Fall 2019 Undergraduate Flyer

UNDERGRADUATE ENGLISH FLYER
FALL 2019
http://stjenglish.com

ENG. 1502: Science, Tech, and Literature (75186)
MR 3:25 – 4:50 PM
Professor Gabriel Brownstein
Email: brownstg@stjohns.edu

This class will try to explore one basic paradox of modern life: The greater the benefits of modern medicine, the greater public terror of it. As medicine’s power has grown, so has the literature of medical horror. This class will explore medical understanding and misunderstanding of the body, and literary understanding and misunderstanding of medicine.

We’ll start with readings from early anatomists (Vesalius, Harvey, and Steno), and move through nineteenth century fiction (Mary Shelley, Nathaniel Hawthorne), to look at the strange representations of medicine in contemporary literature: stories by Carmen Maria Machado and Zadie Smith, and memoirs by Oliver Sacks and Eula Biss.

ENG. 2060: The Study of American Literature (75190)
MR 9:05 – 10:30 AM
Dr. John Lowney
Email: lowneyj@stjohns.edu

This course is an introduction to selected American writers and literary movements, with an emphasis on 20th-century literary texts that are concerned with U.S. national and international history. It will take a comparative approach to texts, writers, and cultures within the United States, drawing connections between literature and its various contexts: historical, cultural, social, political, philosophical, etc. In particular, the course will stress the ways in which cultural mythologies concerning gender, race, and class have affected both the writing of literature and the formation of literary traditions. Readings will include F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby; Willa Cather, My Ántonia; N. Scott Momaday, The Way to Rainy Mountain; Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon; Sandra Cisneros, Woman Hollering Creek; and Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior.

ENG. 2100: Literature and Culture (75185)
People, Place, and Movement
MR 9:05 – 10:30 AM
Dr. Kathleen Lubey
Email: lubeyk@stjohns.edu

This course will think about how literature dramatizes people’s relationship to place—how they occupy it, move through it, leave it, manipulate it. To what degree do people have volition to claim or own space, and to what degree is experience defined by voluntary or involuntary movement? We’ll read contemporary authors to think about how places change (Samuel Delany); how people respond to local change (J.M. Coetzee); and how people move, and to what degree movement is volitional (Marilynne Robinson, Mohsin Hamid). We’ll read some literary journalism to go alongside each work to think about how literature impacts public consciousness. The course is suitable for a range of students: those considering the English major; non-majors looking for an interesting elective; and English majors and minors. Requirements include attendance, energetic daily reading, regular writing (blogs or journals), and a longer essay, reflection, or creative piece.

ENG. 2200: Reading and Writing for English Majors (73516)
MR 10:40 – 12:05 PM
Dr. Stephen Sicari
Email: sicaris@stjohns.edu



This course is designed to introduce and reinforce basic skills required to be successful English majors and minors, especially close reading and critical writing skills. Students will also be introduced to the major genres of literature: prose fiction (we’ll be reading James Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk and Italo Calvino’s If on a winter’s night a traveler); poetry (selections from John Keats and Emily Dickinson); and drama (Shakespeare’s King Lear). The course is not about covering material but close and deep reading of these various genres. Students will write a number of short critical paper exploring the generic conventions of the literary texts, and prepare to write a research paper on a topic of the student’s choosing. Feel free to contact me at sicaris@stjohns.edu if you have any questions or concerns.

ENG. 2200: Reading and Writing for English Majors (75187)
TF 12:15 – 1:40 PM
Dr. Nicole Rice
Email: ricen@stjohns.edu

This course introduces analytical, writing, and research methods critical for the English major. Making poetry our focus, we will learn to scrutinize poetic language, learning key terms for analysis and working to connect close readings to larger arguments. We will pay particular attention to the material forms of poetry, from manuscripts to digital editions. The course includes several written assignments of varied lengths, each incorporating different skills and methods. These will include, among others, a group project on Walt Whitman’s manuscripts and a final paper on Gwendolyn Brooks. We will make a sustained effort to link careful reading with clear writing, using homework exercises, paper drafts, and peer review workshops.

