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Course Descriptions 2021-2022

Course Categories:

Courses Primarily for Undergraduates

English 210-1 – English Literary Traditions, Part 1

Course Description: This class surveys major texts in the development of English literature from the epic Beowulf (c. 700) to Olaudah Equiano’s Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African (1788).  A central goal of the class is to develop tools for approaching literary texts as creative expressions as well as challenging reflections on society, power, knowledge, and difference.  The millennium-long sweep of English 210 will help us appreciate literature not as leisure reading but as challenging, bold, funny, even utopian political thought articulated through new representational forms. 

The class is structured in units with key texts accompanied by corollary short documents aimed to illuminate the text’s historical and literary meanings.  Central readings (some excerpted) include:  Beowulf; Geoffrey Chaucer, Canterbury Tales; Thomas More, Utopia; William Shakespeare, The Tempest and sonnets; John Donne, Andrew Marvell, poems; John Milton, Paradise Lost; Aphra Behn, Oroonoko; Eliza Haywood, Fantomina; Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels; Olaudah Equiano, Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African.

English 211 – Introduction to Poetry

Course Description: The experience of poetry can be understood in it at least two radically different ways:  as a raw encounter with something unfamiliar or as a methodically constructed mode of access to the unknown.  Theories of poetry from antiquity to the present day have grappled with these two dimensions of the poetic experience.  In order to understand a poem, a reader must, in some sense, enter into its unique and complex logic, while nevertheless remaining open to the sometimes unsettling ways it can surprise us.  In this class, we will read some of the greatest lyric poems written in English, as we systematically develop an understanding of the formal techniques of poetic composition, including diction, syntax, image, trope, and rhythm. Students should come prepared to encounter poems as new and unfamiliar terrain (even if you've read a particular poem before), as we methodically work through the formal elements of the poetic process.

Teaching Method:  Lectures and required weekly discussion sections.

Evaluation Method:  Weekly (w)reading exercises;  one 5-7 page paper;  final project;  final exam.

Required Texts: Course packet available at Quartet Copies and on Canvas.

Note: This course is colisted with Comp Lit 211.

English 273 – Introduction to 20th Century American Literature (TTC)

Course Description: After asserting its “manifest destiny” in the nineteenth century, the United States became an unprecedented global power in the twentieth century, especially after World War II. In 1941, the publisher Henry Luce went so far as to coin the phrase “the American century” to describe the new role of the emerging superpower in world affairs. For some, the US became the “indispensable nation,” “world leader,” and an exceptional international figure. For many others, such as the people of the Philippines or Vietnam or Iraq, it became a cruel and coercive imperial force. This course studies how the historical fact of US empire influenced literature and expressive culture. We will examine how both domestic and international writers most impacted by imperial violence—such as Filipino migrant laborers, the descendants of interned Japanese-Americans, or Afghani and Pakistani diaspora in the US—contest the language of empire that the U.S. used to define itself. What kinds of stories, prison memoirs, protest poems, graphic novels, and other aesthetic forms have emerged out of the desire for more truthful counter-narratives? How has the geography of United States empire shaped and informed the multiracial experience of both its populations and those abroad? 

While the course thinks through Asian American and postcolonial diaspora in South Asia and the so-called Middle East, it also encourages students to think about US imperial effects in Latin America and the Caribbean. Throughout the term, students will be introduced to and learn to grapple with complex theoretical and historical concepts like settler colonialism, Cold War militarism, post-9/11 counterinsurgency, extraterritorial internment, and neoliberal hegemony. Along the way, we will ask large questions about the function of literature such as: what makes a work of art political? What kinds of aesthetic strategies do writers and artists use in their presentation of the political? What does it mean for literature to be performing resistance? Assignments will include one close-reading paper, one theoretical reading paper, pop quizzes, robust sections participation, and a final exam.

Required Texts: 

English 300 – Seminar in Reading & Interpretation: Ideas of Justice

Course Description: This course will introduce you to literary studies with a focus on ideas of justice. Library works will include the classical tradition, the biblical tradition, and Shakespeare who inherited both and reworked them in the early modern period. The trial of Socrates, the trial of Jesus, biblical prophecy, tragedy in Shakespeare, and modern works by Melville, Kafka, and the play, “Inherit the Wind” will be included. Reading closely, we will heed how literature offers elaborations and complications of theories of justice, as they shape the public and intimate lives of people. We will also put literature in dialogue with strands of political thought, showing how literature both reflects and shapes ideas of justice.

Teaching method: Seminar

Notes: English 300 is an English Literature major and minor requirement. First class mandatory. No P/N registration. This course does NOT fulfill the WCAS Area VI distribution requirement. This course may not be repeated for major or minor credit.

English 300 – Seminar in Reading & Interpretation: Autobiography from Augustine to Equiano (400-1800)

Course Description: The art of life-writing enjoys perennial popularity, yet its conventions have changed dramatically over time.  In this class we will look at a range of premodern ideas about what constitutes the self and reasons for writing about oneself.  We will begin and end with two African writers: St. Augustine’s Confessions (5th c.) and the Interesting Narrative of Olaudah Equiano, who purchased his freedom from slavery in 1766 to become a leading abolitionist and memoirist. Other texts will include Peter Abelard’s History of My Calamities (1132), an account of his turbulent academic career and disastrous affair with Heloise; Dante’s Vita Nuova (1294), a sustained interpretation of his own love lyrics to Beatrice; the Book of Margery Kempe (1438), a maverick English holy woman and mother of fourteen; the Memoirs of Glückel of Hameln, a 17th-century German Jewish businesswoman; and the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. We will explore such questions as gender and genre, religion, authenticity, self-fashioning, and the nature of textual authority.

Teaching Method:  Discussion, student presentations and responses.

Evaluation Method:  Class discussion; three short papers (5-7 pp.); 10-minute oral presentation.

Note: English 300 is an English Literature major and minor requirement. First class mandatory. No P/N registration. This course does NOT fulfill the WCAS Area VI distribution requirement. This course may not be repeated for major or minor credit.

English 300 – Seminar in Reading & Interpretation: Southern Food, Music, & Literature

Course Description: “The South got something to say,” André 3000 declared at the 1995 Source Awards in New York City when OutKast won the best new rap group category, changing the course of hip hop. From Beyoncé to Lynyrd Skynyrd, soul food to new south cuisine, Flannery O’Connor to Natasha Trethewey, this course looks at the ways cultural production from the second half of the twentieth century to today has sought both to cling to a nostalgic sense of Southernness and to challenge that notion, imagining the region anew and (re)claiming it in the process. The course engages culturally diverse, multi-media and multi-genre texts about the U.S. South. We will read poems, short stories, Kiese Laymon’s novel Long Division (2013), recipes, blog posts, and music videos through the theoretical lenses of sociology, black feminism, ecocriticism, and food studies, exploring different methodological approaches to the study of literature and popular culture.

Teaching Methods: Seminar discussion, collaborative group work.

Evaluation Methods: Participation, short papers, in-class presentation, paper proposal oriented around a chosen theoretical framework.

Texts include: Flannery O’Connor, “Everything That Rises Must Converge” (1965); Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor, Vibration Cooking or, the Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl (1970); Natasha Trethewey, selected poems from Native Guard (2006); Kiese Laymon, Long Division (2013); Beyoncé, Lemonade (2016).

Texts will be available at: Norris Bookstore and on Canvas.

Note: English 300 is an English Literature major and minor requirement. First class mandatory. No P/N registration. This course does NOT fulfill the WCAS Area VI distribution requirement. This course may not be repeated for major or minor credit.

English 309 – Advanced Creative Writing: The Art of Obsession

Course Description: Much of writing is made up of obsessions. We might use our obsession as catalyst and fuel, something that gets us writing and, if lucky, keeps us writing. And sometimes we write about our obsession directly, hoping (perhaps futilely) to be purged free of it, once and for all. Susan Sontag, while talking about writing and the writer’s life, said it simply: “You have to be obsessed. It’s not something you’d want to be—it’s rather something you couldn’t help but be.” In this course we’ll explore “obsession” from two main angles: personally and textually. On the personal level, and as a way to get us started, we’ll discuss and identify subjects we keep returning to—from harmless infatuations to downright obsessions. Is Kendrick Lamar, Lizzo or the soundtrack from Mama Mia playing nonstop on your headphones, for example? Is there a painting you keep seeing in your mind’s eye? What exactly is your relationship with a well-made cheeseburger? What is the chronic conflict of your life? On a textual level, we’ll read stories, essays, and books that deal with obsession in one form or another, or reveal the linguistic obsessions the author held while writing them.

Students will have the option to write a creative non-fiction essay or a short story. This class is for serious writers who are unafraid of taking real risks, unafraid of true rewrites/revisions, unafraid of working hard toward turning a good story or an essay into a great one.

Teaching Method: Workshop.

Evaluation Method: Creative writing assignments, peer-reviews, and reading responses, workshop participation.

Text Include: Coursepack and books.

Coursepack will be available at: Quartet Copies

Instructor Bio: Nami Mun was raised in Seoul, South Korea and Bronx, New York. She is the author of the novel Miles from Nowhere, which received a Whiting Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Chicago Public Library’s 21st Century Award, a Hopwood Award, and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers and the Asian American Literary Award. Some of Nami’s honors include fellowships from University of Michigan, Northwestern University, The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Bread Loaf and Tin House. Miles from Nowhere went on to become a national bestseller. Nami’s work can be found in Granta, Tin House, The New York Times Sunday Book Review, The Iowa Review, the Pushcart Prize Anthology, and Tales of Two Americas: Stories of Inequality in a Divided Nation, among others. Previously, she has worked as an Avon Lady, a street vendor, a photojournalist, a waitress, an activities coordinator for a nursing home, and a criminal defense investigator.

English 312 – Studies in Drama: State of the Nation Plays (Post-1830)

Course Description: In post-1945 British theatre, successive generations of playwrights have written "state of the nation" plays to register national preoccupations and political realities. Essentially litmus tests of social feeling, these plays reflect on the slow dismantling of empire, demographic shifts, strained or nascent institutions, and political regime change in brilliant exposés of national character. More recently, this genre has also been used to register the project of cultural pluralism (and its discontents) and Britain's place in the world. Because the plays are staged, they provide outstanding ways to examine narrative and metaphor's reception in a constantly changing political landscape.

Teaching Method(s): Seminar discussion.

Evaluation Method(s): close reading assignments (including final paper) and participation.

Texts include: Priestley, The Linden Tree; Osborne, Look Back in Anger; Wesker, The Kitchen; Behan, The Hostage; Beyond the Fringe; Storey, The Contractor; Edgar, Destiny; Brenton, The Romans in Britain; Churchill, Top Girls; Pinter, Party Time; Agbeje, Gone too Far!; Bartlett, King Charles III; Hickson, Oil; Kalnejais, This Beautiful Future.

Texts will be available at: Canvas.

Note: This course is colisted with Theatre 340.

English 312 – Studies in Drama: Katherine Dunham (Post-1830/ICSP)

Course Description: This seminar explores the life and work of Katherine Dunham, an African-American dancer, choreographer, anthropologist, writer, and political activist. Dunham came of age in the milieu of the Chicago Renaissance, collaborating with Black and white artists to create a new style of dancing based on her ethnographic research in the Caribbean. During the years surrounding World War II she made a national reputation performing with her company on Broadway and on the Hollywood screen. Then in the decades following the war, she traveled internationally with her company, her work implicitly and explicitly engaging the Civil Rights Movement and the struggle for decolonization. In 1965 Dunham settled in East St. Louis, where she trailblazed methods for using the arts to engage and uplift youth in the community. The class time will be split between movement and discussion. In addition to guest teachers in Dunham technique, students in this course will encounter the full range of primary sources for dance studies—film and video, oral history and memoir, unpublished manuscripts and correspondence, exhibitions of visual material, digital databases. There will also be several co-curricular outings integrated into this course—from an exhibit at the Newberry Library to a panel at the Modernist Studies Association. Previous dance training is not required, as long as students have a passion for this inquiry into embodiment and cultural history!

Course costs: Joanna Dee Das, Katherine Dunham; Dance and the African Diaspora (Oxford University Press, 2017) hardcover ($35) or ebook ($15) ISBN: 9780190264871, and KAISO! Writings by and about Katherine Dunham, eds. Veve Clark and Sara Johnson (University of Wisconsin Press, 2005) ppbk $30 ISBN: 978-0299212742.

Note: This course is colisted with Dance 335.

English 324 – Studies in Medieval Literature: The Global Middle Ages (Pre 1830/TTC/ICSP)

Course Description: The global turn in medieval studies affords new opportunities to go beyond the field’s traditional focus on Europe to explore its ties with the rest of the known world. This course will have three units. In the first, we will consider court ladies as authors of romance, comparing the fashionable Lais of Marie de France (12th century) with excerpts from the Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu (11th century). The second unit will focus on travel literature. We’ll read the Itinerary of William of Rubruck (ca. 1250), one of the first Europeans to visit the court of the Great Khan in the Mongol Empire, along with the best-selling Travels of Sir John Mandeville (1360s), an armchair traveler whose open-minded curiosity makes him a model of premodern ethnography. Finally, we will explore the versatile genre of the framed story collection, reading portions of the Thousand and One Nights, Boccaccio’s Decameron, and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.

Teaching method: Discussion, some lectures.

Evaluation method: Class discussion, three papers; one may be a creative project.

English 335 – Milton (Pre-1830)

Course Description: We will study John Milton’s poetry and prose in context, with sustained attention to the complexities of his art, the crisis of his times, the subtlety of his thought, and the extent of his influence. Milton’s defenses of political, personal, and religious liberty, his self-presentation, and his grappling with key ethical questions involving free will, gender definitions, crime, authority, rebellion and redemption will be among the many concerns that arise as we explore his work in the context of the raging political and theological controversies of his time.

Teaching Method: Class discussion and lecture.

Evaluation Method: Papers, class presentation, class participation.

Texts Include: Paradise Lost by John Milton.

English 339 – Special Topics in Shakespeare: Shakespeare and Others (Pre 1830/ICSP)

Course Description: While many of them are set among courts and kings, Shakespeare’s plays repeatedly explore experiences and perspectives of those outside prevailing circles of power and social acceptance of his time: the poor, women, the young and the old, members of non-dominant racial and religious communities.  Shakespeare himself fell into some of these categories of “otherness”; as actors without fixed social status, so did his colleagues; so for that matter did his Queen.  Subsequent readers and interpreters of Shakespeare have found in his representations of other identities much to praise and much to question, but they have found common material to think with.  Given Shakespeare’s unique status within anglophone and world literatures, Shakespeare’s writings are rich ground for posing questions of otherness, identity, and empathy, belonging, commonness, and difference.  In this class we will take up some of the cues Shakespeare’s plays provide, their insights and oversights, and investigate how Shakespeare, and others, responded to them.

Teaching Method(s): discussion; small group work; lecture.

Evaluation Method(s): papers and other writing projects; discussion.

Texts include: parts of Sir Thomas More, Comedy of Errors, Titus Andronicus, Merchant of Venice, Othello, Antony and Cleopatra, King Lear.

English 344 – Studies in 18th Century Fiction: Jane Austen and the Culture Wars: Novels of Jane Austen in the Context of the French Revolution (Pre-1830)

Course Description: The enduring appeal of Jane Austen’s novels is due in part to the fact that the historical and cultural debates in which she intervened are very much the same ones that confront us today: tradition v innovation, parental authority v filial obligation, customary social bonds v contractual relations, emotion v reason, the role of women in society, the value of the arts. This class will consider Jane Austen’s development as a writer, in the context of the “culture wars” in Britain in the 1790s, in the wake of the French Revolution. Is Austen a radical or conservative novelist? Does she defend the values of a dying aristocracy, or champion a new middle class sensibility? How does she respond to the jarring changes affecting her society? Does she assert the privileges of the governing classes or urge the rights of silenced groups (especially young women)? Does she offer a traditional or progressive view of marriage? Should children make their own choices in marriage or defer to parental authority? How do her novels cultivate good judgment? Do the arts have a progressive role in transforming society or a conservative one in maintaining traditional values? These are some of the questions we will examine as we read a range of her novels. Our goal will be to understand the experimental and fluid nature of Austen’s thought, as well as the way in which she transformed the history of the novel.

Teaching Method(s): Seminar, Discussion, Lecture.

Evaluation Method(s): Participation, Midterm Paper, Final Paper.

Texts include:

Texts will be available at: Norris.

English 357 – Studies in 19th Century Fiction: British Children's Fantasy (Post-1830)

Course Description: It is said that the Victorians invented the idea of childhood: an idyllic state of wonder, play, imagination, and innocence. The orphans, adventurers, tricksters, and runaways in Victorian children’s novels befriend animals, outsmart pirates, soar through the London sky, and fall down rabbit holes. What made these stories so popular in the nineteenth century, and why do they continue to enchant readers today? This course will explore key works of the Victorian literature canon to consider how these various narratives reflect rapidly transforming conceptions of childhood during the nineteenth century. From Lewis Carroll’s playfully puzzling Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to Rudyard Kipling’s novel of colonial espionage, Kim, Victorian children’s novels offer a unique perspective on a world in the grip of profound political, economic, and religious change. As we read, we will also reflect on the categories of the human and the animal, the nature of child sexuality, the distinctions drawn between innocence and maturity, as well as differences in gender, race, class, and disability. How does the constructed representation of “the child” speak to the desires, ambitions, and anxieties of a given historical moment? And what does the very category of children’s literature suggest about literature’s purpose and value?

Teaching Method: Seminar discussion.

Evaluation Method: Class presentation, short writing exercises building to final paper/project .

Texts Include: Charles Kingsley, The Water-Babies (1863); Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass (1865/1871); George MacDonald, At the Back of the North Wind (1871); Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island (1883); Rudyard Kipling, Kim (1901); Edith Nesbit, The Story of the Amulet (1906); J. M. Barrie, Peter and Wendy (1911); Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden (1911).

Available at: Norris; additional readings online available through Canvas.

English 366 – Studies in African American Literature: Gender and Black Masculinity (Post-1830)

Course Description: This course will take as its focus not only discussing black men but, more rigorously, interrogating gender as a racialized regime and masculinity itself as a subtle form of violence. Students will be invited to think about race and gender as co-constitutive (rather than simply and innocently intersectional), and about what might be possible after the interrogation?and possibly dismantling?of masculinity even when affixed to blackness. To examine these topics, we will explore the writing of Richard Wright and Percival Everett, documentaries on manhood, black feminist critiques of masculinity, and transgender perspectives on gender.

Note: This course is colisted with AF AM ST 334.

English 368 – Studies in 20th Century Literature: Imaginary Homelands: Intro to South Asian Lit in English (Post-1830/TTC)

Course Description: South Asian writers win prizes. Ever since Salman Rushdie catapulted to international fame with the Booker Prize in 1981, writers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka have become the mainstay of not only literary prize cultures and the festival circuit but also U.S. university campuses. What has made South Asian literature so popular, especially when it deals with somber questions of anticolonial resistance, postcolonial nation-building, violence, and loss? This course will introduce students to twentieth and twenty-first century South Asian Literatures in English characterized by exciting stylistic innovations in magical realism, modernist language games, lyrical prose, and biting satire. By examining novels, short stories, poems, political writing, and films, we will ask, how has literature shaped both the promise and failure of the postcolonial nation-state? What might South Asian writing teach us about the global project of democratic world-making? Topics of discussion will include gender, caste, empire, globalization, migrancy, and environmentalism.

Required Texts:

Note: This course is colisted with ASIAN AM 376.

English 378 – Studies in American Literature: The Jazz Age: Love and Art in the 1920s (Post-1830)

Course Description: In “Echoes of the Jazz Age,” F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote that “it was an age of miracles, it was an age of art, it was an age of excess, and it was an age of satire. “ During the cultural crisis of Modernism, when a variety of intellectual revolutions and the unprecedented carnage of the Great War suggested that Western civilization was either a sham or doomed, writers and other artists created new literary forms. Their aesthetic innovation often depicted art and love (or sex) as parallel (or contradictory) ways to create meaning the wasteland of Modernity.  In this class, we will read and discuss canonical, lesser-known, and popular texts of ‘20s in order to explore how these revolutionary writers saw love and art in their own time and, maybe, in the future.

Teaching Method: Lecture & Discussion.

Evaluation Method: Participation in class discussion; short one-page responses to each text; plus a variety of options for critical papers, ranging from several short argumentative essays to one long research paper.

Texts include: Eliot’s The Waste Land, Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises and In Our Time, Boyle’s Plagued by the Nightingale and The First Lover and Other Stories, Fauset’s Plum Bun, and Dos Passo’s Manhattan Transfer, as well as Herriman’s Krazy Kat and Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse.

English 381 – Literature and Medicine: Intro to Disability Studies in Literature (Post-1830/ICSP)

Course Description: The field of disability studies grew out of the rights-based activism that led, in the United States, to the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990. Yet, as disability theorists have observed, “western” literature has long been obsessed with disability as metaphor, character trait, and plot device. This course will serve as an introduction to the application of disability studies in literature. We will explore a range of questions: how do we approach the representation of disability in texts by non-disabled authors? How do we differentiate (or should we?) between disability and chronic illness, or between physical and mental disabilities? Can literary representation operate as activism? How do we parse the gap between disability as metaphor and lived experience? What does literature offer disability studies, and why should disability studies be a core method for studying literature?  This is a methods class, and readings will be divided between theoretical texts and primary sources. Students will learn to grapple with complex sociocultural and literary analysis, as well as to make space for their own primary source readings.

Teaching Methods: Discussion, collaborative reading.

Evaluation Methods: Participation, short writing exercises.

Texts Include: Excerpts from early sources including Sarah Scott’s Millennium Hall (1760) and Henry Mackenzie’s The Man of Feeling (1771). In addition, we will read from the theoretical work of Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Therí Alyce Pickens, Robert McRuer, Alison Kafer, and Jasbir Puar, and a selection of contemporary writing on illness and disability, including authors like Audre Lorde, Eula Biss, and Esmé Weijun Wang.

Texts Will Be Available At: All texts will be available on Canvas.

English 385 – Topics in Combined Studies: Civil Rights to BLM: Protest Music and Literature (Post-1830)

Course Description: Marked by ongoing racial disparities and police violence in the midst of a global health crisis, the past couple of years in the U.S. have seen a resurgence of mass protest as a rite of citizenship, with participants using new means of connecting and organizing as well as those that date back to the 1960s Civil Rights movement. How do we define protest literature, what is the relationship between art and politics, and what can we learn from the longer history of artistic movements tied to protest? From foundational essays by James Baldwin and Martin Luther King, Jr. to Jesmyn Ward’s lyrical exploration of mass incarceration in her novel Sing, Unburied, Sing and Ling Ma’s novel Severance, a scathing critique of capitalism set during a devastating pandemic, this course explores how various literary genres navigate between aesthetics and ideology and engage with social justice. Each week will join literary readings with some of the most impactful protest music ranging from anti-Vietnam folk songs to contemporary hip hop. Students will add their own suggestions to a collaborative playlist and will have the opportunity to explore songs, texts, and issues not on the syllabus in group presentations.

Teaching Methods: Short lectures, seminar discussion, collaborative group work.

Evaluation Methods: Participation, discussion board posts, short papers, in-class presentation.

Texts include James Baldwin, “Everybody’s Protest Novel” from Notes of a Native Son (1955) and The Fire Next Time (1963),  Martin Luther King, Jr., “Letter from Birmingham Jail” from Why We Can’t Wait (1964), Tony Kushner, Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes (1992); Jesmyn Ward, Sing, Unburied, Sing: A Novel (2017); Ling Ma, Severance (2019).

Texts will be available at: Norris Bookstore and on Canvas.

English 397 – Research Seminar: Retelling, Rewriting, and Resources: Imitation and Creativity between Literary Texts

Course Description: “Good artists copy; great artists steal,” said Steve Jobs—quoting Picasso, who may have been paraphrasing T.S. Eliot, who was reworking something Vergil said of Homer.  Writing—poetry, drama, narrative—is made of other writing, and all writers mine their predecessors for material to vary and to reconfigure.  Sometimes readers are meant to recognize a source to see how it has been transformed or preserved; sometimes borrowings and responses are only for the writer.  Literary theft can be homage or parody or both at once.  Most practically, literary imitation allows a work to include more than is given on the page.  In this research-oriented course, we will explore what it means to build a literary work from other works.  We will consider examples of imitative and creative reworking at the level of word, form, and plot, from the Renaissance, one of the most eager and dynamic periods of literary imitation, and beyond.  Students will design further readings based on their research.  We will also develop research strategies for writing a longer paper, and students will undertake a significant research project on a text of their choice that draws some of its energies from other works.

Teaching Method(s): Discussion; small group work; lecture.

Evaluation Method(s): Research exercises; other research-based projects; group comment and review; seminar paper.

Texts include: Assorted sonnets; versions of the Orpheus-Eurydice story (Plato, Vergil, Ovid, Rilke, Delany, Ruhl); Romeo and Juliet; West Side Story; Romeo + Juliet; Shakespeare in Love; Atwood, Possession; other texts and other retellings.

English 210-2 – English Literary Traditions, Part 2

Course Description: This course surveys highlights of British literature from the Romantic Poets through the Victorian writers to the radical innovations of Modernism and beyond. We'll read some famous and popular works of English literature, such as Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice, John Keats's great Odes, R. L. Stevenson’s shocking Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and T. S. Eliot’s revolutionary poem The Waste Land, in light of surrounding developments, conflicts, and debates: rising industrialization, nationalism, and imperialism; emerging media, transportation, and warfare technologies; political resistance and revolution; language, art, and translation in an ever-"shrinking" world. This course fulfills a gateway requirement for the English Major and a WCAS distribution requirement (Area VI).

Teaching Method: Two weekly lectures and one weekly discussion section.

Requirements and evaluation: Weekly Canvas reading posts compiled as midterm (15%) and final (15%), short paper (20%), final paper (30%), quizzes and class participation (20%).

Required texts, available at Norris Bookstore: The Norton Anthology of English Literature:  The Major Authors 10th ed., Vol. 2 ISBN 9780393603095; Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (Penguin, 2002) ISBN 9780141439518.

NOTE: You must acquire the specific editions ordered for class because selections, chapters, and page numbers vary from edition to edition. A very few of the readings below are not included in these two texts; they will be posted as files in Canvas.

English 234 – Introduction to Shakespeare

Course Description: This course will introduce students to a range of Shakespeare’s comedies, tragedies, histories and romances.  During the quarter, we will be considering these plays in their Early Modern context—cultural, political, literary and theatrical.  We will focus centrally on matters of performance and of text.  How is our interpretation of a play shaped by Shakespeare’s various “texts”— his stories and their histories, the works of his contemporaries, the latest literary fashions, and the various versions of his plays that circulated among his audience?   Similarly, how do the details of a given performance, or the presence of a particular audience, alter the experience of the play? To answer these questions, we will consider not only the theaters of Early Modern England, but also recent cinematic versions of the plays, and we will read only our modern edition of Shakespeare but also examining some pages from the plays as they originally circulated. Our readings may include Much Ado About Nothing, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, Henry V, and the Tempest.

Teaching Method(s): Lectures with discussion; required weekly discussion section.

Evaluation Method(s): Attendance and section participation, short papers, a scene performance, midterm, final exam.

Texts will be available at: Beck’s Bookstore. The required textbook is The Norton Shakespeare, 3rd ed. Stephen Greenblatt et al. ISBN 978-0393934991 (approximate cost $95 new; $48 used; copies of the 1st and 2nd editions may also be used).

English 270-1 – American Literary Traditions, Part 1

Course Description: This is part one of a two-quarter survey that covers writings produced in North America between the time Native peoples encountered Europeans for the first time and the turn of the twentieth century.

In the first quarter we’ll explore the history of North American literature from its indigenous beginnings—including the migration by Europeans to what they imagined as a “new world”—through the crisis of slavery in the mid-1850’s.  We will be centrally engaged with a set of related questions: What is American literature?  Who counts as an American?  Who shall be allowed to tell their stories, and on whose behalf?  We embark on this literary journey at a moment of questioning the relations between the present and our “literary traditions”: various organizations are debating how to commemorate the four hundredth anniversaries of the years 1619 (the year the first ship bearing enslaved Africans arrived in Virginia) and 1620 (the year of the Plymouth settlers’ landing in what is now Massachusetts); at the same time, people are calling for the removal of monuments to Christopher Columbus and to the Confederacy.  We will be reading authors that canonical literary histories have usually included—Mary Rowlandson, Anne Bradstreet, Frederick Douglass, and Nathaniel Hawthorne—alongside Native American authors who told stories of European encounter and African American accounts that radically contest the meanings of some of the key terms of U.S. literature, history, and culture: discovery, citizenship, representation, nation, freedom.

Teaching Method: Two lectures per week, plus a required discussion section.

Evaluation Method:  Evaluation will be based on two short (3-page) essays, in which students will perform a close reading of a literary passage from one of the texts on the syllabus; a final examination, involving short answers and essays; and active participation in section and lecture. Attendance at all sections is required.

Some of the authors whose works we will read include: Mary Rowlandson, Anne Bradstreet, Christopher Columbus, Frederick Douglass, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Benjamin Franklin, Phillis Wheatley, Powhatan.

Note: English 270-1 is an English Literature major and minor requirement; it is also designed for non-majors and counts as an Area VI WCAS distribution requirement.

English 300 – Seminar in Reading & Interpretation: Murder on the Bestseller List

Course Description: Recent bestsellers such as The Girl on the Train and My Sister, the Serial Killer are part of a long legacy of wildly popular murder mysteries. In the early nineteenth century, murder, madness, and illicit sexuality were often confined to remote Gothic castles or the wilds of the English moors. With the rise of sensation fiction in Britain and detective stories in the United States, however, these middle-class nightmares invaded the supposedly blissful domestic scene. Writers also started to use murder as an occasion to pose radical questions about whose deaths were grievable. Beginning with bestselling authors Wilkie Collins and Edgar Allen Poe, this seminar follows the transatlantic tradition forward through Pauline Hopkins (author of the first Black murder mystery), mid-twentieth-century thrillers by Daphne du Maurier, and gritty detective fiction by Chester B. Himes. Paying particular attention to how gender and race shape the narration of these tales, the course will conclude with a survey of current chart-toppers by Paula Hawkins, Oyinkan Braithwaite, and others. Readings will be supplemented with films and prestige dramas, including the 2016 adaptation of The Girl on the Train and 2020’s The Undoing.

Texts include:

Texts will be available at Beck's.

Note: English 300 is an English Literature major and minor requirement. First class mandatory. No P/N registration. This course does NOT fulfill the WCAS Area VI distribution requirement. This course may not be repeated for major or minor credit.

English 306 – Advanced Poetry Writing: “Site of Struggle”: Poetry, History, and Social Justice

Certain kinds of trauma visited on peoples are so deep, so cruel, that unlike money, unlike vengeance, even unlike justice, or rights, or the goodwill of others, only writers can translate such trauma and turn sorrow into meaning, sharpening the moral imagination.

                                                                                                                                    —Toni Morrison

Course Description: Responding to the question posed by the “A Site of Struggle” exhibition at the Block Museum—How has art been used to protest, process, mourn, and memorialize anti-black violence within the United States?—this course will focus on the reading and writing of poems that engage this difficult history. We will consider the function of poetry to document, bear witness, and to effect what Seamus Heaney called “the redress of poetry. Along with reading poems that take up the subject, we will read several essays to undergird our discussion of the ethics of representation, positionality, and what it means to write about violence and trauma. In all of this, we will focus on the craft of writing poetry—metaphor, image, musicality, voice, etc.—with a focus on ekphrasis and intertextuality which will engage students in responding both to the works of art in the exhibition and the poems we will read in the course.

Teaching Methods: A mixture of workshop and discussion of assigned reading.

Evaluation Methods:

Note: This course is colisted with Humanities in conjunction with the Block Museum.

English 307 – Advanced Creative Writing: The Art of the Tale

Course Description: In 207, you have learned to apply the basic building blocks of fiction—character, plot, point of view, scene and summary—to write your own stories.  We learn the great bromide "Show, don't tell!"  In this advanced course we will buck the bromide, and learn how to tell.   We will brush up some of that previous knowledge, and build on that material and experience while continuing and deepening the apprenticeship to great writers, both contemporary and classic.  Students will read some examples of great taless both classic and contemporary, and will write several exercises and two stories during the quarter.

In addition, good writers learn their craft through extensive critical reading.  Through close study, critique, and imitation of many different kinds of writers, you can push the boundaries of your own abilities and discover new ways to create fiction. Each week, I will assign two or three stories that focus on some advanced topics in writing, including “What Makes a Tale Satisfying?”, “Using Objects in Fiction”, “Staying on the Surface”, “Villains”, “Using Jokes as a Way to Tell a Story”, and “Reading for Writers”.   

Teaching method: Lecture, discussion, workshop

Evaluation methods: 

  1. Creative Work (50%) 
  2. Short Papers (30%) 
  3. Class participation and attendance, including workshop (20%) 
Readings may include: Work by Jennifer Egan, Isak Dinesen, Joseph Conrad, Henry James, the Gilgamesh poet, Chaucer, Rebecca Curtis, Charles and Mary Lamb, Julia Elliott, and Toni Morrison, Yiyun Li, Rabindranath Tagore, and all will be made available as pdf files.

English 308 – Advanced Nonfiction Writing: The Video Essay

Course Description: In this course we will practice a cutting-edge form of nonfiction at the intersection of documentary, literature, experimental film and video art. We will apply literary techniques to the composition of short multimedia essays and explore the many ways in which writing with image and sound differs from writing for the page. Like its print counterpart, the video essay is an attempt to see what one thinks about something. The video essay may engage with fact, but tends to be less self-assured than documentary. Rather, the video essay, writes Phillip Lopate, “wears confusion proudly as it gropes toward truth.” Agnes Varda, the poetic French filmmaker who coined the term cinécriture, or film writing, best described the promise of the form when noting that, for her, writing meant more than simply wording a script. Choosing images, designing sound—these, too, were part of that process. At its best, the video essay leverages the visceral power of sound and image, builds a sympathetic resonance with language, and enlivens the senses. The goal of this course is to better understand how the act of writing is shaped and, in best cases, furthered, by visual and sonic elements. We will author our own short video essays and will, in the process, learn to record and edit video, produce layered soundscapes, and use our voices as tools of performance.

Teaching Method: Students produce four multimedia sketches for this course (a soundscape, a still-image essay, a video portrait, and an object diary), write an audio/visual script, then produce a roughcut video essay or short documentary based on that script, to be followed by a complete, polished film. Readings, screenings and auditions of peer work comprise a substantial share of class sessions.

Texts include: Films by Laurie Anderson, John Akomfrah, William Burroughs, Raoul Peck, Slavjov Zizek, Ross McElwee and many more, all available via NU.

English 324 – Studies in Medieval Literature: Pagan and Christian in Medieval Literature (Pre-1830/ICSP)

Course Description: Medieval culture was overwhelmingly Christian, but it was heir to several pre-Christian religions. Germanic paganism brought monsters, defiant heroism, and expectation of a coming “twilight of the gods,” while Celtic paganism supplied fairy temptresses, magical objects, and mysterious Otherworld visitors. Contrary to popular belief, the Church did not suppress the use of pagan sources in vernacular literature. But it’s fascinating to see how medieval writers adapted and transformed the narrative materials they inherited, producing sophisticated texts that present an overtly Christian point of view layered above tantalizing and elusive pagan subtexts. We will read a selection of Old English, Middle English, and Old French works in translation, concentrating on Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and legends of the Holy Grail. A crucial part of the class will be to look at modern adaptations of these works, including films ranging from the comic Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) to David Lowery’s 2021 movie, The Green Knight.

Texts:

English 338 – Studies in Renaissance Literature: All Cohaerence Gone: Revolutionary Writing in Seventeenth Century England: Milton, Hutchinson, Taylor, Cavendish, Pulter (Pre-1830)

Course Description: The seventeenth century was a time when, in the words of John Donne, new ways of thinking “call[ed] all in doubt.… ’Tis all in pieces, all cohærence gone.”  It began with the crowning of a king of Scotland over England, and by mid-century his son and heir had been tried under laws and executed for crimes against the people whom he described as his subjects.  It was a time that saw itself as revolutionary, which predictably in the seventeenth century meant two opposing things: a return to an imagined point of departure, and an overturning of values and expectations.  Revolutionary writing across England reflected and developed these dividing tendencies in every field: politics, science, and even in new forms of writing.  New voices and opinions emerged and were heard more widely than ever, those of women, working people, people on all sides of debates trying to reimagine what held them together as a community.  In this class we will read a variety of writers who tried to reimagine what would come of revolution and a world that seemed to have turned upside down.

