ENGL601 - Literary Research and Critical Contexts

This course will introduce students to different elements of graduate work and will explore what it means to get a doctoral degree in the Department of English. Through a variety of readings on literary theory, criticism, and writing--most selected by guest faculty--we will consider a range of methodological approaches to working in the fields of English, Comparative Literature, American Studies, and Rhetoric & Composition. However, our primary goal will be to develop a scholarly “toolkit” by focusing on and fine-tuning a specific set of skills: (1) determining what it means to gain research expertise in a chosen field, (2) learning the protocols for and conventions of academic writing, (3) practicing professional collaboration, (4) understanding the conversations around diversity within institutional settings, and (5) building community among the members of the cohort. We will also discuss the academic trajectory and professional issues that will affect your life after the PhD in terms of the kinds of careers, in and out of academia, you might consider, as well as the future of higher education. These discussions will introduce you to the expectations and norms of pursuing academic work at the graduate and professional levels. The course is about outcomes, concepts, and tools rather than a particular content area or methodological practice.