Below are some recently offered graduate courses:
ENGL 90115 – Queer Migrations
In this course, we will examine the intersections of migration with LGBTQ* identities. We will begin with James Baldwin’s Another Country (1961) and explore the ways that migration and movement (in multiple senses), as seemingly fundamental aspects of queer identity, further intersect with race, ethnicity, and gender. Throughout the course, we will be asking—and responding to—several questions, such as: How is the idea of home, as space and place, explored by LGBTQ* writers? Is migration a necessary paradigm for thinking of and through the LGBTQ* community? How have cities been shaped by queer identities? How is migration expressed through textual form in LGBTQ* texts? How do race and ethnicity intersect with gender and sexuality? This is an interdisciplinary course with a bit of an international focus. Because this course works through a range of film and literature, we will be discussing various formal strategies and methods used by each medium, and how these textual qualities map onto and explore content. We will be concerned with “movement” as a paradigm, and as such, will examine how movement is conveyed in film and literature, especially in regards to LGBTQ* identities.
ENGL 90131 Don't Believe the Hype: Debut
In the literary world, the debut is given great emphasis. So much so that the debut author often feels an exorbitant amount of pressure to succeed with one book. In this course we will analyze and critique this construct by reading a range of diverse writers spanning the 20th and 21st century. We will problematize the industry obsession with new talent, and explore productive ways of managing these external pressures. Students will also generate work using in-class prompts in order to further develop their authorial voice.
ENGL 90190 Returns of the Aesthetic
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.
ENGL 90207 – Introduction to the Gothic Language
Gothic, the subject of this course, might be considered a distant relative of not only English but also modern German, Dutch, and the various Scandinavian languages. It is in fact the oldest recorded Germanic language, and was spoken, in one form or another, by related groups who spread southward, eastward, and westward across Europe from the first to the sixth centuries, remaking much of the political landscape but leaving a very small written record. Gothic survives primarily in a late-fourth-century translation of the New Testament, prepared by Ulfila, an Arian bishop of the Goths. This is primarily a language course, in which we will learn the grammar of Gothic and translate passages from the New Testament and the Skeireins (a fragmentary commentary on the Gospel of John). We will also ponder the peculiar purple manuscript with silver script in which Ulfila’s translation survives (the Codex argenteus), speculate on the character of the Crimean Gothic recorded over a millennium after Ulfila’s death, explore the structural relations among Gothic and the other Germanic languages, and discuss the conceptual roles the Goths have been made to play in the formation of European states, Germanic ethnicity, nationalism, horror fiction, and modern racial separatist movements.
ENGL 90214 – Premodern Humor
Humor is universal in human culture. Scholars in many different disciplines have attempted to understand its pervasiveness, but it is a phenomenon that does not seem susceptible to a singular explanation. Different people in different times and places laugh at different things for different reasons. Although understanding other people's sense of humor can be challenging - perhaps especially when we are at so great a temporal and cultural remove from them as we are from medieval people - it can provide a singularly revealing insight into their lives, their attitudes, their fears and aspirations - how they saw the world and how they tried to change it.
ENGL 90220 – Middle Scots Literature
This course will explore the wealth of literature associated with Scotland from about 1300 to 1603 and the unification of the Scottish and English crowns. During this time, Scots writers (or makars) drew widely on models from the Continent (especially Latinate traditions), England, and Scotland itself. They addressed political issues like Scottish independence, literary issues like the fashioning of native Scots traditions, social issues like the legal infrastructure of Scotland, cultural issues like the impact of Humanism, and whimsical issues like the wisdom of animals. Often bypassed because of its language and because it does not fit neatly into paradigms of English literary history, Middle Scots literature produced some of the greatest and least read masterpieces of medieval Britain, including John Barbour's Bruce, Robert Henryson's Moral Fables and Testament of Cresseid, William Dunbar's lyrics, Gavin Douglas's Palis of Honour and Eneados, Richard Holland's The Buik of the Howlat, and David Lindsay/s Dreme. We will read many of these works for their intrinsic and historical significance, and also consider relations between Middle Scots literature and textual production, including the importance of large individual manuscripts (like the Bannatyne, Asloan, and Maitland manuscripts), the repurposing of Scots poems in southern Middle English works, and the impact of Edinburgh/s nascent printing trade.
ENGL 90250 Animals in Premodern Literature
In this course, we will read bestiaries, fables, beast epics, and other pieces of literature that focus on animals. We will read works originally composed in English, Arabic, Latin, French, and Spanish (Catalan), although all will be read in English. Included among them are fables attributed to Aesop, the Physiologus, Kalīla wa-Dimna, Marie de France’s fables and lais, Richard of Fournival’s bestiary, Chaucer’s Nun’s Priest’s Tale and Parliament of Fowls, the Owl and the Nightingale, Ramon Llull’s Book of Beasts, The Case of the Animals versus Man, and Peter Alfonsus’s Disciplina clericalis. We will also read a good deal of scholarship from the field of animal studies and elsewhere. We will discuss the ways in which animals are represented, their relationship with humans, their relationship to nature, the ethical questions they raise, their classification, the transmission of various stories, and their appeal.
ENGL 90257 – Editing/Performing Shakespeare
You pick up a copy of Shakespeare - but what is the object you are holding? This course will explore the history, theory and practice of editing Shakespeare as an example of the complex issues in editing literary/dramatic texts. From the work of early modern printers, through the tradition of 18th century editions (Rowe to Malone), towards current, 21st century editorial practice and the future of online/print editions, we will investigate how practice has shaped theory and vice versa. In particular, we will be concerned with the problematics of the representation of performance (early, recent, possible) in text/paratext/commentary. Work required will include editing segments of Shakespeare plays (generating text, collation, commentary), attending performance(s) as well as experimenting with possible new ways in which a Shakespeare edition might be conceived and, of course, writing a substantial research paper.
ENGL 90259 – Devotional Lyric
In the wake of the Reformation-era's massive upheavals, devotional poetry in the English language flourished. This body of literature offers its readers the opportunity to explore questions pertaining broadly to the study of lyric and to the study of the relationships between religion and literature. Early modern devotional poetry oscillates between eros and agape, private and communal modes of expression, shame and pride, doubt and faith, evanescence and transcendence, mutability and permanence, success and failure, and agency and helpless passivity. It experiments with gender, language, form, meter, voice, song, and address; it became a key means for exploring the subjective experience of living the theological ideas and changes of the Reformation period. Given this poetry’s broad-ranging vitality, it is no surprise that contemporary scholarship on devotional poetry engages deeply with theology, history, lyric theory, gender, and sexuality. Authors we'll read will likely include Thomas Wyatt, Anne Locke, Mary Sidney, Philip Sidney, Robert Southwell, Henry Constable, John Donne, George Herbert, Robert Herrick, Henry Vaughan, Richard Crashaw, and John Austin. The course will offer two tracks adjustable to student interests and professional development.
ENGL 90270 Seventeenth 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?
ENGL 90278 Shakespeare on the Big Screen
This course explores the phenomenon of Shakespeare in the cinema/movie theatre, examining ‘Shakespeare and film' by concentrating on the meanings provoked by the "and" that joins the terms. We shall be looking at examples of films of Shakespeare plays both early and recent, both in English and in other languages, and both ones that stick close to conventional concepts of how to film Shakespeare and adaptations at varying degrees of distance from his language, time, plot, reaching a limit in versions that erase Shakespeare from the film. We will also be looking at the recent phenomenon of "Live from" broadcasts of live theatre to movie audiences. The transposition of different forms of Shakespearean texts (printed, theatrical, filmic) and the confrontation with the specificities of film production have produced and continue to produce a phenomenon whose cultural meanings will be the subject of our investigations. There will be screenings of the films to be studied in the Browning Cinema.
ENGL 90346 The Ballad
The ballad is one of the major poetic traditions of world literature. Precisely what a ballad is, however, remains a remarkably vexed question. For the literary schola"ballad" is often used to mean a narrative poem, but this definition does not do justice to a vastly more complex history, which traverses oral traditions, folklore, urban popular song, and cheap print. This course will explore various elements of the ballad both in print and performance, in an attempt to forge new connections between poetry and song. We will learn about the fascinating history of the popular ballad, and how it gave shape to English literature as a discipline. We will engage with ballad archives, which provide a fascinating glimpse into popular urban street song and the mentalities of ordinary people. We will think about the global circulation and distribution of ballads and their relationship to place. And we will consider the advantages and limitations both of print archives and performance studies for conceptualizing the song traditions of the past. Our focus will primarily be on English, Scottish, and Irish Ballads, though this is not a subject that lends itself well to national and political boundaries, so we will follow the songs throughout the Anglophone world and beyond. The course will require a series of readings and listenings, and will include discussion of a diverse array of materials from Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, and John Gay's The Beggar's Opera, through Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Marinere, and nineteenth-century slip songs, to the Podcasts Dolly Parton's America, and Fire Draw Near.
ENGL 90325 – Law, Race, and Political Economy 1650-1800
This cross-disciplinary seminar explores the development of key epistemological frameworks and structural formations that remain core features of modernity, Specifically, we will study the ways in which the emergence and flourishing of transnational capitalism reorganizes fundamental political, cultural, and legal conceptions of a.) race, identity, and political community; b.) the colonial-imperial administration of sovereignty at a distance; and c.) public and collective responsibility. After some attention to core theoretical frameworks, we will focus in depth on three episodes (each about four weeks) that illustrate the broader pattern. Our case studies will be: a.) seventeenth century Atlantic settler colonies and political ventures from Massachusetts Bay to Carolina and Barbados; b.) the English East India Company from inception to the early Raj; c.) the transatlantic slave trade from 1619 through the early abolition movement.
ENGL 90412 – Gender, Print Culture, and Modernity
At the center of this course will be the complex and varied periodical cultures of modernity: little magazines that advanced literary and artistic experiments, “slicks” and fashion magazines that advertised a modern lifestyle, feminist papers, women’s and men’s magazines, and more. Topics may include the role of the feminist periodical press in advancing a counter public sphere; the role of the little magazines such the Little Review and the New Freewoman in entwining questions of literary experiment with the cultivation of new identity categories for modern (‘advanced’) women and men; the role of popular magazines in circulating a “pulp modernism” marked as masculine; the circulation of a queer modernity in the pages of British Vogue during the early 1920s. We’ll also consider literary representations of women’s encounters with new information systems: novels of the “typewriter girls” of modernity or new woman novels of encounter with the new journalism.
ENGL 90528 - The Atlantic World: Literature and Theatre, 1688-Present
The transatlantic slave trade transformed the society, culture, economics, and politics of the early modern world; the disbursement of peoples of African descent during this period continues to impact the world that we live in today. In this course, we will explore the formation of an “Atlantic World,” by focusing on literature and theatre from the seventeenth-century to the present. Positioning the Atlantic Ocean as a conduit of exchange between the Old World and the colonized New World, the art of our focus will allow us to examine the results of these exchanges. While our initial focus will center on the creation of the Black Atlantic, our discussions and texts will include work written by a range of writers from around the Atlantic.
ENGL 90541 Ulysses, a Book of the Future
Many decades ago, Richard Ellmann wrote that “we are still learning to…understand our interpreter,” James Joyce. Ulysses is in many ways a “book of the future.” Though set in a specific past (1904) and written in times of great European wars (WWI, the Easter Rising, the Irish War of Independence), it functions as a work “from the past postpropheticals” (an expression derived from Finnegans Wake). This course aims to propose a rereading of Joyce’s Ulysses in the light of possible hermeneutic interactions and adaptations to our world, in the context of what I call the “quantum theory of interpretation:” a hermeneutic effort based on interaction and guided by concepts such as relationality, uncertainty (indeterminacy), entanglement and so on. Starting from a recognition of past Joycean exegeses, our chapter-by-chapter (or rather episode-by-episode) reading of the great work will help us reflect on the fact that reading is to some extent always a projection into the unknown. We will consider and encourage new critiques which, in the awareness of the partial imponderability of interpretation, are worthy of investigation just as established and canonical commentaries.
ENGL 90690 Sound & Social Reproduction
This graduate seminar will attend to U.S. literature from the late 19th century through the present with focus on literary and sonic registers of social and sound reproduction, performance, and gender and sexuality, and the interrelations among these. Beginning in the 1890s, immense changes took place in the ways Americans conceptualized gender and sexuality; at the same time, recording sound and playing it back transformed from a fantasy to a novelty to a common practice. While these sets of changes might initially seem disparate, they both have questions of reproduction—biological reproduction, social reproduction, mechanical reproduction—at their core. How did these rapidly changing conceptions of reproduction—along with co-constitutive conceptions of race, ethnicity, nationality, and sexuality—shape the concerns and forms taken up by American literature in the late 19th and 20th centuries? To address these questions, in this seminar we will read fiction by authors such as Stephen Crane, Theodore Dreiser, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Jessie Fauset, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins, Gayl Jones, Nella Larsen, Claude McKay, Thomas Pynchon, and Edith Wharton, alongside readings in sound and performance studies, gender and sexuality studies, and cultural studies generally, including work by Walter Benjamin, Michel Foucault, Michael Gallope, Saidiya Hartman, Stuart Hall, Christopher Looby, Heather Love, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, and Hortense Spillers.
ENGL 90692 New Approaches to American Literary History
This graduate course will consider four or five newer approaches to the history of American literature. The approaches covered will include selections from the following list of topics, in consultation with the students enrolled in the class: war and peace; varieties of religious expression; media and mediation; nature, science, and technology; colonization and immigration; and captivities (from the colonial period and slavery through prison literature). There will be a mix of prose and poetry in each unit, and each unit will span the early and later periods. Most readings will be drawn from the Norton Anthology of American Literature, Shorter Tenth Edition, Volumes A and B. Assignments for the class will include a syllabus and course design; class presentation(s); and either one 20-25 page paper or two 10-12 page papers.
ENGL 90726 – Law & Utopia in Atlantic America
How are the problems of race and gender intertwined, and how is/has the body been imagined in and through them? What can such questions tell us about today’s racial and gendered realities, both inside and outside of the university, both in the past and the present? This course takes a step backward to investigate these and other like questions in the context of what can be called the literary utopic impulse and its emphasis on the imagination in several 19th-century American authors whose work participates in a broad yet under-acknowledged vision of race, gender and Atlantic modernity. Grounding our analysis in a number of 16th-, 17th- and 18th--century political philosophical texts on law and utopia and drawing on the theories of Giorgio Agamben, Jacques Derrida and others in addition to insights from critical race theory, gender studies, feminist theory, theories of law and literature, and utopian studies, our goal will be to gain a more nuanced understanding of our racialized past and its troubled link to questions of gender both then and now, so that we may better hope to imagine—and reimagine—the shape of our collective democratic future in the 21st century’s global community.
ENGL 90791 Sci/Fi: About Worlds Old & New
This graduate seminar brings together two subfields of inquiry—science fiction studies and the inscriptional studies of science and technology—and two questions—how is science written in fiction and how is writing used in science—to account for the ways in which writing and science are, and have been historically and culturally, entangled. No prior knowledge of any subfield is required. You will read and engage with scholarship from literary criticism, history of science, science studies, and media technology studies. Students will likely encounter work from the likes of Thomas More, Fredric Jameson, Darko Suvin, Octavia Butler, Samuel Delany, Bruno Latour, Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, N. Katherine Hayles, and Friedrich Kittler.
ENGL 90798 Postcolonial Anthropocene
Catastrophic global climate change presents intractable challenges to global politics, inherited notions of human progress and possibility, privileged Enlightenment understandings of freedom and liberation, and the very idea of literary narrative as it has emerged in imperial fossil fuel culture. This seminar will explore the predicament of the postcolonial anthropocene through scientific, historical, theoretical, and literary approaches, with special attention to the relationship between literacy and extractive capitalism. Readings may include work by David Abram, Aime Cesaire, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Silvia Frederici, Amitav Ghosh, Hans Jonas, Achille Mbembe, Carolyn Merchant, Peter Sloterdijk, and Sylvia Wynter.
ENGL 90870 – Afro-Cuban Literature and Culture
From the earliest moments of European contact, race and Afro-Cubans have played central roles in the history and cultural development of Cuba. Slavery, the struggle for Cuban independence, and the ensuing (perhaps still ongoing) struggle for Afro-Cuban political and social equality have driven Cuban history, while Afro-Cuban cultural expression has become deeply woven into the national social fabric. This course will examine Afro-Cuban history and culture from the last decade of the eighteenth century to the contemporary moment. Divided into three periods, colonial (1791-1895), early republic (1895-1959), and revolutionary (1959-now) the course will address the history, political movements and cultural forms of expression (religion, music, literature, film, etc.) that have helped to create an identifiable Afro-Cuban culture. So too, the course will examine the tensions between Afro-Cuban culture and “mainstream” Cuban culture, the ongoing push and pull between the two, and thus the impact of an African presence in the ongoing evolution of cubanidad. Titles for the course will include Biography of a Runaway Slave, A Black Soldier’s Story, Reyita: The Life of a Black Cuban Woman in the Twentieth Century, Afro-Cuban Tales, Man-Making Words, Afro-Cuban Myths, Racial Politics in Post-Revolutionary Cuba and Looking Within/Mirar Adentro.
ENGL 90981 "Other": Global Anglophone Avant Garde Poetry
This course takes its title from an anthology of poetry published at the millennium which gathered together writers from Britain and Ireland—many with origins elsewhere, from the Caribbean to South Asia – under the flexible rubric of being “other,” and engaged in avant-garde, oppositional poetics. The project has been echoed in poetics theory that throws its nets far wider, such as Jacob Edmond’s impressive book A Common Strangeness (2012), which reads across to Russia and China, too, from his native New Zealand, to “show how the poetics of strangeness—just as much as history, geopolitics, and economics—have shaped conceptions of the “global.” This course will consider such arguments and the accomplishments of such theoretical projects as it reads the work of Anglophone avant-garde communities and individual poets ranging from North America and the “Black Atlantic” to Europe and South Asia. Further stops may be planned depending on the interests of seminar members, and a final segment may include current work issuing from Ukraine. Requirements will be tailored to individual students and the degrees that they are pursuing.
ENGL 90005 – Paleography
The course is an intensive survey of Latin scripts from antiquity through the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Students will be able to accurately read and transcribe Latin scripts, expand systems of abbreviation, identify, date, and localize (when possible) different hands, and defend their interpretations. There will be a strong emphasis on the different varieties of Gothic script (textualis, cursiva, hybrida, etc.). Once the class reaches the twelfth century, students will work extensively with Notre Dame's medieval collection of 288 manuscripts and fragments. Aspects of practical applications and textual criticism will be addressed at the end of the course. All meetings will be held in the Special Collections Seminar Room.
ENGL 90007 Western Codicology
This course will train students in the forensic approaches to the medieval manuscript book as a physical artifact. Students will learn to collect and interpret codicological data (e.g., collation, layout, decoration, distribution of scribal labor, book bindings, provenance, etc.). These skills will culminate in the ability to generate analytical manuscript descriptions and to integrate them into a larger research program. Specific treatment will be given to problematic genres of manuscripts such as Bibles, liturgical and music manuscripts, calendars, books of hours, legal texts, and fragments. In addition to the acquisition of codicological skills, students will learn to identify texts and develop a command of the secondary resources and bibliographic reference materials essential to the critical study of manuscripts. Students will work extensively with the medieval manuscripts in the collections of the Hesburgh Library and acquire plenty of hands-on experience. Pre-requisites: Students must be proficient in Latin; a previous course in Latin paleography is not required, but recommended.
ENGL 90013 – Graduate Fiction Workshop
A fiction workshop for graduate students in the MFA in Creative Writing program, with an emphasis on students developing their own aesthetic and personal vision, juxtaposed to and within the larger movement of the contemporary literary world.
ENGL 90038 – 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.
ENGL 90092 – Practicum: Teaching Creative Writing
In this course we'll work collaboratively to think through the practical, theoretical, institutional, interpersonal, political, and, oh yes, artistic implications of teaching creative writing at various types of academic institutions as well as in community settings.