One of the most pressing issues in Rhetoric, Composition, and Writing Studies is the current reckoning with the discipline’s complicity (among many others) in sustaining white supremacy and anti-Blackness. In English 7040, we will join in that reckoning by reading foundational scholarship in critical race theory alongside contemporary scholarship devoted to antiracist praxis, dismantling white supremacy, and imagining otherwise worlds and liberatory futures (Houdeck and Ore). Students interested in cultural rhetorics, critical race theory, antiracism, social justice, racial justice, decolonization, storying, counterstory, activism, interdisciplinarity, and/or non-Western approaches can expect to learn a great deal in this course.
“A place to breathe—and breathe together”: This course centers non-Western ways of being, knowing, and living as approaches to the many disciplines within English Studies, with a focus on Rhetoric, Composition, and Writing Studies. These ways include story (King; Powell; Riley-Mukavetz; Villanueva; Wilson), counterstory (Martinez), antenarrative (Jones), and other methodologies for cultural preservation, survivance (survival + resistance), and liberation. Because wrestling with white supremacy, anti-Blackness, and decolonization is difficult emotional work, we will also examine how emotions such as fear and guilt uphold these sociocultural constructs and how other emotions such as love and anger can be used to dismantle them (Ahmed; Bonilla-Silva; Corrigan; DiAngelo). We will consider not only what might be added to a discipline’s canon but also what might be cut (Law and Corrigan). Ultimately, we will ask alongside communication scholars Matthew Houdek and Ersula J. Ore: “What might it mean to reclaim the air from the suffocating forces of whiteness? What might it mean to embrace conspiratorial acts against a world that denies far too many the right and capacity to breathe, and what is the role of white folks therein? What might it mean to unmake the world in the Aftertimes and inaugurate an Age of Breath suited to Black and Indigenous survival and liberation?” (2021, 85). Just as Houdek and Ore imagine that an academic journal “could engage these and many other world-making/-breaking questions, serving as a space to imagine the world anew,” so too will we strive to make this course “a place to breathe—and breathe together” (85).
Each week I’ll ask you to bring quotations and questions from the readings to class so that your interests guide our discussions. I’ll also ask you to develop a final project in consultation with me, which you’ll define at the midterm. You can situate your final project in your home discipline. Your creativity in the final project is not only welcome but celebrated because creativity is central to the project of imagining otherwise worlds and liberatory futures in which we can breathe together.
For the final project, you can choose to write a traditional seminar paper, to story your experiences and cultural traditions, to counterstory against mainstream tropes and stereotypes, to compose in other genres, to mix modalities, to create a digital project, to create a public-facing project, or to do something else that grows you as a scholar and a human.
If you have any questions or want to talk about the course, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most of the course readings will be available online. We will likely read all of Aja Y. Martinez’s Counterstory: The Rhetoric and Writing of Critical Race Theory (NCTE: 2020), but my goal is to keep costs low by assigning articles and book excerpts rather than whole books.
Digital spaces and technologies have been lauded for their potential to democratize cultural and rhetorical production. Yet, as they have become an increasingly ubiquitous part of our lives, it’s clear that this promise has yet to be fully realized. From racist algorithms and sexist harassment to social media privacy concerns and accessibility barriers, internet spaces overwhelmingly still reflect, and in some cases amplify, the structures of power that shape the rest of our lives. We’ll explore these tensions in this class, examining the political, ethical, and pedagogical implications of digital exclusions. We’ll also consider how we can use our work as teachers, scholars, and citizens to create more inclusive, equitable online environments. Students can expect to complete weekly reading responses, discussion facilitation for one class period during the semester and a series of scaffolded assignments leading to a substantive, article-length scholarly research project to be presented to the class.
You will have an edge in many fields if you learn how good, original, accessible websites come together, as well as how to maintain a site. The ability to be a vital part of the website creation process will open doors to a variety of writing and design jobs. So will being able to design and run a usability test—to work with real users to find out how to improve a design. You’ll learn all of that and more in this course.
