Department of English

Graduate Course Descriptions

Fall 2017

English 501-001 | M 6:30–9:15
Introduction to Research Methods
Meghan Sweeney
MO 202
This course is an introduction to English studies, with a focus on the methods of research necessary for graduate students. We will read a variety of essays that introduce us to the subfields in English studies (literature, rhetoric, writing and more) and engage with members of the department who work in those areas. Assignments will include a presentation, annotated bibliographies, abstracts, and a conference paper as well as weekly reading or research assignments that will ask students to be able to articulate what they do as practicing critics.

ENG 502-001 | T 6:30–9:15
Introduction to Literary Theory
Nick Laudadio
MO 102
In this class, we will be exploring the influence that critical and cultural theory has had on the ways we understand literature and culture in the 21st century. Beginning in the late 19th and moving through to the present, we will read a broad array of challenging texts that will help us better understand most of the “-isms” we hear so much about—Marxism, structuralism, feminism—as well as many other theoretical approaches (queer theory, disability studies, cultural studies, psychoanalysis, etc.) that help us understand how we humans make things mean things.

ENG 513-001 | R 6:30–9:15
Studies in Poetry: Black Mountain College Poetry and Poetics
Alex Porco
MO 202
This course will provide an intense immersion in the poetic theory and practices of those mid-century poets affiliated (to varying degrees) with Black Mountain College, which was open from 1933 to 1957. A significant part of the course will be dedicated to reading work by poets traditionally identified as “Black Mountain” poets as a result of Donald Allen’s introduction to The New American Poetry, 1945–1960—these include Charles Olson, Robert Creeley, Robert Duncan, Denise Levertov, Paul Blackburn, and Ed Dorn. At the same time, we will interrogate and unsettle commonplace assumptions and definitions of Black Mountain poetry and poetics by reading lesser-known (sometimes altogether forgotten!) poets who taught or studied at the college. For example, there are a number of significant female poets affiliated with Black Mountain, including Jane Mayhall, Ruth Herschberger, Mary Parks Washington, M.C. Richards and Hilda Morley. To put the poetry in context, students will also engage with other artistic practices, including the visual arts, music, textiles, design, dance, and ceramics. Finally, for those interested, there may be the opportunity to travel to Asheville to visit the Black Mountain Museum, attend the annual Black Mountain College conference, and visit the school grounds. Note: students are expected to read Martin Duberman’s history, Black Mountain: An Exploration in Community, in advance of the first class meeting.

ENG 514-001 | W 6:30–9:15
Studies in Drama
Lewis Walker
MO 202
The course will be primarily concerned with discovering some of the ways in which Shakespeare responded to the works of his greatest English predecessor, to those of his greatest French contemporary, and to two foundational sixteenth-century religious works. We will, of course, investigate obvious cases of Shakespeare’s “borrowing” (like the famous passage from Montaigne’s essay “On the Cannibals,” transposed almost intact into The Tempest). But we will also consider larger questions: How did Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde stimulate Shakespeare to create his Troilus and Cressida? Are there works of Shakespeare with no verbal echoes of Chaucer or Montaigne that nevertheless seem to have been shaped by one or both of the other two writers? How does a great dramatic poet transmute what he finds in a non-dramatic poet or an essayist or the Bible? Can Shakespeare’s treatment of a story or theme that he has in common with Chaucer and/or Montaigne open up new possibilities for interpretation of the other two? Did Shakespeare, at certain points in his career, produce works that are analogous to works produced by Chaucer and Montaigne at similar points in their careers? How are metaphors from the Bible and The Book of Common Prayer assimilated into Shakespeare’s works and realized in dramatic action? Readings are organized as a series of comparisons. Typically, a work by Shakespeare will be read alongside a work by Montaigne and/or Chaucer and/or a passage from the Bible or The Book of Common Prayer. Classwork includes short response papers, oral presentation, annotated bibliography, and a longer critical paper.

ENG 551-001 | W 3:30–6:15
Studies in Professional Writing
Lance Cummings
MO 202
This intensive graduate writing workshop critically examines the current state of environmental science writing in professional academic contexts and explores the multiple practical strategies environmental scientists use to communicate in professional settings. Students will evaluate and propose best practices for texts in academic contexts such as peer-reviewed journals and professional conferences, and then apply those practices to a research project of their own Extra attention is paid to how writing and texts act rhetorically as tools of knowledge making rather than simple “products” of science. Students exit the course with a write-up of original research to be submitted for publication and a base of knowledge that will allow them to develop and strengthen their own professional science writing practices.

ENG 577-801
Grant and Proposal Writing
Sarah Hallenbeck
Available through UNC Online
This online course will introduce students to the mechanics of proposal writing in both academic and non-profit settings, including needs assessment, identifying and evaluating potential funding sources, and tailoring proposals to address specific audience interests. They will interview grant makers and seekers of various stripes, try their hands at assessing grant proposals, and author grant proposals of their own choosing. Additionally, students will develop an understanding of the political and social aspects of grant seeking as it shapes initiatives to promote various kinds of social change and innovation. 

ENG 580-002 | W 3:30–6:15
Studies in Literature: Holocaust Narrative
Katie Peel
MO 210
Among the most compelling literature of our day is that which records and seeks to interpret the Nazi war of genocide against the Jews. Our task will be a tough one: if, as generally agreed upon, the Holocaust and its enormity cannot possibly be accurately represented, how, then, can we study it? We will consider issues of representation, voice, and genre, as well as controversies regarding Holocaust history and narrative, in addition to the racism, anti-Semitism, imperialism, and sexism that constituted Nazi ideology. The scope of this course historically is from early twentieth-century European narrative through present-day global narrative. Literarily, the scope covers narratives across genre, from poetry to short story to drama to testimony to film to historical and art objects, and includes primary documents and objects available in a variety of archives. We will seek to make connections to other literatures of marginalized groups, studies of oppressed peoples, human rights concerns, discussions of individual and communal responsibilities, and significant ethical questions from both the time period of the Holocaust to those that we face today. These kinds of connections are useful in enhancing an understanding of how the Holocaust was implemented, and also our individual responsibilities to each other today.