Archived Course Descriptions
ETS 107-2 thru 10 Living Writers
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. This class is open to freshmen, sophomores, and juniors - make sure to over-ride the "time conflict" when registering, the first class is held in Gifford Auditorium.
ETS 113-1 Survey of British Literature, Beginnings to 1789
Instructor: Melissa Welshans
"Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles!" Okay--these may be some of the opening lines from the movie The Princess Bride. However, they are also aspects of the greatest works in British Literature. This introductory course offers an overview of just such texts, beginning with the Middle Ages and ending on the eve of the French Revolution. We will read works by Chaucer, Spenser, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Milton, Donne, Behn, Swift, and many others, while paying particular attention to the socio/historical conditions of each text’s production in addition to analyzing and interpreting the more formal and thematic elements of each piece. We will seek out connections between the literature of this time period and our current cultural milieu, and hopefully find new ways of connecting the canon to our contemporary moment. Assignments include two 5 page essays, group presentations, and a final examination.
ETS 114-1 British Literature, 1789 to Present
Instructor: Jillian Sherwin
This course will track key movements and trends in British literature from 1789 through the present, while giving particular attention to texts from the Romantic, Victorian, Modern, and Post-WWII periods. As we move chronologically through the texts, we will also explore the historical, political, social, scientific, industrial, and colonial influences that helped develop and sustain various trends in literature. We will read texts representing several different genres, as well as different forms, including poetry, novels, short stories, and plays. Authors will likely include, but won’t be limited to: Jane Austen, William Blake, William Wordsworth, John Keats, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Charlotte Bronte, Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle, Oscar Wilde, T.S. Eliot, W.B. Yeats, John Osbourne, and J.K. Rowling. Students can expect to develop and employ close reading and critical analysis skills in both class discussions and written work. Assignments will include a midterm and final exam, as well as a short critical paper and a longer research paper.
ETS 118-1 Survey of American Literature, Beginnings to 1865
Instructor: C.J. Dosch
This course is an introduction to the literatures of America from early European exploration to the United States 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 structure, and the presence of Native Americans. In attempting to answer the question posed by de 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 early American writing as well as a basic sense of the political, cultural, and social history of the period.
ETS 145-1 Reading Popular Culture
Film Screening W 7:00-9:50
Instructor: Steven Cohan
ETS 145-4, 5 & 7 Discussion F 10:35-11:30
ETS 145-6, 8 & 9 Discussion 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. For ETS 145 what distinguishes popular from mass culture as an object of analysis is the extent to which popular culture is understood to be participatory, not passive. As a means of exploring what it means to read American 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, the internet, and fandom. The weekly screenings scheduled for this course are required.
ETS 151-1 Interpretation of Poetry
Instruction: Brooks Haxton
This course will involve weekly reading of poems selected as examples of particular poetic techniques: image, narrative, diction, tone, argument, and so on. Each week’s handout will describe the technique in that week’s reading and present relevant questions. Four short essays by students will analyze individual poems with respect to a poet’s use of one of these techniques. Final grades will include papers (70%) and classroom presentations and participation (30%). No prerequisites. Attendance required.
ETS 152-1 Interpretation of Drama
ETS 152-2 TTh 8:00-9:20
Instructor: William D. 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, beginning with a reading of Aristotle's Poetics, and continuing with one of the great "problem" plays of Shakespeare, Measure for Measure. We will also read the beginnings of modern drama with two plays be 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 153-1 Interpretation of Fiction
Instructor: Erin Mackie
ETS 153-10 & 11 Discussion F 12:45-1:40
ETS 153-12 & 13 Discussion F 10:45-11:40
In this course we will develop an understanding of what kinds of fiction novels imagine for us, how they have worked in the writing of modern culture, and, most importantly, how they invite us to read. We will start by looking at how novels relate with other forms of narrative fiction and how "the" novel might or might not be distinguished from these. We will look as well at how different publication formats (serialization versus whole volume publication) and different reading media—the Kindle—affect our reading. Students will develop both a conceptual terminology for analysis of the novel’s characteristic formal features—character, point-of-view, narrative perspectives—and an awareness of how novels work in our cultural and historical imaginations more largely. We will read novels selected from a variety of time periods and modes. In addition to shared reading, students will group themselves into Book Clubs around themes of their own choosing and develop some awareness of genre, sub genre, the book market, and the influence of reviews and media-advocacy (Oprah’s Book Club) on their own reading habits. Readings will be broadly organized around the tensions created by the novel’s dual role as the dominant, representative form of modern Literature and as an enduring presence in popular culture.
ETS 154-2 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 its material elements. 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 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 required.
ETS 154-3 Interpretation of Film
Film Screening W 7:00-9:50
Instructor: Sarah Barkin
Cinema is arguably one of the most influential mediums of the twentieth century and it has profoundly shaped the ways we see the world and our place within it. While many of us are used to watching films, in this course we will be asking questions about how meaning is produced in cinema. In other words: how do we interpret and analyze film? This course will provide students with a comprehensive introduction to the formal aspects of cinema—mise-en-scène, cinematography, editing, and sound—as well as the historical and socio-cultural contexts of the practices of production, exhibition, and reception that guide our understanding of "what movies mean." Film screenings will draw mainly from classical and contemporary Hollywood cinema, but will also include international films and films from other periods. Assignments will include weekly discussion board posts, shorter response papers, and a longer critical essay in addition to a midterm and final exam. No prior film experience is necessary. The weekly screenings scheduled for this class are required.
