Spring 2023 Courses - Graduate











R. Krishnaswamy



HGH 227


J. M. Martinez





K. Norris





J. Guerrero



BBC 128


M. Urcaregui



HGH 227


R. Skinnell


English 233: The Literature of the Victorian Empire 

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

This seminar expands the scope of Victorian literature to all of Queen Victoria’s empire. Our goal will be to (i) extend “Victorian” beyond the national boundaries of England/Great Britain and Queen Victoria’s death/WWI (ii) scrutinize the constitution of “Victorian literature” as a distinct, coherent, hallmark of English high culture, and (iii) examine the emergence of realism as the privileged aesthetic of the great tradition of the Victorian novel. We will undertake this project through close readings of major works of literature as well as criticism. Throughout the course we will explore the connections between literature, culture, history, and politics. Readings and discussions will be of relevance to the 19th Century MA exam area. Intellectual curiosity, academic rigor, openness of mind, commitment to work hard, tolerance for difficulty, ambiguity, and uncertainty are essential to succeed in the class. The course will be taught mostly synchronously, using Canvas and Zoom. The course satisfies the 4-unit GWAR requirement for both MFA and MA students.

English 240: Poetry Writing Workshop 

W 7:00-9:45 PM (Professor Martinez)

This course will focis on the study of formal prosody, and historical poetics. We will write, workshop, and read for a deeper understanding of prosody, paying close attention to the historical poetics from which those techniques emerged. Covering the 17th century’s use of the heroic couplet to Gerard Manly Hopkins’ conception of Sprung Rhythm, from Charles Olson’s Projective Verse to Gloria Anzaldua’s Borderland Theory, our class will read to expand our knowledge and practice of poetic form. Poetics and poetry writing as preparation for a thesis. Includes theory and practice of major trends in contemporary poetry. Intensive workshop experience. May be repeatable for credit for up to 12 units.

English 241: Fiction Writing Workshop 

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

This is the most advanced fiction workshop offered at SJSU. It is designed for students pursuing writing as a vocation. Students enrolled in the MFA Program in Creative Writing have registration priority. If there is extra space, graduate students in other disciplines may enroll with instructor permission. The majority of our class time will be spent discussing student work. We will also read several short stories and essays on literary craft.

This class is divided into two thematics: ghosts and dreams. The “ghosts” represent memory, how we are visited by history and our personal experiences and how we as storytellers metabolize these memories in the narratives that we create. The “dreams” represent imagination as it is manifested in experimentation with different narrative structures and surprises and the pure virtuosity of language. Within this two-part prism, we will take a tour of different styles of creative writing. We will look deeply at the ghosts and dreams of writers past and present, learning what’s been invented, what’s trending, and, ultimately, we will press forward with writing that is informed by other literature but that is all our own.

Additionally, we will discuss aspects of the writing profession, with visits from literary professionals to-be-announced. Topics of these discussions will include finding time, managing writing time, finding and building literary community, finding an agent or publisher, and networking. Students will workshop their work as many as three times during the term (2,000-5,000 words) and will also be required to provide written feedback to their classmates when their classmates are the focus of the workshop. The objectives of this course are to study and work toward establishing our voice(s) as writers, to learn in nuanced fashion the deep lives of our characters, and to learn how to creatively corral history and the unknown.

English 242: Nonfiction Workshop

T 7:00-9:45 PM (Professor Guerrero)

From memoir to reportage, the art of narrative nonfiction is a catalyst for change. It can shape the personal and political in our times of escalating, multiplying, falsehood-fueled crises. In this course led by SJSU’s Lurie Distinguished Visiting Writer – acclaimed memoirist and Emmy-winning journalist Jean Guerrero – students will learn to be thoughtful agents of that change. They’ll study masters of the craft in memoir, personal essays, political biography, conflict reporting, commentary, criticism and other literary nonfiction to hone their voice and creative vision. Through short exercises and a longer project, they will improve their grasp of style, structure, investigative skills and the ethics of writing about the self and other people. In a world where truth and democracy are under attack, they will also examine the personal safety, health and fighting tactics necessary for long-term success in this vocation.

English 255: Visuality in Multiethnic American Literature

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

Within the United States’ racist and colonial history, race has long been (mis)understood as a stable visual signifier, something that is written on the body. Yet, authors and scholars alike have pointed out the ways in which our ways of seeing race are not only socially constructed but also rife with contradictions. In this course, we will examine how 20th and 21st-century multiethnic American literature takes up the vexed relationship between visuality and race, or what many scholars refer to as the visual politics of race. We will read works of literature by Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian American authors who explore racialized experiences of (in)visibility, the refusal to properly “perform” one’s race, the role of visual aesthetics in identity formation, and the ways that images might bear witness to and resist racist violence. We will read texts across forms and genres, including novels, plays, poetry, short stories, and graphic novels, that not only thematically depict the visual politics of race but also creatively represent and resist them through their aesthetic form.

Some of these literary works explicitly comment on ways of seeing or represent and respond to visual art and others reproduce or incorporate images within their pages; all of these works playfully experiment with the role of visual aesthetics within literature and the possibilities therein. Finally, we will engage with critical texts from literary studies, visual studies and art history, ethnic studies, and feminst and queer studies to build an interdisciplinary and intersectional framework through which to read the aesthetic and political strategies of mulethnic American literature. This course will incorporate at least two texts from the “Multiethnic American Literature” M.A. comprehensive exam list and will provide students with a broad understanding of the field and historical and theoretical frames through which to engage it.

English 257: History of Rhetoric

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

Rhetoric covers a vast intellectual territory that draws on more than 3000 years of history and touches on every geographical area of the world. We cannot hope to cover it all in one course, so ENGL 257 will serve as (1) an introduction to influential Western texts, thinkers, and ideas, that have been important in the field of rhetoric, and (2) an introduction to important texts, thinkers, and ideas from around the world that complicate our notions of “influence” and “the field of rhetoric.” This class is intended to act more as a sample of disciplinary possibilities than a definitive guide to all things rhetoric. Students will have the option to focus their attention on one or more particular areas of interest.