English

Courses offered in the past four years. Courses offered currently are as noted.

Course Description

Reading Literature
Please refer to each section for specific course descriptions.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

Requirements

CW, LIT

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Course Description

The Experience of Tragedy
For over two millennia tragedy has raised ethical questions and represented conflicts between the divine and the mortal, nature and culture, household and polity, individual and society. What is tragedy? What led to its production and what impact did it have, in ancient times? Why was it reborn in Shakespeare's time? How has tragedy shaped, and been shaped by, gender, class, religion, and nationality? We will address these questions and explore how tragedy continues to influence our literary expectations and experience, as well as our political, social, and familial environment. We will study texts by such authors as Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Thucydides, Aristotle, Seneca, Shakespeare, Webster, Chikamatsu, Goethe, Nietzsche, O'Neill, Beckett, and Soyinka. (Pre-1800) 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021

Requirements

EUR, LIT

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Course Description

Animals in Literature and Culture
Animals, wrote anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss, are good to think with. They are good to write with as well; almost all works of literature include animals, their importance varying from the merely peripheral to the absolutely central. Among other narrative functions, animals serve as essential metaphors for understanding the human animal. In this course we will read a wide variety of fiction, poetry, children's literature, philosophy, science, history, and cultural theory from Ancient Greek sources (in translation) to the present. We will consider theoretical, ethical, religious, psychological, linguistic, and political issues pertaining to animals and their representation in literary texts. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2020, Spring 2021

Requirements

EUR, LIT

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Course Description

Literary “Character”
In this course we will investigate literary character—what it is; what makes it “round,” “flat,” “deep,” “shallow”; its history. In seeking to understand “character,” we will create our own stories, using characters from our readings, or introducing characters we create into plots or settings from those readings. In expository essays and class discussions, we will also consider the following questions: how and why did “fictional person” acquire the name “character” (literally “engraved mark”)? How does “character” relate to representations of body, property, authorship, gender, race? How does theatrical character relate to novelistic and short-story character? Possible authors: Aristotle, Theophrastus, Terence, Geoffrey Chaucer, William Shakespeare, Laurence Sterne, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Herman Melville, Mark Twain, Virginia Woolf, Richard Wright, Julia Alvarez. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Spring 2020

Requirements

EUR, LIT

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Course Description

Asian American Pop!
From boba to K-pop, Asian diasporic culture is undeniably the shared lexicon of a global mainstream. In this course, we will engage with recent literary, televisual, and cinematic works to discern what they express about Asian American history, identity, and cultural politics. What is the difference between appropriation and authenticity? What can “popular” representations tell us about “serious” topics such as capitalism, citizenship, and empire? How does Asian American popular culture enact collective desires for belonging and memory? In particular, we will attend to the gendered and sexual circuits of cultural formation, with units on Asian American girlhood and queer diasporas. Texts include: Flower Drum Song, Crazy Rich Asians, and Master of None. Authors may include: Ocean Vuong and Lysley Tenorio. (not open to students who have taken FYSE 1562) 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Spring 2022

Requirements

AMR, LIT

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Course Description

Reading Women's Writing: Living a Feminist Life from Mary Wollstonecraft to Sara Ahmed
In this course we will investigate the tradition of women's writing in English from the sixteenth century to the present day, focusing on the complex relationships among writing, sexuality, race, and gender. We will consider the ways in which writers identifying as female respond to--and often subvert--traditional literary themes and conventions, looking critically as we do so at our own interpretive assumptions as readers. An organizing focus of our reading will be the articulation and/or suppression of female anger and other related emotions in a variety of repressive contexts. Though our focus will be primarily on the interpretation of literary works, we will also develop an awareness of relevant debates in feminist theory, from Mary Wollstonecraft’s revolutionary contribution to notions of female education to Sara Ahmed’s concept of the feminist “killjoy.” Other texts may include: Jane Austen, Mansfield Park; Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway; Toni Morrison, Sula; Tsitsi Dangarembga, Nervous Conditions; Brittney Cooper, Eloquent Rage; Carmen Maria Machado, Her Body and Other Parties; Kristen Roupenian, You Know You Want This, Rebecca Traister, Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger. For on campus students, discussions will be held in person outside when possible. 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020

Requirements

LIT

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Course Description

Multi-Ethnic American Literature
This course introduces multi-ethnic literature by studying the relationship between racial formation and literary representation. How is race constituted and what role does literature play in the process? How are cultural representations of racialized difference formed in relation to its historical, material, and social conditions? We will critically analyze the nested issues of labour, law, and migration that have shaped Black, Indigenous, and Asian presence within North America. From there, we explore the themes of assimilation, multiculturalism, diaspora, and American empire in order to track the trajectory of minoritarian literature throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. Authors may include: Maxine Hong Kingston, Tomson Highway, Toni Morrison, and Viet Nguyen. 3 hrs. lect./disc. (REC)

Terms Taught

Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

Requirements

AMR, CMP, LIT, NOR

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Course Description

The Short Story (AL)
This course approaches the short story as a distinct prose genre, beginning with work by Edgar Allen Poe and Guy de Maupassant and concluding with stories by contemporary authors. We will examine the particularly notable growth of the genre in America and survey various trends in the form, from "local color" sketches and realistic tales to experiments in modernism and postmodernism. Throughout, we will consider issues of structure, characterization, style, and voice. Other authors may include Anderson, Barthelme, Cheever, Chekhov, Hemingway, Joyce, Moore, O'Connor, Twain, and Welty. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Fall 2019, Spring 2022

Requirements

AMR, LIT, NOR

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Course Description

Adventures in Literary Romance (Pre-1800)
In this course we will explore the literary genre of romance. Today, “romance” often refers to courtship—only one aspect of this ancient genre. Other aspects include adventure, magic, wonder, multiple plots, multiple authors, an affinity for sequels. Romance’s associations with every genre—tragedy, comedy, epic, novel, lyric poetry—and its reputation for escapism have made it an epitome of the very idea of literature, as conceived by attackers and defenders. Its welcoming of female readers and protagonists and its marketing of the exotic have raised issues of gender and ethnicity. We will discuss all such aspects and implications of romance, and we may also explore how romance has shaped modern television and film. No papers or exams; there will be quizzes daily on the reading, and students will be expected to participate thoughtfully in class discussions. Readings from texts such as: Daphnis and Chloe, Ethiopian Romance, The Gospel of Luke, The Golden Ass, Arthurian romances by various authors, Orlando Inamorato, Orlando Furioso, The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia, The Merchant of Venice, The Winter’s Tale, Don Quixote,/ Waverly/, Madame Bovary, Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Time Quintet. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Fall 2020

Requirements

LIT

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Course Description

Poetry and Performance
Most poems are meant to be performed. In this course we will explore many short poems and a few long poems, spanning three-quarters of a millennium, with performance in mind. We will memorize poems, perform poems out loud for each other, and interpret poems with tone foremost in mind, on the theory that everything about a poem, from its form to its diction to its imagery to its historical or social context, instructs its reader as to its voice. Texts will include diverse poems in English, from Middle English tales or lyrics to slam poetry, from Renaissance and Romantic lyrics to postcolonial poetry, from modernist experiments to indigenous poetry. Formal assignments will include recitations, presentations, a paper or two, and a poem, to be created, memorized, and performed by the student. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021

Requirements

LIT

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Course Description

Contemporary African-American Playwrights
In this course we will explore how influential contemporary African American dramatists bring to the American stage different aspects of the black experience. From William Branch’s A Medal For Willie (1951) to Dominique Morisseau’s Detroit ’67 (2013), readings will provide students the opportunity to investigate how plays are interpreted by actors and directors, and wrestle with topics such as voting rights, cultural appropriation, housing discrimination, gender inequality, and equal access to education. Beyond dramatic texts and critical readings, students will hear some of the playwrights (via video conferencing) offer their views on topics and issues we will discuss in class. 3 hrs. lect. (Dramatic Literature) (Rec)

Terms Taught

Spring 2019

Requirements

AMR, ART, CMP, LIT, NOR

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Course Description

An Introduction to Biblical Literature
This course is a general introduction to biblical history, literature, and interpretation. It aims to acquaint students with the major characters, narratives, and poetry of the Jewish and Christian scriptures, with special emphasis on the ways scripture has been used and interpreted in Western culture. Students interested in more detailed analysis of the material should enroll in RELI 0280 and RELI 0281. 3 hrs. lect./1 hr. disc.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018

Requirements

LIT, PHL

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Course Description

British Literature and Culture (I) (Pre-1800)
Topic is determined by the instructor - refer to section for the course description.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018

Requirements

EUR, LIT

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Course Description

Foundations of English Literature (Pre-1800)
Students will study Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and Milton's Paradise Lost, as well as other foundational works of English literature that may include Shakespeare, non-Shakespearean Elizabethan drama, the poetry of Donne, and other 16th- and 17th-century poetry. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022

Requirements

EUR, LIT

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Course Description

Introduction to Contemporary Literary Theory
In this course we will introduce several major schools of contemporary literary theory. By reading theoretical texts in close conjunction with works of literature, we will illuminate the ways in which these theoretical stances can produce multiple interpretations of a given literary work. The approaches covered may include New Criticism, Psychoanalysis, Marxism and Cultural Criticism, Race Theory and Multicultural Criticism, Feminism, Post-Colonial Criticism, Queer Studies, Eco-Criticism, Post-Structuralism, and others. These theories will be applied to various works of fiction, poetry, and drama. The goal will be to make students critically aware of the fundamental literary, cultural, political, and moral assumptions underlying every act of interpretation they perform. 3 hrs. lect/disc.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

Requirements

EUR, LIT

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Course Description

Nineteenth-Century American Literature (Pre-1900 AL)
This course will examine major developments in the literary world of 19th century America. Specific topics to be addressed might include the transition from Romanticism to Regionalism and Realism, the origins and evolution of the novel in the United States, and the tensions arising from the emergence of a commercial marketplace for literature. Attention will also be paid to the rise of women as literary professionals in America and the persistent problematizing of race and slavery. Among others, authors may include J. F. Cooper, Emerson, Melville, Douglass, Chopin, Whitman, Dickinson, Twain, Hawthorne, Stowe, Alcott, Wharton, and James. . 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2021

Requirements

AMR, LIT, NOR

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Course Description

English Literary Landscapes, 1700-1900 (II) (Pre-1800)
In this course we will examine literary and related works that take as their focus the natural world and man's relationship to it. We will consider transformations of taste in representations of landscape in England in the 18th and 19th centuries. Works to be discussed will include poems, gardening tracts, philosophical treatises, notebooks, letters, travel accounts, natural histories, and novels. Pope, Crabbe, Wordsworth, Tennyson, Clare, Hopkins, and Hardy will be central figures in this course.

Terms Taught

Spring 2019

Requirements

EUR, LIT

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Course Description

American Literature and Culture: Origins-1830 (AL) (Pre-1900 AL)
A study of literary and other cultural forms in early America, including gravestones, architecture, furniture and visual art. We will consider how writing and these other forms gave life to ideas about religion, diversity, civic obligation and individual rights that dominated not only colonial life but that continue to influence notions of "Americanness" into the present day. Required for all majors and minors. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

Requirements

AMR, LIT, NOR

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Course Description

The American Modernists (AL)
American writers at the turn of the 20th century faced social, intellectual, and technological change on an unprecedented scale. Individually and collectively they worked to answer William Carlos Williams’s pressing question: “How can I be a mirror to this modernity?” In this course we will read, discuss, and write about poetry by writers such as Williams, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and Wallace Stevens; and prose by Henry Adams, Edith Wharton, Hemingway, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Nella Larsen, Richard Wright, and others. (Not open to students who have taken ENAM 0207)

Terms Taught

Fall 2021

Requirements

AMR, LIT, NOR

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Course Description

Global Perspectives on Literature for Youth
Literature in translation, post-colonial English literature, and the literature of immigrants are a growing part of literature available to American children. We will examine literature from Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia originally written in English or in translation. What makes international literature distinct from multicultural literature? Do these literary traditions bridge cultural gaps? What issues arise in translating for children? What is the phenomenon of "Americanization?" What are the implicit and explicit cultural and/or ethnic expectations regarding authorship and criticism in international literature? In this class we will examine these questions through the lens of literature for children.

Terms Taught

Spring 2022

Requirements

CMP, LIT

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Course Description

American Literature Since 1945 (AL)
In this course we will trace the development of the postmodern sensibility in American literature since the Second World War. We will read works in four genres: short fiction, novels, non-fiction (the "new journalism"), and poetry. Authors will include Saul Bellow, Joseph Heller, Ralph Ellison, Flannery O'Connor, Jack Kerouac, Vladimir Nabokov, Tom Wolfe, Joan Didion, Toni Morrison, and Don DeLillo. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021

Requirements

AMR, LIT, NOR

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Course Description

Contested Grounds: U.S. Cultures and Environments
Throughout the history of the United States, Americans have created a complex set of meanings pertaining to the environments (wild, pastoral, urban, marine) in which they live. From European-Native contact to the present, Americans’ various identities, cultures, and beliefs about the bio-physical world have shaped the stories they tell about “nature,” stories that sometimes share common ground, but often create conflicting and contested understandings of human-environment relationships. In this course we will investigate these varied and contested stories from multi-disciplinary perspectives in the humanities—history, literature, and religion--and will include attention to race, class, gender, and environmental justice. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2020

Requirements

AMR, NOR

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Course Description

Shakespeare’s Rivals (I)
In this course we will read a selection of the best plays by Shakespeare’s fellow playwrights who helped define the “Golden Age” of English dramatic literature. Variously heroic and comic, eloquent and grandiloquent, witty and outrageous, dignified and obscene, and sometimes tragically bloody, these plays at their best are every bit as good as Shakespeare’s, and they give us a much better picture of the full theatrical and cultural contexts of Shakespeare’s plays than his alone can do. We will use all the tools of literary analysis to appreciate the problematics of these texts in terms of social politics, historical determinants, theatrical practice, and canon formation. Authors include Thomas Middleton, Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson, Elizabeth Carey, John Fletcher, Francis Beaumont, Thomas Dekker, John Webster, and Thomas Kyd. (Pre-1800) 3 hrs. lect./disc

Terms Taught

Spring 2021

Requirements

AMR, LIT, NOR

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Course Description

Slam Poetry: Artistry and Politics
In this course, we will examine the artistry, politics, and history of slam poetry through a wide range of spoken word performances on video. In addition to writing short critiques, students will develop drafts for two new (3-minute) spoken word poems for performance, working in small groups and also individually with the professor over Zoom. Poets include the likes of Denice Frohman, Danez Smith, Portia O., Andrea Gibson, Rudy Francisco, Emi Mahmoud, Safia Elhillo, G. Yamazawa, Amir Safi, Rachel Rostad, Hieu Minh Nguyen, Yesika Salgado, Glori B., and Samantha Peterson, among others. Warning: some of the material in this course is explicit, emotionally intense, and disturbing. Weather permitting, some meetings may take place outside in person. 3 hrs. lect

Terms Taught

Fall 2020, Winter 2021

Requirements

ART, LIT

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Course Description

English Romantic Novel, 1764-1847 (Pre-1800)
In this course we will examine novels written in England at the turn of the eighteenth century. Romantic in sensibility, these works are far from romantic in content, preoccupied with quite the opposite of amour: pride, revenge, incest, lascivious monks, transgressive scientists, and religious fanaticism. Each of these novels explores questions of identity, religion, sexuality, science, and landscape in innovative ways, experimenting with organizational and narrative strategies that challenge prevailing views of novelistic form. We will read three Gothic novels (The Castle of Otranto, The Mysteries of Udolpho, and The Monk) and one anti-Gothic work, ,Northanger Abbey, as well as Frankenstein, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, and Wuthering Heights.

