Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Graduate Courses, Spring 2005

English 509: Sociolinguistics and the Teaching of Writing
Professor Donald McCrary
Thursdays
6:10 pm to 8:00 pm

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 520: Nonfiction Writing Workshop
Professor Harriet Malinowitz
Wednesdays
4:10 pm to 6:00 pm

This course will focus on writing the personal essay. The first few weeks will be devoted to reading personal essays by established authors and analyzing their form, their style, the rhetorical strategies they employ, and their use of language. Then we will move on to a workshop format in which students' essays are read and discussed in detail. Each student will be expected to produce two developed 10-15 page personal essays (or one longer piece) by the end of the term. Readings will include works by Phillip Lopate, George Orwell, Mary McCarthy, James Baldwin, Vivian Gornick, Patricia Williams, Adrienne Rich, Virginia Woolf, Edward Said, Ellen Willis, Gayle Pemberton, Richard Rodriguez, and others.

English 523: Fiction Writing Workshop
Professor John High
Tuesdays
6:10 pm to 8:30 pm

During the semester we will explore improvisational techniques of writing in order to scrape beneath the veneer of fictional form and to more fully engage the texts that matter in our lives & stories. What is the illusion of form, and how do characters via our self-imaginings masquerade behind the screens of fiction? How do techniques of rupture & interruption expose a deeper awareness of craft & content? We will work with automatic writing, detective scripts, and fictional autobiographies, experimenting as well with exercises in which we play with fictional diaries and epistles. We will also explore writing in the form of short-shorts, found artifacts, and postcard stories. As the semester progresses we will dovetail into the illusion of film as text, writing mini-paper-movies for our "detective potboilers" and emerging characters. Each week will include group discussion concerning the intentions of our individual writing, in-class writing games and informal critiquing of our explorations with improvisational forms. Andrei Tarkovsky's " Sculpting In Time," John Berger's "Ways Of Seeing," and selected writings of Simone Weil will be among the course reading, and there will be home viewing of films to be announced. The goal of the course includes completing a portfolio of our work, and a revised text for a class anthology, group reading & party.

English525: Playwriting Workshop
Professor Dennis Moritz
Wednesdays
6:10 pm to 8:30 pm

Art originates in the subjective, a personal take. Each artist approaches art differently, making a voice or style, be it AR Gurney, Sam Shepherd, Ntosake Shange, or Susan Lori Parks. Miles Davis said, "It is the style, I only listen to the style." Through a series of exercises and readings we will work to catch our first impulses and intuitive responses as we write, craft and structure, and proceed from there. Since these are performance or theater works, we will emphasize words as spoken or acted. Writings will be experienced out loud and up on their feet. The course will emphasize process and expect product.

Dennis Moritz has written over thirty theater pieces that have received professional productions. Venues in New York City include the Joseph Papp Public Theater (New Works Project), BACA Downtown, the Nuyorican Poets CafĂ©, St. Marks Poetry Project and HERE Center for Contemporary Arts. Venues in Philadelphia include The Painted Bride Arts Center, Freedom Theater, MTI, Walnut Street Theater, Theatre Double and Theater Center Philadelphia. His play, "Just the Boys" was published by Scribners in Action: the Nuyorican Poets Theater Festival. His book Something to Hold On To (Nine Theater Pieces) was published by United Artists Books. Dennis was an artistic director and resident playwright of Theatre Double Repertory Company for seven years. His works have been supported by many granting agencies. He has been a long time member of the New Works Project at BACA Downtown and the Joseph Papp Public Theater. Dennis was a founding member of the Theatre Double Children's Repertory Company, writing many pieces performed by the ensemble.

English 571: The Eighteenth-Century English Novel
Professor Srividhya Swaminathan
Mondays
4:10 pm to 6:00 pm

Politics, satire, romance, and violence--the eighteenth century novel has it all. Authors experimented with literary form, taboo subjects, and character construction. The central question developed in this course will be: How did the novel emerge as the dominant literary form in eighteenth-century Britain? Beginning with Aphra Behn's controversial novella,Oroonoko, students will trace the various types of novels to gain popularity. This class will cover a bestseller list like no other! Authors include Aphra Behn, Daniel Defoe, Eliza Haywood, Samuel Richardson, Fanny Burney, Henry Fielding, and Jane Austen. This course will cover the movement from romance to epistolary to bildungsroman to gothic traditions. Research requirements for the course include a term paper, an in-class presentation, and an annotated bibliography. Students will also have the opportunity to exercise creative writing talents in developing and constructing assignments.