Most students will enter the course not knowing any coding; everyone will leave being able to use a web editor and HTML and CSS to develop, troubleshoot, and maintain sites. (“Many will enter; all will win.”)
In addition to learning how to design, structure information, code, test, and implement a site, you will learn how to create and edit web-appropriate content and work with content management systems. You will also learn how to tap into available resources, adopt a professional development workflow, adapt a site for diverse and global audiences, and create websites and web content accessible to users with disabilities.
Students will work on web development projects and give short presentations to the class. Students also will complete a usability project and several short writing assignments.
In 1572, when Montaigne was attempting to categorize the new shape his journal writing had begun to take on, he chose the Middle French word essai, meaning “trial,” “attempt,” “experiment.” The word lyric, on the other hand, is primarily aligned with the realms of poetry and song, as well as the slippery, indeterminate concept of the “Lyric I.” A lyric essay, then, as Kazim Ali writes, attempts “to bring the resources of poetry into prose, to allow new structures for the mind in its thinking.” John D’Agata popularized the term “lyric essay” through his ongoing work as an editor for the Seneca Review, as well as his well-known 2003 anthology The Next American Essay. There remains much debate, however, over what the label actually signifies, along with the respective merits of D’Agata’s work, both as an editor and as a writer. This course will take a deep dive into the forms, origins, idiosyncrasies, and various controversies associated with this latest nonfiction sub-genre.
The content of the essays we will focus on in class will traverse the familiar ground of literary journalism, creative criticism, and place-based writing, yet all will take on a markedly lyric or experimental approach. While the terms lyric and narrative in regard to the essay are not mutually exclusive, most of the creative work we will be studying looks to resist, complicate, or distract the reader from narrative, making use of such techniques as associative leaps, fragmentation, and/or other formal inventions to de-center a linear narrative structure. In the final weeks of the semester, we will also move to consider more extended forms, looking at two complete books—Maggie Nelson’s Bluets and Claudia Rankine’s Citizen—that operate as sustained lyrics.
Craft-based discussion of readings will occupy about half of our class time, with the other half being devoted to workshop. End-of-the-semester portfolios will consist of two substantially revised essays. Student presentations on an outside text, in-depth peer-review, and an ongoing critical component are also required for the course.
For this fiction workshop you will read and study contemporary fiction, paying close attention to craft, while writing your own short stories. The stories you write will be required to integrate research you undertake while you are in the class. The most obvious example of a short story that requires research is historical fiction (historical fiction is loosely defined as fiction written before you were born, so that you must research the time period in order to gain access to it); other examples include stories about sports, a specific profession, or a specific person. David Foster Wallace wrote about Alex Trebec in "Little Expressionless Animals," for instance, and Gabe Habash wrote extensively about high school wresting in the novel "Stephen Florida" (he did not wrestle as a high schooler). Examples of historical short fiction are myriad.
You will be expected to turn in regular reading responses, both to published and peer work as well as write and revise two short stories.
This graduate seminar examines a major phenomenon in early modern literary culture – the rise of the fictional prose narrative. Sometimes referred to as proto-novels, these highly popular fictions were distinctively hybrid in their form, often mingling prose, poetry, and epistolary genres within a single narrative framework. Yet, despite their popularity (or perhaps because of it), these works were also culturally suspect and often censured as purveyors of vices, especially of idleness and lewd passions. In fact, concerns over the mass availability of these texts often appeared alongside the rather alarming notion that what you read could change who you were, both physically and emotionally. As Thomas Wilson, a well-known Elizabethan humanist puts it in his Arte of Rhetoric (1553), “thei that wil reade this, or soche like Bookes, shall in the ende, bee as the Bookes are.” Throughout the course of the semester, we will examine a range of these “newfangled” fictions, from novellas to book-length narratives, focusing in particular on the ways in which their hybridity affords a rich site through which to chart matters of form, gender, reading practice, social satire, and material book culture. Why were these strangely hybrid texts so alluring and what can they tell us about this period’s blurring of boundaries between pleasure and goal-oriented reading, coterie and print cultures, the oral and the written, the public and the private? Seminar participants will find that – although our discussions together may revolve largely around recent scholarship on the materialities of print culture – the hybrid nature of the fictions themselves will accommodate a wide variety of individual approaches and methodologies for the seminar’s major research project.
