100- thru 500-Level Literature

Course Descriptions

FALL 2015


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.


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. 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.


same as CWL 119

“Fantasy” is both a section in contemporary bookstores and a longer literary tradition with many roots and branches. This course will focus on the twentieth-century genre that extends from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit (1937) through Ursula LeGuin’s Wizard of Earthsea (1968) to Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (2004). But we’ll also spend some time exploring the edges of this genre, reading works like Jack Vance’s The Dying Earth (1950) that blur boundaries between fantasy and science fiction, as well as some, like Hoffman’s “Sandman” (1816) or Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation (2014), that border on uncanny horror. All literary genres have clichés, but writers of fantasy have been especially playful and self-conscious about theirs—which makes a course on fantasy a good opportunity to reflect on the pleasures of genre itself. Assignments will include short essays and two exams.


same as CWL 119

Harry Potter: More or Less: When Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published in June of 1997, it was largely regarded as a piece of children’s fiction about a ten-year-old orphan boy who discovers he has supernatural powers and goes off to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It seemed nothing more than a charming piece of fantasy lit destined for the shelves of the young adult sections of bookstores and libraries. What then made the Harry Potter novels suddenly transform into a cultural phenomenon that captured the imaginations of both children and adults? Why have these novels become the backbone of a global literary empire? What is the magic behind Harry Potter?

In this course, we’ll explore the mythos of the Harry Potter novels and how they’re steeped in a rich tradition of both canonical and noncanonical British literature. We’ll focus on the sociopolitical forces that led to the formation of fantasy literature as a separate genre in the UK and what makes British fantasy novels unique. Our excursion into fantasy literature will reveal how these seemingly innocent children’s tales became a covert way to explore the inequalities that the Industrial Revolution ignited; a rising entrepreneurial middle class and a permanent urban underclass held in place by rigid policies guided by genetics. We’ll examine fantasy novels as discrete organic political entities that grew into a vast literary network of interlinking commentaries on British social issues such as class, education, social welfare, disability and gender rights, and racial equality.

We’ll begin with the advent of Social Darwinism in the early 20th century and how it was undermined by socialist ideologies as portrayed in P.L. Travers beloved Mary Poppins. Next we’ll look at the midcentury modernist period in which The Lord of the Rings and The Lion, The Witch and Wardrobe featured Britain under the threat of the Nazi war machine and totalitarianism. And finally we’ll turn to the postmodernist period in which the rise of white supremacist groups such as the British National Party and the United Kingdom Independence Party attempt to subvert democracy and diversity in the UK and spur governmental surveillance, as seen through the dystopic Britain of the Harry Potter septology.

Students should plan to attend class regularly and to participate actively in class discussions. There will be three short papers and a final exam. Novels may include: Mary Poppins, The Lord of the Rings, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.


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.


Super/Human: This course introduces students to the academic study of North American comics by focusing on the two dominant genres of the last five decades: the superhero sagas of the mainstream comics industry and the autobiographical memoirs of the alternative comics movement. These two genres are often compared to one another in terms of binary oppositions: posthuman/human, fantastic/mundane, infantile/mature, trash/culture, commercial/artistic, etc. In ENGL 121, we’ll take a less polarized approach to the genres, investigating what Jerry Siegel/Joe Shuster (Action Comics), Steve Ditko/Stan Lee (Amazing Spider-Man), Jack Kirby (OMAC), and G. Willow Wilson/Adrian Alphona (Ms. Marvel) can teach us about Harvey Pekar (American Splendor), Art Spiegelman (Maus), Lynda Barry (One Hundred Demons), and Alison Bechdel (Fun Home) and vice versa. Our rapprochement will culminate in Cece Bell’s Newbery Honor-winning El Deafo, a memoir that uses superhero tropes to explore the limits of human (dis)ability. Over the course of the semester, students should expect to not only learn the formal vocabulary of comics but also to master the interpretation of comics at a variety of scales—from the micro (panels, pages, and sequences) to the macro (pamphlets, books, and series). Assignments will include frequent response papers and two exams.


Campus Honors

TOPIC: Literature, Heroism and National Identity

Over the last two decades we’ve been subjected to a great deal of heroic rhetoric, much of which has had a particularly partisan and political flavor. Of course, in the wake of global terrorism, we’ve witnessed nations that invoke bellicose rhetoric, but we’ve also seen a challenge, and, in many cases, foster this rhetoric. Why have heroes become political? Well, that’s precisely what we’ll aim to figure out in this course. The class will trace out the logic of Western cultural nationalism by assessing its need to establish heroic ideals that also serve as ideological apparatuses. Certain heroes, is seems, appear in the cultural imaginary at moments of crisis, and this course will explore what function these fictional heroes serve for a nation’s real populace. In order to do understand this type of ideological phenomenon, we will start off the course be by examining the profound differences between ancient “Epic-consciousness” style heroes like Odysseus and Aeneas and Modern “Serial-Fiction” superheroes. We will pay close attention to texts that question traditional models of heroism, texts that tend to think that heroism, like more vulgar forms of nationalism, never really holds up to careful scrutiny. Perhaps most importantly, we will also observe the ways that 20th century nationalism takes a very particular stance of the gender of heroism.


On-Line 2nd 8 week sections

TOPIC: Writing To Get That Job

(October 19 – December 9, 2015)

Through conceptual development and context-sensitive lessons/assignments, students will: [1] develop/improve writing skills particularly germane to successfully applying for an internship, a post-baccalaureate job, or an advanced-degree program and [2] apply those skills to create a polished set of recruiter-ready texts relevant to their career plans and a career-relevant, currently-advertised job/internship/program.

Attending regularly-scheduled, online class meetings is expected of all students because: learning how to successfully apply writing concepts is a skill, and such skills are acquired through ‘enactive’ experiences.


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.


same as MDVL 201, CWL 253

major requirements (old) – Group I

major requirements (new) – pre-1800 (Medieval)

Medieval Journeys: This course introduces students to the cultural diversity of the global Middle Ages by focusing on narratives of travel and mobility. Some of these journeys cross historical landscapes: a Castilian mercenary sells his sword to the courts of Muslim Spain, a Chinese poet drinks his way up and down the Yangtze River, a Japanese concubine takes up the itinerant life of a Buddhist nun upon leaving the imperial court, and an English housewife goes on pilgrimage just about everywhere. Others traverse imaginary terrain: an Irish abbot and his monks set sail for the Isle of the Blessed, a flock of Persian birds cross seven mystical valleys to find their king, a grim outlaw fights trolls and zombies in the wilds of Iceland, a Florentine poet burns away his sins by climbing Mount Purgatory, and knights errant wander the forests of Arthurian legend on never-ending quests. All of these travel narratives share an interest in encountering the alien (barbarians, foreigners, monsters, prodigies, heretics, etc.) as well as a realization of travel's potential for self-discovery—or self-alienation. Texts will be read in Modern English translations; assignments will include short reading responses, longer interpretative essays, and a pair of exams.


same as CWL 255

major requirements (old) – Group I

major requirements (new) – pre-1800 (Renaissance)

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


same as CWL 257

major requirements (old) – Group I

major requirements (new) – pre-1800 (Long 18th Century)

There certainly is no moment in history when the world suddenly ceased to be “old” and became “modern.” But Europe in the eighteenth century, during the period known as “the Enlightenment,” witnessed unprecedented social, economic, cultural, and political changes that produced a giant leap towards the world we inhabit today. It was an age of revolution and of newfound faith in the dignity and rights of the individual, though these rights were by no means extended to all. It was an age of reason, of tremendous advances in science and technology, though reason was by no means the only altar at which so-called enlightened men and women worshipped: God and sentiment remained powerful forces in eighteenth-century European life. This course offers an introduction to the complex development called the Enlightenment by focusing on a small (but potent) selection of literary and non-literary works of the period, primarily from Britain, and to a lesser extent, from continental Europe. We will ask whether the Enlightenment lives up to its hype, how it anticipates our modern reality, and how it imagines the modern individual. Authors to be covered include Margaret Cavendish, Aphra Behn , John Locke, Rousseau, Voltaire, Adam Smith, Samuel Johnson, and Mary Wollstonecraft.

