Fall 2012 Courses

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013. Hawthorne
William Watterson W 8:00 - 9:25, F 8:00 - 9:25 Mass Hall-McKeen Study
Readings include selected short stories, Fanshawe, The Scarlet Letter, The Blithedale Romance, The House of the Seven Gables, The Marble Faun, Septimus Felton, and James Mellow’s Nathaniel Hawthorne in His Times.
016. Fan Fictions and Cult Classics
Megan Cook T 8:30 - 9:55, TH 8:30 - 9:55 Mass Hall-Faculty Room
Looks closely at a series of texts that have inspired especially ardent responses among readers over the centuries. Readings may include Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Austen’s Emma, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, as well as later texts that appropriate, reimagine, and extend these canonical narratives. Considers how the contemporary notion of a “fan,” an ardent admirer who seems in many ways the opposite of the judgmental critic, can enrich our understanding of literary influence and appreciation. Students compose and revise a number of critical essays and should also come prepared to think and write creatively about the texts studied.
020. African American Children’s Literature
Elizabeth Muther M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25 Mass Hall-Faculty Room
Beginning with W. E. B. Du Bois’s serial magazine of the 1920s, The Brownies’ Book, explores a century of African American literature for and about children. Examines the strong tradition of child-narrated fiction for teens and adults from the 1960s and 1970s by such writers as Ernest Gaines, Toni Morrison, Toni Cade Bambara, Louise Meriwether, and Ann Petry. Considers the emergence of a conscious Black Arts aesthetic in children’s literature and its relationship to the flowering of multicultural children’s literature in recent decades. Explores prize-winning fiction and graphic narratives for middle readers and adolescents as well as the collaborations of writers and artists in the contemporary “golden age” of African American picture books.
026. Fictions of Freedom
Tess Chakkalakal T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55 Adams-114
Introduces students to the literature of slavery. Looks at eighteenth- and nineteenth-century slave narratives, antislavery/proslavery fiction and nonfiction, and visual representations of slavery in the form of photographs, paintings, and minstrel performances. Authors include Equiano, Wheatley, Jefferson, Melville, Douglass, and Stowe. Twentieth- and twenty-first-century narratives include former slave testimonials, novels by Morrison, Faulkner, Williams, Styron, and Jones.
027. Love and Trouble: Black Women Writers
Guy Foster T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25 Adams-202
Introduces students to the twin themes of love and sex as they appear in literary texts written by African American women from the nineteenth century to the contemporary era. These texts explore such issues as sexism, group loyalty, racial authenticity, intra- and interracial desire, homosexuality, the intertextual unfolding of a literary tradition of black female writing, as well as how these writings relate to canonical African American male-authored texts and European American literary traditions. Students expected to read texts closely, critically, appreciatively.
028. Queer Gardens
Terri Nickel M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55 Adams-202
Explores how the garden in Western literature and art serves as a space for desire. Pays special attention to the link between gardens and transgression. Also considers how gardens become eccentric spaces and call into question distinctions between nature and culture. Examines the work of gay and lesbian gardeners and traces how marginal identities find expression in specific garden spaces. Reconsiders one of the founding myths of Western culture: the idea of a lost Eden. Authors and gardeners may include Marvell, Lanyer, Pope, Seward, Dickinson, Burnett, Carroll, Sackville-West, Nichols, Jarman, and Pollan.
029. Fact and Fiction
Brock Clarke M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55 Searles-126
An introduction to the study and creation of various kinds of narrative forms (short story, travel essay, bildungsroman, detective fiction, environmental essay, satire, personal essay, etc.). Students write critical essays and use the readings in the class as models for their own short stories and works of creative nonfiction. Class members discuss a wide range of published canonical and contemporary narratives and workshop their own essays and stories. In doing so, the class dedicates itself to both the study of literature and the making of it.
060. English Composition
Belinda Kong M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55 Mass Hall-Faculty Room
Practice in developing the skills needed to write and revise college-level expository essays. Explores the close relationship between critical reading and writing. Assignment sequences and different modes of analysis and response enable students to write fully developed expository essays. Does not count toward the major or minor in English.
105. Introduction to Poetry
Marilyn Reizbaum M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25 Searles-213
An examination of how to read a poem and how the poem is made. Includes the study of poetic form(s) and cultural and aesthetic contexts. Focuses on the modern poem in English and English translation from diverse poetic traditions, considering in particular the challenges to generic boundaries provided by the twentieth century.
114. Introduction to the Narrative
Peter Coviello T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55 Sills-207
The novel, it has been said, is of all literary forms the great “container.” Examines the ways narrative accommodates variety and plentitude: how it makes room for multiple idioms, styles, and points of view; how it allows different voices to speak in colloquy; how it transforms unjoined fragments into stories. Authors may include James, Freud, Toomer, Woolf, Faulkner, Nabokov, and Pynchon.
