Please find the descriptions for the courses in which you are interested below.
ENGL-UA 101.001 & .002 | Prof. Fleming
This is a course in reading and writing about literary texts. We will be reading so closely that you will be able to see an entire world view contained in a single sentence, recognizing not only what is there but also what may be missing. As we read works from a range of historical periods in a variety of genres you will deepen your appreciation of how texts work and what we can learn from them; and we will be paying close attention to your own writing as the best and only tool for such inquiry. Four plenary lectures by English Department faculty will introduce students to some of the questions literary scholars ask and the kinds of materials they work with: as we discuss these lectures in our section we will in addition touch on some further theoretical issues.
ENGL-UA 101.003 | Prof. Biers
This course will introduce students to the tools and techniques of literary study in a variety of genres, from lyric poetry to plays and performance, from antiquity to the present. How does literature communicate its deep messages to us, and where do we go to understand and analyze those messages? Does the meaning of the work reside in the mind of the author or the reader, or is it in the text itself? How do we write about literature? Essays, assignments, and class discussions will emphasize the pleasures of solving interpretive problems and the unexpected revelations of close reading. Three plenary lectures will introduce students to some of the major practices and methodologies in the field.
ENGL-UA 101.004 | Prof. Vargo
This is a class on reading and perspective meant to cultivate our skills as students of literature. For much of the term, we will approach lyric poems, short stories and novels (Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, Shelley’s Frankenstein, and the Arabian Nights), as worlds unto themselves, taking seriously the texts’ internal logic while probing their peculiarities, ambiguities, and paradoxes. We will attend to how poetry fuses intellectual, emotional and aesthetic concerns while developing a shared vocabulary in order to better understand and describe the ways poets utilize wordplay, figurative expression (such as metaphor, synesthesia, and synecdoche), and sonic devices (like rhyme and rhythm) as they transform ordinary language into art. For fiction, our approach will derive from narratology. We will consider how stories are narrated, their arrangement of time and space, their experiments with point of view, and the ways in which they instantiate character. In the final section of the semester, our perspective will broaden as we look at a case study of Langston Hughes’s 1949 poetry volume One-Way Ticket by considering how issues of race, diaspora, and urban life shape Hughes’s poetic practices. Finally, plenary lectures by other faculty members will introduce other texts and modes of reading.
ENGL-UA 101.005 | Prof. Watson
This course is an introduction to the pleasures and challenges of university-level literary study. What kinds of questions can we ask of literary texts? How (and why) does one go about interpreting and analyzing a novel, a poem, or play? Building close-reading skills alongside a toolkit of critical terminology, students in this course will examine -- slowly and carefully -- literary examples from a range of historical and cultural contexts. Frequent writing assignments allow students to develop writing as a mode of investigation; class discussions will foster a collective and collaborative approach to texts. The course includes training in digital research methods and citation practices. Three plenary guest lectures spread over the semester will expose students to various literary methodologies and practices.
ENGL-UA 101.006 | Prof. Hoover
This section of English 101 will focus intensely on the analysis of literary form, style, and meaning, primarily through close and careful reading of the texts themselves, but also through the practice of textual-alteration: modifying the original as a method of discovering how it functions and why we respond to it as we do. We will read, analyze, write about, and sometimes alter poetry, fiction, and drama from a range of historical periods and places. The object is for students to gain the skills needed to think about, talk about, and write about literature at the highest level of analytical sophistication. We will also practice reading literature aloud sensitively and effectively. Plenary lectures by English Department faculty on texts they will select for us to read will introduce students to a variety of methods and approaches. I hope to select a Shakespeare play that is being staged during the semester so that we can attend a live performance.
ENGL-UA 111 | Literatures in English I: Medieval and Early Modern Literatures | Prof. Guillory
Survey of English literature from its origins in the Anglo-Saxon epic through Milton. Close reading of representative works, with attention to the historical, intellectual, and social contexts of the period.
ENGL-UA 112 | Literatures in English II | Literatures of the British Isles and British Empire, 1660-1900 | Prof. Freedgood and Prof. Hanson
In our version of this course, we will read literature from the 17th-20th century as a response to strikes and riots, prisons and plantations, and domestic and colonial violence. We will track the history of literature as it tames, illuminates and even resolves some of the conflicts of a tumultuous period in the history of the British Empire. Texts may include John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera (1728), an anti-opera about thieves and prostitutes featuring popular music to which the audience could hum along; Alexander Pope’s poem The Rape of the Lock, which might land him a #metoo hashtag today; the narrative of Mary Prince, an enslaved woman in the Caribbean who details plantation violence in a prose at once cutting, calm and convincing; Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, in which slave rebellions in Antigua trigger riotous family breakdowns in England; Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations in which a convict who is transported to Australia controls lives in England, reversing the usual colonial order; Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel North and South, in which a strike helps middle class and aristocratic characters find common ground against the working class; and the poetry and images of William Blake, which depict a global solidarity of rioters, revolutionaries and escaped slaves. The Nobel Laureate Rudyard Kipling will provide us with the lyrics of heroic imperial endeavor, even as his short fiction suggests the profound emptiness of the lives of colonial civil servants in India. Three short papers, a midterm, a final, quizzes (of the pop variety) and attendance are required.
ENGL-UA 113 | Literatures in English III: American Literatures to 1900 | Prof. Crain
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 | Literatures in English IV: Twentieth and Twenty-first Century Literatures | Prof. Waters
An overview of English-language literary production as it expands and diversifies from 1900 onward. Topics: international modernisms; literatures of imperialism, anti-colonialism, and diaspora; race, ethnicity, and representation; and the significance of English-language writing in an increasingly globalized cultural field.
ENGL-UA 201.001 | Reading as a Writer: Poetry, Hybrid Genres, Creative Encounter | Prof. McLane
This seminar launches a collective experiment, a commitment to work, play, analyze, respond, and create as a reader/writer: but what might this mean? Reading: processing, decoding, discerning, pronouncing, scanning, skimming, erasing, paraphrasing, sounding, critiquing, imitating, emulating, creating, destroying, romancing, absorbing, excreting, collaging, cutting, annotating. Reading: it’s not obvious. Nor writing. Reading-as-a-writer: reading for something, with something, against something, across something. That something will usually but not always be a text. Among the phenomena we will read/attend to: books and poems, but also musical compositions, comics, and paintings. This class posits reading as activity, an activity we will often direct, constrain, mutilate, and celebrate. Reading is also a mode of attention, as is listening, looking intently, and otherwise being present. This is a class in creative as well as critical reading, which will occasionally flow into creative/critical writing. We will explore reading and writing as reciprocal activities: no strong writers are not also strong readers. What is it to be a strong reader? When and why might one choose to be a tactically perverse or resistant reader? We will also note when reading and writing are decoupled: historically and theoretically. Many more people have been readers than writers. We will explore writing as reading. Throughout this seminar we will, in Susan Howe’s words, aspire to “meet the work with writing—mind to mind, friend to friend,” and, if need be, enemy to enemy. This seminar aims to strengthen your capacities for pattern recognition—i.e. sophistication about genre, style, and mode. Regular assignments aim to provide a space for critical experiments in reading and writing; the syllabus offers models and goads for weekly reflection and response. Students will write a mid-term analytic essay; there may be an excursion or two to museums, galleries, mystery sites. Students will direct and distill their inquiries into a substantial final paper (or project). We will explore how writers compose texts and at times how they decompose texts, genres, expectations. Thus “hybrid” genres: those works that evoke but are not dissolvable into standard categories. These are works that privilege the complex activity of reading/writing, the work of poiesis in the broadest sense: making. Among the reader/writers we are likely to encounter: Roland Barthes, Matsuo Basho, Alison Bechdel, John Cage, Anne Carson, Gerard Genette, Susan Howe, Fred Moten, Maggie Nelson, Jeff Nunokawa, Claudia Rankine, Eve K. Sedgwick, Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, old ballads, punk poets, writers on linguistics, Renaissance painting, marginalia, poetics and genre.
ENGL-UA 201.002 | Reading as a Writer: Creating the Text | Prof. Holt
This 4-credit course is about reading as a creative practice: one that requires engagement, focus, and imagination. We will actively deconstruct texts, analyzing the various elements of craft (structure, perspective, voice, diction & syntax, etc.) and the effects of authors’ choices. Reading is the foundation of all good creative writing, so in addition to writing short analytical responses every week, you will write creative responses to the reading assignments. Texts will include short stories, essays, poems and plays by authors including Anne Carson, Michael Cunningham, Joan Didion, Maggie Nelson, Edward P. Jones, Tony Kushner, and Joy Williams.
