Fall 2017


ENG.110: Introduction To The Profession (72280)

M. 2:50 – 4:50 PM

Dr. Granville Ganter

This is a course to introduce students to the basics of graduate work in the humanities: how to research and write a paper, but also how to think about graduate school and the profession at large: choosing an advisor, planning to write the dissertation, applying for jobs, and imagining your place as a scholar. Key activities that I tend to emphasize are the half-way projects of writing proposals based on a little research, whether they be for papers or grants; and finding summaries of others’ research like book reviews to build research bibliographies. The class will have some practical aspects but I hope to expose students to a variety of methods for humanities research: close reading and the uses of authority; social science approaches with human subjects that require university review board approval (IRB); literary analysis; historical and sociological approaches; creative ones. Each approach asks different evidentiary questions and poses different sorts of interpretive frameworks. Each could be the subject of a class in itself but I hope to survey them. And on a meta-pedagogical note: most of the activities in this class are there to help students get over the fear of the unknown—once students have the experience of doing a task, they are more likely to do it again. I’m quite aware that this class will shape the future behavior of most of the students who take it as a “norm,” so I’m deliberately trying to be as open to as many current approaches to English Studies as possible.


ENG. 130: Theories of Literacy: Literacy as Praxis (75295)

W. 2:50 – 4:50 PM

Dr. Steven Alvarez

This course focuses on the study of literacy as participative praxis informed by social theory. Literacy as participative praxis posits that individuals draw from their language repertoires to make existential change in their sociohistorical circumstances. We will examine literacy not as decontextualized rote skills but rather as transformative actions communities enact when forming solidarities in different situations. Course readings will include works by Pierre Bourdieu, Deborah Brandt, Ellen Cushman, Paolo Freire, bell hooks, Valerie Kinloch, Rebecca Lorimer Leonard, Susan Meyers, Walter Mignolo, and Angel Rama.


ENG. 195: Digital Literary Studies (73513)

Books Stink!

R. 2:50 – 4:50 PM

Dr. Jennifer Travis
That is the consensus in Gary Shteyngart’s novel about the near future, Super Sad True Love Story.  When the narrator, Lenny Abramov, takes out a “printed, bound, media artifact” (or book) on an airplane, he is quickly admonished: “Duder, that thing smells like wet socks.”  Do digital technologies portend the death of print culture? How are technological innovations reshaping our understanding of texts, writers, and readers? In this course, we will explore the impact of the Web on contemporary literary culture by tapping into our own digital literacy practices, and we will investigate how digital technologies affect the way we read, study, and understand literature.  Texts will include novels like Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story, and Dave Eggers The Circle, alongside essays, videos, and other multimodal materials on digital cultures and the digital humanities (DH).  For more information email travisj@stjohns.edu.


ENG. 370: Topics in Shakespeare (75286)                        

Analogies of the Family and the State in English Renaissance Drama

T. 7:10 – 9:10 PM

Dr. Brian Lockey
Since the middle ages, the European political imagination had been driven by the belief that the family was a diminutive state, in which the father was a king and his family were his subjects. Among other things, this comparison served to naturalize political relations by presenting the king as a father to his people, analogous both to a father’s relationship with his spouse and children and to God’s relationship with the world. Consider, for example, that many of William Shakespeare’s comedies, histories, and romances present the king as a patriarch—a few present the queen or female magistrate as a matriarch, and that the first duty of these sovereigns is to govern the family. Towards the end of the Renaissance, however, the ideology that sustained this set of analogies came under pressure from new ideological forces within both the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Counter-Reformation and from Renaissance humanists who viewed human nature, rather than the divine, as the proper subject of scholarly inquiry. This course will consider how a number of English dramatists from the late sixteenth century and the first half of the seventeenth century engaged with, presented, and challenged this traditional political ideology. In particular, we will consider how the decline of this political analogy ushered in a number of important historical and cultural transformations involving the place of women in the domestic space, the duty the subject had to his/her sovereign, and even how important Christian virtues such as obedience and faithfulness were understood. We will consider works by Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Elizabeth Cary, Ben Jonson, John Fletcher, John Webster, Philip Massinger, and Aphra Behn.


ENG. 560: Revolution & Romanticism (75296)

The Romantic Culture Wars: Politics and the Public Sphere in Shelley’s Britain

5:00 – 7:00 PM

Dr. Gregory Maertz

Rise, like lions after slumber

In unvanquishable number!

Shake your chains to earth like dew

Which in sleep had fallen on you:

Ye are many—they are few!

P.B. Shelley, “The Masque of Anarchy” (1819)

Poetry and the novel, periodical essays and reviews, the visual arts and musical composition, philosophy and works written for the stage—all are sites of contention in the highly politicized cultural life of the Regency Era in Britain (c. 1795-1837). In this course the literary career of Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)—poet, novelist, critic, and activist—will serve as the lens affording access to the conflicts over political and social reform that characterized the “culture wars” of the Romantic Period. Contested in the public sphere—which was comprised of magazines and newspapers, book shops and coffee houses, lecture halls and performance spaces—these culture wars reveal that Romantic creativity was the product of a dialogic process traceable in the material culture of the day. Reconstructing the Romantic culture wars—as well as identifying the leading issues and major antagonists—will replace the myth of isolated, self-sufficient “genius” that influenced early historiography and biographical criticism of the literary production of the early nineteenth century. Topics to be investigated will depend on students’ interests but may include:

*Property Laws and the Women’s Question

*The Translation and Mediation of Foreign Authors by Marginalized Writers

*Philosophy, Medicine, and Scientific Inquiry After Kant

*Religion and the Struggle for the Emancipation of Roman Catholics, Dissenters, Jews

*The Industrial Revolution, Urbanization, and the Pauperization of the Landed Classes

*Colonialism, the Slave Trade, and the Irish Question

*Reform Agitation and Conservative Reaction


ENG. 745: Contemporary Poetry (75289)

W. 5:00 – 7:00 PM

Dr. Stephen Paul Miller

This class will advance new characterizations of contemporary poetry by considering a new empirical description of Frank O’Hara’s Personism in relation with Wilfred Cantwell Smith contemporaneous use of that term to describe the proper object and manner of religious studies. This will help us to understand the first and subsequent generations of the New York School of Poetry, including related poets such as Allen Ginsberg and Diane Wakoski. The class will also examine oral poetry by David Antin, Spalding Gray, Andre Gregory, Bob Dylan and others and the Language poetry of Charles Bernstein and others and later poetry movements.
ENG. 760: Post Colonial Topics (75294)

Contemporary Theories of Black/African Diaspora

2:50 – 4:50 PM

Dr. Raj Chetty

This course will engage with the field(s) of Black and African Diaspora Studies as they have developed over the past twenty years or so and specifically in relation to literary and cultural studies. The intention is to help students gain a deep understanding of the debates within the field as it has constituted itself during that time and as it is continuing to constitute itself today. Thus, the course will be focused around theoretical works that aim to conceptualize blackness, diaspora, and Africanness. Organized around the multiple and often competing visions of these contested terms, the course will include texts from major thinkers and writers from the United States, the Caribbean, and Africa.


ENG. 810: Literary/Visual/Texts (75293)

M. 5:00 – 7:00 PM

Dr. Derek Owens
Writers who work with visual materials; artists who work with words. “Art-writing” by art critics; poets writing in response to artists. Multimedia, multimodal, and multigenre projects in transdisciplinary contexts. This will be a writing intensive studio workshop where students have the option to make handmade books, build websites, design photo and video essays, and/or construct a range of hybrid texts on topics and subject matter of their own choosing. We’ll look at a wide range of works for inspiration as well as take advantage of exhibits in NYC. The work students do will be a reflection of their own interests: some might choose to write reviews and articles for conferences and publication; others might experiment with bookmaking, canvas, paint, assemblage, etc; others might choose to work in fiction, poetry, lyric essay, and other forms. While students will all read and respond informally to the same assigned readings as well as the work of their peers, the artifacts they make under the influence of the course material is up to them. You don’t need to “know how to draw” or be interested in three point perspective to do well in this course; it’s intended for a mix of people from different backgrounds and disciplines. There will be no more than 2 or 3 required books, plus an additional text of your choice. Most other materials will be available online. No one is graded on “talent” or “ability;” respond to assigned texts, work by peers, and submit work by the required deadlines = an A. Do a google image search for any of the following; if you’re intrigued by what you see you’ll probably enjoy this course: “Tom Phillips Humument”, “Zhang Xu”, “William Blake’s printing process”, “Anne Carson Float”, “Krazy Kat”, “Une Semaine de Bonte”, “Splendor Solis”, “calligram”, “Un Coup de Des”, “Jenny Holzer”, “Jackson Mac Low drawings”, “Marina Sabina”, “Robert Seydel”, “Emily Dickinson envelope poems”, “Douglas Kearney Black Automaton”, “Hannah Weiner clairvoyant journal”, “Marcel Broodthaers”, “Karen Green Bough Down”, “Ark Codex”, “migritude”, “concrete poetry”, “artists book”. And like that. If you have questions don’t hesitate to contact me: owensd@stjohns.edu.


ENG.  975: Dissertation Workshop (71908)

5:00-7:00 PM

Dr. Amy King

This research workshop is designed to assist students through all stages of the dissertation process, with an emphasis on creating a shared community of writers and scholars embarking on their dissertations. We are a faculty-supervised and peer-oriented workshop, one that is designed to jumpstart the dissertation process and provide a supportive structure for individual scholarship and research. The course will emphasize prospectus writing, techniques for revision, and strategies for completion. Students will meet weekly for a two-hour class that will include class discussion about relevant issues in dissertation-formation and writing, as well as in-class writing exercises and brainstorming; in the second half of each class we break into smaller groups to workshop individual students’ dissertation writing.

This is typically the first semester of a two-semester course. The first semester guides students through the early stages of project formation: what texts or subjects do I care most about? what research question most pressingly needs answering? how will my dissertation constitute me as an academic professional? how will this dissertation contribute an original idea to research and scholarship? Once the dissertation topic has been chosen and refined, we will write and workshop a dissertation prospectus, which will include an overview of the project and brief chapter summaries. By the end of the first semester students will have an approved prospectus or will be working towards that goal; some students may have begun a chapter, and all students will have begun to set clear goals for the continuation and completion of their dissertation. This course is not intended as a substitute for close direction by a thesis advisor, and students will be encouraged to schedule regular meetings with their dissertation advisor(s) to complement their progress in the course.


Eng. 105: Comprehensive Examination/Masters  (75409)

Eng. 105: Comprehensive Examination/Doctoral (75410)
Eng. 105Q: Doctoral Qualifying Exam                        (75411)

Eng. 900: Master’s Research                                         (70669)

Eng. 901: Readings and Research                               (70670)

Eng. 901: Readings and Research                               (72694)

Eng. 925: Maintaining Matriculation (MA)             (70097)

Eng. 930: Maintaining Matriculation (DA)             (70096)


Eng. 975: Doctoral Research Essay (DA) Workshop (71909) (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.