Spring 2017 Course Descriptions

500-Level | 600-Level

520.001: T: Blue Mesa Review

MWF 1400-1450
Jose Orduna, jorduna@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. 

Please contact instructor for more information on requirements and meeting times. 

522.001: Creative Writing Workshop: Poetry

T 1600-1830
Lisa Chavez, ldchavez@unm.edu 

This graduate workshop in poetry will focus on generating new material and revising poems in progress.  While much of the class will be focused on workshopping student poems, we will also do writing exercises in class to help generate new work (including writing exercises led by students in the class).  We will also read and discuss a variety of books by contemporary poets.  While this class presupposes a certain level of understanding poetic technique, it would also be appropriate for those who work primarily in another genre, but have an interest in poetry.

523.001: Creative Writing Workshop: Non-Fiction

M 1600-1830
Jose Orduna, jorduna@unm.edu 

In attempting to elucidate something about a political aesthetic in art, literary critic and Marxist political theorist, Fredric Jameson, explains that “realism presupposes a form of aesthetic experience which yet lays claim to a binding relationship to the real itself, that is to say, to those realms of knowledge and praxis which had traditionally been differentiated from the realm of the aesthetic.” This workshop will seek to place us here, on this tightrope that straddles the boundary between pure aesthetic experience and real world issues. You will write and workshop essays that will be very gently prompted onto or at least toward that tightrope. In addition to weekly workshops we will also read pieces by Adrian Piper, Eula Biss, Arundhati Roy, Hunter S. Thompson, Debbie Nathan, Kiese Laymon, Susan Sontag, Lina Maria Ferreira Cabeza Vanegas, Michael Herr, and Eduardo Galeano among others. We will also watch a few essay films including The Act of Killing by Joshua Oppenheimer.

533.001: T: Teaching Stretch Practicum 

MTWRF 0900-1330 - Maymester May 15th-May 26th - Registration not available until late spring 2017
Charles Paine, cpaine@unm.edu 

Course Overview

Note: This is a "Maymester" course that begins on Monday, May 15, and runs for two weeks, through Friday, May 26. If you have questions about your teaching assistantship covering tuition for the course, please get in touch with me. 

This course will prepare you to teach Stretch and Studio Composition at UNM by introducing you to relevant theory and pedagogy in the areas of basic writing, multilingual writing, metacognition, and reading instruction.

While the English 530: Teaching Composition practicum aims to give you a broad understanding of teaching composition using a genre approach, this course asks you to consider how to tailor your pedagogy for students who may require additional layers of support. I will encourage you to, above all else, view your students’ existing skills and literacies as resources that can be built upon in your class. And, of course, I will support you in developing a course that will promote your students’ progress toward the Core Writing student learning outcomes.

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) for English 531

In this course you will:

  1. become familiar with the theory and pedagogy of basic writing, multilingual writers, metacognition, and reading instruction as outlined by the required texts below;
  2. develop best practices in writing instruction for students who have been traditionally marginalized in higher education, including how to design assignments, rubrics, lesson plans, and activities to meet these students’ needs;
  3. learn to scaffold the above assignments and activities in order to support your students’ progress in addressing the learning outcomes A through H for first year composition as outlined in the Core Writing Handbook;
  4. recognize students’ existing skills and home literacies as resources and strengths that can be built upon as students learn to develop and reflect on their genre-based writing skills.

Required Texts/Materials

All required texts will be posted as pdfs to UNM Learn.

Course Requirements

The assignments for this course are designed to set you up for teaching Stretch/Studio Composition. As such you will

  • Write assignments, rubrics, lesson plans, and activities
  • Adapt three first-year composition sequences (or units) for use in Stretch/Studio classes and write reflective letters to describe the revisions you make
  •  Present mini-lessons to your peers on daily activities you may use in your Stretch or Studio class, based on our class readings

534.001: Writing Theory for Teachers

TR 1400-1515
Cristyn Elder, celder@unm.edu 

Although a relatively young discipline, composition studies has a rich history with many areas of inquiry that influence the work we do as writers and teachers of writing. In this course, we will explore these many areas by going to the research directly: reading and discussing texts published in various composition journals and books over the last several decades. We will explore theories of audience, genre, process, collaboration, second language writing, multimodal composition, and more. Class work will include weekly readings (typically 4-6 articles) and responses. For the major writing assignments, you will have the opportunity to apply the topics covered in class to your current (or future) teaching and research contexts. These assignments may take many forms, dependent on your interests and goals, including a literature review, program research, course development, an exploratory or pilot study, a book review for publication, a detailed research proposal, among others.

