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course descriptions and times for Fall 2009)

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Washington State University



Graduate Studies Bulletin 5                                       Graduate Course Offerings  

March 24, 2009                                                          Fall 2009



       The following 500-level courses will be offered by the Department of English during the fall semester of 2009.  Meeting times for some courses differ from those in the University Time Schedule; those in this bulletin are accurate.






            MA students in their second semester must register for one credit of ENGL 598 and one credit of ENGL 600.



            PhD students teaching ENGL 101 or other composition courses must register for one credit of ENGL 600.



            All MA and PhD students holding Teaching Assistantships must register for a total of 18 credits.  For more information, see details below for ENGL 598, 600, 700, 702, and 800.



501   Teaching of Writing (3) The objective of this course is to clarify the relationships of theory and practice in the teaching and learning of composition. You, colleagues, will construct a writing sequence of the formal papers you will require your 101 students to produce. The racism and pedagogy paper, which will grow out of your writing sequence, will be another key project of the course. The final grade will be constructed through portfolio assessment that will represent the major work of 501. By the end of the course, these revised items will constitute thorough preparation for your teaching of 101:  



+Writing Sequence

+Pedagogy Paper on Racism and the Teaching of Composition

+Responding to Student Writing: Materials & Approaches

+Plagiarism Policy in Changing National & Global Cultures of Authorship

+Peer Observations & Mentoring: Materials & Approaches 

+Language Diversity: Materials & Approaches

+Teaching Summary: Materials & Approaches

+Portfolio Assessment: Materials & Approaches

+Complete 101 Syllabus with Course Calendar

+First Class, First Week: Materials & Approaches

+Peer Groups: Materials & Approaches  

+Conferencing: Materials and Approaches 

+Difficult Students: Materials & Approaches                                                    

+Conflict & Sensitive Topics: Materials & Approaches

+Grammar & Usage: Materials & Approaches

+Teaching Portfolio: Materials & Approaches

Robert Eddy (M 3;10-6:00)



507   Shakespeare and Renaissance Drama (3)  Shakespeare’s Contemporaries:  Materiality, Montaigne, Middleton 



Unknown to Europeans until its rediscovery in 1417, Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura became one of the most widely read Latin poems in the Renaissance.  Montaigne quoted huge portions of it in his Essays, and in England various translators prepared vernacular renditions.  Yet the poem, with its insistent materialism and vehement anti-religious sentiment, seems an unlikely candidate to have moved beyond cult-classic status in the early modern world.  Meanwhile, in northern Italy during the later sixteenth century, an obscure miller named Menocchio argued that God and the angels had first emerged, maggot-like, from a vast fermenting mass that had existed for all eternity.  Attempting earnestly and repeatedly to explain his ideas to Roman Catholic inquisitors, he was nonetheless deemed an irrecoverable heretic and burned at the stake.



What are the forms in which materialist understandings of reality manifest themselves in early modern Europe?  To whom do they appeal, and why?  What is the nature of Montaigne’s attraction to Lucretian materialism, and how can it be reconciled with his Christianity?  What are the ideological implications of materialist views, and how do they infiltrate and shape literary creation?  In Othello and Titus Andronicus, for instance, how do material understandings of the humours and passions affect the way we assess Othello’s “collied” judgment or Titus’ grief and vengeance?  In Troilus and Cressida, is the insistent resort to sense-data discussion in any way relevant to the lovers’ mutual betrayal?  How should we account for the providentialist intimations of such vexed and problematic comedies as All’s Well  and Measure for Measure?    What about the relentlessly secular thrust of King Lear – should we take this as an invitation to view the play in materialist terms?  Do Lear’s competing accounts of that which is “natural” owe anything to contemporary skepticism about idealist metaphysics?  Can nothing come from nothing?



Marxian materialism and its descendants will serve as important lenses of interpretation in this seminar, but we will also work steadily to historicize materialism through examinations of Renaissance accounts of emotion, perception, sexuality, and death.  We will discuss the limitations as well as the virtues of viewing literary works from a materialist perspective – either in early-modern formations or in later Marxian versions.  Our central literary texts will include plays by Shakespeare, Jonson, Webster, and especially Middleton, who turned his imagination to the lives of middle-class urbanites obsessed with money, sex, power, and God.  But we will also read extensively in Montaigne, and we will touch as well on crucial excerpts from Machiavelli, Bacon, Harriot, Descartes, and Pascal.  Secondary readings will range from Marx, Brecht and Althusser to Williams, Eagleton, Moretti, Adelman, Greenblatt, Paster, Hawkes and others.



