Spring Graduate Seminars, 2021

ENG 620: Studies in Renaissance Literature

Dr. Kaara Peterson Tuesday 1:15 - 4:05 p.m. synchronous

Why are Hamlet and Ophelia such compelling subjects for scholars, writers, playwrights, and artists? Why is Hamlet so interesting to psychoanalytic critics? Is Ophelia simply a screen upon which popular culture and feminism refract their concerns and interests? Taking up two of the most recognizable characters to transcend their origins in the Western canon, our course will first re-embed Hamlet and Ophelia within the different printed Quarto/Folio versions of Hamlet as well as the original source materials that inspired Shakespeare’s creation of his characters: Saxo Grammaticus’ Historiae Danicae and Amleth; Belleforest’s Hamblet; and Senecan revenge tragedy. We then turn to examining the cultural history of the play, examining the way it and its characters have been the subject of critical, literary, and artistic re-interpretation for over 400 years. Sampling a history of significant criticism from Freud to Mary Cowden Clark to Showalter, we’ll consider the characters’ legacy for the construction of madness and melancholy over different eras, ranging from the 16th c. to 21st c. arts and films, from Boydell’s Shakespeare’s Gallery to Millais and the Pre-Raphaelites; to Berlioz’s and Tchaikovsky’s musical scores and opera; to films from Olivier to Almereyda to Daisy Ridley’s Ophelia (2018); to plays from The Two Noble Kinsmen to Hamletmachine and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead; and even the “to be or not to be” speech as performed on Gilligan’s Island and other (re)constructions in popular culture.

Weekly presentations on a critical reading or creative work help us cover a wealth of material, resulting in a new group course-designed “anthology,” and in the final week of meetings, each student will find a new Hamlet-inspired work in any medium/genre to share and discuss with the class. A final research seminar paper due after classes end is the primary assignment for the course. Please purchase in advance specifically the 2008 Oxford World’s Classics edition of Hamlet (ed. Hibbard), new or used.

English 631B: Writing in the Genres - Prose

Dr. Margaret Luongo Wednesday 4:25 - 7:15 pm


English 631C: Writing in the Genres- Hybrid Forms

Dr. Daisy Hernandez Monday 4:25 - 7:15 pm

This workshop is focused on the intersections of the traditional genres of creative nonfiction, poetry and fiction—often referred to as “hybrid” forms. We will consider prose poems that blur the lines with nonfiction, study the intricacies of the hermit crab essay, and delve into texts that engage with photography. We will also leave traditional texts aside to explore what we can learn about storytelling from popular podcasts like The Daily and Serial. You will have short weekly writing assignments based on specific prompts connected to the readings, and you will be free to bring longer *non-hybrid* works to workshop.

The class is open to all graduate students including those in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, literature, and composition and rhetoric.  

English 710: Seminar in English Studies

Dr. Katie Johnson Thursday 1:15- 4:05 pm

Why did the protesters of the Occupy Wall Street movement dress up as zombies? Why do tourists pay to role-play as illegal border crossers in a Mexican National Park? Can “things” script meaning? And what makes speech injurious?

This seminar analyzes performances such as these--whether on the stage, page, or street—by way of performance theory. From the performative utterance of language to the performances of gender and race, we will scrutinize how performance is articulated across various disciplines and apply these theoretical tools to your own area of research.

We will examine the use of theatre metaphors in anthropology (expressed most succinctly by Victor Turner’s notion of the theatricality of everyday life or Richard Schechner’s study of ritual performances); at theories of the performative in language (J.L. Austin, Jacques Derrida, and John Searle); at theories of gender, sex, and drag performance (Judith Butler and Jack Halberstam); at theories of embodiment (Rebecca Schneider, Harvey Young); at the performance of race, ethnicity, and nation (Stephanie Leigh Batiste, Faedra Chatard Carpenter, Brian Herrera); the performative qualities of the archive (Diana Taylor, Robin Bernstein, David Román); and performances of queer temporalities (Jacklyn Pryor, José Esteban Muñoz, Halberstam). In addition, we will look at writers and performers whose works feature the performative, many of whom blur the line between “performance” and “real life,” such as performance artists Coco Fusco, Guillermo Gómez-Peña and Anna Deavere Smith.

English 730: Studies in Composition Research and Pedagogy

Dr. Elizabeth Wardle Tuesday 1:15 - 4:05 pm

Many, if not most, faculty members with degrees in Rhetoric and Composition will at some point in their careers direct a writing program of some kind. Writing program administration, or WPA, work affects many people—students and instructors in program courses, as well as students’ subsequent instructors, advisors, and administrators responsible for general education, for example. Therefore some scholars argue that graduate programs in the field should provide graduate students with intellectual and practical preparation for doing WPA work in an informed, responsible way. This course will attempt to give you an overview of the work of WPAs as well as equip you with resources and strategies for approaching that work. Most importantly, this course will help you consider your own core principles for undertaking WPA work, and use those principles to help you consider a few of the many dilemmas that WPAs face.

The course will also acquaint you with theories of leadership and change: what types of change are possible? What modes of leadership are available? What resources are available to different types of leaders, particularly those without extensive institutional authority?

English 732: Histories and Theories of Composition

Dr. Sara Webb-Sunderhaus Monday 1:15 - 4:05 pm

This survey course will explore past, present, and emerging directions in composition history, theory, and pedagogy. Students will situate the field's current understandings of writers and writing within the history of composition studies and will explore what it means to be a composition scholar today. Key questions we will consider include the following: who tells the story(ies) of composition studies? How are these stories told, and how do they shape us as scholars? How do these stories inform the relationship among composition history, theory, and pedagogy?

This course will be taught online, with required synchronous meetings via Zoom; asynchronous activities on Canvas will also be required. Assignments will include reading responses; a presentation with a slide deck overview of a volume of College Composition and Communication, and a seminar project that explores a topic related to composition theory, history, and pedagogy. This course will benefit anyone who teaches writing or who wants to learn more about composition theory, history, and pedagogy.

Required texts are as follows; you will be provided with article-length readings as well: Harris, Joseph. A Teaching Subject (2012 edition). Miller, Susan, ed. The Norton Book of Composition Studies. Tate et al., ed. A Guide to Composition Pedagogies (2nd ed).