Courses

Undergraduate Courses

Fall 2020

AAS 353/ENG 352 African American Literature: Origins to 1910 This introductory course focuses on African American literature and literary production from the mid-18th century to the early 20th. In readings, assignments, and discussions, we will explore the unique cultural contexts, aesthetic debates, and socio-political forces surrounding the production of an early African American literary tradition. Over the course of the semester, we will investigate 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 Wilson, and non-fiction writing by W.E.B. DuBois, and fiction by Frances Harper. Instructor(s): Autumn M. Womack
Section(s):
L01 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM T Th
P99 01:00 AM - 01:00 AM
AAS 392/ENG 392 Topics in African American Literature: Reading Toni Morrison This course we will undertake the deceptively simple question: how do we read Toni Morrison? In taking up this task, we will devote our attention to various scenes and sites of reading across Morrison's oeuvre, asking how Morrison is encouraging us to read history, slavery, violence, geography, time, space, gender, and friendship? We will also engage with Morrison's own status as a reader by considering her work as an editor and literary critic. Through regular engagement with the Toni Morrison Papers housed at Firestone we will consider what it means to be able to read Morrison in such close proximity to these archival materials. Instructor(s): Autumn M. Womack
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM Th
AMS 343/ENG 238 Privacy, Publicity, and the Text Message This seminar will explore how we negotiate the distance between ourselves and others through text messages. Texts sustain an ambient intimacy that is increasingly redefining borders that range from the interpersonal--via anonymous mental health support--to the international--via reporting platforms for immigrant communities. What technical and social expectations of privacy do we operate with when sending a point-to-point message? How do novelists incorporate text messages into works of fiction? What does it mean that Frank Ocean can sing, "you text nothing like you look"? Instructor(s): Grant R. Wythoff
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
COM 339/ECS 351/ENG 239 Political Novel and Cinema Societal and political themes - such as class struggle, race/race relations, national/cultural identity, the rights of workers, gender and sexuality - are inextricable from the novel, as the form that seeks to encapsulate the experience of life in the modern world. But although every novel is political, some novels are deliberately so. This seminar will discuss notable novels that engage with political themes as well as the political implications of the novel as a genre. We will also be screening major works of what we might call "political cinema" to complement and enhance our discussion of these political narratives. Instructor(s): Maria A. DiBattista
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM T
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
P02A 03:30 PM - 04:20 PM M
P03 01:30 PM - 02:20 PM W
P04 03:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
P04A 03:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
ENG 206 Making and Remaking 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 storytelling and invention take 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 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM M
P02 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM W
P03 01:30 PM - 02:20 PM Th
ENG 229/AMS 229 Introduction to Indigenous Literatures This course is an introduction to Indigenous Literature. The underlying conviction of the course is that the study of Indigenous literatures 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. Readings primarily consist of American Indian and Aboriginal Canadian authors, yet we also place these authors in the context of the global phenomenon of indigeneity and settler colonialism. The syllabus encourages us to wonder how Indigenous authors across time and space are in conversation, or can be put into conversation, with each other. Instructor(s): Sarah Rivett
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 02:50 PM T Th
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 2020. Each seminar section will pursue its own topic: students are assigned according to choices made during sophomore sign-ins via a lotto system. Required of all English majors. Instructor(s): Sarah M. Anderson, Jeff Dolven, Russ Leo
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM M
S02 07:30 PM - 10:20 PM T
S03 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
S04 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM Th
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
P01A 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM T
P01B 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM T
P01C 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM T
P02 12:30 PM - 01:20 PM T
P02A 12:30 PM - 01:20 PM T
P02B 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
P05 03:30 PM - 04:20 PM T
P06 07:30 PM - 08:20 PM T
P07 09:00 AM - 09:50 AM W
P07A 09:00 AM - 09:50 AM W
P08 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM W
P09 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM W
P10 12:30 PM - 01:20 PM W
