Undergraduate Courses, Spring 2003

English 103
Workshop in Advanced Writing
Professor Deborah Mutnick  

This course gives students the opportunity to develop, share, and get feedback on their writing in a workshop format. The focus will be on the essay, a genre we will explore from a variety of angles: formal, informal, personal, academic, traditional, and experimental. Through juxtaposing one type of essay with another, students will expand their repertoire of strategies and practice the art of shaping writing for particular occasions, audiences, and purposes. We will study different approaches to nonfiction writing, such as the use of autobiography in critical writing 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.

Readings include essays by Virginia Woolf, James Baldwin, Richard Rodriguez, Vivian Gornick, Adrienne Rich, and Annie Dillard. Students will present their writings in weekly workshops at least three times during the semester. Writing requirements include a course journal, three short (4-6) page essays, and one longer (15-20 page) essay or the equivalent. 

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 a review of learning and a self-evaluation, along with revised poems and stories. Books for class will include The Handbook of Poetic Forms, and a collection of short-short fiction.  

English 129
Writing the Empire in 18th-20th Century British Literature
Professor Louis Parascandola

This course will focus on literature exemplifying the development and expansion of the British Empire. Major texts include Aphra Behan’s Oroonoko, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, and E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India. We will also discuss shorter pieces by such authors as Swift, Blake, Coleridge, Tennyson, Arnold, Dickens, and Kipling. In addition, we will examine “colonization in reverse”: responses from people of color who have lived and written in England, including Olaudah Equiano, Louise Bennett, Grace Nichols, Salman Rushdie, Wole Soyinka, and V.S. Naipaul. 

English 159
American Literature Survey II

Professor Carol Allen

This survey covers American Literature from the second half of the 19th Century to the present. The course will provide information about the major writers and texts that have contributed to the great, diverse tradition of American Letters. We will chart our discoveries by looking through the lens of representation, asking such questions as:  Who gets to represent the newly unified post-Civil War America?  How do turn-of-the-century and early 20th century creative artists re-envision America during an age of Western imperialism/expansion/colonialism?  How does literature compete with new technologies that also produce representation (photography, film, television)? What is meant by and what are the politics of “American” modernism and post-modernism?  And, finally, How does literature both document and “undocument” American experience? We may read such writers as Charles Chesnutt, Sherwood Anderson, Jean Toomer, Nella Larsen, and Richard Wright among others.

English 170
Modern African Drama
Professor Huma Ibrahim 

In this course we will be reading Modern African Drama from various parts of Africa. We will be reading dramatists like Wole Soyinka, Ama Ata Aidoo and Fatima Dike among others. There might be a section on Soweto drama as well, depending on the availability. What we will try to do in this class is look at this drama 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 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 that we are reading, such as the idea of nationalism, identity, gender and the postcolonial condition, which is sometimes manifested in the immigrant experience as well.

English 180
Reading and Writing Autobiography
Professor Patrick Horrigan

This is a course in a popular form of life writing known as “autobiography,” the writing of one’s own life. By studying a diverse selection of autobiographical works ranging from early Christian “confessions” to slave narratives to contemporary video diaries, we will see how various writers and visual artists throughout history have tried to create images of themselves. Works will include Saint Augustine’s Confessions; Michel de Montaigne’s Essays; Olaudah Equiano’s narrative of his life as a slave; Walt Whitman’s journal, Specimen Days; Edmund Gosse’s Father and Son; Virginia Woolf’s “A Sketch of the Past”; James Baldwin’ s “notes of a Native Son”; Maxine Hong Kinston’s The Woman Warrior; Richard Rodriguez’s Hunger of Memory; Tom Joslin’s filmSilverlake Life; and Faith Ringgold’s series of quilts entitled Dancing at the Louvre. In addition to reading and writing about the works of published autobiographers, students will have the opportunity to create their own autobiographies. 

English 190
Senior Seminar
Professor Michael Bennett

This course will guide students through the process of writing a long research paper (20-25) pages on a topic of their own choosing. Students will use a range of research resources and write an informal proposal, a formal proposal, a first draft, and a final draft of the paper. During the first half of the course, we will read texts from a variety of genres, including poetry, prose, the novel, drama, and film. We will also read a variety of critical responses to these texts, cultural studies of one or two non-literary texts, and essays on the field of English studies. During the last half of the course, students will lead discussions of their own works-in-progress, read and critique each other’s work, and hand in a final seminar paper.

Required texts:

Bronte, Emily. Wuthering Heights. 2nd Ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s,
     2003. (0-312-25686-8)
Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. NY: W.W.
     Norton. (0-393-96966-5)  
Hacker, Diana. A Writer’s Reference. 4th Ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s,
     1999. (0-312-17161)
Sophocles. The Three Theban Plays: Antigone, Oedipus the King, Oedipus
 Colonus. NY: Viking Penguin, l984.

Graduate Courses, Spring 2003

English 509
Sociolinguistics--The Teaching of Writing
Professor Donald McCrary

This course examines the social foundation of language and the linguistic foundation of social life. More specifically, the course explores how language and society intersect to construct and, in many ways, control both individual and group identity. The relationship between language and society has relevance to the teaching of writing in that both teachers and students possess socially constructed knowledge of language that undergirds their understanding of writing competence. The course explores how sociolinguistic constructions such as class, race, gender, academic discourse, and education might impact upon writing performance. The course analyzes sociolinguistic theory and practice, including the work of Pierre Bourdieu, Shirley Brice Heath, Lisa Delpit, David Bartholomae, Claude Steele, and Sandra Lipsitz Bem.

English 522
Academic Writing Workshop
Professor Deborah Mutnick

A new offering in the English Master's Program, this course is an intensive, advanced writing workshop for graduate students (across the disciplines) who wish to develop professional writing skills. Students will write critical essays in response to common course readings as well as professional articles from the disciplines. Conducted as a workshop, the course will be rooted in peer and teacher response to writing projects. Each week, two or three students will submit writing to be workshopped, using critical feedback from the class and the instructor to revise and edit their work. Students will be required to complete five 6-page essays or the equivalent, and will be invited to bring assignments into the workshop from their other classes. Required texts may include Writing in the Disciplines: A Reader for Writers, edited by Kennedy. Kennedy, and Smith, Writing Without Teachers, by Peter Elbow, and On Writing Well, by William Zinsser.

English 523
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 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 529
Topics in Creative Writing (Series of three one-credit courses)

Section One
Brainlingo: Writing The Voice Of the Body
1/23 to 2/20

Edwin Torres
As artists we create our own communication.  How we listen affects how we speak, and how we see our language affects how our voice is heard. Where the senses meet each other is where poetry can begin. This workshop will be an active creative laboratory that will explore how we communicate by exercising the languages inside us. Exercises will be balanced by critiques. This is an active writing workshop for open minds.

Edwin Torres’s introduction to poetry was through The Nuyorican Poets Café and The St. Marks Poetry Project, where he has worked as a workshop leader and curator. His CD Holy Kidcombines poetry with music, sounds and homemade tapes, and was included in the exhibition “The American Century Pt. II” at the Whitney Museum Of American Art. From l993-99, he was a member of the poetry collective, Real Live Poetry (formerly Nuyorican Poets Café Live) with whom he performed and conducted workshops across the United States and overseas. He’s the recipient of a one-year fellowship from The Foundation For Contemporary Performance Art, as well as The Nuyorican Poets Café Fresh Prize For Poetry. Finally, his media assault has transpired on MTV’s Spoken Word Unplugged and The Charlie Rose Show and in NewsweekRolling StoneNew York MagazineHigh Times, and others. In NYC, Torres has performed at many venues like the Nuyorican Poets Café, Dixon Place, The Guggenheim Museum, CBGB’s, Tonic, P.S. 122, WFMU Radio, Lincoln Center, and The Museum Of Modern Art. His books include I Hear Things People Haven’t Really Said, Fractured Humorous (Subpress), The All-Union Day Of The Shock Worker (Roof Books)and most recently, Please (CD-Rom from Faux Press). Edwin is currently co-editing POeP! an eJournal, and Cities Of Chance: An Anthology of New Poetry from The United States and Brazil, both from Rattapallax Press. His website is wwsw.brainlingo.com.

