Courses

Undergraduate Courses

Fall 2022

AAS 353/ENG 352 African American Literature: Origins to 1910 This course tracks the evolution of Black literature and literary culture from the mid-18th century to the early 20th. Moving across a range of genres - from poetry to drama to fiction - and mediums - from the periodical to the bound novel - we will interrogate the relationship between literary form, aesthetics, and cultural politics, while developing a deep understanding of the emergence of an African American literary tradition. Instructor(s): Autumn M. Womack
Section(s):
L01 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM M W
P01 12:30 PM - 01:20 PM W
P02 12:30 PM - 01:20 PM Th
P99 01:00 AM - 01:00 AM
AMS 322/ENG 242 Native American Literature An exploration of the written and oral literary traditions of Native American and Indigenous authors. 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. The course will include a service-learning trip to the Munsee Three Sisters Medicinal Farm and an opportunity to learn some Lenape, the ancestral language of New Jersey. Instructor(s): Sarah Rivett
Section(s):
C01 01:30 PM - 02:50 PM T Th
ASA 201/ENG 209 Introduction to Asian American Studies Who or what is considered Asian American? Who or what decides those boundaries? Using the collaborative Asian American tarot deck as framework, this course critically interrogates the complexities surrounding "Asian American" as political and community formation. In so doing, it considers intersections between race, class, gender, ability, and sexuality as factors that impact movements, identities, and narratives, and that ultimately trouble what it means to be Asian American. Course themes include: inclusion/exclusion, migration, racial violence, U.S. empire and war, refugees and adoptees, pop culture and media, and Asian American activism.
Section(s):
S01 03:00 PM - 04:20 PM M W
ECS 342/ENG 349/COM 352 Literature and Photography Since its advent in the 19th century, photography has been a privileged figure in literature's efforts to reflect upon its own modes of representation. This seminar will trace the history of the rapport between literature and photography by looking closely at a number of literary and theoretical texts that differently address questions central to both literature and photography: questions about the nature of representation, reproduction, memory and forgetting, history, images, perception, and knowledge. Instructor(s): Eduardo Lujan Cadava
Section(s):
S01 01:30 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 216/AMS 216/GSS 214 Wounded Beauty This course studies the entanglement between ideas of personhood and the history of ideas about beauty. How does beauty make and unmake persons -socially, legally and culturally- at the intersection of race, gender and aesthetics? Let us move beyond the good versus bad binary that dominates discussions of beauty to focus instead on how beauty in literature and culture have contributed to the conceptualization of modern, western personhood and its inverse (the inhuman, the inanimate, the object). We will trace beauty and its disruptions in the arenas of literature, visual culture, global capitalism, politics, law, science and technology. Instructor(s): Anne Cheng
Section(s):
S01 08:30 AM - 09:50 AM T Th
ENG 228/THR 228 Introduction to Irish Studies This interdisciplinary 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
Section(s):
L01 01:30 PM - 03:20 PM W
P01 03:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
P01A 03:30 PM - 04:20 PM 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):
L01 01:30 PM - 02:50 PM T
P01 03:30 PM - 04:20 PM T
P01A 03:30 PM - 04:20 PM T
P01B 03:30 PM - 04:20 PM T
P02 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM Th
P03 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM Th
ENG 294 Literature & Fashion This course explores the intimate relationship between literature, fashion, and various modes of self-fashioning and unfashioning. We will study novels, films, and photography that highlight the relationship among material histories, social fabrics, and notions of the corporeal and the human. Along the way, we will unsettle the easy yet stubborn distinction between surface and interiority. Instructor(s): Anne Cheng
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 02:50 PM T Th
ENG 298/COM 240 Myth and Mythography in the Early Modern World If we remember one thing about ancient myths, it is not to read them literally: Icarus didn't really fall into the sea because he flew too close to the sun. In this class, we will explore the frequently contentious debates about how to interpret myth as they played out in Europe from about 1500-1750. As we shall see, writing about myths ("mythography") mattered to the early moderns as a powerful way of making arguments about topics including politics, philosophy, religion, science, and sexuality. We will consider the histories of literature, ideas, and visual art, and treat authors ranging from Boccaccio and Machiavelli to Milton and Newton. Instructor(s): Rhodri Lewis
