Spring 2014 Course Descriptions

500-Level | 600-Level

520.001: Blue Mesa Review

F 1500-1700
Justin St. Germain, jstgerma@unm.edu

This class introduces you to the production of UNM's national literary magazine, Blue Mesa Review. We receive hundreds and sometimes thousands of submissions each year from authors hoping to see their stories, essays, or poems published in our journal. Your primary responsibility in this course is to assess these submissions--collectively called "slush"--for possible publication in BMR. In addition, you will keep an informal journal about your participation in slush, attend discussion meetings, and write a few short papers. This class requires you to be self-motivating; in some respects, it is very much like an independent study. You must be able to keep up with the workload on your own--and often on your own time.

NOTE: The meeting times listed for this course may include open computer lab hours which are NOT mandatory. Mandatory class meetings will occur on Fridays from 3-4. Please contact instructor for more information on requirements and meeting times.

520.002: Stylistic Analysis

TR 9:30-10:45
Jerome Shea, jshea@unm.edu

Stylistic Analysis is a wide-ranging course that tries to find out what makes for good prose (and what makes for wretched prose). We will study periodic sentences and running sentences, noun style and verb style, parataxis and hypotaxis. We will ponder such questions as "What do we mean by 'voice'?"; "What assumptions do we bring to prose that we don't bring to poetry?"; and "What do me mean by 'high style' and 'low style'?' We will question whether prose is opaque or transparent--or both--and what the ramifications of that are. Five or six short papers, no exams.

521.001: Graduate Fiction Workshop

R 4:00-6:30
Daniel Mueller, dmueller@unm.edu

In the Graduate Fiction Workshop we'll examine a wide range of contemporary works of short fiction, but the primary text will be the fiction, both long and short, generated by workshop participants. The workshop is designed to provide fiction writers critical feedback on their work as a means of helping them better realize what they have written and find a larger audience for it through publication.

523.001: Graduate Creative Nonfiction

W 4:00-6:30
Greg Martin, gmartin@unm.edu

This is a writing workshop focused on revision. Each student will write two new pieces of creative nonfiction. We will workshop each piece twice. Then, each of you will choose one of these two essays to revise again, and you will submit this at the end of the semester to six literary magazines. The goal of the course is to push you to produce more than you thought you could, to break down what Jane Smiley calls "evasion strategies." The particular subgenre of creative nonfiction you may turn in to the workshop is wide open: Autobiographical Narrative (an essay that has the dramatic structure of a short story); a Lyric Meditation (a more "classic" Montaigne-like essay that is structured meditatively or philosophically or associatively); Profile; Travel Writing; Literary Journalism; a hybrid essay that combines two or more of these forms. It's all fair game.

Readings for discussion in class will consist of (1) published essays from a variety of the subgenres above, as well as (2) essays on craft. In selecting pieces for us to read and discuss, my aim is for eclecticism--to give you a sense of the range of literary nonfiction, to give you a sense of the possibilities of the form. My hope is that the course will push you stylistically and technically, and encourage you to take risks, to raise your standards for what you consider good writing, and then to meet those standards through the development of the habit of art.

539.001: Teaching Professional Writing

M 1000-1230: (Observation/Teaching Demonstration from 10am to 10:50am)
Natasha Jones, nnjones@unm.edu

This course will examine technical and professional communication pedagogy from a theoretical and practical perspective. Students will read and study current pedagogical scholarship, reflect on teaching practices, identify specific pedagogical perspectives, and build a teaching portfolio.This course will encourage students to critically examine their own teaching practices and the teaching practices of others by observing a section of English 219 and delivering teaching demonstrations for the course that they observe.

540.001: Chicano Ecology & Rhetoric of Environmental Justice

W 4:00-6:30
Michelle Kells, mkells@unm.edu

This course will explore Chicano/Latin American Ecology and environmental writing through the critical lens of rhetorical theory. We will examine diverse textual representations of the environment (constructions of Greater Mexico, the US-Mexico border, and Latin America) as exigences for social action. Half of the course material will focus on Latin America and the other half will focus on US-Mexico border issues. The purpose of this class is to create a community of environmental thinkers and to cultivate opportunities for considering our roles as citizens, activists, scholars (of place). Participation in field exercises, field trips (as a group), and new media (online) learning environments will be integral to this course. Our reading list will include environmental texts within and beyond the Southwest region to include Greater Mexico and Latin America (as places and rhetorical constructions).

