Current Semester’s Courses (Spring 2021)
Dr. Heidi Craig
T 1:30-4:40 (Remote)
Required for MA Students
ENGL 603: Bibliography and Research Methods offers an intensive introduction to the theories, methods and practices of humanities research. Readings and presentations will establish the theoretical underpinnings and practices of bibliography and digital humanities. The completion of several short projects will provide a solid foundation for future work in the MA and PhD.
The course has two foci intended to enable students to find, interpret, use, understand, and engage with information ethically and productively:
1) Primary Source Literacy (especially artifactual literacy and archival intelligence). Students will develop strategies for discovering, requesting and using information resources from special collections libraries, and to formulate research questions based on that information. Several of our meetings will take place at Cushing Library, where students will meet with the humanities reference librarian, and identify and examine the holdings at Cushing that are relevant to their own work.
2) Digital Humanities Literacy. Students will gain familiarity and facility with digital archives and tools; understand the relationship between traditional and digital archives and research tools as well as relationships between between originals, printed and digital surrogates. Students will learn how to scan the digital humanities landscape; to use and review existing digital resources; and to identify opportunities for further work in DH.
All M.A. students must take ENGL 603. Ph.D. coursework must include ENGL 603 if the student has taken no comparable course at the M.A. level. ENGL 603 counts towards the DH Certificate.
Dr. Andrew Pilsch
MW 5:35 - 6:50 (Remote)
This seminar will introduce students to the emerging field of software studies. Software studies explores software systems from the perspective of their social and cultural effects. To this end, the seminar has three goals: 1) to specify software studies as a part of the larger digital humanities while also articulating it as a unique field of study; 2) to explore software development practices as models for cultural studies work; and 3) to consider the degree to which programming skills are necessary to pursue these topics. Students can expect to read work by Neal Stephenson, McKenzie Wark, Douglas Hofstadter, Ellen Ullman, Safiya Noble, Matthew Kirschenbaum, and others. In addition to traditional research papers, the seminar will also feature a gentle introduction to computer science concepts that shape the material being read.
Dr. Britt Mize
M 1:35 - 4:35 (Remote)
Literature pre-1800; or, Language Requirement
Continued study of the Old English language at the intermediate level. The class will read and translate the 3182-line poem Beowulf in its entirety, with attention to the work as literature through supplementary readings and class discussion. Because students are not starting from scratch with the language in this course, a standard seminar paper (50% of the course grade) is required in addition to graded translation exercises (the other 50%). Prerequisite: ENGL/LING 610, Old English, or equivalent.
Dr. Nancy Warren
TR 6:30 - 8:00 (Remote)
Readings in Early Modern Literature: Women Writing and Reading
This course considers women’s engagements in early modern literary culture as authors, readers, and subjects of textual production. We will explore such genres as life writing, sonnets, closet drama, drama for the stage, devotional literature, and romance. Authors we will study include Elizabeth Cary, Mary Sidney Herbert, Grace Mildmay, Anna Trapnel, Aphra Behn, Gertrude More, and others.
Dr. Marcela Fuentes
R 1:30 - 3:30 (Remote)
This introduction to Creative Writing is a multi-genre, workshop-style course. We will cover poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Workshop: i) students will produce and submit three original creative works during the semester (once in each of these genres); the class will discuss the work and offer revision suggestions; ii) the class will produce critique letters for each workshop; iii) students will use feedback for revision.
Additionally, students will practice crafting poetry and prose through weekly creative exercises and readings. We will analyze contemporary literary works in each of the genres via online reader response discussion forums and class discussion. Finally, students create a cumulative portfolio of their work, including a major revision to one or more of their original creative pieces, with the aim of submitting work to a literary magazine.
TR 5:00 - 6:15 (Blended)
Literature, pre-1800 or Literature post-1800 (depending on research paper topic); Concepts/themes
This course foregrounds 18th- and 19th-century writings and modern criticism that focus on the relationship of human beings to the rest of the natural world. We will study a range of genres—the novel, drama, essay, travel writing, memoir and poetry—that examine the ecological ideologies that influenced global networks and helped to shape our sense of the “natural world.” We will examine the symbiotic relationship between representations of the environment and representations of empire as they map the complex interactions and dependencies between people and places in the expanding British Empire. We will read and analyze the primary course texts, making connections with contemporary environmental issues and attending to different approaches of eco-criticism. The course will also attend to visual representations of the natural world and material culture (particularly collecting).
Potential Primary Readings (I will design our course from a selection of the readings below. In some cases, we will read excerpts from the material below):
Aphra Behn. Oroonoko (1688)
Thomas Clarkson. The History of the Rise, Progress and Accomplishment of the Abolition of the African Slave Trade by the British Parliament (1808)
Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798, 1817)
George Colman the Younger. Inkle and Yarico (1787)
Captain James Cook. The Journals of Captain Cook (1768-1779), ed. Philip Edwards.
Charles Darwin. The Voyage of the Beagle (1839)
Maria Callcott Graham. Journal of a Residence in Chile (1824)
Alexander von Humboldt. Views of the Cordilleras and Monuments of the Indigenous Peoples of America (1810 and 1814).
Arthur Phillip. The Voyage of Governor Phillip to Botany Bay (1789)
Mary Prince. The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave (1831)
Anna Seward. “Colebrookdale” (c. 1790)
Charlotte Smith. Beachy Head (1807) and Conversations Introducing Poetry to Young Persons
Jonathan Swift. “A Modest Proposal” (1729) and Gulliver’s Travels (1726)
James Thomson. The Seasons (1730)
Mary Wollstonecraft. Letters Written in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark (1796)
Dorothy Wordsworth. Grasmere Journals.
William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Lyrical Ballads (1798 and 1800)
Potential Secondary readings (this will give you an idea of the type of critical readings we’ll cover):
James Beattie, Edward Melillo and Emily O’Gormand, editors. Eco-Cultural Networks and the British Empire: New Views on Environmental History (Bloomsbury Academic, 2014).
Daniela Bleichmar. Visible Empire: Botanical Expeditions and Visual Culture in the Hispanic Enlightenment (U of Chicago P, 2012).
- - -. Visual Voyages: Images of Latin American Nature from Columbus to Darwin (Yale UP, 2017).
Laura Brown, “Oceans and Floods: Fables of Global Perspective” in The Global Eighteenth Century, Ed. Felicity A. Nussbaum (Johns Hopkins UP, 2005).
Timothy Clark. Ecocriticism on the Edge: The Anthropocene as a Threshold Concept (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015).
Siobhan Carroll. An Empire of Air and Water: Uncolonizable Space in the British Imagination, 1750- 1850 (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015).
Alfred W. Crosby. Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900 (Cambridge University Press, 2004).
Richard H. Grove. Green Imperialism: Colonial Expansion, Tropical Island Edens and the Origins of Environmentalism, 1600-1860 (Cambridge University Press, 1996).
R. McNeill. Mosquito Empires: Ecology and War in the Greater Caribbean, 1620-1914 (Cambridge University Press, 2010).
Pascoe, Judith. “Female Botanists and the Poetry of Charlotte Smith.” Re-Visioning Romanticism. Ed. Carol Shiner Wilson and Joel Hayner (U of Pennsylvania P, 1994).
Richard Powers. The Overstory (selected passages; W.W. Norton, 2018).
James Taylor. Picturing the Pacific: Joseph Banks and the shipboard artists of Cook and Flinders (Adlard Coles, 2018).
Beth Fowkes Tobin. Colonizing Nature: The Tropics in British Arts and Letters, 1760-1820 (U of Pennsylvania Press, 2005).
- - -. The Duchess's Shells: Natural History Collecting in the Age of Cook's Voyages (Yale Press, 2014).
Andrea Wulf. Founding Gardeners: The Revolutionary Generation, Nature, and the Shaping of the American Nation(Vintage, 2012).
- - -. The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World (Vintage, 2016).
Dr. Jessica Howell
W 1:35 - 4:35 (Remote)
Concepts, themes; Literature post-1800
This course begins by considering the complex figure of the Victorian woman invalid, as depicted through poetry, medical treatises, as well in the writings of Harriet Martineau, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Florence Nightingale. We also examine influential works of literary and cultural criticism that use the woman invalid as emblematic of gender inequality during the Victorian period. Next, we will examine different historical and literary figures of the healthy woman—the governess, the overseas nurse, the Victorian strongwoman—through their portrayal in periodicals, poetry, fiction, and life writing. We will use our analysis of these figures to better understand the ways in which 19th-century culture did (and did not) pathologize and enfeeble women, and thereby to better understand our own readerly and critical methods as historically and culturally embedded.
Dr. Mikko Tuhkanen
W 6-9 (Remote)
This class offers an eclectic introduction to some of the traditions in which art and philosophy, in the United States and beyond, has developed in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. On our journey, we may cross paths with literary naturalism, black modernism, poststructural psychoanalysis, film theory, existentialism, fascination studies, James Baldwin, queer temporalities . . .
During the semester, we will be actively thinking about possible dissertation projects by developing a series of “concepts” around which a book-length study of disparate materials might be organized. By the end of the semester, students are expected to produce a syllabus that gathers materials from various periods / genres / traditions around the chosen concept.
Dr. Laura Mandell
M 6-9 (Blended)
Gender and Cultural Analytics
In this course, we review gender theory, beginning in 1986 with Joan Scott's essay, "Gender: A Useful Category of Analysis," up through current Queer Theory. We will also read sociological analyses of gender, both qualitative and quantitative. Next, we will engage with data science in order to understand new works in the field of Cultural Analytics are "operationalizing" gender in their quantitative analysis of literary texts. Our question will be, "what are the implications for gender and sexuality studies of the way that data science is conducted, and what are the implications for data science if it cannot conceptualize gender? We will also examine gender in the field of digital infrastructures built for the sake of research and discovery. We will ask, "how can we overcome binaries within the confines of a binaristic machine?" Readings (available in Canvas) include:
Bode, Katherine. “The Equivalence of ‘Close’ and ‘Distant’ Reading: or, Toward a New Object for Data-Rich Literary History.” MLQ 78.1 (2017): 77-104.
Bordalejo, Barbara, and Roopika Risam, eds. Intersectionality in Digital Humanities (2019).
D’Ignazio, Catherine, and Lauren F. Klein. “Feminist Data Visualization.” Workshop on Visualization for the Digital Humanities, IEEE VIS 2016. Baltimore, MD, 2016. http://www.kanarinka.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/IEEE_Feminist_Data_Visualization.pdfand Data Feminism (MIT Press, 2020).
Haraway, Donna J. Modest_Witness@Second_Millennium.FemaleMan©_Meets_OncoMouse™. New York: Routledge, 1997.
Lanser, Susan. The Sexuality of History: Modernity and the Sapphic. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 2014.
Love, Heather. Feeling Backward: Loss and the Politics of Queer History. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 2007.
Losh, Elizabeth, and Jacqueline Wernimont, eds. Bodies of Information: Intersectional Feminism and Digital Humanities (U. of Minnesota P, 2018).
Wernimont, Jacqueline. Numbered Lives: Life and Death in Quantum Media (MIT Press, 2018).
Scott, Joan W. “Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis.” American Historical Review 91.5 (1986): 1053-75.
Dr. Emily Johansen
R 5-6 (Remote)
For doctoral students in ENGL planning to seek a job
Dr. Shona Jackson
TR 11:30 - 12:45 (Remote)
This is a theory course that traces capital as a “literary” form that supports, after Sylvia Wynter, our mode of being human as a function of our mode of production, for which literature, broadly construed, plays a crucial role. The class is designed to do the following for graduate students in English: 1) foster a critical knowledge of the relationship between the economic and literary discourses of their periods or topics of study; 2) provide a deeper understanding of the (his)tory of capital as an economic and discursive force that shapes literary production and reception; 3) develop a critical approach that can effectively address the limits of Marxian critique for challenges to the production of the human same and the human other. “Capital: History and Poetics” approaches capital across a range of time periods as a literary object in order to examine the poetics of capital as elaborated through four areas: Pre-History, Development, Methods, and Revisions. In studying capital as both what is accumulated and as a discursive abstraction, the class pays particular attention to what we say about how it works in order to read capital as a functional poetics that operate, and accumulate, across time and texts. It uses literary methods to trace this poetics and the ways in which capital writes itself, from its “beginnings” through specific consolidations and transformations. Readings will take us, roughly, from Aristotle to Cedric Robinson, and beyond. The class may include, but is not limited to, discussions of necroeconomics, feminism, neoliberalism, the environment, racial capital, colonialism, and indigeneity.
*Those interested in the course are advised to begin reading volume one of Capital (any edition), prior to the start of class. Students should also be aware that this is a deliberately irreverent approach both to capital formation and to Marxist critique
Dr. Mary Ann O'Farrell
T 6:30 - 9:30 (Remote)
Only for advanced doctoral students in ENGL (students who have finished all coursework)
This course is designed to help advanced Ph.D. students transition from classwork to the independent research, writing, and professional activity that are central to a scholarly career, with a particular emphasis on producing a publishable scholarly work in English studies. We will consider such issues as the differences between articles and dissertation chapters and between the dissertation and the book; professional practices and standards informing the writing, reviewing, revising, placement, and publication of scholarship; and the writing of abstracts and book proposals. A substantial portion of the course will be devoted to workshopping student articles (ideally--though not exclusively--works related to the dissertation), with an eye toward producing and submitting publishable work. We will also consider other issues involved in professionalization, as determined by student interest.
Feel free to contact me by email or to visit during zoom office hours with any questions about the course. I’ll be happy to send you the zoom link.