Archived Course Descriptions
ETS 107-1 Living Writers W 3:45-6:30
ETS 107-2 through 9
This class gives students the rare opportunity to hear visiting writers read and discuss their work. The class is centered on six readings and question-and-answer sessions. Students will be responsible for careful readings of the writers' work. Critical writing and detailed class discussions are required to prepare for the question-and-answer sessions with the visiting writers.
ETS 114-1 Survey of British Literature since 1789
Instructor: Elizabeth Porter
Our class will survey primarily canonical texts written between the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789 and the present. You will perhaps recognize some of these texts, such as The Prelude , Great Expectations or The Satanic Verses , at least in name, and we will work to develop a familiarity with these and lesser-known novels, poems, plays and essays from the Romantic age, the Victorian age and the twentieth century. In this class, students will gain knowledge of movements and trends in British intellectual, social, and literary history which will contextualize and enrich their understanding of the texts under investigation. Because the texts were written by authors with varied backgrounds, we will also consider what it means to attach to a work a label of “British”, or any other cultural signifier. Required texts for this course will include an anthology and one or two more recent novels. This class fills the requirement for a writing-intensive course.
ETS 117-1 Survey of American Literature to 1865
Instructor: CJ Dosch
This course offers an introduction to the literatures of America between early European colonization and the US Civil War. During this period, the foundational values of “America” as an idea and the presumed character of “Americans” were of continual concern for the writers we will encounter in this course. Writing in 1782, J. Hector St. John De Crevecoeur poses the question most simply: “What is an American?” Reading a broad range of genres and modes of writing by diverse writers, we will examine how this question is quickly complicated by issues such as religion, slavery, gender, social structures and the presence of Native Americans. In attempting to answer the question posed by Crevecoeur, we may very well find that the question itself is the wrong one to ask. Structured chronologically, the course will provide opportunities to gain understanding of the literature as well as a basic sense of the political, cultural and social history of the period. Assignments will include several short response papers, two longer essays and a final examination.
ETS 118-2 Survey of American Literature since 1865
Instructor: Rachel Collins
In this course we will examine American literature produced between the Civil War and World War II. During this period increasing urbanization, immigration and industrialization were shaping American culture and manifesting themselves in American literary production. As such, our course texts are concerned with urban poverty and growing class conflict, African Americans' "great migration" to the North, contestations over women's social place, and the rapid expansion of a consumer-oriented society. We will pay particular attention to the three major fictional modes of the period—realism, naturalism and modernism—and will place them in a sociohistorical context in order to understand how the larger social conflicts and upheavals of the period prompted writers to become dissatisfied with inherited forms of literary representation. In addition to fiction, we will read a sampling of poetry, plays and nonfiction from this period. Writers will likely include: Henry James, Emily Dickinson, Kate Chopin, Stephen Crane, Jane Addams, Edith Wharton, W.E.B. DuBois, Sherwood Anderson, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston and William Faulkner, among others.
ETS 119-1 Topics in U.S. Literary History: Post-1945 American Fiction
Instructor: David Yaffe
When the New York Times Book Review recently polled hundreds of writers and critics to determine the "best work of fiction" over the past 25 years, a debate ensued. We will use the resulting controversial list as a starting point for this course, while also looking back further to the beginning of the period after World War II in search of the best. As we do so, we will examine how the "best" is chosen and which texts are likely to remain relevant in the future. Readings may include Vladimir Nabokov, Ralph Ellison, Flannery O'Connor, J.D. Salinger, Philip Roth, Raymond Carver, Toni Morrison and Mary Gaitskill. Particular attention will be paid to bringing these novels and short stories to the "way we live now," but we will also put these works in their proper context. We will examine relevant developments in music and film (competing and complementary media in an era like no other) as well as attitudes about race, sex and politics. How a cultural moment results in a particular literary style will also be important. Two papers, quizzes and a presentation are required.
ETS 119-2 Topics in U.S. Literary History: Narratives of 9/11
Instructor: Carol Fadda-Conrey
The events of 9/11 are perceived as having forever changed the face of not only the US, but of the whole world. Such a widespread belief raises the following questions: Did 9/11 have uniform US national and collective repercussions? Have the post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq changed our perception and understanding of the September 11 attacks? How do the experiences of minority groups such as Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans change the master narrative of fear, patriotism, homeland security and war on terror that quickly developed after 9/11? To address these questions, this course will compare various personal, communal, national, as well as international literary and cultural narratives that developed after and in response to 9/11, analyzing how they transform and complicate simplistic notions such as “'why do they hate us?' and ‘you're either with us or against us'” that were circulated right after 9/11. Students will read a variety of texts that explore and diversify the national 9/11 experience, including works by Jonathan Safran Foer, Don Delillo, Art Spiegelman, Suheir Hammad, Yussef El Guindi, Joseph Geha, Fawzia Afzal Khan and Lawrence Joseph to underscore the change that such diverse voices lend to a seemingly unified experience of national trauma.
ETS 121-1 Introduction to Shakespeare
Instructor: Stephanie Shirilan
This is an introduction to the world of Shakespeare through attentive study of seven of the Bard's greatest plays: Henry V, Measure for Measure, Othello, King Lear, Antony and Cleopatra, and The Winter's Tale . These plays are not commonly read at the pre-collegiate level and have been chosen to challenge the interpretive models by which you might have been introduced to the Renaissance previously. We will move beyond the little world of man and the wheel of fortune to consider Shakespeare's unexpected representations of historical norms, cultural codes, modes of governance and comportment and structures of belief. We will discuss questions of artistic enigma, canonicity, the Shakespeare industry (in film and music), as well as the place of Shakespeare in various nationalist agendas. Even while we consider the import of reading Shakespeare in and outside of the Western canon, our discussions will constantly return to a central problem: What does it mean to read Shakespeare when Shakespeare wrote plays to be played upon a stage? Stressing the multi-sensory experience of Elizabethan and early Jacobean play-going, we will read aloud for one another. Be prepared to take turns acting out parts and scenes in order to discover the rich sonic structures of meaning in Shakespeare's language.
ETS 145-1 Reading Popular Culture
Film Screening W 7:00-9:50
Instructor: Steven Cohan
ETS 145-5 & 7 Discussion Section F 10:35-11:30
ETS 145-8 & 9 Discussion Section F 11:40-12:35
ETS 145 pivots around the problem of how to read the media-oriented culture which we inhabit. The course therefore operates from the assumption that all texts and their meanings are socially and historically conditioned; popular texts are no exception, which is why they deserve close analysis and critical reflection. But the course is not meant to be a survey of mass culture; rather, it studies popular culture. What distinguishes popular from mass culture as an object of analysis for ETS 145 is the extent to which popular culture is understood to be participatory, not passive. As a means of exploring what it means to read popular culture from this perspective, the course syllabus will be organized around these related questions: Who produces popular texts and for whom? Why do different audiences read them differently? How do their readings depart from the intentions of producers? How do audiences find value or relevance through their readings? How do audiences form communities to share that understanding? And how is it the case that such communities of readers ultimately constitute what we think of as popular culture? To explore these questions, the course will concentrate on film, television and the internet. The weekly screenings scheduled for this course are required.
ETS 151-1 Interpretation of Poetry
Instructors: Sarah Harwell
This course will consist of discussion of poems from the various traditions of poetry. We're interested in what makes a poem memorable and moving and how it is a vehicle for the emotions. We're interested, too, in what provokes and challenges us, what gives it its power to seduce and trouble and soothe, what gives it its music and voice as distinct from speech.
Students will be asked to write six short two-page papers in which they examine closely a single poem by a poet from the text. Students may opt to write more papers and receive extra consideration for them. In addition, students will be asked to choose a poet and present the work of the poet in class. The presentation will be the basis of a longer paper on that poet. Memorization of a single poem will also be required. Attendance at readings on campus is encouraged. Emphasis in discussions will be on style and substance, music and image. Multiple ways of reading poems will help the students expand the range of poetic possibilities.
ETS 152-1 Interpretation of Drama
Instructor: William West
Ritual, pageant, mime, dance, vocal display: all have been instrumental in creating drama—a powerful mirror reflecting the lives and customs of a people and of individuals. This course examines this 'mirror' as it has evolved in European and American culture from the Greek Drama of ancient Athens to the present. We'll begin with a reading of Aristotle's Poetics , and continue with one of the great 'problem' plays of Shakespeare, Measure for Measure ; thence the beginnings of modern drama with two plays by Henrik Ibsen ( A Doll's House and Ghosts ), followed by five great twentieth-century American plays: Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night , Lillian Hellman's The Children's Hour , Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge , August Wilson's The Piano Lesson and David Mamet's Oleanna .
ETS 153-2 Interpretation of Fiction
Instructor: William West
The course will discuss the nature of narrative (story-telling and plot), fiction and the novel. Having established these boundaries, we shall then study examples from different historical periods and cultural traditions, all of which have as an important element in their narrative the societal role of women. Novels for study and discussion will include Jane Austen's Emma (1816); Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd (1874); E. M. Forster's A Room with a View (1908); André Gide's novella, The Pastoral Symphony (1919); F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby (1925) and contemporary American novelist Ann Patchett's Bel Canto (2001).
ETS 153-3 Interpretation of Fiction
Instructor: Gohar Siddiqui
Film Screening Th 7:00-9:50
This course will teach you how to analyze fiction and to that end seeks to familiarize you with the practices of interpreting and making meaning in different forms of literature (short story and novel) as well as in film. We will examine the aesthetic, formal and rhetorical aspects of these texts along with the socio-historical and cultural factors that affect and inflect them. We will pay close attention to matters of style, narrative and plot, genre and context and analyze the extent to which these shape the meanings of the texts that we study. We will also analyze some texts in pairs to examine how different cultural and critical contexts affect their production and reception. Finally, we will examine texts that get a trans-media makeover (e.g. from literature to film) and see how interpretation is dependent on formal features and matters of production and reception specific to each medium.
Texts will likely include Arthur Conan Doyle's stories (Sherlock Holmes) and House , Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre and Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea , Austen's Pride and Prejudice and Gurinder Chadha's Bride and Prejudice , Ismat Chughtai's The Quilt and Deepa Mehta's Fire .
ETS 153-3 Interpretation of Fiction
Instructor: Jessica Kuskey
This course will introduce you to ways of closely reading and interpreting fiction and will enable you to sharpen your skills of reading, discussing, and writing about literary texts. Our primary task will be to analyze textual details and the formal aspects of fiction such as point of view, plot, narrative structure, character and figurative language. We will then step back and examine the relationship between these formal details and the specific historical and cultural contexts within which our course texts have been produced and read, contexts such as imperialism, colonialism and nationalism. Paying particular attention to representations of race, class and gender, we will analyze the ways that texts are shaped by, respond to, resist and subvert the material conditions of their production.
We will read a diverse collection of short stories and novels from different nations and historical periods, all linked by the theme of “empire.” Texts will include: Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories; Wilkie Collins's sensational detective novel The Moonstone ; Rider Haggard's adventure story King Solomon's Mines ; Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness , Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea (paired with excerpts from Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre ), and J.M. Coetzee's Foe (paired with excerpts from Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe ).
ETS 153-4 Interpretation of Fiction
Instructor: Amy Leal
ETS 154-1 Interpretation of Film
Film Screening M 7:00-9:50
Instructor: Steven Doles
This course will instruct students in the basics of film analysis. The semester will roughly divide into three sections. In the first, students will learn how to interpret film by paying close attention to the material elements of the text. We will then move on to consider the larger structures that organize these material elements into coherent texts, including narrative, genre and the division of film into fictive and non-fictive modes. In the final portion of the course we will consider a series of special topics that inform how films are experienced beyond the bounds of the text itself, such as authorship and stardom. Students who take this course will gain a general knowledge of the history of film, and also learn how to apply historical contexts to the reading of films. Film screenings will be drawn primarily from the Classical and post-Classical eras of Hollywood film, but will also include international films and films from other periods. Graded work for the course will consist of three critical papers and a final exam. The weekly screenings scheduled for this class are mandatory .
ETS 154-3 Interpretation of Film
Film Screening W 7:00-9:50
Instructor: Michael Dwyer
Nearly everyone is familiar with watching films, but how does one interpret film? This course is designed to serve as an introduction to the skills to identify and interpret the ways in which films produce meaning. Focusing primarily on English-language Hollywood film, this course will introduce students both to the formal aspects of cinema—mise en scene, cinematography, editing and sound— as well as the practices of production, exhibition and reception that guide our understanding of “what movies mean.” Assignments will include weekly discussion board posts, short response papers, a midterm and final exam, as well as a final essay. No prior experience with film studies is necessary. The weekly screenings scheduled for this class are mandatory .
ETS 154-4 Interpretation of Film
Film Screening M 7:00-9:50
Instructor: Karen Hall
This course is an introduction to the interpretation of film. Accordingly, the course is not an overview of the filmic medium, film genres, film history or film masterpieces, but will instead emphasize film analysis. Using films which illustrate specific issues of interpretation, the course combines close attention to aesthetic, formal and rhetorical aspects of film with an investigation of the social and cultural factors that shape how we make sense of, take pleasure from and find meanings in films. We shall also interpret films in relation to their historical contexts and to our own. This course is recommended for students wishing to take more specialized and advanced ETS courses in film studies. The weekly screenings scheduled for this class are mandatory .
ETS 181-1 Class and Literary Texts
Instructor: Donald Morton
Citizens of the US still like to think that they live in a society which, if not actually class-less, is at least in principle striving—democratically—for “equality” for all. The notion that US society is on the road towards equality is belied by the fact that not only is inequality growing in this country, but also actually growing at an accelerating rate. The country's newspaper of record, the New York Times , observed in the mid-1990s that “the United States has become the most economically stratified of industrial nations.” Class differences are even sharper in the twenty-first century. This situation suggests how important it is to understand the causes and consequences of class inequality. The course will examine class issues as reflected not only in texts dealing directly and explicitly with those issues but also in film and fiction where questions of class are largely implicit.
ETS 181-2 Class and Literary Texts
Instructor: Sandeep Banerjee
The course will examine literary and other cultural texts to investigate how they construct and represent the category of “class.” It will also look at how the idea of class affects the production and reception of these literary and cultural texts. In addition, the course will engage with the various ways in which “class” has been conceptualized and inquire into its relevance as a category of analysis. It will also explore the relation between “class” and other conceptual categories such as “race” and “gender.”
