English Course Descriptions: Spring 2013

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 MACS 104

This discussion-oriented introductory film studies course aims to develop students’ capacity for critical film viewing and deepened understanding of the cinema experience. We first study analysis of narrative strategies, shot properties, mise-en-scène, acting, editing, and the use of sound in films, especially classical Hollywood movies. We then focus also on different genres and styles of films, including, e.g., film noir and musicals, as well as documentaries and alternative independent films. Small sections of 36 students meet in two 75-minute sessions per week, on T/Th or W/F, with a required weekly all-section screening lab on Monday afternoon or evening, which presents one film program (usually a feature film, sometimes with short films). Expect to write a couple of short essays (getting instructor help to improve your writing); to take a midterm and a final; and take some quizzes on the readings, films, and discussions; and not only to master material and skills spelled out her, but also to enjoy the opportunity to get to know your teacher and fellow students and regularly to engage in lively discussion of films together. Grants Gen Ed credit in Humanities and the Arts.


English 109 is designed to introduce students to the critical analysis of prose fiction. By reading a wide range of short and long fiction across several historical periods, we will examine how such narrative strategies as plot, character, point of view and language construct meaning. Individual instructors will bring a variety of texts and interpretive methods to their courses, but special emphasis will be placed on concepts and skills central to good literary critical writing.

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

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


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


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

117 AL1 SHAKESPEARE ON FILM, Stevens. Lect: MW 9; Screening: TU 7-930 pm; Disc: F various times

This introductory-level survey covers at least six of Shakespeare’s plays alongside notable film versions or, indeed, wholesale reinventions of those plays. We’ll likely cover The Taming of the Shrew; Romeo and Juliet; The Merchant of Venice; Macbeth; Othello; and The Tempest. Films include Franco Zeffirelli’s The Taming of the Shrew (1976); Baz Luhrman’s Romeo + Juliet (1996); Michael Radford’s The Merchant of Venice (2005); Roman Polanski’s Macbeth (1971); Billy Morrissette’s Scotland, PA (2001); Oliver Parker’s Othello (1995); and Derek Jarman’s The Tempest (1979). Expect also to see a range of short clips from a variety of filmed live performances. In our weekly lectures, I will provide an overview of the play under consideration, concentrating especially on key moments that suggest multiple possibilities for performance. I assume neither expertise in Shakespeare nor in the vocabulary of film criticism; consider the course an entryway to both disciplines.


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.


TOPIC: Editing and Publishing

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. This class satisfies a literature requirement in the Creative Writing major.


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

This course introduces students to the cultural diversity of the European Middle Ages by focusing on eight literary journeys. Some are historical treks: an Arab diplomat heads north into the frozen territory of the Rus, a Castilian mercenary seeks service in the courts of Muslim Spain, a Norman clerk recruits Crusaders amidst the mountains of Wales, and an English housewife goes on pilgrimage just about everywhere. Others traverse imaginary terrain: a lovesick dreamer enters the mindscape of his beloved, a Florentine poet descends into Hell, a grim outlaw fights trolls and zombies in the wilds of Iceland, and two knights errant wander the forests of Arthurian legend on never-ending quests. All eight journeys share an interest in encountering the alien (barbarians, foreigners, monsters, prodigies, heretics, etc.) as well as a realization of travel’s potential for self-alienation. We’ll read our texts in Modern English translation, and we’ll undertake a variety of assignments: frequent short reading responses, two medium-length essays, and two exams.


Group I

same as CWL 257

Almost as soon as the term “Enlightenment” was applied to the intellectual movement of the early modern period, writers began to question what exactly it was. We will look at “Enlightenment” from a global perspective. 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 the changing and expanding world of 1600 to 1800. By the end of this course, you will be able to read a wide variety of early modern texts with comprehension and enjoyment, you will have a greater capacity for understanding texts that depict unfamiliar times and places, and you will have a richer understanding of how the modern self came into being.


Group II

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


Group II

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

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

The rubric of this course makes two assumptions. The first is that literature written in England constitutes a coherent tradition. The second is that this coherence is apparent in all periods of English history preceding the year 1798. In undertaking this course we must operate within these assumptions. But we do not have to be happy about it. Indeed, we will spend a good deal of the term exposing them to scrutiny: how do the works we study imagine the nation? In what ways do they reflect their own historical moment? How do later authors generate the notion of an English literary tradition by referring to their predecessors? How do they manipulate those predecessors to their own ends? In exploring these questions, we will also pay close attention to the ways in which different genres—poetry, drama, and that young upstart the novel—constitute different kinds of cultural engagements, focusing our attention to the development of literary heroism across genres and periods.

Assignments will consist of three brief essays, mid-term and final examinations, and a term paper requiring research.

TEXTS: The Longman Anthology of British Literature, ed. David Damrosch and J.H. Dettmar, vol. 1A-C; Henry Fielding, Jonathan Wild, Oxford World’s Classics.

210 AL1 BRITISH LIT 1798 TO PRESENT, Courtemanche. Lect: MW 12; Disc: F various times

In the last 200 years British history has avoided major political upheaval, either of the French revolutionary or the Continental fascist variety, and has come to seem a refuge of tolerance and stability. And yet over this same period Britain gave birth to the world’s first industrial revolution, grew dominant in both naval power and manufacturing capacity, managed to win two world wars, and transformed its vigorous commercial ties into a far-flung empire that still exists today in the form of the Commonwealth. British culture looks nostalgically backward, to local ties and rural values, at the same time as it embraces the modernity of post-imperial ethnic cosmopolitanism, international capitalism, and a vibrant pop culture.

Our readings for this class will explore these competing tensions in British literature over the time of its rise to world power: the lyric and expansive poems of the Romantic movement (1798-1837); the high moral seriousness of the Victorians (1837-1901); the disillusioned mood of Modernism (1901-1945); and the political ferment of Postmodernism (1945 to the present). Authors will include Wordsworth, Keats, Shelley, Tennyson, Dickens, Wilde, Hardy, Yeats, T. S. Eliot, and Rushdie. Please buy the Norton Anthology of English Literature two-volume set (Romantic Period through the Twentieth Century and after), Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, and Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. Grades will be based on attendance and participation in a discussion section, in-class quizzes, two papers, a midterm, and a final exam.


Fulfills Shakespeare Requirement for Secondary Education minors only

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

242 X POETRY SINCE 1940, Labella. MWF 12

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).


Group II or V

Critical study of representative British novels from different literary periods.


Group III or V

Using as our touchstones various American novels from the late eighteenth century through the early twentieth century, we will track changes in American attitudes, politics, cultures, and styles. More importantly, we will explore changes in the way American writers (and readers) have understood the form of the novel itself: its strengths and weaknesses, its artistic possibilities, its commercial viability, and its usefulness for exploring issues of local and national concern. To this end, we will rely heavily on close, careful readings of the novels themselves, combined with more expansive discussion of how novels work, the conventions that shape our reading and interpretation of them, and the ways in which they speak of—and to—the world around them. Authors may include Hannah Foster, Edgar Allen Poe, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry James, Sarah Orne Jewett, Edith Wharton, and James Weldon Johnson.

Course requirements include spirited participation in class discussion, several short reading responses, one four-page and one six-page paper, a mid-term exam and a final exam.


Group III or V

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

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


Group III or V

same as AIS 265

Introduces students to the study of American Indian literature by focusing on texts by contemporary American Indian novelists, poets, and playwrights. Over the course of the semester, students will consider how indigenous aesthetics shape narrative in addition to examining how American Indian authors engage the legacies of colonization and the histories of their tribal communities through their stories.

