English Course Descriptions: Spring 2011

Literature and Writing Studies Courses


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

Students will write twelve to fifteen pages of interpretation or criticism, spread out over two or more essays, and also take a midterm and a final examination.


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


same as CINE 104

The goal of this course is to develop students’ abilities to view films critically and to deepen their understanding of the cinema experience. The course first teaches analysis of narrative strategies, shot properties, mise-en-scène, acting, editing, and the use of sound in films, especially classical Hollywood movies. The course then focuses on the study of different genres and styles of films, including documentaries, feminist films, westerns, musicals, and melodramas, in terms of how they present ideological points of view and/or fulfill certain wishes of the spectator.

English 104 is an appropriate prerequisite for English /CINE 273 (an intermediate course in film analysis) and other advanced film classes. The course presents one film program including a feature film per week, shown in a required screening lab on Monday afternoon or evening. Each section meets for two 75-minute lecture-discussion sessions per week. All sections use Bordwell and Thompson’s Film Art as an introductory textbook and give additional reading assignments (essays and book chapters) available in a photocopied reader or on library reserve. Sections are designed so that each student contributes extensively in the discussions; attendance and participation are crucial in this course.

The minimum formal assignments are about 12 pages of expository writing (usually in 3 short essays, although some instructors may assign more writing), a midterm, and a three hour final exam; most instructors also give quizzes. On the exams, most instructors give a factual section (identification, brief answer) and a section of essay questions. This course earns 3 credit hours and qualifies as a General Education course in Humanities and the Arts. (Multiple sections)


TOPIC: Stressed Out, or When Our Nerves Rebel—Autism and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Stress is an ever-present motivator in our twenty-first century lives, but when does it become too much for our nervous systems to handle? In this course, we will look at literary texts that represent the anxieties people experience when their systems are overwhelmed with sensation. This overload can be caused by everyday experiences like vacuuming, for individuals with autism spectrum disorders, or by unusual experiences that become everyday, for individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder. How do these anxieties affect the literature an author produces and the language (s)he uses? For example, what similarities could The Pisan Cantos, produced by Ezra Pound after a three-week imprisonment in a cage, have with poetry produced by Wilfred Owen, a soldier entrenched during World War I, or with the autobiography of Donna Williams, an autistic author who has described her body as a cage? Our reading list will answer these questions by focusing on both popular and high literary texts that exhibit symptoms of these two very modern disorders. Texts will range from Mark Haddon’s best-selling The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (2003) to the early short stories of Virginia Woolf (1921) and Rebecca West’s classic example of trauma-induced amnesia, The Return of the Soldier (1916), to poems written by American soldiers stationed in Iraq (2006). Ultimately, this course attempts to integrate contemporary neurological perspectives of cognitive processing with literary analysis of twentieth-century literature.


English 109 (formerly English 103+) 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 beplaced on concepts and skills central to good literary critical writing.

Course requirements include papers and paper revisions totaling 25-30 pages. Papers are assigned according to the judgment of individual instructors, but will include assignments of various lengths and several opportunities for review and revision.

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


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


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


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.

199 CHP UNDERGRADUATE OPEN SEMINAR, Stanciu. MW 10-11:20 Campus Honors

TOPIC: Coming to America: Literary and Visual Representations

“We are a nation of immigrants” is perhaps one of the most widely used sentences to define American identity. Most of us can trace our ancestry through different parts of the world, through one or several generations, and this cultural and ethnic affiliation often strengthens our sense of belonging. Although this popular phrase suggests a seemingly unproblematic relation of immigrants to America’s “golden door”—while also erasing the history of slavery and the genocide of many Native American tribes—this door has not always been open. Racism, nativism, and economic depression closed it from time to time, thus determining the country’s racial make-up and gradually altering the meanings of the “American Dream.” This course will focus on the emergence of an immigrant literary tradition in the US, from the end of the nineteenth century to the present, in film and a variety of literary genres, from the autobiography to the novel, the short story, and the poem. The theme of our course, the immigrant experience, also guides some of the questions we’ll ask throughout the semester: How do immigrant writers construct or imagine the immigrant self in these works? How does the immigrant imagine America in a new language? How does the immigrant writer in the US imagine or re-imagine the “Old World”?

The course will emphasize discussion and active participation. The diversity of the University of Illinois will allow us to evaluate these narratives in light of experience—our own, our parents, and people we know. Some of the possible texts include works by immigrant prisoners at Angel Island, and by writers like Emma Lazarus, Sui Sin Far, Leonard Q. Ross/Leo Rosten, Abraham Cahan, Claude McKay, Salom Rizk, Carlos Bulosan, Bharati Mukherjee, Junot Diaz, Luis Alberto Urrea, and others. In addition, we’ll read several legal documents that will help us understand the legal ramifications of the American “immigration problem” over the last century. We’ll also watch and discuss films, from the silent Emmigrants Landing at Ellis Island to Martin Scosesse’s Gangs of New York and Tommy Lee Jones’ The Three Burials of Melchiades Estrada.


TOPIC: Publishing and Editing

This course is designed for students who anticipate working with or in the trade or academic publishing industry. Topics covered include developmental editing and line editing; proofreading; language usage; intellectual property and permissions; developing a marketing plan; submitting queries; electronic publishing; tables, graphs, images, and page layout. Abundant writing and editing practice will be required.

Required texts will include the Chicago Manual of Style


TOPIC: Reading for Writers

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

199 RM UNDERGRADUATE OPEN SEMINAR, Mehta. Lect: TUTH 1; Screening: TU 7-9:50 pm

meets with CWL 151

TOPIC: Love and Death in Indian Cinema

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

Films: to be screened every Wednesday, 6-9 p.m. All films will have English subtitles. Secondary texts: Critical writings by a variety of scholars, approximately 1-2 essays per film, to be posted on Compass (www.compass.uiuc.edu) or on Electronic Text (e-reserve).


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

TEXTS: Vary according to section.

202 M MEDIEVAL LIT AND CULTURE, C. Wright. TUTH 9:30-10:45 Group I

same as CWL 253, MDVL 201

In this course we will read a broad selection of major medieval literary texts (all in modern English translation), including such genres as myths of the Germanic gods (Old Norse tales of Odin, Thor, and Loki); heroic epic (the stories of Beowulf and the Irish hero Cú Chulainn); courtly love narrative (desperate housewives in the Lais of Marie de France); Arthurian romances (questing knights of the Round Table by Chrétien de Troyes); tragedy (Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde); and religious allegory (Dante’s Inferno). We’ll also learn about the rich diversity of cultures in the Middle Ages through excursions into the history, art, and social systems of the times and places in which these works were produced, including visits to the University Library Rare Book Room to see actual medieval manuscripts and to the Spurlock Museum of World Cultures to see medieval artifacts. Course requirements will include mid-term and final exams and two term papers (6-8 pages each).


same as CWL 255

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


same as CWL 257

The Enlightenment is often depicted as an era preoccupied with reason, morals, and decorum at the expense of emotions, experience, and pleasure. In this course, you will learn otherwise. We will look at 17th and 18th century literature from a global perspective, to understand the broader context of this elite European intellectual movement. By reading across a variety of literary forms and by closely analyzing a range of works from both Western and non-Western traditions, we will explore how literature responded to this changing and expanding world. By the end of this course, you will be able to read a wide variety of 18th-century texts with comprehension and enjoyment and you will understand how to connect these remote texts to the concerns of 21st –century life. The main course text will be The Longman Anthology of World Literature (Vol. D). Course requirements include three written assignments, a midterm and final, a class presentation, and participation on the course blog.


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


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

209 AL1 BRITISH LITERATURE TO 1798, Stevens. Lect: MW 1; Disc: F 1 & 2

This course covers British literature from 0 to 1798. Our parameters are broad, to say the least—so instead of aiming for coverage we’ll read closely and well a limited set of works from different genres, including lyric poetry, drama, travel writing, satire, and amatory fiction. In so doing, we’ll consider how politics, religion, language, and landscape shape Britain’s national literature. We’ll note how scholars use certain historical turning points to justify such boundaries as “medieval,” “early modern,” and “restoration.” We’ll weigh the usefulness of this periodization, as well as the problems with it.

Above all, we’ll analyze our emotional engagement with the works we read. What formal qualities draw us in—and estrange us? What’s familiar about the distant past, and what’s alien, unexpected, and surprising? Expect to encounter writers ranging from Unknown, Marie de France, and Geoffrey Chaucer; to Shakespeare, John Donne, and Andrew Marvell; to Aphra Behn, Jonathan Swift, and Eliza Heywood. Expect to visit, so to speak, the preaching cross near Solway firth, in what once was Northumbria; the city of York on the feast of Corpus Christi; the 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 open with the Dream of the Rood. And finally, since according to Coleridge’s own notes the poem came to him in a dream-vision in 1797, we close with Kubla Khan.

The method of instruction is lecture, with smaller groups meeting in discussion sections once a week under the guidance of a teaching assistant. The course texts include an anthology in multiple volumes (most likely the Norton), some supplementary material on the course website, and at least one or two separate texts (A Midsummer Night’s Dream). Your evaluation will be based upon three papers, a mid-term, a cumulative 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 AL1 BRITISH LIT 1798 TO PRESENT, Nazar. Lect: MW 2; Disc: F 9 & 10

This course offers an introductory survey of English literature from the late eighteenth century to the present. It is divided into four parts, each of which considers a major period of English literary history: The Romantic Period (1785-1832), The Victorian Period (1832-1901), Literary Modernism (1901-1945), and Postmodernism (1945-). Since our readings span two centuries, we will be selective in what we read though we will attend to all of the major genres (poetry, fiction, drama) and closely read some of the most important literary texts of the periods under consideration. One of the larger questions we will take up as we journey through the English literary history of the last two hundred years is the question of how literature registers/constructs the drama of the modern individual. We will ask what kind of authority literary texts attribute to the individual (vis-à-vis society, God, the monarch) and pay special attention to the language of feeling and imagination that figures prominently in poetry and fiction from 1798 on. Authors to be covered include Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Shelley, the Brownings, Tennyson, Dickens, Hopkins, Woolf, Yeats, Achebe, and Winterson.


Study of literature, philosophy, visual and performing arts, social criticism, and popular sciences of the Anglo-American Modern period (1880-1920), with attention to broad cultural issues.

218 INTRO TO SHAKESPEARE Fulfills Shakespeare Requirement for Secondary Education minors only

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

242 Q POETRY SINCE 1940. TUTH 12:30-1:45 Group V

English 242 is a survey of English-language poetry written since World War II. With varying emphasis, the course will study a variety of poets as well as the major poetic movements of that period, including the Beats, the New York School, the Black Mountain poets, the Confessional school, the Deep Image poets, the British “Movement” and post-“Movement” poets, the Black Arts movement, Feminist poets, Post-colonial poetry, Language poets, and the current multifarious poetry scene).

