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.