Fall 2013 Courses

CORE COURSE (departmental approval required; contact Dr. Liebler)
ENGL 605: Seminar in Literary Research.
Professor Naomi Liebler
Wednesdays,  6:30-9;00 p.m.

This course offers a foundation for research and scholarly writing in literary study across specializations.  Students will learn to distinguish literary theory, criticism, and analysis, and will sharpen their ability to participate in the scholarly conversations of the profession. We will explore ways to identify and produce arguments that matter and persuade, supported by engagement with current and traditional scholarship. Research methodologies, MLA documentation formats, clear and effective academic writing, and the creation of informative scholarly discourse form the backbone of this course. 

ENGL 556: Poe, Hawthorne, Melville 
Professor Monika Elbert
Thursdays,  8:15-10:45

Course objectives:
1) To introduce you to one of the most fruitful periods of American literature, the American Renaissance, through close attention to three major writers of the period,
2) to help you understand and appreciate how these Romantic writers developed an American literature and established American traditions of writing and thinking, and
3) to introduce you to current theory in the study of American literature, with an emphasis on race, gender, and class, areas which reflect current trends in literary criticism .
4) There will also be a short excursion into the Gothic, as all three writers had a preference for that mode.  We will try to understand why.

ENGL 518: Milton
Professor Jeffrey Miller
Tuesdays, 8:15-10:45

This course is dedicated to exploring the poetry and prose of John Milton.  Born in London in 1608, Milton lived through an astonishing and tumultuous period of literary, historical, political, and theological change.

In this course we will read all of Milton’s major works of poetry – including Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes – together with a number of Milton’s most important works of prose.  Throughout our reading of his works, we will be giving close consideration both to the internal dynamics of Milton’s texts and to their dynamic relationship to the various contexts in which they appeared:  literary, linguistic, political, religious, bibliographical, etc.  Extensive consideration will also be given to the relationship between Milton’s works and some of the most important movements in modern scholarship and literary criticism of the past century:  from new criticism, feminist criticism, and reader-response theory, to new historicism, new aestheticism, and ecocriticism.  

ENWR 586: Teaching Writing
Professor Melinda Knight
Thursdays, 5:30-8:00 p.m.

This course is designed to help all graduate students in English learn how to teach writing at various levels.  Many English teachers have not had the opportunity to study the theory and practice of teaching writing, and this course will fill that need. 

ENWR 586 explores the social, educational, and linguistic foundations of writing instruction with additional attention to the needs of the basic writer. We will review various models of composing and approaches to writing pedagogy. We will experiment with how to respond to student work, identifying strengths and strategies for improvement, and we will also explore ways to encourage revision. Our learning will also be shaped by a consideration of the larger influences on student performance, such as issues of second-language writing, socioeconomics, and previous education. Practicing and prospective teachers will examine the theory, research, and practice of writing instruction through a process of inquiry, workshops, and analysis of their own writing.

The course will begin with an exploration of various models of the composing process and then move to a discussion of the historical location of composition studies and writing instruction in the United States. The course will then move into the more practical concerns of applying contemporary rhetorical theory to actual classroom practice—course and assignment design, commenting on student papers, assessment, and classroom management. In addition to journal entries, class blogs, presentations, and class visits and observations, students will complete a research project on a key issue in the teaching of writing and a statement of their philosophy of teaching writing.

ENWR 600: Seminar in Writing Studies:  Writing  Assessment.
Professor Emily Isaacs
Mondays, 7:00 - 9:30 pm

Assessment is not a topic which, on the face of it, is likely to inspire immediate enthusiasm.  I appreciate that, but I encourage you to give some thought to taking this class that I am teaching this fall. Let me tell you a little about the course, and my perspective on assessment.  My interest in research in writing assessment was born out of frustration with the national movement in assessment, first in K-12 and later in higher education.  Many years ago when people first began talking about assessment, I felt annoyed and shook my head: “Why do we need assessment?  Isn’t that what grades and teachers are for?”  However, in my work with teachers, both in graduate school and in the schools, I found that assessment was going away.  I decided to teach a graduate course so that I could empower teachers to take back the work of assessment – to assert and defend their judgment in ways that others could hear, understand and respect.  It turned out to be one of my best courses because my students and I all have a lot at stake when it comes to evaluation: what doing writing well looks like, what criteria should be used, and what kinds of consequences are reasonable and useful.  And, as citizens/ teachers/students, we discovered we all had a lot of experiences with assessment, and had strongly felt opinions.  ENWR600: 01 Seminar in Writing Assessment is designed to prepare students to assess their own students, to introduce several assessment methodologies as practiced in both K-12 and post-secondary contexts, and to familiarize students with the debates that surround writing assessment.  The aim of the course is support teachers in good assessment practices, and also to enable teachers to develop, evaluate, and respond to assessment systems and practices on the basis of validity as well as reliability.  Assessment isn’t going away in the near future.  We need to be able to do it well, and respond well when it’s done poorly. If you are interested, please feel free to look at my syllabus from the last time I taught it.  I am still working on the new version, which will have the same basic plan, albeit many different texts. http://www.montclair.edu/profilepages/view_profile.php?username=isaacse  

Regrettably, we have had to cancel the course planned for the International Literature area.  We try very hard to have all areas represented, but have been unable to identify a replacement course for the fall 2013 semester.  I extend apologies to those International Literature concentrators whose program completions are affected.  If this omission hinders yours, please see Dr. Liebler.