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English Department

Course Descriptions

Note: The descriptions that appear below for Fall 2012 are grouped by course, starting with English 102W, English 104W, English 116W, English 117W, English 118W, English 120W, English 122 and ending with English 123. If you do not find your section number, it means that that instructor has not yet provided a description. The webmaster will make every effort to continually update this page, so please check back often.

 

ENGL 100 Composition

01. R. Spivey MWF 0910-1000

02. H. Cook MWF 1210-1300

03. MWF 1310-1400

04. A. Miller MWF 1310-1400

05 A. Porterfield MWF 1410-1500

07. N. Spigner TR 1435-1550

 

ENGL 102W Literature and Analytical Thinking
Close reading and writing in a variety of genres drawn from several periods. Productive dialogue, persuasive argument, and effective prose style.

01. A. Castro MWF 0910-1000

What does it mean to just "be yourself?" This class will explore the many ways we perform in our daily lives and how we use different types of performance to define ourselves with and against others' expectations. We will look at numerous texts in which a character questions what it means to "perform" his or her own identity on and off the public stage. We will read and critically analyze poetry, drama, fiction, live performance, and film, spanning the centuries from Shakespeare to Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower. The class will examine the ways in which different communities demand distinct representations of gender, sexuality, and race. Furthermore, we will see what happens when a person's performance of his or her own identity clashes with cultural expectations.

02 I Love You, Man: Re-thinking Masculinity and the Birth of Bromance R.J. Boutelle MWF 0910-1000

In 2011, Merriam-Webster added "bromance" to its US Dictionary, defined as "a close nonsexual relationship between men." Although the term has only come to prominence in the last decade, thanks largely to the films of Judd Apatow, this course will explore these relationships across a variety of literary and film traditions. How does this lens affect traditional conceptions of masculinity? What is the role of women in texts that focus on bromantic bonds? How is race portrayed across this spectrum? What possibilities are opened/closed in exploring male intimacy in this way? Students in this course will discuss sexuality, gender politics, racial politics, popular culture, and current events; students should be prepared to read, view, and discuss "sexually explicit" content. Possible texts include William Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Poe, Henry James, Rafael Campo, Junot Diaz, Terrence Hayes, Eve Sedgwick, Judith Butler, and Mark Jordan. This course will also include clips from popular television shows including Scrubs, Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Seinfeld. Several required film screenings will take place outside of class and may include Chasing Amy (1997), Y tu mamá también (2001), Superbad (2007), and I Love You, Man (2009).

03. F. Barter MWF 1010-1100

What do we mean when we talk about "justice?" To what extent do we measure a society by the structures it has in place to ensure the ministration of justice? In this course, we will examine works of fiction in order to ask questions about how justice systems exist and operate within dystopian societies. We will also examine other types of literature—court opinions, essays, and news articles—to identify how our familiar systems of justice sometimes produce dystopian results. Throughout all of our readings, we will work toward a deeper understanding of the relationship between these fraught concepts, and particularly the extent to which our definition of dystopia depends on deeply ingrained notions of "justice." Readings will include young adult fiction such as The Hunger Games and The Giver, short works of fiction by Coetzee and Kafka, court opinions, poetry, and various historical texts.

04. L. Mensah MWF 1010-1100

What do we mean by “place”? In this course we will examine the different literary devices and stylistic choices authors use to construct places-be it real cities such as New York or imaginary places such as Poe’s House of Usher. Furthermore, we will look at the relationship between people and places, using themes such as migration, displacement, and alienation as an entry point. Readings for this course include James Weldon Johnson’s Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, Carson McCullers’s The Ballad of the Sad Café, and H.G. Well’s The Time Machine. Since this will be an interdisciplinary course, we will also analyze how place is constructed in music, visual art, and film.

05. MW 0935-1050

06. P. Samuel MWF 1010-1100

In this class, we will approach the concept of the "human" by critically examining both fictional and non-fictional beings designated broadly as non-human. What does our conceptualization and treatment of the non-human within literature and across other forms of media tell us about what we know—or think—to be "human"? Is "human" a biological category? Does it denote a particular range of cultural practices or racial, political, and/or moral concerns? How do we determine who or what belongs on the outskirts of such a grouping? How do such questions govern our interpersonal relationships? Authors will include Octavia Butler, Nalo Hopkinson, Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, Phillip K. Dick, and others, alongside art by Kara Walker, films such as Guillermo De Toro's Pan's Labyrinth, and musical selections from Janelle Monae's album The ArchAndroid and Lupe Fiasco's album The Cool. Over the course of the semester, we will also consider key conceptual descendants of the term "human"—"humane" treatment, the academic discipline of the "humanities," and "humanitarian" aid, for example--as a mode of grounding our discussions in the real-world, large and small-scale, implications of our discussions.

07. Seeing Green: Imagining the "Natural" K. Quigley MWF 1110-1200

To what do we refer when we invoke "nature," "the natural," and their opposites? How did we come up with these terms in the first place, and how are their meanings context-specific? In this course, we will not arrive at definitive answers to these questions, but we will explore them vigorously. Our investigations will carry us through broad expanses of time and space, and toward a wide variety of cultural products that offer themselves – more and less obviously – to our lines of inquiry. Expect to engage with travel writing, with the novel, with poetry, with film, with drama, and more besides. Expect, too, to focus intently on developing the faculties of criticism, argumentation, and, most importantly of all, writing: students will regularly submit brief reading responses in addition to the course's longer essay assignments.

08. E. King MWF 1210-1300

09. It's the End of the World as We Know It... J. Krause MWF 1210-1300

This course will introduce students to literary analysis through the lens of post-apocalyptic fiction. We will study how differing genres, forms, and writing techniques tackle the end of the world, focusing specifically on 20th and 21st century doomsdays. Analyzing everything from poetry and prose to film and television, we will ask: does the genre or form of a work affect how the author presents the end of the world? Does one technique lend itself to this task better than others? Why present the end of the world? What larger purpose do these works claim? Do they fulfill that purpose? Our syllabus will include (but is not limited to) World War Z, The Road, short stories by Ray Bradbury and Jorge Luis Borges, poetry by T.S. Eliot and Tennessee Williams, 12 Monkeys, Children of Men, The Walking Dead, and Battlestar Galactica.

10. Words, Words, Words: E. Pellarin TR 0810-0925

When reading a novel or a text, one is unraveling a story, analyzing a situation, experiencing emotional connections, and, most basically, reading words. It is the ability to put words together in a comprehensible and meaningful manner that makes it possible for us to call ourselves readers, and authors to call themselves authors. The word, then, is the building block of all literature and all discussion of literature.

This class aims to explore how the written word is framed in literature—how are words used and why? What makes some words, or the stories they form, more successful, what does it mean to be successful in writing and/or reading, and what is the point of writing at all? Further, what can language tell us about reality or about how someone experiences reality? For instance, we will consider how Tim O' Brien's war novel, The Things They Carried enabled him to survive his experiences, if in fact it did. We will look in comparison at Mary Karr's autobiography provocatively entitled the Liars Club and how it enabled her to survive her childhood. At the end of the semester, we will watch Big Fish to see what makes a good story a good story, and we will reflect on a good story's power. This class will seek to answer these questions by looking at a variety of traditional and non-traditional texts.

11. L. Saborido TR 0810-0925

12. Reading, Writing, and the Self in Western Culture and Literature C. Woods TR 0935-1050

This course exposes students to the evolving conceptualizations of the self and of personhood through western culture from classical antiquity to the height of English Romanticism. One consistent theme of this intellectual trajectory will be the implications of orienting the self around technologies of writing. Writers such as Plato, Augustine, Dante, Shakespeare, and Coleridge dwelled at length on how writing and reading change human psychology and humans' disposition toward the world and others. Thus, this course will give students an opportunity to think about the very idea of writing and reading as they engage in the processes of reading and writing. We will consider how various media (e.g. the scroll, the codex, the manuscript, the printing press, the Internet) through history have fundamentally altered our manner of conceptualizing the world and our place in it. The course thereby presents students with the unique opportunities to engage in the meta-cognitive practice of writing about writing through history and to consider their current place in the evolution of discursive media in modern culture.

13. J. Bradley TR 0935-1050

14. Islands K. DeGuzman MWF 1110-1200

Islands – pieces of land surrounded by water – serve as potent locations for the literary imagination. They have been called upon to evoke individual isolation, rousing adventure, and unspoiled paradise. But this course will approach such assumptions through a focus on the vexed relationship between select islands of the Caribbean and another isolated landmass: Britain. With colonialism as a framework, we will explore what happens when the cultures of freestanding pieces of land are yoked together. Readings will include works by William Shakespeare, Charlotte Brontë, C.L.R. James, Kamau Brathwaite, Derek Walcott, V.S. Naipaul, Erna Brodber, and Dorothea Smartt.

15.Thingstravaganza!: Material Concerns in Literature and the Media D. Fang TR 0810-0925

What do we know about the things around us? How do we interact with them, and what do they tell about their owners? In this course, we will explore the world of things in literature and culture. From Robinson Crusoe to Harry Potter, we will look at a variety of novels, poems, movies, and critical theories, and we will think about what objects might mean and what they might tell us that a standard concern with character and plot does not.

16. The Modern South? The Southern Modern? A. Hines MW 0935-1050

This course will critically explore and challenge the "backwardness" of the American South by thinking about what may be modern about the South, and perhaps, more surprisingly, what is Southern about the modern. Before we do that, however, we will figure out what exactly we mean by "Southern" or "modern" (if we mean anything at all!). We will potentially examine texts by Henry Bibb, Mark Twain, W.E.B. DuBois, Zora Neale Hurston, William Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, Robert Penn Warren and Jesmyn Ward as well as contemporary critical approaches to the South to give us a common vocabulary to approach these issues in our writing.

17. Literature and Analytical Thinking D. Birdsong MWF 0910-1000 Hank

Literature and Analytical Thinking---Black women have long suffered the ills of characterization and caricature in American popular culture. This is a course designed to help students learn the techniques of textual analysis and critical thinking, and we will do this by analyzing and interrogating representations of black women in the texts we read. Some of the important questions that will be a part of our analyses are: How do the writers here depict black women in their texts? How do those representations engage traditional stereotypes? What techniques do black women writers use to challenge the anticipated audience's beliefs about black women? How effective are they? By performing close readings of writing in a variety of genres drawn from several time periods, we will use these questions to engage in productive classroom dialogue and develop persuasive arguments in various kinds of written assignments.

18. Literary New Orleans: Race, Region, and Folklore J. Bagneris MWF 1110-1200

Situated within its own unique literary tradition, New Orleans has served as the backdrop for numerous stories across several different genres such as the short story, poetry, and the novel, as well as film and television. Representations of this unique city have varied in their production of multiple and memorable incarnations such as gothic New Orleans, global New Orleans, the New Orleans of sin, corruption, and vice; and more recently, expendable New Orleans. Together, the class will consider the following questions: How is region constructed by and reproduced through literary representation? How and what does New Orleans, as a literary space, contain, repress, or contradict within alternative national or southern narratives and mythologies? And how have new traumas and current events, such as Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, altered New Orleans' narrative and those "entitled" to participate in its production?

19 MW 11:10-12:25

 

ENGL 104W-01. Prose Fiction: Forms and Techniques
Close study of short stories and novels and written explication of these forms.

01. R. Bernard MWF 0810-0900

In this course we will investigate literature that attempts to confront and distort our perception of the world through its portrayal of the interiority of the mind. What does your brain look like on the inside—are there couches, chairs, birds? How might literary tools such as point of view, metaphor, characterization, etc. be used to define the interior space of the mind, particularly as it confronts the exterior world? Why is this space necessary to explore? Through analysis and close-readings of select novels, novellas and short stories we will learn to think critically and creatively about the elements of fiction in order to generate thoughtful discussions about the ability of language to capture (or not capture) that which is impossible to see. Ultimately, this is a course that focuses on honing not only your critical thinking skills but your writing as well.

Therefore, during the course of the semester, you will produce three essays which demonstrate your ability to form meaningful and persuasive arguments as you synthesize the ideas you find most compelling.

02. Monsters in Fiction J. Quarry MWF 1210-1300

In this course, we will explore portrayals of various monsters—both realistic and fantastic—in fictions ranging from the late nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries and analyze the elements of fiction (such as, but not limited to, characterization, point of view, setting, plot, metaphor, and imagery) used to illuminate them and in turn the societal anxieties and desires in the midst of which they appear. Over our months together, we will attempt to define, and perhaps redefine, what, or who, exactly, a "monster" is and what makes a such a creature simultaneously horrifying and fascinating, and we will proceed to examine novels, graphic novels, and short stories in order to determine the terms by which so-called monsters are understood and described, and what beyond the norm these creatures represent, both literally and metaphorically, in each encounter.

Moreover, however, the aim of this course is to teach you to think critically about literature, and so we also will devote a significant amount of time to focusing on the writing process by way of close readings, discussions, and writing assignments. Throughout the semester, you will practice analyzing and critiquing our selected literary works in three essays as well as several reading responses and in-class writing assignments, each intended to help you more clearly and more persuasively present your arguments by basing them on textual evidence.

03. Prose Fiction: Forms and Techniques D. Birdsong MWF 1310-1400

Prose Fiction: Forms and Techniques---This course will be centered on black love relationships in American literature from various time periods. Focusing on the themes of character representation, depictions of black sexuality, and representations of marriage and the family unit, we will perform close studies of short stories, novels, and other forms of prose, producing in-depth written explications of our chosen texts. Some of the questions that we will address are: how do black and white writers depict black love in their texts? How do those representations influence representations of black people in general? How do those same representations square with traditional stereotypes and/or current popular culture? What techniques do writers use to entertain and/or challenge their audiences? How effective are they?

04. Monsters in Fiction J. Quarry MWF 1510-1600

In this course, we will explore portrayals of various monsters—both realistic and fantastic—in fictions ranging from the late nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries and analyze the elements of fiction (such as, but not limited to, characterization, point of view, setting, plot, metaphor, and imagery) used to illuminate them and in turn the societal anxieties and desires in the midst of which they appear. Over our months together, we will attempt to define, and perhaps redefine, what, or who, exactly, a "monster" is and what makes a such a creature simultaneously horrifying and fascinating, and we will proceed to examine novels, graphic novels, and short stories in order to determine the terms by which so-called monsters are understood and described, and what beyond the norm these creatures represent, both literally and metaphorically, in each encounter.

Moreover, however, the aim of this course is to teach you to think critically about literature, and so we also will devote a significant amount of time to focusing on the writing process by way of close readings, discussions, and writing assignments. Throughout the semester, you will practice analyzing and critiquing our selected literary works in three essays as well as several reading responses and in-class writing assignments, each intended to help you more clearly and more persuasively present your arguments by basing them on textual evidence.

05. D. Birdsong MWF1510-1600

 

ENGL 105W

Close study of representative plays of the major periods and of the main formal categories (tragedy, comedy) and written explication of these forms.

J. Klass MWF 1110-1200

 

ENGL 115F First-Year Writing Seminar

Note: All English 115F descriptions appear in YES as part of the entry for that course.

06. Foundational Stories R. Gottfried MWF 0910-1000

07. Women Poets in America B. Bachmann TR 0935-1050

In this course, we will track the voices of American women poets, from Dickinson to present day. Along the way, we'll read the works of major American women poets, including H.D., Marianne Moore, Gwendolyn Brooks, Sylvia Plath and Adrienne Rich. Our final unit will explore the work of contemporary women poets. Students will complete reading responses and attend literary readings sponsored by the Department of English during the semester.

08. S. Juengel MW 1310-1424

16. T. Goddu TR 1310-1425

25. Frost to Dove: Storytelling in American Verse R. Hilles MW 1310-1425

There is a great tradition of storytelling verse in American poetry that bridges the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Modernism had a profound effect on this tradition in the twentieth century, as it did on all art forms, but narrative poetry continued to be vital for some important American poets. Robert Frost, Robert Penn Warren, Robert Lowell, Gwendolyn Brooks, Rita Dove, Claudia Emerson, and Nathasha Trethewey all have made innovative use of narrative in their poetry. Various elements of prose fiction such as plot, character development, setting, and narration are apparent in their works, along with form, rhythm, and imagery. The central events of modern American history are also reflected in their poems, including the Great Depression, World Wars I and II, migrations west and north, the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement. Reading their poems allows us to become familiar with some great stories in poetic form, while also watching the development of modern American society and personal identity.

Robert Frost, Early Poems;

Robert Penn Warren, Brother to Dragons; Robert Lowell, Life Studies, Gwendolyn Brooks, Blacks; Rita Dove, Thomas & Beulah Claudia Emerson, Late Wife Natasha Trethewey, Native Guard

30. What is America to Me?: Immigration, Identity, and the (Re)Making of America I. Nwankwo TR 1310-1425

Over the course of the semester, we will explore personal stories, films, and literature about migration to the U.S. from the Caribbean, Latin America, and Africa, and learn about and from these immigrant communities' cultures, histories, identities, and perspectives on the American Dream. We will consider questions such as: What are the push and pull factors that lead these immigrants to the U.S? What are their experiences when they get here? What sorts of adjustments do they have to make? What impact do they have or have they had on American society? How have they been represented in literature, media, and film?

 

ENGL 116W. Introduction to Poetry
Close study and criticism of poems. The nature of poetry, and the process of literary explication.

02. L. Dordal MWF 0910-1000

The main objectives of this course are to widen your knowledge of poetry, to help you become close readers of poetry, and to help you develop your critical writing skills. The first part of this course will be organized around formal considerations (diction, tone, figures of speech, sound, rhythm, etc.). The second part of the course will include brief case studies of Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost and Langston Hughes, as well as several thematic case studies. Requirements will include three papers (plus three revisions) and several brief response papers.

03. L. Dordal MWF 1010-1100

The main objectives of this course are to widen your knowledge of poetry, to help you become close readers of poetry, and to help you develop your critical writing skills. The first part of this course will be organized around formal considerations (diction, tone, figures of speech, sound, rhythm, etc.). The second part of the course will include brief case studies of Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost and Langston Hughes, as well as several thematic case studies. Requirements will include three papers (plus three revisions) and several brief response papers.

04. A. Kinard MWF 1110-1200

05. A. Kinard MWF 1310-1400

06. D. Ross MWF 1410-1500

07. L. Dordal MWF 1410-1500

The main objectives of this course are to widen your knowledge of poetry, to help you become close readers of poetry, and to help you develop your critical writing skills. The first part of this course will be organized around formal considerations (diction, tone, figures of speech, sound, rhythm, etc.). The second part of the course will include brief case studies of Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost and Langston Hughes, as well as several thematic case studies. Requirements will include three papers (plus three revisions) and several brief response papers.

08. TR 0935-1050

09. TR 1435-1550

10. TR 1600-1715

11. TR 1600-1715

 

ENGL 117W Introduction to Literary Criticism

01. M. Eatough MWF 1110-1200

This course provides a survey of several theoretical approaches that have influenced literary criticism in the past decade. Readings will consist of works from philosophy, sociology, psychology, cultural studies, gender studies, and, of course, literary studies, with an eye toward how these methodologies provide us with tools for interpreting literature. The specific theoretical lenses we will be investigating will include world literature, the sociology of literature, post-secularism, Marxism, alternative modernities, affect theory, and surface reading. Assignments will consist of several short papers and one longer paper, each of which will require you to either: a) explicate a theoretical text; or b) apply a single theoretical model to a particular literary text.

02. E. Covington MWF 1210-1300

This course will introduce you to various forms of literary criticism, provide you with a working knowledge of these theories so that you can incorporate them into your own thinking about literature, and improve your critical writing skills. This semester we will study several “schools” of literary theory in order to understand the diverse ways to approach literature as well as the multiplicity of interpretations available in any single text. As this is also a “W” course, a major emphasis will be placed on providing you with the tools and practice you need to write intelligent, articulate college-level papers. The literary focus of our theoretical inquiries will be the horror story, particularly classic tales from the nineteenth century.

03. E. Covington MWF 1310-1400

This course will introduce you to various forms of literary criticism, provide you with a working knowledge of these theories so that you can incorporate them into your own thinking about literature, and improve your critical writing skills. This semester we will study several “schools” of literary theory in order to understand the diverse ways to approach literature as well as the multiplicity of interpretations available in any single text. As this is also a “W” course, a major emphasis will be placed on providing you with the tools and practice you need to write intelligent, articulate college-level papers. The literary focus of our theoretical inquiries will be the horror story, particularly classic tales from the nineteenth century.

 

ENGL 118W. Introduction to Literary and Cultural Analysis
Analysis of a range of texts in social, political, and aesthetic contexts. Interdisciplinary study of cultural forms as diverse as poetry, advertisement and film.

01. Nations, Post-Nations, Oceans, and Regions: Africa in Comparative Perspective M. Eatough MW 1435-1550

Globalization theorists have been arguing for years that we live in an increasingly “post-national” world, one in which political borders rarely correspond to movements of people, commodities, and capital. This course uses debates over the salience of the nation-state to approach an African continent in which the national ideal seems to have “failed” more spectacularly than in any other region of the globe. To this end, we will look at a variety of British, American, and African novels that try to explain why the nation-state never took root in Africa in the same way as it did in Europe and the Americas, and which, in doing so, also proffer a series of competing models for social organization: the sub-national region, supra-national empires, and transoceanic diasporas. After first looking at imperial adventure tales set in Africa (H. Rider Haggard, She; Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness), we will then turn to post-independence novels of African disillusionment (Ayi Kwei Armah, The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born; Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun) before concluding with a series of late-twentieth century narratives that struggle to place Africa within globalized racial, cultural, and economic communities (William Gaddis, Carpenter’s Gothic; John Edgar Wideman, The Cattle Killing).