Section(s):
C01 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 2023. 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 May Anderson, Christina León, Nigel Smith
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM T
S02 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM M
S03 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM Th
ENG 305/COM 312 Contemporary Literary Theory What is literary theory and how does it allow us to think language and power in concert with categories of representation that exceed language: race, gender, coloniality, ecology, and subjectivity? This course will introduce students to literary theory, exploring how to read theory and how it helps us read other texts. We will consider the synergy between theories of signification and contemporary feminist, critical race, and postcolonial interventions. We will ground our analyses within particular literary, visual, and theoretical works, learning how to read cultural production as theory, rather than "applying" theory to selected texts. Instructor(s): Zahid Rafiq Chaudhary, Christina León
Section(s):
C01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
ENG 306 History of Criticism This course studies some of the "greatest hits." We will read the most popular and influential texts in the history of "theory," defined here as philosophically informed, often politically committed modes, of interpreting everything from books, statues, buildings, cereal boxes, and historical catastrophes. We will study authors you hear a lot about but perhaps never had the opportunity to study in depth, much less in one setting: Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Sartre, Arendt, Benjamin, Baudrillard, Fanon, Derrida, and Jameson. Instructor(s): Andrew Cole
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
ENG 311/MED 309 The Medieval Period: Arthurian Literature The dazzling and problematic figure of Arthur embodies the catastrophes and desires that propel medieval narratives, theories of power, ethnic divisions, and the emergence of the nation state. Arthurian literature asks us to think about how and why we read it now. Is it a guilty pleasure, serious critical work, or both? What do we learn from its mingled utopianism, nostalgia for the past, xenophobia, spectacle, sexuality, religion, violence, and political philosophy? The course will focus on the most influential medieval versions, but will include films like Monty Python and the Holy Grail and 2021's The Green Knight. Instructor(s): D. Vance Smith
Section(s):
P01 03:30 PM - 04:20 PM Th
P02 02:30 PM - 03:20 PM Th
P03 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM T
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM 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 12:30 PM - 01:20 PM Th
ENG 328/GSS 407 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 represent the subject and object of desire, and how do they represent the ethics of the erotic encounter? What is the social, political, and philosophical work of a personal and intimate poetry? Alongside a wide range of poems (including at least one contemporary collection placed in dialogue with the earlier poems), the course will include several short theoretical readings on the representation of desire. Instructor(s): Bradin T. Cormack
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 342 Indigenous Literature and Culture: Not Your Mascot This course will look to understand the current and historical role of Indigenous people as a trope in both Western culture and in American culture more specifically, the material effects of such representations and the longstanding resistance to them among Indigenous people, and work toward developing ways of supporting Indigenous sovereignty and futurity. It will include a cross-disciplinary program of learning that will work closely with the Indigenous holdings in both Firestone Library and the Princeton Art Museum. Instructor(s): Robbie Richardson
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM T
ENG 350 America in the 19th Century: Tales of Two Nations This course surveys the literature from one of the most exhilarating and fraught periods in American history. From 1820 -1860, the United States was a fledgling new nation struggling to forge an identity distinct from Europe and a nation collapsing under the weight of its own contradictions. The ideals of freedom and democracy were promised to all but systematically undermined by white supremacy, chattel slavery, and settler colonialism. We explore artistic flourishing through transcendentalism, the critique of the American experiment by Black and Indigenous authors, and literature of reform, culminating on the eve of the American Civil War. Instructor(s): Sarah Rivett
