Spring 2013 Courses

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010. Lesbian Personae
Peter Coviello T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25 CT-16 Harrison McCann
A study of the varied representations of same-sex desire between women across a range of twentieth-century novels and films. Concerned with questions of the visibility, and invisibility, of lesbian life; of the contours of lesbian childhood and adolescence; of the forms of difference between and among lesbians; and of the tensions, as well as the affinities, that mark relations between queer women and queer men. Authors may include Nella Larsen, Willa Cather, Carson McCullers, Ann Bannon, and others.

060. English Composition
Terri Nickel M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55 Mass Hall-McKeen Study
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.

060. English Composition
David Collings M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55 Searles-127
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.

104. From Page to Screen: Film Adaptation and Narrative
Aviva Briefel T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55 Searles-315
Explores the topic of “adaptation,” specifically, the ways in which cinematic texts transform literary narratives into visual forms. Begins with the premise that every adaptation is an interpretation, a rewriting/rethinking of an original text that offers an analysis of that text. Central to class discussions is close attention to the differences and similarities in the ways in which written and visual texts approach narratives, the means through which each medium constructs and positions its audience, and the types of critical discourses that emerge around literature and film. May include works by Philip K. Dick, Charles Dickens, Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, David Lean, Anita Loos, Vladimir Nabokov, and Ridley Scott.

106. Introduction to Drama
William Watterson W 8:00 - 9:25, F 8:00 - 9:25 Sills-109
Traces a range of dramatic genres, styles, and modes of production from the festival of Dionysus in ancient Greece through the Renaissance and into the global theater of today. Explores the evolution of plot design, with special attention to the politics of playing, the shifting strategies of representing human agency, and contemporary relationships between the theater and other visual media. Authors include Sophocles, Aristophanes, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Behn, Wilde, Beckett, Mamet, Wilson, and Churchill, with secondary readings by Aristotle, Brecht, Artaud, and Grotowski, among others. Students invited to participate in staged readings during class and part of a final group project that includes staging a portion of one of the plays studied.

107. Introduction to African American Literary Fiction
Tess Chakkalakal T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25 Mass Hall-Faculty Room
Introduces students to the literary and historical aspects of the black novel as it developed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century in the United States. Begins with a consideration of the novels of Charles Chesnutt, Sutton Griggs, and Pauline Hopkins, then examines the ways in which novelists of the Harlem Renaissance—James Weldon Johnson, Nella Larsen, and W. E. B. Du Bois—played with both the form and function of the novel during this era. Then considers how novels by Richard Wright, Chester Himes, and Ralph Ellison challenged and reformed the black novel’s historical scope and aesthetic aims.

128. Introductory Fiction Workshop
Brock Clarke W 1:00 - 3:55 Mass Hall-McKeen Study
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.

202. Chaucer: Epic and Romance
Megan Cook T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25 Adams-202
Explores the writings of fourteenth-century poet Geoffrey Chaucer, excluding The Canterbury Tales. Focuses on Troilus and Criseyde, Chaucer’s epic tale of doomed love in the shadow of the Trojan War, and on his strange and often enigmatic dream visions. In between, considers his work across a wide variety of genres, including scientific writing, philosophy, and courtly lyric. Uses secondary sources to develop an understanding of Chaucer as a late medieval author, and analyzes the power of medieval vernacular literature to shock, instruct, and transform its audience. Neither prior experience with Middle English nor English 201 (Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales) is required. Note: This course fulfills the pre-1800 literature requirement for English majors.

217. Advanced Fiction Workshop
Brock Clarke M 1:00 - 3:55 Mass Hall-McKeen Study
Presumes a familiarity with the mechanics of fiction and, ideally, previous experience in a fiction workshop. Uses published stories and stories by students to explore questions of voice and tone, structure and plot, how to deepen one’s characters, and how to make stories resonate at a higher level. Students write several stories during the semester and revise at least one. Workshop discussion and critiques are an integral part.

219. Trolls, Frogs, and Princesses: Fairy Tales and Retellings
Elizabeth Muther M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25 Mass Hall-Faculty Room
Seminar. Explores the resiliency of fairy tales across cultural boundaries and historical time. Traces the genealogical origins of the classic tales, as well as their metamorphoses in historical and contemporary variants, fractured tales, and adaptations in literature and film. Engages a spectrum of related texts in literary and cultural theory and criticism.

227. White Negroes
Guy Foster M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55 Hatch Library-012
Close readings of literary and filmic texts that interrogate widespread beliefs in the fixity of racial categories and the broad assumptions these beliefs often engender. Investigates “whiteness” and “blackness” as unstable and fractured ideological constructs. These are constructs that, while socially and historically produced, are no less “real” in their tangible effects, whether internal or external. Includes works by Charles Chesnutt, Nella Larsen, Norman Mailer, Jack Kerouac, John Howard Griffin, Sandra Bernhard, and Warren Beatty.

234. Loves of the Plants: Botany and Desire in the Eighteenth Century
Terri Nickel M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55 Banister-106
Invasive foreigners, licentious women, polygamous tribes, hermaphrodites—these were some of the personae eighteenth-century men and women imagined in their encounters with plants. Explores how the introduction of new flora collected through global exploration and Linnaeus’s invention of sexual taxonomy reshaped eighteenth-century aesthetic practices, including poetry, fiction, art, and garden design. Traces how writers of the era mapped cultural ideas about nationality, sex, and gender onto the natural world. Authors may include Marvell, Addison, Pope, Cowper, Colman, Garrick, Erasmus Darwin, Shenstone, Delany, Hannah More, Sarah Scott, Walpole, and Austen. Note: This course fulfills the pre-1800 literature requirement for English majors.

246. Modern Drama and Performance
Marilyn Reizbaum M 6:30 - 9:25 Mass Hall-Faculty Room
Examines dramatic trends of the modern period, beginning with a triumvirate of modern dramatists—Henrik Ibsen, Bertolt Brecht, and Samuel Beckett—and draws lines from their work in drama of ideas, epic theatre, and absurdism to developments in the dramatic arts through the modern period into the twenty-first century. Includes plays by Lorraine Hansberry, Caryl Churchill, and Martin McDonagh. Readings staged.

251. The American Renaissance
Peter Coviello T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55 Adams-406
Considers the extraordinary quickening of American writing in the years before the Civil War. Of central concern are the different visions of “America” these texts propose. Authors may include Emerson, Poe, Douglass, Hawthorne, Jacobs, Melville, Stowe, Dickinson, and Whitman. Note: This course fulfills the literature of the Americas requirement for English majors.

253. Topics in Twentieth-century Literature
Celeste Goodridge T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25 Mass Hall-Faculty Room
Authors may include Wharton, Cather, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Nella Larsen, and Faulkner. Considers how these authors both reflect and subvert the dominant ideologies of the period. Formerly English 272. Note: This course fulfills the literature of the Americas requirement for English majors.

260. African American Fiction: (Re)Writing Black Masculinities
Guy Foster M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55 Searles-215
In 1845, Frederick Douglass told his white readers: “You have seen how a man was made a slave; you shall see how a slave was made a man.” This simple statement effectively describes the enduring paradox of African American male identity: although black and white males share a genital sameness, until the nation elected its first African American president the former has inhabited a culturally subjugated gender identity in a society premised on both white supremacy and patriarchy. But Douglass’s statement also suggests that black maleness is a discursive construction, i.e. that it changes over time. If this is so, how does it change? What are the modes of its production and how have black men over time operated as agents in reshaping their own masculinities? Reading a range of literary and cultural texts, both past and present, students examine the myriad ramifications of, and creative responses to, this ongoing challenge.

261. African American Poetry
Elizabeth Muther T 6:30 - 9:25 Sills-109
African American poetry as counter-memory—from Wheatley to the present—with a focus on oral traditions, activist literary discourses, trauma and healing, and productive communities. Special emphasis on the past century: dialect and masking; the Harlem Renaissance; Brown, Brooks and Hayden at mid-century; the Black Arts Movement; black feminism; and contemporary voices. Note: This course fulfills the literature of the Americas requirement for English majors.

264. Literature of the Civil War Era
Tess Chakkalakal T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55 Mass Hall-McKeen Study
Examines literature published in the United States between 1861 and 1865, with particular emphasis on the wartime writings of Louisa May Alcott, William Wells Brown, Frederick Douglass, William Gilmore Simms, Herman Melville, and Walt Whitman. Students also consider writings of less well-known writers of the period found in popular magazines such as Harper’s Monthly, The Atlantic Monthly, The Southern Illustrated News, and Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper.. Note: This course fulfills the literature of the Americas requirement for English majors.

274. Asian Diaspora Literature of World War II
Belinda Kong T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55 Mass Hall-Faculty Room
Seminar. Focuses on World War II as a global moment when modernity’s two sides, its dreams and nightmares, collided. Emphasis on contemporary Asian diaspora Anglophone fiction that probes the exclusions and failures of nation and empire—foundational categories of modernity—from both Western and Asian perspectives. On the one hand, World War II marks prominently the plurality of modernities in our world: as certain nations and imperial powers entered into their twilight years, others were just emerging. At the same time, World War II reveals how such grand projects of modernity as national consolidation, ethnic unification, and imperial expansion have led to consequences that include colonialism, internment camps, the atom bomb, sexual slavery, genocide, and the widespread displacement of peoples that inaugurates diasporas. Diaspora literature thus constitutes one significant focal point where modernity may be critically interrogated.

282. Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory
Marilyn Reizbaum M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25 The Hazelton Room (Kanbar 109)
Considers the development of literary theory in the twentieth century and explores a range of critical methodologies that enhance our understanding of literature and allow us to question some assumptions about literary authorship, textual production, and the reading experience. Without privileging any particular critical paradigm, engages modes of interpretation associated with Marxism, feminism, psychoanalysis, poststructuralism, and cultural studies. Representative literary works read, less to label them as responsive to one or another theoretical paradigm than to consider how they “speak theory” in their own right. Authors of such works include Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, James Joyce, Carol Ann Duffy, Woody Allen.

283. Writing Muslim Women's Lives: Western Muslim Women's Writing Post- 9/11
Samaa Abdurraqib M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55 Banister-106
Focuses on Muslim women in the West writing literature in a post-9/11 world. In particular, considers the connections between Western curiosity about Muslim women’s lives and the demand for publications by Western Muslim women. In more recent years, there has been a proliferation of memoirs and personal essays published by Muslim women—the numbers of these personal narratives have eclipsed the fictive narratives and poetry written by Muslim women in the West. Makes connections between the desire to “unveil” Muslim women’s lives and the demand for certain types of narratives written by Muslim women and looks at the different ways these demands open up and/or restrict the types of stories Muslim women can tell. Addresses themes of spirituality, religiosity, sexuality, love, and fiction vs. memoir.

285. Global Fiction and “The Great Game”
Hilary Thompson T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25 Mass Hall-McKeen Study
Examines recent Anglophone global fiction’s return to the “Great Game” metaphor—originally referring to Britain and Russia’s 1813–1907 imperial rivalry over central Asia—now revived in contemporary works that, playing off past genres of espionage and adventure, figure global politics as a competitive game and imagine its space as a playing field. Considers the effects of colonialism, globalization, and 9/11 on this literature as well as, conversely, this literature’s influence on our perceptions of global politics. Authors may include Rushdie, Ghosh, Norbu, Aslam, Khan, and Shamsie.

286. Forbidden Capital: Contemporary Chinese and Chinese Diaspora Fiction
Belinda Kong T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55 Mass Hall-McKeen Study
“To get rich is glorious!”—so goes the slogan popularly attributed to Deng Xiaoping, who ushered 1980s China into an era of economic liberalization. Examines post-Tiananmen fiction from Mainland China as well as the diaspora that responds to, struggles with, and/or satirizes the paradoxes of socialist capitalism. Critical issues include representations of the Communist Party and the intertwined tropes of corruption and consumption, and sometimes cannibalism; debates on the democratizing promise of capital, with attention to the resurgence of nationalism and the geopolitics of the Beijing Olympics; and the new identities made possible but also problematic by this era’s massive transformations of social life, along the axes of sexuality, gender, and class.

316. Shakespeare’s Sonnets
William Watterson M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55 Mass Hall-Faculty Room
Close reading of Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets and the appended narrative poem “A Lover’s Complaint,” which accompanies them in the editio princeps of 1609. Required texts include the New Arden edition of Shakespeare’s Sonnets (1997) edited by Katherine Duncan-Jones, and Helen Vendler’s The Art of Shakespeare’s Sonnets (1998). Critical issues examined include the dating of the sonnets, the order in which they appear, their rhetorical and architectural strategies, and their historical and autobiographical content. Note: This course fulfills the pre-1800 literature requirement for English majors.

318. Oscar Wilde
Aviva Briefel T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55 Mass Hall-Faculty Room
An in-depth study of Wilde’s fiction, poetry, drama, and critical essays within the context of fin-de-siècle British culture. Topics include decadence, aestheticism, dandyism, queer performance, and the Wilde trials. Also examines Wilde’s position within current literary criticism.

346. Living Deliberately
David Collings M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55 Mass Hall-Faculty Room
Explores a range of possibilities for taking up Thoreau’s challenge to “live deliberately,” for cultivating an ethics in a world without guarantees. Examines various projects for grasping the essential conditions of existence, overcoming ignorance and despair, assuming an infinite responsibility to others, and sustaining the human against impossible odds. Considers the place of such projects in relation to the negative ethics of crime or addiction, the dubious implications of ethical heroism, the intimate risks of political commitment, and the potential loss of a viable future in the era of climate change. Drawing on novels, memoirs, ecological writing, theories of sexual practice, and philosophical ethics, considers such authors as Thoreau, Forster, Genet, Gordimer, Sapphire, Anita Desai, Kidder, and McKibben, as well as Nietzsche, Levinas, Foucault, Derrida, Halperin, Zizek, and Soni.