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Belmont University | Belief in Something Greater

Current and Upcoming Courses

Online Classes

We offer all of our classes simultaneously in person and online through video conferencing. Video conferencing gives students the option to take online classes without sacrificing the real-time interactions of the classroom. For more information, please contact the director of graduate studies.

Summer 2019

ENG 6000                                          Brecht and Beckett                                       McDonough

This course is designed to give students an in-depth look at two of the 20th century’s most influential authors: the German playwright Bertolt Brecht and the Irish playwright Samuel Beckett. We will read several plays by each author, as well as examine certain important essays written by and/or about these authors so as to better understand their philosophy about the theater and about their art. We will also consider ways they have influenced other playwrights in order to better understand the impact both Brecht and Beckett have had and continue to have on other dramatists. Both Beckett and Brecht are informed by various philosophical and political theories—Beckett deeply steeped in existentialism and Brecht in the Marxist Dialectic. So, we will be incorporating reading from Brecht’s essays about the theater (gathered in the volume Brecht on Theatre) and also reading some key essays of existentialist thought as background.

Our longer summer class meetings will allow us not only to engage in deeper analysis of the plays we read, but also stage some scenes in class to consider how the scripts work in performance and view some scenes from previous productions. Thus we will also be discussing the semiotics of theater—how the various languages of the stage work. There is a visceral nature to theater—to the live performance of actors standing before an audience—that adds important layers of meaning to this art form, which we will be grappling with as we work through the scripts. A dramatist understands how to work in a three-dimensional medium and we will be looking at that aspect of the texts as we read. Both Brecht’s agit-prop political theater, and Beckett’s minimalist existential theater continue to influence playwrights, as well as authors in other genres today, so understanding how both of these playwrights manipulate the languages of the stage will be crucial to class discussion.

These two playwrights’ works should entertain us, challenge us, shake us up, and give us much to think about and discuss. Students should leave this class understanding a good deal about both of these playwrights, their cultural and artistic influence, and also about the art form of drama.

Likely reading list:

Brecht on Theatre (select essays)

Brecht’s plays: Mother Courage and her Children

The Caucasian Chalk Circle

Galileo

One of the following: Baal, A Man’s a Man, or The Threepenny Opera

Beckett’s plays: Waiting for Godot

Endgame,

Krapp’s Last Tape

A few of his shorter plays such as Not I, Happy Days, Footfalls

Most likely we will also look at Camus’ essay “The Myth of Sisyphus” and perhaps another existentialist essay. I will also direct you toward plays and/or playwrights who have been influenced by these playwrights, and we will either read one or more of these plays or view scenes from them in class, depending on availability and on time we have for covering this material.

ENG 6340                  Gender Studies: Women's Rhetoric                                    Blomeley

“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”

                                                                                    -- Sen. Mitch McConnell

When, two years ago, Mitch McConnell censured his colleague Sen. Elizabeth Warren for attempting to read aloud the words of Coretta Scott King on the Senate floor, he was participating in a long and rich tradition: the silencing of women by patriarchal forces. Nevertheless, Elizabeth Warren, Coretta Scott King, and women throughout history have persisted in making their voices heard. In this course we will trace the history of that persistence from classical Greece to the present day, focusing particularly on the ways sex, gender, social class, and race intersect to shape women’s rhetoric. This course aims to expose students to the long history—global and local—of women’s writing and rhetorical practices. Assignments include a rhetorical analysis essay, an archival project, and a piece of public scholarship. Readings will come from a wide variety of writers and speakers from the past two millennia: from Aspasia to Amy Schumer, from Queen Elizabeth I to Toni Morrison, from Ida B. Wells to Malala Yousafzai, from Gloria Anzaldua to Lindy West.