ENGL-UA 254 | Contemporary African American Lit | Prof. Hobbs
This course begins an assumption: that contemporary debates in African American Studies not only point a way forward, but necessitate new understandings of the past + the past-in-the-present. Taking our cue from Fred Moten’s recent work on the competing impulses towards uplift (the lyric) and dissolution or exhaustion (lysis, literally “loosening” but typically refers to the breaking down of a cellular membrane), we will be “unbinding the present” by reading history in reverse, starting with writing from the past few years and reading backwards to the nineteenth century. This will involve taking detours through the under-appreciated or only-recently-discovered, as well as reacquainting ourselves with major texts. We will be continually asking what does it mean to be reading this now? And how does this change our understanding of the present and our path forward? Together, we will consider how these literary histories have changed, and in doing so, how black writing theorizes history. Coursework will include short weekly responses, a brief presentation, and two essays (and the opportunity to develop an independent creative project). Authors read and discussed will include Moten, Simone White, Christina Sharpe, Audre Lorde, Claudia Rankine, Harryette Mullen, Toni Cade Bambara, Samuel Delany, Claude McKay, Zora Neale Hurston, W.E.B. DuBois and many historical literary magazines.
ENGL-UA 410 | Shakespeare | Guillory
Why is Shakespeare still a vital cultural force 400 years after his death? How was he able to speak both to us and to audiences of his own day? This course will survey Shakespeare’s major plays and poems, and will look at their historical, cultural and theatrical contexts. But we will also consider Shakespeare’s afterlife on stage and screen, including performances by Kenneth Branagh, Ian McKellen and Mark Rylance. We will read the following plays: The Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night, Richard III, Henry IV Part 1, Henry V, Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, A Winter’s Tale and The Tempest. Course requirements: two papers of 5-6 pages each, a midterm and a final exam.
ENGL-UA 415 | Shakespeare and law | Prof. Archer
How can key works by William Shakespeare help introduce us both to the history of law in the Anglo-American and Roman civil-law traditions and to current theories about law and political power? Beginning with legal history and comic drama, our colloquium will compare common law, equity, and canon or church law in England as rival systems that place competing versions of the public good (inheritance as common wealth, and commonwealth as state power) above particular interests. Then, through a range of tragedies and late tragicomedies, we will consider different versions of “political theology” in the Renaissance, that is, the place of the sovereign both inside and outside divine, natural, and human concepts of law. We will read a selection of Shakespeare’s works along with a critical article or two each week. The plays include The Comedy of Errors, The Merchant of Venice, Measure for Measure, King Lear, and The Tempest. Theorists and critics include Giorgio Agamben, Lorna Hutson, Paul Raffield, and Julia Reinhard Lupton. Previous reading in either the historical context for literature from the medieval period forward or in literary theory is highly recommended for enrollment in this course.A presentation and two research papers will make up the grade along with informed and lively class participation.
ENGL-UA 445 | Earthly Delights: Pleasure in Medieval Literature and Culture | Prof. Staples
The Christian Middle Ages is often regarded as a period that was very suspicious of worldly pleasure, seeming to repress it at all costs through active asceticism and self-denial. This course will challenge this preconception by considering the many ways that pleasure and enjoyment were written about and theorized by medieval people, looking closely at literary and theological works that describe earthly pleasure not just projected onto an eternal life to come, but sought in everyday experiences on earth, here and now. We will read selections from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Arthurian romance, the works of the Pearl-Poet, and other great literary works alongside travel narratives, saints’ lives, accounts of the Golden Age or the Garden of Eden, all maintaining the reality of pleasure, whether discovered far in the east or in the innermost depths of one’s experiences. We will collectively consider a historical genealogy of pleasures, and how modern theories of pleasure and enjoyment (including histories of sexuality) fit into these medieval discourses.
