Graduate Courses


ENGL 655: Victorian Fantasy

Instructor: Anna Neill
24603 | MW 12:30 – 1:45 PM | WES 4076 – LAWRENCE

The Victorians invented fantasy. They recovered and rewrote folk tales and medieval stories. They reenchanted weary modern lives with tales of fairies, goblins and vampires. They imagined marvelous new lands whose indigenous peoples could be brutally conquered. They mixed magical thinking with evolutionary science to create improbable beings or to predict outlandish planetary futures. And they updated the Gothic with modern or futuristic technologies to generate new forms of horror and thrilling discovery. Over the semester we will read a wide range of fantastic Victorian stories, considering how they reflect and comment on contemporary science, industrial capitalism, imperialism, and the many cultural upheavals caused by revolutions in technology and commerce. Everyone will write two shorter papers and a final research project. Texts will include Charles Kingsley’s 'The Water Babies,' Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s 'Idylls of the King,' Marie Corelli’s 'A Romance of Two Worlds,' Edwin Abbott’s 'Flatland,' Christina Rossetti’s 'Goblin Market,' H.G. Wells’s 'The Island of Doctor Moreau,' Robert Louis Stevenson’s 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,' Bram Stoker’s 'Dracula,' H. Rider Haggard’s 'King Solomon’s Mines,' and William Morris’s 'News from Nowhere.'

dark black and white art of castle on hill with rider on horseback in foreground

ENGL 751: Fiction Writing III

Instructor: Kij Johnson
17450 | M 4:00 – 6:30PM | WES 4051 – LAWRENCE

dictionary definition entry for 'fiction'

ENGL 752: Poetry Writing III

Instructor: Megan Kaminski
27358 | MW 03:00 - 04:15 PM | WES 4020 - LAWRENCE

In this graduate poetry workshop, our focus will be on generating new writing. Over the course of the semester, we will re-connect with our writerly intuition through a series of experiments and inquiries, all with the goal of deepening our writing practice and remaining sentient and oriented towards our most pressing work. We will consider assigned reading as a guide to possibilities and will have visits from the poets we read. This course is appropriate both for students working on full length poetry books and those looking to build their writing toolbox to support work in other genres.

Fountain pen writing in cursive

ENGL 790: Latinx/Latin American Literature of Trauma and Testimony

Instructor: Marta Caminero-Santangelo
26772 | MW 3:00 – 4:15 PM | WES 3001A – LAWRENCE

This course considers the last half-century of Latin American and US Latino/a literature that has attempted to address and represent human rights crises in the second half of the 20th-century, by constructing something like a "testimonial" voice in fictional narrative. By moving back and forth between Latin American examples of testimonio and the testimonial novel and US Latino/a versions of the latter, we will consider such issues as theories of trauma and cultural trauma, the authority of a representative to speak for a group, representation of / by the "subaltern,” the imagining and construction of ethnicity and nation, issues of transnationalism (the relationship of US Latinos to their countries of origin) and pan-ethnicity (the relation of different US Latino groups to each other), the potential power of narrative to affect human rights discourses, and obstacles to the affective / effective power of storytelling.

Image: Guatemalan Protest "More than 626 Massacres in Indigenous Villages and They Still Deny Genocide."

two women stand in front of sign reading 'mas de 626 masacres en los pueblos indigenas, y aun niegan que hubo genocidio.'

