Fall 2014 Graduate Course Listings

Fall 2014 Graduate Course Listings

Fall 2014 Graduate Course Listings

For Summer 2014 course listings, look here.

Reminder about Registration Procedures:

Please keep in mind that we will register you in the order in which you submit your course requests to us via the forthcoming Survey Monkey link. Please complete the survey as soon as possible, as we will not register you unless or until you have done so.

If you need advising about your course choices or program requirements, stop by 625 Sprau.

ENGL 5300: Medieval Literature ENGL 5740: Grammar in Teaching Writing
ENGL 5320: English Renaissance Literature ENGL 6100: Darwin and the Victorian Novel
ENGL 5340: Restoration and 18th-Century Literature ENGL 6220: Anglo-American Modernist Poetry
ENGL 5380: Modern Literature ENGL 6660: Graduate Writing Workshop--Fiction
ENGL 5660: Creative Writing Workshop--Fiction ENGL 6660: Graduate Writing Workshop--Poetry
ENGL 5670: Creative Writing Workshop--Poetry ENGL 6690: Methods of Teaching College Writing
ENGL 5680: Creative Writing Workshop--Playwriting ENGL 6760: Old English
ENGL 5700: Creative Writing Workshop--Creative Non-Fiction  


English 5300: Medieval Literature

CRN: 44898
Wednesdays, 4:00—6:20
Dr. Jana Schulman
Fulfills: Ph.D. distribution requirement for medieval literature; M.A.-level literature elective

In this survey of medieval literature in translation, we will examine the significance of transvestitism or cross-dressing. Beginning with Statius's unfinished work, the Achilleid, which describes Achilles dressed as a girl and learning what it means to be a girl or act like a girl (so as not to be discovered), we will read several Old English saints' lives where the saint dresses as a man to practice Christian behavior and live a Christian life; we will read Viglundar saga, where the heroine dresses up as a man to thwart the men who wish to rape her; and we will read the Roman de Silence, where Silence, born female, is raised male. In addition to these primary texts, we will read various scholarly works on cross-dressing, sexuality, and transvestitism. Students will write two papers, one a close reading and the other a research-driven one. NB: This is a preliminary list of texts.


English 5320: English Renaissance Literature

CRN: 45648
Fridays, 2:00—4:30
Dr. Elizabeth Bradburn
Fulfills: Ph.D. distribution requirement for Renaissance Literature; M.A.-level literature elective

This course surveys English Renaissance literature from Utopia to Paradise Lost, with an emphasis on poetics. Sidney’s Defence of Poesy will serve as a touchstone text. Other readings will include parts of Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, lyric poetry by Wyatt, Donne, Herbert, Herrick and Marvell, drama by Ben Jonson and possibly others, and critical or theoretical essays. I will assume that students have previously studied at least one or two Shakespeare plays. Coursework includes a long, researched seminar paper, taught with an emphasis on the writing process. We will read the primary texts in a modern spelling edition, but students should plan to spend at least 6 hours per week reading and preparing for class. The reading load will be lighter while the class is working on the seminar papers.


English 5340: Restoration and 18th-Century Literature

“Gender Play/Gender Panic”* in Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture
CRN: 45663
Mondays, 4:00—6:20
Dr. Cynthia Klekar
Fulfills: Ph.D.-level distribution requirement for Restoration & 18th C; MA-level literature elective

This course will examine eighteenth-century British literature and culture in the context of the “sex/gender” system that emerged during the period. Eighteenth-century England played a crucial role in shaping our modern conceptions of gender. Marked in its early decades by a climate of “gender play”—the celebration of and experimentation with notions of femininity and masculinity—the period experienced a dramatic shift in the last two decades to one of “gender panic”—an anxiety that challenged gender transgressions and forced are definition of gender as fixed and limited. Examining this revision of gender will relocate the origins of our modern notions of gender difference from the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries to the eighteenth century.

Masqueraders, Amazons, female soldiers, pirates, fops, and cross dressers will all appear in our pages as we trace the shifting notions of self and identity that characterize the literature. We will begin with late seventeenth-century sex comedies and the imaginative spaces of sex and gender play. We will then read drama, novels, and poetry from early and mid eighteenth-century writers who explore and exploit cross dressing—through the theatrical practice of the “breeches parts,” narrative technique, and poetic persona. Near the end of the semester we will focus on the last two decades of the period. Paying close attention to the wide-ranging social, cultural, and political tensions of the time, we will discuss how the limits of identity were redefined. At the same time, we will encounter the conditions that established gender as the rigid category that would take cultural root in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

In addition to the important literary texts of the period, we will read work in literary theory and social history. Students will give an in-class presentation (multimedia presentations are welcome) and write a number of short assignments that will contribute to a final seminar paper. The final paper will require independent research. The paper may take a multidisciplinary approach and may make connections between eighteenth-century literature and modern literature and/or theories of sex and gender.

