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University of Massachusetts Amherst

University of Massachusetts Amherst

English Department

Graduate Courses

Schedule of Graduate English Classes

Spring 2015




(Subject to Change)


Course Number

Title

Meeting Pattern

Instructor

Engl

698B

Intro to Teaching Writing

T,Th, 10:10-11:15

 

Hoang, LeCourt, Woods

Engl

698I

Teaching Basic Writing

by arrangement

Anne Bello

Engl

698J

Teacher Mentoring

by arrangement

Peggy Woods

Engl

698M

P-Teaching Creative Writing II

M, 5:00-6:00

J. Jacobson, S. Murray

Engl

698R

Applied Literary Arts

by arrangement

J. Jacobson, S. Murray

Engl

698V-1

Spec. Topics/Teaching Writing

M, 4:00-5:00

H. Hoang, A. Bello, D. Fleming

Engl

698V-2

Spec. Topics/Teaching Writing

M, 4:00-5:00

H. Hoang, A. Bello, D. Fleming

Engl

698V-3

Spec. Topics/Teaching Writing

M, 4:00-5:00

H. Hoang, A. Bello, D. Fleming

Engl

699

Master's Thesis

by arrangement

 

 

 

 

 

 

Engl

745

Romantic Literature

Th, 5:30-8:00

Joselyn Almeida-Beveridge

Engl

780/1

Imaginative Writing: Poetry

Tu, 1:00-3:30

Jim Tate

Engl

780/2   

Imaginative Writing: Poetry

M, 1:25-3:55

Peter Gizzi

Engl

780/3

Imaginative Writing: Poetry

M, 6:30-9:00

Dara Wier

Engl

781/1

Imaginative Writing: Fiction

W, 1:25-3:55

Edie Meidav

Engl

781/2

Imaginative Writing: Fiction

Th, 4:00-6:30

Jeff Parker

Engl

781/4

Imaginative Writing: Fiction

Th, 10:00-12:30

Noy Holland

Engl

796

Independent Study

by arrangement

 

Engl

796A

Independent Study

by arrangement

 

Engl

796W

Independent Area

by arrangement

 

Engl

796X

Independent Area

by arrangement

 

 

 

 

 

 

Engl

891CC

Culture of Memory

W, 1:25-3:55

James Young

Engl

891CR

Contemporary Poetry

Tu, 5:30-8:00

Peter Gizzi

Engl

891DF

Literature & Materialism

Th, 5:30-8:00

Randall Knoper

Engl

891DG

Caribbean Cultural Theory

Th, 1:00-3:30

Rachel Mordecai

Engl

891DJ

Wit, Idiocy in Early Modern Engl. Drama

W, 10:10-12:40

Adam Zucker

Engl

891DK

U.S. Literature & Political Theory

W, 4:00-6:30

Nicholas Bromell

Engl

891DL

Latin Literature & Culture, 300-1300

W, 4:00-6:30

Steven Harris

Engl

891DM

Fiction to Film: Screenplay

W, 4:00-6:30

Sabina Murray

Engl

891G

Form & Theory of Fiction

Tu, 5:00-7:30

Noy Holland 

Engl

891GB

The Arabian Nights in World Literature

M, 5:30-8:00

Mazen Naous

Engl

891I

Writing & Emerging Technologies

W, 4:00-6:30

Donna LeCourt

Engl

891LS

Asian American Literary Studies

M, 10:10-12:40

Caroline Yang

Engl

891Z

Intro. To Research on Writing

Th, 4:00-6:30

Haivan Hoang

 

 

 

 

 

Engl

899

Doctoral Dissertation

by arrangement

 

Spring 2015 Course Descriptions (PDF)

Engl 698B - Intro. To Teaching Writing - Tu, 10:00-11:30 - H. Hoang
Engl 698I - Teaching Basic Writing - by arrangement - A. Bello
Engl 698J - Teaching Mentoring by arrangement - P. Woods
Engl 698M P - Teaching Creative Writing II - M, 5:00-6:00 - S. Murray & J. Jacobson
Engl 698R - Applied Literary Arts - by arrangement - J. Jacobson
Engl 698V - 1 Special Topics: Teaching Writing - M, 4:00-5:00 - Hoang/Bello/Fleming
Engl 698V - 2 Special Topics: Teaching Writing - M, 4:00-5:00 - Hoang/Bello/Fleming
Engl 698V - 3 Special Topics: Teaching Writing - M, 4:00-5:00 - Hoang/Bello/Fleming

