Mary Mullen

  • Assistant Professor, English
  • Villanova University

Archive for the ‘Teaching’ Category

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Villanova, English 8560: Form and the British Novel

Monday, July 22nd, 2019

This course will introduce students to the nineteenth-century British novel and important scholarship on novelistic forms. Reading nineteenth-century novels from England, Ireland, and Scotland, we will think about genre (realism, the historical novel), narrative perspective and style (free indirect discourse, omniscience), characters (major and minor), and referentiality (how novels refer to a world outside of the text). Our study of forms in the novel will help us reflect on historical developments in the Victorian period: nations and nationalism, empire, the rise of global capitalism, changing understandings of gender and sexuality.

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Villanova, English 2490: Irish Literature, Gender and History

Monday, July 22nd, 2019

How does gender shape Irish writing? And how does Irish writing help us better understand gender? In this class, we will read nineteenth-century Irish and Anglo-Irish literature alongside feminist, queer, and gender theory to answer these questions. We will consider why Ireland is represented as a woman and what effects the trope of ‘Mother Ireland’ has on women’s experiences; the gendered accounts of the Irish Famine; the relationship between the family, the nation, the church, and the state in Ireland; the intersections between gender and colonialism; and queer performance. We will cover work by Maria Edgeworth, Anna Maria Hall, Lady Gregory & W. B. Yeats, Emily Lawless, George Moore, and Oscar Wilde, among others.

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Villanova, English 8560: Institutional Fictions

Monday, July 22nd, 2019

This graduate seminar focuses on how institutions produce fiction and how fiction represents institutions. Beginning by reading theories of institutions, the course identifies the key fictions that institutions depend upon—fictions of futurity, inclusion, agency, and enclosure—as we consider the promises and pitfalls of institutions as a mode of social and political organization. It then studies specific institutions: marriage, the university and the prison. In each unit, we will read Victorian literature and Victorian theories of institutions as well as contemporary literary theory and criticism covering authors like Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, and Virginia Woolf and theorists like Sara Ahmed, Roderick Ferguson, Fred Moten and Stefano Harney.

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Villanova, English 8560: Iron Cages and Imperial Prudes, Rethinking Victorian Modernity

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

Victorians are the first moderns and the first prudes.  We are drawn to the Victorian period because of its modernity—Victorians faced similar social problems and inhabited similar institutions as ourselves—but we also often actively distance ourselves from Victorian culture and the “image of the imperial prude” it implies (Michel Foucault).  Challenging a narrow definition of modernity as a historical period or condition, this course will familiarize students with ongoing debates in Foucauldian, postcolonial, Marxist, and queer theory to consider modernity as an attitude, a relationship, an imperial category. 

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Villanova, English 2250: Ways of Reading

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

This course will demystify literary studies by teaching students “the way we argue now.”  This phrase suggests that 1) that there is a “we”—a community of people who make, revise, and learn from arguments about literature; 2) that there are different “ways” to argue; and 3) that how we argue about literature (and how we understand literature!) changes over time—“now” differs from “then.”

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Villanova, English 3590: Victorian Doubles

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

Whether imagining split personalities (The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) or representing how the past uncannily repeats itself in the present (Wuthering Heights), Victorian literature is interested in the merger, juxtaposition, and collision of opposing pairs. In this class, we will think through a few of these pairs—self and other, women and men, past and present, public and private—as we read novels and poetry from the period.

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Villanova, English 1975: Coming of Age in Ireland

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

This class will consider what it means to come of age—to grow up—in Ireland. As we track how characters mature and fail to mature, how readers are treated like innocent children and all-knowing adults, how Irish settings and histories shape characters’ trajectory of growth, we will ask big questions about constructions of childhood and adulthood, literature and place, gender, and development as a social, historical and economic process.

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Texas Tech, English 4321: Inventing Ireland

Saturday, August 9th, 2014

One of the most important aspects of modern Irish literature is Ireland itself. Employing diverse genres and styles, Irish writers helped invent Ireland as they responded to important political and historical events and actively produced a distinctly Irish culture. Ireland emerges as a pastoral ideal but also ghostly and tied to trauma; it is a place of humor and hospitality, but also a site of violence and poverty. This upper-level class works through these contradictory representations by reading a variety of genres—poetry, the national tale, gothic fiction, drama, big house novels, naturalist and modernist fiction—and studying key historical developments such as the Act of Union, agrarian movements like Ribbonism, the Famine, the Irish Literary Revival, the establishment of the Irish Free State, and the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

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Texas Tech, English 3389: The Short Story, Living Dead

Friday, August 8th, 2014

This upper-level English course on the modern short story considers how death lives on in short fiction as we examine various approaches to the short story: the detective story, the ghost story, vampire tales, gothic stories, as well as realist, naturalist, and modernist stories. It moves from strange deaths that need to be explained to ghostly hauntings that trouble the division between life and death to more commonplace deaths that question our assumptions about reality, memory, and everyday life. The course includes stories from different time periods (the nineteenth-century to the present) that represent different places (America, England, Ireland, South Africa, Haiti, India).

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Texas Tech, English 3308: For Love and Country, Romantic Nationalisms

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

http://romanticnationalisms.wordpress.com/

An introduction to Romanticism, this course pays particular attention to the ways that Romantic writing uses sentiment, sensibility, nature, and history to imagine an organic national community. The course readings and discussion focus on the relationship between nature and nations, land and language, and people and places as we study poetry and novels. The course will begin by defining key terms in Romanticism, and then study romantic nationalism in England, Ireland, and Scotland.

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