Section(s):
C01 03:00 PM - 04:20 PM T Th
ENG 354/AAS 354/THR 351 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 07:30 PM - 10:20 PM M
ENG 375 Wilderness Tales The wilderness tale is one of North America's most enduring literary genres. Stories of misfortune, hardship, and heroism in the continent's untamed landscapes have long entertained readers with both the romance and the realism of human encounters with the wild. This diverse literary tradition encompasses survival sagas, adventure tales, exploration thrillers, pioneer stories, escape fantasies, and animal yarns. What exactly is wilderness, and how have American and Canadian fiction writers shaped our thinking about the wild? Instructor(s): Diana Jean Fuss
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM M
ENG 390/COM 392/HUM 390/TRA 390 The Bible as Literature The Bible created and divided the world. This course explores that deep history by examining how the Bible itself was shaped: when, how, and by whom it was written; how it recorded and reworked history; how it responded to and changed politics and culture; how it gave birth to the way we read everything today. No experience with literature or the Bible is necessary. Short exercises will show how to read translations closely, and how to work with the original Hebrew and Greek versions. Instructor(s): D. Vance Smith
Section(s):
L01 01:30 PM - 02:20 PM M W
P01 02:30 PM - 03:20 PM M
P02 02:30 PM - 03:20 PM W
P03 03:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
ENG 401 Forms of Literature: Allegory: Chaucer to Whitehead Why not say what you mean? As a mode of literary representation, allegory forces readers to do a lot of work. Sometimes allegory is a system of signifiers that corresponds to "real" things. At other times, allegory creates layers of simultaneous possible meanings, the divergence--even contradiction--of which frustrates arrival at any clear "point." In this course, we will ask: What is allegory? How does it create meaning? How do readers read it? Why do authors turn to allegory for particular projects at particular moments in history?
Section(s):
C01 11:00 AM - 12:20 PM M W
ENG 403 Forms of Literature: Gothic: Haunted Form This course will think about how gothic texts represent haunting - the haunting of history, of racial and sexual violence, of the "other," of the non-human, of oneself. We will consider how fragments, encryptions, multiple narrators, for example, attempt to represent the persistence of the unspeakable. Our course will ponder why and how the gothic challenges, disrupts, resists, and yet also sometimes reinforces the tenets of authority. Although our course will proceed in a loosely chronological way, we will afford generous time to modern treatments, as we consider the development of gothic in memoir, graphic novels, music videos, and movies. Instructor(s): Claudia L. Johnson
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM M
ENG 405 Topics in Poetry: Early Modern Verse by Women and Men In received tradition there are no women authors writing in English before the very late 17th century, with a very few notable exceptions in the middle ages. This course charts the recovery and revaluation of early modern poetry by women, and contrasts it with verse by men, some of it well known. We'll learn how distinctively good it is, how unusually enjoyable and enlightening, as we encounter poems that range from recording the harrowing loss of grown-up daughters to smallpox to bold, insightful political verse. We'll follow the detective work that uncovered this lost poetry, and how the internet has been used to make it known. Instructor(s): Nigel Smith
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM M
ENG 407 Art of Comedy Is comedy necessary? What calls for comedy? Why does comedy often deal with topics that we think are no laughing matters? When does comedy become obsolete, and how do new comedic voices and figures emerge? We will look at comedies from various historical periods (ancient to contemporary), cultural traditions, and artforms (drama, fiction, film, stand-up). We will study their conventions, plots, props, jokes, and running gags (both physical and verbal) and also read theoretical writings on comedy as we consider its perils and promises. Instructor(s): Maria A. DiBattista
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
ENG 422/MED 422 The Work of Grief: Select Old English Poetry The "art of losing isn't hard to master," writes Elizabeth Bishop in "One Art". We'll examine that art of representing what we've lost, or longed for, in songs of transience and yearning that are brilliant, painful constructions in Old English. What could be mourned, who could grieve, how console? By methods comparative and critical, we will read how these poets of the earliest stage of English comprehended, maybe even mastered, their losses. Instructor(s): Sarah May Anderson
