Fall 2022

Contemporary Black Literatures

BLS 3002

Prof. Shelly Eversley

Tue/Thu 10:45AM-12:00PM

Together we will design a practice for reading fiction, poetry, essays and plays by Black writers from the middle of the 20th century to the present moment.  Our conversations will investigate questions concerning African diasporas, protest, revolution, feminisms, gender identity, and afrofuturism.  Our class will not be limited to reading:  we will also explore the ways in which music and visual art forms shape meaning in contemporary Black creative expressions.  Our work will include practice in critical thinking, writing, and oral communication.  Everyone is welcome.​

This course can count towards the English major and fulfills the 3030-sequence requirement.

Survey of English

Literature I

English 3010

Prof. Allison Deutermann

Mon/Wed 12:50-2:05PM

Monsters, heroes, saints, and Satan: these are just some of the characters encountered in early English literature. Examining a range of different kinds of writing, from Anglo-Saxon poetry to Shakespearean drama to memoir, we will ask questions about how identity is formed and contested in these works. What does it mean to be a hero? What defines an outcast? How does the formation of identity influence, and sometimes come into explosive contact with, changes in the culture at large—for example, with the birth of the nation-state, the growth of science, or the expansion of empire? Readings will likely include Beowulf, selections from Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales and from The Book of Margery Kempe, Shakespeare’s Othello, and Milon’s Paradise Lost.

Survey of English

Literature II

English 3015

Prof. Christian Lewis

Mon/Wed 5:50-7:05PM





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.​


Survey of American Literature I

English 3020

Prof. Jennifer Caroccio Maldonado

Wed 5:50-7:05PM

This Survey of American Literature I is concerned with how the canon of American literature from 1619 to 1865 embodies individuality, imperialism, and industry. We’ll examine how writers create work that embody and contest the ideas of a new nation coming into being. Toni Morrison, in Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination, writes: “There seems to be a more or less tacit agreement among literary scholars that, because American literature has been clearly the preserve of white male views, genius, and power, those views, genius, and power are without relationship to and removed from the overwhelming presence of black people in the United States.” We’ll read the margins and between the lines of major and minor literary texts for how Blackness and indigeneity functions in American literature. This course will expand what our idea of “America” is by stretching the literary boundaries to include Latin America and the Caribbean. Ultimately, we’ll develop an understanding of literary criticism that allows us to both interrogate issues of marginalization and appreciate the aesthetic nature of Early American literature.

Survey of American Literature II

English 3025

Prof. Corey Mead

Mon/Wed 2:30-3:45PM

The end of the Civil War marked the beginning of the modern United States. Starting with Whitman and Dickinson, this course will provide an overview of the four major periods or styles or literary movements often used to describe American writing since 1865: Realism, Naturalism, Modernism, and Postmodernism. These broad headings will be challenged and redefined as we consider not just the canonical texts that generally define these terms but also texts by ethnic minorities, women, and others sometimes considered as less or even non-literary.






Ethnic Literature: Asian American Literature

English 3032

Prof. Eva Chou

Mon 10:45-12:00PM

Asian Americans are a fast-growing and increasingly visible part of American society. This course will focus on Asian-American writers of two distinct periods: the 2000s and, moving backwards in time, the period before World War II. It will begin in the present, with novels and short stories written by contemporary authors like Jhumpa Lahiri and Ha Jin. One or two films will be included here, and a graphic novel. In the second half of the course, we will move backwards in time, to the period before World War II. This is done so that we can learn where the world that we know today came from. The novels, short stories, and perhaps a film in this part of the course will give historical depth to our contemporary world. Authors will include Toshio Mori and John Okada. Through literary analyses, we will discuss issues in all time periods such as ethnic identity, acculturation, response to racism, and the relations among the different Asian groups.

Post-Colonial Literature

English 3036

Prof. Peter Hitchcock

Tue/Thu 10:45-12:00PM

This course examines literary works written in English in regions other that Great Britain and the United States, namely Africa, Australia, South Asia, Canada, and the Caribbean Islands.  The focus is on different genres produced in the post-colonial period including works by such writers as Nuruddin Farah, Nadine Gordimer, Chris Abani, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, Timothy Mo, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Jean Rhys, and Paule Marshall.

Survey of Caribbean Literature in English

English 3038

Prof. Kevin Frank

Tue/Thu 5:50-7:05PM

The “Real” Caribbean

Who is Caribbean? What is essentially Caribbean? How and why do answers to such questions matter? Each winter ads on subway cars and elsewhere remind us that for many people the Caribbean exists merely as a “creole,” escapist paradise, there to accommodate tourist fantasies: “No problem mon!” Yet, paradoxically, as the dominance and influence of dancehall music indicates, the Caribbean is also seen as offering certain “authentic” experiences, so much so that various musicians can rule or run up music charts by appropriating dancehall (Bieber and Sheeran come to mind, but there are many others, and how many features has Sean Paul had?) In this survey course, we will examine this paradox and try to separate Caribbean romance (myth/idealization) from Caribbean realism, with a consistent focus on authenticity, along with issues of alienation, agency, and creolization. Speaking of creolization, “Let’s get together, and feel all right?/!” References will be made to Caribbean musical forms such as calypso and dancehall-reggae.

Topics in Politics and Literature

English 3201

Prof. Jackie DiSalvo

Tue/Thu 4:10-5-25PM

Literature and Social Protest

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 movements.

Elements of Poetry: Presenting Subject Matter

English 3640

Prof. Grace Schulman

Tue/Thu 5:50-7:05PM

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 Without a Claim (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Mariner Books), 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).






Modern World Drama

English 3770

Prof. Stephanie Vella

This course examines dramatic texts that emerged around the world from the mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries.  Plays from a wide range of languages, cultures, and geographical locations—including selections from Europe, the Americas, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia—will be considered in conversation with changes in production economics, staging technology, and acting technique. This period witnessed an unprecedented mobility for theatre artists and styles, facilitated by touring, film and photography, and wider availability of translations. This mobility, however, took place in a situation of uneven power dynamics facilitated by global colonialism and capitalism. We will therefore encounter these plays and artists in their socio-political contexts and will emphasize consideration of the ethical stakes of cross-cultural influence and cultural appropriation.

Holocaust Literature

English 3810

Prof. Erika Dreifus

Tue/Thu 4:10-5:25PM

The tension between history and literature is perhaps never more evident than in attempts to reconstruct the history of the Holocaust and the destruction of European Jewry that accompanied it. Though often considered unspeakable, unimaginable, and unrepresentable, the Holocaust has given rise to an ever-growing body of literature, a tiny fraction of which we will read and discuss in this course. Our aims will be to establish a context for reading Holocaust literature; to analyze a range of Holocaust-related texts including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry; to understand their contributions to our understandings of history and literature; and to consider some of the major arguments around Holocaust fictions.

Enrollment in this section of this course means that the student knows that the instructor intends to employ a Lockdown Browser for the class’s exams. This system restricts what students can access on their computers during online quizzes and tests—preventing students for example, from accessing other websites or applications. It does not monitor students using real-time or recorded video and does not access the content on students’ computers or keep a record of students’ activities for later inspection or use by CUNY. If students enroll without agreeing, they will be advised within the first week of the spring semester to drop the course or change sections.

Black Women Writers

English 3835

Prof. Keisha Allan

Tue/Thu 2:30-3:45PM

The course examines the oral and written literature of Afro-American women from the 18th century through the present.  An exploration of the numerous genres employed by black women writers—slave narratives, autobiography, fiction poetry, and drama—sheds light on writers’ artistic and intellectual responses to the political, social, and cultural currents of their times.

This course fulfills the 3030-sequence requirement for majors.

Genres in African Literature

English 3845

Prof. Matthew Eatough

Mon/Wed 12:50-2:05PM

For most Western readers, African literature is synonymous with “serious” literature. The critically-acclaimed novels that feature prominently on awards lists and book club reading lists tend to deal almost exclusively with such weighty issues as the legacies of colonialism, political repression, forced migration, class and gender inequalities, and environmental devastation. In recent years, however, African writers and publishers have begun to question this predilection for “serious” fiction, and to advocate for a more diverse notion of African literature that would include work in what is typically called “genre fiction”—that is, more popular forms of fiction that place a higher stress on entertainment value than on their ability to tackle weighty historical issues.

In this course, we will examine some of the more notable works of genre fiction to have emerged in southern Africa over the last 15 years. In doing so, we will ask what these novels can tell us about the current state of southern African cultures and societies. What do these novels tell us, for example, about popular fantasies of the good life? Or about the hopes and anxieties surrounding new technologies? Or about the various types of national, sub-national, and transnational communities that read genre fiction?

