English Course Descriptions: Spring 2012

Literature, Film, 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 MACS 104

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

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

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


English 109 (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 be placed on concepts and skills central to good literary critical writing.

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

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


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


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


With its unfamiliar technologies, alien creatures, intelligent robots, and discomforting evolutions, science fiction imagines alternative possibilities that shock us out of our complacent assumptions. In this course, we’ll explore science fiction that stretches our understanding of human experience. We’ll trace several major SF themes from the late-nineteenth-century to the present. A tentative reading list includes: Paolo Bacigalupi (The Windup Girl), Margaret Atwood (Oryx and Craig), Octavia Butler, Nalo Hopkinson, Ursula Le Guin, Philip K. Dick (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep), H. G. Wells (The Island of Dr. Moreau), and Geoff Ryman (Air: Or, Have Not Have). Evaluations and assignments include regular quizzes and a final exam, short response papers, and a final anthology project where students explore an SF genre or theme of their choice.

199 CHP UNDERGRAD OPEN SEMINAR, Prendergast. TUTH 11-12:15

Campus Honors Program

TOPIC: Introduction to Disability Studies in the Humanities

Think you’re normal? Guess again! One of the key insights of disability studies is that “normal” doesn’t exist, except as an artfully constructed category. The academic study of disability has forged new understandings of human diversity, dependency, ability, and inclusion. In this course we will read texts that approach disability as a social designation of identity and an embodied experience, and then turn our focus to study disability at the University of Illinois. Our campus has a distinguished history as an early site of disability activism as well as a current commitment to disability rights. Students will have the opportunity to build on the work of previous Campus Honors Programs students who have published their research on the relationship between disability and admissions, fraternities, the lives of women, and the lives of veterans (conducted in an earlier version of this course). Because this course will coordinate with the Ethnography of the University Initiative, current students will have the opportunity to present their work at EUI’s cross-campus conference, and publish their work (either under their own name or a pseudonym) in IDEALS, Illinois’ digital repository of student and faculty work. Because it is in the spirit of both disability studies and EUI to conduct research that can improve the institution, the major project for this course will be a research paper that concludes with recommendations to the Campus Honors Program and the University of Illinois as to how the campus can be a more accessible and inclusive to students with disabilities. By the end of this course, you should feel as if you have had an impact on the U of I.

Note: This course would be of particular interest to pre-med and pre-law students as we will be discussing issues pertinent to those fields, including eugenics, euthanasia, medical ethics, civil rights, “ugly laws,” and the insanity defense.

199 CH2 UNDERGRAD OPEN SEMINAR, Murison. MW 9:30-10:45

Campus Honors Program

TOPIC: American Literature and the Legacy of Slavery

Slavery and the Civil War changed the course of American literature, just as they did the nation at large. Much of the literature written before, during, and after the war debated and continues to debate the historical legacy of slavery and the meaning of the war. April 12, 2011 marked the sesquicentennial of the beginning of the Civil War and thus this is an apt time to revisit the era and consider how slavery and emancipation—and the war fought about them—shaped American culture. We will first read a variety of literature written in the antebellum era and during the war, and we then turn to important eras since in which the historical memory of antebellum slavery and the Civil War was formulated: the rash of fiction about the antebellum era in the 1890s, Hollywood films from the early twentieth century like Gone With the Wind, and contemporary documentaries, stories, poems, and films about the meaning and legacy of slavery and the war. Authors may include Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Walt Whitman, Charles Chesnutt, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Toni Morrison.

This course will emphasize active participation in classroom discussions, drawing upon the course readings, research assignments, and even our location in Illinois, the “Land of Lincoln.” Both slavery and the Civil War are perennial topics of public interest, and I therefore welcome students to bring their own investments and enthusiasms to the course. Course requirements will include one short paper, several short archival research projects, and a final research project (creative or essay-form) designed by the student.


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.


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


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

TEXTS: Vary according to section.


Group I

same as CWL 253, MDVL 201

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


Group I

same as CWL 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.


Group II

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

209 AL1 BRITISH LITERATURE TO 1798, Perry. Lect: MW 10; Disc: various times

This course is supposed to survey a millennium of literature in one semester. That is not really possible. So instead of trying to cover some representative sample of everything, we will read carefully a more limited selection of major works in a variety of genres paying close attention to how questions of historical difference can illuminate literary analysis.

This will mean thinking about the emergence and decline of genres (such as epic, tragedy, lyric poetry, or the novel) in relation to changing material conditions and assumptions about the purpose of literature, and it will also mean focusing upon how comparing and contrasting texts from different historical moments can illuminate both the texts themselves and the cultures which produced them. Among the authors we will read will be Anonymous (the most prolific of all early British writers), Marie de France, Geoffrey Chaucer, Christopher Marlowe, John Milton, Aphra Behn, and Oliver Goldsmith.

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

This course surveys British literary history from the Romantic period to the end of the twentieth century, as writers confront the major changes that shaped modern Britain: industrialization, the decline of aristocratic power, the rise and fall of empire. The course will especially focus on changing assumptions about literature itself. What kinds of writing count as literature? Poems, novels, newspapers? How should literature represent (or resist) the scale and complexity of modern life? Is literary culture fundamentally different from ‘popular’ or ‘mass’ culture? We will explore these questions in readings that include Wordsworth, Byron, Mill, Eliot, Arnold, Woolf, Auden, and Stoppard.


Group V

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.


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 D POETRY SINCE 1940. MWF 11

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).

247 X & E THE BRITISH NOVEL, Hoiem. X: MWF 12; E: MWF 1

Group II or V

Critical study of representative British novels from different literary periods.


Group III or V

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


Group III or V

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


Group III or V

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

255 AE1 SURVEY OF AMERICAN LIT I, Murison. Lect: MW 1; Disc: various times

The title of this course is enticingly misleading. While we can look back on the history of the geographic expanse we now denominate the United States and create a literary narrative, this narrative begins with an assumption that to be on the continent and write makes one an “American writer” and that what these writers produced we would call “literature.” European colonists, however, did not begin to call themselves “Americans” until the late eighteenth century, and a category of “American literature” turns out to be more of a willful assertion than a completed effect through the mid-nineteenth century. And just as the geography of the continental United States began to reflect what we recognize it as today, the country breaks out in Civil War. These paradoxes and others endemic to American culture will guide our discussions of colonial, revolutionary, and antebellum literatures during the semester. Beginning with early exploration narratives by Europeans, this course will track the effects of travel, displacement, contact, and conversion on expressions of identity and community, and how, in turn, these constructions reimagined boundaries, both geographic and personal. Our concerns will therefore center on how writers struggled with the paradoxical issues that defined early America: freedom and slavery; individualism and federation; comity and conflict; region and nation; wilderness and settlement. To do so, we will canvass a variety of genres and forms, including poetry, sermons, travel narratives, fiction, and speeches, and we will explore the persistence of prominent tropes, forms, and ideas—and, as crucially, the decline and disappearance of others—between different eras and regions in light of this literary archive.

