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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

Department of English Courses

English Courses by Semester

Fall 2020

Spring 2021

Spring 2021

ENG 105: Intro to Creative Writing
M/W 1245-140PM Grzecki Online

This course will introduce students to three types of creative writing: poetry, fiction, and nonfiction (including mixed genres). The course will focus on inspiration (why write a poem or a story or an essay?) as well as the techniques of evocative, compelling writing across all literary genres (e.g., point of view, concrete detail, lyricism, image, voice, tone, structure, dialogue, and characterization). Students will examine work by authors from various traditions and produce creative work in each genre. ENG 105 prepares students for upper-level creative writing courses in fiction and poetry.

ENG 105: Discussion
F 930-1050AM Potocsny Online

ENG 105: Discussion
F 930-1025AM Frons Online

ENG 105: Discussion
F 1140-1235PM Potocsny Online

ENG 105: Discussion
F 1140-1235PM Frons Online

ENG 107: Living Writers
W 345-630PM Harwell Online

This class gives students the rare opportunity to hear visiting writers read and discuss their work. The class is centered on six readings and question-and-answer sessions. Students will be responsible for careful readings of the writers’ work. Critical writing and detailed class discussions are required to prepare for the question-and-answer sessions with the visiting writers.

ENG 107: Living Writers
W 345-630PM Rende Online

ENG 107: Living Writers
W 345-630PM Green Online

ENG 107: Living Writers
W 345-630PM Johnsen Online

ENG 107: Living Writers
W 345-630PM Moreno Online

ENG 107: Living Writers
W 345-630PM Beneche Online

ENG 107: Living Writers
W 345-630PM Kurtz Online

ENG 107: Living Writers
W 345-630PM Ugwu Online

ENG 114: British Literature
M/W 515-635PM Kim Online

This course offers a survey of British literature from 1789 to the present. Briskly moving through what are known as the Romantic, Victorian, Modern, and Postcolonial/Post-War/Postmodern periods, we examine how literary and cultural texts over time have engaged with central issues in British society and its interactions with the larger world. Investigating a variety of texts including novels, poems, essays, drama, and visual media, we explore questions such as: How is British identity constructed in relation to the cultural representations of the non-European world and the racial and colonial other? How do these texts represent, reinforce, and challenge the ways in which the values of the Enlightenment—such as freedom, equality, individuality, scientific and social progress—are entangled with nationalism and imperialism? How do texts across different time periods speak to each other as they write and rewrite literary forms in conversation with their historical contexts? By exploring British literature in relation to history from 1789, this course aims to critically examine the literary and cultural traditions that inform contemporary Anglo-American culture.

ENG 119: Topics in US Literature
M/W 1245-205PM Curtis Online

Why are sequential graphic print narratives about serious topics, like racism, fascism, sexism, and war, called “comics?” How has the comic book form, and the stories and characters that it produces, become such an essential part of storytelling in America? What sort of socio-historical concerns do comics consider, and how does the unique medium of sequential print art tell these stories? This course traces the U.S history of the comic book medium from its emergence as newspaper strips in the late 19th century, through the silver and golden age of superhero comics, and forward to the comics and graphic novels of our contemporary moment. Throughout the semester, we will read both comic books and the scholarship surrounding them. We will also learn the close reading skills necessary to study and interpret the comic medium, and produce argumentative essays based on interpretive analysis. Specific case-study texts include Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona, Tony Medina’s I Am Alfonso Jones, and George Takei’s They Called Us Enemy. Students are encouraged to bring their own knowledge and interests into class assignments and discussion. Participation in class discussions, completion of weekly discussion board entries, completion of reading journals, a discussion leading activity, a close-reading essay, a summary writing assignment, and a scaffolded final research assignment will all be essential components of the class.  

ENG 122: Introdution to the Novel
TU/TH 930-1050AM Marple HB Crouse Kittredge

This course will examine an abridged history of the novel, tracing how the competing poles of “romance” and “realism” influence common understandings of the novel through the major literary movements from the turn of the nineteenth century to the present day. Many of the first critical examinations of the novel as a literary form contrast the novel’s depiction of “real life” with the “marvelous” depictions of prior forms. For instance, Clara Reeve’s The Progress of Romance (one of the first book-length studies of the novel) describes that “the Romance is an heroic fable, which treats of fabulous persons and things,” whereas “the Novel is a picture of real life and manners, and of the times in which it was written.” While our current common understanding of the novel as “a book-length work of fictional prose” encompasses works both realistic and fabulous, the development of the novel has been largely shaped by the tension between realistic verisimilitude and romantic idealism. In this course we will chart a brief history of literary movements from the dominance of the Romance in the early nineteenth century through the rise of Postmodernism in the late twentieth century. While tracing this history, we will also become familiar with the basic formal elements of the novel like plot, character, and narrative perspective, as well as more specific devices like the “stream of consciousness” technique of the Modernist novel. We will also put the history of the novel into the context of larger national histories, considering how novelistic form is shaped in response to real historical events like the Civil War, World War I, and World War II. Our representative selection of novelists in this history includes such authors as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Virginia Woolf, Thomas Pynchon, and Gloria Naylor. 

ENG 145: Reading Popular Culture
M/W 1140-1235PM Bartolovich Online

This class examines mass cultural forms such as advertising and movies as well as everyday practices (e.g. shopping, reading the news, or using social media), to try to understand how we learn to make sense of a globalizing world and live a particular culture—or cultures—in the U.S. today. To this end, we will explore the pleasures of becoming a thoughtful reader of a variety of cultural texts. We will ask why characters such as Sherlock Holmes keep enticing readers and viewers in new forms, and how Beyonce works culturally. We will read Spiegelman’s Maus alongside comics and explore the significance of “popular” tv shows, such as Rick and Morty, Survivor, and The Sopranos.  We will consider why some movies are “blockbusters” and explore the various appeals of sci-fi and horror, while taking account of their relation to our own identity formation: how do you become “yourself” in a particular culture?  As the course progresses, you should become a more sophisticated, creative and engaged reader of the many different cultural forms that help make the world meaningful to ourselves and others.  This course satisfies the Critical Reflection requirement of the A&S Core.

