Please be advised that the Montana University System is moving toward common numbering for all courses at all public institutions in Montana. The prefixes for many courses have changed as part of this conversion. For example, all ENLT courses are now known as LIT courses. For more information, please visit New Course Numbers.
For more information, please see The Catalogue.
CREATIVE WRITING - CRWR (formerly ENCR) – SEARCH OFFERED CLASSES!
CRWR 115L - Montana Writers Live - Robert Stubblefield
In Montana Writers Live, we will explore the diversity of regional literature with an eye to its place in the larger literary traditions. Students will both read and hear works read aloud by some of Montana’s leading authors, and will study both the craft and the content of their writings. Class meetings will open with discussion - a review of assigned readings and the critical, social, historical and/or political issues explored by the guest writer’s work. Following a live reading, the writer will discuss his or her works with the class and answer questions about their careers and the elements of their craft. Included in the roster will be writers who produce poetry, novels, short stories, essays, plays, and screenplays. Students will prepare questions for the writers developed from a packet of readings and criticism. Grades are determined by attendance/participation, midterm, and a final examination.
CRWR 210 - Introduction to Creative Writing: Fiction
Offered every term. An introductory writing workshop focused on the reading, discussion, and revision of students' short fiction. Students will also be introduced to models of fiction techniques. No prior experience in writing short fiction required.
Acquire foundational skills in reading, discussing and writing short fiction
Demonstrate an understanding of the terminology and concepts that apply to fiction
Practice the art of writing and revising short fiction
Learn to critique the quality of one’s own work and that of fellow students
CRWR 211 - Introduction to Creative Writing: Poetry
Offered every term. An introductory writing workshop focused on the reading, discussion, and revision of students' poems. Students also will be introduced to models of poetic techniques. No prior experience in writing poetry required.
Acquire foundational skills in reading, discussing and writing poetry
Demonstrate an understanding of the terminology and concepts that apply to poetry
Practice the art of writing and revising poetry
Learn to critique the quality of one’s own work and that of fellow students
CRWR 212 - Introduction to Creative Writing: Nonfiction
Offered every semester. Study of the art of nonfiction through reading and responding to contemporary nonfiction and the writing of original nonfiction works. Focus is on creative expression, writing technique and nonfiction forms. Students begin with writing exercises and brief essays, advancing to longer forms as the semester progresses.
Acquire foundational skills in reading, discussing and writing essays
Demonstrate an understanding of the terminology and concepts that apply to creative nonfiction
Practice the art of writing and revising nonfiction works
Learn to critique the quality of their one’s work and that of fellow students
CRWR 491.01 - Storytelling: Life breath, original voices - Debra Magpie Earling
“You should understand / the way it was / back then, / because it is the same / even now.”
Leslie Marmon Silko
“the different season as season follows season, the climate different as well, / spring comes (not as brutal as it once was, back there, back then; / back there, back then: a thing fled, another house, another land, less tender / vaguely remembered, just a few papers and photographs left) / the sky another color, and other sounds, other heat, / more rain, and a different color to the trees (greener but a lighter green) / comes imperceptibly (the leaves not falling): / and birds, more birds, more living things (fireflies for instance, but in another season)”
Pascalle Monnier Bayart
Our lives are stories. History itself is a grand story woven together of many stories. And what is your place in the fabric of stories - what stories do you hold that once shared will help others to see the world with new eyes? There has been a resurgence of storytelling in this country and around the world. Traditional American Indian stories were told in deepest winter so the people could survive. Stories lifted the people from hunger, from death and made them see visions of perseverance and hope. Some traditional stories spun a furious wind of telling and stories would travel great distances at astonishing speeds revealing that story, voice, and the spoken breath is a mighty vehicle that possesses its own authority. And it is no different today than it was back then - we tell stories to survive. Isabelle Allende, says, “A story is a living creature with its own destiny and my job is to allow it to tell itself.”
