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Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences

American Literature

english department

English Electives Offered Fall 2017:

ENGL2141 American Literary History I (Fall:3.0)
Students need not take these courses in chronological order
Fulfills the pre-1900 requirement.

American Literary History 1 follows the development of American literary history from the landing of the Mayflower to the tumultuous decade of the 1850s, moving from such early writers as Bradstreet, Rowlandson and Taylor through such writers of the Revolution and Early Republic as Equiano, Franklin, and Rowson to such antebellum writers as Child, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Poe, Douglass, Whitman, and Melville. Course assignments include regular participation in class discussions, mid-semester and final examinations, and either one ten-page or two five-page essay(s). Students considering careers in secondary English education will be given the option of writing about approaches to teaching course texts.

Paul Lewis

ENGL2141 American Literary History I (Fall:3.0)

Students need not take these courses in chronological order. 
Fulfills the pre-1900 requirement.
American Literary History 1 follows the development of American literary history from the landing of the Mayflower to the tumultuous decade of the 1850s, moving from such early writers as Bradstreet, Rowlandson and Taylor through such writers of the Revolution and Early Republic as Equiano, Franklin, and Rowson to such antebellum writers as Child, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Poe, Douglass, Whitman, and Melville. Course assignments include regular participation in class discussions, mid-semester and final examinations, and either one ten-page or two five-page essay(s). Students considering careers in secondary English education will be given the option of writing about approaches to teaching course texts.
Paul Lewis

ENGL2142 American Literary History II (Fall:3.0)

Fulfills pre-1900 requirement.

The seventy-five years following the American Civil War defined the era when transformative changes in U.S. culture--the demise of the slave system and the rise of segregation; the emergence of corporate society and successive waves of immigration; new experimentation in the arts; new roles for women and new ideas imagined for reordering society--transformed the face of American writing. Through interdisciplinary lectures on historical and biographical background, and close discussions on authors such as Mark Twain, Theodore Dreiser, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Sui Sin Far, Stephen Crane and others, this course provides an introduction to the emergence of modern American writing.

Christopher Wilson

This course offers an introduction to the interdisciplinary study of American culture. It is not a survey of American cultural history; rather, we will concentrate on approaches, methods, and themes of interest as we assemble critical skills for making interpretive arguments about aspects of culture in their historical moment. The forms we analyze will include examples from literature, film, painting, music, theater, landscape, and architecture, among others. Members of the American Studies faculty will present guest lectures to highlight various aspects of the field.

Lori Harrison-Kahan

ENGL2470 Black and Popular: Speculative Fictions by Black Writers (Fall:3.0)

Cross Listed with: AADS2470
Satisfies core requirement for: Cultural Diversity. 

This course asks: what do discussions of contemporary social issues look like when depicted in popular literatures written by writers of African descent? What is the benefit of fictionalizing these issues in genre literatures? Students address these questions by examining the forms of "speculative fictions" (specifically thriller, science fiction/fantasy, and mystery/detective) as well as urban romance to determine how each represents concerns of 20th/21st century black peoples in the US, Canada, Jamaica, and Martinique. Our focus on these genres' explorations of race, class, culture, incest, social engineering, and intimate relationships is complemented by socio-historical studies of these issues and countries.

Rhonda Frederick

ENGL3383 Asian American Film (Fall:3.0)

Cross Listed with: FILM3388

This course satisfies the Cultural Diversity requirement.

Focuses on films made by and about Asian Americans, exploring them as an art form and a medium for exploring Asian American experiences and identities. Topics include racial and gender stereotypes, the rise of Asian American cinema as part of a social and political movement, the relationship between history and memory, and sexual identity. We will watch Hollywood films, independent films, documentaries, and shorts. Films may include: Joy Luck Club, Who Killed Vincent Chin?, Chan is Missing, and Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. Requires one film screening per week outside of class time and weekly reading.

Christina Klein

Fulfills the Pre-1900 requirement

Walk the streets of Old Boston in this course that explores familiar and forgotten chapters of literary history. Spend a night at the Federal Street Theatre during the 1790s. Search early Boston magazines for forgotten treasures. Meet the poet buried on Boston Common. Find out why Edgar Allan Poe called members of the Boston literati "Frog-Pondians." And watch the American Renaissance flower. Authors studied will include Judith Sargent Murray, Lydia Maria Child, Charles Sprague, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Poe—Bostonians all! Visits to literary sites and explorations of online archival materials will help transport us back in time.

Paul Lewis

Satisfies core requirement for: Cultural Diversity. 

Fulfills the pre-1900 requirement

This class will consider canonical 18th-century novels, plays, and visual and musical texts to explore how they have been revisited and revised in the 20th and 21st centuries. What themes seem most alive and relevant from the eighteenth-century novels and works? How have more recent authors responded to earlier themes and adapted them to serve a more modern context? What happens not only to well-known characters, but also to form, genre, and narrative technique when modern writers take up the earlier stories? What does it mean to read a literary work in its historical context? Out of its context? How do actual readers, embodied and embedded in a particular historical moment, relate to characters and their stories from long ago? How do we process and make sense of the very idea of the literary period? Texts include: Oroonoko; Robinson Crusoe, Foe, Castaway, The Martian; The Harlot’s Progress, Slammerkin; The Rake’s Progress; The Beggar’s, Three Penny Opera; and Mansfield Park.

Elizabeth Wallace

ENGL4010 Human Rights and American Women's Writing, 1850-1920
Satisfies core requirement for: Cultural Diversity. 
Fulfills pre-1900 requirement

This course examines how American women writers engaged questions of justice and human rights and played pivotal roles in social reform, ranging from movements for women’s and indigenous rights to abolitionism and labor activism. Texts include Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Rebecca Harding Davis’s Life in the Iron Mills, Maria Ruiz de Burton’s The Squatter and the Don, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland, along with shorter works by Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Margaret Fuller, Zitkala-Sa, Sui Sin Far, Ida B. Wells, Frances Harper, Miriam Michelson, and Sarah Winnemucca.

Lori Harrison-Kahan

The concept of apocalypse signifies both a thinking of “the end” and an uncovering, an unveiling, or revelation. Apocalypse, then, marks both the end and the beginning of… what? Focusing on modernist texts of the interwar period (1919-1939), this course explores the apocalyptic tone that permeates the philosophy, fiction, and poetry of the years following WWI and leading up to WWII. How does this tone shift from the post-war 1920s, to the pre-war 1930s? Writers may include Yeats, Eliot, Woolf, Benjamin, and Freud.

Where in the world is American Studies? That is the central question we will take up in this seminar, and we will attempt to answer it by exploring different accounts of Americans traveling and living abroad as sailors, exiles, soldiers, expatriates, and tourists. Through a selection of readings and films, we will consider the ways in which American identities and cultures from the nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries take shape and transform through different global encounters.

Adam Lewis

This course will engage with modern and contemporary examples of so-called "long form" journalistic narratives (essays, books, graphic and visual texts) that, by applying literary techniques to nonfiction, tell us a story about contemporary social life. Discussing matters of literary form and technique as well as journalistic norms, we will cover nonfiction texts that address both social conditions on the home front (inequality, Wall Street adventurism, street crime, police culture, Disneyfication) and international conflicts (including war and terrorism), generally involving the U.S. Writers covered will include figures such as Michael Lewis, Joan Didion, George Packer, William Finnegan, Dexter Filkins, Suki Kim, Isabel Wilkerson, Geraldine Brooks, Mike Davis, Naomi Klein, Tracy Kidder, Thomas Frank, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Tony Horwitz, and others.

Christopher Wilson

 

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