125. Creative Writing: Poetry I
Anthony Walton M 6:30 - 9:25 Mass Hall-McKeen Study
Intensive study of the writing of poetry through the workshop method. Students expected to write in free verse and in form, and to read deeply from an assigned list of poets.
128. Introductory Fiction Workshop
Brock Clarke M 1:00 - 3:55 Druckenmiller-024
Begins with an examination of some technical aspects of fiction writing. In particular, considers those that we tend to take for granted as readers and need to understand better as writers, e.g., point of view, characterization, dialogue, foreshadowing, scene, and summary. Students read and discuss published stories, and work through a series of exercises to write their own stories. Workshop discussion is an integral part.
201. Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales
Megan Cook T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55 Searles-215
Learn Middle English and enjoy and analyze a wide selection of the stories told on Chaucer’s great literary road trip. Includes a focus on medieval history, material culture, literary backgrounds, social codes, and social conflicts. Attention given to trends in Chaucer studies. Note: This course fulfills the pre-1800 literature requirement for English majors.
208. Victorian Urban Narratives
Aviva Briefel T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55 Mass Hall-Faculty Room
Seminar. An exploration of London as space and character in Victorian literary narratives. Considers such topics as the intersections between identity and urban setting; the relationship between genre and literary space; and the overlaps in mappings of cities and narrative. Consideration of literary and cultural theory and criticism is central. Authors may include Conrad, Dickens, Dixon, Doyle, Gissing, Marsh, and Wilde.
209. Interracial Narratives
Guy Foster T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25 Sills-109
Examines the stories that Americans have told about intimate relationships that cross the color line in twentieth- and twenty-first-century imaginative and theoretical texts. Considers how these stories have differed according to whether the participants are heterosexual or homosexual, men or women, Black, White, Asian, Latino, or indigenous. Explores the impact historically changing notions of race, gender, sexuality, and U.S. citizenship have had on the production of these stories. Texts include literature, film, Internet dating sites, and contemporary debates around mixed-race identity and the United States census.
211. Shakespeare’s Tragedies and Roman Plays
William Watterson W 2:30 - 3:55, F 2:30 - 3:55 Sills-117
Examines Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, King Lear, Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, and Coriolanus in light of recent critical thought. Special attention is given to psychoanalysis, new historicism, and genre theory. Note: This course fulfills the pre-1800 literature requirement for English majors.
213. Telling Environmental Stories
Anthony Walton M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55 Hatch Library-012
Intended for students with a demonstrated interest in environmental studies, as an introduction to several modes of storytelling, which communicate ideas, historical narratives, personal experiences, and scientific and social issues in this increasingly important area of study and concern. Explores various techniques, challenges, and pleasures of storytelling, and examines some of the demands and responsibilities involved in the conveyance of different types of information with clarity and accuracy in nonfiction narrative. Engages student writing through the workshop method, and includes study of several texts, including The Control of Nature, Cadillac Desert, Living Downstream, and Field Notes from a Catastrophe.
233. Transatlantic Crossings
Terri Nickel M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55 Banister-106
Traces the circulation of narratives at the height of Britain’s colonial power in the Americas. Situates such literary commerce alongside the larger exchange of people and goods and focuses on the fluctuating nature of national, racial, and sexual identities in the circum-Atlantic world. Explores how literary texts attempted, and often failed, to sustain “Englishness” in the face of separation, revolution, or insurrection. Of special interest are figures who move across the Atlantic divide and exploit the possibility of multiple roles—sailors, pirates, freed or escaped slaves, female soldiers. Texts may include General History of the Pirates; The Woman of Colour; Moll Flanders; The History of Emily Montague; Obi, or the History of Three-Fingered Jack; The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano; the Journals of Janet Schaw; The History of Mary Prince; The Female American. Note: This course fulfills the pre-1800 literature requirement for English majors.
238. Natural Supernaturalism
David Collings M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55 Sills-109
Examines the Romantic attempt to blend aspects of the transcendental—such as the sublime, immortality, and divinity—with ordinary life, the forms of nature, and the resources of human consciousness. Discusses theories of the sublime, poetry of the English landscape, mountaintop experiences, tales of transfiguration, lyrics of loss, and encounters with otherworldly figures. Explores the difficulties of representing the transcendental in secular poetry and the consequences of natural supernaturalism for our own understanding of nature. Focuses on the poetry of Wordsworth and Coleridge, alongside writing by Burke, Kant, and Shelley.
244. Victorian Crime
Aviva Briefel T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55 Sills-117
Investigates literary representations of criminality in Victorian England. Of central concern is the construction of social deviancy and criminal types; images of disciplinary figures, structures, and institutions; and the relationship between generic categories (the detective story, the Gothic tale, the sensation novel) and the period’s preoccupation with transgressive behavior and crime. Authors may include Braddon, Collins, Dickens, Doyle, Stevenson, and Wells.
258. Reconstructing the Nation
Tess Chakkalakal T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25 CT-16 Harrison McCann
Introduces students to American literature written between 1865 and 1910. Exploring a period marked by the end of the Civil War, Reconstruction, the “New” South, and Jim Crow, students engage with these historical developments through a reading of a wide range of novels, short stories, poems, and plays that take up political tensions between the North and South as well as questions of regional, racial, and national identity. Works by George Washington Cable, Charles Chesnutt, Lydia Maria Child, Sarah Orne Jewett, Mark Twain, Sutton E. Griggs, Emily Dickinson, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Henry James, Theodore Dreiser, and Frank Norris constitute the “major” literary voices of the period, but also examines a number of “minor” works that are similarly, but perhaps more narrowly, concerned with questions of race and nation. Note: This course fulfills the literature of the Americas requirement for English majors.
265. Sex and the Word: Psychoanalysis and Literature
Peter Coviello T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55 Mass Hall-Faculty Room
Seminar. In its founding, psychoanalysis—Freud’s ambivalently “scientific” framework for explicating desire—was an art of interpretation. Examines the things sex, literature, and interpretation might have to say to one another; particularly close attention paid to how psychoanalytic reading has developed as a vocabulary for describing the enlivening errancies of literary artifacts. Writers likely to include Freud, James, Cather, Larsen, Baldwin, Roth, and others.
273. Writing China from Afar
Belinda Kong M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55 Mass Hall-Faculty Room
The telling of a nation’s history is often the concern not only of historical writings but also literary ones. Examines contemporary diaspora literature on three shaping moments of twentieth-century China: the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945), the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976), and the 1989 Tiananmen democracy movement and massacre. Focuses on authors born and raised in China but since dispersed into various Western locales, particularly the United States, England, and France. Critical issues include the role of the Chinese diaspora in the historiography of World War II, particularly the Nanjing Massacre; the functions and hazards of Chinese exilic literature, such as the genre of Cultural Revolution memoirs, in Western markets today; and more generally, the relationship between history, literature, and the cultural politics of diasporic representations of origin. Authors may include Shan Sa, Dai Sijie, Hong Ying, Yan Geling, Zheng Yi, Yiyun Li, Gao Xingjian, Ha Jin, Annie Wang, and Ma Jian.
278. Of Comics and Culture
Elizabeth Muther TH 1:00 - 3:55 Sills-117
An introduction to comics, graphic narratives, and “sequential art.” Explores elements of the history of the comics—especially in a United States cultural context—while examining the formal dimensions of this hybrid art. Considers the cultural functions of this work in theoretical terms, as well as the sociology of its reception. Examines comics as personal narrative, social criticism, political commentary, fantasy, and science fiction, among other modes. Special focus on the functions of humor, irony, pathos, and outrage, as deployed in historical and contemporary comic forms.
308. African American Film
Elizabeth Muther T 6:30 - 9:25 Mass Hall-Faculty Room
Explores a spectrum of films produced since 1950 that engage African American cultural experience. Topics may include black-white buddy movies, the L.A. Rebellion, blaxploitation, the hood genre, cult classics, comedy and cross-dressing, and romance dramas. Of special interest will be the politics of interpretation and control: writers, directors, producers, studios, actors, critics, and audiences. One-half credit. Note: This course does not fulfill a requirement for the major in English.
309. Cosmopolitanism and Creaturely Life
Hilary Thompson M 10:00 - 11:25, W 10:00 - 11:25 Mass Hall-Faculty Room
An exploration of the ways contemporary planetary consciousness has influenced conceptions of the human and the animal, as well as their supposed difference. Examines, in light of modern and current world literature, new models for both the exemplary world citizen and human species identity. Investigates to what extent, and by what creative means, reconsiderations of humans’ impact on the planet and place in the world are recorded in narratives of other creatures and the perceptual possibilities of their worlds. Texts may include fiction by Kafka, Rilke, Borges, Woolf, Murakami, and Sinha, as well as the philosophies of Uexkull, Heidegger, Derrida, Latour, and Agamben.
323. The Joyce Revolution
Marilyn Reizbaum M 6:30 - 9:25 The Hazelton Room (Kanbar 109)
An examination of James Joyce’s signal contributions to modern writing and critical theories. Reading includes the major works (Dubliners, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Ulysses), essays by Joyce, and writings by others who testify to the Joyce mystique: e.g., Oliver St. John Gogarty, T. S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Jacques Derrida, Seamus Heaney, Maud Ellmann.