Terms Taught

Fall 2019

Requirements

LIT

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Course Description

Contemporary Latinx Playwrights
In this course we will investigate Chicana/o/x and Latina/o/x artistic activism since the 1960s in the works of playwrights such as Luis Valdez, Josefina Baéz, John Leguizamo, and Guadalís Del Carmen. In alternating in-person and online meetings, we will engage with scripts as diverse in aesthetic approach as they are in societal concerns (including misrepresentation, unfair labor practices, gender roles, immigration, and colorism). Conversations with guest artists will enhance readings about historical events that inspired theatrical challenges to the status quo. Creative responses to the materials will strengthen critical interpretive skills including production dramaturgy, performance, and design. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020

Requirements

AAL, AMR, ART, LIT

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Course Description

Creative Derivation: Rewriting, Remaking, and Unmaking Literature
The American experimental poet Robert Duncan famously described his work as “derivative.” His contemporary, Ronald Johnson, once remarked: “I read to steal.” In this course we will take these articulations of reading-focused poetics as a premise for surveying seventeenth- through twenty-first-century literature that enacts the reading of other texts; repurposes the narratives and terms of canonical or hegemonic writing; or uses critique as a means of generative engagement. Along the way, we will consider the stakes of rewriting or reworking texts across cultural, historical, generic, and formal distances. Students will be invited to pursue creative final projects. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2022

Requirements

LIT

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Course Description

Commerce of the World-Century Literature (Pre-1800)
British society, politics, and culture shifted dramatically over the course of the eighteenth century in response to the ascendance of an empowered mercantile bourgeoisie, an expanding empire, and the intensification of its investments in the transatlantic slave trade. In this course we will explore how writers and thinkers grappled with these economic, social, and political transformations at the levels of narrative, form, and genre by reading novels, plays, poems, and essays by Aphra Behn, Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, Susanna Centlivre, Laurence Sterne, Olaudah Equiano, and others. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Fall 2019, Fall 2021

Requirements

EUR, LIT

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Course Description

Encounters With the Wild: Nature, Culture, Poetry (I) (Pre-1800)
Civilization is often defined against wilderness. The two ideas are not exclusive but mutually constitutive, for wilderness and the wild turn out to be central to notions of the civil and the civilized. Poets have long been preoccupied by the boundaries and connections between these ideas. The word "poetry" itself comes from a Greek word for "craft" or "shaping"; thus, poetry implies the shaping of natural elements into an artful whole. In this course we will examine the literary history of this ongoing dialectic by reading and discussing masterpieces of Western literature, from ancient epics to modern poetry and folklore. As we do so we will rethink the craft of poetry, and the role of the poet, in mapping the wild. Readings will include Gilgamesh, The Odyssey, sections of The Bible and Ovid's Metamorphoses, Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Tempest, and poems by Wyatt, Marlowe, Jonson, Donne, Marvell, Pope, and Thompson. (This course counts toward the ENVS Literature focus and the ENVS Environmental Non-Fiction Focus) lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020

Requirements

CMP, EUR, LIT

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Course Description

Global English in the New Media Environment
Far from spelling the end of literature, the rise of new technologies of communication has continually energized Anglophone literary production. Reading literature through the lens of media theory (Stuart Hall, Friedrich Kittler, Gilles Deleuze, Rey Chow) , students in this course will explore how the global circulation of information, media, and images has transformed the literary imagination. While we will sample canonical modernist engagements with earlier transformations in print and visual culture, our main goal will be to bridge the gap between media studies and Anglophone postcolonial literature throughout the world. Readings will be selected from Benyamin, Jasmine Days; Chimamanda Ngozie Adihchie, Americanah; NoViolet Bulawayo, We Need New Names; Karen Tei Yamashita, Through the Arc of the Rainforest; Zadie Smith, Swing Time; David Mitchell, Ghostwritten; and the poems of Jean Binta Breeze and Linton Kwesi Johnson. 3 hrs. lect. (REC)

Terms Taught

Fall 2021

Requirements

LIT, SOC

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Course Description

Contemporary American Playwrights
In this course we will explore through discussion and in-class dramatic presentations the plays of a selection of contemporary American writers since 1974. Students will give one oral presentation and submit a concluding essay. Authors read will include Sam Shepard, August Wilson, John Patrick Shanley, Marsha Norman, Tracey Letts, Miguel Pinero, and Ntozake Shange. (Formerly THEA/AMLT 0216) 3 hrs. lect. (Dramatic Literature)/

Terms Taught

Fall 2018

Requirements

AMR, ART, LIT, NOR

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Course Description

Nineteenth Century British Literature (II)
The 19th century is the era of “peak novel,” for never before or since has the genre exhibited such confidence in its ability to tell the truth about both the teeming world and the private life. But far from merely reflecting social reality, the novelists and poets of the period played an active part in constructing their readers' ideas about gender and sexuality, imperialism and colonialism, class, religion, and technology, insisting that literature be relevant and revelatory in a time of swift and sometimes frightening cultural and intellectual innovation. Works to be covered will include novels by Emily Bronte, Dickens, George Eliot, and Hardy, and the poetry of Tennyson, Browning, and Christina Rossetti. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2019, Spring 2022

Requirements

EUR, LIT

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Course Description

Critical Conditions: Gender, Literature, and Illness (Pre-1800)
In this course we will explore the literary representation of illness and pain in a range of texts from the classical period to the present day, focusing in particular on the intersection of illness with questions of gender, race, and sexuality. Beginning with Sophocles’s tragedy Women of Trachis, we will explore the classical representation of acute pain in the context of early Greek medicine, before examining medieval and early modern literary works inspired by the Black Death, including selections from Boccaccio’s Decameron. The second half of the class will focus on modernist and contemporary accounts of illness, including Virginia Woolf’s treatment of both the 1918 influenza epidemic and so-called “shell-shock” in her novel Mrs Dalloway. We will intersperse our literary readings with theoretical explorations of cure, disability, and ableism by writers such as Eli Clare, as well as work from the emerging field of narrative medicine. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021

Requirements

EUR, LIT

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Course Description

Maritime Literature and Culture
Writers have long found the sea to be a cause of wonder and reflection. A mirror for some and a desert for others, the sea has influenced the imaginations of writers throughout history in vastly different ways. In this course we will read a variety of literary works, both fiction and non-fiction, in which the sea acts as the setting, a body of symbolism, an epistemological challenge, and a reason to reflect on the human relationship to nature. Readings will be drawn from the Bible, Homer's Odyssey, Old English Poetry, Shakespeare, Tennyson, Kipling, Conrad, Melville, Hemingway, Walcott, O'Brian, and others. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Fall 2019

Requirements

LIT

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Course Description

Twentieth-Century English Novel
This course will explore the development of the novel in this century, with a primary focus on writers of the modernist period and later attention to more contemporary works. We will examine questions of formal experimentation, the development of character, uses of the narrator, and the problem of history, both personal and political, in a novelistic context. Readings will include novels by Conrad, Joyce, Forster, Woolf, and others. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2019, Spring 2021

Requirements

EUR, LIT

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Course Description

Human Rights and World Literature
In this course we will explore the idiom of human rights in law, literature, and political culture. We will place literary representations of human rights violations (genocide, torture, detention and forced labor, environmental devastation, police violence) in dialogue with official human rights treaties and declarations in order to historicize and critique the assumptions of human rights discourse. Who qualifies as a “human” deserving of humanitarian intervention? How do human rights rehearse a colonial dynamic based on racial and geo-political privilege? To answer these questions we will turn to some of the most controversial voices in global fiction and poetry. 3 hrs. lect. (not open to students who have taken ENAM 0230)
(Diversity) (Rec)

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Spring 2021

Requirements

CMP, LIT, SOC

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Course Description

The Romantic Revolution
he generation of British poets and novelists known collectively as the Romantics decisively rebelled against earlier conceptions of what literature could speak about, how it could best describe a rapidly changing world, and who was fit to be its reader. Arguably the first environmentalists, the Romantics also initiated our modern discussions of gender, class, race, and nationalism. To encounter the Romantics is to witness intellectual courage taking up arms against habit, prejudice, and tyranny. We will trace their genius and daring (and follow their personal attachments for, and rivalries with, each other) through the poetry of Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, and Keats, and the novels of Mary Shelley and Emily Brönte. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2020

Requirements

EUR, LIT

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Course Description

African American Literature (AL)
This course surveys developments in African American fiction, drama, poetry, and essays during the 20th century. Reading texts in their social, historical, and cultural contexts—and often in conjunction with other African American art forms like music and visual art—we will explore the evolution and deployment of various visions of black being and black artistry, from the Harlem Renaissance through social realism and the Black Arts Movement, to the contemporary post-soul aesthetic. Authors may include Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Gwendolyn Brooks, Ralph Ellison, Lorraine Hansberry, Amiri Baraka, Ishmael Reed, Toni Morrison, Charles Johnson, and Octavia Butler. 3 hrs lect./disc. (Diversity) (Rec)