699 - Master’s Thesis Staff

745 - Romantic Literature - Joselyn Almedia-Beveridge
Thurs, 5:30-8:00
 This class will provide an advanced introduction to the poetry and prose of canonical and non-canonical authors of the Romantic period (1780-1830s). We will discuss issues of textual reception, periodization, and how we define what is a Romantic text engaging a variety of critical approaches, including new criticism, feminism, deconstruction, Marxism, new historicism, postcolonial, and new formalism. Students will develop their academic writing, research, and presentation skills with the goal of producing an essay for publication. Requirements: Participation (attendance and weekly responses); Abstract and annotated bibliography; Presentation; Final Paper: 50%
Joselyn Almeida-Beveridge received her B.A. from Tufts University in English and Classical Studies and a Ph.D. in English from Boston College. Her research and teaching interests include British Romanticism and globalization, transatlantic studies with a focus on Latin America and the Caribbean, women and slavery, representations of piracy and mutiny, and Latino Literature. She has edited Romanticism and the Anglo-Hispanic Imaginary (Rodopi 2010), an essay collection that assesses Romanticism's engagements with Spain and Latin America. Her book, Reimagining The Transatlantic, 1780-1890 (Ashgate June 2011), argues for the pan-Atlantic as a critical category that maps the cultural, economic, and geopolitical relations between Britain and the non-Anglophone Americas. She has also published a number of related essays on British Romanticism and Latin America, Robert Southey, James Montgomery, José Blanco White, and creole writers in the 1800s.

780/1 – Imaginative Writing: Poetry James Tate
Tues, 1-3:30

Each week, a close reading analysis of poems submitted by poets and writers enrolled in the workshop, and occasional poems brought in from outside. Attention to the way in which a poem works and how it comes together through its choice of images, rhythms and subject matter. Assignments in an anthology of contemporary poetry and supplementary reading. Permission of instructor required of students not enrolled through the MFA Program for Poets and Writers.

James Tate is the author of The Eternal Ones of the Dream: Selected Poems, 1990-2010, The Ghost Soldiers, Return to the City of White Donkeys, Memoir of the Hawk, Shroud of the Gnome, Worshipful Company of Fletchers, which won the National Book Award; Selected Poems, which won the Pulitzer Prize and the William Carlos Williams Award; Distance from Loved Ones, Reckoner, Constant Defender, Riven Doggeries, Viper Jazz, Absences, Hints to Pilgrims, The Oblivion Ha-Ha, and The Lost Pilot, selected for the Yale Series of Younger Poets. He has published two books of prose, Dreams of a Robot Dancing Bee and The Route as Briefed. His awards include a National Institute of Arts and Letters Award, the Wallace Stevens Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He is currently a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets and has been recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

780/2 – Imaginative Writing: Poetry - Peter Gizzi - Mon., 1:25-3:55
The workshop is a very 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. Enrollment is limited to 10. 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 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). He has also published several limited edition chapbooks, folios, and artist books. His work has been translated into numerous languages and anthologized both here and abroad. 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, and The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. In 2011, he was The Judith E. Wilson Visiting Fellow in Poetry at Cambridge University.

780/3 – Imaginative Writing: Poetry - Dara Wier - Mon., 4-6:30
For this workshop we'll be looking closely at various concerns poets encounter as they solve the problems their art can present. Not so much an occasion for re-writing one another's poems but occasions for us all to see new work as it comes into being. We can read closely when poets identify parts of their work they want pressed upon. We can speculate and sometimes offer options and possibilities and potentials. We will listen to poets bring to our workshop those eternally fueling and occasionally vexing constellations of purpose and desire and talent and style and cryptically splintered so-called elements of craft in artificial manifestation. We'll think about continuity and condensation and evaporation and every sort of combination; we'll look into the dark corners where there are no words and no comparisons and no syntax or scaffolding or bridges or walkways or light switches. We'll talk about who we're reading and who we hear and see read in all the venues available in our vicinity and in our travels. We'll talk about structure when that is evident and story when that is evident and about the places in poems where crucial events, emotional and intellectual and spiritual and all else, happen to happen. We'll talk about who's talking and why. We'll talk about how expectations shift depending on the look of a poem and the mood of the reader. We'll talk about prepared reading and other kinds of reading. We'll talk about whatever we should to bring into the room with us those things poetry brings into the room. We'll read 12 new poems (minimum) by each of you over the course of our meetings; you'll make a chapbook or other pamphlet; we'll have a reading of new work near the end of the semester; we may have a few guests; field trips; other trips; locations; our methods will change as we interrogate and investigate their meanings and results and conditions. A reading list will be provided in December.

