Skip to main content

Upcoming Course Offerings

Spring 2022
Summer 2022
Fall 2022
Winter 2023
Spring 2023
Summer 2023
  • Speculative fiction, including genres like myth, legend, and folk tale, highlights non-mimetic worlds, possible impossibilities, and metaphoric alternatives–past, present, and future. The concept of justice appears often in speculative fiction and relates with some crucial contemporary social changes—those that seek fairness and reparations for marginalized people and damaged environments and those that propel rampant injustices of oppression, privilege, waste, and greed. This seminar starts with “Snow White and Rose Red” as collected and published by the Grimm brothers along with the adaptation Tender Morsels, by Margo Lanagan. This novel is a rough, but not graphic, story searching for justice while dealing with incest, gang rape, and other injustices. Critical readings include selections from Marek Oziewicz’s Justice in Young Adult Speculative Fiction and Ursula K. LeGuin’s Steering the Craft. We also will read, work, and play with novels Bird Summons, by Leila Aboulela; The Parable of the Sower, by Octavia Butler, and The Marrow Thieves, by Cheri Dimaline considering that if people become attached to story characters in ways remarkably similar to real people, if literature involves worldbuilding that people actually wish to live in, then stories and literature affect how we understand our place in the world and may be powerful socializing agents for children, youth, adults, and justice.

  • This course involves participation in the CUWP’s summer institute (SI). The course dates are unique, and graduate students should contact Debbie Dean before March 1 with their intention to participate as the course begins with an evening session in March, a full day in May, and then three weeks in June of daily, all-day, attendance. The program encourages teachers to be writers and focuses on improving writing instruction in a highly collaborative environment with teachers of multiple grade levels and content areas.

  • During Shakespeare’s lifetime, over twenty theaters were constructed in London where hundreds of plays were performed. Not thirty years later, Parliament closed all theatres. An entire industry was kicked to the curb or, as we will see, run underground. What did the actors, musicians, and playwrights do? How did they translate their work and skills while theatres were illegal? What role did music and print culture play in satisfying the public’s nostalgia for performance? That is to say, where’s the drama? But there’s no shortage of drama of other kinds: This is when the court threw its biggest parties with glitzy costumes, people watching, and dancing. It’s when Puritans outlawed Christmas carols and roast goose. And it’s when the king lost his head. We’ll explore how theaters and performance were transposed to new sites and media and still acted as coping mechanisms for the unscripted drama of the period.

  • This course will explore planetary/global modernisms from an applied literary angle. In traditional literary history, 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. More recently scholars such as Susan Stanford Friedman have argued that modernism is best understood as “a planetary phenomenon across the millennia.” “We need to begin by abandoning the notion of modernity as a period,” Friedman insists, “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.” Friedman specifically highlights four major ways in which traditional modernism may be productively re-articulated, terming these: Re-vision, Recovery, Circulation, and Collage. This course will employ these four approaches in reading a constellation of literary texts—largely 20th Century British but not primarily so—seeking to test through interpretive application the merits of the planetary modernist ideas put forward in recent years by Friedman and other important theorists such as Franco Moretti, Emily Apter, Mary Lou Emery, Simon Gikandi, Fredric Jameson, Sarah Lincoln, Jahan Ramazani, and Gayatri Spivak. Though highly informed by theory and criticism, our central focus will be on literary texts, including Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse; Seepersad Naipaul’s Gurudeva and other stories; James Joyce’s “Araby,” A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Ulysses; Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart; Derek Walcott’s The Odyssey: A Stage Version and Omeros; and Monica Ali’s Brick Lane.

  • Typified by the sharply contrasting moments of Abraham Lincoln’s 1862 mass hanging of 38 Dakota men and his 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, late nineteenth-century America may be defined as an era of simultaneously limiting and expanding the popular notion and embodied realities of belonging in a still-expanding United States. Throughout this course, we will explore a range of literary genres and communities of writers to engage the diverse—often competing—narratives of national belonging in postbellum America.

  • This graduate course will introduce students (or expand their knowledge about) the discipline of folklore and explore historical and contemporary scholarship on Latter-day Saint folklore and the folklore of the Intermountain West and the inter-relations between the two. Students will select and investigate their own topic in this area using scholarly, archival, and/or ethnographic methods.

