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Spring 2012 English Department Graduate Courses For more information about English Department courses being offered, next term or any time upcoming, contact Debra Lowry (

English 716: Introduction to Graduate Study in the Middle Ages Professor Karen Winstead (

This course will introduce major authors, texts, and genres of Middle English literature. We will study romance, framed fiction, drama, lyric, and saints’ legends.

Our readings will include works of the traditional canon, such as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Thomas Malory’s Morte D’Arthur; non-canonical works nonetheless acclaimed as masterpieces in their day, such as John Lydgate’s Troy Book; works, such as The Book of Margery Kempe and Julian of Norwich’s Shewings, that are part of the “new canon”; and works that ought to be, such as John Capgrave’s Life of Saint Katherine. Our secondary readings will introduce major approaches to the period and its culture. Requirements will include short papers and a “conference-style” research paper.

English 727 Sixteenth Century Literature – Petrarch and Love in the Renaissance Professor Hannibal Hamlin (

Hundreds of love poems were written in sixteenth-century England, most of them sonnets. Why? Why write about love then and there, and why in this form? We’ll read the best of this tradition, beginning with Petrarch himself and continuing with the earliest English Petrarchans, Sir Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard, the Earl of Surrey. We will then read the three great sonnet sequences of Elizabethan England, Sir Philip Sidney’s Astrophil and Stella, Edmund Spenser’s Amoretti and Epithalamion, and William Shakespeare’s Sonnets. Each of these sets of poems responds to the Petrarchan conventions differently, and we’ll follow the complex twists and turns of each writer’s response. We’ll then turn to the influence of the Petrarchan tradition on other literary genres: George Gascoigne’s racy early “novel,” The Adventures of Master F.J., Book 3 of Spenser’s allegorical epic-romance The Faerie Queene, and Shakespeare’s early play, Love’s Labours Lost. So many questions! Why love? Are these works really about love? Is the poet really “in” love? Petrarch insisted his Laura was real, but even his friends thought she might be a fiction. Does it matter if the love and lover are real? Are these poems about more than love? About poetry itself, perhaps, or the persona, the “self” of the poet? About the anxieties of the dependent in a society controlled by rich and powerful patrons? About the tensions and confusions in gender that result from all these personal, social, and political situations? In the seventeenth century, some women wrote poems in the Petrarchan tradition, but in the sixteenth the love poets were all men (in England—there were important women poets in Italy and France). What does it mean that the women addressed in these poems remain silent, or, if they do speak, it is only through the ventriloquizing of the male poet? Turning from content to form, why the sonnet? What can you do with a sonnet that you can’t with another form? Why short lyrics at all, rather than, say, a narrative like Gascoigne’s or drama like Shakespeare’s? How is the mode transformed with shifts in genre? Requirements will include a seminar presentation, shorter assignments, and a final paper.

English 746: Introduction to Graduate Study in British Literature of the Romantic Period Professor Amanpal Garcha ( One of the shortest periods in English literary history - spanning less than 50 years, from about 1789 to 1837 –-the Romantic era has had an outsize effect on how we view literature's relationship to nature, social conventions, individuality, and desire. We will study Romanticism's roots in the political ideas of the American and French Revolutions and trace how some of its most important works - by authors such as Mary Wollstonecraft, William Blake, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth, and William Godwin - assert those revolutions' insurrectionary, antitraditional values: of individuality as opposed to social convention; uncivilized nature as opposed to civilization; and extreme moods, socially marginal characters, and supernatural experiences as opposed to decorous restraint. We will also study the ways this poetry reflects some of the writers' fears of revolutionary politics, as Romanticism retreated from a sharp opposition to British society and embraced such nonpolitical values as beauty, calmness, and reflectiveness.

The tasks of reading, understanding, and contextualizing these challenging works will take up a large amount of class time and discussion; as we perform these tasks, we will also study Romanticism's importance to several critical trends, including the New Criticism, deconstruction, and the new historicism.

English 755 Introduction to Graduate Study in American Literature, Origins to 1840 Professor Molly Farrell (

"America in the first era of globalization." This course outlines the major themes and debates within scholarship about early American literature as an entryway for advanced study in the field. Considering writing within the Anglo-American world as developing out of a period of rapid globalization, we will survey the major works and genres up to 1840 and discuss the unique problems of studying these texts as a coherent body of literature. When or where does American literature begin? How can we study colonial narratives alongside early republican novels outside of a nationalist context?

Our readings will consist of works by Anne Bradstreet, Mary Rowlandson, Benjamin Franklin, Olaudah Equiano, Washington Irving, and Catherine Maria Sedgwick. Requirements will include class participation and presentations, short writing assignments, and a final research paper.

