Courses: Current and Upcoming

Next Semester Courses

Course Listing Fall 2017

ENGL 11200-01        Introduction to Short Story, The Search for the Self in Short Stories  HU LA 3a h

3 credits

ICC Themes: Identities/ Inquiry, Imagination, and Innovation

INSTRUCTOR: Jean Sutherland, Muller 434, jsutherl@ithaca.edu

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. 

 

ENGL 10700-02, -03 Introduction to Literature

3 CREDITS

ICC DESIGNATION: Themes and Perspectives:  Humanities; Identities; Inquiry, Imagination, and Innovation.

INSTRUCTOR: Dyani Johns Taff, Muller 307, ext. 4-7976

ENROLLMENT: 20 per section

PREREQUISITE: None

COURSE DESCRIPTION: How did pirates go from being the violent perpetrators of maritime theft and murder in the 16th and 17th centuries to being the romanticized heroes of children’s literature, popular novels, and films? In this course, we will explore English and Spanish accounts and dramatic representations of pirates and their exploits in the Mediterranean region, dating from about 1580 to 1630. We will read plays by Thomas Heywood, Robert Daborne, and Miguel de Cervantes (in translation), as well as ballads, poems, and pamphlets that describe pirates’ lives and livelihoods. In the latter half of the course, we will move to texts from the 20th and 21st century, exploring echoes, appropriations, and adaptations of early modern piracy narratives in children’s literature—such as J.M. Barrie’s Peter and Wendy and Jane Yolen’s The Pirate Queens—as well as in news reporting and other texts about the lawlessness, violence, slavery, and environmental degradation happening today on our oceans. We will trace how the alluring, heroic adventures of literary pirates often obscure or enable us to forget the violence and human and environmental costs of ventures at sea. 

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Primarily discussion, some lecture.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: One short (3-5 pg) and one longer (5-7 pg) essay; an individual presentation; a final exam; several quizzes, forum posts, and other small assignments; and participation in discussion. Grading will be A-F. Because of the discussion-based format of the course, participation will be an important part of students’ final grades. 

 

ENGL-11300-05  INTRODUCTION TO POETRY

3 CREDITS

INSTRUCTOR: David Kramer, Muller 322

Enrollment: 20 per section

Prerequisite: None.

OBJECTIVES: The course will be a formal, thematic, and generally historical introduction to poems, poetry, poets, and the worlds created and found in highly organized language.  We will also consider reception: how and why we read poetry, and what kinds of pleasures are to be found therein.                       

STUDENTS: Open to all students.

FORMAT AND STYLE: Class is highly conversational.

REQUIREMENTS: Two five-page essays; reading quiz and reading response every class; assorted memorizations and recitations; essay mid-term and final exams.

GRADING: Based on the above requirements, with emphasis placed upon class participation.

 

ENGL 18100-01, 02    Novel Identities, Fictional Selves    

3 CREDITS

INSTRUCTOR: Jean Sutherland, Muller 320, Ext. 4-1935, jsutherl@ithaca.edu

ENROLLMENT: 20 per section

PREREQUISITES: None

OBJECTIVES: Our identities are shaped by stories. The stories we read or hear color the way we view the world. The stories we tell reveal the way we view ourselves, or the way we want to be seen. All of these novels focus on characters attempting to forge new identities, to “edit” their lives into different stories. Their successes and failures tell us much about the forces that shape identity and the limitations placed on our ability to change by age, class, gender, race, religion, education, politics, and history. These works also focus on the complex relationship between literature and life, between “stories” and “the real world,” on the differences between the way we see ourselves and the way we are seen. The course will develop students’ skills as analytical readers, critical thinkers, and persuasive writers.  We will focus on close readings of the texts, augmented by some background material on their cultural, historical, and artistic contexts. We will look at excerpts from film adaptations of selected works in order to consider how literary texts differ from film.

STUDENTS: Open to all

FORMAT AND STYLE: Mostly discussion.

REQUIREMENTS: Short weekly in-class writings, 2-3 essays, a midterm, and a final examination.

GRADING: Based on class attendance, participation, and the above requirements.

 

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, jsutherl@ithaca.edu

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. 