Our primary readings may include William Wycherley; John Wilmot, earl of Rochester; Aphra Behn; Daniel Defoe; Bernard Mandeville; Eliza Haywood; Jonathan Swift; Alexander Pope; Lady Mary Wortley Montagu; John Cleland; Maria Edgeworth; Mary Wollstonecraft; Hannah More; anonymous tracts; journal and diaries; and biographies.

*Wahrman, Dror. The Making of the Modern Self: Identity and Culture in Eighteenth-Century England. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004.


English 5380: Modern Literature

CRN: 45647
Thursdays, 6:30—9:00
Dr. Todd Kuchta
Fulfills: Ph.D. distribution requirement for Modern British literature; M.A.-level literature elective

Literature of the early twentieth century is usually dubbed “modern” or "modernist," adjectives that have come to mean brashly experimental, highly self-reflexive, and notoriously complex. This course will examine the range of stylistic innovations heralded by modern writers, considering how their writing both reflects and responds to the dramatic cultural and historical changes of the early twentieth century. While we will focus on writers from the British canon, they represent a broad range of contexts. As critic Terry Eagleton once put it, “the seven most significant writers of twentieth-century English literature have been a Pole, three Americans, two Irishmen and an Englishman.” We will focus on most of these authors—Polish-born Joseph Conrad, American expat T.S. Eliot, Irishmen James Joyce and W.B. Yeats, and Englishman E.M. Forster. We will also consider works by Rebecca West, Virginia Woolf, and Samuel Beckett. Students will write regular brief responses, 1-2 essays, take a final exam, and be expected to participate actively and regularly.  


English 5660: Creative Writing Workshop—Fiction

CRN: 41266
Fridays, 2:00—4:30
Professor Thisbe Nissen
Fulfills: Creative Writing Ph.D. or M.F.A. workshop requirement

This course focuses on students’ original short fiction, and on close reading of published work in the genre. Students train to be close readers, careful writers, and attentive editors. Our goal will be effective creative and critical articulation: thoughtful and artful production and critique. This course involves substantial amounts of reading and writing, both critical and creative.


English 5670: Creative Writing Workshop—Poetry

CRN: 43729
Mondays, 6:30—9:00
Dr. Nancy Eimers
Creative Writing Ph.D. or M.F.A. workshop requirement

Art, says poet Carl Phillips, “is its own signature--irreplicable, strange, never seen before, not seeable again elsewhere in the future.” In this advanced poetry writing workshop, we will spend the semester exploring how, in poetry, this might be true. We’ll examine the “signatures” of contemporary poets by reading three contemporary collections, and each week we will consider the individual signatures of class members by workshopping class poems.


English 5680: Creative Writing Workshop—Playwriting

CRN: 43730
Mondays, 6:30—9:00
Dr. Steve Feffer
Creative Writing Ph.D. or M.F.A. workshop requirement

This is a workshop in the writing, critical reading and presentation of original drama. We will spend most of our time in class on the presenting and workshopping of your work. However, we will also have a few classes where a portion of the session will be devoted to playwriting exercises that will help you develop your existing work, start something new, or to integrate into your own writing process. Additionally, we will have a couple of days of "ice breaking" and additional play development work. Most weeks you will be assigned readings in contemporary drama for consideration of its structure, style, and theatricality, as well as other elements. The emphasis in the class will be the process by which your playwriting ultimately is about writing theatre. To this end: We will work with actors and directors who will assist you with the readings, staged readings or productions of your work--as elaborate or basic as you need--as well as taking part in the discussion of it in order to introduce you to the process by which through performance, drama emerges as theatre.


English 5700: Creative Writing Workshop—Creative Non-Fiction

CRN: 45651
Mondays, 6:30—9:00
Professor Richard Katrovas
Creative Writing Ph.D. or M.F.A. workshop requirement

See course catalog or contact instructor.


English 5740: Grammar in Teaching Writing

CRN: 45650
Thursdays, 6:30—9:00
Dr. Karen Vocke
Ph.D. prerequisite requirement for English language course; M.A.-level elective

English teachers have traditionally been thought of as grammar police, ready to fine those who break the grammar "laws."  The truth is that many teachers are actually unsure about  how to teach it.  This course won't provide quick and easy answers, but we will consider how grammar has been taught historically and examine research studies that have influenced the teaching of writing and grammar. We will explore a range of grammar-related classroom strategies and structures that can support and strengthen student writing. For more information, contact Dr. Karen Vocke, karen.vocke@wmich.edu.


English 6100: Darwin and the Victorian Novel

CRN: 44818
Tuesdays, 4:00—6:20
Dr. Jil Larson
Ph.D. distribution requirement for Victorian Literature; M.A.-level literature elective

See course catalog or contact instructor.


English 6220: Anglo-American Modernist Poetry

CRN: 45653
Wednesdays, 6:30—9:00
Dr. Scott Slawinski
Ph.D. distribution requirement for EITHER American Literature II OR Modern British Literature; M.A.-level literature elective

black and white photo of a man in a suitThis class will study Anglo-American Modernist poetry from the beginning to the middle of the twentieth century. Students will be assigned readings in the major poets of the era from Britain and America and examine the various sub-movements within Modernism (e.g., Imagism, Vorticism). We will also investigate concurrent aesthetic movements in other arts (e.g., music, architecture, sculpture) and the various historical currents and events informing poetic creation (e.g., the New Negro, the New Woman, World War I, salons, small presses, “Little” Magazines). Attention will be paid to form and technique as well as content. At the end of the course, students ought to be able to identify the era’s major and minor authors, articulate significant aspects of the modernist aesthetic, consider the intersection of authorship with other arts, think critically about diversity and poetic creation, and discuss various trends in literary criticism. Course readings will be balanced as nearly as possible between British and American poets, with readings in all the era’s major names. Assignments will likely include two papers (one shorter,Elderly lady in a formal (business) dress; black and white image one seminar length) and a presentation. Graduate students can take the course to meet either the Modern British or the American II requirement, with the seminar paper determining the distribution credit.

(Likely) Text: The Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry, Volume 1: Modern Poetry (some additional readings will be available via e-learning)

(Likely) Authors: Hardy, Hopkins, Dickinson, Whitman, Frost, Pound, Eliot, Yeats, Auden, Stevens, Williams, Moore, cummings, L. Hughes (and other Harlem poets), A. Lowell, H.D., the poets of WWI.


English 6660: Graduate Writing Workshop—Fiction

CRN: 42770
Wednesdays, 4:00—6:20
Professor Thisbe Nissen
M.F.A. or Ph.D. in Creative Writing Forms requirement

This is a traditional fiction workshop in which students put up at least two pieces each to be workshopped during the semester. Class members are responsible for reading weekly workshop stories, making detailed editorial line notes for the author, and writing a thoughtful and substantive end note. We learn better to edit ourselves by carefully and conscientiously editing others. Workshop stories are the texts from which broader conversations on craft and technique will spring. Discussion of readings in contemporary published short fiction will compliment workshop discussions.


English 6660: Graduate Writing Workshop—Poetry

CRN: 41459
Wednesdays, 4:00—6:20
Dr. William Olsen
Ph.D. or M.A.-level CW workshop requirement

This class involves extensive criticism of student poems, in a traditional workshop environment. The workshop will also serve as a forum for discussions of aesthetics. Students may be encouraged to work with models, and the class will involve the reading and discussion of at least three books of contemporary poetry.


English 6690: Methods of Teaching College Writing

CRN: 42519
Thursdays, 4:00—6:20
Dr. Staci Perryman-Clark
Teaching component for Ph.D. and M.A. students; Specialization requirement for English Ed Ph.D. students

Participants in this course will learn and share strategies for teaching first-year composition. We will consider a range of theoretical frameworks and practical strategies for college composition courses. Writing and research for this course will center on building a personal teaching philosophy and a set of usable strategies and plans for future teaching situations.

Course activities and projects will include discussion presentations, classroom observation reflections, assessment of student papers, a new course design, and a teaching portfolio. Instructors who are teaching college-level writing are the primary audience for this course.


English 6760: Old English

CRN: 45654
Mondays, 6:30—9:00
Dr. Paul Johnston
Ph.D. English Language requirement; M.A.-level elective

See course catalog or contact instructor.



Department of English
6th floor Sprau Tower
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5331 USA
(269) 387-2572 | (269) 387-2562 Fax