Fall 2021

ENG 3010: Survey of English Literature I

 Prof. Laura Kolb

In this course, we will track the development of literary forms and literary culture in the British Isles. Beginning with a selection of Old English poems and riddles, the course will move through the epic Beowulf; stories from Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and Marie de France’s lais; and plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries. We will also encounter lyric poems by Philip Sidney, Lady Mary Wroth, John Donne, and Katherine Philips. The course will culminate with John Milton’s biblical epic, Paradise Lost. Our main goals in the class are twofold: to become spectacular close-readers of poetry (and, by extension, other types of writing) and to analyze how the texts we study respond to changing political, economic, social, and religious contexts.​

ENG 3015: Survey of English Literature II

 Prof. Harold Ramdass

The 300 years of British literary history we survey this semester represents a profound meditation upon the developments, movements, and events that have shaped the British past and our present world. We examine how our texts reflected upon the French Revolution, internal colonialisms, slavery and abolition, industrialization, scientific and technological change, the rise and fall of empire, world wars, and the voices of immigrant Britons defining their literary space. We’ll examine writers experimenting with form and genre, engaging global influences, and reimagining a relationship with the classical past. Our approach emphasizes close reading of texts situated in their historical and literary contexts. Students will explore their interests in short reflective pieces, a midterm, a final exam, and two scaffolded argument-driven essays.​

ENG 3020 Survey of American Literature I

Prof. R. Rodriguez 

What if we consider the idea of America’s greatness (often symbolized by the image of the “city upon a hill”) from the perspective of the citizens of the city underground: the colonized, scapegoats, outlaws, the poor, slaves, women, immigrants?  How might such a shift in viewpoint impact our understanding of the nation’s founding concepts and ideals: utopia, community, fellowship, citizenship, equality, liberty, democracy, and other life pursuits?

In addition to the survey’s focus on texts and genres, our course will tap American literature’s utopian vein and engage in a critical and imaginative assessment of writers invested in thinking about workable alternatives to the status quo.

English 3025: Survey of American Literature II

Prof. Frank Cioffi

In this course we will read examples of canonical American literature from 1865 to the present. We will look at works by well-known writers such as Henry James, Mark Twain, Willa Cather, and Kate Chopin, as well as at works by somewhat less-known or celebrated authors such as Constance Fenimore Woolson, Gertrude Bonnin, and Charles Chesnutt. The text will be The Concise Heath Anthology of American Literature Volume II, 1865 to the Present, Second Edition, Paul Lauter [editor], ISBN 10: 1285080009 / ISBN 13: 9781285080000.

In part the course (and the text I’ve chosen) seeks to expand the traditional canon of American literature, emphasizing the wide diversity of voices that make up our national literature.

There will be in-class writing required during every class session, as well as outside-of-class assignments.

 ENG 3032: Ethnic Literature: Asian American Literature

Prof. Eva Shan Chou

This course explores the wide range of works written by Asian Americans in the U.S. from the earliest decades of the previous century to the present day. Beginning when Chinese and Japanese were here but not allowed to be citizens through to today’s many nations of origin (India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines and more), immigrant and native-born writers were continually expressing themselves and looking for readers. Before and after World War II were self-starters like the great Hisaye Yamamoto, Toshio Mori, John Okada, and Louis Chu. In the twenty-first century, writers like Jhumpa Lahiri, Ha Jin, Li Yiyun, and Antony Veasna So have laid claim to their part in American literature. The key events for these modern Asian Americans were the key events of modern America: World War II, the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and the 1965 Immigration Act to start with. The novels, short stories, plays, film scripts they have written in this context are the materials of this course.

ENG 3201: Topics in Politics and Literature: Literature and Social Protest

Prof. Jackie DiSalvo

The poet Shelley made the extravagant claim that poets are “The Unacknowledged Legislators of the World.”  Literature has a powerful influence on politics and politics on literature. We will study analyses of US society and especially movements to change it and activists in those movements .We will also look at visions of social transformation and dreams of an alternative society created by the literary imagination. The class will include American, English, and Third World fiction, poetry, essays and films which address empire and war, racism, gender, inequality and corporate domination of the economy and politics. The syllabus is still in formation, but the organizing to be addressed includes: the Civil Rights Movement, the anti-war, anti-imperialist and the woman’s movements233.   Works will probably include: memoirs and biography by Ann Moody (Civil Rights activist), and  William Eckhart (Vietnam Vet), black liberation speeches by Malcolm X,  novels by Manlio Argueta, Luis Rodriguez, and Marge Piercy; poetry by William Blake, Amiri Baraka, Bertolt Brecht, Langston Hughes, Marge Piercy, June Jordan, Allen Ginsberg, Robert Bly, The Last Poets, Latin and Central American poets: Pablo Neruda, Ernesto Cardenal and Nicholas Guillen, Spoken word and Rap performers and other protest poetry as well as films, The Inheritance (labor history), and The Heist: Who Stole the American Dream?


