Graduate Courses, Summer & Fall 2006

Summer Session One 2006

(May 15 - June 26)
(There are no graduate courses in Summer Two this year.)
English 569: Jane Austen in Fiction and Film
Professor Howard Silverstein
Summer Session One 2006: Tue/Thu 3:00--5:15 pm

The novels of Jane Austen, with their themes of love and marriage, the roles of men and women, and the challenges of forging ones identity in a hierarchical society, have become classics in the history of British literature.

A recent advertisement of Pride and Prejudice claims that the novel has sold more than twenty million copies since its publication in l813 and that it has never been out of print. Hollywood discovered the novel in l940 with a critically acclaimed film that boasted a screenplay by the British novelist Aldous Huxley. With the advent of television, the novel was reincarnated in many productions, the best of which was the magnificent six-part BBC version in the early l990s.
It was Ang Lee's production of Sense and Sensibility in l995 that caused movie makers to have another look at Jane Austen. Writers and directors suddenly realized that it was not only Pride and Prejudice that was a marketable commodity, but that the quintessential Austen plots of love and marriage in all her novels resonated with significance for our own times. Within a few years, Austen became a top box office celebrity: EmmaMansfield Park, and Persuasion all made their film debuts. In 2005, Elizabeth and Darcy were once more on the screen in a British revival ofPride and Prejudice, while an Indian company produced a spin-off called Bride and Prejudice.

The required readings for the course are Sense and SensibilityPride and PrejudiceEmma, and Persuasion. Each of the novels will be discussed from a literary point of view as well as through a cinematic exploration. The initial discussion of the novels will concentrate on Austen's themes, narrative techniques, characters, and humor. The second part of the discussion will extend to the film. The critical question here will be how does each film interpret the novel? What cinematic innovations are there, and do they add to the success or failure of the movies?
Two critical papers are required as well as an oral presentation on one of the films. Each student will be assigned a film for his/her presentation.

ATTENTION: Sense and Sensibility must be read in its entirety for the second class meeting
on May 18th.

FALL 2006

English 508: General Linguistics
The Making of a Sentence--Grammar for Basic Writers
Professor Xiao-Ming Li
Fall 2006: Wed 6:00--8:00 pm

Grammar is seen by many as passé and boring, if not downright retro. However, students in our writing classes continue to struggle with forming sentences, and many instructors have had little training in formal grammar and wrestle with sentence-level errors mightily, often to little effect. More seriously, grammatical correctness, despite our claims to the contrary, continues to be the single most important determinant of a student's advancement in most writing programs.
This course is designed for those who think grammar still has a place in the teaching of writing and would like to understand the constituents and structure of English sentences. We will start from the parts of speech and move up the hierarchy to the phrase, clause, and sentence, and then to the types of sentences: simple, compound, and complex. Other related topics to be discussed and examined in class are the syntactical and stylistic differences between oral and written English, the controversy between descriptive and prescriptive grammar, the rhetorical use of grammar, and the advantages and limitations of teaching grammar.

Each participant will do weekly grammar assignments and write journal entries on grammar-related topics; most importantly, he or she will work with a student or a tutee throughout the semester and apply grammar to the analysis of the student/tutee papers. The final project will be a comprehensive analysis of the grammatical strengths and weaknesses of the student/tutee writing and its possible progress during the semester to assess the usefulness of grammar instruction.

Tentative texts:

DeCarrico, J. The Structure of English: Studies in Form and Function for Language Teaching. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000.

DeCarrico, J. & Franks. Workbook to accompany The Structure of English. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000.

Shaughnessy, Mina. Errors and Expectations.

English 522: Academic Writing Workshop
Professor Mary Hallet
Fall 2006: Mon 4:10--6:00 pm

This course offers graduate students from all disciplines hands-on practice in the writing of academic essays, even as it explores the shifting nature of the academic essay as a genre across different disciplines and for different writing purposes. Examining diverse models of academic writing, we will work together to determine its common conventions, as well as the conventions that are particular to specific disciplines and fields. The workshop portion of the course asks students to bring their work to the table--that is, to share their own academic writing with their classmates and teacher in order to receive productive feedback, and to be willing to give productive feedback in return. By the end of the semester, students should understand and practice academic writing as an active engagement and conversation with scholars and ideas in their own fields; they should see themselves as active participants in these scholarly conversations, and as scholars themselves who can advance the knowledge of their fields. They should understand that academic writing is both a reflection of what they learn and a mode of learning itself. Readings in the class will be largely determined by students' interests and the particular disciplines to which they belong. Writing assignments will include essays based on the readings we do, as well as readings students do in their individual disciplines.

English 523: Fiction Writing Workshop
Spirit & Dream Autobiography
Professor John High
Fall 2006: Wed 6:10--8:30 pm

In this course we will begin to sculpt our writings into the language of spiritual and dream autobiographies. Humanity's attempt to understand itself throughout the ages has often resulted in a fringe of wr iting engaged in poetry of spirit and a prose of quest, of prophecy, vision, verbal experimentation and meditative stories that function as expressions of the changing self. In your own writing quest, your discoveries may tread between the realms of journey, dream, fiction, and poetry, while leading you to a deeper sense of awareness and awe of the secret depths of human character and verbal expression. Autobiographies may include stories, dreams, poetry and poetic prose; indeed, language itself can only gauge a spiritual journey, but through language we discover and represent the shifting and mysterious points of our identities and the world around us.

In this workshop we will have a chance to glimpse one another's strengths and weaknesses in writing and to offer suggestions as to how to improve and build on the texts. The course will operate on a workshop basis and students will be responsible for providing verbal and written responses to one another's work. We'll set out to understand the "strivings" of each piece of writing in order to determine the ways in which it can be structured and developed into a whole and, afterwards, offer constructive criticism and helpful suggestions to the author. There will be class discussions on what we mean when we talk about the autobiography as a gathering ground for material evolving out of the imagination's eye and the world it inhabits in dream as well as reality; concurrently, there will be readings and class discussions on the nature of memory, improvisation, dream and persona. We will scrutinize the craft of the pieces and explore how we might more effectively implement, extend, and develop the techniques and forms of these texts in our own evolving work. The goal of the course includes completion of a portfolio of work and revised editions of texts for a class anthology designed and edited by the class, culminating in a group reading and party.

We'll be reading from Pilgrim Souls, a collection of spiritual autobiographies, which includes authors ranging from King David, St. Augustine, Tolstoy, Emily Dickinson, Thomas Merton, Eldridge Cleaver, Kathleen Norris, C.S. Lewis, Annie Dillard, Flannery O'Connor, and Simon Weil.

English 526: Writing for Media I--The Story
Professor Peg Gormley (from the Media Arts Department)
Fall 2006: Thu 6:00--8:50 pm

This cross-listed course is an introduction to the methods and principles of great STORYTELLING in the media. It is the cornerstone course for all forms of story: commercials, sitcoms, movies, experimental shorts, even documentaries and photographic essays. In the first half of the semester, by means of screenings and discussion, students will learn to recognize and analyze basic story elements such as narrative structure, character, setting, plot, design, irony, and comedy. In the second half, in workshop-style classes, students will work on creating their own stories using these elements. Each student will develop his/her own movie-short screenplay and treatment as a final project. A professional screenwriter will be a guest speaker at one of the classes. Requirements: access to a computer, purchase of Final Draft writing software, permission of instructor to take the course.

English 527: Professional Writing Workshop
Writing Throughout Your Career
Professor John Killoran
Fall 2006: Tue 6:10--8:00 pm

Most careers now involve some writing, and some careers involve mostly writing; however such writing can be quite diverse, not just from career to career but even within one career, especially as our writing changes in conjunction with situational, cultural, and technological changes. To master such diversity and change, students of this course will learn common principles for the diverse kinds of writing they might practice throughout their evolving careers:

--writing for businesses and non-profit organizations;
--writing in various professions (health, legal, financial, educational);
--writing about new technology and science;
--writing in traditional media and new media.

The course draws on rhetorical perspectives, notably those inspired by genre scholarship and professional writing practices, to provide students with a core of common principles for analyzing and practicing diverse kinds of professional writing. As part of their course work, students will analyze professional writing and writing practices in a career area of their choice. Students will also create and/or revise their resume and -drawing on their writing in this course and their other professional (or academic, or creative) writing-begin a print portfolio or e-portfolio, and receive individual guidance and feedback in consultation with the professor, who researches resume writing and Web portfolios.

