Graduate Courses

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Graduate Courses

AML 5017

Studies in U.S. Literature to 1875: The American 1848

John Mac Kilgore
Th, 1:20-4:20 p.m.

This course will explore developments in nineteenth-century U.S. literature, roughly from 1848 to 1861, in connection with the rise of labor and feminist movements, utopian socialism and communism, radical abolitionism and the resistance to U.S. Empire. "The American 1848" represents a historical flashpoint for these political configurations—the European revolutions of that year, the end of the Mexican-American War, the Seneca Falls Convention, the establishment of the Oneida Community, the California Gold Rush. What significance do these and other events hold for understanding U.S. literature before the Civil War—the so-called "American Renaissance"? In addition to political tracts, essays, speeches, and social theory, students can expect to read authors such as Margaret Fuller, Frederick Douglass, Herman Melville, Julia Ward Howe, Henry David Thoreau, Hannah Crafts, George Lippard, John Rollin Ridge, Martin Delany, Rebecca Harding Davis.

Requirements: This course fulfills the general literature requirement for one course 1660-1900. It also satisfies the requirement for coursework in the following Area(s) of Concentration: American Literary and Cultural Studies to 1900 and a Literary Genre (Fiction). This course also meets the Alterity requirement.

AML 5027

Studies in U.S. Literature since 1875: Teaching the Beats in an Age of Resublimation

S.E. Gontarski
Tu/Th 1:20-2:35 p.m.

Burroughs biographer and Beat historian Barry Miles has observed that “No longer a fringe phenomenon, the Beat Generation, and its leading proponents, William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, are fully accepted as a well-defined literary movement alongside the Bloomsbury Group and the Lost Generation and possibly as the first home-grown one.” And literary theorist and philosopher Jeffrey Di Leo has observed on a more theoretical level that resonates with our department’s History of Text Technology and “What is a text” focus as well: “Most think that when a book is published it is complete. But what happens if this formula is reversed? Burroughs's genius may very well be discovering that the future of the book is the archive--a vast expanse of materials that are in continuous flux.” This course will test Miles’ assertion and Di Leo’s archival theorizing, including work in FSU’s own Burroughs archive, against a contemporary culture with little appetite for a literature that shocks, a literature that in its time was often censored. We will explore whether Beat literature is sustainable amid our current critical ecology or whether it has passed its sell-by date. And we will further explore the expanded Beat influence in the work of the US’s latest Nobel laureate in literature, Bob Dylan. That is, is Dylan, in his major works, a Beat poet? [Spoiler alert: “Yes.”]

Requirements: This course satisfies the requirement for coursework in the following Area(s) of Concentration: Post-1900 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 Montgomery
Tu/Th, 9:30-10:45 a.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, and 1996

Requirements: This course satisfies the requirement for the following Area(s) 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). This course also meets the Alterity requirement.

AML 5637

Studies in Latina/o Literature: Latinx Environmentalisms

John Ribó
Tu/Th 9:45-11 a.m.

Environmental movements and policymaking in the United States have often been critiqued for excluding the needs, knowledge, and leadership of communities of color. This course will explore how the work of Latinx writers, artists, activists, and critics reimagines and expands understandings of environmentalism. Readings will include novels by Ana Castillo, Mayra Montero, Hector Tobar, Justin Torres, and Helena María Viramontes. Throughout the semester students will develop a research project from abstract, to conference paper, to journal article.

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

Mark Winegardner
W, 6:35-9:35 p.m.

This course is a rigorous traditional workshop. At its core is the premise that any student work under discussion could be better. In a great majority of fiction handed in to a graduate workshop, the thing that most needs to get better is the storytelling and structure. To attack that, this class will take a nuts-and-bolts approach to mastering the fundamentals of what a story is and how it's put together.

The default mode here is that students will be expected to workshop, revise, and resubmit two short stories (though you will have the opportunity to workshop three). If you wish to workshop any portion of a novel, we will meet one-on-one to custom-tailor a workshop strategy for that book (rather than treating it the way we would a short story).