ENG 145: Discussion
F 1035-1130AM Krumel HL214

ENG 145: Discussion
F 1140-1235PM Krumel HL214

ENG 145: Discussion
F 1140-1235PM Adams Online

ENG 145: Discussion
F 1245-140PM Adams Online

ENG 151: Interpretation of Poetry
M/W 345-505PM Payne Grant Auditorium

The course will consist of discussions of poems from the various traditions of poetry: from anonymous ballads to spoken word poetry. I’m interested in what makes the poem memorable and moving, how it is a vehicle for the intellect and the emotions, how it’s “the act of establishing communication between the mind and the heart”. I’m interested too in what ways the poem provokes and challenges us, what gives the poem its power to seduce and trouble and soothe, what gives it its music and voice as distinct from speech. Students will be asked to write and revise several two-page papers in which they examine closely a single poem by a poet from the text. In addition, students will be asked to choose a poet and present the work of the poet in a 4 to 5-page paper. Emphasis in discussions is on style and substance, music and image. Multiple ways of reading poems will help the students expand the range of poetic possibilities.

ENG 153: Interpretation of Fiction
M/W 1245-205PM El-Eid Online

This course will introduce you to strategies of close reading and critical analysis that will help develop your skills in reading, discussing, and writing about your engagements with different types of fiction. This class will equip you with the reading skills that allow for a richer engagement with stories across a variety of narrative forms, including but not limited to novels, graphic novels, comics, short stories, poetry, and film. We will pay close attention to questions of plot, character, figurative language, point of view, and genre, using these formal elements to guide our understandings of how each text engages with its own historical and cultural contexts, as well as ours. Though our texts will range widely in era, style, and content our investigations will be widely organized around an exploration of belonging, especially with regards to nation, race, ethnicity, gender, and class. This approach will allow us to direct our close analysis of texts toward larger questions of what fiction is, how it relates to its social, historical and political contexts, and how it participates in the formation of our own contemporary social condition.  

ENG 154: Interpretation of Film
M/W 515-635PM Gleesing Online

This online synchronous course provides an introduction to watching, analyzing, and writing about film. We will spend time learning how to analyze film by discussing how films make meaning using techniques such as arranging props and actors on-screen, cutting between scenes, using camera angles to impart different meanings, and using the soundtrack to manipulate perspective and convey mood. Learning how to pay attention to these small details of what we see and hear in a film are the foundation for “reading” or analyzing a film. Along with formally analyzing films, we will learn about how films operate within historical and cultural contexts, covering works from the pre-1920’s silent era up to contemporary digital film and video practices. This course will introduce students to genre, documentary, and experimental films as well as films from the classical Hollywood studio system, film cultures outside of the U.S., and films made by those whose voices have historically been marginalized.

ENG 155: Interpretation of NonFiction
TU/TH 930-1050AM Staples-Vangel Online

This course will introduce you to strategies for interpreting nonfiction. We will consider the ways that contemporary nonfiction helps us make sense of our daily lives and our identities by exploring the arguments that nonfiction texts make about gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, nationhood, place, and class. We will analyze various types of nonfiction and explore different forms of literature and digital media. We will consider the status of “truth” in our various nonfictions and use the following questions to guide our interpretations: What rhetorical strategies do these texts use, and to what end? How does form influence rhetoric? How do our different subject positions influence these narratives and how we tell them? How does nonfiction work in various media? How do these texts address (and construct) their audiences? What happens to “truth” when the consumer becomes a producer? Why are audiences so attracted to various forms of nonfiction? This course satisfies the writing-intensive requirement for the Liberal Arts Core.

ENG 171: World Cinema, Beginnings to Present
M/W 1245-140PM Hallas Online

Cinema has often been called a universal language and it is certainly made all over the globe. But world cinema has a richness and complexity that defies a single model, despite the cultural dominance and economic power of Hollywood cinema. This course examines how the international history of film has been shaped by the larger historical dynamics of modernity, colonialism, postmodernism and globalization. We will explore the diverse pleasures, politics and aesthetics of cinema from around the world, including German Expressionism, post-revolutionary Soviet cinema, Chinese melodrama, French New Wave, Bollywood, postcolonial African cinema, Japanese anime, Iranian neorealism, contemporary indigenous cinema and transnational blockbusters. We will trace how aesthetics, technologies and economies of cinema have mutually influenced filmmaking traditions in diverse regions of the world. Moreover, we will investigate how cinema contributes to our understandings of the world, our places within it, and our relations to other parts of it. In sum, we will discover how world cinema is always both local and global.

ENG 171: Discussion
F 1245-140PM Pomykaj Bowne Hall 105

ENG 171: Discussion
F 1245-140PM Caskie Online

ENG 171: Discussion
F 1140-1235PM Pomykaj HL 105

ENG 171: Discussion
F 1140-1235PM Caskie Online

ENG 172: The Literature of War and Peace
M/W 215-335PM Roylance Online

This course will examine artistic representations of American war and peace, studying how art reflects and also reimagines violent conflict. Ranging from the inspirational to the darkly satirical, and including fiction, reportage, poetry, film, television, graphic novels and songs, the texts covered in this course will show the varying responses of artists to the aesthetic, political and moral provocations of war. The course will not be arranged chronologically, but we will study texts that deal with major conflicts in American history, such as the U.S. Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World War II and Vietnam, as well as armed conflict between European Americans and Native Americans and the wars of the post-9/11 era.

ENG 175: World Literature, 1000 to Present
TU/TH 2-320PM Teres Online

This course will introduce you to some of the most valued and enduring examples of world literature since 1000 C.E. Texts will include Dante’s Inferno; the African epic Sundiata; Cervantes’ Don Quixote; Shakespeare’s Othello; Voltaire’s Candide; Wu Cheng’en’s Chinese classic novel Journey to the West; Basho’s Japanese haiku poetry; the Vietnamese classic The Tale of Kieu by Nguyen Du; poetry by from India by Ghalib and Tagore; fiction by Chekhov, Lu Xun, and Borges; T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land; Anna Akhmatova’s poetry; and Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman. The objective of the course is to enhance your global cultural literacy by familiarizing you with some of the most influential books and cultures from around the world. This will prepare you to become an informed global citizen and at the same time provide essential background for understanding English and American literature and culture. Classes will alternate between lectures and discussions. You will have the option of either producing shorter response papers or traditional midterm and final interpretive essays

ENG 181: Class and Literary Texts
TU/TH 11-1220PM Kidd Online

In this course, we will examine a selection of 19th, 20th, and 21st century U.S. American novels, periodicals, poetry, and film through the lens of a social category that is often ignored or denied—due to cultural blind spots, critical dismissals, and even deliberate suppression—within U.S. American social histories, literary canons, and classrooms: the economic class system. Some focused textual questions we will ask include: is working-class literature produced by, for, or about working-class people? Are representations of the working-and-poverty classes in these texts fair, productive, or accessible? What are the obstacles to representing class experience? Who counts as working class?  What counts as work? How does U.S. working-class literature participate in forging or re-forging American values and culture, and how might it help us imagine alternatives to what we’ve got? 

