English Course Descriptions: Fall 2011

Literature and Writing Studies Courses


English 101 provides students with a foundation in the methods of close reading and analysis essential to an understanding of poetry and, more broadly, to the study of literature. Furthermore, it introduces students to the ways we write and make arguments about poetry. The course addresses the basics of prosody, aspects of poetic language (such as diction, metaphor, image, tone), and major verse forms (such as the sonnet, elegy, ode, ballad, dramatic monologue, free verse). In addition to the formal qualities of poetry, students will also study poems from a range of literary periods and movements in order to learn how these formal qualities change and develop over time as well as how poems are both shaped by and, in some cases, even manage to shape their (and perhaps our) world. Students will write twelve to fifteen pages of interpretation or criticism, spread out over two or more essays, and also take a midterm and a final examination.


Covering the history of dramatic form, the major genres, the dramatic traditions of various cultures, and key terms used in the analysis of dramatic works, this course serves as a general introduction to the drama. Reading plays from the ancient Greeks to the contemporary theatre, students will be taught skills in close reading and literary interpretation. But, because drama is written to be performed, students will also be asked to consider how textual meanings might be represented through visual and aural means. Course work usually includes several papers (12-15 pages total), a group performance/ presentation, and either several hour exams or a mid-term exam and a final exam.

103 Q INTRO TO FICTION, Foote. TUTH 12:30-1:45

This class is designed to introduce you to the study of literature and literary history at the university level. It will provide you with a basis for understanding the historical role and place of fictional narratives; give you an understanding of the idea of genre; establish ways to think about how publication venue, reading practices, and popularity contribute to the meaning of fictional works; and help you develop a rich, portable vocabulary to interpret and analyze narrative strategies. We will consider the role of social forces on the construction of textual meaning, looking at such issues as differing definitions of authorship, the rise of copyright, scandals over reading and literacy, and the circuits of production, distribution, and marketing of books. Course requirements include a midterm, a cumulative final exam, and four writing assignments. Readings will include novels drawn from a range of historical periods and genres.


same as MACS 104

The goal of this course is to develop students’ abilities to view films critically and to deepen their understanding of the cinema experience. The course first teaches analysis of narrative strategies, shot properties, mise-en-scène, acting, editing, and the use of sound in films, especially classical Hollywood movies. The course then focuses on the study of different genres and styles of films, including documentaries, feminist films, westerns, musicals, and melodramas, in terms of how they present ideological points of view and/or fulfill certain wishes of the spectator. English 104 is an appropriate prerequisite for English /CINE 273 (an intermediate course in film analysis) and other advanced film classes. The course presents one film program including a feature film per week, shown in a required screening lab on Monday afternoon or evening. Each section meets for two 75-minute lecture-discussion sessions per week. All sections use Bordwell and Thompson’s Film Art as an introductory textbook and give additional reading assignments (essays and book chapters) available in a photocopied reader or on library reserve. Sections are designed so that each student contributes extensively in the discussions; attendance and participation are crucial in this course. The minimum formal assignments are about 12 pages of expository writing (usually in 3 short essays, although some instructors may assign more writing), a midterm, and a three hour final exam; most instructors also give quizzes. On the exams, most instructors give a factual section (identification, brief answer) and a section of essay questions. This course earns 3 credit hours and qualifies as a General Education course in Humanities and the Arts. (Multiple sections)


English 109 is designed to introduce students to the critical analysis of prose fiction. By reading a wide range of short and long fiction across several historical periods, we will examine how such narrative strategies as plot, character, point of view and language construct meaning. Individual instructors will bring a variety of texts and interpretive methods to their courses, but special emphasis will be placed on concepts and skills central to good literary critical writing. Course requirements include papers and paper revisions totaling 25-30 pages. Papers are assigned according to the judgment of individual instructors, but will include assignments of various lengths and several opportunities for review and revision.

TEXTS: Readings vary from section to section but always include an anthology of short fiction and three or four novels.


This course is designed to acquaint students with examples of the rich diversity of British prose, poetry, and drama. Works selected will vary from section to section, but instructors usually rely upon the Norton Anthology of English Literature, Major Authors Ed., along with a few supplementary paperbacks, for the assigned readings. As a basic introduction to English literature, this course does not offer a complete chronological survey of all or even most major writers. It offers instead a series of literary texts, often thematically related, which appeal to modern readers and at the same time provide interesting insights into the cultural attitudes and values of the periods which produced them.


This course will cover a small sampling of literature written by American authors; the sampling may include essays, narratives, drama, and poems from various periods in American literary history. Texts for reading and discussion will include literature representing a variety of gender and ethnic perspectives.


same as CWL 119

Surveys masterworks in the romance tradition from Shakespeare’s time to the present; as distinct from science fiction, the materials feature magic and the supernatural rather than technology; and include stage romance, fairy tale, horror tale, and fantasy-novel. Individual works are set in their historical and literary contexts.


Literary and historical study of science fiction from Mary Shelley to Ursula K. LeGuin with particular emphasis on the achievement of science fiction as a literary form in the romance tradition.


Campus Honors

TOPIC: Jane Austen and the Brontë Sisters: From Novel to Film

There has been a striking upsurge in film adaptations of the novels of Jane Austen in the 1990s, and Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights and Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre have inspired a long series of adaptations for over half a century. The process of adapting the printed word to the screen is not an easy one. The study of that process reveals some of the basic differences in these two media. Over the decades there has been a variety of visual styles used to capture the essence of the novels of Austen and the Brontë sisters. Such differences make fruitful subjects for the essays assigned in this course. We will study adaptations of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and Sense and Sensibility, as well as Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, and Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. Other novels by these writers will be studied as time allows. There will be individual reports in class, essays, and exams.


TOPIC: Reading for Writers

Think of Reading for Writers as the course a group of fiction writers and poets might take when they want to talk and write about the mechanics of stories and poems, the decisions that face writers as they build or shape the things they write, the formal elements that time and again surface as the basic tools at hand. This course seeks also to help writers understand the necessity for a shared reading list that encourages conversations among writers about what we do and how it gets done well. Such a reading list should help writers as they move through one of our Creative Writing sequences, poetry or fiction. Expect to write a handful of very short response papers (200-400 words) and 2-3 medium-length analyses (total of 12 pages). This class satisfies a literature requirement in the Creative Writing major.

199 RM UNDERGRADUATE OPEN SEMINAR, Mehta. Lect: TUTH 1; Screening: TU 7-10 pm

meets with CWL 151

TOPIC: Love and Death in Indian Cinema

This course will explore the themes of ‘love’ and ‘death’ in Indian mainstream (mainly Bollywood) Cinema. How does the world’s most prolific film industry handle these themes? What is the relation between the literary and cinematic representations of love and death? Is Bollywood cinema a form of social history? Has this cinema ever resisted dominant nationalist and patriarchal ideologies? In what ways have the forces of globalization changed this industry? These are some of the issues we will explore. Films will include Shree 420, Sholay, Madhumati, DDLJ, Devdas, Guru etc. All films will be screened with subtitles. No knowledge of Hindi or any other Indian language is required. This course is open to non-majors.


This course might be called “How to Be an English Major.” It offers tips on how to make the transition from the high-school study of literature to college-level study. The class will read a relatively small number of poems, novels, short stories, and plays, exploring a number of critical approaches to each. Emphasis will be placed on close reading of short passages, the historical contexts of literature, the way genre affects our reading practices, and the criteria for persuasive interpretations. Students will practice their critical skills in a number of short papers and other assignments.

TEXTS: Vary according to section.


Group I

same as CWL 253, MDVL 201

British and continental authors (including Chaucer) read in modern English.


Group I

same as CWL 255

Readings in English and continental literary masterpieces with attention to significant cultural influences.


Group II

Study of literature, philosophy, visual arts, and social criticism of the British Romantic period, with attention to broader cultural issues.


Group II

Study of literature, philosophy, visual arts, and social criticism of the British Victorian period, with attention to broader cultural issues.

209 AL1 BRITISH LITERATURE TO 1798, L. Newcomb. Lect: MW 10; Disc: F 10 & 1

This course travels over a millennium of fascinating texts, from Old English epics through eighteenth-century novels, in which writers imagined what literature in English could be and do. We can make only a quick survey of the millennium’s high points, but at least this selective tour lets us concentrate on what each text did for its original listeners or readers. We’ll see that each text gave sensory pleasure, surely, but also that each met some urgent social need, whether to voice confidence in a new language, claim and contest unity among diverse territories, impose cultural hierarchies on new readers at home and in far-flung colonies, assert or refuse cultural continuity during a civil war, or negotiate gender and ethnic differences. The major English genres—epic, lyric, drama, fiction, satire—all helped to make Britain: they were vehicles for representing and questioning the relationships among living and divine beings, social orders, genders, races, and nationalities. And in return, Britain gradually made its own literary history, claiming the quirkiness of imaginative writing in English as a badge of national identity. Prerequisites: The Comp I requirement and English 100 or 101. Assignments include weekly responses or quizzes, two mid-length essays, a midterm and a final. The course is organized to reward thoughtful reading, rapt attention in lectures, and lively participation in section.

TEXTS: one of the major anthologies TBA; coordinating online resources.

210 AL1 BRITISH LIT 1798 TO PRESENT, Saville. Lect: MW 11; Disc: F various

Our purpose in this course will be to construct a reader’s map negotiating three principle periods of British literature: Romantic (1785-1830); Victorian (1830-1901); and Twentieth Century, and within these, various literary movements, such as Romanticism, Realism, Aestheticism, Modernism, and Post-Colonialism. We will consider ways in which specific literary forms and genres (for instance, the serialized novel, the dramatic monologue, the treatise, the critical essay) function to reflect as well as produce or alter cultural perceptions within a specific period. We will devise some initial paths through this vast expanse of literature on the understanding that we can return to make more thorough inroads into each period in more advanced literature courses and at a later date.

TEXTS: Norton Anthology of English Literature, (recommended in three separate volumes for lighter back-pack convenience); Jane Austen, Persuasion; Charles Dickens, Hard Times


Fulfills Shakespeare Requirement for Secondary Education minors only

English 218 is intended for non-English majors who wish to become more familiar with Shakespeare’s plays and culture. The selection of plays varies from section to section, but each instructor covers about seven or eight plays reflecting Shakespeare’s changing interests, themes and developing dramatic skills. The course illuminates Shakespeare’s engagement with the genres of comedy, history, tragedy, and romance, and the engagement of his plays with the culture of Renaissance England. Required writing includes several short papers, a mid-semester exam (or one or two hour exams) and a final. Any critical edition of Shakespeare’s plays may be assigned.


Group V

American and British poets including Frost, Robinson, Sandburg, Lindsay, Hardy, Hopkins, Housman, Yeats, Lawrence, the Imagists, and the early Pound and Eliot.

245 Q THE SHORT STORY. TUTH 12:30-1:45

same as CWL 267

Historical and critical study of the short story (American and European) from the early nineteenth century to the present.


Group II or V

Critical study of representative British novels from different literary periods.

250 P THE AMERICAN NOVEL TO 1914. TUTH 11-12:15

Group III or V

Critical study of selected American novels from the late eighteenth century to 1914.

251 X & T THE AMERICAN NOVEL SINCE 1914. X: MWF 12; T: TUTH 3:30-4:45

Group III or V

Critical study of selected American novels from 1914 to the present.

255 AL1 SURVEY OF AMERICAN LIT I, Loughran. Lect: MW 12; Disc: F 11 & 12

The purpose of this course is to introduce you to American literature written before the Civil War and to assure that you have basic cultural literacy about terms, ideas, and events that will help you when you enroll in upper level literature courses. Our focus will be fourfold, encompassing specific literary forms, major literary movements, major historical events and problems, and finally the general history of intellectual ideas in this period. We will get at these problems by thinking broadly about “American culture” from its earliest iterations up until the crackup called the Civil War. By looking at a variety of visual and verbal texts—from paintings, engravings, and maps to slave narratives, novels, poems, autobiographies, essays, and pamphlets—we will try to get to know this culture both through its parts (its poems, essays, and stories) and through our own cohesive reconstruction of these parts into an integrated whole—a story, which we will call, in our class, “American Literature, Part I.” This is a course that will thus introduce you not just to the basic facts of American cultural history but that will challenge you to theorize the very practice of “literary history”—which is, in fact, a very special kind of storytelling that we practice in English departments. Along the way, our readings will range from the short to the long, from the conventional to the idiosyncratic, from commercial blockbusters to very big flops. The syllabus represents authors of different genders, classes, races, and regions, but the course is less devoted to giving equal representation to authors of different backgrounds than to thinking about how representation works to create conditions of inclusion and exclusion across American culture. The “canon” we call “American literature” only exists as a master narrative because of its tendency to include some and to exclude others. This produces an intellectual dilemma for surveyors like ourselves because we cannot reconstruct that which was never allowed to exist nor can any reader ever read everything a culture produces. We can’t fix this problem in an undergraduate survey class, but it is something I invite you to discuss and think about over the course of the semester. Required texts will include the Norton Anthology of American Literature (Package One: Volumes A and B) and a course packet.


Group III

American literature and its cultural backgrounds after 1870. Prerequisite: Completion of the Composition I requirement and ENGL 200.

259 Q AFRO-AMERICAN LITERATURE I, Freeburg. TUTH 12:30-145

Group III or V

same as AFRO 259, CWL 259

This course surveys African American literature from the antebellum slave narratives to the essays of W.E.B. DuBois. In this course, we look at individual writers in their historical and political contexts, but also, we focus on the spiritual and affective power of African American prose. More importantly, the literary and sociopolitical appeal of African American literature from these early periods has been continuously drawn upon by social movements of the last fifty years. Thus, through close readings of writers like Frederick Douglass, Charles Chesnutt, and Ida B. Wells in context, students in this course will come away with a solid background in early African American literature and culture as well as its myriad of influences on current discussions of social inequality in the U.S.

267 AE1 GRIMMS’ FAIRY TALES IN CONTEXT, Jenkins. Lect: MW 10; Disc: various

same as GER 250, CWL 250

Special attention is paid to the Grimms’ tales in terms of traditional narrative genres, elements of life in early modern Europe, and versions from Italy and France as well as Germany. Course is conducted in English. Contact the German Department for more information.

268 AE1 THE HOLOCUST IN CONTEXT, Tubb. Lect: MW 10; Disc: various

same as GER 260, CWL 271

Jewish contributions to German Literature from 1200 to the present day. Includes trips to the University Library's Rare Book Room. Contact the German Department for more information.


Group III or V

same as MACS 273

English 273 Explores key issues in American cinema from 1950 to the present, structured around central problems of film studies (such as authorship, genre, narratology, film style, gender analysis, and the spectacle of violence), contextualizing them within moments of major transition in the American film industry. Viewing and discussion of a major film each week.


Campus Honors

TOPIC: Globalization and Empire

Although we take instant communication, the internet, tourism, multinational media, and transnational trade for granted, such forms of globalization come chained to long histories. In this course, we will read books and see films that allow us to see and rethink the history of such interconnectedness, confrontation, or interaction. “Globalization” refers to the process of forging or integrating individuals and local communities into larger systems of free trade, global capital, and cultural contact. It therefore, refers not only to economics but also to human experience, to a range of historical and political events from “discoveries” of new lands to the “conquest” of new lands, from colonialism to neocolonialism, from Disney’s world theme-parks to international world politics. Our use of the term suggests attention to its impact on culture and literature. The long process of globalization has led to waves of diasporas (the movement of people from their original home) which is among the most important global events of our time. We will study some of the new cultural configurations emerging out of the crucible of globalization and migration. These forces have profoundly shaped the modern world, as population, languages, power, and wealth have been redistributed in long and painful processes of conquest, exile, war, and revolution. We will consider literature and film from and about Africa, the Caribbean, South Asia, and the Middle East. We will ask who has the power to represent, shape and tell the story of others and how others‚ stories, in turn, shape our own images of the world.

TEXTS: Conrad, Heart of Darkness; Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart; Rudyard Kipling, “The Man who Would be King;” Bharati Mukherjee, Jasmine; Jamaica Kincaid, A Small Place (extracts); Caryl Phillips, Crossing the River; Etel Adnan, Sitt Marie Rose; Ghassan Kanafani and other short stories, essays and poetry in a course packet. Films: Pontecorvo, The Battle of Algiers; Mira Nair, Mississippi Masala; Richard Attenborough, Gandhi; Stephanie Black, Life & Debt; John Huston, The Man who Would be King.

280 M WOMEN WRITERS, Koshy. TUTH 9:30-10:45

Group III or V

same as GWS 280

meets with AAS 299

TOPIC: Asian American Women Writers

This course examines the ways in which the perspectives of race, gender, and sexuality and their interrelations structure the writing of Asian American women. The popularity of writings by Asian American women and the content of the narratives themselves have often been at the center of fierce controversies about cultural nationalism, assimilation, and the boundaries of Asian American identity. While many of these texts attempt to redefine the very meaning of politics by representing women’s lives and subjectivities, the reception of these texts and the debates within they have been framed often circumscribe their meanings in narrower notions of politics. In examining these debates and texts we will think through how texts are read and the burden of representation that shapes the fictions of minority writers. We will also examine several other key issues that emerge in the writings of Asian American women: How is Asian American feminist critique different from mainstream feminism? What practices, subjectivities, and visions of community does it depict that fall outside conventional narratives of sexuality and gender in Asian American and mainstream accounts? How are the meanings and spaces of domesticity reimagined in these texts?


Group II or V

Examination of selected postcolonial literature, theory, and film as texts that “write back” to dominant European representations of power, identity, gender and the Other. Postcolonial writers, critics and filmmakers studied may include Franz Fanon, Edward Said, Aime Cesaire, Ousmane Sembene, Chinua Achebe, Michelle Cliff, Mahesweta Devi, Buchi Emecheta, Derek Walcott and Marlene Nourbese-Philip.


Group III or V

same as AAS 286

Introduction to Asian American literary studies and culture through the reading of major works of literature selected from but not limited to the following American ethnic subgroups: Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Indian, Pakistani, and Vietnamese.


Group III or V

TOPIC: Success in America

This course examines the various ways American writers have articulated, criticized, and celebrated the ethic of success in the US. Surveying examples from the nineteenth century through the 2000s, we will study how our novelists as well as social critics and entrepreneurs have defined success, spelled out the challenges and opportunities they encountered in their progress to wealth, and imagined the consequences of individual prosperity—its responsibilities and satisfactions as well as its disappointments. We will also be concerned to with success-writing in marginal traditions too, including race, ethnicity, and gender. Students will be asked to read and write about different historical versions of the American success story, analyze its components, as well as its continuing presence and permutations in US culture. Some of our writers will be among America’s most famous, while others will be interesting less for their recognizability than for the generalizibility of their thinking about success in the US. Students should expect a lively, demanding class devoted to this well-known but not usually examined subject. Because the course is also a writing course, students can expect an array of short assignments, along with two longer critical essays. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.


Group V

TOPIC: Crime and Detective Fiction

From Agatha Christie’s classic drawing rooms to the mean streets of The Shield, from “locked room” mysteries to tales of international intrigue, stories that involve crime, mystery and detection take place in social space: they force us to ask questions about knowledge, identity, power, opportunity, conflict, privilege, alliance, order and disorder. These stories can serve as models of reading and interpretation, since the detective figure typically observes details, sifts through the available clues, and ultimately produces a reading of the situation that correctly identifies the central interpretive problem and solves it. On the other hand, detective fiction often depends for its success on our not knowing, not seeing, and may actually require us to suspend our critical faculties. This course will provide a historical survey of some important developments in modern crime fiction (starting with Poe) but it will also be an investigation into the relationship between the contained spaces of crime and detective fictions and the larger social world whose problems they may reflect and/or define. We will read a combination of shorter and longer works by writers such as Edgar Allen Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, John Dickson Carr, Raymond Chandler, J. B. Priestly, Patricia Highsmith, Truman Capote, Mike Phillips, Sara Paretsky, and others, along with supplementary critical and theoretical works. Other requirements include spirited class participation, regular short reading responses, and several longer essays. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.


Group IV

TOPIC: Edith Wharton and Her Times

This class will focus on the major U.S. author Edith Wharton (1862-1937), whose 19 novels and novellas and 11 short story collections created a career devoted to what one of her biographers calls “the social chronicler of her age” (Benstock vii). We will start with one of her most famous novels, The House of Mirth (1905), and read fictions and poetry from her illustrious career. Given the many films based on her works, we will also watch Wharton on film. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.

Tentative reading list: The House of Mirth, Age of Innocence, Summer, Ethan Frome, Twilight Sleep, and “Xingu,” “Roman Fever,” and “The Other Two


Group II or V

TOPIC: Class, Race and Gender in Postmodern Britain

Since the end of the WWII, Britain transitioned from being the epicenter of a system of Western imperialism that spanned the globe into a singular welfare state bent on eradicating class elitism and taking care of its own citizenry from cradle to grave. But just how successful has the British welfare state been at instituting social reform, deconstructing class paradigms, and promoting multiculturalism as we approached and passed the millennium?

In this course, we’ll examine the rise of contemporary fiction in Britain as a lens through which social progress can either be seen as a flourishing or failing political standard. We’ll explore what socialism has in store for young Brits who are upwardly mobile and whose life goals are mainstream and heteronormative. We’ll also see how the welfare state has fared for those of its members who pride themselves on their working class identities, diverse ethnicities and gender distinctiveness. By reading the literature of last two decades, we’ll determine whether its citizens have prospered from more inclusive policies on sex, class and race through education and healthcare, or whether socialism forced Britain to lose its edge in the world market, which it is now trying to recapture by a renewal of political platforms based on social conservatism, capitalist enterprise and racial purity

As we move through the semester, we’ll examine how contemporary British fiction forms a distinctive interlinking canon through a variety of themes, narrative forms and literary styles. We’ll consider how fiction represents the unique position of individuals in a world in which technology has irrevocably altered our understanding of what it means to be human, our ability to communicate with one another, to cross geopolitical boundaries, and to define war and patriotism. In addition to reading several novels, we’ll explore British culture through the rise of working class bands, comedians like Eddie Izzard, and films such as The Queen and Shaun of the Dead in framing the contemporary British experience. We’ll also focus our attentions on the history of bipartisan politics in Britain over the last twenty years, and see whether the future lies with the Tories, New Labour or with the Liberal Democrats. Finally, we’ll ponder whether Britain has become an enlightened utopia where social mobility is universal or whether it is transforming into a dark distopian zone, in which only those powered by money, status and ancient family ties have any rights.

Students are expected to attend class regularly and to actively participate in class discussions. In addition, students will be required to give oral reports and to write four papers. Novels may include: The Remains of the Day, Atonement, Once Upon a Time in England, Small Island, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, The Golden Compass, About a Boy and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.


Group I or V

TOPIC: Before Victoria Had a Secret: Women’s Writing in the Eighteenth Century

Servants and aristocrats, country laborers and fashionable urbanites, Philadelphia rebels and London intellectuals: British women from many walks of life found their way into print in the eighteenth century. In this course, we will explore the wide range of forms women’s published self-expression took during this period, the cultural factors that pushed it out of view for so long, and the interpretive challenges it presents for contemporary literary and gender historians. You will have the opportunity to engage in contemporary debates about this complex body of literature, as well as to do original research on an eighteenth-century woman writer of your choosing. By the end of the semester you will have gained skills in doing historically grounded literary criticism, you will know how to use primary and secondary research sources effectively, and you will have improved your writing and research skills in the company of an extraordinary group of women writers. Course requirements for this writing-intensive course will include three papers, a presentation, and regular participation on the course blog. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.


“How to Interpret Literature: An Introduction to Contemporary Critical Theory.” This course is required for English literature majors. (Most majors should take English 301 in the second semester of their sophomore year or the first semester of their junior year, but only if they have already taken several literature courses. Seniors in this class usually regret not taking it sooner.) Literature students write, think, and speak literary criticism, and this course sets out to make that process more interesting and—eventually—more fun. In the last half century, critics have repeatedly reinvented literary and cultural criticism in ways that can deeply influence how we interpret what we read and how we understand our daily lives. We will study such critical movements as new criticism, structuralism and narratology, deconstruction and poststructuralism, psychoanalysis, feminism, queer studies, Marxism, new historicism, cultural studies, critical race theory, postcolonial studies, and reader response. This course prepares students for future literature classes, and more to the point, it helps us understand and question the entire project of critical thinking and reading. Requirements: attendance (which is crucial), probably two papers and several tests. Class time will focus on discussion and more discussion and more discussion, not on lecture. If you like to stay silent in class, don’t take this section. Readings will include Parker, How to Interpret Literature: Critical Theory for Literary and Cultural Studies (2nd edition, 2011). It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.

301 M CRITICAL APPROACHES TO LIT, T. Newcomb. TUTH 9:30-10:45

This course focuses on some of the many differing ways literary texts can be read, and what factors make some texts (and not others) seem “literary” in the first place. Before we’re done you’ll be exposed to the most significant contemporary methods of literary theory, which will aid you in every literature class you take from now on. Our approach will be twofold. We’ll look at critical and theoretical texts by major contributors to the field including Marx, Barthes, Foucault, Derrida, Butler, and a good many others. And we’ll test their ideas about how to read and talk about texts against selected “classics” that we’ll return to throughout the term (such as Keats’ “Ode on a Grecian Urn”), and also against some works whose “literariness” might be a matter of debate, such as Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories. There will be short essays and other writing tasks, a midterm and a final exam. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.


Introduction to influential critical methods and to the multiple frameworks for interpretation as illustrated by the intensive analysis of selected texts. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.


Group V

meets with GWS 325

TOPIC: Queer Print Culture

How were various lgbtq communities consolidated or drawn together by print and invented in the very acts of writing, distributing, purchasing, and reading print artifacts? Students will examine early homophile publications, the rise of presses dedicated to lgbtq literature, independent bookstores and distribution networks, as well as the contemporary world of zines, blogs, chatrooms, fanfiction, and online journals that together to see the intersection of sexuality, community, identity, and the print sphere. Students will not only learn how to historicize the rise of various lgbtq subcultures through a long history of print, they will also learn how to navigate and understand the gregarious contemporary world of online publishing and social networking.


Group V

same as YDSH 320, CWL 320, RLST 320

How can we understand the incredible beauty of much Holocaust art and literature? And is there something indecent or unethical about this beauty? The relationship between aesthetics and history or between art and politics has generally been vexed; yet many readers and viewers of Holocaust literature, art, and memorials confess that where the historical documentary might not affect them deeply, the aesthetic power of art encourages them to remember the Holocaust rather than shunt it aside. The place of unwanted beauty in the representation of mass violence is applicable to other histories where violence, memory, trauma, and aesthetics cross.


Group III or V

same as MACS 373

TOPIC: Sexuality and Cinema in the U.S.

This course explores how sexuality and cinema have been intertwined from the late nineteenth century to the present, not only through the erotics of the on-screen image, but also through the politics of sexuality in the production and reception of films. Through theoretical and historical readings, we will consider a range of topics, including theories of spectatorship, psychoanalytic models of desire and fantasy, censorship, intersectional approaches to race and sexuality, the emergence of lesbian and gay identities, the politics of pornography, and queer approaches to cinema, among others. Weekly screenings will include films from a range of historical periods, genres, and production contexts, primarily (but not exclusively) in the U.S.


Group V

same as MACS 373

TOPIC: Drugs, Sex, and Rock ‘n’ Roll: Countercultures in the Movies (1930s – 1960s)

This course will study cinematic representations of alternative ideologies and behaviors, emphasizing practices that were suppressed by established authorities in the United States and Europe from the 1930s to the 1970s. While the organization of the course is chronological, it is not genetic; that is, there is no assertion of causal relationships among the units. We will just be looking at various times and places where commercial cinema and aberrant lifestyles intersected. Postcards from the edge, if you will. In reading these postcards, we will also explore why and how these stories of “outsiders” became integrated into the mainstream of commercial cinema. Unlike independent and experimental films, mainstream commercial films are designed to appeal to broad audiences. As a result, these potentially explosive issues become problems to be solved by filmmakers as much as banners to be waved. Important institutional contexts will include the functions of stars and marketing in relation to the public’s reception of these films, as well as their stylistic innovations, which were a major source of their critical and commercial appeal. Readings will include critical studies of the films and information on the historical and social contexts in which they were produced and received. Evaluated work will include two short papers and four of medium length. I realize that some of you may want to see a list of films that we will view before deciding to join me. Can I ask you to trust me? I think you’ll find the journey interesting.

Courses numbered 396, 397, and 398 are honors seminars. English majors with an overall GPA of 3.33 or greater are eligible to enroll in the honors program. See Maureen Airsman in EB200 for more information about the program, or to register for a seminar.

397 D HONORS SEMINAR II, Pollock. W 11-12:50

Group I or V

TOPIC: Masculinity and the Discourses of the Enlightenment

In this course, we will analyze the complicated and often contradictory conceptions of masculinity in European literary culture in what has been called the “long” eighteenth century, roughly 1660-1830. How do contrasting notions of “manliness” in the Enlightenment and its aftermath either articulate or respond to historically specific social and ideological crises? We will begin by examining the figure of the libertine as a peculiar English (and French) index of both secularization and the waning of traditional structures of authority in European culture. We will then read eighteenth-century texts which attempt to contain the disruptive force of libertinism by offering “reformed” versions of masculinity—the conscientious merchant, the well-mannered spectator, the sentimental father, and the penitent rake—as different ways of consolidating an increasingly bourgeois, mercantile social order. Finally, we will focus on two texts that reflect in different ways on the legacy of Enlightenment masculinity: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and David Foster Wallace’s Brief Interviews with Hideous Men. Throughout the semester, we will ask how these ideas about masculinity get constructed in relation to specific notions of femininity, sexuality, and national identity. In addition to the texts by Shelley and Wallace, works can include plays by Wycherley, Behn, and Lillo; prose fiction by Addison, Steele, Haywood, Diderot, Mackenzie, and Laclos; philosophical narratives by Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Sade, and Sacher-Masoch; and poems by Rochester, Swift, Montagu, and others. We will also regularly engage with recent critical scholarship on these primary texts, as a way of grounding our advanced, honors-level research projects.

397 M HONORS SEMINAR II, Freeburg. TH 9-10:50

Group III or V

TOPIC: Black Aesthetics in the Age of Obama

This course places contemporary Black writers like Paul Beatty, Toni Morrison, and Colson Whitehead, in conversation with other aesthetic media like Cat Williams’ stand-up, Aaron McGrudor’s Boondocks show, and the visual art of Kara Walker. The aim of this course is to see why black aesthetes finds themselves grappling with existential concerns like what does it mean to be human in a post-human age? How does the answer to the “human” question change in black aesthetics and politics after the 1960s Civil Rights movements? In addition to these artists we will read essays from James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Amiri Baraka.

397 P HONORS SEMINAR II, Underwood. TUTH 11-12:15

Group II or V

TOPIC: Did Literature Replace Religion in Nineteenth-Century Britain?

“Most of what now passes with us for religion and philosophy will be replaced by poetry,” Matthew Arnold predicted in 1880, and literary critics have long believed he was right. In fact, our histories of nineteenth-century literature tend to assume that poetry had been replacing religion throughout the century. The underlying theory is that religion in the modern world inevitably becomes private—a personal spiritual experience, better expressed by poetic “natural supernaturalism” than by public institutions. And yet in the year 2011, religion is still a major part of public life throughout the world, and even in Britain poetry readings haven’t surpassed church attendance. In this context, sociologists and literary historians have been rethinking their old theories. What did we get wrong? Does it still make sense to say that nineteenth-century literature took over some of the functions of religion? To explore these questions, we’ll read nineteenth-century authors primarily but not exclusively from Britain—including Wordsworth, Coleridge, Comte, Feuerbach, Georg Eliot, Matthew Arnold, and T. S. Eliot. We’ll pair them with literary criticism by M. H. Abrams and William McKelvy, as well as sociology of religion by Emile Durkheim, José Casanova, and Charles Taylor.


same as BTW 402

This is a course in English linguistics. We will study the English language: how we use it; how it uses us. We will learn and practice techniques for describing English, both its words and sentences and larger elements of discourse in context. We will look at the social, historical, and political forces that shape language and its use. And we will suggest ways to use what we learn about language both in the classroom and in the professional world.

TEXT: Curzan, Anne, and Michael Adams, How English Works: A Linguistic Introduction. 2nd ed., New York: Pearson.

403 1U/1G HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, D. Baron. MW 12:30-1:45

Group V

An examination of the history of the English language from its beginnings to the present, this course will treat in detail, and with equal emphasis, the English of the middle ages, the Renaissance, and the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as well as the English used in the Americas and elsewhere in the world today. We will concentrate on relationships between language and literature; dialect and the process of language standardization; the social implications of linguistic variety; and the nature of World Englishes. We will also study new word formation and the attempts, over the past four centuries, to reform English spelling, grammar, and usage. No previous background in language study is necessary, although suchexperience will not be held against you. There will be a mid-term exercise, a final exam, a presentation, and a short essay.

TEXT: Jan Svartvik and Geoffrey Leech, English: One tongue, many voices. Palgrave, 2006.


same as EIL 422

ENGL 404/EIL 422 studies modern English grammar to meet the needs of the ESL/EFL teacher, with special emphasis on the development of principled knowledge and skills that can be used in the analysis of the syntax, lexis and pragmatics of English.


Shakespeare Requirement

Survey of the plays and poems of William Shakespeare. Reading assignments will reflect the generic diversity and historical breadth of Shakespeare’s work.

418 2U/2G & 3U/3G SHAKESPEARE, Gray. 2U/2G: TUTH 11-12:15; 3U/3G: TUTH 12:30-145

Shakespeare Requirement

This course aims to introduce you to Shakespeare’s plays, from The Taming of the Shrew to The Winter’s tale. We will explore Shakespeare’s growing versatility in range of dramatic genres—such as comedy, history, and tragedy—and investigate the development of his poetic skill, focusing on language alongside plot and character. We will think about his plays both as historical artifacts produced within specific political, literary, and performance contexts and as living texts that continue to be staged and rethought today. The course will therefore intertwine multiple methods for analyzing these texts: we will engage in close reading of Shakespeare’s dramatic verse (which is, after all, poetry); analyze historical background and recent scholarly essays (to situate Shakespeare both within his historical time period and within present day critical debates); and perform key scenes. Throughout, we will focus on the way Shakespeare’s plays explore issues of identity and disguise, gender hierarchy and social order, political power and tyranny, and war and nation-formation.

