Graduate Course Offerings


Spring 2015 registration begins November 14, 2014 (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 7215: Topics in Twentieth-Century American Literature: Harlem Renaissance in Black & White
Professor Carla Kaplan
3:30-5:59 W
Fulfills: Theories & Methods, 19th c., 20th c., WGSS

The Harlem Renaissance was a cultural explosion considered unprecedented even in its own day and notable as much for troubling paradoxes as for extraordinary productivity. On the one hand, Harlem was black America’s Mecca, “the symbol,” as Adam Clayton Powell Sr. put it, “of liberty and the Promised Land to Negroes everywhere” — the ideal, after decades of devastating racism, of black self-determination and self-definition; and the idea, entirely novel at the time, of eschewing white values and standards to, instead, embrace Blackness. And yet, the Harlem Renaissance was also thoroughly and complexly interracial: financially underwritten by many white philanthropists; promoted by white editors, publishers, gallery owners and theater producers; and deeply influenced – including in its black self-definitions – by a range of white writers, musicians, visual artists, actors, editors, publishers, political activists, and more. This interracialism – and its many attendant ironies and complexities – is deeply embedded into the fabric of Harlem Renaissance writing. But how successfully have literary historians accounted for this texture? For the Harlem Renaissance’s myriad ties to both modernism and realism? Applying a number of critical methods, from close reading to theories of intersectionality and periodization, we will read a range of Harlem Renaissance writers, including Langston Hughes, Nella Larsen, Jessie Fauset, James Weldon Johnson, W.E.B. DuBois, Claude McKay, Mary White Ovington, Nancy Cunard, Josephine Cogdell Schuyler, George Schuyler, Zora Neale Hurston, Wallace Thurman, Bruce Nugent, Countee Cullen, Carl Van Vechten, and others, to re-consider this perennially fascinating period and, at the same time, inquire critically into how it has fascinated us, and why. Taking advantage of Boston’s excellent resources for archival work in this period, students will be encouraged to build an archival component – of some sort – into their final projects, as well as to use final projects to advance and explore specific critical methods and theories.

ENGL 7351: Topics in Literary Studies: Opening the Archive
Professor Marina Leslie
3:30-5:59 Tu
Fulfills: Theories & Methods

This course showcases the rich archival holdings of print materials in the greater Boston area to offer training in the materials, methods, and theories of primary source research. We will visit some of the remarkable research institutions we have here in the Boston area, including the Boston Public Library Rare Book Room, The Massachusetts Historical Society, and Harvard’s Houghton Library, in order to become more familiar with their unique collections and particular protocols. In class we will examine the complex traffic between self-consciously literary texts and other artifacts drawn from print culture along multiple trajectories: One will follow the uses and transformations of source material in Shakespeare’s most “contemporary” play, The Tempest.  Another will track the reinventions and transformations of The Tempest by William Davenant and John Dryden, Aimé Césaire, Roberto Fernández Retamar, Peter Greenaway, and others, to assess how adaptations negotiate their complex literary legacies with (and/or against) the multivalent historical, political, and aesthetic contexts of their own productions.  A third will seek to incorporate theories of the archive from Derrida, Foucault, Natalie Zemon Davis, Diana Taylor, Carol Steedman, Ann Laura Stoler, Craig Robertson, and others to dramatize the range of definitions and descriptions that attach to the term “archive” and to enable students to theorize their own research practices. Grades will be based on a series of research-based exercises that we will workshop in class and a final research grant proposal on a topic of your choice related to your own research agenda.

ENGL 7360: Topics in Rhetoric: Rhetorical Education
Professor Beth Britt
3:30-5:59 Th
Fulfills: Rhetoric and Composition

Rhetoric has been a cornerstone of education for much of Western history. Although the scope and definitions of rhetoric have shifted over the centuries, most formal schooling has included instruction in this powerful art. This course will focus primarily on rhetorical education as training in the art of civic discourse, a central feature of the traditions of ancient Athens and Rome that has received intense attention from contemporary scholars. We will examine key moments in classical Greece, Renaissance Europe, 18th century Britain, and 19th and 20th century America. For each historical moment, we will ask these questions: Where does rhetorical education occur? Who participates and for what ends? What is taught and learned? What are the practices of teaching and learning? What are the claims of rhetorical education? Along the way, we will examine not only formal sites of rhetorical education but also informal or alternative sites, especially as locations for women and members of other marginalized groups to create new forms of both rhetoric and rhetorical education. We will read theoretical treatises as well as contemporary research on the sites and methods of rhetorical education from the classical world to the present. Assignments will include a presentation, several short papers, and a project designed according to individual student interests.

ENGL 7392: Writing and the Teaching of Writing
Professor Neal Lerner
3:30-5:59 M
Fulfills: Rhetoric and Composition

ENGL 7392—Writing and the Teaching of Writing is intended to provide Northeastern English Department graduate students with disciplinary and professional preparation to teach composition and other writing-intensive courses. Students will acquire a strong grounding in the theory and practice of composition-rhetoric at the university level. The course includes reading and writing on four key intellectual areas in the study and teaching of college writing—multilingual writers, multimodal composing, community engagement, writing across the curriculum—as well as extensive practical coverage of issues germane to our work in the writing classroom. Students will develop syllabi and assignments for First-Year Writing, explore a range of teaching strategies, develop and articulate their teaching philosophy, and learn how to represent and document the intellectual work of teaching writing in a teaching portfolio (paper or electronic). Overall, course materials, discussion, and assignments are intended for students to deepen their understanding of composition-rhetoric theory and practice, and to develop the materials and intellectual framework they will need to teach First-Year Writing and Advanced Writing in the Disciplines at Northeastern and elsewhere. Note: Required of first-year PhD students. Open to MA students; however, because of limited seats available, priority is for second-year MA students. Fulfills elective requirement for MA.

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.


ENGL 5103: Proseminar

Professor Kathleen Kelly
Fulfills: Core enrollment for all incoming graduate students

This course provides an introduction to the field of English Studies for all graduate students entering the master’s or doctoral program. In the first part of the course, we’ll read A. S. Byatt’s Angels and Insects as a way to ground our discussions on the history, culture, and current scholarly theories and practices of the discipline. At the same time, you will have opportunities to pursue small independent projects, such as writing an abstract for a conference and practicing the formal oral delivery of a paper; revisiting your writing sample submitted with your graduate school application and perhaps revising it for a conference or publication; and/or writing a book review. Finally, we’ll collaborate on a project for a colloquium that will be sponsored by the Humanities Center in Spring 2015, titled “Green City Spaces: Design + History + Literature.” Working within your areas of interest, we’ll create a portfolio of passages drawn from writers who have written about parks and other green urban spaces—as, for example, Chaucer did when describing January’s walled garden, or Virginia Woolf when she wrote about Regent Park, London, or Ralph Waldo Emerson in his praise of the River Charles.

ENGL 7275: Milton
Professor Francis Blessington
Fulfills: 17th Century/Restoration/18th Century

After readings in Milton’s minor poems, a seminar in Paradise Lost. Emphasis upon writing literary criticism and participating in the critical dialogue. Many writers and critics have begun by studying Milton. Techniques of analyzing and understanding poetry.

ENGL 7292: Romantic Poetry
Professor Stuart Peterfreund
Fulfills: 19th Century/20th Century

The Romantic Era (ca. 1789-ca. 1832) is usually thought to mark the beginning of the chain of events that transformed England from a traditional European monarchy into the nation-state that we know today. But this transformation made for a turbulent era of revolution and reform, an era of the confirmation of England’s role as a globally influential industrial and colonial power, and an era of the contestation of individual and class status—a period in which the one abiding constant was dynamic social and political, as well as artistic, change.

This history provides a backdrop for the course, which is, for the most part, a guided discussion of the poetry of this era and some of the literary criticism as well as they engage the social and political issues of the day. We will read the six canonical male poets of the era, and several of the women poets as well. The approach is eclectic and is intended to survey the poetry of the period from multiple perspectives.  Students are welcome to approach the primary materials under consideration from the standpoint of the critical/theoretical perspective(s) apposite to the material. Students will do two in-class presentations and a research paper.

ENGL 7358: Topics in Literature and Other Disciplines: Sonnets & Skulls: Early Modern Literature & Visual/Material Cultures
Professor Erika Boeckeler
Fulfills: Medieval/Renaissance

How do literary forms influence material forms, and how do material forms influence literary forms? This delicious chiasmus foregrounds our inquiry into how writing and its media collide in such a way as to alter them both. Early modern readers and non-readers encountered writing and its products ever more frequently, with new reading publics and a printing press that augmented a sensitivity to writing by increasing the number of letters in the world. The same might be said for objects, with a flood of new, exotic products entering England in this age of exploration. Paper, and especially books, are not the most obvious writing surfaces to early moderns. We’ll consider how writing unlocks unexamined properties of objects, and objects unlock unexamined properties of writing, and how particular social contexts manipulate those unlocked properties. We’ll read closely writing that appears on architecture, jewelry, clothing, sculpture, items for everyday household use, trees, typography/woodcuts/engraved plates, crosses, the body, and, yes, skulls. We’ll also think about literary writing, both in its visual and generic forms more generally (e.g. the manuscript or printed sonnet, the playtext, the pattern or concrete poem) and in content, particularly pieces that engage with the material world in order to think through and with it (e.g. Spenser’s sonnet about writing on sand, King Henry VIII’s love letters to Anne Boleyn, George Herbert’s The Temple).

ENGL 7370: Topics in Digital Humanities: Texts, Maps, Networks: Digital Literary Studies
Professor Ryan Cordell
Fulfills: Theories and Methods

Humanities scholars have long studied texts, but in recent years new technologies have greatly expanded how those texts can be explored, both in research and the classroom. One can discuss a book, a chapter, a line, or a single word: or one can model patterns across entire corpora. In “Texts, Maps, Networks,” we will investigate both the affordances and potential pitfalls of digital humanities (DH) methodologies, attending most closely to the recent “spatial turn” that foregrounds questions of space and place. Our class sessions will balance theory and praxis, moving between discussion of readings and humanities labs. Through our readings we will explore questions such as:

ENGL 7395: Topics in Writing: Genres and Identities in Action
Professor Mya Poe
Fulfills: Rhetoric and Composition

Throughout the academy, writing is everywhere. For that matter, much more writing is taught, performed, and assessed outside of English departments than in English departments. While we tend to think of writing done in the disciplines as rhetorically flat, apolitical, and perfunctory, writing in the disciplines is actually complex, deeply embedded in communicative social structures, and highly political. It is about performing identity through discourse, genre, and activity. This course explores cutting-edge research on writing in the disciplines with a strong emphasis on rhetorical genre theory. Topics include the history of writing in the disciplines, genre theory and action, international theories on writing in the disciplines, and questions of transfer and expertise.

WGSS Certificate Courses

WMNS 6100: Theorizing Gender and Sexuality
Professor Carla Kaplan
Fulfills: Theories and Methods, WGSS

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.

Course Offerings Archive (PDF)

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