Archive of Graduate Seminar Course Descriptions

 

Spring 2014

ENGLIT 2208   Cultures of American Literacy | Jean Ferguson Carr

This course will investigate historical constructions of literacy in the United States, paying particular attention to the instructional materials and practices that shape literacy and its measurement. Working with various archival materials of literacy instruction (for example, textbooks, teachers' manuals, educational treatises, periodicals, literary prefaces and anthologies, letter-writing guides, examinations, advice books, novels, college catalogs and course plans), we will consider how practices of reading and writing are represented, theorized, and shaped by institutional and social concerns. We will also examine how literacy and instructional projects are represented in histories of schooling, in public debates (both currently and in the 19th century), and in scholarly inquiries. Students will work with Pitt's Nietz Collection of Old Textbooks, a splendid archive of 19th-century schoolbooks, writing manuals, grammars, dictionaries, and anthologies. Our investigation will encompass materials designated for the schools and colleges, but we will also work with materials targeting specific groups of learners, for example, factory workers, immigrants, ex-slaves, home learners, women, adults in study groups, lyceum programs, creative writing circles, and the like. Each student will be asked to develop an "archive" of literacy materials to work on and to present to the group. Although our shared archival focus will be on 19th-century materials, students are welcome to develop projects that extend into the present.

ENGLIT 2523  The Art and Ideology of Teaching the Essay | Kathryn Flannery

What are we asking of students when we ask them to compose an essay? What knowledges are we hoping they will develop? Many claims have been made about the cognitive, personal, and political benefits of essay writing. But such claims have been challenged by work in Literacy Studies that calls into question the privileging of “essay-text” writing, a privileging that has consequences not only for the classroom but also for larger, public policy debates about literacy and education. Even though few of the critics would say that there is no value in essay writing, their work is sometimes used as justification for abandoning the essay altogether. How can we negotiate this apparent divide? In this course, we will consider what teachers mean when they say they are teaching the essay: what literally are students doing as evidenced in reports, scholarly literature, and textbooks? We’ll also explore both the justifications and the critiques in order to think through the potentialities and limitations of teaching this protean form whether in the formal classroom or in other venues. This course should be of interest to those currently teaching writing (whether in composition, creative writing, or literature classes) as well as those who plan to teach in the future whether in a university or high school setting or in alternative settings such as, for example, a women’s shelter, adult learning center, or prison.

ENGLIT 2570  Materialities of Writing | Annette Vee

What difference does it make whether we write with ink pens, stone tablets, quills, parchment, hyperlinks, computer code, scrolls or codices? How much of modern bureaucracy can be chalked up to the permanence and flexibility of paper and the organizational innovations of filing systems? How do computer databases enable government surveillance as well as sophisticated literary narratives? First explored by scholars such as Harold Innis and Marshall McLuhan, questions about the materialities of writing have again become central to research on electronic literature, the history of the book, and the ways that objects accompany our compositional practices. In this seminar, we will focus on writing and materiality, paying attention to historical technologies as well as computational contexts of writing. In addition to Innis and McLuhan, we will read more recent work by Hayles, Kirschenbaum, Manovich, B. Kafka, Gitelman, Bogost and others. Assignments for the course will ask students to compose not only in traditional, written academic genres but also in sound, code, online spaces and physical objects.

 

Fall 2013

ENGLIT 2500 Seminar In Pedagogy | Nicholas Coles

This course provides an opportunity for first-year Teaching Assistants and Teaching Fellows in the English Department to reflect on the theory and practice of pedagogy within the social, historical, and institutional contexts that shape them. It will place students' work in the course that TAs and TFs teach (Seminar in Composition) into dialogue with published texts that focus on higher education and the classroom. Students will be expected to write responses to the readings, participate in presentations, and complete a final project that includes scholarly research.

ENGLIT 2524 Rhetorical Gestures | Cory Holding

This course explores historical, theoretical, and methodological approaches to gesture in rhetorical invention, moving from forgotten histories of gesture as a mode of both reasoned and affective persuasion to focus on current studies of the relationship between gesture and invention in neuroscience, performance studies, composition, and other disciplines. On the way, we will attend to affect, kinesthesia, sympathy, and other modes and manifestations of bodily suggestion. In addition to a substantial seminar project, students will have the opportunity to plan and produce hybrid written and gestural texts in response to course readings and discussion.

