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Fall 2019

Writing 6050: Online Writing Pedagogy

Professor Natalie Stillman-Webb    

Tuesday, 10:45am – 12:05pm

LNCO 3840    


Online Writing Pedagogy is a Hybrid course. We will examine 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 Anne Jamison
Tuesday/Thursday 2:00pm – 3:20pm
LNCO 3870


This course examines theories based on systems, networks, and assemblages, broadly conceived. We’ll start with Kant and some postmodern responses to Kant (Lacan, Adorno/Horkheimer); Marx and some responses to Marx (Adorno, Althusser); then on to linguistic structuralism (Saussure, Jakobson), literary formalism and structuralism (Todorov, Mukařovský) and some of the extensions/critiques into other semiotic areas (Barthes, Foucault, Derrida); more recent assemblage and network theory (including Kittler, Latour, Deleuze, Ronell) and post humanism (Hayles, Chun); and ending with systems of oppression (Arendt, Crenshaw, Moten).  

The seminar will emphasize creating our own networks and assemblages among these texts and thinkers. Students will present to the seminar on a more in-depth reading of one work excerpted on the syllabus and choose a contemporary theorist—such as those working in post humanism, eco-criticism, or digital humanities—to summarize and critique for the seminar. 

Written assignments: short weekly papers (focused responses to readings, submitted 24 hours in advance of class), two short essays (5 p.); a non-essay assemblage (digital, mixed-media, creative writing, lego…); abstract of contemporary theoretical text.

Oral presentations: seminar presentation on one selected reading from syllabus; summary and critique of contemporary theorist (10 min—accompanies abstract).

Readings will be posted online, but students should consider finding and purchasing (used) copies of at least some of the following (as guided by taste and pocketbook):

Theodore Adorno and Max Horkheimer, The Dialectic of Enlightenment
Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism
Roland Barthes, Mythologies
Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus
Immanuel Kant, The Critique of Pure Reason (Everyman or comparable)
Friedrich Kittler, Discourse Networks
Bruno Latour, Reassembling the Social
Fred Moten and Stefano Harney, The Undercommons
Avital Ronell, The Telephone Book

Students should definitely buy a copy of the work they will be presenting on.


English 6640: Form and History in Romantic Poetry
Professor Andrew Franta
Monday/Wednesday 11:50am – 1:10pm
LNCO 3870



Over the last fifty years, scholarship on Romantic poetry has been divided between formalist and historicist approaches. Poststructuralist, deconstructive, and, more recently, New Formalist critics have stressed the “literariness” of Romantic poetry; New Historicists and practitioners of ideology critique and cultural studies have emphasized Romantic poetry’s determination by its historical contexts. In this course, we will explore the critical resources available for the interpretation of Romantic poetry in light of this critical opposition in order to consider how we might understand the form of Romantic poetry as itself a historical practice.


Readings will include poetry and prose by William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Charlotte Smith, John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, George Gordon, Lord Byron, and Felicia Hemans.



Over the course of the term, students will write two short papers (5-6 pages) that will be presented in class and will frame the day’s discussion. One of these short papers will serve as the starting point for a seminar paper of 12-15 pages.


Course policies:

The course will be conducted as a seminar. Its success depends on the active participation of all of its members. Attendance, preparation, and participation are expected and will constitute an important part of the course grade. Absences will negatively affect your grade for the course.



Lord Byron: The Major Works (Oxford) 109953733X

S.T. Coleridge, Samuel Taylor Coleridge: The Major Works (Oxford) 0199537914

Felicia Hemans: Selected Poems, Prose and Letters (Broadview) 1551111373

John Keats, Complete Poems (Harvard) 0674154315

Percy Bysshe Shelley, Shelley’s Poetry and Prose (Norton) 0393977523

Charlotte Smith, Charlotte Smith: Major Poetic Works (Broadview) 1554812844

William Wordsworth: The Major Works (Oxford) 0199536863


Secondary readings are available on Canvas or online.

English 6685: Contemporary Literature
Professor Jeremy Rosen
Monday/Wednesday 1:25pm – 2:45pm
LNCO 3875


For much of the late 19th and 20th centuries, novelists who aspired to produce books of literary quality explicitly defined their writing in opposition to “genre fiction,” popular and often highly commercialized genres, such as romance, western, science fiction, fantasy, and mystery. But, surveying the field of global literary fiction in the 21st Century, one notices a striking phenomenon: genre fiction is everywhere. Many of today’s most prestigious “literary” writers have been working with genre fiction forms—often bending these genres in fascinating directions. In this course, we will read novels by acclaimed fiction writers that play with popular genres, and consider theory and criticism that examine the real or perceived divide between “high” literary art and commercial fiction, as well as theories of genre and popular culture, to try to make sense of this recent phenomenon. Readings will (likely) include fiction by Margaret Atwood, David Mitchell, Colson Whitehead, Kazuo Ishiguro, Chang-Rae Lee, and Han Kang. Theory and criticism will include work by Theodor Adorno, Frederic Jameson, John Storey, Claire Squires, Mark McGurl and others.