As with any survey, this course attempts to cover a mind bogglingly wide expanse of history: from early imperial writings in the fifteenth century to the poetry of the Civil War. The readings are therefore meant to be representative rather than comprehensive, reflecting the wide range of genres and styles in American literature before 1865. Many of the authors on the syllabus will be easily recognizable (such as Benjamin Franklin, Frederick Douglass, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Emily Dickinson) and others may prove less familiar. In both cases, our goal will be to make these texts “vitally charged,” as Henry David Thoreau would say. The course requirements will be a mixture of short writing assignments, reading quizzes, and exams. To pass the course successfully, attendance at both lecture and discussion sections is necessary.


Group III

American literature and its cultural backgrounds after 1870.


Group III or V

same as AFRO 260, CWL 260

This course surveys the vibrant and provocative creation of African American literature after the first world war. From the poetry of the Harlem Renaissance to postmodern black novelists, this course engages the trials and triumphs of black literature in the modern U.S. In addition to close readings of literary art, this course will also take advantage of visual media (documentaries, movies, television) and visual art (paintings and performance art) in order to give a full picture of the complexities that went into black writing over the past hundred years.

267 AE1 GRIMMS’ FAIRY TALES IN CONTEXT, Johnson. Lect: MW 1; Disc: F various times

same as GER 250, CWL 250

Check with the German Department for a description.

268 AE1 THE HOLOCAUST IN CONTEXT, Tubb. Lect: MW 2; Disc: F various times

same as GER 260, CWL 271

Check with the German Department for a description.

273 AD2 AMERICAN CINEMA SINCE 1950, Curry. Lect: TUTH 11-12:15; Screening: W 3:30-6 pm

Group III or V

same as MACS 273

This English department-based 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 transitions in the American film industry and in society. Among the trends we will examine are the shift away from the dominant stylistic and ideological models of classical Hollywood during the 1960s; the emergence of the New Hollywood in the 1970s with its stylistic eclecticism and emphasis on formulaic blockbusters; and the increasingly globalized contemporary American cinema, in which non-U.S.-born/resident filmmakers are molding some of the most significant Hollywood productions of the new century.

Requirements: scrupulously regular attendance of the twice-weekly class meetings and the required weekly film lab from 3:30-6 p.m. (Wednesday screening of the week’s feature film, attendance required even if the film is widely available); 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.

275 A AMERICAN INDIAN AND INDIGENOUS FILM, Warrior. Lect: TUTH 2-3:15; Screening: W 4-6:20

Group III or V

same as AIS 275

Check with American Indian Studies for a description.

280 Q WOMEN WRITERS, Bauer. TUTH 12:30-1:45

Group III or V

same as GWS 280

TOPIC: U.S. Women Writers 1911-2012

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.

281 Q WOMEN IN LIT IMAGINATION, I. Baron. TUTH 12:30-145

Group V

same as GWS 281

TOPIC: The Fallen Women in British and American Seduction Literature

In 1791, Susanna Rowson published Charlotte Temple, a transatlantic novel that deals with the seduction and demise of a young English girl. Extremely popular on both sides of the Atlantic, the novel tells the story of the iconic fallen woman and her woeful tale of sexual intrigue and betrayal. For over two hundred years, American and British audiences, riveted by this moralistic narrative, encouraged writers to engage in a highly nuanced literary dialogue on the subject of the archetypal fallen woman, producing some of the best known literature of the 19th and 20th centuries.

In this course, we’ll trace the genesis of the seduction novel as a vehicle for the conservative social theory behind British and American gender politics. We’ll begin with an examination of the theme of the ruined woman as a bi-cultural warning to any young girl who strays from the straight and narrow heteronormative sexual imperative set in place by hundreds of years of rigid Anglo-Norman patrilineal ideologies. Moving through the canon of literature focusing on this gendered tale, we’ll examine the fictional evolution of the fallen woman through its multiple iterations in England and America. We’ll explore how Anglo societies collectively viewed the sexually compromised female from the late Georgian period to the postmodernist period as an outcast who must be punished through banishment or death to avoid polluting the rarified air of untarnished women. As we unfurl the interlocking social discourse of these narratives, we’ll deconstruct how the body and the mind of the fallen woman is presented through the cultural dictates of each national identity, each literary period and the gender and sexual orientation of the authors. Ultimately we’ll see whether class differences, racial differences or the enfranchisement of women liberated females from this stigma or whether women today are still marginalized by sexually unsanctioned behaviors.

Requirements include: an oral report, three short papers and a final exam. Texts and films include: Charlotte Temple, Lucy Temple, Sense and Sensibility, The Scarlet Letter, The Forsyte Saga: The Man of Property, The Awakening, The Ginger Tree, Passing and Juno.


Group II or V

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.


Group III or V

TOPIC: From the Great Depression to the Great Recession: American Identity and Work

This class will focus on American Literature from the 20th and 21st centuries and explore through critical writing and analysis how American identity is often shaped by what we do for a living. Over the course of the last century, as Americans have moved away from the long hours of agricultural and industrial jobs, we have remained attached to the workplace as a source of cultural identity. Starting with Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, students will think critically and write about texts that chart America’s movement from the fields, through the factories, and into the cubicles, charting the identity of the American force through the boom and bust cycle. We will also consider the role of work in both the immigrant experience and the domestic sphere. By the end of the semester, students will write critically to examine how authors in postindustrial America interrogate the professionalization of our identities.

300 G WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE, Littlefield. MW 2-3:15

Group V

TOPIC: Science Fiction

This course will introduce you to science fiction, the literary form that expresses some of our culture’s deepest concerns and fears, as well as its greatest hopes; that provides creative answers to fundamental questions about the nature of the universe and humans’ place in it; that also warns us about the possible results of our societies current errors, and forecasts the infinite possibilities open to us. Texts for this course will be drawn from a variety of early and contemporary authors. Requirements include response papers, a Pulp SF project and an extended ‘Human Design’ Project. 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 LITERATAUARE, Somerville. TUTH 9:30-10:45

Group IV

TOPIC: Baldwin

James Baldwin (1924-1987) profoundly shaped the contours of twentieth-century American literature, African American literature, and lesbian/gay literature. This course will offer an opportunity to study Baldwin’s novels, short stories, plays, and essays, including works such as Notes of a Native Son, Giovannis Room, The Fire Next Time, Go Tell It On the Mountain, and Blues for Mister Charlie. We will also consider the literary, cultural, and political contexts of his writing, including the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement, the early lesbian and gay liberation movement, and the Black Power movement. This course satisfies the Advanced Composition requirement for English majors, which means that it requires several writing assignments, emphasizes the revision process, and asks you to serve as peer reviewers of each other’s work. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.


