You are here:


Fall 2018

WRTG 6020 Responding to Student Writing
Anne McMurtrey
3700 LNCO; X: 7-9122
Monday 4:35pm – 7:30pm

This course is designed to help graduate and faculty who are writing fellows, give meaningful and constructive feedback to their clients. The course examines writing center theory and best practices, and it meets once per week (but the meeting time is TBD).

WRTG 6050 Online Writing Pedagogy
Natalie Stillman-Webb
3700 LNCO; X: 1-7090
Tuesday 10:45am – 12:05pm
LNCO 3840

Online Writing Pedagogy examines best practices for teaching in online learning environments—including online, hybrid, and face-to-face courses. We will learn about theories of instructional design and community building, and we will discuss issues such as accessibility and usability. We will also focus on praxis, with students creating their choice of instructional materials using Canvas and other technologies. (This course is a prerequisite for Graduate Teaching Assistants who desire to teach online or hybrid courses for the Department of Writing and Rhetoric Studies.)

English 6480 Introduction to Critical Theory
Professor M. Potolsky
3617 LNCO; x: 1-5245
MW 1:25pm – 2:45pm
LNCO 3870

Required Texts (available at the Campus Bookstore):

  • Aristotle, Poetics (Norton)
  • Roland Barthes, S/Z (Hill and Wang)
  • Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgment (Hackett)
  • Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer (Stanford)

Bruno Latour, We Have Never Been Modern (Harvard)This course will provide an intensive introduction to the history, practice, and major works of literary and contemporary critical theory. Rather than proceeding chronologically or by critical “schools,” we will focus on three major questions that are or have been of central interest to contemporary reading practices. In the first part of the course, we will look at the two major frameworks in which philosophy and critical theory have sought to understand literature and the image: the theory of mimesis, which regards art as an imitation of something else; and the discourse of the aesthetic, which shifted attention from the nature of the art object to the characteristic judgments of the viewer. We will read works by Plato, Aristotle, and Kant, as well as texts by twentieth-century theorists like Barthes, Adorno, and Benjamin that challenged these frameworks from within. In the second part of the course we will look at some recent efforts to establish new philosophical foundations for theory, focusing in particular on the various movements that want to bring renewed attention to bodies, feelings, materiality, life, and things: affect theory, actor-network theory, thing theory, and bio- politics. Readings will include texts by Spinoza, Heidegger, Latour, Agamben, Sedgwick, Marx, Berlant, and others. Writing assignments will include two short papers and a longer final essay exploring one of the texts or problems from the second half of the class.

English 6680 20th Century American Literature
Professor Craig Dworkin
3613 LNCO; x: 1-3022
Wednesday 4:35pm – 7:30pm
LNCO 3870

Language Poetry

This seminar focuses on the first phase of what came to be called "Language Poetry": the culmination, in the 1970s, of over half a century of formally radical avant-gardes in American poetry. Looking to the modernism of Gertrude Stein and Louis Zukofsky, as well as to experimental music, dance, and film, Language writing challenged the ideologies of voice, the natural, and the discursively referential in post-war poetry by foregrounding writing that was intellectual, theoretical, and fundamentally politicized. Featured writers inlcude Bernadette Mayer, Charles Bernstein, Lyn Hejinian, and Susan Howe.

English 7010 Nonfiction Workshop
Professor Paisley Rekdal
3403 LNCO; x: 1-7350
Tuesday 4:35pm – 7:30pm
LNCO 3865

Writing for Audio Nonfiction: “Salt Stories” Podcast

In this class, we’ll be studying—as well as writing and producing—what we might loosely call “audio nonfiction:” a genre that includes audio journalism; audio narrative nonfiction, biography, and memoir; even experimental audio narratives that incorporate found sound files, oral history, and interviews to create fictional—or maybe “hyperreal”—audio essays. The class texts will be a sampling of podcasts and radio programs linked to the class syllabus. Students will be trained in audio editing, recording, and production over the semester, and produce two to three short nonfiction audio clips for class workshop. Students will also be required to do outside research on podcasts and audio programs of their choice, on which they will also write three critical essays/ “listener annotations” of the sonic and narrative devices in their chosen episode, which they will then share and present to class. As a final project, each student will write, edit, and produce a professional-quality and complete one-hour episode for the class podcast we will create together, titled “Salt Stories.”

English 7040 Poetry Workshop
Professor Jacqueline Osherow
3401 LNCO; x: 1-7947
Monday 4:35pm – 7:30pm
LNCO 3865

Students in the graduate workshop will read a book a week and write one poem a week.   For the first ten weeks, books will range from the ancient to the contemporary.    Our focus will be the lyrice.  We will read selected psalms and Philip and Mary’s translations of Chaucer and Wyett’s translations of Petrarch, Donne, Hopkins, Dickinson, Hayden and Rilke.

For the final five weeks, our “books” will be collections from students in the class which might simply be the poems they have written for the workshop, gathered together, but could also be manuscripts that they are completing and sending out to publishers and contests. A great deal of real interest emerges when students’ poems are looked at in collections. (Ideally, of course, the poems enrich one another; sometimes, however, they appear thinner in a group, revealing an all too similar approach in poem after poem.)

Every other week, the poems submitted will be prompted by thematic or formal assignments, usually drawn from what we’ve read the previous two weeks;  on alternating weeks, the poems will be of the students’ own devising.

About one hour or so of class time will be spent discussion books;  about two hours will be devoted to workshopping  as many as possible of that week’s poems.

Each student will write one position paper, two pages long, to get discussion going on one of the assigned books. 

English 7740 Literary Theory
Professor Vincent Pecora
3419 LNCO; x: 5-9419
Monday-Wednesday 3:00pm – 4:20pm
LNCO 3875

Money, Power, Sex: On Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud

Some years ago, the religious philosopher Paul Ricœur wrote that Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Sigmund Freud were modern “masters of suspicion.” By that phrase, he meant that these three thinkers questioned the most basic assumptions of Western civilization, and did so in radical ways, that is, by attacking those assumptions at their historical and philosophical roots. Most of all, Ricœur claimed, Marx, Nietzsche and Freud made twentieth-century culture profoundly suspicious about the nature of human motivations—indeed, so suspicious that we could no longer trust ourselves. Socrates’s ancient advice—know thyself—suddenly became much trickier, maybe even impossible. This course will be a general introduction to the writings of Marx, Nietzsche and Freud. We will read a selection of their most important works, along with selections by a few of their interpreters, including Antonio Gramsci, Theodor Adorno, and Frantz Fanon, among others. We will also discuss some applications to literary works.

English 7770 British Literature
Professor Jessica Straley
3425 LNCO; x: 1-3126
Tuesday-Thursday 12:25pm – 1:45pm
LNCO 3875

Animal Victorians

Nineteenth-century England saw the birth of animal protection movements, the charter of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, laws regulating animal treatment, an increasing sentimentality about household pets, the popularity of vegetarianism, alongside the establishment of the London Zoo, the initiation of the Westminster Dog Show, defenses of the foxhunt, the practice of medical experimentation on animals, and the development of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. In Britain, Victorians asserted a kindness to animal as part of their national character, yet nowhere were the attitudes so varied, convoluted, and contradictory.

Tracing the current discourse of Animal Studies back to the Victorian period, we will read literary, scientific, and political texts that began this cultural conversation about our interactions with animals,their relations to us, and our responsibilities to them. Possible readings include: William Roscoe’s “The Butterfly’s Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast” (1804), Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “To Flush, My Dog” (1844), Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (1847), Chas Ross’s The Book of Cats (1868), Charles Darwin’s The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872), David Ferrier’s The Functions of the Brain (1876), Lewis Carroll’s “The Hunting of the Snark” (1876), Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty (1877), George Romanes’s “The Intelligence of Ants” (1881), Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book (1894), H. G. Wells’s The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896), Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1896), and Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World (1912), along with works of nineteenth-century visual art (by Edwin Landseer, Rosa Bonheur, and Cherry Kearton) and selections from current Animal Studies scholars (Jacques Derrida, Donna Haraway, John Berger, Nigel Rothfels, Erica Fudge, Cary Wolfe, Jonathan Safran Foer, etc.).


Jeremy Rosen

Last Updated: 6/20/18