In this class, we will look at traditional and not so traditional ways of storytelling. We will seek out myths and modern myths, urban legends and ghost stories, humorous stories, gossip stories, miraculous and everyday stories but all the stories we will hear will create a firestorm of stories and with it new inspiration for writing and for living. This is a class for everyone, the writer, the storyteller, and the listener but come prepared for a life-changing event for stories are a powerful entity.
CRWR 511 - Poetry Workshop: Code of Our Poetic Signals - Prageeta Sharma
In this workshop we will create exercises, constraints, and poems based on close readings of established and innovative poets. We will come together as peers and analyze poems for their use of structure, language moves, conceptual practices, and sound in order to examine what enables these poems to work as models upon which we construct our own. As a group we will generate an ongoing list of favorite and least-favorite poems and discuss their significance, by which I mean their craft, innovation, and canonical (or counter-culture) importance. We will also present work by our peers. I will assign the following poets, and a supplemental reader filled with essays on poetics, literary theory, and esoteric subjects that I hope will fuel our imaginative and generative creative practices.Â Poets read and discussed: John Ashbery, Sherwin Bitsui, Don Mee Choi, Major Jackson, Bhanu Kapil, Dorothea Lasky, Marianne Moore, Vanessa Place, Wallace Stevens, Marjorie Welish, and others.
CRWR 513 - Techniques of Modern Nonfiction - David Gates
We'll be reading and discussing books and shorter pieces in a variety of nonfictional genres: personal essays, literary essays, criticism, memoir, reportage, biography, profiles, etc., as well as some hybrid pieces that combine these genres. We'll be looking at a few earlier writers, such as Montaigne, Johnson and Hazlitt, as well as modern and contemporary figures; we'll examine how they may have gone about assembling and organizing their information and analyses, and consider how style, voice and tone serve the work.
CRWR 515 - Traditional Prosody - Greg Pape
Prosody: "The principles of verse structure. These involve diverse elements, such as stress, duration, and the number of syllables in a line, the nature and distribution of vowels and consonants, rhythm, metrical scheme, stanzaic pattern, and of course, the nature of the language itself."
In this course we will study prosody through example, analysis, and experiment. There will be assignments that focus on some aspect of prosody or form, and students will write their best within the limitations of the assignments. The goal of the course is to learn about traditional prosody (which includes free verse) and craft while writing the best poems we can.
We will read and discuss in workshop the results of the assignments, as well as traditional and contemporary models.
ENGLISH TEACHING - ENT – SEARCH OFFERED CLASSES!
EXPOSITORY WRITING – WRIT (formerly ENEX)
– SEARCH OFFERED CLASSES!
COMPOSITION: During autumn semester, WRIT 101 is restricted to students whose last names begin with the letters A-L. During spring semester, WRIT 101 is restricted to students whose last names begin with the letters M-Z.
WRIT 101 - College Writing I (Prereq: ENEX 100/WTS 100/WTS 100D/WRIT 095D completion, proof of appropriate SAT/ACT essay, combined English/writing, writing section scores, appropriate MUSWA scores, or proof of passing scores on Writing Placement Exam)
Expository prose and research paper; emphasis on structure, argument, development of ideas, clarity, style, and diction. Students expected to write without major faults in grammar or usage.
WRIT 201 - College Writing II (Prereq: WRIT 101, Lower-Division Writing Course)
In this course, we will be studying the essay as the truly ubiquitous genre it is. It could be argued that the essay is the most prevalent genre of writing present in contemporary American culture since this broad category includes things like academic essays, editorials, blogs, travel journals, and sports writing, to name a few. Our study this semester will focus on the way arguments are made, and you will have the opportunity to study arguments as a reader and enact those practices as a writer.
Much of your work in this class will involve different kinds of collaboration, including small group workshops and discussions that will take place in class. Because writing development is an important process that takes place over time an across different writing situations, all WRIT 201 classes use portfolio evaluation as a primary means of evaluation. By the end of the semester you should be able to accurately and subtly assess a given rhetorical situation and make effective rhetorical choices based your assessment. And you should be able to write a graceful, convincing, beautifully written argument.
FILM STUDIES – FILM (Formerly ENFM) – SEARCH OFFERED CLASSES!
FILM 381 - Film, Poetry and the Avant Garde - Prageeta Sharma
This course is inspired by and loosely based on Daniel Kane’s We Saw the Light”: Conversations Between The New American Cinema and Poetry, which will be the primary text for the class. In this class we will develop our own aesthetic connections between poetry and film by looking at how their respective “movements” overlap, take shape, and represent a lively and uniquely “American” avant-garde, one that has shaped the last fifty + years of innovative filmmaking and non-narrative, conceptual, and experimental poetry. We will examine different regions where film and poetry connected and shaped art movements (New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Denver, for example.) We will also look at filmmakers whose work has changed the way mainstream audiences look at narrative and non-narrative film (Spike Jonze, David Lynch, and Terrence Malick, for example). Poets and filmmakers discussed: Kenneth Anger, Stan Brackhage, William Burroughs & Brion Gysin, Maya Deren, Nathaniel Dorksy, Willliam Greaves, Lisa Jarnot, Leroi Jones, Jeanne Liotta, Jennifer Reeves, and many others - including guest filmmakers from our local community. Students have the option, in addition to writing critically about film and poetry, to complete a series of experimental films and poems connected to the works of the filmmakers and poets discussed.
IRISH STUDIES PROGRAM – ENIR – SEARCH OFFERED CLASSES!
ENIR 360 - Contemporary Irish & Northern Irish Literature - Eric Reimer
In this course we will study an exciting and provocative selection of fiction, poetry, drama, film, and music of Irish and Northern Irish artists of the past four decades. The primary goal of the course will be to understand how contemporary artists are responding to the burdens of history, identity, and political conflict, as well as articulating the challenges and possibilities created by the profound changes (social, economic, cultural, political, etc.) attending a new world order. Regarding Northern Ireland, after surveying some of the literary responses to the political conflict euphemistically known as the “Troubles,” we’ll study the inspiring (though still fragile) peace process in Northern Ireland. Ultimately, students will be expected to leave with a basic familiarity with Irish history in the twentieth century through the present, and with a more informed understanding of the crisis and subsequent peace in Northern Ireland. Our featured writers may include William Trevor, Colm Toibin, Bernard MacLaverty, Anne Devlin, Marie Jones, Frank McGuinness, Robert McLiam Wilson, Edna O’Brien, Dermot Healy, Sebastian Barry, Seamus Heaney, Ciaran Carson, Eavan Boland, Paul Muldoon, and others.
LITERATURE – LIT (formerly ENLT) – SEARCH OFFERED CLASSES!
LIT 201 - Introduction to Literary Studies - Rob Browning
LIT 201 is an introduction to the English major and the discipline of literary studies more broadly. The aim of this course is for each participant to become a more perceptive reader of literature in the genres of poetry, drama, and prose fiction. While we will study a small selection of works from these three genres, this course is designed chiefly to help students acquire and practice the transferable skills one needs to read and write about literary works, of any sort, beyond the scope of this particular course. Through readings in literary criticism and visits from English department faculty, we shall learn about a range of interpretive approaches that literary scholars are employing today in their research and teaching. This course will familiarize students with the conventions of and expectations for writing about literature at the college level. Required Texts: Arp and Johnson, Perrine’s Sound and Sense (12th edition); Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Penguin); Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Tales (Norton Critical Edition); DeLillo, White Noise (Penguin).
LIT 211 - American Literature Since 1865 - Brady Harrison
LIT 211 explores a limited number of extraordinary American poems, stories, and novels (and one film) produced after the Civil War. We’ll situate the texts in their cultural, historical, and especially literary contexts, and explore such major movements as romanticism, realism, regionalism, naturalism, and modernism. The course also involves the advanced study of literary terms and concepts. Over the course of the semester, we’ll work on close reading skills and the (smart) interpretation of literary texts.
Texts (Subject to Revision!)
Chopin, Kate. The Awakening and Other Stories. (Oxford.)
Eliot, T.S. The Wasteland and Other Writings. (Modern Library.)
Faulkner, William. Go Down, Moses. (Vintage.)
Hacker, Diane. A Pocket Style Manual 5th Ed. (Bedford/St. Martin’s.)
Hughes, Langston. Selected Poems. (Vintage.)
Murfin, Ross C and Supryia M. Ray. The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms 3rd
Ed. (Bedford/St. Martin’s.)
Morrison, Toni. Beloved. (Vintage.)
Whitman, Walt. Leaves of Grass. (Bantam Classics.)
LIT 220 - British Literature: Medieval through Early Modern - Ashby Kinch
*Required possession for all English majors
The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. 1. 8th Edition, eds. Greenblatt, et al. (2006)
*Murfin, Ross and Supryia M. Ray. The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms (Bedford, 1997).
*Hacker, Diane. A Pocket Style Manual. (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 5th ed. 2008; any edition will do)
Moodle Course Supplement: accessible at http://umonline.umt.edu/
*You will need to be able to access and work on Moodle to complete this class.
This survey intends to provide students with a historical, cultural, linguistic, and intellectual framework for understanding the literature produced in Britain between the 8th century, when Anglo-Saxon culture produced its first major literary texts, and the 17th century, when citizens of a modern British state published texts in a wide range of literary genres for a rapidly-expanding public readership. To address such a wide cultural span in such a short space of time - just under a century per week, on average - is a Herculean task. But this kind of survey creates an invaluable context for your future reading, which will augment, amplify, and complicate the narrative of this class. There will be five periods covered: Anglo-Saxon (8th-11th centuries), Anglo-Norman (11th-14th centuries), late medieval/Middle English (14th-15th centuries), the Renaissance (16th century) and the Early Modern period (17th century through the Restoration). The course will introduce you to specific literary and cultural problems, which you will then address in greater detail in discussion section and short writing assignments. Students will be expected to: master some basic vocabulary for literary analysis (the Department’s list of literary terms, drawn from The Bedford Glossary); develop their skills in close reading of poetry; and read both broadly and deeply in the history of British literature. You will be introduced to major conceptual and theoretical problems relevant to the study of literary history that you will develop further in your undergraduate career: the interpretive impact of historical and cultural context on reading literature, the role of national identity in the formation of a literary canon, and the role of gender relations in the production and interpretation of literary texts.
LIT 221 - British Literature: Enlightenment to Romantics - Rob Browning
This course surveys the rich variety of British literature composed between 1660 and 1830, beginning with selections from John Milton’s epic Paradise Lost and concluding with Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein. Romantic authors such as Blake, Barbauld, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and the Shelleys thought of themselves as kindred spirits with Milton, sharing a vision for imaginative writing and cultural change inspired by the political revolutions of their respective times. Between these visionary "peaks" of early-modern literature is the movement known as "the Enlightenment," a period of mounting optimism about the power of reason to advance knowledge in science and philosophy, to reform religion, and to promote social justice. The core of this course will be our examination of the different ways creative authors engage with the promises of Enlightenment ideals, which will involve thinking about the cultural workings of different literary kinds: chiefly, heroic verse, satire, the novel, and the lyric. Our main critical approach, therefore, shall be to study aesthetic forms within the context of the time they were composed. A special opportunity for us this fall will be UM's stage production of William Wycherley's The Country Wife, a comedy of the Restoration period we shall be studying.
Required Texts: The Norton Anthology of English Literature, volumes C and D; John Milton, Paradise Lost (any edition); William Wycherley, The Country Wife (U. of Nebraska P.); Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (Norton Critical Edition).
LIT 222L - British Literature: Victorian to Contemporary - John Glendening
The goal of this course is to familiarize students with the history of British literature (authors, works, periods, trends) from around 1830 to the present, helping them to place texts within their cultural and literary contexts and to comprehend, in general, the relationship between British literature and the shaping of the modern world. Students should gain understanding of (1) relevant cultural issues (e.g., literacy, urbanism, class structure, capitalism, science, technology, religion, imperialism, gender roles) as they relate to literature; (2) important literary trends (e.g., romanticism, realism, naturalism, aestheticism, modernism); (3) significant authors and their works; and (4) terms and concepts relevant to the assigned texts. It is hoped that students will gain appreciation for the exploratory power of literary art as it engages human experience. The bulk of the classes will be lecture, but there will also be discussion sessions. Students will write three papers, revising one of them, and take midterm and final examinations along with a number of short pop quizzes.
LIT 300 - Literary Criticism - Katie Kane
In this introductory course in literary and cultural theory, we will attempt to explore representative schools of and issues in contemporary criticism (formalism, postmodernism, eco-criticism, postcolonial/colonial criticism/psychoanalytic criticism). We will be working, therefore, to build an analytic and critical vocabulary for the activity of reading select number of texts from the canons of literary criticism and from the canons of Anglo-phone culture.
In addition to this “first-principles” objective, however, we will also attempt to engage with such complexities of the current theoretical debate as “the question of the author,” the reconciliation of form and content, the agon of canon formation and canon busting, and, finally, with the crucial issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality.
Throughout the course we will be moving toward our current early twenty-first century moment in which the range and scope of the labor of the literary critic seems - in light of the rise of a host of non-traditional representational and narrative forms - to be both expanding and contracting. Film, video games, the world of the digital, social media, all require the decoding and demystifying work of the engaged critic.
LIT 332 - The Paris Expatriates - Brady Harrison
LIT 332 explores a limited number of extraordinary American poems, stories, and novels either composed or set (or both) in Paris during the heady decade of the 1920s. Before turning to Paris and the remarkable gathering of visual and literary artists from across Europe and North America, we’ll set the scene for the so-called “Lost Generation” and the artistic and cultural ascendancy of Moderns with a mini-unit on World War I and its diverse impacts on Western beliefs, thought, art, and more: we will not only learn about major battles and the course of the war, but also read some of the greatest poetry and short fiction ever produced about wholesale violence and its aftermaths. From there, we’ll turn to city of lights via Gertrude Stein’s The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas and excerpts from Three Lives and her essays on contemporary painters such as Cezanne, Matisse, and Picasso. Armed with both images of war and the brilliance of Stein’s writing and salons, we’ll then turn to the work of some of the most celebrated American writers of the twentieth century - Djuna Barnes, Kay Boyle, John Dos Passos, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ernest Hemingway - and explore the cultural and literary experiments and achievements of the American expatriates in Paris.
Texts (Subject to Revision!)
Barnes, Djuna. Nightwood. (New Directions.)
Boyle, Kay. Life Being the Best & Other Stories. (New Directions.)
Dos Passos, John. The 42nd Parallel (Mariner.)
Eliot, T.S. The Annotated Wasteland with Eliot’s Contemporary Prose 2nd Ed. (Yale UP.)
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. Tender Is the Night. (Scribner.)
Hemingway, Ernest. The Sun Also Rises. (Scribner.)
Korte, Barbara. (Ed.) The Penguin Book of First World War Stories. (Penguin.)
Stein, Gertrude. The Selected Writings of Gertrude Stein. (Vintage.)
Ward, Candace. (Ed.)Â World War One British Poets. (Dover.)
LIT 350L - Chaucer (Honors) - Ashby Kinch
Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Riverside Canterbury Tales, ed. by Larry D. Benson. Boston and New York: Houghton-Mifflin Company, 2000 The Riverside Chaucer, 3rd ed.
As spy, soldier, diplomat, tax officer, minister of the King’s works, and Member of Parliament, Chaucer accumulated an incredible breadth and diversity of social experience, which he shaped into one of the great works of social imagination: The Canterbury Tales. These diverse identities relate directly to Chaucer’s principal attributes as a poet: his famously capacious intellect, his linguistic complexity, his ear for dialect, and his interest in the shared joys and anxieties that simultaneously draw us together and pull us apart. This course will explore the cultural context from which Chaucer emerged to define a new English literary voice in a work that simultaneously synthesizes the major genres of medieval literature that influenced this capacious intellect and announces a new beginning for imaginative writing in English. First, we will become comfortable with Chaucer’s Middle English through a close reading of the General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales. As we do so, we will navigate the available sources of information about Chaucer’s life, allowing students to come to their own conclusions about Chaucer’s “character,” before we tackle his masterpiece of courtly writing, Troilus and Criseyde and selected Tales. As a unique feature of this Honors section of the course, we will spend at least two full weeks in Special Collections looking at manuscript facsimiles and print editions of Chaucer’s text, including an original print edition of the 1561 blackletter Chaucer. Students will then construct their own projects with this material, which might include a variety of disciplinary or methodological approaches, including creative response.
