Fall 2018 Graduate Courses
(Subject to Change)
521 Introduction to Old Irish
Mon 5:30-8 Instructor: Maria Tymoczko
698 Gen Ed Practicum
By arrangement Instructor: Asha Nadkarni
698L Prac-Teaching Creative Writing
Mon 5:00-6:00 Instructor: J. Jacobson/J. Parker
698MA Teaching MFA courses online
By arrangement Instructor: Jennifer Jacobson
698R-1 Applied Literary Arts
By arrangement Instructor: Jennifer Jacobson
698R-2 Applied Literary Arts
By arrangement Instructor: Dara Wier
699 Master's Thesis
780/1 Imaginative Writing: Poetry
Mon 1:25-3:55 Instructor: Peter Gizzi
780/2 Imaginative Writing: Poetry
Tues 1:00-3:30 Instructor: Dara Wier
780/3 Imaginative Writing: Poetry
Tues 10:00-12:30 Instructor: Ocean Vuong
781/1 Imaginative Writing: Fiction
Mon 6:30-9:00 Instructor: Noy Holland
781/2 Imaginative Writing: Fiction
Tues 1:00-3:30 Instructor: Edie Meidav
781/3 Imaginative Writing: Fiction
Thurs 1:00-3:30 Instructor: Sabina Murray
781/4 Imaginative Writing: Fiction
Wed 6:30-9:00 Instructor: Jeff Parker
791D Major Texts for Study of American Culture
Wed 4:00-6:30 Instructor: Hoang Phan
791E Theorizing the Discipline
Mon 1:00-3:30 Instructor: Jordy Rosenberg
791SA South African Literature and Politics
Tues 1:00-3:30 Instructor: Stephen Clingman
792C Graduate Writing Workshop
Tues 5:30-8:00 Instructor: Daniel Sack
796 Independent Study By arrangement
796A Independent Study By arrangement
796W Independent Area By arrangement
796X Independent Area By arrangement
891BA Beyond Moral Fiction
Wed 1:00-3:30 Instructor: Edie Meidav
891ET Early Textual Cultures
Mon 5:30-8:00 Instructor: Stephen Harris
891FD Frederick Douglass's 19th Century
Thurs 4:00-6:30 Instructor: Nick Bromell
891G Form & Theory of Fiction
Wed 3:45-6:15 Instructor: Sabina Murray
891LC Literature and Climate Change
Thurs 1:00-3:30 Instructor: Malcolm Sen
891LL Composition Theory
Wed 1:00-3:30 Instructor: Haivan Hoang
891M Form & Theory of Poetry
Tues 6:00-8:30 Instructor: Dara Wier
891SE Stage and Satire in Early Modern English
Wed 4:00-6:30 Instructor: Adam Zucker
891TT Intro. To Rhetorical Theory
Tues 1:00-3:30 Instructor: Rebecca Dingo
899 Doctoral Dissertation By arrangement
Fall 2018 Graduate Course Descriptions
English 521 Introduction to Old English
Mon 5:30-8:00 pm Instructor: Maria Tymoczko
In this class, students will learn the vocabulary, grammar, and inner workings of Old Irish, and will eventually be able to read poems and excerpts from longer works in Old Irish. It's a great way to connect with an Irish heritage, learn a language that looks great on grad school applications, or just learn to read some of the world's oldest literature in the original language.
698---Gen Ed Practicum By arrangement Asha Nadkarni
698L Prac-Teaching Creative Writing M, 5:30-6:00 J. Jacobson/J. Parker
698MA---Teaching MFA Courses online By arrangement Jennifer Jacobson
698R-1 Applied Literary Arts By arrangement Jennifer Jacobson
698R-2 Applied Literary Arts By arrangement Jennifer Jacobson
699-----Master’s Thesis Staff
780/1 – Imaginative Writing: Poetry
Mon, 1:25-3:55 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.
780/2 – Imaginative Writing: Poetry
Tues., 1-3:30 W365 Instructor: Dara Wier
Satisfies MFA Contemporary Poetry requirement and with additional reading can satisfy modern poetry requirement
from ISHA UPANISHAD Those who see all creatures in themselves/And themselves in all creatures know no fear./Those who see all creatures in themselves/And themselves in all creatures know no grief./How can the multiplicity of life/Delude the one who sees its unity?
THE ANIMAL CLUB, workshop, in which animals, animal spirits, fabled animals, wild, captured, fictional, shape-shifting, painted on cave walls, adopted as mascots, deified, glorified, massacred, named, categorized, cloned, lived with, lived on, protected, hunted, extinct, released, imagined, spoken of, spoken to, spoken with, spoken for, believed in, loved, honored, worshipped, emulated, banished, transformed, tracked, hidden, adored, animals of any kind, chimera, mythological, iconic, religious, of sacred texts, in natural history books, in children’s books, in museums, on buildings, on shields, on jewelry, as adornment, woven into rugs, in ecopoetics, painted or drawn, in zoos, in human habitats, in the wild, the zodiac, in words, in human imagination and experience----animals. St. Francis of Assisi can be one of our associates. Before starting workshop you’re invited to choose an animal spirit, or animal companion----you may choose twice: one public, known to us in our workshop, one private, known only to you. A new poem or prose poem or mix of word & image once a week. There will be reading lists tailored to individuals reading and writing. Check in with Dara Wier if you have any questions. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dara Wier’s newest book in the still of the night (Wave) came out in fall of 2017. 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, 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, Fence, 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 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. Her book REVERSE RAPTURE was awarded the San Francisco 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
Tues., 10-12:30, W365 Instructor: 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 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
Mon, 6:30-9 W365 Instructor: Noy Holland
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 recipient of the 2018 Katherine Anne Porter Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her latest book, I Was Trying to Describe What It Feels Like, New and Selected Stories, was published by Counterpoint in January 2017. Her novel, Bird (Counterpoint), appeared in 2015, to great critical acclaim. Holland’s collections of short fiction and novellas include Swim for the Little One First (FC2), What Begins with Bird (FC2), and The Spectacle of the Body (Knopf.) She has published work in The Kenyon Review, Antioch, Conjunctions, The Quarterly, Glimmer Train, Electric Literature, Publisher’s Weekly, The Believer, NOON, and New York Tyrant, among others. She was a recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council award for artistic merit and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.
781/2 – Imaginative Writing: Fast Dirt, Slow Tribes: A Workshop in Creative Nonfiction
Tues., 1:00-3:30 Library 1920 Instructor: Edie Meidav
You have written letters, poems, stories, novels, scripts and/or plays -- but what is this hybrid beast, creative nonfiction? Do you think of it as more karaoke or kabuki? What motivates anyone to write and read such work? And how do writers create their persona within the genre? Some of the most exciting work occurs in the seam between fiction and nonfiction, begging us to question our reading, complicity, and assumption. In our 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’s work and learned 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 an act of full-on theft or creative misreading, each week using shorter published work, whether excerpted or unabridged, as directly generative inspirations as we 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, Winterson. Each week we will take on a new challenge – the personal essay, the lyric essay, cultural criticism, 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 go on to develop into shorter pieces or books, as well as at least one fully resolved piece ready to send out into the world. Presentations, field trips and workshop will support our work together. You will also leave with a compass about where to take your work beyond our course, a reading list, and a sense of your own possibility within such a strangely hungry concept as creative nonfiction.
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).
781/3 – Imaginative Writing: Fiction
Thurs., 1-3:30 W365 Instructor: Sabina Murray
Description: Not available
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.
Sabina 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.
781/4 – Imaginative Writing: Fiction
Wed., 6:30-9 W365 Instructor: Jeff Parker
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. 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
791D---Major Texts for the Study of American Culture
Wednesdays, 4:00-6:30 Instructor: Hoang Phan
This course surveys major texts in the field, focusing on recent texts that have engendered discussion and debate within American Studies. Areas of particular emphasis covered in readings will be African American Studies and critical race theory; Gender and Sexuality Studies; Marxism and historical materialism; Native Studies and settler colonialism; Postcolonialism and decolonization. Seminars will be framed by investigation into the relationship between historical inquiry and contemporary cultural study. In our discussions of texts we will ask: What is the author’s critical understanding of history and its relationship to the present? What is the critical conception of cultural memory, archival recovery, and historical narrative? What are the text’s primary theoretical frameworks, critical methodologies, and disciplinary interventions? In what ways do these texts engage with current dialogue and debate in the disciplines comprising American Studies scholarship; and how do they conceive of the politics of knowledge production, of research and pedagogy?
