Below are the courses being offered this term in the English graduate program.
You can find upcoming graduate courses on this page, an extensive list of recent courses on this page, some recent M.A. theses on this page, and a description of our teaching internship program on this page.
ENG 8260.001 Topics: Renaissance Literature
Dr. Lauren Shohet
Mon., 5:20 – 7:20
Ecocriticism and Early Modern Literature
In this course, we will study a variety of early-modern English writing that represents, theorizes, or otherwise engages the natural world and its boundaries. We will consider explicit discussions of the natural world; even more centrally, we will plumb the models of agency, ethics, humanity, language, and aesthetics implicit in textural constructions of the human, the animal, the vegetable, the supernatural, and their interrelations.
We will explore consequences of a range of changes impacting humans' relationships to the rest of nature in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: rapid urbanization, large-scale conversion of subsistence plots to grazing acreage, the emergence of Cartesian subjectivity; social and economic reorganizations of the landed gentry. We will consider pastoral meadows, lyric flowers, dramatic animals, romance oceans, geogic agriculture, exemplary insects -- not to mention Protestant and Catholic models of stewardship, debates about managing the natural resources of the New World, and radical manifestos of vegetarianism. We will set early-modern world views sponsored by analogical reasoning (which seeks correspondences among orders of being as different as invertebrates, grasses, and angels) and humoural psychology (with its deeply porous understanding of insides and outsides, humans and non-humans) in dialogue with some central texts of twenty-first-century ecocriticism and network theory, exploring where pre- and post- modern modes of thought variously illuminate, challenge, or animate one another. In addition to primary theorists of our categories, we will consider recent ecocritically invested readings of Renaissance literature, especially the burgeoning "green Milton" and "green Shakespeare" bibliographies, exploring the promises and perils of the enterprise.
Texts will include poetry of Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, Andrew Marvell, Ben Jonson, Amelia Lanyer, Robert Herrick, and John Donne: Milton's "Lycidas," Mask Performed at Ludlow Castle, and portions of Paradise Lost; the Shakespearean plays Timon of Athens, Midsummer Night's Dream, and Macbeth; Aphra Behn's novella Oroonoko; and selected sermons, treatises, and pamphlets. Theoretical and critical readings will include Agamben's The Open, Derrida's "The Animal that Therefore I Am"; Robert Watson's Back to Nature; Richard Doyle's Netware; Sullivan and Floyd-Wilson's Environment and Embodiment in Early Modern England; and a range of critical articles on our primary texts and issues. Requirements include lively participation, informal response papers, a short paper in the first quarter, and a longer seminar paper.
ENG 8640.001 Topics: Modern British Literature
Dr. Joseph Lennon
Wed., 7:30 - 9:30
Twentieth-Century Irish Theater
This course will examine Irish plays from the days before the founding of the Abbey Theatre through contemporary Irish dramas--from George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde to Marina Carr and Conor MacPherson. This course is neither a survey nor a major author's course, but one that studies how a dozen or so plays help create a dynamic tradition in Irish theater and stagecraft that ranges from classicism and revivalism to an emphasic on the marginal and violent. We will be examining literary influence as well as blocking, cultural commentary as well as the emphasis on spoken language with in the works. We will consider how the Irish nation and various Irish communities have been staged--as well as how plays have had to work against being read as national or romanticizing Ireland. In this vein we will read the plays of W.B. Yeats in conversation with dramas of Samuel Beckett, read Conor MacPherson's The Weir and Marina Carr's By the Bog of Cats . . .in the light of Sean O'Casey's Dublin trilogy and J.M. Synge's The Tinker's Wedding. Understanding how the tensions within the plays resonate social tensions will be as important as understanding the challenges of staging scenes that alternately emphasize storytelling and silence, blindness and isolation, historical damage and lyrical wonder. We will both read and attend/view productions of the works.
ENG 9640.001 Topics: Modern American Literature
Dr. Heather Hicks
Tues., 5:20 - 7:20
Postmodern Literature and Theory
The past half-century saw political, social and aesthetic upheavals that exploded older notions of what and who "matters." In the political arena, civil rights, gay rights and feminist movements validated the voices and cultures of groups that were previously discounted. In the academic arena, this meant that slave narratives and feminist bestsellers were introduced onto syllabi alongside plays by Shakespeare. In politics, this shift has culminated with the election of America's first black president. Global technologies of communication assured that no nation or region could remain oblivious to the values and social practices of other parts of the world. Yet even as these and other technologies globalized knowledge, Weapons of Mass Destruction proliferated and suspicion toward science grew. In the world of art, toilet bowls and mass-produced photographs were displayed as prominently as paintings by Michelangelo. All of these changes raised questions about whose history, culture, art--whose Truth--was most important, most valuable, most real. Welcome to the postmodern era. This course will examine a series of texts that reflect upon the ontological changes associated with postmodernism. It will introduce you to major works of postmodern fiction along with key terms, concepts, and debates associated with postmodern theory. The objectives of this course are to (1) introduce you to many of the most cirtically acclaimed writers of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries; (2) familiarize you with major postmodern theorists and their core claims; and (3) increase your ability to bring theory and literature into dialogue with one another.
ENG 9730.001 Open Seminar
Dr. Kamran Javadizadeh
We tend to think of writing as lonely work. In this view, writers toil away in solitude, leaving their words to readers who must try to make sense of them in their own solitude. But what if we were to imagine the exchange between writer and reader, instead, as something more like a private conversation? At the heart of this course are four modern poets--Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Bishop, W.H. Auden, and James Merrill--who knew each other well. Moore was Bishop's mentor, and Merrill communicated with Auden (via Ouija board) even after the elder poet had died. Our seminar will examine how these and other configurations of the four poets modeled forms of intimacy present in their poems. We'll also explore questions of periodization, using the pairs of poets to think about what distinguishes modernism from postmodernism. But our authors also invite their readers into intimate relationships, and the chief work of our seminar will be to understand how these relationships are constructed and to study their implications for poetry. Throughout the class, we'll supplement our reading of the four poets with readings in criticism, theory, and biography. In order to make our study of the poets more intimate, we'll visit two of their living rooms: Marianne Moore's has been meticulously recreated at the Rosenbach Museum in Philadelphia, and James Merrill's has been preserved in its original location, Stonington, Connecticut. The primary written work for the seminar will be a research paper, but the course will also include a shorter essay at midterm and at least one formal presentation.
ENG 9035.001 Professional Research Option
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
ENG 9800.001 Internship in the Teaching of English
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)
ENG 8090.001 Thesis
ENG 8092.001 Field Exam
ENG 9031.001 Independent Study I