267 AL1 GRIMMS’ FAIRY TALES IN CONTEXT, Johnson. Lect: MW 11; Disc: F various times

same as GER 250, CWL 250

The Grimms’ tales, the largest and most famous collection of literary folktales, are discussed along with other European tales; these are related to past and present storytelling forms from fable to film. Examination of some of the more common motifs in fairy tales as they relate to political, economic, social, cultural life in early modern and Enlightenment Europe. Focus on several different interpretive approaches to the tales and to literary/cultural products in general. All readings, discussion, and written work in English.

268 AL1 THE HOLOCAUST IN CONTEXT, Tubb. Lect: MW 2; Disc: F various times

same as GER 260, CWL 271

This course examines cultural representations of the Holocaust in a variety of postwar texts, including memoirs, poems, essays, memorials, documentary and feature film, to explore how Jewish and non-Jewish writers have dealt with issues of perpetration, survival, trauma, and memory in postwar German culture and beyond.

273 AD1 AMERICAN CINEMA SINCE 1950, A. Basu. Lect: TUTH 11-12:15; Screening: W 3:30-6 pm

Group III or V

same as MACS 273

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

274 M LITERATURE AND SOCIETY, Wilcox. TUTH 9:30-10:45

Group I or V

TOPIC: Before Victoria Had a Secret: The Literature of Sexuality in the Eighteenth Century

Between 1660 and 1800, the combination of Enlightenment inquiry and libertinism produced erotic classics like Fanny Hill and the poems of the Earl of Rochester. At the same time, changes in the genres of poetry and fiction made it possible for literary texts to explore love, intimacy, and relationships in new ways. In this course, we will examine the changing attitudes towards gender and class that shaped the erotic discourses of the eighteenth century and, eventually, closed them down. Readings will include Rochester, Behn, Cleland, Pope, Richardson, Burney, and Beckford; course requirements will include two analytic papers, one archival project, and a class presentation.

280 CHP WOMEN WRITERS, Bauer. TU 9-10:50

Campus Honors Group III or V

same as GWS 280

TOPIC: U.S. Women Writers 1911-2012

This course examines 20th- and 21st-century US women’s writing in a variety of forms, and our emphasis will be on conceptions of cultural and literary history, including style and social reform. We will focus on how a literary work is simultaneously a product of an author’s imagination yet also participates in a set of historical norms, shaped by the cultural anxieties to which the author, in turn, responds. Within this critical framework, we will also be defining the vision of gender and modes animating these works. Our survey of US women’s writing begins with women’s writing in the 1910s and moves, decade by decade, into the present. The reading list includes canonical and noncanonical readings from various genres—poetry (Plath, Sexton, Brooks), memoir (Hornbacher, Bechdel), comedy (Jackson), radical (Le Sueur) and conservative (Gilman) novels—in order to demonstrate both formal and thematic concerns in representative women’s texts.

Please note the seminar structure of this course: we will all meet on Tuesday mornings, from 9-10:50, for a seminar on the literature. On Thursdays, we will work on the research for this course individually—on your own—and/or collaboratively—meeting with me in my office, depending on the week. For this course, students will write a paper that draws on all of our reading for the course. And as the final assignment, we will contribute to the Undergraduate Research Symposium by presenting your individual research projects in the collective of our class. This is a major step in producing your work for a public audience. I will show the video of the previous Honors course’s presentations from Spring 2009.


Group II or V

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 Austen’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 a response, an oral report, 2 moderate length papers (5-6 pages) and a final project or exam. Texts and films: Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice; Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights, Oswald Wynd, The Ginger Tree, E. M. Forster, A Room With a View, Jean Rhys, After Leaving Mr. McKenzie, Made in Debenham (film), 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.


Group III or V

same as AAS 286

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


Group IV

TOPIC: Ralph Ellison and James Baldwin and the Dream of Freedom

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

TOPIC: Constituting Citizenship in Early African America

What can a slave’s narrative teach us about democracy? What was so incendiary about Phillis Wheatley’s poetry that Thomas Jefferson had to go out of his way to dismiss her work? And how did one tailor’s pamphlet result in one of most massive restrictions of free speech in U.S. history? The texts and institutions free people of color produced—poetry and fiction certainly, but also the constitutions and meeting minutes, newspapers, pamphlets, confessionals, and a host of other ephemeral media—reveal that the titular freedom of emancipation was part of a larger, highly creative democratic project. These writers worked, as Frances Smith Foster argues, “to communicate physical and metaphysical realities and to develop their moral, spiritual, intellectual, and artistic selves. They wrote about civil rights, economic enhancement, love, and marriage.” Our goal over the semester will be to sketch a story of African American literary production from the latter half of the eighteenth century to the Civil War and to tease out, through this literature, developing understandings of citizenship in the United States. We will read letters, poems, sermons, songs, constitutions and bylaws, short stories, and texts that simply defy easy categorization. We will also spend several sessions becoming familiar with key newspapers and magazines—Freedom’s Journal, Frederick Douglass’s Paper, The Anglo-African Magazine, Christian Recorder, and The Crisis—to deepen our understanding of the kinds of things people were reading and writing on a regular basis and the kinds of arguments they were making. Writers up for discussion include: Frederick Douglass, James Madison, Harriet Wilson, Henry David Thoreau, Sojourner Truth, and David Walker. 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: The Rise of the Graphic Novel

The graphic novel as a publishing format was standardized and popularized in the mid-1980s, with the celebrated publication of Art Spiegelman’s Maus, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s Watchmen, and Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. However, comics have been published in book-length forms since the mid-19th century, and recognizable precursors to the late 20th century graphic novel have existed in since at least the 1920s. This course will trace the rise of the graphic novel in its early precursors, through its codification, and into its current state. The graphic novels we will consider will range from mainstream superhero stories to German Expressionist woodcuts, from nonfiction political reporting to graphic memoir, from hyperbolic sword-and-sorcery epics to slice-of-life realism. As this is a Writing About Literature course, we will practice analytic and critical writing, as well as address the analysis of graphic narratives at the intersection of cultural studies, visual culture, and formal analysis—a methodology that students can apply far beyond the study of comics and graphic novels.

Possible Bibliography: Lynd Ward’s God’s Man (1929), Milt Gross, He Done Her Wrong (1930), Drake Waller’s It Rhymes with Lust (1950), Gil Kane’s Blackmark (1971), Richard Corben’s Bloodstar (1976), Will Eisner’s A Contract with God (1978), Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor (1976-1986), Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s V for Vendetta (1982), Art Spiegelman’s Maus I/II (1986/1991), Ho Che Anderson, King (1993), Howard Cruse, Stuck Rubber Baby (1995), Joe Sacco, Palestine (1996), Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan (2000), Alice Bechdel’s Fun Home (2006), Bryan Talbot’s Alice in Sunderland (2007), Dave Mazzuchelli’s Asterios Polyp (2009), Craig Thompson’s Habibi (2011). It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.


Group III or V

TOPIC: American Film Genres

This course examines three enduring genres of American cinema: the horror film, the movie musical, and the action film. These genres have a common interest in displaying bodies, composing spectacular images, depicting encounters with otherness, and conjuring utopian and dystopian scenarios. The class will consider genre films in relation to their socio-historical contexts and to broader developments in U.S. cinema. Students will present their insights and research in a wide variety of forms, including film reviews, blog posts, notes for an exhibition catalogue or DVD liner, press releases, and critical essays. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.


Group II or V

TOPIC: Childhood, Nature, and Technology: Children’s Literature Since the Romantic Era

In this course we’ll explore British children’s literature of the past two centuries, from the commercialization of childhood in the late-eighteenth century to the present. We’ll investigate where our ideas about children come from historically and how texts written by adults construct child readers. Our readings will focus thematically on childhood, nature, and technology. Since the Romantic Era, children have been depicted as innocent creatures removed from adult corruption, but also as future-minded revolutionaries open to new technologies and political ideas. Putting our digital age in perspective, we’ll approach children’s books as a technology that changed over time with new genres, new commercial and printing practices, or literary mediums like pop-up books and online books.

Early short assignments target specific research skills: evaluating secondary sources, creating annotated bibliographies, using your literary analysis skills with illustrations and new media, offering constructive peer comments, etc. Students will learn theoretical approaches to illustrated texts and child audiences and practice archival research methods in digital and rare books collections. As an instructor, I emphasize revision through multiple drafts and personal feedback in face-to-face meetings with students. We will pull everything together with a long research paper (15 pages) that frames your ideas as part of a conversation with other peer scholars. 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 T WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE, S. Camargo. TUTH 3:30-4:45

Group III or V

TOPIC: Remade in America: International Films in American Hands

This section of English 300 is designed to offer students interested in film a chance to investigate the commercial and artistic roles that foreign films play in the U.S. filmscape. In addition to studying, applying, and refining the formal elements of the various genres of writing about film (reviews, analytical essays, production histories), we will examine the sorts of challenges that foreign films pose for spectators and for filmmakers. Viewing and discussing films from a range of national traditions and periods and then studying their American remakes will also help us to understand the values and practices of Hollywood’s corporate culture.

Evaluated work will include four projects amounting to 25–30 pages of formal writing, some of which will involve oral presentations. While helpful, previous experience in film analysis is not essential. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.


“How to Interpret Literature: An Introduction to Contemporary Critical Theory.” This course is required for English literature majors and is best not delayed for too long. Seniors usually regret not taking it sooner. Literature students write, think, and speak literary criticism, and this course sets out to make that process more interesting and—eventually—more fun. In the last half century, critics have repeatedly reinvented literary and cultural criticism in ways that can deeply influence how we interpret what we read and how we understand our daily lives. We will study such critical movements as new criticism, structuralism and narratology, deconstruction and poststructuralism, psychoanalysis, feminism, queer studies, Marxism, new historicism, cultural studies, critical race theory, postcolonial studies, and reader response. This course prepares students for future literature classes, and more to the point, it helps us understand and question the entire project of critical thinking and reading. Attendance will be crucial, for we learn these concepts both by reading and by working with the concepts together. Class time will focus on discussion and more discussion, not on lecture. If you like to stay silent in class, don’t take this section. Students will write multiple short papers and share their papers with their classmates. Readings will include How to Interpret Literature: Critical Theory for Literary and Cultural Studies (2nd edition, 2011) and Critical Theory: A Reader for Literary and Cultural Studies (2012). It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.


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

Texts will include Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams, Marx’s The Communist Manifesto, Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals and a Course Packet with essays by critics in the Gender, psychoanalytic, Marxist, and Post-Structuralist traditions. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.

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

This course will seek to change the way you think about literature—and culture in general—by introducing you to the world of literary and cultural theory. We will survey a number of innovations in critical thinking from the last two centuries and apply them to the analysis of selected literary and cultural texts. Some of the varied questions we will attempt to answer are: What is literature and is literary language different from everyday language? What is an author? How is meaning produced and how does interpretation work? What is the relationship between literature and history? Literature and politics? Literature and sexuality? Why do so many literary critics today talk about issues like race and colonialism? What does the unconscious have to do with literature? How can we apply our training in literary criticism to the analysis of visual culture? In seeking answers to these questions and others, we will consider critical movements such as New Criticism, structuralism, psychoanalysis, Marxism, deconstruction, New Historicism, cultural studies, feminism, queer theory, and postcolonial studies. Literary texts to which we will apply these theories will probably include: Henry James, The Turn of the Screw and selected poetry. A final paper will consider Michael Haneke’s 2005 film Caché (Hidden). Requirements include: a willingness to work through difficult and unfamiliar material, regular class participation and short blog posts, three papers, and two exams. 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 examine the major theoretical and methodological approaches to literary and cultural studies which 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 exemplary works of literature and art. 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: Nicholas Birns, Theory after Theory; Madame Bovary (Norton Edition); The Sign of Four (Penguin)

325 S TOPICS IN LGBT LIT & FILM, Rodriguez. TUTH 2-3:15

Group V

TOPIC: The Queer 80’s

A number of historical accounts often view queer studies as a phenomenon originating in the early 1990s due in large part to Teresa de Lauretis’s coinage of the term “queer theory” as the title for a conference at the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1990 and for the subsequent 1991 special issue of the journal Differences. This course, however, regards the 1980s as setting the structural foundation for what would become one of the most innovative and activist oriented fields of critical inquiry. Through an examination of literature, art, print media, music, video, and other expressive forms from Europe and the U.S., the course explores how Reagan/Thatcher-era conservatism and the emergence of the AIDS pandemic inspired various acts of cultural resistance which would in turn fuel the political impulse of queer studies.

333 TB MEMOIR & AUTOBIOGRAPHY, Barnes. MW 11-12:20

same as GWS 333

Group V

Explores the phenomenon of autobiography in the contemporary world. Students will read theories of autobiography, and ask questions about how writing about the self is gendered, and how representations of the self fare in the outside world. An important aspect of the course will be examinations of how changing media such as film, television talk shows and the Internet shape these representations. Students will be assigned to read and make a presentation on one of the supplementary texts of autobiographies chosen from authors in the First and Third worlds.


Group V

same as YDSH 320, RLST 320, CWL 320

Course introduces a variety of Jewish literary responses to the Holocaust written during and after the Second World War (from 1939). The discussion of Holocaust memoirs, diaries, novels, short stories, poems, and other texts will focus on the unique contribution of literary works to our understanding of the Holocaust. In addition, the works and their authors will be situated in their Jewish cultural historical context. Taught in English translation.


Group V

same as MACS 373

TOPIC: Haunted Cinema

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

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

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


same as MACS 373

Group V

TOPIC: The Disney Phenomenon from Cultural, Artistic and Global Economic Perspectives

Over the almost 90 years of its existence, “Disney” has become a household word not just in the U.S., but also internationally, particularly in recent decades through the global marketing of videos and extension of Disney theme parks abroad. This film topics course critically explores the distinctive contributions and widespread impact of “Disney” from multiple perspectives: as an artistic and narrative style; an American biography; a key component of the U.S. film industry; a factor in shaping American childhood and social values; an expansionary business model; and a crucial site at which to study textual representation of race, gender, and familial relations.

We’ll consider the cultural, economic and political impact, domestically and abroad, of Disney productions from early cartoons, animated features, and live-action films to the corporation’s ownership and development of television, video games, and theme parks and model communities. We’ll also briefly examine competitors and possible counter models to the Disney Corporation, e.g. Dreamworks and U.S. marketing of Japanese manga and anime. The central course goal is that students come to master key critical, historical and theoretical methods that enable a grasp of Disney’s force as both a particular phenomenon and an exemplary case for studying 20th-21st century media and popular cultural production.

Requirements: regular class attendance and participation; substantial reading; some assigned out-of-class viewing; and willingness to work to hone your writing skills through two short reports about out-of-class explorations of Disney manifestations, two ca. 3 pp. synopses of assigned readings, and a 5-6 pp. final research or interpretive essay (or a possible alternate creative assignment of comparable scope, with instructor approval). In lieu of a final, the course will have a three-quarters exam testing mastery of key terms, developments, figures, approaches and concepts studied through an objective “identifications/definition” section and an exam essay question.


Group V

same as GWS 378

Discusses how femininity and gender formation are related through fairy tales. As children grow they are taught the difference between male and female roles. One of the main ways this instruction takes place is through the pleasurable media of fairy tales in books, poems, and more recently, films. Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, and The Little Mermaid, among others, will be examined to understand how sexual identity is constructed differently in different cultures, and how issues such as rape and incest are addressed within the narratives. The readings 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.

