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Graduate Course Offerings

Spring Semester 2016

Registration begins Friday, November 13 at 8:00 AM.

The following information is subject to change. For the most up-to-date and comprehensive course schedule, including meeting times, course additions, cancellations, and room assignments, visit the Registrar’s website.

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ENGL 7211: Topics in American Literature: Literature in the Public Interest: Muckraking and American Realism, (1887-2013) 

Professor Carla Kaplan

This course, on the “long Twentieth Century” of American realism, via muckraking, will consider the American muckraking tradition, as a literary tradition, with particular attention to the ways in which muckraking writers have employed rhetorical and realist techniques with an eye to persuasion and audience engagement, as well as to the ways that realists (and some modernists) have bridged fiction and journalism. Modes of address, methods of prolepsis, and innovative uses of realist conventions will receive particular attention, as will issues of circulation and canon-building. Analysis of the muckraking tradition will also engage methodological issues of rhetoric, close reading, historical context, literary horizons of expectation, reader response, and disciplinary boundaries and canons, as well as taste and value. In the 1920s and 1930s, literary critics often associated the muckrakers not with realism, but with modernism, describing them as “debauched” and cynical. We will attend to changing critical perceptions of muckraking from its early inclusion in influential anthologies to its near total disappearance from literary courses. Our course will begin with (selections from) the earliest works of American muckraking and continue with the American muckrakers associated with McClure’s magazine: Upton Sinclair, Ray Stannard Baker, Lincoln Steffens, and Ida Tarbell. Attention to a second generation of mid-century muckrakers will include activists, like Stetson Kennedy, Jessica Mitford (who revitalized the tradition as advocacy of working and poor people) and Rachel Carson (widely credited with inaugurating the modern environmental movement). Our reading will continue with recent works of popular muckraking, such as Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed (2001), Naomi Klein’s No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies (2000), Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation (2001), and others. Muckraking works will be considered in the context of the realist works with which the muckrakers, as writers, were in conversation. Selections from critical works may include: Cecelia Tichi, Exposes and Excess, Amy Kaplan, The Social Construction of American Realism, Fredric Jameson, The Antinomies of Realism, Phillip Barrish, American Literary Realism, and Barbara Herrnstein Smith, Contingencies of Value, among other works. Course requirements will include one short paper comparing a muckraking and realist work that were historically contiguous, and one longer paper, taking a critical and theoretical approach to an important work of muckraking.


ENGL 7284 Topics in Eighteenth-Century Literature: Blake and “Nature”

Professor Stuart Peterfreund

Readers of William Blake (1757-1827) have long noted his animus against Bacon, Newton, and Locke, as well as his critical view of empiricism, more generally, and of what he calls “natural religion” (natural theology) as approaches to understanding humanity’s relationship to nature and place in the cosmos. Using the interdisciplinary methodologies of literature and science and the history of ideas, in conjunction with the practice of close reading, students in this course will attempt to account for and to assess Blake’s motivations for assuming his contrarian position and the success of his several critiques.


ENGL 7370 Topics in Digital Humanities: The Shape of Data in the Humanities

Professor Julia Flanders

Data underlies every digital resource, and the shaping of that data determines how those resources work. Some data is carefully designed and shaped for specific goals; some data has almost no shaping at all. The modeling systems we use to give shape to our data are the power tools of the digital humanities, and the modeling choices we make — or others make for us — have a profound effect on the kinds of research we can do. What kinds of modeling are appropriate for different kinds of research materials, and how are these modeling systems developed? This course will give us a very close look at these questions, with particular focus on two widely used tools: the Omeka publishing platform and the TEI Guidelines. Students will engage deeply with the different ways these and other tools shape our research materials. Through the course assignments students will design and implement the components of a digital project, including a prototype Omeka site, sample encoded files, a schema, and a project proposal. Students will come away with a strong grounding in concepts of data modeling for the digital humanities, with broad applicability to historical and literary studies. No prior familiarity with XML or digital humanities is required or assumed.


*updated 11-19-15* ENGL 7392 Writing and the Teaching of Writing

Professor Neal Lerner

This course provides Northeastern English Department graduate students with disciplinary and professional preparation to teach writing at the university level. It will focus on three primary questions: How do people learn? How do people learn writing? How can we best teach writing based on those understandings? (Or, somewhat more expansively, how can we design environments, materials, and practices that help students learn about writing and develop as writers?)

In addition to shorter pieces, we will read three books together: Ambrose et al.’s How Learning Works, Adler-Kassner and Wardle’s Naming What We Know, and Gallagher and Lee’s Teaching Writing That Matters. Assignments are designed to help students develop a theoretical understanding and practical materials for the teaching of writing both at Northeastern and elsewhere. They include a writing history, an institutional discourse analysis, an observation report, and a theory-in-practice essay. Note: Required of first-year PhD students. MA students may enroll with permission of instructor.


*cancelled 11-19-2015* ENGL 7395 Topics in Writing: Writing Center Studies


INSH 7910 NULab Research Seminar

This workshop course supports the project development component of the new certificate in Digital Humanities, aimed at graduate students enrolled in MA and PhD programs in humanities and social sciences. Students in the course will engage in a sustained, interdisciplinary exploration of digital humanities methods and projects as they plan and develop their own research projects during their progress on the certificate. As needed, the course will also organize working groups on special topics to cover additional skills and methods. The course is designed to be taken in successive years by students in the certificate program, but may also be taken on its own. No prior technical experience or familiarity with digital humanities or digital tools is required, but participants should be prepared to identify an area of research interest that is connected in some way with the general domain of digital humanities, computational social science, and related fields.


WGSS Certificate Courses

WMNS 7976: Directed Study, via Graduate Consortium for Women’s Studies

  1. NU graduate students must apply for admission into Graduate Consortium for Women’s Studies (GCWS) courses. Students who submit GCWS applications must first secure the support of their faculty advisors.
  2. Notify the Graduate Office immediately upon receiving an acceptance email from GCWS.
  3. Fill out the registration form from GCWS. On that form, list the course as WMNS 7976: Directed Study and the supervisor as the current Graduate Program Director.
  4. Get the Registrar’s and faculty advisor’s signatures.
  5. Bring the form to 413 Lake Hall. The Graduate Office secretary will seek out the Dean’s signature and return the completed form to the student. At that time, the student will be enrolled in WMNS 7976.

Upcoming Course Offerings – Fall 2016  (subject to change) – Last updated 03-08-2016

ENGL 5103: Proseminar, Professor Green (Monday, 3:30)
Fulfills: Proseminar
ENGL 7283 Topics in Seventeenth-Century Literature: British Poetry, Professor Frank Blessington (Monday, 6:15)
Fulfills: 17th Century/Restoration/18th Century
ENGL 7282 Topics in Renaissance Literature: Gender and the Culture of Crime, Professor Marina Leslie (Tuesday, 6:15)
Fulfills: Medieval/Renaissance, WGSS
ENGL 7358 Topics in Literature and Other Disciplines: History of the Book for Literacy Scholars, Professors Erika Boeckeler and Ryan Cordell (Wednesday, 2:50)
Fulfills: Theories and Methods
ENGL 7370 Topics in Digital Humanities, Professor Julia Flanders (Tuesday, 3:30)
Fulfills: Theories and Methods, DH certificate requirement
ENGL 7395 Literacy Studies, Professor Ellen Cushman (Thursday, 3:30)
Fulfills: Rhetoric and Composition
INSH 7910 NULab Research Seminar- 1 SH (*Tentative* Monday, 2:00-3:00)
Fulfills: DH certificate requirement
WMST 6100 Theorizing Gender and Sexuality (Wednesday, 3:30-6:00)
Fulfills: Theories and Methods, WGSS. See Banner for course details and CRN.