Group V

TOPIC: Can Poetry Save the Earth?

Lyric poetry is a complex art form acutely observant of human motivation and behavior. A notable tradition in poetry also looks outward, training its eye on the natural phenomena of the world around us. As such, poetry is uniquely gifted to examine our intricate human dependency on natural resources. The early twenty-first century, when many vital ecosystems across the globe are nearing critical breakdown, marks an historical crossroads for human civilization, and an urgent opportunity for us to re-evaluate our own cultural resources in meeting the global challenge of sustainability. In this course, we will read poems drawn from five centuries of English-language verse in the context of current research in the environmental sciences, and ponder poetry’s relevance to the larger imperatives of the sustainability movement gathering strength worldwide. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.


Group V

TOPIC: Language and Law

The history of language and law from an American perspective, considering how legal texts make meaning; how that meaning is interpreted; and how governments, schools, and businesses create policies that privilege one language or variety 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 diametrically opposite interpretations of the Second Amendment (the one about the right to bear arms).

In addition to considering various aspects of legal meaning-making, well 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. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.


Group 1 or V

TOPIC: Women, Reason, and Education in the Enlightenment

Education was a hotly debated topic of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment. The idea that reason is less an inborn faculty than a construction or development—a thing of the world and hence capable of being shaped by human intervention—constitutes one of the most powerful and contested legacies of the Enlightenment. It was an idea that found particular appeal amongst women who used it to counter long-standing essentialist notions of women’s biological and mental inferiority. It was a crucial shaper, moreover, of the new genre of the novel, of which a principal subset was the bildungsroman or “novel of formation.” We will read both fictional and non-fictional works on education, focusing especially on the female bildungsroman—novels such as Charlotte Lennox’s The Female Quixote (1752), Frances Burney’s Evelina (1778), Elizabeth Inchbald’s A Simple Story (1791), Mary Hays’ Memoirs of Emma Courtney (1796), and Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey (1818) It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.


Group II or V

TOPIC: Postmodern British Fiction

Since the end of the WWII, Britain transitioned from being the epicenter of a system of Western imperialism that spanned the globe into a singular welfare state bent on eradicating class elitism and taking care of its own citizenry from cradle to grave. But just how successful has the British welfare state been at instituting social reform and promoting multiculturalism as we approached and passed the millennium? The Royal wedding this spring and the summer riots characterize the fragmented view Britains espouse toward class, reflecting both national pride in the monarchy and the right of average citizens to incite political insurrection based on democratizing society.

In this course, we’ll examine the rise of contemporary fiction in Britain as a lens through which social progress can either be seen as a flourishing or flagging political standard. By reading the literature of last two decades, we’ll determine whether its citizens have prospered from more inclusive policies on gender, class and race or whether socialism forced Britain to lose its edge in the world market, which it is now trying to recapture by a renewal of political platforms based on social conservatism, capitalist enterprise and racial purity.

We’ll examine how contemporary British fiction forms a distinctive interlinking canon through a variety of themes, narrative forms and literary styles. Our thematic anchor unifying each text will be the importance of individual and collective memory to define social progress or to incite class war. Through the medium of memory, we’ll focus our attentions on the history of bipartisan politics in Britain over the last twenty years, and see whether the future lies with the Tories, New Labour or with the Liberal Democrats. Finally, we’ll ponder whether Britain has become an enlightened utopia where social mobility is universal or whether it is transforming into a dark distopian zone, in which only those powered by money, status and ancient family ties have any rights.

Students are expected to attend class regularly and to actively participate in discussions. There will be a total of four mid-length papers. Novels will include: Atonement, The Remains of the Day, Once Upon a Time in England, The Golden Compass, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and About a Boy. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.


Group V

TOPIC: Writing Film Criticism

The Writing Film Criticism topic section of English 300 offers students who are seriously interested in film and related forms of media to learn about the history of published popular discourse on cinema as well as an opportunity to practice being movie critics. (A previous college course in film such as ‘Intro to Film’ or ‘American Cinema since 1950’ is helpful but not required. Students without prior formal study of film will be encouraged to acquire specific film analytic skills through recommended readings). The course departs from the premise that one learns best to write engaging, persuasive film (or television) reviews through broad, attentive reading of lucid, insightful analyses of diverse styles and approaches; equally broad and always attentive viewing; and regular writing, with multiple revisions understood an integral part of the process. Accordingly, we shall read many reviews by leading film critics whose work has appeared in wide-circulation periodicals over the past 70 years and discuss associated films (a few watched in class, others which students must watch outside class time.) In addition, students will research how film criticism operates as a popular, institutional, economic and political discourse (for example, through film festivals, including the Ebertfest which will occur during the semester).

Each student will write four original reviews of varying length and projected readership and on diverse types of films (one an optional television review), receiving editorial feedback from peers and professor through several drafts. Small writing teams that shift with each review and the use of Moodle as a means of sharing work will foster the peer review and (re)writing process. In addition, each student will give several in-class presentations on assigned research topics (such as a specific film critic from the past or in the present); pay scrupulous attention to deadlines for all assignments, including revisions and final copy; and participate reliably and helpfully in writing groups, both in class and through the class webboard. The course, which grants Advanced Composition credit, requires a textbook discussing techniques of film criticism and an extensive course packet of compiled film criticism. 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 textsliterary, 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, a number of short essays, a presentation, and a final 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.

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

Theory: the final frontier. At least that’s how many U of I English majors seem to feel! In this course, we will survey major developments in the history of thinking hard from the eighteenth century to today. Along the way, we will ask a series of interrelated questions about the rise of Western reason that theory both performs and critiques. For example: Was the rise of Enlightenment thinking emancipatory or repressive? How did such patterns of thinking emerge alongside material developments like early capitalism and empire? Are aesthetics essentially a-political or does art participate (for good or ill) in the world of politics and power? Can historicism serve as a corrective to the gross inequities of our world, or is it a Trojan horse left behind amongst the other wreckage of the Enlightenment? And what does any of this have to do with reading sonnets, plays, and novels?

