Spring 2014 Courses

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ENGL 1041. Arab and Jew in Literature and Film.
Marilyn Reizbaum.
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.
ENGL 1060A. English Composition.
Guy Mark Foster.
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.
ENGL 1060B. English Composition.
Ann Kibbie and David Collings.
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.
ENGL 1060C. English Composition.
David Collings.
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.
ENGL 1106. Introduction to Drama.
William Watterson.
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.
ENGL 1114. Introduction to Narrative.
Elizabeth Muther.
Explores the shapes and seductions of narrative, the stories we dream and imagine, tell or are told. Considers plot design, narrative time, and the history of narrative forms. Of special interest are narrative desire, suspense and suspicion; and graphic fiction and sequential art.
ENGL 1228. Introductory Fiction Workshop.
Brock Clarke.
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.
ENGL 2002. Victorian Urban Narratives.
Aviva Briefel.
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.
ENGL 2008. Chaucer's Dreams.
Emma Maggie Solberg.
Seminar. Introduces students to the work of Geoffrey Chaucer (“the father of English poetry,” as Dryden called him) by way of his dream visions, poems in which the poet-dreamer drifts off to sleep and explores, via medieval astral projection, fantastical mental landscapes. In his dreams, Chaucer visits magical gardens full of talking birds, outer space (“the Galaxie, / which men clepeth [call] the Milky Wey”), and the virtual realities of his favorite books, like Virgil’s Aeneid and Ovid’s Metamorphoses. In order to fully comprehend Chaucer’s allusions, we will read his dream visions in the contexts of their sources and analogues; in other words, we will follow Chaucer’s guide to medieval learning. Students will gain reading proficiency in Middle English; no previous experience with Middle English necessary. In the spirit of Chaucer’s dream visions, which creatively reimagine and adapt older literature, students can opt to substitute creative projects for their final independent research paper. Texts include: Chaucer’s The Book of the Duchess, The Parliament of Fowls, The House of Fame, and The Legend of Good Women; Cicero’s Dream of Scipio, Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy, and Le Roman de la rose (The Romance of the Rose).
ENGL 2108. Medieval Drama.
Emma Maggie Solberg.
Knowledge of theater history tends to skip from the tragedies of Ancient Greece to Shakespeare’s Renaissance, leaving the Middle Ages in dark obscurity. This course aims to illuminate the underappreciated treasure trove of medieval drama, a genre that flourished across Europe for more than five centuries. We will cover texts ranging from the tenth-century work of the female playwright Hrotswitha (“Strong-Voice”) to sixteenth century English drama banned by the Protestant Reformation. Our reading will also span a wide variety of genres: bloody martyrdoms, dirty farces, Robin Hood plays, romances of knights and ladies, moralities, and mysteries. Students will gain reading proficiency in Middle English; no previous experience with Middle English necessary. Texts include: Hrotswitha of Gandersheim’s Dulcitius; “Robyn Hod and the Shryff of Notyngham”; Farce nouvelle et fort joyeuse du Pect (The Farce of the Fart); The York Cycle; Mankind; and Fulgens and Lucrece.Note: This course fulfills the pre-1800 literature requirement for English majors.
ENGL 2151. Shakespeare’s Tragedies and Roman Plays.
William Watterson.
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.
ENGL 2304. Age of Satire.
Ann Kibbie.
Explores various forms of satire and parody in the prose, poetry, drama, and visual art of the Restoration and the Eighteenth Century, as well as the various attempts to censor or otherwise control satire. Works will include Alexander Pope’s Rape of the Lock, John Gay’s Beggar’s Opera, Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones, and the paintings and prints of William Hogarth. Note: This course fulfills the pre-1800 literature requirement for English majors.
ENGL 2351. Romantic Sexualities.
David Collings.
Investigates constructions of sexuality in English romantic writing. Examines tales of seduction by supernatural or demonic figures; the sexualized world of the Gothic; the Byronic hero; lyrical depictions of incest; the yearning for an eroticized muse or goddess; and same-sex desire in travel writing, diaries, and realist fiction. Discusses the place of such writing in the history of sexual identities, repression, the unconscious, and the sublime. Authors may include Burke, Lewis, Mary Shelley, Byron, Wollstonecraft, Lister, Austen, Coleridge, Keats, and Percy Shelley, with further readings in queer theory and the history of sexuality.
