Fall 2020 Queens Undergraduate Flyer

Fall 2020 Queens campus course offerings are also available here as well as the new English major requirements.

UNDERGRADUATE ENGLISH FLYER
FALL 2020

ENG. 2060: American Literature and the Monstrous (71502)
*DIVISION III OR PRE-1900*
Dr. Jennifer Travis
ONLINE
Email: travisj@stjohns.edu

This course will examine how images of witches, vampires, cannibals, and monsters have shaped American cultural discourse and literary history. Authors we will study include: Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Edith Wharton, H.P Lovecraft, and more. For information email Dr. Travis, travisj@stjohns.edu

ENG. 2200: Reading and Writing for English Majors (75625)
MR 9:05 – 10:30 AM
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. The course will be broken into two halves. The first will focus on prose, as we will read J. M. Coetzee’s novel The Childhood of Jesus and short stories and memoirs from The Penguin Book of Migration Literature, edited by our own Dr. Ahmad. Both the novel and the shorter prose texts share the theme of migration and so will allow for some thematic analysis in addition to our primary attention on form and genre. The second half of the course will be devoted to reading poetry: we’ll read selections of Emily Dickinson’s poems from a collection called Final Harvest; and selected poems by W. B. Yeats. You will be writing a mix of formal essays and creative pieces, plus one major research assignment. Feel free to contact me at sicaris@stjohns.edu if you have any questions or concerns.

ENG. 2200: Reading and Writing for English Majors
TF 1:50 – 3:15 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 (75622)
TF 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
Topics in Theory
W 10:40AM – 1:30 PM
Dr. Shante Paradigm Smalls
Email: smallss@stjohns.edu

Using performance and Performance Studies as our lens, this class will focus on theories of race, gender, sexuality, dis/ability, and nation and how we are taught to “perform” our roles and subject positions. We will read and watch theorists such as Audre Lorde, Michel Foucault, Tavia Nyong’o, Diana Taylor, and Zakiyyah Iman Jackson, and artists such as Simone Leigh, Kara Walker, and Adrian Piper.

ENG. 3000: Medieval English Literature (75618)
*DIVISION I OR PRE-1900*
Medieval Romance
TF 12:15 – 1:40 PM
Dr. Nicole Rice
Email: ricen@stjohns.edu

In this course, we will study one of the most popular, varied literary forms of the Middle Ages, the romance, and its development from twelfth-century France to fifteenth-century England. No previous knowledge of medieval literature is required. Some of our main topics will include the legend of Arthur; the nature of kingship and the contested meanings of knighthood; the chivalric ideal and the concept of “refined love”; and the romance’s representation of the public arena and the private self. We will combine our readings of the primary texts with historical, literary-critical, and visual materials.

ENG. 3130: Elizabethan Shakespeare: Shakespeare, Utopia, Democracy (73079)
*DIVISION I OR PRE-1900*
TF 9:05 – 10:30 AM
Dr. Steven Mentz
Email: mentzs@stjohns.edu

Since the founding era of American democracy, and in fact before that during the English Civil War in the seventeenth century, Shakespeare’s plays have been fodder for debates about political leadership, the ideals of the nation, and how to describe an ideal leader. This course looks at Shakespeare’s history plays and early career tragedies to think through how his works imagine leadership, democracy, and nationhood. We’ll read around a half dozen Shakespeare plays, including Richard II, Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2, Henry V, Hamlet, and The Taming of the Shrew. We’ll also contextualize Shakespeare’s thinking about nations and systems of government by looking at More’s Utopia (1516) and Hobbes’s Leviathan (1651).

ENG. 3230: 19th Century Novel (75623)
*DIVISION II OR PRE-1900*
MR 10:40 – 12:05 PM
Dr. Amy King
Email: kinga@stjohns.edu

Few cultural forms have achieved such a balance between mass popularity and aesthetic complexity as the novel of the nineteenth century. Our goal in this course will be to examine in detail an assortment of British novels from the classic period of the novel, and to come to an understanding of what “the novel” is, why it managed to hold such a dominant place in British culture, and how various techniques and topics it introduced persist today. We will be considering the following topics, among others:

— The subjects of a middle-class world, such as manners (class) and money (economics). What the bourgeoisie was and why it found its best expression in the novel.
— The increasingly large, bewildering facts of society in the modern context. How the novel explained, mapped, and made sense out of the forms of a mobile, economic, and increasingly secular society.
— The psychologies of the novel: its interest in descriptions of mood; consciousness; gendered minds; intimacy and its possibilities.
— The individual. How the novel represents the modern individual self or subjectivity; the novel’s expression of tragedy and moral trial.

