Spring 2018 Course Descriptions

500-Level | 600-Level

510.001: Criticism & Theory

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

Our course will introduce us to some of the major thinkers and movements of literary criticism and theory from the 20th century through the present. In so doing, we will consider how critical theory offers various lenses and tools through which to interpret literature that will enhance our understanding, writing about, and teaching of literature. To this end, we will use Michel Foucault’s influential text The History of Sexuality as our foundational work. This text will aid us as we work toward an intimate understanding of modernity and postmodernism as well as structuralism and poststructuralism. Furthermore, we will engage critics (such as Homi K. Bhabha, Barbara Christian, Hélèn Cixous, Deleuze and Guattari, David Halperin and Monique Wittig) who are/were influenced by, in conversation with or offered challenges to Foucault. As we do this work, we will be introduced to other relevant literary criticism and theories, namely New Criticism, Deconstruction, Intersectionality and Postcolonialism.

516.001: Biography & Autobiography

R 1600-1830
Michelle Kells, mkells@unm.edu

ENGL 416/516 Biography and Autobiography offers critical examination of the genre of biography (autobiography and memoir) across the subfields of English Studies (Rhetoric, Creative Writing, and Literary Studies). This course will provide models, practice, and feedback through writing workshops and the theoretical study of biography as craft. In addition to practicing the rhetorical art of narrative (and story-telling), students will cultivate a meta-discourse about biography as genre (form and function). 

The course will include exploration of: Rhetorical Biography; Political Biography; Literary Biography; Personal Biography (autobiography and memoir/creative non-fiction). Students will analyze examples of each form toward discovering frameworks for their own original manuscript as well as examine various public and academic venues as platforms for publication of their scholarly and creative work.

The course will require researching a life (a public or private figure) to be rendered in writing. Capstone project for the course will include composing a biography (rhetorical, political or literary biography, or personal memoir) informed by primary qualitative research (archival, bibliographic, autoethnography, and/or oral history) for a target literary/rhetorical journal or publication house. The capstone project may also be designed to serve as a suitable contribution to an undergraduate Honors thesis; MA Portfolio writing sample; and/or PhD dissertation chapter.   

Students’ final projects will be appropriately prepared for the professional writing submission process toward publication in the respective venues of the field (for Rhetorical Biography; Political Biography; Literary Biography; Autobiography or Memoir).

Learning Outcomes:
Promote critical understanding of biography and memoir as genre;
Practice the craft of writing for complex audiences (primary, secondary, and tertiary audiences);
Analyze the rhetorical situation of the life and events of a literary, rhetorical, political, or private individual;
Engage the rhetorical art of narrative and story-telling;
Cultivate a rich intellectual community within the classroom setting;
Explore the dimensions of the rhetorical situation shaping texts, authors, and audiences;
Guide opportunities for writing and research on topics relevant to student's goals and interests;
Participate in research exercises and visit research sites (archives, oral histories, etc.);
Provide opportunities to circulate and share students' research and writing;
Form alliances with colleagues and work collaboratively toward common goals;
Revise texts in response to comments from others so that improvement is evident to readers;
Engage assignments and writing projects with an awareness of academic integrity (honesty) and the ethics of professional communication;
Write effectively under time constraints;
Cultivate a writerly identity and effective work habits (able to produce written products both independently and collaboratively);
Generate and submit a publishable-quality manuscript.

Required Readings:
Genre Examples of Biography/Memoir:
Gloria Anzaldúa. Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza. 4th ed. ISBN-10: 1879960850
Sandra Cisneros. A House of My Own: Stories from My Life.
Michelle Hall Kells. Vicente Ximenes, LBJ’s “Great Society,” and Mexican American Civil Rights Rhetoric.
José Orduña. The Weight of Shadows: A Memoir of Immigration and Displacement.

Writing and Research of Biography/Memoir:
Vivian Gornick. The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative.
Scott Donaldson. The Impossible Craft: Literary Biography.
Gesa Kirsch. Beyond the Archives: Research as Lived Process.

520.001: T: Prose Stylistics

TR 0800-0915
Jerome Shea, jshea@unm.edu

Prose Stylistics 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 we mean by ‘high style’ and ‘low style’?”  We will question whether prose is transparent or opaque, and what the ramifications of that are.  Five or six short papers, no exams.

520.002: T: Blue Mesa Review

MWF 1400-1450
Mark Sundeen, marksundeen@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.

521.001: Creative Writing Workshop: Fiction

T 1600-1830
Daniel Mueller, dmueller@unm.edu

I believe every piece of fiction has contained within it the seed, or blueprint, of what it ultimately wants to be.  For the author, fully realizing a piece of fiction requires carefully listening to what the narrative is telling them during the act of composition, from the first sentence to the last, and at every stage of revision.  In this way, it seems to me, pieces of fiction are born.  Fully realized works of fiction rarely happen in single sittings; for this reason, the fully realized short story, meant to be read in a single sitting, is always a sleight-of-hand, the weeks, months, and even years the author devoted to it seamlessly concealed.  For this reason, too, fiction writing must be a practice, excelled at, if such a thing is possible, only over time and by making it a routine in our lives.

Responding well to another writer’s fiction is, I also believe, as arduous an act of the imagination as writing fiction, for it requires us not only to imagine the fictional world summoned by the words the author has chosen, but to imagine ourselves in the author’s position to their text. 

In essence, as members of a fiction workshop, we try to listen to each work as carefully as its author has and formulate in words the messages it has for them.  In simplest terms, a fiction workshop provides serious fiction writers an invaluable opportunity to have their work read deeply and discussed deeply by a panel of equally serious fellow writers who share, in their hearts and minds, a singular commitment to bringing pieces of fiction as close as possible to completion.

522.001: Creative Writing Workshop: Poetry

W 1600-1830
Stephen Benz, sbenz@unm.edu

This graduate workshop in the writing of poetry will focus, as workshops are designed to do, on student writing. Each participant will have multiple opportunities throughout the semester to share work with the other members of the workshop and receive feedback. Beyond the workshopping of poems, the course will give special (but by no means exclusive) attention to prose poems. The purpose for this attention is twofold: to inspire poets to take their poems in new directions and to offer prose writers taking the workshop a way to explore poetry while also finding new directions for their prose. Additional features of the course include taking a close look at journals that exclusively publish poetry; discovering poets past and present who inspire us; reading and listening to poets talk about their poems; and preparing to write the MFA comp exams. Desired output for the semester will be a chapbook-length portfolio (18-25 pages).

523.001: Creative Writing Workshop: Nonfiction

M 1600-1830
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.  

531.001: Stretch/Studio Practicum

May Intersession
Cris Elder, celder@unm.edu

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 537: 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. 

541.001: English Grammars 

TR 1230-1345
Bethany Davila, bdavila@unm.edu 

Studying grammar doesn’t have to be boring! This course helps students approach the study of grammar from different perspectives, all while attending to language politics, language attitudes, and language use. Projects include studying prescriptive and descriptive language rules, examining language as it is used, engaging with controversies involving stigmatized languages and grammars, and analyzing our own and others’ academic writing using corpus linguistics.

549.001: Middle English Language 

R 1600-1830
Anita Obermeier, aobermei@unm.edu

This course provides an introduction to those principal dialects of Middle English, demonstrated by selected readings, in the context of the development of the language from Old English to Early Modern English (c. 1150-1500). We will be looking at the language both diachronically (the historical development) and synchronically (the differentiation of dialect features at a given time). The primary goal of the course is to familiarize students with the range of texts available in different dialects during the period. At the end of the course, students should, for example, be able to read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in the original North-West Midlands dialect with a full appreciation of the contribution of the language to the artistry of the poem, and to recognize its difference from the London dialect of Chaucer. Assignments will include take-home exercises, a midterm, a final, and a group translation project.

551.001: T: Medieval Research & Bibliography

W 1600-1830
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.

557.001: Victorian Studies: 19C Women's Writing & Feelings  

T 1600-1830 
Gail Houston, ghouston@unm.edu 

This course examines the role of feelings in the writing of nineteenth-century British women authors, from how hints of Mary Wollstonecraft may be found in later women writers such as George Eliot, Charlotte Brontë, and Florence Nightingale, to how Charlotte Brontë  defined her passionate writing against Jane Austen's seeming lack of feeling, to how women writer's uses of feeling  engage with and argue for the rights of women, slaves, the lower-classes, and animals. We will read affect theorists like Jonathan Flatley, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Gilles Deleuze, Benjamin, Dion Million and others to help create a historical emotional knowledge about women writers of nineteenth-century Britain.

568.001: T: The African American Novel

MW 1400-1515 
Finnie Coleman, coleman@unm.edu

In this course, we explore the first century of the African-American novel – arguably the most tumultuous 100-year period in African American cultural history.  Bookended by the publication of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s momentous Uncle Tom’s Cabin in 1852 and the Supreme Court’s ruling in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case in 1954, we begin our study of this period with William Wells Brown’s Clotel; or, The President's Daughter (1853) and close with James Baldwin’s autobiographical novel,Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953). African American religious traditions, Reconstruction, Jim Crow laws, segregation, Black nationalism, lynching, and the struggle for civil rights will dominate our discussions as we tease out the complex cultural politics of the Reconstruction period, appraise the flowering of literature during the Great Migration and Harlem Renaissance, question the economic and social realities that coalesced in Black communities during the Great Depression and World War II, and assess the cautious optimism that characterized the early years of the Civil Rights movement.  Our reading list includes well-known novels like Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), Richard Wright’s Native Son (1940), and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man (1952).  These better-known novels help us to grasp the dominant themes that circulated in all genres of African American literature during this fecund period. Our list also includes more obscure novels like Martin Delany’s Blake (1861) and Sutton E. Griggs’ Imperium in Imperio (1899) and the Hindered Hand (1905). These lesser known novels will help us to understand the complicated internal racial politics that governed the rise of the so-called “Talented Tenth,” the pervasiveness and durability of “intra-racism” and “colorism,” and the “pride of the rising tide” that accompanied the birth of the Black middle class.  At every opportunity, we will discuss ways in which we might recruit the metanarratives of yesterday to help us to make sense of mutations in racism and White Supremacy in our own “tumultuous” historical moment.  

William Wells Brown, Clotel; or, The President's Daughter (1853)
Martin Delany, Blake (1861)
Frances E.W. Harper, Iola Leroy (1892)
Sutton E. Griggs, Imperium in Imperio (1899)
Charles Chesnutt, The Marrow of Tradition (1901)
Jean Toomer, Cane (1925)
Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)
Richard Wright, Native Son (1940)
Ann Petry, The Street (1946)
Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (1952)
James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953)

570.001: Visual Modernity

M 1600-1830
Jesse Costantinojcostantino@unm.edu

In his 1962 book, The Gutenberg Galaxy, media theorist Marshall McLuhan claims that the advent of the printing press led ultimately to the “visual homogenizing of experience.” It is the printed word, he argues, that is ground zero for our image-saturated culture. In this course, we will examine (and question) conventional histories of literary modernism by way of its close relationship to modern visual technologies. While McLuhan’s claim is suggestive, we will take a slightly less ostentatious approach and begin our investigation in the nineteenth century when, according to Walter Benjamin, lithography radically transformed our relationship to the visual arts and experience. We will then work our way through key visual media of the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries—including photography, film, television, comics, digital media, and video games—with a keen eye to their literary analogues.

This course takes a theory-intensive approach to the study of modernist literature and visual media. Following the lead of the modernists themselves, our exploration will stretch the boundaries of the conventionally “literary” and extend beyond the ordinary confines of the Anglo-American tradition to include works from continental Europe and Latin America. All texts not originally produced in English will be discussed in translation.

579.001: Postcolonial Literatures 

MWF 1330-1350
Feroza Jussawalla, fjussawa@unm.edu

This is an easy introduction to Postcolonial Literatures, a brief history and overview incorporating some contemporary works to illustrate the themes and issues in postcolonial theory. The class will not be theory heavy so please do not be afraid of it. We will mostly focus on reading the literature in light of our current societal situation, examining issues of migration, movement and assimilation.  I mean to make the class appeal to all the constituents in our little group, Creative Writers,  Fine Arts and English lit. students. I will however, provide as much as I can a simple introduction to Postcolonial theory. As such I have chosen Chrisman and Williams’ Colonial Discourse and Postcolonial Theory so we can read some of the major critics in their own words, particularly, Bhabha, Said, Spivak. I haven’t chosen the major works themselves, as I intend to focus more on the literary texts, to see what makes them both literature and post-colonial. What are the elements of a good novel and yet simultaneously what makes them “postcolonial.” What is the value of this nomenclature in our now globalized world? As such I mean to incorporate several of the novels listed here below.

Now regarding the novels: I  want to teach the most recent and newest novels. I am also currently very interested in Muslim Women’s writing, expressing the diaspora. I want very much to read with you and discuss, Mohja Kaf’s The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf, and bring in some of the pressing issues of our time. The books I  want to order are Zadie Smith’s Swing Time, Ali Eteraz’s Native Believer, Helen Oyeymi’s You Can’t Have What is Not Yours, and of course Yaa Gyasi’s  Homegoing. This is winning SO many prizes that we must start with it as it brings us into U.S. issues such as those of Black Lives. ( Jhumpa Lahiri’s Lowland might appeal to some of you who like novels that make you cry). We can negotiate here which ones you want to read out of: Oondatje’s English Patient, Smith, White Teeth, Roy, God of Small Things. Atreya, Tell a Thousand Lies, Hamid, Reluctant Fundamentalist, Rushdie, Satanic Verses and Adichie, Americanah.We can’t make the class too reading heavy.

Regarding assignments: I am interested in your original opinion about each of these novels. Hence, I am interested in reaction-response papers. I want you to write good clear reaction responses to each of the texts. And, develop a long research paper which you can possibly publish? I want you to have fun in the class and love reading these contemporary works. I am negotiating with Bookworks to bring Mohsin Hamid in April. He had expressed particular interest in coming to UNM, but now that he’s up for a Booker, let’s see!

PLEASE e mail me with suggestions at fjussawa@unm.edu and DO come and read with me.

587.001: T: Poetics of Identity

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

This graduate class will focus on the rich tradition of writing about identity in 20th and 21st century American literature.   We will read a variety of poetry and essays on issues of identity and why it matters, and will tackle some of the difficult questions:  who can write about the other, and why is this such a vexed issue?  How important are issues of representation? How do we avoid falling into stereotype and/or appropriation?   The poets whose work we examine will encompass a wide variety of traditions, from the New Negro Renaissance to Black Arts Movement and beyond, to LGBTQ writers and queer poetics, to feminist poets, working class writers, and more.  Assignments include reading poetry and essays about identity, a presentation, and a variety of short writing assignments (some will be creative).


500-Level| 600-Level

640.001: Sem: Graphic Novels & Multimodality

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

In his book Graphic Encounters: Comics and the Sponsorship of Multimodal Literacy, Dale Jacobs states, "[C]omics—comic books, comic strips, and graphic novels—are media that use a combination of sequential art and text in order to create narrative meaning for the audience. This combination of words and images—multimodality—works to create meaning in very particular and distinctive ways; in a multimodal text, meaning is created through words, visuals, and the combination of the two in order to achieve effects and meanings that would not be possible in either a strictly alphabetic or strictly visual text." (5)

Multimodal literacy has become increasingly emphasized in the field of composition and throughout English studies, as evidenced by the revised version of the WPA Outcomes Statement for First-Year Writing and NCTE’s Position Statement on Multimodal Literacies. However, media such as websites, videos, blogs, newsletters, and podcasts are given much more attention than comics, which I argue are every bit as multimodal—and consequently just as important to teach and study.

In this class, students will study the growing subject of multimodal composition and the place of comic books/graphic novels in it. Additionally, students will research and discuss meaning making within the comics genre, the transfer of multimodal literacies, and the larger place of comics studies within the field of English.

650.001: Sem: Race/Racism in Old English Studies

T 1600-1830
Jonathan Davis-Secord, jwds@unm.edu

Old English Studies is simultaneously exploring vibrant, new intellectual territory while also suffering attack from white supremacists, misogynists, and their sympathizers in the field. In this seminar, we will address the racism and sexism presently causing division and their entrenched histories in the development of the field. We will also survey contributions that take the field in positive, new directions—such as eco-criticism, vernacular theology, space and place theory, critical race theory, and borderland literature—as well as new visions of old issues. There will be no need of prior knowledge of Old English or Medieval Latin, but discussions will not shy away from engaging with the primary texts in those languages. Students will review and present on current scholarship in the field and write a significant research paper along with shorter writing assignments throughout the semester.

660.001: Sem: 19th Century American Literature & the American West: Climate

W 1600-1830
Jesse Aleman, jman@unm.edu

Timed in conjunction with the C19—Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanist conference set for March 2018 in Albuquerque, this seminar takes the conference theme, “Climate,” as the central framework for studying the western frontier as it appears in nineteenth-century literary and cultural texts. We’ll consider the west through early environmental writings, for example, to learn how frontier landscapes and the natural world fundamentally transformed the nineteenth-century literary imagination about place and space. At the same time, we’ll read texts that make apparent the heady political climate that debated the significance of the west in relation to slavery, expansion, coloniality, race, gender, and industrialization. Both positions mark a different kind of climate for the west, ranging from sublime environmentalism to sectional crisis that map the meaning of the frontier in the American literary imagination. However, we’ll also chart the west’s climate change by way of native, Latino/a, and African American writings, which tell a different regional forecast about race and place in the American borderlands—one characterized by a climate of violence, dispossession, and survival. Focusing on historical romances, travel writing, and popular fiction, we’ll come to understand the frontier as a geo-literary space in which nineteenth-century literature, art, and cultural ephemera mapped the prevailing winds of Manifest Destiny as it swept across the west. The seminar will also provide a rare pedagogical and scholarly opportunity to link graduate seminar with a major professional conference in town.

Possible titles include: Narrative of Davy Crockett; The Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murieta; Down the Santa Fe Trail and into Mexico; Life Crossing Borders; Life among the Piutes; Ramona; The Virginian; The Life and Adventures of Nat Love.

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