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Spring 2020

Undergraduate Courses

 

ENG 105 M002 Introduction to Creative Writing

W 3:30-4:50pm

Instructor: Matthew Grzecki

This course will introduce students to three types of creative writing: poetry, fiction, and nonfiction (including mixed genres). The course will focus on inspiration (why write a poem or a story or an essay?) as well as the techniques of evocative, compelling writing across all literary genres (e.g., point of view, concrete detail, lyricism, image, voice, tone, structure, dialogue, and characterization). Students will examine work by authors from various traditions and produce creative work in each genre. ENG 105 prepares students for upper-level creative writing courses in fiction and poetry.

 

ENG 107 M001 Living Writers

W 3:45-6:30 pm

ENG 107 M002 through M010

W 3:45-6:30 pm

Instructor: Staff

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. The first class meets in Gifford Auditorium.

 

ENG 114 M001

MW 5:15pm-6:35pm

Instructor: Hsiao Cheng

This course offers a survey of British Literature spanning the Romantic period, the Victorian period, the twentieth century, and the present. In this course, we will focus on British identity as reflected through historical events, social reform, cultural movements, and literary form. To this end, we will read and interpret visual and written texts interrogating what it means to be British, the ideologies that consolidate this sense of identity, and how “Britishness” becomes reified or challenged through political revolution, nationalism/imperialism, and (de)colonialism. Readings will span a broad range of forms, from novels and short stories to poetry and film.

 

ENG 119 M001 Topics in American Literary History: Myths, Supermen, and the Culture of Comics

MW 12:45-2:05pm

Instructor: Rhyse Curtis

Why are sequential narratives about serious topics, like racism, fascism, sexism, and war, called “comics?” How has the comic book form, and the stories and characters that it produces, become such an essential part of storytelling in America? What sort of socio-historical concerns do comics consider, and how does the unique medium of sequential art tell these stories? This course traces the U.S history of comic book medium from its emergence as newspaper strips in the late 19th century, through the silver and golden age of superhero comics, and forward to the comics and graphic novels of our contemporary moment. Throughout the semester, we will read both comic books and the scholarship surrounding them, we will also learn the close reading skills necessary to study and interpret the comic medium, and produce argumentative essays based on interpretive analysis. Participation in class discussions, completion of weekly discussion board entries, three close-reading essays, a mid-term exam, and a final exam will all be essential components of the class. Specific case-study texts may include Kyle Baker’s Nat Turner, Joe Sacco’s Palestine, Pornsak Pichetshote’s Infidel, and Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home.

 

ENG 119 M002

MW 2:15-3:35pm

Because all writing is experimental, and no work considered valuable and excellent fails to test, reconfigure, or broaden the language, a course devoted to the recent history of experimental and emerging genres will need to examine & seek new patterns of expression in a range of exemplary texts and cultural artifacts, with emphasis on close reading practices, attention to rhetorical/historical contexts, and strategies for effective response/critique. In particular, the past forty years will frame our study of the rapidly expanding diversity of voices and forms that lead to our current understandings of literary art. Historically, experimentalism sharpens under regressive regimes; in this class, student writers committed to the idea that the stories that need to be written are the ones that can’t be told will find a through-line to their ambitious forbears, and will better understand how to read and create the texts that define literary/American history.

 

ENG 122 M003

TTH 9:30-10:50am

Instructor: Evan Hixon

This course examines the development and evolution of the novel as a form of writing over the last three hundred years.  Rather than treating the novel as an unchanging or permanent form of writing, this course looks at the novel as an ever-changing form of writing, one that is always in conversation with itself.  Beginning in the early 18th century, our exploration of the novel will look at the ways in which these novels shape the kinds of narratives, styles and generic conventions that would define what we come to think of as “the novel.”  Looking at a wide range of novels, students will interrogate the texts to better understand the ways in which novels are shaped by the cultures that produce them and the ways that novels in turn shape culture. The course will examine the novel as an ever changing, self-reflective form of writing that is always in conversation with its own past.  Reading texts such as Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, Nella Larsen’s Passing and Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, students will examine novels both as textual objects of analysis and as part of a wider cultural ecosystem of cultural consumption.  Further, this course will place the novel into various critical and theoretical conversations concerning issues of class, race, gender and sexuality as the novel becomes engaged with shifting culture understandings of identity and representation.

 

ENG 145 M001 Reading Popular Culture

MW 11:40-12:35pm

Instructor: Crystal Bartolovich

This class examines mass cultural forms such as advertising, television shows, and digital culture as well as everyday practices, such as shopping, reading the news, or going to the movies, to try to understand how we learn to make sense of a globalizing world and live a particular culture—or cultures—in the U.S. today. To this end, we will explore the pleasures of becoming a thoughtful reader of a variety of cultural texts. For example, we might ask why characters such as Sherlock Holmes keep enticing readers and viewers in new forms. We might read Spiegelman’s Maus alongside comics and other popular depictions of families, such as Breaking Bad, the Simpsons, the Sopranos, Jane the Virgin, or Blackish.  We might consider the various appeals of sci fi, horror, or reality tv, as well as social media influencers and advertising, while exploring their relation to our own identity formation: how do you become “yourself” in a particular culture?  Why do we eat, dress and dream as we do?  As the course progresses, you should become a more sophisticated, creative and engaged reader of the many different cultural forms that make the world in which we live meaningful to ourselves and others.

 

ENG 151 M001 Interpretation of Poetry

MW 2:15-3:35 PM

Instructor: Bruce Smith

The course will consist of discussions of poems from the various traditions of poetry: from anonymous ballads to spoken word poetry. I’m interested in what makes the poem memorable and moving, how it is a vehicle for the intellect and the emotions, how it’s “the act of establishing communication between the mind and the heart”. I’m interested too in what ways the poem provokes and challenges us, what gives the poem 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 6 two-page papers in which they examine closely a single poem by a poet from the text. Students may opt to write more papers (up to 8) and receive extra consideration for them. In addition, students will be asked to choose a poet and present the work of the poet in a 4 to 5-page paper. Emphasis in discussions is on style and substance, music and image. Multiple ways of reading poems will help the students expand the range of poetic possibilities.

