Spring 2018 Courses
(Subject to change)
|Engl||698||Gen Ed Practicum||By arrangement||Randall Knoper|
|Engl||698B||Intro to Teaching Writing||Tue 10:00-11:15||Woods/Fleming/Mordecai/
|Engl||698I||Teaching Basic Wriiting||By arrangement||Anne Bello|
|Engl||698J||Teaching Mentoring||by arrangement||Peggy Woods|
|Engl||698M-1||Teaching Creative Writing II||by arrangement||Jacobson/Parker|
|Engl||698MA||Teaching MFA Online Courses||by arrangement||Jennifer Jacobson|
|Engl||698R-1||Applied Literary Arts||by arrangement||Jennifer Jacobson|
|Engl||698R-2||Applied Literary Arts||by arrangement||Dara Wier|
|Engl||698V-1||Special Topics: Teaching Writing||M, 4:00-5:00||Woods/Lorimer Leonard/Dingo|
|Engl||698V-2||Special Topics: Teaching Writing||M, 4:00-5:00||Woods/Lorimer Leonard/Dingo|
|Engl||698V-3||Special Topics: Teaching Writing||M, 4:00-5:00||Woods/Lorimer Leonard/Dingo|
|Engl||699||Master's Thesis||by arrangement|
|Engl||780/1||Imaginative Writing: Poetry||Mon 1:25-3:55||Peter Gizzi|
|Engl||780/2||Imaginative Writing: Poetry||Tu 1:00-3:30||Dara Wier|
|Engl||780/3||Imaginative Writing: Poetry||Mon 6:10-8:40||Ocean Vuong|
|Engl||781/1||Imaginative Writing: Fiction||Thur 3:00-5:30||Jeff Parker|
|Engl||781/2||Imaginative Writing: Fiction||Wed 4:00-6:30||Sabina Murray|
|Engl||781/3||Imaginative Writing: Fiction||Wed 1:25-3:55||Edie Meidav|
|Engl||792C||Graduate Writing Workshop||Tue 1:30-4:00||Adam Zucker|
|Engl||792E||Chaucer and Citizenship||Wed 6:30-9:00||Jenny Adams|
|Engl||792N||Native American Autobiography & The Archive||Wed 4:00-6:30||Laura Furlan|
|Engl||796A||Independent Study||by arrangement|
|Engl||796W||Independent Area||by arrangement|
|Engl||796X||Independent Area||by arrangement|
|Engl||891B||Poetry of the Political Imagination||Mon 1:00-3:30||Martín Espada|
|Engl||891CA||Romanticism & The New World||Wed 1:00-3:30||Joselyn Almeida-Beveridge|
|Engl||891CR||Contemporary Poetry||Tue 6:00-8:30||Peter Gizzi|
|Engl||891G||Form & Theory of Fiction||Tue 1:00-3:30||Sabina Murray|
|Engl||891JA||Realism and Reconstruction||Thur 4:00-6:30||Hoang Phan|
|Engl||891M||Form & Theory of Poetry||Wed 4:00-6:30||Ocean Vuong|
|Engl||891PE||Political Economy in Writing Studies||Mon 1:00-3:30||Donna LeCourt|
|Engl||891RK||Ren. Keywords and the New Queer Philology||Thur 1:00-3:30||Marjorie Rubright|
|Engl||891Z||Introduction to Research on Writing||Thur 1:00-3:30||Rebecca Lorimer Leonard|
|Engl||899||Doctoral Dissertation||by arrangement|
Spring 2018 Graduate English Course Descriptions
Engl 698 Gen Ed. Praticum by arrangement R. Knoper
Engl 698B P-Intro. To Teaching Writing Tu, Th, 10:10-11:15 P.Woods, D.Fleming,
R. Mordecai, R. Dingo
Engl 698I Teaching Basic Writing by arrangement A. Bello
Engl 698J P-Teaching Mentoring by arrangement P. Woods
Engl 698M-1 P-Teaching Creative Writing II M, 5:00-6:00 J. Jacobson/J. Parker
Engl 698MA P-Teaching MFA Online Courses by arrangement J. Jacobson
Engl 698R-1 Applied Literary Arts by arrangement J. Jacobson
Engl 698R-2 Applied Literary Arts by arrangement D. Wier
Engl 698V-1 P- Spec. Topics: Teaching Writing M, 4-5 Woods, Lorimer Leonard, Dingo
Engl 698V-2 P-Spec. Topics: Teaching Writing M, 4-5 Woods, Lorimer Leonard, Dingo
Engl 698V-3 P-Spec. Topics: Teaching Writing M, 4-5 Woods, Lorimer Leonard, Dingo
699-----Master’s Thesis Staff
780/1 – Imaginative Writing: Poetry 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.
