Category Archives: Course Schedules

Spring 2016 Schedule

Fairly soon the registration period will open for spring 2016. I’ll post a note here on the blog as soon as I learn the registration opening date/time. If you want to get your choice of courses, you should be online and ready to register the minute the registration opens. For now, I’m listing here the six courses we’ll be running in the graduate English program this spring. I’m particularly excited about this spring schedule and think we’ve got a good balance here of traditional and eclectic options for you to choose from. When picking your courses keep in mind the structure of the 10 course requirement for the degree, which I’ll list here (note that courses can be taken in any sequence, except for 599 which is always taken during your final semester):

  1. 500
  2. Writing & Literary Forms – any one course from 505-510, or 517
  3. Literature Group 1 – any one course from 521-540
  4. Literature Group 2 – any one course from 541-560
  5. Literature Group 1 or 2 – one more course from 521-560
  6. Elective – any one course from 501-598
  7. Elective – any one course from 501-598
  8. Elective – any one course from 501-598
  9. Elective – any one course from 501-598
  10. 599

Okay, so here now is the spring schedule:

ENGL 508: History of Drama in English

  • Dr. David Fritz

This course will study selected dramatic works from across a variety of eras, and will study them chronologically as the dramatic form develops and changes over time. Selections might include Medieval, Renaissance, or Restoration British drama; as well as British and/or American works from the 19th and 20th centuries. Specific works will be selected by the professor closer to the semester’s start. 3 credits. Fulfills the “Writing & Literary Forms” group requirement, or can work as an elective.

ENGL 515: Graphic Novel

  • Dr. Richard Medoff

In this course we will explore the ways in which meanings emerge in several celebrated texts of the graphic novel genre, as well as some emerging classics. Our readings of these texts will be informed by a diversity of theoretical perspectives, including visual culture studies, postmodernism and intersectionality. We will interrogate the relationships between the concepts “graphic novel” or “comic book” and “popular culture,” with each of us bringing our lived experiences to our readings and discussions. Through in-depth studies of several primary texts, including Watchmen, Maus, Fun Home, and V for Vendetta, we will learn how graphic novelists use and manipulate historical and contemporary social issues as the building blocks for their art. 3 credits. Fulfills an elective.

ENGL 525: The Victorian Age in Literature

  • Dr. Sean Dugan

This course will explore representative literature and the culture of the Victorian Age ( 1837-1901), a period of exploration, industrialization, empire, and imperialism. The poetry and novels of Tennyson, Carroll, the Brontes, Eliot, Wilde, and others will be approached from a variety of critical approaches. Particular attention will be given to the importance of gender, class, and societal expectations. 3 credits. Fulfills a “Literature Group 1” requirement, or works as an elective.

ENGL 540: Magic in Literature

  • Dr Boria 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 include works by Hesiod, Ben Johnson, Shakespeare, E. T. A. Hoffmann, J. R. Rowling and others. Textbooks include The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age by Frances Yates. 3 credits. Fulfills a “Literature Group 1” requirement or works as an elective.

ENGL 543: The American Renaissance

  • Dr. Christopher Loots

This course will study representative American writings from “The American Renaissance,” a period during the mid-nineteenth century (roughly 1832 to 1865) which saw the rise of the first truly non-Colonial, non-Revolutionary body of national literature; a literature which no longer concerned itself with European precedent, engagement, or approval. When F.O. Matthiessen coined the term “The American Renaissance” in 1941 he did so in light of five monumental American works by five different writers, all produced within five years (1850-55): Emerson (Representative Men), Thoreau (Walden), Melville (Moby Dick), Hawthorne (The Scarlet Letter), and Whitman (Leaves of Grass). Since Matthiessen’s time the term has rightfully come to encompass a greater diversity of works and writers from this era: works at least equally as important as Matthiessen’s noted five; and writers whose situations are deeply woven through the heart of the socio-cultural-literary renaissance of the era. In this course we’ll be reading selections from across this American Renaissance, including works by: Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Melville; Harriett Jacobs, Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Beecher Stowe; Margaret Fuller and Sara Willis (Fanny Fern). 3 credits. Fulfills a “Literature Group 2” requirement or works as an elective.

ENGL 560: African and Caribbean Literature

  • Dr. Donald Morales

This survey course of cross-generational writers from African and the Caribbean will take as its focal point the theme of the 2016 African Literature Conference in Atlanta: “Justice and Human Dignity in Africa and the African Diaspora.” The course looks at writers whose works address the idea of justice and human dignity in the domestic, political, religious and moral arenas. Some possibilities include Nobel Laureates Naguib Mafouz [Egypt], Wole Soyinka [Nigeria], V.S. Naipaul [Trinidad], J.M. Coetzee [South Africa], Nadine Gordimer [South Africa] and Derek Walcott [St Lucia]. Other options are Chimamanda Adichie [Nigeria], Jamaica Kincaid [Antigua], Edwidge Danticat [Haiti], Mariama Ba [Senegal], Tsitsi Dangaremba [Zimbabwe] and Athol Fugard [South Africa]. As a group these writers look critically at their societies, with, at times, grave consequences but nonetheless seek a just life for themselves and their fellow citizens. 3 credits. Fulfills a “Literature Group 2” requirement or works as an elective.

Fall 2015 Course Schedule; Registration Opens March 4th 9am Eastern.

It appears that registration for both summer and fall 2015 semesters is going to open at the same day and time this year. That’s really odd but that’s what they’re telling me. So, that means that fall registration opens on March 4th, just like summer. As I wrote in the summer-schedule post, it usually opens at 9am Eastern. Those of you who know that you MUST enroll in this fall’s running of 500 because you’re nearing the end of your time in the program should be online at 9am on the 4th in order to secure a seat in that course, a course which all students must take (consult the Graduate Student Handbook which you can download in the left-hand menu or refer to the post on the degree audit to see what courses you need for the MA degree). We’re running six courses in the fall, and here they are:

  • ENGL 500 Theory and Practice of Literary Criticism.

Dr. David Kilpatrick

This course offers an introduction to major movements and figures of the theory of criticism. The question “what is literature?” is the 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. This course is a core course and so is required of all students in the program. 3 credits.

  • ENGL 506 History of Poetic Forms

Dr. Alison Matika

This course investigates the relationship between meaning and form. We are concerned with developing the depth of understanding afforded by close reading, precise writing, and shared discussion, and we will develop a coherent overall context that problematizes the consideration of poetic forms through both creative and critical engagements using full class and small group reading and workshop. This course fulfills the Writing & Literary Forms group requirement, or can count as an elective. 3 credits.

  • ENGL 515 Working Women’s Literature in the US: 1865 to Present

Dr. Miriam Gogol

This online 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. We will use literature to help us deconstruct the definitions of “women,” “working,” and “The United States” up to the present writings about the millennials. 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. A goal of this course will be to deconstruct and reconstruct these and other pivotal terms. Breaking what the feminist writer Tillie Olsen calls the “habits of a lifetime” is not a trivial pursuit. One of the course’s goals is to accept contradictions and tensions, to be prepared for them, and know the history and benchmarks of major events in the lives of women. This course defaults to an elective but can be used to fulfill a Literature Group 2 requirement, upon request. 3 credits.

 

  • ENGL 522 Humanism in Renaissance Texts

Dr. David 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. This course fulfills a Literature Group 1 requirement or an elective. 3 credits.

  • ENGL 524 From Reason to Imagination

Dr. Boria Sax

This course looks at the tension between reason and imagination in representative literature from cultural movements such as neo-Classicism, Enlightenment and Romanticism.  This course fulfills a Literature Group 1 requirement or an elective. 3 credits.

  • ENGL 560 Modern Cryptography: Hemingway

Dr. Christopher Loots

This course follows Ernest Hemingway, through his writings, from his early days in Paris to his final moments in Ketchum, Idaho. Readings will include many of his major novels and short stories, and some non-fiction. The course will consider the interrelated effects of Hemingway’s self-engineered celebrity status—as the rugged bearded world traveler—which coincided precisely with the rise of modern media technology, and exceeded his literary fame even within his lifetime. The concept by which we’ll angle into our semester of study is that Hemingway’s writing, written in a then-groundbreaking style of seeming simplicity, might be considered a modernist code. Like any code, his method seeks to communicate hidden meanings which are not readily apparent upon casual read. Students will work to critically decipher Hemingway’s modern crytography so to interpret/intuit what meanings lurk in the writings of this giant of 20th-century American literature, arguably the most influential American writer of all time. This course fulfills a Literature Group 2 requirement or an elective. 3 credits.

As a final note, students who took the 514 Hemingway course a few years ago are not eligible to take this 560 Hemingway course.

Summer MA Courses and Registration Date/Time

This summer we have four graduate literature courses on the schedule. Three are summer standards and the fourth, Magical Realism, is a new offering being run by a professor who is an expert in Latino literature and Magical Realism. Registration for summer courses opens on March 4. The administration hasn’t sent out the specific time registration opens on this date but in the past it has been 9:00am Eastern. The four summer courses are:

  •  ENGL 509 Perspectives on the Essay

The course will study the essay as a distinct literary genre; its characteristics and types; its history; and its role in reflecting authorial consciousness. This course will examine 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). It will trace the development of the essay from its origins to the modern era. 3 credits.

  • ENGL 510 Theory & Practice of Expository Writing

The course is encouraged for any student who is a teacher or who aspires to teach secondary school or community college English, or to adjunct at senior colleges. But the course is also encouraged for anyone who simply wants to focus in on exploring and developing his or her own critical, expository writing. The course will address the techniques of expository writing as reflected in academic discourse. Ideally, students will learn the general practices of critical writing, but focus their work in their individual fields of interest. These interests may include aesthetic approaches, 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.

  • ENGL 517 Advanced Creative Writing

This course is intended for writers with some background or preparation in creative writing. “Some background” could simply be that you’ve worked in private on poems, essays, or stories; or that you’ve attended courses or workshops; or that you’ve been published. The idea is that each of you in the room will be continuing to develop whatever is your personal stage of creative writing prowess, rather than starting out from absolute zero. The course continues to develop each student’s creative writing ability through a close study of various writing styles and techniques, matched with assignments and workshops which encourage the students to further develop their own creative writing informed by such literary study. The emphasis of the course will shift depending on the expertise of the professor running it, and could emphasize or involve poetry, narrative, creative non-fiction, or other forms. 3 credits.

  • ENGL 560 Magical Realism

A fuller description of this course will be forthcoming. In brief, though, it will explore Latino literature and in particular literature of Magical Realism, and will be taught by Dr. Celia Reissig-Vasile, an expert in this field.

Spring 15 Schedule is accurate in Connect, and ready for 11/5 9:00am Registration

The spring schedule is fully up and corrected in the online system. You will be able to enroll in any courses you wish starting at 9:00am eastern on 11/5. You will see some new catalog numbers and of course might have questions about what courses you should take. Please direct all such inquiries to me over the next weeks and months. I am here to advise all of you. Your academic advisors will help as best as they can, but this new structure will be new for them too. I am at cloots@mercy.edu.

Spring 2015 Course Offerings

I will post the day and time that registration opens for the spring whenever I receive that information. For now, here is a look at the seven courses schedule to run in the spring, along with the professors running them:

ENGL 508: History of Drama in English:
  • Dr. Richard Medoff

This course will study selected dramatic works from the vantage of the cultures of the historical epochs they are embedded in. It will use a chronological approach, beginning with the drama in England: the medieval mystery cycles and morality plays; the emergence of secular drama in the 16th century and earlier 17th century, focusing on the precursors and contemporaries of Shakespeare; Restoration drama; the development of sentimentalism and the adaptation of drama to an increasingly middle class audience in the 18th Century; the closet drama of the Romantic era; 19th-century melodrama in Britain and America; and the emergence of the modern theater in the United Kingdom and the United States. 3 credits.

ENGL 514: James and Lawrence:
  • Dr. Sean Dugan

I have long been interested and intrigued by the question of how one attains personal and social freedom in a society that seems to reward conformity. Is it possible? Or, does one pay a price, social, professional, emotional, for such attempts? Two writers from two different worlds–the American Henry James, the son of a wealthy philosopher, and the English D.H. Lawrence, the son of a coal miner and a factory worker–differ in writing style and subject yet explore the complexities of an industrialized society and personal relationships. We will read novels and short stories by each, including Lawrence’s The Rainbow and Women in Love, James’s The Ambassadors and Portrait of a Lady, as well as selected short stories. We will explore the stylistics, the characterization, and the themes in order to answer the question of how one resolves, if at all, conflicting demands of society’s expectations and the an individual’s quest for an understanding of self and of happiness. 3 credits.

ENGL 515: Sport Literature:
  • Dr. David Kilpatrick
Why do we tell stories about sport? Why does sport so readily offer itself to storytelling? What is sport? What is literature? How do these distinct cultural spheres interact and inform one another?
Sport is arguably the most popular cultural sphere in contemporary society. Sport means so much to so many yet so few have come to terms with the meaning of sport. If sport reveals character (ethos) that is because we make meaning of sport through narrative conventions. While we process sport as literature with the stories we tell, of our heroes and/or ourselves, this mimetic impulse uses narrative to represent and interpret sporting events as well as inspire texts of creative nonfiction and fiction that extend sport beyond the physical action in time and space to the imagined action in the space of literature.
Often sport and literature are viewed as antithetical cultural modes. The ontotheological tradition is grounded in the binary opposition of the spiritual and physical. Consequently, representations of the body and its actions are viewed as a corruptive influence, distracting from spiritual/intellectual concerns. Sport literature challenges this binary, rejecting the dualism of mind and body as reductive and simplistic, rejecting the prejudice of high and low culture. Throughout this course we will consider: What methodologies might sport studies mimic or borrow from literary criticism? Are there unique and/or dominant narrative trends or concerns that appear in literary texts that address sporting subjects? How have representations of sport changed through time? Do certain sports lend themselves more readily to literature than others? Do certain sports inspire certain types of literature? Should sport literature be understood as a distinct genre and how might genre studies facilitate the scholarly engagement with sport literature? 3 credits.
ENGL 521: Themes and Genres of Medieval Literature:
  • Dr. David Fritz

This medieval literature course lays the foundation of the underpinnings of Western society’s literature for centuries after the first utterances of Anglo-Saxon literature became written. This class examines the literature of both women and men from The Book of Marjorie Kempe to The Canterbury Tales. We will see how the influence of the church is seminal in preserving and in perpetuating the literature of this time. That said, medieval literature offers today’s student a foundational knowledge of literature as well as an exploration into oft-neglected authors whose works didn’t make it into the canon. 3 credits.

ENGL 540: Magic in Literature:
  • Dr. Boria 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 include works by Hesiod, Ben Johnson, Shakespeare, E. T. A. Hoffmann, J. R. Rowling and others. Textbooks include The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age by Frances Yates. 3 credits.

ENGL 545: Literature of the Left Bank, Paris:
  • Dr. Christopher Loots

This course will examine the people, culture, and modernist writings of the expatriate community of the Parisian Left Bank during the early and mid twentieth century. This will include 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 Natalie Barney and Gertrude Stein. The course will additionally consider the doings and writings of expatriate authors moving through or closely associated with the Left Bank’s modernist enterprise: e.g., Edith Wharton, Mina Loy, Ernest Hemingway, Andre Breton, Nancy Cunard, Zelda Fitzgerald, James Joyce, H.D., Janet Flanner, and James Baldwin. An emphasis will be placed on studying the cultural geography of this location which attracted many of the world’s great artists and gave rise to numerous works now considered twentieth century literary masterpieces. In addition to reading primary sources of our authors, we’ll read throughout the semester from Shari Benstock’s Women of the Left Bank: Paris, 1900-1940. 3 credits.

ENGL 560: Afropolitanism:
  • Dr. Donald Morales

The term “Afropolitanism,” a word coined by Taiye Selasi in a 2005 essay, is generally defined as young, well-educated African, and by extension, Caribbean artists with global and multicultural sensibilities who have settled in a number of cosmopolitan capitals in Europe and North America. In the literary world, these artists have produced intriguing works that describe their hybrid status and identity but also defy categorization–Selasi argues, “the practice of categorizing literature by the continent from which its creators come is past its prime at best.” “Afropolitanism,” has also engendered a lot of criticism and controversy. Kenyan writer, Binyavanga Wainaina, labels it an “empty style and culture commodification.” This course tackles the concept of “Afropolitanism” in a variety of ways. In addition to introducing the student to a new generation of African/Caribbean writers–Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie [Americanah], Zadie Smith [On Beauty], Edwidge Danticat [Dew Breaker], Teju Cole [Open City], Taiye Selasi [Ghana Must Go], there is also the opportunity to include transplanted dramatists [Roy Williams, Kwame Kwei-Armah, Debbie Tucker Green, Bola Agbaje] in London who have created a number of powerful dramas around the same subject. 3 credits.

Course Offerings for Fall 2014

Registration for the fall (and summer) 2014 opens on March 5th at 9:00am Eastern time. Please note that you may see an ENGL 501 course on the offerings, but this is in the process of being removed from the schedule. If you enroll in it, you can expect that it will be cut.

Course for fall 2014 are as follows:

  • ENGL 500 DLA, Theory and Practice of Literary Criticism. This course is run by Dr. David Kilpatrick and is a requirement for the degree.
  • ENGL 503 DLA, Reason and Imagination. This course is run by Dr. Boria Sax, and studies the development of literary ideas from the Enlightenment to the Romantic era. This course can count as an elective or as a British Lit/Group 1 requirement.
  • ENGL 506 DLA, History of Poetic Forms. This course is run by Dr. Alison Matika and will study poetic forms as they emerge in British literature and move up through British and American literature over the centuries. This course can count as an elective or as a Writing & Literary Forms requirement. If necessary it can also count as either an American or British requirement.
  • ENGL 507 DLA, Narrative Strategies in the Novel. This course is run by Dr. David Fritz and will study the novel and the narrative method over the centuries and across the British and American traditions. This course can count as an elective or as a Writing & Literary Forms requirement. If necessary it can also count as either an American or British requirement.
  • ENGL 514 DLA, Ulysses. This course is run by Dr. Christopher Loots (aka me). In this course we’ll spend the semester reading what many consider one of the greatest novels ever written, and studying some contextual history around it and James Joyce. This course can count as an elective or as a British/Group 1 requirement.
  • ENGL 515 DLA, Contemporary American Drama: Shepard, Albee, and Eno. This course will be run by Dr. Richard Medoff, a dramatist and an expert in theatre studies and performance. This course can count as an elective or as an American/Group 2 requirement.
  • ENGL 515 DLB, Working Women’s Literature in the US: 1865 to Present. This course will be run by Dr. Miriam Gogol, an expert in this field of Women’s literature and American Realism.  This course can count as an elective or as an American/Group 2 requirement.

Course Offerings: Summer 2014

Registration for the summer opens on March 5th at 9:00am Eastern time.

As of this moment we’re planning to run five courses over the summer. This is an ambitious amount of courses, as summers tend to have low enrollment (many students, like many professors–like me–follow the traditional fall/spring schedule). It is therefore highly possible that not all five courses will gain enough enrollment to actually remain open and run by the time the summer semester begins. Some may even be cut very early into registration if they attract little early interest. Two of the reasons I have five courses listed is to see (1) if in fact we have enough interest in summer courses to warrant this many courses, and (2) what courses students are interested in. If one of these classes fills up immediately and the other class attracts three students, the course with three students will have to close and this will also indicate that the first course is something our students want and the second course is largely not. I’ll use this information when scheduling future semesters. So here, as of this moment, are the summer listings:

  • ENGL 509, Perspectives on the Essay, run by Dr. David Kilpatrick
  • ENGL 510, Theory/Practice of Expository Writing, run by Dr. Sean Dugan
  • ENGL 514, 20th Century American Poetry, run by Dr. Alison Matika (Note that this might appear as “Major Authors” on your registration screen–that’s just the generic title associated with the code. It’s 20th Century American Poetry).
  • ENGL 515 DLA, Sport Literature, run by Dr. David Kilpatrick
  • [Sorry, administration cut this course]

  • ENGL 515 DLB, Advanced Creative Writing, run by Dr. Celia Reissig-Vasile (This might show as “Special Topics” but again, as with the 514, that’s the generic title for the course code. It is Advanced Creative Writing).