ENGL-UA 511 | Jane Austen | Prof. Lee
Does literature achieve formal and philosophical perfection in the works of Jane Austen, whose lavish global 2017 bicentenary attests to her enduring powers? Such, at least, is a truth universally acknowledged by modern critics and historians of the novel. In this course, we will consider what it means to read and to love the author known by generations of her adorers—from heads of state to secret societies to knitting circles—as “The Divine Miss Jane.” Such godlike powers of narration, moreover, must be considered alongside what is regarded (by fan and foe alike) as her world-class hatred. As one Austenian famously put it: “Her books are, as she meant them to be, read and enjoyed by precisely the sort of people whom she disliked.” Readings will focus on her compact oeuvre of fiction, whose critical reception has been so formative to the discipline of English literature itself. We will consider Austen’s deep, virtuosic inheritance of eighteenth-century narrative forms as well as their afterlives in contemporary culture, including popular film adaptations of Austen’s work (Clueless, Love and Friendship). In both lectures and discussion sections, students will embark on a careful study of the author recognized—on par only with Shakespeare—as the master stylist of the English language.
ENGL-UA 530 | 19th Century British Novel | Prof. Regaignon
We often gloss nineteenth-century novels as relying primarily on the “marriage plot,” but they center as much or more on family as on courtship. Who belongs in a family, and who doesn’t? Are servants kin or employees? How is family resemblance determined, and how does it matter? Who raises children, and why does it matter? What does it mean to inherit familial property, or a familial tendency? The plots of nineteenth-century novels are shaped by these questions. They draw on families both idealized and troubled, contained and dispersed. Whether centering on orphans searching for kin and belonging or children both resisting and embracing parental expectation, these novels center on questions of how individuals develop and how families transmit identity from one generation to another. In this course, we’ll think about how the novels of the nineteenth-century both sentimentalized and critiqued the then-newly dominant structure of the nuclear family, and we’ll think about how familial forms—wholes that include and exclude, networks that grown and shrink—shape the novel itself. Readings may include texts by Jane Austen, the Brontës, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot, Anthony Trollope, and Charlotte Yonge.
ENGL-UA 545 | Herman Melville | Prof. Nicholls
The course will involve in-depth study of most of Melville’s major works, from Typee (1846) to the posthumously published Billy Budd, Sailor. Special attention will be paid to the works of Melville’s maturity: Moby-Dick (1851), Pierre (1852), and The Confidence Man (1857). Reference will also be made to Melville’s Civil War poetry and to passages from his letters and journals. Melville’s life (1819-1891) spanned a large part of the nineteenth century, and we shall read his works in the context of an industrializing America in which the nation confronts pressing questions of class, race, and gender.
ENGL-UA 600 | SOME CONTEMPORARY POETRIES, mainly in English | Prof. McLane
In this course we will read (and occasionally listen to) poems, books, and other works by and about some contemporary poets, mainly in English, some in translation. While most will be 21st-century works, some readings will come from elsewhere—ancient Greece, 17th C. Japan, 18th C. Scotland, 20th C. Germany. Among the questions we will keep open: what might count as poetry, and what might count as “contemporary.” (As David Hockney has said, “If it’s speaking to you now, it’s contemporary.”) En route we will read some works in poetics and theory, with particular attention to ecological, formal, historical, socio-political, and linguistic concerns. Readings may include works by anonymous balladeers, Theodor Adorno, Basho, Jen Bervin, Anne Boyer, Bertolt Brecht, Anne Carson, Jos Charles, Inger Christensen, John Clare, Michael Dickman, Tonya Foster, Devin Johnston, Terrance Hayes, MC Hyland, Dorothea Lasky, Robin Coste Lewis, Paul Muldoon, Eileen Myles, Katie Peterson, Tom Pickard, Claude Rankine, Paisley Rekdal, Lisa Robertson, Margaret Ronda, Sappho, Juliana Spahr, A.E. Stallings, Donna Stonecipher, William Wordsworth, Monica Youn. Restricted to juniors and seniors.