ENG 181: Class and Literary Texts
M/W 515-635PM Kidd Online

In this course, we will examine a selection of 19th, 20th, and 21st century U.S. American novels, periodicals, poetry, and film through the lens of a social category that is often ignored or denied—due to cultural blind spots, critical dismissals, and even deliberate suppression—within U.S. American social histories, literary canons, and classrooms: the economic class system. Some focused textual questions we will ask include: is working-class literature produced by, for, or about working-class people? Are representations of the working-and-poverty classes in these texts fair, productive, or accessible? What are the obstacles to representing class experience? Who counts as working class?  What counts as work? How does U.S. working-class literature participate in forging or re-forging American values and culture, and how might it help us imagine alternatives to what we’ve got? 

ENG 182: Race and Literary Texts
TU/TH 930-1050AM Lauria Online

In this course we will pay attention to how race is constructed and reinforced through literature and the effects these representations have on the United States’ image of itself. Through our critical reading and discussion of novels, essays, television, and short films, we will examine race as a social construct with real lived consequences. Our analysis will prompt us to ask questions such as: What is the relationship between race and identity? And how does race intersect with class and gender to create interlocking systems of oppression? Throughout the semester, we will read authors such as Ta-Nehisi Coates, Kiley Reid, Cristina García, Tommy Orange, and Karen Tei-Yamashita. We will also watch Joe Talbot’s The Last Black Man in San Francisco and select episodes from TV shows, Atlanta and Blackish. Because this course fulfills the writing intensive requirement of the Liberal Arts Core, much attention will be paid to developing ideas and critical thinking through writing. We will work to advance writing skills, processes, and styles that will help students succeed in this and other Liberal Arts courses. 

ENG 184: Ethinicity and Literary Texts
M/W 1140-1235PM Tiongson Online

This course provides a rigorous historical and theoretical understanding of the relationship between hip hop culture and race.  It examines the ways in which hip hop illuminates the workings of race and how race has profoundly shaped the emergence and trajectory of hip hop.  Considered the most dynamic youth expressive form to have emerged in the latter half of the 20th century, hip hop has interfaced and intersected with racially formative moments in U.S. history, including the drug and culture wars of the 1980s, the LA uprisings in 1992, the election of Barack Obama in 2008, and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.  In examining the relationship between hip hop and race, we will engage with a wide range of texts such as literature, film, poetry, music, and visual art.  We will approach these texts as constitutive of a hip-hop archive but also an archive of race, both of which are inextricably linked.

ENG 184: Discussion
F 1035-1130AM Charles Online

ENG 184: Discussion
F 1035-1130AM Green Online

ENG 184: Discussion
F 1140-1235PM Charles Online

ENG 184: Discussion
F 1140-1235PM Green Online

ENG 192: Gender and Literary Texts
TU/TH 330-450PM Cooper Online

What is gender? What does it mean to say that gender is a social construct? How does gender intersect with other social formations like race, class, sexuality, and (dis)ability? How do gender and texts work to represent and create bodies? This course will explore textual representations of gender and sexuality and their cultural, historical, and social implications. Through an examination of poetry, novels, short stories, films, and other media forms, we will address these questions and think about the ways that literary texts construct, rewrite, and interrogate gender as a social category. We will think about how literary texts represent and challenge ideological and social structures like heteronormativity, marriage, feminism, racism, citizenship, and patriarchy. Potential authors and theorists include Zitkala-Ša, Bram Stoker, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, bell hooks and Audre Lorde.  

ENG 192: Gender and Literary Texts
M/W 515-635PM Oconnell Online

What is gender? What does it mean to say that gender is a social construction? How does gender intersect with other social formations like race, class, sexuality, and (dis)ability? How do gender and texts work to represent and create bodies? This course will explore textual representations of gender and sexuality and their cultural, historical, and social implications. Through an examination of novels, short stories, films, and other media forms, we will address these questions and think about the ways that literary texts construct, rewrite, and interrogate gender as a social category. We will think about how literary texts represent and challenge ideological and social structures like heteronormativity, marriage, feminism, racism, citizenship, and patriarchy. Potential authors and theorists include Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, Alison Bechdel, Justin Torres, bell hooks, and Ocean Vuong.

ENG 200: Science Fiction
M/W 215-335PM Kidd Online

The origins and definition of Science Fiction or speculative fiction are debated by fans and scholars all over the world. Likewise, scholars continue to debate the value of the genre as Literature with a capital L. In this course, we will take the genre and its capacities for profound social commentary seriously as we explore possible beginnings, movements, subgenres and shifts within Science Fiction short stories and novels, as well as some television and film. We will look primarily at U.S. American and British texts, but we will expand beyond the West somewhat. This course features opportunities for creative work, as well as critical reading and writing.

ENG 215: Introductory Poetry Workshop
M 1245-330PM Gedetsis HL111

Poet Dean Young wrote, “To write a poem is to explore the unknown capacities of the mind and the heart.”  In this introductory workshop, we will study the building blocks of poetry (image, voice, point of view, etc.) in an attempt to nail these unknown capacities to the page, so that a reader might be able to see, and feel them, too. You will be required to write both creatively and critically as you compose, revise, and reimagine your own poems. There will be a variety of creative prompts, critical exercises, and assigned readings to deepen your knowledge of poetry. You will be a part of a writing community with your peers in this class, and throughout the semester will provide each other with thoughtful and empathetic suggestions for revision. Participation and attendance are necessary.

ENG 217: Introductory Fiction Workshop
M 345-630PM Harwell Online

This course will acquaint students with the fundamentals of writing fiction. Each week students will read and critique fiction written by their peers, as well as published work by established writers. Students must come to class prepared and willing to discuss these stories.  There will be in-class writing exercises and prompts which will lead students to create stories of their own. Class attendance and participation are mandatory.

ENG 230: Topics in Ethnic Literary Traditions
W/F 1245-205PM Frieden Online

We begin by studying the Freudian theory of humor (published in 1905, but still relevant). We then turn to Yiddish monologues, satires, and American humor. We will analyze literary works, early Yiddish movies, American Jewish stand-up comedy routines, and American films. Most challenging: you will write and perform original humorous material, primarily solo. A professional stand-up coach—Stephen Rosenfield, author of our textbook Mastering Stand-Up—will give coaching sessions, leading to public performance at the end of the semester.

