SPRING 2023 UPPER-DIVISION COURSES

  

        BARUCH COLLEGE – ENGLISH DEPARTMENT

Survey of English Literature I English 3010 Prof. L. Silberman Mon/ Wed 2:30-3:45 PM  Find out what inspired Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.  See how Satan first became a glamorous anti-hero.  In this course, we will be reading representative works of English literature from Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight through selections from Milton’s Paradise Lost.  Other readings will include selections from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales—the romantic, the bawdy, and the moral–one of the plays of Shakespeare, a Renaissance epyllion—a short, erotic narrative–and selected Renaissance love lyrics.  There will be two short, critical essays, a midterm and a final exam.      
Survey of English Literature II English 3015 Prof. S. O’Toole Tue/Thu 4:10-5:25 PMThis course provides a survey of British and global Anglophone literature from the eighteenth century to the present day. We will explore how imaginative writers from some of the most celebrated periods of literature responded to the major historical and cultural developments of their time: the revolution in thought and expression sparked by the visionary and rebellious Romantics; the proliferation of realism in the nineteenth century as the Victorians grappled with the horrors of industrialization, the expansion of empire, and the challenge of science to traditional beliefs; modernism’s rejection of conventional values in experimental literary forms; and contemporary literature’s reflections on our own position in history. Authors to be studied will include some of the following: Swift, Wollstonecraft, Equiano, Prince, Pope, Blake, Wordsworth, Keats, Austen, Seacole, Dickens, Gaskell, C. Rossetti, Dutt, Hardy, Wilde, T. S. Eliot, McKay, Joyce, Woolf, Beckett, Selvon, Thiong’o, Ishiguro, Kureishi, Roy, Z. Smith, among others. The class will proceed by close reading, discussion, and brief student presentations.    
Survey of American Literature I English 3020 Prof. R. Rodriguez Mon/Wed 4:10-5:25 PMWhat 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, slaves, women, immigrants, the poor, etc.? How might such a shift in viewpoint impact our understanding of the nation’s founding concepts and ideals: utopia, community, citizenship, equality, fellowship, democracy, liberty, 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. Among the writers considered will be Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, Michel de Montaigne, William Bradford, Thomas Morton, Anne Hutchinson, Salem’s witch hunters and their victims, Mary Rowlandson, Phillis Wheatley, Olaudah Equiano, William Apess, Edgar Allan Poe, David Walker, Herman Melville, Frederick Douglass, John Rollin Ridge (“Yellow Bird”), Walt Whitman, and Hannah Crafts.    
Survey of American Literature II English 3025 Prof. E. Richardson Tue/Thu 5:50-7:05 PMThis course surveys the wide variety of literature produced in the United States from the Civil War to the present, an era of dizzying change. This period witnessed such momentous historical events as the Industrial Revolution, Reconstruction, the Great Depression, two world wars, the Civil Rights Movement, the women’s movement, gay liberation, the threat of nuclear annihilation, and the development of a globalized economy–to name only a few. This course will consider how American authors of this era responded to their rapidly shifting landscape. Students will encounter a rich array of writers, such as Howells, Mark Twain, James, Washington, Du Bois, Crane, Wharton, Cather, Frost, O’Neill, Hurston, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Hemingway, Wright, Williams, Ellison, Brooks, Baldwin, O’Connor, Plath, Walker, Morrison, Roth, Kingston, Silko, Lee, Adichie, Erdrich, and Di­az
A Survey of African American Literature English 3034 Prof. S. Eversley Mon/Wed 10:45-12:00 PMAfrican American literature has always engaged in conversations about what it means to be human, that in fact, black lives matter as much as any other.  Poetry, fiction, novels, plays, and essays by African Americans reveal these longstanding engagements even though the assumption of black personhood, of an equal value among humans, should seem obvious.  They also explore important questions about gender, sexual, and class identities to complicate the easy binaries that limit creative and critical thinking—thinking that can restrict human possibility.  In this class, we will study some of the best writers in American literary history.   Together, we will think about how African American literature—and the issues they raise—are central to the American Project.  Everyone is welcome.    
Globalization and Literature English 3215 Prof. M. Eatough Mon/Wed 2:30-3:45PMIt’s common to say that we now live in a “globalized” world, one that is increasingly bound together by advanced telecommunications technologies, rapid travel, and ever-tighter connections between nations, economies, and cultures. But globalization has not simply reshaped the world that we live in and the way that we experience it: it has also revolutionized the way we think about the world, the stories we tell about it, and the ways we tell those stories. This course will examine several different forms of media and the way in which they engage with social, cultural, and economic modes of globalization. Possible texts include Karen Tei Yamashita, Through the Arc of the Rainforest; Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah; CA Davids, How to Be a Revolutionary; shorter fiction by Jamil Jan Kochai and Mike McCormack; the video games Braid and Super Mario; and the graphic novels Persepolis, The Incal, Yellow Negroes and Other Imaginary Creatures, and a manga TBD.  
The Craft of Poetry: From the Mixtape to the Remix–Learning to Compose Across Genres English 3645 Prof. C. Campanioni Tue/Thu 5:50-7:05 PMThe prescriptions of writing (both “critical” and “creative”) often demand stringent parameters of structure, method, and voice according to its traditions, its disciplines, and its genres. Yet, increasingly, the labor and means by which authors express their ideas take on alternative forms through the integration of multiple genres, and the usage of multimodal techniques and multimedia technology. I want creative writing in this course to become an adventure in discovering what voices lie within us, and how we navigate the complex negotiations of self-expression, identity, and collective exchange. In this course, we will evaluate what we’ve been told about writing (and poetry), what audiences we want to reach with our poetry, and how to compose poetry as a DJ, an architect, a chef (a poetics of preparation!), a videographer, a curator and archivist, as anything other than *just* a writer. In the process, we will gain an understanding of contemporary and long-established techniques relevant across genres—poetry, fiction, CNF, personal accountings such as correspondences and notebook annotations—and especially, the genre-less/“hybrid” or uncategorizable text. You will be writing new material through generative prompts in class, as well as out-of-class assignments like “The Text as Caption,” in which writers are encouraged to look at the gaps in representations as an entry point for narrative, and the “Text as Object,” which invites writers to re-imagine the pre-histories (and distant futures), as well as the secret interiors of their most cherished objects. Best of all, you will be collaborating with your peers on feedback and revision through periodic workshops, while learning how to integrate characteristics of other genres and artistic modes of production into your poetry.
   
Stephen Sondheim
ENG 3685 Prof. J. Entes Winter Session Online
M-Th 9:30-12:30
Some say Stephen Sondheim’s shows sound spectacular; the lyrics scintillate.  His splendid songs soar because of his music and lyrics.  He has reached a supreme status by his eight Tonys, including a Lifetime Achievement Tony in 2008, eight Grammys, an Academy Award, a Pulitzer Prize, a Kennedy Center Honor, and a Presidential Medal of Freedom.  We will study his success and style.  Specifically, we will read the book he wrote, Finishing the Hat:  Collected Lyrics (1954-1981).  We will stream some of his shows that were made into movies like West Side Story and Sweeney Todd. Unfortunately, at the age of 91, Stephen Sondheim died, the day after Thanksgiving, November 26, 2021.  His long life and legacy will be examined. The course is being taught online, during Intersession.
Film and Literature: Queering India
ENG 3270
Prof. S. Bhattacharya
Winter Session Online
 What is a queer perspective on culture and society? This course aims to provide an introductory survey of literature and film from India and the Indian diaspora to think through this question. Materials we will look at in this class cover a large swath of time, from the early 20th century to the present, and will range across genres such as speculative feminist fiction, political and cultural manifestos, postcolonial novels, and contemporary films.
In 2018, the Supreme Court of India finally struck down Section 377, a colonial-era law used to criminalize homosexuality and other “unnatural” sex acts, from the Indian Penal Code after more than a decade of legal battles. The fight for legal rights was accompanied by growing queer representation in popular culture and literature. The supposed “coming out” of queerness into Indian social and cultural life in the last 10 years, the demand to be seen and heard, has been critiqued by some as a by-product of “Westernization” or the influence of “foreign-returned” elites inspired by the Euro-American LGBTQ movement. This has brought with it the need to understand the diversity of queer India as well as the diaspora. In the case of the diaspora, we will work to de-center the Euro-American diaspora, paying attention to long histories of migration to the African continent and indentured labor in the Caribbean and the Pacific as sites for possible South-South solidarities.
