Spring 2015 Graduate Course Descriptions

AML 6938: Native American Literature: Off the Reservation

Professor Spry 

In this course we will examine the literatures of the indigenous peoples of North America from a transnational perspective—a vantage from which they are often excluded. We will read the travel narratives of Natives in Europe and Asia, novels about indigenous communities that straddle the boundaries of settler-states, and the experiences of urban Indians navigating the cosmopolitan space of the city. We will also examine texts that imagine the reservation (often thought of as either within the settler-nation or separate from it) as a space where multiple economic, legal, and cultural regimes overlap. By examining the indigene as a transnational subject, we will gain a new perspective on indigenous rights, the global fourth world movement, and the future of traditional culture in the age of globalization.

[This course counts within the areas of specialization of the Multicultural and World Literature and American Literature areas of concentration.]

AML 6938: Literature of the American South

Professor Hagood

This course will engage the history of fiction in the United States South, ranging from its most conventional to its most multicultural forms. Perhaps the most heavily written region in the country, the South has registered the deeply vexed issues of the nation concerning race, gender, class, culture, body type, history, and politics. And the fiction of the region has powerfully engaged with these issues, and familiarity with this work is crucial to understanding United States literature as a whole. The readings for the course will begin with William Gilmore Simms and William Wells Brown and continue through William Faulkner, Richard Wright, Zora Neale Hurston, Eudora Welty, Jesmyn Ward, Ernest Gaines, and Larry Brown. 

[This course counts within the area of specialization of American Literature [pre & post 1900]

CRW 6024: Special Topics: Creative Writing and Bookarts

This course will combine the traditional creative writing workshop with the practical and theoretical elements of bookarts, examining the development of bookarts as an accepted genre within the art world, and the use of text and art that complement one another and are, in effect, inextricable from one another in the final product. Students will complete focused writing assignments that consider the possibilities of the bookarts context and may be used in their projects. The class will meet half time in the studio at the Jaffe Center for Bookarts, and after several presentations of works from the collection, students will work on their own projects. Some materials will be provided, but students should consider investment of materials in terms of conventional textbook purchases. The culmination of the course will be a bookarts project of the student's own design that includes both creative writing and the skills learned in the studio.

[This course counts as a class outside your area of concentration for MA/MAT students, whatever that concentration may be]

ENC 6930: Writing in Other Places

Professor Hinshaw

This course has previously been offered as Rhetorics of Incarceration.  In this class we will analyze how all writing is shaped by its physical, institutional and cultural locations, and explore the potential for writers to intervene in the places and spaces that shape us in order to effect social change.  We will focus particularly on writing by incarcerated women, and analyze how prisoners write within and across social and institutional barriers.  We will also cross these barriers ourselves as we exchange writing regularly with a group of incarcerated writers at the Homestead Corrections Facility, through the help of a local prison writing organization Exchange for Change.

[This course counts within the area of specialization in the Rhetoric and Composition area of concentration.]

ENG 5010: Literary Criticism 1

Professor Martin

ENL 6455: Medieval Comedy

Professor Murtaugh

A study of the Old French fabliaux, comic tales, usually bawdy, of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and of their more sophisticated fourteenth-century descendants in the work of Giovanni Boccaccio in Italy and Geoffrey Chaucer in England Attention will be given to their different levels of artistry, their materialism, and their attitudes toward ecclesiastical and civil authority, sexuality, class, and the uses of money. Chaucer will be read in Middle English, and students who have a command of Old French and Italian will be encouraged to read some or all of other works in their original languages and share the insights that come from this experience. The fabliaux text will be bilingual.

[This course counts within the area of specialization, pre-1800, in the British Literature area of concentration.] 

LIN 6107: History of the English language

Professor 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 synthetic to analytic language will strengthen our understanding of the historical and grammatical basis for the language we use today.

LIT 6318: Theorizing Science Fiction

Professor 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 Spring 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.

[This course counts within the area of specialization in the Science Fiction and Fantasy area of concentration. ]

LIT 6934: Contemporary Drama

Professor Low

Discontinuity. Radical uncertainty. Clowning. Dream-worlds. Contemporary drama is notoriously fragmented; related terms such as "allusive" and "collagistic" also come to mind. We will read plays written in the decades since World War Two, moving from the mid-twentieth to the twenty-first century. The playwrights whose works we read are some of the great minds of their time, exploring philosophical questions and the nature of theater through their dramas. We will examine their ideas and analyze the way they use dramatic performance in this postmodern world. The plays in the course are sorted into thematic concerns; within each category, we will read the texts chronologically. Among the playwrights whose work we will read are Eugene Ionesco, Athol Fugard, Tom Stoppard, Heiner Muller, Harold Pinter, Caryl Churchill, Edward Albee, Sarah Ruhl, and Tony Kushner.

No prior knowledge of drama is expected. A list of recommended works for those who would like to study the workings of theater as a phenomenon will be included, but the course focuses on text, not performance. A few required secondary readings offer useful critical angles that will help us find our way into the plays and give us some perspective on the "contemporary" aspect of the drama as well. Class sessions will combine lecture and discussion.

[This course counts within the areas of specialization in the American (post-1900) and British Literature (post-1800) areas of concentration. ]