Graduate Classes

University Online Schedule

Fall 2014

ENG 404 Language, Power, & Identity
Pat Mayes
Section 1
W, 4:30 p.m. - 7:10 p.m.

This course is designed to provide students with a broad understanding of the relationship between language and society. In investigating this relationship, we will consider how language is involved in the construction of social identity and power structures. Our investigation of social identity will include not only examining how individuals construct their identities but also how language is implicated in the formation of social groupings such as class, ethnicity, gender, and regional affiliations.

The approach taken in this course is both descriptive and critical in that we will examine how language is implicated in creating and maintaining power for certain groups through such constructs as standard dialects and more broadly through public policies. English 404 can be taken for undergraduate or graduate credit.

For more information, contact Pat Mayes at

ENG 414 Special Topics in Creative Writing
Reading and Writing Comedy
Mauricio Kilwein-Guevara
Section 1 M, 3:30 p.m. - 6:10 p.m.

We’ll read/discuss a variety of types of comical writing: articles, short essays, satires, limericks, parodies, farces, jokes, pictures, puns, websites, short stories, poems, plays, comics strips, and more. We’ll listen to and/or watch stand-up, sketch comedy, improv, spoken word, and music. We’ll view movies and television shows. Whatever we read, listen to, and/or watch, we’ll also try our hand at making our own versions of these comic artifacts.

Artists or works that you’re likely to encounter may include: Dave Chappelle, Samantha Bee, Jonathan Swift, Young Frankenstein, The Onion, Best in Show, Margaret Cho, William Shakespeare, Ted L. Nancy, Steve Martin, John Leguizamo, Your Show of Shows, Gary Shteyngart,, Demitri Martin, Sister Mary Elephant, Franz Kafka, Aristophanes, Wanda Sykes, Maggie Estep, Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend, Stephen Colbert, Jonathan Winters, Modern Family, Richard Pryor, Borat, Tracy Morgan, Samuel Beckett, A Conferderacy of Dunces, Wes Anderson, Woody Allen, Life of Brian, Kevin Hart, Bo Burnham, Williams & Ree, and Tig Nataro.

For more information, contact Mauricio Kilwein-Guevara at

ENG 414 Special Topics in Creative Writing
Zines and Self Publishing
John Hall
Section 2
TR, 9:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.

Are you a poetry or fiction writer who likes to mix form and genre? Are you interested in learning how to make your own zines and chapbooks, or perhaps you are thinking of starting your own small press? Do you love to write, and find that you often create brilliant fragments, tangents, asides, and notes that seem as fresh as they are lost? If so, then you might be a great fit for this hands-on creative writing workshop in which we focus upon short form experimental narrative as we work to gain deeper understandings of how media, design, and materials actively construct meaning.

We will also study DIY movements and the essential dynamics of engaging creative communities. This is a great course if you are wondering what to do with your love of expressive writing once you graduate from college.

For more information, contact John Hall at

ENG 431 Topics in Advanced Writing
Opinion Writing
Rick Horowitz
Section 1
R, 4:30 p.m. - 7:10 p.m.

We’re surrounded by opinions. Online, on the air, on the printed page--opinions confront us everywhere we turn. Everyone seems to have an opinion--a strong opinion!--about practically everything. Advances in tech, meanwhile, keep making it easier to join the conversation, until every person with a keyboard and a mobile link is a potential publisher, editor, commentator, molder of the public mood. The old models of top-down opinionizing are collapsing.

So how do you make your opinions stand out? How do you craft your opinions to make them as effective as possible? (And what do you mean by “effective”?) Are there things you can do to make your views on the hottest issues of the day, or the latest movie at the multiplex, more than just another voice in the crowd? Can you affect the public debate? Rally the troops? Change a few minds? (Get a few laughs?) What are the hidden dangers that can cost your writing its power and its credibility?

We’ll tackle all these issues--and more. We’ll learn to create persuasive, provocative, effective opinion pieces in a variety of formats, for a range of platforms. We’ll examine the fundamentals of opinion writing, and build a strong foundation for crafting both individual and “institutional” opinions. We’ll explore the ways in which the digital world has altered some, but not all, of those fundamentals. We’ll look closely at good (and not-so-good) writing from all across the country, to discover the keys to successful opinionizing. And then we’ll apply those keys to our own writing.

For more information, contact Rick Horowitz at

ENG 431 Topics in Advanced Writing
Professional Writing for Nonprofits
Sally Stanton
Section 202

This course explores the theory, practices, lore, and written communication used by professional writers in nonprofit or social sector workplaces, such as theatres, museums, libraries, social service agencies, art centers, humane societies, and other community organizations.

