Spring 2020 Course Descriptions

500-Level | 600-Level
517.001: Editing

Stephen Benz, sbenz@unm.edu

This course focuses on editing as a professional practice. Along with perfecting advanced copyediting skills, we will learn about "information design": the development and production of documents that are complete, accurate, correct, comprehensible, usable, and appropriate for readers. Because editors often must be responsible for a document from its inception to its presentation as a finished product, we will also learn about layout and document design, as well as contemporary production processes. Successful completion of this course will provide you with the foundation necessary for a future career in the field, whether as an editor in the publishing industry or as an editor of documents for organizations, businesses, and institutions. 

520.001: 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

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.

523.001: Creative Writing Workshop: Nonfiction

W 1600-1830
Mark Sundeen, marksundeen@unm.edu

This is a workshop-based course for writing memoir, personal essay, lyrical prose, narrative journalism, travel writing, and any hybrid thereof. Each student will submit three pieces over the course of the semester to be discussed in class. Workshops will focus on five basic elements of craft: voice, character, theme, structure, and plot. We will also hone the skill of providing verbal and written feedback: learning to comment on peers’ work with insights that are honest, kind, and constructive. We will read and evaluate essays by contemporary innovators of creative nonfiction. Poets and fiction writers are welcome!

531.001: Teaching Stretch & Studio Composition

TR 0930-1045
Beth Davila, bdavila@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 area of basic writing, multilingual writing, multimodal composition, and metacognition. We will focus on identifying both best practices and innovative approaches to teaching composition to students who may require additional layers of support as writers.

541.001: English Grammars 

W 1600-1830
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 considering grammar in use in relation to written rules about grammar, examinging our own and others' grammar in academic writing using corpus linguistics, and studying a local issue related to language attitudes and the politics of language.

542.001: Major Texts in Rhetoric

M 1600-1830
Charles Paine, cpaine@unm.edu

This course is an introduction to rhetorical history and theory, focusing on primary rhetorical texts from the Greek Sophists (5th and 4th centuries BCE) to Nietzsche (late 19th century). We’ll begin with selections from Homer’s Iliad and Thucydides’ History, and a contemporary speech or two, which will raise some fundamental questions about the nature of rhetoric. Then we’ll start working backward, beginning with 19th-century origins of composition studies, Locke, Bacon, and the Enlightenment’s putative rejection of rhetorical knowledge. Then we’ll cycle back to the Greek Sophists, Plato (The Gorgias and The Phaedrus), Aristotle (On Rhetoric), the Romans Cicero and Quintilian, Augustine, and back toward the contemporary. We’ll crisscross timelines because much of the rhetorical tradition can be seen as reacting against the revolutionary ideas of the 5th- and 4th-century bce Sophists, and we’ll better understand them—and postmodern thought, which in many ways revives Sophistic rhetoric—if we start with the more familiar. We’ll examine all these ideas not merely as historical curiosities, but as ideas that help us think about our own arts of discourse, how we can use them and how we teach them. Throughout the course, we’ll discover and forge connections between the rhetorical tradition and contemporary writing.

Here are some of the key theoretical and practical questions we’ll explore. Can rhetoric help us induce the truth or only belief? What is the nature and what are the functions of rhetoric? What’s the relationship between logic (or dialectic) and rhetoric? What good is rhetorical training: why teach or study rhetoric, writing, or communication; does it make us better communicators, better thinkers, more savvy consumers of rhetoric? Are there other important functions for rhetoric than persuasion, like pleasure, virtue, cooperation? Is there a universal and teachable art of rhetoric that underlies all writing tasks?

And finally, how do these questions and our answers to them change when we consider the traditions and identities of other rhetorical traditions and practices, such as—e.g., feminist, Islamic, Judaic, Native and Indigenous, Latinx, LGBTQA and others.

Above all, I hope each of you will discover helpful connections between the vast realm of rhetoric and your specific interests in writing and teaching writing. In addition, the course will prepare you for your master’s and Ph.D. exams (we’ll develop lists of key critical terms, and I’ll quiz you on them periodically; we’ll pause for a week twice during the semester to prepare and take essay exams). You’ll also do some informal writing and do a final seminar paper or project. Each of you will give and write a report on a specific scholarly work.

551.001: T: Medieval Research & Bibliography

R 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 scholarship on Old English from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century.

