ENGL 500 is one of two courses that everyone in the program must take (599 Master’s Thesis is the other one). The course runs once each year, in the fall semester. We reserve seats in the course for students who are on schedule to graduate that fall, the following spring, or the following summer. Anyone who will be in the program beyond that point will be eligible for the course the next time it comes around. So, everyone currently in the program who is on-schedule to graduate in fall 2020, spring 2021, or summer 2021, and who has not already taken ENGL 500, must take the course this fall 2020. The good news is, everyone who meets that criteria will get a seat, without fail, in the course. The bad news (or just annoying news) is that in order to get the seat, I have to give you a permit in our computer system. In order to get a permit, you need to write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If anyone is unsure about their time-to-degree, or has any questions, please also write to me at email@example.com.
Welcome back, everyone. I hope you all had a restful winter break from your studies and are looking forward to another semester exploring literature, story, film, and all the rest together. Here are a few things to note here at the start of the spring semester:
- Everyone taking an ENGL 599 thesis tutorial, just double-check to make sure that you are enrolled and see the 599 tutorial on your schedule. If it’s not there, or if anyone in the program sees a problem with their schedule, let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- In the next week or two we’ll be determining and announcing the date for this year’s Graduate English Symposium. In the past we’ve held it close to commencement, after the semester actually ends, but we might change the date this year, especially if another time earlier during the semester works better for more students. If anyone is hoping to attend and read a paper please share with me what days of the week, and weeks in late April through mid-May, might work best for you. (Note: any paper you’ve written for any of your courses would do, and reading it aloud at an event like this provides you with a line-item for the scholarship section of your curriculum vitae).
- Starting in fall 2020 we will be instituting a Teaching Assistant (TA) feature that will allow a few MA students to receive a small stipend for performing TA work in online undergraduate English composition courses. We are working with our College administration to figure out the details and will share them once they are settled, but basically anyone who is interested in gaining some TA experience and making a little bit of money for doing so, keep your eyes on the blog for the next announcement about all of this. I should be clear about this: whatever type of financial support we’re going to be able to provide will be small, so this will to large degree be the sort of thing that will be most valuable for those who want TA experience for their resume and to develop some aspects of their teaching skills.
Here’s to a great spring semester, everyone.
For anyone whose final semester in the program will be spring 2020, now is the time to start sorting out your 599 Master’s Thesis tutorial situation (if you have not already).
You don’t enroll in the 599 course as you do any other course in the program. You can read up on the process for getting into the 599 tutorial here on the blog. In the time between your penultimate and final semester (so in this case, sometime during the first few weeks of January) you will also need to complete the program’s comprehensive exam. You can read up on the comp exam here on the blog.
If after reading those two posts anyone approaching their final semester has any questions about the 599 tutorial or the comp exam, or needs help securing a 599 thesis mentor, let me know at email@example.com.
Below is a list-in-progress of books required for your fall courses. I will update this throughout the summer whenever I get new book info from the different professors. Your professors will eventually provide their official book orders to the college bookstore but the bookstore only lists the titles, doesn’t reveal information such as edition, ISBN, etc. They do this purposefully I think to try and force you to purchase the books through them. But with the info below you can purchase your books anywhere. Keep in mind that while many of the books below will be expensive if purchased new, you can purchase most of them used for cheap (I use Alibris.com). If you prefer to purchase new books I encourage you to first check into Powell’s or a local bookstore before you purchase from Amazon. You can also check many of these out from a library, if that works better for you.
ENGL 500 Theory
- Leitch, Vincent B., et al., eds. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, 3rd ed. Norton, 2018. ISBN: 978-0393602951.
ENGL 509 Perspectives on the Essay
One book is required for the 509 course:
- Jameson, Leslie, and Robert Atwan, editors. Best American Essays 2017. Best American Paper, 2017. ISBN: 054481733.
A recommended (but not required) book that Dr. Keckler suggests as a complement to the required reading is The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present, by Phillip Lopate (ISBN 038542339X).
ENGL 521 Themes and Genres of Medieval Lit
- Black, Joseph, et al, editors. The Broadview Anthology of British Literature Volume 1: The Medieval Period. 3rd edition, Broadway Press, 2014. ISBN 9781554812028.
ENGL 540 Magic in Lit
- Aromatico, Andrea. Alchemy: The Great Secret. Translated by Jack Hawkes, Harry N. Abrams, 2000. ISBN: 0810928892.
- Hesiod. Theogony & Works and Days. Translated by M. L. West. Oxford UP, 1991. ISBN: 9780192817884.
- Hoffmann, E. T. A. The Golden Pot and Other Tales. Translated by Ritchie Robinson. Oxford UP, 1991. ISBN: 0199552479.
- Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Scholastic, 1997. ISBN: 0439708184.
- Sax, Boria. Imaginary Animals: The Monstrous, the Wondrous and the Human. Reaktion Books, 2013. ISBN: 9781780231730.
- Shakespeare, William. Twelfth Night. Penguin, 2000. ISBN: 9780140714890.
- Yates, Frances, The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age. New York: Routledge, 2003. ISBN: 0415254094.
ENGL 545 Lit of the Left Bank Paris
PDFs of many shorter or out of print works will be provided. These will include works by Nancy Cunard, Hilda Doolittle, Richard Wright, Edith Wharton, Frantz Fanon, Zelda Fitzgerald, Janet Flanner, James Baldwin, James Joyce, and Henry Crowder. Students will be required to secure the following books:
- Baldwin, James. Giovanni’s Room. Vintage, 2013. ISBN: 0345806565. (Or any version will do)
- Benstock, Shari. Women of the Left Bank: Paris, 1900-1940. U of Texas Press, 1987. ISBN: 0292790406.
- Breton, Andre. Nadja. Grove Press, 1994. Translated by Richard Howard. ISBN: 0802150268. (Or any version will do)
- Hemingway, Ernest. A Moveable Feast. Scribner’s. Either edition will do, the original version (ISBN 9780684824994) or the newer “restored” edition (ISBN 9781439182710).
- Loy, Mina. The Lost Lunar Baedeker: Poems of Mina Loy. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1997. ISBN: 0374525072.
- Stein, Gertrude. Selected Writings of Gertrude Stein. Vintage, 1990. ISBN: 0679724648. (We’ll specifically be studying The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas within this collection but everything in here is wondrous).
ENGL 560 Contemporary Slave Narratives
PDFs of supplemental scholarly articles will be provided in Blackboard. The following books/films will need to be secured by students:
- Jacobs, Harriet. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. (This is available for free online here: https://english.hku.hk/staff/kjohnson/PDF/JacobsINCIDENTS1861.pdf; if students want a paper copy, it’s very important to buy this particular edition: ISBN 1503277941).
- McQueen, Steve (director). 12 Years a Slave. (2013 film; ASIN: B00G4Q3KOC)
- Northup, Solomon. Twelve Years a Slave. (This is available for free online here: http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/slavery/Twelve_years_a_slave.pdf); if students want a paper copy, it’s very important to buy this particular edition: ISBN 1631680021).
- Tademy, Lalita. Cane River. ISBN 0446615889
- Tarantino, Quentin (director). Django Unchained. (2012 film; ASIN: B016YVJUJU)
- Williams, Sherley Anne. Dessa Rose. ISBN 0062011251.
Just a reminder that anyone who plans to graduate before fall 2020 (so whose last semester will be fall 2019, spring 2020, or summer 2020) must complete the ENGL 500 Theory course this coming fall, if you have not already completed it. Enrollment is locked for the course in order to reserve all seats for students who must have the course this fall to graduate on schedule. Because everyone moves at their own pace toward the degree, and because students might opt to take a lighter/heavier courseload during any particular semester or opt to take summer courses (or not), we ultimately need each of you to self-identify if you plan to graduate prior to fall 2020. If you do, then claim a seat in the fall 2019 instance of the course by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone graduating between fall 2020 and fall 2021 is guaranteed a seat in the fall 2020 instance of the course.
Just a reminder here: Anyone getting close to the end of the MA program needs to start thinking about the ENGL 599 Master’s Thesis Tutorial. Let’s look at some basic points about what it is, what you have to do to enroll in it, and what you do once in it:
- ENGL 599 counts for three credits, like any other course, and is a requirement for the MA degree. Unlike any other course in the program, 599 is run as a one-on-one tutorial between each student and a chosen professor (mentor).
- The tutorial is always taken during whatever you intend to be your final semester in the program.
- During the tutorial you have one responsibility and goal: writing a 25-page thesis paper on a topic of your choice, involving primary and secondary sources that you select, all operating under the guidance of your mentor.
- To pass the tutorial your thesis paper must receive final approval from your mentor and from a second reader selected from the MA faculty.
- You enroll in 599 using a different process than for any other course in the MA program:
- First, during the semester prior to your final semester, think up a general topic or idea for your thesis and write it down. Your thesis topic can be based on a paper written for another course earlier in the program; you can even use that paper as the first draft for your thesis paper.
- Contact any professor teaching in the program and ask the professor if he or she would be your mentor. Include your general topic along with your request. If the professors says yes, you will then work up a more formal thesis proposal with that mentor; If your selected professor cannot mentor you, you can either just ask another professor or can contact the program director at email@example.com and a mentor will be assigned.
- In the meantime, be aware that all students must take and pass the program’s Comprehensive Exam in the time between the penultimate and ultimate semester in the program. So while you’re developing your thesis proposal with your mentor, also start thinking about the Comp Exam which you must request from the program director upon completing your penultimate semester. Students must complete their Comp Exam before beginning their 599 tutorial.
- Once you have developed a formal thesis proposal under the mentor’s guidance, and once the mentor deems it acceptable, the mentor will contact the program director who then opens up an individual 599 section for each student with the mentor as professor. It is therefore impossible to be “closed out” of a 599 as each one is opened on an individual basis. The only way a student who needs to be in ENGL 599 might not get into one is if the student doesn’t do these steps in a timely-enough fashion as to have this all settled by the start of the final semester.
We’re now entering the annual window in which interested and eligible students can join the International English Honors Society, Sigma Tau Delta. To be eligible graduate students must be actively enrolled in a graduate program, have completed six credits of graduate coursework, and have a minimum 3.3 GPA. Dr. Dana Horton (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the Sigma Tau coordinator again this year and is the one to contact about this, but please let me know as well if you intend to join (email@example.com). Here’s a bit more information about the society and the registration process for those interested:
Sigma Tau Delta was established in 1924 to confer distinction for high achievement in English language, literature, and writing. It now includes 825 chapters in the United States and abroad. Membership in this prestigious honor society is something a member can list on a resume under “professional organizations” and membership also provides access to resources and networking opportunities in the field of English. Please visit www.english.org to learn more.
Inductees, along with family and friends, are cordially invited to Mercy College’s Honors Day Induction Ceremony taking place on Monday, May 6, 2019, beginning at 6:00pm in the Maher Hall Conference Room on the Dobbs Ferry campus. Dinner and a reception will follow. There is no limit to the number of guests you may invite; however please let Dr. Horton (firstname.lastname@example.org) know now how many will attend so that we can order adequate catering. Attendance at the May ceremony is not required for membership.
Induction comes with lifetime membership in Sigma Tau Delta. The induction and lifetime membership requires a one-time processing fee of $45 and the check or money order must be made out to Mercy College.
The deadline for receiving this one-time payment of $45 and for accepting this membership invitation is Monday March 18, 2019.
When writing a check or money order include your name and Mercy ID# in the memo-line of the check. Mail (or hand deliver) the check or money order to:
Dr. Dana Horton
Maher Hall #202
Dobbs Ferry NY 10522
Students may also pay in cash but you cannot send cash through the mail. You must hand-deliver cash to Dr. Horton or to the department administrator, Linda Dubiell, in Maher Hall on the Dobbs Ferry campus.
Again if you are sending a check or money order make sure that it is made out to Mercy College, and that your name and college ID# are written on the check. Mercy collects and deposits these payments into its own account and then makes one total payment directly to the Sigma Tau Delta International English Honors Society. Any check or money order that is not made out to Mercy College will be returned to you as we will not be able to deposit it.
If you wish to accept this membership invitation, please email Dr. Horton (email@example.com) as soon as possible, and no later than the payment deadline of Monday March 18, 2019.
Mercy College’s semester-end feedback surveys aka the “Blue Course Surveys” are now active for each of your MA courses. You should see links to the surveys in the left-hand side of your main Blackboard screen after you login. Please complete the survey for each MA course you are in. These are 100% anonymous and remain anonymous forever. Your professors don’t see the anonymous results until after final grades are locked in (likewise, the survey closes on 12/14 before professors finalize and submit your grades). Your professors are currently able to see the response-percentage for each course, but that’s it. These surveys are your VOICE and provide you with a way to express your thoughts, positive or negative, about your MA courses and professors. These are taken very seriously by the college.
After the semester, each of your professors will read your anonymous feedback for their class. The MA program director, the Dean of the School of Liberal Arts, and the Associate Dean will review all of the surveys for all MA courses. The college’s President and Provost will review the response-percentages for the MA program and for the School of Liberal Arts and may review some of your particular responses too. Your voice and feedback matter and influence the courses we run, how we run them, and who runs them. The response-percentages matter and can effect things such as the college’s investment in and even respect for our graduate program and the School of Liberal Arts overall.
So please, complete the survey for each of your MA courses before the surveys close on 12/14. Your voice and your feedback are critically important to helping us measure if our MA English students are being well-served in their MA courses, and how we might improve as a faculty and a program. Thank you.
Students currently working on their 599 thesis papers this fall semester, please take note. Although the thesis paper follows MLA style in elements like quoting and citing, and the Works Cited, the front-end of the final draft of your paper is to be done differently. Click here to see a PDF of the way the front of the paper needs to be formatted. You can’t actually manipulate that PDF, it’s provided here only as a format-locked view of how the front of the final draft of your thesis should look. Click here to access a Word (.docx) template which you can manipulate and use when formatting the final draft of your thesis paper. Formatting of the .docx might break when opened in different versions of word-processing software, and across different computer platforms. So after opening it, check the format of the .docx template against the PDF and adjust as necessary so that the final draft of your paper looks correct.
Note that only the final draft of your thesis requires this special format.
The easiest way to use the .docx template is to copy and paste your thesis into the appropriate place (the fourth page, which is the first regularly-numbered page: this will make sense once you look at the actual template). Be sure to complete the necessary fields in brackets [ ] on the title page (the paper title, your name, the date). Do nothing on the faculty signature page. Replace the text on the acknowledgement page with whatever you want; and if you don’t want to put anything there you can just leave the page blank. Then on the fourth page, which again is the first regularly-numbered page, make sure you’ve put your last name into the [Last Name] field in the top-right corner.
You do not have to use the actual .docx template and can just re-create this front-end format on your own, if you know how to, and if it’s easier for you to do so (using page-breaks and other tools to create different sections and headers in your own document). Just make sure that the final draft of the thesis paper that you send to your mentor is formatted as you see in the PDF linked above. If you have any questions speak to your mentor and/or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is just a quick FYI to all current and prospective students who might be reading the blog, and hopefully just repeats information which is already well known, but to be completely clear: students can complete all aspects of the MA degree through our MA English program remotely, meaning through distance learning, meaning online, meaning how current students are doing it already, meaning from wherever it is you are located in the world. This includes the coursework, the comp exam, the final thesis paper: everything. No one will ever need to travel to Mercy’s physical campus in NY, or to any testing center, in order to complete any of the degree requirements or to receive the actual degree. Some grad students do voluntarily travel to our physical campus at various times for various reasons (to attend the spring symposium, to talk with profs, if they happen to be in the area, etc.) but this is not required for the degree.
I’m posting this note because it’s been brought to my attention that Mercy College periodically sends out some sort of generic form-letter to all graduate students taking online coursework informing them that they might need to travel or make other arrangements to complete some degree requirements. That is not the case for the MA English degree. Again, you can complete all requirements through distance learning and will never have to travel or make special testing arrangements. We’ve got that all figured out here in the program. As always if you have any questions drop me a note at email@example.com.