 Prof. Mary McGlynn

This course examines British and Irish fiction and films composed both during the Thatcher years and about this time. We will compare visions of Britain that focus on class and those that ignore it or treat it as an antiquated concept; discuss the relationship of Irish culture to British culture; and explore the reconstruction of Britain’s past. We conclude with recent looks back to the early eighties. Throughout, we will think about how the working class body is viewed; when/how emotion is displayed; what role the heritage industry plays in defining ‘the working class;’ and how popular culture, especially music, shapes and is shaped by artistic movements, all while developing a critical vocabulary about visual texts, as well as honing close reading, analytical, and writing skills


Prof. Grace Schulman

You don’t have to be a secret poet to enroll in The Elements of Poetry (although secret poets are welcome, too). If you love good books, if you enjoy reading Shakespeare or Chaucer or Dickinson, if you have ever been moved or disturbed or frightened by the sounds of the language, if you have wanted to write but can’t get started, this course is all yours.

You will learn to present emotion in images, which will unlock your innermost feelings. You will be writing in basic forms, such as the riddle, as well as in freer forms. You will be writing about poetry, and learning how major poets, from Shakespeare to Elizabeth Bishop to Langston Hughes, convey their thoughts and loves and passions.

Best of all, you will be sharing your poems with the class in a workshop, and learning to use language in ways that will convey your wishes, fears, and dreams.

Your professor is Grace Schulman, whose latest book of poems is The Broken String(Houghton Mifflin), and whose new book of essays is First Loves and Other Adventures (U of Michigan). She was Poetry Editor of The Nation (1972-2006) and Director of the Poetry Center, 92nd Street Y (1974-84).

If you have passed English 2150 or 2800/2850, you are eligible to enroll in this course.

ENG 3680: Advanced Essay Writing 

Professor Cheryl Smith

This intensive writing course will challenge your assumptions about non-fiction writing and help you develop your own signature style. You will be encouraged to write in new ways about new subjects as you read and produce essays belonging to the category of creative non-fiction. Forms we will explore may include multi-genre writing (essays that incorporate techniques borrowed from other forms, such as poetry, diary writing, still and moving image, and audio); micro essays; literary memoir; auto-criticism (analytic essays that incorporate autobiographical reflection); imaginative non-fiction, which weaves together non-fiction and fiction; the lyric essay; and literary journalism. As we read and write together, we will consider the nature of truth, the ethical and political dimensions of representing ourselves and others, and the transformative power of memory.

Along the way, you will discover methods for using language more consciously and for different purposes, effects, and audiences. You will try your hand at using a variety of sentence types and patterns to improve how your writing flows; explore creative paragraphing and sectioning to achieve different effects; learn to use grammatical and mechanical devices to control rhythm and meaning; study how the sounds of words and their associations can enhance vividness; and gain appreciation for the processes of revision and its opportunities. You will leave class having developed a sense of your unique style and a repertoire of tools to draw from in a variety of writing occasions.

This is a hybrid class, which means we meet together on campus 50% of the time and the other 50% of class time is realized remotely in digital platforms, including writing on our class blog and individual and small-group meetings with the professor in Zoom. You will need (reasonably) reliable Internet access to participate in class and the ability to work independently

ENG 3700: Introduction to Linguistics and Language Learning

 Prof. Gerry Dalgish

  • What is the difference between sentences like: Madonna is EAGER to please and Madonna is EASY to please?
  • How do you say “Cock‑a‑doodle‑do” in Russian? In Greek? In French? Why are these different?
  • Is there such a thing as a primitive language or dialect? What is a social dialect?
  • How does Black (African-American) English differ from so-called Standard American English?
  • Where do new words and slang expressions come from, and why aren’t they in the dictionary?
  • Can computers understand language?
  • What are some differences between women’s and men’s speech?
  • What makes language in advertising so deceptive?
  • How is it that children learn language effortlessly, without formal education or structure?What does this say about humans in general and their capacity for language?

If these questions interest you, so might ENG 3700. In the course of examining these and similar questions, ENG 3700 investigates the nature and structure of language, ability we possess that is one of the few areas still uniquely human and beyond computer understanding. Students interested in culture, anthropology, society, psychology, philosophy, religion, foreign languages, advertising, marketing, computer science and English will have much to learn from and much to contribute to a course like this. English majors should know that many graduate programs require Linguistics courses, and there are still opportunities in the field of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). 

