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.
ENGL 4670, Introduction to Irish Literature
Spring Semester 2016, Nicholas Allen
Ireland is home to one of the richest literary traditions in the English language – James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Elizabeth Bowen, W. B. Yeats, Seamus Heaney and Anne Enright are only some of its great novelists, poets and dramatists. Ireland is also site of a rich and complex history, which has inflected its culture over the course of the twentieth century. Take this opportunity to learn more about a literature and a society that continues to influence the world of writing to this day. This course coincides with the centenary of the Easter Rising, the great rebellion that is subject of Yeats's poem 'Easter, 1916', and the Battle of the Somme, both of which have come to represent very different traditions of the past in Ireland. Subsequently we will pay special attention to ideas of empire, independence and partition in our reading of Ireland and its troubles, north and south.
ENGL 4895 :WRITING ON THE WALL: GRAFFITI
Spring Semester 2016, Dr. Andrew Zawacki
This course will confront the terminology, semiology, erratic history, constantly changing social significance, fugitive literary appearances, and embattled artistic legitimacy of graffiti. We will begin by addressing the cave art of Southern France and the Old Testament’s prophetic “handwriting,” before wandering through the earliest codifications of graff in the mid-nineteenth century, its blatant identification with childishness and sexual deviance at the end of the Victorian period, its awkward and recalcitrant entrance into semi-official art in the Modernist period, and the controversial vitality that its aerosol iterations awakened on the trains in New York in the 1970s.
ENGL 4820: Literary Theory
Spring Semester 2016, T/TR 2 pm, Dr. Michelle Ballif
How do literary texts mean and what is at stake in any interpretation? In what way can textual interpretation be viewed as “turtles all the way down”? This course aims to provide a variety of answers to these questions by familiarizing students with the major theoretical movements within contemporary literary criticism that investigate all those layers of turtles and what they can possibly signify. Surveying the major schools of thought in the last 50 years or so, the course will culminate in the more pointed question: “so what?” What does it matter that texts (and textual readings) can be read in multiple ways, each way reinforcing particular ways of being, thinking, and relating to others? Lots of questions—lots of turtles.
ENGL 4695, South African Writing since 1945
Spring Semester 2016, Simon Gatrell
In 1994 Nelson Mandela was elected to lead the first post-Apartheid government of South Africa.
This class will concentrate on literature of the period just before and soon after this transformative event, but will also examine one or two texts that illuminate the Apartheid era, and some contemporary work.
ENGL 4640, Black Sounds Matter: Black Music in Modern and Contemporary Film
Spring Semester 2016, Ed Pavlić
This course surveys and explores the many roles that black music has played in US and world cinema. We’ll watch for the way the positioning of black music in films works formally within the works themselves, but we’ll also look closely at the politics implied (or even confessed) by such positioning in its historical era viewed from ours.
We’ll touch upon historical, classic Hollywood films that used black music and musicians in soundtracks and scores as well as feature films in which black musicians played character roles. We’ll examine how the depth and sophistication of black music’s role in film resonates with the social and political movements in each decade after WWII.
ENGL 4790, Poe: Mind and Cosmos
Spring Semester 2016, Doug Anderson
This class will focus on Edgar Allan Poe's short fiction, on his novel The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, on his 1848 cosmogony Eureka, and on two or three successors whose work reflects Poe's influence among contemporary artists. Students can expect to make one presentation to the class that traces the publication history and editorial changes in one Poe story, as it migrated from magazine to book form, and to write three essays exploring the interest of Poe's prose in close and attentive detail. As a break from what Poe once called the "intensities," we will mix our immersion in his fiction with books by Paul Auster, Yann Martel, and Joyce Carol Oates that reflect Poe's vital legacy.
English in Cortona, Italy
Offered Spring Semester
These active, writing-intensive courses are designed to complement the arts elements of the Cortona Program. The program invites applications from juniors and seniors, as well as from sophomores with solid credentials.
Taught by Dr. Tricia Lootens
Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor of English at UGA
Borrowers and Lenders
Borrowers and Lenders, winner of the CELJ Best New Journal Award in 2007, is a peer-reviewed, online, multimedia Shakespeare journal (http://www.borrowers.uga.edu). The journal is indexed in the MLA Bibliography, World Shakespeare Bibliography, and other databases.
General Editors: Christy Desmet and Sujata Iyengar, University of Georgia
Associate Editor: Robert Sawyer, East Tennessee State University
"Standing in Georgia, Writing to the World," Signature Lecture by Alice Walker
Alice Walker is a native of Eatonton, Georgia, and the first African American woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize. She is visiting UGA from Oct. 14-15 as the inaugural Delta Visiting Chair for Global Understanding. Her lecture is sponsored by the Willson Center for the Arts in partnership with the Institute for African American Studies. This event takes place in UGA Chapel and is free and open to the public. There will be another site, TBA, for audience members to view her talk streaming live. For more information, visit www.willson,uga.edu.
Information Session for Those Who Want to Break Into Publishing Park Hall Room 261
Please attend a "Careers in Publishing" panel discussion in Park Hall. Topics will include building your resume, breaking into publishing, and descriptions of the different facets of the field. The distinguished panel will include Jenny Gropp, Managing Editor of the Georgia Review; Jason Bennett, UGA Press Marketing Director; Walter Biggins, UGA Press Senior Acquisitions Editor; and Elizabeth Crowley, UGA Press Editorial Assistant. Free pizza will be served.
