Requirements: Weekly brief critical writings, forum engagement, final project.

  • This course fulfills the pre-1800 requirement and is a CUE course

ENGL 544: Studies in Restoration and 18th Century British Literature (Re-drawing the World: Imagining New Worlds) - Dr. Glynis Ridley

Anglo-American scholars refer to a “long eighteenth century” (c.1660-1830) encompassing everything from the Restoration of the British monarchy in 1660 through to the late Romantic period. Trying to find a way through the best part of two centuries, the course will focus on a single theme - the idea of scientific and geographic discovery – for this is the period during which the Pacific was finally mapped, Australia was colonized by Europeans and circumnavigated, and the modern map of the world was drawn. The class will look at a variety of fictional and non-fictional works from the period which show British men and women of different classes writing about their encounters with a range of others, all of whom have their own cultures and beliefs. Texts studied will represent the well-known and less well-known, fiction and non-fiction, written and graphic works, and will include Margaret Cavendish, The Description of a New World, called The Blazing World (1668); Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (1719); Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels (1726); Joseph Banks, excerpts from The Endeavor Journal (1768-71); and Mary Wollstonecraft, Letters written during a short residence in Sweden, Norway, Denmark (1796). We’ll also look at maps of the real and imaginary; illustrations of flora and fauna; considerations of new worlds opened up by both the microscope and telescope, by ballooning and cave exploration, and realms revealed by the new sciences of meteorology and geology. By the end of the course, we’ll hopefully have gained an overview of the socio-political issues driving exploration during the period, and of the range of literary forms and material culture to which exploration gave rise.

Please note that this is a DE course i.e. asynchronous online. The instructor will be available for anyone wishing to discuss anything face-to-face via Microsoft Teams, but there will be no scheduled synchronous group discussions.

  • This course satisfies the 1700-1900 requirement for MA students.

 ENGL 551-51: Writing From Life - Prof. Sarah Strickley

Have you ever wondered if the stories you’ve grown up hearing about your family would make for a powerful written work? Have you ever considered bringing the story of your own life to the page? If so, this online creative writing workshop might be right for you. Students will learn the difference between an engaging anecdote and a compelling work of art by experimenting in a variety of forms: short stories, literary essays, and poems. Close readings of published work and regular writing exercises will draw forth the matters of craft at hand and workshop sessions with peers will help participants shape the raw materials of life into persuasive works of prose or poetry. Undergraduates, graduates, and non-degree students are welcome to enroll in this unique online offering. Benefits include rolling deadlines designed to accommodate any schedule and the option of learning and writing from the comfort of your own home.

  • This course can be used as an elective.

ENGL 551- 75: African American Literature Prof. Kossi Logan

This seminar is an in-depth study of African American literature through a representative sampling of primary texts (fiction, drama, poetry), from Phillis Wheatley to Charles Johnson. It seeks to acquaint students with the thematic and aesthetic concerns of African American writers, as it outlines the theoretical and critical underpinnings that address, among other things, the Middle Passage, plantation slavery, Emancipation, Reconstruction, the Harlem Renaissance, and the Civil Rights movement. We will essentially examine how socio-historical, cultural, and political dynamics enabled the creation and growth of this literature, with particular focus on issues of race, gender, sexuality, and class. 

  • This course satisfies the post-1900 literature requirement for MA students. MA students may apply up to 9 credits of 500-level coursework to the MA degree.

ENGL 564-01: Selected Figures in American Literature: Douglas, Melville, Stowe - Prof. Susan Ryan

This course will put three of the most influential nineteenth-century American writers—Frederick Douglass, Herman Melville, and Harriet Beecher Stowe—into conversation with one another, exploring such themes as slavery and racial justice; violence, faith, and social change; modes of persuasion; and narrative form. In addition to works of fiction by each author (Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Douglass’s Heroic Slave, Melville’s Benito Cereno and Moby-Dick), we’ll consider a range of other genres, including autobiography, polemic, and poetry. The course will include hands-on training in digital archival research, leading toward a substantial final writing project.

  • This course satisfies the 1700-1900 literature requirement for MA students.

ENGL 570-01: Language & Social Identity - Prof. Hilaria Cruz

This course explores how an individual or a group of individuals use language in the construction, projection, and interpretation of social identity. As speakers, we choose among the language resources available to us (e.g., languages, dialects, register, styles) in presenting differing identities in different contexts. Consequently, our language performances trigger the judgments of others, who make assumptions about our socioeconomic standing, personal and professional attributes, and group memberships. We will discuss how language mediates, and is mediated by, these social constructions, as well as how language exists, to both challenge and uphold systems of power. 

  • This course can be used as an elective.

ENGL 572-CUE: “Let’s talk about love” in American literature, 1865-1910  - Prof. Karen Chandler

The course will explore a variety of literature about familial, romantic and other kinds of love (e.g. self-love, love for nature). U.S. literature from 1865 to 1910 examines a range of weighty societal changes, including the after-effects of the Civil War and the prevalence of urbanization, mass immigration, technological advances, and the demand by African Americans, indigenous persons, and white women for justice. Love is an important force within much of this literature, a force that helps define character and shape thematic conflicts over power and subjection, creativity and conformity. This section of English 572 will consider how genre and audience influenced the representation of love and how love stories related to changes and continuities in American society. Required readings will include poetry by Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Paul Laurence Dunbar and Edward Arlington Robinson; prose by Sarah Orne Jewett, Sui Sin Far, Henry James, W. E. B. Du Bois, W. D. Howells, Mark Twain, Kate Chopin, Charles Chesnutt, Edith Wharton, Abraham Cahan, and Zitkala-Sa; and drama by Dion Boucicault or Israel Zangwill. The course will also rely on relevant scholarly studies of period literature. Work requirements will include consistent engagement, tests, and essays. 

  • This course satisfies the 1700-1900 literature requirement for MA students. 

English 599: “The Future of Writing” (Text Technologies) - Prof. Mark Mattes

The reintroduction of cursive into elementary classrooms; the persistence of “authorship” and alphabetic literacy in digital reading practices and technologies; the dependence in law and history on written documentary evidence; the changing modes through which consent is inscribed and recorded in official documents and elsewhere; the presence of the “handwritten” in poems, artists’ books and digital typeface plugins; the adoption of writing practices by recovery communities; the declarations of nostalgia for personal connection signified by the epistle. These are just a few of the uses of writing that mark our time of digital media shift. But what is new or transformative regarding this “old” media practice?

“The Future of Writing” explores this question not only for the present day, but as a query that has been posed over time. Surveying a range of past and current-day artists, historians, and theorists on the significance of writing, this course addresses four interrelated questions. The first entails a theorizing of the medium itself: what are the futures of writing’s meanings and affordances? The second pertains to lived experience: how do writing practices contribute to the futures and/or foreclosures of various peoples and communities? The third is a matter of our own literacies: how does writing figure within larger media ecologies, and relatedly, what is the place of written culture for establishing other communicative forms, from books and screens, to language, literature, and even the very idea of “writing”? The final question is a meta-commentary on the class itself: how does writing and allied forms of expression shape our sense of time and the “historicisms” by which we tell stories?

While each of these questions are posed in the present tense, this course seeks to establish connections between present and past experiences of the “newness” and the “possibility” of writing. Thus, in addition to current studies of the possible futures for written forms and formats, this course features historical research into past written futures, which have marked contexts as varied as the rise of middle-class epistolary culture and the novel; the birth and death of the author; the adoption of printing, telecommunications, and phonography; the networking of Enlightenment science; previous and ongoing scenes of colonial encounter and contestation; the invention of the news; and the formation of scholarly disciplines. By developing a history of the future of writing, this course explores how a vital media practice has been and remains crucial to our understandings of art, communication, cultural difference, and social order.

  • This course satisfies the post-1900 literature requirement for MA students. 

ENGL 607-01: Creative Writing - Prof. Kristi Maxwell

This graduate-level, multi-genre creative writing course will center on the concept of literary kin. Workshop members will have a hand in deciding the published work we read and discuss based on the writers whose forms and styles inform their own. We’ll play with ideas of inheritance and evolution as we work toward growing workshop members’ writings and writing practices. The class will include workshopping, discussing published work, generating new work, and deepening understandings of conversations among writers’ pieces and practices throughout history. It is expected that all class members have a working knowledge of basic literary terms appropriate to discussions of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and drama.   

  • This course satisfies the post-1900 literature requirement for MA students. PhD students can apply up to 3 credits of creative writing toward the literature requirement. Otherwise, it is an elective.

ENGL 620-01: Methods – Prof. Mary P. Sheridan

All methods courses explore how knowledge is made. To do that, methods courses investigate bedrock assumptions such as, What counts as knowledge? Who and what are recognized as knowledge makers? What theories and/or analyses guide research into these questions? 

In this class, we will both learn about research methodologies and practice particular research methods, with an emphasis on person- and document-based research. We’ll start the semester reading extended research studies and reflections by leading researchers as we explore broad methodological questions, such as: What are current questions and trends in our field? What are manageable research questions? How are these pursued, both ethically and practically? We will then conduct a few micro studies where you will try out common methods (conduct and transcribe interviews; engage in critical discourse analyses of texts; take field notes; code a data set) as you ask questions more particular to your interests, such as: How do I align my questions and my ways to investigate these questions? How do I pick particular practices and tools to investigate, gather, analyze, display, and distribute the information needed? Finally, after reading others’ research and tinkering with your own, we will end the semester by proposing (some aspect of) a research project you wish to pursue.

  •  This course is an elective for MA students, and it satisfies the methods requirement for PhD students.

ENGL 633-01: Of Sins and Shadows - Prof. Hristomir Stanev

This course will examine a broad range of early modern non-dramatic works and trace the evolution of distinct and complex interlocked themes: the devotional and the erotic, the urban and the satiric, the gendered and the ungendered, the alien and the exotic, the sinful and the fallen, the scientific and the fantastic, the deviant and the subversive, the lucid and the shadowed.

We will read works in several genres: from lyric and epic poems to prose and verse satires, travelogues, pamphlets, prose and verse romances, and early picaresque and science fiction novels. Major authors will include Milton, Shakespeare, Spenser, Sydney, Nashe, Greene, Marston, Dekker, Jonson, Donne, Herbert, Godwin, Lanyer, Wroth, Cavendish, and Pulter. The student learning outcomes will form significant awareness of the restless complexity and inner controversies of a literary period of discovery, conflict, and new possibilities in thought, philosophy, devotion, and expression, channeled through the “sins” and “shadows” of powerful yet troubled cultural and social imaginaries. The student learning outcomes will be assessed through class discussions, a longer research essay on one or several works, as well as through a research database and an abstract that can double as a conference proposal. In addition, once during the semester, each student will be responsible for generating several discussion questions and sharing them with the rest of the class. Finally, this course will fulfill the literature distribution requirement for graduate students. 

ENGL 633 Flyer

  • This course satisfies the pre-1700 literature requirement for MAs. It satisfies a literature requirement for PhD students.

ENGL 651-01: Charles Dickens and the Victorian City – Prof. Deborah Lutz

In the nineteenth century, London was considered by many to be the cultural capital of the world. With the growth of a modern metropolis, new ways of imagining and representing the urban scene developed, including the formation of new myths and fantasies about place and presence. The city labyrinth developed into a space of mystery, misery, and despair as well as elegance, movement, and sexual and moral freedom. This class will explore the historical, social, and cultural topos of London during this period, paying particular attention to the city as an embodied idea in the novels and essays of Charles Dickens. How was the city aestheticized, represented, desired?  What kind of space did it inhabit in the imagination, as a dream and as a reality? How were sites in the city gendered or queered?  We will consider interiors and exteriors, parlors and sewers, hearths and pubs, West End glitter and East End slums. Dickens, a city writer, dweller, and walker, brought gothic themes into his realist novels, such as the city as a dark web of crime, disease, ghosts, and “streetwalkers.” The pressing issues of his time (and ours) play out in his works, such as the urban poor, prostitution, pollution, sexual violence, mental illness, and drug addiction. We will read Little DorritBleak HouseOur Mutual Friend, and other writings, including urban theorists and historians such as Friedrich Engels, Walter Benjamin, and Judith Walkowitz.   

  • This course satisfies the 1700-1900 literature requirement for MA students.  It satisfies a literature requirement for PhDs.

ENGL 686-01: Native American Studies – Prof. Frank Kelderman

This course offers a graduate-level introduction to Native American and Indigenous Studies. Ever since Native studies programs emerged in the late 1960s, scholarship in this field has been closely tied to the political status and cultural life of Indian nations in the United States. More recently, the field has increasingly turned to comparative studies of Indigenous peoples in a global context. Across three modules, we will read works by scholars of literary studies, rhetoric and composition, educational history, and ethnography to trace current debates and directions in this interdisciplinary field. First, we will read a selection of shorter articles and book chapters that introduce important keywords and critical debates in the field, from the late 1960s to the present. Second, we will focus on several monographs and literary works that help us understand the stakes, interventions, and methods of recent work in Indigenous (literary) studies. Third, we will explore what it means to conduct our own research projects and writing courses as they intersect with this field.

In doing so, the course will also help you develop critical skills for conducting graduate work in rhetoric and composition. Class activities will include several short response papers, co-facilitating class discussion, a conference paper (including abstract), and the syllabus for a Native studies-centered writing course. The reading list includes academic texts such as Renya Ramirez’s Native Hubs: Culture, Community, and Belonging in Silicon Valley and Beyond (2007); Scott Richard Lyons’s X-Marks: Native Signatures of Assent (2010); and Julie L. Davis’s Survival Schools: The American Indian Movement and Community Education in the Twin Cities (2013); and literary works including Zitkala Sa's American Indian Stories (1921) and Tommy Orange's There There (2018).

  • This course satisfies the post-1900 literature requirement for MA students. It satisfies a literature requirement for PhDs.

ENGL 688-01: Community Literacies/Literacies in Communities – Dr. Beverly Moss of Ohio State University 

Whether it is a focus on the work of literacy practitioners working in community literacy centers, community organizers using literacy for social justice, or members of a social club engaging in literacy practices that advance the mission of the club, documenting the rich and complex literacy practices that occur beyond traditional academic settings has become an important part of the work of composition and literacy scholars. With the “social turn” in Composition and Literacy Studies, literacy scholars have begun to question the “what” “how” and “why” certain literacy practices function and circulate in local community spaces—social clubs, community organizations, political organizations, community centers, churches, and other community sites. Who are the literacy sponsors in these community spaces, and what are the constraints and affordances of these sponsorships? What is the relationship between a community site’s dominant literacy practices and that site’s identity? What leads to the success of some university-community literacy partnerships and the failure of others? What is the relationship between the literacy identities of communities and how these communities are positioned economically, politically, socially, and rhetorically? These are just some of the questions that we will pursue as we read scholarship in community literacy, examine community literacy programs, explore the strengths and weaknesses of university-community literacy partnerships, and engage in designing and carrying out community-based literacy research. Most likely, this course will involve partnering with one or more community literacy partners.

  • This course satisfies the pedagogy and program administration requirement for PhD students. It is an elective for MA students.

ENGL 692-01: 20th and 21st Century Theories of Language - Prof. Karen Hadley

This course will open with early 20th century figures who revolutionized the study of language and linguistics: Gottlob Frege and Ferdinand de Saussure. From there, we will address a number of different fields branching from these originary roots: Phenomenology, Structuralism, Formalism and the New Criticism, and the Philosophy of Language. The introduction of deconstruction in the late 1960’s threatened to dismantle such approaches within the humanities and countless others outside. We will look at how Derrida and Paul de Man achieved this effect, considering why, for example, Derrida’s arrival at the landmark Johns Hopkins Symposium on Language [1966] was likened to Samson’s attempt to “tear down the temple.”  

Concurrent with the advent of deconstruction in the 1960s and 1970s, inquiry in sociolinguistics and the rise of the fledgling field of linguistic anthropology turned from such formal approaches toward the relationships of linguistic diversity and social inequity. Beginning with Bourdieu’s focus on the variations of “symbolic value” in distinct languages, we will survey a wide range of instances in which that “value” prescribes differential access to socio-economic resources and power. Within this burgeoning landscape, we will examine representative work in the fields of Marxist-influenced historicism (Jameson, Foucault) feminism (Cixous, Irigary, Butler) and post-colonial studies (Bhabha, Thiong’o, Minh-Ha). Finally, we will explore a number of ethnographies of communication that explicitly frame language diversity in context of social justice, ethnographies representing arenas such as education, social activism and race (raciolinguistics). Each of these represents locales in which language plays, or has played, a role in both the constitution of social inequities, and also in their contestation. 

The richly dense texts we will be working from will inflect course expectations, including presentation and discussion and weekly written responses to the literature. Writing projects will be student-generated and formatted loosely as short essays, rather than as a final seminar paper.  

  • This course satisfies the theory requirement for MA and PhD students.