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Course Offerings

Spring 2018

Lower Division Course Descriptions


ETS 107-1 Living Writers
W 3:45-6:30 PM
ETS 107-2 through 10 
W 3:45-6:30 PM
Instructor: Staff

This class gives students the rare opportunity to hear visiting writers read and discuss their work. The class is centered on six readings and question-and-answer sessions. Students will be responsible for careful readings of the writers’ work. Critical writing and detailed class discussions are required to prepare for the question-and-answer sessions with the visiting writers. The first class meets in Gifford Auditorium.


ETS 113-1 British Literature, Beginnings to 1789
TuTh 3:30-4:40pm
Instructor: Adam Kozaczka

This writing-intensive course offers a survey of British literature from its beginnings until 1789. We will read texts written during the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Civil War and Restoration, and the Eighteenth Century. Beginning with a study of Arthurian legend and the Saxon and Norman literary origins of Englishness, the course will move on to study the poetry and drama of Shakespeare, Spenser, and their contemporaries. We will examine the literary efforts of England’s monarchs, with readings by Elizabeth I and James I, along with samples from an increasingly scandalous, ‘libertine’ tradition. Other highlights will include Aphra Behn’s play, The Rover, and some Irish and Scottish texts. The course will close with a look at the rise of the novel in the eighteenth century, and will consider the role of sympathy and sensibility in Swift, Sterne, and others. We will discuss literature and culture: heritage, identity, language, gender, sexuality, literacy, class, religion, and even witchcraft will all be political topics addressed at various points in discussion. We will learn about specific forms of literature including the lais, the sonnet, the mock heroic, the Restoration comedy, and the sentimental novel, and will write academic essays about them.​


ETS 118-1 American Literature Since 1865
MW 12:45-2:05pm
Instructor: Hillarie Curtis

This course will explore major authors and literary movements in American Literature from 1865 to the present. Course readings will include fiction, essays, and poetry from both mainstream and marginalized authors. These readings will provide examples of U.S. writers engaging with the global literary aesthetic movements of Realism, Naturalism, Modernism, and Postmodernism while also exploring voices and modes of storytelling and narrative unique to U.S. Culture, such as Native American literature, the Southern Gothic, the Harlem renaissance, and the Black Arts Movement. During this course students will read literature emerging during moments of historical and aesthetic transition in American history, and interrogate connections between American literature, culture, politics, and history. This course will attempt to answer these questions (and others): What does it mean to be “American” in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries? What is the story of the twentieth-century U.S. and why is it important that these authors tell it in the way they do? Authors may include: Mark Twain, Edith Wharton, Jack London, W.E.B. Du Bois, Zitcala Ša, Nella Larsen, William Faulkner, Kurt Vonnegut, Toni Morrison, Audre Lorde, Sherman Alexie, Ron Rash, and others.


ETS 119-2 Topics in U.S. Literary History: We Protest—The Art of Dissent
MW 2:15-3:35pm
Instructor: Chris Eng

 Dissent has always been central to the project of American democracy. From fights for emancipation in the nineteenth century to Black Power and Occupy Wall Street, protest movements elucidate and challenge the inequalities innate to the nation, demanding a more perfect union. Practitioners of dissent underscore that how we narrate our demands impacts the possibilities for political efficacy in achieving these goals. They thus compel us to consider the art of dissent. Accordingly, this course examines how distinct genres of vocalizing dissent (i.e. manifestos, pamphlets, petitions, protest novels) work in tandem with modes of radical collective action (i.e. strikes, movements, rallies, sit-ins). Contemplating the longer political and literary history of protest in the United States, we will read writings by dissenters that might include Frederick Douglass, Sutton Griggs, Audre Lorde, Claudia Rankine, Karen Tei Yamashita, and Sunil Yapa. Focusing in on the freedom dreams of the 1960s-70s radical social movements and contemporary movements such as Black Lives Matter that organize against police brutality and the rampant xenophobia following the 2016 election, we will contemplate the possibilities for art to mobilize a collective “we” that not only protests uneven power structures, but also crafts imaginative visions for a socially just world. 


ETS 121-1 Introduction to Shakespeare
TuTh 11:00am-12:20pm
Instructor: Evan Hixon 

In her preface to the Bedford edition of Romeo and Juliet, Dympna Callaghan writes that, “[c]ontrary to popular opinion, Shakespeare’s plays bear no resemblance either to mathematical problems requiring a solution (the meaning of the play) or to Sphinx-like riddles whose enigmas must eternally haunt us (the mystery of the play)”. Taking this suggestion seriously, this course will serve as an introduction to the writing and life of William Shakespeare, the most famous and well-read playwright of early modern England. Through reading a selection of his plays, this course intends to give students an overview of Shakespeare’s works, his language and the world in which he lived. Beyond simply rehearsing plot lines and famous quotations, this course will emphasize the social, historical and theatrical conditions which impacted the production and consumption of Shakespeare’s plays during the late 16th and early 17th century. The primary goal of this course is to teach students the skills necessary to perform sustained critical analysis of Shakespeare’s text as well as provide students with a better understanding of Shakespeare’s world and his place within the literary canon. No previous knowledge of Shakespeare is required for this course, but this is a reading and writing intensive course.  


ETS 122-1 Introduction to the Novel
TuTh 5:00-6:20pm
Instructor: Maxwell Cassity

Where did the novel come from? What is the first novel? How did the novel come to evolve in an American context? How have literary aesthetics and movements such as realism, naturalism, modernism, and postmodernism influenced the development of the novel as a genre? This course will examine the origins and rise of the genre and explore how the novel has come to play a major role in the literary history of America. Students will explore critical writings on genre, aesthetics, and form alongside excerpts and full novels from a range of authors including Miguel Cervantes, Aphra Benn, Daniel Defoe, Herman Melville, William Faulkner, Toni Morrison, and others.  


ETS 122-1 Introduction to the Novel
MW 3:45-5:05pm
Instructor: Erin Mackie

This class is for everyone who loves to read novels, or just wants to learn how! We will develop an understanding of what kinds of fiction novels imagine for us, how they have worked in modern culture, and, most importantly, how they invite us to read. As we proceed through a representative selection of British and American novels from the past three hundred years, we will focus on how these novels address their worlds. For example, how do the marriage plot and the narrative of personal development in Pride and Prejudice address the conditions of life inhabited by Jane Austen’s contemporaries? When Mark Twain re-engages his youthful cast from Tom Sawyer in Huckleberry Finn, how does the boy’s adventure story interact with regional American writing to produce a grave statement on slavery, racism, and the failures of Reconstruction? How are these issues revisited in Charles Johnson’s historical metafiction, Middle Passage? Practicing close reading and critical analysis, students will develop both a conceptual frame for understanding novels and an awareness of how they work to shape our cultural and historical imaginations.


ETs 145-1 and 145-3 Reading Popular Culture
M001: MW 12:45-2:05pm with Screening on W 7:00-9:45pm
M003: MW 3:45-5:05pm with Screening on W 7:00-9:45pm
Instructor: Steven Doles

The vast majority of the texts and objects we experience in our everyday lives, from TV shows to toothbrushes, are mass produced within a commercial context. Scholars and critics have frequently been highly skeptical of these texts, seeing them as overly commodified and inferior to high art. However, within the past several decades a model of popular culture has become more prominent within the academy which examines the ways people make use of cultural products rather than how these products use and exploit their consumers. In this course, we will examine both sides of this debate, gaining an understanding of important concepts in the study of popular culture, and applying them to a wide variety of examples. The course will take us from discussions about how to define popular culture and how to recognize the elements that can make a text meaningful to a popular audience, to examinations of actual instances of fandom, including fan fiction and videos. Specific case studies will include phenomena such as comic book fandom and Star Trek conventions, but students are also encouraged to bring their own experiences and knowledge into discussion and assignments, which might include two papers, a midterm and final, and short writings throughout the semester. Attendance at weekly screenings is required.


ETS 146-1 Interpretation of New Media
TuTh 2:00-2:55pm
Screening Th 7:00-9:45pm
Discussion Sections: F 11:40-12:35pm; 12:45-1:40pm
Instructor: Chris Hanson

While print, films, interactive texts, and other modes of expression have traditionally been construed as separate entities, now we may also read and experience these diverse forms through a screen-based device such as a computer or mobile device. This course studies the growing number of forms in which a given cultural text is expressed and how our understanding of that text is shaped by its medium. We will examine the means by which “new” screen media are defined as well as the textual, cultural, and social implications of their deployment. While the boundaries between “old” media were clearly demarcated, digital media merge forms and practices with new technologies of production, delivery, and display. We will explore the commonalities across a range of screen-based forms, while also assessing the unique aspects that truly differentiate a given medium from another. This course will examine the function of medium specificity and its application to both “old” and “new” textual forms to map the ways in which our modes of reading shift from text to text and from screen to screen.


ETS 151-1 Interpretation of Poetry
MW 2:15-3:35pm
Instructor: Bruce Smith 

The course will consist of discussions of poems from the various traditions of poetry: from anonymous ballads to spoken word poetry. I’m interested in what makes the poem memorable and moving, how it is a vehicle for the intellect and the emotions, how it’s “the act of establishing communication between the mind and the heart”. I’m interested too in what ways the poem provokes and challenges us, what gives the poem its power to seduce and trouble and soothe, what gives it its music and voice as distinct from speech. 

Students will be asked to write 6 two-page papers in which they examine closely a single poem by a poet from the text. Students may opt to write more papers (up to 8) and receive extra consideration for them. In addition, students will be asked to choose a poet and present the work of the poet in a 4 to 5-page paper. Emphasis in discussions is on style and substance, music and image. Multiple ways of reading poems will help the students expand the range of poetic possibilities.


ETS 153-1 Interpretation of Fiction
Lecture: MW 11:40am-12:35pm 
Discussion Sections: F 10:35-11:30am; 11:40am-12:35pm
Instructor: Kevin Morrison

Fictional texts, including short stories, novellas, and novels, invite us as readers to enter worlds very different from, or quite similar to, our own. These worlds may be long gone, as in the case of historical fiction, or, as with science fiction, not yet come. They may be ideal (utopian fiction), nightmarish (dystopian fiction), or downright terrifying (post-apocalyptic fiction). Or they may closely approximate the world you already inhabit (realist fiction). This is a course for anyone who loves fiction and is curious about how its formal elements—point of view, plot, character, description, narrative, dialogue—contribute to our understanding of a given work. By reading a variety of texts culled from different historical periods, national literatures, and genres, and through a mixture of lecture and discussion, you will come to more fully appreciate how fiction works, what it contains, and why it continues to matter.  


ETS154-1 Interpretation of Film
MW 12:45-1:40pm
Screening M 7:00-9:45pm
Discussion Sections: Th 3:30-4:25pm; Th 5:00-5:55pm; F 9:30-10:25am; F 10:35-11:30am
Instructor: Roger Hallas

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the interpretation of film. Regarded as the quintessential medium of the last century, cinema has profoundly shaped the ways in which we see the world and understand our place within it. Focusing principally on classical and contemporary English-language cinema, we will investigate precisely how meaning is produced in cinema. The course integrates a close attention to the specific aesthetic and rhetorical aspects of film with a wide-ranging exploration of the social and cultural contexts that shape how we make sense of and take pleasure in films. We shall also devote attention to the question of history: How may one interpret a film in relation to its historical context? Film history incorporates not only the films that have been produced over the past one hundred years, but also an understanding of how the practice of movie-going has transformed over time. No prior film experience is required.


ETS 155-2 Interpretation of Nonfiction
TuTh 11:00am-12:20pm
Instructor: Rachel Snyder-Lockman

This writing-intensive course offers an introduction to literary nonfiction. We will read nonfiction from the American social protest literary tradition in a variety of forms including essays, history, journalism, letters, memoir, pamphlets, and speeches. As we read, we will learn about literary elements including voice, style, structure, plot, point of view, setting, characterization, and theme. We will also consider each text’s purpose and audience. Possible assignments include but are not limited to three five-page papers, weekly written reflections, and a final exam.


ETS 155-3 Interpretation of Nonfiction
MW 3:45-5:05pm
Instructor: Johnathan Sanders

Contrary to popular belief, we rarely (if ever) have access to “pure knowledge” of the world; facts are always shaped by the way in which they are communicated. This course seeks to examine the intersection of two of these mediating forces – medium and genre – by examining works of non-fiction invested in issues surrounding technology. By paying close attention to aspects of these texts’ construction such as tone, point of view, and narrativization, we can better understand how and why people attempt to represent “reality” in various contexts. The course will begin by examining some fears and fantasies about technology both past and present, exploring manifestos, essays, and reportage from the turn of the century onwards. We will move on to non-literary forms of non-fiction – audio, photography, and documentary film – in order to investigate questions of truth and identity in a technologically mediated world. Towards the end of the course, our focus will shift towards new media forms of non-fiction (such as hypertexts, video essays, and docu-games) and how they complicate our understandings of knowledge production and representation in the digital age.


ETS 175-1 World Literature from 1000 C.E. to the Present
TuTh 9:30-10:50am
Instructor: Harvey Teres

This course will introduce you to some of the most valued and enduring examples of world literature since 1000 C.E.  Texts will likely include Dante’s Inferno; the African epic Sundiata; Cervantes’ Don Quixote; Shakespeare’s Othello; Voltaire’s Candide; Wu Cheng’en’s Journey to the West; Basho’s haiku poetry; Goethe’s Faust; Ghalib’s and Tagore’s poetry; fiction by Chekhov, Lu Xun, Woolf, and Borges; T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land; Anna Akhmatova’s poetry; and Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman.  The objective of the course is to enhance your global cultural literacy by familiarizing you with some of the most influential books and cultures from around the world.  This will prepare you to become an informed global citizen and at the same time provide essential background for understanding English and American literature and culture. Classes will alternate between lectures and discussions.  You will have the option of either producing shorter response papers or traditional midterm and final interpretive essays.


ETS 181-2 Class and Literary Texts
MW 2:15-3:35pm
Instructor: Sean M. Conrey

From Dickens’ descriptions of living conditions in Victorian England, James Agee’s stories of tenant farmers during the Depression, to Ursula LeGuin’s’s speculative fiction focused on labor exploitation, questions of social class have long been a focus of novelists’, poets’ and essayists’ work. Parallel to the ways that writers affect and engage social class, critical readers can engage with the concepts of social class as they read. Concerned with the social divisions of privilege, wealth, power and status, class, like race and gender, is a social construction that is imposed on, and performed by, all of us as a way of stratifying and defining who we are. Though the restraints of social class readily subject us to the power of others, these restraints may also, when well understood, provide a springboard for advocacy and direct social action. This course provides an introduction to these concepts and exposes students to key texts in literature, film and other media as a way of fostering critical engagement and developing richer social responsibility through textual interpretation.