ENGL 790: The Medieval Imagination

Instructor: Misty Schieberle
26773 | TuTh 11:00 – 12:15PM | WES 3001A – LAWRENCE

Some of the most popular and enduring fantasy works have their roots in medieval literature - Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, the graphic novel and Netflix series Cursed and there are always new movie adaptations of King Arthur. This course introduces students to the styles and techniques that medieval writers used to infuse their works with fantastic qualities, such as mystical visions, prophecies, magic, faeries, and other supernatural elements. Texts may include Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Sir Orfeo, Le Morte D’Arthur, selections from bestiaries, adaptations of classical mythology, and imaginative manuscript illustrations. At the same time, the course will introduce students more generally to the study of medieval literature and languages (most works will be taught in Modern English facing-page editions, which provide both the original and an accessible translation). No prior expertise with medieval materials is assumed.     Each of the course texts imagines a world of possibilities and limitations, and we will explore how those possibilities or limitations are shaped by the constraints of reality or the freedom of fantasy. Put another way, we will be concerned with how various imaginative turns allow authors to work through real-world problems, imagined solutions, and ideals they could not explore in other genres. Topics to be investigated include the nature of history and its relationship to literature; the multicultural and progressive perspectives embraced by some medieval English writers; the roles of monsters, magic, and the divine; and the influence of Fortune and destiny versus human responsibility. We will also explore how current theoretical perspectives can enrich medieval studies – and latter portions of the course will be largely determined by students’ interests and fields of study.     Students will have the option to focus their final research projects on medieval topics or explore how medieval texts and genres inform more modern conceptions of myth, fantasy, gothic medievalism (e.g., A24’s The Green Knight), or even dystopian futuristic novels (it’s true: Lidia Yuknavitch’s 2017 Book of Joan, set in a post-Earth, post-gender space station is loosely based on the life and works of Christine de Pizan and Joan of Arc). Assignments will include one presentation, 3-4 response papers, and a major researched essay or creative project.

medieval artwork of man laying in bed with dragons above his head

ENGL 800: Methods, Theory, & Professionalism

Instructors: Laura Mielke
26774 | Tu 10:00 – 10:50 AM | WES 3001A – LAWRENCE

English 800 prepares students for graduate coursework and exams, the writing of a scholarly thesis or dissertation, and the submission of work to the larger scholarly community. Assignments facilitate the acquisition of skills and tools essential to these activities. Across the fall and spring semesters, students will acquire strategies for reading scholarly writing; produce a range of professional genres, including conference proposals; learn more about their selected areas of study and the best venues for sharing work in those areas; and develop a comprehensive plan for their graduate studies.

hybrid photo blending image of bookshelves with two students smiling in glasses

ENGL 801: Study and Teaching of Writing

Instructors: Mary Jo Reiff
23929 | TuTh 1:00 – 2:15PM | WES 3001A – LAWRENCE

English 801 aims to support new GTAs’ teaching of first-year writing by providing structured opportunities to reflect on their teaching practices in dialogue with other writing teachers. Over the course of the fall and spring semesters, GTAs will examine perspectives on writing pedagogy that will inform their practices in the classroom (from responding to student writing, to facilitating writing groups and peer review, to creating inclusive classrooms, etc.) and will produce their own pedagogical materials (such as course designs, teaching statements, and teaching portfolios). As such, this course will give GTAs an opportunity to examine and reflect on their teaching practices as they work to develop pedagogical approaches and materials that they can build on throughout their teaching careers.

hybrid photo blending image of bookshelves with two students smiling in glasses

ENGL 908: Posthumanism

Instructor: Phillip Drake
26776 | Tu 6:00 – 8:30PM | WES 3001A – LAWRENCE

This course explores the emergence of science and technology studies (STS) as an analytical field, along with its applications to the study of literary and cultural expression. Embodying a diverse array of interdisciplinary tools and perspectives, scholarship in the field of STS examines a broad range of cultural beliefs and practices. Of particular interest are concerns over knowledge production, interactions with the nonhuman world, and the ways structures of power shape (and are shaped by) developments in science and technology. Beyond identifying some of the major branches of STS that interact with literary and cultural studies (native scientific practices, actor-network theory, feminist science, etc.), along with questions about methods/practices of STS, the course will examine the ways STS intervenes in discussions about art, aesthetics, literature, identity, power, race, gender, animality, pedagogy, disease, justice, modernity, economics, sacrifice, parasites, “things”, machines, life, conspiracies, reality, and more. Likely readings will include selections from Haraway, Latour, Walker, Bhatia, Ghosh, Trask, Callon, Kuwada, Fanon, Marx, Rickert, Kuhn, Serres, Bataille, LeGuin, Capek, and more.

computer generated image of space shuttles in city with sunrise in background