Terms Taught

Fall 2019

Requirements

AMR, LIT, NOR

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Course Description

Science Fiction
Time travel, aliens, androids, robots, corporate and political domination, reimaginings of race, gender, sexuality and the human body--these concerns have dominated science fiction over the last 150 years. But for all of its interest in the future, science fiction tends to focus on technologies and social problems relevant to the period in which it is written. In this course, we'll work to understand both the way that authors imagine technology's role in society and how those imaginings create meanings for science and its objects of study and transformation. Some likely reading and films include Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, H. G. Wells, The Island of Doctor Moreau, Ridley Scott, Blade Runner, and works by William Gibson, Ursula LeGuin, Octavia Butler and other contemporary writers. (Students who have taken FYSE 1162 are not eligible to register for this course). 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Spring 2021

Requirements

LIT

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Course Description

American Women Poets
We will examine the rich tradition of lyric poetry by women in the U.S. Beginning with the Puritan Anne Bradstreet, one of the New World's earliest published poets, we continue to the 19th century and Emily Dickinson, along with the formidable line of "poetesses" who dominated the popular poetry press in that era. We examine the female contribution to the Modernist aesthetic in figures like Millay, Moore, H.D. and Gertrude Stein; the transformation of modernist ideals by Bishop, Plath, Sexton, and Rich; and, among the postmodernists, Lyn Hejinian and Susan Howe. 3 hrs. lect. (National/Transnational Feminisms)

Terms Taught

Spring 2019, Spring 2022

Requirements

AMR, LIT, NOR

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Course Description

American Psycho: Disease, Doctors, and Discontents (Pre-1900 AL)
What constitutes a pathological response to the pressures of modernity? How do pathological protagonists drive readers toward the precariousness of their own physical and mental health? The readings for this class center on the provisional nature of sanity and the challenges to bodily health in a world of modern commerce, media, and medical diagnoses. We will begin with 19th century texts and their engagement with seemingly "diseased" responses to urbanization, new forms of work, and new structures of the family and end with contemporary fictional psychopaths engaged in attacks on the world of images we inhabit in the present. Nineteenth century texts will likely include stories by Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Later 20th-century works will likely include Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Thomas Harris, The Silence of the Lambs, Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted, and Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho.

Terms Taught

Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021

Requirements

AMR, LIT, NOR

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Course Description

Kazuo Ishiguro
Winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature, Kazuo Ishiguro is among the most influential and celebrated of contemporary writers. In novels like Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go, Ishiguro gives shape to today’s most pressing questions: about work and workers, the difficulties of intimacy and caring, the political consequences of historical perspective, and the ethical dilemmas facing scientists and educators. Moving between Europe and Asia, his novels also address the complex negotiation of cultural difference in a globalized world. We will explore his major works in great depth, supplementing our literary investigation with materials from other disciplines. (Diversity) (Rec)

Terms Taught

Winter 2019, Winter 2022

Requirements

CMP, EUR, LIT, WTR

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Course Description

Literature of Displacement: Forced Migration, Diaspora, Exile
In this course we will study postcolonial literature about migration, displacement, exile, and diaspora. Spurred variously by force, necessity and desire, migrants leave their homes and homelands with regret and with hope. Writers address the historical forces that propel these migrations: decolonization and neo-colonialism, globalization, warfare, dispossession, political violence, religious conflict, and environmental catastrophe. They experiment with narrative form and poetic language to explore the experiences of undocumented immigrant workers, exiles, refugees and well-to-do migrants. We will examine how displacement shapes constructions of identity, history, community and place in texts by writers such as Anzaldua, Ali, Darwish, Diome, Patel, Gomez Pena, Said, Rushdie, and others. (formerly ENAM 0462) 3 hrs. sem. (Diversity) (Rec) Please note that, if circumstances require, this course may occasionally be taught remotely.

Terms Taught

Spring 2019, Fall 2020, Spring 2022

Requirements

AAL, CMP, LIT, SOA, SOC

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Course Description

Postcolonial Literature from South Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean
In the last decades, writers from postcolonial South Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean have come into their own, winning international prizes and garnering attention because of the literary quality of their work as well as their nuanced engagement with important issues of our age--issues such as imperialism, orientalism, colonial rule, political resistance, subaltern studies, nationalism, economic development, gender and sexuality, immigration, diaspora, and globalization. We will discuss a range of works by writers such as Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, J. M. Coetzee, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Assia Djebar, Frantz Fanon, Hanif Kureishi, Nadine Gordimer, C.L.R. James, Jamaica Kincaid, George Lamming, Ngugi Wa Thiong'o, Rohinton Mistry, Arundhati Roy, Salman Rushdie, Edward Said, Zadie Smith, and Wole Soyinka. Texts will vary from semester to semester. 3 hrs. lect/disc. (Diversity) (Rec)

Terms Taught

Fall 2018

Requirements

AAL, CMP, LIT, SOA

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Course Description

Multi-Ethnic British Literatures
"My name is Karim Amir," announces the protagonist of a Hanif Kureishi novel, "and I am an Englishman born and bred, almost." In this course we will investigate the complex subject of ethnic and national identity in the writing of British authors of Asian, African, and Caribbean descent. We will trace the shifting meanings of "black" and "British" as we move from 1950s migrant fictions to more recent reckonings with British multiculturalism. Topics to be considered will include diaspora and the work of memory; race and religion after 9/11; the representation of urban space; and the experience of asylum-seekers and refugees. 3 hrs. lect./disc. (Diversity) (Rec)

Terms Taught

Spring 2020, Spring 2022

Requirements

CMP, EUR, LIT

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Course Description

Reconstructing Literature: Realism, Regionalism, and the American scene, 1870-1919 (Pre-1900 AL)
American literature evolved in the late 1800s as a new generation of writers portrayed a rapidly changing culture, transformed by urbanization, industrial growth, immigration, class tensions, new roles for women, shifting race relations, and demographic transformations that seemed to split the nation into city and country. While realism was an effort to describe “life as it is” and regionalism focused on the distinctive features of specific places, both modes of representation stemmed from historical forces that were reshaping the nation. Works to be covered may include fiction by William Dean Howells, Charles Chesnutt, Sarah Orne Jewett, Kate Chopin, and Theodore Dreiser. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2019, Fall 2021

Requirements

AMR, HIS, LIT, NOR

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Course Description

Magical Realism(s)
Novels that juxtapose the marvelous with the everyday have shadowed (and mocked) mainstream realism for the better part of two centuries, and have proliferated in recent years to the point where they may constitute the predominant genre of our globalized culture. Why should such strange mélanges of the quotidian and the supernatural strike so many authors as the perfect vehicle to express 20th and 21st century anxieties and possibilities? We will explore examples of these boundary-defying fictions across several decades and various national literatures. Authors to be studied will include Woolf, Kafka, Calvino, Morrison, Pynchon, Rushdie, and Garcia-Marquez.

Terms Taught

Fall 2019

Requirements

CMP, LIT

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Course Description

Race, Dystopia, and Contemporary Fiction
What happens to race after the world ends? From environmental disasters to zombie invasions, the radical breakdown of human life haunts the cultural imaginary. A specific development within this cultural trend is the emergence of writers of colour who have turned to the dystopian and speculative genre. We will read such literary texts to consider representations of racial subjectivities, such as the lived experiences and perceptions of race, outside the conventions of realism. Themes that we will cover include: Afrofuturism, techno-Orientalism, zombies, cyborgs, and climate change. Authors include: Junot Diaz, Colson Whitehead, Chang-rae Lee, Octavia Butler, and Louise Erdrich. 3 hrs. lect/disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2020

Requirements

AMR, CMP, LIT

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Course Description

Portraits of the Lady: The New Woman in American Literature & Culture
At the end of the 19th century, women fought against restrictions limiting their sphere of influence. As they sought to exercise more control over their lives personally, socially, and economically, this “New Woman,” and the way she was changing the face of society, became a popular subject in literature and art. In this course we will consider portraits of women by well-known American authors (such as James, Chopin, Wharton, Sui Sin Far, Cather, Larsen, Hurston) alongside those by prominent painters, sculptors, photographers, illustrators, and filmmakers. We will consider how representations of women through the early twentieth century embodied the values of the nation and codified both the fears and aspirations of its citizens. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021

Requirements

AMR, ART, LIT, NOR

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Course Description

Hemingway's Outsized Life
In this class, we will explore the work of Ernest Hemingway, a writer whose literary style and heroic self-construction remain a source of fascination and controversy. Through a mostly chronological reading of his writings, we will examine Hemingway’s emergence as a pioneering modernist and member of the 1920s “lost generation,” his portrayal of war and violence, and his representations of gender, race, and “American-ness.” Assigned texts will include short stories, novels, and autobiographical works, as well as critical studies (including Ken Burns’ recent documentary film) that consider the impact of Hemingway’s life and writing on broader US cultural history.