418 4U/4G SHAKESPEARE, Cole. TUTH 9:30-10:45

Shakespeare Requirement

One of Shakespeare’s earliest and most formidable critics complained that the playwright “is so much more careful to please than to instruct, that he seems to write without any moral purpose.” Certainly the very titles of comedies such as As You Like It suggest moral ambiguity or indifference, and the tragedies offer few instances of Virtue Rewarded. But careful readings of ten early and later comedies, histories and tragedies reveal a profoundly moral vision of human experience. A mid-term exam covers the first four plays, a 10-12 page paper on one of the tragedies is due the tenth week, and the final exam includes only the last six plays. Students will also choose two short passages to present to the class.

TEXT: The Riverside Shakespeare, G.B. Evans, ed.

429 1U/1G 18TH CENTURY FICTION, Wilcox. TUTH 9:30-10:45

Group I or V

The novel in the eighteenth century was an object of fear and derision—that is, when people could tear themselves away from reading these absorbing narratives long enough to opine about them. Novels, it was believed, would erode the morals of the young, vitiate the taste of adults, and mire the nation in sloth and vice. Yet novels were written and consumed in increasing quantity over the course of the century, and they remain today the mainstay of both elite and popular literature. In this course we will examine the murky origins, the unsettling possibilities, and the glorious rise of this still-dominant genre. You will gain insight into the power of novels to teach, to question, and to accommodate changing definitions of nation, class, and family. You will also get to read some engrossing stories that will challenge your assumptions about what life was like three hundred years ago. Our readings will span, not only the century, but also the range of human experience depicted in the eighteenth-century novel and the full spectrum of its cultural roles. Course requirements will include regular contributions to the course blog, active participation in class discussion (including leading discussion on one of the readings), two papers, a midterm, and a final.


Group II

The early decades of the nineteenth century were marked by what Lee Erickson has called a “poetry boom.” Publishers paid surprising sums for books of poetry, and poets became some of the most famous (or notorious) celebrities of the age. This course will pay some attention to the history of fiction (readings will include novels by Jane Austen and Mary Shelley). But we will focus on poetry, striving both to appreciate the poetry of the British Romantic period (1789-1832), and to understand the circumstances that gave poets a new kind of cultural authority. Authors will include Mary Wollstonecraft, William Wordsworth, S. T. Coleridge, John Keats, Lord Byron, Jane Austen, Felicia Hemans, and J. S. Mill. Weekly reading responses, two papers, and two exams.

441 1U/1G BRITISH LIT 1900-1930, Mahaffey. TUTH 2-3:15

Group II

Modernism presented many different faces in the British Isles. In this course, we will read not only “high” modernist works (by Yeats, Joyce, and Woolf, and Eliot), but also some of the more immediately accessible productions by Lawrence, Rhys, Sylvia Townsend Warner, Forster, the World War I poets, and Elizabeth Bowen. Requirements include one short paper, to be presented orally, a research project that involves investigating modernist journals such as the two edited by Ford Maddox Ford, and examinations.

455 1U/1G MAJOR AUTHORS, Nazar. TUTH 2-3:15

Group IV

TOPIC: Jane Austen and Mary Wollstonecraft

This course brings into focus the writings of two of the most important women authors of the Romantic period—the canonical novelist, Jane Austen, and the feminist philosopher and novelist, Mary Wollstonecraft. While the decorous Austen and the unconventional Wollstonecraft led remarkably different lives, their writings reveal a striking consensus on matters ranging from women’s education and the place of fiction in the republic of letters to the centrality of justice as a moral and political norm. We will look at their work side by side to explore questions such as the following: How did British women gain entry into the public sphere in the long eighteenth century? Did considerations of gender shape the evolving norms of Enlightenment liberalism? What role did literature play in the development of a modern political vocabulary of rights and autonomy?

455 2U/2G MAJOR AUTHORS, Ivy. MWF 10

Group IV

TOPIC: Willa Cather

This course will be devoted to the works of the early-twentieth-century writer Willa Cather, whose depictions of American life on the Great Plains, in the desert Southwest, and in the rural South established her as an important regionalist even while her experiments with narrative form and her assertion that “the higher processes of art are all processes of simplification” situated her firmly within an emergent literary Modernism. As a historical novelist, a regional novelist, and a writer bent on transforming nineteenth-century definitions of literary realism, Cather’s shaping of narrative is like the shaping of that vast and empty landscape that Jim Burden, in My Ántonia, describes as being “not a country at all, but the material out of which countries are made.” Taking into account the wide range of American identities that emerge in Cather’s writing—through tales of immigration, migration, settlement, development, assimilation, and professionalization, and through her deconstruction of these same tales—we will explore her handling of the raw materials out of which countries—and stories—are made. Requirements of the course include spirited class participation, regular short reading responses, a class presentation, a midterm essay and a final research project.

TEXTS: Willa Cather’s Collected Stories, O Pioneers! (1913), The Song of the Lark (1915), My Ántonia (1918), One of Ours (1922), The Professor’s House (1925), Death Comes for the Archbishop (1927), and Sapphira and the Slave Girl (1940), plus additional short readings.

455 3U/3G MAJOR AUTHORS, S. Camargo. Lect: TH 11-12:50; Screening: W 2-4:30

Group IV

TOPIC: Lynch and Cronenberg : Two Davids versus the Hollywood Goliath

Mutant children, a killer videotape, a human fly, twin gynecologists, virtual realities, madness, hidden identities, and Russian gangsters are found in the work of David Cronenberg. A mutant baby, a deformed sideshow attraction, a fish in a coffeepot, a naked woman on a suburban lawn, an old man riding a lawn tractor, twisty surrealism: welcome to the world of David Lynch, where the line between dreams and reality is not always easy to find. These two Davids do their unconventional work on the margins of the mainstream American film industry that we call simply “Hollywood.” The films these men make, and how they make them, will be the focus of our work in this course. Since these directors are so skilled at training us to see, previous experience in film analysis is not required as a prerequisite for enrollment. Evaluated work will include four medium-length papers.


Group III or V

same as AIS 459

TOPIC: Native American and Indigenous Non-Fiction Writing

Nonfiction writing has been central to Native American and other Indigenous literary and intellectual histories for over two centuries. This course focuses on the trajectories of those histories of writing, including consideration of authors from the 18th to the 21st centuries. The course will include a broad range of nonfiction writing, from life writing to journalism to memoir to film. We will also examine recent scholarly work about the history of Native American books and the adoption of the technology of writing by Indigenous people. Authors will include Sherman Alexie, N. Scott Momaday, Louise Erdrich, Gertrude Bonnin, William Apess, Samson Occam, Gerald Vizenor, Alanis Obomsawim, and Lee Maracle. Rhetoric and Writing Studies students are welcome.

