Spring 2020 Graduate Courses

Complete course descriptions for all our spring 2020 PhD seminars can be found below.

ENG 615. Translation as Figure and Practice: Case Studies in Chaucer & Middle English

Thomas Goodmann

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

Distribution Requirement: pre-1700

Note for English PhD students: This course may count toward the PhD language requirement. Please consult with Dr. Goodmann if you are interested in earning this credit. 

Eustace Deschamp called his contemporary, Geoffrey Chaucer, a “grant translateur,” and in this course we will engage the Canterbury Tales to think through theories and practices of how Chaucer’s work has been received in translation and adaptation.  We’ll draw on the free adaptations and poetic riffs of Patience Agbabi’s Telling Tales), Agbabi and others’ Refugee Tales, Jos Charles’ feeld (a 2019 Pulitzer finalist), Caroline Bergvall’s Alisoun Sings (2019) and Meddle English, and Gloria Naylor’s Bailey’s Cafe, as well as the Global Chaucers project (https://globalchaucers.wordpress.com/). We’ll read contemporary sources on the importance of translation in the period (1350-1450), especially the contested act of translating Scripture, and engage ideas about “translating” relics, transferring bodies (that of the murdered Richard II), and rumors of London being “translated” or renamed as “Troy,” in light of the great deal of literary reimaginations of the Troy story.

Anyone interested in medieval literature, and its long and varied reception into the twenty-first century, is welcome to take part in this seminar, including those with critical, theoretical, historical, and creative interests in poetry, translation, and frame-tale narratives.  Please contact tgoodmann@miami.edu with questions and suggestions for the seminar.



Geoffrey Chaucer. The Canterbury Tales  Ed.

Patience Agbabi.  Telling Tales (Canongate, 2015)

Baba Brinkman.  The Rap Canterbury Tales (print, 2006; CD.MP3, 2007)

Caroline Bergvall.  Meddle English (Nightboat, 2011)

Caroline Bergvall. Alisoun Sings (Nightboat. 2019)

Jos Charles. feeld. (Milkweed, 2018)

David Herd and Anna Pinkus, eds.  Refugee Tales (Comma Press, 2016)

Gloria Naylor. Bailey’s Café (1992)

ENG 621. Elizabethan & Jacobean Drama: All the world on stage

Anthony Barthelemy

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

Distribution Requirement: pre-1700

The Age of Discovery and the flourishing of Merchant Capitalism all coincided with what used to be known as the Golden Age of English Drama.  England, long on the peripheries of Christendom with a limited sphere of influence, was beginning to glance west, as was the rest of Europe. The public theater, however, provided Englishmen an opportunity to see and understand the quickly-changing world and to contemplate their place in it.  Marlowe famously followed the map in Tamburlaine the Great and thrilled his audience by merely naming places in the mysterious east.  The stage opened the world to sixteenth-century Englishmen and women, and plays helped create a sense of national identity and nationalism that reflected the striving for empire that shaped the final decades of Elizabeth’s reign.   We will look at how playwrights like Marlowe and Shakespeare and their contemporaries understood England in a global context; how they understood distance and culture as a function of geography.  Did representing others do more than justify xenophobia and nationalism?  How aware were the English that economic and cultural shifts to the West and the Atlantic were also resituating England toward a new concept of place and center? Were the playwrights actively involved in a project of centering England in an evolving sense of the growing world and a global community?  What did it mean to them to force their audiences to recognize things about themselves in others?  Did nostalgia for an earlier period of geographic isolation impact a notion of national identity that was unique to place? While most of the plays we will read are set to the East, most acknowledge the economic possibilities of the West.  We welcome students from other disciplines who can expand our understanding of the period and other geographies.  Students with special interests in cartography, mercantilism, nascent capitalism, race and race theory, the encounter between Christianity and Islam, and/or travel literature are encouraged to design an oral presentation and/or final project that explores any of those areas. 

Plays will include Peele’s The Battle of Alcazar, Marlowe’s Tamburlaine the Great, The Jew of Malta and Massacre at Paris, Shakespeare’s Richard II, Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice, Antony and Cleopatra and The Tempest, Fletcher’s The Knight of Malta, Heywood’s Fair Maid of the West, Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi

I am asking all students to make a 20 to 30 minute oral presentation; the presentation could be the germ for final research paper of at least 4000 words; however, I am open to students designing other ways to meet the requirements of the course. 

ENG 640. Studies in Romanticism: The Early Period

Kathryn Freeman

Section 41, Wed., 9:30-12:00

Distribution Requirement: 1700-1900

This course explores the intersection of creativity and gender during the revolutionary period in English literature by discussing texts across various genres through the lens of representative theoretical perspectives.  While the process of dismantling the “Romanticism” ideology began over thirty years ago with the important recovery of noncanonical texts, there have been scant efforts to challenge the canonical/noncanonical binary that has continued to segregate texts that engage with ideas that nevertheless cross this divide.  We will examine the scholarly as well as pedagogical implications of bringing works in a variety of genres together, addressing the ways epistemology is re-oriented through redefining literary kinship during the period.