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

same as CWL 267

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

247 C THE BRITISH NOVEL, I. Baron. MWF 10 Group II or V

The novel made its debut in Britain over a hundred years after it first appeared on the continent. But this 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. From Jane Austen to J.K. Rowling, we’ll examine how the novel served as a vehicle to record and redefine the boundaries of a social order predicated on preserving primogeniture and noblesse oblige into a culture that produced 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 such radical reform movements in the UK as feminism, socialism and environmentalism when we approach the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 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 to transform Britain from an Imperialist Anglo superpower into the diverse pop cultural Mecca of the Western world.

Requirements for the class include two 6-8 page papers, a midterm and a final exam. Regular class attendance and participation are expected. We’ll read the following novels: Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Howard’s End, Brideshead Revisited, Lucky Jim and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

247 P THE BRITISH NOVEL. TUTH 11-12:15 Group II or V

Critical study of representative British novels from different literary periods.

250 D THE AMERICAN NOVEL TO 1914, Murison. MWF 11 Group III or V

What is “novel” about the “American novel,” and when does it become “American”? This course aims to introduce students to the various forms the American novel has taken during its first century of existence. Beginning in the early national period, when American authors first began crafting their novels as self-consciously “American,” we will consider some of the important and canonical novels of the pre-World War I era along with several forgotten and noncanonical ones in order to understand how the genre of the novel relates to the nation and how theories of nationalism often determine which novels come to stand for the American literary tradition. Texts may include Charles Brockden Brown’s Wieland, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The House of the Seven Gables, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Mark Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson, Henry James’s Washington Square, and Charles Chesnutt’s Marrow of Tradition. Course requirements: periodic response papers, two essays of varying lengths, a midterm, a final, and active class participation.

250 X THE AMERICAN NOVEL TO 1914, Wilcox. MWF 12 Group III or V

In this course we will work our way backward from the fiction immediately predating World War I, through some key works of the nineteenth century (Twain, Stowe, Melville, Poe), and end with the eighteenth-century origins of the book-length prose narrative. By beginning with the familiar fictional idioms and conventions of more recent American literature and concluding with the murky and indeterminate birth of fiction in the early United States, we will explore both the formal structures of novels and the evolution of the genre in response to broader political and social developments. The selection of novels is designed to bring canonical novelists into dialogue with less familiar voices and to raise the question of just what we mean by “American novel.” At the end of this course, you will have interpretive insight into a wide array of pre-1914 American fiction, a critical vocabulary for talking about novels, and an understanding of the history of this important genre in the United States. Course requirements will include regular participation on the course blog, three papers, a final, and active participation in class discussion.


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

251 M THE AMERICAN NOVEL SINCE 1914, Ivy. TUTH 9:30-10:45 Group III or V

In this course we will examine the modern American novel as both a cultural and a commercial phenomenon, and to this end we will work on building up a vocabulary for talking about novelistic form and content. The novels we read will be tied together thematically by a variety of shared interests: nature and culture; transport, travel, and migration; geographical and social space; national identity; history and memory; structures of family and community; intergenerational dynamics; and of course narrative and storytelling. We will approach these novels on their own terms, but we will also place them in dialogue with each other and with the cultural artifacts that surround them. Thus, you should expect to read each novel carefully and critically, and to encounter supplementary materials in the form of reviews, interviews, and critical essays. Authors may include Willa Cather, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Patricia Highsmith, Rudolfo Anaya, Don DeLillo and Jamaica Kincaid. Requirements include regular participation in class discussions, regular short reading responses, two formal essays, a midterm, and a final.

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

The purpose of this course is to introduce you to American literature written before the Civil War and to assure that you have basic cultural literacy about terms, ideas, and events that will help you when you enroll in upper level literature courses. Our focus will be fourfold, encompassing specific literary forms, major literary movements, major historical events and problems, and finally the general history of intellectual ideas in this period. We will get at these problems by thinking broadly about “American culture” from its earliest iterations up until the crackup called the Civil War. By looking at a variety of visual and verbal texts—from paintings, engravings, and maps to slave narratives, novels, poems, autobiographies, essays, and pamphlets—we will try to get to know this culture both through its parts (its poems, essays, and stories) and through our own cohesive reconstruction of these parts into an integrated whole—a story, which we will call, in our class, “American Literature, Part I.” This is a course that will thus introduce you not just to the basic facts of American cultural history but that will challenge you to theorize the very practice of “literary history”—which is, in fact, a very special kind of storytelling that we practice in English departments.

Along the way, our readings will range from the short to the long, from the conventional to the idiosyncratic, from commercial blockbusters to very big flops. The syllabus represents authors of different genders, classes, races, and regions, but the course is less devoted to giving equal representation to authors of different backgrounds than to thinking about how representation works to create conditions of inclusion and exclusion across American culture. The “canon” we call “American literature” only exists as a master narrative because of its tendency to include some and to exclude others. This produces an intellectual dilemma for surveyors like ourselves because we cannot reconstruct that which was never allowed to exist nor can any reader ever read everything a culture produces. We can’t fix this problem in an undergraduate survey class, but it is something I invite you to discuss and think about over the course of the semester.

Required texts will include the Norton Anthology of American Literature (Package One: Volumes A and B) and a course packet.


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

256 Q SURVEY OF AMERICAN LIT II, Bauer. TUTH 12:30-1:45 Group III

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

260 AL1 AFRO-AMERICAN LITERATURE II, Deck. Lect: MW 11; Disc: F various times Group III or V

same as AFRO 260, CWL 260

This course surveys the essays, fiction, poetry and drama written by African Americans from about 1890 through 1980. We will discuss the Harlem Renaissance, the Great Depression, the decades of the 1940’s and 1950’s, the Black Arts Movement of the 1960’s, and Black Women’s literature of the 1970’s and early 1980’s.

Tentative list of required texts: The Prentice Hall Anthology of African American Literature, Kindred by Octavia Butler; and The Known World by Edward P. Jones

272 S MINORITY IMAGES IN AMER FILM, Jackson. Lect: TU 2-3:50; Screening: TH 6:30-8:50 Group III or V

same as AFRO 272

TOPIC: Black Identities in Blockbuster Cinema

This course is a dynamic exploration of images and representations of Black people and their identities in film. It is a highly interactive and engaging conceptual overview of controversial scholarly and popular literature, national discussions, and popular cultural images pertaining to race, class, gender, identity, and cinematic messaging. The class will view and critique several films. Additionally, guest lectures and classroom activities will facilitate dialogue about the social construction of race in the United States and how Hollywood globally exports fragments of this discursive formation.

TEXTS: Guerrero, Ed. (1993), Framing Blackness, Philadelphia: Temple University Press; Reid, Mark (2005), Black Lenses, Black Voices: African American Film Now, Boston: Rowman & Littlefield.

273 AD1 AMERICAN CINEMA SINCE 1950, Curry. Lect: MW 11:30-12:45; Screening: TU 5-7:20 p.m. Group III or V

same as CINE 273

This cinema studies course analyzes selected films made in the last sixty 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 concomitant transitions in American film industry and culture. 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 5-7:20 p.m. Tuesdays (screening of the week’s feature film); systematic, thorough reading of the substantial course packet of essays and book excerpts; frequent quizzes; three short analytic essays; and a timetable-scheduled final exam.

273 BD1 AMERICAN CINEMA SINCE 1950, S. Camargo. Lect: TUTH 11-12:15; Screening: W 4-6:30 p.m. Group III or V

same as CINE 273

This cinema-studies course uses selected films made in the last sixty years in the U.S. to explore authorship, genre, narrative, gender and racial representation, and the impact of spectacle. While the course is not a historical survey, it will address a range of major transitions in American film industry and culture. 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 intersections between Hollywood films and other forms of media.

Requirements: scrupulously regular attendance and active participation in discussion at the twice-weekly class meetings on Tuesdays and Thursdays, as well as attendance at the required weekly film screenings from 4-6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. Also expected is a systematic, thorough reading of the substantial course packet of essays and book excerpts. Evaluated work will include quizzes, three analytical essays, and a final exam.

280 M WOMEN WRITERS, Bauer. TUTH 9:30-10:45 Group III or V

same as GWS 280

TOPIC: American Women Writers, 1910 to 2011

This course examines 20th-century US women’s writing in a variety of forms insofar as our emphasis will be on conceptions of cultural and literary style. We will focus on how literary works are simultaneously products of one author’s imagination and participate in a set of historical norms, shaped by the cultural anxieties to which the author, in turn, responds; at the same time, we will define the vision of gender animating these works.

Our primary focus will be twentieth- and twenty-first century women’s writing, starting in the 1910s and moving, decade by decade, into the present. This class will take a historical and cultural approach to US women’s writing, as well as illuminating various literary methodologies. The reading list includes canonical and noncanonical readings from various genres—poetry, memoir, romance, novel—in order to demonstrate both formal and thematic concerns in representative women’s texts.

Assignments include: response papers, in-class discussions, two midterms, a paper, and a final.


same as GWS 281

TOPIC: Marriage and Maternity in the British Feminist Novel

In 1796 Jane Austen finished her initial draft of Pride and Prejudice entitled First Impressions. Two hundred years later, author Helen Fielding published Bridget Jones’s Diary, a postfeminist version of Austens’s classic novel about a young woman who refuses to be forced into marrying the wrong man despite the prospect of future penury. But for much of British history, women of all classes were expected to maintain the social hierarchy through marriage and to fulfill their personal destiny through pregnancy and motherhood no matter how they felt about their bodies, their husbands or their married lives. In this course, we’ll explore the evolution of women’s marital choices, sexual practices and economic rights in the UK over a two hundred year period from Austen to Fielding, viewing the changes that came along the way.

We’ll begin during the Regency period by examining the nuances of 18th century marriages, zeroing in on how women regarded courtship and how the advent of the novel and the rise of the mercantile class began to restructure the rules about marriage and property in England. Then we’ll see why in spite of their many accomplishments and a powerful female figurehead to lead the nation, Victorian women were barred from owning property, barred from voting, and forced into submissive marriages that could leave them either vulnerable and depressed or curiously satisfied with their constrained lives. Moving into the late 19th century, we’ll take a look at how working class women dealt with the changes that technology had on their vocations, marital choices and sexual practices including premarital relations. Next we’ll zoom into the pre and post WWI and WWII periods to see how women fared in the UK after war had permanently altered the gender lines and their figures with the normalization of reconfiguring undergarments and modern make-up lines. We’ll end the semester on a lighter note with Bridget Jones’s Diary, focusing on the liberated late 20th century woman as she struggles to find just the right guy, battles bad hair days, unwanted cellulite, poor career choices and non-committal boyfriends. Course requirements include 2 moderate length papers (6-8 pages) and a final (8-10 page) paper.

TEXTS: Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice; Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre; Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D’Urbervilles; E.M. Forster, Howard’s End; Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse; Barbara Pym, Excellent Women, Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones’s Diary and for historical background, Marilyn Yalom, A History of the Wife. Films will supplement course readings.

281 Q WOMEN IN THE LIT IMAGINATION, Deck. TUTH 12:30-1:45 Group III or V

same as GWS 281

TOPIC: The Blues Woman in Black Women’s Literature

Trouble in mind, I’m blue

But I won’t be blue always,

For the sun will shine in my back door someday.

As the above lyrics from a popular blues song by Richard Jones attests, the blues is a temporary psychological depression that is counterbalanced by hope in a brighter future. Black women blues singers popularized the genre in the 1920’s and since then, the image of a robust, fiercely independent woman who celebrates her sexuality occupies a major role in the fiction by African American women writers. In this class we will study the origins, themes and structure of American blues lyrics and the lives of the leading black women blues singers. We will then examine fiction by Black women writers that incorporates blues ideology into its plot and character development.

Tentative readings include: The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor, The Color Purple by Alice Walker, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide when the Rainbow Is Enuf by Ntozake Shange, The Street by Ann Petry, Dust Tracks on a Road and Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine by BeeBee Moore Campbell and Push by Saffire


As one critic has recently put it, “Although there is considerable debate about the exact parameters of the field and even the definition of the term ‘postcolonial,’ in a very general sense, it refers to the interactions between European nations and the societies they colonized in the modern period.” These interactions were violent, sometimes grotesquely funny, always shifting, and above all, transformative for both sides – colonizer and colonized. This is why we begin our course with a text that despite having been authored by perhaps the most representative literary figure of the Western world expresses a distinctly uneasy relationship with the colonial encounter. This text will function as our entry point into a host of other writings composed in the wake of mid-twentieth century liberation struggles across the globe. At this time, many writers from what used to be called ‘the third-world’ began to give expression to their cultural experiences in the language of the former colonial power. Given that it is called Postcolonial Literature in English, it is the language of the former colonial power that will be significant for our readings in this course. We will strive to understand what forms such a language takes as it attempts to carry the weight of diverse realities, as it negotiates the taut relations between class, gender, racial and religious identities, and as it shapes and reshapes itself in the midst of changing social institutions, lifestyles, and habits.


same as AAS 286

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


TOPIC: Henry James

More than a century ago, Henry James tried to address a problem that’s become, increasingly, the hallmark of our contemporary scene. We might call it the problem of intersubjectivity. Briefly put, intersubjectivity is what happens when we get into interpersonal relationships. Specifically, James wondered whether we can ever really hope to know other people, and the form that sort of knowledge would have to take. For him, the possibility of a knowledge of other people was linked to a second, equally important issue: how to give our lives value. In this course, then, we’ll look at some of the different ways a knowledge of other people can help to shape our quest for sources of value. For Isabel Archer in The Portrait of a Lady, knowledge of others becomes a means to self-knowledge and hence to a richer awareness. The Awkward Age is a more pessimistic work: it asks whether we can in fact ever really get to know other people intimately, and how our lack of knowledge of others can hinder the effectiveness of our most generous acts. “The Beast in the Jungle” is an ironic reversal of Portrait: here, James considers how our resistance to self-knowledge can hinder our capacity to know others. Finally, The Ambassadors suggests how our effort to know others can itself take on an ethical or moral quality. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.

TEXTS: James, The Portrait of a Lady, The Awkward Age, The Beast in the Jungle & Other Stories, The Ambassadors

300 D2 WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE, D. Baron. MW 11-12:15 Group V

TOPIC: Language and the Law

The history of language and law from an American perspective, considering how legal texts make meaning; how lawyers, judges, and ordinary people interpret that meaning; and how governments, schools, and businesses create policies that privilege one language over others by making it official, or that protect minority-language and minority-dialect speakers.

The law depends on our common understanding of language to frame and interpret everything from statutes and contracts to witness statements and judicial rulings. The law assigns meaning to language as well, sorting out ambiguity and resolving opposing readings of the same text. For example, in Washington, DC, v. Heller, 9 highly-educated Supreme Court justices came to two completely different interpretations of the Second Amendment (the one about the right to bear arms). If you haven’t noticed, this process of reading and interpretation sounds a lot like what English majors do with literary texts, which is why so many of them go on to law school.

In addition to considering various aspects of legal meaning-making, we’ll look at instances where language becomes the subject of the law: First Amendment cases from the Alien and Sedition Acts to George Carlin’s “7 Dirty Words You Can’t Say on TV” to the USA Patriot Act. And we’ll look at attempts to designate English as an official language at the federal, state, and local levels, as well as official language policies in schools and workplaces, together with various efforts to protect the rights of minority-language and minority-dialect speakers.

Readings—all of them available online—include legislation, court cases, and analyses of various language and law issues. Students will write short essays on each of the course units and do class presentations on issues of their choice. 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 X WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE, Trilling. MWF 12 Group I or V

TOPIC: Medieval Women Writers

As Chaucer’s Wife of Bath reminds us, women have historically been ill-served by their representations in the literature written by men in the medieval West. Approaching the question of “woman” in this period is notoriously difficult; few texts talk about women, even fewer are written by them, and both are constructed within a discourse of gender that severely limits the possibility of representing the feminine. For all that, however, medieval women are increasingly becoming the subjects of scholarly inquiry, and the unique problems faced by students of this period—how to construct an idea of “woman” for a period with very few authentic feminine voices—present certain challenges to modern readers. Throughout the semester, we will ask (and attempt to answer) a series of important questions: What roles were available to women in medieval literature, and how did those roles correspond to the real-life experiences of actual women in the same time and place? What are the possibilities for agency—or even subjectivity—for women in literature as well as in life? Since this is a writing-intensive course, we will also focus on developing critical skills for writing about literature: close reading, analysis, research, organization, and style. Assignments will include three shorter essays, an annotated bibliography, and a final research project culminating in a term 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.

300 F WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE, Dahlquist. MW 2-3:15 Shakespeare Requirement

TOPIC: Shakespeare and the Problem of Pity

This course investigates Shakespeare in the context of sixteenth and seventeenth century debates and theories on modes of human attachment such as friendship and romantic love, paying special attention however to the question of pity, which arises as central in many Shakespearean texts.

“No beast so fierce but knows such touch of pity,” exclaims one of Richard III’s victims, to which Richard replies: “But I know none, and therefore am no beast.” This question of pity—whether it is a divine spark to be cultivated, or a form of contempt to be transcended, runs throughout Shakespeare’s oeuvre.

This course will read a range of Shakespeare’s contemporaries and predecessors, considering how Shakespeare’s representation of human connection through modalities such as pity, friendship, mercy, and love, is shaped by questions of gender, racial and religious otherness, and the problem of representation. Plato and early modern opponents of the theater (“Puritans,” in the pejorative term) charged that drama involved the cultivation pity for imaginary forms. According to the enemies of the stage, such feeling was at best ridiculous, and at worst idolatrous, or politically subversive. What did such critics mean, and might they have been after all correct?

Reading several of Shakespeare’s plays and poems in the context of early modern discussions of love, friendship and, especially, pity, this course will provide students with tools to conceptualize the ways in which Shakespeare’s work intervenes in early modern conversations about human connection that continue today.

Possible texts might include: Titus Andronicus, Henry VII Part 3, Othello, Lear, Measure for Measure, The Rape of Lucrece, as well as contextual readings from Plato, Aristotle, Montaigne, and the Book of Homilies. Additionally, we will examine key texts by later critics such as Hume and Nietzsche, and contemporary work by Martha Nussbaum, Shawn Smith, E.M. Dadlez, and others. 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 G WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE, Nazar. MW 3-4:15 Group II or V

TOPIC: The Literature of Individuality: Wordsworth to Winterson

This writing-intensive course considers how the concept of the individual emerges in British literature from Romantic poetry to postmodern fiction. Authors include John Keats, Jane Austen, George Eliot, T.S. Eliot, and Chinua Achebe. 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 LITERATURE, Markley. TUTH 9:30-10:45 Group V

TOPIC: Science Fiction

Science fiction is often treated as though it exists on the margins of serious literature and literary study, and there has always been a good deal of debate since the nineteenth century about its value and significance. This course will explore the history and critical fortunes of science fiction from the work of H.G. Wells and Robert Louis Stevenson in the late 1800s to contemporary films and novels. We will look at the ways in which science fiction has both reflected social, political, and economic concerns in the twentieth century and offered its readers ways to think about possible futures that await the human race. Writers we will read include H.G. Wells, Octavia Butler, Kim Stanley Robinson, Phillip K. Dick, Ursula Le Guin, Ray Bradbury, and, Nicola Griffith. Our aim will be to gain a broad understanding of science fiction as a genre between roughly 1890 and 2007, with particular attention to issues posed by the two world wars, the prospect of nuclear annihilation, social stratification, and ecological disaster. Students will write four short response papers, two longer papers, and take a midterm and final. 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 S1 WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE, Saville. TUTH 2-3:15 Group II or V

TOPIC: Strange Victorian Love Poetry

Strangeness can take a broad spectrum of forms from the mild strangeness produced by the past that we might find acceptable with study, to the more radical strangeness of difference so shocking that we cannot accept it no matter how hard we try. The first layers of strangeness in this course concern love within marriage of the British Victorian period (1837-1901)—a time of intense debate over the injustice of many laws especially those affecting women. Not surprisingly, with the reform of marriage laws, love and marriage became prime topics of public conversation with many myths and narratives circulating about ideal male and female lovers. Studying these will lead us into ever stranger textures of love: some voices like those of Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s and Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s sonnet singers may be only mildly strange for they prefigure models we recognize today, but others may be more troubling even to those of us who think of ourselves as “progressive.”

By virtue of the imaginative and challenging ethical questions they pose, strange Victorian love poems make inviting material for exercises in writing about literature. Examining such instances as the Sapphic love of Michael Field, the deadly obsessives in Robert Browning’s “Porphyria’s Lover” or “My Last Duchess,” or the alienating passion of necrophiliacs and sado-masochists in Algernon Charles Swinburne’s “The Leper” and “Anactoria,” we will undertake a variety of writing exercises: for instance, unpacking a poetic metaphor, shaping a précis of a critical argument, integrating secondary material into literary 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. 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 S2 WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE, S. Camargo. TU 2-4:30; TH 2-3:50 Group IV

TOPIC: Steven Spielberg: Authorship and Spectatorship in the New Hollywood

Hollywood filmmaking has always been the result of tensions, pressures, and compromises between Art and Commerce. The American filmmaker who most embodies the successful negotiation of these pressures is arguably Steven Spielberg. Based on any list that you care to make, Spielberg can be described as the most influential filmmaker who ever lived. As a result, he makes an excellent case study for research into the New Hollywood, the institutionalized mode of production that began in the early 1970s.

Making the transition from the Old Hollywood to the New Hollywood resulted in new conceptions of authorship, new modes of cinematic storytelling, and in new ways of conceiving the relationship between the film and its audience. We will explore all of these areas as we study Spielberg’s career and his influence on the American filmscape, with the goal of understanding the values and practices of the corporate culture of Hollywood.

