Undergraduate Courses, Spring 2001

English 103: Advanced Writing
Professor Patricia Stephens

In this course, we will explore the craft of non-fiction writing: essays, memoirs, diaries, biographies, auto-ethnography, investigative reporting, and much more. Some common texts will be assigned to the entire class, but students will also have the opportunity to focus their reading and writing projects in areas they wish to further develop. Since the course will operate as a reading and writing "workshop," writers will be expected to share works-in-progress with all members of the class. As we work together as readers and writers of texts, we will focus on how to engage in constructive criticism as we examine issues of style and form. The primary goal of this course is to provide a supportive atmosphere in which students can discuss and explore both published and unpublished non-fiction writing as they simultaneously begin to make conscious choices about their own preferred forms and styles. 

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 an evaluation of the student's learning along with revised poems and stories. Books for the class will include The Handbook of Poetic Forms and an anthology of short-short fiction. 

English 129: British Literature II
Professor Melissa Antinori

This course covers the period from 1800 to the present.  Students are introduced to various genres, although the emphasis is on narrative fiction, which flourished in this period.  Novels include Jane Austen’s Emma (supplemented by a viewing of the 1995 movie Clueless), Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone (the first detective novel and one of the most popular novels of its day), James Joyce’sDubliners, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, and one novel by a current writer, which will be selected by class vote.  In addition, we’ll read selections from Romantic, Victorian, Modern, and Postmodern poetry and at least one play, George Bernard Shaw’s Heartbreak House.  Through writing, reading, and discussion, students will be introduced to various critical and  theoretical approaches, including colonialism, feminism, and Marxism.

English 137: Shakespeare
Professor Joan Templeton

This course is an introduction to the poems and plays of the greatest writer in the English language, including the love sonnets, A Midsummer's Night Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Hamlet, Othello, and King Lear. Theatrical as well as thematic aspects of the plays will be stressed, and we will see videos, films, and go to a live performance. Non-English majors are very welcome to register for the course.

English 150: Latino-American Literature
Professor William Burgos

Americans of Latino descent form a substantial part of the United States population and have long contributed to the diverse culture of this country. In this course, we will be reading literary texts by Latino-Americans, analyzing the different ways they define Latino identity and their portrayals of contemporary Latino communities. The readings will reflect the cultural diversity of these communities (Puerto Rican, Dominican, Cuban, Mexican and Central and South American) and will include texts by Junot Diaz, Ana Lydia Vega, Loida Maritza Perez, Christina Garcia, Gloria Anzaldua, and Ernesto Quinonez.

English 159: Literature of the United States II
Professor Carol Allen

This course will take the form of a general overview of American literature from the Civil War to the present, divided into three major sections: late nineteenth century, Modernism/Harlem Renaissance, and contemporary American literature.  The primary theme of the course will be the struggle over representation. Authors studied may include: Chesnutt, Twain, Jewett, Hemingway, Anderson, Toomer, Larsen, Wright, Walker, Ginsberg, and Nabokov.

Graduate Courses, Spring 2001

English 520
Nonfiction Writing Workshop
Professor Deborah Mutnick

This course is a nonfiction writing workshop that gives students the opportunity to develop, share, and get feedback on their own writing in a workshop format. The focus this semester will be on the personal and informal essay, although students interested in pursuing other forms of nonfiction writing will be able to do so. The course is intended to provide writers with new approaches to nonfiction writing, such as the use of autobiography to anchor criticism 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.

At the beginning of the semester, we will read a variety of personal, informal, and autocritical writing. A tentative reading list includes essays by Michel de Montaigne, Virginia Woolf, George Orwell, James Baldwin, John Edgar Wideman, Sara Suleri, Richard Rodriguez, Adrienne Rich, Phillip Lopate, Vivian Gornick, Alice Walker, Peggy Phelan, Michael Dorris, and Barbara Kingsolver. The emphasis, however, will be on students' own writing, which will be discussed each week in workshops. Students will keep a course journal on the readings and their own writing process, and produce three short (4-6 page) essays and one longer (15-20 page) essay or the equivalent.