ETS 182-1 Race & Literary Texts
TuTh 2:00-3:20pm
Instructor: Chris Barnes

Michael Omi and Howard Winant define race as “a concept which signifies and symbolizes social conflicts and interests by referring to different types of human bodies.” Even though race has been shown to have no biological basis, it nonetheless, as Omi and Winant indicate, is a construction that shapes our daily, lived experience, as well as our relationship to society at large. By taking students through a progression of section topics that together build a coherent understanding of race, the state, history, and cross-racial solidarity, this course will help illuminate the ways in which past issues and concerns surrounding race resonate with contemporary concerns. We will use literary and other cultural texts to interrogate issues of race in America in the twentieth and twenty-first century; to explore how racial categories have been (re)created; and to investigate how categories like gender, class, and sexuality intersect with race. Authors may include Jean Toomer, Nella Larson, Claudia Rankine, and Junot Diaz. Through classroom participation, close reading exercises, and three extended essay assignments, students will learn how to use the practice of close reading to interpret and analyze the ways texts encourage us to engage with race as an identity and cultural category.


ETS 182-2 Race and Literary Texts
TuTh 5:00-6:20pm
Instructor: Haejoo Kim 

The aim of this course is to explore the textual representation of race and their cultural and social implications. By looking at a variety of materials including novels, novellas, essays, and short stories, we will examine how race as a social category has been and continues to be historically constructed, reproduced, and interrogated. Some of the major questions with which we will engage are: How was the category of human historically constructed in Western tradition, and what was its relationship with race? How has been “blackness” represented in American context? How do race interact and intersect with other social formations, such as gender, class, and nationality? What is the history of colonialism and what is its effect? To address these questions, we will be covering a range of writers such as Alice Walker, Jamaica Kincaid, Toni Morrison, Nella Larson, Mary Shelley, Nam Le, and Helen Oyeyemi.


ETS 184-2 Ethnicity and Literary Texts
TuTh 3:30-4:50pm
Instructor: Elizabeth Gleesing

The United States is commonly referred to as a multicultural society, a melting pot, and a nation of immigrants. With these designations in mind, this class seeks to question the relationship between identity and ethnicity in contemporary U.S. literary texts. In taking ethnicity as a lens, we can ask questions about what it means to be included in or excluded from American identity and what relationship there is between who we are and the places from which we and our ancestors have come. Along with these central questions, we will analyze themes of intra- and intergenerational conflict, in-between identities that seem to straddle national borders, and experiences of being a refugee or being a stateless person, effectively estranged from one’s home country. Potential authors we will study include: Sherman Alexie, Helena María Viramontes, Jhumpa Lahiri, Gene Luen Yang and Gloria Anzaldúa. In addition to written texts, we might also look at how short films like Beyoncé’s Lemonade and Rea Tajiri’s History and Memory visually communicate ideas of generation change and historical memory. Assignments are likely to include turning in weekly informal responses, generating questions for discussion, and writing three analysis papers.


ETS 192-1 Gender & Literary Texts
TuTh 12:30-1:50pm
Instructor: Carol Fadda

In this course, students will read and analyze the portrayal and role of gender in a collection of literary texts, focusing on the ethnic, cultural, racial, sexual, historical, and creative implications of gender in relation to the texts' writers and characters. The selected literature includes novels, poetry, essays, short stories, and a graphic novel by Toni Morrison, Alison Bechdel, Randa Jarrar, and David Henry Hwang. This course is reading intensive, so students should be ready to handle rigorous reading assignments, accompanied by writing analytical papers that would reflect the students’ understanding of the issues raised in these texts. The main objective of this course is to develop students’ critical thinking capabilities as well as their analytical readings skills.


ETS 192-3 Gender and Literary Texts
MW 5:15-6:35pm
Instructor: Ashley O’Mara

When people say that gender is a social construct, what do they mean? This writing-intensive course will explore how authors and creators have written, unwritten, and rewritten gender in response to how ideological and social systems define it at notable moments in history — from asexuality to ze pronouns, and from creation narratives to current events. We will pay special attention to how these systems manifest in marriage and celibacy, family and friendship, heteronormativity and homosociality, and feminism and patriarchy, as we consider how race, class, sexual orientation, and disability impact gender identity and expression in different sociohistorical contexts. The class will look at a range of media and genres, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, theater, film, the graphic novel, fanfic, games, and music. Readings may include works by authors such as Kempe, Shakespeare, Woolf, Hughes, and Kingston, as well as both popular and documentary visual media. Critical readings may include theory from Anzaldúa, Butler, Foucault, and hooks. Students will develop literacy and analytic skills through close-readings, critical essays, and creative projects based on the course texts.


ETS 215-4 Introductory Poetry Workshop
M 3:45-6:30pm
Instructor: Jules Gibbs

Writers, said Saul Bellow, are readers moved to emulation. In this course, students will closely study poems in our various traditions so that they may develop a more sophisticated understanding of what makes a poem work, and thereby emulate those strategies in their own writing. Through reading assignments, writing exercises, peer critiques, lively and engaged in-class discussions, and attendance at various author readings, students will develop a critical acumen, hone verbal and written critiquing skills, and draft and revise original pieces of poetry with an eye towards craft and invention.


ETS 217-3 Introductory Fiction Workshop
Th 12:30-3:15pm
Instructor: Jonathan Dee

This course will acquaint students with some of the fundamental rules, tricks, pleasures, etc. of storytelling in prose. Each week students will read and critique fiction written by their peers, as well as published work by modern writers. Students must come to class prepared and willing to discuss these stories.  There will be in-class writing exercises and prompts.  Class attendance and participation are mandatory.


ETS 230-1 Ethnic Literary Traditions: Travel Narratives and Pilgrimages
TuTh 12:30-1:50pm
Instructor: Ken Frieden 

When does a trip become a pilgrimage? The more we invest a destination with meaning, the more appropriate it is to call a visit a pilgrimage. Sea voyages influenced the rise of the European novel, and travel has been a prominent motif in religious literature and popular culture. We will look at pilgrimage narratives and accounts of secular travel, primarily by Jewish travelers.

In this writing intensive course, students will be asked to write very short analyses—just a few sentences—for almost every class session. You will also write your own travel narratives.

Sample Texts: Jewish Travelers in the Middle Ages: 19 Firsthand Accounts. Ed. Elkan Nathan Adler. New York: Dover, 1987. Romanelli, Samuel. Travail in an Arab Land. Trans. Yedida K. Stillman and Norman A. Stillman. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1989. Nahman of Bratslav and Nathan Sternharz [1806-1810/1815]. The Tales. Trans. Arnold J. Band. New York: Paulist Press, 1978.


ETS 242-4 Reading and Interpretation
TuTh 2:00-3:20pm
Instructor: Meina Yates-Richard


ETS 242-5 Reading and Interpretation
MW 12:45-2:05pm
Instructor: Patricia Roylance 

ETS 242 introduces students to the discipline of English and Textual Studies, stressing not what we read but how we read it. We will learn how meanings are created through acts of critical reading as well as demonstrate the consequences of pursuing one way of reading over another. This course is designed to enhance your ability to read and interpret contextually as well as closely, to help you to articulate your understanding effectively and to draw connections through reading and writing. Through close, deep and thoughtful reading of literary and non-literary texts as well as essays by critics and theorists, we will explore the ways readers produce meaning. These meanings are produced both from the perspective of each reader’s unique experiences, and through various critical and theoretical approaches. Each section of ETS 242 takes up issues of central concern within contemporary literary and cultural studies. These include representation, language, reading, authorship, subjectivity, ideology, culture, history and difference.



