Courses

Courses for the following academic year are announced by the end of January: click on the button to the left, 'Next Year: Courses by Distribution Requirement.' Courses from previous semesters are available on the Registrar's website, and the department also maintains a master list of all courses, in any year, by distribution requirement.

Undergraduate Courses

Spring 2017

AAS 359/ENG 366 African American Literature: Harlem Renaissance to Present A survey of twentieth- and twenty-first century African American literature, including the tradition's key aesthetic manifestos. Special attention to how modern African American literature is periodized and why certain innovations in genre and style emerged when they did. Poetry, essays, novels, popular fiction, a stage production or two, and related visual texts. Instructor(s): Cassandra Jackson
AAS 392/ENG 392 Topics in African American Literature: Fictions of Black Urban Life This course considers the transformation of urban life in the 20th and 21st centuries through an exploration of selected works by African American and African diasporic writers, artists, and intellectuals. We will discuss sociological studies, novels, poems, music, and experimental works that interrogate fictions such as urban development, revitalization, and even gentrification. Here, "fiction" names the implicit narratives and imaginaries of the urban that animate both its policy and design. Ultimately, the course is concerned with the discourses of black pathology and hidden forms of social life that have shaped the contemporary city. Instructor(s): Nijah Cunningham
COM 376/AAS 371/ENG 377/GSS 381 Crafting Freedom: Women and Liberation in the Americas (1960s to the present) This course explores the question of liberation in writings by women philosophers and poets whose work helped to create cultural and political movements in the U.S. and Latin America. Starting in the 60s, we will study a poetics and politics of liberation, paying special attention to the role played by language and imagination when ideas translate onto social movements related to abolition, education, care, and the commons. Readings include Angela Davis, Gloria Anzaldúa, Silvia Federici, Diamela Eltit, Audre Lorde, Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, Gayatri Spivak, Zapatistas, among others. Instructor(s): Susana Draper
COM 397/ENG 427 Sex, Violence, Sacrilege in Enlightenment Fiction In this seminar we will explore the dark side of the Enlightenment, sometimes also called, The Age of Reason. The English, German, French and American fictions we will read are shockingly willing to challenge all our pieties and inhibitions, particular with respect to the most intimate and the most sacred relations of our lives. How it is possible, we will ask, that the age that brought us liberty, equality, and fraternity also brought us such gleefully conspicuous cruelty, terror, and vice? How is it possible that philosophical texts both expose and indulge such qualities? Instructor(s): April Alliston, Claudia L. Johnson
ENG 200 Introduction to English Literature: 14th to 18th Century An introduction to the leading figures of earlier English Literature, including Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, Pope, and Swift; to literary history as a mode of inquiry; and to some of the questions that preoccupy English poetry, prose, and drama across four centuries: art, beauty, romance, desire, the will, the mind, God, sex, and death. Instructor(s): Sophie Graham Gee, Donald Vance Smith
ENG 205 Reading Literature: Poetry An introduction to poetry from the middle ages to the present through close reading of a series of great poems--from medieval songs to Ginsberg's "Howl"--and their criticism. We will invite living poets to come discuss their favorite poets of the past and we will attend a number of poetry events together. Instructor(s): Susan A. Stewart
ENG 207 Reading Literature: Drama This course is designed to teach students how to read plays as literature written for performance. Key assumptions are that every act of reading is an act of interpretation, that a good reader of dramatic literature engages in an activity nearly identical to that of a good director or actor or designer, and that a reader might learn from theater practitioners how to make critical choices based on close reading and a knowledge of theatre history. Instructor(s): Robert Neil Sandberg
ENG 219/TRA 219/LAO 219/AMS 316 Translating America This course argues that translation was a central concern and beloved practice of America's earliest writers. Students will read theories of translation in order to understand the different ways in which authors valued journeying between languages as between geographies and in order to answer questions about translation itself. How do we know when translations fail? What would "perfect" translations be? We will read canonical works as texts that deal in translation and migration to think about the limitations and possibilities that each of these lends to notions of belonging in America. Instructor(s): Monica Huerta
ENG 221/MUS 222 Words vs. Music: The Song in Modern Times Bob Dylan has been awarded the 2016 Nobel Literature Prize, finally affirming that song lyrics matter. This course interrogates the collaboration between words and music, but entertains the notion that each is potentially a threat to the other. We will consider popular song in many modes and some art song since 1945, as well as the broader relationship between literature and music in these years, and the role of song in historic events. We will investigate recording technology and will be visited by songwriters, recording engineers, electronic musicians, and the odd rock star. Instructor(s): Nigel Smith
ENG 227/GSS 222 American Identities in the 21st Century How do American writers represent diverse and fluid identities in the new millennium? How does the literary imagination engage new views of sexuality and gender, respond to political and personal violence, and confront racial, social, and economic injustice? This course explores these questions in recent works by Adichie, Alexie, Bechdel, Morrison, and others. Instructor(s): Alfred Bendixen
ENG 228/HUM 226/THR 228 Introduction to Irish Studies This new interdisciplinary 200 level course offers a broad introduction to the study of Irish literature, history and culture. Students will gain a grounding in: Irish storytelling since the early Christian period, including through music and song; the history of the conquest of Ireland and Irish independence movements; the role of the Irish language in culture; the famine and its social and political aftermath; the history of religious difference; the relationship between Britain and Ireland; the work of major literary figures such as Swift, Joyce, Yeats, Beckett and Heaney; contemporary Ireland and the Irish economy. Instructor(s): Fintan O'Toole, Clair Elizabeth Wills
ENG 300 Junior Seminar in Critical Writing Students learn to write clear and persuasive criticism in a workshop setting while becoming familiar with a variety of critical practices and research methods. The course culminates in the writing of a junior paper. Each section will pursue its own topic: students are assigned according to choices made during sophomore sign-ins. Required of all English majors. Instructor(s): Maria A. DiBattista, Simon Eliud Gikandi, Joshua Isaac Kotin, Kinohi Nishikawa, Nigel Smith, Clair Elizabeth Wills
ENG 306 History of Criticism <i>Reading Philosophy for Example</i>. This course will read a wide variety of philosophical texts across the centuries with particular attention paid to their genres, modes of expression, and, above all, examples. We will explore questions of form and content, examining how exemplification puts pressure on philosophical exposition. Instructor(s): Andrew Cole
ENG 311/MED 309 The Medieval Period <i>If Game of Thrones</i> has taught us anything, it's that fantasy is not escapist. It gives us a way to examine--and experience--what's already there, but not always as visibly or easily acknowledged. We'll read a wide range of medieval romances that use the genre to work out, and to stage, real-life political conflicts. Instructor(s): Donald Vance Smith
ENG 321 Shakespeare II This class covers the second half of Shakespeare's career, with a focus on the major tragedies and tragicomedies/romances. Instructor(s): Bradin T. Cormack
ENG 325 Milton We will explore John Milton's entire career, largely as poet, but also as dramatist, prose writer and thinker: a lifelong effort to unite the aims of intellectual, political and literary experimentation. In doing so Milton made himself the most influential non-dramatic poet in the English language. We will spend much time with <u>Paradise Lost</u>, regarded by many as the greatest non-dramatic poem in English or any modern language, and which has extensive debt to drama. We will encounter Milton's profound, extensive learning and his startling innovations with words, songs and in ideas of personal, domestic and communal liberty. Instructor(s): Nigel Smith
ENG 328 Topics in the Renaissance: Erotic Poetry This class considers short poems of the 16th and 17th centuries that are variously concerned with love, desire, and sexual intimacy. What are the modes of address in the erotic lyric? How do poems make an erotic subject or erotic object? What is the social or political work of these poems? How might love and rhetoric or love and philosophy be themselves intimates? Instructor(s): Bradin T. Cormack
ENG 341 The Later Romantics The flamboyant second generation of British Romantics: Keats, Percy Shelley, Mary Shelley, Byron, Hemans, Austen. Careful attention to texts--ranging from novels, to odes, to romances, and modern epics--in historical and cultural contexts, with primary focus on literary imagination. Instructor(s): Susan Jean Wolfson
ENG 345 19th-Century Fiction This course will acquaint students with the distinctive features of the nineteenth century novel, from Austen to Hardy. Lectures will seek to illuminate relations between social and aesthetic dimensions of the texts we read. We will consider how these fictional imaginings of things like love, sex, money, class, and race help shape the ways we live now. Instructor(s): Jeff Nunokawa
ENG 350 Literature of the American Renaissance, 1820-1860 Close study of nine authors--the so-called literary "renaissance" of the new republic--who defined a native brand of literature that would influence subsequent American writers. Instructor(s): Joshua Isaac Kotin