Dara Wier’s new book is You Good Thing (Wave Books, 2013), a collection of sonnet-length poems, The Believer's reader's choice book in 2014. Guggenheim, NEA and MCC fellowships have supported her work which can be found in Best American Poetry, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, Black Ocean's Privacy Policy: The Anthology of Surveillance Poetics; the Norton Anthology of American Hybrid Poetry, Fou, American Poetry Review, The Nation, Conduit, Maggy, Volt, Bat City Review, Tinhouse, Glitterpony, Skein, Notnostrums, Jubilat, Massachusetts Review, Boston Review, Sixth Finch, Oh No, Telephone, Lungful, Green Mountain Review, Make, Mater, Scythe, Fence, Mead, The Fairytale Review, Wolf in a Field, Salt Hill Journal,elsewhere and on The Academy of American Poets website. Her work has been selected as the San Francisco Poetry Center’s book of the year and awarded The Jerome Shestack Prize. She is a founding editor of Factory Hollow Press and member of Flying Object, a center for the arts and book art, performance and sometimes collaborative laboratory located in Hadley, Massachusetts. Her books include Selected Poems, Reverse Rapture, Hat on a Pond, Voyages in English, and chapbooks from Pilot Books, Small Anchor Books, The Song Cave and others. In progress: collection of stories, novel, two collections of poems, book of essays. Serial installments of Inside Undivided, a Series of Notes and Fragments about Chance, Fate, Context and Intention appear regularly on the Flying Object website.

781/1, Imaginative Writing-Fiction: Fast Dirt, Slow Tribes: A Workshop in Creative Nonfiction - Edie Meidav - Wed., 1:25-3:55
You have written letters, poems, stories, novels, scripts and/or plays - but what is this hybrid, hungry beast called creative nonfiction? Is it karaoke or kabuki? What motivates anyone to write and read such work? And how do writers create a persona within the genre? Some of the most exciting work occurs in the seam between fiction and nonfiction, begging us to question our own complicity and assumptions as readers. In this class, you will find yourself turning the dross of your experience, fortunate or not, into writerly gold, with ample license for invention and formal play. We will borrow from old painting ateliers in which artists approached a master, learning by apprenticing themselves to the master's manner and tricks without foregoing their own content. Much of the best, strangest work of our time is, to use Harold Bloom's term, a creative misreading of antecedents. Together we will perform full-on theft or creative misreading, each week using shorter published work, whether excerpted or unabridged, as directly generative inspirations to explore the how of creative nonfiction. You, meanwhile, will supply the what, where and why, your own fast dirt and slow tribes. Our reading inspirations will include writers such as Amis, Baldwin, Barthes, Carson, Chatwin, Coetzee, Dyer, Elliot, Flynn, Franzen, Kapuscinski, Knausgaard, Lethem, Marker,Ondaatje, Scott, Shields, Smith, Stein, Sullivan, le thi diem thuy, Tanizaki, Wallace, and Winterson. Each week we will take on a new challenge - the personal essay, cultural criticism, the fluid mosaic, and other less classifiable forms - so that, by semester's end, you will have amassed a strong portfolio of your own stylistically diverse and workshop-vetted starts which you can use to develop into shorter pieces or books, a map about where to take such work, at least one fully resolved piece ready to send out into the world as well, and a compass of your own possibility to use within this vast and significant realm.