ENGL 2405. Victorian Plots.
Aviva Briefel.
Focusing primarily on the novel, this course examines Victorian narrative form. We will consider whether there are certain types of plots that are peculiar to the period; the ways in which characters develop (or not) as stories unravel; and how literary elements such as description, dialogue, and setting emerge in Victorian texts. Along the way, we will analyze the economic, social, and cultural factors that determine aspects of the novel. Authors may include Emily Bront??, Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Anthony Trollope.
ENGL 2453. The Irish Story in All Forms.
Marilyn Reizbaum.
Considers Irish writing and film and the way they intersect in the emergence into and away from the modern. Likely topics include linguistic and national dispossession; the supernatural or surreal, pastoral, and urban traditions; the Celtic Twilight versus Modernism; Celtic Tiger vs globalism. Authors and directors may include Sheridan Le Fanu, Yeats, Joyce, Seamus Heaney, Eavan Boland, Neil Jordan, Ken Loach, John Ford, Pat Murphy, Martin McDonagh.
ENGL 2502. American Intimacies: Sex and Love in Nineteenth-Century Literature.
Peter Coviello.
Homosexuality and its conceptual twin, heterosexuality, are surprisingly late coinages. So what was sex like before such concepts organized the sphere of intimate life in America? Was it a set of bodily practices? An aspect of a person’s identity? Was sexuality something an individual could be said to possess? What forms of contact, invest attachment, or imagination could even be counted as sex, and why? Authors may include Whitman, Thoreau, Jewett, Melville, Hawthorne, James, Douglas, Dickinson, and Joseph Smith. Note: This course fulfills the literature of the Americas requirement for English majors.
ENGL 2504. Nineteenth-Century American Fiction.
Tess Chakkalakal.
Historical survey of nineteenth-century American fiction, including works by Washington Irving, Catherine Sedgwick, Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Frank Webb, Harriet Beecher Stowe, William Wells Brown, Mark Twain, Frank Norris, Henry James, John DeForest, Edith Wharton, William Dean Howells, and Charles Chesnutt. Note: This course fulfills the literature of the Americas requirement for English majors.
ENGL 2541. Twentieth-Century American Poetry.
Celeste Goodridge.
Readings of contemporary poetic projects with an emphasis on different modes of poetic influence, the role of high and low culture in these canons and the role of narrative, biography, mythology, and performativity. Poets may include Philip Levine, Mark Doty, Louise Gluck, Laurie Scheck, and Amy Clampitt.
ENGL 2584. The Afterlives of Uncle Tom.
Tess Chakkalakal and Peter Coviello.
Considers the intertwined fates of slavery and sentiment in the lead-up to, and the years following, the Civil War. At its center is Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Tracks the ramifying effects of this antebellum mega-bestseller, in such disparate realms as literary and print culture, political counter-publics, and law. Explores in particular how responses to the novel in Southern, British, and African-American literary discourses ring complex changes on the major tropes of Stowe’s novel, and on the received wisdom about Uncle Tom that persists into today. Note: This course fulfills the literature of the Americas requirement for English majors.
ENGL 2654. Staging Blackness.
Guy Mark Foster.
Examines the history and contributions of African Americans to United States theater from the early blackface minstrel tradition, to the revolutionary theater of the Black Arts writers, to more recent postmodernist stage spectacles. Among other concerns, such works often dramatize the efforts of African Americans to negotiate ongoing tensions between individual needs and group demands that result from historically changing forms of racial marginalization. A particular goal is to highlight what Kimberly Benston has termed the “expressive agency” with which black writers and performers have imbued their theatrical presentations. Potential authors include Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Lorraine Hansberry, Amiri Baraka, Ron Milner, Adrienne Kennedy, Ntozake Shange, George C. Wolfe, Anna Deavere Smith, Afro Pomo Homos, and August Wilson.
ENGL 2758. New Fictions of Asian America.
Belinda Kong.
Surveys developments in Asian American literature since 2000, and asks how post-millennial fictions revise and extend the core concerns of earlier writing. If Asian American writers have long been preoccupied with questions of ethnic identity and national belonging, recent works tackle these themes within new contexts of transnationalism, the post-9/11 security state, and the global financial crisis. Considers the diverse functions of the contemporary Asian American novel—as autobiography and narrative of racial passing, as social satire and tragicomedy, and as cultural memory and multiracial national history.
ENGL 2841. Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory.
Aaron Kitch.
Explores some of the most important and compelling schools of literary and cultural theory from the past two centuries as they have defined modern and postmodern intellectual life. Situates critical movements such as psychoanalysis, feminism, structuralism, deconstruction, race theory, and cultural studies in their historical and intellectual context while examining both textual and non-textual case studies. Students will develop research projects based on our readings but tailored to their own interests and knowledge. Authors include Marx, Freud, Adorno, Benjamin, Lacan, Foucault, Jameson, Eagleton, Butler, Sedgwick, and Žižek.
ENGL 2850. The Literature of Adolescent Sexuality.
Sarah Braunstein.
Seminar. Fiction shows us the rules of life: how these rules confine us, free us, shape us, threaten us, and make us who we are. Within the rules of life there’s one set for children, another for adults, that much is clear. But what about adolescents? Whose rules do they play by? And what do these rules have to say about the experience and expression of sexuality? Adolescents may be too young and vulnerable to withstand life under adult rules, but too smart and full of emotion to stand the old rules of childhood. The result can be chaos, passion, drama, and great discovery. (Throw into the mix that the rules themselves change generation by generation with the larger patterns of history, and the chaos and passion grow even wilder.) In this seminar we will examine artistic representations of adolescent sexual life during and after the great shift in sexual norms of the 1960s. Creative work—novels, short stories, narrative nonfiction, and films—will be our primary source material, with scholarly readings supporting our study. We will investigate such topics as subject/object dichotomies, LGBTQ identities, violence, virginity, pleasure, health education, narrative ownership, and the politics of empowerment. Students will write both analytic papers and creative prose.
ENGL 2853. Advanced Fiction Workshop.
Brock Clarke.
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.
ENGL 2855. The Art of Writing about Science.
Russell Rymer.
A creative-nonfiction writing course that will take science as its canvas. Its goal is to hone students' ability to write long-form, narrative prose. Students will learn how to use fiction techniques to describe factual subjects, and will use those techniques to compose a full-length, “New-Yorker style” magazine article about science, a scientist, or nature subject (topics and approaches may vary widely). Along the way, we will discuss the use of metaphor, structure, tone, pacing, and point of view, as well as accuracy, technical literacy, interview techniques, and reporting ethics. For science students, this course will teach a way to communicate the power of science to a general audience. For the writing student, this course will adopt some of science's central tenets (e.g., its devotion to accurate observation) as essentials in the creative writer's craft, and will provide tools necessary for writing professional-level narrative nonfiction on any subject, scientific or not.
ENGL 3011. African American Film.
Elizabeth Muther.
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 documentary impulse in contemporary African American film; gender, sexuality, and cultural images; the politics of interpretation—writers, filmmakers, critics, and audiences; and the urban context and the economics of alienation. Extensive readings in film and cultural theory and criticism.
ENGL 3021. Totalitarianism and Dissidence in Contemporary Chinese Literature.
Belinda Kong.
Seminar. Can “literature” be produced within a totalitarian regime where public expression is tightly controlled by the state? Or does political repression ironically foster creative means of literary circumvention? These are some central questions raised by the controversial awarding of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature to Mo Yan. Focusing on contemporary China as a case study, explores the relation between aesthetics and politics via a range of writers, from establishment novelists to dissidents in exile to Internet activists. Authors may include Mo Yan, Su Tong, Yu Hua, Liu Xiaobo, Liao Yiwu, Yan Lianke, Ai Weiwei, and Han Han. Theoretical reference points may include Lukacs, Arendt, Mao, Boym, Barme, and Evasdottir.
ENGL 3022. The Arts of Science in the English Renaissance.
Aaron Kitch.
Seminar. Examines the convergence of new modes of scientific knowledge and new genres of fiction in the period between 1500 and 1650, when writers such as Philip Sidney, William Shakespeare, and Margaret Cavendish redefined imaginative literature as a tool of scientific inquiry. Topics include utopian technologies, alchemy and sexuality, natural philosophy, and the science of humanism. Authors (in addition to those mentioned above) include Thomas More, Christopher Marlowe, John Donne, and Ben Jonson. Secondary readings feature Francis Bacon, Bruno Latour, Steven Shapin, Bruce Moran, and Elizabeth Spiller, among others. Note: This course fulfills the pre-1800 literature requirement for English majors.