Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Undergraduate English Courses -- Fall 2014

Wake up! Wake up! Rise and shine! It's time to start registering for Fall 2014! 

These course descriptions are provided by the professors teaching the courses. 


For more information, write to them directly. Get English Department faculty contact info here.


ENG 126 News Writing

Professor Jennifer Rauch (Journalism)
Section 1 (Course ID# 5114)
Tuesdays and Thursdays 1:30-2:55 PM
Section 2 (Course ID# 5621)
Wednesdays 6-8:50 PM

This course will satisfy a Writing & Rhetoric elective requirement in the Writing & Rhetoric concentration. It can satisfy a general English elective requirement in the Literature concentration. It can satisfy the Writing & Rhetoric requirement in either the Literature concentration or the Creative Writing concentration. It can also be applied toward the English minor. Please note that this course is cross-listed with JOU 119. Students who wish this course to count toward the English major (or minor) should be sure to register for ENG 126 — not JOU 119. Contact the Journalism Department for information about the content of this course.

ENG 128 Early British Literatures

Monsters, Shape-shifters, and Outsiders (Course ID# 5316)
Professor Sealy Gilles
Wednesdays 6-8:30 PM


This course is required in the Literature concentration.  It can satisfy a Literature requirement in either the Creative Writing concentration or the Writing & Rhetoric concentration. It can also be applied toward the English minor.
Welcome to the strange and wonderful world of pre-modern England! In 1000 C.E. England was Europe’s far west frontier, an unsettled island of competing fiefdoms and migratory peoples. By 1600 London was the western world’s largest city and Queen Elizabeth I ruled over a colonial power soon to become the British Empire. The early literature of this island nation reflects the multiple identities of the English people, but it is also troubled by an often violent history and by the specter of strange beings, both benign and monstrous. This semester our cast of aliens stars Grendel, the swamp dwelling humanoid, a werewolf, and a giant Green Knight. Outsiders in human form include Chaucer’s gender-bending Pardoner and Shakespeare’s Moor. As we explore the alien in works ranging from Beowulf to Shakespeare’s Othello, you will be asked to write frequently, participate actively, and read closely. You may expect that I will respect your ideas and respond quickly and fairly to your work.

ENG 150 Studies in Ethnic Literature 

Contemporary African American Literature (Course ID# 6126)
Professor Carol Allen
Thursdays 6-8:30 PM

CANCELLED.

This course will satisfy the Literature requirement in either the Creative Writing concentration or the Writing & Rhetoric concentration. It can satisfy a general English elective requirement in the Literature concentration. It can also be applied toward the English minor. Any student may take ENG 140, 150, 170 or 180 a second time for credit.
This course is designed for literary critics and creative writers and will give equal weight to innovations in form and the major topical preoccupations that have influenced contemporary African American writers. Focusing on texts written since 1975, we will trace the latest aesthetic and thematic trends in the field. Covering the novel, poetry, drama, essays, and semiautobiographical/memoirs, we will interpret works by artists who have made an appreciable impact on the African American Literary Tradition. Skills to be strengthened include: close reading, writing with revision, research, public speaking, analysis, and using texts to spark your own creative output. Selections from possible authors such as August Wilson, Lynn Nottage, Amiri Baraka, Adrienne Kennedy, John Edgar Wideman, Toni Morrison, Colson Whitehead, Patricia Williams, Patricia Smith and Michael Harper.


ENG 158 Early Literatures of the U. S. (Course ID# 4211)
Professor Leah Dilworth
Mondays & Wednesdays 4:30-5:45 PM



This course is required in the Literature concentration.  It can satisfy a Literature requirement in either the Creative Writing concentration or the Writing & Rhetoric concentration. It can also be applied toward the English minor.
In this course, we will explore American literature from the colonial period to the Civil War through the theme of freedom and oppression. Freedom from oppression has been at the heart of American cultural and political identity since at least the 17th Century, even though the colonial and early national economies relied, to varying degrees, on slave labor. This contradiction fueled the Protestant literature of the New England colonies, Revolutionary political discourse, the movement for women’s rights, and the movement to abolish slavery. We will explore how American writers and artists negotiated these contradictions as they formed new, distinctive American voices. Readings will include works by William Bradford, Mary Rowlandson, Handsome Lake, Thomas Jefferson, Phillis Wheatley, Samson Occom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, David Walker, Frederick Douglass, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Herman Melville, Edgar Allan Poe, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Rebecca Harding Davis, and Walt Whitman.