Section Two
Twins & Matching Sets
2/27 to 4/3
Barbara Coultas

In this class we will focus on writing works that have companions. By that I mean we will write poetry or prose that splinters off or inspires other projects. We will read work by writers from the early days of The Poetry Project as well as innovative work by younger writers who are following in the same linage. Reading texts include handouts from Bernadette Mayer, Ted Berrigan, Joe Brainard, Lydia Davis, Marcella Durand, Kristin Prevallet, John Yau, Dodie Bellamy, and others.

Brenda Coultas is originally from Southern Indiana. She’s lived in NYC since l995 and is the author of A Handmade Museum (Coffee House Press), A Summer Newsreel, Boyeye, and Early Films, a collection of prose and poetry. Her poems have been anthologized in Heights of the Marvelous from St. Martin’s Press and The (New) American Poets, published by Talisman. Her journal publications include works in, among others, Epoch, Conjunctions: State of the Art, Fence, The World, American Poetry Review, Indian Review. She has read at the Poetics Program at SUNY Buffalo, the Boston Poetry Conference, among many others. She has taught at The Poetry Project, Naropa University, and is presently on the faculty at Touro College in Manhattan. She co-edited The Poetry Project Newsletter (1997-98), and has received grants from the Fund for Poetry and the Ted Berrigan Award. Bradford Morrow describes her work as follows: “Equally at ease in the city and the country, Brenda Coultas is a spiritual archeologist of dumpsters and farm fields, an observer of the derelict and everyday folks. Her vivid voice is like no other I have encountered, and the originality of her work is matched by the genuine wisdom of its perceptions.”

Section Three
4/10 to 5/1
Erica Hunt

We will gallop through the gamut of 20th/21st century experimental poetics, pausing to gaze at some of the landmarks: jazz poetry, language poetries, process poetry, and the new sentence(s). The class will read selected contemporary writing by Jayne Cortez, Nathaniel Mackey, Ron Silliman, Lyn Hejinian, Harryette Mullen, Leslie Scalapino, and Charles Bernstein. Writing in the moment, writing in the extreme, at home and in class, the indispensable laboratory of praxis.

Erica Hunt is the author of Local History (Roof Books, l993) and Arcade (Kelsey St. Press, l996). Born in New York in l955, Hunt has worked as a poetry teacher, housing organizer, labor news writer, and radio producer. She currently works as a program officer for a social justice funder in New York City. Her poetry and essays on poetry’s connection to politics, race, gender, and history have appeared in small magazines and anthologies, including Poetry Society of America, TalismanAmerican Book ReviewBomb, and Iowa Poetry Review. She has read and lectured at Naropa, The New School for Social Research, St. Mark's Poetry Project, Mills College, Stanford, Brandeis, New College of San Francisco, etc. She is a theorist and the author of the famous essay, “Notes for an Oppositional Poetics,” which first appeared in the anthology The Politics of Poetic Form (ed. Charles Bernstein, l990). Harryette Mullen writes that “Erica Hunt’s Local History blows the public and the personal inside out, estranging familiar forms of writing, letter and diary, while snatching moments of intimacy and insight in disembodied prose that anatomizes artifacts of mass culture, such as screenplay and cartoon strip.” Recent publications include, “Roots of the Black Avant Garde,” “Reading for the Conference on Modernism” and “Poetry and Politics.”