discussion leading; conference-style presentation; research project (c. 20 pages); class participation
Our readings will include Gascoigne’s The Adventures of Master F. J., Lyly’s Eupues, Munday’s Zelauto, Greene’s Menaphon, Nashe’s The Unfortunate Traveler, Lodge’s A Marguerite of America, and selections from Painter’s Palace of Pleasure, along with a number of secondary readings.
This course examines Victorian literature and culture from a global perspective, stressing issues and practices of travel, migration, and mobility across a range of imperial, transnational, transoceanic, and transhistorical contexts. As we will discover, advances in technologies of travel and communication—including wider and more rapid distribution of newspapers and other forms of mass media—profoundly reshaped notions of space and time during the Victorian period. We will examine a diverse range of Victorian fiction, poetry, and nonfiction prose that sought to engage with these new possibilities and challenges. Some of the questions we will explore include: in what ways were travel and mobility informed by identities of race, gender, and class? How did specific genres and forms, including poetry, creatively and critically intervene in the creation of Victorian traveling identities? How would local, indigenous, and national identities survive and adapt in this expanding, accelerating, and interconnected world? We will also examine some recent examples of neo-Victorian fiction, travel writing, and hybrid forms of fiction, memoir, and literary/cultural criticism that seek to remap our understanding of these nineteenth-century globalizing forces. Course readings and critical approaches will also include recent theoretical work on postcolonial studies, archipelagic and transoceanic studies, and travel and mobility studies.
In times like these, what use is poetry? Can the making of poetry and the practice of close reading contribute to human flourishing and to political and social goods? Is there social value in aesthetic expression and experience? What is a poem--an object? an event? a human encounter? This seminar focuses on those questions, and on twenty-first century poets and theorists for whom they are central. We will read a selection of recent volumes, including C.D. Wright, Cooling Time: An American Poetry Vigil; Anne Boyer, Garments Against Women; Robin Coste Lewis, Voyage of the Sable Venus; Tracy K. Smith, Life on Mars; Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge, A Treatise on Stars; Robert Hass, Time and Materials; and Brian Teare, Companion Grasses. We’ll bring these into conversation with critical and theoretical selections from The Lyric Theory Reader, as well as selections from recent work by Susan Stewart, Charles Altieri, Oren Izenberg, and others.
Attendance and well-prepared participation; 6-8 brief reading responses; and a seminar essay of 20-24 pages.
English 7940 offers a conceptual and practical foundation for graduate students in English who plan to teach first-year writing at Auburn University and at the college level more broadly. Toward these ends, you can expect to read and discuss scholarship from the field of Rhetoric, Composition, and Writing Studies; explore the sociocultural and institutional dimensions of teaching at a land grant university in the U.S. South; observe experienced teachers in the classroom; learn and apply best practices for course design, assignment creation, feedback, and assessment; generate course materials within a framework provided by the Writing Program; and develop a philosophy of teaching that reflects what you have learned in the course and through your own experiences in the classroom.
The purpose of this work is to support your development in becoming skilled teachers and working professionals who can deliver high quality writing instruction and take an active role in the university community.
We will also spend time in class exploring, discussing, and generally puzzling through issues that arise based on our collective experiences in the classroom.
