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Course Offerings

Fall 2017

Lower Division Course Descriptions


ETS 107-1 Living Writers
W 3:45-6:30 PM
ETS 107-2 through 10 
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.


ETS 114-4 British Literature, 1789 to Present
TuTh 2:00-2:55PM
ETS 114-5 Discussion Section Th 3:30-4:25PM
ETS 114-6 Discussion Section Th 5:00-5:55PM
Instructor: Mike Goode
This course will examine just over two centuries of Britain’s literary history, covering the literature and culture of the Romantic Age, the Victorian Age, and the twentieth century. Historical topics will include: political revolution; the industrial revolution; the Enlightenment; urbanization; evolution; religion; social reform movements; race, class, gender, and sexual politics; nationalism; imperialism; colonialism and its aftermath; the World Wars; postmodernism; and the history of literary forms. Readings will include novels, poems, plays, and other historical texts, covering writers such as William Blake, William Wordsworth, Jane Austen, Robert Browning, Charles Dickens, Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, W. B. Yeats, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, George Orwell, Graham Greene, Sam Selvon, Salman Rushdie, Johnny Rotten, Bob Marley, and Ian McEwan.  Assignments will include three five-page papers and a final examination.


ETS 117-1 American Literature, Beginnings to 1865
MWF 9:30-10:25AM
Instructor: Rachel Snyder-Lockman
This writing-intensive course offers an introduction to the literatures of America between the time of European contact and the Civil War.  Writing in 1782, J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur posed one of the central questions of the period: “What is an American?”  Through the close reading of sermons, autobiographies, poetry, short fiction, novels, and nonfiction, we will investigate the role of literature in answering this question.  Further, we will explore how issues such as the colonization of Native Americans, slavery, and women’s social and political inequality complicate this question.  Structured chronologically, the course will provide opportunities to gain understanding of the literature as well as the political, cultural, and social history of the period.  Possible assignments include but are not limited to the following: weekly written reflections, three five-page papers, and a final exam.


ETS 118-1 American Literature, 1865 to Present
TuTh 3:30-4:50PM
Instructor: Maxwell Cassity
This course will explore major authors and literary movements in American Literature from 1865 to the present. Course readings will include fiction, essays, and poetry from authors who have been canonized into mainstream literary studies as well authors who might be less well-known, but are equally important to the development of U.S. literary culture. During this course students will read literature emerging during moments of historical and aesthetic transition in American history, and interrogate connections between American literature, culture, politics, and history.  Authors may include: James Weldon Johnson, Zitcala Ša, Zora Neale Hurston, William Faulkner, Toni Morrison, Amiri Baraka, Thomas Pynchon, Ishmael Reed, Maxine Hong Kingston, and others.


ETS 119-1 Topics in U.S. Lit History: U.S. Fiction 1940-2015
TuTh 2:00-3:20PM
Instructor: Susan Edmunds
This course offers a survey of postwar U.S. novels and short stories from the late forties to the early 2000s. We will interpret the fiction through a sociohistorical lens, with particular emphasis placed on investigating the interconnections between literary form and social change. After an initial survey of fiction written in direct response to World War II and its aftermath, we will read texts associated with or influenced by the counterculture, the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights, Black Power and Black Arts Movements, Second Wave Feminism, the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, and late twentieth-century U.S. consumerism.


ETS 121-1 Introduction to Shakespeare
MW 11:40-12:35PM
ETS 121-2 Discussion Section F 10:35-11:30AM
ETS 121-3 Discussion Section F 10:35-11:30AM
ETS 121-4 Discussion Section F 11:40-12:35PM
ETS 121-5 Discussion Section F 11:40-12:35PM
Instructor: Dympna Callaghan
This course offers an intensive introduction to the life and language of arguably the world’s greatest writer, William Shakespeare. This class will focus on two key issues: first, the relation between Shakespeare’s life and his work, and secondly, on the language of his plays and poems.  We examine four plays great literary and historical detail.  No previous familiarity with Shakespeare is required, but you do need to be committed to careful and sustained critical reading and analysis as well as active participation in Friday discussion sections.  The main goals of this class are to help you read and enjoy Shakespeare, to foster rigorous intellectual engagement with his work, and to allow you develop your own critical writing skills. We will emphasize understanding and engagement with Shakespeare’s language rather than simply its “translation” or the rehearsal of plotlines. Since Shakespeare’s language is what most distinguishes him from his rivals and collaborators—as well as what most embeds him in his own historical moment—this class will take language to be the very heart of Shakespeare’s literary achievement rather than as an obstacle to be circumvented by the reader or audience. This is a writing intensive class. In this class, the requirement will be met by means of formal essays and essay exams, informal papers as well as in-class writing and drafts of formal papers.


ETS 145-1 Reading Popular Culture
TuTh 2:00-3:20PM
Film Screening Th 6:30-9:15PM
Instructor: Evan Hixon
This course will serve as an introduction to the critical examination of mass consumer culture, the industries which produce that culture and the communities which emerge around popular texts.  In this course, students will explore what defines a text as being a part of ‘popular culture’ and in doing so, the course will attempt to articulate what these objects of mass consumption and the modes of their consumption might teach us about the culture that produced them and the individuals that consumed them.  We will challenge the common assumption which places popular culture texts as disposable objects of consumption and we will interrogate both why we view mass consumption this way and why it is important to move past this dismissal of these texts.  Over the course of the semester, we will examine a number of different strategies and theoretical methodologies for approaching the study of popular culture.  We will examine questions concerning what makes an object part of popular culture and what the function of delineations between various kinds of artistic consumption serve.  Examining texts covering a wide range of medium, from television to film to graphic novels to internet ephemera, we will take seriously the suggestion that objects of mass consumption are worthy of extended critical examination.  Possible texts include Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, Alan Moore’s Watchmen, and 20th Century Fox’s The Simpsons.


ETS 145-2 Reading Popular Culture
MW 3:45-5:05PM
Film Screening M 6:45-9:30PM
Instructor: Gael Sweeney
Popular Culture is everywhere: online and on television, at the mall and the beach, on the radio and on your phone, in school and at home, in the media, in books, in ads, in films, and, most of all, in our heads. Popular culture is a creation and reflection of our history and society, which is why it deserves our attention and analysis. This course is not meant to cover all of popular culture, but to examine certain aspects of it in film, television, and video. We will look at romance and the individual, the rise of teen culture, changes in attitudes toward gender roles, the Cold War and globalization, the problematics of race, the place of consumerism, and the pleasures and complications of fandom. We will raise questions such as: Why do certain texts and figures become iconic? Who produces and owns popular culture? Who is the audience for popular texts and how do readings change through time or depending on who is doing the reading?  Can popular culture influence and make change in the real world? Why do audiences value certain texts and create fandoms and fan communities? And, ultimately, how do we, as individuals, consume, relate to, and create our own versions of popular culture? Students are encouraged to bring their own knowledge and interests into assignments and class discussions, which are a vital component of this course.


ETS 145-3 Reading Popular Culture
TuTh 5:00-6:20PM
Film Screening Th 6:30-9:15PM
Instructor: John Colasacco
ETS 145 is about learning how to read the media-oriented culture in which we live. This course 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 also not meant to be a survey or history of mass culture; what distinguishes popular from mass culture as an object of analysis for ETS 145 is the extent to which popular culture is understood to be participatory, not passive. As a means of exploring what it means to read popular culture from this perspective, the course syllabus will be organized around case studies of popular texts (broadly defined) and the reactions/participatory readings they spark. Specific questions will include: Who produces popular texts and for whom? Why do different audiences read them differently? How does historical/rhetorical context inform these readings? How do audiences read/accept/resist ideological messages in popular texts? How are audiences moved to read emotionally? How to they read the values or branding of the text? And how can we, as writers, analysts, and fans, become better able to articulate the nuance of our own readings?


ETS 145-5 Reading Popular Culture
MW 5:15-6:35PM
Film Screening M 6:45-9:30PM
Instructor: Hillarie Curtis
For years, culture critics expressed anxiety over the top-down model of mass culture: the latest commercial, television series, or magazine filled our living rooms with dominant cultural ideas. However, more recently cultural studies have shifted to a discussion of popular culture, reclaiming mass culture as the culture of the people. In this framework, audiences do not passively consume mass culture but instead make it relevant to their lives in a reflexive relationship, thereby resisting the forces of dominant ideas present in mass culture texts. Tracking themes of fantasy and fear, alongside various theoretical modes concerning identity, we will identify these dominant ideologies, modes of resistance, and the various forces within fan culture operating around popular culture texts. Specific case studies may include episodes of Firefly and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Harry Potter series, Overwatch, Don Delillo’s novel White Noise, and other films, short stories, and television shows. Students are encouraged to bring their own knowledge and interests into class assignments and discussion. In-class participation, several short critical essays, reading quizzes, a mid-term and final exam, and a final creative project will all be vital components to the class. The weekly screenings are required.


ETS 151-1 Interpretation of Poetry
MW 2:15-3:35PM
Instructor: Jules Gibbs
The course will consist of discussions of poems from the various traditions of poetry: from anonymous ballads to spoken word poetry. We will be interested in what makes the poem memorable and moving, how it is a vehicle for the intellect and the emotions. We will also considerin 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.


ETS 153-1 Interpretation of Fiction
MW 2:15-3:10PM
ETS 153-3 Discussion Section F 10:35-11:30AM
ETS 153-4 Discussion Section F 11:40-12:35PM
Instructor: Erin Mackie
Cultures tell many of their most profound truths in their fictions.  We will look at the truths of fictions across a range of narrative forms, from the faery tale to the novel.  As we read we will develop an awareness of the elements of fiction: plot, setting, character, point-of-view, style, and theme.  We will pay attention not only to the story told but also to who is telling it and to whom, its narrator and its audience.  And always, we will think about the values, or truths, promoted by the fiction and the ends it seeks to achieve in its telling.


ETS 153-2 Interpretation of Fiction
MW 12:45-2:05PM
Instructor: Sean 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 Denis Johnson, Toni Cade Bambara, Sherman Alexie, and Mohja Kahf, novels (graphic and otherwise) such as Watchmen by Alan Moore and Big Sur by Jack Kerouac, films such as Children of Men and Lost in Translation, and the video game Never Alone.


ETS 154-1 Interpretation of Film
TuTh 9:30-10:50AM
Film Screening Tu 6:30-9:15PM
Instructor: Elizabeth Gleesing
This course provides an introduction to watching, analyzing, and writing about film. We will spend time learning how to closely analyze film by discussing how films make meaning using techniques such as arranging props and actors on-screen, cutting between scenes, using camera angles to impart different meanings, and using the soundtrack to manipulate perspective and convey mood. Learning how to pay attention to these small details of what we see and hear in a film are the foundation for “reading” or analyzing a film. Along with analyzing films from the standpoint of how meaning is constructed at the formal level, we will also look at how films operate within an historical and social context and how one can look at film through the lenses of reception studies, film promotion, and a film’s stars. The films we watch will be primarily English-language and we will be watching a variety of films from different eras, the silent period up to the contemporary moment. In addition to meeting two times a week for class discussion, this course has a weekly required screening.


ETS 154-2 Interpretation of Film
TuTh 5:00-6:20PM
Film Screening W 6:45-9:30PM
Instructor: Johnathan Sanders
From its humble origins as a sideshow spectacle, film quickly matured into the dominant medium of the 20th century, and remains a towering cultural and artistic form to this day. However, while we are immersed in film culture, how many of us have the interpretative tools necessary to decode cinema, to “read” them as unique and meaningful visual texts? This course aims to foster those skills. Through the course of our discussions, students will become familiar with the terminology, techniques, and historical context necessary for analyzing and writing about film from a textual studies perspective. Along the way, students will be exposed to multiple primarily English Language films from across the history of cinema in order to apply and practice their analytical skills, from the early days of proto-cinematic technologies to the post-celluloid films of the digital era. This course will touch on topics such as: formalistic concepts of film; narrative traditions in Hollywood cinema; counter traditions in avant-garde works; discussions of genre; animation and digital cinema; the influence of queer and feminist voices in cinema; and new media/digital film. Note: in addition to the class meetings, weekly screenings are required for this course.


ETS 155-1 Interpretation of Nonfiction
MW 3:45-5:05 PM
Instructor: Steven Doles
This course is a cross-media introduction to the interpretation of nonfiction. Students in the course will be exposed to a variety of forms of literary nonfiction, including the essay, memoir, journalism, true crime, and popular medical accounts. Visual and interactive works of nonfiction might include documentaries, essay films, news broadcasts, photo essays, reality television, or serious games. The organizing idea behind the course is the way in which nonfiction texts bring us to look anew at ourselves and at others. We will give particular attention to texts which give intense scrutiny to their authors’ own lives and histories, as well as those of other people, particularly across lines of class, race, and ability. Assignments for the course will include four response papers, a shorter critical essay, and a longer final critical paper. Books we read might include Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking; Alison Bechdel, Fun Home; James Agee and Walker Evans, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men; Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed, Truman Capote, In Cold Blood; and Oliver Sacks, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.


ETS 155-2 Interpretation of Nonfiction
TuTh 5:00-6:20 PM

Instructor: Christopher Barnes
This course will introduce you to strategies for interpreting nonfiction. We will analyze various types of nonfiction, potentially including histories, memoirs, blogs, treatises, speeches, documentary films, and journalism. Our inquiries will be guided by questions such as: what kinds of truth claims do these texts make? What are their rhetorical objectives? How do they characterize the writer/speaker? What assumptions do they make about their audience? In addition to our consideration of how these texts engage with their real-world subject matter, we will also consider them as texts, giving close attention to the formal choices that their authors make in order to illuminate their subject matter in artful, literary works.


ETS 170-1 American Cinema, From Beginnings to Present
TuTh 3:30-4:25PM
Film Screening Tu 6:30-9:15PM
ETS 170-2 Discussion Section F 9:30-10:25AM
ETS 170-3 Discussion Section F 9:30-10:25AM
ETS 170-4 Discussion Section F 10:35-11:30AM
ETS 170-5 Discussion Section F 10:35-11:30AM
Instructor: Will Scheibel
This course covers 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 fiction and non-fiction films, narrative and avant-garde modes, and Hollywood and independent productions. Our goal will be to understand how to interpret the aesthetics and ideologies of American films at particular historical moments—in the contexts of the film industry, mass culture, and a national artistic tradition—and how to account for change over time. Topics will include: 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; new waves of film school-trained and independent directors; the political effects of the Cold War, the counterculture, and September 11; and the technologies and economics of the twenty-first century blockbuster. Attendance at weekly screenings is required.


ETS 174-1 World Literature, Beginnings to 1000 C.E.
TuTh 9:30-10:50AM
Instructor: Harvey Teres 
This course will introduce you to some of the most valued and enduring examples of world literature from ancient times to 1000 C.E.  Its goal is to enhance your global cultural literacy by familiarizing you with the most influential books and cultures in history.  This will prepare you to better understand your diverse world and become an informed global citizen.  It will also provide essential background for understanding English and American literature and culture.  We will begin with some of the oldest literature in the world (Gilgamesh and Egyptian love poems), and go on to read sections from the Hebrew Bible (the “Old” Testament), Sanskrit and Greek epics (The Ramayana and The Iliad), classical Chinese philosophy (Confucius and Zhuangzi), Greek and Roman lyric poetry (Sappho, Catullus, Horace, and others), The New Testament, Saint Augustine’s Confessions, Chinese Tang dynasty poetry (Li Bai, Du Fu, Wang Wei, and others), excerpts from the Qur’an, stories from 1001 Nights, and excerpts from The Tale of Genji by the Japanese woman writer Murasaki Shikibu, arguably the first novel ever written.  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. 


ETS 181-3 Class and Literary Texts: Modern European Literature
MW 5:15-6:35PM
Instructor: Kevin Morrison
This course will provide you with an introduction to nineteenth and twentieth century fiction, poetry, and drama, including the works of Charles Dickens, Émile Zola, Henrik Ibsen, and Samuel Beckett. Our readings will be contextualized historically, culturally, and geographically but organized thematically to encourage comparative analysis. Class and class relations will serve as lenses through which to interpret each text. This is a writing-intensive course intended to familiarize students with the thought processes, structures, and styles associated with writing in the liberal arts.


ETS 182-1 Race and Literary Texts
TuTh 5:00-6:20PM
Instructor: Ashley O’Mara
Novelist Toni Morrison once said that “Racism is a construct, a social construct … but ‘race’ can only be defined as a human being,” and literature has been one of the most important means of developing, articulating, revising, and responding to ideas about race and racism — from the earliest days of English-language writing through our current political moment. By examining works by Arab, Asian, Black, Indigenous, Latina/o, and white authors, we will explore how literary texts have helped shape and been shaped by discourses of race across history and geography. We will pay special attention to intersectionality as we consider how authors’ representations of race and racism intersect with other categories of difference and systems of oppression, including religion, colonialism, and imperialism; class and classism; gender, sexual orientation, and heteropatriarchy; and disability and ableism. The class will look at a range of media and genres, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, theater, film, the graphic novel, fan works, and music, in order to consider how authors use narrative strategies and generic conventions to both construct race and critically examine its varied constructions. Readings will range from William Shakespeare and Aphra Behn to Suheir Hammad and Junot Díaz; from early travel narratives and folk stories to Civil Rights speeches and contemporary sitcoms. Critical readings may include theory from Sarah Ahmed, Gloria Anzaldúa, bell hooks, Audre Lorde, and Jasbir Puar, which students will use and evaluate as different lenses through which to interpret and assess primary texts. Students will develop literacy and analytic skills through close-readings, critical essays, and creative projects based on the course texts. This course satisfies the writing-intensive requirements of the Liberal Arts Core.


ETS 182-2 Race and Literary Texts: “Black Is and Black Ain’t”: Blackness in American Literature
TuTh 12:30-1:50PM
Instructor: Meina Yates-Richard
This course introduces students to the study of fiction through the close reading and analysis of texts that grapple with “blackness” as a racial, cultural, and social construct. We will engage with a range of American literary texts and cultural objects, attending to the ways in these objects construct, deconstruct, represent, and interpret “blackness.” We will track both continuities and changes within representations of “blackness” over time and place, considering how the concepts of race, ethnicity, culture, and place intersect within different historical periods to influence representations and social interpretations of “blackness” in American letters. The course will examine these key questions among others: What is race? What is “blackness?” What are the defining characteristics of “blackness?” How do gender and sexual identities intersect with racial identities? Are race and “blackness” still salient concepts in the 21st Century? Readings for the course will likely include works by W.E.B. Du Bois, William Faulkner, Willa Cather, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Nella Larsen, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin and others as we interrogate the social, cultural, and literary meanings of “blackness.”


ETS 184-1 Ethnicity and Literary Texts: U.S. Ethnic Literatures and Diaspora
MW 2:15-3:35PM
Instructor: Christopher Eng
How do we narrate the terms of refuge—the desires, aspirations, and obstacles for making a home? As global shifts compel unprecedented rates of movement within and across borders, the familiar form of the “immigrant narrative” seems increasingly insufficient for addressing these changing realities. Instead, scholars have proposed the concept of “diaspora” to not only map multiple routes of dispersal and relocation, but also explore various involuntary reasons for migration, such as exile, war, and labor. Diaspora also facilitates insights into alternative forms of community and belonging produced through transnational identifications. Through engagements with U.S. ethnic literatures, we will ask: how does diaspora allow us to reconceptualize popular ideas of place, cultural identity, and national belonging? How do place and movement intersect with the productions of race, sexuality, and cultural citizenship? We will explore the uses and limits of diaspora through a wide range of scholarly and literary readings by authors such as Junot Díaz, Jamaica Kincaid, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Aimee Phan. Collectively, these readings will allow us to contemplate the intimate links between literature and processes of place-making as they illuminate and rework shifting notions of refuge and belonging within our globalized world today.


ETS 184-2 Ethnicity & Literary texts: Great Jewish Writers
TuTh 11:00-12:20PM
Instructor: Ken Frieden
A wide-angle panorama of great stories written by Jewish authors, including Genesis, S. Y. Abramovitsh, Sholem Aleichem, I. L. Peretz, Franz Kafka, S. Y. Agnon, Elie Wiesel, and Yiddish women writers. Topics include ancient biblical wisdom, shtetl life, superstition, modernization, alienation, and rebellion against authority, radical textualism, love, marriage, and the Nazi genocide. Our literary approach to works in the Jewish literary tradition emphasizes interconnections between theme and rhetoric. Immersion in texts, a particular tendency in traditional Jewish circles, sometimes appears as an escape from Jews’ powerlessness in the outside world. The strategy has limitations. We will be discussing the following writers: Alter, Robert. Genesis: Translation and Commentary; Classic Yiddish Stories of S. Y. Abramovitsh, Sholem Aleichem, and I L. Peretz; Kafka, Franz. The Complete Stories; Agnon, S. Y. A Book that Was Lost: Thirty-Five Stories; Wiesel, Elie. Night. Trans. Marion Wiesel; Appelfeld, Aharon. Badenheim 1939; and Keret, Etgar. Four Stories. Meets with JSP/LIT/REL-131-1. 


ETS 184-3 Ethnicity & Literary Texts: Introduction to Latino Literature
MW 5:15-6:35PM
Instructor: Silvio Torres-Saillant
This course introduces students to US authors of Hispanic descent from the 19th century, when Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton and others began producing literary works in English, to the remarkable success of Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Junot Diaz, recipient of the MacArthur Genius Award in 2012, and the appointment of Jose Felipe Herrera as United States Poet Laureate in 2015. Placing the writers in a history whose beginnings date back to the arrival of Spanish conquistadors in Florida by 1513 and their subsequent takeover of what is now the US Southwest, the course offers background that sheds light on the five centuries of Hispanic cultural production on this North American land. We will cover poetry, drama, short fiction, novels, memoirs, and essays. In an attempt to account for the various national origins represented within the Latino category, the reading list consists of American writers who trace their ancestry to Mexico, South America, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. Overall, the course highlights the literary creativity of a population whose presence on this land precedes the arrival of the English in Jamestown by nearly a century.


ETS 192-1 Gender & Literary Texts: I do/I don’t: Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality in American Literature
TuTh 3:30-4:50PM
Instructor: Dorri Beam
This course examines the development of the institution of marriage in the U.S. and the way it shapes lives, identities, gender roles, social relations, and the very fabric of society. Beginning in the nineteenth century and ending with current marriage equality debates, we’ll examine literary representations of marriage and deviations from it—including bachelorhood, romantic friendship, Boston marriage, extended kinship networks, interracial marriage, divorce, polygamy, and gay marriage—to ask how gender and sexuality are being shaped by each imaginative plotting of marriage or resistance to it. Texts will range from Hannah Foster’s The Coquette and short stories by Henry James and Sarah Orne Jewett, to Zitkala Sa’s American Indian Stories, and up to Christopher Isherwood’s A Single Man, Silva Plath’s The Bell Jar, Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel, Fun Home, and the TV series Big Love. Crosslisted with WGS 192-1.


ETS 192-2 Gender & Literary Texts
TuTh 2:00-3:20PM
Instructor: Haejoo Kim
The aim of this course is to explore the textual representations of gender and their cultural and social implications. By looking at a variety of materials including novels, essays, short stories, poems, and films, we will examine how gender as a social category has been and continues to be historically constructed, reproduced, and interrogated. We will also pay close attention to the ways in which gender interacts and intersects with other social formations such as class, race, sexuality and nationality. Readings may include but are not limited to: Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cranford, Henry James’s Daisy Miller, J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, Jamaica Kincaid’s Lucy, the poems by Christina Rossetti and Adrienne Rich. We will also look at texts by authors dealing with contemporary theoretical debates on gender. Class sessions will be discussion-based and focusing on close-readings of the texts. The assignments will likely include three essays and a final take-home exam. Crosslisted with WGS 192-2. 


ETS 192-3 Gender and Literary Texts
MW 3:45-5:05 PM

Instructor: Adam Kozaczka
This writing-intensive course will be focused on the relationship between character and gender in popular and literary texts. The first unit will focus on early literary constructions of gender difference: we will consider a variety of legends and fairy tales along with the 20th and 21st century reactions they provoke. Studying texts from Europe, Africa, and the United States, we will determine how even some of the oldest stories set up clear models for male and female social behavior and even physical appearance. The second unit will begin with a look at the afterlives of the gendered types introduced in the first unit’s legends: Frances Burney’s Evelina and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice set up complex but humorous marriage plots in which imperfect heroines must navigate seas of even less perfect suitors. This second unit will be about how literary and popular texts model the process of choosing ‘Ms. or Mr. Right’ by demonstrating the fitness of some gender performances over others. We will apply secondary readings and class discussion to deconstruct these models and discover why and how some types are presented as more acceptable than others. The final unit will focus on the darker sides of literary and popular gender construction, taking special care to consider categories of ‘heroism’ (both traditional, masculine heroism and newer types such as the comic book superheroine) and ‘monstrosity.’ We will read traditional comics, experience gendered construction in comics-themed TV shows, and will end with Alan Moore and Malcolm McLaren’s Fashion Beast, a text primarily about the questioning of gender roles in a commercialized world. Along the way, we will consider sexuality in addition to gender, exploring the place of GLBTQ identities among the gendered types we study. The three writing assignments and one exam will require you to explore the types present in the assigned texts.​ 


ETS 200-1 Selected Topics: Modern Horror Fiction
MW 2:15-3:35PM
Instructor: Steven Doles
In recent decades horror fiction has become a massive genre and industry, with a number of authors such as Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Anne Rice repeatedly topping bestseller lists. While horror has a longer lineage tracing back through the ghost and gothic tales of previous centuries, the horror genre itself developed through publishing and readership practices in the early and mid-twentieth century. Although horror fiction focuses on something as idiosyncratic and personal as what each of us finds scary, the genre is often highly self-aware of its own history, influences, and devices. We will read a number of authors throughout the semester, possibly including (in rough chronological order) Algernon Blackwood, William Hope Hodgson, H.P. Lovecraft, Shirley Jackson, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Joyce Carol Oates, Thomas Ligotti, Caitlín R. Kiernan, and Victor LaValle. To further our understanding of how horror developed as a genre, we will also read major critical statements by Lovecraft, King, and Ligotti, and might also look at small press publications by horror fans, as well as horror on old time radio shows such as Lights Out and Quiet Please.


ETS 215-1 Introductory Poetry Workshop 
Th 12:30-3:15PM
Instructor: Brooks Haxton
Weekly meetings of this workshop will focus on careful, constructive analysis of student poems, and on supplementary readings of other poetry.  Besides writing a new original poem every week, everyone will revise at least four poems on the basis of the workshop response. Reading and writing assignments will be handed out as we go.  No prerequisites.


ETS 217-2 Introductory Fiction Workshop 
M 5:15-8:00PM
Instructor: Jules Gibbs
This class will introduce students to the fiction workshop. Participants in the workshop 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 from outside the class. We will do in-class writing exercises, and each student will keep a writing notebook.  


ETS 242-1 Reading and Interpretation
TuTh 12:30-1:50PM
Instructor: Chris Forster
This course 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; authority, textuality, and reading; subjectivity; and culture and history.


ETS 242-2 Reading & Interpretation
MW 3:45-5:05PM
Instructor: Silvio Torres-Saillant
This course introduces students to the study of English and Textual Studies as an academic field focusing on reading practices and axes of literary analysis. Students learn that the outcome of the act of reading may change in accordance with the perspective from which a reader approaches a given text. Students become aware of their own a priori critical or theoretical stance and acquire the conceptual tools with which to examine their mode of reading in relation to others prevalent in the field. Students sharpen their skills as readers and interpreters of texts with attention to the constitutive elements of the works they read as well as the contexts that lend them significance. Apart from offering a reasonable sampling of literary criticism and theory from Plato to the 20th century, the course challenges students to read familiar texts such as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Little Prince, and Heart of Darkness through a critically informed prism that differs radically from their reading experience when they first encountered those stories. The course will tackle the reading practices suggested by several critical and theoretical schools of thought, while considering indispensable questions such as literariness, authorial intention as well as authorship, representation, aesthetics, history, culture, and the place of literature in the world.


Upper Division Course Descriptions


ETS 303-1 Reading & Writing Fiction
MW 5:15-6:35pm
Instructor: John Colasacco
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, point-of-view, stance, sentence style, structure, and character. We will attempt to answer the question: how have authors generated emotion, 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.


ETS 305-2 Critical Analysis: Reading Feeling
TuTh 3:30-4:50PM
Instructor: Claudia Klaver
One of the main reasons we enjoy literature and film is because of how they make us feel and in the last fifteen years this has become topic of increasing interest to literary and cultural theorists. Theorists of the contemporary cultural moment have explored the way our current social and economic system has created new structures of feelings that undermine the narratives of “the good life” we have inherited.  Other theorists look at the way differences of race, gender, and sexuality created different affective or feeling structures in different groups in our culture.  Another group of critics has focused on the realist novel to study the way literature teaches readers to feel for others by teaching sympathetic identification with characters.


In this course, we will read these theorists alongside literary texts that are often self-consciously exploring and theorizing structures of feeling, including (but not limited to) Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Dorothy Allison’s Bastard Out of Carolina, Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, and Claudia Rankin’s Citizen. We will also screen a number of films, including Inside Out and First Person Plural.  Students will write two short (2-3 page) short essays and two longer essays (6-8 page).


305-3 Critical Analysis: Performance Studies
MW 5:15-6:35PM
Instructor: Christopher Eng
Drawing on the interdisciplinary field of performance studies, this course centers on performance as both an object and method of analysis. Performance will guide our conversations into the intimate contacts and frictions between bodies and difference. Examining theatrical performances alongside sets of processes and actions studied as performances, this course asks: how do bodies come to matter through performance? If embodied differences (race, gender, sexuality, nationality) are in part constituted performatively, how have feminist, queer, and artists of color mobilized performance to problematize and reimagine dominant understandings of such differences? Through these inquiries, the course grapples with the politics of performance, contemplating the limits and opportunities for corporeal movements to gesture toward and materialize broader social movements. We will consider a range of performative works by artists such as Marina Abramović, Coco Fusco, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Nella Larsen, and Gene Luen Yang to reassess historical contexts ranging from chattel slavery and U.S. settler colonialism to the AIDS epidemic, as well as social movements such as Occupy Wall Street, Idle No More, and Black Lives Matter. Nuancing the dynamics between oppression and resistance, performance will be our muse for contemplating and enacting the utopian possibilities of queer world making grounded in social justice.


ETS 311-1 Literary Periods before 1900: The American Renaissance
MW 12:45-2:05PM
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. Pre-1900 course.


ETS 311-2 Literary Periods before 1900: People, Places, Nature—The Storied Lands of Late 19th-Century American Fiction
TuTh 12:30-1:50 PM
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, a period of 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, imaginatively projecting its 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 decaying southern plantations to the wilds of 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, Mary Wilkins Freeman, Mary Austin, Bret Harte, Frank Norris, Jack London, Sara Winnemucca, Mark Twain, and Jose Marti. Pre-1900 course


ETS 315-2 Ethnic Literature & Cultures: The Holocaust in American Literature
TuTh 2:00-3:20PM
Instructor: Harvey Teres
This course will explore the moral, religious, and artistic challenges faced by American writers who have represented the Holocaust and its aftermath in fiction, poetry, and non-fiction.  Students will begin by reading a historical account of the Holocaust, followed by efforts to link the Holocaust to trauma studies and to other examples of genocide. We will spend the rest of the semester reading literary representations of the Holocaust and its aftermath.  Texts will include Philip Roth’s “Eli, the Fanatic” and The Ghost Writer; Bernard Malamud’s “The Last Mohican” and “Lady of the Lake”; Jerzy Kosinski’s The Painted Bird, Cynthia Ozick’s “The Pagan Rabbi,” “The Shawl,” and “Rosa”; Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything is Illuminated; Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem; Art Spiegelman’s Maus I and Maus II; Michael Chabon’s The Final Solution; Nathan Englander’s “The Tumblers”; and selected poetry by Jacob Glatstein, Charles Reznikoff, W.D. Snodgrass, Sylvia Plath, Adrienne Rich, Anne Sexton, Anthony Hecht, Elie Wiesel, and others.  Students will have the option of producing a traditional final interpretive essay or producing a collaborative “publicly-engaged” presentation to local high school students.  Meets with JSP 300.


ETS 325-1 History and Varieties of English
TTH 11:00 AM-12:20 PM
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 350-3 Reading Nation & Empire: Gender and Sexualities in the “War on Terror”
TuTh 11:00-12:20PM
Instructor: Carol Fadda-Conrey
In this course, we will analyze the ways in which gender has been employed in developing narratives of US national security and the “War on Terror” after 9/11. Even though we will focus in our analysis on the period following the events of September 11, 2001, we will also be questioning the notion that 9/11 is an exceptional traumatic event that produces exclusive forms of US trauma and citizenship. This course focuses on feminist, queer, anti-racist, and anti-imperialist engagements with and responses to the events of 9/11 and the ensuing “War on Terror,” looking closely at the role of gender and its intersections with race, sexuality, and religion in mobilizations of the US security state. In studying the ways in which such intersections have been deployed in constructions of national identities, war projects, and imperial agendas since 9/11, we will pay special attention to depictions of some of the first responses to the attacks, moving on to analyze the rhetoric informing much of the dominant narratives about the US-led war in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the torture practices at the Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay prisons. The readings include theoretical, literary, and cultural texts by various writers including Judith Butler, M. Jacqui Alexander, Moustafa Bayoumi, Sunaina Maira, Jasbir Puar, Susan Sontag, and Wafaa Bilal. Crosslisted with MES 350 and WGS 360.


ETS 351-1 Reading Nation & Empire before 1900: Nineteenth-Century London and Paris
MW 2:15-3:35PM
Instructor: Kevin Morrison
Over the course of the nineteenth century, London and Paris were transformed from dark, congested, and dangerous cities into the modern, organized capitals we experience today.


But the vast improvement projects that greatly altered each city, such as Haussmann’s grand boulevards in Paris and Josh Nash’s Regent’s Park and Regent Street in London, were not undertaken in isolation. Rather, they were part of an ongoing competition between the two cities. With a focus on architecture, commerce, and the literature that recorded but also helped to shape perceptions of the new urban experience, this course will explore how Paris and London emulated, copied, and learned from one another in their respective efforts to become the world’s greatest city. We will read novels, poems, historical studies, and sociological theories by English and French writers that help us consider a range of urban issues requiring, because they are not confined to one country alone, a comparative approach. Pre-1900 course


ETS 361-1 Reading Gender & Sexualities before 1900: Other Women in Victorian Britain
TuTh 11:00-12:20PM
Instructor: Claudia Klaver
The domestic ideology that dominated the culture of bourgeois Victorian England dictated that in order to be a “true” woman must be firmly rooted in the domain the home, with her primary identity as that of a virtuous daughter, wife, and mother.  Because of the rigidity of this ideology, deviations from its ideals 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 narratives.  Even when such novels punish or banish these wayward women, their figures still trouble the snug domestic scenes with which the texts often conclude. A further and equally important complication of the domestic ideal was its hidden racial and class assumptions. Indeed, many of the characters who novels mark out as morally flawed are also represented as racially marked or of a lower-class origin.  In order to explore the complexities of class- and race-based femininities in Victorian English, we will read a number poetry and life-writing by British women of color and working-class women. We will also read more canonical fictional representations of “other women,” including Charles Dickens’s David Copperfield, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, and possibly Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s long narrative poem, Aurora Leigh. Students will be responsible for a formal oral presentation, three 6-7 page essays, and frequent in-class writings and/or reading quizzes. Pre-1900 course. Crosslisted with WGS 360 and QSX 300.


ETS 401-1 Advanced Writing Workshop: Poetry
W 12:45-3:35PM
Instructor: Michael Burkard
This course is devoted to the poem and seeks to answer the question that all artists face: how does one transform feeling and experience into something more than the original impulse, how does one create art?  You will develop your poetic skills by reading the work of published poets, writing a poem every other week, and critiquing one another’s poems. You will be expected to extensively revise four of the poems you write. The course is open to anyone who has taken the introductory poetry workshop, ETS 215. Juniors and seniors who have not had a workshop may submit a portfolio of seven pages of original poetry to be considered for admission.  ​


ETS 403-1 Advanced Writing Workshop: Fiction
Tu 3:30-6:20PM
Instructor: Nana Adjei-Brenyah
Workshop format critiquing two student stories a workshop, with discussions of selected published stories as called for. Emphasis will be on craft, production, and literary vision. The course is open to anyone who has taken the introductory fiction workshop, ETS 217. For those students who have not taken the prerequisite, you must submit samples of your fiction to the instructor for permission to enroll.


ETS 410-3 Forms and Genres: The Historical Novel
TuTh 9:30-10:50AM
Instructor: Mike Goode
Historical novels, or novels about the past, always raise questions about how one can know and represent the past, why understanding or refusing to understand a particular past might be important for those living in different historical moments, and what it means to represent the past in a novel as opposed to in a non-fictional text, film, painting, reality show, or video game. In this course we will look at how and why these questions get formulated and answered differently at different historical moments. We will do so by studying a few of the earliest examples of national historical novels alongside some contemporary examples, and also alongside other historical media from their respective eras. In general, the course looks at how a novelistic genre emerges, dissolves, and reforms. But more broadly, it will examine the artistic, political, and theoretical projects of contemporary national historical literature by thinking about its relationship to an earlier period characterized by intense interest in, and deep anxiety about, representing the national past. Fiction readings will likely include works by Walter Scott, Sydney Owenson, James Fenimore Cooper, Charles Dickens, E.L. Doctorow, Michael Ondaatje, Angela Carter, John Fowles, Julian Barnes, Sarah Waters, and Laurent Binet.


ETS 421-1 Cultural Production and Reception before 1900: Medievalism
TuTh 2:00-3:20PM

Instructor: Patricia Moody
The Middle Ages remain present in modern consciousness, both through scholarship and through popular media such as stage and film, video and reenactment games, poster art, television, and print media. This course investigates responses to the Middle Ages across all periods since a sense of the mediaeval first began to develop. It is concerned, then, with creative reception of the Middle Ages, including attempts to “reproduce” the Middle Ages, as well as with both academic and political-ideological reception of the Middle Ages. In short, we may look at selections from a very broad historical and cultural spectrum: Lord of the Rings to Batman, the Pre-Raphaelites to Shrek, Chaucer to Mark Twain and John Steinbeck, or Joan of Arc and Robin Hood. Pre-1900 course.


ETS 440-1 Theorizing History & Culture: Game Histories and Cultures
MW 2:15-3:35PM
Instructor: Chris Hanson
This course will explore the cultural and historical trajectories of games both within the United States and larger global contexts. While our focus will primarily be digital games, we will also explore analog games and trace their shared histories and associated game cultures. As we examine different eras and key moments within the emergence of games as a cultural form, we will look at particular representative games and texts to critically analyze their significance. In our consideration of cultural and historical contexts, we will also map the role of social, economic, and political factors in the creation of particular games, genres, and platforms. The course will study “canonical” games such as Super Mario Bros., Sid Meier’s Civilization, and Grand Theft Auto, as well as influential lesser-known and independent titles such as Rogue and Colossal Cave Adventure. In addition to a variety of games, we will also study relevant screen-based media texts which explicitly or implicitly engage with the key aspects of the histories and cultures of games. Film and Screen Studies course.


ETS 441-1 Theorizing History & Culture before 1900: Milton and the English Revolution
TuTh 12:30-1:50PM
Instructor: Crystal Bartolovich
Paradise Lost is widely considered to be one of the most influential poems ever written.  This course offers an in-depth reading of John Milton’s great epic, along with his shorter poetry and prose, in the context of the political, religious and social ferment of seventeenth century England.  Because Milton was a propagandist for—as well as a critic of-- the revolutionary government of his time, his writing provides an intriguing case study for examining the relation of poetry to politics.  Paradise Lost raises questions that are still with us very urgently today: what does freedom--of religion, the press, speech, franchise, and the individual--mean?  How do we achieve a good society?  What role does education play in forming a desirable and sustainable Republic?  Why is it so difficult to make justice prevail in a “fallen” world?  To what extent do people make their own histories?  Through slow and thoughtful reading, we will consider the special contribution that poetry can make to address such questions. Pre-1900 course.


ETS 444-1 Topics: Theorizing Modes of Inquiry: Early Modern English Feminism(s)
MW 3:45-5:05PM
Instructor: Melissa Welshans 
This course will explore literature from early modern England (1500-1700) that illuminates gender relations of the period, paying particular attention to authors whose texts have been read through the lens of feminist theory or who themselves seem to espouse a proto-feminism. At a moment when our own culture is teeming with debates surrounding women’s equality and the definition of “feminism,” an examination of earlier cultural iterations of female liberation and women’s rights can prove useful for our understanding of contemporary arguments. Texts under investigation will include works by female authors such as Aemilia Lanyer, Elizabeth Cary, and Aphra Behn, as well as texts by male authors including William Shakespeare, Thomas Dekker, John Donne, and John Milton. Assignments will include formal essays and written exams. Pre-1900 course.


ETS 450-1 Reading Race & Ethnicity: Reading African American Literature in (Post)Racial America
TuTh 9:30-10:50AM
Instructor: Meina Yates-Richard
Kenneth Warren’s 2011 monograph What Was African American Literature? asserts that the end of legal segregation (Jim Crow laws) also marks the end of African American literature as a coherent field of literary practice. Using Warren’s textual provocation as our point of entry, this course interrogates African American literature from its nascence until our contemporary moment. We will trace the contours of the field over time, situating our study within the contemporary framework of American post-racial discourse, as well as contemporary counter-discourses deployed in movements like Black Lives Matter, to assess the continued significance of African American literary production in the 21st Century. Students will examine a variety of literary and cultural artifacts in order to gain an understanding of the historical, social, political, and cultural events and forces that continue to shape this rich body of literature, as well as its enduring influences upon American history and culture. Readings may include the literary and critical works of writers ranging from Phillis Wheatley, to Richard Wright, Imani Perry, Ta’Nehisi Coates, James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, Gwendolyn Brooks, Ntozake Shange, Matt Johnson, Jacqueline Woodson and Michelle Alexander, among others.


ETS 494-1 Research Practicum in ETS
Th 3:30-6:20PM
Instructor: Crystal Bartolovich
This one-credit course introduces students to the scope and demands of an honors or distinction project in ETS.  Enrollment is by invitation to participate in the distinction program, and/or honors program, only.  In five formal meetings, we will cover choosing an adviser, developing a suitable topic with engaging research questions, compiling a bibliography, reading critically, making (and accepting) assessments of writing effectively, taking good notes, and writing a useful thesis proposal.  These skills and activities are designed to prepare you for ETS 495, the Thesis Writing Workshop, in the spring.


Graduate Course Descriptions


ENG 630-4 Graduate Proseminar: Early America
W 3:45-6:35PM
Instructor: Patricia Roylance

Designed as an introduction to U.S. literary and cultural studies, this seminar will survey American language and writing from the sixteenth to the late eighteenth centuries, and will provide a foundation for more advanced study of this period. Because this is a Pro-Seminar, the reading will be somewhat heavy, but you will need no prior knowledge of the period. For the final project, you will work on primary material from the course or closely related to it, but you will have conceptual and methodological freedom in choosing an approach.

Reflecting recent revisions in the critical conception of this field, “Early America” will be treated as a problematic rather than as a settled category. We will question the homogeneity and push the literal boundaries of “America”: what regional, racial, religious and linguistic subcultures exist within the space of America? what transatlantic and hemispheric contexts illuminate early American literary production? We will read Native American oral literature and writings from New Spain, New France and New Netherland alongside literature from the British colonies, and alongside European writings about the “New World.” The course will culminate with an examination of the rhetoric of the U.S. Revolutionary War, which attempted to present as unified and univocal a colonial period that had been anything but. 


ENG 630-5 Graduate Proseminar: What was Modernism?
Tu 3:30-6:20PM
Instructor: Chris Forster

The art and literature of the first half of the twentieth century is frequently called modernist. It is a term that exists in awkward (and sometimes productive) tension with other key terms: realism, the avant-garde,” or postmodernism, for instance. This class seeks to introduce and understand that term, and the debates which surround it, by reading a series of key texts from the period alongside important criticism. No prior familiarity with “modernism” is necessary. Course readings will include work across genres by figures including W. B. Yeats, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, T. S. Eliot, Samuel Beckett, Djuna Barnes, and others. Alongside these works we will read a diverse range of the major critics of the period, from a range of theoretical perspectives. Our goal will be to both understand the works we read, but also to understand the shifting contours and constructions of modernism as a key, but contested, term of literary history. Course work will include a seminar presentation, and a range of writing assignments (including a book review, a conference abstract, and a conference-length paper).


ENG 631-1 Critical Theory
M 12:45-3:35PM
Instructor: Crystal Bartolovich

“Critical Theory” provides an introduction to a range of meta-critical concepts, debates and protocols—that is, the underwriting assumptions (varied and contradictory as these may be) -- on which the discipline of “English” currently relies.  We will read both influential texts from the past that are still referenced (implicitly or explicitly), as well as notable examples of current trends. We will also spend time considering professional structures, norms, genres and demands: the formation of the university, book reviews, bibliographies, conferences, journals, seminar papers, prizes and so on. In other words, we will explore ways of reading theoretical, critical and literary/cultural texts—including our profession as an institution--and examine how critical questions have been and are now generated in English, as well as why new critical practices emerge (or fail to do so). No matter how much (or little) “theory” you have already read, this professional orientation will direct your thinking toward “English” as a discipline in new ways, and prepare you to work within it self-consciously and critically.  


ENG 650-1 Forms: Best Versions
M 3:45-6:35PM
Instructor: Chris Kennedy

One of the great mysteries of writing fiction and poetry is when and how to revise: How does a writer know when a story or a poem is finished? How much should a writer rely on other opinions to reshape his/her vision? In this class we will read different versions of several published stories and poems, as well as different drafts of student work, as a catalyst for discussion about how to edit and revise.


ENG 650-3 Forms: Poetry, Memoir, & Nonfiction
Th 9:30-12:15PM

Instructor: Mary Karr

We’ll read and discuss eleven memoirs, plus excerpts of a few others.  Work for the semester will consist of reading and being engaged with the books.Assignments will include: small creative projects and in-class writing sprinkled through the semester; a presentation on one of the writers; and a final paper, memoir, or 10 poems. Readings may include (a) poems by Roger Fanning, Louise Gluck, Robert Hass, Terrance Hayes, Seamus Heaney, Yusef Komunyaaka, William Matthews, Heather McHugh, Pablo Neruda, Craig Raine, Charles Simic, and Dean Young; (b) fiction by George Saunders; (c) essays by James Wood, and (d) a memoir by Elif Batuman.


ENG 650-5 Forms: Poets and Collaborators
Th 12:30-3:20PM

Instructor: Michael Burkard

As writers/readers, we are the collaborators. In discussion and in writing we will respond to poets in translation. These poets would include Transtromer, Syzmborska, Vallejo, and a wide range of contemporary American poets, including Fanny Howe and Lucille Clifton. As a class, we will write some collaborative work amongst ourselves. We will explore various means of adapting to issues of translation, subject matter, and forms. Each class session will review poetry from our reading list, and a discussion of written assignments. Collaborations between writers and artists and writers and musicians will be reviewed, and we will incorporate a project of collaboration along these lines in a class assignment.


ENG 650-8: Forms: Creative Nonfiction: All Over The Page
Th 3:30-6:20PM
Instructor: Arthur Flowers, Jr.

Exploration of the various forms of creative nonfiction with special emphasis on fusions of nonfiction, fiction and poetry — nonfiction works using the techs of other genres to enhance their impact. This process will be contexted with dialogues on the ever-evolving nature of text. Readings will consist of shorts and excerpts. Reader to be provided. Writing prompts likely.


ENG 650-9: Forms: Ghost Stories
M 6:45-9:35PM
Instructor: Kaitlyn Greenidge

In this class, we will explore the use of ghosts and ghost stories in literature. We will begin by establishing the elements in classic ghost stories of the nineteenth century and move on to modern interpretations in contemporary fiction. We will also explore ghosts in folklore. During this class, we will explore the symbolism of ghosts in literature and attempt to uncover why this genre of storytelling remains popular. Students will be required to write creative and/or critical response papers, make oral presentations, and produce either a final 10-page ghost story of their own or a critical essay, subject to the instructor’s approval.


ENG 715-2 First Poetry Workshop
Tu 12:30-3:20PM
Instructor: Brooks Haxton

Students in this workshop will write one poem each week and revise at least four of these into carefully considered versions on the basis of workshop analysis.  Reading and writing assignments will address issues that arise in workshop.  Admission is strictly limited to first-year students in the MFA Program in Poetry.


ENG 716-1 Second Poetry Workshop
M 12:45-3:35PM
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 model or target 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 proscriptive 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.


ENG 717-2 First Year Fiction Workshop
W 12:45-3:35PM
Instructor: Dana Spiotta

Students will submit a minimum of three short stories/novel excerpts and will read and constructively critique the work of their peers. Development of the crucial skill and discipline of revision will be emphasized. Required of, and restricted to, first-year MFA fiction students.


ENG 718-2 Second Fiction Workshop
F 9:30-12:20PM
Instructor: Dana Spiotta

This course is the required workshop for students in the second year of the MFA Program in Fiction.


ENG 719-1 Third Poetry Workshop
W 12:45-3:35PM
Instructor: Mary Karr

This is an advanced course, so I assume you’re all passionate about poetry and motivated enough to read, write, critique each other’s work with utmost care and respect, and rewrite, rewrite and rewrite.  It’s a class based almost entirely on revision, so your notes on each other’s poems should be detailed and serious. I’d also like to see your revisions fairly regularly in conference, and for you to keep different drafts of the same poems. What I value first and foremost is clarity in communication and strong feeling (in the reader, NOT the writer). I expect everyone to rewrite based on workshop comments. If your notes are sketchy, cartoony, or in any way haphazard, I will ask for typed notes for each class. 

First and foremost, you must be open to virtually any kind of speech, language, subject, and opinion. You must get along with each other, and anyone engaging in a personal attack on anyone else in the group will have a hard time completing the workshop. Free speech is seldom comfortable, and this workshop is a free-speech space.


ENG 721-1 Third Fiction Workshop - Prerequisite ENG 717 and ENG 718
Tu 12:30-3:20PM
Instructor: Arthur Flowers Jr.

This course is required for students in the third year of the MFA Program in Fiction. In this class, students will deepen their fictive practice by reading and critiquing the works of their peers. Workshop format, craft, product, vision.


ENG 730-1 Graduate Seminar: Postwar U.S. Fiction
Tu 9:30-12:20PM
Instructor: Susan Edmunds

In this seminar, we will read postwar U.S. novels and short stories from the late forties to the present. We will interpret the fiction through a sociohistorical lens, with particular emphasis placed on investigating the interconnections between literary form and social change. After an initial survey of fiction written in direct response to World War II and its aftermath, we will read literary texts associated with or influenced by the counterculture , the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, Second Wave Feminism, and  late twentieth-century U.S. consumerism. I am still working on the final booklist for this course. Authors are likely to include James Baldwin, Hisaye Yamamoto, Joan Didion, Thomas Pynchon, Michael Herr, Kurt Vonnegut, Grace Paley, Toni Cade Bambara, Toni Morrison, Don DeLillo, Chang-Rae Lee, and Helena Maria Viramontes.


ENG 730-2 Graduate Seminar: American Film Melodrama
Th 9:30-12:20PM
Film Screening Th 6:30-9:15PM
Instructor: Will Scheibel

Film scholar Linda Williams calls melodrama “the fundamental mode of popular American moving pictures.” Following her argument, this seminar suggests that to study American film melodrama is to deepen our understanding of American cinema’s aesthetic and affective expressions. A cinema of heightened emotionalism based on excess and containment, fantasy and desire, and pathos and identification, melodrama has been theorized as a site of ideological critique and viewer pleasure. With origins in the “blood and thunder” spectacles of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century theater, melodrama came to fruition on the screen in the action serials and passionate epics of the silent era. The term is perhaps most associated with family and women’s pictures of Classical Hollywood, including sentimental “weepies,” stories of “fallen women” and mother/daughter relationships, and the Gothic romance. We will look at these different examples from Marxist, feminist, and psychoanalytic approaches, as well as in the contexts of genre and American culture. Yet, as melodrama never disappeared, we will consider ways in which it persists in especially apparent cases—art cinema, postmodern cinema, the male action films of Kathryn Bigelow, and the queer films of Todd Haynes—that have further expanded our definition of the term. Required Books: Christine Gledhill, ed., Home Is Where the Heart Is: Studies in Melodrama and the Woman’s Film (London: BFI Publishing, 1987); Barbara Klinger, Melodrama and Meaning: History, Culture, and the Films of Douglas Sirk (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994) [electronic version available through EBSCOhost/SU Libraries]; Ben Singer, Melodrama and Modernity: Early Sensational Cinema and Its Contexts (New York: Columbia University Press, 2001). 

For a complete list of films and readings, please contact Will Scheibel at lscheibe@syr.edu.


ENG 730-5 Graduate Seminar: Gender and Sexualities in the “War on Terror”
Th 3:30-6:20PM
Instructor: Carol Fadda-Conrey

In this seminar, we will focus on feminist, anti-racist, and anti-imperialist engagements with and responses to the events of 9/11 and the ensuing “War on Terror,” looking closely at the role of gender and its intersections with race, sexuality, and religion in mobilizations of the US security state. Even though we will focus in our analysis on the period following the events of September 11, 2001, we will also be questioning the notion that 9/11 is an exceptional traumatic event that produces exclusive forms of US trauma and citizenship. We will pay close attention to the ways in which gender, religion, sexuality, and race have been deployed in constructions of national identities, war projects, and imperial agendas since 9/11, starting with depictions of some of the first responses to the attacks, and moving on to include the rhetoric informing much of the dominant narratives about the US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the torture practices at the Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay prisons. In analyzing the ascendency of violent, militaristic, and exclusionary US citizenships in light of intersections of gender, sexuality, race, and religion, this course evaluates some important theoretical concepts that have defined anti-hegemonic responses to the US security state’s practices. Such concepts include, for instance, Jacqui Alexander’s “the patriot-citizen,” Mahmood Mamdani’s “good Muslim vs. bad Muslim,” Amy Kaplan’s “homeland insecurity,” and Jaspir Puar’s “homonationalisms.” 

Other theoretical and cultural texts we will read include works by Judith Butler, Susan Sontag, Junaid Rana, Amy Kaplan, Lila Abu-Lughod, and Sunaina Maira, among others. We will also be reading fiction, poetry, and drama by writers including Laila Halaby, Yussef El Guindi, Art Spiegelman, and Wafaa Bilal.