Edie Meidav is the author of three award-winning novels: most recently, LOLA, CALIFORNIA (FSG/Picador), as well as CRAWL SPACE (FSG/Picador) and THE FAR FIELD: A NOVEL OF CEYLON (Houghton/Mariner). Her work has been called an editorial pick or book of the year at by the New York Times, the L.A. Times, the New Yorker and other sites. Fellowships she has received include the Lannan, Howard, Whiting, a Fulbright in Sri Lanka, the Kafka award for best novel by an American woman, the Bard Fiction prize for writers under 40 and a Village Voice award. Residencies at Macdowell, Yaddo, Vermont Studio Center, Fundacion Valparaiso and other sites have supported her work, while stories, excerpts, reviews, homages and poetry have been published in The Millions, Pen/Guernica, Artweek, Conjunctions, The Chicago Tribute, Kenyon Review, Ms., Poetry Flash, The Village Voice, Zyzzyva and other publications. A former director of the MFA Program at New College of California in San Francisco and writer-in-residence at Bard College, she is a contributing editor to Conjunctions, Fifth Wednesday Journal, and the International Literary Quarterly, and has been a judge for the NEA, Yaddo, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the UMass Juniper Prize and elsewhere.

781/2, Imaginative Writing-Fiction - Jeff Parker - Thurs, 4-6:30
This workshop is an intensive course in lying and language-made hallucination. Expect to submit work to be discussed by the group; to revise that work; to read texts that do well that which we wish to do better; to identify strengths and weaknesses in your own work and the work of others; to focus on sentences; and to focus on narrative structure (regarding the latter, see Barry Hannah for whom his "best stories come out of nowhere with no regard for form at all"). Permission of instructor required of students not enrolled through the MFA Program for Poets and Writers.

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 writing has appeared in American Short Fiction, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, n+1, Ploughshares, Tin House, and others. He co-edited the anthologies Rasskazy: New Fiction from a New Russia and Amerika: Russian Writers View the United States. He also co-translated the novel Sankya by Zakhar Prilepin from the Russian. He is the Director of the DISQUIET International Literary Program in Lisbon.

781/3, Imaginative Writing-Fiction - Noy Holland
Thurs, 10-12:30
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 I will expect submissions to the workshop to be, in the main, short fiction. If you are working on a novel, please check with me first to determine whether or not this is the best workshop for you. Books ordered at Amherst Books.

Noy Holland is the author of three collections of stories, Swim for the Little One First, The Spectacle of the Body, and What Begins with Bird. Her work has appeared in several literary magazines, including The Quarterly, Ploughshares, Story Quarterly, Glimmer Train, Conjunctions, Black Warrior Review, and Open City. She has taught at Phillips Academy and the University of Florida, and has received fellowships from the University of Florida, the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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 Bartlett 452. 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.

796W-INDEPENDENT AREA-1 - By arrangement

796X-INDEPENDENT AREA-2 - By arrangement

 

891CC-Culture of Memory - James Young
Wed, 1:25-3:55

In this course, we explore the cultural construction of memory-personal, religious, national, social, and literary-from ancient to modern and post-modern times. Here we ask to what extent memory is transmitted through individual selves and to what extent it is socially and culturally produced, where the self and culture overlap. Looking specifically at the ways historical trauma is remembered, we ask who controls the past, to what ends, and how the very notion of collective memory can be politically shaped. Among the "memory-sites" under examination here will be personal and official history, oral testimonies, diaries and memoirs, monuments, museums and days of remembrance, and post-modern forms of "counter-memory" found in contemporary photography and conceptual art.

Required Readings:

 Zakhor, by Yosef Haim Yerushalmi.
The Use and Abuse of History, by Friedrich Nietzsche.
On Collective Memory, by Maurice Halbwachs.
On Photography, by Susan Sontag
Family Frames: Photography, Narrative, and Postmemory, by Marianne Hirsch.
At Memory’s Edge, by James E. Young
The Texture of Memory, by James E.Young.
"Screen Memories," "Mourning and Melancholia," "The Uncanny," by Sigmund Freud.
Maus, by Art Spiegelman.

 And selections from:
Trauma: Explorations in Memory, ed. by Cathy Caruth; Testimony, by Shoshana Felman and Dori Laub; History as an Art of Memory, by Patrick Hutton; Recovered Roots, by Yael Zerubavel; Twilight Memories, by Andreas Huyssen; Les Lieux de Memoire, by Pierre Nora; Memory, History, and the Extermination of the Jews of Europe, by Saul Friedlander; The Art of Memory, by Frances Yates; The Past is a Foreign Country, by David Lowenthal; Perceptions of Jewish History, by Amos Funkenstein; and The Architectural Uncanny, by Anthony Vidler, Nine Points on Monumentality, by S. Giedion, “Idea of the Monument,” by Maya Lin.

