Spring 2011 Courses

020. Questioning the Modern
Peter Coviello T 8:30 - 9:55, TH 8:30 - 9:55
An examination of late modernity from 1800 to the present, focusing on the vexed relations between the shaping principles of modernity and several of the more violent human undertakings with which it was historically conjoined: enslavement, the subjugation of women, and the Holocaust. How in the light of these matters do we understand modernity’s chief concerns with freedom, autonomy, the self, scientific mastery, and historical progress? Authors and artists may include Kant, Goya, Marx, Manet, Freud, Woolf, Picasso, Du Bois, and Nabokov.
021. Arab and Jew in Literature and Film
Marilyn Reizbaum M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55
Considers the interface between Arabs and Jews as produced on page and screen. Offers both geographical and generic range, bringing into view texts that talk to each other across ethnic, religious, historical, and theoretical boundaries. When these two figures are placed in relation to each other, they must invoke the Middle East, in particular Palestine-Israel: discusses works in translation, fiction and poetry, from the broad region, and may include authors Anton Shammas, Mahmoud Darwish, Ronit Matalon, Shimon Ballas, Haim Hazazz; writers in English such as Naomi Shihab Nye, Ammiel Alcalay, Philip Roth, Edward Said, and Ella Shohat; films by Elia Suleiman (Chronicle of a Disappearance), Khleifi (Wedding in Galilee), Gitai (Kippur), Abu-Assad (Paradise Now), Kolirin (The Band’s Visit), Kassovitz (Hate); and visual artists Mona Hatoum and Adi Nes.
060. English Composition
Ann Kibbie T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
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.
106. Introduction to Drama
William Watterson T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
Traces the development of dramatic form, character, and style from classical Greece through the Renaissance and Enlightenment to contemporary America and Africa. 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 a variety of forms of mass media. Authors may include Sophocles, Aristophanes, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Dryden, Ibsen, Wilde, Beckett, Mamet, and Churchill.
107. Introduction to the Black Novel in the United States
Tess Chakkalakal T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55
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.
201. Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales
Mary Edsall M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25
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.
217. Advanced Fiction Workshop
Brock Clarke M 6:30 - 9:25
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. Formerly English 129.
226. Renaissance Sexualities
Aaron Kitch M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55
Reimagines the canon of “Renaissance” literature from the perspective of desires that have not yet named, respecting both the differences and similarities between early modern and (post)modern sexualities. Explores homoeroticism, sodomy, and heteronormativity as they shape and are shaped by a range of genres, including the Petrarchan sonnet, the Ovidian minor epic, and the tragicomic romance. Examines how sexuality organized personal, religious, and political practices, with special attention to the politics and poetics of same-sex desire and the erotics of theatrical performance by boy actors on the London stage. Authors include Shakespeare, Spenser, Marlowe, Donne, Mary Wroth, and Queen Elizabeth I, with secondary reading by Foucault, Bruce Smith, Jonathan Goldberg, and Gayle Rubin. Note: This course fulfills the pre-1800 literature requirement for English majors.
241. The Victorian Novel: Interior Designs
Terri Nickel M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55
Explores the relation between the psychological interiority of nineteenth-century narrative and innovations in home design and decor. Traces how household goods increasingly come to bear moral or philosophical qualities expressive of personal subjectivity and examines how the novelistic subject conveys emotion, breeding, authority, and moral worth through object choices. Also considers how the blurring of subject/object boundaries can reshape the interior as a gothic or haunted space, replete with uncanny things. Novelists may include C. Brontë, Collins, Conan Doyle, Dickens, Grossmith, Oliphant, Trollope, Wilde, and Yonge. Period readings related to home design may include the work of Beeton, Cullwick, Dresser, Eastlake, Loudon, and Ruskin.
248. The Modern Novel
Marilyn Reizbaum M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55
A study of the modern impulse in the novel genre in English. Considers origins of the modern novel and developments such as modernism, postmodernism, realism, formalism, impressionism, the rise of short fiction. Focuses on individual or groups of authors and takes into account theories of the novel, narrative theory, critical contexts. Topics shift and may include Philip Roth, Henry Roth, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, Rebecca West, Dorothy Richardson, Lorrie Moore, Ford Madox Ford, J. M. Coetzee, W. G. Sebald, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Banville, Ian Watt, Peter Brook, and Franco Moretti. Formerly English 269.
249. Film Noir
Ann Kibbie T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25
A survey of film noir, from the hard-boiled detective films of the 1940s to later films that attempt to re-imagine the genre. Focuses on issues of gender and sexuality, the representation of women in film, and gender roles in the 1940s and 1950s. Films may include The Big Sleep, Double Indemnity, Strangers on a Train, In a Lonely Place, and Chinatown. Readings will include film criticism and theory, as well as some of the novels that were adapted for the screen. Attendance at weekly screenings is required.
251. The American Renaissance
Peter Coviello T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
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.
262. Contemporary British Fiction
Brock Clarke M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25
Examines contemporary British fiction written and published by British writers between 1950 and the present (including work by Amis, Spark, Ishiguro, Murdoch, Zadie Smith, Angela Carter, Coe, and others). Discusses what it means for fiction to be contemporary—is it simply a matter of when a book was written, or is it more of how it was written? Or both? Also discusses—in the wake of World War II and the end of England as a colonial power—what it means to be British, and why that should matter to us.
273. Writing China from Afar
Belinda Kong T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25
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 (1937–45), the Cultural Revolution (1966–76), 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. (Formerly English 283.)
276. Queer Race
Guy Foster T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
How does the concept of “queerness” signify in cultural texts that are ostensibly about the struggle for racial equality? And vice versa, how does the concept of “racialization” signify in cultural texts that are ostensibly about the struggle for LGBT recognition and justice? While some of this work tends to reduce “queer” to traditional sexual minorities like lesbigay and trans folk while downplaying racial considerations, others tend to limit the category “race” to people of color like blacks while downplaying questions about sexuality. Such critical and creative gestures often place “queer” and “race” in opposition rather than as intersecting phenomena. Students examine the theoretical and cultural assumptions of such gestures, and their implications, through close readings of selected works in both the LGBT and African American literary traditions. Formerly English 273 (same as Africana Studies 273 and Gender and Women’s Studies 205). Note: This course fulfills the literature of the Americas requirement for English majors.
281. African American Writers and Autobiography
Guy Foster T 8:30 - 9:55, TH 8:30 - 9:55
The struggle against anti-black racism has often required that individual African Americans serve as representative figures of “the race.” How have twentieth- and twenty-first-century black authors tackled the challenge of having to speak for the collective while also writing narratives that explore the singularity of an individual life? What textual approaches have these authors employed to negotiate this tension between what theorists of the genre broadly call “referentiality” and “subjectivity”? Authors include W. E. B. Du Bois, Zora Neale Hurston, Malcolm X, Jamaica Kincaid, Maya Angelou, Samuel Delaney, Barack Obama, among others. Note: This course fulfills the literature of the Americas requirement for English majors.
282. Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory
Aaron Kitch M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55
Explores some influential works of literary and cultural criticism in order to expand our traditional boundaries of critical analysis. Begins with the contributions of Marxism and psychoanalysis, then considers cultural materialism, structuralism, poststructuralism, and queer theory. Topics also include critical race theory, feminism, and cultural studies. Using textual and pictorial examples, places such modes of analysis in their historical and cultural context. Authors include Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, Jacques Lacan, Fredric Jameson, Michel Foucault, Terry Eagleton, Judith Butler, Gayle Rubin, and Eve Sedgwick.
285. Global Fiction and “The Great Game”
Hilary Thompson T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25
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 of 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.
316. Shakespeare's Sonnets
William Watterson T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55
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.
324. Forbidden Capital
Belinda Kong T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
“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 contemporary Chinese diaspora fiction that responds to, struggles with, and/or satirizes the paradoxes of socialist capitalism. Also explores recent political debates about the democratizing promise of capitalism in relation to the history of Western capital in China, with attention to diaspora literature on colonial cities such as Hong Kong and pre-communist Shanghai.
326. African American Literature and the Law
Tess Chakkalakal T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
Examines the intersections between literature and law through works of African American literature. Students investigate the influence of landmark legal cases—Dred Scott, Plessy v. Fergusson, Brown v. Board of Education, Loving v. Virginia—on the production and dissemination of particular works of American and African American literature. Works by Charles Chesnutt, Ralph Ellison, Pauline Hopkins, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Frederick Douglass are among those that will be considered. Note: This course fulfills the literature of the Americas requirement for English majors.
336. Joycean Revolutionaries
Marilyn Reizbaum T 6:30 - 9:25
Considers James Joyce's Ulysses from a number of disciplinary perspectives. Meets for three hours once every two weeks. Taught in collaboration with faculty from English, Visual Arts, and Theatre and Dance. In addition, one segment of the course will be devoted to the library holdings of rare Joyce materials. Part of a year-long series of events devoted to Ulysses, showcasing its readers as well as its writer. One-half credit.