Courses: Current and Upcoming

Next Semester Courses

Course Listing Spring 2017



ICC DESIGNATION: Identities/Inquiry, Imagination, and Innovation

INSTRUCTOR: Hugh Egan, 306 Muller, ext. 4-3563

ENROLLMENT: 20 students per section


COURSE DESCRIPTION: In this course we will read a wide range of American short stories, proceeding loosely through the life phases of childhood, adolescence, adulthood, old age and death. In the course of our reading and discussion, we will become familiar with formal elements of the short story form (including point of view, plot, tone, and dialogue), as well with certain recurrent themes in our nation’s literature. We will read a combination of classic and contemporary stories. Authors will include James Baldwin, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, Katherine Anne Porter, Edgar Allan Poe, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Alice Munro, Edward P. Jones and others.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Largely discussion.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Two short essays (2 pages), two longer essays (5-6 pages), a mid-term, a final exam, and class participation.  Grading will be A-F.  Because of the discussion-oriented format, class participation will be an important part of students’ final grades.


ENGL 11300-01, -02   INTRODUCTION TO POETRY       3a HU LA

3 credits

ICC DESIGNATIONS:  Themes:  1) Identities or 2) Inquiry, Imagination, and Innovation;  

Perspective:  Humanities
INSTRUCTOR: Kevin Murphy, Muller 332, Ext. 4-3551
ENROLLMENT: 20 per section
COURSE DESCRIPTION: One objective of this course is to familiarize the student with both traditional and contemporary forms of poetry. To do so, we will study poetry chronologically (from Shakespeare to the present) and formally (the sonnet, the ode, the villanelle, etc.) The chronological survey from the 16th century through the 19th century will take place during the first half of the semester, and during the second half we will focus on American poetry written in the 20th century, especially poetry written since 1950. A second, and perhaps more important, objective of this course is to instill in the student the desire and the confidence to read poetry and the ability to write about it critically and persuasively, and therefore participation in class discussion is crucial.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Some lecture, mostly discussion.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: One five-page and one eight-page critical essay, homework assignments in preparation for discussion, a mid-term, and a final examination. Grading is based on attendance, participation in class discussion, examinations, and papers.




ICC Designation: Identities; Inquiry, Imagination, and Innovation

INSTRUCTOR: Michael Stuprich, 316A Muller, ext. 4-1253

ENROLLMENT: 20 Students


COURSE DESCRIPTION: This section of English 113 will take a fairly traditional approach to the subject by focusing on ways to help students develop skills in reading, analyzing, and writing about poetry.  To those ends we’ll read a wide variety of English and American poetry written in different historical eras and in different poetic forms.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Almost entirely discussion.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: A number of short (1-2 page) writing assignments, 2-3 short (2-3 page) essays, a final essay in the 4-5 page range, and steady attendance and class participation.




ICC DESIGNATION: Themes: (1) Identities, or (2) Inquiry, Imagination, and Innovation

INSTRUCTOR: Jim Swafford, 330 Muller, ext. 4-3540

ENROLLMENT: 20 students per section


COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course is designed to help the student develop skills in reading, analyzing, and writing about poetry.  We will analyze a wide range of poems from different historical periods, written in a range of forms and styles. The first part of the course will emphasize the various elements of poetry – imagery, figurative language, tone, sound and rhythm, and set forms (such as sestinas and sonnets). In the second part, we’ll spend more time considering what we can learn from studying a poem in the context of other poems by the same author – our case study will be John Keats – or poems on a similar subject. Note: this is not a course in poetry writing.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Mostly discussion.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Three short critical essays, assorted quizzes and response pieces during the course of the term, a midterm, and a final examination. Grading is A-F, based on the above as well as on attendance and participation in class discussion. 


ENGL 19406-01, 02: The Search for the Self in Short Stories  HU LA 3a h

3 credits

ICC Theme: Identities

INSTRUCTOR: Jean Sutherland, Muller 434,

ENROLLMENT: 20 per section

PREREQUISITES: None STUDENTS: Open to all students.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: What creates our sense of who we are? How does a work of fiction reveal the complex web of influences that shape one’s identity and how one views the world? What roles do family, peers, age, class, education, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation play in influencing the way one thinks and acts, and how can an author suggest all of that in the space of a short story?  What can a literary work reveal about our understanding of ourselves and of our world? In studying these works of short fiction, we will also consider some secondary material such as the authors’ comments about their work and scholarly commentary about them in order to enrich our understanding of why these stories are short but not slight. 

The goal of the course is to make you a more active and critical reader. This is NOT a class in fiction writing

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: This class relies largely on discussion.  You will be expected to do much of the talking.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Two essays; daily quizzes or writing exercises; essay mid-term and final exam. Grading (A to F) is based on the requirements, with emphasis placed upon class participation. 


English 19419-01,02  Story Power: Fairy Tales


ICC DESIGNATION: Identities AND Mind, Body, Spirit

INSTRUCTOR: Julie Fromer, 434 Muller

ENROLLMENT: 20 students per section


COURSE DESCRIPTION: Why do fairy tales have such enduring power to shape the stories that we tell ourselves and our children?  How have these stories shifted and transformed through time and across different media and cultures?  What can we learn about gender roles, class structures, social and political values, and the goal and function of storytelling itself? We will focus on a number of “classic” fairy tales, such as Cinderella, Snow White, and Little Red Riding Hood, reading English translations of the tales collected by German and Italian folklorists.  While we all know the basic plots of many of the stories we’ll be reading, we will allow the texts to speak to us in new ways.  Then, we will follow these tales’ transformations, reading revisions of older tales and exploring the ways oral and literary fairy tales have shifted as they have been adapted to the big and small screen.  Our discussions will be informed by critical readings in folklore and cultural studies. 


COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Three short (2 pages) response papers, one 3-4 page essay and one 4-5 page essay, a take-home final exam, a presentation, and class participation.  Grading will be A-F.  Due to the discussion-oriented format, class participation will be an important part of students’ final grades.


ENGL 19420 Literature and Cultural Studies: An Introduction (LA).


ICC DESIGNATION: Themes: Identities and Power and Justice (designation pending)

INSTRUCTOR: Elizabeth Bishop, 119 Muller, ext. 4-3713

ENROLLMENT: 20 students per section


COURSE DESCRIPTION:  This course will introduce you to important texts, traditions and intellectual concepts associated with literary and cultural studies in the 20th and 21st century.  We will read key texts in criticism and theory including but not limited to critical race theory, Marxist, feminist, queer, structuralist, post-structuralist and post-colonial (anti)traditions. Throughout this course, we will study scholarship surrounding the nature of language and the question of how language shapes and is shaped by social, cultural and political contexts toward moral and ethical conclusions. In particular, we will focus on the relationship between language and culture by asking, in what ways does language influence and constitute social change? How is social change reflected by changes in the way we use language? Over the course of the semester, you will work on applying the knowledge and theoretical tools to gain analytic, critical and creative skills in writing and multimodal documentation. 

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion, with some context-setting lectures.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Two short response papers, a midterm essay, a final essay and class participation.  Grading will be A-F.  Because of the discussion-oriented format, class participation will be an important part of students’ final grades.




ICC ATTRIBUTE: Writing Intensive

INSTRUCTOR: Jen Spitzer, Muller 305, Ext 4-7056


COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course is designed to encourage English majors and minors early in their careers to become more reflective, self-conscious readers, writers, and thinkers, and thus better prepared for the upper-level English curriculum. Students will grapple with the issues and concerns that occupy literary critics when they think about literature, including the expectations and assumptions that guide us as readers. Focusing on a handful of texts—including James Joyce’s, The Dead; Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, and Nella Larsen’s Passing and poetry by T.S. Eliot, Sylvia Plath, Li-Young Lee, and Gwendolyn Brooks--we will attempt, first, to inhabit these works as worlds unto themselves, and second, to place them in appropriate critical conversations and align them with relevant critical schools of thought.

PREREQUISITE: One course in English. This course is designed primarily for first-years and sophomores who are working towards an English major, though others are welcome.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Three short essays, several more informal (also short) writing assignments, and a final research essay. Final grade will be based on attendance, written work, and class participation.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Some lecture, mostly discussion. 


