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English (B.A.)

English (B.A.)

Course Descriptions


Official Course Descriptions

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Supplemental Course Descriptions

The following course descriptions only provide information about the focus that an individual professor chooses to take for their course. These descriptions are not a replacement for the official course description. Use the Course Description Search page to find the official course description.

English B.A. Courses – Spring 2017

ENG 3014: Introduction to Literary & Cultural Studies (2 sections)
Tuesday/Thursday 12:00-1:15 (CRN 10701) or 3:00-4:15pm (CRN 10708)
Dr. Totaro

This is an introductory course for majors and minors. The course’s main subjects include, but are not limited to, selected literary works and their socio-historical contexts, critical theories, research and writing methods, career and professional planning. Required coursework includes essays, exams, and a variety of homework and in-class assignments. Our focal reading this term will be a work of early modern literature—either drama or poetry, with attention to their contemporary revivals.

[Advising note: This required course should be taken in the first semester of the junior year or as early as possible after declaring the English major.]

ENG 4930: Senior Seminar (2 sections)
Tuesday/Thursday 10:30-11:45 (CRN: 10710) or 3:00-4:15 (CRN: 10711)
Dr. Sugimori

This seminar is the capstone course for the English major. Accordingly, the readings and assignments are planned so that students will draw upon knowledge and skills learned during their studies as English majors and produce presentations and a Senior paper that demonstrate their intellectual progress towards completion of a B.A. in English. This seminar will also lead students through the process of producing a portfolio for career and professional development. Required coursework includes a Senior paper and other writing assignments, exams, presentations, and a variety of in-class activities.

[Advising note: This required course should be taken in the senior year, ideally the last semester before graduation.]

AML 3242 20th-Century U.S. Literature & Culture (CRN 10703)
Tuesday/ Thursday 1:30-2:45
Dr. Brock

For this class, we will double-up on our authors, where we will read and/or view two individual works by each author we cover in class. Rather than undergo a quick survey of authors, we will take our time considering multiple works by each author and their themes and cultural contexts. Authors include Edith Wharton, James M. Cain, Alfred Hitchcock, and Anne Carson.

AML 4703 The Immigrant Experience in US Lit (CRN 10704)
Becoming American: Poetics and Politics in Immigrant Narratives
Tuesday/Thursday 12:00-1:15
Dr. Mendible

This course examines the immigrant experience as represented in various 20th and 21st century U.S. novels. We will consider both fiction and non-fiction texts to explore the impact of official policies, historical precedents, economic conditions, and changing cultural attitudes on diverse immigrant writers. Students will acquire a historical understanding of the diverse experiences of immigrant groups in the US and their impact on literature; develop a critical understanding of immigration and exile as experienced by different groups; gain an awareness of theoretical debates relevant to the study of immigrant literature; and evaluate immigrant narratives in relation to “the American Dream” and other foundational American myths and stories.

AML 4930 Selected Topics in U.S. Literature: The Pursuit of Happiness (CRN 10705)
Tuesday/ Thursday 3:00-4:15 pm
Dr. Brock

Beginning with Horatio Alger and his culturally defining construct of the self-made, pulled-up-by-his-bootstraps American success story, we will explore the delights, traps, and horrors of this pursuit. Yes, the wrong people seem to succeed, as we will see in Edith Wharton’s The Custom of the Country; or yes, a heroine ascends to the bourgeois class at the cost of her identity in Nella Larsen’s Passing; or yes, the end of the pursuit results in murder, bloody murder in James M. Cain’s Double Indemnity. We will also find reprieve in the Coen Brothers’ Raising Arizona, and close this pursuit with Nathan Hill’s important debut novel, The Nix.

ENG 4060 History of the Language (CRN 10709)
Tuesday/Thursday 3:00-4:15 pm
Dr. Tolhurst

In today’s world, texting and tweeting are transforming the vocabulary and grammar of the English language. During the Middle Ages, the Norman Conquest transformed the vocabulary and grammar of the language even more dramatically. By taking you on a journey back in time, first to Middle English and then to Old English texts, this course will introduce you to medieval forms of the language. If you would like to read Beowulf or The Canterbury Tales in the original language, or if you are considering graduate study or teaching at the secondary school or university level, this course offers you a rare opportunity. It will show you the music and the meaning of the early English literature that inspired J.R.R. Tolkien’s fiction and continues to inspire writers and filmmakers today.

ENL 3210 Anglo Saxon and Medieval Lit (CRN 10713)
Tuesday/Thursday 10:30-11:45
Dr. Tolhurst

Literature produced in England between the arrival of the Germanic tribes in the 5thcentury and the arrival of the printing press in the late 15th century was composed in Old English, Latin, Old French, and Middle English. This course will introduce you to both canonical and non-canonical literary works—along with key non-literary texts—in order to give you access to the rich and varied tradition of writing in medieval England. We will read works by authors such as the Beowulf-poet, Bede, Marie de France, Geoffrey Chaucer, Julian of Norwich, Margery Kempe, and Sir Thomas Malory.

ENL 3230 Restoration and Eighteenth-Century British Literature and Culture (CRN 10714)
Monday 4:30-7:15
Dr. Crone-Romanovski

This course will provide an overview of major British authors, genres, and works from the period spanning from the Restoration of Charles II (1660) to the beginning of the French Revolution (1789). We will read poetry, drama, and prose (both fiction and non-fiction) by a diverse range of British authors in order to examine the ways in which these texts participate in and/or challenge the major political, social, economic, and literary developments of the period.

This course counts toward the pre-1800 credit hour requirement.

ENL 4303 Selected British Authors: Jane Austen (CRN 10715)
Wednesday 1:30-4:15
Dr. Crone-Romanovski

Jane Austen’s novels have been critical and popular successes from the time of their original publication in the early nineteenth-century to today. Her works experienced a particularly notable resurgence in both critical and popular attention in the 1990s from the combined forces of renewed interest by the film industry and a growing field of feminist scholarship on women’s writing. In this course, we will study Austen’s works, including selections of her juvenilia and personal letters as well as her major novels, within their historical and cultural contexts and in relation to their continued ability to attract both scholars and fans. Studying Austen’s writing in this context will provide an avenue for studying the culture of Regency England, the shaping of modern notions of gender and class, the history of the novel, forms of popular literature, and critical approaches to literary analysis.

ENL 4930 Selected Topics in Brit Lit: British Women Writing Late Modernism (CRN 10716)
Wednesday 4:30-7:15
Dr. Mattison

This course on the British novel centers on writing by women just prior to and after WWII. Thus, the novels we will read are invested in thinking through the changes of the twentieth century, which radically altered the political and literal landscape of Britain (and, more largely, of the entire world). One of the characteristics of late modernism (mid 1930s through the 1960s, roughly defined) is the urge to look back to an earlier point in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In this way, these novels are about return, although in a world ravaged by two world wars, return is not always possible. This concept of return—fraught though it may be—suggests a preoccupation with both time and space. These novels in varying ways deal with the question of the future, as well as the past, just as our course authors remap spaces which may have physically disappeared through a melding of historical and personal memory.

LIT 3144 Modern European Novel: From Realism to Surrealism (CRN 10718)
Tuesday/Thursday 4:30-5:45pm
Dr. Mattison

This course on the modern European novel spans major developments in the genre from the mid-nineteenth century to the years just prior to WW II. We begin with what many scholars consider to be the “first modern novel,” Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary (1857), typically categorized as an example of literary realism. We’ll trace the shifts between realist literature and psychological novels (and novellas) as we move from the nineteenth century to the twentieth, looking particularly at narration and structure and mapping common themes between the selected texts. The course concludes with surrealist novels (AndréBreton’s Nadja [1928] and Jean Rhys’s Good Morning, Midnight [1938]), which fundamentally destabilize the easy distinction between the real world and the dream world. The selected novels all, in various ways, demonstrate the malleability of genre conventions and the immensely creative ways one might craft a narrative, as well as significant social and cultural shifts.

LIT 4355 African & Diaspora Literature: What is Africa to me? (CRN 10720)
Tuesday/ Thursday 9:00-10:15 am
Dr. Gras

This seminar examines the African diaspora from the period of decolonization (1960s) to the present. The course considers major issues (neocolonialism and postcolonialism, black nationalism, identity politics and conflicts, racism, and cultural imperialism) as expressed in selected texts and contexts. Readings span a generation of Black writers from such diverse regions as Africa, the Caribbean, and the American South. In particular, this semester we will explore the representation of Africa in a variety of works from the Diaspora. The texts in this course will allow us to reflect on the strategies employed by different writers to situate themselves in relation to Africa and people of African ancestry. What does it mean to be African or to belong to the African Diaspora? Do we find the same preoccupations in an African text as we do in a text from the Caribbean or from the United States? Who has a voice and how does it shape our understanding of the African Diaspora and its relation to the rest of the world? Texts studied will include Mario Azevedo’s Africana studies: A Survey of Africa and the African Diaspora and D.T. Niane’s Sundiata: an Epic of Old Mali to set up the historical and cultural background for our discussions as well as Maryse Condé’s Segu, Mariama Bâ’s So Long a Letter, and Shay Youngblood’s Talking Bones.

This course counts toward the World Literature minor.

LIT 4934: Advanced Topics in Critical Theory: The “Post-” Era
Monday 1:30-4:15pm
Dr. Jackson

This course will focus on various schools of “post-” theory that have become prevalent since the end of WWII. We will cover postmodernism, post-humanism, post-feminism, and post-patriarchy and will study theorists like Jean Baudrillard, Gilles Deleuze, Slavoj Žižek, and Cary Wolfe, among others. We will also discuss how the concepts related to the “post-” era manifest themselves, particularly in popular films like Natali’s Splice, Scott’s Prometheus, and Flanagan’s Oculus.

This course counts towards the Critical Theory minor and as a post-1800 elective in the English BA program.

SPT 3100- Spanish Literary Masterpieces (CRN 10775)
Wednesday 1:30-4:15 pm
Dr. Rivera

This course focuses on the study of Spanish Peninsular literature, specifically on the literary production from the 19th century to the post-Civil war period (1950´s), and its role in the portrayal of social and cultural aspects that became essential in the development of contemporary Spanish literature. From the famous Don Juan to poetry used to protest against a fascist government, in this course students will be exposed to a variety of Spanish literary texts that were shaped by different discourses of social and cultural identity and that were strongly related to the country’s traditions and history. Students will have the opportunity to critically read and analyze a series of works that are considered canonical masterpieces of the Spanish Romanticism, Realism, Naturalism, Modernism, and Vanguardism, as well as important texts written before and during the Spanish Civil War. The texts are translated to English and through them students will explore topics such as misogyny, masculinity, social order, religion, politics, science, ethnicity, love, and power. The course intends to provide a glimpse of the Spanish culture of that time while discussing topics that were (and still are) of universal interest.