Course Description

This course will serve as an introduction to the culture of the English Department and to the practices of the discipline at large. To help new students transition to graduate study, readings and discussions will examine the contours of English as a discipline and the methods of scholarly research and inquiry. The course will also assist students in developing their academic skill sets as they learn how to cope with the demands of graduate education: How should one study and prepare for courses at the graduate level? What sort of reading and research should students do in addition to the assigned reading in a course? What constitutes an appropriate topic for a graduate-level paper? How does one go about doing the research for such a paper? How does one read a scholarly article? What does an MLA-style "works cited" page look like? What constitutes plagiarism, and how does one avoid that trap?

In addition to these basic-skills issues, the course will also introduce students to some of the key research databases and resources necessary to graduate-level work. Formal assignments will consist of an intellectual autobiography; a survey of journals; a report on a research database or resource; an annotated bibliography connected with a project students are developing in their other courses; and a short research paper on an issue related to graduate education (funding, the job market, community colleges, teaching, publication, etc).

Course Texts

Gerald Graff, Professing Literature: An Institutional History (U of Chicago P, 2007)

Bruce McComiskey, English Studies: An Introduction to the Discipline(s) (NCTE, 2006)

Robert Scholes, The Rise and Fall of English: Reconstructing English as a Discipline (Yale U P, 1998)

Gregory Colon Semenza, Graduate Study for the 21st Century (Palgrave, 2010)

MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing (Third Edition, 2008)