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.