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English (B.A.)

English (B.A.)

Course Descriptions


Official Course Descriptions

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Supplemental Course Descriptions

The following course descriptions only provide information about the focus that an individual professor chooses to take for their course. These descriptions are not a replacement for the official course description. Use the Course Description Search page to find the official course description.

Summer 2017 English Course Descriptions

AML 4930 Selected Topics in American Lit: Vietnam in Myth and Memory (CRN 50701) 
Dr. Mendible, Summer A Tuesday/Thursday 11:30-2:55
America’s “lost war” has been represented, interpreted, and remembered in countless ways over the years, assuming a signifying power that has endured long after the ceasefire agreement in 1973 or the war’s official end in 1975. This course explores the ways that the Vietnam War shaped (and continues to influence) US culture and politics. Building on declassified government documents, historical archives, feature and documentary films, as well as memoirs by veterans from both sides of the conflict, students will examine the War’s legacy and its role in contemporary attitudes towards war, foreign policy initiatives, and national identity.

LIT 3301 Cultural Studies and Popular Arts: The Evolution of the Humanoid (CRN 50702)
Dr. Jackson, Summer B Tuesday/Thursday 11:30am-2:55pm
This course will be an examination of the evolution of the humanoid from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century. We will analyze a number of texts, films, and television shows that feature humanoid figures, including H. G. Wells’ Island of Dr. Moreau, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Vincenzo Natali’s Splice, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner and Alex Garland’s Ex Machina. In addition to comparisons of the texts and films, we will also look at primary source material in the areas of postmodern and post-human studies.

English B.A. Courses – Fall 2017

ENG 3014: Introduction to Literary & Cultural Studies (3 sections)
Dr. Mattison, Monday 1:30-4:15 pm (CRN 82537) or T/Th 10:30-11:45 am (CRN 80305) or T/Th 1:30-3:45 pm (CRN 80304)

This course is designed to help you develop the skills necessary to be successful as an English major and to begin thinking about your post-graduation, professional goals. As such, the course includes three main foci: 1) process-based writing; 2) an introduction to literary theory; and 3) professional development. By the end of the course, you will have a beginning knowledge of theoretical schools as they pertain to literary analysis, sophisticated critical thinking skills, advanced writing proficiency, and the ability to identify and incorporate scholarly sources for your own literary analysis. You will also create a professional e-portfolio that can be utilized for internship and job opportunities. Readings for the class will be composed of works that challenge the limits between reader and text, “meta” works that raise questions about the very act of reading and writing, just as they push the boundaries between literature and “real life.” Playful, inventive, humorous: these works challenge our assumptions about virtually everything—reality, society, and self.
[Advising note: This required course should be taken in the first semester of the junior year or as early as possible after declaring the English major.]

ENG 4930: Senior Seminar for English Majors (2 sections)
Dr. Crone-Romanovski, T/Th 9:00-10:15 am (CRN 82437) or Wednesday 1:30-4:15 pm (CRN 80302)
As the capstone course for English majors, ENG 4930 is a skills-based course with focused study of select primary texts. The course will include an investigation of various critical schools of thought and the analysis of primary texts using these critical approaches. Students will complete a series of research and writing assignments that will result in a high-quality researched literary analysis essay. In addition, the course will review the professional considerations covered in ENG 3014, and include an opportunity for students to update their professional portfolios.
[Advising note: This required course should be taken in the senior year, ideally the last semester before graduation.]

AML 3213 Early American Literature and Culture (CRN 82715)
T/Th 4:30-5:45 pm [New faculty in Early American Literature and Culture]
This course provides an overview of the literature and culture of the exploration and colonization of the new world, as well as of the early national period of the United States, through the study of major authors and works and their historical and cultural context.

AML 3242 – 20th Century U.S. Literature and Culture (CRN 82432)
Dr. Sugimori, M/W/F 11:30 am-12:20 pm
Through close analysis of fiction, poetry, drama, and nonfictional prose, this course explores how twentieth-century American literature and culture interacted with each other. Such an inquiry will be further enhanced through consideration of literary movements (realism, naturalism, modernism, and postmodernism, etc.) and critical theories (psychoanalytic, gender, and Marxist criticisms, etc.). Required coursework includes essays, exams, presentations, and a variety of in-class assignments.

AML 4121 – U.S. Novels of the 20th Century – Modern American Fiction (CRN 82424)
Dr. Sugimori, Monday 1:30-4:15 pm
This course examines early-twentieth-century American novels and explores the interactive relationship between socio-cultural “modernity” and literary “modernism.” In the process of such an inquiry, we will also consider literary and cultural criticisms—not only those that informed literary works at the time of their production but also more recent critical theories. Authors include Henry James, Gertrude Stein, Walter White, William Faulkner, Fannie Hurst, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ernest Hemingway. Required coursework includes essays, exams, presentations, and a variety of in-class assignments.

AML 4930 Selected Topics in U.S. Literature (CRN 82438)
T/ Th 12:00-1:15 pm [New Faculty in Early American Literature and Culture]
This seminar style course will guide students through an in-depth study of a particular topic or issue as it is dealt with in United States literature and culture.

LIT 3400 Interdisciplinary Topics (CRN 82429)
Dr. Tolchin, T/Th 10:30-11:45 am
This course will focus on a theme of “Creative Nonfiction Storytelling and Performance.”

LIT 4192 Caribbean Lit – Caribbean New Negro and the Development of the Black Public Sphere (CRN 82435)
Dr. Gras, T/ Th 9:00-10:15 am
In this seminar, we will read a variety of texts written during the first half of the twentieth century to examine the central role of Hispanophone, Francophone, and Anglophone Caribbean writers in developing a Black public Sphere and in using art to fight social discrimination against people of African ancestry. This period, in fact, offered the first international debate on the use of art, not only as a mere artistic expression, but also as a potent means to present a historical record and critical debate about race. In the course of this study, we will compare the Indigéniste movement, AfroCubanism, Négritude, and the Harlem Renaissance to understand the complexity and full extent of this watershed era for the definition of Black modernity. We will cover numerous genres (essays, plays, novels, poems) from the Caribbean, situating each work within its historical and social context. Texts will include Lydia Cabrera’s Afro-Cuban Tales, Nicolás Guillén’s collection of poems Yoruba from Cuba, Jacques Roumain’s novel Masters of the Dew, Aimé Césaire’s long poem Notebook of a Return to My Native Land, and Claude McKay’s novel Banjo. These texts were written in English, Spanish, and French, but may be read in English translation. This course counts toward the World Literature Minor.

LIT 4853: Topics in Cultural Critique – Aliens, Outcasts, and Border Crossers (CRN 82428)
Dr. Mendible, T/Th 3:00-4:15
Borders are no longer seen simply as physical divisions but also as discursive practices, metaphorical concepts, and cultural institutions. This seminar will explore the ways that borders are embodied, imagined, enforced, transgressed, and represented through both physical and symbolic acts of violence. It will focus special attention on the construction and significance of sexuality, gender, race, and nationality as boundary-making processes. Guiding questions include, “How are borders constructed, negotiated, and policed or transgressed?” “How are they challenged and renegotiated?” “What role do literal and figurative borders play in creative processes, cultural practices, and identity formation?”

ENL 3210 Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Lit (CRN 82590)
Dr. Tolhurst, T/Th 1:30-2:45 pm
Literature produced in England between the arrival of the Germanic tribes in the 5th century and the arrival of the printing press in the late 15th century was composed in Old English, Latin, Old French, and Middle English. This course will introduce you to both canonical and non-canonical literary works along with key non-literary texts in order to give you access to the rich and varied tradition of writing in medieval England. We will read works by authors such as the Beowulf-poet, Bede, Marie de France, Geoffrey Chaucer, Julian of Norwich, Margery Kempe, and Sir Thomas Malory.

ENL 3323 Shakespeare Survey (CRN 82433)
Dr. Totaro, M/W/F 12:30-1:20 pm
“Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks!” (King Lear) Aiming to expand our understanding of the early modern world view that charged winds with personified power, comets with prodigious meaning, and tempests with preternatural and sometimes supernatural consequence, this course will take as its focus the material composition of the early modern sublunary ecosystem and its literary and cultural representation. Appropriating terms borrowed from the NASA definition of earth system science, we will attend to “the processes within and interactions among the atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, biosphere, and geosphere from a global and local point-of-view”—what in early modern terms comprised the study of physics, meteorology, and biology. In our discussions, we will explore literary, cultural, and didactic treatments of the early modern sublunary realm; the religious, philosophical, and literary critical significance associated with such treatments; and, time permitting, the relationship between current ecocriticism and early modern writing about Earth’s interdependent spheres. Readings of Shakespeare will be diverse and survey-like in our focus on 5-6 plays including at least one history, comedy, tragedy, and romance as well as the sonnets. Written work will include quizzes, two papers, and an exam ¾ through the course.

ENL 4501 Medieval and Early Modern Literature – Women Writers of the Middle Ages (CRN 82591)
Dr. Tolhurst, T/Th 3:00-4:15 pm
This course will introduce you to some key texts written in English, French, and Latin by medieval women. By reading the works of an abbess, a court poet, a wife and mother, a mystic, and a widow who earned her living as a writer, you will discover the challenges that female writers posed to orthodox Christianity, gender stereotypes, and medieval social norms. By studying the letters of Heloise, the Lais of Marie de France, The Book of Margery Kempe, Julian of Norwich’s Revelations of Divine Love, and Christine de Pizan’s The Book of the City of Ladies within their historical and cultural contexts, you will consider modern debates about gender roles and the education of women in relation to the writings of medieval women.

ENL 4293 Topics in Brit Lit to 1800 – Renaissance Poetry: Imagination, Passion, Action (CRN 82589)
Dr. Totaro, Wednesday 1:30-4:15
In this course, we will focus on Renaissance poetry, from Thomas Wyatt, rumored to be an early love of Henry VIII’s wife Anne Boleyn, to John Milton, author of Paradise Lost (the story of Satan’s fall from Heaven and Adam and Eve’s from paradise). Paying special attention to the sonnet form, we will also take up these works in their much broader cultural context, examining the particular passions of these poets themselves and the many external factors influencing them. Other works included will be by John Donne, Queen Elizabeth I, Mary Sidney, William Shakespeare, and Margaret Cavendish. We will also spend time contemplating “the extravagance of the lyric,” so termed by Jonathan Culler; in other words, we will discuss the power of literature (and of all literary utterances) to move listeners in imagination, passion, and action. Written work will include quizzes, 2 papers, an annotation of a scholarly source, and a short exam at ¾ through the course.