The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Graduate Courses

Fall 2019 Graduate Courses

(Subject to Change)

698B   Intro to Teching Writing                           Tu 10:00-11:15          Mordecai/Woods/Naous/Bello/Lorimer Leonard/Dingo/Arcello
698I    Teaching Basic Writing                            By arrangement        Anne Bello        
698J    Teaching Mentoring                                By arrangement        Peggy Woods        
698L     P-Teaching Creative Writing                  M, 5:00-6:00             J. Jacobson/J. Parker        
698MA  P-Teaching MFA Online Courses          By arrangement        Jennifer Jacobson        
698R    P-Applied Literary Arts                           By arrangement        Jennifer Jacobson        
698RA   P-Applied Literary Arts: RADIUS          By arrangement        Edie Meidav        
698V-1    Special Topics/Teaching of Writing      M, 4:00-5:00             Woods/LeCourt/Bello/Dingo        
698V-2    Special Topics/Teaching of Writing      M, 4:00-5:00             Woods/LeCourt/Bello/Dingo        
698V-3    Special Topics/Teaching of Writing      M, 4:00-5:00             Woods/LeCourt/Bello/Dingo        
699    Master's Thesis                                         By arrangement                
708    Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales                W, 1:00-3:30            Jenny Adams        
780/1    Imaginative Writing: Poetry                    Tu, 1:00-3:30           Dara Wier        
780/2    Imaginative Writing: Poetry                    M, 2:00-4:30            Peter Gizzi        
780/3    Imaginative Writing: Poetry                    M, 11:15-1:45          Ocean Vuong               
781/1    Imaginative Writing: Fiction                    W, 3:15-5:45           Jeff Parker
781/2    Imaginative Writing: Fiction                    Th, 4-6:30               André Alexis
781/3    Imaginative Writing:Fiction                     Tu, 3:45-6:15.         Mona Awad
791DC  Intro. to Digital Cultural Studies              W, 4:00-6:30          TreaAndrea Russworm        
791M    Post-Colonial Literary Studies                Tu, 1:00-3:30          Asha Nadkarni        
791PT   Teaching Tech. & Prof. Writing               By arrangement     Janine Solberg      
791Q     Intro to Professional Writing                   By arrangement     David Toomey
791SP   Adv. Software for Prof. Writers               By arrangement     Janine Solberg
791TB   Prof Writing Tech Comm I                      By arrangement     Janine Solberg
791TC   Prof Writing Tech Comm III                    By arrangement     David Toomey
791TT   Teaching Tech and Prof Writing              MW 1:25-2:15        Janine Solberg
792C    Graduate Writing Workshop                    Th, 1:00-3:30         Daniel Sack       
796       Independent Study          By arrangement                
796A     Independent Study          By arrangement                
796W   Independent Area            By arrangement                
796X    Independent Area            By arrangement                
891B       Poetry of the Political Imagination                            M, 1:00-3:30          Martin Espada        
891DN    Darwin, Freud, Einstein, & Lit Cult 1                         Th, 4:00-6:30         Dave Toomey
891EX    On Experimentation.                                                 Wed., 12:30-3:00   André Alexis        
891FR    Feminist Rhetorics                                                    Th, 1:00-3:30         Rebecca Dingo        
891G      Form &Theory of Fiction: Art in the Anthropocene   Th, 1:00-3:30         Noy Holland        
891LT     Asian American Literature as Theory                        M, 5:30-8:00         Caroline Yang        
891M      Form & Theory of Poetry : Writers & Readers          Tu, 6:30-9:00        Dara Wier 
               Private and Public Exchanges
891TS    The Human, the Post-Human, & Race:                     W, 1:00-3:30        Jane Degenhardt        
               The Tempest to The Shape of Water                            
899    Doctoral Dissertation             By arrangement                

699-----Master’s Thesis                            Staff

708---Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales                    
Wednesdays, 1:00-3:30    Instructor: Jenny Adams

This course has two primary goals.  The first is to introduce everyone to The Canterbury Tales in its (almost) entirety.  Never read Chaucer?  Feel like you want to fill the gap in your medieval background?  This course for you.   We will work through the poem slowly and carefully to enjoy all its nuances.   By the end, you will know Chaucer.  That’s a promise.

At the same time we will also read Chaucer against a theme of nationalism.  For a theorist like Lauren Berlant, “the contemporary ideal of citizenship is measured by personal and private acts and values rather than civic acts.”  But this claim seems applicable to the late fourteenth-century, a time marked by an increasing cultural fascination with the private lives of citizens and their connections to the larger social body.  How might we read Chaucer as reflecting early nationalist yearnings?  How might we also read him through a transnational lens?  

So in sum, the course will take on both The Canterbury Tales and also, at the same time, tackle questions about nation building and nationalism.  Secondary texts will include writings by Berlant, Laurie Doyle, Giorgio Agamben, Benedict Anderson, Paul Strohm, David Wallace, and Jill Mann.

