English

Undergraduate

English courses at Mount Holyoke offer students an opportunity to study texts and writers from the many cultural traditions that have shaped, and been shaped by, the English language.

Program Overview

Our offerings range from the seventh through twenty-first centuries and encompass multiple national, racial, and cultural identities. The department’s courses cultivate skills in close reading, critical thinking, and persuasive writing.

As an English major you will be expected to study texts from a variety of historical periods.  We will challenge you to respond to new questions about the theoretical relationships of literary and cultural forms and historical transformation.

If you are interested in creative writing, a number of courses offer instruction in the techniques of fiction, poetry, and other literary genres, as well as journalism.

The English major will help prepare you for a wide range of careers, including teaching at all levels, law, business, and graduate study in literature and culture.

Community Voices

Spotlight on English students and alums

Our courses

We offer introductory literature courses, courses in creative writing and journalism, and intermediate and advanced literature courses in all genres. We offer two introductory courses designed for first-year students and sophomores: First-Year Seminar 110, a writing-intensive seminar, and English 199, and introduction to the study of literature and criticism.

English majors are encouraged to explore the creative process by taking writing courses. We also urge them to link the study of literature in English with the study of history, art, and other literatures. Courses in classical and modern languages and literatures, art history, philosophy, religion, and history complement and supplement courses in English.

Creative writing and poetry

No matter your major, you are welcome to enroll in our creative writing courses. In English 201, Introduction to Creative Writing, you will experiment with multiple genres, develop a vocabulary with which to talk about the writer's craft and experience a writing workshop, often for the first time.

Upper-level creative writing courses are open to all students who have completed English 201 or its equivalent. Some advanced courses open to all students who have completed the prerequisites and an application.

Each year, the English Department hosts the Kathryn Irene Glascock Poetry Contest, an intercollegiate poetry competition judged by a panel of distinguished poets.

Learn more about Creative writing at Mount Holyoke.

Selecting courses in your first year

Courses open to first-year students include all sections of First-Year Seminar 110 and ENGL 199, An Introduction to the Study of Literature.

First-Year Seminars 110 taught by English Department Faculty: 

  • Books Within Books, Nigel Alderman 
  • Cyberpunks in the Digital Age, Kate Singer 
  • Emily Dickinson At MHC, Christopher Benfey 
  • Slang: Community/Power/Language, Mark Shea 
  • U.S. Multiethnic Literatures, Iyko Day
  • Self-Portraiture, Suparna Roychoudhury 
  • The Nonhuman, Elizabeth Young

Courses and requirements

We encourage you to take advantage of the variety of departmental offerings by thoughtfully devising your own path of study while gaining familiarity with different genres, periods, and media. Our courses range from the seventh through the twenty-first centuries and encompass multiple national, racial, and cultural identities. We aim to cultivate skills in close reading, critical thinking, and creative writing.

Learning Goals

By participating in coursework and experiences constituting a major in English, students are expected to acquire the following knowledge and skills:

  • Become skilled in the close reading of literature and culture.
  • Become familiar with literary works from diverse traditions, periods, and genres.
  • Understand literature and culture in relation to multiple forms of difference.
  • Apply a variety of critical and theoretical interpretive lenses to literature and culture.
  • Learn to write about literary and cultural texts with clarity, argument, and evidence.
  • Learn to produce creative works with craft, imagination, and experiment.

Requirements for the Major

A minimum of 36 credits:

ENGL-199Introduction to the Study of Literature4
Three approved disciplinary perspectives courses in English at the 200 level: 112
One Literary History and Period course
One Race, Power, and Difference course
One Theory and Methods course
Three English courses at the 300 level 112
Two additional English courses at the 200 or 300 level8
Total Credits36
1

See Courses section for lists of approved courses in these specific areas. A student may not double count a single course to fulfill more than one area.

2

At least two 300-level courses must be taken at Mount Holyoke.

Additional Specifications

  • First-Year Seminars do not count toward the completion of the English major.
  • ENGL-295 and ENGL-395 do not count toward the completion of the English major.
  • An English major offers the opportunity to study various texts written in English, both those in traditions of British and American literature as well as those from other parts of the world. A student of English should be acquainted with works from different historical periods and different national traditions and different genres—fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama.
  • This discipline consists of a variety of intellectual-interpretive approaches. Each major should take advantage of the department’s diverse offerings by thoughtfully devising their own path of study while becoming familiar with all genres. Core requirements provide an acquaintance with writings and critical methodologies essential to a mastery of the field.
  • We also urge majors to explore the creative process by taking writing courses and to link the study of literature in English with the study of history, the arts, and other literatures. Courses in classical and modern languages and literatures, art history, music, dance, theater, film, politics, anthropology, psychology, philosophy, religion, history, and the sciences complement and supplement courses in English.

Requirements for the Minor

A minimum of 16 credits:

Two courses in English at the 200 level8
Two courses in English at the 300 level8
Total Credits16

Additional Specifications

  • At least one course at each level should be taken at Mount Holyoke.
  • The choice of courses is at the discretion of the student, with no departmental approval required. Members of the department are, of course, available for consultation about possible minor programs. The approval of the chair is necessary for any exception to the requirements.
  • ENGL-295 and ENGL-395 do not count toward the completion of the English minor.
  • First Year Seminars do not count toward the completion of the English minor.

Course Advice

Writing

The department offers two kinds of courses particularly intended for first-year students: many first-year seminars offered by English faculty under the FYSEM designation and Spring sections of ENGL-199, which second semester first years are welcome to take. The first-year seminars taught by English department faculty are writing-intensive seminars on various topics which strengthen a student’s proficiency and confidence as a writer.ENGL-199, also writing-intensive, is an introduction to literary studies and a required gateway to the major. Students who, in the fall, take a writing-intensive first year seminar and who are considering a major in English ordinarily take ENGL-199 in the spring. First-year students interested in ENGL-201 require the permission of the instructor.

Sophomores, juniors, and seniors may elect ENGL-201 or courses such as Poetry Writing I (ENGL-204).
 

Course Offerings

ENGL-104 Academic Discourse and Multilingual Speakers

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

In this course we to seek to achieve clarity and precision of expression within a discussion of a complex topic. Course readings and writing assignments guide students through an examination of topics related to language, culture, and academic convention. Past semesters' topics include: the role of education in society; the relationship between religion, culture, and nature; and family relationships across cultures. In addition to the academic content, the course focuses on the writing and revising process, academic research and argumentation, and the nature and purpose of academic discourse. This course is intended for students whose native language is not English and who would like to refine their writing and speaking skills.

Applies to requirement(s): Meets No Distribution Requirement
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
The department

ENGL-199 Introduction to the Study of Literature

Fall and Spring. Credits: 4

This course examines various strategies of literary representation through a variety of genres, including such traditional literary forms as the novel, lyric poetry, drama, and autobiography, as well as other cultural forms, such as film. Particular attention is given to student writing; students are expected to write a variety of short essays on selected topics. Though the themes of specific sections may vary, all sections seek to introduce students to the terminology of literary and cultural discourse.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
I. Day, J. Hayward-Jansen, C. Mahaffy, A. Moskowitz, K. Singer, E. Young, W. Yu, The department
Notes: English 199, required for the English major, introduces students to critical issues in the study of English literature. Students considering an English major will ordinarily take English 199 after taking a first-year seminar.

