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Department of English
Draft description of the graduate courses for Fall 2017-2018

ENGL 301A: Int to Biblio&Meth of resch:li
Professor Adam Waterman
This course is designed to prepare students for advanced graduate research in literary and cultural studies. Students will become familiar with bibliographic research methods, as well as multiple approaches to textual analysis and interpretation. Text, for our purposes, should be understood to encompass a wide array of signifying practices, from literature, to cinema, television, music, architecture, fashion, and games, as well as a myriad of less conspicuous cultural practices by which we give shape to meaning. While students will develop a nuanced understanding of the history of literature, as well as historical specificity of literature with respect to other cultural forms, this broad definition of the textual is meant to expand the range of literary and cultural forms you might engage in your own research, the number of sources you choose to explore, and the types of questions you know to ask. Drawing upon cultural theory and literary criticism, as well as practical models for research in literary studies, we will work together to elucidate not just how one conducts research, but how we—as students of literature and culture—craft compelling research agendas.


ENGL 301B: Int. Bibliog.& Research Method
Professor Lina Choueiri
The course is a practical introduction to some of the main methods used in current research in language studies. We consider how different methods are suited to particular contexts, research goals and types of data. We study and evaluate a variety of published studies, using them to reflect on what constitutes “good” research in the field. We also explore some of the written genres commonly used when doing research, including study abstracts, research proposals and bibliographies. Tools and systems for carrying out literature reviews and managing references and research data are introduced for review and use, along with basic statistical concepts relevant to language-‐focused research. We also discuss ethical aspects of the research process.
By the end of this course, you should be able to recognise the scope and nature of research in language studies; compare and contrast characteristics of a range of quantitative and qualitative research methods used in the field; discuss ethical, administrative and organisational issues relating to research; discuss and provide relevant critique of published research studies in the field; formulate a set of focussed, testable research questions and determine suitable research methods to respond to them; prepare appropriate texts using genre conventions followed by researchers in language studies, e.g., for research abstract, bibliography, literature review; select a stimulating, worthwhile and manageable research topic for an MA thesis.


ENGL 303N: Paradise Lost through History
Professor David A Currell
This seminar addresses John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost as an entry into the study of English Renaissance literature, of poetry more broadly, and of wider cultures of intertextuality. The title “Paradise Lost through History” is intended to capture two senses of the expression “through history” that will actuate the work of this seminar:

(1) An approach to the poem in its historical context, with attention to the aesthetic, social, political, and religious conditions that obtained during the life of John Milton and the period of his work on Paradise Lost. This critical orientation is broadly labeled historicist.

(2) An interest in the question: How has Paradise Lost (which synthesizes, alludes to, or rewrites so many prior texts, from the Bible and the Homeric poems to Ariosto and Shakespeare) become an inspiration or ingredient in temporally and geographically diverse acts of reading and of artistic creation? This critical approach is broadly labeled reception studies.

The twin focus will be achieved by balancing the reading and explication of the text at the highest possible level of studious care with research into its reception history. Although concentrating on a single text, that text’s embeddedness in webs of literary practice and complex temporal and spatial relations is treated as paradigmatic of literary studies more broadly. Thus some of the specific questions that will arise—What kinds of meaning does the poem afford its readers, and how are these meanings made? Who has been moved to reread, rewrite, translate, or remake Paradise Lost and why?—will also open onto theoretical questions applicable to the study of literary history and the history of reading in general.

ENGL 309C (former 325) Contemporary Multilingual Lebanese Literature
Professor Syrine Hout
This course explores numerous post-war Lebanese novels and short stories – originally written in English, Arabic, and French – by a group of male and female writers from Lebanon. While the older ones have witnessed at least some major atrocities of the Lebanese Civil War (1975–90) during their formative years (childhood and adolescence), the younger ones grapple with the harrowing experience of the July 2006 War. Readings include narratives by Rabih Alameddine, Rawi Hage, Karim Dimechkie, Nada Awar Jarrar, Patricia Sarrafian Ward, Alexandra Chreiteh, Hilal Chouman, Sahar Mandour, and others. These texts will be read in parallel to literary-historical, theoretical as well as text-specific critical essays. This emergent body of mostly award-winning literature, a large part of which is produced in the Lebanese diaspora, addresses many interrelated themes, such as exile, memory, homeland, nostalgia, nationalism, trauma, sexuality, militarization of the youth, personal versus collective identity, socio-economic class, gender and power relations, religion and sectarianism, political conflict and war. In addition to discussing these issues, some of the larger questions to be explored in class will revolve around the following aspects of hybrid/transnational literature: the role of language, code-switching, place of production, reception, translation, circulation, and many others. For a somewhat fuller and comparative picture of wars (the civil war and the July 2006 War) and their repercussions as portrayed in another medium, two movies – a fictional film and a docudrama  – will be screened.


ENGL 313A ST:The Nahda Bible Translation
Professor Rana H Issa
(more details will be posted soon)


ENGL 327 Sociolinguistics
Professor Arthur Michael Vermy

Language is the main medium through which human beings communicate with each other.  By putting language to use, we accomplish things and we achieve social and intellectual satisfaction.  Forms of language used reflect social identity, mirror the situation in which communication happens, and influence social structures.  Thus, sociolinguistics is, in the broadest sense, the study of the role of language in human society. We will approach this with the assumption that language variation is not random, but structured and emblematic, and that all language change is preceded by a period of variation, short or very long.  The relationships between language and society form the object of study in this course.  The purpose of this course is to investigate how language is used in social interactions due to a myriad of factors such as language ideologies, multilingualism, social class and gender, among others.

On completion of this course, students will be able to examine the scope of sociolinguistics and its relationship to other linguistic sub-disciplines and other academic fields; critique traditional sociolinguistic theory and methods; assess a variety of major case studies which underlie our understanding of how language functions in the community; execute field methods, data gathering and analysis; hypothesize how religion, nationalism, gender, ethnicity and/or sexuality influence language usage; appraise  how language attitudes and ideologies shape language use.


ENGL 345: Language Acquisition
Professor Kassim Shaaban

The course will address the following major topics: universals of language acquisition; stages in language acquisition/learning; theories and models of second language acquisition/learning; learning styles and individual differences in second language acquisition/learning; Interlanguage, field research in language acquisition/learning; factors affecting language development in children and adults; and discourse analysis and second language acquisition. Implications for language teaching will also be addressed.

This course introduces students to the study and research of first and second language acquisition/learning and to provide them with training in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of representative learner language data in first and second language contexts. In addition to becoming familiar with the major theoretical issues and research data on language acquisition, students will become familiar with the key concepts that inform the study of first and second language acquisition through the review of relevant literature on these topics. Finally, the course will allow students to develop their own research projects that draw on language acquisition theory and research and involve field work. By the end of the semester, students are expected to be able to explain the nature of the process of acquisition/learning; identify and analyze the major factors that affect the process; review, explore, and critique the current heories, issues, and trends in the field; describe processes involved in language acquisition; explain the difference between first and second language acquisition; identify and explain universals of language acquisition in all structural and functional aspects of language; define and illustrate various types of bilingualism; explain the role of motivation and other socio-cultural factors in language cquisition;collect, transcribe, analyze, and interpret first/second language acquisition data; and compare and discuss their research findings in relation to related literature.




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