 

Spring 2013

ENGLIT 2532 History of Rhetoric: Figurative Language | Paul Kameen

Figurative language has had, from the outset, a vexed status in Western philosophical/rhetorical systems, conceived by some as an aberrant form of representational discourse, by others as the most foundational unit of meaning.  This course will examine selected texts from four specific historical moments, each of which handles the conundrum in a different manner: the Classical period (Plato, Aristotle, Longinus); the Romantic period (Coleridge, Shelley, Emerson, Whitman); the Modern period (W.C. Williams, Wallace Stevens, I. A. Richards, Brooks and Warren), and the Postmodern period (Jacques Derrida, Charles Bernstein, Charles Olson, Ed Dorn.) The readings will be both poetry and prose.

 

Fall 2012

ENGLIT 2500 Seminar in Pedagogy | Jean Ferguson Carr

This course provides an opportunity for first-year Teaching Assistants and Teaching Fellows in the English Department to reflect on the theory and practice of pedagogy within the social, historical, and institutional contexts that shape them. It will place students’ work in the Seminar in Composition into dialogue with texts that focus on critical questions across English, including composition, literature, creative writing, and film. Students will be expected to write responses to the readings, to participate in group presentations, and to complete a final project that includes scholarly research. This course is required of all first-year Teaching Assistants and Teaching Fellows.

ENGLIT 2502 Literacy and Pedagogy

This course will investigate the historical, cultural, and political constitution of "pedagogy" and the relation of its various historical and social practices to changing views of "literacy."

ENGLIT 2528 Four Rhetorical Theorists: Aristotle, Kenneth Burke, Mikhail Bakhtin, Bruno Latour | Don Bialostosky

The seminar will read key texts of four major theorists whose work has been and continues to be fruitful for composition, literature, and criticism and will sample some recent inquiries and arguments informed by their work. These thinkers cross our current disciplinary boundaries in ways that would interest students of composition, literature, criticism, and writing, and student inquiries engaging them in those fields would be all welcome course projects.

 

Spring 2012

ENGLIT 2728 Writing/Class | Nicholas Coles


This course will explore the workings of class in and through the practices of writing.  Class will be treated as both social-historical process and lived experience, legible in the varied sites of literary production, literacy education, and composition pedagogy.  We will investigate the intersections of class with race, gender, sexuality and other marks of power and difference, and the pressures and possibilities they bring to acts of writing, in and out of school.  Readings may include fiction, nonfiction and poetry by writers such as Raymond Williams, bells hooks, Richard Rodriguez, mike Rose, Tillie Olsen, Dorothy Allison, Walter Mosley, Janet Zandy, Pierre Bourdiey, as well as writing in zines, blogs and student projects.

ENGLIT 2525 Composition Studies | Jean Ferguson Carr


This course will investigate key topics in composition studies from the 1970s to the present, considering it as an emergent field, as an agenda for research and scholarship, and as an arena that shapes teaching and learning. We will examine some of the identifying documents of the field (chair’s addresses, prize-winning essays and books, journals, conference programs, research projects) and consider how shifts in theory, research, and critical conversations intersect with the  teaching of composition (curriculum, courses, assignments, teaching practices).



ENGLIT 2501 Topics in Literacy: Literacy and Technology | Annette Vee


We may think of literacy as an ability to express ourselves and communicate through technologies of inscription. In this seminar, we’ll look at the history and nature of these technologies (clay tablets, printing press, etc.) with special attention to more recent literacy technologies—the World Wide Web, mobile devices, computers, video games, etc. Students will blog for the class and as well as learn some new (i.e., non-print) literacy technologies. Readings will include work from Lisa Gitelman, Denise Schmandt-Besserat, Andrea diSessa, James Paul Gee, Elizabeth Eisenstein, Jack Goody and Walter Ong.

