Fall 2013 Graduate Course Listings

Fall 2013 Graduate Course Listings

Fall 2013 Graduate Course Listings


Reminder about Registration Procedures:

Please keep in mind that we will register you in the order in which you submit your course requests to us via the Survey Monkey link sent to all students in the program. Please complete the survey as soon as possible, as we will not register you unless or until you have done so.

Dr. Adams or Dr. Witschi can begin registering you on March 11, 2013.

If you need advising about your course choices or program requirements, stop by 625 Sprau. Spring advising hours are Tuesdays 2:00-5:00; Wednesdays 1-4:30; and, Thursdays noon-3.


ENGL 5300: Medieval Literature ENGL 6100: The Gothic: Tradition and Innovation in British and Irish Fiction, 1760-1900
ENGL 5390: Post-Colonial Literature ENGL 6110: Literary Forms--Flash Fiction
ENGL 5550: Chaucer: Chivalry, Courtly Love, and Violence ENGL 6420: Studies in Drama
ENGL 5550: Spenser and Milton ENGL 6660: Graduate Writing Workshop--Fiction
ENGL 5670: Creative Writing Workshop--Poetry ENGL 6660: Graduate Writing Workshop--Poetry
ENGL 5680: Creative Writing Workshop--Playwriting ENGL 6690: Methods of Teaching College Writing
ENGL 5760: Introduction to Old Norse ENGL 6800: Advanced Methods in Teaching Literature


English 5300: Medieval Literature

CRN: 45924
Wednesdays, 4:00-6:20; Brown 3030
Dr. Jana Schulman
Fulfills: Ph.D. Distribution requirement for medieval literature; M.A.-level elective

Diverse texts of the Middle Ages can belong to various genres, raising questions of how epic should be defined. Epic is traditionally understood as a verse narrative about a male hero and his heroic deeds of honor. What unifies the works that we will read over the course of this semester is the fundamental place of “community,” whether the works tell the tales of the establishment of particular communities, the foundation from which communities contemporary with the singer or author draw cultural meaning, or the end of a foundational community. While these communities focus primarily on the deeds of men, the communities in which and for which they perform these deeds also consist of women. Reading these diverse texts will allow us to discuss epic broadly and then more narrowly by examining women authors of epic, female characters in epic, and women’s history as reflected upon in these texts in addition to gender and power dynamics.


English 5390: Post-Colonial Literature

CRN: 45646
Thursdays, 6:30-9:00; Brown 3003
Dr. Mustafa Mirzeler
Fulfills: Ph.D. requirement for Non-traditional literature; M.A.-level elective

Writing about post-colonialism and literature, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, one of the greatest African novelists, suggests that in moments of change, when new societies arise from the old ones, powerful members of the new society often impose silence on the population by taking away certain human rights, such as the right to organize and the right to express political opinions. Such acts, however simultaneously give voice to the oppressed population, and this includes storytellers, writers and artists (1998: 26-28). Political rulers and others have throughout history sought to tame the tongue of the African storyteller and the writers, but success in such endeavors is only sporadically successful, is never long-lasting (Scheub 1996: XV). The African storytellers fuse ancient ideas, motifs, and images of the past with the emotionally felt experiences of the members of their audiences as they persuasively provide new contexts, meaning, and insights to society’s contemporary problems. Storytellers and writers work the images of their tradition to transform the tale into a symbol of the collective voice around which the members of the society could be mobilized for social and political change.

This course gives voice to the African storytellers who are seldom heard from outside of their villages as well as the internationally recognized novelists. Important changes in the lives of the African people came about not only through colonization of the continent, the development of the post-colonial nation states, the introduction of wage labor and modernity, but also by new world order, new forms of political violence and terrorism which have altered the core of the African societies. In contrast to the changes relating to modern nation states which devalued women’s power and authority, and hindered their mobility, new form of terrorism have increased young men’s power and authority and enhanced their mobility and international networking abilities. One of the themes that will dominate the class discussion is the impact of the new form of international violence and terrorism which impacted people’s daily lives, altered gender relations, and transformed the meanings of death and violence. When we analyze the stories of these storytellers and writers, we can see how the narrative of the storytellers gives voice to alternative discourse and becomes an integral expression of the oppressed, serving the imagination and the creation of a new societies and landscapes, engendering new memories from those of the past.


English 5550: Studies in Major Authors - Chaucer: Chivalry, Courtly Love, and Violence

CRN: 45645
Thursdays, 4:00-6:20;
Dr. Eve Salisbury
Fulfills: Ph.D. distribution requirement for British Literature to 1500; M.A.-level elective

Chivalry and courtly love are often considered to be civilizing forces for all those who subscribe to the codes of conduct such behavioral systems espouse. Yet lurking under a thin façade of civility, aspiration, and idealism resides the potential for discord, disruption, and dissent. In this course, we consider select tales from The Canterbury Tales, as well as The Parliament of Fowls, Troilus and Criseyde, the rarely studied Legend of Good Women, and some of the short poems to explore the poet's modes of representation (sometimes allegorical, sometimes ironic, sometimes comic, sometimes tragic) against codes of conduct written explicitly for young men and young women. Read in conjunction with Andreas Capellanus's Art of Courtly Love, Geffroi de Charney’s Book of Chivalry, and select conduct treatises (available online), these works reveal a troubling disparity between courtly expectations and the realities of everyday life.

