Fall 2012 Graduate Course Listings

Below please find the Graduate Course Offerings for Fall 2012. Don’t forget that on Thursday, March 15 there will be a roundtable event in the IWS at 3:30. Many of the English faculty will be there to discuss their seminar offerings, so you can a clear sense of the variety of classes this fall.

FALL 2012

Eng. 100: Modern Critical Theories (76104)
M. 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Dr. Elda Tsou
This is an intensive introduction to “critical theory,” with a focus on poststructuralism. We will be covering the key thinkers and intellectual movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This will be a reading heavy course. Recommended: English 2300.
[See more after the jump]

Eng. 110: Introduction to the Profession (76108)
M. 2:50-4:50 p.m.
Dr. Granville Ganter
This class is an introduction to the profession for graduate students in English. It will survey some of the basic skills graduate students need to know (such as techniques for finding pertinent research; different styles of scholarly citation; the writing of papers and research proposals; the general structure of our program). It will also consider some of the theoretical and practical issues the profession of English studies has faced. Since the “happy” days of Cold War funding, for example, English department faculties have shrunk in size but the interdisciplinary scope of the profession has expanded. Tenure track jobs have become more scarce and faculty also feel a push to do much more with fewer resources. On the cheerful side, however, there has never been a better time to shape an advanced literature degree to a student’s particular interest, and St. John’s graduate program is built to do just that. We will host some guest STJ faculty who will talk about their work with students. Course readings will include some histories of English departments since the nineteenth century (Ohmann, Berlin); Luke Menand’s Marketplace of Ideas; and How to Talk about Books You Haven’t Read.

Eng. 185 :African American Literacies and Education: The 20th  and 21st Centuries (76097)
R. 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Dr. Carmen Kynard
Sick and tired of being sick and tired… Freestylin’ or lookin’ for a style that’s free… To protect and serve…Composition in a fifth key…Dukin’ it out with “the powers that be”… These are all titles to chapters in Elaine Richardson’s 2003 text, African American Literacies, now a must-read for anyone researching race, new literacies studies, African American cultures, and contemporary composition studies.  Richardson defines African American literacies as the vernacular resistance arts and cultural productions that are created to carve out free spaces in oppressive locations.  Like her, we will take up literacies as a way of situating reading, writing, and creating texts where individual learning is located within social and cultural processes.  We will study African American literacies in the context of specific historical movements in the 20th and 21st centuries that will span: 1920s black student protests at the HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), the Civil Rights Movement, and the impact of Hip Hop today (as a culture and a movement).  We will look to the “classics” that have centered African American students’ learning, history, and discourse communities in the fields of: sociolinguistics and AAL (African American Language), composition theory, new literacies studies, African American rhetorical theory, and culturally relevant teaching.   When we talk about African American populations and their learning in the United States, we are talking about specific challenges and histories so we will read an extensive range of linguists, composition researchers, rhetoric scholars, and literacy/educational activists in order to unravel unique inventions and interventions with the goals of African American freedom.  The course will culminate in your own original study where you will be invited to research: 1) the consequences to students of African descent when educational settings maintain dominant linguistic politics; 2) social sketches of programs or teachers who offer opportunities and critical practices that draw on African American literacies and challenge schooling, OR; 3) broad questions of institutional practices, pedagogies, curriculum, and student interactions in the context of African American literacies.
Please make sure you have a basic understanding of Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. Board of Education before class starts.

T. 2:50-4:50 p.m.
Dr. Nicole Rice
Geoffrey Chaucer, famously called “the father of English poetry,” has long delighted and shocked readers with his greatest work, The Canterbury Tales. This course considers selected tales in the context of the poem as a whole, while introducing some important recent 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 consider the following topics as they relate to the poem: chivalry and its discontents; economic changes and controversies; the great plague and its social consequences; gender roles, sexuality, and marriage; Christian practices and encounters with other faiths. Students will learn to read and pronounce Chaucer’s Middle English. No prior knowledge of Middle English is necessary.

Eng. 350: Milton & The Eng. Civil War (76099)
W. 2:50-4:50 p.m.
Dr. Melissa Mowry

Milton in Context: Revolution to Restoration

John Milton is among the most complex figures in English literary history.  Shortly after the restoration of England’s monarchy in 1660, Charles II ordered all books written by John Milton, now blind and ailing, to be burnt by the public hangman (1661).  The act, of course, was symbolic and futile.  Milton had yet to write his greatest work, Paradise Lost (1668).  Yet Charles II’s royal proclamation suggests that Milton’s influence was widely acknowledged and his reputation already secured.  In all likelihood, Charles II was responding to Eikonoclastes (1650) Milton’s response to Charles I’s Eikon Basilica (1649), published shortly before the king’s public execution (January 1649) and the poet’s defense of the Commonwealth.  Yet Milton, was not an uncomplicated partisan of the Commonwealth.  His politics, theology, and iconography are notoriously difficult to parse.  Though he sympathized with many mid-century radicals, he was also friends with and admired by John Dryden, Charles II’s poet laureate.  In this class, we will seek to reconstruct many of the political and religious conversations in which Milton participated during the tumultuous civil war years and the ways those conversations and others that emerged during the Restoration shaped his two greatest poetic works, Paradise Lost and Samson Agonistes (1671).  In addition to Milton, we will read, Richard Overton, Katherine Chidley, Anna Trapnell, John Lilburne, Henry Parker, James Harrington, Thomas Hobbes, Robert Filmer, Andrew Marvell, Algernon Sidney, Aphra Behn, and John Dryden.

