Graduate Course Descriptions
Introduction Research Methods
This course is an introduction to the professional study of English, with focus on the research process as well as selected subfields. Everyone will develop a research question on a topic of his/her own interest and pursue this question throughout the course, eventually producing a scholarly paper suitable for reading at a conference. Along the way, we will become familiar with various methods and tools of research; for example, we will become familiar with the conventions of MLA style, and we will practice doing annotations of scholarly articles and books in preparation for doing an annotated bibliography. We will also read essays that introduce several subfields in English studies (for example, composition, linguistics, textual scholarship, comparative literature) and hear talks by members of our departmental faculty who specialize in those areas. Oral presentation, annotation exercise, annotated bibliography, abstract, conference paper.
Introduction to Literary Theory
In this course, we will begin to explore that weedy land of -isms generally referred to as "Theory." We will consider some of the major intellectual developments of the last 150 years that have played a crucial part in our understanding of, and appreciation for literary and cultural texts. Our readings will come from the Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, Second Edition and will include readings on New Criticism, psychoanalysis, (post) structuralism, (post) Marxism, feminism, queer theory, gender studies, sensory/sound studies, and much more.
Studies in Poetry
This course is an immersive study of modern and postmodern American poetry and poetics. Students will learn to read American poetry in context- or, put another way, this course grounds the making of American poetry in aesthetic, bibliographic, social, and political milieus. Students will engage with work by poets affiliated (to varying degrees) with the Imagists, Harlem Renaissance, Objectivists, The New York School, Black Mountain, San Francisco Renaissance, Black Arts Movement, Confessionalism, and L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Poetry. Students can expect to read poems composed in a variety of forms, genres, and modes, with some emphasis on the American long or serial poem. Poetry will also be related to other artistic practices, including music, visual art, and dance. Interdisciplinary approaches are encouraged. Finally, as part of the course, students will develop skills related to archival research through use of Brown University's Modernist Journals Project and genetic criticism through use of The Modern Poetry Library's "critical and genetic edition" of John Ashbery's The Skaters.
Studies in American Literature
This course will follow the development of the Gothic in literature from its inception to the present. The genre characteristically deals with such things as the supernatural, sexual ambiguity, violence, perversions, and myriad marginalized social human practices and beliefs, and the works belonging to this genre follow well-developed and highly complex structures. Using psychoanalytic and genre theory, we'll analyze the Gothic as both literary and social phenomenon in order to reveal, among other things, how this genre of deviance, which is more pervasive today than ever, functions to define less "deviant" genres, from children's tales to romance novels and historical fiction.
Studies in Children's Literature
Mermaids who walk, ogres who devour small children and miniature men who are baked into puddings…The focus of our course will be the many tales of what Jack Zipes calls "the great fairy tale tradition," as well as a variety of illustrated books, stories, films, and television shows they have inspired. We'll explore the staying power of these tales and think about why there are so many (so many!) adaptations at this particular cultural moment.