By the end of this course, you will:
Learn and apply best practices related to teaching college writing;
Design course materials within disciplinary and institutional frameworks;
Generate course materials for the first-year writing sequence;
Acquire practical strategies and techniques for facilitating day-to-day instruction;
Craft a philosophy of teaching that reflects individual experience and knowledge gathered through course readings and
In this class we’ll cover the basics of grant writing including how to analyze funding opportunities, respond to a request for proposal, write the different sections of a grant proposal, construct the overall argument for your grant and persuade your readers to fund your ideas, and use effective document design. For the major project in the class, students will work for a non-profit client to write a major proposal, and give a final presentation. During the second half of the semester students should plan to meet with their client as needed outside of class as well as be prepared to conduct research and work independently under the supervision of the instructor.
This seminar offers graduate students an opportunity to explore and practice community-engaged work in Writing Studies.
Explore: Within what Paula Mathieu has called the “public turn,” teachers and researchers have sought to “connect the writing that students and they themselves do with ‘real world’ texts, events, or exigencies.” As part of this disciplinary expansion, Writing Studies has sought to forge connections between the classroom (the historical locus of the field) and a range of communities and literacies beyond the university. These points of connection have transformed disciplinary identity, so much so that, as Rosanne Carlo has recently noted, “the ‘extracurricular’ is becoming the curricular…”. In this seminar, we will focus specifically on one part of this larger turn, what we will call “community engagement.” We will read, discuss, and debate scholarship that seeks to connect the work of the discipline with community partners and spaces of literacy beyond institutional geographies. As we’ll see, this work can be complex and fraught, and we’ll work to unpack the various tools and resources available to us as we approach this disciplinary mobility. Practice: One of the major goals of this seminar is combine theory and practice. In order to facilitate this, we will be engaged in a community partnership project with the Lee County Literacy Coalition (LCLC), a “non-profit organization dedicated to providing adult literacy programs at no cost to the community.” As part of this partnership, we will help support the center as they launch a new family literacy project for Lee County, helping to produce resources and strategize recruitment efforts. We will meet with the Executive Director and Program Coordinators at the LCLC early in the semester.
While the obvious goal of this project is to practice the kind of work we will be studying, this particular project will allow us to have conversations on topics—literacy studies, acquisition, sponsorship, research ethics, etc.—important to Writing Studies more generally.
Reading responses and/or annotations; discussion facilitation for one class period; a set of Community Engagement Memos; various writing assignments leading to an article-length seminar paper or comparable scholarly project; class presentation on final project
Key Texts will likely include: Paula Mathieu, Tactics of Hope; Thomas Deans, Barbara Roswell, and Adrian J. Wurr, Writing and Community Engagement; Jessica Restaino and Laurie JC Cella, Unsustainable; as well as other texts provided by the instructor.
This course will familiarize you with principles and practical applications of copymarking, copyediting, and comprehensive editing. We will work with professional writing from technology, business, science, as well as texts intended for academic publication. We will work with both print and online documents inside and outside of class. We will read scholarly and popular work related to sustainable publishing practices.
Course Objectives and Expected Student Outcomes
Students should leave the course with an understanding of the following:
The role(s) of editors in the document creation and production process, i.e., various ways that writers view editors, and that editors view their own role; points at which editing can occur; value added by editors.
Interpersonal strategies for working with subject-matter experts and with other members of a production team.
The concept of “levels of edit” and of differences among proofreading, copymarking, copyediting, and comprehensive editing.
Conventions of copymarking, copyediting, and proofreading (e.g., standard symbols) for types of texts commonly encountered in technical, scientific, and business writing, including texts with equations, technical abbreviations, figures, tables, and citations.
Standard tools (e.g., Track Changes in Word and Advanced Editing in Adobe Acrobat) used for electronic and online collaboration, editing, and manuscript preparation.
Common problems in usage, syntax, and organization such as wordiness, faulty parallelism, and lack of cohesion.
Conventions and nuances of punctuation in standard written English.
