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English Department

Fall 2012 Undergraduate Courses

Click here for Spring 2013 Undergraduate Course Descriptions

 

Dear Students,

Verify course selections in YES to see the complete selection of course dates and times when the Fall 2012 schedule goes live on April 2nd.

You will need to meet with you adviser IN PERSON before your registration appointment window at which time your adviser will release an electronic academic hold on your account so that you can register. Please email your adviser for an appointment. The name of your adviser as well as the time of your registration appointment window is listed on your YES landing page.

Instructors, sections, and topics for 100-level writing courses are subject to change after Course Request Period, depending on enrollments.

Admittance to Honors sections and 200-level Creative Writing workshops are subject to instructor approval.
See individual course listings for specific instructions.

  • Click here for courses meeting ethnic/non-western or pre-1800 literature major and minor requirements
  • Click here for dual-listed courses which may be counted toward the major
  • Click here for 100-level course descriptions
  • Click here for 200-level course descriptions
These courses meet the ethnic/non-western literature major and minor requirement: These courses meet the pre-eighteen hundred literature major and minor requirement:
AADS 208W.01 208A
ASIA 219 210
ENGL 263, 273.02, 278, 283 214A
ENGL 288.01, .03, .04 219
JS 248W 220
LAS 294A.01 236
THTR 201 252B
WGS 259.01  
   

Fall 2012 dual-listed courses that may be counted toward the major:

AADS 208W.01 Soul Food as Text in Text: An Examination of African American Foodways Randall R 1610-1900 Johnson Center 101

Distinctions between Southern food and soul food. Soul food as performance and projection of gender and racial identity. Cookbooks as literary artifacts. Soul food in American popular culture, and in African American, Southern, and women's writing. Soul food and community formation. Serves as repeat credit for students who have completed 265W and for students who completed ENGL 288W in fall 2010.

 

ASIA 219 Premodern Chinese Novels Lam TR 1100-1215 Buttrick Hall 206

Chinese novels from 16th-18th century. History and fiction; orality and print; history of reading. Construction of individual subjects and communities; opera and film adaptation; material culture; sex and gender; and social and domestic space.

 

FILM 201.01 Film Theory Young MWF 1010-1100 Buttrick Hall 015

This course provides an introduction both to the concept of "film theory" and to most of the major film theories since Hugo Münsterberg's The Photoplay (1916). Unlike film criticism, which evaluates the quality of individual films and film analysis, which examines the meanings implicit in an individual film's form and style, film theory uses specific films and viewing experiences to catalyze more general and abstract claims about what film means for its viewers and their culture, and how the medium creates those meanings. Prerequisite: 125.

 

FILM 211.01 History of World Cinema Fay MWF 1310-1425 Buttrick Hall 015

Cinema, even in its pre-history, has always been a global phenomenon, one that tells us a great deal about the culture of globalization itself. In fifteen weeks, this course covers over a century of global film history as it unfolds in twelve different countries at various moments in time, including China, Iran, India, Senegal, the United States, the Soviet Union, Hong Kong, Japan and Germany. We will consider not only those instances in which science and industry open up new possibilities for the medium while foreclosing others (particularly in the growth of the Hollywood studio system and commercial narrative cinema in the United States), but also how the modern pressures of war, poverty, colonialism, gender identities, and liberation (to name a few) have inspired new horizons of production and reception. We will be especially attentive to the tensions between local film culture and the global networks of trade and competition. We'll consider how transnational cultural flows and borrowings shape cinema in the 20th and 21st century. Prereq: Film 125

 

JS 248W Jewish Storytelling A. Schachter TR 1100-1215 Commons 320

This course will examine the evolution of the modern Jewish short story, from the folksy style of Sholem Aleichem to postmodern Israeli fiction. Our readings and discussions will focus on the changing, but ever-present figure of the Jewish storyteller. We will ask how the storyteller transforms from a religious figure sharing morality tales to a modern, secular narrator. We will consider what makes a story ³Jewish² and if the definition of Jewishness changes over time and place. We will also discuss the form of the short story and the short story collection. The course will be writing intensive, focusing on skills such as persuasive argumentation, close literary analysis, and writing style.

Satisfies ethnic-non-western literature major and minor requirement

 

LAS 294A-01 Jews And Judaism In Latin American And Caribbean Literature Miller MWF 12:10 Furman 132

Literary works written by Jews in Latin America and the Caribbean will constitute a major part of the inquiry of this course. But we will also survey a literature in which Judaism is an image, a philosophy, a thematic motif and a demographic, irrespective of its ethnic origins.

Latin American Jewish writers have made major contributions to their national literatures; yet, not unlike their European counterparts, their works have often been marginalized in their respective national canons. Paradoxically, however, Jewish themes and tropes have been a central element in the works of some of the most celebrated Latin American writers, such as Jorge Luis Borges, Mario Vargas Llosa, Gabriela Mistral, Rubén Darío and Alejo Carpentier.

The tension between the marginalized Jewish writer and the centralized idea of Judaism in Latin American literature is fundamental to this course. One aim will be to show that the primary concerns and themes of Jewish writers in Latin America and the Caribbean, such as isolation and insularity, immigration and assimilation, displacement and exile, the overcoming of historical adversity, and the problematic place in the national consciousness are in fact resonant with the main intellectual currents in Latin America and the Caribbean. One example of such resonance between Latin American and Jewish concerns can be found in Death and the Maiden, the theatrical work by the contemporary Chilean writer of Jewish descent, Ariel Dorfman. Though Dorfman's play is apparently void of any explicit Jewish content, questions of testimony, trauma, survivors' guilt, mourning and forgiveness bear an uncanny relevance to the concerns of a post-Shoah and post-dictatorial consciousness.

 

THTR 201 The Development of Drama and Theatre I Essin MWF 1210-1300 Neely Auditorium 106

Theatre history and dramatic literature from ancient Greece to Medieval Europe; Asian and African ritual performance. Prerequisites: sophomore standing or permission of instructor.

This course covers the history of World theatre and drama with an emphasis on its ritual origins and function. Students will examine the cultural traditions and artistic practices of theatre of Western culture (ancient Greece and Rome, medieval Europe) alongside the classical Eastern theatres of Asia (Indian Sanskrit Theatre and Kathakali Dance; Japanese Noh and Kabuki) and performance traditions of African and Latin American cultures. Through our focus on ritual, we will investigate avenues of commonality and distinction between multiple cultures and time periods, between the theatrical past and contemporary production practices.

 

WGS 259.01 Reading and Writing Lives Pierce-Baker MW 1435-1550 Buttrick Hall 015

Interdisciplinary exploration of life-stories as narratives. Strategies of self-representation and interpretation, with particular attention to women. Includes fiction, biography, autobiography, history, ethnography, and the writing of life-story narratives. Prerequisite: 150 or 150W

 

Fall 2012 200-level English Courses:

ENGL 200 Intermediate Fiction Writing

01. S. Solomon M 1510-1800 1510-1800 Calhoun Hall 103
Other People's Lives: Memoir, Profile and Biography

Students in this course will read selected portraits of other people—portraits drawn from memory and personal experience and from documents, both historical and contemporary—and then they will try to write their own portraits. This is a nonfiction workshop, so the emphasis will be on writing vividly and offering feedback to classmates about writing. The class will read excerpts of biographies (mostly about writers and other artists); long and short profiles, the latter in the form of obituaries (in Britain are often wonderfully evocative sketches of the man or woman who has died); and memoirs that focus on another person. We will look at how these descriptions can make individuals come alive on the page—at the details of character and action that give the reader a sense of other people's lives, their idiosyncrasies, their virtues and limitations, and tell memorably what people do and how they do it.

Sandy Solomon asks students who register for English 200 to submit a 250 word sketch of one family member. You may tell a brief story about that person or just describe him/her at home. Please also send as background information (and as sometime tie-breaker) your year, your major/s or prospective major/s, and your home town or community. Please make as the subject of your email "English 200 writing sample." FYI, Solomon prefers to limit enrollment to students in sophomore year and above. Submit your writing sample by August 1, 2012. Solomon will let you know by August 5 whether you have been accepted in this course.

Because enrollment to this course is by instructor approval based on a submission, all students will initially be placed on the waitlist. After joining the waitlist, all students should wait for a welcome email from the instructor regarding the submission requirement. As soon as the instructor selects the class members, that select group of students will be enrolled in the course and all others will be dropped from the waitlist.

02. A. Little W 3:10-6:00 TBA

The Art of Blogging: Learning How to Write and Think In The Age of Self-Publishing Limited enrollment. Admission to the course is by instructor permission. Interested students should register and submit to the English Department a sample blog post of 500-750 words about any topic of their choosing (this could be a post the student has already published or a mock post)

Taught by an award-winning journalist who has written for The New York Times, Vanity Fair, and Rolling Stone, and who writes a blog for Forbes.com, this course focuses on techniques and strategies for successful blogging. Today, just fifteen years after the first blog was published, there are more than 150 million public blogs on the internet, some of which have larger audiences and more influence than the most esteemed print publications.

Blogs can empower anyone who has something to say, and the ability to say it in an interesting way. Yet very few blogs are well-written and authoritative, or manage to reach a broad audience. In this course we will track and analyze the most influential blogs in the categories of technology, business, politics, lifestyle, and activism – among them, Huffingtonpost.com, Forbes.com, Thedailybeast.com, ESPN.com, and Grist.org. We will look to the past, examining the historic roots of self-published manifestoes that date back to 17th-century, and to the future, exploring multimedia blogging formats and the "micro-blogging" phenomenon of Twitter.