Teaching Method(s): Discussion; small group work; lecture.

Evaluation Method(s): Papers and shorter writing assignments; discussion.

Texts include: TBD, but will likely include works by John Milton, Lucy Hutchinson, John Taylor, Gerard Winstanley, Abiezer Coppe, Margaret Cavendish, Katherine Phillips, and Hester Pulter.

English 338 – Studies in Renaissance Literature: Early Modern Sexualities (Pre-1830/ICSP)

Course Description: This course explores the history of sex and sexualities -- in all their variety -- in English Renaissance literature and culture. Before the homo/hetero divide, before what Michel Foucault calls as "the implantation of the perverse," before genders in their modern forms, what were the routes, locations, effects, and politics of sex and desire? To what extent can we discuss "sexuality" in relation to "identity" in the pre-modern era? To address these complex questions, and to begin to ask new ones, we will concentrate on a range of exemplary literary and historical texts from around 1600 in England. We will be interested to explore both the multiple forms and functions of desire, eroticism, sex, asexuality, gender, gender-identification, etc. in this culture, as well as the terms, methods, and theories we now use to read the sexual past. We will gain fluency in the seemingly familiar but simultaneously foreign languages of early modern identities and desires: sodomy, tribadism, friendship, marriage; bodies, their parts, and their pleasures. We will interrogate sex/gender's intersections with such categories as race, religion, social class, and nation, and we will think through some new scholarship on trans* identities in early modern culture.

Teaching Method: Participatory seminar with some mini-lectures.

Evaluation Method: Papers, preparation for seminar, participation in seminar.

Texts include: (tentative list as of June 2021; some in course reader)

Texts available at: Beck's Books in Evanston.

Note: This course is combined with Gender Studies 361. To get on the waitlist, please fill out this form.

English 357 – 19th Century British Fiction: Sex, Madness, and Marriage (Post-1830)

Course Description: The word “Victorian” exudes a certain stuffiness, a corseted and stiff-lipped repression characteristic of, and confined to, a distinct historical moment. Comparing modern sexual mores to those of the past, however, Michel Foucault notoriously deems us “other Victorians” in our erotic predilections and preoccupations, suggesting far less has changed since the nineteenth century than we might like to believe. By examining a number of nineteenth-century novels that particularly grapple with issues of desire, eroticism, and consent alongside queer and feminist scholarship, this course will investigate questions of sexual identity, desire, gender conformity, and fluidity, that remain provocative today. Melodramatic, sensational, sensual, and challenging, texts like Anne Bronte’s Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White, and Olive Schreiner’s Story of an African Farm give us the opportunity to reconsider what the Victorians referred to as “the Woman Question”: a growing social conservatism in response to changing gender conventions in no way confined to a single sex. How do these narratives negotiate questions of consent and kinship in response to growing calls during the period for gender equality? And what does the Victorian novel have to tell us—“we other Victorians”—about ways of thinking about sexual difference, deviance, and desire?

Teaching Method: Seminar discussion.

Evaluation Method: Class presentation, brief written responses, and final paper/project.

Texts Include: Anne Bronte, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848); Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White (1859); Olive Schreiner, The Story of an African Farm (1883); Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d’Urbervilles (1891); Henry James, The Turn of the Screw (1898).

Available at: Norris; individual readings available through Canvas.

English 366 – Studies in African American Literature: Debates in African American Literature (Post-1830/ICSP)

Course Description: What is African American literature? The answer, taken for granted by so many institutions (publishers, universities), would belie fearsome debates on the boundaries of a tradition that, these decades into the twenty-first century, remain porous. This course both examines and departs from the disciplinary function of anthology and identity, studying the question as it has been asked and answered in and against the backdrop of American literature. Possible authors: Charles W. Chesnutt, George Schuyler, Richard Wright, Zora Neale Hurston, Barbara Christian, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Kenneth W. Warren, Margo N. Crawford.

Note: This course is colisted with AF AM ST 380.

English 368 – Studies in 20th Century Literature: Virginia Woolf & Bloomsbury (Post-1830)

Course Description: Centered on the British Museum, the artists and intellectuals known as ‘Bloomsbury” formed, E. M. Forster claimed, "the only genuine movement in English civilization." Prewar political and social movements had made some think that Europe “might really be on the brink of becoming civilised” (L. Woolf). The Great War (1914-1918) shattered millions of lives, marked “the end of a civilization,” disrupted a racialized imperialist and patriarchal social order, and challenged Europeans to rebuild their civilization “on firmer ground” (Freud). The ensuing contest between liberal democracy and rising totalitarianisms led to – and  beyond – World War II. Bloomsbury’s network includes Virginia and Leonard Woolf, co-founders of the Hogarth Press (which made Woolf “the only woman in England free to write what I like”); writers Forster, T. S. Eliot, Rupert Brooke, Katherine Mansfield, Lytton Strachey, Elizabeth Bowen, Radclyffe Hall, Vita Sackville-West (who inspired Orlando), David Garnett; painters Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant; art critics Roger Fry and Clive Bell; philosophers Bertrand Russell and G. E. Moore; composer Ethel Smyth; economist John Maynard Keynes; founder of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud (a Hogarth author). These thinkers and artists grappled across disciplines with the challenges of a new century of rapid technological and social change.

We’ll study a selection of Virginia Woolf’s major novels and essays alongside works by contemporaries and later writers in light of key contexts: the 1910 Post-Impressionist Exhibition; the women’s movement and suffrage campaign; pacifism, world war, the Versailles peace conference; racialized British imperialism at home and abroad; the Spanish Civil War; Nazism, fascism, the early years of WWII. A visionary, influential modernist novelist and essayist, Woolf is also a theorist in the spirit of the Greek theoria: a looking at, viewing, contemplation, speculation, theory; a sight, a spectacle” (OED).  Her writings “look at” human beings--and human being—to capture everyday private and public life amid spectacular changes in London, England, Europe, the British Empire, the greater world, and the known and imagined cosmos.

Requirements and evaluation: Attendance and participation (20%); weekly Canvas posts collected as midterm and final (20%); class presentation with 1-2 page handout (15%); option of two shorter or one longer paper/project(s) (40%); self-evaluation (5%).

Books at Norris: Woolf, Monday or Tuesday (Dover 978-0486294537); Jacob's Room (Dover 978-0486401096 or: Oxford World Classic 978-0199536580); Mrs. Dalloway (Harcourt; Mariner, ed. B. K. Scott 0156030357); To the Lighthouse (Harvest 978-0156907385 or Oxford World Classic B009OBTHCS); A Room of One's Own (Harvest 9780156787338), The Waves (Harvest 978-0156949606), Three Guineas (Harcourt; Mariner, ed. Marcus 0156031639), Between the Acts (Harvest, 978-0156118705). Recommended: V. Woolf, A Writer's Diary (978-0156027915), Moments of Being (ASIN: 0156619180); World War One British Poets, ed. Candace Ward (Dover Thrift 9780486295688).

English 368 – Studies in 20th Century Literature: Human Rights Redacted: Literature, Statelessness, and Internment (Post-1830/TTC)

Course Description: Over the last decade, posters announcing “Refugees Welcome Here” have appeared across US landscapes. What does the particular figure of the refugee tell us about the status of human rights in the twenty-first century? What are human rights in the contemporary period and why do we care about them? Who gets to be a human and who doesn’t? This course examines the logic behind both the dispensation and withholding of human rights through literary texts across genres (novels, short stories, and graphic novels) and political theory across global sites like Kashmir, Sri Lanka, Guantánamo, and Manus Island. The course queries the role of empathy, citizenship, the category of the human, and protection from torture, genocide, and extralegal violence in representation by studying key figures such as the refugee, the undocumented migrant, the prisoner, and the animal.  

Required Texts:

English 371 – American Novel: Black Women Writers (Post-1830/ICSP)

Course Description: This course introduces students to a variety of works by Black women writers since Phillis Wheatley. At this moment, the notion of the “Black woman writer” may not seem anomalous or unusual. However, it was only a short time ago in history that to be a Black woman writer meant to be considered an aberration. Thomas Jefferson wrote that Phillis Wheatley’s poems were “beneath the dignity of criticism.” Henry Louis Gates, Jr., suggested that Jefferson and a panel of white men held an official trial to interrogate the authenticity of Wheatley’s work. These men would have never imagined that conference sessions, entire books, and countless critical articles would be dedicated to this foundational black woman writer: the very first black author to see their work published in the United States. We mark the beginning of Black published letters in the US with Wheatley; and it is within this tradition that we will consider the similarities and differences in content and forms by the women writers that we will read during this course.

In this class, we will survey a wide range of Anglophone Black Diaspora women authors and primarily concentrate on the United States. Our authors will include Toni Morrison and Phillis Wheatley, as well as Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, Octavia Butler, and others. We will read poetry, short stories, essays, and at least one novel by these and other authors. We will also read secondary critical works about the central literature and work together as a class towards our own literary criticisms.

Assignments will include at least regular online discussions, a group presentation, and an individual final project. Students will be evaluated on their performance in these assignments as well as class attendance and participation. This seminar depends on discussion and participation of every member of the class.

Note: This course is colisted with AF AM ST 379.

English 372 – American Poetry: U.S. Poetry: From the Revolution to the Civil War (Post-1830)

Course Description: American poetry has frequently been reduced to the study of two poets--Whitman and Dickinson--who stand apart from the rest by virtue of their eccentricity and extraordinary ambition. This selective account of poetic inheritance has produced the unusual circumstance of a canon that needs to be opened not only to culturally marginal but also to culturally dominant poets and poetic forms.  This course integrates the study of Whitman and Dickinson with the study of a vastly expanded canon of American poetry, including poets who were vastly better-known than either of them.  The course also reads theoretical and critical texts that raise questions about canonization and the formation of literary-historical narratives.

Teaching Method: Mostly discussion.

Evaluation Method: Mandatory attendance and active, informed participation.  Two papers, one shorter and one longer.  Final exam.

Poets may include: Joel Barlow, Phillis Wheatley, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, John Greenleaf Whittier, Lydia Huntley Sigourney, William Cullen Bryant, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, William Wordsworth, Edgar Allan Poe, Sarah Helen Whitman, Sarah Margaret Fuller.

English 381 – Studies in Literature & Medicine: Illness and Femininity: Fictions and Facts (Post-1830)

Course Description: Ill women are scattered across the pages of literature, from swooning ladies in sentimental novels to cancer patients in popular fiction. Illness acts as narrative momentum, as a metaphor for social “ills,” and as a signifier of tragic virtue in an individual character. From the 19th century to the present, this class will examine how the tropes of illness in popular literature pertains to our broader cultural assumptions about illness and gender. How do traits associated with femininity resemble literary representations of illness, and vice-versa? How have these associations changed over time? How has the construction of ill femininity been bound up in whiteness, and how has this contributed to systemic and medical racism? What is the relationship between the representation of ill femininity and contemporary “wellness culture”? How might we locate or analyze femininity in representations of ill men? What about mental illness? Our readings will be split between popular representations of illness in novels and writings by ill authors, and we will consider how literary tropes are or are not reappropriated by the latter.

Teaching Methods: Short lectures, seminar discussion, collaborative group exercises.

Evaluation Methods: Participation, two short analytical essays, final project.

Readings Include: Anonymous, The Woman of Colour (1808); Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813); Katherine Anne Porter, Pale Horse, Pale Rider (1939); Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower (1993); David Chariandy, Soucouyant (2007). We will also read personal essays, poetry, portions of memoirs, or short stories by authors including Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Eula Biss, Anne Anlin Cheng, Suleika Jaouad, Audre Lorde, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, and Michelle Zauner.

Texts will be available at: Novels will be available at the Norris bookstore; all other readings will be uploaded to Canvas as screen-reader-compatible PDFs.

English 385 – Topics in Combined Studies: Literary Animals from Noah’s Ark to Shakespeare’s Sheep (Pre-1830)

Course description: Before the nineteenth-century ideas of extinction and evolution, writers considered the earth’s number of species to be unchanging. How were relations across this fixed set of creaturely kinds understood, and how was the diversity of these life-forms explained? What claims did these creatures have on humans, and what might earlier understandings of their entitlements reveal about assumptions concerning “us” and “them” now? Focusing on English Renaissance literature, this course will explore the teeming possibilities for thinking across species – before a starker “the human/animal divide” took shape. We’ll map different approaches to natural history, ranging from re-readings of Genesis, to lawsuits filed against insects, to complaint poetry written in animal voices, to the night-rule of cats on the rooftops of London, to Shakespeare’s animals (in their natural habitats of forest, field, and fantasy too), and then to the explicit pursuit of “human empire” over creatures with rise of seventeenth-century science. Finally, to consider what animals might say about all this, we’ll end by analyzing a 2014 production called King Lear with Sheep (a staging of King Lear ... yes, with real sheep).

English 385 – Topics in Combined Studies: Anticolonial Thought (Post-1830/TTC)

Course Description: This course looks at the traditions of anticolonial thought from the late nineteenth century to the present day. Comparing movements for national liberation and literary self-determination from across the world, we’ll consider the shifting claims of the British, American, French, Spanish, and Russian empires, and the colonial subjects, postcolonial frameworks, and decolonial movements that sought to contest these formations from Chile to Alcatraz, India to Ireland, and Azerbaijan to Martinique. Our focus will most often be on the manifestos and essays in which anticolonial writers outlined their literary and political programs, but we may also look at a few poems, stories, and films.

This course will be taught in conjunction with parallel courses offered at the University of Chicago and the University of Kentucky. We anticipate building possibilities for cross-campus collaborative research among students as part of an ongoing, large-scale research collaboration.

Teaching Method(s): Mini lectures, guest speakers, lively seminar discussions

Texts include: TBD

Texts will be available at: TBD

Note: This course is colisted with Comp Lit 306.

English 385 – Topics in Combined Studies: Civil Rights to BLM: Protest Music and Literature (Post-1830)

Course Description: Marked by ongoing racial disparities and police violence in the midst of a global health crisis, the past couple of years in the U.S. have seen a resurgence of mass protest as a rite of citizenship, with participants using new means of connecting and organizing as well as those that date back to the 1960s Civil Rights movement. How do we define protest literature, what is the relationship between art and politics, and what can we learn from the longer history of artistic movements tied to protest? From foundational essays by James Baldwin and Martin Luther King, Jr. to Jesmyn Ward’s lyrical exploration of mass incarceration in her novel Sing, Unburied, Sing and Ling Ma’s novel Severance, a scathing critique of capitalism set during a devastating pandemic, this course explores how various literary genres navigate between aesthetics and ideology and engage with social justice. Each week will join literary readings with some of the most impactful protest music ranging from anti-Vietnam folk songs to contemporary hip hop. Students will add their own suggestions to a collaborative playlist and will have the opportunity to explore songs, texts, and issues not on the syllabus in group presentations.

Teaching Methods: Short lectures, seminar discussion, collaborative group work.

Evaluation Methods: Participation, discussion board posts, short papers, in-class presentation.

Texts include: Tony Kushner, Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes (1992); Jesmyn Ward, Sing, Unburied, Sing: A Novel (2017); Ling Ma, Severance (2019).

Texts will be available at: Norris Bookstore; all other readings will be accessible via Canvas.

English 386 – Studies in Literature & Film: Frankenstein's Hideous Progeny (Post-1830)

Course Description: When Mary Shelley released the revised edition of Frankenstein in 1831, she referred to her groundbreaking and popular novel as her “hideous progeny” which she hoped would nonetheless “prosper” in the world. She could not have imagined the extent to which Frankenstein would persist in popular culture. This class will consider the retellings, adaptations, appropriations, and parodies of Frankenstein. We will consider what aspects of Shelley’s novel have survived in the popular imagination, and what we have changed. Why did the creature turn from a well-spoken, self-educated subject into a green, non-speaking monster? What lessons have we drawn from Dr. Frankenstein’s ill-fated experiment? When and how have marginalized writers (re)claimed the creature as a figure of the oppressed? Why has Shelley’s sentimental and atmospheric gothic novel inspired so much levity and humor? From the 1931 film adaptation to Susan Stryker’s expression of trans rage in “My Words to Victor Frankenstein” (1994); from the beloved parody Young Frankenstein (1974) to Victor LaVelle’s graphic novella series Destroyer (2017-), there seems to be no bottom to the relevance of Shelley’s classic novel. This class will consider questions of authorship, originality, and novelty. In addition to reading Frankenstein and its progeny, students will learn how to analyze media on the basis of historical context and genre norms.

Teaching Methods: Short lectures; discussion

Evaluation Methods: Presentation, reflections, 2 short papers

Texts Include: Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (1818); Susan Stryker, “My Words to Victor Frankenstein Above the Village of Chamounix: Performing Transgender Rage” (1994); Ahmed Saadawi, Frankenstein in Baghdad (2014); Victor LaVelle, Destroyer #1 (2017); Films include Frankenstein (1931); Young Frankenstein (1974); The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975); we may also watch individual episodes of television, look at visual representations of Frankenstein’s monster in comics and illustrations, and keep a running list of Frankenstein encounters in our day-to-day lives

Texts Will Be Available At: Texts will be available at the campus bookstore; films and articles will be available on Canvas.

English 393 – Theory and Practice of Poetry

Course Description: This selective-enrollment, yearlong "Sequence" is designed to make students 64 Return to Calendar increasingly informed readers and self-sustaining apprentices of poetry. The Fall portion of the course begins with summer reading and intensive study in which poets learn to identify operative modes in poetry -- including description, rhetoric, story and song -- and begin connecting contemporary participants with root systems in the tradition. We support our studies with reading exercises and "imitation" assignments, in which students convert close reading into fodder for original writing. Students will write at least four papers and will write, workshop and revise four poems during the Fall term. They also will lead presentations on one chosen poet and one classmate during workshop. In the Winter term, students will continue to read and complete close reading assignments and will stretch their skills as they complete a week of "Daily Poems," thereby drawing on original energy and stamina to bring their work to the next level of accomplishment. Finally, in the Spring term, students will focus entirely on their own work, drafting, revising, workshopping and completing one long poem of at least 120 lines that combines autobiographical material with writing from research. Throughout the year, our close reading assignments hone skills in sensitive and critical thinking; our imitation poems challenge existing habits as they introduce new strategies; our Daily Poems exercise agility and confidence; and our workshops cultivate the openness and humility necessary to serious writing and lifelong learning. Through this intensive and nurturing Sequence, students become careful readers of each others -- work and complete a polished portfolio of original writing.

Texts include:

Note: No P/N registration. Attendance at first class mandatory. Admission by application only.

English 397 – Research Seminar: Realism

Course Description: What is realism?  Do we even have to ask?  English 397 will investigate this seemingly obvious literary mode.  First, we will explore the conventional wisdom that realism emerges alongside the rise of modern science:  just as experiment becomes the standard of scientific truth, so early fiction bases its claim to be truth-like on its simulation of experimental testimony.  We’ll read one exemplar of experimental witnessing, the travel narrative, in both true and fictional forms:  the privateer William Dampier’s A New Voyage Around the World (1697) and Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719).  We will accompany these texts with short readings of scientific experiments (from the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society and Robert Boyle’s New Experiments Physico-Mechanicall, Touching the Spring of the Air) as well as some contemporary theories of the rise of the novel.  We will then read Olaudah Equiano’s The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano (1789), which recounts its author’s enslavement, displacement, manumission, and further voyages, to examine how Equiano redeploys the tropes of the travel narrative to argue for abolition. 

Turning to nineteenth-century realism and beyond, we will read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (1813) to consider its treatment of perceptual evidence, the founding premise of the realist mode.  How does Austen complicate or even reject sensory self-evidence as the basis for knowledge?  We will then read one classic of French realism, Honoré de Balzac’s Lost Illusions or Père Goriot (in English), alongside canonical critical takes on realism by Georg Lukács, Fredric Jameson, and Roland Barthes.  In the course’s penultimate unit, we will consider the status of the real in contemporary science studies.  We will examine the constructivist-realist debate in the history and sociology of science (readings by Thomas Kuhn, Ian Hacking, Steven Shapin, and Bruno Latour), whereby scientific truth may be a function of social convention.  We will be attuned to claims that it is the literary aspects of science that mask the constructedness of scientific truth—claims we will be in a good position to examine.  We end the quarter with two contemporary novels that challenge the capacity of realist literary convention to capture marginalized realities:  Miriam Toews’s Women Talking and Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad.  What, we will ask, is the literary and social currency of realism today?  Has realism internalized a capacity to reflect critically on the reality that it claims faithfully to represent?

As a research seminar, this iteration of English 397 affords a range of prospective topics for a long research essay, extending from realism’s founding texts through nineteenth-century realism, science studies, and contemporary feminist and antiracist appropriations of realism.  We will dedicate sustained class time to the tasks of articulating an essay topic, developing a bibliography, and structuring and drafting an argument.  To further these ends and promote collective understanding, some class sessions will be organized as workshops.

English 213 – Introduction to Fiction

Course Description: What is fiction? What is fiction for? What is the relationship between fictional worlds and the real one? These are the questions that we will explore in this class. Reading both essential works of fiction and important theories of fiction, we will seek to understand the construction and purpose of these other literary worlds, as well as the social and political importance of reading this world otherwise.  

Teaching Method(s): lecture with required TA-led discussion section.

Evaluation Method(s): Short essay, midterm exam, final exam, quizzes and participation.

Texts include: Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe; Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of Four; Jamaica Kincaid, A Small Place; Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Frankenstein; Ahmed Saadawi, Frankenstein in Baghdad.

Texts will be available at: Bookends & Beginnings, 1716 Sherman Avenue.

English 270-2 – American Literary Traditions, Part 2

Course Description: This course is the second part of a survey of American literature covering the decade preceding the Civil War to 1900. In lectures and discussion sections, we shall explore the divergent textual voices--white and black, male and female, poor and rich, enslaved and free--that constitute important strands of the literary tradition of the United States in the nineteenth century. Central to our study will be the following questions: What does it mean to be an American in 1850, 1860, 1865, and beyond? Who speaks for the nation? How do the tragedy and the triumph of the Civil War inflect American poetry and narrative? And how do post-bellum writers represent the complexities of democracy, particularly the gains and losses of Reconstruction, the advent of and resistance to the "New Woman," and the class struggle in the newly reunited nation?

Teaching Method: Two lectures per week, plus a required discussion section.

Evaluation Method: Evaluation will be based on two short (3-page) essays, in which students will perform a close reading of a literary passage from one of the texts on the syllabus; a final examination, involving short answers and essays; and active participation in section and lecture. Attendance at all sections is required.

Texts may include: Herman Melville, "Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street"; Rebecca Harding Davis, "Life in the Iron Mills"; Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl; Emily Dickinson, selected poems; Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself” and other selected poems; Charles Chestnut, selected tales; Kate Chopin, The Awakening.

Note: English 270-2 is an English Literature major and minor requirement; it is also designed for non-majors and counts as an Area VI WCAS distribution requirement.

English 275 – Intro to Asian American Literature (ICSP)

Course Description: Asian American, Asian-American, Asian/American: from Chinese Americans to Hmong Americans to mixed race Asian Americans, from fourth-generation Californians to cosmopolitan college students, from desert internment camps to New York City office buildings, what do the many subjects and locations of Asian American literature tell us about the capaciousness of the category itself? This class has two goals—first, providing an overview of literature written by Asian Americans in the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries and placing these texts in conversation with key concepts from Asian American culture and history. Second, interrogating the constructed, pan-ethnic nature of Asian American identity, a category that came into use only in the 1960s as a coalitional entity defined by shared histories of labor, discrimination, and national and cultural unbelonging.

Teaching Method(s): Lecture, Discussion

Evaluation Method(s): Regular reading responses; two short essays; one long essay; active class participation

Texts (subject to change; please confirm final text list on Canvas before purchasing):

Texts will be available at: Primary texts will be available at the Norris Bookstore and on reserve in the library. Other texts will be available in a course packet available at Quartet Copies.

English 277 – Intro to Latina/o Literature (ICSP)

Course Description: This course will introduce students to major Latina/o/x authors, genres, and movements by exploring a diverse corpus of literary texts. We will take a historical approach, examining how Latinx writers from various communities (Puerto Rican, Mexican American, Cuban American, Dominican American, Colombian American) have understood their relationship to the United States from the late nineteenth century up to the present. We will also question the category of Latinx. How do the experiences and histories of the various groups described under that label benefit from and/or resist identification as a single ethnicity? Most importantly, we will ask what poetry, memoirs, and novels have to offer as a way of understanding Latinx experiences. By the end of the quarter students will have an overview of the heterogeneous literary voices and aesthetics that constitute US Latinx literature.

Teaching Method: Seminar/Discussion.

Evaluation Method: Attendance, class participation, readings, writing assignments, presentations final paper.

Texts may include:

Texts will be available at Norris Bookstore and via Canvas.

English 300 – Seminar in Reading & Interpretation: Desire, Demons, and Ghosts: Literary and Historical Possessions

Course Description: What does it mean to be possessed by a divine or demonic spirit, another person, or the past?  In this course, we will explore possession as a nexus for crucial questions that literature stages regarding autonomy and ownership, gender and sexuality, and national and personal identity.  Beginning with classical mythology and the divine frenzy that Plato writes possesses good poets, we will then investigate more threatening spectacles of possession, including William Shakespeare’s Macbeth and selections from Aldous Huxley’s The Devils of Loudon (1952), the story of a famous reported demonic possession at a French convent.  We will go on to study the possessions and hauntings staged in Edgar Allen Poe’s short stories and Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca (1938). The course concludes by studying what it means to be denied self-possession by another person, society, or the legacy of a haunting past in Toni Morrison’s Beloved (1987), James Baldwin’s essays, and Natasha Trethewey’s Native Guard (2008).  These texts invite analysis of the dynamics of possession between the individual and society, lover and beloved, and past and present; each also invites inquiry into how possession informs what it means to read, write, or claim ownership of a narrative. 

Throughout the course, students will develop analysis and argumentation skills through writing and revising essays on different literary genres.  Students will also learn how we can interpret texts in conjunction with major schools of thought in literary criticism and theory.

Note: English 300 is an English Literature major and minor requirement. First class mandatory. No P/N registration. This course does NOT fulfill the WCAS Area VI distribution requirement. This course may not be repeated for major or minor credit.

English 300 – Seminar in Reading & Interpretation: Polar Literatures

Course Description: Polar spaces at once delineate and defy our Anthropocenic imaginary. As climate catastrophe alters our relationship to the edges of conventional maps, the immense scale and distance of the North and South Poles have long inspired imaginations across the globe, even as they test the limits of our attention as well as our capacity for action. What do human representations of polar spaces tell us—south of the Arctic and north of the Antarctic—about our relationship to space, environment, and climate? In this course, we will explore the most prominent of Polar genres, the travel narrative, to better understand how these places shape, and are shaped by, our political, aesthetic, and ethical understanding. Examining the sublime appeal of icy solitude figured in Romantic poetry and modern science fiction, working with archival materials of failed Victorian expeditions, and reading Inuit novels memorializing ways of life threatened by outside intrusions, we will consider the power of various narrative mediums and technologies to cultivate care for the distant, the invisible, and the potentially catastrophic. By investigating how our cultural conceptions of ice have evolved over time, we will come to appreciate how narrative is turned to, time and again, to render the far away nearby, as well as learn how we might more effectively take up narrative now as these climes face crisis.

Teaching Method: Seminar discussion.

Evaluation Method: Short writing assignments and final (group or individual) creative project.

Texts Include: Tete-Michel Kpomassie, An African in Greenland; Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness; Mitiarjuk Nappaaluk, Sanaaq; Yuri Rutkheu, When the Whales Leave; Tanya Tagaq, Split Tooth; and selections by Edmund Burke, Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, Ada Blackjack, Gwendolyn MacEwan, and Apsley Cherry-Gerrard.

Available at: Norris; additional readings available through Canvas.

Note: English 300 is an English Literature major and minor requirement. First class mandatory. No P/N registration. This course does NOT fulfill the WCAS Area VI distribution requirement. This course may not be repeated for major or minor credit.

English 302 – The History of the English Language (Pre-1830)

Course Description: Have you noticed that, unlike many other languages, English often has two different names for the same animal? These double names can be traced back to 1066, when the French-speaking Normans, led by William the Bastard, conquered England and installed their countrymen in positions of power. In the aftermath of this victory, William the Bastard became William the Conqueror and cows and pigs and sheep became beef and pork and mutton – at least when they were served up to the Normans at their banquets. Like many other words associated with aristocratic life, these terms all derive from French. In this course we will investigate this and many other milestones in the history of the English language, focusing on the period from the early middle ages through the eighteenth century. We will pay particular attention to the relationships among “high” and “low” forms of language, including efforts to elevate the status of English and the dynamics of self-consciously “low” registers of language such as slang and obscenity. In addition to offering an introduction to the linguistic, literary, and social history of England, this course will help you to develop a more sensitive understanding of modern English that you can bring to other classes and to life in general.

Teaching Methods: Mostly discussion, some lecture.

Evaluation Methods: Midterm and final examinations, paper, short written exercises, oral presentation.

Texts may include: Tore Janson, The History of Languages, ISBN 978-0-19-960429-6, plus readings and videos posted to Canvas

English 307 – Advanced Fiction Writing: What Happens Next? Structure, Plot, and Suspense in Short Fiction

Course Description: You can write a beautiful sentence, bust out of the gate with an enticing premise, and clairvoyantly reveal your character’s rich interior life to say something profound about the human condition---but at some point your story loses momentum and fizzles out. Answering the simple question of “What happens next?” is a powerful impulse that drives us as readers, and it should likewise, drive us as writers. Learn to grow your brilliant ideas into tense, invigorating stories. Put your beautiful sentences to work in the service of plot and character. And dive deep into a character during moments of conflict.

Students will explore structure, plot, and suspense through a variety of interdisciplinary, playful writing exercises that employ visual media and also other texts, encouraging spontaneity while adhering to constraints of form. Be prepared to write at least one full-length story with a clear beginning, middle, and end.

Textbooks Will Include: Thrill Me by Benjamin Piercy. PDFs of short stories and excerpts from longer texts available on Canvas.

English 309 – Advanced Creative Writing: The Art of Obsession

Course Description: Much of writing is made up of obsessions. We might use our obsession as catalyst and fuel, something that gets us writing and, if lucky, keeps us writing. And sometimes we write about our obsession directly, hoping (perhaps futilely) to be purged free of it, once and for all. Susan Sontag, while talking about writing and the writer’s life, said it simply: “You have to be obsessed. It’s not something you’d want to be—it’s rather something you couldn’t help but be.” In this course we’ll explore “obsession” from two main angles: personally and textually. On the personal level, and as a way to get us started, we’ll discuss and identify subjects we keep returning to—from harmless infatuations to downright obsessions. Is Kendrick Lamar, Lizzo or the soundtrack from Mama Mia playing nonstop on your headphones, for example? Is there a painting you keep seeing in your mind’s eye? What exactly is your relationship with a well-made cheeseburger? What is the chronic conflict of your life? On a textual level, we’ll read stories, essays, and books that deal with obsession in one form or another, or reveal the linguistic obsessions the author held while writing them.

Students will have the option to write a creative non-fiction essay or a short story. This class is for serious writers who are unafraid of taking real risks, unafraid of true rewrites/revisions, unafraid of working hard toward turning a good story or an essay into a great one.

Teaching Method: Workshop.

Evaluation Method: Creative writing assignments, peer-reviews, and reading responses, workshop participation.

Text Include: Coursepack and books.

Coursepack will be available at: Quartet Copies

Instructor Bio: Nami Mun was raised in Seoul, South Korea and Bronx, New York. She is the author of the novel Miles from Nowhere, which received a Whiting Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Chicago Public Library’s 21st Century Award, a Hopwood Award, and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers and the Asian American Literary Award. Some of Nami’s honors include fellowships from University of Michigan, Northwestern University, The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Bread Loaf and Tin House. Miles from Nowhere went on to become a national bestseller. Nami’s work can be found in Granta, Tin House, The New York Times Sunday Book Review, The Iowa Review, the Pushcart Prize Anthology, and Tales of Two Americas: Stories of Inequality in a Divided Nation, among others. Previously, she has worked as an Avon Lady, a street vendor, a photojournalist, a waitress, an activities coordinator for a nursing home, and a criminal defense investigator.

English 310 – Studies in Literary Genres: Subversive Forms: Satire (Pre-1830)

Course Description: What do Jonathan Swift’s pamphlet A Modest Proposal and Jordan Peele’s horror film Get Out have in common?  This class examines the genre that Swift and Peele exploit to devastating effect:  satire.  We’ll devote special attention to satire’s key paradox:  for those who get it (or think they do), satire signifies by not signifying what it literally says.  We’ll explore the long history of satire to ponder its ethical concerns with social and political life; sexuality, sex work, and marriage; social class, corruption, and criminality; and empire and race.  The class ends with contemporary film and TV, including Get Out and Black Mirror.

Teaching method:  Discussion.

Evaluation method:  Two short essays (5 pages); one medium essay (7 pages); intermittent Canvas posts; participation in class discussion.

Required texts list:

English 323-1 – Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales (Pre-1830)

Course Description: As we follow along the road to Canterbury, we not only hear a compendium of stories-both pious and irreverent-but we also meet a collection of characters whose diversity spans the spectrum of medieval society:  a noble knight and a manly monk, a drunken miller and a virtuous priest, a dainty nun and a domineering wife, who compete with one other, trading insults as well as tales.  Over the course of the quarter, we will explore the ways in which Chaucer experiments with late medieval literary genres, from chivalric romances to bawdy fabliaux, frustrating and playing upon the expectations of his audience.   Against and alongside this literary context, we will consider the dramatic context of the pilgrimage itself, asking questions about how the character of an individual pilgrim, or the interaction between pilgrims, further shapes our perceptions and expectations of the tales:  How is a romance different, for example, when it is told by a knight, by a social climber, or by a renegade wife?   We will be reading Chaucer's poem in the original Middle English.  At the end of the quarter, we will give an in-class performance of one of the tales.

Teaching Method(s): Discussion and some lectures.

Evaluation Method(s):  class attendance and participation required; an oral presentation; several short papers; quizzes and a midterm exam.

Texts include: The Canterbury Tales, ed. Jill Mann  ISBN 978-0140422344 (approximate cost: $23) (The Canterbury Tales, ed. Larry D. Benson or The Riverside Chaucer, ed. Larry D. Benson are also acceptable editions).

Textbooks available at:  Beck’s Bookstore.

English 332 – Renaissance Drama (Pre-1830)

Course Description: We will read and analyze some of the extraordinary plays written by Shakespeare's prolific contemporaries between the beginnings of the professional London theatres around 1580 to their forced closing in 1642.  We will approach these plays from literary, theatrical, and book-history perspectives; please be prepared to think across these categories.  We'll read: a revenge tragedy more popular in its time than Hamlet; a history play about a king and his lower-class, immigrant boyfriend; a tragicomedy and a tragedy about incestuous siblings (one a shocking rewrite of Romeo and Juliet); two very different tragedies with women at their center (one the first original play by an English woman); a marriage anti-comedy with multiple trans* resonances; and a prematurely postmodern play where the audience seizes control of the script.  These plays will help us think about theatrical genres, about the conditions of writing, performance, and printing, about modes of social organization (marriage, family, sexuality, reproduction, social class, race and ethnicity, monarchy, dynasty, nation, to name a few), about periodization ("Renaissance" or "early modern"?), and about canonicity (for example, the distinction between Shakespeare and "his contemporaries" implied by our curriculum and in the first sentence of this course description).

Teaching Methods: Mini-lectures; group analysis and discussion.

Evaluation Method(s):  Based on participation in discussion, weekly in-class writing, papers, and a final exam.

Plays: The Spanish Tragedy (Thomas Kyd), Edward II (Christopher Marlowe), Epicoene, or The Silent Woman (Ben Jonson), The Tragedy of Mariam, Fair Queen of Jewry (Elizabeth Cary), A King and No King (Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher), The Duchess of Malfi (John Webster), ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore (John Ford), The Knight of the Burning Pestle (Beaumont et al.), together with some historical and critical essays.  This reading list is not for the faint of heart.

Text: English Renaissance Drama, ed. David Bevington, Lars Engle, Katherine Eisaman Maus, and Eric Rasmussen (W.W. Norton). ISBN: 0-393-97655-6. [This anthology contains all but one of the plays we will read and is available new, used, and for rent.]  This edition only.

Text available at: TBA

English 344 – 18th Century Fiction: Gothic Ecologies (Pre-1830)

Course Description: The birth of the Gothic novel, a genre overflowing with ruined castles, misty wastelands, and sinister forests, coincided with the Industrial Revolution—an unprecedented shift in human interactions with the environment. This course will consider the development of the Gothic genre in the eighteenth century and Romantic period as a revealing glimpse into the period’s anxieties regarding humankind’s place in the natural world, largely by way of the supernatural forces writers conjured to make sense of their fears of the changing landscape. In turn, we will consider how Gothic tropes—including the monstrous, the uncanny, and the sublime—shape current ecological discourses around the Anthropocene and climate catastrophe. By reading some of the genre’s most (in)famous writers, including Ann Radcliffe, Matthew Lewis, Mary Shelley, and Emily Bronte, we will examine how the Gothic affords a distinctly ecological perspective on questions of sexuality, nationality, xenophobia, and otherness in Britain and America--then and now--as well as a means for capturing the changing, and often uncanny, relationships between the human, the non-human, and the more-than-human.

Texts may include: Horatio Walpole, The Castle of Otranto; Ann Radcliffe, The Romance of the Forest; Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey; Mary Prince, The History of Mary Prince; Charles Brockden Brown, Edgar Huntly; Edgar Allan Poe, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym; and selections by Edmund Burke, Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and Nikolai Gogol.

English 357 – 19th Century Fiction: Madwomen in the Attic – Insanity, Gender, and Authorship in British Fiction (Post-1830)

Course Description: The climax of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre hinges on a shocking revelation that other writers have been rereading and even rewriting ever since. Brontë’s iconic Gothic tale of “madness,” and that concept’s inflection by gender, race, and nationality, has become central to our ideas about difference. Tracing the afterlives of Brontë’s confined madwoman through twentieth-century reimaginations of the trope, including Shirley Jackson’s Haunting of Hill House, Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea, and recent films such as Midsommar and Hereditary, this course will examine how insanity has been seen as a category useful for regaining (and sometimes blocking) political and literary agency. Putting these texts and films in dialogue with critical responses by Michel Foucault, Gayatri Spivak, and others, we will explore the knotty question of how madness shapes our culture’s narratives about gender and authority.

Textbooks will be available at: Beck's.

English 366 – Studies in African American Literature: Black Joy (Post-1830/ICSP)

Course Description: This course takes seriously the possibility and power of black happiness in an antiblack world. Drawing on the rich traditions of black feminist theory and queer of color critique, we will engage the field of contemporary black studies scholarship to understand the disruptive and world-making capacities of black joy in the present. We will engage from scholars including Kevin Quashie, Danielle Fuentes-Morgan, Jennifer C. Nash, and others to determine how and in what ways black people’s joy registers as a matter of scholarly investment. We will also consider a range of sources from the music videos of Janelle Monáe to the poetry of June Jordan and Audre Lorde, among other texts to develop and elaborate our own theories of black joy.

Some conceptual questions for consideration include the following: how do theories of the body inflect notions of black joy? What is the relationship between pleasure and pain in contemporary black life and how do scholars relate this dialectic to the world beyond the body? To what extent does black happiness align with or destabilize prevailing theories of happiness in scholarly fields including affect theory and literary and cultural studies?

Teaching Method(s): Seminar.

Evaluation Method(s): Discussion, black board posts, 2 papers.

Texts include: Kevin Quashie, Black Aliveness, Joan Morgan, She Begat This. Other books/authors subject to change.

Texts will be available at: Online, Bookstore

English 368 – Studies in 20th Century Literature: Lesbian Representation in Popular Culture (Post-1830/ICSP)

Course Description: This class will examine lesbian representation in film and television over the last four decades. “Representation” is a tricky word in politics and media: queer communities, communities of color, and disabled communities (and those categories overlap in important ways) have pushed for more representation in film, television, the music industry, and publishing. Lesbian women have long complained of the community’s invisibility. At the same time, minoritized communities must grapple with the fact that simple representation can be a mixed bag. If the primary goal is visibility, is all representation good representation? Are lesbian villains, or lesbians who are narratively punished, still politically useful?  Does the inclusion of a lesbian character (or lesbian characters) “count” if no one involved in the production of the object was themselves a lesbian? This course will explore these questions and more, discussing theoretical readings from cultural studies alongside our primary films, television, music, and print media. We will consider the difficult and derogatory tropes that are part and parcel of lesbian representation in the media, but we will engage most intensively with narratives that have attempted to expand the narrative potential of queer female life and to affirm lesbian identities—with complex results.

Teaching Methods: Discussion, collaborative course building, in-class viewing of cultural objects.

Evaluation Methods: Pop culture journal, presentation, final project.

Texts Include: Films: Personal Best (1982); Desert Hearts (1985); The Watermelon Woman (1996); But I’m a Cheerleader (1999); Monster (2003); Pariah (2011). TV: episodes from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003), The L Word (2004-2009), Orange is the New Black (2013- ). Students will be asked to keep up with lesbian and queer women’s online magazines, including Autostraddle, Curve, Qwear, them., or others, based on student interest.

Texts Will Be Available At: All material will be available on Canvas.

English 369 – Studies in African Literature: Animal, Animism, Animality (Post-1830/TTC)

Course Description: This course focuses on the representations of animals, animism, and animality in select African texts to examine the major developments in African literatures. While discussing various theoretical statements, we will assess the place of the non-human in the African thought. We will discuss work by well-known authors (e.g., Wole Soyinka, Bessie Head, J.M. Coetzee, Abulrazak Gurnah, and Ngugi wa Thiong’o), fiction and poetry by important but neglected authors (e.g., Saida Hagi-Dirie Herzi and Henry ole Kulet), and works by emergent writers who deploy animality as a trope to explore the relationship between the human and the non-human.  Subtopics will include ecology, biopolitics, slavery, race, diaspora, intra-African immigration, science fiction, queerness, and ubuntu. Theoretical texts include works by Wangari Maathai, Achille Mbembe, Rosi Braidotti, Harry Garuba, Kyle White, Frantz Fanon, and Cajetan Iheka.

Teaching Methods: Interactive lectures, debates, role-play, and small group discussions.

Evaluation Methods: Two 7-page papers, weekly Canvas postings, regular self-evaluation, peer critiques, class participation, pop quizzes (ungraded), and 1-minute papers (ungraded). No final exam.

Primary texts (may change):

  1. Beukes, Lauren. Zoo City. Mulholland Books; ISBN-10 : 0316267929 ISBN-13 : 978-0316267922
  2. Galgut, Damon. The Beautiful Screaming of Pigs. ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎1843544628; ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1843544623
  3. Gurnah, Abdulrazak. Paradise. New Press. ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1565841638 ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1565841635
  4. Habila, Helon. Oil on Water: A Novel. W. Norton & Company;  ISBN-10 : 0393339645 ISBN-13 : 978-0393339642
  5. Maathai, Wangari. Replenishing the Earth: Spiritual Values for Healing Ourselves and the World. ISBN-10: 030759114X; ISBN-13: 978-0307591142
  6. Ngugi wa Thiong’o. A Grain of Wheat. ISBN-10 : 0143106767 ISBN-13 : 978-0143106760
  7. Parkes, Nii Ayikwei. Tail of the Blue Bird.  flipped eye publishing limited. ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0981858430 ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0981858432

English 375 – Studies in Asian American Literature: Techno-Orientalism (Post-1830/ICSP)

Course Description: Techno-Orientalism names a variant of Orientalism that associates Asians with a technological future. This seminar will explore how Techno-Orientalist tropes are used by, played with, and rewritten by Asian American authors. We will study how twentieth-century and contemporary issues of technology, globalization, and financial speculation collide with a history of yellow peril and Asian Invasion discourse, as well as how these tensions manifest in figures and tropes such as robots, aliens, and pandemics. Texts include poetry, novels, short stories, comics, and film.

Teaching Method(s): Seminar-based discussions.

Evaluation Method(s): Graded participation; in-class presentation; regular reading responses; two short essays; and one longer essay.

Texts include:

Texts will be available at: Primary texts will be available at Norris Bookstore. All course readings besides the primary texts will be available in a course reader available at Quartet Copies.

English 378 – Studies in American Literature: That 70s Feeling (Post-1830)

Course Description: What was the Seventies, really? It seems the only consensus about the decade is that there isn’t one, aside for the noisy kaleidoscope of disco, drugs, and killer style known to popular culture. Politically, socially, and economically, however, the Seventies is seldom discussed for itself, instead conceived as the disastrous decade clearing the stage for Eighties corporatism, Reaganism, and nostalgia. This course reads deep and diversely to study this period of time as rendered and remembered. We will read and watch materials of the period as well as contemporary texts in order to ask, Why is the Seventies so difficult to summarize? How do narratives about race, class, and nation clash and diverge? What is the mood of the time and whose mood is it? What about our current period necessitates remembering the Seventies in a certain way and how does this rewrite the sense of the time for those who lived and wrote it? Possible authors and texts: Hunter S. Thompson, Jaws, Stephen King, The Salt Eaters, Joan Didion, Ishmael Reed, the Carpenters, Toni Morrison, Inherent Vice, Mad Men, Judy Blume, Gwendolyn Brooks, American Hustle, Lana Del Rey, and The Muppets.

English 378 – Studies in American Literature: Environmental Justice in Black & Indigenous Women’s Literature (Post-1830/ICSP)

Course Description: While ecocriticism has not always considered the lived experience of women of color, literary texts by African American and Native American women have found ways of theorizing their own versions of environmental and spatial justice. Reading leading theorists like Rob Nixon and Edward Soja side by side with Jesmyn Ward’s post-Katrina novel Salvage the Bones (2011), Toni Jensen’s stories about oil and fracking on Indigenous lands, and poetry by Nikky Finney and Heid E. Erdrich, this class interrogates how literature can inform our understanding of environmental injustice and different types of violence. It grounds the discussion in a longer history of colonial extraction and Indigenous dispossession, racism, structural neglect, and ongoing residential segregation by discussing Zora Neale Hurston’s 1937 hurricane novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, and looking at Zitkala-Ša’s influential 1924 report on the settler defrauding of Osage Indians for their oil-rich lands.

Teaching Methods: Seminar discussion, collaborative group work.

Evaluation Methods: Participation, in-class presentation, papers.

Texts include: Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937); LeAnne Howe, Shell Shaker (2001); Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones (2011); Toni Jensen, “Women in the Fracklands: On Water, Land, Bodies, and Standing Rock”.

Texts will be available at: Norris Bookstore and on Canvas.

English 378 – Studies in American Literature: "The Chicago Way": Urban Spaces and American Literature (Post 1830)

Course Description: Urbanologist Yi Fu Tuan writes, "What begins as undifferentiated space becomes place when we get to know it better and endow it with values." In The Untouchables, Sean Connery tells Kevin Costner, "You want to get Capone? Here's how you get Capone. He pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He puts one of yours in the hospital, you put one of his in the morgue. That's the Chicago way." In this class, we will examine "the Chicago way" from many different angles in order to interrogate the values with which various artists have endowed Chicago. We will read in a broad range of media: journalism, poetry, song, fiction, film, and sequential art to see how a sense of Chicago as a place works over time. We will pay close attention to depictions of the construction of American identity, and to the role of the artist and intellectual in the city.

Teaching Method: Discussion, brief lectures, guest speakers, and an optional urban tour.

Evaluation Method: Class participation; brief written responses to each text; several options for papers of various lengths.

Texts Include: Sandra Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street; Nelson Algren's Chicago: City on the Make; Richard Wright's Native Son; Stuart Dybek's The Coast of Chicago; Dan Sinker’s The F*cking Epic Twitter Quest of @mayoremanuel; Eve Ewing’s 1919: Poems. Journalism by Mike Royko and others; short fiction by Algren, James T. Farrell and others; poetry by Carl Sandburg, Gwendolyn Brooks, and others; the films The Untouchables, The Blues Brothers, and Barbershop; the graphic novel 100 Bullets: First Shot, Last Call.

Note: Texts will be available at Comix Revolution, 606 Davis Street.

English 385 – Topics in Combined Studies: Law and Literature (Post 1830/TTC)

Course Description: This course will examine ideas of justice in western cultural and literary traditions. The focus will be the classical tradition, the biblical tradition, and Shakespeare who inherited both and reworked them in the early modern period. The trial of Socrates, the trial of Jesus, biblical prophecy, tragedy in Aeschylus and Shakespeare, and a modern work by Melville will be included. Our exploration will be done in the context of theories of justice, and we will read those theories alongside the literature. But we will also heed how literature itself offers elaborations of theories of justice, following their consequences both within legal frameworks and beyond, as they shape the public and intimate lives of people. We will ask how religious ideas of justice inform and depart from secular ideas of justice, how retributive and distributive ideas of justice are imagined and critiqued, and how the relation between justice and law has been conceived.

Teaching Methods: Lecture and discussion.

Evaluation Methods: Discussion and papers.

Texts include: Excerpts from Plato and Aristotle; Aeschylus, The Eumenides; Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet; excerpts from Rawls; Kymlicka, Political Philosophy.

English 386 – Studies in Literature & Film: Action Heroines: Gender, Heroism, and the Popular Imagination (Post-1830)

Course Description: Over the past decade, an abundance of heroines has emerged in young adult literature, retellings of mythology, and, in turn, cinema. The image of a strong female lead shooting arrows, jumping off trains, and generally kicking ass, has captured the attention of readers and movie-goers, even as superhero film franchises have been slow to feature female leads. This class asks why strong heroines are popular in this cultural moment both by analyzing the novels and films that feature them, and by contextualizing them through the lens of cultural studies. We will dissect characterizations of recent popular heroines and examine how they might undermine hierarchies and norms of gender and sexuality. At the same time, our inquiry will trouble whether the current era of heroines is as subversive as it might seem. Has the recent popularity of action heroines changed the way popular culture represents the role of women and girls in society more generally? Is the heroine's journey distinct from the hero's? How might the heroine destabilize constructs of gender and sexuality? How does the role of the heroine relate to literary or movie genres? To answer these questions, our readings will engage with queer and feminist theory, masculinity studies, and film theory.

Texts and films may include Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games; Kristin Cashore’s Graceling; Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity; Madeline Miller’s Circe; Maria Dahvana Headley’s The Mere Wife; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000); Wonder Woman (2017); Black Panther (2018); Captain Marvel (2019); Enola Holmes (2020).

English 386 – Studies in Literature & Film: The Revolution Will (Not) Be Televised: Music Documentaries (Post-1830)

Course Description: Focused on music documentaries, this class analyzes how film, music, image, and narrative come together to tell a compelling historical and political story. We will study the nature of music documentaries’ archives, their representational techniques, and narrative points of view that shape the truth they claim to present. Comparing documentaries about three major music festivals that took place in 1969, for instance—Woodstock, Altamont, and the Harlem Cultural Festival a.k.a. ‘Black Woodstock’—we will interrogate the idea of documentaries as conveyors of historical truths and examine the alternate cultural genealogies unleashed by each film. On one level, the class explores the larger topics these documentaries bring up: pop culture and democracy, the political economy of the music industry, race and power in America, identity and the construction of stardom. On another, it considers the ethical issues central to documentary filmmaking and the genre’s ‘authenticity,’ discussing the difference between the more and less authorized gazes of cinéma verité in a Lil Wayne documentary and the self-fashioning and mythologizing of stars like Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, and Questlove that take place on the screen or on the page.

To connect course content to the local context of Chicago, the class will also include a field trip to  Chess Records, the influential historic blues and R&B recording studio.

Teaching Methods: Short lectures, seminar discussion, collaborative group work.

Evaluation Methods: Participation, discussion board posts, visual/textual analysis, in-class presentation, research project.

Films and texts may include: Woodstock (1970), dir. Michael Wadleigh; Gimme Shelter (1970), dir. Albert and David Maysles & Charlotte Zwerin; The Carter (2009), dir. Adam Bhala Lough; Searching for Sugarman (2012), dir. Malik Bendjelloul; Mo’ Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove (2013), Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Ben Greenman; Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé (2019), dir. Beyoncé and Ed Burke; Miss Americana (2020), dir. Lana Wilson; Summer of Soul (…Or When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (2021), dir. Questlove.

*Some films might be substituted based on library access and availability; group viewings will be arranged for others.

Texts and films will be available at: Norris Bookstore and on Canvas.

English 397 – Research Seminar: Modern Poetry & Poetics

Course Description: "Make It New": Ezra Pound translated this famous slogan from an ancient Chinese inscription: "As the sun makes it new / Day by day make it new." What is "it"? What inspires poets' "making"? What makes a poem "new"? And what roles does translation play in generating new poems and poetics as the twentieth century "turns a new page in the book of the world" and opens "a startling chapter" of "world-embracing cultures" and "hitherto undreamed responsibilities for nations and races" (Fenollosa)? These questions open broad reaches on the vast river of poetic traditions, materials, techniques, and experiences that poets navigated during the long, turbulent twentieth century, articulating poetic aims, theories, principles, and manifestos as they went. Baudelaire sings the painter of modern life; Yeats borrows from French Symbolism to launch the Celtic Revival; Eliot urges poets to cultivate a historical sense so as to discern what's new in their own moment; for William Carlos Williams, "So much depends / upon / a red wheel / barrow / glazed with rain / water / beside the white / chickens." We'll begin by studying highlights of this thrillingly generative moment in literary history to see how poems emerge in creative dialogue with other poems within and across historical moments, locales, languages, cultural surrounds, and sensibilities. We'll hone close reading, analytic, and comparative skills as we deepen our knowledge of the historical conditions that helped to shape the imaginative, formal, and linguistic virtuosity of poems-as-worlds and to enrich the resources of English poetry, from verse lines, forms, sound patterns (meter, rhythm, music, tone), diction, and figurative language to the poets’ situations, voices, addressees, and audiences. In the final weeks, working with our Humanities Bibliographer and me, students will home in on topics and design juicy, imaginative, feasible projects that combine scholarly research and literary interpretation. One for all and all for one, we'll learn to frame promising research questions; to navigate scholarly databases and archives; to gather and evaluate sources and think in dialogue with them; and to give and take constructive critique in crafting a sound, engaging, well-written essay.

Teaching Methods: Seminar discussions, peer workshops, individual conferences.

Evaluation Methods: Attendance, preparation, class participation; exercises (posts, peer review, in-class workshops). Each student will produce a work notebook, preliminary proposal and bibliography, annotated bibliography, working proposal and bibliography, draft(s), and a 12-15 page research paper.

Texts: Norton Anthology of Poetry, ed. Ferguson et al. 6th edition 978-0-393-67902-1 2) William Butler Yeats's Poetry, Drama, and Prose (Norton Critical Editions) ed. Pethica 978-0393974973; 3) Ezra Pound, TBD 4) William Carlos Williams, Spring and All 978-0811218917 5) T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land: A Facsimile and Transcript of the Original Drafts Including the Annotations of Ezra Pound, ed. V. Eliot 978-0156948708. Recommended: Modernism: An Anthology of Sources and Documents, ed. Kolocotroni et al. 0226450740.  Additional required and recommended texts via Canvas, Library Reserve, web.

Prerequisites: Open to juniors and seniors only. Students should successfully complete 4-6 300-level English courses before taking English 397.

English 202 – Introduction to Creative Writing

Course Description: This course will introduce students to the major elements and tools of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction writing. Through exercises and projects, you’ll practice using these tools to produce original, exciting works of literary art. Along the way, you’ll sharpen your ability to track these elements both in published texts and in the work of your classmates, and further develop how you measure aesthetic value. You’ll be encouraged to see yourself as an active member of a community of artists, and to establish a regular discipline as a working writer. Writing and reading will be due in nearly every class, and peer workshop will play an important role in learning to see your work more objectively.

Teaching Methods: Discussion.

Evaluation Methods: Evaluation of a final portfolio.

Texts include: A course reader.

English 206 – Reading and Writing Poetry

[Prerequisite to English Major in Writing]

Course Description: An introduction to the major forms of poetry in English from the dual perspective of the poet-critic. Creative work will be assigned in the form of poems and revisions; analytic writing will be assigned in the form of critiques of other class members’ poems. A scansion exercise will be given early on. All of these exercises, creative and expository, as well as the required readings from the anthology, are designed to help students increase their understanding of poetry rapidly and profoundly; the more wholehearted students’ participation, the more they will learn from the course. Prerequisites: No prerequisites. No P/N registration. Attendance of first class is mandatory. Freshmen are NOT permitted to enroll until winter quarter. Seniors require department permission. Prerequisite for the writing major and sequence-based minor. Literature Majors are also welcome. Teaching Method: Discussion; one-half to two-thirds of the classes will be devoted to discussion of readings and principles, the other classes to discussion of student poems.

Evaluation Method: Evidence given in written work and class participation of students’ understanding of poetry; improvement will count for a great deal in estimating achievement.

Texts include: An anthology, a critical guide, a 206 Reader prepared by the instructor, and the work of other students.

Note: This course may also be counted toward the English Literature major.

English 207 – Reading and Writing Fiction

[Prerequisite to English Major in Writing]

Course Description: A reading and writing course in short fiction. Students will read widely in traditional as well as experimental short stories, seeing how writers of different culture and temperament use conventions such as plot, character, and techniques of voice and distance to shape their art. Students will also receive intensive practice in the craft of the short story, writing at least one story, along with revisions, short exercises, and a critical study of at least one work of fiction, concentrating on technique.

Teaching Method: Discussion of readings and principles; workshop of student drafts.

Evaluation Method: Evidence given in written work and class participation of students’ growing understanding of fiction; improvement will count for a great deal in estimating achievement.

Texts include: Selected short stories, essays on craft, and the work of the other students.

Prerequisites: English 206. No P/N registration. Attendance of first class is mandatory. Course especially recommended for prospective Writing Majors. Literature Majors also welcome.

English 208 – Reading and Writing Creative Nonfiction

[Prerequisite to English Major in Writing]

Course Description: An introduction to some of the many possible voices, styles, and structures of the creative essay. Students will read from the full aesthetic breadth of the essay, including memoir, meditation, lyric essay, and literary journalism. Discussions will address how the essay creates an artistic space distinct from the worlds of poetry and fiction, and how truth and fact function within creative nonfiction. Students will be asked to analyze the readings closely, and to write six short essays based on imitations of the style, structure, syntax, and narrative devices found in the readings. Students can also expect to do some brief writing exercises and at least one revision.

Prerequisites: English 206. No P/N registration. Attendance of first class is mandatory. Course especially recommended for prospective Writing Majors. Literature Majors also welcome.

Teaching Method: Discussion; one-half to two-thirds of the classes will be devoted to discussion of readings and principles, the other classes to discussion of student work.

English 210-1 – English Literary Traditions, Part 1

Course Description: This course is an introduction to the early English literary canon, extending from the late medieval period through the eighteenth century. We will spend significant time thinking critically about who is and who is not included in this "canon," and what values are enshrined in it--including the particular ideologies of race, gender, and empire these texts record and perpetuate. When and how does the canon include the voices of women, persons of color, and colonized subjects? What are the differences between such voices as written by white men and the writings penned by these subjects themselves? Authors will include Geoffrey Chaucer, Marie de France, Margery Kempe, Thomas More, Thomas Hariot, Leo Africanus, John Donne, John Milton, Aphra Behn, Jonathan Swift, Eliza Haywood, Oludah Equiano, and Samuel Johnson.  

Teaching Method: Two lectures and a discussion section every week.

Evaluation Method: Assignments include a midterm and final exam and a midterm and final paper. Robust participation is required.

Course Materials (Required): Norton Anthology of English Literature (Volumes A, B, C) ISBN-13: 978-0393603125.

Class Notes: English 210-1 is an English Literature major and minor requirement; it is also designed for non-majors and counts as an Area VI WCAS distribution requirement.

English 210-2 – English Literary Traditions, Part 2

Course Description: This course surveys highlights of British literature from the Romantic Poets through Victorian writers and the radical innovations of Modernism and beyond. We'll read famous and popular works of English literature, such as Jane Austen's Love and Friendship, John Keats's great Odes, R. L. Stevenson's shocking Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, T. S. Eliot's revolutionary poem The Waste Land, Virginia Woolf's classic essay A Room of One's Own, and selected postcolonial writers, in light of historical developments such as the industrial revolution, democratization, rising literacy; social and political resistance and revolution toward human, workers', and women's rights; imperialism, racialized slavery, settler colonialism, and post-colonialism; evolving transportation, warfare, communication, and media technologies; the adventures of the English language in an ever-shrinking world.

Teaching Method: Two weekly lectures and one weekly discussion section.

Evaluation Method: Attendance and participation in discussion section (15%); weekly quizzes (10%); weekly posts (these count as midterm and final) (20%) ; a short analytic study (20%); a final paper and self-evaluation (35%). Steady work, heart, and improvement all count.

Class Materials (Required): The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Major Authors: Volume 2, 10th ed., ISBN 9780393603095. New and used copies are available at Norris, Beck's, abebooks.com, textbook.com, BN.com, & other online vendors. We strongly recommend that you purchase a print copy. Other required readings will be posted on our Canvas site.

Class Notes: English 210-2 counts as a gateway course for the English Literature major and minor and as a WCAS distribution requirement (Area VI).  It welcomes majors, non-majors, and students with majors as yet undeclared.

 

English 211 – Introduction to Poetry: The Experience and Logic of Poetry

Course Description: The experience of poetry can be understood in it at least two radically different ways:  as a raw encounter with something unfamiliar or as a methodically constructed mode of access to the unknown.  Theories of poetry from antiquity to the present day have grappled with these two dimensions of the poetic experience.  In order to understand a poem, a reader must, in some sense, enter into its unique and complex logic, while nevertheless remaining open to the sometimes unsettling ways it can surprise us.  In this class, we will read some of the greatest lyric poems written in English, as we systematically develop an understanding of the formal techniques of poetic composition, including diction, syntax, image, trope, and rhythm. Students should come prepared to encounter poems as new and unfamiliar terrain (even if you've read a particular poem before), as we methodically work through the formal elements of the poetic process.

Teaching Method:  Lectures and required weekly discussion sections.

Evaluation Method:  Weekly (w)reading exercises;  one 5-7 page paper;  final project;  final exam.

Required Texts: Course packet available at Quartet Copies and on Canvas.

Note: This course is combined with Comp Lit 211-0.

English 213 – Introduction to Fiction

Course Description: What is fiction? What is fiction for? What is the relationship between fictional worlds and the real one? These are the questions that we will explore in this class. Reading both essential works of fiction and important theories of fiction, we will seek to understand the construction and purpose of these other literary worlds, as well as the social and political importance of reading this world otherwise. 

Teaching Method(s): lecture with required TA-led discussion section.

Evaluation Method(s): Short essays, midterm exam, final exam, quizzes and participation.

Texts include: 

These specific editions are required.  All are available in e-book formats.

English 214 – Introduction to Film and Its Literatures

Course Description: This course harbors two primary objectives: 1) to acquaint students with vocabularies and frameworks of argument required to analyze film in terms specific to that medium; and 2) to familiarize students with a broad range of written texts crucial to the study of cinema, enabling them to render persuasive interpretations of those texts, as well. The first half of the course will emphasize recent case studies of literature adapted into popular movies, tracking how not just the plots and characters but the perspectives, voices, structures, prose styles, and associated politics of written work get preserved but also transformed on screen, in blatant and subtle ways. In the second half, we will reverse course to examine plays, essays, and other literary works inspired by the movies. We will also explore some classic texts of popular film journalism and scholarly film theory, treating these as two literary and intellectual canons in their own right. Cultivating techniques of close analysis—whether breaking down a film sequence, parsing a scholar’s arguments, or negotiating between two versions of the “same” story—will be the paramount skill developed in the course, hopefully leading to deeper appreciations of several kinds of texts. Moreover, students will gain a valuable fluency in how to watch, dissect, and debate movies at a time when they still retain enormous cultural sway, both as entertainment vehicles and as venues for sustaining or contesting cultural and political narratives.

Lectures, discussion sections, and assignments will presume no prior coursework in film studies, but they will require quick, studious absorption of terms and concepts that might be new. Moreover, the course requires a willingness to put movies and other assigned materials under close analytical pressure, while hopefully retaining the joy of watching, reading, and evaluating them. The syllabus has been streamlined somewhat from previous offerings and skews more heavily (though not exclusively) toward contemporary material, but the expectations of your writing, thinking, and conversation remain high. Movies are many things, but not a vacation!

Teaching Method: Twice-weekly lectures as well as weekly discussion sessions.

Evaluation Method: Graded writing assignments; lecture quizzes; section participation.

Assignments: Writing assignments will include two conventional, argument-driven essays of 4 5pp. (around mid-quarter) and 6-7pp. (as a final), as well as two shorter, skill-building exercises of 1-2pp. (around Weeks 2 and 7). Students will also take three quizzes administered during lecture to ensure absorption of key concepts and details from viewings and readings.

Readings: Most assigned readings will be available free on Canvas, with the exceptions of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman (ISBN: 1973762196), Annie Baker’s The Flick (ISBN: 1559364580), Ron Stallworth’s Black Klansman (ISBN: 1250299055), and Steve Erickson’s Zeroville (ISBN: 1933372397). The combined costs for these texts on Amazon total around $40.

Films: Movies screened in whole or in part are likely to include Arrival (2016), Birdman (2014), BlacKkKlansman (2018), Brokeback Mountain (2005), A Place in the Sun (1951), Pulp Fiction (1994), and The Salesman (2016).

English 234 – Introduction to Shakespeare

Course Description: We'll read a range of Shakespeare's plays: comedies, histories, tragedies, and tragicomedies, from early in his career to his final works. The course will introduce the plays by introducing them back into the context of the theatre, literary world, and culture in which Shakespeare originally wrote them.  We will think about Shakespeare's contexts and how they matter: a theatre on the outskirts of ever-expanding Renaissance London; a financially successful acting company in which he played the simultaneous and often overlapping roles of writer, actor, and co-owner; a world of reading and writing in which words, plots, and texts were constantly being re-circulated into new plays; the rich possibilities of the English language around 1600.  We will centrally consider the ways in which these theatrical, literary, and cultural questions register within the plays themselves.  What do words, plays, stories do—how do they work—in Shakespeare's plays?  Who or what is an audience or an actor in these plays?  How do Shakespeare's plays stage issues such as gender, race, religion, sexuality, social class, entertainment and the media -- and how does his approach to these issues continue to speak to our own era?

Teaching Method: Lectures with discussion; required weekly discussion section.

Evaluation Method: Papers, midterm, final, discussion participation.

Texts include: Folger Library paperback editions of the following plays (these editions only): A Midsummer Night's Dream (978-1-5011-4621-3); The Merchant of Venice (978-1-4391-9116-3); Henry V (978-0-7434-8487-9); As You Like It (978-0-7434-8486-2); Hamlet, Updated edition (978-1-4516-6941-1); The Tempest, Updated edition (978-1-5011-3001-4); The Two Noble Kinsmen (978-0-671-72296-8); additional critical readings on Canvas.

Texts will be available at: Beck's Books Evanston.

English 270-1 – American Literary Traditions , Part 1

Course Description: The question of who counts as “American” and why is not only a pressing issue of our own moment but a question with a long history.  And while it might not be obvious, the question of what counts as “American literature” is deeply connected to questions of peoplehood and citizenship.  People with varying forms of literacy in diverse languages—from Spanish to English to Cherokee—answered this question in early America in writing, and these debates shaped early American literatures while continuing to resonate in films, in contemporary literature, and in political debates.  This course will survey American literatures before 1900, through a series of questions: Who counts as “American,” and why?  What is literature?  When is early?  We’ll read well known texts that have long counted as American literature, Anne Bradstreet’s poetry and Herman Melville’s novella Benito Cereno, while also looking at texts that have defied these terms: narratives of Spanish conquest gone horribly wrong; Native American protest literatures; Frederick Douglass’s newspaper; and Edgar Allan Poe’s polar horror story.

Teaching Method: 2 lectures per week and a discussion section

Evaluation method: short essays and a final exam

Texts include:

*Readings will be included in a course packet

Texts will be available at: Quartet copies

English 270-2 – American Literary Traditions, Part 2

Course Description: This course is a survey of American literature from the aftermath of the Civil War to first decade of the twentieth century. The course will take as a cue how writers experimented with various styles and genres of literature to explore the idea, if not always the realities, of “America.” Our exploration of these writers and their texts will fold into the contexts of social histories about the U.S. and reunification, the rise of capital and the Gilded Age, imperialism, and immigration.

Texts Include: Levine, Robert S. et al., The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Volume C (978-0393264487).

Note: English 270-2 is an English Literature major and minor requirement; it is also designed for non-majors and counts as an Area VI WCAS distribution requirement.

English 273 – Introduction to 20th Century American Literature (ICSP)

Course Description: In the introduction to his important work The Souls of Black Folk, W. E. B. Du Bois declared predicted that the problem of the “color line” would characterize the 20th century. In this course, we will examine an archive of key works of American literature to assess Du Bois’ portent. How and in what ways have racial divides structured American life and American letters? How do people of color—black descendants of enslavement, indigenous people dispossessed of their ancestral homes, and immigrants from the global south newly arrived—describe their experiences in relationship to American-ness? How has American-ness been imagined by white authors invested in preserving or disrupting this conflation of the two categories?

Drawing on works by a range of authors including Langston Hughes, William Faulkner, Carlos Bulosan, Lorraine Hansberry, Gloria Anzaldua, Louise Erdrich, and others, students in this will endeavor to understand how the residue of these conflicting and conflicted understandings have characterized contemporary understandings of and relationships to American identity.

Teaching Method: Two Lectures per week and one discussion session.

Evaluation Method: Reading quizzes, one paper, in-class midterm, take-home final.

Texts Include:

English 392 – Situation of Writing

Course Description: The situation of writing requires that we create literature, as well as the contexts in which literature is shared, appreciated and understood. We are the inheritors, perpetuators and innovators of literary culture, and in this class, we will position our inquiries on the present and future, even as we acknowledge the enduring humanistic values of creative writing. We will begin with a discussion of ideas about shaping the literary traditions of the United States starting with Melville, and moving quickly to those who have led or lead in shaping that tradition by shaping it or walking away from it—Roxane Gay, Adrienne Rich, Richard Baldwin, and others. Then we will build on these ideas practically with a service learning assignment and a creative work that reaches a new public, coordinates new media or engenders community. Our class will be enhanced by the annual Return Engagement series, featuring visits and readings from alumni of Northwestern’s Writing Program. My intention is to have a conversation that will unfold in real-time between us all, and will evolve into a learning experience that is both pragmatically useful and philosophically illuminating. My hope is that this class will help us to become more conscious of our motives and processes as writers; that it will allow us to more lucidly defend creative writing as an art form and a vital contribution to society; and that it will acquaint us with the productions of literary culture, including their changing technological platforms and their relationship to social structures. This course is part of the Hewlett Diversity Initiative, and as part of this program, we will investigate literature and culture through the lens of social inequalities and diversities.

English 393 – Theory and Practice of Poetry

Course Description: This selective-enrollment, yearlong "Sequence" is designed to make students 64 Return to Calendar increasingly informed readers and self-sustaining apprentices of poetry. The Fall portion of the course begins with summer reading and intensive study in which poets learn to identify operative modes in poetry -- including description, rhetoric, story and song -- and begin connecting contemporary participants with root systems in the tradition. We support our studies with reading exercises and "imitation" assignments, in which students convert close reading into fodder for original writing. Students will write at least four papers and will write, workshop and revise four poems during the Fall term. They also will lead presentations on one chosen poet and one classmate during workshop. In the Winter term, students will continue to read and complete close reading assignments and will stretch their skills as they complete a week of "Daily Poems," thereby drawing on original energy and stamina to bring their work to the next level of accomplishment. Finally, in the Spring term, students will focus entirely on their own work, drafting, revising, workshopping and completing one long poem of at least 120 lines that combines autobiographical material with writing from research. Throughout the year, our close reading assignments hone skills in sensitive and critical thinking; our imitation poems challenge existing habits as they introduce new strategies; our Daily Poems exercise agility and confidence; and our workshops cultivate the openness and humility necessary to serious writing and lifelong learning. Through this intensive and nurturing Sequence, students become careful readers of each others -- work and complete a polished portfolio of original writing.

Note: No P/N registration. Attendance at first class mandatory. Admission by application only.

English 394 – Theory and Practice of Fiction

Course DescriptionThis course will allow you to explore how fiction works. We’ll be looking at, discussing, writing about, commenting on, and researching the elements of fiction, but mostly what we’ll be doing is writing buckets (you will be turning in a completed piece every other week during the Fall quarter), so we’ll be reading mostly to steal: we’ll figure out what works and we’ll use it for our own material. We’ll be engaged in the reading of a concise, funny book on the craft of fiction, and we’ll also be reading a wide and varied array of short stories. Again, though, this work is geared to do one simple thing: to find out what means and modes of expression you best respond to, and to figure out ways to approach this question: Given all the other potentially more awesome forms of entertainment out there, what is the role of sitting around scribbling things and reading other people’s scribblings? Why do it? Just so you know, what we’re doing in class closely replicates what all successful fiction writers do on a daily basis: reading the work of their peers and those of established and emerging authors with care, attention, and greed, and writing copious amounts to see what sticks. The more you do both of these activities, the better and more confident you’ll get.

Teaching Method: Lectures, discussion, small- and large-peer workshops.

Evaluation Method: This is a portfolio- and participation-based course. Grade based on timely delivery of all assigned work, with equal weight placed on your own stories and revisions and on your peer feedback.

Texts Include: TBA

Note: No P/N registration. Attendance at first class mandatory. Admission by application only.

English 395 – Theory and Practice of Creative Nonfiction

Course DescriptionAn advanced year-long course in reading for writers, critical analysis of techniques of creative nonfiction, and intensive creative writing. Reading of primary works will concentrate on longer creative nonfiction works, and the creative project for the latter part of the sequence is a work of creative nonfiction of approximately 15,000 words. A guest non-fiction writer will visit in May as writer-in-residence.

Teaching Method: Discussion.

Evaluation Method: Based on creative and critical work; class presentations and participation.

Texts Include: Varies each quarter. Texts will be available at Norris Center Bookstore and Quartet Copies.

Note: No P/N registration. Attendance at first class mandatory. Admission by application only.

English 398 – Honors Seminar

Course Description: Part of a two-quarter sequence for seniors pursuing honors in the English Literature major, consisting of a seminar in the fall quarter and an independent study with an honors adviser in the winter quarter.

Prerequisites: Seniors only. Permission of department required. Attendance at first class mandatory. No P/N registration.

Courses Primarily for Graduate Students

English 403 – Writers' Studies in Literature: How to Work

Course Description: This course for writers of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction focuses on the contexts and processes of creative writing.  Our multi-genre readings enact or exemplify or think or imply something about how what we write develops out of our social, intellectual and artistic formation, intellectual curiosity, psychic processes, emotional investments, sense of language, and artistic goals. Readings will broaden our sense of how writers discover and develop their materials, techniques, and reshape their artistic goals as they work—in the way that the work of writing itself can shift the writer’s sense of the work and of the writer’s purposes. We’ll examine how the complexity of writing from one body of experience and thought may lead not to a “style” but to a range of possible structures, stances, and processes of writing. We’ll draw examples, methods and artistic positions from our readings in order to expand our ability to think about (and perhaps begin) new possible projects and—just as important—new ways of working on existing projects. Writing assignments will be unlike those you may have previously completed.  This is not a creative writing workshop.

Readings (many of these are brief) will be late 20th and early 21st century writers, including some of the following: Julia Álvarez, James Baldwin, Christopher Bollas, Julia de Burgos, Helene Cixous, Lucille Clifton, Víctor Hernández Cruz, Mahmoud Darwish, Robert Duncan, William Goyen, Kimiko Hahn, Amy Hempel, Danilo Kiš, Clarice Lispector, Ed Roberson, Katherine Mansfield, Linda McCarriston, Leonard Michaels, Marga Minco, Toni Morrison, Lorine Neidecker, Grace Paley, Sterling Plumpp, Adrienne Rich, Yannis Ritsos, Angela Jackson, Richard Wright, Jenny Xie or others.

English 410 – Introduction to Graduate Studies: Historicism Uses and Abuses

Course Description: This course adapts its title from Friedrich Nietzsche’s untimely meditation “On the Use and Disadvantage of History for Life” (1874). Beginning with nineteenth- and early twentieth-century debates about historical materialism and the uses of history and literary history as disciplines, we will survey the development and invocations of historicism as an approach to literary study across colonial, imperial, modernist, postcolonial, and environmental episodes in literary history. How does historicism fare in addressing diverse periods? For example, while British Victorian studies recently faced critiques of dominant tendencies toward “positivist historicism,” some of the most energizing work in postcolonial literary studies has been deeply historicist in inclination. How has climate change provoked new visions of historical time crossing the traditional periods? Must we continue to follow Jameson’s famous injunction to “always historicize!” or do we rather find ourselves in a “weak” theoretical state of affairs by which “we cannot not historicize?” How do we understand Roland Barthes’s claim that “a little formalism turns one away from History, but … a lot brings one back to it?” What is historicism good for? What are its varieties? Where does it fall short? Readings may include works by G.W.F. Hegel, Friedrich Nietzsche, Hayden White, Susan Buck-Morss, Fredric Jameson, Walter Benjamin, Antonio Gramsci, Saidiya Hartman, Reinhart Koselleck, Sianne Ngai, Michael Denning, Sylvia Wynter, Lisa Lowe, Michel-Rolph Troiullot, and/or Dipesh Chakrabarty. We will also watch a film TBD and look at a novel or poems to be selected by the class.

This course serves as a required pro-seminar for students in Comparative Literary Studies and English, and we will therefore emphasize a common project of the “literary humanities.” In addition to the usual weekly seminar session, students should plan for biweekly Friday noon sections in which guest faculty introduce University resources and professional topics.

Teaching Method(s): Seminar discussion.

Texts will be available at: Electronic copies of texts will be made available.

Note: This course is colisted with Comp Lit 410.

English 411 – Studies in Poetry: Poetics of Dissolution

Course Description: Frantz Fanon has famously written that the conditions of modernity have rendered blackness increasingly illegible, fraught with contradictions that push it outside the realm of facile comprehension and explicability. Taking Fanon’s polemic as a cue, this graduate seminar will look at a number of late twentieth-century textual and performance sites with radical instances of experimentation where articulations of blackness move into the interstitial space between meaning and non-meaning, coming into being precisely at the moment when the compositional logic of their anticipated forms are ruptured. The course will focus on three primary sites where black artists engage what might be called the poetics of dissolution to examine and critique the processes of racial formation: poetry (where the form of the line or stanza dissolves); music (where sonic interpolations puts additional, if not different, claims on the lyrical content), and visual culture (where the moves toward graphic mimesis are refused delineation). The material under consideration may include work by the poets Nathaniel Mackey and Harriet Mullen; turntablists DJ Spooky, Jazzy Jeff, and Premier; songs by musicians from Ella Fitzgerald to MF Doom; and pieces by visual artists Kara Walker and Glenn Ligon. Theoretical texts may include work by Barthes, Baudrillard, Moten, and Saussure, as well as ethnomusicologists and linguistic anthropologists.

Texts include:

Note: This course is colisted with ART 425.

English 441 – Studies in 18th Century Literature: Realism/Antirealism

Course Description: This seminar will reexamine two commonplaces in the history of the British novel: that early prose narrative was driven by the rise of empiricism and observational science; and that Restoration and eighteenth-century prose forms led straight to the representational mode known as realism. We begin the seminar by querying accounts of the rise of the New Science based on its strict privileging of sensory data and refusal of imperceptible or “occult” causes. Along with alternative accounts of embodied artisanal knowledge and micromatter, we will also ponder environmental determinism (which antedates the concept of biological race) and the structuring mandates of empire, extraction, and exploitation. The seminar will then confront the constitutive near-repression of the history of the slave trade in the long eighteenth-century archive, which will enable us critically to appraise dominant conceptions of the eighteenth-century “real” and attune us to speculative and/ or recuperative interventions in that reality’s textual consolidation through the present day. For the rest of the seminar, we will read prose narratives to ponder the strategies through which they claim to represent the real, with special attention to empirical perception and its limits. Are these texts’ representational, formal, and political claims based solely on phenomenal experience, plenitude of naturalistic detail, or verisimilitude? Can we locate other, even anti-realist modes through which eighteenth-century prose forms transmit meaning?

Primary texts include (list subject to revision): Robert Boyle, New Experiments Physico-Mechanical Touching the Spring of the Air (1660); Robert Hooke, Micrographia (1665); Thomas Sprat, History of the Royal Society (1667); John Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690); John Woodward, Some Thoughts and Experiments Concerning Vegetation (1699); John Arbuthnot, Essay Concerning the Effects of Air on Human Bodies (1733); Nicole Aljoe, Early Caribbean Digital Archive; Henry Neville, The Isle of Pines (1668); [anonymous,] The London Jilt (1683); [anonymous,] Aristotle’s Masterpiece (1684); Aphra Behn, Oroonoko (1688); Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (1721); Eliza Haywood, The Adventures of Eovaai (1736); Tobias Smollett, Roderick Random (1748); [anonymous,] The Woman of Colour (1808).

Scholars and theorists include (list subject to revision): Sara Ahmed; Nicole Aljoe; Srinivas Aravamudan; Mikhail Bahktin; Roland Barthes; James Delbourgo; Franz Fanon; Simon Gikandi; Lynn Festa; Saidiya Hartman; Fredric Jameson; Jayne Elizabeth Lewis; Bruno Latour; Georg Lukács; Michael McKeon; Tobias Menely; Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer; Stephanie Smallwood; Pamela H. Smith; Ian Watt; Roxann Wheeler.

English 465 – Studies in Colonial & Postcolonial Literature: Ecology and Postcolonial Forms

Course Description: This course examines the interface of ecology and literary form in colonial/postcolonial literatures. These literatures are rarely examined from either ecocritical or stylistic/narratological perspectives. Yet legacies of and globalization continue to alter local environments, and literary artists have used unique formal techniques to capture these changes and activate political consciousness toward ecological conservation. Avoiding the general assumption that a fixed set of techniques (e.g., hybridity) are exclusive to postcolonial writing, we will study and comment on the various techniques individual colonial/postcolonial texts (or sets of such texts) use to represent postcolonial ecologies. We will also discuss the invocation of ecological metaphors in the various texts of postcolonial theory (e.g., the comparison of the preservation of indigenous languages and cultures with conservation of biodiversity). The course’s primary premise is that formalist analysis of texts, as Robert Langbaum expressed it in his critique of New Criticism, “is where criticism begins, not where it ends.” While avoiding the shortfalls of purely functionalist/instrumentalist approaches to literature that drive much of postcolonial criticism by attending to the literary techniques that artists use, we will discuss the interventionist imperatives in postcolonial writing and criticism about the environment.  Building on Rosi Braidotti, we will try to be non-hierarchical in our readings, abandoning any “hierarchical comparisons in deciding the operative potential of humanity or a plant or a fly (for example), since these life forms inhabit or comprise, mutually affective ‘inter-kingdoms.’” Students are encouraged to read for the ecocritical potential in texts, both literary and theoretical—including those that are not (e.g., Ngugi’s Decolonising the Mind, Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth, or Paulo Freire Pedagogy of the Oppressed) primarily about ecology or transspecies formations.

Evaluation Method: Active participation in class; regular self-assessment; peer critiques, a 15-page paper or a 10-week undergraduate syllabus. [Students are welcome to propose alternative writing/professionalization assignments].

Teaching Method(s): short lectures, class discussions.

Texts (may change):

English 481 – Studies in Literary Theory & Criticism: Racial Ecologies

Course Description: How does contemporary Ethnic American literature contend with environmental crises such as rising sea levels, desertification, and loss of biodiversity? How do minority writers represent the asymmetrical effects of toxic exposure, crumbling infrastructure, and resource extraction? How might we think of race itself as ecologically constituted? To begin answering these questions, this graduate seminar will survey African American, Native American, Asian American, and Latinx novels, short stories, poetry, and film that explore the differential effects of what Anna Tsing calls “blasted landscapes” on minoritized populations. Concurrently, we will articulate an ecological approach to race, i.e., an interdisciplinary methodology drawing from critical race theory, Ethnic Studies, environmental studies, and posthumanism. Rather than seeing racial justice as a secondary concern to environmental crises, our discussions will highlight how race is always fundamentally imbricated in ecology. This unorthodox approach to racial representation will also push us towards formulations of comparative racialization, as we consider, for example, ecological entanglements of U.S. imperialism in Asia and Latin America. Finally, we will examine how art and literature imagine possibilities for minority resilience and flourishing. The class will pressure critical terms and paradigms such as representation, ethics, ecology, environment, risk, nature, and infrastructure.

Teaching Method: Seminar-based discussions.

Evaluation Method: graded participation; presentation; shorter writing assignments including reading responses; final essay (12-15 pages).

Texts: Assigned primary texts will likely include texts such as, Natasha Trethewey’s Beyond Katrina, Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower, Chang-rae Lee’s On Such a Full Sea, Leslie Marmon Silko’s Almanac of the Dead, Daniel Borzutsky’s Lake Michigan, Marilyn Nelson’s Carver: A Life in Poems, Nnedi Okorafor’s “Poison Fish,” Linda Hogan’s People of the Whale, Craig Santos Perez’s from unincorporated territory, Tommy Pico’s Nature Poem, Percival Everett’s Watershed, Indra Sinha’s Animal’s People, and Ruth Ozeki’s My Year of Meats, Ada Limón’s The Carrying, Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge’s A Treatise on Stars, Alex Rivera’s Sleep Dealer, Karen Tei Yamashita’s Through the Arc of the Rainforest, Jeffrey Yang’s An Aquarium, among others. Please verify final list before purchasing.

Assigned scholarship will likely include: work by Katherine McKittrick, Mel Y. Chen, Jennifer James, Kyle Whyte, Julie Sze, Sarah Wald, Patricia Solis Ybarra, Donna Haraway, Devon Peña, William Cronon, Laura Pulido, Camille Dungy, Rob Nixon, Stacy Alaimo, John Gamber, Jina Kim, Zoe Todd, Anna Tsing, Macarena Gómez-Barris, Dixa Ramírez D’Oleo, Nayan Shah, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Britt Rusert, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, and others.

Primary texts will be available at: Norris Bookstore. All course readings besides the primary texts will be available on Canvas.

English 493 – Elements of Craft

Course Description: There are so many approaches to craft, to the process of writing. So many conflicting terminologies and unhelpful aphorisms. So many assumptions are made about what knowledge writers share in common. This class is designed to reset things in a manner of speaking. It aims to re-introduce the student to as many different elements of craft as possible. We will revisit the mechanical /structural parts of craft, examine other elements like style, content, sub-text and layering to mention just a few. We will explore, uncover and come to accept our process.

This is a seminar/lecture class, with discussion and exercises built in. We will engage and struggle with the conceptual, the body, the political and ethical elements. It will be challenging, restrictive, but ultimately rewarding. As a cohort you will have a common language for feedback and craft and develop the confidence to be free of workshops by the time you graduate.

English 494 – The Long Form

Course Description: TBA

English 496 – MFA Poetry Workshop

Course Description: In this two-quarter workshop, students will focus on creative research as a mode of poetic production. In the fall, we will read several research-based collections, as well as interviews, reviews, and other secondary media, discussing the formal and thematic composition of the books and investigating how the poet metabolized her research into the making of poems. We will also write to prompts generated from the collections and workshop those poems.

Before the end of fall quarter, students will select a topic of their own and submit a proposal as well as a bibliography of primary and secondary sources, in service of generating a small sample of poems based on this research, due at the beginning of spring quarter.

In the spring, we will focus on workshopping the poems generated in fall and winter quarters. We will workshop poems as discrete objects and part of a group, considering how the organization of poems can generate new possibilities for thematic, narrative, and affective meaning. By the end of spring, students will have drafted and revised a long, thematically unified sequence of poems (20-35 pages), which will provide the basis for their eventual thesis.

Sample Reading List:

English 403 – Writers' Studies in Literature

Because the narrator knew who was speaking, she always knew why she was speaking.

—Vivian Gornick

Course Description: This is a course in writing the personal narrative with a focus on tapping into the wellspring of our material—our lived experience, existential wounds, indefatigable memories—in order to shape some aspect of the situation of our individual being into an arc of story through the creation of a vivid persona, vibrantly alive on the page. As Vivian Gornick wrote, when the narrator becomes a persona, “Its tone of voice, its angle of vision, the rhythm of its sentences, what it selects to observe and what to ignore are chosen to serve the subject; yet at the same time the way the narrator—or the persona—sees things is, to the largest degree, the thing being seen.” In our discussion of the stories we tell, we will consider the use of ekphrasis, documentary evidence and other kinds of supplemental research.

Teaching Method: This is a seminar-style course with workshop.

Evaluation Method: Short writing assignments and a final project.

Texts include: TBD. We will read several memoirs as well as some excerpts from authors which might include Joan Didion, Margo Jefferson, Imani Perry, Gregory Orr, Luc Sante, Eudora Welty, Tracy K. Smith, Lucy Greeley, Kim Barnes, Maggie Nelson, Lawrence Sutin, Danzy Senna, Richard Beard, Patti Smith, Sarah Broom and Ta-Nehisi Coates.

English 434 – Studies in Shakespeare & Early Drama: Early Modern Sexualities

Course Description: How can we practice the history and analysis of sexuality in early modern Europe? Is sexuality best described by a continuity of models, or alterity and historical difference? To what extent can we discuss “sexuality” in relation to “identity” in the pre-modern era? To address these complex questions, and to begin to ask new ones, we will concentrate on a range of exemplary literary and historical texts from around 1600 in England. We will be interested to explore both the multiple forms and functions of desire, eroticism, sex, gender, etc., in this culture, as well as the terms, methods, and theories we now use to read the sexual past. We will be particularly interested in gaining fluency in the languages of early modern identities and desires: sodomy, tribadism, friendship, marriage; bodies, their parts, and their pleasures. We will centrally engage recent critical controversies in the field over the utility of historicism in sexuality studies. We will interrogate sex/gender's intersections with categories such as race, religion, social class, and nation, and we will engage the emerging scholarship in early modern trans* studies.

Teaching method: Graduate seminar.

Evaluation method: Participation in seminar; papers.

Texts (tentative as of June 2021): Plays by Beaumont and Fletcher, Margaret Cavendish, Christopher Marlowe, Shakespeare and Fletcher; erotic-narrative poetry by Beaumont, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Ovid; sodomy trial of the Earl of Castlehaven; selected essays of Montaigne; sonnets by various writers; theory and historical work by Bray, Butler, Edelman, Foucault, Goldberg, Gordon/Fisher/Chess, Halperin, Loomba, Masten, Menon, Rambuss, Shannon, Traub, others.

Note: This course is combined with Gender Studies 490.

English 441 – Studies in 18th Century Literature: Green Materialisms

Course Description: This course introduces students to a sequence of “materialisms” worked out from the 18th century to the present. While readings and discussions will gravitate toward contemporary Marxist and post-Marxist ecological thought (including the afterlives of ideas like “primitive accumulation” and “metabolic rift” in recent feminist, anti-colonial, and environmental frameworks), we will also spend time looking at the writings and influence of earlier thinkers whose controversial materialisms have returned to critical attention in recent decades (e.g. Lucretius, Spinoza, Herder). A guiding aim of the course is to assemble a fuller sense of the historical and conceptual underpinnings of first-world environmentalism; so we will ask what “matters,” and to whom, in part by putting “greenness” under scrutiny as a critical category. Readings will emphasize theory and philosophy, but occasionally cross into poetry and science as well.

Note: This course is colisted with Comp Lit 486.

English 461 – Studies in Contemporary Literature: Black Speculative Fiction and the Black Radical Imagination

Course Description: In this graduate course, students will engage the archive of contemporary black speculative fiction, including works by Samuel Delany, Octavia Butler, Toni Morrison, Nalo Hopkinson, Walter Mosley, Victor LaValle, Colson Whitehead, and N.K. Jemisin, to interrogate the possibilities and limits of the black radical imagination as it appears in fantasy, horror, graphic fiction and other genres. Students will read narrative fiction written after the Black Arts Movement to interrogate what the speculative offers in terms of thinking about black worlds. The course argues that speculative writing—narrative fiction and theoretical writing—gesture to other social and political modes of thinking about and being in the world. Our study will concern texts written in the contemporary, but students will be invited to consider how contemporary manifestations of the speculative and radical necessarily speak across time and space into both past and future manifestations/imaginaries of black experiences, embodiments, and identities. Teaching Method(s): Graduate Seminar

Evaluation Method(s): presentation, seminar participation, weekly writing, final conference paper.

Texts include: Delany, Tales of Neveryon, Butler, Dawn, Morrison, Beloved, Jemisin, The Fifth Season, Victor LaValle, Destroyer and others.

Texts will be available at: TBA

Note: This course is colisted with AF AM ST 480.

English 461 – Studies in Contemporary Literature: Hannah Arendt: Poetry, Politics, & Thought

Course Description: This course takes its point of departure from a careful reading of The Origins of Totalitarianism, Arendt’s massive study of Nazi totalitarianism and its origins in anti-Semitism and European imperialism.  For the first three weeks of the class, we will read the three sections of the Origins along with a selection of Arendt’s contemporaneous writings on issues at the heart of her study: wide-scale statelessness and forced migration; racism and imperial expansion; totalitarian propaganda and the “holes of oblivion.”  Arendt recognized that the Origins posed a question that remained unanswered in that work:  faced with the manufacture of living corpses, what preserves our humanity and redeems our actions?  Arendt’s next major work, The Human Condition, thus moves toward an analysis of the conditions and modes of human activity:  from the biological life process, to the world-creating capacity of homo faber, to the urgency and fragility of human action.  As we read The Human Condition, which seeks to answer the question posed by the Origins by accounting for what European philosophy has generally failed to analyze with sufficient clarity—namely, the dimensions of the “active life”—we examine Arendt’s attempt in the same period to review and, in her own way, deconstruct the concepts of thinking around which the ideal of a “contemplative life” concretized.  This prepares us for a reading in the final weeks of the seminar of Eichmann in Jerusalem, where she re-conceptualizes evil as a certain implementation of systematic thoughtlessness.   As we examine these three major works, each of which is a reflection on the relation between language and politics, we will continually attend to the varying ways in which Arendt sought to understand where poetry stands in relation to human “conditionality,” and we will use her often-neglected suggestions in this regard to develop an Arendtian poetics.

Note: This course is colisted with Comp Lit 488.

English 481 – Studies in Literary Theory & Criticism: Cinema at the Turn of the Millennium

Course Description: This course uses an archive of films produced and/or released between 1998 and 2002 to construct a specifically cinematic and more broadly cultural history of the shift into a new millennium. Some conversations will focus on global preoccupations: apocalyptic apprehensions about Y2K, increasing proliferations and paranoias regarding networked technology, previsions of a world less organized by gender binaries, and public climates immediately before and after 9/11. At other times, we will take stock of trends within the U.S. as reflected on silver screens, including changing debates over African American representations and rising crescendos of white male insecurity and neofascist rhetoric. Alongside and amid those discussions, we will assess how film was evolving as a material practice and cultural form, with particular attention to digital advances, web-based writing, and shifting relations with television. Participants in the course will experiment with different genres of writing and practice different research skills in relation to texts and themes that interest them most. Films screened in full or in part may include 11'09"01 (2002), Amélie (2001), American Beauty (1999), Amores perros (2000), Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001), Bamboozled (2000), Beau travail (1999), Blackboards (2000), La Ciénaga (2001), Compensation (1999), Donnie Darko (2001), By Hook or By Crook (2001), Election (1999), Faat Kine (2000), Fight Club (1999), Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999), Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001), The Hole (1998), Kandahar (2001), Lagaan (2001), Life on Earth (1998), The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun (1999), Lola and Billy the Kid (1999), The Matrix (1999), Rosetta (1999), Les Sanguinaires (1998), Southern Comfort (2001), Spirited Away (2001), Training Day (2001), and Y tu mamá también (2001).This course uses an archive of films produced and/or released between 1998 and 2002 to construct a specifically cinematic and more broadly cultural history of the shift into a new millennium. Some conversations will focus on global preoccupations: apocalyptic apprehensions about Y2K, increasing proliferations and paranoias regarding networked technology, previsions of a world less organized by gender binaries, and public climates immediately before and after 9/11. At other times, we will take stock of trends within the U.S. as reflected on silver screens, including changing debates over African American representations and rising crescendos of white male insecurity and neofascist rhetoric. Alongside and amid those discussions, we will assess how film was evolving as a material practice and cultural form, with particular attention to digital advances, web-based writing, and shifting relations with television. Participants in the course will experiment with different genres of writing and practice different research skills in relation to texts and themes that interest them most. Films screened in full or in part may include 11'09"01 (2002), Amélie (2001), American Beauty (1999), Amores perros (2000), Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001), Bamboozled (2000), Beau travail (1999), Blackboards (2000), La Ciénaga (2001), Compensation (1999), Donnie Darko (2001), By Hook or By Crook (2001), Election (1999), Faat Kine (2000), Fight Club (1999), Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999), Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001), The Hole (1998), Kandahar (2001), Lagaan (2001), Life on Earth (1998), The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun (1999), Lola and Billy the Kid (1999), The Matrix (1999), Rosetta (1999), Les Sanguinaires (1998), Southern Comfort (2001), Spirited Away (2001), Training Day (2001), and Y tu mamá también (2001).

English 497 – MFA Fiction Workshop

Course Description: TBA

English 505 – Research Development Seminar

Course Description: English 505 will guide third-year students as they prepare a first draft of the dissertation prospectus and at least one draft of a grant or fellowship proposal.  Participants will learn how to identify current conversations in their field, decide which aspects of their QE preparation turned out to be most promising, examine current MLA job ads as well as approved prospectuses to get a sense of the genre, engage both constructively and critically with existing scholarship, and present their proposals in language that is both exciting for specialists and accessible to scholars outside the field. Each student will engage throughout the term with their dissertation adviser, as well as the instructor and a peer partner. The course will be taken P/N.

English 422 – Chaucer

Course Description: : From the fifteenth-century glossators to twenty-first century critics, readers of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales have sought to interpret and contain this constantly shifting text. The poem poses numerous interpretative puzzles—the objects of the poem’s irony, the politics of its author, and the demographics of its intended audience, to name a few—puzzles that have been “solved” in strikingly different ways at different historical moments. This course takes as its subject the Canterbury Tales and its reception history, exploring in detail both the poem and its multiple interpretative contexts. As we read the Tales, we will consider the narratives (and narrative conventions) that Chaucer transforms and the fourteenth-century voices with whom he is in dialogue. We will investigate the ways in which the tales circulated both individually and as a collection and analyze the various paratexts that accompanied them (glosses, prologues, illustrations, and “spurious” links and tales). Along with the early publication context, we will explore current critical conversation in Chaucer Studies (as well as medieval studies more broadly) and the scholarly history to which it responds, reading the Tales through the lens of critical race studies, feminist and queer theory, postcolonial studies, psychoanalysis, and old and new historicisms. In this context, we will use the Tales to ask “Why Chaucer?,” taking up some of the recent controversies in medieval literary studies and the responses they have catalyzed.

English 431 – Studies in 16th Century Literature: Political Thought in Shakespearean Contexts

Course Description: A Tudor idiom frames the now commonplace phrase, “the body politic.” What mythographies, theologies, theories, and ideologies built this conception of socio-political organization? While social contract theory would soon reach new predominance (ie with Thomas Hobbes in the 17thC and rising 18thC claims about the foundational role of consent to government), what models preceded it? What claims and values justified the apparent organicism of a faith or reliance on the human body as an allegory for political authority? How do these approaches manage qualities like gender, age, or illness that might trouble the allegory?

This seminar will consider some key texts in early English political thought, beginning with the Tudor court case from which the phrase “the body politic” is mainly cited, and proceeding then to materials from the unsettling events of the English Reformation that address the question of obedience to the secular power (ie Thomas More’s Utopia, William Tyndale’s Obedience of a Christian Man, Thomas Cranmer’s homilies from the first decade of the English church) and to anatomical and medical materials (like Thomas Elyot’s Castel of Helthe and Helkiah Crooke’s Microcosmographia). From this groundwork, we will move on consider early modern English debates about royal authority, including the ideological disarray triggered by the historical facts of a female monarch and of rebellion as treason (ie John Knox’s First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Women, selected speeches given by Elizabeth I, James I’s The Law of Free Monarchy, and John Milton’s Tenure of Kings and Magistrates). To explore these dynamics in the context of theater (then the largest assemblages of people into “bodies”), the seminar will delve into several Shakespeare plays (from among Henry IV 1&2, Richard II, Richard III, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, King Lear, and most particularly Measure for Measure) to assess the proposition that Shakespeare — among his other forms of attention — was also a political theorist.

English 455 – Studies in Victorian Literature: Literatures of the Global 19th Century: The Nahda

Course Description: This course is an introduction to Arabic literary production of the long nineteenth century as it engages the “nahḍa” (awakening), understood variously as a discourse on modernity, a utopian social project, and an epistemological rupture wrought by colonialism and capitalism. With special emphasis on the genealogies, practices, and problematics of Arabic literary modernity, this course will introduce students to the major works of Arabic literature produced in the nineteenth and early twentieth century and to the major debates, social changes, and material developments that attend the period, including (but not limited to) language reform, migration, print capitalism, imperialism, and nationalism. In short, we will try to understand how these authors, through their texts, both produced and theorized modernity for their readers in the localized contexts of Imperial influence and control on the one hand, and the global–though uneven–nineteenth-century processes of social, political, economic, and technological change.

Primary texts will all be available in English translation and will include: Rifa’ al-Tahtawi, The Extraction of Gold from Paris (1826); Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq, Leg over Leg (1855); Khalil al-Khuri, Oh No! I Am Not a European (1858); Muhammad al-Muwaylihi, What Isa ibn Hisham Told Us (1907);  Ameen Rihani, The Book of Khalid (1911); and Jurji Zaydan, Tree of Pearls, Queen of Egypt (1914).

English 465 – Studies in Colonial and Postcolonial Literature: Race, Caste, Colorism

Course Description: Taking W.E.B. Du Bois’s proclamation that the “color line [is] the relation of the darker to the lighter races of men in Asia and Africa, in America and the islands of the sea” as a cue, this graduate seminar examines and engages Afro-Asian critique as a way to interrogate the world-systems of race, caste, and colorism as they are routed through, and inform the political landscapes, of the U.S. and South Asia. By underscoring the limits and possibilities of disciplinarity, the seminar explores the ways the overlapping histories of Blacks and South Asians necessitate new modes of critical analysis, knowledge production, and artistic creation to imagine alternative socialities. As such, course material will cover works ranging from the rhetoric and speeches (of B. R. Ambedkar and Martin Luther King), aesthetic statements on color (Perumal Murugan and Zora Neal Hurston), political manifestos (the Black Panther Party and the Dalit Panthers), as well as art (A/Nil and Casteless Collective).

Note: This course is colisted with ASIAN LC 492 and is cotaught by Professors Laura Brueck and Ivy Wilson.

English 471 – Studies in American Literature: 19th Century Women Writers

Course Description: This course will explore the autobiographical fictions, slave narratives, serialized tales, memoirs, novels, and poems produced by African American women from the antebellum period through the turn of the twentieth century, and ending with Zora Neale Hurston’s 1927 reflection on the life of the last former slave brought to the United States from Africa in 1862. We will begin the course and introduce these literary accounts with recordings and written transcripts of selected WPA interviews of former slaves by largely white interlocutors working for the Roosevelt Administration.  By exploring the variety of writing, from travel and slave narrative and to fiction, this course will consider the forms and content produced by Black women during the nineteenth century and raise questions concerning at least: shifting political and social identities, authorship, proto-Black feminism, and the possibilities and limitations of the Black woman “archive” versus a “canon.”

Course materials will include Mary Prince, The Slave Narrative of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave (1831); Hannah Crafts, The Bondswoman’s Narrative (n.d. 1850s); Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861); Julia Collins, The Curse of Caste; or, The Slave Bride (1865); Elizabeth Keckley, Behind the Scenes; 30 Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House (1868); Alice Dunbar Nelson, Confessions of a Lazy Woman (~1903); Pauline Hopkins, Of One Blood (1902-1903); and Zora Neale Hurston, Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo” (unpub. 1927/2018). Professors Spigner and Stern will also distribute poems written by Black women across the course of the quarter to supplement our discussion of 19thcentury Black women’s prose works.

Each seminar participant will be required to give a presentation and lead the class for the fi rst hour of the seminar. Participants will also produce several short, argument-based reflection papers.  Final projects will enable students to feature their own research interests in creative installations involving literary texts, historical documents, cinematic or televisual materials and artifacts from the popular culture of the 19th century. Professors Spigner and Stern will consult with all seminar participants on their topics for the final project.

 

Required Texts:

English 481 – Studies in Literary Theory & Criticism: Affective Turns

Course Description: This course serves as an introduction to affect theory. In concert with a long-view study of philosophies of emotion, feeling, and embodiment, readings will focus on charting out the various interpretative methods, disciplines, and debates constitutive of what’s been dubbed “the affective turn”; this alongside practicing readings of fiction. Possible readings: Aristotle, Ralph Ellison, Gilles Deleuze, Toni Morrison, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Brian Massumi, Ruth Leys, Lauren Berlant, Fred Moten, Sara Ahmed, Eugenie Brinkema.

English 496 – MFA Poetry Workshop

Course Description: In this two-quarter workshop, students will focus on creative research as a mode of poetic production. In the fall, we will read several research-based collections, as well as interviews, reviews, and other secondary media, discussing the formal and thematic composition of the books and investigating how the poet metabolized her research into the making of poems. We will also write to prompts generated from the collections and workshop those poems.

Before the end of fall quarter, students will select a topic of their own and submit a proposal as well as a bibliography of primary and secondary sources, in service of generating a small sample of poems based on this research, due at the beginning of spring quarter.

In the spring, we will focus on workshopping the poems generated in fall and winter quarters. We will workshop poems as discrete objects and part of a group, considering how the organization of poems can generate new possibilities for thematic, narrative, and affective meaning. By the end of spring, students will have drafted and revised a long, thematically unified sequence of poems (20-35 pages), which will provide the basis for their eventual thesis.

Sample Reading List:

English 497 – MFA Fiction Workshop

Course Description: TBA

English 498 – MFA Creative Nonfiction Workshop

Course Description: TBA

English 520 – Writing for Publication

Course Description: Our collective goal in this workshop is to help each member prepare a scholarly article for submission by the end of the quarter. Each member will work to develop and revise a promising seminar project or a dissertation chapter for publication in article form. We'll discuss how to think about and select a suitable journal, scholarly conversation, and audience; how to fit an article's frame, argument, and rhetoric to the journal and its audience; how to identify and address any weaknesses in research, argument, structure, and style; how to decide where and how to cut and compress the argument, where and how to develop or expand it; how best to organize the article; how to write a strong, attention-catching lead; how to follow a journal's style sheet; how to check references with meticulous care; how to submit the article for publication; and how to respond to readers’ reports. We'll also consider broader issues of scholarly publication, such as pros and cons of publishing in edited volumes, special journal issues, and online venues; whether and how to publish work that forms part of a future monograph; and how scholarly publication relates to publication for a wider, non-specialist audience. One for all and all for one, we'll begin with workshop members analyzing and critiquing their own and each other’s submissions. Each will also receive readers’ reports from the instructor and, where possible, from a specialist colleague in the field. Each will work closely with the instructor and workshop members on successive drafts.

"Writing for Publication" is offered P/N and open to all students in candidacy with their advisers' consent. Should demand be high, Ph D candidates in English who are nearing the job market will have enrollment priority.

Teaching method: Seminar discussion and workshop.

English 571 – Teaching Creative Writing

Course Description: TBA

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