Standard reference works (e.g., Chicago Manual of Style) that editors rely on, and how those works vary.
The concept of “house style” and the process of creating a style guide and style sheet.
Scholarly work related to editing and ways to analyze scholarly work related to editing.
Assignments may include the following: reading quizzes and class preparation assignments, in-depth practice assignments, and a major editing assignment.
Cunningham, D. H., Malone, E. A., & Rothschild, J. M. (Eds.). (2019). Technical Editing: An Introduction to Editing in the Workplace. Oxford University Press.
The aim of English 7010 is to introduce students to the rhetorical principles, professional practices, and research skills vital to workplace communication. To accomplish this aim, the course will devote time to interrogating what technical and professional communication means, to building an understanding of professional communication as ethical action, and to discovering the meaning and value of core concepts such as culture, community, and technology. Given the nature of technical and professional communication, the course will involve both individual and collaborative work.
An individual research report, a collaborative research project, an annotated bibliography
Johnson-Eilola, Johndan & Selber, Stuart A., eds. Solving Problems in Technical Communication. University of Chicago Press, 2013, Barnum, Carol M. Usability Testing Essentials: Ready, Set . . . Test. Morgan Kaufmann, 2011, and PDFs posted to Canvas.
A document conveys meaning in many ways. What a document communicates visually, beyond the verbal component, is often as important as the written words themselves. This course will approach document design as a rhetorical practice and consider the idea of a “document” broadly as a container for meaning in a variety of media, including print and online and also in material and cultural artifacts. Over the course of the semester we will read a variety of scholarship, including work on visual rhetoric, visual perception, technical communication, and cultural studies. We will study real-world scenarios and users and produce documents to meet those users’ needs. As such, this course will entail both hands-on and analytic work.
By the end of the course, you should be able to:
Demonstrate an awareness and understanding of the impact of visual rhetoric on society
Apply and discuss principles of design
Apply and discuss theories of design
Discuss how differences in design affect your message
Use tools in document design to create rhetorically savvy documents
Assignments will include written analyses, several small design projects, the creation of at least one infographic, and a client-based group project, along with numerous design workshops and classroom presentations of design.
Our course readings will include classic and cutting-edge papers on communication design, along with a number of books chosen to help situate you in the world of design.
When Ellen Bryant Voigt, nearing age 70, publishedHeadwaters, “a book of wild abandon by one of the most formally exacting poets of our time,” readers were shocked that she was “eschewing punctuation, forgoing every symmetry,” and they lauded her for writing “a book of fresh beginnings.” We will look for inspiration for the next steps your poetic craft can take by studying this book. But, first, we will study the considerable strengths of Voigt’s earlier sequence of sonnets written from the point of view of those who experienced the flu pandemic in 1918,Kyrie. We will also compare selections from Louise Gluck’s body of work, in which the speakers were described as “masks for a self in transformation” by the committee awarding her the 2020 Nobel Prize in literature. Beginning with The Wild Iris, her 1993 Pulitzer Prize winner in which the poems are spoken in the personas of flowers, and moving to more recent books, we’ll note how she’s taken on new voices and forms but continues to sound like only Gluck can. We will examine the progression of Gwendolyn Brooks’ formal poems describing one Chicago neighborhood in A Street in Bronzevilleto her still technically-virtuosic but more colloquial and political post-Pulitzer Prize poems. We will investigate the role of the self in Gabrielle Calvocoressi’s debut book,The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart, featuring poems spoken by those who knew Earhart but never Earhart herself, as well her latest collection, Rocket Fantastic, in which a symbol is used in place of a pronoun to denote a confluence of genders. We will consider Paisley Rekdal’s Nightingale, a collection of poetry that includes an essay, and selections for Rekdal’s other works that bring a poetic sensibility to a variety of genres. We will learn from the transformation and innovation, shifting perspectives and distinct projects, and—most importantly—the enduring quality and unmistakable styles evidenced in pairings of books by all of these and other contemporary American poets who identify as women or nonbinary.
This course is founded on the idea that, in order to learn to write one’s own poems, one should give time and attention to the successful contributions others have already made to contemporary literature. It is designed for advanced students of creative writing who have a firm foundation in poetic terminology and analyzing craft. (If you have not completed undergraduate coursework in creative writing, please contact the professor for information on eligibility and preparation.)
Our class meetings will divided between discussing assigned texts and workshop or creative writing prompts. Students will be asked to give presentations on specific collections of poetry. The final project will be a portfolio of your extensively revised poems.
How do the things we own define us? How do they also give us power? In contemporary life, consumerism drives our economic life in such a way that we can only be included in social groups to which we aspire by purchasing outward and visible signs of membership in the group. For instance, one is not considered a true “fan” unless one purchases fan-merchandise, such as team jerseys, commemorative hats, bumper stickers, tote bags, mugs, etc. During the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, Western Europe and England in particular was transitioning to this kind of consumer-based identity in their material culture. Economic historians often read this period unfortunately as merely the intervening time between feudalism and capitalism, somehow thinking that feudalism stopped and capitalism had not started yet. The truth, as with most things, is more complicated. This period saw a blending of the feudal code of land-ownership defining one’s membership to a ruling class with a consumerist material identity, shown by the growing presence of liveries and badges as well as the need for aristocrats to involve themselves in some form of trade to augment dwindling rents. At the same time, merchants and artisans from the cities and towns are able now to buy the things that only nobles could afford in earlier centuries. Sovereign power shifts, because of the presence of money, to rich townsmen and women in urban spaces. This transition begins to appear in the literature of the period. In this course, we will begin by getting a sense of the economic transition of the period. The balance of our texts, though, will come from the fourteenth and fifteenth century. We will read selections of works by Geoffrey Chaucer, John Gower, and Thomas Hoccleve, among others in order to gain an understanding of how English literature responded to the cultural moment that began to observe how the things one could buy defined who the person was.
Research paper (c. 20 pages); conference-style presentation; inspired participation.
medieval lyrics, Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, John Gower’s Confessio AmantisandMirour del’Omme, Thomas Hoccleve’s poetry.
Until the second half of the nineteenth century, American transportation systems were poorly developed, travel and communication were relatively slow, very few Americans held passports, and few rules were in place to regulate immigration. And yet settlement and mobility (both domestic and international) remained fundamental to the American experience. Literary production from this period documents very well these dynamic mobilities and migrations. For example, nineteenth century writers show vividly that enslaved persons were sold and delivered long distances for labor exploitation, that escaped slaves told remarkable tales of their liberation, that refugees from the Irish famine reshaped the nation, that intellectual life in America was profoundly shaped by human movement across a variety of landscapes, and that strong religious perspectives often shaped experiences of mobility and migration.
We will explore texts from the long nineteenth century that illustrate the rich complexity of American mobilities and migrations, beginning with the years following the American Revolution and proceeding to the early 20th century. Traversing genres, our readings will include examples from memoir, philosophical treatise, fiction, poetry, captivity/freedom narrative, travelogue, and more. As we work with these materials, we also will consider scholarly perspectives on immigration, feminist geography, ethnicity, landscape aesthetics, gender formation, racial theory, and religious belonging.
Individual and/or group presentations, midterm examination, final paper (~20 pp.)
Primary sources for the seminar will include works such as Elizabeth Ashbridge, The Life of Elizabeth Ashbridge (1774); J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur, Letters from an American Farmer(1782); Olaudah Equiano,The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano(1789); James Fenimore Cooper,The Last of the Mohicans (1826); Margaret Fuller, Summer on the Lakes in 1843;Frederick Douglass,The Narrative of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself(1845); Herman Melville,Benito Cereno(1855); Henry Thoreau,Walking(1862); John Boyle O’Reilly,Songs from the Southern Seas(1873); Jacob Riis,How the Other Half Lives(1890).
How did modernist writers think about popular culture? How did the popular press respond to modernism? In this class, we will pay attention to the forms of exchange between “high” and “low” culture in early twentieth-century writing, art, and performance. Inspired by Andreas Huyssen, scholars of used to understand the experimental Anglophone writing of the early twentieth century as operating on one side of “The Great Divide,” with mass culture situated definitively on the other. But more recently, the New Modernist Studies has broadened the field and opened up new avenues for considering the interplay between the popular and the avant-garde. We will consider the ways that canonical, mostly American authors of the early twentieth century were inspired by popular icons of the era such as Charlie Chaplin and Josephine Baker. We will also consider the way that newspapers, magazines, and lesser-known cultural critics processed the work of transatlantic writers and framed their reception in the United States. This course should be useful to students with interests in poetry, fiction, modern women’s writing, transatlantic studies, and celebrity culture.
Assignments will include reflections on the readings, a conference paper, a literature review, and a seminar paper.
We are likely to read texts from the era by T.S. Eliot, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Nella Larsen, Anita Loos, Gilbert Seldes, Gertrude Stein, Sophie Treadwell, and Nathanael West.
We will also read contemporary critical essays by authors such as Jayna Brown, David Chinitz, Anne Enlin Cheng, Leonard Diepeveen, Jonathan Goldman, Faye Hammill, Brooks Hefner, and Karen Leick.
English 7300 is designed as a focused exploration of contemporary rhetoric and its practical applications for research, teaching, and social action. The breadth of our subject is relatively expansive; we will thus emphasize two focal areas of study as a way to narrow the scope of our work: for the first, we will engage with classical texts that conceptualize rhetoric as an art of invention and argumentation; and for the second, we will examine how new materialist and post-critical approaches to rhetorical theory draw on classical techniques and apply them to matters of concern in the world today. The course should be of interest and value to students who are looking to develop their expertise in the broad field of writing, rhetoric, and discourse studies.
The spirit of the course is to invite students into a conversation about rhetoric as a historically evolving practice and subject of study. It also seeks to equip students with a combination of conceptual knowledge and practical skills that lead to meaningful research, advocacy, and professional development. Toward these ends, course readings will come from a range of sources: some will be classical texts (e.g., sophistic, Platonic, Aristotelian); some will be contemporary books and collections (e.g., Mucklebauer’s The Future of Invention; Gries’s Still Life with Rhetoric; Walsh and Boyle’s Topologies as Techniques for Postcritical Rhetoric; Propen’s Visualizing Posthuman Conservation in the Age of the Anthropocene; Hesford, Licona, and Teston’s Precarious Rhetorics); and some will be discourse published in prominent journals and alternative spaces where we, as a community, deliberate about the nature and aims of rhetorical study in our times. Writing assignments will include reading responses; research proposal; mid-semester paper (or comparable genre); seminar-length paper (or comparable genre); and multimedia presentation. Each student will also work in collaboration with classmates to lead a class discussion.
Any student interested in the course is welcome and encouraged to contact Dr. Wickman directly if they/you have questions or would like to learn more (email@example.com).
This course will introduce students to the worlds and works of queer writers in the Anglophone Caribbean, and to the construction and embodiment of queer Caribbeing - of queerness out of colonisation. By default our readings will examine gender and sexuality through race and class, empire and colonialism, slavery and emancipation, labor and violence. We will interrogate queer Caribbean citizenship, the relations of queerness to nation, and of nation to selfhood.
Through our readings, we will consider how, despite their marginalisation in public discourse, gender and sexuality politics (and their intersections) have been and remain fundamental to social behaviors and constructions, to economic structures, to culture and to politics - even as they ‘queer’ the same. We will enrich and complicate our understanding of what it looks like to be queer in, and to (further) queer, the Caribbean.
This seminar explores and tests the usefulness of two literary theories in analyzing texts written in times of crisis or major societal change. Through feminist and masculinity studies, we will consider how male and female characters are employed and how both are forced outside the ordinary expectations and opinions about gender. With Performance Studies theory, we will analyze how “social drama” becomes aesthetic works and then brings about new social dramas. Some of the novels will be written from an eye-witness point of view with the observations of people caught in the Great Plague of 1665 and of a polished journalist fighting in the French and Indian War who encounters the very beginning of the rise of plantation slave culture. Other texts will depict times of crippling unemployment and of legally sanctioned spousal abuse and captivity. Among the readings will be Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year, Edward Kimber’s History of the Life and Adventures of Mr. Anderson, Eliza Haywood’s The History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless, and Edward Neville’s Plymouth in an Uproar.
Occasional written and oral reports, a seminar paper developed throughout the semester on one of the themes.
Before the pandemic began, ecocritics were already turning over a new leaf through the creation of the interdisciplinary field of Critical Plant Studies. The goal of Critical Plant Studies is to analyze, imagine, and advocate for vegetal life with critical awareness, conceptual rigor, and ethical sensitivity. If during the pandemic, we gained new appreciation for gardening and house plant care, we can turn to Critical Plant Studies to understand how we have always “co-become” with plants upon which we depend for survival. By addressing these “co-becomings,” as Laura Foster says, we gain knowledge of “race, colonialism, and colonial settler legacies,” developing “ways of learning with and from plants as witnesses to human suffering, producers of memory, preservers of flesh, guides for learning” and agentic builders of “more-than-human worlds.” The myriad gendering of plants fascinates queer ecologists, while critical race theorists explore plants as allies to people of color in modernity. In our course we will explore new apps like “Plant Net” which have made it possible to regain plant literacy. We will explore the role of plants in novels, poetry, “climate fiction” and speculative fiction. Transatlantic and trans-period, the course will serve as an introduction to this new field, going beyond disciplinary boundaries and beyond the study of plants as passive bystanders, background, or mere symbols in literature and culture. We will read a wide array of plant-based literature and ecological critics such as Michael Marder, Timothy Morton, Donna Haraway, Catriona Mortimer-Sandilands, and Kimberly Ruffin, covering approaches and theoretical frameworks widely applicable to many fields within English Studies.
one presentation, one seminar paper (scaffolded out of several shorter assignments), and class participation
Possible texts include the app Plant Net, Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park,William Wordsworth’s “Nutting,” Thoreau’s Walden,Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, Henry Mayhew’s “Watercress Girl,” “Flower Seller,” Frederick Douglass’s Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Frances Hodgson Burnett’s Secret Garden, poems from D.H. Lawrence’s unfinished text Men and Flowers, H.G. Wells The War of the Worlds, Agatha Christie’s “Blue Geraniums,” Alice Walker’s “In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens,” Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Sara Hall’s Daughters of the North, Ta-Nehisi Coats’ Black Panther
The Practicum will provide guidance, support, and, most of all, space to experiment and explore for the new Graduate Teaching Assistants (first-year MAs & MTPCs in English). I invite you to think of the Practicum as a Studio-Lab. This will be, first and foremost, a safe space to share, ask questions, and look for answers. It will be a Studio because teaching is an art, and it will be a Lab because teaching also has elements of science. Of course, you need some knowledge about pedagogy and the subject you teach, but you also must never lose the ability to be surprised, to be creative, and even to be confused. Undoubtedly, as novice teachers, you need the substances, ideas, and research findings developed in the field, as well as the equipment and tools with which to experiment. In our Studio-Lab, we will roll up our sleeves and learn both through art and science, through theory and practice, through trial and error.
Requirements will likely include faithful attendance, lively participation, keeping a reflective teaching journal, designing partial and full lesson plans, conducting a teaching observation, developing a Teaching Philosophy, and creating a teaching ePortfolio.