209 AL1 BRITISH LIT TO 1800, Markley. Lect: MW 1; Disc: F multiple times

This course covers British literature from its origins to 1800. Rather than aiming for coverage, we will read closely a limited set of representative works from different genres from the eighth to the late eighteenth century, including lyric poetry, drama, satire, polemical prose, and amatory fiction. In so doing, we’ll consider how politics, religion, and landscape shaped Britain’s national literature. We’ll pay attention to the evolution of the English language.” We will furthermore analyze our emotional engagement with the works we read. What formal qualities, themes, and conventions draw us in—or indeed, estrange us? What’s familiar about the distant past, and what’s alien, unexpected, and surprising?

Expect to encounter such writers as Unknown, Marie de France, and Geoffrey Chaucer; Shakespeare, John Donne, and Andrew Marvell; and William Wycherley, Jonathan Swift, and Eliza Haywood. We will visit, in a manner of speaking, the preaching cross near Solway firth, in what once was Northumbria; medieval towns in the middle of festivals; the perilous court of King Henry VIII; the Globe theater of Shakespeare and his Chamberlain’s Men; and the dressing room of an eighteenth-century lady. We will see performances of several plays, live and digitally, and we will focus on the ways that text can be translated into action.

The method of instruction is lecture, with smaller groups meeting in discussion sections once a week under the guidance of a teaching assistant. Your evaluation will be based upon two papers, a midterm, a final, and additional assignments and reading quizzes designed to encourage your participation in section. Diligent attendance at lecture and in section is necessary to pass this course.

210 T BRITISH LIT 1800 TO PRESENT. TUTH 3:30-4:45

major requirements (old) – n/a

major requirements (new) – 1800-1900

Historical and critical study of selected works of British literature after 1800 in chronological sequence.

211 M INTRO TO MOD AFRICAN LIT, M. Basu. TUTH 9:30-10:45

same as AFST 210, CWL 210

major requirement (old) – n/a

major requirements (new) – REPCIS

This course will attempt to express the diversity of a continent through a reading of texts from Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, South Africa, and Sudan. At the same time however, the course will also endeavor to highlight the connections and links between representative writings from different regions of the continent. In demonstrating that all the regions we somewhat loosely group together as ‘modern Africa’ are also congruous in so far as they were all irredeemably transformed by the experience of colonialism, the course will show how the term modern calls for precisely such an inter-textual understanding. At the end of this course however, students should not only be familiar with symptomatic texts of African literature, but also should be able to read, write, and, think about these texts in an insightful manner, concentrating on developing abilities such as close-reading, comparative analysis, and argumentative logic.


This course will examine one of the most provocative, experimental, and exciting 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, Gertrude Stein, Charlie Chaplain, Samuel Beckett, and others.


major requirements (old) – Shakespeare requirement for secondary education majors only

major requirements (new) – pre-1800 (Shakespeare)

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.


major requirements (old) – Shakespeare requirement for secondary education majors only

major requirements (new) – pre-1800 (Shakespeare)

This course explores Shakespearean plays from a range 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. We'll also consider how the meanings of ‘Shakespeare’ proliferate through the constant, sometimes subversive, reinvention of the plays by literary critics, performers, and adapters world-wide. Be ready for discussing proactively, performing scenes in class, and attending at least on Shakespeare play on campus. Written assignments include informal writings, three focused short papers, and a final exam.

TEXTS: (these print editions are required) Greenblatt et al, eds., Shakespeare: Complete Works (3rd edition, forthcoming summer 2015); McDonald, ed., Bedford Companion to Shakespeare (2nd edition, ISBN 978-0312248802).

224 A LATINA/O POPULAR CULTURE, Rodriguez. TUTH 2-3:20

same as LLS 240

major requirements (old) – Group III or V

major requirements (new) – REPCIS

Provides an introduction to Latina/o popular culture in the United States. Specific modes of popular culture might include mass media, music, film, video, performance, and other expressive forms. Lecture and readings are in English.


same as LLS 242

major requirements (old) – Group III or V

major requirements (new) – REPCIS

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


major requirements (old) – Group V

major requirements (new) – n/a

An inquiry into some of the more complex and innovative poetry written in English. Students will read poets such as Frost, Robinson, Sandburg, Lindsay, Hardy, Hopkins, Housman, Yeats, Lawrence, the Imagists, and the early Pound and Eliot.

245 D THE SHORT STORY, Pollock. MWF 11

same as CWL 267

major requirements (old) – Group V

major requirements (new) – n/a

A wide-ranging introduction to shorter works of fiction, this course will cover some influential texts from the nineteenth century, as well as a generous selection of stories from the turn of the twentieth century and modernism, but we will spend at least half the semester studying innovative and diverse works produced in the last five decades, often by writers with a complicated or frankly oppositional relationship to these canonical traditions. Along the way, we will consider the role of historical and cultural context in shaping our interpretations of these literary texts, and we will put into practice some key terms drawn from narratology and various schools of critical theory.

Requirements: active participation, journal responses, three essay projects, and a final exam.

245 P THE SHORT STORY. TUTH 11-12:15

same as CWL 267

major requirements (old) – Group V

major requirements (new) – n/a

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

247 P THE BRITISH NOVEL, I. Baron. TUTH 12:30-1:45

major requirements (old) – Group II or V

major requirements (new) – n/a

The novel made its debut in Britain over a hundred years after it first appeared on the continent. But the little nation of Great Britain on the outskirts of Europe produced some of the most noteworthy and influential writers of the last two hundred and fifty years. In this course, we’ll trace the development of the novel as a genre that both celebrated and critiqued British nationalism. We’ll examine how the novel served as a vehicle to record and redefine the boundaries of a social order predicated on preserving noble bloodlines into a culture that produced the Industrial Revolution, The Beatles and the Welfare State.

We’ll start out with a look at the estate house as the defining icon of British patriarchy and class hierarchy in the Regency period. We’ll discuss how the rise of the middle class was fomented through the spirit of British nationalism that evolved during the Napoleonic Wars and how British naval dominance catapulted this island-nation into creating a vast colonialist empire that expanded across the entire globe. Then we’ll explore the rise of industrialization in the midlands, focusing on how the paradigm of factory labor and ownership reconfigured British social and economic policies for decades to come. Next we’ll examine how fiction functioned as a crucible for mandating radical reform movements in the UK such as feminism, socialism and environmentalism. And finally, as we move into the modern and postmodern periods, we’ll see how the two global wars served as the catalysts to dismantle the conservative values inherent in British society and whether the future of the UK resides in a broader social and racial demographic or in a distopic future ruled by the elite.

Requirements for the class include three short papers and a final exam. Regular class attendance and participation are expected. Texts and films may include: Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Howards End, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, Sherlock: The Hounds of Baskerville, The Children of Men, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Skyfall.

248 P BRIT, AMER & CONTIN FICTION, Hansen. TUTH 11-12:15

same as CWL 269

major requirements (old) – Group V

major requirements (new) – n/a

Inventing the Modern: The European Novel from 1850-1950 - If you’ve ever wondered how modern culture and modern social relationships came to be, then this is the class for you. Our survey of will begin by exploring how the nineteenth century writers, Gustav Flaubert and Fyodor Dostoyevsky re-imagined the novel by introducing a kind of style and layers of psychological darkness and complexity that were wholly new to the form. We’ll go on to observe how writers like Joseph Conrad, Marcel Proust, Franz Kafka, and Virginia Woolf went on to explore the social, political, sexual, and ideological concerns that would reshape Europe during the twentieth century. Requirements will include active class-participation, weekly journal entries, two short papers, and two exams.

