Previous Courses

Graduate Seminars

6220 Shakespeare and Greatness

  • 101 MW 2:00-3:15 Professor John Curran

    Course Title:
    Shakespeare and Greatness

    Course Description: In this seminar we investigate the issue of greatness as it seems to be reflected in Shakespeare’s drama. The idea of individual human greatness has accounted for much of the attention Shakespeare’s characters have enjoyed, but more recently they have been deemed interesting to the extent he undermines or interrogates this concept. Does Shakespeare cast his characters as “great?” What is greatness? What theoretical, political, or theological implications does it carry? In considering these questions with regard to Shakespeare’s characters, we also consider his own greatness. What makes him stand apart in our minds from his fellow Renaissance dramatists? Does he capture greatness better than they? Or does he rise above them for complicating the idea in ways they cannot? We will concentrate on Shakespeare’s histories and tragedies, examining each play in tandem with an analogous selection from another dramatist. Selections will include plays by Marlowe, Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher, Middleton, Chapman, Massinger, and Webster.

6700 Studies in 20th Century American Literature

  • 101 MW 3:30-4:45 Professor Gerry Canavan

    Course Title: American Literature after the American Century

    Course Description: In 1941, Time Magazine publisher Henry Luce called upon the twentieth century to be “the first great American Century,” and it’s been ending ever since. This course takes up American literary and cultural studies from the post-everything standpoint of the “after.” What is it to study American literature today, after the American Century, after American exceptionalism, after modernity, after the university, after the idea of the future itself? Our shared investigation into contemporary critical and scholarly practices will focus on key controversies in twentieth- and twenty-first-century literary study, including the ongoing reevaluation of “the canon” (Lolita), popular culture studies (The Body Snatchers), identity and identity politics (Dawn), nationalism and transnationalism (Tropic of Orange), postmodernity and neoliberalism (the short stories of David Foster Wallace), and ecocriticism in the Anthropocene (We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves). Our reading will also draw heavily on recent scholarship in critical theory, especially “the new American studies” and the emerging discipline of critical university studies. Alongside weekly reflections and enthusiastic class participation, students in this course will produce a 15-20 page seminar paper on a subject of their choosing related to the themes of the course, as well as present their work to their peers in a conference-presentation format and develop a sample syllabus for an undergraduate course in American literary or cultural studies.

    Readings: Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita; Jack Finney, The Body Snatchers; Octavia E. Butler, Dawn; Karen Tei Yamashita, Tropic of Orange; Karen Joy Fowler, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves; the short stories of David Foster Wallace; selected additional readings

    Assignments: Weekly reflections, class participation, conference-style presentation, seminar paper (15-20 pages), sample syllabus

6800 Studies in Genre

  • 101 TTH 3:30-4:45 Professor Tom Jeffers

    Course Title: The Realist Novel

    Course Description: “Works of Eliot, James, Conrad”

    Readings: Probable reading list: George Eliot’s Silas Marner and Middlemarch; James’s Daisy Miller, The Portrait of a Lady and The Spoils of Poynton; Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim, and Victory.

    Students will give an oral report, write two short papers and a longish one, and participate in discussion.

6840 Rhetoric Composition Theory

  • 101 TTH 11:00-12:15 Professor Rebecca Nowacek

    Course Title: Foundations for Writing Teachers

    Course Description:
    This course is designed to help new teachers as well as teachers new to college-level writing instruction develop historically informed, theory-based, data-driven approaches to teaching writing (especially first-year composition) and to participating in first-year composition programs such as the First-Year English Program at Marquette. Our twice-weekly meetings will emphasize discussion of readings, writing assignments, and teaching-related research. Everyone will have opportunities to complete scholarly projects that include (if desired) creative and/or digital components, and the class will participate in an end-semester pedagogy conference held at Marquette and planned in collaboration with UWM graduate students and faculty.

    Readings: Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies, and other selected readings

    Will likely include a series of integrative, reflective writings; a more formal, systematic inquiry into teaching and learning; presentation of the findings of that inquiry at a joint conference with grad students at UWM.

8282 Studies in Modern Critical Theory and Practice

  • 101 TTH 2:00-3:15 Professor John Boly

    Course Title: “Borrowings and Thefts: Genealogies of Modern Theory and Practice.”

    Course Description: When Neitzsche decided to not merely revisit the Pre-Socratic Greek philosophers, but actually take them seriously by putting their ideas to work, he revolutionized modern philosophy. In doing so, he inadvertently engendered a distinctly modern figure, diarpazo, which has a good claim to becoming, if not as the unacknowledged legislator, then certainly as the master trope of twentieth century literary theorists: plundering. Time and again, modern thinkers have visited the ruined shrines of the past, whether classical, Hellenistic, renaissance, or romantic, only to dust off their artifacts, install them in shiny reliquaries, and proclaim the results as new dispensations. So in this seminar we will trace the curious rhizomes linking ancient theorists to some truly odd modern couples, whether from Plato to Wimsatt and Derrida, Aristotle to Deleuze and Guattari, Horace to Brooks and Iser, Longinus to Frye and Baudrillard, Vico to Auerbach and Said, Schleiermacher to Gramsci and Althusser, Wollstonecraft to Cixous and Wittig, Emerson to Eliot and Bloom, or for that matter, Nietzsche himself to De Man and Foucault.

    Assignments: Frequent seminar presentations. Two essays. Midterm and Final exams.
















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