Literature and Writing Studies Courses

Overview of Topical Streams (the following list of courses was updated 4/16/2013)


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.

102 S INTRO TO DRAMA, Perry. TUTH 2-3:15

In this class we will read selected major plays from the European dramatic tradition (from classical Greece to the present), paying particular attention to the ways that changes in form, genre, and presentation style reflect changing ideas about people, society, and the social function of dramatic entertainment. What kinds of stories have different cultures thought to be suitable subjects for tragedy, and why? What does it mean to be tragic, anyway? And why do people want to see stories that end unhappily? How does the meaning of slapstick, farce, or low bodily humor change over time? Or does it, since there are fart jokes in classical Greek comedy and medieval morality plays that are not all that different from gross-out comedy in a contemporary movie? What other kinds of comedies are there? How do they work? How do different staging conventions create different possibilities for representation and/or different modes of interaction between actors and audience? And so on.

Students should come away from this class with some overview of the history of dramatic form (though this will have to be done in pretty broad strokes, since we’ll be traipsing over thousands of years and all of Europe), with a deep understanding of several odd, brilliant, and provocative plays, and with a much sharper sense of the way different forms of theater reflect and participate in their different social milieus. We will consider plays (in English translation, where necessary) by many or all of the following playwrights: Anonymous, Aristophanes, Behn, Brecht, Churchill, Euripides, Ibsen, Marlowe, Molière, Seneca, Shakespeare, and Wilde.


An introduction to the study of literature and literary history at the university level. Explores such topics as: the historical role and place of fictional narratives, the idea of genre, relationships between context and meaning in fictional works. Student will develop a critical vocabulary for interpreting and analyzing narrative strategies. Credit is not given for both ENGL 103 and ENGL 109.


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/MACS 104 is an appropriate prerequisite for English /MACS 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 an introductory textbook (most of them assigning Film Experience by Timothy Corrigan and Patricia White, but carefully check the bookstore’s listing of the section letter assigning the text or go to class first). All sections also make 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 12-15 pages of expository writing (usually in 2 or 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.


Same as RLST 101, CWL 111

Themes and literary genres in the Bible, emphasizing content important in Western culture.


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.

119 T LITERATURE OF FANTASY, Hoiem. TUTH 3:30-4:45

same as CWL 119

Introduction to the rich traditions of fantasy writing in world literature. While the commercial category of fantasy post-Tolkien will often be the focal point, individual instructors may choose to focus on alternate definitions of the genre: literatures of the fantastic, the uncanny, and the weird; fantasy before the Enlightenment and the advent of realism; fantasy for young adult or child readers; and so on.


same as AFRO 105

This course will be a survey of the literary work of Black Americans from 1746 to the present. Exploration of the social, cultural, and political contexts that have shaped the Black American literary tradition by analyzing not only poetry, drama, autobiographical narratives, short stories, and novels, but also folktales and music.


TOPIC: Graphic Narrative

Beginning with a Kryptonian’s ability to leap over tall buildings in a single bound and ending with a young girl’s dive into her father’s arms, this course explores nearly eighty years of American comics. We’ll concentrate on the formal choices artists and writers make in constructing their graphic narratives, but we’ll also pay attention to content, reading the fantastic characters and adventures of “genre” comics alongside the realist works that have driven graphic fiction’s rise to literary respectability in the 1990s and 2000s. Featured creators include Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Bernard Krigstein, Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, Harvey Pekar, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, Chris Ware, Joe Sacco, Lynda Barry, and Alison Bechdel.


Campus Honors

TOPIC: British Espionage Fiction from Conrad to 007

As the twentieth century dawned and Britain’s Empire foundered, some of the most thoughtful English novelists began to write about spies and terrorists. While lesser-known figures like GK Chesterton tried their hand at writing about espionage, some of the finest and most provocative novels of the genre were written in the first decade of the twentieth century by Joseph Conrad. Tracing a literary history that begins with Conrad’s The Secret Agent and Under Western Eyes as well as Chesterton’s The Man Who was Thursday, this course will chart the ways that the collapse of Empire and the two World Wars prepared the way for the cold war era espionage fiction penned by Ian Fleming, Graham Greene, and John Le Carré. By reading several of Fleming’s Bond novels (Casino Royale, From Russia With Love), Greene’s serious spy fiction (The Quiet American, The Human Factor) as well as his more ironic effort (Our Man in Havana), Le Carré existential, haunting Smiley Trilogy (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Smiley’s People), and Ian McEwan’s recent foray into the genre (Sweet Tooth) we’ll see not only how Conrad’s novels predicted the decline of British power but also how his concerns about agency, subjective choice, and Western Imperialism weighed on the spy novels produced in the shadow of cold war ideology. We’ll also view several British Spy films in order to get a sense of how the genre evolved over the course of the last century.


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.

202 P MEDIEVAL LIT AND CULTURE, M. Camargo. TUTH 11-12:15

Group I

same as CWL 253, MDVL 201

Medieval Chivalry, East and West: Chivalry, a set of ideals that was supposed to guide a knight’s conduct as warrior and lover, was a prominent theme of medieval literature that continues to influence popular culture from the Boy Scouts to the Jedi of Star Wars. The concept of chivalry was not limited to the knights in shining armor and the beautiful damsels (often in distress) featured in the medieval romances of Western Europe. Elements of the chivalric code, especially the rules governing what is known as ‘courtly love,’ may have originated in Islamic culture, and the ideal of the virtuous warrior found its counterpart in the Islamic futuwwah (the way of the young man) and the Japanese bushido (the way of the warrior), as the code of the Samurai came to be called. In this course we will look at some of the ways in which these chivalric codes were defined, celebrated, and/or critiqued in literature written during the Middle Ages. Works that we will read, discuss, and compare include two love manuals—The Dove’s Neck-Ring by Abu Muhammad Ali ibn Said ibn Hazm and The Art of Courtly Love by Andreas Capellanus; The Book of Sufi Chivalry by Muhamed ibn al-Husayn al-Sulami; chivalric romances by Chrétien de Troyes, Marie de France, Wolfram von Eschenbach, and the anonymous author of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; and selections from the classic Japanese Tale of the Heike and Tale of Genji. Requirements: daily attendance and participation; short, written responses to the readings; two medium-length papers; a final exam.


Group I

same as CWL 255

This course offers an introduction to some of the main themes and concerns of the Renaissance, a period known for its religious militancy, its love of classical learning, and its proto-imperialist endeavor. We will explore both what is expectedly strange and oddly familiar in these works, focusing in particular on the way Renaissance texts construct increasingly anxious and complex narratives of gentlemanly gallantry and heroism, set both within a domestic and an imperial scene. We will look at early modern culture's belief in the plasticity of identity, the way it can be molded and shaped to fit an ideal performance of the self. We will also look at the way the literature of the period attempts to direct that self-fashioning, by formulating textual portraits of the new individual and even the new society. Throughout, we will pay close attention to those who are marginalized and excluded by Renaissance ideas and ideals, as well as those who take center stage.

