Fall 2021 Graduate Courses

Complete course descriptions for all our fall 2021 PhD seminars can be found below.

ENG 622 Early Modern Life Hacks: How to be a person in Renaissance poetry and prose

Jessica Rosenberg Section GJ4, Wed., 3:30-6:00

English Renaissance poetry boasted a classically inspired commitment to providing “pleasure and profit,” but a cognate concern with utility and experience permeated the vernacular technologies of everyday life. This course considers the ubiquity of “how-to” writing in early modern England, as such imperatives shape the habits and structures of lived experience and the written texts that have since come to be considered part of the literary canon. Readings range across prose forms, including essay, dialogue, pamphlet, and anatomy; and poetry including lyric, didactic and devotional verse, as well as the unusual poetic genres assayed by Spenser in his Shepheardes Calender and Faerie Queene. Authors considered likely include Elyot, Lok, Whitney, Spenser, Nashe, Bacon, and Burton, alongside a range of writings on conduct, the passions, and technologies of everyday life. The latter will include recipes, handbooks on sleep hygiene and diet, and an early proposal for the flushable toilet. We will weigh the virtues of a range of historical and theoretical approaches to these questions, including new historicism, psychoanalysis, theories of racialization and embodiment, the sociology of manners, feminist criticism, and Foucault’s articulations of biopolitics and governmentality. Participants will have the option of writing multiple short essays or a longer research paper.

ENG 662 American Literature: 1865-1914

John Funchion Section TU, Tues., 6:25-8:55

What Was American Literature?

Recent years have seen record declines in the number of early and nineteenth-century US literature jobs on the MLA Job Information List. Just decades ago, pre-1900 US literature fell into three separate fields: early American, 1800-1865, and 1865-1914. Scholarship still abides by these temporal dividing lines in rough terms, and this seminar’s period listing reflects those conventions. At universities, however, departments now generally collapse those three separate fields into one: pre-1900 US literature. While the New Americanists called for a post-nationalist US literary studies in the 1990s, US universities now imagine a post-US literature education in the 2000s. This seminar will introduce graduate students to the key debates in C19 US literary studies while accepting that the field is in a precarious state.

Precariousness will be one of our primary objects of study. To do so, we will historicize US literary criticism. For the first two-thirds of the semester, we will read one literary work paired with a representative critical essay from different moments in postwar US literary criticism: Cold-War consensus criticism, myth-and-symbol school scholarship, the New Historicism, British cultural studies, feminist recovery scholarship, queer studies, affect studies, African-American literary criticism, post-nationalist/New Americanist theory, and cosmopolitan and global literatures scholarship. Each of these weeks we will attempt to understand what “American” literature meant to these critics. Our approach to criticism will be one of critique; we will register potential intellectual strengths, but we will attend to the exclusionary logic behind previous approaches rather than longing for earlier intellectual greatness. We will consider how periodization itself excludes, privileging some literary and scholarly voices over others. We will also ask why, when the field finally began diversifying the canon and initiating the diversification of the professoriate, neoliberal universities no longer deemed US literature relevant to higher education.

During the final third of the course, we will collectively decide which texts and criticism to read and discuss. We should consider how nineteenth-century US literary studies has found lively intellectual homes outside the university in online magazines such as Avidly and the Boston Review or on podcasts and social media. Students will practice writing for different audiences in this course, and they will have the option to submit a piece of collaborative scholarship for their final assignment. Together we will try to imagine what lies after American literature and how we might reinvent nineteenth-century literary and cultural studies.

ENG 667 Modern and Contemporary American Literature

Joel Nickels Section 44, Fri. 12:10-2:40

In this class we’ll be examining modernist authors such as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Katherine Anne Porter, T. S. Eliot and Jean Toomer alongside more recent authors such as Gwendolyn Brooks, Jhumpa Lahiri and Tobias Wolff, to think about what organizes this long epoch of literary production in the United States. What models of interiority do these authors craft, and how do they respond to the traumas and potentialities of modern life? How do these authors evoke or model exemplary responses to the subjective and objective crises of the 20th and 21st Centuries? In this class, I’ll be sharing with you conceptual and practical techniques I use to engage with this material in the classroom and inviting you to step into your future role as a literature professor by teaching a mock undergraduate class. We’ll think collaboratively about the methodological lenses that each of you, individually, bring to bear on 20th- and 21st-Century literary study, and we’ll reflect collectively on the ways these can inform our scholarship and teaching.