ENG 242: Reading and Interpretation
M/W 1245-205PM Klaver Falk 275

ENG 242 introduces students to the discipline of English and Textual Studies, stressing not what we read but how we read it. We will learn how meanings are created through acts of critical reading as well as demonstrate the consequences of pursuing one way of reading over another. This course is designed to enhance your ability to read and interpret contextually as well as closely, to help you to articulate your understanding effectively and to draw connections through reading and writing. Through close, deep and thoughtful reading of literary and non-literary texts as well as essays by critics and theorists, we will explore the ways readers produce meaning. These meanings are produced both from the perspective of each reader’s unique experiences, and through various critical and theoretical approaches. Each section of ETS 242 takes up issues of central concern within contemporary literary and cultural studies. These include representation, language, reading, authorship, subjectivity, ideology, culture, history and difference.

ENG 242: Reading and Interpretation
TU/TH 11-1220PM Moody Online

Eng 242 introduces students to the discipline of English and Textual Studies, stressing not what is read but how we read it. The goal is not only to learn how meanings are created through acts of critical reading but also to demonstrate the consequences of pursuing one way of reading over another. This course will enhance your ability to interpret texts contextually and closely, and to articulate your understanding effectively I writing. Each section of ET 242 takes up issues of central concern within contemporary literary and cultural studies. These include representation, language, reading, authorship subjectivity, ideology, culture, history and difference.

ENG 300: Fairy Tale fiction Creative Writing
M/W 215-335PM Awad Online

In this course, we will study fairy tales thinking about why these particular narrative forms, developed orally centuries ago, continue to have resonance and power today and how they are so adaptable to such varied expression and reimagining. What do fairy tales say about a particular culture and its ideas about the world? How do they reinforce or challenge our ideas about life and human experience, subvert or affirm the social norm? How do fairy tales enable us as creative writers to tell our own stories? Reading both contemporary and classical variants from around the globe as well as watching films, we will examine the characteristics of the fairy tale—its motifs, storytelling strategies, as well as its deployment of wonder, magic and transformation—in order to explore the fairy tale’s immense storytelling potential for fiction writers.

ENG 304: Practicum in Reading and Writing Peotry
TU/TH 1230-150PM Harwell Online

T. S. Eliot said that minor poets borrow while great poets steal. From classical antiquity to the present, poets have always learned their trade by imitating other poets. They have pursued their individual talent by absorbing, assimilating, and in some cases subverting the lessons of the traditions they inherit. In this class, we will read and imitate poems from canonical poets. We’ll examine each poet closely, sympathetically, and predatorily. That is, we will read like aspiring writers, looking for what we can steal. We will deepen our understanding of a variety of poetic devices, such as diction, image, music, and metaphor. We will attend to each poet’s stylistic and formal idiosyncrasies, as well as his or her techniques and habits. You will be required to display an understanding of these issues by producing creative and analytical responses to the poets studied.

ENG 311: Romanticism and the Environment
TU/TH 2-230PM Goode Lyman 228

The modern environmental movement found early expression in British poetry, novels, and painting between 1770-1845. This course examines how British artists in this period responded to various dramatic environmental developments—both how they tried to counter-act these developments and how they understood the challenges of representing them. We will also be tracing certain recognizably “Romantic” relationships to nature into a variety of contemporary artistic efforts to represent environmental crisis and change. Historical topics covered in the course will include: the Industrial Revolution and the privatization of public lands; the notions of “geologic time” and “extinction” and the challenges they presented to traditional religious beliefs; new religious movements fueling conservation efforts by promoting the idea of nature’s divinity; new aesthetic tastes for landscape contributing to nature tourism and to new media; and politicians turning “nature” into a political football through debates over “natural rights” and “natural law.” Assignments will include a traditional five-page critical essay, a photo essay with 5-page reflection, and a mixed-media final project.

ENG 311: Romanticism and the Environment
TU/TH 1230-150PM Goode Online

The modern environmental movement found early expression in British poetry, novels, and painting between 1770-1845. This course examines how British artists in this period responded to various dramatic environmental developments—both how they tried to counter-act these developments and how they understood the challenges of representing them. We will also be tracing certain recognizably “Romantic” relationships to nature into a variety of contemporary artistic efforts to represent environmental crisis and change. Historical topics covered in the course will include: the Industrial Revolution and the privatization of public lands; the notions of “geologic time” and “extinction” and the challenges they presented to traditional religious beliefs; new religious movements fueling conservation efforts by promoting the idea of nature’s divinity; new aesthetic tastes for landscape contributing to nature tourism and to new media; and politicians turning “nature” into a political football through debates over “natural rights” and “natural law.” Assignments will include a traditional five-page critical essay, a photo essay with 5-page reflection, and a mixed-media final project.

ENG 315: Lit of Caribbean Diaspora
TU/TH 330-450PM Torres-Saillant Life Science 105

LITERATURE OF THE CARIBBEAN DIASPORA explores the rapport between Here and Elsewhere in the works of North American and European writers who trace their ancestry to the Caribbean region. The course looks at their accomplishments as literary artists, the place of ancestral heritage in their systems of significance, and the ideological negotiation of their diasporic location. Considering the tension stemming from their speaking as American, Canadian or European writers while upholding the banner of their Caribbean ancestral origins, we examine their tendency to fuel their literary imagination by drawing from the cultural, existential, and political rapport emanating from the counterpoint of home and location, origin and destination, as well as from their problematic citizenship. The readings will cover texts by such well-known authors as Cristina Garcia, Junot Díaz, Rhina P. Espaillat, Rosa Guy, Merle Collins, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Jamaica Kincaid, Edwidge Danticat, Paule Marshall, M. Nourbese Philip, Denis Henriquez, Ellen Ombre, Astrid Roemer, Gisèle Pineau, Caryl Phillips, Andrea Levy, Pauline Melville, and Zadie Smith. We will examine issues of language, transnationalism, exile, ethnic identity, and literariness while engaging contemporary criticism and theory pertinent to the study of diasporic cultural production.

