Loyola University Chicago

Department of English

Spring 2022 Graduate Course Descriptions

ENGL 402 Teaching College Composition
ENGL 412 History of the Book to 1800
ENGL 450 Topics in Early Modern Literature and Culture
ENGL 484 Literature of the Jazz Age
ENGL 485 Contemporary Literature
ENGL 490 Topics in American Literature


ENGL 402 Teaching College Composition 

Section: 100 #1362
Instructor: E. Stogner 
3.0 credit hours  Seminar 
MW 4:15–5:30 PM  LSC 

English 402 examines the practices of teaching college composition and the theories that inform these practices, familiarizing students with the professional work of composition and rhetoric. As we explore composition pedagogy, students will begin designing their own writing courses and defining their teaching philosophies. Course requirements are still under consideration but are likely to include the design of a first-year composition course syllabus and writing assignment, a composition class observation and response, and a presentation/discussion facilitation. This course is required for all doctoral students who will be teaching UCWR 110 and is strongly recommended for all graduate students who want to use their degree to teach composition courses.


ENGL 412  History of the Book to 1800

Section: 102 #6532
Instructor: I. Cornelius
3.0 credit hours  Seminar 
T 7:00–9:30 PM  LSC

In this course we examine the material forms of literature in Europe and European settler colonies from antiquity to about 1800. Topics include writing systems and the languages of literature, the production and distribution of books, the transmission of texts, copyright, censorship, literacy, and the cultural contexts of reading. Our focus is on the centuries immediately before and after the development in Europe of technologies for printing by movable type. What was the printed book like in the early days, when that technology was still new, and how were works of literature published, circulated, and read before print? The terminus in 1800 corresponds to the emergence of new technologies of printing (notably, the steam-powered press) and new political and cultural contexts of literary production (modern states and their “national” languages). Students will conduct research on manuscripts and early printed books in the collections of the Newberry Library and Cudahy Memorial Library, as the basis for class presentations and midterm and final essays.


ENGL 450 Topics in Early Modern Literature and Culture 

Section: 103 #4956
Instructor: J. Knapp
3.0 credit hours  Seminar 
W 7:00–9:30 PM  LSC

Early Modern Poetics of Scale

The early modern period witnessed a rapidly expanding world. Trade, exploration, and colonization led to a remapping of geographic space in an attempt to account for a new knowledge of the earth’s global topography. The heavens similarly grew thanks to new technologies like the telescope and advances in theoretical mathematics. While astronomers used technical developments in lens production to look to the sky, natural philosophers took to the microscope to unveil a tiny universe previously hidden to the naked eye. Space seemingly expanded in every direction. Time too took on an expansive character, as cosmologists attempted to map expanding space onto the past and into the future. Numerologists sought to predict the Day of Judgment by calculating dates and prophecies found in scripture, and philosophers pondered the nature of eternity: time without time. The spatiotemporal expansion of the period inspired literary innovation and the project of world making in particular. In this seminar we will explore this connection by reading literary works by Marlowe, Spenser, Donne, Herbert, Marvell, Milton, and Cavendish alongside works of natural philosophy, astronomy, and cartography.


ENGL 484 Literature of the Jazz Age

Section: 107 #6183
Instructor: D. Chinitz
3.0 credit hours  Seminar 
R 7:00–9:30 PM  LSC

A decade of rapid and profound social change, the “Jazz Age” of the 1920s was also extraordinarily conscious of its own modernity. In this course we will examine the changes in culture, both high and low, that marked this period. Our syllabus will be interdisciplinary: we will cross over into music, film, and other genres in order to study the period more comprehensively, and to examine the cross-fertilization and mutual influences among the arts as the age of literary modernism reached its peak. We will read works by such authors as Edna St. Vincent Millay, Langston Hughes, T. S. Eliot, Jean Toomer, Nella Larsen, E. E. Cummings, and F. Scott Fitzgerald as we visit such topics as, for example, the cult of the primitive, the reinvention of the “New Woman,” the Harlem Renaissance, the rise of modern popular culture, and the relationship of jazz to all these phenomena. Work by Jazz-Age and contemporary critics will supplement our primary readings.


