Spring Graduate Courses
ENGL6003 American Modernisms (Undergrad/Grad) - TH 2-4 25 - Prof Laura Tanner
This grad/undergrad seminar will explore strategies employed by American writers between the first and second world wars to construct the modern subject in a world threatened by literal and metaphorical violence. We will focus on issues including trauma, sexuality, domestic space, technology, popular culture, race, bodies and objects. Along the way we will explore: 13 ways of looking at a blackbird; how to build a coffin in 13 steps; how Chanel No. 5 relates to Wallace Stevens’s poems; the “dream dump” of Hollywood culture; the dark landscapes of modernism (gangsters, waste lands and whorehouses); racial homelessness and exile; the trauma of modern warfare (or, how to get blown up while eating cheese); pregnancy, childbirth and abortion; dirt and desire.
Possible literary texts include novels by Hemingway (A Farewell to Arms), Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby or Tender is the Night), Faulkner (As I Lay Dying and Sanctuary), Larsen (Quicksand), Hurston (Their Eyes Were Watching God) and West (The Day of the Locust), as well as poetry by Williams, Stevens, Eliot and others. A series of student presentations on cultural texts of other forms – films such as Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times and Tod Browning’s Freaks, photography by Walker Evans, paintings by Edward Hopper and Marcel Duchamp, Josephine Baker’s “Banana Dance” -- will supplement our analysis of the literary works we will study by providing a sense of the way that the cultural tensions of the early twentieth century are represented in non-literary genres. We will also read and analyze selected works of literary criticism, with the goal of engaging in fruitful critical dialogue with existing scholarship in the final seminar paper, the culminating assignment of the course.
The course will be run as a seminar in which all members of the class contribute not only by responding to questions but by raising issues that relate to their own interests and expertise. Like any successful seminar, this one will require intense commitment, ranging from attendance every week to careful reading of texts and contribution to in-class dialogue. Because of the collaborative nature of the class, its success will also depend on our ability to support one another with respect and in good humor. Each student will be responsible for a 15 minute in-class presentation on a cultural text and a related short essay, as well as a 7 - 8 page critical essay demonstrating close analysis skills and a final 15 - 20 page seminar paper. Undergraduates interested in the class should have completed most of their major requirements, should have an average grade of A- or above in English courses, and should welcome the challenge of reading literary criticism as well as literature, writing an article-length seminar paper, and engaging in rigorous weekly intellectual workouts. Passion, curiosity, humility, and a willingness to think outside the box are recommended prerequisites for participants at every level.
Faculty: Laura Tanner
ENGL6004 Environmental Humanities (Undergrad/Grad) T 2-4:25 Prof. Min Song
There has been growing scholarly interest within the humanities in thinking in a sustained and systematic way about the environment. This interest emerges from an active engagement with the present, when ecological concerns increasingly demand urgent attention, and with movements within the humanities itself for new accounts about our ability to know the physical world. This course charts the development of this interest and considers how it intersects with concerns that have been long-standing preoccupations for the humanities. Race in particular will remain an important feature of our discussions. Readings will include scholarly writings alongside important nonfictional and fictional works.
Faculty: Min Song
ENGL7002 Gaslight to Noir: Writing Crime and Corruption (Spring: 3.0)
This course centers on American discourses of crime and corruption, starting with the mid-nineteenth century and extending through the early 1940s. Along with contemporary literary and cultural criticism on crime and corruption, course readings will include classic American fiction (for instance, novels by the likes of W.D. Howells, Henry Adams, Julian Hawthorne, Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton, Mark Twain or F. Scott Fitzgerald); texts by historians (e.g. on prisons, railroads organized crime, and street crime); some social and political theory (on muckraking, corruption, on crime and policing); some journalism; and some noir fiction (e.g. by writers such as Jim Thompson, James M. Cain, Raymond Chandler). One short (4-5) essay evaluating a critical article; an ungraded in-class PowerPoint presentation; and a 10-12 page conference paper due at the end of the semester.
Faculty: Christopher Wilson
ENGL7003 Game of Thrones: Medieval English Political Poetry (Spring: 3.0)
Before House Stark and House Lannister came the House of York and the House of Lancaster. The fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries in England witnessed a series of social and political upheavals, from the Black Death to the Wars of the Roses and the Reformation. English political poetry responds to and intervenes in these events. Political writing influenced the decisions of kings, shaped public perception of national politics, and landed people in prison (or worse). This course makes a survey of the genre, 1350-1650, with special focus on William Langland's Piers Plowman. We will read canonical authors such as Chaucer and Langland alongside little-known texts from print and manuscript archives. Topics will include periodization, multilingualism, the relationship between literature and politics, and the histories of poetic forms. No prior knowledge of Middle English required.
Faculty: Eric Weiskott
ENGL7004 Literary and Cultural Theory (Spring: 3.0)
Fulfills the Theory Requirement
This course introduces students to the concepts and practices of contemporary cultural and literary theory. Surveying various developments of the field during the last four decades, we will study: Marxist, psychoanalytic, feminist, new historical, structuralist, poststucturalist, and postcolonial approaches to literature and culture. Though our primary focus will be theoretical essays and books, students will also have the opportunity to apply the theories to literary and cultural texts. Possible theorists include: Marx, Althusser, Freud, Lacan, Lévi-Strauss, Derrida, Foucault, Chakrabarty, and Taussig. The course requires a series of short essays.
Faculty: Elizabeth Wallace
ENGL7007 The Abbey Theatre (Spring: 3.0)
Dublin’s Abbey Theatre has, since the days of Yeats, been the premier showcase for new plays in Irish. Using a wide range of plays, this course will look at the history and development of the Abbey from its origins at the turn of the twentieth century to the present, with particular emphasis on the some of the controversies that have accompanied its productions, and on the theatre’s continuing relevance in the cultural life of Ireland.
Faculty: Philip O'Leary
ENGL7008 Postwar Hollywood: Film Analysis (Spring: 3.0)
This seminar focuses on Hollywood cinema of the 1940s-1960s. The first part of the course offers an introduction to the formal analysis of film, in which students develop the skills of close reading cinematic texts. The second part focuses on cultural historical readings of individual films (The Manchurian Candidate), directors (Orson Welles), genres (melodrama), and styles (film noir).
Faculty: Tina Klein
ENGL7701 English Language Training for Graduate Level Students: Focus on Writing (Spring: 0.0)
Department permission is required.
Designed for those whose first language is not English, this course offers students practice writing in a range of academic modes including reflection, summary, analysis, and critique. Early in the semester, students will explore the composition process from brainstorming to drafting to revision to editing. Grammar is taught in the context of student writing. Several classes will be devoted to e-mail, reference letter, and proposal writing. Non-credit, offered free of charge by GSAS to its students during the spring. Department permission required. Students who enroll in the course are expected to attend all classes and complete short writing assignments weekly.
Faculty: Lynne Anderson
ENGL7724 Sociability and the Social in Victorian Culture (Spring: 3.0)
This course investigates how the literature and culture of Victorian Britain imagined different modes of sociability, and new models of subjectivity and connection, during a period of rapid social transformation. Topics may include the emergence of market society, the place of affect, and social discourses such as family and friendship.We will read a selection of Victorian social novels, along with poetry and nonfiction prose. Students will write short response papers and one longer paper.
Faculty: Aeron Hunt
ENGL7749 Poetics (Spring: 3.0)
This course traces the development of poetics from the mid-twentieth century to recent attempts at revival. We'll read Aristotle's Poetics as a "pre-text," followed by key essays in Russian and Prague school poetics, responses by the Bakhtin group, and examples of the transition from Slavic to French structuralist poetics. We then review the poststructuralist critique of structuralist poetics before considering the return of poetics in cognitive poetics and the New Formalism. Although the readings could be described as "theory," most of them are concerned with questions of literary methodology, often illustrating their claims in relation to specific poetic texts.
Faculty: Alan Richardson
SLAV5163 Seminar: Nabokov (Fall: 3.0)
Cross Listed with: ENGL7775
All readings are in English.
Instructor's permission required for undergraduates
The bilingual and bicultural achievement of Vladimir Nabokov. A polemical examination of Nabokov's writings, with particular attention to connections among his aesthetics, ethics, and metaphysics and to issues of gender, sexuality, authorship, and exile.
Readings include selected Russian and English novels and short stories, as well as poetic, autobiographic, and discursive works.
Faculty: Maxim D. Shrayer
FREN7780 Readings in Theory (Spring: 3.0)
Cross Listed with: PHIL7780, ENGL7780
Conducted in English
Open to undergraduates with permission of instructor only
Fulfills a Ph.D. requirement in Romance Languages and Literatures
This course is organized as an introduction to the reading of literary theory for graduate students in various disciplines. Its aim is to develop an awareness of and sensitivity to the specific means and consequences of interpreting literary and extra-literary language today. The course allows students to acquire a basic familiarity with some of the most formative linguistic, philosophical, and anthropological antecedents underpinning any attempt to understand and account for the special status reserved for rhetorical language in literature or beyond it. Readings from Saussure, Lvi-Strauss, Jakobson, Barthes, Lacan, Ricoeur, Geertz, Austin, Derrida, and de Man, among others.
Faculty: Kevin Newmark
ENGL8001 The Global 18th Century (Spring: 3.0)
Eighteenth-century British literature has a reputation for being obsessively nationalistic, defining a British Self against all foreign Others, but the eighteenth century was also a time of contact and exchange among all corners of the globe. In this class, we will examine how British writers engaged questions of globalism and transnationalism during an era when the cultural understand of both “Britain” and “the world” were changing. The secondary material for this class will come from a variety of critical perspectives, including postcolonial and global theory, ecocriticsm, geocritcism, and posthumanism/new materialism. We will discuss the different theoretical and political stakes these approaches bring to how we conceptualize the global.
Faculty: Rebekah Mitsein
ENGL8802 Joyce's Ulysses (Spring: 3.0)
This course will be dedicated to an extended exploration of James Joyce's Ulysses, a novel that has often been called the most important literary work of the twentieth century. Most of our time will be devoted to an intensive reading of the novel itself, but we will also read selected critical and historical materials. No prior knowledge of Joyce's works is required, just a willingness to tackle the challenges offered by his most influential masterpiece.
Faculty: Marjorie Howes
ENGL8825 Composition Theory and the Teaching of Writing (Spring: 3.0)
Department Permission required
This course is designed to prepare graduate students to teach first-year college writing courses; to introduce students to central issues, problems and theories in composition studies; and to examine ways in which contemporary critical theories (including feminism, psychoanalysis, cultural studies, and critical pedagogy) have influenced the teaching and study of composition. Requirements will include a theoretically-informed analysis of a student essay; a piece of creative nonfiction and an accompanying description of the process used to produce it; an annotated syllabus for a first-year college course; and a week of student teaching in a First Year Writing classroom.
Faculty: Paula Mathieu
ENGL9002 PhD Seminar: Transnational Literary Studies (Spring: 3.0)
In this seminar we will consider recent theories and methods that have productively complicated national paradigms that often define the field of literary studies. Taking a selection of nineteenth-century American novels as case studies, we will read major works in transatlantic and Afro-diasporic studies, border and hemispheric studies, and world-systems analysis, among others. Throughout, we will examine how national cultures and national literatures take shape and transform within larger networks of global interaction and exchange.
Faculty: Adam Lewis