 

ENGL 19408-01        The Power of Injustice & the Injustice of Power               HU LA 3A h

TOPIC:           Life at the Margins in American Literature

3 Credits         

ICC ATTRIBUTE:     Diversity, Humanities Perspective, Power & Justice and Identities Themes

INSTRUCTOR:          Derek Adams, Muller 304

ENROLLMENT:        20 per section

PREREQUISITES:     none

COURSE DESCRIPTION:    Many individuals continue to feel as though they live at the margins of society, despite the “melting pot” rhetoric of inclusivity and acceptance that dominates narratives of American identity. While we commonly consider purposeful exclusion an act of injustice on the part of the powerful, we are often unaware of the way that subtle, hidden forms of power render particular groups and individuals powerless. American literature is one of the most widely utilized platforms for articulating the specific issues that arise in response to these forms of power. This course will use an array of American literary texts to explore the complexities of the life experiences of those who are forced by the powerful to live at the margins. We will read the work of Rebecca Harding Davis, Toni Morrison, Ntozake Shange, James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Junot Diaz, Adam Mansbach, Benjamin Alire Saenz, and Sherman Alexie.  

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion with the occasional lecture

COURSE REQUIREMENTS: Students will closely examine course materials, complete reading quizzes, put together an in-class presentation, actively engage in class discussions, craft three short textual analysis essays, and complete a final exam.

 

Engl 19410-01,02       Engendering Modernity: Twentieth-Century Women Writers

3 Credits

Instructor: Jennifer Spitzer, 305 Muller

Prerequisites: None

Enrollment: 20 Students per section

Themes and Perspectives: Identities, Diversity

Tu/Th 2:35-3:50 and 4-5:15.

Course Description: This course will focus on a representative body of twentieth-century Anglo-American women writers, writers who adapted earlier literary forms, and in some cases produced major stylistic innovations. We will examine how these authors negotiated a predominantly male literary tradition and marketplace, and how they drew upon and constructed their own literary communities, audiences, and ancestries. We will read works that self-consciously reflect on issues of identity, gender, sexuality, feminism, and authorship, as well as works that explore the complex intersections of gender, sexuality, race, class, ethnicity, and nationality. We will also consider the relationship between gender and genre by reading a wide range of literary forms, from novels, short stories, and poetry, to memoirs, essays and political manifestos. Authors will include Virginia Woolf, Kate Chopin, Toni Morrison, Adrienne Rich, Maxine Hong Kingston, Bell Hooks, and Jumpa Lahiri.

Course Format: Discussion, with some brief lectures.

Course Requirements and Grading: One 4-5 page essay, one 5-7 page final paper, midterm exam, and short informal writing assignments.  Because of the discussion-oriented format, class participation and attendance will be an essential part of students’ final grades. 

 

ENGL 19411-01        Faking It: Reality Hunger in an Age of Artifice HU LA 3a

3 credits

INSTRUCTOR: Chris Holmes, Muller 318

ICC DESIGNATION: World of Systems, Identities

ENROLLMENT: 20 per section

PREREQUISITES: None.

STUDENTS: Open to all students.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Why, in the age of “reality” television, biological cloning, virtual universities, cosmetic surgery, and computer games that promise a Second Life, do we continue to be obsessed with rooting out society’s hoaxes, fakes, and forgeries? We are, after all, increasingly a global culture of simulation, as much the willing perpetrators of hoaxes on ourselves, as the victims of others’ hoaxing. But still we hold fast to the promise of authenticity, the genuine at the root of our families, our communities, and our institutions. We ask our philosophers, historians, and politicians to rigidly define particular social realities even as we race down the rabbit hole towards further and more pervasive cultures of illusion. What are the consequences of being a society ever-obsessed by better and better fakes when clearly what we hunger for is a firm sense of the material real? Over the course of the writing-intensive semester we will read accounts of our contemporary world’s relationship to the fake, the hoax, and the simulation, and compose arguments as to the form and nature of this fakery. We will examine: ersatz Da Vinci paintings, Wilkomirski’s faked memoir of the Holocaust, a recent faux documentary film, the infamous fake students at Princeton and Harvard, alongside the primary subject of our class: contemporary novels that dramatize the desperate search for something real. Authors will include: Amis, Everett, Ishiguro, McCarthy, Tart, etc.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Seminar style with an emphasis on short lectures and student discussions.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Active class participation, response papers, formal essays, and a midterm exam.