Terms Taught

Spring 2022

Requirements

AMR, LIT

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Course Description

William Shakespeare, Nature Poet (Pre-1800)
In this course we will explore the works of William Shakespeare through an ecocritical lens, paying particular attention to the representation of the natural world in a sampling of the plays and poems. Topics will include the European culture of early modern natural history and natural philosophy, the boundary between humans and beasts, the transformative power of the forest, the alterity of the sea, the dialectic of pastoral and georgic, the malleability of gender, and the complexity of sexual identities. Readings will include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, Macbeth, The Winter’s Tale, and The Tempest, and several of the sonnets and narrative poems. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018

Requirements

EUR, LIT

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Course Description

The Graphic Novel
In this course we will study some of the most widely respected graphic novels produced in the last thirty years. Our purpose will be to understand how the form works and is structured by its dual, but sometimes competing, interests in the verbal and the visual, and to think about distinct styles of illustration. We will also think about how landmark examples have shaped the form. Working with software designed for the purpose, students will use photographs to produce short comics of their own. Possible texts include: Alan Moore, Watchmen; Art Spiegelman, Maus; Chris Ware, Jimmy Corrigan; Alison Bechdel, Fun Home. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Spring 2019, Fall 2020

Requirements

AMR, LIT, NOR

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Course Description

Reading Race in the 21st Century
This course surveys multi-ethnic American literature by exploring processes of racial formation through literature and literary representations produced in the 21st century. We will study both the continuities and divergences in contemporary Black, Indigenous, and Asian American literary productions from their historical iterations. What shifts have taken place in the multi-ethnic literary canon and tradition between the past to current centuries? We will engage with themes such as the rise of genre fiction, changes to the literary marketplace, and the status of “national literature” in the global age. Authors include: Colson Whitehead, Chang-rae Lee, Louise Erdrich, and Jhumpa Lahiri. (While ENAM0115 Introduction to Multi-Ethnic American Literature is not a prerequisite, it is encouraged.) 3hrs. sem. (REC)

Terms Taught

Spring 2021

Requirements

AMR, CMP, LIT, NOR

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Course Description

Contemporary Literature
In this course we will explore seminal works of the post-World War II literature written in English. In the course of our readings we will move through the cultural and social transformations beginning with the paranoia and alienation of the Cold War, and continuing with the Civil Rights era, the national crisis of Vietnam, the rise of multiculturalism and the culture wars in the 1980s, the wide ranging effects of the information revolution, the profits and perils of globalization, and the profound anxiety of the war on terror. Writers studied will include Thomas Pynchon, Vladimir Nabokov, Don DeLillo, Donald Barthelme, William S. Burroughs, Toni Morrison, Ishmael Reed, Ana Castillo, and Art Spiegelman. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021

Requirements

AMR, LIT, NOR

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Course Description

Modern Poetry
This course will examine the nature and achievement of the major modern poets of Britain and America during the modern period, beginning with the origins of poetic modernism in the work of Gerard Manley Hopkins, Emily Dickinson, and Walt Whitman. The central figures to be studied are William Butler Yeats, T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens, and W.H. Auden. The course will conclude with a look at some after-echoes of modernism in the work of Elizabeth Bishop and others. Two papers, one exam, with occasional oral presentations in class 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2022

Requirements

LIT

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Course Description

Race, Capitalism, Decolonization
What does race have to do with capitalism and profit, exploitation and dispossession? Drawing on contemporary fiction, poetry, and theory, we will consider the intersections of race and capitalism in shaping contemporary epistemologies, institutional practices, and lived experiences in local and global contexts. We will explore how present-day formations of race and capitalism are related to histories of imperialism and the global extraction of labor and resources. Decolonization implies a deep, complex, and multi-faceted process by which the discourses, knowledges, and practices at the core of capitalism and imperialism(s) and their mechanisms of oppression are challenged and dismantled. Please note that, if circumstances require, this course may occasionally be taught remotely.

Terms Taught

Spring 2022

Requirements

CMP, SOC

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Course Description

Poetry and the Spiritual Tradition
In this course we will examine the long and intimate connection between poetry and spirituality, looking especially at the influence of Christian thinking on such English and American poets as John Donne, George Herbert, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and T.S. Eliot. The course will begin with a study of the King James Version of the Book of Psalms, which deeply affected later British and American poetry. We will also read early Taoist and Islamic poets, including Lao Tse and Rumi. The course will conclude with a look at the work of several contemporary poets: Charles Wright, Louis Glück, and Mary Oliver. While this course is primarily online, on-campus students will have opportunities to meet in person with fellow students and the professor in small groups and during office hours, if circumstances allow. Off-campus students will be accommodated with additional optional online opportunities to connect. 3 hrs. lct.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Fall 2020

Requirements

CMP, LIT, PHL

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Course Description

Poetics of Translation
In this course we will explore the philosophical and linguistic questions raised by translingual discourse [with an emphasis on poetic writing] by surveying the most important theoretical writings on translation as we compare selections of poetry in multiple translations. Selections will include both “classic” texts such as the Psalms, the Illiad, Catullus, Li Bo, Rumi, Clément Marot, and/ Eugene Onenin/ as well as new experimental translingual poetry. We will discuss such questions as: How does language shape thought? How does culture shape language? Is poetry “untranslatable” by definition? What are the challenges of translating sacred or “exotic” poetry? 3 hrs. lect/disc.

Terms Taught

Fall 2019

Requirements

AAL, CMP, LIT, NOA

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Course Description

Tang Poetry / American Poetry
Amy Lowell and Ezra Pound, rival founders of the Imagist poetry movement a century ago, both published influential translations of Tang-dynasty lyrics, even though neither one knew a word of Chinese. In this course, we will not only study their accomplishments in context, but go a step further to begin learning how to read and write the most commonly used characters in Tang poetry so that we can parse a selection of the best poems in the original as we explore such topics as the differences between Chinese and European poetics, theories of translation and intercultural adaptation, and Orientalist fantasies of the ideogram. No knowledge of Chinese is necessary. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2022

Requirements

CMP, LIT

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Course Description

England’s Ovid: Grabbing Back the Myth (I) (Pre-1800)
In this course we will read Ovid’s Latin compendium of foundational mythical stories, the Metamorphoses, in two important early modern English translations: 1) the 16th-century version by Arthur Golding (the very one that Shakespeare read), which Ezra Pound called “the most beautiful book in the English language”; and 2) the 17th-century version by George Sandys, which contains allegorical commentaries and elaborate synoptic engravings. We will discuss these myths with an emphasis on gender politics and oral storytelling, and sometimes discuss how they reemerge in English literature. We will also examine a rare first edition of the Sandys edition (1623) which is owned by Middlebury College’s Special Collections, in addition to a modern annotated edition. The material for the course contains literary and graphic depictions of sexual violence, which will be critiqued from an unapologetically feminist perspective.

Terms Taught

Spring 2022

Requirements

EUR, LIT

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Course Description

Shakespeare’s Career (Pre-1800)
In this course we will study the whole arc of William Shakespeare's literary career from the earliest histories, comedies, and non-dramatic poetry to the more mature tragedies and romances, with an eye to understanding Shakespeare’s development as a writer in his own time. How might the plays have resonated for his first audiences on stage, and how have subsequent readers drawn their own meanings from the published texts? Reading one play a week, we will pay close attention to such dramaturgical issues as Shakespeare’s construction of character and of plot, his adaptation of sources, and his modes of versification, as well as the ethical, political, and commercial implications of Shakespeare’s works during his lifetime, some of which stand in contrast with what we learn from them today. Weather permitting, some meetings may be held outside in person. 3 hrs. lect./1 hr. disc./3 hrs. screen.

