|5220: Studies in American Literature|
|5320: English Renaissance Literature|
|5360: Romantic Literature|
|5550: Major Writers-Milton||6150: Literary Criticism|
|5550: Major Authors-Eliot and Hardy|
|5660: Creative Writing Workshop– Playwriting|
|5660: Creative Writing Workshop– Poetry||6660: Graduate Writing Workshop–Poetry|
|5660: Creative Writing Workshop– Fiction||6660: Graduate Writing Workshop–Fiction|
|5740: Grammar in Teaching Writing||6790: Studies in Composition Theory|
|5820: Studies in Children’s Literature||6900: Scholarship and Writing in the Profession|
|6910: Research and Scholarship in English Education|
English 5220: Studies in American Literature
American Literature and Material Culture
Thursdays, 6:30 - 9:00; Brown 2048
Dr. Katherine Joslin
Fulfills: Ph.D. distribution requirement for American literature II; M.A.-level literature elective
This is a course in American fiction at the turn into the twentieth century with an emphasis on material culture. Often we view realist and naturalist novels with human culture in mind, considering such issues as race, ethnicity, social class, or gender. But in this class we will focus our attention on the objects that are being invented, produced, manufactured and distributed in the newly industrial era when ‘things’ came to define the culture of the United States. We continue to live in a culture based on the consumption of goods and the idea of ownership. And most of us make a fetish of the objects we own. In this class, we will discuss the nature of the things we desire and consider how things may come to own us.
The emphasis on material culture promises to give us a fresh way to literature. As background we will discuss chapters from such late nineteenth-century studies as Thorstein Veblen’s Theory of the Leisure Class and Jane Addams’s Spirit of Youth and the City Streets, and we will look, as well, at twenty-first century ‘thing theory’ including Bill Brown’s book, A Sense of Things. Over the semester, we will read short stories and novels by such writers as Mark Twain, Henry James, William Dean Howells, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Edith Wharton, Willa Cather, Theodore Dreiser, Frank Norris, and Upton Sinclair. The course will require two papers and a final and will rely on your careful preparation for class discussion.
English 5320: English Renaissance Literature
Wednesdays, 4:00 - 6:20; Brown 3048
Dr. Margaret Dupuis
Fulfills: Ph.D. distribution requirement for Renaissance Literature; M.A.-level literature elective
This course takes a look at various genres of writing from a 150-year period (1516-1666), including literary and non-literary texts (a distinction that would have been meaningless at the time). These works reflect the social and religious upheaval of the period. Beginning with Sir Thomas More’s Utopia and continuing with works by Sidney, Spenser, Shakespeare, Jonson, Donne, and Milton (among others), this course examines writing practices of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. As we read we will pay close attention to the metaphors that created and reflected the cultural transformations that took England from being a Catholic nation under Henry VIII through the Protestant reformation and civil war to the reign of the Stuart king, Charles II.
This new incarnation of the department’s core Romanticism course spans the broad range of rich literary offerings produced in Britain from approximately 1780-1830 and will feature the use of electronic resources while exploring non-traditional approaches to the teaching of a traditional literary period. We will encounter a broad survey of widely diverse readings from across the genres of British Romanticism—poetry, prose fiction, essays, life-writing, and the visual art created to illustrate some of these literary texts—representing the contributions of both canonical and non-canonical figures. All of the "Big 6" male poets will be present (Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, and Keats) as well as the essential voices of women writers such as Charlotte Smith, Mary Wollstonecraft, Hannah More, Helen Maria Williams, Mary Robinson, Anna Laetitia Barbauld, Maria Edgeworth, Mary Tighe, Sydney Owenson, Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, and Felicia Hemans. For graduate students considering this exam area, advanced undergraduates considering graduate school, and anyone wishing to be prepared for teaching Romantic literature, this course will provide a thorough survey of material essential to the field in the 21st century.
During the second half of the semester participants will work with a new experimental "virtual world" (currently in its 2nd stage of development) that promises to expand vastly the possibilities of both creative and critical engagement with an early 19th-century "national tale," Sydney Owenson’s /The Wild Irish Girl/. This electronic media resource, /Inismore/, will complement our reading of the novel by bringing together a host of interdisciplinary contextual materials to enrich our understanding of this challenging and important work. Additional virtual resources we are likely to utilize include the Blake hypertext archive, the Romantic Circles hypertext edition of the /Keepsake for 1829/, and Laura Mandell's Poetess Archive. For those who are still less tech-savvy, you can rest assured that our primary texts will be available in traditional print form, most of them included in the anthology which will serve as our core text.