 

ENGL 19417-01,02: Earth Works: Literature, Nature, and the Environment. LA 3a HU
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Paul Hansom, Muller 321
ENROLLMENT: 20 per section
PREREQUISITES: None
STUDENTS: Open to all students.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: What is the nature of nature? This class offers an exciting literary, cultural, and historical exploration into the idea of “nature” and the “natural.” While it may seem self-evident to us that nature is all of that stuff “out there” – trees, rocks, oceans, animals, you know what I mean – this class will explore how natural environments in literature are not simple, common-sense places, but are in fact dynamic cultural constructions that change over time. What do we actually mean by nature? How do we understand it as a place, as an object, or as a literary form? Might nature be nothing more than a unique human experience? As you can see, this class will raise many intriguing questions, and by examining the “eco-literature” embodied in novels, stories, poems, biographies, and non-fictions, our sense of the natural will be challenged, and hopefully, expanded. We will be helped on our journey by Thoreau, Wordsworth, Cather, Wolfe, Krakauer, Snyder – among many others.  

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion/ limited lecture. The class is designed around focused discussions of primary works.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Active class participation, response papers, analytical essays, presentations, final exam.

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ENGL 19419-01, 02  Daunted Daughters and Fraught Fathers: Gender, Power, and Class in Fairy Tales

3 CREDITS

ICC DESIGNATION: Identities AND Mind, Body, Spirit

Cross-listed with Women’s and Gender Studies

INSTRUCTOR: Julie Fromer, 434 Muller

ENROLLMENT: 20 students per section

PREREQUISITE: None

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 Beauty and the Beast, reading English translations of the tales collected by German, French, 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 FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion

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 20100-01        APPROACHES TO LITERARY STUDY

3 CREDITS

ICC DESIGNATION: Writing Intensive

INSTRUCTOR: Dan Breen, 302 Muller

ENROLLMENT: 12 students

PREREQUISITES: One course in English; WRTG 10600 or equivalent

OBJECTIVES: How does a reader engage critically with a literary text?  And what is the purpose of criticism?  This course will provide a survey of the discipline of literary studies, with the aim of helping students develop critical skills in reading primary and secondary literature, as well as analytical writing.  We will consider poems, plays, and novels from a variety of critical perspectives, discuss the institutional history of literary criticism, and become acquainted with multiple schools of literary theory.

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

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Three 4-5-page essays, one short response paper, a term paper, and class participation.  Grading will be A-F based on the above requirements.  Because of the discussion-oriented format, class participation will be an essential part of students’ final grades.

 

ENGL 21800-01        Modern and Contemporary American Drama   Writing Intensive, HU, LA       

3 CREDITS

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

ENROLLMENT: 20 students

PREREQUISITE: Sophomore standing and WRTG10600 or ICSM108XX or ICSM118XX.

ICC DESIGNATION: Writing Intensive

COURSE DESCRIPTION: If American dramatists are to be trusted, dysfunctionality and the American family go hand in hand. Indeed, the deteriorating family has been a thematic obsession for American playwrights almost since the birth of American drama as a distinct body of writing. In this course, we will begin almost exactly at the midpoint of the last century, with Tennessee Williams’ first Broadway success, The Glass Menagerie¸ written in 1944. From there, we will cover roughly a half century of American playwriting, concluding with Tarell Alvin McCraney’s The Brothers Size. All of the plays that we will read together focus on familial relationships. In most though not all of them, these families are suffering from a corrosive misery that seems to pass like a contagion from generation to generation as the sadness, self-loathing and (sometimes) alcoholism or drug addiction of the parents is visited upon the children—unless they find a way, however compromised, to escape. Our interest will be to examine these portraits of familial distress in the context of the portraits of America that each one offers. What is the relationship between the family drama and the larger cultural drama that our authors are staging? Our plays will include some or all of the following: The Glass Menagerie, Death of a Salesman, Long Day’s Journey into Night, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Angels in America, How I Learned to Drive, Topdog/Underdog, The Brothers Size.

