Spring 2016 Undergraduate Flyer



ENG. 2200: Introduction to English Studies (14874)
MR 10:40 – 12:05 PM
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 (14882)

TF 3:25 – 4:50 PM

Dr. Granville Ganter

This course is intended as a first course for English majors, a practical introduction to the discipline of literary interpretation. It will introduce students to the written practices and theoretical means with which scholars create meaning. Course reading will be minimal, however: the purpose of the course will be to develop critical writing and research skills in the discipline of English studies. The course will offer concrete exercises for proposing, researching, and drafting academic papers. The course will include practice in close reading; a basic introduction to poetic terms and literary genres; and the basics of literary research.


ENG. 2300: Introduction to Literary Crit and Theory (14870)

TF 9:05 – 10:30 AM

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: Intro to Literary Crit and Theory (15062)

MR 12:15 – 1:40 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. 3110: Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (13252)

TF 10:40 – 12:05 PM

Dr. Nicole Rice

This course introduces the Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer’s late fourteenth-century poetic masterpiece. This is a work 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 as we go. Chaucer lived during a period of major social, religious, and political upheaval. We will situate the Tales in their historical contexts while introducing some important recent critical approaches to Chaucer.


ENG. 3140: Jacobean Shakespeare: Shakespeare’s Migrants (14868)


TF 10:40 – 12:05 PM

Dr. Steven Mentz

This course explores a half-dozen plays from the second half of Shakespeare’s career with an eye toward providing cultural context to understand the plight of modern migrants and refugees. We will start with Caroline Bergvall’s recent poem Drift, which combines a new translation of the Anglo-Saxon lyric “The Seafarer” with the twenty-first century story of the “Left-to-Die Boat” of Algerian refugees in the Mediterranean. We will read David Hadbawnik’s recent translation of the Aeneid, which focuses on the future founders of Rome as war-displaced refugees. We’ll also read Shakespeare’s Pericles, which the class will see a new production of at Brooklyn’s Theatre for a New Audience. Other plays may include Othello, The Tempest, King Lear, and Twelfth Night. We will also engage modern ideas about migration and refugee politics, both in current events and in political theory.


ENG. 3230: Nineteenth-Century Novel (14867)
MR 10:40-12:05 PM
Dr. Amy King
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 five English novels from across the century— ranging from Austen to Hardy— 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 is, and why it found its best expression in the novel; the increasingly large, bewildering facts of society in the modern context, and 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, and its interest in descriptions of mood, intimacy; how the novel represents the modern individual self or subjectivity; the novel’s expression of tragedy and moral trial. Finally, we will be learning to read novels as such— to acquire a vocabulary and set of skills for grasping the details of how novels are built, what they are made of, and how they work, in order to become better readers of modernity’s most characteristic literary form. Authors may include Austen, C. Bronte, E. Bronte, Gaskell, Eliot, Dickens, Trollope, Hardy.


ENG. 3240: Romantic Literature (15106)


MR 12:15 – 1:40 PM

Dr. Gregory Maertz

An introduction to the literature and culture of the Romantic Period (circa 1775-1830). Major examples of poetry and literary criticism will be considered alongside philosophy, politics, 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, 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, John Keats.


ENG. 3350: American Women Writers (14883)
Telling Patsey’s Story: American Women Writers and the Power of Authorship
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 diverse texts by several nineteenth-century American women writers, many of whom are little known today, and we will explore such topics as: slavery, ethnicity, class, nation, women’s rights and suffrage, sexuality, courtship, marriage, motherhood, and more.


ENG. 3390: Nineteenth Century Melodrama (14873)


TF 1:50 – 3:15 PM

Dr. Granville Ganter

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, conventions of sentimentality, and romance. This course presents melodrama as an important literary mode, despite its apparent simplicity, sentimental oppositions of good and evil, and appeal to working-class taste. The story is not so simple, however. If tragedy has been enthroned as the terrifying experience of seeing people punished because of their virtues, melodrama has been denigrated 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. As a mode, melodrama frequently resists simple political containment, as seen in the use of melodramatic motifs in the Abolition movement. The business of the class will be to investigate the ways in which this disclosure can be apocalyptic and transformative or, as it is traditionally understood, as reinforcing the status quo. This course will read some of the major melodramas of the nineteenth century such as Kotzebue’s The Stranger (1798), Metamora (1829), Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) (the play, not the novel), Under the Gaslight (1867), as well as consider modern melodramas about the period such as Spielberg’s film, Amistad. We will also read excerpts from Janice Radway’s Reading the Romance, a pioneering cultural studies approach to understanding genre literature.


