Undergraduate Courses, Summer & Fall 2006

Summer Session One 2006 

(May 15 - June 26)

(There are no upper division courses in Summer Session Two this year.)

English 180: Genre Studies / The Novella
Professor Harriet Malinowitz
Summer Session One 2006: Tue/Thu 1-4:40 pm

In this course, we will read novellas--works of fiction characterized by the fact that they are longer than short stories, but briefer than novels--and consider how and why the novella works as a prose form. Works by a range of authors will be covered, and will be selected from among those by Leo Tolstoy, Hermann Melville, Franz Kafka, Thomas Mann, Gustave Flaubert, Nella Larsen, Joseph Conrad, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Abraham Cahan, Doris Lessing, James Joyce, Willa Cather, Richard Wright, and Tillie Olsen.

English 256: African American Women Poets
Professor Louis Parascandola
Summer Session One 2006: Mon/Tue/Wed/Thu 11:00 am-12:50 pm

This course will study the development of African American women's poetry over the past fifty years, particularly focusing on the Black Arts Movement in the 1960s and its aftermath. Authors to be discussed include Gwendolyn Brooks, Ntozake Shange, Audre Lorde, Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez, Jayne Cortez, Cheryl Clarke, Lucille Clifton, and some younger writers as well as some Caribbean poets. We will examine the ways in which the Black Arts Movement intertwined a radical new theory of black aesthetics with the community's political struggle for Black rights, women's rights, and lesbian rights. Several guest poets will visit the class, including Sapphire, Tish Benson, and Cheryl Boyce Taylor, to read from their work and discuss their writing techniques. Grades will be based on participation, short journal assignments, a midterm, and a final exam. Students will be able to substitute a short portfolio of their own poetry instead of the final exam if they wish.

FALL 2006

English 101: Introduction to English Studies
Professor Bernard Schweizer
Fall 2006: Tue/Thu 12-1:15 pm

This introductory course is designed to give an overview of the English major and to provide a foundation for the more advanced study of literature, rhetoric, and writing. During the course of the semester, we will systematize the various kinds of literary writing (genres), we will discuss the nature and scope of the literary canon, we will familiarize ourselves with highlights of the critical tradition, and we will talk about the history of English studies at large. Most importantly, we will perform close readings of literary texts to see what makes them "work," both thematically and aesthetically, and we will practice our own creative and analytical writing faculties. Finally, we will learn about career prospects and professional opportunities for English majors. A course pack with primary and secondary texts will be provided. The literary selections will be mostly drawn from British literature.

English 103: Workshop in the Essay
Professor Donald McCrary
Fall 2006: Thu 6 8:30 pm


This course will examine the rhetorical strategies and ideological content within critical texts that represent provocative and insightful meditations on various social, political, scientific, and philosophical ideas, theories and arguments. For example, students will explore the rhetorical and ideological context of critical texts about issues such as environmental protectionism, racial identity and conflict, heterosexism/homophobia, and evolution/creationism, and femisim/womanism. By reading and analyzing challenging and thoughtful texts, students will explore not only how rhetoric is undergirded by specific ideologies but also how writers construct and present rhetoric in ways that will influence and persuade their readers. Some of the writers students will read include Alice Walker, Barbara Smith, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Delores Williams, Gloria Anzaldua, Richard Wright, Jane Tompkins, Gary Soto, Stephen Jay Gould, and Michiko Kakutani. Students will write several formal essays that ask them to reflect critically about not only non-fiction texts but also their own experience.

English 104 (section 1): Introduction to Creative Writing
Finding Our Voices
Professor John High
Fall 2006: Mon/Wed 1:30-2:45 pm

This class is designed for anyone who has ever wanted to write creatively yet who is not sure how to begin or how to move beyond where they are presently in their own writing. Topics include: getting started, establishing a passionate discipline, making time, focusing on ideas and feelings and giving them shape through the language of fiction, poetry and drama. The course will also zero-in on back bone issues of style and technique, ranging from those of characterization and plot, continuity and vividness of imagery, clarity of diction and the use of phrasing and structure in the writing of our worlds-the various ways that elements of craft inherently dovetail with content. There will be weekly creative writing exercises and group discussions, as well as commentary on the writing process and how to make it come alive for you. What do we mean when we talk about issues of style, form and voice(s)? What is a fiction, a poem-what is a metaphor, what is the magic of language, the ghost of echoes, which reflect your own vision of the world, your experience or past, your dreams or visions? What do we mean when we talk about taking chances in writing? We'll look at the work of modern and contemporary writers ranging from James Baldwin to Anna Akhmatova to Jorge Luis Borges to that of younger writers publishing today. Critiques will focus on motivating the student to tap the undefined territory of his or her own imagination in order to more fully cultivate and mature her or his own voice/s and styles. The goal of the course includes completing a portfolio and/or anthology of our work.

English 104 (section 2): Introduction to Creative Writing
Professor Rosamond King
Fall 2006: Tue 6-8:30 pm

For those who want to be serious writers--or serious dilettantes--this course will provide an introduction to creative writing, including the genres of fiction, poetry, and drama. Rigorous course assignments will focus on exploration of a variety of voices, styles, and approaches. Reading is an important component of writing, so students will be required to read and present on other authors. Because much of the course material will be students' own writing, expect to complete reading and writing exercises each week.