540.001: The Rhetoric of Oppression

MWF 1300-1350
Bethany Davila, bdavila@unm.edu  

What do #AllLivesMatter, #NotAllMen, and #LoveIsLove have in common? How does language perpetuate oppression? What kinds of discursive practices get in the way of civil rights and social justice?

This class will examine these questions through a careful, structured study of language and its effects. As a class, we’ll use rhetorical analysis and discourse analysis to uncover ideologies undergirding popular discourse around equal rights and identity politics. Then, we’ll locate those ideologies in language to better understand how oppression is rhetorically and discursively perpetuated. Each student will then choose their own area of oppression to explore in depth.

Course work includes regular reading (available through Learn) and small writing assignments as well as a student-directed research project and paper.

543.001: Contemporary Texts in Rhetoric

W 1600-1830
Andrew Bourelle, abourelle@unm.edu

When the term “rhetoric” is used today, it is often referred to in the pejorative sense, suggesting empty, misleading, specious arguments. Within this class, however, we will study rhetoric by its more accurate, scholarly definition: “[I]t is an art and a discipline that facilitates our understanding of the nature and function of symbols in our lives. How we perceive, what we know, what we experience, and how we act are the results of our own symbol use and that of those around us; rhetoric is the term that captures all of these processes” (Foss, Foss, & Trapp, 2014, p. 1).

In English 543: Contemporary Texts in Rhetoric, students will select a topic or issue of their choice and analyze its rhetoric through the lenses of contemporary rhetorical theorists. Students will study the works of I.A. Richards, Stephen Toulmin, Kenneth Burke, bell hooks, Jean Baudrillard, Michel Foucault, and other contemporary rhetorical theorists, synthesizing and applying these theories to their selected topic. The goal is for students to gain a comprehensive understanding of contemporary rhetorical theories, synthesize these theories, and apply their own understanding of rhetorical analysis to a modern topic of their choosing. 

547.001: Introduction to Old English

MWF 1300-1350
Jonathan Davis-Secord, jwds@unm.edu

Hwæt! 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 divinely inspired cowherd, a cross-dressing saint, a wandering exile, and other texts, all in the original Old English. No prior knowledge of Old English needed!

551.001: T: Uppity Medieval Women 

W 1600-1830
Anita Obermeier, obermei@unm.edu 

This course examines medieval discourse about women and by women. Even though many dichotomous labels exist for women in the Middle Ages—such as saint and sinner, virgin and whore—these belie the variety of subcategories within the spheres of medieval women: handmaidens to God, virgin saints, mystics, anchoresses, trobairitz, courtly ladies, ethereal dolce stil nuovo women, bourgeois merchants, lovers, witches, and writers. The course will explore female characters penned by male authors and works written by medieval women. Women in the Middle Ages can be “uppity” in a number of ways but especially through sword, pen, and sex. For instance, female authorship is a transgressive act. We will examine in which ways the writing of medieval men differs from the works by women, both in British and continental literary texts. For the theoretical framework, we will apply medieval authorship theories, ancient and medieval gender theories, and modern feminist approaches. Authors and texts may include, but are not limited to, Sappho, Ovid’s Heroides, trobaritz poetry, Lais of Marie de France, The Letters of Abelard and Heloise, Julian of Norwich, Celtic Women, the Virgin Mary, Christina of Markyate, Margery Kempe, Hildegard of Bingen, Mechthild of Magdeburg, Silence, Chaucer, Boccaccio, Christine de Pizan, The Condemnation Trial of Joan of Arc, the Malleus Maleficarum.

555.001: Middle to Late 18C: Gothic Fiction  

TR 1230-1345
Carolyn Woodward, woodward@unm.edu 

During the last decades of the eighteenth century, English society unraveled. The philosophies of Shaftesbury, Adam Smith, and David Hume, which for most of the century had justified the self-interested behavior of the privileged classes, lost their power. Contradictions surfaced, between an English ideology that inscribed individual and social mutual well-being, and England’s actual economic and political conditions. Events like the Gordon riots in 1780 and the terrifying reality of the French Revolution revealed a rupture in the culture.  The Gothic novel, which grew from this social climate, was a new and fearful genre for a new and fearful time. The specter of social revolution is manifest in the supernatural specters of the Gothic: a crumbling way of life emerges as a crumbling and haunted Gothic manor; the loss of English social identity becomes the Gothic protagonist’s search for identity. The incredible popularity of the genre in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries (as well as for us today) points to a resilience that cannot be overlooked. What is it about these repetitive and fantastical works that is so seductive to readers? Requirements: questions for class discussion, 2 exams, one research paper. 
Texts: William Beckford,Vathek; Charlotte Dacre, Zofloya; James Hogg, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner; Matthew Lewis, The Monk; and Ann Radcliffe, The Italian. 