ENG. 3480: The Harlem Renaissance (14876)
MR 12:15-1:40 PM
Dr. John Lowney
This course is an introduction to the literature of the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance (or New Negro Renaissance) was a remarkably prolific period of African American literature, music, art, and scholarship that followed World War I and lasted into the 1930s. In this course we will examine the Harlem Renaissance as a cultural movement in relation to both African American history and international modernism. The primary emphasis of the course is on intensive study of important African American writers, with attention to parallel developments in music and the visual arts. Readings include W. E. B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk; Nella Larsen, Quicksand; Claude McKay, Home to Harlem; Langston Hughes, Not Without Laughter; Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God; and selected poetry by McKay, Hughes, Countee Cullen, Gwendolyn Bennett, and Helene Johnson.


ENG. 3590: Literature & Other Arts (14880)

Afro-Asian Popular Culture
W 1:50pm – 4:40 PM

Dr. Shanté Paradigm Smalls
This course takes a historical, literary, and cinematic look at the long collaborations between Blacks and Asians throughout their respective diasporas. What do we discover when we think about the collaborations—real, imagined, and performed—between Black and Asian bodies, communities, and cultural producers? Students interested in critical ethnic studies, Africana Studies, Asian/America Studies, popular culture, Black and Asian Anglophone literature, and cultural studies should take this class. Readings will include Taj Fraiser, Yuchiro Onishi, Helen Jun, Hsuan Hsu, Bill Mullen, and more. We will also watch films and listen to music that relates to Afro-Asian popular culture.


ENG/CLS 3605: Ancient Comedy In Translation (15135/15136)
MR. 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 the plays of 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 assumes no previous knowledge of ancient comic drama. It 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: 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. 3690: Special Topics in Cultural Studies (14875)
Culture, Race, and Baseball

MR 9:05 – 10:30 AM
Dr. Raj Chetty

This course will introduce students to the influential and interdisciplinary field of cultural studies by engaging some of the key critical writings on the concept of “culture” and situating these critical ideas in relation to a very specific topic: baseball. The course presumes no interest in baseball or sport per se, but instead aims to look at baseball as a cultural site, an important space where cultural issues like race and class are articulated and contested. The course includes a week-long study abroad trip to the Dominican Republic from January 9-15, 2016—before the semester begins—but that is embedded into the Spring semester.

One purpose for cultural studies is to engage with spaces that are typically seen as not sufficiently intellectual or academic, not “cultivated” or “cultured” enough to warrant serious reflection or study. Cultural studies as a discipline in the US and the UK emerged in the 1950s and 60s as a method to consider the political, economic, and social implications of culture at large, and since that time has branched into different approaches that can all loosely be termed “cultural studies.” In this class we will be engaging with different models of cultural studies, and putting these models to use in studying cultural materials ranging from novella to theater to film and visual culture. The unifying theme across these different cultural materials is the relationship between baseball and race.

Writers and filmmakers we will engage include Amy Bass, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, Adrian Burgos, Ken Burns, Ben Carrington, Don DeLillo, Stuart Hall, C. L. R. James, Alan Klein, Rob Ruck, and August Wilson.


ENG. 3720: Introduction to Creative Writing (14872)
MR 10:40 – 12:05 PM

Professor Lee Ann Brown
This is a collaborative workshop dedicated to exploring and expanding each student’s individual creative writing practice through the consideration of, and the writing in, a variety of forms and genres, both traditional and experimental. In addition to writing poetry, short fiction and playwrighting, we will explore ways to perform our own work. The workshop alternates between reading and writing to weave creative and critical writing as new modes of discourse.


ENG. 3720: Intro to Creative Writing (12053)
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).  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. 3730: Poetry Workshop (14877)
Creative Writing : Poetry              

MR 3:25 – 4:50 PM
Prof. Lee Ann Brown

In this Creative Writing workshop we will work together to write our own new poetry each week, culminating in a chapbook-length manuscript by the end of the semester. We also present a public reading or performance of selections from the work. Traditional, cross-cultural, experimental, and online forms will be addressed throughout the course. Students will also read and critically respond to contemporary poetry and poetry journals, both in print and on-line. Attendance of at least one live poetry reading on or off campus is required.


ENG. 3770: Advanced Fiction Workshop (14879)

TF 10:40 – 12:05 PM

Prof. Daniel José Older

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 several 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 also delve into topics including narrative structure, world-building, and the current publishing industry.


ENG. 3880: English Studies in the Digital Age (13410)
Is Google Making Us Stupid?
MR 10:40 – 12:05 PM
Dr. Jennifer Travis
Digital technologies are changing all aspects of how we access, analyze, and conceptualize information. While some cultural critics think this is “making us stupid,” others sing the praises of the internet age. With these ongoing debates in mind, this course investigates how digital medias and technologies affect the way we read, study, and understand literature. It also introduces students to a rapidly growing field of study known as the digital humanities. Digital humanities combines the traditional research and teaching methodologies of the humanities disciplines with computing tools, including data visualization, digital maps, data mining, text encoding, and digital imaging. The course will familiarize students with the digital humanities practices that are growing popular in literary studies and examine the ways in which digital humanities poses significant challenges to familiar assumptions in literary study, from how we read to the meaning of authorship.


ENG. 4991 Seminar in British Literature (14869)
Chaucer’s Women
TF 1:50 – 3:15 PM
Dr. Nicole Rice
In this senior seminar we will consider views and constructions of women in Geoffrey Chaucer’s poetry from a variety of angles. Women’s lives, experiences, and opinions figure prominently in Chaucer’s work. How do Chaucer’s women uphold or critique late medieval assumptions about sex, gender, and status? How does Chaucer’s depiction of gendered relations evolve across his poetic career? We will consider Chaucer’s poetic engagements with legendary and contemporary women and with stereotypes (both positive and negative) about women, in order to try to answer these questions. Readings will include selections from Troilus and Criseyde, The Legend of Good Women, the Canterbury Tales, and the shorter poems, as well as a range of historical and critical sources. No previous knowledge of Middle English is necessary: we will learn to read and pronounce Chaucer’s language in the course.


ENG. 4994: Seminar in Themes/Genres (14878)

MR 10:40 – 12:05 PM

Dr. Dohra Ahmad
Harry Potter in Context(s) In this capstone course, we will be using J. K. Rowling’s 1997-2007 series to practice and refine the interpretive techniques that you have gathered over your past several years as an English major. A wide range of supplementary materials will help us to approach the series from the multiple perspectives of class, race, empire, gender, sexuality, and genre, among others. There will be a significant amount of independent research, to be delivered in the form of short essays, oral presentations, and a final seminar paper. Please note that I will expect students to have read or reread all seven books carefully and recently before the beginning of the semester (ideally, over winter break) since there will not be time devoted to reading each volume separately.


ENG. 4994: Seminar in Themes/Genres (15279)


Comparative Rhetoric: Re-Presenting the Other

MR 12:15 – 1:40 PM

Dr. LuMing Mao

For the past few decades we have seen a growing trend in the field of Composition of Rhetoric to interrogate and broaden dominant rhetorical and writing paradigms and to study non-Euro-American composing traditions on their own terms and in their own contexts. The emergence of comparative rhetoric as a field of study is an integral part of this trend. Comparative rhetoric engages different, non-Euro-American rhetorical practices across time, place, and space and is committed to different ways of knowing and speaking and to different forms of inquiry. This graduate seminar situates itself in this context and aims to contribute to the comparative turn. We will therefore be reading both current scholarships on comparative rhetoric including methodology and translations of primary materials on non-Euro-American rhetorics with a particular focus on Chinese rhetorical and composing practices.

Throughout the semester, we will investigate, among other issues, on-going tensions underlying the pursuit of comparative rhetoric between the disciplinary desire to search for a Theory of Rhetoric (George Kennedy) and the need of any comparative endeavor to challenge such a desire and to develop local terms and “grids of intelligibility” (Rey Chow) and between an appeal to the dominant paradigms of logic and rationality and a call for aesthetic, analogical, or other explanatory frames of ordering (Hall and Ames). We will investigate what it means to represent “the native’s point of view” and to search for a “third” in comparative work (LuMing Mao). We want to consider such questions as: (1) how knowledge gets produced and disseminated at points of comparison; (2) what are the possibilities and impossibilities of studying the other on its own terms in the present; and (3) how the art of recontextualization, a method of inquiry, can serve as a productive heuristic in the curent global contact zone where boundaries of all kinds are being blurred, conflated, and/or recreated altogether.