ENGL-UA 112 Literatures in English II | Prof. Elizabeth Bejarano (firstname.lastname@example.org)
An introduction to English literature from the end of the seventeenth century through the early twentieth. Besides poetry, fiction and drama, we’ll draw from less likely literary sources like pamphlets, diaries, and scientific tracts to get a sense of how people wrote to their moment. We’ll consider the way writing transforms under every fresh wave of cultural pressure and transforms culture in turn. We’ll read both British and transatlantic works, with some major authors like Jonathan Swift, Jane Austen, Thomas Paine and T.S. Eliot. We’ll pair these voices with lesser-known but no less fascinating ones of mystic visionaries, political activists, abolitionists, and teenage feminists. As we’ll be covering the first Information Age, or the long period over which print and literacy were institutionalized in English, we’ll pay special attention to how people grappled with new media (like newspapers) and hypothesized its effects. From news addiction to cities brimming with paper, we’ll investigate the anxieties provoked by a suddenly reading public and see how they panned out once the novelty of print was forgotten. We’ll look at the influence of information technologies (like the timeline) on literary genres (like the novel) and think seriously about how writing may have materialized and dissolved the British empire.
ENGL-UA 113 Literatures in English III | Prof. Alexandria Ramos (email@example.com)
This American literary-historical course surveys a range of texts from the period of colonial encounter to the end of the nineteenth century. We will engage with literatures concerning early European exploration, nation-building, the American Renaissance, Reconstruction, responses to U.S. imperial projects, and contact between Indigenous peoples, Africans, and European settlers in the Americas. Our task, in part, will be to interrogate our understanding of the key concepts “America(n)” and “Literature.” If we read the literature of this moment as imagining and calling a nation and its people into being, what contradictions emerge when we consider questions of shifting borders, migrations, and diasporas? When minoritarian subjects have been excluded from political, social, and economic life, how have they envisioned possible futures and alternative forms of belonging? How have political concerns called for the emergence of new literary forms? Finally, how have early American texts been anthologized and included in our literary histories? When we consider which texts are often understood to be “representative,” what assumptions does that reveal about American culture and history? The final project will challenge you to engage with these questions as you design a mini-anthology.
ENGL-UA 415 Shakespeare | Prof. Tanya K. Schmidt (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Intensive reading of six to eight plays of Shakespeare chosen from among the comedies, histories, tragedies, and romances, with attention to formal, historical, and performance questions, as well as to the issue of contemporary adaptation in a global context. This course will develop skills in close textual analysis while also engaging with various media forms, including film adaptations and local New York City performances such as The Public Theater’s summer production of Shakespeare in Central Park. The course welcomes all majors and fulfills the pre-1800 requirement for the English major/minor.
ENGL-UA 800 Cross-examinations: Law and Literature | Prof. Rajgopal Saikumar (email@example.com)
This is an interdisciplinary course where we will attempt to juxtapose, on one hand, novels, poems, art and films and on the other hand, learn to read legal judgments, jury psychology, statutes and Constitutional documents. The motive for doing so is two-fold: First, law is not a monolithic system of rules functioning outside our lives, but is implicitly distributed in various cultural forms that we participate in. It is too important to be left to lawyers, and therefore we must learn to engage with it and critique it in productive ways. And second, this course takes seriously the global crises that we are faced with (be it of climate change, rise in authoritarianism, erosion of privacy, the persistence of racial and gender-based injustices). Acting on these challenges requires reflecting upon the inter-relationships between the legal discourse, literature, human rights, politics, and popular culture.
Over the course of the term, some of the themes we will engage with are: (a) do we have an obligation to disobey the law? (b) the history of slavery, race and prison-reform; (c) criminal trials and #MeToo; (d) crime and detective-fiction; (e) courtroom drama in films; (f) nationalism, postcolonialism (g) borders, exiles, immigrants and refugees; (h) narrative, genre and storytelling. In the process, we will meditate on irresolvable questions such as whether literature has the potential to allow us a glimpse of a higher justice that is beyond the law?
Apart from works of art and films, we will read texts by writers such as Sophocles, Shakespeare, Plato, Gandhi, Franz Kafka, Toni Morisson, Simone Weil, Thoreau, Martin Luther King Jr., J. M. Coetzee etc.
This course will be of interest to students who enjoy reading and writing, and aspire to be writers, teachers, journalists, lawyers, activists, politicians etc. It will train them in developing skills to read interdisciplinary material, introduce them to analytical frameworks in literary criticism, law, postcolonialism, genre, human rights, critical race studies etc.
DRLIT-UA 840: Playwriting Workshop (counts as one of the two required CRWRI-UA workshops in the Creative Writing Track)
In this course, each student will write a new play. No prior playwriting experience is necessary.
The class will take a playful approach to writing for the stage: we will work towards making something new by experimenting with process and form and cultivating our ability to write things that surprise us. We will study the works of a diverse group of playwrights and writers of performance texts in order to understand how plays work and to identify strategies we might want to take on and then renovate for our own purposes. The coursework will include readings of plays and critical texts, writing assignments in class and out, and workshops of student writing, all of which are designed to help students write and refine a one-act play.
THIS COURSE COUNTS TOWARD ONE OF YOUR WORKSHOP REQUIREMENTS IN THE ENGLISH MAJOR WITH CREATIVE WRITING TRACK.
ENGL-UA 111 Literatures in English I | Prof. Kat Addis (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The texts we’ll encounter on this course are routinely claimed as aspects of “heritage”, whether national, global, or personal. But like museums, literary histories are carefully curated and guarded, serving the interests of the present as much as they preserve the artifacts of the past. Our mission in this course will be to take the matter into our own hands, collectively redesigning the museum of “literatures in English 1”.
This is quite an undertaking, given that our course runs from the 9th into the 17th century. It will require curiosity, openness and creativity. Relinquishing an easy binary of historical continuity vs. rupture, we will explore the myriad ways in which literary forms, languages and imaginations interact with each other across time. This will engage us with concepts such as, but not limited to: exile, refuge, conquest, empire, slavery, gender, extraction, revolution and race.
We will also need to think critically and creatively about the terms that have overwhelmingly informed inquiry into early literatures in English: the “modern”, the “human”, the “literary”, and the “English”.
A representative sample of readings might be: Old English lyric poems, selections from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Shakespearean drama, sonnets by Mary Wroth and Philip Sidney, metaphysical poetry, prose by Thomas Browne and John Donne, extracts from Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, Milton’s Paradise Lost, and Margaret Cavendish’s The Blazing World.
ENGL-UA 114 Literatures in English IV: Literary and Popular Genres, 1900 onward | Prof. Saronik Bosu (email@example.com)
This course provides a review of English-language literary production across the divide between the literary and the highbrow on the one side, and popular genres on the other. It looks at how the tensions between these two constantly warring sides reflect movements in world history, and sheds light on the common ground between them even as it investigates the formulae developed by popular genres which attract mostly undeserved detraction. We will focus on fantasy, horror, mystery, espionage and science fiction and study how their responses to the literary market can be understood alongside reflective and mimetic techniques in ostensibly literary writing as it speaks to its own historical and social context. We will read T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land" (1922) alongside H.P. Lovecraft's "The Call of Cthulhu" (1926) to see how these authors use myths in very different ways in the service of modernist anxieties. Viet Thanh Nguyen's The Sympathizer (2015) read together with Jennifer Egan's "Black Box" (2012) will give us methods of reading the spy as subject, and her discontents across geopolitical, ethnic, and sexual spectra. We will begin with a discussion of our current conceptions of terms such as literary and popular, high and lowbrow, markets and genres, and in the end review our understanding in light of the readings.
ENGL-UA 190 Race and Sex(uality) in 20thC U.S. Film and Fiction
This course will introduce students to various critical approaches to race and sexuality in order to examine their relationship in fictional representations across the twentieth century. How are representations of race sexualized and how are representations of sex and sexuality racialized? How does genre affect this process? What is the “work” that these representations do on the page and on the screen?
One of the course’s major aims is to urge students to challenge the ways in which both race and sexuality—which we now refer to as identity categories—are conceptualized as legitimate areas of study. Thus, the class juxtaposes theorists that consider race as affect, property, citizenship, ethnicity, or biology, for example, and it combines visual texts (images, films, trailers, music videos) and literary works of different genres (plays, novels, short stories) in order to question the dependence on visual cues for reading racial and sexual paradigms. How are fictional representations informed and contested by these theoretical approaches? How do these notions of race shift when we center their connections to sex and sexuality?
ENGL-UA 201 Reading as a Writer | Prof. Yollotl Azure Lopez (firstname.lastname@example.org)
What does it mean to read as a writer? While most of us are trained to read since childhood, our vision of what is a reader is somewhat passive and not necessarily from the generative point of view. We are taught books from a certain historical period that reflect the cultural moment, but what of the devices that make a text different, effective, and memorable? This course will explore a text like a writer, including close readings of the structure and textual styling authors make and how those choices impact the text.
This course will include supplementary readings that have been privitol in the establishment of reading theory major shifts in literary writing from Plato’s works to non-secular theories like that of Leslie Marmon Silko and Gloria Anzaldua. These weekly readings will enter into dialogue with the assigned texts that show a particular challenge to the established norm such as Maxine Hong Kingston’s Warrior Woman. Assignments will consist of weekly reading responses and analytical essays that examine both the texts read in class as well as each other’s creative writing generated in this course.
ENGL-UA 712 Major Texts in Critical Theory | Prof. Richard Porteous (email@example.com)
In an infamous passage of his Republic, Plato wrote that he would ban all the poets from his ideal city—or, at the very least, he would chuck out those who wrote the “wrong" sort of poetry. Today, the role of artistic representations in society, as well as the status of readers, writers, and critics, are fiercely debated topics, both in the classroom and across the social media multiverse. These transgressive questions continue to diffract through the many critical frameworks that they provoked in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, including postcolonial, structuralist, poststructuralist, post-human, Marxist, feminist, queer, eco-critical, and critical race perspectives. These perspectives have transformed representations, discourse, and notions of education. As we approach them, we approach the realm of ‘Theory.’
But what is the definition of "theory”? And who gets to decide that? Often too philosophical for the literary critics, and too literary for the philosophers, theory itself has been a nomad, a migrant, an outcast heard protesting from outside the city walls. In many ways it has benefited from its institutional homelessness, leaving many of its most provoking questions about its own identity open-ended. Is theory always about writing? Need theory itself take the form of writing? How is theory different from ‘critique’ or ‘analysis’? Might we even have reached the ‘end’ of theory—how would we know if we had? This course will offer a provisional history of some hugely influential texts in 'theory', from Plato to the present, while keeping alive these meta-level questions about 'theory’ itself.
This is a reading-heavy course, which rewards thoroughness, curiosity, and constant dissent. Students must submit a final essay, but will also have the option to present and submit work in non-traditional formats during the course, if they so choose.