780/2 – Imaginative Writing: Poetry Dara Wier
Satisfies MFA Contemporary Poetry requirement and with additional reading may satisfy Modern Poetry requirement
We'll be concerned with what poets encounter as they solve the problems their art presents. Workshop won't be about re-writing one another's poems, it'll be about reading new work as it comes into being. We'll be simultaneously writers and readers. We'll ask how (in what ways) a poet's overlapping brain activities benefit their poems. Poets are welcome to identify parts of their poems they want pressed into conversation. We'll listen to poets bring to workshop those eternally fueling and occasionally vexing constellations of purpose and desire, talents, styles and cryptically splintered elements of craft--- in artificial and illusory and real manifestation. Continuity and condensation, evaporation and every sort of combination we'll hope to witness and to understand in contexts in which we meet them. We'll look into 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 sometimes when it is invisible and about the places in poems where crucial events, emotional and intellectual, political 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 happen to bring into the room with us and those things poetry brings into the room for us. We'll read 12 new poems (minimum) by each of you over the course of our meetings; you'll make a chapbook, booklet or 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; our methods will change as we ask questions, speculate, investigate, and often change our minds. A reading list combining prose and poetry will be provided.
Dara Wier’s newest book is 2017's in the still of the night (Wave) and You Good Thing (Wave Books, 2013), a collection of sonnet-length poems and The Believer's reader's choice book in 2014. 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 poems and prose, poems most often since HAT ON A POND, the book length poem in 9 line 9 stanza sections REVERSE RAPTURE, 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, Fou, Divine Magnet, American Poetry Review, The Nation, Conduit, Maggy, Volt, Bat City Review, Tinhouse, jubilat, Massachusetts Review, Boston Review, Sixth Finch, Oh No, Telephone, Lungful, Green Mountain Review, Make, Matter, Scythe, Mead, The Fairytale Review, Wolf in a Field, Salt Hill Journal, The Academy of American Poets and The Poetry Foundation's websites, in the Wave Newsletter, LITERATURA, HYPERALLERGIC, on CA Conrad's blog, 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. Her book 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.
780/3 – Imaginative Writing: Poetry Ocean Vuong
This class is built around developing the art and act of recognition in relation to the reading and writing of poetry. We will expand and nurture a lexicon for examining, exploring, and thinking about how poems work, not only as crafted objects, but also in relation to the contexts they seek to explore and the questions and issues they raise. Our main task is to learn how to recognize a poem’s unique goals and ambitions, and then cater our critique according to those objectives. In this way, there are no overarching rules that can apply to any specific poem, but rather, each piece will receive idiosyncratic responses in relation to what it aims to achieve.
Poet and essayist Ocean Vuong is the author of the best-selling, Night Sky with Exit Wounds, winner of the Whiting Award, 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. He lives in New York City.
781/1 – Imaginative Writing: Fiction Jeff Parker
Exhaustion v. 3.0: 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 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 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: www.thebackoftheline.net.
781/2 – Imaginative Writing: Fiction Sabina Murray
This workshop is designed to accommodate longer works--novels in progress, collected short stories, novellas--in order to allow the writer to present a larger body of work. The workshop is most helpful for writers who have at least 60pp of manuscript completed. In the past, novel excerpts and cycles of short shorts have been successfully presented, as well as collected stories: the workshop is not concerned with form, but rather with the writer presenting a solid chunk of unified work. Keep in mind, you writers of epic novels, that there will be a strict limit of 25,000 words (103.5 pages double-spaced, 12 pt, Times New Roman, real margins) per submission. Should the class not be full, there might be a possibility of accommodating additional submissions by individual writers.
Murray is the author of three novels and two story collections, including The Caprices, which won the 2002 PEN/Faulkner Award. She has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Radcliffe Institute. She teaches in the MFA Program at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Her stories are anthologized in The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction and Charlie Chan is Dead II. She has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Guggenheim Foundation, Radcliffe Institute, and Massachusetts Cultural Council. She has written on Sebald for the Writers Chronicle, Wordsworth for the Paris Review blog, and time theory and historical fiction for LitHub. Her most recent book, Valiant Gentlemen, was included in the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2016.
781-3 Imaginative Writing: Fast Dirt, Slow Tribes: A Workshop in Creative Nonfiction
Wednesdays, 1:25-3:55 Edie Meidav
You have 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 now 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 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 Baldwin, Barthes, Carson, Chatwin, Coates, Coetzee, Dyer, Dyson, Elliot, Flynn, 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 KINGDOM OF THE YOUNG, a collection of short fiction with a nonfiction coda (2017), as well as three award-winning novels, called editorial picks by the New York Times and elsewhere: LOLA, CALIFORNIA (FSG/Picador), CRAWL SPACE (FSG/Picador) and THE FAR FIELD: A NOVEL OF CEYLON (Houghton/Mariner). Honors have come from sites including the Lannan, Howard, Whiting, and Fulbright programs (Sri Lanka and Cyprus), the Kafka Prize, the Village Voice, the Bard Fiction Prize, Yaddo, Macdowell, Fundacion Valparaiso and elsewhere. Former director of the MFA at the New College of California in San Francisco, a past judge for Yaddo, the NEA, Mass Cultural Council, Juniper Prize, and the PEN/Bingham first novel prize, she serves as a senior editor at Conjunctions and other journals.
792C---Graduate Writing Workshop Adam Zucker
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. A major part of this workshop will be accountability; students should produce at least 500-1000 words of writing for each week. This writing can vary and need not be particularly formal or polished. During our time together, we will discuss strategies and test outcomes for different scholarly and writerly practices. But most of all: we will write!
Adam Zucker teaches courses on 16th and 17th Century English literature, with a special focus on the plays of Shakespeare, Jonson, and their contemporaries. He has directed or been a committee member on many area exams, dissertations, and MA advisory sessions over the past 13 years at UMass. His past publications deal mainly with material histories of urban space, Bourdieuvian analyses of Renaissance 'wit,' and dramatic comedy. Recent work pertains to editorial practices, nonsense, and pedantry in early modern drama, and he has essays forthcoming on marketplace affect in Renaissance drama (he is the co-editor of a collection on affect studies in early modern criticism), and on Ben Jonson's performed learnedness. He also is a compulsive copyeditor, for better or for worse.
792E---Chaucer and Citizenship Jenny Adams
In some of her recent work, Lauren Berlant turns her critical gaze to pre- and post-war American life in order to question the various discourses that help construct citizenship. And while her interest in the blurring of public and private, and in particular her claim that “the contemporary ideal of citizenship is measured by personal and private acts and values rather than civic acts,” is firmly embedded in systems of nationalism, her ideas nonetheless seem applicable to the late fourteenth-century, a time marked by an increasing cultural fascination with the private lives of citizens—a fascination fueled by its own forms of mass media—and a turn to secular modes of thought engendered by (and that engender) ideas of the state.
It is with Berlant in mind that this course will read Chaucer’s most famous poems, The Canterbury Tales, with an eye to the ways it engages in the project of nation building. Secondary texts will include writings by Berlant, Benedict Anderson, Ernest Gellner, Paul Strohm, David Wallace, and Jill Mann. At the same time that we will engage more recent theoretical modes of thought, we will move slowly through the poem, which we will read in its original Middle English, in order to appreciate its aesthetics and poetics. No previous study of Old or Middle English necessary!
