Masters of Arts in English
The M.A. in English program provides students the opportunity to take literary and theoretical courses that represent a range of historical periods, movements and theoretical developments. The M.A. prepares students for doctoral study and careers outside academia including editing, publishing, technical writing and other fields that value skilled writing, research and critical thinking skills.
The English M.A. is a two-year program that requires 24 credit hours of graduate course work plus six thesis or exam credits for a total of 30 credits. In the course of their graduate program, graduate students must complete two core courses: Principles and Problems of Literary Study (ENG 6009) which serves as an introduction to graduate study and disciplinary research and Literary Criticism I or II (ENG 5018, 5019). In addition to the these required courses, students may choose one of the following areas of concentration for their studies: Rhetoric and Composition, or Science Fiction and Fantasy. M.A. students must fulfill (or test out of) a foreign language requirement (two semesters of intermediate level or a reading for research course) or enroll in History of the English Language (LIN 6107) to fulfill this requirement.
Recent graduate course offerings in these areas include "Race, Gender and Disability in American Literature"; "Postwar American Poetry"; "Queer Theory"; "Theorizing Science Fiction"; "Rhetorics of Incarceration: Writing Identities"; "Cyborg Rhetoric"; "Contemporary African American Literature: The Post-Soul Aesthetic"; "Comics and Graphic Novels"; "Homoeroticism and Crossdressing in the Literature of the English Renaissance"; and "Medieval Comedy." Other recent seminars have focused on individual authors or groups of authors such as William Faulkner, Toni Morrison, Philip Roth, and a course on Poe, Dickinson and Whitman.
SPRING 2021 Course Offerings
Our current political climate—amidst the police violence visited upon Black bodies, the demands for social justice by protesters supporting the Black Lives Matter Movement, and the safeguarding of many confederate monuments—prompts us to revisit the foundational narratives and ideologies about race and the “human” that are embedded within the United States’ national consciousness. By looking at a wide range of literature from the 1700s to the 1900s, we will ask questions that interrogate the “human” as it is defined in the American literary and national imagination—and the contestations to such positioning. We will start with Thomas Jefferson, the first American to articulate a racial ideology in relation to human biology. His foundational ideas, influenced by the Enlightenment, reveal the social of construction of race that lie at the core of the American national consciousness. Needless to say, Jefferson’s ideas have had an enduring impact on how American writers think about the intersections of race with the human, freedom, and slavery. We will read texts from Olaudah Equiano, Phyllis Wheatley, Frederick Douglass, Edgar Allan Poe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Herman Melville, Mark Twain, Ralph Ellison, and Toni Morrison. We will interrogate their contributions to America’s literary and intellectual culture, particularly their engagement with the concept of race vis-à-vis the human. We will also read scholarly interventions from W. E. B. DuBois, Sylvia Wynter, Saidiya Hartman, Achille Mbembe, Nell Irvin Painter, among others.
Designed as equal parts seminar, workshop, and practicum, Professional Writing: Pedagogy and Practice is an introduction to the theoretical, practical, and pedagogical foundations of professional writing as a disciplinary field. Reading and writing assignments will invite students to participate in conversations shaping the field—debates that influence the contemporary practice of professional writing and inform various pedagogical approaches to teaching professional writing in classroom and community settings.
Students will have opportunities to apply their understandings to the development of materials for their professional portfolios, including professional writing samples, assignments, syllabi, and other instructional materials.
This course is recommended for graduate students interested in professional writing careers and teaching professional and technical writing at the university level. It is also strongly recommended for GTAs hoping to teach in the Community Professional Writing Workshops program (tentative launch in Spring/Summer 2021).
This course surveys literary-critical theory from Plato through the 18th century. Together we will study the origins of literary criticism in Greek and Roman rhetoric and philosophy, the impact of biblical and vernacular culture on these classical literary models, and the emergence of literary criticism as a self-sufficient intellectual pursuit in the modern world. Central questions to be discussed are as follows: 1) Is the ability to write poetry an acquired skill or an externally-bestowed gift? 2) Does literature imitate reality, or does it create an alternate reality? 3) Do writers have a responsibility for the moral betterment of their audiences, or not? 4) When and within what limits is literature to be read allegorically? Authors considered will include Plato, Aristotle, Longinus, Augustine, Averroes, Dante, Sidney, Pope, and Johnson.
Practically, you will be able to use this course to gain research skills through a series of modules designed to introduce you to the tools and methodologies of literary research, the specific resources available at FAU, author societies, key publications and journals in your chosen field, calls for papers, grants applications, and the profession more generally. In addition to these assignments, you will write and submit a critical book review of a recently published text and either complete a substantial annotated bibliography in your chosen area of critical inquiry that will serve as a building block for future coursework papers and / or your MA thesis or exam or research, write, and record a 20 minute conference paper in response to a current call for papers.
*In-person class with some online component
In order to rescue Shakespeare’s plays from the isolation in which they are so often studied, we will read selected major works alongside relevant plays by his contemporaries, including Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Kyd, and Thomas Middleton. I have organized the class into three units: Revenge Tragedy, Comic Patterns, and the Morality Play Tradition. Our discussion will often focus on how these conventional dramatic forms take on issues such as class, gender, and materialism. We will see how playwrights informed and responded to each other’s work and so gain a sharpened sense of Shakespeare’s place with regards to these central topics.
Historical Period: pre-1700
Science fiction studies boasts a long tradition of engaging with and contributing to contemporary literary theory. Fantasy studies, by contrast, has seen comparative neglect within the same range of theoretical approaches, despite the potentially broader remit of the fantastic itself. This course will introduce you to some of the major works of fantasy theory from the second half of the 20th century and the early 21st, as we interrogate this history of neglect and begin to pursue our own theorizations of the fantastic. Is fantasy really “under-theorized”? Do certain bodies of critical theory work with fantasy particularly well, or especially reward expansion of their own traditional scope to include more fantastic texts? What can fantasy studies learn from theory, and theory learn from fantasy studies? Fantasy novelists to be considered include Ursula K. Le Guin, J.R.R. Tolkien, Octavia Butler, China Miéville, and Nnedi Okorafor.
This course will introduce students to key concepts, methodologies and political debates in the interdisciplinary field of critical ethnic studies. We will begin by considering the origins of ethnic studies in the student-led protest movements for political and curricular change at San Francisco State University and elsewhere in the late 1960s. Drawing on both foundational and recent feminist and queer scholarship in Black studies, Asian American studies, Native and Indigenous studies and Latinx studies, we will take an intersectional and relational approach to the study of race as a mode of difference and power. To this end, we will consider how scholars, artists and activists have conceptualized the intersections of multiple systems of domination, as well as imagined and forged new forms of political identity, community, and culture in their struggles for more just futures. Possible course materials include scholarship by Saidiya Hartman, José Esteban Muñoz, Lisa Lowe, Roderick Ferguson, Joanne Barker, Tiffany Lethabo King, Deborah Miranda, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Kareem Khubchandani, Curtis Marez and Angela Davis; fiction by Tommy Orange, Julie Otsuka, Jennine Capó Crucet and Toni Morrison; and films by Barry Jenkins and Rea Tajiri.
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