    In-class instruction and discussion, as well as out-of-class activities, are designed to guide students through the process of doing research and getting a paper ready for a scholarly presentation and publication.

  • During this semester, we will divide our time between reading exemplary short stories (and perhaps a novel or two) and a discussion of student writing in a traditional workshop. As we read together, we will address questions of craft and theory in an effort to better understand our own writing experiments and to encourage us to write more broadly and more deliberately than we might otherwise.

  • This poetry workshop (we’ll spend half our time reading and critiquing each other’s poems) happens to coincide with an historical occasion: the centenary of the publication, in October 1922, of “The Waste Land”. So we’ll take Eliot’s poem (a marvel of formal variety) as the impetus for the other aspect of the course: a close study of formal technique, with emphasis on meter, stanza, line, and other elements of poetic form. To that end we’ll read complete collections by W. H. Auden, Anthony Hecht, and A. E. Stallings, with further examples drawn from English poets from Caedmon to the present.

  • British Romantic literature as we know it has been shaped by all sorts of actors, both inside and outside of schools. Among the most influential, yet least recognized, agents have been editors: custodians and transmitters of literary texts. Who are these people? How do they learn and exercise their craft? Why has their work mattered in the past, and why might it matter in the future? With such queries in mind, this seminar will introduce students to the theory and practice of textual scholarship.

    The course will tackle such questions as the following:

    • How are scholarly editions produced?
    • What are the primary materials for textual scholarship?
    • What practical and ethical questions must editors grapple with in studying Romantic-era writers (or any other writers)?
    • What roles have editors played historically in the reception and understanding of the Romantics?
    • How have modern editors recuperated neglected writers of the Romantic Period, and how has the field of Romantic Studies changed as a result?
    • How have digital technologies transformed the field? What is the likely future of textual scholarship?

    Aspiring Romanticists and other British Lit. folks should certainly take this seminar, but students from other emphases—especially those with a passion for books and manuscripts as material objects and an eye for juicy details—will find much to enjoy while developing practical, portable skills. Likely assignments will include plenty of reading; writing in practical genres such as headnotes and annotations; archival work in Special Collections; oral presentations; and hands-on editing projects, both group and individual.

  • The shift from an agrarian to an industrial economy radically transformed Britain, requiring Victorians to re-think the made world, its processes and its artifacts. This semester, we’ll use a cultural studies approach to Victorian literature to study how Victorian writers thought about design and the design reform movement. What was good design, in nineteenth-century Britain? Were the design principles that writers believed could elevate the machine arts applicable to the urban environment? To green spaces? Could the wallpaper you select or the fabric you wear affect the moral discernment of the children you raise or the nations being raised up in colonial markets throughout the world? How should commodities be produced (should commodities be produced?), and what are the personal and political implications of certain materials, decorations, or forms? Is it possible to create a perfect machine, a perfect public space, or a perfect world? If so, what would it look like, who would it benefit, how much would it cost, and—importantly—would it offer a range of furniture options for the discriminating consumer? No Victorian writer is better at discussing disease, environmental pollution, housing, candlesticks, and carpets than Charles Dickens, so we’ll read some of his work, along with writing by John Ruskin, Henry Mayhew, Elizabeth Gaskell, William Morris, and more. We’ll supplement our Victorian readings with classic essays in design studies and design history, and students will be encouraged to apply the theory and criticism that we read to literature in their own fields of study for their final paper.

  • This seminar will first overview the variety of colonial European narrative forms comprising traditional early American literature—captivity narratives and other narratives of divine providence, criminal narratives and other narratives of divine judgment, other moral narratives (including those focused on scientific, historical, religious, or social subjects), narratives for children, and narratives of nation—to underscore the early American print narrative as a basis for a created history focused on western European Americans. We will look past the unfolding political, cultural, and religious tensions within these texts—tensions revealing commonly-held and seventeenth- and eighteenth-century white perspectives eventually ingrained as the core elements of the [white] “American character”—to consider contrasting tensions in the comparatively few print narratives from indigenous peoples and Blacks and to posit what the true, more inclusive “American character” might be.

  • The Arthurian legend (or, as the Medievals called it: the Matter of Britain), is one of the best-known narrative traditions from British literature. But from their sixth-century beginnings till today, Arthurian tales of knights, quests, named weapons, and monstrous beasts have relegated women to the margins. Despite the seeming equality of the Round Table, there are no seats for women, and when women do appear in the stories, they often do so in disturbing or problematic ways. This course aims to recover Arthurian women—women as characters in, as well as authors and readers of, the Matter of Britain. Our study will begin with the roles of women in the legend’s creation and expansion during the medieval period, both in England and across Europe, then turn to women’s roles in perpetuating the legend’s global literary afterlife. From Marie de France’s twelfth-century Arthurian poems, to the medievalism of the Romantic and Victorian periods, up through recent modern adaptations into literature, music, visual art, and film, women around the world have repeatedly made spaces for themselves at the Arthurian table.

  • After decades in the wilderness of literary studies, evaluative criticism—the interpretive mode that aims to identify and celebrate the “best” poems, novels, or plays of a particular age or tradition—shows early signs of returning to favor, albeit in a somewhat chastened, less-swashbuckling form than in its mid-20th-century heyday. Suddenly it seems easy to imagine a not-so-distant future when English teachers from the middle-school classroom to the doctoral seminar again unite in a common mission of instilling Arnoldian reverence for “the best that is known and thought in the world” and Wordsworthian disdain for “frantic novels, sickly and stupid [gothic] tragedies, and deluges of idle and extravagant stories.” To prepare for this potential return to old ways, this seminar will function as something of a semester-long training exercise in the safe handling of evaluative criticism. Our focus will be partly historical, as we will examine famous cases of writers’ critical reputations either skyrocketing or plummeting from one generation to the next. Against this backdrop, we will wade into ongoing debates between those who believe cultivating refined tastes should be a crucial component of any literary education and others who feel aesthetic judgment is largely contingent on one’s culture, lived experiences, and historical moment and therefore inherently subjective.

  • ENGL 667: Writing “Wilde” Essays: Oscar Wilde claimed that only literature could capture “life in its full and absolute entirety; not merely the beauty that men look at, but the beauty that men listen to also; not merely the momentary grace of form or the transient gladness of colour, but the whole sphere of feeling, the perfect cycle of thought” (“The Critic as Artist”). That is our goal this semester—to capture the perfect cycle of thought—to recreate our minds at work on the page, to explore the world around us and take notes, to teach ourselves and our readers something new, and, ultimately, to discover a few fresh truths about the world and ourselves in the process. And if that’s not a tall enough order, consider this: Wilde also claimed that life and literature were the two highest forms of art. And if literature really is the highest form of art, is it possible that the essay (the literature of life), in all its quirky, “indigested,” experimental, self-consciousness, is the highest form of literature? Maybe (don’t tell the poets!). In this course, we will read and discuss some great essays. We will write and observe and research and think and exercise our creative muscles. We will become better literary citizens, stronger critical thinkers, and more proficient revisers of our own work. Students can expect three formal essay projects reviewed in workshop, class presentations, several books worth of reading, and other assignments tied to creative writing professionalization.

  • A writing workshop represents an opportunity to hear from disinterested persons about the communicative successes and failures of your work. This course combines traditional workshop discussion of student poems with a larger discussion about the craft and theory of poetry writing. We will frame that larger conversation by looking at key theoretical texts, exploring issues of craft, and discussing a number of poetry collections, identifying their poetic strategies and assessing the effects of those strategies, and considering the concept of the poetry book qua book—that is, as a coherent document with its own governing arguments. Each week, we will seek to acknowledge the mutually constitutive labors of thinking, reading, and writing. We will spend one-third of class discussing a point of poetic theory or craft; one-third discussing a single collection of poetry; and the remaining third workshopping student poems.

  • This course involves participation in the CUWP’s summer institute (SI). The course dates are unique, and graduate students should contact Debbie Dean before March 1 with their intention to participate as the course begins with an evening session in March, a full day in May, and then three weeks in June of daily, all-day, attendance. The program encourages teachers to be writers and focuses on improving writing instruction in a highly collaborative environment with teachers of multiple grade levels and content areas.