Graduate Courses

AML 5017
Studies in U.S. Literature to 1875: Blake, Dickinson, Whitman (In the Age of Digitial Archives)
John Mac Kilgore WMS 324

This seminar explores the academic creation of digital archives, the critical practice of their usage, and the way that web-based humanistic inquiry transforms our models and methods for reading, analyzing, and understanding literary corpora. We will take up this topic by focusing on the outstanding digital archives of three singular poets—William Blake, Emily Dickinson, and Walt Whitman. While my hope is that we’ll experiment and play with all the functional possibilities of the archives, we'll primarily approach each poet’s work according to the unique design of his or her corpus and respective archive: for Blake, "Poetry and the Image"; for Dickinson, "Poetry and the Manuscript”; for Whitman, “Poetry and the Edition.” Attendantly, we will read scholarship devoted to studying Blake, Dickinson, and Whitman in the Digital Age; and students will in turn develop and produce their own critical analysis of one poet vis-à-vis some aspect of the online archive.

Requirements: This course satisfies the requirement for coursework in the following Areas of Concentration: American Literary and Cultural Studies to 1900, and a Literary Genre. This course fulfills 3 credit hours of the academic requirement for the Certificate in Editing and Publishing. If a student has already met the academic requirement, the course can count for additional credits toward the 12-hour Certificate.

AML 5296
Studies in Multi-Ethnic Literature: Visionary Fiction: Fugitive World-Making and Ethnofuturisms
Frances Tran WMS 414

This course takes as its point of departure Walidah Imarisha and adrienne marie brown’s re-framing of science and speculative fiction as visionary fiction. Their assertion that the capacity to imagine better worlds is vital to projects of social justice will inform our critical engagements with literary, cultural, and theoretical texts this semester. We will explore in particular how minoritized authors and artists elaborate “Ethnofuturisms” by constructing fugitive worlds that unsettle normative conceptions of time, space, and embodiment. We will read across a range of cultural media—poetry, short stories, novels, film, and visual art—including works by Bong Joon-ho, Octavia Butler, Marjorie Liu, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Ruth Ozeki, Manjula Padmanabhan, M. NourbeSe Philip, Sabrina Vourvoulias, and more. Together, we will discuss how they mobilize speculative imaginaries and revise popular science fictional tropes to critique technologies of racialization, to explore alternative embodiments and representations of the “human,” and to illuminate the possibility of other modes of collectivity and solidarity. To inform our readings of these cultural texts, we will think alongside the scholarship of theorists of science and speculative fiction, techno-orientalism, Afrofuturism and Ethnofuturisms more broadly, such as Aimee Bahng, Seo-young Chu, Samuel R. Delany, Mark Dery, Sami Schalk, and Ytasha Womack.

Required texts:

  • Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda, Monstress (2016): ISBN: 978-1632157096
  • Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Certain Dark Things: A Novel (2016): ISBN: 978-1250099082
  • Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being (2013)- ISBN: 978-0143124870
  • Sabrina Vourvoulias, Ink (2018)- ISBN: 978-0998705996
  • Colson Whitehead, The Intuitionist (2000)- ISBN: 978-0385493000

Requirements: This course satisfies the requirement for coursework in the following Areas of Concentration: Post-1900 Literature and Culture; Colonial, Postcolonial and Transnational Literary and Cultural Studies; and Feminism, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. This course also meets the Alterity requirement.

AML 5608
Envisioning the Future: Post-apocalypticism and the Black Female Imagination
M. L. Montgomery WMS 433

This course surveys representative works of speculative fiction and expressive culture by black women in an Afro-diasporic geography, including the United States and Anglo Caribbean. We will read and discuss novels by Octavia Butler, Nalo Hopkinson, and Nnedi Okorafor alongside texts by authors previously excluded from Afro-futurist canonical formations such as Jessmyn Ward, Edwidge Danticat, and Michelle Cliff. Notions of history, hybridity, liminality, and border-crossing will figure prominently in investigative undertaking as will ideas surrounding the role of queered bodies and their role in framing futuristic imaginaries. Our inquiry culminates with a discussion of Beyonce's visual album Lemonade as an instance of black women's intervention into science fiction, fantasy culture, and Afro-futurism.

Using the work of Mark Dery, George Lipsitz, Tricia Rose, Greg Tate, and Ytasha L. Womack as the discursive springboard for our discussion, this course enables a critique of mainstream science fiction's reliance upon tropes of whiteness, maleness, and heterosexual normativity. Ultimately, our investigation seeks to expand the scholarly conversation surrounding black fantasy culture in ways that take into account neglected contributions by women across the trans-Atlantic world.

Required Texts:

  • Jessmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones
  • Edwidge Danticat, Claire of the Sea Light
  • Octavia Butler, Fledgling
  • Toni Morrison, Tar Baby
  • Gloria Naylor, Mama Day
  • Nnedi Okorafor, Binti
  • Nalo Hopkinson, Brown Girl in the Ring
  • Michelle Cliff, Abeng
  • Beyonce, Lemonade

Recommended Readings:

  • Ytasha L. Womack, Afro-Futurism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture
  • George Lipsitz, Dangerous Crossroads: Popular Music, Postmodernism, and the Poetics of Place

Requirements: This course satisfies the requirement for coursework in Post-colonial, Trans-national, Gender, and Cultural Studies. This course also meets the Alterity requirement.


CRW 5130
Graduate Fiction Workshop: Image, Meaning, and Text
Ravi Howard WMS 428

The fiction workshop will follow the traditional workshop model to assist writers as they seek clarity in both the writing and the process. Also, I want to focus on the connection between the visual pacing and the language used to add depth and composition to the storytelling. As in past semesters, we will consider the “anthology of images” that Susan Sontag describes in On Photography. Victor Lavalle, in a Center for Fiction essay, One Thing I Never Learned in Workshop describes how we can discuss the right order of images. In her essay The Site of Memory, Toni Morrison describes a process of coming from image to meaning to text.

These visual approaches may be central to the ways you work. In any craft approach or person process, we can think about how the relationship between an image and text helps to shape your layers of drafting and your finalized work. In addition to these ideas, we will consider the notes on photography and filmmaking including ideas from Eudora Welty, Teju Cole, John Berger, Dee Rees, and Barry Jenkins.

I am working on a reading list that will feature novels and short stories from writers such as Jamel Brinkley, Lauren Groff, Ottessa Moshfegh, Nafissa Thompson-Spires, Daniel Alarcon, Lee Conell, Daniel Gumbiner, Sigrid Nunez, Brandon Hobson, and Rebecca Makkai.

Also, the workshop is open to students outside of creative writing, but participation requires a conference or correspondence with me about past work and expectations. My intention here is to encourage a rigorous process that incorporates craft lessons from other disciplines, especially theater, music, dance, and film.

Our goal is to think about how language and images affect the way we stage and structure the work.

CRW 5331
Prose Workshop
Bob Shacochis

This is a traditional prose workshop, tailored to individual visions and collective needs. No mumbo jumbo, no gag orders. Write what you want, pursue your obsessions, find your voice, claim your material, develop your sensibilities. 30-40 pages of new work would be nice. Also, you must be a graduate student to enroll in this course.

CRW 5331
Poetry Workshop: The Ode from the Ancient World to Right Now
Barbara Hamby WMS 419

The craft section of this class (first hour) will address the ode beginning with the Psalms, Pindar, and Horace and moving on to Pindarmania, the Romantics, Whitman, Neruda, Lorca, Ginsberg, O’Hara, and Bernadette Mayer, Sharon Olds, Yusef Komuyakaa, D. A. Powell, and other contemporary ode writers. The questions we will be addressing are what is the ode and why are we still writing them? I also want to talk about how contemporary poets have transformed the ode but also how they have paid tribute to the poets of the past.

There are no books. Poems will be posted on Canvas.

The workshop will take up the final two hours of the class.

Requirements: This course fulfills 3 credit hours of the academic requirement for the Certificate in Editing and Publishing. If a student has already met the academic requirement, the course can count for additional credits toward the 12-hour Certificate.

CRW 5331
Poetry Workshop
Erin Belieu WMS 324

My course is conducted in the traditional workshop format in which students share their work with their peers and professor who will offer possibilities for revision to the student whose work is up for discussion. The final project for workshop consists of each student typing up a 30-page anthology of poems that at present represents their ars poetica, gathering together the poems they believe have most significantly influenced and shaped their work up to the present moment. This anthology will also include a 5-page introduction in which the student will write a short essay regarding their choices for the anthology, and what they have discovered about their poetic belief system based on the project.

A word on workshops generally: it’s my belief that workshops exist to build a mutually trusting climate to deeply explore our poetic art. While I understand the urge to “win” workshop in a given week—a totally understandable human desire—still, I believe having a safe and supportive space that allows you to experiment, to push your work farther, even to fail righteously from time to time, is of absolute importance for emerging artists. It is my hope that my years of experience as an editor, a teacher, and an active practitioner of the art will help you to achieve more than a small, immediate success (though those feel awfully good, too!), helping you to forge for yourself a long, meaningful life in poetry. As the poet Hayden Carruth said to me many years ago, “Poetry is a long distance race.” It’s my goal, practice, and devotion to help you train for the marathon.

ENC 5317
Article & Essay Workshop
Skip Horack WMS 438

ENC 5317 is a graduate workshop in narrative nonfiction writing. This class will follow the workshop model, and therefore student work will be our main focus. Over the course of the semester students will be required to share at least three essay-length manuscripts (one revision and two new pieces). This course assumes you have a serious interest in narrative nonfiction writing, as well as in discussing the writing of same with others who are 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.

ENC 5720
Research Methods in Rhetoric and Composition
Michael Neal WMS 223c

This research methods graduate seminar covers several principal means by which composition and rhetoric scholars make and support knowledge claims. These methodologies are often drawn or adapted from other academic disciplines. Not only will we seek to determine major research paradigms within the field, we will also discover how they function, explore their underlying assumptions, and unveil their limitations. While the course includes a short unit on quantitative methodologies, the primary focus of this course will be on empirical, qualitative methodologies.

Students will learn to critically read research publications as well as develop their own proposal for an individual project. We will cover framing questions for inquiry, writing reviews of research, and developing appropriate methods. Students will also practice research components including data collection through observation, surveys, and questionnaires; coding and analyzing descriptive data; developing visualizations of data, and writing up results.

ENG 5028
Rhetorical Theory and Practice
Kristie Fleckenstein WMS 224

The latter part of the twentieth century is marked by what neopragmatist Richard Rorty has called the “linguistic turn,” where we live the world historically and know it linguistically. Language is the tool of tool in our cultural toolbox, a move that subordinates poetics and aesthetics to the architectonic arts of rhetoric. While Rorty announced this linguistic turn in 1964, philosopher I. A. Richards had made a similar argument for the centrality of rhetoric 40 years earlier. Thus, our entry into modernism during the early decades of the twentieth century and our entry into post-modernism during the latter decades of the twentieth century can be characterized as a rhetorical as well as a linguistic turn.

Our goal in this course is to trace 20th- and 21st-century configurations of rhetoric. We will do that by exploring the influence of specific philosophers/rhetoricians and by exploring issues in the early decades of the 21st century that shape and, reciprocally, are shaped by a particular philosophy of communication. Theorists range from I. A. Richards and Gloria Anzaldúa to Kenneth Burke and Donna J. Haraway.

Requirements include six response essays (2-3 pages single spaced), a midterm project introducing a theorist not included on the syllabus, and a final seminar paper.

This course satisfies required coursework in Rhetoric and Composition (MA and PhD programs).

ENG 5049
Studies in Critical Theory: The Ideas of ’68: Toward a Critique of Aesthetic Judgment and Political Action
Barry J. Faulk WMS 219

This course is offered parallel with the Winthrop King conference on the topic “Does ‘la lutte continue’? The Global Afterlives of May ’68,” hosted at FSU March 28-30, 2019. The two instructors are co-organizers of this event.

According to Daniel Cohn-Bendit, one of the protagonists of May’68 student protests in Paris and a confirmed keynote speaker at our conference, “Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt, New York, Berkeley, Rome, Prague, Rio, Mexico City, Warsaw were the centers of a revolt that spread across the world and inspired the hearts and dreams of an entire generation.” Protesters felt united by their opposition against the Vietnam War; more generally they were against totalitarian political regimes of any type, fossilized traditions, patriarchal authorities, racial prejudice and sexual discrimination.

The year 2018 marks the fiftieth anniversary of these May uprisings. While the orientation of our conference will focus primarily on the ramifications of this historical moment on contemporary society, the seminar is more interested in exploring the main ideas and intellectual influences that inspired student revolts throughout the Western hemisphere. We are especially interested in examining the correlation between aesthetic judgment and political action. Aesthetics since Kant has laid the foundation for the envisioning of a world different from reality, and in artistic expressions one can find freedom and harmony often lacking in other forms of human experience. Both have motivated many ‘68ers to revolutionary action.

Accordingly our study of 1968 includes foundational texts in Aesthetics by Kant and Schiller, and Hannah Arendt re-reading Kant, radical critiques of Aesthetic philosophy by the writers of the Frankfort School (Adorno, Benjamin, Marcuse), as well as film and literature that represents the revolutionary spirit of the tumultuous year: Fernando Solanas’s The Hour of the Furnaces, which inaugurated the “Third Cinema” movement; William S. Burroughs’ new media manifesto, “The Electronic Revolution”; Allen Ginsberg’s visionary anti-Vietnam War poem, “Wichita Vortex Sutra”; Situationist cultural theory (by Guy Debord), fiction (by Michele Bernstein) and film, and collective statements from radical student groups.

While the focus of our discussions will be mostly on the philosophy, politics, literature, films, and other artistic events in the United States, Germany, and France, we plan to invite guests to lecture on the intellectual, cultural, and political contexts of other nations during this exciting historical period that experiences a revival not just due to its fiftieth anniversary, but also due to the sociopolitical and cultural climate of the world today.

Requirements: This course satisfies the requirement for coursework in the following Areas of Concentration: Post-1900 Literature and Culture.

ENG 5049
Weird Media
Aaron Jaffe WMS 429

This seminar will try to open up a dialogue between critical theory and new media theory. Why is modernity - so often posed as a kind of apex of human activity, an event of “peak human” import - also a force field for all matter of thinking without humans? Registering the implications of several recent critical and philosophical trends, the pay-off of this course is weirder and longer accounts of the human and its on-going legacies. The word weird in the course title not only stands for the otherworldly but also what’s to come. The course syllabus converges on four theoretical preoccupations - each belated in different ways. One might imagine them as overlapping circles in a Venn diagram: A. Ontology, the surprising return of, drawing back from the linguistic turn and considering the strange ontologies of assorted hybrids, pseudo-things, quasi- and hyper-objects, and the possibility of critical or epistemological environments; B. Affect, what affects affect. Inspired by Deleuze, this question moves away from interiority, and, connects to modernity via a “distribution of the sensible,” to cite Rancière; C. New Media, how media determine our situations, modulating them in affective/aesthetic terms, to modify Kittler somewhat, as well as rerouting our spatial and temporal positionings; D. Matter, making matter matter, living, dead or un-dead, borrowing from the “semi-fictitious” International Necronautical Society. The middle part of the diagram - the suddenly detectable weird mediator - is the critical problem of the course, namely, marking a critical zone for inhuman cruft, matter, objects, affect, bodies, media, organs, intensities, orientations and gestures within literary-aesthetic (post)modernity. Furthermore, a fifth concern - too complex to diagram, perhaps - aligns with a second look at Posthumanism, as anatomized by Cary Wolfe, that leaves aside the crypto-transcendentalism of earlier iterations. Indeed, the Interzone shuttles between affective optimism and pessimism, tergiversating between gestures of apathetic quiescence and cosmic grandeur, modernist inhumanism simultaneously, “hails the negation of an old cult” and heralds "a terrible trajectory, not towards emancipation, but survival." There's a strong dose of pessimism in the non-anthropocentric survival kit, a weird fourfold of nihilism, molecularity, technophilia and animality and a nerdy gusto for quarreling about obsolescent worthies in assorted forgotten cul-de-sacs of the humanist university.