English 758: Introduction to Graduate Study in U.S. Ethnic Literatures and Cultures Professor Lynn M. Itagaki ( "Comparative Racialization, Cultural Studies, and the Post-Civil Rights Era." The post-civil rights era became increasingly used in legal discourse, especially critical race theory as spearheaded by Derrick Bell, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Cheryl Harris, and Mari Matsuda. Today the era and its contours has become overshadowed by the context of 9/11. It is still crucial to examine the postcivil rights era; what we know about post-9/11, the homeland security state, its persecution on immigrants, and its abrogation of civil liberties makes visible to mainstream audiences what was already invisibly enforced in various ways on minority populations: Latino immigrants, the carceral inner-city. Since the mid-1970s, debate in terms of cultural politics has been framed in terms of socalled “reverse discrimination” in affirmative action, political correctness, “playing the race card” that have dominated conservative and even liberal racial politics in ways that invalidate and malign discussions of race and racism in the public sphere. What constitutes an educated citizenry and under what terms should resources like higher education be distributed? What are the appropriate or most effective ways of speaking or communicating? What kind of behavior facilitates multiracial communication and communitybuilding among citizens? What kind of mediation is needed? What sort of interracial relations are possible? What sort of civic dialogue should be made possible? This course asks how these questions are posed and answered in cultural studies: the scholarship, theories, and multifarious texts that are studied. In answering these questions, this course looks to cultural visionaries who point to possibilities by which intellectuals of color— writers, dramatists, filmmakers, community leaders, journalists, and academics—can do justice to their communities by exposing and undermining the racialized and gendered fictions that recreate discrimination in both textual representations and material redistribution. Requirements: Regular Carmen discussion postings, academic book review, annotated bibliography, final research paper 15 pp.

English 760: Introduction to Postcolonial Studies Professor Pranav Jani ( This course is designed as a basic introduction to the field of Postcolonial Studies, especially as it has developed in Anglo-American literary studies. It proceeds along two axes—one theoretical/historical, the other literary/cultural. In the context of historical discussions about colonialism, nationalism, decolonization, and today’s globalization, students will be introduced to theories that have developed about these phenomenon as well as methods of historicist literary and cultural criticism, colonial discourse analysis, and ideology critique as they have developed in relation to the field. While our theoretical discussions will remain alert to the similarities and differences between colonized/postcolonial spaces on a global scale—between South Asia, southern Africa, the Caribbean, Palestine, Ireland, the Americas, indigenous spaces, etc.—our discussion of novels from Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean will emphasize the importance of specificity in discussing postcolonial texts. Possible readings (subject to change): Gaurav Desai and Supriya Nair, eds. Postcolonialisms: An Anthology of Cultural Theory and Criticism; Ngugi wa Thiong’o, A Grain of Wheat; Ayi Kweh Armah, The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born; Fadia Faqir, Pillars of Salt; Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children; Merle Collins, Angel; Amitav Ghosh, The Glass Palace; IraqiGirl, IraqiGirl: Diary of a Teenage Girl in Iraq. Requirements: Participation (in class and online); review essay; research paper.

English 763 Graduate Workshop in Poetry Professor Henri Cole ( This class is a graduate workshop in poetry writing. Poems by students will be discussed in a "workshop" format with attention to the process of revision. Students will also be asked to regularly memorize and recite poems. For contemplation: “Poets who fail (and by fail I mean fail themselves and never write a poem as good as they know they are capable of) . . . lack the self-criticism necessary to perfect the poem. They resist the role of a wrong thing in a right world and proclaim themselves the right thing in a wrong world . . . In a sense they are not honest and lack the impulse (or fight it) to revise and perfect . . . the poet who says ‘I am the greatest’ has damned himself forever.” – Theodore Roethke

770.02 Introduction To Graduate Study In Folklore: Field Research Amy Shuman ( Second of a two-course sequence in current scholarship and methods necessary for advanced study in folklore. Introduction to ethnographic research design, participant observation and interview methods, ethics in human subject research, archiving of research materials, and ethnographic writing.

English 795: Introduction to Research Methods in Rhetoric, Composition, and Literacy Studies Professor Jonathan Buehl ( Are you stumped when someone asks, 'What is your research methodology?' English 795 prepares graduate students to design and execute research projects in rhetoric, composition, and literacy studies. This course provides introductions to methods for analyzing texts and contexts, studying writing instruction, and researching literacy practices. It also introduces students to methodological issues related to research in these fields. We will discuss and practice specific research activities: locating and using archival material; quantifying style; identifying, collecting, and analyzing qualitative data; supporting textual analysis with historical and empirical evidence; working with human subjects; etc. We will discuss and practice methodological processes: how to select methods based on the kinds of intellectual problems you want to approach, how to develop methods for specific projects, how to present methods when framing arguments, etc. Probable Texts: Foss, Sonja. Rhetorical Criticism: Exploration and Practice. Waveland Press, 2004; Kirsch, Gesa and Patricia A. Sullivan. eds. Methods and Methodology in Composition Research. Southern Illinois University Press, 1992; Ramsey, Alexis et al. eds. Working in the Archives: Practical Research Methods for Rhetoric and Composition. Southern Illinois UP, 2009; Selzer, Jack. ed. Understanding Scientific Prose. University of Wisconsin Press, 1993. You will practice specific methods in several short assignments. These projects will include a project related to material in the OSU Archives, an empirical inquiry project, and a rhetorical analysis project. You will then write the methodological rationale for a significant project related to one of your research interests. This project could be related to a dissertation project, but you do not need to be starting the dissertation phase of the program to execute this assignment successfully.

English 851 The Single Woman and African American Literature Professor Andrea Williams ( This course examines the status of single women as subjects, authors, and consumers of African American literature. Several critics have re-evaluated early black women writers’ focus on chastity and heteronormative marriage, arguing that what Ann duCille calls the “coupling convention” aimed to refute stereotypes of black women as sexually wanton and primitive. According to this logic, as Claudia Tate has proposed, marriage often has been considered an “emancipatory” institution, by which African Americans affirm their citizenship and commitment to American “family values.” But these critics’ astute focus on the trope of marriage indirectly can draw our attention to the remaining—and more numerous—unmarried characters and women in African American literary history. Addressing texts from the 1850s to the 1990s, this course will draw its critical energy from “singleness studies,” an emergent interdisciplinary field, as well as black feminist theory and literary criticism more broadly. We will pursue questions such as these: How do African American texts represent differentlysituated single women (widowed, never married, divorced, and cohabitating)? What are the recurring character types and plot conventions for portraying singles? How does marital status relate to issues of authorship, especially given that some of the best-known nineteenth-century black women writers spent much of their lives as single women (Hopkins, Harper, Jacobs, Cooper)? How can we account for Terry McMillan’s popular success and the late 20th-century rise of “chick lit” or “sista girl” fiction? Texts may include: Pauline Hopkins, Contending Forces; Nella Larsen, Quicksand; Ann Petry, The Street; Alice Childress, Wedding Band; Toni Morrison, Paradise; Terry McMillan, Waiting to Exhale; Pearl Cleage, What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day, and secondary readings. Course requirements may include: active participation; oral presentation (facilitating class discussion at least one period); short papers or Carmen posts; 15- to 20-page seminar paper.

English 861 Studies in Narrative and Narrative Theory/Narrative in Poetry Professor Brian McHale (

Contemporary narrative theory’s neglect of narrative poetry appears not so much an oversight as a scandal. Many poems are narratives, after all, and many narratives are poems. Indeed, this drastically understates the case; in fact, most poems before the nineteenth century, and many since then, have been narrative poems. This course aims to introduce students to a representative sampling from the vast range of narrative poetry, and to raise some of the issues in narrative theory that are most relevant to narrative in poetry. We will pay special attention to the intersection between narrative form and poetic form, both at the “micro” level of versification, lineation, spacing, etc., and at the “macro” level of generic design. Readings will include a sampling of texts from six or seven of the historical genres of narrative poetry, perhaps including epic (translations of selected books of the Iliad by Alexander Pope and Christopher Logue); romance (excerpts from Spenser’s Faerie Queene, Byron’s Don Juan, and Kenneth Koch’s Seasons on Earth); folk ballads and their literary adaptation (by Scott, Wordsworth and Coleridge); novels-in-verse (Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin, Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Aurora Leigh, Robert Penn Warren’s Brother to Dragons, Ann Carson’s Autobiography of Red); life-writing (Wordsworth’s two-book Prelude, Lyn Hejinian’s My Life); and dossier-poems (Eliot’s The Waste Land, Robert Hayden’s “Middle Passage,” Muriel Rukeyser’s Book of the Dead, Michael Harper’s Debridement). We will also survey a range of relevant historical and theoretical texts. Each student will lead a class discussion of a key theoretical or historical essay or chapter; each will submit a short (5-7 page) analysis and critique of the essay they have presented in class; and each will develop and submit a conference-length paper (10-12 pages) on a relevant topic of his or her choice. The in-class presentation will count for 20% of the final grade; the critical analysis of the theoretical or historical essay, 20%; regular class participation, 20%; and the final paper, 40%.