ENG 682 Keywords in Contemporary Black Theory & Criticism

Donette Francis Section 4B, Wed., 9:15-11:45

This course highlights Creole/Creolization as a singular keyword foundational to contemporary Black theory and criticism. Beginning with recent scholarly monographs that highlight this concept, we will trace earlier articulations in selected texts across the Caribbean and other Black (Atlantic) contexts. How does this conceptual keyword circulate in scholarly analyses of African, African American, and Caribbean literatures and cultural productions? How might time and place shape understandings of creolization? Or, do we see continuity in spite of geopolitical differences? Weekly presentations, abstract, final research paper.

Texts will Include:
Kamau Brathwaite, Tidalectics
Tiffany King, The Black Shoals
Kris Sealey, Creolizing the Nation
Michael Monahan, The Creolizing Subject
Shona Jackson, Creole Indigeneity
Edouard Glissant, Caribbean Discourse
Michel-Rolph Trouillot, “Culture on the Edges: Caribbean Creolization in Historical Context”
Stuart Hall, “Creolite and the Process of Creolization”
Sylvia Winter, “Creole Criticism—A Critique” & “1492: A New World View”

ENG 691 Graduate Practicum I: Teaching College Writing

Joanna Johnson Section 5O, Thur., 9:40-12:10

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 several class observations and weekly tutoring in the Writing Center -- will develop students’ skills as teachers of first year writing, introduce them to the particular methodology used in the University of Miami writing program, and get them started in planning the General Education Written Communication courses they will teach.

ENG 699 Academic Jobs in English

Lindsay Thomas Section 1O,Tues., 9:40-12:10

This practicum assists advanced graduate students in English with preparing their academic job materials. Participants will draft and revise the various materials that are required for job applications, including the cover letter, CV, writing sample, the research statement, and the teaching portfolio. Students will also learn how prepare for job interviews and campus research and teaching presentations, and we will invite visitors to discuss relevant issues like postdoc applications and non-academic jobs. Most meetings will be devoted to workshopping these materials and to discussing the job search process, and participants will meet one-on-one with the instructor for writing consultations throughout the semester. The course is not formally graded but students will earn a satisfactory grade based on workshop participation and upon completing final drafts of all the required materials.

ENG 695 Im/material Pedagogies: Building an Interdisciplinary and Holistic Curriculum on Archival Studies

MLL 721/SPA 721/HIS 697 Section 1Q, Tues., 1:30-4:30

Yolanda Martínez San Miguel, Marta S. Weeks Chair in Latin American Studies and Chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures
Amanda Moreno, MSLIS/MA, Archivist,CHC
Béatrice Skokan, Head of Manuscripts and Archives Management, UML Special Collections
Dr. Martin Tsang, CHC Librarian and Curator of Latin American Collections, CHC

In the last decade, the Humanities have experienced an Archival Turn, and several important scholars in Art, History, Cultural Studies, Black, Africana and Ethnic Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and the Social Sciences have engaged in a critical interrogation of archives, as material objects, institutions, and forms of disseminating and limiting knowledge (Guha, Stoler, Trouillot, Fuentes, Nemser, among many others). In Colonial Latin American Studies, for example, most of the official archives were gathered by imperial functionaries or the Inquisition, so the voices of Indigenous and Black subjects, as well as other communities that had limited access to European writing, have problematic representation in existing archives. Another problem for colonial archives is that many of the collection holdings are housed either in metropolitan centers (the Archivo de Indias, in the case of many countries in Latin America) or have been acquired by a few libraries with resources for early modern manuscripts, such that many foundational documents are actually not owned by the national communities and countries to which they should belong. Finally, in many of the Caribbean countries the issue of proper preservation of archives—due to the effects of tropical weather and hurricanes, as well as the lack of economic resources to keep archives and libraries open and in good condition—has also been an area of debate and concern. Therefore, we would like to propose an interdisciplinary graduate course in Caribbean Archival Studies, to introduce UM students to the fundamentals of archival theory and practice. Archives are defined here in their broadest terms—our working definition includes material and physical repositories of papers, objects, and art.

This course is open to graduate students in the arts and sciences who wish to interrogate and ultimately add to our understanding of archives through hands-on training and experiences using the wealth of materials from UM Libraries’ (UML) Distinctive Collections with an emphasis on the Caribbean and Latin America. By working with the faculty of Special Collections, the Cuban Heritage Collection, and the Kislak Center students will obtain training in multiple facets of archival processing and collection management. The syllabus will also explore new technologies for archival management. By doing so, each student will be able to understand the decisions, labor, and practices that go into the creation, care, and use of archives and their spaces. The class will also explore how archives are transforming their practices and scope and how the horizons of archives are expanding to make room for different types of archival practices as well as multiple foci. The class includes sessions lead by three guest archivists engaging in Caribbean Archival curating, preservation and theorization.