Spring 2016 Courses

Spring 2016

English M.A. Program
Course Descriptions
Spring 2016

ENLT 514 Seminar in Literary Theory
Professor Adam Rzepka
Thursday 5:30-8:00

This seminar provides an overview of three key trajectories of thought in twentieth-century critical theory: structuralism and post-structuralism, Marxism, and psychoanalysis. In each case, we will begin with foundational texts and proceed through later developments, including, for instance, the emergence of gender theory and postcolonial theory from psychoanalytical and Marxist bases. In each case, too, we will focus on the translation of theoretical models into methods of literary interpretation.


ENGL 600-01 Seminar in British Literature: Teaching Shakespeare
Professor Naomi Liebler
Tuesday 5:30-8:00 p.m.

This course is designed for secondary and middle school teachers (present or prospective) of Shakespeare, and anyone else interested in the place and delivery of Shakespearean drama as foundational texts. We will explore methods and foci of teaching Shakespeare's plays to adolescents, as well as the current debate over requiring such material in school curricula.  Plays covered will be those most frequently taught in secondary and middle schools. To the greatest extent possible, we will employ a workshop approach in this course to maximize genuinely useful results.  Participants will (1) create model syllabi and lesson plans, (2) explore the use of film and other media in the classroom, (3) develop methods of enhancing their own students’ performance in the classroom, (4) tackle the hard questions about the role of Shakespeare studies in developing diverse curricula aimed at ensuring access and promoting educational democracy not only in America but also worldwide, and (5) and any other questions of content and approach that arise during the course. This is a new course, and will evolve in consultation with the students who enroll in it.

ENGL 561: Modern American Poetry
Professor Michael Robbins
Monday 5:30-8:00 pm

"On or about December 1910, human character changed," Virginia Woolf wrote. This change -- call it modernism -- reverberated throughout American poetry. This course will examine what that change consisted in by considering the work of some of the principal American modernists -- including Frost, Stevens, Eliot, Marianne Moore, Pound, Langston Hughes, Gertrude Stein -- as well as that of their early successors, such as Robert Lowell.

ENLT 602 SEMINAR: The Hebrew Bible as Literature
Professor Lee Behlman
Wednesday 8:15-10:45 pm

The Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament) is a crucial document for understanding world literature.  A source text for the three monotheisms - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam - it has also been the focal point for more than two millenia of interpretive study.  This course will take account of literary and historical aspects of the Hebrew Bible (in translation) as well as some of its early exegetical history.  The reading assignments will include selections from critical sources and readings in the Hebrew Bible itself.  Critical sources will include literary-critical essays on formal aspects of the text, historical essays on early Israelite culture and the multiple authors of the Hebrew Bible, and feminist criticism on the representation of women in the text.  Students of all faiths or of no faith whatsoever are welcome in this course.  Requirements will include weekly blackboard postings, 5 short (2-3 page) response essays to the reading, a session leading class discussion, a book review, and a 15-20 page final essay.


ENWR 600: Seminar in Writing Studies: Community-Based and Activist Writing
Professor Jessica Restaino
Wednesday 5:30-8:00

This seminar will explore the ways in which writing—and literacy, more broadly—exists beyond the boundaries of what we’ve come to know as “writing for school.”  As we learn about the many manifestations and purposes of writing outside of school, we will ultimately examine more traditional ideas about school-based writing in order to think more expansively about the relationships between these varied contexts.  We will explore writing practices that extend beyond academic discourse alone and into alternate genres that generate community through public literacies, and create political and social change. This writing can take on many different forms: oral history projects, community-based creative writing collections, political manifestos, grant proposals, awareness-raising pamphlets and newsletters, and more.  This course will offer a foundational understanding of literacy research and theory, push the boundaries of what we already know about writing praxes, and invite an expanded notion of what it could mean to write inside—and outside—of school.  We will work as researchers and program builders in order to put some of these ideas into practical shape.