Major players in this story are likely to include Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Benjamin, Horkheimer, Adorno Lukacs, Barthes, Derrida, Foucault, Habermas, Butler, Sedgwick, Said, and the great and inscrutable Gayatri Spivak. As in any theory course, a number of major -ISMs (and their relatives) will appear regularly on the docket—including materialism, historicism, structuralism (and its posts-), queer theory, and postcolonialism. But to cope with the vertigo an ISM always produces, we will generally read short, iconic selections, thinking for the most part in broad strokes, with a few full texts interspersed for depth and texture. And we will find a way to work through this material that: a) makes sense, b) challenges you, and c) does not put any of us to sleep (or drive us mad). This is, in short, an introduction to the history of such ideas, and any lively, alert, game young reader will be able to keep up. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.

301 Q CRITICAL APPROACHES TO LIT, Gaedtke. TUTH 12:30-1:45

This course will examine the major theoretical and methodological approaches to literary and cultural studies that have evolved over the last few decades. Our readings will include some of the foundational texts of structuralism, deconstruction, psychoanalysis, feminism, queer theory, minority discourse theory, and post-colonial studies. While we consider how these theoretical approaches have reconfigured the goals and methods of literary studies, and we will also critically assess their ideological agendas and practical implications. Finally, we will determine how best to use and engage with theory in our own writing and research as we test their applications to several short works of literature. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.


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.


Group V

same as MACS 373

TOPIC: The Global Western

In this course we will revisit the classical cinematic genre of the American western and examine the ways in which it has resonated across cultures, historical/political occasions, and individual and communitarian identities. The western has a raw, elemental aspect to it that often ‘opens’ up questions pertaining to law, civilization, race, class, gender, nationhood, and politics. In other words, it is not about law in and of itself, but how law can be made possible in the first place. It is not about a simple struggle between ‘civilization’ and the ‘wilderness’, but the historical prices that have to be tendered in order to secure the former in place of the latter. The western is a complex juxtaposition of these terms, by which we often see the savage aspect of civilizational movements, as well as noble features of the nature that modernity takes over or destroys. The western is about true happenings as well as founding myths. It combines an epic imagination with the workings of realist cinema. It is, in many ways, a genre that is a unique creation of, and central to American cinema, culture, and self-imagination. However we will try to extend this understanding further and look into why the genre has transcended the American landscape and has travelled widely in World Cinema, cutting across diverse cultural milieus and historical moments.

In the first part of the semester we will study the classic western; then we will look at some American films of the sixties (Peckinpah for instance) that present the genre in a darker light, and also a couple of films that experiment with race and gender within its formats. The second half of the semester will focus more on the global travel of the western. We will watch and learn about the Indian ‘curry western’, the spaghetti western, the ‘white westerns’ or ‘easterns’ of the former soviet republic, the Latin American Western, and the ways in which the Japanese Samurai genre has both influenced and has in turn been influenced by the American western.


Group V

same as GWS 378

Check with Gender and Women’s Studies for a description.

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 P HONORS SEMINAR I, Gray. TH 11-12:50

Group V

TOPIC: War, Gender, and Politics: Ancient, Early Modern, and Modern

This course will study the effects of war violence, and its attendant images, on representations of gender and political community in classical epic, early modern theory and drama, and twenty-first-century American culture. The central task of the class will be to explore the way that ancient epic, early modern literature, and modern prose and film present war as precipitating a series of identity crises, on both the personal and political levels. We will explore a number of questions: How do war and its fictions impact ideas of the shape and limits of political bodies or the authorization and accountability of political representatives? Does war circulate new narratives of masculinity, and if so, how do these narratives intersect with changing norms of femininity? Or with changing ideas of state and nation? To what extent do soldiers come to stand for a heroic national or imperial identity-in-the-making, for example? To what extent are they depicted as embodying a masterless and unruly hyper-masculinity, destructive of political communities and their ideals? The course will comprise three portions: after reading two-three modern theorists of war and gender, we will study selections from some of the most influential classical narratives of warfare, such as Homer’s Iliad and Virgil’s Aeneid, to think about how these seminal texts imagine the relation between violent conflict, martial masculinity, and ancient forms of national or imperial identity. We will then turn to a handful of early modern texts that theorize or represent war, including Machiavelli’s important Art of War and one-two Shakespeare plays. In the last third of the class, we will focus on the contemporary American scene, to analyze the relation between warfare, military personnel, and national identity in recent imaginings of the current “War on Terror.” Reading memoirs of US soldiers in Iraq and watching two films, we will ask how—in the light of vivid images of American soldiers as victims, heroes, and torturers—representations of men and women at war impact the US’s particular sense of its national identity, its role as bearer of representative democracy, its place in the globe.

398 D HONORS SEMINAR III, L. Newcomb. W 11-12:50

Shakespeare Requirement

TOPIC: Shakespeare’s Audiences: Making the English Public Stage

This course draws together Shakespearean and non-Shakespearean plays written between 1576 and 1620, asking how the new commercial theaters mounted plays so socially and aesthetically challenging that they still draw crowds today. Our interest is in the audiences including popular audiences on whom the plays first depended, toward whom literary history has been surprisingly scornful. We’ll assess these audiences experiences in historical perspective by analyzing three different literate practices that made drama available to the public: performance from script, print publication of plays, and adaptation from non-dramatic sources. From there, we’ll move to more theoretical speculations about playgoing and its effects. We’ll read 7 or 8 plays from a wide variety of genres, setting them in various contexts: period documents of playgoing, performance, and social legislation; theories of early modern class, gender, racial, and national identities; prose source intertexts; performance theory and the history of reading.

Our readings will be supported by informal in-class performance exercises, film screenings, and play attendance. Each student will lead class discussion for part of one period (with a partner). Written work will include a reading journal, guided short papers, and a mid-length final paper reflecting your interests.

398 N HONORS SEMINAR III, Hutner. TU 10-11:50

Group IV

TOPIC: Hawthorne

This version of English 398 traces Nathaniel Hawthorne’s career as the first American writer of international standing. The course studies his short fiction and four completed romances, along with his well-known critical prefaces. We will also examine some less-frequently studied work: important occasional writings, like his meditation on the Civil War, children’s fiction, and excerpts from Our Old Home, Hawthorne’s study of trans-Atlantic relations. A large part of our course will also entail reading Hawthorne in relation to his contemporaries, so students will also learn about antebellum literary culture more broadly.


same as BTW 402

This course introduces approaches to studying and analyzing English language and language practices. We will consider traditional and modern systems for describing English grammar, how registers form and operate, relationships between talk and text, the interaction of visual and linguistic dimensions of texts, approaches to grammar instruction, some sociological dimensions of language use, and language practices in everyday environments. Course requirements include a language log, inquiry-oriented projects that will be either written up or presented orally; and in-class and final exams.

