Skip Navigation

Current Courses

Skip Side Navigation

Current Courses

Spring 2022 Course Descriptions

Undergraduate Coursework

 

2000 LEVEL COURSES

English 2123: Intro to Creative Writing
Rilla Askew
MW 3:00-4:15 PM (CW)

This course introduces writers to the skills needed to create imaginative writing. Work includes reading and writing creative nonfiction as well as short stories and poems, with the goals of students finding their strengths and areas that need improvement, as they become adept at the elements of craft introduced in the course. Students also develop analytical strengths as they practice the craft of “reading like a writer” and offer constructive, detailed critique of fellow students’ work. Coursework includes assigned readings from the text and written responses to the readings as well as written and oral analysis of fellow writers’ work presented in class.

 

English 2123: Intro to Creative Writing
Susan Kates
TTH 1:30- 2:45 PM (CW)

 

English 2273: Literary and Cultural Analysis - “Reality and Perception: Things Are Not Always as They Appear” 
Brett Burkhart
TR 10:30-11:45  PHSC 404 

This course offers an introduction to literary and cultural analysis focusing on textual explication, interpretation, and critique. In literature, as in life, things are not always as they appear. More information may help us easily solve a problem that previously seemed insurmountable. Experience may afford us new access and tools that enable us to approach the world in new ways, and different experiences may reveal different truths. Literary study allows us to utilize different strategies and perspectives in understanding the art of literature which gives substance to our own thoughts, opinions, and experience and helps us understand language, thus enabling our own self-expression. Many, if not all, of the literary selections in this course may take on surprising interpretations depending upon one’s critical approach. Through literary analysis, our goal is to cultivate critical thinking and analytical skills and to strengthen writing strategies in such a way as to both increase our understanding and facilitate our communication of that understanding to others.

 

English  2283: Critical Methods
TBA
MW 3:00-4:15 PM (CC)

 

English  2413: Introduction to Literature
William Henry MacDonald
TTH: 1:30-2:45 PM (ME) [IV-AF]

 

English 2653: English Literature 1700-1930
Ronald Schleifer
MWF 12:30-1:20 PM Post-1700 or ME

The purpose of English Literature 1700-1930 is to offer a broad survey of English  literature from the eighteenth century through twentieth century.  The eighteenth century is often taken to be the locus of a sense of “cultural modernity,” in which many of the institutions, values, and horizons of experience that we all share in the twenty-first century first took their form.  Thus, values of democracy and human rights were articulated in the eighteenth century, higher education as we know it first assumed its modern form in the first decade of the nineteenth century, and significant advances for women and minorities arose in the twentieth century.  The survey will attempt describe the major concerns of the times expressed in the literature of the period.  At the same time, it will attempt to describe a broad spectrum of questions that students can bring to the study of literature, with a focus on the ways our course can contribute to the future plans of all members of the class.

 

English 2743: American Indian Literature Modern and Contemporary
Joshua Nelson
MW 4:30-5:45 PM CC (Survey course: American Indian II), Post-1700, ME, or MC

Contemporary American Indian literature offers some of the edgiest work being written today. By turns controversial, poignant, revolutionary, and beautiful, Native American writers are challenging genres and identities in remarkable ways. This course will sample exciting writing and film from established authors like N. Scott Momaday, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Louise Erdrich in addition to emerging voices like Terese Mailhot and Tommy Orange. Throughout the course, themes of belonging, land, displacement, sovereignty, gender, and radical resistance will inform our discussions.

 

English  2883: American Literature II—Intelligence Failures
Jim Zeigler
MW 1:30-2:45 PM CC (Survey course: American II), ME, or Post-1700 [IV-WC]

This course surveys literature written in or about the United States from the Civil War to the present. To contend with this stretch of time, we will evaluate three different approaches to the study of literary history. First, we will examine the genres and styles that define the four major periods of American literature since the middle of the nineteenth century: romanticism, realism, modernism, and postmodernism. Second, we will also take a cultural rhetoric studies approach to the particular political and social circumstances that surrounded the composition and original publication of our readings. For example, we will ask how Mark Twain’s Puddn’head Wilson engages with a discourse about race that culminated in the US Supreme Court’s Plessy v. Ferguson decision, which gave federal blessing to Jim Crow segregation. Finally, this course will prepare a literary history of stupidity. Yes, to pass the time from the Civil War to now in entertaining and intelligent fashion, we will track how stupidity shows up as a social value in U.S. literature and culture. Our readings will instruct us in how the difference between smart and stupid can be remarkable, situational, disarming, negligible, indiscernible, imaginary, funny, and/or sad. We will also take note of the ease with which questions of intelligence and schooling get caught up in and confused by other social concerns such as morality, sexuality, race, age, money, gender, fashion, and food.

Subject to revision, the required texts will include an early episode of The Simpsons, poems by Walt Whitman, Mark Twain’s Puddn’head Wilson, stories by Charles Chesnutt, Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw, T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” Anita Loos’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: The Illuminating Diary of a Professional Lady (and the movie version), Nella Larsen’s Passing, Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Other Poems, Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, Jerzy Kosinski’s Being There, and David Hwang’s M Butterfly.

 

3000 LEVEL COURSES

English  3143.01: Literacy & Rhetoric (Women’s Rhetorics & Writing)
Sandra Tarabochia
W 10:30-11:20 AM RWS

In this course, we will investigate women’s discursive practices and their relationship to the rhetorical tradition, asking: What is rhetoric? What are women’s rhetorics and (how) do they differ from other rhetorics?  We will study the historical, social, and political contexts in which women’s communicative acts have been suppressed and how non-traditional rhetors (including speakers, writers, activists, politicians, artists, bloggers, and every day social media users) have used imaginative, “transgressive,” strategies and genres to reach their audiences. We will consider how our own gendered histories and contexts influence how we use writing and rhetoric to act in the world and how examining various rhetorical texts might shape our thinking and writing for particular purposes, audiences and contexts.   We will engage imaginatively by using a variety of available means to express our ideas throughout the semester as we take up issues of power and privilege, protest and resistance, education, work and labor, civic engagement, and embodied identities (racial, ethnic, physical, sexual, etc.), along with interests and curiosities you bring to the table. Course texts will likely include: Available Means: An Anthology of Women’s Rhetoric(s), eds. Ritchie & Ronald 2001; Persuasive Acts: Women’s Rhetorics in the Twenty-First Century, eds. Stenberg & Hogg, 2020; and We Should All Be Feminists, Adichie, 2015.

 

English   3223: Oklahoma Writers
Susan Kates
TR 12:00-1:15 PM CW/RWS [IV-WC]

 

English  3253: Indians, Oil, and Water
Kimberly Wieser
MWF 10:30-11:20 (MC, ME, or Post-1700 [IV-NW])

This course traces the complex relationship between tribal nations and people and non-Indians involving natural resources, in particular, oil and water, and how that relationship has been depicted in American Indian Fiction. The course will begin with a survey of the history of Indian nations in regard to oil, particularly in the state of Oklahoma, and with a survey of oral traditions and beliefs related to water. 

Some attention will also be paid to the legal structures that guide natural resource extraction on Indian land and to activism regarding natural resource extraction, particularly in regard to the recent intertribal, international movement Idle No More, along with site-specific activism in the past two decades such as #NODAPL.

The class will then turn attention to the primary subject matter of the course, depictions of this relationship in American Indian and Indigenous Fiction and poetry, examining such novels as Thomas King’s Green Grass, Running Water, Tom Holm’s (Cherokee) The Osage Rose, Linda Hogan’s (Chickasaw) Solar Storms and Mean Spirit ,and Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves,  as well as Sheila Watt-Cloutier's The Right to Be Cold: One Woman's Fight to Protect the Arctic and Save the Planet from Climate Change and Dg Okpik’s (Inuit) poetry volume Corpse Whale. Major assignments include a presentation, a multigenre research paper, and a final exam. Minor assignments include group and individual short writing assignments. 

 

English   3283: Tribally Specific Approaches to Native American Literatures
Rachel Jackson
MW 1:30-245 (MC or ME)

The body of Native American literatures includes stories, songs, orations, poetry, fiction, and non-fiction from as many tribal nations as have lived historically within the United States. While there are currently 574 federally or state-recognized tribes residing within the mainland U.S., this course focuses on authors and texts affiliated with tribal nations located in Oklahoma. 

With our own 39 federally recognized tribes, we have a diverse representation of tribal histories, cultures, literatures, and rhetorics to learn from here at home.  Course readings will include authors and texts from tribal nations both west and east of the I-35 divide, formerly the Indian Meridian that historically divided Oklahoma Territory in the west from Indian Territory in the east prior to statehood.  Authors will include Brandon Hobson (Cherokee), Joy Harjo (Muscogee Creek), Tommy Orange (Cheyenne Arapaho), and N. Scott Momaday (Kiowa). Additionally, we will orient ourselves to ways of encountering, hearing, and reading Native American literatures using Indigenous critical theory as a guide.  Such theory will span between American Indian Literary Nationalism, tribal realism, and decolonialism.  By focusing on what it means to understand Indigenous literatures and rhetorics through a local, tribally specific lens, our discussions will aim at understanding Oklahoma as a “pluriversal” space, as decolonial theorist Walter Mignolo might argue: a world in which many worlds co-exist. Ultimately, the goal of tribal specificity is to acknowledge Indigenous multiplicity.

 

English 3363: Indigenous Cinema
Joshua Nelson
MW 3:00-4:15 (MC or ME [IV-NW])]

For decades, thousands of western movies have represented indigenous people in absurdly stereotypical ways. What happens to those images when Indians themselves point the cameras, tell the stories, and do the acting? This seminar will look at several films in which Native people play key roles in front of and behind the camera, going back to James Young Deer’s work in the silent era, on to pivotal shifts like Zacharias Kunuk’s The Fast Runner and Chris Eyre’s and Sherman Alexie’s collaboration on Smoke Signals, Courtney Hunt's and Heather Rae’s on Frozen River, and up to the latest works by Sterlin Harjo, Taika Waititi, Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, and others. As we view feature presentations, short films, documentaries, animations, and more, we’ll consider how Indigenous critical theory and film theory might be brought into productive conversation, especially on crucial questions surrounding international Indigenism, nationalism, identity, gender, cultural sovereignty, representations of the body, and relationships to land, tradition, and community.

 

English 3533: Seventeenth-Century English Literature
Joseph Mansky
TR 10:30-11:45 (Pre-1700 or ME [IV-WC])

This course explores the literature of seventeenth-century England. We’ll study the many forms that the literary imagination took across a century of revolution and rediscovery. The first half of the course focuses on the revolutions: the radical theologies of John Donne’s and George Herbert’s devotional verse, the sociopolitical upheaval of Renaissance drama (including but not limited to Shakespeare), and, ultimately, John Milton’s reimagination of the cosmos in his biblical epic Paradise Lost. The second half of the course looks toward the new frontiers, the boundaries tested in science, society, politics, and, of course, literature. Poets rethought their society and their art; bawdy comedies tested new forms of public sexuality; and early novels took up the sense of possibility—and the colonial violence—of the emerging British empire. Throughout the course, we will join our survey of seventeenth-century literature and its contexts with the detailed study of literary form and meaning.

 

English 3573/Modern Languages and Literatures 3573: Arthurian Legend and Literature
Joyce Coleman
MW 3:00-4:15 (ME [IV-WC])

Fifteen hundred years old and still going strong, the legends of Britain's King Arthur have proved an inexhaustible source of entertainment, inspiration, and meaning. This course will trace the medieval origins and the development of this once and future fascination. 

We will begin with a brief overview of the story's origins in the "Romanized Celt," Arturus, who fought off AngloSaxon invaders in the sixth century A.D. Then we will read key medieval romances that built up elements of the story in the later Middle Ages. Finally, we'll come to Sir Thomas Malory's Morte Darthur, the work that transformed a thousand years of narrative tradition into one coherent tragic masterpieceand the source from which almost all later retellings derive. In the second half of the semester, we will turn to modern versions of the stories, taking them from Tennyson through today. 

All readings will be in modern English .

 

4000 LEVEL COURSES

English 4003: Movements in World Literature--Global Fiction on Climate Change
Amit Baishya
TR 10.30-11.45 (MC, ME, or Post-1700 [IV-WC])

Climate change can be a difficult phenomenon to represent in fiction as its effects are often dispersed temporally and spatially. Moreover, while our attention is often drawn to major climate cataclysms (which are increasing in intensity in the current era), much of what happens due to climate change flows under the radar and is woven into the fabric of the ordinary and the everyday. The critic Lauren Berlant uses the term “crisis ordinariness” in a different context, but this can be an apt descriptor for the ordinary, cruddy ways in which people across the planet live with the effects of climate change. This course on contemporary global climate fiction will consider how writers of fiction contend with climate change at an aesthetic level. Do they focus on spectacular catastrophes or on the ordinary minutiae of daily life? Do we need concepts like the “sublime” (Edmund Burke, Immanuel Kant) or “hyperobjects” (Timothy Morton) to contend with the multiscalar effects of climate change? Can concepts like “crisis ordinariness” or the what the anthropologist Elizabeth Povinelli calls the “quasi-event” (events that lack dramatic qualities, but possess potential for change) be good descriptors for how people live with a climate scarred world? Do narratives on climate change have to be “global” or “local” in scope? How do writers imagine climate-changed futures for both humans and nonhumans? The sampling of fiction we will read will help us address these questions. We won’t be reading some well-known American works on climate change that often dominate the critical conversation (by Octavia Butler, Kim Stanley Robinson, Barbara Kingsolver, for instance); instead, we will look at climate change fiction emerging from other regions and locales in the planet. We may read novels like Amitav Ghosh’s Gun Island (India), Alexis Wright’s The Swan Book (Australia), Rita Indiana’s Tentacle (Dominican Republic), James Bradley’s Clade (Australia), Charlotte McConaghy’s Migrations (Australia) and Emmi Itaranta’s Memory of Water (Finland). We will also read some short fiction by the science fiction writer Vandana Singh—most probably her cetacean trilogy: “Entanglement,” “Requiem” and “Mother Ocean.” Course requirements will possibly include a short essay, a presentation, an annotated bibliography and a research paper.

 

English  4023: The Irish Literary Revival
Ronald Schleifer
MWF 10:30-11:30 (ME or Post-1700)

The Irish Literary Revival is a course designed to explore the cultural phenomena of modern Ireland and its effects on “modernist” literature and culture in the early the twentieth century.  It will examine the historical context of literature and culture at the beginning of the century and follow both chronological and thematic developments throughout the century.  The course will examine major poets, fictionists, and prose writers of Ireland in the tumultuous years leading up to Irish independence, and will focus upon, in relation to these writers, themes of everyday life, apocalypse, emerging re-definitions of gender roles and sexuality, the violence of war, the poetry of despair and faith, and the technicalities and language of twentieth-century Irish writing.  The course counts towards the Irish Studies Minor recently introduced to the College of Arts and Sciences.  Along with these themes, the larger aim of the course is to focus on critical reading and critical thinking in writing and class discussion. 

 

English  4203: Love and Desire in the Nineteenth Century
Justin Sider
TR 9:00-10:15 (ME or Post-1700)

This course explores forms of love and desire in Victorian literature and art. Victorians found models of desire in medieval quest romances, ancient Greek poetry, and the sonnets of Shakespeare—and also in the bodily experiences of reading books and contemplating art. We’ll focus our attention on “Aestheticism” and “Decadence,” in particular: two artistic movements in the late nineteenth-century that scandalized readers and viewers with radical attention to sensation, desire, pleasure, and the body. As we move across the century, we will ask the following questions: How did the nineteenth-century writers and artists imagine and represent pleasure, desire, and love? How did history (especially of the Middle Ages and Renaissance) shape the erotic imagination of these writers? How does desire drive a range of literary genres (the sonnet sequence, the dramatic monologue, aestheticist essays)? Authors include John Keats, William Morris, Christina Rossetti, Augusta Webster, Walter Pater, Amy Levy, Michael Field, Vernon Lee (Violet Paget), Oscar Wilde, Sarojini Naidu, and W.B. Yeats.

 

English 4303: Humans and Animals in Rhetoric and Literature
Roxanne Mountford and Amit Baishya
T 1:00-3:50 (ME)

This cross-disciplinary seminar on human-animal relations takes inspiration from three central ideas, two Western and one Indigenous. The first is drawn from Jacques Derrida and the second from Donna Haraway. In The Animal that Therefore I Am, Derrida writes that the question of being should never be thought of as a mode of singularity. Instead, to be is to follow the tracks of another, what Derrida calls being-as-following. To be in this world, then, means to be enmeshed in a network of obligations and relationships with others. While Haraway’s focus is different from Derrida’s, her crucial ideas of being-with and living-with inspire us in thinking about being and existing as necessarily in a condition of plurality. The third is Ne'iikaanigaana (knee-kah-nih-gih-nah), an Anishinaabe word generally thought to mean "all our relations" and the First American origin stories that illustrate this concept. Anthropocentrism (the idea of human centrality or the idea that the human species is the alpha species on the planet) is fundamentally antithetical to these three conceptualizations of the plurality of being. Taking these concepts as our starting point, this seminar probes complex modes of relationality and of living with animals. Our invocation of complex modes necessitates the investigation of a large range of affects and emotions that arise in our relationships with animals ranging from fuzzy, warm feelings (“oh the dog is so cute”) to disgust (“ewww, that insect is disgusting”) to sheer indifference (the reduction of animals to meat, for instance). It also asks us to rethink questions of animal agency and communication. As Derrida writes, the animal does not merely react, but also responds. How do animals respond to us as active agents? How do they look back at us? How do they communicate with us? How does our literary and rhetorical theory respond to or prevent such inquiry? Consideration of these questions will enable us to rethink some common metaphysical shibboleths about the human-animal divide [For instance: Humans have logos, animals exist in the realm of phone (noise) (Aristotle); The move from being quadruped to biped is the beginning of human history (Freud); Humans use hands and are the pointing animal (Heidegger); Man is the symbol-using, symbol-misusing human (Burke)], and also assist us in provincializing human language as one mode of communication among a wide panoply of others. We will interrogate and discuss these questions in three stages: 1) Living-with animals, 2) Questioning the Human-Animal Divide, and 3) And what if the Animal Responded?: Animal Agency and Communication. This seminar will be of interest to students in both RWS and LCS.

 

English 4333: Black Arts/Black Power
Rita Keresztesi
TR 10:30-11:45 (MC, ME, or Post-1700)

This course surveys and evaluates the cultural and political agendas of the Black Arts/Black Power movement from the 1960s to the present. We examine the formation and expressions of our current discourse on race in America. In our discussions, we focus on the cultural exchanges and intellectual engagements between the local struggles for civil rights and the larger global movements for decolonization and the rise of the Prison-Industrial Complex and the #BlackLivesMatter movement. We will read and critically engage with a variety of literary, historical, and other cultural texts, including film and music.

 

English 4533: Shakespeare’s Tragedies
Joseph Mansky
TR 12:00-1:15 (Pre-1700, ME [IV-WC])

From the bloody butchery of Titus Andronicus to the gripping psychodrama of Othello and Macbeth to the political scheming of Julius Caesar and Coriolanus, Shakespeare’s tragedies probe some of the most urgent questions of collective life. What to do about a tyrant? How do individuals and communities respond to violence, oppression, or betrayal? What happens when outsiders rise to power? What does evil look like? How do inequities of class, gender, and race affect the fates of individuals and their societies? Can we lose our humanity? We will ask all these questions and many more as we study Shakespeare’s diverse tragic visions.

But, to paraphrase his fellow playwright Ben Jonson, Shakespeare was writing not just for all time but also for the early modern age—an age of republicanism and tyranny, of censorship and heterodoxy, of strict hierarchies and growing social mobility. We will situate the plays in these and other historical contexts in order to investigate what the tragedies meant in Shakespeare’s day—and what meanings they might hold for us today.

 

English 4733: American Naturalism & Realism
William H McDonald
MWF 10:30-11:20 (ME or Post-1700)

 

English 4853: Writing Track Capstone
Will Kurlinkus
MW 4:30-5:45PM (CC)

In the writing track capstone, you will learn how to fine tune some of the professional and technical writing skills that employers look for in graduating English majors as well as how to apply for writing–centric jobs. To do so, we’ll first learn how to find and analyze job ads and write resumes and cover letters to match. We’ll then learn to write grants, instruction sets, and social media proposals. Finally, you’ll have a running project throughout this semester that asks you to find a communication problem in the wild, research its effects on real people, and propose a solution.

 

English 4853: Capstone—Postcolonial African Cinema
Rita Keresztesi
TR 12:00-1:15 (CC)

This class offers a unique perspective on postcolonial Sub-Saharan African culture through the history of filmmaking on the continent. The beginning of African cinema production coincided with and chronicled the political, economic, social, cultural and psychological aspects of decolonization. African filmmakers made the medium their platform to publicly debate the tasks and challenges for newly independent nations. The career of Ousmane Sembene (Senegal), often called the “Father of African Cinema”, spanned forty-some years from the early 1960s till his death in 2007. We will view and discuss several of his and his contemporaries’ films, as well as recent movies from both West and East Africa. African cinema follows in the tradition of “orature,” and filmmakers are the modern descendants of traditional storytellers or “griots.” We will sample some of the canonical and recent films from Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, and Kenya. We conclude the course with the study of Nollywood cinema (Nigeria) that inspired filmmaking in Ghana, Tanzania and elsewhere. We will focus on both the form and the content of the films by examining the ways that African filmmakers project local, national, and regional issues onto global screens. We discuss the different aesthetic forms and genres chosen by the filmmakers and look at the types of social critiques the films engage in as they tackle topics such as tradition, gender, migration, corruption, Westernization and others. Students will have access to the films through online streaming services and we will also read critical texts on how to “watch” films from Africa.

 

English 4943: Advanced Creative Nonfiction
Rilla Askew
M 4:30-6:50 (CW)

Creative nonfiction is factually accurate narrative that employs literary techniques more commonly associated with fiction and prose poetry. This course seeks to help writers engage the contemporary world as they uncover their unique subject matter and style. Through the workshop process, students enlarge their strengths as creative nonfiction writers, increase analytical skills and stretch themselves in terms of style and voice. 

The format of the class is a traditional writing workshop wherein students read and discuss published works of creative nonfiction, submit new works of their own, offer constructive detailed critique of fellow students’ work, and hone the craft of revision.

Graduate Coursework

English 5003: Black Novels and the Great Plains
Kalenda Eaton
T 4:30-7:20PM

 

English 5133: Teaching Technical Writing
Will Kurlinkus
M 1:00-3:50 PM

In this course graduate students will be certified to teach OU's technical writing course, English 3153--in doing to, students will also learn how to be professional writers of the genres taught in this course, including resumes and cover letters, instruction sets, grants, and usability tests. Thus, this is the course students should take if they want to professionalize themselves for writing beyond academia. The course includes no midterm paper and no final. Instead, students will be asked to customize each of the assignments taught in the course to reflect their own expertise. Other topics, readings, and technical skills you will learn include: user experience design, web design (HTML/CSS), Adobe Premiere video production, infographic design, theories of fast capitalism and neoliberal overwork, disability and design, and race in technical writing. Among other positions, alumni of this course have gotten jobs as professional technical writers, grant writers, and curriculum designers (usually making more money than the average professor!). 

 

English 5203: Literary and Rhetorical Forms--Love and Desire in the Nineteenth Century
Justin Sider
TR 9:00-10:15 AM

This course explores forms of love and desire in Victorian literature and art. Victorians found models of desire in medieval quest romances, ancient Greek poetry, and the sonnets of Shakespeare—and also in the bodily experiences of reading books and contemplating art. We’ll focus our attention on “Aestheticism” and “Decadence,” in particular: two artistic movements in the late nineteenth-century that scandalized readers and viewers with radical attention to sensation, desire, pleasure, and the body. As we move across the century, we will ask the following questions: How did the nineteenth-century writers and artists imagine and represent pleasure, desire, and love? How did history (especially of the Middle Ages and Renaissance) shape the erotic imagination of these writers? How does desire drive a range of literary genres (the sonnet sequence, the dramatic monologue, aestheticist essays)? Authors include John Keats, William Morris, Christina Rossetti, Augusta Webster, Walter Pater, Amy Levy, Michael Field, Vernon Lee (Violet Paget), Oscar Wilde, Sarojini Naidu, and W.B. Yeats.

 

English 5303: Humans and Animals in Rhetoric and Literature
Roxanne Mountford and Amit Baishya
T 1:00-3:50 PM

This cross-disciplinary seminar on human-animal relations takes inspiration from three central ideas, two Western and one Indigenous. The first is drawn from Jacques Derrida and the second from Donna Haraway. In The Animal that Therefore I Am, Derrida writes that the question of being should never be thought of as a mode of singularity. Instead, to be is to follow the tracks of another, what Derrida calls being-as-following. To be in this world, then, means to be enmeshed in a network of obligations and relationships with others. While Haraway’s focus is different from Derrida’s, her crucial ideas of being-with and living-with inspire us in thinking about being and existing as necessarily in a condition of plurality. The third is Ne'iikaanigaana (knee-kah-nih-gih-nah), an Anishinaabe word generally thought to mean "all our relations" and the First American origin stories that illustrate this concept. Anthropocentrism (the idea of human centrality or the idea that the human species is the alpha species on the planet) is fundamentally antithetical to these three conceptualizations of the plurality of being. Taking these concepts as our starting point, this seminar probes complex modes of relationality and of living with animals. Our invocation of complex modes necessitates the investigation of a large range of affects and emotions that arise in our relationships with animals ranging from fuzzy, warm feelings (“oh the dog is so cute”) to disgust (“ewww, that insect is disgusting”) to sheer indifference (the reduction of animals to meat, for instance). It also asks us to rethink questions of animal agency and communication. As Derrida writes, the animal does not merely react, but also responds. How do animals respond to us as active agents? How do they look back at us? How do they communicate with us? How does our literary and rhetorical theory respond to or prevent such inquiry? Consideration of these questions will enable us to rethink some common metaphysical shibboleths about the human-animal divide [For instance: Humans have logos, animals exist in the realm of phone (noise) (Aristotle); The move from being quadruped to biped is the beginning of human history (Freud); Humans use hands and are the pointing animal (Heidegger); Man is the symbol-using, symbol-misusing human (Burke)], and also assist us in provincializing human language as one mode of communication among a wide panoply of others. We will interrogate and discuss these questions in three stages: 1) Living-with animals, 2) Questioning the Human-Animal Divide, and 3) And what if the Animal Responded?: Animal Agency and Communication. This seminar will be of interest to students in both RWS and LCS.

 

English 5313: Literary Criticism
Justin Sider
R 1:30-4:20 PM

This course offers a history of literary criticism and theory and an introduction to the methodological questions that guide the study of literature and culture today. We’ll range widely across the history of discipline—New Criticism, deconstruction, feminist theory, New Historicism, postcolonial theory, cultural studies, aesthetics, queer theory, and more—and consider how scholars and theorists answer fundamental questions: what is literature, how is it produced, how can it be understood, and what is its purpose?

This spring, we’ll pay particular attention to the persistence of “close reading” and its place in the self-understanding of the discipline of literary studies. What is a close reading? What are the historical and philosophical origins of this method? What role has it played in later theoretical developments? We’ll start with the recent “method wars” before turning back to New Criticism and working our way through various branches of theoretical inquiry, attending along the way to how theoretical abstraction grapples with the resistant particularity of literary art.

 

English 5403: Introduction to Rhetoric and Writing Studies
Rachel Jackson
M 4:00-6:50 PM

As a dynamic, growing field within English departments and the humanities, Rhetoric and Writing Studies scholarship continues (as it has historically) to engage current controversy across critical topics relevant to the classroom, the academy, and the lives and cultures we live beyond them.  In this course, we will engage with recent conversations occurring in the RWS field at the intersections of race, space, and place.  Our reading list will showcase scholars of color, both elders in the field and emergent voices, to examine how recent RWS scholarship aligns with broader discussions of these issues outside of both the discipline of English and the academy. We will explore the ways in which RWS scholars attend to race, space, and place from their own political, historical, and cultural locations, and how their work answers to the communities their scholarship represents and hopes to impact.  Ultimately this course asks questions regarding the role RWS scholarship – our scholarship – could and should play in a current context that makes Critical Race Theory illegal and within which we are still far from equal justice.  The reading list will include advanced scholars such as Jackie Royster, Victor Villanueva, Malea Powell, Ellen Cushman, Scot Lyons, Keith Gilyard, and Kris Ratcliffe, among others, coupled with current articles from top journals in the field.

 

English 5473.01: Women’s Rhetorics & Writing
Sandra Tarabochia
W 1:00-3:50

In this course, we will investigate women’s discursive practices and their relationship to the rhetorical tradition, asking: What is rhetoric? What are women’s rhetorics and (how) do they differ from other rhetorics?  We will study the historical, social, and political contexts in which women’s communicative acts have been suppressed and how non-traditional rhetors (including speakers, writers, activists, politicians, artists, bloggers, and every day social media users) have used imaginative, “transgressive,” strategies and genres to reach their audiences. We will consider how our own gendered histories and contexts influence how we use writing and rhetoric to act in the world and how examining various rhetorical texts might shape our thinking and writing for particular purposes, audiences and contexts.   We will engage imaginatively by using a variety of available means to express our ideas throughout the semester as we take up issues of power and privilege, protest and resistance, education, work and labor, civic engagement, and embodied identities (racial, ethnic, physical, sexual, etc.), along with interests and curiosities you bring to the table. Course texts will likely include: Available Means: An Anthology of Women’s Rhetoric(s), eds. Ritchie & Ronald 2001; Persuasive Acts: Women’s Rhetorics in the Twenty-First Century, eds. Stenberg & Hogg, 2020; and We Should All Be Feminists, Adichie, 2015.

 

English 5943: Advanced Creative Nonfiction
Rilla Askew
M 4:30- 6:50 PM (CW)

Creative nonfiction is factually accurate narrative that employs literary techniques more commonly associated with fiction and prose poetry. This course seeks to help writers engage the contemporary world as they uncover their unique subject matter and style. Through the workshop process, students enlarge their strengths as creative nonfiction writers, increase analytical skills and stretch themselves in terms of style and voice. 

The format of the class is a traditional writing workshop wherein students read and discuss published works of creative nonfiction, submit new works of their own, offer constructive detailed critique of fellow students’ work, and hone the craft of revision.

ABBREVIATIONS

CC: Core classes (2273, 2283, Capstone, & surveys)

Pre-1700

Post-1700

MC: Multicultural

CW: Creative Writing

RWS: Writing and Rhetoric

ME: Major Electives