James E. Young is Distinguished University Professor of English and Judaic & Near Eastern Studies at UMass Amherst and Director of the university’s Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies. His books include: At Memory’s Edge (Yale University Press, 2000), The Texture of Memory (Yale University Press, 1993), and Writing and Rewriting the Holocaust (Indiana University Press, 1988). His articles and reviews have appeared in Critical Inquiry, Representations, New Literary History, PMLA, History and Theory, History and Memory, Clio, The New York Times, and dozens of other journals and newspapers. In 1997, he was appointed by the Berlin Senate to serve on the commission to select a design for Germany’s national Holocaust memorial, and in 2003, he was appointed by the LMDC to serve on the jury for the World Trade Center Site Memorial competition, completed in 2004.

891CR-Contemporary Poetry - Peter Gizzi
Tues, 5:30-8:00
Satisfies MFA Contemporary Poetry requirement
This seminar will focus on 10 individual books of poetry. The course books will range from recent retrospective volumes of mid-century poets to up-to-the-minute collections. There will also be xerox handouts of various essays. Seminar members will be asked to do an in-depth in-class presentation of some sort on one of the titles as well as written weekly responses for each title (this class has a cap of 15, I will not be accepting any more than what is allowed). All course books available at Amherst Books.

 
 

891DF-Literature & Materialism - Randall Knoper
Thurs, 5:30-8:00

An overreaching, presumptuous title, perhaps. Its inspirations are more specific. First, a development: Literary and cultural studies, long shaped by the “linguistic turn” and then the “cultural turn” of the late 20th century, are being challenged by what have been called “new materialisms.” Frequently propelled by urgent concerns—the morphings of advanced capitalism, ecological and biological crises, developments in science and technology—many of these materialisms radically reconceive both materialist modes of analysis and material reality itself. And they are often in sharp conflict—conflicts we shall try to understand and evaluate. Second, a question: Can we see resonances between this moment of intellectual history and the end of the nineteenth-century, when the versions of materialism that still frame much of our thinking arose: Darwinism and evolutionary thinking; Marxism and historical materialism; aspects of the thinking of Freud and Nietzsche; neurology and physiological psychology, etc.? If so, what might we think about them? Third, another question: What are the relations between these materialisms and literature? Does their displacement of the linguistic paradigm nudge literature, too, into the dustbin? Do they help us see literature differently? Can literature bear in some way on our understanding of such materialisms? Readings from contemporary philosophers and theorists (e.g., Catherine Malabou, Jane Bennett, Quentin Meillasoux, Elizabeth Grosz, Fredric Jameson, Daniel Dennett, Donna Haraway), their nineteenth-century forbears, and literature from both the late nineteenth and early twenty-first centuries (possibly writings by W. E. B. Du Bois, W. D. Howells, C. P. Gilman, Mark Twain, Theodore Dreiser, Margaret Atwood, Richard Powers, E. L. Doctorow). Books to be ordered at Amherst Books.

Randall Knoper has written mainly about late nineteenth-century American literature and culture, usually in an interdisciplinary vein.

 

891DG- Theories and Problems of Caribbean Identity - Rachel Mordecai
Thurs, 1:00-3:30

In this seminar we will examine elaborations and interrogations of Caribbean cultural identities, from négritude and cubanismo through antillanité, creolité, modern blackness and beyond. The problem of locating the Caribbean will inform our discussions, as we consider the region’s position within broader transnational, postcolonial, African-diasporic and New World trajectories, and reflect on what is gained and lost by privileging these as lenses through which to make sense of Caribbean-ness. We will also explore the utility of, and the major challenges to, concepts such as creolization, hybridity, plantation societies, and others that have long been central to Caribbean studies. The textbook order will be placed at Amherst Books.

Rachel Mordecai’s teaching and research interests include Caribbean and African Diaspora literature, multi-cultural American literature, popular literature and culture of the Caribbean, and autobiography and life-writing. She has published on Peter Tosh’s iterations of black citizenship, Lawrence Scott’s amnesiac white creole women, and figurations of blackness in Margaret Cezair-Thompson and Robert Antoni. Her book, Citizenship Under Pressure: The 1970s in Jamaican Literature and Culture, appeared from the University of the West Indies Press in 2014.

 

891DJ-Wit, Idiocy in Early Modern Engl. Drama - Adam Zucker
Wed, 10:10-12:40
This is a research-intensive seminar that orients debates about the plays of Shakespeare and his contemporaries around discussions of the historical, philosophical, and aesthetic ramifications of cultural competencies. In addition to our dramatic texts, we will focus on different fields in which competence and incompetence can determine status: the school; the court; the marketplace; and the space of the early modern theater itself. Some guiding questions: How do evaluations of intelligence and stupidity in the early modern period intersect with economic and political forms of status, including hierarchies of nationality or gender? How do they intersect and diverge from our own? What role does dramatic genre play in the representation of competence and incompetence on stage? What early modern institutions besides the theater were invested in marking out the difference between skilled and unskilled laborers, students, citizens? And what is our role, as scholars and critics, in the reproduction of the uneven relationships subtended by assessments of competency in the classroom and out of it? Though Tudor and Stuart drama will be our primary focus, we will also consider writings by Erasmus, Castiliogne, Ascham, Bourdieu, Simmel, Musil, Braithwaite, Ronnell, and a number of contemporary critics in an effort to excavate the history and politics of wit and idiocy over time.

Adam Zucker has been teaching courses on early modern drama and poetry at UMass since 2004. He is the author of The Places of Wit in Early Modern English Comedy (Cambridge University Press, 2011), and the co-editor of two collections, Localizing Caroline Drama: Politics and Economics of the Early Modern English Stage, 1625-1642 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006); and Historical Affects and the Early Modern Theater (Routledge, forthcoming in 2015). He is currently researching and writing a monograph entitled Shakespeare’s Idiots: Nonsense, Incompetence, and Horrible Errors in Early Modern Drama. Professor Zucker won the College of Humanities and Fine Arts Outstanding Teacher Award in 2012-13, and his book, The Places of Wit, was shortlisted for the 2012 Globe Theatre Book Award.

891DK-U.S. Literature and/as Political Theory - Nicholas Bromell
Wed, 4:00-6:30
This course introduces graduate students in English, American Studies, African American Studies and Political Science to a rich body of political theory that demonstrates an interest in the ways such theory is embedded in works of literature. We will also read the work of literary and cultural studies scholars who have discovered that political theory can enrich their reading of literary texts and cultural events. In short, these fields are in a state of productive mutual influence and the time is right for graduate students in all four of the above disciplines to join together in a discussion of them.

Our center of gravity in this course will be works by African American writers, since I have found these to be particularly illuminating when read as political theory. We will read as well a range of other authors. Our focus will be more on genre than on history, placing a work like Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl more in the context of autobiography and slave narrative genres than in its immediate historical surround (though of course that will also be discussed). Our primary texts will include, in addition to Jacobs, works by David Walker, Paul Laurence Dunbar, W.E.B. Du Bois, Jams Baldwin, Edith Wharton, W.S. Merwin, Samuel Delany, and Lucy Grealy. The political theory we read will include a few classic or foundational theorists (e.g., Rousseau, Arendt), a number of contemporary theorists (e.g., Sheldon Wolin, Iris Marion Young, Charles Mills, Wendy Brown, Jane Bennett), as well as several political theorists who engage with literature and several literary and cultural studies scholars who are interested in political theory.

It is not easy to name the difference between the kinds of theory literary scholars are familiar with and political theory. One might say that they imagine different horizons of impact or consequence. The theory we read in literature departments thinks of power as broadly diffused throughout culture (Foucault: “Power is everywhere”); it reads literary and cultural texts in ways that reveal the working of that power while also being subject to that power’s workings. Its aim is to transform the way we think about history and our place in it. By contrast, while political theory is fully cognizant of power so conceived, it is more interested in problems of governance, in the ways political activity is institutionalized and practiced. It aims to transform the way we think of politics as a practice. It reads literary texts for thick descriptions of political consciousness, political effort, and political aspiration.

A second way of characterizing the differences between critical theory and political theory is to say that the latter is cognizant of but not circumscribed by critical theory’s “hermeneutics of suspicion” - the “symptomatic” reading that uses theory to discern socio-political illness that would otherwise remain hidden from view. Deeply pessimistic about near and present political possibilities, critical theory tends to place its hopes and aspirations in some notion of “revolution” – a break and a clean start, e.g., beyond the destruction of neo-liberalism and global capitalism. By contrast, most contemporary political theory eschews such revolutionary fantasies and addresses itself to specific here-and-now problems of governance and citizenship - for example, immigration, wealth inequality, and political participation. One might even say that in much critical theory “the political” has become so co-extensive with life itself as to lose its integrity as a category of analysis, whereas in political theory “the political” is a fragile historical achievement that must be continually re-invoked and re-interpreted.

Nick Bromell works in the fields of literary and popular cultural studies and political theory. He is the author of By the Sweat of the Brow: Literature and Labor in Antebellum America (Chicago: 1992), Tomorrow Never Knows: Rock and Psychedelics in the 1960s (Chicago: 2000), and The Time Is Always Now: Black Thought and the Transformation of US Democracy (Oxford: 2013). His articles and essays on African-American literature and political theory have appeared in American Literary History, American Literature, American Music, Raritan, and Political Theory. He is currently editing a volume of essays on Du Bois’s political thought for the University of Kentucky Press and co-editing the Norton Critical Edition of Douglass’s My Bondage and My Freedom.

891DL-Latin Literature & Culture, 300–1300 - Stephen Harris
Wed, 4:00-6:30
We will study some of the most influential Latin authors of the Middle Ages, writing in the common tongue of medieval Europe. English literature developed out of a long participation in a global intellectual enterprise. Medieval Latin authors formed the basis and extension of that enterprise. We will read major Christian authors, including Augustine, Jerome, Ambrose, Isidore of Seville, Bede, Prudentius, Arator, Sedulius, Fortunatus, Alcuin, Columbanus, Aldhelm, and Avitus, among others. These authors represent the height of literary culture in Africa, the Middle East, Spain, Gaul, Ireland, France, and wider Germania. Our readings will comprise poetry, prose, Scripture, biblical commentary, and sermons, as well as historical and philosophical texts. Our aim is to achieve a wide knowledge of medieval Latin literature. Books include Ernst Robert Curtius, European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages; Barbara Rosenwein, A Short History of the Middle Ages; and portions of Erich Auerbach, Mimesis, and C. S. Lewis, The Allegory of Love. Articles will be available electronically. All the works are translated into English, so a working knowledge of Latin is not required, although appreciated.
Books will be available through Amherst Books.

Stephen Harris teaches early medieval literature and is author most recently of Bede and Aethelrhryth: an Introduction to Christian Latin Poetics (West Virginia University Press). 

891DM-Fiction to Film: Screenplay - Sabina Murray
W, 4:00-6:30

 

891G, Form & Theory of Fiction: Reading Extravaganza: Contemporary Fiction from Three Continents - Noy Holland
Tuesday, 5-7:30

Satisfies MFA Contemporary Fiction requirement
This course seeks to address the commonly-expressed anxiety about good books from around the world piling up beside the bed, the too-little-time-to-read feeling prevalent among writers. The lengthy reading list is contemporary and eclectic, drawn from a wide range of aesthetic and cultural impulses, inclinations, imperatives, aberrations. We’ll read literature from at least three continents, with particular emphasis on emerging or neglected writers, and on the Latin American boom. Here’s a sampling of the reading list: Renata Adler, Janet Frame, Yannick Murphy; Javier Marias, Jose Saramago, Horatio Castellano Moya, Roberto Bolaño; Wells Tower, Brian Evenson, David Ohle; Chinua Achebe, JM Coetzee, Bohumil Hrabel, John Edgar Wideman, Lynn Tillman, Lidia Yuknavitch, Steven Graham Jones. Writing requirements will include a polished review of a newly published novel or collection of stories.

 

891GB-The Arabian nights in world Literature - Mazen Naous
M, 5:30-8:00
Since first being translated into English in the 18th century, The Arabian Nights has proved enduringly popular and is responsible for many of the images of the East and the Arab world that persist in present-day literary and cultural discourses. Images of tyrannical and lustful Sultans, harems, genies, magic lamps, and flying carpets have played a significant representational role in the West’s perception of the East as a fantastic, exotic, and dangerous place. By and large, The Arabian Nights was considered to be little more than entertainment; however, many writers have taken up the Nights in their works and have offered complex interpretations and reinventions of it. In addition to reading selections from Richard Burton’s and Husain Haddawy’s translations, we will negotiate the presence of the Nights in English, South Asian, North African, South American, and North American works of literature. Literary and cultural theory will guide our readings. Books will be ordered at Amherst Books.
Mazen Naous specializes in Arab American literature, Arabic literature, postcolonial studies, translation theory, and music and literature. He is currently writing a book titled The Arab American Novel and Traveling Poetics. Naous is also editing an interdisciplinary collection of essays titled Identity and Conflict in the Middle East and its Diasporic Cultures.

