Spring 2016 Seminar Descriptions

Undergraduate Seminars

ENGL 492 Seminar in Literature and Language

Literature and Empire: Vision and Revisions with Dr. Atef Laouyene

In this course, we will examine the ways in which visions of empire figure in the imaginative world of English canonical literature from Shakespeare's The Tempest to Conrad's Heart of Darkness. More specifically, we will discuss the extent to which these classes of English literature reflected a shared imperial vision, one in which the racial, cultural, and civilizational supremacy of England was always taken for granted. In addition, we will consider literary works from England's former colonies that take inspiration from, appropriate and revise the English literary canon in order to raise questions about the project of empire building and its enduring legacies.

Paris and the 20th Century American Imagination with Dr. Marilyn Elkins

This course examines prose by both the Lost Generation and the second and third wave of American writers who employ Paris as setting, and the ways in which this group has helped interrogate and shape American identity. Selections from Baldwin, Boyle, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Hines, Lee, and Prose.

Graduate Seminars

ENGL 504 Theories of Composition and Rhetoric

Wednesday, 6:10pm-10pm with Dr. Christopher Harris

Most American colleges require all students to take first-year composition, making the course one with perhaps the most diverse student makeup. This diversity provides a challenge to composition instructors, as they must find ways to make the course appealing to and applicable for all of their students, no matter their major or cultural position or economic status. Of course, though, different first-year composition courses correlate because of their major goal of helping students write effective, focused, well-researched, well-planned, well-written, persuasive academic compositions. However, this major goal—helping students write well in college—has several subsets such as close reading, clear analysis, the ability to abstract opinions and ideas from media, critical thinking, and the ability to construct cogent arguments. The impetus behind these goals is the classroom: the students, the environment, the instructor, and the discourse between these three. Nonetheless, another discourse channel exists: that of the rhetoric and composition theorists. Thus, in this seminar, we will examine this fourth channel by reading, considering and discussing various theories of rhetoric and composition, which will then prepare you, as future composition instructor-scholars, to recognize the deeply-rooted theoretical connections between the pedagogy and the theory of teaching what Moffett calls the “Universe of Discourse.” When you take English 555, one course that explicitly prepares you to teach writing, you will be able to draw connections between theoria (as well as techne) and praxis. While these connections are largely unrecognized, even within English departments, they are often polemicized, contested, and redrawn, hearkening to Plato's Gorgias.

ENGL 508 Writing Poetry

Thursday, 6:10pm-10pm with Dr. Lauri Ramey


ENGL 510 Proseminar

Tuesday, 6:10pm-10pm with Dr. Nicole Horejsi


ENGL 570 Seminar: American Literature

American Literatures of Slavery and Abolition, Thursday, 6:10pm-10pm with Dr. Maria Karafilis

In this seminar, we will examine the rhetoric and representation of slavery and abolition in American literary and visual texts. Readings will be drawn from slave narratives, pro- and anti-slavery literatures, and texts outside of the slavery debate that appropriate the discourse of slavery to explore other forms of servitude and dependency.