I’m currently writing a monograph on the academic loan system in medieval Oxford, the birthplace of the student loan.  My book, tentatively titled Degrees of Collateral: Academic Loans and the Business of Books in Medieval Oxford, argues that this loan system, which relied on manuscripts as collateral for loans, changed the status of the books that passed through it and also reframed the ways scholars saw their own labor.  In it I take up questions of economic exchange, manuscript culture, and literary imagining of academic work.  Of course, one of my main authors is Chaucer, and I am excited to spend some more time with his poetry with you in this class.  

780/1 – Imaginative Writing: Poetry   Curiosity, Questions & Contexts, Explorations & Experiments.  
Tuesdays, 1-3:30   Classroom: W365   Instructor: Dara Wier 

Is it possible to question enough what we think we think so that we can bring to our lives and work a possibility of adjusting them toward a desired-----what-----constraints have been for a while one fairly popular means by which a poem’s generation might unfold; previously at times traditional or conventional forms have been; this workshop is conceived of as a place in which we begin with one workshop’s possible design in mind while coming prepared to see it change and shift by a collective will, a chance instance, a serendipitous constellation’s convergence; paying attention will need to be treated with sensitivity and carefulness; initially we’ll begin with an eye directed by concepts of configuration, of structural confinement:  a panopticon, a boundary, a border, an identification, a definition, an inheritance, a coincidence of birth, of place, of birth order, of location, of language, of tradition, a fate, a predestination, a prejudice, a preference, an ignorance, an institutionalization, a preoccupation, an anything you can construe to be relevant to an aesthetics of what you prefer to believe to be possible-----they always say the tension of restraint creates occasions for imaginative release—but they rarely say why----what might it take to make something that isn’t a poem a poem (if it takes anything); we’ll begin with your interest in addressing what this might have to do with making poems and we’ll go on from there;  your poems or pages of prose will be our greatest concern.

Books to read prior to coming to our first workshop include but are not limited to AMERICAN SONNETS by Terrance Hayes, SEMIAUTOMATIC by Evie Shockley, CALL ME ISHMAEL TONIGHT:  A Book of Ghazals by Agha Shahid Ali, THE TUNNEL: Selected Poems of Russell Edson, Harryette Mullen’s SLEEPING WITH THE DICTIONARY, ENGINE EMPIRE by Cathy Park Hong, ALPHABET by Inger Christensen, WHILE STANDING IN LINE FOR DEATH by CAConrad, FEARFUL BELOVED by Khadijah Queen; bring 5 pages of your recent work (prose or poetry) to our first meeting, copied for distribution; bring a poem by someone else; bring a page with something on it that describes somehow or other something about your immediate poetic concerns.

Dara Wier’s newest book in the still of the night (Wave) came out in fall of 2017; forthcoming is a chapbook THRU.  Books in progress include Extremely Expensive Mystical Experiences for Astronauts (poems), The Pieces (poems in pieces), The Camouflage of Marriage (stories) and INSIDE UNDIVIDED (prose); she is the author of HAT ON A POND and REVERSE RAPTURE, a book length poem of 81 line poems in 9 stanzas of 9 lines, SELECTED POEMS, and YOU GOOD THING, all from Wave Books. Guggenheim, National Endowment for the Arts and Massachusetts Cultural Council fellowships have supported her work which can be found in Best American  Poetry, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, The Golden Shovel, Black Ocean's Anthology of Surveillance Poetics; the Norton Anthology of American Hybrid Poetry,  Granta, Fence, Verse, Divine Magnet, American Poetry Review, The Nation, Conduit, Volt, Bat City Review, Tin House, Massachusetts Review, Boston Review, The Fairytale Review, The Academy of American Poets and The Poetry Foundation's websites, in the Wave Newsletter, LITERATURA, HYPERALLERGIC, on CA Conrad's blog and in the lecture series PLATFORM, and in chapbooks from Rain Taxi, The Song Cave, Small Anchor Books, Oat City Press, and as a big broadside in Rain Taxi's brainstorm series.  REVERSE RAPTURE was awarded The Poetry Center’s book of the year award; her work was awarded American Poetry Review's Jerome Shestack Prize.  She is a founding editor of Factory Hollow Press, and founding director of the Juniper Initiative for Literary Arts and Action and the Juniper Institute Summer Writing Workshops. She is now serving as jubilat's executive editor and publisher. 

780/2 – Imaginative Writing: Poetry  
Mondays, 2-4:30     Classroom: W365     Instructor: Peter Gizzi

The workshop is a demanding class.  It consists of work-shopping several batches of poems, providing in-depth written comments, handing in revisions, reading several books of poetry and essays, and required participation and attendance. Permission of instructor requires of students not enrolled through the MFA Program for Poets & Writes. All course books available at Amherst Books.

