New Mexico Courses, Summer 2015


Group 1 (Writing, Pedagogy, and Literacy)

7000a   Poetry Workshop/S. Ortiz/M, W 2–5:00
Speaking, telling, conveying, writing are all voice in the immediate here and now, which is where and when we're really most present. Poetry from deep within the self and one’s connection/relationship to the world-universe is fact; our resource is ourself personally and socially. Writing as expression is voice from within that joins with voice outside the self. We have experience with self-expression by speaking, conversing, dialoging, shouting, laughing, and cursing, so we’ll put that self-expression into written poetic voice. Weekly assignments will be expected, culminating in a 25-page manuscript by the end of the summer session.

Texts: Natalie Diaz, When My Brother Was an Aztec (Copper Canyon); Sherman Alexie, War Dances (Grove); Mark Turcotte, Exploding Chippewas (Triquarterly); Simon J. Ortiz, Out There Somewhere (Arizona); Esther Belin, From the Belly of My Beauty (Arizona); James Welch, Riding the Earthboy 40 (Penguin).


7006a   Creative Nonfiction/A. Castillo/T, Th 9-11:45

In this introduction to nonfiction (also called narrative, or creative, nonfiction), we will read and discuss the work of published writers representing a range of nonfiction writing, including personal essays, memoir, and journalism. The main text for the class, however, will be the student writing discussed in the workshops. Each student will write three essays over the term, progressing from a personal essay to more complex assignments involving interviews and research. We will also write short, in-class exercises designed to hone writing skills and inspire new work. (The reading list will be made available to enrolled students before the summer session.)


7117   Rhetoric’s Power: Digital and Print/C. Glenn/M, W 9-11:45

Whether written, spoken, embodied, visually or digitally represented, rhetoric holds power and with that power, great possibility. When we put rhetoric to work, then, we work to transform misunderstandings, inexperience, illiteracy, unjust systems and/or unrealized ideals into meaningful experiences for our individual selves, our community, or others. For millennia, human beings have used all the rhetorical means at their disposal to do just that (see In Rhetoric’s Power, we will explore the pedagogical, political, social, literary, and marketing power of such influential rhetors as Lynda Barry (, Alison Bechdel (, and Matt Kish ( Students will read across genres and media, gleaning ideas from various authors as they develop expertise for their own roles as rhetors, citizens, and teachers. In addition to exploring and discussing these texts, composing short print and online essays, and developing an experimental (multimedia) project, each student will demonstrate an online site or tool to the rest of us as well as participate in the “idea exchange” for translating a course concept into classroom, extracurricular, or community engagement. Our seminar may even deliver an event to the entire campus. In other words, ours will be both a seminar and a workshop. Please come to the first class having already read Bird by Bird.

Texts:  Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird (Anchor); Lynda Barry, One Hundred Demons (Sasquatch); Tom Standage, Writing on the Wall: Social Media—The First 2,000 Years (Bloomsbury); Alison Bechdel, Are You My Mother? (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt); Henry Jenkins et al., Reading in a Participatory Culture (Teachers College); Matt Kish, Moby Dick in Pictures (Tin House); Danah Boyd, It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens (Yale); Matt Dembicki, Trickster: Native American Tales: A Graphic Collection (Fulcrum); Jimmy Santiago Baca, A Place to Stand (Grove).


7123   Youth Cultures, Literacies, and Educational Justice/D. Paris/M, W 2-4:45
A movement is underway to critically situate language and literacy learning in the lives of youth and their communities. This movement is particularly strong in justice work with youth of color and other young people marginalized by systemic inequalities. At the center of this movement is an increasing understanding of the powerful oral and written communication many young people engage in through their participation in youth cultures (e.g., multiple languages, spoken word poetry, digital literacies and social media, rap, graffiti). An examination of youth cultural practices will necessarily include a study of race, class, gender, sexuality, language, and identities as they are lived through literacies by youth and their communities. Our reading, viewing, and listening will provide a foundation to explore the growing body of scholarship on joining youth cultures in critical classroom learning at the intersections of language, literacy, power, and justice.

Texts: Geneva Smitherman, Word from the Mother: Language and African Americans (Routledge); Marc Lamont Hill, Beats, Rhymes, and Classroom Life: Hip Hop Pedagogy and the Politics of Identity (Teachers College); Elizabeth Soep and Vivian Chavez, Drop That Knowledge: Youth Radio Stories (University of California); Django Paris, Language Across Difference: Ethnicity, Communication, and Youth Identities in Changing Urban Schools (Cambridge); Mollie Blackburn, Interrupting Hate: Homophobia in Schools and What Literacy Can Do About It (Teachers College); Leisy Wyman, Teresa McCarty, and Sheilah Nicholas, Indigenous Youth and Multilingualism (Routledge).


Group 2 (British Literature through the Seventeenth Century)

7205   King Arthur: Chivalric Romance, Chrétien to Malory/L. Engle/T, Th 2-4:45

An introduction to medieval romance narrative. We will read European Arthurian romances from Chrétien de Troyes and Marie de France through Sir Thomas Malory, including Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (all in modern translation). We will also read Chaucer's chivalric romances and parodies thereof from The Canterbury Tales in Middle English, with attention to reading Middle English aloud and teaching it. Along with a teaching segment, a weekly note, and frequent in-class exercises, students will write a shorter and a longer paper. (Students who have previously taken 7909 should not enroll in this course. This course may be taken for either Group 2 or Group 5 credit.)

Texts:  Chrétien de Troyes, Arthurian Romances, ed. Kibler (Penguin), “Erec and Enide,” “Cligés,” “Knight with the Lion,” “Knight of the Cart”; Marie de France, The Lais of Marie de France, ed. Burgess (Penguin); Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, trans. Marie Borroff, ed. Marie Borroff and Laura Howes (Norton); Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, ed. Jill Mann (Penguin; original spelling Middle English ed.) (We will focus on the General Prologue and the Knight’s, Miller’s, Wife of Bath’s, Clerk’s, Merchant’s, and Franklin’s Prologues and Tales; we may also read Man of Law’s and Chaucer’s Tale of Sir Thopas.); Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte D'Arthur: The Winchester Manuscript, ed. Helen Cooper (Oxford).


7261   Shakespeare across Media/B. Smith/M, W 9-11:45

When Ben Jonson declared in a poem prefaced to the 1623 first folio of Shakespeare’s plays, “He was not of an age, but for all time,” Jonson couldn’t have foreseen that Shakespeare would live on not just in the eyes, ears, and imaginations of readers but in performances in media unknown in England at the time: opera, ballet, cinema, and YouTube. This course will take Jonson’s cue and read closely a representative selection of Master William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies, as the first folio is entitled, but also survey the transformation of some of Shakespeare’s plays into opera (Verdi’s Othello and Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream), ballet (Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet and John Cranko’s The Taming of the Shrew), cinema (Derek Jarman’s The Tempest and Peter Greenaway’s Prospero’s Books), and YouTube videos available on the BardBox and BardBox 2 channels curated by Luke McKernan, Lead Curator of News and the Moving Image at the British Library. Participants in the course will be asked to prepare one short response paper to a play, a short review of one of the video performances (or a live one, if the opportunity arises in Santa Fe), and a final paper that traces a single issue or theme across at least two of the media.

Recommended text: William Shakespeare, The Bedford Shakespeare, ed. Russ McDonald and Lena Orlin (Macmillan).


7290   Teaching, Reading (and Enjoying) Poetry/B. Smith/T, Th 9–11:45

Anyone who likes music ought to like poetry; yet students (and sometimes, secretly, their teachers) often approach poetry with anxiety, if not downright hostility. This course is designed to change such attitudes. We will begin by locating sound and rhythm in the body. Grounding ourselves in those physiological sensations, we will proceed, period by period, to read, discuss, and enjoy some of the English language’s greatest designs on our bodies and imaginations. Participants in the seminar will be asked to carry out three writing projects: an essay in criticism, a plan for teaching one or more of the poems, and some poetry of their own devising. (This course may be taken for either Group 2 or Group 3 credit.)

Texts:The Norton Anthology of Poetry, shorter 5th ed., ed. Margaret Ferguson (Norton).


Group 3 (British Literature since the Seventeenth Century)

7290   Teaching, Reading (and Enjoying) Poetry/B. Smith/T, Th 9–11:45

See the description under Group 2 offerings. This course may be taken for either Group 2 or Group 3 credit.


7390   The Essay and Its Vicissitudes/J. Nunokawa/M, W 2–4:45

This course will introduce students to the range of the essay form as it has developed from the early modern period to our own. The class will be organized, for the most part, chronologically, beginning with the likes of Bacon and ending with some lustrous contemporary examples of, and luminous reflections on, the form. We will consider how writers as various as Bacon, Hume, Johnson, Hazlitt, Emerson, Woolf, Baldwin, and Elizabeth Hardwick define and revise the shape and scope of those disparate aspirations in prose that have come to be called collectively The Essay. The writing assigned for this course will seek to enlist the essays not only as objects of analysis but also as models for our own essays in the essay form.

Texts: The texts are available in a reader, which can be purchased through the Middlebury College bookstore.


7432   Modernist Comedy/H. Laird/M, W 2-4:45

In November 2010, reviewer James Wood confidently declared in The New Yorker that “Comedy is the angle at which most of us see the world, the way that our very light is filtered....” As startling as this claim may seem, tested against the crises of modernity, when applied to “modernism,” comedy’s “angle” demystifies conventional representations of this period’s literature as one of doomed wasteland vistas—yet without overlooking them, since the comic intertwines itself with its opposites. Starting with turn-of-the-twentieth-century texts and concluding with the late modernist, this course explores the comic in novels, short stories, plays, and poetry, juxtaposing these texts with some theory of comedy, jokes, parody, and humor, including the “dark,” ironic, and satirical, among the funnier types (Bergson, Freud, Hutcheon, North, et al.). Please read Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan for the first meeting.

Texts: Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere’s Fan (Dover); John Millington Synge, Playboy of the Western World and Other Plays (Penguin); Max Beerbohm, The Illustrated Zuleika Dobson (Yale); Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier (Random House); P.G. Wodehouse, The Man with Two Left Feet and Other Stories (Wildside); George Bernard Shaw, Heartbreak House (Penguin); T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land and Other Writings (Random House); Edith Sitwell, Façade in Collected Poems of Edith Sitwell (Overlook); Virginia Woolf, Orlando (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt); Dorothy Sayers, Lord Peter Views the Body (HarperCollins); Samuel Beckett, More Pricks than Kicks (Grove/Atlantic); D.H. Lawrence, Nettles in Complete Poems (Penguin); Stevie Smith, New Selected Poems (New Directions).


Group 4 (American Literature)

7506   Early Colonial Literatures from New Mexico to New England/J. Alemán/T, Th 2-4:45

A course held in Santa Fe, the oldest occupied state capitol in the US, should remap early America’s foundational fictions, and so this class charts two literary models of contact, conflict, and coloniality: the Spanish colonial undertaking into New Spain and the British colonial project from Jamestown to Plymouth Plantation. We’ll examine Spanish travel, exploration, and captivity narratives that predate Jamestown, and we’ll read the 1610 epic poem of conflict and colonial violence in New Mexico. We’ll also cover a swath of British colonial writings, from John Smith to Jonathan Edwards, to extend our literary reach from New Mexico’s mythical Seven Cities of Gold to New England’s City on the Hill. Overall, the class sets out to broaden our understanding of the early Americas and the way its literature uses religious discourse, exploration and captivity narratives, and a mix of violence and wonder to imagine the conquest of the new world.

Texts: Bartolomé de las Casas, A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies. ed. and trans. Nigel Griffin (Penguin); Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, The Account/Relación. trans. Martin A. Favata and José B. Fernández (Arte Publico); Gaspar Pérez de Villagrá, Historia de la Nueva Mexico, 1610: A Critical and Annotated Spanish/English Edition, ed. Alfred Rodriguez, et al. (New Mexico); The Heath Anthology of American Literature, 7th ed., Vol. A., ed. Paul Lauter (Cengage); The Dominguez-Escalante Journal, ed. Ted J. Warner, trans. Fray Angelico Chavez (Utah). Selections from the Heath Anthology will include: Columbus letters; Marcos de Niza; Poma de Ayala; Oñate y Salazar; Sor Juana; Antonio de Otermín; “The Coming of the Spanish and the Pueblo Revolt”; Diego de Vargas; Harriot; Wingfield; Smith; Morton; Winthrop, “A Modell of Christian Charity”; Bradford; Bradstreet; Rowlandson; Mather; Edwards, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”; Palou; Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.


