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Fall Courses (2024)

698-----Gen Ed Practicum              

Tu, 5:00-6:00 | Katherine O’Callaghan

698B-----P-Introduction to Teaching Writing (Practicum I)              

Tu, 10:00-11:15 | Tillman, Yang, Pauliny, Dingo, Bello, Napoleone

698G-----P-Introduction to English Graduate Studies              

Tu, 5:00-6:30 | Daniel Sack

698I---P-Teaching Basic Writing

by arrangement | Anne Bello

698J---P-Teaching Mentoring                    

by arrangement | Tara Pauliny

698L---P-Teaching Creative Writing          

M, 5:00-6:00 | Jennifer Jacobson  

698MA-Teaching MFA Online Courses     

by arrangement | Jennifer Jacobson

698R---Applied Literary Arts                       

by arrangement | Jennifer Jacobson

698RA-01 | P- Appl Literary Arts: Radius            

Edie Meidav | By arrangement

Radius will be holding open-hour writing tutorials for men who are incarcerated at the Hampshire County Jail in Florence (hours to be finalized by the sheriff's office). To apply for this applied literary arts class, involving initial training and reading, write highwayfive@gmail.com with your year/discipline and interest in the program.

Edie Meidav is the author of the lyric novel Another Love Discourse (MIT/Penguin, 2022), as well as Kingdom of the Young (Sarabande, 2017), a collection of short fiction with a nonfiction coda, and three award-winning novels called editorial picks by the New York Times and elsewhere: Lola, California (FSG/Picador, 2012), Crawl Space (FSG/Picador, 2005), and The Far Field: A Novel of Ceylon (Houghton/Mariner, 2001) and a coedited anthology Strange Attractors (UMass Press, 2019). Her work has been recognized by foundations including Lannan, Howard, Whiting, Fulbright (Sri Lanka and Cyprus), the Kafka Prize, the Village Voice, the Bard Fiction Prize, Yaddo, Macdowell, VCCA, Art OMI, and Fundacion Valparaiso. Former director of the MFA at the New College of California in San Francisco, she has served as judge for Yaddo, the NEA, Mass Cultural Council, Juniper Prize, the PEN/Bingham first novel prize, and as senior editor at Conjunctions.

698V-----P-Special Topics in Teaching Writing (Practicum III) – Teacher Identity and Teaching
Philosophies              

Shakuntala Ray, Tara Pauliny, Haivan Hoang, Devin Day

699-----Master’s Thesis              

Staff

 

780-01 Imaginative Writing: Poetry

Bianca Stone | Mondays 10:15-12:45 pm

This rigorous and focused workshop will look at the complex psychic relations that go into the composition of a poem and the life-long development of our poetic voice. Beginning with an appreciation of the origins of the word “poet,” (from the Greek poietes, “maker,”) we will bring ourselves clearly into our own ability to “make” consciousness come alive on the page. Each student in the class will have an opportunity to workshop every week. We will focus on the ability to wed inner and outer realities on the page while wielding both clarity and ambiguity. This will include an exploration of poetry’s contradictions and binaries: self and other, truth and fiction, dreaming and reality, autobiography and persona. As a class, will investigate the poems as part of each poet’s unique project in their writing, pushing against the boundaries of our own status quo. Secondary materials to discuss throughout the workshop include inspiring poems and texts from psychoanalytic, philosophical, and mythological sources. Even with these outside sources, students will receive ample time for workshop and written feedback on each piece. 

BIANCA STONE is an award winning poet, teacher and mentor. She is the author of five books, including the poetry collections, What is Otherwise Infinite (Tin House, 2022) winner of the 2022 Vermont Book Award; The Möbius Strip Club of Grief (Tin House, 2018), Someone Else’s Wedding Vows (Octopus Books and Tin House, 2014) and collaborated with Anne Carson on the illuminated version of Antigonick (New Directions, 2012). Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Poets and Writers, The Nation and elsewhere. She co-founded the poetry-based nonprofit, Ruth Stone House, where she teaches classes on poetry and poetic study and hosts Ode & Psyche Podcast. She lives in Vermont. https://bianca-stone.com/

780-02 Imaginative Writing: Poetry

Peter Gizzi | Monday 1:25–3:55pm

We will question the relationship between world and word and ask who is speaking in a poem. Do we speak or are we spoken?  We will consider the role of mystery, presence, and intimacy in our writing. The workshop is a writing intensive class. It consists of work-shopping poems each week, providing comments and edits on others work, handing in revisions, reading several books of poetry and/or essays, participation and attendance are required.

Peter Gizzi is the author of Fierce Elegy (Wesleyan, 2023), Now It's Dark (Wesleyan, 2020), Sky Burial: New and Selected Poems (Carcanet, UK 2020), Archeophonics (Finalist for the National Book Award, Wesleyan, 2016); In Defense of Nothing (Finalist for the LA Times Book Award, 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 1987-92 (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, and The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He has twice been the recipient of the Judith E. Wilson Visiting Fellow in Poetry at the University of Cambridge. In 2018, Wesleyan published In the Air: Essays on the Poetry of Peter Gizzi. A PDF of his out-of-print selected interviews, A Users Guide to the Invisible World (2022) can be found at his website.

780-03 Imaginative Writing: Poetry

Desiree C. Bailey | Tuesdays 4:00-6:30 PM

How does the poet write at the threshold — of language, landscape, country, dream? How can the poem be a vessel for journeying the complexities of the self and its surrounding terrains? In this workshop, we’ll explore what it means to write capaciously, negotiating the multiple voices, visions and influences that can enrich or complicate a poem. We’ll consider how to locate the desires of the poem and how they might interact with our own. Over the course of the semester, we’ll workshop poems, provide in-depth comments on each other’s work, hand in revisions and read books of poetry and/or essays. Participation and attendance are required.

Desiree C. Bailey is the author of What Noise Against the Cane (Yale University Press, 2021) which won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Award for Poetry, the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the T.S. Eliot Four Quartets Prize. What Noise Against the Cane was also longlisted for the International Dylan Thomas Prize and the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, and was selected as one of the Best Books of 2021 by the New York Public Library. Desiree is also the author of the short fiction chapbook In Dirt or Saltwater (O’Clock Press, 2016). Desiree’s poems and short fiction have been published in the Academy of American Poets, Best American Poetry, American Short Fiction and Callaloo, among other journals. Desiree has received numerous residencies and fellowships, and is a recipient of the Poets & Writers’ Amy Awad, and the New York State Council on the Arts/New York Foundation for the Arts award. She is from Trinidad and Tobago, and Queens, NY.

781-01 Imaginative Writing: Fiction

Tuesday 1:00-3:30 PM | Jeff Parker

Exhaustion v. 8.0. 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 amass a good bit of material, 100+ pages over the course of the term. Come prepared to write a lot and submit almost immediately. Permission of instructor required of students not enrolled in the MFA.
 
Jeff Parker’s latest work is the novella G v P (Panhandler Books, 2024). He is also the author of Where Bears Roam the Streets: A Russian Journal (Harper Collins), the novel Ovenman (Tin House), and the short story collection The Taste of Penny (Dzanc). His many collaborative books and anthologies 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.

781-02 Imaginative Writing: Fiction

Edie Meidav | Thursday 12:20-2:50 PM

Creative Nonfiction Workshop: Shakespeare, Structure, and You  What might your life, research, and writing learn from locating and resisting dramatic structure and archetype?  Beginning with one Shakespeare play, in this writing workshop we will explore archetype in the stories you wish to tell, discovering new structure within your nonfiction while availing ourselves of theatrical principles. Coursework includes weekly writing and feedback, ongoing reading, presentations, and the possibility of performance, field trips, and screenings. Permission to join the course for those outside the MFA to be granted by the instructor. Required reading of one book over the summer.

Edie Meidav (she/her) is the author of ANOTHER LOVE DISCOURSE, KINGDOM OF THE YOUNG, CRAWL SPACE, LOLA, CALIFORNIA, and THE FAR FIELD, among other work, and served as coeditor on an anthology collecting women and nonbinary writers: STRANGE ATTRACTORS: LIVES CHANGED BY CHANCE. Her books have been called editorial picks by the New York Times, L.A. Times, and elsewhere, a script was selected for production by the Directors' Guild, and her work has received awards from the Bard Fiction Prize for Writers Under 40, Lannan, Whiting, Kafka Award for Best Novel by an American Woman, Howard Foundation, Fulbrights (Sri Lanka, Cyprus), and elsewhere. She has served as a judge for the PEN/Bingham First Novel Award, Yaddo, the NEA, Howard, UMass Press Juniper Prize, Massachusetts Cultural Council, and elsewhere. A 2023 Rockefeller Foundation Fellow at Bellagio in Italy, she has received awards from Macdowell, Yaddo, VSC, VCCA, Fundacion Valparaiso, and elsewhere, and serves as a senior editor at Conjunctions while advising other publications. Former director of the New College of California MFA, she is a provost professor at UMass Amherst where she helps direct the MFA.

781-03 Imaginative Writing: Fiction

Okey Ndibe| Wed 1:25-3:55 PM

Writer's workshop with emphasis on fiction. May be repeated by MFA candidates for a total of 24 credits.

791WP American Women Writers in Protest

Sarah Patterson | Mondays, 1:00-3:30 PM

What attributes make a woman's protest distinct from other types of activism? How has American women's protest literature fared as part of the American literary canon and historical memory? This reading seminar focuses on American women writers' non-fictional and fictional works as they coincide with broader biographical and cultural histories. We will especially address topics surrounding 19th-century African American women writers' expansion of the American literary canon, often pairing primary works with criticism and theoretical readings. At other times we will read the political literature of White and male writers that materialize areas of difference surrounding notions of feminism and the legal status of underrepresented groups. Readings include early American Black churchwomen's advocacy pamphlets, Harriet Wilson's novelized slave narrative Our Nig (1859), William Wells Brown's slave narrative My Southern Home (1880), and chapters from Saidiya Hartman's Scenes of Subjection.  In discussion, we will prioritize themes intersecting with race and processes of identity formation with topics on womanhood: enslavement, moral suasion, subjectivity, protest, and occupational feminism.

Sarah Patterson is an assistant professor who specializes in 19th-century African American literature, print culture, and social movements. Her work also addresses areas in the digital humanities involving public history and related ethical practices. With this course, she hopes to spark student interest in local history and in embracing the challenges of parsing women writers' individual and collective discursive aims.

Sarah Patterson's research specialties include African American literature and culture, reform movements, American periodical culture, and digital humanities. She is a co-editor of The Colored Conventions Movement: Black Organizing in the Nineteenth Century (UNC Press 2021). She is also a co-founder and former coordinator of the award-winning  
ColoredConventions.org, a digital archive and space for exhibits and pedagogical materials.  
She teaches a range of undergraduate and graduate courses in African American and American literature, and American women writers. Sarah Patterson is actively involved in scholarly organizations and local volunteer activities.

792A---Methods for the Study of U.S. Culture

Asha Nadkarni | Wednesdays 4:00-6:30 PM

This course surveys major methods, topics, and debates within American cultural studies. As the core course in the American Studies graduate concentration, it is intended for graduate students beginning work in American Studies. The course will range widely through different approaches to American cultural studies, including, but not limited to; transnational and postcolonial studies; critical ethnic studies; gender and sexuality studies; and disability studies. Throughout we will focus on students acquiring a familiarity with key methods and the relevant concepts and vocabulary required to do work in American Studies. The course will also feature a series of panel discussions with Americanist scholars from across campus. These panels will give the class a chance to engage with American Studies work coming out of a number of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives, and will also be an opportunity to ask prominent scholars for practical advice about developing an American Studies project.

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

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 W329 South College.  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

891DG Caribbean Cultural Theory

Rachel Mordecai | Thursdays 1:00-3:30 PM  

This seminar takes a “major authors” approach to reading Caribbean cultural theory. Each week we will read the work of one author (or, very occasionally, a small group of authors) who has had a significant effect on engagements – creative, political, scholarly and otherwise – with the Caribbean. As we read these authors, we will also be examining terms and questions of interest to them, potentially including: négritude, cubanismo, antillanité, creolité, modern blackness, creolization, language politics, tidalectics, plantation societies, transnationalism, and others. The problem of locating the Caribbean will inform our discussions, as we consider the region’s position within broader postcolonial, African-diasporic and hemispheric-American trajectories, and reflect on what is gained and lost by privileging these as lenses through which to make sense of Caribbean-ness.

Authors may include: Jean Price-Mars, Jane and Pauline Nardal, C.L.R. James, Frantz Fanon, Sylvia Wynter, Édouard Glissant, Kamau Brathwaite, Antonio Benítez-Rojo, Christina Sharpe, Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley, and others.

Rachel L. Mordecai holds a BA from Brandeis University, an MA from the University of the West Indies (Mona), and a PhD from the University of Minnesota. Her teaching and research interests include Caribbean and African Diaspora literature, hemispheric American literature, and popular literature and culture of the Caribbean. She has published articles on Jamaican popular fiction, 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; her current book project is tentatively entitled “No Ancestry Except the Black Water”: A Study of Caribbean Family
Sagas
. She is the editor of sx salon, a Small Axe literary platform. Professor Mordecai’s website, including her up-to-date CV, can be found at her website.

891DN Darwin, Freud, Einstein and Lit. Culture I            

David Toomey | Thursdays 4:00-6:30 PM

The course will explore the influence of Darwin, Freud and Einstein upon the literary cultures of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, using primary texts by those figures as lenses through which to reexamine several contemporaneous authors.  
 
Darwin’s theory of natural selection, Freud’s ideas of the unconscious, and Einstein’s theories of special and general relativity offered radically new views of human experience and at the same time suggested new and equally radical means to represent it. We will study those views and representations, giving special attention to brief selections from a range of nineteenth century British and American fiction, and to two longer works: Woolf’s To the Lighthouse (1927) and Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury (1929). Generally, we will examine how scientific knowledge is diffused and refracted through a larger cultural moment, being careful to distinguish direct influence from oblique influence.  In seeking context, we will appeal to the history of science.    
 
Required texts (subject to change):

  • Charles Darwin (Author), Julian Huxley (Introduction).  The Origin of Species: 150th Anniversary Edition. Signet, 2003.
  • Einstein, Albert.  Relativity: The Special and the General Theory.  Penguin Classics, 2006.
  • Faulkner, William.  The Sound and the Fury. Vintage, 1991.
  • Freud, Sigmund.  The Basic Writings of Sigmund Freud (Psychopathology of Everyday Life, the Interpretation of Dreams, and Three Contributions to the Theory of Sex).  Modern Library, 1995.
  • Kuhn, Thomas.  The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.  University Of Chicago Press; 4th edition 2012.
  • Otis, Laura (Ed.).  Literature and Science in the Nineteenth Century: An Anthology (Oxford World's Classics) Oxford University Press, USA (2002).
  • Woolf, Virginia. Eudora Welty (Introduction).  To the Lighthouse.  Harvest Books , 1989.

Toomey’s most recent book is Kingdom of Play: What Ball-Bouncing Octopuses, Belly-Flopping Monkeys, And Mud-Sliding Elephants Reveal About Life Itself. Scribner, 2024.

891G_01 Form and Theory of Fiction

Jordy Rosenberg | Thursdays 3:00-5:30 PM

Novels of Revolutionary Ideas  This class explores techniques of politically-committed writing, and begins from the premise that we are living through a robust reawakening of artistic practice as a front of struggle. The work of our semester will be to generate a collective, in-depth conversation about strategies by which literature engages its social context - how it has historically done so, and how we might incorporate some of these approaches ourselves.  We will start by discussing the genre, as Colleen Lye and Viet Thanh Nguyen recently put it, of the “Novel of Revolutionary Ideas,” and explore the proposition that politically-committed writing is at its best when it brings readers into the process of materializing an idea - what the Venezuelan Marxist, Ludovico Silva, once described as the great stylistic ability to present writing “not as the result of previous thought but as the process or act of thinking itself.”  This might be another way of talking about novels that teach us how to read them, but we will push this concept further.  Our particular interest is in fiction that teaches us not just how to read, but how to read a revolutionary thought.  We will study different traditional novelistic elements - defamiliarization, dialogue, character, the arrangement of temporality - with an eye to how these elements have differently mediated the play of historical forces.  Readings will be drawn from a range of genres, including realism, metafiction, horror and science fiction, and may include authors such as Viet Thanh Nguyen, Adania Shibli, Toni Cade Bambara, China Mieville, Rivers Solomon, Rachel Kushner, Victor Serge, and Emile Zola.  In addition to assembling a mini-genealogy of novels of revolutionary ideas, we will also generate strategies for how our fiction can skillfully engage its own historical context.  We will, in addition, read a small but significant selection of theories of the novel form, as well as spend some time discussing the question of refusal and famous political refusals of literary labor.  Requirements for the class include weekly 1-page response papers, lively participation in class discussion, and a final creative essay.

Jordy Rosenberg is the author of Confessions of the Fox, which was shortlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, a Lambda Literary Award, a Publishing Triangle Award, the UK Historical Writers Association Debut Crown Award, and longlisted for the Dublin Literary Award.  He has been awarded fellowships and residencies from the Lannan Foundation, the Banff Centre, the Clarion Writers Workshop, the Ahmanson-Getty Foundation, the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University, and the UCLA Center for 17th- and 18th-Century Studies.  Confessions of the Fox was recognized by The New Yorker, Kirkus Reviews, Buzzfeed, and LitHub as one of the Best Books of 2018, and it was a New York Times Editors’ Choice Selection that year.  Jordy is also the author of a scholarly monograph on 18th-century religious enthusiasm, and a forthcoming hybrid work, the title of which keeps changing, which is forthcoming from Random House/One World891G, Section 2 Form and Theory of

English 891TA Talking Animals

Jeff Parker | Wednesdays 10:45-1:15 PM     

Talking Animals. There is a strong likelihood that most writers’ love of literature began with a talking animal of one sort or another and endowing an animal with human consciousness may be one of the oldest of literary gambits. This seminar will examine the form and theory of fiction through the lens of stories and novels whose main characters are something other than human. Among other questions we shall seek to answer: What may it mean to cast as one’s central character a non-human being in different times and cultures and contexts, and what effects do such narratives produce? Readings will feature classic and contemporary works from around the world and from numerous traditions and genres (including children’s lit, fables and fairy tales, horror, fantasy, etc.).

Jeff Parker’s latest work is the novella G v P (Panhandler Books, 2024). He is also the author of Where Bears Roam the Streets: A Russian Journal (Harper Collins), the novel Ovenman (Tin House), and the short story collection The Taste of Penny (Dzanc). His many collaborative books and anthologies 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.

891LL Composition Theory      

Rebecca Lorimer Leonard | Thursdays 10:00-12:30 PM

Composition Theory introduces students to modern theories of writing. While many writing theories emerge from studies of teaching writing, the course will focus on conceptions of writing itself—its embodied and sociocultural functions; its effect on people and their world; its activities of ritual, routine, practice, process. Our goal will be to understand the variety of ways writing is theorized as well as the debates that exist among these theories, exploring questions such as:

  • In what ways is writing a social and rhetorical activity? How does writing interact with social change?
  • What is the relationship between writing and learning, both in and beyond school?
  • How does composition differ from writing or literacy? Do such distinctions matter?
  • What is the relationship between writing and identity? How do everyday readers and writers adopt, negotiate, or reject writerly identities (and why)?

By the end of the course, students should understand what is at stake in such theorizing and begin to consider how they position themselves within these debates as teachers and scholars. Readings will be drawn from a range of perspectives, including but not limited to expressivism; socio-cognitive theory; voice and identity; critical race theory; development and transfer; genre and activity theory. While the course is designed to be a survey, it is not meant to be comprehensive. Instead, the course will examine multiple perspectives on composition, and through individual projects, students will pursue a thread of their choosing more deeply.

Rebecca Lorimer Leonard is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at UMass Amherst where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on language diversity, literacy studies, writing pedagogy, and research methods. Professor Lorimer Leonard’s current research examines the relationship between community-engaged writing and critical language awareness. She also has published on the transfer of writing knowledge and the multilingual practices of migrant writers.

891SF Shakespeare’s Speculative Fictions: Historical Imagination, Possible Futures

Tuesdays, 1:00-3:30 PM | Jane Degenhardt

How do Shakespeare’s plays offer models for speculative methods of thinking, reading, and writing? In what ways do they demonstrate fiction’s capacity to expand the limits of possibility to reimagine what could have been, what could still be, and what might yet come? And how might they serve as tools for developing a critical practice that sees beyond the authority of history, the facts of empirical knowledge, and the imperializing structures of space and time? This course pairs a rich sampling of Shakespeare’s plays (including some of his less canonical plays) with historical and theoretical readings ranging from Catherine Gallagher on counterfactuals, to José Esteban Muñoz on queering futurity, to Saidiya Hartman on critical fabulation, to Aimee Bahng on decolonizing speculation. Together, we will consider how the imaginative and performative elements of Shakespeare’s plays offer unique models of speculation and serve as springboards for incorporating speculation into our creative and critical practices. We will also give special consideration to the politics of speculation and how it can be mobilized for decolonial, anti-racist, anti-capitalist, and other justice-oriented work. Likely plays include: Titus Andronicus, Antony and Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Timon of Athens, and Troilus and Cressida. Assignments will be geared around professionalization and will offer opportunities to produce a conference paper, an abstract, a book review, and an article, as well as creative-critical options.

Jane Hwang Degenhardt teaches courses on the global Renaissance, early modern drama and performance, and race and social justice. Her most recent book, Globalizing Fortune on the Early Modern Stage (2022), examines evolving ideas of luck and chance in relation to the development of early capitalism and English global expansion. She is working on a new book that explores pluralistic understandings of “world” in Shakespeare’s plays. She is the co-editor of a recent special issue of the Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies on “Local Oceans: New Perspectives on Colonial Geographies.” She is also the author of Islamic Conversion and Christian Resistance on the Early Modern Stage (2010), co-editor of Religion and Drama on the Renaissance Stage (2011), and co-editor of the journal ELR.

891Z Intro to Research on Writing

Haivan Hoang | Wednesdays, 1:00-3:30 PM

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, our purpose here is to gain familiarity with a range of methodologies that encourage context-based understandings of writing, including ethnography, case study research, teacher-research, digital writing research, and historiography. To begin, we will read and evaluate research studies: What are the assumptions underlying methodologies? What do particular methods yield in terms of data and meaning-making? What ethical issues do researchers face during the research and writing process? At the same time, we will also practice qualitative inquiry by trying out specific methods—e.g., interviews, participant observation, textual analyses—and learn to design, conduct, and evaluate a short study. My hope is that these discussions about research practices help us reflect on the nature of knowledge-making in the fields of composition and literacy studies.

Haivan Hoang's scholarly interests center on critical race theory, literacy studies, writing pedagogy, writing in the disciplines, and qualitative research methodologies. She is author of Writing against Racial Injury: The Politics of Asian American Student Rhetoric (U of Pittsburgh, 2015), and her current research explores how race becomes salient for students and teachers in discipline-specific writing courses.

899----Doctoral Dissertation

Staff

All graduate students must have a minimum of 18 credits at the time of their graduation.

Spring Courses (2024)

Engl 698 Gen Ed Practicum

Tu, 5:00-6:00 | R. Mordecai

Engl 698B Intro. To Teaching Writing

Tu, 10:0-11:15 | A. Tillman

Engl 698B Intro. To Teaching Writing

Tu, 10:00-11:15 | A. Bello

Engl 698B  Intro. To Teaching Writing

Tu, 10:00-11:15 | C. Yang

Engl 698B Intro. To Teaching Writing

Tu, 10:00-11:15 | R. Dingo

Engl 698B Intro. To Teaching Writing

Tu, 10:00-11:15 | T. Pauliny

Engl 698I Teaching Basic Writing

By arrangement | A. Bello

Engl 698J Teaching Mentoring

By arrangement | T. Pauliny

Engl 698M P-Teaching Creative Writing II

M, 5:00-6:00 | J. Jacobson

Engl 698MA P-Teaching MFA Online Courses

By arrangement | J. Jacobson

Engl 698R P-Applied Literary Arts

By arrangement | J. Jacobson

Engl 698RA P-Applied Literary Arts – RADIUS

By arrangement | E. Meidav     

Engl 698V Special Topics: Teaching Writing

M, 4:00-5:15 | A. Bello

Engl 698V Special Topics: Teaching Writing

M, 4:00-5:15 | D. Day

Engl 698V Special Topics: Teaching Writing

M, 4:00-5:15 | H. Hoang

Engl 698V Special Topics: Teaching Writing

M, 4:00-5:15 | S. Ray

699 Master’s Thesis

Staff

780/1 Imaginative Writing: Poetry

Monday 1:25–3:55pm | Peter Gizzi

We will question the relationship between world and word and ask who is speaking in a poem. Do we speak or are we spoken? We will consider the role of mystery, presence, and intimacy in our writing. The workshop is a writing intensive class. It consists of work-shopping poems each week, providing comments and edits on others’ work, handing in revisions, reading several books of poetry and/or essays, participation and attendance are required.

Peter Gizzi is the author of Fierce Elegy (Wesleyan, 2023), Now It's Dark (Wesleyan, 2020), Sky Burial: New and Selected Poems (Carcanet, UK 2020), Archeophonics (Finalist for the National Book Award, Wesleyan, 2016); In Defense of Nothing (Finalist for the LA Times Book Award, 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 1987-92 (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, and The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He has twice been the recipient of the Judith E. Wilson Visiting Fellow in Poetry at Cambridge University. In 2018, Wesleyan published In the Air: Essays on the Poetry of Peter Gizzi. A PDF of his out-of-print selected interviews, A Users Guide to the Invisible World (2022) is here.

780/2 Imaginative Writing Poetry    

Tuesdays, 1:00-3:30 | Abigail Chabitnoy  

What is it to live one’s life in the service of the poetic act? By seasons work and play, what do we seek from the poem and how do our needs and expectations shape the resulting body of work? In this class, we will learn how to recognize a poem’s unique goals and ambitions, and then cater our critique and reading according to those objectives. Students will be encouraged to reflect on the particular qualities of their own aesthetic influences and the gesture(s) of their craft and challenge their own habituation through risk-taking and creative play to develop a sustainable and generative practice beyond the classroom. Over the semester, we will workshop several batches of poems, provide in-depth written comments, hand in revisions, and read several books of poetry and/or essays. Consistent participation and attendance are required. The ultimate goal is to build a personalized method of creating that sustains and endures far beyond the workshop and the MFA.

Abigail Chabitnoy is the author of In the Current Where Drowning Is Beautiful (Wesleyan 2022); How to Dress a Fish (Wesleyan 2019), shortlisted for the 2020 International Griffin Prize for Poetry and winner of the 2020 Colorado Book Award; and the linocut illustrated chapbook Converging Lines of Light (Flower Press 2021). Her poems have appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Boston Review, Tin House, Gulf Coast, LitHub, and Red Ink, among others. She is a member of the Tangirnaq Native Village in Kodiak.

780/3 Imaginative Writing: Poetry: Ars Poeticas

Wednesday, 4:30-7:00pm | Hannah Brooks-Motl

The ars poetica is first associated with Horace, who wrote an ars or technique or “art of” poetic composition somewhere around 20 BCE. Typically, an ars poetica addresses poetry—the how and why of writing poems; their “true” purpose or ontology; poetry’s “ultimate” meaning; perhaps even the problems of poets themselves. But such works also concern life and living, the vicissitudes of friendship and criticism; they might touch on topics inclusive of ethics, aesthetics, family, education, identity, hybridity, belonging, belief. Like Horace’s, such works may be “baffling outliers”, “full of mysteries.” This workshop will consider traditions of the ars poetica, understanding it less as a genre than a kind of attitude or orientation toward the various acts of thinking-writing-feeling that comprise poetry itself. We’ll workshop 5-8 pages of poems from each person a couple times throughout the semester and these works will form the basis of our discussions together as will readings, viewings, and the drafting of a poetics—whether an ars or not, we won’t be prescriptive. By the end of the workshop, folks should have many new starts, some revised poems, and a working draft of a poetics statement for thesis inclusion or other purposes.

Hannah Brooks-Motl was born and raised in Wisconsin. She is the author of the poetry collections The New Years (2014), M (2015), and Earth (2019). Her poetry, essays, and criticism have appeared in the Best American Experimental Writing, the Cambridge Literary Review, the Chicago Review, Modernism/modernity, and in edited collections from Cambridge University Press and Wesleyan University Press. With Stephanie Burt she helped edit Randall Jarrell on W.H. Auden (2005). She earned an MFA from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and PhD from the University of Chicago. She lives in western Massachusetts.

781/1 Imaginative Writing: Fiction

Thursday 10:00-12:30pm | Monica Brashears

This workshop will be a generative course focusing on short story, flash fiction, and longer forms. The class will be in traditional workshop format with response letters and marked manuscripts, discussions, and supplemental readings. We will explore the subconscious and revision, ways to toy with genre, and many other delights! 

 Monica Brashears is an Affrilachian writer from Tennessee. She is a graduate of Syracuse University's MFA program. Her work has appeared in Nashville Review, Split Lip Magazine, Appalachian Review, The Masters Review, and more. House of Cotton is her first novel. Her short story, "The Skittering Thing," will be featured in The Black Girl Survives in This One: Horror Stories (Flatiron, 2024). 

781/2  Imaginative Writing: Fiction

Tuesday 4:00-6:30pm | Sabina Murray

This workshop is designed to discuss work with a focus on structure and handling of time.  Through a combination of craft talks, exercises, and selected reading, we will study how to pass time in an organic manner, how to better explore character through perspective and contrast, and other stylistic elements that we so often construct instinctively but should be able to edit with cold intellect.  This workshop will be able to accommodate longer works--novels in progress, collected short stories, novellas--but will also be helpful to those working on individual stories and in the early stages of novels. Time is fun!

Sabina Murray is the author of five novels and three short 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, the Radcliffe Institute of Harvard University, and Magdalen College at the University of Oxford. Her stories are anthologized in The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction and Charlie Chan is Dead II. She has written on Sebald for the Writers Chronicle, Wordsworth for the Paris Review blog, time theory and historical fiction for LitHub, Duterte and the Philippines for VICE, Spam (the meat) for The New York Times, and published gothic fiction in Medium. Her novel Valiant Gentlemen was included in the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2016 and included in the Washington Post Best Books list of the same year. Her most recent book Muckross Abbey, a collection of literary horror fiction, was published March 2023.

781/3  Imaginative Writing: Fiction: Hyrbid Memoir

Wednesday, 1:25-3:55pm | Edie Meidav

In our odd era, how do we remember and to what end?  In what new ways can we understand hybridity? In this generative workshop for writers, each week we will quilt work to explore these questions. Taking the idea of the hybrid memoir in its broadest sense, we will explore what happens when we imagine new communities of readers and forms. Writers such as Carson, Akhtar, Amichai, Antunes, Baldwin, Borges, Braithwaite, Cabrera Infante, Carpentier, Celan, Coetzee, Evaristo, Galeano, Ishiguro, Kafka, Kapil, Levy, Luiselli, Machado, Nguyen, Nunez, Paley, Rankine, Salvayre, Shafak, Shange, Winterson, and Yapa are examples of those we will consider for inspiration, as well as exponents of hybrid memoir across the disciplines. Classwork involves writing, reading, inquiry, presentations, and includes the possibility of field trips and a final reading. Permission from the instructor required for those outside the MFA. 

Edie Meidav is the author of the hybrid lyric novel Another Love Discourse (MIT/Penguin, 2022), as well as Kingdom of the Young (Sarabande, 2017), a collection of short fiction with a nonfiction coda, and award-winning novels called editorial picks by the New York Times and elsewhere: Lola, California (FSG/Picador, 2012), Crawl Space (FSG/Picador, 2005), and The Far Field: A Novel of Ceylon (Houghton/Mariner, 2001) as well as a coedited anthology collecting women and nonbinary writers, Strange Attractors (UMass Press, 2019). A 2023-24 Rockefeller Fellow, she has received support for her work from granting bodies including the Lannan, Howard, Whiting, Fulbright (Sri Lanka and Cyprus), the Kafka Prize, the Village Voice, the Bard Fiction Prize, Yaddo, Macdowell, VCCA, Art OMI, Fundacion Valparaiso, and elsewhere. Former director of the MFA at the New College of California in San Francisco, she has served as judge for Yaddo, the NEA, Mass Cultural Council, Juniper Prize, the PEN/Bingham first novel prize, and serves as a senior editor at Conjunctions.

791AP The Age of Pictures: American Visual Culture 1825-1925        

Thursdays 1:00-3:30 | Brenna Casey

This course will offer an introduction to key concepts in visual culture through the study of images and concomitant literary texts circulating in the United States from the nineteenth century into the twentieth. “The picture making faculty,” wrote the famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass amidst the violent political, social, and territorial restructuring of the mid-nineteenth-century U.S., “is a mighty power.” Moving from early national artistic movements through the emergence of photography, we will work with special attention to quickly consolidating and interlocking markers of race, gender, class, sexuality, and citizenship to track more precisely how this “mighty power” was cultivated by early illustrative makers. 

Members of this course should expect to sample a range of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction writing as well as illustrations, paintings, and photographs from the American Romantic to the Modernist period. We will also engage a host of critical theoretical texts that may be applied to and beyond this periodization. Course participants will have the opportunity to supply archives from their own area of study for course assignments.  

Brenna M. Casey is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English where she specializes in American literature and visual culture. Her academic work has appeared in ESQ: A Journal of Nineteenth Century American Studies, Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies, and African American Review. Her public-facing work has appeared in Los Angeles Review of Books, The Assembly, and The New York Times.

791BA Why Compare? Black and Asian Pairings in U.S. Culture and Criticism    

Wednesdays, 4:00-6:30 | Caroline Yang

In 1867, speaking on the topic of Chinese labor in the United States, Frederick Douglass predicted, “The old question as to what shall be done with [enslaved Black people] will have to give place to the greater question, ‘what shall be done with the Mongolian.’” Thus rooted in the questions of slavery and who counted as “free” and rightful citizen of U.S. empire, Black and Asian pairings have exceeded any other comparisons of non-white peoples and have taken on different shapes and aims since Douglass’s speech. This seminar takes a critical examination of this history of Black and Asian racializations in U.S. culture and criticism. In addition to representations of the comparison in dominant white culture, it examines historical writings, literary and cultural productions, and critical scholarship by Black and Asian writers to begin to answer the question: why compare? What does the comparison teach us about race and racialization in U.S. empire? Beginning with Reconstruction, we will study key historical flashpoints, ultimately concluding with our present moment in the Supreme Court’s dismantling of affirmative action in college admissions. Possible literary texts may include Charles Chesnutt’s The Marrow of Tradition, Carlos Bulosan’s America Is in the Heart, W. E. B. Du Bois’s Dark Princess, A Romance, John Okada’s No-No Boy, Toni Cade Bambara’s The Salt Eaters, Gayl Jones’s The Healing, Paul Beatty’s The White Boy Shuffle, Nina Revoyr’s Southland, and Monique Truong’s Bitter in the Mouth.

Caroline Yang teaches courses in Asian American and African American literatures, nineteenth-century to contemporary U.S. literature, and critical ethnic and race studies. She is the author of The Peculiar Afterlife of Slavery: The Chinese Worker and the Minstrel Form (Stanford 2020). Her other writings can be found in Modern Fiction Studies, MELUS, Journal of Asian American Studies, Research on Diversity in Youth Literature, Asian American Literature in Transition (1850-1930), The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States (forthcoming), and American Quarterly (forthcoming). She is currently working on a second book, tentatively titled The Korean War in Black America. 

791V Shakespeare for Everyone?

Mondays, 1:00-3:30 | Adam Zucker

This course is designed to offer writers, artists, teachers, and everyone else a guided, wide-ranging survey of the works of William Shakespeare. No single theme or method will shape the course; instead, we will collaboratively explore intricacies of language, narrative, and idea in an effort to better understand and question the lasting influence of Shakespeare’s plays in classrooms, theaters, and global mass media.  

We will read one play and one short supplemental text each week, ranging from brief critical essays, related Elizabethan poetry, fictional or other adaptations, et cetera. In addition to reading, participants will offer one flexible format in-class response, and create one longer final response to course material, in a manner that best suits their own graduate level work (i.e, MFA students might write in or on poetry or fiction; PhD students might write a more traditional researched essay; students in other departments beyond English might work with the ideas and methods of their own fields).

Adam Zucker has been a member of the UMass English Department since 2004. His area of expertise is 16th- and 17th-Century English literature, with a special focus on the plays of William Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, and their contemporaries. He received his BA from Brown University and his MA, MPhil, and PhD from Columbia University. Professor Zucker is the author of The Places of Wit in Early Modern English Comedy (Cambridge University Press, 2011), and the co-editor of two books: Historical Affects and the Early Modern Theater (Routledge, 2015), with Ronda Arab and Michelle Dowd; and Localizing Caroline Drama: Politics and Economics of the Early Modern English Stage, 1625-1642 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), with Alan B. Farmer. His next book, Shakespeare Unlearned: Pedantry, Nonsense, and the Philology of Stupidity, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press, and he is working on a new edition of Love’s Labor’s Lost for the fourth series of the Arden Shakespeare. He is also a co-editor of the journal English Literary Renaissance.

792C Graduate Writing Workshop

Thurs, 4:00-6:30 | Rebecca Lorimer Leonard

This course is open to any student interested in developing a robust writing practice in academia, with a focus on revising an existing seminar paper, conference paper, or unpublished essay into a publishable journal article. While the main goal of the course is revising for publication, we will make space for you to workshop other kinds of writings such as the rationales for the Areas (or the Comprehensive) Exam or the dissertation prospectus. Our focus on the genre of article writing is meant hopefully to demystify the academic publication process and help you develop useful writing habits. As Eric Hayot states, “Writing a good article requires a number of different skills, only one of which is learning to manage a twenty-five-page idea” (The Elements of Academic Style, 13). Using Hayot’s book and Wendy Belcher’s Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks as our guides, we will learn and sharpen those necessary skills to becoming published authors, as we build a writing community that thrives on accountability and a collective and individual commitment to writing as a practice and a process. 

Rebecca Lorimer Leonard teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on language diversity, literacy studies, and research methods. Her book Writing on the Move: Migrant Women and the Value of Literacy (University of Pittsburgh Press) won the 2019 Outstanding Book Award from the Conference on College Composition and Communication. Her co-written book, Transfer: An Introduction to History, Theory, Research and Pedagogy, will be published in October 2023. 

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 South College W329.  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

891CG Critical Geographies of 20th and 21st Century American Poetics

Wed, 1:00-3:30 | Ruth Jennison

This course will examine 20th and 21st century (mostly) American poetry, with a special focus on ways in which critical theories of space and spatial formation open up our primary texts. We will examine the conceptual history of space in contemporary critical thought: from the signature articulations of Raymond Williams regarding the dominant, residual and emergent cultural mediations of spatial segmentation, to Henri Lefebvre’s generative taxonomies describing the social production of space, to David Harvey’s elaboration of a full-throated critical geography, to Ruth Wilson Gilmore’s pathbreaking account of spatial fix and the carceral state. We will also read recent accounts of spatial turns specific to mechanisms of state and population control: securitized borders, settler colonialism, the current reorganization of US manufacturing zones, and the urban and rural constitution of what capital views as “surplus populations.” We will examine not only how American poetry encodes these spatial intricacies (Muriel Rukeyser, Langston Hughes, Louis Zukofsky, Claude McKay) but also how American poetics itself has developed in shifting regional alliances. We will pay special attention to the ways in which poetry written in the 1970s and after screens the spatial regimes of racism and xenophonia within and beyond the American interior, and the revolutionary, anti-imperialist responses to these regimes (eg. Gwendolyn Brooks, Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Sean Bonney). We will also examine poetics that treat crises and transformations in the geographies of social reproduction. To this end we will engage with texts by Bernadette Mayer, Kay Gabriel, and Juliana Spahr, many of which elaborate alternative spaces hived out of, or in negotiation with, capitalist imperatives gendering social reproductive labor. 

Ruth Jennison publishes on modern and contemporary American poetry, with special attention to the intersections of literary form, capitalist development and crisis, and politics. 

891G Fiction to Film 

Mon, 10:30 AM - 1:00 PM | Sabina Murray

This is a course that looks at elements of narrative—time, interiority, voice, summary, backstory, character, et cetera—as they transition from prose into screenplay.  In addition to learning the basics of writing scripts, you will also learn how to better manage time, dialogue, structure, information, and group scenes in your fiction.    Works studied will (most likely) include Twelve Years A Slave (Northrup/McQueen), The Painted Veil (Maugham/Curran), Don’t Look Now (du Maurier/Roeg), and some others.  Class participants will be required to work on a creative adaptation of their own selection.  

Sabina Murray is the author of five novels and three short 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, the Radcliffe Institute of Harvard University, and Magdalen College at the University of Oxford. Her stories are anthologized in The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction and Charlie Chan is Dead II. She has written on Sebald for the Writers Chronicle, Wordsworth for the Paris Review blog, time theory and historical fiction for LitHub, Duterte and the Philippines for VICE, Spam (the meat) for The New York Times, and published gothic fiction in Medium. Her novel Valiant Gentlemen was included in the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2016 and included in the Washington Post Best Books list of the same year. Her most recent book Muckross Abbey, a collection of literary horror fiction, was published March 2023.

891WB Sex, Bloat, and Zombies: On Writing the Body         

Thurs, 1:00-3:30 | Monica Brashears

“How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavored to form?” This course asks students to view themselves and the authors studied as Dr. Frankenstein. We will study various approaches to crafting the physical body in fiction and all they can achieve when exploring themes of trauma, agency, illness, and human desire. Books will be selected from an expanding list that includes work written by Gayl Jones, Elena Ferrante, Anthony Veasna So, S.A. Cosby, Garth Greenwell, James Joyce, Colson Whitehead, Johnathan Franzen, Haruki Murakami, Mohsin Hamid, Mariana Enriquez, and others. Requirements will include a presentation on an assigned book and the creation of your own monster (a short story in which the body is written).

Monica Brashears is an Affrilachian writer from Tennessee. She is a graduate of Syracuse University's MFA program. Her work has appeared in Nashville Review, Split Lip Magazine, Appalachian Review, The Masters Review, and more. House of Cotton is her first novel. Her short story, "The Skittering Thing," will be featured in The Black Girl Survives in This One: Horror Stories (Flatiron, 2024). 

891WC Writing across the Curriculum

Mon, 10:00-12:30 | Haivan Hoang

This course explores the development of writing across the curriculum (WAC) in higher education; WAC is often described as an education movement that emphasizes writing to learn as well as writing in the disciplines (WID). Historians of college composition, such as David Russell, have traced the origins of writing across the curriculum to the late 19th century as universities increasingly emphasized disciplinary specialization. By the 1960s and 70s, the WAC movement began to influence academic programs, curricula, and pedagogy in US universities and British K-12 schools. In this seminar, we’ll learn about the history of WAC development in educational contexts, the ideologies underlying these movements, research on WID teaching and learning, and descriptions and analyses of WAC/WID program structures and administration. Beyond broad understanding of the WAC/WID movement, the seminar asks us more specifically to take up critiques that Donna LeCourt and Victor Villanueva raised 20-30 years ago: How might we work against assimilationist and exclusionary tendencies when teaching students to write in the disciplines? More specifically, how might we envision a critical, including anti-racist, approach to WAC/WID commitments and practices? 

Haivan Hoang's scholarly interests center on critical race theory, literacy studies, writing pedagogy, writing in the disciplines, and qualitative research methodologies. She is author of Writing against Racial Injury: The Politics of Asian American Student Rhetoric (U of Pittsburgh, 2015), and her current research explores how race becomes salient for students and teachers in discipline-specific writing courses.

899 Doctoral Dissertation

Staff

All graduate students must have a minimum of 18 credits at the time of their graduation.
 

Fall Courses (2023)

591N Topics in Indigenous Literature: Shapes of Resistance in Indigenous Literature

Monday 10:45–1:15pm | Abigail Chabitnoy

This course is interested in considering approaches in Indigenous literature that engage in resistance, as to be broadly defined by the class over the course of the semester. While literature of resistance is inevitably political, what are the particular concerns of Indigenous literature that shape that resistance? How have historical and current policies and interactions with US government policy and popular American imagination and myths of nation building influenced the formal poetics and narrative techniques of Indigenous writers—and what models do these literatures offer to writers today, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous? In this class we will begin with a survey of defining moments in US history and policy and move into considerations of different periods and genres of Indigenous literature, including speculative and graphic forms.

Abigail Chabitnoy is the author of In the Current Where Drowning Is Beautiful (Wesleyan 2022); How to Dress a Fish (Wesleyan 2019), shortlisted for the 2020 International Griffin Prize for Poetry and winner of the 2020 Colorado Book Award; and the linocut illustrated chapbook Converging Lines of Light (Flower Press 2021). Her poems have appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Boston Review, Tin House, Gulf Coast, LitHub, and Red Ink, among others. She is a member of the Tangirnaq Native Village in Kodiak.

698-----Gen Ed Practicum            

By arrangement    Rachel Mordecai

698B---P-Intro. To Teaching Writing    

Tu, 10-11:15     Aaron Tillman

698B---P-Intro. To Teaching Writing    

Tu, 10-11:15        Caroline Yang

698B---P-Intro. To Teaching Writing    

Tu, 10-11:15        R. Lorimer Leonard

698B---P-Intro. To Teaching Writing   

Tu, 10-11:15         Tara Pauliny

698I---P-Teaching Basic Writing         

by arrangement    Anne Bello

698J---P-Teaching Mentoring             

by arrangement    

698L---P-Teaching Creative Writing    

M, 5:00-6:00        Jeff Parker

698L---P-Teaching Creative Writing    

M, 5:00-6:00         Jennifer Jacobson

698MA-Teaching MFA Online Courses

by arrangement    Jennifer Jacobson

698R---Applied Literary Arts                

by arrangement      Jennifer Jacobson

 

698RA-01 | P- Appl Literary Arts: Radius

By arrangement | Edie Meidav

Radius will be holding open-hour writing tutorials for men who are incarcerated at the Hampshire County Jail in Florence (hours to be finalized by the sheriff's office). To apply for this applied literary arts class, involving initial training and reading, write highwayfive@gmail.com with your year/discipline and interest in the program.

Edie Meidav is the author of the lyric novel Another Love Discourse (MIT/Penguin, 2022), as well as Kingdom of the Young (Sarabande, 2017), a collection of short fiction with a nonfiction coda, and three award-winning novels called editorial picks by the New York Times and elsewhere: Lola, California (FSG/Picador, 2012), Crawl Space (FSG/Picador, 2005), and The Far Field: A Novel of Ceylon (Houghton/Mariner, 2001) and a coedited anthology Strange Attractors (UMass Press, 2019). Her work has been recognized by foundations including Lannan, Howard, Whiting, Fulbright (Sri Lanka and Cyprus), the Kafka Prize, the Village Voice, the Bard Fiction Prize, Yaddo, Macdowell, VCCA, Art OMI, and Fundacion Valparaiso. Former director of the MFA at the New College of California in San Francisco, she has served as judge for Yaddo, the NEA, Mass Cultural Council, Juniper Prize, the PEN/Bingham first novel prize, and as senior editor at Conjunctions.

698V-1  P-Special Topics/Teaching Writing

M, 4:00-5:00          Anna Rita Napoleone

698V-1  P-Special Topics/Teaching Writing

M, 4:00-5:00          Anne Bello

698V-1  P-Special Topics/Teaching Writing

M, 4:00-5:00          R. Lorimer Leonard

698V-1  P-Special Topics/Teaching Writing

M, 4:00-5:00          Shakuntala Ray

699-----Master’s Thesis                

Staff

780-01 Imaginative Writing: Poetry

Tuesday 1:00–3:30pm | Abigail Chabitnoy

What is it to live one’s life in the service of the poetic act? By seasons work and play, what do we seek from the poem and how do our needs and expectations shape the resulting body of work? In this class, we will learn how to recognize a poem’s unique goals and ambitions, and then cater our critique and reading according to those objectives. Students will be encouraged to reflect on the particular qualities of their own aesthetic influences and the gesture(s) of their craft and challenge their own habituation through risk-taking and creative play to develop a sustainable and generative practice beyond the classroom. Over the semester, we will workshop several batches of poems, provide in-depth written comments, hand in revisions, and read several books of poetry and/or essays. Consistent participation and attendance are required. The ultimate goal is to build a personalized method of creating that sustains and endures far beyond the workshop and the MFA.

Abigail Chabitnoy is the author of In the Current Where Drowning Is Beautiful (Wesleyan 2022); How to Dress a Fish (Wesleyan 2019), shortlisted for the 2020 International Griffin Prize for Poetry and winner of the 2020 Colorado Book Award; and the linocut illustrated chapbook Converging Lines of Light (Flower Press 2021). Her poems have appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Boston Review, Tin House, Gulf Coast, LitHub, and Red Ink, among others. She is a member of the Tangirnaq Native Village in Kodiak.

780-02 Imaginative Writing: Poetry

Monday 1:25–3:55pm | Peter Gizzi    

The workshop is a writing intensive class. It consists of work-shopping poems each week, providing comments and edits on others work, handing in revisions, reading several books of poetry and/or essays, participation and attendance are required.

Peter Gizzi is the author of Fierce Elegy (Wesleyan, 2023), Now It's Dark (Wesleyan, 2020), Sky Burial: New and Selected Poems (Carcanet, UK 2020), Archeophonics (Finalist for the National Book Award, Wesleyan, 2016); In Defense of Nothing (Finalist for the LA Times Book Award, 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 1987-92 (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, and The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He has twice been the recipient of the Judith E. Wilson Visiting Fellow in Poetry at Cambridge University. In 2018, Wesleyan published In the Air: Essays on the Poetry of Peter Gizzi. A PDF of his out-of-print selected interviews, A Users Guide to the Invisible World (2022) is found online.

781-01 Imaginative Writing: Fiction

Thursday 3:00–5:30pm | Sabina Murray

This course allows the writer to develop work through individual supervision in tutorial meetings in addition to presenting writing in a traditional workshop setting. The class will begin with assigned readings and exercises followed by a series of individual meetings with the instructor analyzing the work in progress, offering specific critiques, and suggesting readings specific to individual interests and needs.   The second part of the semester will be devoted to traditional workshop discussions.  This model allows writers to get feedback on work as it develops and before it is presented before the group, while still offering the structure and community of a traditional workshop. This workshop will be able to accommodate longer works--novels in progress, collected short stories, novellas--but will also be helpful to those working on individual stories and in the early stages of novels.

Sabina Murray is the author of five novels and three short 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, the Radcliffe Institute of Harvard University, and Magdalen College at the University of Oxford. Her stories are anthologized in The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction and Charlie Chan is Dead II. She has written on Sebald for the Writers Chronicle, Wordsworth for the Paris Review blog, time theory and historical fiction for LitHub, Duterte and the Philippines for VICE, Spam (the meat) for The New York Times, and published gothic fiction in Medium. Her novel Valiant Gentlemen was included in the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2016 and included in the Washington Post Best Books list of the same year. Her most recent book Muckross Abbey, a collection of literary horror fiction, was published March 2023.

781-02 Imaginative Writing: Fiction

Thursday 12:20–2:50pm | Edie Meidav

Writing the Body: A Course in Non/Fiction

In our odd era, how do we write the story of the body? What forms best serve our muse? In this generative class, every week you will create and read work by your colleagues. Using micronarrative and nonfiction as our base, as well as somatic and theatrical practice, we will explore how to embody themes, how we enter and exit scenes. Our goals will include adding to the sweep of your gesture in prose, to create our own collective and individual taxonomy, to wake ourselves and our readers, and to keep inquiry into literature fresh by deep engagement. Note that one part of our class will be along with writers currently incarcerated. For those outside the MFA, permission from the instructor is required in order to enroll.

Edie Meidav is the author of the lyric novel Another Love Discourse (MIT/Penguin, 2022), as well as Kingdom of the Young (Sarabande, 2017), a collection of short fiction with a nonfiction coda, and three award-winning novels called editorial picks by the New York Times and elsewhere: Lola, California (FSG/Picador, 2012), Crawl Space (FSG/Picador, 2005), and The Far Field: A Novel of Ceylon (Houghton/Mariner, 2001) and a coedited anthology Strange Attractors (UMass Press, 2019). Her work has been recognized by foundations including Lannan, Howard, Whiting, Fulbright (Sri Lanka and Cyprus), the Kafka Prize, the Village Voice, the Bard Fiction Prize, Yaddo, Macdowell, VCCA, Art OMI, and Fundacion Valparaiso. Former director of the MFA at the New College of California in San Francisco, she has served as judge for Yaddo, the NEA, Mass Cultural Council, Juniper Prize, the PEN/Bingham first novel prize, and as senior editor at Conjunctions.

791JJ---The Literature of James Joyce   

Wednedsay, 1:00-3:30 pm  |  Katherine O’Callaghan

The centenary celebrations of the publication of James Joyce’s Ulysses in 2022 provoked a brilliant array of artistic, academic, and cultural responses. This is a wonderful time to study Joyce’s texts. This course will focus on Ulysses, Joyce’s 1922 masterpiece, a circadian, encyclopedic novel which transfers the events of Homer’s The Odyssey into a single day in Dublin on June 16th 1904. We will also explore Joyce’s short story collection Dubliners, his semi-autobiographical novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, as well as encountering extracts from the extraordinary Finnegans Wake. We will examine Joyce’s texts from various perspectives including environmental, postcolonial, and intermedial. We will take advantage of the new Cambridge edition of Ulysses, along with its accompanying podcast series. The books for this course will be ordered at Amherst Books.

Dr. Katherine O’Callaghan lectures on Irish literature, James Joyce, modernism, and the role of music in novels at the UMass Amherst English department. She grew up in Dublin and moved to the US in 2015. She is an elected member of the Board of Trustees of the International James Joyce Foundation. In 2021 she was co-Academic Director of the International James Joyce Symposium, and in 2022 she was one of the keynote speakers for the Symposium’s celebration of the centenary of the publication of Ulysses. Recent publications include the “Sirens” essay in The Cambridge Centenary Ulysses (Cambridge UP, 2022), “Solastalgic Modernism and the West in Irish Literature (1900-1950)” in A History of Irish Literature and the Environment (Cambridge UP, 2022), and “The Riddle of the Brocken Spectre: Reading Finnegans Wake on the top of Croagh Patrick” in James Joyce Quarterly (2019).

791NV---Introduction to the Environmental Humanities  

Thursday, 4:00-6:30 pm   |  Malcolm Sen

The Environmental Humanities is quickly emerging to be one of the most interdisciplinary, timely, and exciting areas of inquiry. Its emergence and formalization in the academy, however, does not suggest that the question of the environment vis-a-vis the humanities is a new one. Indeed, literary and cultural criticism have always been acutely interested in “nature,” “ecology,” and the “environment”. What is new, however, is the active cultivation of the truly interdisciplinary aspects of such a field of study. The Environmental Humanities harnesses a multitude of concerns traditionally seen to be within the folds of social and empirical sciences. It also ruptures the artificial silos between disciplines such as History, Literature, Cultural Studies, between Feminist, Queer, Indigenous, Postcolonial, and Decolonial Studies. The impetus of such epistemological practices arise from the interlinked nature of the increasingly palpable effects of the environmental crisis among which climate change is the most threateningly urgent. Ecological breakdown and climate collapse, like environmental justice, are not monodisciplinary issues. The multi-scalar and intergenerational aspects of these concerns not only reveal the shortcomings of traditional research agendas but oftentimes also the  limitations of scientific and technological knowledge to equitably and efficiently respond to such crises. As Sverker Sörlin puts it the “belief that science alone could deliver us from the planetary quagmire is long dead…We cannot dream of sustainability unless we start to pay more attention to the human agents of the planetary pressure that environmental experts are masters at measuring but that they seem unable to prevent.” Thus, such advocacy and activism also seems braided to the Environmental Humanities.

Given such a rich and heterogenous field, one that is also open to the pressures of unfolding urgencies, how and where does one start to do Environmental Humanities? This course will be an exciting exploration of several major concerns that continue to shape the discipline. Course readings will offer students pathways to engage the environment from multiple perspectives. We will read historical and philosophical texts, think about different forms and histories of energy, engage with indigenous, feminist, and queer epistemologies through documentary films, gain an understanding of the relationship between environment and empire, analyze the language and art of environmentally-focused creative non-fiction about more-than-human natures, and contend with genres such as dystopian, post-apocalyptic and climate fiction. The course intends to include guest speakers from the empirical and social sciences. It will also ask students to actively engage with environmental art.
 
Malcolm Sen teaches in the Department of English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His research focuses on questions of sovereignty, sustainability, migration, and race as they emerge in climate change discourse. Recent and in-press publications include: Ed., History of Irish Literature and the Environment (Cambridge: CUP, 2022); Ed., Race in Irish Literature and Culture (Cambridge: CUP, 2023); Unnatural Disasters: Irish Literature, Climate Change, and Sovereignty (New York, Syracuse, 2023); “Climate Wars in the Anthropocene,” Routledge Companion to Literature and the Environment (London: Routledge, 2024).

791WP---American Women Writers in Protest  

Thursday, 1:00-3:30 pm  |  Sarah Patterson

What attributes make a woman's protest distinct from other types of activism? How has American women's protest literature fared as part of the American literary canon and historical memory? This reading seminar focuses on American women writers’ non-fictional and fictional works as they coincide with broader biographical and cultural histories. We will especially address topics surrounding 19th-century African American women writers’ expansion of the American literary canon, often pairing primary works with criticism. These include Harriet Wilson, Mattie Jackson, and chapters from Saidiya Hartman’s scholarship. At other times we will read the political literature of White and Indigenous writers to offer points of contrast and comparison. In discussion, we will prioritize themes intersecting with race and processes of identity formation with topics on the politics of enslavement and feminism.  

Sarah Patterson is an assistant professor who specializes in 19th-century African American literature, print culture, and social movements. Her work also addresses areas in the digital humanities involving public history and related ethical practices. She is a member of the English department. With this course, she hopes to spark student interest in local history and in embracing the challenges of parsing women writers' individual and collective discursive aims.

792A---Methods for the Study of U.S. Culture 

Tuesday, 1:00-3:30 pm   | Hoang Phan

This course surveys major texts and methods in American Studies, focusing on texts that have engendered discussion and debate across the interdisciplinary humanities and social sciences. 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 multiple 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 Director of the Social Thought and Political Economy Program (STPEC). His fields of research and teaching are eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American literature, American Studies, and Law and Literature. He is the author of Bonds of Citizenship: Law and the Labors of Emancipation. His articles and essays can be found in Law and Humanities; Labor History; Genre: Forms of Discourse and Culture; Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies; Nineteenth-Century Literature; and Modern Philology.

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 W329 South College .  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

891LD----   Decolonial Reconstellations: Reframing the Present 

Tuesday, 4:00-6:30   |  Mwangi wa Gĩthĩnji (Economics) and Laura Doyle (English)    | Renaissance Center location

NOTE: REGISTER THROUGH EITHER ECONOMICS OR ENGLISH

This interdisciplinary seminar serves as a core course of the proposed Decolonial Global Studies Certificate (DGS). Students from all disciplines are welcome, whether or not you plan to pursue the Certificate. Preliminary Certificate requirements will be posted at WSIP/ by 4/18/2023. We anticipate approval of the DGS Certificate in Fall 2023.
Focusing on non-eurocentric, non-androcentric analyses of world political economy and culture, this course will engage with diverse emancipatory and critical approaches, including decolonial, postcolonial, Indigenous, environmental, intersectional, queer, Marxist, speculative, transnational, and inter-imperial. We will particularly tackle the Eurocentric paradigm of “modernity,” which has severely distorted historical legacies and narrowed conceptions of past, present, and future. Several readings will address long-historical data, deep-time perspectives, and pluriversal epistemologies.  

As we will explore, decolonization is not simply a removal of European colonial forms and a return to prior practices or to a golden period, as was sometimes envisioned in the process of political decolonization. While many hierarchies of gender, race, class, nationality, and religion were formed by European colonization, some versions of them predate the rise of European hegemony and have later co-evolved or interacted conjuncturally with European formations. In this context, we will highlight long-historical practices of ethical relationality as we also critique power configurations in whatever era or form they appear. Close study of these dynamic processes allows for a deeper overturning of the Eurocentric, androcentric points of view that pervade much of our understanding of the contemporary world. Some class projects will therefore invite students to situate their more contemporary research projects or interests within a longer history.

The course will also emphasize decolonial and relational practices.  Co-taught by a Humanities and a Social Science professor, the seminar aims to model decolonial interdisciplinary methods while widening the horizons within which students conceive their research and their aspirations.  The course will encourage collaborative thinking and invite experimental or creative projects, including some in teaching, research, activism, art, or other engagements. We anticipate that the interdisciplinary mix of students in the class will also enable students to widen their campus community and enhance their understanding of decolonial practices.

Laura Doyle is Professor of English and co-director of the World Studies Interdisciplinary Project ( WSIP/), with Mwangi wa Gĩthĩnji.  Her scholarship focuses on the historical co-formations of political economy and literature. She combines intersectional, existential, and decolonial methods to study literature, media, and other arts as crucial sites of power negotiation and world-making.  Doyle’s books include several edited collections and three monographs: Bordering on the Body: The Racial Matrix of Modern Fiction and Culture (Oxford); Freedom’s Empire (Duke); and most recently, Inter-imperiality: Vying Empires, Gendered Labor, and the Literary Arts of Alliance (Duke), which was awarded the Immanuel Wallerstein Prize by the American Sociology Association.  
    
Mwangi wa Gĩthĩnji is Associate Professor and Associate Chair of Economics at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and Co-Director of the World Studies Interdisciplinary Project.  He is the author of Ten Millionaires and Ten Million Beggars: a study of inequality and development in Kenya and co-author of An Employment Targeted Plan for Kenya plus numerous articles and chapters.  His research interests are in the Political Economy of Development with particular attention to issues of class, gender, identity and income distribution in relation to agrarian transition and nationhood in Africa, as well as the process of structural transformation in Africa. In addition to his research Mwangi has been active in policy circles consulting with multi-lateral and national agencies and NGOs such as the UNDP, Economic Commission for Africa, Africa Center for Economic Transformation, and the Society for International development among others, on issues of development particularly with respect to Africa. He is an Editor of the African Studies Review, Associate Editor of the Canadian Journal of Development Studies and on the Editorial Board of the Journal of African Development

891M—Contemporary Poetry

Tuesday, 4-6:30PM | Peter Gizzi

This seminar will focus on 10 individual books of poetry. Some of the books for the seminar will include a researched based project: Bhanu Kapil, The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers; political invective: Sean Bonney, Letters to the Firmament; Caribbean Anglophone diaspora: Mark McMorris, Entrepôt; and eco-poetics: Juliana Spahr, This Connection of Everyone with Lungs; among others. There will also be xerox handouts of various essays. Seminar members will be asked to write a one-page response to each of the books each week and be ready for lively discussion. This class has a cap of 15, I will not be accepting more than what is allowed. Satisfies MFA Contemporary Poetry requirement. All course books available at Amherst Books (be a hero and buy local).

891NW---Imagining New Worlds: Theories of Fiction and Worldmaking 

Tuesday, 1:00-3:30 | Jane Degenhardt

This course will begin with two basic, yet elusive questions: what is fiction? and what is a “world”? By delving into the history of fiction and different models for theorizing worlds, we will examine the ways in which these questions are inextricably intertwined. In particular, wewill explore fiction’s potential as an imaginative and speculative artform invested in the creation of new worlds. We will also consider fiction as a knowledge-producing medium that provided alternative ways of knowing and truth-telling that were understood to be distinct from the disciplines of history, science, and philosophy. How has fiction been put to radical uses by expanding the terms of what is possible, by subverting historical knowledge and truth, and by daring to imagine the world otherwise? We will also consider how fictional imagination has lent itself to the projects of colonial “discovery” and British empire, and how its rise has become associated with the birth of modernity.

No prior knowledge of early modern literature is required. Readings may include selections from the following: Margaret Cavendish’s Blazing World, Henry Neville’s The Isle of Pines, Thomas More’s Utopia, Milton’s Paradise Lost, and Shakespeare’s The Tempest, as well as theories of fiction ranging from Plato to Saidiya Hartman. As we explore these imagined worlds, we will seek to excavate fiction’s social and civic functions, including its evolving purposes, its moral and ethical investments, and its subversive capacities. We will conclude with a consideration of the relationship between fiction and social justice, inviting connections to be drawn between the emergence of fiction in pre-modern culture and its uses and value in today's world.

This course fulfills either the pre-1900 or pre-1800 literature requirement.

Jane Hwang Degenhardt teaches courses on early modern drama, the global Renaissance, and the histories of religion, race, and colonialism. Her most recent book, Globalizing Fortune on the Early Modern Stage (2022), explores evolving ideas of “fortune” in relation to early modern commercial and colonial expansion. She is working on a new book with Henry Turner that uncovers pluralistic understandings of “world” in Shakespeare’s plays. She is the author of Islamic Conversion and Christian Resistance on the Early Modern Stage (2010) and the coeditor, with Benjamin Van Wagoner, of a forthcoming special issue of the Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies on “Local Oceans: New Perspectives on Colonial Geographies.”

ENGLISH  891PB - 01   S- Paperbark Literary Magazine

Wednesday, 4:00-6:30 pm  | Sandy Litchfield

This is a course in and about literary editing as a practical, visionary, and collaborative endeavor. Students become essential members of Paperbark's diverse community of thinker-makers, drawing on expertise in the sciences, visual art, poetry, and literary prose.  The aim here is confluence; Paperbark's mission - and the purpose of this seminar - is to bring the arts and sciences into legible, lively dialogue, "to build new bridges across traditional divides."

891TT---Introduction to Rhetorical Theory 

Wednesday, 10:00 - 12:30 pm  |  David Fleming

The study of rhetoric is traditionally concerned with how messages are crafted to achieve desired effects in audiences. The oldest rhetorical theories were mainly arts of public speech, but rhetoric has also been important as a school subject devoted to eloquence more generally, including arts of written composition. Today, “rhetoric” is probably best known as a term of political abuse; but, in the academy, it survives in a variety of approaches for looking at the suasory function of discourse. Whether revived or moribund, capacious or narrow, rhetorical theory includes some of the best-developed and most powerful verbal disciplines available to us. We’ll focus on the development of ancient rhetorical theory and pedagogy in classical Greece, especially as that development can be traced in the works of Plato and Aristotle, their forerunners, and their successors. But we’ll also examine theoretical and pedagogical developments beyond that time and place, e.g., in non-Western rhetorical traditions. And we’ll test the value of rhetorical theory in contemporary life, especially in terms of new ways of thinking about language, performance, character, community, and reason.

David Fleming is Professor of English. He has published widely on histories and theories of rhetoric, pedagogies of writing, and civic education, including City of Rhetoric: Revitalizing the Public Sphere in Metropolitan America (SUNY P, 2008) and From Form to Meaning: Freshman Composition and the Long Sixties, 1957-1974 (U of Pittsburgh P, 2011). He is currently at work on a book-length study of the bachelor’s degree in U.S. higher education, past, present, and future, tentatively titled American Baccalaureate.

891ZZ---Genre, Transfer, and Social Action  

Monday, 10:00-12:30 pm  |  Rebecca Lorimer Leonard

This course explores the relationship between genre and transfer as social action. Rhetorical approaches to genre analyze how texts emerge from and shape recurring social situations. Theories of transfer in writing studies explore how writers’ literate knowledge moves (or doesn’t) across social situations. So how, then, are genres implicated in the transfer of writing knowledge? How might rhetorical genres and writing transfer work together to shape writers’ attempts at social action and change?

The course will address these questions by considering theoretical work in and empirical studies on rhetorical genre studies, (e.g., Carolyn Miller, Amy Devitt, Angela Rounsaville), activity theory (e.g. Charles Bazerman, Paul Prior, Kevin Roozen), and the transfer of writing knowledge (e.g. Luis Moll & Norma Gonzalez, Beverly Moss, Rebecca Nowacek). Seminar participants will identify a research project they think is important and use genre and/or transfer as a lens to further that project.

Rebecca Lorimer Leonard teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on language diversity, writing pedagogy, and research methods. Her book Writing on the Move: Migrant Women and the Value of Literacy (University of Pittsburgh Press) won the 2019 Outstanding Book Award from the Conference on College Composition and Communication. Her co-written book, Transfer: An Introduction to History, Theory, Research and Pedagogy, will be published in 2023.

899----Doctoral Dissertation                        

Staff

All graduate students must have a minimum of 18 credits at the time of their graduation.

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