P10A 12:30 PM - 01:20 PM W
P10B 12:30 PM - 01:20 PM W
P11 01:30 PM - 02:20 PM W
P11A 01:30 PM - 02:20 PM W
P12 02:30 PM - 03:20 PM W
P13 03:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
P14 07:30 PM - 08:20 PM W
P15 09:00 AM - 09:50 AM Th
P15A 09:00 AM - 09:50 AM Th
P16 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM Th
P16A 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM Th
P16B 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM Th
P17 12:30 PM - 01:20 PM Th
P17A 12:30 PM - 01:20 PM Th
P18 01:30 PM - 02:20 PM Th
ENG 310/MED 310 The Old English Period What can be imagined and written in the English language as it existed in the British Isles from about 450-1100 CE? In this intensive introduction to the Old English language, we will learn its basic grammar and lexicon in order to read selections that suggest the strange, complex beauties of literature in the Old English period: fantastic adventures, battles won and lost, and the contemplation of the self -- exiled or exultant or afraid. We'll situate this literature in its material culture and try out its voices by reading Old English aloud. Instructor(s): Sarah M. Anderson
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM M
ENG 312/MED 312 Chaucer You study Geoffrey Chaucer not because he's "olde" or "hilaaarious," nor because he taught Spenser and Shakespeare a thing or two about poetry. You study Chaucer because almost every challenge we face today--so, too, every morsel of our species-being we either loathe or love--was expressed in his works but in forms different enough to help us get out of our heads to think honestly about what beleaguers human societies. Chaucer will teach us about violence, religion, law, class, identity, sex, love, laughter, and language in the fourteenth century, and we will reflect on what his brilliantly crafted works tell us about life today. Instructor(s): Andrew Cole
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM Th
ENG 320/THR 310 Shakespeare I 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
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, political, philosophical or critical work of these poems? Alongside the poems (including at least one contemporary collection), the course will include theoretical readings on languages and eros. Instructor(s): Bradin T. Cormack
Section(s):
S01 07:30 PM - 10:20 PM T
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 M
ENG 353 Melodrama: From Uncle Tom's Cabin to Grey's Anatomy From 18th-century fallen woman tales to 20th-century soap operas, melodrama has always offered exaggerated plot swings and wallowing emotions. Modern aesthetics often demands that writing be understated, that it show instead of tell; melodrama refuses to do these things. This course will examine a variety of sensational and emotive texts. Along the way we will consider distinctions between "high" and "low" art, we will examine morality tales about "good" and "bad" women, and we will interrogate the racial politics of sympathy. Instructor(s): Jocelyn A. Rodal
Section(s):
S01 03:00 PM - 04:20 PM T Th
ENG 354 Black Dramatists in the English-Speaking World The language of a play intermingles thought and dramatic action to epitomize an unreconciled social conflict, intended to manifest within and between human bodies in real time. What have English-language dramatists of African descent identified as the central conflicts of their plays? How have their relationships to race, power, and colonial structures influenced their works? In what ways have they shaped, subverted, and advanced theatrical forms? This course will survey plays written by Black playwrights in the 20th and 21st C. We will explore dramatic works of writers from Africa, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Instructor(s): Nathan Alan Davis
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM M
ENG 368 American Literature: 1930-Present A study of eleven modern American writers over eighty years that emphasizes the transition from modernism to postmodernism to retro-realism. Instructor(s): Lee Clark Mitchell
Section(s):
L01 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM M W
P01 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM M
P01A 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM M
P02 12:30 PM - 01:20 PM T
P03 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM W
ENG 390/COM 392 The Bible as Literature The Bible will be read closely in its own right and as an enduring resource for literature and commentary. The course will cover its forms and genres, including historical narrative, uncanny tales, prophecy, lyric, lament, commandment, sacred biography, and apocalypse; its pageant of weird and extraordinary characters; and its brooding intertextuality. Students will become familiar with a wide variety of biblical interpretations, from the Rabbis to Augustine to Kafka and Kierkegaard. Cinematic commentary will be included--Bible films, from the campy to the sublime. Instructor(s): Esther Helen Schor
Section(s):
C01 01:30 PM - 02:50 PM T Th
ENG 401 Forms of Literature: American Short Stories The short story reveals narrative at its most succinct, stripped bare (or rather contained within indispensable parts). Often viewed as insufficient novels, stories expose more fully the possibilities of narrative itself in revealing the flashes of character, lyricism, comedy, voice, coincidence, even fate that shape all fictional forms. This course examines the development of American short fiction over two centuries, revealing its extraordinary variety and complexity. Instructor(s): Lee Clark Mitchell
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 02:50 PM M W
ENG 408 Queer Literatures: Theory, Narrative, and Aesthetics This course will read from various trajectories of queer literature and engage "reading queerly" across race, gender, ability, class, and geography. We will consider the etymology of queer and think through its affiliate terms: lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans. How are such narratives encounters with power that are historically situated in relation to the national formations, carceral states, and racial capitalism? Instructor(s): Christina A. Leon
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
ENG 409 Topics in Drama: The Antigone Project Beginning with Sophocles' Antigone, this course will examine different versions of this seminal Greek tragedy--from different countries and across the centuries. We will consider Antigones by, among others, Jean Anouilh, Bertolt Brecht, Anne Carson, Athol Fugard, Tom Paulin, Seamus Heaney, and Kamila Shamsie. We will place special emphasis on Irish appropriations of the play and we will look at some of the more influential readings of Antigone, from George Steiner to Judith Butler. We will be interested in thinking about literature produced in a time of conflict, work which deals with silence and outspokenness in a time of violence. Instructor(s): Lisa Dwan
Section(s):
S01 07:30 PM - 10:20 PM M
ENG 411/AMS 411 Major Author(s): Mourning America: Emerson and Douglass This course focuses on the relations and differences between these two "representative men" of the 19th C. Demonstrating that Douglass' strategies of writing have relays with Emerson's points will enable us to bring out the radically political and historical character of Emerson's writings but also the profoundly literary elements of Douglass' political writings. Using the writings of these two key figures of the 19th C as a kind of measure, the course will seek to understand the governing cultural and political rhetorics through which America thought about such issues as race, slavery, manifest destiny, westward expansion, and identity. Instructor(s): Eduardo Lujan Cadava
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
ENG 415 Topics in Literature and Ethics: Imagining Human Rights This course is an invitation for us to think about literature as an ethical and political project, one that raises enduring questions about the uniqueness of the human being, the relation of the self to the other, and the possibility of human understanding across cultural, ethnic, racial and national boundaries. Moving across different periods and traditions, the course will consider how literature, film, and photography have played a crucial role in establishing the meaning of human rights and of enriching our understanding of what it means to be a human being entitled to freedom, life, and liberty. Instructor(s): Simon Eliud Gikandi
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM T
ENG 432 Fashioning the Self, Rendering Others: Literary and Visual Portraiture, 18th C to the Present From eighteenth-century society portraits to selfies, Anglo-American culture seems nearly ceaselessly obsessed with rendering the human form--face and body--whether of the self or of another. In this course focused on literary and visual portraiture from the eighteenth century to the present and taught largely in the Princeton University Art Museum, we will look at texts and objects side by side in an attempt to get closer to a definition of what portraiture is, what it does, how we come to know it when we see it, and what the genre says about conceptions of the self and others across axes of gender, race, ethnicity, and class. Instructor(s): Natalie V. Prizel
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM T
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
GSS 303/ENG 466 Feminist Futures: Contemporary S. F. by Women Feminist Futures explores the way in which recent writers have transformed science fiction into speculative fiction - an innovative literary form capable of introducing and exploring new kinds of feminist and multi-cultural perspectives. These books confront the limitations imposed on women and imagine transformative possibilities for thinking about gender roles and relationships, the body, forms of power, and political and social structures. Instructor(s): Alfred Bendixen
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
HUM 328/ENG 270 Language to Be Looked At This seminar focuses on the intersection of language and visual art in the twentieth-century. We begin by examining modernist and avant-garde experiments in word and image and then investigate the global rise of concrete and visual poetry and text-based art movements after World War II. We compare and combine methods from literary studies and art history, as well as other disciplines, including history, sociology, and philosophy. We examine artworks from, and the networks that connect, Brazil, Canada, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Instructor(s): Joshua Isaac Kotin, Irene Violet Small
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM T