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For the most up-to-date listing of course offerings, please consult the course schedule.  For the most current course descriptions and program information, please consult the University Catalog.  For an archive of past seminar offerings, please scroll to the bottom of this page.

Spring 2019 Graduate Seminars:

English 5001 – Theoretical Foundations of Literary Studies (Dr. Jun Liu, Tuesdays 6PM – 8:45PM)

English 5002 – Research Methods in Literary Studies (Dr. Maria Karafilis, Mondays 6PM – 8:45PM)

English 5002 is one of the two required introductory courses designed to prepare students for graduate level coursework. Engl 5002 introduces graduate students to the research methods and disciplinary practices of literary studies, with particular emphasis on concrete, practical strategies for producing persuasive arguments about texts and understanding the various genres of advanced literary studies (abstracts, annotated bibliographies, critical essays, literature reviews, and proposals).

English 5040: Theories of Composition and Rhetoric (Dr. Kathryn Perry, Thursdays 6 PM - 8:45 PM)


Why and how do we write?  Why and how do we teach writing?  In this course, we will study the diverse approaches to teaching college composition. By reading from a wide range of scholarship, we will gain an understanding of the history, research, theories, and pedagogies arising from the discipline of composition and rhetoric. While some of these texts are aimed at orienting grad students and new teachers, others are research studies that offer revealing insight into what rhet/comp research looks like in action. By the end of the course, you will not only know the arc of key issues and ideas in this discipline, you will also gain an understanding of how rhet/comp scholars do research and engage each other in disciplinary debates. Your final seminar paper will enact the kind of researched exploration we will have read, and your own scholarly voice will fill a specific gap in the field. In other words, while I want you to be invested in learning the content of this course, I also want you to build and assert your own scholarly identity into these ongoing conversations. The course will include a civic engagement component; you will work with a local literacy nonprofit in order to practice the writing pedagogies we have been studying in class.


ENGL 5190 – Men, Women, and God in Medieval Narrative: (Dr. Michael Calabrese, Tuesdays, 6:00-8:45).

This class studies medieval narratives about men and women in the spiritual tradition, exploring narratives written both by men and women and about men and women.  It features such works as the extraordinary autobiography of Margery Kempe, who turned to a life of spiritual affection with God after having had 14 children, rejecting the marital life.  It also features Dante’s Paradiso, where the poet encountered many famous men and women who have won the rewards of heaven. It also features medieval narratives written about Mary, the Mother of God and a central figure in medieval narrative’s imagination of the nurturing divine.


ENGL 5400 – Representing Revolution (Dr. Caroline McManus, Mondays, 6-8:45 PM)

Seventeenth-century English literature bears witness to the multiple revolutions (intellectual, spiritual, literary, and literal) characterizing the period.  How, in particular, were the political and religious tensions that led to the Civil Wars, Commonwealth and Protectorate, and Restoration encoded within the poetry and prose of the period? How did writers (especially socially subdominant groups) employ “functional ambiguity” (Annabel Patterson’s phrase) to explore controversial topics and register resistance? Using new formalist and cultural materialist methodologies, we will explore ways in which writers of the period re-envisioned social power and governance structures. Weekly topics will include love, God, the household as microcosm of the nation, and imagining resistance, among others, and we'll be reading Donne, Herbert, Lanyer, Marvell, Cavendish, Philips, Milton, as well as authors of polemical prose.


ENGL 5600 – Passing Literature: Fictions of Race and Gender (Dr. Ren Heintz​; Wednesdays, 6-8:45 PM)

The genre and literary trope of passing, most commonly expressed in characters who are “legally” black but who are able to pass for white, is a popular narrative that runs throughout American literature. The importance of the passing narrative rests in its ability to expose how race is a social construct. Alongside narratives of racial passing often runs narratives of cross dressing and gender passing (man for woman or woman for man). This course will examine why and how racial passing is often aided and abetted by gender passing, and vice versa, why gender passing often invokes racial passing. The language of fiction, metaphors of race, performances of gender, and the visual strategies of film will guide our explorations. Our topics of theoretical discussion will be critical race theory, gender studies, transgender studies, and the history of race and sexuality. Assignments for the course will be one presentation on a course unit, one annotated bibliography, and one final seminar paper. Possible course texts will include: Ellen and William Craft’s Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom, John Howard Griffin’s Black Like Me, Jackie Kay’s Trumpet, Nella Larsen’s Passing, Patricia Powell’s The Pagoda, Charles Chesnutt’s Conjure Woman, and Mark Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson. A range of scholarly texts and excerpts will be read alongside the literature.




Use the links below to view descriptions of seminars offered in prior terms.


Recent Seminars

Spring 2017 Seminar Descriptions

Fall 2016 Seminar Descriptions

Spring 2016 Seminar Descriptions

Fall 2015 Seminar Descriptions

Summer 2015 Seminar Descriptions

Spring 2015 Seminar Descriptions

Winter 2015 Seminar Descriptions

Fall 2014 Seminar Descriptions