ENGL-UA 59.001 / The Bible as Literature / Feldman, Liane / The Bible is a complex and fascinating anthology of ancient literature, written by many different people over the course of nearly a thousand years.The focus of this course will be on reading the Bible as literature, and not as a religious or sacred text. In this course, students will be introduced tovarious strategies for the literary reading and interpretation of biblical texts.The class will engage diverse literary genres from both the Hebrew Bible andthe New Testament and consider the biblical writers' creative deployment of poetic forms, plot devices, and narrative styles. With the guidance of secondary literature that will introduce us to a number of diverse ways to think about the literary interpretation of these texts, we will read parts of the books of Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Esther, Ruth, Jonah, and the Gospels, as well as selections from the poetic and wisdom traditions. The goals of this course are twofold: 1) to introduce students to literary forms and styles from one corner of the ancient world, and 2) to enable students to engage with these texts from a new perspective, and examine the ways in which our assumptions about the origins of a text can and do shape our interpretations of it.
ENGL-UA 59.002 / Very Contemporary African American Drama / Jones, Doug / In an April 2019 article for The New York Times,critic Wesley Morris proclaimed that ""in less than 18 months a new class of young and youngish African-American playwrights has established some kind of radical moment in American theater."" The writers Morris homes in on are actually part of larger cohort of black theatre makers who over the past decade or so have transformed Broadway, regional, and local theatre into spaces dedicated to negotiating minoritarian concerns with identity, representation, and politics. This seminar offers an in-depth examination of this corpus of contemporary African American drama in an effort to understand the ideological and material sea change that US theatre culture is experiencing. We will read playwrights such as Jackie Sibblies Drury, Jeremy O. Harris, Aleshea Harris, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Tarell McCraney, and Dominique Morisseau alongside queer theory, trauma theory, and theories of redress and reparation in Black Studies. Assignments might include class presentations, short response papers, and a final essay. We will also see at least one performance during the semester.
ENGL-UA 59.010 / Political Theater: Performing Weimar / Woolf, Brandon / Born out of revolution in the wake of World War I, the Weimar Republic was a period of extraordinary turmoil and intense contradiction: social, political, cultural, and aesthetic. While Germany's first democracy ended in the horrors of Nazi fascism, the years 1918 to 1933 were filled with great promise - marked by the effervescence of technological innovation, philosophical investigation, and artistic exploration, especially in the realms of theater and performance. In our own moment of uncertainty - filled as it is with racism, reactionary politics, and violence - Weimar still commands our attention. Weimar helps us to understand and critically interrogate mass media, global consumer society, norms of race, gender, nation, and sexuality. And in the face of a Right that grows more powerful, Weimar demands - over and over again - that we continue to articulate and enact a future for the Left. In this course we will explore Weimar's legacy of interdisciplinary (and always political) experimentation in a variety of artistic movements and modes of performance creation: Expressionism, Bauhaus, New Objectivity, cabaret, learning-play, use-music, opera, dance, and drama. Together we will pose the ever-evolving question: How does Weimer serve as both a reference and a point of departure for radical theater and performance today? This course does not assume any knowledge of German history or culture; all majors are welcome."
ENGL-UA 101.001 / Sudhinaraset, Pacharee / This course introduces students to the study of literature. Students will develop the skills necessary for advanced literary criticism: close-reading, knowledge of generic conventions and vocabulary of literary criticism, critical thinking, and research. Through a variety texts--novels, poetry, short stories, plays, essays--students will engage in a variety of reading practices, genres, and forms. Students will be expected to write short and long papers; present and lead one class discussion; participate in study groups; and attend plenary lectures by other faculty in that English department who will introduce students to a range of scholarly literary methods. Writers we might read include: Leslie Marmon Silko, David Henry Hwang, Audre Lorde, Toni Cade Bambara, and Ana Castillo. You must also register for a RCT, (007, 008) which will only meet approx 3 times a semester, online. THIS CLASS IS ONLY OPEN TO DECLARED ENGLISH MAJORS & MINORS. To declare, please fill out this form: https://forms.gle/XTqYwaRswokpQax77
ENGL-UA 101.002 / Moser, Anna / This course provides an introduction to practices of reading and writing about literature. What is literature? How do we study it? How does it shape our understanding of the world and of ourselves? To address these questions, we will investigate a variety of literary genres - essays, novels, poetry, and short stories, in addition to hybrid texts that trouble these categories - so as to explore the various practices of reading and analyzing literature. Students will be expected to participate in group discussion of our texts and to make individual presentations. Three short written papers are required over the course of the semester. In addition, students will attend three plenary lectures that showcase a range of scholarly approaches to the field and introduce them to the work of other faculty in the department. You must also register for a RCT, (009, 010) which will only meet approx 3 times a semester, online. THIS CLASS IS ONLY OPEN TO DECLARED ENGLISH MAJORS & MINORS. To declare, please fill out this form: https://forms.gle/XTqYwaRswokpQax77
