Courses

Undergraduate Courses

Fall 2020

AAS 326/ENG 286 Topics in African American Culture & Life: Early African American Literature This topics 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
P01 12:30 PM - 01:20 PM W
P02 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM Th
P03 12:30 PM - 01:20 PM Th
P99 01:00 AM - 01:00 AM
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/GSS 341 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 317/MTD 321/THR 322/ENG 249 Sondheim's Musicals and the Making of America In this course, we'll examine the musicals of Stephen Sondheim from COMPANY (1970) 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. Instructor(s): Stacy E. Wolf
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM T
AMS 343/ENG 238/HUM 342 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):
M99 01:00 AM - 01:00 AM
S01 01:30 PM - 03:20 PM W
ASA 224/ENG 224/GSS 226 Asian American Literature and Culture This course is an introductory survey of the major works and debates in Asian American literature and culture. We will study a variety of genres--novels, short stories, comics, memoirs, films, and science fiction--to examine how writers treat issues of racial and ethnic identity, gender, queerness, history, memory, colonialism, immigration, technology, and war. By placing Asian American subject formation in relationship to social, economic, and intellectual developments, we will explore the potential of Asian American literary texts to deepen our global and historical understanding of Asians in the U.S. and the U.S. in Asia. Instructor(s): Paul Nadal
Section(s):
L01 11:00 AM - 12:20 PM T Th
ASA 324/AMS 324/ENG 244 Model Minority Fictions Where did the stereotype of Asian Americans as model minorities--overachieving whiz kids, industrious workers, "tiger mothers," "crazy rich" Asians--come from? What accounts for the model minority myth's persistence today? How has its representational scheme changed over time? Does model minoritism have a literary (and not only social) history? By reading across fiction, visual culture, and economic history, this seminar traces the changing definitions of Asians in the US from "yellow peril" to model minorities: from the myth's wartime origins, to the birth of American neoliberalism, and onward to the global rise of Asia in the 21st century. Instructor(s): Paul Nadal
Section(s):
S01 11:00 AM - 12:20 PM T Th
COM 339/ECS 351/ENG 239/HUM 399 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
COM 441/PHI 441/HUM 441/ENG 281 Saying 'I': First Person Point of View in Literature and Philosophy What does it mean to say (or think) "I"? What accounts for the unified character of our experience? What disruptions and gaps in experience can be made perceptible through philosophical scrutiny and daring literary experimentation? This interdisciplinary course for undergraduates as well as graduate students explores central problems of point of view and consciousness by focusing on first-person representation. Pairing lyric poetry and first-person prose fiction with key readings in the history of the philosophy of mind, we will follow the intersecting paths of inquiry developed by both disciplines. Instructor(s): Maya Kronfeld
Section(s):
C01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM 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
P01A 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
P03A 01:30 PM - 02:20 PM W
P04 03:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
P04A 03:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
P05 08:00 PM - 08:50 PM M
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
P03A 01:30 PM - 02:20 PM Th
ENG 229/AMS 229 Introduction to Indigenous Literatures This course reads Indigenous Literatures to reflect on, critique, and contest settler colonialism, or the dispossession of land and waters and the attempt to eliminate Indigenous people. Students engage in projects that impact Indigenous Studies initiatives at Princeton by building partnerships with Indigenous communities, locally, nationally, and internationally. Community-engaged projects and readings by Native American and Aboriginal Canadian authors will connect Indigenous histories across time and space invite new ways of thinking about the past, present, and future of the America and the World. Instructor(s): Sarah Rivett
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 02:50 PM T
S01 01:00 AM - 01:00 AM
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, Paul Nadal
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 01:00 AM - 01:00 AM
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
P02C 12:30 PM - 01:20 PM T
P02D 12:30 PM - 01:20 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
P08A 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM W
P09 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM W
P09A 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM 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
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):
M99 01:00 AM - 01:00 AM
S01 01:30 PM - 03:20 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
P01A 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM W
P02 12:30 PM - 01:20 PM W
P02A 12:30 PM - 01:20 PM W
P03 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM Th
P03A 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM 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 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 M
ENG 339 Topics in 18th-Century Literature: Jane Austen Then and Now Redesigned from the top down for on-line learning, this class will consider Jane Austen not only the inventor of the classic novel but also as an inspiring, ceaslessly discussable author who is--thanks to a steady stream of adaptations and spinoffs--our contemporary. Pairing each novel with recent adaptations and current issues, we will discuss how Austen treats of love, violence, sisterhood, sex, and power. 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
S02 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
ENG 346 19th-Century Poetry "The future of poetry is immense, because in poetry, where it is worthy of its high destinies, our race... will find an ever surer and surer stay," wrote Matthew Arnold in 1880. But what is worthy in poetry? What does "our race" mean in 1880? In an English department in 2020? We'll read poems from England and the U.S. that construct or complicate ideas about national, racial, class, and gender identity. We'll practice close, textual readings of poems alongside historical material that shows how these concepts were codified in the modern disciplines. Instructor(s): Meredith Anne Martin
Section(s):
S01 11:00 AM - 12:20 PM M W
ENG 353/GSS 424 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/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 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM M
ENG 368/AMS 340 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
P02A 12:30 PM - 01:20 PM T
P03 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM W
ENG 387 Writing about Family Family is where we all begin. It is a world, a language, a home, a cast of characters. People write about family to escape it, return to it, remember it, make sense of it, memorialize it. Writing About Family will explore the different places and cultures writers come from, the ways we define and create our own sense of "family", how ideas about what constitutes family have changed over time, and how methods of representing family differ across genres. We will read a range of family writing, including essays, memoirs, and works of fiction. Instructor(s): Rebecca E. Rainof
Section(s):
S01 11:00 AM - 12:20 PM M W
ENG 390/COM 392/HUM 390 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/AMS 400 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/GSS 415/AMS 418 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 León
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
ENG 409/THR 410/HUM 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 04:30 PM - 07:20 PM M
ENG 411/AMS 411/AAS 413 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):
M99 01:00 AM - 01:00 AM
S01 01:30 PM - 03:20 PM W
ENG 415/JRN 415/COM 446 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/HUM 433/GSS 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 Th
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):
M01 03:30 PM - 04:20 PM W
S01 01:30 PM - 03:20 PM W
GSS 400/ENG 264 Contemporary Theories of Gender and Sexuality One is not born, but becomes, woman. So writes Simone deBeauvoir in her landmark work of feminism, The Second Sex. But how do we become women, anyway? In this course we will read The Second Sex in its entirety, exploring Beauvoir's ideas, along with our current ones, about childhood, coming of age, the family, sexuality, relationships, work, the social order, and the philosophical imaginary. We will read Beauvoir alongside the work of her primary interlocutors as well as contemporary theory, memoir, and fiction considering the question of what it means to become a woman--or not--in contemporary culture. Instructor(s): Gayle Salamon
Section(s):
S02 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM T
HUM 328/ENG 270/ART 396 Language to Be Looked At This seminar focuses on the intersection of language and visual art in the 20th century. We examine modernist and avant-garde experiments in word and image, and investigate the global rise of concrete and visual poetry and text-based art after World War II. We compare and combine methods from literary studies and art history, as well as other disciplines, including history and philosophy. Students explore techniques of close looking and reading in relation to a range of topics--medium, representation, abstraction, networks. Students also engage material practices by, e.g., realizing instruction pieces and assembling magazines. Instructor(s): Joshua Isaac Kotin, Irene Violet Small
Section(s):
S01 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM T
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 01:30 PM - 04:20 PM W