 

Fall 2011

ENGLIT 2333 Poetry As Utterance | Don Bialostosky

This course will examine the theoretical implications and pedagogical advantages of treating poems as imitations of utterances. We will elaborate this model of poetry from a verity of theoretical sources from Plato to the present, distinguish it from other models, especially the residual new criticism that still informs much of our teaching of “close reading,” and test it through reading of poems from a wide range of periods and genres of poetry in English. Both lyric and narrative poetry will be considered as will the extension of this model to reading artistic narrative prose. The model we will be using, developed mainly from the work of Bakhtin school, underwrites a version of English Literature 0500, “Introduction to Critical Reading,” that has proved effective in overcoming students’ “poetry anxiety” and developing their confidence and skill in pleasurably and responsibly reading demanding poems.

ENGLIT 2500 Seminar in Pedagogy

This course provides an opportunity for first-year Teaching Assistants and Teaching Fellows in the English Department to reflect on the theory and practice of pedagogy within the social, historical, and institutional contexts that shape them.  It will place students' work in the course that TAs and TFs teach (Seminar in Composition) into dialogue with published texts that focus on higher education and the classroom.  Students will be expected to write responses to the readings, participate in presentations, and complete a final project that includes scholarly research.  This course is required of all first-year TAs and TFs.

ENGLIT 2502 Theories of Reading and Writing


“To read is to write is to read. . . “: this chiasmic phrase, which became popular in the 1980s, incisively captured groundbreaking formulations of the interrelationship(s) between reading and writing, theories of reading and theories of writing. In composition studies especially, though not exclusively, the implications of this relationship raised radical and fruitful questions about pedagogy. For many teachers and theorists of composition, pedagogy became a cogent and responsible site where to reflect on and scrutinize the implications and consequences of reading theories for advancing their understanding of student texts, and for expanding students’ possibilities for learning by teaching them to unpack and to exploit the relationships between reading and writing in their own reading and writing practices. By the beginning of the 1990s the chiasmus lost its traction, and became a maxim that tends to obviate rather than cultivate theoretical reflection on pedagogy.

ENGLIT 2509 Ordinary Language | David Bartholomae


This course will serve as an introduction to the concept of “ordinary” language in literary production, in philosophy and in literary theory.  The course will include writing exercises as well as longer critical or theoretical paper.  Style:  This course will serve as an introduction to the concept of “style” in literary production, in philosophy, in linguistics, and in literary theory.  The course will include writing exercises as well as a longer critical or theoretical paper.

The aim of this course is to problematize what seems to have become obvious, even banal, about this relationship by historicizing and re-theorizing it. We will focus on (give and take) the 1980s-1990s: we will read several texts and collections of essays that explored the reading and writing relationship both in Composition and English Studies at large to examine and expose illuminating differences in insights and applications of them in the two fields. And we will trace the representations, appropriations, and effects of these theoretical inquiries in journals like CCC, CE, Composition Studies, JAc, and PMLA. At the same time we will read the work of theorists of reading most prominent in the 1980s to explore and speak back to the uses their insights were put to in the field of composition, to ponder why/how some of them remained relevant while others faded away, and to ask again, from the perspective of pedagogy, what it means for, and what are the implications of a teacher/practitioner of Iserian, or Bartseian, or Derridian (etc., etc.) theory to teach his/her students how to write by teaching them how to read in that particular way.

Spring 2011 (2114)

ENGLIT 2157 Literacy and Literature in the Long 18th Century | Stephen Carr


This seminar will examine the interaction across the long eighteenth century between emerging literary practices and new or newly consolidated literacy materials—dictionaries, vernacular grammars, elocutionary treatises and readers, theories of language, and notions of belle lettres. We will focus, in part, on the ways in which vernacular writers were taken up in these literacy materials as examples of usage, sometimes incorrect and sometimes authoritative, as illustrations of tropes and figures and emotional states, as common places or cultural topic, and as an emerging literary tradition or canon. But we will also attend to the ways newly standardized or methodized linguistic usages came into literary works, both as forms of appropriate usage and as the unmarked horizon of expectation against which regional or class dialects gained new prominence, and audiences defined partly by literacy skills, especially children, made possible new literary forms and practices. Much of the course reading will be British texts, mainly written from 1700 to 1830, but we will trace as well how these materials migrated to the American colonies and were re-appropriated in the early years of the United States.

