Spring 2021 Undergraduate Course Offerings

Spring 2021 Undergraduate English Flyer 

Queens And Staten Island Campus



ENG. 2060: American Literature and the Monstrous (11393)
Dr. Jennifer Travis
Email: travisi@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, travisi@stjohns.edu. 

ENG. 2200: Reading and Writing for English Majors (14039)
MR 10:40 – 12:05 PM
Dr. Dohra Ahmad
Email: ahmadd@stjohns.edu

The aim of this course is to teach you the skills that you will need to succeed as an English major, minor, or concentrator. 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 our zoom class and participate in the class discussion board. Some of the skills to be covered include identifying genres and literary techniques, analyzing passages, developing a thesis, drafting and revising essays, and conducting supplementary research. 

ENG. 2200: Reading and Writing for English Majors (14040)
TF 10:40 – 12:05 PM
Dr. Nicole Ricc
Email: ricen@stjohns.edu

This course introduces analytical, writing, and research methods critical for the English major. Making poetry our focus, we will 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 increasing lengths, each incorporating different skills and methods. These will include a close reading essay, a comparative essay, and a final essay 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. 2210: Study of British Literature (11391)
British Fantasy from Beowulf to Harry Potter and Beyond
Dr. Steven Mentz
Email: mentzs@stjohns.edu

For millions of readers and fans worldwide, the bestknown products of the British literary imagination are works of fantasy literature, especially J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings (193749), J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels (19972007), and the twentyfirst century films made about each series (LOTR 20012003; HP 20012011). Though widely beloved, these novels are also controversial, in particular for their racist and sexist depictions of human and nonhuman figures in their imaginary landscapes. 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 reimagining these legacies in antiracist and feminist ways. The main texts will include classics works of British literature such as Beowulf, Shakespeares The Tempest, and the stories of King Arthur as well as modern British fantasies by authors such as Philip Pullman and Diana WynneJones. 

ENG. 2210: Study of British Literature (14949)
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. 2300: Introduction to Literary Criticism and Theory (13955)
MR 12:15 – 1:40 PM
Dr. Elda Tsou
Email: tsouc@stjohns.edu

This course is an undergraduate introduction to the key concepts, thinkers, and intellectual movements called literary theory. What we term “theoryis 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 meaningmaking 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. 3110: Chaucer (14966)
TF 12:15 – 1:40 PM
Dr. Nicole Rice
Email: ricen@stjohns.edu

This course introduces the Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer’s late fourteenth-century poetic masterwork. This is a poem 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. Chaucer lived during a period of major social, religious, and political upheaval. We will situate the tales in their historical contexts while considering some important recent critical approaches to Chaucer. No previous experience with Middle English is required. 

ENG. 3130: Shakespeare: Elizabethan Plays (15196)
(SI CAMPUS) Shakespeare among the Pagans *DIVISION I OR PRE-1900*
T. 10:40 – 12:05 PM – FACE TO FACE
F. 10:40 – 12:05 PM – ONLINE SYNCHRONOUS
Dr. Brian Lockey
Email: lockcyb@stjohns.edu

Despite the Christian context within which he lived i.e. Renaissance England), William Shakespeare often set his plays within the ancient pagan world. In this course, we will read a number of Shakespeare’s plays that are set in the pagan or pre-Christian context of ancient Greece, Rome, and Britain. We will consider how Shakespeare and other early modern playwrights adapted historical and fictional pagan narratives to the Christian culture in which they lived. Among the questions we will be asking are the following: How did Protestant England incorporate pagan values associated with the preChristian past? How do Shakespeare and other authors during this period Christianize the ancient world, and to what extent do Shakespeare and his contemporaries preserve or even celebrate the pagan virtues associated with ancient Greece and Rome? To what extent do Shakespeare and his contemporaries see the ancient world as a model on which to build future civilization? Finally, how are the gender roles particular the roles of womendifferent in Shakespeares pagan plays compared to those of his plays which are set in the Christian world? We will read Shakespeares A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Comedy of Errors, Troilus and Cressida, Macbeth, King Lear, Antony and Cleopatra

ENG. 3140: Shakespeare: The Jacobean Plays (12860)
Jacobcan Shakespeare: What Should We Do with Othello? *DIVISION I OR PRE-1900*
TF 9:05 10:30 AM
Email: mentzs@stjohns.edu

