Graduate Courses

Graduate Courses

AML 5027

Studies in U.S. Literature Since 1875: American World Literature: Fiction, Post-1945

Aaron Jaffe
T/Th, 11:35 a.m.-12:50 p.m.

The course explores intersections of the global dimensions of American literature, its representations of itself in the larger world, focusing on post-1945 fiction. The troubles with the term American are familiar. It isn’t just a sobriquet for one country, the USA, but also designates various pluralities, two contiguous continents and various proximate lands. A hemisphere, half the world brain, the word designates a force-field of reception–a form of quasi-nationalism abstracted into a semi-formed aesthetic. Here, I very much am thinking of a course with “hemispheric” and “geo-spheric” orientations. The three key words of this seminar might be understood as three distinct conceptual problems. What I have in mind for the title is less a special patriotic container–and even less a market for some worthy literary objects in an age of US-American hegemony. We’ll read some excellent and frequently discussed novels of this period–including probably Kafka, Nabokov, Highsmith, Pynchon, Baldwin, Yamashita, Adichie, Cole, DeWitt, significant recent essays in Post-’45 theory and criticism–and try to theorize for ourselves the belated sense of need for methodological orientations for a kind of mobile or wayward literature “in a plastic and assimilable age” (to borrow from Vilém Flusser, the Czech-Brazilian theorist).

Requirements: This course satisfies the requirement for coursework in the following Areas of Concentration: Post-1900 Literary and Cultural Studies (American, British, or Irish); a Literary Genre (Fiction); and Colonial, Postcolonial, and Transnational Literary and Cultural Studies.

AML 5608

Studies in the African American Literary Tradition: Engaging Black Women’s Archives: Gloria Naylor and Twentieth Century Literary History

Maxine L. Montgomery
T/Th, 11:35 a.m.-12:50 p.m.

With Gloria Naylor’s published and unpublished material as the basis for our inquiry, we will examine the close yet contested relationship between black women’s archival production and twentieth and twenty-first century literary history. John Cristophe-Cloutier’s Shadow Archives: The Lifecycles of African American Literature serves as the locus for our literary detective work in interrogating Naylor’s multi-faceted role as novelist, memoirist, editor, playwright, film production company manager, and public intellectual. Not only will our investigation of Naylor’s archival sensibility take into account archival moments in her fiction, we will also consider her unpublished letters, drafts of work-in-progress, research notes, unpublished plays, and other ephemera in relation to her award-winning literary output. We will cover such topics as Naylor’s conversational relationship with Ann Petry, Toni Morrison, Edwidge Danticat, Nikki Giovanni, Terry McMillan, and others; the need for a black feminist intervention in the film industry; and the challenges and rich possibilities of black folk material for the dramatic arts. Ultimately, our goal is to lay the critical groundwork for framing a black feminist model for archival research that addresses the troubling silence surrounding black women’s papers broadly.

Required Texts:
Jean Christophe-Cloutier, Shadow Archives: The Lifecycles of African American Literature
Saidiya Hartman, Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals Gloria Naylor, The Women of Brewster Place
-----------. Linden Hills
-----------. Mama Day
-----------. Bailey’s Café
-----------. The Men of Brewster Place
-----------. 1996

Requirements: This course satisfies the requirement for coursework in the following Areas of Concentration: African American Literary and Cultural Studies; Feminism, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Colonial, Postcolonial, and Transnational Literary and Cultural Studies; and a Literary Genre (Fiction)

AML 5637

Studies in Latino/a Literature: Latinx Studies on Trial

John Ribó
T/Th, 1:20-2:35 p.m.

“Latinx Studies on Trial” frames an introductory survey of Latinx literature from the colonial period to the present within contemporary debates on the role of ethnic studies in public education and public life in the United States. Throughout the semester as we read memoirs, essays, poems, short stories, plays, and novels, we will return to questions raised by the banning of Mexican American Studies and the censorship of books written by Latinx authors in Arizona in 2010 and the denial of tenure of prominent Latinx Studies scholars at Ivy League universities a decade later. Why was the Mexican American Studies curriculum banned? Why were these books censored? Why were these scholars denied tenure? Who sets educational curricula and defines literary canons?