Terms Taught

Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

Requirements

EUR, LIT

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Course Description

Shakespeare's Comedies and Romances (I) (Pre-1800)
In this course we will appreciate and closely analyze the development of Shakespeare’s comic vision which distinguishes itself from the tragic vision by insisting that the most important thing about human beings is not that we die but that we fall in love, marry, and have children. We will move from the early Comedies, The Comedy of Errors, The Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The Merchant of Venice, through the major comedies, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, and Much Ado About Nothing, (and a Problem Play, Measure for Measure) to the final Romances, Pericles, The Winter’s Tale, and The Tempest, where Shakespeare searches for a way to reconcile the tragic and the comic visions by asking how life can be understandable when it presents us both with the joy of new birth and with the pain of loss and death.

Terms Taught

Spring 2019

Requirements

EUR, LIT

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Course Description

The Art of Vladimir Nabokov (in English)
A study of the "perverse" aesthetics of this Russian-American writer. We will expose the hidden plots under the surface of his fiction, follow and arbitrate the ongoing contest between the author and his fictional heroes, and search for the roots of Nabokov's poetics in Western and Russian literary traditions. An attempt will be made to show the continuity between the Russian and English works of this bilingual and bicultural writer. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Spring 2020

Requirements

AMR, LIT, NOR

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Course Description

Fiction in Practice and Theory
This literature/writing course will emphasize the practice and theory of formal elements in fiction. It will be a craft-level investigation of both traditional fictional forms (including epistolary, monologue, and collage) and texts conscious of themselves as texts. Readings will include examples of traditional forms as well as experimental works by literary groups such as OULIPO, the surrealists, minimalists, post-modernists, and hypertextualists. This course may replace one of the 0300-level requirements for students doing a Creative Writing concentration, but is open to all.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018

Requirements

ART

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Course Description

Postcolonial Literature and the City
In this course we will examine a number of novels from the 20th and 21st centuries that are about life in the city, taking a global and trans-national approach. We will explore formations of urban life alongside transformations in the novel as a genre. We will put these novels of city life in dialogue with critical theory—that is, theories of culture and society that have as their aim human emancipation (for example, Marxism, feminism, critical race studies, and postcolonial studies). The novels we read will reflect important literary movements such as realism, modernism, and postmodernism. (Not open to students who have taken ENAM 0447) (Rec)

Terms Taught

Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021

Requirements

CMP, LIT, SOC

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Course Description

Seminar: James Joyce
In this seminar we will study three of Joyce’s major works of fiction: Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Ulysses. There will be some emphasis on background material to illustrate and clarify the rich array of specific details, settings, persons, and events which make up the turn-of-the-century world of Irish Catholic Dublin, the exclusive scene of all of Joyce’s fiction. We will also consider various critical approaches to Joyce’s monuments of modernism. 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Spring 2020

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Course Description

Pulling Reality’s Hair: Truth and Other Fictions
We will, in this seminar, occupy ourselves with works that straddle or blur or occasionally just flat out ignore the aesthetic divide between fiction and non-fiction, in the hopes of getting a better grip on the relation between self and other, word and world, narrative strategy and fidelity to truths both large and small. Hence readings will include biographical and autobiographical novels, novelistic treatments of biography and autobiography, and a number of hybrid composites that cannot be classified, though we will surely try. Readings will include Nabokov, Proust, Henry Adams, J.M. Coetzee, W.G. Sebald, Lydia Davis, Joan Didion, Gregoire Bouillier, Art Spiegelman, and Spalding Gray. In addition we will view films by Ross McElwee, Andre Gregory, and Charlie Kaufman. This course is not open to students who have taken ENAM 0307. (3 hrs. sem.)

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Spring 2021

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Course Description

Gender, Power, and Politics on the Early Modern Stage (I) (Pre-1800)
In this class we will explore the representation of gendered embodiment on the early modern stage, considering as we do so how theatrical embodiment intersects with other treatments of the body in early modern culture. We will read both early modern and contemporary theoretical accounts of gender as performance, investigating among other issues the use of boy actors, the representation of specifically “female” disorders (e.g., “suffocation” or hysteria), the performance of maternity, and the treatment of same-sex eroticism. Of particular importance will be the representation of the articulate or angry woman as the “shrew” or “scold,” and we will begin the class with an investigation of so-called “shrew-taming” narratives. Primary readings will include: Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew and The Winter’s Tale, Webster’s Duchess of Malfi, and Cavendish’s Convent of Pleasure. We will end the semester with a look at how this material plays out in our current political moment, focusing in particular on the representation of Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, and Christine Blasey Ford. 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2019

Requirements

EUR, LIT

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Course Description

Nature Poetry
Can a poem reframe the relationship between humans and nature? Poets have posed this and similar questions for centuries. Scholars of literature and the environment, or “ecocritics,” ask it anew with reference to ongoing disasters such as global climate change, mass extinction, and new pandemics. In this course we will develop our ecocritical skills by exploring how poems about the human relationship to the biophysical environment can inspire us to rethink our place in the universe. We will read works by such poets as Gerard Manley Hopkins, William Butler Yeats, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Robert Frost, Elisabeth Bishop, Stanley Kunitz, Mary Oliver, Wendell Berry, Galway Kinnell, Maxine Kumin, Lucia Perillo, and Jorie Graham. (at least one course each in ENAM and ENVS) 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021

Requirements

LIT

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Course Description

Revolt and Rebellion in Long Eighteenth Century Literature
The long eighteenth century is replete with uprisings, rebellions, and revolutions. In this course we will think about why the event of the revolt, especially in colonial contexts, proved intriguing for British writers and thinkers throughout the period. How did representing historical and imagined uprisings alike enable Britons to diagnose social and political problems? When and why does it become permissible to revolt? What makes a revolutionary subject? Authors include: John Milton, John Locke, Aphra Behn, Ottobah Cugoano, Helen Maria Williams, and Mary Shelley. Critical/theoretical interlocutors might include Laura Brown, Susan Buck-Morss, C.L.R. James, and Anthony Paul Farley. Pre-1800. (REC) 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2022

Requirements

EUR, LIT

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Course Description

Batter My Heart: Religious Poetry from the Psalms to Mary Oliver
In this seminar we will look closely at some of the major religious poets (broadly defined to include a variety of traditions) in the course of English and American poetry from the 17th century writers John Donne and George Herbert to the contemporary American poet Mary Oliver. Major figures will look at include Donne, Herbert, Wordsworth, Hopkins, Dickinson, T. S. Eliot, W.H. Auden, Charles Wright, and Mary Oliver. There will be prose selections from various poets and spiritual writers, including Emerson.

Terms Taught

Fall 2019, Fall 2021

Requirements

LIT, PHL

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Course Description

Writing in Blood: Literature’s Body
To what extent is our condition defined and our destiny determined by the physical bodies that envelop us? In this course we will accompany novelists, playwrights, and poets as they investigate the ecstasies, agonies, ambiguities, and transformations that flesh imposes upon our daily lives. Simultaneously, we will consider their various attempts to transcend our bodily limitations, whether by means of religion, imagination, sexuality, or pharmaceuticals. Along the way, we will collaborate with our writers as they scrutinize the human form as a biological fact, social segregator, philosophical conundrum, and undiscovered country. Authors will include Mary Shelley, Dickinson, Kafka, Beckett, Silko, and Coetzee. 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Spring 2019

Requirements

EUR, LIT

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Course Description

Recent Novels of Environmental Justice
In recent years the global Anglophone novel has emerged as a literary forum for negotiating issues of Environmental Justice in what has been called The Global South. Novelists from Sri Lanka to the United States, South Africa, South Asia, Britain, and Canada have recently explored such issues as hunger, land access, migration, environmental toxicity, indigeneity versus national identity, and diminishing resources in novels that explore the lives of some of the globe’s most vulnerable populations. The books we read and discuss are set in far-flung regions, from South Africa, India, and Oceania to what some have called “third-world North America.” Our task will be to theorize and interpret the way these novels represent environmental inequality, injustice, and exploitation and to consider what Environmental Justice might look like in these places 3 hrs. sem. (Diversity) (Rec)