Books: Prof. Adams is still figuring out the edition of the Canterbury Tales that she will use. But the book(s) will be ordered through Amherst Books.
Jenny Adams loves teaching Chaucer and has done so for over a decade. Chaucer’s poetry is not the central focus of her current research – she is working on a history and discourse of educational debt in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. But his engagement with university life, which surfaces in the Canterbury Tales and elsewhere, often pulls him into her research orbit.
792N---Native American Autobiography & The Archive Laura Furlan
In this course, our primary work will be to trace the development of Indigenous autobiography, including spiritual autobiographies, collaborative or “as told to” autobiographies, memoirs, and other contemporary personal narratives. We will discuss the critical issues particular to this genre or mode of writing, including the concept of authorship, modes of production, questions of authenticity, and the role of the editor and/or translator, in addition to those specific to Indigenous literatures—relationship to place and community, identity issues, and preservation of language and culture. We will also consider the “archives” of Indigenous autobiography, addressing questions such as these: What is the nature of the Indigenous archive? What kinds of autobiographical texts can be found in the archives? What are the ethics involved in making archives more accessible, especially in the digital age? How do contemporary authors draw upon the colonial archive to reconstruct personal and tribal histories? Authors will include Samson Occom, William Apess, Black Hawk, Zitkala Sa, John G. Neihardt/Black Elk, N. Scott Momaday, Louise Erdrich, Peter Razor, and Deborah Miranda. Books will be available at Amherst Books.
Laura M. Furlan specializes in American Indian literatures. She is the author of Indigenous Cities: Urban Indian Fiction and the Histories of Relocation (UNP, 2017) and is currently at work on a book tentatively entitled The Archives of Native American Literature, which is concerned with the archive of Indigenous knowledge—the collections of stories, documents, photographs, and bones—that appear in poetic, fictional, and autobiographical Native texts—and the ways that contemporary authors repurpose the colonial archive. Her articles have appeared in Studies in American Indian Literatures and Intertexts, she co-edited a Special Forum for the Journal of Transnational American Studies that focuses on transnational Native American Studies, and her creative work has appeared in Yellow Medicine Review, Sentence, and Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature (University of Arizona Press, 2011).
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 from Wanda Bak 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
891B---Poetry of the Political Imagination Martin 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.
About Martín Espada
Martín Espada is the author of almost twenty books as a poet, essayist, editor and translator. His latest collection of poems from Norton is called Vivas to Those Who Have Failed (2016). Other books of poems include The Trouble Ball (2011), The Republic of Poetry (2006), Alabanza (2003), and Imagine the Angels of Bread (1996). He has received the Shelley Memorial Award, the Robert Creeley Award, the National Hispanic Cultural Center Literary Award, the PEN/Revson Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship. The Republic of Poetry was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His book of essays, Zapata’s Disciple (1998), was banned in Tucson as part of the Mexican-American Studies Program outlawed by the state of Arizona, and has been issued in a new edition by Northwestern University Press.
891CA---Romanticism and the New World Joselyn Almeida-Beveridge
The commanding image of Cortez at the end Keats’s “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer” has become an iconic one for Romanticism. Yet Keats’ allusion to Cortez was part of a larger group of writers used the story of the conquest of the New World and the enslavement of Africans to respond to the dilemmas of empire for Britain in the Atlantic world after 1776 —slavery, abolition, and Spain’s colonial possessions. From Helen Maria William’s epic Peru (1784), which chronicles the Inca’s tragic entrapment and demise at the hands of Pizarro, to Madoc (1805), in which Robert Southey retells the “discovery” of the new world by a Welsh prince instead of Columbus, Romantic era writers reimagine imperial horizons for Britain even as they as they question the premises of European power in the western hemisphere.