 

ENG 153 M002 Interpretation of Fiction

MW 2:15-3:35pm

Instructor: Sean M. Conrey

This course introduces students to techniques and approaches to interpreting and analyzing fiction. We will develop close reading skills while learning to recognize the formal aspects of literary fiction, namely plot, character, setting, point of view, imagery and intertextuality. Across a range of texts from short stories, comics, novels, digital media and video games, we will work at developing critical reading habits in conjunction with the skills necessary to convey our interpretations in writing. Readings will be loosely organized around ways that cultures and countercultures interact, considering the dynamics between cultural insiders and outsiders, the position of the "other," and particularly the ways that artists can interrupt, reify, interrogate and disturb privileged ways of living. Texts in this course may include stories by Colum McCann, Toni Cade Bambara, and Mohja Kahf, novels (graphic and otherwise) such as Watchmen by Alan Moore and The Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuin, films such as Children of Men and Lost in Translation, and the video game Never Alone.

 

ENG 154 M001 Interpretation of Film

MW 5:15pm – 6:35pm

Screening: Th 7pm – 9:45pm

Instructor: Simon Staples-Vangel

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the interpretation of film, arguably the last century’s most impactful medium. How does one “read” the language of cinema? What are the formal elements that contribute meaning to a film? How can film narratives be placed in their social and historical context in ways that give them new meaning? What does the term “film” even mean in our post-celluloid digital and globalized world? Throughout this course, we will address these and other questions. Initially, we will focus on the formal language of cinema and how to interpret specific film techniques, such as mise-en-scène, cinematography, sound, and editing. From there, we will move on to questions of narrative form, genre, marketing and reception, before ending the course considering authorship, representation, and cinema’s place in relation to the current digital media landscape. Required screenings for this course will cover both classical and contemporary cinema, including studio-era Hollywood, recent blockbusters, international films, as well as documentary, art cinema, and examples of the avant-garde. 

 

ENG 170 M001 American Cinema, Beginnings to Present

MW 12:45-1:40pm

Instructor: Will Scheibel

This course traces the history of American cinema from its emergence as a celluloid-based medium in the late nineteenth-century to its digital development at the intersections of multiple media companies and platforms. We will look at individual films not as ends in themselves, but as products of an industry, mass culture, and national artistic traditions. Our goals will be to understand how to interpret the meanings of individual films in particular historical contexts, as well as how to account for aesthetic, technological, and ideological changes over time. Learning this history will introduce you to various cinematic modes—fiction and non-fiction, narrative and the avant-garde, Hollywood and independent production—that shape different experiences. Course topics will include the following: the rise of cinema as an institution; the standardization of American film genres and storytelling; the classical studio and star systems of Hollywood; the shift to color, widescreen, and location shooting in the late-studio era; the promotion of naturalism through Method acting and censorship deregulation; the political effects of the Cold War and the counterculture; new waves of film school-trained and independent directors; and cinema’s ongoing commitment to spectacles of realism and fantasy.

 

ENG 175 M001 World Literature--1000 C.E. to the Present

TTH 2:00-3:20pm

Instructor: Harvey Teres

This course will introduce you to some of the most valued and enduring examples of world literature since 1000 C.E.  Texts will include Dante’s Inferno; the African epic Sundiata; Cervantes’ Don Quixote; Shakespeare’s Othello; Voltaire’s Candide; Wu Cheng’en’s Journey to the West; Basho’s haiku poetry; Goethe’s Faust; Ghalib’s and Tagore’s poetry; fiction by Chekhov, Lu Xun, Woolf, and Borges; T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land; Anna Akhmatova’s poetry; and Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman.  The objective of the course is to enhance your global cultural literacy by familiarizing you with some of the most influential books and cultures from around the world.  This will prepare you to become an informed global citizen and at the same time provide essential background for understanding English and American literature and culture. Classes will alternate between lectures and discussions.  You will have the option of either producing shorter response papers or traditional midterm and final interpretive essays.

 

ENG 181 M001 Class and Literary Texts

MW 3:45-5:05pm

ENG 181 M002 Class and Literary Texts

TTH 3:30-4:50pm

Instructor: Katherine Kidd

In this course, we will examine a selection of 19th, 20th, and 21st century U.S. American novels, periodicals, poetry, and film through the lens of a social category that is often ignored or denied—due to cultural blind spots, critical dismissals, and even deliberate suppression—within U.S. American social histories, literary canons, and classrooms: the economic class system. Some focused textual questions we will ask include: is working-class literature produced by, for, or about working-class people? Are representations of the working-and-poverty classes in these texts fair, productive, or accessible? What are the obstacles to representing class experience? Who counts as working class?  What counts as work? How does U.S. working-class literature participate in forging or re-forging American values and culture, and how might it help us imagine alternatives to what we’ve got?

 

ENG 182 M002 Race & Literary Texts Envisioning American Dreams and Realities

MW 12:45-2:05pm

Instructor: Christopher Eng

Whither the American Dream? Exacerbating skepticism around the popular fantasy, dramatic occurrences—from the housing market crash and economic repression in 2007 to the rising xenophobia after the 2016 election—have prompted some to question whether we should more accurately speak of the ‘American Nightmare.’ Most urgently, race highlights the contradictions embedded within the American Dream: the perils that accompany its promises and the realities that undermine its values. For instance, how do we grapple with the fact that the nation’s celebration of ideals such as freedom and equality have historically coincided with harsh realities of slavery, exclusion laws, disenfranchisement, and segregation? This course examines literary works by writers that explore how race, class, and sociopolitical contexts unevenly determine who has the opportunities and resources for realizing this dream and why it remains an illusion for so many. Elucidating the stark realities for minoritized communities, these writers leverage the American Dream as a platform for social justice to demand changes to the disconnect between ideal and reality. Accordingly, their imaginative works grapple with the possibilities for realizing a more perfect union while radically expanding our vision of what such dreams entail.

 

ENG 182 M001 Race & Literary Texts

TTH 3:30-4:50pm

Instructor: William Marple

What does it mean to say that race is a “social construct?” While it seems easy to recognize that the concept of race is largely a social category lacking a biological basis, it is not always quite so simple to account for the very real impact that race has on lived experience or the complex ways in which American culture and society have been largely defined by an obsession with phenotypical difference that dates back to the earliest days of the nation. The goal of this course is to explore literary and other cultural representations of race in the United States from the Revolution to the present. By engaging with literary texts, we will attempt to establish a rough history of thought about race, while simultaneously situating these texts in the context of broader literary and historical movements. Through our engagement with these texts, we will attempt to interrogate the ways in which representations of racial categories emerge and re-emerge in particular cultural contexts, and to examine the ways in which these categories intersect with other categories like gender and sexuality. To address these questions, we will engage with a range of essays, short stories, poetry, and novels from such authors as Frederick Douglass, James Wheldon Johnson, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, and Gloria Naylor.

