Fall 2023 Graduate Courses

Complete course descriptions for all our fall 2023 PhD seminars can be found below.

ENG 661 American Literature: 1800-1865 Insurgent Fictions and Democracies in America

John Funchion Section 1O, Tues, 9:30 – 12:00

Georg Lukács famously argued that the historical romance—one of the most popular genres in the United States—emerged out of the revolutionary climate of the late eighteenth-century Atlantic world. Literary critics have also long insisted that the novel played a crucial role in the formation of the liberal subject. In this seminar we will revisit these fundamental claims by exploring how revolution and other conflicts shaped and were shaped by nineteenth-century U.S. literature. We will consider the formal qualities of the revolutionary and constitutional writings of Toussaint L’Ouverture, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Maximilien Robespierre, and articles published in the Cherokee Phoenix. Possible other texts include work by William Apess, Louisa Alcott, Charles Brockden Brown, John Brown, William Wells Brown, Martin Delany, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Sojourner Truth, and David Walker, This course addresses pressing questions within the field U.S. literary and cultural studies concerning the relationship of sovereignty and constitutionalism to the ideas of the individual, the multitude, the people, and the state.

ENG 695 Exploring Renaissance Poetry

Pamela Hammons Section 1S, Tues., 3:30-6:00

This course focuses on poetry written in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries by male and female authors alike. We will look at their poetry in three thematic (rather than chronological) clusters: (1) estate and household verse, (2) love lyrics, and (3) poems about family, including funeral elegies. The reading list will probably include poems from Thomas Wyatt, the Devonshire Manuscript, Isabella Whitney, William Shakespeare, Mary Wroth, Aemilia Lanyer, Ben Jonson, Hester Pulter, John Donne, Robert Herrick, John Milton, the Aston-Thimelby coterie, Margaret Cavendish, Katherine Philips, and Lucy Hutchinson.

This seminar should be especially helpful to anyone seeking greater familiarity with the early modern period, including women writers; the literary history of verse in the English language; material culture and modes of textual transmission (from manuscript to print to the current boom in digital platforms for early modern women’s verse); feminisms, gender theories, and queer theories; theories of race in early periods; and the stakes underpinning questions of canonicity.

Course requirements will include leading class discussion about a primary text; giving a mini-lecture on a critical or theoretical text; and completing one or two major writing projects totaling approximately 15-20 pages. Students may choose one of several options for their major writing project(s):

(a) a traditional seminar paper, turned in first as a short draft (i.e., 8-10 pages) and then in a refined longer (i.e., 15-20 pages) version;

(b) one or two traditional conference papers (i.e., 8-10 pages each);

(c) one or two literature reviews detailing and taking a position on the scholarship most relevant to our seminar that has been published since 1990 on a single primary text (i.e., 8-10 pages each).

I am also open to other suggestions for how to fulfill the course requirements in ways that would be most useful to your main interests.

ENG 668 Critical Readings in Caribbean Studies: What is Caribbean Studies?

Patricia Saunders Section 47, Wed., 3:30-6:00

Interdisciplinary scholarship has long been central to Caribbean Studies and recent publications in the field suggest that this is truer now, more than ever before.  Historically, the divide between the social sciences and humanities in Caribbean Studies centered on the differences in critical approaches as well as on going (sometimes contentious) debates about what was vitally important to the field. Since these discussions began in the late 1970s, new epistemic engagements with the social sciences (particularly anthropology), archival documents, (H)istoryand postmodern engagements with form and disciplinary methodologies have created opportunities for innovative collaborations among scholars, visual artists, community organizations, archivists, and creative writers.  These collaborations necessitated all involved to rethink not only the direction of the field, but also the extent to which theoretical approaches in “areas studies” needed to be revised for the field to move beyond the geographic fantasies that designated the Caribbean as the “West Indies.” At the same time, scholars were also grappling with the colonial pasts out of which these imaginings emerged and building bridges with other fields engaged in similar critical enterprises (American Studies, Trans-Atlantic Studies, Post-Colonial Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies).

