FALL 2018: ENGLISH DEPARTMENT COURSES
English 100 [W]
Focuses on rhetorical awareness. In this course, students will explore the reading and writing practices of the academic community. Through primary and secondary research, and through guided writing practice, students will critically examine what these practices mean and consider how students’ own reading and writing practices fit into those of “the Academy.” While additional texts may be assigned, writing produced by students in the class will serve as the principal texts of the course. Additional texts may include Graff & Birkenstein’s TheySay/I Say, Harris’ Rewriting: How to do things with Texts, and Richard Lanham’s Revising Prose. Prerequisite: FYS. Enrollment is restricted to first-year and sophomore students.
English 100-01: Academic Writing -Writing about the world of work
Course Theme: The Heartbeat of America–Writing about the World of Work. In our reading and writing this semester, we will explore different kinds of work in contemporary U.S. culture. We will read and discuss narratives of men and women’s working lives and explore the changing nature of work in the post-industrial United States. You will read and respond, both orally and in writing, to texts from a variety of genres, including oral histories, memoirs, academic essays, and scholarly writings from such fields as history, economics, and sociology.
Professor Tatu MWF 10:00 – 10:50 a.m.
English 100-02: Introduction to Academic Writing
Writing enhancement in academic settings. Includes reading and analysis of published essays, practice in research, and production of a research paper. Writing skills are designed to build fundamental skills step by step through exploration of rigorous academic content. Critical thinking skills move from skill building to application of the skills that require critical thinking. Open only to students whose first language is not English. Prerequisite(s): First Year Seminar and permission of the instructor.
Professor Kang MW 2:45 – 4:00 p.m.
English 100-03 & 04: Introduction to Academic Writing [W]
In this course, students will explore the reading and writing practices of the academic community. Through primary and secondary research, and through guided writing practice, students will critically examine what these practices mean and consider how students’ own reading and writing practices fit into those of “the Academy.” While additional texts will be assigned, writing produced by students in the class will serve as the principal texts for the course. This class will be of particular interest to students who have had limited experience with academic writing. Prerequisite: First Year Seminar.
Professor Uzendowski Sec. 03 TR 9:30 – 10:45 a.m.
Sec. 04 TR 2:45 – 4:00 p.m.
English 128-01: Jewish American Literature: Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? [H]
American Jewish writing has been shaped as much by social, cultural and political considerations as by literary ones. In this course, we will consider the Jewish American experience in American literature by focusing on Jewish American texts—fiction, essays, film and television—that define, revise and critique “American identity.” What is the role of national, personal and cultural histories, of language and gender, in Americans’ self-definitions? What is the relationship of “Jewish American” literature to the American literary canon? How is it shaped by questions of what constitutes ethnicity and how does that reveal itself in these works? As we examine these multi-layered concerns we will also look at the stereotypes that are confronted and upheld in these texts. We will explore the various ways the Jewish American experience has been defined and examine its connection to immigration, acculturation, alienation and the rise of material wealth. We will investigate a fundamental question: Is there such a thing as “Jewish Fiction” and if so, will it continue to evolve? Students will read and watch texts by writers including Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, Grace Paley, Allen Ginsberg, Art Spiegelman, Joan Silver and Lena Dunham to explore these and other concerns as they gain fluency in thinking and writing about contemporary literature through discussion, weekly essay responses, and class presentations. A mid-term paper, and a final assignment are also required.
Professor Gilmore MW 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
English 135: Literature and Human Experience [H, V]
An examination of a significant social or cultural problem as reflected in literary texts. Topics vary from semester to semester and will be announced during the registration period. May be taken more than once with different content.
English 135-01: Reading Animals
This course investigates the ways that non-human animals are situated within literary and cultural discourses. We will seek to understand how various animals are valued and used in our culture, what ideas underlie such distinctions, and how the human/animal relation is represented in literary texts. The course begins with a broad introduction to the ways animals have been theorized within our own (Western) intellectual tradition and then examines representations of the human/animal boundary in twentieth-century and contemporary short stories, poems, and novels.
Professor Rohman TR 9:30 – 10:45 a.m.
English 135-02: The Rise of Individualism
This course offers an introduction to English Literature from the late Middle Ages through the seventeenth century. Particular attention will be given to comparing and contrasting different genres of literature, including, epic, romance, sonnet, tragedy, and the novel. We will also discuss the competing ways in which early modern texts represent the rise of individualism and subjectivity.
Professor Cefalu TR 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
English 135-03: Race and Identity: Ethnic American Literature
This course examines national identity and history from the perspectives of ethnic American writers. Students will analyze a variety of works published or performed since 1900 including the fiction of Zora Neale Hurston and Louise Erdrich, the lyrics of Kendrick Lamar and Lin-Manuel Miranda, and the comedy of Richard Pryor and Aziz Ansari. Intersectionality will guide many of our class discussions. To analyze the complex influence of race, class, sexuality, and gender on American society, students will compare literary texts by authors from different cultural backgrounds and eras. Reading literature by African American, Native American, Asian American, and Latinx writers, students will be able to identify and analyze shared themes across distinct ethnic American literary traditions and movements. Historical touchstones that will guide our discussions include the Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights Act, the Chicano Movement, the Red Power Movement, the Vietnam War, 9/11, and Black Lives Matter. We will also discuss how contemporary authors promote coalition building, social justice and allyship in their creative work. Authors we will read include Oscar Casares, Gloria Anzaldúa, Daniyal Mueenuddin, Nam Le, Zitkala Sa, Jhumpa Lahiri, Sherman Alexie, Dave Chappelle, Langston Hughes, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Barack Obama.
Professor Uzendowski TR 1:15 – 2:30 p.m.
English 151: Introduction to Creative Writing [W]
An introduction to the fundamentals of creative writing, focusing on the elements of craft. We will develop strategies for generating, developing, revising, and editing in the genres of poetry and fiction. Through intensive reading, writing, and discussion, students will explore ways to enhance their own creative processes as they identify and seek to duplicate techniques modeled by published writers. Students will discover ways to critique the work of their peers and to respond with insight to the imaginative writing of a diverse range of writers and, in so doing, find new and innovative ways to re-see their own work. Open to first-year students & sophomores.
Professor Gilmore MW 12:45 – 2:00 p.m.
English 202: Writing Seminar [W]
Writing seminars are courses that make writing and language their explicit subject. Examples include seminars in writing genres (memoir and travel writing), in rhetoric and argument, or in the way language and discourse constitute particular cultural constructions (“the animal” or “race”). While each seminar has a specific focus (to be announced in its subtitle), all seminars emphasize the process of academic reading and writing and use student writing as a primary text. Prerequisite: FYS.
English 202-01 & 02: Writing with Digital Media
In this class we will write with—and about—digital media like blogs, wikis, and ebooks. We’ll consider how digital writing technologies give (and sometimes take away) control over the production of texts and their various elements like document design and publication format. We will also consider how the affordances of digital media enable multimodal forms of composing. You do not need previous experience with digital writing technologies to succeed in this class, but you should be willing to learn to work with new software packages.
Professor Laquintano Section 01 MWF 9:00 – 9:50 a.m
Section 02 MWF 11:00 – 11:50 a.m.
English 202-03: Writing Your Life History
In this course we will engage in reflective processes to write our life histories and subsequently analyze the structural motors that have impacted and shaped our identities. We will examine several different creatively constructed published life histories to unpack how they are written, what the author focuses on and how the stories illuminate various social issues. Then, we will engage with the objects and artifacts that make up our own lives and conceptions of self in order to piece together a multimodal vision of our own life histories. Finally, we will work together as a class to analyze the importance of each other’s narratives.
Professor Van Asselt MWF 3:10 – 4:00 p.m.
English 202-04: Why Rhetoric Matters
The word “rhetoric” is commonly employed these days, especially in the media, to characterize unreliable and insincere speech, or language that is formulaic and distracting: “oh, that’s just her rhetoric. Ignore it.” Rhetoric is actually much more than this: it is both the use of, and the study of, purposive language intentionally fashioned to make things happen in the world—to urge action or encourage identification. In this section of 202, we will focus on rhetoric’s persuasive power, as first explicated by Plato and Aristotle, and then consider why an understanding of rhetoric matters, whether you are a citizen, a consumer, or a student. While the course will focus on student work and require attendance at various college presentations, it will also include a considerable amount of reading, including excerpts from classical texts, the Declaration of Independence, Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” 1984, and more.
