Undergraduate Courses, Spring 2004

English 104.001
Creative Writing Workshop
Professor Barbara Henning
Mondays & Wednesdays, 1:30 to 2:45 pm

In this writing workshop, students will read, study, and write poetry and short stories. During the first half of each workshop, we will discuss examples of poems and stories. Then I will provide a specific assignment for the following workshop. The main text for the remaining class time will be student writing; we will workshop each poem and story, helping each other improve each others' drafts. The emphasis will be on form and structure, especially learning to be particular with writing, rather than general, including images and detail in both stories and poems. A midterm and final portfolio will include revised poems and stories, as well as a review of learning and a self-evaluation. There will be a packet of assignments and Xeroxed fiction. Recommended text: The Handbook of Poetic Forms.

English 104.002: Creative Writing workshop
Professor Lewis Warsh
Thursdays, 6:00 to 8:30 pm

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 preconceived notions of form, content and gender, with emphasis on the best ways to transcribing thought processes and experiences into writing. Work by Marguerite Duras, Ted Berrigan, Frank O'Hara, William Carlos Williams, Lydia Davis, Lyn Hejinian, Elizabeth Bishop and 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 126: News Writing (cross-listed as JOU 119)
Professor Michael Bush (Journalism Department)
Section 1: Mondays & Wednesday, 6:00 to 7:50 pm
Section 2: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:00 to 4:50 pm

English 129: British Literature II
Professor Bernard Schweizer
Mondays & Wednesdays, 1:30 to 2:45 pm

Love is at once arguably the noblest human affect and one of the most complex social, emotional, and spiritual phenomena. What happens when this intangible bundle of emotions called love is put into printed words? Beside empirically asking "what can literature teach us about love (or hate)?" this course will explore the poetics, the philosophy, and (yes) the politics of love and romance in British literary texts from 1850 to the present. Specifically, we will analyze the gendering of discourses about love, sex, and marriage and ask ourselves how social norms for expressing affection are reinforced or, alternatively, subverted by literary artists. The assigned texts draw on poetry, drama, and fiction by male and female writers including Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Oscar Wilde, Rebecca West, Graham Greene, Iris Murdoch, Ian McEwan, and others. Alongside the primary texts, we will consider the work of theorists on love such as Martin Bergmann and Denis the Rougemont; we will also consider the historical aspects of our theme.

English 150: African-American Literature
Professor Carol Allen
Mondays & Wednesdays, 3:00 to 4:15 pm

This is a survey that covers African American Literature from the eighteenth century to the present. We will concentrate on three vital and prolific periods (each period forms a unit): nineteenth century abolitionist doctrines and slave narratives; poems and narratives from the Harlem Renaissance (roughly 1919-1936); and contemporary (post-War) texts that include novels, plays, rhetoric, and poetry. Writers to be studied are Douglass, Hughes, Hurston, Wright, Brooks, Ellison, Walker, Morrison, and more. In addition to literary texts, readings also include critical and historical essays that will provide background and contextual information that make the actual fiction/testimonies more meaningful.

English 159: Literature of the U.S. II
Professor Leah Dilworth
Tuesdays, 6:00 to 8:30 pm

This course will explore American literature from the Civil War to the present through the theme “The Country and the City.” We will examine the historical circumstances of migrations and urban expansion from the Civil War to the present and the ways writers have responded to and informed the nation’s understandings of these developments. In the literature we read, we will examine imaginings of the primitive and the cosmopolitan as well as representations of regional and urban life. Readings will be drawn from the literatures of the “local color” movement of the late nineteenth century, the Harlem Renaissance, and contemporary writers.

