Current Course Offerings
Introduction to the Study of Literature
ENGL-UA 101-001 | McDowell, Paula | M 11am-1:45pm
ENGL-UA 101-002 | Bosu, Saronik | TR 9:30am-10:45am
ENGL-UA 101-003 | Krimper, Michael | TR 12:30pm-1:45pm
ENGL-UA 101-004 | Watson, Jini Kim | W 11am-1:45pm
ENGL-UA 101-005 | Young, Robert, J. | TR 3:30pm-4:45pm
Prerequisite: completion of the College's expository writing requirement, or equivalent. Restricted to declared English majors and minors.
Gateway course to the major that introduces students to the demands and pleasures of university-level investigation of English literature. Develops the tools necessary for advanced criticism: close-reading skills, knowledge of generic conventions, mastery of critical terminology, and skill at a variety of modes of analysis, from the formal to the historical. Also emphasizes frequent writing. To take this course you must enroll in a recitation section which meets 3-4 times per semester on either Thursday evening or Friday morning.
ENGL-UA 101-001, ENGL-UA 101-002, ENGL-UA 101-003
Designed for English majors and minors, this course focuses on the practice of reading literature. We will examine the set of following questions: What are literary texts and why are they important? How have different historical developments and cultural communities shaped the reading of literature? What is useful or vital about such reading practices? Our specific aim will be to cultivate close-reading and writing skills through the study of various forms and genres of writing. This course offers students a richer understanding of critical reading practices and the implications of different interpretive approaches.
ENGL-UA 101-004 | Watson, Jini Kim
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 library research methods and citation practices. Three plenary guest lectures spread over the semester will expose students to various literary methodologies and practices.
In this course, you will:
- consider the different kinds of questions that can be asked about literary texts
- gain a critical vocabulary that will help you express your thoughts about what you read in the language of the field
- develop skills to enable you to read and write thoughtfully and with rigor about literature
- find and use secondary resources for literary study; engage with other scholars’ arguments to further your own; and learn appropriate citation styles
ENGL-UA 101-005 | Young, Robert
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 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. Like Emily Dickinson, we will be “dwelling in possibilities”.
Literatures in English I: Medieval and Early Modern Literatures
ENGL-UA 111-001 | Wofford, Susanne | TR 2pm-3:15pm
ENGL-UA 111-002 | RCT | F 9:30am-10:45am
ENGL-UA 111-003 | RCT | F 8am-9:15am
ENGL-UA 111-004 | RCT | R 4:55pm-6:10pm
ENGL-UA 111-005 | RCT | R 6:20pm-7:35pm
Description: This course surveys literature in English from the Old English epic Beowulf (ca. 700) to John Milton’s epic Paradise Lost (1674). Medieval readings besides Beowulf include “Caedmon’s Hymn", and "The Wanderer,” selections from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, The Wakefield Second Shepherds’ Play. Early Modern readings include selections from Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, the poetry of Wyatt, Sidney, Shakespeare, and others, the drama of Shakespeare, and selected poetry by Donne, Jonson, Lanyer, Wroth, Herbert, Philips, Marvell, Herrick, and Milton, among others, and ending with selections from Paradise Lost. The focus throughout will be on the close reading of the literary texts in their linguistic, historical, and cultural contexts.
Pre-reqs: Writing the Essay or its equivalent across NYU.
Literatures in English II: Literatures of the British Isles and British Empire, 1660-1900
ENGL-UA 112-001 | Hanson, Lennie | TR 3:30pm-4:45pm
ENGL-UA 112-002 | RCT | R 4:55pm-6:10pm
ENGL-UA 112-003 | RCT | R 6:20pm-7:35pm
ENGL-UA 112-004 | RCT | F 3:30pm-4:45pm
ENGL-UA 112-005 | RCT | F 2pm-3:15pm
Description: Literature in English II, 1660 - 1900. This survey course introduces students to the study of literature in English from the British Isles and British Empire, from the Restoration through the close of the Victorian era. Our course will focus in particular on several overlapping areas of concern, including: the rise of the novel as a dominant cultural form; literary responses to the emergence of capitalist exploitation and to European imperialism; the centrality of sexuality, emotion, and other aspects of human subjectivity to aesthetic production; and the changing relationship between literature and scientific discourse (including philosophy, evolutionary theory, and social science). Possible texts include: Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (1719); Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels (1726); Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative (1789); William Blake, Songs of Innocence and Experience (1789); Jane Austen, Persuasion (1817); Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (1818); Mary Prince, The History of Mary Prince (1831); Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Barton (1848); Charles Dickens, Great Expectations (1861); Olive Schreiner, The Story of an African Farm (1883); Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1891); and Victoria Cross, Anna Lombard (1901).
Pre-reqs: Writing the Essay or its equivalent across NYU.
Literatures in English III: American Literatures to 1900
ENGL-UA 113-001 | Baker, Jennifer | MW 12:30pm-1:45pm
ENGL-UA 113-002 | RCT | F 2pm-3:15pm
ENGL-UA 113-003 | RCT | F 3:30pm-4:45pm
ENGL-UA 113-004 | RCT | F 9:30am-10:45am
ENGL-UA 113-005 | RCT | F 11am-12:15pm
Description: This course surveys the evolution of literary themes and forms from the European invasion and colonial settlements through the late nineteenth century. Exploring major works of early American writing in historical and social contexts, we will analyze encounters between European, Native American, and African cultures; the poetics of religious devotion and cosmopolitan enlightenment; the cultural politics of revolution and modern nationalism; responses to the expansion of capitalism and slavery; the spread of literacy and the expansion of print culture; the development of urban and regional literary cultures. Throughout this course, we will seek to place diverse texts in critical dialogue with each other, interpret changes in American literature over time, and test the resonance of historical writings for our contemporary moment. How do literary texts help us to think about questions of identity and difference that have shaped American culture? How might we situate the literature of what would eventually become the United States in relation to the development of literature more broadly? Students will learn to read American literature with attention both to history (the study of change over time) and to genre (poetry, fiction, letters, religious and political texts, and autobiography). Writing assignments, lectures, discussions, and exams will develop particular themes in the development of literary form and processes of cultural change. This course is one of the four required survey courses for English majors in the "Literatures in English" sequence, and as such our aims are both to introduce you to a body of writing often collected under the heading "American literature" and to practice and develop methods of literary study appropriate to that work.
