Meet our new Faculty


The Department of English Welcomes 8 Incoming Faculty and 12 New Courses for Fall 2013



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             ENGL 396A—Junior Proseminar                                                                        

Section 001 Instructor: ABRAHAM

Rhetoric, Memory, and the Archive 

This course will examine how the concepts of "history" and "memory" are shaped and informed by rhetorical processes. We will look at how rhetoric plays an inventive and instrumental role in forming how historical events are remembered and retold in the context of memorialization. Students will consider the complex rhetorical considerations surrounding the construction of museums, monuments, holidays, and academic fields of study. Students will read texts by Michael Bernard-Donals, Kendall Phillips, Maurice Halbwachs, Dominick LaCapra, and others.


SECTION 001 Instructor:  ABRAHAM

This class will help you to develop the necessary vocabulary and theoretical knowledge to expertly discuss and write about composition theory, how people take the thoughts in their heads and transform them into written discourse. You will be exposed to a number of theoretical outlooks on composing through which to understand the social, political, ideological and economic factors influencing how people write.

Composition theory has evolved through a number of theoretical paradigms in the last thirty years: From the current-traditional paradigm, which emphasized the five-paragraph theme, through to the post-process perspective, which wonders if writing can be taught at all, to post-post process theory, multiliteracies, multimodality, and translingualism, there has been no absence of contention in theorizing about how the composition happens. Throughout the semester, we will explore the various controversies writing professionals have initiated and attempted to resolve through the ongoing conversation that is composition theory.

For the semester, our goals will include the following:

(1)    Learning about the major theoretical perspectives informing the act of composing within the discipline of Rhetoric and Composition;

(2)    Applying these theoretical perspectives to your writing pedagogy;

(3)    Developing a working bibliography for contemporary scholarship on composition theory;

(4)    Advancing your own professionalization as you learn about the necessary steps in publishing an article in a  Rhetoric and Composition journal;

(5)    Working toward presenting at a national conference on writing such as NCTE or the Conference on College Composition and Communication.


ENGL 609—Poetry/Non-Fiction Workshop

Section 002 Instructor:  BRIANTE


A Multigenre Workshop on the Documentary

In 1936, noting a turn toward the documentary in a variety of arts, Wallace Stevens explained the Depression had focused attention "in the direction of reality, that is to say, in the direction of fact." At a time of economic crisis and drone strikes, of Wikileaks and reality TV, we may be experiencing another such turn. In this workshop, we will begin by reading documentary work in a variety of genres and hybrid forms. Despite its relationship to "objectivity" we will consider how aspects of documentary or investigative thinking can impact even the most personal projects such as Anne Carson's elegy to her brother, Nox. Then we will experiment with a variety of documentary approaches to our own work. The workshop, tuned to poetry and creative nonfiction as well as points in between, will not only help to inspire new documentary-based projects but demonstrate how documentary approaches can stimulate work already in progress.


ENGL 301—Intermediate Nonfiction Writing                                                     

Section 001 Instructor:  HENDRICKS

We will open the class with close reading of selected essays.  Among the issues we will discuss: boundaries between fiction and nonfiction; research methods in writing nonfiction; choosing a subject; the relationship between the writer and her/his subject; the various approaches to material (e.g., contemplative, rhetorical, ironic, etc.).  This is a course in the writing of literary nonfiction, a broad rubric that includes (but is not limited to) personal essay, memoir, travel writing, and experimental work based in lived experience.  You will be asked to produce several short essays in the style and/or genre of the various authors whom we are reading, as well as one longer essay, which we will discuss in workshop and which you will revise and hand in within two weeks of its discussion in workshop.  This class will not be an easy “A.”  Historically, students have ranked it “somewhat more difficult” or “among the most difficult” of their undergraduate classes.

ENGL 486—Topics in American Literature                                                                   

Section 001 Instructor: KLOTZ                                                                                                

Men, Women, and the Non-Human

In this course we will ponder subjectivity through reading texts that place the gendered body and the monstrous in juxtaposition or proximity, raising questions about narrative and cultural constructions of bodies, genders, sexualities, reproductive anxieties, maternalities, transgression and whatever else occurs to us. This is an exploratory course. We will not be presupposing mastery on anyone’s part, and we will strive to stay open-minded and open-ended throughout the semester. We will close-read our theory, fiction, and films with the ultimate goal of coming away from the course with a well-founded idea or two about how our culture encodes and decodes gendered subjectivities in relation to their abject others.




ENGL 309—Poetry Writing                                                                                  

Section 001 Instructor: MATUK

While this intermediate workshop will assume you have some foundation in reading and writing poems, we will nonetheless develop a shared critical vocabulary while practicing four or five fundamental strands of poetic composition (rhetoric, imagery, conceit, syntax, and juxtaposition).  We will front-load the term with a reading intensive survey of representative poems in each of these strands.  These readings will lead us into writing exercises designed to generate new work and expand your technical skills.  After some consideration of workshop guidelines and maybe a mock workshop or two, we will transition into whole-group and small-group workshop formats in which you will give and receive thoughtful and thorough feedback on each other's original poems. 

