Under faculty supervision, students create academic and community programming to strengthen the English major.
Students enrolled in the Campus Book Club attend weekly meetings and discuss a selection of books. The books (three or more, depending on their length and format) will each follow a particular theme, genre, and/or issue chosen for that term, with a new theme introduced each term by the discussion leader/s in consultation with a faculty advisor. Students are responsible not only for attendance and preparation, but also for inviting guest speakers, organizing campus events related to the club (and perhaps to issues raised in the readings), and being active, informed members of the weekly discussion.
The program requires editing, reviewing, criticism, and oral discussion of all manuscripts and art work on a weekly basis. Active promotion and publicizing of Crosscurrents Review and managing the Crosscurrents organization as a whole.
This course for non-majors takes as its starting point the question: "What is the American Dream?" Who has achieved it and who hasn't? Is it a singular dream or a tapestry of dreams made of many threads? By reading texts from a variety of genres and cultural perspectives, the course examines the themes of identity, betrayal, and redemption. The course will examine the ways these most central of human experiences can be viewed as distinctly American. Authors studied may include Franklin, Thoreau, Whitman, Twain, as well as Morrison, Silko, and Otsuka.
This course for non-majors examines the work of women writers anywhere from the Medieval Period to the present, with attention to the historical and cultural context of texts. It asks such questions as the following: what are the canonical issues that arise from a study of women's literature? Is women's literature different from literature by men in some essential way? What forces have worked against women writers and what strategies have they often employed to make their voices heard? How have those strategies shaped the literature that women have produced?
In this course students begin by learning the fundamentals of creative writing craft. Students answer the central questions of how a story works, what makes a poem moving, and how one creates beauty, complexity, and a powerful voice. Once this foundation is established, students move toward "anti-story." Some texts reject the formula most texts follow. Instead, these word-things turn to games, to humor, to acrobatics of both mind and body (even sometimes math) to create texts that amaze and surprise with their creativity and depth. The goal will be to figure out how these "other" texts work, and to use their inspiration and creative techniques to create our own word-things. We students find that writing is more than simply lining up letters. It includes designing and playing games, making masks, doing improvisation, and playing the blues (yes we will learn how to write blues songs). This class is meant to challenge and inspire students to think of writing in completely new ways.
This course provides an introduction for non-majors to the craft of literature, engaging both critical and creative faculties. Studying and practicing methods of aesthetic and formal analysis of literary texts, students will consider the artistic choices writers make to create an imaginative experience. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in the creative process.
This course for non-majors focuses on the genre of biography, autobiography, and memoir, and on the writer as subject. Students will examine this genre critically and creatively, considering how the self both creates and is created by the text. Students will explore connections and differences among autobiography, biography, and memoir, as well as the problem of objectivity.
This course serves as an introduction to the English major and minor and provides a foundation for the study of literature through reading, analyzing, and writing about a variety of literary and non-literary texts. Focusing on the relation between form and content in a range of genres including poetry, fiction, drama, memoir, graphic texts, and film, students develop a critical vocabulary and interpretive frameworks to engage meaningfully with literature. Students are also introduced to basic literary research tools, literary criticism, and disciplinary scholarship. Course content varies by instructor, but all sections include a play by Shakespeare. Required of all majors and minors.
Combining seminar and workshop formats, the course introduces students to the interstices of imagination and narrative theory. Students read examples of literary fiction and write several short stories of their own. Students also take one or more stories through deep revision.
Combining seminar and workshop formats, the course introduces students to the art and craft of writing poetry. Students experiment with a variety of poetic forms, read the work of poets from many eras, study versification and free verse, expand their range of subjects, and explore different strategies of revision. By the end of the semester, students will assemble a portfolio of their original poetry.
Combining seminar and workshop formats, the course introduces students to creative nonfiction, a genre of writing that is simultaneously intensely personal and engaged with the world of the writer; that borrows from lyrical strategies of poetry and narrative strategies of fiction; and that draws on popular forms of writing and journalism. Students read classic examples of creative nonfiction and write several nonfiction essays of their own, each of which goes through revision for a final portfolio.
This course introduces students to some of the major works of literature written in Britain from the Anglo-Saxon invasion to the aftermath of the English Civil War in the 17th century. The surviving stories from these centuries are richly diverse in language, form, and genre, and register great shifts, yet also surprising continuities in conceptions of heroism and honor, theories of family and nation, the relationship between the church and the individual, the nature of authority, and humanity's place in the universe. Thus, strategies for thinking critically about this period's literature emerge from a combination of close textual analysis and historical context. Readings may include works by the Beowulf-poet, the Gawain-poet, Chaucer, Kempe, the Sidneys, Spenser, Shakespeare, Donne, and Milton.
This course surveys British literature from the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660 to the first Reform Bill in 1832. During this interval, known as "the long 18th Century," Britain emerged as the world's first commercial and industrial superpower while it also experienced an immense artistic transformation from the aesthetics of Neoclassicism to those of Romanticism. The course examines the ideas and the aesthetics of Restoration Comedy, Augustan Satire, and Romantic lyrical poetry in relation to their political, philosophical, and literary contexts.
This course explores the literature and culture of the British Isles from the 1830s to the present. Covering three broad and rich periods -- the Victorian era, Modernism, and Postmodernism -- the roughly two centuries under study will be brought into focus by a significant theme (to be determined by the professor) as it manifests itself across the three periods and through particular writers, genres, and movements. Writers under study may include poets such as Tennyson, Browning, Barrett Browning, Yeats, Walcott, and Boland; novelists such as Bront?, Dickens, Woolf, and Rushdie; and playwrights such as Wilde, Osborne, Friel, and Churchill.
This course introduces students to significant developments in American literary history from European contact through the early-national era of the late-18th and early-19th Century. The course offers a thematically structured and comparative approach to literary works in relation to their socio-historical contexts (e.g., Colonization, Revolution, Constitutional Debates, Federalism, Early Nationalism). Drawing upon a variety of genres and voices, this course provides students with a foundational understanding of important traditions and transformations in literary history and aesthetics.
This course introduces students to significant developments in American literary history from the long 19th Century, spanning the post-Revolutionary era to World War I. The course offers a thematically structured and comparative approach to literary works in relation to their socio-historical contexts (e.g., Transcendentalism, U.S. Expansionism, the Civil War and Reconstruction, the Gilded Age). Drawing upon a variety of genres, this course provides students with a foundational understanding of important traditions and transformations in literary history and aesthetics.
This course introduces students to significant developments in American literary history from the early 20th century through the contemporary moment. The course offers a thematically structured and comparative approach to literary works in relation to their socio-historical contexts (e.g., WWI and WWII, the Great Depression, the Civil Rights Movement, the fall of the Berlin Wall). Drawing upon a variety of genres, this course provides students with a foundational understanding of important traditions and transformations in literary history and aesthetics.
This introductory course engages with developments in American literary history that precede, complicate, or challenge nationalist frameworks. It focuses on the U.S. nation and/or its colonial antecedents through a lens that is transnational or multinational, considering the space we now identify as "America" (U.S) in relation to a variety of identities, traditions, and cultures that have circulated within and around it. The course thus emphasizes an anti-exceptionalist approach to American literature, focusing instead on the circulation of ideas about or in relation to the American U.S. within larger cultural or global contexts. Specific periods and themes vary according to instructor from the colonial era to the present, and may include comparative colonial or imperial literatures, trans-Atlantic traditions, and America in its various international, multi-national or post-national contexts. Course sub-topics might include but are not limited to the following: Anglo-American literary relations, narratives of colonization, Caribbean-American contexts, the Atlantic slave trade, U.S.-Mexico or hemispheric relations, literatures of transnational or international migration, the U.S. in a global world.
This course examines the theoretical foundations and aesthetics of Afrofuturism. The term Afrofuturism was developed in 1993 by scholar Mark Dery and is an all-encompassing term used to describe science fiction work (literature, music, art, etc.) that focuses on Afro-diasporic ways of being and knowing. We will examine the contours of the field of Afrofuturism and decenter traditional science fiction perspectives that erase the existence of people of color in their visions of future worlds. The course will explore the "other stories of things to come." Afrofuturist authors speak into the legacies of colonialism and slavery as well as persistent inequality to examine their impact on imaginings of future worlds and the ongoing technological age. In the course students will read science fiction texts produced by Afrofuturist authors to study the ways that they reimagine the future from the perspectives of Afro-diasporic peoples in the New World.
