Extended Descriptions-Graduate

Winter 2017

English 612R: History of Rhetoric (Nancy Christiansen)

The course will provide an overview of rhetorical theories from rhetoric’s beginnings in ancient Greece to the present day.  We will trace the history of rhetoric as a debate between philosophers and rhetoricians, identifying the perennial issues and various stances taken in this debate that still continues today.  We will examine such issues as the relationship between rhetoric and ethics, politics, poetics, philosophy, and dialectic – also, the relationships between imitation and innovation, content and style, and rule and interpretation.  A course in the history of rhetoric turns out to be a course in the history of ideas in Western civilization.  It also turns out to be a history of education, philosophy, and literary theory.  This study provides the “big picture” of the disciplines now known as the humanities, helps us understand where our own notions of the various language arts comes from, and helps us see our own notions in perspective.  This study prevents us from carrying on our own research in an insular time-vacuum, thereby enabling us to take advantage of lessons learned in former ages and to place current issues in their historical context.

English 617R: Creative Writing Theory (Pat Madden)

This class will focus on creative writing theory and practice, giving students a deep background in the ideas that drove their forebears and which can influence their own writing. It will also give opportunities to learn and put into practice literary citizenship, including reviewing, subscribing, and submitting to journals.

English 620R: Renaissance Lit. and Modern Film (Brandie Siegfried)

In this course you will have the opportunity to read works by several influential Renaissance writers, including Spenser, Elizabeth I, Shakespeare, Raleigh, Jonson, Donner, Herbert, Cavendish, Milton, and several others.  You will also read segments from the 1611 King James Bible, a book that until very recently was the single most influential publication in English.  In this course, we will explore the religious, philosophical, and aesthetic aspects of Renaissance literature in relation to their modern film avatars, giving special attention to Humanism, Reformation, and question of belief vs. knowledge. For film, the predominant focus will be on the concept of transposition: the replacement of verbal passages with visual analogues, expansions, or transformations.  The main focus of inquiry will be the role of imagination in completing the “worlds” created by literature and film, and the possibility of strengthening, expanding, and deepening our awareness of beauty as a frame for knowledge. This course is also both a seminar and a practicum.  Upon completing this course, you will have (1) 2-3 professional items to add to your CV, (2) a good preliminary grasp of the relationship between Renaissance literature and related film adaptations, and (3) the opportunity to write a conference-ready paper and abstract for consideration by a regional, national, or international conference.

English 622R:  Literary Modernism and WWI  (Jarica Watts)

Much has been written in all genres about the War to End War. This course will conduct a survey of the written word as it encircles WWI (primarily poetry and longer fiction) in order to parse whether the short story is doing something that these other literary modes are not. In short, we will aim to discover whether the short story form may be the most congenial to the modern war-time experience.

The primary goal is to study how different types of writing are used to know a particular reality. Rather than follow the approach that looks in detail at one genre as it addresses general issues, we want to look at many genres as they converge on one issue—The Great War. Finally, the course will reveal the power and limitations of different types of writing for dealing with profound realities of the human condition, especially with the persistent tendency of cultures to interact through war. Students will consider how texts from different genres covering the same topic both overlap and diverge.

English 622R: Victorian Short Fiction (Leslie Thorne-Murphy)

The mid-Victorian period is best known for its lengthy novels, rather than its short fiction.  Yet the period produced an abundance of brief tales and stories, many of them for the periodical market.  In this course, we will examine a wide range of British nineteenth-century short fiction as a means of re-interpreting the history of the genre and of critiquing our own definition of the short story.  Our studies will include prominent late-century short story writers such as Rudyard Kipling and Arthur Conan Doyle, as well as earlier authors who developed the techniques upon which later authors would draw.

English 626R: The Conventions of Crisis in Early American Literature (Mary Eyring)

There is no plot without tension; conflict is as necessary in literature as it is inevitable in life. It’s not surprising, then, that early American texts often hinge on a specific crisis or series of crises. What this course will study is the nature of these crises: Do they originate within the texts, or are they drawn from a particular cultural, religious, or political moment? Are they resolved within the texts, or do they encourage readers to engage with and transmit a sense of crisis to spheres beyond the literary? What is the effect of these anxieties on reading communities and on a larger cultural environment? In this course, we will read broadsides, novels, poems, newspaper accounts, political commentary, and other genres as we examine the real and perceived threats that occupied American authors, editors, and readers before 1865. Throughout the semester, we will study the ways literary crises reflected, contained, critiqued, or generated the tensions of early American life.