Peter Gizzi is the author of Archeophonics (Wesleyan 2016), In Defense of Nothing: Selected Poems 1987-2011 (Wesleyan 2014), Threshold Songs (Wesleyan 2011), The Outernationale (Wesleyan 2007), Some Values of Landscape and Weather (Wesleyan 2003), Artificial Heart (Burning Deck 1998), and a reprint of his first book, Periplum and other poems 1987-1992 (Salt Publishing UK 2004). His honors include the Lavan Younger Poet Award from the Academy of American Poets and fellowships in poetry from The Fund for Poetry, The Rex Foundation, Howard Foundation, The Foundation for Contemporary Arts, The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and The Judith E. Wilson Visiting Fellowship in Poetry at Cambridge University.

780/3 – Imaginative Writing: Poetry    
Mondays, 11:15-1:45,  Classroom: W365     Instructor: Ocean Vuong

Description not yet available.

Poet and essayist Ocean Vuong is the author of the best-selling, Night Sky with Exit Wounds, winner of the 2017 T.S. Eliot Prize, the Whiting Award and the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collections, finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and a New York Times Top 10 Book of 2016. A Ruth Lilly fellow from the Poetry Foundation, his honors include fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, The Elizabeth George Foundation, The Academy of American Poets, and the Pushcart Prize. Vuong's writings have been featured in The Atlantic, The Nation, New Republic, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Village Voice, and American Poetry Review, which awarded him the Stanley Kunitz Prize for Younger Poets. Selected by Foreign Policy magazine as a 2016 100 Leading Global Thinker, alongside Hillary Clinton, Ban Ki-Moon and Warsan Shire, Ocean was also named by BuzzFeed Books as one of “32 Essential Asian American Writers” and has been profiled on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” PBS NewsHour, Teen Vogue, VICE, The Fantastic Man, and The New Yorker.  Born in Saigon, Vietnam, he immigrated to the US at the age of two as a child refugee. 

781/1 – Imaginative Writing: Fiction  
Wednesdays, 3:15-5:45   Classroom: W365     Instructor: Jeff Parker

Exhaustion v. 4.0: Consider this workshop interval training. Students will hand in ten pages of work every week for abbreviated, impressionistic critique. Some of this work will hold promise (may even be good) and some of it won’t. But there won’t be much time to dwell on it either way, because we’ll be onto the next week’s stuff. The idea here is: to put the emphasis of the workshop on writing rather than on critique; to improve your speed and cardiovascular fitness; to create generative habits; and to generate a good bit of material, 100+ pages over the course of the term. Come prepared to write a lot and submit almost immediately. Permission of instructor required of students not enrolled in the MFA.

Jeff Parker is the author of several books including Where Bears Roam the Streets: A Russian Journal, the novel Ovenman, and the short story collection The Taste of Penny. His many collaborative books include: Clean Rooms, Low Rates; Erratic Fire, Erratic Passion: The Poetry of Sportstalk; A Manner of Being: Writers on their Mentors; Rasskazy: New Fiction from a New Russia; Amerika: Russian Writers View the United States; and The Back of the Line.  His short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in American Short Fiction, McSweeney's, Ploughshares, Tin House, and others. More at:

781/2 – Imaginative Writing: Fiction  
Thursdays, 4-6:40         Instructor: André Alexis

This is a workshop to think about characterization. It’s something of a given that character is one of the tentpoles of fiction, but what is it to “characterize”? How do we create an “other” that is not quite our self? What does it mean to be faithful to “real people”? What does it mean to be unfaithful? Is there any essential difference between the development of a character and the playing out of an idea? If not, what kind of idea is “Captain Ahab” or “Stephen Dedalus” or “Marcel” (from In Search of Lost Time?) This workshop is a chance to think through some of these questions as you write.

André Alexis is a novelist, playwright, short-story writer, and essayist who was born in Trinidad and grew up in Canada. He is the recipient of a 2017 Windham-Campbell Prize in fiction, one of the richest literary prizes in the world, which recognizes an author’s complete body of work. Alexis’s books refashion old forms: his debut novel, Childhood, makes use of footnotes, graphs, and lists, while Beauty and Sadness blends fiction and essay. His latest project is a five-part series of novels that he calls a “quincunx.” Beginning with Pastoral and continuing through Fifteen Dogs and The Hidden Keys, each book has attempted to resuscitate a forgotten or neglected genre: the pastoral, the apologue, and the quest narrative. In an interview with VICE, Alexis says that Trinidad was the earliest influence on his writing. “… the way Trinidadians speak, the rhythms of storytelling, the repetitions, the simplicity of language. It isn’t that I necessarily write so that a reader can see or hear those things in my work. But they’re where I start from. My ideal is the simplicity and beauty of the folk tale.” Fifteen Dogs is the winner of the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize (Canada’s top fiction honor), the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and the 2017 popular CBC literary-debate program Canada Reads. Childhood received the Books in Canada First Novel Award and the Trillium Book Award and was shortlisted for the Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. Alexis was raised in Ottawa and currently lives and works in Toronto, where he has hosted programming for CBC Radio, has reviewed books for the Globe and Mail, and is an editor at large for This Magazine.