02. Myths & Monsters N. Chick MW 1310-1425

This course will examine the figure of the monster inliterature and film, focusing on some key questions to help us understand and theorize our monsters. Why do we seek out the monstrous and horrifying? What do our monsters reveal about us? What's the relationship between our monsters and our times? How (and why) do we pass on stories of things that terrify us? Students in this course should be prepared to analyze course texts—some of which may be familiar, some disturbing—with a critical and open mind.

03. Sexuality and Victorian Countercultures D. Bellonby MWF 1010-1100

"Counterculture" is a term we typically associate with twentieth-century writers and movements, such as the Beat generation of the 1950s or the sexually liberated hippies of the 1960s and 1970s. In contrast, the term "Victorian" remains a byword for social orthodoxy and sexual repression. Yet, nineteenth-century England witnessed a variety of countercultural groups in the form of political activists, sexual rebels, and avant-garde artists. This course explores the relationship between representations of gender and sexuality and countercultural literature by a wide range of Victorian writers. How do ideas about gender identity and sexual desire shape challenges to (or reconfirmations of) Victorian conventions? What qualifies as a "countercultural" work of art—both then and now? What kinds of writers make and unmake Culture? We will analyze fictional and non-fictional works by social reformers, sensation novelists, aesthetes, dandies, suffragists, feminists, and "New Woman" writers.

04. Postmodern Dystopias J Krause MWF 1110-1200

This course will consider how postmodern dystopian fiction reflects and interacts with contemporary social, political, and cultural issues. We will begin by defining what one means by 'dystopian' and 'postmodern' and will also ask: how do different kinds of dystopian narratives critique the societies they present? What do these critiques, in turn, reveal about the state of contemporary society and culture? We will also explore why dystopian authors feel the need create wildly fictional scenarios in order to understand their perceived reality. Text will include 1984, The Handmaid's Tale, A Clockwork Orange, and Snow Crash,among others. We will also be watching several films, including Children of Men, 28 Days Later, and The Dark Knight.

05. An Experiential History of the Cinema P. Young MWF 14101500

This course takes a fast tour through the history of cinema (or film, or the movies—whatever one wishes to call it today) to discover some fundamental shifts in global mainstream film form, style, and content over the past century, and to think and write about how such new developments as widescreen film, 3-D, television, videotape, digital animation, DVDs, streaming video, and Blu-Ray have changed both the capabilities of film (if “film” is still the appropriate word!) and what it’s like to watch movies in an era when technology, venue, and viewing context are more variable—and interactive—than ever before. We will use this subject matter to hone our abilities to communicate effectively, creatively, and actively with each other in our writing, while participating in current debates about the past, present, and future of cinema. 

PLEASE NOTE: A weekly screening is considered required reading for the course; students may attend one of two screenings per week (your choice): Monday nights 7-10 or Tuesdays 4-7, both in Buttrick 015. Each week you will need to see the assigned film in time for Wednesday’s discussion.

06. Sexuality and Victorian Countercultures D. Bellonby MWF 1410-1500

"Counterculture" is a term we typically associate with twentieth-century writers and movements, such as the Beat generation of the 1950s or the sexually liberated hippies of the 1960s and 1970s. In contrast, the term "Victorian" remains a byword for social orthodoxy and sexual repression. Yet, nineteenth-century England witnessed a variety of countercultural groups in the form of political activists, sexual rebels, and avant-garde artists. This course explores the relationship between representations of gender and sexuality and countercultural literature by a wide range of Victorian writers. How do ideas about gender identity and sexual desire shape challenges to (or reconfirmations of) Victorian conventions? What qualifies as a "countercultural" work of art—both then and now? What kinds of writers make and unmake Culture? We will analyze fictional and non-fictional works by social reformers, sensation novelists, aesthetes, dandies, suffragists, feminists, and "New Woman" writers.

07. "What is Nature?" R. Teukolsky TR 1600-1715

The idyllic and pastoral qualities of "nature" have always been attractive to poets and writers. In this class, we will take a challenging and even skeptical view of the subject, examining the ways that nature has been constructed in literature and culture. We will focus in particular on writings in 19th-century Britain and America, where the industrial revolution and westward expansion respectively were transforming the natural landscape. The latter part of the course will focus on more recent writings. We will ask the following broader questions: What is nature? How have authors drawn the line between nature and culture? How did 19th-century authors use the natural world as a symbolic register for examining human problems? What is the best way for humans to interact with nature? Topics will likely include: the picturesque aesthetic; the country and the city; the commodification of nature in tourism; Darwinism; the relationship between humans and animals; the dangers and rewards of the natural sciences; and feminist critiques, among others. Authors might include J.-J. Rousseau, Mary Shelley, W. Wordsworth, John Clare, H. Thoreau, C. Darwin, E. Dickinson, H. G. Wells, W. Faulkner, and Ursula LeGuin.

08. G. Briggs TR 0935-1050

This course will examine the rise of American Literature in the United States from the end of the revolutionary period to the late-nineteenth-century. We will read the work of authors who shaped America's literary landscape, challenged conventional wisdom, and who help us to imagine alternative literary histories in the US. As much as the course will provide students with a window on cultural responses to prominent issues from our nation's past, it is also a course in developing the students' general critical skills. As such, this course is designed to strengthen critical reading and writing skills as we examine literary texts to understand how writers use their work to preserve, disseminate, and analyze the social, cultural, and political issues of their day. Among the authors we will read are Susanna Rowson, Lydia Maria Child, Harriet Wilson, and Sutton Griggs.

09. G. Briggs TR 1100-1215

This course will examine the rise of American Literature in the United States from the end of the revolutionary period to the late-nineteenth-century. We will read the work of authors who shaped America's literary landscape, challenged conventional wisdom, and who help us to imagine alternative literary histories in the US. As much as the course will provide students with a window on cultural responses to prominent issues from our nation's past, it is also a course in developing the students' general critical skills. As such, this course is designed to strengthen critical reading and writing skills as we examine literary texts to understand how writers use their work to preserve, disseminate, and analyze the social, cultural, and political issues of their day. Among the authors we will read are Susanna Rowson, Lydia Maria Child, Harriet Wilson, and Sutton Griggs.

10. You Are Where You Are: The Relationship between Place and Identity TR 0810-0925

In what ways do the places we inhabit shape our identities? How do we, as individuals, use place as a means of constructing our own identities and of perceiving the identities of others? In this course, we will explore the relationship between place and identity in literature and culture. Using texts from authors like Emily Bronte, E.M. Forster, Toni Morrison, Zadie Smith, Gloria Anzaldua, and Jonathan Safran Foer, we will think about what it means to be from a place, how authors articulate and explore the effect of place on identity, and how setting influences various elements of a text, especially character.

11. Film and Culture: The Comic Spirit S. Girgus TR 1435-1550

Throughout history, humor has been a very serious business. The elites and establishment of many societies continue to consider humor a threatening, dangerous, and subversive force. However, humor has been part of American culture and character from the very beginning of our history. This course will examine how Hollywood film comedy has contributed to American humor. The course will analyze what humor tells us about ourselves as individuals, groups, and a country. We will consider what Hollywood film comedy indicates about our attitudes and values on such subjects as race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, marriage, domestic relations, and politics. We will look at Hollywood film comedy starting with the films of Chaplin and Keaton, to the work of such figures as W.C. Fields, Mae West, and the Marx Brothers, to the era of screwball comedy and romantic comedy, up to our own time of the comedy of Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, and Bill Murray, among others. We also will study various contemporary forms of outrageous and outlandish humor in film. In studying and analyzing humor in film and the psychology and philosophy of funny film, the body can be seen as a border between the internal and external—a process of abjection-- that cultivates tensions that arouse laughter, often of a violent and radical nature.

13. Postmodern Dystopias J. Krause MWF 1010-1100

This course will consider how postmodern dystopian fiction reflects and interacts with contemporary social, political, and cultural issues. We will begin by defining what one means by 'dystopian' and 'postmodern' and will also ask: how do different kinds of dystopian narratives critique the societies they present? What do these critiques, in turn, reveal about the state of contemporary society and culture? We will also explore why dystopian authors feel the need create wildly fictional scenarios in order to understand their perceived reality. Text will include 1984, The Handmaid's Tale, A Clockwork Orange, and Snow Crash,among others. We will also be watching several films, including Children of Men, 28 Days Later, and The Dark Knight.

14. Sexuality and Victorian Countercultures D. Bellonby MWF 1210-1300

"Counterculture" is a term we typically associate with twentieth-century writers and movements, such as the Beat generation of the 1950s or the sexually liberated hippies of the 1960s and 1970s. In contrast, the term "Victorian" remains a byword for social orthodoxy and sexual repression. Yet, nineteenth-century England witnessed a variety of countercultural groups in the form of political activists, sexual rebels, and avant-garde artists. This course explores the relationship between representations of gender and sexuality and countercultural literature by a wide range of Victorian writers. How do ideas about gender identity and sexual desire shape challenges to (or reconfirmations of) Victorian conventions? What qualifies as a "countercultural" work of art—both then and now? What kinds of writers make and unmake Culture? We will analyze fictional and non-fictional works by social reformers, sensation novelists, aesthetes, dandies, suffragists, feminists, and "New Woman" writers.

15. E. Covington MWF 1510-1600

This literature and writing course is designed to facilitate critical thinking by exploring the way that literary texts shape and are shaped by the culture in which they were produced and consumed. In this course, we will investigate the literary implications for cultural rumination about memory in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a transformative period in the history of thinking about memory. We will read scientific and philosophical texts alongside literary works of the period with the goal of gaining a contextual grasp of some of the most important works of British literature.

16. Nations, Post-Nations, Oceans, and Regions: Africa in Comparative Perspective M. Eatough MW 1610-1725

Globalization theorists have been arguing for years that we live in an increasingly “post-national” world, one in which political borders rarely correspond to movements of people, commodities, and capital. This course uses debates over the salience of the nation-state to approach an African continent in which the national ideal seems to have “failed” more spectacularly than in any other region of the globe. To this end, we will look at a variety of British, American, and African novels that try to explain why the nation-state never took root in Africa in the same way as it did in Europe and the Americas, and which, in doing so, also proffer a series of competing models for social organization: the sub-national region, supra-national empires, and transoceanic diasporas. After first looking at imperial adventure tales set in Africa (H. Rider Haggard, She; Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness), we will then turn to post-independence novels of African disillusionment (Ayi Kwei Armah, The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born; Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun) before concluding with a series of late-twentieth century narratives that struggle to place Africa within globalized racial, cultural, and economic communities (William Gaddis, Carpenter’s Gothic; John Edgar Wideman, The Cattle Killing).

17. You Are Where You Are: The Relationship between Place and Identity TR 1600-1715

In what ways do the places we inhabit shape our identities? How do we, as individuals, use place as a means of constructing our own identities and of perceiving the identities of others? In this course, we will explore the relationship between place and identity in literature and culture. Using texts from authors like Emily Bronte, E.M. Forster, Toni Morrison, Zadie Smith, Gloria Anzaldua, and Jonathan Safran Foer, we will think about what it means to be from a place, how authors articulate and explore the effect of place on identity, and how setting influences various elements of a text, especially character.

18. MW 1:10-2:35

 

ENGL 120W. Intermediate Composition

A writing course including the analysis of essays from a variety of disciplines

01. R. Spivey MWF 1210-1300

02. R. Spivey TR 1100-1215

 

ENGL 122. Beginning Fiction Workshop

Introduction to the art of writing prose fiction.

01. M. LaRowe MWF 1010-1100

This course will explore the art and craft of writing short fiction. While the workshop of your own writing will be the focus of the course, we will also read and discuss classic and contemporary short fiction with an eye for craft elements such as plot, tension, structure, voice, point of view, character development, imagery, figurative language and others. In addition to submitting your own fiction for class feedback, your objectives are to read assigned stories and articles, participate in class discussion, prepare written workshop critiques for peers, complete writing exercises, and attend literary events on campus . Grading will be based on class participation, written assignments and a final portfolio of short fiction.

02. J. Thielke TR 1100-1215

 

ENGL 123. Beginning Poetry Workshop

Introduction to the art of writing poetry.

01. Adamson TR 1100-1215

In this introductory poetry writing workshop, you will both write and read poetry. While your original poems will be the main focus of the class, you will also be introduced to the work of influential classic and contemporary poets writing in English. Students will also learn the elements of poetics and poetic craft, such as form, line, image, prosody (rhythm and music), metaphor, and revision. In addition to submitting original poetry to a regular classroom workshop for peer critique, you will also be required to give thoughtful feedback to classmates on their work, participate in class, and attend poetry readings on campus. Grading assessment will be based on participation, completion of assignments, and the submission of a final portfolio of poetry.

02. R. Zamorano-Baez MWF 1210-1300


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