Our readings will range from the highbrow to the lowbrow, and will include forays into detective fiction, science fiction, fantasy, horror, and chick-lit (among others). Authors may include Masande Ntshanga, T. L. Huchu, Imraan Coovadia, Lauren Beukes, Niq Mhlongo, Ivan Vladislavic, Henrietta Rose-Innes, Deon Meyer, Mphuthumi Ntabeni, and Zukiswa Wanner.

This course fulfills the 3030-sequence requirement for majors.

Topics in Film: Irish Film

English 3940

Prof. Mary McGlynn

Mon/Wed 10:45-1200PM

This course will examine portrayals of Ireland and the Irish onscreen, focusing as well on the terminology and techniques of film studies. We’ll begin with films that established a myth of romantic nationalism, like Man of Aran and The Quiet Man.  We will look at both rural and urban films, including The Field and The Commitments, examining the depiction of the Northern Irish “Troubles” through films such as Cal, Resurrection Man, and In the Name of the Father, moving to “post-national” films like Once and Goldfish Memory before concluding with films and limited series that address questions of recession and austerity–The Garage and Normal People. Throughout, we will think about the relationship between class and national identity, what role the heritage industry plays in defining ‘Ireland,’ how film articulates the relationship of Ireland to the UK and the US (Brooklyn), and how globalization has shaped the Irish film industry.

Literary Theory

English 4011

Prof. Stephanie Hershinow

Tue/Thu 2:30-3:45PM

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.)

Globalization of English

English 4015

Prof. Kamal Belmihoub

Mon/Wed 2:30-3:45PM

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.

Medieval Literature

English 4110

Prof. Christina Christoforatou

Mon/Wed 10:45-12:00PM

Images of the Self and of the World in Medieval Literature
The medieval world is often believed to have been a static world, in which there was little long-distance travel or exploration. This class will question that assumption by examining individuals, groups and ideas—fictional and historical—that moved across regions and cultures, and the impact of such transfer on the societies between which they traveled.  Medieval readers had a keen interest in the nature of the world, places both near and far, and were avid consumers of tales of distant places and people.  Their literature was at the heart of the creation of western visions of natural and human diversity: it addressed the themes of adventure, exile, exploitation, wisdom and spirituality, and continues to inspire discussion on philosophical, anthropological, and cosmological matters.
An important goal of the course is to foster an understanding of the enduring human values that unite the different literary traditions we will examine.  To this end, we will read literature in English and in translation that will allow us to examine the nature of the medieval cosmos and the role of the individual in it.  Readings will include selections from Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy, Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Mandeville’s Book of Travels, Pseudo-Callisthenes’ Alexander Romance, a Medieval Greek travel-narrative, Drosilla and Charikles, a selection of short romances produced by female authors such as Marie de France and Christine de Pizan, as well as some memorable satires that collectively will allow us to appreciate medieval individual’s relationship to God, society and the foreign.
To the extent that the class is interested in the material culture of the Middle Ages, we will access digitized archives and museum collections (i.e., illuminated manuscripts, relics, tapestries, mosaics and ivories) that will allow us to study the cultural influences that allowed medieval civilizations to evolve. 


English 4120

Prof. H. Ramdass

Mon/Wed 4:10-5:25PM

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.


English 4140

Prof. Lauren Silberman

Mon/Wed 12:50-2:05PM
Shakespeare is both a playwright passionately engaged with the concerns of his own time and place and an artist whose work has done much to shape contemporary culture.  We shall be studying six of Shakespeare’s plays, Comedy of Errors, the early comedy of mistaken identity, Titus Andronicus, a raw and violent revenge tragedy Shakespeare wrote early in his career, the history play Richard III, the mature comedy Merchant of Venice, Measure for Measure,  a problem comedy of sexual betrayal and political corruption, Othello, the tragedy of marital jealousy and murder, and the late romance Cymbeline, which revisits the problem of jealousy and brings everything to a happy conclusion of reunion and forgiveness.  We shall consider how similar themes and situations are transformed from one play to the next.  Some class time will be devoted to showing film adaptations of one or more of these plays.   Written work for the course will consist of two short critical essays, a midterm, and a final.  Papers may be rewritten once for an additional grade, and extra credit will be given for class participation.

Renaissance Drama

English 4150

Laura Kolb

Tue/Thu 5:50-7:05PM

This course surveys the extraordinary flourishing of dramatic literature in 16th– and 17th-century England. Over the course of the semester, we will read plays intensively while also considering the cultural and creative context in which they were produced. Along the way we will meet lovers and tricksters; tyrants and witches; city gallants and rural shepherds; roaring girls and devilish dogs. Throughout the term, we will pay particular attention to questions of gender and social status, and to how identity is constructed, in language, on stage. Plays surveyed may include Marlowe’s Tamburlaine; Lyly’s Gallathea; Dekker and Middleton’s The Roaring Girl; Jonson’s Volpone, or the Fox; Dekker, Ford, and Rowley’s The Witch of Edmonton; and Margaret Cavendish’s The Convent of Pleasure. A number of short assignments will deepen our engagement with specific facets of Renaissance drama, like the development of the iambic pentameter line, the culture of collaboration in which playwrights worked, and early modern stage practices. In a final research project, students will analyze a specific play or plays in terms of their historical context, attending to the social, religious, political, and economic developments that informed dramatic narrative.


English 4300

Prof. Carmel Jordan

Mon/Wed 4:10-5:25PM

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.

The Modern Short Story

English 4450

Prof. Rick Rodriguez

Mon/Wed 4:10-5:25 PM


In this course we will read the short stories of Edgar Allan Poe next to those of South American authors Horacio Quiroga, Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortazar, Clarice Lispector, Monica Ojeda, Samanta Schweblin, and Mariana Enriquez, most of whom claimed some debt to or affinity with his work. Less about influence, this course is about invention, appropriation, and weirdness (emphasis on weirdness). We will come up with ways of reading comparatively that are critical of the idiosyncrasies of the texts and the modernity to which they respond.

Readings Queer Literature, Media & Theory

English 4525

Prof. Rafael Walker

Tue/Thu 10:45-12:00PM

What unites the many groups that comprise the sprawling acronym LGBTQ? It is the fact that they all desire in ways out of keeping with prevailing norms governing gender, whether it be that they are attracted to people of the same sex or that their perception of their gender does not correspond with their sex (to name only a couple of the many possibilities). Ranging from the nineteenth century to the present, this course focuses on the rich literature that has put the experiences of this multifarious group front and center. In studying literature written about LGBTQ people—some of it written before any subgroup in this acronym even had a name—students will have the opportunity to weigh the costs and benefits of visibility and categorization for this diverse demographic (such as it is). To what extent do categories help or harm gender-nonconforming people? What are the costs and benefits of being “out” or “in,” and does the answer to this question hinge on other factors of a person’s identity? These and other pressing questions will propel this capstone seminar, whose readings include work from well-known authors—such as Walt Whitman, Radclyffe Hall, and recent Pulitzer winner Andrew Sean Greer—and from several lesser-known but important artists and LGBTQ theorists

Media Fictions / Mediating Realities

ENG 4950

Prof. C. Campanioni

Mon/Wed 5:50-7:05PM

This course explores prose and poetry from the turn of the twentieth century to 2022 that reflects on and imagines new possibilities for writing in relation to new media technologies. Together we’ll continue to broach the question of how media shapes our consciousness and how we articulate consciousness through expressions inevitably tethered to media. We will consider the influence of electronic media on late nineteenth-century print culture through readings of José Martí’s “The Glossograph” and Henry James’s “The Real Thing.” We will see how authors engage with the potentiality of still and moving images through celebrity in Gertrude Stein’s The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas and her portraits of “Picasso” and “Matisse.” We will rethink authorship and the role and identity of the author by placing the short stories of Jorge Luis Borges alongside Roland Barthes and Michel Foucault.  We will grapple with varying dreams and nightmares of sound and inscription envisioned in texts by T.S Eliot, Langston Hughes, Felisberto Hernández, Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortázar, and Roberto Bolaño. We will see how today’s writers have been shaped by—and have reimagined—modes of textual production and genre in relation to shifts in media and technology.Our working thesis together this semester is this: through these specific artworks and the (micro)stories of the voices contained therein, we can begin to better understand broader shifts in media, and that this notion holds true today. We can thus begin to question, address, and evaluate what kind of texts are produced in our current moment and to consider our own role as producers by re-reading our own everyday acts of documentation and mediation.