Graduate Course Descriptions Fall 2011

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With the instructor’s permission, a limited number of undergraduates with a GPA of 3.5 or higher may
enroll in graduate courses, which have ENG-L (except L501 and L502), ENG-W or CMLT-C designations at the 500 and 600 level.

ENG-L 501 – Professional Scholarship in Literature ( 4 cr.) Instructor: Jake Mattox
Class Number 26305
T 5:30-8:00 P
combined with:

ENG-L 653 – American Literature 1800-1900 ( 4 cr.)
Class Number 29732

Topic: The “tornadoed Atlantic of my being”: Moby-Dick and the Study of American Culture
The discipline of American Studies has seen a variety of unique methodologies and approaches over the past several decades. From the cold-war paradigms of the 1950s and 1960s to the more recent “post-nationalist” approaches that insist upon analyzing the interrelationships among local, national, and global perspectives, from considerations of the deeply racialized texts and subtexts of American literature to the “myth and symbol” school of interpretation, scholars have used vastly differing approaches to analyze that enigmatic subject known as American culture. In this course, we will study and apply these different methodologies and approaches, and we will do so using very targeted specific case studies, most notably an extended and focused analysis of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, its extended cultural and historical context, and the subsequent critical reactions it engendered. We will thus gain a deeper understanding of the antebellum social, literary, and political context while we also test and apply differing approaches to the study of literature and culture

ENG-L 501 – Professional Scholarship in Literature ( 4 cr.) Instructor: Karen Gindele
Class Number 33389
R 5:30-8:00 P
combined with:

ENG-L 647 – Victorian Literature ( 4 cr.)
Class Number 33390

Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins were respectively mentor and protégé, collaborators, and friends, and while Collins is given credit for inventing the sensation novel, Dickens is often identified with this genre as well. Certainly they could each tell a good story with ample suspense and surprise about greed and corruption, swindlers, poseurs, concealed identities, scandals, and murders, and they were also sharp critics of their society but in different ways. One commonality was the condition of workers, and we will pay particular attention to the representation of work in Dickens’s last complete novel Our Mutual Friend (1864-65) and Collins’s masterpiece The Moonstone (1868) along with the standard and related current concerns of class, gender, race, and colonialism.
The novels provide a rich field for inquiry into literary subject and form and social context, so students will have a range of avenues in which to get their bearings in literary research and analysis. We will also read selections of representative works of literary and cultural theory drawn from Marxism, feminism, psychoanalysis, deconstruction, and postmodern theories of power.
Students will lead part of a class discussion on the reading for that day and will write two analytical papers, one on each novel, incorporating independent research. You will also write several short reflective papers on the theory readings and formulate potential arguments for a scholarly paper that would be suitable to develop in your longer papers.
Students entering the MA program should register for L501, a core required course, but others who have fulfilled this requirement should register for L647.

ENG-W 513 – Writing Poetry ( 4 cr.) Instructor: David Dodd Lee
Class Number 26189 M 5:30-8:00 P

This class will be a survey course of contemporary poetry, as well as a workshop. We will examine various narrative structures in an attempt to define the evolution of free verse and how various writers use language in order to subvert solipsism and/or as a sort of bludgeon against cultural sentimentality. We will also look at how various writers transcend the self by moving beyond simple reflections of reality without resorting to fixed forms or received ideas. Further, we will investigate through texts and your own writing how to allow the subconscious to flood the page and how to match your ideas and emotions to an appropriate narrative (or non-narrative) form. Students will write and revise poems of their own (app. 9 for undergrads, 11 for grad students) in an effort to create a thread of coherence that runs through not only single pieces but a small body
of work. Students will also keep a reader response journal, write experimental poems based on in-class exercises, and write one (grad students two) informal two page paper on one of our assigned poets
(there will be several texts).

Non-MLS students interested in these topics should consult with their advisors about whether the course is appropriate for them. They will also need permission from MLS Director Joe Chaney before they can enroll in the course.

LBST-D 501 – Humanities Seminar (3 CR)
Class Number 26262 W 5:30-8:00 P Instructor: Rebecca Brittenham
Topic: What’s for Dinner?: The Politics and Poetics of Food

The rich literature on food demonstrates the power of a simple dinner menu to provoke passionate attachments and visceral aversions. Food evokes memories, shapes human interactions, affects individual identity, and impacts the structure and welfare of entire societies. Beginning with Brillat-Savarin’s famous dictum, “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are” and de Tocqueville’s assessment of American culture based on his experience of its cuisine—“the vegetables and fish before the meat, the oysters for dessert.  In a word, complete barbarism”—we will examine the ways in which food speaks to every aspect of our culture. We will use the literature of food to trace family heritages and family dynamics, to explore the jobs people do or refuse to do, to examine individual goals and values, and to give us a perspective on global politics and economics. Students will build from a range of theoretical, literary, and non-literary sources to write about food in a range of genres, from in-depth intellectual papers to experimental pieces such as restaurant reviews, food blogs, and analyses of family recipes.