ENG 6800 - Advanced Creative Writing
Natalie Bakopoulos

Welcome to English 6800, an advanced creative writing craft and workshop course in which we’ll closely examine the art and craft of creative writing in various genres, as well as where the boundaries of those genres blur. Whether you’re writing poetry or prose, by now you should all be familiar with the various choices in perspective and point of view. A basic understanding of craft elements and an astute attention to language is required. This is primarily a writing workshop. The focus of this class will be on the assigned readings and student work, and we will emphasize strategies for producing successful, fully realized revisions—work that seeks to truly re-vision a project in new, rigorous, and artful ways. Students will be required to thoughtfully offer constructive, written and oral feedback on the work of their peers, as well as to provide concise analyses of the assigned texts. Pre-req: Students should have received at least a B+ or better in a 5000-level creative writing course.


ENG 7003 - Contemporary Literary Theory
Aesthetics and Politics
Jonathan Flatley

At the very end of “The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility” Walter Benjamin writes that communism responds to the fascist aestheticizing of politics by politicizing aesthetics. In this seminar we will examine a series of attempts to understand how aesthetics can or should be “politicized” alongside a set of ideas about the “politics of aesthetics.” What role do aesthetic practices and experiences have in creating revolutionary or other political collectives? How have different theorists understood the relationship between aesthetic experiences and their historical situations and political consequences? Throughout, our attention will be focused on the concepts or arguments that can help us (as theorists and critics) think about the politics of the aesthetic practices we study. Readings will include some classic works by Plato, Lenin, Adorno, Benjamin, Marcuse, Du Bois and others, and more recent works by Eve Sedgwick, Esther Newton, Frederic Jameson, Fred Moten, Sianne Ngai, and Lauren Berlant. There will be short weekly writing assignments and either one longer or two shorter papers.
 

ENG 7011 - Studies in Medieval Literature
Medieval Modernity
Hilary Fox

This course explores contemporary appropriations or reworkings of medieval literature and history. As part of the course's larger project, "Medieval Modernity" students will read medieval texts alongside modern cultural productions, from novels to poetry, film, and multimedia websites, exploring ways in which contemporary authors and artists seek to complicate "traditional" or canonical visions of the medieval past that are largely deployed in the service of white European identity and nationalist or imperial projects. Possible texts include: Chaucer's 'Canterbury Tales' alongside Patience Agbabi's 'Telling Tales' and the Refugee Tales website; Giovanni Boccaccio's 'Decameron' and 'The Little Hours' (2017, dir. Jeff Baena); Seamus Heaney's postcolonial translation of 'Beowulf' and Kashiro Ishiguro's 'Buried Giant'; and the Renaissance faire and questions of diversity and nostalgia, in light of recent work on the global Middle Ages.
 

ENG 7046 - Comparative American Literatures and Cultures
S. Chandra

This course will provide a theoretical and historical understanding of America in a global/comparative context. Adopting an interdisciplinary transnational framework of critique and analysis, we will take up the following questions: How do we understand the concept of a global world system? How do broad questions of migration, race, gender, sexuality, war and ecology intersect with the global division of labor and the nation-state? The readings will also assist students in developing a critical approach to literature/culture/media. Authors may include Greg Grandin, Timothy Morton, Stephanie Smallwood, Clyde Woods, Rosaura Sanchez, and Denise da Silva. Students will have the opportunity to develop their writing in a manner commensurate with each student’s own intellectual interests.
 

ENG 7053 - Film and Media Genres
Hollywood Musicals: From Busby Berkeley to Damien Chazelle
Steven Shaviro

This class will trace the history of the Hollywood musical. As soon as the movies were able to use synchronized sound, filmmakers became interested in presenting music-making, singing, and dancing on film. Movie musicals originated in the late 1920s, and they have remained popular ever since. Musicals are unusual among popular movie genres, for their high degree of self-reflexivity, and their privileging of spectacle, or "the cinema of attractions," over plot. In a certain sense, musicals represent an idea of "pure cinema": they focus on sensory elements of space, time, camera movement, and physical gestures, at the expense of narrative and thematic concerns, At the same time, they are aggressively populist and proudly middle-brow or low-brow, in sharp contrast to high-brow art films that are equally self-reflexive and equally concerned with cinematic materiality. We will look at these issues as we trace the history of Hollywood musicals from their beginnings in the early sound era, where they took the form of either filmed operettas or large-cast extravaganzas, through the rise of the solo and partnered dances (Astaire & Rogers), to the MGM spectaculars of the 1940s and 1950s, and beyond, to the decreasing frequency but wild diversity of musical experiments in the post-classical era, and onwards to today. The class will be largely restricted to one national tradition, that of the United States and Hollywood; though we may also look at a few European films that present themselves as being explicitly in dialogue with Hollywood forms.
 

ENG 7064 - The Teaching of Writing
Community-based Pedagogies
Donnie Johnson Sackey

This seminar explores the theories and practices undergirding the teaching of rhetoric and writing via community-based pedagogies as they have emerged in technical & professional communication studies, cultural rhetorics, service-learning, community literacy, community engagement, public rhetorics, and cultural studies. Particular attention will be provided to theories of teaching that emerge in relation to social justice movements. Our focus will be to not only consider how we have developed approaches to teaching writing based on our notions of community and community-based institutions, but also to grapple with how community-based institutions continue to challenge our approaches to the teaching of rhetoric and writing. Readings will include works by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Nedra Reynolds, Terese Guinsatao Monberg, Paula Mathieu, Sara Ahmed, and bell hooks

 

ENG 7710 - Advanced Studies in Linguistic Structure (LIN 7710)
Cross-linguistic Variation in Syntax
Ljiljana Progovac

This course provides an overview and a characterization of syntactic variation across languages, including variation in the expression of transitivity, tense and aspect, case, null subjects, determiner phrase, and word order. The course will integrate both the typological and theoretical approaches to syntactic variation, relying on two basic texts: 'Typology and Universals' by Bill Croft (CUP, 2003), and Mark Baker’s 'Case: Its Principles and its Parameters' (CUP, 2015). The requirements include regular attendance, reading, one midterm exam, and one term paper. It is designed to prepare students for researching a linguistic topic in depth. As such the class provides a platform from which one can identify and pursue an MA essay topic. Graduate standing is a prerequisite for this class, but in some cases asking the instructor for consent can waive this requirement.

 

ENG 7800 - Seminar in Creative Writing
The Essay Collection as Theme-and-Variation
Donovan Hohn

Part graduate writing workshop in creative nonfiction, part literary seminar, this course will consider The Essay Collection as a literary form comparable to a collection of poems or short stories. Although the essays they collect are self-contained enough to be published separately, and although those essays may differ greatly from one another, the books we will be reading are not miscellanies but artful arrangements in which the essays play variations on some unifying preoccupation, field of study, subject, or theme—empathy, say, or entropy, or entomology, to name three examples from books that may appear on our reading list.

The books on that list tend to include documentary essays and personal essays both. A few include critical essays. Many hybridize these strains of creative nonfiction, combining the personal and the documentary and the critical. Some are highly narrative; some more lyrical, meditative, or polemical. All are written for a general rather than specialized audience, as will be all of the writing we do in the course. Candidates for the reading list also have this in common: most of the essays they collect could have been written by a graduate student of limited means, practically and financially speaking; in fact, a number of them were written by graduate students.

Possible titles include Elif Batuman’s The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them, Leslie Jamison’s The Empathy Exams, Richard Rodriguez’s Brown: The Last Discovery of America, Jeff Sharlet’s Sweet Heaven When I Die: Faith, Faithlessness, and the Country In Between, Rebecca Solnit’s A Field Guide to Getting Lost and The Faraway Nearby, Joseph Mitchell’s The Bottom of the Harbor, Morgan Meis’s Ruins, Zadie Smith’s Changing My Mind, James Baldwin’s Notes of a Native Son, Elena Passarello’s Animals Strike Curious Poses, Hugh Raffles’s Insectopedia, Ander Monson’s Neck Deep and Other Predicaments, Benjamin Busch’s Dust to Dust, Bernard Cooper’s Maps to Anywhere, Michael Pollan’s Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education, MFK Fisher’s Consider the Oyster, Peter Trachtenberg’s The Book of Calamities: Five Questions About Suffering and Its Meaning, Eula Biss’s Notes From No Man’s Land: American Essays, John Jeremiah Sullivan’s Pulphead, John Berger’s About Looking, Lia Purpura’s On Looking, Annie Dillard’s The Abundance, John D’Agata’s Halls of Fame, Tom Bissell’s Magic Hours: Essays on Creators and Creation, Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist, Meghan Daum’s The Unspeakable, Maria Bustillos’s Dorkismo: The Macho of the Dork, Charles D’Ambrosio’s Loitering, Stephen Church’s Ultrasonic, and Joan Didion’s Slouching Toward Bethlehem, Francis Spufford’s True Stories & Other Essays, August Kleinzahler's Cutty, One Rock: Low Characters and Strange Places, among others.

Although we will write short critical responses to such books, mainly we will be seeking in them models and inspirations for our own creative nonfiction. At the beginning of the semester, students will identify subjects or ideas or fields of knowledge that fascinate them, haunt them, or preoccupy them, or that they have an itch to explore. These preoccupations may or may not be drawn from their respective fields of graduate study. Over the course of the semester they will map out a table of contents for a collection of essays that play variations on their chosen theme, and they will write and workshop a few of those variations before the semester ends.
 


ENG 8004 - Seminar in Literary and Cultural Studies After 1870
2049: The Present in Literature and Culture ‘After the End of History'
BarrettWatten

The release of *Blade Runner 2049* offers a chilling register of the global present and its dark futurity. This seminar will take the questions explored by this film as a guide, in relation to its postmodern progenitor *Blade Runner* (1982), and explore the historical present through the following dystopian registers: global capitalism, corporatism, and authoritarianism; ecocide in the anthropocene; ever advancing forms of digital technology; the man/machine interface; new class formations; gender and sexuality; revolution, war, and the underclass; and new forms literary and artistic representation and response, both mimetic and anti-mimetic. The seminar originally was imagined to take up the question of historicism after 1989, where an “end of antagonisms” was posited after the Cold War; the current framework will include this theme but push it farther into future past the millennium. The seminar will thus explore other representations of the tension between presentism and historicism through works that attempt to comprehend the uncanny dimensions of global futurity. Examples may include novelists like Haruki Murakami, W. G. Sebald, and Robert Bolaño; poets like Leslie Scalapino, Mark Nowak, and Rob Fitterman; visual artists such as Andreas Gursky, Edward Burtynsky, and Neo Rauch; or writers who explore gender/sexuality in new forms—to read the tensions between historicism and presentism toward their uncertain destiny. If “every historicism is a presentism, and vice versa,” this seminar will try to map the historical present, the present as historical, the future as unclear.

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