NOTE: This course has been designed for undergraduate and graduate students in Rhetorical Studies (Department of English), Latin American Studies, Chicano Studies, Sustainability Studies, Political Science, and Sociology. We will focus on the range of arguments (across genres and discourse communities in public/popular cultures) about the environment and ecological ethics land/earth literacies) throughout the 20th century--applying a pragmatic approach to modern rhetorical theory as a critical lens. Final course projects will be adapted to the specific needs, interests, and genre-practices of the students in my course with respect to their different disciplines and scholarly goals.

541.001: English Grammars

TR 12:30-1:45
Bethany Davila, bdavila@unm.edu

The English language is a complex, rule-governed system that most of us use every day without having to think about what you need to know in order to speak English. In this course, we will attempt to bring your tacit knowledge to the surface. We'll begin with an overview about language in general--what is the nature of language change and acquisition? Then we'll focus on grammar--what are the categories and rules? What is the effect of grammar? How is English actually used?

We'll discuss not only "standard" English but also multiple variations of English. And, finally, no conversation about grammar is complete without considering the social and educational issues tied up in language, including attitudes toward dialects, the teaching of "standard" English, language and gender, and bilingual education.

Course work will consist of frequent short assignments, several short formal papers, and a final research project.

547.001: Old English

MW 2:00-3:15
Jonathan Davis-Secord, jwds@unm.edu

In this class, we will return to the earliest recorded form of English and read some of the oldest literature ever written in the language. We will read of a queen-turned-abbess, a divinely inspired cowherd, a tale of betrayal, and other texts, all in the original Old English. The first portion of the semester will entail studying grammar in preparation for reading original texts. For daily work during the majority of the semester, students will prepare translations and read scholarly articles. No prior knowledge of Old English is required.

548.001: Beowulf

MW 4:00-5:15
Jonathan Davis-Secord, jwds@unm.edu

Beowulf is the most celebrated and studied Old English poem, yet it remains ambiguous and contested. Modern scholars continue to scrutinize difficult points in the text and wrestle over approaches to the poem. This course will be devoted to a close reading of Beowulf in the original Old English, coupled with pertinent scholarship on specific points in the poem along the way. We will explore the roles of women in the text, the meanings of the monsters, the patterns of gift-giving, the linguistic intricacies of the text, and many other topics. For daily work, students will read secondary literature and prepare translations of the poem; we will meticulously analyze the language of the text and discuss its interpretation in light of the secondary literature. Students will write a critical research paper for the semester. Prerequisite: Old English.

550.001: Middle English Heroes, Saints, and Lovers

TR 11:00-12:15
Anita Obermeier

This course is an introductory sampling of medieval literature (and some art) produced in England and the immediate Continent between 1066 and 1500. We start this historical, linguistic, and literary enterprise with the Bayeux Tapestry--art with text--fighting alongside Anglo-Saxon warriors. Then we will pray with English saints, sleuth with historians, learn the art of courtly love from medieval knights and ladies, look at the nature of God with mystics, and watch biblical drama unfold. The original texts are in Latin, Anglo-Norman, and various dialects of Middle English, which we will study in modern English, in bilingual facing-page translations, and the easier ones in Middle English. The texts cover various secular and religious genres, including epic, debate, saints' lives, fabliau, lais, romance, drama, allegory, and lyrics. The goal of the course is to highlight the variety and range of texts of the Middle English period, and to place those writings in their cu ltural, linguistic, and historical contexts.

551.001: Medieval Research and Bibliography

T 4:00-6:30
Timothy Graham, tgraham@unm.edu

This course will offer intensive training in the research and bibliographic skills necessary for the study of the Middle Ages while also introducing students to the history of medieval scholarship from the sixteenth century onwards. A key aspect of the course will be a detailed orientation to the major published resources available to medievalists, including the volumes of the Patrologia Latina, the Monumenta Germaniae Historica, and the Early English Text Society, as well as the important series Early English Manuscripts in Facsimile. Participants in the course will learn about the techniques used by scholarly editors when preparing a medieval text for use by a modern readership; they will also be introduced to the conventions of the modern apparatus criticus. Students will learn how to read and analyze charters and other types of medieval document and will receive instruction in the basics of such important ancillary disciplines as medieval chronology and sigillography. The section of the course devoted to the history of medieval scholarship will include a special focus on the origins and development of Anglo-Saxon studies from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century.

