Spring 2021 Graduate Course Offerings

Spring 2021 Graduate Flyer

ENG. 100: Modern Critical Theories (14047)
R. 5:00 – 7:00 PM
Email: tsoue@stjohns.edu

This course is an intensive introduction to the foundational thinkers whose work comprise that terrifying beast we call “theory,” Critical schools we will cover: structuralism, poststructuralism, Marxism, psychoanalysis, postcolonial studies, gender and queer studies, theories of race and racial formation, cultural studies. The goal of the course is to sharpen studentscritical thinking skills by presenting an assortment of models of thinking. Each of our essays offer a model of theorizing, depict a particular approach to thinking about a certain topic (whether that be language, empire, gender, sexuality or race). The long-term and ultimate goal of the course is not to learn how to “apply” these different models to the object of inquiry, but instead to practice our second order thinking; that is, to understand how to think with these models and to take on or internalize a certain critical way of thinking

ENG. 130: Theories of Literacy (14046)
Foodways Literacies
M. 5:00 – 7:00 PM
Dr. Steven Alvarez
Email: alvares1@stjohns.edu

This course will focus on foodways literacies, a study combining foodways, which describe the practices in the production and consumption of food, with the humanizing connections of literacies as transformative knowledge. Foodways are always contextually bound in places and histories, and always connected with the people who produce and consume foods, as expressed through literacies, which are also always contextually bound. When foodways are decontextualized, the potential to build walls that dehumanize people increases, however, when linked with literacies, we can better understand how foodways and languages unite us in humane ways. From this position, together, we will study ways to theorize foodways literacies as transformative actions communities enact when forming solidarities in different situations. Students will produce a researched, autoethnographic foodways project over the course of the semester, exploring their own foodways literacies. Readings will include chapters from edi collections, articles, and various websites centering around the themes of foodways and literacies, and works by Michael W. Twitty, Elizabeth Acevedo, Toni Tipton-Martin, Vandana Shiva, Jeffrey M. Pilcher, Hasia R. Diner, Robert Sietsema, Sophie Coe, Michael Coe, Darn Jurafsky, and the Southern Foodways Alliance

ENG. 140: Topics in Theory (14875)
Black and Blue: Oceans and Migration in the African Diaspora, 50,000 BCE to the Present
T. 2:50 – 4:50 PM
Dr. Steven Mentz
Email: mentzs@stjohns.edu

This seminar introduces students to and juxtaposes two distinct strains of contemporary critical theory: Critical Race Theory, which explores the legacies and structures of anti Black racism, and the blue humanities, which engages the influence of the ocean and maritime travel on human history and culture. The course takes the long view, starting with the exodus of homo sapiens out of Africa roughly 50,000 years ago. Literary and theoretical texts explore different moments in the long histories of maritime settlements and expansion around the globe, with special attention to trade routes, colonization, and postcolonization, as well as considering racially uneven access to water and water safety in the contemporary United States. The course will compare a variety of maritime migrations, from the thousand years of voyaging that populated the islands of the Pacific, to the Atlantic Slave Trade, to the current plight of migrants in the Mediterranean. We will read widely in historical and theoretical texts, including works such as Kathyrn Yussof’s A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None, James Scott’s Against the Grain, Paul Gilroy’s The Black Atlantic, Éduoard Glissant’s Poetics of Relation, Helen Rozwadowski’s Vast Expanses, and Christina Sharpes In the Wake. Primary literary texts will include seapoetry from Homer to Emily Dickinson, Olaudah Equiano’s Interesting Narrative, Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and probably some or almost all of Herman Melville’s MobyDick, which is both the greatest seanovel ever written and a brutally thorough investigation of “whiteness.” 

ENG. 700: The Emergence of Modernism (14869)
W.5:00 – 7:00 PM
Hybrid (in-person/synchronous online)
Dr. Rachel Hollander
Email: hollanrl@stjohns.edu

This course will center on several of Virginia Woolf’s novels and essays as a focal point for exploring the emergence and development of AngloAmerican modernism. As the daughter of a Victorian man of letters, center of the Bloomsbury group, cofounder of the Hogarth Press (which published T.$. 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, sexuality, and race, and the more recent considerations of modernism as a diverse global phenomenon, we will follow the trajectory of Woolf’s career to trace early twentieth-century experimentations (aesthetic, political, and cultural). In addition to Woolf, primary authors may include Djuna Barnes, T.S. Eliot, Jean Toomer, H.D., James Joyce, Nella Larsen, James Baldwin, Olive Schreiner, and Gertrude Stein

ENG. 810: Literary/Visual/Texts (14871)
The Origins of Science Fiction
T. 5:00 – 7:00 PM
Hybrid (in-person/synchronous online)
Dr. Brian Lockey
Email: lockeyb@stjohns.edu

Science fiction (i.e. speculative fiction) emerged as a major genre of popular and literary writing during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This course will consider the origins of this tradition as well as the relevant literary and historical contexts. In particular, we will consider two prominent traditions within speculative fiction writing, The first tradition emerges from the Greek myth of Prometheus, taking shape in John Milton’s Paradise Lost and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and involving prohibited knowledge or a human invention which threatens to destroy the world. The second, embodied in C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, probably goes back at least to Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene and involves the discovery of a new or parallel world. Among the questions we will ask are the following: How does speculative fiction emerge from the scientific revolutions of the early modern and Enlightenment periods? How does science fiction register the 20th century tensions between religion and science? How does speculative fiction reflect transforming gender roles of men and women, especially given how many prominent speculative fiction writers have been women? We will read the following fictional works and view some related films as well: Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene; John Milton, Paradise Lost; Margaret Cavendish, The Blazing World, Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; H. G. Wells, The Time Machine; H. P. Lovecraft, “The Call of Cthulhu,” and At the Mountains of Madness; C.S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe; Kurt Vonnegut, SlaughterHouse Five; and Ursula Le Guins A Wizard of Earthsea

ENG. 876: Writing Nonfiction (14867)
M.2:50 – 4:50 PM
Professor Catina Bacote
Email: bacotec@stjohns.edu

In this creative nonfiction course, you will have the opportunity to examine and respond to various social justice issues, including the global pandemic and the Black Lives Matter Movement in the United States. Our reading, writing, and discussions will help us explore questions such as: How can we courageously speak to the moment or reframe the past? How do we confront contemporary and historical injustices through acts of the imagination? What methods will help us transform farreaching political and social matters into compelling and intimate stories? Is it possible as practicing writers to embrace joy in the service of justice and healing? Ultimately, over the semester, you will be invited to give yourself over to your most pressing questions and concerns. Your writing can take on a range of forms from the personal essay to the open letter. Throughout the semester, you will generate new writing, share your work, and respond to the writing of others

Please feel free to contact me with questions at bacotec@stjohns.edu.

ENG. 885: Topics in Cultural Studies (14873)
Black Feminisms, Genders, and Sexualities
M. 7:10 – 9:10 PM
Dr. Shante Paradigm Smalls
Email: smallss@stjohns.edu

This course thinks through the relationship of Blackness to feminisms and womanism, sexes, femininities and masculinities, genders, and sexualities. How is Blackness rendered through gender, sex, and sexuality, and how are gender, sex, and sexuality influenced by Blackness? 

Through readings such as The Invention of Women (1997), Becoming Human (2020), The Wombs of Women (2020), Frottage (2019), Race and Performance After Repetition (2020), On Black Men (2020), None Like Us (2018), and writings by James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, bell hooks, Sylvia Wynter, Hortense Spillers, and others, we will explore how diasporic Black feminisms, genders, sexes, and sexualities offer us opportunities to reorient and rethink those categories

For PhD Students, a final seminar-length paper is expected. 

For BA/MA and MA students: a small group presentation and an annotated bibliography is expected 

ENG. 105: Comprehensive Portfolio/Masters (12345)

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 (12346)

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 (12735)

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 (11529)

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 (10673)

Independent readings and research supervised by, and in conversation with, a faculty mentor

ENG. 906: English Internship (12348)

ENG. 925: Maintaining Matriculation (MA) (10056)

Designation for M.A. students pausing studies for personal reasons not medical in nature; a zerocredit course, available for no more than two consecutive semesters. 

ENG. 930: Maintaining Matriculation (DA) (10055)

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 (11244 – 1 Credit) (12684 -2 Credits)

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 committee

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