Below are the courses being offered this term in the English graduate program.
Dr. Chiji Akoma
Tues., 7:30 – 9:30
Introduction to Literary Theory
"What's Hot? Introduction to Theory Across the Discipline of English"
This course will be run as a seminar in which, each week, a different graduate faculty member will introduce you to a body of theory that is particularly important within current discussions in their field of specialization. What are some of the major theoretical approaches in medieval studies today? Early modern studies? What about 19th-century American literature and British literature? Modernism? Postcolonial Studies? Irish Studies? Contemporary literature? This new, experimental class is an attempt to bring you immediately into dialogue with a wide variety of theories that are shaping literary study today. The course is intended to be a lively opportunity to meet most of the English faculty members who teach at the graduate level and to engage in dialogue about and analysis of the contemporary state of literary theory.
Dr. Brooke Hunter
Thurs., 5:20 - 7:20
This class examines how Geoffrey Chaucer and his contemporaries construct agency and subjectivity in their literature. With the Canterbury Tales as our central focus, we will explore how a variety of literary genres and forms deal with issues concerning choice and selfhood. In particular, we will focus on the mediating influences of politics, erotic desire, spirituality, rank, gender, and age. In addition to works by Chaucer, we will also read texts by John Gower, Margery Kempe, Julian of Norwich, The Pearl Poet, Thomas Hoccleve, John Lydgate, and others. Secondary readings will include historical literary critical, and theoretical writings. This course will involve significant reading in Middle English. Prior experience with Middle English will be helpful but not necessary.
Requirements include active participation in class discussions, short reading responses, a conference-style presentation, and a final paper.
Dr. Lauren Shohet
Wed., 5:20 - 7:20
Milton promised "the advantage that might be had of books promiscuously read." We shall try to exploit this advantage as the seminar focuses on Paradise Lost, but also reads much of Milton's other poetry, a selection of Miltonic prose, and a variety of contextualizing work in both Renaissance and modern-day conversations that include Milton. Toward meeting the needs of both students particularly interested in a single-author course and those who would like a broader-based approach to Early-Modern studies -- thereby also addressing both students with and without prior coursework in Milton -- we shall situate Milton's writing in arenas including the Renaissance epic, studying and teaching poetic form, Reformation theology, Renaissance relationships to Classical lyric forms, and early-modern political theory. Students also will have the opportunity to consider adaptations of Paradise Lost in centuries, cultures, and genres of particular interest to them. Secondary readings will survey the range of approaches that constitute contemporary professional discussion of Milton.
Dr. Mary Mullen
Realism and its Discontents
What is realism? What are its politics? Scholars tend to agree that realism is one of the most important legacies of Victorian literature, but they disagree about how to define the genre and how to assess its politics. For some scholars, realism represents reality to intervene productively in the world: to encourage social and political reforms, to foster sympathy and fellow feeling, to imagine a larger community. But many Marxist and postcolonial scholars are skeptical of realism precisely because of these interventions. They claim that in seeking to represent the world, realist novels replace history with ideology, class and colonial struggle with an imperial, white, bourgeois subjectivity. Considering these debates, this seminar will work to define realism, analyze its political effects, and assess its legacy. We will read theories of realism alongside novels by Walter Scott, Elizabeth Gaskell, Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, George Eliot, Margaret Oliphant, Edith Somerville and Martin Ross, and Thomas Hardy as we consider the relationships between realism and history, realism and literary form, and realism and place.
Dr. Crystal Lucky
Mon., 5:20 - 7:20
Native Sons and Daughters: African American Literature of the Early Twentieth Century
This course will examine the development of African American literature in the first half of the twentieth century, particularly as those texts answer a call made by African American writers and thinkers of the nineteenth century. Alongside appropriate contemporary criticism, we will read works representative of the varied concerns that faced African American post Reconstruction and throughout the Great Migration of the turn of the century through the 1940s. Authors include, but are not limited to, Charles Chesnutt, Pauline Hopkins, Jean Toomer, Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright and Ann Petry. Each sought to counter the racist stereotypes of the "Old Negro" as dependent, lazy, hyper-sexualized and violent. The task was neither easy nor able to be approached unilaterally, resulting in the construction of a complex "New" black American subject.
This is a three-credit independent study in which students identify one or a cluster of jobs or professions in which an advanced degree in literature is of benefit. In the course of the semester, students will research the career options of interest, identifying one or two fields as the focus of their work. They must generate a research paper that explores the history and future prospects of the field of interest, as well as current information about the requirements of the work, geographical information about centers of activity for the profession, and desirable employers. This research should include at least two meetings with professionals who work in the field. The paper must also analyze how advanced study of literature serves to enhance the students' desirability in the profession in question. As part of their final project, students must develop a cover letter outlining the ways their particular training makes them suitable to work in this field. Students will make their research available to other students in the program by uploading their final project onto a special section of the Graduate English Program blog. Potential fields of research include the following:
Entertainment industry work
Rare book broker
Option for second-year graduate students to serve as intern for graduate faculty member in upper-level undergraduate English course. Interns will attend all class sessions, confer at least once with each student on written work, lead two-three class sessions under supervision of faculty member, and complete a final project that is either (1) a substantial critical essay concerning subject matter of course or (2) a research project concerning trends and issues within college-level pedagogy. Aim of program is to provide students with teaching and classroom experience. Students may apply to serve as interns by consulting with a faculty member who is teaching in area of interest, and, if the faculty member is amenable, submitting a one-two page statement, outlining how this course addresses their larger intellectual goals, and what they hope to accomplish as an intern. (3 Cr)