Requirements: short presentations; annotated bibliography; 18-20 pp. term paper


Texts (tentative list):

Joanna Baillie, Plays on the Passions (Broadview)

Blake’s Poetry and Designs (Norton)

Selected Poetry and Prose of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (Norton)

William Godwin.  Memoirs of the Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman


Robinson, Mary.  Walsingham (Broadview)

Helen Maria Williams.  Letters Written in France (Broadview)

Mary Wollstonecraft, Vindication of the Rights of Woman (Norton)

Dorothy Wordsworth, Grasmere Journals (Oxford)

William Wordsworth, The Complete Poems (Oxford)

Blackboard: Supplementary texts and critical essays.

ENG 681. Introduction to Literary Theory

Tim Watson

Section 1K, Mon., 6:30-9:00

Distribution Requirement: theory


This class is a survey of some recent developments in contemporary literary and cultural theory. Topics to be covered include the new formalism; surface and distant reading and the turn to “description” over interpretation; digital humanities; world literature; ecocriticism; ethnic literary studies; queer theory; and critical university studies. Theorists and critics may include: Rita Felski, Caroline Levine, Stephen Best and Sharon Marcus, Bruno Latour, Rob Nixon, Saidiya Hartman, Christina Sharpe, Christopher Newfield, Jack Halberstam, and others. At least one reading each week during the first nine weeks of the semester will be selected by students; the final three class sessions are deliberately left open for now, and we will work collectively to determine the best use of our time and attention during those three weeks.


Each week, one student will be responsible for assigning one additional article/book chapter/excerpt to our weekly reading and then for briefly introducing and presenting their chosen reading.

We will collectively determine the best ways to organize the planning for the final three weeks of the semester; this will necessarily involve group work, either in pairs, small groups, or the full class. The ethics and practice of collaborative research, writing, and presentation are crucial aspects of this class—as they will be in whatever professional endeavors you undertake after your PhD. I hope we can create a vibrant, engaging model of collective teaching and learning over the course of the semester.

You have two options for writing assignments in this class. 

  1. A traditional 20-page research paper. If you choose this option, please begin thinking about and planning this paper well before the end of the semester. I am available to help with any and all aspects of this process: developing a topic; finding materials; writing and revising the paper itself.
  2. Two shorter research and writing projects, forms to be determined in consultation with me. Possibilities include a combination of short research/position paper; annotated bibliography; conference presentation; sample syllabus with rationale; sample or actual grant/fellowship proposal; WordPress or other blog; multimedia presentation. Due dates to be determined, but one project in each half of the semester.

ENG 682. Critical Black Cultural Studies: Race, Diaspora, and Empire in the Long 1980s

Donette Francis

Section 41, Fri., 9:30-12:00

This multi- and interdisciplinary course takes up the works of Stuart Hall and the formation cultural studies across the disciplines. Organized temporally and spatially around “The Long 1980s in the US, UK, Jamaica, and Miami,” the class will engage Hall's pivotal essays and keywords such as Identity, and Diaspora, Structural Adjustments, Political Economy, Art Practice, the Popular, the Literary and ‘Race.’

Sessions will be taught onsite at both ICA, Miami and at University of Miami. The course setting and format invites graduate students to engage the members of the broader Miami public (up to 4 slots of a total class capacity of 12 students). The course will proceed alongside a series of free lectures, discussions, and symposia.

ENG 692. Graduate Practicum II: Teaching College Literature

Pamela Hammons

Section 47, Mon., 3:15-5:45

The main goal of ENG 692 is to prepare you to teach 200-level literature courses. The practicum is an informal, no-credit course in which we will refine our skills as teachers by drawing on the experiences, observations, and expertise of everyone in the class and relevant readings. We will address practical questions such as these: What can you expect on the first day of a literature class? How should you design a sophomore-level literature syllabus? What are some of the options for how to organize the class readings (e.g., chronologically, geographically, thematically, theoretically, etc.), and what is the pedagogical logic behind those options? What kinds of classroom guidelines and policies should be included on a syllabus? What are some strategies for incorporating canonical and non-canonical texts into a syllabus? How will you fashion your classroom persona? What are some techniques for handling difficult moments or conversations in the undergraduate classroom? What kinds of assignments (e.g., various in-class or group exercises, quizzes, different kinds of exams, assignment sequences, oral presentations, different kinds of essays, etc.) best promote student learning? How do you grade a paper or exam, and what kind of feedback is most helpful? What approaches can the instructor take to discourage plagiarism? There will be opportunities to role-play, to visit other people’s 200-level literature classes, to practice grading papers, to review diverse syllabi, and to discuss different kinds of teaching texts (e.g., anthologies). Each student will be required to create a sample syllabus and encouraged to develop as many additional course materials as possible (e.g., paper topics, exam questions, a teaching statement for the job market, etc.).