552.001: The Global Renaissance

R 5:30-8:00
Carmen Nocentelli, nocent@unm.edu

This course will place the European Renaissance in global context. It will explore both the ways that sixteenth- and early-seventeenth-century Europeans came to construct distant people and places and the ways that these peoples and places shaped European cultures and societies. Included in our syllabus will be the works of canonical authors such as Shakespeare, Cervantes, and Montaigne as well as lesser-known works from authors such as Andrea Vecellio and al-Hassan ibn Muhammad al-Wezaz al-Fasi.

556.001: Romantic Nature, History & Aesthetics

W 1600-1830
Gary Harrison, garyh@unm.edu

In 1798 two revolutionary works were published that would exert a profound influence upon our thinking about the natural world: Wordsworth and Coleridge's Lyrical Ballads and Malthus's Essay on Population. While literary history often treats these works separately, both respond to an ideological complex that called for a recalibration of consciousness vis a vis the society, economics and the natural world; moreover, both posit forms of agency in nature. For Malthus, that agency is the ineluctable law of population; for Wordsworth, it is a beneficent force guiding humanity beyond nature to nobler ends. Drawing upon a variety of works from the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, this course situates Romantic-era writing at the intersection where socio-political reform and revolution, aesthetics, and natural history converge in generative and influential ways for literary and cultural production, as well as for ecological thought. We will emphasize in particular the way literary approaches to the natural world recalibrate our sense of place and our understanding of nature. Readings will include works in several genres by such writers as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Jean Jacques Rousseau; Joseph Addison, Edmund Burke, William Gilpin, Immanuel Kant and Friedrich Schiller; Gilbert White, Erasmus Darwin, and Thomas Robert Malthus; Charlotte Smith, the Wordsworths, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and John Clare; and finally Jane Austen and possibly Emily Brontë. This course aims for us to reflect upon the way Romantic-era writing helped to shape dispositions that--for better or for worse--continue to affect our relationship to the environment and to impact the formation of local, regional and national identities.

557.001: Victorian Studies: Victorian Research Methods

MW 12:00-13:15
Aeron Hunt, aeron@unm.edu

How do we do cultural studies and new historicist literary criticism? How do we gather, read, and interpret documents, materials, histories, and ephemeral experiences in order to shape an "archive"? And how do we then understand the relationship between that archive and literature or other cultural productions? This course will focus on problems, possibilities, and strategies for conducting research on Victorian literature and culture. The primary objective of this course is to give students an introduction to new historicist/cultural studies methodological approaches to the literature and culture of Victorian Britain. Students will have the opportunity to practice working with literary and nonliterary primary documents and relevant databases, to reflect on methodology and theory through analysis of recent and classic scholarship, and to produce scholarship of their own. By investigating particular cultural, critical, and theoretical "cases," we will address questions about research design.

Several accompanying objectives also guide the organization of the course. Though it doesn't function as a survey introduction to the literature and culture of the period students will read several important works of Victorian literature, many of which are part of the comprehensive exam list. Through reading secondary literature, students will be introduced to some major recent and classic interventions in Victorian literary scholarship. Students will gain practice writing different genres, with an eye to professional development and publication. Finally, the class may serve as an opportunity for valuable methodological and theoretical reflection for all literature students, even those for whom Victorian literature is not a primary focus.

Authors we read may include: Robert Browning, Elizabeth Gaskell, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Wilkie Collins, George DuMaurier, and Anthony Trollope, among others. Requirements will include presentations and leading discussions; prospectus for research paper; research paper; consistent, informed participation.

