FALL 2017

ENG 2060: The Study of American Literature (71920)
Dr. John Lowney

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, social, political, religious, philosophical, etc.  In particular, the course will stress the ways in which cultural mythologies concerning gender, race, class, and region 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 Antonia; N. Scott Momaday, The Way to Rainy Mountain; Tomás Rivera, … y no se lo tragó la tierra / … And the Earth Did Not Devour Him; Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon; and Chang-rae Lee, Native Speaker.


ENG. 2200: Reading and Writing for English Majors (75317)
MR  3:25 – 4:50 PM
Dr. Anne Geller

What does it mean to read and write within – and beyond – English studies? How and why do English majors and minors — and English faculty — come to English studies? We will read Deborah Brandt’s The Rise of Writing: Redefining Mass Literacy to think about the balance of reading and writing in the 21st century. We’ll turn our attention to the St. John’s College English Department – our faculty and their scholarship and the courses and requirements of our English major and minors – as a way of exploring reading, writing and research across the sub-disciplines of English. Using what we learn from our local context, we’ll engage with some of the big debates facing English studies: What should English majors learn and know as readers and writers? How have – and how do – writing and creative writing fit within an English major? In what ways does a major or minor in English studies intersect with students’ literacy lives and point toward possible literacy futures? To answer this last question, we’ll develop and carry out a collaborative research project in which we will explore the experiences of current majors and minors in the SJC English department.


ENG. 2200: Reading and Writing for English Majors (73519)

TF 10:40-12:05 PM
Dr. Nicole Rice

This course introduces analytical, writing, and research methods important for literary studies. Our primary texts will include both prose (short stories and a novel) and poetry (selected lyrics and plays). We will focus intensively on analyzing literary language at a close level, working to connect local readings to larger arguments. The course requires several papers of varying lengths; students will learn how to incorporate secondary sources such as biographical, historical, sociological, and literary-critical texts. We will make a sustained effort to link careful reading with clear writing and to demystify the writing process using drafts and peer-review workshops.


ENG. 2300: Introduction to Literary Criticism and Theory (73524)

MR 3:25 – 4:50 PM
Dr. Elda Tsou
This course is an intensive introduction to the major concepts of literary theory. It will cover a challenging range of ideas and movements, with the goal of introducing students to the most significant contributions in theory. We will be paying special attention to how these thinkers question and challenge the conventional thinking of their day, however varied their specific objects of study may be. These texts will be difficult, obscure, and intimidating, but our goal will be to understand their key concepts and their implications as models for thinking more critically in our everyday lives.


ENG. 2300: Introduction to Literary Criticism and Theory (72550)
TF 9:05 – 10:30 AM
Dr. Steven Mentz

Literary theory can help explain our media-saturated twenty-first century. The core truth about literary theory is that it’s very useful for anyone who wants to be a successful English major – but it’s essential reading for all of us who watch TV or surf the internet. This required course for English majors and minors introduces students to major trends and techniques in literary and critical theory. Our reading will explore influential schools of thought such as deconstruction, post-structural feminism, New Historicism, queer studies, critical race theory, and ecocriticism. We will be paying special attention to how theorists question and challenge conventional thinking. We will read and write together with two equally important goals in mind: 1) how to use literary theory to write better English papers, and 2) how to use literary theory to understand the modern world.


ENG. 3110: Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (75302)


TF 12:15-1:40
Dr. Nicole Rice
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.


ENG. 3130: Elizabethan Shakespeare: Shakespeare in the Urban Anthropocene (73518)

TF 12:15 – 1:40 PM
Dr. Steven Mentz

How can a four century-old playwright help us come to terms with how it feels to live in a massive urban environment on the brink of environmental disaster? Perhaps surprisingly, Shakespeare, a country boy who moved at a young age to the then-biggest metropolis of his nation during that city’s rapid overpopulation and environmental degradation, has a lot to say about crowded cities, decaying environments, and the politics they create. With an eye on twenty-first century New York, and perhaps a field trip to visit the artist Marina Zurkow’s “dark ecology” project on Newtown Creek, this course will read plays from the first half of Shakespeare’s career. Likely plays will include comedies of misdirection, including The Comedy of Errors and Midsummer Night’s Dream; histories about tyranny, including Richard III and Henry IV; and urban tragedies or near-tragedies such as Hamlet and Measure for Measure that find “something rotten” at the center of the state. In addition to reading plays, writing papers, and performing scenes in class, students will use the example of Shakespeare’s ecological poetics as they undertake “tiny ecology” projects that ask them to observe and explore an ecological niche that they encounter in their daily lives.


ENG. 3220: Eighteenth-Century British Literature (75401)
Eighteenth-Century Novel
MR 9:05 – 10:30 AM
Dr. Kathleen Lubey

This course will examine one of the most central developments of eighteenth-century English literary culture: the emergence of the novel as a genre, with its focus on interior experience, common characters, verisimilitude, and socialization. Specifically, our readings will invite us to ask why questions of gender, sexuality, and marriage were at the forefront of this new way of writing. Examining works by Eliza Haywood, Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding, Frances Burney, and others, we’ll encounter attitudes toward sexuality that range from the permissive to the chaste. What do these fictions have in common, and why do they place women and private experience at the center of their concerns? Ultimately, we will question the dominance of the marriage plot that has long been thought to drive the formation of the novel genre in Britain. Readings will include eighteenth-century novels themselves as well as some readings in literary crticisim. Evaluation will be based on: attendance, frequent reading quizzes, participation, papers totaling 15 written pages, and a final exam. The reading load for this course is heavy (these novels are long!), often between 70-100 pages per class meeting.


ENG. 3240: Romantic Literature (75314)

TF 12:15 – 1:40 PM
Dr. Gregory Maertz
An introduction to the literature and culture of the Romantic Period (circa 1790-1830). Major examples of poetry and literary criticism will be considered alongside philosophy, political writing, and art. Readings and discussion will focus on issues of stylistic innovation and literary revivalism, nature and the sublime, women and society, revolution and nationalism, colonialism and slavery, and the emergence of the Gothic as a central Romantic genre. Featured authors will include William Blake, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth, Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley, and John Keats.


ENG. 3350: American Women Writers (75299)
The Politics and Practices of Textual Recovery
MR 10:40 – 12:05 PM
Dr. Jennifer Travis

This course emphasizes the process, politics, and critical issues involved in the recovery of marginalized or forgotten texts by American women writers. We will study eighteenth- and nineteenth-century texts that have been recovered from various states of neglect—from once popular but later forgotten print texts to newly discovered unpublished manuscripts—with attention to the scholarly work and larger debates surrounding their recovery. We also will explore the role of digital technology in textual recovery by engaging with online sites such as Just Teach One and Just Teach One: Early African American Print, twin projects that encourage exploration of recovered texts. Student will take a hands-on approach to recovery work; assignments will involve archival exploration and the work of researching, editing, contextualizing, and analyzing texts.


ENG. 3440: Contemporary Poetry (75312)
MR 10:40 – 12:05 PM
Dr. John Lowney

This course is an introduction to important movements, trends, and issues in postmodern American poetry.  Beginning with the influential confessional, New York School, Beat, Black Arts, and feminist poetries that emerged in the 1950s and 1960s and concluding with more recent writing, this course will emphasize the interaction of postmodern poetry with developments in the visual arts, music, and popular culture.  Topics to be considered include the relations of poetry to gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, politics and social protest, and history and autobiography. Among the poets we will read are Sylvia Plath, Frank O’Hara, John Ashbery, Allen Ginsberg, Amiri Baraka, Gwendolyn Brooks, Adrienne Rich, Lyn Hejinian, Claudia Rankine, and Lawrence Joseph. Writing assignments will include creative exercises as well as brief analytical essays.