ENGL 21500 – 01 Contemporary Topics in Science Fiction and Comics - 43262 -

INSTRUCTOR: Katharine Kittredge, 317 Muller, ext. 4-1575

ENROLLMENT: 20 students per section

PREREQUISITE: Prerequisite: one course in the humanities or social sciences, or sophomore standing

COURSE DESCRIPTION OBJECTIVES: This is an interactive, student-generated class which is ideal for enthusiastic fans of any form of fantasy, science fiction, or comics. Its hands-on peer-to-peer approach also makes it a good fit for anyone interested in teaching or doing creative community work. The first 6 weeks are an overview of the History of Science Fiction and Comics taught through interactive personal responses and group discussion.  In the second part of the course, the class fractures into small groups which spend four weeks working intensely on a topic that interests them.  Possible topics could be: Alien life forms, Anime, Apocalypse, Gender Bending, Queer Futures, Feminist Science Fiction, The Novels of Phillip K. Dick and their film versions, Utopias, Dystopias, Strange British Humor, and Futuristic Sport.  The group as a whole devises a way of teaching the rest of the class about their area of interest.  The last four weeks will consist of student-led classes.  Individuals write a paper, complete a creative project or design a community-based project on their topic of study.   Students will help run ITHACON, the community-based comic book convention held at IC in March.

FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture, discussion, small group, collaborative activities

GRADING: daily short exercises in first weeks, one longer paper or project, participation in class activities


ENGL 21900-01 and -02 SHAKESPEARE (LA)


ICC DESIGNATION: Identities / Inquiry, Imagination, and Innovation

INSTRUCTOR: Christopher Matusiak, 326 Muller

ENROLLMENT: 20 students per section

PREREQUISITE: One course in the humanities or social sciences, or sophomore standing.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: What is Shakespearean tragedy?  The twelve plays listed as corresponding with this genre in the playwright’s First Folio of 1623 are remarkably diverse in content and tone, and despite many scholarly enumerations of their features the essence of Shakespeare’s tragic vision remains elusive and controversial.  This course encourages students to move past outworn and misapplied Aristotelian clichés and to draw fresh conclusions about the substance and function of Shakespeare’s tragic drama based on a study of six plays (Titus Andronicus, Macbeth, King Lear, Coriolanus, Antony and Cleopatra, and Cymbeline).  Areas of focus will include: the models of Roman and medieval tragedy that Shakespeare inherited and transformed; the psychological, political, and metaphysical dimensions of the genre; the radical distinctiveness of Shakespearean character; the linguistic discourses of tragedy; and the enduring affective power of the plays in modern performance.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion/lecture.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Close-reading exercises; formal essay; final exam; active involvement in class discussion will be an important part of students’ final grades.


ENGL 23200-01  Medieval Literature (HU, LA, 3b, WI)

3 credits.

INSTRUCTOR:  Michael Twomey, Muller 329, Ext. 4-3564,


PREREQUISITE:  Three courses in the humanities.

COURSE DESCRIPTION:  Although the Middle Ages occurred long enough ago to feed clichéd fantasies of knights in shining armor, damsels in distress, and savage Viking warriors, the modern world was made in the Middle Ages.  Systems of law, nation-states, international trade, monetary exchange, and university education; the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim religions as we know them today; the mass-production technology of printing, and even the eyeglasses—all are medieval creations.  Presentist distortion encourages the false belief that the literature of the Middle Ages is primitive and unsophisticated, when in fact medieval literature is every bit as sophisticated, and every bit as relevant to us, as modern and post-modern literatures.  Accordingly, this course examines medieval literature both as a reflection of its original culture, which made the modern world, and as the originator of modern literary forms.  We will (re)discover genres and subjects that first became popular in the Middle Ages, and with which English and American writers have been working ever since: lyric poetry, romances, sagas, and tales.  Along with several short readings, each unit features one major text: The Saga of the People of Laxardal; The Romance of Silence, The Death of King Arthur; Dante’s Inferno; and selections from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

COURSE FORMAT AND STYLE:  Discussion and lecture.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS:  Regular attendance and participation in class discussions, two 5-page essays, short response pieces, a final exam.  Keeping up with reading and writing assignments is essential.



3 Credits

INSTRUCTOR: Michael Stuprich,  Muller 316A,  Ext.  41253


PREREQUISITES: One course in the humanities or social sciences or sophomore standing.

STUDENTS: Open to anyone who can handle the heavy reading and writing requirements.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: We’ll read, study, and write about many of the greatest works produced in England between 1660 and 1815.  These works will include Dryden’s “Mac Flecknoe,” Pope’s “The Rape of the Lock,” Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, and Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Open discussion. With occasional background lectures.

Participation in class discussion expected.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: 6-8 short writing assignments; a mid-term and final exam; a final essay (8-10 pages, with outside sources).  Class participation 10%.  Steady attendance mandatory.  Zero tolerance for tardiness.


ENGL 31200-01, -02   DRAMATIC LITERATURE II: The Captivating Past in Modern and Contemporary Drama (LA)


INSTRUCTOR: Claire Gleitman, 303 Muller, ext. 4-3893

ENROLLMENT: 20 students per section

PREREQUISITE: Any three courses in English, history of the theater, or introduction to the theater; WRTG10600 or ICSM108XX or ICSM118XX. Note: Dramatic Literature I (ENGL 311) is not a prerequisite for this course.

TOPIC: The Captivating Past in Modern and Contemporary Drama.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: An old man sits listening to tapes recorded by his younger self—a self that, now, he barely recognizes as his own. With the bravado of youth, the taped voice declares that his “best years” are gone but that he “wouldn’t want them back.” His older self listens in silence, and we do not imagine for a second that he agrees. This brief moment in a brief play captures a tension that reverberates through the modern drama: the impulse to move forward, which is often at odds with a longing to go back.  In this course, we will read a variety of modern European, American, and Nigerian dramatists, examining each one’s exploration of this tension between what used to be and what is. Some of our authors focus upon the ways in which the past can hold us captive, ensnaring us in stagnant longing and regret, while others enact the difficulties we confront when we attempt to look backwards at the past and examine it with accuracy. Still others offer portraits of the past to appeal to the present to take heed of its messages. In almost every case, we will find our authors asking the question: How can we unburden ourselves of the dead weight of the past and inhabit the present, without becoming soulless—a traitor to our families, our countries, our past selves—in the process? To put the problem another way, it may be a form of madness to live, as A Streetcar Named Desire’s Blanche DuBois does, in hopeless pursuit of what might have been. Yet the alternative stance carries problems of its own, as manifested by her nemesis Stanley Kowalski, whose last lines are: “Now, honey. Now, love. Now, now, love…Now, now, love. Now, love.”
Playwrights will include Henrik Ibsen, Anton Chekhov, Bertolt Brecht, Tennessee Williams, Samuel Beckett, Wole Soyinka, Brian Friel, Anna Deavere Smith, Tom Stoppard, Sarah Ruhl, Nick Gandiello.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion, with some context-setting lectures.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Two 6-8 page essays, frequent informal “think” pieces, a take-home final exam, and class participation.  Grading will be A-F.  Because of the discussion-oriented format, class participation will be an important part of students’ final grades.



3 credits

ICC DESIGNATION: Writing Intensive

INSTRUCTOR: Hugh Egan, 306 Muller, ext. 4-3563


PREREQUISITES: 9 credits of literature or permission of the instructor

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course will survey a wide range of early American authors, from the era of exploration, the Puritan period, the American Renaissance, and the Gilded Age. We will focus on the themes of independence and confinement in American discourse, and will interrogate some of the assumptions behind the idea of "American exceptionalism" and the myth of the "American dream."  We will read a variety of American documents, including excerpts from religious sermons, political treatises, philosophical essays, autobiographies, poems, short stories and, at the end of the term, a novel by Henry James. Our authors will include Christopher Columbus, Anne Bradstreet, Jonathan Edwards, Benjamin Franklin, Washington Irving, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Edgar Allan Poe, Frederick Douglass, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Harriet Jacobs, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Charles Chesnutt, Mark Twain, and others.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Largely discussion.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Three shorter essays, a final research essay, and class participation. Grading will be A-F.



CRN 42227

3 credits

INSTRUCTOR:  Michael Twomey, Muller 329, Ext. 4-3564,


PREREQUISITE:  Three courses in the Humanities.

COURSE DESCRIPTION:  The Bible is the best-known book that most of us have never read.  This course considers biblical narratives and poetry as literary and cultural documents.  Although reading the Bible will necessarily invoke religious concepts, I teach the course from a scholarly, non-sectarian point of view.  I expect that students in the course will be open-minded about the approaches they learn in the course, and that they will not look to the course for affirmation of preconceived religious ideas.  The course emphasizes the Bible specifically as literature: how style, characterization, and other literary features of prose and verse enable us to understand biblical texts.  The two major units are the historical narratives in Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, Esther; and the poetic writings in Psalms, the Song of Solomon, and Job.

            Texts:   (1) HarperCollins Study Bible, with Apocrypha (Student Edition). 

                        (2) Other texts and critical readings will be posted on Sakai and/or handed out.

COURSE FORMAT AND STYLE:  Discussion, in-class reports, lecture.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS:  Regular attendance and participation in class discussions, two 5-page essays, short response pieces, possibly an in-class presentation, definitely a final exam.





INSTRUCTOR: Michael Stuprich, Muller 316A, Ext. 41253.


PREREQUISITES: Nine hours of literature courses.

STUDENTS: Open to all who meet the prerequisites, but of special appeal to anyone interested in reading wonderful novels and discussing issues involving women, gender, and human sexuality.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: We’ll read virtually everything that Austen wrote: the six novels, the novella “Lady Susan,” and her letters.  We'll try to read each of the novels within the fullest possible set of contexts, discussing social and biographical as well as artistic issues, and trying always to imagine what it was like to be a woman writer at a time when the words "woman" and "writer" were regarded by many people as representing mutually exclusive categories.

FORMAT AND STYLE: Open discussion, with occasional background lectures; there will be an emphasis on "collaborative" learning: students will be assigned a number of class projects, ranging from "outside" readings to the particularly intense scrutiny of certain passages or characters in the novels.

GRADING: The semester grade will be based on numerous (as in many) writing assignments, a class project or two, a final, and the quality of class participation.


INSTRUCTOR: James Swafford, Muller 330, ext. 4-3540
PREREQUISITE: 9 credits of literature
COURSE DESCRIPTION: At the center of this course is Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), who famously said that he put only his talent into his works and his genius into his life, as if that life itself were his greatest work of art.  (His life, of course, crashed spectacularly in 1895 when he was convicted of “acts of gross indecency with another male person” and was sentenced to two years in prison.)  So it will be necessary for us to examine not only Wilde’s literary achievement in a surprising number of genres – poems, plays (like The Importance of Being Earnest), fiction (The Picture of Dorian Gray), essays, autobiography (De Profundis, his remarkable letter from prison) – but also Wilde as a person and as a cultural figure.  We will study the Oscar produced by photographers, news reporters, cartoonists, courts of law, playwrights, novelists, sculptors, and scholars, as well as the Oscar that Wilde himself served up for public consumption.  And we will also consider his place in the broader “aesthetic movement” of the 19th century.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Mostly discussion.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Two short critical essays, a few written exercises and response pieces during the course of the term, an oral report, and one longer research essay. Grading is based on the above as well as on attendance and active participation in class discussion.  Our main texts are The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde (HarperCollins) and Moises Kaufman’s Gross Indecency (Vintage).


ENGL 36300-01   Modern Irish Literature: Pastoral Myths, Poltical Realities  (LA)


INSTRUCTOR: Kevin Murphy, 332 Muller, ext. 4-3551

ENROLLMENT: 20 students per section

PREREQUISITE: Any three courses in English, history of the theater, or introduction to the theater.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Irish literature has experienced several extraordinary flowerings in the twentieth century, each intimately connected to political upheaval in that island nation.  Starting with the examples of James Joyce in fiction and William Butler Yeats in poetry and drama, we will explore the range and development of Irish literature in the current century, paying close attention to the political and historical contexts within which and against which much of this literature was written.  We will study, among others, Frank O’Connor, Michael McLaverty, Edna O’Brien, Sean O’Faolain, Bernard MacLaverty, and Colm Toibin in fiction; Patrick Kavanagh, Seamus Heaney, Eavan Boland, and Derek Mahon in poetry; and Samuel Beckett and Brian Friel in drama.  There will be, from time to time, required films and background material on reserve, as well as classroom lectures to provide the historical and political background necessary to understand the material.  For the most part, however, this course will be a discussion class focused on the texts at hand.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion, with some context-setting lectures.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: There will two short essays (2-3 pages) and one longer paper (8-10 pages).  There will be a midterm examination and a take-home final examination which will be distributed the last day of class and administered during finals week. Because of the discussion-oriented format, class participation will be an important part of students’ final grades.


INSTRUCTOR: Christopher Matusiak, Muller 326
ENROLLMENT: 20 per section

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Ben Jonson (1572-1637) was by all accounts self-aggrandizing, judgmental, petulant, and violent—he was also the most admired dramatic craftsman of his age.  His great theme was the cruel selfishness of criminal imposters who prey upon the credulous, a topic obsessively explored in acidic comedies such as Volpone (1605), Epicene (1609), and The Alchemist (1610).  No less fascinated by cunning acts of impersonation was the prolific Thomas Middleton (1580-1627)—and not surprisingly given that Middleton’s mother and sister had been victims of a notorious con-man during the playwright’s youth.  But where Jonson condemns without mercy, Middleton tends to show sympathy, particularly towards female characters compelled to navigate the treacherous cities and courts of men: Moll Frith, the cross-dressing, tobacco-smoking, duelist of The Roaring Girl (1611) and Livia, the widowed, Iago-like intriguer of Women Beware Women (c. 1623) are among the seventeenth-century’s richest roles. For his part, John Webster (c. 1580-c.1634), was capable of both Jonsonian venom and Middletonian empathy; what is uniquely Websterian however is the macabre atmosphere of plays such as The White Devil (1612) and The Duchess of Malfi (1614), tragic masterpieces shot through with casual atrocity, corrosive skepticism, and grim humor.  In our fixation on Shakespeare’s singular achievement, we tend today to overlook these three dramatists.  But the brilliant, caustic accomplishments of Jonson, Middleton, and Webster are in many respects more representative of English Renaissance drama—and like Shakespeare’s plays, they continue to speak to us in surprising ways.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion/lecture
COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: active class participation, close-reading exercises, research essay.
FULFILLS: Periods of Literature Requirement in English


3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Chris Holmes
PREREQUISITE: 9 credits of English
COURSE DESCRIPTION: “Globalization” most often refers to the period after the fall of the Berlin Wall and is characterized by intense cross-cultural interaction, facilitated by technology and the mass migration of peoples across national territories. Our seminar will consider how the contemporary novel in English grapples with globalization in its broadest political, economic, and cultural terms, and how an emergent literary genre, the “global novel,” may or may not be the most sensitive form for describing our particular historical moment. We will be reading some of the most influential global stories of the last three decades, looking to India and Pakistan, Hong Kong and the Philippines, Sub-Saharan Africa and the West Indies, and the US and the UK for innovation of form and content. And we will put these narratives into the context of a literary world system, a system of circulation of goods and ideas that is particularly interested in texts that translate linguistically and culturally outside of their place of origin. Through close engagement with novels written since 1988, we will be considering the ways in which developments in globalization are affecting literature—reshaping both the style and form of literary works themselves and the larger system of literary readership. Novelists may include: Tash Aw, Mohsin Hamid, Kazuo Ishiguro, David Mitchell, Junot Diaz, Karen Te Yamashita, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Two formal essays, mid-term, frequent short response papers, and class participation.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion and lecture.


ENGL 46500-01  SEMINAR IN DRAMA: Anxious Masculinity on the American Stage (LA)


INSTRUCTOR: Claire Gleitman, 303 Muller, ext. 4-3893  

ENROLLMENT: 10 students

PREREQUISITE: 12 credits in English or Theatre, or permission of instructor.

TOPIC: Anxious Masculinity on the American Stage

COURSE DESCRIPTION: “This game is seven card stud.” A Streetcar Named Desire

“I get so lonely….I get the feeling that…I won’t be making a living for you, or a business, a business for the boys.” Death of a Salesman

These two lines, taken from two of the most famous American dramas ever written, encapsulate the conflicting definitions of masculinity that bedevil male characters in a host of 20th and 21st century American plays. Expected to be rugged and “studly,”ideally by using their muscles and conquering the untamed wilderness, 20th century males are also expected to put a roof over their family’s heads, which often requires that they labor behind desks in confining office spaces. In this advanced seminar, we will examine the swirling anxiety that results from these and other contradictory requirements for the successful performance of masculinity in America. The course will begin in the mid-20th century with an extended look at the plays of Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams, whose most celebrated work was produced at a time when male and female roles in American society were strictly polarized, and in a Cold War context that simmered with anxieties about communism and homosexuality.  From there we will move forward to examine later playwrights, asking how movements for civil rights, LGBT rights and women’s rights reshaped conceptions of masculinity in America. Throughout the semester, we will keep our eye on the figure of the anxious male breadwinner, considering both his iconic origins in plays by Miller and Williams, and his dramatic legacy in the drama of later American playwrights.

Readings will include All My Sons, Death of a Salesman, A View from the Bridge (Arthur Miller); A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Tennessee Williams); Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (Edward Albee); American Buffalo (David Mamet); Fences (August Wilson); Angels in America (Tony Kushner); How I Learned to Drive (Paula Vogel); Topdog/Underdog (Suzan Lori-Parks); Fun Home (Lisa Kron and Jeanini Tesori); and selected critical essays.


COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Participation will be required of all students in this seminar. In addition, students will produce one 6-8 page essay and one 12-15 page essay; they will also give a presentation and turn in a 2-4 page presentation write-up. Grading will be A-F.


ENGL 48300 – 01 Advanced Studies in Feminist Science Fiction - 43060 -

INSTRUCTOR: Katharine Kittredge, Muller 317, Ext. 4- 1575


PREREQUISITES: Junior standing and either ENGL 214 (Survey of Science Fiction) or ENGL 21500 (DIY SciFi).

OBJECTIVES: Students in this class will be instrumental in running the academic conference to be held at IC in April: Pippi to Ripley 4: Sex and Gender in Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Comics.  Students will either present an academic paper at the conference or design a community-based project which they will discuss at the conference. Additional time will be spent looking at the abstracts submitted, creating the panels, mentoring newer presenters and designing promotional materials for the event. Some reading and viewing of texts chosen by the students will be mandatory for the class, but the exact nature of these texts will be determined by the class members.

FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture, discussion, small group, collaborative activities

GRADING: Performance of conference-supporting activities, abstract creation, presentation of project or paper, reflection on event and personal achievement.


ENGL 46000 – 01 Seminar in 20th/21st Century Literature: Modernism and Its Global Inheritors LA

3 credits

INSTRUCTOR: Chris Holmes and Jennifer Spitzer
ENROLLMENT: 10 Students

PREREQUISITES: 12 credits LIT incl. 6 credits levels 200-400

COURSE DESCRIPTION: The artistic movement known as Modernism has died and been reborn enough times in the 20th and 21st centuries to qualify as the literary undead. Framed historically by the world wars in the West, Modernism grew from trauma and discontent into one of the most productive periods of literary innovation since the Renaissance. Modernist literature is marked by an aesthetic avant garde that baffled some and bewitched others, spawning imitators and outgrowths all over the world. Since its historical moment of prominence in the first half of the Twentieth-Century, Modernism's exact geographical, temporal, linguistic, and cultural lineage has come into question. New progenitors of the British and American models have been located and brought into the fold, while other "bad modernisms" have been dissected with glee. This course will begin with the understanding that the literary field of Modernism can and should be understood as always already influenced by its global inheritance and inheritors, and that studying the global forms of Modernism will radically impact how we read contemporary literatures. We will start by studying the literature and theory of Anglo-American Modernism and its most recognizable practitioners according to what Virginia Woolf called their "new forms for our new sensations." This will lead us to examine texts that break our geographical and temporal expectations of what Modernism can be or do. Our study will include questions of 1. radical temporality and the problem of space 2. aesthetic self-consciousness 3. formal adventurousness and difficulty/obscurity 4. fascination with authenticity and the futility of that compulsion 5. inter/nationalisms. Authors may include: Woolf, Rhys, Maddox Ford, McCarthy, Coetzee, Zadie Smith, Desani, etc. Willingness to engage with difficult theory and literature, to present work publicly, and engage in seminar discussions with uncommon intellect is a must.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Seminar Discussion and Conference Presentation

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Exceptional engagement in all aspects of class discussion; one conference-style paper 6 pages and the development of that paper into a research paper of approx. 15-20 pages.




School of Humanities and Sciences  ·  201 Muller Center  ·  Ithaca College  ·  Ithaca, NY 14850  ·  (607) 274-3102  ·  Full Directory Listing