Graduate Courses, Spring 2002

English 520: Non-Fiction Writing Workshop
Professor Harriet Malinowitz

This course will focus on writing the personal essay. The first few weeks will be devoted to reading personal essays by established authors and analyzing their form, their style, the rhetorical strategies they employ, and their use of language. This examination should help us understand the ways personal essays present and interrogate the self and subjective experience. Our reading of published essays will continue, though on a less frequent basis, throughout the term, as we will soon move to a workshop format in which students’ essays are read and discussed in detail. The goal of the workshop critique is to help the writer move toward more effective revision; each student will be expected to produce two developed 10-15 page personal essays by the end of the term. We will use Philip Lopate’s The Art of the Personal Essay, as well as selected handouts. The essayists we will read may include George Orwell, Virginia Woolf, James Baldwin, Adrienne Rich, Richard Rodriguez, Patricia Williams, Vivian Gornick, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Jamaica Kincaid. Individual conferences with the instructor are greatly encouraged. 

English 523: Fiction Writing Workshop
section 1: Professor Lewis Warsh
section 2: Professor Eric Lehman

This workshop explores both the art and the craft of fiction writing. Frequent writing assignments and exercises will concentrate on the conventions of fiction---description, dialogue, characterization---as well as the more experimental possibilities such as fragmentation and shifting point of view. Focus will be on the way autobiography over laps with fiction and how the past is fictionalized as a way of keeping it alive. Among the models we will look at are the stories and novels by Marguerite Duras, Don DeLillo, Lydia Davis, and James Ellroy. Much of the workshop time will be spent reading and discussing student work. 

English 579: Queer Pop Culture in the United States
Professor Michael Bennett

Is there such a thing as "queer pop culture" in the United States, and if so, what does it look like?  Is there a specifically queer way of reading, viewing, or consuming culture?  Why use the word "queer" rather than "lesbian and gay"?  How is queer pop culture shaped in relation to other identity markers, such as gender, race, and class?  These are some of the questions that we will address in this course.  These explorations will serve as the foundation from which we will launch into an analysis of different representations of queerness in American literature, film, and politics.  Topics to be discussed from a queer perspective may include:  nineteenth-century women's fiction, the Harlem Renaissance, film and television, journalism, photography, AIDS and breast cancer, outing, pornography, s/m and sex culture, transvestites and drag, and cyberspace.  These topics will be discussed in the context of the relationship of queer theory to American culture and politics.  Texts:  Ablelove's The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader; Creekmur and Doty's Out in Culture: Gay, Lesbian, and Queer Essays on Popular Culture; Larsen's Quicksand and Passing; and Jagose'sQueer Theory: An Introduction.

English 624: Melville’s Moby Dick
Professor Patrick Horrigan 

For many readers, Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, or, The Whale (1851) is the great American novel, and by any standards it is one of the most thrilling and strange accomplishments in world literature. But because of its size and complexity, it is also one of the most under read of the great books. In the first half of this course, we will take the time to read the novel in its entirety. Then in the second half of the course, we will study a range of critical responses to the novel, placing it in its historical, biographical, and literary contexts. We will also look at a number of artistic responses to the novel, including Laurie Anderson’s recent “Songs and Stories from Moby Dick.”  Field trips for the course may include visits to lower Manhattan, the setting for the opening chapter of the novel; Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, where Melville is buried; the rare book and manuscript collection at the New York Public Library; and the collections of nineteenth-century American paintings and artifacts in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Each student will give an in-class presentation and write a research paper. Our ultimate aim in the course will be to understand the role that Moby Dick has played and continues to play in the ongoing story of American culture.    

English 641: Literacy and Basic Writing
Professor Deborah Mutnick

This course aims to situate the basic writing instruction on the college level in the broader field of literacy studies. We will address several key questions: What is literacy? What is orality? What social and historical forces account for patterns of literacy and illiteracy? What myths surround literacy? How can educators help promote literacy? What defines a basic writer? What kind of instruction can enable so-called basic writers to become proficient readers and writers? What discussions are currently taking place in the field of basic writing and what implications might they have for institutions like LIU?

A tentative reading list includes works by Walter Ong, Paulo Freire, William Labov, Shirley Brice Heath, James Paul Gee, Mike Rose, Deborah Brandt, Linda Brodkey, Mina Shaughnessy, Min-Zhan Lu, Tom Fox, and Bruce Horner. Writing requirements will include a course journal, a literacy autobiography, and a research paper that may be based on library and/or field research. 

English 643: Seminar in Shakespeare
Professor Joan Templeton

We will be reading major tragedies and comedies of the greatest writer in the language. The course emphasizes both text and performance; films, videos of performances, and attendance at a live performance will be included. Texts: Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth, Othello, 12th Night, King Lear, Midsummer Nights’ Dream, and The Merchant of Venice

English 646: Individual & Small Group Writing
Professor Patricia Stephens

Attention: Advanced undergraduate students may enroll for this course with permission of the instructor

In this class, we will examine the theory and practice of individual and small group writing instruction, locating writing center work within its broader historical and institutional contexts. The course will begin with an overview of writing center history, theory, and pedagogy and will then examine some of the most common tutoring concerns: structuring sessions and setting goals; assessing, diagnosing and responding to student writing; learning strategies to teach planning, drafting, revising, proofreading and editing; learning strategies to work on specific grammatical concerns; helping students with reading comprehension; working with ESL concerns; noticing interpersonal dynamics and maintaining boundaries; respecting and responding to cultural and ethnic differences; working as an online tutor; and facilitating small group sessions. Students interested in pursuing a specific topic not included in the general readings---such as writing center administration---may do so with permission from the instructor.
Possible texts: Good Intentions: Writing Center Work for Postmodern Times; Rhetorical Grammar; Teaching One-to-One: The Writing Center Conference; The Practical Tutor; Tutoring Writing; and, Wiring the Writing Center.
Students who enroll in the course will be required to tutor for one hour per week during the semester at the Writing Center and to audio and/or videotape one session with a student. The taped session will be transcribed and analyzed by the student for use in a self-study. Classes will be conducted as seminars/workshops so that all students have the opportunity to participate in class presentations, mock tutorials, etc. Each student will generate her/his own idea/s for a final written (and/or action) project based on topics of interest during the semester.

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