ENG 330: Time Across Media
M/W 1245-205PM Hanson Online

This course will explore representations and uses of time across multiple media, focusing in particular on artistic and industrial practices, technological developments, and theories about temporality. Media texts, forms, and related technologies examined in the course will include mainstream and experimental film and video, television, interactive media, and video games. We will closely study media objects which reference their own temporality or reconfigure time using formal methods such as repetition and narrative structures built around time travel. The role of medium specificity in both the representation of time and our experiential understanding of temporality will be considered, as well as the cultural and social significance of historical shifts in notions of time. Texts and technologies to be examined may include Life of an American Fireman (1903), Ballet Mécanique (1924), Meshes of the Afternoon (1943), A Movie (1958), Koyaanisqatsi (1982), Groundhog Day (1993), Memento (2000), Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2003), Decasia (2004), Lost (2004-2010), time-shifting on television (i.e. VCRs and TiVos), Braid (2008), Edge of Tomorrow (2014), YouTube, and Twitch.

ENG 340: Shakespeare in the age of COVID
M/W 345-505PM Shirilan Online

Like many aspects of public debate surrounding Covid-19, the conversation surrounding the closing of the theaters last March has simultaneously emphasized the “unprecedented” nature of the crisis and compared the present pandemic to plagues of the past. Both gestures perform rhetorical work that this course will seek to unfold. We will be aided in so doing by Shakespeare’s own reflections upon the politics of representing and responding to calamity. This course will focus on two key aims: to examine plague and other airborne diseases as contexts for the representation of the risks and rewards of theater (and other forms of gathering) in Shakespeare’s plays; and to consider how these same themes and concerns might be reanimated  in the light of Covid-19, its associated ecological, economic, and political crises and the responses to such. In addition to our close and slow reading of three to four plays, we will reflect on the rapid development of new and hybrid forms of theatrical production and performance, examining some of the emerging modes and media through which various artists and audiences have sought to “do” Shakespeare under pandemic constraints. We will consider how distance, asynchrony, “distraction,” and technological limitation are generating new ways of thinking about of time, attention, mediation, and presence in the plays, the theater, and human experience more broadly.

ENG 352: Contemporary British Film
M/W 515-635PM Hallas Online

Despite the popular representation of Britain as a royalty-obsessed, class-ridden and anachronistic nation, British cinema of the past four decades offers an aesthetically rich and ideologically complex engagement with the profound changes that have transformed the country from Thatcherism to Brexit (i.e., the radical reorganization of its economy and social policy, the postcolonial reckoning with its imperial history, the divisive debate over its relationship to Europe and the devolution of power to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). A small national film industry struggling against Hollywood’s global hegemony, contemporary British cinema has managed to carve out a distinctive profile in the global film market, which includes a heritage cinema that uses costume drama and literary adaptation to explore postcolonial nostalgia for empire; a searing realist cinema that interrogates the persistence of class struggle; and a formally innovative Black British film movement that probes the intersection of race, gender and sexuality. In sum, the organizing question that guides us through the course will be: how do specific film practices sustain, challenge or reconfigure conceptions of nation identity?

ENG 352: Race, Immigration & Graphic Novel
TU/TH 930-1050AM Fadda Online

This course explores the ways in which genders and sexualities are represented in an array of literary, visual, historical, and theoretical texts from the Arab world and its diasporas. Some of the main issues to be addressed include the historical development of feminism in the Arab world, the construction of gender roles in the context of war and conflict, as well as feminist, queer, and postcolonial responses to discussions of love, sex, and queer identities in the region and beyond. In studying these issues, we will also be focusing on texts by writers and scholars of Arab descent based in the US who respond to and engage with their counterparts in the Arab world on some of the same topics but from a diasporic perspective, thus emphasizing a transnational and transcultural approach to our study of genders and sexualities in Arab contexts. The main aim of the course is to familiarize students with some of the main issues surrounding the study of genders and sexualities in the Arab world, and to sharpen their critical and analytical skills in their engagement with this material.

ENG 353: American Captivities
TU/TH 1230-150PM Beam Online

This course considers the captivity narrative as a recurring form in American literature and asks why it should be so prevalent in a “land of freedom.” We’ll expand this genre beyond its traditional focus on Puritan captivity (in which colonial settlers recounted being captured by Native Americans) to the stories of African Americans and Native Americans, for whom captivity defines a way of life in the U.S. We will use the genre to examine issues of cultural contact and containment, freedom and imprisonment, and national inclusion and exclusion in American literature. We’ll expand this category beyond its traditional focus on Puritan captivity tales (in which colonial settlers recounted being captured by Native Americans) to examine issues of cultural contact and containment, freedom and imprisonment, and national inclusion and exclusion in U.S. narratives and stories of captured Africans and Native Americans. After the iconic, mythifying captivities of John Smith and Pocahontas, Mary Rowlandson, and Cabeza de Vaca, we’ll examine resistance to captivity as leitmotif in African American literature and resistance movements, from fugitive slave narratives, to the Colored Conventions Movement in nineteenth-century Syracuse, to current resistance to mass incarceration. We’ll explore Native understandings of captivity in the work of Leslie Marmon Silko, Zitkala Sa, and "ledger art" of the Great Plains. We’ll watch several filmic adaptations of the captivity genre, from John Ford’s classic Western, The Searchers, to Terrence Malick’s The New World, to Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. Throughout, we’ll ask how, as students of American literature, we should understand our own captivation and contact with the American captivity narrative.**The course fulfills the pre-1900 course requirement and the REC requirement for the English Major.**

ENG 360: Gender & Sexualities Arab World
TU/TH 11-1220PM Fadda Online

What is the role of graphic novels in addressing questions of race, ethnicity, Indigeneity, and migration in national and global contexts? How do representations of racial and ethnic minorities in graphic novels help readers interrogate social constructions of difference and belonging, at the intersections of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, ability, nationality, and religion? How do graphic novels contribute to producing critical histories of racial struggle, dispossession, and trauma across time, space, and generational divides? This course addresses these and similar questions by featuring a range of graphic novels and related scholarly texts that provide important insights into individual and collective experiences/histories of racialization, immigration, militarization, and settler-colonialism within North America and globally. Featured graphic novels include Thi Bui’s The Best We Could Do, Joe Sacco’s Paying the Land, Damian Duffy and John Jennings’ adaptation of Octavia Butler’s Kindred, Mira Jacob’s Good Talk, Leila Abdelrazaq’s Baddawi, and Emmanuel Guibert’s The Photographer.

ENG 401: Advanced Writing Workshop: Poetry
TU 330-620PM Haxton Online

The purpose of this course is to develop the writer’s skill in making an experience vivid and accessible for readers. In discussion and written comments on each other’s work students use imagination and intelligence to help each other accomplish this difficult task. Everyone writes one new poem each week, some in response to assignments, and then revises four of these into carefully considered form. Requirements include reading of poems and written analysis of poems. The course is open to anyone who has taken the introductory workshop. Juniors and seniors who have not had a workshop may submit a portfolio of ten pages of original poetry to be considered for admission.

