Graduate Course Descriptions: Spring 2024

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For the most up-to-date list of classes offered, visit the dynamic schedule. For questions about classes, consult our graduate advising page or contact the listed instructor. To see what we'll be offering in future semesters, visit our two-year course rotation template. Interested in studying literature, taking a writing workshop, improving your writing skills, or brushing up your teaching skills, but don't want to pursue a degree? You should apply as a Non-Degree Seeking Student.

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*Click on each course title to read the professor's full course description; click on each thumbnail image to view the course flyer.

Applied Linguistics:

7514 iconENGL 7/8514 - Sociolinguistics | Dr. Sage Graham | W 5:30pm 
Language is all around us, and we make choices constantly about how to use it to achieve our goals. In this class we will use language as a lens to explore the interplay between language and society – and how social structures influence our language choices. Using factors like age, gender, ethnicity, and social class, we’ll examine how language reflects and/or reinforces social relationships and structures (such as bias in political language or how language affects the educational system).   

ENGL 7/8515 - Language & Literature | Dr. Lyn Wright | Online 
Application of linguistic theory to analysis of literature, nature of literary language, and linguistic options open to writers.

ENGL 7/8516 - Phonetics & Phonology | Dr. Leah Windsor | R 1-4pm  
Articulatory and linguistic phonetics, phonetic transcription, suprasegmental phonology, overview of English phonology, and information on teaching English pronunciation to speakers of other languages. 

ENGL 7/8530 - Field Experience/Practicum in ESL | Dr. Rebecca Adams | Online 
Experience in observing and teaching, peer teaching, and work with an English as a Second Language (ESL) specialist.

7531 iconENGL 7/8531 - Theory & History of ESL | Dr. Emily Thrush | M 5:30pm 
This course provides students with a comprehensive view of the theoretical foundation of second language learning. Readings, responses, and on-line sites and videos will present the relationship between these foundations and the linguistic approaches to ESL which have grown out of them. Historical perspectives on the development of various ESL approaches give the student an appreciation of the influence of several disciplines, notably psychology, linguistics, psycholinguistics, socio-linguistics, social psychology, and education.

7532 iconENGL 7/8532 - Theory of Skills Assessment in ESL | Dr. Ronald Fuentes | Online 
The course takes a critical review of research in the areas of testing linguistically diverse students and the sociocultural dimensions of standardized testing, academic achievement, and accountability. Course topics include critical evaluations of standardized tests of language proficiency and literacy, and development of alternative and authentic language in ESL/EFL programs. 

7534 iconENGL 7/8534 - Second Language Acquisition | Dr. J. Elliott Casal | Online 
This course introduces and engages with the interdisciplinary field of second language acquisition (SLA), which is largely concerned with the diverse processes involved in second language learning and use, and emphasis is placed on the history of and theoretical approaches to English as a Second Language (ESL). This term we will review several approaches to language teaching/learning theory, emphasizing linguistic, cognitive/psychological, and social processes involved in using and learning additional languages, as well as identify-focused perspectives.

Creative Writing: 

7471 iconENGL 7471 - Forms of Fiction: Plot Models for Novels | Dr. Eric Schlich | M 5:30pm
Ever tried writing a novel and got stuck? We've all been there. But did you know you can plot a book at any stage of writing? In this class we'll study how to plot your novel by exposing you to various models and methods. Our focus will be less on drafting - and pantsing - and more on the art of planning a novel's structure - AKA plotting


7475 iconENGL 7475 - Literary Publishing | Prof. Kendra Vanderlip | W 5:30pm 
This course involves the development of practical, hands-on skills related to editing, producing, and promoting the literary magazine The Pinch, the award-winning literary journal of The University of Memphis. We will focus on the art and craft of evaluating and editing fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, art, and photography as well as layout, production, and all the business aspects of publishing a literary journal including subscriptions, marketing, and distribution. This Spring semester, we will also attend the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) Conference, located in Kansas City, Missouri.


7601 iconENGL 7601 - Creative Nonfiction Workshop | Dr. Eric Schlich | R 5:30pm 
This class focuses on reading, drafting, and workshopping creative nonfiction - both personal narrative/memoir and journalistic essays. Students will present a craft lecture from an anthologized essay, workshop a personal essay and research-based essay, revise one essay, and write a craft review of a contemporary essay collection of their choosing.


7602 iconENGL 7602 - Fiction Workshop | Dr. Mark Mayer | T 5:30pm 
A graduate-level workshop in fiction writing with class sessions devoted primarily to reading and workshopping student work, with particular attention to story structure, emotional interrogation, character revelation, language, and the revision process. We will also discuss published fiction, representing a variety of narrative and sentimental strategies, as well as some works of theory and literary criticism.


7603 iconENGL 7603 - Poetry Workshop | Dr. Emily Skaja | T 5:30pm 
This is a graduate-level workshop devoted to the creation, revision, and critical analysis of poetry. Students will submit original work and improve their craft through dedicated practice and intensive study. The workshop is a constructive community environment where students are invited to encourage and challenge one another as they refine their work. 


Literary & Cultural Studies:

6243 iconENGL 6243 - Studies in British Literature: Romance, A Journey Through Time | Dr. Cristina Maria Cervone | MW 2:20pm-3:45pm 
Genres are notoriously difficult to pin down and romance is no exception. From its origins in wanderings and quests, to its contested relationship with the origin of the novel, to its present-day association with bodice-rippers and the like, romance has seen many incarnations over time. In this course, we will privilege romance's underlying sense of a fantastical story of travel and adventure. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit hours with change in course content.


7296 iconENGL 7/8296 - Studies in the British Novel: Women & The British Novel | Dr. Carey Mickalites | R 5:30pm
Rather than resting on some essentialist notion of "women's writing" or even "women," we will look to works that reflect critically on questions of women's agency and authority across historical periods, and link those concerns to other structures of political economy. Novels we will read might pose links between female domesticity in Victorian England to racial oppression in the Caribbean, explore LGBTQIA+ desires and identities, etc. 


ENGL 7/8330 - Gender & 19th Century African American Literature | Dr. Verner Mitchell | M 5:30pm 
How does literature use gender as a source of structure and theme? And how do representations of gender participate in a literary construction of race? We will use these questions as a frame through which to examine major works of 19th-Century African American Literature. Possible authors: Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Booker T. Washington, Frank Webb, Harriet E. Wilson, Frances E. W. Harper, Lucy A. Delaney, Elizabeth Keckley, Pauline Hopkins, Charles W. Chesnutt, Paul Laurence Dunbar, W. E. B. Du Bois.

7337 iconENGL 7/8337 - Our Head in the Lion's Mouth: Untold Stories & the Making of Modern African American Literature | Dr. Terrence Tucker | MW 2:20pm-3:45pm 
Using texts from various time periods, we will examine how African-American authors wrestle with the question of blackness, particularly as it relates to its construction, by whites and African Americans, by individual and communities, and by the society and country at large. This class will trace the negotiation of the authors with the definition of blackness across political, literary, and historical cycles such as the emergence and presence of Jim Crow, through the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements, and the emergence of black women writers.

7399 iconENGL 7/8399 - Multiculturalism in American Literature | Dr. Kathy Lou Schultz | T 5:30pm
Who is the “American” poet? Is there a “great American novel”? When we expand our purview of “Americanness” outside of the U.S., what can we discover? This course will engage these questions and others through the study of poetry, fiction, autobiography, and essays from a diverse group of American writers, as well as theory and literary criticism. Reading list may include works by Zitkala-Sa, Frederick Douglass, Walt Whitman, Jean Toomer, Herman Melville, W.E.B. DuBois, F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Carlos Williams, Frantz Fanon, Suzanne Césaire, Dorothy Allison, Maxine Hong Kingston, Leslie Marmon Silko, Sandra Cisneros, Joy Harjo.

ENGL 7/8460 - Popular Literature Traditions: The American Private Detective | Dr. Jeffrey Scraba | W 5:30pm 
As a figure poised between the law and the outlaw, between the public and the private, and between the author and the reader, the private detective offers us a unique epistemological and ethical perspective on a culture. From Pauline Hopkins’ Maryland and Washington to Linda Hogan’s Oklahoma, from Dashiell Hammett’s Montana to Walter Mosley’s L.A., we will follow fictional detectives as they discover the political complexities of a particular time and space. Other writers will likely include Edgar Allan Poe, Raymond Chandler, Vera Caspary, Sarah Paretsky, Stephen Graham Jones, Chester Himes, and Paul Auster. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit hours when topic changes.

ENGL 7/8702 - Contemporary Critical Theory | Dr. Theron Britt | M 5:30pm 
We will begin with an exploration of poststructuralism and examine how this pervasive mode of literary theory has come to structure contemporary literary critical concerns with gender, race, and class. With that as a base, the course will then through a variety of theoretical and literary readings explore both the limitations of poststructuralist criticism and theory and as well the current critical modifications or challenges to it such as posthumanism, ecocriticism, the new materialism, cognitive theory, and actor-network theory. No background in literary theory required! May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit hours with change in course content.

Writing, Rhetoric, & Technical Communication: 

6619 ENGL 6619 - Web & Online Writing | Prof. Emily Gillo | Online
This course is focused on the principles, ethics, and best practices of writing, designing, delivering, and managing information online. Some topics covered in this class include digital/critical digital literacy, data and personal privacy online, collaborative online writing, social media writing, web accessibility/universal design, and working with web editor platforms. 

7001 iconENGL 7/8001 - Academic Genres & Scholarly Publishing | Dr. Scott Sundvall | T 5:30pm
Abstracts, proposals, publications, oh my! This course will demystify the genres of writing necessary for scholarly success, including but not limited to: how to identify appropriate journals, publishers, and conferences; how to write a successful abstract, precis, or proposal; how to submit and revise journal articles; how to construct a contemporary curriculum vitae; as well as how to prepare for the job market. All assignments will be curated for each individual student’s unique research agenda, goals, and position in graduate school.

7805 iconENGL 7/8805 - Foundations of Writing Studies | Dr. Tori Thompson Peters | W 5:30pm
Writing studies is an expansive field that varies in its foci, methods, and materials. This class will center questions about agency to examine how the subfields of composition, rhetoric, literacy, and technical communication have developed and where they’re going today. Students will be asked to complete 3 major projects and a series of shorter response essays designed to help understand, apply, and synthesize key theories from our readings. Ultimately, we will explore what writing is, how it’s produced, and what it can do.