Taking seriously questions of race, caste, class, nationality, and gender, we will consider what a queer orientation to these hegemonic structures might be and what it might reveal. Thinking through the ways experiences of gender and sexuality were iterated and experienced across times and spaces will help us think through the specifics of each text (and its contexts) while also following threads and connections beyond. Students will engage with a diverse set of cultural, political, and legal artefacts, such as the writings of “founding fathers” like Gandhi and BR Ambedkar, as well as legal briefs opposing the punitive Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019, which further stigmatizes non-normative gender identities by requiring transgender people to register with the government. We will read fiction, old and new, such as Untouchable (1935), The God of Small Things (1997), and Gun Island (2019) and also watch movies ranging from big budget Hollywood films like Gandhi (1982), hard hitting documentaries like Ram ke Naam (1992) to Bollywood rom-coms like Shubh Mangal Zyada Savdhan (2020).
  
Women in Literature English 3720 Prof. C. Lewis Tu/Th 2:30-3:45 PM  This section of Women in Literature will specifically look at Disabled Women in Victorian Literature.Focusing on nineteenth-century British novels and novellas, we will examine how disability and gender intersect, and how sexism and ableism combine. Some questions we will consider: what specific issues did disabled women face? How were disabled female characters written? What roles did they play in novels? Why were novelists so interested in writing disabled female characters? How do these characters relate to real-life disabled women in the 1800s? In addition, the class will explore disabled female characters’ relationship to sexuality, queerness, marriage, class, race, medicine and doctors, caregiving and cure, religion and spirituality. We will read texts by Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, Dinah Craik, Charlotte Yonge, and Wilkie Collins and will discuss female characters that have various disabilities, including blindness, deafness, mobility impairments, missing limbs, scoliosis and “deformity,” neurodivergence and “madness.”  
The Structure and the History of English
English 3750 Prof. B. Schreiber Tues/Thu 10:45-12:00 PM
The course investigates how the rules and patterns of spoken and written American English evolved, and how the language is used today as a system for making meaning. This course covers how English sounds are produced; how new words are formed, slang terms are coined, and words are borrowed and lent across languages; how English sentences are structured; and how meaning is influenced by situation, culture, and context. Students will learn how English changed over time, from the Great Vowel Shift to the development of modern regional and social dialects, including the emergence of World Englishes. Grading will be based on two exams and on an independent research project.      
Topics in Film: Latinx Film English 3940 Prof. J. Caroccio Maldonado Mon/Wed 9:05-10:20AMThis course will introduce students to films by and about Latinx people in the United States. We’ll engage film from a literary perspective. Thinking through how dialogue, sequence, pacing and scene tell a narrative. Broadly applicable questions of ethnicity, race, sexuality, class and gender will underly our discussions. As well as issues of representation on the screen and how that compares to “real life.” Films show us worlds and places we’ve never seen and influence how we see the world, and what we believe. We’ll explore how Latinidad is created, shaped, and challenged in film. Some films we will watch are Selina, Gun Hill Road, Stand and Deliver, Real Women Have Curves, and Encanto.  
Topics in Literature: Fairytales and Folklore ENG 3950 Prof. H. Ramdass Mon/Wed 4:10-5:25 PMThis course introduces students to the some of the world’s great fairy and folk tale traditions. These tales, which many have argued are folk-derived vehicles for instructing the young, circulated across countless across histories, cultures and geographies. We will consider the work they perform in their original contexts, in transmissions and retellings, and in such diverse modern appropriations as Disney cartoons, marketing, government policy, and the men’s movement. Excerpts from the major collections of Europe, West Africa, the Middle East, South and East Asia will furnish our primary readings. We pay particular attention to works by Straparola and Basile, the Renaissance Italian inventors of the literary fairy tale tradition; Perrault, who elevated the form; the brothers Grimm, who systematized the collection and study of these tales. Selections from the Indian Buddhist Panchatantra, The Thousand and One Arabian Nights, The Tales of Anansi and Brer Rabbit, and Miscellaneous Morsels from Youyang will furnish needed points of comparison. In our close engagements with these texts, our investigation will be interdisciplinary, with our critical approach drawing on theorists such as Freud, Jung, and Frazer, and modern scholars such as Maria Tatar and Jack Zipes. Students will explore their thinking in one critical analysis and a sourced argumentative essay. Because the fairy tale is a living tradition, we will create our own digital anthology of your original fairytales and artwork.  
Topics in Literature: Essentials of Publishing English 3950 Prof. T. Aubry Tuesday 12:50-2:05 PM   In order to become what we think of as literature, almost every text needs to work its way through the publishing industry. This means an editor must decide that it deserves to be circulated and read. It will likely require further development and revision, a process that typically involves ongoing dialogue between the author and editor. The text will need to be fact-checked, copy-edited, and proofread. Designers will work to make it visually appealing, finding images for the cover, if it’s a book, or for the first page, if it’s a short story or article. Publicists will seek to garner attention for the work through blurbs from famous authors, readings, book parties, panels, and reviews in prominent venues. If the editorial team has guessed right, the work may become a bestseller or a viral sensation, the author a literary celebrity. Or, if they guessed wrong, as is often the case, it will be forgotten within a matter of weeks. In every case, a host of individuals is responsible for shepherding a successful work of writing through myriad processes so that it can reach the reading public. The publishing industry shapes every reader’s encounter with literature; without it, there would be no books, no articles, no literary culture in the United States.   ENG 3950: The Essentials of Publishing is designed to offer greater knowledge of how this industry operates. Specifically aimed at students interested in working in publishing during and/or after graduation, it will have a hybrid structure. Students will spend half the time participating in a weekly seminar engaged in critical conversations about different features of the publishing industry; and they will spend the other half doing rotations onsite, working in short-term internships at book publishers and magazines in New York City. Students in the course will have the opportunity to get hands-on work experience, learn how books and magazines get produced, and start building a network of contacts they can turn to when they go on the job market after graduation.   All of the short-term positions in the publishing industry will be arranged ahead of time by the professor. Students will not need to secure internships on their own. Because the course is being supported by a Mellon Foundation Grant, all students who participate will receive a $2000 fellowship.   The course will be capped at ten students and admission is by application only. Students who are interested should send a 1-2-page cover letter, resume, and 3–5-page writing sample to timothy.aubry@baruch.cuny.edu by October 21. The writing sample may be an essay from a previous class or a work that the student produced independently. The cover letter should explain why the student is interested in publishing and what contributions they think they can make to the course and to the industry. Applicants are encouraged to indicate how they can help promote diversity, equity, and inclusivity in our literary and intellectual culture. Preference will be given to students from backgrounds that are underrepresented in the publishing industry.          
Advanced Editing English 3960 Prof. Amy Baily and Prof. Lisa Blankenship Tue/Thu 2:30-3:45 PM This course will provide both theory behind the practice of editing and hands-on practice with revising and editing pieces. Through multiple stages of drafting, we will workshop non-fiction prose, fiction, and poetry, as well as multimedia pieces.  A useful practicum for majors interested in writing and editing positions in non-profit or industry, the course also will benefit non-majors who want a supportive environment to hone writing and editing skills essential for contemporary work settings.​    
Chaucer
English 4120 Prof. C. Christoforatou Mon/Wed 10:45-12:00PM    
Knights, merchants, rogues, and self-proclaimed saints share fascinating stories of their travels and travails in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.  Written at the end of the fourteenth century, Chaucer’s masterpiece contains a series of stories ranging from the serious and pious to the unabashedly earthy and outrageously funny.  The tales are told by a cast of memorable pilgrims whose diversity spans the spectrum of late medieval society: a dashing knight and a manly monk, a drunken miller and a bookish young scholar, a dainty nun and a conniving pardoner, and a smart and domineering wife who compete with one another, trade insults and jokes, and share tales. We will explore the ways in which Chaucer experiments with late medieval literary genres in this class—from chivalric romance and bawdy fabliau to beast fables, saints’ lives, and etiological myths—frustrating and playing upon the expectations of the audience.  Against this diverse literary background, we will consider the dramatic context of the pilgrimage itself, asking questions about how the character of an individual pilgrim, or the interaction between pilgrims, further shapes our perceptions and expectations of the tales.  The study of the pilgrims’ quests (i.e., amorous, heroic or religious) will allow us to consider medieval individual’s relationship to God, society and the foreign, and engage in comparative, intertextual and paratextual analysis.  In piecing together Chaucer’s portrait of late medieval society, we will finally discover how Chaucer illuminates and distorts social realities, rendering a colorful portrait of life that is strangely familiar to the modern reader. To fully appreciate the influences that allowed medieval literary culture to evolve through exploration and adaptation, we will have the opportunity to examine medieval manuscripts in digitized form and delve more meaningfully into the material culture of the late Middle Ages through a possible visit to The Cloisters or the Metropolitan Museum of Art where various other artifacts such as relics, tapestries, mosaics, and ivories are on display.    
