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 4210 Old English Literature
Spring 2016 MWF 2:30-3:20 p.m. Jonathan Evans
The thing about Old English literature is this: it's old. So old, in fact, that students must have reading knowledge of the language in order to make any sense of the literary texts. But, unlike the prerequisite ENGL 4060, the focus of attention is not on Old English grammar per se but on the literary merits of prose and poetry written in English before the Norman Conquest.
Highlights include "Cædmon's Hymn," the earliest recorded poem in English, "The Battle of Maldon," and the elegiac "The Seafarer," later adapted -- badly -- by Ezra Pound.
Brittene igland is ehta hund mila lang and twa hund brad. And her sind on þis iglande fif geþeode: englisc and britisc and wilsc and scyttisc and pyhtisc and bocleden.
"The island of Britain is 800 miles long and 200 broad. And there are five languages in this island: English, British, Welsh, Scottish, Pictish, and Latin."
English 4821 Poetics: The Modern Pastoral
Spring 2016 MWF 11:15 a.m. Susan Rosenbaum
This course explores the aesthetics, history and politics of pastoral poetry with an emphasis on its modern uses. Mankind’s relationship to nature centers this longstanding tradition, and we will briefly survey its Classical origins and its transformations during the Renaissance and Romantic periods. This will prepare us to study the re-invention of pastoral during the late 19th and 20th centuries, as poets respond to industrialization, a shrinking wilderness, urbanization, scientific discoveries, and a growing environmental ethic. We will trace pastoral’s history in modern poetry with forays into its related appearance in modern drama, painting, music, and film.
ENGL 4642/4642L Films about the American South
Spring Semester 2016, Hugh Ruppersburg
In English 4642 we will consider a series of films (many of them iconic) about the American South and will seek to understand and appreciate them as examples of cinema, explore their perspectives on the history and culture of the South, and study their sources, especially literary sources. We will view at least one film a week. The class will meet on Tuesday and Thursday at 11:00 AM in 144 Park Hall. There will be a required viewing session each Monday, beginning at 3:35, in Miller Learning Center.
Possible films to be covered: Jezebel (1938); Intruder in the Dust (1949); Pinky (1949); A Streetcar Named Desire (1950); To Kill a Mockingbird (1962); In the Heat of the Night (1967); Deliverance (1972); Nashville (1977); Wise Blood (1979); O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000); Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006); The Help (2011); The Tree of Life (2011); Mud (2012); Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012); 12 Years a Slave (2013)
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.
ENGL4780, The Walking (un)Dead: American Indians as Zombies, Ghosts, and Ghouls in 20th century novels.
Spring 2016, LeAnne Howe
Wed. 2:30 p.m.
In this course we will read twentieth century novels by American Indian authors that feature the paranormal. Students will research the origins of American Indians as “human commodities,” as “blood thirty savages,” and as the “noble,” but vanishing savages. Some of the semester texts include, Almanac of the Dead, Riding the Trail of Tears, Ghost Singer: A Novel, Eye Killers, It Came from del Rio, and Transit of Empire. In addition we will analyze Native and non-native films, and have lively discussions focused on student research. Two term papers and weekly mini papers make up the bulk of the written work. The course is reading intensive and fun!
ENGL 4680, 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 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 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 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.
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
INFORMATIONAL MEETING: Literature and Plants of the Cherokee Landscape
ENGL 4860/8960 and LAND 4440/6440
Students in the course will travel from Athens, GA to Cherokee, NC and on to the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, following the Cherokees' historic route westward along the Trail of Tears. Along the way, you'll meet with Cherokee people, observe important landmarks along the Trail, and read Cherokee literature to learn about the role the environment played in traditional Cherokee life. You'll come to better understand the Cherokee relationship with the land, the cultural consequences of Indian Removal, and the ways that contemporary Cherokee people negotiate their tribal past for present-day healing. Students in previous years have met Cherokee writers, artists, and leaders, played stickball with the Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, toured a Cherokee language immersion school, attended a stomp dance, and much much more! This non-traditional course has no pre-requisites.
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.
Nine University of Georgia faculty members will hone their leadership skills and gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities confronting research universities as members of the inaugural class of the university's Women's Leadership Fellows Program.
Valerie Babb, director of the Institute of African-American Studies and Franklin Professor of English has been named one of the inaugural class of Women's Leadership Fellows at UGA. Her research focuses on African-American literature and culture, transatlantic studies, and constructions of race and gender. Her honors include serving as a scholar-in-residence at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, receiving the W.M. Keck Foundation Fellowship in American Studies and delivering the Distinguished W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture at Humboldt University in Germany.