Professor Donahue TR 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
English 205: Seminar in Textual Practices [H]
This course provides students with an introduction to the theory and methodology of literary study by focusing on three questions: What is a literary text? How do we read a literary text? How do we write about a literary text? By considering the rhetorical, aesthetic, and ideological issues that determine literary value, students examine their assumptions about literature. Required of all English majors and minors. Prerequisite: Any introductory English Department course (100-199) or AP credit or approval of instructor.
English 205- 01: Seminar in Textual Practices [H]
In this course we will address some fundamental questions raised by the practice of literary interpretation: What is a literary text? What critical tools and vocabularies might one use in order to analyze literature? How has the field of literary criticism changed over the last fifty years or so? How should we theorize the relationship between the author and reader of a literary text? In raising and attempting to answer these questions we will discuss literary methodologies and forms of literary criticism, including reader-response, psychoanalytic, feminist, Marxist, and deconstructive interpretive strategies. To this end, our primary texts– Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Henry James’s The Turn of The Screw, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper and Art Spiegelman’s Maus — will be supplemented with secondary essays that exemplify various schools of critical interpretation. The general aim of the course is to provide you with an appreciation of critical pluralism and the historically contingent status of any literary work of art.
Professor Cefalu TR 9:30 – 10:45 a.m.
English 205- 02: Seminar in Textual Practices [H]
Centered around a diverse set of short-stories, poems, novels, and graphic novels, this course is designed to initiate you into the practices of literary appreciation, analysis, and interpretation– practices vital to your success as an English Major or Minor. We will be interested in what makes texts “literary,” and in how we analyze those texts from a scholarly perspective. Discussing the relationship between literary texts and culture, we will approach texts from multiple angles and explore the way critical theory opens up certain elements of literature. We will also use art-making in the classroom to respond to literary works, and in doing so will experience innovation and diversity through personal creativity.
Professor Rohman TR 1:15 – 2:30 p.m.
English 206: Literary History [H]
How is literary history constructed? What is the canon of great works and how is it formed? This course enquires into the specific cultural practices that construct literature and engages students in an exploration of canon formation, marginalization, intertextuality, and influence. Readings are chosen from British, American, and Anglophone literatures and from various genres; texts from at least three literary periods are studied in depth. Prerequisite: Any 100 level literature course or AP credit or approval of instructor.
English 206-01: Literary History: When In Doubt, Go to the Library [H]
How can we know the history of literature? How do we make sure we have the right texts to read? How do we study authors’ careers, and how does doing say change how we say their writings—and the times in which they lived? Can we get at literary history by looking at readers as well as authors? Emphasizing familiarization with a wide range of library research tools, we will explore these questions through several case studies: the maddening magic of editing literary texts, the often-difficult relationship between authors’ careers and literary periods, and the reading habits of pre-Civil War Easton residents via the Easton Library Company’s records. Field trips and research at the Easton Area Public Library may be required.
Professor Phillips MWF 1:10 – 2:00 p.m.
English 206-02: “Let the World Be a Black Poem”: The Black Arts Movement and its Legacy [H]
This course explores the emergence, development and legacy of the international Black Arts Movement. Characterized as the “spiritual sister’ to the Black Power Movement, the Black Arts Movement sought to develop a “Black aesthetic” with the potential to radically change world. In the exploration of this artistic movement—which was largely a literary movement—the course will examine the following issues: 1) what constitutes “Black art” and/or “Black literature?” 2) how did the Black Arts Movement and its practitioners both expand and limit conceptualizations of ‘blackness,” “literature,” and “art?” and 3) what aesthetic and theoretical resonances of the Black Arts Movement are present in contemporary Black literature today? The course will pursue these question through closes readings and listening to poetry, novels, plays and music by figures like Nikki Giovanni, Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, James Brown and Aretha Franklin.
