Graduate Course Listings - Spring 2013

Past Course Offerings

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 forthcoming Survey Monkey link. 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 October 15, 2012

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

ENGL 5220: Literary Linguistics ENGL 6210: Studies in British Literature - Waste in Eighteenth-Century Literature
ENGL 5320: English Renaissance Literature ENGL 6300: Introduction to Graduate Studies
ENGL 5660: Creative Writing Workshop, Fiction ENGL 6660: Graduate Writing Workshop, Poetry
ENGL 5670: Creative Writing Workshop, Poetry ENGL 6660: Graduate Writing Workshop, Fiction
ENGL 6100: Seminar - Ecopoetics ENGL 6690: Methods of Teaching College Writing
ENGL 6100: Seminar - Beowulf and Old Norse Analogues ENGL 6970: Special Topics in English - Creative Writing Workshop Methods
ENGL 6150: Literary Criticism ENGL 6900: Scholarship and Writing in the Profession

English 5220: Literary Linguistics (Studies in American Literature)

CRN: 13617
Tuesdays, 4:00 - 6:20; Brown 3037
Dr. Lisa Minnick
Fulfills: Ph.D. English Language Requirement or American II distribution requirement; M.A.-level (literature) elective.

It is a truism that literary texts are made of linguistic elements, that they consist of units of language arranged in imaginative ways. Literary writers use linguistic structures that are, at least in the abstract, available to everyone, but literary authors “do things with words” (to paraphrase the linguistic philosopher J. L. Austin) that make literature a particularly interesting form of human expression.

But the linguistic elements that literature is made of are often taken for granted, perhaps because of this very obviousness: Of course literature is made of language. And so not everyone gets around to exploring literary works through attention to the linguistic elements of literature, using the theories, terminology, and methods of the discipline of linguistics. In the Literary Linguistics, we will do just that: look at how language works in literary texts, applying the principles, theories, and methodologies of linguistic analysis to works of literature.

Our goals will be both linguistic and literary: We will explore the ways that literature can add to our knowledge about language and its use among real speakers. Literary language is rich with information of interest to language scientists on topics that include language variation and change, linguistic authority and the process of standardization, pragmatic norms and competence, and language attitudes, especially as they interact with race, gender, sexuality, class, and other independent variables. We will also inquire into the ways that linguistic theory and methods of analysis can open works of literature to new levels of interpretation.

In pursuit of these objectives, we will concentrate primarily on 19th- and 20th-century American literature as our object of investigation. We will begin by exploring the conventions of literary dialect, analyzing its artistic, linguistic, and political functions and effects both within and beyond the text. Additionally, we will explore other approaches and develop original research questions to inquire into various ways that language is deployed in literary works. In doing so, we will experiment with multiple theoretical and methodological approaches, including computational methods, for which instruction and support will be provided.

No knowledge of linguistics or computational analysis is required or presupposed, although curiosity about and interest in linguistics is essential.

English 5320: English Renaissance Literature

CRN: 15158
Fridays, 12:00 - 2:30; Brown 2021
Dr. Grace Tiffany
Fulfills: Ph.D. distribution requirement for Renaissance Literature; M.A.-level literature elective

In this class we will study selections from the prose, poetry, and drama that shaped art and thought during the English Renaissance and for centuries thereafter. Students are expected to have prior experience in literary analysis, to read carefully, and to participate in discussion. Authors to be studied include William Shakespeare, Philip Sidney, Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson, John Webster, John Donne, Robert Herrick, George Herbert, Andrew Marvell, and John Milton.

English 5660: Creative Writing Workshop, Fiction

CRN: 12748
Mondays, 4:00 - 7:30; Brown 3017
Professor Thisbe Nissen
Fulfills: Creative Writing Ph.D. or M.F.A. workshop requirement

This course focuses on students' original short fiction, and on close reading of published work in the genre. Students train to be close readers, careful writers, and attentive editors. Our goal will be effective creative and critical articulation: thoughtful and artful production and critique. This course involves substantial amounts of reading and writing, both critical and creative.