We will screen and discuss a series of Spielberg’s films, as well as others that influenced him. Readings will include essays on his work, on the institutional context within which he worked, and critical and theoretical essays on the nature of Hollywood authorship and spectatorship.

As an advanced-composition course, evaluated work in this section of English 300 will also include 25–30 pages of formal writing, some of which will involve revision, and oral presentations. While helpful, previous experience in film analysis is not essential, but active class participation is. 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 class is designed to introduce you to multiple ways people talk about, interpret, and analyze all kinds of texts—literary, historical, and social. We will look at examples of different critical and interpretive schools, including poststructuralism, deconstruction, new historicism, Marxism, feminisms, psychoanalysis, queer theory, reader-response, and new criticism. As we read how critics have read texts, we will keep in mind how they have framed and elaborated the stakes of arguing about interpretation, and we will pay close attention to the ways that some interpretive vocabularies have become commonsensical, while others have been charged with being too “political” or too obscure.

This class will give you a working vocabulary to talk about critical theory, a sense of the major issues that have been debated between and within various schools of critical theory, and a history of the relationship between literature and various interpretive schools. The class will not give you a secret decoder ring, but it will give you a way to talk about secret decoder rings and why people have struggled over them. The requirements of the class include perfect attendance, participation, three essays, one in- class presentation, and an exam. We will read three literary texts but will mainly focus on critical theoretical texts, which will be available on e-reserves. 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.


In more ways than we’re aware of, interpretation plays a key role in our daily lives. You go to a museum where you see a contemporary collage of miscellaneous objects, and you realize you need some way to figure out what it’s all about. Or you see something happen on Wright St., and you try to get more information and context in order to understand it. But to interpret texts, or events, or people, we need some sort of framework. Interpretive frameworks, however, didn’t just come into existence yesterday. In fact, most of these have a long history. So we’ll begin with three 19th century thinkers whose work has been extremely fruitful for everything that comes after: Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud. From there we’ll move on to early 20th century formalism and its effort to concentrate on the surface rather than any ground or base. Then we’ll jump ahead to the 1960s, which mark a watershed moment for all the recent developments in critical theory. Here we’ll look at structuralism and some of its most influential spin-offs: Lacan, Foucault, and Derrida. The failure of some of the most ambitious structuralist work sets the stage in turn for later Foucault and for New Historicism. From these we’ll pass to other contemporary developments: gender studies (Judith Butler) and post-colonial theory (Homi Bhabha). Finally, we’ll look at a few critical essays that offer a synthesis of different perspectives (e.g., Walter Benjamin, “On Some Motifs in Baudelaire”). Reading will be kept to a manageable amount: only what can be discussed in class, in detail.

Emphasis will be on understanding, not coverage. To that end, we’ll trace key concepts to their original sources. Most importantly, we’ll explore intent or motive: what all these forms of theory have as their objectives. 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 some of the most significant contemporary interpretive methods in the study of literary texts. However, it will do so always keeping in mind the primacy of the literary text itself. At the center of the class then, we will have at least two representative literary texts which generated excitement, criticism, and debate in their own times as well as later. With these texts and their times as the ‘stuff’ of our business, we will study such critical movements as new criticism, deconstruction, psychoanalysis, feminist and gender studies, Marxism, new historicism, postcolonial studies, cultural studies, and reader response theory.

As it prepares students for future literature classes, this course helps us understand and question the relations between reading literary texts and thinking critically, and more profoundly perhaps, between reading, criticism, and the practices involved in putting ourselves irrevocably amidst others. This course is required for English literature majors. Most English majors should take English 301 in the second semester of their sophomore year or the first semester of their junior year, but only if they have already taken several literature courses. The most common complaint about this class comes from seniors who regret not taking it sooner. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.

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

This course focuses on some of the many differing ways literary texts can be read, and what factors make some texts (and not others) seem “literary” in the first place. Before we’re done you’ll be exposed to the most significant contemporary methods of literary theory, which will aid you in every literature class you take from now on.

Our approach will be twofold. We’ll look at critical and theoretical texts by major contributors to the field including Marx, Barthes, Foucault, Derrida, Butler, and a good many others. And we’ll test their ideas about how to read and talk about texts against a few selected classics that we’ll return to throughout the term (such as Henry James’ “The Turn of the Screw” and Keats’ “Ode on a Grecian Urn”), and also against some works whose “literariness” might be a matter of debate, such as Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories. There will be several short essays and other writing tasks, and a final exam. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.


Introduction to influential critical methods and to the multiple frameworks for interpretation as illustrated by the intensive analysis of selected texts. For majors only. 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.


same as CINE 373

TOPIC: Screen Adaptations: Transforming the Written Word into Film

This special topics course will examine a range of strategies that filmmakers and writers have used to adapt fiction, plays and “real life” stories to the screen. We will also consider screen-to-screen adaptations as creative rewritings of earlier films across cinematic genres, formats, and national contexts. We will focus primarily on “the big (silver) screen”—mostly feature length narrative films released to cinemas in the U.S. and Britain—but we will also consider the made-for-TV movie, which often mines newspaper headlines and celebrity stories as its core material, as well as a few international films (e.g., Japanese, Italian), translating tales and styles across languages and cultural forms. In conjunction with dealing with theories of adaptations across media forms and historical-cultural contexts, the course will address issues of gender, race and ethnicity in relation to both institutional workings and aspects of representation behind and in front of the film camera (e.g., whose literary works or biographies get adapted, by whom, and in what ways that may affect an adaptation’s distinctive meanings, compared to those suggested in the earlier form).

The course will depart from discussion of key issues in word-to-screen transformations intriguingly addressed by the film tellingly entitled Adaptation (2002), directed by Spike Jonze and starring Nicholas Cage and Meryl Streep, with screenplay by Charlie Kaufman, who also wrote Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Mind; it is based on a non-fiction book by New Yorker writer Susan Orleans about Florida orchid-growers! Successive units will focus on popular cinematic adaptations from theater, including Shakespearean plays; on heritage style films based on 18th-20th century British and American literature (e.g., Jane Austen, Henry James, Edith Wharton, E.M. Forster), and on docudramas (films ‘based on a true story’) and ‘biopics’; (fictionalized biographies of famous or infamous people). Throughout the course we will consider issues of screen-to-screen remakes (and occasionally screen-to-word reworkings, in e.g., ‘novelizations’). The course aims to help students develop theories about the production and critical reception of adaptations and thoughtfully to reconsider the concept of “the original,” while recognizing the contributions and powerful impact of a work’s author, whether of the printed work, the screenplay, or the film itself (director as author/auteur). Based on enrolled students’ backgrounds in previous semesters, the course will likely prove of interest not only to English literature and cinema/media studies majors and minors, but also to creative writers (also at the MFA level, by special arrangement).

Among the films we may consider are Romeo + Juliet (1996, Luhrmann directing), Room with a View (1986, Merchant-Ivory), Age of Innocence (1993, Scorsese), Malcolm X (1993, Lee), and Ossessione (1942, Visconti), an unauthorized Italian noir adaptation of The Postman Always Rings Twice (James Cain, 1934), as well as more recent adaptations of that work (and others: we will view “up to date”!) Assignments will include extensive viewing (some outside class time) and reading (in two books—one a ‘how to write a screenplay” guide and a course packet of essays.) Writing assignments including a few initial short essay responses, a research paper and an optional final will encourage students to develop their skills in writing about film adaptations critically, comparatively, and creatively (an alternative to the in-class final assignment will give students the opportunity to draft a mini-screenplay adapting source material).


same as CINE 373

TOPIC: American Independent Cinema

Do American independent films “treat inherently American concerns with primarily European style”? The critic Annette Insdorf (quoted) claims they do. And yet as the critic herself admits, her definition would exclude many indie films. "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," for example, is non-European-looking and at the same time, is not “inherently American” in its concerns. In this course, we will examine various practices of independent filmmaking from the 1950s to the present. Three different registers will define our approach: the aesthetic, the political, and the economic. This will allow us to range across the breadth of indie filmmaking practices and to study independent films closely as art objects, political statements, and commodities. The major requirements include 30 pages of reading per week, quizzes, exams, and writing assignments.


TOPIC: Writing in a Digital World

This course explores the rhetorical and cultural significance of new writing forms in this, our digital age. The written word still matters, but writing online is increasingly visual and enmeshed in a range of media forms. Learning to create interesting content for the web allows one to contact a global audience. Students in this course will study what it means to write in this digital world. Students will create eight digital online projects, all coded in simple html, css, and javascript. No previous coding experience or practice creating web sites is needed. Experienced coders and web writers will be able to work at an accelerated pace.

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

396 R HONORS SEMINAR I, T. Newcomb. Lect: TH 1-2:50; Screening: W 4-5:50 Group III or V

TOPIC: Twentieth Century Blocks: American Cinema and the Modern Cityscape

The skylines of the early 20th-century city engendered new ways of experiencing height, size, speed, noise, density, and social difference. The same could be said of the emerging entertainment form of cinema. Drawing upon film, art history, architecture, and urban planning, this seminar will trace the closely intertwined history of American cinema and the modern cityscape. We’ll see how the vertically expanding city both beguiled American filmmakers, artists, and writers to imagine a modernity without boundaries; and challenged their capacity to address vast new measures of time and distance. We’ll begin by examining visually spectacular cityscape films of the late silent era, such as Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last and Speedy, Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights and Modern Times, and King Vidor’s The Crowd. These films mount potent critiques of machine-age mass society while still preserving a strong sense of the modern city as a material and symbolic site of possibility, renewal, and progress.

Then we’ll trace some influential portrayals of the cinematic cityscape between 1945 and 1980, including masculinist film noir (The Naked City) and 1950s movies involving women emerging into the city skyline (Rear Window, Breakfast at Tiffany’s). We’ll end by examining two important Hollywood genres of the 1970s through the 1990s: 1.) Dystopian dramas of the contemporary city (The French Connection, Taxi Driver, Boyz n the Hood, City of Hope), filmed in gritty urban locations, that used the unstable visual and social textures of the “inner city” to grapple with the complex racial and class dynamics underlying the rhetoric of “urban decline” and “white flight.” 2). Period films of epic scope (The Godfather Part I and II, Chinatown, Once Upon a Time in America) that employed crime film conventions and meticulous production design to recreate nostalgically “lost” modern cities at an ambiguous historical moment in which vertical metropolis was giving way to horizontal postmodern sprawl.

Like other film courses, this one features a two-hour required weekly “lab” session for screenings. There will be informal responses to readings and films, a class presentation, a short essay based on close reading, and a longer research paper.

