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Fall 2019 English Graduate Courses and Descriptions


ENG 600: Research Methods
Fagan

Wednesday 5:00-8:00 PM
Introduction to research and writing in the discipline for beginning graduate students. Advanced training in research methods and citation, in critical analysis and scholarly writing, and in the disciplinary history and the workings of the academy. Required for all Master of Arts students in their first semester. 

 

ENG 610: Reproductive Justice and Women’s (Dystopian) Fiction
Thompson
Monday 5:00-8:00 PM
Foucault coined the term biopolitics to describe the infusion of social power into biological
processes, the end result of which is the regulation of populations. Pregnancy and childbirth are
still thought to be among the most natural of human actions; however, as many feminists have
sought to show, it remains highly constructed and contested cultural terrain. In feminist
utopian/dystopian, speculative, and science fiction works, authors explore the politics of
reproduction. Students will read these works critically using an intersectional feminist lens to
consider the relationships of power, technology, and family-making to race, gender and
sexuality. Possible texts include works by Margaret of Cavendish, Charlotte Perkins Gilman,
Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain, Marge Piercy, Joanna Russ, Octavia Butler, Margaret Atwood, Lidia
Yuknavitch, Naomi Alderman, Leni Zumas, Louise Erdrich, and Jane Rogers.



ENG 612: Time Signatures of American Literature
Rebhorn
Tuesday 5:00-8:00 PM
At the exact moment when the transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869, its backers
sent out a celebratory telegraph announcing this achievement. Yet, for all of the attempts to
memorialize just this moment, the actual time it occurred seems to have varied: in Virginia City,
Nevada, it occurred at 12:45pm; in San Francisco, it occurred at 11:46am; and in Washington,
DC, this event occurred at precisely 2:47pm. What these discordant times register is not the
faulty technology used to convey this event, but rather, the way temporality itself was unfixed
as the United States became a modern nation. While “standard time” would become the norm
by the end of the century, for most of the nineteenth century, there were competing ways that
citizens were invested in temporality and understood the passage of time. This course takes up
this fascinating moment by exploring the way the American novel represented these dissonant
“time signatures” both thematically (representations of time) and formally (representations in
time). Against the backdrop of industrialization, the first part of this course takes up novels by
Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Solomon Northrup, Catharine Maria Sedgwick, and
Frederick Douglass to explore the way these authors represented time and disrupted how we
make sense of time in narrative. In the latter part of the course, we will zero in on how the
post-industrial moment we are living in now has been represented temporally by contemporary
authors, such as Don Delillo and Colson Whitehead. From South Seas adventure tales to slave
narratives to novels of the zombie apocalypse, the texts of this course will be guided by
theoretical arguments and critical interventions.



ENG 640: Studies in Nineteenth-Century British Literature - The Victorian Novel 1860-1880
Federico
Thursday 5:00-8:00 PM
In this course, we will read eight novels from the meaty center of the Victorian age, the 1860s
and 1870s. Exciting things happened during this slice of time from a long, novel-producing
century: Collins produced the first full-length detective novel, both Eliot and Dickens wrote
their last complete works, the gothic-infused “sensation novel” took off, Trollope and Meredith
found their edge in social realism and satire, and Thomas Hardy created the tragic world of the
Wessex Novels.

The authors here were born between 1812 (Dickens) and 1840 (Hardy). They were swept into
the intellectual currents that defined the Victorian world––Mill, Darwin, Marx, Freud––but they
also helped shape that world through their fiction. Before the backlash of the fin de siecle and
modernism, these writers were already experimenting with the form of the novel. They were
radical in their representation of women and marginalized people, in their revelations of the
darker side of marriage and sexuality, in their interest in psychology, and in their attacks on the
vice and hypocrisy of corrupt politicians and the owners of wealth.
Deirdre David’s The Cambridge Companion to the Victorian Novel will accompany our readings
and supply much-needed context, but the modus operandi in this seminar will be close reading
and chunky analysis of the primary works in discussion, in writing, and in oral presentations to
the class.

Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Lady Audley’s Secret (1862)
Sheridan LeFanu, Uncle Silas (1864)
Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend (1865)
Wilkie Collins The Moonstone (1868)
George Eliot, Daniel Deronda (1876)
Anthony Trollope, The Way We Live Now (1875)
Thomas Hardy, The Return of the Native (1878)
George Meredith, The Egoist (1879)
Deirdre David, ed. The Cambridge Companion to the Victorian Novel

 

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