ENG 358 Irish Modernisms This course examines the cultural and intellectual history of Irish modernism between 1900 and the 1950s. Students will explore the literature of the period in the context of debates about Irish national identity and the nature of independence. We will consider the period of the Celtic Revival, the Easter Rising, the Anglo-Irish War and the Civil War, and conclude by analyzing modernist 'counter-Revival' texts. The course will develop students' research skills in analyzing literary texts, and relating texts to other forms of cultural production such as newspapers and periodicals. Instructor(s): Clair Elizabeth Wills
ENG 360 Modern Fiction The modern movement in English fiction from Conrad, Joyce and Woolf to Nabokov and Rushdie, writers who changed our sense of what a novel is, what it can say and how it can say it. Instructor(s): Maria A. DiBattista
ENG 362 Modern Poetry This course explores the continuities and divisions in British and American poetry through and alongside the ride of modernism. Our main activity will be close reading (often difficult) poems, but we will also look at manifestoes, media, and how modernism marketed itself at the beginning of the twentieth century as a break from nineteenth-century traditions. The question and problem of history and tradition itself will be central to our course. We'll ask why British and American poets at the beginning of the twentieth century felt such a strong urge to define themselves in opposition to their predecessors, and to one another. Instructor(s): Meredith Anne Martin
ENG 384/ENV 383 Environmental Justice Through Literature and Film How can literature and film bring to life ideals of environmental justice and the lived experience of environmental injustice? This seminar will explore how diverse communities across the globe are unequally exposed to risks like climate change and toxicity and how communities have unequal access to the resources vital to sustaining life. Issues we will address include: climate justice, the Anthropocene, water security, deforestation, the commons, indigenous movements, the environmentalism of the poor, the gendered and racial dimensions of environmental justice, and the imaginative role of film makers and writer-activists. Instructor(s): Robert Nixon
ENG 386/ENV 386 Literature and Environment Deforestation, air pollution, urban sprawl, endangered species, watershed loss, animal rights, rampant consumerism, and similar issues have been appearing as controversial in Western literature for hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of years. Consequently, if we wish to better understand our contemporary attitude toward the environment and how it emerged (the goal of this course), its literary history is an excellent place to start. Starting with one of the West's earliest texts, <i>iThe Epic of Gilgamesh</i> and ending with Rachel Carson and Michael Pollan, this course explores the history of our relationship with our planet. Instructor(s): Kenneth Charles Hiltner
ENG 396/GSS 396 Queer Theory In this course, we will read extensively in the interdisciplinary field of queer theory, from its emergence two decades ago to its present-day articulations. We will explore what is meant by "queer," what relation it may or may not have to "homosexuality" and "gay" and lesbian," and what challenges it poses to a politics of identity. We will also interrogate the category of "theory" itself--what it is, what it does, and what kinds of literary or historical interventions it can perform. Particular attention will be paid to the queering and de-queering of public space. Instructor(s): Gayle Salamon
ENG 416/COM 431 Topics in Literature and Ethics: Modern Evil This is a course on the problem of evil in the modern world as it is represented in works of literature and film. What is the nature of evil and how is it imagined? How can the noble ideas that define the modern world--justice and human rights, for example--be reconciled with the terrible events of the twentieth century: genocide, racial violence, and war? Why do good people do terrible things to others? What can reading books on evil in distant places teach us about ourselves? The course will explore how evil functions as a form of deep ethical violation and challenges how we understand the world and our relationship to others. Instructor(s): Simon Eliud Gikandi
ENG 417/COM 423/AFS 416 Topics in Postcolonial Literature: Postcolonial Cities Addresses the literature of several cities that have been central in shaping the modern imagination: Bombay, Cairo, Lagos, and Johannesburg. It will explore how the emergence of these global cities has transformed the meaning of urban landscapes and their representation in literature. The course will also examine how migrant writers from Africa and the Caribbean have transformed old cities such as London and New York. How does the city shape the form of writing? How does language itself transform the meaning of the urban experience? How does this literature challenge some of the leading theories on space and modern identity? Instructor(s): Simon Eliud Gikandi
