Graduate Course Offerings
|Professor Barclay Barrios
In this seminar we will examine the literature produced by LGBTQ individuals, with a focus on late Victorian through the 20th century. In this course we will explore the literature produced by LGBTQ+ individuals, ranging from the late Victorian period through the 20th century. Our primary goal is to examine the ways that illicit (queer) desire is constructed, encoded, and represented in writing though we will also explore larger questions of sexuality, canon construction, diversity, and aesthetics. Though literature will be our primary focus, secondary critical and theoretical readings will offer a context and a vocabulary for our explorations. Though the specific texts we will read are still under negotiation, I imagine we will start with Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray and move through post-Stonewall classics such as Andrew Holleran’s Dancer from the Dance and beloved favorites such as Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City. And while this brief listing does not reflect this fact, we will seek to read a diverse range of authors in terms of gender, sexuality, and race, though we will probably restrict ourselves to the Anglo-American milieu. We will also spend some time considering the erotic in this body of literature and will likely read some work of erotic fiction such as Pat Califia’s Macho Sluts or John Preston’s Mr. Benson.
|Professor Sika Dagbovie-Mullins
This course examines contemporary African American texts that question proscriptive notions of black identity. These post-soul texts often engage in postmodern experimentation and challenge racial essentialism, representing what some scholars see as a shift in African American literary production. Questions that will frame our discussion include: What characterizes a post-soul text? Are there common themes, concerns, or literary techniques? How does one define a black aesthetic? What is the difference between “new black,” “post-soul” and “post-black”? Most of the writers we will study represent the post Civil-Rights generation whose work is informed by different social and political circumstances than previous generations, in part because they are what Trey Ellis coins cultural mulattos. Alongside our primary texts, we will read criticism by scholars invested in theorizing the post-soul aesthetic.
|Professor John Leeds
This course surveys literary-critical theory from Plato to the 18th century. Together we will study the origins of literary criticism in Greek and Roman rhetoric and philosophy, the impact of biblical and vernacular culture on these classical literary models, and the emergence of literary criticism as a self-sufficient intellectual pursuit in the modern world. Central questions to be discussed are as follows: 1) Is the ability to write poetry an externally-bestowed gift or an acquired skill? 2) Does literature imitate reality or create an alternate reality? 3) Do writers have a responsibility for the moral betterment of their audiences, or not? 4) When and within what limits is literature to be read allegorically? Authors considered will include Plato, Aristotle, Longinus, Augustine, Averroes, Dante, Sidney, Pope, and Johnson.
|Professor Dan Murtaugh
This course begins with a study of a generous selection of the Canterbury Tales, Chaucer’s last work, which was left incomplete, and then returns to his early dream vision poems and lyrics, and concludes with his completed masterpiece Troilus and Criseyde. Attention will be paid to Chaucer’s language and to his interaction with the literature of Europe, both contemporary and classical. Assignments will be two exams, a critical bibliography, class presentation, and conference-length paper on a Canterbury Tale.
|Professor Carol McGuirk
Science fiction requires agile readers, able to follow a skewed or indirect story-logic and immerse themselves in speculation about alternative (sometimes wildly alternative) societies. Focusing on stories and novels from 1909 to the present, we will discuss the genre’s dissonant visions of the future. At every meeting, we will discuss a work of science fiction in terms of a theoretical reading: the theorists this Fall will be Plato, Jean Baudrillard, Jean-François Lyotard, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Hélène Cixous, Donna Haraway, Judith Butler, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Gayatri Spivak, and N. Katherine Hayles. In their papers, students will use theoretical approaches to analyze classics of speculative fiction by authors ranging from E.M. Forster and Stanislaw Lem to Philip K. Dick, “James Tiptree, Jr” (Alice Sheldon), and William Gibson.
|Professor Joanne Jasin
In LIN 6107, we will examine the causal relationship between historical events in England and key developments in the grammar and vocabulary of English in its early stages. We will also identify the ways in which English later became standardized with the establishment of dictionaries, rules of grammar, and the like. Following the transition of English from a synthetic to an analytic language will strengthen our understanding of the historical and grammatical basis for the language we use today.
|Professor Jeff Galin
This course will review and discuss recent scholarship in the teaching of composition, with an emphasis on practical applications in the classroom (more detailed description forthcoming).