English 876 Seminar in Critical Theory: Everyday Life, Aesthetics, Modernity Professor Thomas S. Davis ( “The everyday: what is most difficult to discover.” So begins Maurice Blanchot’s meditation on the everyday and the various efforts to conceptualize it during the course of the 20th and 21st centuries. While this year’s seminar in Critical Theory will not promise a discovery of the everyday, it will look closely at the tools, maps, and methods 20th century philosophers, writers, and artists have developed in their own quests to find everyday life. Our forays into the vibrant, yet vexed field of activity loosely contained under “everyday life studies” will allow us to ask when, why, and how the everyday became a central preoccupation of modern art and philosophy. Marx and Freud will give us competing versions of the everyday: is it the scene of mind numbing boredom or a site of strangeness and euphoric experience? We will then move through efforts by the early avant-gardes to transform the everyday into something more meaningful, more ecstatic. Selections from the multi-volumed, unfinished work on everyday life by Henri Lefebvre, Michel de Certeau, and Walter Benjamin will expand the vocabulary and conceptual resources for investigating everyday life in multiple contexts. We will look to other modes of thought that have recently turned their attention to the everyday: feminist theory (Rita Felski), the new affect studies (Lauren Berlant, Brian Massumi, Kathleen Stewart), queer theory (Sara Ahmed), and recent debates over sovereignty and biopolitics (Michel Foucault and Giorgio Agamben). In addition to the philosophical material, we will take up a few novels (Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway; Christopher Isherwood, Goodbye to Berlin, and, perhaps, Jon McGregor, If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things), some visual art by the Situationist International, happenings by the Vienna Actionists, projections from Krzysztof Wodicko, and perhaps some poems by Frances Ponge. Requirements include a presentation, a final paper, and a conference style presentation of your final project.

English 880 Seminar in Composition Special Topic: Autobiographical Theory, Pedagogy, and Criticism Professor Wendy Hesford ( In this seminar, we will examine shifting configurations of subjectivity, identity, and authorship. The course is designed to foreground key debates within the intersecting fields of rhetoric, composition, and autobiography studies and will feature a range of critical perspectives, including feminist, materialist, transnational, modernist, and postmodernist. Course readings include scholarly and literary works (auto/biography, graphic memoir, and auto-ethnography). Students will also have the opportunity to attend a public lecture and participate in the graduate workshop “Testimony and the Cultural Politics of Human Rights” with Professor Anne Cubilie, UN Consultant in Gender Studies. Tentative list of readings: The Cultural Politics of Emotion (Ahmed); Pedagogies of

Crossings: Mediations on Feminism, Sexual Politics, Memory and the Sacred (Alexander); Deaf Subjects: Between Identities and Places (Brueggemann); Giving an Account of Oneself (Butler); Personal Effects: The Social Character of Scholarly Writing (Holdstein and Bleich); Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood (Satrapi), Women, Autobiography, Theory: A Reader (Smith and Watson); Soft Weapons: Autobiography in Transit (Whitlock); Minor Revisions: Asian American Literacy Narratives as a Rhetoric of Citizenship (Young), and selections from CCC, College English, JAC, Kairos, Pedagogy, and RSQ, among others leading journals in the field. Discussion topics may include: Un/Reliability and Resistance in Autobiography; Autoethnographic Methods and Pedagogy; Transnational Autobiographical Practices; Rhetoric and Composition’s Affective Economies; Disability Studies and Writing Pedagogy; and Inter/Disciplinary Identities. Likely requirements: weekly responses, team-teach presentation, and final seminar paper.

English 884/History 775 Literacy Past and Present/ History of Literacy Professor Harvey J. Graff (

In recent years our understanding of literacy and its relationships to ongoing societies and social change has been challenged and revised. The challenge came from many directions. The “new literacy studies,” as they are often called, together attest to transformations of approaches and knowledge and a search for new understandings. Many traditional notions about literacy and its presumed importance no longer influence scholarly and critical conceptions. The gap that too often exists between scholarly and more popular and applied conceptions is one of the topics we will consider.

Readings may include: William V. Harris, Ancient Literacy; Michael T Clanchy, From Memory to Written Record: England, 1066-1307; Carlo Ginzburg, The Cheese and the Worms; Harvey J. Graff, The Literacy Myth; Carl Kaestle, et al, Literacy in the United States: Readers and Reading Since 1880; Mike Rose, The Mind at Work: The Intelligence of American Workers; Deborah Brandt, Literacy in American Lives. Assignments: Regular reading, attendance, and preparation for each class meeting; brief commentary papers; leadership of one or more seminar sessions, two short essays. There may also be opportunities to work on Graff’s Literacy Studies at OSU “initiative” and an Interdisciplinary Conference for Graduate Students.

