Undergraduate Courses, Spring 2006


English 101.001: Introduction to English Studies
Professor Srividhya Swaminathan
Mondays
6:00 to 8:30 pm

What, exactly, is an English major? What can you do with a degree in English? This course will introduce students to the three concentrations in the English major—Literary Studies, Creative Writing, Writing and Rhetoric. We will perform close readings of literary texts to understand better the underlying meaning of the work. A brief introduction to the field of literary criticism will allow students to practice analyzing texts using literary theory. The study of creative writing provides an opportunity to exercise creative talents and workshop a piece of writing with the entire class. Finally, the study of writing and rhetoric will enable students to trace the types of persuasion used in an argument and to craft a more persuasive argument in their own work. The class will end with a seminar on the career opportunities available to students who pursue a degree in English.

English 104: Creative Writing (section 1)
Professor John High
Mondays & Wednesdays
1:30 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 he or she is presently in his or her 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; to clarity of diction and the 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. What do we mean when we talk about issues of style, form and voice(s)? What is fiction, a poem—what is a metaphor, what is the magic of language, the ghost of echoes, which reflects your own vision of the world, your experience or past, your dreams or visions? What do we mean when we talk about taking chances in writing? We'll look at the work of Modern and contemporary writers ranging from James Baldwin to Anna Akhmatova to Jorge Luis Borges to that of younger writers publishing today. 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 voices(s) and styles. The goal of the course includes completing a portfolio and/or anthology of our work.

English 104: Creative Writing (section 2)
Professor Lewis Warsh
Tuesdays
6:00 to 8:30 pm

THIS SECTION WAS CANCELLED.

The goal of this workshop is to expand our ideas of "what is a poem" and "what is a work of fiction." Are poetry and fiction exclusive or related genres? Weekly assignments will question the preconceived notions of form, content, and gender, with emphasis on the best ways to transcribe thought processes and experiences into writing. Work by Marguerite Duras, Ted Berrigan, Frank O'Hara, William Carlos Williams, Lydia Davis, Lyn Heijinian, Elizabeth Bishop, and Andre Breton and others will be discussed in class, and used as models; but much of the workshop time will be spent reading and discussing our own writing. A final portfolio of work will be required.

English 129: British Literature II
Professor Bernard Schweizer
Tuesdays & Thursdays
1:30 to 2:45 pm

Realism-Modernism-Postmodernism: Through the lens of outstanding achievements by men and women writers of Britain, this class will explore the formal, aesthetic, thematic, and ideological implications of three dominant literary movements from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. We begin with two novels of the realist period: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and Silas Marnerby George Eliot. Next we will explore masterpieces of modernism, beginning with poetry by W.B. Yeats, T.S. Eliot, and H.D., before approaching the fiction of D.H. Lawrence, Rebecca West, and Virginia Woolf. Finally, the course will move into the postmodern era with Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea, a re-working of Jane Eyre; followed by No Man's Land, a play by Harold Pinter. We will finish with Higher Ground by the Caribbean diaspora writer Caryl Phillips. Besides studying the intrinsic differences in form and content between realist, modernist, and postmodernist literary discourses, we will keep an eye on such recurring themes as romance and gender politics, social class conflict, colonialism, and national identity.

English 150: Contemporary Latino/a Lit. & Culture
Professor Joselyn Almeida-Beveridge
Tuesdays & Thursdays
3:00 to 4:15 pm

THIS SECTION WAS CANCELLED.


In this course we will examine contemporary Latino/a writers, films, and popular culture to explore the representation of Latino/a life in the United States. Through class discussion, electronic forums, and written work we will analyze the themes that have emerged in this body of writing and film: identity, language, cultural hybridity, and the redefinition of what it means to be American.

Requirements: two 5-7 page papers, a midterm, short response papers, and student presentations.

Texts: Alverez, Julia. How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents (l991); Cisneros, Sandra. The House on Mango Street (l991); Gomez-Pena, Guillermo. Dangerous Border Crossers: The Artist Talks Back (2000); Hijuelos, Oscar. The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love (l990); Rodriguez, Richard. Days of Obligation: An Argument with My Mexican Father (l992); Santiago, Esmeralda. When I Was Puerto Rican (l994); and Latino Boom: An Anthology of U.S. Latino Literature (2006).

Films: Pinero (2001); The Mambo Kings (l992); Tortilla Soup (2001); and Zoot Suit (1981).

English 159: Literature of the U.S. II
Professor Carol Allen
Thursdays
6:00 to 8:30 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 re-envision America during an age of Western imperialism/expansion/colonialism; how does literature compete with the new technologies that produce representation as well (photography, film, and television); and what is meant by and what are the politics of "American" modernism and post-modernism? Reading representative texts from several periods, we will concentrate on three vital and prolific eras: late nineteenth-century regional writing; Modernism (l912-1936); and contemporary, post-war production.

English 166: Fiction Writing
Professor John High
Mondays & Wednesdays
3:00 to 4:15 pm

This workshop will focus on the way autobiography and dreams overlap with story writing and how the past is fictionalized as a way of giving it a voice. The premise is that the source of most fiction is based on memories and dreams. We'll look at writers of the last century as well as contemporary writers of today (Jean Toomer, Marguerite Duras, Jorge Luis Borges, Michael Ondaatje, Lydia Davis, John Berger, Rosemary Waldrop, Ernest Hemingway, Zora Neale Hurston, Virginia Woolf, James Baldwin, Jamaica Kincaid, and Sherman Alexie, among others) who often blur the borders between fiction, dream, and life story. We'll concentrate on the various traditions of narrative, including plot, character, and conflict—with an eye towards expanding on what's already been done. 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 of writing. Our writing project will include working with dreams, secrets, memories, observations, opinions, overheard conversations, and random fragments of language. The goal of the course includes completing a portfolio and/or anthology of our work.

English 168: Creative Non-fiction Workshop
Professor Hettie Jones
Wednesdays
6:00 to 8:30 pm

The personal essay has a long history but a short list of conditions: informality, intimacy, honesty, and autobiographical content. How do we go about completing this list? How do we convince the reader of the truth of our tales? How do we confront our own experiences creatively? What does it mean to write creative nonfiction?

In this writing workshop, the student is guided through the classic questions of form and style, the building materials of the personal essay, through reading and writing assignments. Craft is emphasized, revision expected, but we will also focus on our sources: What do people write about? How do they expose themselves and still keep their privacy? Is it a contradiction to call nonfiction "art"? What techniques are applicable to all creative writing?

Readings for the class will be wide-ranging historically as well as culturally, but with a focus on the contemporary essay in English. Writing assignments will cover various forms (such as memoir and diary) and themes such as friendship and solitude. Students should be prepared to read aloud and discuss their own work and that of others.

Hettie Jones is a visiting writer. She is a poet and prose writer, author of How I Became Hettie Jones, a memoir of the "beat scene" of the fifties and sixties. It is a story of her life together with then-as-yet-to-be published LeRoi Jones (now Amiri Baraka). They were one of the few visible interracial couples at that time. They had two children, co-edited Yugen, an influencial literary magazine, and were at the "hot center" of the downtown bohemian New York literary, jazz, and art worlds.

Jones has published short prose in journals such as The Village VoiceGlobal City Review, andPloughshares. She has also written numerous books for children and young adults, including an ALA Notable, The Trees Stand Shining. She is the author of a poetry collection, Drive, which won the Poetry Society of America's l999 Norma Farber First Book Award. Her second poetry collection, All Told, was published in 2003.

She has numerous other publications and has done readings in various venues from cafes to colleges. She is a longtime editor for many publishing houses, and has taught writing at local and national colleges such as NYU, The New School, Penn State University, and the University of Wyoming. Jones is the former Chair of the PEN Prison Writing Committee, and from l989-2002, ran a writing workshop at the NY State Correctional Facility for Women in Bedford Hills, from which she published a nationally distributed collection, Aliens at the Border. From l994-l996 she was a member of the Literature Panel of the NY State Council on the Arts, and she is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Cave Canem, an organization in support of young African American poets.

English 169: Postcolonial or Global Literature: the Caribbean
Professor Maria McGarrity
Mondays & Wednesdays
4:30 to 5:45 pm

This class will offer a basic grounding in the literatures and cultures of the Caribbean, including a focus on such nations as Haiti, Cuba, St. Lucia, Monsterrat, and Guyana. We will study the work of Nobel Prize-winning St. Lucian, Derek Walcott, as well as such writers as Wilson Harris, Edwidge Danticat, Alejo Carpentier, and EA Markham. Our reading of short stories, poetry, longer fiction, and film will take us through the 20th century struggle for decolonization as we examine issues of gender, class, race, and colonialism. One short paper and two exams (one as a take home).

English 172: Introduction to Contemporary Rhetorical Theory
Professor Mary Hallet
Mondays & Wednesdays
4:30 to 5:45 pm

THIS SECTION WAS CANCELLED, but because this is a required class for our new Writing & Rhetoric concentration, Professor Hallet is working on an individual basis with those students who were registered prior to the course's being cancelled.

This course will not only introduce students to the major debates and conversations among contemporary rhetorical theorists but will also locate issues raised by these theorists within their historical, political, and cultural contexts. We will discover how the rhetorical theories of the last forty years or so, just as the theories of the ancient (classical) rhetoricians, were not simply born out of spaces of isolated intellectual activity, but rather arose as responses to new and rapidly evolving forms of written, oral, and visual communications. In doing so, we will also explore the interdisciplinary nature of contemporary rhetorical theories—how they simultaneously draw from and feed into other disciplines, such as linguistics, psychology, and philosophy. It will not be possible, of course, to cover every theory in the broad field of contemporary rhetoric, but students should leave the course with an overall picture of the major issues and figures in the field. Through journal entries, a short midterm paper, and a longer final project, students will have the opportunity to apply the theories they learn to their own analyses of rhetoric. Readings may focus on, among others, the new rhetorics of Kenneth Burke and Chaim Perelman, deconstruction, feminist theory and criticism, and the rhetorics of inquiry.

English 190: Senior Seminar in Literature
Professor Seymour Kleinberg
Tuesdays
6:00 to 8:30 pm

In this capstone course, English majors concentrating in literature pursue independent research projects in the history of literary studies or critical analysis. Each student develops a substantial research paper and presents it to the seminar.

English 191: Senior Seminar in Creative Writing (conducted as tutorial)
Time to be arranged with instructor

THIS SECTION WAS CANCELLED.

English 192: Senior Seminar in Rhetorical Writing (conducted as tutorial)
Time to be arranged with instructor

THIS SECTION WAS CANCELLED.


English 235: Arts of Portraiture
Professor Patrick Horrigan
Tuesdays & Thursdays
4:30 to 5:45 pm

THIS SECTION WAS CANCELLED.

Portraiture is one of the world's most popular art forms. Museums display hundreds of paintings, sculptures, and photographs of people, whether singly or in groups. Places of worship are decorated with images of gods, saints, and prophets. We are surrounded by portraits in our daily lives: the faces of people stare out at us from newspapers and magazines; movies and TV shows contain countless "close-ups"; coins and paper currency are stamped with the faces of presidents and politicians; our own faces adorn ID cards, passports, and driver's licenses; snapshots fill our wallets and photo albums; and pictures of family and friends cover our desks at work and the walls of our living rooms. The ancient Egyptians buried people along with their portraits; even today some people affix portraits to the tomb stones of their loved ones.

And portraiture is not just a visual art. Writers, too, make portraits and self-portraits with words. Every character in a novel, play, or work of non-fiction; every subject of biography or autobiography; every person whose beautiful face has ever been described by a poet—all of these, potentially, are portraits. An obituary is a portrait.

What exactly is a portrait, and how does it speak to us?

The purpose of this course is to study both verbal and visual portraiture through class discussion, slide presentations, field trips to museums, and the writing of essays. Topics for discussion will include photographic vs. painted portraits; portraits in literature; autobiography and self-portraiture; Latin American portraiture; portraits of non-humans; and Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa," the world's best-known portrait.

Texts and films for discussion may include: Johann Kaspar Lavatar, excerpts from Essays on Physiognomy; Edgar Allan Poe, "The Oval Portrait;" Henry James, "The Real Thing;" Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray; Gertrude Stein, "Cezanne," "Matisse," and "Picasso;" E.M. Forster, excerpts from Aspects of the Novel; Ingmar Bergman (director), Persona; Susan Sontag, excerpts from On Photography; bell hooks, excerpts from Black Looks: Race and Representation; Michael Apted (director), scenes from the 7 Up series; and Howard Raines (editor), Portraits: 9/11/01.



Graduate Courses, Spring 2006

English 520: Non-Fiction Writing Workshop
Professor Patricia Stephens
Wednesdays
4:10 to 6:00 pm

This course is designed for writers who want to study and practice a range of non-fiction writing, including, but not limited to: memoir, personal essay, travel-writing, nature-writing, writing about place, and photo journalism. Students will spend the first 4-5 weeks reading essays by established authors and analyzing form, style, persona, rhetorical strategies, and uses of language and visual texts. As we immerse ourselves in the various genres of creative non-fiction, students will be asked to focus their energies on one or two specific genres and to produce one long (20-30 page) or two shorter (10-15 page) texts by the end of the semester. The second half of the semester will be conducted as a writing workshop in which students will share works-in-progress and receive constructive critique from all members of the class and the professor.

English 523.001: Fiction Writing Workshop
Professor Lewis Warsh

Thursdays
6:10 to 8:30 pm


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, characterization—as well as more experimental possibilities such as fragmentation and shifting point of view. Focus will be on the ways autobiography overlaps 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, W. E. Sebald, and Raymond Chandler. Much of the workshop time will be spent reading and discussing student work.

English 579.001: The Essay and the Public Intellectual
Professor Harriet Malinowitz
Mondays
4:10 to 6:00 pm

This course will examine the genre of the essay by focusing on those practitioners of the form whose work has not been exclusively, or even primarily, addressed to audiences within academe. Philosophers, literary and cultural critics, political journalists, social commentators, artists, teachers, clergy, dissidents, and humorists—as well as "experts" (housed in disciplines and professional fields) who choose to engage a world of "non-experts" on matters of common concern—are among those who have applied sharp and wide-ranging analysis to problems of public culture and contemporary life, often using the medium of the popular or alternative press. Taking up issues of politics, citizenship, democracy, ethics, religion, science, health, race, gender, sexuality, class, globalization, and other areas of social policy and opinion, they have been galvanized by the notion that independent, thoughtfully articulated ideas matter, and need to be heard by a populace often narcotized by the myth of national consensus.

The first two thirds of the course will be devoted to identifying the "public intellectual" (who/what/where/when/why is s/he?) and to reading numerous essays by writers who may be said to lay claim to the title. The last four weeks of the course will consist of a writing workshop. Each student will be required to complete an original essay (20-30 pages) on a topic of public interest and submit it for publication to a non-academic venue at the end of the term.

The first three weeks of readings will cover the following topics:

(1) PERSPECTIVES ON THE MEANINGS, ROLES, PROBLEMS AND
POTENTIALS OF THE PUBLIC INTELLECTUAL (to include writers such
as Russell Jacoby, Richard Posner, Edward Herman, Robert Boynton, Michael
Berube, bell hooks, Katha Pollitt, Ellen Willis, Audre Lorde, Noam Chomsky)

(2) THE GENRE OF THE ESSAY; THE PARTISAN REVIEW WRITERS
(from the thirties through the fifties—e.g., Lionel Trilling, Hannah Arendt, Mary
McCarthy, James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, Irving Howe, George Orwell, Susan
Sontag)

(3) CONTEMPORARY BLACK PUBLIC INTELLECTUALS IN THE U.S.
(e.g., Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Cornel West, Patricia Williams, Michael Eric Dyson,
Toni Morrison, Houston Baker, Michele Wallace, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Derrick
Bell, Nell Irvin Painter, Manning Marable, Adolph Reed, Shelby Steele, Stanley
Crouch)

The readings for the next six weeks will be collectively selected by the class from among
the following:

•Francophones/Existentialists (Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Franz Fanon)

•American second wave feminists (Angela Davis, Gloria Steinem, bell hooks, Barbara
Ehrenreich, Deirdre English, Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, Michele Wallace)

•Earlier 20th century black public intellectuals (e.g., W.E.B. DuBois, Alain Locke,
Zora Neale Hurston, Stokely Carmichael, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., June
Jordan)

•The essay collection, edited by Toni Morrison, Race-ing Justice, En-gendering
Power: Essays on Anita Hill, Clarence Thomas, and the Construction of Social Reality.
(Includes essays by Morrison, A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., Manning Marable, Gayle
Pemberton, Nell Irvin Painter, Nellie McKay, Wahneema Lubiano, Patricia Williams,
Cornel West, Kimberle Crenshaw, and Paula Giddings, among others.)

•Lesbian and gay activist/intellectuals who have brought biological, historical,
semiotic, political, and cross-disciplinary perspectives to their critiques of sexual
and gender normativity (John D’Emilio, CherrĂ­e Moraga, Anne Fausto-Sterling, Simon
Watney, Cindy Patton, The Combahee River Collective, Douglas Crimp, Barbara Smith)

•Art (Harold Rosenberg, Jacques Barzun, Lionel Trilling, Susan Sontag, Jamake
Highwater, Herbert Marcuse, Peter Berger, W.E.B. DuBois, Karen Finley, Leah Dilworth)

•Religion (Albert Einstein, Elaine Pagels, Stephen L. Carter, Karen Armstrong)

•Health/Science (Michael Berube, Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English, Rachel
Carson, Eric Schlosser, Atul Gawande)

•Post-9/11 critics of U.S. political, military, and economic foreign policy (Noam
Chomsky, Edward Said, Vandana Shiva, Arundhati Roy, Tariq Ali, Benjamin Barber,
Barbara Kingsolver, Robert Fisk, John Pilger)

•Contemporary magazine and newspaper columnists (Katha Pollitt, Ellen Willis,
Patricia Williams, Maureen Dowd, Bob Herbert, Frank Rich)

•Other analysts of race, class, and ethnic experience in the United States (Eric Liu,
Gloria AnzaldĂșa, David Brooks, Paula Gunn Allen, Jonathan Rosen, Ward Churchill, Richard Rodriguez, Edward Said).

English 620: Theory of Teaching Writing
Professor Xiao-Ming Li
Tuesdays
6:10 to 8:00 pm

Although an "emerging field" (North), Composition Studies traces its ancestry to the classic rhetoric that was formed in ancient democracies, where the study of rhetoric was equivalent to the study of citizenship. Ever since its birth in the 60s in the form of freshman writing in American universities, the precocious child has undergone several metamorphoses already: historicist, current traditionalist, cognitivist, expressionist, social-constructionist, empiricist, feminist, Marxist, cultural critic, and discourse analyst, among others.

Since to cover them all in one semester is next to impossible, the course intends to offer an overview of both the classic rhetoric and new theories in teaching writing. Two books comprise the core reading of the course: Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students by Sharon Crowley and Debra Hawhee, and Cross-talk in Comp Theory: A Reader edited by Victor Villanueva, Jr. A collection of articles selected from various journals and monographs will add a more practical dimension to the course.

Participants in this course will keep a reading journal and conduct a library research project on a chosen theory. The research will be reported in a term paper of at least 10 pages and presented to the class.

English 624: African American Literature and Theory
Professor Carol Allen
Tuesdays
4:10 to 6:00 pm

This course charts the contours of the African American literary tradition and the discourse of literary criticism and theory that surrounds it. Each primary text will be paired with one or more critical or theoretical works so that by the time you have finished the semester, you will have acquired a keen sense of what constitutes this body of literary work as a separate but interpenetrating tradition and how the major critics have catalogued, contextualized, critiqued, and further molded the terrain. Expect to read texts by Frederick Douglass, Jean Toomer, Houston Baker, Hortense Spillers, Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, Henry Louis Gates, Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes, and other powerful writers.

English 626: 20th Century American Literature
Professor Leah Dilworth
Wednesdays
6:10 pm to 8:00 pm

In this course we will explore some of the main trends of American literature of the last century through the lens of place. Growing out of the regionalism and local color writing of the 19th century and in the wake of modernism, the South and the West emerge as the primary American regions of the 20th century: the New South, where, according to Faulkner, the past isn't even past; and the West of the open road and lifestyle frontier. How are these landscapes imagined? What do they signify? How do questions of racial and ethnic identity play out in these regions of the American psyche? Readings will include poetry, short stories, and novels, by, among others, Nathanael West, William Faulkner, Flannery O'Conner, Toni Morrison, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Sherman Alexie.

English 700: Practicum in Teaching Composition
Professor Donald McCrary
Thursdays
4:10 to 6:00 pm

The course will examine the theoretical and practical implications of teaching and tutoring writing. Although the emphasis will be on college writing instruction, most of the theories and practices we discuss will be relevant to secondary education teaching. The course will examine important teaching issues such as constructing course syllabi, integrating reading and writing assignments, promoting process writing, responding to student papers, addressing the linguistic needs and abilities of a multicultural student population, and managing student behavior in the classroom. In each class, time will be allotted to discuss the immediate teaching issues of the class members.

English 707: Methods in Research and Criticism
Professor Maria McGarrity
Mondays
6:10 to 8:00 pm

This course is designed to prepare graduate students for advanced level work in the MA program. While we attend to refining our analytical methods in textual research and analysis, in an effort to center our discussion around a cohesive topic for the term, we will focus more particularly on the reshaping of British Modernism. We will examine its transformation throughout the twentieth century from a field that examines "white Englishness" to a field that has transformed itself into a reflection of Britain's Global Cultures. For example, we will discuss not simply the import of Virginia Woolf and the Hogarth Press but will also examine the import of the Hogarth Press' 1933 publishing of CLR James' The Case for West Indian Self-Government. We will explore the foundational texts of literary analysis shaped around this topic and pay particular attention to the theories of Feminism, New Historicism and Postcolonialism. Students will offer an oral presentation, compile an annotated bibliography, and prepare a large research project that relates both to the focus of the seminar and to their particular field/tracks within the MA program.


English 708: Thesis
Time to be arranged individually.