Spring 2018 Courses: Senior Seminars

ENG 4973.001 Coming to America: Immigration in Fiction and Film

Instructor: Bonnie Lyons
Class Time: Mondays 1:00-3:45pm
Class Location: MB 2.456

Course Description
America is and always has been a nation of immigrants. Many recent novels and films focus on this theme in interesting and diverse ways. In this class we will study a variety of novels, such as Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake, and films, such as The Visitor to pursue this rich theme. We will alternate fiction and films, and the class requirements will include weekly outline or mini-papers, one oral presentation, and a seminar paper. Class will include lecture but stress discussion.

ENG 4973.002 Rhetorical Science Studies

Instructor: Kenneth Walker
Class Time: Thursdays 12:30-3:00pm
Class Location: MB 2.316

Course Description This senior seminar explores contemporary rhetorical theory as it is applied to the transdisciplinary field of science and technology studies (STS). Rhetoric is the art of public and political communication while STS is the study of how social, political, and cultural practices shape scientific research and technological innovation. Together rhetorical science studies emphasize areas of scholarly work such as:

  • race, gender, and women's studies of technoscience;
  • new media and participatory cultures in technoscience;
  • social studies of scientific imaging and visualization;
  • postcolonial studies of technoscience;
  • technoscience in environmental and medical humanities

Using these theories, we will develop a mixed-methodological approach to inquire into the material and digital communications in contemporary professional and community contexts. To ground these theories in specific cases, each student will choose to study a single organization or community and engage in rhetorical analysis along with field work. The course will model this inquiry into rhetorical science studies through specific case studies in San Antonio. Students can expect to: (a) read deeply in the transdisciplinary literature on rhetorical science studies; (b) select community/organizational sites for application of rhetorical and cultural theory, and (c) build a semester-long research project and writing sample through proposals, research protocols, network visualizations, and research-based academic writing to advance student’s professional goals.


  • Participation ~20%
  • Midterm ~15%
  • Research Project ~50%
  • Final Exam and Reflection ~15%

Required Texts

  • Hackett, E., et. al., (2008). The Handbook of Science and Technology Studies. 3rd Ed. Boston, MA: MIT Press.
  • Booher, A. & Jung, J. (2018). Feminist Rhetorical Science Studies: Human Bodies, Posthumanist Worlds.
  • Spinuzzi, C. (2013). Topsight: A Guide to Studying, Diagnosing, and Fixing Information Flow in Organizations

ENG 4973.003 Courtly Love in the Middle Ages

Instructor: Kimberly Fonzo
Class Time: Tuesdays 1:00-3:45pm
Class Location: TBA

Course Description
This course will explore depictions of romantic relationships in a wide range of European literary genres spanning from the twelfth to fifteenth centuries. We’ll read chivalric romances of knights in shining armor, lais in which magic intervenes in love, real life secret love letters, manuals for love based on social class, raunchy romantic allegories, and medieval feminist critiques of the courtly love tradition. Through the always compelling conventions of courtly love, we will explore some of the major social and historical issues of the later Middle Ages. Furthermore, we will examine how romantic assumptions and ideals of the present day were shaped by medieval ideals.

ENG 4973.004 Modern European Novel

Instructor: Steven G. Kellman
Class Time: Thursdays 1:00-3:45pm
Class Location: MB 2.404

Course Description
"National literature no longer means much these days; we are entering the era of Weltliteratur and it is up to each of us to hasten this development."
--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
--Somerset Maugham

The stupidity of people comes from having an answer for everything. The wisdom of the novel comes from having a question for everything.
--Milan Kundera

The wisdom of this senior seminar will come from posing some fundamental literary questions, including: What is "modern"? What is "European"? And what is a "novel"? The class will examine some of the more memorable fictions produced in the area east of the Atlantic and west of the Urals during the last hundred years. Works will be studied as an expression of individual sensibility and within the contexts of national and international cultures. The course focuses on novels that question the very nature of fiction, as well as those that probe the meaning of private and social experience in successive decades of the twentieth century. Studying eight novels from eight countries, we will encounter indelible stories and unavoidable questions about the curious art of storytelling, in a smorgasbord of nationalities (Czech, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Russian, Swedish). Not for the dyspeptic, this seminar, which includes quizzes, papers, class presentations, and exams, is for those with an appetite for the piquant variety of modern European fiction.

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