ETS 154-5 Interpretation of Film
Film Screening T 7:00-9:50
Instructor: Joseph Hughes
This course takes up two central questions: How do we find meaning in films? What do filmmakers do to create a "message" we respond to? By examining the various formal aspects of film—cinematography, editing, mise-en-scene, and sound—we will attempt to answer these questions by reading films as dynamic "texts’"that both shape our world and are shaped by it. As we move through the course, we will explore the historical and cultural impact of film and the various forms and methods of filmmaking that have emerged since the early twentieth century. By approaching film in this way, students will develop a critical vocabulary about film that affords them the opportunity and ability to write about films—not just in terms of whether they are "good" or "bad," but rather how they affect the ways in which we conceive ourselves and the culture in which we live. The weekly screenings scheduled for this class are required.
ETS 181-1 Class and Literary Texts: Class and Crime in Victorian Fiction
Instructor: Elizabeth Stearns
In this course we will engage with the complicated notion of social class and explore the historical and cultural implications of this important topic as it impacted the nineteenth-century English. To understand how class functions as an identity category and arbiter of social relationships we will investigate some of the greatest crime fiction of the era, in which class helped determine the significance of victims, criminals, and the meaning of crime itself. We will read and discuss well-known texts including Oliver Twist and Jekyll and Hyde and other lesser-known texts such as the sensational The Woman in White (one of the first detective novels) and The Child of the Jago (a gritty portrayal of London’s mean streets at the turn of the century). Our novels will be supplemented with other shorter forays into crime fiction (like Sherlock Holmes) as well as texts which will help build a historical and theoretical foundation on which to base our discussions. One of the primary issues we will take up in this course is how literature shapes, and is shaped by, class ideology and the "reality" of living a particular class experience.
ETS 181-3 Class and Literary Texts
Instructor: Rinku Chatterjee
In this course we will study the literary and cultural representations of class. We will analyze how class identities are constructed and affirmed, and how the categories of race and gender alter and redefine the category of class. In this course we will focus largely on British literature—poetry, prose, and drama—from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We shall engage with Marxist and post-Marxist theorizations of class divisions to interpret the texts we will encounter. This is a discussion based class.
ETS 182-1 Race and Literary Texts
Instructor: Sandeep Banerjee
Is "race" a relevant category to think about the world we live in? This is the underlying question that this course shall engage with. To think through this question, we shall examine literary and other cultural texts to understand how they construct and represent the category of "race." We will also look at how the idea of "race" affects the production and reception of these literary and cultural texts. In addition, we will try to understand the various ways that the category of "race" has been conceptualized. We will also explore the relation between "race" and other conceptual categories such as "class" and "gender."
We will read a diverse collection of short stories, essays, travelogues, novels, graphic novels, and critical writing from different nations and historical periods. Texts will likely include: William Shakespeare’s Tempest, Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth, Henry Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines, V. S. Naipaul’s Among the Believers,andgraphic novels from The Adventures of Tintin series. We will read these texts to understand how literary and cultural works produce ideas about people and places through the category of "race." The course shall aim to develop skills of interpretation and critical analysis to understand and theorize how texts produce, maintain and challenge categories of oppression and privilege.
ETS 184-1 Ethnicity and Literary Texts
ETS 184-3 MW 3:45-5:05
Instructor: Meera Lee
This course will seek to understand the historical, cultural, and political representations of ethnicity through the examination of 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. We will also try to examine the complexity of legal ethnicity-minority relation and 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 texts selected for the course will include a broad range of contemporary ethnic novels and writings of diaspora, as well as critical essays, such as Morrison’s Mercy, Truong’s The Book of Salt, and Cha’s Dictee. We will also watch films and documentaries including The Edge of Heaven and Bandhobi.
ETS 184-2 Ethnicity and Literary Texts: Judaic Literature
Instructor: Erella Sofer-Brown
This course surveys Judaic literary tradition from the Bible to modern time. In this journey we trace the unique aspects of Judaic literature by covering topics such as Jewish imagination and its views of Mimesis (imitation of reality/nature), as well as traditional methods of Jewish interpretations and their characteristic rhetorical means. These include encoding and decoding devices such as, disguise, irony, allusion, parable and allegory, and mysticism. Jewish thought about the meaning of existence continue to evolve in modern era by addressing issues ranging from holocaust experiences to contemporary Israeli/Jewish identity. Additional visual material will bring Jewish Diaspora lifestyles closer to heart.
ETS 184-4 Ethnicity and Literary Texts: Great Jewish Writers
Instructor: Ken Frieden
This course will serve as an introduction to some of the best fiction written by Jewish authors, such as Sholem Aleichem, I. L. Peretz, Franz Kafka, Isaac Babel, S. Y. Agnon, Elie Wiesel, Primo Levi, and Philip Roth. Topics will include intermarriage, small-town Jewish life, modernization, rebellion against authority, alienation, violence, superstition, Jewish identity, and the Holocaust. Meets with JSP/REL/LIT 131.
ETS 192-1 Gender and Literary Texts: Fantasy and Reality
ETS 192-2 MW 2:15-2:05
Instructor: Amy Leal
This course will examine the fantasy and reality of gender from the nineteenth century to our current moment, looking at the ways we construct and deconstruct self and sexuality in literary texts. Will also consider such subjects as otherness, illness and disability, race, and class as we move through four thematic sections of the syllabus: Childhood and Adulthood, Dreaming and Waking, Erotic Fantasy and Nightmare, and Love and Death. To ground our inquiry, we will not only interrogate novels, poems, and theoretical essays, but also short readings from the memoirs of courtesans, Dick and Jane master narratives, conduct books, Regency reality TV shows, forbidden love letters, and tell-all confessions. Texts will include some of the following: excerpts from Harriette Wilson’s Memoirs, Jane Austen’s Lady Susan, selected letters by John Keats, Three Vampire Tales, Thomas Hardy’s The Well-Beloved, Lewis Carroll’s Sylvie and Bruno, portions of Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management, George MacDonald’s The Princess and the Goblin, Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market, Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray, Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior, and Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club. Assignments will include a variety of low and high stakes writing assignments, two major essays, a presentation, and a midterm.
ETS 200-1 Selected Topics:Reading Screen Culture
Film Screening T 7:00-9:50
Instructor: Chris Hanson
Our experience of texts has shifted considerably in the last century, and we increasingly read and process them through a screen. While print, films, interactive texts, and other modes of expression have traditionally been construed as separate entities, we may also read and experience these diverse forms through a screen-based device such as a computer. This course will examine the growing number of forms in which a cultural text is written and how our understanding of such a cultural text is shaped by its medium. We will examine the means by which "new" screen media are defined as well as the textual, cultural, and social implications of their deployment. In particular, we will explore the commonalities across a range of screen-based forms, while also assessing the unique aspects which truly differentiate a given medium from another. This course will map the function of medium specificity and its application to both "old" and "new" textual forms to explore the ways in which our modes of reading shift from text to text and from screen to screen. The weekly screenings scheduled for this class are required.
ETS 215-1 Introductory Poetry Workshop
Instructor: Michael Burkard
In this workshop we will discuss poems from class members on a weekly basis. There will also be assigned readings of contemporary poetry. We will also study form and prosody issues. This is a discussion class. Students will conduct weekly presentations regarding the reading we are doing.
ETS 217-1 Introductory Fiction Workshop
Instructor: Arthur Flowers
This course is designed for students who have considered writing fiction or are in need of retooling. The first four weeks will involve the exploration of craft and discussions of published stories. The remainder of the semester will be conducted in a workshop format.
ETS 242-1 Reading and Interpretation
Instructor: David Yaffe
ETS 242-2 MW 2:15-3:35
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.
Instructor: Sarah Harwell
All creative disciplines depend on the study and imitation of the particular art form for mastery of its elements. In this course you will read and analyze one novel and a number of short stories in order to deepen your understanding of a variety of concerns in storytelling including voice, style, description, story, and character. We will attempt to answer the question: how have authors generated emotions, interest and power in creative texts? You will be required to display an understanding of these issues by producing creative and analytical responses to the work studied. Texts used: Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson and The Story and its Writer by Ann Charters (8th edition).
ETS 305-1 Critical Analysis: Literary Urban Studies
Instructor: Kevin Morrison
This course provides an introduction to the debates, theories, and methodologies associated with the spatial turn in literary and cultural studies. Rather than focusing solely on temporal categories and chronologies, this body of critical work has called our attention to and demonstrated the importance of geography and topography-especially a trifecta of analytical categories (space, place, and landscape)-to literary and cultural analysis. Over the semester, we will sample approaches to urban social environments culled from a number of different disciplines; compare and contrast these theories and methodologies by identifying their differences and commonalities; evaluate their respective stakes and their implications for literary and cultural analysis; and utilize them as means of examining several different nineteenth- and twentieth-century cities-including London, Manchester, Paris, and Los Angeles-as they were lived by historical subjects and, in literature and art, by various character types, including the flâneur, the banker, the aesthete, and the sweated worker.
ETS 305-2 Critical Analysis: Performance Studies
Instructor: Stephanie Shirilan
The argument that our identities are fashioned or performed out of complexly coded cultural scripts owes some of its most profound debts to the discipline of performance studies. This course aims to provide both an overview of the history of this field and an opportunity for you to experiment with its critical practices. We will trace the emergence of performance studies out of mid twentieth-century sociology, linguistics, and anthropology, studying the ways in which it both informed and was informed by political, sexual, and other revolutions and experiments of the 1960s and 1970s.We will examine how performance studies defined itself in response to the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and to critical moments (from the 1990s to the present) of intense public debate over identity and difference, license and prohibition, pleasure and trauma. Reading from key foundational texts (while exploring the field’s own unique relationship to questions of canonicity and marginality), we will learn to think and write like performance theorists-to define the ways in which we understand what it means to perform (vis a vis our understanding of theatricality) and to recognize and annotate our own roles as performers of cultural critique and critical writing.