English 635
Seminar in Ibsen
Professor Joan Templeton

The course examines the major prose plays of Henrik Ibsen, the inventor of modern drama. Ibsen’s dramas are the second most performed plays in the world after Shakespeare. We will read Ibsen’s twelve major prose plays from Pillars of Society to When the Dead Awaken, including A Doll House, Ghosts, An Enemy of the People, The Wild Duck, The Lady from the Sea, Hedda Gabler, The Master Builder, and John Gabriel Borkman. The plays will be studied as dramas to be performed on stage as well as literary texts. If a decent Ibsen production is available in New York City, we will attend it as a class. Students in the seminar will be permitted to attend the 10th International Ibsen Conference, hosted by The Ibsen Society of America and Long Island University, which will be held on campus from June 1-7; scholars and directors from around the world will participate.

Text: Ibsen: The Major Prose Plays, trans. Rolf Fjelde. New York: Penguin, l978. Paperback edition.

English 650
Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales
Professor Sealy Gilles

Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, is a ramshackle, indecorous, unfinished poem patched together out of various translations and adaptations. Its final form was probably unknowable even to its creator. Chaucer died in 1400, before he could finish the Tales, but he left us with a vibrant and extraordinary varied collection of stories—sermons, fabliaux, romances, tragedies, and fairy tales—told by travelers of wildly diverse social backgrounds, including a knight, a nun, a weaver, a miller, and a clergyman. We will read the tales both in Middle English (with a lot of help) and in translation. As we work on the stories and their tellers, we will also explore the chaotic and vibrant world of fourteenth-century England.

English 646
Individual & Small Group Writing Instruction
Professor Patricia Stephen

Advanced undergraduate students may enroll for this course with permission of the instructor. 

In this class, we will examine the theory and practice of individual and small group writing instruction, locating writing center work within its broader historical and institutional contexts. The course will begin with an overview of writing center history, theory, and pedagogy and will then examine some of the most common tutoring concerns:  structuring sessions and setting goals; assessing, diagnosing and responding to student writing; learning strategies to teach planning, drafting, revising, proofreading and editing; learning strategies to work on specific grammatical concerns; helping students with reading comprehension; working with ESL concerns; noticing interpersonal dynamics and maintaining boundaries; respecting and responding to cultural and ethnic differences; working as an online tutor, and facilitating small group sessions. Students interested in pursuing a specific topic not included in the general readings—such as writing center administration—may do so with permission from the instructor.

Possible texts: Landmark Essays on Writing Centers, Writing Center Research: Extending the Conversation, Noise from the Writing Center, Rhetorical Grammar, The Place of Grammar in Writing Instruction, The Practical Tutor, Taking Flight With OWLS: Examining Electronic Writing Center Work. 

Students who enroll in the course will be required to tutor for one hour per week during the semester at the Writing Center and to audio- and/or videotape one session with a student. The taped session will be transcribed and analyzed by the students for use in a self-study. Classes will be conducted as seminars/workshops so that all students have the opportunity to participate in class presentations, mock tutorials, etc. Each student will generate her/his own idea/s for a final written (and/or action) project, based on topics of interest during the semester.

Undergraduate Courses, Summer & Fall 2002


English 103
Workshop in Advanced Writing/Special Focus on the Personal Essay  
Professor Harriet Malinowitz

This course will focus on writing the personal essay.  The first few class meetings will be devoted to reading personal essays by established authors and analyzing their form, their style, the rhetorical strategies they employ, and their use of language.  This examination should help us understand the ways personal essays present and interrogate the self and subjective experience.  Our reading of published essays will continue, though less intensively, as we move on to a workshop format in which students' essays are read and discussed in detail.  The goal of the workshop critique is to help the writer move effectively toward revision; each student will be expected to produce two developed 10-15 page personal essays (or one longer piece) by the end of the course.  Students are encouraged to make as many appointments for individual conferences as they wish.


English 101
Introduction to English Studies
Professor Patricia Stephens

What does one need to know to be an English major or minor?  What do English majors and minors study and learn?  What kinds of career opportunities await those who graduate with a degree in English?  This course is designed to  familiarize students with the diversity and scope of English studies and to introduce students to contemporary debates concerning such issues as the connection between reading and writing, the relationship among different interpretive/critical strategies, and the nature and politics of the literary canon.  In this course, we will 1) learn about the rise of English as a profession in the university (within the United States) and how the profession has changed over time; 2) focus on shifting notions of literacy and the function of English in American society; 3) analyze the formation and politics of the literary canon; 4) examine and experiment with numerous methods of literary criticism and analysis; and 5) investigate the many possible career opportunities awaiting students who graduate with a degree in English.   This course will be conducted as a seminar, and students will be expected to participate in and take responsibility for class discussions.

English 104
Creative Writing
Professor Lewis Warsh

The goal of the 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 of transcribing thought processes and experiences into writing. Work by Marguerite Duras, Frank O’Hara, William Carlos Williams, Lydia Davis, 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 128
British Literature I
The Monstrous and the Fantastic in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance
Professor Sealy Gilles

This course focuses on representations of the grotesque, the semi-human, and the fairy in the first six hundred years of literature written in the British Isles – from the monster tale of Beowulf to Shakespeare’s fantasy, The Tempest.  Early ideas of the supernatural and the subhuman reveal much about the construction of the natural and the human.  As these texts chart the outer darknesses, the margins of civilization and humanity, they inevitably shed light on the societies from which they have emerged – and on the inner darknesses which haunt those cultures.  The monstrous “kin of Cain” in Beowulf, the hag turned fairy in Chaucer’s The Wife of Bath’s Tale, and Caliban and Ariel of Shakespeare’s island romance – all these define the limits of humanity and the price to be exacted for exceeding or transgressing those limits. 

This is a discussion class, with some brief time-outs for background mini-lectures.  I expect you to come prepared and ready to contribute, to spend time and effort on readings and written assignments, and to respect the views of your classmates.  You have a right to expect that I will read and listen to your work carefully and respond quickly, respectfully, and in detail.

English 137
Major Texts of Shakespeare
Professor Joan Templeton

This course examines Shakespeare’s sonnets and some of the major comedies and tragedies. Focusing on the texts as scripts in theatres as well as literary texts, we see videos of live performances and major film adaptations of the plays, and attend one live performance together. The Shakespeare texts are The Sonnets, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth. Some of the films we will see are Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet, Roman Polanski’s Macbeth, Kenneth Branagh’sOthello, and Laurence Olivier’s King Lear. Requirements are three essays, written outside of class, on texts we have studied together.  

English 158
Literature of the U.S. I
Professor Patrick Horrigan

The course will survey the literature of the early republic, from the founding of the American colonies in the seventeenth century, through the American Revolution in the late eighteenth century, and up to the period of industrialization and the Civil War in the mid-nineteenth century. We will examine a variety of texts, both “classic” and less well known, including poetry, sermons, captivity narratives, fiction, political philosophy, feminist manifestos, and slave narratives. We will also read selections of modern and contemporary literary criticism that shed light on the primary, literary texts. Students will give in-class presentations and write formal and informal essays.

English 170
West Indians in the Harlem Renaissance
Professor Louis Parascandola

Anglophone (English-speaking) 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 l920. 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 Garvey, we will examine the radical political writings of W.A. Domingo, and poetry by Claude McKay, one of the seminal figures in the Harlem Renaissance, and 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 228
Women’s Studies, American Culture, & the Literary Imagination
Professor Kimberly Lamm

This women’s studies course examines literary texts by and about women in late nineteenth and twentieth-century American Culture. By attending to a wide variety of texts, we will highlight the ideas and ideologies that form both a feminist and an American conception of literature. What can literary representations of women tell us about the shifting and turbulent cultural landscape of late nineteenth and twentieth century America? Why has literature been such an important place for women to communicate ideas and make arguments about gender inequity? How have American myths and ideologies merged into literary ideals, and how have American feminist writers subverted and worked within those literary ideals? As we pursue these questions, we will also become familiar with the basic tenets of feminist literary criticism and feminist cultural studies. Work by the following writers included: Kate Chopin, Angela Grimke, Harriet Jacobs, Georgia Douglass Johnson, Henry James, Zora Neale Hurston, Djuna Barnes, Sui Sin Far, Zitkla Sa, Muriel Rukeyser, Adrienne Rich, and Teresa Hak Kyung Cha. Course Requirements: Class presentation, mid-term take-home exam, and a final term paper. 