565.001: Chicano-a Literature: Contemporary Chicana Novels 

W 1600-1830
Bernadine Hernandez, berna18@unm.edu

This course will focus on the making of the contemporary Chicana novel.  Historically, the politically charged term ‘Chicana’ has been closely linked with the literary expression that formed a reservoir of social unrest in the 1970s.  But instead of focusing solely on themes of subjugation, we will look at how Chicana writers, post 1970, experiment with form, genre, and technique to express social, cultural, economic, gender, and sexual dilemma.  We will be surveying texts that build and break rules of literary technique and representation while simultaneously linking those slippages and breaks to Chicana subjectivity.  We will examine Chicana narratives that break and add to traditional genre-based narratives of travel fiction, detective fiction, noir fiction, sci-fi, and horror.  The class will interrogate how literary techniques such as multi-genre narrative, tropes, and plot usher in a nuanced understanding of Chicana racialized gender and sexuality, sexual and gender violence on the borderlands, and other various dispossessions.  Beginning with foundational Chicana author Ana Castillo’s The Mixquiahuala Letters, the class will chart a diverse array of Chicana authors and end the class with the very same author in order to trace literary departures, representation, and growth.  In addition to our novels, we will be reading theory and criticism regarding gender and sexuality in (women of color) feminism.  The authors we will examine in class are: Margarita Cota-Cardena Puppet: A Chicano Novella, Lucha Corpi Eulogy For A Brown Angel: A Mystery Novel, Norma Cantú Canicula: Snapshots of a Girlhood en la Frontera, Emma Perez Forgetting the Alamo, Or Blood Memory, Maria Helena Viramontes And Their Dogs Came With Them, Stella Pope Duarte Let Their Spirits Dance, Bárbara Renaud González Golindrina, Why Did You Leave Me?, Crystal M. Romero Valley of the Dead, María Nieto The Water of Life Remains in the Dead, and Ana Castillo Give It To Me.   

568.001: The Latino/a Nineteenth Century   

TR 1100-1215
Jesse Aleman, jman@unm.edu 

This course maps nineteenth-century American literary history through the lives and writings of Latinos/as living in the United States as citizens, exiles, immigrants, or ex-patriots, who used key publishing hubs, such as Philadelphia, New York, Boston, San Antonio, Santa Fe, and San Francisco, to write about topics ranging from slavery and independence; race and religion; republicanism and the railroads; and American customs and Latino/a cultures. These writings—many of them only recently recovered from archival research—tell the story of the emergence of US Latino/as in the literary, political, and cultural world of nineteenth-century America, where debates about slavery took on different contours for Cubans, Manifest Destiny meant dispossession for many Mexican Americans, and the Spanish-language press proved to be the bedrock of the literary scene. The course will be, in part, a study of genre emergence, as we’ll read texts that are “firsts” for Latino/a print history: the first historical novel; the first collection of poetry; the first novel to be written in English; the first autobiography; and the first short-story cycle. However, the course will also be one in mapping a new literary history, one that reads Latino/a texts that span the nineteenth-century, from the 1820s to the 1890s, and chart the correlation between Latino/a literary production, American cultural history, and the bifurcated nature of national belonging that continues to vex U.S. Latino/as in the literary and political spheres. All texts will be read in English—some texts will puff the rhetoric of republican governance; other texts include cross-dressing and racial passing; and more than a few extol enough high melodrama in bad fiction to compete with the best contemporary telenovela.

580.001: The Irish Literary Imagination

MWF 1000-1200 - Late Starting Course March 20th
Sarah Townsend, sltownse@unm.edu 

This is course connected to a UNM Study Abroad course, “Imagining Ireland.” Admission is open only to students who apply to and are accepted into the study abroad program. Admitted students will complete two linked spring courses, English 480/580 and History 418/618, and then will travel to Ireland May 17-31. For more information, visit:


This course is a late-starting spring course and will begin on March 20.

