Spring 2011 Graduate Course Offerings and Descriptions

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English 501: Professional Seminar in College Composition
Dr. Billie Jones
Tuesday & Thursday 3:30-4:45PM

          Professional Seminar in College Composition a course for students who want to teach writing, who want to better understand the ways that teachers teach writing, and even for those who want to better understand writing instruction for the students’ perspective. By interweaving the study of the theoretical underpinnings of writing pedagogy with practical application activities, students will not only learn effective pedagogical strategies, which they will be able to practice in the classroom, they will learn the reasons that those strategies work. While this course is required of all teaching assistants before their first semester teaching, it can also provide students with tools to better understand their own writing instruction.

          Our major text will be Victor Villanueva's edited collection, Cross-Talk in Comp Theory, 2nd edition, but this text will be supplemented by readings available via Blackboard.

English 512F: Special Topics Seminar - Faulkner
Dr. Jean Cash
Monday & Wednesday 2:30-3:45PM

          Enrollment by permission only. Please contact Dr. Cash to discuss your background, reasons for wishing to take the course, and the additional work you must do to receive seminar credit.

          This major authors’ course is demanding because students will read nearly all of Faulkner’s often-complex works.  They will read, study, write on and evaluate (with the help of secondary reference) Faulkner’s major works, beginning with the book that he himself recommended for first reading: The Unvanquished. Other novels will include Flags in the Dust, The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Sanctuary, Pylon, Light in August, Absalom! Absalom!, The Wild Palms, The Hamlet, and Go Down, Moses and Selected Stories. Undergraduate students will produce a journal on each of the novels, write four formal papers, and a 2,500 word research article. My critical approach is mainly formalist, but discussion will also deal with cultural and psychoanalytic issues. Requirements for graduate students are a bit more expansive. Students will leave this course realizing that Faulkner is one of  best (if not the best) US writer of fiction.

ENG 612: Topics in Theory and Cultural Studies. What’s the Story with Narrative?: Literary Narratives and Narrative Theories
Dr. Siân White
Monday 4:00-6:60
PM

          This course will be an intensive study of core concepts and issues of narrative theory, beginning with the development of the field from a structuralist narratology to a conception of narrative theories inflected by feminist, cognitive, rhetorical, neo-marxist, ethnic, poststructuralist, and ethical considerations. Theoretical texts will include writings by narrative theorists such as Gérard Genette, Gerald Prince, Dorrit Cohn, Mikhail Bakhtin, Seymour Chatman, Susan S. Lanser, Susan Stanford Friedman, Robyn Warhol, Alex Woloch, James Phelan, Brian McHale, and Brian Richardson. We will explore the questions raised by these theoretical readings in conjunction with a diverse group of primary literary narratives, which will include novels, short stories, films and graphic narratives by writers such as Jane Austen, Edith Wharton, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Toni Morrison, Sandra Cisneros, Alison Bechdel, and Laura Lee Gulledge, among others. Students will be expected to submit a final research project that assumes a theoretical frame and develops a methodology for applying a narrative theory approach to literature.

ENG 612: Topics in Theory and Cultural Studies. The Art of Fear
Dr. Marina Favila
Tuesday 6:00-8:45PM

          The Art of Fear will take a sweeping look at its subject: fear as a symptom, a consequence, a survival mechanism, a tool for manipulation, an explanation for failure, a motivation for success. More important, fear offers us a keenly felt and paradoxical pleasure; for surely it’s surprising that human beings recreate in art the sensation of being afraid. We are a species who likes to shiver! Throughout the semester, we will tackle our topic from several theoretical perspectives, primarily psychological and cultural (think Anna Freud, Bruno Bettelheim, Marina Warner, Adam Philips), analyzing phobias, monsters, things that go bump in the night, our fascination with the supernatural, as well as the near universal fear of death. Texts and topics will include an homage to the poetry and prose of Virginia-educated Poe; Shakespeare’s Macbeth (both the play and its superstitious stage history); possibly a play or movie jaunt; guest lectures on fear and music/fear and art; several films, including Peeping Tom (a movie dubbed the “British Psycho”) and Peter Weir’s Fearless, a film that analyzes what’s lost when fear is no longer our companion; and other various short pieces. Outside ‘horror’ trips are encouraged.

ENG 612: Topics in Theory and Cultural Studies. Matters of Speculatioin: Theory and Science Fiction
Dr. Sharon Cote
Wednesday 5:00-7:45PM

          A study of science fiction, engaging in such issues as the existence/non-existence of a coherent definition for this genre and the defensive justification of science fiction that is frequently embedded in scholarly discussions of it. Additional topics might include world-building, historical roots of science fiction, the nature and history of book reviews in science fiction, and/or applications of more general cultural, theoretical, and textual approaches to this literature, including, for example, an examination of conventional and non-conventional conceptual metaphors in science fiction.  Secondary readings will come from the 2005 edited collection Speculations on Speculation: Theories of Science Fiction and from other sources. Literary readings might include works by such authors as Ursula K. Le Guin, Larry Niven, Frederick Pohl, China Mieville, Frank Herbert, Robert Forward, Octavia Butler, C.J. Cherryh, Neal Stephenson, William Gibson, Isaac Asimov, and Lauren Beukes.

English 698: Comprehensive Continuance. 1 credit.
          Continued preparation for the comprehensive examinations.

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

English 700: Thesis. 6 credits.
          Required for Master of Arts candidates in the creative writing concentration. Graded satisfactory/unsatisfactory.



 
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