Course Offerings

Fall 2016

ENGL 620 - Workshop Form and Practice (#3143)
Jeanne Clark
W 3:00-5:50 PM
YOLO 178

Course Description:

This course is designed as a multi-genre creative graduate writing workshop and theory seminar rolled into one.  Students will have the opportunity to write and submit for critique poetry, fiction, or creative non-fiction, as long as the writer has had substantial experience with the genre of his/her choosing.  The course is intended for graduate students who have learned about their chosen genre as well as about the workshop approach in 300- and 400-level creative writing classes and who have a sense of their directions as writers.  The emphasis will be on student writing: “workshopping” and revising new work students produce for this course.  However, I will assign a variety of contemporary texts in the three genres (depending on the distribution of genre interests among the students). 

This course seeks to be useful to writers producing work that is serious and ambitious, and to those having familiarity with reading and discussing serious, ambitious creative work in a workshop environment.  We will consider theoretical and craft issues as they come up in our discussions of your work as well as in the assigned readings. 

Depending on the size of the class, each student will be required to submit two full-length stories or essays, or the equivalent amount of poetry, plus considered revisions.  Students will participate in discussions of writing submitted to workshop as well as assigned readings.  Students will provide each other typed critiques of writing discussed in workshop.  At the end of the semester, students in the workshop will give a public reading of work completed in the class as part of the Writer’s Voice Reading Series.

ENGL 646 - British Victorian Literature (#3245)
Teresa Traver
T 4:00-6:50 PM
BUTE 219

Course Description:

If you’ve ever wondered how British Victorians saw themselves in relation to people of other nations, take this class and discover that there’s quite a lot to say about these relationships between nations. For that matter, if you’ve ever wondered if there was a difference between “British” and “English,” this is the class for you. This seminar will introduce students to graduate-level Victorian studies through a focus on nineteenth-century nationalism as it appears in novels, travel literature, and poetry. We will look at texts in which construct both British and English identities (and no, the two are not necessarily the same) in opposition to Continental or American identities. We will also sample a range of secondary literature dealing with nationalism, transnationalism, and cosmopolitanism. By the end of this class, you may have a sense of just how complicated the subject of British Victorianism is. Assignments include blogging on major texts, participating in/ leading class discussion, and a 15-20 page seminar paper.

* * *

Required Texts (Subject to Change): Primary texts include Charles Dickens American Notes; Charlotte Brontë Villette; Wilkie Collins The Law and the Lady; George Eliot Daniel Deronda; Anthony Hope The Prisoner of Zenda. Critical/theoretical readings include readings by Tony Appiah, Linda Colley, Amanda Anderson, Richard Dellamora, and others.

ENGL 651- American Literature to 1865 (#5239)
Aiping Zhang
R 4:00-6:50 PM
BUTE 225

Course Description:

“Symbolism of Space: Its Poetics and Effects in Early American Fiction and Beyond”

 For years, literature was essentially considered a temporal art. As a result, what interested scholars of fiction was time rather than space. Since the start of the 21th century, though, there has been a clear shift from time to space in literary studies. Early American fiction, as Paul Giles claims, tends “to be saturated in locality,” and “the relationship between the local and the national becomes self-allegorizing, in the sense that the value of particular places…are validated not by their specific local characteristics or phenomenological qualities but from their synecdochic embodiment of a national impulse, their sense of being, as (William Carlos) Williams put it, ‘in the American grain’.”

By provoking debates on the so-called “Possible World Theory” and “Text World Theory” in the studies of space, this seminar intends to explore the rich symbolism of space in early American fiction, from a house haunted by voices to a new town on the frontiers, a city made larger than life, a utopian farm on the city outskirts, an exotic island of imagination, and a region full of gentility and agony. Also, it facilitates conversations about the similarities, continuities or differences in the poetics and effects of space in American fiction ever since.

Required Textbooks

Charles Brockton Brown, Wieland (1798)

James Fenimore Cooper, The Pioneers (1823)

Fanny Fern, Ruth Hall (1854)

Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Blithedale Romance (1852)

Herman Melville, Typee (1846)

Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852)

Willa Cather, O Pioneers!  (1913)

William Faulkner, Light in August (1932)

Toni Morrison, Jazz (1992)


ENGL 661 - Literary Criticism and Theory (#3212)
Corey Sparks
M 3:00-5:50 PM
BUTE 309

Course Description:

From Plato to posthumanism, from Marx’s Communist Manifesto to Haraway’s Cyborg Manifesto, from Empson’s ambiguities to Moretti’s graphs and trees: the intellectual resources used to understand literary texts and cultural objects is vast. This course is designed to trace several theoretical currents that shape the understanding of literature, culture, and self.

Of course, in a single semester we cannot cover every school of thought, intellectual movement, or theory vital to the rich diversity of thought that is literary criticism—thus we will focus on the foundational issues of meaning and pleasure.

We will pursue a set of questions to help us engage and utilize the varied ways scholars have understood what it means to “make meaning” and “take pleasure” in literary texts and cultural objects: What relationships are there between what we find meaningful and what we enjoy? Who is included or excluded from making meaning and/or taking pleasure? How do recent developments in posthumanism and the digital humanities contribute to accounts of meaning and pleasure?

Our course goals:

To understand some of the central questions and key concepts governing the interpretation of texts and objects in the discipline of English today.

To sharpen close reading skills, especially of difficult and abstract theoretical texts.

To apply theoretical and critical texts to literary and cultural productions in order to better understand both the theoretical and the aesthetic.

To craft informed critiques of the theories and methodologies we engage.

To pursue research projects that develop key course discussions and advance students’ own interests in literature, language, and/or pedagogy.

ENGL 692 - Special Topics in English - Rhetoric and Temporality (#3226)
Laura Sparks
T 7:00-9:50 PM
PAC 116

Course Description:

Witnessing Atrocity: Advocacy and Resistance in Contemporary Human Rights Rhetorics

From genocide to human trafficking to police brutality, in our contemporary global landscape it seems atrocities of one kind or another are a constant. But by what means are we called upon to offer our support or agitate for change? Given shifts in digital technologies, including the instantaneity of social and news media, opportunities abound for engaging with both close and distant human rights issues.

This graduate seminar asks how human rights advocacy functions rhetorically, with particular attention to issues of visibility/spectacle, witnessing, and rhetorical identification. Driving questions include:

 §  How are crises communicated to public audiences, especially when camera phones, for example, can record and stream brutality in-progress?

§  What options might we have for meaningful activism and resistance?

§  And perhaps most importantly, what are possible implications of attempting to speak for others?

We will read a wide range of texts, from literary and creative pieces to scholarship in cultural and rhetorical studies. Current texts under consideration include: Diana Taylor’s Disappearing Acts, Jacqueline Jones Royster’s “Human Rights and Civil Rights,” Ralph Cintron’s Angels’ Town, Wendy Hesford’s Spectacular Rhetorics, and selections from Seth Kahn and JongHwa Lee’s edited collection, Activism and Rhetoric.

Students in ENGL 692 will be invited to pursue creative/critical projects of their choice, including chapbooks or anthologies, academic conference presentations, public performances, public activism projects, and so on.