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

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Two 4-6 page analytical essays, frequent short response pieces, in-class midterm and a take-home final exam, and active 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 21900-01 and -02    SHAKESPEARE (LA)

3 CREDITS

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 a Shakespearean tragedy? The twelve plays listed as corresponding with this genre in the playwright’s First Folio of 1623 are remarkably diverse in substance and tone, and despite many scholarly enumerations of their features the essence of Shakespeare’s tragic vision remains elusive and controversial. This course invites students to move past misapplied Aristotelian clichés and to arrive at fresh conclusions about Shakespeare’s tragic drama by closely studying five plays (Titus Andronicus, Macbeth, King Lear, Antony and Cleopatra, and Cymbeline).  Key areas of focus will include: the classical and medieval models of tragedy that Shakespeare inherited and transformed; the psychological, political, and metaphysical dimensions of the genre; the linguistic discourses of tragedy; the radical distinctiveness of Shakespeare’s characters; and the enduring affective power of Shakespearean tragedy in modern performance.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion/lecture.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: active involvement in class discussion; formal essay; final exam.

 

ENGL-21900-03  INTRODUCTION TO SHAKESPEARE: THE ENGLISH HISTORIES CREDITS: 3

INSTRUCTOR: David Kramer, Muller 322, ext. 4-1344.

ENROLLMENT: 20 per section.

PREREQUISITE: One course in the humanities or social sciences, or sophomore standing, or permission of the instructor.  This course may be repeated for credit provided there is no duplication of the plays studied.

OBJECTIVES:   This course will introduce Shakespeare’s theatre to both initiates and novices; we will read the English Histories through the lens of Lin Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, considering in Shakespeare’s work what we take for granted with Hamilton: that an author can re-fashion history to address the contemporary world’s most pressing concerns—and in doing so can make history popular, even sensationally so.   The English histories are Shakespeare at his most wonderful—they contain great poetry; tragic events; complex characters; gripping drama; and some of the best comedy in all of Shakespeare (Falstaff, after all, originates in Henry IV Part I).

As we read the plays themselves we will study the political, religious, cultural, and scientific beliefs of Shakespeare’s time; what biography we possess and can conjecture; the workings of the Elizabethan theatre; Shakespeare’s poetic craft; his contemporary and subsequent reputation and that of individual plays; the vexed history of the texts themselves; and the forms and procedures of individual works as well as those of the genres of tragedy, comedy, romance, and history.  Using both the background of context and the foreground of the texts, we will approach larger questions of meaning, both for Shakespeare’s time and for our own.  Substantial emphasis will also be placed on the question of pleasure–why these plays pleased and still do; and on the question of cultural function, both in Shakespeare’s time and in our own.

STUDENTS: Required of English majors and minors and some Theater Arts majors, but all are welcome.

FORMAT AND STYLE: Discussion and lecture.

REQUIREMENTS: Close reading of seven plays; completion of all assigned readings (quizzes will be given at each class); one written response each class; participation in classroom discussion, memorization of fifty lines of student’s choice.

 

ENGL 23200-01           MEDIEVAL LITERATURE

3 CREDITS

ICC DESIGNATION: Writing Intensive

INSTRUCTOR: Dan Breen, 302 Muller

ENROLLMENT: 20 students

PREREQUISITES: One course in the humanities or social sciences, or sophomore standing; WRTG 10600 or equivalent

OBJECTIVES: The Middle Ages in Europe and the Mediterranean witnessed some of the most expansive and far-reaching political, social, and cultural transformations in western history.  Among other developments, the fall of the Roman Empire, the emergence of Christianity and Islam as major world religions, the development of the university, and the importation of the printing press combined to reshape understandings of culture in Europe and the Middle East in ways that still influence our present-day assumptions about such fundamental cultural categories as identity, sexuality, faith, and philosophy.  We will observe these transformations in microcosm in the literature of England.  Owing to the fact that much of the writing in England was influenced heavily by Continental models—especially in the twelfth century and afterward—we will devote some time to considering especially relevant Continental texts, such as Andreas Capellanus’ The Art of Courtly Love and romances by Chretien de Troyes.  English texts we will read include Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae; Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales; Langland’s Piers Plowman; the anonymous Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; Kempe’s The Book of Margery Kempe; More’s Utopia; and selected lyric poems from both before and after the Conquest.

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

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Two 4-5-page essays, one short response paper, a midterm and a final, and class participation.  Grading will be A-F based on the above requirements.  Because of the discussion-oriented format, class participation will be an essential part of students’ final grades.

 

ENGL 24500-01,02. Realism Under Strain: Modern and Contemporary American Literatures. LA 3a HU

3 credits

INSTRUCTOR: Paul Hansom, Muller 321

ENROLLMENT: 20 per section

PREREQUISITES: None.

STUDENTS: Open to all students.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Modern and contemporary American literature draws its subjects and creative materials from the enormous and bewildering changes that have taken place since the end of World War Two. While the obliteration of Germany and Japan certainly placed America in an unprecedented position, this was by no means a coherent or a comfortable one. Rather, these historic realignments, economic dislocations, constant wars, rapid technological and demographic shifts, worked together to produce an experienced reality that was astonishing, terrifying, and almost beyond belief. Modern and contemporary American literatures embody a tremendous creative energy and force in response to these social and historical dynamics. The sheer range of their forms and the power of their visions, images and metaphors have not only shaped writing, reading, and thinking on an international scale, but have changed the very idea of culture, history, fact, and fiction. 

This literature explores ambiguity and disorientation, it blurs boundaries, it breaks inhibition, it  frees up concepts of identity, and shatters comforting national images into sharp, often ironic, fragments. This is a powerful literature that reflects, creates, and mediates a radically diversified cultural landscape, giving us an America that is elusive, enigmatic, plural and polyglot.   

This class will examine some of the ways in which American writers and artists have both contributed and responded to these seismic shifts, exploring the relationships between multi-cultural perspectives, post-industrial realities, and the increasingly complex connections between mass media and national identity. As the American landscape morphs into the post-modern and the post-post-modern, so does the American literary form, radically re-mapping our conceptions of family, politics, history, gender, race, and even the sacred self.   

To help us with our investigations, we will focus on a range of American literatures (including novels, stories, poems and plays) by the likes of Norman Mailer, Joan Didion, E.L. Doctorow, Toni Morrison, Don Delillo, Philip Roth, Maxine Hong Kingston, Gish Jen, Leslie Silko, and Paul Auster. To name just a few.

 

ENGL 31100-01   DRAMATIC LITERATURE I : Women in Early Drama (LA)
3 CREDITS
ICC DESIGNATION: Writing Intensive

INSTRUCTOR: Christopher Matusiak, Muller 326
ENROLLMENT: 20 per section
PREREQUISITES: Any three courses in English, history of the theater, or introduction to the theater; WRTG10600 or ICSM108XX or ICSM118XX

COURSE DESCRIPTION: The theatre was predominantly a male institution until the seventeenth century, but women and their experience have always been central concerns of dramatic writing. This course explores the representation of women in early drama and traces the beginnings of their active participation in the art form as playwrights, actors, and patrons. Areas of focus will include the cultural construction of women in ancient Greek and Roman plays; the fascination with saintly mothers and transgressive wives in medieval biblical drama; the semiotics of female impersonation by ‘boys’ in the English Renaissance; and the radical challenges posed to patriarchal tradition by Elizabeth Carey, Margaret Cavendish, and Aphra Behn—the first women to write plays of their own in English. We will read versions of Medea by Euripides and Seneca; Aristophanes’ Lysistrata; medieval mystery plays from the York cycle; John Fletcher’s The Tamer Tamed (a sequel to Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew); Carey’s The Tragedy of Mariam (the first original play by a female author in English), and The Rover by Behn (the first woman to support herself by writing for the professional stage).  For context, we will survey theories of gender and social performance, consider whether there are linguistic discourses unique to women, and analyze the political and economic positions that women have historically occupied in Western societies. 

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion/lecture.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: active involvement in class discussion; close-reading exercises, formal essay; final exam.

 

ENGL 31900-01        GREAT AMERICAN WRITERS BEFORE 1890 HU LA

3 credits

ICC DESIGNATION: Writing Intensive

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

ENROLLMENT: 20

PREREQUISITES: Sophomore standing

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.

 

ENGL 35100-01     GIRLHOODS IN LITERATURE HU, LA

3 credits

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

ENROLLMENT: 20

PREREQUISITES: Three courses in the humanities; sophomore standing.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course will look at the emerging and changing image of girlhoods from the 18th to the 21st century as it is reflected primarily in the texts written for an audience of young girls—in children’s books, young adult literature, and some canonical literature with strong female characters.  We will be looking at the texts to gain an understanding of the evolution of children’s literature and to consider the extent to which these iconic images of girlhood reflect the ways in which the roles of women changed over the three centuries.  Possible texts might include: Goody Two Shoes, Little Women, Eloise, Pippi Longstocking, Ramona, Harriet the Spy, Speak, and Terrier (by Tamora Pierce).

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Papers, journals, and projects.  Grading based on written work, attendance, and the quality of class participation.

 

ENGL 36800-01 and 02        Dangerous Women in Dramatic Literature    HU, LA

TOPIC: Dangerous Women in Dramatic Literature: Over Her Dead Body

3 CREDITS

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

ENROLLMENT: 20 students per section

PREREQUISITE: Sophomore standing and 3 credits in English or Writing.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: In this course we will read a range of plays, beginning in the ancient Greek period and extending to the present day, which feature female characters who might be described as “dangerous”—often because they challenge status quo assumptions about femininity and a woman’s role in her society. In each case, we will consider what constitutes female danger in the play and the culture that we are addressing. What norms are being challenged so that the female elicits male fear and violence (and often, also and simultaneously, desire)?  What is it about her that is so threatening that she needs to be controlled, contained, and sometimes killed? Is the playwright using her to question the norms that she challenges or to reinscribe them? As we read these plays, we will situate them within their cultural contexts and we will read secondary material (historical and theoretical) to better understand how notions regarding female danger change over time. Our plays will include some or all of the following: Medea, The Oresteia, Othello, The Duchess of Malfi, Tis Pity She’s a Whore, Hedda Gabler, All My Sons, Top Girls, Oleanna, Harlem Duet, By the Bog of Cats.

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

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Two 6-8 page analytical essays, frequent short response pieces, a take-home final exam, and active 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 38900-01        Poetry Mash-Up: Contemporary Lyric and Poetic Tradition

T/R 4:00-5:15pm Friends 304

CRN: 23713

Attributes: Writing Intensive & Diversity

In this course, we will read “classics” of 20th century American poetry alongside contemporary poets to examine the various ways of reading and understanding “tradition” in American poetry. In “Tradition and the Individual Talent,” T.S. Eliot criticizes the tendency to praise a poet “upon those aspects of his work in which he least resembles anyone else,” and instead offers that the “best” and most “individual” aspects of a poet’s work will often be those that are most rooted in tradition. So, what makes contemporary poets “original”? How are poets today revising and widening the tradition? Discussion will include issues of canon and power—who decides which poets constitute the tradition? And for poets seen as “outside” the tradition, what aesthetic choices are available to them? How can they assert their voices while working within a tradition that may not hear them? Sample readings include selected poems by Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens, T.S. Eliot, H.D., and Langston Hughes, and contemporary collections by Aracelis Girmay, Solmaz Sharif, Gergory Pardlo, Ross Gay, Ada Limon, Tarfia Faizullah, and Victoria Chang.

ENGL 39000-01   ReImagining the Self: Montaigne, Cervantes, Shakespeare   

3 CREDITS

INSTRUCTOR: David Kramer, 322 Muller

ENROLLMENT: 20 students per section

PREREQUISITE: Any three courses in English, or permission of the instructor.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: New ideas require new forms, and evolving Renaissance conceptions of personhood brought forth the new modes of autobiographical essay, novel, and public representation of the private self.

Michel de Montaigne, who had wealth, leisure, and a great library, asked himself what he really knew--and traced the motions of his agile mind as he worked towards provisional answers.  He called these delightful pieces “attempts,” or in French, essais—and thus invented modern autobiography, and, simultaneously, the essay, in which he treats such subjects as love, excretion, friendship, the wisdom of animals, cannibalism, and sneezing.

Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote depicts an avid reader’s struggle to unshackle the self from centuries of inspiring but constraining fictions in order to view his world with unclouded vision.  Quixote’s faith that fiction is true brings to birth the first modern (and post-modern) novel; his ultimate achievement of sanity is, paradoxically, unimaginably sad.  The reader rejects both Quixote’s mad belief in fiction, and his sane denunciation of it; Cervantes insists we fashion our own way.

Shakespeare read and absorbed both Montaigne and Cervantes; in Hamlet, using the familiar formula of the revenge play, he devised new ways to represent interiority, in which a tortured persona struggles between inner life and self-presentation, between anguished reflection and tragic action.  And in The Tempest, Shakespeare uses Montaigne to postulate a world free of ownership, war, envy, strife, and ends his career with a final luminous vision of concord—copied straight from Montaigne.

 Our authors are novel in the best sense, and in reading them we sense their delight in their own invention.  Montaigne’s essays, Don Quixote, Hamlet, and The Tempest have given pleasure to centuries of readers, even as they newly pose the questions we all ask about ourselves and our world.

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

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Two 5-7-page essays, 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.

 

ENGL 46900-01        Seminar in Contemporary African American Literature HU LA 3A h

TOPIC:                       Toni Morrison through the Decades

3 Credits

INSTRUCTOR:          Derek Adams, Muller 304

ENROLLMENT:        10

PREREQUISITES:     Four English courses; junior standing

COURSE DESCRIPTION:    To be clear, I love Toni Morrison! She is, quite simply, one of the greatest authors of the 20th and 21st centuries. Although Morrison’s inclusion in the American literary canon now goes unquestioned, rarely is her work examined in a single author course. As a result, much of what we learn about her and her fiction are fragments of a whole. This class will attempt to cultivate a more comprehensive understanding of Morrison and her entire body of work through an examination of her literature spanning five decades. We will focus on one text from each decade – Song of Solomon (1977), Beloved (1987), Jazz (1992), A Mercy (2008), God Help the Child (2015) – devoting three full weeks to each. We will consider how issues of race, gender, sexuality, and social class shape a reader’s understanding of the material and how the material influences our understanding of those same identity categories. Too, we will pay particular attention to motifs such as home/homelessness, memory, family, trauma, violence, love, and history.     

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE:            Seminar

COURSE REQUIREMENTS:           Regular attendance and active participation in class discussions, along with an open mind. Students will complete one midterm essay, one final research essay (based on the midterm), a reading journal, an annotated bibliography, and a group discussion facilitation.

 

ENGL 48200-01,       SEMINAR IN MODERN IRISH POETRY.  SEAMUS HEANEY: OUT OF THE MARVELOUS   HU LA 3a h

3 CREDITS

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

ENROLLMENT: 10 students

PREREQUISITE: Any four courses in English.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: When Seamus Heaney’s death was announced in August 2013 at Croke Park Dublin during the half-time of the All-Ireland semifinal Gaelic football match, the more than 80,000 spectators rose and gave him a two-minute standing ovation.  While such a response is unheard of in England and America, Heaney, who started his career as a member of the Catholic minority community in Northern Ireland, went on to be acknowledged not only as the national poet of Ireland but also, after winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995, as the most celebrated poet across the English-speaking world.  Part of Heaney’s fame is due to the variety of ways his personal biography crossed with the political violence or “troubles” which marked Northern Ireland during the last third of the 20th century. His early volumes, especially North (1975), recorded what Heaney called “symbols adequate to our predicament,” and his poetry has embodied the deep tensions of his divided society and a humane and complex response to those tensions.  In his later work, Heaney introduced a more transcendent element into his poetry, waiting until he was 50 to “credit marvels,” even as he continued to address more global issues of political violence in both poetry and translations of Greek drama. While this course fulfills the English major requirement for a 400-level elective course, other students with specific interest in Irish poetry in general or Seamus Heaney in particular are welcome to apply for enrollment.

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

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING:  Each student will give two presentations to the seminar, with a short summary of the material.  In addition, there will be an essay due at the midterm and a research seminar essay due at the end of the term.  Grading will be A-F.  Because of the discussion-oriented format of the seminar, class participation will be an important part of students’ final grades.

 

ENGL 49000-01                   Seminar in Advanced Literature: Graphic Memoir

3 CREDITS

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

ENROLLMENT: 10 students

PREREQUISITE: Prerequisites: four courses in ENGL, or permission of instructor.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: A look at the evolution of the graphic memoir, with a focus on texts published in the last five years.   We will begin by discussing critical approaches to memoir and looking at some of the foundational texts in the field: Maus, Persepolis and Fun Home. The reading list for the rest of the class will be determined through collaborative discussions between the professor and the pre-registered students prior to the start of the class.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Weekly response pieces; in-class presentation on text or artist/author.  Large project due at end of class in form of research/analytic paper, professional-level presentation, or creative project + analytic essay. Grading will be A-F.  Because of the discussion-oriented format, class participation will be an important part of students’ final grades.

 

 

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