Texts will include: Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot, Conrad’s Under Western Eyes, Proust’s Swann’s Way, and Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway.

250 F THE AMERICAN NOVEL TO 1914. MW 2-3:15

major requirements (old) – Group III or V

major requirements (new) – 1800 - 1900

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

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

major requirements (old) – Group III or V

major requirements (new) – n/a

In this course we will read seven American novels published after 1914 at critical points in US history. You will gain an understanding not only of individual works but also of literary modernism, realism, and postmodernism. Instead of treating these generic categories as universal and fixed, we will track the way they change in various historical contexts. How do certain social issues shape the defining conventions of a modernist and postmodernist novel? How does modernist and postmodernist novelistic practice lay bare the false and true promises of the “American dream,” the unequal distribution of wealth, the formation of the working and middle-class family, and the connection of national identity to the evolution US capitalism? As you answer these questions, you will become skilled at examining the shifting intersections of race, class, and gender. You should expect to close-read each novel and engage supplementary materials, like films and/or critical essays. Requirements include active participation in class discussions, group presentations, regular brief reading responses, two formal essays, a midterm, and a final. Authors include F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zora Neale Hurston, John Steinbeck, Richard Wright, Don DeLillo, Toni Morrison, and Paul Beatty.

253 P LITERATURE AND NEW MEDIA, Loughran. TUTH 11-12:15

major requirements (old) – Group V

major requirements (new) – n/a

Literature and New Media: 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 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 newspaper, but also—now—the e-reader, the tablet, the phone, and the laptop). But we will also look at photographs, watch movies, play video games, use apps, and navigate webpages. The mode and moment in which a “text” is produced and consumed will, in this way, become an important part of how we think about what literature was, is, and might be in our contemporary context. Note: this semester’s version of the course will focus on the theme of the technological monstrous, so get ready to sleep with the lights on. Some major texts we are likely to consider include Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Shelley Jackson’s electronic hypertext Patchwork Girl, Robert Kirkman’s Walking Dead comics, videogames like The Last of Us, Alien: Isolation, and Evolve, and, finally, Mark Danielewski’s epic postmodern romp House of Leaves.

255 AL1 SURVEY OF AMERICAN LIT I, Spires. Lect: MW 11; Disc: F various times

ENGL 255 is restricted to English majors. This course will survey American literature from early exploration narratives to the close of the Civil War. It will also introduce you to key concepts in American literary studies, including citizenship, nationalism, sensibility, enslavement, respectability, religion, and gender, class, and racial formations. We will concern ourselves with constructing a literary history of early America using a variety of texts: constitutions, sermons, captivity and slave narratives, essays, autobiographies, poems, serial fiction, and novels. We’ll travel some well-worn paths—Irving’s fantasies, Emerson’s transcendental musings, and Douglass’s fiery prose—but we will also take a few paths less traveled through periodicals, almanacs, and broadsides. At each turn, our challenge will be to read both the “American-ness” and the “literariness” of American literature as speculative, a “history before the fact,” as Myra Jehlen puts it, requiring constant maintenance and revision on the part of would-be Americans and constant attention to the contingencies of historical, political, and cultural contexts on our end. Is the “American” in early American literature a set of political and social circumstances; the writer’s identity (self-identified or otherwise); a set of tropes, generic conventions or a style; an attitude; our own need for tidy origin narratives; none of the above; all of the above? We won’t answer these questions in one semester aside from a provisional, “It depends,” but we will develop an archive, set of critical paradigms and practices, and map for joining the ongoing conversation in American literary studies.


same as AFRO 259, CWL 259

major requirements (old) – Group III or V

major requirements (new) – REPCIS, 1800-1900

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.

ENGL 261 Topics in Lit and Culture

MWF 01:00PM - 01:50PM, 1022 Lincoln Hall Instructor: Tim Dean

Literature and Sex

This discussion-based class introduces students to the range of ways that sex can be portrayed in literature. We will consider how, after US obscenity law shifted its attention to visual images, writers experimented with a new freedom to discuss this fundamental aspect of the human experience. What can be described in literature that cannot be represented in film? How does literature fit into the history of pornography and should a boundary be drawn between the two? When does sexual explicitness in writing serve a feminist agenda? How do laborers in the sex industry represent their work in writing? What concepts or frameworks do we need to think clearly about literary representations of sex? The course will tackle these questions and others that students bring to the table by reading a range of primary texts alongside critical articles by feminist and queer thinkers such as Pat Califia, Samuel Delany, Scott O?Hara, Gayle Rubin, Darieck Scott, and Michael Warner. Regular response papers and a final exam. You do not need to be an English or humanities major to take this course, but you do need to be willing to read books and discuss them with an open mind.


same as GER 260, CWL 271

As the Holocaust recedes into the historical past, our knowledge of it increasingly comes from representations of it in books and films. This course does not focus on the Holocaust as a historical event that remains in the past but instead focuses on how films, books, and graphic novels depict the Holocaust for contemporary audiences.

273 S AMERICAN CINEMA SINCE 1950, Curry. Lect: TUTH 2-3:15; Screening W 5-7:30 pm

same as MACS 273

major requirements (old) – Group III or V

major requirements (new) – n/a

This English department-based cinema studies course analyzes selected films made in the last sixty-five years in the U.S. from key critical approaches including perspectives on authorship, genre, narrative, gender and racial representation, and the impact of spectacle. While it does not offer a film historical survey, the course addresses a range of latter 20th -early 21st century cinematic developments in the context of major transitions in the American film industry and in society. Among the trends we will examine are the shift away from the dominant stylistic and ideological models of classical Hollywood during the 1960s; the emergence of the New Hollywood in the 1970s with its stylistic eclecticism and emphasis on formulaic blockbusters; and the increasingly globalized contemporary American cinema, in which non-U.S. born/resident filmmakers are molding some of the most significant Hollywood productions of the new century.

Requirements: scrupulously regular attendance of the twice-weekly class meetings and the required weekly film lab from 5-7:30 p.m. (Wednesday screening of the week’s feature film, attendance at the joint screening required even if the film is widely available); systematic, thorough reading of the substantial course packet of essays and book excerpts; frequent quizzes; two short analytic essays; and a timetable-scheduled final exam.

275 AE1 AM INDIAN & INDEGENOUS FILM, Diaz. Lect: MW 11; Screening: TU 1-3:20

same as AIS 275, MACS 275

major requirements (old) – Group III or V

major requirements (new) – REPCIS

Introduction to representations of American Indians and Indigenous peoples in film. Reconstructions of American Indians within the Western genre and more recent reconstructions by Native filmmakers will be considered. Other topics may include the development of an indigenous aesthetic; the role of documentaries and nonfiction films in the history of Native and Indigenous film; the role of commerce in the production of Native films.


same as GWS 280

TOPIC: Early Modern Women Writers in England (Sixteenth - Seventeenth Centuries)

major requirements (old) – Group I or V

major requirements (new) – pre-1800 (Renaissance)

This course will serve as an introduction to early modern women’s writing from the sixteenth to the early eighteenth century. We will sample a variety of literature written by women, focusing both on close textual analysis and cultural context. The course will begin with a very brief introduction to the position of women in this period, and then move quickly on to detailed readings of primary texts. We will trace the dominant themes, identities, and forms of these works, focusing in particular on how women authors repeat, revise or rebel against the gender norms and societal expectations of their day. Readings will probably include poetry by Elizabeth I and Mary Wroth, drama by Margaret Cavendish and Aphra Behn, and an early novel by Eliza Haywood.


major requirements (old) – Group II or V

major requirements (new) – REPCIS

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.


same as AAS 286

major requirements (old) – Group III or V

major requirements (new) - REPCIS

This course offers an understanding of the historical emergence of Asian American literature in the twentieth century. It examines the ways in which U. S. relations with Asia over the last century in the contexts of colonialism, semi-colonialism, immigration, and war have shaped representations of Asia and Asians in the United States. This course considers the liminal position of Asians in a national imaginary defined by binary black-white relations as the minority which is not one. How has this paradoxical position as model minority and yellow peril impacted representations of gender, race, and sexuality in Asian American literature? How does Asian American literature offer new perspectives and understandings of race and Americanness in the twentieth century? While the course offers a historical context for reading literature, the focus will be on literary representation—what genres and forms have defined the emergence of Asian American writing; what narrative strategies do Asian American writers adopt in translating their stories to audiences of “insiders” and “outsiders;” what is the relationship between art and politics in minority writing? Some of the recurring themes that appear in Asian American writing are the contradictions of patriotism, intergenerational conflict or transgenerational haunting, the paradoxes of visibility and invisibility; the impossibility of assimilation; the recovery of lost histories; and the intersection of racial and sexual stereotypes.