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 research project is a study of realism in law and literature.
791E---Theorizing the Discipline
Mondays, 1:00-3:30 Jordy Rosenberg
This course will give graduate students an introduction to the history and methodology of literary study. We will concentrate on Marxist literary and cultural criticism; theories of postcoloniality and decolonization; neoliberalism, critical race studies; feminism, and queer/trans theory.
Jordy Rosenberg is a professor of 18th-Century Literature and Queer/Trans + Critical Theory, and the author of Critical Enthusiasm: Capital Accumulation and the Transformation of Religious Passion (Oxford University Press), and the novel Confessions of the Fox. Confessions is forthcoming in the US/Canada from Random House in June 2018, and in the UK/Australia/New Zealand from Atlantic Books in July 2018.
791SA---South African Literature and Politics: Apartheid and Postapartheid
Tuesdays, 1:00-3:00 Instructor: Stephen Clingman
Over the last hundred years, South Africa has seen transitions of a momentous nature: from a colonial past to a postcolonial present; from the oppressions of apartheid to Nelson Mandela’s first democratically elected government in 1994 and the postapartheid period beyond. In this setting South African literature has kept the pulse of its society, telling its inner history and raising urgent issues. These have obviously been political, concerning questions of race, class, gender and sexuality, but there have been pressing aesthetic issues as well, involving representation, language, and more broadly the forms in which writing can (or ought to) respond to conditions of severe oppression and its continuing aftermath. In that respect, South Africa is something of a test case for the role of literature in both colonial and postcolonizing settings. In this context, the course will consider writers and writing across the bridge year of 1994. We’ll take on fiction, poetry and drama (perhaps some non-fiction as well). Writers will include some of the most revered, such as the Nobel Prizewinners Nadine Gordimer and J. M. Coetzee, as well as Athol Fugard and Njabulo Ndebele. Later, other remarkable contemporary writers come into view: Zoe Wicomb; Ivan Vladislavić; Marlene van Niekerk. We will also address the work of a younger generation of black writers, among them K. Sello Duiker, Niq Mhlongo, and Kopano Matlwa. Documentary material, music, short films and/or photography will supplement the course. Overall, we’ll be considering relations between aesthetics and politics in a setting which has concentrated some of the key conflicts, asymmetries, and transitions of the 20th and early 21st centuries.
Stephen Clingman is the author of The Novels of Nadine Gordimer: History from the Inside, and editor of The Essential Gesture: Writing, Politics and Places, by Nadine Gordimer. His Bram Fischer: Afrikaner Revolutionary won the Alan Paton Award, South Africa’s premier prize for non-fiction. He has held fellowships at the Southern African Research Program (Yale), The Society for the Humanities (Cornell), the Woodrow Wilson Center (Washington, D.C.), and the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (South Africa). His other books include The Grammar of Identity: Transnational Fiction and the Nature of the Boundary (2009), and Birthmark (2015).
792C---Graduate Writing Workshop
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 imaginedtheatres.com, 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.
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. Form for registering for this course are available in
796---Independent Study By arrangement
For students who are taking more than one independent study course per semester.
796A---Independent Study By arrangement
796B---Independent Study By arrangement
796W---INDEPENDENT AREA-1 By arrangement
796X----INDEPENDENT AREA-2 By arrangement
891BA Beyond Moral Fiction
Wed., 1-3:30. Library W365 Instructor: Edie Meidav
Can satisfy MFA Contemporary or Modern Fiction requirement
Some of the greatest works of fiction lure our sympathy in ways that make us complicit: we leave such works questioning our own moral compass, our eyes and hearts open to broader ways of viewing. As a means of deepening our own practice, in this seminar for writers, we will actively engage with questions of morality in fiction, using various works of critical theory as our hurricane lamps. Fiction writers such as Adichie, Alderman, Beatty, Bordas, Camus, Coetzee, DeWitt, Ferrante, Fridlund, Galeano, Grossman, Jackson, Lerner, Machado, Mbue, Munro, Nabokov, Narayan, Ng, Nguyen, Phillips, Powers, Rhys, Roth, Salvayre, Schutt, Shamsie, Smith, Ward, Winterson, and Woolf will be our terrain, while others such as Arendt, Bakhtin, Benhabib, Bhabha, Barthes, Buber, Kant, Sentilles, and Sontag may act as our fearless guides. Work for the seminar includes at least one peer presentation, ongoing literary letters, as well as the potential for creative work and a field trip. For students outside the MFA: write instructor for permission to enroll.