Professor Gill-Sadler TR 9:30 – 10:45 a.m.
English 217: Psychoanalysis and Literature [H]
Freud was fascinated by literature’s power to illuminate the human psyche. Indeed, key concepts in psychoanalysis—such as the Oedipus Complex—were inspired by Freud’s wide-ranging reading in European literature. Like most literary narratives, psychoanalysis proceeds from the assumption that people are complicated: their motives, desires, fears, and commitments are opaque, and the depths of a person (or a text) thus invite exploration. Psychoanalytic criticism aspires to explain authors, characters, texts, and even readers. But can it? We’ll explore a range of issues related to this broad question, from the political potential of psychoanalytic readings to issues of gender and sexuality to the “ethics” of reading against, rather than for, the “intention” of an author. At the same time, we’ll consider how psychoanalysis, from its outset, evolved as a form of literature in its own right. We’ll read classic psychoanalytic texts (Freud, Jung, Klein, Kristeva, Lacan, Zizek, and Brooks) alongside fictional narratives from Shakespeare to the films of David Lynch, in order to see what psychoanalysis can tell us about storytelling and vice versa. Warning: possible side effects of this course include increased suspicion of both texts and your own reading practices, a fear that even the intimately personal is actually deeply political, and a dangerous tendency to say things like “it’s the text that analyzes you.” On the plus side, you may also become a better reader.
Professor Wadiak MWF 2:10 – 3:00 p.m.
English 225: Contemporary U.S. Fiction [H]
This course focuses on contemporary U.S. fiction. For our purposes, “contemporary” is defined as work written since 2000, and the course explores what sets such work apart from writing of other times and places. In order to do so, the course is organized around two broad characteristics of the contemporary world: the post-9/11 moment, in which a perpetual “War On Terror” has become the norm; and the social media moment, in which anyone with access to a computer or smart phone can construct stories about themselves on Facebook and Instagram. After attuning ourselves to what these characteristics mean for contemporary U.S. culture, we study writers who have responded in compelling ways to 9/11 and the subsequent War on Terror. We then turn attention to work written in the first-person to ask how subjectivity has changed in an age in which many people are obsessively or even narcissistically posting about themselves in social media. How, we will ask, is writing a novel different from other forms of expression available in our technology-saturated environment? Might there be a connection between the post 9/11 moment and new forms of subjectivity? Particular books studied varies by semester, but might include Leanne Shapton, Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Teju Cole, Open City, Ben Lerner, Leaving the Atocha Station, Aimee Bender, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, Adelle Waldman, The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., and Monique Truong, Bitter in the Mouth.
Prerequisite: a 100 level literature course, AP credit, or permission of instructor.
Professor Belletto TR 9:30 – 10:45 a.m.
English 231: Journalistic Writing [W]
This course introduces the fundamentals of journalism through its most basic form: news reporting. Students will learning how to write clearly and succinctly, conduct interviews, locate and use accurate and relevant information, think analytically, recognize a good story, and work on deadline. The course also examines the changing media landscape as it pertains to digital media and the role of the journalist in a democratic society. Prerequisite: FYS
Professor Parrish Thursday, 7:00 p.m. – 9:50 p.m.
English 250 Writing Genres [W]
Writing Genres introduces students to the expectations and purposes of a particular written genre and offers students intensive practice composing texts that function within the conventions and boundaries of this genre. Students will compose multiple texts in drafts, participate in workshops and discussions, and produce critical analyses and reviews. Sample genres include the essay, autobiography, hypertext and electronic media, travel writing, and science writing. Prerequisite: FYS
English 250-01& 02 Writing Genres: Professional Writing and Communication [W]
In this workshop course, we will define, examine, analyze, and practice professional writing and communication through the rhetorical concepts of audience, purpose, and context. We will develop and strengthen the ability to think critically, understand visual design principles, deliver presentations, communicate effectively as part of a team, and understand the written and presentation conventions of several different subgenres of professional writing and communication. Work for this course includes multiple individual and team-written documents and several individual and team presentations.