TEXT: The Norton Anthology of English Literature 1b: Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries; Course packet from Notes and Quotes


Group I

The term “enlightenment,” with its chilly connotations of reason, morals, and decorum, tends to be construed in opposition to the messy business of human life: sex, religion, and death. In this course, we will look at how, in the eighteenth century, enlightenment illuminated these dark corners of human subjectivity in unexpected ways. By reading across a variety of canonical and noncanonical genres and analyzing the rhetorical forms of eighteenth-century thought, we will achieve an understanding of how various literary forms evolved in response to the period’s arguments and uncertainty. By the end of this course, you will be able to read a wide variety of eighteenth-century texts with comprehension and enjoyment and you will understand how those texts depict innovative forms of thought that continue to shape the way we interpret the world. Requirements will include contributions to the course blog, active participation in class discussion (including leading discussion on one of the course readings), two papers, and a take-home final exam.


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 1800, Trilling. Lect: MW 11; Disc: F various times

This course is intended to survey more than a thousand years of British literature from the early Middle Ages through the eighteenth century. But what does “British literature” really mean? The range of languages, genres, peoples, characters, and contexts that fall under this heading is downright staggering, and part of our goal in this course will be simply to appreciate the sheer volume and breadth of written work created in the British archipelago between the eighth and eighteenth centuries. We will do this through a necessarily selective sampling of historical periods, languages, and genres. Some of the texts we read will be attached to famous names like Chaucer, Milton, and Shakespeare; others are composed by lesser-known, and even unknown, authors. In each case, however, we will work to understand how the categories of genre, language, form, and historical period have been used to construct the discipline of English literary studies.

210 S BRITISH LIT 1800 TO PRESENT, Goodlad. TUTH 2-3:15

This course explores British literature from the Romantic period (with its strong dialectical relation to revolutionary political and economic changes), through the long reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901); and onto the Modernist, postmodern and postcolonial influences of the “long twentieth century.” Although literature in English by British subjects will be our focal point, the contexts we will bring to bear in studying it will take full account of the globalizing capitalism and imperialism of this dynamic period and of decolonization, social democracy, and neoliberalism in the post-World War II decades. We will pay special attention to how different styles of poetry, fiction and prose, articulate these macrocosmic structures via experimental formal features including genre, narration, rhythm and meter. Our readings will include the poetry of Keats, Wordsworth, Tennyson, the Brownings, and TS Eliot; Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park (1814); excerpts from Mary Seacole’s Wonderful Adventures (1857); Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White (1859)—which we will read “serially”; Joseph Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness (1899); and Zadie Smith’s White Teeth (2000). Student assignments will include the co-curation of an annotated online edition of Collins’s novel as well as commentary on other readings.


Group V

This course will examine one of the most provocative, experimental, and challenging periods in literary history. The early decades of the twentieth century saw rapid technological innovation, global political upheaval, radical transformations in gender roles, and the traumas of two world wars. The literature and art of the period captured these turbulent cultural experiences through extreme formal experimentation. This course will survey the key works that defined the modernist and avant-garde movements; we will examine novels, poetry, film, and manifestos by Joseph Conrad, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Mina Loy, Charlie Chaplain, Samuel Beckett, and others.


Fulfills Shakespeare Requirement for Secondary Education minors only

Representative readings of Shakespeare’s drama and poetry in the context of his age, with emphasis on major plays; selections vary from section to section. Does not fulfill Shakespeare requirement for the English major.

218 P INTRO TO SHAKESPEARE, Perry. TUTH 11-12:15

Fulfills Shakespeare Requirement for Secondary Education minors only

Representative readings of Shakespeare’s drama and poetry in the context of his age, with emphasis on major plays; selections vary from section to section. Does not fulfill Shakespeare requirement for the English major.

223 M JEWISH STORYTELLING, Harris. TUTH 12:30-1:50

same as YDSH 220, CWL 221, RLST 220

Course will introduce the great Jewish storytellers such as Nachman of Bratslav, Scholem-Aleichem, and I.B. Singer through readings of Yiddish tales, short stories, poetry, drama and excerpts from novels and autobiographies from the 19th and 20th centuries. In addition, Yiddish films and folklore will be used to exemplify the variety of Jewish cultural expression in Eastern Europe, Russia, and America. Course will also present a sample of critical approaches to Yiddish literature. Taught in English translation.


same as LLS 240, SPAN 240

Surveys literary work, film, essay, autobiography, historical narratives, and art in order to gain insight into the multi-faceted nature of Latina/o identity and experience in the United States. Lecture and readings are in English.


same as LLS 242, SPAN 242

Survey of literature by and about people of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, and other Latina/o descent in the United States. Taught in English.

242 M POETRY SINCE 1940, Labella. TUTH 9:30-10:45

Group V

The first necessity of poetry, Allen Grossman contends, “is the transmission of the human image.” Our survey of poetry since 1940 begins with poetic responses to the crises of the human image around the time of World War II. It then ventures across the remainder of the 20th century, studying different poetry movements and tracing how they lean toward the contemporary scene. Examples of such movements include the Beat poets, the Deep Image poets, the New York School, Language Poetry, and poets associated with ecopoetry and multiculturalism. The aim of the course is to reflect on the possible links between, on the one hand, the changing forms of poetic action as a means for making the image of persons and, on the other hand, the questions of human valuing. The requirements of ENGL 242 are: two exams; two essays; quizzes & exercises; ten short responses; a group presentation; & class participation.

245 T THE SHORT STORY. TUTH 3:30-4:45

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

A study of some of the more noteworthy and influential writers of the last two hundred and fifty years. The course traces the development of the novel as a genre that both celebrated and critiqued Britain and British nationalism. Examines how the novel has been important culturally over time.

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 Q THE AMERICAN NOVEL SINCE 1914, Ivy. TUTH 12:30-1:45

Group III or V

In this course we will read a range of American novels published over the last hundred years and in doing so we will develop an understanding of the history of the American novel as a literary, cultural, and commercial phenomenon. As we build up a precise vocabulary for talking about content and form we will also engage with the flexible concept of “novelistic discourse.” Ultimately, you should become familiar not just with particular novels but with the broader outlines of literary modernism and postmodernism and with key debates about the art and politics of novel-writing. Our novels will be tied together thematically by a variety of shared interests: nature and culture; travel and migration; geographical and social space; national identity; history and memory; crime and punishment; structures of family and community; intergenerational dynamics; and of course narrative and storytelling. You should expect to read each novel carefully and critically, and to encounter supplementary materials in the form of reviews, interviews, images, excerpts from other literary works, and/or critical essays. Requirements include spirited participation in class discussions, regular short reading responses, two formal essays, a midterm, and a final.

255 AL1 SURVEY OF AMERICAN LIT I, Loughran. Lect: MW 10; Disc: F various times

The purpose of this course is to introduce you to “early” American literature 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 areas 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, seduction novels, narrative poems, autobiographies, newspaper 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.


Group III

American literature and its cultural backgrounds after 1870.

259 M AFRO-AMERICAN LITERATURE I, Freeburg. TUTH 9:30-10:45

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 AL1 GRIMMS’ FAIRY TALES IN CONTEXT, Johnson. Lect: MW 10; Disc: F various times

same as GER 250, CWL 250

We analyze literary fairy tales from continental Europe written between 1600 and 1900, along with other storytelling forms, film and the other arts. We trace the history of the fairy tale from oral traditions to print and film, and study common motifs in fairy tales: the relationship of the virtual to the real, socioeconomic class and power, family conflicts, infertility and pregnancy, puberty rituals, desire, incest, punishment, and violence. We apply several different interpretive approaches to the tales and to related literary and cultural products.