ENG 403: Advanced Writing Workshop: Fiction
TU 330-615PM Grzecki Online

This fiction workshop will develop and expand upon the skills introduced in ENG 217. The primary focus will be on how to write better, more effective, more technically sophisticated short stories and/or novel excerpts; the secondary focus will be on how to critique constructively others’ work in these same forms. In class, we will discuss student work as well as previously published work. There will be some for-credit in-class writing exercises as well.

ENG 403: Advanced Writing Workshop: Fiction
M 345-630PM Dee Tolley204

What’s a “plot,” anyway? Are fictional characters supposed to change, or be consistent? This class will develop and expand upon the literary skills introduced in ETS 217 (which is a prerequisite). The primary focus will be on how to write better, more effective, more technically sophisticated short stories and/or novel excerpts; the secondary focus will be on how to critique constructively others’ work in these same forms. There will be some in-class exercises, as well as some published work to analyze. But most of the class will center on the writing and constructive critique (both written and verbal) of original work created by you: two submissions (probably) over the course of the semester, maximum 25 pages each, distributed to your peers a week in advance for their reading pleasure. We’ll talk as well about the writing life beyond the college workshop: publishing, graduate MFA programs, etc.

ENG 406: Advanced Critical Writing
TU/TH 2-320PM Moody Online

This topic allows us to explore the various and complex ways in which medieval persons understood both the natural and the supernatural or “fantastic.” Historian Robert Bartlett offers the caveat that the belief systems of the Middle Ages were no more coherent than our own, but rather reflect overlapping zones of intellectual debate, difference, and even "discomfort." This literature course investigates the aesthetic-fictional structures and properties of supernatural figures, states, and worlds, and how the "natural" and "supernatural" inform each other. Theoretical texts (Freud and Todorov for example) will help us reflect upon the psychological, philosophical, cultural, social, political and other uses of the supernatural and why and how they have endured over time. This Advanced Critical Writing course will help you to hone your research and writing skills and engage in deep and sustained critical inquiry.

ENG 410: Modern US fiction 1890-1940
TU/TH 1230-150PM Edmunds Online

This course focuses on fiction written between 1890 and 1940. Discussions will place the three major literary modes of the period--Realism, Naturalism and Modernism---in a socio-historical context. We will examine how the larger social conflicts and social upheavals of the period prompted writers to become dissatisfied with inherited literary forms and to devise new modes of representation which they claimed were more suited to bringing about–or protesting--social change. These social changes include: increasing immigration, urbanization and industrialization and growing class conflict; the rapid expansion of a consumer-oriented society; Black Americans’ “great migration” to the North and new models of anti-racist activism; and the rise of the “New Woman.” We will focus on texts that engage the interrelated tropes of rising and falling and of acting, masking, posturing, and passing in order to explore how changing codes of social performativity both uphold and undermine existing boundaries of race, class and gender.

ENG 410: Youth, Power, and Social Movement
M/W 215-335PM Tiongson Online

This course examines the nature of contemporary youth involvement in social movements focusing, in particular, on youth activism in the post-Civil Rights era.  The course explores the circumstances under which youth-based and youth-led social movements emerge as well as the role of youth expressive forms and forms of technology in the formation, development, and political trajectory of these movements.  At the same time, the course examines how youth conceive of social justice and social change and how youth go about framing social issues.  To accomplish this, we will scrutinize a select number of examples of youth involvement in social movements, including youth involvement in the anti-apartheid movement, the anti-sweatshop movement, the global justice movement, the prison abolition movement, the immigrant rights movement, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the #NoDAPL movement.  Ultimately, the course attempts to draw larger theoretical lessons about the nature of power, social change, and contemporary youth politics.

ENG 411: Reading, Breathing, Shakespeare
M/W 1245-205PM Shirilan Online

Acting and voice coaches have written extensively about breathing Shakespeare’s language, finding its poetry and the power of its rhythms in the “breath” of the line. What does this mean for students of literature? We will read from acting and voice pedagogy alongside classical rhetorical/oratorical treatises (that Shakespeare most certainly studied in grammar school) in order to consider what a focus on reading and breathing affords the literary, historical, and theoretical study of Shakespeare. How does reading aloud change our relationship to the plays in performance, in “private” reading, in the classroom, and in the “archive”? What becomes clearer and more accessible? What becomes more opaque and difficult? How might we observe Shakespeare’s experience as an actor in the attention he gives to the management of the breath both structurally and thematically? We will read fewer plays slowly so as to experiment with reading and performance techniques together in and outside of class. We will make at least one trip to the theater and will view a variety of adaptations and filmed productions. Non-traditional, pedagogical and performance-based, para-academic assignment options will be available for all students but may be customized to enhance the experiences of VPA/Drama and Education Majors.

ENG 420: Adaption and Remediation
TU/TH 330-450PM Goode Newhouse 1 101

Literary texts often endure culturally because they get adapted into a new medium (stageplay, film, painting) or because new media and new technologies open up different ways to engage with them (photography, the internet, fanzines). In this course, we will be reading through some key theoretical texts to think through how to study adaptations and remediations, as well as reception and fandom more generally, and then also doing some case studies of particular texts in relation to clusters of adaptations and remediations that have sprung up around them over time. Case studies will likely include Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories. Assignments will include a midterm paper and a longer final paper, as well as Blackboard posts.

ENG 495: Thesis Workshop
TH 330-615PM Bartolovich Online

This course is a continuation of ENG 494. It is intended to serve as a forum for small-group mentoring and directed research toward producing an ENG Distinction Essay/Honors Thesis. The workshop will largely involve presenting drafts of your thesis and engaging in collegial peer critique. Since this is a two-credit course, we will not meet every week, but you are expected to be working on your thesis consistently, even during weeks in which there is no formal meeting or assignment due, as directed by the workshop syllabus.

ENG 615: Open Poetry Workshop
M 345-630PM Sealey Online

In The Poet’s Companion, Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux argue that images should “produce a bit of magic, a reality so real it is ‘like being alive twice.’” As we know, images are closely linked to memory. As poets, after mining our respective memories, how do we deepen a reader’s experience with the poem via the image? How does one draft lasting images—images readers will remember? This workshop will explore the image, its implications, as more than mere scenery. This workshop seeks to focus the image at the poem’s center. To do this, students will review poems with images that reverberate and re-imagine their own poems with images that idle. This is a generative workshop, but also one in which students will hone critical skills through close reading of each others’ work as well as oral responses to assigned readings. Assigned reading materials provided.

ENG 617: Open Fiction Workshop
M 930-1215PM Awad Online

This goal of this class is to generate fiction and to inspire and prompt you toward fearless creative exploration. The writing you do here may be strictly exploratory or you can focus on an ongoing project. All forms of fiction (novels, stories, hybrids, etc.) are welcome. We’ll read each other’s work generously and closely, focusing on language, narrative structure and potential revision. In addition to weekly workshop, there will also be readings which we’ll use to ground the workshop and to contextualize ourselves as readers and writers.

ENG 630: Graduate Proseminar
M 825-1110am Hanson Online

Johan Huizinga opens his influential work Homo Ludens with the claim that “play is older than culture.” Such a claim is certainly a contentious one, but it points to broader questions about the relationships between play, games, and culture. What are the roles of games and play in contemporary culture and how are these roles shifting? In late 2013, game designer and theorist Eric Zimmerman boldly—and problematically—declared that we now inhabit the dawn of the “Ludic Century.” He argues that while the moving image has become a dominant mode of present-day cultural expression, linear media will increasingly be replaced by modular and participatory experiences facilitated by customizable game-like systems in the coming century. In such a cultural environment, Zimmerman believes that being merely media- and systems-literate will no longer suffice as the ability to analyze, evaluate, and interpret these emergent game-like systems will be far more valuable.While any number of critiques might be made of Zimmerman’s manifesto, his observations resonate with the recent and ongoing emergence of game studies within the academy and the industry. Just as digital games have grown profoundly more complex in the last fifty years, theoretical and critical approaches to digital games have proliferated and diversified, moving well past early debates between narratology and ludology. Of course, the study of games predates the digital age, and in this course we will engage with the foundational texts which serve as precursors to the contemporary critical approaches which we will also explore. We will trace the historical development of game studies as a discipline, while also examining both traditional and digital games as case studies for our critical consideration. In addition to ergodic texts, we will also study screen-based media texts which explicitly or implicitly engage with the concepts of game studies. Attendance at weekly screenings is a required component of this course.

ENG 630: Graduate Proseminar
TU 1230-315PM Roylance Online

Designed as an introduction to U.S. literary and cultural studies, this seminar will survey American language and writing from the sixteenth to the late eighteenth centuries, and will provide a foundation for more advanced study of this period. No prior knowledge of the period is required. Course presentations will focus on pedagogy: approaches to teaching early American literature, with an eye to thinking about how to teach survey classes in general. For the final project, you will work on primary material from the course or closely related to it, but you will have conceptual and methodological freedom in choosing an approach. “Early America” will be treated as a problematic rather than as a settled category. We will question the homogeneity and push the literal boundaries of “America”: what regional, racial, religious and linguistic subcultures exist within the space of America? what transatlantic and hemispheric contexts illuminate early American literary production? We will engage with Native American oral literature and record-keeping, writings from New Spain, New France, New Netherland and the British colonies, as well as European writings about the “New World.” The course will culminate with an examination of the rhetoric of the U.S. Revolutionary War and early national period, which attempted to present as unified and univocal a colonial period that had been anything but. We will also be focusing on the history of slavery and black activism, engaging with related writing from the colonial period as well as the New York Times Magazine 1619 Project. We will be collaborating in a reading group with students and faculty from Cornell University, in preparation for an April event celebrating the publication of an edited collection on the Colored Conventions, a nineteenth-century movement of African Americans organizing for racial justice.

ENG 630: Graduate Proseminar
TH 930-1215PM Teres Online

This course will explore the ways in which individual experiences represented in American lyric poetry have become audible within racialized public spheres from the era of Jim Crow to the present. Although the focus will be on Black/white race relations, we will also take up examples of Latinx poetry (e.g. William Carlos Williams’ “The Desert Music,” and others), Native American poetry, Jewish American poetry (in response to the Holocaust), and representations of Asia in American poetry (Pound, Eliot, the Beats). Readings will include the poetry of the Harlem Renaissance and Black Arts Movement; whiteness in Stevens (the 1930s poems), Frost, Plath, O’Hara, Bishop, Lowell, and others; and various modern and contemporary poets, including Melvin Tolson, Robert Hayden, Gwendolyn Brooks, Claudia Rankine, Rita Dove, Natasha Trethewey, Li-Young Lee, and Sherman Alexie. Toni Morrison’s Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination, Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility, and other critical race studies texts will provide theoretical and conceptual perspectives.

ENG 650: Forms
TH 1230-320PM Spiotta Tolley 102

When our list-obsessed culture makes its pronouncements about the best novels ever written, James Joyce's Ulysses often lands at the top.  This class will attempt to get beyond (underneath, behind) this novel's iconic status; we will inhabit this novel and rampage through it. Most of the class will be devoted to a close reading of Ulysses. We will take it section by section, keeping track of what accumulates as we examine Joyce’s narrative strategies, techniques, and innovations. We will look at the architecture of the novel and consider how it is possible to create a system without being overly schematic. We will read to understand the book, but also, we will read with an eye toward developing our own work and our own ideas about what a novel can do. We will also address the complex political and historical aspects of the book.  We will discuss what kind of art we can create to counter or subvert our current moment and its conventions.  And in the last few weeks of class, we will read some fiction by writers of today who have a Joycean devotion to innovative forms(for example, Counternarratives by John Keene).

ENG 650: Forms
TU 330-620PM Kennedy Online

In this class, we will read the work of 20th Century (and some 21st Century) European poets (and some fiction writers) whose work addresses authoritarian political and social conditions. Writers we will read include Paul Celan, Wislawa Szymborska, Antonio Fian, Vasko Popa, and Zibigniew Herbert. There will be weekly writing assignments, consisting of brief responses (creative or analytical), and students will be asked to bring in work by contemporary American poets (and fiction writers) whose work addresses political and social issues.

ENG 650: Forms
TH 330-615PM Haxton Online

For this practicum in the art of translation, fluency in another language is NOT a prerequisite. Experience with writing translations is NOT a prerequisite. Writers of all kinds of creative prose and poetry are welcome. The degree of freedom or strict literality in your translations is up to you. Each student is free to choose texts to translate. Assigned reading for this course will include essays on translation and translations of poetry and prose from various languages, on average one essay and several short examples of translation each week. We will discuss the aims and technical choices of translators, including the students in the class, with respect to semantic accuracy, tonal dynamics, stylistic similarity, musical effect, representation of cultural milieu, dramatic presentation of personality, and so on, within the limits of our access to source languages, reference materials, and informants. The purposes of the class are to enrich your reading of translations, to discover how the challenges of writing translations may illuminate your process of original composition, and to practice an art closely related to—but distinct from—the art of original composition.

ENG 650: Forms
TU 1230-315PM Dee Tolley 102

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, it was known as “the social-problem novel:” fiction set in the present that both dramatized and critiqued a contemporary social injustice, in order to educate and re-sensitize its audience. The Jungle, Hard Times, Uncle Tom’s Cabin . . . Back then, novels had more of a genuine role as news-sources than they do today; still, in terms of both the decrepitude of contemporary society and the fierce commitment of its young writers, the times seem ripe for a comeback. How do you make art that advocates, without turning your work into the moral equivalent of a puppet show? This course will take a look at how writers of various cultures and eras have tried to solve the problem. Texts: Zola’s Germinal, Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Wright’s Native Son, Delany’s Tale of Plagues and Carnivals, Hamid’s Exit West, Millet’s A Children’s Bible and more.

ENG 730: Graduate Seminar
TU 330-615PM Callaghan Online

There are three extant versions of Hamlet: the First Quarto (known as Q1), the Second Quarto (known as Q 2), and the Folio text (known as F). This fact arguably constitutes the most perplexing mystery in all of English Literature.  Q1 is the earliest version of the play, and yet some (though not all) of its language is far from anything we associate with Shakespeare: “To be or not to be.  Aye there’s the point.” Q1, however, when read in tandem with the other texts, reveals a great deal about both Shakespeare’s language and his writing practices.  In this course, we will read the three extant versions of Hamlet with a focus on the play’s language—both its poetry and its prose.  We will pay minute attention to the text even as we consider some of the overarching issues of the play, including Hamlet’s relationship to other writing, especially to other revenge tragedies of the period, the prose of Thomas Nashe, the poetry of Christopher Marlowe, and some early modern translations of classical literature.

ENG 730: Graduate Seminar
TH 1230-315PM Torres-Saillant Online

This course will explore the place of Caribbean literature and thought in the cultural and intellectual geography spawned by the Transatlantic slave trade and the East India Company route. We will examine many of the most salient literary works, conceptual paradigms, and political formulations coming out of the Caribbean through the beginning of the twentieth-first century. The figure of Caliban will provide a cultural synecdoche to examine intellectual, literary, and political history in the region with an emphasis on the role ideologies of liberation have played in fueling cultural production there. We will consider the difficult rapport of Caribbean writing with postcolonial theory and the role of Caribbean-descended speakers in dismantling the conceptual bases of the racial regimes established in the modern world that emerged out of the conquest and colonization that ensued from the events of 1492. A crossroads of the various branches of the human family (with their distinct ancestries, phenotypes, cultures, belief systems), the Caribbean has spawned some of the most ambitious formulations in response to the stratification of humanity resulting from the colonial transaction. Caribbean voices have tenaciously disavowed the racialization of knowledge that ended up granting to the Christian West (from the 16th century onward) a monopoly or license to speak on behalf of humanity, relegating other regions of the world to speaking about themselves only. We will engage the recurring drive of Caribbean writers and thinkers to speak unabashedly about the whole species even as they ground themselves in the history of their societies. We will attend to the conceptual difficulties of speaking about the Caribbean as one thing, considering the interrelations of authors from the tellurian geography of the Caribbean region (both insular and continental territories) with those from the cultural geography of the Caribbean diaspora the major Western metropolises, mostly in Europe, Canada, and the United States. We will draw our readings from authors associated (through birth or descent) with the four major linguistic of the Caribbean region (relying on English translations for works written originally in French, Dutch, and Spanish), with some gesture to the Creole language experience of Caribbean peoples. Our authors may include the likes of Roberto Fernández Retamar, Frantz Fanon, Aimé Césaire, George Lamming, Edouard Glissant, Zoe Valdez, Zadie Smith, Pauline Melville, Gisele Pineau, Jacques Stephen Alexis, Danny Lafarriere, Luis Rafael Sanchez, Ana Lydia Vega, Nancy Morejón, Pedro Mir, Mayra Santos Febres, Bea Vianen, Astrid Roemer, Edgar Cairo, Frank Martinus Arion, Lorna Goodison, Julia Alvarez, Michelle Cliff, Kamau Brathwaite, Nourbese Phillip, and Caryl Phillips.

ENG 730: Graduate Seminar
TU 930-1215PM Edmunds Online

This course has two aims: to introduce graduate students to the field of critical whiteness studies and to use some of the resources of the field to examine constructions of whiteness in twentieth-century U.S. literary texts. The syllabus brings together sociohistorical studies, critical theory and literary texts that foreground racial whiteness as an object of commentary. These texts dispute dominant understandings of whiteness as an unmarked, unified and featureless category of identity and instead treat whiteness as a historically constructed, unstable and contested mode of social relation. The period under study opened with major struggles to define who counts as white and what whiteness means. With the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the 1896 Supreme Court ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson, policies of racial segregation and exclusion gained new support at the federal level, updating the terms and conditions of white racial privilege on which the nation had been founded. In the same period, an upsurge in Southern and Eastern European immigration prompted intense conflict over which European peoples were white, not white or “not-quite-white” and why. These historical events will provide us with an initial framework for understanding representations of whiteness and struggles over whiteness in U.S. literary texts of twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Further topics of discussion will include: white privilege and racial domination (whiteness at the intersection of race and the nation-state); white supremacy and the contemporary white power movement (mobilizing racial whiteness against the nation-state); whiteness and amnesia (whiteness at the intersection of race and history); white respectability and white trash (whiteness at the intersection of race and class); and whiteness and intimacy (whiteness at the intersection of race, sex, gender and the nation-state). I am still working on the list of literary texts. In addition to stories by Charles Chesnutt, Kate Chopin, Angelina Grimké, Jean Toomer, Sui Sin Far, Anzia Yezierska, and James Farrell, we will probably read: Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio (1919) or Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (1925); Hughes, The Ways of White Folks (1934); Himes, If He Hollers Let Him Go (1945); Momaday, House Made of Dawn (1968); Jamaica Kincaid, Lucy (1990); Lee, Aloft (2004); Ward, Sing, Unburied, Sing (2017); Laskar, The Atlas of Reds and Blues (2019).

ENG 799: MFA Essay Seminar
F 930-1215PM Spiotta HL421

Each student will write an essay of approximately five thousand words.  The essay will address a specific aspect of a major writer’s formal technique.