Fall 2021 Undergraduate Course Offerings (S.I.)


FALL 2021




Please note: All courses are on campus unless noted as online or hybrid.


ENG. 1100C: Literature in a Global Context (70760)


Dr. Stephen Paul Miller

Email: millers@stjohns.edu

In 1858, Abraham Lincoln remarked that an “electric cord in” the Declaration of Independence “links the hearts of” people all over the world, so that German immigrants then had a right to claim” the quality of being American “as though they were blood of the blood, and flesh of the flesh, of the men who wrote that Declaration, and so they are.” This course contains readings in diverse American and world literatures that examine Lincoln’s premise and how it relates to African Americans, Native Americans, and other marginalized people. A wide array of literature will be considered for students to evaluate, respond to, and use as a touchstone for vigorous and dynamic interactive dialogue with fellow students and the professor.


ENG. 1100C: Literature in a Global Context (70967)


Dr. Melissa Mowry

Email: mowrym@stjohns.edu

It is impossible to study literature written in English apart from the geopolitical history of this small island nation. This section of ENG 1100 looks at some iconic works of early modern literature written at the moment England was establishing itself as a global power with wide-ranging political and economic ambitions that plunged it into the Atlantic slave trade and irrevocably bound its literary undertakings to the regime of racial representation under which we still struggle.


ENG. 1100C: Literature in a Global Context (71656)

MR 12:15 – 1:40 PM

Dr. Rachel Hollander

Email: hollanr1@stjohns.edu

As an introduction to literary studies and a sampling of global culture, this course will read a range of texts from a variety of historical periods and national origins. We will focus particularly on colonialism and slavery in Africa, India, and the Caribbean, exploring how literary works represent relationships of power, oppression, and especially resistance. The class will also spend significant time learning to write (more) effectively about literature. The goal is to give you a productive overview of the pleasures and challenges of reading and writing critically, and to whet your appetite for more in depth study of both literary and non-fiction works.


ENG. 1100C: Literature in a Global Context (70838)

The Ancients and Moderns

MR 3:25 – 4:50 PM

Dr. Brian Lockey

Email: lockeyb@stjohns.edu

An enduring line of questioning within the field of literary study is the following: who has composed better works of fiction, the poets of the classical world such as Homer, Virgil, and Ovid or the great vernacular writers of later European history such as Dante Alighieri, Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare? A more contemporary version of the same question compares the great writers of the medieval and Renaissance period such as Dante, Geoffrey Chaucer, Shakespeare, Cervantes and John Milton to Modernist or contemporary writers such as Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, and Cormac McCarthy. Which set of writers uncovered more valuable philosophical insights into the divine, into the human condition, about the world around us? Which set of writers is more worth reading in a classroom setting? Which set of writers is more worth passing on to the next generation of readers? We will attempt to address these and other questions as we read four works of fiction and some sonnets during the course of the semester. William Shakespeare’s Macbeth and The Tempest, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and George Orwell’s 1984.


ENG 2100: Literature and Culture (75217)

Literature and 18thc Fashion

MR 12:15 – 1:40 PM

Dr. Melissa Mowry

Email: mowrym@stjohns.edu

Literature and 18thc Fashion: Bridgerton, The Favorite, Outlander, during the past five years, popular culture has become fascinated by the 18thc, often to outrageous effect. This class explores satirical perspectives of writers like Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, Eliza Haywood and others on the fashion excesses of their countrymen (think birdcages in wigs), we will also explore how the intersection between fashion and literature gave rise to the modern fashion magazine at the end of the eighteenth century.


ENG. 2100: Literature & Culture (74894)



Dr. Gregory Maertz

Email: maertzg@stjohns.edu

This entertaining online fall course will examine three classic British novels that have recently been made into successful movie and TV adaptations: Jane Austen’s Emma, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. In the process of comparing texts and films, the course will fill in gaps and sharpen critical reading and writing skills. With brief weekly essay assignments, a midterm, and a final exam.


ENG. 2200: Reading/Writing For English Majors (74582)

Literature of the Apocalypse

MR 10:40 – 12:05 PM

Dr. Brian Lockey

Email: lockeyb@stjohns.edu

How do we discuss and write about literature? This course will answer this question by introducing students to some of the modes of critical thought used in the academic discipline of English literature. Emphasis will be placed on learning traditional close-reading skills as well as contemporary literary critical approaches to literature. In thematic terms, this course will consider the question of how a number of fiction writers have considered Eden and the Apocalypse, the mythical beginning and ending of the world. The past century has seen the emergence of a great deal of literature and film that expresses a heightened anxiety over the fear of world destruction. Some fear human-caused events such as nuclear holocaust, the creation of a bioweapon, or environmental catastrophe. Others experience a mixture of fear and hope for Biblical end-times that result in the return of a messiah. But in reality, people have feared the end of the world for centuries, and it will be the point of this course to explore the history of this fear in a number of artistic works from the Renaissance to the contemporary period. We will read the following works of literature: George Orwell, 1984; Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake; John Milton, Paradise Lost; Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Rime of the Ancient Mariner; and William Shakespeare, King Lear.


ENG. 2210: Study of British Literature (74893)

Fantasy from Beowulf through Harry Potter



Dr. Steven Mentz

Email: mentzs@stjohns.edu

For millions of readers and fans worldwide, the best–known products of the British literary imagination are works of fantasy literature, especially J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings (1937–49), J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels (1997– 2007), and the twenty–first century films made about each one (LOTR 2001–2003; HP 2001–2011). Though widely beloved, these novels are also controversial, in particular for their racist and sexist depictions of human and nonhuman figures in their imaginary worlds. This course traces the literary and cultural origins of characters we know from fantasy, including wizards, dragons, monsters, and kings who mysteriously return to reclaim the throne. We will consider the long histories behind the blockbuster successes of Tolkien’s and Rowling’s worlds, and also explore how contemporary writers are re–imagining these legacies in anti–racist and feminist ways. The main texts will include classics works of British literature such as Beowulf, Shakespeare‘s The Tempest, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, as well as modern fantasies by authors such as N.K. Jemison and Maria Dahvana Headley.


ENG. 2210: Study of British Literature (75292)

Songs and Sonnets


Dr. Nicole Rice

Email: ricen@stjohns.edu

This course offers a selective study of British poetry written from the fifteenth to the late twentieth century. We will mainly be reading short lyric poems, working closely with the texts at a formal level. The major goal of the course is to become conversant with the terms of formal analysis and proficient in the close reading and analysis of poetry. We will be focusing on the links between poetry and song, and we will become experts in the lyric form known as the sonnet.


ENG. 3290: Special Topics in 18th and 19th Century English Literature (75214)

The Origins of Science Fiction


MR 12:15 – 1:40 PM

Dr. Brian Lockey

Email: lockeyb@stjohns.edu

Science fiction (i.e. speculative fiction) emerged as a major genre of popular and literary writing during the 19th and early 20th centuries. This course will consider the origins of this tradition as well as the relevant literary and historical contexts. In particular, we will consider two prominent traditions within speculative fiction writing. The first tradition emerges from the Greek myth of Prometheus, taking shape in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and involving prohibited knowledge or a human invention which threatens to destroy the world. The second, embodied in George MacDonald’s Phantastes: A Faerie Romance for Men and Women and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, probably goes back at least to Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene and involves the discovery of a new or parallel world. Among the questions we will ask are the following: How does speculative fiction emerge from the scientific revolutions of the early modern and Enlightenment periods? How does science fiction register the 19th and 20th century tensions between religion and science? How does speculative fiction reflect transforming gender roles of men and women, especially given how many prominent speculative fiction writers have been women? We will read a selection of short fictional works and view some related films as well: Excerpts from Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene; Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; H. G. Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau; George MacDonald’s Phantastes; Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; Gertrude Barrows Bennett’s The Claimed; H. P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness; and C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.


ENG. 3350: American Women Writers (75216)


Tuesdays: 1:50 – 3:15 PM (FACE TO FACE) &


Dr. Robert Fanuzzi

Email: fanuzzir@stjohns.edu

American women’s literature retells the stories and historical touchstones of U.S. culture in starkly modern terms. Then as now, we look to women’s voices to unmask and explain how power works. In this course, we embrace women writers as truth tellers about historical matters that unsettle us still: English colonists’ and indigenous people’s conflicts; enslavement and racial segregation; and the territorial expansion of U. S. power. With the help of a diverse group of authors, including Harriet Jacobs, Lydia Maria Child, Mary Rowlandson, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ida B. Wells, Maria Ruiz de Burton, and Pauline Hopkins, and the inter-racial dialogues we create between them, our class discovers what these issues tell us about gender roles, models of family, and the power dynamics of sexuality.


ENG. 3400: Modernist Literature (75215)

The TIME of Modernism

MR 3:25 – 4:50 PM

Dr. Rachel Hollander

Email: hollanr1@stjohns.edu

In this course, we will examine the uniquely self-conscious explosion of new literary and cultural forms that emerged in the first half of the twentieth century. With a particular emphasis on the relationship between literature and time, readings will focus on urban spaces as the location of radical re-thinkings of identity, politics, and aesthetics. Paying close attention to the interaction between history and culture, the class will explore significant global events—including two world wars, the advent of psychoanalysis, the decline of the British Empire, shifting race relations in the U.S., and women’s suffrage— and their effects on early twentieth-century literature and art. Our authors will come from England, America, and Ireland, and we will study a wide variety of forms: not just novels and poems, but also short stories and manifestos. Writers may include James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Jean Toomer, T.S. Eliot, Nella Larsen, and Gertrude Stein.


ENG. 3590: Literature and the Other Arts (75787)


Dr. Stephen Paul Miller

Email: millers@stjohns.edu

This course considers chains of direct influence and useful interfacing within various art forms, implying them to issues that are relevant to the students. For instance, the Korean film director Lee Chang-dong based his 2018 film, Burning, upon William Faulkner’s short story, “Barn Burning” and Japanese author’s Haruki Murakami’s fictive response to Faulkner’s story, “Burning.” The class will evaluate the three works’ treatments of work, youth, family, class, and other subjects. Similarly, Japanese director Akiru Kurosawa based his film Ikiru upon Leo Tolstoy’s novella The Death of Ivan Ilych. How do the themes of the two works differ? A similar “chain of representation” occurs among Allen Tate’s poem “Ode to the Confederate Dead,” Robert Lowell’s poetic response, “For the Union Dead that also responded to sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ sculptural relief “Memorial to Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment. The class may also consider the visual narrative techniques of Jacob Lawrence’s Migration series, compare Billie Holiday’s song “Strange Fruit” Frank O’Hara’s poem “The Day Lady Died,” relate the film My Dinner with Andre with philosophical dialogues, and discuss “ekphrasis” through analyzing Keats’s “Ode on a Grecian Urn” and Ashbery’s “Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror.” The class will be explorative, and students will also select interdisciplinary objects of study.








The English Major and

Minors in English and Writing

The major in English is a 36-credit program.

Core Courses (9 credits)

English 1100C: Literature in a Global Context

English 2200: Reading/Writing for English majors

English 2300: Topics in Theory


Courses Prior to 1900:

Select any 3 courses.

Courses that qualify are indicated on the course description flier as  Pre-1900 (9 credits)


Additional Electives

to be drawn from any SJC English courses (15 credits)


Senior Capstone (3 credits)


Total credits in the English major: (36 credits)


Please note: the credit requirements for the English and Writing Minors has changed from 18 credits to 15 credits for all students:

Minor in English: 15 credits

Students wishing to minor in English must 15 credits in English. 1100c may count toward the total number of credits.

Minor in Writing: 15 credits

Students who minor in writing must take the following courses:

* Four writing courses

* Any additional course in the SJC English Department. 1100c may count toward the total number of credits.


Note: English majors who minor in writing must take four writing courses plus one additional English course (fifteen credits in all) in addition to their major coursework.

About Steve Mentz 1265 Articles
I teach Shakespeare and the blue humanities at St. John's in New York City.

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