Shakespeare English 4140 Prof. S. Swarbrick Mon/Wed 5:50-7:05PMThis upper-level literature course surveys some of William Shakespeare’s most enduring plays. We will investigate subjects such as tyranny and surveillance in Measure for Measure and Richard III; gender and performance in As You Like It; race and the construction of identity in Titus Andronicus; ecology and human-animal relations in King Lear; and jealousy and love in The Winter’s Tale and Cymbeline. Students will have the opportunity to read Shakespeare’s plays in relation to their source materials, including Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and recent film adaptations. We will also reflect on the lasting importance of Shakespeare’s plays for addressing contemporary issues such as freedom, equality, environmental sustainability, and social justice.  
  
Topics in Shakespeare: English 4145 Prof. A. Deutermann Mon/Wed 12:50-2:05 PM   
The Eighteenth-Century Novel English 4210 Prof. S. Hershinow Tues/Thu 10:45-12:00PM   Criminals, lawyers, and judges populate the early British novel. Some scholars see the novel form originating out of what we would now call “true crime”—novels were scandalous, even dangerous. Moral authorities cautioned that reading novels would lead impressionable young people to lives of crime. This course will examine the rise of the novel alongside the emergence of the modern legal system in the eighteenth century. We will examine how the novel as a genre coalesces around characters that are placed in risky situations and the legal narratives that develop around them (forms such as testimony, confession, and the arguing of a case). We will focus on landmark laws (such as the 1662 Poor Relief Act and the 1753 Hardwicke Marriage Act), on the psychologies of guilt and innocence, and on the formal literary challenges of representing transgression and justice. How might a consideration of legal questions complicate our understanding of what novels do? While our discussions will range widely, we’ll focus on one key line of inquiry: in an era when most people didn’t have full legal personhood, how did literature give dispossessed people a voice? We’ll learn to read eighteenth-century novels together, but we’ll also look at some modern reimaginings that extend their insights to our present moment.  
Romanticism & Revolution     English 4300 Prof. C. Grandy Mon/Wed 2:30-3:45PMThe historical period of romanticism may have been relatively short (roughly 1785-1830), but it represents an age of great change across politics, philosophy, art, and science. This class will examine literary responses to and engagements with the revolutions of the romantic period, from the bloody revolts of the French and Haitian revolutions to the rise of industrialism and humankind’s new distance from the natural world. We will read a variety of poetry that engages with the changes of the period: William Wordsworth’s account of new media and population growth in London, where he finds panoramas, wax figures, and “magic lantern” projections; Percy Bysshe Shelley’s call-to-arms response to “Peterloo,” the violent police attack on a peaceful protest for government reform; Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s philosophical reflections on changes in how we see the world, from micro-observations of the everyday to macro-displays of the sublime. We will also read select political tracts from the period, including the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789, and excerpts from Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman and Ottobah Cugoano, Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil and Wicked Traffic of the Slavery and Commerce of the Human Species. In addition to poetry and political non-fiction, we will analyze the rise of the novel, along with the threat of automation, A.I., and scientific advancement, in Mary Shelley’s classic, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. In closely reading these different literary forms, we will examine how the various revolutions of the romantic period impacted the modern world and linger in our current institutions of citizenship and democracy as well as our perspectives on identity and nature.    
The Nineteenth-Century Novel English 4320 Prof. K. Frank Tue/Thu5:50-7:05 PM   Selfies” of Romantic Lives in the Nineteenth-Century English Novel. How do the British fashion themselves (individually and as a nation) in the nineteenth-century novel, and how does the Caribbean serve as a lens for such self-fashioning? How does this anticipate contemporary expectations of selfhood and nationhood? How are depictions of challenging issues of those times—industrialization and urbanization, class and social im/mobility, immigration and the expansion of empire, relations between the sexes and the “races”— instructive in confronting similar issues of our time? In this course we will examine these matters in authors such as Charlotte Brontë, Maria Edgeworth, and Florence Marryat.

* ENG 4320 PTRA may serve as the capstone for the Tier III requirement.
Twentieth-Century British Literature English 4420 Prof. M. McGlynn Mon/Wed 12:50-2:05 PM“…the ladder is a perfect symbol of the bourgeois idea of society, because, while undoubtedly it offers the opportunity to climb, it is a device which can only be used individually: you go up the ladder alone…. My own view is that the ladder version of society is objectionable in … that it sweetens the poison of hierarchy, in particular by offering the hierarchy of merit as a thing different in kind from the hierarchy of money or birth” (Raymond Williams, Culture and Society 330).  This semester we will study the literature of Great Britain and Ireland from 1900 to 2020.  As a way of gaining perspective on such a long and eventful period, we will focus on the notion of meritocracy in the texts we read, taking the Williams quote above as a starting point.  Such investigation will require examination of ideas about spaces (particularly homes, countryside, and urban landscapes); about industrialization and modernization; about class, gender, and immigration; and about education, taste, and discrimination. Readings will include fiction by Lawrence, Woolf, Joyce, Wodehouse, Beckett, Ishiguro, Rowling, and Peace, and poetry by Hardy, Eliot, Auden, Larkin, Heaney, and Boland.     
The Modern Short Novel: Modern Short Novel From Asia English 4460 Prof. Eva Chou Mon/Wed 10:45-12:00 PMStudents in this course will read modern short novels in translation from a number of Asian countries such as Japan and China, plus works from Pakistan and Singapore written in English. In fewer than 200 pages each, our authors create convincing worlds of characters, events, and atmosphere. Collectively, the authors ask large questions about the role that a person plays in society, the role that nations play in the world, and even larger questions like the meaning of being human. The class will analyze each novel both as a work of literary art and for what it conveys about the culture that produced it and will emerge with some knowledge of Asia and a renewed respect for works of the imagination.  
The Main Currents of Literary Expression in Contemporary America English 4500 Prof. C. Mead Mon/Wed 12:50-2:05 PM  Including the Jewish-American school, the Beat Generation, poetry of “confession,” and experimental fiction. Bellow, Malamud, Mailer, Ginsberg, Jones, Lowell, Roethke, Updike, and Nabokov are involved.  
  
Gothic Mysteries English 4740 Prof. C. Jordan Mon/Wed 4:10-5:25 PMAgainst a background of haunted castles, demonic predators, and victims who unconsciously collaborate in their own ruin, Gothic literature takes us on a journey into the dark recesses of the human psyche that fascinated Freud, and examines its insatiable appetite for danger and forbidden pleasure.  Through psychoanalytical and feminist lens, we will explore Gothic stories by both men and women.  We will see how Victorian medical attitudes towards the female body forced the female writer of the Gothic novel to create erotically coded texts that scholars are still unraveling today.  If you like spectacular settings, you will revel in Jean Rhys’s Caribbean Gothic novel, Wide Sargasso Sea, about fatal passion, voodoo priestesses, sexual addiction, and mad Creole heiresses set in the lush islands of Jamaica and Dominica.  You will love Sheridan Le Fanu’s thriller of voluptuous terror, Carmilla, which describes the seduction and possession of an innocent young woman by a tantalizingly beautiful female vampire who provides her victims with a taste of ecstasy before luring them into the world of the damned.  Readings will include Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, that portrays one of the loneliest creatures in all of literature—the deformed offspring of an egotistical scientist, and Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, condemned as shocking and immoral when it was first published, but now recognized as one of the most daring and complex novels of its time.  
Dystopias and Queer Hope: Postcolonial Environmental Humanities
ENG 4950 Prof. S. Bhattacharya Mon/Wed 4:10-5:25 PM
In this seminar we will study queer texts and films from the global South and diasporic perspectives, considering their particular articulations of queer life and its possibilities. Texts will cover a large swathe of time, from the early twentieth century till the present, and will range across genres such as speculative feminist fiction, first nations narratives, postcolonial novels and contemporary Bollywood films. We will end the course by looking at science fiction that explores life in spaces that some consider dystopian futures but are already becoming the present for many.
As this arc indicates, an underlying theme of the course will be the maintaining of the creativity and vitality of everyday life while drowning in literal and discursive trash. Across the globe, queer lives have already been lived in materially and discursively toxic contexts. Engaging with text and films produced across the world, set in places such as Zimbabwe, India, Britain, and even galaxies yet undiscovered, we will think through the lessons that the creation of a queer life illuminate for us.
Queer life within the context of this seminar refers to the multifarious ways marginalized and non-normative bodies and peoples create social and political lives. Carefully considering the contexts and possibilities the characters encounter, we will explore how queer is a term that translates and mutates in interesting ways across time and place. In paying attention to the specificities of the texts, queer itself is thus a term we will reckon with. Taking seriously questions of race, class, nationality and gender, we will consider what a queer orientation to these hegemonic structures produces or reveals, not only in past literary texts but as a way of imagining a hopeful future.
As we encounter air and water that is more polluted, toxic even, than at any time homo sapiens have walked the earth, the only response may seem to be pessimism. Rejecting pessimism, we will ask what queer futures and hope we can imagine at a moment of planetary crisis.
SPRING 2023 UPPER-DIVISION COURSES