Spring 2020 Graduate Flyer


ENG. 100: Modern Critical Theories (15091)
T. 7:10 – 9:10 PM
Dr. Steven Mentz
This course aims to make critical theory serve the research interests and projects of St. John’s English graduate students. We will start with two open-source book collections that explore the fundamental skills of academic culture: How We Write and How We Read, both edited by Suzanne Conklin Akbari. During the core of the course, we will together dive into and build bibliographies and expertise in five important contemporary critical modes: feminism, Critical Race Theory, queer theory, global Marxism, and ecocriticism. We will also read and use as an interpretive laboratory a collection of poems written by our spring 2020 D’Angelo Chair, Patricia Smith’s Blood Dazzler.

ENG. 130: Theories of Literacy (15090)
Literacy as Praxis
M. 5:00 – 7:00 PM
Dr. Steven Alvarez
This course will be an overview to the field of literacy studies, focusing on the study of literacy as praxis informed by social theory. Literacy as praxis posits that individuals draw from their language repertoires to make existential changes in their sociohistorical circumstances. From this position, we will examine literacy not as decontextualized rote skills but rather as transformative actions communities enact when forming solidarities in
different situations. Readings for the course will include works by Pierre Bourdieu, Andrea Dyrness, Shirley Brice Heath, Rebecca Lorimer Leonard, Valerie Kinloch, Walter Mignolo, and Jonathan Rosa.

ENG. 280: Topics in Medieval Studies (15089)
Medieval Travel Writing
T. 2:50 – 4:50 PM
Dr. Nicole Rice
This course considers a range of representations produced by medieval travelers—pilgrims, crusaders, missionaries, and merchants, among others—from the eleventh to the fifteenth century. In reading narratives and images of cross-cultural encounter, largely produced by Europeans, we will explore questions of ethnic and religious difference, displacement, and self-creation. We will analyze how medieval travelers used their writings to negotiate between authoritative religious and ethnographic traditions and their own individual experiences. Combining a range of medieval sources with recent historical and literary-critical writings, we will ask how ethnographic and geographic thought evolved over centuries of contact between Europe and its “others.” Primary readings will include selections from Augustine and Pliny, The Song of Roland, Joinville’s Life of Saint Louis, William Rubruck’s Journey and missionary letters, Marco Polo’s Travels, The Travels of Ibn Battuta, and The Travels of Sir John Mandeville.

ENG. 450: Topics in Restoration & 18th Century (15429)
Eighteenth-Century Black Lives
T. 5:00 – 7:00 PM
Dr. Kathleen Lubey
This course will explore British and Anglo-Caribbean writing about black lives from the rise to the decline of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Covering the 1680s through 1808, the year Parliament abolished the trade, our readings will concern the movement, experiences, and social positions of Black people in Britain and its colonies. We’ll encounter a range of attitudes: clinical treatments of plantation labor, theological humanitarianism, sentimental exoticism, anti-imperial critique, autobiographical appeals for freedom. We will think about the modes of argument available to writers representing blackness in an era when the concept of rights extended only to property-owning Christian European men. How was Black freedom imagined? To what degree did writers of color absorb or reject white English abolitionist rhetoric? Relying on recent scholarship, we will also broaden our archive beyond published writing, since so few enslaved people had access to print culture. We will, as Marisa Fuentes writes in Dispossessed Lives, think about how “to ask seemingly impossible questions of subjects whose presence, when noted, is systematically distorted” by white English perspectives. We also will (very likely) be visited by Julie Kim and her Fordham graduate students to discuss their digital edition of James Grainger’s poem The Sugar-Cane. Readings will include fictional narratives like Aphra Behn’s Oronooko and the anonymous The Woman of Colour; travel narratives by Richard Ligon and Daniel Defoe; autobiographical writing by Ottobah Cugoano and Olaudah Equiano; poetry by Hannah More, Anna Barbauld, Phyllis Wheatley, William Cowper, and William Blake; letters and essays by Joseph Addison, Ignatius Sancho, and Samuel Johnson. We’ll read weekly in literary and historical criticism of the period as well. Requirements: regular attendance; a short archival project; a seminar paper.

ENG. 580: Studies in 19 th Century British Authors (15092)
The Aesthetics of John Keats
R. 2:50 – 4:50 PM
Dr. Gregory Maertz
“I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the Heart’s affections and the truth of the
imagination. What the imagination seizes as Beauty must be truth.” (Keats to Benjamin
Bailey, 22 November 1817)
An immersive study of the lyric poetry and letters of John Keats (1795-1821) with a special focus on the disruptive aesthetic positions and technical innovations emerging from the early poems (1814-16), the Great Odes of 1819, and the poet’s correspondence. Students will have access to the archival resources of the New York Public Library and read selected biographical and textual criticism.

ENG. 590: Topics 19 th Century British Literature & Culture (15094)
the Bildungsroman
M. 2:50 – 4:50 PM
Dr. Amy King
Many of us first encounter what is colloquially called the “coming-of-age” novel through twentieth-century texts such as JD Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye or Zora Neal Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, but the genre of the “bildungsroman” is primarily a nineteenth-century phenomenon, with many great novels given over to the topic of the psychological, moral, and (some would argue) socio-economic growth of the main character from youth to adulthood. In this course we will read five exemplary (but widely divergent) bildungsroman from the British and French traditions, including Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations (1861), Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre (1847), George Eliot’s Mill on the Floss (1860), Gustave Flaubert’s Sentimental Education (1869), and James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916). Other examples from the genre and various theoretical accounts of the genre will be discussed in depth. Students may choose to read and present on a contemporary bildungsroman in the final weeks of the semester.

ENG. 671: Contemporary American Fiction (15497)
R. 5:00 – 7:00 PM
Professor Gabriel Brownstein
In the 1980s, Toni Morrison (1931-2019) and Philip Roth (1933-2018) seemed to me to stand for opposing literary values, but now that they’re both dead, they seem to me almost twins: two literary children of William Faulkner, defining overlapping territories of the U.S. novel. Their work mirrors and responds to each other’s. Each writer’s work is grounded in class and community: for Roth, the lower middle-class Jews of New Jersey, for Morrison the small-town African-Americans of Ohio. For both, the family romance is a violent struggle, and the domestic and the communal reverberate with national historical aspiration and national historical horror. The novelists are equally, if oppositely, devoted to voice: for Morrison, the polyvocal symphony of the group, for Roth, the reckless aria of the individual. We’ll read eight novels, four by each, pair by pair, starting with The Bluest Eye (1970) and Portnoy’s Complaint (1969) ending with Beloved (1987) and American Pastoral (1997). We’ll trace the two writers’ similarities and oppositions, and in doing so explore a half century of U.S. fiction.

ENG. 878: Workshop in Poetry & Poetics (15088)
M. 7:10 – 9:10 PM
Professor Lee Ann Brown
This course will serve as a Hybrid Seminar / Workshop / Fieldwork / Practicum in the practice and generative study of contemporary Poetry and Poetics. We will write and share new poems, while engaging with the works of several poets who will be reading during our class time primarily at the Monday Night Series at The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church, a local and global venue central to the formation of contemporary poetry culture. The church is one block away from the St. John’s University Manhattan campus, so we can also hold our own reading of new work there in the Spring. Though most class meetings will be based on the Queens campus, students will be required to attend at least two live poetry events in the semester. Readings will include except from the works of poets central to the Poetry Project’s culture such as Frank O’Hara, Allen Ginsberg, Amiri Baraka, Anne Waldman, Bernadette Mayer and others, as well as books such as From a Secret Location on the Lower East Side on the literary history and culture of the Project, and the massive Tender Omnibus which compiles poetry by Bernadette Mayer, Dodie Bellamy, Laynie Browne, Rosmarie Waldrop, Hannah Weiner and others. Issues of Intertextulality, Experimentation, as well as readings on “schools,” trends or movements such as the New York School, Beat, Umbra, Black Arts, Nuyorican and L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E writing. Students will be required to produce a manuscript of at least 15 pages, as well as two short papers or reviews of assigned poets’ work. An essay on poetics will also be required.
The course is open to Graduate students as well as students in the BA/MA program.

ENG. 105: Comprehensive Portfolio/Masters (12727)
Course designation for MA students in their last semester of coursework if they choose the Portfolio option rather than the M.A. thesis.

ENG. 105Q: Doctoral Qualifying Exam (12728)
Preparation for and oral examination in three scholarly fields of the doctoral student’s devising, in consultation with three faculty mentors/examiners.

ENG. 105T: Master’s Thesis Defense (13261)
Placeholder designation for students who have written the M.A. thesis in the previous semester and who are in their last semester of coursework.  Please only register for this class if you have already registered for ENG 900 in the previous semester and have
completed or are intending to complete the thesis as your capstone project for the MA. Students who are pursuing the Portfolio as their capstone project should register instead for ENG 105.

ENG. 900: Master’s Research (11718)
M.A. thesis; capstone project of the M.A. student’s devising, written in consultation with a mentor and several faculty readers.

ENG. 901: Readings and Research (10719)
Independent readings and research supervised by, and in conversation with, a faculty mentor.

ENG. 906: English Internship (12730)

ENG. 925: Maintaining Matriculation (MA) (10062)
Designation for M.A. students pausing studies for personal reasons not medical in nature; a zero-credit course, available for no more than two consecutive semesters.

ENG. 930: Maintaining Matriculation (DA) (10061)
Designation for Ph.D. students pausing studies for personal reasons not medical in nature; a zero-credit course, available for no more than two consecutive semesters.

ENG. 975: Doctoral Research Essay (DA) Workshop (11364) (1 credit)
This is the one-credit version of Eng. 975, only to be taken after the student has completed one semester of the three-credit version of Eng. 975. Doctoral research colloquium or independent doctoral research supervised by doctoral