Pre-reqs: Writing the Essay or its equivalent across NYU.
Literatures in English IV: Twentieth and Twenty-first Century Literatures
ENGL-UA 114-001 | Deer, Patrick | MW 2pm-3:15pm
ENGL-UA 114-002 | RCT | F 9:30am-10:45am
ENGL-UA 114-003 | RCT | F 12:30pm-1:45pm
ENGL-UA 114-004 | RCT | F 4:55pm-6:10pm
ENGL-UA 114-005 | RCT | F 3:30pm-4:45pm
Description: This course provides a review of English-language literary production as it expands and diversifies from 1900 onward. Attending to such matters as the emergence of transatlantic modernism, the growing influence of U.S. culture around the world, proliferating literary activity in colonial and postcolonial contexts, and the intensifying demographic complexity of the U.S. and Britain, the course considers the changing scope and significance of English-language writing within an increasingly globalized cultural field. The course will explore the parallels and contrasts among a variety of forms including literature, film, art, music, stressing the uneven developments of the period, with special attention paid to the tension between highbrow and popular forms. The course will read texts as both response to and symptom of the ongoing crises of modernity unleashed by urbanization, immigration, war, imperialism, revolution, shifts in gender roles, race relations, and class conflict. We will investigate the influence on literature and culture of patterns of migration and diasporic movement between the US, Britain and the Global South and examine the relationship between the metropolis and other spaces such as rural areas and underdeveloped regions, the suburbs, and colonial metropolises and territories, and wartime home fronts. We will consider writers’ claims to represent the dominant cultural response to their age as they confront radical transformations in literary representation, the rise of mass culture and advertising, and revolutionary changes in the technologies of mass communications like film, documentary, radio and popular music. The course consists of larger lecture classes and a required recitation. Readings may include the work of Joseph Conrad, W.E.B. Dubois, James Joyce, T.S, Eliot, Harlem Renaissance poets like Langston Hughes, Claude Mackay and Gwendolyn Brooks, Virginia Woolf, Mulk Raj Anand, George Orwell, Chinua Achebe, Jean Rhys, Wole Soyinka, Kazuo Ishiguro, Phil Klay, Riverbend, Zadie Smith and Junot Diaz.
Pre-reqs: Writing the Essay or its equivalent across NYU.
ENGL-UA 712-001 | Major Texts in Critical Theory | Bosu, Saronik | T 11am-1:45pm
ENGL-UA 735-001 | Readings in Contemporary Literary Theory: Migrant Poetics | Gajarawala, Toral | M 11am-1:45pm
ENGL-UA 780-001 | Intro to Postcolonial Studies | Thakkar, Sonali | MW 9:30am-10:45am
ENGL-UA 712-001 | Major Texts in Critical Theory | Bosu, Saronik
Theories of Representation: Life and the Economy
“It’s the economy, stupid!” - Slogan from Bill Clinton’s 1992 Presidential Campaign
How did the economy as a category gain its inimitable explanatory power, tempting us with the most fundamental of reasons for why our lives are the way they are? Is the economic the foundation of life as socialized existence or only a part of it? How are the relations between the two categories represented in cultural texts like novels, paintings, and films? Our studies in this course will answer these questions, with eclectic readings that will range from Marxist Theory to the contemporary field of Literature and Economics, analysis of the figure of the moneylender in C19 British and American fiction to that of the hustler in C21 Asian cinema, review of how nationalist art has portrayed land and labor and how present cultural understandings of the economy are coping with the threats and promises of artificial intelligence.
ENGL-UA 735-001 | Readings in Contemporary Literary Theory: Migrant Poetics | Gajarawala, Toral
Migrant Poetics, Narratives of Flight
Il y a, encore, une mer à traverser- Aimé Cesaire
For the poet Aimé Cesaire, from the tiny island of Martinique, there was the master narrative of the middle passage, that brought African slaves to the Americas; there was the movement of labor and capital that circled the Caribbean in slavery’s aftermath; and there was the circulation of ideas that produced the radical collages of surrealism, the jangle of island languages, and the tincture of its music. This course examines a range of narratives of flight-- that of the refugee, the immigrant, the exile, the migrant worker-- in fiction, poetry, film, theatre, painting and music. It also examines critical theories of migration on refugeeism, displacement, and immigration, that have considered these very questions from various contexts: how might the nomad, as a figure, challenge ideas of fixity and stasis? How does a model of errancy reimagine the tyrannical binary of home and away? How might we define nostalgia, as an intellectual and affective operation? As such, the course asks three questions:
How does “flight” produce new aesthetic forms?
How does “migrancy” produce alternative paradigms for thought?
How have scholars theorized the range of concepts and problems engendered by such movement?
Along the way, we will read about Iraqi refugees fleeing their home, Vietnamese “boat people” migrating to America, Indian painters relocated to France, the Jewish dispossessed of World War II, the return of the diaspora to Libya, the movement of workers from Gulf to Gulf, Kashmiri, and Taiwanese, and Russian, and Egyptian (and...and...and…) poets who long for home. Towards the end of the term, we will use the theoretical vocabulary we have developed to consider the ocean still to cross (une mer encore à traverser) in relation to two contemporary crises: flight from the Middle East and Africa across the Mediterranean; and the refugeed Rohingya of Myanmar.
ENGL-UA 780-001 | Intro to Postcolonial Studies | Thakkar, Sonali
This course offers an introduction to postcolonial theory and literature. We will closely consider the key historical texts and contexts of imperial culture and anticolonial resistance, and we will reexamine the central debates that have shaped postcolonial studies over the past 40-plus years. Throughout the course, we will pay attention to how postcolonial studies as an interdisciplinary field of cultural critique challenges the ongoing history of colonial knowledge production, and we will ask whether literature has a special capacity to disrupt such epistemological and representational violence. Topics we will discuss include the urgency and limitations of national self-determination as a central anticolonial aspiration, the cultural history of anticolonial internationalisms, and the politics and poetics of postcolonial diaspora, among many others. We will also consider how postcolonial theory helps us understand the ongoing catastrophes of the neocolonial present and the new forms of imperial power that organize our carceral and unequal world.
ENGL-UA 252-001 | The World of King Arthur | Smith, Kathryn, Ann | TR 2pm-3:15pm
ENGL-UA 252-002 | Dante's Divine Comedy in Context | Ardizzone, Maria, Luisa | MW 2pm-3:15pm
ENGL-UA 252-003 | Boccaccio’s Decameron | Cornish, Alison | TR 9:30am-10:45am
ENGL-UA 252-004 | Visual Languages of the Renaissance | Cipani, Nicola | TR 12:30pm-1:45pm
ENGL-UA 410-001 | Shakespeare | Archer, John | TR 11am-12:15pm
ENGL-UA 410-002 | RCT | R 3:30pm-4:45pm
ENGL-UA 410-003 | RCT | R 4:55pm-6:10pm
ENGL-UA 511-001 | Jane Austen | Lee, Wendy, Anne | MW 2pm-3:15pm
ENGL-UA 800-007 | "Ugly Feelings" in the Global Middle Ages | Ishikawa, Misho | TR 4:55pm-6:10pm
ENGL-UA 252-001 | Smith, Kathryn, Ann
The World of King Arthur A "Medieval Times" dinner, Harry Potter's Hogwarts School, or the mounted knight on a sack of King Arthur flour. This very list exemplifies the way that stories of King Arthur—and by extension, of the Middle Ages—continue to function as cultural currency: this, some fifteen hundred years after Arthur, a sixth-century Celtic warlord (if he existed at all) inhabited a world vastly different from the one evoked today by the words, “the world of King Arthur.” This course explores the development of the multifaceted idea and image of Arthur and his world in literature and art spanning the sixth century to today, as a means of introducing the multifaceted Middle Ages and the interdisciplinary methodologies that are the essence of Medieval Studies. Unfolding chronologically and thematically, the course focuses on key literary and historical texts, sites, monuments and artifacts, characters, and themes in the Arthurian tradition. We will have the opportunity to engage with a broad range of medieval and post-medieval Arthurian cultural production. At the same time, we will investigate the politics and reception of this production and will acquire a model for recognizing and querying the effects of all manner of creative recycling of the Middle Ages.
ENGL-UA 252-002 | Ardizzone, Maria, Luisa
Dante's Divine Comedy in Context The Divine Comedy is traditionally judged to be one of the most important poems in Western culture. At the center of the poem is the human being, his condition in the afterlife and his punishment or reward. Taken literally, the theme is the state of souls after death. Allegorically, the true subject is the moral life. Considers the cultural and intellectual traditions that shaped Dante’s mind and his work.
ENGL-UA 252-003 | Cornish, Alison
Boccaccio’s Decameron A study of Boccaccio’s Decameron with particular emphasis on themes, conceptual innovations, and influences on French and English literatures.
ENGL-UA 252-004 | Cipani, Nicola
Visual Languages of the Renaissance Examines the Renaissance convictions that concepts could be systematically turned into images, and that such images could be organized into a visual language more profound and universal than discursive logic. Introduction to emblem books, dream books and dream-centered works, hieroglyphic inventions and studies, collections of proverbs, iconology manuals, and early modern and recent theory of emblems. Concludes with a survey of corporate logos and Russian criminal tattoos.
ENGL-UA 410-001 | Archer, John
Shakespeare In this survey of William Shakespeare’s career as a playwright we will consider the relation between the mingled genres of his plays (romantic and problem comedy, history, tragedy, and tragicomic romance) and the social and political conditions that shaped his developing sense of dramatic form. This semester, the survey is framed in terms of Renaissance educational practices and the radically different expectations they set for young women and men. Education also enabled crossings and complications within an ostensibly binary gender system, especially when coupled with theater as both instructional method and popular entertainment. Our selection of plays, which juxtaposes domestic conflict and the recovery of classical and especially Roman culture, reflects the programs and perplexities of the original audience’s educational experiences, and perhaps our own. Critical analysis of the plays as both performances and written works will make up the fabric of this course; the connection of the drama to its culture will be the guiding thread. Excerpts from film, video, and audio performances will be played and discussed in class along with other visual materials. We will explore nine plays. The requirements include two essays, two exams, and consistent attendance at both lectures and recitations. Individual editions of the plays from the Pelican Shakespeare series will be ordered for this course, easy to read and to carry. Plays this semester include: The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Much Ado About Nothing, Troilus and Cressida, Richard III, Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus, and Cymbeline. We will also read Hamlet this semester.
ENGL-UA 511-001 | Lee, Wendy, Anne
Jane Austen 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.” 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. You must apply to take this course: https://forms.gle/1ZmJ3Pt3TGkNtf6W7
ENGL-UA 800-007 | Ishikawa, Misho
"Ugly Feelings" in the Global Middle Ages On August 27, 2023, Twitter user @oldbooksguy posted a chart comparing the differences between good and bad art. At the top of his list? The emotional effect of art; good art "improves mood" while bad art "makes you feel weird." This is a course that embraces the "bad," asking you to consider what is at stake with art that "makes you feel weird." More specifically, this course asks you to consider the ugly--the unpleasant, the weird--feelings evoked within medieval literatures from a variety of different regions and literary traditions. For example, readers have often commented on how "annoying" Margery Kempe can be in The Book of Margery Kempe. And yet, Margery herself seems quite aware of this effect and tries to cultivate it. Why--to what end? And does our frustration with Margery signal a lack of artistic value? Elsewhere, Sei Shonagon expresses her irritation over a lover's courtship rituals in The Pillow Book (ca. 1002). Do you share her irritation? And how might we contextualize this irritation within the gendered and sexual politics of the Japanese court? Together, we will consider the formal and aesthetic features of these negative emotions as a response to varying sociopolitical conditions and dilemmas. Ultimately, we will unpack the ugly aesthetics of these texts to interrogate the ways in which they speak to the intersection of art, emotion, politics, and history--across time, across regions, and across cultures. Texts for the course will include: selections from The Canterbury Tales, The Pillow Book, hagiography (Christian, Buddhist, and Daoist), and at least one short novel (The Three Sui Quash the Demons' Revolt). By the end of this course, you will have gained exposure to a range of global medieval literatures (in translation), aesthetic theory, and affect theory; in addition, this course is designed to help hone your core skills in critical reading, writing, and thinking to prepare you for further advanced coursework and beyond.
ENGL-UA 126 – History of Drama & Theatre II | Crawford, Honey | R 11am-1:45pm
ENGL-UA 180-001 – Writing New York | Patell, Cyrus & Waterman, Bryan | MW 3:30pm-4:45pm
ENGL-UA 180-002 RCT | W 4:55pm-6:10pm
ENGL-UA 180-003 RCT | W 6:20pm-7:35pm
ENGL-UA 252-005 City on Stage | Waterman, Bryan | MW 12:30pm-1:45pm
ENGL-UA 252-006 Pandemics and Plagues | MW 11am-12:15pm
ENGL-UA 252-007 20th C Black Playwrights | Edwards, Paul | TR 2pm-3:15pm
ENGL-UA 252-008 Modern Chinese Fiction | Foley, Todd, William | TR 2pm-3:15pm
ENGL-UA 621-001 – The Irish Renaissance | Waters, John, | TR 9:30am-10:45am
ENGL-UA 724 – Italian-American Life in Literature | Hendin, Josephine TR 11am-12:15pm
ENGL-UA 761-001 Irish Women Writers | Sullivan, Kelly, E | TR 2pm-3:15pm
ENGL-UA 761-002 Contemporary Irish Writing | Waters, John | TR 3:30pm-4:45pm
ENGL-UA 800-001 Unpopular Culture | Sandhu, Sukhdev | MW 9:30am-10:45am
ENGL-UA 800-002 Arthurian Legend | Waidler, Sarah | TR 11am-12:15pm
ENGL-UA 800-003 "This Book is Killer": Crime fiction and the creation of justice | Boswell, Suzanne | TR 12:30pm-1:45pm
ENGL-UA 800-004 "Queer American" | Edwards, Paul | TR 3:30pm-4:45pm
ENGL-UA 800-005 Feminisms, Theories, and Histories | Regaignon, Dara, R | TR 2pm-3:15pm
ENGL-UA 800-006 The Surreal Revolution | Krimper, Michael | W 10am-12:45pm
ENGL-UA 800-009 Thakkar, Sonali | MW 11am-12:15pm
ENGL-UA 800-010 Novels of Youth In and After Colonialism | Vargo, Greg | MW 9:30am-10:45am
ENGL-UA 126 – History of Drama & Theatre II | Crawford, Honey
This course examines global movements in dramatic literature and performance from the late 17th century into our contemporary moment with critical attention to the varied ways that theatre emerges across social and historic contexts. Students will study a range of dramatic traditions including but not limited to Peking Opera, French Neoclassical, German Classical, Japanese Noh, Russian Psychological Realism, Epic Theatre, Theatre of the Absurd, Yoruba Opera, Theatre of the Oppressed, and Teatro Campesino, while considering their related methodologies and paradigms of theatre making. Rather than attempt to survey over three centuries of global theatre, we will attune our readings, discussions, and embodied exercises to three core concepts— realism, artifice, and transgression. This course will introduce students to elements of staging and script analysis as well as seminal figures in the theorization around theatre’s evolution, its aspirations, and social stakes. Ultimately, we are asking (or perhaps reminding ourselves of) why theatre exists and persists as an essential mode of human expression and congregation.
ENGL-UA 180 – Writing New York | Patell, Cyrus & Waterman, Bryan
How does the literary imagination shape urban experience, and vice versa? Is cosmopolitanism an idea or a social effect ─ or somehow both? This course approaches such questions through a literary tour of New York City, primarily from 1898 to the present. Tracking the city’s emergence and continual reinvention as one of the country’s ─ and the world’s ─ premier sites of cultural production, we will examine a range of literary forms, including drama, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and song lyrics, contextualizing them through social history as well as other art forms such as film, music, and visual art. From Edith Wharton's look back at Old New York in Age of Innocence (1920) to Ling Ma's prescient anticipation of COVID-19 in her zombie satire Severance (2018), we will explore ways in which literature maps urban space and imagines the city's past, present, and future. Asking how urban social forms and experiences ─ neighborhood living, immigration, gentrification, etc. ─ give rise to literary performance, we will think through key scenes and events, from the development of Greenwich Village bohemia and the Harlem Renaissance to the countercultural "downtown scenes" of the Beats and punks to the visions of apocalypse and activist renewal that accompanied the AIDS crisis, racial injustice, immigration reform, and the political aftermath of 9/11.
ENGL-UA 252-005 City on Stage: Inventing New York | Waterman, Bryan
This course sits at the intersection of urban, theater, and cultural history. Focusing primarily on New York City, and drawing on a range of plays, novels, memoirs, and historical accounts, we will explore the trope of the city as a stage, representations of the city on stage, and the experience of street performance and spectacle across the nineteenth century. Topics include the emergence of celebrity actors, the politics of theater riots, and the development of venues targeting audiences along lines of race, class, or immigrant cultures. Along the way we will ask: What do urban life and stage acting have in common? Who is represented on stage and how? What are the cultural politics of street performance? How do traditional dramatic forms change over the course of the century? What new or syncretic forms--including minstrelsy, vaudeville, musicals, and museums--develop alongside racist and racialized performance styles and stock figures that would persist in American culture for decades? How did New York, over the course of the century, become the preeminent site of American theater culture?
ENGL-UA 252-006 Pandemics and Plagues
This course will focus on humanistic inquiry into health, disease, and medicine, by focusing on specific pandemics and infections: bubonic plague, tuberculosis, cholera, malaria, the 1918 influenza, HIV/AIDS, and COVID-19. We will engage a rich array of materials and approaches by focusing on themes like historical plagues, plagues in literature, racialized and gendered responses to pandemics, war and pandemics, trauma and recovery, theatrical, film, and visual representations, philosophy and ethics, archives, and memory.
ENGL-UA 252-007 20th C Black Playwrights | Edwards, Paul
This course offers an in-depth exploration of the significant contributions of Black playwrights to American and global theater during the twentieth century. Students will engage with a diverse selection of plays that reflect the social, political, cultural, and artistic evolution of the Black experience. Students will expect to look across the African diaspora to examine the diversity of voices within Black theater, from African American to Afro-Caribbean, African diaspora, and beyond, and appreciate the intersectionality of identities and experiences. Throughout the course, students delve into the unique thematic concerns and artistic styles of influential Black playwrights. Some of the featured playwrights include Angelina Grimke, Lorraine Hansberry, Derek Wolcott, Adrienne Kennedy, Ntozake Shange, and many others. The course focuses on exploring the legacies of systemic racism, the political activism that significantly influenced twentieth-century social justice, the importance of feminist and queer playwrighting, and the influence of post-colonial thinking in theater.
ENGL-UA 252-008 Modern Chinese Fiction | Foley, Todd, William
ENGL-UA 621-001 – The Irish Renaissance | Waters, John
Covers the tumultuous period from the fall of Charles Stuart Parnell, through the Easter Rising in 1916, and into the early years of national government in the 1930s. Readings in various genres (poetry, short story, novel, drama). Writers may include Oscar Wilde, W.B. Yeats, James Joyce, Lady Gregory, John Millington Synge, Sean O’Casey, Samuel Beckett, and Flann O’Brien.
ENGL-UA 724 – Italian-American Life in Literature | Hendin, Josephine
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 761-001 Irish Women Writers | Sullivan, Kelly
From Sally Rooney to Anna Burns to Tana French, Irish women writers populate bestseller lists today. Yet the history of Irish women’s writing from the early nineteenth century to the present is more often one of occlusion. The 2016 #waking the feminists campaign against the absence of women playwrights at the Abbey Theatre in its 1916 Rising centenary programming is just one recent example. This class historicizes and responds to these absences by foregrounding a tradition of women’s writing, one responsive to general trends in Irish literature, culture, history, and social and political movements. We focus on writing from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries after beginning with Maria Edgeworth’s novel Castle Rackrent (1800). We will consider poetry, plays, short fiction, non-fiction, novels, film and television: from Eavan Boland to Derry Girls, via Elizabeth Bowen, Edna O’Brien, and Maeve Brennan. To complicate and challenge our own views of these texts, we will read academic scholarship, including postcolonial theory, Irish feminist theory, and other relevant literary and cultural criticism.
ENGL-UA 761-002 Contemporary Irish Writing | Waters, John
We will survey the remarkable literary production of modern Ireland, seeking to place the phenomenon of Irish writing in contemporary Irish and world literary history. What are the features of Irish writing in the wake of what has been called the Second Irish Renaissance? What have been the concerns of Irish writers in the wake of the Good Friday Agreement? How have the legacies and endowments of Irish rural life, Irish economic stagnation, Irish emigration, and Irish resignation been represented in the wake of Irish prosperity and resurgent poverty? What do the different genres of Irish writing carry of the traditions forged in the 19th and 20th or earlier centuries? What remains of “Irishness” that is useful to Irish writers? We will explore these and related questions by reading the work of living Irish writers, primarily texts published since 2000. Along the way, we shall examine the concept of the contemporary and the meaning of identity in national, ethnic, economic and literary terms.
ENGL-UA 800-001 Unpopular Culture | Sandhu, Sukhdev
What is unpopular culture? Perhaps Rebecca Solnit has the answer. "What," she asks, "is the purpose of resisting corporate globalization if not to protect the obscure, the ineffable, the unmarketable, the unmanageable, the local, the poetic and the eccentric?" This class is a celebration of hermits and outsiders and angry women, cackling fireraisers and bedsit dreamers, fan-dom and fundamentalism, dandies and DIY-ism. Spanning literature, music, experimental film, obscure television, performance art and pirate cultures, this class explores a wide range of bold and formally vagrant work that, in different ways, has been scorned, patronized, demonized, censored. With the help of guest artists and curators, we will discuss the importance of pretentiousness, of humour, of shadows, of the occult, of alternative schooling, of ghosts, of non-academic modes of learning.
ENGL-UA 800-002 Arthurian Legend | Waidler, Sarah
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 800-003 "This Book is Killer": Crime fiction and the creation of justice | Boswell, Suzanne
How does literature conceive of crime? Since its advent in the mid-19th century, the genre of crime fiction has risen to one of the most successful publishing genres of the 20th and the 21st century. But what attracts us about crime in literature? How does literature conceive of, and create criminals? How do detective narratives shape the criminal justice system, and the way our society polices and punishes its citizens? How does the portrayal of crime intersect with issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality? And at a time when society is rethinking the role of the police, prisons, and crime, how has crime literature evolved - if at all? In this class, we will examine how writers have grappled with crime throughout recent literary history by looking at the rich tradition of crime fiction, from locked room mysteries, to Sherlock Holmes, to true-crime podcasts, and abolitionist writings. Our goal is to discover how literature grapples with crime, why the genre is so enduringly popular, and how it affects real-world policy. Units may include Russian gulag novels, Ming-dynasty detective fiction, the crime fiction bestseller, the rise of true crime, piracy and censorship, and fiction by and about incarcerated peoples. Authors may include Angela Davis, Arthur Conan Doyle, Sister Souljah, Seishi Yokomizo, Agatha Christie, K'wan, Robert Louis Stevenson, Michael Nava, Sarah Marshall, and Bryan Stevenson.
ENGL-UA 800-004 "Queer American" | Edwards, Paul
What does it mean to have a sexual identity? How does the concept of sexuality change over time? How have people described their desires and expressed their erotic feeling? This course examines a range of American voices that engage in queer desire, identity, and conceptions of the family. Beginning with these questions, the course looks to canonical and non-canonical authors to explore a multitude of perspectives on sexuality. Although the regulation of gender and sexual behavior—and transgression of sex/gender norms—have been central to American culture from its founding, this course focuses on texts from the second half of the nineteenth century through the very contemporary. By addressing these concerns, students will come to their own questions of the texts that go beyond finding moments of heightened desire and sexual transgressions. How do moments of quiet contemplation or moments of camp, play, and protest become places for queerness? With help from queer theorists and social historians, we will pay close attention to how discourses shape queer expression, and how queer authors have shaped American culture. It will thus be important for us to interrogate not only the meaning of “American” and “queer” but what is likewise the consequence of labeling these texts as part of a canon. The course will end, then, with a reflection on what we missed, the potential pitfalls of interdisciplinarity, and the problems that might emerge from an (over)emphasis on sexuality in the practice of queer theory and analysis.
ENGL-UA 800-005 Feminisms, Theories, and Histories | Regaignon, Dara
ENGL-UA 800-006 The Surreal Revolution | Krimper, Michael
Can art and literature really change how we act and think? How we imagine and create the world? How we live our lives? Surrealism, one of the most influential avant-garde movements of the twentieth century, went so far as to declare that art and literature could revolutionize everyday life. In the hopes of liberating modern existence from technological and scientific domination, surrealist artists and writers sought to question some of the fundamental oppositions at the heart of Western civilization: imagination and reason, madness and control, freedom and work. They tapped into the unconscious and dreams, experimented with collective forms of making and living, and turned toward the city streets, ruins, and wastelands of history to excavate unheard possibilities for the chance of an altogether different future. Though Surrealism emerged in Paris during the 1920s, it drew at the outset from material culture, practices, and ways of life outside Europe, prior to shaping other radical artistic and social movements around the world. Our aim in this seminar will be to map the wider transatlantic context through which Surrealism developed at the intersection between literature, visual art, music, theory, religion, sexuality, politics, and anthropology, focusing on its multilinguistic networks in France before investigating some of its precursors, such as the Harlem Renaissance, and its later circulation across the Atlantic, especially in the Caribbean. We will examine in particular the relationship between the revolutionary claims of Surrealism and the antiracist and anticolonial poetics of Négritude, while paying attention to their many reverberations today.
ENGL-UA 800-009 The Third World Woman: Anatomy of a Figure | Thakkar, Sonali
This course examines the contested historical status and cultural significance of “the third world woman.” In the era of postwar decolonization, this figure seemed for a time to name a possible common horizon of historical experience and political formation among women of otherwise diverse backgrounds in the third world. Among its other uses, the figure of the third world woman helped to identify and name the ways that race, migration, and capitalism produced a third world within the first world, connecting feminists of color in the United States, Europe and elsewhere in the industrialized world to feminists in the decolonizing and postcolonial world. As such, the figure of the third world woman suggested an opening for imagining relations of solidarity and shared struggle across national, political, sexual, racial, class, and cultural lines. During the same time period, the “third world woman” also increasingly came to name a site of political intervention and theoretical knowledge production for various liberal feminisms, human rights and humanitarian projects, and neoliberal institutions, some of them intent on “saving” the third world woman from the supposed pathologies of her culture or religion. Our goal in this class will be to try to reconstruct the cultural history of this contested figure, as we consider what kinds of transnational connections—for good and ill—the idea of the third world woman made possible.
ENGL-UA 800-010 Novels of Youth In and After Colonialism | Vargo, Greg
Novels of Youth In and After Colonialism - 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; Mulk Anand, Untouchable; 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; and Indra Sinha, Animal’s People.
Applicable Courses & Descriptions
ENGL-UA 951 – Senior Seminar: What the Hell: A Literary History of the Underworld | Gilman, Ernest | R 2pm-4:45pm
For better or worse, visions of posthumous bliss seem to require a darker counterpart—for better, if that shadowy realm, like the Catholic purgatory, offers a path to heaven’s gate, or if your death as is your admission ticket to Elysium. For worse. if that realm represents a final, and painful, destination. Can there also be a hell on earth? For Hamlet, the realm of the dead is “The undiscover'd country, from whose bourn / No traveler returns.” As it happens, literary travelers do sometimes return to tell the tale; it’s on those narratives, and on their underlying conceptions of the of the infernal, that this course will focus. In the United States, 7 in 10 people believe in hell, according to a 2007 Gallup poll.
ENGL-UA 954 – Senior Seminar: Writing Women's Rights | Regaignon, Dara | W 11am-1:45pm
In this seminar, we will investigate the rhetorical and literary aspects of the nineteenth-century fight for women’s legal rights, taking up a question that is newly urgent in the 21st century. We’ll begin by considering the meaning – then and now – of “rights,” and we’ll then investigate the ways in which questions of rights were figured in Britain and some of its colonies. We’ll focus first on BODIES (race, intimate labor, reproductive rights, and bodily autonomy), then on MONEY (financial autonomy, higher education, the “family wage,” and access to the professions), and finally on VOTES (suffrage and political participation more broadly). At the same time as we explore rhetorical and aesthetic figurations of rights, we’ll also interrogate the capitalist underpinnings of that concept. We’ll consider how the liberal rhetoric of “rights” was both useful and limiting; how activists variously subverted and perpetuated the shifting gender ideologies of the period; and how discourses of race and class shaped the horizons and contours of feminist thought.
We’ll therefore read novels about single mothers alongside debates about maternal custody rights, sex workers, birth control, and the abolition of slavery; fiction, poems, and life-writing about women’s ambition alongside discussions of higher education, professional opportunities, workers’ rights, and married women’s property; political treatises about women’s right to vote alongside suffrage short fiction and drama.
For the final essay, students will do archival work with some of the digital archives available through NYU Libraries. This assignment will invite you to think about how to make the fruits of scholarly inquiry available – and not just relevant but urgent – to a contemporary audience.
ENGL-UA 964 – Senior Seminar: Human Rights & Literature | Parikh, Crystal | W 2pm-4:45pm
Human rights posit that all human beings are, despite other social differences, equal with respect to rights and thus have equal claims to those rights, that those rights are natural, not contingent upon the whims of political authority, and that any government’s legitimacy depends upon its ability to secure these rights for its subjects. Literary studies has only very recently begun to investigate the discourses, institutions, and politics of human rights. Yet, the work of literature has been essential since at least the early modern era in shaping the notions of human personhood, good life, moral responsibility, and forms of freedom that rights claims seek to address. From tracts of political philosophy, slave narratives, the world novel, and testimonios (to name only a few key examples), the development of the concept of rights has involved the literary imagination over the course of centuries, and literature has been vital to their current iterations. This course will explore the historical and institutional contexts, theoretical concepts, generic formulations, and disciplinary specificities that inform the emergence of human rights and literature as a vital field of scholarship.
ENGL-UA 971 – Senior Seminar: Asian American Dramatic Lit | Sudhinaraset, Pacharee | M 2pm-4:45pm
This course examines the proliferation of Asian American performance in the 20th-21st Century. Through Asian American theater, dramatic texts, and performance, we will study the inter-related questions of US citizenship and belonging, US culture, racial formation, and transnational politics. Furthermore, we will consider the relationship between Asian American cultural politics, textual and performance studies, popular culture, and racialized, sexualized, and gendered formations to explore the following question: Why and how is dramatic literature, theater, and performance so central to Asian American politics?
ENGL-UA 973 – Senior Seminar: Reading Philosophy as Literature | Young, Robert | R 11am-1:45pm
As disciplines, philosophy and literature often find themselves disarmingly close to one another: philosophy is a form of writing, and therefore could be described as a literary genre, while literature engages with and highlights those aspects of language that most worry philosophy, namely that through language it creates forms of reality that can seem true but are nevertheless fictions. It was for this reason that Plato banished the poets from his Republic—and the anxious relation between the two disciplines has continued ever since. Like History, Philosophy has always been keen to assert that it is not Literature. In the nineteenth century, however, this took a new turn when philosophers such as Kierkegaard started to write their philosophy in fictional, literary form. Why did they make this move?
This course will therefore begin with the question: how do we account for the relation between the two? Can literature give us truthful forms of knowledge? How far has philosophy been a creator of fictions, for example by ignoring questions of gender and race? Is literary “theory” in fact a new form of philosophy?
We will be examining this relationship through close readings of philosophical accounts of literature and language (such as Plato, Sophocles, Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, Proust, Wittgenstein, Kafka), of literary forms of philosophy (such as Descartes, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Wilde, Du Bois, Camus, Fanon, Kristeva), of writing that seems to hover on the borders between the two (such as Beckett, Benjamin, Blanchot, Borges, Cixous, Nelson), and by asking whether such writers are actually writing forms of philosophy or a different genre as yet undefined.
ENGL-UA 974 – Senior Seminar: postwar poetry/poetics | Shaw, Lytle, D. T | 2pm-4:45pm
A survey of poetry written mostly since 1945 and mostly in the United States, with emphasis on the avant-garde. Poets will likely include Rukeyser, Atkins, Creeley, MacLow, Porter, Spicer, Ginsberg, Mackey, Eigner, Mullen, O’Hara, Ashbery, Baraka, Hughes, Mayer, Coolidge, Hejinian, Silliman, Robertson, Davies, and Boyer. Among the concerns will be poetry’s relation to specific geographic locations—and to the fieldwork and disciplinary fields commonly used to explain or frame them. The survey will be organized around poetry’s shifting interactions with history, anthropology, media theory, political theory and art.
Reading as a Writer
ENGL-UA 201-001 | Lee, Wendy, Anne | MW 11am-12:15pm
What is it to read, and what counts as a text? What does one do with the experience that is having read something? What does it mean to write, that is, to compose from the perversely abstract medium of language? This seminar keeps those questions open as we approach reading and writing as intensified acts of perception and responsiveness, as well as the straining to communicate. With an emphasis on art production, especially of hybrid forms (criticism/dance/narrative/poetry/philosophy/visual media), we adopt a collaborative and unsteady approach to reading, i.e., encounters with texts that move from solitary experiences to group testing, performance, formal experimentation, and conversation. To that end, readings will draw mostly from contemporary authors/artists whom we hope to bring in as interlocutors for your weekly pieces of writing.
ENGL-UA 201-002 | Freedgood, Elaine | MW 9:30am-10:45am (online)
In this course, we are going to write as strange readers. We will annotate recipes; interrogate the conjunction via Layli Long Soldier’s Whereas; think about lists through Danez Smith’s poem, “alternate names for black boys”; examine the erasure of Emily Dickinson’s already compressed poetry by Janet Holmes, wherein the US Civil War becomes the US war against Iraq; and queer speculative fiction will help us create alternate histories of the past and future. In addition to the authors listed above, we will read Octavia Solis, Reginald Duane Betts, Natalie Diaz, Leanne Howe, CAConrad and others. PLEASE LOOK UP THESE AUTHORS AND SEE IF YOU WANT TO READ THEM! Please note: all of our readings will be by people of color, queer and nonbinary people, women, incarcerated or formerly incarcerated people, Indigenous people, and Latinex writers.
ENGL-UA 201-003 | Hegelmeyer, Chad | R 11am-1:45pm
This seminar is a class in creative as well as critical reading and explores reading and writing as reciprocal activities: strong writers are also strong readers. What can we learn from a text's forms, modes, codes, and affects? What can we also learn from theories of literature (of poetry and poetics, of the novel or narrative in general)? How can we read both with and against the grain? And how can a profound engagement with criticism, commentary, and theory help us become better “makers” ourselves? This course assumes that writing is an effect of, and in a feedback loop with, reading: thus this seminar aims to strengthen your capacities for pattern recognition – i.e. sophistication about genre, style, mode. Each week we will focus on a particular set of literary modes, features or techniques. But we will also inquire into what all of these features add up to. Rita Felski’s Uses of Literature will provide us with a throughline and with an opportunity for thinking about the higher order effects of reading and literary experience.
ENGL-UA 910 – Creative Writing Capstone Project
Section 001 | Row, Jess
Section 002 | Krimper, Michael
Section 003 | Hegelmeyer, Chad
ENGL-UA 911 – Creative Writing Capstone Colloquium
Section 001 | Row, Jess | R 2:45pm-4:45pm
Section 002 | Krimper, Michael | R 2:45pm-4:45pm
Section 003 | Hegelmeyer, Chad | R 2:45pm-4:45pm
APPLY HERE FOR THESE COURSES: https://forms.gle/RcWvQJ5EqLgnt8GR8
Honors Thesis and Colloquium
ENGL-UA 925 – Senior Honors Thesis
ENGL-UA 926 – Senior Honors Colloquium | W 3:30-4:45
Courses & Descriptions
ENGL-UA 981 – Internship
Application and info here. *Does Not Count Toward Maj/Min, only as credit to graduation
ENGL-UA 995 – Greene St. Review | Bosu, Saronik | R 4:55pm-6:10pm
In this two-credit course, students will serve as the editorial and production staff of The Greene Street Review, the English Department’s online publication of cultural criticism. The course will bridge the gap between English majors’ scholarly abilities (as close readers and cultural critics) and professional practices, as they learn about publishing and cultural journalism. In the first few weeks of the course, students will become familiar with the place, structure, and content of publications with similar goals to those of the GSR, such as the Los Angeles Review of Books, The New York Times, The New Yorker, or the New York Review of Books. For the remainder of the semester, students will become the editorial staff of the GSR. As such, they will be responsible for soliciting, selecting, and editing submissions, for publishing a new issue of the GSR on the digital site, and for promoting the magazine. Each student will work on editing at least one submission, with the aim of understanding and experiencing the stages of literary publishing: manuscript selection, developmental and line editing, author correspondence, proofreading, promotion, and digital publication. A rotating masthead will allow students to assume different responsibilities for each issue/semester.
*Does Not Count Toward Maj/Min, only as credit to graduation
ENGL-UA 998 – Independent Study
Application and info here. *Does Not Count Toward Maj/Min, only as credit to graduation
ENGL-UA 999 – Mentoring Program Course
Mentorship Program ENGL-UA 999 is a no-credit, non-graded, class. Please consider enrolling! It will be used as a logistical tool to help pair everyone enrolled with a faculty member and mentor. You will also be invited to some events catered toward this program if you enroll. This is optional--you don't have to participate, but please do if you are interested, or think you may be interested later in the semester! Sections: 001. Freshmen, 002. Sophomores, 003. Juniors, 004. Seniors
MHUM-UA 102 – Pandemics and Plagues | MW 11am-12:15pm
Counts toward the Medical Humanities Minor. This course will focus on humanistic inquiry into health, disease, and medicine, by focusing on specific pandemics and infections: bubonic plague, tuberculosis, cholera, malaria, the 1918 influenza, HIV/AIDS, and COVID-19. We will engage a rich array of materials and approaches by focusing on themes like historical plagues, plagues in literature, racialized and gendered responses to pandemics, war and pandemics, trauma and recovery, theatrical, film, and visual representations, philosophy and ethics, archives, and memory.
Courses & Descriptions