Spring 2014 Graduate Course Offerings and Descriptions

Recent course offerings: Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013


 

ENG 501: Professional Seminar in College Composition (Crow)
0001 MW 2:30-3:45pm


English 410/512: Writers of the Rough South
Dr. Jean Cash (cashjw@jmu.edu)
MW 2:30-3:45PM

          Through exploring a number of modern and contemporary writers, students in this course will study the depiction of the underclass South in the 20th and 21st centuries.  The central text for the course will be the 2012, Grit Lit, A Rough South Reader, edited by Brian Carpenter and Tom Franklin.  We will also read stories and novels by Harry Crews, Dorothy Allison, Larry Brown, Tim Gautreaux, William Gay, Tom Franklin, Daniel Woodrell, Barb Johnson, Ron Rash, and Skip Horack. Study of this writing will show that Southern writers continue to produce more remarkable literature than writers from of any other section of the United States.  The course will also exercise students' skills in critical thinking, reading, writing, and speaking. Requirements include journals, formal papers, a research article, and active class participation.  Graduate students will produce a seminar paper and teach at least two of the works by the writers listed above.

Note: Registration requires a proposal and permission of the Director of Graduate Studies and the faculty member teaching the course.


ENG 610: Studies in Gender and Sexuality. Misconceptions: Motherhood and Biopower in Contemporary Women’s Writing
Dr. Mary Thompson (thompsmx@jmu.edu)
Monday 4:40-7:10pm

          This course explores the works of contemporary women writers with a focus on motherhood as a product of biopower as well as a site for fashioning feminist identities and critiques. Using feminist maternal theory (Rich, Chodorow, Lorde, Hill-Collins, Kristeva, and others) and the tools of literary analysis, we will examine the meanings of motherhood and maternal identity across class, culture, and race by drawing on women’s postmodern fiction, poetry, memoir, and blog writing.

Texts:
O’Reilly, Maternal Theory: Essential Readings (Demeter Press, 2007)
Allison, Bastard out of Carolina
Bechdel, Are you my Mother?
Castillo, So Far From God
Danticat, Breath Eyes Memory
Erdrich, Tracks
Jones, Corregidora
Kincaid, Autobiography of my Mother
Kingston, The Woman Warrior
Morrison, Beloved
Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds
Waldman, Bad Mother
Winterson, Sexing the Cherry


ENG 612: Topics in Theory & Cultural Studies: Close Reading: Form, Affect, & Ethics
Dr. Annette Federico (federiar@jmu.edu)
Tuesday 6-8:30pm

          This seminar takes up a set of very current critical responses to historicist and sociological models of critique that have defined the English academy since the 1980s. One, “New Formalism,” calls for a return to aesthetic matters that would take into account distinctive features of a literary text. Other scholars have urged a re-examination of psychological or phenomenological approaches that connect reading and affect. Writers and intellectuals are also asking critics to testify to the importance of literary reading to human situations and our lives as moral and ethical agents.

          These critical strands--form, affect, and ethics--implicitly ask scholars to bring the reader’s eyes back to the words on the page, to try to account for the beauty and strangeness of literary language, its unpredictable social consequences, its uncharted emotional resonances. It seems “close reading,” the protocol of 1950s New Criticism, with its stodgy heritage of ahistoricism, political disengagement, and elitism, is once again on the critical table--argued about, deplored, defended, and redefined.

          Readings will include 20th- and 21st-century literary theory and criticism, and poetry, drama, and fiction by Seamus Heaney, Mary Oliver, James Merrill, Lydia Davis, John Donne, Charles Dickens, Emily Dickinson, Henry James, Walt Whitman, A. E. Housman, W. H. Auden, John Keats, Alfred Tennyson, David Foster Wallace, Henry James, Salman Rushdie, Walt Whitman, Samuel Beckett, William Wordsworth, Wallace Stevens, and others.


ENG 651: Studies in 19th Century American Literature: Bodies of Thought: Mind and Body in Nineteenth-Century America
Dr. Matthew Rebhorn (rebhorme@jmu.edu)
Wednesday 5-8PM

          In nineteenth-century America, there was a tremendous amount of debate about the relationship between the mind and the body, debates often advanced by the scientific and medical communities.  Some physicians stole bodies from graves to perform autopsies and bled patients to discover the causes of disease, while others prescribed drinking water or sleeping in drafty rooms to maintain the health of the body.  At the core of these debates was a contest about whether the mind controlled the body, or the body had a “mind” of its own.  This course takes up these debates not only in and of themselves, but also in the way they affected the kinds of literature being produced in this period.  In reading well-known texts by Emerson, Poe, Melville, and Whitman, against lesser known texts about grave robbing, racial miscegenation, phantom limbs, and neurosis, we will see how these debates inflected what authors chose to explore and, even more importantly, how they chose to write about these events.  What this course ultimately hopes to reveal, therefore, is not only how nineteenth-century American literature reacted to the mind/body debate, but also how these works became American literature by taking up this debate.  


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.



 
.
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