Graduate Course Descriptions
English 503-001 | M 6:30–9:15
Theory and Practice of Teaching Composition
The renowned writing teacher and columnist Donald Murray once lamented that he was apprenticed to two crafts he could never master: writing and teaching. In this class we’ll consider Murray’s words both as they relate to each of his crafts separately and as they ring true in combination, when one takes on the challenge of teaching first year composition (FYC). In addition to mapping out the history of composition studies and identifying its primary thematic approaches, we’ll explore what happens at the intersection of theory and practice, familiarize ourselves with resources available for writing teachers, and develop course materials useful for teaching composition at the university or community college level. Required text: A Guide to Composition Pedagogies, second edition (Tate, Rupiper, Schick, and Hessler); selected articles.
This course is required for all teaching assistants and strongly recommended for anyone who is considering teaching.
ENG 511-001 | T 3:30–6:15
Studies in the Novel: Contemporary Women’s Fiction—Bodies at Work
In this class on historical fiction, we’ll explore how contemporary writers address the labor of women’s bodies. Women’s work, traditionally unpaid domestic labor, expanded alongside urbanization to include factory jobs, writing, preaching, teaching, the sex trade, labor organizing, and management. We’ll look at how current writers address the distant (and not so distant) past and the changing perceptions, constructions, and responsibilities of women’s bodies. We’ll discuss how representations of women’s bodies and women’s work change and remain constant over time as we also contextualize the novels within studies of historical fiction and feminist theory. Novels we’ll read may include Tracy Chevalier’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, Jo Baker’s Longbourn, Valerie Martin’s Mary Reilly, Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings, Lyndsay Faye’s Jane Steele, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Cathy Buchanan’s The Painted Girls, Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate, Sarah Waters’s Affinity, Ron Rash’s Serena, and Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping. This class also partially satisfies the WGS post-baccalaureate requirement.
ENG 514-001 | W 6:30–9:15
Studies in Drama: Avant-Garde Theater and Theory
This course focuses on several revolutionary literary trends that manifest themselves in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and France after 1890. We will explore aesthetic and anti-aesthetic leanings in manifestos from the most active agents of theater reform and discuss/reenact an assortment of plays that permit the student to visualize the movement of European theater along the paths of Pataphysical Theater, Expressionism, Futurism, Dada, Surrealism, the Theater of Cruelty, and the Theater of the Absurd in its quest for antirealism. Students will view stage productions, respond to short written responses of their peers, do background research, write a final paper in stages, and present semester projects on the oeuvre of a single author. Primary text: Cardullo and Knopf, Theatre of the Avant-garde 1890-1950. Yale UP, 2001.
Studies in Professional Writing: Professional Science Writing
Students in this course will advance their skills in communicating scientific information in a range of forms for a variety of audiences in professional contexts. Students will develop a writing style that they can use to communicate complex scientific information concisely and clearly in order to advance their ideas and their work. Course projects will enable students to critically analyze and synthesize scientific research, construct convincing presentations, design information for print and electronic publications, and produce other genres of writing, such as proposals and procedures. Students will investigate the persuasive strategies and ethical considerations necessary for the development of effective communications for specialist and non-specialist audiences. The instructor will provide intensive and frequent feedback on all aspects of students’ writing and information design.
ENG 553-001 | R 3:30–6:15
Studies in Rhetoric and Literacy: Location, Location, Location
Rhetoricians, literature scholars, compositionists, and cultural theorists will find stimulating intellectual material in this course, which examines the role of places and spaces in writing, thinking, acting, and living. We will engage popular and scholarly materials ranging from critical monographs to zines and independent documentaries, and conduct first-person explorations of our own environments through student-directed field trips and other activities. This course will provide opportunities for independent and collaborative study and be supplemented by an interactive companion website.
ENG 580-001 | R 6:30–9:15
Studies in American Literature: Modern American Literature
This course focuses on American literature, film, and relevant cultural productions from 1945 to the present. We will consider questions of value, identity, and culture, in particular the complicated idea and image of “American life.” We will interrogate ways these works articulate and re-imagine notions of “Americanness.” Some questions that will contour our discussions: What role do genre and form play in the construction of an American identity? In what ways do factors like gender, race, ethnicity, and sexuality collide or interact with “Americanness”? In what ways do non-American authors living in America conceptualize or express “American life” in their works? How do these texts shape our understandings (or cloud our judgment) of so-called “high” and “low” art? In what ways do these texts/authors invite us to approach them as a mosaic (or monolith) of the American experience? Titles may include: The Norton Anthology of American Lit Since 1945, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee, and Playing in the Dark by Toni Morrison. Assignments likely will include individual or group presentations, several critical essays, and a final essay with a research dimension.