This course offers students an introduction to multimodal composition. Focusing on the theoretical as well as the practical skills of multimodal composing, this course explores the theoretical foundations of multimodal composition, and engage in composing across various mediums. In this course students compose soundscapes using digital content, make short documentary films, and reimagine the commonplace book as a multimodal way of interpreting and analyzing their reading. Students deploy multiple modes of communicating, including linguistic, visual, spatial, gestural, and aural ways of composing and creating.
This course provides an introduction to literature for majors through the reading of World Literature. The course may include significant works from Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas, exploring literary art in specific historical and cultural settings. Texts invite the student to study the relationship between artistic tradition, social memory, and cultural identity. The aim of the course, however, is to expose majors to the literary genres, modes of production, conventions, and modes of reception distinctive of a specific culture or comparative cultures. Content will change according to the instructor's expertise.
This course is a survey of Native American literature from beginnings to the contemporary moment. Students gain awareness of tribal distinctions and points of critical and socio-political concern within the field of study.
This course serves as a Foundations (Works, Cultures, Traditions) course in the English major, and offers students an introduction to the development of Shakespeare's plays in an early-modern cultural context. Students learn to appreciate Shakespeare's rhetoric and poetics; approaches to genre and literary convention; exploration of political, intellectual, theological, cosmological, epistemological, moral and social constructs; treatment of gender, sexuality, and early modern identity; and creative use of the physical space of various "play spaces" (both public and private) that inspired his dramatic imagination.
This topics course offers an introduction to the fiction of a designated popular genre (fairy tales, sci-fi, detective fiction, romance, etc.), covering constitutive elements of the genre and its history. Readings explore both conventional and experimental iterations of the genre, and consider the relationship between individual works, the conventions of genre, and their specific social contexts. In this course students think about the relationship between formal conventions, subject positions, and historical context, to gain a better understanding of the ways in which popular fiction reflects, refracts, or even challenges popular mores.
This course considers the characteristics and functions of literature for young people, from infants to early readers to adolescents. Course content and approach differ by instructor but may explore a variety of genres and forms with regard to historical context, formal and aesthetic dimensions, or political and ideological resonance. The course may take a chronological or thematic approach and may consider texts within a specific national/cultural framework or across borders. Topics covered by the course may include the history and development of a tradition; the circulation and reception of literature for young people; intertextuality and relationships to literary or other genres; engagement with social and cultural developments.
This course introduces students to the theories that have shaped the study of literature, culture, identity, and even the humanities generally, for several decades up to and including the present day. What, why, and how should we read? While the focus is on contemporary literary and critical theory, its proper understanding will require some study of classical and (post-)Enlightenment origins, and especially how and why these earlier foundations were interrogated in the twentieth century, the implications of which continue to resonate profoundly in the twenty-first century (both within and beyond the walls of the academy). Particular emphasis will be given to the explicit and implicit assumptions of each theoretical framework--assumptions about art and language, certainly, but also about the self/other and the nature of meaning itself--and how these principles determine objects of study and what can be said about them. Students will also encounter works that question the institutional privilege and deeply skeptical mode of certain frameworks, as well as consider the future of theory. Course content varies by instructor, but will tend to draw on perspectives from structuralism, poststructuralism, and deconstruction; modernism and postmodernism; psychoanalysis; queer theory and feminism; critical race theory; postcolonial theory; Marxism; disability studies; ecocriticism; and more.
The course introduces students to the art and craft of playwriting by combining seminar and workshop formats in which members write, present, and revise monologues, dialogues, and sketches. Students work toward a final portfolio of this material as well as the completion of a short one-act play. The course also involves the analysis and discussion of published, produced plays; of conflict, suspense, characterization, plot, and other elements of drama; and of writing with actors, directors, producers, dramaturgs, and theatre audiences in mind. Cross-listed as ENGL/THTR 325
In this intensive fiction workshop students produce a portfolio of original fiction which undergoes many revisions, building upon techniques introduced in ENGL 227: plot and structure, point of view, character, setting, tone, voice, metaphor, motif. Students explore techniques of published short stories from the writer's perspective as they develop their own techniques and writing. Because good writing does not happen in the absence of obsessive, persistent, close readings, this is a reading and writing intensive course.
