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Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences

Advanced Topic Seminars

english department

Advanced Topic Seminars provide our students with the opportunity for imaginative, intensive discussion and research on some of the most exciting subjects in the study of English today. While the content of these seminars varies--some take up topics in history and culture; some, the life and work of individual writers; some, interdisciplinary topics or contemporary theory-- each seminar trains students in critical thinking and independent research. Students interested in writing Honors theses are encouraged to take at least one ATS.  Limited to 15.


English Electives Offered Spring 2017:


ENGL4460 ATS: Global Crossroads in Eighteenth-Century Literature
Fulfills the pre-1900 requirement

Caribbean sugar, Indian spices, Chinese silk, and African gold, what was eighteenth-century "Britain" made of? The era's literature has a reputation for being obsessively nationalistic, even xenophobic. But given the influx of global goods into the country, what stories, discourses, and ideas might have come along with them? In this seminar, we will consider some international roots of the British literary tradition. The syllabus includes works by Aphra Behn, Daniel Defoe, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Samuel Johnson, and Olaudah Equiano. We will use criticism and supplementary materials from early modern Asia and Africa to situate these texts in global contexts.

Rebekah Mitsein

ENGL4632 Advanced Topics Seminar: Friendship, Love & Social Taboo

This course will explore why taboo-defying relationships—in particular, interracial friendships and romances, interfaith marriages, adultery, incest, and same-sex love—have been central to American literature and cultural history. Beginning with classic nineteenth-century works by writers such as James Fenimore Cooper, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Walt Whitman, and Mark Twain, the course will move on to a study of twentieth-century writers such as Israel Zangwill, W. E. B. Du Bois, Nella Larsen, William Faulkner, James Baldwin, and Alice Walker and of cultural texts such as West Side Story and Lone Star. Readings will include literary criticism, theory, and historical documents. 

Lori Harrison-Kahan



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