At a time when virtually every public figure from Barack Obama to Beyonce has entered the blogosphere, students will come to understand how blogs are revolutionizing the media and how they are changing the way we write. Students will create and regularly update their own blogs for this course. We will discuss your posts in class and the instructor will critique your writing in private conferences.

Book List:

  • Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation That's Changing Your World, Hugh Hewitt
  • The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging, HuffingtonPost editors
  • On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction, William Zinsser

Course readings will also include excerpts from:

What Would Google Do? Jeff Jarvis, The Argument: Billionaires, Bloggers and the Battle to Remake Democratic Politics, Matt Bai, We The Media: Grassroots Journalism By The People, For the People, Dan Gilmoor, Bloggerati, Twitterati: How Blogs and Twitter are Transforming Popular Culture, Mary Cross, Hot Text: Web Writing That Works, Jonathan and Lisa Price, Blogging Heroes: Interviews with 30 of the World's Top Bloggers, Michael Banks

Because enrollment to this course is by instructor approval based on a submission, all students will initially be placed on the waitlist. After joining the waitlist, all students should wait for a welcome email from the instructor regarding the submission requirement. As soon as the instructor selects the class members, that select group of students will be enrolled in the course and all others will be dropped from the waitlist.

 

ENGL 204 Intermediate Fiction Workshop

01. N. Reisman TR 1310-1425 Gillette Hall 103

This Intermediate Workshop is designed to help emerging fiction writers to expand their understanding of fiction's possibilities, to deepen their knowledge of craft and technique, and to collectively create a writing community. We'll focus on character-driven literary fiction and on the development of your own original stories and the refinement of your creative goals. Throughout the semester, we'll read published work by a variety of contemporary writers, address aspects of the creative process, and investigate story structure and narrative tensions, uses of narration and point of view/perception, character development, voice, image, rhythm, and other aspects of craft. The course involves regular reading of and response to the work of other writers and requires both generosity in those endeavors and receptivity to feedback on one's own work-in-progress. Previous creative writing workshop experience highly recommended. Instructor permission required. After registration, I'll be in touch with interested students to request a brief writing sample; the sample deadline will be one week before classes begin in August.

02. L. López T 1510-1800 Buttrick Hall 304

Please note: This course has limited enrollment. Admission to the workshop is by instructor permission, with re-enrollment by students who have previously taken the course subject to the same provision. Interested students should request the course and contact the instructor about submitting an application form and a writing sample to address an assigned prompt.
This section of creative writing focuses on developing and refining techniques of fiction writing as related to the short story. Fiction writing is a craft, as well as a discipline and a process. This course is designed to help students hone skills such as—but not limited to—developing effective characterization, using perspective judiciously and consistently, proportioning summary (exposition) appropriately to scene, developing imagery that resonates metaphorically, as well as selecting and applying significant detail to enhance scene, characterization, and tone. To better apprehend and build such techniques and others, students will write two original short stories, complete thee writing exercises, attend and respond to three literary events, and analyze published short stories to discuss structural and stylistic components that contribute to these stories' overall success, in addition to reading text on craft on a weekly basis, attending three literary events, and critiquing work from peers.

 

ENGL 206 Intermediate Poetry Workshop B. Bachmann T 1310-1600 Calhoun Hall 104

In this intermediate poetry writing workshop, you will both write and read poetry. While the primary texts will be poems written by members of the workshop, you will also be introduced to the work of contemporary poets as well as to criticism on various elements of the craft of poetry. This semester, we will concentrate on form as it informs both shape and subject matter. As such, assignments will focus on forms of poetry, including self-portrait, ode, terza rima, couplets, epistle, elegy, sonnet sequence, sestina and haiku. In addition to submitting original poetry to the workshop and critiquing other participants' work, you will be expected to complete creative assignments and keep a writer's notebook. Assessment will therefore be based on participation, completion of the assignments and notebook, and submission of a final portfolio.

 

ENGL 208A Representative British Writers to 1660

01. R. Moore TR 0935-1050 Buttrick Hall 302

This course will serve as an introduction to some of the major works of English literature from the Anglo-Saxon period to the Restoration. Our major readings will include Beowulf, selections from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, the Book of Margery Kempe, and a Shakespeare play. We will also read selections from the poetry of Sidney, Spenser, Marlowe, Donne, Herbert, Marvell, and Milton. Works will be read in light of contemporary cultural, philosophical, and religious contexts. Assignments will include two papers, occasional tests, and a final exam.

Satisfies pre-1800 literature requirement for major

02. A. Hearn TR 1100-1215 Furman 132

Throw a rock at British literature and you're likely to hit a description of the natural world: an ode to hedgerows, a love song in a sylvan labyrinth, a sonnet with sparrows or doves. From Beowulf to Paradise Lost, British writers make use of nature for any number of purposes: to distinguish the country from the town, to celebrate romantic love and mourn human loss, to make known the ways of God, to explore the national character and make sense of political events, to recognize animal beauty and glory in the spring. In this first half of the Representative course, we will certainly hit the highways of British literature—the Beowulfs, Chaucers, Sidneys, Spensers, Shakespeares, Donnes, and Miltons of the Norton Anthology—but we will also explore those byways of poetry, prose, and drama that may be less familiar. In all, we'll let Nature be our guide. The course will be helpful to those contemplating further literary studies because it will provide a foundation in the field; it will also be good for those students simply wanting to fill some gaps in their literary and cultural knowledge. Students should plan on significant discussion as well as a variety of writing assignments—the standard close readings and literary research of English courses as well as less conventional approaches to the work like blog posts and imitations.

Satisfies pre-1800 literature requirement for major

 

ENGL 210.01 Shakespeare: Representative Selections E. King MWF 1010-1100 WIlson Hall 122

This course refines students' close reading and critical thinking skills through an intense engagement with the range of Shakespeare's drama—his comedies, histories, tragedies, and later "romances." In the works selected, the pursuit of erotic desire and political ambition predominate—at times simultaneously, in a single lyric phrase or dramatic exchange. We will examine Shakespeare's language use and dramaturgy in the context of the early modern commercial theater (its material conditions and literary trends) and the poetic and rhetorical traditions disseminated through Elizabethan grammar schools (as a schoolboy, Shakespeare would have read Ciceronian rhetoric and Ovidian poetry). We will also consider Shakespeare's status as an icon of English-speaking culture and as the poster-boy for the arts. To what extent does Shakespeare's reputation rest on his texts and on posthumous performance, critical, pedagogical, and political traditions? While we will begin the course by focusing on the historical circumstances surrounding the composition of Shakespeare's plays, we will end with a creative assignment that asks students to investigate the value of his works for present culture. Combining the texts of Shakespeare and the techniques of "guerilla" artists, students will explore the relationship between their reading life and contemporary life in a project that adapts, repurposes, or defamiliarizes their environment. Weekly assignments and group discussions requires students to stay on top of the reading, while the final assignment requires students to engage in intellectual risk-taking outside the classroom.

ENGL 210.02 Shakespearean Sexualities L. Enterline TR 1435-1550 Buttrick 301

When it comes to the world of sex, love, and desire, Shakespeare’s imagination was exuberant. The myriad forms of emotion, bodily engagement, aim, and object in his depictions of human sexuality range widely over the course of his career and often strain against both social contracts and normative definitions of gendered behavior.   This course introduces students to all of Shakespeare’s genres – lyric and narrative poetry as well as comedy and tragedy – and will pay particular attention to the intersection between sexuality and the most important poetic and rhetorical forms Shakespeare associates with it. Among the texts we will read closely: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Measure for Measure, The Taming of the Shrew, Othello, Hamlet, The Rape of Lucrece, Venus and Adonis, “The Phoenix and the Turtle,” and a range of sonnets. The readings are organized around two, interrelated issues: Shakespeare’s education in classical rhetoric and his distinctive use of generic, rhetorical, and linguistic conventions; and the many sexual scenes through which he studies the effects of language choices on the characters who make them. Because both his education and his poetic practice drew heavily on ancient and continental precursors – here the humanist practice of grounding literary invention in imitation is crucial – the seminar will read each Shakespearean text alongside the two poems about love that remained central to his career-long exploration of sexuality and poetry: Ovid’s polymorphous and often perverse poem, The Metamorphoses; and the melancholic voice of unrequited desire in Petrarch’s “scattered rhymes.”

ENGL 214 A Literature and Intellectual Movements~Catastrophe and Enlightenment S. Juengel MW 935-1050 Calhoun Hall 320-HONORS

This seminar focuses on the literature and philosophy of disaster in the age of enlightenment. For centuries, catastrophic events were heralded as demonstrable signs of divine providence, each earthquake, flood, epidemic or drought an instance of God's wrathful judgment. However, as the rise of modern science and secularized culture began to erode the strict theological basis for understanding all cataclysmic events, new questions began to arise about the meaning of "natural" evil in the world. How does catastrophe puncture the course of history? Is disaster representable? Do we live in "the best of all possible worlds" (Leibniz's philosophical optimism) or "the worst of all possible worlds" (Schopenhauer's pessimism), and how would we measure the difference? How does the discovery of Pompeii (1748), or the terrors of Lisbon earthquake (1755), ripple through attempts to understand the historical past or the precarious present? What is the relationship between the sublime and the catastrophic? What difference does the modern geological record make when we realize that humankind has only occupied the earth for a fraction of its existence or that hundreds of entire species have suffered extinction? How does the rise of what we now call "science fiction" change how we imagine the future? The course will survey a range of literary, philosophical and scientific works from roughly 1650-1880, as well as contemporary critical resources (such as Susan Neiman's Evil in Modern Thought: An Alternative History of Modern Philosophy), in order to take stock of the emergence of modern life through its tragic undoing.

 

ENGL 219. Anglo-Saxon Language and Literature J. Plummer MWF 1110-1200 Benson 200

We will study the Anglo-Saxon (Old English) language, culture, history, and of course literature: excerpts from chronicles, sermons, biblical paraphrases, and poetry, including selections from Beowulf. Our textbook will be Bruce Mitchel's An Invitation to Old English and Anglo-Saxon England, which also includes material on archeology, place names, arts and crafts, and warfare.

Satisfies pre-1800 literature requirement for major

 

ENGL 220. Chaucer J. Plummer MWF 0910-1000 Calhoun Hall 219

We will read a selection of The Canterbury Tales, and Troilus and Criseyde, contextualizing them against the backdrop of both learned and popular literary, artistic, and religious practices of the late middle ages. Instruction will include some background lectures, class discussion, library work, and the use of internet resources. Graded work will include a few quizzes, class participation, two exams, and a paper.

Satisfies pre-1800 literature requirement for major

 

ENGL 2 31 The 19th Century Novel M. Schoenfield MWF 0910-1000 Benson 200

From the French Revolution to the start of the 20th century, Europe underwent revolutions in economics, psychology, aesthetics, trade, marriage, law, and personal identity. In every case, the British novel, with its evolving notions of character, narrative, and representation, influenced (sometime by endorsing, sometimes by resisting) these social transformations. Experiments in genre, inventions of distribution mechanisms, and theorizations of the imagination all contributed to the novel's ascendency as a social phenomenon. In this course, we will explore some of the most remarkable of the novels, ranging from William Godwin's Caleb Williams, an early crime thriller, to George Eliot's sweeping Middlemarch, to Oscar Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray, in which the stirrings of modernism peek through amidst mayhem and wit. Reading novels that vary in hue from the realism of daily life and manners to the absurd and sensational, dripping in blood, we will consider the emerging middle class, with its class consciousness and money concerns; the geographies of the novel, from teeming metropolis to close-knit provincial communities; the dynamics of gender as refracted through the novelistic interest in psychology and memory; and the strange ironies in which fiction becomes a form of truth.

Eligible for European Studies

 

ENGL 236W J. Fesmire TR 1435-1550 Calhoun Hall 117

This course is an opportunity to become familiar with some of the most powerful texts of our literary tradition. The texts I have chosen for this class will, I hope, provide an opportunity for us to learn something about how literature has developed and changed from classical antiquity through the Renaissance. We will focus on concepts of heroism and courage, paying particular attention to the hero's reaction to change, instability, adversity, and death. How do these texts portray the task of the hero? How does his quest affect relations between mortals and immortals? Within the models offered by our texts, is it possible for women to be heroic? How do fear and grief become avenues for challenging the social and order, and how do these emotions contribute towards the hero's education? Texts include: Gilgamesh; The Iliad; Medea; Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; The Tragedy of Sohrab and Rostam; Don Quixote.

 

ENGL 247 "Advanced Poetry Reading" V. Bell TR 1100-1215 Calhoun Hall 203

This new course offering, oddly enough, will seem odd positioned there among the department's other less conventional courses. But it will be a complex course with a number of complex objectives. It is partly designed as a course that will sharpen the student's poetry reading skills with a focus upon how form, thought, and feeling in poems are made to coincide. It is partly designed to train students how to do intensive, careful close reading of texts, a skill that is useful to have mastered in fields that have nothing to do with poetry (such as the study of law). It is partly designed to put on display, and speaking with each other, the extraordinary range of ideas and emotion, of passion, intellect, political thought, desire, fear, hope, grief, loneliness, and belief that are given expression to in the poems of our language. This is a spectacle that because of different kinds of compartmentalization in our teaching methods it is all too easy to get through college having missed. Think of having Wordsworth, Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Adrienne Rich, Dylan Thomas, Keats, Christina Rossetti, Wallace Stevens, W. H. Auden, Alexander Pope, Tennyson, Sylvia Plath, Coleridge, Thomas Hardy, Whitman, T. S. Eliot, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Robert Lowell, T. S. Eliot, Philip Larkin (and more) all in the same crazy room talking with each other and/or duking it out.

The first six weeks of the class will be dedicated to a kind of boot camp for poetry reading, learning or re-learning the basic protocols of poetic form and language, including a theory of metaphor. Usually this will be done by pairing different poems which nevertheless speak the same issue. The last eight weeks will be devoted to the study of longer poems or suites of poems and a selection of interesting critical and scholarly writings about them. In this grouping will be included a selection of Shakespeare's Sonnets (the most unsettling and nerve-wracking of them); Keats's Odes; Coleridge's The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner; Eliot's The Waste Land ; Sylvia Plath's Ariel; Adrienne Rich's Twenty-one Love Poems and/or others yet to be determined.

Possibly as many as three short papers reading poems in different ways will be required over the semester and then a longer, more complex paper at the end, which will stand in place of a final exam.

 

ENGL 252B "The Age of Enlightenment" in the Long 18th Century" H. Garcia TR 1310-1425 Calhoun Hall 423

In "An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?" (1784), Immanuel Kant defines Enlightenment as "the human being's emancipation from its self-incurred immaturity." This course will focus on how Enlightenment-as-maturation, a trope frequently deployed in 18th-century English literature (1660-1830), involved new conceptions of the mind, self, and society that illuminated the dark corners of socio-political life in unexpected, complicated, and contentious ways. By reading across a broad range of genres, we will examine various literary forms that record narratives of arrested childhood development, or stories in which the enlightened protagonist fails to grow up. The main premise here is that this counter-Kantian narrative evolved to accommodate the uncertainties that defined "the Age of Enlightenment:" the "progress" of science and reason, the rise of the novel, women's place in the public sphere, the emergence of England's overseas empire, and the Romantic reaction against impersonal modes of rationality. As such, this course will help us develop some insight into how the English writers of this period remained skeptical of projects of human emancipation, calling into question many of our cherished assumptions about the role of the Enlightenment in the larger narrative of Western history, then and now. We will be reading from the works of Daniel Defoe, Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift, Olaudah Equiano, Mary Shelley, Percy Shelley, and others.

This course is designed to foster class discussion, develop original ideas, and improve your writing. To achieve these goals, students will learn to use multi-media and blogs to communicate with a "real" public audience online, in addition to writing and revising a semester-long term paper. You are expected to think, write, create, and imagine wildly. Attendance and participation, in and out of class, are not just mandatory but essential to your success.

 

ENGL 254B Romanticism and Apocalypse H. Garcia TR 0935-1050 Furman 217

Plagued by economic collapse, ecological destruction, and global wars, the world is now entering an apocalyptic stage. As documented in prophecies from the Bible to the Mayan calendar, the world is destined to end by December 2012. Have you prepared for your survival or said "good buy" to your loved ones? Do you expect to complete this course if you might not live to see the end of the semester?

This thematic survey course treats these contemporary apocalyptic anxieties as deeply rooted in the cultural and literary transformations that we now retrospectively call "British Romanticism." Like many people today, British Romantic writers worried about the demise of humankind and the planet, but also hoped for a regenerative revolution that remakes the world anew after the apocalypse. We will examine the Romantic discourse of "apocalypse" as a religious, secular, and political phenomenon that captivated the British imagination between 1789 and 1830. The following questions will guide our thinking: why does the Romantic poet-prophet replace the priest and politician as a legislator speaking for the world? Could women adapt this prophetic position? How does poetry assume supernatural insight into the past, present, and future? How does "the end of history" theme shape the way British Romantics write for their contemporaries and to us—their post-apocalyptic progenitors? In order to answer these questions, we will spend the first part of the semester studying sections of William Wordsworth's The Prelude (in its various editions); then the fierce controversy that was sparked by the 1789 revolution in France; and, during the last half of the course, the mytho-poetic prophecies of William Blake, John Keats, Lord Byron, and P. B. Shelley in order to consider the political and social impact of the French Revolution on their writings. The course will conclude with Mary Shelley's doomsday novel, The Last Man (1826), a romantic spoof on the Romantic's apocalyptic poetics.

This course is designed to foster intense class discussion, develop original ideas, and improve your writing. To achieve these goals, students will learn to use multi-media and blogs to communicate with an audience online (including those awaiting the apocalypse), in addition to writing and revising a semester-long term paper. You are expected to think, write, create, and imagine romantically. Attendance and participation, in and out of class, are not just mandatory but essential to your success.

Eligible for European Studies

 

ENGL 255 The Victorian Period R.Teukolsky TR 1435-1550 Calhoun Hall 203

This course will introduce the prose, poetry, and fiction of Victorian Britain, spanning the years 1832 to 1900. Victorian literature was the first to represent modern society in a way familiar to us today—a complex and interconnected world, dominated by middle-class economic and cultural interests, increasingly mobile and urbanized. The course will examine Victorian literature in the following contexts:

  • Economic and social transformations, including the rise of the modern city, the new dominance of the machine, industrialism, transportation, social mobility, and the burgeoning of the British empire
  • The Victorian self: how did Victorians understand sensation, perception, imagination, and memory, especially in relation to new scientific ideas about the human body and mind?
  • The novel form, which in many ways defined the literature of this age: What is a novel, and why did it become so popular in the 19th century?
  • Intellectual contexts of the Victorian age: the thought of Engels, Macaulay, Darwin, John Stuart Mill, and others; the rise of science and religious skepticism
  • Gender and "the Woman Question": how did literature both support and challenge ideas of domesticity, normality, sexuality, and deviance?
  • Art, aestheticism, visuality, and the cult of the art object in literature

We will track these developments of modernity through a range of texts, genres, and geographies. Authors will likely include Christina Rossetti, Alfred Tennyson, Robert Browning, Charles Dickens, Lewis Carroll, Elizabeth Gaskell, Matthew Arnold, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Oscar Wilde, and Joseph Conrad, among others.

Eligible for European Studies

 

ENGL 262 Literature and Law C. Dayan MW 1310-1425 Calhoun Hall 219

"From the Plantation to the Penitentiary: Interpretation, Literature, and the Law"

This course will examine how punishment, prisons, incapacitation, and torture not only became critical to the meaning of democracy and freedom in the United States but also shaped a history of property and possession essential to what Thomas L. Dumm in Democracy and Punishment has called "the American project." Crucial questions to be considered: What is the connection between slavery and imprisonment? Is there any connection between the criminal as "slave of the state" and the slave as property or thing? What does it mean to be dead in law? How do we recognize the limits of torture?

We will examine legal, philosophical and historical texts, as well as fictional and film re-enactments of lockdown and criminality, the death penalty, chain gangs, and supermax confinement. Films to be viewed: "I am a Fugitive from a Georgia Chain Gang"; "I Want to Live!"; and "Thin Blue Line." Texts include: Albert Camus, "Reflections on the Guillotine; Jessica Mitford, Kind and Usual Punishment; Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish; Mumia Abu Jamal, Live from Death Row; selected fiction of Poe, Melville, Cheever and Mailer, as well as selected legal cases and selections from John Locke, Jeremy Bentham, Giorgio Agamben, Reviel Netz, and Timothy Pachirat.

 

ENGL 263 African American Literature-1789 to the Present Day H. Baker TR 1100-1215 Buttrick Hall 302

This course is designed and will be taught as an enjoyable and wide-ranging introduction to the world and works of Afro-American Literature. It commences with the fascinating narrative of an eighteenth-century African kidnapped from his village and cast into the worlds of Atlantic shipping, New World slavery, and Evangelical Religion. Its endpoint is the stunning and varied work of writers such as Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, Nikky Finney, Percival Everett, and Colson Whitehead. Along our chronological way, we shall read and discuss Afro-American folklore and nineteenth-century men's and women's slave narratives. We shall explore the work of the first publicly successful Afro-American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar and spend significant time on the glorious Harlem Renaissance of the roaring 1920s when, as Langston Hughes stated it: "Harlem was in vogue." Social protest works like Richard Wright's astonishing novel Native Son and James Baldwin's famous attack on protest novels titled "Everybody's Protest Novel" will provide energetic moments of discussion. The 1960s and 1970s Black Arts and Black Nationalist Movements of revolution in the streets and rebellion on the page will come alive for us in the works of authors such as Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Haiki Madhubuti, and Malcolm X. Readings will be quite reasonable in size and scope, and there will be many in-class moments that feature a perfect combination of lecture by the professor and animated discussion by students. Written assignments will also be reasonable. The connection between Vanderbilt, Nashville, and our class will be an enjoyable project as we discover connections between the Afro-American creativity of our own university and city and the written works we will be studying.

Eligible for African American and Diaspora Studies, Eligible for American Studies Major

 

ENGL 268A America on Film S. Girgus MWF 1410-1500 Buttrick Hall 102

The course studies American culture and character on film. It will consider film as a modern art form, a system of cultural production, and an expression of the diversity of the American experience. Beginning with a discussion of the structure and composition of film as an art form, the course also will consider the relationship of film to American studies, ethical philosophy, and culture. Thus, it will relate visual images and cinetext to cultural and philosophical contexts. We will examine how films treat basic American themes such as the individual and community; frontier and urban violence; race, ethnicity, and minorities; the representation and role of women; visual desire and sexual exploitation; the family and authority. We will study classic Hollywood directors, including Frank Capra, John Ford, Howard Hawks, and Elia Kazan as well as current filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Spike Lee, and Clint Eastwood.

Students will be required to view one film/week outside of class either Tuesdays 4:00-6:00 PM, Wednesdays 6:00-8:30 PM, or Sunday 8:30-11:00 PM.

Eligible for American Studies Major, Eligible for Film Studies

 

ENGL 273.02 Problems in Literature C. Dayan MW 1110-1225 Calhoun Hall 203-HONORS

Gothic Theory, or the Caribbean and its Discontents

"It is necessary first to understand how colonization works to decivilize the colonizer,

to brutalize him...to degrade him...to awaken him to buried instincts."

Cesaire, Discourse on Colonialism

In this seminar we will try a new approach to making theory by testing the divide between the "West" and the Rest," between the so-called "First" and "Third" World, between center and periphery.

Our travels through time and space will be vast: moving from the "discovery" narratives of Columbus and Las Casas to 20th century representations of "boat people," zombies, black magic, and disaster and/or catastrophe. We will also question generalities about women, spirits, race and color, as we turn to the uses and abuses of such popular terms as "hybridity," "postcolonial," "creolity," and "multicultural" when applied to the Caribbean.

The major impetus for our investigations is to work towards a definition of "gothic" fiction: by miscegenaing texts and taxonomies, we will shake up relations of cause and effect, illusions of mastery (such as the divide between "master" texts and their token reactions) in order to:

1) reread weird and unnatural fictions as yoked to the racialized natural histories so much a part of their origins; and 2) ask how theories marginalized or ignored by those claiming to speak for places and peoples only superficially "non-western" help to perpetuate the worst excesses of neo-colonialism and what Naomi Klein has called "disaster capitalism."

Readings include: "Monk" Lewis, Journal of a West Indian Proprietor and The Monk; Mary Prince, The History of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave; Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre; Bram Stoker, Dracula; Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea; V.S. Naipaul, Guerillas; Erna Brodber, Myal; and selections from Edward Long, Bryan Edwards, Aime Cesaire, Frantz Fanon, Kamau Brathwaite, Jean Price-Mars, Edouard Glissant, C.L.R. James, Jacques Lacan, Albert Memmi, and Octavio Mannoni.

3.4 cumulative GPA required, Satisfies ethnic-non-western literature major and minor requirement

 

ENGL 274 Major Figures in Literature~James Joyce R. Gottfried MWF 1010-1100 Calhoun 337

Joyce's novel Ulysses is considered the prime example of Modernism. It is, by turns, a highly elaborated work and yet a simple human story; it is artfully crafted and yet highly realistic; it is recondite and dense, and yet direct and funny.

The course will be a detailed and close reading of the novel. Because Joyce's work is a compendium of twentieth-century modes of thought, reading it should best be a collective and collaborative endeavor. To this end, the course will be an interactive seminar, where each student will bring his or her personal interests and interpretations to discussion.

 

ENGL 278 Colonial and Post-Colonial Literature B. Tran MW 1310-1425 Calhoun Hall 320

This course examines the intersections between the genre of the novel, colonial history, and the imaginings of national communities. We will take a comparative approach, studying works from decolonizing and postcolonial Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Our readings will include novels by authors such as Ayi Kwei Armah, Mariama Ba, Marguerite Duras, George Orwell, Pham Van Ky, Jose Rizal, Ninotchka Rosca, and Salman Rushdie. Engaging with these works, we will explore: the varied histories of colonialism in different regions of the world; the consequences of the encounters between colonizer and colonized—the encounters between European and "native" cultural and social systems; how the genre of the novel played an instrumental role in European imperialism; and conversely, how the novel served as a medium for the imagining of post-independent national communities. The last section of the course will consider the role of electronic media (the blogosphere, Twitter) in the current sociopolitical changes taking place in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

 

ENGL 283. Jewish American Literature A. Schachter TR 1310-1425 Wilson Hall 113-HONORS

Satisfies ethnic-non-western literature major and minor requirement.

In this honors seminar, we will critically examine the changing place of Jewish American writing in the American canon, tracing the transformation of American Jews from a racialized minority in the early 20th century to a privileged ethnic community in the post-World War II period. We'll also examine how Jews created a paradigm for writing immigrant narratives and ethnic American fiction that has been taken up by other ethnic writers. Our readings will include narratives of immigration and assimilation, Jewish modernist prose, and post-War American Jewish writing. We'll read short stories and novels by writers such as Anzia Yezierska, Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, Grace Paley, Gary Shteyngart, and Gish Jen. The course will also include secondary material on ethnicity and immigrant writing, including essays by Charles Hutchins Hapgood, Werner Sollers, and Jonathan Freedman.

Eligible for American Studies Major, Eligible for Jewish Studies

3.4 cumulative GPA required

 

ENGL 288.01 Race, Immigration, and Identity: Reading the Wor(l)ds of New York and Nashville I. Nwankwo TR 1100-1215 Furman 325

New York's immigrant past and present are legend in literature, film, and folklore about the making of modern America. Virtually no parallel material has been produced on immigrants to Nashville. Over the course of the semester, we will explore personal stories, films, and novels about migration to New York and Nashville from the Caribbean, Africa, and Latin America. As we learn about and from these immigrant communities' cultures, histories, identities, and experiences in the two cities, we will consider questions such as: What are the push and pull factors that lead these immigrants to each of these sites? What are their experiences when they get to them? What sorts of adjustments do they have to make, particularly with regard to racial and ethnic identity?

We will begin by gaining a solid grounding in the history of immigration to New York by viewing films, perusing newspapers, and delving into literature from and about the time. Through the stories of Irish and other European immigrants who came to Ellis Island in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and responses to their arrival, we will expand our understanding of the foundations of the United States of America as we know it. Next, we will move on to talking about immigration to New York from the Caribbean, particularly Jamaica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Novels, autobiographies, and oral history interviews about immigrants' experiences will figure prominently in this section, alongside films that reveal previously hidden aspects of the experiences of these immigrants. Then, we will focus on African immigrants. Films, oral history interviews, and information from guest lecturers will help to round out students' knowledge about the identity challenges faced and posed by these "other African Americans."

We will then turn our attention to Nashville, and create final projects that make a distinctive contribution to the public discourse on these communities in our city.

Eligible for American Studies Major

 

ENGL 288.03 Native American Writers D. Nelson TR 0935-1050 Furman 325

This course will focus on the category of Native American literature since the 1960s, focusing on the conditions of its emergence in the market, and its scholarly pursuit in academia. We will concentrate our study on the developing careers of two key (and storied) writers: Louise Erdrich and James Welch, reading novels that span their careers, studying their developing aesthetic techniques and how their work responds as well to socio-political and economic imperatives in the marketing of Native American fiction, the institutionalization of Native American studies, and ongoing debates about Native sovereignty and life in the United States.

Novels will include (Erdrich): Love Medicine, Beet Queen, Crown of Columbus, Tracks and Shadow Tag; (Welch): Winter in the Blood, Death of Jim Loney ,Fools Crow, Indian Lawyer and Heartsong of Charging Elk. Requirements will include scholarship overview reports, close reading essays and a final paper.

Eligible for American Studies Major, Eligible for Religious Studies

 

ENGL 289A Independent Study

Register in person at the department.

 

ENGL 289B Independent Study

Register in person at the department.

 

ENGL 290A Honors Colloquium M. Wollaeger T 1230-1520 Buttrick Hall 310-HONORS

This colloquium, reserved for students who have applied and been admitted to the English Honors Program, is designed to prepare you to write an honors thesis/project in the spring semester. To that end, we'll explore critical approaches to literature, problems or issues worth exploring, and methods of exploration. This will involve both readings in and about literary theory and textual analysis. At the same time, you will be developing, collaboratively and individually, the projects that will form the basis for next semester's work, the Honors Thesis. ("Thesis" hereafter refers to both critical and creative projects.) You will work in small groups and develop not only your own expertise for your project, but your group members' expertise for reading and responding to it. In the second part of the semester, you will be asked to assign both some primary and secondary reading to members of your group and lead discussions on that material. Course requirements include a short paper, take-home midterm, and a final essay conceived of as a first step toward the spring thesis.

For information about applying for the HONORS program click here.

3.4 cumulative GPA required

 

ENGL 291 The Art of Medical Writing K. Daniels T 1230-1500 Benson Hall 200

In this creative writing workshop (enrollment limited to 12) which meets once a week, students will explore the growing field of non-clinical medical writing by physicians, patients, and other healthcare and medical professionals – personal essays, non-fiction, poetry, and autobiography – as models for their own writing, and as a way of entering more deeply into their understanding of medical education, healthcare experience, and being ill.

Particular attention will be paid to practice in integrating medical content; managing alternating points of view; consideration of audience appeal in creating works combining creative writing and non-fiction medical-based content; narrative voice and confidentiality; and other topics as they arise from the reading and the writing undertaken by students. Pre-medical students and MHS majors/minors with interest in writing particularly welcome.

Reading list includes:On Being Ill, Virginia Woolf, "Creative Writers and Daydreaming," Sigmund Freud (brief essay), "People Like That Are the Only People Here," Lorrie Moore (short story), The Autobiography of a Face, Lucy Grealy, Body of Work: Meditations on Mortality from the Human Anatomy Lab, Christine Montross, M.D., Mortal Lessons: Notes on the Art of Surgery, Richard Selzer, M.D., The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot, Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia & Bulimia, Marya Hornbacher, The Desire to Heal: A Doctor's Education in Empathy, Identity, and Poetry, Rafael Campo, M.D.

Eligible for Medicine Health and Society

 

ENGL 200 Intermediate Fiction Writing

01. S. Solomon M 1510-1800 1510-1800 Calhoun Hall 103 Other People's Lives: Memoir, Profile and Biography

Students in this course will read selected portraits of other people—portraits drawn from memory and personal experience and from documents, both historical and contemporary—and then they will try to write their own portraits. This is a nonfiction workshop, so the emphasis will be on writing vividly and offering feedback to classmates about writing. The class will read excerpts of biographies (mostly about writers and other artists); long and short profiles, the latter in the form of obituaries (in Britain are often wonderfully evocative sketches of the man or woman who has died); and memoirs that focus on another person. We will look at how these descriptions can make individuals come alive on the page—at the details of character and action that give the reader a sense of other people's lives, their idiosyncrasies, their virtues and limitations, and tell memorably what people do and how they do it.

Sandy Solomon asks students who register for English 200 to submit a 250 word sketch of one family member. You may tell a brief story about that person or just describe him/her at home. Please also send as background information (and as sometime tie-breaker) your year, your major/s or prospective major/s, and your home town or community. Please make as the subject of your email "English 200 writing sample." FYI, Solomon prefers to limit enrollment to students in sophomore year and above. Submit your writing sample by August 1, 2012. Solomon will let you know by August 5 whether you have been accepted in this course.

Because enrollment to this course is by instructor approval based on a submission, all students will initially be placed on the waitlist. After joining the waitlist, all students should wait for a welcome email from the instructor regarding the submission requirement. As soon as the instructor selects the class members, that select group of students will be enrolled in the course and all others will be dropped from the waitlist.

02. A. Little W 3:10-6:00 TBA The Art of Blogging: Learning How to Write and Think In The Age of Self-Publishing

Limited enrollment. Admission to the course is by instructor permission. Interested students should register and submit to the English Department a sample blog post of 500-750 words about any topic of their choosing (this could be a post the student has already published or a mock post)

Taught by an award-winning journalist who has written for The New York Times, Vanity Fair, and Rolling Stone, and who writes a blog for Forbes.com, this course focuses on techniques and strategies for successful blogging. Today, just fifteen years after the first blog was published, there are more than 150 million public blogs on the internet, some of which have larger audiences and more influence than the most esteemed print publications.

Blogs can empower anyone who has something to say, and the ability to say it in an interesting way. Yet very few blogs are well-written and authoritative, or manage to reach a broad audience. In this course we will track and analyze the most influential blogs in the categories of technology, business, politics, lifestyle, and activism – among them, Huffingtonpost.com, Forbes.com, Thedailybeast.com, ESPN.com, and Grist.org. We will look to the past, examining the historic roots of self-published manifestoes that date back to 17th-century, and to the future, exploring multimedia blogging formats and the "micro-blogging" phenomenon of Twitter.

At a time when virtually every public figure from Barack Obama to Beyonce has entered the blogosphere, students will come to understand how blogs are revolutionizing the media and how they are changing the way we write. Students will create and regularly update their own blogs for this course. We will discuss your posts in class and the instructor will critique your writing in private conferences.

Book List:

  • Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation That's Changing Your World, Hugh Hewitt
  • The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging, HuffingtonPost editors
  • On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction, William Zinsser

Course readings will also include excerpts from:

What Would Google Do? Jeff Jarvis, The Argument: Billionaires, Bloggers and the Battle to Remake Democratic Politics, Matt Bai, We The Media: Grassroots Journalism By The People, For the People, Dan Gilmoor, Bloggerati, Twitterati: How Blogs and Twitter are Transforming Popular Culture, Mary Cross, Hot Text: Web Writing That Works, Jonathan and Lisa Price, Blogging Heroes: Interviews with 30 of the World's Top Bloggers, Michael Banks

Because enrollment to this course is by instructor approval based on a submission, all students will initially be placed on the waitlist. After joining the waitlist, all students should wait for a welcome email from the instructor regarding the submission requirement. As soon as the instructor selects the class members, that select group of students will be enrolled in the course and all others will be dropped from the waitlist.

 

ENGL 204 Intermediate Fiction Workshop

01. N. Reisman TR 1310-1425 Gillette Hall 103

This Intermediate Workshop is designed to help emerging fiction writers to expand their understanding of fiction's possibilities, to deepen their knowledge of craft and technique, and to collectively create a writing community. We'll focus on character-driven literary fiction and on the development of your own original stories and the refinement of your creative goals. Throughout the semester, we'll read published work by a variety of contemporary writers, address aspects of the creative process, and investigate story structure and narrative tensions, uses of narration and point of view/perception, character development, voice, image, rhythm, and other aspects of craft. The course involves regular reading of and response to the work of other writers and requires both generosity in those endeavors and receptivity to feedback on one's own work-in-progress. Previous creative writing workshop experience highly recommended. Instructor permission required. After registration, I'll be in touch with interested students to request a brief writing sample; the sample deadline will be one week before classes begin in August.

02. L. López T 1510-1800 Buttrick Hall 304

Please note: This course has limited enrollment. Admission to the workshop is by instructor permission, with re-enrollment by students who have previously taken the course subject to the same provision. Interested students should request the course and contact the instructor about submitting an application form and a writing sample to address an assigned prompt.
This section of creative writing focuses on developing and refining techniques of fiction writing as related to the short story. Fiction writing is a craft, as well as a discipline and a process. This course is designed to help students hone skills such as—but not limited to—developing effective characterization, using perspective judiciously and consistently, proportioning summary (exposition) appropriately to scene, developing imagery that resonates metaphorically, as well as selecting and applying significant detail to enhance scene, characterization, and tone. To better apprehend and build such techniques and others, students will write two original short stories, complete thee writing exercises, attend and respond to three literary events, and analyze published short stories to discuss structural and stylistic components that contribute to these stories' overall success, in addition to reading text on craft on a weekly basis, attending three literary events, and critiquing work from peers.

 

ENGL 206 Intermediate Poetry Workshop B. Bachmann T 1310-1600 Calhoun Hall 104

In this intermediate poetry writing workshop, you will both write and read poetry. While the primary texts will be poems written by members of the workshop, you will also be introduced to the work of contemporary poets as well as to criticism on various elements of the craft of poetry. This semester, we will concentrate on form as it informs both shape and subject matter. As such, assignments will focus on forms of poetry, including self-portrait, ode, terza rima, couplets, epistle, elegy, sonnet sequence, sestina and haiku. In addition to submitting original poetry to the workshop and critiquing other participants' work, you will be expected to complete creative assignments and keep a writer's notebook. Assessment will therefore be based on participation, completion of the assignments and notebook, and submission of a final portfolio.

 

ENGL 208A Representative British Writers to 1660

01. R. Moore TR 0935-1050 Buttrick Hall 302

This course will serve as an introduction to some of the major works of English literature from the Anglo-Saxon period to the Restoration. Our major readings will include Beowulf, selections from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, the Book of Margery Kempe, and a Shakespeare play. We will also read selections from the poetry of Sidney, Spenser, Marlowe, Donne, Herbert, Marvell, and Milton. Works will be read in light of contemporary cultural, philosophical, and religious contexts. Assignments will include two papers, occasional tests, and a final exam.

Satisfies pre-1800 literature requirement for major

02. A. Hearn TR 1100-1215 Furman 132

Throw a rock at British literature and you're likely to hit a description of the natural world: an ode to hedgerows, a love song in a sylvan labyrinth, a sonnet with sparrows or doves. From Beowulf to Paradise Lost, British writers make use of nature for any number of purposes: to distinguish the country from the town, to celebrate romantic love and mourn human loss, to make known the ways of God, to explore the national character and make sense of political events, to recognize animal beauty and glory in the spring. In this first half of the Representative course, we will certainly hit the highways of British literature—the Beowulfs, Chaucers, Sidneys, Spensers, Shakespeares, Donnes, and Miltons of the Norton Anthology—but we will also explore those byways of poetry, prose, and drama that may be less familiar. In all, we'll let Nature be our guide. The course will be helpful to those contemplating further literary studies because it will provide a foundation in the field; it will also be good for those students simply wanting to fill some gaps in their literary and cultural knowledge. Students should plan on significant discussion as well as a variety of writing assignments—the standard close readings and literary research of English courses as well as less conventional approaches to the work like blog posts and imitations.

Satisfies pre-1800 literature requirement for major

 

ENGL 210 Shakespeare: Representative Selections E. King MWF 1010-1100 WIlson Hall 122

This course refines students' close reading and critical thinking skills through an intense engagement with the range of Shakespeare's drama—his comedies, histories, tragedies, and later "romances." In the works selected, the pursuit of erotic desire and political ambition predominate—at times simultaneously, in a single lyric phrase or dramatic exchange. We will examine Shakespeare's language use and dramaturgy in the context of the early modern commercial theater (its material conditions and literary trends) and the poetic and rhetorical traditions disseminated through Elizabethan grammar schools (as a schoolboy, Shakespeare would have read Ciceronian rhetoric and Ovidian poetry). We will also consider Shakespeare's status as an icon of English-speaking culture and as the poster-boy for the arts. To what extent does Shakespeare's reputation rest on his texts and on posthumous performance, critical, pedagogical, and political traditions? While we will begin the course by focusing on the historical circumstances surrounding the composition of Shakespeare's plays, we will end with a creative assignment that asks students to investigate the value of his works for present culture. Combining the texts of Shakespeare and the techniques of "guerilla" artists, students will explore the relationship between their reading life and contemporary life in a project that adapts, repurposes, or defamiliarizes their environment. Weekly assignments and group discussions requires students to stay on top of the reading, while the final assignment requires students to engage in intellectual risk-taking outside the classroom.

 

ENGL 214 A Literature and Intellectual Movements~Catastrophe and Enlightenment S. Juengel MW 935-1050 Calhoun Hall 320-HONORS

This seminar focuses on the literature and philosophy of disaster in the age of enlightenment. For centuries, catastrophic events were heralded as demonstrable signs of divine providence, each earthquake, flood, epidemic or drought an instance of God's wrathful judgment. However, as the rise of modern science and secularized culture began to erode the strict theological basis for understanding all cataclysmic events, new questions began to arise about the meaning of "natural" evil in the world. How does catastrophe puncture the course of history? Is disaster representable? Do we live in "the best of all possible worlds" (Leibniz's philosophical optimism) or "the worst of all possible worlds" (Schopenhauer's pessimism), and how would we measure the difference? How does the discovery of Pompeii (1748), or the terrors of Lisbon earthquake (1755), ripple through attempts to understand the historical past or the precarious present? What is the relationship between the sublime and the catastrophic? What difference does the modern geological record make when we realize that humankind has only occupied the earth for a fraction of its existence or that hundreds of entire species have suffered extinction? How does the rise of what we now call "science fiction" change how we imagine the future? The course will survey a range of literary, philosophical and scientific works from roughly 1650-1880, as well as contemporary critical resources (such as Susan Neiman's Evil in Modern Thought: An Alternative History of Modern Philosophy), in order to take stock of the emergence of modern life through its tragic undoing.

 

ENGL 219. Anglo-Saxon Language and Literature J. Plummer MWF 1110-1200 Benson 200

We will study the Anglo-Saxon (Old English) language, culture, history, and of course literature: excerpts from chronicles, sermons, biblical paraphrases, and poetry, including selections from Beowulf. Our textbook will be Bruce Mitchel's An Invitation to Old English and Anglo-Saxon England, which also includes material on archeology, place names, arts and crafts, and warfare.

Satisfies pre-1800 literature requirement for major

 

ENGL 220. Chaucer J. Plummer MWF 0910-1000 Calhoun Hall 219

We will read a selection of The Canterbury Tales, and Troilus and Criseyde, contextualizing them against the backdrop of both learned and popular literary, artistic, and religious practices of the late middle ages. Instruction will include some background lectures, class discussion, library work, and the use of internet resources. Graded work will include a few quizzes, class participation, two exams, and a paper.

Satisfies pre-1800 literature requirement for major

 

ENGL 2 31 The 19th Century Novel M. Schoenfield MWF 0910-1000 Benson 200

From the French Revolution to the start of the 20th century, Europe underwent revolutions in economics, psychology, aesthetics, trade, marriage, law, and personal identity. In every case, the British novel, with its evolving notions of character, narrative, and representation, influenced (sometime by endorsing, sometimes by resisting) these social transformations. Experiments in genre, inventions of distribution mechanisms, and theorizations of the imagination all contributed to the novel's ascendency as a social phenomenon. In this course, we will explore some of the most remarkable of the novels, ranging from William Godwin's Caleb Williams, an early crime thriller, to George Eliot's sweeping Middlemarch, to Oscar Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray, in which the stirrings of modernism peek through amidst mayhem and wit. Reading novels that vary in hue from the realism of daily life and manners to the absurd and sensational, dripping in blood, we will consider the emerging middle class, with its class consciousness and money concerns; the geographies of the novel, from teeming metropolis to close-knit provincial communities; the dynamics of gender as refracted through the novelistic interest in psychology and memory; and the strange ironies in which fiction becomes a form of truth.

Eligible for European Studies

 

ENGL 236W J. Fesmire TR 1435-1550 Calhoun Hall 117

This course is an opportunity to become familiar with some of the most powerful texts of our literary tradition. The texts I have chosen for this class will, I hope, provide an opportunity for us to learn something about how literature has developed and changed from classical antiquity through the Renaissance. We will focus on concepts of heroism and courage, paying particular attention to the hero's reaction to change, instability, adversity, and death. How do these texts portray the task of the hero? How does his quest affect relations between mortals and immortals? Within the models offered by our texts, is it possible for women to be heroic? How do fear and grief become avenues for challenging the social and order, and how do these emotions contribute towards the hero's education? Texts include: Gilgamesh; The Iliad; Medea; Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; The Tragedy of Sohrab and Rostam; Don Quixote.

 

ENGL 247 "Advanced Poetry Reading" V. Bell TR 1100-1215 Calhoun Hall 203

This new course offering, oddly enough, will seem odd positioned there among the department's other less conventional courses. But it will be a complex course with a number of complex objectives. It is partly designed as a course that will sharpen the student's poetry reading skills with a focus upon how form, thought, and feeling in poems are made to coincide. It is partly designed to train students how to do intensive, careful close reading of texts, a skill that is useful to have mastered in fields that have nothing to do with poetry (such as the study of law). It is partly designed to put on display, and speaking with each other, the extraordinary range of ideas and emotion, of passion, intellect, political thought, desire, fear, hope, grief, loneliness, and belief that are given expression to in the poems of our language. This is a spectacle that because of different kinds of compartmentalization in our teaching methods it is all too easy to get through college having missed. Think of having Wordsworth, Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Adrienne Rich, Dylan Thomas, Keats, Christina Rossetti, Wallace Stevens, W. H. Auden, Alexander Pope, Tennyson, Sylvia Plath, Coleridge, Thomas Hardy, Whitman, T. S. Eliot, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Robert Lowell, T. S. Eliot, Philip Larkin (and more) all in the same crazy room talking with each other and/or duking it out.

The first six weeks of the class will be dedicated to a kind of boot camp for poetry reading, learning or re-learning the basic protocols of poetic form and language, including a theory of metaphor. Usually this will be done by pairing different poems which nevertheless speak the same issue. The last eight weeks will be devoted to the study of longer poems or suites of poems and a selection of interesting critical and scholarly writings about them. In this grouping will be included a selection of Shakespeare's Sonnets (the most unsettling and nerve-wracking of them); Keats's Odes; Coleridge's The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner; Eliot's The Waste Land ; Sylvia Plath's Ariel; Adrienne Rich's Twenty-one Love Poems and/or others yet to be determined.