781/3 – Imaginative Writing: Fiction  
Tuesdays, 3:45-6:15         Instructor: Mona Awad

The goal of this workshop is to generate fiction and to inspire and prompt you toward fearless creative exploration. The writing you do here may be strictly exploratory or you can focus on an ongoing project. All forms of fiction (novels, stories, hybrids, etc.) are welcome. We’ll read each other’s work generously and closely, focusing on language, narrative structure, and potential revision. In addition to weekly workshop, there will also be selected readings that will help us learn new tricks and improve upon the ones we think we know.

Mona Awad's debut novel, 13 WAYS OF LOOKING AT A FAT GIRL (Penguin), won the Amazon Best First Novel Award, the Colorado Book Award and was shortlisted for the Giller Prize and the Arab American Book Award. It was also long-listed for the Stephen Leacock Award forSample Text Humour and the International Dublin Award. Her new novel, BUNNY, will be released June 11, 2019 with Viking Press, Penguin Canada, and Head of Zeus in the UK. Her writing has appeared in McSweeney’s, TIME magazine, Electric Literature, VICE, The Walrus, LARB and elsewhere. She was an instructor in the Literary Arts department at Brown University and in the English Department at the University of Denver. She has also worked as a freelance journalist and a food columnist for the Montreal-based magazine, Maisonneuve. She earned an MFA in fiction from Brown University and an MScR in English from the University of Edinburgh where her dissertation was on fear in the fairy tale. She recently completed a Ph.D. in Creative Writing and English literature at the University of Denver.

791DC---Intro. To Digital Cultural Studies            
Wednesdays, 4:00-6:30     Instructor: TreaAndrea Russworm

This class will explore the major theoretical concepts and debates that have emerged across the various interdisciplinary fields of digital cultural studies, including the digital humanities and new media studies. The basic question this course will answer is how do we study digital culture, texts, platforms, and communities like Facebook, YouTube comments, video games, or memes and Black Twitter? The varied approaches to writing about “simulations” will serve as our opening theoretical framework for examining digital culture but, as we will quickly discover, conversations about simulation have far reaching applications. For example, N. Katherine Hayles argues that simulations and computation work “simultaneously as means and metaphor in technical and artistic practices,” and that both narrative and computer representations function as tools that help us understand the world around us. More skeptically, Shirley Turkle argues that the fact that we now “see the world through the prism of simulation” prompts us to focus on the times when “simulation demands unhappy compliance.” In engaging arguments like this we will ask: Can narratives work as computations or simulations? What is the relationship between the act of reading as “hallucination” and computer simulation? Is narrative interpretation similar to what we experience on our devices—from video games to mobile phones? Does the predominance of the digital, including the recent shifts to a “digital humanities” suggest that we have successfully destroyed and disordered our shared realities, as theorist Jean Baudrillard melancholically predicted? We will analyze different aspects of digital culture as simulations that are related to other key terms and concepts like proceduralism, Big Data, semiotics, representation, post-humanism, and repetition

791M---Post-Colonial Literary Studies                
Tuesdays, 1:00-3:30     Instructor: Asha Nadkarni

This course surveys major topics, approaches and debates within postcolonial cultural studies; it is intended for graduate students beginning work in postcolonial and related fields. Our topics will range widely through the postcolonial period and its movements, including the following: anti-colonial nationalisms; the analysis of Orientalism; subaltern studies; postcolonial feminisms; postcolonial sexualities; and recent developments ‘beyond’ the postcolonial. Throughout, we will focus on students acquiring a familiarity with key texts as well as the relevant concepts and vocabulary required to work with postcolonial theory and literature. 

Asha Nadkarni’s research and teaching interests include postcolonial literature and theory, transnational feminist theory, US empire studies, and Asian American studies, with an emphasis on the literatures and cultures of the South Asian diaspora. Her book, Eugenic Feminism: Reproductive Nationalism in the United States and India (University of Minnesota Press, 2014), traces connections between U.S. and Indian nationalist feminisms to suggest that both launch their claims to feminist citizenship based on modernist constructions of the reproductive body as the origin of the nation. She is working on a second book project, tentatively titled From Opium to Outsourcing, that focuses on representations of South Asian labor in a global context.

791TT---Teaching Technical & Professional Writing      
Monday, Wednesday, 1:25-2:15     Instructor:  Janine Solberg

Courses in technical and professional writing (TPW) have long been part of the writing curriculum in U.S. higher education. One of the first classes in business writing appeared in a course catalog at the University of Illinois in 1902; college instruction in technical writing likewise stretches back to the turn of the century (Russell). These early courses were most often seen as performing a “service” function—enrolling majors in business or engineering, even as they were typically taught by faculty in English. 