ENGLIT 2505 Feminist Pedagogy | Jean Ferguson Carr


This course will investigate the projects and politics of feminist pedagogy—from its early revisionist activities in the 1960s, through its affiliation with diversity projects, to  current interest (for example, sexuality, race, transnational and social movements, gender and development).  Feminist pedagogy has long been concerned with interdisciplinary questions about women, gender, and sexuality and how such questions intervene in the curriculum, in academic work, and in teaching and learning.  We will explore the history of feminist pedagogy as well as consider particular situated projects, including projects from students' particular disciplines, teaching traditions, or expertise. We will investigate questions such as the following:  How does feminist pedagogy challenge the curriculum? The teaching canon? Modes of teaching and learning? Notions of expertise and knowledge? Notions of service? Relationships between theory and practice?

ENGLIT 2545 Rhetorical Bodies

This course will explore the rhetorical nature of the material world.

Fall 2010 (2111)

ENGLIT 2521 Composition History/Theory/Practice: Digital Media Theory

This course provides a theoretical exploration of digital media, new media, computer-based communication, and digital writing. Considering computational dynamics, networked social modes, technics and embodiment, and machine composition practices prior to and subsequent to the arrival of computers and the world wide webs, the course will engage students in current issues such as interaction and immersion; techno-utopianism and determinism; the “new”-ness of media; affectivity; distribution, proliferation and control; and networked sociality.

ENGLIT 2701 Rhetorical Criticism of Literature | Don Bialostosky


History of Rhetoric: History of Tropes and Figures.  The canon of style in the history of rhetoric has seen in modern times a radical reduction of distinctions between and among tropes and figures.  We will try to recover the richness and ambiguity of classical and early modern distinctions among tropes and figures of speech and thought, look at the ways in which these distinctions were diminished and systematized by more recent rhetorical and literary theorist, consider several recent efforts to redeploy or re-describe earlier distinctions and evaluate contemporary usage of residual terms from the earlier lexicon. We will also try to develop proficiency in mobilizing a full range of these terms in describing the tropes and figures in Wordsworth’s Prelude. 

Spring 2010 (2104)

ENGLIT 2208 Culture Of American Literacy | Jean Ferguson Carr 


This course will investigate historical constructions of literacy in the United States, paying particular attention to the instructional materials and practices that shape literacy and its measurement. Working with various archival materials of literacy instruction (for example, textbooks, teachers' manuals, educational treatises, periodicals, literary prefaces and anthologies, letter-writing guides, examinations, advice books, novels, college catalogs and course plans), we will consider how practices of reading and writing are represented, theorized, and shaped by institutional and social concerns. We will also examine how literacy and instructional projects are represented in histories of schooling, in public debates (both currently and in the 19th-century), and in scholarly inquiries. Students will work with Pitt’s Neitz Collection of Old Textbooks, a splendid archive of 19th-century schoolbooks, writing manuals, grammars, dictionaries, and anthologies. Our investigation will encompass materials designated for the schools and colleges, but we will also work with materials targeting specific groups of learners, for example, factory workers, immigrants, ex-slaves, home learners, women, adults in study groups, lyceum programs, creative writing circles, and the like. Each student will be asked to develop an "archive" of literacy materials to work on and to present to the group. Although our shared archival focus will be on 19th-century materials, students are welcome to develop projects that extend into the present.

ENGLIT 2560 Narratives Of Teaching | Nicholas Coles


This course will explore a wide range of narrative strategies for representing teaching and learning both in pedagogical scholarship and in literary texts. We will study how scholars and writers portray their own teaching and that of others, and we’ll pay special attention to how teachers characterize their students’ learning—its occurrence, meaning, and value. The basic premise of the course is that representations of teaching and learning are inevitably problematic, largely because of all they omit from their narratives. Yet are some narratives more responsible than others? How can we tell? What does it mean to write “effectively” or ethically” about one’s teaching or learning? Along with developing a research project, students will try their hand at representing moments in their own teaching or learning in other classrooms and contexts.