ENG. 3460: Contemporary Drama (73526)
T 10:40– 12:05 PM / FRIDAYS ONLINE
Dr. Angela Belli

The aim of this course is to help students understand the significant social issues of our time and to develop an appreciation of the work of contemporary playwrights who have demonstrated artistic skills in exploring  the issues in the theater.  Ultimately, the object of our studies is to discover the value of art in broadening our understanding of the human condition. Contemporary writers whose works will be the object of our studies include Edward Albee, Samuel Beckett, Brian  Friel, Lorraine Hansberry, David Mamet, Bernard Pomerance and Cheryl West.


ENG. 3520: Modern World Literature (75301)

DIVISION II                        

MR 12:15 – 1:40 PM

Dr. Amy King

This course will read a selection of writers in translation from the broad expanse of world literature, focusing on the significant historical events and movements that mark the start of a truly global modernity; this includes the Enlightenment, the enormous upheavals brought by the industrial and political revolutions of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the clash of empires in East and West, and the emergence of realism (a newly urban, unheroic, global literary style).

We will focus our course through the following rubric:  freedom.  In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the question of freedom became an intense preoccupation worldwide. From debates about African slavery and the national independence from peoples under colonial rule in Asia, Africa, and the Americas, to freedom of thought and personal liberty, the question of what freedom entailed and who had a right to it shaped literary, philosophical, and political writers alike.  Thus, we might read Olaudah Equiano’s 1789 autobiography (the first slave narrative) alongside Nguyen Du’s Vietnamese narrative from 1815, The Tale of Kieu (which tells of a woman sold into slavery in China); this cluster might consider slave songs, philosophical debates about race and slavery, as well as plays and novellas that dealt with Russian serfdom.   Freedom is a thematic beyond texts that deal with literal slavery—in our unit “revolutionary contexts” we explore the period’s interest in broad political and social freedoms, and who was entitled to them (citizens, women, factory workers etc, across a variety of national contexts).  We will also take up the rubric of freedom through a study of the Romantic poets and their successors, as well as through various texts of nineteenth-century realisms.  How do various literary texts suggest what one should be free to do? What limits should there be on freedom? How does literature represent the question of human freedom, and how might certain literary forms break free of convention?


ENG /CLS 3605: Ancient Comedy In Translation (75320/75170)
TF 9:05 – 10:30 AM
Dr. Robert Forman

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. 3645: Comparative Migration Literature (75585)
MR 10:40 – 12:05 PM
Dr. Dohra Ahmad

This class will take a comparative and multi-genre approach to the literature of migration. We will closely examine poems, short stories, novels, and films that depict the process of relocating from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and other places, to England, Canada, France, the United States, and other places, paying constant attention to the artistic techniques that animate these texts. Authors will include Sefi Atta, Louise Bennett, Maryse Condé, Edwidge Danticat, Junot Díaz, Olaudah Equiano, Faïza Guène, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Claude McKay, Rohinton Mistry, Shani Mootoo, Julie Otsuka, NourbeSe Philip, Sam Selvon, Zadie Smith, and Phillis Wheatley; student work will include an independent presentation on a literary work not covered in class.


ENG. 3650: Caribbean Literature (75316)
The Sacred, the Spiritual, and the Social in Caribbean Literature
TF 10:40 – 12:05 PM
Dr. Raj Chetty

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?


ENG. 3720: Introduction To Creative Writing (71375)

1:50 – 4:40 PM

Prof. Tom Philipose

This introductory creative writing workshop will focus on your writing and your thoughts (that means you will be writing a lot). We will explore the creative aspects of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, poetic-prose, and (screen)playwriting. We will use texts from various genres/media as guides for discovery of what your writing voice/style can be. You will be expected to attend public readings and performances (off campus and on your own time), and you will be urged to submit some of your work for possible publication in the SJU Literary Journal, Sequoya.

We will not rely on the thoughts/styles/critiques of others (outside of this workshop) to help us become careful readers and diligent writers. An experimental and non-traditional approach will be encouraged to help elicit fresh, unique work that reflects the individual writers in our workshop. The majority of our classwork will entail reading and discussing your writing (you will read and write in—and outside of—every class every week). You will receive feedback in class and via one-to-one meetings (outside of the workshop) that we will arrange to fit your schedule.


ENG. 3730: Poetry Workshop (75367)
TF 1:50 – 3:15 PM
Intensive writing workshop on poetry and poetics


ENG. 3770: Advance Fiction Writing Workshop (75313)
MR 3:25 – 1:50 PM
Prof. Gabriel Brownstein
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 contemporary writers who play with the conventional boundaries of story writing—narratives in verse, novels that seem like memoirs, poems that read like essays, and essays that read like fiction.  Works will include:  Tales from Ovid, by Ted Hughes; The Autobiography of Red, by Anne Carson; Citizen, by Claudia Rankine; The Argonauts, by Maggie Nelson; and Leaving Atocha Station, by Ben Lerner.  This course is open to students who took English 3770 in the spring of 2016 with Daniel Jose Older.


ENG. 4994: Seminar In Special Author(s) (75315)

Senior Seminar

MR 12:15 – 1:40 PM
Dr. Scott Combs

The term paranoia (Gk. “para” beside; “noos” mind) has been as shifty in its definition as the perceptual accuracy it seems to describe.  For Sigmund Freud, paranoid schizophrenia, characterized by the intermingling of delusion and fact, emerged as a symptom of repressed homosexual desire.  It was, in other words, a protective shield for an inadmissible truth.  For Richard Hofstadter, writing in the cultural climate of the Cold War, paranoia seemed to describe the tone of anti-Communist rhetoric in the United States, and other key moments of American political demonology.  Following this turn away from the psychoanalytic and clinical model toward a more generalized sense of paranoia as a “style” of thinking not necessarily linked to mental illness, David Shapiro elaborated on neurotic and autistic thinking as a behavior found in many acute, “undiagnosed” thinkers, including, of course, academics and writers.  And if paranoia is, for Thomas Pynchon, the “reflex of looking for orders behind the visible” and thus part of the act of reading itself, then it is also, according to William Burroughs, “having all the facts.”

This course looks at paranoia as a style and a form, something we “do” and something we “create” in texts.  Paranoia often looks like a particularly intense interpretive reflex or an unusually acute cognitive activity.  It is in some ways relatable, in other words, and many texts invite us to become paranoid.  But how?  What does paranoia look like from the inside?  What kind of image does it project?  What kinds of inadmissible truths need be covered up?  What are the epistemological stakes of notions like proof and cover-up, and what forms of mediation and power create them?  Is paranoia, as Carol Clover has suggested, particularly American?  We will start with Freud’s case study of Schreber before turning to subsequent non-clinical definitions.  Along the way, our theoretical discussions will be joined by novels and films.  As we read and watch, we will be looking at the ways writers and filmmakers have explored narrative form in order to get us, the reader or viewer, to think paranoid thoughts, to look “beside” or beyond what can normally be known, and sometimes to critique form itself.  Students will write a 15-page paper with support from relevant readings as well as their own research.  Selections may include works by Poe, Jim Thompson, James Elroy, William Burroughs, Thomas Pynchon.  Films might include classical detective films, film noir (Detour, They Won’t Believe Me!), conspiracy thrillers (JFK, Manchurian Candidate), and horror (Get Out).



ENG. 4903: Internship In English (71877)                        3 CREDITS

ENG. 4903: Internship In English (71879)                        3 CREDITS
ENG. 4906: Internship In English (71587)                        6 CREDITS
ENG. 4906: Internship In English (71859)                        6 CREDITS
ENG. 4953: Independent Study (71572)
ENG. 4953: Independent Study (71590)