Fall 2015 Graduate Course Offerings and Descriptions

Recent course offerings: Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015


ENG 600: Research Methods
Dr. Dabney A. Bankert
0001 Wednesday 5-8pm

Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.
-- Zora Neale Hurston

Course Description:
          English 600 is an introduction to graduate studies in English, specifically to bibliographic research and methods, to academic writing, and to the various kinds of scholarship in which literary critics and scholars engage. It is also an introduction to graduate school and to the fundamental and important distinctions between undergraduate- and graduate-level scholarly research and writing. You will learn how to do different types of research, how to locate and assess research sources for a variety of scholarly problems, and how to develop and refine such problems; in short, how to ask
good questions and how to go about answering them productively, rigorously, and eloquently. You will also learn how the scholarly editions you read came to be and how the history of the manuscript and codex informs, if often invisibly, all scholarly work. The course is designed to provide the tools essential to progressing in content courses.

          A list of required texts will be provided to students in late spring. For more information, contact me at bankerda@jmu.edu.


ENG 662: Studies in 20th- and 21st-Century Literature of the United States: From
            Little Mags to Pulp Rags: American(s) Publishing in the Modernist Era
Dr. Brooks Hefner (hefnerbe@jmu.edu)

          This course examines the broad swath of print culture that appeared in the United States during the so-called “modernist era.” This period saw the founding (and failure) of countless magazines, the establishment of major publishing houses, and the negotiation of the literary marketplace by writers from the highest of highbrows to the lowest of lowbrows. Recent developments in book history and periodical studies have emphasized the importance of reading literary works with a more comprehensive understanding of how readers originally encountered them. Our object of study will be the publishing context itself, which means we will read a number of literary histories of the era, critical works that take the publishing industry seriously, and histories of major publishers. Of course, we will also delve into literary works that appeared in these contexts: essays, short stories, serialized fiction, and novels published “between covers.” Primary readings may include works by writers like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sherwood Anderson, Dashiell Hammett, Edward Christopher Williams, H.L. Mencken, Meridel Le Sueur, Anita Loos, Hart Crane, Jean Toomer, William Carlos Williams, Michael Gold, H.P. Lovecraft, Dorothy Parker, and others. As a part of the course requirements, students will produce extensive bibliographies and presentations on periodicals and publishing houses and a final essay on a text outside our common reading that incorporates the methodologies used in the course.


Eng 672: Studies in African-American Literature: Black Sexuality Studies

          Within the field of African American studies, black sexuality has been a fraught topic—deeply troubled by stereotypes and caricatures about differently shaped black female bodies, asexual mammies and Uncle Toms, and hypersexual Jezebels and brutes. The topic also raises painful memories of white control over black bodies both during and after slavery, and of the 1965 “Moynihan Report,” which controversially but influentially represented black family structures as pathological.

          In recent years, however, a growing number of scholars have begun to reconsider the rich canon of African American literature, film, and visual art that bravely explores the complicated politics of black sexuality. In particular, black feminists and queer theorists of color have argued that, while heteronormative notions of “respectability” may help to refute the surveillance and pathologizing of black bodies, alternative ways of thinking about black women, black masculinity, and queer black identities are possible. This course will explore these theorists’ approaches by examining their work in relation to the literature, film, and visual art that has inspired them. Primary course material will be chosen from the work of Hannah Crafts, Sojourner Truth, Anna Julia Cooper, W. E. B. Du Bois, Richard Nugent, Nella Larsen, Ann Petry, Gwendolyn Brooks, Chester Himes, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, Audre Lorde, Samuel Delany, Jewelle Gomez, Marlon Riggs, Cheryl Dunye, Kara Walker, and Glenn Ligon, among others.


Eng 620 Studies in Renaissance and Early Modern Literature

          British literature of the Renaissance and Early Modern Periods (1476-1660). Topics may be determined by period or geography, culture or politics, theme or genre. May be repeated when content varies.


ENG 675: Reading and Research. 3 credits. Supervised reading and research in a particular topic or field. Admission by permission of the Director of Graduate studies; may not be repeated.

ENG 698: Comprehensive Continuance. 1 credit. Continued preparation for the comprehensive examinations. May be repeated as needed.

ENG 699: Thesis Continuance. 2 credits. Continued study, research and writing for the thesis. May be repeated as needed.

ENG 700: Thesis. 6 credits.Six credits taken over two consecutive semesters. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory (S/U) basis.

James Madison University JMU English Department
Keezell Room 215
P: 540-568-6170
F: 540-568-2983

JMU Web Privacy Statement

© James Madison University Department of English - All Rights Reserved