In this course, we will analyze how Romantic era representations of the New World extend received ideas of the orientation of transatlantic literature as exclusively Anglo-American. In addition to the epic poems of Williams, Southey, and Montgomery, we will read histories, plays, travel writing, essays, and poetry by canonical writers such as William Blake, Ottobah Cugoano, Alexander Von Humboldt, Felicia Hemans, Keats, Alfred Tennyson and lesser-known authors to analyze how themes of imperialism, enslavement and liberation formed part of the Romantic aesthetic. Class discussion will incorporate various critical approaches, including historicist, postcolonial, feminist, Black-Atlantic, and new formalist ones.
Required texts will be ordered at Amherst Books and Amherst Copies. Critical readings available on Moodle.
Joselyn Almeida-Beveridge’s most recent publications include “‘Princely Offspring of Braganza’: The “Brazil Plan” for Portugal and the Miscarriage of British Abolition, 1806-1815” in Studies in Romanticism (Spring 2017) and “Byron’s Posthumous Passage to South America: The Translations of Andrés Bello” in Byron Original and Translated, Eds. Innes Merabishvili and Naji Ouejian (2017). Her research interests include Romanticism and Atlantic Studies with a focus on the intersections between the Anglo- and Luso-Hispanic archives; slavery and abolition in the Luso-Hispanic world; and Romanticism and the aesthetics and politics of multilingualism.
891CR---Contemporary Poetry Peter Gizzi
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.
891G-1 – Form & Theory of Fiction: Research Methods for Creative Narratives
Tuesdays, 1-3:30 Sabina Murray
How does one include research into creative narratives without the facts dominating the narrative? How does one find the details necessary for historical work, or work that uses any research basis as a diving board for inventing fiction or creative non-fiction, including speculative fiction and memoir? This class will presume that writers have a project that is inspiring them and will use a combination of workshop and discussion to best reach individual goals. Texts will (tentatively) include War and Turpentine by Stefan Hertmans, Days Without End by Sebastian Barry, Property by Valerie Martin, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, The Sympathizer by Viet Thang Nguyen, and others.
891JA---Realism and Reconstruction
Thursdays, 4:00-6:30 Hoang Phan
Realism is the name for a set of innovations in literary forms and strategies of representation. As a period within U.S. literary history American Realism corresponds to the historical period between the end of the Civil War and the turn of the century. In this course we will study various aspects of Realism and Naturalism, focusing on several related questions of periodization and of representation. The course will take as a guiding thread the relationship between transformations of literary form and transformations of form in other fields (e.g., philosophy, sociology, law). Likewise, the course will interrogate the various “reality effects” constructed in these distinct fields of writing. Similarly, we will discuss the relation between the innovations of American realism and the representational technologies of photography and film.
Hoang Gia Phan is Associate Professor of English and American Studies, and Director of the Social Thought and Political Economy Program (STPEC). His fields of research and teaching are American Literature, Legal Studies, and Critical Theory. His current project is a study of realism in law and literature.
891M-1 Form & Theory of Poetry: A Myriad Consciousness: the hybrid, its tradition, innovations, and radical possibilities
Wednesdays 4-6:30 Ocean Vuong
In this class, we will examine possibilities in textual and formal hybridity, paying close attention to how this nascent yet rich lineage of writing blurs, disrupts, and alters the boundaries of genres. What happens when a piece of writing challenges the preconceived parameters of its genre, rendering itself elusive, amorphous, and yet still insisting on its value as a means of intellectual and emotional discovery? What use are genre labels, and can these terms be modified alongside the development of inter-genre writing? How does a poet's own "hybridity" in identity relate to her intersection in formal enactments? We will read both the trailblazers and newcomers to the form, as well as try our own hand at creating a hybrid text that surprises, challenges, and confronts our own notions of what a "poem" should or should not be, and how those notions can change. The goal, in the end, is to expand and enlarge our sense of self and the potentialities within our craft through careful reading, compositional imitation, and rigorous discussion. Authors discussed will include Maggie Nelson, Roland Barthes, Claudia Rankine, Arthur Rimbaud, Etheridge Knight and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, among others.