This course interrogates Shakespeares Othello as a problematic and deeply paradoxical text: it is at once a racist fable, one of the greatest works of English literature, and a story that twentyfirst century writers cannot stop revising and reinventing. By studying the play, its sources, and its adaptations, the course aims to show how Shakespeare can be both an example of and a response to racism and sexism. The course will engage with contemporary Shakespeare criticism that collects itself under the hashtags #ShakeRace and #Raceb4Race. We will consider how Shakespeare has historically been used to transmit racist and sexist ideologies, and we will explore how his works are currently being used in antiracist ways. In addition to reading Othello, we will read two other plays that feature major African characters, Antony and Cleopatra and The Tempest. We will further consider twentyfirst century adaptations and responses to Othello, including Tayeb Salih’s Season of Migration to the North (1966), Lolita Chakrabartys Red Velvel (2012), Tracy Chevaliers New Boy (2017), and Keith Hamilton Cobbs American Moor (2020). Student will have the option to reimagine a scene from Othello in contemporary context for the final project. 

ENG. 3200: 18th Century English Literature (15202)
Eighteenth-Century Literature and Labor *DIVISION II OR PRE-1900*
MR 10:40 – 12:05 PM
Dr. Melissa Mowry
Email: mowrym@stjohns.edu

During the eighteenthcentury Englishspeaking writers developed a fascination with labor who should do it, what it revealed about people’s character, how it should be valued. Laboring class poets such as Stephen Duck and Mary Collier were celebrated, while one of the most iconic novels of the century, Samuel Richardson’s Pamela featured a workingclass heroine. In this class we will read a range of works from essays, to novels, to plays and musicals, to early magazines as we explore why English imaginative writing took this turn and ask how it fit in to Englands imperial ambitions

ENG. 3230: 19th Century Novel (14962) *DIVISION II OR PRE-1900*
Dr. Gregory Macrtz
Email: maertzg@stjohns.edu

This course will examine major subgenres of nineteenth-century fiction, including the Gothic novel, the novel of social realism, science and detective fiction, and the novel of adventure. Special emphasis will be placed on the impact of modernity on literary innovation. Texts to include Mary Shelley‘s Frankenstein, Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, George Eliot’s Middlemarch, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Bram Stokers Dracula

ENG. 3330: African-American Literature (15194)
(SI CAMPUS) Freedom Dreams *DIVISION III OR PRE-1900*
T. 1:50 3:15 PM – FACE TO FACE FACE
Dr. Robert Fanuzzi
Email: fannuzzir@stjohns.edu

Thanks to Black writers of the 18th and 19th centuries, “abolition” is not just another word for the end of slavery but a byword for freedoms and possibilities that challenge us still. What future were these writers trying to show us? Is it the America we live in today? Our class looks back at the classic antislavery literature of Frederick Douglass, Olaudah Equiano, Harriet Jacobs, and Sojourner Truth as well as the visionary antiracist writings of David Walker, Ida B. Wells, and Pauline Hopkins for signposts and inspirations for the racial justice conversations we have now. 

ENG. 3390: Special Topics in American Literature To 1900 (15270)
American Poetics of Persuasion and Understanding *DIVISION III OR PRE-1900*
MR 9:05 – 10:30 AM – FACE TO FACE
Dr. Granville Ganter
Email: ganterg@stjohns.edu

This course will be a cross-over inquiry between literature and rhetoric, investigating the difference between western traditions of persuasion (Aristotle & most debate manuals) and those of understanding, empathy, and consensus. We will read some famous American oratorical texts that contrast techniques of persuasion and empathy, ranging from Native, Abolition, and women’s rights oratory. We will also look at novels that explicitly frame alternatives to the business of persuasion, such as JamesBostonians (about a women’s rights speaker) and Hurstons Eyes Were Watching God. We will also consider the mechanics of contemporary social media, where conflict so often pushes all other forms of expression aside. Along the way we will survey theories of gendered discourse with excerpts from Men Are From Mars, Women Are from Venus; Deborah Tannen’s research, and feminist rhetorics from Sonja Foss to Shirley Wilson Logan and Cheryl Glenn

ENG. 3400: Modernist Literature (14042)
The Emergence of Modernism *DIVISION IV*
Dr. Stephen Sicari
Email: sicaris@stjohns.edu

