Courses

Undergraduate Courses

Fall 2017

AAS 212/ENG 212 What's So Funny? Forms of African American Humor What's so funny? is a question that could be turned around to ask: Who's laughing? Comedian Dave Chappelle might say it's a question about who gets the joke, and who doesn't. This survey of African American humor is an introduction to getting the joke. We study the technical artistry of black humorists and comedians and reflect on the audiences for whom they write and perform. We examine a range of cultural expression, from the dozens to stand-up comedy. In our critical and creative work, we assess how past forms and strategies can be adapted to the project of African American humor today. Instructor(s): Kinohi Nishikawa
Section(s):
S01 03:00 PM - 04:20 PM M W
AAS 353/ENG 352 African American Literature: Origins to 1910 This introductory course focuses on black literature and literary culture from the mid-18th century to the early 20th; it will cover the poetry of Phillis Wheatley and Paul L. Dunbar; the political oratory of Sojourner Truth and David Walker; slave narratives by Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs; non-fiction prose by W. E. B. Du Bois and Anna Julia Cooper; and Frances Harper's and James Weldon Johnson's novels. In readings, assignments, and discussions, we will explore the unique cultural contexts, aesthetic debates, and socio-political forces that surround the production of an early African American literary tradition. Instructor(s): Autumn M. Womack
Section(s):
L01 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM T Th
P01 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM Th
COM 351/TRA 351/ENG 361 Great Books from Little Languages For historical reasons most books that come into English are translated from just a few languages, creating a misleading impression of the spread of literature itself. This course provides an opportunity to discover literary works from languages with small reading populations which rarely attract academic attention in the USA. It also offers tools to reflect critically on the networks of selection that determine which books reach English-language readers; the role of literature in the maintenance of national identities; the role of translation; and the concept of "world literature" in Comparative Literary Studies. Instructor(s): David Michael Bellos
Section(s):
L01 03:00 PM - 04:20 PM M
P01 01:30 PM - 02:50 PM Th
P02 08:30 AM - 09:50 AM Th
ENG 206 Reading Literature: Fiction The making and interpretation of fictions are among our everyday activities, whether or not we realize it; however, we don't always consider what "fiction" is, or what it means. This course will introduce students to the diverse and specific forms fiction takes in literature, with emphasis on the novel and film. We will interrogate the act of creating fictions, and the impact a fictional world can make on a reader. Along the way, we will continually consider two deceptively simple questions: what does fiction do to us? What can fiction do for us? Instructor(s): Sarah A. Chihaya
Section(s):
L01 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM T Th
P01 12:30 PM - 01:20 PM T
P02 01:30 PM - 02:20 PM T
P03 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM W
P04 03:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
P05 01:30 PM - 02:20 PM Th
P99 01:00 AM - 01:00 AM
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
Section(s):
L01 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM T Th
P01 12:30 PM - 01:20 PM M
P02 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM F
P99 01:00 AM - 01:00 AM
ENG 215 Introduction to Science Fiction An exploration of the ideas, issues, and aesthetic values that mark the development of science fiction from the 18th century to the present, with particular attention to the ways specific texts confront the philosophical questions underlying scientific inquiry and invention, travel in time and space, the creation of life, robots and robotics. The ways in which this genre reframes the basic question of what it means to be human will be the foundation of our analysis of contemporary short stories and representative novels. Instructor(s): Alfred Bendixen
Section(s):
L01 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM M W
P01 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM W
P02 12:30 PM - 01:20 PM W
P03 01:30 PM - 02:20 PM W
P04 02:30 PM - 03:20 PM W
P05 03:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
P06 07:30 PM - 08:20 PM W