Fall 2009 (2101)

ENGLIT 2500 Seminar In Pedagogy 


This course provides an opportunity for first-year Teaching Assistants and Teaching Fellows in the English Department to reflect on the theory and practice of pedagogy within the social, historical, and institutional contexts that shape them. It will place students' work in the course that TAs and TFs teach (Seminar in Composition) into dialogue with published texts that focus on higher education and the classroom. Students will be expected to write responses to the readings, participate in presentations, and complete a final project that includes scholarly research.

ENGLIT 2504 Multimodal Composition and Pedagogy


This combined seminar and studio workshop will discuss and practice writing, design, compositing, image, sound and video production of digital media through user-based software. Students will generate the content for these compositions allowing for an open range of genres and styles produced as websites, podcasts, digital videos, wikis, hypertext, and networked multimedia. This course will also explore teaching these practices to undergraduates.

Spring 2009 (2094)

ENGLIT 2521 Composition History/Theory/Practice: Digital Media Theory

This course provides a theoretical introduction to what are variously termed digital media, new media, computer-based communication, and digital writing. Considering computational dynamics, networked social modes, technics and embodiment, and machinic composition practices prior to and subsequent to the arrival computers and the World Wide Web, the course will engage students in current issues such as interaction and immersion; techno-utopianism and -determinism; the "new"-ness of media; affectivity; distribution, proliferation and control; networked sociality; bio-technics, embodiment, and human-computer interaction (HCI); digital writing, language, compositing, and critique.

ENGLIT 2532 History of Rhetoric | Don Bialostosky


The common view, given canonical formulation by M.H. Abrams, that Romantic writers were anti-rhetorical, turning from "pragmatic" persuasion to "expressive" utterance, still enjoys some currency among contemporary critics, though it has been actively challenged by a number of recent critics. Abrams' opposition between pragmatic and expressive orientations is still widely used not only to mark the turn from neo-classical to romantic periods but to distinguish modes of discourse, schools of criticism, schools of creative writers, and schools of compositionists. This seminar will investigate the extent to which classical rhetoric continued to shape the theory and practice of Romantic poets and prose writers. We will read Romantic poetry, criticism, political argument, and rhetorical theory as well as some of the classical writers whose works some of the Romantics read—Cicero, Quintilian, and Longinus—and we will engage the revisionist critics who have argued that key Romantic writers were participants in the rhetorical tradition, not rebels against it. Wordsworth, perhaps the most classical of the Romantic poets, will be a central instance, but we will be interested, too, in other classically trained poets as well as women writers of the period (who wrote without formal classical education but with wide exposure to writers who were thus schooled). We'll be interested in classical rhetoric not only as an influence on these writers but also as a critical resource for appreciating what they wrote.

Fall 2008 (2091)

ENGLIT 2211 "Scribbling Women"| Jean Ferguson Carr


“America is wholly given over to a d____d mob of scribbling women,” Hawthorne protested in 1855, in disappointment over the sales of his own books. He criticized women writers for succumbing to the “restraints of decency” and argued that they could write well only when “the Devil” was in them. This heightened rhetoric reflects widespread cultural anxiety over the emergence of women in 19th-century U.S. as published writers, as a marked and contentious reading public, and as educated subjects. This course will investigate 19th-century women’s literacy and reception, the terms of their education and training, and the challenge they posed to cultural and educational institutions of the times. We will consider how this past has been represented in and has underwritten current discussions of women’s literacy and of the gendered politics of reading and writing. Students will develop an archival project, working with 19th-century periodicals, literary anthologies, or educational textbooks.

ENGLIT 2326 Modern Poetry | Kathryn Flannery


Johanna Drucker has argued that much contemporary art is “ill-served by the remnants of modernism’s legacy of avant-garde terms” (Sweet Dreams: Contemporary Art and Complicity 2006). But before one decides to throw this terminological baby out with the bath water as Drucker rather gleefully (and usefully) proposes to do, we need to look more closely at how those terms have functioned for poets and artists. Oppositional, avant-garde, experimental, and outsider are all relational terms applied to or claimed for much 20th- and 21st- century U.S. poetry—relational in the sense of opposed to what? in advance of what or whom? playing with available forms/materials in ways different from what? outside of what? Although Ron Perelman contends that the “negative impetus” of such work is most clearly evident—Dada as anti-art; feminist poetry as not in the service of the patriarchy; Language Poetry as a “movement more united by its opposition to the prevailing institutions of American poetry” (Perelman) than by any uniformity of practice; and so on—these terms are relational in another sense as well. Especially when invoked by poets themselves, the terms also signal relationality by claiming affiliation with other poets (past and present), artists, political thinkers, activists, film makers; claiming particular forms, materials, media; claiming particular relationships to audiences/viewers/participants; claiming relationship to particular elements of culture (popular or otherwise). It is necessary to consider both the “negative impetus” and the affiliative impetus in order to sort through the creative, critical and political utility of modernism’s terminological legacy. We’ll take as our starting point an early 20th-century cluster of poets, artists, and social reformers for whom Mina Loy can stand as affiliative center. This extended group of modernists serves as reference point for later poets, such as Kathleen Fraser, who look to Loy as an experimentalist precursor. We’ll then move to a midcentury cluster of poets, activists, musicians and community organizers for whom Gwendolyn Brooks can serve as affiliative center. Brooks’ poetry, like Loy’s, is too rarely taught, and yet she too has been claimed in very interesting ways as aesthetic precursor by poets such as Yusef Komunyakaa. These two clusters are intended to work against too tidy a genealogy of the modernist legacy, and thus to provide a more complex frame for the conclusion to the course, a final section on contemporary poetry. This is a course in which you can expect to read poetry, read what poets have to say about poetry, and study some of the other cultural forms (especially the visual arts) with which the poets interacted.

ENGLIT 2500 Seminar in Pedagogy

This course provides an opportunity for first-year Teaching Assistants and Teaching Fellows in the English Department to reflect on the theory and practice of pedagogy within the social, historical, and institutional contexts that shape them. It will place students' work in the course that TAs and TFs teach (Seminar in Composition) into dialogue with published texts that focus on higher education and the classroom. Students will be expected to write responses to the readings, participate in presentations, and complete a final project that includes scholarly research.

ENGLIT 2527 Composition Theory in the 21st Century

This course will survey recent scholarship in the field of composition studies with the goal of considering what composition studies is and will be in the twenty-first century. Our task for the semester will be to pinpoint and explore pressing pedagogical, disciplinary, and historiographic questions, thinking specifically about such issues as technology; race, gender, sexuality, and culture; linguistic diversity; “the public turn”; civic engagement; and service learning.

ENGLIT 2728 Writing/Class | Nicholas Coles


This course will explore the workings of class in and through the practices of writing. Class will be treated as both social-historical process and lived experience, legible in the varied sites of literary production, literacy education, and composition pedagogy. We will investigate the intersections of class with race, gender, sexuality and other markers of power and difference, and the pressures and possibilities they bring to acts of writing, in and out of school. Readings may include fiction, nonfiction, and poetry by writers such as Raymond Williams, bell hooks, Richard Rodriguez, Mike Rose, Tillie Olsen, Dorothy Allison, Walter Mosley, Janet Zandy, Pierre Bourdieu, as well as writing in zines,. blogs, and student projects.

Spring 2008 (2084)

ENGLIT 2000 History of Criticism | Paul Kameen


The purpose of this course is to provide an extensively historical (rather than intensively contemporary) introduction to critical theory. There are three historical “epochs” we will be focusing on. One takes place not too far from the outset of Western intellectual history, during the 5th and 4th centuries BC, when discourse is being divided up for the first time into something like what we now call disciplines. The second is the first half of the 19th century, the Romantic period in England and America, the epoch in which the figure of the poet reached the highest apogee of his orbit, being accorded the most extraordinary powers and status in relation to all matters of both personal and public edification. Finally, we’ll look at the 1920s, during which an extraordinary assortment of important critical books made their first appearance. We will read at least three primary texts from each unit, along with an assortment of shorter pieces. There will be weekly short writings, three essays, and a final project.

ENGLIT 2034 Bakhtin School of Rhetoric/Poetics | Don Bialostosky

This seminar will work with key texts of the Bakhtin school in order to discover and elaborate fruitful models for inquiries into rhetoric and poetics understood as parts of a general account of discourse.  We will examine recent works in composition studies, rhetoric, literary theory, and literary criticism informed by the Bakhtin school to critique and to advance their initiatives and to situate the inquiries we develop in relation to them.

ENGLIT 2503 Feminist Rhetorics and Pedagogies

For the past twenty years, scholars of feminist rhetoric have recovered the unique and transgressive ways women have used their writing, speaking, and silence to intervene in the world. These scholars have examined how issues of power pervade discursive interactions, and they have composed theories that challenge the implicit rules of dominant language practices that determine who gets to speak (or write), what can be said, how the message is sent, and where and when the speaker (or writer) can deploy that message. As Kate Ronald and Joy Ritchie argue in Teaching Rhetorica (2007), however, the "next step" in feminist rhetorical research is to explore how this scholarship can and should inflect pedagogical practice. The work of this seminar will be to take up Ronald and Ritchie's call as we investigate the relationship between feminist rhetorics and feminist pedagogies, considering how feminist rhetorical theories might inflect teaching practice, especially the ways we teach reading, writing, speaking, and literary study.

ENGLIT 2560 Narratives of Teaching

This course will explore a wide range of narrative strategies for representing teaching and learning both in pedagogical scholarship and in literary texts. We will study how scholars and writers portray their own teaching and that of others, and we'll pay special attention to how teachers characterize their students' learning—its occurrence, meaning, and value. The basic premise of the course is that representations of teaching and learning are inevitably problematic, largely because of all they omit from their narratives. Yet are some narratives more responsible than others? How can we tell? What does it mean to write "effectively" or "ethically" about one's teaching or learning? Along with developing a research project, students will try their hand at representing moments in their own teaching or learning in other classrooms and contexts.

Fall 2007 (2081)

ENGLIT 2500 Seminar in Pedagogy | Don Bialostosky and Jean Ferguson Carr


This course provides an opportunity for first-year Teaching Assistants and Teaching Fellows in the English Department to reflect on the theory and practice of pedagogy within the social, historical, and institutional contexts that shape them. It will place students’ work in the Seminar in Composition into dialogue with texts that focus on critical questions across English, including composition, literature, creative writing, and film. Students will be expected to write responses to the readings, to participate in group presentations, and to complete a final project that includes scholarly research. This course is required of all first-year Teaching Assistants and Teaching Fellows.

ENGLIT 2502 Literacy and Pedagogy

This course will investigate several historical, cultural, and political constitutions of pedagogy and the relation of its various historical and social practices to changing views of literacy. We will read historical documents on early, recent, and current theories and practices of pedagogy to question and to understand its emergence as a discipline worthy of university status, its subsequent progressive marginalization, and its current politicization in some academic contexts. But we will also read these documents to tease out the specific kinds of literacy they define, presuppose, and/or prescribe in our attempt to understand the epistemological/ideological assumptions in which different conceptions of literacy are rooted and the limits or the possibilities they set up for teaching and learning, for curriculum development, for policy making. In other words, we will systematically and explicitly theorize, interrogate, and complicate the relations hinted at by the title of this seminar.

ENGLIT 2525 Composition Studies | David Bartholomae


This course will provide a general introduction to composition as an area of professional study. The purpose of the course is to introduce key texts (and forgotten texts) in the development of the area and to situate those texts in the development of English studies, the history of post-secondary education, and history of related work on writing. We will be looking at how the field has represented the subject as its own and at how the field has constituted itself as a "discipline."

Spring 2007 (2074)

ENGLIT 2526 Poetry as Utterance: Theory/Pedagogy | Don Bialostosky


How we read and teach the reading of poems depends upon what we take them to be. This course will examine what it means to treat them as imitations of utterances. To do so, we will need to consider this model in relation to some of its alternatives—poems as imitations of actions, as symbols of allegories, as forms of words, among them. But our main effort will be to elaborate our own model and test it through the reading of poems from a wide range of periods and genres of poetry in English. Our elaboration of our hypothesis will be informed by theoretical readings from philosophy, linguistics, literary theory, and rhetorical theory, especially M.M. Bakhtin and V.N. Voloshinov. Our readings of poems will both test our model and consider its potential fruitfulness as a guide to our teaching the reading.