Students will:

  • Learn the purpose and defining characteristics of the nonprofit sector.
  • Understand the role of written messages in communicating social sector values and results.
  • Explore persuasive writing strategies for nonprofits (including case statements, donor and constituent messages, and proposal-related communications).
  • Adapt business communication theories and strategies to the nonprofit sector.
  • Apply sector-specific theory and approaches to producing annual reports, websites, social media, grant reports, and unique documents such as artist statements and resumes, exhibition catalogs, and advocacy materials.

Students will gain practical experience in researching, designing, and writing documents commonly prepared by nonprofit professionals. Assignments will also require learning effective strategies for managing writing projects, audience analysis, and collaboration.

For more information, contact Sally Stanton at

ENG 437 Project Management for Professional Writers
Stuart Moulthrop
Section 1
MW, 2 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.

The course features training in project management and Web development, through small-group work on content for America's Black Holocaust Museum, an on-line institution continuing the mission of the original, physical museum, founded in Milwaukee by Dr. James Cameron.

For more information, contact Stuart Moulthrop at or visit

ENG 442 Writing Center Tutoring Practicum
Margaret Mika
Section 1
Aug. 28-29, Sept. 12, Oct. 10, Nov. 7, Dec. 5

This course is designed to prepare peer tutors to work one on one with writers who visit the UWM Writing Center. We will examine fundamental writing and tutoring theories and practices. Specific topics will include the role of the peer tutor, the rhetorical situation, strategies for talking with writers at different stages of the process, varying genres of academic and personal writing, cultural perspectives in writing, and English as a Second Language issues. Learning to tutor well takes much practice; this course provides Center tutors with a foundation of concentrated study and supervised practice from which to begin.

The first two class days are held before the semester starts and before the Writing Center opens. We will meet for 10 hours on Aug 27-28 and then for 1.5 hours, one Friday each month to complete the course requirements. Just as important as formal class hours, tutors will also have many opportunities to talk with the director, the assistant coordinator, and fellow tutors, once the Center opens.


  • Instructor’s permission
  • Junior status
  • Successful completion of the Writing Center application process, i.e., hired as a prospective Writing Center tutor
  • All majors, especially non-English, are welcome

For more information, contact Margaret Mika at or visit .

ENG 443 Grant Writing
Sally Stanton
Section 201

Grant Writing combines richly descriptive storytelling and subtle persuasion within technical limits established by potential charitable funders of these organizations. The practical skill of preparing clear, concise grant proposals is valued and desired by employers in higher education, engineering, science and medicine, human services, the arts, and cultural institutions.

In this class, students will learn the basics of researching and writing effective, persuasive grants and developing and applying that knowledge in a semester-long, integrated service-learning project with a nonprofit organization in their community. They will learn how to find and research the sources of charitable funding information available to Milwaukee area organizations and how to effectively organize and present that information for writing grants. Representatives of charitable foundations, professional grant writers, and others will share their knowledge of the nonprofit-funding world and successful grant writing. Students will leave this course with marketable skills and a greater knowledge of the ways in which effective communication adds value to the workplace.

For more information, contact Sally Stanton at

ENG 449 Writing Internship in English
Rachel Spilka

This flexible-credit internship is an opportunity for graduate students to gain “real world” writing, editing, design, or related experience that can supplement their academic credentials and broaden their marketability for postgraduate positions in both academia and industry. Internship placements are available in editing and publishing, public relations/marketing, non-profit writing, and technical writing. Students might be called upon to complete a variety of tasks in an internship placement, but typically their work involves research, writing, editing, design, proofreading, and other activities related to communication.

Students can enroll for ENG 449 for 1 credit (you would need to average at 5 or fewer hours spent on internship work each week); 2 credits (5-10 hours each week); 3 credits (10-15 hours each week); or 4 credits (15-20 hours each week). Students can take ENG 449 for more than one semester or summer if they wish; they are eligible to earn between 1-4 credits per term and a total of 9 credits in the course across terms.

If you are interested in setting up a fall internship, contact Rachel Spilka between April and August, 2014. Note that it commonly takes between 3-5 weeks to work with Dr. Spilka to finalize an internship placement, so if you are interested in taking ENG 449 this fall, do your best to contact her at least a month before the fall term begins.

