English Major Courses

Fall 2022

ENGL 30101-02-03
Intro to Literary Studies
Romana Huk
MW 11:00-12:15
Sec 02 - Majors
Sec 03 - Freshmen

This course provides beginning English majors with experience in the analysis, interpretation, and appreciation of literary works of different kinds and eras. Texts assigned will vary from one section to another, but all sections will include significant attention to poetry, as well as treatment of at least one other genre (fiction, drama, non-fiction prose). Frequent writing about works studied will introduce students to the practice of critical argument and consideration of how to read criticism as well as literature critically.

 

ENGL 30101-04-05
Intro to Literary Studies
Cyraina Johnson-Roullier
MW 2:00-3:15
Sec 04 - Majors
Sec 05 - Freshmen

This course provides beginning English majors with experience in the analysis, interpretation, and appreciation of literary works of different kinds and eras. Texts assigned will vary from one section to another, but all sections will include attention to poetry and at least one other genre (fiction, drama, non-fiction prose). Frequent writing about works studied will introduce students to the practice of critical argument and consideration of how to read criticism as well as literature critically

 



ENGL 30101-06-07
Intro to Literary Studies
Laura Betz
TR 9:30-10:45
Sec 06 - Majors
Sec 07 - Freshmen

This course provides beginning English majors with experience in the analysis, interpretation, and appreciation of literary works of different kinds and eras. Texts assigned will vary from one section to another, but all sections will include attention to poetry and at least one other genre (fiction, drama, non-fiction prose). Frequent writing about works studied will introduce students to the practice of critical argument and consideration of how to read criticism as well as literature critically.





 

ENGL 30110-01-02
British Literary Traditions I
Tim Machan
MW 9:30-10:45
Sec 01 - Majors
Sec 02 - Unallocated 

This course surveys a selection of literature written prior to the end of the seventeenth century. We will concentrate on a variety of authors who have come to be considered significant for a variety of reasons, whether for their artistic achievements, their commentary on society, or their contributions to notions of literary history. Although attention will be given to historical perspective, the course will emphasize close reading and classroom discussion. 

 

ENGL 30115-01-02
American Literary Traditions I
Nan Da
MW 2:00-3:15 
Sec 01 - Majors
Sec 02 - Unallocated

What can American literature before the 20th century teach us about the nation and the world? In this class we will explore American literature from the founding of the nation to the eve of the Civil War and its intellectual pleasures and difficulties. How did early American literature teach us to pay attention and think critically? What are the stakes of “mis-reading” for the average citizen? To answer these questions, we will move from text (close-reading) to context (broader geopolitical history) and in so doing uncover the relationship between the private crises of reading and the public crises of nationhood that has been so crucial to American literature since its inception. The writers and works we will study include: Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Harriet Jacobs, Emily Dickinson, Herman Melville, Primary texts will be supplemented with appropriate secondary readings that help students become better writers and thinkers.



 

ENGL 30120-01-02
Poetry Unfettered
Laura Betz
TR 11:00-12:15
Sec 01 - Majors
Sec 02 - Unallocated

The English Romantic poet William Blake declared, “Poetry Fetter’d, Fetters the Human Race.” This course explores this idea by providing an opportunity for students to deepen their understanding and appreciation of the power of poetic language – whether that is the power to “unfetter” perception and release the reader’s mind into new understanding; the power to inspire social, cultural, or political change; or the power to give rich expression to fundamental human truths and experiences.  This course is intended for English majors who are seeking additional foundation in and experience with the study of poetry, while also completing distribution requirements within the major. It is also intended for non-majors who would enjoy fulfilling Core Curriculum designations (LIT and WRIT) through a course on poetry.  As we move through the semester, we will always be working to strengthen the ability to read poetry carefully and critically, form strong interpretations, and argue for those interpretations persuasively in both classroom discussion and writing.  We will address the major poetic genres, a variety of poetic forms, and a range of literary concepts and devices, reading poems both individually and in groupings.  The kinds of groupings we will study include poems that have been deliberately paired, including parodies; poems that are part of a particular volume; and poems clustered by poet. We will spend time thinking about the oral performance of poetry through different activities, including listening to recordings of poems, and thinking about the relationship between poetry and the image through works that engage with both media. We will read a variety of material, focusing especially on British and American poetry from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and also some contemporary poetry. Over the course of the semester we will try to understand why the poetry on our syllabus has spoken to readers over time, and how it might speak to us and about us.


