Current Courses

Below are the courses being offered this term in the English graduate program.

Fall 2020

What's Hot?  Introduction to Theory Across the Discipline of English
ENG 8000: Literary Theory 
Dr. Heather Hicks
CRN 23045
Thursday 5:20-7:20 pm
Distance Learning
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 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.  Assignments will include biweekly journals and a final 15-page seminar paper.

ENG 8260: Gender and Sexuality in Shakespeare, Milton, and their Contemporaries
Dr. Lauren Shohet
CRN 23048
Wednesday 5:20-7:20 pm
This course explores how gender and sexuality are constructed and deconstructed in plays, poetry, political treatises, sermons, recipes, and midwives’ manuals of the English Renaissance. Our central texts will be Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Macbeth, Merchant of Venice, Othello, and selected sonnets; Milton’s Paradise Lost and selected short poems; and Mary Wroth’s romance Urania. We’ll contextualize these with readings in other sixteenth- and seventeenth-century sources, present-day criticism, and post-Renaissance adaptations of our primary texts. How do early-modern articulations of gender and sexuality shape subsequent versions of these categories? What’s familiar, alien, appealing, appalling about them? What can we recover, and what can we never know, what can we use, what do we misunderstand when we examine these traditions? Readings and informal assignments will give students opportunities to test out different theoretical models and contemporary critical tools; substantial final papers will revisit and expand on this earlier work.

*This course will fulfill the pre-1800 British/Irish literature requirement


American Fiction before 1900 (A Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Course)
ENG 9530: American Fiction before 1900
Dr. Travis Foster
CRN 23052
Monday 5:20-7:20 pm
On the one hand, antiblackness, misogyny, natural resource extraction, oligarchy, income inequality, runaway capitalism, white supremacy, financialization  . . . on the other hand, radical black activism, first-wave feminism, free love experimentation, ecological thought, anarchism, socialism—all of these name familiar refrains of our present moment. All too describe central and recurrent themes in American fiction written before 1900.

By reading several of these novels and stories, our class will engage in a history of the present: one attuned to the latent yearnings, the fractiousness, and the feelings that more “official” archives elide. While our topics will be diverse in scope, two broad realities of the American nineteenth century—racial slavery and settler colonialism—will enter almost all of our discussions.

Unlike courses in which the professor assembles a syllabus ahead of time, in this class students will work collectively to plot our readings. You won’t be expected to come to class with any prior knowledge of American literary history. But our semester will be most successful if you spend some time before the semester begins thinking through the questions, topics, writers, and themes you’re most eager to explore. (Don’t worry, I’ll provide resources that should be helpful for doing just that.)

In addition, each student in the class will work with me to develop individual course assignment(s). For some, this may be something related to teaching and pedagogy. For others, it will be a research essay that can be developed into a writing sample, a conference paper, and/or a journal article. For others, this might mean a series of smaller assignments.

*This course will fulfill the pre-1900 American literature requirement

ENG 9730-001: Ecopoetry & Environmental Criticism
Dr. Lisa Sewell
CRN 23053
Tuesday 5:20-7:20 pm
Distance Learning
Ecocriticism began in the 1990s as a vaguely collective study of the relationship between literature and the environment that developed in response to twin crises: actual environmental degradation and a breakdown in intellectual categories of ‘the natural.’  Based initially in the western United States, the field has since grown interdisciplinary and international in scope and is currently a major academic movement. This course will focus on the poetry that inspired the movement, with a particular concentration on very recent North American poetry, alongside current texts in ecocriticism that challenge human-centered aesthetics and ethics. Of course, “nature poetry” has a long and central role in the traditions of English and American literature and we will investigate precisely what distinguishes “nature poetry” from “ecopoetry,” acquainting ourselves with the legacies of Romanticism and American Transcendentalism in the work of a few 20th century poets as well as recent North American poetry that is responding to human-caused climate change and working to rethink and reframe our understandings of nature, subjectivity and wilderness.

Readings will provide an opportunity to reflect on a number of key modes in ecocritical thought and address pressing issues of species extinction, environmental degradation, environmental justice, and environmental racism. The poets we focus on may include selections or single volumes by AR Ammons, Wendell Berry, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Simon Bitsui, Camille Dungy, Rebecca Dunham, Ross Gay, Jorie Graham, Robert Hass, Brenda Hillman, Bhanu Khapil, Yusef Komunyakaa, dg okpik, Mary Oliver, Tommy Pico, Evelyn Reilly, Ed Roberson, Craig Santos Perez, Brenda Shaughnessy, Gary Snyder, Juliana Spahr, Brian Teare, W.S. Merwin and Rita Wong.

We’ll also engage with a number of key ecotheoretical frameworks including Lawrence Buell’s environmental imagination, Val Plumwood’s ecofeminisms, Bruno Latour’s critique of Modernity, Timothy Morton’s ecological thought, Stacy Alaimo’s transcorporeal materialisms, Donna Haraway’s making kin, Anna Tsing’s interspecies explorations at the margins, and Rob Nixon’s slow violence and the environmentalism of the poor, among others. Course requirements include an eco-fieldtrip, one in-class presentation, weekly response papers, a mid-term essay and a final project. If interested, students will have the opportunity to work on their own creative ecopoetical projects.


The Art of Translation
ENG 9730-002: The Art of Translation
Dr. Adrienne Perry
CRN 23054
Monday 7:30-9:30 pm
Distance Learning
The so-called language barrier is permeable.
Differences in language signal larger differences in perception, culture, worldview, and mode of expression. Capital marshals difference as barrier.
Language can be used to divide and conquer, and yet it can also be used to unite, to resist domination, to construct more humane and delightful realities.
—Antena, from A Manifesto for Interpretation as Instigation 
I am many inside poetry. “I” as a subject, the cognizant “I” is deconstructed. I have never once lived as a single “I” inside poetry. The confusion of the multiple “I” is what makes me write poetry. I am a mother, a young unmarried woman, an angel, a prostitute. I am an infant just born, an old woman near death. When I am a mother, “I” the young unmarried woman is ill, and when I am a young woman, the mother is ill. Like the children who defy school and run out of the gate, multiple “I’s” dangle from the open skirt of the Buddhist goddess of Mercy. “You” inside poetry also dangle from the skirt.
—Kim Hyesoon, translated by Don Mee Choi

There are over 6,000 languages spoken around the globe, many of them in our own communities. Reading and writing across languages opens us up to that world. Translation, whether undertaken by us or others, is the art that makes this movement and its resulting encounters possible. “The Art of Translation” is a graduate seminar focusing on these encounters through the study of translation theory, practices, and the reading of literature in translation. As part of this focus, we will consider some of the issues undergirding contemporary and modern theories of translation. The course will ask a few basic questions. 1) What is translation? 2) What role does the translator play in translation? 3) As readers and writers, how can we use the practice of translation to rethink our relationship to language and, by proxy, power? As such, this course is also interested in the relationship between translation, language, ethics, and justice.
Required Readings May Include: 19 Ways of Looking at Wang Wei, Weinberger; The Diving Pool, Yoko Ogawa translated by Stephen Snyder; Mouth Eats Color: Sagawa Chika Translations, Anti-Translations & Originals, Sawako Nakayasu; “Thick Translation,” Kwame Anthony Appiah; The Translator’s Invisibility, Lawrence Venuti; Sphinx, by Anne Garréta, translated by Emma Ramadan; and The Passion According to G.H., by Clarice Lispector, translated by Idra Novey.

ENG 8090: Thesis Direction
CRN 23046
Direction of writing of the thesis, focused research on a narrowly defined question, under supervision of an individual instructor.

ENG 8092: Field Examination
CRN 23047
A broader exploration of a theme or area of literature than a thesis. The examination comprises a comprehensive statement essay and an oral exam component.

ENG 9031: Independent Study
CRN 23049
A special project pursued under the direction of an individual professor.

ENG 9080: Thesis Continuation
CRN 23051

Professional Research Option (PRO)
ENG 9035
Dr. Evan Radcliffe
CRN 23050
This option for second-year graduate students 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:
E-Book Industry, Teaching, Public relations, Rare book broker, Advertising, Web design, College admissions, Journalism. University administration, Testing industry, Arts administration, Tutoring industry, Library science, Technical writing, Entertainment industry work

Internship in Teaching English
ENG 9800 
CRN 23055

Second-year graduate students have the option to serve as an intern for a graduate faculty member in an undergraduate English course.  Interns will attend all class sessions, confer at least once with each student on their written work, lead two or three class sessions under the supervision of the faculty member, and complete a final project that is either (1) a substantial critical essay concerning the subject matter of the course or (2) a research project concerning trends and issues within college-level pedagogy.  The aim of the 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 an 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.

Department of English
St. Augustine Center
Room 402

Dr. Evan Radcliffe
Graduate Program Director

Mike Malloy
Graduate Program Coordinator


March 1: For admission with funding consideration

August 1: For admission without funding for the fall

December 1: For admission without funding for the spring

If you have missed a deadline, please contact Dr. Radcliffe to discuss your options.

Begin Your Application.


Sarah Beth Gilbert

Into the Multiverse: English Graduate Student Presents at Inclusive Sci-fi and Fantasy Convention

Villanova English master's student Sarah Beth Gilbert served on two panels and presented a paper at the first MultiverseCon this October. READ MORE