Terms Taught

Fall 2019

Requirements

AAL, CMP, LIT

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Course Description

Faulkner and His Influence (AL)
William Faulkner was extreme: the most radical formal innovator among the American Modernist novelists and an outrageous (and subtle) thinker about the complex social and racial history of the American south. In this course we will read Faulkner’s major works (As I Lay Dying; The Sound and the Fury; Light in August; Absalom, Absalom!; and Go Down, Moses) and works by Flannery O'Connor, Charles Johnson, and others influenced by Faulkner's style and vision. 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018

Requirements

AMR, LIT, NOR

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Course Description

Literature of Displacement: Forced Migration, Diaspora, Exile
We will study contemporary postcolonial literature and theory about migration, displacement, exile, and diaspora. Spurred variously by force, necessity and desire, migrants leave their homes and homelands with regret and with hope. Writers address the historical forces that shape these migrations: decolonization and neo-colonialism, globalization, warfare, dispossession, political violence, religious conflict, and environmental catastrophe. These writers experiment with narrative form and poetic language to explore the experiences of undocumented immigrant workers, exiles, refugees and well-to-do migrants. We will examine constructions of identity, history, community and place in texts by Anzaldua, Ali, Darwish, Diome, Patel, Gomez Pena, Said, Rushdie, Spivak, and others. (Diversity) (Rec)

Terms Taught

Spring 2020, Spring 2021

Requirements

AAL, CMP, LIT, SOA, SOC

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Course Description

Radical Fictions: Protests, Refuge, Revolution
The key premise of this course is to ask: Why are successful revolutions so difficult to imagine in contemporary literature? Minority authors often depict social movements, which strive to install those who were previously oppressed into positions of power and self-determination, to varying degrees of fulfillment. From historical precedents (the Black Power movement) to speculative societies that exclude men (feminist utopias), we will examine literary representations of political movements, refuges, and revolutions defined by power reversals. What can we learn from their shortcomings as much as their successes? Theoretical works include: Hegel, Marx, Fanon, Hannah Arendt, Valerie Solanas, and the Combahee River Collective. Authors include: Ralph Ellison, Danzy Senna, Paul Beatty, Susan Choi, Don Lee, R. O. Kwon, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman. 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Spring 2020

Requirements

LIT

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Course Description

Reading Race in the 21st Century
This course surveys multi-ethnic American literature by investigating processes of racial formation through literary representations produced in the 21st-century. We will study the continuities and divergences in contemporary Black, Indigenous, and Asian American literary productions from their historical iterations. What shifts have taken place in the multi-ethnic literary canon and tradition between the past to current centuries? How has the 21st century yielded new or alternate ways of telling familiar stories? What are the different forms and genres that BIPOC authors turn to in order to articulate social concerns? We will engage with themes such as the rise of genre fiction, changes to the literary marketplace, and the status of “national literature” in the global age. Authors may include: Colson Whitehead, Chang-rae Lee, Louise Erdrich, or Jhumpa Lahiri. (While ENAM0115 Introduction to Multi-Ethnic American Literature is not a prerequisite, it is encouraged.) 3hrs. sem. (REC)

Terms Taught

Spring 2022

Requirements

AMR, CMP, LIT, NOR

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Course Description

Dickinson and Bishop
In this course we will study, in significant depth, the lives and work of poets Emily Dickinson and Elizabeth Bishop. These authors are important and widely discussed; thus our topics will include a range of aesthetic, literary-historical, biographical, and political perspectives. And we will make use of a range of archival materials—journal entries, letters, drafts of poems—both published and unpublished. At the heart of our discussions, however, will be the poems these great writers produced. We will learn about ways to read and explicate poems, and about the use of archival materials in literary research and analysis. 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2020

Requirements

LIT

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Course Description

Afro-Asian Encounters
Scholars have recently uncovered a rich history of black and Asian solidarity against racism. Yet the Los Angeles uprisings of 1992 provided a painful reminder of the antagonisms between black and Asian diasporic groups. This course will explore how Asian American and African American identities have historically been constructed in relation to one another. We will foreground key sites in the making and undermining of Afro-Asian intimacies, from the racial formation of coolie laborers to the cross-racial imagination of Kung-Fu and Hip Hop. Authors will include Richard Wright, Chang-Rae Lee, Vijay Prashad, Frank Chin, Das Racist, Mira Nair, and W.E.B. Dubois. 3 hrs. sem. (Diversity) (Rec)

Terms Taught

Spring 2019, Fall 2020

Requirements

AAL, CMP, HIS, LIT, NOA

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Course Description

Special Project: Literature
Approval Required.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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Course Description

Special Project: Creative Writing
(Approval Required)

Terms Taught

Winter 2019, Winter 2020, Winter 2021, Winter 2022, Winter 2023

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Course Description

Senior Thesis: Critical Writing
Individual guidance and seminar (discussions, workshops, tutorials) for those undertaking one-term projects in literary criticism or analysis. All critical thesis writers also take the Senior Thesis Workshop (ENAM 700Z) in either Fall or Spring Term.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

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Course Description

Senior Essay: Creative Writing
Discussions, workshops, tutorials for those undertaking one-term projects in the writing of fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction.

Terms Taught

Winter 2019, Winter 2020, Winter 2021, Winter 2022, Winter 2023

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Course Description

Senior Colloquium in Literary Studies
Although it is required of all Literary Studies seniors, this course is intended for students working in any discipline who seek a close encounter with some of the greatest achievements of the literary imagination. In addition to being understood as distinctive artistic and philosophical accomplishments, the major works which constitute the reading list will also be seen as engaged in a vital, overarching cultural conversation across temporal and geographical boundaries that might otherwise seem insurmountable. The texts for this semester include Homer’s Odyssey, Aeschylus’ Oresteia, Cervantes’ Don Quixote, Dostoevsky’ Crime and Punishment, Pirandello’ Six Characters in Search of an Author, and Borges’ Ficciones. (Open to non-majors with the approval of the instructor.) 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022

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Course Description

Senior Work: Joint Majors in English & American Literatures and Theatre
Approval required.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022

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Course Description

Fictional Fictions
In this course we will engage with novels whose primary focus is the novel itself—how the genre is imagined, structured, written, sold, read, celebrated, and denounced. Our chosen meta-fictions will variously focus on the psychology of artistic production, on the philosophical issues surrounding the telling of “true lies,” on the social function of novels in our culture, and on what is at stake in the supposedly private act of reading. Our texts will include works such as Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, McEwan’s Atonement, Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair, Cunningham’s The Hours, and DeLillo’s Mao II. This course counts as an ENAM elective.

Terms Taught

Winter 2020

Requirements

LIT, WTR

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Course Description

Madame Bovary
Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary is widely regarded as the first “modern” novel and as one of the best novels ever written. First published in serial form in France in 1856, this story of a deeply dissatisfied provincial wife provoked a sensation, culminating in a spectacular state trial of author and publisher on charges of public immorality. Those events have long since faded into history, but the novel’s freshness, brilliance, psychological power, and literary influence can be felt to this day. In this course we will read the novel in two English translations, briefly review its historical and cultural context and its enduring literary heritage, and conclude with its most recent film adaptation, by Claude Chabrol (1991).

Terms Taught

Winter 2019, Winter 2020

Requirements

LIT, WTR

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Course Description

Poetry and the Marine Environment
In this course we will read and discuss Anglophone poetry about the sea, from the Old English poem The Seafarer to Derek Walcott’s The Sea is History. Our two main goals will be to investigate how poets imagine the marine environment and to bring multiple interpretive approaches to bear on literary texts from different regions and traditions. These approaches will include formal, contextual, and theoretical methods of inquiry. We will read poems by a diversity of poets, including John Masefield, Rudyard Kipling, Adrienne Rich, Derek Walcott, and Mary Oliver.

Terms Taught

Winter 2020

Requirements

LIT, WTR

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Course Description

Kafka and his Influence
This course is an intensive inquiry into the work and reach of Franz Kafka. In addition to reading his novels, his stories, his letters and diaries, and his aphorisms, we will take up some of the voluminous and often highly imaginative writings on Kafka, with an eye towards fashioning some ideas, and some writings, of our own.

Terms Taught

Winter 2021

Requirements

EUR, LIT, PHL, WTR

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Course Description

Linked Short Stories: Examining Classic and Contemporary short Story Collections
Short story collections often gain in richness and resonance when the stories they contain are linked—whether that linkage exists in terms of community, setting, central characters, or major events.  In this course we will read Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio; Richard Ford’s Rock Springs; Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge; Alice Munro’s The Beggar’s Maid; and Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried.  We will read to become experts in how individual stories are constructed and how they then build upon themselves.  Students will write two 7–8 page papers examining theme and technique.  As well, student will do some writing exercises that illuminate how these writers are achieving their effects.