Upper Division Course Descriptions

ETS 304-1 Reading and Writing Poetry
TuTh 9:30-10:50am
Instructor: Sarah Harwell

T. S. Eliot said that minor poets borrow while great poets steal. From classical antiquity to the present, poets have always learned their trade by imitating other poets. They have pursued their individual talent by absorbing, assimilating, and in some cases subverting the lessons of the traditions they inherit. In this class, we will read and imitate poems from canonical poets. We’ll examine each poet closely, sympathetically, and predatorily. That is, we will read like aspiring writers, looking for what we can steal. We will deepen our understanding of a variety of poetic devices, such as diction, image, music, and metaphor. We will attend to each poet’s stylistic and formal idiosyncrasies, as well as his or her techniques and habits.  You will be required to display an understanding of these issues by producing creative and analytical responses to the poets studied.


ETS 305-1 Critical Analysis: The Racial Imagination
MW 12:45-2:05pm
Instructor: Silvio Torres-Saillant

This course will look at theories of race with a focus on the intellectual history of responses to the advent of blackness, the rise of whiteness, and the partition of humanity into phenotypically differentiated branches as captured by literature and thought across several centuries. The class will survey William Shakespeare’s “dark lady” and the Bard’s relationship with Lucy Negro, Ben Jonson’s The Masque of Blackness, Thomas Jefferson’s reading of Phillis Wheatly, William Taylor Coleridge’s difficulty with the “race” of Othello, Wallace Stevens’ stigmatization of Gwendolyn Brooks, and the critical discussion about the all-black production of “white” plays on the contemporary American stage, among other “racial moments” in literature and thought. The class will consider these vis-à-vis the representation of phenotypical difference in texts written in European countries from Homer through the 1400s prior to the rise of the Christian West and the advent of the racial other as a factor of social relations and geopolitical exchange.


ETS 305-2 Critical Analysis: Literature and Its Media
TuTh 12:30-1:50pm
Instructor: Chris Forster

We usually talk about “novels,” “poems,” or “films” (and texts of various other kinds). But what about the paper and ink (or parchment or wax or celluloid or LCD screens or tablets) that carry those texts? Does the history of these materials affect literary forms? Do they change how, or what, we read? This class pursues these questions by turning to the field of media studies, to see what implications it may have students of literature and culture. This class will cover a diverse and historically broad set of materials and concerns, looking at the history of texts from the ancient world (and oral poetry) through to contemporary developments in digital culture (poetry written on, and with, the Web; novels written on Twitter). We’ll read key thinkers and theorists of media studies (and related fields, like book history) as well as literary texts which foreground their own medium in provocative ways (like Tristram Shandy). Likely critics include Plato, Walter Ong, Marshall McLuhan, Friedrich Kittler, and Walter Benjamin, alongside works by major poets, novelists, and writers (including Laurence Sterne, E. E. Cummings, and Teju Cole). Course work will include a final essay, regular short responses, and a presentation to the class, as well as some experiments with media and its history.


ETS 310-1 Literary Periods: U.S. Southern Literature in the 20th Century
MW 12:45-2:05pm
Instructor: Susan Edmunds

In this course, we will read novels and short stories about the U.S. South. After a brief look at nineteenth-century literary antecedents in works by Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Chesnutt, we will focus on fiction written in the twentieth century. We will examine aesthetic modes and categories that have been strongly associated with the South, such as the gothic, the grotesque, the folk, and the vernacular. And we will explore the literary evolution of Southern character types ranging from white trash and the black folk to the doomed aristocrat, the conjure woman, the sexual queer and the freak. Throughout the course, we will examine how writers have used these literary genres and character types to talk about race in (and beyond) the South — particularly as race relates to questions of gender and sexuality, wealth and poverty, violence and the law, and regional and global power relations. Texts include: Erskine Caldwell, Tobacco Road; William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying; Richard Wright, Black Boy; Truman Capote, Other Voices, Other Rooms; Cormac McCarthy, Child of God; Toni Morrison, Tar Baby; and Susan Choi, The Foreign Student.


ETS 311-1 Literary Periods Before 1900: Romance in the Middle Ages – “What’s Love Got to Do with it?”
TuTh 2:00-3:20pm
Instructor: Patricia Moody

Before the twelfth century, western vernacular writings dealt almost exclusively with religious, historical, and factual themes, all of which were held to convey the truth. During the second half of the twelfth century, however, a new genre emerged:  the romance, which was consciously conceived as fictional and therefore allowed largely to break free from traditional presuppositions. Medieval romances astound the modern reader—first, by their broad circulation throughout Europe; second, by the multitude and variety of stories, characters, themes, and motifs they reveal; and finally, by the sheer diversity of their forms and subject-matter, complexity of narrative strategies and perspectives, and the critical responses they invite. This course offers an examination of medieval fictionality. Beginning with the origins, forms, and contexts of medieval romances, we examine the emergence of romance in its first formative period in the twelfth century, the role of magic and fantasy, and transformations of stories from ancient to modern times. Throughout we will consider the difficulties of the genre and the kinds of sociological and cultural issues romance interrogates. Pre-1900 course.


ETS 311-2 Literary Periods Before 1900: Love and Marriage in Shakespeare’s England
MW 5:15-6:35pm
Instructor: Melissa Welshans

The Beatles once famously sang, "All you need is love." This course will take this phrase as a starting point for exploring "love" and its iterations in early modern England, especially as it relates to the institution of marriage. What was the status of "love" in the time of Shakespeare—a time when romantic ideals often conflicted with the realities of match-making? How was it defined, expressed, cultivated, destroyed? How did it manifest in marriage, and what were other acceptable social sites of love? Texts under consideration will include a number of Shakespeare's works, including Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, and Antony and Cleopatra, as well as works by his contemporaries: Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekker's The Roaring Girl, Elizabeth Cary's Tragedy of Mariam, and assorted poetical works by the likes of Edmund Spenser and John Donne. Assignments will include at least one short paper, an oral presentation, and one longer research paper. Pre-1900 course. This course will meet the Shakespeare requirement for English Education Majors.


ETS 315-1 Ethnic Literatures & Cultures: U.S. Immigrant Fiction in the 20th and 21st Centuries
MW 2:15-3:35pm
Instructor: Susan Edmunds

Celebrations of the immigrant past are common in the U.S., where we like to associate immigrant stories with the American Dream and the idea of the American Melting Pot. But the fiction of our immigrant writers reveals a much more complex picture. In this course, we will read fiction that portrays immigrant experiences marked by ethnic and racial conflict, shifting gender and family norms, debates about the value of assimilation, and the traumatic effects of war, dislocation and uncertain legal status. We will also examine literary tropes developed across immigrant traditions during a century in which the United States’ rise to global dominance has not only changed who immigrates to the U.S. and why, but also the stories immigrants tell. Texts include: Abraham Cahan, Yekl; Louis Chu, Eat a Bowl of Tea; Jamaica Kincaid, Lucy; Helena Maria Viramontes, Under the Feet of Jesus; Lê Thị Diễm Thúy, The Gangster We Are All Looking For; Junot Diaz, The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao; and Imbolo Mbue, Behold the Dreamers, as well as short stories by Sui Sin Far, James Farrell, Hisaye Yamamoto, Nam Le, and Jhumpa Lahiri.


ETS 315-2 Ethnic Literatures & Cultures: Reading Lives
MW 3:45-5:05pm
Instructor: Silvio Torres-Saillant

This course introduces students to autobiography—broadly conceived to include memoirs, testimonial texts, and other forms of life-writing—with a focus on works published by US authors of various ancestries, including Amerindian, Asian, African, and Hispanic descent as well as writers of Jewish, Irish, and Italian ancestry prior to their entering the sphere of US whiteness. We study life-writing as a literary genre and as a means for individuals to enter the realm of history. We consider autobiography in terms of its similarity to and difference from fiction while exploring the notion of ethnicity, race, and ancestry as these appear represented in written lives. We will read “ethnic” American texts that set out to narrate the self, taking on the difficulty inherent to the problem self-representation and the equally complex challenge of performing a social identity in a text. We consider the fortunes of live-writing when practiced by writers whose community of shared heritage resides in marginal sectors of the social system, asking how they interact with the way mainstream authors write themselves into history. Authors studied include Benjamin Franklin, Frederick Douglass, Carlos Bulosan, Jovita Gonzalez, John Okada, Luther Standing Bear, Mario Puzo, Anzia Yezierska, William Alfred, Claude Brown, Piri Thomas, Sui Sin Far, Maya Angelou, Julia Alvarez, Norma E. Cantu, Alice Walker, Jack Agueros, Esmeralda Santiago, and Essie Mae Washington-Williams.


ETS 320-1 Authors: Hollywood Directors of the 1950s (meets with HOA-300)
TuTh 3:30-4:50pm
Screening W 7:00-10:00pm
Instructor: Will Scheibel

The 1950s was a decade of socio-cultural change in the U.S. after World War II and industrial reorganization in Hollywood after the Paramount Case of 1948, an event that signaled the decline of the old studio system. While surveying the major Hollywood directors of the era, this course will introduce you to the critical, theoretical, and historical methods of studying film authorship. Beginning with “the auteur theory” in its French and Anglophone conceptions, we will move from aesthetics of signature style and personal vision to the politics of authorship and identity. We will then build from these issues to look at directors in the contexts of postwar U.S. ideology and culture more broadly, from mid-century modernity to consumerism and popular art, from social problem discourses to the anti-Communist “Red Scare” of the HUAC investigations. Finally, we will consider the historical-material conditions of working in the U.S. motion picture industry, as directors adapted to changes in Hollywood filmmaking practice: a new, horizontally integrated mode of production, distribution, and exhibition; economic constraints; weakening censorship regulations from the Production Code Administration; and competition with television through color and widescreen technologies. Cinema studies has long been invested in the Hollywood directors of this profoundly transformative decade. This course seeks to understand why, and also what their legendary films, careers, and reputations still have to teach us about the history of U.S. cinema. Film and Screen Studies course.


ETS 320-3 Authors: J.R.R. Tolkien
TuTh 11:00-12:20pm
Instructor: Pat Moody

J.R.R. Tolkien was a university professor, philologist, poet, and writer—hardly the credentials that would cause him to be called “the writer of the century.”  His writings, however, particularly The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, have propelled his name to such fame as he never dreamt of.  This course will trace Tolkien’s career as academic AND writer: we’ll read his translation of Beowulf (paying close attention to his copious notes), his scholarly articles, and his edition of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.  We’ll learn about his friends at Oxford, known as The Inklings, and then turn to the works that have made him so famous, concentrating on how Tolkien’s vast learning and curiosity about myth and oral literature inform his fiction.  We may even learn to write in runes and speak Elvish!


ETS 321-1 Authors Before 1900: Brontes
MW 2:15-3:35pm
Instructor: Claudia Klaver

 The Byronic Hero, the madwoman in the attic, the Gothic romance, and the feminist heroine: these are a few of the legacies left by the writing of the Bronte sisters, their biographers, and their twentieth-century critics. This course will examine at once the writings of Ann, Emily, and Charlotte Bronte and the “myth of the Brontes” as constructed by Charlotte Bronte herself, her first biographer, Elizabeth Gaskell, and by critics and fans through to the present day.  We will read selections from the Bronte juvenilia; Elizabeth Gaskell’s influential Life of Charlotte Bronte; and the novels, Ann Bronte’s Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, and Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and Villette.  We will end the class by reading two very different “rewritings” of Jane Eyre, Jean Rhys’s postcolonial novel, The Wide Sargasso Sea, and Daphne Du Maurier’s mid-20th–century Gothic romance, Rebecca.  Our secondary readings will focus on historical contexts of the Brontes and the emotional worlds of their novels.  These emotional worlds are key to understanding the imaginative power of these novels for romance reader and feminists alike. Students will work facilitate class discussion, conduct and present independent research, and write three 5-7 page essays. Pre-1900 course.


ETS 360-1 Reading Gender & Sexualities: Gender and Sexualities in the Arab World and its Diaspora
TuTh 9:30-10:50am
Instructor: Carol Fadda

This course explores the ways in which gender and sexualities are represented in an array of visual, historical, and literary texts from the Arab world and its diaspora. Some of the main issues that will be addressed include the historical development of feminism in the Arab world, the construction of gender roles in the context of war and conflict, as well as the outspokenness of many of the region's writers on topics such as love, sex, and homosexuality. In studying these issues, we will also be focusing on texts by writers of Arab descent living in the US who respond to and engage with their counterparts in the Arab world on some of the same topics but from a diasporic perspective, thus emphasizing a transnational and transcultural approach to our study of gender and sexuality. The main aim of the course is to familiarize students with some of the main issues surrounding the topics of gender and sexualities in the Arab world, encouraging them to sharpen their critical and analytical skills in their engagement with this material.


ETS 360-2 Reading Gender & Sexualities: Queer (Be)Longings of Asian American Literatures
MW 5:15-6:35pm
Instructor: Chris Eng

There’s something queer about the relationship between Asian/Americans and U.S. national identity. From the bachelor sojourner to the forever foreigner, representations of Asian bodies as alien illuminate how citizenship extends beyond legal status to encompass cultural notions of national belonging. As ideals surrounding heteronormative domesticity consolidated criteria for who counts as American, Asian bodies were constructed as a threatening other, exhibiting modes of gender and sexuality deemed improper, perverse, and deviant. Since these depictions were used to rationalize exclusionary policies, dominant efforts have responded by refuting these representations and thus further marginalizing gay and lesbian struggles. Instead, this course centers LGBTQ Asian/American experiences that proliferate queer (be) longings to critique the inequities of citizenship and imagine alternative social visions. It explores a range of cultural texts including novels, plays, experimental film, and performance art—by artists including David Henry Hwang, Maxine Kingston, and Chay Yew—that proffers forms of belonging and longing that exceed the conventional parameters of American identity. “(Be) longing” thus serves as our guiding framework for grappling with the historical configuration of Asian/Americans as perverse subjects of U.S. citizenship and war as well as the creative modes of queer world making enacted through activism and art that desire otherwise.  


ETS 361-1 Gender & Sexuality Before 1900: Sex and the City in English Renaissance Drama
MW 12:45-2:05pm
Instructor: Melissa Welshans

Before Carrie Bradshaw was writing about the struggles of dating in The Big Apple, writers in Renaissance England were exploring the nature of romance in the bustling metropolis of London. This course will attend specifically to the plays known as “city comedies” that proliferated at the turn of the seventeenth century and consider the ways in which they articulate the unique challenges urban living presented to matters of gender, sex, sexuality, courtship, and romance in renaissance London. Specific texts under consideration will likely include Thomas Dekker’s The Shoemaker’s Holiday, Ben Jonson’s Bartholomew Fair, Thomas Dekker and Thomas Middleton’s The Roaring Girl, John Marsten’s The Dutch Courtesan, and Thomas Middleton’s Chaste Maid in Cheapside. Assignments will include at least two short papers and an oral presentation. Pre-1900 course. 


