ENGL-UA 56.002 | Modern Japanese Lit and Film | Prof. Shimabuku
This class provides an overview of Modern Japanese Literature from its inception to the contemporary period with a particular emphasis on how it was “invented” in the Meiji era. We will read texts and novels from a range of genres such as neo-Confucianism, naturalism, proletarian realism, modernism, postcolonialism, and surrealism, while also referring to literary criticism to enhance our understanding of the texts. By tracing the emergence of “literature” or bungaku in Japan through the genbun itchi movement of the late 19th century that calibrated phonetic sound to the visual text, we will also familiarize ourselves with problems of philology, linguistics, hermeneutics, and deconstruction. This class does not look at Japanese literature in isolation, but how it emerged in conversation with classical Chinese, European enlightenment, Japanese empire’s colonization of East Asia, Marxism, the emergence of postwar New Left movements, and consumer capitalism. This class seeks to cultivate critical thinking, an awareness of how language forms the world around us, and coherent writing skills in the form of a final paper broken down into step-by-step increments written under the close guidance of the instructor.
ENGL-UA 59.001 | Arthurian Legend: Arthur & the Celts
The legend of King Arthur has continued to fascinate audiences from the early medieval period until the modern day. But was there a real Arthur? How did his story begin and how did it grow? Why did he become such an iconic hero? This course will search for the roots of the legend of the famous king as a hero in medieval Wales and look at its development, plotting the many depictions of its main character from villain to tragic hero. We will also explore the origins of his companions, with particular emphasis on the origins of the wizard Merlin. From there, we will travel across the sea to Ireland and examine how the legend developed, to what extent it took on elements of Irish mythology and how the Celtic Arthur compared with that of the continental Romances. Students will be encouraged to investigate such elements as the legend’s interpretation of Christianity and the pagan past, the depiction of ‘magic’ and ‘miracles’ within the story and the role of gender in medieval writing. In assessing the creation of the Arthurian legend, this course will delve into medieval understandings of history, the construction of identity and the concept of the ‘hero’ in Celtic literature and give students a grounding in critical thinking and how to approach historical texts
ENGL-UA 59.003 | Surrealism
Dream experiments, cabarets, cadavre exquis, calls for revolution: some of the highlights of Surrealism, an international avant-garde movement that emerged in Paris in the wake of World War I. Focusing on the period between the two wars (1919-1940), this course harnesses Surrealist works from a wide variety of texts (literary and visual) to explore the aesthetic, political, and psychosexual dimensions and implications of Surrealism, including: techniques ofavant-garde subversion; the celebration of dreams, desire, madness, and the unconscious; theintersection and collaboration of artists, writers, and thinkers in journals and magazines; therejection of “bourgeois” values; the aesthetic and social role of materialism and objects; the transformation of lieux communs into artistic dreamscapes; the rhetoric of violence and anarchy; and the politics of gender.
ENGL-UA 59.004 | New Trends in 21stC Italian Literature: From Beppe Fenoglio to Igiaba
This course will explore the contemporary Italian literary scene and its voices, movements, inspirations and internal diversity. From the “regional” literature to the literature of the new diaspora, from today’s women’s voices to the delineation of new literary trends outside the borders of Italy, this class will focus on the various, rich, complex and often contradictory scene of the 21st century Italian literature and its developing identities. We will read, compare and analyze works by contemporary and modern authors such as Michela Murgia, Amara Lakhous, Dacia Maraini, Paolo Cognetti, Melania Mazzucco, with an eye for thematic convergences, influences, personal voices and narrative styles. The selection of readings is representative of the emergence of a new literary scene that cuts across traditional categories, is strongly influenced by new trends and processes, and represents the changing intellectual, cultural and social landscape of Italy.
ENGL-UA 101.001 | Intro to the Study of Lit | Prof. Sunder Rajan
This course is intended to serve as an introduction to the study of literature. It will seek to develop your skills in reading and linguistic analysis, equip you with the vocabulary of literary criticism, and introduce you to library and digital research. The course is broadly structured round the three major genres of literary writing, narrative, poetry and drama. In each case we will study closely one or more representative texts, together with the texts prescribed for the plenary sessions, contextualize them, identify some of the related critical terms and genres, and read a sample of influential critical or theoretical writings on the subject.
ENGL-UA 101.002 | Intro to the Study of Lit | Prof. Nicholls
This course focuses on practices of reading and writing about literature. What is literature, why does it exist, and how do we study it? We shall engage in a close analysis of a variety of texts—short stories, poems, essays, and novels—so as to explore the various practices of reading used in literary study. Students will be expected to participate in group discussion of our texts and to make occasional individual presentations. Three short written papers will be required, to be submitted at appropriate intervals during the semester. In addition, students will attend several plenary lectures that showcase a range of scholarly approaches to the field and introduce them to the work of other faculty in the department.