"A Conversation with Alice Walker"
PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL TICKETS FOR THE EVENT BELOW HAVE BEEN DISTRIBUTED:
Alice Walker, a native of Eatonton, Georgia, is the author of seven novels, including The Color Purple, Meridian, and The Third Life of Grange Copeland; books of poetry and essays; and seminal collections of short stories, You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down and In Love and Trouble, She is the first African American woman to earn the Pulitzer prize (for her novel The Color Purple), and she is UGA's first Delta Visiting Chair for Global Understanding. She will participate in an on-stage interview with Valerie Boyd, Associate Professor of Journalism in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. The program will take place at the historic Morton Theatre in downtown Athens, 195 W. Washington Street.
For more information on Walker’s visit, please see www.willson.uga.edu.
Akira Kurosawa Film Showing, Shakespeare Film Series
The Early Modern Union of Scholars presents Akira Kurosawa's Throne of Blood (1957) as part of the 400th Death-iversary Shakespeare Film Series. The film will be hosted in the second-floor auditorium at the Richard B. Russell Special Collections Library. Doors open at 6:00 PM.
FREE and open to the public.
Greetings, Park Hall alumni and friends!
Campus has a different look in early May, the presence of more parents than students (and the students conspicuous for their black gowns and mortarboard caps) announcing the end of another school year. On May 7th, we celebrated our undergraduate and graduate Class of 2015 in a ceremony that also highlighted annual awards for students and faculty.
The awards, both internal and external, are numerous, covering everything from research accomplishments to excellence in teaching. The Department of English has much to be proud of, but success in the classroom is surely at some kind of peak. At least that’s the impression I got earlier this year when I compiled the faculty reports of accomplishments for 2014. Reading the teaching evaluations of the faculty, I was reminded of the line in Garrison Keillor’s long-running radio broadcast, A Prairie Home Companion, about the fictional town of Lake Woebegone, “where all the children are above average.” But there’s nothing fictional about teaching in Park Hall, a place where it can truthfully be said that most of the professors are not just “above average,” but wayabove. Over the moon, out of the ballpark, however you want to put it.
Student comments are far more revealing than the numerical indicators (but the numbers are astounding in themselves: with 5 being a perfect score, I estimate that the department average is about 4.7). Comments say a lot about the different ways successful teaching makes an impact. Many students are impressed by the preparation their professors bring to the classroom, especially when it means the teacher is prepared to make discussion thrive. It’s easy, of course, for professors to come across as knowledgeable, but students value a certain generosity when it comes to dispensing it, making it accessible to them. Students also appreciate the personal touch, the consideration for their own needs and inclinations. Some professors are prized for the way they come across as fully rounded human beings — the way they impart a quality of “keeping it real,” as it’s sometimes put in the evaluations.
A familiar stereotype in the mass media portrays English professors as self-absorbed, bookish types, barely able to get through a day in the “real world,” aided only by their endearing cluelessness. It’s a stereotype that has distant roots in fact. Until the big boom in postwar education after the Second World War, being an English professor was generally a prerogative of the leisure class, a sinecure for unworldly souls disinclined (or unfit) to run the family business. Those days are long gone, and the typical professor today would be up to the task of selling cars, trading stocks, or strategizing troop movements. Student evaluations are vivid reminders that successful teachers don’t teach a subject; they begin with a subject and spiral out from there. Evaluations consistently acknowledge that impassioned professors inspire intellectual curiosity: they convey the sense that one thing leads to another and another and another, until you find you started with a sonnet and ended up, not on that “silent peak in Darien” imagined by a dreamy English youth, but somewhere else altogether — crossing a bridge into Birmingham from a contested start in Selma, coming to terms with the slaughter of French cartoonists, or discovering how mercantile trade routes established centuries ago set in motion the frantic world of globalized interconnectivity we now straddle.
What makes a great teacher? Dedication and practice help, along with commitment to the students. But I think the secret is that all good teachers are themselves students: lifelong learning is a deep instinct. That’s the gravitational force you feel in the classroom — when it becomes apparent that everyone’s in it together, learning and teaching and learning until, to paraphrase an Irish poet, there’s no distinguishing the dancer from the dance.
For more, please read the latest version of the Park Hall Monitor, the department's newsletter.
The Willson Center will welcome Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker to the University of Georgia as the inaugural Delta Visiting Chair for Global Understanding October 14-15, 2015.
Walker will hold public speaking events on and off the UGA campus, as well as participate in more personal interactions with students and faculty during her visit.
Elizabeth Kraft has co-edited with Jennifer Preston Wilson a volume in the prestigious MLA Approaches series which will be published in November 2015. Approaches to Teaching the Novels of Henry Fielding begins with a thorough introduction to the resources available for historical and biographical background, cultural contextualization, and critical heritage, and it includes essays on Fielding's fiction from Shamela to Amelia. The volume features essays from professors who teach in a variety of institutions and includes selections by current and former members of the University of Georgia English Department: Elizabeth Kraft on Tom Jones, Chloe Wigston Smith on Joseph Andrews, Leigh Dillard (MA 2002) on Hogarth and Fielding, and Jennifer Preston Wilson (PhD 2000) on Amelia.
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