268 AE1 THE HOLOCAUST IN CONTEXT, Tubb. Lect: MW 10; Disc: F various times

same as GER 260, CWL 271

This course examines cultural representations of the Holocaust in literature, film, and critical essays. It is not a course about the Holocaust per se, but about its representations. What this means is that a simple collection of facts for the sake of a convenient, summary explanation of what the Holocaust “is,” is not the point. During the course of the semester, we will study a number of cultural attempts to come to terms with something that eludes full comprehension. You will come to ask yourself how “understanding,” an act that we commonly perceive to be both illuminating and relieving, is transformed when straightforward meaning and legibility can no longer be taken for granted. Starting out with a discussion of contemporary memory culture in the US and Germany, the course introduces students to the historical context of the Third Reich, the Holocaust, and the Second Word War. We then turn to a variety of postwar texts, including memoirs, poems, essays, memorials, documentary and feature film, to explore how Jewish and non-Jewish writers have dealt with issues of perpetration, survival, trauma, and memory in postwar German culture and beyond

273 P AMERICAN CINEMA SINCE 1950, T. Newcomb. Lect: TUTH 11-12:15; Screening: M 3-5:30

Group III or V

same as MACS 273

Explores American cinema from 1950 to the present, focusing on key issues in film studies (such as authorship, genre, narratology, film style, gender analysis, and the spectacle of violence), contextualized within moments of major transition in the American film industry. In recent semesters units have included “Hitchcock in American Culture,” “The New Hollywood,” and “Hollywood in a Global Context.” Viewing and discussion of one film each week.

274 T LITERATURE AND SOCIETY, S. Camargo. TUTH 3:30-4:45

Group V

TOPIC: Murder as a Fine Art

Murder has figured in our laws and in our literary texts from the earliest days, as an element in our moral education and as a social problem. It was only in the 1840s, however, that murder became bracketed to mass entertainment. In this course we will look at murder from two perspectives. The first group of texts focuses on amateur and professional detectives; the second on professional criminals. Through these opposing lenses, we will analyze fictional representations of crime from a range of perspectives: character studies, motivations, victims, detection methods, representations of the police, social impact of crime, class, gender, race, and reader address. In addition to a range of popular fictional representations of crime, we will also read nonfiction works that allow us to measure the distance between these fictions and reality.

Evaluated work will include several short response papers and two longer papers.

275 AE1 AM INDIAN AND INDIGENOUS FILM, Diaz. Lect: MW 10; Screening: TU 2-4:20

Group III or V

same as AIS 275, MACS 275

The topic for this course is “Sex on the Beach” and will focus on films the Pacific Islands. Have you ever noticed that films set in the Pacific are always about romance or tragedy? This course samples the body of films set in the Pacific Islands to develop our critical visual literacy skills through which we can understand a broader, ongoing, history of Euro American fears and desires as projected through exotic and erotic films of romance and tragedy set in the islands.

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

Group III or V

same as GWS 280

TOPIC: U.S. Women Writers, 1910-2013

This course examines 20th- and 21st-century US women’s writing in a variety of forms, and our emphasis will be on conceptions of cultural and literary history, including style and social reform. We will focus on how literary works are simultaneously products of one author’s imagination and also participate in a set of historical norms, shaped by the cultural anxieties to which the author, in turn, responds.

This survey of American women’s writing will include the following themes: women and identity, sexuality and social norms, and family and work. We will start with women’s writing in the 1910s and move, decade by decade, into the present. Thus, this class will take a historical and cultural approach to US women’s writing, as well as illuminating various literary methodologies. The reading list will include canonical and noncanonical readings from various genres—poetry, memoir, comedy, radical and conservative novels—in order to demonstrate both formal and thematic concerns in representative women’s texts.


Group II or V

Global Fictions: This course examines the relationship between literature, culture, and the emerging world order. How does contemporary fiction in English represent the economic, political and cultural transformations of globalization? How have literary forms like the novel been reshaped by globalization? What new fictional forms have emerged to represent the nature of global interconnectedness today? What do these fictional works suggest about the possibility of comprehending and representing these global changes? This course will look at contemporary fiction in English from across the world paying attention to how the settings and histories depicted in these stories (South Africa, Delhi/Bangalore, London, Bangladesh, New Jersey) allow writers to reflect on changing experiences of time, space, and community in a globalizing world. The course will also include a few films that explore the networks linking local spaces to global systems and the effects of these transnational linkages on the everyday realities of individuals and societies. Likely films and novels include Junot Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Jamaica Kincaid, A Small Place, Monica Ali, Brick Lane, J. M. Coetzee, Disgrace, Mohsin Hamid, Moth Smoke, and Stephen Frears, Dirty Pretty Things.


Group V

TOPIC: Lyric Poetry from Shakespeare to Carson

“Then, Sir, what is poetry?”

“Why, Sir, it is much easier to say what it is not. We all know what light is, but it is not very easy to tell what it is.”

(Samuel Johnson, Boswell’s Life, April 1776)

Is lyric poetry the signature genre of the “inner life”? What invests “meditative verse” (T.S. Eliot’s term) with the capacity to move us or the impression that we are hearing an individuated voice speaking to us across time? Surveying a broad range of poems from the fifteenth century until the present moment, this class will emphasize poetry’s formal qualities, historical context, relevance to our own moment in history, and relationship to other forms of media. In this writing-intensive class, expect special attention to early modern, modernist, and contemporary British and Commonwealth poetry and to the idea of poetry as performance. Poets covered in this course include, but are not limited to, “anonymous;” Thomas Wyatt; Shakespeare; John Donne; Andrew Marvell; Robert Browning; William Butler Yeats; Edna St. Vincent Millay; Wilfred Owen; T. S. Eliot; E. E. Cummings; W. H. Auden; Philip Larkin; Louis MacNeice; Sylvia Plath; Glyn Maxwell; Anne Carson; Lynn Crosbie; Sarah Ruhl; and David McGimpsey. Expect also to read such ancillary texts as extracts from Plath’s diaries and Auden and Macneice’s “Letters from Iceland.” 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.

TEXTS: TBA, likely The Norton Anthology of Poetry (2004) and the anthology New British Poetry (2004) supplemented with a course reader and poems available online; Paul Fussell’s text Poetic Meter and Poetic Form (1979); and Lynn Crosbie’s Liar: A Poem (2006). Evaluation will be based upon consistent participation and upon generating, workshopping, and revising a significant body of writing.


Group V

TOPIC: Creative Nonfiction as Literature

In this course, we will read a range of autobiographical and biographical writing that can be qualified as “creative” or “literary” non-fiction. We will explore the texts as celebrations of life as well as interrogations of identity, and will also examine the texts as constructed narratives, or as constructed “truth.” By the end of the semester, students will have an in-depth knowledge of the range of writing known today as creative nonfiction. Evaluated work will include regular written projects, some of which will involve oral presentations, and a long research paper. 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.xw


Group III or V

TOPIC: Strange Fathers: Race and Paternity in Asian American Poetry

What do paternal identifications reveal about questions of race and gender? This writing course explores how images of the father shape identities, in the work of three major Asian American poets: Li Young Lee, Marilyn Chin, and Eugene Gloria. Short extracts drawn from the critical work on fatherhood and subjectivity accompany the discussions of individual poetry collections. Students will learn the basic critical tools for talking about poems, and write poetry criticism for different kinds of readers. Main requirements include exercises, short responses, three essays (including drafts). 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.