 

ENG 184 M003 Ethnicity and Literary Texts

MW 3:45-5:05pm

Instructor: Elizabeth Gleesing

The United States is commonly referred to as a multicultural society, a melting pot, and a nation of immigrants. With these descriptors in mind, this class seeks to question the relationship between identity and ethnicity in contemporary U.S. literary texts. In taking ethnicity as a lens, we can ask questions about what it means to be included in or excluded from American identity and what relationship there is between who we are and the places from which we and our ancestors have come. Along with these central questions, we will analyze themes of intra- and intergenerational conflict, in-between identities that seem to straddle national borders, and experiences of being a refugee or being a stateless person, estranged from one’s home country. We will study short stories, poems, essays, visual works, and novels from some of the following authors: Gloria Anzaldúa, Louise Erdrich, Jhumpa Lahiri, Colm Tóibín, Helena María Viramontes, and Gene Luen Yang. In addition to written texts, we will also look at how visual works like Beyoncé’s Lemonade and digital documentaries communicate ideas of generational change, historical memory, and displacement. Assignments are likely to include reading notes, discussion questions, short analysis assignments, and two longer argumentative papers.

 

ENG 184 M001 Ethnicity and Literary Texts

MW 5:15-6:35pm

Instructor: Christopher Barnes

 

ENG 184 M002 Ethnicity and Literary Texts: Introduction to Latino Literature

MW 2:15-3:35pm

Instructor: Silvio Torres-Saillant

This course offers an introduction to the art of literature drawing on texts written by American authors of Hispanic descent. In dealing with literary artists from an ethnically distinct segment of the US population, the course also introduces students to the subject of ethnicity as it relates to creative writing in the United States, a nation with a long history of inter-group conflict based on ancestral difference. Placing the writers in a timeline that starts with the 1513 arrival of Spanish ships on the Florida coast, nearly a century before the 1607 arrival of English fortune-seekers in Jamestown, the course shows the size, longevity, diversity, complexity, and merit of the literary corpus considered. We shall read texts for their power of signification and aesthetic quest as art while considering the issues that literary critics and scholars tend to privilege when approaching Latino literature. Critical and scholarly writings on Latino literature typically focus on history, culture, transnational identity, race, ethnicity, language, borderlands, hybridity, class, gender, sexuality, and social justice. We will read poetry, drama, short fiction, novels, memoirs, and essays while seeking to account for several of the countries to which Latina/os trace their roots, including Mexico, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Cuba, Spain, and the Dominican Republic. Our reading list will offer a sampling of texts chosen from across the long history of Hispanic print culture in the United States from the colonial period to the present.

 

ENG 192 M003 Gender and Literary Texts

MW 5:15-6:35pm

Instructor: Dasgupta Deyasini

What is gender? How do we understand it? These questions mark the starting point of our discussions. Locating gender as a social construct, this class will interrogate its codification within (and through) multiple intersecting social, cultural, racial, political, sexual, and economic scripts. Reading gender through literary texts, we will engage with the social institutions and ideological apparatuses that define the gendered body, even as we encounter bodies that threaten to destabilize the concept of gender by defying social norms and expectations. We begin, therefore, with a brief glimpse at early modern scientific theories of gender that percolate through the socio-cultural fabric and inform the works of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. From there, we can proceed to the separation of the spheres in Victorian England, seen through the lens of female poets and novelists. This should lead us to the representation of idealized bodies, gender roles, and performativity in the nineteenth and twentieth century, e.g. in Paris is Burning. Since this class spans multiple historical and temporal locations, as well as literary genres, some authors that we may look at include Shakespeare, Rossetti, Audre Lorde, Virginia Woolf, Nella Larsen (Passing), Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale), Shyam Selvadurai (Funny Boy), and/or Satrapi (Persepolis).

 

ENG 192 M001 Gender and Literary Texts

MW 3:45-5:05pm

What is gender? What does it mean to say that gender is a social construction? How does gender intersect with other social formations like race, class, sexuality, and (dis)ability? How do gender and texts work to represent and create bodies? This course will explore textual representations of gender and sexuality and their cultural, historical, and social implications. Through an examination of novels, short stories, films, and other media forms, we will address these questions and think about the ways that literary texts construct, rewrite, and interrogate gender as a social category. We will think about how literary texts represent and challenge ideological and social structures like heteronormativity, marriage, feminism, racism, and patriarchy. Potential authors and theorists include Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, Alison Bechdel, Justin Torres, bell hooks, and Ocean Vuong.

 

ENG 200 M001 Selected Topics: Science Fiction

TTh 12:30-1:50pm

Instructor: Katherine Kidd

The origins and definition of Science Fiction or speculative fiction are debated by fans and scholars all over the world. Likewise, scholars continue to debate the value of the genre as Literature with a capital L. In this course, we will take the genre and its capacities for profound social commentary seriously as we explore possible beginnings, movements, subgenres and shifts within Science Fiction short stories and novels, as well as some television and film. We will look at U.S. American and British texts, as well as several from around the world, ranging from the 18th century onward.

 

ENG 215 M004 Introductory Poetry Workshop

T 3:30-6:15pm

Instructor: Sarah Harwell

Thomas Hardy wrote “Poetry is emotion put into measure. The emotion must come by nature, but the measure can be acquired by art.” In this introductory workshop you will acquire the craft in order to write original poems in the pursuit of such art.  You will be required to write both creatively and critically as you compose your own poems, work on imitations, revise, and analyze and critique the poems of others.  There will be a variety of creative prompts, critical exercises, and assigned readings to deepen your knowledge of poetry, as well as contribute to your growth as a creative writer. All poetic souls welcome. Participation and attendance are necessary. 

 

ENG 217 M003 Introductory Fiction Workshop

M 5:15-8:00pm

Instructor: Matthew Grzecki

This course will introduce students to the fiction workshop. Students will learn how to write a story, how to read closely, and how to critique and revise stories. In class, we will discuss student work as well as published work. There will be in-class writing exercises and prompts, which will lead students to create stories of their own. Attendance and participation are mandatory.

 

ENG 217 M001 Introductory Fiction Workshop

T 12:30-3:15pm

Instructor: Dana Spiotta

This class will introduce students to the fiction workshop. Participants in the workshop will learn the elements of story, how to read closely, and how to critique one another's stories.  You will also learn how to revise your own work. We will discuss student work in addition to published work from established writers. We will do in-class writing exercises, and each student will keep a writing notebook. 