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM M
ENG 425/COM 462 Topics in London: Writing, Belonging, Voice In conjunction with University College London, this course will examine texts about and set in London--novels, plays, poems, films, and essays--from the 19th century to the present, to address interrelated topics, including the roles of class, gender, ethnicity, race, sexuality, and performance in the social dynamics and geography of London life. By attending to the texts in their historical contexts and in relation to one another, we will explore writing about London that is as varied as the city itself. In addition, students will develop junior papers or senior theses, working collectively on their writing and reporting on their research. Instructor(s): Tamsen Olivia Wolff
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
GSS 303/AMS 313/ENG 283 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, queer, 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 M
HUM 346/ENG 256 Introduction to Digital Humanities This seminar introduces the digital humanities by exploring key debates around the meaning of humanities data. Like "slow food"--a movement where diners, farmers, and chefs rethink what and how we produce and consume--we will explore data as local, embedded, and requiring careful critical reflection. How can computational tools help us to understand art and literature? What do digital archives reveal (or obscure) about the people who make them? We will explore the foundations of this field while also discussing concerns that emerge when accessing and maintaining digital projects in time and across global and local contexts. Instructor(s): Sierra Clare Eckert
Section(s):
S01 09:30 AM - 10:50 AM T Th
LAO 218/ENG 258/AMS 218 Latinx Autobiography This course begins from the disjoint and relation between the narrated autobiography and the lived life. In reading works by authors including Myriam Gurba, Wendy C. Ortiz, Carmen Maria Machado, Richard Rodriguez, and Junot Diaz, we will explore not only how writers experiment with the project of narrating a life that contends with the structures and strictures of racial matrices, gender binaries, and traumatic abuse - but also how writers test the boundaries of what autobiographies more generally are and are for. Instructor(s): Monica Huerta
Section(s):
S01 07:30 PM - 10:20 PM M
SLA 417/COM 406/ENG 424/RES 417 Vladimir Nabokov In 1919, at the age of twenty, Vladimir Nabokov fled "the bloated octopus of state" of his native Russia and embarked on a dazzling bilingual literary career in emigration. This course focuses on Nabokov's masterly writing, which reflects a modernist preoccupation with narrative, temporality, and memory. The Russian and American novels are at the center of our attention, but readings include also a sampling of his shorter fiction, poetry, essays on literature, and the memoir Speak, Memory.
Section(s):
S01 11:00 AM - 12:20 PM T Th
THR 220/COM 246/ENG 226/GHP 320 Theater and the Plague Theater relies on the physical and emotional vulnerability of live bodies to experience the pity and terror that plague, war, systemic injustice, and more ordinary forms of disease and death inflict. As we face the twin pandemics of our own time, what can "plague drama" (prompted by outbreaks of typhus, bubonic plague, cholera, AIDS, etc.) tell us about how writers use literal and metaphorical diseases to give shape to a given cultural moment? We'll look at a wide variety of mostly theatrical texts to explore how playwrights use the medium of the theater to literally embody and thus make visible physical, social, and metaphysical "dis-ease". Instructor(s): Michael William Cadden
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM Th
THR 359/ENG 447 The Plays and Films of Martin McDonagh Since he burst onto the theatre scene with The Beauty Queen of Leenane in 1996, Martin McDonagh has produced some of the most vivid, but also some of the most controversial work in contemporary drama and cinema. His plays and films are violent, lurid, transgressive and often grotesque, yet they also lend themselves to performances of great subtlety and sensitivity, like Frances McDormand's in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. We explore McDonagh's extreme imagination, its roots in Irish Gothic, Grand Guignol, the Grimm Brothers, Antonin Artaud and the theatre of the absurd and its uncomfortable use of race and disability. Instructor(s): Fintan O'Toole
Section(s):
C01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM T