Recent Course Offerings

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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Spring 2018 Courses

What is English studies for—to appreciate art, develop empathy, construct self or national identity, make social change?  Given that, how do we teach it?  This seminar will explore the debates and controversies in the research on teaching English at the university level.  We will hone in on key terms and threshold concepts in both Composition Studies and Literary Studies (including literacy studies, cultural studies, literary theory, pedagogy, and rhetoric), and translate what we learn in these debates to actual classroom practices that reflect both our evolving pedagogical values, and the current research in English studies pedagogy.  In their assignments, 507 students will explore and apply concepts to classroom practice.   This course is designed to prepare future university professors in English as well as current high school English teachers who teach in the College in the Schools program.

GENG 507-01 Teaching College English Thursdays, 6:00 - 9:00 pm Dr. Lucia Pawlowski JRC 414

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In its fascinating evolution, science fiction has always functioned as a lens to think about society, whether it's Mary Shelley in 1818 looking on as Victor Frankenstein turns to modern experiments with electricity in the laboratory or Ernest Cline in 2011 imagining the energy crisis and global warming in a near-future world. We will approach the genre of SF as a mode of thought-experimentation and world-building that problematizes actual and possible political, cultural, natural, human, and techno-scientific realities. Among the themes included are environment apocalypse, the alien, utopias and dystopias, race, gender, and sexuality, religion, and culture. Possible texts (written and filmic) are Blade Runner (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), The Left Hand of Darkness, District 9, The Handmaid's Tale, Parable of the Sower, The Fat Year, and Black Mirror.


GENG 514-01 Science Fiction Literature Mondays, 6:00 - 9:00 pm Dr. Martin Warren OEC 210

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Travel, journey, voyage, sojourn, especially into a foreign land—the words are magic, and they evoke in us an opportunity for self-discovery and discovery of the new world. What about women’s travels or female travels imagined by women writers? Do these add additional “baggage”?

Inspired by the burgeoning “literary mobility studies”—which include studies of travel writing, narratives of migration and the impact of wars and power hierarchies—this course examines a fantastic array of women’s writing, focusing on the late eighteenth century through the mid-nineteenth century, when international traveling spread and became firmly established in cultural and literary discourse. The era’s important scientific and territorial “discoveries”—including Captain James Cook’s journeys to the Antipodes and to Hawaii and Mungo Park’s excursions to Africa—fed the reading public’s rising interests in the “outside” world, and literary writers met them with stories of the faraway lands.

Women writers increasingly participated in this repertoire, exploring the theme of journeys into foreign lands. Spanning various genres (including poetry, novels, plays, epistolary forms, literary annuals, etc.), these women writers experimented with various literary trajectories usually assumed to be the prerogatives of male writers (Byron being the most celebrated case). Residing in distant times or traversing different geographical areas, their memorable characters seem to work as their avatars; and the “exotic” female characters reflect their own aspirations and anxieties. Thus these women writers challenged the cult of domesticity inculcated in women of the time on the one hand (by becoming authors and by shaping the general public’s imagination about women’s mobility), and commented on the prevailing ideologies of British nationalism and imperialism on the other. They revealed that individual and national identities were often socially constructed, and along gendered lines. These issues concerning mobility, emigration, science, nature, imperialism, cosmopolitanism, and transnational crossings resonate in our time as much as theirs.

Course readings may include authors such as Madame de Graffigny (Letters from A Peruvian Woman, translated from French), Flora Tristan (Peregrinations of a Pariah), Mary Wollstonecraft (Letters from Scandinavia), Mary Shelley (Collected Tales and Stories; Lodore), Felicia Hemans (The Forest Sanctuary and other poems), Letitia Landon (Romance and Reality and poems), and Jemima Layton (Spanish Tales), along with secondary sources.

This course satisfies the pre-1830 British literature requirement. Prerequisite: GENG 513 or permission of the instructor.

GENG 629-01 Transnational Writings by Romantic Women Writers Tuesdays, 6:00 - 9:00 pm Dr. Young-ok An OEC 212

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Ta-Nehisi Coates writes, in Between the World and Me, that "In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body -- it is heritage." To some this may be a shocking claim, but to the black subject, this is a most unavoidable truth. From Federick Douglass, who enters the "blood-stained gate, the entrance to the hell of slavery," by witnessing the brutal beating of his aunt; to the young girl Frado, of Harriet Wilson's Our Nig, whose body is slowly broken and destroyed by the vicious cruelty of her owners, the Bellmont family; to the thousands of black men whose bodies were destroyed in various awful ways in perverse lynching scenes; to the bloodied head of John Lewis; to Michael Brown's lifeless body lying in a Ferguson street -- the whiteness and American culture could not exist. This course will examine the black body as a manifestation of blackness, as a site of abjection, as a source of magic and power, and as a mystical technology. Primary authors may include Harriet Wilson, Toni Morrison, Gayl Jones, Octavia Butler, and Walter Mosely. Theorists may include Sadiya Hartman, Christina Sharpe, Alexander Weheliye, Franz Fanon, and others. This course satisfies the Multicultural Literature distribution requirement. Prerequisite: GENG 513 or permission of the instructor

GENG 660-01 Theorizing The Black Body Wednesdays, 6:00 - 9:00 pm Dr. Todd Lawrence JRC 222

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Fall 2017 Courses

An introduction to the principal theoretical issues and questions in the discipline of literary studies. The course explores the major contemporary approaches to literary studies in the context of various traditions of literary theory and criticism. It encourages students to assess constructively some of the key controversies in contemporary critical theory and apply their learning to the interpretation of literary texts. This required course must be taken as one of the first three courses in the program.

GENG 513-01 Issues in Criticism Mondays, 6:00 - 9:00 pm Dr. Alexis Easley JRC 481

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In this course, we’ll study the literature of the Early Modern period in England, with some glances at its Continental context.  Among the many topics we’ll be examining are the new sense of human psychology and the inner person, the new view of religion and its relation to the state, new views of women and of male-female relations, and new views of literature and its place in society.  The works we will study represent a broad range of genres, styles and approaches; the authors will include Thomas More, Sidney, Spenser, and Shakespeare as well as Amelia Lanyer, Mary Wroth, and Margaret Cavendish. This course satisfies the pre-1830 British Literature distribution requirement.

GENG 522-01 The English Renaissance Thursdays, 6:00 - 9:00 pm Dr. Ray MacKenzie MHC 211

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This course investigates a concept that is very intimately tied to commonplace narratives about the United States: freedom. Specifically, we will ask 19th-century literary and philosophical texts to help us think through the relationship between freedom and constraint. While we might perhaps think of freedom as the absence of constraint, such a conception of freedom makes it challenging to imagine our lives together, or to speak of “the common good.” We will look at how 19th-century texts theorize and represent what it might mean to be free. Secondary readings that introduce transnational philosophical and political debates about freedom and free will in the late 18th and 19th centuries, as well as slavery and emancipation, Indian Removal, immigration, and industrialization will frame our discussions. This course satisfies the pre-1900 American Literature distribution requirement.

GENG 547-01 19th-Century American Literature Wednesdays, 6:00 - 9:00 pm Dr. Laura Zebuhr MHC 211

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2.9 million marching for women’s rights and for human rights…. In the words of the 1960s rock band Buffalo Springfield, “There’s something happening here / What it is ain’t exactly clear / There’s a man with a gun over there / Telling me I got to beware / We better stop, children; what’s that sound / Everybody look what’s going ‘round….” In a lot of ways, it does feel like we have landed squarely in a twilight zone that harkens back to the protests of the 1960s. But it’s not 1967; it’s 2017. What is happening here? That’s what this course will examine, currently and historically, through a Woman’s Studies lens. We’ll be using a combination of the text Reading Feminist Theory by Susan Archer Mann and articles available digitally via Ms. Magazine in the Classroom and our library edition of Bitch magazine. We’ll look at the intersectionality at work in the world and in our small corner of it. Our goal will be to write conference level papers that could be presented at the National Women’s Studies Association Conference (NWSA) or the Feminisms and Rhetorics Conference (FemRhet) or any of a number of other conferences that focus on feminist / womanist scholarship. Prerequisite: GENG 513 or permission of the instructor.

GENG 613-01 Feminisms in Thought & Action Tuesdays, 6:00 - 9:00 pm Dr. Elizabeth Wilkinson JRC 481

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