Autumn Quarter 2002
 English Graduate Studies  | University of Washington Graduate School English Department 

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Practicing the Everyday in 19th Century American Literature


TTh 11:30-1:20

Theories of American Literature, often gives a kind of overview of current and past approaches to American literature. Instead of surveying, we will focus on a specific topic-theories of the "everyday"- and we will use this topic to explore a variety of 19th century American literary and cultural texts. We will take as a starting point the assumptions that theorists (Foucault, Henri Lefebvre, Maurice Blanchot, Michel de Certeau, Susan Willis) make about the common, the ubiquitous, and the mundane-i.e. what we have come to call the everyday. "The everyday," as Henri Lefebvre claims, "is a product, the most general of products in an era where production engenders consumption, and where consumption is manipulated by producers. . . . [T]he everyday is the most universal and most unique condition, the most social and the most individuated, the most obvious and the best hidden." With this (admittedly opaque) definition as a starting point, we will consider the different conceptions of "practice"-including practices of literary production and consumption. The concept of the everyday is a product of modernity, and we will turn to a series of literary texts which give rise to our current experience of everyday life in America. Starting with Emerson and Thoreau, we will then consider Louisa May Alcott's Work, Caroline Kirkland's A New Home-Who'll Follow, Elizabeth Keckley's Behind the Scenes, Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie, and Frank Norris's McTeague.


History of Literary Theory (w/CLit 507)


MW 11:30-1:20

This course will be primarily about Plato and Aristotle. We will of course study the key texts about literature of these two authors (the Ion, Books 2 and 10 of the Republic, the Poetics); but, since what is called 'literary theory' involves a great deal more than literary criticism, we will also spend a lot of time on the larger projects of Plato and Aristotle of which their literary criticism forms a part. My approach to these larger projects will be focused through the question of how they define the nature of human beings and of human society: the definition of the good life, the question of how a state should be best organized, the relation of pleasure to ethics, the nature of the real and the question of how the human mind knows the real, and so forth. The ideas of Plato and Aristotle on these topics form the indispensable background to the contemporary discussion of the 'ethicopolitical' that has come to dominate literary studies. The last couple of weeks of the quarter we will do a quick survey of some of the other classical texts of literary criticism, such as those of Longinus and Plutarch.


Literary Criticism: Recent & Contemporary (w/CLit 510/Span 577)


MW 3:30-5:20

Course description not available at this time.


Introductory Reading in Old English


MW 9:30-11:20

This is a beginning course which addresses the earliest written forms of the English language (up to c. 1000). Knowledge of Old English is indispensable for the study of literary (and other) texts from all phases of the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, especially the study of poetry and early narrative texts. The principles introduced in this course will also help students acquire an understanding of the special features of modern English, and will provide tools that are useful for learning other languages. Moreover, knowledge of Old English is fundamental to the study of the History of the English Language, the Cultural History of the British Isles (including early Gender Studies), and many areas of Textual Studies, including manuscript study and the study of word origins.


Poetry, Drama, and the City: 1600-1642


TTh 1:30-3:20

The "city" is London, which even by 1600 was alarmingly larger and more important than the provincial centers; 1600 is the date of Dekker's Shoemaker's Holiday; 1642 is when the theatres were shut down as public nuisances. The city was felt--and felt itself--to be distinct from both court and country, and it was an interesting bundle of contradictions. It was lower in status, yet wealthier than court and landed aristocracy; it was "merely" commercial, yet commerce was becoming the lifeblood of the nation; demure in official demeanor, it was aggressive in practice; puritanical in outlook, it was where the action was, whether vice, violence, or radical politics was your pleasure. There were writers who hated it, writers who loved it, and writers who loved to hate it, but there it was: too absurd or frightening or exciting to ignore. This class is about the city itself and about its image or spirit as the poets and dramatists of the time projected it.


Ginsberg, Miller and Cold War America


MW 11:30-1:20

Arthur Miller and Alan Ginsberg embody different versions of the energy stirring under the surface of Cold War America. For most students this is a hazy period in some ways as remote as the Age of Chaucer, although it is basic to an understanding of current politics and literary theory. In particular, in light of developments post-September 11, a grasp of Cold War repression and resistance to it has special value. We will use Miller and Ginsberg to bring into focus their divergent responses to the cultural, political, and personal pressures they carried over from the left politics of the 1930s into the post-World War II world. Students accustomed to a high school version of "Salesman" or "The Crucible" are in for a treat--Miller's fusion of political and sexual interests has still not received enough attention. Ginsberg's quite different cultural and sexual radicalism opens us to Beat experimentation and to Ginsberg's role in the Beat underground. Selections from Miller's theater essays, from his marvelous autobiography, "Timebends," and from Ginsberg's letters and annotations to "Howl" will help us with our central concern, the plays, fiction, and poetry of these two exceptionally gifted writers. Questions of Ginsberg's modernism or post-modernism, of Miller's transformation of realism/naturalism, of feminism (recent productions of "Salesman" and "All My Sons" shift the center of gravity to Linda and Kate Keller, for example), the way reputations are created and sustained (the role of National Theatre productions in keeping Miller vital during the 1950s, for example), the different ways both Miller and Ginsberg draw on and transform their family dramas to create works combining personal and public concerns, the differences between Miller's more overtly political and Ginsberg's cultural radicalism--all are examples of issues we might explore. Primarily, though, I am interested in an active exchange among students, texts, and contexts, keeping in mind that as we read the texts, the texts read us, so that we can find out about ourselves in the process. I may have to scale down the reading but I'd like to do Miller's early novel on anti-Semitism, "Focus," "All My Sons, "Salesman," "The Crucible," "A View from the Bridge," "After the Fall" and selections from Ginsberg's shorter poems, "Howl,"and "Kaddish." With the help of essays on the period and Xeroxed Cold War documents - HUAC testimony, for example - as we move in and out of our central texts we will also be developing a deepened sense of the period. /p>


American Culture and Criticism


TTh 1:30-3:20

Course description not available at this time.


British Modernism


MW 3:30-5:20

This course does three things: orient the student with an overview of British modernism, circa 1900-1930; engage current critical debates in the field; and allow the student to focus on the work of particular authors. We will engage topoi such as embodiment and materiality--with particular attention to the status of modernist "things"--as well as chronicle historical avant-gardes such as Vorticism and Imagism. Texts will include both prose and poetry: Woolf, Ford, Lewis, Eliot, Pound, and Loy. Students will give an oral presentation summarizing critical approaches to an author under discussion and distribute a critical bibliography; turn in brief response papers each week; and write a final research paper combining formal and critical analysis. In order to increase familiarity with what it means to publish in the field, we will also employ current issues of the journal Modernism/Modernity (available free through UW); to this end, student will write a 1,000 word book review.


The Poems and Plays of W.B. Yeats


TTh 9:30-11:20

This course is devoted to a reading of the Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats, regarded as a book, that is, as a book in which the poems have been deliberately arranged to tell a story of a poet's life in relation to events in Ireland and the situation of poetry in Yeats's time. The course will also be concerned tangentially with Yeats's plays where they come in contact with the poems. If available, Yeats's strange book A Vision will be considered. Each member of the seminar will be assigned one of the sections of the Collected Poems and will report on its textual history and place in the work as a whole. There will be one term paper, which may or may not connect with the material of the report. Seminar members will be asked to meet with Professor Adams as early as possible in the quarter to discuss the program of work.


Defense/Offense of Poetry (w/CLit 502)


TTh 1:30-3:20

This seminar is based on a study in which I am engaged entitled The Offense of Poetry. The title suggests the argument that poetry is offensive and that this is its particular cultural value. The course will be divided into three parts: 1) a consideration of attacks on poetry from Plato to the logical positivists; 2) a consideration of the defenses of poetry made from Aristotle to the present; and 3) my development of a theory of literary offense and scandal. This course fulfills a requirement in the graduate program of theory and criticism.


Studies in Drama: Postcolonial Theater and Theory (w/CLit 573)


MW 3:30-5:20

For more than a generation now--as performance was being theorized and theory behaved as performance- there has been a decided theatricality to postcolonial thought, from the volcanic fury of Frantz Fanon's refusal of that which others have made of us to the measured silences and "rites of the dead" in Gayatri Spivak's intricate question (beyond Foucault and Deleuze, but within the unpurged residues of imperialist law and education), can the subaltern speak? That somebody has been speaking-as well as dancing, miming, storytelling, while drawing on carnivals and festivals for outrageous, subversive, or parodic kinds of play-can be seen in multiple forms of drama out of the colonial world, from Africa to India, from the Caribbean to Malaysia, as well in "settler-invader" colonies where the colonized have been oppressors of theindigenous people.

The seminar will be studying, within a configuration of postcolonial theory, a wide range of plays from diverse cultures and theater traditions (whether native or borrowed), from the puppetry of the Tiv to Maori agit-prop, from music routines in Trinidad to the most sophisticated techniques of western dramaturgy, including performance and body art and the devices of multimedia. These will reflect in turn on the various discourses of colonization, the languages of resistance, the troubling spectrum of race and gender (as defined by other cultures), tribal ritual and spatial histories (the dialectic of place and displacement), the legacy of Shakespeare (particularly Caliban) and the reworking of Christian myths, as well as distinctions between imperialism and colonization, nationalism and neo-imperialism, and--in contradistinction to "the horror! The horror!" of Conrad's Heart of Darkness--the body politics and disruptive logic of eventual insurrection. If the former colonies are often confronted with subsequent tyrannies, by the liberators themselves, the drama may also reflect-through the dynamics of power and new economic realities--on the immanence of globalization.

Readings will include plays by such major figures as Wole Soyinka, Derek Walcott, and Athol Fugard, as well as, probably, the remarkable Sistren Theater Collective of Jamaica, Ama Ata Aidoo of Ghana, Manjula Padmanabhan of India, Tess Onwueme of Nigeria, Jane Taylor and the Handspring Puppet Company, and various others from Africa, the Caribbean, the Far East, as well as Australia and New Zealand. The theoretical writings will include, along with Fanon and Spivak, selections from Aimé Césaire, Edward Said, Jean Franco, Homi Bhabha, Chandra Talpede Mohanty, Stuart Hall, Arjun Appadurai, as well as Chinua Achebe and Ngugi wa Thiong'o in their debate on the English language and the African writer. Césaire and Thiong'o are also dramatists, and we may be reading their plays as well.

Helen Gilbert (ed.), POSTCOLONIAL PLAYS: AN ANTHOLOGY (Routledge)--ISBN 0-415-16449-4
Biodun Jeyifo (ed.), MODERN AFRICAN PLAYS (Norton)--ISBN 0-393-97529-0
Patrick Williams & Laura Chrisman (eds.), COLONIAL DISCOURSE & POSTCOLONIAL THEORY (Columbia Univ. Press)--ISBN 0-231-10021-3


Cultural Studies (w/CLit 535A)


MW 7:00-8:50 pm

"Sexuality, Space, and Difference: Towards a Transnational Analysis" is a course designed to probe the relationship between queerness, race, and contemporary politico-economic formations. We will shift the study of sexuality away from a primary focus on aesthetic representations and textual analysis and toward an investigation of how the "sexual" emerges out of the racialized and gendered constraints of current global political economy. We will be interested in determining the normative currents that underlie politico-economic critiques and the ways that economic and political formations disrupt gender and sexual normativity. We will then wish to ask how those disruptions are constitutive of racial formations. And in particular we will track the figure of "queer diaspora" as an emergent formation across particular transnational space economies.

This course is part of a three-quarter series of linked courses that will be running concurrently with a year-long Simpson Center symposia on the transnational study of sexuality. In addition to attending class, you will be required to attend at least two public lectures during fall quarter given by visiting faculty who will be addressing the topics of sexuality and transnationalism.


The Nature of Language


TTh 11:30-1:20

Course description not available at this time.


Approaches to Teaching Composition

Stygall / Guerra / Dillon

TTh 3:30-5:20

This seminar serves as both an introduction to the field of rhetoric and composition as well as a continuation of the orientation for new Teaching Assistants. The course begins with an overview of the field and turns initially to readings and discussions about practices in the writing classroom. From there we will move into more theoretical (but still pedagogically oriented) discussion of rhetorical theory, rhetorical history, genre theory, and multicultural approaches. We will also spend some time reading and discussing materials on Standard English and non-prescriptive approaches to teaching grammar from a rhetorical perspective. Assignments will include at least six brief response papers, a mid-term analysis of a personal teaching artifact, and a final seminar paper in which an empirical analysis of writing is the central focus.


Practicum in TESL



English 570 is a credit/no credit course in which students sharpen their understanding of the technical, interpersonal, and practical elements involved in effective ESL teaching through regular observations of ESL classes, daily ESL teaching or assistance and observation in an ESL classroom, and seminar discussion of issues and problems related to ESL teaching. No required texts. Only open to MAT(ESL) students.


Theory & Practice in TESL


MW 1:30-3:20

This course is an introduction to theory, research, and practical aspects of teaching English to speakers of other languages. The course provides an overview of major issues in second language acquisition (SLA), teaching methodology, and classroom practice, as well as closely related topics in linguistics, psychology, sociology, and education. Topics include: first-language transfer, Universal Grammar, input-output, the role of negotiation in SLA, sociocultural theories, motivation, critical period, learning strategies, multicompetence, critical applied linguistics, social identities, bilingual education, power relations in language learning, and classroom implications of all these issues.


Pedagogical Grammar


TTh 1:30-3:20

Course description not available at this time.


Critical Issues in TESL: Language and Identity


MW 10:30-12:20

The last several years have seen a surge of interest in the question of identity in research on second language learning, bilingualism, minority education, and literacy. Like many things in life, we do not usually think of our identity until it becomes threatened and problematic. The experience of learning another language or finding oneself a minority often challenges one's taken-for-granted assumptions, thereby pushing the question "Who am I?" to the foreground of one's consciousness. Taking the position that identity is multiple and changing over time, this course explores how linguistic, cultural, social, ethnic, and gender identities are constructed, expressed and negotiated. In addition to examining various theoretical approaches to identity and their applications to empirical research, we will also discuss how issues of identity affect our lives as language learners and teachers.


Creative Writer as Critical Reader: "Sign and Design: How Poets Look, and What They Mean"


F 11:30-3:10

We'll be studying a broad range of individual poems and some prose passages (not concentrating on any particular era or individual). The texts, whether drawn from English originals or from translations into English, will be studied for elements of form not usually comprehended under the rubrics of fixed or traditional prosodic forms. We'll also be examining instances of musical and visual art (including films) as well as some patterns found in nature, hoping to see textile weaves among them.
A major final paper will constitute a significant portion of the final grade--students are expected already to be proficient critical writers. The course will address questions of fairly sophisticated readerly focus and appreciation; the nuts and bolts of writerly technique (grammatical, syntactical, rhetorical) should already be in place. Students uncertain about their capacities to produce effective critical prose should address such questions elsewhere; all others are welcome, especially those interested in seeing how readerly scopes can broaden even as readerly acuities sharpen.
Texts: provided by instructor


Advanced Fiction Workshop


MW 3:30-5:20

Requirements for the class will consist of 3 short stories. The first story will be a "short-short story" (1500 words). The second and third stories can be of any length you decide is necessary. All work must be typed. All stories must be duplicated for other class members for purposes of analysis and discussion. I would like to see, if possible, one of the 3 stories in first-person with a strong, vivid sense of voice; if your story is third person I would also like to see this turned in as a strongly voiced fiction. Extra credit will be given to anyone who successfully writes a story told from the second-person viewpoint.

In addition to the 3 stories, every class member will turn in a plot synopsis or story idea each week. You are free to formulate any plot or story idea you wish for five of these, but the remaining five must meet the following requirements: (1) One must use a classic reversal (See Aristotle's Poetics); (2) One must be in a traditional or neglected literary form not used for a major work of fiction in the last 100 years---this is to be a form you research, and I'd like for you to provide a brief description of the form's conventions; (3) One must use a historical figure, living or dead, as a protagonist or secondary (flat) character; (4) One outline must address some question, problem, theme or subject that hasn't been dramatized or explored in contemporary American fiction; (5) And, finally, one of these story outlines must blend 2 or more traditional or contemporary forms in fiction.

Your first outline is due on the second day of class. Each week class members will also turn in one of the exercises from John Gardner's The Art of Fiction, which I will announce the week before.

Texts (Required) John Gardner, The Art of Fiction Julie Checkoway, Creating Fiction (Recommended:) Northrup Frye, The Educated Imagination


Advanced Poetry Workshop


TTh 1:30-3:20

Poetry: Pattern and Pacing - a poetry workshop in which we will look at the musicality of poetic language, how it differs from and can be similar to prosaic patterns. How poets describe the process of writing a poem, from subject to final draft, and how we may use these suggestions to polish a poem in revision.


English Graduate Studies (Interdisciplinary Writing)



Course description not available at this time.


English Graduate Studies (Interdisciplinary Writing)



Course description not available at this time.


Textual Studies: Hypertext & Textual Theory (w/CLit 596B & Hum 523A, LIS 598B)


MW 11:30-1:20

This course will introduce students to the theory and practice of hypertext as a vehicle for literary production and textual criticism. We will attempt to understand what hypertext is (and isn't) and to evaluate critically the claims that are made for it. Does hypertext signal the death of the fixed text or the linear narrative? What opportunities does hypertext present for new literary genres or for new modes of criticism, and to what extent has this potential been realized? We will examine the technologies underlying hypertext (links, markup languages, networks) as well as some of the surrounding socio-technical infrastructure within which it is embedded, such as copyright and search engines. We will also explore the uncertain status of digital preservation and the authentication of hypertext works. Students will be expected to critique an existing hypertext work and/or to produce a hypertext work of their own.

English Graduate Studies

Graduate Study in English at the University of Washington