English 889: Seminar on Digital Media Studies Professor Les Tannenbaum ( The topic for this course will be Digital Humanities, and we will be exploring the ways in which digital media have had an impact on research, teaching, and the production of texts in the study of the Humanities in the academic world. We will explore both the theoretical and practical implications of these far-reaching changes in the way in which we do our academic work, and you can expect to come out of the course with both the knowledge and skills necessary to deal with these changes. As a means of getting a better handle on this large topic, we will be focusing as a "case study" on the digital work being done in nineteenth-century British and American literature, as seen for instance in The William Blake Archive and the The Walt Whitman Archive, and NINES (Nineteenth Century Scholarship Online). The class will be meeting, appropriately, in a computer lab, and we will be engaged with online texts and interactive work with digital media. Readings/viewings for the course will probably include Jerome McGann's Radiant Textuality, Kathleen Fitzpatrick's Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy, Franco Moretti's Graphs, Maps, Trees: Abstract Models for a Literary History, Elizabeth Renker's "The End of the Curriculum," selected sites and projects from NINES, and online videos from recent conference presentations and panel discussions of Digital Humanties. Assignments in this course will include conducting an interactive lesson involving digital media, a reflective essay on this lesson, online discussions of the reading and viewing assignments, a formal position paper on a current issue in Digital Humanities, and a collaborative digital text. No previous knowledge of digital media production (audio, video or web sites) is required.

English 891 Graduate Seminar in Disability Studies in Language and Literature Professor Brenda Brueggemann ( Our primary objectives are to: explore the square of theory, practice, activism, and art (literature and language) in constituting disability studies; take part in the recovery and (re)construction of a literary and linguistic history of disability; examine "narrative normalcy" and the writing/ performance of disability in literature, language, and film; and analyze the ethical, emotional, and logical appeals of disability and disabled bodies in the historical, literary, linguistic record. Critical texts will mostly be excerpts from larger critical works or recent journal articles (all placed on the course Carmen site) by scholars such as Tobin Siebers, Michael Berube, Helen Deutsch, Lennard J. Davis, Robert McRuer, Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, David Mitchell & Sharon Snyder. 3 key critical texts: 1. Snyder, Brueggemann, Thomson, Eds. Disability Studies: Enabling the Humanities (MLA 2002); 2. Davidson, Concerto for the Left Hand: Disability and the Defamiliar Body (U Michigan P 2008); 3. Siebers, Disability Theory (U Michigan P 2008) Literary texts will likely include any of the following, in excerpt or whole: Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time; Melanie Rae Thon's Sweet Hearts; Helen Keller's The World I Live In; Georgina Kleege's Blind Rage: Letters to Helen Keller; Kim Nielson’s

Beyond the Miracle Worker: The Remarkable Life of Anne Sullivan Macy and her Friendship with Helen Keller; Anne Finger, Call Me Ahab: A Short Story Collection. Essays on "deformity" from Francis Bacon, William Hay, Nancy Mairs, Tobin Siebers, and Montaigne; Bernard Pomerance's play, The Elephant Man (and a screening of David Lynch's film production); a gathering of remarkable poetry, on page and in performance. We will also have the opportunity to screen several films; some current articles from Disability Studies Quarterly. Assignments: Activities and assignments will likely include: (at least) one (1) literary/linguistic artifact excavation and offering; collaborative leadership of a day's discussion and texts; seven (7) weekly post-its (brief responses to the texts and activities of that week); a final (new) project or polished portfolio of one's work for this course that intersects your own interests/expertise/areas with disability studies in language and literature.

English 997: The Dissertation Seminar Professor Chad Allen (

The Dissertation Seminar is open to anyone who has passed the Candidacy Exam and is at any stage of the dissertation process: whether you are drafting and revising the prospectus, drafting an introduction or first chapter, slogging through the middle of your project, or trying to finish. The purpose of the seminar is to help all students make substantial progress on their dissertations by providing a workshop and writing group, and it will be useful to have students at different stages of the process. Together, we will provide a supportive environment for all writers; work to demystify the dissertation; write, discuss, and write some more; and work to become more analytical about our own research, thinking, and writing. The group who signs up for the seminar will have a say in its final shape and design. In addition to the workshop component, I will assign a few relevant readings about dissertation writing and about the academic profession more generally for us to discuss. I hope to see some of you in the spring!

SP12 Grad Coursebook  

Graduate courses offered for Spring 2012 by the English Department at The Ohio State University

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