Spring 2022 Courses - Graduate











R. Krishnaswamy





J. Villagrana





M. Gorman-DaRif



CL 111


A. Soldofsky





A. Ahmad





E. Wang





D.L. Rivers


English 204: Modern Approaches to Literature

M 4:00-6:45 PM (Professor Krishnaswamy)

This course deals with the multidisciplinary field of Literary Theory and Criticism that cuts across various disciplines including psychology, philosophy, economics, political science, sociology, anthropology, history, biology and others. We will focus primarily on theories developed in the western tradition during the 20th century, although we will reference nonwestern traditions of poetics/aesthetics where relevant. We will engage with fundamental questions about language, literature, and reading/writing: What is literature? How do we theorize and interpret it? How should we evaluate it? What is theory’s relation to culture, history, power, politics, and society? How can we decolonize theory? What are the rights and duties of artists, critics and scholars at the present time? We will try to understand major intellectual schools such as:

  • New Criticism
  • Structuralism
  • Marxism
  • Feminism
  • Deconstruction
  • New Historicism
  • Post-colonialism
  • Postmodernism etc.

and discover how they may be appliedto literature. While this course will challenge you to read a considerable amount of complex material, it should also be exhilarating because you will have an opportunity to form clearer perspectives on the discipline and acquire more sophisticated tools for critically interpreting literary works. The class will be taught fully online via zoom/canvas.

English 225: Shakespeare and Racialization

W 4:00-6:45 PM (Professor Villagrana)

In this course, we read plays by Shakespeare, Kyd, and Marlowe alongside short excerpts of sixteenth- and seventeenth- century sources such as dictionaries, colonial reports, conduct manuals, and histories to investigate racial fictions and the racist objectives that drive them. We will be reading one play and one article per week. No prior experience in early modern literature is required.

English 228: Postcolonial Realism

W 7:00-9:45 PM (Professor Gorman-DaRif)

The genre of realism, in its claim to transparently represent “reality” has been routinely dismissed as Eurocentric, especially within the field of postcolonial literary studies. Rather than attending to the genre of realism, postcolonial theory’s investment in concepts like mimicry, hybridity, indeterminacy, and so on, has often focused the field on genres like modernism or postmodernism as more productive sites for literary study. Yet realism makes up a significant, if overlooked, number of postcolonial literary texts. This course explores realism from a postcolonial context through a broad selection of Anglophone novels, starting from the anti-colonial struggles of the 1960s and moving to the present day in fiction grappling with globalization and climate change. We will follow contemporary literary debates on the genre to ask, is realism capable of politically engaging with the world? Or is it only capable of sustaining the status quo? As a genre, is postcolonial realism necessarily conservative or can it support resistance and change?

English 240: Poetry Workshop Theme - Poetry for Hard Times--Taking Risks: Poetry of Protest, Resistance, and Empowerment

M 7:00-9:45 PM (Professor Soldofsky)

The Workshop is intended for poets who want to further develop their abilities to write poems that take risks, that stand up for social change and environmental justice (primary or secondary genre). In the workshop, we will also practice strategies for generating and revising poems. The class will also require you to consider your work in terms of poetic craft, and to recognize your individual sensibility. Though the central text will be class members’ poems, students will also be asked to read and respond to the work of modern and contemporary poets, as well as to essays on the craft of poetry, especially to the poetry of healing, resistance, and empowerment. The class will include attention to the fundamentals of prosody as well as best practices for writing in "non-metrical” forms. We will give close attention to a poem’s syntax and lineation, form, structure, and image. The Workshop will be taught as a hybrid virtual/in-person class (but can be attended 100 percent remotely). We will use Zoom and Canvas to facilitate workshopping poems both inside and outside of class. Each class member will complete a portfolio of at least 8 poems, and also give an in-class presentation. During the semester students will read a diversity of recent books of poetry by poets whose work includes a concern for social and environmental justice. We'll read these works together selected from a larger reading. Students will lead discussions of the books/poets who they are reading, in class and on Canvas. MA students (and undergraduate students) must submit a short writing sample to the instructor prior to the first class-meeting to receive permission to enroll.

English 241: Fiction Workshop

Th 7:00-9:45 PM (Professor Ahmad)

In this workshop, we will share stories or novel excerpts for indepth study with the aim of deepening our understanding of craft and supporting each writer on their creative journey. To do this, we will explore a variety of workshop methods designed to meet the writer where they are in their process. Writers will be expected to share work with the workshop several times and to engage deeply with one another’s work by providing thoughtful and extensive written comments and by participating in class discussion. In addition, we will read a range of published works together which, like the work of our peers, will allow us to explore the endless possibilities for our own work.

English 242: Nonfiction Workshop

T 4:00-6:45 PM (Professor Wang)

In this course, we will examine different types of Personal Nonfiction—in particular memoir and the personal essay—with an eye toward prose and structure. We will read works from a diverse set of writers and discuss authorial choices, including matters of writing Personal Nonfiction ethically as well as beautifully. Students will be guided to workshop each other's work as practice for becoming peers' first readers; they will do so mindfully of different backgrounds and experiences. Class to be held remotely.

English 281: Environmental Futures

Th 4:00-6:45 PM (Professor Rivers)

Humans and our societies will need to learn to think and act differently if we hope to survive the climate crises (and address at least some of its root causes). Environmental Futures charts this speculative terrain using readings that range from science fiction and poetry, to creative nonfiction, manga, documentary film, climate fiction (cli fi), and critical theory. Along with examining the roles that empire, extractive industry, structural racism, heteropatriarchy, and colonialism have played in fostering the conditions of the climate crisis, this course will ask participants to examine how these world-shaping forces might influence humanity's responses to climate change--as well as the conditions of life on a transformed world. Authors and texts of study will include Octavia Butler, Larissa Lai, Cherie Dimaline (Métis), Barbara Kingsolver, Hayao Miyazaki, Beatrice Pita, Rosaura Sánchez, N.K. Jemisin, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Donna Haraway, Aimee Bhang, Nicole Seymour, Sammie Schalk, & Curtiz Marez. Films will include:

  • Goodbye Gauley Mountain (2013)
  • The Sleep Dealer (2008)
  • Woman at War (2018)
  • The Host (2006)