Freedom and Constraint

Dr. Laura Zebuhr, Summer 2020

Intro to Creative Writing & Publishing

Dr. Heather Bouwman, Fall 2020

Otherness and Appropriation

Dr. Christopher Santiago, Fall 2020

Transnational Romanticisms

Dr. Young-ok An, Fall 2020

Literature and Celebrity Culture

Dr. Alexis Easley, Fall 2020

Summer 2020 Courses

In this course, we will ask 19th-century literary and philosophical texts to help us think through the relationship between freedom and constraint with special attention to power and embodied identity. We will read texts that seek to make universalizing claims about the nature of freedom and constraint, as well as texts that speak to how categories like race, gender, sexuality, and class are produced and mobilized during this period to define and restrict freedom. The lesson plan, a writing sample, etc. This course satisfies the multicultural literature requirement.

Online ZOOM Meetings: July 14, 16, 21, 23, 28, 30 and August 4, 6.
Supervised Independent Research: August 11, 13, 18, 20.

GENG 558-01 Freedom and Constraint Hybrid on campus/online Dr. Laura Zebuhr JRC 414

Fall 2020 Courses

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.

GENG 513-01 Intro to Graduate Studies in English Mondays, 6:00 - 9:00 pm Dr. Laura Zebuhr JRC 481


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 world from the point of view of a writer, reader, and editor. Additionally, it will introduce students to the academic field of creative writing: its area of specialization, key issues, and forms of writing. How do writers orient themselves and their work in 21st 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 Mondays, 6:00 - 9:00 pm Dr. Heather Bouwman JRC 222


How do we write about—or from—perspectives that differ greatly from our own? Is doing so an “act of ethical urgency” (Hari Kunzru), or is it cultural appropriation? In this hybrid creative writing/literature course, we will write from places of discomfort and unfamiliarity. We will write from positionalities of gender, (dis)ability, sexuality, age, religion, class, and race that differ from our own. Before doing so, we will read broadly and discuss theories of otherness, normativity, craft, research, and writing; we will also read recent examples of both ethical and problematic fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, and the discourses that surround them. The course will be approximately fifty percent creative writing & fifty percent craft/critical theory, with an eye toward balancing Kunzru’s call for “humility in the face of otherness” with Toni Morrison’s injunction to “[t]hink of somebody you don’t know.” Students are encouraged to write creative work in any of the major genres, including genre hybrids.

This course satisfies a writing workshop for MA Creative Writing & Publishing students as well as the multicultural literature requirement.

GENG 558-01 Otherness & Appropriation: Writing Outself the Self Tuesdays, 6:00 - 9:00 pm Dr. Chris Santiago JRC 481


Globalism, transnationalism, and mobility across borders are the signs of our times, until we are suddenly confronted with the obverse situation: closed borders due to a pandemic, caused by a precisely borderless viral agent. In that regard, the possibilities and challenges we face in our times parallel with (or extend from) those of the Romantics when they saw an increase in global travels and migrations, ecological disruptions and threats of diseases, in the times of colonial and commercial expansion, revolutions, and wars. Inspired by the burgeoning field of “literary mobility studies”—which include studies of travel writing, narratives of migration, and the impact of wars and power hierarchies on a global scale — we will read works that fascinated the readers of their day, exploring the “outside” world across national borders. We will also reflect upon the implications of globalism such as pandemics or the removal of art works from their native territories by occupying forces. These issues are as relevant today as two centuries ago. We will focus on Byron (Don Juan and other poems) and Mary Shelley (The Last Man and short stories), while contextualizing their work by reading Percy Shelley, John Keats, and Felicia Hemans, along with theoretical and critical texts that involve sciences, arts, ecology, travel writing, diseases, and feminism.

This course satisfies the early literature requirement and the global, transnational, and transatlantic requirement.

GENG 629-01 Transnational Romanticisms Wednesdays, 6:00 - 9:00 pm Dr. Young-ok An JRC 481


In the twenty-first century, celebrities are a ubiquitous feature of everyday life—in part due to the rise of new media, which allow for the viral transmission and re-circulation of news across culture. The expansion of new media has also allowed writers to fashion their own identities and to reach new audiences for their work. The postmodern idea of the literary celebrity as someone whose identity is constructed via new media got its start during the nineteenth century with the development of new communication technologies: film, photography, illustrated advertising, and mass-market newspapers. In this course, we will explore case studies from the nineteenth century—e.g., Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens, and Oscar Wilde—and then jump forward to the present moment, where writers such as Danez Smith and Mary Oliver use new media in ways that build upon and transform the strategies pioneered by their predecessors. We will also examine the fan groups and literary tourism industries that sprang up in response to writers’ celebrated book publications, both past and present. In the process, we will study literary works, new media texts, and recent theory and criticism on literary celebrity. We will meet in class for 9 weeks, then have four weeks of independent study, followed by a final day in class sharing our research.


GENG 672-01 Literature & Celebrity Culture Hybrid on campus/independent research, Thursdays, 6:00 - 9:00 pm Dr. Alexis Easley JRC 222


Spring 2021 Courses

Dramatic literature is our genre. Empathy, intimacy, and caregiving our subjects. Questions we’ll be asking include: how does the genre of drama lend itself to the development of empathy, of intimacy, of care? How is meaning negotiated in health, illness, and dramatic literature? Our reading will include theatre theory (e.g., Aristotle, Maria Irene Fornes, Sarah Ruhl), sociological theory on empathy and emotional labor (e.g., Arlie Hochschild, Allison Pugh), and a variety of plays (by Sophocles, Shakespeare, Ruhl, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Jackie Sibblies Drury, Amy Herzog, Caryl Churchill). We will examine case studies of organizations using drama and theater for healing, such as Theater of War and Playback Theatre; uses of drama and theatre in medical school and social work training; and the fields of bibliotherapy and narrative therapy. Students will work with community partners to explore ways their graduate English education could be used in arts, healthcare, and social work settings.

GENG 514-01 Getting Close: Drama & Intimacy Thursdays, 6:00 - 9:00 pm Dr. Amy Muse Room TBD


n this course we will look at how rhetoric has historically shaped and continues to shape political discourse. We will consider such aspects of rhetoric broadly: speech, textual documents, performance, and technology. Questions of discussion will include - what constitutes an argument and how does our current political context impact what counts as argumentation; how do language and current tools and technologies shape the way that citizens are constructed; how are civic processes enacted in real-world settings; and how do citizens engage in tactical citizenship? This fulfills your GENG 516 requirement. GENG 513 pre-req or approval of the instructor.

GENG 516-01 Political & Civic Rhetoric Tuesdays, 6:00 - 9:00 pm Dr. Fernando Sánchez Room TBD


In 1903, the greatest black intellectual of the twentieth century, W.E.B. Du Bois, wrote of America, “The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line.” Over a century later, black writers are still grappling with many of the same issues Du Bois so eloquently engaged in his seminal text, THE SOULS OF BLACK FOLK. In this course we will think about what it means to be black in the twenty-first century by reading some of the most interesting and celebrated black novels published during the last twenty years. Authors will include: Colson Whitehead, Jesmyn Ward, Edwidge Danticat, Yaa Gyasi, Percival Everett, Danzy Senna, and Teju Cole. This course satisfies the multicultural literature distribution requirement. 

GENG 560-01 The 21st Century Black Novel Mondays, 6:00 - 9:00 pm Dr. Todd Lawrence Room TBD


Though the form of the essay dates back thousands of years, the notion of essays belonging more to the realm of creative writing and less that of rhetoric and oratory is still quite new—perhaps only 25 or so years old. Over the course of the semester, we will read from both essays and book-length works of creative nonfiction that represent some of the historic roots of the form, but mostly from diverse and contemporary writers working in the field today, such as Kiese Laymon, Roxane Gay, Alison Bechdel, and Ocean Vuong. We will also all write new work to be discussed by the whole class at least twice, once in a more conventional form of nonfiction such as a personal essay, another in a more contemporary, emerging form such as an immersion essay.

GENG 604-01 Creative Nonfiction: The Art of Truth Wednesdays, 6:00 - 9:00 pm Dr. Matthew Batt Room TBD