ENG. 2300: Introduction to Literary Criticism and Theory (75189)
MR 12:15 – 1:40 PM
Dr. Elda Tsou
Email: tsoue@stjohns.edu

This course is an undergraduate introduction to the key concepts, thinkers, and intellectual movements called literary theory. What we term “theory” is a diverse a group of texts drawn from various disciplines like philosophy, psychoanalysis, linguistics, history, anthropology and sociology. The goal of this course is less about mastery than familiarity with a set of thinkers and their key concepts. Since this course takes the position that theory is not a set of formulas to be applied to various texts but a critical way of thinking, our emphasis will be on understanding these thinkers and comprehending their relationship to the conversations that preceded them. Our ultimate goal will be to try to understand theory as a way of thinking about the activity of thinking itself. We will try to view theory as a series of questions about the activities of thinking, interpreting, and meaning-making as they apply to different objects of study: the human subject, literature, language, sex, gender, race, society. In our readings, we will learn to think critically and carefully about the object of our scrutiny, and to examine our ways of knowing that object, and what that knowledge entails for us as knowing subjects.

ENG. 2300: Introduction to Literary Criticism and Theory (75181)
TF 1:50 – 3:15 PM
Dr. Gregory Maertz
Email: maertzg@stjohns.edu

Through reading and discussion of central texts this course will examine fundamental antagonisms that have shaped representation in the Western tradition—freedom of expression vs. political control, tradition vs. innovation, realism vs. formalism, didacticism vs. the provision of pleasure, feminism vs. patriarchy, and canonical elitism vs. the recovery of marginalized discourses. Authors to include Marx and Engels, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Benjamin, Foucault, Derrida, and Said.

ENG. 3110: Chaucer (75191)
*DIVISION I*
TF 1:50 – 3:15 PM
Dr. Nicole Rice
Email: ricen@stjohns.edu

This course introduces the Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer’s late fourteenth-century poetic masterwork. This is a poem of tremendous variety, containing stories of chivalry and betrayal, fidelity and adultery, piety and blasphemy, romance and bawdy humor. We will study some of Chaucer’s most important and engaging tales, learning to read and pronounce the original Middle English. Chaucer lived during a period of major social, religious, and political upheaval. We will situate the tales in their historical contexts while considering some important recent critical approaches to Chaucer. No previous experience with Middle English is required.

ENG. 3130: Elizabethan Shakespeare (73526)
Shakespeare, Migration, and the Med
*DIVISION I*
TF 9:05 – 10:30 AM
Dr. Steven Mentz
Email: mentzs@stjohns.edu

This course reads Shakespeare’s dramatic career through two long-running obsessions of his work: migrants and the Mediterranean. Many of his plays explore dislocation and travel, especially in a maritime context. We will read comedies like Twelfth Night and The Comedy of Errors; tragedies like Othello; histories like Sir Thomas More; and romances like The Tempest and The Winter’s Tale. We will discuss these works in dialogue with twenty-first contemporary testimonies of refugees in the Mediterranean, literary responses to their plight including Caroline Bergvall’s Drift and the UK-based collaborative project Refugee Tales, and literary criticism that situates Shakespeare and his cultural moment in terms of the human relationship with the sea.

ENG. 3240: Romantic Literature (75184)
*DIVISION II*
TF 10:40 – 12:05 PM
Dr. Gregory Maertz
Email: maertzg@stjohns.edu

In this course major examples of English Romantic poetry, prose fiction, and theory will be examined in the context of contemporary politics, philosophy, and the fine arts. Readings and discussion will focus on dominant themes of the period (c. 1790-1830), including liberal reform and conservative reaction, the social and legal status of women, the abolitionist movement and imperialism, nature and urbanization, formal innovation and literary revivalism, and the emergence of Horror and the Gothic as central Romantic genres. Featured authors will include William Blake, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth, Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley, and John Keats.