TEXTS: The Phoenix Gone, the Terrace Empty by Marilyn Chin; Rose by Li Young Lee; Drivers at the Short-Time Motel by Eugene Gloria


Group II or V

TOPIC: Tales of Economic Disaster

Though the global financial collapse of recent years was especially dramatic, experiences of boom and bust, of euphoric growth followed by inglorious ruin, have been part of the capitalist experience since the Tulip Bubble of 17th century Holland. This class will sketch some of the economic history of these crises, including Marx’s Communist Manifesto. We will then focus on novels depicting the lived experience of workers and employers (and their families) who suffered through these events and tried to explain them using different moral or political frameworks. Readings will include Gaskell’s North and South, Dickens’s Hard Times, Gissing’s New Grub Street, Norris’s The Pit, and Lodge’s Nice Work. Since this is a writing class, there will be two close reading papers, one research paper, and a variety of in-class and homework writing assignments.


This course invites reflection on what it is we do when we read and write about literature. Is there something distinctive about literary language and the experience of reading literary texts? What is the difference between a newspaper narrative and a short story? How do we compare and judge different interpretations of a poem? Is it a good idea to fall in love with characters in a novel? Does literature have any relevance outside the academy? English 301 explores these and related questions and considers some of the most powerful responses they have received in the last seventy years or so, from perspectives including the New Criticism, feminism, Marxism, deconstruction, psychoanalysis, postcolonialism, the New Historicism, and the new formalisms. The course prepares you to become a participant in the scholarly conversation that takes place in academic journals and critical monographs, and gives you the tools to articulate and defend your own approach to literature. 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 and is best not delayed for too long. Seniors 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. Attendance will be crucial, for we learn these concepts both by reading and by working with the concepts together. Class time will focus on discussion, not on lecture. If you like to stay silent in class, don’t take this section. Students will write multiple short papers and share their papers with their classmates. 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.


This course will introduce students to the various issues and debates central to contemporary literary studies. If you have ever wondered why people interpret certain texts, and even certain events and actions, as they do, then this is the course for you. The class will begin by exploring the ways in which three profoundly different thinkers, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud, introduced a peculiarly suspicious form of reading, a way of interrogating texts and the world that looks beneath the surface and doubts that what you see is what you get. We will go on to explore how literary critics in the 20th century worked to map this Modern “hermeneutic of suspicion” onto political, psychological, and philosophical issues that still have an effect on us today. Finally, the course will engage with literature’s relationship to questions of sexual and racial difference, of power, and of technology. Requirements will include active class-participation, weekly journal entries, two short papers, and two exams.

Texts will include Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams, Marx’s The Communist Manifesto, Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals and a Course Packet with essays by critics in the Gender, psychoanalytic, Marxist, and Post-Structuralist traditions. 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.

325 M TOPICS IN LGBT LIT & FILM, Somerville. TUTH 9:30-10:45

Group V

TOPIC: Queer Approaches to Literature

This course provides an introduction to major critical debates within queer studies, a field that has both transformed and been shaped by the study of literature. We will read a variety of literary texts—including novels, short stories, poetry, autobiography, and graphic novels—in conversation with important essays by queer theorists and literary critics. While we will study works by several gay, lesbian, queer, bisexual, and transgender writers, we will also study queer theoretical questions that do not depend on the sexual or gender identity of the author. Among the topics and approaches that we’ll study are: queer of color critique, queer narrative theory, the “affective turn” in queer studies, the “anti-social thesis,” underground and experimental literary movements, and the construction of LGBTQ audiences and readers. The course requirements will include active participation in class discussions, two papers, a class presentation, and a final exam.

373 P SPECIAL TOPICS IN FILM STUDIES, Prendergast. TUTH 11-12:50

Group V

same as MACS 373

TOPIC: Disability in Film

This course will examine disability as it is approached, managed, and represented by the film industry. Questions we will consider: How are disabled characters represented in popular films and how has that representation changed over time? How have independent films attempted to counter mainstream portrayals of disability by offering a more complex view? How does the mainstream film industry assume an able-bodied, able-minded audience? We will examine films featuring deaf actors whose signs are “translated” on screen, cinemagraphic techniques for rendering impaired mental states, and the politics of able-bodied actors representing disabled characters. We will also screen descriptive audio of movies created specifically for the visually impaired, films done completely in ASL (American Sign Language), and attend a “Lights Up, Sound Down” screening (designed to accommodate viewers with autism and sensitivity issues) at a local theatre. Screenings will be accompanied by readings in disability and culture. Requirements include attendance at screenings, participation in class discussion, and three short papers in lieu of a final with a presentation to the class.


Group II or V

same as MACS ???

TOPIC: England from Recovery to Cool Britannia and Back Again (1955–1980)

Even if they are not meant to be documentaries, films made in other countries in other eras inevitably serve as windows on the worlds that they represent. Through such films we can learn not only about social conditions but also about the people’s values, dreams, and ambitions. While class, race, region, politics, sexuality, and gender inflect our lives in the United States, each of these, due to England’s longer history, has an even greater influence on English lives.

During the 25 years covered by this course, England emerged from the destruction of World War II, lost an Empire, was opened to immigrants, changed fashion, and discovered drugs, sex, and rock and roll. Rationing, ugly buildings, dowdy clothing, and a hidebound class system characterized England in the late 1950s. Then, in the 1960s, English people had an experience rather like Dorothy’s in The Wizard of Oz: they emerged from a dark gray world into one of brilliant neon colors. Through the films we will view, we will learn about what English life was like in these two decades, and then we will see what happened after.

Required work will include four short response papers and three somewhat longer ones, active participation in class discussion, and, if necessary, occasional quizzes.


Group V

same as MACS 373

TOPIC: Haunted Cinema

In this section of ENGL/MACS 373 we will examine narrative films about haunting—featuring ghosts, vampires, demons, and other weird creatures—to explore the many ways in which cinema is itself a “haunted” cultural form with complex, fascinating, sometimes troubling psychic, emotional, religious, and political meanings. Our examination will range from some of the earliest cinematic haunting narratives to some very recent Hollywood films.

We’ll consider these far-reaching questions, among others:

How can cinema, that quintessentially 20th-century art form, reveal to us what forces and fears haunt the modern world? In what ways is cinema a “haunted” form, and the viewer of films both haunter and haunted? How can cinematic narratives of haunting provide us with powerful metaphors of hidden interconnection, even some degree of religious or spiritual experience, in the fragmented, skeptical environment of modernity? How do these narratives allow us to explore anxieties and fantasies involving identity, gender, and sexuality that often seem taboo in our everyday lives?

Attendance at weekly screenings, multiple analytical essays, a final exam, and consistent class participation will be required.

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 Angela Smith in EB200 for more information about the program, or to register for a seminar.

396 D HONORS SEMINAR I, Capino. W 11-12:50

Group III or V

TOPIC: American Documentary

This course studies different modes of American documentary representation in print, sound, and especially moving images, from the end of the 19th century to the present. Students will read picture books about American experiences at home and abroad. They will view film and television documentaries about both banal and monumental events, and listen to audio documentaries about celebrities and "ordinary" people. Topics include the history of the travelogue, the language of nonfiction cinema, the ethics of documentary representation, and the status of documentary’s “truth claim” in the wake of Photoshop, 9/11, and the resurgence of reality TV. Assignments include response papers, essays, class presentations, and a small documentary project composed in the student’s medium of choice.