Required Texts:

Larry D. Benson, et al., The Riverside Chaucer, third edition (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987).

Andreas Capellanus, The Art of Courtly Love, trans., John Jay Parry (New York: Columbia University Press, 1960).

The Book of Chivalry of Geoffroi de Charny: Text, Context, and Translation, ed. Richard W. Kaeuper and Elspeth Kennedy (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996).

“How the Good Wife Taught Hyr Doughter” and “How the Goode Man Taght Hys Sone,” in Trials and Joys of Marriage, ed. Eve Salisbury (Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 2002). (available online)


English 5550: Studies in Major Authors - Spenser and Milton

CRN: 45811
Mondays, 4:00-6:20; Brown 4010
Dr. Elizabeth Bradburn
Fulfills: Ph.D. distribution requirement for Renaissance Literature; M.A.-level literature elective

Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene and John Milton’s Paradise Lost are the great Protestant epics of the English Renaissance. In this course we will read bothin the context of the Reformation. We will also read other works by these writers along with a selection of literary criticism We will examine Spenser’s influence on Milton as well as the poetics of verse narrative. Course requirements include weekly selection of textual passages for commentary and analysis in class, reading aloud, 1-2 shorter papers and a researched seminar paper.


English 5670: Creative Writing Workshop - Poetry

CRN: 44089
Mondays, 4:00-7:30; Brown 4002
Dr. Nancy Eimers
Fulfills: Creative Writing Ph.D. or M.F.A. workshop requirement

Art, says poet Carl Phillips, “is its own signature--irreplicable, strange, never seen before, not seeable again elsewhere in the future.” In this advanced poetry writing workshop, we will spend the semester exploring how, in poetry, this might be true. We’ll examine the “signatures” of contemporary poets by reading three contemporary collections, and each week we will consider the individual signatures of class members by workshopping class poems.


English 5680: Creative Writing Workshop - Playwriting

CRN: 44090
Wednesdays, 4:00-7:30; Dunbar 3201
Dr. Steve Feffer
Fulfills: Creative Writing Ph.D. or M.F.A. workshop requirement

This is a workshop in the writing, critical reading and presentation of original drama. We will spend most of our time in class on the presenting and workshopping of your work. However, we will also have a few classes where a portion of the session will be devoted to playwriting exercises that will help you develop your existing work, start something new, or to integrate into your own writing process. Additionally, we will have a couple of days of "ice breaking" and additional play development work. Most weeks you will be assigned readings in contemporary drama for consideration of its structure, style, and theatricality, as well as other elements. The emphasis in the class will be the process by which your playwriting ultimately is about writing theatre. To this end: We will work with actors and directors who will assist you with the readings, staged readings or productions of your work--as elaborate or basic as you need--as well as taking part in the discussion of it in order to introduce you to the process by which through performance, drama emerges as theatre.


English 5760: Introduction to Old Norse

CRN: 46218
Tuesdays, 4:00-6:20; Brown 4037
Dr. Jana Schulman
Fulfills: Ph.D. Language Requirement (when taken for two semesters and passed with a ‘B’ grade or above)

In this class, you will learn the fundamentals of Old Icelandic grammar and language; read prose and poetry that will introduce you to the world of gods and men; to issues of marriage, honor, and death, among others; and to serious and comic explorations of such issues. Come explore the worlds of the Norse gods and goddesses, a world where heroes are larger than life--all while learning a new language.


English 6100: Seminar - The Gothic: Tradition and Innovation in British and Irish Fiction, 1760-1900

CRN: 45815
Wednesdays, 6:30-9:00; Brown 3002
Dr. Christopher Nagle
Fulfills: Ph.D. distribution requirement for Romantic or Victorian Literature; M.A.-level literature elective

Areas of particular thematic focus likely will include: Literature of Terror in an Age of Terrorism: Historical & Cultural Contexts of Violence; “Gaelic Gothic”: Irish & Scottish Innovations; Orientalism &(the Western European construction of)the Other; Religious Deviance: Catholics, Protestants, Dissenters & the Specter of Islam; Polymorphous Perversity: Gender & Sexuality in Crisis (esp. in the 1790s and 1890s); Generic Instability / Mixed-Up Fiction (poetry, travel writing, political discourse, aesthetic theory, mutations of conduct literature, ‘Systems,’ &c. &c. as elements of the novel).

READINGS may include the following: Walpole, Reeve, Beckford, Radcliffe, Scott, Lewis, Dacre, Godwin, Mary and Percy Shelley, Polidori, Keats, Edgeworth, Hogg, Maturin, Stevenson, Stoker, Conrad. Most of the readings will be prose fiction, but we will attempt to mix in some poetry and even a bit of drama as well, in addition to critical readings in literary history, culture, and theory.

REQUIRMENTS are likely to include at least one class presentation, a shorter response paper, a longer seminar paper, and active participation in every class.


English 6110: Literary Forms - Flash Fiction

CRN: 45028
Fridays, 2:00-4:30; Brown 3045
Professor Thisbe Nissen
Fulfills: M.F.A. or Ph.D. in Creative Writing Forms requirement

Short-shorts: a course on the form. Students read a broad spectrum of flash, micro, sudden, mini, nano, quick and hint fiction, as well as theory of the form. Generative prompts and exercises--often using artifacts and found objects--will be developed into texts for workshop.


English 6420: Studies in Drama

CRN: 45814
Tuesdays, 4:00-6:20; Brown 4045
Dr. Steve Feffer
Fulfills: Ph.D.-level prerequisite requirement in genre specific course or Contemporary British/American distribution requirement; M.A. elective; M.F.A. students--can serve as forms course requirement for secondary genre; for M.A.E.T.students--can serve as an elective

See course catalog or contact instructor.


English 6660: Graduate Writing Workshop--Fiction

CRN: 42999
Wednesdays, 4:00-6:20; Dunbar 4206
Professor Thisbe Nissen
Fulfills: M.F.A. or Ph.D. in Creative Writing Forms requirement

This is a traditional fiction workshop in which students put up at least two pieces each to be workshopped during the semester. Class members are responsible for reading weekly workshop stories, making detailed editorial line notes for the author, and writing a thoughtful and substantive end note. We learn better to edit ourselves by carefully and conscientiously editing others. Workshop stories are the texts from which broader conversations on craft and technique will spring. Discussion of readings in contemporary published short fiction will compliment workshop discussions.


English 6660: Graduate Writing Workshop--Poetry

CRN: 41617
Wednesdays, 4:00-6:20; Dunbar 4204
Dr. William Olsen
Fulfills: Ph.D. or M.A.-level CW workshop requirement

This class involves extensive criticism of student poems, in a traditional workshop environment. The workshop will also serve as a forum for discussions of aesthetics. Students may be encouraged to work with models, and the class will involve the reading and discussion of at least three books of contemporary poetry.


English 6690: Methods of Teaching College Writing

CRN: 42716
Tuesdays, 6:30-9:00; Brown 3045
Dr. Staci Perryman-Clark
Fulfills: Teaching component for Ph.D. and M.A. students; Specialization requirement for English Ed Ph.D. students

Participants in this course will learn and share strategies for teaching first-year composition. We will consider a range of theoretical frameworks and practical strategies for college composition courses. Writing and research for this course will center on building a personal teaching philosophy and a set of usable strategies and plans for future teaching situations.

Course activities and projects will include discussion presentations, classroom observation reflections, assessment of student papers, a new course design, and a teaching portfolio. Instructors who are teaching college-level writing are the primary audience for this course.


English 6800: Advanced Methods in Teaching Literature

CRN: 45647
Wednesdays, 6:30-9:00; Brown 3037
Dr. Allen Webb
Fulfills: Ph.D. English Education and M.A. in English with an emphasis in teaching required class; Ph.D. and M.A.-level elective; pedagogy elective

Dramatically increasing state control over education, curricular standardization, uniform assessment, standardized testing, accountability, and accreditation is taking place simultaneous with expanding canons, new conceptions of text, critical pedagogy, multicultural and perspectival teaching, and empowering new technologies. This complex and contradictory dynamic in English education occurs in a rapidly globalizing world in the midst of major capitalist crisis. The context in which we live and teach literature today will frame and guide this section of English 6800.

Considering the teaching of literature at secondary and university levels, this seminar aims to foster teacher intellectuals and professional leaders and develop their pedagogical content knowledge. To do so, we will examine the historical development of our discipline, issues in textual and interpretive authority, canon formation, educational standardization, cultural studies and multicultural materials and perspectives, literary theory and teaching, textual intervention and alternative knowledges, and the democratizing possibilities of emerging Internet tools and resources.

From the beginning of the course students will focus on a literature course that they currently teach, or would like to teach, and course work and the final project will be carefully and systematically developed around that class, putting into practice the analysis and transformation approaches we will be studying.

The class will be taught in a wireless laptop classroom and will experiment with a variety of new technologies including remote hosted websites, collaborative writing forums, threaded discussion, social networking, blogs, Nings, etc.


Department of English
6th floor Sprau Tower
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5331 USA
(269) 387-2572 | (269) 387-2562 Fax