ENG. 3280: Early English Feminisms (75479)
*DIVISION II*
MR 12:15 – 1:40 PM
Dr. Kathleen Lubey
Email: lubeyk@stjohns.edu

This course will study feminist discourse and writing in an era prior to the cohesion of any self-identified women’s movements. Spanning literature of the late seventeenth through early nineteenth centuries, we’ll read poetry, fiction, philosophy, and cultural criticism by English women writers to see their various strategies for improving social status and options for women. Some women make theological, philosophical, and literary arguments for equivalence between the genders; others advocate sexual transgression and transgendering as strategies for social resistance. We’ll think about sexed and gendered injustice in realms such as politics, marriage, education, and the arts, and we’ll study too how some women writers attempted to advocate for other disadvantaged groups as they resisted colonialism and the slave trade. Authors will include Mary Astell, Aphra Behn, Eliza Haywood, Elizabeth Carter, Hester Chapone, Mary Wollstonecraft; and we’ll read some contemporary feminist scholarship (Sara Ahmed and Kimberlé Crenshaw) to think across our feminist past and present. Attendance, textbooks, daily reading, and 15-20 pages of graded writing (in the form of essays and creative options) required.

ENG. 3310: Antebellum American Literature (75385)
*DIVISION III*
TF 9:05 – 10:30 AM
Dr. Granville Ganter
Email: ganterg@stjohns.edu

This is a course focusing on a key period in American history which centered on social reform, 1830-1865. It is a remarkable literary era because it was driven by mainstream middle class Americans who were re-evaluating their culture’s longstanding beliefs about God, slavery, women’s rights, education, social welfare, diet, industry, and even sexual conduct. The literature of the period is often associated with the major Transcendentalist prose authors—Emerson, Thoreau, and Fuller, as well as the poets Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman. This course will study these writers in detail, but it will also read them in context with a broad array of authors interested in social reform and utopianism.

ENG. 3375: Environmental Literature (75192)
*DIVISION III*
TF 10:40 – 12:05 PM
Dr. Granville Ganter
Email: ganterg@stjohns.edu

The course responds to anxiety about the environmental future of the planet, and it also looks at American views of nature as they emerged from the nineteenth century. Reading backwards from the contemporary wave of environmental concern initially provoked by Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, the class will focus on nineteenth-century prose from Thoreau to Muir, and selected theorists and writers of the 20th and 21st centuries as well. As much as the class surveys creative writing about the environment, the class will also require a critical awareness of how to talk about nature and ask students to familiarize themselves with some of the basic arguments in current environmental discourse. We will examine four principal ideas: 1) Fear of End Times, or Environmental Terror: the sense that humans has destroyed environment and we will all die shortly; 2) Awe of Nature, the sense of beauty and sublime power nature represents—a Romantic heritage; 3) Humans are Natural, the idea that since all animals shape their environments, why not acknowledge people’s manipulation of their environments too? In fact—why all this talk about “nature” as a thing separate from people? 4) Deanimation of Nature, a hypothesis developed by Lynn White Jr. (and others) that Christian and scientific thought have produced a generally anthrocentrist prejudice that the earth is dead and we can do whatever we want to it.

ENG. 3480: The Harlem Renaissance (75203)
*DIVISION IV*
MR 12:15 – 1:40 PM
Dr. John Lowney
Email: lowneyj@stjohns.edu

This course is an introduction to the literature of the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance (or New Negro Renaissance) was a remarkably prolific period of African American literature, music, art, and scholarship that followed World War I and lasted into the 1930s. This course examines the Harlem Renaissance as a cultural and political movement in relation to both international modernism and African American cultural history. The primary emphasis of the course is on intensive study of significant African American writers, with attention to parallel developments in music and the visual arts. Readings will include W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk; Alain Locke, The New Negro; Langston Hughes, Not Without Laughter; Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God; Nella Larsen, Quicksand; and Claude McKay, Home to Harlem.

ENG. 3590: Literature & The Other Arts (75182)
Black Feminist Rhetoric in Media
*DIVISION IV*
MR 3:25 – 4:50 PM
Dr. LaToya Sawyer
Email: sawyerl@stjohns.edu

This course will explore how Black women use various genres of writing and forms of media to do intellectual work and effect change on matters regarding issues of importance to them such as sexism, state violence, and sexual agency and autonomy, and liberation. Black feminist theory and rhetoric is deficient without a grounding in the everyday and lived experience. To this end, we will analyze genres of print, visual, audio, and digital media by Black women that represent the intersections of their identity to understand how Black women use different media as well as the affordances and constraints of those media. Students will gain a deeper understanding of Black women’s rhetoric through canonical and contemporary Black feminist works including those by English Studies’ favorites, such as Alice Walker, June Jordan, and Alice Childress as well as Beyoncé, Janelle Monáe, Issa Rae, Michaela Coel, and Bondy Blue. Contact Dr. Sawyer at: sawyerl@stjohns.edu for more information.

ENG/CLS 3605: Ancient Comedy In Translation (75198/75199)
MR 10:40 – 12:05 PM
Dr. Robert Forman
Email: formanr@stjohns.edu

Students will discover that many of the characters and plots of Greek and Roman comedy are already familiar to them through readings in Shakespeare, Molière, even through popular media such as the film adaptation of the Broadway play A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966) or various television “situation comedies.”

The course will define and illustrate Greek Old, Middle, and New Comedy with readings of Menander’s Dyscolus (“The Grouch”, which inspired Molière’s The Misanthrope); Aristophanes’ The Clouds, The Wasps, and Lysistrata.

The Roman comedies, all based upon Greek predecessors no longer extant include Plautus’s The Twin Menaechmi (cf. Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors), his Amphytruo (which inspired Molière’s Amphytrion), his Rudens (“The Rope,” which resembles The Tempest in its particulars), the Aulularia (“Pot of Gold”), and Terence’s Andria (“The Woman of Andros”).

ENG. 3650: Caribbean Literature (75200)
The Sacred, the Spiritual, and the Social in Caribbean Literature
*DIVISION IV*
MR 10:40 – 12:05 PM
Dr. Raj Chetty
Email: chettyr@stjohns.edu

This course examines how religion, spirituality, and the sacred emerge in 20th and 21st century Caribbean literature across prose fiction and drama, from the English-, Spanish-, and French-speaking regions of the Caribbean (all works will be in English) and the Caribbean diaspora. With a specific focus on representations of Afro-Caribbean spiritual and religious life, the course explores how questions of the sacred have animated Caribbean writers’ engagement with broader social and political issues. A central question framing the course is: How have the sacred, the spiritual, the religious been mobilized in Caribbean literature to oppose oppressive systems (racism/colorism, colonialism/imperialism, class, gender, sexuality) from across the last century and into this one? Writers we will read include Eric Walrond, Earl Lovelace, Nalo Hopkinson, René Depestre, and Maryse Condé.

ENG. 3710: Intro to Creative Writing (75569)
*COUNTS FOR WRITING MINOR*
TF 1:50 – 3:15 PM
Professor Lee Ann Brown
Email: brownl@stjohns.edu

This class is perfect as either an introduction, or continuation of, an already established practice, in the myriad forms of creative writing and how they can be manifested and combined. We will begin by exploring traditional and experimental poetry forms including the ballad, the sestina, the sonnet, the list poem, free verse, and more, and then move to practice in other genres, such as short fictions, memoir or short works for performance (and song lyrics, if desired). Hybrid genre work continuum between creative and critical writing will be addressed as well.

We will discuss revision techniques such as additive revision, collage, text explosion, and useful terms, see them in practice, and respond to prompts to create our best possible new writing.  Activities will also include understanding prosody, and “performing” poetry and other writing aloud to get a sense of its musical and performative nature. Students will work with instructor and together to revise their poems. Students will begin (and possibly complete and revise!) a poem or other short work in class each week, with  “writing time” built into the class. They are then expected to hone their craft between classes to create a cumulative mid-semester and end of semester portfolio of new work.

Each week there will be readings to help prompt new directions in our own writing such as excerpts from Sonnets by Bernadette Mayer, Olio by Tyehimba Jess, Lunch Poems by Frank O’Hara, I Remember by Joe Brainard, The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson, rewritten fairy tales by Angela Carter, Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself, Short Talks by Ann Carson and the short plays of Suzan-Lori Parks and more.

Cross references with St. John’s University Interdisciplinary Minors, Multicultural and Multiethnic Studies and Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies. Interfaces with LGBTQIA Studies. Extra credit community service opportunities will be offered for those interested.

ENG. 3710: Intro to Creative Writing (75201)
*COUNTS FOR WRITING MINOR*
TF 3:25 – 4:50 PM
Dr. Steven Alvarez
Email: alvares1@stjohns.edu

This course will introduce the fundamentals of storytelling in prose and verse, specifically digging into aspects of narratology. As we learn more about narrative structuring, we’ll deepen our understandings of description, point of view, study of time, place, and characterization. We will experiment with different modes of creative writing across genres as we generate new work, respond to writing of our peers, and learn about the basics of submitting work for journals.

ENG. 3720: Creative Writing: Nonfiction (75180)
*COUNTS FOR WRITING MINOR*
MR 3:25 – 4:50 PM
Professor Catina Bacote
Email: bacotec@stjohns.edu

In this course, you will learn to approach creative nonfiction writing as a mode of expression and also as a way of seeing—a means to access and understand the world around you. You will practice the writer’s gaze in your everyday lives and note the things that strike you as interesting, from an overheard conversation to a fragment of graffiti. Ultimately, you will give yourself over to your curiosities and obsessions and channel those impulses into riveting essays. To guide your writing, yoy will read a variety of nonfiction, such as lyric essays, documentary poetics, memoir, travelogue, oral histories, and immersion writing. You will catalog the craft choices writers make and learn how to recreate the past with authenticity. As a supportive writing community, we will give and receive feedback on ongoing creative work and delve into the ethical considerations that come into play when writing from real life experiences. You do not need any prior experience with creative nonfiction to take this course.

ENG. 3770: Advanced Fiction Writing Workshop (75197)
*COUNTS FOR WRITING MINOR*
MR 12:15 – 1:40 PM
Professor Gabriel Brownstein
Email: brownstg@stjohns.edu

This course is for undergraduates who would like to develop and deepen their work in writing fiction. It is conceived as a continuation of English 3740, the fiction writing workshop. In this class, students will write independent projects—stories, sections of novels, and experiments of their own devising—and will show them to the class for discussion and critique. As we read and discuss our own fiction, we’ll read a variety of works of US fiction from the 1970s (eg Philip Roth, Toni Morrison, Donald Barthelme, and others), a period when the line between mainstream and experimental fiction wasn’t as clear as it is today. brownstg@stjohns.edu

ENG. 3780: Advanced Poetry Writing Workshop (75194)
*COUNTS FOR WRITING MINOR*
W 1:50 – 4:40 PM
Professor Lee Ann Brown
Email: brownl@stjohns.edu

This workshop is designed for writers who have had some experience with writing poetry, either in or out of school. Focus will be both on workshopping new student work and on reading a diverse range of 20th & 21st Century poetry and poetics to help further generate new work.
Collective workshopping and in-class writing time will be included. Central to the course will be case studies of individual poems that innovate contemporary use of form to carry content across.
Poetry discussed includes excerpts from the Sonnets of Bernadette Mayer, Tyehimba Jess and Terrance Hayes, Lunch Poems by Frank O’Hara, I Remember by Joe Brainard, In Garments Worn By Lindens by Laynie Browne, Lawn of Excluded Middle</i? by Rosmarie Waldrop, Advice from the Lights by Stephanie Burt, Shiver by Lynn Martin, Whereas by Layli Longsoldier and more. Weekly written work, mid-semester portfolio and end of semester manuscript with poetics statement required.

Cross references with St. John’s University Interdisciplinary Minors, Multicultural and Multiethnic Studies and Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies. Interfaces with LGBTQIA Studies. Extra credit community service opportunities will be offered for those interested.

ENG. 3830: Topics in Film Author(s) (75584)
New Hollywood: Altman, Scorsese, Penn (and Spielberg)
*DIVISION IV*
TF 12:15 – 1:40 PM
Dr. Scott Combs
Email: combs@stjohns.edu

Following an upstart in its marketability and reception among a younger generation a decade before, Hollywood cinema of the 1970s deepened earlier moods of political disengagement and cultural and sexual confusion. Variously referred to as the greatest decade of American films, or as a cyclical return to the radical potential of the 1930s, this period marks the arrival of a number of auteurs whose work continues to shape the way filmmakers work in the industry while resisting the generic structure of popular cinema. This course focuses on four such directors in the “New Hollywood”–Robert Altman (M*A*S*H, McCabe and Mrs. Miller), Martin Scorsese (Mean Streets, Taxi Driver), Arthur Penn (Little Big Man, Night Moves)–while ending with Spielberg as a bridge to the blockbuster shape of the New Hollywood, one that would become dominant in the 1980s.

ENG. 4994: Seminar in Themes/Genres (75204)
Hip Hop Aesthetics: Now and Then
*SENIOR SEMINAR*
W 10:40 – 1:30 PM
Dr. Shanté Paradigm Smalls
Email: smallss@stjohns.edu

This Senior Seminar in English examines aesthetics in hip hop culture and production. Through studying hip hop film, music, visual art, dance, and literature, we will think through what is so valuable about the aesthetic practices in the 40+ year history of hip hop culture. This class is a rigorous attempt to think with critical and scholarly eyes and ears about a form many of us love. The course meets once a week and will most likely consist of one individual paper, one group project, and one oral presentation.

Possible reading: Mark Anthony Neal, Joan Morgan, Jeff Chang, Tricia Rose, as well as film and television shows like The Get Down, Hip Hop Evolution, Wild Style, Roxanne, Roxanne, and more.

ENG. 4994: Seminar in Themes/Genres (75188)
Beach Reading: Oceanic Literature and the Blue Humanities
*SENIOR SEMINAR*
TF 12:15 – 1:40 PM
Dr. Steven Mentz
Email: mentzs@stjohns.edu

This course interrogates the connection between beaches and reading. We’ll start by digging our toes into the sand together on a class-opening field trip to a local beach that we’ll choose together. We will then explore the recent surge in “blue humanities” scholarship that brings together literary studies, environmental studies, and maritime history and culture. We will read well-known works in maritime literature including Homer’s Odyssey<./i>, Melville’s Moby-Dick, and James Cameron’s blockbuster film “Titanic.” We’ll seek oceanic stirrings is less obvious places, including the works of Emily Dickinson, Jane Austen, and Phillis Wheatley. We will read blue humanities literary criticism, visit urban-maritime sites around New York, and read a prepublication copy of Dr. Mentz’s book, Ocean, forthcoming from Bloomsbury’s Object Lessons series.

*WITH PERMISSION OF CHAIR ONLY*
ENG. 4903: Internship In English (75570) 3 CREDITS
ENG. 4906: Internship In English (75571) 6 CREDITS
ENG. 4953: Independent Study (75572)