Possibly as many as three short papers reading poems in different ways will be required over the semester and then a longer, more complex paper at the end, which will stand in place of a final exam.

 

ENGL 252B "The Age of Enlightenment" in the Long 18th Century" H. Garcia TR 1310-1425 Calhoun Hall 423

In "An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?" (1784), Immanuel Kant defines Enlightenment as "the human being's emancipation from its self-incurred immaturity." This course will focus on how Enlightenment-as-maturation, a trope frequently deployed in 18th-century English literature (1660-1830), involved new conceptions of the mind, self, and society that illuminated the dark corners of socio-political life in unexpected, complicated, and contentious ways. By reading across a broad range of genres, we will examine various literary forms that record narratives of arrested childhood development, or stories in which the enlightened protagonist fails to grow up. The main premise here is that this counter-Kantian narrative evolved to accommodate the uncertainties that defined "the Age of Enlightenment:" the "progress" of science and reason, the rise of the novel, women's place in the public sphere, the emergence of England's overseas empire, and the Romantic reaction against impersonal modes of rationality. As such, this course will help us develop some insight into how the English writers of this period remained skeptical of projects of human emancipation, calling into question many of our cherished assumptions about the role of the Enlightenment in the larger narrative of Western history, then and now. We will be reading from the works of Daniel Defoe, Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift, Olaudah Equiano, Mary Shelley, Percy Shelley, and others.

This course is designed to foster class discussion, develop original ideas, and improve your writing. To achieve these goals, students will learn to use multi-media and blogs to communicate with a "real" public audience online, in addition to writing and revising a semester-long term paper. You are expected to think, write, create, and imagine wildly. Attendance and participation, in and out of class, are not just mandatory but essential to your success.

 

ENGL 254B Romanticism and Apocalypse H. Garcia TR 0935-1050 Furman 217

Plagued by economic collapse, ecological destruction, and global wars, the world is now entering an apocalyptic stage. As documented in prophecies from the Bible to the Mayan calendar, the world is destined to end by December 2012. Have you prepared for your survival or said "good buy" to your loved ones? Do you expect to complete this course if you might not live to see the end of the semester?

This thematic survey course treats these contemporary apocalyptic anxieties as deeply rooted in the cultural and literary transformations that we now retrospectively call "British Romanticism." Like many people today, British Romantic writers worried about the demise of humankind and the planet, but also hoped for a regenerative revolution that remakes the world anew after the apocalypse. We will examine the Romantic discourse of "apocalypse" as a religious, secular, and political phenomenon that captivated the British imagination between 1789 and 1830. The following questions will guide our thinking: why does the Romantic poet-prophet replace the priest and politician as a legislator speaking for the world? Could women adapt this prophetic position? How does poetry assume supernatural insight into the past, present, and future? How does "the end of history" theme shape the way British Romantics write for their contemporaries and to us—their post-apocalyptic progenitors? In order to answer these questions, we will spend the first part of the semester studying sections of William Wordsworth's The Prelude (in its various editions); then the fierce controversy that was sparked by the 1789 revolution in France; and, during the last half of the course, the mytho-poetic prophecies of William Blake, John Keats, Lord Byron, and P. B. Shelley in order to consider the political and social impact of the French Revolution on their writings. The course will conclude with Mary Shelley's doomsday novel, The Last Man (1826), a romantic spoof on the Romantic's apocalyptic poetics.

This course is designed to foster intense class discussion, develop original ideas, and improve your writing. To achieve these goals, students will learn to use multi-media and blogs to communicate with an audience online (including those awaiting the apocalypse), in addition to writing and revising a semester-long term paper. You are expected to think, write, create, and imagine romantically. Attendance and participation, in and out of class, are not just mandatory but essential to your success.

Eligible for European Studies

 

ENGL 255 The Victorian Period R.Teukolsky TR 1435-1550 Calhoun Hall 203

This course will introduce the prose, poetry, and fiction of Victorian Britain, spanning the years 1832 to 1900. Victorian literature was the first to represent modern society in a way familiar to us today—a complex and interconnected world, dominated by middle-class economic and cultural interests, increasingly mobile and urbanized. The course will examine Victorian literature in the following contexts:

  • Economic and social transformations, including the rise of the modern city, the new dominance of the machine, industrialism, transportation, social mobility, and the burgeoning of the British empire
  • The Victorian self: how did Victorians understand sensation, perception, imagination, and memory, especially in relation to new scientific ideas about the human body and mind?
  • The novel form, which in many ways defined the literature of this age: What is a novel, and why did it become so popular in the 19th century?
  • Intellectual contexts of the Victorian age: the thought of Engels, Macaulay, Darwin, John Stuart Mill, and others; the rise of science and religious skepticism
  • Gender and "the Woman Question": how did literature both support and challenge ideas of domesticity, normality, sexuality, and deviance?
  • Art, aestheticism, visuality, and the cult of the art object in literature

We will track these developments of modernity through a range of texts, genres, and geographies. Authors will likely include Christina Rossetti, Alfred Tennyson, Robert Browning, Charles Dickens, Lewis Carroll, Elizabeth Gaskell, Matthew Arnold, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Oscar Wilde, and Joseph Conrad, among others.

Eligible for European Studies

 

ENGL 262 Literature and Law C. Dayan MW 1310-1425 Calhoun Hall 219

"From the Plantation to the Penitentiary: Interpretation, Literature, and the Law"

This course will examine how punishment, prisons, incapacitation, and torture not only became critical to the meaning of democracy and freedom in the United States but also shaped a history of property and possession essential to what Thomas L. Dumm in Democracy and Punishment has called "the American project." Crucial questions to be considered: What is the connection between slavery and imprisonment? Is there any connection between the criminal as "slave of the state" and the slave as property or thing? What does it mean to be dead in law? How do we recognize the limits of torture?

We will examine legal, philosophical and historical texts, as well as fictional and film re-enactments of lockdown and criminality, the death penalty, chain gangs, and supermax confinement. Films to be viewed: "I am a Fugitive from a Georgia Chain Gang"; "I Want to Live!"; and "Thin Blue Line." Texts include: Albert Camus, "Reflections on the Guillotine; Jessica Mitford, Kind and Usual Punishment; Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish; Mumia Abu Jamal, Live from Death Row; selected fiction of Poe, Melville, Cheever and Mailer, as well as selected legal cases and selections from John Locke, Jeremy Bentham, Giorgio Agamben, Reviel Netz, and Timothy Pachirat.

 

ENGL 263 African American Literature-1789 to the Present Day H. Baker TR 1100-1215 Buttrick Hall 302

This course is designed and will be taught as an enjoyable and wide-ranging introduction to the world and works of Afro-American Literature. It commences with the fascinating narrative of an eighteenth-century African kidnapped from his village and cast into the worlds of Atlantic shipping, New World slavery, and Evangelical Religion. Its endpoint is the stunning and varied work of writers such as Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, Nikky Finney, Percival Everett, and Colson Whitehead. Along our chronological way, we shall read and discuss Afro-American folklore and nineteenth-century men's and women's slave narratives. We shall explore the work of the first publicly successful Afro-American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar and spend significant time on the glorious Harlem Renaissance of the roaring 1920s when, as Langston Hughes stated it: "Harlem was in vogue." Social protest works like Richard Wright's astonishing novel Native Son and James Baldwin's famous attack on protest novels titled "Everybody's Protest Novel" will provide energetic moments of discussion. The 1960s and 1970s Black Arts and Black Nationalist Movements of revolution in the streets and rebellion on the page will come alive for us in the works of authors such as Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Haiki Madhubuti, and Malcolm X. Readings will be quite reasonable in size and scope, and there will be many in-class moments that feature a perfect combination of lecture by the professor and animated discussion by students. Written assignments will also be reasonable. The connection between Vanderbilt, Nashville, and our class will be an enjoyable project as we discover connections between the Afro-American creativity of our own university and city and the written works we will be studying.

Eligible for African American and Diaspora Studies, Eligible for American Studies Major

 

ENGL 268A America on Film S. Girgus MWF 1410-1500 Buttrick Hall 102

The course studies American culture and character on film. It will consider film as a modern art form, a system of cultural production, and an expression of the diversity of the American experience. Beginning with a discussion of the structure and composition of film as an art form, the course also will consider the relationship of film to American studies, ethical philosophy, and culture. Thus, it will relate visual images and cinetext to cultural and philosophical contexts. We will examine how films treat basic American themes such as the individual and community; frontier and urban violence; race, ethnicity, and minorities; the representation and role of women; visual desire and sexual exploitation; the family and authority. We will study classic Hollywood directors, including Frank Capra, John Ford, Howard Hawks, and Elia Kazan as well as current filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Spike Lee, and Clint Eastwood.

Students will be required to view one film/week outside of class either Tuesdays 4:00-6:00 PM, Wednesdays 6:00-8:30 PM, or Sunday 8:30-11:00 PM.

Eligible for American Studies Major, Eligible for Film Studies

 

 

ENGL 273.02 Problems in Literature C. Dayan MW 1110-1225 Calhoun Hall 203-HONORS

Gothic Theory, or the Caribbean and its Discontents

"It is necessary first to understand how colonization works to decivilize the colonizer,

to brutalize him...to degrade him...to awaken him to buried instincts."

Cesaire, Discourse on Colonialism

In this seminar we will try a new approach to making theory by testing the divide between the "West" and the Rest," between the so-called "First" and "Third" World, between center and periphery.

Our travels through time and space will be vast: moving from the "discovery" narratives of Columbus and Las Casas to 20th century representations of "boat people," zombies, black magic, and disaster and/or catastrophe. We will also question generalities about women, spirits, race and color, as we turn to the uses and abuses of such popular terms as "hybridity," "postcolonial," "creolity," and "multicultural" when applied to the Caribbean.

The major impetus for our investigations is to work towards a definition of "gothic" fiction: by miscegenaing texts and taxonomies, we will shake up relations of cause and effect, illusions of mastery (such as the divide between "master" texts and their token reactions) in order to:

1) reread weird and unnatural fictions as yoked to the racialized natural histories so much a part of their origins; and 2) ask how theories marginalized or ignored by those claiming to speak for places and peoples only superficially "non-western" help to perpetuate the worst excesses of neo-colonialism and what Naomi Klein has called "disaster capitalism."

Readings include: "Monk" Lewis, Journal of a West Indian Proprietor and The Monk; Mary Prince, The History of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave; Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre; Bram Stoker, Dracula; Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea; V.S. Naipaul, Guerillas; Erna Brodber, Myal; and selections from Edward Long, Bryan Edwards, Aime Cesaire, Frantz Fanon, Kamau Brathwaite, Jean Price-Mars, Edouard Glissant, C.L.R. James, Jacques Lacan, Albert Memmi, and Octavio Mannoni.

3.4 cumulative GPA required

 

ENGL 274 Major Figures in Literature~James Joyce R. Gottfried MWF 1010-1100 Calhoun 337

Joyce's novel Ulysses is considered the prime example of Modernism. It is, by turns, a highly elaborated work and yet a simple human story; it is artfully crafted and yet highly realistic; it is recondite and dense, and yet direct and funny.

The course will be a detailed and close reading of the novel. Because Joyce's work is a compendium of twentieth-century modes of thought, reading it should best be a collective and collaborative endeavor. To this end, the course will be an interactive seminar, where each student will bring his or her personal interests and interpretations to discussion.

 

ENGL 278 Colonial and Post-Colonial Literature B. Tran MW 1310-1425 Calhoun Hall 320

This course examines the intersections between the genre of the novel, colonial history, and the imaginings of national communities. We will take a comparative approach, studying works from decolonizing and postcolonial Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Our readings will include novels by authors such as Ayi Kwei Armah, Mariama Ba, Marguerite Duras, George Orwell, Pham Van Ky, Jose Rizal, Ninotchka Rosca, and Salman Rushdie. Engaging with these works, we will explore: the varied histories of colonialism in different regions of the world; the consequences of the encounters between colonizer and colonized—the encounters between European and "native" cultural and social systems; how the genre of the novel played an instrumental role in European imperialism; and conversely, how the novel served as a medium for the imagining of post-independent national communities. The last section of the course will consider the role of electronic media (the blogosphere, Twitter) in the current sociopolitical changes taking place in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

 

ENGL 283. Jewish American Literature A. Schachter TR 1310-1425 Wilson Hall 113-HONORS

Satisfies ethnic-non-western literature major and minor requirement.

In this honors seminar, we will critically examine the changing place of Jewish American writing in the American canon, tracing the transformation of American Jews from a racialized minority in the early 20th century to a privileged ethnic community in the post-World War II period. We'll also examine how Jews created a paradigm for writing immigrant narratives and ethnic American fiction that has been taken up by other ethnic writers. Our readings will include narratives of immigration and assimilation, Jewish modernist prose, and post-War American Jewish writing. We'll read short stories and novels by writers such as Anzia Yezierska, Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, Grace Paley, Gary Shteyngart, and Gish Jen. The course will also include secondary material on ethnicity and immigrant writing, including essays by Charles Hutchins Hapgood, Werner Sollers, and Jonathan Freedman.

Eligible for American Studies Major, Eligible for Jewish Studies

3.4 cumulative GPA required

 

ENGL 288.01 Race, Immigration, and Identity: Reading the Wor(l)ds of New York and Nashville I. Nwankwo TR 1100-1215 Furman 325

New York's immigrant past and present are legend in literature, film, and folklore about the making of modern America. Virtually no parallel material has been produced on immigrants to Nashville. Over the course of the semester, we will explore personal stories, films, and novels about migration to New York and Nashville from the Caribbean, Africa, and Latin America. As we learn about and from these immigrant communities' cultures, histories, identities, and experiences in the two cities, we will consider questions such as: What are the push and pull factors that lead these immigrants to each of these sites? What are their experiences when they get to them? What sorts of adjustments do they have to make, particularly with regard to racial and ethnic identity?

We will begin by gaining a solid grounding in the history of immigration to New York by viewing films, perusing newspapers, and delving into literature from and about the time. Through the stories of Irish and other European immigrants who came to Ellis Island in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and responses to their arrival, we will expand our understanding of the foundations of the United States of America as we know it. Next, we will move on to talking about immigration to New York from the Caribbean, particularly Jamaica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Novels, autobiographies, and oral history interviews about immigrants' experiences will figure prominently in this section, alongside films that reveal previously hidden aspects of the experiences of these immigrants. Then, we will focus on African immigrants. Films, oral history interviews, and information from guest lecturers will help to round out students' knowledge about the identity challenges faced and posed by these "other African Americans."

We will then turn our attention to Nashville, and create final projects that make a distinctive contribution to the public discourse on these communities in our city.

Eligible for American Studies Major

 

ENGL 288.03 Native American Writers D. Nelson TR 0935-1050 Furman 325

This course will focus on the category of Native American literature since the 1960s, focusing on the conditions of its emergence in the market, and its scholarly pursuit in academia. We will concentrate our study on the developing careers of two key (and storied) writers: Louise Erdrich and James Welch, reading novels that span their careers, studying their developing aesthetic techniques and how their work responds as well to socio-political and economic imperatives in the marketing of Native American fiction, the institutionalization of Native American studies, and ongoing debates about Native sovereignty and life in the United States.

Novels will include (Erdrich): Love Medicine, Beet Queen, Crown of Columbus, Tracks and Shadow Tag; (Welch): Winter in the Blood, Death of Jim Loney ,Fools Crow, Indian Lawyer and Heartsong of Charging Elk. Requirements will include scholarship overview reports, close reading essays and a final paper.

Eligible for American Studies Major, Eligible for Religious Studies

 

ENGL 288W.01 Black Women Writers of the Diaspora H. Spillers MW 1110-1225 Calhoun 320

The African Diaspora is the name given to the centuries-old dispersal of African peoples to different parts of the globe, beginning with Europe in the 15th Century and proceeding to the Americas in subsequent centuries—the continents of North and South America, as well as the nations that make up Central America and the Caribbean; the phenomenon of the Diaspora is not a finished product, but is ongoing in the current era, as peoples of African descent inhabit many languages and geographies. The cultures produced by these populations—literature and the other arts—are among the most vibrant and generative in the world today. This course will look at a cross section of some of this cultural activity by studying a few select examples of literature produced in English by six contemporary women writers from different parts of the African Diaspora. The reading list includes works by Paule Marshall (Bajan-American), Dionne Brand (Canadian), Edwidge Danticat (Haitian-American), Zadie Smith (British), Toni Morrison (American), and Alice Randall (American and Nashvillean).

These writers, in their impressive variety of generations, locations, styles, and motives, really demonstrate what the world looks like from a woman writer's point of view. This course is devoted to an examination of a range of issues as they are represented in the imagined worlds of women writers. Also offered for writing credit.

Eligible for American Studies Major

 

ENGL 289A Independent Study

Register in person at the department.

 

ENGL 289B Independent Study

Register in person at the department.

 

ENGL 290A Honors Colloquium M. Wollaeger T 1230-1520 Buttrick Hall 310-HONORS

This colloquium, reserved for students who have applied and been admitted to the English Honors Program, is designed to prepare you to write an honors thesis/project in the spring semester. To that end, we'll explore critical approaches to literature, problems or issues worth exploring, and methods of exploration. This will involve both readings in and about literary theory and textual analysis. At the same time, you will be developing, collaboratively and individually, the projects that will form the basis for next semester's work, the Honors Thesis. ("Thesis" hereafter refers to both critical and creative projects.) You will work in small groups and develop not only your own expertise for your project, but your group members' expertise for reading and responding to it. In the second part of the semester, you will be asked to assign both some primary and secondary reading to members of your group and lead discussions on that material. Course requirements include a short paper, take-home midterm, and a final essay conceived of as a first step toward the spring thesis.

For information about applying for the HONORS program click here.

3.4 cumulative GPA required

 

ENGL 291 The Art of Medical Writing K. Daniels T 1230-1500 Benson Hall 200

In this creative writing workshop (enrollment limited to 12) which meets once a week, students will explore the growing field of non-clinical medical writing by physicians, patients, and other healthcare and medical professionals – personal essays, non-fiction, poetry, and autobiography – as models for their own writing, and as a way of entering more deeply into their understanding of medical education, healthcare experience, and being ill.

Particular attention will be paid to practice in integrating medical content; managing alternating points of view; consideration of audience appeal in creating works combining creative writing and non-fiction medical-based content; narrative voice and confidentiality; and other topics as they arise from the reading and the writing undertaken by students. Pre-medical students and MHS majors/minors with interest in writing particularly welcome.

Reading list includes:On Being Ill, Virginia Woolf, "Creative Writers and Daydreaming," Sigmund Freud (brief essay), "People Like That Are the Only People Here," Lorrie Moore (short story), The Autobiography of a Face, Lucy Grealy, Body of Work: Meditations on Mortality from the Human Anatomy Lab, Christine Montross, M.D., Mortal Lessons: Notes on the Art of Surgery, Richard Selzer, M.D., The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot, Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia & Bulimia, Marya Hornbacher, The Desire to Heal: A Doctor's Education in Empathy, Identity, and Poetry, Rafael Campo, M.D.

Eligible for Medicine Health and Society


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