The course shall focus largely, but not exclusively, on British literature from the long nineteenth century. It shall aim to develop skills of interpretation and critical analysis to understand and theorize how texts produce, maintain or challenge categories of oppression and privilege.
ETS 182-2 Race and Literary Texts: Asian American Literature
Instructor: Nancy Kang
This specialized survey course introduces the rich cultural and literary history of Asian America from the late nineteenth to the twenty-first century. Asian Americans comprise a powerful and discrete literary and cultural community. Their voices have been obscured by racist stereotyping, exclusionary canon formation, and the false assumption that the culture is merely an offshoot of global Asian societies. Obviously, this is not the case. Asian Americans are not “really” from elsewhere, nor do they accept the definition of “immigrant” unproblematically. Many Asian Americans, especially those that have grown up with traditional immigrant parents, have ambivalent feelings toward Asia, its cultural traditions and values and its languages as a necessary part of being an "authentic" member of a minority group. There are multiple tensions that inform their identification as Americans as well as people of Asian descent. Many of these issues emerge in literature and life-writing.
As with any literature course, writing skills, originality and clarity of insight, analytical depth, mastery of historical context and technical competency will be evaluated.
ETS 184-1 Ethnicity and Literary Texts
ETS 184-4 MW 2:15-3:35
Film Screening M 7:00-9:00
Instructor: Meera Lee
This course will seek to understand the historical, cultural and political representations of ethnicity through the examination of contemporary literary texts. In this trajectory, students will first engage with the self-promoted narratives of migration, immigration, exile or diaspora, and further investigate to what degree stereotypes, ethnocentrism and racism come into play in relation to ethnicity, class, sexuality, gender and religion. At the same time, we will also try to examine the contradictions of the exclusion-inclusion claims in social agendas that promote diversity, in order to ask whether ethnicity is a politically constructed notion from a dominant perspective, or a mechanism to encourage political hegemony. Especially given that the current geopolitical circumstances are very complex, the course attempts to explore the narrative of ethnicity not only from the western multicultural perspective, but also within cultures both inside and outside the west, particularly in the transnational context. The literary texts selected for the course will include a broad range of contemporary ethnic and multicultural novels including, The Namesake and M. Butterfly , as well as films such as Suture and Heading South .
ETS 184-2 Ethnicity and Literary Texts: Introduction to Indigenous Literature
Instructor: Scott Lyons
This course will introduce you to the growing body of literature—and film—now being produced by indigenous peoples around the world, with particular attention paid to the Maoris of New Zealand/Aotearoa, the Aborigines of Australia and the tribal peoples of North America. Our approach will be comparative and political, centering on questions of identity, culture, language and land rights as they have emerged wherever Native peoples endured the experience of colonization and its aftermath. In addition to engaging literary and cinematic expressions, we will also study global activism, for instance work that culminated in the 2007 passage of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples document. Finally, we will situate our readings in a wide range of critical discourses, including tribal nationalism, cosmopolitanism and postmodernism. No previous experience in Native studies is required.
ETS 184-5 Ethnicity and Literary Texts: Great Jewish Writers
Instructor: Ken Frieden
An introduction to some of the best fiction written by Jewish authors such as S. Y. Abramovitsh, Sholem Aleichem, Franz Kafka, Isaac Babel, S. Y. Agnon, Elie Wiesel, Primo Levi, Philip Roth and Bernard Malamud. Topics include modernization, rebellion against authority, alienation, childhood, superstition and the Holocaust.
ETS 192-2 Gender and Literary Texts
Instructor: Tanushree Ghosh
In this course we shall analyze the literary and cultural representation of gender. Through our examination of instances picked from literature, non-fiction and film, we shall see how gender identities are constructed, affirmed and/or interrogated. As we move across historical periods and cultures, the attempt will be to examine how constructions of gender are inflected by ethnic, racial, sexual and historical concerns. Texts will likely include but are not limited to fiction (Shakespeare's Macbeth , Austen's Pride and Prejudice ) and film ( Bridget Jones's Diary, Fight Club).
Since this course is writing intensive, our emphasis will be on discussion based on close reading of the texts and on written assignments. Students will be required to view several films for this class outside of class time.
ETS 215-1 Sophomore Poetry Workshop
Instructor: Brooks Haxton
This poetry workshop will require writing at least one new poem each week, a number of these in response to readings that illustrate particular poetic techinques, such as image, point of view, tone, diction, narrative construction, logic of argument and so on. Handouts will describe the technique for that week's reading and the requirements of the writing assignment. Final grades will measure the students' success in focusing on the assigned challenges, attentiveness and insight in critical readings of each other's poems and the ability to use the response of readers to improve poems in revision. No prerequisites. Attendance required.
ETS 215-1 Sophomore Ficton Workshop
Instructor: Arthur Flowers
First 3/4 weeks engaging craft: character, plot, setting, narrative strategies, literary vision etc. Remainder workshop format: two students per session and weekly discussion of published works.
ETS 236-1 Classics of World Literature II
Instructor: Harvey Teres
This course will introduce you to a number of the most highly valued literary works of the past thousand years from cultures around the world. Starting with the African Epic of Son-Jara, and moving to the formative geniuses of Early Modern Europe such as Dante, Cervantes and Shakespeare, the reading will proceed in roughly chronological sequence to include the Chinese classic Journey to the West, Voltaire, Goethe, Austen, Africa and African American orature, Tagore, Chekhov, Akhmatova, Borges and Soyinka. Each week you will hear a lecture delivered by a distinguished faculty member on a work related to his or her expertise. Then in seminar you will discuss the lectures and works in greater depth. We will investigate the notion of literary merit in relation to historical context. Social and religious ramifications of the readings will include questions about representations of morality and religious revelation, as well as standards of beauty and ideas about what art is and what it does. Careful attention to the interrelation of works from different cultural systems will help to elucidate the workings of cultural forces such as colonialism and imperialism in the production and reception of literature. Underlying the goals of the course is the belief that a vital part of any education must be the training of sensibility, the enlargement of the capacity for aesthetic experience, and the ability to make judgments regarding the quality of written and oral expression. ETS 235 IS NOT A PREQUISITE FOR THIS COURSE.
ETS 242-1 Reading and Interpretation
Instructor: Scott Lyons
Instructor: Jolynn Parker
ETS 242 introduces students to the discipline of English and Textual Studies, stressing not what is read but how we read it—and the difference that makes. Its goal, in other words, is not only to show how meanings are created through acts of critical reading but also to demonstrate the consequences of pursuing one mode or method of reading over another. This course is designed to enhance your ability to read and interpret contextually as well as closely, to help you to articulate your understanding effectively and to draw connections through reading and writing. Through close, deep and thoughtful reading of literary and non-literary texts as well as essays by critics and theorists, we will explore the ways texts mean and the ways readers produce meaning. Each section of ETS 242 takes up issues of central concern within contemporary literary and cultural studies. These include representation; author/ity, textuality, and reading; subjectivity; and culture and history.
ETS 305-2 Critical Analysis: Theories of the Novel
Instructor: Erin Mackie
Starting from the premise that the novel is, in the words of Michael McKeon, "the quintessentially modern genre," this class will study some of the ways that twentieth-century scholars have thought about the novel and its relation to modernity as a historical epoch. When and why did the novel originate? How is the novel distinct from other modes of fictional narrative? What relations do novels bear to other characteristic developments of the modern age such as the sex/gender system, psychic interiority, class, nation, race and ethnicity and the reflexive temporal self-consciousness that characterizes this epoch? How has the genre-novel-changed with cultural-historical shifts? Alongside representative theorists of the novel we will read representative novels. From the theorists, readings will include work by Kwame Anthony Appiah, Nancy Armstrong, Mikhal Bakhtin, Sigmund Freud, Northrop Frye, Linda Hutcheon, Fredric Jameson, George Levine, Georg Lukacs, Michael McKeon, Ian Watt and Virginia Woolf. As illustrative test-cases, we will read work by Daniel Defoe, Samuel Richardson, Jane Austen, Walter Scott, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, Henry James, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Chinua Achebe, Julian Barnes and Salmon Rushdie. We will share in common all the theoretical readings; but due to time constraints, the class will be divided into groups, each responsible for a different set of novels.
ETS 305-3 Critical Analysis: The ANTI-Colonial Mode of Thought
Instructor: Greg Thomas
It is telling that when current academic paradigms speak of colonialism at all, they tend to speak of "post-colonialism" and thus help to evade or efface the current phase of colonial or neo-colonial empire. This course will examine the critical politics of ANTI-colonialism-past, present and future-oriented-with a focus on selected figures, positions, movements. What is the relationship here between theory and practice, thought and struggle? What sort of ideas emanating from beyond the West (Europe or Anglo-North America) have been recently and historically suppressed? Why? What various affinities and solidarities emerge from the continental and diasporic time-spaces of Africa, Asia and the Americas? Students will develop well-informed responses to such questions in "Critical Analysis." We may read from Fanon, Walter Rodney and C.L.R. James; Ho Chi Minh, Mao and Trinh Minh-ha; Edward Said and Vijay Prashad; Huey P. Newton, Assata Shakur and George L. Jackson; Anibal Quijano, Enrique Dussel and Eduardo Galeano; Ward Churchill and Leslie Silko; Cheikh Anta Diop, Ifi Amadiume and Ayi Kwei Armah. The ANTI-colonial mode of thought will be engaged to think critically about not only the literary culture but also the geopolitics, economics, psychologistics and body politics of colonial empire.
ETS 310-1 Literary Periods: Agrarian to Industrial England and America
Instructor: Peter Mortenson
Catherine Belsey defines ideology as "the sum of the ways in which people both live and represent to themselves their relationship to the conditions of their existence. Ideology is inscribed in the signifying practices --in discourses, myths, presentations and re-presentations of the way 'things' 'are'--and to this extent it is inscribed in the language." The course will explore some strands of changing ideology through representations of social and economic life in England and America as they evolve from agrarian to industrial society. Notions of the "individual" and the nuclear family, of "free market competition" in personal, intellectual and political matters, and of "progress" emerge in the earlier and optimistic phase of this evolution. Industrialization, technology and empirical science are in the main represented favorably until the early nineteenth century at which point dissenting voices become more insistent. We will examine how the value system and assumptions about the order of things in nature and society are represented and reformulated in some texts written for the most part in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in England and America.
ETS 310-2 Literary Periods: American Beginnings
Instructor: Patricia Roylance
When, where and with what does "American literature" begin? At stake in this question are our basic assumptions about what Americanness is, as well as our basic assumptions about what literature is. Who gets to be called an "American" and what counts as "literature"? Should Native American oral stories be part of the canon of American literature? How about the letters from Spanish and French explorers describing the Americas to their royal backers? How about William Shakespeare's The Tempest , which takes place on an island obviously inspired by the New World? This class will read a variety of early American writings, including traditionally revered accounts of the founding and early days of the British settlements at Plymouth, Massachusetts Bay and Jamestown. But we will also draw from a more expansively defined "early America," potentially encompassing Native America, the colonial Americas (Spanish, French, British and Dutch), and the writers in Europe who were responding to the idea of the New World (new to them, at least).
ETS 315-3 Ethnic Literatures and Cultures:
The Tenement Saga and Early Jewish American Writers
Instructor: Sanford Sternlicht
We will read as transformative practice Jewish fiction and other narratives written by immigrant writers who came to Manhattan's Lower East Side from Eastern Europe between 1880 and 1920, as well as historical and sociological works about the immigrant experience. The course will investigate the problem of interpreting these texts within the context of one of the world's largest and most important migrations. Themes for the course include: the Lower East Side as launching platform; appropriating Anglo-American texts; the immigrant woman's experience; the European legacy; the policies of representation; gender roles and sexual mores; anti-semitism, unity and disunity; generational conflict; new world socialism, capitalism, and Zionism; orthodoxy and secularism; and food as cultural signification.
The course includes at trip to New York City during which we will tour the Lower East Side, visit the Tenement Museum and voyage to Ellis Island.
Main texts: Roth, Call It Sleep ; Gold, Jews without Money ; Cahan, The Rise of David Levinsky; Cahan, Yekl and the Imported Bridegroom; Yezierska, Bread Givers; and Sternlicht, The Tenement Saga: The Lower East Side and Early Jewish American Writers.
ETS 320-4 Authors: Reading the Brontes
Instructor: Claudia Klaver
This course will examine the writings of Ann, Emily and Charlotte Bronte in both their socio-historical and biographical contexts. In addition the course will examine the "myth of the Brontes" as constructed by Charlotte Bronte herself, her first biographer, Elizabeth Gaskell, and later biographers and critics through to the present day. We will read selections from the Bronte juvenilia and Charlotte Bronte's letters; Elizabeth Gaskell's influential Life of Charlotte Bronte ; and the novels: Ann Bronte's Tenant of Wildfell Hall , Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights , and Charlotte Bronte's The Professor , Jane Eyre and Villette . Students will conduct independent research that they will present in class, post weekly on Blackboard, and write two to three substantial essays.
ETS 330-2 Theorizing Meaning and Interpretation: Culture of Addiction
Instructor: Donald Morton
This course investigates a current trend in dominant cultural and literary theory which raises to a new level the oft-heard cliché: "we live in a sick society." This trend rejects the notion that society is basically a rational space governed by shared (common) concepts ("liberty, equality the pursuit of happiness"). Furthermore, according to this view, society is no longer even the more "neutral"-sounding space of discourse, representation and signification. Instead, culture is now the much darker zone of inescapable pathology. The literary and cultural theorists who promote this view are following, among other influences, the ideas of the philosopher Friedrich Schelling, who defines human nature not in terms of our capacity for reason or work or some other more familiar characteristic, but in terms of addiction. Schelling conceptualizes the subject (the human person) as the subject of "Eigensucht" ("addictive creatureliness"). Following this trend, there is today a growing body of publications in cultural analysis on the human-as-addict: among them, Avital Ronell's Crack Wars: Literature, Addiction, Mania ; Richard Klein's Cigarettes Are Sublime ; Janet Farrell Brodie and Marc Redfield's High Anxieties: Cultural Studies in Addiction and Anna Alexander and Mark S. Roberts's High Culture: Reflections on Addiction and Modernity.
ETS 350-2 Reading Nation and Empire: 20th -Century Irish Drama: Playing Nationalism
Instructor: Sanford Sternlicht
The Irish War of Independence (1918-1921) and the Irish Civil War (1921-1923) were rehearsed on the stage of the National Theatre of Ireland and later critiqued there. Through reading and analyzing selected plays of William Butler Yeats, Lady Augusta Gregory, John Millington Synge, Sean O'Casey and other writers, we will attempt to define the relationship between modern Irish dramatic literature and the development of the Irish independent state. Background lectures and discussions will investigate the roots of nationalism in nineteenth-century political theorists like J. S. Mill and Karl Marx. Also, contemporary political/social critics like Terry Eagleton, Frederic Jameson and Edward W. Said will provide a post-modern reading of the Irish political and social experiment.
ETS 355-1 The Politics of the English Language
Instructor: Patricia Moody
This course investigates such topics as the origins and development of the myth we know as "standard" English, the English-Only Movement, how editors and publishers regulate the homogeneity of printed English, how English actually varies around the world, the politics of its use and reception, how race and gender are encoded and enacted in and through language, how news shapes our views, how television and film convey subtle attitudes toward varieties of language that shape our thinking-in short the fascinating--and important--subject that is the politics of the English language.
ETS 360-1 Reading Gender and Sexualities: Documenting Sexualities
Film Screening M 7:00-9:50
Instructor: Roger Hallas
Documentary representation has been central to the emergence and development of modern sexual identities. For instance, nineteenth-century science turned to both photographic portraiture and written case studies in order to name and define homosexuality as a specific sexual identity. But forms of documentation have not only been used to discipline and pathologize sexual acts and identities. Subcultures, social movements and individual artists have also embraced the desire to document-but in the service of cultural expression, sexual liberation and collective memory. This course explores how different genres (such as case studies, ethnographies, oral histories, historical narratives, testimonies, portraits and [auto]biographies) in various media (film, video, photography, graphic art and literature) have become fundamental tools in the historical struggle over sexual rights. We shall also investigate the cultural and political role of museums, libraries, archives and publishing houses in documenting sexualities. This course also counts toward the LGBT Studies minor. The weekly screenings scheduled for this course are required.
ETS 360-2 Reading Gender and Sexualities: Reading British Masculinities, 1700-present
Instructor: Michael Goode
This course examines the role of various British literary texts in reflecting and shaping masculinity and masculine identities at different moments during the past three centuries. By no means does the course purport to offer an exhaustive history of masculinity and masculine identities over this lengthy period of time. Instead, it will unfold as a series of case-studies of significant masculine identities that were objects of particular veneration, anxiety, frustration or critique at different points during the historical periods covered by the course. These case-studies will include: the eighteenth-century gentleman, rake, and man of feeling; the Victorian professional, colonialist, factory hand, and dandy; and an array of marginal twentieth-century masculine types, ranging from the shell-shocked soldier and the woman industrial worker to the pornography addict and the punk. Writers covered will likely include: Joseph Addison and Richard Steele, Henry Mackenzie, Byron, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hughes, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, H. Rider Haggard, Oscar Wilde, Wilfred Owen, Rudyard Kipling, Graham Greene, Derek Walcott, Julian Barnes and Johnny Rotten. Assignments will consist of a 5-page paper, a 10-page paper, and reading quizzes.
ETS 401-1 Advanced Writing Workshop: Poetry
Instructor: Michael Burkard
Each class session will involve: 1) some discussion of assigned reading for the week (we will create our own anthology with the selections handed out); 2) discussion/review of poems which class members will turn in each week; 3) discussion of prosody or other poetic issues brought up by the instructor; 4) there will be two or three sessions during the term when we will listen/watch poets on DVD or video, and three or four sessions of an in-class writing exercise. Revision of poems will be encouraged when warranted. Some assignments particular to different individual writing needs will be made when warranted. This is an advanced undergraduate course and your grade will be determined by the quality of your writing over the entire term, and by the quality of your participation in the class dialogue. A final portfolio of anyone's best writing during the term will be individually reviewed with students in conference. Permission of the instructor is needed. Submit 5 pages of your poetry to Michael Burkard, Department of English, 401 HL.
ETS 403-1 Advanced Writing Workshop: Fiction
Instructor: Dana Spiotta
For this workshop, students will work on writing and reading stories. In class we will discuss student work as well as work by contemporary writers. We will focus on useful critique, significant revision and close reading. Permission of the instructor is needed. Submit up to 15 pages of your fiction to Dana Spiotta electronically, email@example.com
ETS 405-1 Topics in Medicine and Culture: Disability, Medicine, and Representation
Instructor: Rebecca Garden
This course aims to bring disability and medicine into cross-disciplinary dialogue by examining representations of disability and medicine in film, literature and medical texts. These texts and conventions are considered in light of critical discussions of representation and disability. The "medicalization" of disability is examined, with students invited to explore disability and ability as cultural representations, wherein bodily abilities and limitations are conditioned by subjective perceptions of "normalcy." A principal question is how to incorporate a "social model" of disability into medical education and practice. Disability studies scholars and clinicians working on disability will be guest speakers.
ETS 410-1 Forms and Genres: Autobiography/Memoir/Testimony
Instructor: Claudia Klaver
In this course we will work together to understand the similarities and differences between the genres of autobiography, memoir and testimony. Obviously these genres overlap and share important similarities, most notably first-person narration about "real" experiences in which the narrator him or herself has been involved. The premise of this course, however, is that these are three distinct genres, that despite their similarities they are not the same thing.
In this course we will read examples of each of these genres alongside theoretical texts that will help us to understand the differences between the genres and, more importantly, the stakes of those differences. Given my own interests and knowledge base, we will focus the questions around works by British and postcolonial women authors of the twentieth century. Thus questions of gender will also be central to the course. Theoretical and critical texts for the course will include work by Sidonie Smith, Leigh Gilmore, Julia Watson, Adriana Caverero and others.
The objective of the course will be to develop an understanding of the contours of these narrative forms, as well as the political, psychological and aesthetic stakes and possibilities embedded in them.
ETS 410-2 Forms and Genres: 20 th -Century Historical Fiction in the US
Instructor: Susan Edmunds
In this course, we will study a selection of historical novels by twenty- and twenty-first-century US writers. We will begin by examining critical and theoretical arguments that weigh the differing truth claims of historiographers and fiction writers, both of whom typically depend on narrative to communicate knowledge about the past and our relationship to it. We will then turn to two influential novels by writers working during the first half of the twentieth century before focusing our attention on postwar historical fiction. Questions that will concern us include: what kinds of truth about the past are available to us? How does the common reliance on narrative shape our knowledge of the past? How do US writers use their historical fiction to engage and challenge powerful ideologies, stories or myths about the nation? Where and how do such writers challenge the boundaries of the nation in the stories they tell about the past and our relationship to it? Likely novels will include: William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom!, John Dos Passos's The Big Money, E.L. Doctorow's The Book of Daniel, Toni Morrison's Beloved, Chang-Rae Lee's A Gesture Life, Bharati Mukherjee's Desirable Daughters and Julia Alvarez's Saving the World.
ETS 410-3 Forms and Genres: 20 th -Century American Poetry
Instructor: Harvey Teres
This course will introduce you to some of the most accomplished and influential American poems and poets of the past century. We will proceed under the assumption that most students have had relatively little experience reading poetry and are perhaps ill at ease doing so. Thus we will spend a good bit of time becoming familiar with what poetry is-its various elements, techniques, forms and functions-and how to read it. We will discuss prosody, and the focus will always be on deriving pleasure from recognizing how masters orchestrate the subtleties of language and meaning. Due attention will be paid both to the formal elements of poems, and to the place a poem occupies within its time and our own. After a brief look at the two nineteenth-century poets who helped create modern poetry-Whitman and Dickinson-we will proceed to consider the work of Robert Frost, Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, Langston Hughes, Sterling Brown, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, Allen Ginsberg, Sylvia Plath, Frank O'Hara, James Merrill, Richard Wilbur, John Ashbery, Adrienne Rich, Louise Glück and several other contemporary poets.
ETS 410-4 Forms and Genres: World Cinema
Film Screening W 7:00-9:50
Instructor: Roger Hallas
Cinema has often been called a universal language and it is certainly made all over the globe. But world cinema has a richness and complexity that defies a single model, despite the cultural ubiquity and economic power of Hollywood cinema. This course examines how the history of world cinema is imbricated in the historical processes of modernity, postmodernity, colonialism and globalization. In the first part of the course, we will consider the development of cinema within the context of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century visual culture, tracing how it contributed to the conceptualization of the modern world as visual spectacle. Subsequently, we will consider how differing conventions of film narrative developed across the globe. The second half of the semester will explore the diverse pleasures and politics of cinema from around the world, including Bollywood, Hong Kong action films, diasporic cinema and European art cinema. We will thus investigate how cinema contributes to our understandings of the world, our places within it and our relations to other parts of it. In sum, we will discover how world cinema is always both local and global. Attendance at weekly film screenings required.
ETS 410-5 Forms and Genres: The Mysteries of London
Instructor: Michael Goode
This course examines nineteenth-century crime and mystery literature about London, as well as contemporary novelists', graphic novelists', tourists' and filmmakers' fascination with this literature and with Victorian London. The course is a regular semester-long course taught on the SU campus, but students must also participation over spring break in an SU Abroad short-term program involving nine days of on-site study in London with the professor. Texts covered will include Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist, Mary Elizabeth Braddon's Lady Audley's Secret, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, Sarah Waters's Fingersmith, and Alan Moore and Eddie Campell's From Hell. Assignments will consist of a 5-page paper, a 10-page paper, reading quizzes, and a 20-minute presentation to be given during the spring break trip portion of the course. The course is capped at 20 students and admission is by application only. Applications were due at SU Abroad on October 12, 2009.
ETS 410-6 Forms and Genres: Shakespeare on Page, Stage and Film
Film Screening T 6:30-9:00
Instructor: Peter Mortenson
This course offers a sampling of Shakespeare's plays with examples from different genres and from different periods of his career. We all inevitably read in terms of our own experience. This course seeks to enlarge your reading contexts by considering Elizabethan theater, film, literary genre and cultural history. We will talk about theoretical issues of performance and representation (The texts are scripts for production: how is the script dramatized in our minds? in Elizabethan theater? in film?); about literary and dramatic convention (What is tragedy? Elizabethan tragedy?); about historical context (What kind of society and values seem to have been points of reference when these plays were written? What is to be made of topically "hot" content like sexual harassment, political corruption, racism, gender stereotyping?); and about the relation of these plays to one another ( How do values or ideas or dramatic structures constituted by these play texts interrelate?). Plays to be read include Two Gentlemen of Verona, Richard III, Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing and Macbeth. We will attend a live production and work with some complete play videos as well as comparative videos of selected scenes as indicated in the schedule.
ETS 410-7 Forms and Genres: The Victorian Novel
Instructor: Kevin Morrison
Providing an opportunity for students with some enthusiasm for the nineteenth-century British novel to delve more deeply into the literature and history of the period, this course will stress intensive rather than extensive reading. We will focus on three rich and complex texts: most likely, Charlotte Brontë's Shirley (1849), George Eliot's Middlemarch (1871-1872), and Wilkie Collins's The Moonstone (1868). Our thematic concerns will include the public and private spheres, femininity and masculinity, as well as marriage and the marriage plot. Formal concerns will include the nature of realism; the relationship of history to literature; novelistic genres; and the length, breadth and crowdedness of these novels themselves.
ETS 420-1 Cultural Production and Reception: Medievalism
Instructor: Patricia Moody
The Middle Ages remain present in modern consciousness, both through scholarship and through popular media such as stage and film, video and reenactment games, poster art, television and print media. This course investigates responses to the Middle Ages across all periods since a sense of the mediaeval first began to develop. It is concerned, then, with creative reception of the Middle Ages, including attempts to 'reproduce' the Middle Ages, as well as with both academic and political-ideological reception of the Middle Ages. We may look at selections from a very broad historical and cultural spectrum: Lord of the Rings to Batman, the Pre-Raphaelites to Shrek, Chaucer to Steinbeck.
ETS 420-2 Cultural Production and Reception: American Icons
Instructor: David Yaffe
This course will explore the concept of the icon in American culture. How have certain figures become the subject of scrutiny, obsession, even worship? And how has the idea of the icon been a central theme in American literary texts and in American life? Possible icons may include Walt Whitman (a gay icon and poetic icon), Henry James (an icon of the literary Master), F. Scott Fitzgerald (an icon of the Lost Generation), Miles Davis (an icon of black masculine hip), Allen Ginsberg (a Beat icon), Bob Dylan (an icon of the 60s counterculture, much to his chagrin), Billie Holiday (an icon of the martyred jazz diva), Sylvia Plath (an icon of confessional poetry) and Andy Warhol (our icon of iconography itself). Expect two major papers and a presentation of original research.
ETS 420-3 Cultural Production and Reception: Allegory and Parody
Instructor: Ken Frieden
Under the star of Franz Kafka, our readings emphasize the role of figurative language in allegorical narratives, quasi-allegorical texts, Hasidic tales and parodies. Short stories by Kafka, S. Y. Agnon, Aharon Appelfeld and Isaac Babel raise questions surrounding symbols, tropes, allegory and representation. Biblical and midrashic narratives provide a background in religious parable and mashal. Study of stories told by Nahman of Bratslav and about the Baal Shem Tov prepares us for reading anti-Hasidic satires and neo-Hasidic parodies by Joseph Perl and I. L. Peretz. Pertinent literary criticism includes Walter Benjamin's and Robert Alter's essays on Kafka, and especially Linda Hutcheon's theory of parody, which defines the term in a broad, postmodern sense. In a Nietzschean tradition, Jacques Derrida's essays illustrate the centrality of metaphor in modern texts, while Paul De Man's rhetorical studies show that allegory, which declined in the nineteenth century, has returned to prominence.
ETS 440-1 Theorizing History and Culture: Milton and the English Revolution
Instructor: Crystal Bartolovich
This course offers a slow and in-depth reading of John Milton's major prose and poetry in the context of the political, religious and social ferment of England in the seventeenth century. Because Milton was at first a propagandist for-as well as a critic of-the revolutionary government of mid-century, his is an intriguing case for examining the relation of poetry and politics. Paradise Lost raises questions that are still with us: what does "freedom"-of religion, the press, speech, franchise, individual-mean? How do we achieve a good society? What role does education play in forming a sustainable Republic? Why is it so difficult to make justice prevail in a "fallen" world? To what extent do people make their own histories? By situating Milton's work in the full range of discourses available-from the far left of the Diggers and the Ranters to the far right of the Monarchists and defenders of Church hierarchy-we can tease out not only the major debates of the period, but also the relation of literature to how these debates unfolded.
ETS 495-1 Thesis Writing Workshop
Instructor: Crystal Bartolovich
This course is intended to serve as a forum for small-group mentoring and directed research toward producing an ETS Distinction Thesis. Theses are sustained, focused, critical arguments, modeled on a seminar paper or a journal article. The thesis writing workshop will involve generating research questions, compiling a bibliography, trying out different writing strategies, presenting drafts and engaging in collegial peer critique. Readings will include methodological essays on writing/research practices, as well as thesis models and some primary material on the topics chosen by participants to help us become better readers of each other's work. Participation is by invitation or good standing in the Honors Program.
Instructor: Chris Kennedy
In this class students will write and critique one another's poems. The emphasis will be on close readings of the poems with and examination of what makes a poem communicate in the manner best suited to the author's aesthetic.
ENG 617-1 Open Fiction Workshop
Instructor: Christine Schutt
Fiction Workshop: Transparency or Translucency in Prose. A fiction workshop: 2-3 stories discussed every class; line-by-line reading from instructor, as well as written comments from instructor and individual meeting times. Students will be expected to provide instructor with written criticism on the stories up for discussion, copies of which go to the writers themselves; Xerox of stories by different contemporary writers will be distributed, which stories depends entirely on the needs of the class. Emphasis on structure, the way stories are and can be made.
ENG 630-1 Graduate Proseminar: Reading and Writing the 17th Century
Instructor: Stephanie Shirilan
This course provides a critical point of entry for students interested both in early modern texts and the disciplinary history of early modern studies. Our approach to a survey of the seventeenth century will consider how scholars of the late English Renaissance have both spearheaded developments in literary studies and at the same time claimed the study of late Renaissance English literature as a bulwark against methodological and theoretical innovation (sometimes represented as intellectual faddism). In short, this course will consider how the study of late Renaissance English literature has served both to forge an intellectual vanguard and protect an institutional old guard in English studies. We will spend as much time with the literature of the period as with the stories historiographers have come to tell about the seventeenth century specifically. Our chief investigation will be to examine the mythological structures whereby the seventeenth century has been represented as a long protracted labor that birthed the modern English subject. We will read an assortment of texts traditionally included in literary surveys of the seventeenth century (late Shakespeare, Donne, Herbert, Milton) as well as texts that, despite their literary qualities, receive greater attention by historians of science, politics and philosophy (Harvey, Hobbes). We will also read a good number of writers who fall between these anachronistically defined categories (i.e. Bacon, Browne). Our discussions will trace the representation of privacy, masculinity, sovereignty, embodiment, property and liberty (among others) as these discourses emerge out of the complex interplay between readers and writers of the seventeenth and twentieth centuries.
ENG 630-2 Graduate Proseminar: Victorian Studies and After
Instructor: Kevin Morrison
This course will provide an introduction to Victorian literature and culture and the field of Victorian studies itself by taking up a series of interrelated questions: Does Victorian remain a meaningful category of analysis in light of recent critiques of periodization and emerging transnational and transatlantic approaches to literature? Does studies indicate a nexus of common interests shared by different disciplines or an intellectual incoherence in which the distinctiveness of the literary has been lost? What would literary Victorian studies look like if history were not its primary interlocutor? How might our theories of interpretation change if we did not read symptomatically? Is it possible to give ideological critique its due without reducing textual objects to ideology? And how are these questions, posed as they have been in recent years by a number of Victorianists, related to pragmatic concerns over the future of the humanities and anxieties about interdisciplinarity? Our engagement with a substantial body of scholarship about the field, under such rubrics as gender, empire, sexuality, liberalism and transnationalism, will be anchored by several literary texts that have been central to these debates, including Matthew Arnold's Culture and Anarchy , Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre , George Eliot's Romola , Charles Dickens's David Copperfield and/or Great Expectations and George Meredith's Modern Love .
This course is not oriented toward the production of a seminar paper. Instead, we will focus on writing in the shorter professional genres. Although Victorian Britain is our primary concern, t he theoretical and practical matters addressed in this course will be useful to students working in other historical periods or literatures.
ENG 630-3 Graduate Proseminar: Early America
Instructor: Patricia Roylance
Designed as an introduction to US literary and cultural studies, this seminar will survey American language and writing from the sixteenth to the late eighteenth centuries, and will provide a foundation for more advanced study of this period. Because this is a proseminar, the reading will be somewhat heavy, but you will need no prior knowledge of the period. For the final project, you will work on primary material from the course or closely related to it, but you will have conceptual and methodological freedom in choosing an approach.
Reflecting recent revisions in the critical conception of this field, “Early America” will be treated as a problematic rather than as a settled category. We will question the homogeneity and push the literal boundaries of “America”: what regional, racial, religious and linguistic subcultures exist within the space of America? What transatlantic and hemispheric contexts illuminate early American literary production? We will read Native American oral literature and writings from New Spain, New France and New Netherland alongside literature from the British colonies, and alongside European writings about the “New World.” The course will culminate with an examination of the rhetoric of the US Revolutionary War, which attempted to present as unified and univocal a colonial period that had been anything but.
ENG 650-1 Forms: Teaching Creative Writing in the Community
Instructor: Michael Burkard
We will meet weekly as a group and will discuss possible writing assignments connected to visits to different sites in the community. We will have approximately four or five meetings on our own in class before Pam Heintz visits and gives us more specific information about site possibilities. The classes will focus on trying out different writing exercises ourselves. We will do this to get a feel as to whether the exercise stands a good chance of working or not. We will do most of these assignments in class, and I will be handing out materials to you by different poets and fiction writers each week to see what we might use for a "trigger."
Once everyone has chosen a site, we will meet when necessary as a class to report on how specific site visits and writing exercises are going. We may have theses meetings in conference as well, or in place of some of the class time. Your time with the site visits will count as class time used.
The grading for the course roughly translates into these categories and percentages:
20% of the grade for the quality of participation in the class discussions and the writing assignments
20% of the grade for the quality of interest you demonstrate in the inclass writing assignments and assignments you suggest for our group
60% of the grade for the quality of your teaching at the site you choose. I will attend at least one of your sessions at the site.
This course is taught in collaboration with photographer Stephen Mahan. You may also register for this course under TRM 300 or TRM 500. Experience with photography is not a requirement.
Text: Kenneth Koch, Rose, Where Did You Get That Red?
ENG 650-2 Forms: Literary Hoodoo: The Oral Tradition in African American Literature
Instructor: Arthur Flowers
The griotic tradition in African American literature; narrative orations in the works of Toni Morrison, Ishmael Reed, Gayle Jones, John Wideman, Patrick Chamoiseau, Zora Neale Hurston and so forth. Novels, excerpts and shorts. Blues, Jazz, Mythwork and Magic.
ENG 650-3 Forms: Fiction and Poetry: Best Versions
Instructor: Chris Kennedy
This class will provide students with an opportunity to read and compare different versions of stories and poems by established authors. Additionally, students will bring original work for discussion about editing and revision. We will read several authors with an emphasis on the stories of Raymond Carver.
ENG 650-5 Forms: Visions Interrupted: Five Poets
Instructor: Brooks Haxton
We will read five poets from the early into the late twentieth century, starting in English, with W.B. Yeats, whose work departs from the moody symbolism of post-romantic sensibility to help define the mindset of early moderns. Rilke (in translation) has an equally visionary project which faces similar obstacles. We return to English with D.H. Lawrence, whose vision of natural vitality and variety leads with eerie logic into the masterpieces that anticipate his early death. Anna Akhmatova (also in translation) begins with misty vignettes of personal encounters, and we follow her writing through historic upheavals which transform her into a chronicler of Russia in her time. We end with the poetry of Hayden Carruth, a naturalist, thinker and celebrator of culture tried by intermittent bouts of addiction and madness, and by the wars and injustices of a century which confirms him as an anarchist and an atheist.
ENG 650-6 Forms: Groove and Break: Music as Metaphor and Practice
Instructor: Bruce Smith
“Poetry atrophies when it gets too far from music.” --Pound
The first half of the course will examine music we've received in various verse forms. We will investigate the “bound speech” that compounds form and compacts language. We will look at structures and effects in several verse forms. Rhyme, meter, stanza, repetition of sounds will be the special interest of the first half. Students will be asked to write examples of their own in these forms, for example, ghazals or blank verse.
The second half of the course will involve looking at the music (and by extension the consciousness and emotional order) of four books by poets, exhibiting the range and scope of contemporary practice. Students will be asked to write responses to each of these poets, either in poetic or prose forms.
The Making of a Poem, by Mark Strand and Eavan Boland; Shattered Sonnets, Love Cards, and Other Off and Back Handed Importunities, by Olena Kalytiak Davis; Cocktails , by D.A. Powell
Blood Dazzler, by Patricia Smith; and Jelly Roll: A Blues, by Kevin Young or Sleeping with the Dictionary, by Harryette Mullen.
ENG 730-1 Graduate Seminar: Home and Diaspora: Reading Transnational Arab America
Instructor: Carol Fadda-Conrey
In a poem commemorating the passing of the Palestinian-American scholar Edward Said, Mahmoud Darwish, one of the most renowned poets of the Arab world, wrote: “I am from there, I am from here, but I am neither there nor here.” Reflecting on Said's long career as a Palestinian intellectual living in exile in the US, these lines also capture the essence of transnational in-betweenness marking the lives of Arab communities living in the diaspora. This course will focus on contemporary Arab-American literary and cultural productions, emphasizing the ways in which they portray the negotiation of Arab-American belonging in the US while at the same time delineating the strong roots that link these texts and the communities they represent to the Arab world. The aim of this seminar is to highlight, through literature, the effects of national and global political repercussions on dual Arab and American identities. This seminar is also geared toward helping students understand Arab identity in a cross-cultural context by investigating the nature of the attachments linking Arab Americans to their Arab homelands, whether these attachments are political, cultural, religious or nostalgic. To do so, students will read an array of Arab-American literary texts (including novels, poetry, critical essays and non-fiction) that handle issues of transnationalism, dual citizenship, diasporic identity and biculturalism. These texts serve to add a necessary level of complexity to the East vs. West binary that has dominated depictions of Arabs and Muslims, especially after 9/11.
The pedagogy informing the textual and thematic selections in this seminar is meant to help students address the current culture of Arabo/Islamophobia pervading the US, one that inhibits a more complex knowledge of the Arab world as well as an understanding of Arab and Muslim identities within a US framework. Writers whose work will be featured in this course include Edward Said, Rabih Alameddine, Laila Halaby, Mohja Kahf, Khaled Mattawa, Naomi Shihab Nye, Suheir Hammad, Samia Serageldin, Randa Jarrar and Lisa Suheir Majaj, among others. The list of literary works will be accompanied by a selection of theoretical texts that will engage students in contextualizing Arab-American literature within specific theoretical traditions such as transnational and diaspora studies. Such readings will include, for instance, works by Khatchig Tölölyan, Aihwa Ong, William Safran, Pnina Werbner, James Clifford, Inderpal Grewal, Chandra Talpade Mohanty and Ella Shohat.
ENG 730-3 Graduate Seminar: Film Noir and the Cultural Politics of Gender
Film Screening T 7:00-9:50
Instructor: Steven Cohan
Some critics call it a genre, others a historical movement, and still others a visual style: the term film noir refers to a group of films made in the decade after World War II which addressed, in the convoluted narrative terms of the thriller, some of the cultural problems facing American society, not the least of which were questions about the instability of gender as a regulation of sexualities and social identities. Examples of film noir are Double Identity, Laura, The Big Sleep, Mildred Pierce, Gilda, Crossfire and Sunset Blvd. As a term identifying the cohesion and status of this particular cycle, which also has a source in the economic state of the film industry at that time, film noir is in many respects an academic categorization postdating the initial circulation of these films. Their celebrated example, furthermore, supplied aesthetic and thematic conventions as well as marketing strategies for a so-called revival of noir in the last three decades of the past century: films such as Chinatown, Body Heat and Basic Instinct. The objective of this seminar will be to study the representation of sexual difference in film noir and the noir revival from the linked perspectives of cultural studies and feminist and queer film theory. The concern with gender and sexuality will mean that we examine the films both for their representations of masculinity and femininity in a historical context while considering what the narrativizations of sexual difference efface—in what ways the gender plots function as cover stories of other ideological and historical conflicts (such as those related to class, race and ethnicity; to urban experience and modernity; to political activism and state regulation; and so on). Film noir continues to attract the notice of scholars, and the reading assignments for the seminar will consist primarily of this body of criticism, as amplified by additional work in gender theory and cultural history. On some occasions the films shown at the required screenings will be supplemented by some documentary material (for instance, Mildred Pierce coupled with The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter). I have not yet set the syllabus but will be designing the course so that, as well as a study of film noir in particular, it will have applications for students doing gender studies, American studies, film studies or cultural studies, and at the same time, for students without much background in those areas, it will provide them with an introduction to these interdisciplinary connections.
ENG 730-4 Graduate Seminar: Black Prison Writing, USA: Theory and Practice
Instructor: Greg Thomas
Nowadays, many in and outside US circles refer to “the prison industrial complex,” a phrase which literally comes from Wall Street itself. Before imprisonment was defined according to recent economics, however, it had already been defined by Black Radical Tradition in terms of colonial-imperial enslavement—the material and symbolic reduction of enslaved Africans to “chattel” for a white world capitalist hegemony. The pre-industrial plantation context paves the way for the “prison [and military] industrial complex” of contemporary times. The large-scale transfer of Black people from yesterday's plantations to today's prisons (where “old,” official slavery remains perfectly legal) must be recognized in part at least as an “internal slave trade” as opposed to slavery's actual “abolition.” This course, “Black Prison Writing, USA: Theory and Practice” confronts the racial-cultural/political-economic problematic of prisons without losing sight of the connection between imprisonment and enslavement, past and present. Some figures to be engaged: George Jackson, Huey Newton, Angela Davis, Dhoruba Bin Wahad, Elaine Brown, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Assata Shakur and Evelyn Williams, not to mention Nat Turner, Claudia Jones, Chester Himes, James Baldwin, Malcolm X, Haile Gerima, Safiyah Bukhari and Donald Goines as well as assorted music, video and film texts in the tradition.
ENG 799-1 MFA Essay Seminar
Instructor: Dana Spiotta Each student will write an essay of approximately five thousand words. The essay will address a specific aspect of a major writer's formal technique.