Graduate Fiction Workshop
The major work of the semester will be the analysis of our own fiction, nonfiction, and hybrid manuscripts, presented by small groups to the workshop as any published literary text might be, then discussed by all. Outside readings will suggest a broad range of aesthetic possibilities. Finally, we'll explore publishing options of all sorts.
Graduate Poetry Workshop
Our goal in this class is to lock in on our vision for our own writing and help others to lock in on theirs. We will do this by reading widely and diversely and thinking about the aesthetic, occult and political powers of poetry in our contemporary and pre-contemporary publishing universes. We will read across cultures and languages with an open and receptive ear, eye, heart and brain, ready to be changed by poetry. We will think about poetry as a medium among media and we will test our ideas by encountering texts and artworks that we do not normally think of as poetry at all.
Graduate Translation Workshop
Perhaps the most famous definition of poetry in American literature is Robert Frost's quip that poetry is that which is "lost in translation." Translation, it appears, is both central and marginal in the way we think about literature in this country. Through translation seemingly stable texts and notions of authorship become volatile. That is in large part why translation has at times been a source of anxiety in American literature, and at times a source of inspiration. In this class we will explore this volatile zone of translation by translating literary texts (prose, poetry, drama etc), reading theoretical texts, and by bringing our experiences as writers and readers, artists and scholars to the topic. Although it would be helpful, fluency in a foreign language is not required. Translation Studies is in the middle of an exciting moment - conventional ways of viewing translation are being questioned and US literature is becoming increasingly interested in foreign literatures - and this class will participate in this moment.
Returns of the Aesthetic
Yasmin Solomonescu & Joseph Rosenberg
The field of literary studies has recently seen a return of interest in the aesthetic, traditionally defined as the realm of beauty detached from the concerns of everyday life, but now coming into focus as a mode of experience that develops individual and collective capacities, including for social and political critique. Representative titles include Joseph North’s Literary Criticism: A Concise Political History (2017), Derek Attridge’s The Work of Literature (2015), Caroline Levine’s Forms: Whole, Rhythm, Hierarchy, Network (2015), Fred Moten’s In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition (2003), and Deepika Bahri’s Native Intelligence: Aesthetics, Politics, and Postcolonial Literature (2003). This seminar examines such returns to the aesthetic in theory and criticism while also addressing the returns (or gains) of the aesthetic for literary study today. Readings and discussion will be divided into four main units: a first on foundational treatments of aesthetics in late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literary theory and philosophy; a second on the adaptation of such theories in the early twentieth century, notably as part of the methodology of close reading that came to define academic literary studies in the United States and Britain; a third on the uptake and critique of aesthetically oriented methodologies in the mid- to late twentieth century; and a fourth on the past several decades’ attempts to revive and redefine aesthetic concerns and criticism. Students will be invited to engage critically with the seminar material while reflecting on its returns for their own work.
How we (should) view the Middle Ages
There has been a lot of attention lately to how we study the medieval past, above all because of white supremacists who seek to coopt the period. We will consider their misunderstanding of the Middle Ages alongside other approaches. For instance, it used to be conventional, even a few decades ago, to turn to the period as a point of origin, whether for universities, common law, or the profit economy. Now, it is more often understood as a “premodern” period, home to monsters and plagues and distanced from the modern world. We’ll think about the factors that drive those changes. We ask for different things from the past at different points in history, and so it changes along with the present. We will try to understand some of the dynamics at play by evaluating the ways in which the Middle Ages is used to support different agendas. We will read primary texts from medieval England including some of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Mandeville’s Travels, Floris and Blancheflour, and other pieces of romance and travel literature. Alongside those readings, we will read pieces from theory and popular culture and consider the ways that the different sources correspond or not with the period as it represents itself.
