Fall 2014 English Department Graduate Course Descriptions

514 - Studies in Drama
CRN 16852
Chris Brooks

Subjects announced each semester. Repeatable once for credit. Prerequisites: junior standing and one college literature course.

517 - Playwriting I
CRN 16856
J. Russell

The writing of scripts for performance. Emphasizes both verbal and visual aspects of playwriting. If possible, the scripts are performed.

527 - Victorian Literature
The Victorian Gothic and the Bourgeois Subject
CRN 17162
Mary Waters

This course will examine literary constructions of Victorian identity and social consciousness through the lens of Gothic and gothic-influenced fiction by several significant novelists.  We will read work by the Brontës, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, Bram Stoker, and others.  Assignments will include a short paper, essay exams, a research bibliography, and a research term paper.

590 - Senior Seminar
“‘Am I not a Man and a Brother?’: Race Relations in Early America”
CRN 17176
Rebeccah Bechtold

This capstone course examines the discourses on race that shaped early American (1770s-1865) attitudes toward slavery and impacted not only the United States’ perception of racial difference but also its stance on gender and economic inequalities. The course situates proslavery and antislavery literature within a more expansive interdisciplinary framework dictated by the classification of slavery as a social, religious, political, biological and economic phenomenon. By pairing Edward Clay’s Life in Philadelphia print series with Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” or William Wells Brown’s Clotel; or, The President’s Daughter with the 1850s Senate Debates, the course ultimately fosters a broader understanding of slavery as a “peculiar institution” – as a practice not only institutionalized in the everyday lives of Americans but also one that “peculiarly” blurs the binaries (public and private; North against South; black versus white) that emerged during this earlier period and are prevalent in the United States even today.

680 - Theory and Practice in Composition
CRN 17178

This course introduces theories of rhetoric, research in composition and writing programs, and practices in schools and colleges. Students investigate the process of writing, analyze varieties and samples of school writing, and develop their own writing skills by writing, revising and evaluating their own and others/ work. Designed especially for prospective and practicing teachers; may not be taken for credit by students with credit in ENGL 780.

681 - Editing American English
CRN 17182
Chris Brooks

Students master the rules and conventions of grammar, sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, usage and mechanics, and learn how to apply them while they are revising and editing a written text. Students work as tutors in the writing center to learn and understand the practical application of editing rules. Includes instruction in the conventions of Editing Standard English (also known as Edited American English) and in methods of effective tutoring, Prerequisites: ENGL 101, 102.

700 - Introduction to Graduate Studies
CRN 17185
Fran Connor

The purpose of graduate study is to help students develop into independent, autonomous scholars pursuing their individual research agendas.  We’ll begin your initiation into WSU’s MA program by discussing the purpose of English departments and what they contribute to the contemporary university.  We’ll cover the requirements of our program, including the all-important comprehensive exam.  Using John Donne and Aphra Behn, as our subjects, we will consider some critical and theoretical approaches to literary research, with particular focus on the rapidly growing field of digital humanities.  Along the way, course assignments will hone your skills in primary and secondary research, and will demonstrate how to initiate and develop the kinds of projects expected in graduate study and beyond.  This course is a prerequisite for all literature courses above the 700 level, and it is only offered in the fall.

705 - American Lit III
Survey of African American Literature from the Harlem Renaissance to the Present
CRN 17187
Jean Griffith

This seminar in American literature from the twenties to the contemporary period will focus on the African American literary tradition, particularly the prose tradition though some attention to poetry will be paid for the sake of comparison. While in the nineteenth century, non-fiction--particularly autobiography and political writing--dominated the African American literary scene, more and more writers turned to fiction in the twentieth century, especially during and after the Harlem Renaissance. At the same time, many African American fiction writers also were accomplished essayists. Our class will explore the contexts which shaped and continue to shape African American literature as well as the conventions and thematic concerns that structure this body of work.  We will also take up the question that critic Kenneth Warren recently asked: does African American literature continue to make sense as a distinct tradition? Writers will include Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Toni Cade Bambara, Toni Morrison, and others.

715 - Seminar in Chaucer
CRN 17194
William Woods

This is essentially a course in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.  We will read most of the tales, together with a few works by other 14th or 15th-century authors and some critical and historical essays and studies.  These varied materials are intended as a context for the interpretation of Chaucer's poetry.  For example, we will read the Knight's Tale in company with Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Huizinga on medieval chivalry, and Muscatine on the Knight's Tale as a philosophical romance.  You will also have access to Terry Jones' revisionist book, Chaucer's Knight, and a number of recent commentaries and interpretations.  Even this brief acquaintance with Chaucer's literary and historical ambiance will help you read his poetry with sensitivity and confidence.

The main focus of this course is on close reading—on doing criticism;  that is also the reason for the emphasis on class discussion and the relatively frequent written work.  Above all, I think we will benefit from conducting the course as a seminar: spirited, informed discussion, interspersed with brief oral reports and my own brief lectures.

780 - Advanced Theory and Practice in Composition
CRN 17195
Darren DeFrain

This class is for teaching assistants in English. Review of new theories of rhetoric, recent research in composition, and new promising developments in composition programs in school and colleges. Students are given practice in advanced writing problems, situations and techniques and may propose projects for further special study.

801 - Creative Writing: Fiction
CRN 17196
Margaret Dawe

805 - Creative Writing: Poetry
CRN 17197
Sam Taylor

880 - Writer’s Tutorial: Prose
CRN 17198