Graduate Studies

Course Offerings

Fall 2012

Class Numbers are included in parentheses following the course number.
List of all graduate course numbers.

2 W.  137 Dallas Hall.  Sudan.

An introduction to advanced graduate work in literary studies. In three overlapping unites, our course will focus upon definitions of texts and the languages within them, standards and processes of careful literary scholarship, and the complexities of the profession, including current issues. The first unit will comprise a short survey of book and manuscript history, including how oral and written texts become books, with the attendant authority and problems contained therein. The second unit will focus on scholarly indexes and databases, both analog and digital; archival research; creation and use of bibliographies. The final unit will focus upon our profession: how the study of literature developed into a profession; the roles of critical theory; professional organizations; developing and presenting scholarly work in professional settings; the paths to publication; the means to enter different levels of the professoriat. In addition to readings that explore all of these subjects, our course will make use of the DeGolyer and Bridwell Libraries, an occasional guest speaker, and participants’ regular short writings and in-class presentations. We will surround a number of short literary texts—stories and poems--and one longer work with secondary readings that define and challenge the goals of literary scholarship. The longer text is still to be announced.

Texts:  MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, Third EditionIntroduction to Scholarship in Modern Languages and Literatures, Third EditionHandbook for Academic Authors, Fifth Edition, by Beth Luey.

11 TTh.  120 Dallas Hall.  Foster.

A survey of literary criticism and theory from some of the ancient roots of critical thought to contemporary literary practice: from Heraclitus to Badiou.  The purpose of the course is to provide the theoretical background necessary to understand the discipline of literary study. The course will require regular critical responses and several essays analyzing both critical and literary texts. 

Enrollment limit: Graduate Students only.

Texts:  Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life; Alain Badiou, Saint Paul: The Foundation of Universalism; Ian Bogost, Unit Operations; Don DeLillo, The Names; Sigmund Freud:, Civilization and Its Discontents; Michele Foucault:, Discipline and Punish; Henry James, Eight Tales from the Major Phase; Plato,Phaedrus; Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things.

ENGL 6312-001 (3112).  TEACHING PRACTICUM.
12 F.  TBA.  Stephens.

English 6312 has two purposes: First, it serves as an introductory support structure for PhD candidates who are teaching their first first-year writing classes at SMU. Second, in a general way, it introduces graduate students to the field of composition studies that has emerged in North American English Departments in the last forty years. The course helps PhD students write syllabi for and plan their classes for the fall term; it also offers an ongoing conversation about grading, conferences, classroom management, etc. In addition, all students read three books that outline the development of the field of composition studies, and each student reads and reports on a fourth book that describes the field as it exists now.

Texts:  TBA.

2 M.  138 Dallas Hall.  Ards.

This course introduces foundational texts of African American women’s writing, as well as lesser-known works by canonical authors and classics by the unheralded and up-and-coming. Our primary goal is to read these authors’ works for the aesthetic, gendered, and political circumstances that shape a literary tradition. However, we will also use secondary sources to track the evolution of black feminist criticism, from its hallmark theoretical framework of “inter-sectionality” to recent interventions in performance, New South, and cultural studies.

Texts: Readings will include writers such as Anna Julia Cooper, Pauline Hopkins, Zora Neale Hurston, Georgia Douglass Brown, Gwendolyn Brooks, Hortense Spillers, Toni Cade, Elizabeth Alexander, Alice Walker, Thadious Davis, Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, and Jesmyn Ward. 

2 Th.  137 Dallas Hall.  Siraganian.

Whether pilloried on signs at Occupy Wall Street or defended in Mitt Romney’s stump speeches, corporate personhood—the claim that corporations have legal standing as persons under the 14th amendment—seems to be a recent controversy in American society. But this divisive idea has a much longer and more involved history entangled with the literary, artistic, and cultural world of the twenty-century. In this seminar, we will explore the history of corporate personhood in its various aesthetic dimensions, focusing on its representation and theorization in the American novel. How does the evolving notion of corporate personhood and corporate aesthetics at the end of the nineteenth century transform representations of individual personhood and literary and artistic form throughout the twenty century and beyond? How do individuals and groups negotiate or create intention within the strictures of corporate personhood?

Texts:  Novelists most likely will include Norris, Phillips, Dreiser, Cather, Fitzgerald, Wilson, Warhol, Gaddis, and Ferris; theorists and critics will include Horwitz, Trachtenberg, Bourdieu, Marchand, Michaels, Christensen, Thomas, and Dayan. 

Course requirements: Formal presentations and a seminar paper.

2 T.  137 Dallas Hall.  Spiegelman.

This seminar will survey a range of experiments in the genre, or mode (depending on whose literary taxonomies one prefers), known as "the pastoral." Most of the primary texts will be poetic; there will be a modest amount of drama and prose. 

"Pastoral" poetry has its credited beginnings in Theocritus, whose "Idylls" set the stage for Virgil's "Eclogues," and then the continuation of the genre from the Renaissance through the present time. We shall begin with the ancients, and then skip to the 16th century (Spenser's "Shepherd's Calendar" and selections from The Faerie Queene), then to Shakespeare's As You Like It and The Winter's Tale. A discussion of "Lycidas" follows, and then Pope's "Pastorals" and some of his "Epistles." Then, Wordsworth ("Michael" and other poems), and Shelley's "Adonais," as examples of the Romantic appropriation, imitation, and updating of pastoral motifs. Then Thoreau (Walden) and poems by Robert Frost and A. R. Ammons, to bring us across the Atlantic.

Texts: The most important theoretical/critical texts, which will be the backbone of our scholarly investigations, are William Empson, Some Versions of Pastoral, Thomas Rosenmeyer, The Green Cabinet, Annabel Patterson,Pastoral and Ideology, and Paul Alpers, What Is Pastoral.

Course requirements: Students will write smaller papers and one larger one.