ENGLIT 2537 Rhetorical Education: Past, Present, Future  


In this course, we will investigate the teaching tradition inside the historical and present-day study of rhetoric. Throughout the semester, we will consider how figures from Isocrates and Quintilian to Gertrude Buck and James Berlin have designed and implemented different forms of rhetorical education. We will explore how rhetorical education has changed over time and circumstance and imagine what rhetorical education should be today for our students in the twenty-first century.

ENGLIT 2538 Literature and Instruction | Stephen Carr


This course investigates evolving formations of literature in relation to diverse practices and materials of instruction in the literary vernacular from the eighteenth century to the present. This course places archival work on schoolbooks in the context of institutional and periodical debates about reading, style, curriculum, and literary culture. Our historical study of the varied pedagogical uses of literary texts will inform a wide ranging critical examination of the current uses and goals of literary study.

Fall 2006 (2071)

ENGLIT 2500 Seminar in Pedagogy | Jean Ferguson Carr


This course provides an opportunity for first-year Teaching Assistants and Teaching Fellows in the English Department to develop pedagogical theories and practices, and to consider these theories and practices within the social, historical, and institutional contexts that shape them. The seminar will place students' work in the course they are teaching into dialogue with texts that focus on critical questions across the English studies curriculum, including composition, literature, creative writing, and film.

ENGLIT 2530 (F)Acts of Interpretation

The goal of this course is to invite reflection on the differences between "old hermeneutics" and "new hermeneutics." Specifically, the course will focus on the shift in concern from the author and the work to the text and the reader and on what this entails for readers' and writers' reception and production of meaning. The subject matter of the course's investigation will be theoretical formulations of hermeneutics, critical interpretations/surveys of theoretical movements, theoretical critiques, as well as participants' theoretical understandings of "(f)acts of interpretation" and the implications of those understandings for what and how they teach.

Spring 2006 (2064)

ENGLIT 3155 History of Rhetoric | Don Bialostosky


The canon of style in the history of rhetoric has seen in modern times a radical reduction of distinctions between and among tropes and figures. We will try to recover the richness and ambiguity of classical and early modern distinctions among tropes and figures of speech and thought, look at the ways in which these distinctions were diminished by more recent rhetorical and literary theorists, consider several recent efforts to redeploy or re-describe earlier distinctions, and evaluate contemporary usage of residual terms from the earlier lexicon. We will also try to develop proficiency in mobilizing a full range of these terms in describing the tropes and figures in Wordsworth's Prelude.

Fall 2005 (2061)

ENGLIT 2000 History of Criticism | Don Bialostosky


This course introduces students to important aspects of critical thought, especially, though not exclusively, before the twentieth century. Readings for this course are offered as constellations of texts that intersect with a particular problem or issue. Each constellation of texts will have three central goals: to assemble texts that present significant and important modes of practicing criticism; to include different types of texts where critical thought emerges; and to familiarize students with methods of research central to humanistic study.

ENGLIT 2500 Seminar in Pedagogy | Jean Ferguson Carr


This course provides an opportunity for first-year Teaching Assistants and Teaching Fellows in the English Department to develop pedagogical theories and practices, and to consider these theories and practices within the social, historical, and institutional contexts that shape them. The seminar will place students' work in the course they are teaching into dialogue with texts that focus on critical questions across the English studies curriculum, including composition, literature, creative writing, and film.

ENGLIT 2560 Narratives of Teaching

This course will explore a wide range of narrative strategies for representing teaching and learning both in pedagogical scholarship and in literary texts. We will study how scholars and writers portray their own teaching and that of others, and we'll pay special attention to how teachers characterize their students' learning—its occurrence, meaning, and value. The basic premise of the course is that representations of teaching and learning are inevitably problematic, largely because of all they omit from their narratives. Yet are some narratives more responsible than others? How can we tell? What does it mean to write "effectively" or "ethically" about one's teaching or learning? Along with developing a research project, students will try their hand at representing moments in their own teaching or learning in other classrooms and contexts.