Our Courses

5000-level and above

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English 5189s/CompStd 5189s: Ohio Field School
Instructor: Cassie Patterson

**Advanced undergraduate students are encouraged to enroll in 5000-level courses.

The Ohio Field Schools course provides an introduction to ethnographic field methods (participant-observation, writing field notes, photographic documentation, audio-interviewing), archiving and the public exhibition of research for both undergraduates and graduate students. Students will contribute to a team-based, immersive research project designed to document the ways that diverse communities express and preserve a sense of place in the face of economic, environmental and cultural change. This semester-long, experientially-based course will consist of three parts:
  1. Introduction to fieldwork (on Ohio State campus in Columbus)
  2. A one-week field experience in Scioto County during spring break (where students will reside together on-site)
  3. Accessioning, digital gallery preparation and reflection (on Ohio State campus in Columbus.

Thus, throughout the semester, students will practice all of the skills necessary to construct a permanent record of local expressive culture that will be accessible to future researchers and community members. Participation in all parts of the course is required. 

English-5664: Studies in Graphic Narrative—Graphic Memoir
Instructor: Robyn Warhol

**Advanced undergraduate students are encouraged to enroll in 5000-level courses.

"Graphic Memoir" studies the styles, structures, and strategies of autobiographies told in comics form. Beginning with how-to books drawn by comics artists Scott McCloud (Making Comics) and Matt Madden (99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style), we will read graphic memoirs in book form and online, asking what it means to put the "graph" in "autobiography."  
We begin with graphic narratives connecting individuals with historical events such as Art Spiegelman's memoir of his father's experience of the Holocaust, Maus; Marjane Satrapi's story of her childhood and early adult years in Iran during the Islamic Revolution, Persepolis; and G. B. Tran's search for his family's role in the Vietnam War, Vietnamerica. Next we read memoirs of illness and recovery, such as Marisa Acocella Marchetto's Cancer Vixen; David B's Epileptic; and Khale McHurst's webcomic, I Do Not Have an Eating Disorder. And finally we read women's memoirs focusing on gender and sexuality such as Alison Bechdel's Fun Home, Lynda Barry's One! Hundred! Demons!, and Phoebe Gloeckner's The Diary of a Teenage Girl. Throughout the course we will read examples of academic comics theory and criticism.

English-5723.01/02: Graduate Studies in Renaissance Literature and Culture—Religion, Revolution and Retreat in Seventeenth-Century Literature
Instructor: Hannibal Hamlin

**Advanced undergraduate students are encouraged to enroll in 5000-level courses.

The first European Revolution exploded in England in the seventeenth century. After years of Civil War the New Model Army of the Puritan Parliament defeated supporters of King Charles I, and the king was tried and publicly beheaded for crimes against the state. For over a decade England was a Puritan Commonwealth ruled by zealots who expected the Apocalypse in their lifetimes. The world was turned upside down, shaking up a storm of radical religious and political ideas. New sects sprang up across the country: Baptists, Presbyterians, Quakers, Levellers, Diggers, Ranters, Familists, Fifth Monarchists, Grindletonians, Philadelphians, Muggletonians, and Dissenters of all sorts, along with more mainstream Puritans and traditional Anglicans. Much of the most powerful and exciting literature of the period expressed, questioned, and explored religious ideas.

We will read some of the great metaphysical poems of John Donne, George Herbert, Henry Vaughan, and Thomas Traherne, radical pamphlets by Gerard Winstanley, John Reeve, and Abiezer Coppe, the religious autobiography of the physician Thomas Browne, and John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, written while he was in the Bedford Jail for illegal preaching, and one of the most popular books in English literary history. Women also saw opportunities in these revolutionary times, and we will read poems by Aemelia Lanyer, Hester Pulter, and the author of Eliza’s Babes, as well as prophecies by Lady Eleanor Davies, Anna Trapnel, and Mary Cary. We’ll talk about religious ideas (and their social and political implications) and the interpretation of the Bible, as well as literary matters like poetic form, rhetorical styles, and allegorical narrative. We may also ask what these centuries-old religious expressions mean for us in twenty-first century America. Can devotional poems be read in a secular context, or is this eavesdropping on personal prayers? What is the difference between a divinely-inspired mystic and a victim of delusion and madness? Can both produce great literature? Finally, was the English Revolution the birth of religious liberty or an efflorescence of zealous extremism shut down by the secular Enlightenment? 

English-6718.01/02: Introduction to Graduate Study in Chaucer
Instructor: Ethan Knapp

Chaucer was a writer preoccupied with issues of power, authority, gender and the grounds of human claims to knowledge and truth. In many ways, his works can be seen as a shifting, often fragmentary series of meditations on the formation and contingencies of identities (individual, corporate, and textual).  His works are thus an ideal place to think historically and comparatively (vis a vis modern culture) about the production of certain forms of identity and subjectivity. Chaucer is also continuously engaged in critical, sometimes parodic, conversation with the texts of others, and he is especially fascinated with the ideological implications of specific genres and forms of narrative. We will explore these facets of Chaucer's writing through a study of several of his major works. In addition, since Chaucer's work has been a touchstone for critics working in most of the paradigms of contemporary theory (feminist, queer, neo-marxist, psychoanalytic, postcolonial) we will look at some critical work with the aim of exploring the theoretical and methodological problems raised when interrogating premodern texts with contemporary theoretical work.

English-6751.02/22: Introduction to Graduate Study in Folklore IIFieldwork and the Ethnography of Communication
Instructor: Gabriella Modan

This course will be run as a seminar/workshop that explores a range of issues in fieldwork as practiced in folklore and allied fields of ethnographic research. Qualitative methods covered include participant observation, interviewing, transcription, and organizing and using field notes. Issues raised by these qualitative methods include ethics, collaboration and working relationships in the field, native ethnography, and how best to negotiate Institutional Review Boards for research with human subjects. The first half of the course will focus on methods of conducting fieldwork, while in the second half students will analyze their experiences and the materials collected using the tools of Ethnography of Communication. Beginning with foundational ethnographies of communication and continuing through to contemporary studies, we will consider such issues as the politics of representation, the interplay of language and context in meaning making, speech genres and styles, and language ideologies.

English-6760.01/02: Introduction to Graduate Study in Postcolonial Literature and Theory
Instructor: Adeleke Adeeko

Study of narrative in its different manifestations, e.g., novel, autobiography, film, legal testimony, and of theories of its form and significance.

English-6763.01/02: Graduate Workshop in Poetry
Instructor: Marcus Jackson

A graduate-level workshop in the writing of poetry. 

English-6764.01/02: Graduate Workshop in Screenwriting
Instructor: Angus Fletcher

In this course, we'll use the skills you've developed in your graduate fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction classes to write a television pilot or feature-length script. Instead of imposing a universal screenwriting structure, we'll work together to analyze your creative influences (in any medium, from music to visual arts to lyric poetry to serial narrative) to tailor a story structure to your own personal creative, cultural, social, and aesthetic commitments. Then we'll develop a film or television concept that reflects these personal commitments, and you'll begin drafting it with an eye to eventual submission to Sundance Lab, the Nicholl, the Fox Writers Intensive, or another major screenwriting fellowship.

English 6765.01: Graduate Workshop in Fiction
Instructor: William White

A graduate-level workshop in the writing of fiction.

English-6768.01: Graduate Workshop in Creative Nonfiction
Instructor: Michelle Herman

A graduate-level workshop in the writing of creative nonfiction. 

English-6779.01/02: Introduction to Graduate Study in Film and Film Theory
Instructor: Jesse Schotter

An advanced survey of the methodologies, contexts, and development of film and film theory.

English-7350.01/11: Theorizing Folklore I—Tradition and Transmission
Instructor: Dorothy Noyes

This course examines the transmission of cultural forms through time and space across social networks. Reviewing some of the principal approaches in folklore and related disciplines, we pay special attention to the tension between conservation and innovation, fixity and process. We look also at the interplay of conscious intentions and valuations with more inattentive or habitual forms of practice. As an extension of this dynamic, we look at the concept of tradition itself as a keyword of Western modernity, which circulates between general and scholarly usage and picks up ever more ideological baggage in the process. (We will do this first in order to clarify the stakes involved in speaking of tradition at all.) Finally, we'll run through a quick history of the "traditional" in modernity: its proliferations, codifications, reifications, revitalizations, and appropriations.

English-7817.01/02: Seminar in Early Medieval English LiteratureBeowulf: The Poem and its Afterlives
Instructor: Christopher Jones

We will engage in a close study of the poem and the critical tradition around it, while also considering how modern literary and popular cultures have repeatedly remade Beowulf in their own image. 

English-7850.01/02: Seminar in U.S. Literatures before 1900Archival Research Methods and American Literature, 1865-1900
Instructor: Elizabeth Renker

This class serves three essential purposes that address the research needs of graduate students in all fields, including but not limited to those specializing in American literature.  First, it will be a methods class that will introduce you conducting archival research. We will cover the practicalities, mechanics, and rigors of undertaking this unique kind of scholarly investigation by actually doing it. Second, it will develop your expertise in this period in cultural and literary history.  We will focus our secondary reading in American literature from 1865-1900, conventionally characterized in ways including "The Gilded Age" and the era of "American realism," both periodizing concepts we will interrogate. Our goal will be to ground our archival work in scholarship on the period more broadly, while examining primary materials that open pathways for original research within it. We'll work on-site with collections housed at Ohio State in the Rare Books and Manuscripts Division (RBMS), including the Sarah Piatt Collection and the Tarver collection of materials in nineteenth-century oratory, rhetoric, and elocution, as well as in subsidiary collections including sheet music, trade catalogues, almanacs, and "minor" poetry. Ohio State houses the most extensive collection of materials in the world on Piatt, who was "discovered" only in the 1990s, and we will spend a unit on her career and how it intersects with this era of American literary production more generally. Her work entails such important and fruitful research concerns as periodical culture, domesticity, transatlanticism, the aftermath of the Civil War, regionalism, and the methods of "historical poetics" more generally. In another unit, the Tarver collection will provide an array of contexts and tools for thinking about this historical period and its conceptions of writing, reading, speaking, and "literature" in ways that productively dismantle the artifactual field-boundaries between the arenas of literature and rhetoric and composition. Third, 7850 will train you to integrate your original primary research into a larger scholarly conversation in the form of a long research paper. You should finish this course having written the germ of a publishable article.

English-7860.01/02: Seminar in Twentieth-Century British and/or American LiteratureMidcentury: Aesthetics, Politics, and Ecology
Instructor: Thomas Davis

The last several years have witnessed a surge of interest in the often neglected cultural production of midcentury: early documentary films, the global spread of modernism and the avant-garde, the rise of environmental writing and activism, and the combination of emergent and residual literary forms all make this period an incredibly vibrant area of inquiry. Historically, midcentury is the time of the Second World War, the Cold War, the codification of human rights, the nuclear era, and decolonization. As of the fall of 2016, we can add "Anthropocene" to the supply of narratives that frame midcentury. This class will ask how dating the Anthropocene at midcentury initiates new challenges and possibilities for the objects we study and the methods we bring to bear on them.  We will take up a wide range of genres and forms from across the globe—documentary cinema, the population novel, sci-fi, petro-fiction, activist writing, late modernist literature, visual art—as we wrestle with questions around nature and culture, energy and geopolitics, scale, periodization, planetarity and globalization and aesthetic mediation.  

English-7861.01/02: Studies in Narrative and Narrative Theory—Narrative Poetics of Science Fiction
Instructor: Brian McHale

The science-fiction genre poses both challenges and opportunities for narrative theory. On the one hand, its characteristic irrealism makes it a bad fit with narrative theories designed to account for realist and mimetic fictions; on the other hand, its highly self-conscious and genre-defining world-building procedures make it a kind of laboratory for exploring narrative fiction's capacity to construct worlds, among other things. Add to that the striking ubiquity of science fiction (SF) in contemporary culture, across media platforms, and the justification for reading SF in conjunction with narrative theory seems quite compelling. In this course we will sample a range of relevant classical and post-classical narrative theorists, including Shklovsky on estrangement, Tynjanov and Todorov on genre, Genette on time, Sternberg on exposition, Herman and others on world-building, and Ryan on cognitive mapping.  We will read them alongside SF theorists including Suvin, Delany, Jameson, Freedman, Csicsery-Ronay, Chu, Wittenberg and others.  At every point we will place these theorists in dialogue with specific SF short-stories, novels and films. Texts. Vandermeer and Vandermeer, eds., The Big Book of Science Fiction; three or four novels by Bester, Dick Lem, the Strugatsky brothers, Delany and/or Russ, specific titles TBD; film adaptations, possibly including Forbidden Planet, Solaris, Stalker, Blade Runner and/or Arrival. Theoretical readings will be made available online through Carmen; films will be made available online through the Secure Media Library.

English-7871.01: Seminar in Forms of Literature—Lyric Essay
Instructor: Elissa Washuta

This seminar focuses on the lyric essay, which brings together personal experience and researched material to travel through its subject(s) using an accumulation of echoes, juxtaposition points, and interlocking moments of resonance.

English-7872.01/02: Studies in the English LanguageDiscourse and Place
Instructor: Gabriella Modan

This interdisciplinary course examines how social actors coordinate language with spatial relations in the physical world, use language to construct identities for various kinds of places -- particularly cities -- and relate their own identities as community insiders or outsiders to those constructions. Reading materials are drawn from the fields of sociolinguistics, linguistic and urban anthropology, and cultural geography, with an emphasis on ethnographic work. Students will conduct their own mini-ethnographies of a place of their choice within the Columbus area. Although no knowledge of discourse analysis or linguistics is assumed, readings and discussions  include (but are not limited to) close analysis of the linguistic features and strategies that speakers or writers use in their constructions of place.

English-7878.01/02: Seminar in Film and Media Studies—Cultural Affects and Movements
Instructor: Jian Chen

This seminar will explore relationships between film and media arts, the cultural affects they have on embodied communities, and the cultural and social movements they help to shape. We will focus on film, performance, and digital media as mediums with their own specific and interconnected technological histories; art and aesthetic practices; cultural economies, interactions, and imaginations; and social uses and impacts. In particular, the seminar will center counter-cultural, do-it-yourself, experimental, and independent film and media and appropriations of dominant or mainstream film and media that create affinities and bodily affects that can potentially help to build movements for racial, gender, de-colonial, sexual, and economic justice and transformation. We will rely heavily on transgender and queer, especially transgender and queer of color; women of color; and transnational feminist cultural approaches to film and media and movement building. Each seminar meeting will include time devoted to “workshopping” film and media with which students are engaging.

English-7880.01/02: Seminar in CompositionWriting Program Administration in an Age of Austerity and Assessment

Instructor: Susan Lang

Traditionally, the primary responsibilities of WPAs have been curriculum development and faculty development. This course will investigate how these responsibilities have evolved in a time in which assessment and resource use have taken center stage. Program Administration will be broadly defined, to include first-year writing, technical communication, writing in the disciplines or writing across the curriculum, and writing centers. Students will consider such questions as is WPA work different from other types of intellectual and administrative work undertaken in 
universities? What roles will assessment, research, and data-driven decision-making play in WPA work going forward? How should writing programs, writing centers,and other institutional units interact? How can WPAs ensure that their programs respond to changing student and instructor populations in ways equitable to all?
Students will explore these questions through a variety of readings, reading responses, a project proposal, presentation, and potentially publishable article-length manuscript

English-7837.01/02: Studies in Eighteenth-Century GenreThe Slave and Servant Narrative
Instructor: Roxann Wheeler

ENG 7837, Studies in Eighteenth-Century Genre, will feature the slave narrative by way of servant narratives and the novel.  Inspired by recent novelists who have rewritten the slave narrative and the servant narrative of the eighteenth- and nineteenth centuries, I wish to illuminate early slave narratives as significant to and partially formed by the literature of life writing popular in the long eighteenth century. Sometimes taught as a single genre stemming from Olaudah Equiano’s Narrative of the Interesting Life (1789), or as becoming fictionalized only in the nineteenth-century U.S., the slave narrative actually emerged in some of its key elements in both elite and popular genres of the Restoration and eighteenth century. The novel offers a suggestive co-genre for studying the slave narrative: the former slave and servant Equiano compared himself to Robinson Crusoe and Roderick Random. These are not the literary figures that the former slave and servant Mary Prince conjures up in The History of Mary Prince (1831); instead, her narrative is best illuminated through the inset female servant narratives of forced prostitution and abuse such as Mary Wollstonecraft featured in her novel Maria; or the Wrongs of Woman (1796).
This course will investigate slave and servant narratives of historical and fictional figures as they occur in the novel and relevant non-fiction. The point is to situate the slave narrative as it most memorably came to be in the hands of James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw, Olaudah Equiano and Mary Prince in relationship to the literary and prose genres from which they and their initial readers drew. As we study the slave narrative, we will feature theories of literary representation and material conditions shaping gender, class, race, and slavery. Other than slave and servant narratives, we will likely read the following novels: Behn’s Oroonoko (1688), Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719), Richardson’s Pamela (1740), Day’s Sandford and Merton (1783-9), Godwin’s Caleb Williams (1794), Wollstonecraft’s Maria; or the Wrongs of Woman (1798), Donoghue’s Slammerkin (2000) and a neo-slave narrative. 
The slave narrative occurs in every didactic and entertainment genre of the century as much as becomes an identifiable form of Transatlantic life writing in the 1770s with the specific goal of ending slavery. The slave narrative was foundational to the earliest British prose writing about the Caribbean slave colonies, to early popular novels (Behn, Defoe and Aubin), and the tragic stage (Dryden, Southerne). By the late 1780s, slave narratives, particularly of non-elite slaves, were also embedded in the comedic stage; abolitionist poetry, including song in standard English and pidgin; the didactic novel written for children; the sentimental novel; and, the prose of the anti-slavery debates. The opportunities for original research are rich.
Prereq: Graduate standing or permission of instructor. Not open to students with credit for 737, 7837.01 or 7837.02. This course is graded S/U.

English-7888.01: Interdepartmental Studies in the HumanitiesGraduate Poetry Workshop for non-MFA Creative Writing Students
Instructor: Kathy Fagan Grandinetti

This is an unusual course: an introductory poetry workshop for grown-up artists and scholars. You're PhD and MA students or MFA students in non-literary arts. But you've written poetry, read poetry, want to know what a contemporary poem is and how to write one, maybe even how to teach one or figure out what it has to do with your own research and art-making. What we'll form here, then, is a community of sophisticated writer-readers dedicated to an unabashed, no holds barred exploration of the workings of poetry. We'll offer thoughtful responses to poems-others' and our own-and challenge ourselves to expand our already considerable abilities beyond their current limits.

English-7889.01/02: Seminar on Digital Media Studies
Instructor: John Jones

Advanced theoretical and practical approaches to digital media in English studies. Examines such intellectual questions as authorship, narrative, argument, and the nature of texts.

English-7891.01/02: Seminar in Disability Studies in Language and LiteratureRecognizing Disability Studies
Instructor: Margaret Price

In Feminist Queer Crip (2013), Alison Kafer asks, "In which theories and in which movements do we recognize ourselves, or recognize disability?" This course explores possible responses to that question. A working knowledge of basic disability-studies (DS) theory, such as that taught in English 2277, is recommended. "Recognizing Disability Studies" focuses on DS theories that have emerged through shifting theoretical and cultural times, with particular emphasis on areas that DS has historically neglected, including critical race theory, mental disability, chronic illness and the nonhuman.

English-8982.01/02: Textual Criticism and Editing
Instructor: Sarah Neville

The works of authors survive in the texts of material documents, and changes are inevitably introduced to them as texts are transmitted from one documentary form to another. Scholarly textual editors use forensic investigation into the provenance and materials of documents to establish the various agents responsible for textual changes and determine an author’s or publisher’s intentions for a particular work. Drawing on case studies from the Middle Ages through the twentieth century, the course will enable students to explore the tools and methodologies editors use as they construct modern scholarly editions. Over the course of the term we will explore issues such as analytical bibliography, book history, manuscript coterie, print popularity, authorial revision, copyright, commentary writing, modernization, translation, collation, authorial collaboration, stylometrics, tagging/textual encoding, real and imagined audiences, and the myriad meanings of ‘authority’. Case studies will be drawn both from the collections of the OSU Rare Books and Manuscripts library as well as from students’ own particular investment in specific historical periods. Students will be evaluated by a series of short position papers, discussion leadership, and a conference-length critical paper on textual issues (10-12pp). No previous experience in book history / digital media necessary. Students do not need to have taken English 8980 (980) in order to take 8982.01/.02.