380 B TOPICS IN WRITING STUDIES, Wood/Pahre. TUTH 12:30-1:50

Group V

meets with PS 300

TOPIC: Mapping the Past, Modeling the Future: Environmental Changes and the Midwest

This 200/300-level course, to be cross-listed in ESE, Political Science and English, provides a systems-based study of the environmental history of the Midwestern United States with a view to its future management, preservation, and sustainable development. A fundamental principle of sustainability theory dictates that complex systems such as human societies or ecosystems can be understood only through close observation over time. Accordingly, this course begins with expansive spatial and temporal frames—the entire Midwest region from the pre-settlement period to the present—before focusing on a specific place and timeframe: the fate of the Indiana Dunes region in the coming decades. Along the way, students will learn to think in terms of using multiple models for specific problems. Ecosystem models, geographic information systems, economic models, maps and metaphors, etc. The goal of the course is to provide students practical experience in environmental assessment and management, one driven by rich, system-wide understanding and principles of sustainability rather than the short-term stakeholder interests of politicians and developers This course is part of the LAS blockbuster initiative: LAS students will receive General Education credit in two categories: Humanities & the Arts (Literature & the Arts) and Social & Behavioral Sciences (Social Science)


Group V

TOPIC: Language and Law

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).

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. 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. We’ll look the language and privacy rights of employers and employees in the workplace. And we’ll consider intellectual property issues involving language: trademark, copyright, plagiarism (including the legal controversy over the Google Books Project). Finally, we’ll consider some topics in forensic linguistics: interrogation and testimony; voiceprints, author identification, and language profiling.

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, participate in a moot court on a current Supreme Court case, and do a class presentation on an issue of their choice.

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

396 C HONORS SEMINAR I, Hutner. W 10-11:50

Group III or V

TOPIC: Race, Ethnicity and Contemporary American Fiction

We will explore our topic, Race and Ethnicity in the 21st-Century American Novel, through a diverse range of novels devoted to minority experience in the US. Each of our novels will focus on the experiences shaping contemporary racial or ethnic identity, though the books are chosen less for their representativeness and more for their participation in both historical and contemporary contexts for reading ethnic and racial writing in America. So students can expect to find that the novels all treat the issues challenging minority cultures in the US in very recent formulations. While not the last word on the subject, each novel aims to bring us up to date on some defining anxieties that minority citizen’s share. Those concerns may well be individual and private, but as we will also see, they are also general and public. Plus, each of the various novels might be seen as engaged in a conversation with the others on our syllabus, about the larger complexities of racial or ethnic identity. The novels may be from the last decade, but their power of retrospect sometimes goes back generations. And that can be a contemporary story too.

Even as we will be coming familiar with these collective and specific concerns, we will also be learning about (mostly young) novelists practicing their craft in much the same historical, socioeconomic and even political environment that students share. Many of these writers may not yet be known to you, but each has won or has been a finalist for a prestigious prize, earning significant recognition outside of academe. In an important sense, students will be reading writers who heretofore have been largely unstudied but who may well be among the best-known writers of the next decade.

Typically, we will examine these books through a multiple set of lenses: how they participate in their individual traditions (what they have in common with other works from the same group; how they differ), their larger commonality with contemporary fiction, social and historical specificity (trends in immigration; place in naturalization debates). We will also be looking at the books’ reception: how were they greeted by reviewers? What are the initial critical premises for their study? What have the reviewers recognized or missed?

A significant feature of the course will be for students to work on a research project to be developed in consultation with the professor.

396 X HONORS SEMINAR I, Mohamed. M 12-1:50

Group I or V

TOPIC: Literature from the Petition of Right to the Bill of Rights

It is often said that England has an unwritten constitution. That is both true and untrue. The tumults of England’s seventeenth century are in many respects constitutional struggles over the location of political sovereignty, the validity of the royal prerogative, the powers of the lords temporal and spiritual, and the extension of suffrage in the ‘commons’. The two documents bracketing this course draw attention to legislative attempts to settle such issues: Sir Edward Coke and John Selden’s Petition of Right in 1628, which sought to stem the autocratic impulses of King Charles I; and the Bill of Rights of 1689, which solidified the power exercised by Parliament in the Glorious Revolution. We will also look at the most comprehensive attempts to codify the English constitution, the Instrument of Government and Humble Petition and Advice passed under Oliver Cromwell’s Protectorate.

As we might expect, these legislative measures are a faint reflection of the period’s very lively debates on political liberties, which include calls for greater democracy, debates on censorship, sustained dialogue on religious freedom, and interrogations of the subjugation of women. We shall read such radical voices as those of the Levellers and Diggers—who call for universal suffrage and implement early communism, respectively. We shall see in the chaotic twenty months following the death of Cromwell an explosion of recommendations on settling an English republic: from the Machiavellian republican tradition that finds English expression in the work of Sir James Harrington, to the meritocratic oligarchy of the younger Sir Henry Vane, to the Presbyterian theocracy of Richard Baxter. These run against the still-current patriarchal theory of political order, which we will see in Sir Robert Filmer, and the strident claims for the sovereign authority of Thomas Hobbes’ influential Leviathan.

Such political concerns register themselves in this course’s literary figures, all of whom occupy positions very near the heart of political power: Sir William Davenant, the court playwright struggling to make work for himself in the Interregnum; John Donne, who as a prominent preacher in the national church promoted its position on civil obedience; John Milton, the first English thinker to defend the execution of Charles I and the new regime’s most important propagandist; and Andrew Marvell, recently and persuasively described as a ‘chameleon’ blending into his political background, whether as Milton’s colleague in Cromwell’s government or as a Member of Parliament in the Restoration. These writers reveal how political unrest changes the business of cultural production, and also how in this period political crises are also and necessarily literary crises.

397 M HONORS SEMINAR II, Underwood. TUTH 9:30-10:45

Group II or V

TOPIC: Transformations of Genre in Nineteenth-Century Fiction

We praise writers for originality, but also enjoy repetition. At the end of the story, when the detective gathers us together to reveal that one of us etc., the smile on the reader’s face is a smile of recognition. Critics use the word “genre” to describe these patterns of recognition, but that doesn’t mean that critics actually know what a genre is. In this course we’ll explore genres of nineteenth-century fiction (especially the gothic and the story of detection), both to learn about them individually and to think about the changing meaning of genre itself. Readings will include Godwin, Caleb Williams, Austen, Northanger Abbey, Scott, Waverley, Poe, “Murders in the Rue Morgue,” Collins, The Moonstone, and short stories by Conan Doyle. You’ll also do some independent exploration beyond the syllabus, in order to understand a nineteenth-century bestseller in a genre now largely forgotten, like the “silver-fork novel” or “future war novel.” Finally, we’ll consider how data mining a large digital collection might help us understand the transformations of genre. Frequent (4-5) short essays; a longer research project; a bit of data mining (no previous experience required).


same as BTW 402

This course introduces different 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 reading, in-class and out-of-class writing and exercises, participation in class activities, two short analysis papers, and a final project.


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

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


Group I

same as MDVL 410, CWL 417

TOPIC: Troilus and Criseyde: Love and Loss in Medieval Troy

Dramatically set in the midst of the Trojan War, the story of the tragic love affair between the Trojan prince Troilus, youngest son of Priam and Hecuba, and the beautiful young Trojan widow Criseyde, daughter of the turncoat priest Calchas, was told and retold for more than five hundred years. A minor character in the ancient sources, Troilus was transformed into a romance hero by the twelfth-century French writer Benoît de Sainte-Maure. His exploits as warrior and lover were recounted in the thirteenth-century Latin history of the Trojan War by Guido de Columnis, and in the following century he became the hero of his own poem, written in Italian by Giovanni Boccaccio. Boccaccio’s work was the major source for Chaucer’s version of the story, which was considered Chaucer’s masterpiece during his lifetime and for centuries afterward. The Scots poet Robert Henryson even wrote a sequel to complete Criseyde’s part of the story. William Shakespeare recast Chaucer’s narrative still more radically as a play, which John Dryden subsequently reshaped into a proper neoclassical tragedy with Cressida as tragic heroine. We will read all of these versions--those by Benoît, Guido, and Boccaccio in modern English translations, the others in the original English—but will focus especially on the brilliant treatments of the story by Chaucer and Shakespeare. Prominent topics of discussion will include the characterization of Criseyde and the issue of female desire, the relationship between public and private history, and the changing conceptions of tragedy.


Shakespeare Requirement

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

418 2U/2G SHAKESPEARE, Kay. TUTH 12:30-1:45

Shakespeare Requirement

We will look at eight plays, starting with A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado about Nothing, Henry the Fourth, Part One, and Twelfth Night. After the mid-term exam we’ll consider Othello (the tragic counterpart to Much Ado), Antony and Cleopatra (Shakespeare’s great Roman history), and King Lear, a tragic treatment of the theme of folly found in Twelfth Night. We will conclude with The Winter’s Tale, a late romance in which jealous passion like that in Othello results in reconciliation and forgiveness. We’ll talk together about the nature of Shakespeare’s poetic language, characterization, and plotting; about the way his dramatic artistry is influenced by the conditions of the Elizabethan stage; about his conceptions of gender and social roles; and about many of his recurring themes. Class sessions will include video excerpts chosen to illustrate the plays’ dramatic interest and power.

Course work will include the mid-term and final exams, two papers of 6-7 pages apiece, and quizzes or in-class writing on the daily readings. Texts will be the newly revised Signet Shakespeare editions of the plays.


Shakespeare Requirement

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

421 1U/1G LATER RENAISS POETRY & PROSE, Gray. TUTH 9:30-10:45

Group I

Most literary historians like to claim their period as a turning point, but scholars of the seventeenth-century have an edge: in 1649, the English took the unprecedented step of trying their King for treason and then beheading him. In this course we will explore the artistic and intellectual questioning that characterizes seventeenth-century poetry and prose. Focusing on some of the major poets and prose writers of the time, we will lay out some of the traditional ideas about literature, religion, politics, and gender as they occur early in the century, and then watch as they mutate in the context of Revolutionary debate.

423 1U/1G Milton, Perry. TUTH 11-12:15

Group IV

This course examines the life and work of the hugely influential and inarguably great poet John Milton (1608-1674).

That is more complicated than it sounds, though, since in addition to the grand poems for which he is chiefly remembered, Milton wrote a wide variety of kinds of poetry and prose and was an active and engaged participant in an enormously turbulent stretch of British history. In addition to being a poet, he was at different times known to his contemporaries as a brilliant polemicist with an international audience, a government spokesman, a controversial religious thinker, a licentious divorcer, a heretic, and an old, blind outcast. And Milton himself saw life and poetry as inextricably interconnected, as is suggested by this remarkable assertion: “he who would not be frustrate of his hope to write well hereafter in laudable things, ought himself to be a true poem, that is, a composition and pattern of the best and honourablest things; not presuming to sing high praises of heroic men or famous cities unless he have in himself the experience and practice of all that which is praiseworthy” (An Apology for Smectymnuus, 1642). It is the premise of this class, therefore, that understanding Milton’s writing requires attention to history and biography—to the controversies and contexts to which it responds and in which it took shape.

We will spend approximately half the semester delving into the three late, major works of poetry that are the basis of Milton’s towering canonical status: Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes. We will also read selections from his earlier poetry and from the polemical writings that were his main focus during the civil war and interregnum period in Britain. Only reliable, inexpensive editions of the primary texts will be required for purchase, though some modern biographical and/or critical writings may also be assigned in order to help bring out crucial interpretive questions. Classes will be conducted as a loose combination of lecture and discussion, as the material demands, and students can expect to be assessed on 2 short(ish) paper assignments, a midterm and a final exam, and some kind of regular in-class writing prompts designed to encourage thoughtful and consistent engagement with the primary texts in between class sessions.

Milton, in all of his writings, grapples with a set of questions—about liberty, equality, patriotism, duty, marriage, gender, learning, faith, writing, aesthetics, citizenship, ethics etc.—that are powerfully interrelated for him and that are still of urgent concern in numerous ways today. Students who read his writing with care can expect to be challenged, enlightened, angered, and delighted by turns. Who could ask for anything more?

442 1U/1G BRITISH LIT SINCE 1930, I. Baron. TUTH 12:30-1:45

Group II

At the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics, director Danny Boyle created a pageant of British history entitled Isles of Wonder that evoked two conflicting views of the island-nation’s past, present and future. Beginning with the pastoral idylls of Shakespeare’s England, Boyle conjures up an easy life of shepherds and shepherdesses at one with nature on this sceptered isle set in the silver waters of the North Atlantic. But the rarified air of this Edenic landscape is soon contaminated by the engines of capitalism, churning up soot and human misery in the dark, Satanic mills of England’s green and pleasant land. Boyle’s spectacle of a British utopia decimated by technology became an overarching literary theme in the hands of twentieth century writers as the hazards of mechanization led to two World Wars and a complete restructuring of the sociopolitical system that had dominated the island nation since the Norman Conquest.

In this course, we’ll explore the effect that the second wave of the Industrial Revolution had on Britain and the lasting impact of technology on reconfiguring British political paradigms in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. We’ll examine the image of the crumbling British estate house as industrialization drove millions of individuals to the cities looking for work to escape poverty prior to WWI, and how the cities themselves transposed into icons of urban decay. In the midcentury modernist period, as the Welfare State emerged and the country rebuilt itself up from the ashes of the Blitz, we’ll concentrate on the rise of the Labour party and how it shaped the mindset of working class writers. And finally, as we approach and pass the new millennium, we’ll explore how the media, the internet, terrorism and biotechnology have the power to permanently enhance or destroy Britain—creating another pastoral utopia or a dark dystopian universe where no one survives.

Students are expected to actively participate in class discussions and to give an oral report during the course of the semester. There will be three papers and a final project. Novels and films may include: Brave New World, Atonement, Brideshead Revisited, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, A Clockwork Orange, Once Upon a Time in England, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, The Golden Compass, Shaun of the Dead, Never Let Me Go and The Children of Men.

450 1U/1G AMERICAN LIT 1865-1914, T. Newcomb. TUTH 11-12:15

Group III

In fifty years between the end of a devastating civil war and the beginning of a global war, the United States changed from a sprawling, contentious jumble of special interests into the world’s foremost industrial and imperial power. The literature produced by Americans during this half-century vividly reflects that period of transformation. This course will focus on texts in a variety of genres that respond to the defining agents oftransformation: the emergence of the American metropolis, the growth of national imperial ambitions, ongoing tensions in racial, gender, and class relationships, and the increasing dominance of machine technologies over everyday life. Students should expect formal essays and informal writing assignments, a class presentation, and a final exam.

452 1U/1G AMERICAN LIT 1945-PRESENT, Parker. MWF 10

Group III

In studying nearly seventy years of prolific writing, we cannot pretend to find a representative sample in one semester, but we will read a set of works that will provoke our interest for their variety of forms, styles, and topics, the dialogues they set up with each other and with readers, and the portraits they offer of American literature and culture since World War II. The highly tentative reading list includes Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley, Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Ursula K. LeGuinn’s The Left Hand of Darkness, Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, Margaret Edson’s Wit, Bharati Mukherjee’s Jasmine, Ray Young Bear’s Black Eagle Child, and Percival Everett’s Erasure. Where appropriate, we will watch clips from films based on the readings. We will also explore the world of contemporary literary journals, in print and online. Students who prefer to stay quiet in class should not take this course, because we will focus on discussion, and all students will be expected to join the dialog.