P07 09:00 AM - 09:50 AM Th
P08 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM Th
P09 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM Th
P10 12:30 PM - 01:20 PM Th
P11 01:30 PM - 02:20 PM Th
P12 02:30 PM - 03:20 PM Th
P13 03:30 PM - 04:20 PM Th
P99 01:00 AM - 01:00 AM
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): Sarah M. Anderson, Simon Eliud Gikandi, William Albert Gleason, Jeff Nunokawa, Tamsen Olivia Wolff
Section(s):
S01 07:30 PM - 10:20 PM M
S02 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM T
S02A 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM T
S03 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
S04 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
ENG 308 American Cinema This film genre course addresses the cultural heritage of our national cinema. How has cinema shaped American culture, and how has American culture shaped cinema? We will focus on iconic figures in American film: robbers, tycoons, immigrants, cowboys, gangsters, detectives, lovers, monsters, cyborgs, survivors. Each week will pair an early film with a later one to trace a given genre's evolution; for example, the week on westerns might pair John Ford's "The Searchers" (1956) with Ang Lee's "Brokeback Mountain" (2005). The course studies commercial Hollywood films that serve as important barometers of their times. Instructor(s): Diana Jean Fuss
Section(s):
L01 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM T Th
P01 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM T
P02 12:30 PM - 01:20 PM T
P03 01:30 PM - 02:20 PM T
P03A 01:30 PM - 02:20 PM T
P04 02:30 PM - 03:20 PM T
P04A 02:30 PM - 03:20 PM T
P05 03:30 PM - 04:20 PM T
P06 09:00 AM - 09:50 AM W
P06A 09:00 AM - 09:50 AM W
P07 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM W
P08 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM W
P08A 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM W
P09 12:30 PM - 01:20 PM W
P09A 12:30 PM - 01:20 PM W
P10 01:30 PM - 02:20 PM W
P10A 01:30 PM - 02:20 PM W
P11 02:30 PM - 03:20 PM W
P11A 02:30 PM - 03:20 PM W
P12 03:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
P13 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM Th
P13A 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM Th
P14 12:30 PM - 01:20 PM Th
P14A 12:30 PM - 01:20 PM Th
P15 01:30 PM - 02:20 PM Th
P16 02:30 PM - 03:20 PM Th
P17 03:30 PM - 04:20 PM Th
P99 01:00 AM - 01:00 AM
ENG 312 Chaucer Look up Geoffrey Chaucer in the Urban Dictionary, and you will find an entry describing him as the original urban dictionary, a "medieval poet" whose Canterbury Tales "is a collection of stories filled with plenty of swearing, slang, and fart jokes." In this course we will read and discuss that Chaucer--the brilliant, hilarious, dirty poet of the Canterbury Tales. We will enjoy this fun, often moving text while learning about the poet's artistry, both the literary traditions he so deftly works over, and the sexual, political, and religious issues he so astutely figures and, as is so often the case, perverts. Instructor(s): Andrew Cole
Section(s):
S01 03:00 PM - 04:20 PM T Th
ENG 319/AMS 322 About Faces: Case Studies in the History of Reading Faces What aspects of your identity does your face carry? Why do we form attachments not only to our own face, but to the faces of those we love? This course explores theories about human faces, in terms of race, gender and class, and in relation to animal faces. We consider the ethical hold of the human face alongside the long history of studies--aesthetic, scientific, philosophical--of faces. We will also consider case studies of faces in specific contexts (e.g. in early film, in racial science, as emoji). Instructor(s): Monica Huerta
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM Th
ENG 320 Shakespeare I The first half of Shakespeare's career, with a focus on the great comedies and histories of the 1590s. Instructor(s): Bradin T. Cormack
Section(s):
L01 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM M W
P01 12:30 PM - 01:20 PM W
P99 01:00 AM - 01:00 AM
ENG 324 James Joyce's Ulysses Participants in the seminar will read James Joyce's Ulysses (1922) closely and carefully, episode by episode, over the twelve-week semester. Our aim will be to develop a deep understanding of the novel--its significance, and its historical and political context. In the first week of the seminar, we will read Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916); in the remaining weeks, we will read Ulysses, as well as a selection of the most influential Ulysses criticism. Instructor(s): Joshua Isaac Kotin