Students will acquire a formal vocabulary for approaching the novel in order to become better readers of modernity’s most characteristic literary form. Authors may include Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte, Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, Thomas Hardy, and Oscar Wilde.

ENG. 3240: Romantic Literature (74314)
*DIVISION II OR PRE-1900*
TF 10:40 – 12:05 PM
Dr. Gregory Maertz
Email: maertzg@stjohns.edu

An introduction to the literature and culture of the Romantic Period (circa 1790-1830). Major examples of poetry, prose fiction, and literary criticism will be considered in the context of the philosophy, politics, and art of the age. Readings and discussion will focus on issues of stylistic innovation and literary revivalism, nature and the sublime, women and social justice, colonialism and slavery, revolution and nationalism, and the emergence of the Gothic and the supernatural as central themes in Romanticism. Featured authors will include Mary Wollstonecraft, William Blake, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Mary Shelley, and John Keats.

ENG. 3330: African – American Literature (75592)
African American Literature Before 1900
*DIVISION III OR PRE-1900*
TF 9:05 – 10:30 AM
Dr. Granville Ganter
Email: ganterg@stjohns.edu

This course will examine early U. S. African-American literature, paying particular attention the international aspects of black writing, a discursive and geographical domain currently known as “The Black Atlantic.” Stretching from African epic to DuBois, we will think about the uses of folklore and myth, and the role of literature’s contribution to national consciousness (in both African, and U.S. contexts). For example, does African epic help us understand early African American art in the US? We will also consider the consequences of joint authorship, when a text is an explicit collaboration between two or more people, or when elements of a text have been borrowed from other sources. What do we do with the evidence, argued recently by Vincent Carretta, that the author of a famous eighteenth-century slave narrative, Olaudah Equiano, may have actually been born in South Carolina and not Africa? Or Lydia Maria Child’s sentimental editing of Harriet Jacobs’ Narrative? In what way is the slave narrative, often taken to be the ur-moment of African-American writing, engaged with other anglo-literary traditions? How does gender shape early African-American literature? And finally, in what way is a folktale a “literary” text?

ENG. 3410: Modern Fiction (75621)
*DIVISION IV*
MR 9:05 – 10:30 PM
Dr. John Lowney
Email: lowneyj@stjohns.edu

This course is a comparative study of selected novels written in English during the first half of the 20th century. It concentrates particularly on the development of the novel between the two wars, a period of exclusive social and political tensions, extraordinary technological change, and innovative developments in the arts. The 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. Books include William Faulkner, As Lay Dying; Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises; James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway, and Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man.

ENG. 3440: Contemporary Poetry (75603)
*COUNTS FOR WRITING MINOR*
TF 3:25 – 4:50 PM
Professor Lee Ann Brown
Email: brownl@stjohns.edu

This course will explore certain representative tendencies of 20th Century American poetry, using case students of individual poems and poetics manifestos. Readings will include excerpts from work associated with movements such as Objectivists, Harlem Renaissance, Imagists: Umbra / Black Arts Movement, Beat, New York School, “L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E writing,” and the Oulipo. Student response will be both critical and creative.

ENG. 3500: Survey of Classical Literature (75507)
TF 9:05 – 10:30 AM
Dr. Robert Forman
Email: formanr@stjohns.edu

The course traces the development of Greek and Roman literature from its mythic and epic beginnings through its neoteric (“modern”) and mystical themes of the second century. It begins with comparative readings of Homer’s Iliad and Vergil’s Aeneid. It continues with selections from the Greek lyric poets Stesichorus (630-555 B.C.E.) and Theocritus (fl. c. 270 B.C.E. and the Menippean Satire of Petronius on Nero’s era, the Satyricon. It concludes with selections from the late-Greek mystical anthology Hermes Trismegistus and the Roman mystical work The Golden Ass (the actual title of which is the Metamorphoses) of Lucius Apuleius.

ENG. 3560: American Ethnic Literature: Latinx Writing (75619)
MR 12:15 – 1:40 PM
Dr. Steven Alvarez
Email: alvares1@stjohns.edu
This course will focus on texts produced by Latinx writers who extend Latinidad transnationally across the western hemisphere. We will explore Latinx voices from different racial, ethnic, and national backgrounds who portray the diverse experiences and negotiations of Latinidad from a variety of genres, focusing on themes of blackness, indigeneity, colonialism, bilingual poetics, migration, and sexuality. Readings for the course will include The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo, The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez, Children of the Land by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, Paradise Travel by Jorge Franco, Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera, and Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza by Gloria Anzaldúa.

ENG. 3620/CLS. 1240: Classical Mythology (75609)
MR 10:40 – 12:05 PM
Dr. Robert Forman
Email: formanr@stjohns.edu

The course deals with the universality of 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. It begins with a reading of Hesiod’s Theogony on the birth of the gods, examines their evolution from forces of nature, to monster, to anthropomorphic, and matriarchy to patriarchy. It continues with the heroes, how they evolve from irrational power (Heracles) to political entities (Theseus). It concludes with the quest heroes of the Golden Fleece expedition and the Trojan War. The remaining readings will include Apollonius’s Argonautica and selections from Homer’s Iliad.

ENG. 3690: Race, Gender, and Science Fiction
W 1:50 PM – 4:40 PM
Dr. Shante Paradigm Smalls
Email: smallss@stjohns.edu

This course takes seriously the work that science fiction and speculative works do in relation to constructions of gender and sexuality, race, and imaginary worlds and temporalities. This course considers how dystopian science fiction, fantasy, and other speculative categories render race and gender in the afterlife of structured society. Are race and gender metrics that register after civilization has been destroyed or radically altered? We consider such questions as: Who gets to lead in dystopian society? Who gets to have family and kinship and how are those portrayed? How is gender racialized and race gendered in post-apocalyptic worlds? And finally, can dystopic future renderings aid in undoing long-standing structural oppressions? Potential readings and films: NK Jemison, Octavia Butler, Majorie Liu, MR Carey, Snowpiercer, Train to Busan, The Girl with All the Gifts

ENG. 3730: Poetry Workshop (75596)
Poetry Workshop: Forms & Experiments
*COUNTS FOR WRITING MINOR*
TF 12:15 – 1:40 PM
Professor Lee Ann Brown
Email: brownl@stjohns.edu

This course explores contemporary poetry as seed text for our own new poems. We will form a workshop to deepen our poetry practice in new and traditional forms, including the ballad, calligramme, sonnet, villanelle, sestina, and list poem. We will also practice the reinvention of those forms through tools such as open-ended free writing, free verse, erasures, ekphrastic poetry, documentary poetics, ritual, performance poetry, improvisation, song form, collaborative writing and the invention our own new experiments.

Reading list include individual poems and other writings by William Blake, Joe Brainard, Marilyn Chin, Emily Dickinson, Allen Ginsberg, Langston Hughes, John Keats, Layli Longsoldier, Bernadette Mayer, Jackson Mac Low, Harryette Mullen, Frank O’Hara, Edgar Allan Poe, Ezra Pound, Arthur Rimbaud, William Carlos Williams, Walt Whitman, C.D. Wright, Louis Zukofsky and your own new poems!

ENG. 3760: Writing as Social Action (75604)
*COUNTS FOR WRITING MINOR*
MR 10:40 – 12:05 PM
Professor Catina Bacote
Email: bacotec@stjohns.edu

In this course, we will read literary nonfiction about those who have traditionally been silenced in the wider society. Specifically, we will examine how writers such as Svetlana Alexievich, Hanif Abdurraqib, Luis Alberto Urrea, Audre Lorde, N. Scott Momaday, and others understand and confront historical and contemporary injustices through acts of the imagination. Our reading list will help us explore such questions as: What methods do writers use to transform far-reaching political, social, and economic events into compelling and intimate stories? How do writers create counter-narratives focused on marginalized people and communities? What role do memory, photographs, public documents, and oral history play along the way? During our discussions, we will examine the craft techniques and ethical choices of each writer. As emerging writers, we will engage in creative work that draws direct influence from our readings, and thereby, join the ranks of those who write to speak out against the injustices of their time.

Please feel free to contact me with questions at bacotec@stjohns.edu.

 

ENG. 3790: Professional Writing
What is professional writing? Who does it? Why should you learn about it?
*COUNTS FOR WRITING MINOR*
MR 12:15 – 1:40 PM
Dr. Anne Geller
Email: gellera@stjohns.edu

Every profession requires writing, even if that writing is not immediately visible to us, and in the 21st century writing is a more central part of professionals’ communicative lives than ever before. In the first half of the semester we will explore the literacies and experiences of writers across a wide range of professions, the structural expectations and constraints on professional writers, the ways genre and community and context shape professional writing, and the embodied experiences of composing in professional settings. We will also think about how writers can advocate, critique, and revise professional communication. In the second half of the semester students will choose a professional community/context related to their interests, research composing and writing within that community/context, and collect data on the texts and visuals, genre systems, and communicative relationships of that community/context.

 

English 3795 Science Writing (75810)
*COUNTS FOR WRITING MINOR*
M/TH 3:25-4:40 PM
Professor Gabriel Brownstein
Email: brownstg@stjohns.edu

This creative writing class will focus on the literary study of science writing, exploring the intersection between the literary and the scientific imagination. This class will have two sections: one on hysteria and one on virology. Students will read deeply into these subjects, study great writers who pursue these subjects, and in response they will produce narrative, poetic, and personal writings—one piece of writing for each section of the course.

Readings will include: Josef Breuer, Sigmund Freud, Elaine Showalter, Claudia Rankine, Daniel Defoe, Albert Camus, and Eula Biss.

ENG. 3890: Topics in Film Genre (75616)
The American Film Musical
*DIVISION IV*
TF 1:50 – 3:15 PM
Dr. Scott Combs
Email: combss@stjohns.edu

This course follows roughly chronologically the history of the Hollywood musical from 1929-present. We will move through four generally conceived periods: 1930s explorations in sound and the foundation of the backstage musical and dance film; MGM of the 1940s and early 1950s; evolutions within formula in the New Hollywood; and reimaginings of the genre in recent cinema. Supplemental secondary readings will anchor our conversations in various interpretive strategies and open up particular historical questions. Our main focus will be on the syncretic nature of the genre–that is, the way it absorbs and integrates multiple narrative, dance, musical, visual traditions. We will look at films by Donen, Minelli, Kelly, Astaire, Wyler, Fosse, Luhrmann, Lee, and Chazelle.

ENG. 4994: Seminar in Themes/Genres: Race, Intimacy, Empire (75598)
*SENIOR SEMINAR/SENIOR CAPSTONE*
TF 3:25 – 4:50 PM
Dr. Elda Tsou
Email: tsoue@stjohns.edu

This class will explore the convergence of race, empire and intimacy. We typically associate matters of intimacy with privacy, with sexual, romantic or conjugal relationships that define the liberal individual. Drawing on postcolonial and cultural studies scholarship new and old, we will approach the intimate domain, the realm of kinship and family, as a site of colonial intrusion and racial formation. Some of the topics we will be considering across different historical periods: miscegenation laws, transnational adoption, domestic labor, standardized testing, public hygiene, genetic engineering. Case studies will be drawn from science fiction, paranormal fantasy, legal cases, film and memoirs. In each, we will consider how intimate encounters of all types function as sites of colonial discipline and racial exploitation.

ENG. 4994: Seminar in Themes/Genres (75602)
On Looking: The Art and Craft of Literary Journalism
*SENIOR SEMINAR/SENIOR CAPSTONE*
MR 3:25 – 4:50 PM
Professor Catina Bacote
Email: bacotec@stjohns.edu

In this course, we will approach creative writing as a mode of expression and also a way of seeing –– a means to access and understand the world around us. Throughout the semester, you will be charged with paying attention to ordinary life and the way it reflects a larger human narrative. You will gain hands-on experience with the skills of a literary journalist by practicing close observation, evaluating scholarly research, conducting fieldwork, and crafting nonfiction stories that follow the conventions of journalism. The course readings will tap into the current moment and showcase the possibility of approaches to literary journalism. Ultimately, you will choose a subject to explore fully and will experiment with various techniques in short writing assignments, that will gradually build toward a final project.

Please feel free to contact me with questions at bacotec@stjohns.edu.

*WITH PERMISSION OF CHAIR ONLY*

ENG. 4903: Internship in English (74590) 3 CREDITS
ENG. 4906: Internship in English (74591) 6 CREDITS
ENG. 4953: Independent Study

 

About Steve Mentz 1262 Articles
I teach Shakespeare and the blue humanities at St. John's in New York City.

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