Spring 2020 Graduate Courses
(Subject to change)
Engl 698 Gen Ed. Practicum by arrangement R. Mordecai
Engl 698B P-Intro. To Teaching Writing Tu, 10:10-11:15 LeCourt, Mordecai, Woods
Engl 698I Teaching Basic Writing by arrangement A. Bello
Engl 698J P-Teaching Mentoring by arrangement P. Woods
Engl 698M P-Teaching Creative Writing II M, 5:00-6:00 J. Jacobson/J. Parker
Engl 698MA P-Teaching MFA Online Courses by arrangement J. Jacobson
Engl 698R Applied Literary Arts by arrangement J. Jacobson
Engl 698RA Applied Literary Arts: RADIUS by arrangement E. Meidav
Engl 698V-1 P- Spec. Topics/Teaching Writing M, 4-5 Woods, Lorimer-Leonard, Bello
Engl 698V-2 P-Spec. Topics/Teaching Writing M, 4-5 Woods, Lorimer-Leonard, Bello
Engl 698V-3 P-Spec. Topics/Teaching Writing M, 4-5 Woods, Lorimer-Leonard, Bello
699-----Master’s Thesis Staff
712---Writing and Teaching Writing Anna Rita Napoleone
In this course, we will examine writing theory and pedagogy to better understand what informs how and why we teach writing. While we will interrogate a variety of perspectives on teaching writing to develop ways of connecting theory to practice. Our general objective is to better understand the scholarship and research into effective teaching practices and the debates that drive curricular decisions. Our specific goals are: to reflect on our own experiences as writers and teachers, to investigate influential theories in writing studies, and to situate our practice within those theories and research on effective pedagogy. We will consider, in particular, expressivist, rhetorical, critical, feminist, and cultural theories that inform curriculum design and pedagogy as well as work into response, assessment, and writing processes. This is an introductory course to writing studies for MA/PhD students and K-12 teachers.
Possible Texts: Adler-Kassner, Linda, and Elizabeth Wardle. Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies. Classroom; Glenn, Cheryl and Melissa A. Goldthwaite. St. Martin’s Guide to Teaching Writing; Tate, Gary, et al. A Guide to Composition Pedagogies. 2nd ed.
Anna Rita Napoleone is the Director of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Writing Center and the Site Director for the Western Massachusetts Writing Project. She has a PhD in Rhetoric and Composition from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her research focuses on classed literacy practices in higher education, how social class and affect impact teachers' pedagogy and how class intersects with global, racial, and gendered literacies. She has published in Pedagogy journal, and has contributed to edited collections such as Examining Education, Media, and Dialogue under Occupation (book), and Out in the Center (book). She has served on the Northeast Writing Centers Association and as a course director in the UMass Amherst Writing Program. She has presented at national and international conferences. She is a first-generation college student.
780-1 Imaginative Writing: Poetry Mon 1:25–3:55pm 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/or essays, and required participation and attendance. Permission of instructor required of students not enrolled through the MFA Program for Poets & Writers.
Peter Gizzi is the author of Sky Burial: New & Selected Poems (Carcanet, UK 2020), 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 1–3:30pm Cynthia Cruz
In Walter Benjamin’s essay “Some Motifs in Baudelaire'' he describes a type of writing, an amalgamation, resulting from voluntary and involuntary memory: facts and data from remembered, or conscious, memory and the haze of memory lost, or the unconscious. This web or textum, the result of writing that weaves these two types of memory, also drags the poet’s community as well as their community’s history with them, as Benjamin writes: “Experience is indeed a matter of tradition, in collective existence as well as private life. It is less a product of facts firmly anchored in memory than of a convergence in memory of accumulated and frequently unconscious data.” Taking Benjamin’s concept of the textum as our starting point, we will spend the opening of each workshop reading examples of poetry that engage in this poetics. Then we will spend the majority of each class engaging in workshop: carefully reading one another’s poems, offering thoughtful and considered feedback.
Cynthia Cruz is a writer and multidisciplinary artist. Cruz is the author of six collections of poems: Guidebooks for the Dead (Four Way Books, 2020), Dregs (Four Way Books, 2018), How the End Begins (Four Way Books, 2016), Wunderkammer (Four Way Books, 2014), The Glimmering Room (Four Way Books, 2012) and Ruin (Alice James Books, 2006). She is also the editor of Other Musics, an anthology of contemporary Latina poetry (University of Oklahoma Press, 2019). Disquieting: Essays on Silence, a collection of critical essays exploring the concept of silence as a form of resistance, was published by Book*hug in the spring of 2019. The Melancholia of Class, her second collection of critical essays, an exploration of melancholia and the working class, is forthcoming from Repeater Books in 2021.
780-3 Imaginative Writing: Poetry Tues 5:30–8pm 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 nurture and expand 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. This class will focus as much on praxis as it does on the poems we explore at hand. The ultimate goal is to build a personalized method of creating that sustains and endures far beyond the workshop and the MFA.
Ocean Vuong is the author of The New York Times bestselling novel, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, out from Penguin Press (2019) and forthcoming in 31 languages. A recipient of a 2019 MacArthur "Genius" Grant, he is also the author of the critically acclaimed poetry collection, Night Sky with Exit Wounds, a New York Times Top 10 Book of 2016, winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Whiting Award, the Thom Gunn Award, and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. 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, Harpers, 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 Ban Ki-Moon and Angela Merkel, 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, Interview, Poets & Writers, and The New Yorker.
781-01 Imaginative Writing: Fiction Weds 11:15–1:45pm Edie Meidav
In this generative workshop we explore the potency of short work. Each week requires you to write and share your own micro-narrative. How deeply and quickly can you affect readers? What happens within a sentence or between lines? What can short fiction do that so speaks to our age? We will amass a series of questions useful to our own practice as readers and writers both. Classwork consists of close reading, rhetorical and syntactical presentation, workshop, and a final project which will compose in a sequence or expand upon your eleven pieces. Permission to take the course required for those outside the MFA.
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) as well as a coedited anthology STRANGE ATTRACTORS (2019, UMass Press). Honors have come from sites including the Lannan, Howard, Whiting, and Fulbright programs (Sri Lanka and Cyprus), the Kafka Prize, the Village Voice, the Bard Fiction Prize, Yaddo, Macdowell, VCCA, Fundacion Valparaiso and elsewhere. Former director of the MFA at the New College of California in San Francisco, a past judge for Yaddo, the NEA, Mass Cultural Council, Juniper Prize, and the PEN/Bingham first novel prize, she serves as senior editor at Conjunctions and advises other journals.
781-02 Imaginative Writing: Fiction Weds 2–4:30pm Sabina Murray
The Longer Works Workshop
Sometimes, it is good to look a larger chunk of a work in progress. The Longer Works Workshop is organized to accommodate this. Submissions of work--novels in progress, groupings of short stories, scripts, and poetry works with a narrative focus--are all welcome. Each class will focus on one participants’ work. Novel selections and short story groupings of up to 25,000 words (100pp double spaced with reasonable margins) will be accepted. Those wishing to submit scripts need to have taken the Fiction to Film class as a prerequisite, or have a previous arrangement with the instructor. This class can be helpful for those preparing theses who are planning to defend late in the semester, if they are ready to submit early on.
Sabina Murray has published 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, the Radcliffe Institute, and Magdalen College at the University of Oxford. At UMASS, she has received the Conti Fellowship, the Research and Creativity Award, and the Spotlight Scholar Award. She is the screenwriter of the film Beautiful Country, which was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay, and the film was nominated for a Golden Bear. 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 most recent book, Valiant Gentlemen, was included in the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2016. Two books are forthcoming: The Human Zoo, set in Duterte’s Philippines (Nov 2021) and Vanishing Point, a collection of literary horror fiction (June 2022).
781-03 Imaginative Writing: Fiction Thurs 1–3:30pm 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. Books ordered at Amherst Books.
Noy Holland is the 2018 recipient of the Katherine Anne Porter prize from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. She is the author of the novel Bird, and four collections of short fiction, The Spectacle of the Body, What Begins with Bird, Swim for the Little One First, and I Was Trying to Describe What It Feels Like: New and Selected Stories.
791EM---Early Modern Revolutions Joseph Black
The political, religious, literary, media, social, and scientific revolutions of the seventeenth century created a world that was, by the end of this period, recognizably modern. This course surveys the literary and other writings of this century of revolution, reading writers such as John Donne, Aemilia Lanyer, Francis Bacon, Margaret Cavendish, Lucy Hutchinson, Dorothy Osborne, Andrew Marvell, and John Milton alongside radical political and religious writings from the British civil wars; letters and diaries; and writing in such genres as travel, education, medicine, and science. The course pays particular attention to writing by women in this period, and explores such topics as the intersection of the political, the religious, and the literary; the material culture of books, manuscripts, reading; and ideas of the global early modern and the ‘general crisis’ of the seventeenth century.
Joseph Black specializes in early modern non-dramatic literature and History of the Book. His publications include Private Libraries in Renaissance England, vol. 10 (2020), vol. 9 (2017), and vol. 8 (2014), The Martin Marprelate Press (2020), John Milton: Samson Agonistes and Shorter Poems (2013), The Library of the Sidney Family (2013), and chapters in Women’s Bookscapes in Early Modern Britain (2019), Ashgate Research Companion to the Sidneys (2015), and Oxford Handbooks to Renaissance English Prose (2013) and Edmund Spenser (2010). His current projects include co-editing the Complete Works of Thomas Nashe for Oxford UP and a study of early modern women’s book ownership and reading.
791LA---Literature and the Arts Katherine O’Callaghan
How does a writer depict an architectural cityscape? How do they render in language the movement of a dancer, or evoke an imagined symphony? In Literature and the Arts students will explore the manner in which fiction engages with other art forms. The course allows students to engage with the development of literary aesthetics in relation to “intermediality,” and the socio-political and cultural contexts in which texts are written. Students will gain a firm historicized understanding of the oscillation between periods in which art forms merge and borrow liberally from each other, and periods in which artists adhere more strictly to the spatio-temporal boundaries of their specific art form. Assignments include well-researched critical essays, but students will also be encouraged to create soundscapes, short movies, or other intermedial experiments. We will read a range of novels and critical works from around the world.
Dr. Katherine O’Callaghan lectures on James Joyce, modernism, Irish literature, and the role of music in novels in the English department. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the International James Joyce Foundation. She received her PhD on the topic of Joyce and Music from University College Dublin. She is the editor of Essays on Music and Language in Modernist Literature: Musical Modernism (Routledge, 2018), and the co-editor, with Oona Frawley, of Memory Ireland Volume IV: James Joyce and Cultural Memory (Syracuse University Press, 2014). Recent publications include “The Riddle of the Brocken Spectre: Reading Finnegans Wake on the top of Croagh Patrick,” James Joyce Quarterly, 56.1-2 (Fall 2018-Winter 2019), and “The Art of Reading a Musical Novel: Literary Audiation and the Case of James Joyce,” European Joyce Studies, 29 (Amsterdam: Brill/ Rodopi, 2020). Forthcoming publications include the chapter on “Sirens” in The Cambridge Centenary Ulysses: The 1922 Text with Essays and Notes edited by Catherine Flynn (Cambridge UP, forthcoming 2021), and “‘The time had come to set out on his journey westward’: Solastalgic Modernism and the West in Irish Literature (1900-1950)” in A History of Irish Literature and the Environment edited by Malcolm Sen (Cambridge UP, forthcoming 2021).
791TF--- Theory in Fiction: Metabolics of the Book Jordy Rosenberg
In volume 3 of Capital, Marx uses the emerging concept of "metabolism" - borrowed from the organic chemist Justus von Liebig - to describe the crisis that capitalism introduces into the world, severing the link between sites of production and consumption and producing an "irreparable rift in the interdependent process of the social metabolism." In this class, we will build off, interrogate, expand and at times depart from Marx's concept of "metabolic rift" as a framework for understanding literary form and history, particularly that which is loosely grouped under the genres of autobiography, memoir, travel narrative, autofiction and autotheory. Spoiler alert: we will consider the possibility of autopoetic form as a fantasy about repair of the rift. Sessions will be arranged around giving students a foothold into 1) key debates and flashpoints in concepts of metabolism from the early modern period to the present 2) theories of literary form and embodiment 3) Social Reproduction Theory as a framework for thinking metabolism (i.e. the embodied life of household economy), resistance and revolutionary thought. Readings will be drawn from key texts of the early modern period, as well as contemporary authors such as Tithi Bhattacharya, Jules Gill-Peterson, Kadji Amin, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, C. Riley Snorton, Treva Ellison, Aimee Bahng, Mark Jerng, Sophie Lewis, Rosa Luxemburg, Fredric Jameson, Antonio Gramsci, Mariarosa Dalla Costa, Brenna Bhandar, Rafeef Ziadeh, John Guillory, and others
Jordy Rosenberg is a Professor at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and the author of Confessions of the Fox (Random House, 2018) and Critical Enthusiasm (Oxford University Press, 2011).
