Fall 2011 Undergraduate Course Listings

Here they are, as promised! Click “read more” for the full listing of undergraduate course listings for the fall.

Don’t forget that summer courses are also listed on the St. John’s website if you are interested in registering for summer classes.

Eng. 2200: Introduction to English Studies (75109)
TF 12:15-1:40 p.m.
Dr. Lisa Outar
A foundation course introducing English majors and minors to the disciplinary practices of the English major.  Required of all majors in their sophomore and junior years.
ENG. 2200: Introduction to English Studies (75118)
MR 5:00-6:25 p.m.
Dr. Harry Denny
This course invites students to explore the practices and conventions of doing intellectual work in the field of English Studies. Students will look to the field and its scholars and think about the forms of academic identity and community made possible by them.  Students will uncover and examine the values and assumptions that guide how people in this field read and write and what rhetorics and processes guide our intellectual work as well as bind us as a community (or perhaps even a set of communities).  Students will work to map, unpack and understand themselves in relation to the wide variety of making, producing, and exploring English Studies in the St. John’s context. In other words, what makes being in English Studies unique from the other humanities or sciences, and how might we understand and complicate what it means to claim an identity in a field as diffuse as ours, where faculty who are drawn to literary analysis, criticism and theory; poetry and poetics; composition and the teaching of writing; literacy studies; critical race theory; film studies; cultural studies; fiction and creative non-fiction all come together and share English as our academic home.  
ENG. 2200: Introduction to English Studies (73894)
TF 1:50-3:15 p.m.
T/B/A
A foundation course introducing English majors and minors to the disciplinary practices of the English major.  Required of all majors in their sophomore and junior years.
ENG. 2300: Introduction to Literary Criticism and Theory 
MR 9:05-10:30 a.m. (73873)
MR 3:25-4:50 p.m. (75112)
Dr. Gregory Maertz
Designed for English majors and minors (and other students interested in becoming more insightful readers), this course provides an introduction to the history of literary criticism, with special emphasis on twentieth-century movements.  Through discussion and critique of assigned readings, students will examine the strategies, methods, and ideologies of cultural analysis that have shaped academic discourse and ignited the “culture wars” of recent decades. The textbook for the course is Hazard Adams, ed., CRITICAL THEORY SINCE PLATO, revised edition (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1992), on order at Ed’s Bookstore.  Students should be sure to purchase the revised edition of Adams’s book.
ENG. 3100: Medieval English Literature (75102)
MR 3:25-4:50 p.m.
Prof. Luann Jennings
This semester, Medieval Literature will focus on the written and performed drama of the medieval period. How did we get from classical Greek and Roman theatre to Shakespeare? A rich but little-known history of writing and performance in the medieval period reflected changes in culture and religion, connecting these two great “golden ages” of theatre and continuing the evolution of western drama

ENG. 3130 / HON 3130: Elizabethan Shakespeare: Shakespeare and the Visual Imagination
(CRN 75122 / 75408)
TF 9:05-10:30 a.m.
Dr. Steve Mentz
Today’s culture is becoming visual, rather than textual, as generations grown up immersed in digital photography and video.  But the interface between written text and visual image is not only something we share on Flickr and Facebook; it’s also a basic feature of Shakespeare’s theatrical and poetic art.  As Michael Witmore puts it, “Shakespeare thought in pictures.”  This course uses Shakespeare’s plays to help us rethink how we see and imagine words and images.  Our touchstone will be a new book of photography, Landscapes of the Passing Strange (Norton, 2011), produced in collaboration by the Shakespeare scholar Witmore and the artist Rosamond Purcell.  We’ll use images and quotations from their book to explore Shakespeare’s poetic drama and reconsider how his visual imagination speaks to our changing cultural moment.  Plays will include Antony & Cleopatra, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Henry IV, Part 1, The Merchant of Venice, and The Comedy of Errors.
ENG. 3240: Romantic Literature (75100)
MR 12:15-1:40 p.m.
Dr. Gregory Maertz
An introduction to the literature of the Romantic Period with readings in poetry, drama, and the novel. We will also consider aesthetic philosophy, politics, and art. Featured authors will include Goethe, Schiller, Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Mary and Percy Shelley, and Keats.
ENG. 3260 Women Writers of the Nineteenth Century (75116)
TF 10:40 – 12:05 p.m.
Dr. Amy King
The legal subordination of one sex to another—is wrong in itself, and now one of the chief hindrances to human improvement; and that it ought to be replaced by a system of perfect equality, admitting no power and privilege on the one side, nor disability on the other. 
—John Stuart Mill, The Subjection of Women (1869)
The nineteenth-century is a particularly rich moment to study literature written by women; in England, the period saw the proliferation of women’s writing, including novels, poetry, social criticism, drama, and other forms of non-fiction prose. The late nineteenth century also saw the appearance of the  “New Woman”— a shorthand phrase for various controversies about gender and women’s roles concentrated in the 1890s— and the commencement of the civil right struggle for women’s suffrage that culminated in the extension of limited and then full franchise in England by the early twentieth century.  In this course we will study the aesthetic and cultural contributions of various women writers from England in the nineteenth-century. The course will be divided into three units: “The Angel in the House,” “Narrating Women’s Lives,” and “The 1890s, Suffrage, and the New Woman.”  Our primary focus in this course will be to read and analyze the work of a set of exceptional women writers—including novelists, explorers, political activists, poets, missionaries, and housewifery consultants— and to understand them in their historical context as well as appreciate their aesthetic and political achievements. We will study the cultural phenomenon of the woman writer and the way in which various writers gave imaginative life to the situation of the modern woman. We also will be concerned with theorizing this body of work as a separate and gendered tradition of nineteenth-century British literature.   Authors may include: Jane Austen, Mrs. Beeton, Anne Bronte, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, Sarah Grand, Mary Kingsley, Harriet Martineau, and Christina Rossetti.
ENG. 3270: Eighteenth Century British Poetry (75115)
MR 10:40-12:05 p.m.
Dr. Kathleen Lubey
In eighteenth-century Britain, the enterprise of writing poetry was undertaken with gravity and caution. Considered the great literary form that was handed down to a “modern,” enlightened age from antiquity, poetry required that numerous and crucial decisions be weighed by writers. To what degree should modern poets imitate their ancient predecessors? Should poetry be written for publication, or only for discreet circulation among a private audience? What are the consequences of deviating from heroic couplets, the neoclassical ideal for poetry? What does it mean for a woman to compose in this genre, long characterized as the province of educated men? What or whom should be the objects of poetic satire? Such questions shape the composition of poetry in this period; we will learn its major formal and thematic conventions in this period and seek an understanding of its varied social, cultural, political, and aesthetic implications. We will cover the major, and some minor, poets from 1660 to 1789, including Dryden, Rochester, Behn, Finch, Montagu, Pope, Swift, Thompson, Johnson, Goldsmith, Barbauld, and Wheatley. Evaluation will be based on essays totaling 12-15 written pages, a final, attendance, and participation.
ENG. 3350: American Women Writers to 1900 (75486)
MR 10:40-12:05 p.m.
Dr. Jennifer Travis
This course examines the way in which women writers used their authorship as a source of empowerment. The antebellum period in America is the first time in history that novels sold so well and these literary bestsellers were primarily by women.  Novels such as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) and Fanny Fern’s Ruth Hall (1855) had enormous popular appeal and influence. Like Stowe’s novel, which sought to awaken the American public to the evils of slavery, sentimental novels often aimed to turn influence into action, indicating a real displacement of cultural authority in America. Women writers commanded large audiences and believed that novels had the power to sway people’s actions and ideas. Together we will read several popular nineteenth century American women writers, many who are little known today, and we will explore the connection between aesthetics and politics, identity and community, authorship and agency.  
 Please note that this course will also focus on what I am calling WikiProject: American Women Writers for a Global Audience.  In this course we will write, edit, and improve Wikipedia’s coverage of select articles on American Women Writers.  As with any research assignment/paper, the WikiProject requires that students engage in research, learn to cite material, summarize sources, quote properly, and perhaps most importantly, edit and revise their writing.  This is an excellent opportunity to share the knowledge that we create in class with a large audience. Although Wikipedia is one of the most popular websites in the world and aims to be “the sum of all human knowledge,” many of its articles on American women writers are stubs, lack relevant details, contain no referencing, and/or do not yet exist!  Together we will enhance the website as well as public literacy.  Join us!

ENG. 3390: Special Topics- Am. Lit. to 1900 (75107)
TF 10:40-12:05 p.m.
Dr. Granville Ganter
Rescuing Melodrama in Nineteenth-Century Literature
Almost everyone knows the cartoon moment when the guy rescues the girl tied to the railroad tracks just before the train comes. But what most people don’t know is that in the play that invented this scene, Augustine Daly’s Under the Gaslight (1867), the rescuer is a woman.  Melodrama was perhaps the dominant literary mode of the nineteenth century, and very influential on most American writers. Most melodramas make us cry—why? how? This course will talk a lot about why we cry. This course presents melodrama as an important literary mode, despite its apparent simplicity, sentimental oppositions of good and evil, and appeal to lower-class taste. The story is not so simple, however. As a mode, melodrama frequently resists simple political containment, as seen in the use of melodramatic motifs in the Abolition movement. If tragedy has been enthroned as the terrifying experience of seeing people punished because of their virtues, melodrama has been degraded as the sugary story of virtue rewarded. A fancier working definition of melodrama, however, might take note of its revelatory potential—the disclosure of virtue before administrative authority. The business of the class will be to investigate the ways in which this disclosure can be apocalyptic and transformative or not. This course will read some of the major melodramas of the nineteenth century such as Metamora (1829), Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) (the play, not the novel), Under the Gaslight (1867), The Girl of the Golden West (1903), as well as consider contemporary melodramas about the period such as Spielberg’s film, Amistad. We will also read nineteenth-century prose and poetry writers influenced by melodramatic conventions, including Sigourney, Jacobs (Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl), Southworth (The Hidden Hand), and Dreiser (Sister Carrie).
ENG. 3430: Modern Poetry (75477)
MR 12:15-1:40 p.m.
Dr. Stephen Sicari
We will read the poetry of four of the most important poets of the first half of the twentieth century: WB Yeats, TS Eliot, Ezra Pound, and Wallace Stevens.  As we watch the development of their poetic projects over the first half of the century, we will be watching the development of an experimental poetics designed to renew the energies of a poetic tradition they feared was either lost or in jeopardy.  We will begin with the early and middle poetry of Yeats, who begins as a late Victorian poet of decadent sensibility and who redefines himself in mid-career. With Yeats as a model, we will watch the self-conscious inauguration of modernism in the poetry and prose of its two great propagandists, Eliot and Pound; and its development into what we call high modernism in their later poetry and in the sublime poetry of Stevens.
ENG. 3460: Contemporary Drama (73883)
TF 10:40-12:05 p.m.
Dr. Angela Belli
This course explores currents in contemporary drama that reference a post-modern era through an examination of relevant, selected plays. We will consider the response of current drama to socio-political cultural contexts.  Paying particular attention to the forces that have shaped the world of the twenty-first century—economic, political and scientific—we will consider how the theater assesses life in our time.  In examining representative dramas, we will consider the function of tragedy, of comedy and of the absurd in presenting a valid reflection of current life. Our study will consist of close readings of the texts as well as a consideration of the theoretical and critical points of view that inspired their creation. Dramatists studied will include English, 
ENG. 3470: Twentieth-Century African American Literature (75111)
MR 10:40-12:05 p.m.
Dr. John Lowney
In The Souls of Black Folk (1903), W.E.B. Du Bois wrote that “the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color-line.”  Beginning with Du Bois’s prophetic statement, this introductory course will explore how selected African American fiction, drama, poetry, and essays have responded to and influenced issues of race and racism, nationalism and internationalism, and racial and gendered identity.  The course will present an overview of twentieth-century African American literary history, concentrating especially on the oral tradition (particularly music) and its impact on literary expression, from the Harlem Renaissance until the present.  Readings will include Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God; Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man; Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun; Amiri Baraka, Dutchman; and Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon; and Paul Beatty, The White Boy Shuffle
ENG. 3560: Ethnic American Literatures (75124)
TF 1:50-3:15 p.m.
Dr. Elda Tsou
This course will familiarize students with the multiple literary traditions and cultural contexts categorized as “ethnic” American literature. Students will be introduced to a range of Asian American, American Indian, Latino American, African American and European American literatures. Through close readings of these literary texts, the course seeks to define what “ethnic” means, what “American” means, and what “ethnic American” literature might mean by problematizing the terms and the relations between them. 
ENG. 3610 (75048)  / CLS 3610 (75049): Classical Drama in Translation 
MR 7:30-8:55 a.m.
Dr. Robert Forman
The three tragedians, Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, produced their plays during the fifth century.  The golden age of Greek drama thus lasts for a period of only slightly more than one hundred years.  Nevertheless, there are profound differences in these playwrights, and we will argue that these arise from the different political and social concerns Athens faced in the fifth century.  We will examine these in tandem with the plays we discuss.  We will also consider the role that Aristophanes’ comedies played in their historical context.  It is important to bear in mind that Greek theatre moves very quickly from what is primarily a religious festival to often  bawdy and uncontrolled competitions.
Eng. 3650 Caribbean Literature (75114)
TF 1:50-3:15 p.m.
Dr. Lisa Outar
This course will be an introduction to the rich field of Caribbean literature and critical debates. Since the Caribbean was colonized by the French, Spanish, English and Dutch and includes peoples of European, African, Indian, Chinese and Syrian origin (among others), its literature is particularly diverse in its languages, themes and political and aesthetic concerns.  We will look at poetry, plays, novels and short stories from writers of various ethnic and national origins in the region (who range from Nobel Prize winners to working class activists) to consider how they present key Caribbean issues such as creolization, anti-colonial struggle, national identity, literary tradition/revision, memory, and Carnival. We will also consider the images of the region created by the tourism industry (in particular, how the Caribbean appears to us here in the US) and the cultural productions of Caribbean peoples who have moved to the US, Canada, the UK and elsewhere. Among the writers we will look at will be Derek Walcott, Jamaica Kincaid, V.S. Naipaul, Aime Césaire, Maryse Condé, Junot Díaz and Shani Mootoo.
ENG. 3710 Creative Writing: Nonfiction Prose (75110)
MR. 9:05-10:30 a.m.
Dr. Anne Geller
How much truth is in nonfiction?  How much fiction is in nonfiction?  What does it mean to tell our own experiences and the experiences of others in writing? Over the semester we’ll read and write our way to answers through a variety of nonfiction forms (for example, narrative essays and narrative journalism, travel writing, memoir, editorials and political essays). We’ll also consider cross-genre and hybrid forms (for example, nonfiction prose mixed with poetry, audio and graphic nonfiction). Students will develop their own non-fiction – shorter exercises in the early part of the semester and a longer text through the second half of the semester — and will read and respond to one another’s work.  Required reading will also include texts about the craft and ethics of nonfiction from Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers Guide. This is a writing course for those interested in storytelling and those interested in research and journalism.
ENG. 3720: Intro to Creative Writing (75117)        
TF  3:25-4:50 p.m.
 Prof. Lee Ann Brown

This is a multi-genre writing workshop and writing lab in which we practice poetry, flash fiction, playwrighting, memoir, and literary non-fiction.  The course employs models of contemporary work in all genres.  After a series of exercises in the different genres, students will finish the semester with a final project.  Readings from primary source texts, as well as some theory will be an important part of the course.  In addition to weekly workshops. written work is collected in portfolio at the middle and end of the semester.  This course is intended as an introductory course in creative writing and also as introduction to the Creative Writing major.
ENG. 3720: Introduction to Creative Writing (73143)
W. 1:50-4:40 p.m.
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, and 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).  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).  
ENG. 3780: Advanced Poetry Workshop (75119) 
TF 12:15-1:40 p.m.
 Prof. Lee Ann Brown
This advanced undergraduate poetry workshop is intended to further develop poetry practice begun in 3730, Poetry Writing Workshop.   Individuals will work on developing a short, chapbook-length manuscript of at least 25 pages, and continue to explore contemporary poetry culture through reading poetry and theory, research, poetry readings and performances.  Prior work with poetry is required.  
ENG. 3810.  Silent Film History (75108)
MR 10:40-12:05 p.m.
W. 12:00-2:00 pm.
Dr. Scott Combs
This course provides introduces students to the history of silent film from the late nineteenth-century until the early sound era of the late 1920s.  We will focus on the development of film aesthetics and the institutionalization of industrial practices, mainly in the US and Europe.  Films include works by Lumière, Méliès, Porter, Griffith, Murnau, Vertov, Eisenstein, and Vidor.  Students are required to attend a 2-hour weekly screening Wednesdays 12-2.
ENG. 3890.  Topics in Film Genre:  The Science Fiction Film. (75113)
MR 3:25-4:50 p.m.
W 2:00-4:00 p.m.
Dr. Scott Combs
This course in genre will focus on themes and motifs in the science-fiction film.  The genre’s origins can be traced to early cinema when the technology of film itself seemed to conjure up the idea of time travel.  The course will start with this early moment and trace the emergence and formation of the genre around conceptual clusters, or subgenres:  time travel, alien invasion, alien war, cyborgs, and maladjusted scientists.  Students are required to attend a 2-hour weekly screening Wednesdays 2-4.  
ENG. 4992: Seminar in American Literature (75105)
TF 3:25-4:50 pm
Dr. Granville Ganter
Modernization and Tradition
This wide ranging class will ask students to become aware of the prejudices of modernizationCsubtle cultural assumptions that tradition confines us, that the future is liberation, and that the new is how we redeem the past. There are successful societies (as well as subcultures of our own), however, who believe that the practices of earlier generations are worth preserving, and that the rituals of the past are sophisticated means for fulfilling human potential. This course will frame Amodernization@ as a sociological phenomenon for critical thought rather than an irresistible reality. The course will be bookended by Ben Franklin=s Autobiography (a Ahow to@ manual of modernization discourse), and Nicholson Baker=s postmodern novel, The Mezzanine (where a clerk buys shoelaces and milk, and celebrates triumph of industrial perforation). In between, we will examine technological modernization and its influence on literary form and the novel, such as Fanny Fern=s journalism in the 1850s; Twain’s Connecticut Yankee, and Nathaneal West’s short works; religion in the context of modernization, such as T.S. Eliot=s Four Quartets; and works by Naive authors, such as Leslie Marmon Silko=s Almanac of the Dead. We will read a few novels from the industrializing world as well (where modernization is a code for industrialization), probably ranging from Toer’s Earth of Mankind; to one of Munif’s City of Salt trilogy; and to Desnoes’s Memories of Underdevelopment. There will be critical readings from sociology, ranging from Max Weber to Anthony Giddens, political modernization theory; and theorists of modernization and time, such as Lewis Mumford and Mircea Eliade.   
ENG 4994: Seminar in Themes and/or Genres (75120)
The Civil Rights Movement and African American Literature
MR 3:25-4:50 p.m.
Dr. John Lowney
This seminar will examine the ongoing importance of the Civil Rights Movement for African American literary, cultural, and social history.  While the Civil Rights era is most often identified with the activism of the 1950s and 1960s, this course will explore what has become known as the “Long Civil Rights Movement,” from the early decades of the twentieth century through recent reconsiderations of the movement’s national and international significance.  Beginning with the labor movements of the 1930s and 1940s, and concentrating most intensively on the Civil Rights and Black Power movements of the 1950s and 1960s, the course will emphasize how African American literature has shaped as well as responded to questions of social justice.  Course readings and topics will address specifically how the African American freedom movement has interacted with and influenced debates about cultural nationalisms and internationalism, gender and sexuality, and domestic and foreign policy.  Readings will include Richard Wright, Uncle Tom’s Children; Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun; James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time; Amiri Baraka, Dutchman; Alice Walker, Meridian;  and poetry by Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, and Audrea Lorde.  In addition to these readings, we will look at print and video historical documents and listen to samples of music associated with the Civil Rights movement.      

About Steve Mentz 650 Articles
I teach Shakespeare and early modern literature at St. John's in New York City.

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