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Spring 2018

English 6610   Medieval English Literature (“Sex and Romances”)
Spring 2018 | Professor Tom Stillinger| 3421 LNCO; X: 1-7132
Tuesday - Thursday | 12:25pm – 1:45pm | LNCO 3875 

This course will explore medieval forms of narrative, with special attention to the chivalric romance. Discussion will focus on issues of gender, representation, and literary form—and other topics arising from the texts and from students’

interests. The medieval texts come from French-speaking England, then French-speaking France, and finally Middle-English-speaking England. We will read the French texts in translation; we will read Chaucer and two romances in Middle English, but no previous experience with Middle English is expected. (We’ll start slowly with Chaucer and build up speed.) Some contemporary criticism and theory will also be assigned.

 Primary texts:

 Marie de France, The Lais

Chretien de Troyes, Yvain and Lancelot

Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun, The Romance of the Rose

Heldris of Cornwall, The Romance of Silence Sir Orfeo

The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnell

Chaucer, The Book of the Duchess and generous selections from The Canterbury Tales

English 6670 Studies in Late 19th Century American Literature, 1880-1910: Literature and Socialization
Spring 2018 | Professor Howard Horwitz | 3619 LNCO; X: 1-7353
Tuesday - Thursday | 2:00 pm – 3:20 pm | LNCO 3875

We will study novels and some non-literary materials written during what is called the period of realism and naturalism.  Because the authors associated with these genres characterized them in such various ways, we will not be concerned to define the terms realism and naturalism.  But the authors we will study were uniformly interested in representing the social world, or what Frank Norris called the “elemental forces” impelling society.  We will look at the ways writing figured the social in an age of burgeoning consumerism and various forms of social (racial and class) conflict.  By their use of narrative voice, writings in this period explored the relation between aesthetic form and social life.  More specifically, the writing we will study explored the relation between aesthetic form and socialization, the modes by which people come to experience themselves, other people, and events. 


In many of the works we will study, characters learn how to navigate society, or learn their place in society, by reading (fiction, the bible, legal documents), attending theater, receiving instruction, or just by exposure to stories circulating in the culture.  Some of the narrative voices we will encounter try to regulate characters’ experience of themselves and our experience of the characters.  I have not settled on a syllabus yet, but we will read works of various length (a good bit of short fiction) by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Henry James, Mark Twain, Theodore Dreiser, Kate Chopin, Charles Chesnutt, Zitkala-Ŝa, Sui Sin Far, W.E.B. DuBois, Stephen Crane, and others.  We will study non-literary materials (essays and excerpts) on economics, sociology, psychology, and race by figures like Thorstein Veblen, Gilman, Georg Simmel, Joseph Le Conte, Henry Dawes, and Richard Henry Pratt.  We will not treat these documents as background to literary works, but as narratives of subjectivity.  We will explore the imaginative capacity of these works.  How does narrative invite us to interpret it?  How does narration invite us to interpret it?  The goal is to consider the interpretive possibilities that various texts in the period offer, so that we may determine what narrative and thematic patterns emerge.  All shorter works will be available as PDF files on the course Canvas page. 


I would like class discussion to evolve from regular student presentations.  We will discuss format options during the first class meeting.  Right now I expect also to discuss the first day brief excerpts from Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s social science writings, to start to develop a sense of the kinds of narratives non-literary writings unfold.  The Gilman readings will be available on Canvas. 


Writing assignments:  regular, brief exercises (@ 100 words) on the major texts we study (10% of the final grade); one 2-page, optional, ungraded, diagnostic essay, to begin a conversation about writing with individual students; two 4-5 page essays; one extended essay (@15 pages).  The first 4-5 page essay is worth 20% of the final grade; the second 4-5 page essay is worth 25% of the final grade.  The extended essay is worth 45% percent of the final grade.  By the beginning of the semester, I may to decide to adjust these proportions some.  I will distribute questions for the first two graded essays; students will develop their own questions for the final essay; we will have discussions about ways to form the question for the extended essay.  No exams


I employ a bonus system to evaluate class participation.  Graduate students understand that they bear responsibility to contribute to the analysis of texts in class.  I assign the exercises to help students gain practice articulating ideas about the course materials.  The stakes are low for any single exercise, and so you can try out ideas. 


I tend not to discuss matters of composition too frequently with graduate students, generally when specific issues arise.  I discuss some composition technique with undergraduates each class period.  You will find on Canvas a file labeled Matters of Composition, in which I try to explain the principles I apply when evaluating essays.  Another file, the Glossary of Editorial Symbols, discusses these principles and some others, as well as explains the abbreviations I employ when I grade essays. 


Generally, I encourage students to organize essays around a concrete thesis, with every stage of the essay developing this core argument.  As a corollary, I encourage (or nag) students to organize sentences around concrete, active verbs. 



The University Writing Center offers one-on-one assistance with writing.  Tutors can help you understand your writing assignments, work through the writing process, and/or polish your drafts for all the courses in which you are enrolled. Sessions are free of charge, and you can meet as often as you need. To make an appointment, call 801.587.9122.  The Writing Center is located on the second floor of the Marriott Library.  Visit the website at  Let me suggest that before you visit the Writing Center, come to my office, and certainly show me outlines and drafts of the formal essays.  I myself have helped train some of the tutors at the University Writing Center, and these tutors are well trained and experience.  But bring me your writing first.  Discussing with me your exercises, on which the stakes are low, might be useful as preparation for longer writing assignments. 



The University of Utah seeks to provide equal access to its programs, services, and activities for people with disabilities.  If you will need accommodations in the class, reasonable prior notice needs to be given to the Center for Disability Services, 162 Olpin Union Building, 581-5020 (V/TDD).  CDS will work with you and the instructor to make arrangements for accommodations. 

English 6770  Discourse Analysis
Spring 2018| Professor Jennifer Andrus | 3712 LNCO; X: 1-5137
Tuesday-Thursday |2:00PM-3:20PM | LNCO 2820

Discourse Analysis

In this course, we will learn to a number of theories and methods that allow you to analyze discourses you encounter in everyday settings: conversations, news, web content, advertising, and legal, medical, and educational documents. We will consider the ways power is embedded and circulated in discourse, the roll narrative structure plays in such discourses, how interactional expectations affect and are affected by discourse, and how issues like gender, race, and sexuality are produced in and products of discourse.

 You will complete a number of assignments and individually that will allow you to work with and experiment with different types of texts and theoretical frameworks. You will also collect, transcribe and analyze “natural” speech.

 Outcomes and Skills:

By the end of this class, students will be able to:

  • Articulate the difference between the paired concepts of language and discourse
  • Articulate a variety of concepts used in discourse analysis
  • Application of concept(s) and theory(ies) to analyze a discourse
  • Collect and transcribe spoken data
  • Collect and work with textual data
  • Write an academic analysis of a discourse that speaks to the relevant literature


Discourse Analysis, second edition, by Barbara Johnstone. Blackwell Publishing, 2008.

Discourse, second edition, Sara Mills, Routledge

Discourse, by Jan Blommaert

 NOTE: There are also a number of supplemental readings on Canvas. You MUST bring the readings with you to class, whether it’s printed out or on a tablet or laptop. We will refer to them in class, and so it is imperative that you have a copy with you.

 Assignment Synopses (You will get more detailed instructions for each assignment as we come to it.)

 Discourse analysis 1: Text-based analysis: (10 points) For this assignment, I will give you a short text to analyze. Using the framework and information on discourse structure, write a 2 page analysis of the text. Due to the page limitation, you’ll have to focus on one discourse feature.

  • Transcription 1: 2-minute television clip: (10 points) For your first pass at transcription, you will select your own discourse and transcribe it using a notation style that makes sense to you. The selection should be a 2-minute television clip in which 2 or more people are talking. The clip needs to be in a format that you can give to me—YouTube or other web access or Netflix streaming would be preferable. 
  • Transcription 2 and Discourse Analysis 2: You need to select a 2-5 minute segment of the data collected for your final project, transcribe it, and write a brief analysis, using one of the theories/concepts we’ve talked about. Choose real-world talk and transcribe it using Jefferson’s Transcript Notation. There will be computers set up with transcription pedals. You’ll need to make sure you make time to get into the computer area. 
  • Final project: Proposal, Preliminary Findings, Final Paper
    • Choose a discourse you find compelling for some reason and that you want to delve into deeper.
    • Choose a DA topic (narrative, ideology, interaction, power, identity) that fits your discourse/data and that you think will be explanatory of the discursive features of the data.
  • Collect spoken or textual data (interview, a dinner-time conversation, familial interaction, classroom interaction) within the discourse you want to analyze.
  • Review the data over and over.
  • Reframe the analytical theories and concepts as needed.
  • Transcribe portions of the data that will be analyzed.
  • Research and review relevant secondary sources about the DA concepts and theories.
  • Write an 18-25 page paper, in which you write a thorough and focused analysis od your data that contributes to the scholarly conversations in the field.

The Writing Center:

The University Writing Center provides free, one-on-one consultations and tutoring sessions, for any writing project, for any class, at any stage of the assignment (planning, drafting, revising). You are urged to make an appointment with a writing center consultant for help with your writing. Plan ahead—you’ll need to make an appointment. For more information, go to

English 6810 Digital Humanities
Spring 2018| Professor Lisa Swanstrom | 3409 LNCO; X: 1-5137
Monday-Wednesday |1:25pm – 2:45pm | LNCO 3870

Digital Humanities
The past decade has seen an enormous surge in scholarship devoted to the study of “the digital” within the humanities, and this seminar offers an orientation to the field of the so-called “Digital Humanities.” Throughout this course we will consider important theoretical frameworks for understanding the manner in which digital technology relates to cultural production, aesthetic expression, and prior media forms.  Throughout our discussions we will engage with the following broad set of questions: What is (or what are) the Digital Humanities? How does computer technology contribute to the creation, dissemination, and analysis of literary works?  What happens to categories such as “author,” “producer,” “product,” “reader,” and “consumer” in light of works that are generated collectively on line?  What happens to the concept of an “original” in a medium that appears to afford perfect and swift reproducibility?  How are ideas about identity, race, ethnicity, gender, and class challenged, deferred, and/or re-inscribed in digital works?  What, if anything at all, distinguishes this “new” medium from its analog predecessors—or can we view it more fruitfully as one component within a diverse “media ecology”?

Note that although this course involves frequent hands-on interaction with digital tools, no special knowledge of computing is required or expected.

English 7010 Non-Fiction Workshop “An Archaeology"
Spring 2018 | Professor Gretchen Henderson 
Wednesday | 4:35pm – 7:30pm | LNCO 3865

“Creative nonfiction” is a contemporary genre with a deep and layered lineage. In this course, we consider the genre in archaeological terms: digging into the genre and into our subjects. While the focus is contemporary, we will scrape away surfaces of recent subgenres (lyric essay, new new journalism, flash nonfiction, visual essay, autotheory, and others) to unearth the histories of our topics while essaying—as in, assaying—their substance to imagine the genre’s possible futures. Beyond writing creative nonfiction, you will hone your creative practice, blending creative making and critical thinking into an aesthetic ecology.

With this in mind, you will choose a local site to return to throughout the semester as the basis of a site study. Your creative+critical practice will develop through entwined reading and writing assignments: from lyric excavations, to shadow texts, to a documentary essay about your site (that may become part of a digital mapping project), among other experiments. We will consider venues for publishing different types of creative nonfiction and prepare a few pieces for submission. Special emphasis will be placed on keeping an active notebook where process becomes part of the product.

Readings may include a medley by Rebecca Solnit, James Galvin, John McPhee, Terry Tempest Williams, Joan Didion, Forrest Gander, Kevin Young, Ruth Behar, Michael Ondaatje, Juliana Spahr, D.J. Waldie, LeAnne Howe, Wallace Stegner, Annie Dillard, Jim Ferris, Ander Monson, Maggie Nelson, Anne Carson, among others.

Gretchen Henderson is a lecturer in the Department of English at Georgetown University and the 2017/2018 recipient of the ANNIE CLARK TANNER TEACHING & RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP IN THE ENVIRONMENTAL HUMANITIES here at the University of Utah.  

English 7030 Fiction Workshop
Spring 2018 | Professor Noy Holland | 3419 LNCO; X: 1-3199
Wednesday | 4:35pm – 7:30pm | LNCO 3865

This is a course about learning to be better at being, as Mr. Joyce says, "above the text, paring one's fingernails." My hope is that the class inspires fanaticism, perversions of the given, a new sense of the plasticity of the language, its instability, a fresh devotedness to the task of exploring lingual effects, the texture and coloration of words, the deep structure of sentences. The course seeks to encourage work that produces not sensationalism but sensation or what Nabokov called "aesthetic bliss; that is, a sense of being where art (curiosity, tenderness, kindness, ecstasy) is the norm." Please note that we will be reading at least 3 collections of short fiction for this course, and writing in response to what I hope are kindred aesthetics, or singular formal features. Books available at your local independent bookstore.

Here is a link to her web page, where you can read about her:

Research Areas

  • 20th Century and Contemporary Literature
  • American Literature
  • Creative Writing

English 7040 Poetry Workshop
Spring 2018 | Professor Katharine Coles | 3417 LNCO; X: 1-7868
Tuesday | 4:35pm – 7:30pm | LNCO 3865

For this advanced workshop, students will write poems on which we will perform close, critical readings in class.  In addition, we will read books by the poets visiting in the 2017-18 Guest Writers Series (including Larry Levis, who will not be “visiting” in the strict sense of the word).   Students will be responsible in turn for leading the discussions both on student work and on the assigned books.

Levis, Larry, The Selected Levis   

Toscano, Rodrigo, Explosion Rocks Springfield 

Schaefer, Philip, Bad Summon

Baker, David, Scavenger Loop

Field, Thalia, Bird Lovers, Backyard

Giannelli, Adam, Tremulous Hinge

Kapil, Bhanu, Humanimal

English 7460 Theory & Practice of Poetry

Spring 2018 | Professor Paisley Rekdal | 3403 LNCO; X: 1-7350
Tuesday-Thursday | 2:00pm – 3:20pm | LNCO 3870

On Ekphrasis

While in rhetorical theory the term “ekphrasis” refers to any language that helps an audience imagine a scene, since the 19th Century this term has become almost exclusively linked to poetry about the visual arts. In this course, we’ll trace the history of ekphrastic poetry, from Homer and Ovid to Susan Howe and Anne Carson. What is the relationship between verbal and pictorial language, and how have our ideas about this relationship evolved over time? Over the semester, we’ll study a range of poems by Herbert, Keats, Byron, Browning, Wheatley, Whitman, O’Hara, Ashbery, and Fulton; essays by Lessing, Mitchell, Kreiger and Drucker; and artworks that blur the line between visual and textual reading, including those by Paul Klee, Cy Twombly, Glenn Ligon, Bruegel, and Jenny Holzer. This course will focus not only on many of the foundational poems and texts that think about ekphrasis, but also on the rise of museum culture and collecting in the west, and how what—and who—we choose to display affects our aesthetic “seeing” of and response to art.  Full texts include Susan Howe’s Debths, Elizabeth Arnold’s Effacement, Anne Carson’s Nox, Douglas Kearney’s Patter, and Oscar Wilde’s The Portrait of Dorian Gray.

English 7800  Seminar in History and Literature

Spring 2018 |Professor Vincent J. Cheng |3525 LNCO; X: 1-7438
Mon, Wed | 3:00pm – 4:20pm | LNCO 3870

Colonial/Postcolonial Studies: Race, Nation, Self, and Other in Modern Literature

In this course we will be exploring the relationships between nationality, race, and images of "Self" and "Other" in modern literature arising from the colonial/postcolonial condition--literature that both reflects and constructs such images and values.  All of these works pose difficult and disturbing questions about the way we and our particular cultures deal with ourselves (as home culture) and with each other.  Our method in this course will be to read, simultaneously and in tandem, works on similar topics arising from both the metropole and from the colonized; and by reading in tandem works of fiction and non-fiction about the colonial condition. 

The readings will be grouped in 3-4 week clusters centering on particular topical/geographical areas: these clusters will involve reading and analyzing literary works about the colonial/postcolonial condition in that area from both the colonist's and the colonial's viewpoint; as well as analyzing such viewpoints comparatively with the help of relevant scholarship from a variety of academic disciplines: history, anthropology, sociology, linguistics, literary theory, postcolonial theory, feminist theory, cultural studies.  Thus, this course is both comparative and interdisciplinary in nature in its approaches to different cultures and intercultural relationships.


Texts likely to be included:

Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart

Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities

Gloria Anzaldua, Borderlands/La Frontera

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness or Lord Jim

Nawal El Saadawi, Woman at Point Zero

Buchi Emecheta, Second-class Citizen

Frantz Fanon, Wretched of the Earth

E.M. Forster, A Passage to India

  1. Rider Haggard, She or King Solomon's Mines

Rudyard Kipling, The Man Who Would Be King or Kim

Hanif Kureishi, The Buddha of Suburbia

Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children and Imaginary Homelands

Edward Said, Orientalism

Paul Scott, The Jewel in the Crown

Viet Thanh Nguyen, The Sympathizer

Selected criticism/theory from Jacques Derrida, James Clifford, Antonio Gramsci, Homi Bhabha, Gayatri Spivak, Abdul JanMohamed, Aijaz Ahmad, Jenny Sharpe, Lisa Lowe, and others.

Jeremy Rosen

Last Updated: 12/4/17