English 7030: Fiction Workshop
Professor Lindsey Drager
Wednesday 4:35pm – 7:30pm
LNCO 3865


This class imagines that one way to describe our work as writers is this: we use language to make readers feel something. It can be argued that the more effectively an author manipulates a reader’s emotions, the harder it is to see the scaffolding beneath the story, or—as novelist Margot Livesey calls it—fiction’s “hidden machinery.” Whether a metaphor, a bit of dialogue, or an imagined landscape, readers are asked to trust the strength of the narrative fabric authors weave, even while conscious of that fabric’s artificiality. Narrative theorist Viktor Shklovsky summarizes this phenomenon as follows: “Art exists to help us feel things, to make the stone stony. But it is our experience of the construction that counts, not the finished product.”


In this graduate workshop, we will venture to explore and examine how crafting fiction is always to some degree about “telling it slant.” We will read book-length works with an eye toward exposing the devices authors use to create certain responses in audiences, devices as diverse as temporal manipulation, literary allusion, negative space, and fictionality. We will also examine flash fiction, craft essays, and interviews by writers ranging from Italo Calvino to Ursula K. LeGuin to hear how canonical and contemporary writers go about the task of “hiding the machinery.” We will ask: What forces govern our narratives, consciously or unconsciously? How does the very construction of our narratives make arguments, whether explicit or implied? How might we exercise more nuanced control over language, arguably the most slippery and elastic of artistic mediums? Through these dialogues, we will explore how fiction provokes curiosity, bewilderment, and wonder, and investigate how these ideas have fueled our lives as readers and might fuel our work as writers.


Authors may include: Ann Quin, Yōko Ogawa, Georgi Gospodinov, John Edgar Wideman, Valeria Luiselli, Samuel Delany, Salvador Plasencia, Rikki Ducornet, Nalo Hopkinson, Michael Ondaatje, Virginia Woolf, Samuel Beckett, Gaston Bachelard.

English 7040: Poetry Workshop
Professor Paisley Rekdal
Tuesday 4:35pm – 7:30pm
LNCO 3865


The aim of this course is to polish students’ poetry and to examine how a book of poems can form a unified whole. We will learn how poets’ works deal with particular themes, and how this affects poem order and even poetic structure in manuscript form. Students will read and critique each other’s work weekly. Student presentations of class texts expected. We will be reading at least six recently published books of contemporary poetry. I’ll begin each workshop with a brief lecture on poetic structure, form, and prosody.

English 7720: Prose Fiction
Professor Scott Black
Monday/Wednesday 3:00pm – 4:20pm
LNCO 3875


Experimental Narrative from Apuleius to Sterne (ENGL 7720)

[Please note: this is a provisional book list, and subject to change.]

Scott Black (LNCO 3519)

Office hours: MW 1:30-3:00 & by appointment (please email for appointment)


Don QuixoteReading as infection, distraction, and mistake: in this seminar we’ll run some of the most intricate, interesting, and influential experiments in the history of prose fiction. Each of our books plays with the conventions of fiction—tales and telling, text and book, writing and reading—to create a 3-D experience that explores how narrative works and how we, readers, work narratives. We’ll also consider how literary history might look without the novel, a history of prose fiction that doesn’t privilege the novel, realism, or modernity. And as we examine a longer, wider, weirder, more readerly history of prose fiction, we’ll dip into recent conversations about reading “after critique.” 


Books (please get these translations and editions):

Apuleius, The Golden Ass (2nd c.) (trans. Walsh; Oxford)

Heliodorus, An Ethiopian Romance (3rd-4th c.) (trans. Hadas; Penn)

Cervantes, Don Quixote (1605/1615) (trans. Lathrop; Signet)

Cervantes, The Trials of Persiles and Sigismunda (1617) (trans. Weller and Colahan; Hackett)

Fielding, Joseph Andrews (1742) (ed. Keymer; Oxford)

Sterne, Tristram Shandy (1760s) (ed. New; Penguin)


Requirements: 2 short papers, opening discussion questions, seminar paper (including proposal, annotated bibliography, presentation, and 15-page paper)


Rhetoric 7750: Early Modern to Contemporary Rhetoric
Professor LuMing Mao
Monday 3:00pm – 6:00pm 
LNCO 3840


A survey of early modern and post-modern rhetorical theories, beginning in the 17th Century and working through to contemporary rhetorical theories. Readings, assignments, and class discussions trace the developments of early-modern to contemporary rhetorical theories through primary texts. Contemporary applications of previous rhetorical theories are also covered. Course emphases may vary by instructor/semester.



English 7850: Digital Humanities
Professor Lisa Swanstrom
Tuesday/Thursday  2:00pm – 3:20pm  
LNCO 3875


The past two decades have 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. 


Jeremy Rosen

Last Updated: 7/8/19