ETS 310-1 Literary Periods: Twentieth-Century U.S. Southern Literature
Instructor: Susan Edmunds
In this course, we will read fiction written in and/or about the U.S. South, concentrating on the period beginning with the "Southern Renaissance" in the late 1920s and 1930s and going up through the present. Class discussion will focus on the complex relationship between aesthetic form and sociohistorical crisis, struggle, and change. We will examine aesthetic modes and categories associated with the gothic, the grotesque, the folk, the pastoral, and the vernacular and will study the historical emergence and political significance of various "Southern" character types ranging from white trash and the black folk to the doomed aristocrat, the conjure woman, the sexual queer, and the freak. Throughout the semester, we will pay particular attention to recent critical efforts to understand the production and academic study of Southern literature in a global context. Assigned novels will include: Erksine Caldwell, Tobacco Road; William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom!; Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God; Richard Wright, Uncle Tom’s Children; Carson McCullers, The Ballad of the Sad Café; Cormac McCarthy, Child of God; Paule Marshall, Praisesong for the Widow; and Lan Cao, Monkey Bridge.
ETS 310-2 Literary Periods: The American Renaissance
Instructor: Patricia Roylance
By any measure, the early 1850s were tremendously fertile years for U.S. literary production. This "American Renaissance" produced famous novels (like Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter and Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin), short stories (like Herman Melville’s "Benito Cereno"), orations (like addresses on the institution of slavery by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, and Henry David Thoreau) and long poems (like Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Song of Hiawatha). We will be analyzing these seminal texts, and also studying the social, political, and cultural events of this period and how they influence its literature. Furthermore, as academic trends have shifted, critical interest in this period has moved from "classic" literature by white men to, for example, popular bestsellers written by women authors and abolitionist texts by people of color. We will study the immense symbolic value of this period as a battleground on which these kinds of shifts in critical priorities are negotiated.
ETS 315-1 Ethnic Literatures and Cultures: Asian American Literature
Instructor: Susan Edmunds
This upper-division ETS course will provide an introduction to the field of Asian American literature for students with some previous background in the study of literary and cultural texts. The course will foreground a sociohistorical and political approach and will focus largely-but not exclusively-- on Asian American literary production in the U.S. since the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act in 1965. After a brief section focusing on methods and contexts, we will begin by reading major texts in the Chinese American literary tradition before turning in succession to Japanese American, Filipino and Filipino American, Korean American, South Asian American and Vietnamese American texts. I have yet to finalize the reading list but expect to include the following writers and texts: Louis Chu’s Eat a Bowl of Tea, Fae Myenne Ng’s Bone; Joy Kogawa’s Obasan; Jessica Hagedorn’s Dogeaters; Chang-Rae Lee’s Native Speaker; Susan Choi’s A Person of Interest; Bharati Mukherjee’s Desirable Daughters; Lan Cao’s Monkey Bridge; and short stories by Sui Sin Far, Frank Chin, Toshio Mori, Hisaye Yamamoto, Bienvenido Santos, Jhumpa Lahiri, Vo Phien, and Monique Thuy-Dung Truong.
ETS 315-2 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 320-1 Authors: Jane Austen in Context-Hers and Ours
Instructor: Mike Goode
This course analyzes Jane Austen’s novels in two sets of historical and cultural contexts: first, the early nineteenth-century British contexts in which they were written, and, second, the contemporary global contexts in which they continue to be adapted and read. Through a combination of lectures, readings, and discussions, the first half of the course will introduce you to Austen’s novels, examining their participation in early nineteenth-century British concerns over everything from authorship, poetry, Gothic novels, architecture, fashion, garden design, and estate management to rank, class, gender, sexuality, slavery, nationalism, and imperialism. The last half of the course will examine Austen film adaptations, fan culture, and literary tourism in order to understand the significance of the ongoing contemporary boom in Austen’s popularity. The two complementary halves of the course will be bridged by eight days of on-site study in southern England, where students will visit locations associated with Austen and Regency British culture. Class size is limited to 20 students. Students must enroll in both the Syracuse and England portions of the course. Admission to the course is by application only. The application process closed on October 11, 2010.
ETS 325-1 History and Varieties of English
Instructor: Patricia Moody
This course aims to provide students with as much knowledge as possible, as interactively as possible, of the basic structures of the English language and representations of its history. Equally important, the course aims to develop critical awareness of contemporary language issues and the complex ways in which language embeds attitudes.
ETS 330-1 Theorizing Meaning and Interpretation: The Culture of Addiction
Instructor: Don Morton
"Spirit is nothing but an addiction to . . . Being."
This course investigates a current trend in culture and cultural studies 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"). Instead, culture is now the much darker zone of inescapable pathology. Some writers worry about this development and encourage resistance against it. At the same time, some literary and cultural theorists promote this trend and trace their ideas back to 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"). This view tends to erase the sharp distinction between those who are addicts and those who are not and to place everyone along a continuum of addiction. Through theory, commentary, fiction, and film, this course will investigate such issues as addiction, drugs, the therapy culture, the medicalization of society, and the war on drugs.
ETS 340-2 Theorizing Forms and Genres: Temporality Across Media
Film Screening T 7:00-9:50
Instructor: Chris Hanson
This course will explore representations and uses of time across multiple media, focusing in particular on artistic and industrial practices, technological developments, and theories about temporality. Media texts, forms, and related technologies examined in the course will include mainstream and experimental film and video, television, interactive media, and video games. We will closely study media objects which reference their own temporality or reconfigure time using formal methods such as repetition and narrative structures built around time travel. The role of medium specificity in both the representation of time and our experiential understanding of temporality will be considered, as well as the cultural and social significance of historical shifts in notions of time. Texts and technologies to be examined will include Life of an American Fireman (1903), Ballet Mécanique (1924), Meshes of the Afternoon (1943), A Movie (1958), Tom, Tom, The Piper’s Son (1969), Koyaanisqatsi (1982), Groundhog Day (1993), Memento (2000), Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2003), Decasia (2004), Lost (2004-2010), time-shifting on television (i.e. VCRs and TiVos), Braid (2008), and YouTube. The weekly screenings scheduled for this class are required.
ETS 350-1 Reading Nation and Empire: The Literature of Revolution
Instructor: Patricia Roylance
This course will examine the literature and ideology of revolution in the United States and beyond. In defiance of Britain’s imperialist control, the colonies that became the United States of America struggled to unify, win their independence, and form a new nation. We will read participants’ speeches, personal letters, pamphlets, and declarations to analyze how this process took place through language. We will also read accounts of the Revolution and its ideals produced in later eras, including fiction by Irving, Cooper, and Hawthorne and political statements from other revolutions around the world attempting to cite the U.S. Revolution as a precedent. In an interesting twist, the United States itself became the target of a serious attempt at revolution by the Southern states in the Civil War, in which the Union faced the challenge of subduing a rebellion presenting itself as the present incarnation of the "Spirit of ’76." In this course, we will track, among other issues, how the same rhetoric of revolution is used to cast the United States first as the rebel and then as the tyrant a mere 85 years later.
ETS 350-2 Reading Nation and Empire:Representing "Indians" in
American Literature and Law
Instructor: Scott Lyons
"Indians" did not exist until Columbus invented them in 1492. There were, to be sure, many different peoples living in what is now called "the Americas" (another invention), but the Indian is an idea that has been constructed and reconstructed in the context of five centuries of Euro-American colonization, a political process that is still underway. In this course we will trace the history of the Indian idea as it has been fabricated, resisted, and claimed in American (including Native American) literary, scientific, and legal discourse, starting with representations made by early explorers and settlers, then moving into the establishment of both the United States and "Indian country," and finally by examining theories of Indianness advanced by writers of different persuasions: poets, essayists, novelists, scientists, ethnologists, jurists, and politicians, both Native and non-Native. Of particular interest will be correspondences between literature and law, as both have contributed in their own ways to the (post)colonial construction of the Indian. Students completing this course will have a basic understanding of the history of federal Indian law, an introduction to Native American and (post)colonial studies, and new ways of reading "race," imperialism, and resistance.
ETS 350-3 Reading Nation and Empire:
Narrating National Identity in Twentieth-Century British Literature
Instructor: Christina Parish
They say immigrants steal the hubcaps/ Of the respected gentlemen/ They say it would be wine an' roses /If England were for Englishmen again - The Clash
So will the real, the real Great Britainstep forward/ This is the national identity parade/ Shoe gazer nation forever lookingbackwards - Asian Dub Foundation
There is no future/ In England's dreaming - The Sex Pistols
British writers have long been preoccupied with questions of belonging and national identity - no less so in the 20th century, a period marked by the ‘decline’ of Empire, the postwar rise in immigration and ethnic minorities in the U.K., the trend towards home rule politically, and the intensification of globalization. We’ll explore the role that literature plays in producing the “nation” - what Benedict Anderson has termed an “imagined political community.” How has the dream of the nation changed over time? What’s at stake in the contested spaces of such British national imaginings? How do class and race operate in constructions of the nation? Who gets to decide who “belongs”? We’ll likely read works by Woolf, Forster, Kureishi, Barnes, Rushdie, Levy, and Friel. Other potential texts: Moore’s V for Vendetta, Gilroy’s ‘There Ain’t No Black in the Union Jack,’ and films such as This is England, Dirty Pretty Things, and My Beautiful Laundrette.
ETS 360-1 Reading Gender and Sexuality: "Other" Women in Victorian Fiction
Instructor: Claudia Klaver
The domestic ideology that dominated the culture of bourgeois Victorian England dictated that in order to be good or "true," a woman must be firmly rooted in the domain of the home. Her primary identity was to be that of a virtuous wife and mother, and before that a chaste and dutiful sister and daughter. Because of the rigidity of this ideology, deviations from its ideals often catapulted a woman from the status of "angel" to that of "demon." Such "other" Victorian women-fallen, odd, evil, or perverse-occupy center stage in many nineteenth-century novels. Even when such novels impugn, punish, or banish these wayward women, their figures still trouble the snug domestic scenes with which the texts often conclude. In this course we will explore a number of nineteenth-century fictions of these "other" Victorian women, including novels by Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot, Wilkie Collins, Thomas Hardy, and George Gissing. We will supplement our readings of the novels with contemporary feminist theory and criticism, as well as with selected primary source material. Each student will present a formal oral presentation and write three papers. Students will also be asked to post regularly on the course Blackboard.
ETS 401-1 Advanced Poetry Workshop
Instructor: Brooks Haxton
A poem is a private, personal moment of expression and, at the same, an effort to reach the imagination of a stranger. The purpose of this course is to find the sources of emotion in the writer’s psyche and to develop the artistic skill to make these wellsprings of experience accessible to readers. Students need to understand the value of a group of people using imagination and intelligence to help each other accomplish a difficult task. Writers in this workshop will write one new poem each week, some in response to assignments. They will revise four of these new poems into carefully considered form. Requirements include reading, written analysis of poems, and memorization. The course is open to anyone who has taken the introductory workshop. Juniors and seniors who have not had a workshop may submit a portfolio of ten pages of original poetry to be considered for admission.
ETS 403-1 Advanced Fiction Workshop
Instructor: Dana Spiotta
This class is for fiction writers with workshop experience. We 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 required, firstname.lastname@example.org
ETS 420-1 Cultural Production and Reception: Arthurian Literature
Instructor: Patricia Moody
"His name is synonymous with wisdom and fairness. The names of his wife, magician and knights are household words. His sword symbolizes righteous power. His capitol city is an icon for earthly perfection, but with all this name recognition, we still aren't sure that he ever actually lived." http://www.britannia.com/history/h12.html
Our objective in this course is to examine some of the vast literature that has been generated over the centuries around the figure of King Arthur, from the earliest mentions to quite recent films. One of the questions, of course, is whether or not he is a historical figure. We begin the course with this question and the ongoing debate over Arthur’s historicity. We then turn to the mythic figure who arose in the late Middle Ages and who has captured successive generations’ imaginations, asking why each generation has recuperated the myth of King Arthur, and what political, cultural, and psychic interests drive the production and reception of Arthuriana.
ETS 420-2 Cultural Production and Reception: Thinking in and with Shakespeare
Instructor: Stephanie Shirilan
We are initially taught to recognize moments of ‘thinking’ and metacognition in Shakespeare by the solitary or social context of a character’s speech: a soliloquy signals the speaker’s genuine (or genuinely conflicted) representation of his or her own thinking, whereas a line delivered ‘aside’ reveals the incompatibility of authentic thoughts (or selfhood) and the social. Beginning with this body count is in fact a fair place to start when studying the representations of cognitive practices in Shakespeare’s plays, as it reminds us that the faculties of perception and cognition were firmly rooted in the body in Shakespeare’s time and that these faculties-and the bodies that housed them-were not imagined to be discrete and proper to an individual "self." Shakespeare’s characters are consumed with the impressionability of their own minds and the minds of others. In this course we will examine moments of mental exertion: deep thoughts, idle fancies, meditation, speculation, and mental manipulation (both as represented on stage and demanded of the audience) in the context of contemporary faculty psychology, philosophy, and theology, while emphasizing our reading of these plays as plays-and of Shakespeare’s aesthetic choices in his representation of thinking as the choices of a skilled playwright.
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 works 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, the 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 to the far right of the Monarchists-we can tease out not only the major debates of the period, but the relation of cultural forms to how these debates unfold.
ETS 450-1 Reading Race and Ethnicity:
Literature, Politics, and the New York (Jewish) Intellectuals
Instructor: Harvey Teres
The New York intellectuals reshaped American literature, culture, and politics during the mid-twentieth century and continue to exert an influence on our culture and politics. As advocates of a marriage between leftist politics and experimental literature they helped canonize modernism, they secured a pre-eminent place for Jewish American literature after WWII, they offered models of public intellectual engagement on a range of cultural and political issues, they responded to the Holocaust and Yiddish culture, and some of them gave birth to neo-conservatism. Through it all these mostly Jewish writers and critics who hailed from the ethnic Jewish enclaves of New York City made their way from obscurity to the centers of American literary life, even appearing on the cover of Time magazine in 1956. What was gained and what was sacrificed in making this journey of assimilation? What was their relation to their old Jewish neighborhoods and Jewish culture and religion in general? Readings will likely include work from Saul Bellow, Delmore Schwartz (who taught at Syracuse), Philip Roth, Tess Slesinger, Hannah Arendt (Eichmann in Jerusalem), Alfred Kazin, Irving Howe, Susan Sontag, Philip Rahv (editor of Partisan Review, the chief organ of this group), Mary McCarthy (not Jewish), Norman Mailer, Robert Warshow (film critic), Woody Allen, Norman Podhoretz, Allen Ginsberg, James Baldwin (not Jewish), Ralph Ellison (not Jewish) and Lionel Trilling. Note: this course will serve as the Judaic Studies Senior Seminar, but all interested students are welcome. Meets with JSP 439.
ETS 464-1 Reading Institutions and Ideologies:Self-reflexive Hollywood
Film Screening W 7:00-9:50
Instructor: Steven Cohan
This course will study how Hollywood-viewed as a geographic locale in Southern California, as an industry and corporate enterprise, and as a cultural fantasy-represents itself on film. Films to be studied may include What Price Hollywood, Bombshell, A Star is Born, Sullivan’s Travels, Sunset Blvd, The Bad and the Beautiful, Singin’ in the Rain, The Day of the Locust, S.O.B., The Player, Barton Fink, Get Shorty, and Tropic Thunder, among others. In addition, we will view documentaries on Hollywood produced at different moments in the industry’s history. The historical scope of the course will range from the 1930s through the present, which will give us an opportunity to examine Hollywood institutions that appear unchanging, such as stardom, while attending to important shifts in the political economy of movie-making that these films register. Weekly screenings are required. Assigned reading will aim to provide both background on (and analyses of) the films and on the industry’s history. The written work will include several short critical papers and a research paper. The weekly screenings scheduled for this course are required.
ETS 495-1 Thesis Writing Workshop
Instructor: Crystal Bartolovich
This course is a continuation of ETS 494. It is intended to serve as a forum for small-group mentoring and directed research toward producing an ETS Distinction Essay or Honors Thesis. The workshop will largely involve presenting drafts of sections of your thesis, and engaging in collegial peer critique. Since this is a two-credit course, we will have only 8 formal meetings, plus an individual hearing for each of you with your advisor and me to discuss and assess your completed project at the end of the semester. To keep yourself on track, in most weeks in which we do not meet, you will schedule an appointment with your advisor for a private tutorial, or engage in a peer critique exercise with another member of the class. Readings will be made available on reserves or blackboard. Although there is no textbook, you will typically be asked to make copies of drafts for all class members, as well as your advisor and me; please budget ample funds for photocopying/printing.
Open Poetry Workshop
Instructor: Bruce Smith
Students in this course will be asked to write twelve poems, one “free” poem to push back against the world with the imagination per week. The emphasis will be both on the craft-the language and the shaping and forming of the writing-and the imagination-the vision that's unique to each individual. Classroom work will consist primarily of workshop style discussion of student work, although each class will begin with poems, ancient and modern, as models or targets for discussions of technique as well as examples of tapping the resources available to the writer. This term I’ll begin class with what I call, an “exemplary” poet-avoiding the more prescriptive term “essential.” Exercises will include ways to locate the source of your poems as well as ways to "music" them, to shape them, and to revise them.
Open Fiction Workshop
Instructor: Arthur Flowers
Graduate Open Fiction Workshop-for professionals, would-be professionals, and the curious. Workshop format engaging craft, production, professionalism, vision, and the literary life.
Graduate Proseminar: Shakespeare
Instructor: Dympna Callaghan
This course offers a detailed examination of the works of Shakespeare from the perspective of their language and theatrical history as well as from their political and social context. We will place special emphasis on the recent debate amongst critics about whether Shakespeare is properly understood more as a poet whose primary interest is language rather than as "a man of the theatre" whose focus was performance and theatrical profit. We will read all of Shakespeare's non-dramatic poetry (the Sonnets and A Lover's Complaint, Lucrece, Venus and Adonis, and The Phoenix and the Turtle) and at least one play from every theatrical genre: major tragedy, festive comedy, problem comedy, a Roman history, an English history, and a "last play." The course will be reading-intensive and geared towards teaching you, step-by-step, how to research and write the 25 page final essay.
Graduate Proseminar: American Modernism and Beyond
Instructor: David Yaffe
It was a century ago that Virginia Woolf identified “in or around 1910” as the year that “human character changed.” One hundred years later, human character has changed again and again, but the particular cultural moment designated by Woolf was Modernism, and even though “modern” is derived from “moda,” the Latin word for “now,” Modernism certainly belongs to “then.” This course will be an examination of America’s response to Modernism, an evolution that began as an imitation of Europe, and developed into an autonomous and widely imitated aesthetic of its own. Although the end of the Second World War is widely identified as the end of modernism, this course will show that the aftershocks of modernism continued and evolved in the voices of émigrés and members of other once marginalized groups. The course will, of course, explore questions of post-modernism or post-post modernism, but we will also question the terms and consider alternatives. This will be an interdisciplinary course, and texts could include the poetry of T.S. Eliot, Langston Hughes, Wallace Stevens, Elizabeth Bishop, Frank O’Hara, and John Ashbery; the fiction of Henry James, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ralph Ellison, Vladimir Nabokov, Philip Roth, and Jonathan Franzen. Music could include the music of Louis Armstrong, Charles Mingus, and Bob Dylan; film could include an exploration of the inspired responses to the Hayes Production Code (Duck Soup, Bringing Up Baby) and the responses to the new relative freedoms of the MPAA (Midnight Cowboy). Theory and criticism could include the post-Structuralist controversy of the 1960s and its aftermath with the rise of the “Yale 5” of the 70s (De Man, Miller, Hartman, Derrida, and Bloom). The writing assignment will be a conference length paper (10-15 pages) that will then be expanded into a chapter or article length paper (20-25 pages).
Forms: Ulysses for Writers
Instructor: Dana Spiotta
When our list-obsessed culture makes its pronouncements about the best novels ever written, James Joyce's Ulysses usually lands at the top. This class will attempt to get beyond (underneath, behind) this novel's iconic status; we will inhabit this novel and make it ours. The class will consist of a very close reading of Ulysses. We will take it section by section while keeping close track of what accumulates. We will look at the architecture of the novel and talk about different ways of structuring a novel. We will examine how a novel sets up rules, and how it is possible to create a system without being schematic. We will be examining the narrative strategies and techniques and innovations employed by Joyce. We will read to understand the book, but also we will read with an eye toward developing our own work and our own ideas about what a novel can do. The work of this class is done primarily through reading and seminar discussions. Keeping up with the reading and attending all classes is critical. There will be short reading response papers every week. There is one final five to seven page paper-either a detailed outline of a possible novel, a piece of fiction, or a nonfiction analysis.
Instructor: Chris Kennedy
In this class, we will read the selected or collected poems of six to eight contemporary American poets and discuss their trajectories over the course of their careers. The poets we will read include James Wright, Jean Valentine, James Tate, and Denis Johnson. Students will write brief response papers (creative and/or analytical) for each book.
Forms: Teaching Creative Writing in the Community
Instructor: Michael Burkard
My role as a writer/instructor in this course is to facilitate discussion and share my experience as a writer who has worked with many different community populations over the last two decades. My role is also to prepare you for various writing exercises that you could use in visiting these venues. I will provide you with material assignments each week-ideally these will clarify approaches that could become successful exercises. The in-class writing assignments will imitate or prefigure what/how we might work with similar assignments at the community site. The course is a collaborative experience. A course taught by Stephen Mahan, “Literacy, Photography and the Community,” will be a part of this course. No previous photography experience is necessary. Our writing ideas and assignments will intersect with photographic ideas and assignments. Grading for the course will be determined by the quality of your participation in our class meetings and in the community venues.
Undergraduates may enroll in this course with the instructor’s permission.
Instructor: Chris Kennedy
In this class, we will read four short story collections and two or three novels written by contemporary authors. The books we will read include, Almost No Memory by Lydia Davis, The Pugilist at Rest by Thom Jones, The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, and Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson. Students will write brief response papers (creative and/or analytical) for each book.
Graduate Seminar: Victorian Dress Culture
Instructor: Kevin Morrison
This course provides an advanced introduction to the theories and methodologies associated with the emerging interdisciplinary field of dress culture studies, which critically investigates the relation between people and dress: how do clothes circulate within (or across) economic systems, how do they function in the social world, and how are they represented in literature and art? Our historical focus will be Victorian Britain where, far from being inconsequential, dress was a matter of serious concern and debate. Moral reformers sought to make decisions about what individuals should wear; female suffragists encouraged women to jettison constricting clothes, such as corsets and large billowy skirts, in favor of the decidedly more practical bloomers (baggy trousers gripped at the knee); political and social theorists used metaphors of clothing to advance their particular views; critics of unfair labor practices highlighted the plight of the poorly and irregularly paid workers in the fashion trade; and men who sought authority and cultural capital attempted to distinguish the professions from the trades by adopting a version of the black three-piece suit that survives today. In sum, while we will avoid bad costume ourselves, we will in other ways attempt to understand what (the so-called) Victorians wore, why they wore it, and what those material objects can, and indeed cannot, tell us about the culture of their creators and users. Primary readings will likely include Walter Besant’s Children of Gibeon, Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cranford,Emile Zola’s The Ladies’ Paradise, Thomas Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus, and a generous selection of poetry and nonfiction prose. Secondary readings will include the work of, among others, Georg Simmel, Karl Marx, Roland Barthes, Pierre Bourdieu, Thorstein Veblen, Michel de Certeau, and Henri Lefebvre. Although our focus is on the Victorian period, the theoretical and practical matters addressed in this course will be useful to students working in other historical periods or literatures, and final projects can be tailored accordingly.
Graduate Seminar: Theories of History
Instructor: Don Morton
English 730 will focus on theories of history that have been prominent in the twentieth century. The course will have two parts. In the first phase, the course will examine history writing in its varied forms, which will include some of the following: history as understood by supposedly objective, empiricist historians; Marxists; Freudian psycho-historians; members of the Annales School; historians of ideas; various forms of cultural history; the New Historicism; historians emphasizing race, gender, the postcolonial; cultural historians; historians writing from “below”; Hayden White’s metahistory; and historians considering the “destruction” of history writing as a consequence of the linguistic turn. In the second phase of the course, students will present their own historically oriented written work for the class’s examination and critique. Among authors whose works may be included are Spengler, Braudel, Thompson, Hobsbaum, Zinn, Lovejoy, Lynn Hunt, deMause, White, Williams, Foucault, Greenblatt, Orgel, . . .
Graduate Seminar: The English Department: Past, Present, and Future
Instructor: Harvey Teres
This course will explore the history of academic literary and cultural studies in the United States from the early nineteenth century to the present. Emphasis will be given to the relationship between academic literary culture and the culture and society at large, but attention will also be paid to the internal developments and conflicts that have shaped the professional and academic study of literature, including, among other things, early debates between specialists and generalists, the rise of the New Criticism, and literary theory and its problems. The latter portion of the course will be devoted to a consideration of new directions, with emphasis given to the possibilities of public humanities and civic engagement as they may affect the twenty-first-century English department. Texts may include Christopher Lucas, American Higher Education; Thomas Bender, Intellect and Public Life; Gerald Graff, Professing Literature; Mark Edmundson, Why Read?; John Dewey, Art as Experience; Martha Nussbaum, Not for Profit; Patai, Corral (eds.), Theory’s Empire; William Clark, Academic Charisma and the Origins of the Research University; Mark McGurl, the Program Era: Postwar Fiction and the Rise of Creative Writing; Karen Washburn, University Inc.; Christopher Newfield, Unmaking the Public University; Morris Dickstein, Double Agent: The Critic & Society; Bruce Robbins, The Phantom Public Sphere; and selections from DuBois, C.L.R. James, Gramsci, Jacoby, Foucault, and Butler.
M.F.A. Essay Seminar
Instructor: Bruce Smith
This seminar will address some aspect of the work of a single major writer. The emphasis will be on one writer's understanding in depth of the work of another writer: What was the nature of that writer's craft and how did it develop? The seminar will see each student essay through several drafts, with the final essay being about 5,000 words. The completion of this degree essay will take the place of the present dossier as the culminating intellectual experience for M.F.A. candidates.