ENG 164 Explorations in Creative Writing

A Writers' Studio: From Haiku to Hip Hop—& Real NYC Stories (Course ID# 5174)
Professor John High

Tuesdays & Thursdays 3-4:15 PM


This course is required in the Creative Writing concentration.  It can satisfy a general English elective requirement in the Literature concentration. It can satisfy the Creative Writing requirement in either the Literature concentration or the Writing & Rhetoric concentration. It can also be applied toward the English minor. Any student may take this course a second time for credit.

  • Do you ever write songs, lyrics, or stories?
  • Do you remember the fables and poems you wrote as a child? 
  • Do you secretly write in a journal or diary, write rap or hip hop, but have never shown 
  • anyone? Are you interested in haiku poetry?
  • Have you ever written a poem, but wanted to find a deeper way into your meditative voice?

This course is for anyone who has ever wanted to express themselves creatively or wants to develop their imaginative voice. We’ll play with writing techniques that will help us grow our own writing in NYC. So what is the relationship between traditions, between haiku and hip hop, for instance—between innovation, and a writer’s unique story or poetic, history, background and culture? What is your story? If our own voices grow out of the past and from traditions firmly rooted in the power of language, in this class our goal will be to open ourselves to an expressive framework that ranges from the meditative and contemplative to the contemporary tempo of artistic sounds and music emerging from the streets of the city. How is perfection (or beauty) only mastered in its imperfection? How does the chaos of your autobiography find structure in the harmony of its own imbalance? How has the poetry of haiku, and the experimental and communal collaborations of Haikai and Hokku so profoundly impacted the narrative & poetic music of drummers, singers, and poets around the world? 

In this course your writing will concentrate on daily life. As with hip hop & rap and the street stories arising out of New York, forms in creative writing have manifested to allow us to more freely explore and articulate the turmoil and exuberance of our uniquely personal & urban American speak. And American speak is the merging of languages from people around the world, of all backgrounds, nationalities and ages. Together we reinvent what is American speak everyday, and each voice, your own voice, is part of that. We’ll play with sensory impressions, musical beats, words as film, and experiment with writing in the present tense, free to express the whole gambit of human emotion and experience, whatever that is—from haiku to hip hop and what falls between the cracks.


The course will include workshops, film, performance, spoken word, artwork, and informal talks and will conclude with a chapbook and manifesto of your own work for the semester.



ENG 165 Poetry Workshop

How to Get There (Course ID# 4253)
Professor Lewis Warsh
Mondays 6-8:30 PM

This course will satisfy a Creative Writing elective requirement in the Creative Writing concentration.  It can satisfy a general English elective requirement in the Literature concentration. It can satisfy the Creative Writing requirement in either the Literature concentration or the Writing & Rhetoric concentration. It can also be applied toward the English minor. English majors concentrating in Creative Writing may take this course a second time for credit.


Our ideas about poetry are often instilled in us at a very young age—and often those ideas are based on a narrow concept, as if poetry were just one thing written in one way. Our goal in this course is to expand the definition of poetry—to see what’s possible, both as writers and readers. We’ll do this by exploring the traditions of poetry and the various forms of poetry (among them the sestina and the villanelle) and by paying close attention to the way that poetry changes through time and how much great poetry is a reflection of the age in which it was written. We’ll also discuss the act of writing poetry as one of risk-taking and investigation, and how nothing ever changes unless you experiment or try something new. Is all great writing, for instance, experimental writing? In what way is writing poetry similar to scientific discovery or invention? We’ll discuss, at length, what “experiment” means in relation to poetry. Most important, we’ll try to trace the relationship between poetry and daily life.

Among the poets we’ll look at closely are Ted Berrigan, Langston Hughes, Bernadette Mayer, William Carlos Williams, Charles Reznikoff, Anne Waldman, Diane di Prima, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Creeley, Amiri Baraka, Wang Ping, Jack Spicer, Gary Snyder, Alice Notley, Eileen Myles, Frank O’Hara, and Allen Ginsberg.



English 169 Non-Western or Post-Colonial Literature
Contemporary African Literature and Film (Course ID# 5175)

Professor Jonathan Haynes
Mondays 3-5:30 PM

CANCELLED.

This course is required in the Literature concentration.  It can satisfy a Literature requirement in either the Creative Writing concentration or the Writing & Rhetoric concentration. It can also be applied toward the English minor.
This course explores contemporary Africa through the eyes of some of its most talented writers and filmmakers. They see a continent that is rapidly urbanizing and exposed to globalization, but where deep cultural traditions continue to assert themselves and a vibrant popular culture compliments the perspectives of internationally-recognized artists like the writers Helon Habila and Binyavanga Wainaina or the filmmakers Jean-Pierre Bekolo and Abderrahmane Sissako.

The emergence of women’s voices, such as those of the novelists Yvonne Vera and Chimamanda Adichie, has fundamentally reoriented Africa’s self-representation. The problems of poverty, corruption, violence, and disease still loom large, but so do the humor and resilience that keep Africa alive. The last decade has been a period of enormous economic growth in many parts of Africa, with a corresponding explosion of cultural vitality as a new generation seizes on new media—music videos, low-budget movies, sculptures made from recycled materials—as well as transforming older literary and cinematic forms to express the Africa of the 21st century.



ENG 171 Introduction to Classical Rhetoric
Classical Rhetoric, Contemporary Times (Course ID# 6125)

Professor Patricia Stephens
Mondays & Wednesdays 3-4:15


This course is required in the Writing & Rhetoric concentration.  It can satisfy a general English elective requirement in the Literature concentration. It can satisfy the Writing & Rhetoric requirement in either the Literature concentration or the Creative Writing concentration. It can also be applied toward the English minor.
"Whoever does not study rhetoric will be a victim of it."

Rhetoric permeates our lives; indeed, we are all rhetoricians. In this course, we will study the works of select ancient rhetoricians – primarily Greek and Roman – in order to learn more about (1) how we already use language in our lives, and (2) how to use language more effectively. We will begin by examining our own and others’ definitions of rhetoric, noting how and why these definitions have changed over time. In the first half of the semester, we will ground ourselves in key thinkers, figures and rhetorical concepts prevalent among the ancients. In the second half of the semester, we will draw on our knowledge of ancient rhetorics to analyze and trace its uses in contemporary texts (books, speeches, legal cases, media, TV and film, websites, music, art). Throughout the course, students will learn to identify and analyze the effective uses of key rhetorical concepts in a range of documents (both written and visual) and to use these and other rhetorical elements in their own written texts.



ENG 175 Writing for the Professions (Course ID# 6128)
Professor John Killoran

Thursdays 6-8:30 PM
CANCELLED.

This course will satisfy a Writing & Rhetoric elective requirement in the Writing & Rhetoric concentration. It can satisfy a general English elective requirement in the Literature concentration. It can satisfy the Writing & Rhetoric requirement in either the Literature concentration or the Creative Writing concentration. It can also be applied toward the English minor. English majors concentrating in Writing & Rhetoric may take this course a second time for credit.

When you are given your first writing project on the job, will you know what to do? This course is an elective for students across the disciplines as well as in English who are looking ahead to prepare themselves to write for their careers in business, law, the health professions, science, technology, education, and the arts.

Students will learn to orient their writing toward different audiences, such as managers, customers, clients, and professional colleagues. Students will also learn to write in ways that result in action. By the end of the semester, students will have written their resume and other career-related documents, and will be more confident in their abilities to write effectively.


ENG 180 Genre Studies
Young Adult Fiction (Course ID# 6127)

Professor Srividhya Swaminathan
Tuesdays & Thursdays 4:30-5:45 PM



This course will satisfy the Literature requirement in either the Creative Writing concentration or the Writing & Rhetoric concentration. It can satisfy a general English elective requirement in the Literature concentration. It can also be applied toward the English minor. Any student may take ENG 140, 150, 170 or 180 a second time for credit.
The Hunger Games almost has Harry Potter beat for highest movie sales. The release of Divergent in March looks to be headed for the same blockbuster sales. This enormous popularity is proof of the appeal of Young Adult fiction to broader audiences. Whether you're a fan of Twilight or Vampire Academy, the YA genre looks like it's here to stay. This class will examine the creation of Young Adult fiction as a category starting with S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders. We will read about eight novels that take up themes and ideas that have special appeal for young adults, such as issues like sexuality, family dynamics, drugs, alcohol, vampires, and the end of the world! This class will consider the category of Young Adult and investigate what makes this genre so popular. Assignments will include a movie review, a class presentation, and a research paper.

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