Graduate Course Offerings

Fall 2023 Graduate Courses

ENGL 7302: Islands, Literature, and Climate Change

Dr. Fiona Polack

Thursdays, 10 am to 1 pm

 Description: Islands have long provided more scope to human imaginations than arguably any other geographical form. In recent decades, profoundly threatened by climate change and other environmental challenges, they have taken on even further significance. Island Studies scholars David Chandler and Jonathan Pugh argue that islands “are a key figure for work on the Anthropocene precisely because islands are widely understood to be generative and productive for the core concerns of contemporary thinking” (Anthropocene Islands). In this course, we will investigate what kinds of ideas islands have recently helped generate, and how. To do so, we will read work from a variety of literary contexts and genres, ranging from decolonial poetry from the Pacific, to a re-written version of The Tempest situated in Atlantic Canada, to speculative fiction imagining former oil production platforms as island city states. Physical islands around the world may be under increasing pressure, but they remain a robust element of contemporary cultural imaginations.


ENGL 7603: Tudor Mythmaking in Early Modern English Literature

Dr. Agnes Juhasz-Ormsby

Tuesdays, 10 am to 1 pm

Description: This course explores the politics of literature under the Tudors (1485-1603), the most storied dynasty in English history. We will examine how literary works responded to and shaped the new political culture promoted by Tudor monarchs who saw themselves as national saviors and restorers of the mythical British golden age. By engaging with major authors of the sixteenth century—Thomas More, Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare, Walter Raleigh, and Queen Elizabeth I herself—we will trace how writers, publishers, and other literary agents perpetuated or subverted Tudor mythmaking, and how they contributed to or destabilized political image-building, the mystification of power, and the representation of authority. We will query how the Tudor cult of monarchy influenced nascent ideas of English nationhood and empire, and how such propaganda was complicated by the profound religious changes and political conflicts brought about by the English Reformation. We will read representative literary works in conjunction with extant visual records, chronicles, news pamphlets, and festival books. We will also situate them within contemporary social, political, and religious contexts in order to delineate the complex networks through which they were produced and disseminated among diverse communities of readers throughout the sixteenthcentury.


ENGL 7003: Contemporary Issues in Theory and Practice

Dr. Andrew Loman

Wednesdays, 2 pm to 5 pm

Description: This course will begin with some concept work involving its key terms – “contemporary,” “issue,” “theory,” and “practice” – asking, for instance, what temporal span we have in mind when we speak of contemporaneity, what meanings we imply in the word “issue,” and what distinctions we presuppose in drawing a line between theory and practice. The course will then turn to its central program: investigating those questions and topics that have been most urgently preoccupying critical theorists in the past decade. We’ll draw on two archives: the René Wellek Lectures at the University of California, Irvine; and the Charles Eliot Norton Lectures at Harvard University. The theorists and artists we’ll read include Wendy Brown, William Kentridge, Toni Morrison, Timothy Morton, and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o. In addition to the assigned course texts, students should have a good anthology of literary theory, ideally the Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism (3rd ed.).

Credit: Abandoned design for a $20 bill that substitutes Harriet Tubman for Andrew Jackson. Obtained from the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing by The New York Times, 2019.  


ENGL 7204:Creative Writing: Writing the Short Story

Dr. Lisa Moore

Thursdays, 7 pm to 10 pm