ETS 401-3 Advanced Poetry Workshop
Tu 3:30-6:20pm
Instructor: Brooks Haxton

The purpose of this course is to develop the writer’s skill to make an experience vivid and accessible for readers. In discussion and written comments on each other’s work students use imagination and intelligence to help each other accomplish this difficult task. Everyone writes one new poem each week, some in response to assignments, and then revises four of these into carefully considered form.  Requirements include reading, written analysis of poems, and memorization.  The course is open to anyone who has taken the introductory workshop. Juniors and seniors who have not had a workshop may submit a portfolio of ten pages of original poetry to be considered for admission. 


ETS 403-1 Advanced Fiction Workshop
Tu 3:30-6:20pm
Instructor: Arthur Flowers

This class is for fiction writers with workshop experience.  We will work on writing and reading stories.  In class we will discuss student work as well as work by contemporary writers.   We will focus on useful critique, significant revision, and close reading


ETS 406-1 Advanced Critical Writing in ETS: Utopia and Dystopia
TuTh 12:30-1:50pm
Instructor: Crystal Bartolovich

The novelist Junot Diaz has recently called dystopia the “default narrative of our time,” given that apocalyptic images of civilizational collapse abound globally in many forms, from fiction, film, and games to political discourse and advertising.  This course will consider how and why a preoccupation with society as a “bad place” (what dystopia means etymologically) has emerged as a cultural dominant by contrasting dystopia with “utopia” (“good/no place”)—a narrative form invented by the English Humanist Thomas More in early sixteenth England. We will read several utopias in their historical contexts as well as examine the emergence of dystopia when the historical conditions that encouraged utopianism changed. Possible texts include: Shakespeare’s Tempest, Bellamy’s Looking Backward, Huxley’s Brave New World, Butler’s Parable of the Sower and Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer. In addition, this class will help you hone your research writing skills since you will be exploring a utopian/dystopian topic of your choice individually.  Over the course of the semester, through a series of scaffolded assignments, you will research, draft and finalize a paper of 10-12 pages, demonstrating a sustained argument supported with appropriate evidence.  Pre-requisites: A&S writing sequence, ETS 242 and two upper division ETS classes. Enrollment limited to 17.


ETS 410-1 Forms & Genres: Practices of Games
TuTh 11:00-12:20pm
Instructor: Chris Hanson

This course will explore the evolving form of digital games, tracing their historical roots in analog board games and other associated cultural modes of play to current and possible future iterations of video games. We will employ a range of critical approaches to gaming; digital games will be “read” and critically interrogated as texts, and the relationships between game, player, design, software, interface, and structures of play will be discussed. As we examine the development of games and their associated genres, we will investigate the historical, social, political, cultural, and economic contexts of individual games, and consider the relationship of games to other media forms and texts. Film and Screen Studies course.


ETS 410-2 Forms & Genres: Socially Engaged Hollywood
MW 5:15-6:35pm with Screening M 7:00-9:45pm
Instructor: Steven Doles

 "If you want to send a message, use Western Union," a powerful studio executive says in an apocryphal, but oft-repeated, Hollywood legend. The line distills the common assumption that popular movies are intended to entertain, and that they are incapable of serious engagement with social causes. Throughout its history, however, Hollywood has released a large number of topical, engaged films commenting on contemporary issues, often to both critical and financial success. Our goal in this course is to return these films to their historical contexts, examining the purposes and meanings they served both for those who made them and those who watched them. We will develop a number of approaches to these films, thinking about topics such as how the studio system and censorship shape films as texts, to how different audiences engage with and interpret them, to how Hollywood narratives fit into a larger media environment. The weekly screenings scheduled for this course are required. Film and Screen Studies Course.


ETS 420-4 Cultural Production & Reception: Obscenity and Censorship
TuTh 3:30-4:50pm
Instructor: Chris Forster

At the start of the twentieth century, literature was often the object of government censorship. Indeed, obscenity trials play a key role in the literary history of the twentieth century. Yet, by the end of the century the lawyer Charles Rembar could declare “the end of obscenity” for works of literature. What happened?

This class offers an opportunity to consider this question by examining key novels that have been censored, declared obscene, or otherwise suppressed. How does the value of “art” contrast with that of obscenity or pornography? How do questions of gender and sexuality influence which works are suppressed? We will read key works (mostly from the 20th century) alongside court decisions and other accounts of the trials of key works of literature. Assignments include short essays and a longer writing assignment. Course texts will likely include a brief selection from James Joyce’s Ulysses, D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness, and Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, among others.


ETS 421-1 Cultural Production & Reception Before 1900: Victorian Domesticity
MW 3:45-5:05pm
Instructor: Kevin Morrison

 The Victorians are known for their intense affections. Lyric poetry—ranging from mawkish verse to philosophically complex ruminations on the epistemology of love (how does one know love? how does one know the other through love?) as well as the phenomenology of love (how do we experience it?)—celebrated the couple. Domestic idylls of the 1830s through the 1850s venerated the familial hearth and sang the praises of wife and mother. Marriage plot novels elevated love over the many other feelings (duty, obligation) and pragmatic motivations (joint labor, property consolidation) on which unions might be based. Yet if Victorian literature often sought to ennoble, refine, and provide an idiom for expressing the affections, it just as frequently explored the spectacular collapse of affective ties, the failures of intimacy, and the estrangement among families, spouses, and lovers. This course attends to the period’s complex renderings of Victorian domestic life. Pre-1900 course.


ETS 450-1 Reading Race & Ethnicity: Latinos in Cinema (meets with LAS-400 and HOA-400)
TuTh 9:30-10:50am
Screening Tu 7:00-10:00pm
Instructor: Will Scheibel

One of the fundamental qualities of cinema is its ability to mediate particular bodies in particular spaces, but what happens when those bodies and spaces construct racial or ethnic identity and difference for a mass viewing public? Cinema has the power to give visibility to minority groups on a global stage, just as it has the power to render those groups invisible or distort understandings of their lived experiences. This course focuses on the diverse Latino representations in U.S. narrative fiction film. We will look at the questions, problems, and meanings that arise from onscreen images of the Latinos, as well as how the creative labor and self-representation of Latinos have served as artistic expression and social protest from the margins of the film industry. As you learn the styles, themes, politics, and contexts important to this history, you will also learn the cultural competencies to read film texts from a critical ethnic studies perspective. Emphasizing particular contributions of Latino stars and filmmakers, course topics will include: the roles of national borders; relationships of ethnicity, gender, and sexuality; the Good Neighbor Policy; the Chicano Movement; migration narratives; transnational genre filmmaking; autobiography; and the global auteurism of New Mexican Cinema. Film and Screen Studies course.


ETS 495-1 Thesis Writing Workshop
Th 3:30-6:15pm
Instructor: Crystal Bartolovich

This course is a continuation of ETS 494. It provides a forum for small-group mentoring and directed research toward producing an ETS Distinction Essay/Honors Thesis. The workshop will largely involve presenting drafts of your thesis and engaging in collegial peer critique.  Participation is by invitation only.



Graduate Course Descriptions


ENG 615 M003: Open Poetry Workshop
Tu 3:30-6:15pm
Instructor: Sarah Harwell

“A water nymph made of bone / tries to summon a river out of limestone” – Alice Oswald. 

