Fall 2014

English M.A. Program
Course Descriptions, Fall 2014

CORE COURSE (departmental approval required; contact Dr. Liebler)
ENGL 605:  Seminar in Literary Research
Professor Adam Rzepka
Thursdays, 7-9:30 p.m.

This course offers a foundation for research and scholarly writing in literary study across specializations and an introduction to how to participate in the scholarly conversations of the profession. Students will learn to distinguish between literary theory, criticism, and analysis, and between literary criticism and archival materials. We will explore ways of developing arguments that matter, persuade, and are 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. 

Students will pursue their own specific research projects, producing a proposal, an annotated bibliography, a draft for peer review, and a final research paper. Because projects will differ in their topics, archives, and approaches, this class will not be based on any unified content. Instead, it will constitute a “Writing Group” in which we are all each other’s readers, audiences, critics, and coaches. 

British Literature:
ENGL 600:  Seminar in British Literature:  Modern British and Irish Poetry
Professor Lucy McDiarmid
Tuesdays, 5:30-8 p.m.

This seminar will focus on the poetry of W. B. Yeats, T.S. Eliot, W. H. Auden, Stevie (Florence Margaret) Smith,  and one or two other poets such as Seamus Heaney or Paul Muldoon.   We'll consider stylistic issues (the multi-part long poem, the very short [two-line] poem, "fragments," allusiveness, revisions of  nineteenth century poems), thematic issues (politics, sex, politics-and-sex, nationality, transnationality, oblique, ambiguous, and direct comments on class and gender), biographical background, and manuscript drafts of the poems we read. Students are expected to participate regularly in discussion as together we do close readings of major twentieth century  poems. Work will include an oral report, several short papers, and a long final paper. There will be a field trip to the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library to view the original manuscripts of The Waste Land and poems by Yeats. 

American Literature:
ENGL 563:  Recent American Fiction
Professor Emily Cheng
Mondays, 5:30-8 pm 

In this course, we will consider the border as both a material location and as an analytic lens through which to understand literature and culture. The border is a material site, a national boundary that defines state sovereignty and citizenship, a militarized point of crossing guarded by state patrols working to keep out foreign “others,” and a point of entry for immigrants and refugees who must at times take life-threatening risks in hopes for a better life. Borderlands and frontiers are also symbolic spaces where inequalities in power relations can be examined and contested, and just as importantly, where alternative community formations and emergent identities can be imagined.

This course will introduce students to primary texts and critical works in U.S.-Mexico border studies and also consider the U.S. relationship with the Asia-Pacific and the Caribbean. Taking a transnational approach to the study of U.S. borders, immigration histories, and “the Americas” broadly constructed, we will examine how border-texts, including novels, corridos, films, and memoirs, both construct and contest dominant histories of cross-cultural encounters. We might look at works by Gloria Anzaldúa, Sandra Cisneros, Américo Paredes, Karen Tei Yamashita, among others.

nb. This is a version of ENGL 601 offered in Fall 2012.

International Literatures
ENLT  572: Modern Movements in the Arts
Professor Jonathan Greenberg
Tuesdays, 8:15-10:45 p.m.

This course will serve as an introduction to the movements known as modernism that dominated literature and other arts from roughly 1900-1945.  Free verse took on an increasingly important role in poetry, and interior monologue became a dominant form in fiction.   At the same time, large political and cultural changes were taking place:  the rise of Communism and fascism, new egalitarian ideas of women’s roles in society, Freud’s psychoanalytic revolution, radical breakthroughs in science, and the growth of mass media.  All of these transformations constitute a broad historical context to our understanding of the literature of the era.
 We will look at the interaction of English-language writers from Britain, Ireland, and the U.S. with influences from Continental Europe, as well as the ways in which these writers drew upon their own understandings and constructions of Asian and African aesthetic traditions.  Along with works of fiction, poetry, and drama, we will also read important statements (essays, introductions, manifestos) by artists about art, and a number of literary critical essays.  Writers might include: Baudelaire, Wilde, Conrad, Yeats, Stein, Marinetti, Lewis, Pound, H.D., Eliot, Joyce, Woolf, Lawrence, Loy, Hughes, Brecht, Freud, Benjamin, and Beckett. 

Course requirements: regular attendance and participation; two presentations/short papers; long (16-20pp.) final paper.

Writing Studies
ENWR 600-01  Seminar in Writing Studies:  Creative Writing Pedagogy
Professor David Galef
Wednesdays, 5:30-8

As part of a curriculum but also as a set of techniques, creative writing has become prevalent in our school systems. Its uses are not confined to poems and stories but extend to livening up critical analyses and other documents that ordinarily wouldn't be thought of as creative. The courses are popular, the results worthwhile—but how does one teach such a subject? What are the methods and underlying philosophies?

This course will focus on structures and strategies for teaching creative writing in the classroom, from a short unit to a full-fledged workshop. The genres covered will be fiction and poetry. We’ll be examining popular creative writing textbooks, learning theories of genre, and thinking about ways to combine creative and critical modes. Assignments may include designing sample syllabi and course requirements; establishing rubrics to annotate and grade student material; making a presentation on one genre, focusing on an aspect that you can teach in a single workshop session; writing a ten-page research paper based on the presentation; and completing some creative writing exercises from prompts.