Now, more than a century later, TPW courses have come to occupy a less peripheral role in many English departments. They are now increasingly offered as part of a “track” within the English major—or as part of a concentration, minor, or certificate. This new emphasis on writing as a key skill in the undergraduate English curriculum is at least partly attributable to the growing urgency many English departments feel as they look to address the problem dropping enrollments and the concerns of students and parents who want reassurance that an English degree will “pay” (2016-17 ADE report, Meloncon). Perhaps not surprisingly, more job ads have begun to ask for strengths in professional and technical writing. 

 A key aim of this practicum is to provide you an opportunity to design an upper level TPW course that speaks to the job ads and curricular changes described above. A second aim is to help you become more familiar with TPW scholarship and explore possible connections to your current research interests. Seminar readings will include works like: Miller’s “A Humanistic Rationale for Technical Writing” (1979), Johnson-Eilola and Selber’s Central Works (2004) and Solving Problems in Technical Communication (2013), Potts’s Social Media in Disaster Response: How Experience Architects Can Build for Participation (2014), and Haas and Eble’s Key Theoretical Frameworks: Teaching Technical Communication in the Twenty-First Century (2018). 
Janine Solberg co-directs the Professional Writing and Technical Communication certificate program. 

792C---Graduate Writing Workshop                
Thursdays 1:00-3:30     Instructor: Daniel Sack 

The Graduate Writing Workshop is primarily intended to assist graduate students who are working on their area-exam rationales. It is also suitable for students working on other writing projects, such as an article or dissertation prospectus. We will explore the practice of writing across different modes and encourage each other’s practice. Students will produce 500-1000 words of writing each week, though this writing need not be particularly formal or polished. We will discuss different methods for forming healthy writing habits, developing a community of fellow writers, and will occasionally workshop each other’s material. A good portion of the class meetings will be devoted to actual writing.

Daniel Sack teaches courses on theatre studies, performance theory, and creative/critical writing. He is the incoming Graduate Program Director. He has published three books: a research monograph on theories of liveness and futurity, a shorter book-length essay on Samuel Beckett, and an edited collection of microfictions and microplays by close to 100 artists and thinkers of the theatre. As an editor, he founded the open-access e-journal, has been the Performance Review Editor for Theatre Journal, and is currently a contributing editor for two other journals in his field. He is at work on a book about crying as/at performance.

796---Independent Study                        By arrangement
    For students wishing to do special work not covered by courses listed in the curriculum.  Each student when registering should submit a brief description of the semester’s work agreed on by the student and the instructor.  This must be signed by both the instructor and the student.  No instructor should do more than one such course.  Forms for registering for this course are available in the Graduate Studies Office.  The Director of Graduate Studies must approve each proposal.

796A---Independent Study                        By arrangement
For students who are taking more than one independent study course per semester.

796B---Independent Study                         By arrangement
796W---INDEPENDENT AREA-1               By arrangement
796X----INDEPENDENT AREA-2               By arrangement

891B---Poetry of the Political Imagination                
Mondays, 1:00-3:30     Instructor: Martín Espada

Poetry of the political imagination is a matter of both vision and language. Any progressive social change must be imagined first; any oppressive social condition, before it can change, must be named in words that persuade. Poets of the political imagination go beyond protest to define an artistry of resistance. This course explores how best to combine poetry and politics, craft and commitment. Students will read classic works ranging from Pablo Neruda’s historical epic, The Heights of Macchu Picchu, to Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, the book that sparked an obscenity trial. They will also read the farmworker poems of Diana García, born in a migrant labor camp; the epigrams of Ernesto Cardenal, written against the dictator of Nicaragua; the emergency room sonnets of Dr. Rafael Campo; the prison poetry of political dissident Nazim Hikmet; and the feminist satire of Marge Piercy, among others.

Martín Espada's most recent collection of poems is Vivas to Those Who Have Failed (Norton, 2016). He is the editor of an anthology, What Saves Us: Poems of Empathy and Outrage in the Age of Trump, forthcoming this fall with Northwestern University Press. In 2018, he received the Ruth Lilly Prize and an Academy of American Poets Fellowship. 

891DN---Darwin, Freud, Einstein, & Literary Culture I          
Thursdays, 4:00-6:30     Instructor:  David Toomey

The course will explore the influence of Darwin, Freud and Einstein upon the literary cultures of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, using primary texts by those figures as lenses through which to reexamine several contemporaneous authors. 