ENGL-UA 101.003 / Posmentier, Sonya / What is literature and why is it important? What does it do to and for us? How have different historical developments and cultural communities shaped how and what we read? What is vital about such reading practices? This course introduces students to a range of methods for reading, interpreting, and writing about literature, and examines the history of those methods. We will develop tools for understanding and writing about literary forms; inquire into the relationship between history and literature; explore the role of performance in literature; and discuss how nationalism, empire, colonialism, multiculturalism, and globalization have shaped the study of “English” as a scholarly field. We will also explore different modes of critical writing. In the process students will consider the challenges and pleasures of reading particular genres of literature, studying key examples in poetry, drama and narrative fiction, as well as various interdisciplinary connections with art, music, and popular culture. In addition to our seminar meetings, we will attend plenary lectures (“plenary,” i.e., bringing together all sections of English 101) by English Department faculty talking about their objects of study, their attachment to them, and their methods for exploring and describing them. You must also register for a RCT, (011, 012) which will only meet approx 3 times a semester, online. THIS CLASS IS ONLY OPEN TO DECLARED ENGLISH MAJORS & MINORS. To declare, please fill out this form: https://forms.gle/XTqYwaRswokpQax77
ENGL-UA 101.004 / Hegelmeyer, Chad / This class is an introduction to the study of literature. What is literature? How has it been studied in the past? How and why should we study it now? Over the course of the semester, we will address these questions in both theoretical/historical and practical ways. First, we will survey the shape, scope, and history of English as a discipline: how did it develop? Is it adequate to the variety of literatures in English? Second, we will learn methods and practices of reading, interpreting, and writing about literary texts from the discipline and beyond. The course will consider literary texts from a wide range of places, time periods, and genres. Along with weekly seminar meetings, students will attend three plenary lectures that will serve as introductions to English department faculty and the variety of scholarly approaches they employ. You must also register for a RCT, (013, 014) which will only meet approx 3 times a semester, online. THIS CLASS IS ONLY OPEN TO DECLARED ENGLISH MAJORS & MINORS. To declare, please fill out this form: https://forms.gle/XTqYwaRswokpQax77
ENGL-UA 101.005 / Biers, Katherine, / 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. You must also register for a RCT, (015, 016) which will only meet approx 3 times a semester, online. THIS CLASS IS ONLY OPEN TO DECLARED ENGLISH MAJORS & MINORS. To declare, please fill out this form: https://forms.gle/XTqYwaRswokpQax77
ENGL-UA 101.006 Crain, Patricia / What does literature do to and for us, individually as well as socially and culturally? How can we describe our relation to a text in conversation with our peers as well as with traditions of theoretical, literary, and cultural criticism? This class in reading and writing about literature, across genres and historical periods, offers ways of approaching our work with analytic rigor, while maintaining and exploring the intense, often highly emotional and subjectively formative engagement that brings us into the literature classroom in the first place. Together, we will closely and scrupulously read a wide range of poetry, a play by Shakespeare (likely Hamlet), a modernist novel (Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse) and Toni Morrison's Beloved, along with theoretical and secondary essays that will model for us the specialized language of literary analysis and strategies for transforming our reading experiences into clear, vivid, and interesting prose. In addition to our seminar meetings, we will attend three plenary lectures (""plenary,"" i.e., bringing together all sections of English 101) by English Department faculty talking about their objects of study, their attachment to them, and their methods for exploring and describing them. You must also register for a RCT, (017, 018) which will only meet approx 3 times a semester, online. THIS CLASS IS ONLY OPEN TO DECLARED ENGLISH MAJORS & MINORS. To declare, please fill out this form: https://forms.gle/XTqYwaRswokpQax77
ENGL-UA 111 | Lits in English I: Medieval and Early Modern Literatures / Guillory, John / This course surveys literature in English from the Old English epic, Beowulf (ca. 700) to John Milton's epic, Paradise Lost (1674). Other readings will include selections from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight,The Wakefield Second Shepherds' Play, selections from Malory's Morte Darthur, Spenser's The Fairy Queen, the English sonnet, More's Utopia, along with Bacon's The New Atlantas, Shakespeare's The Tempest, selected poetry by Donne, Herbert, Jonson, and Marvel. The focus throughout will be on the close reading of the literary texts in their historical and cultural contexts
ENGL-UA 112 | Lits in English II: Lits of the British Isles & Empire 1660-1900 / McDowell, Paula / An intensive introduction to major works of British literature drawn from poetry, prose, drama, and fiction from the Restoration (1660) to the end of the Nineteenth Century. We will consider how writers responded to the conflicts and continuities of their culture, paying close attention to their explorations of questions of genre, power and identity. Through lectures, class discussion, written responses, and longer essay assignments, students will work to acquire knowledge of the fundamentals of literary history and of critical reading and writing.
ENGL-UA 113 | Literatures in English III: American Literatures to 1900 / Baker, Jennifer / This course is a literary historical survey of US literature from colonial encounter through the end of the 19th century, tracing distinctive traditions of writing that have shaped the development of modern literature and thought in the United States. How was this writing shaped by the history of occupation and colonialism; encounters among Indigenous, European, and African cultures; the arts of religious devotion and cosmopolitan enlightenment; the cultural politics of revolution and modern nationalism; the expansion of capitalism and slavery; the development of print media and modern literary values; the philosophy and aesthetics of American transcendentalism and sentimentalism? How might we situate the literature of what would eventually become the United States in relationship to literature of the Americas more broadly? Students will learn to read with attention both to history (what was American literature before the United States?) and to genre (poetry, fiction, letters, newspaper accounts, political and religious tracts, and autobiography). Writing assignments, exercises, and exams will reflect these dual commitments to historiography and literary interpretation. Writers studied may include: William Bradford, Anne Bradstreet, Olaudah Equiano, Phillis Wheatley, Washington Irving, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, Edgar Allan Poe, David Walker, Frederick Douglass, Francis E.W. Harper, Herman Melville, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Mark Twain and Charles Chesnutt."
ENGL-UA 114 | Lits in English IV: 20th & 21st C Literatures / Hendin, Josephine; Trujillo, Simon / This course provides an exposure to English language literary production as it expands and diversifies from 1900 onward. Attending to global aesthetic movements such as naturalism, modernism, magical realism, and postmodernism, it focuses on literary interactions with transnationalism, colonial and postcolonial contexts, and the passage from an inquiry into concepts of social order and expectation to the primacy of social change, cultural multiplicity and uncertainty. The course explores the ascendance of globalization as US culture is both transmitted around the world and is increasingly diversified within by the growth of ethnic literatures and their institutional study. Our emphasis is on the changing scope of English-language literature and culture since 1900. The course explores a variety of forms including literature, poetry, drama, film, and graphic fiction. We will read texts as responses to the rapidity of cultural change under the pressure of urbanization, patterns of transnational migration, hemispheric diasporic movements, visual media, and turbulence in gender roles and national identities. It will explore relationships between globalization theory, literary form, and cultural themes..
ENGL-UA 126 / Biers, Katherine / Theater Histories II / Survey of the development of European and American drama from the 17th to the mid-20th century. The goal of the course is to familiarize students with the major styles and formal developments of ""Western"" theater, focusing on the transformation of older genres, like tragedy, and the invention of new ones, like melodrama and agitprop. We will not provide one over-arching narrative for this complex and variable period, however, but will examine each play as it engages with its historical moment and with the development of modernity, including the Enlightenment, popular and mass culture, mechanization and alienation, labor unrest, feminism, racism, the rise of fascism, and Cold War paranoia. A second key goal for the course is to engage with the play in the theater. Students will learn to read the text for cues and clues to the play's world, in order to understand how dramatists and theater practitioners use space and sound, and how--especially in the 20th century--setting, design, and choreography convey meaning. Plays by Racine."
ENGL-UA 180 / Augst, Thomas / Writing New York / What can writing about New York tell us about the cultural development of the city, as well as our own contemporary experience of urban life today? How has New York City both provided a setting and become a character in larger stories about life in the United States, ranging from the experience of immigration and racial conflict, wealth and poverty, personal liberation and social reform? This course will explore the development of diverse literary forms from the late eighteenth century to the present, including drama, novels, poetry, journalism and other non-fiction prose, and consider the relationship of literary texts to other artistic forms and media. As we follow New York’s emergence and reinvention as a global capital of cultural production, we'll also cultivate critical, historical, and creative perspectives on the urban experience of space and the collective imagination of place.
ENGL-UA 201.001 / Moser, Anna / Reading as a Writer: Worldly Encounters / PRE-REQS: ENGL-UA 101 and you must be a declared English major/minor - In this seminar, we will expand the possibilities of textual making by challenging established boundaries between critical and creative practice. A primary way that we make sense of the world around us is through writing. Yet language, we discover, is also always a lack. It comes up short. A description fails to capture a remembered moment; we cringe when we reread a love poem that we once wrote in a moment of inspiration. What, then, is the source of this disjunction, discomfort, and even embarrassment? Could our failure to ""match"" the world somehow provide us with new (or renewed) possibilities for creation and invention? To investigate such questions, this seminar initiates a series of ""worldly encounters,"" in which we read and respond both critically and creatively to a variety of texts and artworks - essays, lyrics, short stories, autofiction, theory, experimental criticism, contemporary art, and performance - that are premised around this uneasy relationship between word and world. The seminar includes weekly writing assignments that alternate between critical analyses and directed experiments; a midterm analytic essay; and a final project, which may be an analytic essay, a research paper, or a creative composition.
ENGL-UA 201.002 / Holt, Elliott / Reading as a Writer: Creating the Text / PRE-REQS: ENGL-UA 101 and you must be a declared English major/minor - This course is about reading as a creative practice: one that requires engagement, focus, and imagination. We will actively deconstruct texts (primarily short fiction, as well as some essays and poetry), 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 short analytical responses and a long midterm essay, you will write creative responses to the reading assignments. Authors we will read include Octavia Butler, Anne Carson, Joan Didion, Danielle Evans, Garth Greenwell, Yiyun Li, Sigrid Nunez, Maggie Nelson, Claudia Rankine, and Joy Williams.
ENGL-UA 251.001 / Twentieth and Twenty-first Century African American Literature: From the Color Line to Black Lives Matter / Posmentier, Sonya / In his 1903 Souls of Black Folk, sociologist W.E.B. Du Bois famously wrote that “The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line.” More than a century later, the “problem” continues to animate political divisions and social life in the United States. So, too, over the course of that 100+ years, African American writers have written onto, over, across, and under that line. From Souls to the poetries of the Black Lives Matter movement, this class inquires into the relationship between “the color line” and the literary line as taken up by Black writers in the United States. We will be interested in literature that organizes itself around the problem of segregation and anti-Black racism, as well as that which steps outside the framework of the “problem” to emphasize literary forms of delight, eros, joy, humor, and beauty. We will identify some of the signal features of African American literary tradition(s), situate African American literature in local, national and global contexts, and rethink the gender paradigms that have structured the canon. Through class discussions, brief lectures, weekly writing, and a final project, students will learn to analyze the formal and rhetorical strategies of poetry, fiction, drama, and essays while also exploring the historical and cultural circumstances in which these works were produced. Students will also become familiar with key terms in African American literary and cultural study: from double-consciousness to intersectionality. Online “field trips,” performances and/or visits from contemporary writers may supplement our readings and discussions.
ENGL-UA 252.002 / The Passions of Elena Ferrante / The success of Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan novels is astounding, not only because of the record-breaking sales, but also because of the strong emotions they thematize and arouse. In this course we will read novels, interviews, and essays by Ferrante, asking why her work inspires such passionate reading, and whether there is political efficacy in all this affect. Engaging with Sianne Ngai, Elspeth Probyn, Lauren Berlant and others, we will consider the political and aesthetic implications of ugly and opaque emotions like irritation, envy, disgust, and shame. We will also study major influences--including writers Ferrante cites frequently in interviews: Adriana Cavarero, Carla Lonzi, Luisa Muraro, and Elsa Morante; as well as those she tends to refrain from naming: Christa Wolf and Ingeborg Bachmann.
ENGL-UA 252.007 / Dante's Divine Comedy in Context / The Divine Comedy, is a very long poem traditionally judged to be one of the most important in Western culture. At the center of the poem is the human being, his condition in the after life and his punishment or reward. Taken literally, the theme is the state of the souls after the death. But allegorically, the true subject is moral life and thus the torments of the sins themselves or the enjoyment of a happy and saintly life. Since the beginning of its circulation the Divine Comedy has been seen as a text to be read in context, that is in light of the cultural tradition Dante was channelling and interpreting. This course proposes a reading of Dante's Commedia, considered in light of the ancient and medieval idea of learning. The objective of the course is to familiarize students with one of the most important author of Western culture. Through Dante's texts, students will gain a perspective on the Biblical, Christian, and Classical traditions as well as on the historical, literary, philosophical context of medieval Europe."
ENGL-UA 400 / Gilman, Ernest / What the Hell: A Literary History of the Underworld / This course explores the human need to imagine an afterlife. 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 for worse if it 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 traveller returns.” As it happens, literary travelers do sometimes return to tell the tale; it’s on those narratives, and on their underlying conception of the of the infernal, that this course will focus. We will move historically from the classical epics of Homer and Virgil, to Dante and Milton, ending with Sartre’s play “No Exit.” The course functions as a research seminar requiring student reports, a shorter paper, and a longer term paper due at the end.
ENGL-UA 410 / Mann, Jenny / Shakespeare in Film / Open to all NYU Students / Shakespeare has long been a fixture of highbrow culture, but his works are also continually being reinvented in global popular culture—evident most recently in an explosion of film, television, and new media adaptations. This course will consider the place of Shakespeare in modern culture. We will do so by investigating how certain plays have been adapted and performed since the seventeenth century, focusing on how various aspects of Shakespeare’s art are transposed to visual media. Plays will include The Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Othello, and The Tempest.
ENGL-UA 511 / McDowell, Paula / Jane Austen: Reading Austen Reading / Most of us know what Jane Austen wrote, but how many of us know what (and how) she read? To borrow the title of a series of courses in the NYU English Department, how did Austen ""read as a writer""? This course will focus on Austen as a reader, as well as writer: one who was deeply read in eighteenth-century literature, and who incorporated her reading in her own works. Along with key texts by Austen, we will read texts that she drew on, alluded to, or mentioned in her writing, and that she expected her contemporaries to recognize. When Marianne Dashwood assesses her male suitors according to how they read William Cowper's poetry, what is Austen trying to tell us? When Mr. Collins reads aloud James Fordyce's Sermons to the Bennett sisters, or Henry Tilney lectures Catherine Moreland on the ""picturesque,"" does Austen expect us to listen? Readings will include novels, poems, plays, periodical essays, conduct books, and political writing by authors such as Joseph Addison and Richard Steele, John Gay, William Cowper, Frances Burney, Ann Radcliffe, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Samuel Johnson, John Gregory, and Mary Wollstonecraft. (We may even read selections from Matthew Lewis, whose ""wicked"" novel The Monk, is, not coincidentally, one of very few works the boorish John Thorpe in Northanger Abbey declares ""tolerable"" and claims to have read.) Along the way, we will think about how we, too, ""read as writers"": how our reading serves us, shapes us, and sometimes, liberates us: in short, how our reading becomes the stuff of which we're made.
ENGL-UA 545 / Augst, Thomas / Slavery, Capitalism, and Human Data / This course examines the cultural history of slavery in the nineteenth-century United States, exploring a diverse range of literary and historical sources to understand how it was represented and managed as an economic enterprise. What can the archives of slavery teach us about the values and practice of capitalism as they emerged in the nineteenth-century? What can diverse formats and genres of information used to document the slave economy teach us about accounting of human life, and what responsibilities do we assume in reckoning its legacies in our contemporary moment? Introducing students to historical and contemporary debates about the relation between slavery and capitalism, the course will emphasize hands-on discovery of primary sources, ranging from slave narratives and prose fiction to financial data and accounting ledger, and opportunities to participate in a digital humanities research project on curation, visualization, and storytelling with archival data at the New York Public Library.
ENGL-UA 675 / Lit and the Environment / Athanassakis, Yanoula
ENGL-UA 712.001 / Major Texts in Critical Theory / Moser, Anna / This course is an immersion in critical theory from classical antiquity through the contemporary moment. We begin with Plato, and trace the course of Western philosophy and its implications for literary and cultural analysis through seismic changes in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, when this tradition is challenged by poststructuralist theorists including Jacques Lacan, Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida, and Michel Foucault; by feminist and queer theorists like Luce Irigaray, bell hooks, and Judith Butler; and by postcolonial and critical race theorists such as Frantz Fanon and Edouard Glissant. We will also explore the Marxist tradition of historical materialist analysis and its critique of capitalist ideology. What is critical theory? Why is it considered difficult? How might we understand theory not just as a literary-interpretive ""tool,"" but also as a form of knowledge, or coming-to-know? Preliminary emphasis will be placed on classics of Western philosophy, but we will be reading many texts that challenge this canon. A main objective of this course is to reflect on the limits and biases of philosophical tradition and difficulties surrounding the production of knowledge.
ENGL-UA 712.002 / Major Texts in Critical Theory / Hegelmeyer, Chad / This course provides an introduction to two much used and confused terms--theory and critique--by surveying major thinkers and texts from the history of literary and critical theory. That history provides less a stable, traceable line of theoretical development and more a (sometimes odd) amalgam of competing, intriguing, and surprising answers to the major questions that underlie literary studies: What is literature? How should we evaluate it? And what is at stake when we read, interpret, and argue about it?