568.001: Wright, Baldwin, Himes, Ellison

TR 9:30-10:45
Kadeshia Matthews, kadeshia@unm.edu

This course explores the intersecting careers and concerns (literary, social, political) of Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Chester Himes and Ralph Ellison. Scholars generally agree as to Wright's central importance to mid- to late 20th century African American literature, with some even identifying him as the most important African American writer of the 20th century. Certainly, in his various roles as commercially successful black writer, friend and mentor, literary and cultural critic, permanent expatriate and global citizen, Wright made possible and indelibly shaped, in ways direct and indirect, the careers of Baldwin, Himes and Ellison. Through consideration of these authors' fiction, criticism, interviews and correspondence, we will interrogate their sometimes complementary, but more often conflicting, visions and philosophies of black manhood (and gender and race more broadly); violence; sexuality, American identity, history and culture; global blackness; the role of the black artist/intellectual; and the purposes of black art. In addition to shorter response papers, and one conference-length essay, grad students will be responsible for leading one class session.

570.001: Modernist Literature

M 4:00-6:30
M. R. Hofer, mrh@unm.edu

In "The Persistence of Modernism" we will spend our time together examining European, British, and (especially) American experimental writing that works with, through, over, and against other texts and traditions in order to explore the broadest range of imagined relations between discursive language ("prose") and lyrical language ("poetry"). From both a critical and historical perspective, this course in modernist literature will entail a fresh look at several key movements and innovations in the history of verbal and visual representation.

Although the very idea of genre--which typically serves to clarify what critics and writers do--is central to both literary criticism and creative writing, this course aims to disrupt that comfortable and fundamentally artificial sense of clarity. We will strive to replace it instead with a rigorously stimulating sense of innovation, even of subversion, in aesthetic production. In precisely that sense, this will not be a typical modernism course "in," say, fiction, nonfiction, visual rhetoric, or poetry. Rather, elements of all of these conventional genres will come together at different moments throughout the term in productive and dissonant ways to inform the way we imagine aesthetic innovation in modernity. Our recognition of this tension between the familiar and new will enable us to think seriously about how and why key modernist artists (as well as their most daring predecessors and successors) have labored to distort the distinctions that have promoted a clear se nse of genre. Such a project accomplishes more than enabling us to think seriously, though; it actually requires us to do so.

  1. The European origins of the "prose poem"
  2. Futurism and transatlantic "free verse"
  3. The modernist fusion of prose and lyric
  4. Documentary and interdisciplinary collage
  5. Experimental "cut-ups" and "writings-through"
  6. Artists' books and palimpsestic treatments
  7. L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E writing & the "new sentence"

Successful students will attain a stronger command of comparative literary dynamics and the historical innovations in--and intersections among--verbal and visual arts.

N.B.: Advanced knowledge of modernism, modernity, or genre theory (i.e., of any genre) is NOT prerequisite to your success in this course. Indeed, the course exists to equip you to do work in these areas independently.

572.001: Neoliberal Literature

TR 12:30-1:45
Daniel Worden, dworden@unm.edu

This course will ask what happens to our understanding of contemporary literature when we think of it not as "postmodern" literature, "post-postmodern" literature, or merely "contemporary" literature, but instead as neoliberal literature.

Neoliberalism refers to free market ideology, a set of economic, political, and social policies that limit government regulation of the economy, endorse the privatization of public services, and seek to dismantle the modern welfare state in the name of efficient markets. Developed by Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek and the "Chicago School" of economics, and championed by the United States and European nations from the 1970s to the present day, neoliberalism names the economic and political worldview of major economic institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, and, accordingly, the nations in the G8. It has led to a widespread erosion of government institutions that provide public services, the reduction of financial regulations, and the waning of labor unions and other forms of worker's rights in the name of the free market.

Reading for the course will include a significant amount of theory about neoliberalism and capitalism's relation to culture, as well as a range of literary texts published in the last few years. Theoretical and critical texts will likely include David Harvey's Brief History of Neoliberalism, Michel Foucault's Birth of Biopolitics, and Mark Fisher's Capitalist Realism, along with essays by Lauren Berlant, Nicholas Brown, Wendy Brown, Richard Dienst, Paul Gilroy, Fredric Jameson, David Joselit, Walter Benn Michaels, Aihwa Ong, Adolph Reed, Nikolas Rose, and Kathi Weeks.