7593   The Nuclear Southwest: Literature and Film/J. Alemán/T, Th 9-11:45

On July 16, 1945, Los Alamos scientists convened at White Sands, near Alamogordo, to detonate “the Gadget.” No little thing, the bomb’s 20-kiloton explosion launched a cloud seven miles into the air and turned the sand at the blast site into trinitite, commonly called Alamogordo glass. From the Jornado de Muerto desert in southeastern New Mexico, the Gadget brought the world into the Atomic Age. This interdisciplinary course examines the literary and cultural fallout of the atomic Southwest—a constellation of texts, images, and film that confront the nuclear era with protest, critique, fear, survival, and humor. From poetry to sci-fi, memoir to the novel, and history to murder-mystery, we’ll survey the way writers imagine surviving the nuclear Southwest. We’ll cover a history of the bomb, screen documentaries of its impact, and read texts that express the personal, political, and environmental impact of the bomb years after the first blast.

Texts:  Ferenc Morton Szasz, The Day the Sun Rose Twice (New Mexico); Frank Waters, The Woman at Otowi Crossing (Swallow); Simon Ortiz, Fight Back (New Mexico); Cormac McCarthy, Cities of the Plain (Vintage); Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony (Penguin); Ellen Meloy, The Last Cheater’s Waltz (Arizona); Rudolfo Anaya, Zia Summer (New Mexico); Stephen Graham Jones, It Came from Del Rio (Trapdoor). Films include: Them!; Dark Circle; and Uranium Drive-In, plus clips and images from a variety of sources.


7670   Indigenous American Literature: Fiction, Memoir-Autobiography, Poetry/S. Ortiz/M, W 9-12:00

The course will focus on contemporary Indigenous themes dealing with issues concerning Indigenous liberation and de-colonization in the twenty-first century. By reading Indigenous American literature, we’ll look at the realities of the U.S.A. with its substantial history of Manifest Destiny, Doctrine of Discovery, and dynamics of discovery-invasion-occupation, violence, and the present-day threat the international modern socio-industrial-political complex poses to the world at large. Much seminar-style discussion and dialogue will be conducted and expected. Two ten-page essays will be assigned.

Texts: Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony (Penguin); Sherman Alexie, Blasphemy (Grove); Simon J. Ortiz, Men on the Moon (Arizona); Ernestine Hayes, Blonde Indian (Arizona); Esther Belin, From the Belly of My Beauty (Arizona); James Welch, Riding the Earthboy 40 (Penguin).


Group 5 (World Literature)

7205   King Arthur: Chivalric Romance, Chrétien to Malory/L. Engle/T, Th 2-4:45
See the description under Group 2 offerings. This course may be taken for either Group 2 or Group 5 credit.


7755   Theory, Counter-Theory/H. Laird/T, Th 2-4:45

This course is designed both for students seeking an introduction to contemporary theories and for those with a yen for “meta” thinking. We will dip into theories and anti-theories, stressing the thought and vocabulary that have become prominent within literary criticism and cultural studies in the last thirty-five years. Since theory is a global phenomenon, we will also consider these theories’ relations to their geographic contexts and to literary texts from around the world, drawing upon selected short stories and fiction to juxtapose with the theoretical texts.  In examining this various body of writings, we will focus on the polysemous notion of “differences” and on how “differences” help constitute theoretical arguments. We will also ask what the purposes and limitations of the theories are, what theory is (and theories are), and how theories are written: not questions encouraged by all theorists, but questions we will intrepidly ask nonetheless.

Texts: The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, 2nd ed., ed. Leitch, et al. (Norton); The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction, 8th ed., ed. Bausch (Norton).