Graduate Courses: Fall 2015

ENG 431 | Topics in Advanced Communications

Scientific Controversies
Scott Graham
Section 1 | R, 5:30 p.m. – 8:10 p.m.

Climate change, GMO foods, evolution, stem cell research, contrails, nuclear power, MMR vaccines, pesticide policy, big pharma, sociobiology, and ulcers: all issues that are subject to controversy. But what kind of controversy? Is the question of how to ethically conduct stem cell research the same kind of controversy as anthropogenic climate change? What are the differences between controversies within the scientific community and public controversies about scientific issues? How and when should scientists intervene in public discourse? How should a modern democracy deal with questions of scientific controversy?

Students in ENG 431 will explore and address these questions through engagement with a series of case studies on hot-button topics relating to science and public policy. They will explore the circulation of these controversies in a wide variety of scientific and popular media ranging from prominent scientific journals and outreach efforts by scientific educators to major world newspapers and parody news professionals.

For more information, contact Scott Graham at

ENG 622 | Seminar in Irish Literature

Theatre from Yeats to McDonagh
José Lanters
Section 1 | T, 3:30 p.m. – 6:10 p.m.

In the early years of the Irish Revival period at the beginning of the twentieth century, the Abbey Theatre produced great playwrights like J.M. Synge and Sean O’Casey, but by mid-century, a variety of cultural and political forced had conspired to remove most of the excitement from Irish drama. In the 1960s, as the cultural and political climate began to change, younger playwrights like Brian Friel and Tom Murphy moved Irish theatre out of the doldrums with works that were emotionally complex, theatrically engaging, and thematically relevant to what was happening in Irish society.

Beginning with the “grand old men” (and some women) of the Abbey Theatre, this course will explore a number of the most successful, challenging, and, at times, controversial playwrights who followed in their wake. In addition to discussing the relationship between form and content of the plays, and paying attention to aspects of their production in the theatre, we will place them in their cultural, historical, and critical context with the aid of supplementary reading materials in a course packet.

Reading list:

  • Patrick Lonergan, ed. Contemporary Irish Plays (Bloomsbury Methuen).
  • Patrick Lonergan, ed. The Methuen Drama Anthology of Irish Plays (Methuen Drama).
  • John P. Harrington, ed., Modern and Contemporary Irish Drama (W.W. Norton).

For more information, contact José Lanters at

ENG 819 | Project in Creative Writing

Visiting Writers
Brenda Cardenas
Section 1 | Course meets face-to-face and online. Face-to-face meetings with be scheduled so that all registered students may attend.

This one-credit course, which is linked to both the Creative Writing Program’s Visiting Writer Series and the greater Milwaukee area’s literary life, explores creative writers’ craft, process, and presentation of their work. To this end, students will read, discuss, and write a critical essay regarding two of the visiting writer’s most recent books to be supplemented by his/her interviews, craft essays, any available criticism regarding the work, and/or other materials related to the work. This Fall’s visiting writer will be poet, essayist, editor and publisher Carmen Gimenez Smith. Students will also attend Gimenez Smith’s reading and craft talk, participate in two workshop sessions (one led by Gimenez Smith) regarding class members’ original creative work, and attend readings by three other established writers or poets.

There will be three face-to-face meetings in addition to Gimenez Smith’s reading and publishing talk. These meetings will be scheduled so that all registered students may attend. Additional course business will be conducted online.

Required texts:

  • Gimenez Smith, Carmen. Milk and Filth. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2013. ISBN-10: 0816521166; ISBN-13: 978-0816521166.
  • Gimenez Smith, Carmen. Bring Down the Little Birds: On Mothering, Art, Work and Everything Else. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2010. ISBN-10: 0816528691; ISBN-13: 978-0816528691. These books will be available at the UWM Bookstore and Woodland Pattern Book Center, 720 E. Locust St., Milwaukee, WI 53212. Ph: 414-263-5011.
  • Interviews, book reviews, essays posted as internet links or PDFs in the Content area on our course D2L site. Please print and bring them to our first class meeting.
  • Student manuscripts for two workshop sessions. Please print and bring them to class for the workshop sessions.

For more information, contact Brenda Cardenas at

ENG 854 | Seminar in College Composition, Theory and Pedagogy

Satisfactions and Sorrows of Writing Program Admin
Section 1 | Charles Schuster

Would you like to know how the department, the College, and the University works? This course is intended to situate you within the discipline of English Studies in relation to the administrative, bureaucratic, budgetary, political, ideological world of university decision making.

During the course of the semester, students will examine issues, topics, and debates including how English departments make decisions (about hiring, curriculum, the major, etc.); how they function within the wider world of the college and university; how English graduate students become faculty; how English assistant professors become English full professors; the nature of academic publishing; how and why professors become deans; how curricular proposals get vetted; how budgets get shaped and reshaped; how college and university priorities affect instruction—that is, precisely those kinds of policies and practices that matter a great deal but are invisible to many graduate students and faculty.

During the semester, students will consider (depending on interest and what’s happening at UWM and nationally) the nature of English departments, the history and ideology of first-year composition, writing program administration, literature vs. composition, programmatic planning, negotiating with the dean, the rhetoric of the job application process/faculty search, the role of the associate dean, academic publishing, and building for yourself a professional portfolio.

Some class sessions will have some guest speakers, and much of our work will be centered on discussion spurred by the readings. This course will work as a 15-week extended workshop in which students will write in various modes and forms. Students may also do some role playing and attend some College and University meetings to get a taste of what it means to participate in UWM beyond simply teaching and doing individual research. There may also be a field trip to a nearby institution.

Of course, as in any graduate seminar, there will be reading assignments. Some of the readings will be handed out in class or made available online. So far, there are four required books:

  • Diana George, Kitchen Cooks, Plate Twirlers and Troubadours, Heinemann-Boynton/Cook
  • Julie Schumacher, Dear Committee Members, Doubleday
  • Richard Russo, Straight Man,Vintage
  • Sharon Crowley, Composition in the University, U. Pittsburgh Press

All books should be available at UWM Bookstore. Students will read a sizable chunk of these for class discussions.