891PE---Political Economy in Writing Studies Donna LeCourt
This course will look situate the study of rhetoric and composition within different political economies. Specifically, the course will begin by tracing the development of “economic thinking” in earlier composition theories: from structuralist critiques of capital in academic institutions (e.g., Ohmann) and literacy studies (e.g. Graff) to models more informed by Marxist and neo-Marxist theory (e.g. Berlin, Villanueva, Trimbur, Horner). The major focus of the course will be on attempts to explain the changing landscape in the last two decades through the lens of “fast capital” (Lu; Lankshear) and neoliberalism (Wingard; Alexander). We will give special emphasis to the influence of digital writing spaces on claims of a “new” economy such as an information or knowledge economy and the links of those economies to neoliberal ideoltogies (Reyman, Porter, Edwards). While the course will primarily study political economy’s influence on writing studies, we will also read some primary texts such as selections of Capital and The Grundisse, as well as works by David Harvey, Sara Ahmed, Jodi Dean, and Christian Fuchs.
Donna LeCourt has published work on composition theory, identity, and computers and writing. Her current research focuses on the possibility for digital public spheres and how public rhetoric can encourage discourse and social action across difference.
891RK---Renaissance Keywords and the New Queer Philology
Thursdays, 1:00-3:30 Marjorie Rubright
What can we learn from a single word? How is the turn to a new queer philology changing both our answers to and our pursuit of this question? In the Renaissance, what it meant to categorize, historicize, and define words as English was changing. For dictionary makers, words offered singular entry points into the variety of the English language; for antiquarians interested in recovering England’s ancient past, words were half-buried relics or fossils conveying a history of English discoverable by way of etymology as well as geological and geographical inquiry; for poets and playwrights, language invited neologism and grammatical invention—words were sites of experimental play. This course explores both how early moderns shaped ideas of English through debates around particular words and how 20th- and 21st-century critics have likewise taken individual words as their entry into the study of the early modern world. Each week we will focus on particular clusters of words that emerge in the drama and prose of the period (including race, sex, slave, sodomite, friend, Moor, Turk, Indian, earth, world, grafter, mingle-mangle, incorporated, baffled). We’ll consider foundational ‘keywords' studies by Raymond Williams, C.S. Lewis, and William Empson together with recent approaches: Patricia Parker’s 'verbal networks,' Roland Greene’s 'critical semantics,' Jeffrey Masten’s 'queer philology,' Paula Blank’s ‘queer etymology,' and Susan Stryker and Paisley Currah’s ‘keywords for transgender studies.’ Throughout, we’ll consider what has all along been queer about the 'love of logos' and what philology’s queer future might look like. While our central focus will be on the period 1500-1700, our engagements will span broadly from the biblical story of the Tower of Babel to Stephen Colbert’s comic segment, ‘The Word.’
Books will be available from Amherst Books.
891Z---Introduction to Research on Writing
Thursdays, 1:00-3:30 Rebecca Lorimer Leonard
This course provides an introduction to qualitative research methodologies in composition/rhetoric 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 archival research. With this framework, we’ll read and evaluate the methodologies employed in research studies, and hear from guest authors of these studies, in order to understand how research aims, questions, methods, and analysis evolve over time. Course assignments will include practice with specific research methods—e.g., interviews, critical discourse analysis—a review of research relevant to a set of research questions, and a pilot research project with a proposal. Books for the course will be available at Amherst Books.
Rebeccca Lorimer Leonard has published in Written Communication, College English, WPA: Writing Program Administration, and Research in the Teaching of English. Her book Writing on the Move: Migrant Women and the Value of Literacy will be published in January 2018 by the University of Pittsburgh Press. In 2017, Professor Lorimer Leonard received the Outstanding Teaching Award from the College of Humanities and Fine Arts at UMass Amherst.
899----Doctoral Dissertation Staff
All graduate students must have a minimum of 18 credits at the time of their graduation.