ENG 3720: Women in Literature

Prof. Rafael Walker

Reflecting in verse on the differences between the sexes, Lord Byron—the Romantic poet and incorrigible rake—wrote, “Man’s love is of man’s life a thing apart / ‘Tis woman’s whole existence.” Many of the novels of Byron’s time and a generation after bore him out on this point, tethering women’s life trajectories so closely to the marriage plot that the two often appear synonymous. In this course, we’ll trace the development of the Anglo-American novel’s treatment of women over the course of the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, paying special attention to how writers both reinforce and subvert the stereotype of “woman in love.” We’ll begin in Regency-era England, with Jane Austen, one of the most skillful manipulators of the marriage plot. Henry James, born in the U.S. but made in England, will form the bridge transferring us from one country to the other. After considering a couple of American authors who reconceive women’s lives in the context of consumer culture and the transformation of the middle-class family, we’ll end with the Harlem Renaissance writer Nella Larsen, whose fiction vividly demonstrates the difference race makes in women’s relationship to love.

ENG 3950: Topics in Literature: Israeli Film and Literature in Translation

 Prof. Polina Kroik

In this course we will explore Israeli culture, society and politics through a wide selection of films and literary texts. Stepping away from divisive debates, we will focus on the complexity of Israeli society, including relations between Jews and Arabs, among Jewish immigrant groups and religious and secular groups. We will also practice analyzing and writing about film and literature. Works may include fiction by Amos Oz, David Grossman, and Sayed Kashua, and films such as Aviya’s Summer, Ushpizin, and The Band’s Visit.    

ENG 3950: Topics in Literature: TRUE CRIME

 Prof. Corey Mead

This class will focus on representations of crime and the criminal justice system in contemporary nonfiction, novels, cinema, and radio. Crime stories, both factual and fictional, reflect society’s notions of myriad social, economic, and philosophical issues and, in turn, shape the way we think about these issues. This course will examine how the past four decades of crime storytelling have represented, distorted, and filtered issues specifically related to crime and justice.​ 

ENG 4011: Literary Theory                                  

Prof. Stephanie Insley Hershinow

 “Poetry is not a luxury.” — Audre Lorde

Students in this course will use literature to think about big questions: why we make art, how we read fiction, and what different theoretical lenses can reveal. While texts will be drawn from a wide-array of authors and movements, this course will not proceed chronologically but rather will seek out useful and energizing relationships among surprising combinations of texts—both those traditionally categorized as literature and those traditionally categorized as criticism or theory. We will read challenging material together in a spirit of curiosity and playfulness. Along the way, we will encounter new ways to read literature and new ways literature might help us think about ourselves and our experiences. Authors will range from Plato to Pope, from Wilde to Lorde, and from Shklovsky to Felski. (This course is cross-listed as CMP 4011. Students may receive credit for either ENG 4011 or CMP 4011, not both. These courses may not substitute for each other in the F grade replacement policy.)

ENG 4015: The Globalization of English

Prof. Kamal Belmihoub

In this course, we will investigate the state of English in the world today – how the English language aids globalization, and how globalization changes English as it becomes central in diverse speech communities. English today is part of new modes of literacy and discourse practices, and has dynamic relationships with other languages and cultures. These changes call for us to re-examine our understandings of language standards, speech communities, linguistic identities, and best practices for English language teaching.

We will begin by studying the historical and geopolitical bases for the rise of English as a global language. We then explore the implications of decolonization, diaspora communities, and digital technology for diversifying the structure, norms, and usage of the English language. We will discuss the controversial history, changing attitudes, new competencies, and competing ideologies associated with English both globally and locally.

Specifically, this course has the following objectives:

  • To develop a critical understanding of the interconnections between globalization and the English language;
  • To analyze the ways a language changes from new communication technologies, plural speech communities, and transnational economic relationships;
  • To explore the ways in which the changes in English impact business practices and language teaching in the 21st century.​

ENG 4120 Chaucer

Prof. William McClellan

Chaucer’s masterpiece, a series of tales ranging from the serious and pious to the unabashedly earthy and outrageously funny, is one of the truly great works of English literature.  The tales are told by a cast of characters, including a knight, a drunken miller, a pretentious lawyer, a superficial nun, a cynical fat merchant, a skinny scholar, a priest, a con artist pardoner and the infamous Wife of Bath, who leaves mostly dead and broken husbands in her wake.

Written at the end of the fourteenth century, the tales are about knights, ladies, merchants, students, women, peasants and priests, even chickens and a fox, and, of course, lovers, both young and old, sad and true, happy and tragic.  The stories recount the hopes and dreams, success and failure, and just dumb luck of the many characters who strive to fulfill their desire and those who help them … and those who would deny them.

In our reading of selected tales we will focus on what the stories show about how desire impels the characters to act.  We will also examine the difference sexual difference may or may not make on how men and women act on their desire.  Finally, we will examine how these stories reveal the conflicting forces that both encourage and prevent individuals from overcoming the obstacles to their desire.

ENG 4130: Don Quixote and Translation in the Renaissance.

