Graduate Course Descriptions, Fall 2010

 

506: HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE - DR. STAN HAUER

This course surveys the history of our language from its origins in Indo-European through the present day. In intervals of two weeks, we shall study the following topics: the Principles of Language, the Alphabet, Indo-European, Old English, Middle English, the Renaissance and 18th Century, American English

Assignments and Written Work: two midterm examinations, final examination, two 5-10 pp. research essays, quizzes and special assignments

Texts include Algeo’s The Origins and Development of the English Language, the workbook accompanying that text, and a book-length syllabus/study guide by the professor.

ENG 506 may be used to satisfy the literary theory requirement for literature students.

 

540: LITERARY CRITICISM:  HITS O' CRIT - DR. KEN WATSON

This class will read and discuss around twelve of the most durable and influential books of literary and cultural theory published since WWII. Likely suspects: Auerbach, Brooks, Frye, Barthes, Bloom, Derrida, De Man, Moi, Showalter, Kristeva, Gates, Said, Jameson. Requirements include reading, participation, presentations, and papers.

ENG 540 may be used to satisfy the literary theory requirement for literature students.

 

625: READINGS IN FICTION - DR. MONIKA GEHLAWAT

What makes these stories work? Or maybe you don’t think they do – we can argue that point as well. The main purpose of this class will be to read a diverse range of literature together and learn about craft by examining the particular strengths and styles of these stories and novels. We will discuss how character, plot and pacing, experimental language and setting/landscape influence the overall structure and relative success of these works. What’s the difference between the novel, the short and long story, a short story collection that is designed as such or one that we put together at will? Does contemporary fiction require new ways of story-telling to be persuasive or does it continue to reflect certain literary conventions that have served authors well since the mid-nineteenth century? These and other questions will, I hope, emerge in our weekly discussions this fall. You will be expected to lead discussion on a particular text once in the semester; your grade will be based on this presentation, a final paper, as well as your participation in the seminar generally.

Reading List
Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert; The Ambassadors, Henry James; Nightwood, Djuna Barnes; The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway; Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf; The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald; Berlin Stories, Christopher Ishwerwood; Nine Stories, J.D. Salinger; The French Lieutenant’s Woman, John Fowles; The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith; Suttree, Cormac McCarthy; Enormous Changes at the Last Minute, Grace Paley; Drown, Junot Diaz; Birds of America, Lorrie Moore

 

640: CRITICAL READINGS AND METHODS - DR. LUIS IGLESIAS

ENG 640 will introduce graduate students to the professional study of literature, focusing on critical reading practices as they apply to both literary and theoretical texts. The course will focus on textual analysis with attention paid to the kinds of scholarly writing required for graduate work in literature, addressing both the practical and conceptual issues of literary analysis and how they inform reading methodologies.

 

670: STUDIES IN AMERICAN LITERATURE I - DR. ELLEN WEINAUER

Looking both at works of literature and literary criticism, this course will attempt to explore the meanings of the “American Renaissance.” At its most specific, the “American Renaissance” refers to the period between 1850 and 1855, which witnessed the publication of central works by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Walt Whitman. Yet these same years also saw a massive explosion of American literary production by other writers, in other genres, as well. Placing our readings in the context of the political, socio-economic, and spiritual upheavals of the American 1850s, we will examine works of traditional “American Renaissance” writers alongside less canonical texts. Looking in particular at the genres against which such writers as Emerson, Hawthorne, and Melville have been defined—namely, abolitionist literature and the sentimental novel—we will attempt to re-visit and re-describe the boundaries of the American Renaissance itself.

Possible texts include: William Wells Brown, Clotel; Frederick Douglass, The Heroic Slave; Ralph Waldo Emerson, selected essays; Margaret Fuller, Woman in the Nineteenth Century; Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Blithedale Romance; Herman Melville, Pierre; Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin; Henry David Thoreau, Walden; David Walker, David Walker’s Appeal; Susan Warner, The Wide, Wide World; Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Students will write: weekly responses, two short essays and a conference-length essay

 

672: TOPICS IN AMERICAN LITERATURE:  LITERARY TOURISM IN MISSISSIPPI - DR. KATE COCHRAN


One of the ways in which Mississippi markets itself is as the home of important American writers—no surprise, given the number of great authors from the state. But how are these authors being marketed, and to what effect? This course will investigate the phenomenon of literary tourism by reading texts by selected Mississippi authors—Ellen Douglas, William Faulkner, Shelby Foote, Willie Morris, Walker Percy, William Alexander Percy, Eudora Welty, Tennessee Williams, and Richard Wright—along with secondary/theoretical works relevant to the literary tourism industry. There will also be two optional weekend trips to sites of Mississippi literary tourism in Oxford, Clarksdale, Natchez, Jackson, Greenville, and Yazoo City, stops on the “Southern Literary Trail.” Required components of the course, in addition to reading assignments and class participation, will include presentations, a reading journal, and an article-length seminar essay.

Probable primary texts: Douglas’s Can’t Quit You, Baby; Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom!; Foote’s Shiloh; Morris’s Good Old Boy: A Delta Boyhood; W. Percy’s The Moviegoer; W.A. Percy’s Lanterns on the Levee; Welty’s Curtain of Green; Williams’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; Wright’s Black Boy

Additional texts: selections from Pierre Bourdieu’s The Field of Cultural Production, V.S. Naipaul’s A Turn in the South, Sarah Payne’s The Study of Literary Tourism, Scott Romine’s The Real South: Southern Narrative in the Age of Cultural Reproduction, and additional articles

 

673: TOPICS IN AFRICAN AMERICAN LITERATURE:  CIVIL RIGHTS LITERATURE AND THE CULTURE OF SEGREGATION - DR. SHERITA JOHNSON

Reading Civil Rights literature requires an understanding of laws, racial politics, people, places, events, and texts that document a long history of inequality in the U.S. Though antagonistic race relations appear rooted in the South, the struggle for African Americans’ civil rights has always drawn a national audience and federal intervention. Our study will begin in the late 19th century with the birth of Jim Crow as witnessed by writers such as Frances Harper and Charles Chesnutt. We will read a variety of works extending the timeline from Plessy v Ferguson (1896) to Brown v Board of Education (1954) and the Voting Rights Act (1964). Selections will reveal themes of agency and resistance, migration, integration, separatism, violence, suffrage, white privilege, coalition building, education, and religion. The survey will conclude with reflections of the post-Civil Rights movement and the generation of reconciliation. The fundamental objectives of this course are not only to identify the writers and analyze the narrative structures used to address civil rights, but, ultimately, we will examine the “culture of segregation” that served as an impetus for the development of this body of literature.

Course requirements: regular attendance and participation, bi-weekly critical response assignments, class presentations, and an article-length paper.

Possible texts: Chesnutt’s The Marrow of Tradition; Anne Moody’s Coming of Age in Mississippi; Alice Walker’s Meridian; Civil Rights’ anthologies of short fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, and essay/speeches; a packet of literary criticism compiled by the professor.

*Local tours of historic sites from the Civil Rights Movement (e.g. chronicling Freedom Summer in Hattiesburg) and frequent references to USM’s Civil Rights in Mississippi Digital Archive will augment our study of Civil Rights literature.

 

696: INTRODUCTION TO SCHOLARLY PUBLISHING - DR. PHILIP KOLIN

This is a practical, workshop-based course introducing students to the world/culture of scholarly publishing. We will begin with a discussion of how and why scholarly publishing helps to shape and  to  promote the mission of a college/department and  then look at the various resources available to students to help them  begin their scholarly careers. The course will  assist students find, develop, and document publishable topics, identify appropriate journals/presses for their work, communicate with editors, and go through the revision/production processes.  Students will be asked to write a variety of scholarly works, including a review of a current book in their field(s), an interview with a distinguished writer, artist,  or scholar (either on our campus or in the larger world of letters), a short historical/bibliographic/biographical  essay (of about 2500-3000 words), and a long, carefully documented article (at least 25 pages). For this last assignment, students can revise a previous research/seminar paper. As part of the course requirements, students will be asked to submit  their work to appropriate journals, thus giving them valuable first-hand experience that, we hope, results in an acceptance, or two, or more. The instructor is eager to share his 37 years of experience  editing scholarly journals with the class but   also  hopes to invite guest speakers, including  an editor of an  interdisciplinary journal on campus,  a representative from a university press, and some published scholars from the Department of English as well as from  other fields in the College of Arts and Letters.

 

721: SEMINAR IN FICTION WRITING - PROF. RICK BARTHELME

 

721: SEMINAR IN FICTION WRITING - PROF. STEVE BARTHELME

 

722: SEMINAR IN FICTION WRITING - DR. ANGELA BALL

 

754: SEMINAR IN MEDIEVAL LITERATURE - DR. KAY HARRIS

 

764: VICTORIANISM:  “MAD SCIENCE” - DR. MOLLY CLARK HILLARD

This course will engage in a broad study of Victorian literature and culture, taking as a special interest those texts that are preoccupied with the rise of Victorian science, industry, and technology. While the syllabus is not finalized, students might, for instance, expect to read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, Alfred Tennyson’s In Memoriam, George Eliot’s Middlemarch, Charles Dickens’s Bleak House, Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South, the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. We will also take up related cultural readings in galvanism, natural history, burial and funeral custom, evolution, medicine, disease and contagion, and artistic representations of science. We shall encounter such recurring themes as grave robbery, monstrosity, improperly buried corpses, the fossil record, spontaneous human combustion, automata and other artificial life, and the emerging scientific and pseudoscientific theories regarding race, class, and gender. Whether literary artists feared or welcomed the age of discovery, their works are infused with the language and narrative of scientific endeavor.