English 524: 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 the 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 579: Jane Austen Seminar
Professor David Toise

This course will focus on one of the most popular figures in the English literary canon, Jane Austen. Her audiences have taken pleasure in prose such as the opening sentence of Pride and Prejudice: "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of wife." As this sentence suggests, readers are attracted to Austen both for likeable heroines who make happy marriages and because of a strategic humor that asks us to question the seemingly conventional pleasures that her novels provide. The course will focus on Lady Susan, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Persuasion but may include some of Austen's other writings. In addition, we will screen film adaptations of Austen's works, from Clueless, an updated version ofEmma set in a Beverly Hills High School, to Persuasion, a faithful rendering of the original novel set in its original period. As we read, we will also examine our own responses and a diverse set of questions raised by Austen scholars addressing Austen's relation to: politics and colonialism; contemporary feminism; sexuality; irony and wit; social class and the role of money; and the history of the novel. 

English 620:  Theories of Teaching Writing/Rhetorical Theory
Professor David Tietge

Throughout the course of the twentieth century, rhetoric has undergone some sweeping and pioneering changes. Whereas the traditional view of rhetoric was based primarily on the writings of figures like Aristotle and Cicero, who both saw rhetoric as a technique for public persuasion and ethical discourse in the larger framework of the city-state---the "good man speaking well"---modern rhetorical theorists realized that rhetoric was far more encompassing as a descriptive apparatus in all spheres of human communication.  As a field of metadiscourse (language used to talk about language), modern rhetoric acknowledges that we are, in the words of Kenneth Burke, "symbol using and misusing animals," which raises this question: When are we, as communicative beings, using rhetoric? What assumptions, preconditions, and expectations does our rhetoric reflect? What are the connections between rhetoric, power, and influence? When is language a-rhetorical?  Can it be? These are questions we will explore in this course using rhetoricians like Kenneth Burke, I. A. Richards, and Claim Perelman, to name a few.

We will also explore how barriers between spoken and written forms of rhetoric have been largely broken down. Whereas rhetoric was once viewed as a function of verbal interchange, we now extend many of its lessons to the written word. We will be especially interested in studying and applying contemporary rhetorical theories to composition classrooms so that students might gain a deeper understanding of the richness and dangers of language in their own written expression.

English 634:  Modern Drama
Professor Joan Templeton

This course studies major playwrights of modern drama, including Ibsen, Strindberg, Brecht, Williams, and Beckett. Videos, performance and production of the texts will be emphasized as well as the texts themselves.

English 636: Postcolonial Literature & Theory
Professor Huma Ibrahim

This seminar on postcolonial literature and theory will be an examination of the crucial years of the changes that took place on the imperialistic map of Africa and Asia and the issues that related to this dynamic change.  These changes occurred because of nationalist movements that demanded the ouster of imperialist governments, mainly British and French, but also some Portuguese, Italian and Spanish. The people and the movements that represented them wanted autonomy and self-government in these geographical areas. In large part they were successful in this endeavor. However with the new sorts of world economics, Africa and Asia continued to be, as Walter Rodney would say, "underdeveloped."

The literature and theory we are going to read roughly covers the last fifty years of the last century. This course will deal with theories that postcolonial scholars have fostered and developed in order to understand the whole experience of colonialism and its aftermath as well as the literature that engages with those problems. We will read literature specifically from Africa, Western and Southern Africa in particular, as well as literature from Pakistan, India, and Sri Lanka and simultaneously look at the theory that engages with that literature as well as larger problems of the developing world. For the theory I will probably assign one of a few postcolonial readers in existence and the literature will cover the geographic areas already mentioned.      