In addition to the General Education goals, this course pursues the goal of: student mastery of the basic outlines of Chaucer’s biography, with reference to their importance in understanding his literary output; student engagement with the fundamentals of manuscript and textual scholarship.
As an Honors designated section, this course will have limited enrollment (20 students), but all students, including majors and non-majors, are welcome to enroll.
LIT 355 - Romantic Natures - Louise Economides
In this course, we’ll explore the complex (and, at times, contradictory) meanings which the term “nature” had for writers of the Romantic period. We’ll examine debates among writers regarding “natural rights” and/or whether there is a universal human subject which should serve a basis for political enfranchisement. Similarly, we’ll address the question of whether Romantic writers naturalize political issues (such as poverty, gender or race identity) in potentially problematic ways. We will also expand the scope of our discussion of “natural rights” to include the issue of whether non-human entities could (hypothetically) be included within the scope of such an ethic. We’ll see that a range of writers debate the question of whether there should be a firm line drawn between humans and animals on this issue. Finally, we’ll address whether Romantic-era writing reflects what could be called a nascent “environmental” consciousness - i.e. an awareness of nature as a web of interconnected ecosystems, concern regarding environmental degradation in the form of pollution and resource exploitation, and a desire to preserve biodiversity. There will be an emphasis on connecting Romantic thought about nature to ongoing, unresolved controversies today over what this term signifies and/or whether it has become “obsolete” in the post-modern era.
LIT 391 - Fin de Siecle: Gender, Empire, Science - John Glendening
In its British context, the Fin de Siecle (“end of century”) signifies the last decade or so of the Victorian era and thus the turn of the century from the nineteenth to the twentieth. The phrase is most associated with the literary and artistic trends embodied in the movements known as Aestheticism and Decadence with their emphases on “art for art’s sake” and the superiority of art and artifice over nature and morality. The pervasive intellectual and emotional disposition of the period was one of disillusionment and cynicism in the face of perceived cultural decline, although many people, including a number of influential writers, resisted these perceptions. The Fin de Siecle in Britain witnessed intellectual and aesthetic contentions reflecting broad societal concerns about gender, class, empire, scientific theory, technological change, crime, religion, and much else. Assigned readings for this course include works by such well-known authors as Oscar Wilde, Robert Louis Stevenson, Thomas Hardy, George Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells, Bram Stoker, and Rudyard Kipling, all of whom responded to a time when modernity was becoming aware of itself as a process of incessant change leading to an unknown future. For this course students will take midterm and final exams along with a number of unannounced quizzes over readings, and they will write two critical essays and some informal responses.
LIT 391 - Vietnamese Literature in English Translation - Quan Ha
To many Americans, the word Vietnam is usually associated with the Vietnam War. Literature about Vietnam published in the U.S. is primarily written by American veterans, and it often focuses on traumatic memories and psychological wounds experienced by U.S. soldiers.
This course introduces you to a Vietnam as a country and to the soul of the Vietnamese people, as they are portrayed in English-translated literary texts. The readings focus on socio-economic, cultural, historical, and political factors that have informed the development of modern Vietnamese literature since 1900. We will study how Vietnamese society and the lives of the Vietnamese people are reflected in literature through various historical periods, under French colonialism, the American occupation, and the leadership of the Vietnamese Communist Party as well as the Party’s liberalization of literary activities following the Renovation/Reform policy introduced in 1986.
(This course satisfies both the Diversity and Southeast Asian Studies requirements.)
LIT 420 - Critical Race Theory - Quan Ha
The birth of postcolonial theory has given rise to the study of race and ethnicity in literature. In this course, besides two major books on Race Theory, Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic’s Critical Race Theory (2001) and Michael Omi and Howard Winant’s Racial Formation in the United States from the 1960s to the 1990s (1994), we will read selected novels and stories written by Asian American, African American, Mexican American, Muslim American, Cuban American, and Native American authors to examine the following major issues:
-Racial formation, racial politics, and paradigms of race
-Identity, history, politics and the problems of essentialist thinking
-National, racial, sexual, and gendered cultures
-Whiteness, racial purity, race as a socio-historical construct
-The relationship between legal studies and critical race theory
-Cultural nationalism, color blindness, differential racialization, Eurocentrism, double and multiple consciousness, etc.
-Internal colonialism, cultural domination and resistance, superexploitation, etc.
LIT 420 - Buddhist Hermeneutics and American Poetics - David Gilcrest
This course traces the influence of Buddhist thought and practice on American writers. Beginning with the partial translation of the Saddharmapundarika Sutra by Elizabeth Palmer Peabody published in The Dial in 1844, we will follow the reception and transformation of Buddhism in diverse literary contexts from Transcendentalism through Modernism, the Beats, the Counterculture, Postmodernism(s), and Posthumanism(s). Throughout we will foreground the diverse ethnic and cross-cultural manifestations of Buddhism, the politics of appropriation and hybridization, and the prospects for authentic American Buddhist literary expression.
LIT 494 - Senior Capstone Seminar - Ulysses and Intertextuality - John Hunt
This capstone course will require you to develop a research project of your own devising, give two presentations to the class during the course of the semester, and complete a long (20 pp.) paper that includes an annotated bibliography. The central text will be a famous monument of 20th century fiction, James Joyce’s Ulysses. Your level of experience with this novel does not matter. Joyce’s masterwork begins to make really good sense only on the second reading, and it continues to improve through many later readings, so those who have already read it will still be challenged and rewarded. For those who have never attempted to read the book, or who have tried and given up, plenty of class time will be dedicated to close reading. But as we advance through the novel, you will also be discovering what interests you among the many thousands of other texts that the book alludes to and incorporates into its fictional universe: epic poems, short lyrics, stories and novels, plays, songs, essays, nursery rhymes, religious rituals, philosophical ideas, saints’ lives, moments in Irish history, developments in natural science and medicine, events in the author’s life, features of life in 1904 Dublin, staples of Victorian and Edwardian culture. Such extra-textual presences are so pervasive in the novel that you will have no shortage of topics to explore, and you will be free to roam widely. As the semester goes on, I will ask you to focus on one strand and follow it through the labyrinth, showing how it unifies the book.
LIT 500 - Introduction to Graduate Studies - Eric Reimer
Strongly recommended for new graduate students pursuing (or advanced undergraduate students thinking about) an M.A. in English, this course introduces students to the major theoretical debates, operative issues, and current practices in the field of literary studies. We’ll discuss the principles and methods of scholarly research, the standards for conducting inquiry and contemplating writing at the graduate level (with attention to seminar papers, conference presentations, and, of course, the graduate thesis), and pedagogies and approaches to engaged teaching. Throughout the semester, we will generally seek to gather and share practical strategies for succeeding in graduate studies at U.M. and in one’s subsequent professional and scholarly endeavors. Because an important goal of the course will be to become conversant in the study of the major critical approaches to literature, we’ll spend a significant portion of the course reading and discussing seminal works of literary theory, becoming attuned, in the process, to the ways such issues as gender, race, class, ideology, ethnicity, power, language, history, textuality, etc. shape the field of literary study.
LIT 521 - Rethinking the American West as Region: The Urban, the Rural and the Quotidian Wests in a Global World - Nancy Cook
This course will place theories - from Critical Regionalism, cultural geography, Studies of the Everyday, and Affect Theory - in conversation with a body of literary texts in which the North American West matters. We will look at “the West” as an imagined construct as well as a set of geographical locations, with particular attention to the ways in which location figures as gendered, temporal, multicultural, classed, urban, rural, national, historical, geographical, and psychological. Some of the questions we might ask include: How do writers represent place? How does an author’s cultural and historical position contribute to the representation of place? How much of the author’s project involves revision, redefinition, or reclamation of place? How does a writer represent her relationship with/to the land? What are the relationships between genre and the representation of place? How does the text work to make distinctions between places, to set a place apart, to define it? Is there a quotidian west and how is it textually located? How/what does “the West” mean for each author? Are there strategies common to what we call “western writing,” or does western sub-regional writing differ too greatly for any generalizations? Does western writing differ significantly from writing outside the region? We’ll interrogate assumptions, apparent consequences, and we’ll worry at least one hypothesis: western writing registers as “western” both because of its treatment of geography and its treatment of everyday life. Â In posing these questions, we will be working through a variety of critical discourses, as we consider the pleasures and dangers of interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary work. How are a discipline’s underlying assumptions and values compromised or adapted when used in a different discipline? What theoretical approaches work well for the reading of literature as region and place specific?
I expect diligent attendance, a commitment to spirited discussion, intensive and extensive reading, and a professional goal and outcome for each of you. You may expect to write regularly, to give presentations in class, and to develop a project that will demonstrate your engagement with the texts we read. Required reading includes work on critical regionalism, Ben Highmore’s work on the Everyday, Cresswell on Place, and Kathleen Stewart’s Ordinary Affect. We will read literary works drawn from some of the following writers: Gilb, Blunt, Waldie, McGuane, McNamer, Galvin, Fuller, Puchner, and others both familiar and obscure.
LIT 522 - The Trial in Literature - Casey Charles
Social conflict often finds resolution through the staging of a dramatic ritual that leads to some form of redress, Victor Turner observed, drawing attention to the theatrical nature of the trial, and more broadly to a reciprocity between law and literary process.
As we consider the current debates about law as literature and literature as law, we will examine how the trial emerges as a panoptic and symbolic space where the law struggles to promote objective notions of “truth” and “justice,” even as it defends itself against the ambiguities of language and the politics of legal authority. Through the study of novels, stories, drama, and film, this course focuses on literature’s reliance upon and critique of the trial as a venue where innocence and guilt is determined. We will examine canonical trial literature, American literary encounters with the trial, and finally stories from truth and reconciliation processes in South Africa and Chile. Some probable texts include
A Passage to India
The Crucible/Salem Witch Trials
Arc of Justice
Anatomy of a Murder (film)
A Frolic of One’s Own
Death and the Maiden
LIT 595 - Cultural Studies: Critical Theories of Mass and Popular Culture - Katie Kane
This course engages with one of the last great schools of literary theory to emerge out of the theory-rich end of the twentieth century: Cultural Studies. Radically inter-disciplinary, Cultural Studies combines literary studies, media theory, political economy, cultural anthropology, philosophy, museum studies and art history/criticism, among other things. Insisting, as one of its founders, Raymond Williams, does, that “culture is ordinary” Cultural Studies considers the objects of high and low culture in order to understand them on their own terms but also to comprehend their relatedness to issues of ideology and identity.
The course will provide a general introduction to Cultural Studies, emphasizing the history, theoretical foundations, and disciplinary boundaries the field in both its American and British and American iterations. In order to develop a working sense of Cultural Studies as a discipline and a methodology, the work of Stuart Hall identifying key “interruptions” in the intellectual development of Cultural Studies will be of particular importance: the conflictual and crucial relationship of Cultural Studies and Marxism (especially the question of ideology); the challenge to Cultural Studies posed by feminism; and the tension and collaboration between theorists of critical race theory and Cultural Studies.
Objects of inquiry will involve literary and filmic texts, subcultures and subcultural practices (bikes and burlesque will, as contemporary forms of cultural production receive some prolonged attention), the relationship between “maids and massas” under the epistemic logic of British Empire, and early twenty-first century consumer culture.