English 624: American Autobiography
Professor Patrick Horrigan
Fall 2006: Thu 6:10--8:00 pm

Forget "the great American novel": autobiography is arguably the quintessential American genre. The course will examine over three hundred years of Americans' use of the first person in memoir, letter, diary, film, and comix. More basically, we will attempt to define the genre, distinguishing it from the novel and biography, and we will consider the place of "the personal" in all manner of intellectual and artistic production. Authors and texts may include Mary Rowlandson's The Sovereignty & Goodness of God; Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography; Frederick Douglass'sNarrative; Henry Adams's The Education of Henry Adams; Mary Antin's The Promised Land; Gertrude Stein's The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas; Richard Wright's Black Boy; Thomas Merton's The Seven Story Mountain; Tom Joslin's video diary Silverlake Life; Richard Rodriquez's Brown; Harvey Pekar, Joyce Brabner, and Frank Stack's graphic memoir Our Cancer Year; and Joan Didion's The Year of Magically Thinking. Major texts will be supplemented by readings in the theoretical literature, and students will have the opportunity to write critically as well as creatively--that is, to draft autobiographical essays or stories of their own.

English 636: Postcolonial Literature and the Atlantic World
Professor Maria McGarrity
Fall 2006: Mon 6:10--8:00 pm

Postcolonialism as a critical impulse has had a profound impact on literary and cultural studies in recent years. This course will examine the narratives that characterize Postcolonialism by focusing on the encounter between the centralized colonial metropolis and the Caribbean archipelago in the twentieth century. The creative works in this course represent the colonial and postcolonial imagination from both the centers and the margins of empire. We will read urban novelists who imagine the empire in their works as well as writrs from the Caribbean who write back to the center. We will examine what impact the Atlantic World and Transatlantic movement has had on these narratives, paying special attention to the Atlantic world impact on the Haitian Revolution. We will explore foundational texts in the field and complicate the following topics: globalism and local culture; the psychology of colonialism; landscape and empire; sexual transgression and the constructions of the Other; and imagining nationalisms. Requirements are a class presentation on an historical/colonial subject, a short paper based on the presentation, and a final research seminar paper.

English 646: Individual and Small Group Writing Instruction
Professor Mary Hallet
Fall 2006: Tue 4:10--6:00 pm

Research in the teaching of writing has repeatedly revealed the benefits for student learning of one-to-one instruction and small group collaborative work. Such research has helped shift the focus of writing instruction away from classroom drills in, and lectures about, grammar and the rules of composition to a more dialectical approach to learning, one that encourages active student participation. Concurrent with this move away from the "lecture hall" mode of teaching has been the proliferation of university writing centers staffed with specially trained tutors, as well as an emphasis among writing teachers upon one-on-one writing conferences and small collaborative learning groups in the classroom. This course will contextualize these changes in writing instruction within the larger framework of composition theory and history. More specifically, the course will focus on the theories, policies, dynamics and practices of individual and small group writing instruction. We will not only read about and discuss theories and issues relating to these topics, but we will also observe and practice individual/small group writing instruction within the contexts of tutoring and classroom environments. Writing assignments will include short journal responses to the readings and discussions, as well as reflections upon your own experiences with individual and/or small group instruction; an analysis of such instruction within the Writing Center or a composition classroom; and a final project that focuses in depth on one of the issues we have read about and discussed in class.

English 650: Gender and Sexuality in Medieval Literature
Professor Sealy Gilles
Fall 2006: Tue 6:10--8:00 pm

This seminar explores the formation of masculine and feminine identities in the literature of the Middle Ages. The focus is on western Europe and England, with brief forays into the Arabic tradition. All texts will be read in modern translations, and the course is designed for the non-specialist. Medieval romances, folk tales, and love lyrics have shaped our ideas of what it is to be a man or a woman, and our attitudes towards sexuality. The course examines those notions about who we are and how we relate to others as they are embodied in texts from the twelfth through the fifteenth centuries. We shall look closely at bonds between men (brotherhood, king and vassal, father and son) and between women (sisterhood, mother and daughter, the hag and the young woman). The nature of male heroism and of the lady will be particular topics of concern, but we will also be reading texts in which men are the objects of desire and women the aggressors, as well as poems that express same-sex desire. In addition, the class will explore anxieties about gender and sexual control, in particular through examining the connection between leprosy and promiscuity in the later Middle Ages.
Texts include Tristan and IsoldeAbelard and Heloise, the lais of Marie de France, Dante's Vita Nuova, Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Robert Henryson's Testament of Cresseid, and a wide selection of lyric poetry. Requirements include a brief, close-reading essay; an oral presentation; and a researched, documented essay.

English 708: Thesis
Time to be arranged individually--Contact Professor Marilyn Boutwell

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