Previous Semester Courses

Course Listing Spring 2019

ENGL 10700-01 INTRODUCTION TO LITERATURE
3 credits
ICC THEMES:  Identities; Inquiry, Imagination, and Innovation
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 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.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Limited lecture. The class is designed around focused discussions of the primary works.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Response papers, formal essays, short presentations, final exam.

ENGL 10900-01, 02 INTRODUCTION TO DRAMA
3 credits
ICC THEMES:  Identities; Mind, Body, Spirit
ICC PERSPECTIVES:  Humanities and Creative Arts
INSTRUCTOR: Paul Hansom, Muller 321
ENROLLMENT: 20 per section
PREREQUISITES: None
STUDENTS: Open to all students

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This class provides a general introduction to modern European and American drama, exploring some of the key themes and stylistic developments of the form. We will examine works by playwright’s such as Ibsen, Shaw, Pirandello, O’Neill, Brecht, Shepard, and Parks, among others.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Limited lecture. The class is designed around focused discussions of the primary works.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Response papers, formal essays, presentations, final exam.

ENGL 11200-01, 02: INTRODUCTION TO THE SHORT STORY
3 credits
ICC THEMES: Identities and Imagination, Inquiry, and Innovation
ICC PERSPECTIVES:  Humanities and Creative Arts
INSTRUCTOR: Jean Sutherland, Muller 316A, jsutherl@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 20 per section
PREREQUISITES: None

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 on discussion. You will be expected to do much of the talking.

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

ENGL 11300-02 INTRODUCTION TO POETRY
3 CREDITS
ICC THEMES:  Identities; Inquiry, Imagination, and Innovation
ICC PERSPECTIVES:  Humanities and Creative Arts
INSTRUCTOR: Danielle Ruether-Wu, 108 Rothschild
ENROLLMENT: 20 per section
PREREQUISITES: None.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Why read poetry? A poem often seems to be the most difficult way to share or understand a message. In this class we will explore what poetry can do (what cannot be said another way—what is meaningful in how it is said). We will explore poetry’s connection to the senses, to the body and self, to our relationship with time and perception. As an introduction to how we write and think about poetry, this class will help you hone the skills of close reading. We will address key poetic elements from the stanza and poetic line to rhyme, rhythm and figurative language as well as popular verse forms like the ballad, sonnet, and free verse. We will read a range of British and American poetry from the medieval to the modern, often juxtaposing works from different periods in order to explore their structural and thematic resonances and the revealing ways they diverge. Through in-depth class discussion and frequent writing assignments, this class will seek to provide practical ways to encounter the moving power of poetry—to soothe, to unsettle, and to provoke change sometimes beyond expectation.

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

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Two 5-page essays, two 60-minute exams, reading response for every class, 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 11300-04, -05 INTRODUCTION TO POETRY
3 CREDITS
ICC THEMES: Identities; Inquiry, Imagination, and Innovation
ICC PERSPECTIVES:  Humanities and Creative Arts
INSTRUCTOR: Alexis Becker, 330 Muller
ENROLLMENT: 20 students per section
PREREQUISITES: None

COURSE DESCRIPTION: What is a poem? How do we read it? How does poetic form produce meaning? What does poetry do with language? This course is an introduction to a) the constituent elements of poems and the vocabulary with which we can analyze them and b) the extraordinary variety and capaciousness of texts we call “poems.” The course focuses on lyric poetry written in English from the Middle Ages through the present, although we will also discuss the oldest form of poetry, the epic. Poems are grouped either by form or by theme (with a great deal of overlap), and we will see how they can speak to one another over the course of centuries. The aim of this course is to arrive at a sense, both ample and precise, of what a poem is, what it does, and how it does what it does.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Two short essays; midterm and final exams; two recitations of poems of your choice; periodic scansions; poetic compositions in specific forms; attendance and engaged participation. Grading will be A-F.
 

ENGL 18200-01,-02 THE POWER OF INJUSTICE & THE INJUSTICE OF POWER 
TOPIC: Life at the Margins in American Literature
3 Credits
ICC THEMES:  Identities; Power and Justice
ICC ATTRIBUTE:  Diversity
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, ZZ Packer, 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 18300-01, -02 ENGENDERING MODERNITY:  TWENTIETH-CENTURY WOMEN WRITERS
3 Credits
ICC THEME:  Identities
ICC ATTRIBUTE:  Diversity
INSTRUCTOR: Jennifer Spitzer, 305 Muller
PREREQUISITES: None
ENROLLMENT: 20 Students per section

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course will focus on a representative body of twentieth-and twenty-first century Anglophone 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 race, class, ethnicity, nationality, gender and sexuality. 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 include Kate Chopin, Virginia Woolf, Toni Morrison, Claudia Rankine, and Jhumpa Lahiri.

COURSE FORMAT: Discussion, with brief lectures.

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

ENGL 19409-01, -02 MYSTERIOUS MUDDLES AND COMMONPLACE CRIMES:  GOTHIC NOVELS AND DETECTIVE FICTION
3 credits
ICC THEME: Inquiry, Imagination, and Innovation
INSTRUCTOR: Julie Fromer, Muller 316A, ext. 4-5142
ENROLLMENT:  20 students per section
PREREQUISITES:  none

COURSE DESCRIPTION:  Reading, like detecting, involves locating and interpreting clues, putting pieces together in order to recognize the larger issues at stake, and looking carefully at both the minute details and the overall picture.  The authors we’ll be reading in this course emphasize the parallel between reading fiction and detecting the “truth” by gradually revealing plot and character through clues, hints, and symbols.  But, as these authors attest, the interpretation of those clues can be affected by perspective, emotions, biases, and by the possibility that there is no clear, undeniable “truth” at all—only narratives and fictions. We’ll read Frankenstein, The Beetle, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, we’ll explore the transition to detective fiction with Edgar Allan Poe, and we’ll investigate with Sherlock Holmes and Philip Marlowe.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE:  Discussion

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING:  Two 4-5 page essays, three 2-page response papers, apresentation, reading quizzes, a take-home final exam, 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 ATTRIBUTES: 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 5 page essays, an in-class presentation, and a longer final research project.

ENGL 21900-01, -02 SHAKESPEARE
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:  What does it mean to say a play is ‘Shakespearean’?  How many ways may Shakespeare’s dramatic texts be read, watched, or performed?  Why have their affective power and relevance endured over the course of four centuries?  These and other questions arise naturally when we study Shakespeare intensively—and that is the purpose of this course.  We will closely read four plays during the semester: students will collectively choose two titles to add to the syllabus at the outset; a third and fourth, Measure for Measure and King Lear, will be written in stone.  A selection of secondary readings will serve to guide our exploration, but the path forward will ultimately depend on the intellectual and creative interests of student participants.  No prior knowledge of Shakespeare is necessary for success—only enthusiasm, an inquisitive mind, and a readiness to be surprised and challenged by four English language masterpieces.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion/lecture.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: active class participation, a reading journal, a take-home final exam.

ENGL 21900-03, -04 SHAKESPEARE
3 CREDITS
ICC THEMES: Identities; Inquiry, Imagination, and Innovation.
INSTRUCTOR: Dyani Johns Taff, Muller 307, ext. 4-7976
ENROLLMENT: 20 per section
PREREQUISITE: One course in the humanities or social sciences, or sophomore standing, or permission of instructor.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: In this course, we will study five plays that show William Shakespeare working in different genres and at different times in his career: an early comedy, The Taming of the Shrew; a history, Richard III; a tragedy from what some call the “middle period,” Othello; a late romance, The Winter’s Tale; and one more play that we’ll select as a group. We will explore the textual and performance histories of these plays and scholarly debates about them. We’ll also study the many and various adaptations of the plays and then create and perform our own. All of our work will involve close textual study coupled with investigations of the political, social, and historical pressures with which these plays grapple, including: debates about marriage, race, gender and sexuality, about authority and authorship, and about colonial expansion and the human relationship to the surrounding world.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Primarily discussion, some lecture.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: One short (3-4 pg) and one longer (6-8 pg) essay; an individual presentation; discussion leadership project; several quizzes, forum posts, and other small assignments. 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 22000-01 BLACK WOMEN WRITERS
3 CREDITS
ICC ATTRIBUTE: Diversity
INSTRUCTOR:  Derek Adams, 304 Muller
ENROLLMENT: 20
PREREQUISITES: One course in the humanities or social sciences, or sophomore standing

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Study of black women writers such as Hurston, Angelou, Morrison, and Walker.

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 24500-01, -02 MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN LITERATURES
3 credits
ICC THEMES: Identities; Mind, Body, Spirit
INSTRUCTOR: Paul Hansom, Muller 321
ENROLLMENT: 20 per section
PREREQUISITES: 1 crs ARTH, ENGL, HIST, etc.
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 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.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Limited lecture. The class is designed around focused discussions of the primary works.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Response papers, formal essays, short presentations, final exam.

ENGL 27100-01 RENAISSANCE LITERATURE
3 CREDITS
ICC DESIGNATION:  Writing Intensive (pending)
INSTRUCTOR: Christopher Matusiak, Muller 326
ENROLLMENT: 20 per section
PREREQUISITES: One course in the humanities or social sciences, or sophomore standing.