“Modernism” is one of those words that has come to stand for a period of literary history (roughly, the years between 1900 and the end of WWII) and so is a usef and arranging literary texts. But the word has come to have so many different possible meanings and emphases that it needs careful articulation and critique. In this course we will use World War I (“The Great War) as the “eventthat comes to define a certain kind of literary response that we now call modernism. Before the war, there were already texts being written that were responding to radically new conditions in science and technology, politics, and intellectual history, and we’ll read Conrads Heart of Darkness, Forsters Howards End, and Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man to appreciate the literary responses to early twentieth century British culture. After the war, the experimental energies already driving literary developments “explode”; and we‘ll read the poetry of T. S. Eliot and the fiction of Virginia Woolf to gauge these experiments in style and technique. Feel free to contact me at sicaris@stjohns.edu if you have any questions or concerns

ENG. 3520: Modern World Literature (14030)
MR 10:40 – 12:05 PM
Dr. Amy King
Email: kinga@stjohns.edu

This course will look at literature around the significant historical events and ideological shifts that mark the start of a truly global modernity. We will concentrate on the enormous upheavals brought by the industrial and political revolutions of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; the clash of empires in East and West; and the emergence of realisma newly urban, unheroic, global literary style. Rather than reading the national literatures of Britain or America in isolation, this course will more broadly engage a selection of writers in translation from the broad expanse of world literature, focusing on the period from 1776 to roughly 1900. We will focus our course through the concept of freedom. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the question of freedom became an intense preoccupation worldwide. From debates about chattel slavery and the national independence from peoples under colonial rule in Asia, Africa, and the Americas, to freedom of thought and personal liberty, the question of what freedom entailed and who had a right to it shaped literary, philosophical, and political writers alike. How does literature represent the question of human freedom, and how might certain literary forms break free of convention? Beginning with our unit “revolutionary contexts” we explore the periods interest in broad political and social freedoms, and who was and was not entitled to them (citizens, women, factory workers, slaves across a variety of national contexts). We will also take up the rubric of freedom through a study of the Romantic poets and their successors, as well as through various nineteenth-century realist narratives from around the world, including Mexico, Russia, Brazil, Japan, and Bengal. The course concludes with a unit on empire and our reading of Peter Kuper’s 2019 graphicnovel adaptation of Joseph Conrads Heart of Darkness (1902). 

ENG. 3570: Women and Literature (14969) *DIVISION IV*
MR 12:15 – 1:40 PM
Dr. Kathleen Lubey
Email: lubeyk@stjohns.edu

This course will focus on contemporary writing by and about cis, trans, straight, queer, BIPOC, and white women, spanning feminisms second wave to the present. Centrally, it will ask: what and who are women? How do we create a definition of gender capacious enough to be inclusive and clear enough to be the subject of political discourse and collective action? We will also query the category of literature broadly construed. What is the relationship between genre and gender, and how does this relation change across time? Readings will include novels, memoir, poetry, creative nonfiction, and theory by (in no particular order) Saidiya Hartman, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Torrey Peters, Myriam Gurba, Adrienne Rich, lề thi diem thủy, Marilynne Robinson, Gloria Anzaldúa, Audre Lorde, Susan Stryker, Hortense Spillers, Chandra Mohanty, Etel Adnan, Maxine Hong Kingston, Kamila Shamsie, and the Combahee River Collective. We will hold one synchronous and one asynchronous meeting per week, with three longer writing assignments including a creative option

ENG. 3590: Literature & The Other Arts (14975)
Hip Hop Acsthetics: Now and Then *DIVISION IV*
W. 1:50 4:40 PM
Dr. Shanté Paradigm Smalls
Email: smalls@stjohns.edu

This course examines aesthetics in hip hop culture and production. Through studying hip hop film, music, visual art, dance, and literature, we will think through what is so valuable about the aesthetic practices in the 40+ year history of hip hop culture. This class is a rigorous attempt to think with critical and scholarly eyes and ears about a form many of us love. This course will concentrate on race, gender, and sexuality as produced in hip hop culture from primarily NYC, Chicago, LA, and ATL. The course meets once a week and will most likely consist of one individual paper, one group project, and one oral presentation. 

Possible reading: Mark Anthony Neal, Looking for Leroy: Illegible Black Masculinities 
Joan Morgan, When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost: My Life as a Hip Hop Feminist
Jeff Chang, Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of HipHop
Tricia Rose, Black Noise
Jessica Nydia Pabón-Colón Graffiti Grrlz: Performing Feminism in The Hip Hop Diaspora
Gwen Pough, ed. Home Girls Make Some Noise
MK Asante, It’s Bigger Than Hip Hop: The Rise of the Post Hip Hop Generation
Loren Kajikawa, Sounding Race in Rap Songs
Greg Tate, Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation 

film and television shows like
The Get Down
Hip Hop Evolution
Wild Style
Roxanne, Roxanne

ENG. 3640: Vernacular Literature (14971) *DIVISION IV*
MR 3:25 – 4:50 PM
Dr. Dohra Ahmad
Email: ahmadd@stjohns.edu

This class provides a general introduction to the large, international, and evergrowing area of vernacular literature in other words, literature in a non-standardized form of English. We will read fiction, poetry, personal writing, and theoretical texts by writers from Barbados, Ireland, Jamaica, Nigeria, Trinidad, and the United States who choose to compose in various non standardized forms, including African American Vernacular English, Caribbean Creole Englishes, Hawaiian Pidgin, Irish English, Nigerian Pidgin English, and others. While considering these texts within the particular historical backgrounds that formed them, we will also maintain constant close attention to the aesthetic choices made by our writers. All semester, I will also be asking you to connect our course readings and discussions to your own daily observations about language and power. 

ENG. 3610 CLS. 3610: Classical Drama in Translation (14026/14333)
TF 9:05 – 10:30 AM
Dr. Robert Forman
Email: formanr@stjohns.edu

The course focuses on those plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides that most closely reflect the social and political events of fifthcentury Athensand, surprisingly enough, the social and political events of contemporary America. These include the consequences of protracted war and weak leadership, religious extremism, and class and ethnic conflict. Readings will include the Trojan War plays of all three playwrights; the Theban Civil War plays of Sophocles and Euripides, and the Medea, Heracles, and Dionysus plays of Euripides

ENG. 3680: Critical Race and Ethnic Studies (15271)
M. 3:25 4:50 PM FACE TO FACE
Dr. Raj Chetty
Email: chettyr@stjohns.edu

This class will introduce students to fundamental concepts and debates within the fields of critical race studies and critical ethnic studies. Students will learn about the emergence of critical race studies and ethnic studies as distinct academic fields of study. Students will become familiar with the particular ways in which these fields analyze the phenomena of racial forination, ethnic group formation, racism and racial discrimination, ethnic life, and ethnic stratification as centra features of global modernity. The processes of racialization and ethnic group formation will be viewed as components of overlapping historical processes of social stratification that are fundamental features of the modern worldsystem. Largescale forms of groupdifferentiated marginalization will be examined through the lens of structural racism.Students will explore the role that ethnic and racial stratifications play in dominant economic and political systems and institutions, and the role they have played throughout the world

ENG. 3710: Writing Across Genres (14036) *COUNTS FOR WRITING MINOR*
TF 3:25 – 4:50 PM
Professor Lee Ann Brown
Email: brownl@stjohns.edu

This class is designed to be a laboratory where students can explore modes and genres of creative writing: poetry, poets theater, flash fiction, and memoir. We will collaborate and play generative writing games to get the words flowing. Each week there will be readings to sow “seeds” for our own writing. This course can serve as an introduction to, or a continuation of, an already established writing practice. Writing time is built into the class, with direction to expand, share and revise work into finished pieces gathered in midsemester and final portfolios

Texts will include Sonnets by Bernadette Mayer, Olio by Tyehimba Jess, Lunch Poems by Frank O’Hara, I Remember by Joe Brainard, rewritten fairy tales by Angela Carter and Italo Calvino, Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself, Short Talks by Anne Carson and plays by SuzanLori Parks and Kevin Killian. 

Digital resources will be engaged and multimedia creative work will be encouraged. 

Cross references with St. Johns University Interdisciplinary Minors, Multicultural and Multiethnic Studies and Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies. Interfaces with LGBTQIA Studies

ENG. 3730: Poetry Workshop (14000) *COUNTS FOR WRITING MINOR*
W. 10:40 – 1:30 PM
Professor Stephen Paul Miller
Email: millers@stjohns.edu

This course will enable students to experience poetry from the “inside out.” Within the context of students experiencing themselves as working poets we will also consider canonical, modern, and contemporary poetry, in addition to using other writings as models. Students will be introduced to many such poems as a way of igniting their own writing and learning to create their own innovative poetry. 

ENG. 3740: Fiction Writing Workshop (12858) *COUNTS FOR WRITING MINOR*
MR 3:25 – 4:40 PM
Professor Gabriel Brownstein
Email: brownstg@stjohns.edu

This is an introduction to writing fiction. Students will write regular exercises and these exercises will lead to the writing of original work. Our reading will focus on writers of the 1970sa period of crisis and reinvention in US fiction

We’ll read novels and stories by Donald Barthelme, Ursula LeGuin, Toni Morrison, Kurt Vonnegut, and others, and our reading will inform our understanding of storytelling in prose. Students will be able to experiment in forms and genres of their own choosing

ENG. 3890: Topics in Film Genre (14031)
*DIVISION IV* Horror Film
TF 1:50 – 3:15 PM
Dr. Scott Combs
Email: combss@stjohns.edu

This course looks at major films within the horror genre, from its early stirrings in silent cinema to more recent works. Our focus will be on the political and cultural work that horror does, and our discussions will foreground issues of gender, race, sexuality, and ethnicity. Weekly screenings will be accompanied by selected secondary readings. 

ENG. 4994: Seminar in Themes/Genres *SENIOR SEMINAR*
M. 10:40 12:05 PM FACE TO FACE
Dr. Raj Chetty
Email: chettyr@stjohns.edu

The course presumes no interest in baseball or sport, instead looking at baseball as a meaningful cultural field where race, color, gender, and class are articulated and contested. We will engage critical writings on the concepts of culture, race, and sport, drawing from Black Cultural Studies to counter the idea that certain areas of cultural life, such as sport, are not sufficiently intellectual or academic, not “cultivatedor “culturedenough for serious reflection or study. We will explore how this is a double dilemma for black sporting cultures. The course centers black cultural life in baseball, in the U.S. and the Caribbean. To develop a set of tools to study baseball as culture, we will study the landmark cultural study of cricket, Beyond u Boundary, by the Trinidadian intellectual C. L. R. James

This class will engage an array of literary/cultural materials: novella, play, poetry, film, short fiction, and print and visual media. In addition to James, we will engage critical studies of baseball and blackness by Rob Ruck, Adrian Burgos, Andrew McCutchen, and José Bautista, and creative cultural productions by August Wilson, Don DeLillo, Anna Boden and Ryan FleckYolanda ArroyoPizarro, Martin Espada, and Alejandro Gautreaux


ENG. 4903: Internship In English (11261)                  3 CREDITS

ENG. 4906: Internship In English (10742)                  6 CREDIT

ENG. 4953: Independent Study (13040)


The English Major and Minors in English and Writing 

The English Department has redesigned its requirements for the major and minors. Please consult the below guide. Juniors and seniors will continue with the major program they have been following (including selecting courses in Divisions 14), firstyear students and sophomores will follow the revised major requirements. Please see below

The Major 

The major in English is a 36credit program. 

Revised Major Requirements (for students who declared the major in 2019 or later)

Core Courses 

(9 credits

English 1100C: Literature in a Global Context

English 2200: Introduction to English Studies

English 2300: Topics in Theory

Courses Prior to 1900: 

Select any 3 courses.
Courses that qualify are indicated on the course description flier as (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 

Major Requirements (for seniors and some juniors in 2020-2021)

Core Courses 

(9 credits) 

English 1100C: Literature in a Global Context
English 2200: Introduction to English Studies
English 2300: Topics in Theory 

Courses in Literary History: 

One course in each of four divisions                                                                 (12 credits) 

Division I: Medieval & Early Modern Anglophone Literature 

Division II: 18th and 19th Century British Literature and Culture 

Division III: American Literature and Culture up to 1900 

Division IV: Twentiethand TwentyFirst Century Literary and Expressive Arts and Cultures 

Additional Electives
to be drawn from any SJC English courses                                                      (12 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 literature 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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