This 5000-level course will be conducted seminar-style, which means that the emphasis will be on shared class discussion and other forms of collaborative learning, with brief supplementary mini-lectures introduced when necessary. Students will be expected to make at least one presentation during the course of the semester (including a written as well as an oral component), to write at least one short response paper and one longer final essay, and to contribute actively to class activities every week without exception.
This intensive study of Milton’s works in poetry and prose will give students a chance to learn about the historical development of authorship as a concept; the intellectual heritage of the Renaissance and the Reformation; European thought on the verge of the Enlightenment; literary history and genre theory; the background of American literature and early American Protestant culture; the relationship between literature and politics; the history of individuality; and poetic technique. The Riverside Milton will be our textbook, but most readings will also be available online. Course requirements include weekly response essays, an oral presentation, and final research paper.
This course offers you the opportunity for in-depth study of two important and fascinating Victorian novelists. We will begin by reading several novels by George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), along with biographical and critical material that will help us understand her writing within an historical and cultural context. Informed of this context and its developments by the late-Victorian period when Thomas Hardy began publishing his fiction, we will turn to Hardy’s novels (with some attention to his short stories and poetry as well). Besides considering the career and preoccupations (both aesthetic and thematic) of each writer, we will discuss Eliot and Hardy in relation to one another and to Victorian fiction more broadly. Questions about gender, evolutionary theory, pressures of social and economic change, ethics, and narrative method will shape as our discussion as will the questions and interests of the class participants.
“The theatre. The theatre. What book of rules says the theatre exists only within some ugly buildings crowded into one square mile of New York City? Or London? Or Paris? Or Vienna? You want to know what theatre is? A flea circus. Also opera, also rodeos, carnivals, ballets, Indian tribal dances, Punch and Judy shows, a one-man band—all theatre. Wherever there’s magic in the air and make-believe, there’s theatre… Donald Duck, Ibsen, the Lone Ranger, Sarah Bernhardt, Lunt and Fontaine, Betty Grable, Rex the Wonder Horse, Eleanora Duse—all theatre. You don’t understand them all. You don’t like them all. Why should you? The theatre’s for everybody; you’re included, but not exclusively. So don’t approve or disapprove. It may not be your theatre. But it’s theatre for somebody, somewhere.”
The above speech comes from the 1950 film All About Eve, in which the actor Gary Merrill speaks these lines to an aspiring actress, though he could very well be speaking to those of you considering English 5660.
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 own 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 play development work. 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.
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.
This course will be run as an advanced workshop in writing short stories. Each student will present three short stories in class. Literary fiction only, no genre work, i.e., science fiction, fantasy, detective fiction, horror, romance, young adult fiction, children's literature, etc. Our aim will be to transcend formulas and strive for invention in narrative, language, and structure.
English 5740: Grammar in Teaching Writing
Tuesdays, 6:00 - 9:30; Brown 3037
Dr. Ellen Brinkley
Fulfills: Ph.D. prerequisite requirement for English language course; fulfills M.A. in English with an emphasis in teaching language requirement; M.A.-level elective
English teachers have traditionally been thought of as grammar police, ready to fine those who break the grammar “laws.” But many English language arts teachers today have had little instruction in grammar, and they are unsure about whether or how to teach it. This course will not provide quick and easy answers, but we will consider grammatical issues as they are viewed by the public and within the profession. We will consider how grammar has been taught historically and examine key research studies that have influenced the teaching of writing and grammar. We will examine NCTE statements and state mandates (MEAP and Michigan English Language Arts Content Standards and Expectations) and explore a range of grammar-related classroom strategies and structures that can support and strengthen student writing. We will learn from each other, and produce position papers, curricular plans, and/or articles suitable for publishing. For more information, contact Dr. Ellen Brinkley (387-2581, firstname.lastname@example.org).
English 5820: Studies in Children’s Literature
Folklore and Tales in Children’s Literature
Mondays, 4:00 - 6:20; Brown 3017
Dr. Judith Rypma
Fulfills: Ph.D. and M.A. in English with an emphasis in teaching requirement for Children’s Literature
This course examines the origins and socio-cultural development of folktales, their evolving roles in youth literature and culture, and scholarly methods of folkloric studies. We will also explore not only oral tradition and its contemporary manifestations, but theoretical approaches to folktales (Marxist, Feminist, Archetypal, Psychoanalytical, etc.). Readings will include numerous anthology and picture book versions of tales from around the world, as well as novels such as Deerskin, Beast, The Princess and the Hound, Magic Circle,Enchantment, Straw Into Gold, Princess Ben, etc.
English 5970: Studies in English
Medieval Pulp Fiction
Tuesdays, 4:00 - 6:20; Brown 3048
Dr. Eve Salisbury
Fulfills: Ph.D. distribution requirement for British Literature before 1500; M.A.-level literature elective
“Pulp fiction” (not the movie!) is typically used to define a genre of creative writing produced in the 1930s and 40s on inexpensive “pulp” paper and marketed to an American audience eager for science fiction fantasy and luridly wrought, escapist action-adventure. In this course we study some of the “pulp fiction” of the Middle Ages, creative work produced on vellum or parchment (okay, not so cheap) and “marketed” to an audience eager to read about exotic other worlds, illicit and occasionally alien sexual encounters, magical transformations, quests for meaningful objects, menacing villains and monsters, and heroic rescues of one sort or another. Works studied here include the Roman de la Rose,Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart, Perceval, Tristan, the Breton lais in Middle English, the romances of Sir Gawain, and other tales of daring-do, all of which point to a distinctively vivid medieval imagination.
English 5970: Studies in English
Language, Gender, and Culture
Tuesdays, 4:00 - 6:20; Brown 3048
Dr. Lisa Minnick
Fulfills: Ph.D. requirement for English Language or Linguistics Course; M.A.-level elective
This course explores historical and contemporary theories about the interactions among language, gender, sexuality, and culture, while considering methods used to explore these relationships and the politics and ideologies that influence academic as well as popular thinking about them.
We are living through a ‘golden age’ of comics and graphic novel production. Works by creators such as Jeff Smith (Bone) and Art Spiegelman (Maus) now adorn museum walls, and the graphic novel sections of Barnes and Noble and Schulers Books are filled with avid readers. Macbeth and Beowulf have been rendered into graphic novel form; non-fiction texts, including the 9-11 Commission Report, have enlivened political debate. The challenge for scholars of traditional, prose-based literature involves gaining an understanding of the medium, learning the technical vocabulary for analyzing it (for instance, the terms ‘comics,’ ‘graphic novels,’ ‘graphic fiction,’ ‘manga,’ and ‘sequential art’ co-exist uncomfortably in scholarly discourse), and developing a set of interpretative stances that take into account the interplay of text/image.
We’ll begin the semester with a unit on the history of the comics in the U.S., Europe, and Japan, culminating in an examination of Michael Chabon’s work of fiction about a comic book composition team, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, followed up by The Amazing Adventures of The Escapist – the comic book referenced in the prose text.
Next, we’ll study visual theory in greater depth, using Carroll and Tenniel’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass and Talbot’s Alice in Sunderland as primary texts upon which to practice. Finally, we’ll embark upon a thematic survey of many of the key author/illustrators of contemporary graphic fiction.
Assignments will include a mid-term, a final, a presentation, and a semester paper. The reading load will be significant, and – sadly – the cost of texts will be greater than they would be in a traditional prose-based course. Here is a tentative list of required texts (in addition to the ones mentioned above):
Primary –Fun Home by Bechdel; Ghost World by Clowes; Pyongyang by Delisle; A Contract With God by Eisner; The Sandman, Vol.1 by Gaiman, et al; Music for Mechanics (L& R, Book 1) by the Hernandez Bros.;Incognegro by Johnson & Pleece; Chiggers by Larson; The CompletePersepolis by Satrapi; Out From Boneville by Smith;Maus I and II by Spiegelman; Blankets by Thompson; Jimmy Corrigan by Ware; American Born Chinese by Yang.
Secondary –Picture This by Bang; The Ten-Cent Plague by Hajdu; Understanding Comics by McCloud; Faster Than a Speeding Bullet: The Rise of Graphic Novels by Weiner, et al.Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work and What They Meanby Wolk.