TOPIC: To Be Announced

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.

300 M WRITING ABOUT LIT TEXT & CULTURE, Jenkins. TUTH 9:30-10:45

TOPIC: Post-Soul African American Fiction

major requirements (old) – Group III or V

major requirements (new) – n/a

This course will examine a constellation of African American narratives published in the last thirty years, by a cohort of newer authors that have been defined by some scholars as “Post-Soul.” These authors possess a novel and increasingly complex relationship to black identity, frequently calling attention in their works to the changing dynamics of racial community in the post-Civil Rights era. Throughout the semester, we will consider how contemporary theoretical debates about African American culture and identity inform these narratives, paying particular attention to how their authors tackle the intersection of race with social class, gender, and sexuality. Because this is an advanced composition course with a focus on writing about literature, assignments will include multiple short response papers and in-class writing assignments, two longer (5pp) papers with drafts, and a final 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.


TOPIC: Poems of Love by the Brownings

major requirements (old) – Group II or V

major requirements (new) – n/a

If you’ve heard anything of the Victorian poets Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861) and Robert Browning (1812-1889), chances are you know them through the romantic if rather hackneyed myth of their love affair and escape to Italy. Less common knowledge is that both poets were outspoken defenders of civil liberties at home and abroad. To both of them, marriage afforded the private space for practicing the negotiation of freedoms, brokering of compromises, and expression and constraint of passions necessary in a healthy democracy. With the aid of critical theorists like Iris Marion Young and Nancy Fraser, and Victorian writers on Marriage Law like Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon and Mona Caird, we will study the Brownings’ poetry on the topic of love for what it reveals about personal and public ethics. Our readings will include dramatic monologues like “Lady Geraldine’s Lover” (1844), and “Bianca Among the Nightingales” (1862), companion poems like “My Last Duchess” and “Count Gismond” (1842), and long poems like the sonnet cycle Sonnets from the Portuguese (1850), the verse-novel Aurora Leigh (1856), and sections of the murder-mystery The Ring and the Book (1868). Such study will involve a variety of writing exercises including unpacking a poetic metaphor, providing a précis of a critical argument, integrating secondary material into interpretive discussions, as well as researching and documenting a critical paper. We will aim to produce approximately 25 pages of graded writing in the course of the semester. Buyer Beware: this is not a good choice for those looking for short easy reading on light romantic topics. 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.


TOPIC: Screen Adaptations: Transforming the Written Word into Film

major requirements (old) – Group V

major requirements (new) – n/a

The strategies that writers and filmmakers have used in adapting fiction, plays and “real life stories” to the screen is the focus of this section of the writing intensive course English 300. Most of the films we will study (a number of which students must watch outside of class time) will be feature length narrative films released to cinemas in the U.S. and Britain—but we will also study a few international films (e.g., Japanese, Chinese, Italian) that translate tales and styles across languages and cultural forms and consider the “made for TV” movie which mines newspaper headlines and celebrity stories as source material. The course aims to help students develop theories to analyze and speak and write clearly and persuasively about the production and critical reception of adaptations. We will specifically address questions of whose literary works or biographies get adapted by whom, and in what ways, when and for which anticipated audiences, even as we question the idea of “a singular original” as well as reconsider issues of authorship.

Writing assignments in this course—which fulfills the advanced composition requirement for English majors (and is also appropriate for cinema and media studies majors and minors)—will encourage students to approach theories and practices of screen adaptations critically, comparatively, and creatively (one assignment will ask students to draft a mini-screenplay adapting selected source material). Course reading will include two books on screen adaptation and additional critical articles. 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.


TOPIC: Sex and Revolution: British Women's Writing, Mary Wollstonecraft to Jane Austen

major requirements (old) – Group I or V

major requirements (new) – n/a

All of Europe was spellbound in 1793 when the French revolutionaries marched their king and (a few months later) their queen to the guillotine or “national razor” and chopped off their heads. In the ensuing Reign of Terror, some 40,000 “traitors of the revolution” were executed. No nation followed the events in France with greater interest than Britain, France’s close neighbor and long-time opponent. The French revolution was greeted with unbridled enthusiasm by British progressives (especially in its early phases, before the Terror) and with horror by conservatives. Indeed, some of the most important contours of the left-right political divide, as we understand it today, were established in Britain during the 1790s, which saw the publication of such landmarks of Anglo-American conservatism as Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790) and of liberalism such as Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man (1791) and Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792). This course considers how British women writers of the period responded to the ideological upheaval generated by the French revolution, and above all, how they transformed the debate about the “rights of man” into a vigorous one about women’s rights—as citizens, moral agents, and members of civil society. Some of the most interesting discussions of women’s place in society and their capacity for self-governance were conducted through the medium of literature (as opposed to philosophical and political treatises), and especially the novel, a genre that, in this period, was importantly by, for, and about women. Our readings, therefore, will be primarily literary though we will also examine such key political treatises as Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Novels include Wollstonecraft’s The Wrongs of Woman; or Maria, Ann Radcliffe’s The Romance of the Forest, Mary Hays’s Memoirs of Emma Courtney, and Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. 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 you to the basic terrains of literary criticism. Like all academic disciplines, literary criticism comes with systems of thought and their technical vocabularies. This is because like all modes of organized thinking, it relies on precision and nuance. Top level literary criticism involves a world of variables and concerns, like society, production, history, psychology, gender and class identities, ideologies, sexualities, cultures, and ideas. In exploring this terrain, we will understand how languages and intellectual environments shape us; it will also tell us how we historically came into being as individuals and communities.

Apart from a textbook that will introduce us to the basics of literary theory, we will also read and work with a few essays, poems, and short stories. You will be required to turn in 3 papers, answer quizzes, and write a final examination. 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, disability studies, and ecocriticism. Expect some difficult reading, but we will work through it together. 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. If you like to stay silent in class, or if you do not attend class regularly, then do not take this section. Class time will focus on discussion, not on lecture, so you need to be there in the room and in the discussion. 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.


Theory: the final frontier. At least that’s how many English majors seem to feel! In this course, we will survey major developments in the history of thinking hard from the eighteenth century to today. As in any theory course, a number of major -ISMs (and their relatives) will appear regularly on the docket to vex us with the complexity—including materialism, historicism, structuralism (and its posts-), queer theory, and postcolonialism. To cope with the vertigo such -ISMs produce, we will generally read short, iconic selections, thinking for the most part in broad, vivid strokes, with a few full texts interspersed for depth and texture. And we will do our best to work through this material in a way that: a) makes sense, b) challenges you, and c) does not put any of us to sleep (or drive us crazy). This is, in short, an introduction to the history of such ideas, and any game, thinking reader should be able to keep up. 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, Foote. TUTH 9:30-10:45

meets with GWS 325

TOPIC: Lesbian/Queer Media Cultures

major requirements (old) – Group V

major requirements (new) - REPCIS

Discusses how various LGBT/Q communities were consolidated or drawn together by print and invented in the very acts of writing, distributing, purchasing, and reading print artifacts. Students examine early homophile publications, the rise of presses dedicated to LGBT/Q literature, independent bookstores and distribution networks, as well as the contemporary world of zines, blogs, chatrooms, fan fiction, and online journals, to see the intersection of sexuality, community, identity, and the print sphere. Students will learn how to historicize the rise of various LGBT/Q subcultures through a long history of print and how to navigate and understand the gregarious contemporary world of online publishing and social networking.


