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,; 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.

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