This class will concentrate on examples of long poems that FOLLOW modernists long poems like The Wasteland or The Cantos. We’ll turn instead to poems less overtly concerned with questions of traditional inheritance and more concerned with the richness of the American experience, internal or external, and with how to create forms elastic enough to accommodate that experience and yet lend it even at its most accelerated some artistic imperishability. We will begin by looking at Song Of Myself (the 1856 edition) and William Carlos William’s Spring And All as prototypes for an indeterministic book-length poem: we will also look at John Berryman’s Homage to Mistress Bradstreet; John Asbhery’s Self Portrait in a Convex Mirror; Lynn Hejinian’s My Life; long poems by Norman Dubie; James McMichael’s Capacity, Susan Mitchell’s Eroticon, Cole Swenson’s The Glass Age, and a few others.
Requirements: class participation, one presentation and long paper on one long poem covered in class or approved by the instructor: brief written responses to readings.
English 6100: Seminar
Monstrosity in Anglo-Saxon Literature
Tuesdays, 6:30 – 9:15
TBA Dr. Jana Schulman
Fulfills: Ph.D. distribution requirement for British Literature before 1500; M.A.-level literature elective
PREREQUISITE: ONE SEMESTER OF OLD ENGLISH
Specializing in the post-1960s rise of Feminism, Gender, and Queer Theories, this course will begin by (re-)familiarizing seminar participants with foundations of Literary Criticism & Theory. Hence, students will study critical schools, key figures, and important concepts in theory via critical application of those schools, figures and concepts in pieces of feminist criticism. But the bulk of the course will feature readings of seminal whole texts in Gender and Queer Theory with the ultimate aims of assessing the political and social efficacy of the various formulations and of applying what we’ve learned to extended critical analyses of literature or culture in seminar projects. Not for the faint of heart, but also essential, this course will augment students’ analytical and interpretive skills and fully acquaint them with discourses necessary for further work, study, and employment in literary professions. In addition to the seminar paper, students will write critical reaction papers to each major text, lead the class on discussion of one critical work, and share responsibility for the intellectual environment of the collective. A prior introduction to literary criticism & theory would be helpful, but is not necessary; the initial discourse-level for the seminar will be determined based upon relative preparation of participants and lecture-based introduction of figures, concepts, and terms will feature early in the semester.
Cross-listed with Gender & Women’s Studies. Optional texts indicated by (opt.).
AUTHOR TITLE PUBLISHER ISBN
Butler , Judith (opt.) Bodies that Matter Routledge 0415903661
Butler , Judith (opt.) Gender Trouble Routledge 0415900433
Connell, R.W. Masculinities U of CA Press 0520246985
Firestone, Shulamith The Dialectic of Sex Farrar 0374527873
Foucault, Michel The History of Sexuality, Vintage 0679724698
vol. 1, Introduction
Halberstam, Judith (opt.) Female Masculinity Duke 0822322439
Halley, Janet Split Decisions Princeton 0691127379
Lacan, Jacques Feminine Sexuality Norton 0393302113
Macey, David (opt.) Penguin Dictionary of Penguin 0140513698 Critical Theory
Makaryk, Irena, ed.(opt.) Encyclopedia of Toronto 080206860X
Contemporary Literary Theory
Mitchell, Juliet Psychoanalysis & Feminism Basic Books 0465046088
Moi, Toril Sexual/Textual Politics Routledge 0415029740
Sedgwick, Eve K. (opt.) Between Men Columbia 0231082738
Sedgwick, Eve K. Epistemology of the Closet U of CA Press 0520078748
Sullivan, Nikki A Critical Introduction to NYU Press 0814798411
Wittig, Monique The Straight Mind & Other Beacon Press 0807079171
English 6220: Studies in American Literature - Inventing the Southern Self
Mondays, 4:00 - 6:20
Brown 3048 Dr. Nicolas Witschi
Fulfills: Ph.D. distribution requirement for American literature II; M.A.-level literature elective
With the rise of cultural nationalism at the start of the 20 th century, the idea that a specific region could fill in for the nation as a whole began to gain tremendous power. With respect to the literary South, still recovering from post-Reconstruction nostalgia for the so-called “Lost Cause,” the appeal of a nationally relevant regional culture was perhaps especially important. Spurred by racial and class tensions and by a form of criticism perhaps best exemplified by H . L. Mencken’s caustic “The Sahara of the Bozart,” many writers from and of the South sought to refashion both their legacies and their identities in a number of compelling modes. Of course, to speak of a single “southern self” is to miss the variegated, often contradictory, and always compelling ways of formulating the range of identities that emerge as the century develops. In this seminar we will track some of those ideas and expressions as they seek to resolve ongoing tensions in the relationships between the past to the future; between a southern-styled sense of identity and that coming down (a la Mencken, et al.) from the North; between different racial, ethnic, and class groups. This seminar began as a collaborative engagement between a group of students and an instructor, and the goal is still very much one of collaboration. Although we expect to cover (and discover) texts by such writers as Mitchell, Faulkner, Wolfe, Glasgow, Toomer, Hurston, O’Connor, Welty, and company, we also expect all seminar members to contribute collaboratively to the theoretical, historical, and critical understanding of the questions raised. Neil Young or Lynyrd Skynyrd? Let’s talk about it.
English 6220: Studies in American Literature
Nineteenth-Century American Religious Texts
Thursdays, 4:00 - 6:20; Brown 3209
Dr. John Saillant
Fulfills: Ph.D. distribution requirement for American literature I; M.A.-level literature elective
This course covers nineteenth-century American religious history from the Second Great Awakening to the Social Gospel. Topics along the way include African American religion, reform, transcendentalism, and the Civil War. Students will read a combination of primary documents and secondary works. A class presentation and final essay are required. This course will suit any graduate student in literature, history, or religious studies interested in the nineteenth century.
Muriel Rukeyser wrote that "All things change in time; some are made of change itself, and the poem is of these. It is not an object; the poem is a process." Ideally, our workshop will be a place to consider the poem as it is poised between what was intended and what might possibly be. Our task as a workshop will be to help instigate that change, or help the writer to imagine her/his way to the poem's next, ever more crucial version.
Check back for updated information or contact course instructor.
English 6790 offers you the opportunity to broaden your teaching repertoire and deepen your knowledge of theory and research in rhetoric and writing studies. Although professional (or technical) writing is sometimes mistakenly construed as the instrumental writing that technology geeks or vocational-tech students do, professional and technical genres are, in actuality, ubiquitous in everyday life. These genres constitute the major way in which writers engage in activities of their disciplines; the rhetorical thinking central to professional and technical writing is also highly relevant to most of the communication tasks our students currently—or will eventually—undertake.
In English 6790, you will explore the social and cultural importance of professional writing genres, and you will be introduced to a range of approaches and practices for teaching a professional writing course, including ways to integrate professional writing strategies into assignments for other types of courses you may teach. You will also have the chance to investigate teaching strategies relating to such topics as audience and context, media (for example, print vs. digital documents), visual communication (integration of print and visual elements; document design), and ethics.
I am working with publishers to obtain for you complimentary copies of several professional writing textbooks. These texts, plus a course pack of articles and your classroom research, will support our study of pedagogic approaches. Major course projects will include responses to readings, creation of a course syllabus and materials, and classroom research. You will have the opportunity to tailor these projects to an institutional setting—secondary schools, community colleges, universities—and a student demographic of greatest interest to you.
This course is the culminating requirement for the M.A. in English. In the class, we will analyze and evaluate journals and articles in areas relevant to your research topic, revise and edit a scholarly paper, and prepare an oral presentation for the Master’s Colloquium. By engaging in these activities, you will have the opportunity to explore your research interests by engaging more deeply with a project begun in one of your other courses. You will also have the opportunity to develop your understanding of scholarly discourse and the publication process. Perhaps most important, you will have a chance to work on scholarly writing in a supportive environment aimed at advancing your rhetorical savvy as a communicator within a community of practice of your choice. Graded on a credit/no credit basis. Prerequisites: English 6300 and prior completion of at least 21 hours of credit toward the Master of Arts in English.
English 6910: Research and Scholarship in English Education
Mondays, 6:30 - 9:00; Brown 3037
Dr. Allen Webb
Fulfills: Ph.D. English Education and M.A. in English with an emphasis in teaching requirement
English 6910 is a perfect course for any English department graduate student wanting to think carefully about their own teaching and to consider research, writing and publishing about the classes that they teach. It is a required gateway course for students focusing on English education.
The emphasis in the class will be on how to engage in observation and research on your students and your own teaching. The class will involve significant freedom for teachers to examine their approach or approaches to teaching composition, creative writing, literature, culture, the use of technology, and any and all aspects of English. We will study the process of classroom research, look at outstanding examples of published classroom research, engage in significant conversation about our own teaching, and design qualitative research projects, usually focused on classes that the students in the course themselves are currently teaching. We will address how to write up such observations and present them at professional conferences and publish articles about our teaching in journals for secondary and college English teachers.If you have questions, don't hesitate to contact Allen.Webb@wmich.edu.