ENGL-UA 101.003 | Intro to the Study of Lit | Prof. Hanson
What are we doing we say we are reading? We focus and get distracted; we pay attention to minor details and create large patterns; we get absorbed by language and think about what gets left out of texts. This course provides students with the chance to reflect upon the various experiences we have when reading and to develop critical reading tools and habitual writing practices out of them. Moving across poetry, novels, and prose, we will develop our close reading skills into sustained reflection in writing. Our readings, discussions, and assignments will be informed by rhetorical studies, cultural studies, and institutional critiques of literary studies across different historical moments. Alongside the texts from plenary lectures, students can expect to read material from the 18th century up to the Contemporary. We will read texts by Percy Shelley and Gwendolyn Brooks, John Clare and Maureen McLane, Charles Baudelaire and Adrienne Rich, the Lumumba-Zapata Collective and Nanni Balestrini. Ultimately, this course asks students to sharpen the particular practices of close reading and sustained, reflective writing, but also to articulate their own reading methods along the way.
ENGL-UA 101.005 | Intro to the Study of Lit | Prof. Parikh
This course serves as an introduction to the study of literature. We will seek to improve your reading and writing skills, equip you with the vocabulary of literary criticism, develop critical thinking, and introduce you to library and digital research. The course is broadly structured around the three major genres of literary writing, narrative, drama and poetry, as well as other key aspects of textual analysis and close reading. We will read literature in English from a range of regions and historical periods and consider what are some of the central concerns in contemporary literary studies.
ENGL-UA 101.006 | Intro to the Study of Lit | Prof. Young
Why does the poem by Emily Dickinson that begins “I dwell in possibility” work so differently from Otto von Bismarck’s statement that “politics is the art of the possible”? In the same spirit as Dickinson, Wallace Stevens wrote that “Things as they are / Are changed upon my blue guitar:” in doing so he pointed to the particular quality of literature that it tells us how things really are while at the same time creating them, making them all up. Reading a novel feels as if we are entering a real world, in which the novelist can take us to anywhere, amongst any people on earth. But a novel is by definition fiction, not real. How does literature manage to combine these qualities of the real and the unreal at the same time? How does literature succeed in generating such powerful emotions in us, such intensity of feelings, when we know at the back of our minds that we are reading a work of pure imagination? What are the particular qualities of literary language—evident, for example, in the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas’ phrase “a grief ago,” which disobeys the rules of grammar and yet conjures up a powerful evocation of the emotion of grief by transforming it into a form of time, so that it speaks to us personally and discovers for us something about ourselves and our own memories and identities. These are the questions that will drive our enquiries into the experience and form of literature, as we seek to understand how it catches us captures us and intrigues us. How can we come to recognize, experience and evoke its uncanny power? We will consider examples of poetry, drama, fiction and autobiography from many different literatures of the world, comparing creative writings from different cultures while also thinking about what happens when we translate literary texts from one language to another, just as when we read a literary text we translate the black marks on a page into scenes somehow staged and taking place in our own minds. We will be dwelling in possibilities. Three plenary lectures by English Department faculty will also introduce students to some of the questions literary scholars ask and the kinds of materials they work with.
ENGL-UA 111 | Lits in English I: Medieval and Early Modern Literatures | Prof. Gilman
This course surveys literature in English from the Old English epic, Beowulf (ca. 700) to John Milton’s epic, Paradise Lost (1674). Other readings will include selections from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight,The Wakefield Second Shepherds’ Play, selections from Malory’s Morte Darthur, Spenser’s The Fairy Queen, the English sonnet, More’s Utopia, along with Bacon’s The New Atlantas, Shakespeare’s The Tempest, selected poetry by Donne, Herbert, Jonson, and Marvel. The focus throughout will be on the close reading of the literary texts in their historical and cultural contexts.
ENGL-UA 112 | Lits in English II: Lits of the British Isles & Empire 1660-1900 | Profs. Lee & McDowell
This course offers an intensive introduction to major works of British literature across genres from the Restoration to the late Victorian period. Selected texts may include Wycherley’s The Country Wife (1675); Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (1813); selected poems by Blake, Wordsworth, Keats, and Coleridge; Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre(1847); and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897). We will consider how these writers and others responded to the conflicts and continuities of their moment, paying special attention to issues of class, empire, and gender. Through lectures, class discussion, written responses, and longer essay assignments, students will work to acquire knowledge of the fundamentals of literary history and of critical reading and writing.
ENGL-UA 113 | Literatures in English III: American Literatures to 1900 | Prof. Hobbs
Surveys the evolution of literary themes and forms from the period of European exploration through and beyond the Civil War, tracing distinctive traditions of
writing and thinking that have shaped the development of modern literature and thought in the United States.
ENGL-UA 114 | Lits in English IV: 20th & 21st C Literatures | Profs. Hendin & Trujillo
This course provides an exposure to English language literary production as it expands and diversifies from 1900 onward. Attending to global aesthetic movements such as naturalism, modernism, magical realism, and postmodernism, it focuses on literary interactions with transnationalism, colonial and postcolonial contexts, and the passage from an inquiry into concepts of social order and expectation to the primacy of social change, cultural multiplicity and uncertainty. The course explores the ascendance of globalization as US culture is both transmitted around the world and is increasingly diversified within by the growth of ethnic literatures and their institutional study. Our emphasis is on the changing scope of English-language literature and culture since 1900. The course explores a variety of forms including literature, poetry, drama, film, and graphic fiction. We will read texts as responses to the rapidity of cultural change under the pressure of urbanization, patterns of transnational migration, hemispheric diasporic movements, visual media, and turbulence in gender roles and national identities. It will explore relationships between globalization theory, literary form, and cultural themes.
ENGL-UA 126 | Theatre History II | Prof. Farrell
This course offers a broad survey of theatre, drama, and performance histories from the eighteenth through the mid-twentieth century. We will not attempt to create a single, continuous narrative spanning many centuries of wildly diverse theatrical projects. Instead, we will examine various performance forms in their historical contexts in order to question the function of performance in the propagation and negotiation of cultures. In order to study the ever-changing functions of theatre and drama, we will examine the varied ways that social, political, economic, and cultural conditions inform/reflect aesthetic output – and vice versa.
ENGL-UA 201.001 | Reading as a Writer: Forms of Attention | Prof. Hyland
One of the most common questions asked of writers is: where do your ideas come from? This course begins from the premise that almost all writing has its origins in close attention to the world, often as mediated by existing texts, images, and/or sounds. Good writing is the product of intense and intelligent noticing: of structures, textures, syntaxes (both verbal and nonverbal), temperaments and temperatures. Over the course of this semester, we will look at how writers pay attention: to sound, speech and music; to existing literary and legal texts; to visual art and the nuances of place. We will posit reading, listening, looking, feeling (as with one’s hands and/or body), and researching—among other gerunds—as activities, and explore these activities as sources of writing, as resources for interpretation, and as ways of making knowledge. Our analysis will sometimes focus on the structural level, and sometimes on the intimate and close-up. In this seminar, we will practice both critical and creative forms of attention. We’ll look into and practice forms of writing that listen closely, that gaze with attention, that interrogate sources and histories. The bulk of our readings will come from the genres of poetry and creative nonfiction, with occasional readings of literary and cultural theory, fiction, and performance texts. Over the course of the semester, students will produce weekly short critical and/or creative responses to class readings, as well as a longer hybrid creative-critical response text. Writers to be considered include Michael Ondaatje, M. NourbeSe Philip, Vi Khi Nao, Allison Cobb, William Wordsworth, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Layli Long Soldier, Hanif Abdurraqib, Kaia Sand, and others.
ENGL-UA 201.001 | Reading as a Writer | Prof. Noel
This course is neither a creative-writing workshop nor a seminar devoted to literary analysis. Instead, it approaches the generative (writing prose, poetry, and beyond) from a creative-critical or critical-creative perspective. While we will study conventional and not-so-conventional poetic and narrative forms (from sonnets to erasure poetry and microfiction), we will seek to understand the texts at hand from a position of creative and critical engagement: what are the stakes (e.g. formal, political) of a given text and what can we learn from these texts that can inform our own writing? How can we understand the work of creative writers as critical interventions, and how can we read critical texts as creative writers, seeking out our own literary and expressive coordinates? How does social engagement figure into the question? We will hear from socially engaged creative writers (including Latinx writers) whose work is informed by critical methods and perspectives, and we will explore modes of writing at the intersection of the creative and the critical. Assignments may include site-specific writing, "expanded field" writing, cross-media exercises, and a final dossier.
ENGL-UA 252.001 | Visual Poetry
This course examines objects with a dual nature: literary artifacts that are also visual compositions — texts that function simultaneously as pictures. While a primary focus will be on Italian 20th century experimental literary forms (parole in libertà, poesia visiva, concrete poetry), students will also explore a wider historical range of such textual-visual hybrids, from the classical world through the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Baroque period. In order to trace the transnational circulation of visual models, comparative examples and references from English and other languages will be offered. Specific readings and discussions will address theoretical issues raised by iconic texts — how do we read visual poetry? What does it mean to be a reader and a viewer at the same time?
ENGL-UA 252.002 | The Passions of Elena Ferrante
The success of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels is astounding, not only because of the record-breaking sales, but also because of the strong emotions they thematize and arouse. In this course we will read novels, interviews, and essays by Ferrante, asking why her work inspires such passionate reading, and whether there is political efficacy in all this affect. Engaging with Sianne Ngai, Elspeth Probyn, Lauren Berlant and others, we will consider the political and aesthetic implications of ugly and opaque emotions like irritation, envy, disgust, and shame. We will also study major influences—including writers Ferrante cites frequently in interviews: Adriana Cavarero, Carla Lonzi, Luisa Muraro, and Elsa Morante; as well as those she tends to refrain from naming: Christa Wolf and Ingeborg Bachmann.
ENGL-UA 252.004 | Post-Apocalyptic Drama | Prof. Biers
This course examples representations of apocalypse and its aftermath in twentieth and twenty-first century European and American drama. How does theater—the art form that creates and represents worlds—respond to the world-ending and world-revealing events from the post-WWII era to today, including fascism, nuclear war, financial collapse, and environmental destruction? What happens to theatrical worlds—formally, thematically—when the real world, and reality as you know it, has crumbled? Plays by Samuel Beckett, Thornton Wilder, Bertold Brecht, Eugene Ionesco, Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee, Tony Kushner, Caryl Churchill, and Anne Washburn.
ENGL-UA 252.005 Asian America Dramatic Literature | Prof. Sudhinaraset
This course examines Asian American theater, major dramatic texts, and performance as a framework to study the inter-related questions of US citizenship and belonging, US culture, racial formation, and transnational politics. From the pioneering work of Frank Chin, to more contemporary works by Karen Tei Yamashita and Lauren Yee, we will consider strategies for approaching Asian American drama literature in relationship to Asian American history and culture. In addition to works by Chin, Yamashita, and Yee, we might also consider works by Ping Chong, David Henry Hwang, Wakako Yamauchi, and Philip Kan Gotanda.
ENGL-UA 252.006| Ancient and Renaissance Festivity | Wofford
ENGL-UA 252.007 | Dante’s Divine Comedy in Context
The Divine Comedy, is a very long poem traditionally judged to be one of the most important in Western culture. At the center of the poem is the human being, his condition in the after life and his punishment or reward. Taken literally, the theme is the state of the souls after death. But allegorically, the true subject is moral life and thus the torments of the sins themselves or the enjoyment of a happy and saintly life. Since the beginning of its circulation the Divine Comedy has been seen as a text to be read in context, that is in light of the cultural tradition Dante was channelling and interpreting. This course proposes a reading of Dante’s Commedia, considered in light of the ancient and medieval idea of learning. The objective of the course is to familiarize students with one of the most important authors of Western culture. Through Dante’s texts, students will gain a perspective on the Biblical, Christian, and Classical traditions as well as on the historical, literary, philosophical context of medieval Europe.
ENGL-UA 252.008 | Novels of Youth In and After Colonialism | Vargo
This seminar takes as its central topic the relationship between youth and empire. What does it mean to come of age in a world-system when the key decisions that shape your life might be made in far-off countries that you have never seen? And conversely, why have writers in societies that have recently achieved political independence been drawn to narrate that political transformation through the lens of stories about growing up? We will read a range of different texts and genres, including realist novels, modernist fiction and autobiographical narratives by formerly enslaved people. We will think together about the strengths and limits of these various forms, considering the ways that authors have attempted to reckon with the existential uncertainty of living in a global society. Likely readings will include Chinua Achebe, No Longer at Ease; Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre; Charles Dickens, Great Expectations; Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano; Mary Prince, The History of Mary Prince; Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea; Olive Schreiner, The Story of an African Farm; and Indra Sinha, Animal’s People.
ENGL-UA 320 | Introduction to Chaucer | Prof. Staples
This course will introduce students to Geoffrey Chaucer and his late fourteenth-century London society through a careful reading of his most important texts. Although a significant portion of the course will focus on The Canterbury Tales, the course will situate the Tales within Chaucer’s larger corpus. Considering the immediate popularity of Chaucer, the course will pay particular attention to the texts that established his fame during his lifetime (especially his epic romance Troilus and Criseyde), alongside the texts that have remained popular to this day. In addition, the course will serve as an introduction to the mechanics and style of Middle English poetry, with the expectation that students will read the majority of texts in their original language.
ENGL-UA 410 | Queer Shakespeare | Prof. Staples
When William Shakespeare wrote, “Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s day?” he was writing to, and celebrating the beauty of, a young man. In Twelfth Night, when Lady Olivia falls in love with “Cesario,” she’s actually falling in love with a woman in disguise, who—thus dressed as a young man—in turn falls in love with a man. Across the works of Shakespeare, gender and sexuality resist the expected conventions of modern “heteronormativity,” leading Madhavi Menon to argue (quite provocatively) that Shakespeare was himself a “queer theorist” before queer theory, in fact queering queer theory. This course will look closely at select plays and poetry by Shakespeare to consider how the Bard challenges present readers to think more creatively about gender and sexuality. In line with such an inquiry, the course will consider more recent queer adaptations of Shakespeare, from Oscar Wilde’s Portrait of Mr. W.H., to films like Derek Jarman’s The Tempest or Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho, challenging us to grapple with the ways these seventeenth-century texts continue to inspire new horizons of possibility for queer expression.
ENGL-UA 625 | Joyce Colloquium | Prof. Waters
James Joyce’s encyclopedic 1922 novel Ulysses is considered by many to be the greatest literary achievement of the twentieth century. This course offers an in-depth reading of Ulysses, as well as Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and selections from Finnegans Wake. Discussions of the primary texts are complemented by social/historical, biographical, and political contexts that situate Joyce’s formal experimentalism and ethics in relation to modernism, postcolonialism, feminism, psychoanalysis, and other literary-critical and theoretical approaches.
ENGL-UA 712.001 | Major Texts in Critical Theory | Prof. Biers
The difference between an ordinary theory and a critical theory is summed up by Karl Marx: “Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.” But what makes a particular interpretation of the world transformative, and how does interpretation effect change? The first half of the course will provide an in depth study of critical theorists who have been influential for literary study, including Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, and Foucault. The second half of the course will examine the impact of these thinkers on late 20th and early 21st century literary critics working in fields such as gender studies, post-colonial theory, queer theory, and eco-criticism. We will conclude with an examination of the current “post-critical” turn across the humanities. Is transformative interpretation possible today?
ENGL-UA 720 | Tragedy: Tracing the (Post-)Tragic from Antiquity to Today | Prof. Farrell
This course examines the emergence of classical tragedy in Ancient Greece and the continued relevance of the plays’ today. Contemporary performances of classical tragedy will be examined and discussed, including Sophocles’ Antigone, Euripides’ Women of Troy, and Shakespeare’s Richard III, among others. Video footage of key productions, as well as attendance of live performances in New York City, will operate as material for detailed comparative analyses between text and stage. A notion of ‘post-tragedy’ will be introduced to examine dramaturgical strategies of duration and bodily excess in auteur adaptations of classical tragedy. These bodily excesses will be shown to operate as socio-politically significant within a neoliberal milieu. Students will read plays and watch contemporary adaptations of them to inform a critical engagement with how the tragic body is (re)configured on the post-tragic stage.
ENGL-UA 724 | Italian American Life in Literature | Prof. Gattuso Hendin
Italian American writers have expressed their heritage and their engagement in American life in vivid fiction or poetry which reflects their changing status and concerns. From narratives of immigration to current work by "assimilated" writers, the course explores the depiction of Italian American identity. Readings both track and contribute to the course of American writing from realism, through beat generation writing and current, innovative forms. Challenging stereotypes, the course explores the changing family relationships, sexual mores, and political and social concerns evident in fiction, poetry and selected film and television representations. Situating the field of Italian American Studies in the context of contemporary ethnic studies, this course highlights its contribution to American literature.
ENGL-UA 732 | PAPYRUS TO PDF: AN INTRODUCTION TO BOOK HISTORY NOW | Prof. Park
This course provides an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of book history. A field that engages researchers in many fields of study (material culture, history, literature, art history, librarianship, sociology, media and communications), book history addresses more than books: it investigates the production, dissemination, and readership of all kinds of texts, from Egyptian papyrus to illuminated manuscripts, the Gutenberg Bible to handwritten letters, and newspapers and magazines to modern e-books. What unites book historians is a sense of the irreplaceable importance of books as physical artifacts: the material form of a book, whether codex or e-book, is an integral part of how it constructs its meanings. This iteration of the course will focus on technologies and formats of writing and inscription, from cuneiform and cursive script to code, as critical aspects of book history, as well as the interactivity of books and their parts.
ENGL-UA 735 | Computers and Literary Studies | Prof. Hoover
This course will concentrate on the increasingly important effects of the use of the computer and the World Wide Web on and in the study of literature. The course will be practical and implicitly theoretical as well as explicitly theoretical, and will be a distinctly hands-on experience. Some sessions will be divided into presentation and practice, some will be practice alone, and all sessions will be held in a laboratory setting. We will work extensively with a statistics program (Minitab), a menu-driven suite of tools for R (Stylo), a topic modeling tool (Mallet), and with tools developed for Microsoft Excel, as well as some online tools and tools written in Java. Some of the topics to be covered are the following: the history of humanities computing; digitization; electronic texts and the humanities; text-analysis; literary and linguistic corpora and corpus analysis; statistical stylistics and authorship attribution; evidence and interpretation; copyright and intellectual properties issues; scholarly resources, archives, and on-line research
ENGL-UA 761.001 | Irish Women Writers
Male writers often dominate courses in Irish literature, and have dominated the Irish literary canon. Women, as the poet Eavan Boland points out, were more frequently enlisted as emblems of the nation, not as literary creators. Perhaps precisely because of this tension, Irish women writers have created some of the country’s most daring and complex works. This class will survey a range of women’s writing in Ireland from the Act of Union (1800) to the present, including poems, novels, short stories, plays, cultural history, and criticism. Some concerns that will organize our discussions include the Protestant “Big House” and its decline, the influence of religion and the state on women’s lives in a newly independent Ireland, the dazzling changes and persistent stereotypes in a radically modernized, demographically transformed twenty-first century Ireland, and the persistent mythic, cultural, and literary trope of woman-as-nation—an image bound up with Ireland’s colonial history. We will supplement our literary reading with academic scholarship including postcolonial theory, Irish feminist theory, and other relevant literary and cultural criticism.
ENGL-UA 761.002 | Contemporary Irish Writing
What are the conditions that sustain a broad cultural investment in literary excellence? Why and how has Ireland, as the literary sociologist Pascale Casanova has argued, produced a world-historical literature despite the country's small size? We will examine this question by attending to the extraordinary output of Irish writing since 1990, the decades of the country's transformation from poverty and emigration to wealth and multi-cultural immigration. We will read widely across poetry, novels, short fiction, drama, creative non-fiction and memoir.
ENGL-UA 780 | Postcolonial Asian Literature | Prof. Watson
In this course, we will examine a small number of (mostly Anglophone) Asian and Asian diasporic novels, spanning the period of decolonization to the present, and ranging from postcolonial Pakistan and India to Singapore, South Korea and the Philippines. Our (necessarily selective) focus will be on literary articulations of anti-colonial struggles; the intersection of decolonization with the Cold War; nationalism and migration; development and the limits of the postcolonial nation-state; and environmentalism. Likely authors include Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Cho Se-hui, Timothy Mo, Mohammed Hanif, Gina Apostol, Han Kang, Sonny Liew, and Amitav Ghosh. Texts not originally written in English will be read in translation.
ENGL-UA 800.001 | Anti-colonial Resistance in Literature and Film | Prof. Sunder Rajan
Resistance to colonialism took many forms, from non-violent civil disobedience (as propounded by Gandhi in India) to revolutionary violence (as advocated by Fanon in Algeria). It was enacted as individual protest as well as collective rebellion. It happened in every part of the colonized world: India, Africa, the Caribbean and elsewhere. It found cultural expression in the idioms of liberty and patriotism, protest and satire, and in the form of songs, pamphlets, speeches, history, drama, poetry, stories and novels which formed an important constituent of anti-colonial and nationalist movements. Postcolonial literary and cinematic texts have engaged the colonial past both through representation of such resistance, as well as attempts to understand and analyze the meaning of their instances, their impact, and their historical gains and losses. In this course we will read/watch some of the key texts of anti-colonial resistance. Some of these were written by the leaders of liberation movements like Gandhi and Fanon, or offer accounts of them (like C.L.R. James’s famous Black Jacobins about the Haitian revolution), offering us insights into the rationale, the strategies, the ethics and politics, and the limits and possibilities of anti-colonial struggles on the ground. Some books were consciously envisaged as ‘writing back’ to empire, challenging ‘colonial’ texts like Shakespeare’s Tempest, Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, and Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. In many postcolonial literary texts the colonizer’s language—English, or French-- is resisted, deplored and despaired of as a colonial legacy, even as it cannot be entirely rejected. Several texts show the tragic consequences for colonial subjects suffering from profound cultural dislocation and trauma. Others—consequently—urge the necessity of ‘decolonizing the mind.’ We will consider a variety of texts reflecting the many aspects of ‘resistance’, broadly understood: novels by Tayib Salih, Rabindranath Tagore, Tsistsi Dangarembga, plays by C.L. R. James and Aime Cesaire, poems by Neruda, Faiz, Cesaire, Darwish, Nourbese Philip, John Agard, essays by Edward Said, Jamaica Kincaid, Ngugi wa Thiongo and Chinua Achebe, and films by Gillo Pontecorvo (Battle of Algiers), Satyajit Ray (Home and the World, The Chess Players), and Neill Blomkamp (District 9).
ENGL-UA 800.002 | Asian American Literary and Cultural Studies | Prof. Sudhinaraset
This course will explore the proliferation of Asian American cultural production to study the relationship between Asian American aesthetics, politics, forms, and identities. We will ask how Asian American artists, writers, and performers allow us to understand and re-think dominant narratives of immigration, empire, racial capitalism, globalization, and racialized and gendered labor. These issues will be tied to a larger focus on the ways that Asian American studies opens onto questions of comparative racialization and overlapping diasporas in the Americas.
ENGL-UA 950 | Other Worlds: Visions and Travels in Medieval Literature | Prof. Momma
In this seminar course, we will read two types of medieval literature that depict a world outside our own: namely, visions and travel narratives. In each type of literature, the protagonist typically leaves home, visits a strange place, observes marvelous phenomena, and comes home to tell of his or her experience. The main focus of the course is early medieval English literature, but we will also take a comparative approach by reading related texts from antiquity (e.g. Vergil, Cicero), medieval Ireland (imram or ‘fabulous voyage’ genre), medieval Scandinavia (zombie sagas), the Continent (Dante et al.), and post-Conquest Britain (e.g. Pearl, Sir John Mandeville). Today, visions and travel narratives are designated as two separate genres, but the close connection between the two was apparently understood by classical and medieval authors, for visions and travels often appear side by side in their wok (e.g. Scipio’s Dream, Divine Comedy); in some genres, the coupling of the two has even become a convention (e.g. epic/heroic poetry and, to a certain degree, hagiography). The goal of this course is for us to build, collectively, a new approach to medieval literature, while, individually, developing exciting ideas for our respective research projects.
ENGL-UA 953 | #MeToo 1.0: 18TH-CENTURY BRITISH WOMEN WRITERS | Prof. McDowell
"If all men are born free, how is it that all Women are born slaves?" So demanded Mary Astell in Some Reflections Upon Marriage (Preface, 1706), her treatise responding to Enlightenment philosopher John Locke. In seizing the new media form of their time -- print -- to challenge institutionalized inequities and forge gender-based solidarities across divisions of geography and social rank, eighteenth-century women writers anticipated our own moment in saying "MeToo" to one another and to those in power. At no time in the past three hundred years has there been easier access to early women's writing (now available via anthologies, scholarly editions, classroom paperbacks, and digital collections). Yet even today, many English majors graduate unaware of the extent and diversity of these women's poems, plays, fiction, essays, satire, conduct books, letters, periodicals, and other works. We will examine the media forms, genres, and literary and rhetorical conventions and strategies of Restoration and eighteenth-century authors such as Margaret Cavendish, Dorothy Osborne, Aphra Behn, Elinor James, Mary Astell, Delarivier Manley, Mary Wortley Montagu, Francis Burney, Phyllis Wheatley, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Jane Austen. We will supplement these readings with selections from male authors such as Locke, Samuel Richardson, and Henry Fielding. Addressing issues such as courtship and marriage, literacy and education, spirituality, sexuality, and female agency (economic, political, legal) and its lack, these women held different -- sometimes competing -- views. (As Astell observed in 1706, "Women are not so well united as to form an Insurrection.") Yet if we believe in the Enlightenment notion of "progress" (Astell did not), why is it that in our "electronic age" of near-instant global communication, we might well make the same observation today?
ENGL-UA 954 | The Brontës | Prof. Regaignon
Immediately popular and controversial, the novels of Anne, Emily, and Charlotte Brontë invite inquiries into the transformations of the novel form in the 1840s. In this seminar, we will engage in sustained analysis of several novels in order to think about the politics and aesthetics of race, class, and gender in the early Victorian period, as well as to explore the histories of reception and interpretation that have accreted around these works—and the work of nineteenth-century women writers more generally. After reading Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1847) and some of the key theories that have emerged from readings of it, we’ll consider Wuthering Heights (Emily Brontë, 1847); The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Anne Brontë, 1848); and Shirley (Charlotte Brontë, 1849). One significant goal of this seminar is for students to learn the habits and practices of researched writing in literary studies, and so the seminar will culminate in a sustained research essay and presentation.
ENGL-UA 961 | The Du Bois Era: Black Writing, Socialist Writing, Sociology | Prof. Hobbs
The Du Bois Era: Black Writing, Socialist Writing, Sociology 1899-1963: I am dead; Yet somehow, somewhere, In Time's weird contradiction, I May tell of that dread deed… —W.E.B. Du Bois, "The Children of the Moon," Darkwater: Voices from Within the Veil (1920) | While most of us have read at least part of Du Bois's opus, The Souls of Black Folk (1903), his subsequent works are too often ignored, even as they demonstrate that he continued to develop his understandings of race and social justice over time. Above all a writer, Du Bois lived until 1963, having moved to Ghana and renouncing his American citizenship in his final years, and he responded to the major (and many minor) political and cultural conflicts of the era in his powerful and singular voice. In the allegorical poem above, for instance, Du Bois imagines a Christ-like figure recalling his "dread" acts of emancipation from beyond the grave, and yet as the second line suggests, the time for a full recounting has not quite arrived. This course believes that the time has come, and indeed, demands a new understanding of the period in which Du Bois lived and wrote. We begin with Du Bois's early sociological writing and will continue through proto-modernism, the Harlem Renaissance and its aftermaths, returning to Du Bois — including his science fiction, speeches, poetry, and his incendiary political writing — at regular intervals. Other writers considered will include: Charles Chestnutt, Jessie Redmon Fauset, Claude McKay, Max Eastman, Countee Cullen, Zora Neale Huston, Ralph Ellison, and Sterling Brown.
ENGL-UA 973 | The Rise of the Graphic Novel | Prof. Feroli
This course examines the history and formal traits of the graphic novel. We will begin with an introduction to the language and history of comics and then we will spend the rest of the term reading some of the core texts in the canon of graphic literature. These include the work of, among others, Stan Lee, Will Eisner, Robert Crumb, Jaime Hernandez, Gilbert Hernandez, Dwayne McDuffie, Art Spiegelman, Alan Moore, Alison Bechdel, Chris Ware, Adrian Tomine, Thi Bui, Nick Drnaso, and Emil Ferris. As graphic novels have gained in prestige, they have become the subject of critical discourse, and students will be introduced to key works in this new scholarly canon.
ENGL-UA 974 | LYRIC DIS/CONTENTS—Romanticisms/Modernisms/Now | Prof. McLane
“What is lyric?” ask contemporary scholars of the “new lyric theory”; asked Wordsworth; ask contemporary poets. This question often borders on another: "What is Poetry?"—as Coleridge, Gertrude Stein, and contemporary poets have asked. With “lyric” and “poetry” as governing (albeit distressed) categories, this course explores several poetic and theoretical genealogies, histories, discrepancies, and elective affinities. We will track resonances between those zones typically designated "romantic," “modern," and “contemporary”; we will toggle between poetry, poetics, criticism, and theory. Readings may include: anonymous ballads, Thomas Gray, Robert Burns, P. B. Shelley, Wordsworth and Coleridge; W. C. Williams, Jean Toomer, Victor Segalen; Anne Carson, Tonya Foster, Susan Howe, MC Hyland, Sara Nicholson, Tom Pickard, Claudia Rankine, Lisa Robertson, Donna Stonecipher; sundry conceptual and experimental (sic) poets; critics, scholars and theorists including, M. H. Abrams, T. H. Adorno, Emile Benveniste, Paul de Man, Virginia Jackson, Fred Moten, Jahan Ramazani, Susan Stewart, inter alia.
ENGL-UA 910.001/.002/.003/.004 | Creative Writing Capstone Colloquium (PROJECT)
This 2 credit course stands in for the work you do on your project on your own time, as an “Independent Study.” This class should be taken at the same time as ENGL-UA 911.
ENGL-UA 911.001 & .003 | Creative Writing Capstone Colloquium (FICTION) | Prof. Holt
The Creative Writing Capstone Colloquium is a semester-long class that accompanies your individual creative project. It is a sustained practicum in criticism, a discussion of craft, and an opportunity to workshop drafts of your capstone as you revise it to the point of polish. Classes will consist of faculty-led workshops. Each student will have the opportunity to be workshopped twice. Your professor is also your project adviser, and she will read a full draft of your capstone halfway through the semester, and give you feedback. You will then have more than a month to revise the project before the final is due at the end of the semester. In addition to reading your peers’ work, you will read some published work and author interviews, and keep a Craft Journal, in which you’ll record stray observations and thoughts about the reading. At the end of the semester, at our capstone celebration event, you will read publicly your work.
ENGL-UA 911.002 | Creative Writing Capstone Colloquium (POETRY) | Prof. Hyland
The Creative Writing Capstone Colloquium is designed as a common experience for students undertaking the Capstone Project in the Creative Writing Concentration in the English Major. This colloquium is a semester-long class that accompanies your individual creative project. It is a sustained practicum in criticism and an opportunity to workshop drafts of your capstone project as you revise. This section is for writers working in poetry, creative nonfiction, and/or hybrid genres. Classes will consist mostly of faculty-led workshops of student writing (2 students each session). Each student will have the opportunity to be workshopped twice. Ideally, you will workshop revisions of pieces you wrote for your creative writing classes. Each of your submissions should be roughly 12-15 pages (or half the length of your final capstone). Your instructor is also your project advisor, and she will read a full draft of your capstone, about halfway through the semester, and give you feedback. You will then have several weeks to revise the project before the final is due at the end of the semester. In addition to presenting your own writing and closely reading and responding to your classmates’ work, you will also, midway through the semester, present the work of an author (or authors) whose writing is an influence or inspiration. When you make your “influence presentation,” you will assign your classmates 10-15 pages of that author’s (or those authors’) work to read in advance of your presentation.
ENGL-UA 911.004 | Creative Writing Capstone Colloquium (FICTION/NON-FICTION)