Class work will include several short essays, two book (or “literature”) reviews, and an end-of-term project which will involve examination of works beyond those we study in class; this will be accompanied by an in-class presentation and a final essay of roughly 15-20 pages.  Will Hamlin (M,W,F 11:10)



512   Introduction to Graduate Studies (3)  In graduate study students enter into two distinct but interrelated worlds:  that of the university they attend (here, WSU) and the wider field and profession of academia.  This course is designed to orient you to both worlds, offering a tour not only of the landscapes but also of the denizens that inhabit them and the rules that govern them.  As such, this course will be at once practical and theoretical.  Its practical emphasis aims to enable students to better understand the multiple responsibilities and discourses that will come to characterize their life, including teaching research, study, publication, and the pursuit of grants.  Its more theoretical approach will consider the place of the university and its curricula within society, and by extent the pace of work--graduate or otherwise—within the university.  The course thus might best be viewed as a place where colleagues can consider together the nature of their individual work and how they might best pursue those goals.  Todd Butler (Tu,Th 10:35-11:50)



513   Theories and Methods in American Studies (3)  “Theory is the sound made by the shifting ice floes of academic disciplines, breaking up or grinding against one another.” – Stefan Collini



            “Theory is the name for the questions that arise when the answers we have about a topic no longer seem adequate to our understanding.” – Gerald Graff



            “In order to do interdisciplinary work, it is not enough to take a ‘subject’ (a theme) and arrange two or three disciplines around it.  Interdisciplinary student consists in creating a new object, which belongs to no one.” – Roland Barthes



            “If theory is taken to mean an intellectual framework, a problematic, that, by the form of its questions even more than the content of its answers, defines a certain intellectual terrain, then all through is theoretical.  The proposition is indeed tautological, since a theory or intellectual problematic is not that which merely shapes or contains thought (as though the latter somehow possessed an unshaped, uncontained earlier existence) but that which gives rise to the possibility of thought in the first place.  It may be added that few theories are more narrow and dogmatic than those (like Anglo-American ‘common sense’_ that remain oblivious or even hostile to their status as theories.” – Carl Freedman



            “The only theory worth having is that which you have to fight off, not that which you speak with profound fluency.” – Stuart Hall



            “By reinforcing the idea that there is a split between theory and practice or by creating such a split, [we] deny the power of liberatory education for critical consciousness, thereby perpetuating conditions that reinforce our collective exploitation and repression.”  -- bell hooks



            The aim of this course is to introduce (or reintroduce) graduate students to some of the major theories and methods currently practices in American studies and related interdisciplines, such as ethnic, cultural, women’s and queer studies.  The course is organized along two overlapping axes:  1) we will examine key concepts, including “culture,” “race,” “ethnicity,” “formation,” “class,” “hegemony,” “gender,” sexuality” and “imperialism”; and 2) we will discuss various elaborated theoretical positions, including critical race/ethnicity theories, marxisms, feminisms, post-structuralisms, queer, and post-colonial theories.  While for purposes of analysis we will at times isolate these concepts and theories from one another, much of our work will emphasize conceptual and theoretical intersections.  Throughout the course grand questions of theory and method will be grounded via examination of applied scholarship on U.S. culture.



            The instructor takes the position that theorizing is an inherently political activity.  Hence the choice of topical questions is built around key issues facing U.S. culture:  racism, sexism, homophobia, class oppression and imperialism.  But the topics list is not, as the Right would have it, a politically correct list to reinforce existing views.  Rather it is a set of questions to be seriously explored.  This is obviously not the only possible set of questions, and the instructor hopes and expects to have this list challenged by the other participants in the seminar.



            Such a quick survey cannot hope to do justice to these complex theories, so the goal is to provide the tools to increase your literacy in reading theory and lay the groundwork for further study.  The syllabus is a negotiable outline.  We may add, subtract or otherwise change readings and topics as the interests and needs of the participants become clearer.



            1.  ACTIVE PARTICIPATION IN SEMINAR DISCUSSIONS.  This is a discussion class, with only occasional mini-lectures as requested.  Active participation in discussions is part of the commitment one makes in joining the class community. [25%]



            2.  CRITICAL BOOK REVIEW of an assigned book, written for a particular scholarly journal and emphasizing questions of theory and method.  Reviews should be approximately 4 typed, double-spaced pages.  Reviews are due by the second session we discuss the book in class. [20%]



            3.  SEMINAR FACILITIATION Each of you will serve as facilitator of the discussion for two or three sessions over the course of the semester.  This entails reading the pieces assigned on those days with special care, doing some contextualizing research as needed, and serving as resident expert that day for the texts in question.  Preparation will also include writing up and e-mailing to all class members discussion questions on the reading at least two days before the discussion. [15%]



            4.  SEMINAR PAPER a) analyzing a theoretical issue that interests you; or b) applying theories and methods drawn from class readings to a text or topic that interests you; or c)offering a draft theoretical introduction to a thesis or topic you are working on; or d) “translating” (bell hooks’ term) the most useful ideas of the “academic” theory we read this semester for a specific, non-academic audience (union organizers, high school students, etc.), and for use on the “Theory and Method” website [http://www.wsu.edu/~amerstu/tm/bib.html].  Approximately 12-20 pp. [40%]     T. V. Reed (Th, 2:50-5:50)



515   Contemporary Rhetoric (3)  This course is not a survey of contemporary rhetoric (though I will provide a relatively comprehensive bibliography).  For this course we will focus on marxian trends in rhetoric. We will contrast rhetorical notions of subjectivity with classical, structuralist, and post-structuralist marxist and marxian discourse theories.  Readings will include Kenneth Burke’s A Rhetoric of Motives, Rosemary Hennessy’s Profit and Pleasure: Sexual Identities in Late Capitalism, Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe’s Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics, Stuart Hall’s Representation: Cultural Representation and Signifying Practices, V.N. Volosinov’s Marxism and the Interpretation of Language and excerpts from Louis Althusser, Michel Foucault, Raymond Williams, and others.  Very short response papers, one article-length seminar paper. Victor Villanueva (Tu,Th 9:10-10:25)



529   Beyond the Concord Circle:  The American Renaissance (3)  Ralph Waldo Emerson adjured that “each age must write its own books; or rather, each generation for the next succeeding.”  In advising his ideal American scholar that “the books of an older period will not fit this,” he was inviting his listeners (and subsequent readers) to engage in the act of what he called, “creative reading.”  In “Beyond the Concord Circle,” we will take Emerson at his word.



            As is to be expected, readings from Emerson, Fuller, Hawthorne, Melville, Thoreau and Whitman as deeply imbricated in a movement being simultaneously (and retroactively) defined will be featured; we will also take up readings from figures less immediately identified with the phrase, “American Renaissance,” such as Louisa May Alcott, Frederick Douglass, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Harriet Wilson.  Our mission, then, will be twofold:  we will construct and examine the philosophical, aesthetic, political and cultural meaning of the phrase “American Renaissance” – both then and now—by reading primary texts as well as weekly critical responses to the writers and the period.  Secondary sources will include essays from ESQ:  A Journal of the American Renaissance as well as “classic” interpretations of the period such as American Renaissance:  Art and Expression in the Age of Emerson and Whitman by F. O. Matthiessen, Beneath the American Renaissance  by David S. Reynolds, and newer critical approaches.  Augusta Rohrbach (W 3:10-6:00)



531   Administering a Writing Program (3)  The supervised internship in the Writing Program is designed to introduce students to both theoretical and practical approaches to Writing Program Administration.  The course attends to Writing Across the Curriculum, English as a Second Language, linguistic theories, theories of collaborative learning, mission statements and models of administration, assessment, and models of tutor training.  Students are able to focus their internship in one of three areas or a combination thereof:  Writing Across the Curriculum, Writing Assessment, or Writing Center administration.  Diane Kelly-Riley (ARRGT)



534   Theories and Methods of the Teaching of Technical and Professional Writing (3) 

This course begins with the rhetorical foundations of technical and professional writing, moves to models of inquiry and scholarship, and emphasizes connections between theory and pedagogy.  Students become familiar with scholarly journals, foundational readings in technical and professional writing, and develop course material including a course proposal complete with theoretical and pedagogical justification, syllabi, assignments, and text choices.

More specifically, students will explore the tension between the practical and the theoretical that has fueled debates in technical and professional writing for decades through the work of Carolyn Miller, Lester Faigley, Steven Katz, Jennifer Slack (et al.), and others.  Students will consider Actor Network Theory as a theoretical framework by reading Aramis by Bruno Latour.  Issues of design will be analyzed through a history of design provided by Charles Kostelnick and Michael Hassett in Shaping Information: The Rhetoric of Visual Conventions and several other design theorists such as Robin Williams, Anne Wysocki, Kristin Arola, and Cheryl Ball.  Pedagogical approaches will be informed by the literacy work of James Paul Gee and others.  In addition to developing these materials, students will analyze several scholarly journals in technical and professional writing to become familiar with current issues in the field, the range of issues considered, and how discussion of these issues may inform research possibilities in the field, as well as classroom approaches in teaching technical and professional writing courses.   Patricia Ericsson (M 3:10-6:00)



443/543  Problems in English Linguistics:  Syntax and Phonology (3) The purpose of this course is to help students to learn about the sound systems of natural human languages, to learn techniques for analyzing regularities in sounds systems, to learn how to make arguments in favor of particular analyses, and to become familiar with the range of natural variation and distribution of speech sounds in human languages.  Lynn Gordon (M,W,F 10:10)



548   Ecocriticism: The Politics and Poetics of Writing the Natural World (3)   Since the early 1990s, ecocriticism has been gaining energy as a viable and legitimate form of critical literary discourse.  In this class we will explore the relationship between literature and the physical environment, moving beyond analyses of conventional notions of “nature writing” in favor of opening such discourse to a wider body of work.  Our approach will be an eco-centric one in which we ask questions like:  How are the values expressed in this work consistent (or not) with an ecological consciousness?  How is the human/nature relationship expressed?  How does literature help shape ecological consciousness?  To help shape the course we will use Greg Garrard’s thematic breakdown—pollution, positions, pastoral, wilderness, apocalypse, dwelling, and animals—as a framework for our discussion and exploration.  Using texts by Mary Austin, Edward Abbey, and Leslie Marmon Silko, we will apply theoretical frameworks that we have developed through our discussions and readings.  Additionally, students will be introduced to some of the most cutting-edge thinking in the environmental community by such people as anti-civilization theorist John Zerzan, as well as look at the historical evolution of ecocriticism in relation to dominant critical hegemonies.  Students will be responsible for weekly responses, an in-class presentation, and a final project (students are expected to meet with me well in advance to discuss and develop project topics).  Chris Arigo (M 3:10-5:55)



549   Modernism and Film (3)  In 1897, Joseph Conrad wrote that the novelist’s task “is, before all, to make you see.”  Two years earlier, the Lumière Brothers presented the first public screening on the new technology of the cinematograph—what we would come to know as the “movies.”  In the decades following this culture convergence of text and visuality, modernist literary and artistic practice engaged in a productive, if at times contentious, dialogue with the emergent medium of film.  Modernist writers were inspired by, and often wrote about, this new medium (with James Joyce famously being part owner of the first movie house in Dublin – a business venture that failed spectacularly).  Experimental literary works often took their cues, explicitly or otherwise, from the aesthetic experience that film provided:  modernism’s attention to the visuality of text, its collage aesthetic, and its depiction of the subjective experience of space and time all owe at least a partial debt to the development of the cinematic medium.  Film, likewise, as a signal technology of modernity, evolved its own kind of language and its own species of modernism, which could tend equally toward the avant-garde experiments of Leger and Ivens, the socialist formalism of Einstein and Vertov, the state-sponsored documentaries of Grierson and Lorentz, or the early narrative cinema of Griffith and Gance. 



This course will look at modernism and film along these two axes:  the influence of film on modernist literature as well as the developing aesthetic of film in its own right.  We’ll begin with early film from Edison and the Lumières, move through early narrative film by Griffith, Gance and others, consider avant-garde films from the 1910s and 1920s, ethnographic films and early documentaries, “city symphony” films, Soviet modernism, Surrealism, and finally end with the post-modernist moment of the French New Wave and early postcolonial cinema.  Alongside the many films we’ll see, we’ll read a number of modernist writers, including Conrad, Joyce, Woolf, Eliot, Auden, Loy, Barnes, Breton, Rhys, and others.  To contextualize modernist practice in multiple media, we’ll also attend to contemporaneous theory and criticism about film, most notably by Eisenstein, Vertov, Bazin, Grierson, and Rotha.  Jon Hegglund (Tu 2:50-5:30)





550   Africa, Fact and Fiction:  Nonfiction Literature on Africa from Herodutus to Kapuscinski (3)   Controversy over the writings of Ryszard Kapuscinski, the Polish journalist and New Yorker writer who spent a career covering Africa, has recharged the discussion of how historians and travel writers have treated Africa.  In recent issues of Tin House and Vanity Fair, the Kenyan writer and scholar Binyavana Wainaina pointed by way of example to the work of Kapuscinski, widely regarded as one of the most sophisticated observers of Africa from independence to the present (he died in January ’07).  Wainaina called his reporting on Ethiopia “a shipwreck equally full of treasure and non-biodegradable plastic trinkets.”  The African writers Leopold Senghor and Wole Soyinka, among others, have also questioned the accuracy and intent of European and American writing on Africa. 



       In this class we will examine nonfiction literature on Africa—by journalists, writers, and scholars, African and European—to understand what has attracted writers to the continent over the centuries.  We will look at literature on Africa from different points of view, starting with Herodotus’ descriptions of the Nile River Valley and Ethiopia around 400 BC, and moving to the work of the Arab traveler Ibn Battuta, who visited Africa in the 13th century.  We will read the work of Rene Caille, James Richardson, Henry Stanley, and Mary Kingsley, and contemporary work of Kapuscinski, Graham Greene, John Gunter, Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Gilbert Ayittey, Paul Theroux, Dave Eggers, Ousame Sembene, Michela Wrong, Ngugi Wa Tiongo, Robet Kaplan, and Chris Abani.  These writers work in English, with the exception of Battuta, Caille, and Sembene, whose works we will read in translation.



            Students will complete two critical analysis papers of 6-10 pages, one of which will involve a class presentation, and a final project of at least 20 pages.  Students have the option of writing the final project as a personal essay.  The reading list includes six books and handout readings.  Peter Chilson (Th 2:50-5:30)



595   Electronic Literature and Gaming  (3)  As emerging media take hold in mass culture, older media are often replaced (or required to alter themselves for the new cultural market).  As more and more people are accessing texts online (such as e-mail, news, academic research, etc.) what is happening to literature?  Is the print-bound book being replaced by the electronic text?  If so, is the author being replaced by a computer user who is able to control the path of the narrative? 



This course considers the media specificity of electronic literature and how it has become distinct from print-bound books.  In order to analyze this emerging form of literature, we must first grapple with the issues surrounding authorial control, sequentially-dependent narratives, the new role of the reader, and the notions of interactivity and immersion.  We will connect these analyses with examples of electronic literature, such as Shelley Jackson’s famous hypertext novel, Patchwork Girl, which was based on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.  We will also look at other forms of electronic literature and interactive fiction, such as videogames.  Studying the debates between the “ludologists” (who argue that narrative does not matter in videogames) and the “narratologists” (who argue that narrative is essential to gaming) we will contextualize examples of interactive fiction in th ever-growing sphere of videogames with these critical debates.    Jason Farman (WHETS) (Tu,Th 1:25-2:40)







598   Teaching Apprenticeship (pass/fail)    All graduate students holding Teaching Assistantships must sign up for a total of three credits of English 598; normally one credit is taken during each of the first three semesters.  The responsibilities for English 598 are as follows:



First Semester:  Directed Study in the Writing Center (English 102); arrangements will be made by the Director of the Writing Center.  Students attend several tutor-training sessions at the Writing Center, and they participate in English 102 meetings (normally held every other week).



Second Semester:  Weekly Colloquium on Freshman Composition, to be attended by all first-time Teaching Assistants (normally held on Mondays from 12:10 – 1:00 p.m.).  Arrangements will be made by the Director of Composition.



Third or Fourth Semester:  Mentored Teaching – students work as apprentice teachers with a faculty member of their choice who is currently teaching an undergraduate course.  They attend classes, discuss pedagogical strategies, plan assignments, teach occasionally, etc.  Precise arrangements are negotiated by the student and faculty member.



            Exceptions to the 598 sequence must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.



600   Special Projects or Independent Study (pass/fail)    Graduate students may enroll in an ungraded independent study with a faculty member of their choice.  In order to do this they must submit an independent study proposal to the Director of Graduate Studies; the proposal should previously have been signed by the faculty member in question.  Forms for this proposal are available from the Graduate Program Coordinator.



            Otherwise, there are two reasons to sign up for English 600:



(1)   All new Teaching Assistants and returning graduate students who are currently teaching English 101 must sign up for one credit of English 600.  This credit compensates their participation in a weekly staff meeting on the teaching of English 101.  The meeting normally takes place on Wednesdays from 12:10 – 1:00 p.m.



(2)  All graduate students enrolled in English 512 (Introduction to Graduate Study) must sign up for one credit of English 600.  This credit awards attendance and participation in the Department’s ongoing Colloquium Series.



700   Master’s Research, Thesis and/or Examination (Variable credit)    English 700 is for a THESIS DEGREE program ONLY and must consist of at least 4 hours on the M.A. program.  Time, place, and instructor by arrangement.



702   Master’s Special Problems, Directed Study, and/or Examination (Variable credit)    English 702 is for a NON-THESIS DEGREE program ONLY and must consist of 4 hours on the M.A. program, 2 of which must be in the semester of written and final exams.  Time, place, and instructor by arrangement.



800   Doctoral Research, Dissertation, and/or Examination (Variable credit)    Time, place, and instructor by arrangement; at least 20 hours are required on the program.



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