FALL 2024

ENG 514, section 1

Intro to Graduate Studies

CRN 11971  F 10-1:50p

Megan Ward

In addition to explaining the requirements, procedures, and trajectory of the MA program, this class offers a rapid introduction to the theories, methods, and professional practices of academics working in the fields of literature, rhetoric and composition, and film studies.  Throughout the course, we will examine a series of prominent critical approaches that have guided advanced study in all of the program’s three MA fields: (1) literature and culture; (2) rhetoric, writing, and culture; and (3) film and visual studies. As much as possible, the course will stress practical aspects of performing these readings.  We will learn proper and improper ways of using secondary sources and theory sources in academic arguments.  We will identify, employ, and critique standard ways that academics signal the significance of their work in written and oral arguments.  We will explore the conventions of genres including the conference paper abstract, the conference paper, the conference Q &A, the scholarly article, and the thesis.  We will learn effective ways of maximizing research resources within and beyond the OSU library.  Finally, we will create “mini-theses” related to students’ scholarly interests that will be delivered in print and orally. By the end of the course, students should have a clear sense of how to best navigate their two years in the MA program at Oregon State’s School of Writing, Literature, and Film with an eye toward future careers within and beyond academia.


ENG 535, section 1

Studies in Shakespeare: Editing Shakespeare

CRN 18968  TR 12-1:50p

Rebecca Olson

In 2023, the Oregon State online textbook Romeo and Juliet—edited and revised by SWLF students—enjoyed more than 25,000 users in 148 countries. In an ongoing effort to make the edition even more accessible, this projects-based course will create an accompanying audio book. At the same time, we will conduct hands-on investigations of rare editions of Shakespeare’s plays in OSU’s Special Collections and Archives (made between 1685 and 2010). These activities will inform our consideration of current scholarly questions about the poetics of editing and the influence of non-authorial producers on the English literary tradition.


ENG 565, section 1

Studies in the Novel: Ambiguous Utopias and Tolerable Dystopias, 1700-present 

CRN 19371  MW 8-9:50a

Evan Gottlieb

Thanks to countless popular science fictional portrayals, we’re accustomed to thinking about the future primarily via two scenarios: utopian bliss and dystopian oppression. But let’s face it: neither perfect happiness nor unmitigated disaster is truly likely to be our future – and it never really was. Even Thomas More’s Utopia depends on slave labor, after all. So what happens when our speculations become less extreme, more mixed, and ultimately more complicated? From Robinson Crusoe to post-global warming-America, this course looks at two unstable types of novelistic narratives that dare not to go all the way: ambiguous utopias and tolerable dystopias. 


ENG 580, section 1

Archipelagic Thinking

CRN 19374  TR 4-5:50p

Olga Blomberg

Islands and archipelagos have long been disparaged for their openness, blending, and fluidity. Around the globe today, this form of continental thinking continues to provoke nationalist policies and efforts to curb human migrations and refugee movements. This course reconsiders these ideas. Archipelagic perspectives respond to urgent calls to rethink theoretical frames, ways of being, and forms of knowledge established and perpetuated by European colonial projects. As such, we will begin to think archipelagically. We will read and view texts about or set on islands, as well as texts that directly engage the concepts of archipelagos and archipelagic thinking. The authors and texts will be multilingual and from different parts of the world including Rosario Ferré, Édouard Glissant, Katherine McKittrick, Craig Santos Perez, Audra Simpson, and Ai Weiwei. The course will include discussion of how practices of language, translation, and multilingualism are lived and theorized archipelagically. Our goal is to explore and practice archipelagic thinking, discuss how archipelagic thinking may help us recognize an archipelagic poetics, and how this perspective engages decolonial epistemologies. Early archipelagic research was part of what has been described as the spatial turn, an organization of studies which can be understood as “above all, an attack upon grand narratives of modernity, colonialism, and development” (Pugh 12). Openness to a broad selection of concepts and theories is important because colonial histories remain present-day realities which continue to impact island societies and cultures. Amidst widespread global migration, increased human mobility, and critical geographies, we will ask how archipelagos can help us read, discuss, and understand literatures in a post-national era, as well as help us navigate continental borders and understand contemporary globalization.


ENG 580, section 2

Risk in Literature

CRN 19402 MW 10-11:50a

Tekla Bude

MA Experience

To think in terms of "risk" means to imagine the future as a set of mutually exclusive and probabilistically calculable potential outcomes whose negative effects can be alleviated by action in the present. But risk is not just math; to assume so is to occlude the affective work of ideological and cultural frameworks that undergird our assessment of people and classes of people as dangerous (and whose classification as "dangerous" is then authorized and perpetuated by mathematical forms). In this class, we will ask what literature specifically – its forms, genres, and affective potential – can contribute to thinking about risk. 


ENG 585, section 1

“Comedy and truth are the same thing.”*

CRN 18963 F 10-12:50p

Keith Scribner


This craft class will explore how humor is used in literary writing with an emphasis on fiction but with space for creative nonfiction and poetry, too.  Lorrie Moore reminds us that “life…is a collection of moments that can be both tragic and comic at the same time” and that “humor is a coping mechanism [that] helps us make sense of tragedy and find solace in the face of adversity,” “a way to rise above the pain and find joy in the absurdity of life.”  We’ll dig into how and why humor is used in literary work, being careful to not over-analyze the magic out of it. And of course, you’ll write and share your own exercises.  In order to get the widest range of perspectives on humor (you’d probably tire of what I think is funny over ten weeks!) readings will be primarily student curated.  Around mid-September, I’ll ask you to tell me the name of a couple pieces (stories, essays, poems, book excerpts) you’d like to have the class read.

*George Saunders


ENG 589, section 1

Writing, Literature, and Medicine

CRN 18964, F 10-12:50a

Jen Richter


Focuses on contemporary poetry and nonfiction by writers who are also medical professionals, patients, and caregivers. Studies the authors’ different perspectives to consider the griefs and joys, concerns and comforts they have in common with their readers. Encourages a heightened sense of empathy. Explores the body’s struggles and failures, recoveries and triumphs. Develops a practice of thoughtful self-examination through in-depth class discussions and weekly writing prompts.



FILM 545, section 1

Documentary Film Studies

CRN 17329, F 10-11:20a

Jon Lewis

A study of documentary film that combines critical/historical perspectives and production techniques. Students will write a documentary film journal and produce a short documentary video. 


WR 511, section 1

The Teaching of Writing

CRN 17328, TR 8:30-9:50a

Ehren Pflugfelder

75/25 Hybrid

In The Teaching of Writing, we’ll study research about the teaching of writing and practice what it means to assign, evaluate, and respond to student writers. This course is designed to introduce current and future teachers of writing to theory and pedagogy in composition studies, to help us become aware of and strengthen our own writing processes, and to enable us to make and express connections between classroom experience and composition theory. We’ll be looking at assessment, response, assignment creation, grammar, literacy, multimedia, process, and genre as we explore composition and writing. Students will be expected to complete substantial reading assignments, informal and formal writing assignments, reading responses, and oral presentations, as well as participate in class discussions and activities. Coming out of this class, you’ll be better prepared to teach and evaluate your students’ writing and feel more confident in your own writing.


WR 515, section 1

MA Thesis Writing

CRN 17872, M 4-4:50p

Megan Ward

Designed expressly to help you write your MA thesis, this course explores, evaluates, and integrates MA thesis genre conventions, strategies for drafting and revising prose, and productive and healthy writing habits specifically for graduate students in writing, literature, and film. By the end of the term, students will produce a draft of one thesis chapter.


WR 517, section 1

Teaching Practicum, English Composition

CRN 10095, F 3-4:50p

Kristy Kelly


This is a required practicum for graduate students teaching WR 121. Whereas orientation serves as an overview of the curriculum—its objectives, assignment sequence, and theoretical trajectory—this course provides GTAs with more practice in and support for the week-by-week teaching of WR121.


WR 521, section 1

Teaching Practicum, Fiction Writing

CRN 10885, F 4-4:50p

Nick Dybek


This course is restricted to GTAs enrolled in the MFA Program in Creative Writing (in fiction) in advance of teaching WR 224 in their second year. We’ll meet once a week over spring term to build syllabi, discuss teaching strategies and potential ethical issues, and prepare in every way we can for the pleasures and challenges of teaching introductory fiction writing. 


WR 522, section 1

Teaching Practicum, Poetry Writing

CRN 11822, T 7-7:50p

Karen Holmberg


WR 522 is the Poetry Teaching Practicum for graduate students who have been accepted into Oregon State University’s Master of Fine Arts program in Creative Writing and who want to teach poetry writing (WR 241) in their second year.


WR 523, section 1

Teaching Practicum, Nonfiction Writing

CRN 14071, F 6-6:50p

Elena Passarello


This course instructs graduate students in the best practices for teaching creative nonfiction. It covers topics such as text selection, assignment structure, course design, classroom management, and grading. Students will design their own WR 240 courses over the course of the quarter.


WR 524, section 1

Advanced Fiction Writing

CRN 10347, R 2-4:50p

Nick Dybek

75/25 Hybrid

In this graduate level fiction-writing workshop, students will be expected to produce two full-length stories or novel chapters. Students will also be graded on the quality of their written and oral critiques and class participation. We will, in addition, be reading and discussing professional short stories, selected by students, as the term progresses. These stories will constitute the course text. 


WR 540, section 1

Advanced Nonfiction Writing

CRN 12396, W 2-4:50p

Elena Passarello

75/25 Hybrid

This course is open only to nonfiction MFA students; others must have instructor approval to enroll. This graduate workshop will focus on discussing student work and providing feedback to works in progress. Each member of the class will be required to submit original pieces of creative nonfiction for discussion, and provide thoughtful feedback to their peers. The class will also read published works as departure points for discussing specific craft issues.


WR 541, section 1

Advanced Poetry Writing

CRN 11777, T 2-4:50p

Karen Holmberg

75/25 Hybrid

In this poetry workshop, we will embrace Keats’s poetic ideal of “Negative Capability”: the capacity to be “in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason.” This capacity, allowing the poet to suspend their own identity and imaginatively merge with the subject, is most potently expressed in his odes. While reading a selection of his poems and letters, this workshop will focus on his odes, and the ode generally as an enactment of praise, imaginative immersion, and wonder: a place where rational thought and emotion interfuse. Because Keats was trained in apothecary medicine, we will also be taking some field trips to botanical sites. In addition, we will consider Keats’s “afterlife” by reading more recent poems that enact negative capability, and by reading excerpts from 20 and 21st century writings on John Keats, such as Helen Vendler’s The Odes of John Keats, Stanley Plumley’s Posthumous Keats: a Personal Biography, and Anahid Nersessian’s Keats’s Odes: A Lover’s Discourse.  


WR 573, section 1

Thesis and Dissertation Writing

CRN 16123, MW 12-1:20p

Dennis Bennett

If you are struggling with writing your thesis or dissertation, this course provides you with a clear roadmap to success. We'll demystify the process by first identifying the expectations for a high-quality thesis/dissertation in your field. Then, we'll analyze how to meet those expectations through effective writing strategies. Leave the drama behind and craft a compelling piece of scholarly work.