English 624: African American Short Fiction
Professor Louis Parascandola
Wednesdays
6:10 pm to 8:00 pm

This course will examine twentieth century masterpieces of African American short fiction. We will begin with Harlem Renaissance authors Zora Neale Hurston and Claude McKay, work through key figures including Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and Alice Walker, and end with up-and-coming talents like Z.Z. Packer. Author Randall Kenan (Let the Dead Bury Their Dead) will be visiting during one class period to read and discuss his work.

English 700: Practicum in Teaching Composition
Professor Xiao-Ming Li
Thursdays
4:10 pm to 6:00 pm
This class was cancelled and did not run.

Intended as a source of support and forum for discussion for novice writing instructors, this course will focus on practical approaches to everyday issues in the classroom. The primary texts for this course will be two textbooks and a collection of student papers, supplemented by articles written by so-called "experts." The class is to be organized around three major components in the teaching of writing: classroom discussions and exercises, writing assignments, and responding to students' writing. Each participant will assemble a portfolio that consists of a syllabus, two writing assignments, two classroom exercises, and one student profile. The portfolio is due at the end of the semester, but will be examined and swapped with your peers in the class throughout the semester.

English 707: Methods of Research and Criticism
Professor Sealy Gilles
Mondays
6:10 pm to 8:00 pm

This course has two goals: to introduce students to the pleasures and challenges of reading theoretically, and to train students in research methods appropriate for graduate level work. We will be concentrating on three critical approaches: gender theory, new historicism, and post-colonialism. Students will be asked to apply these theories to two primary texts, Aphra Behn's Oroonoko (1688) and James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), as well as poetry selections from across the literary spectrum. As we test abstract critical theories against these fascinating and problematic novels, each student will develop an individual research project, including a proposal, an annotated bibliography based on a theoretical point of view, and a research essay. As individual projects develop, students will receive coaching in library skills, research, documentation, and presentations.


Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Undergraduate Courses, Spring 2005

English 104 section 1: Creative Writing
Professor John High
Tuesdays & Thursdays
1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

This class is designed for anyone who has ever wanted to write creatively, yet who is not sure how to begin or how to move beyond where they are presently in their own writing. Topics include getting started, establishing a passionate discipline, making time, focusing on ideas and feelings and giving them shape through the language of fiction, poetry, and drama. The course will also zero in on backbone issues of style and technique ranging from those of characterization and plot, continuity, and vividness of imagery, clarity of diction, and use of phrasing and structure in the writing of our worlds--the various ways that elements of craft inherently dovetail with content. There will be weekly creative writing exercises and group discussions, as well as commentary on the writing process and how to make it come alive for you. The course offers relaxed, though thorough and individualized investigation of the participants' work in relation to craft, theme and content writing. What do we mean when we talk about issues of style, form, and voice(s)? What is fiction, what is metaphor, what is the magic of language, the ghost of echoes, which reflect your own vision of the world, your experience or part, your dreams or visions? What do we mean when we talk about the lyric, about experimentations, about taking chances in writing? We'll look at the work of Modern and contemporary writers ranging from Baldwin to Akhmatova to Borges to that of younger writers publishing today. Students will also read and respond to one another's exercises in an environment that offers encouragement and direction. Critiques will focus on motivating the student to tap the undefined territory of his or her own imagination in order to more fully cultivate and mature her or his own voice/s and styles. Writing which moves beyond the so-called boundaries between genres in a spirit of exploration will also be encouraged. The goal of the course includes completing a portfolio of your work, and a revised text for a class anthology, group reading, and party.

English 104 section 2: Creative Writing
Professor Barbara Henning
Wednesdays
6:00 pm to 8:30 pm

In this writing workshop, students will read, study, and write poetry and short stories. During the first half of each workshop, we will discuss examples of poems and stories. Then I will provide a specific assignment for the following workshop. The main text for the remaining class time will be student writing; we will workshop each poem and story, helping each other improve each others' drafts. The emphasis will be on form and structure, especially learning to be particular with writing, rather than general, including images and detail in both stories and poems. A midterm and final portfolio will include revised poems and stories, as well as a review of learning and a self-evaluation. There will be a packet of assignments and Xeroxed fiction. Recommended text: The Handbook of Poetic Forms.

English 129: British Literature II
(Re-) Writing Religion in Modern British Literature
Professor Bernard Schweizer
Mondays
6:00 pm to 8:30 pm

This course explores the ways in which works of modern British literature engage issues of religious belief, worship, and church doctrine. Each of the assigned texts, drawn from poetry, novel, drama, and essay, variously celebrates, questions, or subverts fundamental aspects of religion. For instance, Frankenstein dramatizes man's desire to create life, like God; Graham Greene puzzles over the meaning of divine grace, as it appears to be lavished on a corrupt Mexican priest; Murder in the Cathedral thematizes the justifications for (deliberate) martyrdom; Kingsley Amis presents a dystopian world in which the reformation never took place; and Philip Pullman's fiction turns all major tenets of Christianity, including divine providence, redemption, and original sin, upside down. This course does not endorse any particular religious or anti-religious outlook, nor does it require students to practice any religion at all. It merely presumes that while religion is of immense importance to many people and societies, the specific manifestations and meanings of spirituality, faith, and doctrine are complex, manifold, and often contested.

English 137: Shakespeare
Professor Joan Templeton
Thursdays
6:00 pm to 8:30 pm

This course will examine Shakespeare's plays both as texts and as theatrical performances. If possible, we will attend a Shakespeare production. Plays to be studied include Romeo and Juliet,The Merchant of VeniceHamletMacbethOthello, and King Lear. Students must have completed English 61, 62, or 63, 64 and the core seminar (or English 17) to register for the course.

English 150: Introduction to Caribbean Literature
Professor Rosamond King
Mondays & Wednesdays
1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

This course will survey the diverse tradition of Caribbean literature through texts from English, French, and Spanish-speaking countries (including Haiti, Cuba, and Trinidad & Tobago). We will examine major themes such as slavery, colonialism, racial diversity, and immigration, and we will discuss what, other than geographic location, unities Caribbean countries and the Caribbean literature.

English 159: Literature of the U.S. II
Professor Carol Allen
Mondays & Wednesdays
3:00 pm to 4:15 pm

This is a survey that covers American literature from the second half of the nineteenth century to the present. The course will provide general information about the major writers and texts that have contributed to the great, diverse tradition of American letters. We will chart our discoveries by peering through the lens of representation, asking such questions as who names and describes the newly unified, post-civil war America, how do turn-of-the-century and early twentieth-century creative artists revision America during an age of Western imperialism/expansion/colonialism, how does literature compete with the new technologies that produce representation as well (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 will concentrate on three vital prolific periods: nineteenth-century regional writing, Modernism (1912-1936), and contemporary, post-war production.

English 166: Fiction Writing
Professor Lewis Warsh
Tuesdays & Thursdays
4:30 pm to 5:45 pm

This workshop will focus on the way autobiography overlaps with fiction and how the past is fictionalized as a way of keeping it alive. The premise is that the source of most fiction is fading memories, whether we're aware of it or not. Though Jack Kerouac is the most obvious exponent of this method, we'll look at other writers of the last century (Marguerite Duras, Peter Handke, Lydia Davis, John Edgar Wideman, Georges Perec, Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, Laura Riding, Raymond Queneau, Jamaica Kincaid, James Ellroy, Maurice Blanchot) who struggle to cross the borders between fiction and life story. We'll concentrate on the conventions of fiction--plot, character, conflict--with an eye towards expanding on what's already been done. Our writing project will include working with secrets, memories, observations, opinions, overheard conversations--fragments of everything.

English 169: Nonwestern/Postcolonial Literature
Professor Maria McGarrity
Tuesdays & Thursdays
3:00 pm to 4:15 pm

This class was cancelled and did not run.

Post-colonialism as a critical impulse has had a profound impact on literary and cultural studies in recent years. This course will examine the theories and fictions that characterize post-colonialism by focusing on the encounter between the centralized colonial metropolis and its global peripheries in the twentieth century. The creative works in this course from the Caribbean include writers from African, Asian, and European traditions. This diversity of perspective allows for the examination of the post-colonial imagination from both the centers and margins of the empire. These works will allow us to frame our global theoretical inquiries by using the specificities of particular cultural experiences. We will attempt to determine what unites the islands of the Caribbean archipelago and what may connect or separate them from Latin America. We will explore foundational texts in the field and complicate the following topics: globalism and local culture; the psychology of colonialism; resistance/accommodation/complicity; indigeneity and constructions of the Other; and imagining nationalisms.

English 190: Senior Seminar
Professor Leah Dilworth
Mondays & Wednesdays
12:00 pm to 1:15 pm


This course will guide students through the process of writing a long research paper (20-25 pages) on topics 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. Students will also read and critique each other's work. Required reading will include essays on research methods and writing as well as "The Yellow Wallpaper," by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, with selected critical essays.