792C: Graduate Writing Workshop Mazen Naous
This is a writing workshop and a seminar 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, and the course will be tailored to the needs of each participant. We will discuss how to form healthy writing habits, and how to develop a community of fellow writers. A good portion of the class meetings will be devoted to actual writing and workshopping our current projects. In addition, we will use this time to discuss broader aspects of graduate study—working with an advisor, developing an identity as a researcher, and other professional matters. There will be formal and structured goals that vary from student to student (for instance, one student may have a completed rationale as their final goal, while another student may have an organized and annotated bibliography as a final goal). Students will determine their goals at the beginning of the semester.
Mazen Naous specializes in Arab American literature, Arabic literature, postcolonial studies, translation theory, and music and literature. He is currently writing a book provisionally titled The Musiqa of Arab American Literature. Naous is the author of a monograph titled Poetics of Visibility in the Contemporary Arab American Novel (2020) and editor of an interdisciplinary collection of essays titled Identity and Conflict in the Middle East and its Diasporic Cultures (2016).
796---Independent Study By arrangement
For students wishing to do special work not covered by courses listed in the curriculum. Each student when registering should submit a brief description of the semester’s work agreed on by the student and the instructor. This must be signed by both the instructor and the student. No instructor should do more than one such course. Forms for registering for this course are available from Wanda Bak in Bartlett 452. The Director of Graduate Studies must approve each proposal.
796A---Independent Study By arrangement
For students who are taking more than one independent study course per semester.
796W---INDEPENDENT AREA-1 By arrangement
796X----INDEPENDENT AREA-2 By arrangement
891CF---Caribbean Family Sagas Rachel Mordecai
Drawing on Prof Mordecai’s current research project, this seminar will investigate how Caribbean writers use and subvert the conventions of the family saga form: dramatizing anxieties of belonging among contemporary subjects (whose ability to claim the Caribbean as home-space may be disrupted by racial alienation, fractured genealogies, and the historical traumas of colonization and slavery), authorizing or critiquing the ideological foundations of modern Caribbean nation-states, revealing the political work done by representations of intimacy. Primary texts (not yet finalized) may include V.S. Reid’s New Day, Patrick Chamoiseau’s Texaco, Lawrence Scott’s Witchbroom, Dionne Brand’s At the Full and Change of the Moon, Yanique Lahens’ Moonbath, Maryse Condé’s Victoire, Edouard Glissant’s The Overseer’s Cabin, Rosario Ferré’s House on the Lagoon, and Maisy Card’s These Ghosts Are Family.
Required texts will be ordered through Amherst Books.
Rachel Mordecai’s teaching and research interests are focused on Caribbean and African Diaspora literature. Her book, Citizenship Under Pressure: The 1970s in Jamaican Literature and Culture, appeared from the University of the West Indies Press in 2014; she recently published “Reading the Jamaican 1970s as Political Thriller” in Small Axe 58 (March 2019). 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
891FD---Frederick Douglass’s 19th Century Nick Bromell
For some time, Frederick Douglass has been recognized as one of the most important American writers and thinkers of the 19th century. Today, in the context of Black Lives Matter and other struggles against racism, his life and his work have more relevance than ever. And yet, Douglass continues to be taught as if he were a marginal figure in a landscape dominated by the canonical writers of the “American Renaissance” -- Emerson, Dickinson, Whitman, Melville, and Hawthorne.
This seminar, by contrast, places Douglass – and slavery and anti-Black racism, and the struggle against these – at the center of the nineteenth century. Although we will read many of these more familiar authors, Douglass will be our focal point, and these other writers will be taken up mainly through the question of how they engaged (or failed to) with Douglass’s principal concerns: race, racism, the nature of “the human,” abolition, women’s rights, human dignity, and the political philosophy of democracy. Because abolition and women’s rights in the US were part of a larger, transatlantic movement of reform, we will frequently read our US texts in this wider context. The course will also introduce you to the field of political theory and to several archives of primary sources, in which you will be expected to do some original research.
In advance of taking the class, please read Douglass’s Narrative of the Life of a Slave. If all possible, try to read also his longer autobiography, My Bondage and My Freedom.
