Spring 2012 Graduate Course Offerings and Descriptions

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English 501: Professional Seminar in College Composition.
Dr. Michael Moghtader
 Tuesday & Thursday 12:30-1:45

          Professional Seminar in College Composition is designed for students who want to teach first-year college writing, who want to understand why and how one teaches writing, and even for those who want to better understand the basis for their own attitudes toward writing instruction. By introducing students to writing pedagogy in ways that interweave theoretical study and practical application activities, the course helps students learn not only effective pedagogical strategies to implement in the classroom but also the reasons why those strategies work. The course is required of all teaching assistants before they are eligible to teach first-year writing at JMU.

English 512: Special Topics Seminar. Flannery O'Connor and Walker Percy*
Dr. Jean Cash
Monday & Wednesday 2:30-3:45

*Note: Enrollment in this course requires the permission of the English Graduate Director and the Professor

English 612: Topics in Theory and Cultural Studies. Feminist Literary and Cultural Theory.
Dr. Mary Thompson
Thursday 4:00-7:00PM

          Overview: This course asks students to explore the tradition of women writing about writing, contemporary feminist literary and cultural theory and criticism. Students can expect to gain familiarity with on-going feminist conversations, concepts and terminology, and to practice engaging with these ideas in their own critical writing.

Goals:
* to explore themes in women’s writing about writing
* to explore theories of gender oppression and their relevance to literary study
* to gain familiarity with on-going discussions within feminist literary and cultural criticism

Required Texts:
Woolf, Virginia. A Room of One’s Own (1929). Mariner Books, 2005.
Felski, Rita. Literature After Feminism. University of Chicago Press. 2003.
S. Gilbert & S. Gubar. Feminist Literary Theory and Criticism: A Norton Reader. W. W. Norton & Co. 2007
McRobbie, Angela. The Aftermath of Feminism: Gender, Culture and Social Change. Sage Press, 2008.
Gubar, Susan. Rooms of our Own. University of Illinois Press, 2006.

English 620: Studies in Renaissance and Early Modern Literature. Tudor Literature and the History of the Book: 1485-1603.
Dr. Mark Rankin
Monday 5:00-8:00PM

          This graduate seminar will investigate the manufacture, dissemination, and use of printed books and manuscripts during the era of the Tudor monarchs (1485-1603). Its governing question will be whether the advent of printing constituted a necessary precondition for the emergence of new reading and book-making practices associated with the Renaissance and Reformation. In developing their own plausible responses to this question, students will consider ways in which readers, authors, editors, translators, and publishers responded to and utilized elements such as book layout, typography, illustration, and paratext (e.g., prefaces, glosses, and commentaries) as vehicles for meaning. Employing key methods of the history of the book and the history of reading, this investigation will consider how the physical nature of books affected ways in which readers understood and assimilated their intellectual contents.
          We shall investigate these questions within the broader context afforded by Tudor Literature’s newfound status as a viable subfield within early modern literary studies. Indeed, publication of The Oxford Handbook of Tudor Literature (OUP, 2009) has managed finally to put to rest C.S. Lewis’s influential dismissal, in English Literature of the Sixteenth Century (OUP, 1954), of the the bulk of this literature as “drab.” The retrieval of neglected texts which employ variegated and complex literary forms raises substantial questions concerning canon formation and periodization, on the one hand, and the legacy of the so-called “new historicism,” which largely (and ironically) operated within the bounds of Lewis’s aesthetic criteria, on the other hand. As a shared point of departure for its theoretical investigation, the seminar will consider two neglected texts: Stephen Hawes's verse allegory The Pastime of Pleasure (c. 1506) and William Baldwin's prose satire Beware the Cat (1552). Students will be expected to undertake additional primary source readings on their own and in conjunction with essays appearing in the Oxford Handbook. By employing methodological practices associated with the study of book and reading history, this seminar will ask challenging questions concerning the practice and method of literary criticism, the issue of canonicity, and the varied and fraught ways in which we read.
          Requirements will include two in-class presentations, a review of a scholarly monograph, short response papers to selected secondary readings, and a substantial research project.

          Required texts include the following:

Baldwin, William. Beware the Cat: The First English Novel. Ed. William A. Ringler, Jr., and Michael Flachmann. San Marino,           CA: The Huntington Library, 1988.
Hawes, Stephen. The Pastime of Pleasure. Ed. W.E. Mead. Early English Text Society, 2000.
Mike Pincombe and Cathy Shrank (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Tudor Literature, 1485-1603 (OUP, 2009; paperback
         issue January 1, 2012).
Mark Bland, A Guide to Early Printed Books and Manuscripts (Blackwell, 2010).
Selected secondary readings available via Blackboard

English 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
Wednesday 5:00-8:00PM

          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. We will attempt to come to terms with the commercial production and marketing of literature in an era marked by literature’s attempt to escape its identity as a commodity. At the same time, the course will operate as a kind of experimental workshop, with some profound questions hanging over our heads. How does one “do” literary criticism with a hybrid and (apparently) ephemeral form like the magazine? How might we consider magazine editors and publishers as having coherent artistic visions? How should we talk about texts that exist in both fragmented and whole states (as magazine excerpts and as novels/collections/poems between covers)? Ideally, we will move back and forth between magazines and more traditionally studied literary texts, between publishing/book history and more familiar modes of literary criticism. Primary readings may include works by writers like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sherwood Anderson, Dashiell Hammett, Edward Christopher Williams, H.L. Mencken, Meridel Le Sueur, Hart Crane, Jean Toomer, William Carlos Williams, Michael Gold, T.S. Eliot, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, Nathanael West, and others. As a part of the course requirements, students will each produce an extensive bibliography and presentation on a periodical and a final essay on a text outside our common reading that incorporates the methodologies used in the course.


English 671: Studies in South Asian Literature. Cracking India: The Partition in Fiction and Film
Dr. Debali Mookerjea-Leonard
Tuesday 4:00-7:00PM

          The escalating hostilities in the Indian subcontinent in the late colonial period, between Hindus and Sikhs, on the one hand, and Muslims, on the other, reached its horrific climax in the Partition of August 1947. The Partition was simultaneous with British decolonization of the subcontinent and led to the emergence of India and Pakistan as independent nation-states. This dramatic act of cartographic revisionism was marked by unprecedented violence and massive relocations.
This watershed event produced, and continues to produce, a rich artistic tradition. While the emerging critical scholarship on the Partition and its aftermath has deepened our understanding of the relationship between historical trauma, collective memory, and cultural processes, its scope and potential remain limited by a near-exclusive focus on Anglophone writings of the 1980s-90s. This course, while attending to Anglophone writings, will also study the largely unexplored vernacular archives and raise questions of regional specificity. Drawing from an eclectic range of literary texts, films and critical writings, we will examine popular cultural representations of the Partition.

English 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.

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

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

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



 
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