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Next Semester Courses

Course Listing Fall 2016

ENGL 11200 INTRODUCTION TO THE SHORT STORY: MAGICAL REALISM

3 CREDITS

INSTRUCTOR: David Kramer, Muller 322

Enrollment: 20 per section

Prerequisite: None.

OBJECTIVES: We will read a broad range of magically realist short stories, seeking to discover what kinds and degrees of truth and pleasure, if any, are particular to such experimental work.   Reading Borges, Cortázar, Garcia Marquez, Angela Carter, Isabelle Allende, and various other artificers, we will strive to understand how each of them represents us to ourselves in all our—and their—strange and wonderful diversity. 

Students: Open to all students.

Format and Style: Class is highly conversational.

Requirements:  Two five-page essays; reading quiz and reading response every class; essay mid-term and finals.

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

 

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
PREREQUISITES: None
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.

 

ENGL 11300-03, -04   INTRODUCTION TO POETRY  (LA)

3 CREDITS

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

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

ENROLLMENT: 20 students per section

PREREQUISITE: None.

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 Emily Dickinson – 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 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 11300-06, 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 19401-01, 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, 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 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, Power & Justice and Identities Themes

INSTRUCTOR:         Derek Adams, Muller 304

ENROLLMENT:       20 students 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, ZZ Packer, Sherman Alexie, and Sandra Cisneros.  

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion with the occasional lecture

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

 

 

ENGL 19412-01, -02 Banned Books and Censorship Trials: Obscenity in the 20th Century

Instructor: Jennifer Spitzer

IC designation: Inquiry, Imagination, Innovation

Course Description: In this course we will read a range of literary texts that have been censored, banned, suppressed, or made infamous through high profile trials and legal battles. Our purpose is twofold: 1) to indulge the pleasurable act of reading “subversive” texts, and 2) to interrogate the forms and meanings of literary censorship in the twentieth century. While our key term will be obscenity, we will probe obscenity’s relationship to other categories of disapproval, including blasphemy, indecency, and pornography. We will also think about the unexpected effects of censorship, how the suppression of a text can become a sign of its merit, how censorship can both promote and hinder a text’s circulation and reception, and how censorship can turn authors into literary celebrities. A guiding question for our explorations will be when and under what conditions (if any) is it appropriate to censor literature? Texts for the course will include Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home.

Enrollment: 20 students

Format: Discussion-oriented seminar with student presentations and some brief opening lectures.

Course Requirements and Grading: Active class participation, one in-class presentation, short response papers, and formal essay.

 

ENGL 19413-01, -02  "The Blood is the Life": Vampires in Literature

3 credits

ICC THEME:  Mind, Body, Spirit

INSTRUCTOR: Julie Fromer, Muller 434

ENROLLMENT:

20 per section

PREREQUISITES:  none

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Buffy Summers, Bella Swan, and Sookie Stackhouse share an affinity for vampires, and in this class we’ll explore some of their desires and fears.  Why do vampires hold such sway in American culture today, and where did these blood-sucking characters come from?  Why are vampires portrayed with such mesmeric charisma, such powers of seduction, such ability to tempt the most chaste?  What’s at stake in giving into the temptation?  Vampires first appeared in English literature in the early nineteenth century, but the themes of seduction, temptation, and the risk of succumbing help to define the codes of chivalry in much earlier texts from the Medieval period.  We'll explore some of the earliest characterizations of vampirism in Romantic poems, as well as lurid Victorian vampire tales, including “Carmilla” and Dracula.  Grounded in this vampire literary history, we’ll then turn to more recent renditions of the vampire, including Interview with the Vampire and Twilight.