396 E HONORS SEMINAR I, Loughran. M 1-2:50

Group V

TOPIC: Old and New Media: Gutenberg to Google

What does it mean to study literature at the start of the 21C? Are print and its major aesthetic forms archaic or simply mutating? What’s at stake in the shift from analog to digital forms of representation? What was “a reader”—and what will reading be in twenty or a hundred years? To get at these questions, we will work with conventional literary forms (like poems and novels) and consider the material formats in which these genres have historically been consumed (the codex book, the magazine, the newspaper, but also—now—the Kindle and the iPad). But we will also look at photographs, watch movies and TV, play (a few) video games, use apps, and navigate webpages. Mode of production will, in this way, become an important part of how we think about what art is. Some questions these objects might lead us to ask include: what aesthetic problems seem to have emerged when old media (like print, photography, cinema, and television) were still new? What aesthetic forms did this old media tend to generate and why? How are the debates that were once generated by old media reflected in our contemporary experience of new media? Does new media—websites, video games, apps—create the conditions for a new kind of art, and what aesthetic experiments (Twitter novels? Vine movies? YouTube channels?) are these forms producing? Our “primary” archive will include material drawn from a range of old and new media; secondary readings will include both classic and contemporary theory (possibilities include: Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes, Horkheimer and Adorno, Marshall McLuhan, and (more recently) Friedrich Kittler, Paul Virilio, Gayatri Spivak, Katherine Hayles, Ian Bogost, and Marjorie Perloff). Our goal will be threefold: to identify, describe, and theorize a robust array of 15C-21C aesthetic experiences from within the material contexts that produce them.

397 N HONORS SEMINAR II, Courtemanche. TU 10-11:50

Group II or V

TOPIC: Victorian Utopias

One of the most surprising things about Victorian utopias is that so many of them were eventually realized. From the link between urban hub and suburban idyll made possible by mass transit, to universal consumerism, the socialist welfare state, international communism, and the solution of the “Jewish problem” through the creation of the state of Israel, many of the most far-fetched dreams of Victorian radicals became everyday realities in the following centuries. In this class, we will consider the British tradition of neo-medieval futurism (Thomas Carlyle’s Past and Present, John Ruskin’s The Stones of Venice, William Morris’s News from Nowhere), social planning through architecture (Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist, Emile Zola’s The Ladies’ Paradise, Walter Benjamin’s arcades, Robert Owen’s co-operative factories, and Charles Fourier’s phalansteries), technocracy (Theodor Herzl’s Old-New Land, Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward, and H. G. Wells’s A Modern Utopia), class struggle (Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South and Marx and Engels’s The Communist Manifesto), and the neo-Victorian genre of steampunk (William Gibson’s The Difference Engine), as well as secondary criticism.

402 1U/1G DESCRIPTIVE ENGLISH GRAMMAR, Russell. MW 3:30-4:45

same as BTW 402

It’s possible to think of grammar as a “science”: it is the careful collection and analysis of observable facts about how we use the English language. This course will be an introduction to that science, surveying how linguists and language scholars presently describe the structures of English—its morphology, phonology, phrases, clauses, sentences, syntax, semantics, stylistics, and sociocultural variations. But grammar is just as much and importantly an “art”: it is a set of rules and recommendations for how we should use the English language. And so, this course will also be an introduction to how, why, and to what effects various people have prescribed English usage in various ways, from the 18th century into the present day. Ultimately, a better understanding of what grammar is, how it works, and what it does in the world not only allows us to be better users of the English language but also invites us to be more conscientious users of the English language, mindful of how our describable practices and prescribable rules have social consequences that accord purity, power, and participation to some and contamination, ignorance, and exclusion to others.


Group V

Language variation and change from the earliest forms of English to the present day, with emphasis on the rise of Standard English and the social, geographic, and cultural aspects of linguistic change in English.


same as EIL 422

This course is designed to help prospective teachers of English as a Second or Foreign Language (ESL/EFL) enhance their understanding of English grammar and develop pedagogical approaches to teaching English grammar. This course has two main components: (1) instruction in English grammar, with particular emphasis on those areas that present difficulties for ESL students; and (2) development of pedagogical approaches for teaching English grammar. In order to provide practical teaching experience, the course also offers a tutoring practicum where participants tutor ESL students on topics of English grammar that have been covered in the course, using pedagogical materials that are sound in light of current second language acquisition (SLA) theories, research findings, and teaching methodologies.

407 1U/1G INTRO TO OLD ENGLISH, C. Wright. TUTH 12:30-1:45

Group I or V

same as MDVL 407

In this course you will learn to read Old English prose and poetry in the original language, which was spoken by the Anglo-Saxon inhabitants of England from the sixth through eleventh centuries. This was the native language of Caedmon, who wrote the earliest surviving English poem (“Cædmon’s Hymn”); of King Alfred, who prevented the Vikings from conquering England, and who then undertook a revival of learning by translating into English “those books which it is most necessary for all to know”; of the anonymous author of Beowulf, who memorialized a Germanic hero’s battles with a man-eating monster, his vengeful mother (the monster’s, that is), and a dragon; and of abbot Ælfric and archbishop Wulfstan, who preached in English for those who could not understand Latin, the official language of the medieval church.

We will begin with some easy prose readings (the story of Adam and Eve from Genesis, and a school dialogue about Anglo-Saxon “career choices”), and as you gradually master the basics of Old English grammar we will work our way up to more challenging narrative prose such as Bede’s story of Cædmon’s miraculous transformation from cowherd to poet; King Alfred’s government “white paper” on education reform; and Ælfric’s story of the martyrdom of King Edmund, slain by Vikings invaders. Then in the second half of the semester we will read some of the finest shorter Old English poems, including The Wanderer and The Seafarer, two elegiac poems of exile; The Battle of Maldon, recounting the heroic defeat of an English army by the Vikings; The Dream of the Rood, a mystical vision of the Crucifixion, as told by the Cross; and The Wife’s Lament, about a woman abandoned by her former lover.


Group I or V

same as MDVL 311

TOPIC: Nature and the Non-Human in Medieval England

The natural landscapes of medieval English literature are filled with human and non-human agents: knights errant, intersex deer, half-giants, city mice, snake ladies, talking crosses, and so on. In this course, we’ll explore the interactions between these diverse beings, paying particular attention to their violations of the so-called line between human and non-human. Nature itself, frequently personified as a woman, will be an object of study, as will the ecologies our characters traverse and modify in the course of their adventures. Among the texts we’ll read in Modern English translation are the Exeter Book riddles of Anglo-Saxon England (in which talking objects recount their histories and ask you to guess their true identities), the Arthurian romance Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (in which Sir Gawain finds himself the object of an all-too deadly hunt), the exotic Travels of Sir John Mandeville (in which diamonds have sex and give birth to baby diamonds), Chaucer’s Parliament of Fowls (in which the goddess Nature serves as relationship counselor for a quartet of eagles), and The Owl and the Nightingale (in which the two birds debate their relative superiority).

418 1U/1G SHAKESPEARE, L. Newcomb. TUTH 2-3:15

Shakespeare Requirement

This course explores seven Shakespearean plays from a cross-section of dramatic genres. We’ll look especially at the features that made these plays popular in their day: their open staging, their playful language, their laying bare of the period’s familial, national, gender, and racial tensions. But we’ll also find that the cultural significance of ‘Shakespeare’ accumulated through the plays’ later lives, thanks to their continuous, often resistant, reinventions by performers, literary critics, and adapters world-wide. That constant reinvention demands that we, too, employ multiple interpretive practices to continue opening up the plays: close reading; informal staging; film analysis; feminist, historicist, postcolonial, and queer studies critical approaches. Be ready for proactive discussion, performance experiments, and rigorous written work, including informal journals, a response to at least one on-campus Shakespeare production, two focused short papers, a longer paper using guided research (7-9 pp.), and a final exam.

TEXTS: (Required) Greenblatt et al, eds., The Norton Shakespeare: Essential Plays (2nd edition, ISBN 978-0-393-93313-0); McDonald, ed., Bedford Companion to Shakespeare (2nd edition, ISBN 978-0312248802); one contextual edition of a play TBA.


Shakespeare Requirement

English 418 is a survey of the plays and poems of William Shakespeare. Reading assignments will reflect the generic diversity and historical breadth of Shakespeare’s work.

423 1U/1G MILTON, Gray. TUTH 2-3:15

Group IV

This course introduces you to one of the greatest British writers—John Milton. Milton was a blind seer, a regicidal prose-writer, and an inspired poet. He also wrote arguably the most ambitious English epic, one that aimed to explain the origins of life itself: Paradise Lost. This class will explore Milton’s prodigious and ostentatiously learned output in the context of his own life and the historical turmoil of the mid-seventeenth century that transformed it. We will focus on the complex issues of religion, gender, and politics he engages, looking at his often contradictory responses to the ideas, literature, and men and women of his time. We will also trace his carefully crafted public image, thinking about Milton’s view of the role of poetry and polemic within a revolutionary historical context.

450 1U/1G AMERICAN LIT 1865-1914, Murison. MW 2-3:15

Group III

“Never was there, perhaps, more hollowness at heart than at present, and here in the United States.” – Walt Whitman, 1871

When the dust had settled from the Civil War, Americans faced an era that they could not have anticipated. The rampant industrialization of the country, the emancipation and enfranchisement of African Americans and the subsequent brutal attempts to retrench on that promise, massive income inequalities and the rise of unions and anarchist movements in response, extreme partisanship and corrupt government practices, the invention of the automobile and the shift to overseas empire-building in places like Hawai’i and the Philippines: all of these events fueled the literature of the era. This is the age of literary realism, in which authors wrought literature in response to these new developments in economics, science, and politics. We will consider the tense relation between what we call “realism” and an era, as Walt Whitman’s lament above suggests, that saw itself as having lost its “heart” in the face of the materialism, industrialization, and political wrangling. This course will concentrate on four flashpoints: the construction and promotion of “realist” literature; the role of literature in critiquing and policing class boundaries; the response of African American literature to Jim Crow legislation and lynching; and, finally, literature’s relation to the seismic impact of new sciences, most prominently Darwinism. Our readings will include such authors as Mark Twain, Henry James, William Dean Howells, Edith Wharton, W.E.B. Du Bois, Henry Adams, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Walt Whitman, Pauline Hopkins, and Charles Chesnutt. Course requirements will include two papers (one of which will be a research paper built over the course of the semester) and two exams.

455 1U/1G MAJOR AUTHORS, Freeburg. TUTH 11-12:15

TOPIC: Ralph Ellison and James Baldwin

What is the relationship between what it means “to live” and the idea of American freedom? During much of the twentieth-century Ralph Ellison and James Baldwin struggled with the question, what does it mean to be black and live in a modern democracy. This course we will engage these writers as well as music, visual art, and comedic performances over the twentieth and twenty-first centuries in order to explore how notions of living and freedom are shaped by both grand political events and everyday social life. In addition to reading Ellison and Baldwin’s prose we will focus on how to make better arguments and refine prose writing while paying special attention to interesting historical artifacts and new media aesthetics.

455 2U/2G MAJOR AUTHORS, D. Wright. MW 3:30-4:45

Group IV

TOPIC: Alice Walker and John Edgar Wideman

This course will focus on the major works of two of the more important writers of the post-Black Arts Movement era, Alice Walker and John Edgar Wideman. In the 70s and 80s, Walker and Wideman pushed the bounds of form and content, writing fiction and nonfiction (and in Walker’s case, poetry) that garnered broad acclaim and numerous awards. Of late, the work of these authors has begun to fade from view. We will read fiction and nonfiction from both, as well as a variety of texts on the socio-economic, political, and cultural contexts of the period that informed the work. Course requirements include regular response papers, an in-class presentation, and a long research paper.

455 AS3/AS4 MAJOR AUTHORS, Malekin. TUTH 12:30-1:50

Group IV

meets with SCAN 463, THEA 483, CWL 463

TOPIC: Ibsen in Translation: The Major Plays of a Major Playwright

This course is dedicated to the major prose plays of Henrik Ibsen, one of the most important playwrights in the history of modern drama. It promotes a thorough understanding of the structures, themes, and socio-historical contexts of his plays. Metaphors of economics, politics of gender, and the function of sets and architectural representation are some of the topics addressed. We study production-and audience-related aspects as well.

Ibsen’s influence extends across world literature, which this course investigates by including works by George Bernard Shaw, Georg Hauptmann, Frank Wedekind, Elfriede Jelinek, Samuel Beckett, and August Strindberg, as well as film adaptations of Ibsen’s works from India, the US, and Europe.

The course features strong research components and emphasizes group work

455 A3/A4 MAJOR AUTHORS, Kaplan. TH 1-3:50

meets with CWL 461

TOPIC: Woody Allen

This course looks at Woody Allen as a filmmaker as well as a cultural phenomenon. When you think of “Jewish anxiety,” for example, do you think of Allen first? Allen’s films, mostly all comedies (but not only) cite many other influential filmmakers and literary texts. We will look at several key films including Annie Hall, Sleeper, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Manhattan, Hannah and her Sisters, and Zelig, and read some of Allen’s prose (most of which is hilarious) along with selections from the literary and cinematic works he cites.

465 1U/1G TOPICS IN DRAMA, Stevens. MWF 2

Group I or V

same as CWL 465

TOPIC: Shakespeare and His Contemporaries

“He was not of an age, but for all time.” We all know the role Shakespeare continues to occupy within the Western canon; this class, however, takes a close look at Shakespeare-the-theater-professional as opposed to Shakespeare-the-Bard. Shakespeare’s fellow actors, the physical spaces of the Globe and the Blackfriars theaters, and any number of material factors necessarily shaped the plays he wrote. So too did Shakespeare influence, and was influenced by, the many talented writers who also supplied plays to the various theater companies of early modern London. Shakespeare clearly modeled Hamlet on Thomas Kyd’s early blockbuster The Spanish Tragedy, for example, and Thomas Middleton in turn drew upon both of these plays when he wrote The Revenger’s Tragedy. At other times, the relationships amongst the plays we read might appear to be more allusive than direct—did John Ford have Romeo and Juliet in mind when he wrote a very different tale of forbidden love, ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore? Which play about jealous tyrants and the women they love came first—Middleton’s The Second Maiden’s Tragedy or Shakespeare’s late romance The Winter’s Tale?

We will cover the following groupings or pairs of plays: The Spanish Tragedy (1587), Hamlet (1601), and The Revenger’s Tragedy (1606); Romeo and Juliet (1596) and ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore (1632); and The Second Maiden’s Tragedy (1611) and The Winter’s Tale (1611). We will conclude the course by reading William Heminge’s shocking, compulsively allusive, and perhaps unwittingly hilarious The Fatal Contract (1639), a play dismissed as “the most obvious and detailed example of plagiarism of Hamlet in the seventeenth century” but more usefully understood as illustrating the imitative mode of early modern dramatic authorship. With the sole exception of The Winter’s Tale, our primary focus on tragedy—in particular, on revenge tragedy—will allow us to consider a range of important questions about genre, authorship, gender, the performance of violence, and the transformation of key theatrical conventions from the early days of the popular theater to the last years before the theaters go dark during the English civil wars.