ENGL 30851
Poetry Writing
Johannes Goransson
MW 11:00-12:15

In this class, we are going to write poetry, think about poetry and talk about poetry from a number of different perspectives. We're going to read modern, contemporary and not-so-contemporary poetry, as well as works that move across genres (prose poetry, poetic films), media (print, photography, the Internet, the desert of the real), and languages and cultures. We will consider what poetry means in this spectacular age, but we will also explore more pragmatic concerns: where does one find out about poets? Where does one publish poems? Where does one discuss new poetry? In addition to weekly writing exercises, we will engage in three longer projects allowing the students to develop and work on their own particular lines of aesthetic inquiry.

 



ENGL 30859
Fiction Writing: Trauma, Disaster, Memory, and Resilience (For Our Times) 
Xavier Navarro Aquino
MW 3:30-4:45

In her book, The Art of Death: Writing the Final Story, Edwidge Danticat states that “we are all living dyingly.” The concept of death and/or dying is part of our collective and shared experience. It presents us with the larger possibilities on how to live, how to experience, how to persevere, and how to change. In this course we will examine the politics of trauma, disaster, and memory. We will read across genres in fiction, essays, and poetry in order to write work that contemplates memory as a locus for resilience. We will look at how writers are grappling with some of the more pressing issues of our time i.e., climate change, natural disaster, femicide, colonialism, war, among others. Students will write prose that looks to redress what it means to “live dyingly.”  

 

40xxx Level Courses

ENGL 40207-01-02  
Introduction to the Gothic Language
Tim Machan
TR 12:30-1:45
Section 01 - Majors
Section 02 - Unallocated

Gothic, the subject of this course, might be considered a distant relative of not only English but also modern German, Dutch, and the various Scandinavian languages. It is in fact the oldest recorded Germanic language, and was spoken, in one form or another, by related groups who spread southward, eastward, and westward across Europe from the first to the sixth centuries, remaking much of the political landscape but leaving a very small written record. Gothic survives primarily in a late-fourth-century translation of the New Testament, prepared by Ulfila, an Arian bishop of the Goths. This is primarily a language course, in which we will learn the grammar of Gothic and translate passages from the New Testament and the Skeireins (a fragmentary commentary on the Gospel of John). We will also ponder the peculiar purple manuscript with silver script in which Ulfila’s translation survives (the Codex argenteus), speculate on the character of the Crimean Gothic recorded over a millennium after Ulfila’s death, explore the structural relations among Gothic and the other Germanic languages, and discuss the conceptual roles the Goths have been made to play in the formation of European states, Germanic ethnicity, nationalism, horror fiction, and modern racial separatist movements. No prior knowledge of an older language is required, although, since this is a language course, curiosity and an agile mind are. 

 

ENGL 40213-01-02  
Milton
Laura Knoppers
TR 2:00-3:15
Section 01 - Majors
Section 02 - Unallocated

This class introduces John Milton's poetry in the context of his life and times and with attention to current critical issues. Much of the course will be focused on Milton's major poems: his early masque, Comus, his grand epic, Paradise Lost, his brief epic, Paradise Regained, and his late tragedy, Samson Agonistes. We will also explore Milton's influence on the Romantics and beyond, looking at William Blake's water-color illustrations of Milton's poetry, at Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and at the Miltonic influence in classic Frankenstein films and in Ridley Scott's Blade Runner.

 

ENGL 40345-01-02
Global Romanticism
Greg Kucich
TR 3:30-4:45
Sec 01 - Majors
Sec 02 - Unallocated

Some of the most enduring stereotypes of British Romanticism involve the cultivation of solitary genius, the return to a pristine Nature, and the celebration of local, rural community. Compelling as these cultural ideals may seem, they have been complicated and enriched by recent scholarship that situates the literary productions of Romanticism within the larger geopoitical frameworks of their historical epoch: such as Britain's colonial enterprise, the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars, worldwide commercial systems, the transatlantic slave trade, travel and exploration. To become alert to the interaction of these global forces with the period's literary activity is to develop a new,complex appreciations of multiple forms of "Romanticisms" operating and clashing together in relation to rapidly changing, increasingly interconnected world developments. This class will explore the intersection of the local, the national, and the global in well-known canonical writers such as Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Byron, and the Shelleys as well as woks by such lesser-known figures as Bailie, Smith, Yearsley, Morgan, Cowley, and Starke. Readings and discussion will range generically across fiction, drama, poetry, life writing, abolitionist literature, and political prose.


ENGL 40206/*FTT 40600 CROSSLIST
Shakespeare on the Big Screen
Peter Holland
MW 3:30-4:45

This course explores the phenomenon of Shakespeare in the cinema/movie theatre, examining ‘Shakespeare and film’ by concentrating on the meanings provoked by the “and” that joins the terms. We shall be looking at examples of films of Shakespeare plays both early and recent, both in English and in other languages, and both ones that stick close to conventional concepts of how to film Shakespeare and adaptations at varying degrees of distance from his language, time, plot, reaching a limit in versions that erase Shakespeare from the film. We will also be looking at the recent phenomenon of “Live from” broadcasts of live theatre to movie audiences. The transposition of different forms of Shakespearean texts (printed, theatrical, filmic) and the confrontation with the specificities of film production have produced and continue to produce a phenomenon whose cultural meanings will be the subject of our investigations. There will be screenings of the films to be studied in the Browning Cinema.

 


ENGL 40370-01-02
Theorizing Disability: The Romantics & Victorians
Essaka Joshua
MW 11:00-12:15
Sec 01 - Majors
Sec 02 - Unallocated

This course offers a theory-driven exploration of the literature on disability in the Romantic and Victorian eras. In this class, we will read Romantic and Victorian texts alongside modern disability theory (chapters and articles) to develop a disability studies lens as a critical approach. We will study Romantic and Victorian texts in dialogue and in topic groups. Key topics will include physical disability; deformity; communication disabilities; and dwarfism. Although intended as a companion course to Romantic and Victorian Disability, this class can be taken as a standalone. There is no overlap between the classes, and they can be taken in any order.

 

ENGL 40321-01-02
Decadent Modernity
David Thomas
TR 11:00-12:15
Sec 01 - Majors
Sec 02 - Unallocated

As a term in European cultural history, decadence most often indicates a late-nineteenth-century movement in which writers and artists provoked the respectable middle class with racy, sordid, overblown and/or absurdist subject matter and methods.  This course explores that environment but also takes a broader view, examining alternative visions of decadence over the last two centuries and more.  Our materials include fiction, poetry, drama, philosophy, visual arts, cinema and criticism.  Early on, we lay conceptual groundwork with texts by Freud and Nietzsche.  Well-known authors (in addition to Freud and Nietzsche) include Charles Baudelaire, Oscar Wilde, Joris-Karl Huysmans, Walter Pater, Virginia Woolf, and Patrick Süskind.  We also read several lesser-known authors and study films by Ken Russell, Peter Greenaway and Sally Potter. 

 

Warning: some of our discussion matters are not for the prudish or faint-hearted.  Bring a tolerance for the grotesque and a readiness to think carefully about authors who deliberately challenge deeply held western attitudes concerning morality and values and aesthetics.

 

ENGL 40529-01-02
Gender and Irish Drama
Susan Harris
MW 11:00-12:15
Sec 01 - Majors
Sec 02 - Unallocated

In this course, we will examine the relationship between national and sexual politics through our study of gender and twentieth-century Irish drama. Beginning with the first controversies surrounding the representation of women on the Irish stage at the beginning of the twentieth century, we will study representations of gender and sexuality in the major canonical figures of the Irish renaissance--W. B. Yeats, J. M. Synge, Sean O'Casey--while investigating lesser-known female and queer Irish playwrights from that time such as Lady Augusta Gregory, Lennox Robinson, and Teresa Deevy. We will also look at how the treatment of gender and sexuality changes in the work of postwar and contemporary Irish playwrights, including Samuel Beckett, Brendan Behan, Brian Friel, Anne Devlin, Frank McGuinness, and Marina Carr. Along with the plays we will study their historical and cultural context and the sometimes quite vehement responses that these plays evoked in their audiences. Students will write three papers and do one in-class presentation.

 

ENGL 40621/*FTT 40621 CROSSLIST
King Lear
Peter Holland
MW 11:00-12:15

Wherever we place it in the pantheon of great plays  and in spite of Tolstoy’s loathing of it, King Lear is a very extraordinary play. This course will explore its extraordinariness by concentrating on it unremittingly. It will do so in two steps. For the first half of the semester we will slow-read the play together, thinking about anything and, insofar as we can, everything that it provokes us to investigate, from Shakespeare’s sources to early stagings and revisions, from its views on power, gender and the spiritual to its verse and vocabulary, and so on and on. In the second half of the semester we will engage with the play in performance and reimaginings through film versions and a variety of adaptations from Nahum Tate to Jane Smiley and beyond.


ENGL 40680-01-02
Literature of Reconstruction and the Gilded Age
Sandra Gustafson
TR 3:30-4:45
Section 01: Unallocated
Section 02: Freshmen

This new course highlights literary works written in the 40 years after the American Civil War, spanning the Reconstruction era and the Gilded Age. The era’s fiction was remarkably innovative, and writers from the U.S. took their place on a global stage in a way rarely seen before. We will explore the riches, reading major novels by Henry James (Portrait of a Lady), Mark Twain (Huckleberry Finn), Stephen Crane (The Red Badge of Courage), Kate Chopin (The Awakening), Charles Chesnutt (The Marrow of Tradition), Simon Pokagon (Queen of the Woods), and Edith Wharton (The House of Mirth). Short stories by Sarah Orne Jewett (“A White Heron”) and Charlotte Perkins Gilman (“The Yellow Wallpaper”) will round things out.

The end of the Civil War produced abiding conflicts over race and questions about the future of American democracy, which we will consider in works by Walt Whitman (Democratic Vistas and selected poetry), along with selections from the postbellum writings of Frederick Douglass and Ida B. Wells-Barnett’s anti-lynching journalism. This volatile period of territorial expansion, income inequality, domestic political and racial conflict, large-scale immigration, and rising international influence transformed the United States from a largely homogeneous and agrarian society to a version of what it is today. We are living in what is sometimes described as a “Second Gilded Age,” while Reconstruction has become the subject of renewed attention in connection with the persistence of racial injustice. The historical context, and its parallels with the present, will provide an animating framework for our close readings of the literature.

There will be around 25 pages of writing, with specific assignments at the beginning of the semester. Participation - possibly including an oral report - will also factor in the final grade.






 

ENGL 40774-01-02  
Engendering Renaissance
Cyraina Johnson-Roullier
MW 12:30-1:45
Sec 01 - Majors
Sec 02 - Unallocated

What was American modernism, and what is it today? How do we think about modernism then and now, and what are some of the changes it has undergone since the advent of what has/have been called the "new modernism(s)?" What uncommon modern American voices are brought to light by this understanding? What this course will explore the contributions to American modernism of two less conspicuous modern moments - the Chicago Renaissance of 1912-1925, and the Harlem Renaissance of 1920-1929 - in addition to the more traditional understanding of American modernists as represented by those authors belonging to the "Lost Generation". In "engendering renaissance," these two moments suggest a literary birth and rebirth of modern American identity that reconfigures the idea of Americanness within and opens the door to the larger and more varied cultural fabric that is modern America(s). By locating the rise of American modernism in the relation between these two literary moments, this course will broaden our understanding of the idea of Americanness at this time in literary history by considering how it is created within a frame determined by the interplay of race, gender, class and nation. In this way, it seeks to deepen our understanding of early 20th-century American culture and Americanness as it developed in the U.S., while at the same time suggesting new contexts in which to engage them in the 21st. Course Requirements: two 5-page papers, group presentation, several short in-class writing assignments. Course Texts: Required texts may include Walt Whitman, "Song of Myself"; Jose Martí, "Our America"; Henry Blake Fuller, The Cliff-Dwellers; Theodore Dreiser, Sister Carrie; Willa Cather, The Song of the Lark; Waldo Frank, Our America; Sherwood Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio; Randolph Bourne, "Trans-National America"; Booker T. Washington, Up From Slavery; W.E.B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk; Anna Julia Cooper, A Voice From the South, excerpts; Jean Toomer, Cane; Jessie Fauset, Plum Bun; Nella Larsen, Quicksand & Passing.

 

ENGL 40780-01-02 
Sound Studies, Popular Music, & American Literature
Sara Marcus
TR 2:00-3:15
Sec 01 - Majors
Sec 02 - Unallocated

US literature and popular music between the mid-19th century and the end of World War II. This interdisciplinary course will incorporate methods from performance studies, sound studies, and musicology in addition to literary criticism. We will read key works of American prose (as well as some poetry) from the period's principal literary movements, including realism, naturalism, modernism, and multimedia documentary. We will also listen to musical works--Broadway tunes and blues songs, spirituals and symphonies. We'll pay particular attention to how segregation and other racial politics, changing roles for women, and the mass production of commodities influenced the art of this period. Texts will include writing by Stephen Crane, W.E.B. Du Bois, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Ernest Hemingway, Langston Hughes, Harriet Jacobs, and Edith Wharton, as well as music by George M. Cohan, George Gershwin, Scott Joplin, Paul Robeson, and Bessie Smith. Course requirements will include two argumentative essays, several shorter writing assignments, regular online reading responses, and active class participation. No formal musical training is required.

 

ENGL 40782-01-02 
Global Freedom of Speech in the Digital Age
Elliott Visconsi
MW 3:30-4:45
Sec 01 - Majors
Sec 02 - Unallocated

Designed for English majors, this cross-disciplinary course is an invitation to thinking about contemporary freedom of expression as it has been reshaped by technosocial, economic, and legal features of the digital age. We will approach the topic through case law, short fiction (including near-future speculative fiction), cinematic and televisual works, political philosophy, and the history of mass media. Among the subjects of scrutiny will be: the purpose of free speech in pluralistic democracies; intersections of law, literature and technology; the counter-majoritarian First Amendment; disinformation and propaganda; hate speech; platform governance and emerging information architectures; parody, satire, copyright, and intellectual property.  The course may be of special interest to those considering the application of an English major to the study of law or careers in media and technology.



 

ENGL 40828-01-02
American Migrant Communities
Francisco Robles
TR 12:30-1:45
Sec 01 - Majors
Sec 02 - Unallocated

In this class, we will explore various American migrant communities. Along with Sui Sin Far's Mrs. Spring Fragrance, we will begin with W.E.B. DuBois's classic sociological and literary text, The Souls of Black Folk, initiating the semester with a provocative and urgent question: Should we consider the European colonists the paradigmatic bearers of American identity, or rather the people whose labor and/or land was used to build the United States? By pursuing this question, we will explore the many facets and difficulties of American identity. We will end the semester with Janet Campbell Hale's Women on the Run. Thus, rather than positioning American Indians at the beginning of American history - and thus repeating the myth of their disappearance - we will end with an exploration of what it means to survive, renew, and flourish in contemporary America, a question made particularly poignant and potent in Hale's novel.The various migrant communities we will explore are: African Americans, Chinese Americans, Caribbean Americans, Filipino Americans, Anglo Americans, Southern Americans, "Okies," Armenian Americans, Mexican Americans, Dominican Americans, and American Indians. While this is by no means exhaustive, it gives us an idea of the diversity of peoples who find themselves in the demonym "American" - and what it means to navigate this identity as a migrant. What are the benefits and pitfalls of migration? What should one's relationship be to assimilation? What does migration do to the idea of homeland? As you can see, we will also tackle tough political issues while keeping in mind the role of literature in creating identities: national, local, ethnic, and racial (and that's just the beginning). Although we will be working chronologically through the 20th Century, our progress will be atypical. Our circuitous route through the literature in this class will be a literary journey that echoes the various movements of people in the American 20th Century. Potential course texts include: Mrs. Spring Fragrance, Sui sin Far (Edith Maude Eaton); Bread Givers, Anzia Yezierska; Quicksand, Nella Larsen; Whose Names Are Unknown, Sanora Babb; My Name is Aram, William Saroyan; Migration (series of paintings), Jacob Lawrence; America Is in the Heart, Carlos Bulosan; Maude Martha, Gwendolyn Brooks; ...y no se lo tragó la tierra, Tomás Rivera; The Rain God, Arturo Islas; How The Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, Julia Alvarez; Women on the Run, Janet Campbell Hale.

 

ENGL 40916-01-02
Black Noir
Chante Mouton Kinyon
MW 9:30-10:45
Section 01: Unallocated
Section 02: Freshmen

In the summer of 1946 French cinemas were flooded with the likes of The Maltese Falcon, Laura, and The Woman in the Window, films that had been delayed for international distribution because of the war. When Raymond Borde and Etienne Chaumeton saw these American films made during the war, the critics decided that the films and their characters were "black" or "dark," thus defining the genre as film noir. In this genre, the mostly white characters occupy an indeterminate space, commit moral transgressions, and border on nihilism. In discussions of the noir genre, films and novels by and/or about black people are marginalized. Novels such as Chester Himes's If He Hollers Let Him Go or Donald Goines's Never Die Alone complicate the genre because the works are black in ideology and essence. These characters do not need to fall from grace to be black, they are black and, consequently, the pursuit of duplicitous lifestyles in black noir works tends to highlight the social injustices black Americans suffer in America making many black noir titles protests against mainstream white America as well.

In this course, we will study black American literature that focuses the noir genre on black people themselves. Gritty, urban crime novels that attempt to expose inequities in black American lives and dispel the notion that a descent from whiteness results in blackness. Rather, the black people in these texts exist in darkness because they are living in alienated communities. We shall investigate how the noir genre is altered when "noirs" are the subjects and the authors. In addition to primary texts, the course will also engage critical responses to these works.