Requirements: This course satisfies the requirement for coursework in the following Areas of Concentration: Post-1900 Literary and Cultural Studies (American, British, Irish); Colonial, Postcolonial, and Transnational Literary and Cultural Studies; and a Literary Genre (Fiction).This course also meets the Alterity Requirement.

CRW 5130

Fiction Workshop

Robert Olen Butler
M, 6:35-9:35 p.m.

This course is intended to develop the nascent literary artist’s deep sense of the sources and nature of the creative process. This will be done by an examination of the aesthetic philosophy voiced in From Where You Dream and by the subsequent creation of literary work for the workshop. A few cautions: there will be no peer criticism in class, and craft and technique, as such, will be discussed only incidentally and ad hoc, being instead relegated to the place where it belongs: the compost of the imagination. Neither will work be examined beyond the first 700 words or so until those are fully flighted.

Requirements: For MFA students, this course satisfies 3 of the required 12-15 hours of writing workshops. For PhD students, it counts toward the 27 hours of required coursework.

CRW 5130

Fiction Workshop

Skip Horack
T, 3:05-6:05 p.m.

CRW 5130 is a graduate workshop in fiction writing. This class will follow the workshop model, and therefore student work, and the intensive discussion of that work, will be our main focus. To that end, over the course of the semester students will be required to share at least three story-length manuscripts (one revision and two new pieces; novel excerpts are fine). This course assumes you have a very serious interest in fiction writing, as well as in discussing the writing of same with others likewise engaged. Our concerns are mainly practical and craft-based: where you as author wish to go with a particular draft, and how we, as readers and writers engaged in a common cause, might help you get there.

Requirements: For MFA students, this course satisfies 3 of the required 12-15 hours of writing workshops. For PhD students, it counts toward the 27 hours of required coursework.

CRW 5331

Poetry Workshop: Writing Publishable Poems

Virgil Suárez
T/Th, 4:50-6:05 p.m.

This course is going to assume that as a graduate student you have been writing poems for a while and have reached the point where you want to workshop your very best poems to get them ready for submission and publication. We will discuss all aspects and stages of poem publication. The many lives a poem has after you have given it breath and legs. Literary trends and contemporary poetry economics will be considered at all times. The class will be conducted half as a warm-up discussion that will then lead to workshopping your poems during every class. You are encouraged to workshop a chapbook length collection of poems during the semester.

Requirements: For MFA students, this course satisfies 3 of the required 12-15 hours of writing workshops. For PhD students, it counts toward the 27 hours of required coursework.

CRW 5331

Poetry Workshop

James Kimbrell
T, 3:05-6:05 p.m.

This workshop will include weekly discussion of student poems, but unlike traditional workshops, we will also spend a good deal of time exploring the field of poetics. We will conduct a broad and thorough review of major statements in poetics from a range of poets from your text. Workshop participants will submit original poems, give one presentation on a selection from our anthology, and complete the workshop with a revised portfolio along with an original manifesto / poetics essay. Among the goals of this workshop, my main hope is that each poet will finish the semester with a rich and more historically informed basis upon which to craft their own poems.

Requirements: For MFA students, this course satisfies 3 of the required 12-15 hours of writing workshops. For PhD students, it counts toward the 27 hours of required coursework.

ENC 5317

Article and Essay Workshop: Crossroads: Writing & Reading Journey

Ravi Howard
T, 1:20-4:20 p.m.

At a symposium on his work in 2000, John Edgar Wideman was asked about his nonfiction approach, and he said—to paraphrase—certain things have happened to me, and this is my version of it. I want the workshop to focus on the connection between “certain things” and the “version” you build through structure. We will discuss your line work, structure, and your imagery. To aid our imagery discussion, we will consider notes on photography, such as Susan Sontag’s “anthology of images” and “grammar of seeing” concepts. We’ll also study Toni Morrison’s process of moving from “picture to meaning to text.” Other lessons in visual storytelling will come from Teju Cole, Eudora Welty, Dawoud Bey, Carrie Mae Weems, and others. Since we will have a mix of prose writers and poets in the class, we’ll consider works by poets and writers such as Natasha Trethewey’s Memorial Drive and Marilynne Nelson’s What Are We Doing Here? In addition to the traditional workshop structure, with two rounds of submissions, you are encouraged to write an autobiographical craft essay. We will look at examples from Matthew Salesses, Edwidge Danticat, Maud Casey, Jessica Handler, Felicia Rose Chavez, and others who connect their personal experiences with a craft text.

Requirements: For MFA students, this course satisfies 3 of the required 12-15 hours of writing workshops. For PhD students, it counts toward the 27 hours of required coursework.

ENC 5720

Research Methods in Rhetoric and Composition

Ronisha Browdy
Th, 11:35-2:35 p.m.

The course is an introduction to research design and practice, the evaluation of research studies, and bibliographic resources for conducting research in rhetoric and composition. The research methods, methodologies, and epistemologies covered may often prove to be interdisciplinary, requiring the examination of theories and foundational concepts derived from other academic disciplines. The overarching goal of the course is to explore the major research paradigms in the field with the aims of examining how they construct knowledge, exposing their underlying assumptions, and probing their ethical implications.

Requirements: This course contributes to the 12 hrs. of graduate coursework required of the MA degree with a focus on Rhetoric and Composition.

ENC 5945

Internship in Editing

Molly Hand

The Internship in Editing allows graduate students to receive academic credit for completion of an internship or practicum focused on writing or editing. The course is graded S/U, and may be taken for 1 to 6 credit hours. The course requirements may be fulfilled through many types of work including professional service, such as serving as poetry editor for a literary magazine or managing editor for an academic journal, or writing/editing projects associated with a communications-focused job. Email course instructor with questions and to discuss available opportunities or whether a current job or position would be eligible for credit.

ENG 5028

Rhetorical Theory and Practice: Rhetorical Ecologies

Mais Al-Khateeb
T, 4:50-7:50 p.m.

This course engages with historical and contemporary developments in rhetorical studies with an emphasis on rhetorical ecologies. We will begin by reviewing early theorizations of the rhetorical situation to establish a foundation for our discussions. We will then study different theoretical perspectives on rhetorical ecologies—public and digital rhetorics, transnationalism, affect studies, posthumanism, and new materialism—examining how an ecological model can challenge and/or extend existing definitions and approaches to rhetorical inquiry in the 21st century. In addition to exploring and practicing what rhetorical ecologies make possible, we will read, analyze, and write about case studies that explore the limitations of this model. This course equips students with theoretical and analytical tools to engage critically with rhetorics of humanitarian, ecological, and technological crises.

Requirements: This course satisfies the requirement for coursework in the following Area of Concentration: Rhetoric and Composition.

ENG 5049

Studies in Critical Theory: “The Library of Babel”: The Theory, Politics, and Praxis of Archives and Universal Libraries

S. E. Gontarski
T/Th, 4:50-6:05 p.m.

This course will explore the supposed neutrality of archives and issues of their conflicted interests between access and concealment. It will feature primary data archival research primarily in the underused, almost unknown Strozier Special Collections material, although research in nearby archives will also be possible, especially for corresponding or overlapping material. Almost untouched are our William S. Burroughs and Grove Press archives, and both are rich in publication potential, the former on issues of texts and textuality, the latter on book history and the politics of censorship (a lively local topic these days).

The theoretical underpinnings of the course lie within the implications of Jorge Luis Borges short stories “The Library of Babel” and “Of Exactitude in Science,” the former about archivists, the latter about mapmakers. Further theoretical underpinnings derive from Derrida’s lecture of 1994, published in diacritics in summer 1995 and as a book version from the University of Chicago as Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression. We will further explore the research potential of Jonathan Basil’s web based project, “The Library of Babel” and its book-based outcome, Tar for Mortar: The Library of Babel and the Dream of Totality.

Requirements: This course satisfies the requirement for coursework in the following Areas of Concentration: Critical Theory, Post-1900 Literary and Cultural Studies (American, British, Irish) and History of Text Technologies.

ENG 5079

Issues in Literary and Cultural Studies: Theories of the Novel Now

Meegan Kennedy (Margaret Kennedy Hanson)
T, 11:35 a.m.-2:35 p.m.

How did the novel–a relatively recent form–reach such dominance during the nineteenth century? How does the biography of the novel change when examined by different scholarly methodologies? How do Victorian novels shape contemporary literature and criticism? This course uses the Victorian novel as a lens through which to examine classic and new theories of this genre. We'll start by surveying some of the classics of novel history and theory and then move to some of the interesting and provocative ways that scholars have been theorizing “the novel,” especially the Victorian novel, over the past decade. We'll use as our test cases three novels from the period: Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist (1839); George Eliot, Mill on the Floss (1860); and Richard Marsh, The Beetle (1897). Students will write weekly responses, present on critical texts, and complete a scaffolded research paper.

Requirements: This course satisfies the required theory requirement as well as the requirement for coursework in the following Areas of Concentration: British and Irish Literary and Cultural Studies: 1660-1900; Literary Genre (fiction).

 

ENG 5933

Topics in English: Composition Practicum: Composition Pedagogy Workshop

E. Dominguez Barajas
F, 3:05-3:55 p.m.

This course is designed as supplementary to LAE 5370: Teaching English in College. Students observe college composition classes; observe tutoring sessions; deliver lessons in a class; participate in tutoring sessions; meet with graduate mentors to prepare for teaching duties as graduate teaching assistants at FSU.

Requirements: All new graduate students on assistantship need to enroll in this course to satisfy TA-training requirements.

ENG 6939

Linguistically Responsible Composition Theory

Jaclyn Fiscus-Cannaday
T/Th, 3:05-4:20 p.m.

This course will detail the history of composition's involvement in language policies in U.S. education. We will begin this course with a basic overview of phonology, syntax, semantics, and morphology. This foundation will help us better discuss issues of language change, language and identity, and linguistic discrimination in the college writing classroom—the subject of inquiry for our semester together. Throughout the semester, then, we will trace the tumultuous relationship between speakers of non-standard varieties of English, speakers of other languages besides English, and prescriptivist tendencies amongst language authorities. We will consider how various language authorities and resultant policies and academic scholarship, have shaped ideologies about what types of communication are privileged in the writing classroom. Throughout this course, we will develop self-reflexivity about our own beliefs about English’s structure and use, our ideologies about teaching “good” writing, and our resultant linguistically responsible pedagogies.

Requirements: This course satisfies the requirement for coursework in the following Area of Concentration: Rhetoric and Composition.

ENL 5216

Studies in Middle English Language and Literature: Legends of Troy–Chaucer and Beyond

Jamie Fumo
M, 3:05-6:05 p.m.

Before Canterbury, there was Troy. The great medieval love-epic Troilus and Criseyde is Geoffrey Chaucer's one complete, profoundly realized masterpiece: a narrative of love, power, desolation, and deceit that unfolds in the final days of a doomed civilization to which several great European powers traced their origins. It is arguably Chaucer's best poem.

In this course we will intensively explore the poetic texture, generic complexity, and rich intertextuality of Troilus and Criseyde by situating it within the European context of the Troy legend, particularly as incarnated as a romance narrative. First we will study the chronicles of the late-classical Dares and Dictys (supposed eye-witnesses of the Trojan War) and medieval renderings of the Troy legend by Benoît de St-Maure and Guido delle Colonne. We will then work closely with Chaucer's most immediate source, Boccaccio's Il Filostrato, which Chaucer radically revised, implicitly challenged, and creatively supplemented. (All such foreign-language materials will be read in English translation.) Our main efforts involve closely reading the five books of Chaucer's Troilus, together with a healthy cross-section of 20th- and 21st-century criticism on the poem. Finally, we will explore patterns of reception in several intriguing early responses to Chaucer's poem by John Lydgate, Robert Henryson, William Shakespeare (here's your chance to read Troilus and Cressida, one of Shakespeare's most perplexing "problem plays"!), and John Dryden.

N.B. We will read Chaucer's Troilus strictly in the original Middle English. No prior experience with Middle English is necessary, though learning it will be a formal expectation of the course. Translations are not permitted. Similarly, no prior knowledge of the Troilus legend or ancient Trojan epic is expected.

Requirements: This course fulfills the general literature requirement for one course pre-1660 or one course pre-1800. It also satisfies the requirement for coursework in the following Area of Concentration: Medieval and Early Modern British Literary and Cultural Studies through 1660; and a Literary Genre (Poetry).

ENL 5227

Studies in Renaissance Literature: Natural, Supernatural, Unnatural

Molly Hand
T/Th, 1:20-2:35 p.m.

In this course, we will explore the dynamic interplay and early modern relational understandings among nature and the natural, supernatural, preternatural (unseen or unobservable but nevertheless operating within the laws of nature), and unnatural. How were nature and the natural constructed, who or what was considered unnatural, and how did the supernatural and preternatural permeate the natural world? How did early moderns’ experiences of prodigies and portents–supernatural or preternatural signs in nature–shape contemporary thought regarding occult influences and knowledge derived from the senses? How did humans read nature’s signs, and how did they trouble nature deliberately (as with gender trouble, cunning practices, and confidence tricks) or unwittingly (engaging in practices we now link to environmental degradation)?

Taking our cues from theoretical and secondary readings in animal studies, ecocriticism (ecofeminism, posthumanism, queer ecologies), premodern critical race studies, and disability studies, as well as scholarship in early modern magic and the occult, we will think critically about representations of super/preter/nature and the unnatural in a range of primary texts, mostly non-Shakespearean drama. Plays may include Doctor Faustus, Macbeth, The Changeling, The Roaring Girl, The Alchemist, The Witch of Edmonton, The Late Lancashire Witches, and others.

In addition to regular discussion posts and a presentation, participants will identify a call for papers or site of publication and produce a piece of original scholarship which may be presented as a conference paper or developed into a publishable article.

Requirements: This course fulfills the general literature requirement for one course pre-1660 or one course pre-1800. It also satisfies the requirement for coursework in the following Area of Concentration: British Literary and Cultural Studies to 1900.

ENL 5236

Studies in Restoration/18th century British Lit: Rebellion, Slavery, & Abolition in the British Atlantic     

Candace Ward
M/W, 3:05-4:20 p.m.

In 1807 Britain’s parliament passed the Act To Abolish the Slave Trade; in 1833, the Emancipation Act was passed, effective August 1834, with the implementation of the Apprenticeship period, followed in 1838 with “full freedom.” In this course, we will examine what Ian Baucom in Specters of the Atlantic describes as the “piling up” of history, contextualizing the events that shaped the “fatal Atlantic beginning of the modern”—Caribbean slavery—and leading up to these landmark legislations. The discourses of rebellion, slavery, and abolition that provide this context cross generic and chronological lines: our enquiries begin in the Restoration period, with Henry Neville’s “porno-topia,” The Isle of Pines (1668) and Aphra Behn’s novella Oroonoko; moving into the eighteenth century, we’ll not only encounter ameliorist novels like William Earle’s Obi, but also colonial narratives like planter-historian Edward Long’s description of Tacky’s Revolt in his History of Jamaica. These reports, along with slave narratives by Olaudah Equiano and Mary Prince and oral histories from Jamaica’s Maroon communities bring alive what Caribbean historian Hilary Beckles calls “one protracted struggle launched by Africans and their Afro-West Indian progeny against slave owners”—a struggle that spanned more than three centuries. We will end the course with an examination of that struggle’s long-lived legacy as manifested in later Caribbean fiction: Michel Maxwell Philip’s Emmanuel Appadocca; or, Blighted Life, A Tale of the Boucaneers (1854), H. G. de Lisser’s White Witch of Rose Hall (1929), and Erna Brodber’s Rainmaker’s Mistake (2007).

As we explore the complexities and contradictions embedded in these narratives—rife with racialized stereotypes and, to our eyes, highly problematic assumptions about agency and identity—we will also work to avoid the “facile normalization of the present” (Scott, Conscripts of Modernity). In other words, we will refuse to essentialize differences between “us” and the historical “them” of our enquiry and look to these texts for our “now.”

Requirements: This course fulfills the general literature requirement for one course 1660-1900. It also satisfies the requirement for coursework in the following Areas of Concentration: British Literary and Cultural Studies to 1900; Colonial, Postcolonial, and Transnational Literary and Cultural Studies; and a Literary Genre (Fiction). This course also meets the Alterity requirement.

LAE 5370

Teaching English in College: Composition Pedagogy Practicum

E. Dominguez Barajas
T/Th, 9:45-11:00 a.m.

This course examines foundational theories, pedagogical orientations, social concerns, and good practices in the teaching of academic writing, particularly as this pertains to college composition courses.

Requirements: All new graduate students on assistantship need to enroll in this course to satisfy TA-training requirements.

LIT 5017

Studies in Fiction: The Modern Music Novel     

Barry J. Faulk
M/W, 3:05-4:20 p.m.

“For twenty-five centuries, western knowledge has tried to look upon the world. It has failed to understand that the world is not for beholding. It is for hearing. It is not legible, but audible.” Jacques Attali’s demand for a new mode of engaging the world that de-privileges sight and attends to the world as an auditory phenomenon is answered by the writers of the modern music novel. Our reading will focus on 20th and 21st century fictions that engage with and respond to music; we will pay special attention to how writers incorporate musical themes and adapt the methods of musical composition for narrative purposes in their writing. We’ll also consider how the shift from analog to digital technology has transformed our relationship to music, and how novelists, and novelistic forms, have adapted to these changes. Our reading will include: Michael Ondaatje’s Coming Through Slaughter (1976), Hanif Kureishi’s The Buddha of Suburbia (1990), Toni Morrison’s Jazz (1992), Jackie Kay’s Trumpet (2000), Zadie Smith’s On Beauty (2005), Kazuo Ishiguro’s Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall (2009), Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad (2011), and Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones and the Six (2019).

Requirements: This course satisfies the requirement for coursework in the following Areas of Concentration: Post-1900 Literary and Cultural Studies (American, British, Irish); a Literary Genre (Fiction).

LIT 5038

Studies in Poetry: By Sex Workers

Cy. Weise
W, 3:05-6:05 p.m.

“everything would be different / in my life from now on” – Rose Hunter, Body Shell Girl

This course introduces us to the aesthetics of innovators in poetry, specifically, sex workers. Who is writing these poems? What risks are involved at the level of the poem and also at the level of The State when writing poems as a sex worker? Are there poetic techniques available to sex workers that are not available to civilians? If so, what poetic techniques? May we use those techniques if we are not sex workers? What are the ethics of going to any marginalized population’s art and pilfering the art? Is art a “free for all” or does it cost something? As is perhaps obvious from this course description, we will read and learn from poetry by sex workers while practicing a capacious respect for those who write the poems. We will read poetry by genderfluid, transgender, nonbinary, gender-nonconforming, cisgender, asexual, pansexual, bisexual, heterosexual, BIPOC, disabled, Mad, sick, neurodivergent, married, relationship anarchist, unmarried, religious, atheist and agnostic sex workers. We will begin with the anthology Hustling Verse and our reading will include books—exclusively—by sex workers. We are not here to “rescue” nor “save” the poems by sex workers. We are here to learn about poetry that we have not had access to. And why haven’t we?

Requirements: This course satisfies the requirement for coursework in the following Areas of Concentration: Feminism, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; and a Literary Genre (Poetry). This course also fulfills the Alterity requirement.

LIT 5038

Studies in Poetry: The Daughters of Frank O’Hara

David Kirby
W, 4:50-7:50 p.m.

Frank O’Hara can get away with anything. Why? Because of his sheer exuberance. Many have followed his path, but sometimes it seems as though poets who identify primarily as women are more interested in his model these days than their male counterparts. This course will begin with a compressed look at O’Hara’s achievement and then consider books and individual poems by such contemporaries as Hera Lindsey Bird, Karyna McGlynn, Chessy Normile, Elisa Gabbert, Chelsea Harlan, Kiki Petrosino, Jennifer Knox, and many others.

Truth in Inclusivity notes: (1) We’ll leave some room in this course for Frank’s sons and his other descendants. And (2) even though this is listed as a literature class, there will be both critical and creative options. Students in Literature, Media, and Culture, Rhetoric and Composition, and Creative Writing are all equally welcome.

One more thing: we’ll be reading ten individual poetry collections in book form – most of them are not available on Kindle, and besides, that platform butchers lines and stanzas. On Amazon right now, the tab for all ten books comes to around $150. That’s a lot, but there are two workarounds. The first is that two people might share a shipment and cut their cost in half. The other is that I’d be happy to pay for anyone’s books. Just send me your receipt. You’d be doing me a favor. I want you to have more poetry in your life, no matter how it gets there.

Requirements: This course fulfills the requirement for coursework in the following Areas of Concentration: Post-1900 Literary and Cultural Studies and a Literary Genre (Poetry). It also fulfills the Alterity requirement.

LIT 5235

Studies in Post-Colonial Literature: The African Coming-of-Age Novel

Christopher Okonkwo      
T/Th, 11:35 a.m.-12:50 p.m.

If dated from the slave autobiographies, one could argue that life-writing—factual, mediated, and/or fictional—has had a centuries-old history in Black Atlantic literary imagination. In this reading-intensive seminar, our focus is on representative coming-of-age narratives by African authors. As some scholars have suggested, the African bildungsroman, when juxtaposed against its German, French, and English antecedents and contemporaries, instantiates the problematic of generic conformity and deviance. A subunit of modern and postcolonial African literature, the African bildungsroman sometimes comports with the “classical” European model, especially the latter’s privileging of personal reading and mentorship. In other cases, though, it “writes back” to and unravels the problems raised by the European model’s subordination of community to youth and individualism/individual growth. Our aim in this course will be to examine the above issues toward close readings of the African works in their own right. Focal authors include: Camara Laye, L’Enfant noir, roman, trans. as The Dark Child; Mongo Beti, The Poor Christ of Bomba; Ngugi wa Thiongo’s Weep Not, Child; Wole Soyinka’s Aké: The Years of Childhood; Lewis Nkosi, Mating Birds; Tsitsi Dangaremgba’s Nervous Conditions; Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Purple Hibiscus; Helen Oyeyemi, The Icarus Girl; and Uzodinma Iweala, Beasts of No Nation

Requirements: This course satisfies the requirement for coursework in the following Areas of Concentration: Colonial, Postcolonial, and Transnational Literary and Cultural Studies; and a Literary Genre (Fiction). This course also meets the Alterity requirement.

LIT 5517

Studies in Gender in Literature

Alison Sperling
T/Th, 3:05-4:20 p.m.

This course will examine literary and cultural texts alongside queer theory that respectively offer a focus on ecological concepts. Queer and transgender theoretical approaches studied will also center post- and decolonial thought, Black studies, Indigenous Studies, disability studies and toxicity studies, and will be read alongside authors of (mostly, though not exclusively, American) fiction that may include writers such as N.K. Jemisin, Louise Erdrich, Jeff VanderMeer, Rita Indiana, Elvia Wilk, Larissa Lai, Djuna Barnes, Margaret Atwood, Gloria Anzaldúa, Ayana Lloyd Banwo, and Nalo Hopkinson.

This course aims to involve visits from guest speakers from the humanities and the sciences who are leading thinkers in the field, as well as accessible (optional) outings for students to engage with the region’s richness in biodiversity.

Requirements: This course fulfills the requirement for coursework in the following Areas of Concentration: Post-1900 Literary and Cultural Studies (American, British, Irish); Feminism, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Colonial, Postcolonial, and Transnational Literary and Cultural Studies; and a Literary Genre (Fiction). This course also fulfills the Alterity requirement.