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Graduate Course Offerings


Fall 2015 registration begins Friday, April 10 for continuing PhD students (regardless of overall hours) and all other graduate students with 20 credits or more. Graduate students with less than 20 credits hours will register beginning Monday, April 13. New students may begin registering on May 13 at 8 a.m.

This 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.

Other helpful links:

ENGL 5103: Proseminar

Professor Elizabeth Maddock Dillon

Introduces the history and current scholarly practices of English studies. Surveys theoretical, methodological, and institutional issues in the development of the discipline; introduces students to the research of the English department’s graduate faculty; and offers opportunities for the practice of key components of scholarly production, including formulating research questions, using databases, conducting literature reviews, and writing and presenting scholarship in common formats other than the long research paper, such as conference proposals, oral presentations, and book reviews.

*Updated 6/17/15* Cancelled – ENGL 7281 Topics in Medieval Literature: Text and Film

Professor Kathleen Kelly

Except perhaps for the two world wars, no other subject has proved to be as filmable as the Middle Ages in American and European cinema-dom. One reason that films with medieval settings continue to be popular among filmmakers and audiences is that such films offer a particularly rich site for working out debates about gender, sexuality, class, national identity, history, and even modernity.

In ENGL 7281, we will read a handful of texts written between 1200 and 1500 (all in translation) that have been adapted to the screen. Examples of texts paired with films: excerpts from Malory’s Morte Darthur (c. 1470) plus Boorman’s Excalibur (1981) and the musical Camelot (1967, an essential film in the history of the musical, and a fabulous 60s set-piece); the legend of Tristan and Iseult (c. 1200-1300) plus Jean Cocteau’s L’Eternel Retour (1947); Chaucer’s Wife of Bath’s Tale (c. 1385) plus the BBC modernization (2003). Other films we might discuss: The Navigator (1988, a magic-realist medieval-modern fantasy); The Messenger (1999, a slick and edgy retelling of the Jeanne d’Arc legend); and Kingdom of Heaven (2005, which can be read as a parable of our ongoing war in the Middle East using, no surprise, the Crusades as a vehicle).

Because “movie medievalism” is part of a larger aesthetic movement with its roots in the early modern period and which continues today—medievalism and neo-medievalism—students are encouraged to make connections with the subject of the class and their own interests, regardless of the period or geographic location. A Women’s Studies add-on is available (contact Professor Kelly) . Requirements: brief in-class presentations, a collaborative project, and a final paper.

ENGL 7287 Topics in Twentieth-Century British Lit: Joyce’s Ulysses and the History of Twentieth-Century Criticism

Professor Patrick Mullen

James Joyce’s Ulysses was one of the most influential novels of the 20th century. It shaped the ways that we write, read, and think. In this course we will undertake the close reading of this challenging work and will explore along side of it the history of criticism that developed across the century in an effort to respond to Joyce’s challenge. Students will gain an intimate familiarity with Joyce’s aesthetics and politics and will also engage some of the key developments in the history of literary theory. Students will also have the opportunity to interact with Boston’s local community of Joycean scholars and enthusiasts. A presentation, short written assignments, and a final seminar essay will be required.

ENGL 7352 Topics in Genre: The Slave Narrative

Professor Nicole Aljoe

The slave narrative has long been considered a cornerstone of the African American literary tradition. This course will explore in depth the boundaries of this fascinating and complex literary genre as well as its many permutations and trans-cultural influences throughout literary and cultural history. We will focus on narratives produced not only in and about the United States, but also those from the Caribbean and Africa, as well as contemporary fictional neo-slave narratives. In addition to surveying critical assumptions and debates about the slave narrative form itself, we will also explore its assumed connections to notions of race, culture, and identity. Close attention will be paid to the aesthetic, cultural and historical contexts of the individual texts in order to engage with issues such as voice, gender, subjectivity, history, and collective memory. Texts may include narratives by Equiano, Douglass, Jacobs, Brown, Turner, Northrup, Prince, and Al-Sadiqa, as well as fiction by Jones, Morrison, Phillips, Levy, Trouillot, and Allende.

*RESCHEDULED > SPRING 2016* ENGL 7370 Topics in Digital Humanities: The Shape of Data in the Humanities

Professor Julia Flanders

Spring 2016 Course Description:
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.

ENGL 7395 Topics in Writing: What is Good Writing?

Professor Mya Poe

Do you know good writing when you see it? Who decides what good writing is? How do you teach students to produce good writing? Is the teaching of good writing an aesthetic ideal, a practical goal, or an imperial project?

In this seminar, we will explore the various technical, aesthetic, and ethical dimensions of determining what makes for good writing. We will take up issues such as the history of writing assessment (where we get the epistemological and methodological frameworks we use today), standard setting (how criteria for “goodness” are established), and ideologies of writing assessment (why various means of evaluating writing have disparate consequences for different people). Along the way, we will examine specific tests of writing, try various approaches in responding to student writing, and work with new technologies for evaluation, including automated essay scoring and voice response technology.

Readings for the course will include Assessing Writing: A Critical Sourcebook, Race and Writing Assessment, as well as selections from On a Scale: A Social History of Writing Assessment, Cultural Validity in Assessment: Assessing Linguistic and Cultural Difference, and Very Like a Whale: The Assessment of Writing Programs. Additional articles from authors such as Fanon and Bourdieu will be available online.

Projects will include (1) a key work project in which you will trace the reception of a text, (2) a review of classroom grading practices or an analysis of the Northeastern Writing Program assessment data, and (3) a literature review on a topic of your interest.

*Updated 5/13/15* INSH 7910 NULab Research Seminar

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 (subject to change)

ENGL 7211 Literature in the Public Interest, Professor Carla Kaplan (Wednesday, 3:30)
Fulfills: 19th c., 20th c., WGSS
*updated 6/11/15* ENGL 7284 Topics in Eighteenth-Century Literature: Blake and “Nature”, Professor Stuart Peterfreund (Thursday, 3:30)
Fulfills: 17th Century/Restoration/18th Century or Theories and Methods
ENGL 7392 Writing and the Teaching of Writing, Professor Chris Gallagher (Tuesday, 6:15) Fulfills: Rhetoric and Composition
ENGL 7395 Topics in Writing: Writing Center Studies, Professor Neal Lerner (Monday, 3:30)
Fulfills: Rhetoric and Composition
ENGL 7370 Topics in Digital Humanities: The Shape of Data in the Humanities, Professor Julia Flanders (Tuesday, 3:30)
Fulfills: Theories & Methods, DH certificate elective
ENGL 7990 Master’s Thesis (proposal required)
Fulfills: MA elective

Course Offerings Archive (PDF)

Fall 2014 / Spring 2015

Fall 2013 / Spring 2014

Fall 2012 / Spring 2013

Fall 2011 / Spring 2012

Fall 2010 / Spring 2011

Fall 2009 / Spring 2010

Fall 2008 / Spring 2009

Fall 2007 / Spring 2008

Fall 2006 / Spring 2007

Fall 2005 / Spring 2006