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

Graduate Courses in Literature and Rhetoric/Composition

Fall 2022 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.

For Spring 2022 Graduate Course Descriptions, click here

ENG 441/541: Milton: Paradise Lost/Paradise Liberated: Knowledge, Power, and Access in Paradise, the University, and Beyond

CRN 83475

Tuesdays, 3:30-6:20

Dr. Jennifer Park

(WGSS, Pre-1800)

“To the pure, all things are pure, not only meats and drinks, but all kind of knowledge whether of good or evil; the knowledge cannot defile, nor consequently the books, if the will and conscience be not defiled.” So states John Milton in his prose treatise against censorship, Areopagitica. How do we reconcile the complex relationship between knowledge, power, and access in our aspirations to learn more about the world and our humanity? In this course, we will examine the philosophical and epistemological questions raised by John Milton’s works, ranging from Areopagitica to his poetic masterpiece about the “fall of humankind,” Paradise Lost, alongside our dwelling with contemporary theorists and thinkers who are working towards liberation, access, and justice for gender, race, and disability in higher education and beyond.


English 601: English Studies: Contents, Methods, Bibliography

CRN 83478

Tuesdays, 6:30–9:20

Dr. Jennifer Keith

This course introduces MA students to graduate-level research in the field of English Studies. We will survey the variety of subjects included in English studies, examine several theoretical approaches to texts, and explore research methods in the discipline. Assignments will include analyzing and practicing research skills and academic writing, especially as demonstrated in conference papers and journal articles.


ENG 664 Topics in Post-1800 Literature: Undead Souths

CRN 83490

Thursdays, 3:30-6:20

Dr. Scott Romine

This seminar takes its title from a 2015 essay collection that, among other things, rejects “southern gothic” as a self-evident analytical category.  Yet the idea persists that the South is distinctively haunted (even Christ-haunted), cursed, grotesque, abject, traumatized, and/or distinctively infested by ghosts, vampires, corpses, and/or zombies.  We’ll read some of the usual suspects (Poe, Faulkner, O’Connor) and a smattering of theory on gothicism, abjection, and trauma.  The bulk of the course, however, will explore the variety of undead Souths, the multiple uses to which the idea is put by writers including Charles Chesnutt, Thomas Nelson Page, Erskine Caldwell, LeAnne Howe, Randall Kenan, and others.  We’ll probably consider a film or television series or two, although probably not “The Walking Dead.”


ENG 710: The Early Modern Body

CRN 83534

Mondays, 3:30-6:20

Dr. Jen Feather

(pre-1800 requirement, WGSS requirement, and Theory requirement)

The rising importance of human dissection as a medical practice, the proliferation of conduct books focused on self-governance, and the early modern analogy between the individual body and the body politic make the body a contested site in the 16th century.  Modern theories of race, gender, and disability equally consider the instability of the body.  New technologies raise persistent questions about the materiality of existence as embodied human beings.  We will consider how 16th century literature addresses these questions and how that can inform 21st century questions about bodies and their materiality.   How do the material realities of bodily experience shape attitudes toward gender, status, race, and sexuality?  How do technologies from anatomy to virtual reality shape our relationship to embodied experience? Through literary, medical, and philosophical texts this course will explore the nature of early modern embodiment and the contested sites of difference it undergirds.  Requirements include participation and careful reading, short written exercises, oral presentations, and a final research project.


ENG 738: Native American Writing Before 1953

CRN 83544

Wednesdays, 6:30-9:20

Dr. Mark Rifkin


Native peoples have been producing texts in English since at least the mid-eighteenth century. In this course, we will read and discuss various kinds of writings – including speeches, life-writing, poetry, and fiction — from the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries. While

exploring these texts from a number of different angles, we will return to a core set of questions. In what ways do these writings respond to the pressures, rhetoric, and violence of state policy? How do they address Native social, political, and intellectual formations? When and how do they attempt to speak for a given people (or set of peoples) and on what basis do they do so? How do they engage with issues of race,

class, and gender as part of their accounts of Indigenous identity and governance? How do they envision Native self-determination? (1953 will be our end date, because the official Congressional enactment of a policy of termination marked a significant shift in Indian policy.) Writers discussed may include Samson Occom, William Apess, Elias Boudinot, Jane Johnson Schoolcraft, Sarah Winnemucca, Zitkala-Ša, E. Pauline Johnson, John Joseph Mathews, and Ella Deloria, among others. We will also be reading relevant texts of Indian law and policy alongside the primary Native texts. This course does not assume prior familiarity with Indigenous Studies or Native writing.


ENG 742: Equipment for Living: Using Rhetoric and Writing Theory Inside and Outside the Academy

CRN 83545

Thursdays, 6:30-9:20

Dr. Heather Adams

This graduate course will ground students in theories (of rhetoric, of writing studies, and of pedagogy); as a group, we will imagine how to leverage those theories into applied contexts. An aim of the course is to facilitate identifying ways that students can put rhetorical and writing study to use during graduate school and as they write their way through their career, whether inside or outside the academy.

Topics that we will address will likely include:

  • Teaching Writing Is/As More than Red Pens: Expertise in application
  • Situations and Ecologies: Rhetoric as heuristic
  • Rhetorical Genre Studies: Contours and uses
  • Public Writing: How and why
  • Writing for the Ear: From pedagogy to podcasts
  • Post-Ac and Alt-Ac: Definitions and considerations
  • Advocacy Writing: Some case studies
  • Self-advocacy: Identifying, naming, and articulating your scholarly strengths for various audiences

Hands-on work during the semester will involve students engaging in independent research to identify and learn from a professional in an aspirational role: career, para/professional, civic, etc. Students will share findings from these case studies so that we can use them to inductively learn together. Semester-long projects will focus on/explore the work/role of writing inside or outside the academy. The course may be of special interest to students who:

Want to deepen their understanding of the affordance of writing and rhetorical theory

Wish to explore the range of uses of a graduate-level study in English

Seek to deepen their approaches to teaching written and oral competency courses

Need to fulfill a rhetoric and composition requirement