Graduate Courses, Summer & Fall 2002


English 579:  Woman as Hero
Professor 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, theory, 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.

English 624:  Hemingway, Fitzgerald & the 1920s
Professor Howard Silverstein

Through an examination of their lives and selected works, this course will assess Hemingway and Fitzgerald's contribution to Modernism, their embodiment of the cultural highlights that mark the 1920s (the Expatriate Movement in Paris, Prohibition, flappers), and the influence they had on later writers.  The major texts of the course will include The Sun Also RisesA Farewell to ArmsThe Great Gatsby, and Tender is the Night.  Attention will also be given to the shorter fiction of these writers.  Students will be assigned several critical papers as well as an oral presentation.


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 528: Seminar in Creative Writing
Professor John High

Our emphasis will be on your writing, as the heart of the course will operate on a workshop/peer group basis. We'll set out to understand the strivings of each story & to determine the ways it is or isn't working--afterwards, with any luck, offering constructive criticism & helpful suggestions to the author. We will spend the first few weeks generating material and/or revising your current work in preparation for your class workshops. Though you may have work-in-progress, all of the fiction you turn in for this course will have to be new writing. There will be class discussions on what we mean when we talk about narrative technique; there will be assigned readings and lectures on the nature of story and dream landscapes, the fictive & the real & the mythic--and the craft we can use to achieve the truth of our own writing on the page. There will also be weekly class exercises designed to help you develop your craft and heighten your imaginative skills in using characterization, voice, setting, POV, conflict, mood, etc.--& to maximize your fiction’s effect on a reader.

We will build a writing community, a support group, an environment in which we strive to help one another as authors to construct a vision in words.  I firmly believe that for a group of writers to work together there must exist a strong element of trust and respect.  I hope that in the course of the semester I will earn your respect and trust, yet, of equal importance, I am convinced that with one another you must share an equivalent attitude, one which includes an attempt to comprehend and see into one another's stories. If you/we can do this, helpful comments and criticism will yield fruitful results for each of you. I can state from experience, your individual writing will grow and improve as you practice the ideas of technique and meaning inherently available in your powers of expression/search. Though I am the instructor of this course, I am also a participant, learning from the dialogue that evolves between us. Nonetheless, the one area where I am insistent concerns the manner in which you communicate with one another:  I simply have no tolerance for mean-spirited criticism or personal attacks. I think it's safe to assume you all agree, and that you're here to WRITE, to learn, and to have some fun.  It is exciting work. By the end of the semester--you’ll see--you will have increased your power to write convincing and sound fiction, and you will have achieved a fluency and clarity in your writing that will help you in all aspects of your writing life.  You will be the director of your own quest; you will gain knowledge that is important to you and that can even change your life.

English 579: Virginia Woolf and Modernism
Professor Patrick Horrigan

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) is one of the most challenging, rewarding, and beautiful writers of the twentieth century. This course is dedicated to the study of her works in depth. We will trace the development of Woolf’s experimental (“modernist”) fiction through five of her novels: The Voyage Out, Jacob’s Room, Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, and The Years. In addition, we will study a selection of her non-fiction works, including her classic essay on the challenges facing women writers, A Room of One’s Own, and her treatise on war and patriarchy, Three Guineas.Finally, we will read selections from the diary she kept from her teenage years up until her death. We will make comparisons between Woolf and other modernist visual artists and writers in an effort to define more precisely Woolf’s innovations as a writer and to place her work within a larger historical context. Students will give in-class presentations and write a research paper. The New York Public Library, which house the bulk of Woolf’s papers, will offer students training in how to do archival research. Visits to collections of modern art in the city will also be arranged.

