Skip to main content

Past Graduate Courses

Fall 2017

ENG 630-4 Graduate Proseminar: Early America
W 3:45-6:35PM
Instructor: Patricia Roylance

Designed as an introduction to U.S. literary and cultural studies, this seminar will survey American language and writing from the sixteenth to the late eighteenth centuries, and will provide a foundation for more advanced study of this period. Because this is a Pro-Seminar, the reading will be somewhat heavy, but you will need no prior knowledge of the period. For the final project, you will work on primary material from the course or closely related to it, but you will have conceptual and methodological freedom in choosing an approach.

Reflecting recent revisions in the critical conception of this field, Early America will be treated as a problematic rather than as a settled category. We will question the homogeneity and push the literal boundaries of America: what regional, racial, religious and linguistic subcultures exist within the space of America? what transatlantic and hemispheric contexts illuminate early American literary production? We will read Native American oral literature and writings from New Spain, New France and New Netherland alongside literature from the British colonies, and alongside European writings about the New World. The course will culminate with an examination of the rhetoric of the U.S. Revolutionary War, which attempted to present as unified and univocal a colonial period that had been anything but. 


ENG 630-5 Graduate Proseminar: What was Modernism?
Tu 3:30-6:20PM
Instructor: Chris Forster

The art and literature of the first half of the twentieth century is frequently called modernist. It is a term that exists in awkward (and sometimes productive) tension with other key terms: realism, the avant-garde, or postmodernism, for instance. This class seeks to introduce and understand that term, and the debates which surround it, by reading a series of key texts from the period alongside important criticism. No prior familiarity with modernism is necessary. Course readings will include work across genres by figures including W. B. Yeats, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, T. S. Eliot, Samuel Beckett, Djuna Barnes, and others. Alongside these works we will read a diverse range of the major critics of the period, from a range of theoretical perspectives. Our goal will be to both understand the works we read, but also to understand the shifting contours and constructions of modernism as a key, but contested, term of literary history. Course work will include a seminar presentation, and a range of writing assignments (including a book review, a conference abstract, and a conference-length paper).


ENG 631-1 Critical Theory
M 12:45-3:35PM
Instructor: Crystal Bartolovich

Critical Theory provides an introduction to a range of meta-critical concepts, debates and protocolsthat is, the underwriting assumptions (varied and contradictory as these may be) -- on which the discipline of English currently relies.  We will read both influential texts from the past that are still referenced (implicitly or explicitly), as well as notable examples of current trends. We will also spend time considering professional structures, norms, genres and demands: the formation of the university, book reviews, bibliographies, conferences, journals, seminar papers, prizes and so on. In other words, we will explore ways of reading theoretical, critical and literary/cultural textsincluding our profession as an institution--and examine how critical questions have been and are now generated in English, as well as why new critical practices emerge (or fail to do so). No matter how much (or little) theory you have already read, this professional orientation will direct your thinking toward English as a discipline in new ways, and prepare you to work within it self-consciously and critically.  


ENG 650-1 Forms: Best Versions
M 3:45-6:35PM
Instructor: Chris Kennedy

One of the great mysteries of writing fiction and poetry is when and how to revise: How does a writer know when a story or a poem is finished? How much should a writer rely on other opinions to reshape his/her vision? In this class we will read different versions of several published stories and poems, as well as different drafts of student work, as a catalyst for discussion about how to edit and revise.


ENG 650-3 Forms: Poetry, Memoir, & Nonfiction
Th 9:30-12:15PM

Instructor: Mary Karr

Well read and discuss eleven memoirs, plus excerpts of a few others.  Work for the semester will consist of reading and being engaged with the books.Assignments will include: small creative projects and in-class writing sprinkled through the semester; a presentation on one of the writers; and a final paper, memoir, or 10 poems. Readings may include (a) poems by Roger Fanning, Louise Gluck, Robert Hass, Terrance Hayes, Seamus Heaney, Yusef Komunyaaka, William Matthews, Heather McHugh, Pablo Neruda, Craig Raine, Charles Simic, and Dean Young; (b) fiction by George Saunders; (c) essays by James Wood, and (d) a memoir by Elif Batuman.


ENG 650-5 Forms: Poets and Collaborators
Th 12:30-3:20PM

Instructor: Michael Burkard

As writers/readers, we are the collaborators. In discussion and in writing we will respond to poets in translation. These poets would include Transtromer, Syzmborska, Vallejo, and a wide range of contemporary American poets, including Fanny Howe and Lucille Clifton. As a class, we will write some collaborative work amongst ourselves. We will explore various means of adapting to issues of translation, subject matter, and forms. Each class session will review poetry from our reading list, and a discussion of written assignments. Collaborations between writers and artists and writers and musicians will be reviewed, and we will incorporate a project of collaboration along these lines in a class assignment.


ENG 650-8: Forms: Creative Nonfiction: All Over The Page
Th 3:30-6:20PM
Instructor: Arthur Flowers, Jr.

Exploration of the various forms of creative nonfiction with special emphasis on fusions of nonfiction, fiction and poetry  nonfiction works using the techs of other genres to enhance their impact. This process will be contexted with dialogues on the ever-evolving nature of text. Readings will consist of shorts and excerpts. Reader to be provided. Writing prompts likely.


ENG 650-9: Forms: Ghost Stories
M 6:45-9:35PM
Instructor: Kaitlyn Greenidge

In this class, we will explore the use of ghosts and ghost stories in literature. We will begin by establishing the elements in classic ghost stories of the nineteenth century and move on to modern interpretations in contemporary fiction. We will also explore ghosts in folklore. During this class, we will explore the symbolism of ghosts in literature and attempt to uncover why this genre of storytelling remains popular. Students will be required to write creative and/or critical response papers, make oral presentations, and produce either a final 10-page ghost story of their own or a critical essay, subject to the instructors approval.


ENG 715-2 First Poetry Workshop
Tu 12:30-3:20PM
Instructor: Brooks Haxton

Students in this workshop will write one poem each week and revise at least four of these into carefully considered versions on the basis of workshop analysis.  Reading and writing assignments will address issues that arise in workshop.  Admission is strictly limited to first-year students in the MFA Program in Poetry.


ENG 716-1 Second Poetry Workshop
M 12:45-3:35PM
Instructor: Bruce Smith

Students in this course will be asked to write twelve poems, one free poem to push back against the world with the imagination per week.  The emphasis will be both on the craft -- the language and the shaping and forming of the writing, and the imagination -- the vision that's unique to each individual.  Classroom work will consist primarily of workshop style discussion of student work, although each class will begin with poems, ancient and modern, as model or target for discussions of technique as well as examples of tapping the resources available to the writer.  This term Ill begin class with what I call, an exemplary poet  avoiding the more proscriptive term essential.  Exercises will include ways to locate the source of your poems as well as ways to "music" them, to shape them, and to revise them.


ENG 717-2 First Year Fiction Workshop
W 12:45-3:35PM
Instructor: Dana Spiotta

Students will submit a minimum of three short stories/novel excerpts and will read and constructively critique the work of their peers. Development of the crucial skill and discipline of revision will be emphasized. Required of, and restricted to, first-year MFA fiction students.


ENG 718-2 Second Fiction Workshop
F 9:30-12:20PM
Instructor: Dana Spiotta

This course is the required workshop for students in the second year of the MFA Program in Fiction.


ENG 719-1 Third Poetry Workshop
W 12:45-3:35PM
Instructor: Mary Karr

This is an advanced course, so I assume youre all passionate about poetry and motivated enough to read, write, critique each others work with utmost care and respect, and rewrite, rewrite and rewrite.  Its a class based almost entirely on revision, so your notes on each others poems should be detailed and serious. Id also like to see your revisions fairly regularly in conference, and for you to keep different drafts of the same poems. What I value first and foremost is clarity in communication and strong feeling (in the reader, NOT the writer). I expect everyone to rewrite based on workshop comments. If your notes are sketchy, cartoony, or in any way haphazard, I will ask for typed notes for each class. 

First and foremost, you must be open to virtually any kind of speech, language, subject, and opinion. You must get along with each other, and anyone engaging in a personal attack on anyone else in the group will have a hard time completing the workshop. Free speech is seldom comfortable, and this workshop is a free-speech space.


