Global Transcendentalism

Dr. Laura Zebuhr, Summer 2018

Unbearable Weight

Dr. Liz Wilkinson, Summer 2018

Intro to Creative Writing & Publishing

Dr. Chris Santiago, Fall 2018

Black Mystery Novel

Dr. Todd Lawrence, Fall 2018

Telling Tales: A Chaucer Remix

Dr. Martin Warren, Spring 2019

Summer 2018 Courses

This course considers the work of American Transcendentalists in a transnational and transhistorical context. We look at contemporaneous European philosophers -- Kant, Nietzsche, Swedenborg, Marx, Darwin, etc. -- to help frame the intellectual and literary context for Transcendentalism more broadly. We will then assess scholars' recent claims that these authors anticipate major twentieth-century philosophical movements like existentialism and phenomenology. Finally, we will investigate Transcendentalism's influence on movements such as Civil Rights, Indian Independence, and environmentalism. This course satisfies the pre-1900 American Literature distribution requirement (previous curriculum) or the early British/American Literature and Literature in a Global, Transatlantic, or Transnational perspective requirements (new curriculum).

This course will meet four times on campus during summer session II, with the remainder of classwork being done online. See the classfinder listing for all the details.

GENG 547-01 Global Transcendentalism Hybrid Online/On Campus (Summer II) Dr. Laura Zebuhr MHC 211

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Fall 2018 Courses

Introduction to Creative Writing and Publishing provides a primer to the expectations and conventions of graduate study in the field of creative writing, including creative writing pedagogy and practice, the running of a literary reading series, innovative forms of creative writing such as podcasting and interactive writing, as well as the study of the publishing field of creative writing; its areas of specialization, key issues, and forms of writing. How do writers orient themselves and their work in 21sts century workshops? What are the tools that govern print design, interactive prose, or literary podcasts? What is the history of the publishing industry and how does that inform our present moment? This course is required for the Master of Arts in Creative Writing & Publishing and is an elective for the Master of Arts in English.

GENG 501-01 Intro to Creative Writing & Publishing Thursdays, 6:00 - 9:00 PM Dr. Chris Santiago Location TBD

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This course provides an introduction to the expectations and conventions of graduate study, including research and writing methodology. In addition, it will introduce students to the field of English studies: its areas of specialization, key issues, and genres of writing. This course must be taken as one of the first three courses in the MA in English program. This course is required for the Master of Arts in English program.

GENG 513-01 Intro to Grad Studies in English Tuesdays, 6:00 - 9:00 pm Dr. Young-ok An JRC 481

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While for many Americans, the law and its enforcement have served to assuage anxieties about order and stability and to provide for a sense of security (“To Protect and Serve”), for African Americans the law has often been a barrier to freedom and dignity – a clear and present danger to human existence. It is the volatile nature of this relationship that makes detective, crime, and mystery novels by African American writers so fascinating. More often than not, the characters in these novels exist in a world where criminality depends entirely on one’s perspective. Often the real villain is a power structure that attempts to define and fix identity, status, privilege, and even humanity itself. This course will explore the complex terrain of crime and mystery novels written by black authors and seek to understand the ways protagonists of these works occupy a unique and precarious position while attempting to negotiate a world in which notions of “criminality,” “justice,” and “morality” are highly contested and almost always dependent on who occupies the positions of power. We will also explore the ways that black criminality can offer a powerful indictment of the very laws and systems that seek to regulate it. This course satisfies the multicultural literature requirement.

GENG 560-01 Black Mystery Novel Wednesdays, 6:00 - 9:00 pm Dr. Todd Lawrence Location TBD

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In this course, we'll study the eighteenth-century novel as it developed both in Britain and on the Continent. Early novels often took the form of autobiographies, and we'll examine the connection between life-writing and novel-writing. In tracing the birth and growth of what came to be a major genre, we'll be exploring class, gender, cultural and economic issues, and their relationship to what we now call the novel's realism. The writers we will study include Eliza Haywood, Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift, Henry Fielding, Jane Austen, Choderlos de Laclos, Denis Diderot, and Goethe. The course takes its title from Ian Watt's classic study from 1957, which tied the novel closely to the emergent capitalism of the early eighteenth century. To what extent has has recent criticism and theory moved beyond Watt? Do we still see the phenomenon of the rise of the novel in the same way he did? Among the many critics and theorists of the novel, we will read work by Michael Foucault, Michael McKeon, Walter Benjamin, and Nancy Armstrong. This course satisfies the pre-1900 British Literature distribution requirement (previous curriculum) or the early British/American Literature and Literature in a Global, Transatlantic, or Transnational perspective requirements (new curriculum). Prerequisite: GENG 513 or permission of the instructor.

GENG 628-01 Rise of the Novel Thursdays, 6:00 - 9:00 pm Dr. Raymond MacKenzie Room TBD

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In this course we survey various kinds of writing in the American colonies and United States from 1492 to the turn of the 19th century. Genres of writing include letters, captivity narratives, autobiography, political writing, slave narratives, fiction, and poetry. Our focus will be three-fold: the texts themselves; practices of literacy; and the historical contexts in which these texts and practices emerged. This course satisfies the pre-1900 American Literature distribution requirement. Prerequisite: GENG 513 or permission of the instructor.

GENG 642-01 Colonial American Lit Mondays, 6:00 - 9:00 pm Dr. Laura Zebuhr Room TBD

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Spring 2019 Courses

How has English emerged from an inconsequential and marginalized dialect in the eleventh-century England to a global language today? In what ways have writers of Anglophone literature (i.e., literature written in English) in various cultural, ethnic, and literary traditions shaped English into a rich, flexible, and creative language? This course investigates the complex issues and debates surrounding the question of language as narrated and evidenced in literary texts that can be united under the umbrella term of "Anglophone literature." We will do so by studying key texts and authors who have played an important role in shaping the English language through their writings in dominant varieties of English as well as forms of English that challenge powerful linguistic and literary traditions. We will begin with the earliest English literature in the eleventh-century English and end with the twentieth century Anglophone literature written in postcolonial settings. The central question we will ask in studying these texts is how these authors have shaped and transformed the English language and English literary traditions through their language use. In the process of our deliberation, we will discover that Anglophone writers' uses of language are often linked with issues of personal, social, cultural, and national identities. Course readings may include authors/texts such as Beowulf, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Josh Conrad, Jane Austen, Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, Salman Rushdie, Cathy Park Hong, and so on. This course satisfies Literature in a Global, Transatlantic, or Transnational perspective requirement (new curriculum).

GENG 572-01 Language & Identity in Anglophone Literature Mondays, 6:00 - 9:00 pm Dr. Juan Li Room TBD

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A workshop experience involving the ongoing exploration of subject matter and technique. Readings will include theoretical and creative texts. This course will also discuss fiction writing in publishing contexts – how literary works are written, revised, submitted, acquired, edited, and marketed by presses. The course will also give students insight into broader issues in the publishing world such as the rise of small and independent presses, university presses, traditional major presses, as well as online publishing, self publishing, and issues of access and diversity in the literary marketplace. The course will include guest lectures or other engagements with agents and/or editors from the publishing community.

GENG 602-01 Writing Fiction Thursdays, 6:00 - 9:00 pm Sal Pane Room TBD

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This course will explore the history of women’s writing about miscegenation and its consequences for women’s lives in the United States.  Before the Civil War, “tragic mulatta” tales like Lydia Maria Child’s “The Quadroons” and Dion Boucicault’s popular play The Octoroon invoked sympathy for female characters born in mixed-race unions who are raised as affluent white women only to discover, on their father’s death, that they are legally black by the “one drop” rule and will be sold as slaves.  Like the parading of near-white slaves at rallies, these narratives were used in the service of enlisting white support for abolition.  Yet more sophisticated texts, like Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, and Child’s Romance of the Republic worked changes on the “tragic mulatta” tale that allowed these writers to grapple with complex questions of racial identity raised by the highly charged subject positions of mixed-race persons in antebellum society.  Obviously, the racial rift in America did not disappear with the ending of slavery; twentieth century writers continued to interrogate issues of identity formation, civil rights, women’s rights, and relational and familial dynamics using the liminal position of the mixed-race woman to define both problems and triumphs.  We’ll explore the no-win situations created by Nella Larsen in Quicksand and Passing and the somewhat more hopeful explorations of race offered by current authors like Gloria Naylor (Mama Day) and Natasha Trethewey (Bellotcq’s Ophelia), along with a selection from the compelling body of historical and literary criticism on miscegenation. This course satisfies the pre-1900 American Literature distribution requirement for the old curriculum or the early British/American requirement for the new curriculum.

GENG 573-01 Between Worlds: Living on the Racial Divide Tuesdays, 6:00 - 9:00 pm Dr. Cathy Craft-Fairchild Room TBD

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In what forms do Chaucer and the Middle Ages persist in the modern cultural landscape? This question will guide this seminar, which explores the global reception history of Geoffrey Chaucer from his earliest English and French contemporaries to modern-day popular culture and digital media. Focusing on Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, the seminar will “code-switch” between medieval and postmedieval frames of reference. First, we will read The Canterbury tales by Chaucer; second, we will consider how Chaucerian works are repurposed in modern media (such as spoken word poetry, visual art, film, dialect literature, YouTube videos, and comic books). As this course toggles between modes of reading, it tests the boundaries between literary criticism and popular reception history. It also asks how present-day translation theory confronts a perceived chasm separating static text-based models of “translation” from embodied culture-based models of “adaptation.”

Thus, beyond studying Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, the seminar will (1) examine the online Global Chaucers project that logs and links translations and adaptations across the world; (2) explore the work of British-Nigerian poet, performer and rapper, Patience Agbabi, who revisits The Canterbury Tales and mines the Middle-English text to offer a 21st-century take on the characters, its poetry and its performance elements; and (3) wrestle with the six-part BBC Canterbury Tales adaptations of specific Canterbury Tales which are transferred to a modern, 21st-century setting, but still set along the traditional Pilgrims' route to Canterbury.

This course satisfies the Pre-1800 British Literature distribution requirement and counts as a 600-level seminar. This course also satisfies the Literature in a Global, Transatlantic, or Transnational Perspective for new curriculum. Prerequisite: GENG 513 or permission of the instructor and degree-seeking status.

GENG 621-01 Telling Tales: A Chaucer Remix Mondays, 6:00 - 9:00 pm Dr. Martin Warren Room TBD

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In a recent piece, "The Location of Literature: The Transnational Book and the Migrant Writer," Rebecca Wolkowitz suggests that "contemporary literature in the age of globalization is, in many ways, a COMPARATIVE literature: works circulate in many literary systems at once, and can-- some would say, need [to]--be read within severe national traditions" (my emphasis). In this course, we will examine the premise of this claim, examining a range of texts within the context of some of the vast changes that have taken place in the global economy in the last twenty years. We will focus on just a few distinctive feature of the present conjuncture: the political economy of transnationalism--how the acceleration in transnational capital accumulation and the accompanying dispossession of the poor and rise in migrant and refugee populations (especially in/from the Global South), have been highlighted or displaced in the transnational text; the emergence of a transnational citizen --how questions about citizenship have evolved at a time when national borders have become both more rigid and more fluid; gender in a transnational world--how gender has been used to demarcate and negotiate political and economic conflicts; and finally, the idea of transnational ethics-- how the events of 9/11 and the subsequent "war on terror" have realigned our notions of human rights. The texts we will read do not merely serve as "vessels" for economic or social positions, nor are they simply allied or resistant to dominant neoliberal paradigms; instead, like most texts, they yield contradictory "meanings," and we will consider ways in which these texts succeed or fail within the conditions of their own production. The course will explore a range of voices, including Arvind Adiga, Anthony Appiah, Giovanni Arrighi, Alain Badiou, Judith Butler, Rey Chow, Teju Cole, Amma Darko, David Harvey, Eduardo Galeano, Muhammed Hanif, Caren Kaplan, Arundhati Roy, Amartya Sen, Gayatri Spivak, and Slavoj Zizek. Each student will write blog entries, a mid-term paper, and a final essay, and s/he will also be responsible for an extended presentation. A list of books and films will be available at the end of the fall semester. This course satisfies the Multicultural Literature distribution requirement and counts as one 600-level course. This course also satisfies the Literature in a Global, Transatlantic, or Transnational Perspective for new curriculum. Prerequisite: GENG 513 or permission of the instructor.

GENG 660-01 Transnational Lit in the Age of Neoliberalism Wednesdays, 6:00 - 9:00 pm Dr. Kanishka Chowdhury Room TBD

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