ENGL 485 Contemporary Literature

Section: 101 #6531
Instructor: L. Le-Khac 
3.0 credit hours  Seminar 
M 7:00–9:30 PM  LSC 

Literatures of the New U.S. Immigration

How has the new U.S. immigration transformed the immigrant narrative so central to American identity and culture? Because of landmark changes in U.S. immigration law, Cold War conflicts, and global economic restructuring, the nature of immigration has shifted dramatically in the contemporary period. The new U.S. immigration looks very different than the waves that came around the turn of the 20th century. Migrations from Latin America, Asia, and Africa are reshaping the social landscapes of the U.S. How are the literatures emerging from these groups in turn reshaping the literary landscapes of America? What new forms, stories, and concerns are they interjecting as they claim American literature and wrestle with the economic, legal, political, military, and imperial forces that shape their communities? We’ll focus on some of the central texts and debates in the fields of Latinx and Asian American literatures and touch on literature from the new African diaspora. This course will practice methods of relational ethnic studies as we draw out, compare, and link the aesthetic and political challenges Latinx, Asian American, and African diasporic writers are tackling.


ENGL 490 Topics in American Literature

Section: 105 #4958
Instructor: J. Kerkering
3.0 credit hours  Seminar 
TR 4:15–5:30 PM  LSC

From Character to Identity and Back Again:  The Failed Naturalist Critique of Realism’s Liberal Subject

The thesis of this course is that our contemporary notion of cultural/racial identity has its roots in a post-Civil War critique of the liberal subject advanced by literary naturalism against its predecessor mode, literary realism, targeting realism’s preoccupation with assessing personal character based on an agent’s deliberate choices of proper—that is, virtuous or vicious—conduct and behavior, an assessment that, as naturalist writers demonstrate, falsely presumes rational liberal subjectivity to be governing all such decisions.  We will examine how the naturalist project of critiquing realism’s focus on character mobilized a variety of deterministic forces, in addition to racial “blood,” as challenges to the presumption of rational free agency in realism’s account of the liberal subject, but we will also trace how the commitment to racial “blood” in particular as one vehicle for this naturalist critique had the ultimate effect of revitalizing rather than eliminating the realist notion of character, a revitalization apparent not only in the virtue assigned to the choice to embrace one’s racial “blood” but also in the vice assigned to the decision to reject it—a decision, we shall see, that, instead of denying the existence of racial blood altogether, in fact does just the opposite (both then and now), implicitly conceding its existence as the occasion and indeed as the victim of one’s vicious choice of racial betrayal.  Given the persistence of such tests of individual character into the present, the broader question this course will ask is the following:  if a critique of the liberal subject indeed once did and still does need to occur (as Michael J. Sandel asserts in his 2020 book The Tyranny of Merit), might a more effective form of that critique—one that retains the naturalists’ challenge to the elite privilege presupposed by realism’s celebration of free individual agents choosing virtue over vice—be found among competing accounts of identity that arose concurrently with our now-dominant model of ethno-racial identity but that are both exempt from that model’s simultaneously untenable and inescapable commitment to distinct racial “bloods” as well as immune to the revitalization of character apparent in ongoing tests of individuals’ virtuous loyalty to, or vicious betrayal of, the race(s) still imagined to be circulating in their bloodstreams?  Readings will include selected debates in liberal political theory, cultural histories of realism, naturalism, character, and identity, and literary works by Arthur Miller, Henry James, William Dean Howells, Lydia Maria Child, John William De Forest, Albion Tourgée, Stephen Crane, Kate Chopin, Theodore Dreiser, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Mark Twain, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Charles Waddell Chesnutt, Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins, James Weldon Johnson, and Willa Cather. 


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