Spring registration will open on Wednesday November 6. It usually goes active at around 9am eastern time when the Registrar arrives to begin work that day. Some classes fill up rather quickly, and most of the classes eventually reach max capacity, so the only way to ensure you get your first-pick of courses each semester is to register as soon as possible once registration begins. If anyone has any questions about course selections I can help at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can see the courses we’re running in the post directly below this one.
Below are descriptions of the six spring 2020 courses. Fuller descriptions for some of these will be provided as they are submitted by the various professors.
- ENGL 506: History of Poetic Forms (Dr. Fritz)
The course will study the major forms and conventions of poetry that have developed in literature from classical models to the present. Wherever possible, particular poems from different historical contexts will be compared and analyzed to demonstrate how these forms and conventions have developed and been adapted to specific personal, ideological, or cultural pressures. Fulfills the Writing & Literary Forms group requirement or an elective.
- 514: Jorge Luis Borges and Julio Cortázar (Dr. Vasile)
[Temporary description] This “major authors” course will focus on the work of Borges and Cortazar. Fulfills an elective.
- 524: Reason & Imagination (Dr. Sax)
This study of English literature between 1650 and 1850 examines Neoclassicism and Romanticism as two opposed aesthetic and philosophical stances. It traces the political, ideological, and literary roots of Neoclassicism in the English “Glorious Revolution” of 1688, the late seventeenth-century growth of rationalism and empirical science, followed by the flowering of Neoclassicism and then the shift in sensibility that led to the emergence of Romanticism. Fulfills a Literature Group 1 field requirement or an elective.
- 525: Victorian Age in Lit (Dr. Dugan)
If one were asked to define the timeline of Victorian literature, one might be hard-pressed to do so. As literary genres are fluid, it is hard to determine when the Romantic Period ends and the Victorian Period begins, and when the Victorian Period ends and Modernism begins. Whatever the dates, a defining characteristic of Victorian England would be change, change matched with a belief in progress: societal, religious, economic, and artistic. While some benefited from these changes, others did not. The semester we will look closely at issues that challenge the notions of change and progress, notably the role of women, industrialism, gender roles, and poverty as shown in fiction, poetry, and drama of the Victorian age. Fulfills a Literature Group 1 field requirement or an elective.
- 544: Frontiers of Lit: Cyberpunk, Speculative Fiction, & Technoculture (Dr. Loots)
Each instance of ENGL 544 explores different “frontiers” depending on professor specialty. This instance of the course will focus on literature and media that tend to the frontiers of humanity and identity in the age of technoculture (the culture of our internet-era). Readings will include “cyberpunk” and other speculative fiction from the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s (e.g. writings of William Gibson, Pat Cadigan, and Neal Stephenson); and contemporary writings such as Jia Tolentino’s Trick Mirror and Dave Eggers’ The Circle. Visual media might include episodes of Black Mirror or Mr. Robot; TED talks; and films such as Ingrid Goes West, Blade Runner, or Ex-Machina. Altogether we will consider, through fiction and essay and film, the implications of humanity’s increasing interweave with computer technology, social media, artificial intelligence, and online/virtual realities — with the way that humanity is becoming posthuman or cyborg. Fulfills a Literature Group 2 requirement or an elective.
- 560: Toni Morrison (Dr. Morales)
[Temporary description] This course will focus on the work of the late Toni Morrison. Fulfills a Literature Group 2 requirement or an elective.
Update: The spring 2020 graduate English course schedule is set now with six courses. I will post course descriptions for these in a new blog entry within a week or two. For now, here are the six courses we will run in spring 2020:
- 506: History of Poetic Forms (Dr. Fritz)
- 514: Luis Borges and Julio Cortazar (Dr. Vasile)
- 524: From Reason to Imagination (Dr. Sax)
- 525: Victorian Age in Lit (Dr. Dugan)
- 544: Frontiers of Lit: Cyberpunk, Speculative Fiction, & Technoculture (Dr. Loots)
- 560: Toni Morrison (Dr. Morales)
Registration opens March 6th (Approx 9am Eastern) for Summer and Fall 2019 Semesters.
ENGL 500 is the MA program’s NY State “core course” which means all students must complete it as a part of their degree requirements. The course runs during each fall semester, and only during each fall semester.
Entrance into the fall 2019 instance of ENGL 500 is going to be by permit-only. Every single student who needs to take 500 this fall will get a seat. Students who need to take the course this fall are those who are on track to graduate prior to the fall 2020 semester but who have not yet completed the course. Once every student who needs the course this fall has been enrolled, we will also give permits to other students interested in taking the course this fall.
We’re doing this to ensure that students who must have the course this fall do not find themselves shut out of the course.
The first step in this process is for everyone who has not yet completed 500 and who plans to complete their MA degree prior to fall 2020 to email the program director now at email@example.com indicating that you need the course. We will begin building a list of all students who need it and will begin entering permits for these students later this spring semester after general registration opens.
Students who do not plan to graduate prior to fall 2020 but who would like a seat in this fall 2019 instance of the course should also email the program director now at firstname.lastname@example.org indicating interest. Once all students who need the course this time around have enrolled, we will begin issuing permits to the remaining students in the order that they emailed their request, first come first serve. If anyone has any questions about any of this, contact the director at email@example.com.
Registration for the summer and fall semesters will open soon, probably within a month or so, possibly sooner. I will post the specific registration-opening date here on the blog as soon as the Registrar’s office has settled it. Note that while some students in the program like to take summer coursework other students prefer to follow the traditional fall/spring semester schedule; and this is why we run just two or three courses during the summer semester.
- ENGL 510 – Theory and Practice of Expository Writing (Dr. Dugan)
The course is especially encouraged for any student who is a teacher or who aspires to teach secondary school or college. The course will address the techniques of expository writing as reflected in academic discourse. Ideally, students will develop the general practices of critical writing, but focus their work in their individual fields of interest. These interests may include feminist approaches, deconstructive approaches, research in culture, education, etc. The course will specifically address techniques of analytic organization, and will consider the pedagogy and andragogy of writing. 3 credits. (Fulfills either the Writing & Literary Forms requirement or an elective.)
- ENGL 514 – Animals in Literature (Dr. Sax)
This course looks at the representation of animals in a wide range of literary and folkloric traditions. It will focus, most especially, on the ways in which the literary depiction of animals is intimately tied to changing perspectives on the human condition, which in turn reflect religious, intellectual, governmental, and technological developments. 3 credits. (Fulfills an elective.)
- ENGL 560 – Latino Literature (Dr. Vasile)
This course focuses on the literature of Latinos/Hispanics living in the United States; a growing and important field of American literature. “Latino” and “Hispanic” refer to people living in the United States who have roots in Latin America, Spain, Mexico, South America, or Spanish-speaking Caribbean countries. In this course we will examine texts that make salient the great diversity of literary themes, styles, and social concerns of literary texts written by Latino/a writers. We will study issues such as gender, race, class, diaspora, bilingualism, violence, and community as raised by the various authors whose work we will be examining in this course. Our readings will focus on short stories, poetry, and novels written by writers from various Latino/a groups, including Chicanos, Puerto Ricans, Cuban Americans and Dominican Americans. 3 credits. (Fulfills either a Literature Group 2 requirement or an elective.)
- ENGL 500 Theory (TBD)
This is the program’s core course, meaning the course that everyone must take and for which there are no alternative course options. This course runs once each fall semester, so if you’re aiming to graduate at the end of fall 2019, spring 2020, or summer 2020 and have not yet completed 500, you must enroll in this for fall 2019. The next instance of the course will be fall 2020. NOTE: We’re considering locking registration for this course and instead admitting into it, from our side of the system, only those students on schedule to graduate in fall 2019, spring 2020 or summer 2020. I will keep everyone updated on this plan here on the blog, if and as it develops. Here’s the description for the course:
An introduction to some of the major movements and figures of the theory of criticism. The question “what is literature?” is a primary concern of this course. Such an inquiry necessarily engages other, closely affiliated signifiers such as work/text, writing, reading, interpretation, and signification itself. After brief encounters with ancient antecedents and seminal moderns, influential contemporary approaches to the question concerning literature and its cultural significance are engaged. An assessment of the relative strengths and weaknesses of current trends in the practice of literary criticism, and their theoretical groundwork, is the ultimate objective of this course. 3 credits.
- ENGL 509 – Perspectives on the Essay (Dr. Keckler)
The course studies the essay as a distinct literary genre; some of its characteristics and types; some of its history; and some of its role in reflecting authorial consciousness. Further, this course examines the taxonomy of the essay in terms of its medium (verse or prose), its tone and level of formality, its organizational strategies, and its relationship to its audience and to particular modes of literary production (speech, manuscript, pamphlet, book, magazine, newspaper, etc.). 3 credits. (Fulfills either the Writing & Literary Forms requirement or an elective.)
- ENGL 521 – Medieval Literature (Dr. Fritz)
This course is designed to cultivate students’ awareness of the themes, genres, and issues related to the study of medieval literature. Students will study the major genres of medieval literature, including epics, lays and romances. 3 credits. (Fulfills either a Literature Group 1 requirement or an elective.)
- ENGL 540 – Magic in Literature (Dr. Sax)
This course examines alchemy, together with related activities that now impress us as “magical,” as a virtually all-inclusive discipline which laid much of the foundation for later literature, art, and science. It looks at the beginnings of alchemy in the ancient world, and how these developed, along with the revival of Classical learning, in the Renaissance. Finally, it looks at the continuing influence of magic in Romantic, Modern, and Post-Modern literature and culture. Readings typically include works by Hesiod, Ben Johnson, Shakespeare, E. T. A. Hoffmann, J. K. Rowling and others. Textbooks include The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age by Frances Yates. 3 credits. (Fulfills either a Literature Group 1 requirement or an elective.)
- ENGL 545 – Literature of the Left Bank, Paris (Dr. Loots)
This course examines the diverse people, culture, and writings of the expatriate community of the Parisian Left Bank during the early and mid twentieth century. This includes an exploration of the significance of Sylvia Beach’s Shakespeare & Company bookstore and lending library, and of intellectual and artistic salons such as those of, for example, Natalie Barney and Gertrude Stein. The course will additionally consider the doings and writings of expatriate authors moving through or closely associated with the Parisian Left Bank’s modernist enterprise. An emphasis will be placed on studying the cultural geography of this location which attracted so many of the world’s great writers and artists and gave rise to so many works now considered twentieth century literary masterpieces. 3 credits. (Fulfills a Literature Group 2 requirement or an elective.)
- ENGL 560 – Contemporary Slave Narratives (Dr. Horton)
The slave narrative is a genre that has undergone many transitions – from the formative narratives of the early Atlantic world to the revitalization of the neo-slave narrative during The Civil Rights Era to the twenty-first century multimedia concept of the post-neo-slave narrative. Although slave narratives were prevalent in the early Atlantic world, this genre remains a fundamental element of the twenty-first century literary, historical, and cultural landscape. Due to the multi-modal and interconnected nature of our current cultural moment, contemporary slave narratives are no longer confined to literature and are featured in films, music, and art.
In this course, we will examine early slave narratives by Harriet Jacobs, Harriet Wilson, and Solomon Northup, neo-slave narratives by Sherley Anne Williams and Toni Morrison, and post-neo-slave narratives by Lalita Tademy and Steve McQueen, as well as interrogate scholarship by Margaret Natalie Crawford, Nicole Aljoe, A. Timothy Spaulding, and Ashraf H. A. Rushdy. The goal of this course is to broaden our understanding of the slave narrative tradition, as well as examine how twenty-first century writers, artists, and filmmakers resist and reinforce the original slave narrative concept. This course will include weekly discussion board posts, a midterm exam, and a final project, where students choose between developing a scholarly thesis-based paper or creating a teaching portfolio. 3 credits. (Fulfills a Literature Group 2 requirement or an elective.)
The spring semester begins on Wednesday, January 23. Your Blackboard sections will actually become visible much sooner than that, on the 9th, but keep in mind that in most cases prior to 1/23 your course sections will look like a work in progress, at best. The college makes the sections visible ahead of time to give you a look at the syllabus so to secure the course readings well ahead of the first week of class. But professors aren’t actually obligated to put up a syllabus or get their Blackboard sections in order until the start of the semester. So just be aware that while some professors will have their courses looking sorted on 1/9, others will not and do not have to. Keep in mind that some professors go away between the semesters for research or other activities and don’t even return to focus on their semester courses until right before the start of the semester.
The summer and fall 2019 course schedules are close to being finalized. Descriptions for these will be forthcoming once we have the schedules 100% settled and have a registration-opening date to report. At the moment those schedules look like this:
- ENGL 510 – Theory and Practice of Expository Writing
- ENGL 514 – Animals in Literature
- ENGL 560 – Latino Literature
- ENGL 500 – Theory**
- ENGL 509 – Perspectives on the Essay
- ENGL 521 – Medieval Literature
- ENGL 540 – Magic in Literature
- ENGL 545 – Literature of the Left Bank, Paris
- ENGL 5xx – [Course To Be Determined]
** Note that 500 runs each fall semester, and only in the fall semester. Note also that every student must take 500 at some point during her or his time in the program. 500 and the 599 final thesis tutorial are the only two courses in the MA program for which there is no alternative or substitute. And so students must be aware of their projected timeline in the program and make sure to enroll in 500 when it’s needed, and to enroll promptly when registration for it opens. Any student who has not completed 500 and is on schedule to complete the MA program in Fall 2019, spring 2020, or summer 2020 must complete 500 during this upcoming fall 2019 instance. Any student who has questions about this or anything else should contact the program director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So it looks like registration is going to open on-schedule this Wednesday the 7th. If anyone has questions about the courses or their schedules, let me know at email@example.com. You can read the course descriptions on this post from a short time ago. Note that at the bottom of each description it tells you how the course works toward your MA course requirements. Just as a reminder, here are your course requirements (table taken from page 5 of the handbook available in the left-hand column of this blog):
Currently spring registration is scheduled to open on November 7, usually at 9am eastern (literally when the Registrar shows up to work and flips the switch). The registration date can change, and some of you probably remember the time it changed something like three times before it finally settled down, but as of now that’s the date they’re telling me. Point is, registration is coming up, so be thinking about your course selections for the spring, and for those who really want to make sure they’re in any particular course(s) be sure and register promptly once registration opens. Some classes fill up fast.
The fall semester hasn’t yet begun but the MA course schedule for spring 2019 is already set. We don’t yet know when registration will open for spring but as soon as I learn it I will post the information here. Some courses fill up very quickly when registration opens, so remember that the only way to ensure you get your first-pick of courses is to pay attention to the registration dates and to get registered for courses when registration opens. The six graduate English courses for spring 2019 are:
- ENGL 505 Transformations of the Epic (Dr. Sax)
This course is based on the conception of the epic as an encyclopedic narrative of substantial length featuring a central figure who reflects the values of a particular culture. It will proceed chronologically, studying the taxonomy and transformations of the epic, from its earliest Classical manifestations, through its emergence in Medieval and Renaissance texts, to its incorporation after the Renaissance into modern writing. 3 credits. Fulfills the Writing & Literary Forms field requirement or an elective.
ENGL 514 Sam Shepard: Playwright, Poet, Novelist, Memoirist and Rock Star (Dr. Medoff)
Samuel Shepard Rogers III (November 5, 1943 – July 27, 2017), known professionally as Sam Shepard, was an American actor, playwright, author, screenwriter, and director whose body of work spanned half a century. He won 10 Obie Awards for writing and directing, the most given to any writer or director. He wrote 44 plays as well as several books of short stories, essays, and memoirs. Shepard received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1979 for his play Buried Child. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of pilot Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff (1983). Shepard received the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award as a master American dramatist in 2009. New York magazine described him as “the greatest American playwright of his generation.” Shepard’s plays are chiefly known for their bleak, poetic, often surrealist elements, black humor, and rootless characters, such as cowboys and rock stars, living on the outskirts of American society. This semester, in light of Shepard’s recent passing, we will experience and study a selection of his works and consider his lifetime of artistic achievement. 3 credits. Fulfills an elective by default, but can be made to meet the Literature Group 2 field requirement for students approaching graduation who still need that field requirement met.
- ENGL 522 Humanism in Renaissance Texts (Dr. Fritz)
This course will focus on humanism and the concepts arising from it in relation to the production and appreciation of literature during the Renaissance. The revival of interest in the arts and ideas of Greco-Roman antiquity and the dependence of Renaissance thought on classical themes will be among the issues discussed. Readings could include (but aren’t limited to) works by Shakespeare, Marlowe, Machiavelli, More, Spenser, among others. 3 credits. Fulfills a Literature Group 1 field requirement or an elective.
- ENGL 540 Ulysses – James Joyce (Dr. Loots)
This course will examine one of the most famous, famously difficult, famously banned, and (arguably) profound modern novels of the twentieth century: James Joyce’s Ulysses. Much like Tolstoy’s War and Peace and Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow, Joyce’s 1922 modernist masterpiece occupies a rare position of being a work almost universally lauded for its achievement and significance (for those who like lists, the academically-sound Modern Library calls it the greatest novel of the twentieth century) and yet one which for a variety of reasons most people haven’t read. In this class we will experience together the entirety of the work, first word to last. We will throughout the semester journey through Ulysses until, come the end of the semester, we find ourselves standing together at the absolutely brilliant end of this modern epic tale. While reading and exploring Ulysses we will as well discuss some of the people, culture, history, and events surrounding the creation of, publication of, and outrageous reception to the novel. 3 credits. Fulfills a Literature Group 1 field requirement or an elective.
- ENGL 542 Classics of African-American Literature (Dr. Morales)
This course will study classic works of African-American literature in light of Toni Morrison’s statement that “my parallel is always the music because all of the strategies of the art are there.” The course will involve considerations of how in Richard Powell’s words the blues provides “much contemporary literature, theater, dance, and visual arts with the necessary element for defining these various art forms as intrinsically African-American.” Informed by the concept that music is the trope that best illuminates contemporary African American writing, the course will study selections that could include, but are not limited to, Jean Toomer Cane, Zora Neale Hurston Spunk, James Baldwin Go Tell It on the Mountain, Ralph Ellison Invisible Man, Langston Hughes Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz, John Wideman My Brother’s Keeper, Toni Morrison Jazz, August Wilson Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, and Maya Angelou Selected Poetry. 3 credits. Fulfills a Literature Group 2 field requirement or an elective.
- ENGL 546 Working Women in the US: 1865 to Present (Dr. Gogol)
This course will examine writings about working women from the post-Civil War era to the present. We will review key changes in the American work force, and social, economic, and racial factors since 1865, with attention to movements leading up to changes in the second half of the 19th century. In this multi-genre course, we will read literature (fiction, short stories, poetry, memoirs, biographies, and essays) to help us deconstruct the definitions of “women,” “working,” and “The United States” from the Civil War era to present writings about the millennial generation. We will inquire into the shifting definitions of the term “gender.” We will start with gender as a concept, a social construction reflecting differentials of power and opportunity, breaking what the feminist writer Tillie Olsen calls the “habits of a lifetime.” An important goal of the course is for students to know the literature, history, and benchmarks of major events in the lives of women. 3 credits. Fulfills a Literature Group 2 field requirement or an elective.