The class will be conducted as a seminar-discussion. Evaluation will be based on participation, including a willingness to read lines out loud and block scenes in class; one group performance project; one midterm; and two to three short papers. It is recommended—but not necessary—that you take this class already having some familiarity with Shakespeare, or drama, or Renaissance literature and culture. Graduate students can enroll for graduate credit with the permission of the instructor.

TEXTS: TBA, likely single editions of the plays, and one course text, Peter Womack’s English Renaissance Drama

481 1U/1G COMP THEORY AND PRACTICE, Schaffner. MW 2-3:15

In exploring some of the major theories that inform the teaching of academic writing, we will pay particular attention to the role of innovation in written communication. Can innovation be taught? Should it be? Topics we will explore include: personal writing, the use of writing as punishment, formulaic writing, code switching, writing with images, and YouTube composition. Students will be responsible for presenting on a popular film about composition and for writing regular reading response papers.

486 A3/A4 HISTORY OF TRANSLATION, Cooper. MW 12-1:20

same as SLAV 430, CLCV 430, CWL 430, GER 405, SPAN 436, TRST 431

This survey examines the historical development of translation ideas and practices in Europe and in particular cases across major global regions through the lens of contemporary theories of translation. It will focus on reading and analysis of key texts in the development of translation theory and case studies of translation practices and methods and the historical roles played by translation.

Course objectives: Students will read significant texts in the history of translation theory and be able to discuss major ideas and developments in translation theory. Students will learn about translation practices in a variety of historical periods and places, be able to discuss the many roles that translation and translators have played in cultural history, and learn approaches to the analysis of translations. Students will either conduct research into the history of translation ideas and practices in a particular literature at a particular historical moment and present their results in the form of a scholarly essay or will translate into English a short work on translation from their literature of concentration, from any historical period.

All students submit discussion questions based on readings for about 1/3 of the class sessions, and graduate students pick a session to lead discussion or give a presentation.

This course covers everything from the role of translation in the invention of Latin literature to poststructuralist thought on translation. Case studies touch on Japan, Latin American, the Arabic world, and Africa, with guest lecturers who are specialists on those topics.


This course is a survey-introduction to the concepts and methods of recent critical theory. In short, it is a ticket to engaged fluency in the dialogues and opportunities of contemporary criticism, designed for newer English graduate students (and more experienced graduate students) who do not already have a broad background in critical theory. We will proceed through a series of cumulative, overlapping units on new criticism, structuralism, deconstruction and poststructuralism, psychoanalysis, feminism, queer studies, Marxism, new historicism, cultural studies, critical race theory, postcolonial studies, and reader response, including attention to ecocriticism and disability studies. We will also participate in the Modern Critical Theory Tuesday evening lecture series sponsored by the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory and including parallel graduate seminars from other departments. Depending on scheduling and student interests, we may devote sessions to such practical concerns for graduate study in English as research methods, graduate writing, preparing for publication, and organizing and planning one's graduate studies and academic progress intellectually and administratively. Attendance, inquisitiveness, and active participation in class discussion are crucial. Students who prefer to be seen but not heard should not enroll.

505 E WRITING STUDIES I, Prior. W 1-2:50

same as CI 563

This seminar offers an introduction to writing studies, an interdisciplinary field that emerged in the 1980s and explores the theory, research and practice of writing in any context (school, workplace, home, community). Across these contexts, the course will examine issues of writing processes; the collaborative nature of writing and varied types of authorship; intersections with other modes (reading, talk, visual representation) and with varied technologies (paper, screen and other materials for production and distribution); how discourses are stabilized and meshed in writing; specialized genres and genre systems; rhetorical contexts and practices; and situated forms of learning and pedagogy (whether formal or informal). This seminar aims at helping students to engage in meaningful scholarship in this field. In addition to common readings, participation in activities, and regular informal writing, each student will select, explore and write on an issue of interest in greater depth.

511 E CHAUCER, M. Camargo. W 1-2:50

Same as MDVL 511

TOPIC: Twenty-First Century Chaucer

The focus of this seminar will not be a particular theme, approach, or set of Chaucerian texts but rather the scholarship on Chaucer published since 2000 (with allowance for continuing trends that first emerged during the 1990s). We will first orient ourselves by reading and discussing several published overviews of the field. Due to the amount of publication on Chaucer, such overviews have come to constitute an important scholarly genre in their own right. Using criteria derived from this metascholarship, in combination with the individual’s own critical and theoretical predilections, each member of the seminar will identify a coherent body of Chaucer scholarship to survey in greater detail and present to the seminar. The presenter will assign a limited number of readings that must include at least one text by Chaucer. (The featured text by Chaucer for the initial, overview portion of the seminar will be The Nun’s Priest’s Tale.) The other major work for the seminar will be a research paper (20-25 pages) on a Chaucerian topic of the student’s choice. In form, this paper should resemble an original article suitable for publication in a scholarly journal. There is no requirement that the paper belong to the specific subfield of scholarship previously surveyed by its author.

527 D SEMINAR 18TH C LIT, Nazar. W 11-12:50

TOPIC: Enlightenment Narratives of Education

In his famous essay of 1784, “What is Enlightenment?,” Immanuel Kant described enlightenment as an emergence from “self-imposed tutelage” into critical and moral independence. Kant’s essay obscures, however, how freedom from tutelage was perceived by many eighteenth-century thinkers to be itself a matter of tutelage or education. This seminar considers the paradoxical rhetoric of education—tutelage to be free from tutelage—permeating eighteenth-century letters. The idea that reason is less an inborn faculty than a construction or a development—a thing of the world and hence capable of being shaped by human intervention—constitutes one of the most powerful and contested legacies of the Enlightenment. It was an idea that found particular appeal among 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.” This seminar explores the intersecting fields of eighteenth-century theories of education, histories of the novel, and feminist/gender theory. Philosophical and historical readings include selections from John Locke’s Some Thoughts Concerning Education (1693), Mary Astell’s A Serious Proposal to the Ladies (1694-97), Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Emile or On Education (1761), Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), William Godwin’s The Enquirer (1797), and Immanuel Kant’s On Education (1803). Fictional readings focus on the eighteenth-century female Bildungrsoman, from Charlotte Lennox’s The Female Quixote (1752) and Frances Burney’s Evelina (1778) to Elizabeth Inchbald’s A Simple Story (1791) and Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey (1818).


TOPIC: Ecocriticism and US Literary Study

This course will examine the evolution of environmental criticism in the humanities, asking particularly how at different points it has been used to describe a mode of reading; a field of study; a set of political and ethical orientations to the natural and built world; a way of producing objects of study like “nature,” “human,” and “culture”; and a practical relationship to interdisciplinary writing and thinking. This class will thus function as a survey of environmental criticism in the humanities over the last 40 years or so, but it will pay special attention to the hybrid forms of writing—memoirs as well as histories, amateur blogs as well as government white papers, manifestos as well as cultural studies of objects—that have characterized the lively conversations the field stages not only between disciplines and genres , but between amateurs and professionals, academics and activists, artists and scholars. Reading TBA.