English 169: Buddhism and Asian Literature
Professor Xiao-Ming Li
Wednesdays, 6:00 to 8:30 pm

Here the divine meets the earthly: the course will trace two lines of development and explore the impact of the former on the latter. The first line of development is that of Buddhism, which arose out of the spiritual ferment of Vedic India during the centuries after 700 BC, and, as it spread across Asia, diverged into different schools and took on new identities. (To create a larger historical context, other relevant belief systems will be introduced by watching videos or reading excerpts.) The second line of development is the part of Asian literature developed under the influence of Buddhism. Some of these literary texts (novels, essays, and poetry) are imbued with pious Buddhist sentiments and faith, while others are ambivalent and probing. Most of the texts are translations from texts originally written for Chinese or Japanese readers, yet a few were composed in English by western authors for the western audience. The parallel reading of Buddhist texts and literature is intended to shed light on the constructive nature of literature, each as a unique inflection of prevalent ideologies and the cultural milieu of the time.

Texts include The World of the Buddha (Stryk), Essays in Zen Buddhism (Suzuki), Tao Te Ching (Lao Tzu), Literature of Asia (Barnstone), Laughing Lost in the Mountain (Barnstone, et. al.), A Dream of Red Mansions (Tsao and Kao), and The Woman in the Dunes (Kobo).
90% of the course grade is decided by the holistic quality of the final portfolio composed of five reading journal entries, two in-class essays, a paper of 3-4 pages developed from one of the in-class essays, and a longer 8-9 page research paper.

English 173: Writing in the Community: The "Our Legacies" Project
Professor Deborah Mutnick
Meeting times to be arranged with instructor.

This course brings together nonfiction writing, oral histories, and urban education in a community project in Brooklyn. Students will learn how to conduct oral histories and archival research as part of a semester-long project at P.S. 295, The Studio School of Arts and Culture; and M.S. 827, New Voices. The course will involve site-specific fieldwork and writing about architecture, education, and family histories. Students will have an opportunity to work in a unique collaboration among parents, teachers, and middle school and elementary school-age children. Together we will conduct a study of the crisscrossing paths of immigrants, then and now. Oral histories with the diverse school population will form the basis of one legacy we will be tracing; and using archival records, we will try as well to reconstruct the lives of families a hundred years ago. In addition, we will tell the stories of the two schools presently occupying the building and of the one-year-old school library.

The various forms of research conducted will provide material for photo-essays (and other documentation) representing the four interweaving strands of the school's legacies: the 100-year-old building, the two present schools, the library, and the families a hundred years ago and today. At a culminating exhibit at the school in June 2004, "Our Legacies: Who We Are, Where We're From," will display students' photo-essays and celebrate the completion of the project with a public reception. Course texts will include Warren Lehrer and Judith Sloane's Crossing the BoulevardThe Oral History Reader, edited by Robert Perks and Alistair Thomson; and Harvey Wang's New York.

English 190: Senior Seminar
Professor Maria McGarrity
Mondays, 6:00 to 8:30 pm

This course will guide students through the process of writing a long research paper (20-25 pages) on a topic of their choosing. Students will use a range of research resources and write a formal proposal, a first draft, and a final draft of the paper. Students will also read and critique each other's work. Required reading will include essays on research methods and writing as well as Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid, with selected critical essays and source materials.

Required texts: MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Gibaldi, ed. 6th Edition; Annie John, Jamaica Kincaid, Understanding Jamaica Kincaid's Annie John: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents, Mistron.

Grades: Class Participation-15%; Presentation-15%; Research Paper-70%.

English 233: Arthurian Literature from the Middle Ages to the Twenty-first Century
Professor Sealy Gilles
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 3:00 to 4:15 pm

Arthurian Literature is an exploration of the literature of King Arthur and his court from the early Celtic Middle Ages to the twenty-first century. As we study the enduring story of Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot, we shall also investigate the historical origins of the Arthur legend, the chivalric tradition and its impact on gender and class relationships then and now, and the role of fantasy and magic in a story, which has endured for over a thousand years. Issues of legitimacy and the use of public power also resonate in this literature and some of our explorations will touch on the use of the Camelot myth in the Kennedy administration and the incarnations of Camelot on stage and screen. Texts include medieval stories such as Tristan and Iseult and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, extracts from Alfred Lord Tennyson's Idylls of the King, and modern versions, both satiric (Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court) and feminist (Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon).

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