Spring 2017 Graduate Flyer


 SPRING 2017



ENG.100: Modern Critical Theories (14452)
W. 2:50 – 4:50 PM
Dr. Stephen Sicari

This required course in both the Masters and Ph.D. programs is an intensive, graduate-level introduction to literary theory. As an introduction, the goal is broad and dares to be superficial: we will be aiming at a basic understanding of the recent history of literary theory, beginning with the linguistic turn inaugurated by Saussure in his Course in General Linguistics (published posthumously by his students in 1916) and meditated on by Derrida and Foucault as they begin the way of reading we have long called “post-structuralism.” We will assess the impact of this thinking on the American academy, an impact which can be said to have begun with the famous Johns Hopkins symposium in 1966, where Derrida stole the show.

With these thinkers and a new “language theory” as the base, we will then read various critics who extended their insights in various directions and for various ends. We will gain what I referred to as “superficial” knowledge of a broad range of some “recent” methodologies, such as Post-Colonial Studies, Queer Theory, Gender Studies, Race and Ethnicity Studies, Ecocriticism, etc. By the course’s end, each student should be able to display a sound grasp of present-day methodologies and situate herself in the dialogue among them, perhaps developing her own critical stance and identity.

The written assignments will reflect this structure: a shorter paper (2000 words, 6-7 pages) on the linguistic base; and a longer paper (3000 words, 9-10 pages) on a recent critical methodology of the student’s choosing. This is where the student constructs his own stance, by studying one of the recent developments in some depth. In conjunction with this latter assignment, each student will submit a 500-word abstract to the entire class outlining that paper, providing a “take-away” for all of us in the course.


ENG. 140: Topics in Theory (14502)
Critical Race Theories and Methods
T. 5:00 – 7:00 PM
Dr. Shanté Paradigm Smalls

This graduate course takes critical race theory as both its area of study and its methodological approach. As such, this course will chart the recent intellectual history of critical race studies and theory, which includes literary, legal, cultural, feminist, queer, psychoanalytic, and popular studies. We will also attend to the ways that knowledge and know-how are generated and reproduced through examining our approaches to creating bibliographies, our citation practices, our critical reading methods, and the art of peer-review.

We will read contemporary and current work in the broad field of critical race theory including Richard Dyer’s White, Lisa Lowe’s The Intimacy of Four Continents, Denise Ferreira Da Silva’s Toward a Global Idea of Race, Lisa Tatonetti’s The Queerness of Native American Literature, Lacy & Ono’s Critical Rhetorics of Race, and Omi and Winat’s Racial Formation in the United States.

We will also focus on constructing intellectual bibliographies, annotated bibliographies, writing, reading, and revising book reviews for two of the books we read, and getting introduced to peer-review journals that foreground black and women of color feminism, indigenous scholars, and queer and trans scholars and thinkers. We will pay particular attention to the ongoing relevance and centrality of Kimberle Crenshaw’s theory of intersectionality as it relates to critical race theory and methods.


ENG. 150: Research Method in English Studies (14500)
W. 5:00 – 7:00 PM
Dr. Steven Alvarez

Qualitative research offers an array of meaningful methodological frameworks for exploring the social intersections of languages, cultures, and literacies. This course is designed as a practical guide and introduction to qualitative methods, with a focus on literacy research in community and educational contexts. Students in the course will gain familiarity with the ethnographic techniques of the case study, including interviews, observation, artifact collection, and document analysis. Students will also consider aspects of research ethics while developing strategies for validity and reliability, and the relevance of standard evaluative criteria such as objectivity, neutrality, and generalizability. Introductions to critical ethnography, discourse analysis, and mixed methods will also be included.


ENG. 230: Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (14499)
T. 2:50 – 4:50 PM
Dr. Nicole Rice

Geoffrey Chaucer, famously called “the father of English poetry,” has long delighted and shocked readers with his major work, The Canterbury Tales. This course considers selected tales in the context of the poem as a whole, while introducing some important critical approaches to the Tales. Chaucer lived during a period of major social, religious, and political upheaval, and his work engages fully with the complexities of late medieval English culture. In our readings of the Tales, we will reflect on issues including chivalry and its discontents; economic changes and controversies; gender roles, sexuality, and marriage; Christian practices and encounters with other faiths. No previous study of Middle English is required: students will learn to read and pronounce Chaucer’s language.


ENG. 450: Topics in Restoration & 18th (14454)
Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa
M. 5:00 – 7:00 PM
Dr. Kathy Lubey

This course will center on a single literary text: Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa (1747-48), the longest novel written in the English language and widely lauded as one of the most absorbing (even Henry Fielding, famous satirist of Richardson’s work, admitted that he wept as he read it). It centers on one event—a rape—and considers in detail the social and ethical conditions that facilitate it. We’ll consider this novel’s ambitions in terms of both its form and its content. The novel is mainly devoted to examining women’s vulnerability within common forms of sexual commerce in the eighteenth century—marriage, courtship, prostitution, rape—and considers as well the overlap between these social practices and matters of filial obedience, Christian devotion, property law, women’s friendship, sexual sovereignty, and gender inequality. The novel also lends itself to concentrated formal inquiry: written entirely in epistolary form, it comprises letters written by dozens of different characters all directly concerned with the sexual conduct of the heroine. Richardson circulated sections of manuscript to several readers before publication, testing the effects of his writing: did it provoke, as he wished, sympathy, piety, and virtue? We’ll consider how the novel both corresponds to and exceeds Richardson’s plans for its effects on readers. As we move weekly through the novel in 150-page increments, we’ll also survey Clarissa scholarship to understand how the novel has been interpreted within major schools of literary criticism, including poststructuralism, Marxism, psychoanalysis, book history, legal studies, feminism, material culture, and history of consciousness. This course should appeal to students with a wide array of interests: British literature, history and theory of the novel, critical theory, writing studies and creative writing, feminism, history of sexuality, gender studies, and social history. Requirements will include weekly attendance, active participation, and 15-20 pages of formal writing.


ENG. 760: Post Colonial Topics (14503)
M. 2:50 – 4:50 PM
Dr. Dohra Ahmad

This course will investigate the ways in which environmental concerns have animated postcolonial literature. While some critics have presented postcolonial theory and ecocriticism as separate undertakings or even as incompatible modes, anti-colonial activism and postcolonial theory incorporated an environmental ethos from their inception. More recently, postcolonial writers and artists have used their fiction, poetry, drama, and creative nonfiction (as well as film and visual art) to dramatize environmental topics like water, oil, garbage, chemical spills, tourism, and development agriculture. No prior knowledge of postcolonial theory or ecocriticism is needed. Authors and artists may include El Anatsui, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Mohsin Hamid, Bessie Head, Oonya Kempadoo, Jamaica Kincaid, Vik Muniz, NourbeSe Philip, Arundhati Roy, Ken Saro-Wiwa, and Indra Sinha.


ENG. 802: Topics in Film Authors (14453)
R. 5:00 – 7:00 PM
Dr. Scott Combs
Authorship, Genre, and American Cinema

Often authorship emerges on the cusp of genre. In the writings of the Cahiers du Cinema in the 1950s, the concept of auteur described a style of filmmaking that cut across multiple genres. Alexandre Astruc’s “camera-stylo,” or camera-pen, was derived from American genres of noir and the western. Andrew Tudor, too, dealt with genre in his elaboration of the auteur as a singular creative force akin to a writer.   As Tudor would have it, a Hawks film exhibited a salient theme and visual signature whether it was a western, a screwball, a gangster film, or a noir. While the concept of auteur may seem either reductive in its conception of production or outdated as an interpretive model, this concern with genre in authorship’s various iterations begs the question of how the authored film exists in tandem with the formulaic genre film, its embarrassing sibling, borrowed and endlessly recycled. In this class we will look at some of the most discussed American film authors, and indeed some of the most conspicuously authored films, as they interact with generic formula—rewriting it in some cases, acquitting themselves to it in others. Because American cinema is uniquely organized around a narrative typology—from the making of films to their distribution and consumption—and is thus more “generically” arranged, we want to look closely at the ways these authors inhabit the structures of myth and popular narrative. In more cases than not, what emerges is a political return to stories of the past as if to let these stories retell themselves. Screenings include films by Porter, Griffith, Micheaux, Welles, Hitchcock, Ford, Polanski, Lynch, Lee, Malick, and others. Readings will cover American film history, genre theory, and authorship. Weekly screenings will be added once we meet and discuss available times, but most likely screenings will take place Wednesdays 12-2.


ENG. 877: Workshop in Fiction (14501)
R. 2:50 – 4:50 PM
Prof. Gabriel Brownstein

This class will allow graduate students to approach fiction from the point of view of a writer. Students will write original fiction on any topic they wish, and will present those stories to the class for discussion and critique. As we read and discuss student writing, we’ll be reading contemporary short fiction, and thinking about how contemporary writers represent conflict—contemporary short fiction about war will be our theme. The readings will emphasize younger writers, and stories published within the last decade: Chimamande Ngozi Adichie, Edward P. Jones, Etgar Keret, Steven Millhauser, Jim Shepard, and Joan Silber.


ENG.  975: Dissertation Workshop (10695)
M. 5:00-7:00 PM
Dr. Amy King

This course provides a workshop environment for students in all stages of the dissertation process. The second semester of a two-semester course, continuing 975 students and first-semester 975 students are both welcome. This research workshop is designed to assist students through all stages of the dissertation process, with special emphasis on creating a shared community of writers and scholars embarking on their dissertations. We are a faculty-supervised and peer-review based workshop, one which is designed to jumpstart the dissertation process and provide a structure for continued progress towards completion. First-semester 975 students will focus on prospectus writing, while second semester students with approved prospectuses and advanced students will work on drafting and revising individual chapters of the dissertation with the aim of completion. We meet weekly for a two-hour workshop that will include in-class writing exercises, discussion of relevant issues in dissertation-writing, and small-group based peer-editing.



Eng. 500: Colloquia                                                  (10079)

Eng. 900: Master’s Research                                   (12296)

Eng. 901: Readings and Research                           (10928)

Eng. 925: Maintaining Matriculation (MA)          (10078)

Eng. 930: Maintaining Matriculation (DA)          (10077)


Eng. 975: Doctoral Research Essay (DA) Workshop (11803) (1 credit)

This is the one-credit version of Eng. 975, only to be taken after the student has completed two semesters of the three-credit version of Eng. 975.