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.


same as MACS 373

TOPIC: Haunted Cinema

major requirements (old) – Group V

major requirements (new) – n/a

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.


same as MACS 373

TOPIC: Documenting America

From hoarders to living wild at the fringes of America, and from unfettered economic ventures to the comic lives of eccentric overachievers, this course examines the language and visual composition of works produced by documentary directors in the United States. We will explore the ways in which documentary filmmaking shapes our image of America in the works of Michael Moore, Errol Morris, Andrew Jarecki and others. Documentary films try to capture a social reality unmediated by fantasy and as such they provide us with a piercing look at who we are. By studying the composition of narrative voice and sequence, the course emphasizes on documentary as a narrative form designed to integrate critical perspectives with social action. This course takes advantage of the many media available for us to expand our appreciation of a multilayered society. Our syllabus includes films, reading assignments, and opportunities to listen to public speakers.

Themes for discussion include: war and its aftermath, the state of the economy, health care, mental illness, poverty, world resources, food production, and the environment.

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

TEXTS: (selection) Chomsky, Noam, Profit Over People: Neoliberalism & Global Order; Mitchell, W. J. T., Cloning Terror: The War of Images, 9/11 to the Present; Nichols, Bill, Introduction to Documentary, 2nd edition. Indiana UP, 2001;

Documentary Films: (selection) Dylan Avery, Loose Change 9/11: An American Coup, 2009, 99 min.; Banksy, Exit Through the Gift Shop, 2010, 87 min.; Marshall Curry, If a Tree Falls, 2011. 85 min.; Josh Fox, Gasland. 2009, 106 min.; James Gandolfini, Alive Day Memories, 2007, 57 min.; Robert Greenwald, Wal-Mart, 2005, 97 min.; Werner Herzog, Into the Abyss, 2012, 107 min.; Andrew Jarecki, Capturing the Friedmans, 2003, 109 min.; Michael Moore, Fahrenheit 9/11, 2004, 122 min.; Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost, Catfish, 2011, 88 min.; Errol Morris, Tabloid, 2010, 88 min.

374 T WORLD CINEMA IN ENGLISH, S. Camargo. TUTH 3-4:50

TOPIC: The Great White North: Films of Canada

major requirements (old) – Group

major requirements (new) – n/a

In this course we will get to know our neighbor to the north. You may be surprised at how many well-known directors and actors are Canadian. Canadian directors whom we will meet include David Cronenberg, Atom Egoyan, John Maddin, and Patricia Rozema. Canada, like every other country, uses its national cinema as an expression of, exploration of, and advertisement for its national identity. We will look at Canadian films with the aim of discovering what issues Canadians see as central, as worthy of display, and as problematic. We will look at the relationship between these film representations and actual social and political ideas and practices. We will also see how Canada negotiates its economic and industrial relationship to the 800-pound gorilla of the film world: Hollywood.

Evaluated work will include short response papers, two or three medium-length papers, and a research paper of a reasonable length. While previous experience in film studies is a plus, it is not required for enrollment in this course.


TOPIC: Internet Writing and Rhetoric

What does a “like” or a “retweet” mean in social media? How can we describe internet cultures? What are emerging genres embedded within online cultures? What is the purpose of online reviews and commenting? This class responds to these questions by examining a variety of known and lesser known online writers, course readings, in-class discussion, electronic communication, and digital technologies. Its primary goal is to develop and strengthen rhetorical and writing skills for online contexts by asking students to produce numerous short writings that they will share with online audiences. Students will investigate privacy policies, netiquettes (online etiquette policies), comment cultures, online forum decorum, and other online writing situations.

Students will develop an online writing presence using a website of their choice. Students will be exposed to a variety of free programs that they will be able to use to enhance their online writing skills.

TEXTS: (required) Reading the Comments: Likers, Haters, and Manipulators at the Bottom of the Web, Joseph M. Reagle Jr. 2015; This is Why we Can’t Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture, Whitney Phillips. 2015; Participatory Culture, Community, and Play: Learning from Reddit (Digital Formations), Adrienne Massanari. 2015.

380 D TOPICS IN WRITING STUDIES, Prendergast. MW 11-12:15

TOPIC: Writing for Money

This will be a course in which students will learn how to write for money. We will operate as a writing workshop. There will be no assigned outside readings for the course, other than the writing done by other students in the class. Writing and peer commentary will be due every week. The goal for each student will be to get paid to write, in whatever genre the student prefers. Students will be responsible for locating outlets for paid writing (friends and relatives obviously won’t count), and for writing for those outlets. Students will also chronicle and reflect upon this (difficult) process in weekly blogs. Evaluation will be based on the quality of the reflection, the quality of feedback on peer drafts, the effort put into locating and writing for chosen outlets, and on the effort with which one pursues the goal of writing for money.

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.

397 C2 HONORS SEMINAR II, Murison. W 10-11:50

TOPIC: Literature and Culture of the American Civil War

major requirements (old) – Group III or V

major requirements (new) – 1800-1900

“The real war will never get in the books,” Walt Whitman regretfully declared after the Civil War ended. While bemoaning the sentimental “mush” so often dished out after a war, Whitman also asks a broader question about whether literature (or any cultural medium) can ever fully represent the realities of war. This class will test Whitman’s premise by returning to the literature produced during the Civil War and Reconstruction. Civil War literature challenges certain accepted stories we tell about national literature and the nation more largely. What happened to the romance and transcendentalism of the antebellum writers in the crucible of war? How did forms like lyric poetry and the novel change to accommodate responses to the first modern war? Can we even categorize this literature, especially the literature of the Confederacy, as “American literature”? These questions and many more will shape our inquiries over the course of the semester. Authors likely will include Walt Whitman, Frederick Douglass, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott, Herman Melville, Augusta Jane Evans, and Elizabeth Keckley.

398 E HONORS SEMINAR III, Somerville. W 1-2:50

TOPIC: James Baldwin

major requirements (old) – Group IV

major requirements (new) – n/a

Harlem, Paris, Istanbul. Novelist, essayist, playwright, poet. Preacher, civil rights activist, expatriate writer. Defying any single classification, genre, or location, James Baldwin (1924-1987) and his writing continue to complicate the ways we think about twentieth-century American literature, especially the overlapping histories of African American literature and lesbian/gay literature. This course will offer an opportunity to study Baldwin’s writing in depth, including works such as Notes of a Native Son, Giovanni’s Room, Another Country, The Fire Next Time, Going to Meet the Man, Just Above My Head and Go Tell It On the Mountain. At the same time, we will consider the literary, cultural, and political contexts of his writing, including the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement, the early lesbian and gay liberation movement, and the Black Power movement. Along the way, we will read selected critical and theoretical scholarship that sheds light on the politics of race, sexuality, and representation in Baldwin’s work.

398 F HONORS SEMINAR III, Stevens. MW 2-3:15

TOPIC: Shakespeare in his Context

major requirements (old) – Shakespeare

major requirements (new) – pre-1800 (Shakespeare)

We all know the role Shakespeare continues to occupy within the Western canon. In this English honors seminar, I would have us set aside Shakespeare’s formidable reputation as the “greatest writer in the history of English literature” and instead concentrate on Shakespeare the actor and playwright who made his considerable living writing for the London professional theater from roughly 1580 to 1611. The city of London, Shakespeare’s fellow actors, the physical spaces of the Globe and the Blackfriars playhouses, and any number of material and cultural factors—props, music, special effects, audience expectations—shaped the plays Shakespeare wrote and consequently inform the printed play editions that we now read.

So too did Shakespeare imitate, collaborate, and engage with the many talented writers who also supplied plays to the various theater companies of early modern London. Shakespeare 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 less obvious—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? What insights emerge when we read Christopher Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta alongside The Merchant of Venice?

Our study of Renaissance “original practices”—the key theatrical conventions and staging conditions that existed in Shakespeare’s time—will furthermore allow us to see these plays as living documents intended for performance. Emphases will therefore include an attention to the plays in their earliest moment of composition, rehearsal, performance, publication, and reception, as well as to their production histories: that is, any (although not all) of the plays we’ll read have been in continuous production for 400 years, including recent popular film adaptations, and not just in the English-speaking West. What does this history of performance, adaptation, and revision tell us? Do the plays continue to offer us insight into the social world we ourselves inhabit?

The class will be conducted as a seminar-discussion. Our primary texts are listed above (possibly subject to some revision; secondary texts to be determined). Although some of these assignments might be tweaked, evaluation will be based on participation, including a willingness to read lines out loud and block scenes in class; one group performance project; and three papers, one of which will be revised into a longer final seminar paper.


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. Latest edition.


major requirements (old) – Group V

major requirements (new) – n/a

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

same as MDVL 407

major requirements (old) – Group I or V

major requirements (new) – pre-1800 (medieval)

this pure contemplation / of a language of the dawn—Jorge Luis Borges, “On Embarking on the Study of the Anglo-Saxon Language”

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 literary narrative prose such as Bede’s story of Cædmon’s miraculous transformation from cowherd to poet; King Alfred’s manifesto on education reform; and Ælfric’s story of the martyrdom of King Edmund, slain by Vikings invaders (featuring Edmund’s decapitated talking head). 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. Along the way we will learn about aspects of Anglo-Saxon history, culture, and art.

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

major requirements (old) – Shakespeare

major requirements (new) – pre-1800 (Shakespeare)

This course explores seven Shakespearean plays from a range 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. We'll also consider how the meanings of ‘Shakespeare’ proliferate through the constant, sometimes subversive, reinvention of the plays by literary critics, performers, and adapters world-wide. That diversity compels us to use multiple interpretive frames to look at the plays: close reading; informal staging; film analysis; feminist, historicist, postcolonial, and queer studies critical approaches. Be ready for proactive discussion, performance experiments, a library visit, and attending at least on Shakespeare play on campus. Written assignments include informal writings, two focused short papers, a longer paper based on guided research (7-9 pp.), and a final exam.

TEXTS: (these print editions are required): Greenblatt et al, eds., Shakespeare: Complete Works (3rd edition, forthcoming summer 2015); McDonald, ed., Bedford Companion to Shakespeare (2nd edition, ISBN 978-0312248802); at least one individual play edition, probably tied to the What You Will fall season.


major requirements (old) – Group I or V

major requirements (new) – pre-1800 (Renaissance)

Most literary historians like to claim their period as a turning point, but scholars of the seventeenth-century have an edge: in 1649, the British took the unprecedented step of trying their king for treason and beheading him. In this course, we will explore the artistic and intellectual questioning that characterizes seventeenth-century poetry and prose. We will combine study of some of the major poets and prose writers of the time, such as John Donne, Robert Herrick, and Andrew Marvell, with analysis of lesser-known writers such as Mary Wroth, Gerrard Winstanely and Anna Trapnel. Early in the course, we will establish some of the traditional ideas about genre and gender, sexuality and the desiring body, religious identity and political form. We will then watch as these mutate in the context of revolutionary debate.

429 1U/1G 18th CENTURY FICTION, Pollock. MWF 2

major requirements (old) – Group I or V

major requirements (new) – pre-1800 (Long 18th Century)

This course will examine the link between European colonialism and the development of recognizably modern fiction during the course of the long eighteenth century—a period commonly referred to as the Enlightenment—in England, France, and the Americas. We will analyze travel both as a literal means of disseminating “enlightenment” between cultures, and as a metaphor for describing the formation of the "enlightened" person, an idealized subject defined by her/his movement into trans-cultural spaces where complicated ethical and political dilemmas must be negotiated. Indeed, one of the influential legacies of these Enlightenment fictions (or fictions of Enlightenment) has been their formulation of cosmopolitanism as a solution to the often violent clash between cultures. The popular narratives we'll study test the Enlightenment's cosmopolitan ethos by imagining European observers in a wide range of locales: Brazil, West Africa, the Caribbean, Persia, the Ottoman Empire, Abyssinia, and Egypt, to name a few. Time permitting, we will finish by reading some recent philosophical work on the question “What is Enlightenment?” and we will attempt to answer that question ourselves. Texts by Montaigne, Behn, Defoe, Montesquieu, Swift, Montagu, Johnson, Voltaire, and Equiano.

Requirements: active participation, journal responses, three essay projects, and a final exam.

435 1U/1G 19TH C BRITISH FICTION, Courtemanche. MWF 1

major requirements (old) – Group II or V

major requirements (new) – 1800-1900 (British)

An optimistic note of progress is the keynote of many 19th-century novels: characters learn and grow, society works through conflict, secrets are uncovered. But in British fiction, this process of discovery and growth is often complicated by nostalgia and fears of loss. Sometimes the characters discover that what they were looking for was in front of them all along, or find they can never truly untangle the dark origins of the problems that entrap them. In this class, we’ll be focusing on this particular mixture of romance, Bildungsroman, the detective story, and Gothic historicism. Our readings will include Jane Austen’s Emma, Charles Dickens’s Bleak House, Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone, Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Joseph Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness. These novels are tremendously fun to read, but also very long, so be prepared for a great deal of reading (both fiction and secondary criticism). The course will require one close-reading paper, one research paper, a midterm and final, weekly written assignments, and active class participation.

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

The literature of the first three decades of the twentieth century was marked by the trauma of a world war, new media technologies, a collapsing British empire, and shifting gender roles. This course will explore the ways that literature provoked and was transformed by these cultural forces. This is the era made famous by Downton Abbey, and while we will read fiction of the English manor, we will also examine experiments in stream of consciousness, imagist poetry, avant-garde manifestos, and radio dramas. This course will survey key works by Virginia Woolf, Joseph Conrad, James Joyce, Mina Loy, T.S. Eliot, Charlie Chaplin, and Samuel Beckett that defined “modernism” as well as philosophical and cultural theories that have attempted to answer questions of how Britain became modern and what “modern” meant.

452 1U/1G AMERICAN LIT 1945-PRESENT, Hunt. TUTH 2-3:15

In the period after World War II the US experienced a barrage of momentous events: multiple wars, a widening gap between the rich and poor, the triumphs and dashed hopes of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, and growing waves of feminism. A new range of voices and literary forms emerged to clarify and influence these changes to the national landscape, changes that redrew lines of class, race, gender, and nationality. Reading novels, poetry, essays, and plays, we will ask how writers redefined not only what it means to belong to these categories of identity and class, but also what it means to resist respective forms of exclusion. We will also consider how writers represent the violence of discrimination, the traumas of war, and the possibilities of healing. In the process, we will historicize the various conventions of modernism, realism, and postmodernism and question how well they account for an author’s literary ancestry and artistic project. Requirements include active participation in class discussions, regular brief reading responses, two formal essays, a midterm, and a final. Authors may include Gwendolyn Brooks, Ralph Ellison, Allen Ginsberg, Kurt Vonnegut, Bharati Mukherjee, Toni Morrison, August Wilson, and Suzan-Lori Parks.

455 1U/1G MAJOR AUTHORS, Freeburg. MWF 11

TOPIC: Herman Melville and Frederick Douglass

major requirements (old) – Group IV

major requirements (new) – n/a

Frederick Douglass and Herman Melville do not actually have a lot in common but what they do have in common is not only exciting and interesting—it is profound. Douglass’ writings, from newspaper articles to autobiographies, are fiercely anti-slavery. Herman Melville’s fiction and letters (including Moby-Dick), while certainly not abolitionist, reflect his deep thinking about regional and national conflicts over slavery and imperialism. Both men felt that there was an overall crisis of being in the nineteenth-century world that stemmed from rapidly changing notions of power/knowledge, self-reflection, as well as what it meant for someone to practice moral and spiritual commitments. We will study these legendary American figures through their poetry, prose, and other letters to analyze how they engaged and contested the historical moment that created them. This course will have a few short writing assignments and a final paper.

476 1U/1G TOPICS LIT & ENVIRONMENT, Jones. TUTH 12:30-1:45

TOPIC: Literature and the Sea

major requirements (old) – Group III or V

major requirements (new) – 1800-1900

The sea is a persistent metaphor for ideas as vast as the ocean itself: sexual awakening, freedom, death, fluidity, and escape. At the same time, the sea is a factory and workplace, a place where cultural exchange, trade relationships, and political power are all made material in the bodies of working sailors. This course will explore oceanic texts, answering questions such as:

What does the sea mean for authors of various races, genders, sexual identities, and ethnicities? How has the literature of the sea contributed to environmental (and environmentalist) concerns? How does American literature respond to the decline of maritime industry and the rise of seashore tourism? How does sea literature construct new categories of local, national, and global belonging? We will read American literature of the 19th and early 20th centuries, exploring works by Herman Melville, Frederick Douglass, Kate Chopin, and Sarah Orne Jewett. The course ends with a short unit on contemporary maritime culture: container shipping, leisure cruising, and globalization. Along with literary texts, we will study book illustrations, tattoos, paintings and magazine articles. We will explore a variety of critical approaches, including oceanic studies, critical race theory, ecocriticism, and visual culture.

Students will write two critical essays and a large volume of informal writing. Students will also be assessed based on exams and on active, engaged participation in class discussion.

TEXTS: Henry David Thoreau, Cape Cod; Herman Melville, Moby-Dick; Herman Melville, Benito Cereno; Sarah Orne Jewett, Country of the Pointed Firs; Kate Chopin, The Awakening

481 1U/1G COMP THEORY AND PRACTICE, Prior. MW 12:30-1:45

English 481 addresses four key areas of Writing Studies: how writing is accomplished through situated practices; how writing is read and valued as part of response and assessment practices; how writing shapes, and is shaped by, individual and social development; and how instructional and other activity can shape people’s learning and ability to write. One key goal of the course is to provide a foundation for future teachers of writing (at whatever level). Both theoretical and practical understanding of literate activity in workplaces, communities, and homes is critical to understanding the means, motives, and resources of pedagogy. The course is, therefore, designed to encourage reflective inquiry, synthesis, and application and a number of the activities—in class and out—require active participation.

482 1U/1G WRITING TECHNOLOGIES, D. Baron. TUTH 12:30-1:45

same as LIS 482

TOPIC: Communicating in the Digital Age

We will examine the impact of the new digital technologies on our reading and writing practices and look at ways in which readers and writers impact the direction of communication technology. We’ll look as well at the relationship of today’s digital genres—everything from text to Twitter—to earlier, more traditional genres; how they develop unique conventions and practices; how they self-regulate, moving from freewheeling anarchy toward definable forms and expected behaviors; how they deal with violations of conventional norms; and how new practitioners learn and perfect their art. We’ll consider how the new genres create an aesthetic, and we’ll examine the legal and ethical problems these new technologies pose.

All readings will be available online. Students will write short essays and a term paper or semester project on an appropriate topic.


This course provides a historical survey of the foundational thinkers, texts, and schools that orient contemporary work in the humanities, from Kant and Hegel to Cultural Studies and Postcolonial Theory, with the emphasis being on the relations between these different texts and schools. What are the linkages, for instance, between aesthetics, history, the subject, value, power, language, ideology, materiality, gender, sexuality, race, and colonialism? Through these question and some responses to them, the course aims to ensure that graduate students receive a rigorous introduction to critical theories and methodologies that will provide the basis for interdisciplinary conversation and intellectual community among students and faculty members from across the university.

505 G WRITING STUDIES I, Prior. W 3-4:50

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 such issues as how to study and engage with writing processes; the collaborative nature of writing and varied types of authorship; intersections of writing with other modes (reading, talk, visual representation) and varied technologies (paper, screen and other materials for production and distribution); the nature of specialized genres and genre systems; 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 in greater depth.

524 G SEMINAR IN 17TH C LIT, L. Newcomb

TOPIC: Materiality and Early Modern British Books

Historians of the book and of reading repeatedly invoke “materiality” as a maker of meaning in early modern studies. What exactly is meant by “material,” and what does it exclude? Why and how does this material turn preoccupy an increasingly digital scholarly practice? Can analyzing the materiality of printed books access consumers as well as producers? Why was printed matter disturbing in early modern Britain, and why is the value of some items still contested? This seminar assesses the current state of book history in early modern studies, putting special pressure on how materiality is deployed and (sometimes) theorized in claims about early modern texts and the practices of authorship, publication, printing, book-buying, reading, and inscription.

This seminar is appropriate for graduate students specializing in a wide range of historical periods, national literatures, and disciplines. Together, we’ll explore the distinctive material conditions of the hand press era, and also claims for materiality that reach across period and national boundaries. Our readings will include some of the founding statements in the fields of book and reading history, and representative critical work that engages early modern texts both well-known (Philip Sidney, Mary Wroth, William Shakespeare, Margaret Cavendish) and little-read (crime pamphlets, broadside ballads). Lots of our work will be hands-on, in the Rare Book Library and with pathbreaking digital surrogates, and class writings too will aim for practical impact: short projects exploring how print historical methods can inform interpretation and teaching of familiar texts, or offer access to unfamiliar archives; and individual research projects (ultimately presented in a miniconference and/or virtual exhibit).

After an initial survey of theoretical definitions of materiality, we’ll look at several clusters of texts produced from about 1550 to 1660, especially in genres well-represented in our rare-book collections, to test what materiality may mean and may uncover:

The Reformation and the threat of popular literacy

Prose romance and the gendering of literacy

Playbooks and the transfer of embodied performance to printed page

Dissent and censorship

Material studies, early modern print objects, and the environment

Illustrations, branding, and alterity

Broadside ballads, appropriation, and print proliferation

537 R SEMINAR VICTORIAN LIT, Saville. TH 1-2:50

TOPIC: Soul-talk in Democratizing Britain (1840-1885)

In “Signs of the Times,” his 1829 polemic against Utilitarian hedonism and instrumentality, Thomas Carlyle rages against the growing pragmatism of British society: “It is no longer the moral, religious, spiritual condition of the people that is our concern, but their physical, practical, economical condition, as regulated by public laws. Thus is the Body-politic more than ever worshipped and tended; but the Soul-politic less than ever” (“Signs of the Times,” 71). Utilitarian and radical W. J. Fox refused this perspective not simply defending Utilitarians but identifying poetry as the particular discourse through which the soul-politic could be roused. With debates about extending the franchise, conversations arose about how to cultivate an inventive, humane, and vital citizenry. Novelists like Anthony Trollope (The Warden), essayists like Harriet Martineau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Stuart Mill, and Oscar Wilde, and above all poets like the Brownings, Arthur Hugh Clough, A. C. Swinburne and Walt Whitman used “soul-talk” to address the spiritual well-being of their own and neighboring European and transatlantic communities as they evolved into modern democracies. As we read the work of these and other writers (for instance, Plato, Aristotle, Jeremy Bentham, and Alexander Bain), we will ask ourselves what “the soul” actually meant to them, how it differed from the idea of moral character, why “soul-talk” might be considered the special bailiwick of poets, and how it differed from the “character-talk” of public moralists. We will consider whether the conceptions of soul in skeptics and atheists like Swinburne, and Whitman differ from those of believers. We will also debate the political value of the category today, especially in the light of work by political theorists like William E. Connolly, prosody theorists like Simon Jarvis and Joseph P. Phelan, and others.

543 E SEMINAR MOD BRITISH LIT, Mahaffey. M 1-2:50

TOPIC: Joyce and Beckett

Joyce was an important influence on Beckett. Beckett began to write—essays, fiction, and poetry—after meeting Joyce at the age of 22 in Paris. Beckett proposed writing a dissertation on Joyce and Proust at the Ecole Normale (it wasn’t approved). One of Beckett’s first published essays was “Dante. . . Bruno. Vico. . Joyce,” the inaugural piece in in Our Exagmination Round his Factification for the Incamination of Work in Progress (1929). Lucia’s infatuation with Beckett was well known, along with the cooling between Joyce and Beckett that occurred when Beckett indicated that he had no romantic interest in her. Beckett (with Alfred Péron) made the first effort at translating the “Anna Livia Plurabelle” section into French, and Beckett was part of the small coterie of supporters and helpers that Joyce depended on as he was writing Finnegans Wake. There are other connections as well: their shared Irishness combined with Francophone sensibilities, the zest with which they both read Dante in Italian, their interest in the relation between language and gesture, their common attachment to peculiar language, enlivened by what is almost an obsession with etymology.

The main question that drives this course is whether or not it is time to revise the usual view of how Joyce and Beckett differ: that Joyce tried to approach omniscience, whereas Beckett—in reaction—developed a comedy and an ethos based on impotence. Is it possible that the connections between them are closer than this version of the story allows? We will read Joyce’s Dubliners followed by Beckett’s More Pricks than Kicks. Then we will read Joyce’s Ulysses and the “Anna Livia Plurabelle” section of Finnegans Wake, followed by Beckett’s essay for Our Exagmination, a sampling of his early writing (including Murphy, Watt, and Mercier and Camier). We will read the first volume of the trilogy (Molloy), and then spend the remaining time on the plays: Waiting for Godot, Endgame, Krapp’s Last Tape, Not I, and as many others as we can fit into the remaining time.

Requirements include at least one written and oral report and the equivalent of 15-20 pages of written work (either in the form of a longer seminar paper or in the form of three shorter essays on individual works).


TOPIC: American Literary History and the Problem of the Civil War

The traditional periodization for American literary history pivots at the Civil War. Yet this periodization leaves many questions unanswered, such as how to account for authors like Walt Whitman or Frederick Douglass, whose careers span the century, or how scholars ought to periodize writing published during the war itself. Indeed, Civil War literature challenges certain accepted stories we tell about national literature and the nation more largely. Can we strictly claim the common nineteenth-century narrative of antebellum romance to postbellum realism, with the crucible of the war as the impetus for this formal change? Can we even categorize literature written during the war years, especially the literature of the Confederacy, as “American literature”? This seminar will focus on two components: familiarizing students with the common narratives about and periods of nineteenth-century American literature; and offering a survey that spans from the antebellum era through the Civil War and Reconstruction, so as to consider more carefully how periodization shapes and forecloses our reading and scholarly practices. We will read authors such as Walt Whitman, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau, Herman Melville, Augusta Jane Evans, Emily Dickinson, and Elizabeth Keckley, as well as theories of periodization and field-defining literary histories of the war.


TOPIC: American Fiction in the 1920s and 1930s

This course, deliberately organized more by time-period than by any particular argument about the time-period, will study a wide range of novels and stories and their varying refractions of formal, historical, and social interests, including Modernism and stream-of-consciousness; race, ethnicity, and indigeneity; poverty; region; and literary and social value. We will also address questions about gender, agency, representation, narrative form, literary history, and close reading that I might bring to almost any course. We will read canonical works as well as works that rarely appear on a syllabus, and we will read a modest assortment of related materials: works by the same or related writers, contemporary magazines, contemporary responses, history, criticism, etc. Prospective seminar members may find it particularly helpful to have the chance to read or reread The Sound and the Fury in the context of a class. This seminar will work by discussion. If you do not like to participate in discussion, then do not sign up for this seminar. Registered students can expect an emailed reading assignment for the first class approximately a week before classes begin.

Reading list (highly tentative): Ernest Hemingway, selections from The Short Stories; William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury; Anita Loos, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes; Nella Larsen, Passing; Dorothy Parker, selections from Complete Stories; Tess Slesinger, The Unpossessed; Tom Kromer, Waiting for Nothing; John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath; D’Arcy McNickle, The Surrounded; Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God; Carson McCullers, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter; and selections from The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty.


TOPIC: Medieval Paleography

The course will cover the major European scripts from Late Antiquity through the Middle Ages, focusing on Latin scripts (from 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 palaeography 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).


meets with CWL 571

TOPIC: What is World Literature

This seminar examines the concept of “world literature,” from Goethe’s coinage of the term “Weltliteratur” to the current academic industry, which has boomed since the end of the Cold War, producing conferences, workshops, monographs, and anthologies. What are the theoretical underpinnings of “world literature” in its various articulations and paradigms? What is considered “world literature” and what is not? The role of translation, transnational mobility, literary prizes, publishing houses, and the star system will be examined, along with the multiple afterlives of older classics such as The Arabian Nights and Shakespeare. Various practical aspects of the teaching of world literature—survey and theme-based formats, anthologies, constructing syllabi—will be central to our discussions in the latter part of the course. The seminar should appeal to students with interest in globalization and transnational studies, and those who would like to acquire a foundation for teaching world literature courses at the college level.

Readings include: Theo D’haen, The Routledge Concise History of World Literature; World Literature: A Reader; David Damrosch, What is World Literature?; Teaching World Literature; Pascale Casanova, The World Republic of Letters; Emily Apter, Against World Literature. Additional articles and literary selections

581 V SEMINAR LITERARY THEORY, Rodriguez. TH 4-5:50

TOPIC: Psychoanalysis and Cultural Criticism

This seminar will explore the interface of contemporary cultural criticism and psychoanalytic theory. Beginning with key texts by Freud, Lacan, and Laplanche, the seminar will shift focus to examine the engagement with psychoanalysis in race and ethnic studies and feminist and queer theory. Readings will include work by Kaja Silverman, Teresa de Lauretis, David Eng, Hortense Spillers, Antonio Viego, David Marriott, Leo Bersani, Tim Dean, Homay King, and others.

584 E TOPICS DISCOURSE & WRITING, Prendergast. M 1-2:50

same as CI 569

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, informatics, 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: Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. 1; Deborah Brandt, Literacy in American Lives; Dalton Conley, The Pecking Order; Catherine Prendergast, Buying into English; Mike Rose, The Mind at Work; Evan Watkins, Class Degrees; Viviana Zelizer, Economic Lives: How Culture Shapes the Economy. All other readings will be available online or through some sort of reserve.

593 D PROF SEMINAR COLLEGE TCHNG, Ritter. M 11-12:50

TOPIC: The Teaching of Rhetoric

This is a course for students new to the teaching of college writing. Over the course of the semester, we will explore connections between theories of writing instruction, language acquisition, and teaching practices. In particular, students in the course will theorize, through readings in history and theory of composition studies, practices relating to: syllabus and assignment design, conferencing with students, responding to student work, handling conflicts, maintaining language diversities in the classroom, and developing teaching personae. Requirements for the course include weekly readings, active participation in class discussion, a statement of teaching philosophy, and other periodic shorter course writings.


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