How does one summon poetry out of the no-poetry of the world?  While the focus of this course will be on your poems in progress, we will also explore, through poems and essays brought in by the workshop leader and students, the various ways of summoning poetry.  All students will be expected to bring in their original poems, participate in class discussions, prepare in advance written comments on peers’ works-in progress and attend conferences with the workshop leader. 


ENG 617 M001: Open Fiction Workshop
Tu 9:30am-12:15pm
Instructor: Visiting Writer 

In this advanced workshop, students will be expected to submit 3 short stories/ novel excerpts, one of which will be a thorough revision incorporating feedback. In addition, students are expected to critique each other's work thoroughly, providing a full page letter addressed to the writer with each returned manuscript.


ENG630 M002: Graduate Proseminar: Film Theory
Tu 3:30-6:15pm
Screening Tu 7:00-9:45pm
Instructor: Roger Hallas

This seminar provides an advanced introduction to the field of film theory. The seminar involves four broad sections: (1) “classical” film theory and its focus on the question of defining the film medium and its specificity; (2) the “grand” or “apparatus” theory of the 1970s and 80s when film studies worked to establish its own disciplinary autonomy through its appropriation of semiotics, psychoanalysis and Marxism; (3) the historicizing and de-essentializing turn of film theory which both situates film within the larger frames of modern/postmodern culture and emphasizes questions of gender, sexuality and postcoloniality; (4) the implications of the digital for a post-cinematic era. Although we will read the texts of film theory in broadly chronological order, the seminar resists a teleological approach (i.e. one that generates a progressive model of “theoretical obsolescence”). While theories will be historicized within the intellectual and cinematic contexts from which they emerged, they will also be put into conversation with each other throughout the course. Weekly film screenings will provide opportunities to illuminate key concepts, generate discussion and enable close analysis of film. The aim of this seminar is to provide you with a firm grounding in the changing issues within film theory, to immerse you in classical and contemporary scholarly writings on film, and to enable you to develop a critical vocabulary for audio-visual analysis.


ENG 630 M003: Graduate Proseminar:  The Early Modern Atlantic World
M 3:45-6:35pm
Instructor: Scott Stevens 

This seminar in meant to help reorient our common-place notions of early modern English literature by placing the literary production of the metropole, London, in this case, within the broader context of the Atlantic world. Literature and history, as academic disciplines, have often divided the seventeenth-century between England and its American colonies as distinct areas of study. This gave rise to highly focused courses examining the Metaphysical poets and Jacobean drama on one side of the Atlantic and Early American literature on the other side. We will strive to consider various literary developments in the context of the Atlantic world as a whole — where travel, colonial conquests, and cultural exchanges made for an increasingly globalized perspective among those figures active in these arenas. We will read familiar early modern texts such as Shakespeare’s The Tempest (1613), along with less familiar texts such as George Best’s account of Frobisher’s voyages (1578), and William Wood’s New England’s Prospect (1634). By considering these works within the wider framework of the Atlantic world and early modern European imperialism we will in turn broaden our notions the colonial dynamic which shaped the societies in both the Eastern and Western Hemispheres.


ENG 630 M004 Graduate Proseminar: Victorian Genders and Sexualities
Th 12:30-3:15pm
Instructor: Claudia Klaver

The goal of this course is to introduce graduate students to a range of feminist and queer readings of nineteenth-century literary and cultural text. Although our reading will be heavily weighted toward the Victorian novel, we will also read a significant selection of Victorian poetry. 

The course will be divided into three segments (though most of the literature that we read could fall into more than one segment). First, we will examine fictional, poetic, theoretical, and critical models of normative genders and heterosexualities in Victorian England. We will explore the domestic ideology that dominated the organization of such cultural norms, examining particularly the forms of masculinity and femininity that it naturalized, and the institutions of romantic love and bourgeois marriage that the ideology supported. Primary texts for this section will probably include Dickens’s David Copperfield, Eliot’s Adam Bede, and/or Trollope’s He Knew He Was Right, as well a poetry by Elizabeth Barret and Robert Browning. 

In the second segment of the course, we will explore desires and practices that coexist with, are articulated in relation to, and/or present transgressive challenges to more normative Victorian desires and sexualities. The goal of this unit will be to think outside of the homo/hetero binary, examining instead sites such at the eroticized child, cross-class and interracial romances, and role-playing. We will look at Charles Dodson's relationship with Alice Liddell and John Ruskin's infatuation with Effie Gray, the textual and photographic self-documentation of life-long relationship between Hannah Cullwick and Walter Mumby, and perhaps Meadow’s Seeta.

Finally, in the third segment of the course we will examine the presence and “problem” of homoerotic or queer genders and sexualities in Victorian fiction and poetry. We will not only explore the role that “queer” characters and relationships play in a number of texts, but also the analytical and historical questions that accompany such perverse readings and re-readings of characters and texts. Primary texts will include Bronte’s Villette, Stoker’s Dracula, Wilde’s Portrait of Dorian Gray, and poetry by Tennyson, Christina Rossetti, and Michael Field.

Assignments will include weekly discussion questions, discussion facilitation, mid-term essay, a final paper prospectus, annotated bibliography, and seminar paper.


ENG 650 M001 Forms: Tribes of American Poetry
M 3:45-6:35pm
Instructor: Bruce Smith

The Fugitives, the Confessionals, The New York School, the Beats, and the Slam poets are not the only schools or movements that have found a common identity and practice.  This course will examine groups that are defined aesthetically, geographically, racially, and politically, as well as determine new designations such as the “New Ellipticals” or “Neo-Formalists” or Affrilachian Poets or Kundiman. 

The course will also examine pairing of older schools such as The Black Arts Movement where artists within the movement sought to create politically engaged work that explored the African American cultural and historical experience with new manifestations such as The Dark Room Collective and Cave Canem where sustaining writing in community is as much a practice as the activism of building a community-based reading series for writers of color.  Older and newer models will be paired for reading and students will be asked to do weekly presentations as well as written responses to the reading.


ENG 650 M002: Forms: Teaching Creative Writing and Photography in the Community
W 12:45-3:30pm
Instructor: Michael Burkard

My role as a writer/instructor in this course is to facilitate discussion and share my experience working with many different community populations in Syracuse and elsewhere over the past two decades. My role is to prepare you for various writing exercises that could be used in visiting different community venues, often public schools in Syracuse, for 6-8 visits over the course of the University semester. I will provide you with reading materials that may suggest prompts. Our own writing assignments as a class will mostly consist of poems or short prose pieces which we could consider as possibilities for models or backgrounds at the different venues. The course is a collaborative experience in that 1) you will choose a site that fits your schedule and you will work with at least one other class member at the site, and 2) we work jointly with Stephen Mahan’s course (noted below). No previous photography experience is necessary. Our writing ideas and assignments will intersect with photographic ideas and assignments. There is a literary and photographic library in the Warehouse classroom we use. Final projects will involve creating an anthology of writing and photography (and often some drawing) done by students at the school sites, or from members of another site which might wind up on our list of venues. There is also a culminating gallery show of work produced at the venues at semester’s end, and some readings by the writers from the sites. These culminating events take place at the Warehouse. The site visits may replace a few of our class sessions, but both Stephen Mahan and myself are very available for conferences, group meetings, and we also visit the sites ourselves during the times the University students make their site visits.

Each student taking the course will complete assignments and also keep a journal for the semester. There will be weekly readings we will discuss as well. And we will also view some photography and films. If you are new to or not familiar with Photoshop, you are welcome to receive instruction from us.