ENG 5068
Studies in Language and Literature: Introduction to Old Norse/Old Icelandic: Language of the Vikings
David Johnson WMS 453

It has recently been claimed that English is, in fact, a Scandinavian language: “Modern English is a direct descendant of the language of Scandinavians who settled in the British Isles in the course of many centuries, before the French-speaking Normans conquered the country in 1066,” says Jan Terje Faarlund, professor of linguistics at the University of Oslo. This is, of course, an exaggerated claim verging on nonsense, but the cultural and literary connections between Old English and Old Norse/Icelandic are undeniable, and it is a language worth learning to read for every student of North Atlantic culture, especially though not exclusively medievalists. This course will provide the necessary linguistic tools for students to gain direct access to a fascinating body of literature that includes Skaldic poetry, the Eddas, and the Íslendingasögur (known as the Sagas of Icelanders or Icelandic family sagas). By the end of the course students should be able to read most Old Norse prose with the aid of a dictionary. No prior knowledge of the language is expected or required.

Requirements: This course satisfies the requirement for coursework in the following Areas of Concentration: Pre-1600 Literature and Culture.

ENG 5079
Issues In Literary And Cultural Studies: Critique and "the apparatus of everyday life"
S. E. Gontarski WMS 430

The objective of this course is to initiate postgraduate students into the ongoing, institutional conversation called theory and/or cultural studies. If the objective is achieved, students should leave the course with a rudimentary historical understanding of not a single theory, ideology or perspective but with an understanding of how current controversies, schools, and practices within literary theory and philosophy (the two on occasion elided) have developed, and with an overview of some questions, topics, and problems that organize contemporary critical practice and philosophical thought. It is thus not an in-depth study of any particular critical or theoretical approach, but more of an overview of theoretical possibilities, including those of digital humanities.

Over the course of the semester, we will read a number of texts that have been formative for the way literary, theoretical and/or cultural studies are conducted today. Some of these texts will themselves attempt to provide an overview or history of critical problems. Others will argue a fundamental position, or they may critique and reinterpret earlier texts. Some of the questions we will confront are (but are not limited to): in the sciences practitioners "do science," but what do we "do" in literature; how do we "do literature"? That is, what precisely do literary theorists, cultural critics and/or literary critics study? What, if anything, distinguishes a specifically literary use of language from other uses? What is the relation of a literary text to the historical changes or political conditions contemporary with it and in subsequent eras? Is the text historically stable or fluid? Where and how do sexuality, gender, race reveal themselves through language? How are art works inflected by gender, race or other ideologies? What is an author, a text, a word, a meaning? How does the writing of an individual relate to the group(s) of which she's a member? How do cultural systems function? How does text function in a post-Gutenberg world where text has become a verb. How has literary study altered in the midst of the Gutenberg Project.

Although it will be difficult not to get into debates over the correctness of any of the theories we study, we will try to avoid such entanglements as much as possible, since our primary aim will be to understand rather than to judge them. This kind of distance and restraint may not always be possible, but we'll make it an aim.

Requirements: This course fulfills 3 credit hours of the academic requirement for the graduate Certificate in Editing and Publishing. If a student has already met the academic requirement, the course can count for additional credits toward the 12-hour Certificate.

ENG 5138
Studies in Film: Adaptation
Christina Parker-Flynn WMS 441

Since its birth, the cinema and its filmmakers have constantly drawn from literary sources to create narratives in the new medium.

We will study classic and contemporary theories of film adaptation, borrowing as well as breaking from the concept of fidelity to create a space to explore how the cinema engages with literature, and how literary stories are deformed and reformed through the medium of film. We will examine a variety of text-to-film adaptations, reading the source literature and concurrently examining the film text. Some will be more classically defined, such as Robert Siodmak’s adaptation of Hemingway’s The Killers (1964), and others will force us to address adaptation as a concept perhaps equal to influence, as when we study the connectivity between Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope and Thomas de Quincey’s “On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts.” Subsequently, we may also be exploring the reverse; how some literature—including works by Oscar Wilde and Edgar Allan Poe—was influenced by film, or at least by “seeing cinematically,” before the cinema even fully evolved. Selected film and adaptation theory will be read, including writings by André Bazin, Roland Barthes, Raymond Bellour, Sergei Eisenstein, Kamilla Elliott, Thomas Leitch, Linda Hutcheon, and Robert Stam.

Texts for study may include works by the following authors: James Baldwin, Lewis Carroll, Phillip K. Dick, Ernest Hemingway, Daphne du Maurier, Haruki Murakami, Edgar Allan Poe, Thomas de Quincey, Oscar Wilde, etc.

Films for study may include: Adaptation, Alice in Wonderland, The Birds, Blade Runner/Blade Runner: 2049, Burning, Don’t Look Now, Eyes Wide Shut, If Beale Street Could Talk, The Killers, Rope, Salomé, Suspiria, etc.

Requirements: This course satisfies the requirement for coursework in the following Areas of Concentration: Post-1900 Literature and Culture; the History of Text Technologies (reception conceptual area, Film/TV media).

ENG 5805
Studies in Textual Production: The History of the Book
David L. Gants WMS 316

This course seeks to examine the rise of the codex book in western culture and its impact on individuals and institutions. It begins with a historical survey of the varied forms of textual reproduction used by different cultures, including the development of paper and block printing, vegetable and animal manuscript scrolls, and procedures for storing and cataloguing books. The bulk of the course covers the codex book from its emergence in late classical antiguity to the present day, with an emphasis on the main components of the industry: the spread of manuscript culture, development of textual materials, and proliferation of orthographic forms; early print technologies of the common press, movable type and laid paper; state and trade institutions of regulation, control and distribution; the industrial age and the development of machine presses, mechanical typesetting, new illustration processes and mass-produced paper; shifts in patterns of readership and reception from the first Frankfurt Book Fair through modern mass marketing; and the current “death of the book” age of post-modern readers, e-books, and the Internet.

Requirements: This course fulfills the general literature requirement for one course pre-1660 or for one course pre-1800. It also satisfies the requirement for coursework in the following Areas of Concentration: Medieval and Early Modern British Literary and Cultural Studies; History of Text Technologies (HOTT). This course fulfills 3 credit hours of the academic requirement for the Certificate in Editing and Publishing. If a student has already met the academic requirement, the course can count for additional credits toward the 12-hour Certificate.

ENG 5933
Assemblage Rhetorics
Stephen McElroy WMS 229

What do Pablo Picasso, Gilles Deleuze, Miley Cyrus, termite colonies, Rube Goldberg machines, and Facebook have in common? As we will see, they all deal in/with assemblages: from early 20th century artistry to 21st century ontologies, assemblage has manifested in a diverse variety of practices, concepts, and ways of be/come/ing. In this class, we will survey these various manifestations in order to better understand the ways the term has been used—that is, the rhetorics about assemblage—across movements and disciplines. Meanwhile, we will pursue the question, posed by Alex Reid and others, of what it might mean to ‘conceive of composing as a process involving the participation of human and nonhuman objects’—that is, to frame rhetorical action as a function of assemblages. Through our readings, discussions, activities, and assignments, we will ‘experiment in contact with the real’ toward an ‘expansion of possibilities’ for rhetorical action, particularly as we turn our attention to the social-media assemblages functioning in our private lives, our institutions, and our political discourse (Deleuze & Guattari; Shavino). Ultimately, we will seek to determine whether assemblage rhetorics live up to the succinct promise offered by Leslie Dema, as ‘a practical and simple-to-implement way of participating in the world.’

ENG 5933
Pedagogy Workshop
Deborah Coxwell Teague WMS 222E

Pedagogy Workshop is intended to provide GTAs with continued support during their first year of teaching in the FSU College Composition Program. ENC 2135 teaching skills and preparation for future teaching opportunities and course design will be emphasized. PhD students will work with Dr. Lathan for the last half of the semester to develop expertise and lesson plans for teaching upper-level non-composition courses.

Course Requirements:

  1. Attend class regularly. This class will depend heavily on your participation. I expect you to have as much (or more) to learn from each other as from me or the guest speakers. If you must miss a class, please let me know. You should miss no more than one class during the semester. Missing a meeting with your mentor counts as a missed class.
  2. If you are an MA or MFA student, you will design a course you plan to teach in the summer or next year, and if you are a PhD student, you will work with Dr. Lathan during the last half of the semester and submit to her any assignments she gives you.
  3. Observe two classes you are interested in teaching, and write a 2-page observation/reflection essay on the courses you observed and the ideas/techniques you picked up that you might use in your own classes.
  4. Participate in activities with your mentor. You will meet with your mentor and the other GTAs in your mentoring group three times over the course of the semester. Your mentor will be available to offer support to you and will also observe classes you teach and write a letter for your teaching file. (GTAs who work with Dr. Lathan during the last half of the semester will not attend the final mentoring meeting.)
Magazine Culture and the Modern American Essay
Ned Stuckey-French WMS 325

Essays used to enter the canon primarily through first-year writing anthologies. The essays had appeared originally in magazines and collections of the author’s work. In those first contexts they lived a particular life in the culture, but when they were transplanted into the composition anthologies their lives took a different turn. E. B. White's “Once More to the Lake,” for instance, is a famous and oft anthologized essay about a father and son fishing on a lake in Maine. It is still generally read and taught as a nostalgia piece, and often used as a prompt for a what-I-did-on-my-summer-vacation theme, but when it appeared in Harper’s in 1941 and was collected the following year in One Man’s Meat, it was read as a comment on isolationism and impending war. We cannot feel the war clouds gathering in quite the same way White’s original audience did, but we can historicize White’s essay and in so doing develop a deeper understanding of both American culture and essay form. This course is about form and context.

We will begin by discussing some readings on the form of the essay, genre, the creation of the essay canon, and the rise of the American magazine culture before proceeding to examine several classic and important modern American essays and the magazines in which they were published. We will read a variety of essays by great American writers—including H. L. Mencken, Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, John McPhee, Joan Didion, Mary McCarthy, and Joyce Carol Oates as well as more contemporary work, including digital, film and video essays—in order to improve our understanding of the form of the essay. We will study these essays as they originally appeared in magazines such as The New Yorker, Harper’s, Ms., and the Saturday Evening Post. Finally, we will take a look at the advent of the digital age and the new online contexts in which essays appear, sometimes as blog posts, sometimes as video essays, sometimes as Instagram essays.

Some essays and articles will be available as handouts or on electronic reserve through the class Blackboard site.

  • The Best American Essays of the Century, edited by Joyce Carol Oates and Robert Atwan (Houghton Mifflin). ISBN: 0618043705
  • John D’Agata, ed., The Next American Essay (Graywolf). ISBN 9781555973759
  • Carl Klaus and Ned Stuckey-French, eds. Essayists on the Essay: Montaigne to Our Time (Iowa). ISBN 1609380762

Students will write a personal essay and a critical paper (or “essay on the essay”), make a presentation, and have an opportunity to participate in the construction of an on-going digital archive of American personal essays or pursue a project of their own design related to the essay (e.g., review essay, video essay, digitally annotate an essay, etc.). For more on the digital archive, see

Requirements: This course satisfies the requirement for coursework in the following Areas of Concentration: Post-1900 Literary and Cultural Studies (American); a Literary Genre (Non-Fiction); and History of Text Technologies (HOTT). This course fulfills 3 credit hours of the academic requirement for the Certificate in Editing and Publishing. If a student has already met the academic requirement, the course can count for additional credits toward the 12-hour Certificate.

LIT 5309
Studies in Popular Culture: Media in the Digital Era
Leigh Edwards WMS 439

This course examines theories of popular culture and media in the context of the emergence of mass culture and focuses on the evolution of media in the digital era. We will take seriously George Lipsitz's claim that "perhaps the most important facts about people have always been encoded within the ordinary and the commonplace." Paying particular attention to the relationship between literature and popular culture, we will analyze strategies of reading and reception as well as constructions of ideology in this material, including categories such as gender, race, class, and nation. The course interrogates designations such as "high," "pop," "mass," and "folk" as well as concepts of subculture, counterculture, and youth culture. We will focus particular attention on television and popular music case studies, although we will also consider film, new media, popular fiction, advertising, and fan culture. We will explore key theories and methodologies, including cultural studies, media studies, audience studies, feminist theory, critical race theory, and postmodernism. We will also consider key media trends such as media convergence, transmedia storytelling, participatory fan culture, serial narratives on television, authenticity projections in music, the evolution of reality TV and documentary, and the complex status of truth claims in the digital era. Our focus will be on U.S. culture, but we will consider questions of globalization and make use of transnational critical frameworks.

Requirements: This course satisfies the requirement for coursework in the following Areas of Concentration: Post-1900 Literary and Cultural Studies; the History of Text Technologies (reception conceptual area, Film/TV media). This course fulfills 3 credit hours of the academic requirement for the Certificate in Editing and Publishing. If a student has already met the academic requirement, the course can count for additional credits toward the 12-hour Certificate.

LIT 5388
Studies in Women's Writing: Shakespeare and Virginia Woolf
Celia R. Caputi WMS 422

“Shakespeare is getting flyblown,” writes Virginia Woolf. “A paternal government might well forbid writing about him, as they put his monument at Stratford beyond the reach of scribbling fingers.” The relationship between the founder of feminist literary criticism in English and the immortal “Bard of Avon” is one of the most fascinating and fraught in English literary history. As famous, perhaps, for her granting Shakespeare a hypothetical “sister” on behalf of women writers as for her masterful and innovative contributions to literary modernism, Woolf offers, in her fiction, diaries, letters, and essays, an opportunity to watch one great mind challenge and co-create with another across the boundaries of death, history, and gender.

In this course, we will explore Woolf’s commentary on, allusions to, and re-workings of Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets, focusing particularly on the following texts: Jacob’s Room, Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando, A Room of One’s Own, The Waves and Between the Acts. Shakespearean works to be studied alongside the aforementioned texts include (but are not limited to) Othello, Antony and Cleopatra and the Sonnets.

Requirements: The course fulfills the pre-1660 distribution requirement as well as the alterity requirement. It also applies to the Areas of Concentration in Feminist/Gender Studies and post-1900 Cultural Studies.