For more information, contact Rachel Spilka at

ENG 461 Writers in American Literature, 1900 to the Present
The American Detective Novel
Theodore Martin
Section 1
TR, 11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

In this course, we’ll survey the American detective novel from its origins in the nineteenth century to its revival in the twenty-first. As this historical scope suggests, detective fiction is one of our most resilient genres. It is also one that has constantly evolved: from the ratiocinations of the first literary detectives to the hard-boiled crime writing of the early-twentieth-century to the “anti-detection” of postmodernism. Across these different moments in the genre’s development, the detective novel reveals itself to be both formal and political: it poses questions about law, ethics, guilt, and sociality while also compelling us to reflect on the nature of narrative itself.

Our goal in this class will be to investigate the history of U.S. detective fiction along both of these lines. Along the way, we’ll find ourselves focusing on forms of narrative resolution and irresolution; on problems of truth, facticity, and reliability; on constructions of masculinity and gender; on the role of race; and finally, on the inescapable parallel between detection and interpretation—that is, between the work of the detective and the work of reading itself. Authors to be studied include Poe, Hammett, Chandler, Himes, Highsmith, Pynchon, Auster, and Mosley, among others.

For more information, contact Theodore Martin at

ENG 504 Studies in Literature, 1660-1800
Sex and Enlightenment
Barrett Kalter
Section 1
TR, 9:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.

The Enlightenment is commonly understood as a philosophical movement that affirms society’s progressive discovery of universal moral principles and natures laws through the public use of critical reason. Sexuality, by contrast, is often seen as a private facet of identity that emanates in unruly ways from the body and its passions.

This course will explore the relation between these contradictory categories as represented in eighteenth-century literature, considering: 1) modern notions of sexuality as products of Enlightenment thought; and 2) the challenges sex poses to Enlightenment values of self- control, equality, normalcy, and consent. Our discussion will center on the following: the bawdy poetry of the Earl of Rochester and The Libertine, a film of his life starring Johnny Depp; Eliza Haywood’s Love in Excess, an early bestseller rivaled in popularity only by Robinson Crusoe; John Cleland’s pornographic Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure; and Matthew Lewis’s The Monk, a Gothic tale of religious prohibition, transgressive desire, and revolution.

We will also read selections from works by Enlightenment intellectuals, including the early feminist Mary Wollstonecraft and the Marquis de Sade, as well as recent theorists, such as Michel Foucault and Laura Kipnis. Topics to be discussed include: libertinism as instance of and resistance to political tyranny; romantic love, intimacy, and private life; pornography, censorship, and freedom of expression; prostitution, urban sexual subcultures (e.g., the proto-homosexual mollies), and the legal and medical definition of deviance.

This course truly satisfies the pre-1800 requirement.

For more information, contact Barrett Kalter at

ENG 615 (421) Advanced Workshop in Fiction
George Clark
Section 1
M, 1:30 p.m. - 4:10 p.m.

Course objectives: During this capstone course, you will explore various narrative techniques and devices to employ in your fiction. In addition, you will intensively critique one another’s short stories in terms of structure, craftsmanship, and meaning. Over the semester, you will begin to develop a personal aesthetic, to make informed and considered narrative choices, and to push the boundaries of your work. While I encourage ambition and experimentation, I also try to instill in my students a keen awareness of audience and a realization that the narrative strategies you employ must serve the story. Alternative methods of storytelling will be presented through model texts written by writers from diverse backgrounds.

At the beginning of the course, you will receive guidelines for peer critiques; all participants in the workshop are required to give line edits, marginal comments, and end notes. Over the semester, I will present you with an array of narrative theories to help us forge a shared critical vocabulary with which to discuss workshop submissions. Ultimately our aim is not to evaluate the manuscript in its present state, but rather to identify the writer’s intent and devise strategies to enable her/him to realize her/his artistic vision. I will set aside time in the closing weeks of the semester to design revision plans, workshop successive drafts, and discuss professional development and publishing.

Course work: This course requires you to write 24-30 pages of new short fiction. In addition, you are expected to provide a written critique of all story submissions, complete the course readings, and come to class prepared. There is no final exam, but your portfolio must be handed in on time to successfully complete this course.

Course materials: You will be required to provide copies of your critiques for each story submitted to the workshop.

For more information, contact George Clark at

ENG 616 (423) Advanced Workshop in Poetry
Structures and Constraints from Traditional to Experimental
Brenda Cárdenas
Section 1
T, 3:30 p.m. - 6:10 p.m.

