Spring 2012 Graduate Course Offerings

This is one of my favorite times of the semester … when the course offerings for the next semester come out! The listings below are for the English Graduate courses which will be offered in the spring. The Undergraduate Course Offerings will be posted shortly. Enjoy!

(Click the “Read More” link below to see the full post.)


Eng. 100: Modern Critical Theories (14776)
T. 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Dr. Harry Denny
In the context of the most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression, global imperial conflict, and an on-going crisis of the humanities and the place of higher education in the new millennium, equipping oneself with critical theories to problem-pose and challenge the hegemonic could not be more important for better understanding the world in which we find ourselves, for providing a foundation to guide us to action and social change, or for offering a platform through English Studies to engage the everyday practices of aesthetics, creativity and production of meaning. This course explores literary, linguistic and socio-cultural influences on criticism in English Studies with specific attention given to Marxist/Frankford-inspired theories of domination, ideology, and post-Fordism; cultural studies; postmodernism; and the politics of identity. Students will explore key terms and lines of inquiry through comparative and in-depth study of primary texts, mainly book-length, that will provide a foundation for individual semester-long projects. Beyond weekly in-class discussions, students will develop collaborative/online working documents applying key terms to issues arising in everyday literary, literacy, composition or cultural studies research happening in relation to their own teaching/learning/mentoring. 

Eng. 170: Authorship, Ownership, Appropriation and the Remix (15174)
T. 7:10-9:10pm

Dr. Anne Ellen Geller

In Authorship, Ownership, Appropriation and the Remix we will consider why everyone inside and outside of education seems so concerned about plagiarism.  Central to developing a critical and theoretical stance on plagiarism is an understanding of authorship and textual ownership. We will consider how the boundaries of authorship are maintained or expanded as texts are created, owned, and exchanged. To fully explore authorship and plagiarism in education we’ll read My Word: Plagiarism and College Culture, which explores students’ varied experiences with texts inside and outside of school, and Who Owns This Text: Plagiarism, Authorship, and Disciplinary Cultures, which explores faculty experiences with authorship and plagiarism. Plagiarism: Alchemy and Remedy in Higher Education will prompt us to consider high profile plagiarism cases and the technology and the socioeconomics of plagiarism and cheating — students pay to have their papers written by paper mills, institutions pay corporations to police students’ writing, and the public pays the media to distribute tantalizing stories of textual appropriation. And we’ll ask if plagiarism is the best lens for evaluating textual practices like remixing, sampling, Creative Commons licenses, appropriation in poetry and fiction, and piracy. Throughout the semester we’ll consider the responsibility educators at all levels have for starting and facilitating conversations about the ethical, moral, and socio-cultural-historical issues that always attend the creation and sharing of texts.

Writing during the semester will include investigation of the plagiarism policies on course syllabi and in institutional documents and a short position paper on plagiarism detection software.  Students will also each contribute at least one article annotation to CompPile (www.comppile.org).  Final projects may take on issues ranging from and including pedagogy (from all levels of classrooms to writing centers and libraries), creative writing, technologies, identity and authorship. This course is for students interested in texts and intertextuality, textual ownership and authorship (academic and creative), technology and research, and education.

Eng. 670: Topics 19th Century Amer. Literature & Culture (14784)
M. 7:10-9:10 p.m.
Dr. G. Ganter
This course is an introduction to American Studies that surveys a variety of landmark approaches to the role of literature in American cultural history. Whenever possible, each class will introduce pairs of texts—one older critical text that introduced a new way of talking about subject in American studies (Todorov, The Conquest of America) or a key primary text (such as Uncle Tom’s Cabin), and a recent critical discussion of that problem. Readings will consider debates about feminism, sentimentalism, and popular reading (Douglas; Tompkins; Radway); the role of the aboriginal inhabitants in defining American identity, as well as the recent inclusion of the southern hemisphere and Hispanic identities (Todorov; Brooks; Pearce; Slotkin; Mignolo; Adams); the politics of race and creolization (Lott, Love and Theft; Bauer); approaches to performance (Young’s Masquerade); the left (Denning, Cultural Front; Warren, et al. Black Intellectualism); the shift from book culture to computer culture (AAS History of the Book project; Hayles). Students will be asked to give short reports on the critical readings for the course as a means of beginning class discussion. The purpose of this class is to give students a working background to the different sorts of research methodologies pertinent to contemporary literary studies.

Eng. 700: The Emergence of Modernism (15198)
W. 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Dr.  Rachel Hollander
This course will center on several of Virginia Woolf’s novels and essays as a focal point for exploring the emergence and development of Anglo-American modernism. As the daughter of a Victorian man of letters, center of the Bloomsbury group, co-founder of the Hogarth Press (which published T.S. Eliot and the first English translations of Freud, among many others), prolific essayist, and originator of the modern novel, Woolf is a crucial figure in any formulation of literary modernism. With an emphasis on the politics of gender and sexuality, and the more recent considerations of modernism as a global phenomenon, we will follow the trajectory of Woolf’s career to trace early twentieth-century experimentation both aesthetic and cultural. In addition to Woolf, primary authors may include Djuna Barnes, T.S. Eliot, E.M. Forster, H.D., James Joyce, Nella Larsen, Katherine Mansfield, Olive Schreiner, and Gertrude Stein.