Darwin’s theory of natural selection, Freud’s ideas of the unconscious, and Einstein’s theories of special and general relativity offered radically new views of human experience and at the same time suggested new and equally radical means to represent it. We will study those views and representations, giving special attention to brief selections from a range of nineteenth century British and American fiction, and to two longer works: Woolf’s To the Lighthouse (1927) and Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury (1929). Generally, we will examine how scientific knowledge is diffused and refracted through a larger cultural moment, being careful to distinguish direct influence from oblique influence.  In seeking context, we will appeal to the history of science.  

Required texts:
Charles Darwin (Author), The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex.  Penguin Classics Reprint edition, 2004)
Einstein, Albert.  Relativity: The Special and the General Theory.  Penguin Classics, 2006.
Faulkner, William.  The Sound and the Fury. Vintage, 1991.
Freud, Sigmund.  The Basic Writings of Sigmund Freud (Psychopathology of Everyday Life, the Interpretation of Dreams, and Three Contributions To the Theory of Sex). Modern Library, 1995. 
Kuhn, Thomas.  The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.  University Of Chicago Press; 4th edition 2012.
Otis, Laura (Ed.).  Literature and Science in the Nineteenth Century: An Anthology (Oxford World's Classics) Oxford University Press, USA (2009).
Woolf, Virginia. Eudora Welty (Introduction).  To the Lighthouse.  Harvest Books, 1989.
(All are available at Amherst Books, 3 Main St., Amherst.) 

David Toomey’s most recent book, Weird Life: the search for life that is very, very different from our own (W.W. Norton, 2013), was longlisted for the 2014 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award, shortlisted for Physics World Book of the Year for 2013, and named an “Editor’s Choice” by the New York Times Sunday Book Review.  It appeared in Spanish translation from Biblioteca Buridán in 2015 and Japanese translation from Hakuyosha Publishing in 2016. 

891EX--Seminar--On Experimentation
Wednesdays, 12:30-3:00. Instructor: André Alexis

There are as many reasons for “experimenting” in the arts (or with the arts) as there are artists. Most of these reasons, though, come down to two needs most artists feel at some point: the need to break with the work that has come before us as a way to renew the artform, and the need to find ways to stop ourselves from writing as we’re used to writing, ways to keep ourselves from becoming complacent, ways to renew our own sense of play with fiction. This course thinks through ways of experimenting. We consider the “how” as well as the “why”. We take it as a given that there are “constraints” or “formal obligations” that writers invent for themselves. (Perhaps the most famous of these being La Disparition, George Perec’s novel written without the use of the letter e.) But we can also use given texts and play around with them: stealing their structures, their tones, their “emotional maps” and using them for ourselves. The object of all this – the object of this seminar - is not experimentation for its own sake, nor is it only to renew our relationship to language and play. It is also to look under the hood of older fictions to see how they function, to widen our sense of the possibilities in our own work by engaging with older works. This term we’ll be reading fiction, essays and poetry: Shirley Jackson, Paul Bowles, Giambattista Vico, Viktor Shklovsky, Italo Calvino et al. But we will also be thinking about Arnold Schönberg, Jean Pierre Melville, Samuel Beckett, among others, artists who’ve radically changed their (and our) relations to their artforms.

891FR---Feminist Rhetorics                    
Thursday, 1:00-3:30     Instructor: Rebecca Dingo

Feminist rhetorical theory began as a historical recovery effort in the late 1980s and 1990s whereby feminist rhetorical scholars sought to add to the classical rhetorical canon women’s voices. However, it is now a dynamic and robust part of rhetorical scholarship.  This class will take an in-depth look at the development of feminist rhetorical theory and in doing so, place this development alongside core conversations in Feminist Studies more broadly.  Following the lead of feminist scholar Clare Hemmings’ approach to critically analyzing a field and considering the politics of it grammar, we will take note of the patterns of inquiry and scholarship that have taken place across the field in order to consider the utility (and indeed, ask utility for whom and at what point?) for feminist work in rhetoric and composition studies. In particular, we will examine how race and difference, class and political economy, and geopolitics intersect (or how they don’t) with gender in the field of feminist rhetorical studies and in doing so, create a vision for the future of feminist scholarship in feminist rhetorical studies.  
Possible books:
Why Stories Matter by Clare Hemmings
Rhetorica in Motion eds Eileen Schell and K.J. Rawson
Feminist Rhetorical Practices by Jacqueline Jones Royster and Gesa Kirsch  
Rhetorical Feminism and This Thing Called Hope Cheryl Glenn
Authoring Autism: On Rhetoric and Neurological Queerness by Melanie Yergeau 

Rebecca Dingo’s research has addressed transnational rhetorical and composition studies and in doing so she forwards a transnational feminist lens attuned to global political economy.  She is the author of Networking Arguments: Rhetoric, Transnational Feminism, and Public Policy Writing, which received the W. Ross Winterowd Award in 2012.  She has published widely in both the field of Women’s Studies and Rhetorical Studies.  Dingo has also offered workshops and trainings across the globe on her research, writing pedagogies, and writing development.  She is currently working on two book projects, both which take up the place of political economy in feminist rhetorical studies.  The first book examines the rhetorical production of global girl’s empowerment rhetorics—tentatively called The Girl Affect. The second is a co-authored book with Dr. Rachel Riedner which examines how feminist rhetorical recovery projects aligned themselves with Post-World War II, liberal capitalist projects that seek to include and incorporate previously excluded others without attending to how these projects support nation-state power.  Her pedagogy seeks to connect theory with practice and all of her classes tend to offer on-the-ground case studies paired with theoretical lenses.    

891G-Form & Theory of Fiction: Art in the Anthropocene  
Thurdays, 1-3:30    Classroom:  W365     Instructor: Noy Holland  

This course will traverse the territory between art and citizenship, and attempt humbly to ask questions about the role of the artist in the 21stcentury.  How do we shape and sustain ourselves in a damaged and crumbling era, in the midst of the sixth extinction, in the face of the news of the lethal experiment we have been for decades conducting on the planet?  What are the limits of compassion?  What is the solace, if any, of beauty?  What are the possibilities of action?  Can art help us see beyond, and help others see beyond, the grief and loss that we inherit?  The course will engage visual art, film, flash video, fiction, poetry, and non-fiction that bear news of the degradations of the natural world, and through gratitude, devotion, wandering awe, find cause for hope in the future.  Please note that mostreadings will be book-length essays or collections of essays.  The syllabus will include, but not be limited to, work by many of the following writers: Jesmyn Ward, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Fred Bodsworth, Amitav Ghosh, Elizabeth Kolbert, James Cone, Aldo Leopold, Joy Williams, Bill McKibben, John McPhee, Roy Scranton, Joanna Macy, Rebecca Solnit, Terry Tempest Williams, Naomi Klein, David Loy, Susanna Antonetta, Gary Snyder, Wendell Berry, Layli Long Soldier, Ming Holden, Melanie Rae Thon.

Noy Holland is the recipient of the 2018 Katherine Anne Porter Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.  Her short story “Tally” was included in Best American Short Stories, and read by Suzzy Roche at Symphony Space in New York City.  Her books include I Was Trying to Describe What It Feels Like, New and Selected Stories; the novel Bird; and three collections of short fiction and novellas-- Swim for the Little One First, What Begins with Bird, and The Spectacle of the Body.  She has published fiction and essays in The Kenyon Review, Epoch, Antioch, Conjunctions, The Quarterly, Glimmer Train, Electric Literature, Publisher’s Weekly, The Believer, NOON, and New York Tyrant, among others.  

891LT---Asian American Literature as Theory            
Mondays, 5:30-8:00       Instructor: Caroline Yang  
Building on Barbara Christian’s 1987 essay, "The Race for Theory," Donald Goellnicht proposed in his 1997 essay, "Blurring Boundaries," to read Asian American literature as theory, noting that the task of theory was to expose the workings of ideology and power and to challenge canons and official histories.  In recent years, Christopher Lee expanded on Goellnicht’s proposal and argued that the notion of "Asian American literature as theory" brings to light the way in which "theory operates at the disjunctures among the aesthetic (Asian American literature), the academic (Asian American literary studies), and the political (Asian American activism)" (Lee, "Asian American Literature and the Resistance of Theory" 22).  Taking stock of the fact that the construct of "Asian American literature" has, from its inception, been inseparable from a debate on what it is as well as how it should be read, we will study its aesthetic, academic, and political aspects in relation to a larger understanding of "Asian American" as a socially constructed political identity in the United States.  We will begin the course with a review of current debates in Asian American literary studies.  The rest of the course will be devoted to primary literary texts and supplementary secondary readings.  Possible authors include Hisaye Yamamoto, Maxine Hong Kingston, Chang-rae Lee, Jessica Hagedorn, Lois-Ann Yamanaka, Jhumpa Lahiri, Viet Thanh Nguyen, and Ocean Vuong.

Caroline H. Yang is the author of The Peculiar Afterlife of Slavery: The Minstrel Form and the Chinese Worker in American Literature (Stanford UP, forthcoming).  Her writings on nineteenth-century US literature, comparative race studies, and contemporary Asian American literature can be found in Modern Fiction Studies (MFS), MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States, the Journal of Asian American Studies, and Asian American Literature in Transition Volume I (1850-1930) (Cambridge UP, forthcoming).