In this capstone workshop, we will explore the fusion of content and form by using, adapting, and inventing various forms/structures and constraints from traditional to experimental. We will pay particular attention to how meter, refrain, sound patterns, received forms, and self-imposed limits might serve to make our poems more imaginative, musical, economical, and nuanced. To this end, we will write in formal verse (sonnets, villanelles, pantoums, Sapphic stanzas, and the like), as well as experiment with constraints in such Oulipo and aleatory forms as syllabics, lipograms, palindromes, anagrams, and those of our own invention.

To accomplish this, we will read a variety of published texts, complete in-class writing exercises, draft and revise poems outside of class, and bring poems to class to be critiqued by our classmates who will offer suggestions for how we might best craft our poems to achieve the desired effect.

For more information, contact Brenda Cárdenas at

ENG 625 Seminar in Literary History
Eating English Literature
Barrett Kalter
Section 1
R, 3:30 p.m. - 6:10 p.m.

This seminar in literary history considers writing about food during England's "long" eighteenth century (1660-1820), an era that stretches from the opening of the first London coffeehouses to the origin of the science of gastronomy. Our aim will be to create a detailed picture of how food was produced, experienced, and imagined in this period, and to that end we will read a variety of texts: poetry and fiction, philosophical essays, medical pamphlets, economic treatises, and of course cookbooks. For example, we will situate Grainger's “The Sugar Cane,” a poem about the West Indian sugar industry, within the context of British colonialism and slavery, before investigating the role affordable sweetness played in the rise of consumer society and the development of theories of taste by Burke and Hume. Other topics to be discussed: British beef and the formation of a national cuisine; Shelley's vegetarianism as an aspect of his radicalism; famine and population in Swift and Malthus.

Students will prepare dishes using eighteenth-century recipes in order to explore the possibilities of knowing the past through the senses. Finally, because historical thinking involves making connections between past and present, we will read recent work by chefs and food writers such as Michael Pollan, Anthony Bourdain, and Barbara Kingsolver, and reflect on how their interests are anticipated by or depart from those of the eighteenth century.

The course packet will cost about $35. This course satisfies the pre-1800 requirement.

For more information, contact Barrett Kalter at

FILMSTD 700 Teaching Film Studies
The Other Frankfurt School
Patrice Petro
Section 1
W, 3:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

This course will introduce graduate students to "the other Frankfurt School," that is, those German critical theorists who were loosely affiliated with the Frankfurt School and the Institute for Social Research (notably, Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer), but who took the study of popular culture in entirely different directions. We will focus on the work of Siegfried Kracauer and Walter Benjamin and will explore their early as well as later writings—and the ways in which their insights have been taken up by scholars and theorists since the 1920s and up until today.

For more information, contact Patrice Petro at

ENG 709 Writing, Rhetoric, and Information Technology
Dave Clark
Section 201

This course explores theories, practices, and tools used by professional documentation specialists. Our topics will include knowledge management, information architecture, single sourcing, information design, and of course instructional writing.

While designing and producing individual and group projects, students will have the opportunity to gain both theoretical and practical experience with designing and writing tools, processes, and languages. Projects will also require learning effective strategies for managing writing projects, audience analysis and usability testing, and collaboration. This course does not assume any prior technical expertise, and students from all plans and majors are welcome.

For more information, contact Dave Clark at .

ENG 713 Qualitative Research in Writing and Literacy
Rachel Spilka
Section 1
W, 5:30 p.m. - 8:10 p.m.

This course is available to all graduate students interested in researching topic areas related to writing and literacy. Note that it is offered just once every two years.

Graduate students in English and related fields need to master fundamental research methods to prepare for upcoming dissertation and other empirical work and to maximize their job marketability and potential to “add value” to postgraduate positions in academia and elsewhere. For those heading for academic or workplace careers in professional writing, English 713 will provide core skills needed to excel in either of these career directions.

This seminar provides thorough instruction in qualitative research in any area of study related to writing and literacy. During the semester, you will examine the philosophies that ground qualitative methods, consider criticisms of this type of research, develop skill in critiquing research designs and identifying rival hypotheses for research findings, and reflect on ethical matters that arise in field research. You will also propose, design, conduct, and report on a small-scale pilot study of writing or literacy in an educational or workplace setting. Most likely, you will spend seven weeks preparing to enter the field, five weeks doing field (pilot study) work, and four weeks analyzing data and preparing a research report.

For more information, contact Rachel Spilka at .

ENG 715 Narrative Craft & Theory
The Researched Short Story
Liam Callanan
Section 1
R, 11 a.m. - 1:40 p.m.