461 2U/2G TOPICS IN LITERATURE, Nazar. TUTH 11-12:15

Group I or V

TOPIC: Gender and Education in the Enlightenment

Education, in the broad sense of the development of the whole person, was a hotly debated topic of the British and European Enlightenment. The idea that mind and character are malleable entities, capable of being shaped by human intervention, is one of the eighteenth century’s most powerful and provocative legacies. It found particular appeal amongst women who used it to counter long-standing essentialist notions of women’s biological and mental inferiority. It was a crucial shaper, moreover, of the new genre of the novel, of which a principal subset was the Bildungsroman or “novel of formation.” Over the course of the semester, we will read a variety of literary and philosophical texts on education, focusing especially on the female Bildungsroman—novels such as Charlotte Lennox’s The Female Quixote (1752), Frances Burney’s Evelina (1778), Elizabeth Inchbald’s A Simple Story (1791), Mary Hays’ Memoirs of Emma Courtney (1796), and Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey (1818)

462 1U/1G TOPICS IN MODERN FICTION, Mehta. TUTH 11-12:20

Group V

meets with CWL 441

TOPIC: Deceit, Desire, and the Novel

The subject of this course is the genre of the novel and its concordance with the political and cultural worlds of the bourgeoisie in the 19th and the early 20th century. How did the novel in different stages and ages of capitalist development interact with the reading public? How was sexuality in its normative or deviant forms explored in this genre? What was the relation between public and private spheres? How did the shadow of the lands/colonies/empires far away figure in the narratives? What new elements or rules, if any, were introduced into the scene by the bourgeoisie of colonized societies? These are some of the issues that will be explored in this course.

481 1U/1G COMP THEORY AND PRACTICE, Vieira. MW 3:30-4:45

Who are you as a writer? What makes a writer a writer? And how might we nurture writers’ development in our classrooms? This course, for future teachers of English and for those interested in writing, will explore these questions. In particular, through extensive writing and reading of composition theory, we will develop a vocabulary to understand our own and others’ writing processes, challenges, and talents. Moreover, we will grapple with two of the most complex tasks in the teaching of writing: developing authentic writing assignments and responding authentically to writers’ work.


This course will provide a historical survey of the foundational thinkers, texts, and schools that orient contemporary work in the humanities. The purpose of this course is to ensure that graduate students receive a rigorous introduction to critical theories and methodologies central to a variety of fields in the humanities and to provide the basis for interdisciplinary conversation and intellectual community among graduate students and faculty members from across the university. As an “advanced introduction,” the course is intended primarily for first-year graduate students and for those who feel they have not covered the development of critical theory in a systematic way. The course will include significant discussion of figures such as: Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Adorno, Benjamin, Barthes, Levi-Strauss, Lacan, Derrida, Foucault, Kristeva, Irigaray, Williams, Hall, Said, Spivak, Bhabha, and Butler. Among the topics we will address are: history, subjectivity, value, power, language, ideology, materiality, gender, sexuality, race, and colonialism. Modern Critical Theory will have an unusual format. The course will meet twice a week. We will meet Tuesday evenings in a public session with other advanced critical theory courses in German and Art History and on Thursday afternoons in a closed session limited to registered students. Drawing on the resources of the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory, we will invite to class “guest experts” from around campus (and occasionally from off campus); these guests will visit the public sessions of the seminar and lecture on particular topics throughout the semester.

505 E WRITING STUDIES I, Schaffner. M 1-2:50

same as CI 563

This seminar is an introduction to writing studies, a field originally defined by the teaching of academic writing. In recognition that writing structures a good deal of our institutional and interpersonal exchanges, writing studies has expanded to include a much wider array of topics. Over the course of the semester, we will read broadly to explore how different disciplines contribute to writing studies. Our topics will include discourse analysis, writing in everyday life, historical research, literacy studies, ethnographic studies of language use, digital literacy, and document design. Students will present on new research and complete a research paper.


same as MDVL 514

TOPIC: Medieval Paleography

The course will cover the major European scripts from Late Antiquity through the Middle Ages, focusing on Latin scripts (from early Roman cursive to Gothic), but also including major vernacular scripts (all of which were based on Latin scripts). In addition to learning the history and development of the scripts themselves, we will learn about medieval scribal practices such as abbreviation, punctuation, and mise-en-page (layout), as well as the fundamentals of codicology from the preparation of parchment to the construction of manuscript books (including how to collate a manuscript). A basic reading knowledge of Latin is required, but students whose focus is on a particular medieval vernacular literature can write seminar papers on those vernacular scripts or manuscripts. We will work with facsimiles but will also conduct some meetings in the Rare Book Room and work with actual manuscripts in our collections. We will also read classic essays on medieval paleography and manuscript studies. Each student will give a seminar report on one particular script (Latin or vernacular), complete exercises (transcriptions, etc.) throughout the semester, and write a seminar paper (on a script, a scribal practice or codicological topic, or on a particular scribe, manuscript, or group of manuscripts).


TOPIC: British Aesthetics and Democratic Politics: 1845-1890

Over the past ten years, scholars have emphasized the value of recognizing the contribution of Victorian literary and aesthetic theory to public debate. Questioning Lacanian and Foucauldian theories of the self that cast figures such as Walter Pater and Oscar Wilde as practitioners of a resistant and escapist aesthetics, more recent theorists such as Stefan Collini and Amanda Anderson encourage interdisciplinary study that puts aesthetics in direct dialogue with political theory. We will take as our focus a democratizing Britain, at a moment when “Englishness” was defining itself against emergent republics across the Atlantic and in Europe (especially in Italy, France, Greece, and the Middle East). We will consider the ways in which poets such as the Brownings, D. G. Rossetti, and Algernon Swinburne, novelists such as George Eliot and Henry James, and aesthetes like Walter Pater, Vernon Lee, and Oscar Wilde harness various literary forms to animate the ethical stakes involved in democratic and international participation. Critical readings will include samples from recent work on cosmopolitanism, internationalism, British liberalism, and republicanism as well as current and nineteenth-century aesthetic and poetic theories.


TOPIC: Yeats: Poetic and National Enchantment

Jane Bennett, before writing Vibrant Matter, published a book on Enchantment in Modern Life in which she argued that in a disenchanted age, it is important to reconsider the unexpectedly ethical potential of moments of enchantment. In this course, we will look at enchantment more comprehensively, not only as a moment of wonder that can trigger ethical responsiveness, but also as a national paralysis, one of the metaphors for the condition of colonization in Ireland. Then we will look at Yeats’ interest in magic and his desire to have his poems sung (accompanied by a psalter) as different responses to the complex dangers and possibilities of enchantment, a word that comes from the French verb “to sing” (chanter). Readings will include chapters from Bennett, from Thomas Moore’s The Re-enchantment of Everyday Life, and possibly from Philip Fisher’s Wonder, the Rainbow, and the Aesthetics of Rare Experiences. We will consult Margaret Mills Harper on Yeats’ experience with magic, and we will also look at Irish melodies such as Thomas Moore’s “Silent, O Moyle,” for instances in which colonized Ireland is represented as under the spell of an evil witch or sorcerer. Readings will include most of Yeats’ poetry, some of his plays, and possibly A Vision.


meets with HIST 573

TOPIC: The Psychic Life of Empire: American Colonialism and its Aftermath, 1800-1900