ENG 721-1 Third Fiction Workshop - Prerequisite ENG 717 and ENG 718
Tu 12:30-3:20PM
Instructor: Arthur Flowers Jr.

This course is required for students in the third year of the MFA Program in Fiction. In this class, students will deepen their fictive practice by reading and critiquing the works of their peers. Workshop format, craft, product, vision.


ENG 730-1 Graduate Seminar: Postwar U.S. Fiction
Tu 9:30-12:20PM
Instructor: Susan Edmunds

In this seminar, we will read postwar U.S. novels and short stories from the late forties to the present. We will interpret the fiction through a sociohistorical lens, with particular emphasis placed on investigating the interconnections between literary form and social change. After an initial survey of fiction written in direct response to World War II and its aftermath, we will read literary texts associated with or influenced by the counterculture , the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, Second Wave Feminism, and  late twentieth-century U.S. consumerism. I am still working on the final booklist for this course. Authors are likely to include James Baldwin, Hisaye Yamamoto, Joan Didion, Thomas Pynchon, Michael Herr, Kurt Vonnegut, Grace Paley, Toni Cade Bambara, Toni Morrison, Don DeLillo, Chang-Rae Lee, and Helena Maria Viramontes.


ENG 730-2 Graduate Seminar: American Film Melodrama
Th 9:30-12:20PM
Film Screening Th 6:30-9:15PM
Instructor: Will Scheibel

Film scholar Linda Williams calls melodrama the fundamental mode of popular American moving pictures. Following her argument, this seminar suggests that to study American film melodrama is to deepen our understanding of American cinemas aesthetic and affective expressions. A cinema of heightened emotionalism based on excess and containment, fantasy and desire, and pathos and identification, melodrama has been theorized as a site of ideological critique and viewer pleasure. With origins in the blood and thunder spectacles of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century theater, melodrama came to fruition on the screen in the action serials and passionate epics of the silent era. The term is perhaps most associated with family and womens pictures of Classical Hollywood, including sentimental weepies, stories of fallen women and mother/daughter relationships, and the Gothic romance. We will look at these different examples from Marxist, feminist, and psychoanalytic approaches, as well as in the contexts of genre and American culture. Yet, as melodrama never disappeared, we will consider ways in which it persists in especially apparent casesart cinema, postmodern cinema, the male action films of Kathryn Bigelow, and the queer films of Todd Haynesthat have further expanded our definition of the term. Required Books: Christine Gledhill, ed., Home Is Where the Heart Is: Studies in Melodrama and the Womans Film (London: BFI Publishing, 1987); Barbara Klinger, Melodrama and Meaning: History, Culture, and the Films of Douglas Sirk (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994) [electronic version available through EBSCOhost/SU Libraries]; Ben Singer, Melodrama and Modernity: Early Sensational Cinema and Its Contexts (New York: Columbia University Press, 2001). 

For a complete list of films and readings, please contact Will Scheibel at lscheibe@syr.edu.


ENG 730-5 Graduate Seminar: Gender and Sexualities in the War on Terror
Th 3:30-6:20PM
Instructor: Carol Fadda-Conrey

In this seminar, we will focus on feminist, anti-racist, and anti-imperialist engagements with and responses to the events of 9/11 and the ensuing War on Terror, looking closely at the role of gender and its intersections with race, sexuality, and religion in mobilizations of the US security state. Even though we will focus in our analysis on the period following the events of September 11, 2001, we will also be questioning the notion that 9/11 is an exceptional traumatic event that produces exclusive forms of US trauma and citizenship. We will pay close attention to the ways in which gender, religion, sexuality, and race have been deployed in constructions of national identities, war projects, and imperial agendas since 9/11, starting with depictions of some of the first responses to the attacks, and moving on to include the rhetoric informing much of the dominant narratives about the US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the torture practices at the Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay prisons. In analyzing the ascendency of violent, militaristic, and exclusionary US citizenships in light of intersections of gender, sexuality, race, and religion, this course evaluates some important theoretical concepts that have defined anti-hegemonic responses to the US security states practices. Such concepts include, for instance, Jacqui Alexanders the patriot-citizen, Mahmood Mamdanis good Muslim vs. bad Muslim, Amy Kaplans homeland insecurity, and Jaspir Puars homonationalisms. 

Other theoretical and cultural texts we will read include works by Judith Butler, Susan Sontag, Junaid Rana, Amy Kaplan, Lila Abu-Lughod, and Sunaina Maira, among others. We will also be reading fiction, poetry, and drama by writers including Laila Halaby, Yussef El Guindi, Art Spiegelman, and Wafaa Bilal.

Spring 2017

ENG 615-3 Open Poetry Workshop
Tu 3:30-6:20 PM
Instructor: Brooks Haxton
Students in this workshop will write one poem each week and revise at least four of these into carefully considered versions on the basis of workshop analysis. Reading and writing assignments will address issues that arise in workshop. There are no prerequisites, and those who want to explore a beginners interest in poetry are welcome to join with poetry graduate students in the MFA program. 

ENG 617-1 Open Fiction Workshop
Tu 9:30-12:20 PM
Instructor: Jonathan Dee
This workshop is open to all graduate students interested in writing fiction. Participants submit, read, and critique short stories or novel excerpts. Student work will be the focus of the class; outside reading, pertinent to discussion, may occasionally be assigned. ︉ 

ENG 630-2 Graduate Proseminar: Classical Hollywood Cinema
Tu 3:30-6:20 PM
Film Screening Tu 7:00-9:45 PM
Instructor: Will Scheibel
What was classical about Classical Hollywood cinema? This course offers an investigation into the aesthetic and industrial system of Hollywood during the era of studio production between 1929 and 1948, as well as the gradual demise of the system into the early 1960s. We will consider Classical Hollywood as a formal tradition of film art, a business practice of filmmaking, and a cultural institution of film experience that exceeds a single geographic site. As a graduate pro-seminar, this course not only concerns the history of Classical Hollywood, but also historiographic methods of interpretation and research, leading to a final paper of 25 pages. Topics will include: the relationship between American cinema and American modernity; the development of narrative, visual style, and point-of-view in the classical film text; the studio oligopoly and the effects of its breakup; product standardization and differentiation through genres and stars; technologies of spectacle; New Deal labor and politics in the studios; location shooting after World War II; changes in audiences and exhibition contexts over time; the regulation of onscreen content; and the shift to independent and overseas production. No background in film studies is necessary for this course, but evening screenings are required.

ENG 630-3 Graduate Proseminar: Introduction to Early Modern Studies
M 12:45-3:35 PM
Instructor: Stephanie Shirilan
This course provides a point of entry for students interested in early modern texts and the disciplinary history of early modern studies. We will spend as much time with the literature of the period as the stories historiographers have come to tell about the Renaissance, the premodern and the early modern. We will begin with the modern invention of the Renaissance in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, will continue by observing the psychoanalytic, philological and bibliographic/bibliophilic investments of the early twentieth century, and will follow the rise and fall of formalisms, criticisms, materialisms and historicisms new and old through the early twenty-first century. Our chief investigation will be to examine the ways in which the early modern period has been both credited and discredited as the parent of modernity. Our discussions will trace the representation of privacy, masculinity, sovereignty, embodiment, property, and liberty (among others) as these discourses emerge out of the complex interplay between readers and writers of the sixteenth, seventeenth and twentieth/twenty-first centuries especially. We will read a selection of mainly canonical plays, poems and prose in order to provide exposure to the major genres of the period (including but not limited to revenge drama, rhetorical theory, lyric and devotional poetry, spiritual autobiography, sermons) and to better trace the historiographical themes and trends, but will include samplings of texts that have more recently made their way into a canon whose relative fixity/fungibility will be a central motif of the course. 

ENG 630-4 Graduate Proseminar: Introduction to Critical Race and Ethnic Studies
Th 12:30-3:20 PM
Instructor: Carol Fadda-Conrey
This proseminar offers a broad introduction to some of the major concepts and texts in the fields of race and ethnic studies. Examining some of the main issues defining these fields of study from their inception till the present so-called post-racial moment, we will familiarize ourselves with formative debates related to the establishment of ethnic studies programs in the 60s and 70s (as well as the continuance of such struggles in the present moment); ethnic studies during the culture wars of the 80s and 90s and beyond; as well as the histories and effects of US racial and ethnic formations, color-blindness, comparative racialization, and state violence against black and brown bodies, from the civil rights movement to Black Lives Matter.