891M – Form & Theory of Poetry            
Tuesdays, 6:30-9:00     Classroom: W365     Instructor: Dara Wier    

891 Seminar A Year with autopoetry, its history & current manifestations, awareness of lived spaces, whether private, public, small or vast, from someone’s private writing space & privately experienced life to around the planet and on out beyond the boundaries of Earth’s atmosphere----------plainly it is the seminar you take to receive credits for working with and on and through jubilat; it asks you to consider the journey an inchoate notion takes in the privacy of a writer’s brain all the way through being made public, however that being is made; Some useful (and good) background reading:  When My Brother Was an Aztec, Natalie Diaz; Night Sky with Exit Wounds, Ocean Vuong; The Government of Nature, Afaa Weaver; Whereas, Layli Long Soldier; Bright Dead Things, Ada Limón; and selected poems by C.P. Cavafy, Sappho, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Ai, Sharon Olds,  Yusef Komunyakaa, and others.

This seminar is for jubilat readers, jubilat’s Managing Editor, Assistant Editors, Interview and Special Features Editors, Media Editors, Special Projects Assistants, jubilat/Jones Reading Series Interns/Hosts----anyone interested should enroll in this seminar for their jubilat work. There are many roles one can assume, and there is room for inventing new ones.. You can let me know of your interest and I’ll let you know what kinds of things people have done in the past several years.  Jubilat thrives because new voices join in year after year;  please let me know if you have any questions; email me at or make an appointment.

You may receive 3  hours credit for a year’s affiliation via registration for this seminar; please talk with me about ways you can contribute and receive credit. If the work you propose and accomplish extends through the year and merits additional credit hours (which it may) you can arrange for that credit via Independent Study with me. The seminar meets at the beginning of the semester during its regularly scheduled hours, Tuesday 5:30--8pm; at which time we’ll distribute meeting times, consultations, work schedules ,timelines etc. for the fall semester; spring semester additional jubilat work, depending on circumstances, can be credited in the fall or spring; any questions, please contact me by email

891TS---The Human, the Post-Human, & Race: The Tempest to The Shape of Water
Wednesdays, 1:00-3:30     Instructor:  Jane Degenhardt

This course explores a neglected encounter in the academy’s interest in theories of the post-human--either from an ecological animal studies or technological paradigm: the relationship between the post-human and race. While theories attempting to move beyond the human/non-human divide often dissolve or deny differences of race, contemporary critics working in the tradition of Afro-pessimism have demonstrated how theories of the human always imply a logic of race. This course will trace the early modern roots of race in popular humanist discourses, joining early modern writings to contemporary theoretical writing and cultural productions. Taking a historicized approach, we will read a range of early modern texts that seek, implicitly or explicitly, to define the limits of the human in relation to categories of the divine, the animal, and the inanimate. These texts will include prose writings in natural philosophy, religion, and travel, as well as plays by Shakespeare and fictional writings such as Blazing World, The New Atlantis, and Oroonoko. We will consider theories of disability and emerging questions about what abilities or characteristics make a person more or less human. We will trace the uneven process by which the human assumed a hierarchical distinction within the realm of nature, how this hierarchy became manifested through new perspectives on the relationship between human and world, and the origins of further categorical distinctions such as kind, species, personhood, and race. Surveying foundational and emerging theory ranging from Michel Foucault and Bruno Latour to Cary Wolfe, Donna Haraway, and Judith Halberstam, to Sylvia Wynter, Zakiyyah Iman Jackson, and Mel Chen, we will seek to take stock of what is gained and lost by the post-human theoretical move. We will also consider how understandings of the human inform a philosophy of human rights and ethics--engaging a sampling of writings by Hannah Arendt, Emmanuel Levinas, and Edouard Glissant. Finally, we think about what specific questions are brought to bear on the post-human by critics of race and colonialism, as well as gender and sexuality, and whether these theoretical approaches might be reconciled. Course assignments include conference paper presentation, annotated bibliography, and final seminar paper.

Jane Degenhardt is currently engaged in two book-length studies. She is beginning a new book on the early modern history of the concept of “world” and how this concept is mobilized to stabilize emerging ideas of racial classification and definitions of the “human.” While anchored in Shakespeare, this book takes inspiration from recent scholarship in many fields of the academy on ideas of globalization, world-making, and world literature. It also departs from this work by emphasizing the fundamentally pluralist and pragmatic composition of “worlds,” and it sources its arguments not only in historicist academic scholarship but also in contemporary creative fiction and non-fiction writing, in visual and performance art, in film and digital media. Professor Degenhardt is also completing a book on early modern ideologies of fortune and empire, which considers how new understandings of luck, chance, and risk helped to foster England’s economic expansion during the early formation of the British empire. Professor Degenhardt’s earlier books focus on conversion and embodiment, the logics of religious and racial difference, performance, and dramatic genre. She has taught previous graduate classes on Early Modern Political Economy, Renaissance Drama and Globalization, Religion, Magic, and Theater, New Directions in Shakespeare Studies, Early Modern Literature as “Postcolonial,” and Early Modern Tragicomedy and the Politics of Form. 

899----Doctoral Dissertation                        Staff
All graduate students must have a minimum of 18 credits at the time of their graduation.