Courses

Undergraduate Courses

Fall 2021

AAS 359/ENG 366 African American Literature: Harlem Renaissance to Present A survey of 20th- and 21st-century African American literature, including the tradition's key aesthetic manifestos. Special attention to how modern African American literature fits into certain periods 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): Kinohi Nishikawa
Section(s):
L01 11:00 AM - 12:20 PM M W
AMS 322/ENG 242 Native American Literature An analysis of the written and oral literary traditions developed by Native Americans. American Indian and First Nation authors will be read in the context of the global phenomenon of indigeneity and settler colonialism, and in dialogue with each other. Through readings, discussions, and guest speakers, we will consider linguistic, historical, and cultural approaches. This course offers an occasion to reflect on, critique, and contest settler colonialism, or the dispossession of land and waters and the attempt to eliminate Indigenous people. Instructor(s): Sarah Rivett
Section(s):
C01 01:30 PM - 02:50 PM M W
ASA 201/ENG 209 Introduction to Asian American Studies This course surveys critical themes in the interdisciplinary field of Asian American studies, including perspectives from history, literature, sociology, and gender and sexuality studies. It develops an account of Asian racialization beyond the black-white binary in the context of US war and empire in Asia and the Pacific Islands, settler colonialism, globalization, migration, and popular culture. Who or what is an "Asian American"? How have conceptions of Asian America changed over time? How do cultural forms such as literature and film add to an understanding of Asian American identity as a historically dynamic process and social relation? Instructor(s): Paul Nadal
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM T
COM 375/ENG 265 Writing the World: Nature, Science, and Literature in Early Modern Europe The idea that the poet "created a world" was a commonplace of Renaissance literary criticism. In this course we will be thinking about how poetry's worldmaking powers responded to changing ideas of what makes up the world - from revolutionary visions of the cosmos to new conceptions of the nature of matter and life - as well as to the new technologies which made these discoveries possible. How do the "creative" qualities of literature interact with an emerging scientific emphasis on facts and "things as they are"? We will consider these and similar questions in the different contexts of early modern Italy and England. Instructor(s): Giulio John Pertile
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 02:50 PM T Th
COM 457/HUM 457/ENG 457 Ways of Knowing: Philosophy and Literature Do works of poetry and fiction produce their own distinctive forms of knowledge, or do they simply help preexisting philosophical concepts get absorbed more easily? This course explores the mutual implications of philosophy and literature for epistemology. We'll read lyrical poems, short stories and novels alongside philosophical accounts of language and mind, linking textual phenomena with features of cognition. Topics include conceptuality vs. non-conceptuality, argument vs. narrative, metaphor and image schema, knowledge by acquaintance vs. by description, defamiliarization and estrangement, logic vs. association, form and spontaneity. Instructor(s): Maya Kronfeld
Section(s):
L01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
ENG 201 American Literary History This course surveys American literature from the colonial period to the Civil War. We will read autobiographies, sermons, slave narratives, revolutionary tracts, essays, novels, and poems. We will also discuss how early American literature shaped and was shaped by settler colonialism, and how origin stories continue to define our understanding of America. One goal of the class will be to learn from the political work of land acknowledgements, and Indigenous and African American practices of storytelling and memorialization. Instructor(s): Joshua Isaac Kotin, Sarah Rivett
Section(s):
S01 11:00 AM - 12:20 PM M W
ENG 203 The Essay This course introduces students to the range of the essay form as it has developed from the early modern period to our own. The class will be organized, for the most part, chronologically, beginning with the likes of Bacon and Hobbes, and ending with some contemporary examples of and reflections on the form. It will consider how writers as various as Sidney, Hume, Johnson, Emerson, Woolf, C.L.R. James, and Stephen Jay Gould have defined and revised The Essay. Two lectures, one 50-minute preceptorial. Instructor(s): Jeff Nunokawa
Section(s):
L01 02:30 PM - 03:20 PM M W
P01 01:30 PM - 02:20 PM M
P02 03:30 PM - 04:20 PM M
P03 01:30 PM - 02:20 PM W
P04 03:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
P05 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM Th
ENG 205 Making Poems Your Own To know a poem well is to make it your own and to learn something about how poems are made. In this class you will learn many great poems well. You will learn about the techniques and history of this art form as we consider significant changes in the history of lyric, dramatic, and narrative poems and think about poets' uses of voice, diction, image, trope, form, occasion, sequence, and closure. We will be reading poems together and writing about them, making poems and imitations of our own, and learning poems by heart. Instructor(s): Jennifer Soong, Susan A. Stewart
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM T
ENG 208 Underworlds Is the underworld a world unto itself, or does it only acquire meaning in relation to the world above? Or is it the other way around -- that our world acquires its deepest, most difficult meanings, in relation to the abyss? The underworlds we'll encounter--some cast in the epic tradition; others, modern underworlds of slavery, criminality, racism, prison, or concentration camp--are all recognizably versions of the world above. We'll explore the writing of underworlds as a revisionary, as well as visionary enterprise, sounding the depths for critiques (and satires) of power, authority, divinity, racism, misogyny, or simply everyday life. Instructor(s): Esther Helen Schor
Section(s):
C01 01:30 PM - 02:50 PM M W
ENG 261/AMS 357 Conspiracy in America How do we analyze conspiracy narratives and conspiratorial thinking at a moment when the government spies on its citizens and profitable technology companies have turned surveillance itself into an economic necessity? Under what historical, political, and economic conditions do conspiracies proliferate? In this course we analyze conspiracies, paranoia, rumors, and the contemporary economies of dis/information and post-facts. Course material will be drawn from American history, from the 19th century to the present, and will include manifestos, films, novels, online fora, and theoretical texts in psychoanalysis, narrative theory and politics. Instructor(s): Zahid Rafiq Chaudhary
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM Th
ENG 293/ASA 293 Chinatown USA This course looks at the construction of "Chinatown" -- as historic reality, geographic formation, architectural invention, and cultural fantasy -- in the heart of America. We will study novels, plays, films, and photography that focus on or use Chinatown as a central backdrop -or even as a conspicuous absence -- in ways that highlight the complex relationship between material history and social imagination when it comes to how America incorporates, or fails to digest, its racial or immigrant "others". Instructor(s): Anne Cheng
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 02:50 PM M W
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 prepares students to write the junior paper which is due in April 2022. Each seminar section will pursue its own topic: students are assigned according to choices made during sophomore sign-ins via system outlined below. Required of all English majors. Instructor(s): Sarah M. Anderson, Bradin T. Cormack, Maria A. DiBattista, Robbie John Richardson
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM T
S02 07:30 PM - 10:20 PM M
S03 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
S04 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM Th
ENG 312/MED 312 Chaucer Many challenges we face today are expressed in Chaucer's works but in a form different enough to shake us out of our heads so we can think honestly about what beleaguers human societies. On the one hand, his poetry is unfamiliar--high art from the fourteenth century cast in a language not ours, Middle English. On the other hand, his poetry is familiar, putting before our minds serious subjects we encounter today like military (and police) violence, sexual assault, racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, class conflict, political protest, and social autonomy. This Chaucer class is about the politics of art and the art of politics. Instructor(s): Andrew Cole
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
ENG 313/MED 315 Worlds Made with Words: Old English Poems that Perform This course concentrates on constitutive problems in OE literature: the "making" or "makers" of the OE poetry and its performers. How were these roles shaped and learned? How was performance depicted? What powers does a poem assume when it makes an inanimate object speak? When it stages a sensorium of sound and sight? We'll actively fabricate 21st-century approaches to how words made worlds in this early medieval poetic tradition. Instructor(s): Sarah M. Anderson
Section(s):
S01 11:00 AM - 12:20 PM T Th
ENG 314/THR 384 Hope and History: The Poems and Plays of Seamus Heaney In his speeches and online presidential campaign, Joe Biden made repeated use of Seamus Heaney's lines about making "hope and history rhyme." Seamus Heaney, who died in August 2013, was rare among contemporary poets in having both a huge public following and the admiration of his peers: both a Wordsworthian romantic and a Joycean realist; an atheist in search of the miraculous; a cosmopolitan with a little patch of remembered earth; a lover of the archaic who could not escape the urgency of contemporary history. This course follows Heaney's rich career, placing him in the context both of modern Ireland and world literature. Instructor(s): Fintan O'Toole
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM T
ENG 319/THR 217/GSS 441 Staging Sex in the City of London: From Country Wives to Fleabags This course charts a dominant motif of British stage comedy from the Restoration -- when all hell broke loose with the return of the monarchy in 1660, the introduction of the actress, and the emergence of professional women playwrights -- until the present day. We'll look at work by men and women celebrated for their always witty but often controversial representations of the sexual/romantic escapades of their contemporaries. Prepare to be disturbed as well as amused. One issue we'll want to consider: Why did men's work become canonical while their female colleagues, equally successful in their own day, were disappeared from the story? Instructor(s): Michael William Cadden
Section(s):
S01 11:00 AM - 12:20 PM T Th
ENG 320/THR 310 Shakespeare: Toward Hamlet. The first half of Shakespeare's career, with a focus on the great comedies and histories of the 1590s, culminating in a study of Hamlet. Instructor(s): Bradin T. Cormack
Section(s):
L01 09:00 AM - 09:50 AM M W
P01 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM W
P02 12:30 PM - 01:20 PM W
P03 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM Th
P03A 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM Th
ENG 339/COM 342/GSS 438 Topics in 18th-Century Literature: Love Gone Wrong Shakespeare wrote, "the course of true love never did run smooth" and Freud wrote of the "vicissitudes" of the passions, yet most readers regard heterosexual love stories as transparent, intelligible, and above all inevitable. We will read classic 18th-century novels from England, France, and Germany that show roads to and through the love plot to be rocky and full of impasses and swerves, with no certain endpoint. Such "vicissitudes" mark the very form of the narratives we will encounter. Class will examine issues such as gender fluidity, cross-dressing, queerness, love-madness, violence, repression, and panic. Instructor(s): April Alliston, Claudia L. Johnson
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM M
ENG 340/ECS 368 Romanticism and the Age of Revolutions The Romantic era witnesses a revolution in literary styles and subjects during an age of revolutions...American, French, and heated debates about the rights of men, of women, and the atrocity of the slave trade, and amid, within, and across this, the vital power of imagination. Our study shall be literary aesthetics, formations, and practices, and consideration of ethical thought and moral values. In conflicts of judgment, and how we organize our lives together, writing is a powerful medium of negotiation and reflection. The syllabus invites you to engage its texts along these lines--in conversations, informal postings, and formal essays. Instructor(s): Susan Jean Wolfson
Section(s):
S01 11:00 AM - 12:20 PM M W
ENG 351 American Literature: 1865-1930 A study of the development of American literature within the context of the shifting social, intellectual, and literary conventions of the period. Emphasis will be on the artistic achievement of writers such as James, Howells, Chesnutt, Crane, Wharton, Cather, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Faulkner. Instructor(s): Lee Clark Mitchell
Section(s):
L01 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM T Th
P01 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM M
P02 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM M
P03 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM Th
P04 12:30 PM - 01:20 PM Th
P05 01:30 PM - 02:20 PM 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):
S01 01:30 PM - 02:50 PM T Th
ENG 385 Children's Literature A survey of classic texts written for children from the past 200 years in (primarily) England and America. We will examine the development and range of the genre from early alphabet books to recent young adult fiction. We'll try to put ourselves in the position of young readers while also studying the works as adult interpreters, asking such questions as: How do stories written for children reflect and shape the lives of their readers? What can children's literature tell us about the history of reading, or of growing up, or of the imagination itself? In the process we will consider psychological and social questions as well as literary ones. Instructor(s): William Albert Gleason
Section(s):
L01 12:30 PM - 01:20 PM M W
P01 01:30 PM - 02:20 PM M
P01A 01:30 PM - 02:20 PM M
P02 02:30 PM - 03:20 PM M
P02A 02:30 PM - 03:20 PM M
P03 03:30 PM - 04:20 PM M
P03A 03:30 PM - 04:20 PM M
P04 07:30 PM - 08:20 PM M
P04A 07:30 PM - 08:20 PM M
P05 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM T
P05A 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM T
P06 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM T
P06A 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM T
P07 01:30 PM - 02:20 PM T
P07A 01:30 PM - 02:20 PM T
P08 02:30 PM - 03:20 PM T
P08A 02:30 PM - 03:20 PM T
P09 03:30 PM - 04:20 PM T
P09A 03:30 PM - 04:20 PM T
P10 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM W
P10A 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM W
P11 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM W
P12 01:30 PM - 02:20 PM W
P13 02:30 PM - 03:20 PM W
P14 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM Th
P15 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM Th
P99 01:00 AM - 01:00 AM
ENG 390/COM 392/HUM 390 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 of 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): D. Vance Smith
Section(s):
L01 01:30 PM - 02:20 PM M W
P01 02:30 PM - 03:20 PM W
P02 03:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
P03 02:30 PM - 03:20 PM M
P04 03:30 PM - 04:20 PM M
ENG 446 The Novel Since 2000 The last two decades have ushered in an unprecedented era of change and reflection. From the shifting of political and cultural orders at the turn of the millennium to the global circulation of the internet, human modes of expression have developed in dramatically different ways. We will explore novels written in English from 2000 to the present that reflect on change -- cultural, political, technological, environmental -- and in so doing, consider our position as twenty-first century readers in relation to both the past and the future. Instructor(s): Sarah A. Chihaya
Section(s):
L01 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM T Th
P01 02:30 PM - 03:20 PM M
P01A 02:30 PM - 03:20 PM M
P02 01:30 PM - 02:20 PM T
P03 02:30 PM - 03:20 PM T
P04 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM W
P05 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM Th
P99 01:00 AM - 01:00 AM
ENV 357/AMS 457/GSS 357/ENG 315 Empire of the Ark: The Animal Question in Film, Photography and Popular Culture This course explores the fascination with animals in film, photography and popular culture, engaging critical issues in animal and environmental studies. In the context of global crises of climate change and mass displacement, course themes include the invention of wilderness, national parks, zoos and the prison system; the cult of the pet; vampires, werewolves and liminal creatures; animal communication, emotions and rights; queering nature; race and strategies for environmental justice. How can rethinking animals help us rethink what it means to be human? How can we transform our relations with other species and the planet itself? Instructor(s): Anne McClintock
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
ENV 380/ENG 480/COM 386 Cities, Sea Level Rise and the Environmental Humanities This course explores how cities worldwide will be impacted by sea level rise. Students will consider solutions being put forward to address the impacts, such as managed retreat; hard engineering, such as building sea walls; or soft engineering, such as preserving and restoring natural buffers, be they coral or oyster reefs or mangrove forests. Through global texts engaging the issue of sea level rise, the course considers how ideas, meanings, norms and habituations differ from one location to another and how these differences manifest in and are informed by laws and social practices as well as arts and literature. Instructor(s): Christina Gerhardt
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
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 examine the visual and verbal constructions of identity with an emphasis on the representation of gender dynamics and cultural conflict. Instructor(s): Alfred Bendixen
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM M
JRN 240/CWR 240/ENG 280 Creative Non-Fiction Vast differences in power, income and social status divide our society, and these differences are explored deeply in literary non-fiction. In this course students will read masterpieces of non-fiction writing about social inequality and will examine to what extent it is possible for authors to know the struggles of their subjects, and to create empathy for them. Students also will sharpen their own skills at writing non-fiction in both first- and third-person styles: the personal essay, participatory reportage, immersion journalism, reconstructed narrative non-fiction and reflective autobiography.
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM T
SLA 411/RES 411/ENG 441/COM 456 Selected Topics in Russian Literature and Culture: Crosscultural Links between Russian and American Literature & Culture Major American cultural figures have found inspiration in Russian literary masterpieces. The course explores connections between (1) three Russian writers - Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, & Chekhov -. & (2) the multiplicity of ways in which twentieth and twenty-first-century Americans, in their own works, have incorporated, responded to, & reimagined these Russian creations. The main focus is on prose. Some attention to film and drama. We examine dimensions of the works which highlight ethical and societal dilemmas human beings face, the 'big questions' of life, and questions of what makes for a meaningful life. Instructor(s): Ellen Bell Chances
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
THR 308/AMS 307/COM 385/ENG 260 Metatheater, Then and Now In 1963, Lionel Abel invented the term "metatheater" to discuss self-referential, anti-illusionist devices -- introduced, as he thought, by some Renaissance playwrights -- which had become ubiquitous in the theater of his day. "Very meta!" was soon used to describe almost every play ever written. But some plays are more "meta" than others and the methods and motives of their authors vary considerably. This seminar will spend six weeks focused on Greek, Renaissance, and Modern examples of the genre before turning to contemporary American playwrights who have found new and often jaw-dropping uses for metatheatrics. Instructor(s): Michael William Cadden
Section(s):
S01 11:00 AM - 12:20 PM M W
THR 316/ENG 217 Modern Irish Theatre: Oscar Wilde to Martin McDonagh to Riverdance This course explores the many different ways in which the whole idea of a distinctively Irish theatre has been transformed every few decades, from Wilde and Shaw's subversions of England, to the search of Yeats and Synge for an authentic rural Ireland, to the often angry critiques of contemporary Ireland by Murphy, Friel and Carr. Plays of the Irish diaspora (O'Neill and McDonagh) are examined in this context. The course will also explore the ways in which ideas of physicality and performance, including the popular spectacle of Riverdance, have conflicted with and challenged Irish theatre's peculiar devotion to poetic language. Instructor(s): Fintan O'Toole
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM Th
THR 329/ENG 263/GSS 442/MTD 329 A Queer and Mysterious Analysis of William Inge This course combines queer centered analysis of mid century American Drama and songwriting with student generated research and performance. Using Inge's plays Picnic and Dark at the Top of the Stairs, we will investigate the codes both real and imagined embedded in the work, and the narratives we assume, project on, and long for in the American theatre cannon. Students will do research and build individual work in conversation with these themes as well as participate in workshopping a new production of Dark at the Top of the Stairs. Instructor(s): Will Davis
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM T Th