Previous Semester Courses

Course Listing Fall 2018

ENGL 10700-01, Introduction to Literature. HU LA 3a

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 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 HU LA 3a

3 credits

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 Introduction to the Short Story Hu 3a credits 3

INSTRUCTOR: Jean Sutherland, Muller 119, ext. 4-1935, jsutherl@ithaca.edu

ENROLLMENT: 20 PREREQUISITES: None STUDENTS: Open to all students. COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course is intended to give you the opportunity to read a wide variety of short fiction of varied themes and styles, from different cultures and historical periods. Our focus will be on how earlier works have influenced contemporary fiction. 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: Text: The Short Story and Its Writer, compact 8th edition Ann Charters, ed. Two essays; weekly quizzes or writing exercises; essay mid-term and final exam.

Grading is based on the requirements, with emphasis placed upon class participation.

ENGL 11200-02,03 INTRODUCTION TO SHORT STORY: THIS AMERICAN LIFE (LA)

3 CREDITS

ICC DESIGNATION: Perspectives: HU/CA; Themes: Identities/Inquiry, Imagination, and Innovation

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

ENROLLMENT: 20 students per section

PREREQUISITE: None

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

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Largely discussion.

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

ENGL 11300-01, -02 INTRODUCTION TO POETRY

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

3 CREDITS

ICC DESIGNATION: Perspectives: HU or CA; Themes: Identities or Inquiry, Imagination, and Innovation

INSTRUCTOR: Katie Gemmill

ENROLLMENT: 20 students per section

PREREQUISITES: None

OBJECTIVES: One of the most important lessons poetry teaches us is that language can do more than just explain things. Language can cast spells, perform ceremonies, make music; it can establish lines of communication with the dead, the divine and the nonhuman. In this course, we will make it our job to tune into the many registers in which lyrical language can mean. To do so, we will need to cultivate two different reading faculties: first, the intuitive skill of responding to poetic language, and feeling with it; and second, the critical skill of identifying and analyzing poetic devices and forms. Our goal is not to become perfect readers of poetry: after all, the best poems pull you in but also withhold, inviting you to pursue ambiguities and let their richness proliferate. We will push back against the tired idea that poetry is “inaccessible,” re-training ourselves to see all the ways in which obscurity can be productive. Over the course of the semester, we will read a great deal of poetry in English, from the Early Modern period up until our current moment; we will contextualize a range of poetic forms within literary history, from the sonnet sequence to contemporary free verse poetics; and we will write thoughtfully and often.

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 11300 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 11300-07 INTRODUCTION TO POETRY

3 CREDITS

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

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

ENROLLMENT: 20

PREREQUISITE: None

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

What is poetry? What happens when you read it? To answer these questions, we will read a temporally, thematically, and formally broad range of poems and implement an equally broad set of approaches to reading, thinking, and writing about poetry. (Note: this is not a poetry writing course, though we will occasionally write creatively in order to develop our critical and analytical skills.) We will begin the semester by studying syntax and versification, familiarizing ourselves with poetic terminology and exploring the contents of The Norton Anthology of Poetry in search of poems that exemplify (or challenge!) the forms, sonic features, concepts, and themes we are learning. Then, we will read poems on four topics: love, death, poems about (writing) poems, and water, tracing iterations of these topics across historical periods and contextualizing our study with attention to notions of race, class, gender, and environment that shape and are shaped by our poems.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Primarily discussion, some lecture.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Two essays and two individual presentations; several quizzes, forum posts, daily note cards, 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 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.

TEXTS: Austen, Northanger Abbey: Bronte, Jane Eyre; Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God; Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby; Forster, A Room with a View; McEwan, Atonement; Chabon, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.

ENGL 19412 Banned Books and Censorship Trials: Obscenity in the 20th Century

Instructor: Jennifer Spitzer

IC designation: Inquiry, Imagination, Innovation

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 and 02 Embodying the Perverse: Vampires in Literature

3 CREDITS

ICC DESIGNATION: Mind, Body, Spirit and Identities

Cross Listed with Women and Gender Studies

INSTRUCTOR: Julie Fromer, 434 Muller

ENROLLMENT: 20 students

PREREQUISITES: None

OBJECTIVES: The center of this course focuses on Dracula, a foundational text for vampire literature. Dracula presents the heternormative vampires that we have become accustomed to in 21st century renditions of bloodsucking relationships. But surrounding this depiction of powerful heterosexual vampires we will explore portrayals that stray widely from the expectations set up by Stoker’s novel.

Vampires in literature can be seen as representations of what is literally “perverse” in culture and society—social and sexual identities that “twist” or “turn” away from wider social norms. Some of the earliest depictions of vampires in English literature, including Coleridge’s “Christabel” and LeFanu’s “Carmilla,” explore the dynamics of homosexual desire. Looking at vampires as metaphors for “other” selves and identities, we will continue to trace gendered reflections of power and desire in Anne Rice’s Interview With The Vampire.