ENGL-UA 721 / History and Lits of the South Asian Diaspora / Sandhu, SS / This class offers an introduction to the many and varied fictions that have been produced by diasporic South Asians across the globe over the last 150 years: in Australia, Africa, Europe, Caribbean. Our exploration of the poetics and politics of immigration will attend to different types of travellers (inc. soldiers, students, athletes, medics, cosmonauts) and draw on a wide range of media (inc. literature, cinema, and music). Particular attention will be paid to the diverse geographies of Asian migration - be they plantations, dance Floors, restaurants, call centres. Themes to be addressed include coolietude, globalization, the impact of 9/11 and techno-servitude
ENGL-UA 724 / Italian American Life in Lit / 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 735.001 / Freedgood, Elaine, Cara / BLACK BRITAIN - Black people have lived and worked in Britain since at least the sixteenth century, but in British Literature Courses, they are often hard to find. We will read texts from the Middle Ages to the present in which ""blackness"" is represented, we will read texts by Black British writers, we will read historical material about Blackness in Britain, and finally, we will consult Black cultural critics, like CLR James, Eric Williams, Stuart Hall, and Hazel Carby who have educated us about what it means to be a Black subject of Britain. Writers may include Mary Prince, Mary Seacole, Edward Wilmott Blyden, George Lamming, Andrea Levy, Caryl Phillips and Patience Agbabi. Discussion of the history of English as a (white) discipline and the coagulation of the curriculum around white writers, will also be examined.
ENGL-UA 735.002 / Freedgood, Elaine, Cara / PRISON WRITING - We will read texts by incarcerated people from Auburn Prison in upstate New York to Manus Island, Australia and from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to gain a sense of what it means to be ""inside,"" a condition we are (very) partially sharing at the moment. Incarcerated writers may include Dostoevsky, Austin Reed, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Behroouz Boochani (who wrote a novel in text messages), Precious Bedell, Chester Himes, George Jackson, Angela Davis, and others. Theoretical readings will focus on prison abolition, and prison abolition skepticism, the school-to-prison ""pipeline,"" and the history of ideas about crime and punishment, including the ""invention"" of the penitentiary in the eighteenth century. We will also consider the artworks of various incarcerated people, from ostrich eggs with drilled scenes of prison life, to ""soap"" art drawings, sculpture and painting.
ENGL-UA 761.001 / Irish Women Writers / Sullivan, Kelly / Irish women writers have historically been marginalized and excluded from the literary canon. This class seeks to historicize and respond to these concerns by foregrounding Irish women writers and arguing for a "tradition" of women's writing. We focus primarily on work from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, after beginning with Maria Edgeworth's groundbreaking novel Castle Rackrent (1800). We will read novels, drama, poetry, and short stories and ask questions about aesthetics, historical context, gender, sexuality, race, class, and religion. To complicate and challenge our own views of these texts, we will also supplement our readings with academic scholarship, including postcolonial theory, Irish feminist theory, and other relevant literary and cultural criticism. This course is designed to help you develop your critical skills as writers and thinkers, as well as your ability to engage with scholarship in literary theory, criticism, and interpretation.
ENGL-UA 761.002 / Beckett Colloquium / Waters, John / This course will conduct an intensive examination of Samuel Beckett's career, reading closely his poetry, novels, letters, essays, and dramatic works against the literary, philosophical, political and historical contexts in which they were written and received. Along the way we will consider how attempts to define Beckett -- as Irish, as French, as Modernist, Existentialist, Post-modernist, humanist, and nihilist -- have all fallen short of his unique blend of tragic and comic genius.
ENGL-UA 800.001 / Cold War Humanism / Rajagopal, Arvind ;Young, Robert JC / This course offers historical and analytical tools for understanding contemporary society, returning to the Cold War period as a formative epoch that abruptly became consigned to the moribund past with the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. This course's premise is that during the Cold War, crucial changes occurred in a world dominated by imperial great powers, whose effects are enduring but insufficiently understood. The ideological conflict between capitalism and communism was rarely engaged during this time as a problem to be solved. Rather it was displaced and mediated through a host of apparatuses and institutions - international financial institutions and other international NGOs such as the UN and its affiliate agencies, through programs of cultural development and social modernization that both superpowers joined in their attempt to influence the rest of the world. Ideas, institutions and practices that constitute a significant part of the social fabric today in most societies were in many ways formatively influenced by Cold War concerns, although their original stimulus has been forgotten. This course will argue that if we retain the Cold War's focus on political economic worldviews, we risk losing sight of the substantial overlap between the superpowers, in their shared commitment to humanism, that is, to the manifold enhancement of human life in all its potential. To be sure, this humanism was understood in different ways, and elaborating these similarities and differences, and their importance in clarifying historical change, will be the aim of this class.
ENGL-UA 800.002 / Unpopular Culture / Sandhu, SS / 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 800.003 / Vargo, Gregory Thomas / Novels of Youth In and After Colonialism
ENGL-UA 800.004 / The Epic / Gilman, Ernest / The epic--itself an ""heroic"" achievement for the poet--sets the human protagonist on a global stage, in its very amplitude opening a wide expanse of time and place, gods and men, history and myth, war and peace. This seminar will center on Milton's Paradise Lost as the capstone of the genre in English. We will lead up to it by way of the classical epics Milton emulates (and from his Christian perspective supersedes) by reading Homer's Odyssey, Virgil's Aeneid, and then Spenser's Faerie Queene. From Milton we will move forward by asking what happens to epic's ambition in the development of the novel, culminating in Melville's epic novel Moby Dick. The course functions as a research seminar requiring student reports, a shorter paper, and a longer term paper due at the end"
ENGL-UA 910 CWC Project - YOU MUST APPLY TO ENROLL: https://forms.gle/HattZkt7DmTH1UD56
ENGL-UA 911 Creative Writing Capstone Colloquium - YOU MUST APPLY TO ENROLL: https://forms.gle/HattZkt7DmTH1UD56
ENGL-UA 950 / Rust, Martha, D / The Architecture of the Infinite Library / Taking Umberto Eco's novel The Name of the Rose as its centerpiece, this course will explore the literary theories associated with the concept of intertextuality and and the practice bibliography--or ""biblio-graphy,"" writing about books. As we follow the trail of the mysterious book that seems to motivate the murders in the fourteenth-century Italian abbey depicted in Eco's novel, we'll consider the monk-detectives' strategies for gathering clues and forming hypotheses in the light of both medieval and contemporary theories of the semiotics of literature and language. Along the way we'll venture into the intertextual labyrinth this novel constructs, a bookish region in which books may be overheard, as Eco's narrator observes, to speak ""among themselves"" (286). Works we'll read along with or after The Name of the Rose--pieces by authors as chronologically and culturally far-flung as Augustine, Dante, Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Matthew Pearl--will provide additional perspectives on the nature of written artifacts and the obsessions they inspire. "
ENGL-UA 961 / Baker, Jennifer, / Literature of the American Civil War / Class may be supplemented by in-person excursions to libraries or museums for those able, pending safety during the pandemic. Literature of the American Civil War - In this class, we will study the literature of the American Civil War and its aftermath. Our reading will include newspaper accounts, letters, patriotic songs, political oratory, and the fiction and poetry of the North and South. We will consider how this writing drew on popular literary modes (sentimentalism, sensationalism, romance, elegy) and was shaped by the rhetoric of Southern succession and Northern debates over the importance of slavery's abolition for the preservation of the Union. Looking at post-war writing, we will consider the role of literature in national reconciliation and the emergence of historical fiction that recast the Southern cause in nostalgic terms or viewed the war in light of Reconstruction's failures. Instruction will be online, but if logistically possible, we will convene at local museums and archives to examine art and artifacts related to our studies. Writers to be studied will likely include Louisa May Alcott, Ambrose Bierce, Charles Chesnutt, Stephen Crane, Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Keckley, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Frances Watkins Harper, Joel Chandler Harris, Herman Melville, William Gilmore Simms, Henry David Thoreau, Constance Fenimore Woolson, and Walt Whitman."
ENGL-UA 962 / Hegelmeyer, Chad / Writing the Self From its inception, American literature has been concerned with the making, proving, and erasing of selves through writing: Fom Phillis Wheatley's modest defense of her poetry as ""written originally for the Amusement of the Author"" to Walt Whitman's unabashed poetic celebration of himself in Leaves of Grass; from Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography as a self-indulgent act of written ""recollection"" to Mary Antin's ""life story"" as an act of self-estrangement so profound that she ""could speak in the third person and not feel that [she] was masquerading."" This seminar will read these formative texts alongside contemporary American poetry, autobiography, and novels to explore how the unstable relationship between selfhood and writing has shaped American literature and culture. Is writing a form of self-making or self-effacement? Do I ""collect"" or disperse myself in writing? Does writing augment the self or trace its limits?
ENGL-UA 973 / Young, Robert / Literature as Philosophy/Philosophy as Literature / 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, Rhys), of writing that seems to hover on the borders between the two (such as Benjamin, Blanchot, Borges), and by asking whether cultural and literary theorists, such as Pater, Barthes, Cixous, or Kristeva, are actually writing forms of philosophy or something else as yet undefined.
ENGL-UA 974 / McLane, Maureen / "SOME CONTEMPORARY POETRIES, mainly in English" / 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 may come from elsewhere--ancient Greece, 17th C. Japan, 18th C. Scotland. 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. Topics include poetic address, ""subjectivity,"" un/worlding, time in/of the poem, itineraries, sites, lyric and/or society, weathers, environs, disturbances, formalizations. Readings may include works by anonymous balladeers, Theodor Adorno, Giorgio Agamben, Matsuo Basho, Emile Benveniste, Anne Boyer, Inger Christensen, Michael Dickman, Tonya Foster, Terrance Hayes, MC Hyland, Urayoan Noel, Katie Peterson, Tom Pickard, Jahan Ramazani, Claude Rankine, Srikanth Reddy, Paisley Rekdal, Lisa Robertson, Margaret Ronda, Juliana Spahr, Donna Stonecipher, Brian Teare, Walt Whitman, William Wordsworth, Monica Youn.
ENGL-UA 975 / Watson, Jini, K / Postcolonial Asian Literature and the Cold War - The Cold War is often thought of as a superpower contest between the United States and the Soviet Union, which was ended ""without firing a shot"" to quote Margaret Thatcher. Yet, in East and Southeast Asia, where the Cold War coincided with decolonization, it was a decidedly ""hot"" conflict. In addition to the brutal conflicts in Korea and Vietnam, a number of dictatorships and massacres were also precipitated by the bipolar contest. This course explores the following questions: How has postcolonial Asian literature been informed by, and reflected upon, the violent legacies of the Cold War's intersection with decolonization? How did postcolonial development become a bipolar contest, and why was the Bandung Conference important for an articulation of an unaligned ""Third World"" against the First and Second Worlds? How might we understand the politics of memory in fictional representations of Cold War conflicts in Asia? Our readings include novels, poetry, and short stories--including both Anglophone and some translated texts--by Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Hwang Sok-yong, Kim Chi-ha, Bao Ninh, Jeremy Tiang, Ha Jin, Han Suyin, and Sonny Liew. Theoretical and historical readings will be drawn from Heonik Kwon, Christopher Lee, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Odd Arne Westad and others. Assessment includes: active participation; weekly forum posts; class presentations; one short paper and one research paper. Course will be online, but will have supplemental in-person meetings for those available on campus.
ENGL-UA 981 / Sudhinaraset, Pacharee / Only open to English majors/minors. Apply here: https://as.nyu.edu/english/undergraduate/undergraduate-resources.html
ENGL-UA 995 / Medical Humanities / Deer, Patrick; Jordan, Trace; Klass, Perri
ENGL-UA 995 Pandemics and Plagues (2 pts)
Monday, 11.00am-12.15pm EST: Online
Patrick Deer (English), Trace Jordan (Core Curriculum) and Perri Klass (Journalism and Pediatrics)
How have writers, scientists, artists, philosophers, musicians, performers and playwrights, and citizens responded to the outbreak of disease across the centuries and around the world? What kinds of stories, narratives and archives have shaped artistic, medical and governmental responses and popular memory? This course will provide students with the opportunity to engage with humanistic inquiry into health, disease, and medicine at a time when they are personally experiencing a global pandemic. This course will also bring together researchers from various fields to present and discuss their work, including the diverse perspectives of medical practitioners, frontline healthcare workers, philosophers and ethicists, journalists, writers, artists and performers, and scholars engaging with the field of Medical Humanities. Our case studies will include: the bubonic plague and the Renaissance; forgotten diseases and childhood mortality; the 1918 “Spanish” Flu, war and modern culture; HIV/AIDS, performance and protest in New York City; SARS, Ebola and globalization; and healthcare workers and the global Covid pandemic. This course will engage a rich array of materials and approaches by focusing on themes like plagues in literature, racialized and gendered responses to pandemics, war and pandemics, trauma and recovery, the media reporting of pandemics, historical plagues, film and visual representations, philosophy and ethics, front line stories, archives and memory.
Readings may include: Edgar Allen Poe; WWI writing by Wilfrid Owen, Vera Brittain, and Ernest Hemingway; Katherine Anne Porter’s Pale Horse, Pale Rider; Albert Camus’ The Plague; activist plays such as The Normal Heart by Larry Kramer and Angels in America by Tony Kushner; Penelope Fitzgerald’s The Blue Flower; and essays by Susan Sontag and Atul Gawande. We will also compare these literary accounts of pandemics to the depiction of disease outbreaks in films like Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, Terry Gilliam’s Twelve Monkeys, and Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion.