Fall 2016 Undergraduate Flyer


FALL 2016



ENG. 2200: Introduction to English Studies (74869)

MR 9:05 – 10:30 AM

Dr. Kathleen Lubey

This course will acquaint students with what it means to read and to write as an English major. It will be our concern throughout the semester to read representative texts from major genres of literatures in English and to develop adeptness at seeing how texts create meaning through both formal and thematic means. The other major focus of the course will be to express these insights in writing. Through regular critical writing assignments, we will develop the skills that are central to literary analysis: locating textual evidence of your claims, quoting exemplary passages, “close reading” quotations, and utilizing conceptual literary terminology—the special tools, in other words, of our discipline. We also will become familiar with major resources for research in our discipline. Evaluation will be based on several papers, a mid-term, a final, and class participation, which will involve class discussion, small group work, and peer review of classmates’ writing.


ENG. 2200: Introduction to English Studies (74866)

TF 10:40 – 12:05 PM
Dr. Dohra Ahmad

The aim of this course is to teach you the skills that you will need to succeed as an English major. We will read a small number of texts of various genres and historical periods at a fairly slow pace, collectively generating critical analyses and essay topics. Grading will be based almost exclusively on class participation, so it is imperative that you attend class punctually and regularly. Some of the skills to be covered include identifying genres and literary techniques, analyzing quotes, developing a thesis, drafting and revising essays, and conducting supplementary research.


ENG. 2300: Introduction to Literary Criticism and Theory (72972)

TF 1:50 – 3:15 PM

Dr. Scott Combs

This course introduces students to major works of critical theory. We will read exemplary essays from different theoretical paradigms, including psychoanalysis, semiotics, structuralism, post-structuralism, feminism, postmodernism, and postcolonialism. What is different about this iteration of the course is its occasional emphasis on film and film theory. Our goal throughout will not be to “apply” the theory we read to objects, but rather to see theoretical work in practice, and to appreciate the persistence of certain ideas and problems. We will take as an object for reflection both film and literature. To that end, this version of English 2300 will be useful if you are interested in taking further classes in film and media studies. We will be watching a few clips and select films in class


ENG. 2300: Introduction to Literary Criticism and Theory (74871)
MR 3:25 – 4:50 PM

Dr. Elda Tsou
This course is an undergraduate introduction to the major thinkers in literary or critical theory. Our texts will draw from a range of disciplines: among them, literary criticism, linguistics, philosophy, history and sociology. 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. Since theory has a bad albeit warranted reputation for being difficult, obscure, and intimidating, our goal will be to understand the central ideas and key concepts of theory so that they may help us think more critically in our everyday lives.


ENG. 3130: Elizabethan Shakespeare: Shakespeare and Politics (74864)
MR 10:40 – 12:05 PM
Dr. Steven Mentz

In this election season, we’ll read a series of Shakespeare’s most deeply political plays. Examining Shakespeare’s investigations of ambition, political gamesmanship, and the gendered and racial dynamics of leadership in dialogue with twenty-first-century American politics, we will start with Julius Caesar, a play about the transfer of power through violence. We will also read Shakespeare’s near-contemporary Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince for its insights into the political process in the Renaissance and today. Others plays will include Hamlet, Henry IV, Part 1, All’s Well that Ends Well, and Antony and Cleopatra.


ENG. 3270: Eighteenth Century British Poetry (74867)

MR 12:15 – 1:40 PM
Dr. Kathleen Lubey

In eighteenth-century Britain, the enterprise of writing poetry often 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 neoclassical style? What does it mean for a woman to compose in this genre, long characterized as the province of educated men? 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, covering topics from lady’s dressing rooms and sexual dysfunction to landscape aesthetics and abolitionism. We will read the major, and some minor, poets from 1660 to 1789, including Dryden, Rochester, Behn, Finch, Montagu, Pope, Swift, Thompson, Johnson, More, Gray, Barbauld, and Wheatley. Evaluation will be based on essays totaling 12-15 written pages, a final, attendance, and participation.


ENG. 3290: Special Topics in 18th & 19th c. British Literature (74872)

Female Virtue, the “Girl,” and the Novelistic Tradition

MR 10:40 – 12:05 PM
Dr. Amy King

“The girl hoversinextinguishable, as a charming creature, and the job will be to translate her into the highest terms of that formula.” —Henry James

One of the reoccurring preoccupations of the novel of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is the question of female innocence. The courtship novel, the fallen woman novel, and the French adultery novel are three genres that take up the trope of the “girl” and the broader cultural subject of female innocence. And yet the novel hardly invented the category of innocence, the subjectivity of the “girl,” or anxiety about female “virtue.” Since Eve took the determining bite, the relationship between knowledge and female chastity has been an overriding cultural preoccupation in the west. The novel reflects the cultural anxiety around chastity (is she “pure” or fallen”?), spinning repeated novelistic plots that revolve around the relationship between female identity and “dangers” to it, including flirtation, forwardness, fallenness. Ideas about the way in which culture depends upon an (always imperiled) white female virtue, will be one (but not the sole) entranceway into a number of novels and excerpts. Authors may include Frances Burney, Jane Austen, George Eliot, Gustave Flaubert, Elizabeth Gaskell, Thomas Hardy, Henry James.


ENG. 3350: American Women Writers and the Power of Authorship (74868)
MR 12:15 – 1:40 PM
Dr. Jennifer Travis
This course will examine how women writers wield their pens as instruments of rebellion and power. Nineteenth-century American women writers commanded large audiences and believed that novels had the power to sway people’s actions and ideas. Together we will read many writers who are little known today, and we will explore such topics as: race, gender, class, slavery, ethnicity, sexuality, marriage, motherhood, female friendship, and more.


ENG. 3360: Early National Literature (74876)
MR 10:40 – 12:05 PM

Dr. Granville Ganter

Stretching from the Revolution to the election of Andrew Jackson in 1828, this course surveys the literature of the early U.S. republic. This period is marked by both radical enthusiasm for the potential of the new country as well as anxiety that America’s children were not as virtuous as their Revolutionary parents. The texts we will read reflect to these tensions: Phillis Wheatley’s poetry; Stephen Burroughs’ scandalous autobiographical tale of a young rogue who counterfeits and fornicates his way across the eastern seaboard in the 1790s; Susanna Rowson’s best-selling novel of a seduced schoolgirl; Brockden Brown’s sensational gothic thriller about a father who spontaneously explodes, and whose son then goes on a killing rampage. The presence of Native Americans were crucial to shaping the nation’s view of itself and we’ll also read the Narrative of Mary Jemison, a white woman captured by the Senecas who chose to stay “Indian,” and several speeches and texts by Native American authors who contested the idea that they were a “vanishing” people.


ENG. 3410: Modern Fiction (74863)
MR 10:40 – 12:05 PM
Dr. John Lowney

This course is a comparative study of selected novels written in English during the first half of the twentieth century. It concentrates particularly on the development of the novel between the two World Wars, a period of explosive social and political tensions, of extraordinary technological change, and of innovative developments in the arts. While providing an introduction to important developments in modern fiction, this course emphasizes the connections between literature and history, between changes in narrative form and in social conventions and values, with specific attention to the international, cross-cultural dimensions of modernism. Readings will most likely include Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness; James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway; Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises; F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender Is the Night; Claude McKay, Home to Harlem; Nella Larsen, Quicksand; and William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying.


ENG. 3460: Contemporary Drama (74873)
TF 12:15 – 1:40 PM
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 in which we live, we will consider how the theater assesses life in our time.  In examining representative dramas, we will explore the value of tragedy, of comedy, 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 David Mamet, Seamus Heaney, Bernard Pomerance, Brian Friel, Cheryl West, August Wilson and Neil Simon.


ENG. 3620/ CLS. 1210: Classical Mythology (74862)
TF 9:05 – 10:30 AM
Dr. Robert Forman

This course, of special usefulness to students of literature and the arts, deals with the universality of classical myth in literature, art, and music.  Specifically, it notes the innumerable number of variations for expressing comparable themes and focuses on the human need to do this.  As one example: Dionysus is the god of the wine grape and, by extension, of festivity, ecstasy, and disorder.  The myths in which he figures emphasize these elements.  Likewise, the Dionysia, both Greater and Lesser, are theatre festivals named for him, and Friedrich Nietzsche, the German philosopher identified the combination Dionysus and Apollo (who represents order among other things) as the synthesis that produces art.

We shall use shall use only primary texts, and support them with art, music, and modern psychology as a means of establishing myth’s timelessness.


ENG. 3690: Special Topics in Cultural Studies (74875)
Intro to Performance Studies
MR 3:25 – 4:50 PM

Dr. Shanté Paradigm Smalls

This course introduces students to the field of performance studies, asking students to consider how the lens of performance may be used to study literature, social, and cultural life. Performance, in this class, is broadly construed to include acts of everyday life, as well as aesthetic forms like literature,  drama, music, dance, film and graphic novels. Students will receive a theoretical grounding in the study of performance as view, analyze and write about live and documented theatrical, ritual, social, choreographic and musical events. This class will place particular emphasis on the relationship of performance to social culture, investigating the link between performance and race, gender, and sexuality.  This class should be of interest to those compelled by performance, popular culture, journalism, art and aesthetics, and cultural studies. For more on Performance Studies see: http://scalar.usc.edu/nehvectors/wips/what-is-performance-studies-introduction


ENG. 3710: Creative Writing: Nonfiction Prose (74877)
“I is Another” — Poetics of the Memoir

TF 9:05 – 10:30 AM
Professor Lee Ann Brown

This course seeks to enact new possibilities in the art of writing investigative, Intellectual and exploratory autobiographical writing. We will begin by studying excerpts from classical intellectual autobiographies such as St. Augustine’s Confessions, Dante’s La Vita Nuova, Sei Shonogan’s Pillow Book and Basho’s travel diaries as well as the travel writing classic Songlines by Bruce Chatwin.

We will then move into 20th Century resource texts that point to new models of expansive writing on the self to explore forms which “reject closure”

such as Joe Brainard’s “I Remember,” Lyn Hejinian’s My Life and Adrienne Kennedy’s People Who Led to My Plays as well as Bernadette Mayer’s uses of the journal in works such as Midwinter Day and The Desire of Mother’s to Please Others in Letters.

We will end the semester with a look at recent, 21st Century developments in the hybrid “Lyric Essay” such as Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts, Claudia Rankine’s Citizen, as well as Helen McDonnell’s H is for Hawk. and the epistlatory hybrid poem-novel, and Dear Alain by Katy Bohinc.

The goal of the course is to build an extended piece of autobiographical memoir taking into account what we have learned from other’s innovations in poetry and / or prose, as well as what we discover together about the limitations and possibilities for memoir.


ENG. 3720: Introduction To Creative Writing (71565)
W 1:50 – 4:40 PM
Prof. Thomas 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), 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 (74106)
TF 12:15 – 1:40 PM

Professor Lee Ann Brown

We begin the semester with a generative, in-depth study of traditional poetic form, then move into a hands-on study of innovations in exploratory, experimental methods of daily composition. We then turn to extensive workshopping of student work, an exploration of how we can share our own new poetry as well as help others to interact with, enjoy and write it themselves. Intensive reading and writing practices to form a “Temporary Autonomous Zone” or Poetry Coaltion for a diversity of new work is the goal. Daily writing practice, seed texts and notebooks as well as readings, recordings and literary events comprise material we study together.


ENG. 3740: Creative Writing: Fiction (74878)
MR 12:15 – 1:40 PM
Professor Gabriel Brownstein

This is an introduction to fiction writing, focusing mainly around the short story. Students will write regular exercises, playing with notions like point of view, detail, character, conflict, and dialogue; these exercises will lead to the writing of original short fiction. The course readings will center on realism after Anton Chekhov. We’ll read and study Chekhov’s stories alongside some contemporary writers’ first books of stories—first books by Junot Diaz, Jhumpa Lahiri, and ZZ Packer—and we’ll consider the contemporary writers’ work in light of Chekhov’s storytelling practices. This study in turn will illuminate our own practice in writing.


ENG. 3890: Topics in Film Genre (75418)

TF 10:40 – 12:05 PM
Dr. Scott Combs
This course provides an intensive look at the horror film genre, its historical parameters, its political and cultural work, and its theoretical implications. Weekly screenings take us through this history of the genre—we will look closely at silent horror in Europe and the United States, the early sound-era monster film, occult, slasher, and zombie films, and today’s preponderance of so-called “torture porn.” Traditionally considered “lowbrow” in aesthetic appeal and cultural status, horror demonstrates to remarkable effect a critique of certain privileges of race, class, masculinity, science, and technology. Horror’s cultural work will be the focus of this iteration of the course.

ENG. 4991: Seminar In Special Topics (74108)

Modernism and the Allure of Fascist Ideology and Modes of Representation

TF 10:40-12:05 PM

Dr. Gregory Maertz

A study of the appeal exerted by Fascism over leading Modernist writers, artists, and intellectuals across a spectrum of behavior that ranged from mere flirtation with fascist ideology to enthusiastic collaboration with fascist regimes. These figures will include Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein, D.H. Lawrence, W.B. Yeats, Gottfried Benn, Martin Heidegger, Ernst Jünger, Leni Riefenstahl, Carl Schmitt, Knut Hamsun, Giovanni Gentile, F.T. Marinetti, Robert Brasillach, and Céline. The course will culminate with German fascism’s “Blood and Soil” aesthetics, its millenarian utopianism, and its vast investment in the palingenetic mission of the visual arts.

The unique cultural resources of New York City will form a crucial component of the course syllabus. Analysis of texts and other artifacts will be supplemented by study visits to the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Neue Galerie. Students will develop original projects, present their research, and submit term papers before the conclusion of the term.


ENG. 4994: Seminar in Special Topics (74108)

Kafka and After
MR 9:05 – 10:30 AM
Professor Gabriel Brownstein

In this class we’ll study the work of Franz Kafka: the fables, the major stories, the unfinished novels, the correspondence, and the journals.   Along with this work, we’ll read a diverse set of homages to Kafka by contemporary writers, including Jennifer Egan, Etgar Keret, Haruki Murakami, Zadie Smith, and Philip Roth.