Section(s):
S01 11:00 AM - 12:20 PM T Th
ENG 339 Topics in 18th-Century Literature: Jane Austen Then and Now This class will consider Jane Austen not only the inventor of the classic novel but also as an inspiring author who is--thanks to a steady stream of adaptations spinoffs and sequels--our contemporary. Pairing each novel with recent movies, vlogs or tv shows, we will show how Austen is perpetually current in her treatment of love, violence, sisterhood, sex and gender, and we will also ponder how modern texts speak back to her. Exploring Austen's modernity and her difference, we will learn as much about ourselves as about her novels. Instructor(s): Claudia L. Johnson
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM T
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
Section(s):
L01 02:30 PM - 03:20 PM M W
P01 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM M
P02 03:30 PM - 04:20 PM M
P03 12:30 PM - 01:20 PM W
P04 03:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
P99 01:00 AM - 01:00 AM
ENG 354/AMS 454/LAO 354 An Introduction to Latino Literature and Culture: Latina/o Literary Worlds Latina/os have long been present in the story of the United States. Yet, contemporary media headlines often report an increasing, and often alarmist, "browning" of America. These headlines often rely upon stereotypes of Latina/os--morphing them into a static and falsely unified identity category. We will examine to Latina/o literature and art to note how such headlines leave out many stories. Looking at Latina/o narratives, we will consider the uniqueness of each piece in relation to place, history, and gender. Attention will be paid to how these aesthetic pieces perform modes of resistance. Instructor(s): Christina A. Leon
Section(s):
S01 12:30 PM - 01:20 PM T Th
ENG 357 Topics in American Literature: Henry James and William Faulkner This course examines the careers of two of America's most accomplished novelists. Manifest differences aside, both authors were obsessed with the ensnaring effects of plot, prompting both to imagine fictional realms that are as much "designs" on the reader as on characters. Instructor(s): Lee Clark Mitchell
Section(s):
L01 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM T Th
P01 12:30 PM - 01:20 PM T
P02 12:30 PM - 01:20 PM Th
P99 01:00 AM - 01:00 AM
ENG 364/COM 321/THR 364 Modern Drama I A study of major plays by Ibsen, Strindberg, Chekov, Pirandello, Brecht, Beckett and others. Artists who revolutionized the stage by transforming it into a venue for avant-garde social, political, psychological, artistic and metaphysical thought, creating the theatre we know today. Instructor(s): Robert Neil Sandberg
Section(s):
S01 11:00 AM - 12:20 PM M W
ENG 377/COM 386 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
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
ENG 379/AAS 379/AMS 389/ART 380 Black Aesthetics: Art, Literature, and Politics in the African Diaspora This course introduces students to black aesthetics as a historically grounded concept that stages questions of the social, cultural, political and philosophical meaning of blackness. We'll explore various 'flashpoints' during the 20th century where black art serves both as a site of contestation and a platform for interrogating topics of race, gender, sexuality, the body, objecthood, slavery and colonialism. We'll consider how various generations of black artists/intellectuals across the African diaspora turned to the aesthetic realm to imagine new political possibilities and generate different ways of seeing, feeling, sensing, and thinking. Instructor(s): Nijah Cunningham
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 02:50 PM T Th
ENG 381 Laughter, Vice and Delusion: Satire and Satirists, 1500-1700 This seminar considers a part of English literary history that is often overlooked: the surge in satirical writing from 1500 to 1700. In it, we will discuss a range of texts--prose, poetry, and drama--that are funny, clever, angry, culturally omniverous, and often foul mouthed. In addition to enjoying ourselves, we will see that satire involves far more than calling out corruption in high places, or mocking the pretensions of snobs, lovers, bad writers, and those trying to make it big. It is also a provocation to laugh, and sometimes to wince, our way to a better understanding of what life and literature are supposed to be about.
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 02:50 PM T Th
ENG 390/COM 207/HUM 207 The Bible as Literature This course will study what it means to read the Bible in a literary way: what literary devices does it contain, and how has it influenced the way we read literature today? What new patterns and meanings emerge? This course will examine the structures and modes of the Biblical books; the formation of the canon and the history of the apocryphal or deuterocanonical books; questions authorship; its literary genres; histories of exegesis, interpretation, and commentary; the redaction, division, and ordering of biblical texts; the cultural, political, and intellectual worlds within which these texts were written. Instructor(s): Donald Vance Smith
Section(s):
L01 01:30 PM - 02:20 PM T Th
P01 03:30 PM - 04:20 PM T
P02 02:30 PM - 03:20 PM Th
P99 01:00 AM - 01:00 AM
ENG 405 Topics in Poetry: Contemporary Poetry This seminar focuses exclusively on books of poetry published in 2017. We will read work by established and emerging poets, and attend poetry readings in Princeton (and possibly New York and Philadelphia). Poets will also visit the class to discuss their work and/or the work of writers they admire. Students will write reviews, rather than essays, and, in the process, learn about (and contribute to) the institutions that support and promote contemporary writing. Instructor(s): Joshua Isaac Kotin
Section(s):
S01 03:00 PM - 04:20 PM T Th
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
Section(s):
L01 01:30 PM - 02:20 PM M W
P01 02:30 PM - 03:20 PM T
P99 01:00 AM - 01:00 AM
ENG 421/MED 421 Beowulf How does Beowulf work as a poem? In this course, we aim to find out, learning Beowulf through close study of its manuscript context and of its literary and historical milieux. Topics emphasized include the poem's genre; its sources, analogues, and afterlives; its place in theories of oral performance; its aesthetics; and its troubled relationship to the culture(s) that wrote it and to the modern cultural investment in it. Tune up your harp, sharpen your wits, and get set to explore a startling and crucial text. Instructor(s): Sarah M. Anderson
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
ENV 369/ENG 383 Environmental Imaginings and Global Change This course in the environmental arts and humanities will explore the vital transformative role that narrative and image can play in shifting our imaginative, ethical, and political horizons. Students will have the chance to engage with cutting edge creativity by environmental filmmakers, writers, sculptors and digital artists. Our perspective will be international and interdisciplinary as we consider experimental strategies to change the force fields of environmental perception and thereby impact the emotional life of the body politic. For, as novelist Ruth Ozeki puts it, "The very act of storytelling is itself a form of hope." Instructor(s): Robert Nixon
Section(s):
C01 11:00 AM - 12:20 PM M W
GSS 345/AAS 355/ENG 399/AMS 373 Pleasure, Power and Profit: Race and Sexualities in a Global Era Pleasure Power and Profit explores the intimate ways that sexualities and race are entwined in contemporary culture, historically, and in our own lives. Why are questions about sexuality and race some of the most controversial, compelling, yet often taboo issues of our time? Exploring films, popular culture, novels, social media, and theory, we engage themes like: race, gender and empire; fetishism, Barbie, vampires and zombies; sex work and pornography; marriage and monogamy; queer sexualities; and strategies for social empowerment such as: Black Lives Matter, the new campus feminism, and global movements against sexual and gender violence. Instructor(s): Anne McClintock
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM T
LCA 213/AAS 213/ENG 213/HUM 213 The Lucid Black and Proud Musicology of Leroi Jones/Amiri Baraka This class will focus on the career-long writing about jazz, blues, rock and R&B of Amiri Baraka (nee Leroi Jones) and the significant impact it has had on cultural politics, scholarship and esthetics from the early 1960s to the present. Baraka's work as an activist and his gifts as a poet/novelist/playwright/political essayist allowed him to inject considerable lyricism, eloquence, learning and passion into the previously moribund fields of African American music history and journalism. His music writing also affected the tenor of future public advocacy for jazz via the NEA 's Jazz Masters awards and Jazz At Lincoln Center. Instructor(s): Gregory Stephen Tate
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
MUS 307/HUM 307/ENG 313 The Irish Oral Tradition Story, song and the written word share a common and ancient heritage in the Irish Tradition. In this seminar series we will explore the rich tapestry that comprises the written word in Irish Language Literature and Song and examine how oral forms of artistic expression continue to enrich a nation's literature and music to this very day. The series will explore the shared histories of Irish Language Poetry and the Sean Nós song tradition, how oral culture finds expression in Irish Theatre and how older oralities still find potent representation and viability in a wide span of contemporary Music Culture, from Opera to Traditional Music. Instructor(s): Iarla Ó Lionáird
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM T