Fall 2022 Course Descriptions

500-Level | 600-Level
500.001: Introduction to the Professional Study of English

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

This course prepares students for literary studies at the graduate level. It will introduce students to the English Department’s graduate requirements, policies, and programs; students will also learn UNM’s graduate student resources. We will cover fundamental bibliographic, research, and MLA methods and learn the major and minor genre conventions expected in graduate coursework and in the profession. It will be a (low-stakes) writing intensive class combined with a high degree of participatory pedagogy expected in and out of the scheduled class time, with the overall goal of ushering students into the professional expectations of advanced graduate studies by way of scaffolded assignments culminating with a final portfolio. 

512.001: User-Centered Design & Usability

Julianne Newmark, newmark@unm.edu

In this course, students will come to understand the interrelatedness of creativity, ethics, and design in regard to the usability of outputs of many kinds, be they documents, computer interfaces, or consumer products. In order to understand user interactions, students develop skills in assessing users and their behaviors.  Students will learn practices and theories of audience identification across cultures, ages, and communities, and will develop skills of analysis.  Students will learn high- and low-tech methods for testing the usability of products, documents, and technologies to safely and ethically serve audience needs.  Students will create, analyze, and test, and will come to understand the foundational role that user-oriented design plays in the broader realm of technical and professional communication. Students in this course will come to understand the central role that ethical and user-oriented design play in creating socially just and community-centered communication and technology/material outputs.

516.001: Biography and Autobiography

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

ENGL 416/516 Biography/Memoir 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). I see teaching as the opportunity to curate an experience and to cultivate the imagination of my students. We will explore together how the efficacy of a narrative rests in how we embody the story in our writing.

520.001: T: Blue Mesa Review I 

Face to Face, MWF 1400-1450
Marisa Clark, clarkmp@unm.edu

Calling all creative writers! If you want to learn more about literary publishing and how literary magazines work, this is the class for you! This class introduces you to the production of UNM’s national literary magazine, Blue Mesa Review (BMR). Your primary responsibility in this course is to read and assess submissions for possible publication in BMR. In addition, you’ll keep an informal journal about your reading, 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. And if you’re interested in being part of BMR’s editorial board in the future, you should take this class! 

Have a look at the BMR website if you’d like to know more about the magazine: https://bmr.unm.edu/.

By the way, you can take the BMR class more than once, and I hope you will!

521.001: Creative Writing Workshop - Fiction

Face to Face, T 1600-1830
Danielle Mueller, dmueller@unm.edu

In this graduate fiction workshop, we’ll put together our own outside reading list of contemporary short fiction and narrative craft essays, but the primary text of the course will be the fiction written by members of the workshop.  Each writer will have the opportunity to determine the workshop model that will best serve their work at its particular stage of realization.

530.001: Teaching Composition

Face to Face, MTWR 0900-1300
Lab - TR 0930-1045
Rachael Reynolds, reynoldsr@unm.edu 

This course is designed for new teachers in UNM’s Core Writing Program. You will learn and apply current theory and pedagogy in Composition Studies and Rhetorical Genre Studies to guide you as a teacher of diverse student writers. We use a genre approach in this course because FYC (first year composition) courses should aim toward helping students gain skills, habits, strategies, and experience that will transfer or can be applied to other college courses across the disciplines and to personal and professional writing situations.

We begin the week before the start of the fall semester, when we will review the goals, values, and student outcomes of the Core Writing Program and you will also have a chance to familiarize yourself with course materials for the semester so you can hit the ground running. Over the course of the rest of the semester, we will focus on issues of professional development as a teacher-scholar through reading, research, class discussion, conferencing, and course projects. Topics will include best practices in teaching and assessing writing, teaching multilingual writers, creating multimodal assignments, culturally sustaining pedagogy, reading instruction, metacognition, and more. You are not expected to know any of this before we discuss it in class. I do hope you share your experiences as students and learners,  as well as your thoughts as a new instructor for the English Core Writing program as we work our way through this material. This is a three-credit graduate course.

534.001: Composition Theory

Face to Face, W 1600-1830
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 as teachers of writing. In this course, we will read and discuss theories of audience, genre, process, collaboration, second language writing, and multimodal composition, among others, published as articles and book chapters over the past several decades. By the end of the course, students should emerge with a broad understanding of various theories circulating in composition and have the understanding necessary to pursue further work in a particular area. Class work will include weekly readings (typically 4-6 articles or chapters) 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, and others you might suggest. 

540.001: T: Writing in Alternative Discourse

Face to Face, M 1600-1830
Bethany Davila, bdavila@unm.edu

This graduate course is designed as a writing workshop in which students will read and write in alternative academic discourses such as allegory, autoethnography, screenplays, graphic narratives, and other multimodal genres. Students will try each genre and mode as a way to examine possibilities for their academic writing. In addition to reading published alternative academic work, we will also read and workshop each other’s writing. Students will be encouraged to submit their writing for publication. 

550.001: T: Medieval Romance & Race

Face to Face R, 1600-1830
Nahir Otaño Gracia, nahir@unm.edu

This course explores the connections between medieval romance and race by examining the social, cultural, and literary patterns that helped create one of the most popular genres of the European Middle Ages (c. 1240-1500). Medieval romance tends to express nostalgia through the creation of foundational myths, fantastical encounters, and human interactions that helped create a national past. Perhaps more important to our discussion will be how race—specifically how whiteness as a racial category that privileges dominance by normalizing violence and marginalizing non-whiteness—helped create and express this nostalgia and desire for origins. Other important topics include: gender (women as agents and obstacles to male desire), class (who was reading romance and why?), and the boundaries and limitations of the romance genre (both ideological and physical). We will read and discuss a variety of romances in their original Middle English and in translation.

551.001: T: Old Norse

Face to Face, MWF 1000-1050
Jonathan Davis-Secord, jwds@unm.edu

Immerse yourself in the rugged, arctic beauty of medieval Scandinavia by learning Old Norse. Read the sagas of Iceland, with its geysers and lava flows. Explore the global trade network of the Vikings and the magical power of runes. This course will introduce the grammar and literature of Old Norse and the history and culture of the people who spoke and wrote it.

553.001: The 17th Century: Milton in America

Face to Face, F 1400-1630
Marissa Greenberg, marissag@unm.edu

What do Ursula Le Guin, Ronald Johnson, Toni Morrison, Alexis Smith, and Lil Nas X have in common? Each found inspiration in Paradise Lost, John Milton’s seventeenth-century epic retelling of the Biblical story of the fall. In this course, students explore the legacy of Paradise Lost with an emphasis on adaptations by American writers and artists. The first half of the course centers on Milton’s writings, including his major prose works, lyric and dramatic poetry, and the epic poem for which he is best known: Paradise Lost. Although the historical contexts for Milton’s composition receive attention, our approach privileges Milton’s formal choices, philosophical commitments, and thematic interests. The second half of the course centers on adaptations of Milton’s major epic in various genres—novel, novella, short story, poetry, drama, visual art, and music—with a focus on work produced in the last century in the United States. The choice of theoretical frameworks (e.g., adaptation theory, critical race theory, feminist theory, theories of periodization, and intersectional approaches) will be determined collectively by students.  

This course will be conducted remotely and combine synchronous and asynchronous online components. Students should expect to work independently and collaboratively. Knowledge of Milton’s writings or early modern English literature is not required, although familiarity with either/both will be helpful. Students who have not studied Paradise Lost previously are strongly encouraged to read it over the summer of 2022. For more information and recommendations for other ways to prepare for this class, contact Prof. Greenberg (marissag@unm.edu). 

564.001: Advanced Studies in Native and Indigenous Literature

Face to Face, TR 1100-1215
Sarah Hernandez, hernands@unm.edu

This course is an advanced study of Native American and Indigenous literature, with special emphasis on the Oceti Sakowin (Dakota, Nakota, and Lakota) literary tradition and the Northern Great Plains Region. The Oceti Sakowin literary tradition is a rich and complex tradition composed of oral stories that have been translated and re-translated into written form by many different writers and scholars to serve various, and at times opposing, political agendas. Early missionaries and ethnologists translated traditional Dakota, Nakota, and, Lakota oral stories to document and record the tribal past before it faded from living memory. However, neither the Oceti Sakowin nor their stories ever truly faded away. On the contrary, Oceti Sakowin language, literature, and life have continued to survive and even thrive into the 21st century, with many modern Dakota, Nakota, and Lakota writers and scholars re-translating traditional oral stories in new and creative ways. In this course, we will use the tools of literary analysis and tribal theory to analyze the works of Oceti Sakowin authors and poets such as Charles Eastman, Ella Cara, Deloria, Elizabeth Cook-Lynn, Joseph Marshall III, Diane Wilson, and Gwen Westerman to name a few. 

570.001: Transatlantic (Late) Modernism: SciFi Ecologies

Face to Face, T 1600-1830
Matthew Hofer, mrh@unm.edu

This version of Transatlantic Modernism will focus on the late modernist currents that flowed within/between the U.S. and U.K. Emerging primarily from the bold, thoughtful, and popular New Wave style, the course serves as an introduction to the rise and development of several types of SciFi or speculative aesthetics from the mid-1950s into the 1970s, anticipating--and arguably facilitating--the shift from modernism into postmodernism. Much of this work is also attuned to issues directly related to the anthropocene; it is, in many ways, fundamentally ecological.

In terms of critical thinking, our objective is to use literature to frame and ask, in both historical and theory-driven terms, urgent questions about language, consciousness, and the environment. To that end, we will be discussing ideas that animate ecological thinking within literary studies--ecocriticism, ecopoetics--in relation to some of the most intriguing and influential texts of the time.

After we have oriented ourselves via a constellation of concepts that are relevant to both SF and ecological thought (no previous experience is required or expected), we will turn to art that addresses and complicates the figures of the survivor, the visitor, and the fugitive, in work by J. G. Ballard, John Brunner, William S. Burroughs, Octavia Butler, Samuel R. Delany, Edward Dorn, Ronald Johnson, Ursula K. Le Guin, Harry Martinson, Sun Ra, and Gene Wolfe.

Finally, students who have a general interest in border theories and critical regionalisms ought to find much of interest here, as will creative writers (who are welcome to produce creative final research projects).

572.001: Contemporary American Literature

Face to Face, R 1600-1830
Scarlett Higgins, shiggins@unm.edu

This course will cover the literature and culture of the period post-World War II through the 1990s. We will read across genres, including poetry, prose (fiction and non-fiction), and drama, and will view several films as well. This course will contain a special emphasis on literature that has responded to the socio-political tensions that defined the post-World War II era.

The period covered by this course, commonly referred to as the Cold War, was a complex and anxious period, with strong connections to our contemporary era. The literary and cultural texts we will be analyzing can be seen to represent the major tensions of the time, as they were imagined and interpreted. These tensions include not only the name sake struggle between the American and Soviet social orders, but also tensions in race relations, gender relations, the “generation gap,” and tensions felt as the United States adjusted to its status as an economic and military superpower and an imperial presence after World War II. They can aid in our understanding of the beliefs and values that characterized American culture in the years between the end of World War II and the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Taken in their historical and cultural contexts, these texts help us understand how international tensions influenced, and were influenced by, the domestic front and thus how, for Americans of the time, the struggle between capitalism and communism was waged not only through military development and diplomacy, but also in everyday life.

Texts may include:

Angels in America, Tony Kushner (1993-1994)

The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath (1963/1971)

The Book of Daniel, E. L. Doctorow (1971)

Dr. Strangelove, Stanley Kubrick (1964)

The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan (1963)

Hiroshima, John Hersey (1946/1985)

Howl and Other Poems, Allen Ginsberg (1959)

Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison (1952)

Libra, Don DeLillo (1988)

Lunch Poems, Frank O’Hara (1964)

The Manchurian Candidate, John Frankenheimer (1962) 

586.001: British Fiction

Face to Face, W 1600-1830
Sarah Townsend, sltownse@unm.edu

This course will focus on fiction published since 2000 by authors who hail from and/or live in the UK and Ireland. We will focus in particular on the upstarts – predominantly women, minority, and working-class writers – who have challenged traditional structures of literary prestige and gatekeeping over the past quarter century. Part of our investigations will be sociopolitical and economic, as we track how major historical transformations have shaped literary form and style, like the spread of multiculturalism, the global financial crash of 2007-08, the reemergence of far right ethno-nationalism, Brexit, and setbacks to the Northern Irish peace process. The other portion of our investigations will focus on how the practices of writing, publishing, and reading have changed during this period with the success of small independent presses, the elevation of genre fiction, and new forms of publicity that have transformed the status of the celebrity writer. Potential authors include Bernardine Evaristo, Anna Burns, Kazuo Ishiguro, Zadie Smith, Melatu Uche Okorie, Sally Rooney, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jojo Moyes, Douglas Stuart, Paul Mendez, Tana French, and Emma Donoghue. Course assignments will include written and audio/video book reviews, class presentations, and analytical essays.

587.001: T: Narrative Design

Face to Face, W 1600-1830
Gregory Martin, gmartin@unm.edu

This is a craft seminar for creative writers of any genre interested in the architecture of stories. Together, we’ll investigate how narrative design both creates and deepens meaning and resonance.  We will study how writers of fiction and nonfiction prose, at the booklength and at the story and essay level, innovate and experiment with form and architecture, to subvert and challenge reader’s expectations and understanding of what a story might be and how it can be made.  We will be looking for models, looking to be influenced, seeking to expand our sensibility.  Each week we ask the questions:  How was this made?  How does this work?  What is its design?  Its organizing principles?  How does an understanding of its design shape my own work-in-progress and fuel my ambition? 


500-Level | 600-Level
640.001: Environmental Writing

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

This course description will be updated when the information is available.  

660.001: SEM: Southwest Women Writers

Face to Face, M 1600-1830
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 contexts. We consider early twentieth-century writings alongside contemporary works, and discuss ethnic women writers whose work continues to define and defy the region. We follow keywords and begin with critical readings that track the development of the Southwest from a tri-cultural tourist region to the critical borderlands. We discuss the importance and limitations of these paradigms in the wake of gender studies, settler-colonialism, Chicana studies, and Indigenous feminisms. Students become familiar with critical regional writings about place, and they learn how to conduct archival research at the Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections. Students design their own research projects and learn to master the tools and terminology of Southwest studies, with the larger goal of publication in peer-reviewed or top-tiered journals. Along with smaller assignments, students learn what it takes to prepare their research and writing for publication and advance their professional profiles. 

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