Texts: Readings on e-reserve; Deborah Tannen, Talking Voices: Repetition, Dialogue, and Imagery in Conversational Discourse (3rd edition); and Anne Curzan and Michael Adams, How English Works: A Linguistic Introduction (2nd Edition).


Group V

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


same as EIL 422

Check with the English as an International Language Program for a description.

418 1U/1G SHAKESPEARE, Stevens. MWF 11

Shakespeare Requirement

Joining theater history to close textual analysis, this course studies eight of Shakespeare’s plays written over the duration of his career. We begin with Romeo and Juliet, Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the Q1 Hamlet (this is the so-called bad version of Hamlet: “To be, or not to be, aye there’s the point”). My aim is to defamiliarize these canonical and perhaps over-exposed plays. Next, we’ll consider three plays that demonstrate Shakespeare revising the same plot: Much Ado About Nothing; Othello; and The Winter’s Tale. Finally, we’ll conclude with two lesser-known plays: Measure for Measure, a problem play that seems to defy its classification in the First Folio as a comedy, and the late romance Cymbeline. Together, we’ll situate Shakespeare within a broader political, cultural, and above all theatrical context, reminding ourselves that these plays were intended as scripts for performance and were conceived and produced under specific material conditions which we will come to understand with the help of Tiffany Stern’s illuminating Making Shakespeare. As we move through the course, we’ll also consider the afterlives of these plays, noting how Shakespeare gets reinvented by different generations and cultures.

The class will be conducted as a discussion. Evaluation will be based on participation, including a willingness to read lines out loud and block scenes in class; one group performance project; one final; and three short written assignments.

This course assumes no prior college-level study in Shakespeare, but English 200 (or 101 and 102) is prerequisite.

TEXTS: Tiffany Stern, Making Shakespeare (Routledge); any single edition of the play will do, although I will be ordering the Folger editions when available (TBA)

418 3U/3G SHAKESPEARE, Cole. TUTH 9:30-10:45

Shakespeare Requirement

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

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

418 4U/4G SHAKESPEARE, Kay. TUTH 2-3:15

Shakespeare Requirement

This course will explore Shakespeare’s development from comedy and history plays through tragedy and romance through a reading of six plays: Much Ado about Nothing, Henry IV Part One, Twelfth Night, Hamlet, King Lear, and The Tempest. We’ll talk together about the nature of Shakespeare’s dramatic language and characterization, about the impact of the Elizabethan stage on his dramatic artistry, about his conceptions of gender and social roles, and about some of his recurring themes. To demonstrate how he influenced and was in turn influenced by other contemporary playwrights, we’ll examine how the antic disposition and ironic reversals of Hamlet influence John Marston’s ironic tragi-comedy The Malcontent and how Marston’s work then helps to suggest the mind games that the exiled duke Prospero works on his evil brother in The Tempest. Course work will include regular in-class writing, an hour exam, two essays, and a final exam.

TEXTS: include The Tempest: A Case Study in Critical Controversy, Signet Classic editions of the other plays, and the New Mermaids edition of Marston’s The Malcontent.

423 1U/1G MILTON, Gray. TUTH 9:30-10:45

Group IV

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

428 1U/1G BRITISH DRAMA 1660-1800, Markley. TUTH 9:30-10:45

Group I or V

This course will cover some of the major works in British drama written between 1660 and 1777. We will pay particular attention to the social, cultural, political, and economic contexts of theatrical performance, and we will discuss the major issues that find their way onto the London stage: sexual morality, the role of women in a patrilineal society, and the problems of empire, trade, and colonialism. Because of Restoration period (1660-1700) featured the popular and critical success of a number of women dramatists—Aphra Behn, Susan Centlivre, Mary Pix, and Catherine Trotter—we will devote a good deal of attention to the ways in which these playwrights appropriated the conventions of the seemingly antifeminist genres of wit comedy. In addition to these women dramatists, we will read and discuss plays by George Etherege, John Dryden, William Wycherley, Thomas Otway, Thomas Shadwell, William Congreve, John Gay, and Richard Brinsley Sheridan.

429 1U/1G 18TH CENTURY FICTION, Pollock. TUTH 12:30-1:45

Group I or V

This course will examine the link between European colonialism and the development of recognizably modern fiction during the course of the long eighteenth century a period commonly referred to as the Enlightenment in England, France, and the Americas. One of the central tasks in our project this semester will be to understand the significance of travel both as a literal means of disseminating enlightenment between cultures, and as a metaphor for describing the developmental trajectory of the self-cultivating individual. Each of the fictions we will read presents us with characters who undertake a movement out of their own cultures even out of themselves into trans-cultural or inter-cultural spaces where complicated ethical and political dilemmas must be negotiated. Perhaps the most influential legacy of these Enlightenment fictions (or fictions of Enlightenment) has been their implicit formulation of cosmopolitanism as a solution to the often violent clash between cultures. The popular narratives well study in this course test the Enlightenments cosmopolitan ethos by putting European observers in places as diverse as Africa, Brazil, Persia, Tahiti, and the Caribbean. We will finish by reading some recent philosophical work on the question What is Enlightenment? and we will attempt to answer that question ourselves. Texts can include works by Montaigne, Behn, Defoe, Montesquieu, Swift, Montagu, Diderot, Johnson, Voltaire, Equiano, and Kant. Course requirements: regular attendance and participation, three essays, and a final exam.

435 1U/1G 19TH CENTURY BRITISH FICTION, Saville. TUTH 11-12:15

Group II or V

By the early nineteenth century, fiction and in particular the novel was becoming one of the most popular forms of literature in Britain. Taking up our study in 1837 with the publication of Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist, we will study a range of popular forms such as serial publication, the triple-decker, and the short story. Our aim will be threefold: first, we will study dominant aesthetic features of fictional works and develop a working vocabulary for discussing issues such as narrative voice, genre, and modes of characterization. Second, we will consider fiction within its historical and political context, considering the role it played in expressing the prevailing ethical concerns of the nation and contributing to public debate about resolving social problems. We will consider, for instance, what it meant to nineteenth-century fiction writers to express character as a self-determining force expressed both individually and nationally, and what social conditions might best encourage individual and national character to flourish. Third, we will consider how British fiction writers positioned themselves in relation to the rest of the world, whether imaginatively envisaging travel in Italy, performing missionary work in India, or making their fortunes in the Americas or the West Indies. In addition to Dickens, our readings will include works such as Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, Antony Trollope’s The Warden, George Eliot’s Middlemarch, Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge, and short stories by Arthur Conan-Doyle and Oscar Wilde.

BE WARNED: the reading load in this course is not for the faint-hearted. Be prepared to cover as much as 150 pages of fiction and 25 pages of critical reading per week for the duration of the semester.