Eng. 802:  Studies in Film Author(s):  David Lynch (15173)
R. 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Dr. Scott Combs
At a time when it is difficult to imagine avant-garde or non-narrative filmmakers impacting the look of Hollywood cinema, we remember the films, television pilots and series, and digital films of David Lynch.  This course takes a chronological look back at Lynch’s career to recapture some of its contradictory and turbulent nature–its constant interplay between commercial and artistic success and failure.  Lynch has continued to occupy the threshold between art and genre, contributing to popular culture a unique visual style and narrative voice.  It is that style and voice that we will discuss in this seminar.  Each student will be required to attend weekly screenings on Wednesdays 2-4, do weekly readings, and write a 20-25 page seminar paper at semester’s end.  In addition, I ask that you watch Season One (episodes 1-10) of Lynch’s television series Twin Peaks over the Winter Break so that we have time to cover as much of the series as possible.  Email me with any questions:  combss@stjohns.edu.

Eng. 805: Reading the High School Canon (14787)
M. 2:50-4:50 p.m.
Dr. Dohra Ahmad
This course will examine the political and aesthetic underpinnings of contemporary American high school curricula.  Which books are most frequently assigned to U.S. high school students, and why?  In other words, what are the underlying judgments, assumptions, and pedagogical priorities that go into the shaping of required reading lists?  In order to consider those questions thoroughly, we will make use of scholarly sources on curricular history as well as recent theoretical work on canonicity and literary value.  While closely reading some of the most common high school texts, we will also investigate how those texts arrived at their present canonical position and what ideological work they perform in relation to notions of Americanness, democracy, tolerance, maturity, literacy, and associated virtues.  Finally, we will explore some alternatives to those canonical texts.  Primary readings may include novels, plays, autobiographies, and poems by Maryse Condé, William and Ellen Craft, Emily Dickinson, Frederick Douglass, Robert Frost, Arthur Miller, George Orwell, and Yevgeny Zamyatin, as well as our own Lee Ann Brown and Gabriel Brownstein.

Eng. 820:  Christian Imagination: Religion and Poetry (14782)
R. 2:50-4:50 p.m.
Dr. Stephen Sicari
TS Eliot cautioned, “‘Religious poetry’ is a variety of minor poetry: the religious poet is not a poet who is treating the whole subject matter of poetry in a religious spirit, but a poet who is dealing with a confined part of his subject matter” (“Religion and Literature).  So we don’t want to make the mistake of reading religious poetry but to examine great poetry that was written in a religious spirit.  I’m thinking about Pope and Wordsworth and Tennyson as poets grappling with the Enlightenment and its challenges to traditional religion, and then about Pound and Eliot and Stevens who work with great care to renew a religiosity in a secular age.  We will be reading from the work of Stephen Toulmin, Charles Taylor and Raimon Panikkar as context for the course, but our emphasis will be on the poets. 

Eng. 836: Modernism and the Fascist Aesthetic (14778)
M. 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Dr. Gregory Maertz
Walter Benjamin famously defined Fascism as “the aestheticization of politics.” Besides inaugurating a new style of political leadership based on myths of national regeneration and the exploitation of culture to achieve political ends, Fascism left its indelible aesthetic imprint everywhere and became synonymous with all things new, technologically advanced, and “modern.” Moreover, a great many of the vehicles of popular entertainment and mass persuasion that are the mainstays of modern global capitalism and American cultural imperialism were perfected during the period of the fascist domination of Europe. This course will identify and examine parallels and continuities between the aesthetics of Modernism and fascism—in art, film, and literature. With special emphasis on the relationship between major literary figures and fascism, including Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, W.B. Yeats, Gottfried Benn, and Martin Heidegger.  Discussion of texts and images will be supplemented by visits to the Metropolitan Museum, the Guggenheim, and the Neue Galerie.

Eng. 879: Autobiography and Fiction (14786)
T. 2:50-4:50 p.m.
Prof. Gabriel Brownstein
“Writing is the act of saying I,” says Joan Didion in her essay “Why I Write,” an essay whose title she stole from George Orwell.  Didion says she took the title for the sound of its words:


What is a writer saying when he says “I”?  As soon as the letter hits the page, it becomes something other than the author.  
This will be a hybrid class, a combination of a creative writing workshop, in which students write original work and present it to the class for critique, and a literature seminar, in which we consider the ways in which 20th and 21st century authors have played with that weird word “I.”  We’ll start with Franz Kafka, and then we’ll read Thomas Bernhard, Lydia Davis, Nam Le, Lorrie Moore, Haruki Murakami, Vladimir Nabokov, Marilynne Robinson, and Philip Roth.

Eng. 885: Topics in Cultural Studies (14785)
W. 2:50-4:50 p.m.
Dr. Melissa Mowry
Humanities and Public LifeThis course considers the relationship between the various ways knowledge is produced in the humanities and the ways that knowledge contributes to public life.  It is designed to help students think about the ways advanced training in the humanities facilitates and encourages our movement as both humanists and intellectuals beyond the confines of the academy and into our communities.  We will read a wide variety of writers on this subject including Christopher Newfield, Martha Nussbaum, and Cornell West, among others, and we will undertake the process of writing and submitting at least one grant for a public humanities project on behalf a small, non-profit, organization, like a local history group.

ENG.  975: Doctor of Arts Research and Workshop (11230)
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. 500: Colloquia (10119)
Eng. 900: Master’s Research (10118)
Eng. 901: Readings and Research (11722)
Eng. 925: Maintaining Matriculation (MA) (10117)
Eng. 930: Maintaining Matriculation (DA) (10116)
Eng. 975: Doctoral Research Essay (DA) Wkshp. (14334)

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

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.