Fall 2019


ENG 5000                              Practical Literary Criticism                                     Blomeley

Theories and Methods in English Studies

How do we create knowledge in English Studies? The answers to that question, as you may imagine, vary wildly. For some, the answer lies in composing creative texts. For others, in applying critical theory to literary or rhetorical works. For still others, in conducting primary research in an archive, classroom, or community site. This course is designed to introduce you to a variety of approaches—both theoretical and methodological—to scholarly and creative work in English so that you may understand how to contribute to the discipline. Our work will be guided by three overarching goals: surveying the field, understanding critical theory, and applying foundational methods.

We will consider a variety of academic genres, such as the prospectus, the critical essay, the book review, the annotated bibliography, the conference paper, the thesis, and the scholarly article. Assignments will include weekly reading responses, short essays, and one conference-style paper and presentation at the end of the term.

ENG 5040                              History of the English Language                             Monteverde

Recognizing that any description of this course is destined to be off-putting, let me begin by stating that ideally this course should make your own language come alive for you as a living entity whose current form is the result of all its childhood experiences and whose future shape though predictable to some extent is also yet to be determined.  We will study the growth of our language from its origin as a descendant of the Indo-European language family in distant prehistory to its current position as the 2nd most widely known language in the modern world. Topics covered will include the relationship between English and other languages, the evolution of modern English grammar, and the causes of the mess we call the English spelling system (if it can be called that).  Tests will be augmented with a variety of assignments, such as a personal language history, designed to help you appreciate the on-going and individual process of change that can be experienced in the study of English. An optional service learning unit can also be taken as part of the course.  This course is required for all students pursuing secondary education licensure in English and students pursing an English Language Learners certificate.  It is also beneficial for anyone (a group which should include all people studying English literature and/or writing) who want to develop a deeper awareness and understanding of our language.

 

ENG 5810                              Readings in British Literature I                               Monteverde

At one time, no student of English literature would have been considered educated without having read, usually more than once, in detail, and perhaps even in the original form of our language, many of the works and authors that will form the backbone of this course: Beowulf; Chaucer; Langland; the Gawain Poet; Malory; Spenser and, of course, Shakespeare. Now this is the exception rather than the rule, as is even seen in the fact this is one of options you have for a readings course, rather than a requirement. To my way of thinking this is a terrible loss (and not just because this is the period of literature which I have chosen to study).  In fact, I chose to study this period because of this loss, because of my own realization during my Junior Year in England that although I had had an excellent literary education and considered myself to be pretty well-read, until I took a course focused almost entirely on Beowulf  I truly knew little about the literature of the Anglo-Saxon or Old English period, even though there is more surviving pre-1000 AD European literature composed in a version of English than there is from any other vernacular language than Latin or Greek.  How can we not take pride in this, not study this, most importantly not recognize that this (and the literature of the entire Middle Ages) is the foundation on which so much that followed was built?  This then is the primary purpose of this course, to help you acquire a knowledge (and I hope appreciation) of the literature and language and by extension culture and concerns of these early periods.

ENG 6100               The Pulitzer Prize in Fiction: Critical Consensus and Conflict                  Hobson

The Pulitzer Prize (Novel/Fiction) has, since established in 1917, represented the pinnacle of recognition for American fiction writers. Many the winning books (and their authors) have been greeted by near-unanimous approval; others, however, left the reading public asking, “What was the committee thinking?” The course covers the history of the Pulitzer Prize (and other major literary awards) and the evolving award categories and criteria by which committees are named and carry out their work, in order to frame a discussion of perceptions about specific recipient’s merits, or lack thereof. Required reading (8 novels common to all + 1 specific to each student) represent the history of the award, and these texts are augmented by reading from the critical reception at the time of the award and across evolving responses to those texts.


Spring 2019

ENG 5040                              History of the English Language                             Monteverde

Recognizing that any description of this course is destined to be off-putting, let me begin by stating that ideally this course should make your own language come alive for you as a living entity whose current form is the result of all its childhood experiences and whose future shape though predictable to some extent is also yet to be determined.  We will study the growth of our language from its origin as a descendant of the Indo-European language family in distant prehistory to its current position as the 2nd most widely known language in the modern world. Topics covered will include the relationship between English and other languages, the evolution of modern English grammar, and the causes of the mess we call the English spelling system (if it can be called that).  Tests will be augmented with a variety of assignments, such as a personal language history, designed to help you appreciate the on-going and individual process of change that can be experienced in the study of English. An optional service learning unit can also be taken as part of the course.  This course is required for all students pursuing secondary education licensure in English and students pursing an English Language Learners certificate.  It is also beneficial for anyone (a group which should include all people studying English literature and/or writing) who want to develop a deeper awareness and understanding of our language.

 

ENG 5860                               Readings in American Literature II                                   John

 

This course will examine the formation of America’s cultural and literary identity from the end of the Civil War to present day.  We will analyze literary texts in relation to their cultural and historical contexts.  This course expects that students demonstrate not only a knowledge of the historical development of the culture from which these texts come, but also an ability to apply analytical and interpretive skills to the examined texts and contexts through reading, writing, and critical thinking.  This is a reading intensive course, as well as a course that relies heavily on your oral and written participation.

 

ENG 6200      Creative Writing Seminar: Poetry; Documentary Poetics           McDowell


Poetry is music; poetry is magic; poetry is a real toad in an imaginary garden. Poetry is also a record of the events, people, and issues that constrict and curb both cultural and societal prosperity. The type of poetry that practices these aims is called documentary poetry: It, according to poet and scholar Philip Metres, “arises from the idea that poetry is not a museum-object to be observed from afar, but a dynamic medium that informs and is informed by the history of the moment.” We will study poetry that engages with the cultural moment and answer the following questions: Who gets to document? Who is documented? What are the formal and ethical issues inherent to documentary poetics? Students will read and respond to books of poetry and essays on the topic, as well write their own poems. Poets studied may include Javier Zamora, C.D. Wright, Philip Metres, Danez Smith, and Tarfia Faizullah. The idea that the more we know the better off we will be is challenged by documentary poetry, which exploits the subjective nature of language, and therefore questions how we use language to know, and therefore how we can engage with the world through our poems.

 

ENG 6420                  Advanced Studies in Rhetoric: Modern Tribes                  Lovvorn

How do we belong?  And how do we signal these connections? Such questions sit at the center of this course, which draws upon lenses commonly taken up in composition/rhetorical studies to explain and to describe group memberships and communications. Focusing on the linguistic and rhetorical ties that create identification with groups, the course will include discussions of constitutive rhetoric (James Boyd White), identification (Kenneth Burke), sociolinguistics (Norman Fairclough, James Gee), genre theory (Carolyn Miller, Anis Bawarshi), and theories of discourse communities and communities of practice (Étienne Wenger, James Porter, John Swales). The course will engage these ideas by way of an extended ethnographic project that applies theoretical perspectives, methods of data collection, and methods of data analysis.

Time

Monday

Wednesday

Friday

Time

Tuesday

Thursday

9

ENG 2000

ENL 2210

ENG 2000

ENL 2210

ENG 2000

ENL 2210

9:30

ENL 3740

ENG 1050

ENL 3740

ENG 1050

11

ENW 2430

ENL 4350

ENW 2430

ENL 4350

ENW 2430

ENL 4350

11

ENL 2400

ENW 3895 (Stover)

ENL 2400

ENW 3895 (Stover)

12

ENL 2120

ENW 2430

ENW 3680

ENL 2120

ENW 2430

ENW 3680

ENL 2120

ENW 2430

ENW 3680

12:30

ENW 2895

ENL 3880

ENW 2895

ENL 3880

1

ENG 2000

ENG 4900

ENG 2000

ENG 4900

ENG 2000

ENG 4900

2

ENW 2510

ENL 3895

ENG 1050

ENW 2510

ENL 3895

ENG 1050

2

ENW 3420

ENW 3420

 

3:30

ENL 2340

ENW 3895 (BSW)

ENL 2340

ENW 3895 (BSW)

 

3:30

 

 

 

 

4

ENW/L 3500

ENW/L3500

 

 

 

 

6

ENG 5860

 

6

ENW 4895/ENG 6420

ENG 6200