Grading is determined by the quality of your participation in the class discussions and by the quality of your participation in the site/venue sessions in the community.

Undergraduates may enroll in this course with either instructor’s permission.

This course can be a stimulus for your own writing, and also offers a chance to meet with often young writers from very diverse settings and backgrounds.

Meets with TRM 610 M001: Literacy, Photography, and the Community—Stephen Mahan

Meets at the Warehouse on Fayette Street, a site on the Connective Corridor and Warehouse Bus Routes


ENG 650 M003 Forms: Directions in 21st-Century American Fiction
Tu 12:30-3:15pm
Instructor: Jonathan Dee

An exploration and critique of current American literary practice, as reflected in a survey of contemporary novels and short stories, and a frank, constructive discussion of one’s proposed voice within it. Requirements: extensive reading, weekly discussion questions in writing, one outside assignment. Authors may include Katie Kitamura, James Hannaham, Nell Zink, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Hanya Yanagihara, Junot Diaz, Jesmyn Ward, Alexandra Kleeman, Ottessa Mosfegh, Adam Johnson, Samantha Hunt, Garth Greenwell, Edward P. Jones, Catherine Lacey, Ben Lerner, and Karan Mahajan.


ENG 650 M004: Forms: Flash Fiction and Prose Poetry
Th 3:30-6:15pm
Instructor: Arthur Flowers

Workings at the crossroads. Of craft. An exploration of. Fusions and such.


ENG 650 M006 Forms: Translation
Th 12:30-3:15pm
Instructor: Brooks Haxton

This is a practicum in the art of translation. Each student is free to choose texts to translate. Assigned reading for this course will include essays on translation and translations of poetry and prose from various languages. We will discuss the aims and technical choices of translators. We will analyze the relative success of translations, with respect to semantic accuracy, tonal dynamics, stylistic similarity, musical effect, and so on (as far as this is possible, given the limits of our command of the source language, and the reference materials, or informants available). Fluency in another language is not prerequisite. The prerequisites are an interest in the process of translation and a willingness to engage the linguistic challenge at whatever level of skill the student is now working.


ENG 730 M001: Graduate Seminar: The Holocaust in American Literature
Tu 12:30-3:15PM
Instructor: Harvey Teres

This course will explore the representation of the Holocaust (or “Shoah”) in post-WWII American literature. We will begin by reading historical accounts of the Nazi campaign to exterminate the Jews and others, and the postwar effects of the Holocaust on American society. We will then consider the formidable challenges facing any writer who wishes to represent such a shattering, cataclysmic event—an event some consider unrepresentable. This will include a range of theoretical texts that address trauma, witness, survival, representation, and the field of Holocaust Studies itself. We will then read a range of American literary texts that have represented the Holocaust in unique ways, including short fiction by Bernard Malamud, Cynthia Ozick, Nathan Englander, and Rebecca Goldstein; novels by Philip Roth, Jerzy Kosinski, Art Spiegelman, and Jonathan Safran Foer; and poetry by Jacob Glatstein, Charles Reznikoff, Randall Jarrell, W.D. Snodgrass, Thom Gunn, Denise Levertov, Anthony Hecht, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, and Sherman Alexie. Some of the questions we will address include the following: What are the techniques and strategies available to writers who wish to represent what some consider incomprehensible? Are there more or less appropriate ways to write about the Holocaust? What are the moral pitfalls of Holocaust writing? Most American literary accounts of the Holocaust focus on survivors and their children—what are the family dynamics, and the obligations of the children in these accounts, and what are their limits of language and understanding? 


ENG 730 M002: Graduate Seminar: Sonic Diaspora: Slavery, Sound, and Trauma in the Black Atlantic
Th 9:30am-12:15pm
Instructor: Meina Yates-Richard 

This course explores the history and legacy of transatlantic slavery in literatures of the African diaspora. In our studies of black-authored literary and cultural texts, we will consider issues of collective memory and trauma, witnessing and testimony, and their relationship to textual production. Our critical readings will encompass sound studies, black studies, and trauma studies to guide our interrogations of the sonic elements of Black Atlantic textual and cultural production. In addition, we will consider issues of place, gender, class, and racial/cultural fluidity and hybridity in order to flesh out the contours of the Black Atlantic’s “sonic diaspora.” Class “listening sessions” are designed to immerse us in texts’ referential acoustics, and as a means of integrating affective experiences of social hearing into our critical practices in our analyses of the relationship between script, sound, testimony, subjectivity, culture, and politics. We will study a broad range of texts, beginning with the slave narrative and culminating in postcolonial and postmodern fiction, identifying the relationship between the traumas of enslavement and their textual-sonic representations. Critical texts will include the seminal works of Hortense Spillers, Frederick Moten, Theodor Adorno, Cathy Caruth, Shoshana Felman and Dori Laub, and Saidiya Hartman among others. Literary texts may include the works of Harriet Jacobs, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Aimé Césaire, Michelle Cliff, Ralph Ellison, Edward Kamau Braithwaite, W.E.B. Du Bois, Jesmyn Ward, M. NourbeSe Philip, Junot Diaz and others.


ENG 730 M003: Graduate Seminar: Shakespeare’s Poetry
M 9:30am-12:20pm
Instructor: Dympna Callaghan

 In this seminar, we will pursue the idea that far from being marginal to the aesthetic achievement of Shakespeare’s plays, the poems constitute the foundation of his achievement across all genres.   We will read all of Shakespeare’s poems, Venus and Adonis, The Rape of Lucrece, The Phoenix and the Turtle, the Sonnets, and disputed poem, The Lover’s Complaint, as well as many of the lyrics from the plays.

This seminar will consider how an era in which art was “made tung-tied by authoritie” succeeded in producing some of the finest poetry ever written and how Shakespeare’s poetry is related to ideas about “freeness of speech.” We will analyse the technical achievements of Shakespeare’s verse and address the general question of what makes poetic language “poetic” in the context of Elizabethan and classical ideas of poetry, especially given the often parlous rather than exalted status of the poet and of poetry during this period. We will also examine the influence of his precursors and contemporaries on Shakespeare’s poetry, especially Ovid, Horace, Petrarch, Marlowe, Spenser, and Sidney, as well as the question of poetic genre, the special status of lyric at the juncture of music and speech, and the nature of narrative verse.  We will also discuss the huge transition in the nature and function of poetry that occurred with the increasing availability of print. Thus, the Sonnets, unlike say, so many of Wyatt’s Henrican lyrics that were actually sung to musical accompaniment, are definitively conceived as words on the page intended for a reader rather than words to be declaimed or sung to an audience.  Another key thread throughout the semester will be the issue of post-Reformation religion, especially in terms of the pagan contexts of the narrative poems and, for example, the arguably Christian mysticism of The Phoenix and Turtle. Additionally, we will cover the purpose and function of poetry from both a literary and an historical perspective, including Shakespeare’s need for a wealthy patron, the complex relationships between both poetry and plague and poetry and prayer, the issue of manuscript circulation among Shakespeare’s “private friends” versus print publication (authorized or pirated), and the question of the reader/audience engagement with the poems, as well as the pervasive matters of literacy, gender, sexuality and social hierarchy.

No prior experience is required. The seminar aims to be valuable both to graduate students in English and to those in the Creative Writing Program.


ENG 799 M002: MFA Essay Seminar
W 9:30-12:20pm
Instructor: Michael Burkard

Each student will write an essay of approximately five thousand words. The essay will address a specific aspect of a major writer’s formal technique.