English 629R: The Gothic in Literature and Film (Dennis Perry)

English 629 will be a Gothic film adaptation course focusing on Hitchcock, Poe, and their unique brand of a modern psychological Gothic. We will read Poe fiction and poetry to develop a Gothic lexicon for reading Hitchcock’s films, including Shadow of a Doubt, Notorious, Strangers on a Train, Vertigo, Psycho, and The Birds.

English 630R: Adventures in Postmodern Identity Politics (Dan Muhlestein)

Although identity politics has been with us for the better part of forty years now, it continues to influence the study of literature—especially at the graduate level—in profound ways. This semester we’ll quickly review the emergence and development of four types of identity politics in specific (those based on race, class, gender, and sexual orientation) and then consider in detail what happens to each of these four approaches to literature—and to life generally—as we begin to move through the 21st century. So although we’ll begin with some of the old standbys you’ve probably already read in 251 and/or 452 (Morrison, Fanon, Said, Rich, Sedgwick, and the like), by the time we’re done we’ll have spent considerable time getting to know such contemporary writers as Slavoj Žižek, Richard Rodriguez, Judith Butler, and Jack/Judith Halberstam. We’ll frame at least part of our reading in terms of what seems to me to be a particularly relevant question today:  In an age that has rejected most versions of essentialism and that assumes—almost as a matter of course—that our individual senses of identity are constructed for us by various institutions and mechanisms and positions within society, what exactly does it mean to say, “Here is who I am; this is my identity”? We’ll consider questions like that from a variety of perspectives, ranging from border theory to an analysis of the male gaze to queer theory—including extended 21st century responses to both Gender Trouble and Gaga Feminism—to emerging postsecular approaches to the humanities.  We can’t cover every category within postmodern identity politics, of course.  But we’ll do what we can. The full title of the class is “Adventures in Postmodern Identity Politics:  Race, Class, Gender, and Sexual Orientation in the age of Žižek, Gender Trouble, and Gaga Feminism.”  I hope you enjoy the class and find considerable food for thought in it.

English 667: Nonfiction Workshop (Joey Franklin)

A workshop in creative nonfiction with a focus on the personal essay and memoir. We will read extensively in all three CNF sub-genres, and we will read a selection of the most important craft and theory essays on writing creative nonfiction. Students will conduct workshops, lead discussions, critique peer writing, and complete archival research, interviews, and experiential learning activities associated with their selected topics.

English 668R: Fiction Workshop (John Bennion)

In this section of the graduate fiction workshop we will spend most of our time—surprise!–workshopping each other’s work. Students will also read some essays on the writing of fiction, read several hundred pages in their specific genre, and participate in an immersion experience—ten hours of engagement with a subculture in Utah Valley. All genres of character-based fiction are acceptable for submission.  The balance of the grade is on a portfolio of work written during the semester.

English 669R: Poetry Workshop (Kim Johnson)

We’re going to read several collections of poetry this term, seeking to learn from both the style and techniques of individual poems and to gain a greater appreciation for how a collection of poetry coheres, with an eye toward the construction of a manuscript (this may be especially useful for graduate students working toward creative theses).  In addition to three collections I’ve selected, each student will choose a collection for the class as a whole to study, and will be responsible to teach that book to the class.


Spring 2017

English 614R: Special Topics in Rhetoric (Grant Boswell)

Howard Margolis was a professor at the University of Chicago who, in a series of books, developed an account “about persuasion and belief in the context of social choice” (Paradigms, xi). His corpus of work analyzes how something that seems counterintuitive at one point can become commonplace at a later time. He makes this fascinating observation: “It is only since the Renaissance that we can point to cases where a community is actually persuaded to come to see things in a radically new way by reasoning–in contrast, say, to the shattering effect of conquest, or to the evolution of habit and custom over a period of many generations” (Patterns, Thinking and Cognition, 185). He died unexpectedly as he was working on a book to be entitled Understanding Persuasion.