American studies has always had a geopolitical imaginary, whether regional, national, hemispheric, or transnational. In that tradition, this course will offer an introduction to the geography of nineteenth-century American colonialism (embedded materially in the practices of slavery and territorial expansion), but following contemporary work by scholars as diverse as Judith Butler, Anne Stoler, Paul Gilroy, Jonathan Elmer, and Jonathan Lear, we will also consider the geopolitical imaginary of nineteenth-century “America” from the more intimate point of view of the vulnerable and aggressive human beings who populated it then and continue to populate it today. Our work will thus join a commitment to material culture (the history of land and things) to an account of the what we might call the psychic processes of empire, including its attachments and disavowals at both large-scale levels and at the relatively micro-level of the individual subject, who is at once a thinking, feeling, desiring person (a subject in the psychoanalytic sense, with a marked interiority) and, of course, a subject of history, the processes and practices of which inform that interiority. To do this, we will begin with Jefferson’s very early (1780) articulation of the nation-state as “an empire of liberty” (a vision that culminated in his administration’s successful funding of the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark Expedition) and follow that imperial project through to Wounded Knee (1890) and the World’s Columbian Exposition (1893). Primary “literary” readings may include selections from figures such as Olaudah Equiano, Lewis and Clark, William Bartram, Jefferson, Lydia Child, William Apess, James Fenimore Cooper, George Catlin, Francis Parkman, Black Elk, Plenty-Coups, John Rollin Ridge, Ida B. Wells, Martin Delany, Whitman, and Herman Melville. Archival materials will be drawn from the many atlases, geographies, newspapers, engravings, photographs, and magazines that span the period. And secondary readings will be broadly interdisciplinary, drawn from literary studies, history, geography, and critical theory. The final weeks of the course will be devoted to the circulation and discussion of student writing, with special emphasis on the methods by which we come to our readings of both the period and its artifacts.


TOPIC: Contemporary American Poetry

This seminar covers the vital and astonishingly diverse range of poetry that emerged during the second half of the twentieth century. No one narrative, we now realize, can encompass the varieties of poetry Americans produced during this period or the one preceding it. There are, however, some parallels. If the first half of the century saw the emergence of numerous new feminist voices, in the 1960s and 1970s a massive new feminist movement produced its own poetry renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance was in some ways matched by the Black Arts movement decades later. The experimental poetry of the first half of the century was advanced by poetry in open forms in the 1960s and thereafter. We do our best to cover all these developments and others. The primary text is my Anthology of Modern American Poetry, supplemented by MAPS, the 30,000 page web site (http://www.english.uiuc.edu/maps) that has entries for all the poets in the book. It also has an earlier version of the syllabus for the seminar. It will be updated by photocopies of developments of the last decade, including responses to 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. A unique feature of the course is the opportunity to write original poem analyses and post them on MAPS after detailed peer review by several other seminar members. These web publications can then be listed on your vita. Seminar time is largely devoted to working through poems together in detail. Feel free to email me with questions at crnelson@illinois.edu


TOPIC: Literature and Globalization

This course examines the ways in which globalization has redefined literary studies in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. We will look at a broad range of contemporary Anglophone fiction and at new conceptual paradigms for understanding literary production in a global information economy. We will consider the controversies, formal innovations, thematic concerns, and canonical transformations produced by the transnational production, circulation and reception of literary texts in a world of high-speed interconnectivity. We will also look at theoretical challenges to the Eurocentrism of comparative literature’s modes of worlding literature and to the nation/empire paradigms within postcolonial studies. Readings will include Pascale Casanova, Gayatri Spivak, Suman Gupta, Brian Massumi, David Damrosch, Amitav Ghosh, Michael Ondaatje, Zadie Smith, Monica Ali, Karen Tei Yamashita, Richard Powers, and Don DeLillo.


TOPIC: The Neuroscientific Turn: Humanities Scholarship and the Emergent Neurodisciplines

Are we in the midst of a neurorevolution? a neuroscientific turn? What is ‘brainhood’? How are the emergent neurodiscipliens being constructed? How can we—as humanists—have a say in the potential neurosociety to come? Over the past two decades, neuroscience has become an important player in humanities scholarship. Emergent neurodisciplines (from neuroaesthetics to neurohistory to the neuro-humanities) have adopted neuroscience for fact finding and theory building. But is there any rhyme or reason to representations and uses of neuroscience? What can we learn from neuroscience and what can neuroscience learn from a discipline such as English? In this course, we will read historical, popular, scientific, and literary material from journalists, scientists and authors such as Richard Powers, Jonah Lehrer, and Mark Haddon. Students will learn about the basics of neuroscience, critical neuroscience, and literature and science scholarship. Assignments will include response papers, a book review, and a final research project. **NOTE: students DO NOT need to have a scientific background to take this course. All are welcome!


meets with AIS 501

TOPIC: Indigenous Critical Theory

Within postcolonial theory, scholars often draw distinctions between British formal colonial rule and settler colonialism, establishing the first as the normative process of economic and military domination and the second as a more humane and inevitable process. As a result, the pernicious colonizations of indigenous peoples within deep settler colonies such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States often remain the dark unarticulated given even in theories of decolonial resistance arising from the global south. This class proposes a dialogue of sorts amongst theoretical traditions to interrogate settler colonial “postcolonialities” and the lingering colonialist discourses within postcolonial theory that deconstruct when confronted by indigenous presences. How do theories of colonialism and postcolonialism prioritize certain geographical and historical contexts and in what ways do those theories succeed or fail in addressing indigeneity? How might indigeneity challenge postcolonial theory and how might indigenous scholars reframe those theories to address the ongoing colonizations that continue to define their lands, rights, and sovereignty? Finally, how might the intersection between postcolonial and indigenous critical theories provide new sites for interdisciplinary methods and inquiry?


same as CI 565

TOPIC: Researching Writers: Ethnographic Methods in Writing Studies

What is an ethnography of writing? What kinds of questions about writing can ethnographies answer? And how does one do ethnographic research about writing? In this course, we will address these questions by analyzing selected literacy ethnographies and by developing our own small-scale ethnographic projects. As we work, we will pay particular attention to study design, research ethics, data collection, data analysis, and of course, writing.

593 D PROF SEMINAR COLLEGE TCHG, Nardi. M 11-12:50

TOPIC: The Teaching of Rhetoric

In this course for new TAs teaching composition, we will examine theory, research, and pedagogy in writing studies as well as participants’ own experiences in relation to the questions of how and why to teach writing in college. Requirements include reading, active participation in class activities, informal writing, and a final portfolio reflecting on teaching.

TEXTS: A packet of readings.

593 P PROF SEMINAR COLLEGE TCHG, Erickson. TU 11-12:50

TOPIC: The Teaching of Business and Technical Writing

This professional seminar is designed to ground graduate students in some of the salient genres, discourse conventions, and styles privileged by discourse communities engaged in business, as well as help those students construct a sophisticated conceptual understanding of writing well suited to the instruction/learning of writing-as-a-verb for those discourse communities. More importantly, this seminar will help its students critically engage useful pedagogical theory and theory from the field of business/technical writing, so they might improve their effectiveness as classroom instructors. This seminar is required of all graduate students teaching business/technical writing for the first time.

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