891ET---Early Textual Culture
Mondays, 5:30-8:00 Instructor: Stephen Harris
This course introduces you to the lamp-lit world of manuscripts, libraries, and the book trade between the fifth and the fifteenth centuries. Some contemporary scholars opine that medieval readers were by and large far more sophisticated than modern ones. At the very least, you will be surprised by the complexity and novelty of their thinking. Like us, medieval readers rejected, revised, and authorized the past in part through the texts that they engaged. We will ask precisely how they engaged with those texts—which will lead us to a history of handwriting, punctuation, reading conventions, commentary, interpretation, translation, and so forth. We will consider literature in its immediate manuscript contexts, and those within their social, political, pedagogical, and theological contexts. Our reading will include Reynolds and Wilson, Scribes and Scholars: A Guide to the Transmission of Greek and Latin Literature; Christopher de Hamel, Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts; Ernst Robert Curtius, European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages; and Clemens & Graham, Introduction to Manuscript Study. We will not be reading that execrable book, The Swerve. Hands-on work in local archives, two short papers, and a substantial, final study. Books will be ordered through Amherst Books.
Stephen Harris is author of Bede and Aethelthryth: An Introduction to Christian Latin Poetics (2016) and Race and Ethnicity in Anglo-Saxon Literature (2004).
891FD---Frederick Douglass’s 19th Century
Thursdays, 4:00-6:30 Instructor: Nick Bromell
This course will provide coverage of US literature and culture between 1830 and 1880 while focusing mainly on the writings of one individual from that period, Frederick Douglass. Our organizing principle will be to consider Douglass central; all other writers (e.g., Hawthorne, Emerson, Fuller, Whitman, Phelps, Stowe, Jacobs) will be taken up through the question of how they engage (or fail to engage) with Douglass’s central concerns. These include race, racism, abolition, women’s rights, gender, dignity, and political “subjectivization” – i.e., when and how a person becomes a political being. Because abolition and women’s rights in the US were part of a larger, transatlantic movement of reform, we will frequently read US authors in this wider context. The course will also introduce students to several archives of primary sources, in which they will be expected to do some original research. (In advance of taking the class. students should have read Douglass’s Narrative of the Life of a Slave.)
Nick Bromell has written extensively about nineteenth-century US literature in general and Fredrick Douglass in particular. He is the author most recently of The Time is Always Now: Black Thought and the Transformation of U.S. Democracy (2013) and the editor of A Political Companion to W.E.B. Du Bois (2018). He is the co-editor of the forthcoming Norton Critical Edition of “My Bondage and My Freedom,” and he is at work on a book about Douglass’s political thought for Duke University Press.
Form & Theory of Fiction: Modern Masters for Contemporary Writers
Wed., 3:45-6:15. W365 Instructor: Sabina Murray
Can satisfy MFA Contemporary Fiction requirement
Description: Not available
891LC---Literature and Climate Change
Thursdays, 1:00-3:30 Instructor: Malcolm Sen
What is the role of the humanities, especially literature, in an era defined by climate change? At a time of diminishing futurity it seems that action on climate change has been relegated to the short timescales and utopian rhetoric of international policy and the even shorter timescales and business-as-usual vocabulary of the global market. However, climate change is a multi-generational issue with exponential environmental, social, gendered and corporeal effects. Reflecting on a diverse range of issues – such as empire and its ecological fall-out, “unnatural” disasters such as famines in the colonized world, the financialization and nuclearization of the planet, the rhetoric of inundation and oceanic submersion in the contemporary world, and the “fictional” 2 degree Celsius threshold for a habitable global climate, and the state of the nation-state in the twenty-first century – this course will deliberate on the epistemological and ontological limits of narratives about climate and climate change in literary and cultural texts. We will read contemporary texts from a variety of genres: cli-fi (climate fiction), social realism, speculative and post-apocalyptic fiction, petro-fiction and “eco-thrillers”. Authors may include Barbara Kingsolver, Romesh Gunesekara, Amitav Ghosh, Nathaniel Rich, Ben Lerner, Sara Baume, Rebecca Solnit and Helon Habila. We will also focus on documentary films, contemporary art and a number of twentieth-century testimonies in our deliberations.
Malcolm Sen’s research interests are in the fields of postcolonial studies, environmental humanities, Irish literatures and cultures and South Asian literatures and cultures. His recent publications include: “Sovereignty at the Margins: The Oceanic Future of the Subaltern” in Barbara Haberkamp-Schmidt, Ed., Representing Poverty and Precarity in a Postcolonial World (Brill, 2018); “Godhuli/Twilight” in Brent Ryan Bellamy Ed., Loanwords to Live With: An Ecotopian Lexicon Against the Anthropocene (University of Minnesota Press, 2018). He is currently completing a book which elaborates on the changing nature of sovereignty in the contemporary moment: Unnatural Disasters: Climate Change, Sovereignty and Literature. You can read a recent interview with Malcolm Sen here, and his thoughts on zombies here.
Wednesdays, 1:00-3:30 Instructor: Haivan Hoang
This seminar on composition theory is an introduction on modern theories about writing. While many of these theories emerge from studies of teaching writing, our focus will not be on the practice of teaching. Rather, the course interrogates the act of writing itself—how it takes place, what effect it has on people and their world, what purposes/goals it serves the writer, what it symbolizes within culture, etc. Our primary goals will be to understand both the variety of perspectives on how writing might be theorized as well as the debates and disagreements that exist between and among these theories. Broader questions that will be pursued include the relationship between writing and reality, the status of the writer/agency, questions of difference and writing, the ideologies of writing theories, and the materiality of writing. By the end of the course, students should have a clear understanding of what is at stake in such theorizing and begin to consider how they position themselves within these debates as writing studies scholars and teachers. Readings will be drawn from a wide range of approaches, including expressivism, cognitive, social construction, rhetorical theory, genre studies, second language writing, critical race theory, feminist theory, and transnational studies.
Haivan Hoang has research and teaching interests on literacy studies, race and writing, composition pedagogy, qualitative research methods, and writing centers. Her book Writing against Racial Injury: The Politics of Asian American Student Rhetoric (U of Pittsburgh, 2015) traces the racialization of Asian Americans through language and literacy education in the post-Civil Rights Movement era.
891M Form & Theory of Poetry: Invisible Visible
Tu., 6-8:30 W365 Instructor: Dara Wier
Can satisfy MFA Contemporary or Modern Poetry requirement, with consultation with Dara Wier, and possible additional reading.
A seminar for all associated and affiliated with jubilat, or interested in becoming involved with jubilat or gaining knowledge of and experience with independent literary publishing, its history, its present, its future, gain a contemporary view of a range of new poetry and prose, and word and picture works.
