Courses

Graduate Courses

Fall 2019

ENG 523 Renaissance Drama: Shakespearean Tragedy and the Burden of Truth In this course, we look afresh at S's tragedies with two ends in mind. First, to explore their frequently skeptical engagements with the orthodoxies (cultural, moral, political, poetic, religious, etc.) of life at the turn of the 17th century. Second, to explore the ways in which S reconceived tragedy as a medium through which to represent this world as truthfully as possible. We read S alongside a wide range of other sources, mainly early modern. Our main concern is to better understand the plays themselves, but we also think hard about questions of genre and about the relationship between literary theory and practice. Instructor(s): Rhodri Lewis
Section(s):
S01 09:00 AM - 11:50 AM M
ENG 543 The 18th Century: Rethinking the Rise of the Novel The question of whether or not a form known as The Novel "rose" across the course of the 18thC has been debated for over 60 years by the discipline's most distinguished critics. Little is settled. Why does the emergence and development of the novel continue to matter so much, historically and theoretically? We cover current critical debates about realism and globalism; non-human models of mind; formalism and "contextualism"; religion and secularity as ways to understand why novels are so important even in late modernity. We also take an energetic survey through the 18thC Anglo-American novel from Defoe to Austen. Instructor(s): Sophie Graham Gee
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
ENG 550 The Romantic Period: Close Reading and the New Criticism(s) in the Long 20th Century For at least 75 years close-reading for literary effects and formations, and the mid-century "New Criticism" that propelled this practice, are still influential in criticism, theory, pedagogy. Yet this tradition is known mostly 2nd or 3rd hand, often by slander and parody. Why and how is close reading important? We study some of the landmarks. You may involve your own field/critical/pedagogical/ theoretical concerns. Weekly responses postings; formal essays (2 midsize or one termsize) developed from your own interests; these may involve including critically reflective close readings. Instructor(s): Susan Jean Wolfson
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM Th
ENG 556/AAS 556 African-American Literature: Black Arts Criticism Black arts criticism addresses the contradictions of cultural production while expanding what it means to read a work of art. It's become an essential part of our contemporary discourse. From a longer view, this dissemination may be traced to the Black Arts movement, whose own body of criticism questioned just whom "black art" was being produced for. We survey the development of Black Arts criticism into Black arts criticism, touching on music, literature, and the visual arts. In the process, we explore criticism's role in the academy by learning how scholarly writing can inform online and magazine work. Instructor(s): Kinohi Nishikawa
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM M
ENG 567/FRE 567 Special Studies in Modernism: Paris, Modern The seminar examines the literature and culture of Paris from 1905 to 1940. We pay particular attention to the connections (and lack of connections) among artists in the city: the avant-garde, French modernists, American and British expatriates, and Russian emigres, among others. Other concerns that frame seminar discussions include: the influence of Paris (as a city) on artistic production; the relation between modernist and avant-garde aesthetics; the relation between individual artists and artistic movements; periodicals and publishing houses; and the spaces of modernism: salons, caf├ęs, bookshops. Instructor(s): Joshua Isaac Kotin, Efthymia Rentzou
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM T
ENG 568/COM 568 Criticism and Theory: Spinoza and Spinozism In this course we look closely at Baruch Spinoza's major works, the Ethics and the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus; some early modern encounters with these works (Toland and Leibniz); and more recent engagement with Spinoza's thought, with an eye to theory, politics, and politcal economy. Instructor(s): Russell Joseph Leo III
Section(s):
S01 06:30 PM - 09:20 PM W
ENG 571 Literary and Cultural Theory: Future of the Black Archive This graduate course investigates the archive, the book, and the library over time, with African American history, poetry, and food providing a lens into the culture. Our chief "text" is the 11 million items found in the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the oldest and largest black archive in the world, where we spend half our course time. By examining the Schomburg Center's unique holdings, from Phillis Wheatley to James Baldwin to Lorraine Hansberry, as well as founder Arturo Schomburg, students explore curation, collecting, and community perspectives as a way of theorizing a Black past and bright future.
Section(s):
S01 06:00 PM - 08:50 PM T
ENG 572/GSS 572 Introduction to Critical Theory: Feminism, Queer, Deconstruction What happens when we deconstruct a text or an identity? This course in an introduction to deconstruction and its implications for feminist and queer readers. The course begins with early texts by Derrida (e.g., Of Grammatology) and examines the hinge terms generated by his deconstructive readings: writing, trace, differance. The course then investigates how this work has been taken up in feminist and queer texts (e.g., Edelman, Johnson, Spivak). Students emerge from this course with proficiency in the logics of deconstruction and an understanding of the influence of deconstruction on feminist and queer theory.
Section(s):
S01 09:00 AM - 11:50 AM T
ENG 573/AAS 573/COM 573 Problems in Literary Study: On Modernism and Blackness At the beginning of the twentieth century, European writers and artists used blackness as a mechanism for creating new forms of art and the aesthetic of modernism. At about the same time, black writers and artists adopted modernism as the aesthetic that would best represent their lives in a world defined by racial violence. This course has two aims: The first one is to question received accounts of global modernism's relation to blackness and the affirmative claims made for primitivism and exoticism. The second one is to closely examine how black writers and artists in Africa and the African diaspora adopted and transformed global modernism. Instructor(s): Simon Eliud Gikandi
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
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 will be 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
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM T
HUM 595/ENG 594/CLA 595/HLS 595 Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities: Premodernism When we place events in the past, we choose coordinates like the term "century," which is relatively neutral, however arbitrary. Conventional terms like "the Renaissance" or "the postmodern" carry more baggage. In this course, we choose the equally difficult concept of the "premodern" to describe the past but rethink its qualities. What is the "modernity" that it precedes? Does the "premodern" elide differences between the ancient and the medieval? How might premodernity help us think of a time/place that includes both classical and medieval periods? How can we speak of the past if it persists in the present or is the basis for the future? Instructor(s): Andrew Cole, Brooke A. Holmes
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM T