Graduate Courses in Literature and Rhetoric/Composition | Department of English

Graduate Courses in Literature and Rhetoric/Composition

Fall 2024 Graduate Course Descriptions 

For the complete listing of graduate courses offered in the English Department, please see The Graduate Bulletin.

For course times and places, please see the University online schedule.

ENG 601 Graduate Pro-Seminar Series: Advanced Research, Writing, and Methods 

Dr. Jennifer Keith 

Tuesday, 6:30–9:20

This pro-seminar series offers advanced workshops in research, writing, and methods for first-year MA and first-year PhD students. Pro-seminar topics include the following: research in digital databases and digital archives, modes of academic writing, and methods of analysis and interpretation. Additional topics may include speaking in academic and professional settings and emerging directions in public humanities. 

ENG 642 Topics in Pre-1800 Literature. From Cloister to Court: Women and Medieval Literature 

Tuesday, 3:30–6:20 

Fulfills pre-1800 requirement 

WGSS marker 

Dr. Amy Vines 

This course surveys texts written by and for medieval women, from religious narratives and spiritual revelations to court poetry and political commentaries. England in the Middle Ages was not an isolated space – either geographically or intellectually. Therefore, although the readings for this class will focus primarily on English women, some selections from continental writers are also included. These are works that were read by English women and, in many cases, influenced their writing significantly.  Throughout the course, we will be examining the various social, political, and religious issues that concern these writers as well as discussing their status as women authors. In addition, we will also be examining women as characters in some of the most widely read texts in the Middle Ages. Readings will include texts by Julian of Norwich, Christine de Pizan, Marie de France, as well as Chaucer’s Legend of Good Women, and the Ancrene Wisse. 

ENG 664 Topics in Post-1800 Literature. The Other Twentieth Century 

Thursday, 5:30–8:20 

Fulfills post-1800 requirement OR Theory requirement  

Dr. Ben Clarke 

Writing on the literature of the nineteen-thirties, Valentine Cunningham argued that the decade is often understood as “a period only of Political Art, of Documentary deviationism, a time of sad Realist cravings, of rampant anti-Formalism, anti-Textualism, and so a sort of unfortunate historical blip or bypass on which writing got snagged and slowed down in the good march of the twentieth century from modernism at the very beginning to postmodernism at the end.” The statement maps a conventional understanding of twentieth-century British literature that still dominates literature departments and scholarship. The model Cunningham describes emphasizes the beginning and end of the period, focuses on texts characterized by a particular, narrowly defined kind of formal experimentation, and insists on an inherent distinction between art and politics. This course challenges such claims, arguing for a broader, more inclusive understanding of the century that is more sensitive to its tensions and contradictions. It draws attention to authors, periods, and genres that have too often been overlooked or undervalued, focusing on the neglected decades immediately before and after the Second World War. It considers in particular the complex relationship between literature and politics, exploring the ways in which literature redefines and expands ideas of the political itself. Students will read the work of Buchi Emecheta, Nell Dunn, and Sam Selvon amongst others, within the context of both current scholarship and theoretical work from the periods discussed. Using Theodor Adorno to analyze texts from the nineteen-thirties and forties, and figures such as Stuart Hall, Angela McRobbie, and Paul Gilroy to interpret those of the nineteen-fifties and sixties, helps us to understand the ways in which literature actively intervenes in specific cultural and political struggles. 

ENG 734 Studies in American Women Writers. “A d—-d mob of scribbling women”: U.S. Women Writers and Print Cultures 

Monday, 5:30–8:20 

Fulfills post-1800 requirement 

WGSS marker 

Dr. María Sánchez 

This course will examine the relationships among women writers, the development of so-called “high” and “low” cultures, and the growth of literary marketplaces. Focusing on writers working up to the historical moment of U.S. “arrival” as an imperial power (roughly, to WWI), we will investigate how authors created and manipulated identities so as to enter public spheres: as “authoress,” “poetess,” “amateur,” “reformer,” member of the “Talented Tenth,” etc. Guiding questions include: when, why, and how does being a “woman author” matter? What kinds of writing womanhood sell, or fail? How do women benefit from historical and cultural developments, such as social reform movements, the acquisition of the West, or conspicuous consumption? Writers may include Bradstreet, Wheatley, Stowe, Alcott, Hopkins, Zitkala-Sa, Winnemucca, Eaton, Mena, Cather, and Hurston. Assignments may include short response papers and an end-of-semester research project. 

ENG 747 Teaching College Writing  

Wednesday, 3:30-6:20 

Dr. Risa Applegarth 

English 747 prepares new Teaching Assistants for the college writing classroom by providing opportunities to engage with current scholarship on writing and pedagogy, to practice diverse pedagogical techniques, and to develop the capacity to engage in critical reflection about teaching experiences. This course is taken by all new Teaching Assistants in the English department alongside their first semester teaching English 101. Assignments include a Teaching Demo, a Teaching Journal, an Observation Exchange with another instructor, and a Teaching Portfolio.