Professor Clayton Section-01: TR 8:00 – 9:15 a.m.
Section-02: TR 9:30 – 10:45 a.m.
English 254: Humor Writing [W]
A seminar in which we closely examine the work of exceptional humor writers and try to write a whole lot better than they ever did or ever could—even if they were granted eternal life. No, seriously: a seminar in which we study selected strategies of humor writers to determine how such strategies might inspire and enliven our own writing and allow us to generate new perspectives. Supportive atmosphere in which we destroy one another’s will to live. No, seriously: supportive atmosphere. Students will compile a final portfolio of humor writing in varied genres, including essays, flash fiction, short scripts, and mock memoirs. Required: a great, big (or even middling) sense of humor, tolerance. Prerequisite FYS
Professor Upton TR 11:00 – 12:15 p.m.
English 256: Fiction Writing Workshop [W]
In this Intermediate fiction workshop you will practice and discuss many phases of the writing process–note taking, drafting, revising and offering feedback–so that you can continue to develop your own process and discipline. Your writing will be the primary texts, and reading and critiquing the work of your peers will often contribute to your own revisions. (“I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pencil,” said Truman Capote, and these are words to live by.) In workshop, we’ll discuss “what works,” and “what doesn’t work,” but more importantly we’ll investigate why something is not successful on the page. In doing so we’ll look at the tools we have as writers: plot, structure, setting, point of view, pace, diction. All these issues of craft help us make the decisions we make as writers. How do we decide the point of view of our stories? How do we introduce a character and make her come alive? How can the setting reflect a character’s inner life? These are the kinds of questions we will try to answer in our own work. We will also read published work to explore those same concerns: what are the complex decisions authors make in constructing their stories. How do published writers explore their own issues of craft? Prerequisites: English 151 or 257 or permission of the instructor
Professor Gilmore W 7:00 pm – 9:50 pm
English 257: Poetry Writing Workshop [W]
Writing poetry should be an exciting endeavor—an activity that enhances your sense of what language can do and what you can do with language. This is a workshop course in which you will compose poems and experiment with exercises designed to stretch your capacity for writing imaginatively. You will read, listen to, and study poetry that encourages you to be daring on the page and out loud. Your poems and those of others in the class will be discussed during intensive revision sessions.
Prerequisites: English 151 or 256 or permission of the instructor
Professor Upton TR 2:45 – 4:00 p.m.
English 274: Taboos: Literary Sexualities [H, GM1]
Few contemporary issues generate as much controversy as same-gender attraction and relationships; fewer still are so deeply rooted in oppression, violence and discrimination. Literature, a vital tool of social investigation, plays a key role in exploding sexual taboos and the related politics of silence. The course will employ several angles of inquiry, including banned books, popular culture, activism, gender, religion and global cultures. Students will examine key historical moments in the modern history of gay and lesbian liberation; read across a variety of genres (short story, documentary, novel, drama, film); and engage the relevant critical terminology and theory.
Professor I. Smith TR 2:45 – 4:00 p.m.
English 301: Shakespeare [W]
Often regarded as sitting at the pinnacle of English literary studies, Shakespeare is not an unreachable figure but one whose texts resonate dynamically with issues of a writer embedded in and responsive to his society. Working in the public commercial theater of his time, he was subject to the derision, criticism, and marginalization that accompanied bias and condemnation. What kind of Shakespeare emerges from such a pressure-filled social context: the elite playwright and poet that most students invariably encounter, or a writer and thinker fully committed to the politics of language and art? As a working writer, Shakespeare uses drama and poetry as vehicles to reflect on the role and function of the playhouse in a society that regarded the theater as a potentially marginal and subversive institution.
Prerequisite: English 205 or permission of the instructor.
Professor I. Smith TR 11:00 – 12:15 p.m.
English 320: Whose English? [H,W]
Do millennials have a distinctive way of talking? Why do people from Pittsburgh stereotypically say “yinz” for “you”? How did English—originally a Germanic tongue—become what it is today, a weird stew of medieval German, Latin, French, Norse, and a smattering of other languages—and how will it evolve in response to technological change and globalization? How have creative writers from Shakespeare to rap artists pushed against the boundaries of what English can do, transforming it in the process? And what about the politics of English as a global language in the twenty-first century? Who gets to decide what “good English” is? What is or isn’t “politically correct” (or for that matter, whether the term “political correctness” is preferable to, say, “inclusivity”)? We’ll explore all these questions and more in a course that asks you to consider the shape of the language we use every day: what it is, how it got that way, and where it’s headed. Prerequisite: English 205 or permission of the instructor.
Professor Wadiak MWF 10:00 – 10:50 a.m.
English 326: Gender, Class and Race in Romantic Poetry [GM1, H, W]
Displaced workers, increasing income inequality, voters’rights, women’s rights, personal and systemic racism, inequities in the criminal justice system, industrial pollution, restrictions on immigration and civil liberties, a seemingly endless war sparked by a reign of terror…..21st-century Americans are not the first people who have had to address this complex web of social, political, and economic issues. So, too, did people living in Great Britain and its West Indian colonies during what has come to be known as the “Romantic period”—the period between roughly 1780 and 1830. This course will focus on ways in which Romantic era texts—especially poems—weigh in on these issues, reproducing and/or challenging injustices related to gender, class and race. In addition to analytical and creative writing assignments, students will do group presentations on topics that can enrich our understanding of the era and its literature, such as the movement to abolish slavery or the founding of groups like the “Society for Superseding the Necessity of Climbing Boys, by encouraging a new method of sweeping chimneys.” Writers to be studied include S.T. Coleridge, Mary Prince, Olaudah Equiano, Lord Byron, Mary Shelley, Dorothy and William Wordsworth, and a host of important but less well-known writers of the period. Prerequisite: English 205 or permission of the instructor.
Professor Byrd MW 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
English 329: The American 1950s [GM1, H, W]
Believe it or not, the 1950s were some of the most exciting years in American literature. Think about the books you still see on the “Summer Reading” table at Barnes & Noble: J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, John Knowles’s A Separate Peace, Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s—these are all works written during the 1950s that are for many readers still relevant in 2018. In addition to these works, some of the best and most important novels of the twentieth century were published during the 1950s, including Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, James Baldwin’s Go Tell It On the Mountain, William Gaddis’s The Recognitions, Ann Petry’s The Narrows, and William S. Burroughs’s Naked Lunch. These works have been enormously influential since their publication. In fact, once one begins to look, one sees the influence of a 1950s sensibility not only in literature, but also in popular culture, from the television series Mad Men to the 2015 Oscar-nominated film Carol, based on Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel The Price of Salt. In this course, we will explore the 1950s as a fascinating, dynamic decade for American literature and culture. Far from the cartoon, Leave It to Beaver-version of the 1950s in which everyone is a straight, white, Protestant suburbanite, we will use literature as a way to understand the diversity of mid-century America: the 1950s were not only years of Cold War and conformity, but also of a second renaissance in African-American writing, of a flowering of the Beat Generation, and of the cohesion of literatures that could be identified as gay and Asian-American. In order to understand the range and complexity of 1950s literature, we will read Salinger’s Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters, John Okada’s No-No Boy, Flannery O’Connor’s A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories, Nabokov’s Lolita, Ellison’s Invisible Man, Alice Childress’s Trouble in Mind, Tennessee Williams’s Suddenly, Last Summer, Highsmith’s The Price of Salt, Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Other Poems, Philip Roth’s Goodbye, Columbus, as well as poetry of the New York and Confessional schools. Prerequisite: English 205 or permission of the instructor.
Professor Belletto TR 2:45 – 4:00 p.m.
English 338: Metaphysical Poetry [H,W]
In this course we will study metaphysical poetry. Metaphysical poems are witty, cerebral poems that use elaborate metaphors or “conceits” to comment on a range of elusive, “big topics,” including the nature of love, death, evil, and God. We will consider not only the form, style, and imagery of such poems, but also the historical contexts in which metaphysical poetry emerged in England. To what extent, for example, does the scientific revolution influence the anxious poetry of John Donne? In what manner does the rise of Protestantism help to shape the theocentric poetry of George Herbert, Richard Crashaw, and Thomas Traherne? In answering these questions and others, we will read poetry of the seventeenth century, after which we will compare such foundational seventeenth-century poetry with the later work of Emily Dickinson, T.S. Eliot, and several contemporary poets. Prerequisite: English 205 or permission of the instructor.