17th Century Women Writers
The seventeenth century in Old and New England saw an exciting and unprecedented flourishing of writing by women. This course looks at a rich and diverse range of women’s writing, primarily from the second half of the century. Genres to be read and discussed include autobiography, letters, recipe books, poetry, fictional and non-fictional prose, and private and public drama. Authors include such now well-known figures as Aemilia Lanyer, Lady Mary Wroth, Margaret Cavendish, Anne Bradstreet, Mary Rowlandson, and Aphra Behn. Primary texts will be read and discussed in biographical and historical context, alongside literary scholarship setting out current critical interests and debates. Among the questions to be addressed: How do women fashion themselves in and through their writing? How do gender concerns intersect with class, religion, politics, and race? How do early women writers use and boldly revise different literary forms?
Disability Studies: Theory and Practice
This course offers a theory-driven exploration of literature on disability in the Romantic and Victorian eras. In this class, we will read Romantic and Victorian texts alongside modern disability theory (chapters and articles) to develop a disability studies lens as a critical approach. The course objectives are to: introduce students to disability studies methodologies and key concepts in literary disability studies; explore a range of approaches to disability; understand the intersections between disability and gender, race, class, wealth, and sexuality; understand disability studies as a field, and put theory into practice through critical analysis.
A close study of James Joyce's masterpiece.
Sound and Performance Studies
In this graduate seminar, we will attend to the interplays between sound, performance, and literature, from Harlem Renaissance poetry and drama to jazz liner notes to the role of rock and roll in shaping American fiction. To undertake a project of sound or performance studies is to take on an endeavor whose very subject is already under question. Where, after all, is the sonic object to be found—in a sound wave, in the cochlea of a listener, in an MP3, in a guitar string or clap of thunder or thickly grained voice of a well-trained baritone? Similarly, the precise boundaries of performance are subject to ongoing debate about liveness and the archive. In attending to these putative objects, to the questions they set into motion, we can enrich and deepen our study of literature and of culture overall. In this class, we will tune in to sounds that have shaped and punctuated historical scenes of social life and performance, from the Shakespearean stage to the nightclub. We will consider the philosophical and phenomenological implications of those sounds whose sources are unseen and possibly unknown. We will examine the importance of sound tracks, Foley effects, and spoken dialogue for the development of cinema, and we will explore the relationship between sonic technologies such as phonography and radio and concurrent histories of the novel. Texts will likely include works by Jonathan Sterne, Alexandra Vazquez, Nina Sun Eidsheim, Tavia Nyong’o, Bruce Smith, José Esteban Muñoz, Joshua Chambers-Letson, Roland Barthes, J.L. Austin, Michel Chion, Brian Kane, Rey Chow, Daphne Brooks, Alain Corbin, Anthony Reed, Emily Lordi, Josh Kun, Tom McEnaney, Friedrich Kittler, Fred Moten, Matthew Morrison, Jennifer Doyle, Ashon Crawley, Diana Taylor, and Clifford Geertz.
Practicum: Teaching Writing
The aim of English 92001 is to prepare you to teach Writing and Rhetoric (WR) in the University Writing Program at Notre Dame. The course does this in two ways: first, by introducing you to readings in rhetoric and composition that provide a basis for making informed choices in the classroom. Second, by providing you with opportunities to practice skills such as lesson planning, designing writing assignments, responding to student papers, managing writing groups, and planning a syllabus. To these ends, you will read selectively in rhetoric and composition theory, observe faculty currently teaching in the University Writing Program, and complete a series of short assignments. By the end of the course, you will be prepared to teach Writing and Rhetoric at the college level.
Practicum: Preparation for the Profession
Article Writing Practicum: this course will follow the 12-week article revision and publication model outlined in Wendy Belcher’s workbook on article publishing. Students from all fields and stages are welcome to participate in this practicum, and to prepare an article for submission to academic journals at the end of the semester. Students who have taken the practicum and would like to attend again for structure and accountability are welcome.
Practicum: Literary Publishing
Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi
A review of the current state of literary publishing in the U.S. and abroad.
Practicum: Public Writing for the Humanities
Workshop-style practicum for humanities graduate students who would like to write for more public venues. Focus on identifying appropriate public venues for scholarly topics, writing style, and the essay form.