Tuesday, July 18, 2000

Undergraduate Courses, Fall 2000

English 101: Introduction to English Studies
Professor David Toise

In this course, (designed for English majors and minors), students will further develop their abilities to read and analyze literature, examine recent developments in the field of literary analysis, and learn the importance of these skills as the basis for future careers. We will work on becoming literate in the basics of English studies: reading and analyzing the structures of poetry, drama, and fiction, as well as developing our own writing and editing techniques. Our course will, in some sense, come together in our reading of Charles Dickens·s l861 novel Great Expectations. Dickens·s novel raises questions about what it means to read correctly, how language works, and how reading and interpretation play a role in our own sense of self. The questions Dickens raises about the connection between interpretation, reading, and identity will help us examine both traditional and more recent critical approaches in literary studies. Our readings of the novel, then, will be supplemented by essays covering a variety of approaches within contemporary literary criticism. Whether or not we desire, like the hero of Dickens·s novel, to become ·a gentleman,· we will also discuss our own career goals and, thus, through guest speakers and our own readings, examine the significance these interpretive skills hold for careers in such diverse fields as publishing, law, advertising, education, politics, social services, and entertainment.

English 103: Workshop in Advanced Writing
Professor Donald McCrary

In this advanced course in nonfiction writing, students will expand their facility with rhetoric by analyzing professional writing, including critical essays in diverse fields, magazine articles, book reviews, and sermons. Utilizing the rhetorical strategies and forms revealed through analysis of professional writings, students will write several formal essays. Writers to be studied may include Jane Tompkins, Ishmael Reed, Stanley Fish, Stanley Crouch, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Martin Duberman, and Patricia Williams.

English 104: Creative Writing
Professor Lewis Warsh

This course will be a writing workshop. Students will read, study, and write poetry and short fiction using a variety of forms and approaches. Students will discuss the works of published writers as well as provide feedback to the works of their classmates. Students will learn how to critique and revise their own work. A final portfolio of work will be required.

English 128: British Literature I
Professor Sealy Gilles

In this course, we will explore the first seven hundred years of literature written in the British Isles·from the monster tale of Beowulf to the tragedy of the African prince, Oroonoko. Major texts also include Chaucer·s Canterbury Tales, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and a Shakespeare play. These selections range in genre from epic to romance, from comedy to tragedy . In these texts, and in shorter lyric poetry of the period, we will focus on the role of the stranger·the exile, the outsider, and the alien·in early British culture. How is strangeness defined? What kinds of demands does the stranger make upon the culture? What is the culture·s response to an alien presence? Students are expected to complete a research essay on a topic related to one of the assigned texts. In addition, there will be one short essay and a final examination.

English 158: Literature of the United States I
Professor Amy Pratt

Even before land was sighted, the New World had captured the imagination of European men and women. This course will examine America as a literary phenomenon; that is, something that was created, in part, through the words written about it. We will explore the different and sometimes conflicting dreams and fantasies that men and women brought to America and trace what happened to them over two centuries. Through our examination of the metaphors associated with America and the kinds of literary forms used to tell stories about the New World, we will question how certain ways of making meaning influenced relationships between Europeans, African Americans and Native Americans, and whether they still shape our thinking about what America is, or should be, today.

English 170: Post-Colonial Literature
Professor Huma Ibrahim

In this course we will be reading what has been termed ·postcolonial literature.· This includes literature from Africa, Asia and diaspora. We will be reading authors such as Chinua Achebe, Ngugi wa Thiongo, Anita Desai, Arundhati Roy, Bessie Head and many others. What we will try to do in this class is look at this literature in the context of the socio-political milieu out of which it emerges. We will examine the texts and do some close readings. Since this is not a sociology but rather a literature class, we will do some of the things one does in literature classes such as discuss the plot, characters, images and the kind of writing we see in each work. We will also examine the western languages in which these works were written·and the complicated relationships of the writers to this language. For instance, do they do violence to the English language as it is used in England, or do they simply imitate it? Lastly, we will write essays on themes that engage the writers whom we are reading, such as the idea of nationalism, identity, gender and the postcolonial condition which is sometimes manifested in the immigrant experience. 

English 187: The Bible as Literature
Professor William Burgos

The Bible is an anthology of sacred literature·texts which attempt to define the relationship between the divine and the human. In this course we will study the various ways in which biblical authors use language and story-telling to evoke for their readers the experience of the sacred and to explore its role in human existence. Selections from Jewish and Christian Scripture will include: Genesis, Exodus, Samuel, Psalms, the Gospels and Revelation.

English 224: Caribbean Women Writers
Professor Carol Allen


An introduction to contemporary Caribbean Women writers, this course features texts that are written in or have been translated into English. Nationalism, regionalism and the role that women play in rapidly decolonizing countries are the major themes that we will explore over the semester. In particular, we will pay close attention to the fact that some of the texts are clear allegories for national independence, but others are more, combining both a figurative reading of the nation·as it comes into being·with the moment when the female subject also emerges. The semester will be divided into three units: reading the slave/colonial past, Caribbean bildungsroman and intersecting history, myth and space.

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