English Course Descriptions: Summer 2011


English 301 X—CRITICAL APPROACHES TO LIT, Rodriguez. MTuWTh 12-2:50

Why does theory matter in the study of literature? This course will attempt to answer this question by identifying the multiple stakes involved in critical analysis. Starting from the premise that literary texts emerge from distinct social, cultural, and historical contexts and circulate as a result of political, economic, and ideological demands, we will examine an array of theoretical approaches that allow us to assess the capacity of literature and related cultural forms such as film to provide evidence, generate meaning, and effect change. Designed as an introduction to critical movements such as new criticism, structuralism, poststructuralism, psychoanalysis, Marxism, feminism, cultural studies, postcolonial theory, and queer theory, students will become acquainted with representative figures of these movements and engage with interpretative practices which will ideally prove beneficial in numerous settings, academic and otherwise.

English 403 1U/1G—HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, D. Baron. MTuWTh 9-11:50

An examination of the history of the English language from its beginnings to the present, this course will treat in detail, and with equal emphasis, the English of the middle ages, the Renaissance, and the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as well as the English used in the Americas and elsewhere in the world today. Our focus will be on language in its social context, and so we will develop a picture of English as it functions in the real world of people communicating: speaking, writing, reading, and using language as a social, political, literary and economic instrument. We will consider as well what happens when languages come into contact, both more violently, in terms of wars and colonial conquests, and more peacefully, in terms of trade, globalization, cultural exchange, tourism, and the Internet.

We will concentrate on relationships between language and literature; dialect and the process of language standardization; the social implications of linguistic variety; and the nature of World Englishes. We will also study new word formation, the impact of technology on language, and the attempts, over the past four centuries, to reform English spelling, grammar, and usage.

This course should be of particular value to students of language and literature who seek a greater understanding of the linguistic forces at play in the texts they study; and to prospective teachers hoping to show their students that language is a living, ever-changing, user-friendly part of their lives. No previous background in language study is necessary, although such experience will not be held against you.

TEXT: Jan Svartvik and Geoffrey Leech, English: One tongue, many voices. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, latest ed.

English 455 1U/1G—MAJOR AUTHORS, Hansen. MTuWTh 12-2:50

TOPIC: Hitchcock’s Libidinal Fear

By focusing on the films that Alfred Hitchcock directed between 1935 and 1960, this course will explore the psychoanalytic and ideological fears that animate some of the most talked about texts in cinema history. Framed by the historical horrors of World War II and the subsequent expansion of American economic and military power, the films of Hitchcock’s most fertile period helped to develop—and simultaneously to conceal—psychological concerns about modern masculinity, sadism, masochism, and consumer culture. By interrogating films ranging from “The Lady Vanishes” and “Rebecca” to “Psycho,” we will attempt to engage not only with the manifest messages of Hitchcock’s cinema, but also with the latent and troubling fears about our society and ourselves that his cinema seems 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.

English 462 1U/1G—TOPICS IN MODERN FICTION, Bauer. MTuWTh 9-11:50

TOPIC: Sex Expression and Modern U.S. Fiction

Starting with ideas about American courtship and ending with theories about repression, suppression and sexual consent, this course will define modern love and will debate what we have come to consider American Sex. Our discussions will focus on the nature of intimacy in a consumer culture, as well as ethnic, gendered, and racial challenges to the emerging sexual norms of modern America. Our collective purpose is to discover how “sex expression”—the emerging languages of sexuality and intimacy—replaced both sentimentality and sympathy and took hold in American culture. There will be a series of in-class writings and assignments, along with a midterm and a final. Tentative Reading List: Rebecca Harding Davis’s “Anne”; Stephen Crane’s Maggie, A Girl of the Streets (1893), Henry James’s “The Beast in the Jungle” (1903) and “The Jolly Corner” (1908), Kate Chopin’s “The Storm” (1898) and Willa Cather’ “Paul’s Case” (1905), Pauline Hopkins’s Of One Blood (1903), Edith Wharton’s Summer (1917), and Anzia Yezierska’s Salome of the Tenements (1923).

English 500 B—Intro to Criticism and Research, Hutner and Markley. MTuWTh 9-11:50

This workshop will offer Ph.D. students the opportunity to revise extensively an existing seminar paper or dissertation chapter for submission to a scholarly journal. Students will be responsible for detailed, thoughtful criticism of others’ work and for substantively revising their own work during the course of the summer session. At the end of the session each student will provide a completed essay to submit to a suitable journal.

Get in Touch

Cookie Settings