“A writer,” said Saul Bellow, “is a reader moved to emulation.” “I know of no good, ignorant writers,” wrote Richard Wilbur. “Great stories and novels,” said Charles Baxter, “are permission-givers.” In this course, you’ll develop your writing in tandem with your reading: eradicating ignorance, receiving permission, being moved to artful emulation. The strangeness of individual talent won’t be blunted by such things. Quite the contrary.

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

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

The fall graduate fiction workshop under Robert Olen Butler will focus intensively on the essentials of process in creating literary narrative. Given the most elusive and crucial of these essentials, the workshop will propose an aesthetic theory of the short short story, both as a distinct art form and as an image of the first pages of any work of viable fiction regardless of length, and students will write short short stories (or de facto beginnings) until the essential is mastered. When that is achieved, they will have a chance to write onward from there. And yes, my deeply considered conviction is that this pursuit is crucial even for advanced graduate students. Indeed, for all of us.

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
Tu, 1:20-4:20 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 (Twentieth-Century American Poetics: Poets on the Art of Poetry. Gioa, Mason Schoerke). 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.

CRW 5331

Poetry Workshop: The Solotaroff Protocol

David Kirby
M, 3:05-6:05 p.m.

In A Few Good Voices In My Head, Ted Solotaroff says that a piece of writing is a writer’s “only way to organize and to some extent comprehend life’s fullness and perplexity.” In this class we’ll be studying and writing that kind of poem in a format that departs from the traditional workshop set-up.

The usual workshop method works fine, but here we’ll begin by front-loading craft lessons in the first month. What this means is that I’ll present around 40 very different craft poems that have in common Solotaroff’s two principles, the organization and at least partial understanding of some significant experience. I’ll start having conferences immediately, you’ll be paired with a series of rotating partners, and after I present the craft poems, we’ll alternate between select students giving 20-minute readings of their work to the rest of the class and roundtable discussions of particular poems presented by individual students.

So put your helmet on! Knowledge is going to fly at you from six directions: craft poems, roundtable poems, peer poems, a get-acquainted conference, two comprehensive conferences, poem swaps with partners. The Republic of Poetry has a rich topography; we’ll see it all.

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: Narrative Nonfiction

Diane Roberts
W, 6:35-9:35 p.m.

Nonfiction is a broad church and this workshop will visit several parishes, i.e. read authors who take different approaches to the genre. Most importantly, students will produce a polished 25-page piece suitable for publication (or at least for submission to a magazine or journals) by the end of the semester. We will also explore how to pitch and how to write a nonfiction book proposal.

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 5700

Theories of Composition: Social and Intellectual Turns

Tarez Graban
Tu, 3:05-6:05 p.m.

ENC 5700 provides a critical overview of the field of contemporary composition studies, from the early twentieth century to the present, with an emphasis on theoretical “turns” that have acted – or do act – as landmarks. Its overarching goal is to familiarize you with the conversations situating writing, rhetoric, literacy, teaching, institutional politics, and institutional discourse so that you can enter into and contribute to those conversations. This requires both a global understanding of the field (i.e., what are its historical arcs, its interdisciplinary foraging, and its various philosophical orientations) and a local understanding of the field (i.e., what issues generate talk, how it forms its social agendas, what various individuals bring to the conversation, and what keywords serve as “god terms,” in Burke’s sense of the word). By the end of the semester, you will have both a comprehensive sense of critical issues in the field, and a more critical understanding of those issues that reflect your own scholarly and pedagogical interests, in and beyond the university. Also open to students from outside of the Rhetoric and Composition track.

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

ENC 5720

Research Methods in Rhetoric and Composition

Elias Dominguez Barajas
W, 3.05-6.05 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. Students who would like to discuss possibilities and available opportunities should contact Dr. Hand (

ENG 5079

Issues in Literary and Cultural Studies

Aaron Jaffe
Tu/Th, 9:45-11:00am

Enter Theory, with a capital T. This headword classifies a bewildering number of forms of intellectual inquiry in literary and cultural studies: structuralism, post-structuralism, feminism, psycho-analysis, deconstruction, Marxism, critical race theory, queer theory, reader-response and reception theory, semiotics, systems theory, pragmatism, hermeneutics, New Historicism, Russian Formalism, New Criticism, Critical Theory, New Materialism, Affect Theory, Speculative Realism, Surface Reading, Thin Description, Distant Reading, Post-critique, and so on. Some of these schools of thought are complementary, others mutually exclusive; some brand new, others borrowed or recycled. Most are known for their stylistic and conceptual difficulty. Rather than muddling through the entire intimidating collection of Theory's -isms and sifting through an equally perplexing collection of proper names (Derrida, Foucault, Canguilhem, Cixous, etc.), we will selectively sample some of its most compelling texts, ideas, and questions, concentrating on a handful of its most compelling threads of inquiry about literature, about culture and about critical and interpretive practices. Along the way, we will delineate some useful maps of the issues and motives of literary and cultural theory that will expand the ways you read and think about literary, social, and cultural texts.

Requirements: This course satisfies the requirement for Gateway Theory course.

ENG 5079

Issues in Literary and Cultural Studies

Carla Della Gatta
M/W, 4:50-6:05 p.m.

Why theory? What are the frameworks that have shaped the interpretation of literature and how have they developed and shifted over time? Through what lenses and ideologies do we define terms such as author, text, narrative? What does it mean to be “critical?” This course will provide a historical introduction to various schools of thought from literary studies, cultural studies, and philosophy, as well as their intersections. In addition, we will distinguish between research methods and theoretical methodologies for analyzing a text. Finally, we will address the field of cultural studies that encompasses issues of identity (race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, ableism, neurodiversity, etc.), political economy, and performance and new media. Students will learn about the primary tenets of major schools of theory as a foundation for their study of literature.

The class will address the major schools of literary theory through works by Mikhail Bakhtin, Jorge Luis Borges, Julia Kristeva, Michel Foucault, and Stephen Greenblatt. Likewise, the course will engage with a sampling of the branches of cultural studies, with possible selections from Gloria Anzaldúa, Judith Butler, The Combahee River Collective, Stuart Hall, bell hooks, Audre Lorde, Laura Mulvey, Edward Said, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Raymond Williams, Sylvia Wynter, and others.

Requirements: This course satisfies the requirement for the Gateway Theory course.

ENG 5801

History of Text Technologies

Lindsay Eckert
W, 1:20-4:20 p.m.

This course focuses on a central question: How does technology influence not only access to knowledge and literature but also the creation and interpretation of that very knowledge? We will consider this question through a historical and theoretical overview of transnational text technologies from prehistory to the present. We will explore a variety of historical text technologies including quipus, papyrus scrolls, medieval manuscripts, and early print as well as more contemporary technologies like audiobooks, ebooks, and Optical Character Recognition (OCR). Students will work with a variety of materials, including gems from FSU’s own Special Collections, and the course will also feature guest appearances by specialist faculty. Throughout, students will learn specifics about different text technologies—like how parchment was made or how early printing worked—yet we will also strive to ask fundamental questions about the uses and social dynamics of text technologies. Ultimately, this course will help you develop a critical theoretical framework for analyzing, researching, and writing about different text technologies—both ancient as well as those that we use today.

Requirements: This course satisfies the gateway requirement for the History of Text Technologies concentration. It also meets the general pre-1800 requirement. Students who successfully complete this course may be eligible to teach undergraduate courses in the History of Text Technologies.

ENG 6939

Seminar in English: Health and Medicine Rhetorics

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

In this course, we will study historical and contemporary accounts of health and medicine from a rhetorical perspective and in local and global contexts. Course readings will engage us in critical conversations about what the rhetoric of health and medicine is and does and why a rhetorical perspective matters to creating accessible and equitable health care for all patients. In addition to examining historical, theoretical, and methodological perspectives, we will explore case studies that demonstrate how health and medicine are rhetorically entangled with socioeconomic, (bio)(geo)political, and neoliberal relations that shape the construction, design, and circulation of medical discourse. Understanding these entanglements helps illuminate how medical subjects get constituted and how human and nonhuman bodies come to matter (or not!) in medical discourse. These considerations can also better inform ways stakeholders (patients, practitioners, interpreters, policymakers, etc.) define, interact, and navigate health situations. This course offers students the opportunity to engage critically with current health debates and to understand how a critical rhetorical perspective can bring about ethical medical discourses and practices across contexts.

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

ENL 5038

Studies in Folklore: Primordial Spirituality in African Diaspora Literature

Jerrilyn McGregory
W, 4:50-7:50 p.m.

Any number of approaches to African Diaspora literature may be identified. In this course, the focus is on spirituality as it manifests in various literary genres and modes such as short stories, a play, speculative fiction, and magical realism. I use the word "spirituality" expansively to include not only the usual indications of phenomena beyond the natural world and the scope of human action, but, foremost, spiritual hermeneutics associated with experiences that transcend a Westernized view of objective reality. This class will explore belief systems that traditionally have informed the particular ethos and worldview of many African descended communities. The course privileges African-based and experience-centered approaches to belief. The goal is to develop a high context for core spiritual experiences that operate recursively in the creative imaginary of African Diaspora writers, including Tina McElroy Ansa (Baby in the Family), Charles Chesnutt (The Conjure Woman), Nalo Hopkinson (Brown Girl in the Ring), Zora Neale Hurston, Gloria Naylor (Mama Day), Jacques Roumain (The Masters of the Dew), and August Wilson, (The Piano Lesson).

Requirements: This course satisfies the requirement for coursework in the following Area(s) of Concentration: African-American Literary, Folklore, and Cultural Studies.

ENL 5227

Studies in Renaissance Literature: Animals, the Environment, and the Occult in Early Modern Literature

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

In the introduction to Arts for Living on a Damaged Planet, the volume’s editors write, “The winds of the Anthropocene carry ghosts—the vestiges and signs of past ways of life still charged in the present. This book offers stories of those winds as they blow over haunted landscapes. Our ghosts are the traces of more-than-human histories through which ecologies are made and unmade.”

This course reads the haunted landscapes of early modern England, the nonhuman beings that populated them, and the occult practices and influences by which humans shaped and were shaped by their environment. With accompanying readings in animal studies, ecocriticism, ecofeminism, queer ecology, and posthumanism, we will study early modern literature to locate the “invisible technologies of nature’s marvels,” occult knowledge and practices, gendered situated knowledges, and nonhuman agentive beings and influences whose presence defined early modern lived experience. Primary texts may include (but are not limited to) witchcraft narratives, natural histories, herbals, books of receipts, and plays such as Doctor Faustus, Macbeth, The Witch, The Winter’s Tale, The Witch of Edmonton, The Late Lancashire Witches, and A Maske at Ludlow Castle.

In addition to regular discussion posts and a presentation, students 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 satisfies the general literature requirement for one course pre-1660.

ENL 5236

Studies in Restoration/18th Century British Literature: Rebellion, Slavery, and Abolition in the British Atlantic 

Candace Ward
Tu/Th, 11:35 a.m.-12:50 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), Busha’s Mistress (1855/1911), White Witch of Rose Hall (1929), and 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.

ENL 5276

Studies in 20th-Century British Literature

Robert Stilling
T, 1:20-4:20 p.m.

Since the nineteenth century, literary “decadence” has long been associated with the end of great periods in history, the decline of nations and empires, with a poetics that turns away from the world, with sexual deviance and moral degeneracy, and an obsession with art for its own sake. Nevertheless, as much recent scholarship has shown, the concept of decadence has expanded to capture the perennial sense of crisis and decline that characterizes modernity right up to our present moment. This course will begin with familiar fin-de-siècle decadents such as Oscar Wilde and J.-K. Huysmans but will quickly move through the twentieth and twenty-first centuries to survey how literary decadence has evolved in the face of colonialism, global migration, secularization, and other contemporary crises.

Requirements: This course satisfies the requirement for coursework in the following Area(s) of Concentration: Post-1900 Literary and Cultural Studies (British).

LIT 5038

Studies in Poetry: The Poet as Spy

The Cyborg Jillian Weise
M, 6:35-9:35 p.m.

Since we live in the age of the ubiquitous status update, you are already familiar with spying and being spied, watching and being watched. So you will make that familiarity manifest by considering how you duplicate yourself for the public, perform multiple selves and act according to certain codes depending on audience or genre. Broad questions: How does surveillance serve poetry? Which poets have been spies? What is the function of close observation for the poet? 

Requirements: This course satisfies the requirement for coursework in the following Areas of Concentration: Post-1900 Literary and Cultural Studies; Feminism, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; a Literary Genre (Poetry).