Prof. Adrian Izquierdo

Don Quixote is without a doubt one of the most important books ever written, and one of the most read, translated, and imitated books of the Renaissance. For some, it is the world’s best book, the first great novel of world literature, and the second most translated book after the Bible. This course will engage in a critical reading of this fundamental work of literature through the lens of Translation Studies. Emphasis will be given to the historical context in which it was written, the literary innovations it introduced, and the ideas on fiction, humor, madness, modernity, religion, race, imperialism, etc. that it explores.

Reading Cervantes’ Don Quixote as an encyclopedia of the world of the Renaissance will transport us back to the beginning of modernity and modern fiction. Throughout our semester-long conversation, a permanent dimension of the class will be the many ways Don Quixote has been imitated by some major English translators, writers and artists from its publication in 1605 through the 21st century.

Knowledge of a language other than English is useful, but not a course requirement.

ENG 4170: Milton

Prof. Steven Swarbrick

This course provides the opportunity for a close reading of John Milton’s epic poem, Paradise Lost. We will consider Milton’s place in literary history, his impact on later writers (such as the Romantics), his religious and political radicalism, and his poetic afterlives in contemporary culture (including the graphic novel and science fiction). Along the way, we will look toengage some critical reading practices—including disability studies, gender and sexuality studies, ecocriticism, and popular culture studies—to consider what they have to offer us by way of reading Milton. 


Prof. Carmel Jordan                                                                      

This course will examine the nuances of Romanticism.  In addition to exploring the Romantic obsession with ecstasy and the voluptuous surrender to beauty and imagination so evident in Romantic writers, we will examine the darker, more sinister side of Romantic literature.  The Satanic Hero and the Fatal Woman motifs will be looked at from different perspectives (including the feminist perspective), and works dealing with sexual and psychological vampirism will be explored.  The semester’s readings will cover a variety of literary forms by Romantic writers, as well as Victorian writers imbued with the Romantic spirit.  Readings will include Emily Bronte’s novel of ferocious obsessive love—Wuthering Heights, and Thomas Hardy’s novel about a woman whose beauty and innocence proved to be the cause of her damnation—Tess of the D’Urbervilles.  The novel’s spectacular ending takes place amidst the pagan monuments of Stonehenge.  We will luxuriate in the exquisite poetry of John Keats where bewitching enchantresses, voluptuous flowers and magical bedchambers lure the reader into a world of tantalizing beauty, and be drawn into the exotic opium-induced dreamscapes of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Thomas De Quincy.  These are just a few of the exciting writers we will be discussing next semester.

English 4615: The Global Business of Literature

Prof. Matthew Eatough

It has become commonplace among many literary critics to say that we are living in the era of a “new” world literature. Indeed, even the most cursory examination of a display table at Barnes and Noble will show just how “global” contemporary reading tastes can be—translations of Japanese and Chinese novels sit side-by-side with Anglophone texts from Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, while Spanish-language texts jostle for attention with Greek and Latin classics.

In this class, we will study the social, cultural, and economic factors that have led to the creation of this “new” world literature. Our approach to this topic will be broadly interdisciplinary: we will not only read works of world literature, but also examine world literature through the lenses of economics, history, and sociology.  Our readings will thus range from historical scholarship on the rise of the modern publishing industry to sociological studies of literary prizes, and from quantitative studies of literature to detailed accounts of anthologies, book series, and international cultural organizations (e.g., UNESCO). We will also discuss the role that translation plays in shaping the works that we read—and, equally important, the role that private foundations and government programs play in funding such translations.

ENG 4950: SPECIAL TOPICS: The Postcolonial Indian Ocean

Prof. Micheal Rumore

Postcolonial writing that portrays the Indian Ocean as a “cosmopolitan” site linking South Asia, East Africa, and the Middle East has emerged as a distinct literary subgenre. Beginning with Amitav Ghosh’s influential travelogue In an Antique Land, this course explores how South Asian and African diasporic writers have appealed to long histories of Indian Ocean multiculturalism in order to challenge persistent postcolonial eruptions of ethnonationalism, xenophobia, and state violence. Together, we will ask: why have postcolonial writers found the Indian Ocean such a rich imaginative resource for engaging pressing questions of anticolonialism in our globalized present? How do Indian Ocean literary works add to our understanding of colonial modernity? And, alternately, why do some writers question such rosy depictions of Indian Ocean exchange and Afro-Asian solidarity? Readings will include selections by Amitav Ghosh; Meena Alexander; Ngugi wa Thiong’o; Shailja Patel; M. G. Vassanji; Abdulrazak Gurnah; and Gaiutra Bahadur. Students interested in postcolonial studies; African studies; diaspora studies; and gender studies are especially encouraged to join. The capstone project will involve the collaborative creation (and hopefully publication!) of an open-access course companion on Indian Ocean literature.



Fall 2021