English 650: Gender and Sexuality in Medieval Literature
Professor Sealy Gilles

This seminar explores the formation of masculine and feminine identities in the literature of the Middle Ages. The focus is on Western Europe and England, with brief forays into the Arabic tradition. All texts will be read in modern translations; the course is designed for the non-specialist. Medieval romances, folk tales, and love lyrics have shaped our ideas of what it is to be a man or a woman and our attitudes towards sexuality. The course examines those notions about who we are and how we relate to others as they are embodied in texts from the twelfth through the fourteenth centuries. We shall look closely at bonds between men (brotherhood, king and vassal, father and son) and between women (sisterhood, mother and daughter, the hag and the young woman), as well as at the nature of love and sexual passion. The cultural construction of male heroism and of the lady will be particular topics of concern, but we will also be reading texts in which men are the objects of desire and women the aggressors, as well as poems that express same-sex desire. Texts include Tristan and Isolde, the laisof Marie de France, Dante's Vita nuova, the Romance of the Rose (excerpts), Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (excerpts), and a wide selection of lyric poetry.

Undergraduate Courses, Summer (none) & 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.

Graduate Courses, Summer & Fall 2000


English 624:  The American Self
Professor Howard Silverstein

For this course in the reinvention of the self in American culture, we will explore, in selected fiction and film, the subject of the American who wants to rise above the drab circumstances and achieve an upwardly mobile, socially glamorous lifestyle.
The course will open with Willa Cather’s short story, “Paul’s Case” and proceed to Henry James The Ambassadors, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Patricia Highsmith’s thriller The Talented Mr. Ripley.  Following the same theme in film, the class will view Hitchcock’s classic “Vertigo”, the gender-bender “Tootsie”, the feminist “Working Girl”, and the adaptation of Dreiser’s An American Tragedy, “A Place in the Sun.”  Providing it is available on video, we will also examine the film version of The Talented Mr. Ripley.  Students will be responsible for an oral presentation and several short critical papers.

FALL 2000

English 524: Poetry Writing Workshop
Professor Barbara Henning

In this workshop, we will read modern and contemporary poetry, as well as statements and essays on poetics. We will examine and practice writing poetry using different forms and approaches. The weekly workshop is meant to be a place where you can present drafts of your work for helpful response. The course requirements include writing a poem for each workshop, making a presentation, and submitting a final folder with your revised work and an essay, reflecting on your process of writing.

English 579: Woman as Hero
Harriet Malinowitz

The concept of the “heroic” traditionally contains the assumption that the hero is male. Heroism is a public act, requiring agency in the public world, while the concept of the “heroine” is a diminutive one, in that the heroine exists only by virtue of her relationship to the hero. Unlike a “heroine,” a female “hero” (or, as Maya Angelou has put it, “shero”) is often unrecognizable within the conventions of patriarchal ideology upon which heroic idealism is based. This course will suggest alternative ways of reading classic texts and will also consider more contemporary texts as we attempt to identify and explore female heroism in myth, fiction, memoir, and film.  From the myth of Amor and Psyche to Thelma and Louise, we will examine archetypes of the woman hero who embarks on a journey (either literal or figurative), challenges the established order, and creates new possibilities of community, wholeness, and selfhood. An alternative to the conventional archetypes of angel in the house, witch, hag, harpy, bitch, and madwoman in the attic, the woman hero must challenge patriarchal authority and ideology and thus the terms within which her society makes sense of itself. We will begin by reading classic theories of the male heroic, including work by Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung, and Dorothy Norman, and theories of female identity, including work by Sigmund Freud, Erich Neumann, and Adrienne Rich. We will then go on to read fictional works and memoirs by writers such as Toni Morrison, Maxine Hong Kingston, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Rita Mae Brown, Agnes Smedley, and Audre Lorde, and to screen several films. As a class, we will attempt to figure out what the definition(s) of the female heroic may be.

