English at UGA
The English Department at the University of Georgia is a diverse scholarly community of more than 40 faculty, 100 graduate students, and more than 600 undergraduate majors and minors held together by a common commitment to preserving, transmitting, and extending the rich cultural legacy of the English language. At the core of our discipline lie the complex skills of reading and writing, and though these can be productively applied to a wide range of professional goals our own work as scholars and teachers strives to deepen our understanding of the critical and creative imagination. A sympathetic participation in the verbal worlds of other times and places, drawing on the full range of linguistic tools, historical knowledge, and interpretive experience at our disposal, allows our students to enhance their appreciation for expressive possibility. The diversity of the faculty's interests and research methods helps ensure that an English major at the University of Georgia develops a sophisticated, practical grasp of the central role that language plays in the preservation of human institutions.
English 4642: “Films about the American South”
Hugh Ruppersburg, 11:00 Tues/Thurs.
This class examines great and often iconic films about the American South. Films may include Jezebel, Wild River, To Kill a Mockingbird, Deliverance, Look Back in Anger, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Junebug, Mud, Beasts of the Southern Wild, 12 Years a Slave, and others. We will seek to understand and appreciate these films as cinema and for the perspectives they offer on the American South. We will look especially at their literary sources. The required viewing session is each Monday, 3:35, in MLC.
ENGL 4830W Re-Writing: Remix, Remediation, and Revision
Dr. Sara Steger, MWF 9:05
In this course, we will consider forms of appropriation, focusing on texts that appropriate, adapt, remix, transform, transpose, sample, parody, or re-write other texts. We will also use media theory as a lens for thinking about appropriation as creation, for learning about "remix culture," and for thinking through issues of copyright and originality. Students in the course will engage in rewriting through:
- An appropriation of a text - a creative re-writing of a piece of literature or other text (i.e. fanfiction).
- A remix/mashup, where students collect primary "texts" and present through remixing them a clear argument about a social issue of their choice.
- A research-based analytical essay on the topic of re-writing that students will remediate using any form, genre, or platform (video, collage, digital text, etc.).
English 4300: Elizabethan Poetry: Shakespeare's Poetry in Context
Professor Iyengar, Fall 2016, T/Th 2-3:15.
No, Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth did not have a love-affair, nor can we document a personal reading such as the one fancifully depicted in the above painting by John James Chalon. But in this special Shakespeare quatercentenary year (the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death) and the Fall semester visit of a Shakespeare First Folio to Georgia, the course "Elizabethan Poetry" will include Shakespeare's Sonnets, longer poems Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece as well his shorter lyric "The Phoenix and Turtle." We'll also read some of Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene, dedicated to Queen Elizabeth I and featuring her in two guises, as Gloriana the Elfin Princess and as Britomart the cross-dressed woman warrior; some of Queen Elizabeth's own poetry; and a range of lyrics and songs from the era.
ENGL 4510: Nineteenth-Century British Prose: Bodies of Writing; Bodies and Writing
Lootens, T/Th, 3:30-4:45
From prefaces to Parliamentary reports; from travel writing to war reporting, to parodies, to literary criticism, to political polemics; from journal entries and private letters, this class will consider how controversies over the claims of physicality help shape the revolutionary transformations of a great era of prose writing. Nonfiction prose by distinguished writers of fiction, including Charlotte Brontë, Dickens, Eliot, and Wilde; notorious literary debates. So, too, however, may others: prose by poets such as the Brownings, the Rossettis, or Hopkins, for example; scientific writings by figures including Lyell, Darwin, and Huxley; resonant political arguments including Carlyle, Mill, Newman, Nightingale, and Morris; and writing by Victorians whose achievements have nearly been forgotten. (Image from Internet Archive and the University of Toronto library. Text and formatting by George P. Landow )
ENGL3050: Introduction to Poetry: Book, Ink, Paper
Professor Jacobson: MWF 11
How is a poem like a machine? What is the relationship between a poem and the various material forms it takes? What makes a text a poem, an epic, sonnet, sonnet sequence, sestina, villanelle, oulipo? This course examines poetry written in English in all its forms, through a variety of historical periods, paying particular attention to the relationship poetry has to its tangible, material shape (faded brown pen ink on rag paper, sticky printer's ink, fibre paper, gold and lapis on vellum, cut strips of paper, embroidery on sampler, etc). Over the semester, we will read our way through the Norton Anthology of Poetry, learning not only to understand poetic style, form, elements and diction, but how to interpret a poem, to imagine the impetus behind it, to connect it to its cultural milieu, and to think of it three dimensionally, as an object. Our assignments emphasize the inter-connectedness of reading, writing, and thinking.
ENGL 4695/4895 Verbal and Visual Outsiders
The Politics and Aesthetics of Representation in Contemporary Literature, Esra Mirze Santesso, SUM 2016 / Maymester 12:30-3:15 p.m.
“I don't remember when exactly I read my first comic book, but I do remember exactly how liberated and subversive I felt as a result.” Edward Said. “Words and pictures are yin and yang. Married, they produce a progeny more interesting than either parent.” So said Dr. Seuss. This course will explore the relationship between representation in literature (textual and graphic), film, and art. This interdisciplinary course will look at Western and non-Western authors, artists, and illustrators, focusing particularly on the way “Otherness” and “outsiderness” is constructed via literary and visual modes of representation. To complement our class discussion, we will take a field trip to Atlanta to tour the High Museum and the Special Collections at Emory University Library. The assignments will include reading reviews, cultural artifact project, and a film critique.
Image is “Mono Oro” by Chris Ofili
Critical Approaches to Literature
Fall 2016 • T/Th 9:30-10:45 • Dr. Richard Menke
New course! Learn to write more interesting papers • Interpret challenging texts • Join a critical conversation • Revise your essays for style and argument
The literary works we’ll read will include
Shakespeare, Measure for Measure • Shelley, Frankenstein • Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde • Conrad, Heart of Darkness • Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway • Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God
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These are said to be daunting times for the humanities. Scarcely a day goes by, it seems, without an article in a major news media outlet tracking the flight of students from liberal arts to business schools and STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, math). The escalating cost of higher education is just one of many factors pressuring students and their families to regard college education as a job-placement service. Universities are under increasing pressure to make themselves over as vocational schools, something that used to be reserved for those who couldn’t make it into college in the first place. The liberal arts have traditionally been the forum for experiencing the timeless verities on which civilization was founded. So what does it mean when times change, and the humanities are expected to change with the times? Does it mean those putative truths are expendable? That the legacy of the arts was just empty rhetoric? And that the humanities are an unaffordable distraction? Some would have you believe so.
But I’ve heard the CEO of a corporation confess that he’d rather hire English majors than students with an M.B.A. Why? Because, he said, English majors know how to communicate effectively, orally and in writing, and they’re capable of critical thinking. An alert, well-rounded mind trumps the dutiful trainee. The wide world of work far exceeds the command-control needs of a combat operation. It turns out that the most needed workers are those who possess the old skills honed by the liberal arts.
But what kind of jobs can you get? This question repeats itself in the public sphere with the tenacity of a bulldog. Well, the answer is just about anything under the sun. A degree in English is a roundhouse, propelling career-potential in every direction. It’s thought that in English we read books. True. But what do we read in those books? We read situations, we read human character, we read the sticky complexity of worlds exactly like our world, where solutions never come easily, where desires are only fleetingly gratified, and in which solving problems is necessary.
The English department at Harvard University provides a pie chart showing where its graduates have found careers. The profile closely matches UGA’s results, and probably those of most English departments around the country. Here’s the breakdown: education 17%, law 16%, media 11%, arts/entertainment 11%, business 10%, finance 8%, publishing 7%, health services 6%, nonprofit 5%, computer/IT 3%, government 2%, and “other” 4%. It’s edifying, to be sure, when our students follow a similar career path and end up as professors themselves. But few do, so we relish it when someone from long ago pops up with a cherished memory of reading The Sound and the Fury or King Lear, tangling with Beowulf or a poem by Emily Dickinson—and then discloses the unimaginable career tangents that this student has been embarked on through the decades.
Now, more than ever, the sense of history and the ethical framework of civic virtues are at risk of becoming an afterthought in a milieu dominated by means-ends calculations. But because the books we read in English are documents of human lives and societies across a range of times and places, these needed components of citizenship are uniquely ours to offer. A degree in English is a genuine education, and a timely reminder that education is more than vocational training.
Jed Rasula, Department Head
For more, please read the latest version of the Park Hall Monitor, the department's newsletter.
Distinguished Research Professor 2016
Creative Research Award 2016
Ed Pavlić, professor of English and creative writing, is an extraordinarily productive researcher and a gifted poet. Capping an unprecedented decade of creative and scholarly activity, his monograph on the great African-American writer and social critic James Baldwin titled Who Can Afford to Improvise? was published in 2015 by Fordham University Press. In it, Pavlić examines the life, writings and legacy of Baldwin and their relationship to the lyric tradition of black music, from gospel and blues to jazz and R&B. Pavlić also recently published his latest collection of poetry, Let’s Let That Are Not Yet: Inferno, a winner of the prestigious National Poetry Series open competition. This is the fifth title of poetry he has published since joining the faculty at the University of Georgia in 2006. During the same period, he has published more than a dozen scholarly articles and had several earlier essays reprinted in scholarly compendia.
Michael F. Adams Early Career Scholar Award 2016
Cody Marrs, assistant professor of English, is an accomplished junior scholar and author of the recently published book Nineteenth-Century American Literature and the Long Civil War. In it, Marrs analyzes the writings of four major authors—Frederick Douglass, Herman Melville, Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson—whose careers spanned both sides of the conflict. He argues against the traditional division of 19th century literature into either antebellum or postbellum categories, describing these authors as “transbellum.” Marrs is currently working on several related projects, including a second book titled The Civil War: A Literary History. This wide-ranging book is about the war’s cultural afterlife, from the 19th century to the 21st. He is editing a special issue of Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies on Melville’s late works. He is also co-editing Timelines of American Literature, a collection of essays that seek to reimagine American literature.Tweets by @UGAEnglish