Current Semester’s Courses (Fall 2022)
Dr. Emily Johansen
This course provides an introduction to the Ph.D. program at Texas A&M and the profession, more broadly. Over the semester, we will read and consider what it means to “do” research in English and the way longer histories as well as local specifics shape how we approach this work. This requires thinking critically about the profession, both historically and pragmatically, and how we imagine our places within it.
Dr. Ira Dworkin
ENGL 603: Bibliography and Literary Research
Dr. Ira Dworkin
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 literary research. The completion of several short projects will provide a solid foundation for future work in the MA and PhD. Learning outcomes include the development of skills needed to find, interpret, use, understand, and engage with information productively and ethically.
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.
Dr. Britt Mize
ENGL/LING 610, Topics in the History of the English Language: Old English I, Introductory Old English
Beginning study of the Old English language through instruction in phonology, morphology, and syntax, and the reading of a variety of short texts in verse and prose. The objective of the course is to bring students up to an intermediate level of reading ability in the English language as it existed prior to the Norman Conquest, while also providing an introduction to the literature of the period. The grade is based on student success in learning the language as evidenced mainly by translation exercises.
Dr. Margaret Ezell
Dr. Margaret Ezell
ENGL 618: Readings in Eighteenth-Century Literature, Fall 2020; M 12:440-3:40 LAAH 504
Course description: Satisfies distribution requirement for one course in any literature, pre-1800.
This course is designed to provide an opportunity to read very widely in British literary texts written and performed during the “long 18th Century,” defined for the purposes of this class as late 1650s to 1790s. It will also give a general overview of some of the recent critical issues that have been / are being raised by the study of this period, introduce students to basic archival research specific to the period, and give a general overview of authors and topics that one might use for teaching an undergraduate course on the period. Assignments will encourage independent investigations, speculations on future conference or paper possibilities, and practice presenting and teaching eighteenth-century materials using a variety of approaches.
Roughly, the course will be chronologically organized in three sections: Interregnum & Restoration (late 1650s-1685), Revolution & Colonial Expansion (1685-1760s), and Revolution II (1760-1790s). We will be looking for both changes and developments in literary forms and practices, but also what continued and flourished. Within these chronological blocks, we will concentrate on topical “clusters” engaging such issues as material culture and changing nature of authorship, gender and sexuality studies, and critical race studies and the formation of colonial identities.
Assignments will be focused on 1) improving students’ critical reading, writing, and research skills in preparation for more advanced independent research work in future specialist classes, and 2) preparing for future professional presentations whether at conferences, job talks or in the classroom.
Texts which will probably/ possibly/ possibly not be included:
- D’Avenant—The Cruelty of the Spaniards in Peru
- Earl of Rochester, selected poems; Anne Killigrew, selected poems
- Behn—Oroonoko/ The Fair Vow Breaker/ The Lucky Chance
- Etherege—The Man of Mode
- The London Jilt
- Bunyan—The Pilgrim’s Progress
- Manley—The Royal Mischief
- Pope—The Rape of the Lock /Centlivre—The Basset Table
- Defoe—Robinson Crusoe
- Aubin—The Noble Slaves
- Swift—Gulliver’s Travels
- Winkfield--The Female American
- Equiano—The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano
- Wollstonecraft—Mary, A Fiction / Maria, or The Wrongs of Woman
Dr. Shawna Ross
- One course in any literature, 1800-the present Or
- One course organized around concepts, issues, or themes (as opposed to courses organized primarily according to chronological period)
Virginia Woolf is recognized today as a major player in the Bloomsbury Group, which understood today to have been an intellectual powerhouse that influenced modern philosophy, politics, economics, aesthetics, biography, and literary criticism. Yet Woolf’s particular contributions to these academic fields have received far less attention than her stylistic innovations. It has not yet been explored how her writing was affected by her own embittered sense of being peripheral to academic circles (from her disappointment at not receiving a university education and her ambivalence over “not knowing Greek” to her bemused sense of irony of being invited to speak at women’s colleges and her intimate acquaintance with the vicissitudes of the intellectual life as it was practiced by male Bloomsberries). Nor has it been widely explored how the intellectual endeavors of her texts’ professors and students (including To the Lighthouse’s philosopher Mr. Ramsay, Night and Day’s mathematician Katharine Hilbery, and The Voyage Out’s classicist Ridley Ambrose) inform Woolf’s sense of professional and personal ethics. This class begins with the presumption that Woolf had much to say about the intellectual life—how to pursue it, why to pursue it, and who may pursue it—and engages in a wide variety of texts written by Woolf and her own intellectual circle.
Unit one, on practices of reading, asks students to read Mrs. Dalloway through the lens provided by her two collections of literary criticism, The Common Reader, Series 1 and 2. Unit two, which focuses on the university experience, juxtaposes Woolf’s Oxbridge writings (Jacob’s Room, To the Lighthouse, and essays like “On Not Knowing Greek,” “A Woman’s College from the Outside,” “A Dialogue on Mount Pentelicus,” and “A Society”) with those of her male colleagues (including Leslie Stephen’s Sketches of Cambridge, Lytton Strachey’s Eminent Victorians, Leonard Woolf’s Sowing) and with popular college texts that influenced the Bloomsbury Group (such as G. E. Moore’s Principia Ethica and Bertrand Russell’s Problems of Philosophy). Unit three, on salons and coteries, reexamines Woolf’s earliest novels to shed light on as intellectual forces; we will read the underexamined Night and Day and The Voyage Out.
Students will complete weekly responses, give a 20-30 minute presentation on the intellectual achievements of one a member of the Bloomsbury Group, construct and present an annotated bibliography, and write a 7,000-9,000 word journal article. It is hoped that students will take the class as an opportunity not only to learn about Woolf and form a compelling, novel argument about her work, but also to reflect thoughtfully on their own goals and trajectories as members of the intellectual life.
Dr. Juan Alonzo
R 6 - 9
ENGL 658: Topics in Film History: Latinx Cinema
Dr. Juan Alonzo
Course Description for Fall 2022
This course examines Latinx Cinema production (broadly defined to include film, video, television and streaming) in the 21st century. While we will pay close attention to the historical contexts that have created the current possibilities of cinematic expression, the focus will be on recent cinema. And while we will be attentive to transnational cinematic exchanges, influences and debates (especially given the fact that many Latin American filmmakers are working in Hollywood), we will concentrate on filmmaking about the Latinx experience in the United States. We will examine the recent resurgence in Latinx filmmaking that has also been accompanied discussions about the need for greater accessibility and increased representation of Latinx peoples in the film industry.
Possible sites of inquiry during the semester will include genre renovation within the documentary, Latinx stories in animated movies, the Latinization of the superhero sub-genre, and the intersection of borderlands narratives and science fiction. One of the major requirements of the course will be for students to select a semester-long research topic for which they will take responsibility and present to the class, including readings and a 30-minute presentation and discussion.
Dr. Portia Owusu
ENGL 673: Topics in Transnational Lit and Culture: The Black Immigrant Experience
This course is on the immigrant experience of people from Africa and the Caribbean to the United States and Europe. We will examine representations of different aspects of immigration in literature that have emerged during the late twentieth and twenty-first century by writers of African-descent, located in Europe, the Americas, and Africa. By reading literary and theoretical works, we will consider immigration within the context of globalization, histories of colonialism and imperialism and experiences as shaped by gender, race, and socioeconomic status. In our readings, discussions, and group works, we will also examine how contemporary Black writers engage with the politics or discourses of earlier movements, such as Négritude or pan-Africanism, to understand immigration from the standpoint of race and geopolitics. Likewise, we will examine texts in their historical and political contexts with a great deal of time spent on analyzing the times and places literary texts have emerged in. Alongside critical essays, the texts below are proposed set texts (subject to change).
NoViolet Buluwayo, We Need New Names
Jamaica Kincaid, Lucy
Ama Ata Aidoo, Our Sister Killjoy
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah
Imbolo Mbu, Behold the Dreamers
In addition to formal assignments, students will be placed in small groups and each week, a group will be responsible formulating questions that will form the basis of class discussions for at 20 minutes.
Dr. Vanita Reddy
This graduate-level course will examine theories of gender constitution and performance across a range of disciplines and sub-disciplines: literary studies, media studies, visual art, feminist science studies, philosophy, porn studies, trans studies, sociology, cultural anthropology, performance studies, and critical fashion and beauty studies.
Assigned readings will feature scholarship that has been published primarily, though not exclusively, in the last decade. The seminar assignments and discussions will focus on contemporary debates about gender in relation to sex, sexuality, race, religion, the law, ability, technology, and the arts.
The course is built around four primary units: Troubling Conventions of Sex and Gender; Gender Violence, Surveillance, and Justice; Gender, Film, and Performance; Gender, Fashion, and Beauty; and the Transnational MeToo Movement.
Prerequisites: Graduate Status
Dr. Regina Mills
English 697 provides an introduction to the practical and theoretical aspects that surround teaching at the college level.
The course has three major goals:
- To provide a practical support mechanism for new or future instructors of composition and writing. A portion of each class will be spent directly reflecting on students’ ongoing teaching experience by sharing lesson plans and discussing questions that arise from within classrooms.
- To develop an understanding of the theoretical background of teaching. New instructors can often devalue this educational study, perhaps because it feels like the day-to-day is more pressing than the big picture. But without thinking about the teaching philosophies that drive you (or that you want to avoid), then it's difficult to create the kind of classroom that provides opportunities for learning and connection.
- To connect theory and practice. How can pedagogical theory help inform your teaching on the ground? How can your teaching on the ground help inform your interactions with pedagogical theory? How can this study remain ongoing even as you move on to teaching different courses and sub-disciplines?
By the end of this course, students will have developed confidence as instructors, an understanding of how to build pedagogical communities, a foundation on educational theories, and a toolkit to help develop their teaching philosophy and teaching practice.
Regina Marie Mills, PhD (she/her)