In this course, we will explore sexual politics through vampire literature, asking questions about power, gender, class, and social and sexual identities. At the end of the course, we will train these questions on Twilight, considering how our own ideas about vampires and gender have been shaped by Meyer’s novel.

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

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Three 2-page response papers, one 3-page essay, one 5-page essay, a take-home final exam, and class participation. Grading will be A-F based on the above requirements. Since this is a discussion-based course, class participation will be an essential part of students’ final grades.

ENGL 19414-01, INTRODUCTION TO ASIAN AMERICAN LITERATURE
3 credits
ICC DESIGNATION: Diversity, Identities
INSTRUCTOR: Christine Kitano
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 or against 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: Four 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 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 21900-01 and -02 SHAKESPEARE (LA)

3 CREDITS

ICC DESIGNATION: Identities / Inquiry, Imagination, and Innovation

INSTRUCTOR: Christopher Matusiak, 326 Muller

ENROLLMENT: 20 per section

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

COURSE DESCRIPTION: What makes a work ‘Shakespearean’? How many ways may we read, watch, or perform the texts of this celebrated English dramatist? Why does his writing remain powerful and relevant four hundred years after his death? Questions such as these arise naturally when studying Shakespeare intensively, and that is the purpose of this course. We will closely read four plays during the semester: at the outset, students will select three titles to add to the syllabus; a fourth, King Lear, is written in stone. Secondary readings will provide maps to help guide our exploration, but the path forward will ultimately depend on the group’s collective intellectual and creative interests. No prior knowledge of Shakespeare will be 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 participation in discussion—be it in class or during the instructor’s office hours; short written assignments; a reading journal; final exam.

ENGL 21900 SHAKESPEARE

3 CREDITS

INSTRUCTOR: David Kramer, Muller 322

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 comedies, tragedies, romances, and histories, 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 genres of tragedy, comedy, romance, and history. 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 lectures.

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 during the course of the semester; two five-page essays; essay mid-term and final exam.

ENGL 23200 MEDIEVAL LITERATURE

3 CREDITS

ICC DESIGNATION: Writing Intensive

INSTRUCTOR: Alexis Kellner Becker

ENROLLMENT: 20 students

PREREQUISITES: One course in the humanities or social sciences, or sophomore standing; WRTG10600 or equivalent.

OBJECTIVES: This course provides a partial introduction to the huge range of literature written between c. 800 and c. 1500 CE, primarily in the British Isles. Who produced medieval literature? Who read it or listened to it? How did medieval writers wrestle with the social, economic, political, economic, and ecological problems of their time? How did they think about history? How did they tackle the question of what it means to be a person, a citizen, and/or a fictional character? This course will explore how imaginative literature in the Middle Ages created different kinds of human, nonhuman, and superhuman subjects, real and imaginary. How, we will ask, can this literature help us think through our own ideas about how to read and how to live? Readings may include Old English elegies and riddles, Icelandic saga, Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the Mabinogion, Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde, Langland’s Piers Plowman, Julian of Norwich’s Revelation of Love, and Middle English lyric.

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 24500-01 Modern and Contemporary American Literatures HU LA 3a

3 credits

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 309001 SPIES AND SPYING

3 CREDITS

INSTRUCTOR: David Kramer, 322 Muller

ENROLLMENT: 20 students

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

COURSE DESCRIPTION: We have few if any secrets; our whereabouts, communications, news interests, curiosities, connections, affiliations, even tastes in porn, are all recorded and available to governmental interest. World-wide armies of spies investigate all areas of cultures, economies, politics, militaries—and personal lives.

Though the pace of scrutiny has quickened with the electronic era, writers have long been interested in this aspect of human life, and in the corollaries between writerly observations of the human world, and Big Brother’s Total Information Awareness (an actual government program). We’ll be considering some of these larger questions—the morality and utility of spycraft; what it means that others possess total knowledge of our lives; the multiple identities assumed by spies as they travel among us; writers’ understanding of themselves as spies upon humanity—while we read fictions by Joseph Conrad (The Secret Agent), George Orwell (1984), Dave Eggers (The Circle), and novels by John LeCarré, Ian Fleming, and Graham Greene.

Format and Style: Class is highly conversational.

Requirements: Two eight-page essays; reading quiz and reading response every class; take-home mid-term and final.

Grading: Based on attendance, participation, and completion of the above requirements.

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 36600-01 Four Moderns: Robert Frost, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, and Seamus Heaney

3 CREDITS

INSTRUCTOR: Kevin Murphy, 332 Muller

ENROLLMENT: 20 students

PREREQUISITES: Three courses in the Humanities, one of which is preferably Introduction to Poetry

OBJECTIVES: In this course we will study the style and development of four modern poets: Robert Frost, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, and Seamus Heaney. While each of these poets has a distinctive style and vision, one of the objectives of the course is to examine the extent to which these poets share stylistic traits and thus collectively form an alternative to the "modernism" advocated and practiced by T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and W. B. Yeats earlier in the century. In many ways this course is a continuation and concentration of Introduction to Poetry, and thus it is recommended (though not required) that students have completed that course.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: There will be three short papers (4-5 pages) due on individual works of Frost, Bishop, and Lowell as we consider each of them in the semester, and one longer paper (8-10 pages) at the end of the term which will link at least two of the figures in the course. In addition, there will be a take-home exam due at the midterm and a takehome final examination due Wednesday of finals week. Grading: A-F, based on papers, exams, and class participation.

ENGL 36800-01, 02 Dangerous Women in Dramatic Literature, or: Over Her Dead Body

3 CREDITS

ICC DESIGNATION: Writing Intensive

INSTRUCTOR: Claire Gleitman, 303 Muller

ENROLLMENT: 20 students

PREREQUISITES: one course in ENGL or WRTG; and WRTG 10600 or ICSM 10800 or ICSM 11800; sophomore standing.

OBJECTIVES: In this course, we will read a range of plays, beginning in the ancient Greek period and extending to the present day, that feature female characters who 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 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 to males that they wish to control, contain, and at times kill her? If she survives, upon what does her survival depend? Is the playwright using the dangerous female to question the norms that she challenges or to endorse them? Is the female dangerous because she resists the status quo or because she perpetuates it? To what degree is her danger represented as associated with and intrinsic to her gender? As we read each of our plays, we will situate them within their cultural contexts and we will read secondary material in order to better understand how notions regarding female danger change (or do not change) over time.

READINGS: Playwrights may include Aeschylus, Euripides, William Shakespeare, John Webster, John Ford, Henrik Ibsen, Arthur Miller, Caryl Churchill, Djanet Sears, Tarell McCraney.

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

COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Three 6-8 page essays, frequent informal “think” pieces, take-home final exam, 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 38200: Modern Literature, Making it New: British and American Modernism

3 Credits

Instructor: Jennifer Spitzer, 305 Muller

Prerequisites: Any three courses in the humanities, and at least one of those in English.

Enrollment: 20 Students per section

If Ezra Pound’s “make it new” is the signature slogan of modernism (that period of cultural production from roughly 1890-1950), what do we make of the fact, brought to light by the scholar Michael North, that the slogan was not itself new but a recycled phrase from Chinese history? Why was literary modernism so invested in the concept of newness, and what about modernism was new? In this course, we will think about modernism as a “crisis of representation” and a “revolution of the word,” but we will also consider the aspects of literary modernism that were anti-modern and nostalgic.

We will begin the course by surveying some of the earliest statements of literary modernism, Charles Baudelaire’s “The Painter of Modern Life” and Georg Simmel’s “The Metropolis and Mental Life.” We will go on to consider how various modernisms announced themselves through the manifesto, and we will look at several examples of the genre, including Wyndham Lewis’ Blast and Mina Loy’s “Feminist Manifesto.” For the remainder of the course, we will range across modernist genres—the short story, the free-verse poem, the stream-of-consciousness novel—to assess how and why modernists renovated earlier forms. We will consider the relationship between so called “high-brow” literature and more popular forms, such as jazz. Finally, we will consider the sociological developments that helped pave the way for literary modernism, among them urbanization, immigration, imperialism, the rise of advertising and mass communication, and upheavals in relations of race, class, sexuality and gender. As we think about newness in art, we will consider the proliferation of “new” social types during this era, including the New Negro and the New Woman.

We will read poetry, long and short fiction, and essays by Charles Baudelaire, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, Rebecca West, Djuna Barnes, Virginia Woolf, Joseph Conrad and Nella Larsen.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion, with some lecture.

Requirements: Regular attendance and active participation in class discussion. Students will participate in group presentations, and will hand in a short 5-6 page paper, and a longer 8-10 page final paper.

ENGL 39100-01 Literature and the Environment: Vital Rivers, Rivers in Crisis

3 CREDITS

ICC DESIGNATION: Writing Intensive; Environmental Science/Studies Humanities Elective

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

ENROLLMENT: 20

PREREQUISITE: WRTG 10600 or equivalent and three courses in the humanities or social sciences, or permission of the instructor.

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

Heraclitus famously remarked that one cannot step into the same river twice. We use the constant renewal of rivers as transportation and to generate energy; rivers flow through wilderness and through rural and urban spaces, and they form a fluctuating, porous boundary between the land and the ocean. In this course, students will explore representations of rivers in myths, legends, poems, novels, nature writing, and texts that challenge genre categories, using core environmental humanities theories and questions to guide our study. We will ask: How have humans, historically, represented their relationships to “nature,” and to waterways in particular? How have shifting cultural ideas about race, gender, and class shaped those representations? What language and concepts for describing environments, especially aquatic ecosystems and riparian zones, have we inherited from the past, and how might that vocabulary enable new approaches to current environmental and social justice challenges?

We will begin the semester by discussing key concepts such as “environmental humanities,” “literature,” “nature,” “intersectionality,” “environmental justice,” “aquatic ecosystems,” and “riparian zones,” building vocabulary that we will use to examine our temporally and generically broad set of texts. Then, we will explore European, Indian, Mexican, and Alaskan myths and legends about rivers, and examine colonial encounters on rivers in Walter Ralegh’s Discoverie of Guiana, Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko, Joseph Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness, and Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things. Our final units will focus primarily on the Mississippi and Colorado rivers, tracing riverine journeys of self-discovery, dam building projects, and literary activism in the face of ecological crises in a diverse set of texts, including Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Linda Hogan’s Solar Storms, and Douglas Kearney’s floodtide poems from The Black Automaton.

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Primarily discussion, some lecture.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Students will write two analytical essays and one research-based op-ed (aimed at an Ithaca or home-town news outlet); students will also complete discussion leadership and group projects, brief reading responses, and an individual research presentation. 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 42000 HAMLET AND ITS MYSTERIES (LA)

3 CREDITS

INSTRUCTOR: Christopher Matusiak, 326 Muller

ENROLLMENT: 10

PREREQUISITE: ENGL-21900 or permission of the instructor.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: On the surface, Hamlet is a play of action—a kinetic story of murder, violent retaliation, psychological breakdown, suicide, and a country’s descent into bloody ruin. But it is equally obsessed with cerebral stillness, with quiet moments of deliberation, contemplation, and interrogation—indeed, it is the play whose eponymous character poses the most famous question in English literature. It befits us then to avoid “most wicked speed” when studying Shakespeare’s seemingly most familiar play, and doing so reveals a singularly mysterious work of art. Textual questions, for instance, have long perplexed scholars. The earliest printed text of Hamlet—the first quarto of 1603 (Q1)—appeared in Shakespeare’s lifetime, yet contains radical variations on the language to which we are accustomed; in his most famous soliloquy, for example, Q1’s Hamlet insists, unexpectedly, “To be or not to be; ay, there’s the point. / To die, to sleep; is that all? Ay, all.” Meanwhile, the text that Shakespeare’s fellow actors published in the First Folio of 1623 (F) seven years after the playwright’s death contains some 12,000 additional lines not in Q1, including the entire “O, what a rogue and peasant slave and am I” soliloquy. May we speak, then, of an ‘authentic’ Hamlet when the words Shakespeare initially wrote are not easily differentiated from what he (or his colleagues) may have added or revised as the play was acted over a period of two decades at the Globe? Like wormholes, similar indeterminacies riddle the play’s subject matter. What exactly is the ghost of Hamlet’s father, for instance? What it claims to be?—an informative spirit returned from the fires of Purgatory? Or, given that Shakespeare’s largely Protestant culture no longer believed in that Catholic zone of the afterlife, should we understand it to be a deceptive devil intent on corrupting a traumatized and vulnerable young man? Intentionally or not, cruxes of this sort—moments in which we must squarely face Hamlet’s inherent strangeness and actively construct its meaning—bring into focus Shakespeare’s deep epistemological fascination with the ways in which our profoundest affective states, desires, and anxieties shape our perception, and consequently our knowledge of the world. As we explore the texts of Hamlet over the course of the semester, we will aim to contextualize our discussion with early modern sources (e.g. Saxo Grammaticus’ Historica Danica, Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy), as well as a major modern work indebted to Shakespeare’s masterpiece, Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (1967).

COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: active participation in discussion; a commonplace book; a formal essay.

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

3 CREDITS

INSTRUCTOR: Alexis Kellner Becker

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, histories, and social forms that inform our speech and writing. As English speakers, writers, and/or teachers, understanding how the English language works and why helps us make sense of why we read, write, speak, and think the way we do. Among other things, we will explore what distinguishes correct from incorrect usage, why we spell and pronounce words the way we do, how to make sense of difficult sentences, where to go for information about the English language, and why the English language is so very strange. 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. Textbook is This Language, A River, by K. Aaron Smith and Susan M. Kim, with other texts and media drawn from literature, popular culture, and linguistics.

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

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

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