This intensive poetry workshop builds upon the skills and concepts introduced in ENGL 228, culminating in a substantial final portfolio of student work. Readings in this course highlight the craft issues to be mastered by studying canonical and contemporary poems, from Shakespeare to spoken word. By revising multiple drafts of their poems, seminar participants develop the advanced skills needed to become more effective writers of poetry. The workshop format stresses writing as a process and includes weekly exercises, self-assessment essays, in-class discussions, and peer reviews. The workshop may conclude with a public reading of student work or other cumulative project.
This course explores the aesthetics and politics of the novel form. The course may focus on a particular national iteration or cultural tradition of the novel (e.g., British, American, Postcolonial), a specific formal approach or subgenre (detective fiction), or a historical or thematic subset of the genre (the rise of the novel, the sentimental novel, the roman ? clef). In addition, the course may emphasize the theoretical underpinnings of the genre as a specific category of historical production, engaging theories of the novel and issues raised by the novel's formal and historical particularity. Themes and texts vary by instructor; please see department website for current information.
This course examines the genre of autobiography as it has evolved over time. Students consider how autobiographies written at specific points in history relate to the social, political, and aesthetic trends of the period; how the "non-fictional" genre of autobiography may be distinguished from fictional forms such as the Bildungsroman ; and what characterizes major subgenres such as spiritual autobiography, slave narrative, autoethnography, and memoir. Themes and texts vary by instructor; please see department website for current information.
This course provides advanced study of lyric, narrative, and dramatic poetry. Specific forms studied include the sonnet, ballad, villanelle, and other stanza-forms; the epic, ode, and elegy; and free verse. The course also involves the study of prosody and examines poems from different historical periods, nations, and cultures. Themes and texts vary by instructor; please see department website for current information.
This course studies a selection of plays in light of the history and theory of the genre, the relationship between performance and text, cultural context, and literary scholarship. While the course may incorporate acting, dramaturgy, as well as the analysis of live or filmed performance, its emphasis is on how drama is and has been interpreted as a literary artifact. Through the careful study of language and form students develop the skills for analyzing drama chiefly in terms of its place in the discipline of English studies, without losing sight of the productive interaction between the literary and theatrical. Themes and texts vary by instructor; please see department website for current information.
This course focuses on one or more genres of popular writing. Examples include detective fiction, science fiction, fan fiction, westerns, romance novels, fantasy, or non-fiction. Students engage popular texts through rigorous literary analysis to ponder how such "light entertainments" are inextricably linked to aesthetic, historical, and social circumstances. Possible topics include the relationship between popular literature and "the literary"; the relationship between popular literatures and their historical or cultural contexts; the ideological work of genre fiction; the possibilities, limitations, and permeability of genres; as well as the politics of race, class, and/or gender in popular genres. Themes and texts vary by instructor; please see department website for current information.
This course explores diverse genres of print media and considers topics such as how facts are constructed in news reporting, how print and electronic media relate to each other, how ethical guidelines affect print media, how different publications represent similar events, and how social forces and journalistic writing shape each other. Readings include genre theory, journalistic writing in current print and electronic publications, and case studies involving ethics and representation. Themes and texts vary by instructor; please see department website for current information.
This course explores some of the major theoretical and cinematic approaches to film genre, and provides the opportunity for students to produce a short film project based upon this exploration. The specific genre (e.g., documentary, horror, melodrama, film noir, etc.) under study for any given semester is at the discretion of the professor. Through the analysis and subsequent production of the selected film genre, students interrogate the ways that industrial, social, technological, and aesthetic factors shape the development, circulation, and reception of a film genre over time. In addition to regular class time, evening film screenings are required. Crosslisted as ENGL/HUM 340.
Considered one of the greatest poems in the English language, John Milton?s Paradise Lost (1667) is an epic that takes the reader from hell to heaven and everywhere in between. This is a story of identity and purpose within a seemingly infinite cosmos; of human responsibility to knowledge, the earth, and each other; and, especially, of the origins of suffering and injustice, and a blueprint of hope within a grand reconfiguration of what it means to be heroic. In presenting this archetypal narrative -- one that continues to resonate with readers of religious and non-religious persuasions alike -- Milton lifts Adam, Eve, Satan, and a host of demons and angels from their spare figurations in the Bible, and fleshes them out with rich descriptions, interiority, and speeches that in turn take inspiration from ancient Greek and Roman models as well as medieval Christian writings. The course therefore studies not only the entirety of Paradise Lost?s twelve books, but also some of the primary source materials with which the poem is built, including excerpts from the Bible, Homer, Virgil, Augustine, Dante, and even Milton?s earlier poetry and prose. Because textual influences are always refracted through one?s own situation, culture, and reading practices, the course will also attend to some key aspects of Milton?s life, especially his public involvement in the turbulent political and religious contexts of seventeenth century England -- contexts that would inevitably shape the imaginative retelling of how deception, betrayal, and violence entered the world in the first place.
This course is concerned with the endurance of the "Jane Eyre" story (itself an elaboration of the Cinderella myth). Beginning with Charlotte Bront?'s Jane Eyre (1847), students examine a variety of stories, novels, and films that rework aspects of Bront?'s vision. Students study the context of each revision and its commentary on the original text and examine shifts in the critical and feminist reception of these texts. Texts vary, but are selected from the following: Braddon, Gissing, James, Woolf, Forster, du Maurier, Rhys, Kincaid, Balasubramanyam, Winterson. Students produce both creative and analytic work.
This course explores the theoretical, political, and aesthetic dimensions of the gothic literary tradition in the U.S. from its late 18th-century inception to the current day. Along with a variety of primary literature, students consider foundational theoretical texts (Freud, Lacan) and secondary sources relevant to the uniquely American iteration of the Gothic, particularly those that interrogate the tradition's functions as dark counter-narrative to progressive U.S. ideology. Authors may include the following: Brown, Poe, Hawthorne, Crane, James, Wharton, O'Connor, Faulkner, Jackson, Capote, Whitehead.
The discursive negotiation between illness (its politics, histories, and personalities) and language is at the heart of this course. Through a close examination of a variety of texts (novels, plays, comics, film, etc.) that take illness as their central subject matter, students explore a series of questions including: What influence does illness (epidemic or personal) have on narrative? What is the relationship between social and political attitudes toward disease and the way texts characterize healthy and sick? What are the recuperative or reformative functions of narrative? Texts under study will be drawn largely from the 20th and 21st centuries and will include a number of theoretical and critical readings on illness and narrative.
Beginning with the genre's origins in colonial America, this course historicizes and contextualizes the captivity narrative -- a category first constructed around white men and women living among Indians, or kidnapped by Barbary pirates and held captive in Africa -- in relation to the emergence of ideological American-ness in the colonial and early national periods. The course investigates the rise and function of emblematic captivity stories like those of Mary Rowlandson, Elizabeth Hanson, and Mercy Short as they constituted a particular racial and cultural notion of white identity in contrast to a "savage" Other. In addition to such conventional readings, however, this course also incorporates works by Native Americans (such as William Apess and Zitkala-?a) and African Americans (David Walker, Harriet Wilson, Harriet Jacobs) who frame their experiences with white America as a kind of captivity, in order to examine how their works complicate the ideological assumptions of the genre and offer contradictory perspectives on the nature of captivity, race, and identity. Different iterations of the course focus primarily on historical work or may consider as well contemporary manifestations of the genre.
The Christian Bible, comprising the Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament) and New Testament, continues to shape imaginative literature, which in turn has a long and dynamic history of engaging scripture in response to various social and ideological issues. A study of the interaction between the Bible and literature is therefore not simply an analysis of what the Bible says, but also of how the Bible has been understood or interpreted by various cultures, an examination that may include an introduction to the traditions that shaped the very composition of certain Hebrew and Christian texts. Instructors may focus on a specific period and translation -- for example, the literature that shaped and responded to the King James translation of the 17th century -- or provide a comprehensive survey of Biblical texts in relation to literature both ancient and modern.
This course studies the British empire of the 19th Century and its slow dissolution during the course of the 20th century. The primary emphasis is on Britons' engagement with and responses to the idea of empire, as reflected in literary and non-literary texts of the time, and is informed by contemporary political and postcolonial theory. Students consider debates about imperialism, the role of culture in imperial expansion, the conception of national character, and the process of decolonization are studied, as the class traces the theory of empire in the metropole and its practice in the colonies. Writers may include Hastings, Macaulay, Kipling, Schreiner, Anand, Conrad, Yeats, Joyce, Forster, Greene, Achebe, Gordimer, Rushdie, Chandra, and Friel.
From 1968 to 2013, the Man Booker prize was awarded annually to the "finest" full-length novel written by a citizen of the British Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland, and bestowed honor, recognition, and controversy upon the winning author. The Booker inhabits an uneasy intersection of high art and mass cultural approbation, and while the judges would likely assert that the prize considers aesthetic matters only, a more realistic assessment would suggest that issues of historical contingency inevitably inflect the selection process. By studying winning novels by such authors as J. G. Farrell, Salman Rushdie, A. S. Byatt, and Ben Okri and considering relevant literary criticism and scholarship on the marketing of literary fiction, this course explores what the Booker Prize reveals about changing notions of postcolonial politics, economic structure, and gender roles -- in short, of British national identity and Commonwealth affiliation.
This course focuses on "Bollywood" cinema from the 1950s (immediately following India's independence) to the present. It asks why Indian popular cinema has a wider global audience and appeal than Hollywood and who is watching Bollywood films. In tracing the development of Indian cinema, the class addresses the ways films articulate the new nation's dreams and desires, fears and follies, anxieties and growing pains.
This course examines the city as a social, cultural, and historical construct. Drawing on texts from a variety of genres, as well as cultural products that may include diaries, maps, photographs, and motion pictures, students consider one, two, or three selected cities as they have developed over time. The course highlights the function of rhetorical and ideological constructions such as "the city," "citizenship," and "urbanity," and explores the symbolic and political associations of such terms. The particular cities, topics, materials, and historical scope are determined by the instructor; please consult the department website for the most current information.
This course examines the origins, rise, and prevalence of true crime narratives. Emerging from execution sermons, sensational journalism, and hard-boiled detective fiction, true crime is legitimated by Truman Capote?s 1966 In Cold Blood, which sets in motion a wave of serious and even literary works dealing with criminality and violence. Recent decades have seen the rapid expansion of the genre via multiple media including weekly television ?newsmagazines,? documentary films and series, and, of course, podcasts. The course will consider the formal aspects of true crime narratives across multiple media and delve into its social and political implications, including its intersections with and impacts on cultural understandings of crime and criminality, race, gender, policing, and the justice and carceral systems. Please note that some of the material in the course includes images or descriptions of violence that may be upsetting.
This course is an introduction to some of the variety and complexity of fiction from India. It focuses primarily on novels and short stories written in English and considers the role they played in colonial, anti-colonial, and nationalist struggles and in definitions of who constitutes an "Indian." It also engages post-colonial theorists of the last two decades, including G. Viswanathan, P. Chatterjee, B. Ashcroft, A. Loomba, H. Bhaba, and H. Trevedi. The course studies the work of literary writers selected from among the following: Tagore, Anand, Narayan, Rushdie, Ghosh, Roy, Sahgal, Hariharan, Chandra, Desai.
This course considers the Native American literary tradition and related historical and critical developments. Emphases vary by semester but are selected from major concerns and movements within the tradition and may include oral literatures, "mixed-race" and tribal identities, forced assimilation, literary colonialism, and American Indian nationalism. Students gain mastery of a critical vocabulary specific to the subject and, with increasing sophistication, articulate their own responses to the literature.
This course considers African American literature in its aesthetic, cultural, historical, and political contexts. Focusing on both the history of African American literary production and representations of African Americans in literature, this course addresses literary genres such as slave narratives and pivotal cultural movements as the Civil Rights Movement. The course examines the relationship among literary aesthetics, race/racialization, and social context selecting from a broad range of historical periods as the Antebellum era to the contemporary "post-racial" moment. Topics may include the Black Atlantic, Black Feminist Literature, and Neo-Slave Narratives.
This course explores important works of Asian American literature, including poetry, novels, nonfiction, and drama. This course considers Asian American literature's historical emergence and relationship to canonical American Literature, attending to the way that literary form mediates authors' responses to socio-historical circumstances like migrant labor, exclusion, immigration, forced internment, assimilation, and racialization. At the fore are theoretical questions about how these works engage and challenge notions of identity in light of pervasive social stereotypes and the ways the investments and injuries of identity inform the form and function of chosen works, even contesting the idea of an Asian American Literature. The course studies the work of such writers as Carlos Bulosan, Jessica Hagedorn, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Fae Myenne Ng, John Okada, Chang-Rae Lee, Sigrid Nunez, and Karen Tei Yamashita.
This course explores the dynamics of gender, sexuality, and sexual identity as expressed in literature. Students explore literary texts that address the intellectual, social, cultural, political, and philosophical contexts from which gendered and sexual identities emerge and in which they are contested or negotiated. The course addresses some or all of the following topics in any given semester: sexual politics and power; the relation of imperialism and racism to questions of gender; and the influence of gender on writing as an act of self-definition and political or social identification. The course may emphasize material from the historical literary tradition or contemporary authors. It may also address identities comparatively or focus on a specific category of identity as it emerges or develops over time. Satisfies a Gender Studies elective. Themes and texts vary by instructor; please see department website for current information.
This course engages with "whiteness" as a category of identification in order to develop a theoretically informed understanding of the history, function, and effects of racial encoding within literature and upon the society it influences and reflects. Course materials offer a corrective to the tradition of Anglo-American and European denial of dominant racial construction(s), and grapple with implications of rendering "whiteness" visible.
Ranging in breadth from antiquity to the present, this course familiarizes students with a tradition of writing about art and literature and debates about the meaning and meaningfulness of literature. Core concerns may include historically changing definitions of the literary, arguments about the value of art and literature, methodological approaches to the study or interpretation of texts, the relationship between art and culture or society, theories of language and representation, and the relationship between representation and identity. These works address such fundamental questions as how and why do we read literature? How does literature work and what might it mean? And what is the connection between literature and the extant world? Because the field of criticism and theory is so broad and varied, particular emphases vary by instructor. Areas covered may include Classicism, Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Hermeneutics, New Criticism, Reader-Response, Marxism, Psychoanalysis, Structuralism, Post-Structuralism, Cultural Criticism, New Historicism, Cognitive Theory, Speculative Realism, and Narrative Theory.
The aim of this course is to come to an understanding of our English-language ancestries and to develop a critical appreciation for the lexicons that we carry with us in every utterance or essay, text or tweet. This offering is unlike other English courses, and in fact more closely resembles courses in history, foreign language, and science. Students examine the development of the English language from its Indo-European roots to the present day, gain the knowledge to approach pre-modern texts with confidence (including the rudiments of Old English and Middle English), develop sensitivity to the ways language functions and changes, and explore the current state of English as a world language.
This course examines major concepts and theorists within the rhetorical tradition from antiquity to the present. Issues central to the course include whether the goal of rhetoric is necessarily persuasion, and whether the mode of presentation in speech or writing alters the meaning of rhetoric. Students explore the implications of rhetorical theory for daily life, particularly through the intersections of rhetorical theory and writing instruction, political and social activism, and visual media.
This course investigates the enigmatic and shifting term "culture" by examining how writers, theorists, and artists express themselves when responding to a variety of circumstances, events, or existing forms of expression. Texts under study include literature, journalism, critical theory, photography, and film, as well as the places that mediate these texts (bookstores, museums, cinema houses, the classroom, the Internet). In approaching culture through these different mediators and media, students also investigate strategies to express such encounters in their own writing. Because this course requires students to experience culture in a hands-on way, attendance at a number of activities (including a museum visit and film viewing) is expected.
Through the study of novels, poetry, creative nonfiction, and ecocritical theory, this course explores the development of ecologically engaged literature in 20th- and 21st-century English-language texts. Focusing on issues of environmental justice, this course devotes particular attention to investigating the role of the writer-activist. Informed by recent scholarship on topics ranging from animal studies to embodied nature to "Dark Ecology," ENGL 374 considers works by authors such as Octavia Butler, Gary Snyder, Indra Sinha, Barbara Kingsolver, and Helon Habila as it considers the intersection of aesthetic practice and ethical intervention.
Special Topics in Rhetoric, Literacy, and Composition will familiarize students with theories in the field of rhetoric, literacy, and composition studies (RLC). Courses under this number will provide an in-depth examination of key intellectual movements and figures that inform the development of rhetoric, literacy, and composition studies. Through these courses students will gain a deep understanding of the conceptual frameworks that shape understandings of the relationships between language, literacy, and culture.
This course explores the nature, form, and function of a selection of narratives, reflecting on how a story unfolds depending upon the medium through which it is told. Drawing on theories of narratology, students consider the techniques that writers employ to convey their stories and, in turn, how filmmakers translate these techniques for cinema audiences. To facilitate this exploration, concentration is placed on the narrative mechanics that are unique to specific genres, auteurs, or movements. The particular approach will be determined by the professor; please check the department website for the most current information.
This course investigates the external forces that shape what authors write and how readers read. Rather than study the stories contained within the pages of a book, students concentrate their analyses on the economic and cultural influences that affect the production and reception of books, whether the stories they tell are old or new, fiction or nonfiction, bestsellers or cult hits. Although there are opportunities in this course to study the internal mechanics of the books in question, such investigations serve and are subordinated to inquiries involving the culture of the book in the marketplace. Topics for such inquiries might include the history of the book, the publishing trade, the forms in which texts are transmitted, censorship, intellectual property, marketing and marketability, booklists and book clubs, professional and amateur reviews, and the politics of prize selection.
This course investigates how texts might generate and require a literacy that is visual before it is lexical. By tracing the relationship between words and images in a variety of genres including illustrated novels, photographic essays, comic books, film, and zines, students explore how images convey, argue, and narrate cultural, political, and personal stories. In addition to these primary texts, readings include seminal essays in semiotics and cultural studies that enable students to examine the distinctions between visual literacy and print literacy, the relationship between word and image, and what it means to be visually literate.
Courses under this number may explore either a single theory or small group of literary theories, as well as their application. As opposed to a broad survey of theory, this course aims to give students a deep knowledge of particular theoretical fields, resulting in conceptual and lexical fluency that will contribute to literary analysis across the curriculum.
This course number is reserved for the study of specific authors. Specific content, emphases, materials, and methods are determined by the instructor offering the course. Themes and texts vary by instructor; please see department website for current information.
Courses under this category organize texts into the study of particular and discrete movements. These movements may be defined literarily, historically, politically, or culturally, among other possible groupings. The course may focus on self-defined literary movements or movements that have been defined retrospectively. Themes and texts vary by instructor; please see department website for current information.
This category designates courses that organize the study of literature into discrete historical eras and their significant cultural, aesthetic, or political concerns. "Eras" courses differ from historical surveys in that they focus on a single historical period, rather than bridge multiple historical periods, thus emphasizing depth within the period over breadth encompassing multiple periods. The emphasis on literary texts is balanced with attention to secondary sources and literary scholarship. The course also includes perfecting methods of literary analysis, instruction on writing about literature, and challenging writing assignments. Specific themes, authors, and texts vary by semester; please see department website for current information. Themes and texts vary by instructor; please see department website for current information.
An advanced seminar in support a local writing internship, to be arranged by the student in consultation with the instructor before the semester starts. Open to students of advanced standing by permission of instructor.
An advanced seminar. Open to students of advanced standing by permission of instructor. Individual course topics and emphases vary by instructor. Consult the department website for current offerings.
An advanced seminar. Open to students of advanced standing by permission of instructor. Individual course topics and emphases vary by instructor. Consult the department website for current offerings.
An advanced seminar. Open to students of advanced standing by permission of instructor. Individual course topics and emphases vary by instructor. Consult the department website for current offerings.
An advanced workshop. Open to students of advanced standing by permission of instructor. Individual course topics and emphases vary by instructor. Consult the department website for current offerings.
Independent study is available to those students who wish to continue their learning in an area after completing the regularly offered courses in that area.
This scheduled weekly interdisciplinary seminar provides the context to reflect on concrete experiences at an off-campus internship site and to link these experiences to academic study relating to the political, psychological, social, economic and intellectual forces that shape our views on work and its meaning. The aim is to integrate study in the liberal arts with issues and themes surrounding the pursuit of a creative, productive, and satisfying professional life. Students receive 1.0 unit of academic credit for the academic work that augments their concurrent internship fieldwork. This course is not applicable to the Upper-Division Graduation Requirement. Only 1.0 unit may be assigned to an individual internship and no more than 2.0 units of internship credit, or internship credit in combination with co-operative education credit, may be applied to an und