In the class I want to reconstruct Margolis’s account of how change occurs rhetorically over time because his insights challenge some traditional notions of persuasion. I want to supplement Margolis’s work with very interesting work that parallels his from rhetorical criticism, human rights campaigns, and ethical revolutions. My purpose is to develop a model for a rhetoric of historical change.

English 622R: Migrant UK Literatures (Aaron Eastley)

This course looks at the “new place” London has been (for immigrants) and has become (for everyone) since waves of people from former British colonies began pouring into the city in the 1950s. Hailing from places as varied as Trinidad and Jamaica, India and Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, Ghana, and South Africa, these new Londoners have produced fascinating and deeply moving literary representations of their lived experiences in the city we will share with them on study abroad. This course will build a theoretical framework around such texts using ideas from diaspora studies, transnational studies, and globalization studies.

English 629R: Borges and Poe (Emron Esplin)

In this course we will adopt an inter-American or hemispheric approach to literature to examine the reciprocal relationship between Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges and US writer Edgar Allan Poe.  Themes will include analytic detective fiction, the fantastic, the infinite, memory, and revenge.. We will examine how Borges and Poe theorize short fiction and poetry, blend essay with short fiction, write literary hoaxes, and create fictional texts and authors within their own fiction.

English 630R: Theory  (Frank Christianson)

This course will focus on theories of nationalism. More specifically we will examine literature’s place within the development and maintenance of cultural nationalism.  We will consider how the category of the nation, as a cultural formation, relates to other organizing systems from region to empire. We will also interrogate notions of cosmopolitanism, transnationalism, and postnationalism (an increasingly quaint term). While we will draw our case studies from the period of high nationalism in the US and Britain—the nineteenth century—students can adapt the critical frameworks, questions, and lexicon to inform readings within their preferred subfields.


Fall 2017

English 616: Research Methods in English Studies (David Stock)

This course introduces graduate students to research methodologies used across academic disciplines, focusing on methods that are common to English studies.  We will survey qualitative and quantitative methods, including theorizing, historicizing, surveying, interviewing, textual/discursive analysis, and ethnographic/case study. Students will a) understand assumptions, approaches, affordances, and constraints of various research methods, b) identify research design and assess methodological integrity and quality in current research, c) develop facility with research methods through experimentation and/or application and, d) design, conduct or complete research for a thesis, conference presentation, or scholarly article.

English 620R: Post-Reformation Poetry and Religion (Kim Johnson)

This class will examine the poetry of the Reformation and Post-Reformation era as a site of theological renegotiation and subversion.  WE will place the work of major lyric authors in the context of Reformation-era controversies involving representation, selfhood, textuality, and materiality to understand how literary texts of the period both reflect and inform the theological culture of the Renaissance.

English 622R: Dickens, Victorian Periodical Culture, and the History of Fiction (Jamie Horrocks)

Nearly every Victorian novel taught in English classes today was first published serially, in periodicals. So it is here that our class will begin its investigations. We will read some novels famously serialized in Charles Dickens’s periodicals (by Dickens himself, Gaskell, and Collins), but we’ll also venture into the poetry, essays, letters, and editorials that fleshed out each installment. Drawing upon a variety of methods, we will explore the construction and education of readership, the negotiations necessitated by editorial intervention, the creation of reputation and canonicity, and the relationship of periodical literature to its graphic and commercial contexts.

English 629R: Indigenous American Literatures (Michael Taylor)

The purpose of this course is to acknowledge and examine the intricate complexity, diversity, and provocative beauty of Indigenous American literatures in a way that transcends Eurowestern understandings of land, life, and literature. Utah’s 2000-year-old Newspaper Rock and the award-winning Alaska Native video game, Never Alone (2014), will serve as bookends to our course as we engage with the works of a variety of Indigenous writers and literary communities throughout North America and the Pacific.