Terms Taught

Winter 2019

Requirements

LIT, WTR

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Course Description

African Environmental Writing, Photography, and Film
Concerned with social implications of environmental change, a burgeoning number of contemporary African photographers, filmmakers, and authors are challenging the public with social documents that protest ecologically destructive forms of neocolonial development. These works actively resist oppression, abuse, and conflagration of both the black body and the environment. Subverting the neocolonialist rhetoric and gaze, these creative practitioners complicate what it means to write about and look at those most affected by environmental injustices perpetrated by international and national actors. In this course we will view relevant photographs and films and read African environmental literature as sources of artistic and activist inspiration. Whilst reading, we will ask ourselves the hard questions of what to do with our own complicity when facing the role that the global north plays in the causation of environmental degradation and human suffering. Students will be expected to reflect upon how best to regard the pain of others in the Anthropocene, as well as upon how culture influences creative depictions of the Anthropocene. Seminar papers will address questions that arise from analyzing particular works. This course counts as a Humanities cognate for environmental studies majors. (Diversity) (Rec)

Terms Taught

Winter 2019, Winter 2020, Winter 2022

Requirements

AAL, LIT, SAF, WTR

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Course Description

Poems, Poets, Poetry
Emily Dickinson declared, “if I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.” In this introductory class we will encounter hair-raising poems from a wide variety of genres and historical eras in order to examine their structural forms, linguistic audacities, ideological captivities, and personal revelations. We will also read various poets’ meditations on their own craft, from which we will draw our own conclusions about what poems do, should, or might accomplish in the world. Our goal will always be to render poetry accessible, relevant, and enjoyable—to become confident readers of, and informed writers about, the diverse poetic utterance.

Terms Taught

Winter 2021, Winter 2022

Requirements

LIT, WTR

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Course Description

Documentary Poetics
In this course we will examine how poetry intervenes in the world. What kinds of history can poetry document, capture, or reflect? What can we learn from poetic documentation that we might not otherwise? We will read texts that incorporate archival materials and ephemera as well as works tracing limitations of the archive. Readings will include Charles Reznikoff, Dionne Brand, Muriel Rukeyser, Langston Hughes, Layli Long Soldier, Theresa Ha Kyung Cha, Caroline Bergvall, and M. Nourbese Philip, among others. Students will create their own poetic work throughout this class. Their fina

Terms Taught

Winter 2022

Requirements

CW, LIT, WTR

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Course Description

Asian American Indie Cinema
From The Joy Luck Club (1993) to Crazy Rich Asians (2018), we have seen Asian American films sporadically achieve mainstream and commercial success in the last few decades. In these discussions, however, less attention is often paid to the rich and storied tradition of Asian American independent cinema. From its inception, Asian American cinema has necessarily had to be “independently” produced and distributed due to the historical, political, and material circumstances of Asian American racial formation. In this course we will survey, view, and analyze selections from the canon of Asian American indie cinema. What social themes do Asian American filmmakers engage with in their works? Which cinematic traditions do they borrow from or re-envision? Films studied may include: Chan Is Missing (1982), Double Happiness (1994), Better Luck Tomorrow (2002), Saving Face (2004), and Minari (2020).

Terms Taught

Winter 2022

Requirements

AMR, ART, NOR, WTR

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Course Description

The Graphic Novel and the Postmodern City
From dystopian visions of isolation and alienation to utopian illustrations of soaring towers and integrated communities, comics and graphic novels since the 1970s have represented a range of cityscapes and ways of living in them. Our efforts will focus on understanding how comics work as a cultural form distinct from others and how various artists and writers have imagined urban space in relatively recent U.S. cultural history. Some texts might include: Daniel Clowes, Ghost World; Alan Moore and David Lloyd, V for Vendetta; Chris Ware, Jimmy Corrigan, The Smartest Kid on Earth, and G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphono, Ms. Marvel.

Terms Taught

Winter 2021

Requirements

AMR, LIT, NOR, WTR

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Course Description

Advanced Expository Writing
In this course students will have the opportunity to work intensively to improve the style and impact of their expository (non-fiction) writing. Students will write short daily essays on assigned prompts, culminating in a longer essay on a topic of their choosing. This course is meant for ambitious writers who are confident in their basic composition skills. The course will be conducted asynchronously on Canvas, and students will read a selection of exemplary essays as well as work by their fellow students for inspiration. Each student will meet via Zoom with the professor at least twice per week to discuss their progress.

Terms Taught

Winter 2021

Requirements

ART, CW, WTR

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Course Description

Literature and the Visual Arts
In this course we will explore the intersections of literary texts with the visual arts. What happens when literature tries to capture in words a visual image? What happens when a picture tries to tell a story? We will examine literary texts which respond directly to specific paintings as well as texts which are more broadly visual in their impact on readers; we will also look at hybrid texts like the graphic novel which include both words and images. Course readings will include poems, short stories, short novels, illustrated books, and graphic novels. We will also look at a wide range of paintings, sculptures, and other visual artifacts.

Terms Taught

Winter 2022

Requirements

LIT, WTR

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Course Description

Debating Global Literature *
In this course we will analyze literary texts in the context of current debates on globalization, world literature, colonial and postcolonial theory, ecocriticism, and gender studies. Readings will include Mohsin Hamid’s /How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia/, Helon Habila’s /Oil On Water/, C. N. Adichie’s “Jumping Monkey Hill,” and Madeleine Thien’s /Certainty/, as well as theoretical readings from the fields of postcolonial studies, politics, history, development studies, and anthropology. (Rec)

Terms Taught

Winter 2020

Requirements

AAL, LIT, SOA, SOC, WTR

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Course Description

British Popular Culture
George Orwell once described the English in terms of their fondness for “the pub, the football match, the back garden, the fireside, and the ‘nice cup of tea'." But what would he have made of the Sex Pistols or Amy Winehouse? In this course we will trace a particular arc through post-1945 British popular culture in order to ask how we got from Orwell to The Office, from the Rolling Stones to Radiohead. We will ask how film, music, and TV prepared the ground for important episodes in British history: the “special relationship” with the United States, the modernization of sexuality, the transformation from welfare state to free market capitalism, the slow passage toward a multicultural society.

Terms Taught

Winter 2020

Requirements

ART, EUR, SOC, WTR

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Course Description

Why Read Old Poems - and How?
In this course we will focus on the question: “Why read old poems and tales—and how?” We will read and discuss selected works in English composed between ~650-1660 C.E, focusing on lyric poetry along with selections from narrative and dramatic works. We will explore how these works are designed to be spoken and heard, and examine questions they invite about gender, exclusion, immigration, plague, and environmental loss. We will also examine how they might point us toward possibility, empathy, and resilience. Readings include selections from works and authors such as Beowulf, The Green Knight, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Donne, Herbert, Milton and also works by traditionally marginalized writers such as Marie de France, Margery Kempe, Aemilia Lanyer, Mary Wroth. Pre-1800.

Terms Taught

Winter 2022

Requirements

LIT, WTR

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Course Description

Representing Morocco: From Mark Twain to the Beat Generation
Since the mid-nineteenth century, an increasing number of notable American writers, artists, scholars, diplomats and travelers have visited Morocco. Their texts they wrote about the country reveal diverse perceptions of the land, the people and the culture of Morocco. This course is concerned with the politics of representation with a focus on American writing on Morocco. Using a flexible historical framework, this course critically analyses a range of important theoretical works and case studies from the mid-nineteenth century to mid-twentieth century. However, the focus is going to be on the representation of the Moroccan people and places in such narratives. Discussions should evolve around questions such: how did certain political and ideological attitudes inform the construction and reproduction of Western knowledge about Morocco? Why and to what effect did Americans turn to the exotic for inspiration, and what strategies and tactics did they use to translate the foreign into terms that could be understood by their audiences at home? How does a travel narrative and other literary texts represent other people and places? In what ways does ‘fact’ overlap with ‘fiction’ in these narratives?

Terms Taught

Winter 2021

Requirements

MDE, SOC

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Creative Writing