English 624: West Indians in the Harlem Renaissance
Louis Parascandola

Anglophone Caribbean immigrants played a vital, if often neglected, role during the Harlem Renaissance, an important literary and cultural movement of the 1920s and early 1930s.  There were, in fact, over 36,000 foreign born Blacks, mostly West Indians, in Harlem in 1920.  These immigrants, despite often facing severe discrimination, had a significant effect on American culture and politics. We will discuss Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association, particularly paying attention to the “Back to Africa” movement and Garvey’s role as a facilitator of the Harlem Renaissance. In addition to the work of Garvey, we will examine the radical political writings of W. A. Domingo, Hubert H. Harrison, and Cyril Briggs. We will also read fiction and poetry by Claude McKay, one of the seminal figures in the Harlem Renaissance, short stories by Eric Walrond, poetry by George Margetson, fiction/essays by J. A.. Rogers and Amy Jacques Garvey, and drama by Eulalie Spence. Finally, we will consider the views of leading African Americans such as W. E. B.. DuBois, Zora Neale Hurston, and Langston Hughes on Garvey and the West Indian Community.

English 626: Twentieth Century American Literature
Professor Kenneth Bernard

This course is a discussion of some thematic aspects of American literature and American culture. It is continuous with the previous course, English 625.  We will examine specific texts by Hemingway, Steinbeck, Pynchon, Faulkner, Ismael Reed, West, Henry Miller, and Kerouac. There might be additions. The major theme developed is the contrast/conflict between the values of the “community” and the values of the “territory” and reflections of that contrast/conflict in our cultural and political life. It is helpful but not necessary to have taken English 625 and to have some familiarity with writers like Emerson and Hawthorne.

English 700: Practicum in the Teaching of Composition
Professor Thomas Kerr

This course is designed to introduce teachers to the theory and practice of writing instruction at various levels in a multi-cultural society.  Intended as both a source of support and a forum for discussion for new teachers/tutors as well as teachers with some experience in the classroom, the course will explore the dynamic and frequently problematic relationship between theory and practice in the teaching of writing. Reading assignments include treatments of various pedagogical approaches and the theoretical assumptions about language, culture, and writing that inform these approaches.  Writing assignments and other work for the course will allow teachers to respond directly to issues raised and problems posed in the reading. Assignments will also create opportunities for students to explore their own teaching/tutoring practices. Taken together, the reading, writing, and other work in this course should help us better understand what we are doing in today’s writing classrooms, how to do it, and why we think we are doing it. The principal aim of this course is to help students become rhetorically savvy, self-reflective teachers. Texts:  Scenarios for Teaching Writing: Contexts for Discussion and Reflective Practice by Anson, Grahm, et.al; In the Middle WayNew Understandings about Writing, Reading and Learning by Atwell; Evaluating Writing by Cooper and Odell; The Writing Teacher’s Sourcebook (4th edition) edited by Tate, Corbett, and Meyers; and a course reader that will excerpt work from other major figures in composition studies.

English 707:  Methods of Research and Criticism
Professor David Toise

This course will introduce graduate students to a range of critical approaches, literary texts, and research tools that they can make use of as both teachers and scholars. Within the field of British and American literature, I have chosen a small number of literary texts that, despite being few in number, will allow us to try out our ideas on works that represent different approaches, backgrounds, and genres. Writings by E. M. Forster, Harriet Jacobs, Emily Dickinson, and William Shakespeare will serve as our focus. We will want to look at each text in depth, and to this end, we’ll be dealing with a number of critical approaches (historical, feminist, psychoanalytic, deconstruction, post-colonial, genre theory, and queer studies). In addition, I hope to discuss how these literary texts have shaped approaches to literature more widely, examining how specific works may have served as touchstones for particular literary approaches. We’ll also be looking at theoretical texts that stand on their own and then discussing connections between the theory and literature we read.  We will engage theorists such as Jacques Derrida, Jacques Lacan, and Frantz Fanon, for example, and seek to understand their applicability to literary texts. Most of all, I hope that as a group we can raise the possibilities of what literary studies can doe, helping us to explore, develop, and articulate our position as individual readers.