Nick Bromell has written extensively about nineteenth-century US literature in general and Fredrick Douglass in particular. His articles have appeared in, among other journals, American Literature, American Literary History, Critical Philosophy of Race, and Political Theory. He is the author most recently of The Powers of Dignity: The Black Political Philosophy of Frederick Douglass (Duke: 2021), and The Time is Always Now: Black Thought and the Transformation of U.S. Democracy (Oxford: 2013). He has recently co-edited The Norton Critical Edition of “My Bondage and My Freedom” (2021) and edited A Political Companion to W.E.B. Du Bois (Kentucky: 2018).
891G-Form & Theory of Fiction Mon 10:45am–1:15pm Noy Holland
Art in the Anthropocene
This course will traverse the territory between art and citizenship, and attempt humbly to ask questions about the role of the artist in the 21stcentury. How do we shape and sustain ourselves in a damaged and crumbling era, in the midst of the sixth extinction, in the face of the news of the lethal experiment we have been for decades conducting on the planet? What are the limits of compassion? What is the solace, if any, of beauty? What are the possibilities of action? Can art help us see beyond, and help others see beyond, the grief and loss that we inherit? The course will engage visual art, film, flash video, fiction, poetry, and non-fiction that bear news of the degradations of the natural world, and through gratitude, devotion, wandering awe, find cause for hope in the future. Please note that most readings will be book-length essays or collections of essays. The syllabus will include, but not be limited to, work by many of the following writers: Jesmyn Ward, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Fred Bodsworth, Amitav Ghosh, Elizabeth Kolbert, James Cone, Aldo Leopold, Joy Williams, Bill McKibben, John McPhee, Roy Scranton, Joanna Macy, Rebecca Solnit, Terry Tempest Williams, Naomi Klein, David Loy, Susanna Antonetta, Gary Snyder, Wendell Berry, Layli Long Soldier, Ming Holden, Melanie Rae Thon.
891RD---Refuge, Dwelling, Belonging Stephen Clingman
According to the UNHCR’s 2016 Global Trends report, by the end of 2015 there were 65.3 million displaced people across the globe; about half of the number of refugees were children. In the field of literary and cultural studies, a number of questions arise. Some involve representation in varied senses: how refugees are ‘represented’ and by whom; how the figure of the refugee is constructed in political and ideological language; how the ‘literary’ comports with the lives of actual refugees. There are questions around human rights, ranging from the relevance (or otherwise) of the literary in thinking through human rights, to the ambiguities of voicing and narrative as an element of those rights. Underlying these questions are others which have a long history in both the literary and philosophical domains, ranging from the nature of refuge itself, to the concept of hospitality, the alterity and claims of the ‘other’, the concepts of dwelling and belonging. All of these are inherently relational ideas, whether in regard to place, to time, to others, to the planet itself when climate change constitutes a whole new set of urgencies. This course will comprise a series of explorations in these various directions. Theory will come from figures such as Lukács, Adorno, Arendt, Agamben, Heidegger, Benjamin, Levinas, Derrida, Said. Fictional texts may go as far back as the Odyssey, but will certainly draw on contemporary writers such as Caryl Phillips, W. G. Sebald, Jenny Erpenbeck, Ali Smith, K. Sello Duiker, J. M. Coetzee, Hisham Matar, Amitav Ghosh, Kamila Shamsie, and/or films such as Nadine Labaki’s Capernaum and Ai Weiwei’s Human Flow. Books will be ordered from Amherst Books.
Stephen Clingman is the author of The Novels of Nadine Gordimer: History from the Inside, Bram Fischer: Afrikaner Revolutionary, The Grammar of Identity: Transnational Fiction and the Nature of the Boundary, and Birthmark, a memoir/autofiction. He has published widely on South African and other topics, and recent articles related to the course have focused on fugitive/narrative, the biofictive, and the question of dwelling.
891TT—Introduction to Rhetorical Theory 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. Books will be available through both e-campus and Amherst Books.
Possible books for Intro to Rhetorical Theory
The Rhetorical Tradition
Feminist Rhetorical Practices
Lynching: Violence, Rhetoric, and American Identity
Rhetorica in Motion: Feminist Methods and Methodologies
Counterstory: The Rhetoric and Writing of Critical Race Theory
Unruly Rhetorics: Protest, Persuasion, and Publics
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
Disabled Upon Arrival
Dr. 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 is a co-authored book with Dr. Rachel Riedner which examines how feminist rhetorical recovery projects aligned themselves with Post-World War II, liberal capitalist projects that seek to include and incorporate previously excluded others without attending to how these projects support nation-state power. The second book examines the rhetorical production of global girl’s empowerment rhetorics—tentatively called The Girl Affect. The 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.