442 1U/1G BRIT LIT SINCE 1930, Gaedtke. TUTH 2-3:15

Group II or V

This course will consider how unresolved problems of the past continue to haunt the contemporary British novel. Within this broad rubric, we will focus on several particular concerns and conflicts that symptomatically manifest within fiction of the last several decades. These will include compulsive attempts rewrite (and perhaps revive) the scene of modernism, the ends (and returns) of the British empire, anxieties over the UKs waning global relevance, and similar, perennial concerns about the novels continued relevance in the context of new cultural discourses. In examining these recurrent issues, we will consider how formal transformations in the novel enable us to rethink larger questions regarding historicity, temporality, and cultural memory. Readings will likely include works by Pat Barker, A.S. Byatt, Kazuo Ishiguro, Tom McCarthy, Ian McEwan, David Mitchell, Salman Rushdie, Zadie Smith, and the work of relevant theorists such as Walter Benjamin, Jacques Lacan, Slavoj Zizek, Paul Ricoeur, Alain Badiou, and Bruno Latour, among others.

455 1U/1G MAJOR AUTHORS, Somerville. TuTh 9:30-10:45

Group IV

Topic: James Baldwin

TuTh 9:30-10:45

Harlem, Paris, Istanbul. Novelist, essayist, playwright, poet. Preacher, civil rights activist, expatriate writer. Defying any single classification, genre, or location, James Baldwin (1924-1987) and his writing continue to complicate the ways we think about twentieth-century American literature, African American literature, and lesbian/gay literature.

This course will offer an opportunity to study Baldwin’s writing in depth, including works such as Notes of a Native Son, Giovanni’s Room, Another Country, The Fire Next Time, and Go Tell It On the Mountain. At the same time, we will consider the literary, cultural, and political contexts of his writing, including the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement, the early lesbian and gay liberation movement, and the Black Power movement. Along the way, we will read selected critical and theoretical scholarship that sheds light on the politics of race, sexuality, and representation in Baldwin’s work.

455 1U/1G MAJOR AUTHORS, Gilmore. MWF 1

Group IV

TOPIC: Alan Moore

Alan Moore is one of the most important comics writers of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, reinventing a number of mainstream superhero comics franchises, bringing a new sense of thematic and formal depth to comics, and pushing new boundaries in comic-book publishing, topics, and themes. This course will survey the breadth of Moore’s work and influence, considering the range of comics he has produced from the late 1970s in British comics magazines like 2000 AD to the present, examining his hybrid prose and musical performance pieces, and touching upon the films based on his works (including V for Vendetta, Watchmen, and From Hell). Additionally, this course will focus on comics studies as an intersection of cultural studies, visual culture, and the formal analysis of graphic narratives—a methodology that students can apply far beyond the works of Alan Moore.

Selected Bibliography: selected works from 2000 AD, V for Vendetta, Miracleman, superhero work for DC comics, Batman: The Killing Joke, Swamp Thing, Watchmen, From Hell, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Promethea, Top 10, Supreme, Lost Girls; prose: Mirror of Love (1988/2004), Voice of the Fire (2004), 25,000 Years of Erotic Fiction (2009)

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

Group IV

TOPIC: The Brownings: Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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). Each meditated at length on poetry’s potential to contribute to political debate and its function in constructing and critiquing national myths.

You also might not have had the opportunity to consider 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 many citizens of the United States in the twenty-first century. These are some of the topics well study as we focus on the writing of both poets, on selections from current Browning criticism, and on current critical theory illuminating to our discussions.


Group III or V

TOPIC: Race and Popular Genre

Discursive ideas of race and whiteness 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 the Afrofuturisms that Paul Gilroy theorizes and Samuel R. Delany and Octavia Butler create, the specters of race, space, and genocide have helped to inform narratives of past, present, and future. This course examines the intersections between literary and cultural representations of race and whiteness and the ways in which African American, Asian American, Latina/o, and 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 how race is socially constructed at the site of language. Authors may include Octavia Butler, Daniel Heath Justice, Samuel R. Delaney, Colson Whitehead, Stephen Graham Jones, Junot Diaz, Charles Yu, Tananrive Due, and Karen Tei Yamashita.

462 1U/1G TOPICS IN MODERN FICTION, Bauer. TUTH 9:30-10:45

Group III or V

TOPIC: Sex Expression and Modern American Fiction

Starting with ideas about American courtship and ending with theories about repression, suppression and sexual consent, this course will define modern love and will debate what we have come to consider American Sex. Our discussions will focus on the nature of intimacy in a consumer culture, as well as ethnic, gendered, and racial challenges to the emerging sexual norms of modern America. Our collective purpose is to discover how “sex expression”—the emerging languages of sexuality and intimacy—replaced both sentimentality and sympathy and took hold in American culture.

This course will ask you to deliver several short oral reports, write bi-weekly response papers and a critical book review, and to research a final project focused on a literary and social history based on the authors we have studied. There will also be a series of in-class writings and assignments; as part of our regular class meetings, we will discuss your writing and peer reviews of it.

Tentative Reading List: Elizabeth Stuart Phelps’s The Silent Partner (1871), Stephen Crane’s Maggie, A Girl of the Streets (1893), Henry James’s In the Cage (1898), “The Beast in the Jungle” (1903) and “The Jolly Corner” (1908), Kate Chopin’s “The Storm” (1898) and Willa Cather’s “Paul’s Case” (1905), Pauline Hopkins’s Of One Blood (1903), Edith Wharton’s Summer (1917), Anzia Yezierska’s Salome of the Tenements (1923), and Anita Loos’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1925).


Group II or V

TOPIC: Green Romanticism

The extraordinary literary outpouring of the Romantic period—Wordsworth, Shelley, Austen, Emerson, etc.—coincided with the emergence of the modern age of fossil fuels, globalization, urbanization, and rapid economic growth. Their reactions to the changing transatlantic world around 1800 were complex and ambivalent, and included the conceptual invention of “nature” and environmentalism in our modern sense. Romantic writers embraced elements of the brave new world of our carbon-based modernity, while at the same time eulogizing a lost connection with organic processes and the pre-industrial past. They were fascinated by new science, technology and the collective “advance” of humanity, but sought also to describe models of individuated experience that could be maintained independent of the material and social realms. This course will re-examine a core of Romantic authors often mistaken for idealistic celebrants of nature, with a view to understanding their unique place in literary and world history as first witnesses to the accelerated human re-engineering of the planet scientists now designate the Anthropocene period.

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

What is the connection between passion and excellence? How do young students come to identify themselves as good writers? This course will offer preparation in classroom writing instruction. While employing some of the important theories and methods of composition instruction, we will continue to build our own practice as new teachers. Students will develop their own theory of writing instruction for the classroom level of their choice. Topics will include responding as a writing partner, writing collaboratively, designing learning through writing tasks for different genres, and constructing the writing voice through performance.


same as LIS 482

Examines the relationship of computer technology to the larger field of writing studies. Topics include a historical overview of computers and other writing technologies; current instructional practices and their relation to various writing theories; research on word processing, computer-mediated communication, and hypermedia; and the computer as a research tool.

504 A THEORIES OF CINEMA, Ono. TU 2-4:50

same as MACS 584

Check with Media and Cinema Studies for a description.

514 G SEMINAR MEDIEVAL LIT, C. Wright. W 3-5

same as MDVL 514

TOPIC: Bibliography and Methods in Medieval Studies

This course is a practical introduction to the bibliography of Medieval Studies, with a focus on Western European textual and iconographic traditions. You will learn about the primary materials and research tools that medievalists use, and the methods and assumptions that enable various historical approaches to medieval texts and cultural artifacts. You will learn how to use the major reference guides, encyclopedias, bibliographies, and electronic databases in order to access medieval historical sources, literary texts, and artistic monuments and to locate the relevant scholarly literature. Representative topics include ecclesiastical history, medieval Latin literature, liturgy, hagiography, biblical exegesis, folklore and popular culture, sciences and encyclopedias, and iconography. Basic reading knowledge of Latin is required; reading knowledge of French or German will be helpful but is not prerequisite.

519 E SEMINAR SHAKESPEARE, Stevens. W 1-2:50

TOPIC: Shakespeare and Shakespeare Criticism

This class is both an in-depth study of seven to eight of Shakespeare’s plays and an examination of several decades’ worth of Shakespeare criticism. That is, as we read plays alongside a variety of critical approaches modeling different perspectives and methodologies, we will be able to consider both the changing and contested field of Shakespeare studies and the changing profession of literary critic more generally. This class concludes with a conference (scheduled over two class sessions): about two weeks prior to the date of the conference, seminar participants will have circulated a 12- to 15-page draft of their final papers to the class as a whole, and will also have commented upon at least two other papers-in-progress. During the conference a set amount of time will be spent discussing each paper. Students will be evaluated for their consistent participation, including formal and informal seminar reports; the quality of their participation in the final conference; and a final, article-length paper.

TEXTS: Tiffany Stern, Making Shakespeare (Routledge); at least one other textbook, TBA; and a supplementary course packet. The plays covered likely include the tragedies Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and Othello; the comedies A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, and Measure for Measure; and the romances The Winter’s Tale and Cymbeline.

527 T SEM RES/18TH C LIT, Nazar. TH 3-4:50

TOPIC: Enlightenment Narratives of Education

In his famous essay of 1784, “What is Enlightenment?,” Immanuel Kant described enlightenment as emergence from “self-imposed tutelage” into critical and moral independence. Kant’s essay obscures, however, how the emergence from tutelage was perceived by many eighteenth-century thinkers to be itself a matter of tutelage or education. This seminar considers the paradoxical rhetoric of education—tutelage to be free from tutelage—permeating eighteenth-century letters. The idea that reason is less an inborn faculty than a construction or development—a thing of the world and hence capable of being shaped by human intervention—constitutes one of the most powerful and contested legacies of the Enlightenment. It was an idea that found particular appeal amongst women who used it to counter long-standing essentialist notions of women’s biological and mental inferiority. It was a crucial shaper, moreover, of the new genre of the novel, of which a principal subset was the bildungsroman or “novel of formation.” The seminar offers exposure to the intersecting fields of eighteenth-century theories of education, histories of the novel, and feminist/gender theory. Philosophical and historical readings include selections from John Locke’s Some Thoughts Concerning Education (1693), Mary Astell’s A Serious Proposal to the Ladies (1694-97), Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Emile; or On Education (1761), Catharine Macaulay’s Letters on Education (1790), Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), William Godwin’s The Enquirer (1797), and Immanuel Kant’s On Education (1803). Fictional readings range from Charlotte Lennox’s The Female Quixote; or The Adventures of Arabella(1752) and Frances Burney’s Evelina; or The History of a Young Lady’s Entrance into the World (1778) to Elizabeth Inchbald’s A Simple Story (1791) and Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park (1814).

559 E SEM AFRO AMERICAN LIT, Freeburg. W 1-2:50

TOPIC: Black Humanity in the Ruins of Emancipation

This course focuses on what makes characters more or less human in black fiction from Reconstruction to World War II. Arguably, one of the main challenges for black writers after Emancipation was to somehow prove that African Americans were human beings worthy of social equality and full citizenship. But, did showing that white supremacy robbed blacks of their humanity, turned them into objects or things, actually make it more difficult to prove full humanity? This course engages the human/object distinction that runs through much of African American literature during this period. We will focus on prose writers from Ida B. Wells to Richard Wright. Through these author’s novels and essays, we will analyze how the human/object opposition shapes so much of the political, aesthetic and existential spheres of black expression. To do this, we will supplement our close readings of literature with studies of the Congressional testimony on Klu Klux Klan activities (1872), black newspapers like The Christian Recorder and Chicago Defender, the sociological writings of Gunnar Myrdal, St. Claire Drake, and Robert Park. We will also consult the conceptual work of Giorgia Agamben, Soren Kierkegaard, Bruno Latour, Jonathan Lear, Lauren Berlant, Saidiya Hartman, and Kenneth Warren.

563 T SEM LIT THEMES & MOVEMENTS, Rodriguez. TH 3-4:50

TOPIC: Queer of Color Critique

In this seminar we will examine recent work directly or indirectly contributing to an emergent interdisciplinary enterprise known as “queer of color critique.” Beginning with José Esteban Muñoz’s Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics and Roderick Ferguson’s Aberrations in Black: Toward a Queer of Color Critique, our first item of business will be to distinguish the central critical tenets of such texts (the linkage of racial/ethnic matters to queer theory, the dislodging of the term “queer” from specifically (white) LGBT concerns, etc.) and the social and political antecedents (civil rights and racial/ethnic empowerment movements in the U.S., women of color feminism, etc.) that have guaranteed their publication. We will then turn to the work of scholars like M. Jacqui Alexander, Martin Manalansan, Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley, Kathryn Bond Stockton, Karen Tongson, Michael Hames-García, Ernesto J. Martínez, and Chandan Reddy to ascertain the ongoing struggle to put queer theory in dialog with race/ethnic studies but also to consider how queer theoretical projects attentive to interlocking forms of difference assist in troubling traditional disciplines, discourses, and social spaces. The course will conclude with Sharon P. Holland’s The Erotic Life of Racism in order to ponder the relevance of queer of color critique in the face of quotidian manifestations of inequality and exploitation.