 

ENG 221 M001 Humanistic Computing

MW 12:45-2:05pm

Instructor: Chris Forster

Digital technology has reshaped literature. Computers now write poems and make art. Data mining and “distant reading” allow scholars to analyze thousands of texts at once. This course offers an introduction to computer programming for students in the humanities, with the goal of making such developments more accessible, and helping humanities students apply their own skills and habits of thinking to this new and emerging area of culture.

We will start from the ground up, learning to program with a focus on the applications and problems most relevant to students of art, literature, history, and related fields. Along the way, we will investigate the specific challenges and opportunities that computer programming affords the humanities. What new questions can we ask? What limitations do we encounter? In seeking to adapt the tools of programming to the needs of the humanities, this class also offers an opportunity to think about the goals, values, and modes of thinking and interpretation that characterize the humanities.

This class is targeted at humanities with little or no programming experience. Work includes regular programming exercises and short writing assignments.

 

ENG 230 M001 Ethnic Literary Traditions- “Jewish Humor and Satire”

TTH 2:00-3:20pm

Instructor: Kenneth Frieden

Why does a Jew always answer a question with a question? Why not?

This class is an exploration into Jewish humor and satire. What are its characteristics? What does it mean? How does it work? What does it say about Jewish identity? We begin with Freudian theory and then focus on Yiddish satire and American humor. We will analyze literary works (especially by Sholem Aleichem, and Leo Rosten), American Jewish stand-up comedy routines (e.g., by Lennie Bruce and recent performers), early Yiddish movies (e.g., Yidl mitn fidl) and American films (e.g., by the Marx Brothers, Mel Brooks, and Woody Allen).

There will be weekly short writing assignments, to be posted on Blackboard. Students will also prepare group presentations on their favorite Jewish comedians. Students will create, and on Thursdays we will perform, original standup routines. If this is hard for you, don’t worry; now is your chance to make it easier. As a former student wrote, Jewish humor gave him “all the keys to success and the most important lessons in life.” Being able to speak in public, captivate an audience, and gets laughs are some of those keys. What are the lessons? You figure it out! Start by just showing up.

No prerequisites—no prior knowledge of Jewish culture is assumed.

 

ENG 242 M005 Reading & Interpretation

MW 12:45-2:05pm

Instructor: Erin Mackie

ENG 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.

 

ENG 242 M001 Reading & Interpretation

TTH 9:30-10:50am

Instructor: Coran Klaver

ENG 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.

 

ENG 303 M001 Reading & Writing Fiction

TTH 12:30-1:50pm

Instructor: Staff

All creative disciplines depend on the study and imitation of the particular art form for mastery of their elements. In this course you will read and analyze 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 texts studied. Possible authors include Flannery O'Connor, Alice Munro, James Joyce, Edward P. Jones, Anton Chekhov, Donald Barthelme, ZZ Packer, Grace Paley and Raymond Carver.

 

ENG 304 M001 Reading & Writing Poetry

MW 5:15-6:35pm

Instructor: Staff

  1. S. Eliot said that minor poets borrow while great poets steal. From classical antiquity to the present, poets have always learned their trade by imitating other poets. They have pursued their individual talent by absorbing, assimilating, and in some cases subverting the lessons of the traditions they inherit. In this class, we will read and imitate poems from canonical poets. We’ll examine each poet closely, sympathetically, and predatorily. That is, we will read like aspiring writers, looking for what we can steal. We will deepen our understanding of a variety of poetic devices, such as diction, image, music, and metaphor. We will attend to each poet’s stylistic and formal idiosyncrasies, as well as his or her techniques and habits. You will be required to display an understanding of these issues by producing creative and analytical responses to the poets studied.

 

ENG 305 M00 Critical Analysis (The Racial Imagination)

MW 12:45-2:05pm

Instructor: Silvio Torres-Saillant

Given the value of race as an axis of literary analysis, this course pursues a historical understanding of the phenomenon by tracing the origins and evolution of racial thought as a mediator of social relations. Via pertinent readings, we recover the memory of a time prior to racialization that show the non-racial nature of human interactions across difference of phenotype and ancestry before considering the overwhelming presence of the racial imagination in modern social relations. Our readings span four millennia from the Babylonian Hammurabi Code (circa 1754 BCE) to the racial rationale uttered by 21-year-old Dylann Roof while killing 9 churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina (June 2015). We cruise Mesopotamia, Hebrew antiquity, Africa, the Greco-Roman world, early Christendom, the Ottoman Empire, and China. In the “new world,” a civilization emerged with radically new logics of social relations based on a scale of value that ranked some ancestries above others and deemed vanquished peoples contemptible or expendable based on their “blood” and ways of life, thereby ushering in the dogma called racism that would become normative for some 450 years. We explore the role of the intellectuals in validating theoretically the subjugation of foreign peoples that armies of conquest had achieved de facto, adding discourse to the weaponry of domination, a resource that ancient conquerors didn’t seem to need.  The course clarifies the incidental link between slavery with racism and probes the conceptual constitution and the intellectual merits of racial thought.  

 

ENG 311 M002 Literary Periods before 1900: The American Renaissance

MW 12:30-1:50pm

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.

 

ENG 311 M001 People, Places, Nature:  Literary Environments of Late 19th-century American Fiction

TTH 3:45-5:05pm

Instructor: Dorri Beam

This course looks at the outpouring of fiction dedicated to particular places and environments in the years between the Civil War and the turn into the twentieth century. In this period of rapid expansion and industrialization, and the migration, immigration, and displacements of peoples living in and coming to the U.S., a good deal of fiction hunkered down in specific locales, evoking the particularities of place, imagining the entwinement of natural and social ecologies, and considering the forces that shaped its inhabitants.  From rural New England to the emerging cityscapes of the industrial north, from vast expanses of desert and prairie, to defunct southern plantations, to gold rush California: literary environments were invested with questions about the interrelation of space and time, nature and people, and social and national identities.

Potential authors include Charles Chesnutt, Kate Chopin, Jack London, Mary Wilkins Freeman, Bret Harte, Frank Norris, Sara Winnemucca, Mark Twain, and Jose Marti

 

ENG 312 M001 Race & Literary Periods: 20th-C U.S. Southern Lit (REC)

TTH 9:30-10:50pm

Instructor: Susan Edmunds

In this course, we will read novels and short stories about the U.S. South. After a brief look at nineteenth-century antecedents in short stories by Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Chesnutt, we will focus on fiction written in the twentieth century. We will examine aesthetic modes and literary genres that have been strongly associated with the region, such as the Southern Gothic and the Southern grotesque. And we will explore the literary evolution of regional social categories and character types ranging from white trash, the black folk, and queer childhood to the doomed aristocrat, the conjure woman, and the freak. Throughout the course, we will examine how writers have used the South’s distinctive literary tradition to talk about race in (and beyond) the region -- particularly as race relates to questions of gender and sexuality, wealth and poverty, violence and the law, and regional and global power relations. Texts include: Erskine Caldwell, Tobacco Road; William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying; Richard Wright, Black Boy; Truman Capote, Other Voices, Other Rooms; Cormac McCarthy, Child of God; Toni Morrison, Tar Baby; and Jesmyn Ward, Sing, Unburied, Sing.

 

ENG 320 M002 Authors: Chaucer’s Medieval World, The Canterbury Tales

TTH 2:00-3:20pm

Instructor: Patricia Moody

Geoffrey Chaucer stands arguably along with Shakespeare, as an icon of the English literary canon, dubbed ‘the father of English poetry,’ his unfinished masterpiece The Canterbury Tales a monument worthy of both appreciation and scrutiny for almost 600 years.  This course takes the cultural icon of Geoffrey Chaucer along with his most famous work as its subject; it examines the medieval world, an age and culture that produced a ‘Chaucer,’ from the critical perspective of discourse analysis.  (Discourse analysis is inquiry that assumes that all language is socially and linguistically constructed.)

 

ENG 352 M001 Race, Nation, and Empire: Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies

TTH 9:30-10:50am

Instructor: Carol Fadda

This course takes up the critical study of US racial formations in comparative, relational, and transnational frameworks. We will read a range of texts that emphasize the interconnections as well as the differences in the histories and experiences of racialized and minoritized communities in the US, extending to African American, Arab American, Muslim American, Latinx, Asian American, and Native American communities. In doing so, we will analyze anti-hegemonic narratives that interrogate the construction and policing of racial and ethnic categories in the US through feminist, decolonial, and anti-racist critiques, and at the intersections of race, ethnicity, class, gender, religion, sexuality, and nationality. Some formative questions addressed in the course include: What are the possibilities as well as limits of cross-racial solidarity work? What are some of the aesthetic, political, social, and historical factors shaping the comparative and relational study of racialized and ethnic minorities? How do comparative and relational approaches help us understand race, ethnicity, and Indigeneity in the context of national borders, migration, forced removals, and transnational movement? Course readings include works by Toni Morrison, Cherríe Moraga, Karma R. Chávez, Angela Davis, Grace Lee Boggs, Suheir Hammad, Audra Simpson, and Gloria Anzaldúa.

 

ENG 352 M003 Race, Nation, Empire--20th/21st-Century African American Literature

TTH 11:00-12:20pm

Instructor: Harvey Teres

This course is meant to introduce students to some of the most accomplished and influential examples of African American literature from 1900 to the present.  It is meant for all students interested in African American literature and culture, including students interested in understanding race relations and whiteness in the United States.  Texts will likely include gospel, blues, rhythm and blues, jazz, and hip hop music and lyrics; as well as poetry by Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, Countee Cullen, Sterling Brown, Melvin Tolson, Gwendolyn Brooks, Robert Hayden, Etheridge Knight, Audre Lorde, Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, Lucille Clifton, Yusef Komunyakaa, Rita Dove, and Tracy K. Smith.  Fiction, non-fiction, and drama will likely include W. E. B. Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk and “Criteria of Negro Art,” Langston Hughes’ “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain,” Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, Jean Toomer’s Cane, Richard Wright’s “Bright and Morning Star,” Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man and “The World and the Jug,” James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, from Albert Murray’s Train Whistle Guitar, Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon, August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Suzan-Lori-Parks’ Topdog/Underdog, and Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones.

 

ENG 352 M004 Race, Nation and Empire: Postcolonial Cinemas

MW 5:15-6:35pm

W 7:00-9:45pm (Screening)

Instructor: Roger Hallas

This course explores the intersections of race, nation and empire in the diverse cinemas of Britain, West Africa, and India. How do Jane Austen adaptations and James Bond films articulate British identity in a postcolonial world? How have West African filmmakers developed postcolonial aesthetics by reworking and transforming traditional cultural practices? What does Bollywood illuminate about contemporary globalized India? Through their complementary pleasures of narrative and spectacle, movies have provided the fantasies, mythologies and desires of nation and empire with an enormously popular medium. However, anti-imperial and postcolonial movements have also recognized a revolutionary potential in this quintessentially modern medium and have thus harnessed filmmaking as an important tool in their own struggles. We will examine a wide historical range of filmmaking practices, from historical costume dramas to postcolonial allegories, from ethnographic film to Bollywood classics. This course combines sustained attention to the specific economic, political, cultural and aesthetic histories that have shaped British, West African, and Indian cinemas with an ongoing consideration of some key theoretical issues in the study of race, nationalism and post coloniality. The weekly screenings for this Film and Screen Studies course are required.

 

ENG 352 M002 Race, Nation and Empire: U.S. Immigrant Lit, 1900-2015 (REC)

TTh 11:00-12:20pm

Instructor: Susan Edmunds

Course Description: Celebrations of the immigrant past are common in the U.S., where we like to talk about the American Dream and the idea of the American Melting Pot. But the fiction of our immigrant writers reveals a much more complex picture. In this course, we will read fiction that portrays immigrant experiences marked by ethnic and racial conflict, debates about the value of assimilation, and the traumatic effects of war, dislocation and uncertain legal status. We will also examine literary tropes developed across immigrant traditions during a century in which the United States’ rise to global dominance has not only changed who immigrates to the U.S. and why, but also the stories immigrants tell. We will start with some early-twentieth-century examples of immigrant writing before turning to fiction written in the last thirty years. Texts include: Abraham Cahan, Yekl; James Farrell, Chicago Stories; Jamaica Kincaid, Lucy; Lê Thị Diễm Thúy, The Gangster We Are All Looking For; Junot Diaz, The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao; Jhumpa Lahiri, Unaccustomed Earth; Imbolo Mbue, Behold the Dreamers; and Valeria Luiselli, Lost Children Archive; as well as shorter works by Sergio Troncoso, Jhumpa Lahiri, Nam Le, Edwidge Danticat, and Kirstin Valdez Quade.

 

ENG 400 M001 Special Topics: Jane Austen in Context

TTh 3:30-4:50

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 through Syracuse Abroad. The application process closed on October 15, 2019. 

 

ENG 401 M003 Advanced Poetry Workshop

T 3:30-6:20pm

Instructor: Brooks Haxton

A poem is a private moment of expression and, at the same, an effort to communicate with a stranger.  The purpose of this course is to find sources of feeling and insight in the writer and to develop the artistic skill to make the writer’s experience accessible to readers. Students need to understand the value of a group of people using imagination and intelligence to help each other accomplish this 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 also include careful written critique and discussion of other students’ writing. 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.

 

ENG 403 M002 Advanced Fiction Workshop

M 3:45-6:30pm

Instructor: Arthur Flowers

Workshop Format. Craft. Readings. Production. Vision.

 

ENG 403 M001 Advanced Fiction Workshop

M 3:45-6:30pm

Instructor: Jonathan Dee

This fiction workshop will develop and expand upon the skills introduced in ETS 217. The primary focus will be on how to write better, more effective, more technically sophisticated short stories and/or novel excerpts; the secondary focus will be on how to critique constructively others’ work in these same forms. Most of the class will center on the writing and subsequent discussion of original work created by you; there will be some for-credit in-class writing exercises and previously published work to critique as well.

 

ENG 406 M001 the Ideology of Fantasy: Tolkien, Rowling, and Martin

TTH 11:00-12:20

Instructor: Patricia Moody

This topic allows us to examine closely the various and complex ways in which three of the most popular contemporary writers of fantasy create blueprints of worlds—Mordor, Hogwarts, Westeros-- both remote from our own and yet stunningly familiar; it will also allow us to examine issues of critical reception.  The course assumes that participants have already read the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, and George R. Martin.

This Advanced Critical Writing course will help you to hone your research and writing skills and engage in deep and sustained critical inquiry. This course can be used in place of ETS 305.

 

ENG 407 M001 Advanced Critical Writing, Topics before 1900: History of the Book

MW 12:45-2:05pm

Instructor: Patricia Roylance

This course is designed as an introduction to the field known most commonly as “the history of the book.” We will investigate what difference it makes to consider the materiality of a text when interpreting it. How do a text’s material form (its actual paper, ink, binding, etc.) and the modes of its production, circulation and reception affect our sense of its content? We will cover a wide range of texts and topics, from medieval manuscripts and Shakespeare to romance novels and e-readers. We will sometimes meet at Bird Library, to examine archival materials in Special Collections related to our course topics. A research project will require you to work with Special Collections archival material, on an aspect of book history of particular interest to you. This Advanced Critical Writing course will help you to hone your research and writing skills and engage in deep and sustained critical inquiry.

 

ENG 410 M001 Forms and Genres: Cinema and the Documentary Idea

MW 2:15-3:35pm

W 7:00-9:00pm (Screening)

Instructor: Roger Hallas

Invented at end of the nineteenth century, cinema was inevitably shaped by industrial modernity’s demand for empirical scientific evidence. But the medium also has a long history as a tool for self-representation and the exploration of subjectivity. Cinema continues to be regarded in various ways as a powerful visual technology for capturing the “real” in all its diversity. This course investigates the complex history and theorization of the documentary idea across various film and video practices. We shall examine not only classic and contemporary documentary films, but also experimental cinema, fake documentaries, wildlife films, docudramas, and reality television. We shall interrogate the very term “documentary” which has a long and contested history that traverses scientific, legal, aesthetic, political, sociological, and anthropological discourses. Moving from the euphoria and anxiety around the first public film screenings by the Lumière Brothers in 1895 through the radical defamiliarization of the world in Soviet and 1960s political cinema to the subversive playfulness of the contemporary mockumentary, the course explores the relations between documentary practices from different national, historical and political contexts. The weekly screenings for this Film and Screen Studies course are required.

 

ENG 411 M001 Forms and Genres before 1900

MW 12:45-2:05pm

Instructor: Stephanie Shirilan

Acting and voice coaches have written extensively about breathing Shakespeare’s language, finding its poetry and the power of its rhythms in the “breath” of the line. What does this mean for students of literature? We will read from acting and voice pedagogy alongside classical rhetorical/oratorical treatises (that Shakespeare most certainly studied in grammar school) in order to consider what a focus on reading and breathing affords the literary, historical, and theoretical study of Shakespeare. How does reading aloud change our relationship to the plays in performance, in “private” reading, in the classroom, and in the “archive”? What becomes clearer and more accessible? What becomes more opaque and difficult? How might we observe Shakespeare’s experience as an actor in the attention he gives to the management of the breath both structurally and thematically? We will read fewer plays slowly so as to experiment with reading and performance techniques together in and outside of class. We will make at least one trip to the theater and will view a variety of adaptations and filmed productions. Non-traditional, pedagogical and performance-based, para-academic assignment options will be available for all students but may be customized to enhance the experiences of VPA/Drama and Education Majors.

 

ENG 421 M001 Mysteries of the Manor House

TTH 2:00-3:20PM

Instructor: Mike Goode

In fiction and in film, the country manor is a haunted house, always figuratively and sometimes literally. British and Irish novelists in particular have invested the manor’s stately walls, immaculate landscaping, and luxurious furnishings—not to mention its ruined wings, secret gardens, and sometimes scheming inhabitants—with a host of conflicting cultural associations. It can be a symbol of national stability, wealth, tradition, taste, moral improvement, feminine refinement, and order. Depending on the novel, it can just as easily stand for decay, excess, domination, patriarchy, repression, simulation, and mystery. In this course, we will study how different generations of British novelists and filmmakers use the setting of the manor house to comment on England and to define what it means to be English and British. In so doing, we shall examine how manor house novels and films are often commenting in turn on the activity and artifice of national fiction-making. Novels and films will likely include: Reeve’s The Old English Baron, Edgeworth’s Castle Rackrent, Austen’s Mansfield Park, Brönte’s Jane Eyre, Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret, James’s The Turn of the Screw, Hitchcock’s Rebecca, Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, Altman’s Gosford Park, McEwan’s Atonement, Waters’s The Little Stranger, and Downton Abbey.

 

ENG 464 M002 HOLLYWOOD BY HOLLYWOOD

TTh 3:30-4.50 pm

T 7:00-9.45 pm (Screening)

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. The course will thus consider how a group of films, which do not formally resemble each other, organizes a genre—the backstudio picture—around a specific place. As important, the historical scope of the course will range from the 1920s through the present, which will provide an opportunity to examine Hollywood institutions that appear unchanging, such as stardom, while attending to important shifts in the political economy of movie-making (the Studio System, New Hollywood, Global Hollywood, Digital Hollywood), which backstudios also register. Assigned readings will aim to provide both background on the films, the industry’s history, and the genre’s ideological stance toward making movies. Films to be studied will probably include Show People, What Price Hollywood, the original A Star is Born, Stand-In, Sunset Blvd, The Bad and the Beautiful, Singin’ in the Rain, Guilty by Suspicion, The Player, Barton Fink, The Cat’s Meow, Adaptation, S1m0ne, and The Congress.  The written work will include several short critical papers, a research paper, and possibly an exam. Weekly screenings on Tuesday evening are required. 

 

ENG 495 M001 Thesis Writing Workshop

TH 3:30-6:15pm

Instructor: Crystal Bartolovich

This 2-credit course is a continuation of ENG 494, Research Practicum, and is open only to students who have successfully completed the Practicum. It is intended to serve as a forum for small-group mentoring and directed research toward producing an ETS Distinction/Honors project.  The workshop will largely involve presenting drafts of your thesis, and engaging in collegial peer critique; it will also include practical advice concerning revision, writers block, pacing your writing and other common writing concerns.

Graduate Courses

 

 

ENG 615 M003 Open Poetry Workshop

M 12:45-3:30pm

Instructor: Christopher Kennedy

The workshop is open to all graduate students interested in writing poems. Depending on class size, students will submit a poem every week or once every two weeks. Close readings and critiques of student work will be the focus of the course, though I will occasionally bring in poems by other poets to discuss.

 

ENG 617 M001 Open Fiction Workshop

TH 12:30-3:20pm

Instructor: Arthur Flowers

Workshop designed for poets, nonfiction folk, faculty, staff, and prosers outside the cohort schedule. Workshop format of 2 critiques per session, with designated readings. And forays into matters of Craft, Production and Vision.

 

ENG 630 M002 Classical Hollywood Cinema

T 3:30-6:15pm

T 7:00-9:45pm (Screening)

Instructor: Will Scheibel

What was “classical” about Classical Hollywood cinema? This course offers an investigation into the aesthetic and industrial system of Hollywood during the era of studio production between 1929 and 1948, as well as the gradual demise of the system into the early 1960s. We will consider Classical Hollywood as a formal tradition of film art, a business and technological practice of filmmaking, and a cultural institution of film experience that exceeds a single geographic site. As a graduate pro-seminar, this course not only concerns the history of Classical Hollywood, but also historiographic methods of interpretation and research, leading to a final paper of 20-25 pages. Topics will include the following: the relationship between American cinema and American modernity; the development of narrative, visual style, and sound in the classical film text; the studio oligopoly and the effects of its breakup; product standardization, differentiation, and marketing through genres and stars; the Production Code Administration’s regulation of onscreen content; the threat of the blacklist; B-movies and the economization of filmmaking; the rise of television in a period of big screen spectacle; location shooting after World War II; and the shift to overseas and independent production.

 

ENG 630 M003 American Studies: Theories, Methods, Orientations

T 9:30-12:15pm

Instructor: Christopher Eng

As an intellectual project rather than a fixed interdisciplinary field, American Studies has been at the forefront of advancing theories, methods, and orientations that nuance analyses of global political economy, racial capitalism, uneven power dynamics, differential unfreedoms, the politics of culture, social movements, as well as academic and activist organizing toward social justice. Accordingly, this course provides an introduction to American Studies to consider what it can allow scholars of “English” to do. The course will examine a broad range of topics such as settler colonialism, carcerality, empire, institutionality, disciplinarity, and dissent through a mix of canonical and more recent scholarly works by Americanists working across the humanities and social sciences.

 

ENG 630 M004 Victorian Literature and Feeling

TH 9:30-15:15pm

Instructor: Coran Klaver

In the last fifteen to twenty years, feeling, emotion, and affect have become significant areas of inquiry in cultural studies and feminist and queer theory. In this course, we will examine the ways in which various strains of this work has been used as an interpretive lens for the examination of Victorian literature.  Much of the existing work in this area focuses on eighteenth and nineteenth-century formulations of sentimentality and sympathy.  Some of it also overlaps with psychoanalytic accounts of feeling and structures such as melancholia and trauma. Finally, there is a growing body of work that looks at specific emotions or affects such as shame or happiness as they are represented in and communicated by Victorian literary texts.  This class will read a range of primary and secondary texts in order to explore Victorian literature as a literature of feeling. Primary texts for the course will include poetry by Tennyson, Robert Browning, and Matthew Arnold and Charles Dickens’s The Old Curiosity Shop, Charlotte Brontë’s Villette, George Eliot’s Daniel Deronda, and either Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret or Ellen Wood’s East Lynne.  Students will prepare weekly discussion questions and will each be responsible for facilitating class discussion at some point in the semester. The final project for the semester will be a seminar paper. Students focusing in fields outside the Victorian Studies are welcome to create topics that bridge their interests and those of the primary course material.

 

ENG 650 M003 Forms: Character

T 12:30-3:15pm

Instructor: Jonathan Dee

“A novel,” according to Milan Kundera, “is a meditation on existence as seen through the medium of imaginary characters.” So if character, as much as language itself, is to be considered the storyteller’s medium, what is a “character,” exactly? How do you make one? How much raw, descriptive, character-building material is enough, and how much is too much? They’re supposed to be consistent and yet they’re supposed to change: how are you expected to pull that off? This course will look at various technical/philosophical approaches and solutions across time.

 

ENG 650 M004 Forms: Flow

TH 3:30-6:15pm

Instructor: Brooks Haxton

In this course we will practice reading for the flow of language, action, perception, thought, and feeling, particularly with respect to variations in pacing. Assigned readings, from various times and places, will focus on one method of pacing at a time. Assigned writing will challenge students to address the method explored in that week’s reading. Methods under consideration will include: changes in the intensity of dramatic conflict; shifting rates of release of information; degrees of accessibility and mystery in unfolding logic, including more or less explicit transitions; shifts in mode of delivery (from narration to description to abstract argument, for example); sentence and line structure; paragraph and stanza structure; variations in lengths of sentences, phrases, and lines; and shifts in diction and tone that involve different rates of progress in reading. The balance in reading between prose and verse will depend on the interests of the class. Class time will be devoted to analysis of assigned reading and of student writing. This course does not require prior expertise in reading or writing verse. Poetic meter is not a topic of this class. The goal is to give students practice that increases their freedom when they write.

 

ENG 650 M001 Uneasy Partners: the relationship of poetry and prose

TH 9:30-12:15pm

Instructor: Sarah Harwell

Every form is difficult, no one is easier than another. They all kick your ass. --James Baldwin

In this class we will study short prose and poems, their influence on each other, their common and uncommon strategies, the potential pleasures and dangers of cross-fertilization.  For possible topics/authors contact instructor.

Students will be required to write in forms that aren’t their expertise, create hybrid forms, and produce work influenced by alternate genres. These works will be read and discussed in class.  Attendance, discussion, reading, writing and a presentation required.

ENG 650 M005 Groove and Break

T 3:30-6:20

Instructor: Bruce Smith

“Poetry atrophies when it gets too far from music.”

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.  Melos: 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 be to look at the music (and by extension the consciousness and emotional order) of four or five 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.

 

ENG 650 M002 Success and Significance

M 9:30-12:15pm

Instructor: Arthur Flowers

What constitutes literary success. Using the works of SU MFA alums who have gotten works published we will explore the dynamics of literary success and significance. Is it just getting books published, is getting published the necessary 1st step or can literary significance be judged more broadly. What is the procedure of getting your work out there, what are the behavior patterns that facilitate literary success and/or significance. Why do certain works engage the cultural zeitgeist of their times and that of generations to come. What are the challenges of surviving as a writer post program when the prevailing pattern is long years laboring in the vineyards and the only thing fatal is giving up.

 

ENG 650 M006 Forms: Long Story Short: The Art of Radical Compression
T 6:30-9:15pm
Instructor: Jenny Offill
In this course, we will examine a variety of short fiction, essays, poems, and songs that contain dazzling and surprising examples of compression. Instead of writing straightforward exposition, we will concern ourselves with the clarification and magnification of particular moments of being. An emphasis will be placed on how to notice things that others might overlook-- the small, the peculiar, the unexpected-- and then how to transform these seemingly modest things with the force of our attention. Much of our classroom discussion will center on why a specific choice has been made by a writer we are studying. But we will also from time to time broaden our focus to encompass larger philosophical concerns that are illuminated by our readings. We will talk about the science of attention, false and true lyricism, "the discipline of rightness" (as Wallace Stevens once described it) and how to find and illuminate the essential details in our own writing. There will be a required playlist of songs as well as reading and writing assignments.

 

ENG 730 M004 Modernism and Its Media

M 3:45-6:30pm

Instructor: Chris Forster

Raymond Williams suggests that any explanation of modernist literature "must start from the fact that the late nineteenth century was the occasion for the greatest changes ever seen in the media of cultural production. Photography, cinema, radio, television, reproduction and recording all make their decisive advance during the period identified as Modernist." This class takes this suggestion seriously, reading the broad and contested field of cultural production commonly called "modernist" as a response to, and engagement with, the changing media ecology of the early twentieth century. We will read key texts of modernist literature alongside media theory and some of the most provocative recent work in modernist studies, to try to understand the relationship between culture and the material forms which support it.

Likely texts include Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent (and Hitchcock's 1936 adaptation of the novel, Sabotage); Ezra Pound's "translations" from Chinese (and Ernest Fenollosa's essay on the "Chinese Written Character"); T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land; Henry James's "The Beast in the Jungle"; manifestoes by Wyndham Lewis, F. T. Marinetti, Mina Loy, and others; as well as work by Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, and Samuel Beckett. We'll also cover a number of critics in depth, including Stanley Cavell, Marshall McLuhan, Friedrich Kittler, Walter Benjamin, and Miriam Hansen, among others. Course work includes short written responses, a book review, at least one presentation to the seminar of a relevant work of secondary literature, and a final essay that will be presented to the class.

ENG 730 M003 Comparative US Minority Literatures and Cultures 

TH 12:30-3:15pm

Instructor: Carol Fadda

This course will offer an introduction to the study of minority experiences within US national as well as transnational contexts. We will focus on key questions that interrogate the ways in which US minority formations, extending to the ethnic, racial, gendered, sexual, and religious intersect with and inform performances of citizenship and belonging in the US. In addressing these questions, we will situate such formations across a long historical continuum including, for example, constructions of minority citizenships in the nineteenth century up till post-9/11 Islamophobic imaginings of the terrorist body. Such intersections will be examined through theoretical, critical, and literary lenses, which will help us unpack some of the confluences and divergences among various minority experiences in the US.

The framework of our analysis will not be restricted to a comparative model entrenched in the constructs of similarity and difference, however, but will integrate a focus on the relational by looking at the ways in which histories of racism, sexism, religious bias, and national exceptionalism draw on each other, particularly as they are shaped by dominant racist, imperialist, patriarchal, and colonialist logics. In doing so, it becomes important to investigate these minority positionalities not only within the specific context of the US nation-state but also within a transnational framework to examine how decolonization, neocolonialism, and military conflicts in Africa, Asia, and Latin America have and continue to shape our understanding of racial, ethnic, gendered, sexual, and national identity formations.

In questioning such formations, we will be looking at alternative anti-hegemonic narratives that defy the rigid monitoring and categorization of US identities. Such narratives emanate, for instance, from cross-ethnic and cross-racial coalitions, including for instance feminist critiques of hegemonic constructions of race, sexuality, and ethnicity, as well as narratives that explore the role that political activism and artistic expression play in altering dominant modes of knowledge production about national, racial, ethnic, sexual, and gendered identities.

Preliminary list of texts: Sherman Alexie’s Indian Killer; Octavia Butler’s Kindred; Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao; Suheir Hammad’s Born Palestinian, Born Black; John Okada’s No-No-Boy; and Kamila Shamsie’s Burnt Shadows, alongside critical and theoretical pieces by Jodi Melamed, Katherine McKittrick, Jasbir Puar, David Palumbo-Liu, Jodi Byrd, Karma R. Chávez, and Lisa Lowe.

 

ENG 799 M001 Essay Class for Second-Year MFA Students

F 9:30-12:15pm

Instructor: Dana Spiotta

Each student will write an outline, a full draft, and a final essay of approximately five thousand words.  The essay will address a specific aspect of a major writer’s formal technique.