ENGL-209 Writing, Reading, and Constructed Languages

Spring. Credits: 4

Languages are created by communities, shaped by each generation and passed on to the next. Constructed Languages (conlangs), in contrast, are created intentionally to serve philosophical or artistic goals. Conlangs are often seen in science fiction and fantasy genres, contributing texture to the fictional world. Constructing a language is an act of creativity, but conlangs can never be as complex as natural languages. Which aspects of language do conlangs illuminate, and which do they flatten? How do they critique or reinforce ideologies of oppression? We will approach these questions from linguistic, literary, cognitive, and sociological perspectives.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
M. Shea

ENGL-248 Effective Public Speaking

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 2

This course provides the opportunity to develop speaking skills in a range of academic and professional situations. Through speaking, revision, and reflection, students identify their strengths as speakers, evaluate their improvement, and develop strategies for formal and informal speaking contexts.

Applies to requirement(s): Meets No Distribution Requirement
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive
M. Shea
Restrictions: This course is open to juniors and seniors
Notes: Half semester course. This section is designed to consider the needs of multilingual and second language speakers, but it is open to upper-level students of any language background.

ENGL-249 Style, Voice, and Self in Academic Discourse

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

Academic discourse (writing and speaking) is often described as impersonal and objective. Expertise, evidence, and argument are valued. Clarity and concision are expected. Individuality and creativity are rarely mentioned, but can they have a place in academic discourse? This course will explore that question while discussing the relationship between academic and public discourse, social media in academic conversations, academic ethics, and Standard English as a default language for academic communication.

Applies to requirement(s): Meets No Distribution Requirement
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
M. Shea
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors
Advisory: The course is designed for students who do not identify as native speakers of English, but it is open to all students.

Writing Courses: Prose and Poetry

ENGL-201 Introduction to Creative Writing

Fall and Spring. Credits: 4

This course offers an introduction to the composition of multiple genres and modes of creative writing, which may include poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, hybrid forms, graphic novels, and digital texts. Students will learn strategies for generating ideas, drafting, giving and receiving feedback, revising creative work, and building literary community.

Applies to requirement(s): Meets No Distribution Requirement
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
S. Cassarino, L. de Lima, A. Hong, A. Lawlor, T. Madden
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors
Prereq: A first-year seminar.

ENGL-204 Poetry Writing

Fall. Credits: 4

In this introductory course, students will read widely in contemporary poetry. Through prompts and project-based inquiry, both within the workshop and in take-home assignments, students will have the opportunity to produce and share writing based on the conceptual frameworks explored in the class.

Applies to requirement(s): Meets No Distribution Requirement
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
A. Hong
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors

ENGL-205 Playwriting

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This course offers practice in the fundamentals of dramatic structure and technique. Weekly reading assignments will examine the unique nature of writing for the theatre, nuts and bolts of format, tools of the craft, and the playwright's process from formulating a dramatic idea to rewriting. Weekly writing assignments will include scene work, adaptation, and journaling. The course will culminate in a significant writing project. Each class meeting will incorporate reading student work aloud with feedback from the instructor and the class. Students will listen, critique, and develop the vocabulary to discuss plays, structure, story, and content.

Crosslisted as: FMT-240PW
Applies to requirement(s): Meets No Distribution Requirement
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
The department
Prereq: One course in Film, Media, Theater or Theatre Arts or a creative writing English course.
Notes: Cannot be taken at the 300 level.

ENGL-219 Topics in Creative Writing

ENGL-219AT Topics in Creative Writing: 'Writing Animal Tales'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

What do writings about animals reveal about their lives? How do human beings engage with mammals, fish, reptiles, and birds as food, competitors, and companions? We will explore these questions as we read works focusing on the real and imagined lives of animals from ancient fables through 21st-century novels, essays, and hybrid-genre works. Reading discussions will be followed by writing experiments designed to spark original thinking and develop facility with writing. You will gain insight into the fine and ferocious literature concerning the great and small beasts, writing creative and analytical pieces toward a final portfolio. Some classes will involve field trips to observe animals.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
A. Hong
Prereq: ENGL-201.

ENGL-219BC Topics in Creative Writing: 'Building Literary Community'

Spring. Credits: 4

Writing is a necessary but not sufficient condition for the creation of literature. Together, we will study and participate in various literary communities. We will investigate literary ecosystems, looking at how writing is published, circulated, and rewarded; as well as at labor conditions, ongoing inequities, and possibilities for disruption. Our class will serve as an incubator for new and existing student literary production. Students will work individually and collaboratively on projects such as writing reviews, producing broadsides or chapbooks, hosting readings, advocacy, and more. Visitors may include agents, book or journal editors, reviewers, designers, booksellers, and organizers.

Applies to requirement(s): Meets No Distribution Requirement
A. Lawlor
Prereq: ENGL-201.
Advisory: Open to all; experience with campus literary productions welcome but not required.

ENGL-219CH Topics in Creative Writing: 'Climate Changes Everything: Telling Stories at the End of the World As We Know It'

Fall. Credits: 4

In this moment of climate emergency, how and why do we make meaning? What possibilities might various textual practices offer for engaging with, and positioning ourselves in relationship to, the unfathomable? If we are telling stories in the face of a radically uncertain future, who is our audience? Together, we will find ways of telling stories that help us relate to this moment, and, crucially, to each other. This is a creative writing course. Expect to encounter and create texts in many possible forms, including climate fiction, agitprop, documentary poetry, lyric essay, interactive narrative, and more.

Applies to requirement(s): Meets No Distribution Requirement
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
A. Lawlor
Prereq: ENGL-201.

ENGL-219CP Topics in Creative Writing: 'Creative Process'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This is a space where students can explore their own creative impulses, develop ideas, and generate material. Here, we will stretch beyond the boundaries of any particular creative practice as it may be defined within disciplinary limits. We will engage in contemplative practices while using writing, movement, theater games, and time-based media in order to germinate seeds for projects -- projects we might explore further and possibly complete either within or beyond the bounds of the class itself. More importantly, we will begin to identify our own inner rhythms as makers, create patterns that support our creative process, and develop the capacity to listen deeply to what speaks to us. We will turn to makers and writers of all kinds for inspiration and guidance as we develop a vocabulary for process, including but not limited to: Judi Bari, Lynda Barry, CA Conrad, Louise Erdrich, Jozen Tamori Gibson, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Bernadette Mayer, Dori Midnight, Pauline Oliveros, Yoko Ono & Rainer Maria Rilke.

Crosslisted as: FMT-240CP, ARTST-280CP
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
A. Lawlor
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors
Prereq: FMT-102, FMT-103, FMT-104, FMT-106, ARTST-120, or ARTST-131.
Advisory: Priority from waitlist will be given to FMT and Art Studio majors and minors but students from other arts disciplines are encouraged to enroll, space allowing.

ENGL-219FM Topics in Creative Writing: 'Four Memoirs: Writing Through Radical Self-Inquiry'

Fall. Credits: 4

In this class, we will read four full-length memoirs, each representing radically different structures and styles. Students will write four short memoirs mirroring the forms of these books. These "memoirs" will run between 2,000-2,500 words, and they will represent the pillars of the final grade. Memoir projects will receive instructor feedback, and will also be shared in smaller "care groups" to offer and receive feedback. Mary Oliver once wrote that "attention is the beginning of devotion." Together, we will nurture our attention to the world, and, therefore, devote ourselves to bettering it. We will nurture our sensitivities, our wonder, our awe, and identify not only who we are through rigorous self-inquiry, but what conversations we are participating in when we write, what literary traditions we perpetuate, and, perhaps most importantly, what traditions we break. Sample texts (full-length and excerpted) include Carmen Maria Machado, Alexander Chee, Barry Jenkins, Jaquira Díaz, Michelle Zauner, Saeed Jones, Natasha Trethewey, Alex Marzano-Lesnevich, Cyrus Simonoff, Yuko Tsushima, and others.

Applies to requirement(s): Meets No Distribution Requirement
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
T. Madden
Prereq: ENGL-201.

ENGL-219MT Topics in Creative Writing: 'Retelling Myth and Fairy Tale'

Spring. Credits: 4

This course explores contemporary fiction that retells old myths and fairy tales to create new writing. We will read short stories and novels from a diversity of cultures that adapt received texts to generate new works, which often implicitly question the original tales' messages, providing feminist, racial, and/or queer correctives. Students will read these retellings as creative writers, gleaning techniques and approaches to write their own contemporary retellings. Everyone will give and receive critique in small groups and workshops throughout the course and revise writing for the final project.

Applies to requirement(s): Meets No Distribution Requirement
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
A. Hong
Prereq: ENGL-201.

ENGL-219QT Topics in Creative Writing: 'Queer and Trans Writing'

Spring. Credits: 4

What do we mean when we say "queer writing" or "trans writing"? Are we talking about creative writing by queer and/or trans authors? Writing about queer or trans practices, identities, experience? Writing that subverts conventional forms? All of the above? In this course, we will engage these questions not theoretically but through praxis. We will read fiction, poetry, comics, creative nonfiction, and hybrid forms. Expect to encounter work that challenges you in terms of form and content. Some writers we may read include Ryka Aoki, James Baldwin, Tom Cho, Samuel R. Delany, kari edwards, Elisha Lim, Audre Lorde, Cherríe Moraga, Eileen Myles, and David Wojnarowicz.

Crosslisted as: GNDST-204QT
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
A. Lawlor
Prereq: ENGL-201.

ENGL-265 Children's and Young Adult Literature

ENGL-265YA 'Young Adult Fiction Writing'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This creative writing course provides an introduction to the field of young adult (YA) fiction writing. Students will study and practice writing in a workshop atmosphere and will read a wide range of novels and short stories, including works by writers such as Laurie Halse Anderson, Coe Booth, Agnes Borinsky, Adam Rapp, Tanuja Desai Hidier, Elizabeth Acevedo, and Mary H. K. Choi. We will discuss the fundamentals of fiction writing (characterization, plot, setting, structure, point of view) with an emphasis on the elements that distinguish YA writing from writing intended for adults. The readings will seek to encompass both a diversity of voices and a diversity of approaches to YA fiction.

Applies to requirement(s): Meets No Distribution Requirement
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
The department
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors
Prereq: ENGL-201.

ENGL-304 Advanced Poetry Writing

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

In this workshop students will have the opportunity to generate new poems, with an eye to revision, critical thinking, and longer manuscript projects. We will read and discuss work by contemporary poets and will occasionally incorporate other media -- visual art, music, performance, film, work that defies genre -- to learn about what we might want to do with language and poetry. Together, we will work to build a community through our reading and our work.

Applies to requirement(s): Meets No Distribution Requirement
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
The department
Prereq: ENGL-204 and 4 additional credits in English.
Notes: Repeatable.

ENGL-306 Advanced Projects in Creative Writing

Spring. Credits: 4

This semester-long course is designed for students already at work on a longer project (a novel or novella, a short story collection, a collection of poems, longform creative nonfiction, a graphic novel, or a hybrid form). Students will build on the skills and insights gained in previous creative writing courses to draft, workshop, and revise a full-length creative manuscript. Workshop and revision will comprise much of our time, along with readings on craft by authors such as Lynda Barry, Italo Calvino, and Samuel R. Delany. Students will also have an opportunity to meet literary publishing professionals.

Applies to requirement(s): Meets No Distribution Requirement
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
A. Hong
Instructor permission required.
Prereq: ENGL-201 or equivalent.
Advisory: Interested students must complete an application using: this link

ENGL-361 Advanced Creative Writing Topics

ENGL-361AR Advanced Creative Writing Topics: 'Creative Writing from the Archives'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

In this creative writing course, we will draw on MHC's archives of the Glascock Poetry Contest, which celebrates its 100th year in 2023. Reading the writings of past contestants and judges including Muriel Rukeyser, Marianne Moore, Sylvia Plath, James Merrill, Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, Marilyn Nelson, Marilyn Chin, and Maggie Nelson, we will gain insights into the evolution of American poetry over the last century and investigate how the evaluation of poems has also changed. We will view and listen to archival materials such as photographs, judges' correspondence, and audiotapes to expand our inquiry and spur new creative writing in any genre inspired by these texts and unique holdings.

Applies to requirement(s): Meets No Distribution Requirement
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
A. Hong
Prereq: ENGL-201.

ENGL-361HY Advanced Creative Writing Topics: 'Hybrid Genre Writing'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

Students will read and discuss a diverse array of hybrid-genre works or writing that combines and coalesces two or more genres: poetry, fiction, criticism, and/or memoir. Some books will also cross media incorporating painting, photography, or film. Students will consider how drawing upon different prose, verse, and multi-media modes can complement and augment the way writers shape their personal and political stories and will complete writing, speaking, and other assignments designed to build toward a hybrid-genre work. Everyone will give and receive critique in a workshop environment, expand approaches to drafting, and revise work for the final assignment.

Applies to requirement(s): Meets No Distrib. Rqmt; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
A. Hong
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors
Prereq: ENGL-201.

ENGL-361KA Advanced Creative Writing Topics: 'Korean American Feminist Poetry'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

Poetry by Korean American feminist writers has burgeoned in the 21st century with new generations of poets contributing to life of American letters. Reading works by Theresa Cha, Myung Mi Kim, Don Mee Choi, Mary-Kim Arnold, and others, we will discuss how each writer evokes racial and ethnic identity and intersections with gender and other political concerns, as well as the choices each poet makes regarding form and style. Students will gain insight into a great diversity of approaches to writing poetry and will create a portfolio of their own poems based on our discussions. Most classes will involve group critique of writing; several will involve visits with our authors. All are welcome.

Crosslisted as: GNDST-333KA
Applies to requirement(s): Meets No Distrib. Rqmt; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
A. Hong
Prereq: ENGL-201.

ENGL-361LP Advanced Creative Writing Topics: 'Writing as Performance: Latinx and and Latin American Poetry and Narrative'

Spring. Credits: 4

This creative writing course turns to poetry and narrative that comes alive off the page. Reading work by Raquel Gutiérrez, Clarice Lispector, Jenni(f)fer Tamayo, Ricardo Bracho, and tatiana nascimento, among others, students will write and perform across genres while in dialogue with voices from across the Americas. To place ourselves in our bodies as well as our words, we will explore not just the innovative aesthetics taken up by writers of Latin American descent but also the politics activated in forms as varied as the butch memoir, the sissy play, the travel diary, and the sound poem. Central to our experiments will be the relationship between writing and other artistic mediums as we navigate topics such as race, colonialism, gender, sexuality, class, disability, ecology, and spirituality.

Crosslisted as: FMT-330LP
Applies to requirement(s): Meets No Distrib. Rqmt; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
L. de Lima
Prereq: ENGL-201.

ENGL-361PM Advanced Creative Writing Topics: 'Poetry and Image: Formations of Identity'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

With an emphasis on producing creative texts, the course will examine the parallel and often overlapping impulses of poetry and image-making (photography, painting, and other visual arts). We will explore concepts of identity through the work of artists such as Alice Neel, Mikalene Thomas, Claude Cahun, Cindy Sherman, Kehinde Wiley, Glenn Ligon, Catherine Opie, Kara Walker, Diane Arbus, Vivian Maier, and Nan Goldin. Writers will include Ocean Vuong, Danez Smith, Sherwin Bitsui, Robert Seydel, Ari Banias, Safia Elhillo, Gloria Anzaldua, Morgan Parker, Layli Longsoldier, Judy Grahn, Audre Lorde, Ronaldo Wilson, Shane McCrae, Adrienne Rich, David Wojnarowisz, Eileen Myles, and others.

Crosslisted as: GNDST-333PM
Applies to requirement(s): Meets No Distrib. Rqmt; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
The department
Prereq: A 200-level creative writing course.

ENGL-361PR Advanced Creative Writing Topics: 'Poetry and/as Response'

Spring. Credits: 4

Part of poetry's work involves the response to material and spiritual conditions -- those that are shared, and those that may initially seem interior, even private. Too, poetry elicits reactions in the body of its reader or hearer; it wants to move you. In reaching us, the most affecting poems can spur us to write. To respond is to offer something in return: be it complication, corrective, question, outcry, reinvention, intervention, dream. In this course, students will cultivate responsiveness as poetic writing and reading practice, from tracking somatic reactions to their encounters with language, to generating poems from art and archives, to building ethical and receptive critical feedback processes together in the classroom. Along with full collections of poetry and individual poems, assigned texts may include film, performance, visual art, and/or music.

Applies to requirement(s): Meets No Distribution Requirement
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
A. Banias
Prereq: ENGL-201.

ENGL-361SW Advanced Creative Writing Topics: 'Screenwriting'

Fall. Credits: 4

The screenplay is a unique and ephemeral form that exists as a blueprint for something else: a finished film. How do you convey on the page a story that will take shape within an audio-visual medium? The screenwriter must have an understanding of both the language of narrative film as well as the general shape and mechanics of film stories. This advanced course will cover dialogue, characterization, plot, story arc, genre, and cinematic structure. We will analyze scenes from fictional narrative films -- both short and feature length -- and read the scripts that accompany these films. By the end of this course, each student will have written two original short films. In workshop style, the class will serve as practice audience for table readings of drafts and writing exercises.

Crosslisted as: FMT-340SW
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
E. Montague, F. Telegrafi
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors
Instructor permission required.
Prereq: 8 credits in Film, Media, Theater.
Advisory: Preference will be given to majors. Application and permission of instructor required.

ENGL-361TR Advanced Creative Writing Topics: 'Introduction to Literary Translation'

Fall. Credits: 4

This creative writing course explores literary translation as a transformative and political practice. Throughout short writing experiments, collaborations, workshops, and a final project, we will work with a range of genres and forms in order to grasp the stakes and possibilities of translation across cultures, mediums, historical epochs, and literary styles. Reading texts by Katrina Dodson, John Keene, Don Mee Choi, and Alejandro Zambra, among others, we will build an expansive vocabulary for discussing our translation projects while keeping in mind questions of context and power. Basic skills in any second language are required.

Applies to requirement(s): Meets No Distrib. Rqmt; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
L. de Lima
Prereq: Some knowledge of a foreign language required.

ENGL-378 Another World Is Possible: Writing Utopias

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

How and why do narrative artists envision whole new worlds? What is the role of fantasy in social change? How can we make art about social change in the middle of a global crisis? In this course we will investigate contemporary utopian fictions and their historical antecedents as models for our own utopian writing. We will encounter novels and films from various lineages, including Afrofuturist, anarchist, critical utopian, ecotopian, and feminist. Authors we may read include Sir Thomas More, Ursula K. Le Guin, Samuel R. Delany, Ernest Callenbach, Octavia E. Butler, Walidah Imarisha, Carolina De Robertis, and Margaret Kiljoy. Interdisciplinary research and collaboration will make up a substantial portion of the work of the course.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
A. Lawlor
Prereq: 4 credits in creative writing and either 4 additional credits in English or 4 credits in Gender Studies, Critical Race and Political Economy, Africana Studies, Critical Social Thought, Latina/o Studies, or Environmental Studies.
Notes: This course is in conversation with ENGL-366 Love, Sex, and Death in the Anthropocene, or Living Through the Age of Climate Change and Other Disasters.

Intermediate Literature Courses

ENGL-211 Shakespeare

Fall and Spring. Credits: 4

A study of some of Shakespeare's plays emphasizing the poetic and dramatic aspects of his art, with attention to the historical context and close, careful reading of the language. Eight or nine plays.

Crosslisted as: FMT-230SK
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
C. Mahaffy
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors
Notes: meets English department legacy pre-1700 requirement

ENGL-213 The Literature of the Later Middle Ages

Spring. Credits: 4

This course will examine a variety of English works and genres written in the thirteenth through fifteenth centuries. Our concentration will be principally on the Gawain-poet, Chaucer, Langland, Margery Kempe, and Lydgate. Most of our readings are in Middle English.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
W. Yu
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors
Prereq: ENGL-199.
Notes: meets English department legacy pre-1700 requirement

ENGL-214 Topics in Medieval Studies

ENGL-214BE Topics in Medieval Studies: 'Beowulf, Gawain, Ishiguro: Medieval Mythmaking and the Idea of Britain'

Spring. Credits: 4

This course explores early-medieval English literature that focuses on migration, cultural and religious inter-mixing, and histories of invasion and conquest. We'll read early-English literature to study its frameworks of historiography and its imperial interests, the mythologies behind early-English identities, the culture of English learning, and the afterlives of invasion. Course readings will include modern English translations of Beowulf, the works of Gildas and Bede, and selections from post-Conquest history and Arthuriana. With the semester's worth of knowledge about early-English history and literary production, we'll spend the final weeks of the course reading Kazuo Ishiguro's novel The Buried Giant.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
W. Yu
Prereq: ENGL-199 and 4 additional credits in the English department.
Notes: meets English department legacy pre-1700 requirement

ENGL-214LR Topics in Medieval Studies: 'Love and Reason in Medieval Romance'

Fall. Credits: 4

Arthurian legend conjures enduring stereotypes of chivalry and romantic love, but how do we go about situating medieval romance in literary history? Where does it come from, why was it written, who read it, and how did it change over time? In this course, students will learn about romance's historical and social contexts, its form, tropes, and imagery. We will think about romance's contemplation of justice, loyalty, subjectivity, love, and shame, especially as this body of literature grapples with the conflicts that arise between the mortal and divine. Course readings will include works by Marie de France, Chrétien de Troyes, Chaucer, Lydgate, and Spenser. We will read in Middle English where possible.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
W. Yu
Advisory: ENGL-210 or ENGL-213 recommended.
Notes: meets English department legacy pre-1700 requirement

ENGL-214RE Topics in Medieval Studies: 'Riddling in Old English'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This course will acquaint students with English as it was written and spoken over 1,000 years ago. By introducing Old English as a language system, this course will provide insight into early medieval literacy with special attention paid to the genre of riddles. The first several weeks will be spent on learning the basics of Old English alongside the contexts in which Old English writing was produced. Toward the end of the term, we'll focus our attention on translating select riddles from the Exeter Book. Assignments will include primary and secondary readings, a translation exam, and essays.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
W. Yu
Advisory: No prior knowledge of Old English is presumed, but some familiarity with foreign language learning will be helpful. At least one 200-level course in a literary genre or period strongly recommended but not required.
Notes: meets English department legacy pre-1700 requirement

ENGL-217 Topics in English

ENGL-217GE Topics in English: 'Global English: Its Written and Spoken Forms'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

What is the relationship between language and social and political power? This course is an interdisciplinary study of the global role of the English language. Migration, education, and identity are major themes of the course, and we look at how linguists, policy-makers, and individuals grapple with these complex topics. This course also focuses on students' development of their written and spoken communication skills and is open to students in all disciplines. Our approach to writing and speaking may be particularly effective for students who do not identify as native speakers of English.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
M. Shea

ENGL-217SA Topics in English: 'South African Literature: Postapartheid and Beyond'

Spring. Credits: 4

This course is a survey of postapartheid South African literature. In the aftermath of apartheid post-1994, South African literature has wrestled with ideas about what kind of future is livable and possible. Labeling itself as the "Rainbow Nation," South African politicians, activists, and artists (literary, visual, musical) have sought to create a democratic vision of South Africa that celebrates differences of race, culture, gender, and sexual orientation. Using 1994 as our moment of departure, this course will examine the "future" of South Africa as told through postapartheid South African fiction. Acknowledging that there are many ways to imagine the future, this course examines how portrayals of race, of gender and sexuality, and of the nation serve to construct and disrupt ideas about the future.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Multicultural Perspectives
J. Hayward-Jansen
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors

ENGL-217TR Topics in English: 'Transgender Literature'

Fall. Credits: 4

Transgender literature has had a significant impact on how we talk about transness (and gender) and the kinds of trans stories we are able to tell. Although trans identities may find expression in texts as early as Metamorphoses (Ovid), this course will look at literature from the 20th and 21st centuries. Considering a wide range of genres -- novels, poetry, short stories, memoir, and young adult literature -- we will think about how writers talk about their bodies, their transitions, and their histories. Drawing upon fields such as history, medicine, and social science, this course will look at trans literature as both a product of these histories and as a powerful tool for critical liberation.

Crosslisted as: GNDST-204TR
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Multicultural Perspectives
J. Hayward-Jansen
Restrictions: Reserved at present for students who will be registered from the waitlist.; Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors

ENGL-232 Rovers, Cuckqueens, and Country Wives of All Kinds: The Queer Eighteenth Century

Fall. Credits: 4

With the rise of the two-sex model, the eighteenth century might be seen to be a bastion of heteronormativity leading directly to Victorian cis-gender binary roles of angel in the house and the bourgeois patriarch. Yet, beginning with the Restoration's reinvention of ribald theater, this period was host to a radical array of experimentation in gender and sexuality, alongside intense play with genre (e.g., the invention of the novel). We will explore queerness in all its forms alongside consideration of how to write queer literary histories.

Crosslisted as: GNDST-204ET
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
K. Singer
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors
Notes: This course is part of a two-semester sequence with Nonbinary Romanticism, but students are encouraged to take either course separately. Meets the department's legacy 1700-1900 requirement

ENGL-233 Nonbinary Romanticism: Genders, Sexes, and Beings in the Age of Revolution

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

With the onslaught of American, French, Haitian, and South American revolts and revolutions, the Atlantic world, much of Europe, and its colonial/industrial empire were thrown into a period of refiguring the concept of the raced, national, and gendered subject. This course considers what new forms of gender, sex, sexuality, and being were created, practiced, or thought, however momentarily, in this tumultuous age. Specific attention is given to conceptions of nonbinary being (of all varieties). Authors may include E. Darwin, Equiano, Wollstonecraft, Lister, M. Shelley, Byron, Jacobs.

Crosslisted as: GNDST-204NB
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
K. Singer
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors
Notes: This course is a second part of a two-course sequence with ENGL-232, but each may be taken separately. Meets the department's legacy 1700-1900 requirement

ENGL-238 Modern Irish Literature

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This course will introduce students to the literature of modern Ireland beginning with Swift, moving through the nineteenth century, examining the Irish Literary Revival and Irish modernism, and finally contemporary drama, poetry, and fiction. We will focus on Irish women writers and their literary interventions concerning colonial history, nationalism, and Unionism. We will pay particular attention to representations of Irishness, the relationship between literature and national history, and questions of violence and representation. The course will explore how the genres, styles, and forms of Irish writing are determined by the experience of colonial trauma and the imperative to imagine national identity.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
A. Martin
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors
Prereq: ENGL-199 or ENGL-200.

ENGL-240 American Literature I

Fall and Spring. Credits: 4

A survey of American literature from the literature of exploration to the Civil War, with special attention to the formation of an American literary tradition, along with the political, social, and religious contexts that helped shape the imaginative responses of American writers to their culture.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
A. Moskowitz
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors
Notes: Meets the department's legacy 1700-1900 requirement

ENGL-242 Topics in American Literature

ENGL-243 American Gothic

Fall and Spring. Credits: 4

An examination of the gothic -- a world of fear, haunting, claustrophobia, paranoia, and monstrosity -- in U.S. literature and visual culture. Topics include race, slavery, and the gothic; gender, sexuality, and the gothic; regional gothic; the uncanny; cinematic and pictorial gothic; pandemic gothic. Authors, artists, and filmmakers may include Dunbar, Elmer, Faulkner, Gilman, Hitchcock, Jackson, Kubrick, LaValle, Lovecraft, McCullers, Morrison, O'Connor, Parks, Peele, Poe, Polanski, Romero, and Wood.

Crosslisted as: FMT-230AG
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
E. Young
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors
Advisory: English 240 or 241 recommended

ENGL-254 Topics in African American Literature

ENGL-257 Survey of African American Literature

Spring. Credits: 4

This course surveys Black literary production with special attention to the idea of genre as a choice of form made by Black writers from the antebellum era through the present to communicate critique, effect political change, and render new worlds. Structured around debates about the genre status of Black writing, this course introduces students to slave era texts by Harriet E. Wilson, David Walker, Phillis Wheatley; 20th century works by Nella Larsen, Zora Neale Hurston, Amos Tutuola, Chester Himes, Bill Gunn, James Baldwin, Toni Cade Bambara; and contemporary work by Saidiya Hartman, Octavia Butler, Jeremy O. Harris, and Rita Dove. Reading, writing, and critical viewership will be central to the course.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Multicultural Perspectives
K. Maye

ENGL-274 Introduction to Asian American Literature

Fall. Credits: 4

This course introduces students to Asian American literature, considering its historical origins and evolution. Throughout the course we explore questions of identity, immigration and citizenship, generational conflict, war and migration, and mixed and cross-racial politics. Readings of primary texts will be supplemented by historical and critical source materials. Authors may include Nina Revoyr, Ruth Ozeki, Nam Le, Chang-rae Lee, Aimee Phan, Susan Choi, and Jhumpa Lahiri.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Multicultural Perspectives
I. Day
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors

ENGL-279 Sherlock Holmes and Interpretation

Fall. Credits: 4

This course will explore the Sherlock Holmes stories and their various afterlives as a case study to explore the problematics of interpretation, especially literary interpretation. Some of the questions raised will concern evidence, inductive and deductive thought, applying theoretical paradigms, historical and material contexts, character and narrative, form and genre, popular culture, ideology, and the aesthetic.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
N. Alderman
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors

ENGL-280 Literary and Cultural Theory

Spring. Credits: 4

How and why do we read literature and cultural expression? What kinds of knowledge can different cultural media offer us about ourselves and the world? This introduction to literary and cultural theory will survey later 20th- and 21st-century thought, including theorists asking questions about labor, power, ideology, subjectivity, identity, race, gender, sexuality, indigeneity, empire, colonialism, language's figurality, affect, technology, and the nonhuman. We will think about these theories as their own forms of cultural expression and as methodologies that can help us discuss and make meaning of textual, visual, and digital culture.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive
K. Singer
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors

ENGL-282 Writing London: the Modern City Novel

Spring. Credits: 4

This course will chart London's progress from the center of an empire to a node in the global world's economy, and the novel's movement from realism to postmodernism and beyond. Beginning by contrasting the London of Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes with that of Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, we will then trace the development of a multiethnic city in which according to a recent report there are more than 300 languages spoken in London schools. By so doing we will also examine the history and tradition of the twentieth and twenty-first century novel and investigate its various theories, genres, and styles.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
N. Alderman
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors

Advanced Literature Courses

Prerequisites for Advanced Courses

The stated prerequisites for 300-level courses are junior and senior standing and 8 credits of work in English beyond a first-year seminar, often including a specified course such as ENGL-199 or ENGL-240. A sophomore who has completed the specified 8 credits may enroll with prior permission of the instructor. Any student without the prerequisites should consult the instructor.

Seminars and Courses on Special Topics

These courses offer advanced study of literature in English. Reading texts from different periods and genres, seminars aim for depth and specific focus and require of every student both original work and partial responsibility for leading class discussions.

Each year the department offers various upper-level seminars and special topics courses. Enrollment in these seminars and courses is restricted (15 to 20 in seminars; 30 or fewer in courses). Interested students should pay particular attention to the prerequisites; preference for admission is usually given to seniors.

ENGL-311 Chaucer: Stories & Storytellers

ENGL-311CT Chaucer: 'The Canterbury Tales'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

Known as a storyteller par excellence, Chaucer was also a famous reader of classical epic, romance, and philosophy. This research seminar will give students the opportunity to read the Canterbury Tales in light of the work's cultural, historical, and literary contexts. Throughout the semester, students will engage with Chaucer's tales and his favorite sources to examine and discuss his representations of gender and class, his perspectives on religious authority, his use of the English vernacular, and his commitment to poetry.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
W. Yu
Prereq: ENGL-199 and 8 credits in the department.
Advisory: ENGL-213 or ENGL-214 strongly recommended
Notes: meets English department legacy pre-1700 requirement

ENGL-312 Shakespeare

ENGL-312TH Shakespeare: 'Thinking with Shakespeare'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

A research seminar in which we will think not merely about Shakespeare but with him, engaging a variety of topics that concerned him as deeply as they do us. These include virtue, authority, nature, faith, the mind, and difference. We will read the plays and poems alongside thinkers who preceded Shakespeare and influenced his time as well as those who came after and learned from him in turn. We will encounter both established figures such as Plato, Lucretius, and Freud as well as modern critical methodologies such as new historicism, cognitive theory, and ecocriticism. Texts may include the sonnets, Romeo and Juliet, As You Like It, Hamlet, Coriolanus, and The Winter's Tale.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
S. Roychoudhury
Restrictions: This course is open to juniors and seniors
Prereq: 8 credits from English beyond the 100 level, including ENGL-211.
Notes: meets English department legacy pre-1700 requirement

ENGL-314 The Curious Middle Ages

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

Curiosity suggests both a yearning for knowledge and the discernment of something unusual or strange. While influenced by Augustine's warning that worldly inquiry could endanger the pilgrimage of the soul, medieval literature contains many instances of curious looking. Exploring the medieval desire to know, this course considers how the period's tendencies toward spiritual and metaphysical thought are balanced against its fascinations with the observable world. We will study the ways allegories, travel narratives, romances, and dream visions intersect with natural philosophy, historiography, cartography, and architecture. Literary analysis is the basis for our investigative work to uncover the epistemological impulses that inform medieval art and literature. Some critical concepts will preoccupy us as we examine this body of literature as literature -- among them: lyric, history, romance, vernacular and secular poetry, courtly love, mysticism, and dream vision poetry.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
W. Yu
Restrictions: This course is open to juniors and seniors
Prereq: 8 credits in English including ENGL-199.
Notes: meets English department legacy pre-1700 requirement

ENGL-321 Studies in Nineteenth-Century British Literature

ENGL-321WD Studies in Nineteenth-Century British Literature: 'William Wordsworth and George Eliot'

Spring. Credits: 4

William Wordsworth and George Eliot grew up in a revolutionary age: the American Revolution, the French Revolution, the Haitian Revolution, wars of independence and of imperial conquest, and, behind it all, the social transformations arising from the industrial revolution. Both Wordsworth and Eliot wrestled with how to adapt their art to these new realities: he introduced dramatically new content into poetry and experimented with a startling variety of poetic forms; she transformed the various prose genres to construct a novelistic form able to represent the totality of British society. By so doing, they forged a revolution in literary forms with the emergence of the modern lyric and the realist novel.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
N. Alderman
Prereq: 8 credits from English.
Notes: meets the English department legacy 1700-1900 requirement

ENGL-323 Gender and Class in the Victorian Novel

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This course will investigate how gender and class serve as structuring principles in the development of the Victorian novel in Britain, paying attention to the ways in which the form also develops in relation to emerging ideas about sexuality, race, nation, and religion. Novelists include Bronte, Dickens, Eliot, and Gaskell and we will read examples of domestic fiction, detective fiction, social realist novels, and the Victorian gothic.

Crosslisted as: GNDST-333SS
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
A. Martin
Restrictions: This course is open to juniors and seniors
Prereq: 8 credits in English.
Notes: meets the English department legacy 1700-1900 requirement

ENGL-325 Victorian Literature and Visual Culture

Fall. Credits: 4

This course will examine literary texts that represent new forms of visuality in nineteenth-century Britain as well as examples of visual culture that provide a framework for reading Victorian culture in innovative ways. We will study nineteenth-century photography--portraiture, prison photography, imperial photographs, and private and popular erotic images--as well as novels and autobiographical writing that engage with new photographic technology and its transformation of the ways in which Victorians understood identity, politics, aesthetics, and representation. The course will take a similar approach to painting, literary illustration, political cartoons and caricature, and advertising.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
A. Martin
Prereq: Take 8 credits in English.
Notes: meets the English department legacy 1700-1900 requirement

ENGL-334 Asian American Film and Visual Culture

ENGL-334BG Asian American Film and Visual Culture: 'Beyond Geishas and Kung Fu Masters'

Spring. Credits: 4

This course examines contemporary Asian American film and visual culture through the lens of cultural recovery, self-invention, and experimentation. Focusing primarily on film and photography, we will explore issues of race and visuality, Hollywood orientalism, memory and postmemory, and racial impersonation and parody. Students will engage with a variety of theoretical and critical approaches. Artists may include Nikki S. Lee, Margaret Cho, Tseng Kwong Chi, Jin-me Yoon, Justin Lin, Binh Dahn, Richard Fung, Mira Nair, Deepa Mehta, and Alice Wu.

Crosslisted as: FMT-330BG
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive
I. Day
Restrictions: This course is open to juniors and seniors
Prereq: 8 credits in English or Film, Media, Theater.

ENGL-338 Aesthetics of Racial Capitalism

Fall. Credits: 4

Race is the modality in which class is lived," wrote the late cultural theorist Stuart Hall. This course takes Hall's axiom as a starting point for considering the racial, gendered, and sexualized character of capitalist domination. Throughout the course students will explore both the political economy and the cultural imagery of racial capitalism. One question we will grapple with is the following: if capital itself is as imperceptible and objectively real as gravity, what are the common tropes we use to apprehend its circulation? Is it the stock market ticker tape, the shipping container, or the industrial wasteland? Drawing on writers and artists of color from around the world, we will consider ways they offer cognitive maps of the gendered and sexualized contours of racial capitalism. Authors may include Octavia Butler, Chang-rae Lee, Leslie Marmon Silko, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, and Ruth Ozeki. Visual artists may include Xu Bing, Otobong Nkanga, Allan deSouza, Rodney McMillian, Mark Bradford, Takahiro Iwasaki, Anicka Yi, and Candace Lin.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive
I. Day
Prereq: 8 credits in English or CST-200.

ENGL-349 Cosmopolitanism

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

Nothing that is human can be alien to me." This is the motto of cosmopolitanism, a way of thinking that stretches back to the Greeks, and which emphasizes our common status as citizens of the world, urging us to value the universal as highly as the local. How are we to balance our duty to humankind broadly in relation to those nearby? How are the stories that we tell about immigration, asylum, global capital, tourism, and environmentalism involved in this conversation? This course explores the premises of cosmopolitanism in conjunction with contemporary transnational literature; authors may include Rushdie, Naipaul, Coetzee, Adichie, Hemon, and Bulawayo.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Multicultural Perspectives
S. Roychoudhury
Restrictions: This course is open to juniors and seniors
Prereq: 8 credits in English.

ENGL-350 Studies in African American Literature

ENGL-350AB Topics in African American Literature: 'Abolition and Climate Change'

Fall. Credits: 4

What makes change so difficult? Why do people always seem to be so apathetic to the most pressing political and social issues? In the face of climate change and racial injustice, why do so many people remain absolutely unmoved? Questions like these were central problems for the abolitionist movement in the nineteenth century, and they remain crucial issues for people today who similarly believe that another world is possible. This class will consider how the abolitionist movement was intertwined with the birth of environmentalism to understand the nature of struggle today. We will read a range of antislavery writing, nineteenth-century Black radical figures, and various critical theorists of capitalism and climate change.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Multicultural Perspectives
A. Moskowitz
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors
Prereq: 8 credits in English.
Notes: Meets the department's legacy 1700-1900 requirement

ENGL-350AT Topics in African American Literature: 'Race and the Aesthetics of Taste'

Fall. Credits: 4

This 300-level seminar will examine race and taste in the literatures of slavery and colonialism. We will analyze taste as a mode of racial perception and a practice of racial discrimination. To do this, taste will be interpreted as a metaphor for aesthetic discernment ('you have great taste!') and at the register of gustatory perception ('what does it taste like?') to reveal that taste does not name a neutral operation of judgment; rather it names a field of interaction with the world that produces and extends social values, cultural commonsense, and racial categories. Together we will trace how subjectively experienced affects associated with the consumption of food and drink recapitulate arrangements of racial and epistemic power.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Multicultural Perspectives
K. Maye
Restrictions: This course is open to juniors and seniors

ENGL-350CB Topics in African American Literature: 'Contemporary Black Memoir'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This course traces the formation of the Black public intellectual in the internet age. All memoirs read in this class have been published within the last decade, and include works by luminaries such as Kiese Laymon, Tressie McMillan Cottom, Roxane Gay, Hari Ziyad, and Da'Shaun Harrison. Students will examine the elasticity of memoir as a category, and assignments will compare and contrast authors' online personas to their published work.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Multicultural Perspectives
The department
Prereq: 8 credits in English, Critical Race and Political Economy, or Africana Studies.

ENGL-362 Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This seminar will examine the Bloomsbury Group, the most important British cultural formation in the first half of the twentieth-century. The group included artists, art critics, biographers, economists, literary critics, novelists, philosophers and translators such as Vanessa Bell, E. M. Forster, John Maynard Keynes, George Moore, Bertrand Russell, Lytton Strachey, and Virginia Woolf. We will emphasize the ways in which they sought to dismantle the artistic, political, and sexual repressions of the Victorian period and to replace them with new forms of art, community, and society.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
N. Alderman
Prereq: 8 credits in the English department.

ENGL-366 Love, Sex, and Death in the Anthropocene, or Living Through the Age of Climate Change and Other Disasters

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

The "Anthropocene" has been defined as the era when humans exert change on the earth's climate, but this term has become a dynamo for theories, political discussions, and art about man's anthropocentric relation to the nonhuman world. This course will read theories of the Anthropocene alongside artistic contemplations of the shifting, ethical relations among humans, animals, and other beings of the world. How are we to live, die, and reproduce ourselves in a time when we have egregiously affected the earth? How does the critique of anthropocentrism shift our understanding of sex, gender, race, and the nonhuman? Finally, how does art speak within political conversations of climate change?

Crosslisted as: GNDST-333AN
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
K. Singer
Prereq: 8 credits in English, Critical Race and Political Economy, or Critical Social Thought.

ENGL-367 Topics in Film Studies

ENGL-367AD Topics in Film Studies: 'Adaptation: A Study in Form'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

The Oxford English Dictionary defines "adaptation" as "the bringing of two things together so as to effect a change in the nature of the objects." Rather than studying adaptation as a project that attempts to reproduce an original work in another medium, our course considers the complex relationship between narratives and their retellings and revisions. In particular, we will focus on how such retellings permanently alter their so-called "source" material and how each incarnation of a given narrative offers us insight into and commentary upon a particular historical moment and its unique political and ideological challenges. We will also consider the ways in which literary and visual representations differ in their communicative and affective mechanisms, and challenge where we draw the line between "art," "history," and "entertainment.

Crosslisted as: FMT-330AD
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
A. Rodgers
Restrictions: This course is open to juniors and seniors
Prereq: 8 credits in English or in Film, Media, Theater.

ENGL-367CM Topics in Film Studies: 'Cinematic Masculinities in Contemporary American Film, 1970-present'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

Film critics Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott contend that "movies may be male dominated, but images of men are surprisingly narrow." This course both explores various constructs of postmodern American masculinity as they are portrayed and disseminated through contemporary film, and seeks to understand some of what is at stake (culturally, ideologically, economically) in perpetuating certain cinematic archetypes. Of particular relevance to our investigation are the ways in which film yokes masculinity to race, gender, and class. Films include Full Metal Jacket, No Country for Old Men, The Big Lebowski, Boyz in the Hood, Paris is Burning, Fight Club, and Moonlight.

Crosslisted as: FMT-330CM
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
A. Rodgers
Prereq: 8 credits in ENGL or FMT.

ENGL-367RE Topics in Film Studies: 'Revenge on Stage and Screen'

Spring. Credits: 4

Revenge plots display an enduring popularity. We will examine plays and films that show the range of possibilities, exploring: narratives focused on gender, race, and class; the place of family in revenge plots; the "underdog" tale; the importance of religion to ideas of justice; and the way in which genre influences notions of vengeance. Films and plays include the following: Euripides' Medea, Shakespeare's Hamlet, Ji Junxiang's The Orphan of Zhao, Suzan-Lori Parks's Fucking A, Fritz Lang's The Big Heat, Damián Szifron's Wild Tales, Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill, and Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman. Students will design their own final research projects.

Crosslisted as: FMT-330RE
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
Other Attribute(s): Writing-Intensive
H. Holder
Restrictions: This course is open to juniors and seniors
Prereq: 8 credits in Film, Media, Theater or English.

ENGL-368 Shapeshifting Through the Nineteenth Century and Beyond

Fall. Credits: 4

How can we change our ideas and enactments of white, Western subjectivity and being? This course contends that one transhistorical figure for such revolution is shapeshifting, and we will read examples in novels, poetry, memoir, and other nineteenth-century and contemporary media. Special attention will be paid to texts, then and now, that speak to queer/trans, disability, and critical race discourses as significant sites of resistance to Western being through bodily transformation. A substantial amount of time will be spent on individual research and methodologies.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive, Writing-Intensive
K. Singer
Restrictions: This course is open to juniors and seniors
Prereq: 8 credits in English.
Notes: meets English department legacy 1700-1900 requirement

ENGL-374 Hitchcock and After

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

This course will examine the films of Alfred Hitchcock and the afterlife of Hitchcock in contemporary U.S. culture. We will interpret Hitchcock films in a variety of theoretical frames, including feminist and queer theories, and in shifting historical contexts, including the Cold War. We will also devote substantial attention to the legacy of Hitchcock in remakes, imitations, and parodies. Hitchcock films may include Spellbound, Strangers on a Train, Rear Window, Vertigo, North by Northwest, Psycho, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Marnie, and The Birds; additional works by Brooks, Craven, and De Palma. Readings in film and cultural theory; screenings at least weekly.

Crosslisted as: FMT-330HA
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
E. Young
Prereq: 4 credits in Film, Media, Theater and 4 credits in English.

ENGL-382 Advanced Topics in English

ENGL-382AN Advanced Topics in English: 'American Animality'

Spring. Credits: 4

This course will investigate the representation of nonhuman animals in North American literature and culture over the 200 years. Topics include: the relation of literary animals to racism; reimaginations of animals by writers of color; gender and sexuality; taxidermy and extinction; and experiments in representing animal perspectives. Substantial readings in Animal Studies, Black Studies, feminist and queer theory, environmental humanities, and other fields. Authors and artists may include Octavia Butler, Zora Neale Hurston, Jack London, Alice Munro, Eadweard Muybridge, Jordan Peele, Edgar Allan Poe, Kelly Reichardt, Marshall Saunders, Mark Twain, and Jesmyn Ward.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
E. Young
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors
Prereq: 8 credits in English.

ENGL-382PW Advanced Topics in English: 'Once More With Feeling: Intimacies and Affects in a Posthuman World'

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

Affect theory offers a varied and rich critical language to explore how emotion circulates within and among human bodies-and nonhuman ones as well. If emotions operate through bodily changes and chemical exchanges, then animals and nonhumans might similarly be seen as bodies replete with affective materials in motion and at rest. In this course we will read through an array of affect theory from cognitive science, animal studies, and posthumanist debates on the affect of objects. We will consider how humans know what they feel (and when), how animals love, how forests think, and how affects might cross human and nonhuman boundaries.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive
K. Singer
Restrictions: Course limited to sophomores, juniors and seniors
Advisory: Prior experience with theory is helpful but not necessary.

ENGL-382QM Advanced Topics in English: 'The Queer Early Modern'

Fall. Credits: 4

This course combines early modern texts with various related secondary readings that will enable students to better understand the way that sexuality-both normative and nonnormative-was portrayed and interpreted in Renaissance literature. As we progress through the course, we will discuss what defines queer history and histories of sexuality, how the history of sexuality in the past informs the present, and, ultimately, the ways in which we can use early modern literature to better understand ourselves today. Course texts will include Christopher Marlowe's Edward II, John Lyly's Galatea, Shakespeare's sonnets, and the poetry of Aemilia Lanyer and Katherine Philips.

Crosslisted as: GNDST-333QM
Applies to requirement(s): Humanities
C. Mahaffy
Restrictions: This course is open to juniors and seniors
Notes: Meets the department's legacy pre-1700 requirement

ENGL-389 Revolution and Change in the Age of Necropolitics

Not Scheduled for This Year. Credits: 4

The "age of revolution" saw revolts in the Black Atlantic world: Americans rebelled against the British; Native Americans opposed white colonists; bourgeoisie vied for power against the aristocracy; women decried patriarchal imprisonment; Latin American creoles resisted Spanish imperialists; and slaves threw off their masters. This course considers these diverse narratives of revolution as a series of social, political, and philosophical movements to change "biopolitics" (control of life) and "necropolitics" (control via death). We will read revolutionary tracts, slave narratives, and abolitionary literature alongside critical theory to consider how these authors offer ways of living and surviving Western, racial imperialisms.

Applies to requirement(s): Humanities; Multicultural Perspectives
Other Attribute(s): Speaking-Intensive
K. Singer
Restrictions: This course is open to juniors and seniors
Prereq: 8 credits combined in English, Critical Social Thought, history, or Africana Studies.
Notes: meets English department 1700-1900 requirement

Independent Study

Students with special interests, adequate preparation, and a capacity to work well on their own may apply for independent study, either ENGL-295 or ENGL-395. An application for independent study must be submitted the semester prior to which the work will be completed. Note: ENGL-295 and ENGL-395 do not count toward the completion of the English major or minor.

Sophomores, juniors, and seniors may take ENGL-295 for 1 to 4 credits, if suitable directors for the proposed projects are available.

Juniors and seniors who have devised projects in literary criticism and scholarship, or in writing prose and poetry, and demonstrate strong preparation, are encouraged to take ENGL-395 for 4 credits. They should discuss their ideas for projects with their academic advisor and others in the department who might serve to direct the project. In most cases, students should seek out department members with whom they have already studied; but if this is not possible, their advisors or the department chair will help find someone to supervise the project. (Students studying off campus may pursue such arrangements by email.) The department will try to find such advisors for students, but cannot guarantee a student will be allowed to undertake independent study. Planning ahead increases the probability of success. Again, preference is given to students who can demonstrate thorough preparation, normally through appropriate course work at the 300 level.

Seniors who have done well in one semester of ENGL-395, and who meet the College requirement of a 3.00 grade point average, may, with the approval of the director of the project, continue the independent work for an additional 4 credits, with the intent of writing a thesis to be submitted for honors.

ENGL-295 Independent Study

Fall and Spring. Credits: 1 - 4

The department
Instructor permission required.

ENGL-395 Independent Study

Fall and Spring. Credits: 1 - 8

The department
Instructor permission required.

Courses Meeting Disciplinary Perspectives Requirements

Literary History and Period

English
ENGL-211Shakespeare4
ENGL-213The Literature of the Later Middle Ages4
ENGL-214BETopics in Medieval Studies: 'Beowulf, Gawain, Ishiguro: Medieval Mythmaking and the Idea of Britain'4
ENGL-214LRTopics in Medieval Studies: 'Love and Reason in Medieval Romance'4
ENGL-214RETopics in Medieval Studies: 'Riddling in Old English'4
ENGL-232Rovers, Cuckqueens, and Country Wives of All Kinds: The Queer Eighteenth Century4
ENGL-233Nonbinary Romanticism: Genders, Sexes, and Beings in the Age of Revolution4
ENGL-240American Literature I4
ENGL-243American Gothic4

Race, Power, and Difference

English
ENGL-217SATopics in English: 'South African Literature: Postapartheid and Beyond'4
ENGL-240American Literature I4
ENGL-257Survey of African American Literature4
ENGL-274Introduction to Asian American Literature4

Theory and Methods

English
ENGL-209Writing, Reading, and Constructed Languages4
ENGL-219BCTopics in Creative Writing: 'Building Literary Community'4
ENGL-219CHTopics in Creative Writing: 'Climate Changes Everything: Telling Stories at the End of the World As We Know It'4
ENGL-219QTTopics in Creative Writing: 'Queer and Trans Writing'4
ENGL-232Rovers, Cuckqueens, and Country Wives of All Kinds: The Queer Eighteenth Century4
ENGL-257Survey of African American Literature4
ENGL-279Sherlock Holmes and Interpretation4
ENGL-280Literary and Cultural Theory4

Contact us

The English Department reflects in its offerings a balanced variety of historical and theoretical approaches to the study of language, literature, and culture.

Shana Hansell
  • Academic Department Coordinator

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