Required reading: José Esteban Muñoz, Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics; Roderick A. Ferguson, Aberrations in Black: Toward a Queer of Color Critique; M. Jacqui Alexander, Pedagogies of Crossing: Meditations on Feminism, Sexual Politics, Memory, and the Sacred; Martin Manalansan Global Divas: Filipino Gay Men in the Diaspora; Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley, Thiefing Sugar: Eroticism Between Women in the Caribbean; Chandan Reddy, Freedom with Violence: Race, Sexuality, and the U.S. State; Kathryn Bond Stockton, Beautiful Bottom, Beautiful Shame: Where “Black” Meets “Queer”; Karen Tongson, Relocations: Queer Suburban Imaginaries; Grace Kyungwon Hong and Roderick A. Ferguson, ed., Strange Affinities: The Gender and Sexual Politics of Comparative Racialization; Michael Hames-García and Ernesto J. Martínez, ed., Gay Latino Studies: A Critical Reader; Sharon P. Holland, The Erotic Life of Racism. We will also read essays by Siobhan B. Somerville, Jasbir K. Puar, Hiram Perez, Gayatri Gopinath, Samuel Delany, Marlon B. Ross, Nayan Shah, Robert Reid-Pharr, and Eithne Luibhéid.

581 E SEM LITERARY THEORY, Underwood. M 1-2:50

TOPIC: Digital Tools and Critical Theory

Critical practice is already shaped by technology. Contemporary historicism emerged around the same time as full-text search, for instance, and would be hard to envision without it. Our goal in this course will be to make that relationship more reciprocal by using critical theory to shape technology in turn. For example, the prevailing system of “keyword search” requires scholars to begin by guessing how another era categorized the world. But much critical theory suggests that we cannot predict those categories in advance, and there are ways of mapping an archive that don’t require us to.

I've found that it does make a difference: when critics build their own tools, they can uncover trends and discourses that standard search engines do not reveal. This course will not assume any technical background, although it does assume willingness to learn a few basic elements of programming and statistics. Many of the tools/collections we need are already available on the web; others I can give you, or show you how to cobble together. We will often take time out from building things to read theory—like Moretti’s Maps, Graphs, Trees (2005), corpus linguistics, and influential critiques of or definitions of the digital humanities. But we will not mostly be writing about digital humanities. Instead I’ll recommend writing an ordinary critical essay about literary/cultural history, subtly informed by new tools or new models of discourse. Projects on any period are possible, although the resources I can provide are admittedly richest between 1700 and 1900.

581 R SEM LIERARY THEORY, Markley. TU 1-2:50

TOPIC: Posthumanism

This seminar examines a rich, evolving, and the controversial literature that, since c. 1980, has critiqued “humanism” and its concerns with individual consciousness, theories of language and representation, social contract theory, and the discourses of political and civil rights. In different ways, Posthumanism argues that the traditional disciplines of the humanities either neglect or misinterpret the profound challenges posed by science and technology studies, animal studies, disability studies, science fiction, and systems theory to its seemingly core values and assumptions. During this seminar, then, we will read a number of articles and sections of books that both extend and critique much of the theoretical work of the 1970s-1990s with which you may be familiar. Taken as a whole, Posthumanism challenges the anthropocentricism of much that we take for granted in the western philosophical and literary tradition. In brief, different posthumanist approaches raise different kinds of questions:

Animal studies—where do draw (or do we draw?) the line between human and animal? Do animals have rights?

Disability studies—what physical and cognitive presuppositions and biases inform our understandings of identity? of embodiment? of cognitive functioning? of “normalcy”?

Science and technology studies—what happens to the human when the body and mind are both extended through communications and digital technology and continually being redefined by surgical, chemical, prosthetic, and pharmaceutical “interventions”?

Ecological studies—is there such a thing as “nature” in an industrialized and postindustrialized world? What ethical investments do humans have in sustaining the environment? What exactly do we mean by sustainability?

As we will see, these questions—endlessly reframed and debated—are just the tip of the (melting) iceberg. Over the course of the semester we will read texts by both theorists who define themselves as posthumanists, including Donna Haraway, Cary Wolfe, Bruno Latour, Katherine Hayles, Jacques Derrida (the late work that isn’t in the anthologies), and Freidrich Kittler, as well as work by recent critics such as Stacy Alaimo, Bruce Clarke, John Johnston, Lisa Yaszek, Mark Hansen, Susan Squier, and others. Because science fiction has played such a powerful role in reshaping what we imagine as the “human,” and the always incomplete and always ongoing “evolution” to the posthuman, we read some key works of recent science fiction by William Gibson, Margaret Atwood, Richard Powers, and Octavia Butler. Short response papers (ungraded), oral reports, a final paper on a topic of your choosing.

584 R1 TOPICS DISCOURSE & WRITING, D. Baron. TU 1-2:50

same as CI 569

TOPIC: Language and Law

The history of language and law from an American perspective, considering how legal texts make meaning; how that meaning is interpreted; and how governments, schools, and businesses create policies that privilege one language or variety 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 diametrically opposite interpretations of the Second Amendment (the one about the right to bear arms).

In addition to considering various aspects of legal meaning-making, well 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 well 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.

584 R2 TOPICS DISCOURSE & WRITING, Schaffner. TH 1-2:50

same as CI 569

TOPIC: Rhetoric of Social and Environmental Movements

This is a course about some of the more radical rhetorical arts. We will examine how people attempt to change their worlds with rhetoric, action, the alteration of space, and embodied practice. Meeting as a seminar, we will study scholarship on a wide array of activist movements, from women's rights to environmental justice, peace activism to veganism. Over the course of the semester, we will pay close attention to the rhetoric and rhetorical actions of the groups we study, comparing engagements across time, place, and tactics. Students in the seminar will read contemporary scholarship, examine primary documents (video, images, art, and text), form groups to complete a collaborative review essay, and complete a seminar paper. Students from across campus are encouraged to enroll.


TOPIC: The Teaching of Literature

Cynics say that those who can’t do, teach, but in fact a great many things get done in a good classroom. This course is devoted to just these things: conceptualizing courses, building syllabi, delivering lectures, leading discussions, creating assignments, and grading papers. Although we will read some pedagogical theory along the way, our own classroom practice will be our primary text, as students in the course do the work of preparing to teach literature by crafting courses, syllabi, and class plans that the seminar will then critique on a week-by-week basis. Seminar members will be asked to produce a teaching philosophy and conceptualize a unique literature course by the end of the semester, and final grades will be based both on how well these tasks were executed and on how actively and effectively feedback was offered from session to session.

Get in Touch

Cookie Settings