558.001: Modern British Literature

MW 1400-1515 
M. R. Hofer, mrh@unm.edu

This course in late modern British literature focuses exclusively on writers born in the United Kingdom who brought out major works of poetry, fiction, or hybrid genres between the late 1920s and the late 1960s. One key definition of the “late modern” focuses on aesthetically conservative and politically quietist literature that registers its skepticism with the formal innovations of early to high modernist experimentation. That is, of course, a reactionary definition; we will be taking a different view. Our survey of late modernism in the UK will instead analyze and evaluate how the stylistic, cultural, and conceptual qualities that characterize modernism—which was a transatlantic and, to a lesser extent, continental transplant that thrived in London from 1913 through the mid-1920s—were adopted and/or adapted by later British writers. We will pay particular attention to the efflorescences of experimental prose writing exemplified by the “novels” of Christine Brooke-Rose and B. S. Johnson as well as the poetic innovations of the Cambridge School, the British Poetry Revival, the Writers Forum, and the associated experimentalism practiced during this same period in Scotland and Wales.

561.001: American Romanticism

TR 1230-1345
Jesse Alemán, jman@unm.edu

This course situates American Romanticism as one of many literary and social movements that took place during the American renaissance, a period roughly spanning the 1830s to the end of the US Civil War. Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, and Melville tend to dominate canonical understanding of this period, but in our class, we’ll situate their romanticism alongside concurrent movements, such as abolitionism, expansionism, feminism, and capitalism, to understand the era as a true burgeoning of competing literary and cultural shifts that gave raise to different genres and alternative visions of the nation’s development. We’ll come at an understanding of American Romanticism, in other words, through the problems of slavery and race, contact and coloniality, gender and separate spheres, and uneven industrial economies that form the backdrop of canonical writings of the time. We’ll also pay close attention to the emergence of different literary genres during the period, including the rise of the essay, the significance of the sermon, the appearance of the short story, the introduction of the slave narrative, the proliferation of periodicals, and attempts at the novel. Students will gain a broad, general understanding of what’s commonly understood as the most foundational moment in American literary production, and students will also encounter a diversity of readings that include canonical and non-canonical writers, selected for specialists and generalists in American literature. At the very least, students should take the class to read Melville’s whale of a tale, Moby-Dick. The course will be run in seminar style and will require one scaffolded final project of your design: a portfolio essay, a pedagogical portfolio, a conference presentation, a research paper, a dissertation chapter, or a scholarly article, for example. [561 meets the following area distributions: MA-Lit/Area 3; MA-Med St/Group 3; MA-RW/Group 3; MFA/Group C]. 

574.001: Southwest Women Writers

TR 1400-1515
Melina Vizcaíno-Alemán, mviz@unm.edu

This course is a study of the Southwestern women writers whose work defines and redefines the region as a place. We read a wide range of texts and situate them within their social and cultural histories. The class begins with the early twentieth-century writings of Mary Austin and Alice Corbin Henderson, and it makes its way through the mid-to-late twentieth-century writings of Leslie Marmon Silko, Ana Castillo, and Luci Tapahonso. The class also considers the more contemporary work of Deborah Miranda and Natalie Díaz to rethink the meanings of place in the wake of gender studies, settler-colonial theories, Chicana feminism, and critical Indigenous studies. Students will become familiar with critical regional writings about place, and they will learn how to conduct archival research at the Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections. Assignments combine archival and textual studies, and students learn how to utilize the tools and terminology of the region in their own writing and research on the Southwest. 

581.001: Chaucer and Gender 

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

Chaucer has often been credited with creating the first psychologically viable women characters in English literature: The Wife of Bath and Criseyde, one a contemporary fourteenth-century antifeminist caricature, the other an ancient Juliet. In this course, we will test this scholarly commonplace and examine just how conservative or avant-garde Chaucer really was in relation to gender. Of course, Chaucer’s canon contains numerous women characters aside from Alisoun and Criseyde—among them nuns, lovers, martyrs, wives, virgins, queens, bourgeois merchants, adulteresses, courtly and peasant women—as well as colorful male characters, such as the Troilus, Pandarus, the Miller, the Reeve, Harry Bailey, the Friar, the Pardoner, to name a few. We will read a selection of shorter poems, The Book of the DuchessThe Parliament of Fowls, Troilus and CriseydeThe Legend of Good Women, and an assortment of Canterbury Tales. In our inquiries, we will enlist feminist, gender, and queer theory. I posit that the examination of Chaucer’s works with a gendered lens will provide us with new and fresh insights into the characters—both male and female—the works, and the author.

The course can also count toward the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Graduate Certificate.

500-Level | 600-Level
610.001: Sem: Material in Theory

M 1600-1830
Bernadine Hernández, berna18@unm.edu

Marxist theory has been useful not only for the critique of social systems, but for the study of literature and culture, as well. Decades later—and with the political, economic and environmental contradictions of the "new world order" now in plain sight—we will benefit once again from reassessing the appropriateness of Marxism for the study of literature and culture. We will spend the first four weeks of our seminar reading Das Capital. After this, we will look at contemporary Marxist theory to theorize the crisis of capital and neoliberalism. We will spend the last part of the semester intervening in Marxist theory through Marxist feminism, racial capitalism, environmentalim, and other theories. Throughout, we will attempt to understand and theorize the relation between the material conditions of social life and aesthetic forms.

640.001: Sem: Women Writers & the Environment

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

This course will explore environmental writing by women across time, culture, and space through the critical lens of rhetorical theory. We will examine diverse textual representations of the environment (constructions of nature/wilderness as well as built/urban contexts) as exigences for social engagement and action.  The purpose of this class is to create a community of environmental thinkers and to cultivate opportunities for considering our roles as writers, citizens, and scholars (of place).  Participation in field exercises, field trips (as a group), and multi-modal (digital) learning environments will be integral to this course.  Our reading list will include environmental texts by women within and beyond the Southwest region (as a place and a rhetorical construction).

650.001: Sem: Comparative Postcolonialisms

R 1600-1830
Feroza Jussawalla, fjussawa@unm.edu

This is a class on comparing the moment of Postcolonialism  anchored to Partition. “Partition” is when countries were divided up after independence from the British. Borders were drawn and peoples divided up post- independence based on religion or ethnicity. The first of these happened   in Ireland, where Northern Irish, actually chose not to be decolonized. This class will begin with the Irish question as anchored in James Joyce’s attitudes. We will start with The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. We will look at Ulysses as a Postcolonial bildungsroman. (We will spend at least 3 weeks on Ulysses. The issue of the Northern Irish border is very present again as a result of Brexit, and very much related to our own immediate border issues.   I treat Ulysses, as an Ur text from which pour postcolonial novels. An example is Country by Michael Hughes. Another such is Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, which is a magical realist retelling of India’s independence movement. (If you have already read Midnight’s Children with me, you have the option of doing Bapsi Sidhwa’s Cracking India.)  We will touch base with Emma Perez’s Forgetting the Alamo. We will then wander off, in search of indigeneity to New Zealand and read Keri Hulme’s The Bone People and  Nadine Gordimer’s July’s People. Short Reaction response papers will be required of each text and a Long Research paper to be presented to the class on a topic of your choice. If you have other texts that fit into the framework, you are welcome to work with them.  The purpose of this class is to understand the mapping of the world. We will also use, Postcolonialisms an anthology edited by Gaurav Desai.

660.001: Sem: Queer Fictions

W 1600-1830
Kathryn Wichelns, wichelns@unm.edu

Our seminar will examine the contentious question of canonicity, through exploration of a field determined by constant fracture and reevaluation. The novels and short fiction we read together will allow us to evaluate other stories, including those that scholars construct about the political dimensions of their work. Required texts will predominantly reflect the mid-nineteenth through twentieth-century period, with a few select incursions into contemporary writing. Our seminar will begin with a brief exploration of some of the nineteenth-century fiction around which the field of literary queer theory was initially organized, in part as a means of examining the problems resulting from transhistorical notions of “identity.” The bulk of the course will challenge the various forms of occlusion resulting from that mainstream narrative of queer writing, as first developed in the latter half of the twentieth century. Indeed, queer of color critique and related fields argue that queer writing and cultural production are opposed to conventional canonicity. Authors will include James Baldwin, the Combahee River Collective, Samuel R. Delany, Julia Ward Howe, Henry James, Nella Larsen, Herman Melville, Cherríe Moraga, John Rechy, Assotto Saint, and others.

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