Informed by intersectional, comparative, and transnational theoretical frameworks, the course readings will cover black feminist thought, critical race theory, queer critique, narratives of anti-racist and anti-imperialist struggles, and critiques of settler-colonialism, among others. We will investigate the histories and implications of the turn to the critical practice of ethnic studies and race theory with an emphasis on how race and ethnicity are constructed in relation to concepts of gender, sexuality, class, nationality, religion, indigeneity, citizenship, and immigration.

Covering a number of foundational texts in race and ethnic studies, as well as the specific fields of African American Studies, Latinx Studies, Asian American Studies, Native American Studies, and Arab American studies, course readings include works by James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Cherrie Moraga, Audre Lorde, Angela Davis, Grace Lee Boggs, Audra Simpson, Steven Salaita, Ta-Nehisi Coates, David Palumbo-Liu, Claudia Rankine, and others.

ENG 650-2 Forms: Teaching Creative Writing and Photography in the Community
W 12:45-3:30 PM
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 M002: 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 650-4 Forms: Ulysses for Writers
Th 3:30-6:15 PM
Instructor: Dana Spiotta
When our list-obsessed culture makes its pronouncements about the best novels ever written, James Joyce's Ulysses usually lands at the top. This class will attempt to get beyond (underneath, behind) this novel's iconic status; we will inhabit this novel and make it ours. The class will consist of a very close reading of Ulysses. We will take it section by section while keeping close track of what accumulates. We will look at the architecture of the novel and talk about different ways of structuring a novel. We will examine how a novel sets up rules, and how it is possible to create a system without being overly schematic. We will be examining the narrative strategies and techniques and innovations employed by Joyce. We will read to understand the book, but also we will read with an eye toward developing our own work and our own ideas about what a novel can do.

ENG 650-5 Forms: Sonnets
Tu 12:30-3:20 PM
Instructor: Brooks Haxton
The sonnet became a popular format for short poems in English in the 16th and 17th centuries, fell into disuse for two centuries, and came back with the Romantics. In this course we will read and analyze sonnets in English, to describe pitfalls of the form, as well as its continuing appeal to readers and writers. Half of the reading will begin with sonnets and sonnet-like poems from the very recent past (particularly poems by women poets). From this beginning we will move backward in time. The other half of the reading will begin with early sonnets in English (mostly by men) and move forward. We will consider the shape of poems, in their expressive, temporal, spatial, sonic, logical, dramatic, and other dimensions. Students will prepare presentations and write original works in response to the reading.

ENG 650-6 Forms: The Prose Poem
Th 12:30-3:20 PM
Instructor: Chris Kennedy
According to Charles Simic, [t]he prose poem is the result of two contradictory impulses, prose and poetry, and therefore cannot exist. This is the sole instance we have of squaring the circle. 
Despite Simics tongue in cheek notion that the prose poem cannot exist, it has a long history, with the modern prose poem emerging in France most famously in the work of Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbaud, and Stephen Mallarmé, and, in recent years in this country, a number of print and on-line journals and anthologies have begun to feature prose poems on a regular basis.
Despite the proliferation of prose poetry, defining what constitutes a prose poem is a difficult and perplexing task. What are the prose poems characteristics? What separates the prose poem from short fiction (flash fiction, micro-fiction, sudden fiction)?
This class will provide an opportunity to contemplate these questions and to explore prose poetry with the goal of distinguishing the elements unique to the form.

ENG 650-7 Forms: Adventures in Narrative
W 9:30-12:20 PM
Instructor: Fiona Maazel
One of our goals as writers is to keep a reader interested over the long haul. As Amy Hempel once put it, you start writing assuming a persons going to stop reading the minute you give them a reason. So the trick is: Dont give them one. Dont give them a reason to put your work down and find something else to do. In fact, give them every reason to stay. In this class, well be looking at what techniques various authors deploy to keep us reading. We will pay close attention to craft matters like: rate of revelation, order of disclosure, pacing, tension, characterization, plot, point of view, and so forth. We will also be paying attention to the difference between how an author seizes our attention and how s/he keeps it (note how often you love the way a novel begins only to lose interest 50 pages later). To this end, well be reading texts that run from the conventional to the experimental to adduce some common tropes and techniques among them. It is worth mentioning that inclusion on a syllabus does not equal endorsement. The goal of the class is not to insist that the books we read are riveting so much as to generate involved discussion about what these authors tried to do and why. You will often find yourself thinking some of their techniques have failed. This is the point. Lets talk about it.

ENG 650-8 Forms: Distance
M 9:30-12:20 PM
Instructor: Eleanor Henderson
Manipulating point of view is more than a matter of choosing a pronoun. As Wayne C. Booth writes in The Rhetoric of Fiction, To say that a story is told in the first or the third person will tell us nothing of importance unless we describe how the particular qualities of the narrators relate to specific desired effects. In this course, we will seek to do just thatto explore the qualities of dynamic narration in fiction. When we look beyond the basic considerations of perspective to the various relationships between and among author, narrator, character, and reader, we uncover a universe of narrative effects, from objectivity to free indirect style to stream of consciousness. Through a study of a wide range of prose works and narrative theory, including Faulkner, Kafka, Moore, Morrison, Woolf, and Booth, well hope to gain more control over our own access to interior and exterior worlds.   

ENG 730-1 Graduate Seminar: Modernism and Its Media
Tu 12:30-3:20 PM
Instructor: Chris Forster
Raymond Williams suggests that any explanation of modernist literature must start from the fact that the late nineteenth century was the occasion for the greatest changes ever seen in the media of cultural production. Photography, cinema, radio, television, reproduction and recording all make their decisive advance during the period identified as Modernist. This class takes this suggestion seriously, reading the broad and contested field of cultural production commonly called modernist as a response to, and engagement with, the changing media ecology of the early twentieth century. We will read key texts of modernist literature alongside media theory and some of the most provocative recent work in modernist studies, to try to understand the relationship between culture and the material forms which support it.

Likely primary texts include Joseph Conrads The Secret Agent (and Hitchcocks 1936 adaptation of the novel, Sabotage); Ezra Pounds translations from Chinese (and Ernest Fenollosas essay on the Chinese Written Character); T. S. Eliots The Waste Land; Henry Jamess The Beast in the Jungle; manifestoes by Wyndham Lewis, F. T. Marinetti, Mina Loy, and others; as well as work by Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, and Samuel Beckett. The critics well cover include Friedrich Nietzsche, Marshall McLuhan, Friedrich Kittler, Walter Benjamin, and Miriam Hansen, among others.

Course work includes short written responses, a book review, at least one presentation to the seminar of a relevant work of secondary literature, and a final essay that will be presented to the class in a final meeting modeled on the seminars of the Modernist Studies Associations annual meeting.

ENG 730-2 Graduate Seminar: Readings Before Race
Th 9:30-12:20 PM
Instructor: Silvio Torres-Saillant

Surveying literature and thought from the Hammurabi Code (ca. 1750 BC) to the contemporary moment, this course explores the advent of race as a radical shift in the history of social relations. We start by recovering the memory of a time when dissimilarity of ancestry or phenotype did not constitute racial difference. We also dissect the now automatic equation between racism and slavery (slavery is our original sin, said Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to evoke the roots of racial troubles in Ferguson, Missouri). We seek to recover the memory of a time when the social superiority of slave masters (i.e., their material capacity to impose their will on others) did not necessarily lead to their claiming superior human caliber vis-à-vis their captives. An ancient Greek general might want slaves who displayed superior tact, skill, and courage in battle. A Roman nobleman might seek a bonded person who could teach his children geometry, rhetoric, or swordsmanship. One could be an Ethiopian slave named Aesop living in Hellas and achieve renown as an author of fables or a North African slave in Rome named Publius Terentius Afer and become the Empires foremost playwright. St. Augustine evokes his mothers elevated moral sense, an attribute for which he credits the slave woman who raised her. The Ottoman Janissaries, the elite force that protected the Sultans household, consisted of men enslaved in childhood and raised to perform that lofty task, for which they received the best education and the best military training. We survey dark-skinned Nubian Pharaohs, the blameless Ethiopians of Homer, the beautiful and exalted Ethiopians of Herodotus, and dark-skinned Sudanese Sultans. In Greek mythology we look at the famed beauty of the Ethiopian Princess Andromeda and the greatness of the Ethiopian king Memnon, son of Tithonous and Eos. For the Judeo-Christian texts we look at the flattering depiction of the dark-skinned inhabitants of the Kingdom of Kush in the Old Testament and the nobility of character the Ethiopian eunuch, a minister of Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of all her treasure in the New Testament.

After this background, the readings fast forward to the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Here, for instance, we find the English poet and essayist Samuel Taylor Coleridge thinking himself into exhaustion in the effort to claim, against the textual evidence before him, that William Shakespeare could not have possibly intended for Othello to be a Negro. The elevated nobility of the character and the romantic attraction that a beautiful white Venetian young woman feels for him speak against that monstrous possibility. Ironically, there were enough African-descended Britons by the late eighteenth century for Coleridge to have heard about them, including a protégé of the Duchess of Queensbury named Julius Soubise who earned a reputation as a dandy much given to womanizing in his rapport with white ladies, who were the ones within reach in the elite circles that he frequented. The course will cover late sixteenth and through mid-seventeenth century English poetry that uses the recurring topos of black-white lovers wrestling with the challenge of racial difference (race then still in its early stages of development). Witness the ambiguity and complexity of Shakespeares own dark lady poems.

A third branch of readings will outline the historical events that created the conditions for the vilification of difference and the dehumanization of conquered and enslaved people to occur, for foreign civilizations to be deemed empty of knowledge and achievement (an inconceivable notion for the sages associated with the Alexandrian Library), and for the emergence of the Indian, the Negro, the Oriental, and the racial other in general as devalued identities. The disremembering of the glories of the regions that those populations hailed from followed, and a new knowledge of them emerged that construed them as regions of lesser humanity in dire need of elevation at the hand of European invaders. Here for the first time in the history of domination a discourse of justification emerges that previous chapters in the annals of conquests had simply done without. An important reading here will be Democrates Secundus, sive de iustis belli causis apud indios (ca. 1545), an Ur text in the history of racist discourse.

The course promises to provide students with the conceptual resources necessary for understanding racism as a way of knowing that shapes bodies of knowledge and incorporates tools of unknowing, a way of knowing that falls outside the structure of cognition which operates when percipients know other aspects of reality. Thinkers must abide by the rhetoric of disparagement to sustain a logic of maltreatment that becomes extreme othering. We will see, then, brilliant thinkers whose thought processes undergo a precipitous decline appear to decline when entertaining a racist thought. While engaging the Critical Race scholarship, the course locates its vision within the realm of intellectual history (which here differs from "history of ideas"). The course is designed to enable students to see racial thinking operating in a literary text even at times when an explicit racial remark is absent.

ENG 730-4 Graduate Seminar: History and Theories of the Novel
W 12:45-3:30pm PM
Instructor: Erin Mackie
In the seminar we will examine various solutions to a set of questions relevant to the literary history of the novel: What can the historian of the novel take as the object of study? What relations does the novel bear to other fictional and non-fictional prose narratives and to other genres and modes such as drama and satire? Especially, how do novels distinguish themselves from and/or appropriate these other genres? What relations do novels bear to other characteristic developments of the modern age such as the sex/gender system, psychic interiority, class, nation, race and ethnicity and the reflexive temporal self-consciousness that characterizes this epoch? How has the genre, novel, changed with cultural-historical shifts? Alongside representative theorists of the novel we will read representative novels. I am very eager to hear the interests and thoughts of those who would like to join this seminar before I set the texts and the syllabus; please contact me at esmackie@syr.edu.

ENG 799-1 MFA Essay Seminar
F 9:30-12:20 PM
Instructor: Dana Spiotta
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. 

Fall 2016

ENG 630-4 Graduate Pro-Seminar: Nineteenth-Century American Literature 1830-1870
Th 3:30-6:15 PM
Instructor: Dorri Beam
In this survey, we will examine the urgent world-making project of American literature during the mid-nineteenth century, an age of utopian imaginings, radical politics, social upheaval, and national crisis. We will attend to the diversity and invention of the literary and material forms, social visions, and ontological modes that vied for legitimacy and contributed to the social ferment and literary experimentalism that typify the period. Such imaginings are also shot through with traversals of other geographies and temporalitiesthe world in American literaturethat belie the exclusions of the nation and its boundaries. The Civil War will serve as our pivot as we reflect on accreting tensions between new worlds and end worldstensions endemic to slavery and embodied in the war. Critical perspectives from the environmental humanities, new historiographies of abolitionism, the history of sexuality, material culture studies, and critical race theory will help us to flesh out the worlds of mid-nineteenth-century American literature.

Readings will be drawn from: Emersons and Fullers essays; Poes The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym; Spoffords The Amber Gods; Nat Turners Confession; Thoreaus Walden, Melvilles The Piazza Tales; Stowes Dred: A Tale of the Dismal Swamp; Delanys Blake, Or the Huts of Africa; Douglasss My Bondage and My Freedom; Whitmans 1860 Leaves of Grass; Emily Dickinsons Civil War fascicles.

ENG 630-5 Graduate Pro-Seminar: U.S. Modernism
Th 9:30-12:15 PM
Instructor: Susan Edmunds
This course offers an introduction to modernist fiction in the U.S. We will begin by contrasting two accounts of the modernist emphasis on difficult form. Lukacs condemns modernist investments in spatial organization and aesthetic experiment for refusing the writers political and ethical task of socio-historical engagement. But David Harvey has argued that the formal features of modernist texts confront as such a crisis of representation intrinsic to the experience of modernity, and thus engage the task of socio-historical engagement more fully and with more insight than writing in other genres. With these arguments in hand, we will read an array of texts associated with high modernism, the Harlem (and Chicago) Renaissance, the proletarian literature movement, and popular or middle-brow modernism. Areas of social change and social struggle that well be discussing in relation to these texts include: veteran disillusionment following World War I; the betrayed legacy of Emancipation and the fight for racial justice; the 1920s sexual revolution, gender emancipation and womens suffrage; capitalist expansion, labor radicalism, and the ethical role of the state; new animosities and cross-fertilizations between high art and mass culture; massive immigration, migration and the pro-nationalist bid to forge a distinctly American voice. Throughout, we will return to texts that depict wastelands and undergrounds, with an eye to understanding why these topoi became so important to twentieth-century writers as they grappled with the upheavals and inequities of U.S. modernity. Assigned texts are likely to include: T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land, Stein, Tender Buttons; Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises; Toomer, Cane; Larsen, Passing; Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom!; Olsen, Yonnondio; Wright, Native Son; and The Man Who Lived Underground; Hammett, Red Harvest; West, Miss Lonelyhearts; and Ellison, Invisible Man.

ENG 631-4: Critical Theory
MW 12:45-2:05 PM
Instructor: Don Morton
The course will be a rigorous inquiry into a range of contemporary theoretical discourses, drawing on texts from such zones (among others) as language and rhetorical analysis, psychoanalysis, deconstruction, feminism, performance theory, race theory, queer theory, historical materialism, postcolonial and globalization theory, . . . .   In addressing the fundamental question of what the term critical means in the phrase critical theory, the course will explore the significant differences between traditionalist criticism, deconstructive critique, Foucauldian genealogy as critique, and Marxist ideology critique. 

ENG 650-3 Forms: The Russian Short Story in Translation
Th 9:30-12:15 PM
Instructor: George Saunders
The Russian short story has had an indelible effect on the form, especially in America. In this class we will study stories from the great Russian masters (Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekov, Babel, Kharms, among others). Our emphasis will be on craft  the ways in which these writers attained their effects, approached via close readings of selected stories  but we will also look at the ways in which the politics and moral-ethical struggles of their times formed these writers and their works. We will also concern ourselves with the issues associated with translation itself:  What are we reading when we read a work in translation? Do translation issues affect some writers more than others, and why? The goal of the course is a heightened awareness of the role that language, form, structure, and narrative logic play in the creation of a work of literature.

ENG 650-5 Forms: Eastern European Poetry
Th 12:30-3:15 PM
Instructor: Chris Kennedy
We will read the work of "contemporary" Eastern European poets and consider their relationship to and influence on writers in this country. Writers we will read include Paul Celan, Miroslav Holub, Vasko Popa, and Zibigniew Herbert. There will be weekly writing assignments, consisting of brief response papers (creative or analytical).

ENG 650-6 Forms: Character
Tu 6:30-9:15 PM
Instructor: Jonathan Dee
A novel is a meditation on existence as seen through the medium of imaginary characters, says Milan Kundera. So if character, as much as language, is the fiction writers medium, what is a character, exactly? How do you make one? How much raw, descriptive character-building material is enough, and how much is too much? Theyre supposed to be consistent and yet theyre supposed to change: how are you expected to pull that off? This course will look at various approaches across time, from the hyper-detailed to the minimal, including the practice of transforming actual historical figures into fictional characters (Nixon, Amelia Earhart, etc.) and the current vanguard of novelists who make little or no attempt to differentiate between their protagonists and themselves.

Texts include: Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte; Lost Illusions, Honore de Balzac; The Good Soldier, Ford Madox Ford; Aspects of the Novel, E.M. Forster; Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison; The Trial, Franz Kafka; The Man Who Loved Children, Christina Stead; Jealousy and For a New Novel, Alain Robbe-Grillet; The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark; Jernigan, David Gates; The Hours, Michael Cunningham; How Should a Person Be?, Sheila Heti.

ENG 650-8 Forms: Common? / Uncommon?
Tu 3:30-6:15 PM
Instructor: Michael Burkard
The texts for the course will be Becoming Animal and Study of the Sensuous, both texts by anthropologist David Abram, Selected Poems of Tomas Transtromer, Robert Haas editor, Clemente (a book of interviews with artist Federico Clemente), and Neruda & Vallejo, Robert Bly editor.  The concerns of the course will be a poetry that is not essentially of the self.  Can Abrams studies turn us to a star, a spiders web, a tree in Indonesia?  I want us to attempt to make a bridge between our text readings and a poetry of politic  an elephant murdered for his tusks, a child hiding in a war-torn city, a landscape fracked to death, environmental carnage we wreak upon the planet  we will also view overtly political films such as Nostalgia for the Light.  Each week one or two students will do presentations on our readings for that week, and in some cases films will be previewed by one or two students before the films are introduced by these students the following week.  Each week each student will write a creative response to our readings.  I will expect each student to thoroughly engage in our weekly class discussions.  The classes will be the basis for our ongoing conversation

ENG 650-9 Forms: Literary Hoodoo and the Sacred Text
Th 3:30-6:15 PM
Instructor: Arthur Flowers
Magic and magical realism, afrofuturism and the oral tradition in African American literature through the works of Reed, Morrison, Wideman, Jones, Naylor, Chamoiseau, LaValle, Hairston, others.

ENG 715-2: First Year Poetry Workshop
Tu 12:30-3:15 PM
Instructor: Chris Kennedy
Students in this workshop will write one poem each week and critique one anothers poems in class with the ultimate goal of learning how to become better writers and readers of poetry. Admission is strictly limited to first year students in the MFA Program in Poetry.

ENG 716-2: Second Year Poetry Workshop
M 3:45-6:15 PM
Instructor: Bruce Smith
Students in this course will be asked to write twelve poems, one free poem to push back against the world with the imagination per week.  The emphasis will be both on the craft -- the language and the shaping and forming of the writing, and the imagination -- the vision that's unique to each individual.  Classroom work will consist primarily of workshop style discussion of student work, although each class will begin with poems, ancient and modern, as model or target for discussions of technique as well as examples of tapping the resources available to the writer.  This term Ill begin class with what I call, an exemplary poet  avoiding the more proscriptive term essential.  Exercises will include ways to locate the source of your poems as well as ways to "music" them, to shape them, and to revise them.

ENG 717-2: First Year Fiction Workshop
Tu 9:30-12:15 PM
Instructor: Arthur Flowers 
Workshop format. Craft. Production. Vision.

ENG 718-2: Second Year Fiction Workshop
F 9:30-12:15 PM
Instructor: Dana Spiotta
This course is the required workshop for students in the second year of the MFA Program in Fiction.

ENG 719-1: Third Year Poetry Workshop
W 12:45-3:35 PM
Instructor: Michael Burkard
We will meet in class and conferences to discuss your poems.  I can provide prompts if needed.  I imagine we would also have some discussion of directions of concern for thesis compilation in the spring semester of 2017.

ENG 721-1 Third-Year Fiction Workshop
W 12:45-3:35 PM
Instructor: George Saunders
In this class (which is required of, and restricted to, third-year MFA fiction students) students will deepen their fictive practice by reading and critiquing the work of their peers. Although we will go where this takes us, this class often concerns a refinement of the students practice of editing and revision, via close-reading.

ENG 730-1 Graduate Seminar: Game Studies
Tu 9:30 AM-12:15 PM
Film Screening Tu 7:00-9:45 PM
Instructor: Chris Hanson
Johan Huizinga opens his influential work Homo Ludens with the claim that play is older than culture. Such a claim is certainly a contentious one, but it points to broader questions about the relationships between play, games, and culture. What are the roles of games and play in contemporary culture and how are these roles shifting? In late 2013, game designer and theorist Eric Zimmerman boldlyand problematicallydeclared that we now inhabit the dawn of the Ludic Century. He argues that while the moving image has become a dominant mode of present-day cultural expression, linear media will increasingly be replaced by modular and participatory experiences facilitated by customizable game-like systems in the coming century. In such a cultural environment, Zimmerman believes that being merely media- and systems-literate will no longer suffice as the ability to analyze, evaluate, and interpret these emergent game-like systems will be far more valuable.

While any number of critiques might be made of Zimmermans manifesto, his observations resonate with the recent and ongoing emergence of game studies within the academy and the industry. Just as digital games have grown profoundly more complex in the last fifty years, theoretical and critical approaches to digital games have proliferated and diversified, moving well past early debates between narratology and ludology. Of course, the study of games predates the digital age, and in this course we will engage with the foundational texts which serve as precursors to the contemporary critical approaches which we will also explore. We will trace the historical development of game studies as a discipline, while also examining both traditional and digital games as case studies for our critical consideration. In addition to ergodic texts, we will also study screen-based media texts which explicitly or implicitly engage with the concepts of game studies. Attendance at weekly screenings is a required component of this course.

ENG 730-5 Graduate Seminar: History of the Book
M 9:30 AM-12:15 PM
Instructor: Patricia Roylance
This course is designed as an introduction to the field known most commonly as the history of the book. We will investigate what difference it makes to consider the materiality of a text when interpreting it. How do a texts material form and the modes of its production, circulation and reception affect our sense of its content? Over the course of the term, this question will lead us to consider topics including: manuscript versus print culture; printing technologies; models of the book trade; writers, publishers and readers as key nodes in the circulation of print; illustration, serialization, copyright, censorship, bestsellers, marketing and the digital book.

We will explore these and other issues through content drawn from the medieval to the modern period, focusing primarily on Britain and the Americas, examining a series of exemplary moments, authors, texts and genres with relevance for book history studies. The typical pattern for our weekly reading will involve one focal primary text and one or more secondary readings that illuminate issues of materiality germane to the primary work, but also applicable more broadly. This course will make use of the resources available at Bird Librarys Special Collections, and you will be required to do some archival work there, on materials of your choosing, for a short mid-term paper. There will also be a seminar-length paper due at the end of the term, in which you will bring to bear the theory and methods of the history of the book on materials of your choosing. The course will therefore be appropriate for students specializing in any field within literary or media studies, because the critical lens of materiality can complement any given content. Due to the inherently interdisciplinary nature of book history, students from other disciplines are also welcome.

ENG 730-6 Graduate Seminar: Affect and Emotion in Nineteenth-Century Literature
MW 2:15-3:35 PM
Instructor: Claudia Klaver

What is the affective work of different genres of nineteenth-century literature?  What are the dominant, residual, and emergent affective economies of Victorian culture?  How are major effects such as shame and happiness organized differently in the nineteenth-century than in the early twenty-first century? How do nineteenth and twentieth-century theorists think about literature as a vehicle for teaching and experiencing sympathy?  These are some of the questions that will organize this seminar.  The course will be divided into topical rather than historical sections in order to enable us to better pursue these lines of inquiry.

The first major section will examine the novel as a vehicle for the readers sympathetic identification with characters and situations portrayed in the novel.  Secondary readings will range from the cognitive scientific approaches of Lisa Zunshine and Blakey Vermeule, to the moral philosophical account of Martha Nussbaum, to the more literary historical analyses of Rae Greiner, Adela Pinch, Rachel Ablow, Audre Jaffe, and Rebecca Mitchell.   These texts will provide lens though which to analyze novels by Austen, Dickens, and Eliot as well as to test these different theorizations of feeling with and for fictional characters in realist fiction.

The second major section of the course will follow the line of affect theory threaded by Deleuze, Massumi, Sedgwick, Tompkins, Berlant, Ahmed, and Ngai to explore the ways texts exert their affective forces on readers through other mediums than sympathetic identification.  While many of these theorists focus the contemporary affective situations of twenty-first century neoliberalism rather than the imperial, liberal modernity of nineteenth-century Britain, this gap will provide an ideal space for the class to explore together how to adapt and rethink these models to gain insight into the affective world of Queen Victorias Britain. 

In the courses third section, we will turn to several specific sites of emotional and/or affective intensity in Victorian Britain, drawing from a range of literary historical and critical accounts and psychoanalytic, feminist, and queer theories to explore grief and mourning, shame and humiliation, romantic love, and perhaps hatred or sadness/melancholia.  In both this and the previous section, the readings will draw on a range of literary material.  For example, exploring grief and mourning, we will read sections of Tennysons In Memoriam and Margaret Oliphants Autobiography.  We will examine shame and humiliation through Dickenss Great Expectation and his autobiographical fragment on working in the blacking factory, the first chapter of Trollopes Autobiography, and probably sections from Tom Browns School Days.

Spring 2016

ENG 615-2 Open Poetry Workshop
M 3:45-6:30 PM
Instructor: Michael Burkard

This course is open to students in the MFA Creative Writing Program. Students in other disciplines may apply after having a conference with me. In a few cases, undergraduates are admitted. I would require a conference before registration, and samples of writing in conference, and, possibly, a recommendation from a faculty member.

There will be weekly discussions of student writing. Outside reading will be assigned each week. A few films and/or art videos and/or poetry readings for view may also be presented. Experimentation and revision will be encouraged. This is a discussion course, and much emphasis will be placed upon prepared and cogent commentary from students on any writing we read or any of the viewings/readings we study.

ENG 617-1 Open Fiction Workshop
F 10:30-1:35 PM
Instructor: STAFF

This workshop is open to all graduate students interested in writing fiction (students not matriculated in the MFA Program need my permission to register, and MFA students have priority). Participants submit, read, and critique short stories or novel excerpts. Student work will be the focus of the class; outside reading, pertinent to discussion, may occasionally be assigned.

ENG 630-1 Graduate Pro-Seminar: What Was Modernism?
M 3:45-6:30 PM
Instructor: Chris Forster

The art and literature of the first half of the twentieth century is frequently called modernist. It is a term that exists in awkward (and sometimes productive) tension with other key terms: the avant-garde, for instance, or postmodernism. This class seeks to introduce and understand that term, and the debates which surround it, by reading a series of key texts from the period alongside important criticism. No prior familiarity with modernism is necessary. Course readings will include work across genres by figures including W. B. Yeats, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, T. S. Eliot, Samuel Beckett, Mina Loy, and others. Alongside these works we will read a diverse range of the major critics of the period, from a range of theoretical perspectives. Our goal will be to both understand the works we read, but also to understand the shifting contours and constructions of modernism as a key, but contested, term of literary history. Course work will include a seminar presentation, and a range of writing assignments (including a book review, a conference abstract, and a conference-length paper).

ENG 630-2 Graduate Pro-Seminar: Travel, Translation, and Pilgrimage
Tu 3:30-6:15 PM
Instructor: Ken Frieden

From the Crusades to contemporary tourism, travel has been a prominent motif in religious literature and in popular culture. We will look at accounts of exploration, mercantile travel, and pilgrimage narratives, primarily by Jewish travelers and authors. Most claim authenticity, although the line between fact and fiction is not always easy to determine. Travel narratives have played a central role in literary and religious history; traditionally, the pilgrimage and secular tourism challenge the Zion-centered worldview. In another genre and imaginative geography, folk tales present fantastic voyages that suggest meanings on an allegorical level.

As many of the narratives we will read were not written in English, for much of the semester we will work with translations. Consequently, the course will also refer to pertinent issues in translation studies. There is a natural connection between exploration and translation, because as George Steiner wrote, The translator invades, extracts, and brings home.

ENG 650-1 Forms: The Real
Tu 6:30-9:50 PM
Instructor: Jonathan Dee

What we talk about when we talk about realism in fiction is usually very narrowly defined; the history of the novel has always been furthered by formal innovations and disruptions that might best be appreciated not as avant-garde experiments but as attempts to update and refine the representation, on the page, of what it feels like to live. That feeling, of course, changes in many ways across eras and across cultures: as Milan Kundera wrote, Every novel, like it or not, offers some answer to the question: What is human existence, and wherein does its poetry lie? We will read a broad and evolving survey of such answers, up to the present day.

ENG 650-2 Forms: Teaching Creative Writing & Photography in the Community
W 12:30-3:15 PM
Instructor: Michael Burkard

My role as a writer/instructor in this course is to facilitate discussion and share my experience as a writer who has worked with many different community populations over the last two decades. My role is also to prepare you for various writing exercises that you could use in visiting these venues. I will provide you with material assignments each weekideally these will clarify approaches that could become successful exercises. The in-class writing assignments will imitate or prefigure what/how we might work with similar assignments at the community site.

The course is a collaborative experience. A course taught by Stephen Mahan, Literacy, Photography and the Community, will meet with this course. No previous photography experience is necessary. Our writing ideas and assignments will intersect with photographic ideas and assignments. Grading for the course will be determined by the quality of your participation in our class meetings and in the community venues. Undergraduates may enroll in this course with the instructor's permission. Meets with TRM 610

ENG 650-3 Forms: Vision
Tu 3:30-6:15 PM
Instructor: Brooks Haxton

This course will explore poems regarded as visionary in their conception and poems preoccupied with the representation of visual perception.  Some of the poets whose work we will analyze will include: Shakespeare, Milton, Blake, Keats, Whitman, Dickinson, Marianne Moore, W.C. Williams, Eliot, H.D., Roethke, Bishop, Valentine, Simic, and Brigit Kelly, among others. Writing assignments will include imitations of these writers and pieces that use these writers as a springboard. Prose or verse will be fine for the assignments. We will read a few works in translation as well as writers of English.

ENG 650-4 Forms: The Unhinged Narrator
Th 3:30-6:15 PM
Instructor: STAFF

This course will focus on literature narrated by characters who have become unhinged from the norms of society. They may stand apart from the mainstream because of willful eccentricity, madness, prejudice, even social disgrace, but in each case their alienation provides them with a unique perspective, one that allows the reader to see the world they describe without the dulling lens of convention. We will explore what authors might gain from narrating their works from an "outsider" perspective, as well as study how the peculiar forms and structures of these books reflect the modernist impulse in literature. Over the course of the semester, students will use these texts as a springboard for creating their own creative and critical work. Texts will include works by Knut Hamsun, Vladimir Nabokov, Jean Rhys, Donald Antrim, Joy Williams, Robert Walser, Claudia Rankine, Ben Lerner, Richard Yates, Denis Johnson, J.M. Coetzee and Octavia Butler.

ENG 650-5 Forms: Voice in Contemporary American Poetry
Tu 12:30-3:20 PM
Instructor: Chris Kennedy

We will read the work of several poets to provide the basis for a discussion of voice in Contemporary American Poetry. Some poets we will read include Frank Stanford, Terrance Hayes, Russell Edson, Alice Fulton, Ben Mirov, and Jennifer Chang. Students will be required to turn in weekly response papers (creative or analytical) that address or are inspired by the voices in the poems read for that week.

ENG 730-1 Graduate Seminar: Visual Cultures of Witnessing
Tu 12:30-3:15 PM
Film Screening Tu 7:00-9:45 PM
Instructor: Roger Hallas

This seminar explores how 20th and 21st century visual cultures have engaged in various mediated acts of witnessing. The testimonial act of bearing witness to traumatic experience has become a privileged and omnipresent mode of communication over the last century. While the past hundred years have produced an incredible global proliferation of visual technologies, the same period also incorporated a catalog of historical traumas which have pushed the very limits of these representational technologies, from World War I to the Holocaust to climate change. Focusing on camera-based media (film, video, photography) from a variety of historical and geographical contexts (including the Holocaust, the AIDS pandemic, Israel/Palestine, Darfur and Nicaragua) this course will approach the task of conceptualizing the dynamics of witnessing within visual culture through the three interdisciplinary fields that have most shaped this concept: trauma theory, human rights discourse and visual studies. A number of fundamental questions shall guide us through this investigation:  What function should visual representation serve in the face of unbearable trauma and injustice?  How does the global circulation of images as witness shape the meanings they may produce?  How do individual testimonies mediate collective histories?  What forms of visual evidence count in producing the truth of an historical event?  What are the implications of ubiquitous visual surveillance on the very idea of the camera witness? The weekly screenings scheduled for this course are required.

ENG 730-2 Graduate Seminar: Postwar U.S. Fiction
Th 9:30-12:15 AM
Instructor: Susan Edmunds

In this seminar, we will read postwar U.S. novels and short stories from the late forties to the present. We will interpret the fiction through a sociohistorical lens, with particular emphasis placed on investigating the interconnections between literary form and social change. After an initial survey of fiction written in direct response to World War II and its aftermath, we will read literary texts associated with or influenced by the counterculture , the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, Second Wave Feminism, and the late twentieth-century triumph of U.S. consumerism. I am still working on the final booklist for this course. Authors are likely to include James Baldwin, Hisaye Yamamoto, Joan Didion, Thomas Pynchon, Michael Herr, Kurt Vonnegut, Grace Paley, Toni Morrison, Don DeLillo, Chang-Rae Lee, David Foster Wallace, and Junot Diaz.

ENG 730-3 Graduate Seminar: Hamlet
Tu 9:30-12:15 PM
Instructor: Dympna Callaghan

There are three extant versions of Hamlet: the First Quarto (known as Q1) the Second Quarto (known as Q 2) and the Folio text (known as F), and this fact arguably constitutes the most perplexing mystery in all of English Literature.  Q1 is the earliest version of the play, and yet some (though not all) of its language is far from anything we associate with Shakespeare: To be or not to be.  Aye theres the point. Q1, however, when read in tandem with the other texts, reveals a great deal about both Shakespeares language and his writing practices.  In this course, we will read the three extant versions of Hamlet with a focus on the plays languageboth its poetry and its prose.  We will pay minute attention to the text even as we consider some of the overarching issues of the play, including Hamlets relationship to other writing, especially to the prose of Thomas Nashe, to the poetry of Christopher Marlowe, as well as to early modern translations of Homer, Vergil, and Ovid.  

The course will be of particular interest to those working on poetry or on prose in any period.

ENG 799-1 MFA Essay Seminar
M 9:30-12:15 PM
Instructor: Arthur Flowers Jr
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. 

Fall 2015

ENG 630-1 Graduate Pro-Seminar: Twentieth-Century American Poetry
M 9:30 AM-12:20 PM
Instructor: Harvey Teres

This course will survey some of the most accomplished and influential poets of the past century, including Robert Frost, Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, Langston Hughes, Sterling Brown, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, Gwendolyn Brooks, Frank OHara, John Ashbery, Allen Ginsberg, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Adrienne Rich, Richard Wilbur, Alan Dugan, Amiri Baraka, Charles Simic, Anthony Hecht, and Louise Gluck.  Attention will be paid to the craft of poetry, to the private and public voices in American poetry, to American poetrys effect on readers individually and collectively, and to poetrys role within American society as a whole.  Theodor Adornos  Lyric Poetry and Society, Robert Pinskys Democracy, Culture, and the Voice of Poetry, Joan Rubins Songs of Ourselves: The Uses of Poetry in America, Scholes and Wulfmans Modernism in the Magazines, and James Longenbachs The Resistance to Poetry will help frame the courses broader concerns. 

ENG 630-3 Graduate Pro-Seminar: Theories of New Media
Tu 12:30-3:15 PM
Film Screening: Tu 6:30-9:15 PM
Instructor: Chris Hanson

As digital technologies play an increasingly central role in the production and experience of media texts, historical separations between individual media forms and practices are ever more prone to slippage and redefinition. If we watch a film on a tablet or phone, is it still truly cinema if it is not light projected through a celluloid print watched in a darkened theater?  While we may still claim that we watched a film on a digital device, it is evident that our conception of cinema has been historically defined, the product of a constellation of social, industrial, political, and cultural practices. As we will examine in this seminar, traditional theoretical approaches to media forms are often heavily invested in the role of medium specificitythat is, articulating the precise material properties and the associated practices which separate one medium from another. The shift to the digital has challenged such theoretical modes, and a consideration of the convergent properties of digital media will inform our examination of theoretical approaches to new media. We will examine emergent media forms and practices in conjunction with their associated conceptions and considerations, tracing their historical lineages while simultaneously charting their theoretical implications.

Film screenings are required.

ENG 631-3 Critical Theory
Tu 3:30-6:20 PM
Instructor: Crystal Bartolovich

Critical Theory offers a shared experience for all first year MA and PhD students in English and is intended to provide an introduction to a range of metacritical concepts, debates, and protocolsthat is, the underwriting assumptions (varied and contradictory as these may be)on which the discipline currently relies.  Given this extravagant goal, it is worth noting what this course will not do so that you can adjust your expectations accordingly: it will not answer every question you have about theory; it will not tell you everything you need to know to succeed in the profession; indeed, it will not give you any pat solutions at all.  What it will do is introduce you to the modes of questioning that are necessary to any critical practice.  No matter how much (or little) theory you have already read, this professional orientation will direct your thinking toward English as a discipline, and how to work within it self-consciously and critically.   In other words, we will explore ways of reading theoretical and critical texts, examine how critical questions have been and are now generated in English, and consider why new critical practices emerge (or fail to do so). 

ENG 650-1 Forms: History, Research, and Imagination
Tu 9:30 AM-12:20 PM
Instructor: Dana Spiotta

We will be reading novels and fiction that use history as part of their construct.  We will read some (so-called) historical fiction,  and examine the challenges, strategies, and pitfalls of writing about past time periods.  We also will read fiction that employs real-life historical figures as characters, and we will explore what works and what doesn't.  What is the negotiation between what you can imagine and what you must research? We will examine how various writers have approached the ethical, technical, and formal concerns of such fictions.

ENG 650-3 Forms: The Short Novel
Th 9:30 AM- 12:20 PM
Instructor: George Saunders

Well be reading short novels (i.e., under 150 pages) from a variety of writers (Tolstoy, Bolano, Kerouac) from a craft perspective, but especially with the idea of using the short novel as a way of understanding the longer novel.  What can we learn about plot, pacing, and character development by close study of this form?  Is it valid to think of the short novel as a bridge between the short story and the novel proper?  By focusing on this relatively modest length, can we avoid some common novel-writing errors, and come closer to understanding the essence of storytelling? 

ENG 650-5 Forms: Art of Memoir: Revelations from Your Dang Life
Th 12:30-3:20 PM
Instructor: Mary Karr

Well read and discuss eleven memoirs, plus excerpts of a few others.  Work for the semester will consist of reading and being engaged with the books.

Assignments will include:  small creative projects or research exercises(one to two pages)  sprinkled through the semester; a presentation on one of the writers; and a paper. The paper may be a critical review, which would be excellent practice for the second-year paper, or a personal memoir.  The purpose of the class is to have a revelation: prepare.  Readings may include: St. Augustine, Confessions; Richard Wright American Hunger; McCarthy, Memories of  Catholic Girlhood; Primo Levy, Survival at Auschwitz; Nabokov, Speak, Memory; Conroy Stop-Time; Michael Herr Dispatches; Hong Kingston, Woman Warrior; Crews, Childhood: Biography of a Place; Wolff, This Boys Life; Batuman, The Possessed

ENG 650-6 Forms: Dime Store Alchemy
W 9:30 AM - 12:20 PM
Instructor: Michael Burkard

Charles Simics Dime Store Alchemy is a text devoted to American artist Joseph Cornell.  We will us his text as a model for discussion for creating a similar homage to an artist each student will choose to give written tribute to.  The other aspect of the course will focus on creating musical relationships to poems by Elizabeth Bishop, Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, and a few other poets.  These latter studies may be in the form of creating melodies or working in collaboration to set pieces to music.

ENG 650-7 Forms: Art and Craft of Poetry
Tu 6:30-9:15 PM
Instructor: Brooks Haxton

The premise of this course is that a piece of writing is a deliberate construction that uses what the writer has learned from others to generate an intense experience in the reader.  We will spend several weeks on various rhythmic traditions and stanza patterns, not because everyone should use these, but because any writer who gets the feel for these patterns has better access to most of the best poetry written in English, and greater freedom in the act of composition. Other topics will include image, diction, tone, point of view, and argument.  Weekly handouts will describe principles to be studied in poems assigned as reading, and in that week's writing assignment.  Prose writers as well as poets will find this course useful.


ENG 715-2 First Year Poetry Workshop
Tu 12:30-3:15 PM
Instructor: Brooks Haxton

Students in this workshop will write one poem each week and revise at least four of these into carefully considered versions on the basis of workshop analysis.  Reading and writing assignments will address issues that arise in workshop.  Admission is strictly limited to first-year students in the MFA Program in Poetry.


ENG 716-2 Second Year Poetry Workshop
M 3:45-6:20 PM
Instructor: Bruce Smith

Students in this course will be asked to write twelve poems, one free poem per week to push back against the world with the imagination.  The emphasis will be both on the craftthe   language and the shaping and forming of the writing, and the imaginationthe vision that is unique to each individual.  Classroom work will consist primarily of workshop-style discussion of student work, although each class will begin with poems, ancient and modern, as models or targets for discussions of technique as well as examples of tapping the resources available to the writer.  This term Ill begin class with what I call, an exemplary poetavoiding the more prescriptive term essential.  Exercises will include ways to locate the source of your poems as well as ways to "music" them, to shape them, and to revise them.



ENG 717-2 First Year Fiction Workshop
F 9:30 AM-12:20 PM
Instructor: TBA

This course is the workshop for students in the first year of the MFA Program in Fiction.

ENG 718-2 Second Year Fiction Workshop
Tu 3:30-6:20 PM
Instructor: Arthur Flowers

2nd Year Fiction.  Craft.  Production.  Vision.


ENG 719-1 Third Year Poetry Workshop
W 12:45-3:35 PM
Instructor: Mary Karr

This is an advanced course, so I assume youre all passionate about poetry and motivated enough to read, write, critique each others work with utmost care and respect, and rewrite and rewrite and rewrite.  Its a class based almost entirely on revision, so your notes on each others poems should be detailed and serious. Id also like for you to keep different drafts of the same poems. What I value first and foremost is clarity in communication and strong feeling (in the reader, NOT the writer).  If your notes are sketchy, cartoony, or in any way haphazard, I will ask for typed notes for each class.

Your citizenship in this class also demands kindness and courtesy to everyone in the room. Anyone unable to maintain civility wont finish the class.


ENG 721-1 Third Year Fiction Workshop
W 12:45-3:35 PM
Instructor: George Saunders

This course is restricted to, and required of, third-year students in the graduate fiction program.  We will be reading and critiquing student work, and examining published work for certain craft principles.  Each student will produce three or four original works of fiction, which will be distributed to and discussed by the class; each student is also expected to provide rigorous and detailed critiques and edits of the work of his or her peers.

ENG 730-1 Graduate Seminar: Participatory Romanticism
Tu 9:30 AM-12:20 PM
Instructor: Mike Goode

This course will consist of case studies of the distinctive afterlives of four major Romantic-era cultural productions: William Blakes poetry, Walter Scotts Waverley Novels, Jane Austens novels, and Mary Shelleys Frankenstein.  We will be taking seriously the Deleuzean charge to study what texts do rather than what they mean, even as we challenge ourselves to try to understand the conditions of possibility (textual, cultural, economic, intellectual, technological) whereby they came to do the things they do.  In each case we will be concentrating on a different mode of textual doing, or, less opaquely, a different kind of remediation or audience participation in the life of the text to which the text seems somehow to have made itself distinctly available.  Thus, in the case of Blakes poetry, we will be thinking about viral dissemination, or going viral, as a form of remediation that his poetry both theorizes and enacts; with Scotts historical novels, reenacting and living history as forms of initiatory knowing that his novels both theorize and enact; with Austens novels, rewriting as a fan practice that the novels anticipate and encourage; and with Shelleys Frankenstein, theatrical adaptation as a mode of remediation that the novel simultaneously lends itself to and is actually about.  As we look at texts as sets of meaningful potential that get unlocked or even created with use, we will be asking ourselves to what extent it makes sense to look at what a text does in one time and place in order to think about what it did or could have been doing in another.  To the extent that we can credit any of these texts with being responsible for some of the distinctive modes whereby people have participated in making them do things, we will also try to read them as texts that in fact theorize participating and doing.

ENG 730-3 Graduate Seminar: Victorian Politics and Literature
W 5:15-8:00 PM
Instructor: Kevin Morrison

This seminar will explore the ideological assumptions of the liberal political and literary tradition in Victorian England. Beginning with a brief introduction to liberal forebears such as the philosophers John Locke and Jeremy Bentham, we will concentrate on the political fiction of the mid-nineteenth century. Throughout the semester, we will attempt to differentiate among liberalism as a theory that construes human subjectivity as rationally motivated; as a worldview, dating back to the Tudor era, that places emphasis on individual property rights and religious toleration; and as a political party, formed in the 1850s, that supported laissez-faire economic policies, social reforms, and minimizing the authority and influence of the monarchy and the Church of England. Our readings may include several novels by Anthony Trollope (Phineas Finn, Phineas Redux, The Prime Minister, and The Dukes Children), whose Palliser series takes parliamentary politics as its focus; George Eliots Felix Holt, the Radical, written just after a major extension of the franchise in 1867 but looking back to the Great Reform Act of 1832; and George Merediths Beauchamps Career, which has been called one of the finest political novels in English. To contextualize these works, we will also read Matthew Arnolds Culture and Anarchy; Walter Bagehots The English Constitution; selections from J. S. Mill, James Fitzjames Stephen, and John Morley; speeches by William Gladstone; and modern theorizations of liberal practice in this era (by Elaine Hadley, Uday Mehta, and Catherine Gallagher, among others).

ENG 730-4 Graduate Seminar: Comparative U.S. Minority Literatures and Cultures
Th 12:30-3:20 PM
Instructor: Carol Fadda-Conrey

This course will offer an introduction to the study of minority experiences within U.S. national as well as transnational contexts. We will focus on key questions that interrogate the ways in which U.S. minority formations, extending to the ethnic, racial, gendered, sexual, and religious, intersect with and inform performances of citizenship and belonging in the U.S. In addressing these questions, we will situate such formations across a long historical continuum including, for example, constructions of minority citizenships in the nineteenth century up until post-9/11 Islamophobic imaginings of the terrorist body. Such intersections will be examined through theoretical, critical, and literary lenses, which will help us unpack some of the confluences and divergences among various minority experiences in the U.S.

The framework of our analysis will not be restricted to a comparative model entrenched in the constructs of similarity and difference, however, but will integrate a focus on the relational by looking at the ways in which histories of racism, sexism, religious bias, and national exceptionalism draw on each other, particularly as they are shaped by dominant racist, imperialist, patriarchal, and colonialist logics. In doing so, it becomes important to investigate these minority positionalities not only within the specific context of the U.S. nation-state but also within a transnational framework to examine how decolonization, neocolonialism, and military conflicts in Africa, Asia, and Latin America have shaped and continue to shape our understanding of racial, ethnic, gendered, sexual, and national identity formations.

In questioning such formations, we will be looking at alternative anti-hegemonic narratives that defy the rigid monitoring and categorization of U.S. identities. Such narratives emanate, for instance, from cross-ethnic and cross-racial coalitions, including for instance feminist critiques of hegemonic constructions of race, sexuality, and ethnicity, as well as narratives that explore the role that political activism and artistic expression play in altering dominant modes of knowledge production about national, racial, ethnic, sexual, and gendered identities.