This fall, 715 will take as its theme, "The Researched Short Story." We'll look at notable examples from a variety of contemporary authors, including Andrea Barrett, Elizabeth Gilbert, and George Garrett, and then generate our own work in this vein. While the types of research undertaken will inevitably vary, what every approach will have in common is a rigorous commitment to developing sharp, insightful, and deeply understood material. While you do not need to have an extensive prior research portfolio, this course is for graduate students who already possess a high degree of facility with narrative prose.

For more infomration, contact Liam Callanan at or visit .

ENG 716 Poetic Craft and Theory
The Poetics of Spirit, Witness, and Social Justice
Kimberly Blaeser
Section 1
T, 3:30 p.m. - 6:10 p.m.

Students in this course will explore the relationships between spirituality, bearing witness, and the poetic process. The course combines work in literary/critical analysis of assigned texts with attention to craft and the writing and workshopping of poetry. Readings will include works from various time periods by authors from different parts of the globe. They will intersect around notions of spirit, place, search, mystery, epiphany, and the sublime; as well as around ideas of witness, social consciousness, and resistance. Finally, they will explore the poetic embodiment of the hearkenings after spirit and justice, and how the two have come together in the poetry of contemporary authors such as Carolyn Forché, Seamus Heaney, Linda Hogan, and Simon Ortiz. While immersed in reading works of poets exploring the intersections of spirit and witness, students will themselves undertake numerous writing assignments, focus on particulars of craft, participate in workshop, and assemble a portfolio of polished poems.

Texts for his course will likely include:

  • Fire and Ink: An Anthology of Social Action Writing, ed. Fran Adler, Debra Busman, and Diana Garcia
  • From Sand Creek, Simon Ortiz
  • Against Forgetting: Twentieth Century Poetry of Witness, ed. Carolyn Forché
  • Sinners Welcome, Mary Karr

Other texts will be scholarly essays and reflections on aesthetics, including excerpts from:

  • The Redress of Poetry, Seamus Heaney
  • The Witness of Poetry, Czeslaw Milosz
  • Arts of the Possible, Adrienne Rich

A final list will be posted this summer. Further readings will be available in a course packet or on D2L.

For more information, contact Kimberly Blaeser at

ENG 761 Discourse Analysis
Pat Mayes
Section 1
M, 4:30 p.m. - 7:10 p.m.

English 761 provides graduate students in English and other language arts fields (e.g., communication, linguistics, anthropology, education, sociology, information studies, etc.) with a basic theoretical and methodological foundation to the study of naturally occurring language (or “discourse”). The term “discourse analysis” is used in a number of disciplines, but this course focuses on linguistic aspects of discourse, examining how particular structures are linked to meaning in conventionalized ways. Thus unlike other brands of discourse analysis, which often focus primarily on meaning at the word-level, the link between meaning and form is examined at multiple levels. Attention is also paid to largely unconscious, nuanced meanings that are tied to sequencing within discourse, as well as the embodied nature of interaction.

Although we focus primarily on spoken and written English, the methods and general principles are applicable to other languages and in many different contexts. From a theoretical perspective, we will discuss the role of discourse in creating social institutions and identities, as well as debates concerning the analyst’s role, as descriptive or more critical. Students might use the knowledge they gain in a number of ways: a creative writer might use our close examination of conversational texts to develop more “authentic” sounding dialogue; a student interested in media studies might examine the interaction between meaning, image, and linguistic form. Another possibility is the analysis of institutional discourses such as workplace or classroom discourses. Obviously, there are numerous possible uses and types of analyses, many of which have far-reaching implications.

For more information, contact Pat Mayes at

ENG 779 American Literature, 1830-1900
Nineteenth-Century Utopias and Dystopias
Peter Sands
Section 1
R, 3:30 p.m. - 610 p.m.

This course is a survey of American utopian and dystopian fiction from the early Republic to the turn of the century, encompassing the period of nation-building, the Civil War, and the Gilded Age. We will read important early works, including the first utopia written by an American woman, mid-century works by canonical authors, and the late-century beginnings of the dystopian novel. Significant attention to situating the fiction in its historical context will consume much of our time. In addition to literary study itself, all students will be expected to engage with contemporary issues in the digital humanities as well, from Twitter to bibliography management and alternative forms of scholarship.

For more information, contact Peter Sands at

ENG 781 Modern American Literature
Naturalism and its Theories
Annie McClanahan
Section 1
M, 2:30 p.m. - 5:10 p.m.

From its interest in economic crises to its representation of non-human animals, in its dalliance with an aesthetic of “the weird” and its meditations on biological determinism, literary naturalism anticipated many of the concerns of contemporary literature and contemporary cultural theory. In this course, we’ll read naturalist texts from across the 20th century and into the 21st, situating our reading not only by attending to cultural context but also by drawing on the wealth of literary criticism written about the naturalist tradition.

Our primary focus will be on naturalism’s peak in the late 19th and early-to-mid 20th century: on writers such as Theodor Dreiser, Frank Norris, Stephen Crane, Edith Wharton, Upton Sinclair, Jack London, H.G. Wells, Nella Larsen, and Richard Wright, as well as on historical texts by Darwin, Freud, Gibbon, Simmel, and Krafft-Ebing. But we’ll also consider the more contemporary inheritors of the naturalist impulse, an impulse that reappears in writers like Cormac McCarthy, Bret Easton Ellis, and Octavia Butler, as well as in 21st century films such as Woody Allen’s Match Point and Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood. Along the way we’ll read critical work by Georg Lukacs, Fredric Jameson, Raymond Williams, Walter Benn Michaels, Jennifer Fleisner, Colleen Lye, Mark Seltzer, and others.

For more information, contact Annie McClanahan at

ENG 825 Seminar in Major Figures
Irish Novelist and Poet, James Joyce
José Lanters
Section 1
T, 4:30 p.m. - 7:10 p.m.

James Joyce (1882-1941), one of the major representatives of literary Modernism, claimed that his works would keep the critics busy for a hundred years. Indeed, since the 1960s, what has come to be known as the "Joyce industry" has generated a wealth of critical and theoretical readings of Joyce's oeuvre that reveal the multi-faceted nature of his accomplishment.

In this course, we will focus on Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Ulysses, and explore the nature and history of critical responses to these works.

For more information, contact José Lanters at

ENG 878 Seminar in Feminist Critical Theory
International/Transnational/Global Feminisms: Texts and Concepts
Kumkum Sangari
Section 1
W, 1 p.m. - 3:40 p.m.

Is transnationalism transgressive or conscripted, utopian or dystopian, crafted or contingent? How does it circulate in academic, activist, bureaucratic, and geopolitical terrains? This course will examine definitions of local, national, international, transnational and global feminisms as well as the tensions, overlaps and confusions between them.

Working with ethnographic texts, documentary films, conceptual discussions/critiques, it will examine how the widening arcs that shape and connect contemporary feminist issues become transnational through actors or institutions, stance or location, material pressure and ideological formations, simultaneity and typification. These questions will be structured around wage labor and marriage markets, transnational families, bioprospecting and commercial surrogacy, state and sexuality, rights and citizenship, identity and border politics, environmental and structural violence, and the genealogies of empathy.

For more information, contact Kumkum Sangari at

ENG 885 Seminar in Critical Theory
Critical Race Theory and Cultural Studies
Gregory Jay
Section 1
W, 4:30 p.m. - 7:10 p.m.

This graduate research seminar will explore the field of “critical race theory” and its applications in the study of culture and society, literature, art history, and film (among others). The definition of the field remains broad, including investigations of the social and historical construction of race and the articulation of such constructions through legal, political, pedagogical, aesthetic, and cultural practices. New developments in critical race theory have included critical whiteness studies, queer theoretical analyses of race, and comparative racialization studies within a postcolonial context.

Students from all disciplines and departments are welcome. Early in the semester, each seminar student will design and submit a proposal for an individual research project on a topic or problem of their choice and relevant to their discipline. Completion of the research project, typically resulting in a paper aimed at publication, will be the primary assignment for the semester. The readings for the course will be used to establish key concepts and issues useful to students as they undertake their research. Students will post weekly critical responses to the readings.

Many weeks we will have a video or film screening, such as portions of the three-part series Race: Power of an Illusion.

Required textbooks:

  • Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, 2nd edition, by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic; ISBN-13: 978-0814721353
  • Les Back and John Solomos (eds.), Theories of Race and Racism, 2nd edition; ISBN-13: 978-0415412544
  • Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination, by Toni Morrison; ISBN-13: 978-0679745426
  • Colored Pictures: Race and Visual Representation, by Michael D. Harris; ISBN-13: 978-0807856963
  • The United States of the United Races: A Utopian History of Racial Mixing, by Greg Carter; ISBN-13: 978-0814772508

For more information, contact Gregory Jay at