This is the intermediate course in the undergraduate poetry-writing sequence. Discussion of student poems in a workshop setting. Same enrollment priority as ENGL 209 and class size is limited to 20 students. Creative Writing majors and minors will be given priority.

ENGL 609— Poetry Workshop

Section 001 Instructor:  MATUK

As with most graduate workshops, reading and responding to student work will be central here and the course will shift to accommodate, wherever possible, the varied directions and concerns students bring with them.  That said, we will narrow our collective focus on the question of influence, asking, in very specific terms, how one writer apprentices to another.  Each week one student will present on pairs of poets where, the student suspects, one has influenced the other. (Conceivably, students could present on one poet and a writer in another genre or artist in another medium).  We will attempt to discern the echoes and dissonances across these genealogies of influence in order to clarify our own developing poetics.  Our goals will be to continue to generate work toward your thesis manuscript and, with confidence and purpose, sketch out a “reading project” that will hopefully guide your study of a small constellation of poets in the weeks and months after our course.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               ENGL 265—MAJOR AMERICAN WRITERS

SECTION 002 Instructor:  MELILLO

Music and Literature

In this class, we will explore the many ways in which major Anglophone American writers and composers imagine and reimagine the relationships between music and literature. We will examine many works, ranging from the beginnings of American literary and musical culture to the present day. We will listen to the ways in which music and literature not only influence each other formally and thematically but also how, at times, these two arts blend to a point where we cannot distinguish between them. We will work not only with major texts and compositions in American culture—for instance the Bay Psalm Book, Thoreau’s Walden, Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, Dickinson’s poems, Dubois’s The Souls of Black Folk, T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, Ives’ Concord Sonata, Copland’s Appalachian Spring, Antheil’s Ballet Mécanique, Cage’s 4’33”, and many more—but also examine American popular culture in the form of American ballads, blackface minstrelsy, African-American slave songs and spirituals, ragtime, the blues, jazz, rock ’n’ roll, punk rock, and hip-hop. This class will require us, as Charles Ives famously stated, “to stretch our ears” and listen to relationships and affinities often passed over. As such, it will be a reading- and listening- intensive course, with a variety of in-class exercises, weekly response papers, presentations, and three longer analytic papers.

ENGL 371B—American Literature (1865 – Present)                                                             

Instructor: MELILLO                                                                                                   

In this survey course of American Literature, we will be reading a variety of anglophone texts from the Civil War to today. We will read widely in order to understand the range of writing in America over this time period, from dime novels to avant-garde experiments. We will also think more broadly about the forms and mechanisms of literary and historical change. The syllabus will range over a variety of genres—poetry, short stories, plays, novels, and songs—and will include a wide range of authors, from the very well-known to the hardly-remembered. This is a reading and writing intensive course, and students will be required to produce daily response papers, in-class quizzes and exercises, and three longer analytical papers.


ENGL 160D1—Critical Cultural Concepts                                                            

Section 002 Instructor:  SELISKER                                                               ">

The Automaton

What's the difference between a human and a machine? Would people have thought the same thing fifty years ago? Three hundred years ago? The figure Daedalus in Greek mythology allegedly made statues that could move, and by the eighteenth century, mechanical automata could play musical instruments, draw, and write. When scientists and philosophers think of the mind as a computer, of the body as programmable, or of the universe as clockwork, are the distinctions between the human and automaton in danger of disappearing? 

In this course, we'll read novels, plays, short stories, films, and nonfiction that have used the figure of the automaton to explore how new technologies and new forms of knowledge might change what it means to be human. We'll think about how literature tests the limits of the human, explores the meanings of freedom, and asks what we can and can't know about our bodies, our minds, and each other. Assignments will include frequent written responses to readings, two essays, and a final creative group project that stages an encounter between a human and an automaton.  

ENGL 380—Literary Analysis                                                  

Section 005 Instructor:  SELISKER                                                                           

This course will be an intensive introduction to the knowledge and skills required for reading closely and writing convincingly about literary texts. We will primarily be reading short but challenging works from a variety of time periods and contexts. Loosely linking these works will be the theme of "encounter," and we'll look how literary writers have variously staged ethically and erotically charged meetings with the exotic, the foreign, and the unknown. We'll read selectively in early modern, romantic, and modern poetry, and selections of fiction and drama will likely include work by William Shakespeare, Aphra Behn, Herman Melville, Joseph Conrad, Ernest Hemingway, Nella Larsen, J. M. Coetzee, Arundhati Roy, and/or David Henry Hwang. Assignments to include frequent short responses and close readings, a midterm exam on basic terminology, and a series of focused essay assignments.

ENGL 596O—Topics in Second Language Teaching 

Instructor: TARDY


Second language writing is a growing area of interdisciplinary study that draws on insights from applied linguistics, second language studies, and writing studies. This course will provide an overview of the theory and practice of second language writing. We will explore topics such as L2 writing processes and development, L2 texts, biliteracy, pedagogical approaches and strategies, culture, and identity. Course assignments will include a mix of pedagogical and research projects.

  ENGLISH DEPARTMENT . . . . . COMING IN FALL 2014  . . . . . .


 Johanna Skibsrud