Undergraduate Courses

Fall 2024 English

American Literary History (LA)
Subject associations
ENG 201

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.

Instructors
Sarah Rivett
Historical Fiction / Fictional History (LA)
Subject associations
ENG 204 / AMS 205

Authors and theorists of contemporary fiction have turned to various modes of fictionality, speculation, and the counterfactual to address and encounter gaps in the historical record, even if not to fully recover experiences lost to time. "Historical Fiction / Fictional History" will introduce students to literary and critical methods by toggling between "historical" and "fictional" texts, and ask them to experiment creatively with their own narrative voices.

Instructors
Monica Huerta
Nice People (CD or LA)
Subject associations
ENG 218 / GSS 233 / AMS 217

This class explores the underside of civility: the indifference of good manners, the controlling attention of caregivers, the loving coercion of family, the quiet horrors of neighbors, friends, and allies. We will explore characters in fiction and film whose militant niceness exercises killing privilege or allows for the expansion of their narcissism...people with "good intentions" who nonetheless wreak havoc on the people and the environment around them. We will consider "niceness" as social performance, as cultural capital, as middle-class value, as sexual mores, as self-belief, and as affective management.

Instructors
Anne Cheng
Moeko Fujii
American Television (LA)
Subject associations
ENG 275 / AMS 275

An introduction to the forms and meanings of American television, with an emphasis on watching, thinking, and writing critically about the medium. We will examine a range of structures, styles, and strategies specific to television, including episodic storytelling, the advent of streaming and "peak TV," and the role of television in establishing and sometimes disrupting norms of identity, politics, and aesthetics. The main approach throughout will be close analysis of specific genres, series, and episodes informed by the histories, contexts, and practices that make American television such a significant part of American culture.

Instructors
William A. Gleason
Shakespeare at the Movies (LA)
Subject associations
ENG 279

Shakespeare wrote for the page and the stage, but the last century has taken him to the movies. This course introduces his language and theatrical imagination through their translation into films, from Romeo and Juliet in Verona Beach to Macbeth in feudal Japan. We will take up Shakespeare's great subjects-love, tyranny, revenge, redemption-while developing our powers of attention to the forms of three media, writing about the plays, acting them out, and making short films of our own as we go. We will study the performance conventions of his time and ask whether there was such a thing as cinematic imagination before the invention of cinema.

Instructors
Jeff Dolven
Asian Mothers (CD or LA)
Subject associations
ENG 291 / GSS 291 / ASA 291

Despite the stereotypes of the over-bearing Tiger Mom and the Immigrant Mom, the figure of the mother has been surprisingly absent (either missing, dead, or otherwise gone) in 20th and 21st century Asian American literature and cinema. This class explores how the missing maternal figure structures the lifeline of Asian American imagination. Why is such a primal figure of origin ghostly? What happens to the mother-child relationship in the shifting contexts of diaspora, migration, nationhood, interracial relation, technology, and/or adoption? What happened to the "Asian Mother" in the late stage of American neoliberalism and racial reckoning?

Instructors
Anne Cheng
The Art of Loving (LA)
Subject associations
ENG 295

Love is a many splendored thing. Love is dangerous. Love is a drug. Love is carnal ecstasy. Love is a subject of art, while loving well is an art in itself. Many experiences, emotions, actions, and ideals travel under the name of romantic love. This course will contrast the wild and wide depictions of romance in fiction, poetry, letters, myth, and other mediums: from medieval courtiers to modern blues musicians, from ecstatic sonnets to yearning love letters. Why do we worship and worry about this singular feeling? What do the different forms and phases of love's passions have to tell us about being human?

Instructors
Diana J. Fuss
Junior Seminar in Critical Writing
Subject associations
ENG 300

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.

Instructors
Sarah M. Anderson
Joshua I. Kotin
Meredith A. Martin
Robbie Richardson
History of Criticism (LA)
Subject associations
ENG 306 / COM 340

In this course we will read influential texts in political thought and theory. We will study authors you hear a lot about but perhaps never had the opportunity to study in detail, much less in one setting: Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Arendt, Foucault, Fanon, Debord, Jameson, Spivak, and Butler. Students majoring in Politics as well as literature, Philosophy, and History are welcome, as are majors in all areas of study at the university. No prior knowledge of these thinkers is required.

Instructors
Andrew Cole
Graphic Narrative and the Comics Medium (LA)
Subject associations
ENG 309

An introduction to American graphic narrative by way of understanding comics as a medium of textual and visual expression. Readings consist of modern and contemporary works that blur the line between fiction and nonfiction, novel and memoir, memory and history. In reflecting on the medium-specific qualities of comics, the course addresses questions of genre definition, cartoon aesthetics, and readerly experience.

Instructors
Kinohi Nishikawa
Chaucer (LA)
Subject associations
ENG 312 / MED 312

It's no accident that authors from William Shakespeare to Zadie Smith have taken inspiration from the Canterbury Tales. Chaucer's collection of tragedies, romances, satires, fantasies, and farces engages with problems that remain urgent today vexed dynamics of gender and power, freedom, servitude, antisemitism, Islamophobia, grief, trauma, piety and hypocrisy. Our task in this class will be to read this multiform masterpiece from beginning to end, learning its original Middle English as we go. The goal: to understand the Tales both in their late-medieval context and as living literature, still capable of teaching today's writers a few tricks.

Instructors
Spencer A. Strub
Worlds Made with Words: Old English Poems that Perform (HA or LA)
Subject associations
ENG 315 / MED 315

We'll study select Old English works preserved in several media and genres. Our focus is on texts muted in dominant histories of this period: metrical charms, runic inscriptions on whalebone and metal, riddles, spells that curse and heal, and travelogues. These constructions are embedded in polysemous discourses that network through the broad range of cultural discourses available in the Old English Period and link the built environment to the natural one. We will actively fabricate 21st-century approaches to the many-branched worlds of Old English, deciphering the processes these early medieval texts write and performing their songs.

Instructors
Sarah M. Anderson
Shakespeare: Toward Hamlet (LA)
Subject associations
ENG 318 / THR 310

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.

Instructors
Bradin T. Cormack
Topics in American Literature: Cather, Faulkner, Morrison (LA)
Subject associations
ENG 340 / AMS 359

Willa Cather, William Faulkner, Toni Morrison: each lay claim to being America's premier twentieth-century novelist. And each did so through a distinctive focus on place and identity. Even more than that shared preoccupation, however, their radical narrative innovations explain why they continue to be read. This course explores the common subjects and varied literary strategies that have transformed possibilities for American fiction.

Instructors
Lee C. Mitchell
19th-Century Fiction (LA)
Subject associations
ENG 345

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.

Instructors
Jeff Nunokawa
Topics in Women's Writing: Early Women's Writing (CD or LA)
Subject associations
ENG 383 / GSS 395 / AMS 483

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, drama and prose by women. We'll learn how significant it is and enjoyable, as we encounter works that range in subject from the harrowing death of grown-up daughters, highly original philosophy, bold political verse and critiques of slavery. We'll consider all within frameworks provided by contemporary gender and race theory and history.

Instructors
Nigel Smith
Phenomenology (EC or LA)
Subject associations
ENG 387

Phenomenology is the philosophical study of experience and our shared lifeworld. The course is based on the insights and methods of phenomenology, though our readings will draw from literature, sociology, anthropology, religious studies, and medical humanities. We will proceed with the conviction that the best way to learn phenomenology is by practicing it, and the semester will be divided between textual study of perception and an experimental practicum in which students observe and record their own habits of perception. Instead of a final paper, students will produce an original phenomenology of an object, a place, or an event.

Instructors
Grace M. Monk
Gayle Salamon
Topics in Critical Theory: Frantz Fanon (LA)
Subject associations
ENG 388 / AAS 391 / COM 399

Frantz Fanon is among the most important intellectuals of the twentieth century. In this course we will concentrate on two of Fanon's major books: Black Skin, White Masks and The Wretched of the Earth. We will read Fanon's contemporaries like Aimé Césaire and Léopold Senghor as well as responses to Fanon by Jean-Paul Sartre, Hanna Arendt, Judith Butler, Sylvia Wynter, Ng'g wa Thiong'o, and others. Topics we will cover are decolonization, infrastructural critique, systemic racism, existentialist phenomenology, négritude, violence, dialectics, psychiatry (vs. psychoanalysis), national consciousness, revolution, poesis, praxis.

Instructors
Andrew Cole
Forms of Literature: American Short Stories (LA)
Subject associations
ENG 401

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.

Instructors
Lee C. Mitchell
Forms of Literature: Gothic: Haunted Form (LA)
Subject associations
ENG 403

This course will think about how Gothic texts represent haunting - the haunting of history, of trauma, of racial and sexual violence, of the "other," of oneself. We will consider how fragments, encryptions, multiple narrators, etc. attempt to represent the persistence of the unspeakable, pondering why and how 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 current treatments, as we consider the development of gothic in theory, novels, memoir, short stories, and film.

Instructors
Claudia L. Johnson
Forms of Literature: Short Forms: Fables, Tales, Aphorisms (LA)
Subject associations
ENG 404 / COM 448

Though often considered elementary-associated with the instruction of children and beginning language learners-fables, tales, riddles, and aphorisms are among the most ancient, powerful, and haunting literary forms. These short forms seem transparent, yet the brevity that makes them seem simple challenges our wit, queries the morals they seem to announce, and stymies our distinctions between sense and nonsense, humans and animals, reason and absurdity. In addition to riddles, we will read fables from Aesop to Kafka, fairy tales from Perrault to Angela Carter, and aphorisms from Bacon to bathroom grafitti.

Instructors
April Alliston
Claudia L. Johnson
Topics in Poetry: Modern Irish Poetry (LA)
Subject associations
ENG 405

A survey of Modern Irish Poetry based on the holdings of the Rare Books and Special Collections in Firestone Library. There will be readings from Carson, Heaney, Kavanagh, Kinsella, Longley, MacNeice, McGuckian, Mahon, Montague, Morrissey, Ni Chuilleanain, Ni Dhomhnaill, Sexton, and Yeats among others. Each student will make one 20 minute presentation in the course of the semester.

Instructors
Paul B. Muldoon
Magical Realism (LA)
Subject associations
ENG 406

What was magical realism and why are so many contemporary authors returning to it now? In this course we will explore the diverse contexts in which this narrative mode has flourished. We will assume a global context and texts will be drawn from an interdisciplinary mix: novels, films, plays, and critical essays.

Instructors
Zahid R. Chaudhary
A New Eve: Women, Myth, and Power (LA)
Subject associations
ENG 441 / COM 426 / GSS 443

The New Eve is a distinctly modern creation, a radical and arresting re-imagining of her mythical original, the first woman venerated as the mother of humankind and blamed for its fallen humanity. We read the literary works of nineteenth and twentieth-century writers (e.g., Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield, Nella Larsen, James Joyce) and directors (e.g., Fritz Lang, Jane Campion) alongside psychoanalytic case studies and contemporary works of feminist, critical race, and trans theory to think anew Freud's notoriously unanswered question, what does a woman want. No prior knowledge of critical theory is required.

Instructors
Maria A. DiBattista
Eliana Rozinov

Fall 2024 Cross-Listed

The Souls of Black Folk - Reading W.E.B. Du Bois (CD or LA)
Subject associations
AAS 231 / ENG 245 / URB 231

This course will examine the historical, sociological, and political writings of W.E.B. Du Bois, one of the foremost intellectuals of the twentieth century and a foundational figure in the field of African American Studies. Close attention will be given to his views of American democracy and identity as well as race and Pan-Africanism. Our aim is to explore and understand the long arc of Du Bois's ideas.

Instructors
Eddie S. Glaude
Sondheim's Musicals and the Making of America (LA)
Subject associations
AMS 317 / MTD 321 / THR 322 / ENG 249

In this course, we'll examine the musicals of Stephen Sondheim from WEST SIDE STORY (1957) to ROAD SHOW (2009) as a lens onto America. How have Sondheim's musicals conversed with American history and American society since the mid-20th century? How do Sondheim's musicals represent America and Americans, and how have various productions shaped and re-shaped those representations? We'll explore how Sondheim and his collaborators used the mainstream, popular, and commercial form of musical theatre to challenge, critique, deconstruct, and possibly reinforce some of America's most enduring myths.

Instructors
Stacy E. Wolf
Native American Literature (CD or LA)
Subject associations
AMS 322 / ENG 242

A survey of Native American Literature. In place of US origins stories, we consider the dispossession of land and waters and the impact on the environment. We reflect on the United States' attempts to eliminate Indigenous people and correspondent modes of survival and resistance. Our goal is to attend to individual and tribal experiences of life under settler colonialism, and consider the political, social, and psychological conditions that this structure produces. In this class, we aim for a more holistic understanding of the past and present in America, such that we can imagine alternative futures.

Instructors
Sarah Rivett
The Poetics and Politics of Pronouns (CD or LA)
Subject associations
COM 396 / GER 396 / ENG 396 / GSS 337

Why do non-binary pronouns make (some) people so angry? How do pronouns regulate our relation to the world, to one another, and to gender? This seminar investigates the history of theoretical reflection on and literary experimentation with pronouns. How does the constitution of the "I" grant access to the symbolic order? How does second-person address produce ethical relationality? How can the enunciation of the "we" avoid coercion and instead model flourishing, robustly multiplicitous community? Can the singular "they" circumvent the traps of gendered language? Readings in poetry, gender theory, linguistics, philosophy, political thought.

Instructors
Daniel Hoffman-Schwartz
Refugees, Migrants and the Making of Contemporary Europe (CD or EM)
Subject associations
COM 466 / ENG 466 / ECS 466

Why are borders so central to our political, moral and affective life? Examining legal theory, novels and films of 20th- century migrations alongside poetry and forensic reports of recent border-crossings, this course traces how mobile subjects - from stowaways to pirates and anticolonial militants - have driven the formation of new ethics, political geographies and radical futures. We will situate borders in relation to practices of policing the colonies, the plantation, the factory and, finally, we will ask: why did we stop relating to migrants as political subjects and begin treating them as the moral beneficiaries of humanitarianism?

Instructors
Staff
Coming to Our Senses: Climate Justice - Climate Change in Film, Photography and Popular Culture (EM)
Subject associations
ENV 251 / GSS 251 / ENG 243

This immersive, multimedia course invites us to come to our senses in creative ways, exploring climate crises like melting ice, rising oceans, deforestation and displacements. We will come alive to hidden worlds, kayaking the Millstone and trips to Manhattan, engaging animal and environmental studies. Through film, images and writing, we explore the vital ways environmental issues intersect with gender, race and sexualities. Themes include: wilderness; national parks; violent settler colonialism; masculinities; militarization; Indigenous knowledges; animal intelligence and emotions; slow violence; the commons; and strategies for change.

Instructors
Anne McClintock
Climate Storytelling for Climate Action (LA)
Subject associations
ENV 271 / ENG 271

This seminar explores climate stories to ask how they can lead to meaningful action. Organized in three parts, the class encourages participants to document their climate stories; investigates micronarratives, documentary films, and one novel (of your choice); and leads to the development of a set of stories documenting climate impacts in the Princeton community. Working in tandem with the project My Climate Story, the course may include one afternoon field trip to NPR studios in Philadelphia. Between climate communications and climate arts, this seminar creates publicly engaged work.

Instructors
Staff
Topics in German Culture and Society: Civic Storytelling: Political Novellas (EM or LA)
Subject associations
GER 307 / ENG 323 / COM 347

Modern citizens' struggle for liberty produced a radical literary tool of defense: the novella. Part everyday life, part sudden event, these short forms gave advice to those fighting the Man: How can outcasts question authority? What is a feminist plot? Can resistance be a reader response? We will discuss and read how these stories organize, formulate, and intensify real-world arguments through fictional protagonists in examples from the Americas and Europe, esp. 19th-century Germany. Alongside key theories, we will assess how novellas clarified and complicated issues of civil liberties, politics, religion, racism, gender, law, and the media.

Instructors
Florian Fuchs
Feminist Futures: Contemporary S. F. by Women (LA)
Subject associations
GSS 303 / AMS 313 / ENG 283

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.

Instructors
Alfred Bendixen
Introduction to Digital Humanities (LA or QCR)
Subject associations
HUM 346 / ENG 256 / CDH 346

How can computational tools help us to understand art and literature? This seminar offers an introduction to the 'big tent' that is called Digital Humanities (DH), emphasizing the integration of computational methods in the study of humanities. The course covers a range of digital tools and approaches designed to organize, explore, and narrate data-driven stories. Course topics will range from a critical reflection on the boundaries - or boundlessness? - of DH research, to the creation of digital cultural artifacts. Students will learn about a variety of theories and methodologies, actively engaging with a broad array of digital tools.

Instructors
Wouter Haverals
Arts in the Invisible City: Race, Policy, Performance (CD or LA)
Subject associations
HUM 352 / ENG 252 / URB 352 / THR 360

In this community-engaged class, students will be invited to learn about the dynamic history and role of the arts in Trenton through conversations with local artists and activists. Students will develop close listening skills with oral historian/artist Nyssa Chow. Readings include texts about urban invisibility, race, decoloniality, and public arts policy. Students will participate in the development of a virtual memorial and restorative project by Trenton artist Bentrice Jusu.

Instructors
D. Vance Smith