Course Offerings

Fall 2014

ENGL 620 - Workshop Form and Practice (#3077)
Rob Davidson
M 6:00-8:50
BUTE 325

This course will be conducted as a workshop for dedicated students writing poetry and prose at the graduate level. This means students come to the class having practiced and studied their art in previous courses and independently, arriving now at the point of preparing work for possible publication. The workshop community forms a candid, astute audience for this writing; the authors are ready and eager to hear the comments of their peers in matters of craft and scope, acknowledging that through the workshop process their work can be strengthened in terms of their largest intentions for it.

While this class is open to any genre, all submitted work must aspire to be “literary” (i.e., serious, ambitious, well-crafted, contemporary, adult-oriented, emotionally engaging, and so forth). Work that does not aspire to the literary is outside the domain of this class. This includes fiction for very young children, the sentimental romance, formulaic mystery writing, doggerel, light verse, and so forth.

A secondary focus of this class will the discussion of contemporary literature by established authors in the relevant genres. This may include essays on craft, poetics, aesthetics, and the like.


Course Prerequisite:

At least one 400-level creative writing course or instructor permission. If you have not taken a 400-level creative writing class (or the demonstrated equivalent), see Dr. Davidson to discuss your enrollment status. 

Reading list (subject to change)

Elizabeth Bishop, Geography III; Dean Young, Fall Higher; Alice Munro, Open Secrets; George Saunders, In Persuasion Nation; Charles Baxter, Burning Down the House: Essays on Fiction; and other texts TBA, including various craft-related essays on poetics, aesthetics, writing practice & so on.


ENGL 644 - 18th Century British Literature (#6114)
John Traver
T 3:30-6:20
BUTE 225

“Religion and Ridicule in the Long Eighteenth Century”

“When Jacques Derrida died I was called by a reporter who wanted know what would succeed high theory and the triumvirate of race, gender, and class as the center of intellectual energy in the academy. I answered like a shot: religion.”  -Stanley Fish

 “Sacred cows make the best hamburger.”  -Mark Twain

If Fish’s prediction is to be believed, literary studies will become increasingly pre-occupied with the interplay between religion and secularism.  How should one approach the diversity of belief-systems found within the classroom?  How should values such as “toleration” and “freedom of speech” shape our response to texts which may not only deride other viewpoints, but advocate violence against their holders?  We will consider how eighteenth century literature itself responds to such issues, examining the use of satire and comedy in the depiction of religious institutions, Christian theology, and the clergy.  Though Anglicanism gave British religious identity a stable institutional form through a national church, the voices of the Catholics, “religious enthusiasts,” dissenters, and “free thinkers” residing in England inevitably raised questions and challenges to this established form.  Both the critics and defenders of England’s national church contested over their religious differences through satire, often using laughter not only to attack opposing viewpoints but to explore the tensions and apparent inconsistencies within their own religious beliefs and actions.  This class will explore the subversive tendencies and ambiguities of laughter in different “funny” works of the eighteenth century as they engage seriously with issues of religious belief, tolerance, and behavior in the shaping of England’s national and religious identity. 

In addition to delivering an in-class presentation and directing part of class discussion, students will be expected to write a major researched argumentative paper (including an abstract and preliminary draft) and an optional book review.  Our course reading will involve a diversity of genres such as the following:  novels (e.g., Swift’s A Tale of a Tub and Fielding’s Joseph Andrews), poetry (e.g., Burns’s “Holy Willie’s Prayer”), plays (e.g., Farquhar’s The Beaux’ Stratagem), philosophy (e.g., Paine’s The Age of Reason), and graphic art (e.g., Hogarth).

ENGL 651 - American Literature to 1865 (#6070)
Matt Brown
M 3:00-5:50
BUTE 325

ENGL 661 - Literary Criticism and Theory (#3193)
Geoffrey Baker
W 3:00-5:50
LANG 105

ENGL 692 - Digital Culture & Literacies (#5825)
Kim Jaxon
R 5:00-7:50
MLIB 442

Graduate seminar exploring new literacies and their implications for culture: we will read theory related to open access, participatory culture, gaming theory, new ecologies for writing, and the changing shape of expertise and knowledge. Students will pursue their own line of inquiry related to our conceptual frames. Depending on the make-up of the class, we'll think about pedagogical implications for these concepts as well. 

This summer (2014), I’ve been invited to participate as a scholar in the Digital Media and Literacy Hub ( <> ). Working with these scholars will be a huge asset as we move through the ideas in our course in the fall.