COURSE DESCRIPTION:  This course explores the literature of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries—a period known as the English Renaissance.  We will read major works of poetry, prose, and drama by writers such as Sir Thomas Wyatt, Christopher Marlowe, Lady Mary Wroth, John Donne, Margaret Cavendish, and John Milton, with attention to their social, religious, and political contexts.  How did the ground-breaking developments of Humanism, the Reformation, and the English Civil Wars impact the imagination of these writers? Why did Renaissance adopt and redefine genres such as the erotic lyric, tragedy, pastoral, and epic?  How did their writing circulate materially in print and manuscript? In formulating answers to these questions, students will come to understand the radical nature of England’s transformation into an early modern state in the context of a wider European Renaissance inspired by continental authors such as Petrarch, Machiavelli, Castiglione, and Montaigne.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion/lecture.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: active class participation, one informal commonplace book, one formal essay.

ENGL 28100-01 ROMANTIC AND VICTORIAN LITERATURE
3 CREDITS
ICC DESIGNATION: Writing intensive
INSTRUCTOR: Elizabeth Bleicher, 313 Muller
ENROLLMENT: 20
PREREQUISITE: One course in the humanities or social sciences, or sophomore standing.

OBJECTIVES:  Romanticism in Europe and England; English romantic and Victorian poetry. The movement toward realism, especially in the novel.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Mostly discussion.

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

ENGL 29700-01 PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PRACTICUM (ITHACON)
INSTRUCTOR: Katharine Kittredge, Muller 317, Ext. 4- 1575
ENROLLMENT: 10
PREREQUISITES: none

OBJECTIVES: The course will use the creation, implementation, and assessment of the annual pop culture event called ITHACON to help Humanities majors utilize the skills they have acquired in their studies in a real-world setting. Humanities students will reflect on their experiences as children and the instruction they have received to craft their own section of the event (workshop, panel, on-going instructional activity). They will coordinate this aspect of ITHACON, and then reflect on the experience. The second part of the course will focus on the study of convention culture through readings, guest speakers, and focused panels. Students will do their own study of some aspect of pop/convention culture and present their findings in a final paper.

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

GRADING: Performance of convention-supporting activities, reflection on event and personal achievement, weekly assignments, presentation of final project or paper.

ENGL 29700-02 PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PRACTICUM (GRAPHIC NOVELS)
INSTRUCTOR: Katharine Kittredge, Muller 317, Ext. 4- 1575
ENROLLMENT: 10
PREREQUISITES: none

OBJECTIVES: The "Graphic Novel Advisory Board" is a group of IC students who get together to review children's and teen's graphic novels. They share their findings with rural librarians and discuss ways for them to enhance their collections of graphic novels. This 1.5 credit experimental course is a great opportunity for anyone interested in education, promoting reading, or marketing/publishing graphic novels.

FORMAT/STYLE: Small group collaborative activities, regular writing assignments, weekend site visits.

GRADING: Performance of assigned tasks, participation in site visits, regular writing assignments, end-of-semester assessment, convention-supporting activities, reflection on event and personal achievement, weekly assignments, presentation of final project or paper.

ENGL 31100-01  DRAMATIC LITERATURE I
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 31200-01 & 02: DRAMATIC LITERATURE II OR Modern Drama and the Captivating Past
3 CREDITS
ICC DESIGNATION: Writing Intensive
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.

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 he “wouldn’t want them back.” His older self listens silently, and we do not imagine for a second that he agrees. This same tension reverberates through the modern drama: that is, the impulse to move forward, which is often at odds with a longing to go back. In this course, we will read modern and contemporary European, American, and Nigerian plays, examining each one’s exploration of this tension between what used to be and what is. Some of our authors focus on the ways in which the past can hold us captive, ensnaring us in stagnant regret, while others enact the difficulties we confront when we attempt to look backwards and examine the past with accuracy. Still others offer portraits of the past in the hope that the present will take heed of its lessons. In almost every case, our authors ask the question: How can we unburden ourselves of the dead weight of the past and inhabit the present without becoming soulless in the process, traitors to our most cherished values and to other human beings? Through the prism of this overarching theme, students will develop an understanding of how different playwrights have used dramatic form throughout the modern period, inheriting and altering one another’s thematic and formal interests over time. Students will learn to think critically about dramatic texts and to express their ideas about those texts in clear prose. They will also have the opportunity to think about dramatic texts as theatrical events, by seeing and analyzing some of our plays in performance. Playwrights will include Henrik Ibsen, Anton Chekhov, Bertolt Brecht, Tennessee Williams, Samuel Beckett, Wole Soyinka, Anna Deavere Smith, Paula Vogel, Tom Stoppard, Clare Barron, and Jez Butterworth.

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

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Three 6-8-page essays, frequent informal response pieces, occasional quizzes, 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 31900-01 GREAT AMERICAN WRITERS BEFORE 1890
Topic: Declarations of independence; revelations of confinement
3 CREDITS
ICC ATTRIBUTE: Writing intensive
INSTRUCTOR: Hugh Egan, 306 Muller
ENROLLMENT: 20 students
PREREQUISITES: 9 credits in the humanities.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Throughout its relatively short recorded history, America has trumpeted itself as an exceptional experiment in nationhood—a democratic, self-reliant citizenry that serves as a model to the world. In this class we will interrogate some of the assumptions behind the idea of "American exceptionalism" and the myth of the "American dream." Beginning with accounts of European contact, we will follow the “new world” theme through the Puritan, Colonial, and Transcendental eras, through the Civil War to the brink of the 20th century. In one sense, the cultural trajectory of this course traces a familiar path—from a sense of early expectation and unlimited potential to the sobering realities of human pain and historical contingency. Throughout the term, we will examine how America's declarations of independence often reveal or conceal painful episodes of confinement— literal enslavement and also psychological imprisonment. To trace this theme, we will read a variety of American documents, including religious sermons, political treatises, philosophical essays, autobiographies, poems, short stories and, at the end of the term, a novel by Kate Chopin.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Largely discussion.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Three 5 page essays, and a substantial end-of-term research project.

ENGL 37800 TWENTIETH-CENTURY BRITISH NOVEL
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Jen Spitzer, Muller 305, Ext. 4-7056
ENROLLMENT: 20
PREREQUISITES: Any three courses in the humanities, and at least one of those in English.

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 race, ethnicity, class, colonialism, nationalism, migration and diaspora, and gender. Some of our guiding questions will be: How do two world wars, the expansion and contraction of empire, decolonization, and the rise of social conservatism and neoliberalism figure in the twentieth-century British novel? How do our authors work within, and also reconfigure, the languages of realism, modernism, and postmodernism? And finally, how do contemporary British novels respond to the promises and disappointments of decolonization, multiculturalism, cosmopolitanism, and neoliberalism? Novels include E.M. Forster’s Howards End; Rebecca West’s The Return of the Soldier, Sam Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners, Ian McEwan’s Atonement, and Zadie Smith’s On Beauty.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Some lecture, mostly discussion.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Active class participation, weekly secondary readings to complement the novels, class presentations, two formal essays.

ENGL 45000-SEMINAR IN 19TH-CENTURY LITERATURE
Title: Queer Ecologies and the (Un)Natural World: Studies in Romanticism
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Katie Gemmill, 327 Muller, ext.
ENROLLMENT: 10
PREREQUISITE: Permission of Instructor

COURSE DESCRIPTION: What exactly do we mean when we say that something is “natural”? When it comes to the environment, this word might refer broadly to all the processes, organisms and landscapes that make up our planet’s ecosystems. But when it comes to human behavior, it has a history of restrictively denoting that which is morally “right,” particularly in the political discourse around desire and sex. In this course we will attempt to bring these definitions of “the natural” together by reading theories of queer ecology alongside literature from the Romantic period, a historical moment at the turn of the 19the century which helped launch environmental consciousness in modern Western culture. The English Romantics advocated a radical return to nature as a spiritual antidote to the rapid industrialization of the early nineteenth century, and much of their poetry praises natural beauty with almost religious reverence. At the same time, their ecstatic encounters with vast seas and sublime mountain peaks also suggest that nature was an imaginative landscape, allowing them to represent non-normative desires and experiment with queer, chaotic energies. Aided by key concepts from texts in queer theory, ecocriticism and queer ecology, we will examine Romantic representations of landscape, asking how they express ideas and assumptions about what’s “natural” and “unnatural.” We will also consider how the Romantic model of nature might be useful in our current moment of environmental crisis. We will read mostly poetry and some prose by clusters of writers including Dorothy Wordsworth, William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge; William Blake; Ann Radcliffe; and Mary Shelley, Percy Shelley and John Polidori.

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

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: A portfolio of 6 short papers due throughout the semester, for which you will receive a cumulative grade at the end of the term; a take-home 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 48300-01 ADVANCED STUDIES IN FEMINIST SCIENCE FICTION
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Katharine Kittredge, Muller 317, Ext. 4- 1575
ENROLLMENT: 10
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 5: 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 that 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.