 

ENGL 19414-01, INTRODUCTION TO ASIAN AMERICAN LITERATURE
3 credits
ICC DESIGNATION: Diversity, Identities
INSTRUCTOR: Christine Kitano, Smiddy 417
ENROLLMENT: 20 students

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course will focus on contemporary Asian American literature. We will examine a range of contemporary texts with particular attention to how they work with the “traditional” Asian American literary themes of immigration, generational conflict, and identity formation. We will also work toward identifying what new themes and issues we see forming in contemporary Asian American literature. Readings will include novels, short fiction, poetry, and nonfiction.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion, with some context-setting lectures.
REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Three brief (1-2 pages) response papers, two essays (4-5 pages), in-class quizzes, midterm and 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 19417-01,02: Earth Works: Literature, Nature, and the Environment. (LA)
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? At first glance this is one of those annoying questions specifically designed to irritate you. But it is also the central premise of this class. Since we spend our entire lives surrounded by the non-human realm (casually, often dismissively, labeled “nature”), it might be a good idea to do some thinking about the environment we’re actually a part of. This class offers a 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 that stuff “out there” – trees, rocks, oceans, animals, etc  -- this class will attempt to explore how the nonhuman world in literature is not so much a simple, common-sense thing, but a dynamic set of ideas and relationships that change with time and location. These literary representations – earth-works, if you like – have the power to re-direct our attention, asking us to respond, interact, and perhaps even develop a new perspective or consciousness. By examining the natural world present in novels, poems and non-fictions, we are potentially released to see the world as it is. We will be helped on our journey by Thoreau, Emerson, Wells, Cather, Dillard, Lopez, Krakauer, and 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.

 

ENGL 19418-01, -02 What is the Contemporary? A Study of Literatures of the Present. (LA)

3 CREDITS

ICC Designation: Identities & III

INSTRUCTOR: Chris Holmes, 318 Muller, ext. 4-3190

ENROLLMENT: 20

PREREQUISITE: None. 

COURSE DESCRIPTION: If Modernism and Postmodernism are both now commonly understood to be modes of thinking about the past, what is the theory via which we describe our experiences with the present? Is the contemporary more than just a temporal placeholder? When we call something contemporary literature, could that indeed be a way of announcing the attempts to imagine the present into being? By way of beginning this definitional experiment, we will look to the literary arts for new ways of testing what this term "contemporary" can hold. This class will approach literature’s present moment by looking at the following recent and recently-returned genres of writing: the novel-poem (Ann Carson’s Red); fictive memoirs (Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle and Jenny Offil’s The Department of Speculation); graphic “novels" (Fun Home and The Unflattening); low brow goes high brow: Zone One (zombie plague); Never Let Me Go (clones); The Dog Star (dystopia); Cesar Aira's Dinner (more zombies); the self-help book, the atlas, and the encyclopedia (Atlas by Dung Kai-cheung, Roberto Bolano’s Encyclopedia of Nazi Literature in the Americas, and Mohsin Hamid’s How to Get Rich in Rising Asia).

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

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Three essays of varying lengths, regular response papers, a presentation, 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.

 

HNRS 20027 STAGING HISTORY (LA)

TOPIC: Versions of the Past in Modern Drama

3 CREDITS

ICC Designation: Writing Intensive

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

ENROLLMENT: 20

PREREQUISITE: Open to all students in the Ithaca College Honors Program; other students admitted by permission of the instructor.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: In this class, we will study various 20th and 21st century plays (as well as one film, entitled "Stories We Tell"), all of which explore the vexed problem of how human beings seek to make sense of and represent their pasts. Some of our plays will focus upon reconstructing the historical past and others will focus on reconstructing one’s personal past. All of them, however, will invite us to ask: What constitutes "history"? How does one go about representing the past accurately? From whose vantage point is the story of the past most authentically told? These are the questions that lie at the heart of the dramas we will study together this semester. Authors will include George Bernard Shaw, Bertolt Brecht, Sean O’Casey, Brian Friel, Michael Frayn, Caryl Churchill, Tom Stoppard, Anna Deavere Smith, and Sarah Polley.

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

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Two 4-5 page essays, 1 8-10 page essay, one presentation, frequent informal “think” pieces, and class participation. One out-of-class viewing of a film will also be required. Grading will be A-F. Because of the discussion-oriented format, class participation will be an important part of students’ final grades.

 

HNRS 20039 Literatures of the Security State: Privacy, Surveillance, and Modern Culture

3 CREDITS
INSTRUCTOR: Chris Holmes, 318 Muller, ext. 4-3190

ENROLLMENT: 20

PREREQUISITE: Open to all students in the Ithaca College Honors Program; other students admitted by permission of the instructor.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Since the turn of the millennium, the topic of privacy has become a social, political, and cultural battleground. Debates over government surveillance, corporate data mining, reality television, the rise of social media, and related issues have helped highlight a deep anxiety and ambivalence about whether privacy is something we want—and indeed, whether privacy exists in the first place. Scholars working in the fields of philosophy, the law, political science, history, literary studies, and visual culture have long wrestled with the slipperiness of the concept of privacy. Is privacy a basic human right or a merely escapist illusion? Is privacy worth clinging to or is it something we must and should relinquish? After the revelations of the National Security Agency’s domestic wiretapping and broad-ranging surveillance of citizens without a warrant, our attention to matters of privacy has taken on renewed urgency. In the face of both willed and unwilled ruptures of privacy, how do we maintain our sense of ourselves as free individuals, with ownership over our bodies, ideas, and properties?

This course will examine these questions by focusing on how writers, photographers, and filmmakers have attempted to represent both the maintenance and erosion of privacy. We will begin by examining some foundational privacy theory in philosophy and the law. Placing these philosophical inquiries alongside three foundational literary texts—Franz Kafka’s The Trial, George Orwell’s 1984, and Herman Melville’s “Bartleby, the Scrivener”—we will look at iconic characters who attempt to retreat and withdraw from social responsibility in ways that have had profound consequences for notions of individualism and the private sphere. We will then turn to the effects that the development of photography, cinema, and surveillance technologies have had on contemporary citizens’ experiences with and understanding of privacy. Throughout the course, we will take up the important question of whether privacy is a privilege enjoyed only by those with access to wealth and power, and we will conclude with an investigation into the future of privacy.

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

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Three essays of increasing length. Weekly response papers, and occasional informal writing. Grading will be A-F.

 

ENGL 20100-01 APPROACHES TO LITERARY STUDY (LA)

3 CREDITS

ICC DESIGNATION: Writing Intensive

INSTRUCTOR: Hugh Egan, 306 Muller

ENROLLMENT: 15 students per section

PREREQUISITES: One course in English.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course is designed to encourage English majors 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 biases and assumptions that guide them. Focusing on a handful of well-known texts spanning a variety of literary genres—including Joyce’s “The Dead,” Austen’s Pride and Prejudice,  Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, Williams’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Morrison’s Sula—we will practice the skills of close reading and critical application. That is, 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. The course will thus involve both formal analysis and scholarly commentary.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Largely discussion.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Three 3-5 page essays, an in-class presentations, and a longer final research project.

  

ENGL 21400-01, 02  Survey of Science Fiction. (LA)
3 CREDITS
INSTRUCTOR: Paul Hansom, Muller 321
ENROLLMENT: 20 per section
PREREQUISITES: One course in the humanities or social sciences, or sophomore standing.

COURSE DESCRIPTION

 The single, defining reality of the world today is change, and that change is exactly what Sci-Fi is all about. Sci-Fi is the new realism of a technological society, it is a literature of transformations, of visions, of terrors, and possibilities. J.G. Ballard described Sci-Fi as the main literary tradition of the Twentieth Century, perhaps the most vital and responsive form to date. He’s not far wrong. This class digs into the historical roots of Sci-Fi, whisking us back to H.G. Wells, up through the golden age of American pulp writing (roughly 1930-60), into the New Wave, the postmodern, and beyond. From steam-heroes to cyberpunks, this class will explore key Sci-Fi icons (cities, spaceships, wastelands, robots, monsters, etc), in a landscape dominated by environmental, technological, humanistic, and futuristic questions. We’ll be reading awesome stories, staggering novels, and astonishing ourselves with cinematic imagery. 

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

 

ENGL 21900-01, -02 SHAKESPEARE HU LA

3 CREDITS 

ICC DESIGNATION: Identities / Inquiry, Imagination, and Innovation

INSTRUCTOR: Christopher Matusiak, Muller 326

ENROLLMENT: 20 per section

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

COURSE DESCRIPTION: The sign of Shakespeare’s Globe theatre is said to have featured the Latin inscription “Totus mundus agit histrionem”: the whole world acts a play.  The notion that we are all actors in a ‘theatrum mundi’—or theatre of the world—has long been central to the history of ideas. “All the world’s a stage / And all the men and women merely players,” as Jaques famously says in As You Like It.  That Shakespeare should express this concept so enduringly is not surprising; a major preoccupation of the plays is the question of whether the parts we play on domestic, social, and political stages are determined by forces larger than ourselves—scripted in advance, as it were, by destiny, biology, or ideology—or whether we in fact possess the agency to imaginatively craft our own performances and determine our own trajectories in life.  This course invites students to explore the relationship between performance, identity, and imagination—both as dramatized by Shakespeare and as experienced in everyday life.  Readings will include five major plays (The Taming of the Shrew, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, King Lear, and Antony and Cleopatra) and selected theoretical works on social performance by Baldassare Castiglione, Erving Goffman, Judith Butler, and Richard Schechner.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion/lecture.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: active class participation, close-reading exercises, formal essay, final exam.

 

ENGL 21900-03, -04  SHAKESPEARE: THE TRAGEDIES

3 CREDITS

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:   By studying a range of tragedies, the course will introduce Shakespeare’s theatre to both initiates and novices.  As we read the plays themselves we will study Shakespeare’s time, politics, religious, cultural, and scientific beliefs; 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 genre of tragedy.  Using both the foreground of the texts and the background of context we will approach larger questions of meaning, both for Shakespeare’s time and for our own.  Substantial emphasis will 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.

 

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

3 credits.

INSTRUCTOR: Michael Twomey, Muller 329, Ext. 4-3564, twomey@ithaca.edu.

ENROLLMENT: 20.

PREREQUISITE: Three courses in the humanities.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Although they occurred long enough ago for us to fantasize about the Middle Ages in clichéd images of knights in shining armor, damsels in distress, or savage Viking warriors, the Middle Ages are what made the modern world.  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.  The literature of the Middle Ages is sometimes wrongly presumed to be primitive and unsophisticated, but in fact medieval literature is every bit as sophisticated, and every bit as relevant to us, as modern literature.  Accordingly, this course examines medieval literature both as a reflection of its culture, which made the modern world, and as the creator 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, tales, and fables.  Each unit features one major text: Norse myths from The Saga of the Volsungs and the two Eddas; Laxdaela Saga; Lais of Marie de France, The Romance of Silence, The Death of King Arthur; Dante’s Inferno; selections from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and Boccaccio’s Decameron.  Additional short readings will be available on Sakai and as handouts.

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.

 

ENGL 28100-01   ROMANTIC AND VICTORIAN LITERATURE  (LA) 

TOPIC: INNOCENCE AND EXPERIENCE

3.0 CREDITS

ICC ATTRIBUTE: Writing Intensive

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

ENROLLMENT: 20

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

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This survey of 19th-century British literature – poems, novels, and a play – will study variations on the grand topic of Innocence and Experience, terms that I’m borrowing from poet William Blake.  Several of the writers, as you would probably guess, explore the differences between childhood and adulthood, but we should note that Blake called Innocence and Experience “the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul” – so Blake at least did not see these as chronological stages in human development, but as two ways of understanding.  Besides Blake, other writers to be considered in the course include Mary Shelley (Frankenstein), Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre), Alfred Tennyson (In Memoriam), and Oscar Wilde (Salome).  Romantic and Victorian Literature being a “writing intensive” course, throughout the semester we will be attentive to and engaged with the process of writing, including drafting and revision.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Some brief lectures, but mostly discussion.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Three 5-7 page essays, a few response pieces and pop quizzes, and a final exam.  Grading A – F, based on attendance, written work, and the quality of class participation.

ENGL 31100-01   DRAMATIC LITERATURE I  (LA)

3 CREDITS

ICC DESIGNATION: Writing Intensive

INSTRUCTOR: Dan Breen, 302 Muller, ext. 4-1014

ENROLLMENT: 20 students per section

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

COURSE DESCRIPTION: “Comedy” and “tragedy” are ancient categories, invoked originally to describe different kinds of dramatic composition.  Though this distinction remains a convenient (and relevant) one for contemporary readers and audiences, it is also the case that these seemingly simple, seemingly antithetical terms convey a range of emotion and experience that is not always easily divisible.  Tragic—or potentially tragic—situations often arise in comedy, and there are moments in most tragedies at which the plays seem as though they might begin to move in more optimistic or affirming directions.  This course will begin with the hypothesis that the terms “comedy” and “tragedy” describe actions taken by dramatic characters in response to crisis, and the specific consequences of those actions.  As such, we will attempt to locate “comedy” and “tragedy” within fundamental elements of human experience, and examine the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual dimensions of each.  We will read a selection of plays from the Classical, Renaissance English, and Restoration traditions including Sophocles’ Ajax, Plautus’ Pseudolus, Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II  and Aphra Behn’s The Feigned Courtesans. 

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

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Two 5-7-page essays, a short (2-3 pages) response paper, 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 36700-01, 02  STUDIES IN DRAMA (LA)                                                                 

TOPIC: Dangerous Women in Dramatic Literature, or: Over Her Dead Body.

3 CREDITS

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

ENROLLMENT: 20 students per section

PREREQUISITE: 9 credits of English.

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, Tis Pity She’s a Whore, The Duchess of Malfi, Hedda Gabler, Top Girls, Oleanna, Harlem Duet, By the Bog of Cats and Merit.

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 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 36900-01         Studies in Multicultural American Literature                HU LA 3A h

TOPIC:          

3 Credits

ICC ATTRIBUTE:    Diversity

INSTRUCTOR:         Derek Adams, Muller 304

ENROLLMENT:       20 students per section

PREREQUISITES:     9 credits of English

COURSE DESCRIPTION:    What does it mean to talk about “ethnic experience” or “multicultural literature”?  What is implied for the reader who reads from a position outside (the cultural inside of) a text? In what way is the act of reading “multiculturally” an anthropological activity? How do you see yourself in terms of the tourist/observer paradigm? As we engage these questions we will be examining how a national history of racial, ethnic, and gendered antagonisms has shaped the American imagination and literary discourse. The works of Gish Jen, Adam Mansbach, Junot Diaz, Sherman Alexie, Stephen Chbosky, Amy Tan, and Toni Morrison will serve as guides in our exploration.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion with the occasional lecture

COURSE REQUIREMENTS: Students will closely examine course materials, actively engage in class discussions, keep a reading journal, put together an in-class presentation, and craft a midterm essay and final essay.

 

ENGL 37000-01 AMERICAN POETRY (LA)

3 CREDITS

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

ENROLLMENT: 20 students per section

PREREQUISITE: Any three courses in English, preferably including Introduction to Poetry (ENG 11300) or Introduction to American Literature (ENG 10500).

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course will survey the main currents of American poetry from the middle of the nineteenth century through to the present.  Beginning with the poetry of Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, we will establish the dialectic poles of attraction for American writing. The tension established in terms of Whitman’s open-ended, expansive, and democratic verse as opposed to Dickinson’s terse, inward, and metaphysical poetry establishes the poles of a dialectic between which the poets of the twentieth century run their course.  The class will then concentrate on such major twentieth century poets as Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens, T. S. Eliot, William Carlos Williams, Elizabeth Bishop, Theodore Roethke, and Robert Lowell, among others.  In the final two weeks of the course we will explore the wide range of contemporary poets who are currently directing American poetry into the twenty-first century.

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

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: There will be a number of short written responses to the poetry across the semester, a take-home midterm examination, a term paper (8-10 pages), and a take-home final examination to be administered during finals week. Since the course will focus on a detailed discussion of the poems under study, there will be a high premium placed on preparation for and participation in class sessions. 

 

ENGL 37200-01  STUDIES IN AMERICAN LITERATURE: THE ALIENATED STORYTELLER  (LA)

3 CREDITS

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

ENROLLMENT: 20 students per section

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

COURSE DESCRIPTION: In this course we will trace the lineage of the outwardly dispassionate, inwardly obsessive, alienated first-person narrator in American fiction. The storytellers we will study share similar character traits: each has trouble shaping his or her imposing intellect to the realities of a common world; their dramas of mind are distanced, frustratingly so, from their dramas of life. Thus they are all outsiders, living and re-living experience exquisitely in their own imaginations. Possible texts include: Moby-Dick by Herman Melville, The Aspern Papers by Henry James, My Antonia by Willa Cather, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner, Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, Endless Love by Scott Spencer, Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson, Erasure by Percival Everett, and Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. In one sense, these narrators constitute a counter-movement to the traditional themes of “self-reliance” that dominate much of American literature, but each must confront that legacy in his or her own story. We will locate these figures in the house of literary history as it becomes necessary or interesting to do so, but for the most part we will speak of what sort of American tradition they build rather than fit into.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Largely discussion.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Written requirements: three 5-7-page essays, a take-home final exam. Class participation will constitute a substantial portion of the grade.  Grading will be A-F. 

 

ENGL 37800 TWENTIETH-CENTURY BRITISH NOVEL

3 credits

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

ENROLLMENT: 20

PREREQUISITES: 3 courses of literature, or permission of the instructor

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course offers an introduction to the twentieth-century British novel. We will examine the ways in which the social, political, and cultural events of British history have shaped the production and reception of modern and contemporary British novels. Part of our task will be to put pressure on the concept of Englishness as a shifting category of identity, and to explore its relationship to other categories, such as gender, ethnicity, race, and class. Some of our guiding questions will be: How do two world wars, the expansion and contraction of empire, the decolonization of Ireland, and the rise of conservatism figure in the British novel? How do these authors work within larger international movements, such as modernism and postmodernism? And finally, how do contemporary British novels respond to the promises and disappointments of nationalism, multiculturalism, cosmopolitanism, and neoliberalism? Novels may include E.M. Forster, Howard’s End; James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; Sam Selvon, The Lonely Londoners; Jean Rhys, Voyage in the Dark; Ian McEwan, Atonement; and Zadie Smith, On Beauty.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Active class participation, weekly secondary readings to complement the novels, 1-2 short reading responses, 2 formal essays.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Some lecture, mostly discussion.

 

ENGL 42500-01 / ENGL 52000-01  HISTORY AND STRUCTURE OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE (HU, LA)

3 CREDITS

INSTRUCTOR: Michael Twomey, Muller 329, Ext. 4-3564, twomey@ithaca.edu

ENROLLMENT: 10 students (seminar)

PREREQUISITE: Undergrads: Four English courses, one of which must be at level 3, or permission of instructor; required of English with Teaching Option majors.  Grads: required of students in the M.A.T. program in English.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: The main purpose of this course is to give you a broad and deep knowledge of the linguistic concepts that inform our speech and writing.  Whether we are English teachers, writers, or simply literate citizens, we must know how the English language works.  Without that, we cannot understand what distinguishes correct from incorrect usage, why we spell the way we do, how to make sense of difficult sentences, where to go for information about the English language, and, most of all, why we should enjoy using the English language.  Topics: “The Language Instinct”; phonology (sounds), morphology (word-formation), and lexicon (vocabulary); grammar, syntax, and punctuation; history and development of English; variation in and varieties of English.  Information about textbooks will be e-mailed to students over the summer.

COURSE FORMAT AND STYLE: Discussion, in-class exercises and oral reports by students, topical lectures by the instructor.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS: Short response pieces and other kinds of homework, prelims on the major units; research paper.

 

ENGL 48000-01 SEMINAR IN LITERARY CRITICISM: THE LIFE, DEATH (AND REBIRTH?) OF THE AUTHOR

3 CREDITS

INSTRUCTOR: Dan Breen, 302 Muller, ext. 4-1014

ENROLLMENT: 10 students

PREREQUISITE: Four English courses

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Despite the claims of poststructuralist criticism about the fragmented nature of discourse, the figure of the author continues to exert a powerful influence over popular and academic understandings of the status both of literary production and literary interpretation.  Our task in this course will be to historicize the modern author and to use this figure to survey the landscape primarily of twentieth- and twenty-first-century literary culture.  We will begin with a short discussion of premodern conceptions of authorship, move on to a brief study of the Romantics, and spend the balance of the course studying literary criticism, novels, plays, and poems from the last hundred years.  We will consider works by Chaucer, Blake, Coleridge, Hazlitt, Arnold, Woolf, Ellison, Barthes, Foucault, Gilbert and Gubar, and others.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Seminar

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: One midterm essay (5-7 pages); one review piece (2-3 pages); several short Sakai posts; one 12-15-page research essay; and class participation.  Grading will be A-F.  Because of the discussion-oriented format, class participation will be an important part of students’ grades.

 

 

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