Literary texts will likely include Roberto Bolano's 2666, Caleb Crain's Necessary Errors, Dave Eggers's Hologram for the King, Sheila Heti's How Should a Person Be?, Rachel Kushner'sThe Flamethrowers, Ben Lerner'sAngle of Yaw, Tao Lin'sTaipei,Tom McCarthy'sRemainder, China Mieville'sEmbassytown, Maggie Nelson'sBluets, Sergio Gonzalez Rodriguez'sFemicide Machine, and Colson Whitehead's Zone One.

587.002: Genre Studies: Genre Studies: Fictions of Place

M 1600-1830
Justin St. Germain, jstgerma@unm.edu

In this craft-based reading seminar for creative writers, we will explore how place figures into fictional narratives by reading and discussing works of fiction that pay particular attention to place, both literal and figurative. The idea of place as character has become a cliché in creative writing courses, but in many works, setting defines the characters, plots, and themes at play. Course readings may include novels, novellas, short stories, and hybrid works that evade definition as either fiction or nonfiction. Texts will range in form from the conventional to the experimental. We'll also read essays on craft and critical essays that deal with setting.

This course is geared toward writers rather than critics, and so we will read like writers. Our goal is primarily to observe and describe the readings, and most of all to understand how they function. We will pay special attention to image, landscapes, and the representation of space, as well as how -- and how much -- time is being compressed or expanded. We'll also look for techniques we can borrow from other writers, and examine other approaches as a way of broadening our understanding of the possibilities available to us in our own writing.

This is primarily a reading course, but because it is also a course for creative writers, I'll expect you to apply what you learn to your creative work in writing assignments both in and out of class. Students will also be required to write brief free-form responses to readings, and will prepare a presentation to the class on one of the course texts. Class sessions will be largely discussion-based, so participation is also an essential requirement of this course. The goal is to create a community of engaged readers, writers, and thinkers, in which we can exchange ideas and explore new avenues for our creative work.

592.001: Teaching Literature and Literary Studies

TR 1400-1515
Aeron Haynie, ahaynie@unm.edu

I envision this course being both a lively seminar on why we teach literature and a hands-on practicum where each of you will work on developing your own distinctive pedagogical style. We will craft informed and up-to-date teaching philosophy statements, observe others' teaching, hone our own lecture, discussion, and course design skills, and be able to satisfactory answer the question, "why study English?"

500-Level | 600-Level

640.001: Sociopolitical Contexts of Writing Instruction

R 1600-1930
Todd Ruecker, truecker@unm.edu

This class is based on the realization that what goes on in a writing class, whether in elementary school, high school, or college, is situated in a larger sociopolitical context. The course will begin with readings from selected critical theorists such as Bourdieu and Foucault in order to build a theoretical framework with which to approach the readings and discussions throughout the semester. We will then read and discuss research conducted by scholars in education and rhetoric and composition along with looking at government and foundation policy statements to gain a better understanding of how writing instruction in both the U.S. and abroad is situated in larger contexts and how we as educators may respond to these discourses. Alongside these readings, we will explore how broader societal factors such as poverty rates, access to health care, and immigration policies affect students' abilities to be successful in writing classrooms.

660.001: 19th Century American Gothic

T 1600-1930
Jesse Alemán, jman@unm.edu

This seminar focuses on the emergence of the American gothic in nineteenth century literature and culture. The course begins with Charles Brockden Brown's Edgar Huntly, a tale about a sleepwalking and Indian-killing, and concludes with Henry James' ghost-story thriller, The Turn of the Screw. In-between, we'll read short stories by Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Louisa May Alcott, Kate Chopin, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Charles Chesnutt, to name a few, and we'll study several examples of the gothic in American culture, including art and architecture; the rise of the asylum and cultures of the dead; pseudo-science and slavery. The readings will balance literary and cultural studies with theories of the fantastic, the grotesque, the uncanny, and the supernatural to understand the American gothic--its tropes, forms, and characteristics--as it emerges out the nation's racial fears, sexual codes, class anxieties, religi ous history, and westward expansion.

Department of English Language and Literature
Humanities Building, Second Floor
MSC03 2170
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001

Phone: (505) 277-6347
Fax: (505) 277-0021