Sunday, December 15, 2002

Undergraduate Courses, Spring 2003

English 103
Workshop in Advanced Writing
Professor Deborah Mutnick  

This course gives students the opportunity to develop, share, and get feedback on their writing in a workshop format. The focus will be on the essay, a genre we will explore from a variety of angles: formal, informal, personal, academic, traditional, and experimental. Through juxtaposing one type of essay with another, students will expand their repertoire of strategies and practice the art of shaping writing for particular occasions, audiences, and purposes. We will study different approaches to nonfiction writing, such as the use of autobiography in critical writing and of literary techniques like dialogue and point of view to write about real places, people, and events. Students will benefit from a group of readers with different perspectives, close readings of their work, and constructive criticism.

Readings include essays by Virginia Woolf, James Baldwin, Richard Rodriguez, Vivian Gornick, Adrienne Rich, and Annie Dillard. Students will present their writings in weekly workshops at least three times during the semester. Writing requirements include a course journal, three short (4-6) page essays, and one longer (15-20 page) essay or the equivalent. 

English 104
Creative Writing
Professor Barbara Henning

In this writing workshop, students will read, study, and write poetry and short-short fiction, using various forms and approaches. A writer’s notebook will be an ongoing project from which students will gather material for their assignments. Part of each class period will be devoted to reading poems and stories by published authors. The rest of the class period will be a workshop where students learn how to critique their work. A final portfolio will include a review of learning and a self-evaluation, along with revised poems and stories. Books for class will include The Handbook of Poetic Forms, and a collection of short-short fiction.  

English 129
Writing the Empire in 18th-20th Century British Literature
Professor Louis Parascandola

This course will focus on literature exemplifying the development and expansion of the British Empire. Major texts include Aphra Behan’s Oroonoko, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, and E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India. We will also discuss shorter pieces by such authors as Swift, Blake, Coleridge, Tennyson, Arnold, Dickens, and Kipling. In addition, we will examine “colonization in reverse”: responses from people of color who have lived and written in England, including Olaudah Equiano, Louise Bennett, Grace Nichols, Salman Rushdie, Wole Soyinka, and V.S. Naipaul. 

English 159
American Literature Survey II

Professor Carol Allen

This survey covers American Literature from the second half of the 19th Century to the present. The course will provide information about the major writers and texts that have contributed to the great, diverse tradition of American Letters. We will chart our discoveries by looking through the lens of representation, asking such questions as:  Who gets to represent the newly unified post-Civil War America?  How do turn-of-the-century and early 20th century creative artists re-envision America during an age of Western imperialism/expansion/colonialism?  How does literature compete with new technologies that also produce representation (photography, film, television)? What is meant by and what are the politics of “American” modernism and post-modernism?  And, finally, How does literature both document and “undocument” American experience? We may read such writers as Charles Chesnutt, Sherwood Anderson, Jean Toomer, Nella Larsen, and Richard Wright among others.

English 170
Modern African Drama
Professor Huma Ibrahim 

In this course we will be reading Modern African Drama from various parts of Africa. We will be reading dramatists like Wole Soyinka, Ama Ata Aidoo and Fatima Dike among others. There might be a section on Soweto drama as well, depending on the availability. What we will try to do in this class is look at this drama 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 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 that we are reading, such as the idea of nationalism, identity, gender and the postcolonial condition, which is sometimes manifested in the immigrant experience as well.

English 180
Reading and Writing Autobiography
Professor Patrick Horrigan

This is a course in a popular form of life writing known as “autobiography,” the writing of one’s own life. By studying a diverse selection of autobiographical works ranging from early Christian “confessions” to slave narratives to contemporary video diaries, we will see how various writers and visual artists throughout history have tried to create images of themselves. Works will include Saint Augustine’s Confessions; Michel de Montaigne’s Essays; Olaudah Equiano’s narrative of his life as a slave; Walt Whitman’s journal, Specimen Days; Edmund Gosse’s Father and Son; Virginia Woolf’s “A Sketch of the Past”; James Baldwin’ s “notes of a Native Son”; Maxine Hong Kinston’s The Woman Warrior; Richard Rodriguez’s Hunger of Memory; Tom Joslin’s filmSilverlake Life; and Faith Ringgold’s series of quilts entitled Dancing at the Louvre. In addition to reading and writing about the works of published autobiographers, students will have the opportunity to create their own autobiographies. 

English 190
Senior Seminar
Professor Michael Bennett


This course will guide students through the process of writing a long research paper (20-25) pages on a topic of their own choosing. Students will use a range of research resources and write an informal proposal, a formal proposal, a first draft, and a final draft of the paper. During the first half of the course, we will read texts from a variety of genres, including poetry, prose, the novel, drama, and film. We will also read a variety of critical responses to these texts, cultural studies of one or two non-literary texts, and essays on the field of English studies. During the last half of the course, students will lead discussions of their own works-in-progress, read and critique each other’s work, and hand in a final seminar paper.

Required texts:

Bronte, Emily. Wuthering Heights. 2nd Ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s,
     2003. (0-312-25686-8)
Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. NY: W.W.
     Norton. (0-393-96966-5)  
Hacker, Diana. A Writer’s Reference. 4th Ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s,
     1999. (0-312-17161)
Sophocles. The Three Theban Plays: Antigone, Oedipus the King, Oedipus
     at
 Colonus. NY: Viking Penguin, l984.


Graduate Courses, Spring 2003

English 509
Sociolinguistics--The Teaching of Writing
Professor Donald McCrary

This course examines the social foundation of language and the linguistic foundation of social life. More specifically, the course explores how language and society intersect to construct and, in many ways, control both individual and group identity. The relationship between language and society has relevance to the teaching of writing in that both teachers and students possess socially constructed knowledge of language that undergirds their understanding of writing competence. The course explores how sociolinguistic constructions such as class, race, gender, academic discourse, and education might impact upon writing performance. The course analyzes sociolinguistic theory and practice, including the work of Pierre Bourdieu, Shirley Brice Heath, Lisa Delpit, David Bartholomae, Claude Steele, and Sandra Lipsitz Bem.

English 522
Academic Writing Workshop
Professor Deborah Mutnick

A new offering in the English Master's Program, this course is an intensive, advanced writing workshop for graduate students (across the disciplines) who wish to develop professional writing skills. Students will write critical essays in response to common course readings as well as professional articles from the disciplines. Conducted as a workshop, the course will be rooted in peer and teacher response to writing projects. Each week, two or three students will submit writing to be workshopped, using critical feedback from the class and the instructor to revise and edit their work. Students will be required to complete five 6-page essays or the equivalent, and will be invited to bring assignments into the workshop from their other classes. Required texts may include Writing in the Disciplines: A Reader for Writers, edited by Kennedy. Kennedy, and Smith, Writing Without Teachers, by Peter Elbow, and On Writing Well, by William Zinsser.

English 523
Fiction Writing Workshop
Professor Lewis Warsh

This workshop explores both the art and the craft of fiction writing. Frequent writing assignments and exercises will concentrate on the conventions of fiction—description, dialogue, and characterization—as well as more experimental possibilities such as fragmentation and shifting point of view. Focus will be on the ways autobiography overlaps with fiction and how the past is fictionalized as a way of keeping it alive. Among the models we will look at are stories and novels by Marguerite Duras, Don DeLillo, Lydia Davis, and James Ellroy. Much of the workshop time will be spent reading and discussing student work.

English 529
Topics in Creative Writing (Series of three one-credit courses)

Section One
Brainlingo: Writing The Voice Of the Body
1/23 to 2/20

Edwin Torres
As artists we create our own communication.  How we listen affects how we speak, and how we see our language affects how our voice is heard. Where the senses meet each other is where poetry can begin. This workshop will be an active creative laboratory that will explore how we communicate by exercising the languages inside us. Exercises will be balanced by critiques. This is an active writing workshop for open minds.

Edwin Torres’s introduction to poetry was through The Nuyorican Poets Café and The St. Marks Poetry Project, where he has worked as a workshop leader and curator. His CD Holy Kidcombines poetry with music, sounds and homemade tapes, and was included in the exhibition “The American Century Pt. II” at the Whitney Museum Of American Art. From l993-99, he was a member of the poetry collective, Real Live Poetry (formerly Nuyorican Poets Café Live) with whom he performed and conducted workshops across the United States and overseas. He’s the recipient of a one-year fellowship from The Foundation For Contemporary Performance Art, as well as The Nuyorican Poets Café Fresh Prize For Poetry. Finally, his media assault has transpired on MTV’s Spoken Word Unplugged and The Charlie Rose Show and in NewsweekRolling StoneNew York MagazineHigh Times, and others. In NYC, Torres has performed at many venues like the Nuyorican Poets Café, Dixon Place, The Guggenheim Museum, CBGB’s, Tonic, P.S. 122, WFMU Radio, Lincoln Center, and The Museum Of Modern Art. His books include I Hear Things People Haven’t Really Said, Fractured Humorous (Subpress), The All-Union Day Of The Shock Worker (Roof Books)and most recently, Please (CD-Rom from Faux Press). Edwin is currently co-editing POeP! an eJournal, and Cities Of Chance: An Anthology of New Poetry from The United States and Brazil, both from Rattapallax Press. His website is wwsw.brainlingo.com.

Section Two
Twins & Matching Sets
2/27 to 4/3
Barbara Coultas

In this class we will focus on writing works that have companions. By that I mean we will write poetry or prose that splinters off or inspires other projects. We will read work by writers from the early days of The Poetry Project as well as innovative work by younger writers who are following in the same linage. Reading texts include handouts from Bernadette Mayer, Ted Berrigan, Joe Brainard, Lydia Davis, Marcella Durand, Kristin Prevallet, John Yau, Dodie Bellamy, and others.

Brenda Coultas is originally from Southern Indiana. She’s lived in NYC since l995 and is the author of A Handmade Museum (Coffee House Press), A Summer Newsreel, Boyeye, and Early Films, a collection of prose and poetry. Her poems have been anthologized in Heights of the Marvelous from St. Martin’s Press and The (New) American Poets, published by Talisman. Her journal publications include works in, among others, Epoch, Conjunctions: State of the Art, Fence, The World, American Poetry Review, Indian Review. She has read at the Poetics Program at SUNY Buffalo, the Boston Poetry Conference, among many others. She has taught at The Poetry Project, Naropa University, and is presently on the faculty at Touro College in Manhattan. She co-edited The Poetry Project Newsletter (1997-98), and has received grants from the Fund for Poetry and the Ted Berrigan Award. Bradford Morrow describes her work as follows: “Equally at ease in the city and the country, Brenda Coultas is a spiritual archeologist of dumpsters and farm fields, an observer of the derelict and everyday folks. Her vivid voice is like no other I have encountered, and the originality of her work is matched by the genuine wisdom of its perceptions.”

Section Three
4/10 to 5/1
Erica Hunt

We will gallop through the gamut of 20th/21st century experimental poetics, pausing to gaze at some of the landmarks: jazz poetry, language poetries, process poetry, and the new sentence(s). The class will read selected contemporary writing by Jayne Cortez, Nathaniel Mackey, Ron Silliman, Lyn Hejinian, Harryette Mullen, Leslie Scalapino, and Charles Bernstein. Writing in the moment, writing in the extreme, at home and in class, the indispensable laboratory of praxis.

Erica Hunt is the author of Local History (Roof Books, l993) and Arcade (Kelsey St. Press, l996). Born in New York in l955, Hunt has worked as a poetry teacher, housing organizer, labor news writer, and radio producer. She currently works as a program officer for a social justice funder in New York City. Her poetry and essays on poetry’s connection to politics, race, gender, and history have appeared in small magazines and anthologies, including Poetry Society of America, TalismanAmerican Book ReviewBomb, and Iowa Poetry Review. She has read and lectured at Naropa, The New School for Social Research, St. Mark's Poetry Project, Mills College, Stanford, Brandeis, New College of San Francisco, etc. She is a theorist and the author of the famous essay, “Notes for an Oppositional Poetics,” which first appeared in the anthology The Politics of Poetic Form (ed. Charles Bernstein, l990). Harryette Mullen writes that “Erica Hunt’s Local History blows the public and the personal inside out, estranging familiar forms of writing, letter and diary, while snatching moments of intimacy and insight in disembodied prose that anatomizes artifacts of mass culture, such as screenplay and cartoon strip.” Recent publications include, “Roots of the Black Avant Garde,” “Reading for the Conference on Modernism” and “Poetry and Politics.”

English 635
Seminar in Ibsen
Professor Joan Templeton

The course examines the major prose plays of Henrik Ibsen, the inventor of modern drama. Ibsen’s dramas are the second most performed plays in the world after Shakespeare. We will read Ibsen’s twelve major prose plays from Pillars of Society to When the Dead Awaken, including A Doll House, Ghosts, An Enemy of the People, The Wild Duck, The Lady from the Sea, Hedda Gabler, The Master Builder, and John Gabriel Borkman. The plays will be studied as dramas to be performed on stage as well as literary texts. If a decent Ibsen production is available in New York City, we will attend it as a class. Students in the seminar will be permitted to attend the 10th International Ibsen Conference, hosted by The Ibsen Society of America and Long Island University, which will be held on campus from June 1-7; scholars and directors from around the world will participate.

Text: Ibsen: The Major Prose Plays, trans. Rolf Fjelde. New York: Penguin, l978. Paperback edition.

English 650
Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales
Professor Sealy Gilles

Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, is a ramshackle, indecorous, unfinished poem patched together out of various translations and adaptations. Its final form was probably unknowable even to its creator. Chaucer died in 1400, before he could finish the Tales, but he left us with a vibrant and extraordinary varied collection of stories—sermons, fabliaux, romances, tragedies, and fairy tales—told by travelers of wildly diverse social backgrounds, including a knight, a nun, a weaver, a miller, and a clergyman. We will read the tales both in Middle English (with a lot of help) and in translation. As we work on the stories and their tellers, we will also explore the chaotic and vibrant world of fourteenth-century England.

English 646
Individual & Small Group Writing Instruction
Professor Patricia Stephen

Advanced undergraduate students may enroll for this course with permission of the instructor. 

In this class, we will examine the theory and practice of individual and small group writing instruction, locating writing center work within its broader historical and institutional contexts. The course will begin with an overview of writing center history, theory, and pedagogy and will then examine some of the most common tutoring concerns:  structuring sessions and setting goals; assessing, diagnosing and responding to student writing; learning strategies to teach planning, drafting, revising, proofreading and editing; learning strategies to work on specific grammatical concerns; helping students with reading comprehension; working with ESL concerns; noticing interpersonal dynamics and maintaining boundaries; respecting and responding to cultural and ethnic differences; working as an online tutor, and facilitating small group sessions. Students interested in pursuing a specific topic not included in the general readings—such as writing center administration—may do so with permission from the instructor.

Possible texts: Landmark Essays on Writing Centers, Writing Center Research: Extending the Conversation, Noise from the Writing Center, Rhetorical Grammar, The Place of Grammar in Writing Instruction, The Practical Tutor, Taking Flight With OWLS: Examining Electronic Writing Center Work. 

Students who enroll in the course will be required to tutor for one hour per week during the semester at the Writing Center and to audio- and/or videotape one session with a student. The taped session will be transcribed and analyzed by the students for use in a self-study. Classes will be conducted as seminars/workshops so that all students have the opportunity to participate in class presentations, mock tutorials, etc. Each student will generate her/his own idea/s for a final written (and/or action) project, based on topics of interest during the semester.