Upcoming MA ENG Graduate Courses

Spring/Summer 2021

ENG 603

ENG 603: British Literature Seminar

ENG 603 01 - British Literature Seminar
Spring 2021
ONLINE - Asynchronous
Professor Corinna McLeod

As Gayatri Spivak says, “Empire messes with identity.”  This course uses the lens of empire to focus a survey of 19th, 20th, and 21st century British Literature. We will examine texts ranging from the early 19th century to contemporary “British” writers (the quotation marks becoming clear as the semester progresses) as we investigate the important role literature plays as it reflects, and even helps formulate, national and cultural identities.  Students will examine literary historiography, cultural ephemera, and secondary critical readings alongside the primary texts.

English 661

ENG 661: Author or Topic Seminar - Jane Austen

ENG 661 02 - Author or Topic Seminar: Jane Austen
Summer 2021
ONLINE - Synchronous: Tues/Thurs - 6:00p-9:20p
Professor Jo Miller

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” –Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

“Forget the Jane Austen you think you know,” says Helena Kelly, in her brilliant book, Jane Austen, The Secret Radical, in which she argues that Austen’s radical social politics (on issues such as women’s rights, poverty, sexuality, slavery and abolition, class divisions, and the Church) were carefully hidden behind the romance plot in order to protect her respectability and make the publication and dissemination of these remarkable novels possible. Jane Austen’s six major novels, which seminar members will read in the order written, have remained almost unbelievably popular, stirring the cultural imagination of 200 years of readers, inviting us to rethink not only what we know about Austen herself, but also about ourselves as readers, and ultimately about the novel itself. 

Fall 2021

ENG 600

ENG 600: Graduate Literary Studies Seminar

ENG 600: Graduate Literary Studies Seminar 
Fall 2021
ONLINE - Asynchronous
Professor Sherry Johnson

This course will introduce graduate students to current literary studies by explicating historical changes in the field of English in both literary content and critical discourse. Students will explore these changes by studying key concepts in the discipline and by completing a research project.

Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man (1952) will serve as the principal text for the course. It had rave critical reviews, including one by George Mayberry of The New Republic: "[Ellison] is a master at catching the shape, flavor and sound of the common vagaries of human character and experience." It is an American coming of age story that offers a great opportunity for students to examine a number of the theories this class will engage. In reading Invisible Man, along with other critical texts, students will discuss principal elements in various literary theory, the goal of which is to have students practice advanced analysis. Simultaneously, students will engage in parallel discussions regarding questions of why we read, what we read, and how we read: the principle questions that started this thing called "Critical Literary Theory" to begin with. What is the value of literature? Critical secondary readings will help to bring such philosophical queries to the fore.

ENG 605 winding road

ENG 605: American Literature Seminar - The American Road Novel

ENG 605 01: American Literature Seminar - The American Road Novel
Fall 2021
HYBRID - Wed, 6:00p-8:50p on campus predetermined dates
Professor Kurt Bullock

"The Contemporary American Road Novel” will serve as the theme of the Fall 2021 ENG 605 Seminar in American Literature course. The course will include such landmark novels as Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, Ishmael Reed’s Flight to Canada, Mona Simpson’s Anywhere But Here, Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Don DeLillo’s Americana, and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, among othersOur primary texts will be supplemented by excerpts from such critical texts as Katie Mills’s The Road Story and the Rebel, Ann Brigham’s American Road Narratives, Jean Baudrillard’s America, Janis Stout’s The Journey Narrative in American Literature, Kris Lackey’s Road Frames, Susan McWilliams Barndt’s The American Road Trip and American Political Thought, and Ronald Primeau’s Romance of the Road. Our explorations will tackle issues of mobility and privilege, transformation and transcendence within the journey, and the metaphoric and allegoric nature of travel. 

English 616 field work near palm trees

ENG 616: World Literature - From Sugar to Soya: A Brief History of Life in the Capitalocene

ENG 616: World Literature - From Sugar to Soya: A Brief History of Life in the Capitalocene
Fall 2021
HYBRID: Mondays; 6:00p-8:50p on predetermined dates
Professor Brian Deyo

In this graduate seminar we will examine diverse works of world literature and world cinema through a select range of disciplinary perspectives from the human, social, and natural sciences that, taken together, will sensitize us to the fragility and complexity of life in the Capitalocene, a concept that has recently emerged amidst critical/theoretical debates on the Anthropocene: a concept that has helped to generate useful debate on the origins of anthropogenic environmental change over the past two decades. We’ll begin our work together by reading select critical interventions in the “Anthropocene debate” to become familiar with the strengths and limitations of the concept. This will prepare us to reflect on the value and utility of a range of alternatives, with a special focus on the Capitalocene, what Jason W. Moore succinctly refers to as an “historical era [dating to 1450] shaped by relations privileging the endless accumulation of capital” (Capitalism in the Web of Life, 173). Afterwards, we’ll read select sections of Raj Patel and Jason W. Moore’s A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things, which will provide a methodology for studying the social and ecological consequences of the mass production of cheap commodities (e.g., sugar, rubber, soya) in the Capitalocene through world literature and world cinema. Employing and testing this methodology as a novel way to study narrative art will also furnish us with the knowledge and skills required to perform the work of collectively forging and affirming new social imaginaries that organize our relations with the planet and each other differently—and in decisive contrast with the current order of things.

Winter 2022

ENG 614 kara walker artwork

ENG 614: Literature of US Minorities - The Neo-Slave Narrative

ENG 614: Literature of US Minorities - The Neo-Slave Narrative
Winter 2022
Tuesdays, 6:00p-8:50p - DEV 323E
Professor Sherry Johnson

The slave narrative is recognized as one of the founding genres in the African-American literary tradition.  It is a genre that was principally meant to speak to the horrors of slavery in the US, and thus aid in the abolition movement.  Still, in the 20th and 21st centuries, even in the absence of American chattel slavery, the genre persists.  This course will look at foundational slave narratives, as well as the significations made upon the slave narrative in contemporary literature from the US and Canada.  

English 624 Octavia Butler

ENG 624: Genre Studies - The Short Story

ENG 624: Genre Studies - The Short Story
Winter 2022
Mondays, 6:00p-8:50p - LHH 111
Professor Corinna McLeod

When looking at the famous dancing partnership of Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, the cartoonist Robert Thaves reminds us that Rogers had to do everything Astaire did, except backwards and in heels. Using this as an analogy to the short story and the novel, the short story is Ginger Rogers. By exploring short stories from around the world, across the centuries, and from a variety of cultural backgrounds, this class will examine how the form of the genre shapes its content. Students will examine literary historiography, cultural ephemera, and secondary critical readings alongside the primary texts. Authors studied may include: Jorge Luis Borges, Jhumpa Lahiri, Salman Rushdie, Octavia Butler, Laila Lalami, Anton Chekov, Katherine Mansfield, Helen Oyeyemi, James Joyce and more.

English 651 medieval castle horses

ENG 651: Topic Seminar - Medieval Literature: Greatest Hits

ENG 651 01: Topic Seminar - Medieval Literature: Greatest Hits
Winter 2022
Thursdays, 6:00p-8:50p - EC 417
Professor Kathleen Blumreich

Contrary to popular opinion, the medieval period was neither “dark” nor was the literature it produced boring, unsophisticated, or overly religious. To better understand and appreciate the cultural richness of the Middle Ages, we will focus this semester on an array of texts ranging in genre and date of composition from the mid-11th to the late 14th centuries. A tentative reading list includes work by: Abelard and Heloise, Marie de France, Chretien de Troyes, Chaucer, Julian of Norwich.