English 620: Theories of Teaching Writing/Contemporary Rhetorical
Professor Patricia Stephens

This course offers an introduction to theories of composition and rhetoric.  Designed for those who plan to teach writing at the college or secondary level, the course will offer historical and theoretical perspectives on the teaching of rhetoric and writing.  The premise underlying this course is that our thinking about teaching writing in the twenty-first century must extend beyond simple, prescriptive formulas to a broader consideration of the history and contexts of rhetoric—a history that we will trace by examining the implementation of rhetoric and writing instruction in nineteenth and twentieth century colleges in the United States.  We will explore the meanings, purposes, uses, and values of “rhetoric” and “writing” by analyzing the social and political contexts of the debates that have shaped college composition and rhetoric curricula over the centuries. 

Historical texts may include James Berlin’s Rhetoric and Reality: Writing Instruction in American Colleges, 1900-1985; John Brereton’s The Origins of Composition Studies in the American College: 1875-1925; Robin Varnum’s Fencing with Words: A History of Writing Instruction at Amherst College During the Era of Theodore Baird, 1938-1966; selections from Albert R. Kitzhaber’s Rhetoric in American Colleges, 1850-1900.

Other possible texts include William Covino and David Joliffe’s Rhetoric: Concepts, Definitions, Boundaries; Andrea Lunsford’s Reclaiming Rhetorica: Women in the Rhetorical Tradition; Kathleen E. Welch’s The Contemporary Reception of Classical Rhetoric: Appropriations of Ancient Discourse; and Sharon Crowley’s Ancient Rhetorics for the Modern Student.

English 624: African-American Literature
Professor Carol Allen

This is a survey that covers African American Literature from the eighteenth century to the present. The course will provide general information about the major writers and texts that have contributed to African American Letters. In addition to literary texts, assignments include criticism from noted scholars such as Houston Baker, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Hortense Spillers, Deborah McDowell, Mad Gwendolyn Henderson, and others. Fiction writers to be studied are Douglass, Hughes, Hurston, Wright, Brooks, Ellison, Walker, Morrison, and more. The aim is to provide not only a sense of the African-American Literary tradition, but also where it stands in relation to Western humanities.

English 700: Practicum in Teaching Composition
Professor Xiao-Ming Li 

Intended as a source of support and forum for discussion for novice writing teachers, this class will focus on practical approaches to everyday issues in the classroom, yet situating those approaches in the so-called “paradigm shifts” of the field. The class, therefore, will interweave two strands: that of the hands-on training of managing day-to-day running of a writing class and that of the underlying theories of such praxis. For the first strand, the class is organized around three major components in the teaching of writing: classroom discussion, writing assignments, and responding to students’ writing. To put those practices in perspective, we will, at the same time, study two monographs, one on the process movement and the other on the teaching of academic discourse, since both movements dominated our imagination and practices in the past half century and still exert subtle or pronounced influence on the writing classrooms across the country even as our attention has been gradually drawn to other –isms in recent years.

Each participant, besides keeping a reading journal, is expected to submit a portfolio at the end of the semester, which will consist of a syllabus, two writing assignments, two classroom exercises, and one student profile.

English 707: Methods in Research and Criticism
Professor Huma Ibrahim

This course is designed to introduce you to the study of English literature at the graduate level.  This means that you will learn to examine different critical traditions and apply that to a few pieces of literature that we will look at.  The idea is to give you a comprehensive survey of critical theory in its application to literature.  In addition, you will learn, first through a visit to the library, and then through actually writing a paper, strategies of how research can be applied in constructing essays.

Texts include:  Tyson's Critical Theory Today: A User Friendly GuideThe Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, and Moore-Gilbert's Postcolonial Theory; as well as Farah's Secrets, Eliot's Four Quartets, and Shakespeare's Othello.