Graduate courses act as Honors credit, as long as you earn a grade of B- or higher. Contact each instructor directly for permission numbers.
ENGL 6750: Seminar in Language and Literature (The Gothic novel and its British and Irish contexts)
Instructor: Mary Burke
This seminar will broadly consider Irish, British, and American Gothic writing from the eighteenth- to the twenty-first century, with attention to the British and Irish particularities of the genre and to the novel and novella forms. Students will have the opportunity to utilize major theories and foci of interpretation, from queer theory, Marxism, feminism, gender, race, and psychoanalysis to postcolonial studies. It is difficult to create a literary history of the British Gothic without considering the impact of Anglo-Irish writers such as Maturin, Le Fanu, Stoker, Wilde, Yeats, and Bowen as well as a British writer born to an Irish father such as Brontë. The colonial relationship between Ireland and Britain means that the course will be less of a literary history and more of an anti-tradition of discontinuities, fracture, gaps, silences and fragments (McCormack; Watt). One of the few coherent connections between most Irish Gothic writers is their origins in or links to the settler-colonial order or “Anglo-Irish” cohort. Foster reads this “siege-mentality” Protestant Irish class as preoccupied with its own impending extermination (Bowen). As hybrid, conflicted figures, the Anglo-Irish were well positioned to nurture a literature that emphasizes “hesitancy over certainty, and which refuses to dissolve binaries such as living/dead, inside/outside, friend/enemy, desire/disgust” (Killeen). Thus, there is a specifically colonial context to Irish Gothic’s use of the broader British tradition’s deployment of the Catholic archaic as site of terror (Walpole; Lewis) and its emphasis on the return of the dispossessed Other. Nevertheless, the prevailing theorization of Anglo-Irish Gothic does not account for the other colonizer-settler cohort in Ireland, the Ulster-Scots, nor for the cultural productions of or about their descendants in America (the Scots-Irish) by important names in American Gothic such as Poe, James, and Faulkner. Thus, we will set earlier themes and texts into relief and broaden our lens on race and colonialism by pivoting to the Americas and the authors just listed, closing with a recent Gothic metafiction centered on a rapacious Anglo-Irish settler-colonial family in midcentury Mexico (Moreno-Garcia).
ENGL/AMST 6850: Seminar in American Studies: Keywords (Disability Studies)
Instructor: Brenda Brueggemann
This is a course about “doing disability studies” in the arts and humanities. In order to maintain some focus we will center our reading and work on AMERICAN texts (literature, film, popular culture artifacts) and the important (and sometimes also obscured) contexts, history, cultural, political, and rights movements that have shaped and grounded the field of Disability Studies. The course is intended to be interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary –as currently aligns with the burgeoning field of Disability Studies itself –and although our focus will be “American” we will make many transnational and global connections.
The course will have four (interwoven) movements. First: we will begin in a space of “key words” and “core concepts,” exploring groundbreaking and foundation-building critical vocabulary and analytical frames. Second: we will draw upon the rights-based, advocacy, activist frames and materialities (social, political, educational, medical) that have shaped American disability studies and have also then inspired much of its creative production. Third: we will insert disability into identity politics (and identity politics into disability) as we consider disability in complex relationships to other identities and how, once again, that complexity has forged creative and critical production for the field. Fourth: we will need to engage the issues inherent in accessing the archives around disabled lives –particularly in an American context—and how disability diagnosis and embodiment challenges and invigorates historical excavation and archival work.
Course Elements and Activities:
- Weekly participation in interactive class activities
- Annotations and index for 2-3 Disability Keywords entries
- Five short compositions (multimodal –but accessible—compositions are encouraged) in response to any 4 or 5 weeks of texts/discussions. Preliminary prompts offered by instructor.
- Articulation of a final project (determined upon consultation with instructor): a project comprising 15-20 hours of intellectual labor (need not be finished)