398 D HONORS SEMINAR III, Neely. W 11-12:50 Shakespeare Requirement

TOPIC: Rewriting Shakespeare in the 21st Century

In this seminar we will read 6 of Shakespeare’s best known plays in relation to twentieth century adaptations of them in multiple genres: drama, poetry, fiction, film. We will ask how and why the plays are rewritten and what this can tell us about the plays and about our own culture? How do we use Shakespeare to address our own debates? Solve our own aesthetic needs? Texts may include: two plays we can watch performed at Krannert in spring Semester, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Carlyle Brown’s The African Company Presents Richard III. Other pairs may include Taming of the Shrew and Gil Junger’s “10 Things I Hate About You,” Hamlet and John Updike’s Gertrude and Claudius, Othello and Djanet Sears’s Harlem Duet, King Lear and Women’s Theater Group’s Lear’s Daughters. Assignments will include viewing productions, brief weekly written responses to texts and/or criticism, occasional film viewings, a long final paper on an adaptation of your own choosing which you will present on.

TEXTS: Tentative: any recent edition of Shakespeare or individual Signet paperbacks; Daniel Fischlin and Mark Fortier, ed., Adaptations of Shakespeare; readings packet

398 P HONORS SEMINAR III, Saville. TUTH 11-12:15 Group IV

TOPIC: “EEB and RB”: The Brownings

If you’ve heard of the Victorian poets Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861) and Robert Browning (1812-1889), chances are you know them through the romantic, but hackneyed story of their love affair. She is commonly thought of as the invalid poetess, rescued from an overprotective, domineering British father and swept off to a new life in Italy by her poet-lover to whom she wrote such sonnets as “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” He, on the other hand, you probably know for his weird dramatic monologues like “My Last Duchess.” Less common knowledge is that both poets were also outspoken defenders of civil liberties at home and abroad. Both were invested in Italy’s quest for national unity and independence, and each wrote a powerful epic involving Italy (hers Aurora Leigh and his The Ring and the Book), meditating on poetry’s function in constructing and critiquing national myths. You also might not have considered how freedom to love the person of your choice might tally with civil rights such as freedom of speech, freedom to vote, and other freedoms enjoyed by citizens of the United States in the twenty-first century. These are some of the topics we’ll study, focusing as we do so on such poems as EBB’s “Lady Geraldine’s Lover,” “The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim’s Point,” “Hiram Powers’ Greek Slave,” and Aurora Leigh, and Robert Browning’s love poems, Italian “painter poems,” and The Ring and the Book. We will also read selections from current Browning criticism and critical theorists such as Amanda Anderson, Kwame Anthony Appiah, and Iris Marion Young.

401 1U/1G INTRO TO STUDY OF ENGL LANG, Vieira. TUTH 3:30-4:45

For future teachers of English and those interested in language, this course will address the structure and status of English in schools, in the U.S., and in the world. We will start small, with semicolons, spelling, and syntax. Then, we will quickly progress to issues of language acquisition, language diversity, language ideology, and the phenomenon known as the global spread of English. Through our exploration of these issues, we will address the two central questions of this course: How might we best write English in a multilingual world? And how might we best teach English in linguistically diverse schools?

402 1U/1G DESCRIPTIVE ENGLISH GRAMMAR, D. Baron. MW 9:30-10:45

same as BTW 402

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

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

403 1U/1G HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH LANG, C. Wright. TUTH 2-3:15 Group V

This class will examine the English language in its historical development from the earliest attested stages to its current spoken and written forms in the United States, the British Isles, and across the world. We will also learn basic linguistic concepts and descriptive terminology in order to understand English as a manifestation of the principles of human language. We will be considering questions such as these: What are the essential features common to all human languages? To which other languages is English related, and how? When did “English” originate, and how have the language and its literary manifestations changed and developed from (for example) the original Old English of Beowulf to the language of Seamus Heaney’s recent translation of Beowulf? How do lexicographers determine the meanings and reconstruct the histories of English words? What are the distinctive varieties and dialects of modern spoken English? What is your own dialect, and what are its characteristic features? What is “standard English,” and what are the social implications and ideological investments of such a construct?


same as MDVL 410, CWL 417

This course will introduce you to some of the chief varieties of literature written in Britain during the Middle Ages, by authors other than Chaucer. The readings are organized around the broad topic ‘Medieval Encounters with the Other.’ They include texts originally written in Old English (up to around 1200) and Middle English (thirteenth-fifteenth centuries), as well as medieval Latin, French, and Welsh. In genre, they range from epic and romance to history and autobiography to vision and allegory to lyric and drama. Most texts will be read in Modern English translations, but you will gain some familiarity with late Middle English by reading a few texts in the original language. (Graduate students specializing in medieval literature will be expected to read all Old English and Middle English texts in the original language.) Class discussion and critical writing will allow you to explore complex and diverse issues of personal, corporate, spiritual, and ‘national’ identity as they manifest themselves in texts composed during a historical period that spans some one thousand years. Ethnicity, social class, and gender are among the topics that feature prominently in these texts. Graded work includes regular short writing assignments, two critical papers, and a final examination (replaced by a research paper for graduate students).

418 1U/1G SHAKESPEARE, Gray. TUTH 12:30-1:45 Shakespeare Requirement

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

418 2U/2G SHAKESPEARE, Cole. MWF 10 Shakespeare Requirement

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

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

418 3U/3G SHAKESPEARE, Kay. TUTH 2-3:15 Shakespeare Requirement

A study of Shakespeare’s developing art in comedy, the history play, and tragedy through the reading and discussion of selected Sonnets and eight plays (Much Ado about Nothing, Twelfth Night, 1 Henry the Fourth, Anthony & Cleopatra, Othello, King Lear, The Winter’s Tale, and The Tempest). We’ll explore together the nature of Shakespeare’s poetic language, characterization, and plotting; the way his dramatic artistry is influenced by the conditions of the Elizabethan stage; his conceptions of gender and social roles, and some of his recurring subjects or themes (passion and reason, love and jealousy, folly and wisdom, temptation and evil, forgiveness and reconciliation, chivalric honor and political shrewdness, social and moral order). Coursework will include in-class writings, an hour exam, a final exam, and several papers drawing on e-reserve sources.

418 4U/4G SHAKESPEARE, Gray. TUTH 9:30-10:45 Shakespeare Requirement

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

423 1U/1G MILTON, Mohamed. TUTH 12:30-1:45 Group IV

T. S. Eliot has famously said of Milton that ‘of no other poet is it so difficult to consider the poetry simply as poetry, without our theological and political dispositions, conscious and unconscious, inherited or acquired, making an unlawful entry.’ While we may not share Eliot’s scorn for Milton in this regard, we can certainly see the truth of his statement on the inescapable presence of political and theological controversy in Milton’s poetry. This course will examine in detail all of Milton’s major poems and introduce the numerous and fascinating political and theological controversies in which he engages in his prose—his arguments for the relaxation of divorce laws, his attacks on English bishops, his criticism of state censorship, his defense of the execution of Charles I, his apologies for Cromwell’s rule, and his model of an English republic.

In reading Milton, we are constantly aware of questions that continue to bedevil our ethical and political engagements. What is the relationship between truth and liberty? When is political resistance justified? Must we sometimes set democratic principles aside in truth’s defense?

427 1U/1G LATER 18TH C LITERATURE, Wilcox. MWF 2 Group I

Literature from the later eighteenth-century presents a very twenty-first century problem: How do you evaluate quality when new media are blurring the boundaries between pop culture and high art and when new forms of authorship are giving a voice to people who have not previously been heard? To answer this question, we will NOT work our way through a preselected array of “greatest hits” from the 1740s to 1790s. Instead, the first third of the semester will introduce you to some of the dominant genres and pressing literary questions of the period. You will draw on that background in the second two thirds of the class as you work with your instructor and classmates to identify and analyze texts that engage with some of the crucial literary themes of this period, from its preoccupation with pirates to its arguments about slavery, from its explorations of melancholia to its bawdy sense of humor, from its depictions of the peasant’s hearth to its travels in the outer reaches of the British colonies. Our goal will be to create a class anthology of selected readings that conveys the breadth of this period while addressing some key issues the class selects in greater depth.

By the end of the semester you will be able to read a wide variety of late eighteenth-century texts with comprehension, insight, and enjoyment; you will have a stake in the ongoing debate about how these texts fit into narratives of British literary development; and you will have first-hand knowledge of how to use scholarly research to create order out of the chaos of literary history. Course requirements will include participation on the course blog, three papers, a class presentation, and a final.

435 1U/1G 19TH C BRITISH FICTION, Courtemanche. MWF 10 Group II or V

In the 19th century, British writers took the newly-popular form of the novel and vastly expanded its ambitions, adding cliffhangers, complex moral dilemmas, subtle wit, metaphysical reflections on history, and biting social critique. Many of the novels we’ll be reading are based on a combination of the romance plot (in which a happy marriage solves other problems) and the Bildungsroman plot (in which a young person achieves his or her desires by struggling against a cruel world), but they also deftly undermine and chop up these generic expectations, leading to sudden new perspectives and surprising twists. Readings will include Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist, William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, short stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, and several critical essays. These novels are tremendously fun to read, but also very long, so be prepared for a great deal of reading. The course will require one close-reading paper, one research paper, a midterm and final, weekly written assignments, and active class participation.

449 1U/1G AMERICAN LIT 1820-1865, Loughran. MWF 2 Group III

This survey will consider antebellum American literary culture alongside the social transformations that inform its emergence. The years 1820-1865 present a vivid contradiction. On one hand, these are the years in which a distinctive American literary tradition (often called “the American Renaissance”) is thought to have first emerged, especially in New England. In America more widely, however, these are the years in which regions and political parties increasingly disagree, and in which the public becomes ever more visibly divided, particularly around the issues of class and slavery. As we explore these problems, we will ask a series of questions about the very category that frames our discussion: “American Literature.” For instance: what investment did antebellum Americans have in producing and consuming a recognizable national literature? In what sense did this literary culture participate in a larger marketplace—engaged in these years with the expansionist project of selling both books and human beings? And what investment have later generations (including our own) had in narrating this moment as the crucial one in the formation of a unified American literary tradition?

455 1U/1G MAJOR AUTHORS, Hansen. TUTH 11-12:15 Group IV

TOPIC: Conrad, Faulkner, Modernism, and the Tragic Vision

Joseph Conrad and William Faulkner are two of the most written about novelists of the twentieth-century. Conrad is often read in terms of Imperialism and Faulkner in terms of Race. In this course we will explore many of their major novels in an attempt to understand the political and social valences of each man’s writing, but we will also pay close attention to the how each writer experiments with prose and storytelling, how each deploys as he also destroys classic modes and genres of the English-language novel. We will read Conrad’s The Nigger of the Narcissus and other Stories, Lord Jim, The Secret Agent, and Under Western Eyes alongside Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, Absalom, Absalom!, and The Hamlet.

Requirements will include a weekly reading journal, two major exams, two 6-8 page papers, presentations and active in-class participation.