Eng. 501:  The Victorian Social Imagination (76106)
R. 2:50-4:50 p.m.
Dr. Amy King
This course will explore the period’s literary attempts to describe and re-imagine Victorian society.  This course will survey the fiction and prose of the Victorian era that most clearly engages in the representation of society and the re-imagination of that society through the lens of reform. Our aim will be to explore and define the sort of society out of which texts arose, and to come to an understanding of why the decisions and techniques of these writers continue to influence our ideas of what modern society is and how it can be represented.  Our own middle-class (oriented), economic, mobile, complex and interwoven world, increasingly urbanized and organized, was first described, mapped, and re-imagined in this period.  We will consider the following topics, among others: economic and social contexts, such as the modern city, industrialism, social and physical mobility, and their concomitant relation to such facts as inheritance, marriage, debt, education, work, the spread of information, and crime. We will read the Victorian novel (authors may include Dickens, Eliot, Bronte, Gaskell, Trollope, Hardy)  alongside Victorian cultural criticism (Carlyle, Arnold, Mill, Morris, Ruskin), as well as some poetry (Browning, Rossetti, Tennyson).

Eng.  635:  Narratives of American History–“America” as a Trans-Atlantic Construct (76096)
W. 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Dr. Robert Fanuzzi
A land reserved for the spread of liberty; a national people created by the assimilation of immigrants; and a democratic society that constantly puts the state on guard and actualizes the potential of every citizen:  these are the key phrases of an Americanist discourse that writers have used since the moment of the American Revolution to distill our national history and explain our self-determination.  The fact that they were all coined by European writers begs the question:  whose America have we been living in?

This course introduces “trans-Altanticism” to students as both an historical frame for understanding the invention of “America” and a critical took for deconstructing it.  We use the late eighteenth through mid-nineteenth century to frame this study, first placing the classic statements of Americanist discourse by Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson in a trans-Atlantic economy of ideas, culture, finance, and race.    We uncover the roots of European colonialism in the most famous novel of American nationality, Hector St. Jean Crevecouer’s Letters from an American Farmer, and through Charles Brockden Brown’s novel Weiland and travel narratives of the French writer Moreau de St. Mery, recreate the ties, real and imagined, of the newly independent United States to France’s colonies in the Caribbean.   The trans-Atlantic literary exchange of this era peaks with Alexis de Toqueville’s Democracy in America, a French book whose impact on the creation of “America” is as huge as the Louisiana Purchase itself.
The literary survey of this course is supplemented by readings in American colonial studies, French Caribbean and Latin American post-colonial theory, as we interrogate the categories of “creole,” “coloniality,” and “Euro-Atlantic modernity.”   The second half of the course uses the concept of the “Black Atlantic” to generate counter-narratives of American history used by Frederick Douglass, William Wells Brown, Pauline Hopkins, and Marcus Garvey as African-American strategies of resistance. 

Eng. 830: Allegory and Epic (76093)
T. 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Dr. Robert Forman
The course will quickly but closely read the four primary epics of classical antiquity: Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Apollonius’s Argonautica, and Vergil’s Aeneid.  What will concern us most, however, will be the variety of critical approaches to them that has appeared during the last fifty years.
The long-held position that oral literature as typified by Homer was a privileged singularity is now generally considered to have been refuted by Milman Parry.  We will analyze Homeric formulas using Parry’s metrics.  
The interplay of Hellenistic Greek and first-century B.C.E. Roman epic is also fertile ground for modern critical approaches.   Apollonius’s characterization of Medea, one might argue, contributed mightily to Vergil’s portrait of Dido, odd as that may seem.  We will examine Donald Norman Levin’s arguments.
Finally, we will compare the conservative Brooks Otis approach to Vergil’s Aeneid (essentially structural) with the mathematical analysis of George Duckworth that it inspired.   Then we will conclude by considering the iconoclastic Homeric Lens approach to the Aeneid of Edan Dekel, aimed primarily at the “odyssean” (1-6) and “iliadic” (7-12) halves of Vergil’s poem as discerned by Viktor Pöschl.
Students will write short but documented responses to each of these critical positions and a final major paper that considers some limited aspect of one of these poems from a critical perspective of their choosing.

Eng. 878: Workshop in Poetry & Poetics (76117)
T. 7:10-9:10 p.m.
Prof. Lee Ann Brown
What is involved in being a poet in today’s literary landscape?  This graduate seminar will work with the reading and writing of poetry spanning a variety of investigations including ecopoetics, poetry and the internet and poetry in performance.  Written work will include specific poetic exercises and prose responses as well as presentations.  We will attend at least one live poetry reading of a poet we have studied this semester together.

Eng.  975: Doctor of Arts Research and Workshop (74775) (3 credits)
M. 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Dr. Jennifer Travis
This course is designed to assist students through all stages of the dissertation process.  Students must register for this course from the start through the completion of the dissertation.  The three credit course, in which students are required to enroll for two semesters, guides students through the early stages of dissertation research and writing and assists more advanced students in peer-review and revision. Students will choose and/or refine a dissertation topic, write a dissertation proposal, develop a dissertation timeline for completion of chapters, workshop a chapter with peers, and cultivate effective writing strategies. For more advanced students, the course will emphasize peer-review workshops, techniques for revision, and strategies for completion.
Eng. 900: Master’s Research (71231)
Eng. 901: Readings and Research (71232)
Eng. 925: Maintaining Matriculation (MA) (70147)
Eng. 930: Maintaining Matriculation (DA)  (70146)

Eng. 975: Doctoral Research Essay (DA) Wkshp. (74776) (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.

About Steve Mentz 1265 Articles
I teach Shakespeare and the blue humanities at St. John's in New York City.

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