jubilat was dreamed up in 2000 by Rob Casper, Michael Teig, Christian Hawkey and Kelly Le Fave; it's mission has always been to publish the best new writing sent its way along with a mix of images, found materials, prose, and various sorts of verbal and visual matters of interest to poets and to those who read poetry; jubilat publishes interviews with writers, poets, people who make books, letterpress printers, rare book dealers, singer-songwriters, and others of interest, this could be anyone; jubilat depends on support from its readers, subscribers and those who believe new writing needs a place to go in print and online as it makes its way out into the world; each year over 3000 people send writing and art for jubilat to consider. jubilat's editors have been Rob Casper, Michael Teig, Christian Hawkey, Kelly Le Fave, Cathy Park Hong, Evie Shockley, Terrance Hayes, Kevin González, Emily Pettit, Caryl Pagel. jubilat's contents have been featured and reprinted in BEST AMERICAN POETRY, Pushcart Prizes, in Harper's Magazine and elsewhere. VIDA praises the balance of jubilat's contributors lists. Our seminar's meetings will alternate between collective editorial and production reports and discussions, conversations with jubilat's Managing Editor, Assistant Editors, Special Feature Editors, Found Content Editor, Assistant Managing Editor, Media Editors, Editorial Assistants, Readers, and Special Guests. At our first meeting we'll develop a schedule/timeline for our various interests and projects and roles. Reading: Christopher Smart's jubilate agno, CABINET, BRICK, TRIPLE CANOPY, BOMB, BROOKLYN RAIL, THE MUSEUM OF JURASSIC TECHNOLOGY, PARIS REVIEW interviews, CONDUIT, FENCE, VOL
891SE---Stage and Satire in Early Modern England
Wednesdays, 4-6:30 Instructor: Adam Zucker
In 1599, the Bishops of London ordered a book burning at the Stationers’ Company Hall. Among the many authors whose satirical works were recalled were Thomas Nashe, Thomas Middleton, and John Marston, all writers for the stage. This course explores the many facets of satire and satirical culture in early modern England, focusing in particular on the relationship between the theater and the radical potential of satire indicated by the “Bishop’s Ban.” We will read many outsider authors who used satire as a way to make their voices heard from the margins of Tudor and Stuart culture, alongside key texts in prose by Thomas Nashe, John Lyly, and Thomas Dekker; verse by John Marston and John Donne; and plays by William Shakespeare, Thomas Middleton, and Ben Jonson. Our research projects will take us to the print archives available on EEBO, and we will test different methods as critical frames for understanding the lasting power of satire: materialist, affect-oriented, and eco-urban approaches among them.
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 (2011), and the co-editor of two collections, Localizing Caroline Drama: Politics and Economics of the Early Modern English Stage, 1625-1642 (2006); and Historical Affects and the Early Modern Theater (2015). He is currently working on a monograph entitled Shakespeare Unlearned. His most recent publication is an essay in Shakespeare Studies, called "Antihonorificabilitudinitatibus: Love's Labours Lost and Unteachable Words," and he has essays forthcoming on marketplace affect in Jacobean City Comedy, and on pedantry and Ben Jonson.
891TT---Intro. To Rhetorical Theory
Tuesdays, 1:00-3:30 Instructor: Rebecca Dingo
The study of rhetoric is generally concerned with how messages are crafted by authors to achieve desired effects in audiences. While, in some circles rhetoric is probably best known as a term of political abuse (as in “that’s just empty rhetoric”), in academic studies, rhetorical theory signals a variety of approaches and methods for looking at the persuasive and circulatory functions of discourses and how contexts mediate the relationship among authors, texts, and audiences. As contexts (e.g. cultural, economic, political, geo-political) and time change so do rhetorical arguments and textual production and, as a result, scholars’ lenses and approaches to the study of rhetoric.
This class serves as a graduate introduction to the study of rhetorical theory. We will approach our study of rhetorical theory thematically tracing how key conversations persist yet change within particular historical and cultural moments and political, economic, and geopolitical contexts. Students will look across scholarship from the beginning formation of the field rhetorical studies into the present. They will gather core conversations in the field and trace the development of a variety of rhetorical theories. While we will read book-length studies of rhetoric, much of our reading will come from key journals in the field of rhetorical studies and students will be responsible for choosing a conversation to follow within a set of journals and then taking formal notes on how theories and methods develop as a result of that conversation. The goal of the course is for students to have a deeper understanding of rhetorical studies as a diverse field and to understand rhetorical study as a distinct approach and method of analysis.
Possible books for Intro to Rhetorical Theory
The Rhetorical Tradition
Feminist Rhetorical Practices
Producing Good Citizens: Literacy Training in Anxious Times
Rhetorica in Motion: Feminist Methods and Methodologies
Shades of Sulh: The Rhetorics of Arab-Islamic Reconciliation
Networking Arguments: Rhetoric, Transnational Feminism, and Public Policy Writing
Digital Groits: African American Rhetoric in a Multimedia Age
Toward a New Rhetoric of Difference
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 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.
899----Doctoral Dissertation Staff
All graduate students must have a minimum of 18 credits at the time of their graduation.