455 2U/2G MAJOR AUTHORS, Ivy. TUTH 12:30-1:45 Group IV

TOPIC: Margaret Atwood

This course, devoted to the works of the Canadian writer Margaret Atwood, will provide opportunities to consider a variety of topics central to modern fiction: gender, sexuality, and bodily experience; national identity; nature, ecology, and conservation; history and memory; realism, fantasy and mythology. Atwood is an environmental activist and an outspoken commentator on cultural and political issues (and as a living author she has an actual presence in and relation to “the real world”); she is also a teller of tales, a myth-maker, a poet, and a good deal of her work is based on fantasy and the “alternate realities” of the imagination, of the past and the future. We will have to think carefully, therefore, about what it means to read Atwood’s work as “commentary” or to interpret her fiction in light of her non-fiction. Dealing with a prolific and well-known living author will also give us the chance to consider important questions of literary celebrity, authorial presence, and the cross-genre, multi-media discourse that surrounds her and in some cases is generated by her (she blogs, she tweets). Expect to read a combination of full-length works and shorter bits and pieces, and to try to come to terms with the whole body of work—and the course of a literary career—by engaging with some of its parts. Enthusiastic classroom participation will be essential.

Primary texts may include The Edible Woman, Life Before Man, Cat’s Eye, The Blind Assassin, Bluebeard’s Egg, and The Penelopiad, along with selections of poetry and non-fiction. We will also be reading interviews and criticism.

455 A3/A4 MAJOR AUTHORS, Kaplan. TUTH 9:30-10:50 Group IV

meets with CWL 461

TOPIC: W.G. Sebald

Cryptic, dream-like, obtuse, dense, brilliant, extraordinary…these are among the many words oft recruited to describe the German/English writer W.G. Sebald’s unusual novels and essays. This course examines his major works in the context of the global struggle to come to terms with the events of World War II including the Holocaust and the Allied bombings of countless German civilians. Throughout the semester we will look at how Sebald’s approach to traumatic memories illuminates a broad range of catastrophes—both manmade and natural. Texts include: Austerlitz; The Emigrant, The Rings of Saturn; Vertigo; and On the Natural History of Destruction.

455 A MAJOR AUTHORS, Kaganovsky. MW 11-12:20 Group IV

meets with RUSS 335, CWL 335

TOPIC: The Novels of Vladimir Nabokov

Study of the major novels of Vladimir Nabokov (written on two continents and over a period of sixty years and in multiple languages). The course is divided between the Russian and the American years, with all Russian works read in Eng. translation. Close reading, with special attention paid to the meta-fictional, perverse, and beautifully solipsistic world of Nabokov’s fiction. Novels: Mary, The Defense, Invitation to a Beheading, Despair, Lolita, Pnin, Pale Fire and Speak, Memory. Secondary materials include films, literary criticism & theory, and short works by other novelists. The course is open to graduate students (please see me for further information.) Course format is lecture/discussion with emphasis placed on student participation. Students are expected to attend class unless ill. Two shorter papers (each 5-7 pages in length) and one final paper (8-10 pages, plus bibliography of secondary materials).

Resources: Zembla, the Nabokov Butterfly Net (http://www.libraries.psu.edu/iasweb/nabokov/nsintro.htm), is a web site at Penn State University devoted to Nabokov’s life and works. This site includes current material on Nabokov that cannot be easily found anywhere else: indices, bibliographies, photographs, chronologies, criticism, fiction, and current events. Nabokov Studies, an annual journal sponsored by the International Nabokov Society and devoted to Nabokov’s writings. The Nabokovian, a twice-annual publication of the International Nabokov Society.

455 U3 MAJOR AUTHORS, Murav. TUTH 1-2:20 Group IV

meets with RUSS 322, CWL 324

TOPIC: Dostoevsky

This year, the focus is on politics and literature. Our readings of Demons and The Adolescent will trace Dostoevsky’s intervention in Russian politics by representing the radical left, especially the young, in the most extreme terms as demon-possessed. Dostoevsky enters the mind of the revolutionary terrorist by using a real-life political trial of his own time, the Nechaev affair. He then attempted to apologize to Russian youth by producing a more sympathetic account of their misguided, impoverished condition in The Adolescent. In both works, Dostoevsky blames the fathers for the flaws of the next generation. Dostoevsky’s issues—the relation between terrorism, a downward spiraling economy, and religious messianism—reflect our own.

A selection of critical literature will supplement the primary texts. All readings and discussion are in English.


same as AIS 459

TOPIC: American Indians, Popular Culture, and Genre Fiction

Representations of American Indians have played a significant role in the formation of popular culture and popular genres. From the imagination of Stephen King that grounds horror within “Indian burial grounds” to X-Men comic books, references to American Indian history and characters continue to function as a cultural touchstone within U.S. popular texts. This course examines the intersections between literary and cultural representations of American Indians and the ways in which American Indian authors have reimagined some of the core genres of popular fiction—ranging from historical romance, science fiction/fantasy, horror, and mystery—to not only transform those representations, but challenge the expectations that American Indian literature is a sub-genre within American literature. Texts may include Daniel Heath Justice’s Kynship, Cynthia Leitich Smith’s Tantalize, Drew Hayden Taylor’s The Night Wanderer and Stephen Graham Jones’ Demon Theory.

460 UG1/G1 LIT AND AMERICAN MINORITIES, Reese. TUTH 11-12:15 Group III or V

meets with AIS 451

TOPIC: The Politics of Children’s Literature

Is Little House on the Prairie among your favorite children’s books? Or, perhaps Indian in the Cupboard? What do you recall about the way that American Indians are presented in those or other favorite books from your childhood? In this course, we will examine the ways that Native Americans are represented in children’s literature as we engage the following questions: What do classic and popular children’s books tell us about American Indians? Similarly, what can we say about representations of race, gender, sexual orientation and class in Babar, Little Black Sambo, The Five Chinese Brothers, or Daddy’s Roommate? Seeking answers to such questions requires that children’s books be studied, not as isolated literary texts, but within the larger context of American society. Course readings will address the social and ideological functions of children’s literature, literary and socio-political criticism of selected popular and classic children's books, and book reviews and essays about children’s books by scholars, teachers, librarians, parents, and children.

461 1U/1G TOPICS IN LITERATURE, Mahaffey. TUTH 12:30-1:50 Group V

meets with GWS 495

TOPIC: Fairy Tales and Gender Formation

What does it mean to be female in contemporary culture, and how is that meaning related to definitions of femininity in other cultures, and at other times? Children are taught the difference between male and female roles, and one of the main ways this instruction takes place is through the pleasurable media of books, tales, and, more recently, films. Yet relatively few children reared on “Sleeping Beauty” know that once upon a time it was a tale about rape (Jane Yolen, in sharp contrast, turns it into a story about the Holocaust); similarly, one set of “Cinderella” stories (the “Donkeyskin” variant) concerns father-daughter incest. The stories currently found in nurseries are often sanitized versions of older, more complex and varied narratives that take many different forms. Reading other cultural versions of a familiar tale throws into high relief the values of one’s own culture. For example, the “Cinderella” of Charles Perrault, designed for the French court, is very different from the much earlier Chinese version: the elegant and fragile glass slipper contrasts sharply with a celebration of small feet in a culture in which it is customary for women to bind their feet. Disney versions of fairy tales, peopled with slim, colorful, singing cartoon characters, differ markedly from the sexually explicit Inuit tales, since the warmth offered by sexuality was necessary for survival. Our overall aim, then, is to understand how sexual identity is constructed differently in different cultures, and to explore the ways that fairy tales work to express psychological reactions to maturation while conditioning both characters and readers to adopt specific social roles in adulthood.

We will look at different versions of such fairy tales as “Cinderella,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Bluebeard,” “Snow White,” and “Hansel and Gretel.” We will also sample Inuit tales, contemporary film versions of fairy tales, and feminist rewritings of these stories by Anne Sexton, Jeanette Winterson, and Angela Carter. Assignments consist of an oral report, two essays (which may involve a rewriting of a fairy tale accompanied by a comparative analysis), and a final exam

461 E/EG TOPICS IN LITERATURE, Drouin. TUTH 12:30-1:50 Group V

meets with FR 443, CWL 471

TOPIC: France and Modernist Magazines: International Publishing Network and the Avant-Garde

The experimentation that defines early Twentieth-Century literature first occurred in—and because of—avant-garde periodicals that took advantage of new publishing technologies and shifting readerships. Due in part to the contingent of British and American authors living in Paris, the magazines throughout the period exhibited a markedly international and polyglot nature that is being freshly examined today. This course will introduce students to the methods of periodical studies in order to gain an appreciation for the discourses of modernism in its original context of international and interlingual exchange. Our reading materials will consist of digitized magazines stored at the Modernist Journals Project (http://modjourn.org), as well as the regular and special collections holdings of the University Library. The nature of these materials means that we will pay significant attention to issues of archival digitization and data curation, using interactive technologies as appropriate to our methods. The course will be taught in English.

461 A TOPICS IN LITERATURE, Hilger. TUTH 12:30-1:50 Group V

meets with CWL 450, GWS 450

TOPIC: Gender Benders

This course examines literary texts and other cultural documents (biographies, opera, films) from the seventeenth to the twenty-first century, which all question the gender roles of their time through a representation of characters with unstable, ambivalent, or ambiguous gender identities. We will pay special attention to social and historical contexts and try to understand the function of transvestites, hermaphrodites, castrati and other gender benders in these texts. In addition to the primary literature, we will read selections from Thomas Laqueur’s Making Sex and Londa Schiebinger’s The Mind Has No Sex? to help us understand how biology and science are used to construct and justify gender identity at various historical moments. This course therefore has particular relevance to current debates about gender and sexual identity, marriage, reproductive rights etc.

TEXTS: Catalina de Erauso, Memoirs of a Basque Lieutenant Nun: Transvestite in the New World; Choisy, L’Héritier and Perrault, The Story of the Marquis/Marquise de Banneville Farinelli: Il Castrato (Movie); Michel Foucault, Herculine Barbin; David Henry Hwang, M. Butterfly; Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex; John Colapinto, As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl; Deirdre McCloskey, Crossing: A Memoir

465 1U/1G TOPICS IN DRAMA, Hansen. TUTH 2-3:15 Group II or V

TOPIC: Beckett and Experimental Theatre

Samuel Beckett has been called both the greatest and the most difficult dramatist of the twentieth century. His most famous plays, Waiting for Godot and Endgame, pop up every few years on Broadway or the London stage. Beckett’s experiments in theater, which provoked Martin Esslin to coin the phrase “Theater of the Absurd,” continue to haunt us, to make us laugh, and to cause us pain even today. During the course of the Semester we will read Beckett’s greatest Theatrical pieces, from Godot (1953) to Catastrophe (1983) while also reading several of the plays of his greatest admirers, Harold Pinter and Tom Stoppard. Pinter and Stoppard picked up on Beckett’s experiments with avant garde theatricality and in order to write some of the most studied, criticized, and beloved plays of the last 40 years. In fact, plays ranging from Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead to Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter build on the foundation of absurdity, existential crisis, and, yes, even comedy, that we find in Beckett’s work.

475 1U/1G LIT AND OTHER DISCIPLINES, Littlefield. TUTH 11-12:15 Group V

TOPIC: Literature and Forensic Science

According to contemporary undergraduate textbooks, the forensic sciences suffer from two longstanding associations: glamour and fiction. In the late nineteenth-century, fictional characters such as Sherlock Holmes embodied the mystique of the intuitive detective, able to gather information and solve impossible cases based only on a footprint, a scrap of paper or a strand of human hair; in recent years, the spate of forensic-centered television and film has created a “CSI: effect” on American juries and helped fill the ranks of undergraduates enrolled in forensic science programs at universities around the country. Most forensic textbooks make the obligatory references to Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allen Poe, Daniel DeFoe, and Mark Twain—the literary giants who imagined, foretold, and commentated on the rise of the scientific detective—and, then in the same breath, dismissing fiction as a flawed origin story

In our course we will begin with the opposite assumption: that literature is an essential component in the development of the forensic sciences. Our course will span over a century of fiction, science, and technology that runs through Sherlock Holmes, Edwin Balmer and Philip MacHarg, Kathy Reichs and many others. We will also read scientific tracts, journal articles, and book selections that provide a window on historical and contemporary forensic practices. Assignments will include several short papers/projects, a presentation, and a final project.

476 JT3/JT4 TOPICS IN LIT AND ENVIRONMENT, Treat. W 6-8:30 pm Group V

meets with RLST 494, HIST 396, NRES 499

TOPIC: Ecological Criticism

This is an interdisciplinary seminar in the environmental humanities, focusing especially on the fields of philosophy of ecology, environmental justice, literary ecocriticism, and environmental history. Assigned readings are drawn from representative texts and cover key theories and methods in these fields. Class discussions are supplemented by audiovisual materials, guest speakers, campus events, and web-based assignments. Students have the opportunity to gain a basic understanding of ecological criticism; to conduct research on a relevant topic or issue; and to develop their skills for use in educational, professional, and personal settings. http://ec11s.wordpress.com/


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


This version of English 500 is devoted to an Introduction to the Graduate Study of American Literature. The course surveys some of the key moments and documents in the evolution of the field, studies some of the major points of debate in the 1980s, ‘90s, and the present decade. This entails charting key critical developments and scholarly concerns. We will also take a short survey of the present state of several subspecialties, investigate the current concerns in dissertations, and describe potential opportunities for further research. Some attention will also be given to the professional structure of American literary studies, including journals, organizations, etc. This class will be visited by at least two scholar-critics from other schools, who will describe their careers, even as we read and study something of their work.

504 A THEORIES OF CINEMA, A. Basu. TU 3-450

same as CINE 504

This is a seminar on advanced film and media theories, focusing on their philosophical, political, and social dimensions. Apart from seminal figures in film studies (Mulvey, Bordwell, Metz, Bazin, Bellour, Sobchack, Doane etc.), we will also read important critical thinkers and philosophers like Jameson, Lyotard, and Giles Deleuze.

506 G WRITING STUDIES II, Prior. W 3-4:50

same as CI 564

TOPIC: Text/Writing: Genres/Practices

This seminar (for which Writing Studies 1 English 505/C&I 563 is not a prerequisite) aims to foster an in-depth experience of theory, research, and pedagogy in Writing Studies. After a short overview of central issues that have shaped the field, we then turn to an examination of two sets of paired terms: text/writing and genres/practices. Exploring the relations between the first terms will allow us to consider how texts as artifacts (on paper, screen or other media) relate to writing as activity—as processes of production, representation, distribution, and reception. The second set of terms will help us examine how genres form, are learned, operate and evolve in relation to sociocultural practices. As we explore these terms, we will consider textuality, writing processes, genre systems, formats of learning, and literate practices across contexts (school, workplace, home, community, online) and across the lifespan (from pre-school children to adults). In addition to common readings, participation in activities, and regular informal writing, each student will select, explore and write on an issue of interest in greater depth.

TEXTS: Mikhail Bakhtin, Speech Genres and Other Late Essays and readings including work by scholars such as David Barton, Charles Bazerman, Rebecca Black, Bill Hart-Davidson, Suresh Canagarajah, Sharon Crowley, George Kamberelis, David Kirkland, Gunter Kress, Jay Lemke, Bruno Latour, Kevin Leander, Theresa Lillis, Lev Manovich, Elizabeth Moje, Paul Prior, Kevin Roozen, Jody Shipka, Lucy Suchman, Brian Street, John Swales, Valentin Voloshinov, and Anne Wyoscki.

508 G BEOWULF, Trilling. MW 3-4:15

same as MDVL 508

Beowulf has been a foundational text of the English literary canon since J.R.R. Tolkien’s 1936 lecture on “The Monsters and the Critics,” and it formed the bedrock of philological studies long before that. Although most students will have encountered Beowulf in at least one undergraduate literature course, this course offers an opportunity to work with the text in its original language of composition. During the semester, students will work through Beowulf in Old English while also working through the poem’s critical history. Beginning with the landmark Tolkien essay, students will survey a range of Beowulf criticism, from its philological origins to the most recent theoretical reappropriations of the text. We will consider major critical issues such as the dating of Beowulf, its manuscript context, Christian and pagan influences, sources and analogues, historical background, orality and literacy, gender, empire, and canonicity. We will make use of 21st century tools such as The Electronic Beowulf to bring the manuscript into the classroom, and we may even have time to discuss modern reflexes of the poem, such as the Julie Taymor opera Grendel and the film Beowulf directed by Robert Zemeckis.

Our primary text will of course be Beowulf itself. Readings will also include a course packet of secondary literature. Students will be responsible for less formal in-class discussions, prepared presentations to the rest of the seminar, and a formal seminar-length paper at the end of the term. A reading knowledge of Old English is required for this course; students who have taken “Introduction to Old English” or the equivalent will be adequately prepared. Undergraduates may register with the consent of the instructor.

520 T SEMINAR 16TH C LITERATURE, Perry. TH 3-5:50

TOPIC: Elizabethan Drama and/as Political Thought

This class will examine the engagement of selected Elizabethan plays with contemporary political thought. To that end, we will read Inns of Court and Court plays from the 1560s-80s as well as some of the better-known plays written for the public performance during the last phase of Elizabeth’s reign.

Part of what this will entail will be careful consideration of the communicative aspects of politicized drama: how could political ideas and agendas be explored in Inns of Court Plays? In Queen’s Men Plays? In popular plays from the 1590s? In Print? And so part of what is at stake here are questions about what counts as meaningful political thought in the Elizabethan period: is drama escapist or provocative? When and how could drama be meaningfully political in Elizabethan England? These questions are slippery, in part, because the practices and institutions that shaped drama were so much in flux: despite recent interest in the Queen’s Men (a popular theatrical company founded in the early 1580s), discussions of Elizabethan drama typically deal primarily with popular theater plays written and performed between 1587-1603. But students in this seminar will read a selection of politically-oriented plays from the across the whole span of Elizabeth’s 45-year reign.

Elizabethan political thought was also always in flux. Part of what we will be thinking about is how plays take up political questions provoked by hot-button events like the succession crises at the beginning and end of Elizabeth’s reign or debates about nation, empire and militarism precipitated by the Spanish armada and/or the ever-present threat of international Catholicism, and/or ongoing efforts to subdue Ireland. And part of our topic, also via the plays, will be controversial recent arguments about the nature of Elizabethan political thought: is republicanism a relevant term or not for Elizabethan thinking about England? Or monarchical republicanism? Are there two reigns of Elizabeth, each characterized by different assertions about sovereignty, as some recent historiography would have it? How does this relate to the idea of an ancient constitution? Can subjects be citizens, and what forms of obligation and/or resistance do these terms entail? Whose views count as politically meaningful? What, to Elizabethans, is a nation or a people?

Primary texts will include many (though not all!) of the following plays: Cambises, Gorboduc, Horestes, Gismond of Salerne, Campaspe, The Arraignment of Paris, The Misfortunes of Arthur, The Famous Victories of Henry the Fifth, Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay, The Spanish Tragedy, Fair Em, Edward II, Richard II, Titus Andronicus, Julius Caesar, Henry V, The Shoemakers Holiday.

Assigned secondary reading will include some historiography and some literary scholarship, including some influential essays dealing in general ways with large questions concerning the politics of early modern drama.

Bristly-sounding historical stuff notwithstanding, no prior specialized knowledge of early modern drama or political thought is required.

527 R SEMINAR IN 18TH C LITERATURE, Markley. TU 1-2:50

TOPIC: Women Writers and the Professionalization of Literary Culture, 1660-1780

This seminar will introduce students to some of the major women writers of the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in England, and will provide opportunities to do in-depth work on the literary culture of professionalization during the period. In this respect, the course will allow those of you who have managed to skip the period to fill in the blank spaces on your intellectual maps, as well as offer those of you who may decide to work in the eighteenth century opportunities to read crucial figures—Aphra Behn, Frances Burney, Charlotte Lennox, Eliza Haywood, Mary Astell, Elizabeth Inchbald, Anne Fich, Mary Leapor, and Susannah Centlivre—in depth. We will read novels, poetry, drama, and some non-fictional works; by the end of the semester you will have a solid working knowledge of the literature of the period and the ways in which women writers negotiated the complexities of the marketplace.

Restoration and eighteenth-century literature written by women often seems to be praised by non-specialists for the wrong, or at least for very narrow, reasons: as a kind of protest literature against gender discrimination and political conservatism. To qualify (or combat) such generalizations, we will pay particular attention to feminist and materialist approaches to the period, and to the radical, sexual, satiric and sensationalist aspects of Restoration and eighteenth-century literature, and to the problems of women writing for money in a marketplace dominated by male booksellers and printers. You will be encouraged to work on those primary and secondary texts which interest you, and students who intend to specialize in other periods will receive ample encouragement to draw connections between their work in this course and their larger scholarly interests. Each student will be responsible for an oral presentation (ungraded); an annotated bibliography; a short paper (6-7 pp.); and a longer term paper (15-20 pp.).

537 E SEMINAR VICTORIAN LIT, Courtemanche. W 1-2:50

TOPIC: Victorian Socialisms

Although Karl Marx lived in London for decades while writing Capital, British socialism in the mid and late 19th century had little to do with early German Communism. In this graduate seminar we will examine some of the new collectivisms imagined in the years before the formation of the Labour Party, which ranged from the romantic reactions against industrialization, to the utilitarians and their descendants the Fabian Socialists, to the aesthetic socialisms of Ruskin and William Morris. Fantasies of possible socialisms informed the literary genres of political satire and utopian fiction. We will start by reading Marx and some of the French radicals (Blanqui, Proudhon, Fourier), move to Carlyle’s and Dickens’s attacks on industrial culture, Darwin’s unwitting influence on nationalism, Ruskin’s Unto this Last, Morris’s idyllic fantasy News from Nowhere, Wilde’s “Soul of Man Under Socialism”, and some works by George Bernard Shaw and the Webbs, leading Fabian technocrats who influenced the nascent welfare state. Class requirements will include a class presentation, a seminar paper, and several writing and public speaking exercises.


TOPIC: American Affects

Thomas Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration of Independence included particularly emotive language, speaking of Parliament as an “unfeeling brethren” whose course of action has “given the last stab to agonizing affection.” Expunged from the official draft passed by the Continental Congress, the discourse of affections upon which Jefferson drew lingered in American culture in the seduction narratives of the 1790s and the sentimental novels of the antebellum period; in the religious ecstasy of the Second Great Awakening and the urgent rhetoric of antislavery appeals. American culture has long been a highly emotional culture. Feelings, moreover, merge psychology with embodiment in this era, and thus our study will gesture outward to body politics, sexuality, and aesthetics. The novel form has often sutured these realms together in the American imaginary and provided United States culture with a narrative about emotions and politics. Thus the formal as well as historical valences of the early American novel will be the central focus of the course. Through case studies of novels that have generated an extensive critical legacy as emotionally political works, and several that did not, this course will introduce both the historical and formal concerns of a particular era—the American Revolution to the Civil War—and the way emotion has been a central focus of American literary studies in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. We will canvass theories of emotions and affects, both from the nineteenth century and today, and consider new directions for this longstanding critical preoccupation. Novelists will most likely include Charles Brockden Brown, Susannah Rowson, Catherine Maria Sedgwick, Robert Montgomery Bird, Edgar Allan Poe, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Herman Melville. Critics and theorists will include Leslie Fiedler, Ann Douglas, Jane Tompkins, Cathy Davidson, Lauren Berlant, Christopher Castiglia, Sianne Ngai, Eve Sedgwick, Brian Massumi, and William Connolly.

553 G SEMINAR LATER AMERICAN LIT, Somerville. W 3-4:50

TOPIC: Sexuality, Race, and Citizenship in American Literature and Culture, 1945-1955

In periodizations of American literary history, “post-1945” or “post-WWII” is a familiar designation, yet the diversity of literary and cultural production in the decade immediately following World War II tends to be overlooked. Drawing on the insights of interdisciplinary scholarship in American studies, queer studies, and ethnic studies, this course will explore U.S. literary and cultural production between 1945-1955, with particular attention to questions of sexuality, race, and citizenship. While the course is organized around literary texts, we will also read several juridical texts (federal legislation, court decisions, and executive orders) that attempted to articulate new terms of citizenship and belonging, as the U.S. consolidated its geopolitical power in the wake of World War II. Alongside these texts, we will read theoretical, literary critical, and historical scholarship that addresses the various political contexts that might be used to define this period: military demobilization, decolonization movements, the black freedom movement, the rise of the welfare state, the early homophile movement, the beginning of the termination era in U.S. policy toward Native Americans, and the early Cold War, among others.

Texts will include works by authors such as: James Baldwin, Gwendolyn Brooks, Carlos Bulosan, Truman Capote, W.E.B. Du Bois, Ralph Ellison, Chester Himes, Patricia Highsmith, C.L.R. James, Paule Marshall, John Joseph Mathews, F.O. Matthiessen, Flannery O’Connor, Américo Paredes, Mari Sandoz, Lillian Smith, Gertrude Stein, Gore Vidal, Richard Wright, and Hisaye Yamamoto.


TOPIC: 20th Century Women Writers (British and American)

Literary modernism is often considered an experimental movement led primarily by male writers. In this course, we will survey female writers of the early twentieth century who also advocated female emancipation. We will begin with a look at the New Woman movement at the end of the nineteenth century, examining how it fueled the fight for woman’s suffrage. We will then turn to Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own and Three Guineas, with their arguments in favor of educating women. Primary texts will include The New Woman Reader, Florence Farr’s The Modern Woman, Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland, Djuna Barnes’ Nightwood and The Ladies’ Almanack, selected stories of Jean Rhys, Sylvia Townsend Warner’s Lolly Willowes, Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness, and a novel by Dorothy Richardson. Poets will include Amy Lowell and H.D. We will end with Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus, which is set at the point where we began, the dawn of the twentieth century.


meets with JS 502

TOPIC: Introduction to Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies

This course will employ a multi-disciplinary methodology to introduce students to the key issues and debates in comparative genocide studies; the goal will be to provide students with the tools to pursue original research in a variety of relevant fields and disciplines. We will work from several different historical cases—including the genocide of indigenous peoples in Australia and North America; genocides in colonial and postcolonial Africa (German Southwest Africa and Rwanda); and the Nazi genocide of European Jews—in order to explore the origins, unfolding, and long term legacies of extreme violence. We will consider the problem of definitions and conceptualizations of genocide and raise questions about such topics as culture and barbarism; race, gender, sexuality, and violence; victimization, trauma, and testimony; history, memory, and memorialization; transgenerational transmission and postmemory; art and literature in the wake of catastrophe; and reconciliation, forgiveness, and post-genocidal justice. A heterogeneous array of materials will orient our discussions: primary documents, historical studies, diaries and memoirs, philosophical works, literary texts, and visual culture. Students will have the opportunity to pursue individually tailored research projects.

Possible texts include: Peter Fritzsche, Life and Death in the Third Reich; Scott Straus, The Order of Genocide: Race, Power, and War in Rwanda; Neil Levi and Michael Rothberg, ed., The Holocaust: Theoretical Readings; Shoshana Felman and Dori Laub, Testimony; Charlotte Delbo, Auschwitz and After; Georges Didi-Huberman, Images in Spite of All; Dirk Moses, ed., Empire, Colony, Genocide; Caryl Phillips, Higher Ground; Boubacar Boris Diop, Murambi, The Book of Bones; Mahmood Mamdani, Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics, and the War on Terror. In addition, we will read essays and selections by Zygmunt Bauman, Paul Gilroy, Sara Guyer, Dagmar Herzog, Marianne Hirsch, Karl Jacoby, Brett Kaplan, Raphael Lemkin, David Moshman, Jürgen Zimmerer, and others, and watch films by Alain Resnais, Claude Lanzmann, and others.


TOPIC: Disability in Culture and Literature

This course is a graduate level introduction to disability studies with particular attention to the literature and theory of mental disability. Led by one of the charter editorial members of the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, the seminar will investigate current work in disability studies as well as scholarship that made the field including that of Lennard Davis, David Mitchell, Sharon Schnyder, Petra Kuppers, Elizabeth Donaldson, Sue Estroff, John Duffy, and Robert McCreur. Primary texts will include autobiographies, novels, films, and other cultural artifacts in which madness figures as a central trope. The complications of authorship and mental disability will be of central concern.

TEXTS: will include Schreber, Memoirs of my Nervous Illness; Freud, The Schreber Case; Beckett, Murphy; Bronte, Jane Eyre; Jamison, Touched by Fire; Price, Mad at School; Bottoms, Angelhead. Films: A Beautiful Mind; Jupiter’s Wife; As Good as it Gets

581 E SEMINAR LITERARY THEORY, Barrett. F 1-3:50

TOPIC: Textual Criticism and Theories of Editing

Interpretation begins, not with the texts we study, but with the construction of those texts at the hands of editors. Put another way, every text has already been articulated by one form of literary theory or another before we even begin to apply a critical lens to its contents. Indeed, those very contents—the text’s words, punctuation, layout, apparatus, etc.—are theoretically inflected and historically contingent. This course serves as an introduction to textual criticism and the theories informing the production of editions. We will study textual criticism’s development as a discipline, evaluate some of its products, and ultimately engage with it to generate new editions of primary documents. The seminar is not bound to a single period or national tradition; our coverage will range from medieval British to modern American and back again, and our primary documents will be made from both parchments and pixels. The point here is to give graduate students from any specialty or sub-field a solid grounding in a much neglected area of study that is nonetheless absolutely essential to the professional labor of the contemporary literature department. The reading list for the course is not yet complete, but our central textbook will be Erick Kelemen’s Textual Editing and Criticism: An Introduction (New York: Norton, 2009).


same as CI 569

TOPIC: Writing and the Global Movement of People

Immigrants currently number about 12% of the U.S. population, and one in five U.S. children speaks a language other than English. Such demographics have prompted some policy makers to call for immigrants’ swift assimilation through literacy and others to call for their deportation. Language and literacy are clearly implicated in the processes of mass migration that characterize our times. But how? This graduate seminar will address this question. In particular, we will ask: How does writing facilitate our crossing of borders or, alternately, fix us in our “place”? How are writing practices revised in new national contexts? And how might we account for global movements in our conceptualization of and teaching of (bi)literacy? This course focuses primarily (though not exclusively) on U.S. immigration as an example of global movement, but I welcome final projects that explore other contexts. Potential texts include work by Cintron, Duffy, Guerra, Kalmar, Matsuda, Pandey, Sarroub, and Valdés.


TOPIC: The Teaching of Film

This course is designed to equip graduate students with fundamental skills for teaching undergraduate film in the age of new media. The seminar will focus on lesson planning, creating audio-visual toolkits, moderating discussions, crafting assignments, and other pedagogical issues. We will therefore focus on four principle undertakings: 1) drawing up lesson plans around a textbook and learning to augment them with information from other sources; 2) making persuasive audio-visual material that illuminate the technical and critical aspects of cinema; 3) sharpening a teaching philosophy that informs the whole pedagogic project and clarifies why a study of cinema is important in our media driven age; and 4) practical matters like effective syllabi and assignments. By the end of the semester, participants will have a portfolio of key documents and digital material that will be of practical use in the teaching of film and in the presentation of a competitive teaching profile in the academic job market.


TOPIC: The Teaching of Literature

This seminar is designed to help graduate students develop, implement, and theorize courses in literary study, focusing on the related practices of lesson-planning, discussion-leading, outcome-assessment, and pedagogical self-reflection. Framed occasionally by readings in educational theory, our seminar discussions will be organized around the following three projects: 1) we will analyze the comparative strengths of different pedagogical strategies in achieving a wide range of curricular goals in the literature classroom; 2) we will develop persuasive and powerful ways of describing precisely what it is we do as teachers of literary and cultural studies, as well as why and how we do it; and 3) we will articulate flexible criteria to guide our individual (and collaborative) design of effective syllabi and assignments for different kinds of courses and texts.

By the end of the seminar, each participant will have designed and workshopped lesson plans teaching in at least two of the major genres covered in English 200 (and beyond), in addition to producing polished drafts of several documents—including sample syllabi, assignment sequences, statements of teaching philosophy, and the initial elements of teaching portfolios—materials that will be of significant practical use both in the teaching of literature and in preparing for the academic job market. Grades will be based on participants’ final completion of these key documents, and on their consistent, engaged, and thoughtful participation in seminar discussions and workshops.

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