The contemporary moment in Caribbean Studies can be characterized by debates invested in interrogating the content, structure, and perspectives of the field. This course invites students to participate in these ongoing conversations in order to gain a deeper appreciation of some of the key critical moments that inform the shape of the field and continue to influence the trajectories of critical conversations today.  The course will invite students to think seriously about some of the following: what are the limitations of thinking about and through the Caribbean primarily as an English-speaking region? As heterosexual?  What do we lose when we marginalize these ways of being in the world, even when the linguistic and cultural traditions in the region continuously expose these presumptions as mythology?  Our discussions will begin with the special issue of Small Axe (Vol. 41, July 2013) dedicated to the question, what is Caribbean studies?  We will then expand our conversations to consider more focused engagements with, and responses to, this question from an array of interdisciplinary and theoretical approaches.  Readings for the course may include:

Attai, Nikoli.  Defiant Bodies: Making Queer Community in the Anglophone Caribbean

Brodber, Erna.  Louisiana

Brathwaite, Kamau.  “Caribbean Man in Space and Time”

Francio Guadeloupe and Yvon Van Der Pijl. Equaliberty in the Dutch Caribbean:

Ways of Being Non-Sovereign

Francis, Donette.  Fictions of Feminine Citizenship (selections)

Gil, Lyndon.  Erotic Islands: Art and Activism in the Queer Caribbean

Neptune, Harvey.  Caliban and the Yankees: Trinidad and the United States Occupation

Rubin, Vera ed. Caribbean Studies: A Symposium (selections)

  1. G. Smith. A Framework for Caribbean Studies (selections)

McKittrick, Katherine.  Dear Science and Other Stories

Thomas, Deborah. Exceptional Violence: Embodied Citizenship in Transnational Jamaica

Scott, David.  Conscripts of Modernity (selections)

Sheller, Mimi.  Consuming the Caribbean and Citizenship from Below (selections)

Smith, Faith. (ed.)  Sex and the Citizen: Interrogating the Caribbean (selections)

________. Strolling in the Ruins: The Caribbean’s Non-sovereign Modern in the Early 20th Cent.

Thompson, Krista.  An Eye for the Tropics: Tourism, Photography and Framing the Caribbean Picturesque

ENG 611/ MLL 771 Introduction to Digital Humanities

Lillian Manzor Section 1J, Mon., 5:00-7:45

This seminar introduces students to current debates in the digital humanities as well as to digital humanities projects and tools for approaching humanities research in new ways. During the course, we’ll read articles that discuss DH, explore and analyze other projects, and experiment with basic tools that you might use in the future. Throughout the course, we will be taking notes on a collaborative google doc. You will be encouraged to use a blog to reflect upon your reading and work. Faculty from different disciplines including the library will address trends in this field and guide hands-on workshops on basic HTML, GIS, visualization, database design, data mining, text encoding, multimodal publications, etc. These workshops will be finalized after we know what projects you might be interested in developing. The final project for the seminar consists of a draft proposal for a digital humanities project developed individually or in a small group using NEH’s Digital Humanities Advancement Grants guidelines. As part of the proposal, your group will present a small prototype that demonstrates your project idea. You could also develop a prototype for a public humanities project or a new media project. Course and readings are in English. Open to graduate students from all humanities departments. No previous experience in Digital Humanities required.

WRS 691 Graduate Practicum I: Teaching College Writing

Joanna Johnson Section 5O, Thurs., 9:30-12:00

This course will help prepare students to teach college-level first-year writing.  We will read and discuss writing studies pedagogy and theory, examine best practices in teaching writing and multimodal composition, and engage in practical teaching exercises.  Course work -- along with observing several first-year writing classes and tutoring in the Writing Center -- will develop students’ skills as teachers of first-year writing, introduce them to the particular methodology used at the University of Miami, and get them started in planning the General Education Written Communication courses they will teach in the Department of Writing Studies.