English 128 Early British Literatures
Developing "Englishness" through Early Literature
Professor Srividhya Swaminathan
Fall 2006: Mon/Wed 4:30-5:45 pm

How did the English define their culture across turbulent historical times? This class will survey English texts from Beowulf to Aphra Behn's Oroonoko. Students will discuss the emerging idea of an "English" nation through an understanding of both text and context. What did Beowulf's heroic struggles against the monster Grendel reveal about English culture in the eighth century AD? How did Chaucer's pilgrims set up the class structure of medieval English society? Students will read a range of literary texts spanning the genres of poetry, drama, and prose. Each text will be examined for evidence of the formation of a cultural, ethnic, and/or national identity. Common themes of class hierarchies, religious struggles, and court culture will also be analyzed.

English 158: Early Literature of the United States / Captivity Narratives
Professor Carol Allen
Fall 2006: Thu 6-8:30 pm

This course explores early American writing before the Civil War. Using the general rubric that most American literature during this era is either an instantiation of economic, social, and/or spiritual containment or a response to being trapped in some manner, we will collectively delve into questions concerning the nature of literary constructs and their permeability. So, as we discover how writing shapes the world by limiting perception, we will focus on its ability to subvert expectations and norms, to infuse political and social spheres with revolutionary spirits, and to redraw forms and terrain. Expect to read political documents, slave narratives, religious texts, myths, poetry, essays, autobiography, fictional narratives and applicable criticism. A partial list of authors includes John Winthrop, Anne Bradstreet, Benjamin Franklin, James Fenimore Cooper, Harriet Jacobs, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Edgar Allan Poe.

English 165: Poetry Workshop
The Poetics Of Voice & Time
Professor John High
Fall 2006: Mon/Wed 3-4:15 pm

What if as poets we were allowed to do whatever we wanted? What would we do? How long would our own experience & voice sustain us in writing? Every innovation in poetry has grown out of tradition, and in this course we will attempt to discover and connect with our own tradition(s) and poetic. Wallace Stevens wrote that all poetry is experimental. So what is the relationship between tradition, innovation, and a writer's unique poetic? If our own voices grow out of the past and from traditions firmly rooted in the power of language, our goal is to discover--to see what's out there, both as writers and readers--as we examine the literary traditions and lineages from which we have grown. We'll do this by writing our own poems and by exploring various forms and schools of poetry and by paying close attention to the way that poetry changes through us and through time. We'll also discuss the act of writing poetry as one of risk-taking and investigation, of destroying and reinventing traditions in our own tongue, of seeing how nothing ever changes unless you experiment or try something new. We'll discuss, at length, what "experiment" means in relation to "tradition" and "poetic." Among the poets we'll look at closely are Whitman, H.D., Williams, Pound, Stein, Bishop, Hughes, Cullen, Cane, Spicer, Levertov, Brooks, Creeley, Baraka, Whalen, Snyder, O'Hara, Zukofsky, Mayer, Howe, and Ginsberg.

A final portfolio, consisting of all your written work, is due at the end of the semester.

English 173: Writing in the Community
Professor Deborah Mutnick
Fall 2006: Mon 6-8:30 pm

Are you pursuing a career in media arts, journalism, law, education, nursing, or another field that involves writing and community service? Have you ever wondered how to make your voice heard in public? Do you care about issues of peace? The environment? Urban development? Are you curious about neighborhoods-why one thrives while another decays, and how you can use writing to learn about them? Is there a very old and/or interesting person whose stories you'd like to record? Are you looking for an elective that's fun and challenging? Would you like to improve your research and writing skills?

If you answered yes to some or all of these questions, consider registering for English 173: Writing in the Community. Offered in the new Writing and Rhetoric concentration, English 173 is an elective for students across the disciplines as well as in English who are interested in public and professional writing. Explore public spaces in the classroom, political forums, and local communities. Experience field work as well as a workshop format for getting constructive feedback on your writing. Projects range from oral history to neighborhood studies, tutoring in the community, and public writing on key social issues of our times. Readings will include (1) Perks and Thomson's The Oral History Reader; (2) Lehrer and Sloane's Crossing the BLVD: Strangers, Neighbors, Aliens in a New America; and (3) Harvey Wang's New York.

English 237: Utopia in Literature
Professor Charles Matz
Fall 2006: Mon/Wed 12-1:15 pm

Utopia, the ideal society, lasts longest in literary form. This course offers a sort of cruise to the exotic best of creative and imaginative writing right across the centuries to the present day's science fiction. Long stops are made only at the best, the most entertainingly though-provocative. Among the pleasures anticipated: UtopiaNews from NowhereBrave New World, and Animal Farm. Discussion and analysis included.

English 241: African Literature and Film
Professor Jonathan Haynes
Fall 2006: Tue 1:30-4:30 pm

This course will approach the African experience through literature and films by Africans. We will consider the historical conditions in which both of these modern art forms have evolved and explore some of their major themes and objectives, notably their attempts to create a usable past for contemporary Africans, to serve as witnesses to the social upheavals of the colonial and postcolonial epochs, to foster a debate on the role of women in African societies, and to keep their audiences entertained.

Readings: Chinua Achebe's Arrow of God and A Man of the People; Wole Soyinka's Kongi's Harvest; and Mariama Ba's So Long a Letter.

Films: Mandabi (dir. Ousmane Sembene), Ceddo (dir. Ousmane Sembene), Yeelen (dir. Souleymane Cissé), Guimba: The Tyrant (dir. Cheick Oumar Sissoko), Faces of Women (dir. Désiré Écaré), and Quartier Mozart (dir. Jean-Pierre Bekolo).

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