Winter 2016 – Graduate Seminars
Instructor: Wood, Mary
This course will explore the crucial role of life writing in the growing field of Medical Humanities. Genres examined in the course will include autobiography, graphic novel, memoir, and case study, fiction. We will ask: How does the writing of an individual life signify in a field–medicine–that historically imagines aggregate groups rather than individuals? How does narrative express emotions (suffering, anger, joy, disappointment) in the context of medical constructions of bodily experience? How do the writers we read define health, illness, disability, disease? What does Medical Humanities have to do with Disability Studies, if anything, and how does life writing function within each field? How do economic disparity and the unequal burden of disease emerge in life narratives related to health and illness?
Instructor: Bergquist, Carolyn
The Composition GTF Seminar is the theoretical component of the three course pedagogy sequence designed to prepare graduate students to teach in the Composition Program’s writing courses. Successful completion of this course is a necessary prerequisite for appointment as a GTF to teach composition courses in English. Policies regarding appointments are summarized in the 2010-11 edition of the Composition Program Policy Manual.
Instructor: Gershow, Miriam
Prospective Composition GTFs who are currently enrolled in or have successfully completed ENG 611 spend one term working with an experienced teacher in a section of WR121 or WR122. The apprenticeship is set up to complement the theoretical work in ENG 611 with practical experience for teaching WR121 or 122. Grading option is P/NP only.
Instructor: Ginsberg, Warren
In addition to reading selections from Boccaccio’s Decameron and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, we will also read the Filostrato and the poem for which it was Chaucer’s primary source: Troilus and Criseyde. Among the issues we will consider in depth: authorship and authority, influence, translation, frames and framing narratives, the status of the vernacular, proto-humanism. Boccaccio’s works will be read in translation; Chaucer’s in Middle English. There is a possibility that Professor Gina Psaki from the Department of Romance Languages will team teach the course with me.
Instructor: Dugaw, Dianne
John Gay’s satire The Beggar’s Opera (1728) was the most popular play of its time and has been recast by key satirists of the modern era. In this course we will study the original play and its context with attention to Gay’s critique of the literary heroism inherited from Shakespeare and Dryden in the 18th-century world of emergent capitalism, empire-building, and modern nationalism. We will then revisit the play as rewritten by such 20th-century satirists as Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill (1928); Vaclav Havel (1975); Wole Soyinka (1977); Alan Ayckbourn (1984); and others. These variant Beggar’s Operas open to view pivotal moments and themes in 20th-century history: the Nazi takeover of Germany, the Soviet repression of Eastern Europe, the ‘petroleum politics’ in post-colonial Africa, the corporate takeover and privatization of 1980s Britain, and so on. Work: a midterm exam, a reading journal, a presentation, and a final paper.
Instructor: Brilmeyer, Pearl
Instructor: Vázquez, David
Despite the more than 200 years of literary history during which Latina/os have written and published in the United States, during the past 20 or so there has been a proliferation of such “low” forms as science fiction, fantasy, romance, and detective fiction. In this course we will examine a series of “genre” fiction novels and “literary” novels that engage low forms, with an eye towards how, as critic Ralph Rodríguez observes, these texts function as “cultural commodities that have much to tell us about the historical, social, and political milieu in which they emerged.” Consequently, we will read these seemingly non-serious texts from a serious perspective. One of our key concerns will be to consider how these texts imagine and represent issues environmental justice. We’ll therefore pay special attention to the ways in which these texts imagine processes of race and racialization, sexuality and gender, history and colonization, space, and labor and migration as fundamental aspects of environmental justice. Primary texts will include work by authors like Mario Acevedo, Rosaura Sánchez and Beatrice Pita, Sesshu Foster, Salvador Plascencia, Alejandro Morales, Ron Arias, and Junot Díaz. Secondary readings will include work by critics like Rob Nixon, Sarah Jaquette-Ray, Ralph Rodríguez, Ramón Saldívar, Julie Sze, Raúl Homero Villa, Mary Pat Brady, and others.
Instructor: Gage, John
Aristotle’s “Rhetoric” and his “Poetics” are among the most influential works on language theory, defining these genres of discourse for millennia. Each had a resurgence of interest in the twentieth century, both in their respective fields and in a renewed interest in the relationship between rhetoric and poetry. In this seminar, we will study both texts in an attempt to understand their relationship. How has each text been reinterpreted in our age, and how have they contributed to current views of how rhetoric and poetics are alike and different? We will read key scholars on these questions, and students will draw on others in conducting original research.
Instructor: Gilman, Lisa
This course introduces students to ethnographic fieldwork in folklore by integrating research practice with methodological and theoretical readings. Topics include identifying a subject of study, developing appropriate research strategies, initiating fieldwork, establishing rapport, reflexivity, representation, and uses for technology. Each student will conceptualize and execute a fieldwork project while developing practical skills in proposal writing, observation, interviewing, analysis, documentation, and presentation.