English 5660: Creative Writing Workshop, Fiction

CRN: 14696
Wednesdays, 6:00 - 9:30; Brown 4002
Professor Geronimo Johnson
Fulfills: Creative Writing Ph.D. or M.F.A. workshop requirement

Catalog description: A workshop and conference course in the writing of fiction, with emphasis on refinement of the individual student's style and skills.

English 5670: Creative Writing Workshop, Poetry

CRN: 14201
Tuesdays, 6:00-9:30; Brown 4003
Instructor: Traci Brimhall
Fulfills: Creative Writing Ph.D. or M.F.A. workshop requirement

English5670 is an upper-level poetry workshop. In this course we will further the knowledge and execution of craft through the weekly examination of contemporary poetry and essays on poetics. In addition to discussions of published poetry and craft essays, students will produce an original poem each week. Packets of each student's work will be workshopped twice in the semester, and their creative work will culminate in a portfolio demonstrating evidence of revision towards the individual student's style and skills.

Text List:
Brock-Broido, Lucie The Master Letters
Carson, Anne, Autobiography of Red
Diaz, Natalie, When My Brother Was an Aztec
Gay, Ross, Bringing Down the Hammer
Lee, Li-Young, The City in Which I Love You
Scafidi, Steve Sparks From a Nine-Pound Hammer

English 6100: Seminar - Ecopoetics

CRN: 15159
Wednesdays, 4:00 - 6:20; Brown 4037
Dr. William Olsen
Fulfills: Ph.D. Contemporary Literature distribution requirement; Ph.D. & M.A.-level genre course in poetry; M.A.-level literature elective

This class offers a study of contemporary poetry and the option of a practicum in observational writing in any genre. We'll look at models of “eco-poetics”—the poem not as gated paradise and not as a jumping off place for the sublime and not as a living entity but as, in and of itself, a precarious environment of interactions and independences and co-articulations. The assumption will be that close, or intimate reading, is an extension of writing, as well as an uncovering of the ecological principles of synergy and diversity. In light of eco-poetics we'll look at Romantic models in Keats and Wordsworth; we'll reconsider Stevens and Williams, Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Bishop, Charles Olson, Lorrine Neideckker, Jorie Graham, and A R Ammons; and we'll look at the poetry of such urban naturalists like Joe Brainard, James Schuyler, and Gerald Stern. We'll read in Thoreau's Journal and Marie Austin's The Land of Little Rain. We'll read Frost's darker poetry in light of both conservation ecology and deep ecology. We'll listen to a little Messiaen and a little John Cage: both deep admirers of Thoreau. We'll entertain how it is that language can get out of the way of itself in the interest of the non-human, or that which cannot speak. Requirements include a presentation on one author, an extensive if loose daybook or journal, and either a fifteen page paper on a writer's work or 10 pages of loosely observational verse or prose.

English 6100: Seminar - Beowulf and Old Norse Analogues

CRN: 15160
Thursdays, 4:00 - 6:45; Brown 4030
Dr. Jana Schulman
Fulfills: Ph.D. Distribution Requirement-British Literature to 1500 (for students who have Old English language instruction); M.A.-level literature elective

Description: This course will present an opportunity for students to translate selections of Beowulf, read Old Norse-Icelandic analogues in translation, and discuss the similarities and differences between these stories and motifs (Grendel and Glámr, Grendel's mother and unnamed female trolls, dragons, as well as others). There will be quizzes on the Old English, a seminar paper, and a final exam.

Prerequisite: Students must have taken one semester of Old English.

English 6150: Literary Criticism

CRN: 11959
Wednesdays, 6:30 - 9:00; Brown 3003
Dr. Jon Adams
Fulfills: Ph.D. & M.A. (Literature) requirement for Literary Criticism; M.A.-level literature elective

Specializing in the post-1960s rise of Feminism, Gender, and Queer Theories, this course will begin by (re-)familiarizing seminar participants with foundations of Literary Criticism & Theory. Hence, students will study critical schools, key figures, and important concepts in theory via critical application of those schools, figures and concepts in pieces of feminist criticism. But the bulk of the course will feature readings of seminal whole texts in Gender and Queer Theory with the ultimate aims of assessing the political and social efficacy of the various formulations and of applying what we've learned to extended critical analyses of literature or culture in seminar projects. Not for the faint of heart, but also essential, this course will augment students' analytical and interpretive skills and fully acquaint them with discourses necessary for further work, study, and employment in literary professions. In addition to the seminar project, students will write several critical reaction papers, lead the class on discussion of one critical work, and share responsibility for the intellectual environment of the collective. A prior introduction to literary criticism & theory would be helpful, but is not necessary; the initial discourse-level for the seminar will be determined based upon relative preparation of participants, and lecture-based introduction of figures, concepts, and terms will feature early in the semester. Tentative text list. Optional texts indicated by (opt.).

Barry, Peter (opt.)Beginning Theory, 2nd ed.Manchester0719062683
Butler, JudithBodies that MatterRoutledge0415903661
Butler, Judith (opt.)Gender TroubleRoutledge0415389550
Chodorow, NancyThe Reproduction of MotheringU of CA Press0520221559
Easthope, AntonyWhat a Man's Gotta DoRoutledge0415906385
Edelman, Lee (opt.)No FutureDuke0822333694
Foucault, MichelThe History of Sexuality, vol. 1Vintage0679724699
Gallop, JaneThe Daughter's SeductionCornell Univ Press0801492351
Halberstam, Judith (opt.)Female MasculinityDuke0822322439
Halberstam, JudithIn a Queer Time and PlaceNYU Press0814735851
Halley, JanetSplit DecisionsPrinceton0691136327
Macey, David (opt.)Penguin Dictionary of Critical TheoryPenguin0140513698
Makaryk, Irena, ed. (opt.)Encyclopedia of Contemporary Literary TheoryToronto080206860X
Millet, KateSexual PoliticsU of Illinois Press0252068890
Sedgwick, Eve K. (opt.)Between MenColumbia0231082738
Sedgwick, Eve K.Epistemology of the ClosetU of CA Press0520254066
Wittig, MoniqueThe Straight MindBeacon Press0807079170

English 6210: Studies in British Literature - Waste in Eighteen-Century Literature

CRN: 14205
Mondays, 6:30 - 9:00; Brown 2037
Dr. Cynthia Klekar
Fulfills: Ph.D.-level Restoration & 18th C Distribution Requirement; MA-level literature elective

In 1596, John Harington, courtier, diplomat, and scholar, wrote a treatise entitled The Metamorphosis of Ajax, which described the design of an automated toilet and included a do-it-yourself manual for building one. As social allegory, the text called for eradicating the filth of the political system in the same way that one might flush excrement. The text was mocked and criticized and cost Harington his place at court. Not only did the treatise fail politically, it drew social ire as well. Harington implied that the domestic was unclean, that one should hide their waste. The court and public rejected the idea that waste is private.

This graduate seminar will explore the various ways that waste makes meaning in eighteenth-century British literature and culture. Waste saturated the period's literary, civic, economic, and political discourse, from filth, excrement, and corpses to literary leftovers and philosophical remnants. Unlike the Renaissance court of Harington, the eighteenth century attempted to hide its filth, both the literal—such as sewage—and the figurative—such as private conduct. As “matter of out place,” waste is a perverse marker of value; the remnant of something once meaningful, wanted, and used. As such, waste was symbolic of the period's progress and decline. Following the Great Fire of 1666, writers incorporated for the first time the literary trope of the wasteland as a symbol of urban consciousness. Swift's excrement and Defoe's corpses become representations of luxury and decay, embodying the ambiguities of modern experience.

In addition to reading eighteenth-century poetry, drama, satire, and novels, we will examine twentieth-century theoretical writings. Konai's essay On Disgust, Kristeva's work on the abject, and Douglas' study on purity explore the ambivalence and anxiety trigged by waste. We will seek to understand the meaning of waste at a particular moment in the history of modernity, but also examine how eighteenth-century thought informs our own literary, political, cultural, and ecological responses to waste.

Assignments will likely include brief written responses or weekly posts, an oral presentation on a primary or theoretical text, a five-page paper at midterm, and a final seminar paper. Students are encouraged to makes connections between the course material and their own scholarly interests.

English 6300: Introduction to Graduate Studies

CRN: 13618
Mondays, 4:00 - 6:20; Brown 4045
Dr. Nicolas Witschi
Fulfills: Literature Ph.D. and M.A. prerequisite requirement; elective for all other students

Catalog Description: This course is intended to provide graduate students with an introduction to the theory and practice of literary criticism at the professional level. The goal of course readings and discussion generally will be to aid students in the completion of a substantial research project of a kind suitable for publication.

English 6660: Graduate Writing Workshop, Poetry

CRN: 14359
Mondays, 4:00 - 6:20; Brown 4037
Dr. Nancy Eimers
Fulfills: Ph.D. or M.A.-level CW workshop requirement

Muriel Rukeyser wrote that "All things change in time; some are made of change itself, and the poem is of these. It is not an object; the poem is a process." Ideally, our workshop will be a place to consider the poem as it is poised between what was intended and what might possibly be. Our task as a workshop will be to help instigate that change, or help the writer to imagine her/his way to the poem's next, ever more crucial version. Our discussion will be informed by collections by at least three contemporary poets.

English 6660: Graduate Writing Workshop, Fiction

CRN: 14697
Thursdays, 4:00 - 6:20; Brown 4035
Dr. Geronimo Johnson
Fulfills: Ph.D. or M.A.-level CW workshop requirement

Any given section of this course will focus on either poetry, fiction, non-fiction, or drama. Course organization will emphasize roundtable discussion of student writing. Course may be taken more than once; a student may elect up to 12 credit hours in one genre and up to 18 hours in all. M.F.A. candidates must take at least six hours in their area of specialization.

English 6690: Methods of Teaching College Writing

Online Course
Dr. Staci Perryman-Clark
Fulfills: Ph.D. teaching component; M.A.-level elective

Participants in this online course will learn and share strategies for teaching composition in digital environments. We will consider a range of theoretical frameworks and practical strategies for teaching composition in digital, hybrid, and online 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 will include discussions, presentations, production of digital genres, and a final course design that integrates digital technologies. Instructors who are interested in enhancing writing pedagogy in digital environments is the primarily focus. Those who are looking to enhance their technological skills in relationship to best practices in the teaching of writing are welcome.

Course Goals:

  • Understand and apply best practices in the teaching of writing in digital environments.
  • Develop knowledge of you as a teacher with interests in understanding the best practices in the teaching of writing in digital environments.
  • Prepare you to teach college composition online, composition in K-12 online settings, or other contexts where writing is applied across the curriculum and within the disciplines.

Course Texts: All texts are can be purchased Electronically through Amazon

English 6970: Special Topics in English - Creative Writing Workshop Methods

CRN: 15957
Tuesdays, 4:00 - 6:20; Brown 4035
Dr. Geronimo Johnson
Fulfills: Ph.D. teaching component; M.A.-level elective

This course— part practicum, part seminar, part professional development workshop—will explore the points of confluence between the traditional workshop model, pedagogical best practices, arts education, and contemporary progressive education theory.

English 6900: Scholarship and Writing in the Profession

CRN: 11960
Mondays, 4:00 - 6:20; Brown 3037
Dr. Jil Larson
Required Course for all M.A. and M.A. in English with an emphasis in teaching students

As the culmination of work for the MA, the capstone paper takes shape in this course, which will be run like a writers' group in which participants share and discuss each others' work. We will also spend some time reading articles together to analyze what makes them successful and to learn about one another's research. The objective of the course for each student is to produce a revised paper ready to be sent out for publication and to be presented at the end of the semester in a public forum.


Department of English
6th floor Sprau Tower
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5331 USA
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