ENGL-UA 607 | Contemporary British Literature and Culture | Prof. Deer
How have British writers responded to the end of empire, Cold War, economic decline and radical changes in racial and sexual politics? This course offers an introduction to contemporary British culture in an era of profound political and economic change and social upheaval. In order to give students a rich sense of context and history, the course will integrate multimedia elements drawn from visual culture, film, art and popular music, with rigorous textual analysis of contemporary British literature. We will explore novels, poetry, music and film profoundly influenced by the shadow of war, by immigration from the former colonies and racial and ethnic diversity, by dramatic shifts in gender relations and sexuality, by class conflict and deindustrialization, environmental catastrophe, and by the potential “break up” of Britain and impending Brexit. Caught between an ambivalent “special relationship” with America and a technocratic European superstate, how has British culture adapted to its uneasy geopolitical position? How does a nation so obsessed with images of its past traditions remain at the cutting edge of music and popular culture? How has British involvement in postcolonial conflicts, the Troubles in Northern Ireland, or in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan affected its culture? What is Britain’s position in the global cultural economy? We will examine a range of avant-garde, postcolonial and popular texts which challenge received notions of Englishness. Particular attention will be paid to the interaction between literature and other cultural forms such as cinema, punk music and other popular and independent music, and sport. Readings may include the work of Virginia Woolf, Evelyn Waugh, Alexander Baron, George Orwell, Kingsley Amis, Samuel Selvon, John Osborne, Ian Fleming, Muriel Spark, Anthony Burgess, Caryl Churchill, Penelope Fitzgerald, Kazuo Ishiguro, and Zadie Smith.
ENGL-UA 640 | Imagining Postwar America | Prof. Hendin
Fiction since 1945 reflects the creative ferment of a period of extraordinary cultural unrest. How writers and poets attempted to define and respond to the idea of the new or the transformed may illuminate specific works of literary art and the cultural contexts in which they were created. Through intensive readings in fiction and critical theory, the course explores innovations in genres, mores and forms, emphasizing the aesthetics and cultural meanings forged by novelists and analyzed by critics and social theorists in a period of creative richness and troubling uncertainty.
ENGL-UA 650 | Modern American Drama | Prof. Biers
A survey of twentieth-century American drama, focusing mainly on 1900-1960. We will ask what makes American drama “American” and how American dramatists and theater practitioners responded to European and Anglophone drama, theater, and performance. We will also examine modern American drama’s relationship to key cultural events and transformations of the early 20th century, such as the rise of mass culture; mechanization and alienation; labor unrest; racism; globalization and planetarity; and nuclear war. How does dramatic performance reflect and respond to these broader social and political contexts? What is the legacy of this period for playwrights and theater practitioners today? Plays by Susan Glaspell, August Strindberg, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Thornton Wilder, Eugene O’Neill, Zora Neale Hurston, Eugene Ionesco, Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee, and Tony Kushner
ENGL-UA 712.001 | Major Texts in Critical Theory: The Poverty of Theory | Prof. Hanson
What we call critical theory is a history of exclusions and bans—of poets from the city, of the poor from philosophy, of the conscious from the unconscious, of students from revolution, etc. In other words, thinking has a history. This history is neither straightforward or unambiguous. For instance, Karl Marx generated one of the most significant theories of modern revolution by excluding the chronically unemployed, sex workers, and domestic laborers from it. In turn, members of the Black Panther Party actively theorized a revolution for those same people through intensive study of Marx, and G.W.F. Hegel as well. Strangely enough, critical theory gives us some of the best tools for understanding why exclusion and division are so central to thinking. In this course, we will engage with critical theory by using an expansive lens of exclusion, where theory is both a reflection on and also an agent of these operations. In particular, we will focus on critical theory as it intersects with the reading, writing and production of literature and culture. Students can expect to read some, but not all, of the following writers: Plato, Aristotle, Immanuel Kant, Karl Marx, Hannah Arendt, Jacques Rancière, Jacques Derrida, Louis Althusser, Walter Benjamin, Denise da Silva, Sara Ahmed, Brenna Bhandar, Stuart Hall, and Saidiya Hartman.
ENGL-UA 728 | Scence Fiction | Prof. Hoover
This course considers contemporary science fiction as literature, social commentary, prophecy, thought-experiment, and as a reflection of recent and possible future trends in technology and society. The main emphasis will be on the literary qualities of the texts, but we will also consider the various methods science fiction writers use to create their imagined worlds, and what their fictions have to say about human nature. We will also experiment with altering texts or excerpts of texts as a method of examining how they are constructed. Finally, some of the readings for the semester involve apocalypses of various kinds. The nature, function, and effect of these apocalypses, and the way the characters react to them will also be an important focus. NOVELS: Isaac Asimov. I, Robot. Margaret Atwood. The Handmaid’s Tale. Ray Bradbury. Farenheit 451. Orson Scott Card. Ender’s Game. Michael Chrichton. The Andromeda Strain. Philip K. Dick. Ubik. Ursula K. Le Guin. The Left Hand of Darkness. Cormac McCarthy. The Road. Emily St. John Mandel. Station Eleven. Mary Doria Russell. The Sparrow: A Novel. Tepper, Sheri. The Gate to Women's Country. John Wyndham. The Day of the Triffids. WORK, REQUIREMENTS, AND GRADING: 1. Your most important work is the active reading of the texts; there is a GREAT DEAL of reading, so keep up and think about what you read. 2. Quizzes on most assigned readings; these will be short answers and/or brief paragraphs at the beginning of class. No make-ups are allowed, but an excused absence also excuses any quiz on that day. (20% of grade). 3. A mid-term exam and a late-term exam (20% of grade, each). 4. A paper of about 12-15 pages (30% of grade). 5. Attendance and participation (10% of grade).
ENGL-UA 735 | Histories of the Novel | Prof. Alex Solomon
Modern readers are in the habit of referring to all kinds of works as “novels,” but can we identify the particular qualities that determine a novel? This question is made even more challenging by the fact that several of the works considered to be among the first novels in English did not label themselves as such, while the word “novel,” itself borrowed from romance language traditions, was used through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to describe works that critics today might call something else altogether. In this class, we will pursue existential questions about the novel—What is a novel? When and where did novels come into existence? Did they actually come into existence in any particular time or place? What aspects of novels distinguish them from romance, epic, drama, allegory, memoir, history, picaresque, etc? But rather than simply answer these questions, we will interrogate their value as questions, so that we may understand how different lines of inquiry affect the conclusions we reach. Thus, we will understand the novel as a historically emergent and evolving form, a mode of discourse, a constellation of potential plots and characters, a reflection of social and political dynamics, and all, or none, of the above. Beyond reading innovative and influential literature, in this class we will analyze several distinct critical histories of the novel, from narratives of its evolution out of the medieval Romance tradition, to its “rise” alongside that of the middle class in England, to its global popularity as the dominant form of “realistic” fiction. We will survey accounts of the novel’s development and articulation across time while remaining attentive to the exclusionary character of these accounts. Extending our scrutiny to anglophone novels of different periods and geographic origins, we will challenge pervasive anglo- and euro-centric critical paradigms while working through the paradoxes of considering the novel as a global form.
ENGL-UA 775 | Intro to Latinx Literary Studies | Prof. Trujillo
This course introduces students to key texts, methods, and debates in Latina/o/x literary studies. We will read a wide range of Latino/a/x literary production in order to investigate the relations between literary practice and the politics of decolonization in the Americas. Our conversation will begin by exploring links between the emergence of Latina/o/x studies in the US academy and the social movements for land, labor, immigrant, and indigenous rights in the 1960s-70s. In doing so, we will situate Latino/a/x studies as a movement-driven attempt to rethink the social function of the modern university, one that made important connections between the politics of knowledge and emancipation from the distinct yet overlapping colonial hierarchies of race, gender, class, and sexuality in the United States and Latin America. From this vantage, rather than reading Latina/o/x literature to define a single literary tradition, we will explore how Latina/o/x performances of the literary evoke a multiplicity of social, political, and cultural practices in relation to histories of colonialism. This means we will think about Latina/o/x literatures through a framework of comparative racialization, one that reads “Latina/o/x” as a category differentiated by the politics of culture, nationalism, state violence, whiteness, patriarchy, mestizaje, indigeneity, immigration, social movement practice, and settler colonial sovereignty.
ENGL-UA 780 | Intro to Postcolonial Studies POST-APARTHEID SOUTH AFRICAN LITERATURE | Prof. Hofmeyr
South Africa has always been a country that raises global questions. The anti-apartheid struggle spawned an international movement that grappled with questions of race and justice. The term apartheid itself has become a potent and portable sign to stigmatize extreme forms of oppression in different parts of the world. South Africa hence offers an ideal site from which to approach key postcolonial questions. This course will survey a range of media and genres: in addition to novels and poetry, we will examine photography and stand-up comedy. The course will include at least two skype interviews with writers whom we will be studying.
ENGL-UA 800.001 | Literatures of the Middle East | Prof. Young
Today the Western media tends to produce a one-dimensional view of the cultures of the Middle East. The reality of the people themselves and their daily lives is often very different. How do Middle Eastern writers represent themselves and their societies in literary fiction? How have they responded to the dramatic changes in the Middle East from the early twentieth century onwards? In this course, we will consider the continuities and diversities of North African and Middle Eastern cultures by reading a range of novels, with some poetry and films, from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, from or about Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon and Israel/Palestine. How do novelists translate the dynamics of the changing historical situations of their different cultures into literary form? What literary traditions and models do they draw on? How far do these reflect the different movements and schools of belief in Islam, as well as the other religions of the Middle East? What kinds of worldly and more personal representations emerge, with respect for example to issues of gender, and how have these changed over recent decades, particularly since the Arab Revolutions? How different are those novels written in English or French for a global audience from those written in Arabic? What are the effects of reading them in translation? Do the conventions of Western literary criticism work for literatures from other regions of the world? We will be investigating these and many other related questions in the course of our readings.
ENGL-UA 910.001 & 911.001 | Creative Writing Capstone Colloquium: Fiction | Holt
The colloquium is a semester-long forum that accompanies your individual creative project. It is a sustained practicum in criticism and a revision workshop, giving you the opportunity to workshop drafts of your capstone as you revise it to the point of polish. Classes will consist of a faculty-led workshop of student writing (2 students each session, for about thirty minutes each). You will workshop revisions of fiction you originally wrote for creative writing classes, and will also be required to turn in weekly critiques of your peers' work.
**To get permission to take this course, please fill this out: https://forms.gle/u44FFXeDSJRMqkDKA
ENGL-UA 910.002 & 911.002 | Creative Writing Capstone Colloquium: Poetry | TBA
The colloquium is a semester-long forum that accompanies your individual creative project. It is a sustained practicum in criticism and a revision workshop, giving you the opportunity to workshop drafts of your capstone as you revise it to the point of polish. Classes will consist of a faculty-led workshop of student writing (2 students each session, for about thirty minutes each). You will workshop revisions of Poetry you originally wrote for creative writing classes, and will also be required to turn in weekly critiques of your peers' work.
**To get permission to take this course, please fill this out: https://forms.gle/u44FFXeDSJRMqkDKA
ENGL-UA 954 | Queer Austen | Lee
“I do not understand her,” says Henry Crawford of Fanny Price, the least likeable of Jane Austen’s heroines. “What is her character? Is she solemn? Is she queer? Is she prudish?” Our undertaking in this seminar will be to discern a queer Austen, as one who consistently exposes the failings of patriarchal norms within the unlikely form of the courtship plot. In reading her six novels alongside game-changing theoretical accounts in Austen studies (Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s “Jane Austen and the Masturbating Girl,” Claudia Johnson’s Equivocal Beings, D.A. Miller’s The Secret of Style), we will explore the singularity of this iconic writer, whose ethical outlook, psychological insight, and, of course, inimitable style changed the course of English fiction. Enrolled students need not have read all of Austen’s work before but at least enough to know that they enjoy it (the texts, not the movies).
ENGL-UA 961 | Haunts | Prof. Crain
This seminar explores the salience of the ghostly (hauntings, apparitions, specters, visitations) for (especially) U.S. literature and culture, as well as for theories and practices of reading and of media. Students will be presumed to be familiar with Hamlet, which haunts subsequent literary apparitions. Beyond Hamlet, texts will focus on the American nineteenth century, with tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry James, Mary Wilkins Freeman, Sarah Orne Jewett, and Charles Chesnutt, as well as Toni Morrison’s Beloved and George Saunders’s Lincoln in the Bardo. We will consider the ways in which literary hauntings articulate and process crises in representation of sexuality, race, slavery, and genocide. Theoretical readings will likely be drawn from Freud on “The Uncanny” and “Mourning and Melancholia,” Avery Gordon’s Ghostly Matters, Jacques Derrida’s Specters of Marx, Jeffrey Sconce’s Haunted Media, among others. Students will give in-class reports on readings and on their own research, and will write a 20-page research essay.
ENGL-UA 964 | Latinx Studies and Indigenous Politics | Prof. Trujillo
This senior seminar explores the question of indigeneity in the study of Latinx literature and culture. Conventionally understood as an ancestral relation of Latinx communities that has been vanished or lost over the duration of the European colonization of the Americas, the pairing of the two terms—Latinx Indigeneity—appears initially counterintuitive. While “Latina/o/x” in some instances denotes ancestral relation with Native tribes in the Americas, the term for many also has come to signify decidedly non-indigenous mestiza/o, settler, or migrant identities, imaginaries, and belongings. In our seminar we will explore how Indigeneity opens a set of questions and debates that continue to pattern and shape multiple iterations of Latinx politics and culture. In doing so, we will explore the ways in which Native politics continue to endure, accommodate, and challenge multiple regimes of colonial occupation and periods of modern state formation. We will also examine how Indigeneity illuminates places of Latina/o literary and cultural production through which to engage a number of fundaments of modern life across the globe, including capitalism, nation-state sovereignty, and the transnational social structures of race, sex, citizenship, and gender. In this way, we will discuss the ways Indigeneity points toward conflictive histories of colonization and invigorates a set of global directions for the future of Latinx studies
ENGL-UA 975 | Women of Color Speculative Fiction | Prof. Sudhinaraset
This course examines late 20th Century U.S. women of color speculative fiction. We will explore the proliferation of literary, cultural, and intellectual work by women of color as a category and analytic emerging in the 1970s. Rather than treating literature by women of color as providing transparent accounts of their lives, this course will focus on the critiques that grew out of their experiences at the intersection of race, class, gender, and sexuality and emerged in their fiction. We will study these texts to think about the category “women of color” as a critical framework for conceptualizing intellectual work on race comparatively and in an interdisciplinary mode. This course will study the ways this group of writers used speculative literary forms and genres such as fantasy, futurism, time travel, Science Fiction, Utopia, and Dystopia, to alter and contribute to conversations around racial and gender equality in the Post-1960s moment. This focus asks students to think through the politics of women of color speculation fiction for providing ways to re-think cultural production for the imagination of alternative, and seemingly impossible, visions of social change.
ENGL-UA 962 | F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Nathanael West | Prof. Nicholls
We shall read a large part of the works of these three seminal writers: novels, short stories, letters and essays. The course will trace their writings through the so-called Jazz Age of the 1920s, on through the Depression of the 1930s and the Second World War. We shall also consider some of the posthumously published work by Hemingway such as The Garden of Eden (1986). We shall examine expatriate modernism (that of the “Lost Generation,” in Gertrude Stein’s phrase) and these writers’ engagement with leading political and cultural issues of the time: the aftermath of World War 1, the economic boom of the twenties and the disaster of the thirties, the rise of the political Left, the Spanish Civil War, writers in Hollywood, and so on. We shall also be concerned with the evolution of modernist style(s) during the period and shall attempt to place the work of our three main writers in relation to that of Stein, Sherwood Anderson, William Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound and others.
ENGL-UA 995.001 | The Art of the Book Review | Prof. Holt
This two-credit course will focus on the art of writing book reviews that engage deeply with literary texts and are also engaging reads. We will discuss the role of criticism in the literary ecosystem; read contemporary critics, in publications such as the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bookforum, the New York Review of Books, and the Los Angeles Review of Books; and write reviews. In addition to short responses, each student will write a longer review of a book that has not yet been published. (Advanced copies of books will be provided by publishers.) You may take one or both sections of 995.
ENGL-UA 995.002 | Editing & Publishing | Prof. Holt
In this 2-credit course, students will serve as the editorial and production staff of the Greene Street Review, a new online publication of cultural criticism in the vein of the Los Angeles Review of Books or New York Review of Books. The Greene Street Review will serve as a critical complement to the Creative Writing Department’s West 10th Street Review. The course will bridge the gap between English majors’ scholarly abilities (as close readers and cultural critics) with professional practices, as they learn about publishing and cultural journalism. Students will be responsible for soliciting, selecting, and editing work for each issue, and for publishing it on the digital site. The menu of possibilities includes creating audio content (podcasts or interviews) for the site as well. Each semester, students will publish one full issue of the review. A rotating masthead will give students an opportunity to assume different roles and responsibilities (editor-in-chief, copy editor, social media coordinator, etc.) for each issue/semester. You may take one or both sections of 995.