Professor Cefalu W 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
English 342: Modern British Literature [W]
In her 1924 essay, “Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown,” Virginia Woolf famously wrote that “about December 1910, human character changed.” “All human relations have shifted,” she continued, and “when human relations change there is at the same time a change in religion, conduct, politics, and literature.” Woolf’s passage describes the profound upheavals and experimentation with all things artistic in the period between 1890 and 1940. What came to be known as modernism was—in literature and elsewhere—an approach that was obsessed with innovation, avant-garde thinking, radical change and rejection of tradition. “Make it new,” became the battle cry for revising almost everything in aesthetics—a motto that Stephen Ross usefully calls modernism’s “answer” to Marx’s earlier demand for a “ruthless criticism of everything existing.” What we call literature has never been the same. This course immerses us in the intense literary innovations of the British modernist period. Among our considerations will be how science and technology, evolutionary theory, the New Woman, and colonialism upend traditional notions of what it means to be human at the turn of the twentieth century. We will investigate these changes in texts by writers such as Joseph Conrad, E. M. Forster, James Joyce, D. H. Lawrence, and, of course, Virginia Woolf. Prerequisite: English 205 or permission of the instructor.
Professor Rohman W 1:10 – 4:00 p.m.
English 350: Writing in the Age of Social Media [W]
How did Wikipedia become one of the most successful writing projects in history? How did Amazon’s ranking system come to have such power over whether a book finds an audience? Does Facebook have a responsibility to police fake news on its platform? And if a piece of writing doesn’t appear on the first three pages of a Google search, does it even exist? By addressing some of these questions, this course will ask students to consider how computational systems, from social media to search engines, influence the production, circulation, and consumption of writing. We will begin by considering what it means for writers to work in technological systems, and we will then look at core issues writers face in a brave new world of ubiquitous screens. These issues might include new opportunities (collaboration and audience building) and new risks (being trolled or harassed). Students should be prepared to read at least 200 pages of scholarly nonfiction per week. Also, because this course focuses on the Internet, students should be prepared to encounter a limited amount of very dark material (e.g., we will be reading Whitney Phillips’s award-winning study of trolling). Feel free to contact Prof. Laquintano with any questions.
Prerequisite: English 205 or permission of the instructor.
Professor Laquintano MWF 1:10 – 2:00 p.m.
English 369- Writers in Focus: Edwidge Danticat and Junot Díaz [H,W]
Edwidge Danticat and Junot Díaz are two of the most prominent, contemporary writers and public intellectuals. Born in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, respectively, Danticat’s and Díaz’s work highlights the history and legacy of slavery, colonialism and dictatorship in both countries and throughout the Caribbean and Black diaspora. This course will closely examine a significant portion of each writer’s literary corpus and explore how each writer troubles the boundaries that distinguish American literature from Caribbean literature, historical memory from historical fiction and personal history from national history. Prerequisite: English 205 or permission of the instructor.
Professor Gill-Sadler TR 1:15 – 2:30 p.m.
English 375: Making English [W]
Have you ever wondered how the texts you read in English classes got that way? A huge range of things can happen to a text between a moment of authorial inspiration and a reader’s encounter with printed (or digital) text. This course explores such textual mysteries through making a digital edition of a literary work from Lafayette’s Special Collections. As we’ll see in producing the edition, this kind of text-making provides a perfect occasion for thinking in new ways about literary theory and history, and about our own work as writers and readers. After collaboratively making the edition, students will develop individual projects that relate their own special interests in English studies to our edition. The course thus promises two big takeaways: a literary resource to serve the public for years to come and a new understanding of what excites you about English that can last a lifetime. Prerequisite: English 205, 206, and one 300-level English course.
Professors Falbo and Phillips MWF 11:00 – 11:50 a.m.