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

Group IV

TOPIC: Richard Wright: Texts and Contexts

meets with AFRO 498

This course uses Richard Wright’s (1908-1960) life and work as a guide for discussing literary technique, genre, media technologies, and forms of cultural criticism. We will pay particular attention to Wright’s (and our) reading of power (raced, classed, gendered, etc.) in the U.S. and the world. Beginning with “Blueprint for Negro Writing” and Uncle Tom’s Children we will discuss the role of the artist in society, Wright’s use of a Marxist analysis, and his arguments about folk culture. By mid-semester, we will have encountered multiple forms (prose fiction and nonfiction, poetry, film, and photography), leading to a larger conversation about cultural transformations in the U.S. between the Great Depression and the conclusion of World War II. We will conclude the semester with The Outsider and a discussion of Wright’s notion of a human right to “think and feel honestly” in the context of anti-colonialism. Aside from Richard Wright, we will read a sampling from contemporaries including Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, Ann Petry, William Faulkner, and Ralph Ellison. We will also work through theoretical frameworks from critical race and gender studies, postcolonial studies, and documentary studies.

455 2U/2G MAJOR AUTHORS, Hansen. TUTH 2-3:50

Group IV

TOPIC: David Fincher, Christopher Nolan and the Age of Perpetual Crisis

Over the last decade, we’ve grown quite accustomed to hearing politicians talk about economic crises, military crises, and even religio-historical crises. We live in an age where the crisis, the state of exception, never really seems to end. By focusing on the films that David Fincher and Christopher Nolan directed between 1995 and 2012—the era of New Media and instant news coverage—this course will examine how the psychology of mass-fear has re-mapped the ideological terrain of contemporary society. Framed to some extent by the horrors provoked by 9/11, Nolan and Fincher produced a series of films that both predicted disaster and responded to the failure of Western economic and military power. Along the way, films such as ‘fight Club” and “The Dark Knight” interrogate some of our deepest psychological concerns about modern masculinity, sadism, masochism, and consumer culture. By examining what’s at stake in the Nolan/Fincher films from this period, we will attempt to engage with the often concealed and genuinely troubling concerns about our society and ourselves that these films have come to embody.

The course will meet twice a week in a lab format. Course requirements include two 8 page research papers, 1 in-class presentation, a daily reading journal, and two exams.

455 3U/3G MAJOR AUTHORS, Markley. TUTH 9:30-10:45

Group IV

TOPIC: Jane Austen

This course will focus on the major works of one of the most important novelists of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Jane Austen, as well as works by two of her contemporaries, Frances Burney and Elizabeth Inchbald. We will read Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Mansfield Park, and Persuasion—as well as a variety of texts on the socioeconomic, political, and cultural contexts of the period. We will pay particular attention to the changing roles of women authors between 1770 and 1830, and examine at length Austen’s depictions of the problems confronting their heroines in a patriarchal society. Burney’s Evelina and Inchbald’s A Simple Story will offer somewhat different perspectives on these problems. Students will write three short papers (4-5 pages), a midterm, and a final exam.

455 SU MAJOR AUTHORS, Sobol. TUTH 2-3:20

Group IV

Meets with RUS 323, CWL 323

TOPIC: Tolstoy’s War and Peace

Immerse yourself into the world of Tolstoy’s immortal masterpiece and follow the characters’ tortuous paths throughout some of the most tumultuous times of Russian history. This is probably your only chance to ever read War and Peace in its entirety!

For undergraduate students, no knowledge of Russian is necessary.


Group III or V

TOPIC: “In these words” Oral History as Literary Form

In this seminar, we will explore oral history as a contemporary literary genre. Reading a range of texts, including interviews with former slaves (collected by the WPA Project in the 1930s), Damballah, a collection of short stories by John Wideman, and Studs Terkel’s Working, we will study a variety of approaches to the preservation of memory. Keeping in mind the multifaceted history of oral history, these assigned texts will be contextualized as artifacts, works of arts, social studies; each will be closely examined in terms of rhetoric, aesthetic and politics. Key to student comprehension will be the careful consideration of the dynamics between interviewee/subject and interviewer/author. Invariably this examination will confront issues of editorial authority, ethics, and informed consent. Equally crucial to our dialogue will be an ongoing focus on the complexity of memory itself.

460 ONU/ONG LIT OF AMERICAN MINORITIES, D. Wright. Online, 2nd 8 week section

TOPIC: America at the Nadir: Race and Representation from Twain to Hurston

Group III or V

This course will use a multi-disciplinary approach to explore the perceived role, or “place,” of blacks and other marginalzied groups (including women and the poor) in US society as it was represented in popular forms of expression, such as literature, film, theater and music at the turn of the twentieth century. We will begin with cultural production from the Reconstruction and progress through the Harlem Renaissance and explore such themes as identity and representation; “black face” minstrelsy; “manifest destiny” and modernity; etc.

461 1U/1G TOPICS IN LITERATURE, Somerville. TUTH 9:30-10:45

Group III or V

TOPIC: American Narratives of Passing

Recent critical and theoretical work on identity has drawn attention to the phenomenon of passing, that is, the movement from one identity to another, across lines of race, gender, or sexual orientation. We will study a range of texts—including fiction, autobiography, and film—that have portrayed or enacted various kinds of passing in the United States. Along the way, we will become acquainted with contemporary theories of identity. Our guiding questions will include: To what extent does the act of passing reinforce or unhinge seemingly natural categories of race, gender, or sexual orientation? What are the connections or disjunctions between closeting and crossing the color line? How might literary texts themselves pass? How do different historical and political contexts shape passing narratives and their reception? To what extent does passing across one axis of difference unsettle other categories of identity? The course format will be primarily discussion, with frequent opportunities for you to shape these and other questions.


Group III or V

TOPIC: Narrative and Waste in U.S. Culture

“Waste” is a charged word: individuals are castigated for wasting time, talent, money, or opportunity; bodies can waste away; people can get wasted; ruined landscapes become lonely wastes. Waste is also, of course, a way of separating out material that is useful and valuable from trash and garbage. Waste counter-intuitively suggests excess and abandon as well as scarcity and neglect. This class looks at twentieth-century U.S. narratives about waste in its material, moral, and symbolic incarnations, exploring how the idea of waste itself has generated new kinds of relations between individuals and the culture that surrounds them. In particular, we will look at new kinds of narratives that have emerged around the idea of waste, including creative non-fiction, memoirs, and blogs about lifestyle practices and environmental concerns; and we will pay special attention to what it means that the form of imaginative narratives themselves—television, certain kinds of novels, and blogs, among others—have long been considered “wastes of time.” The class will include units on food and food writing; science fiction; narratives about hoarding; contemporary nonfiction about environmental anxiety; and narratives about ewaste and digital reading and writing. This class has two aims: to look first at how modern U.S. narrative has defined its cultural work through various meditations on the generative power of waste and wastefulness; and to look at the rise of the explanatory power of ecological criticism for theories of narrative. Course requirements include 4 essays, one final exam, and a collaborative project.


Group V

TOPIC: Literature, Video Games, and Zombies

Despite the fact that video games have been coded, shared, and played for at least 40 years, video games continue to be dismissed as mindless entertainment at best and violent time-wasters at worst. In fact, Roger Ebert went so far as to assert that video games can never be art. And yet, in 2011, the Supreme Court determined that, “like the protected books, plays and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas—and even social messages—through many familiar literary devices (such as characters, dialogue, plot, and music) and through features distinctive to the medium (such as the player’s interaction with the virtual world).” This class will consider the relationship between literature and video games by looking at the shared and divergent narrative strategies that each medium uses to construct worlds and tell stories. Over the course of the semester, we will read novels that inspired video games, look at how video game play transforms novels, in addition to considering some of the larger questions emerging from video game studies. What are games and where do they fit within cultural, literary, racial, social, and gender studies? How do technologies and mediums affect access to and experience of story? What are the cultural and social ideas communicated through games and how do the means of their production function within global economies? Students will be expected to play video games, participate in class discussions, and produce a final project. Texts may include: Assassin’s Creed, Vladimir Bartol’s Alamut, Christine Love’s Analogue: A Hate Story, Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves, Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, Bioshock, Braid, Left4Dead, Parasite Eve, Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year, Katherine Amt Hanna’s Breakdown, and Stephen Graham Jones’s The Long Trial of Nolan Dugatti in addition to critical work focusing on the development of games and game studies.

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

The constellation of skills that comprise composition—invention, selection, combination, construction, framing, curation, reasoning, argument, presentation, delivery, and so on—have been taught in Western worlds since classical time. This course will review the long and rich history of composition theory in order to understand what composition has been (e.g., an craft, an art, a civic action, a moral exercise), who composition has served (e.g., citizens, lawyers, preachers, social climbers, students, activists), and what composition has helped people accomplish (e.g., persuasion of others, expression of self, disruption of social order). We will consider how these historical theories of composition inflect the approaches to teaching composition that have emerged in the last fifty years, including pedagogies grounded in process theory, expressivism, social constructivism, feminism, multimodality, and multiculturalism. In light of these historical and contemporary contexts, we will articulate our own goals as writers and teachers of writing, asking what practices will allow us to achieve our goals in the contexts of the communities in which we live and teach.

504 A THEORIES OF CINEMA, Kaganovsky. MW 3-4:50

same as MACS 504, CWL 504

This semester the course begins with a review of basic and formative film theory, understood within the historical context in which it was and is written and received. Building on this groundwork, the course then moves on to consider rhetorical aspects of film theory and asks what theories film scholars can use to address the relationships among film, politics, and society.

506 G WRITING STUDIES II, Russell. W 3:30-5:20

same as CI 564

meets with ENGL 582, CI 565

TOPIC: Genre Emergence and Change

Over the past half century, scholars in a variety of disciplines have worked to redefine genre—to shift its theoretical pulse from form and content to action and ecology. That is, we have moved from understanding genres as a means of defining and classifying texts toward understanding them as orchestrations of social and ideological events. Both old and new definitions of genre maintain that genres are mostly, and most importantly, patterns already in place, occurrences already recognized as recurrences. How then does the pattern (in form, content, situation, exigence, audience, action) take and then shift shape? How do genres emerge, change, proliferate, perhaps fade, even die? How do emergent genres relate to established ones? How to genre writers suggest genres-to-be or genres-becoming? How do audiences come to recognizes generic exigences and genres as exigences? This seminar will explore questions of genre emergence and change, offering participants the opportunity to explore rhetorical genre theory as well as questions of power and cultural production activated in genre work.

508 G BEOWULF, C. Wright. MW 3:30-4:45

same as MDVL 508

Hwæt! In this course we will read the entire poem Beowulf in the original Old English. Beowulf is one of the finest long poems in the English language from any period (just ask Seamus Heaney), and how often do you get to immerse yourself in a great literary work for an entire semester? As we translate the poem we will discuss literary, historical, and cultural problems in conjunction with a selection of the best literary criticism from J. R. R. Tolkien’s landmark essay “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics” to the most recent approaches, such as critical monster theory.

Course requirement: one research paper of about 15-20 pages (no exams). Prerequisite: Reading knowledge of Old English (English 407 or equivalent).

Undergraduates who have taken Old English (English 407) are welcome! Just send me an e-mail so I can send you the necessary instructor’s permission to enroll in a 500-level class; then take my note to the Graduate Studies Office in the English Building (Room 210) to enroll (you won’t be able to do it online).

Texts: Klaeber’s Beowulf, 4th ed., ed. R. D. Fulk, R. Bjork, and J. Niles; A Beowulf Handbook, ed. Bjork and Niles

524 R SEMINAR IN 17TH C LITERATURE, L. Newcomb. TH 1-2:50

TOPIC: Popular and Print Cultures in Early Modern Britain, 1600 to 1665

This seminar explores new forms emerging from London stages, studies, and presses for Britain’s growing audiences: drama performance and playbooks, ballads as both sung and published; prose fictions of empire, original and recycled; tomes on health, gender, and devotion remediated as chapbooks; learned defenses of the press and scurrilous news pamphlets. As that list suggests, early documents often fall into pairs of performed and published texts, or scholarly and popularizing texts, linked by bibliography but produced and consumed for different, but overlapping, audience segments. These varied social uses were sometimes, but not always, re-defined during the upheaval of civil war at mid-century. Students will engage these pairings both individually, to share their case studies conference-style, and collaboratively, to build a new model of the period’s compound and intersecting literacies. We’ll test whether less-studied forms of cultural production can be recovered and understood using a print-culture focus and tools that range from early printed materials to burgeoning digital applications; up to one-third of our class meetings will be in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Secondary readings will emphasize such questions as the multiplicity of readers’ practices, the alleged conservatism of popular tastes, and the instability of emergent media—problems transferrable well beyond seventeenth-century Britain.

TEXTS: will include The Book History Reader, ed. Finkelstein and McCleery, 2nd edition (Routledge, 2006); course packets.

527 T SEMINAR IN 18TH C LITERATURE, Markley. TH 3:30-5:20

TOPIC: Climate and Culture: 1600-1830

1850 marks the end of the so-called “Little Ice Age” in Europe, a period when colder temperatures over northwestern Europe led to volatile weather patterns, increased storminess, shorter growing seasons, cycles of poor harvests, hunger, food riots, and even starvation. For more than two hundred years, major English writers from Shakespeare to Wordsworth and Austen charted, in subtle and fascinating ways, the intersections of climate and literary culture. In approaching writing about the environment before and during the development of Romantic understandings of the natural world, this seminar extends the boundaries of “ecocriticism” and interdisciplinary studies. While no specialized knowledge about ecology is required, we will discuss some of the ways in which early-modern and Enlightenment attitudes toward climate and environment shape our own perceptions of the natural world in the twenty-first century.

During the course of the semester, we will read a wide range of texts, including travel accounts, landscape and georgic poetry, natural histories, and natural history writing. The seminar will offer you the opportunity to study specific climatic episodes, such as the El Nino of 1740-44, which produced the last mass starvation in Europe, and the “Year without a Summer,” 1816, the consequence of a volcanic dust cloud, which brought food riots to France and Britain, a refugee crisis to New England, and led to Mary Shelley’s writing Frankenstein. You are encouraged to develop independent research projects that focus on the interplay between literary texts and climatological history, and your seminar paper should reflect your interests in the period, approaches that you find useful and exciting, and the needs of your graduate career.

543 T SEMINAR MOD BRITISH LIT, Mahaffey. TH 3-4:50

TOPIC: The End of Omniscience: Stylistic Revolution(s) in the Modernist Novel

One of the famous innovations of the modernist novel was that it dispensed with the omniscient third-person narrator. But what replaced that narrator? The usual answer is the “stream-of-consciousness” technique, or else “multiple perspectives.” This course is designed to inventory the problem, trace the history of the suggested solution(s), and finally to formulate the various kinds of stylistic “replacements” for omniscience were devised by both male and female writers. In some sense, the Modernist novel might be understood as a kick-back to the eighteenth-century epistolary novel, except that the communication of a character’s thoughts is not usually recorded in letters, nor is it addressed to a recipient or designed to convey a specific message. However, one could argue that the narration is re-embodied; or, to put it a little differently, the source of the narrative is often an individual body rather than a “divine” mind or even the mind of an older person, broadened by experience. Narrative becomes less retrospective, more rooted in the unfolding experience of the present moment and constrained by the limitations of the senses and the individual memory.

We will begin with Flaubert, as one should in a course on the Modernist novel. Madame Bovary is arguably the novel that inaugurated the changes that would become “modernist,” while maintaining many of the features of the nineteenth-century realist novel. We will then move to Edouard Dujardin’s The Bays are Sere, which Joyce referred to as the first novel that used the stream-of-consciousness technique throughout. We will look at the invention of the term (first used by William James), and then examine the first volume of Pilgrimage by Dorothy Richardson, who was not only the first woman but the first English writer to use the technique. We will read one or two novels by May Sinclair, who used the term to describe Richardson’s accomplishment, and we will also explore the narrative styles of Rebecca West, Virginia Woolf, and Elizabeth Bowen. Finally, we will return to Flaubert’s Temptation of St. Anthony in preparation for a reading of Joyce’s Ulysses, where we will examine how narration began to explode more fully into drama, dramatizing not only the conscious but the unconscious minds of his protagonists (especially in the “Circe” episode). We will conclude with an episode of Finnegans Wake, where narrative has been dislodged from the individual body, dissolved into the landscape, language, and darkness.

Requirements include a one-page essay to be presented orally, and a 15-20 page seminar paper. Shorter response paragraphs may also be required.


TOPIC: Secularism and Early U.S. Fictions

This seminar explores the vibrant recent debate over secularism and secularization. Long a structuring principle of literary study, the assumption that modernity is marked by an ineluctable secularization has been called into question both by geopolitical events and scholars of the humanities and social sciences. While engaging with these debates directly, this seminar will also use them to study a paradox in the early United States: that during the decades of disestablishment of state-supported churches, religiosity rose rather than waned. The early Republic and antebellum eras gave us the “separation of church and state” and the Second Great Awakening; provoked the creation of new religious communities and the often violent responses to them; and experienced the evangelizing of abolitionism that spurred the urgency of such figures as William Lloyd Garrison, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and John Brown. Over the course of the semester, we will examine the relation between belief and secular culture theoretically and historically, with a particular focus on fiction. In great part, our consideration will be how fictional genres gave popular expression to both faith and unbelief, and how new theories of the secular revise commonly held assumptions about the role of fiction in the new nation. More broadly, then, theories about secularism will ultimately allow us to rethink the larger narratives about American literature, those inherited from the founding works in American Studies and those still operational today. To that end, we will read theoretical works on secularism by such scholars as Charles Tayler, Talal Asad, Saba Mahmood, and José Casanova; studies of American religion, secularism, and literature by Tracy Fessenden, David Paul Nord, Joanna Brooks, and Susan Griffin, among others; and histories of American fiction and American religion. Our case studies may include works by novelists such as Charles Brockden Brown, Royall Tyler, Catherine Maria Sedgwick, George Lippard, Augusta Jane Evans, Herman Melville and Harriet Beecher Stowe as well as tracts from the American Tract Society, polemical works attacking such groups as Masons and Catholics, and the print culture of sentimental evangelical Protestantism.


TOPIC: The Mind Sciences and Modern Cultural Response

We will focus on the impact—in modern literary texts and other varieties of imaginative production—of discoveries and disruptive new formulations related to the organization and dynamics of the mind, the nature of thinking, the fundamentals of consciousness and the self.

We will review a set of influential pronouncements on these subjects, from c.1800 forward through the dawn of modern psychology and neuroscience. We will discuss selections from Hegel, Coleridge, Fichte, Schlegel, Marx, Pater, William James, Wilde, Freud, and others—perceptions and propositions that continue to subtend, or haunt, literary practice and cultural criticism. We will talk about moments, from the close of the 19th century onward, when revolutionary ideas about consciousness—persuasive, dubious, and sometimes flat-out pernicious—resonate in the practice of therapy, in racial and gender politics, and in the work of American and British imaginative writers. We will look at hypotheses and ‘viral’ narratives and myths about the brain and the mind as they manifest in contemporary literature, popular culture, and critical response. For students with special interest in learning the craft of the publishable essay, we can make that an objective of the major writing project. Early in the term, students will be asked to do a brief evaluation of a set of recent journal articles that reach into recent and contemporary mind-science to negotiate literary and cultural questions. Later, we will do two group sessions on key differences between good seminar papers and documents that find acceptance in respected journals. This is a transition worth talking about together, regardless of where your own work will eventually take you. Readings will include William James, Henry James, Kate Chopin, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Frank Norris, D. H. Lawrence, Paul Broks, Steven Pinker, Daniel Dennett, Richard Powers, Dan Lloyd, and films by Christopher Nolan and others.


TOPIC: Race and Neoliberalism

The transition from a liberal state-led economy to a neoliberal market economy in the 1980s produced a sea change in racial forms and meanings that confounds the paradigms of race inherited from the civil rights era. The implications of these racial transformations have only recently begun to be theorized, highlighting a lacuna in critical race theory, which has largely focused on neoconservative threats to racial justice projects rather than neoliberal embrace of them. Similarly, most theoretical accounts of neoliberalism have left the reconstitution of race, gender, and sexuality in the present untheorized. Working with and between materialist accounts of the present and theories of race, gender and sexuality, this course begins the work of examining the unstable and shifting terrain of neoliberal racialization. Readings for this course will include David Harvey, Michel Foucault, Brian Massumi, Wendy Brown, Jodi Melamed, Roderick Ferguson, Jasbir Puar, Lauren Berlant, Gayatri Spivak, and Paul Gilroy. Possible literary texts and films we will consider are Precious, Cosmopolis, Fixer Chao, and American Psycho.

582 G TOPICS RESEARCH AND WRITING, Russell. W 3:30-5:20

same as CI 565

meets with ENGL 506, CI 564

TOPIC: Genre Emergence and Change

Over the past half century, scholars in a variety of disciplines have worked to redefine genre—to shift its theoretical pulse from form and content to action and ecology. That is, we have moved from understanding genres as a means of defining and classifying texts toward understanding them as orchestrations of social and ideological events. Both old and new definitions of genre maintain that genres are mostly, and most importantly, patterns already in place, occurrences already recognized as recurrences. How then does the pattern (in form, content, situation, exigence, audience, action) take and then shift shape? How do genres emerge, change, proliferate, perhaps fade, even die? How do emergent genres relate to established ones? How to genre writers suggest genres-to-be or genres-becoming? How do audiences come to recognizes generic exigences and genres as exigences? This seminar will explore questions of genre emergence and change, offering participants the opportunity to explore rhetorical genre theory as well as questions of power and cultural production activated in genre work.


same as CI 569

TOPIC: Language and Law

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).

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. 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. We’ll look the language and privacy rights of employers and employees in the workplace. And we’ll consider intellectual property issues involving language: trademark, copyright, plagiarism (including the legal controversy over the Google Books Project), and impact of digital technologies on intellectual property concerns. Finally, we’ll consider some topics in forensic linguistics: interrogation and testimony; voiceprints, author identification, and language profiling.

Readings—all of them available online—include legislation, court cases, and analyses of various language and law issues. Students will write a seminar paper and do a class presentation on an issue of their choice.


TOPIC: The Teaching of Literature

This seminar is designed to prepare students to teach literature across a range of periods and literary forms. It simultaneously aims to encourage students to develop a critical self-consciousness about pedagogical practice that will be useful in both the classroom and on the job market. To these ends, we will read a handful of essays that address pedagogical theory, in its broad contours and local instantiations, as a way to begin thinking about both our general function and aims as literature teachers and how to deal with particular kinds of texts or reach specific course goals. Most of our time, however, will be spent producing and discussing our own work: we will labor together as a class to create viable courses and assignments, while also developing multiple strategies for effectively lecturing, leading class discussion, and giving feedback on student work. By the end of the seminar, each participant will have created and circulated statements of teaching philosophy and a spectrum of materials for teaching one lower-level and one upper-level literature course in periods and genres of their choosing. These materials will include lesson plans, sample syllabi, and course assignments. 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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