ENG 425/COM 434 Bollywood Cinema Bollywood generates more films each year than other global film industries, circulating films across Africa, Asia, and beyond. What are the dominant trends and genres of popular South Asian cinema since independence? We will assume a capacious meaning of "Bollywood" as a global phenomenon. Course topics include the recent resurgence of Pakistani film industry as well as "Third Cinema," against which the popular is often defined in studies of postcolonial cinema. Course topics include melodrama, the popular, translation, diaspora, migration, nationalism and affect. Some background in film or media theory will be helpful but not required. Instructor(s): Zahid Rafiq Chaudhary
GSS 369/ENG 334 Writing the Body. Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction The goal of this course is to help you find your unique, creative voice by writing the body. We devote each class to two things: work-shopping your stories or essays in an intimate, collaborate environment; and engaging some of the most exciting published writers of our time. Instructor(s): Anne McClintock
GSS 373/AMS 383/ENG 332 Graphic Memoir An exploration of the graphic memoir focusing on the ways specific works combine visual imagery and language to expand the possibilities of autobiographical narrative. Through our analysis of highly acclaimed graphic memoirs from the American, Franco-Belgian, and Japanese traditions, we analyze the visual and verbal constructions of identity with an emphasis on the representation of gender dynamics and cultural conflict. Instructor(s): Alfred Bendixen
THR 338/ENG 301/COM 343 Comedies of Error This course examines one of the most popular of all theatrical genres -- the comedy of mistaken identity. We'll begin with Plautus, who provided the template for the mayhem to follow - a heritage of long-lost children (and their parents), twins (of the same or opposite sexes), disguise, crossdressing, and love and/or sex at first sight. Central to our project will be the question of how and why writers use these and other conventions to explore and explode the mysteries of identity and why the theater is the best venue for their explorations and explosions. Instructor(s): Michael William Cadden

Graduate Courses

Spring 2017

AAS 522/COM 522/ENG 504 Publishing Articles in Race, Gender, and Sexuality Studies In this interdisciplinary class, students of race as well as gender, sexuality, disability, etc. read deeply and broadly in academic journals as a way of learning the debates in their fields and placing their scholarship in relationship to them. Students report each week on the trends in the last five years of any journal of their choice, writing up the articles' arguments and debates, while also revising a paper in relationship to those debates and preparing it for publication. This course enables students to leap forward in their scholarly writing through a better understanding of their fields and the significance of their work to them. Instructor(s): Wendy Laura Belcher
COM 535/ENG 528/GER 536 Contemporary Critical Theories: Marx's Capital Close reading of Marx's Capital vol. 1. Attention paid to questions of translation. Knowledge of German not necessary, but be prepared to engage with the German text. Secondary readings discussed as necessary. Instructor(s): Benjamin Conisbee Baer
COM 547/ENG 530 The Renaissance: Me, Myself, and I: The Early Modern First Person Terms like "self" and "subjectivity" and the question of their historical or transhistorical meaning remain at the heart of literary study in the pre-modern period. With those issues in mind, this seminar focuses on the Renaissance "I." We begin with some classical and medieval precursors and with the subject of literal self-portraiture. Then we turn to the real business of the class: readings in Petrarch, Montaigne, and Shakespeare-the first two being the great European masters of the first person, the last said to have buried the first person in the voices of his characters. Instructor(s): Leonard Barkan
COM 565/ENG 544/FRE 565/GER 565 Studies in Forms of Poetry: Poetry, History and Memory This seminar explores the intricate relations of poetry to history and memory in the troubled 20th century. Individual poets are closely studied for their intrinsic interest but also for their (known and still to be discovered) connections with each other. The poets are Eugenio Montale, César Vallejo, René Char, Paul Celan, Adrienne Rich and Anne Carson, but other writers are called on from time to time. Questions of war and resistance are important, and above all the course attends to what one might think of as the fate of language under pressure. Instructor(s): Sandra Lekas Bermann, Michael George Wood
ENG 512 Chaucer I: Chaucer's Canterbury Tales In this course we carefully study Geoffrey Chaucer's poetry and prose collected in the Canterbury Tales. We attend to the literary and historical contexts of the poet's work; learn about the manuscripts that preserved and canonized his writing from the late fourteenth century on; and read a good deal of secondary criticism on both the poet and his times. Instructor(s): Andrew Cole
ENG 550 The Romantic Period: Coming of Age in the Age of Romanticism Lively questions of gender, poetic form, genre, narrative logic, literary imagination, socio-historical contexts and reception focus a study of five brilliant projects in Long Romanticism about growing up in the world: Wollstonecraft's <i>Vindication of the Rights of Woman</i> (1792); Wordsworth's epic poetic autobiography, <i>The Prelude</i> (begun in 1798, pub. 1850), Byron's <i>Don Juan</i>, published serially from 1819-1824; Austen's <i>Northanger Abbey</i> (1817, her earliest-drafted, posthumously pub. novel), and some of Browning's autobiographically coded epic poem <i>Aurora Leigh</i> (1856--the decade of <i>The Prelude</i>). Instructor(s): Susan Jean Wolfson
ENG 555 American Literary Traditions: Postwar New York This seminar focuses on the literature, art, and culture of postwar New York. Instructor(s): Joshua Isaac Kotin
ENG 558 American Poetry: American Elegy This course examines the literary, social, and cultural importance of a body of American mourning poetry that, while immensely popular in its time, remains today largely under-read. Beginning in colonial America and moving through the eras of manifest destiny, world war, and psychoanalysis, we explore a range of personal and public elegies addressing the experiences of dying, loss, and grief, from deathbed to hospital bed, home front to battlefield, bourgeois parlor to rural woods. Instructor(s): Diana Jean Fuss
ENG 567/COM 567 Special Studies in Modernism: Modernist Portraiture This course traces the emergence of the distinctly "modern" portrait, including, of course, the self-portrait, from its beginnings in the mid-nineteen century to the present day. We are particularly concerned with analyzing how this radical shift in the way a novel or a poem "framed" and depicted its central subject depended on corresponding stylistic revolutions in painting and developing technologies in photography & film. This focus helps us decide what distinguishes a portrait from a picture, particularly as that latter word has been transformed and given new meaning by the invention of the hand-held and motion picture camera. Instructor(s): Maria A. DiBattista
ENG 568 Criticism and Theory: Psychoanalysis and Postcolonialism This course stages conversations across psychoanalysis and postcolonialism, two strands of thought with an uneasy but generative relationship. As we discuss criticism that takes up this intersection, we consider theoretical possibilities that remain underexplored in existing criticism across these two formations: the nature of sacrifice under neoliberal rationality, racial difference and intimacy, decolonization and negativity, juridical and psychological forms of impunity, among others. Critical readings include Fanon, Kristeva, Mbembe, Said, Bersani, Lacan, Freud, Spivak, Berlant, Adorno. Instructor(s): Zahid Rafiq Chaudhary
ENG 571 Literary and Cultural Theory: Performance and Performativity This course investigates "performance" and "performativity" as both curricular objects and modes of inquiry. As the field of performance studies begins to take root in many contemporary locations, the seminar re-ignites a spirit of radicality to theories of performativity and engage critical and creative works that challenge the field's dominant paradigms of embodiment, liveness, and official theatrical stages. Through close attention to critical experiments in sound, visual arts, and literature, the seminar explores how performance and performativity enliven scholarly methodologies and aesthetic forms. Instructor(s): Alexandra T. Vazquez
ENG 575/HUM 571/ARC 570 Conflict Shorelines II: Conflict, Settlement, & Environmental Violence This course explores the Israeli-Palestine conflict as a history of spatial and environmental transformations by considering the threshold of the Negev desert. This desert edge is a conflict shoreline along which multiple struggles unfold: settlements displace native people in order to make the desert bloom, while climate change desertifies large tracts of formerly agrarian lands. This course investigates the nature of these contemporary conflicts by establishing relations among colonial history, architecture, literature, and climate change and by examining the political, legal, and aesthetic challenges that environmental violence initiates. Instructor(s): Eduardo Lujan Cadava, Eyal Weizman
ENG 581 Seminar in Pedagogy Required weekly seminar for all English Department PhD students teaching for the first time at Princeton and scheduled to precept during the Spring 2017 semester. Balancing pedagogical theory with practical tips and collaborative discussion, the seminar helps students meet the challenges of their first semester in the classroom while also preparing them to lead their own courses. Topics include: integrated course design (preparing lesson plans; leading discussions; lecturing; teaching writing; assessment and grading); writing recommendations; and managing students, faculty, and time. Instructor(s): William Albert Gleason
ENG 582 Graduate Writing Seminar While dissertation seminars invite students to map the territory and the stakes of their thesis, and article workshops tailor writing for specific journals, this seminar focuses on the craft of writing. Our premise is that craft and argument are mutually constitutive and our method is deliberative slow motion, tracking words, sentences, paragraphs with care. Each week we read and critique 2-3 paragraphs of each student's prose, on the understanding that they are revised the following week, when we take up the next 2-3 paragraphs. By the end of the term, each student should have a polished article, chapter or talk. Instructor(s): Claudia L. Johnson
ENG 783 Samuel Beckett and Life No description available Instructor(s): Maria A. DiBattista