English 630R: Planetary Modernisms (Aaron Eastley)

Modernism/Modernity are powerful ideas typically linked either narrowly to Europe and America in the first half of the 20th century or more broadly to Europe and its cultural diaspora from roughly 1500 on. In its most strident iterations the notion of planetary modernism insists on an entirely new paradigm for modernist studies. Susan Stanford Friedman asserts that “We need to begin by abandoning the notion of modernity as a period, instead considering modernity as a loosely configured set of conditions that share a core meaning of accelerated change but articulate differently on the global map of human history.” “A new map of modernism is emerging,” she insists, and “within this planetary frame, the spaces and times of modernism move colonialism, postcolonialism, and transnationalism to the center of modernist studies.” This course will focus on planetary/global modernisms. We will read theoretical texts from a wide range of scholars, notably the already mentioned Friedman, as well as Franco Moretti, Emily Apter, David Damrosch, Mary Lou Emery, Simon Gikandi, Fredric Jameson, Djelal Kadir, Revathi Krishnaswamy, Neil Lazarus, Sarah Lincoln, Aamir Mufti, Jahan Ramazani, and Gayatri Spivak. We will further seek to connect the theoretical content of the course with a wide range of literary works that might be considered “modern” under the new terms of planetary/global modernisms. Professor Eastley will model this process by sharing some of his recent work on Trinidadian author Seepersad Naipaul, then invite seminar participants to explore and share further examples from authors of their own choosing.

Key Texts:  Freidman, Planetary Modernisms: Provocations on Modernity Across Time (2015), Wollaeger and Eatough, eds, The Oxford Handbook of Global Modernisms (2012), Damrosch, ed, World Literature in Theory (2014)

English 667R: Creative Nonfiction Workshop (Pat Madden)

This course is a creative writing workshop focused on creative nonfiction, especially the essay, with a dip into the classics (Montaigne, Lamb, Hazlitt, etc.) and a heavier focus on contemporary experimental work (Leach, Passarello, Tevis, etc.). Students will read widely and experiment wildly with their writing, turning in three longish workshop essays of their choice. They will also interview a visiting writer, study contemporary literary journals, choose the “Essayest American Essays,” and learn to submit their own work.

English 668R: Creative Fiction Workshop (Steve Tuttle)

English 669R: Creative Poetry Workshop (Lance Larsen)


Winter 2018

English 621R: British Romanticism and Contemporary Trends in Book History  (Nick Mason)

“Book History” has come to function as the umbrella term for a wide range of scholarly modes, including textual studies, the sociology of print, publishing history, bibliography, digital humanities, and periodical, media, and reception studies. While researchers in virtually every corner of the modern English department cross over into this subfield, a disproportionate amount of the best work in book history has come from scholars of nineteenth-century British and, more generally, European literature. The concepts and interpretive methods brought forward in these scholars’ work will form the backbone of this seminar.

English 622R: Dystopian Worlds and Contemporary British Literature (Peter Leman)

In this course, we will examine an important trend of dystopian writing in contemporary British/Anglophone literature. In addition to thinking about issues of form and genre and the history of utopian/dystopian writing in the British literary tradition (e.g., Moore, Bacon, Morris, Verne, Butler, Wells, Orwell, Huxley, Golding, etc.), we will also examine dystopias in relationship to religious thought (have literary dystopias become a secular eschatology?) and social thought (socialism, Marxism), as well as recent theories of dystopia, capitalism, science fiction, “deep time,” and the Anthropocene by figures like Frederic Jameson, Slavoj Zizek, Dipsesh Chakrabarty, Wai Chee Dimock, and Michael Gordin. Our primary readings will include the novels A Clockwork Orange (1962) by Anthony Burgess, Stand on Zanzibar (1968) by John Brunner, Children of Men (1992) by P.D. James, Oryx and Crake (2003) by Margaret Atwood, Cloud Atlas (2004) by David Mitchell, and Never Let me Go (2005) by Kazuo Ishiguro.




Spring 2018

English 620R: Writing Revolution: Literature of the English Civil Wars and Interregnum (Jason Kerr)


English 629R: Transatlantic Literary Geography ( Paul Westover)

We have recently seen a “spatial turn” in literary studies, driven by new technologies, theoretical insights, and geographies of cultural history. The nineteenth century is an excellent place to explore this conceptual terrain. British Romantics developed literature grounded in place, to the point that reading and tourism became interwoven. American writers undertook analogous (sometimes rival) efforts to create literary landscapes. Writers of both nations aimed to theorize literary geography and catalog its features. Consequently, studying landmarks of Anglophone literature will convince us that literary geography is not in itself new; in fact, it was a major fascination of nineteenth-century culture.