891I-Writing & Emerging Technologies - Donna LeCourt
Wed, 4:00-6:30
In this course, we will examine the most recent research into the connections between computers and writing, looking at both the practical applications and the theory grounding such applications. The course will begin with an historical perspective on technology, examining how technological writing spaces both challenge and reinforce other forms of print culture in order to situate technology within similar historical changes in writing production (e.g. manuscript culture, the printing press, etc.). From this brief historical overview we will move to cultural theories of technology, examining work in media studies, philosophy, and composition focused on understanding the “effect” of the information economy and new forms of writing on our society.
As such, the course will draw from work in cultural studies analyzing new technologies and in computers and composition looking at how technology has influenced the teaching of writing. We will take the broad view, examining older technologies (e.g., discussion boards, hypertext, interactive fiction) as well as more current technologies (social networking, microblogs, etc.), but the focus of the course is not the technologies themselves as much as the questions new technologies pose to our conceptions and practices of writing (e.g. authorship, genre, intellectual property, etc.) and the effect of writing technologies on those who use them (e.g. new modes of capital exchange, civic engagement, identity politics. Books will be ordered through Amherst Books.

Donna LeCourt’s work has focused on questions of difference in the teaching of writing and on writing theory (e.g. Identity Matters). Her most recent work takes up questions of the nature of the public within digital spaces and how writing functions to offer agency (or not) to average citizens within an information economy.

 

891LS-Asian American Literary Studies - Caroline Yang
Mon, 10:10-12:40
This seminar will introduce students to contemporary Asian diaspora literature in the context of the twentieth-century wars in Asia, global racial capitalism, and the institutionalization of liberal multiculturalism. The literary texts for the course will include Susan Choi’s The Foreign Student, Amitav Ghosh’s The Shadow Lines, Ha Jin’s War Trash, Nora Okja Keller’s Comfort Woman, Chang-rae Lee’s The Surrendered, lê thi diem thuy’s The Gangster We Are All Looking For, Sabina Murray’s Caprices, Nina Revoyr’s Southland, and Karen Yamashita’s I-Hotel. The books will be ordered through Amherst Books. In conjunction with secondary readings drawn from Asian American studies and critical ethnic studies, we will explore theories and histories of Asian racial formations in the United States and beyond.

Caroline Yang’s current research project examines the figure of the Chinese worker in American literature during and after Reconstruction. Her next project centers on figures and spaces of work in contemporary Asian American and African American literatures in the context of global racial capitalism and military multiculturalism. In addition to Asian diaspora and African American literary studies, her teaching and research interests include comparative race and ethnic studies, gender and sexuality studies, and transnational media and cultural studies.

 

891Z-Intro to Research on Writing - Haivan Hoang
Thurs, 4:00-6:30
This course provides an introduction to qualitative research methodologies in composition and literacy studies. Researchers in these fields seek to understand writing as deeply situated, and for this reason, we’ll focus on methodologies that encourage context-based understandings of writing, including ethnography, case study research, teacher-research, and historiography. With this framework, we’ll read and evaluate the methodologies employed in select research studies in order to examine aims, assumptions, methods, and conclusions. We will also practice qualitative inquiry by trying out specific methods—e.g., interviews, critical discourse analysis. More broadly, we’ll critically reflect on the range of research as a way to understand the fields of composition and literacy studies.

Course assignments will include brief practice with specific research methods, brief reviews of specific studies, a review of research on a given question or review of a research methodology, and a pilot research project (including a proposal for this project).

Haivan Hoang is Associate Professor of English and Director of the Writing Program. Her teaching and research interests include literacy studies; writing, language, and race; Asian American rhetoric; and qualitative research methodologies. Her book Writing against Racial Injury: The Politics of Asian American Rhetoric (University of Pittsburgh Press) will be out in fall 2015

 

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