Winter Term 2021
ENG 507 Literature Teaching Practicum
This course introduces students to the fundamental concepts, techniques, and practices of teaching literature. We cover topics ranging from course design to discussion management to grading, with frequent visits from SWLF faculty.
ENG 525 Studies in Medieval Literature: Race/Global Medieval (MA Experience)
Students will be able to recognize, identify, describe, and explain issues of heterogeneity of religion, ethnicity, race, and culture in the medieval world that are reflected in the world- and myth-building literatures, histories, and personal narratives of the period. They will be able to analyze and critique texts from a wide variety of genres and forms and close-read them for the purpose of assessing their relationship to systems of thought that construct and are constructed by race and ethnicity in non-homogenous frameworks. Students will also be able to apply, compare, and contrast these medieval models to contemporary methods of framing race/ethnicity/cultural difference, especially in regards to Europe (aka “The West”) and its “margins.”
ENG 533 Studies in the Long Eighteenth Century: Utopia/Dystopia
Today’s popular media and fiction are obsessed with the end of the world as we know it, whether from climate change, genetic engineering, or something else altogether. But although dystopian fiction is more popular now than ever, there is a long tradition of utopian fiction that believes in humanity’s ability to make a better world. By pairing early texts written primarily in “the long eighteenth century” (i.e. circa 1660-1830) with contemporary works of fiction, this course will identify and analyze their shared conventions, including travel (through time as well as space), technology (to protect as well as to control), and identity (communal as well as individual, with a special emphasis on gender). Authors to be studied include Sir Thomas More, Jonathan Swift, Mary Shelley, and Naomi Alderman.
ENG 570 Studies in Poetry: Metaphor (Craft)
The Winter Craft course is for poets, fiction writers, and nonfiction writers interested in pursuing the study of metaphor-making as a foundational mode of thinking as a writer, building individual poems, fiction, and nonfiction pieces, and re-conceiving the writing from the art of craft to the art of creating consciousness. We’ll examine histories and relationships between metaphor and myth, and how learning more about these relationships can help writers renewed their originality and verve. Writing will be exclusively experimental, allowing students to explore new pieces and revise others without the consequences or pressure of finishing work (such as you might in workshop). Readings include novels, essays, criticism, and poems, as well as watching films.
ENG 585 Studies in American Literature: Manipulating Time in Narrative (Craft)
In this craft class we’ll explore how time is manipulated to tell a better story and how narrative dramatizes those moments in our lives when we feel we’re living in the past, present, and future all at once. We’ll read novels and short stories that collapse, compress, fragment, and reverse time asking why these authorial choices make a more compelling story and more effectively reveal lived experience and perception. (Depending on who enrolls for the class, we might also read nonfiction and poetry.) In two short writing exercises and a final project you’ll model your own narratives on the published work we’re reading.
FILM 580 Studies in Film, Culture, and Society: Medicine and Media
Medicine and media both participate in the tradition of searching for hidden knowledge on and within the body. This course will examine how different forms of media production after WWII have come to shape cultural narratives of sickness and medical intervention today. Texts will include a mix of media objects, from outbreak films, to hospital drama TV shows, to addictive v ideo games.
WR 511 The Teaching of Writing (Pedagogy)
WR 511 is designed to provide current and future teachers of writing with an overview of and entry into Composition Studies and its pedagogical theories. The course is also an opportunity to practice, reflect on, and refine several processes endemic to the teaching of writing. To ensure that our efforts will have the maximum positive effect on our students, this course also focuses on your personal connection to writing, how you view its value in our society, and why teaching it to others is a pursuit worthy of investment, focus, and study.
WR 520 Studies in Writing: Writing Women's Lives
How do we transform our lives from lived experiences into written form: autobiography, memoir, fiction personal essay and academic text? This course explores literary representations of gendered lives and asks: What moves us to write the stories of our lives or someone else’s? How do questions of genre and form relate to the stories we need to tell? What dominant social narratives must we resist about ourselves and our communities? In addition to reading great memoirs, this course includes creative and critical projects designed to help us develop a writing practice that integrates both.
WR 524 Advanced Fiction Writing
Enrollment in this course is limited to graduate students who have been accepted to the MFA Program in fiction.
WR 540 Advanced Nonfiction Writing
Justin St. Germai
This course is open only to nonfiction MFA students; others must have instructor approval in advance 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 Advanced Poetry Writing
In addition to providing a forum to hear feedback on any poem you would like to submit, this workshop will operate around the theme “Foraging for Poems,” and will investigate methods of inspiring new work. The workshop will involve three units: Scavenging (gleaning from the world around us); Marginalia (gleaning from texts and our reading of them); Excavation (gleaning from our minds and memories). We will read an array of work (poems, essays, theory) to engage these metaphorical ways of generating poems, and will explore various processes of engaging with the world and self to determine which—given our unique poetic temperaments—are most reliably productive of poems. Poets will write three poetic experiments, one in each of these units. Optional field trips to forage in various ways will bring us together as a community and involve en plein air writing prompts (these field trips can be accomplished individually, too, if that is more comfortable).
WR 599 Special Topics: Dissertation Writing
This course assists students who are in the writing stages of their thesis or dissertation. We will first identify the expectations in your respective fields, analyze the ways they are met through writing, and finally, execute an achievable plan to meet—and ideally, exceed—those expectations. This course also emphasizes the cultivation of productive, healthy habits of writing, which necessarily includes strategies for self-assessment and for managing the mental and physical stresses that accompany such a major project. We will engage in some group discussion, two workshops, and numerous individual conferences with the instructor.