English 480/580 will explore how Irish history and identity is negotiated through the production of literary canons and counter-canons. Focusing on Irish realism, the Celtic Revival, literature of the Troubles, contemporary writing, and the recent controversy over the Abbey Theatre’s commemoration of the 1916 Rising, we will consider how literature shapes and challenges the very idea of the Irish nation. The class includes regular reading and discussion, short written responses, a final exam, and a research report and presentation. This course is taught in conjunction with History 418/618: Modern Ireland. Our approach to the two courses (each 3 credits) is interdisciplinary: we will study important events in Irish history and explore the ways they are commemorated and contested in literature and culture. The course will include a site-specific immersion in Irish history and literature through study in three cities (Dublin, Galway, and Gweedore); visits to important landmarks (like the Aran Islands, the Cliffs of Moher, Sligo and W.B. Yeats’s grave, the Derry Guildhall, the ancient monastery at Glendalough, the medieval city of Trim, the National Library, the National Museum, Glasnevin Cemetery); theatrical productions and a tour of the Abbey Theatre; lectures and guest speakers; and much more. Graduate students will also have the opportunity to conduct archival research at a library or university in Dublin.

582.001: Shakespeare

Hybrid - F 1400-1630
Online 1.5 Hrs.
Marissa Greenberg, marissag@unm.edu

This intensive, eight-week graduate course takes a hybrid approach to achieve two fundamental goals: 1) to (re)familiarize its members with the dominant conventions, themes, and problems of Shakespeare's plays and 2) to support its members’ investigations of the relationship between Shakespeare and their areas of specialization or other fields of interest. Members of this course will prepare online presentations on Shakespeare and historical and/or national traditions (e.g., Shakespeare and the Middle Ages, Shakespeare and Nineteenth-Century America or England, Shakespeare and the Regional Southwest, Shakespeare and Post-WWII Europe, Shakespeare and Latin America) and on Shakespeare and critical theories or interdisciplinary fields (e.g., Shakespeare and Adaptation, Shakespeare and Performance, Shakespeare and Sexuality and Gender, Shakespeare and Ecology, Shakespeare and Disability Studies). Complementing this emphasis on independent research will be face-to-face student-directed discussion of some key plays. For the purposes of this course, “key” is defined as at the center of literary history and criticism. Readings may include Hamlet, King Lear, Richard III, Macbeth, Othello, The Tempest, The Merchant of Venice, and The Taming of the Shrew but will be finalized according to students’ fields and disciplinary interests.

NOTE: This is a 1H course, meaning that is runs for the first eight weeks of the semester. It is also a hybrid course, so students should expect an online component equivalent to the weekly face-to-face meetings. Please contact Prof. Greenberg if you have questions about the course's structure or requirements.

586.001: British Fiction 

TR 1400-1515
Belinda Wallace, bwallace@unm.edu 

Over the last 50 years, Black Britons represent the most rapidly growing demographic in Great Britain. The term “Black” in Britain denotes not only descendants of the African Diaspora, but also people of Asian and Middle-Eastern origins. Thus “blackness” represents a political position just as much as it is signals a “racial” identity. In this course, we will examine the literature of Black British writers and explore the ways in which their literature may be seen as a critical response to British exclusion, most commonly practiced through colonialism, imperialism, and xenophobia, as they seek to articulate a British identity and lay claim to Britain as their homeland.

587.001: Genre Studies: Blurred Boundaries 

R 1600-1830
Gregory Martin, gmartin@unm.edu

Blurred Boundaries is a class about “unclassifiable” books.  It’s about books that refute or challenge genre, that bookstores and libraries don’t quite know where to shelve.  What kind of book is this?  What does this have to do with readers and their expectations?  Does it matter?  Why?  This is a craft seminar which will explore the space between genres, investigating not only the “truth” and “invention” of fiction and nonfiction, but also the space between journalism and memoir, between biography and fiction, between the lyric and associative construction of poetry and the personal essay.  We will look at how writers, implicitly and explicitly, manipulate the reader’s desire for "literal” truth and the relative safety of the categories and conventions of genre.  The course is also practical.  Each week we ask the questions:  How was this made?  How does this work?  What is its design? Organizing principles?  How does an understanding of its construction shape my own work?  Finally, another goal of the course is to develop theories of our own sensibility.  Selected authors and readings will likely include:  The Weight of Shadows, Jose Orduna; How Should a Person Be?, Sheila Heti;  The Stone Diaries, Carol Sheilds;  The Rings of Saturn, WG Sebald;  The Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston; The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Jean Dominique Bauby;  The Unsettlers, Mark Sundeen;  Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehesi Coates;  Hyperbole and a Half, Allie Brosh;  A Country Year, Sue Hubbell;  The Faraway Nearby, Rebecca Solnit;  My Brother, Jamaica Kincaid;  The Argonauts, Maggie Nelson.


500-Level | 600-Level

610.001: Sem: Theories of Race/Sex  

M 1600-1930
Kathryn Wichelns, wichelns@unm.edu  

This seminar in literary theory focuses on both a specific set of theoretical approaches and a research methodology. Students will examine ideas emerging out of influential texts in critical race studies, queer of color criticism, and sexuality studies, and then put those ideas into conversation with primary-source material through archival and other forms of research. Towards those ends, we will begin with the work of Michel Foucault, particularly his writing on sex and sexuality, followed by more contemporary theories of race and sexualized racialization that in part critique the gaps in Foucault’s approach. Selections from Linda Martín Alcoff, Lauren Berlant, Gene Andrew Jarrett, E. Patrick Johnson, Ernesto Javier Martinez, Jasbir Puar, Celine Parreñas Shimizu, Siobhan Somerville and others will provide us with the tools for a chronological step backwards, in pursuit of answers to the course’s central question: how do historically-specific beliefs about race and ethnicity intersect with constructions of sex and sexuality, and vice versa? We will focus on the late-19th- and early-20th-Century period, and American responses to emerging sciences and pseudosciences of race and sexuality within the context of Manifest Destiny, first-wave feminism, the Chinese Exclusion Act, and federal withdrawal from the South and the rise of Jim Crow. Our discussions in this section of the course will follow a series of groupings, composed of foundational ideas and some of their interpretations: Charles Darwin, social Darwinism and the Gospel of Wealth; Adam Smith and “universal” moral sense; Sigmund Freud, Jean Charcot, and shifting medical/ legal approaches to non-normative sexual practice. In order to explore the influences of these interrelated frameworks, we will examine a series of responses from the period, both famous and lesser-known—from Jacob Riis’s ethnographic menagerie in How the Other Half Lives to Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s eugenicist feminism in Herland, and from “dress reform” and temperance pamphlets to circus side-show posters. Evaluation will be based on one substantive in-class presentation and an article-length final research paper; active participation is expected.

640.001: Seminar: New Media Literacies for the 21st Century  

T 1600-1930 
Tiffany Bourelle, tbourell@unm.edu 

What does it mean to be literate in the twenty-first century? How does the introduction of new technologies impact the way we communicate on a daily basis? This class will attempt to answer these questions, tracing the origins of Western literacy studies, examining how definitions and attitudes toward literacy have changed. Specifically, students will analyze various “literacies,” including technological literacy, digital literacy, and multimodal literacy, looking at ways in which these intersect and depart from one another. A close examination of the three will help the class come to a working definition of new media literacies; more broadly, students will learn the concepts behind these literacies and why each is important for successful communication both in and outside academia. Students in this class will work toward building a scholarly foundation of various academic approaches to literacy, learning why and how those approaches have changed in the last century. In addition, students will learn how media is created, used, re-used, interpreted, and socially constructed by individuals, groups, and communities; this foundation will prepare them to make their own arguments regarding new media literacies, creating a digital text for scholarly publication.  

660.001: Seminar: The Postmodern Mystery  

R 1600-1930 
Scarlett Higgins, shiggins@unm.edu

This graduate seminar will focus on texts that combine elements of what is typically thought of as the postmodern (self-reflexivity, intertextuality, questioning of subjectivity, the self-aware character, information overload and/or misinformation, lack of closure) with those of the mystery (the (sometimes unlikely) detective, the femme fatale, murders and bodies, tropes of missing information, clues, and puzzles to be solved, and the privileging of rationality). Though the mystery and particularly the detective story is largely thought to have evolved from 19th century roots, this genre has had an explosion in the later half of the 20th century and into the 21st. We will begin our investigations with those 19th century predecessors, in particular the work of Edgar Allen Poe and two of his distinguished 20th century interlocutors, Jacques Lacan and Jacques Derrida. From there we will move into the immediate years following World War II and the texts that will later be termed noir: hard boiled detective fiction and its many film adaptations, lauded by French critics with the term film noir. The remainder of the terms will be spent on an examination of a variety of postmodern (in period and in style) texts, mostly prose fiction and film, that deal with these recursive tropes of mystery and detection. I currently plan to end the semester with a class field trip to Santa Fe, for a group exploration of the art installation, “The House of Eternal Return,” at Meow Wolf.

Most weeks, the assignments will include a selection of prose fiction readings, critical readings, and film viewing. Other requirements will include a short mid-term essay, an article-length final research essay, and two presentations.

Please feel free to contact me (shiggins@unm.edu) with any questions.


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