Spring 2015 Graduate Seminar Descriptions
ENG 530 Old English III: Dragons in Beowulf Clark, Stephanie
Beowulf (Old English III). A study of a significant part of the Old English epic Beowulf, with attention to issues of grammar, vocabulary, and dragons. In Old English, not in translation. Prereqs: Old English I and Old English II (ENG 428 and 429).
ENG 608 Workshop: Teaching Lit & Film Paul Peppis
This one credit graduate workshop prepares Graduate Teaching Fellows to teach in free-standing undergraduate courses. It aims to provide concrete, practical advice on key aspects of teaching undergraduate classes in literature or film: pedagogy, assisting in large classes, syllabi, paper topics, exams, and commenting.
ENG 613 GTF Comp Apprenticeship Carolyn Bergquist
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.
ENG 620 Medieval Lit: The Gawain Poet: transgression and ‘the medieval’ Laskaya, Anne
This seminar offers students opportunities for close reading and inquiry into the works of the ‘Gawain Poet’ contextualized within theories of transgression.’ We will begin by examining several major statements about the nature of literature from the late Middle Ages, including Chretien de Troyes’ prologues to -Erec et Enide,- the -Chevalier de la Charrette- (‘Lancelot’), and -Cligés-; essays and focused statements by Dante, Boccaccio, Chaucer and Petrarch; as well as Geoffrey of Vinsauf’s -Poetria Nova-. But we will also place the Gawain Poet’s major works within the context of several contemporary inquiries into transgression: the transport between language and body found in Teresa Brennan’s -Transmission of Affect- (2004), the crossings between visual and verbal discussed in Claire Barbetti’s -Ekphrastic Medieval Visions- (2011), selections from J. J. Cohen on the medieval monstrous, and the trans(re)lation between reader and text, past and present examined in Carolyn Dinshaw’s -How Soon is Now? Medieval Texts, Amateur Readers, and the Queerness of Time- (2012). Primary texts will include Pearl, Patience, Cleanness, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The seminar will be discussion-based and include regular online postings/responses, active participation and a research project.
ENG 630 Renaissance Lit: Donne/Herbert/Marvell Benjamin Saunders
The 17th century gave rise to some of the most intellectually demanding and formally daring poetry in English literary history prior to the advent of modernism; indeed, T. S. Eliot famously regarded the work of John Donne as both a precursor and model for his own “difficult” verse. In this class we will explicate the work of three of the most famous poets from the period, placing it in a variety of contexts —theological, political, and sexual. We will also consider the interpretive problems created by the tension between an older manuscript tradition and an emerging culture of print.
ENG 660 American Literature: Contemporary American Lit & Pop Culture: A Writing-Intensive Seminar Wheeler, Elizabeth
Along with contemporary literature and popular culture from the United States, this course focuses on the study of cultural theory and the mastery of scholarly writing. We will employ cultural studies methodologies of interdisciplinarity and criticism of texts outside literary canons. Texts include hip hop from Grandmaster Flash to Angel Haze, Eli Clare’s memoir _Exile and Pride_, and Jeremy Love’s graphic novel _Bayou_. We will also study body theories poised at the intersection of gender, race, sexuality, class, and ability. Topics include: hip hop’s gendered bodies, the carnivalesque, disability and the environment, and historical trauma in graphic novels. Cultural theorists include Tricia Rose, Marcyliena Morgan, Mikhail Bakhtin, Linda Williams, Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Tobin Siebers, Stacy Alaimo, Mel Y. Chen, Sarah Jaquette Ray, Lawrence Langer, and Dominic LaCapra. We will take their theories apart to see what we might learn for our own writing. We will hone the craft of literary criticism, especially our stylistic and argumentative techniques, revision, writing for public speaking, positioning one’s work within a field, and turning papers into publishable articles.
For term project students have the option of taking a previous essay and revising it into an article or conference paper.
ENG 660 American Literature: Racial Form & Nation State Sharon Luk
This course will provide training in historical materialist methods of literary analysis. We will examine culture, language, and aesthetics as “constitutive human processes” in the modern world, with particular attention to the creation of “imagined communities” through terms of race, nation, state, wealth, and social justice.
ENG 670 Modern Lit: WB Yeats & Irish Moderism Mark Quigley
This seminar will explore the remarkable literary legacy of W.B. Yeats and consider how he contributed to the development of a distinctly Irish modernism within the contexts of a wider modernist era in the early to mid-twentieth century. Reflecting on Yeats’s developing aesthetic sensibility, we will examine the long trajectory of his half-century poetic career as he moves from the romantic nationalism of the Celtic Twilight to the more rigorously modernist work of his later career. We will look, too, at Yeats’s dramatic works and consider how his modernist sensibilities informed his sometimes controversial role in founding and developing the world-renowned Abbey Theatre.
Considering Yeats’s role as the central figure of the Irish Literary Revival, we will examine how the Irish Literary Revival can be seen as a modernist initiative and explore how the Revival also provokes a very different modernist reaction by Joyce, Beckett and others reacting to its perceived sentimentality and commodification of what might be later termed “Irish kitsch.” This seminar will thus reflect on Yeats’s contributions to a wider European modernism while also distilling how Yeats helped spur the development of distinctive strands within Irish modernist aesthetics through his own work and through those who consciously diverge from his project.
ENG 691 Composition Theory: Rhetorical Capabilities Crosswhite, James
This seminar will examine conflicting approaches to generating the goals and processes of the teaching of writing. On the one hand, the rhetorical tradition and much rhetorical theory envision the goals of a rhetorical education as cultivating, over time, a certain kind of person with certain habits of mind, powers of judgment, and higher skills who can speak and write well. On the other hand, the contemporary teaching of writing must function institutionally by developing goals and curricula and pedagogy in relation to measurable outcomes and specific forms of assessment and addressing the strengths, weaknesses, and sheer differences in quite various populations of students—all in a matter of weeks. We will ask what a productive conciliation of these two approaches would look like.