TOPIC: Affect, Cognition, The Human

This seminar will examine how affect has emerged as a key concept at the intersection of the humanities and the sciences of the mind. While the category offers a point of contact between long standing disciplinary divisions, it has also emerged as a way to rethink intractable conceptual dualisms such as mind and body, physiology and culture, the normal and the pathological, the individual and the social, and the human and the non-human. We will critically examine recent claims made in the fields of cognitive science, neuroscience, neo-phenomenology, and cultural theory while assessing their political, philosophical, historical, and aesthetic implications. In addition we will discuss several works of contemporary fiction that address this cognitive turn toward affect and its cultural implications. If the humanities have long been invested in psychoanalytic models of the mind, we will consider what it would mean for our disciplines to engage critically and productively with these emergent discourses of affect. Finally, we will ask what transdisciplinary space might be opened between the humanities and the cognitive sciences. This seminar is sponsored by the UIUC Network for Neurocultures and the Graduate College’s Intersect Program.


TOPIC: Theories of Racial Capitalism

In a moment when many disciplines across the humanities and social sciences are returning to questions of political economy, this interdisciplinary seminar will attend to the knot that binds together racial formations and the formations of capitalism. Much of our course will be focused on the American scene, considered both at a wide angle—from early settler colonialism to twentieth-century acts of Asian exclusion to more recent instances of minority asset-stripping—and in close-up—through a more sustained focus on slavery, its commodity logics, and their residues. We will close the semester by considering the political implications of two emergent and seemingly divergent fields of scholarship—the “history of capitalism” and the “new materialism” in literary studies—each of which can be understood as iterations of the contemporary turn to political economy. A number of overarching questions will guide our inquiries: Are the impulses that subtend racial capitalism isomorphic with the impulses that subtend the American project? How does the law enact and order the modes of racial subjection required by capitalism’s insuperable profit motives? How is the incessant reproduction of race implicated with capitalism’s unending moment of primitive accumulation? In what ways does racial commodification structure the category of the human, and how can that ontological crisis be redressed? And should a critique of racial capitalism necessarily entail a critique of history’s narratological underpinnings? That is, does that critique also demand that we reconsider the conditions of possibility for narrating the past’s difference in and from the present—or the conditions of possibility for “critique” itself? Possible readings may include works by W. E. B. Du Bois, Cedric J. Robinson, Saidiya Hartman, David Kazanjian, Ian Baucom, Bill Brown, Stephen Best, Lisa Lowe, Silvia Federici, and Angela Mitropoulos.

578 M1 SEMINAR LIT & OTHER DISCIPLINES, Littlefield. TU 12-2:50

meets with KINES 594

TOPIC: Bodies in Science and Culture

Bodies are central to knowledge production: they are what we work with, on, in, and through. But how have bodies been defined and redefined by science and culture? In this course, we will examine this question through a range of historical and contemporary readings and case studies: from the history of anatomy illustration to Barbie’s anthropometry, from body modification to theories of “fitness.” This graduate course is intended to serve students in a wide range of disciplines, from the sciences, the humanities, and the social sciences. Although our focus will be a socio-historical approach, we will engage in an interdisciplinary dialogue about bodies that welcomes many different perspectives.


meets with AIS 503

TOPIC: #Indigenous: Digital Natives, Technology and Indigenous Critical Theory

With #idlenomore and the rise of social media for indigenous activism, decolonization, and mobilization, questions emerge about the role digital technology plays in indigenous modes of resistance locally and globally. This course, in conjunction with the fall symposium on Indigenous New Media, will look at some of the recent scholarship in indigenous studies that considers the impact of media, technology, and digital cultures on knowledge production at the site of materiality, recognition, and language. In reading key texts across a range of disciplines from video game studies to queer theory, the course will ask students to consider how a concept like indignity mobilizes and disrupts the structures of settler colonialism and notions of spatiality, territoriality, temporality, and futurity. Some of the texts may include Ian Bogost, Unit Operations, Judith Halberstam, The Queer Art of Failure, Mishuana Goeman, Mark My Words, Mark Rifkin, When Did Indians Become Straight, Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, Red: A Haida Manga, and Chadwick Allen, Trans-Indigenous.

582 R TOPICS RESEARCH AND WRITING, Prendergast. TU 1-2:50

Same as CI 565

TOPIC: Economies of Literacy

This course presents the opportunity to examine closely the conversation between two domains of knowledge: economics and literacy studies. Economic theory has long influenced research in literacy. Similarly, economics is filled with metaphors that speak of literacy: brain drain, infonomics, knowledge spillovers. We will read classic texts in literacy studies with and against texts in economics that inform them, are misused by them, and/or that they could inform. In addition to course readings, students will serve as collectors of economic theory (either by sitting in on the occasional economics lecture on campus or joining MOOC) and will bring that knowledge back to the class. Students will have choice in devising their final project for the class, whether a traditional seminar paper, multimedia project, or proposal for further study.

Course texts in literacy will include: Brandt, Literacy in American Lives; Graff, Literacy Myths, Legacies and Lessons; Rose, The Mind at Work; Watkins, Class Degrees; Prendergast, Buying into English and additional articles.

Readings in economics include those by Karl Marx, Joseph Stiglitz, Michael Heller, Daniel Ariely, Cristina Bicchieri.


same as CI 569

TOPIC: The Arrow and the Loom: Rhetoric, Gender, and Disciplined Practices

According to Robert Connors, rhetoric is “the most purely male intellectual discipline that has existed in Western culture.” Shaped by “male rituals, male contests, male ideals, and masculine agendas,” rhetoric began (circa 500BC) and persisted (at least through 1800) as “the property of men, particularly men of property.” Connors is but one metronome to thusly mark the masculinity of the field: “At the risk of seeming repetitive and hyperbolic,” he writes, “I need to reiterate that the discipline of rhetoric, as it has evolved from the classical period through the eighteenth century, was almost absolutely male. It categorically refused entry to women” and women were “not merely discouraged from learning it, but were actively and persistently denied access to it.” This course will examine the gendered and gendering history of rhetoric as a discipline and as a set of disciplined practices. It will consider the totalizing masculinity of rhetorical training in the classical period as well as the persistence of masculine metaphors in current rhetorical theory and practice. Of course, feminist scholars writing at the turn of this century have produced a small battery of books and articles to recover women’s historical rhetorical work and highlight its stylistic importance, its teleological distinctiveness, and its political significance. Therefore, this seminar will also consider the positions and practices of women within traditions of Western rhetoric from the classical period and into the present day. Key questions for the seminar will be: How is rhetorical education and performance differently gendered in different historical periods? What effects on rhetoric (how it’s conceived, taught, practiced, and researched) does a gendering of it produce? How does the status of rhetoric as a discipline produce or rely on gender categories and norms? What is gained and lost in the feminist project of claiming participation in an androcentric tradition? How can we understand rhetoric as related to masculinity and femininity in the present scholarly moment?


TOPIC: The Teaching of Rhetoric

This is a course for students new to the teaching of college composition. Over the course of the semester, we will explore connections between theories of written composition and teaching practices. In particular, students in the course will theorize practices relating to: syllabus and assignment design, conferencing with students, responding to student work, dealing with conflict, maintaining language diversities in the classroom, and developing teaching personae. Requirements for the course include reading, participating in class discussion, blogging, drafting a statement of teaching philosophy, and creating a reflective teaching portfolio.

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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