AS.060.100.  Introduction to Expository Writing.  3 Credits.  

Introduction to “Expos” is designed to introduce less experienced writers to the elements of academic argument. Students learn to recognize “The Fundamental Structure of Academic Argument” as they learn to read and summarize academic essays, and then they apply the fundamental structure in academic essays of their own. Classes are small, no more than 10 students, and are organized around three major writing assignments. Each course guides students’ practice through pre-writing, drafting, and revising, and includes discussions, workshops, and tutorials with the instructor. In addition to its central focus on the elements of academic argument, each “Intro” course teaches students to avoid plagiarism and document sources correctly. “Intro” courses do not specialize in a particular topic or theme and are available to freshmen only.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.107.  Introduction to Literary Study.  3 Credits.  

This course serves as an introduction to the basic methods of and critical approaches to the study of literature. Some sections may have further individual topic descriptions; please check in SIS when searching for courses.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.108.  Time Travel.  3 Credits.  

Why is time travel such a consistent and perplexing theme in literature and film over the last 150 years? Why is modernity so concerned with peeking backwards or forwards? This course will examine the history of time-travel fiction, from its beginning in utopian fiction through its box-office dominance in the 1980s, and into today. Writers will likely include Mark Twain, Edward Bellamy, Harold Steele Mackay, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, and Philip K. Dick. Movies will include *The Terminator*, *Back to the Future*, and *Primer*.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.111.  Freshman Seminar: How Not to Be Afraid of Poetry.  3 Credits.  

What is poetry? And why don’t we like it? This course will explore what makes poetry turn ordinary language into something extraordinary, into shapes and sounds so that sometimes we find it difficult to understand and sometimes we find it gives us great delight. This seminar will open up a range of poetry written in English, including some of the greatest writers of the English language. This course is designed for the students without a strong background in reading poetry but who have the desire to gain it; the main emphasis is exploration of the world and words of poetry and developing an appreciation and analytical understanding of the ways poetry can express, advocate, record, and move. Assignments will include reading poems, becoming an expert about a single poet, attending public poetry readings, creating poems, and writing short weekly assignments about poems. You will be expected to be an active member in classroom discussion and activities. Pre 1800 course.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.112.  Major Authors: Dickens and Film.  3 Credits.  

From the earliest moments of cinema, Charles Dickens’ writing has proven extraordinarily stimulating for film-makers. Why might this be? What does it tell us about Dickens—and what does it tell us about the pleasures and demands of both fiction and film? To address these complex questions we’ll read a handful of Dickens’ works (most likely Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, Christmas Carol and Little Dorrit), watch their adaptations, and read a small set of critical essays. Requirements are likely to include two papers, response papers, and a class presentation.

Area: Humanities

AS.060.113.  Expository Writing.  3 Credits.  

“Expos” is designed to introduce more confident student writers to the elements of academic argument. Students learn to apply “The Fundamental Structure of Academic Argument” in academic essays of their own. Classes are capped at 15 students and organized around three major essay assignments. Each course guides students’ practice through pre-writing, drafting, and revising, and includes discussions, workshops, and tutorials with the instructor. In addition to its central focus on the elements of academic argument, each “Expos” course teaches students to document sources correctly and provides its own topic or theme to engage students’ writing and thinking. Please see the following list of individual course descriptions to decide which sections of “Expos” will most interest you. “Expos” courses are available to freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, and to seniors by special permission.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.114.  Expository Writing.  3 Credits.  

“Expos” is designed to introduce more confident student writers to the elements of academic argument. Students learn to apply the paradigm of academic argument in academic essays of their own. Classes are capped at 15 students and organized around four major writing assignments. Each course guides students’ practice through pre-writing, drafting, and revising, and includes discussions, workshops, and tutorials with the instructor. In addition to its central focus on the elements of academic argument, each “Expos” course teaches students to document sources correctly and provides its own topic or theme to engage students’ writing and thinking. Please see the Expository Writing Program's website for individual course descriptions to decide which sections of “Expos” will most interest you. “Expos” courses are available to freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, and to seniors by special permission from the English Department.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.120.  Realism Unsettled: The Colonial and Postcolonial Novel at Sea.  3 Credits.  

A haloed claim about the realist novel is that it tells us stories that help make sense of the world— but is it possible to represent the complexity of social life under global capitalism?How do novels engage with the problem of knowledge posed by empire and colonization? We will look at writers from within the imperial metropolis as they struggle to imagine the totality of the geopolitical world, and also at writers from formerly colonized regions who “write back” to the imperial center, bending novelistic conventions along the way. The course starts by asking how new conventions and quirky techniques of novel-writing emerge when novelists try leaving the certainty of their national and regional boundaries to enter the confusion of uncharted territories. It then turns to postcolonial novels, to consider how these write against, or claim power through, the notion that their regions are chaotic and undecipherable.Primary texts: Moby Dick, Lord Jim, A Passage to India, Sea of Poppies, The White Tiger.

Area: Humanities

AS.060.124.  Politics, History and Autobiography.  3 Credits.  

Students will write a mini-autobiography in the form of seven 3000 word essays, work shopped in class. Readings include A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid and Brothers and Keepers by John Edgar Wideman.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.126.  Feminist Fiction: Fundamentals.  3 Credits.  

Area: Humanities

AS.060.129.  Writing Africa Now.  3 Credits.  

This course surveys post-2000 literary and cultural production from sub-Saharan Africa. Topics will include debates over genre and fiction’s relevance to African experience, legacies of canonical writing about independence, urban Africa as violent or “tragic” landscape, and problems of scale and geographical context. Readings by authors such as Adichie, Wainaina, Duiker, and Vladislavic, and students will be introduced to the main print and online arteries of African intellectual discussion. This class is for non-majors and does not count towards the English major or minor.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.131.  Race and Pop-Culture in America.  4 Credits.  

How does American pop-culture deal with race? Through primary sources like Fresh Off the Boat and Jane the Virgin, comic books like Ms. Marvel, and books like The Hate U Give and Crazy Rich Asians, and their filmic adaptations, we examine and question how race is represented and used in recent popular media. Short secondary sources supplement our thinking and provide background to vital pieces of our culture often overlooked under the label of entertainment.

Area: Humanities

AS.060.135.  American Nightmares: Burroughs, Highsmith, Dick.  3 Credits.  

These three authors share a common starting point: Patricia Highsmith, William S. Burroughs and Philip K. Dick all began their careers writing mass market genre fiction in pre-Stonewall, pre-civil rights, Cold War 1950s America. Absorbing the stylistic codes of their respective marketplaces of suspense writing and lesbian romance, "drug fiend" confessional, and science fiction, each writer's conformist apprenticeship in pulp resurfaces in increasingly nightmarish forms in the violent and paranoid scenarios that dominate their mature work. Reading broadly in each author's short fiction, novels, and prose, we will sequentially examine Burroughs' "cut-up" techniques and "routines", Highsmith's free indirect discourse gone wrong, and Dick's disorienting temporal experiments as inflamed allergic reactions to generic codes. We will also examine the cinematic afterlives of these authors by looking at key scenes from three adaptations of their work: Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train (1951), David Cronenberg's Naked Lunch (1991), and Richard Linklater's A Scanner Darkly (2006).

Area: Humanities

AS.060.137.  Doctors Without Borders: Literature, Medicine, and the Human Condition.  3 Credits.  

Doctors play a significant role in shaping literary history as both writers and fictional subjects. From Chekhov to Sherlock Holmes, W. Somerset Maugham to Middlemarch, medical practice is imagined to bestow a privileged understanding of humanity in confrontation with questions of life and death. This course explores how writing about medicine connects long-established themes of mortality, authority, and ways of knowing to timely questions of global migration, cultural contact, and social justice. We will read literary writing by physicians as well as writing that depicts their work in detail, by authors including Nawal El Saadawi, Atul Gawande, Abraham Verghese, Damon Galgut, and Taiye Selasi.

Area: Humanities

AS.060.139.  Expository Writing: The Narrative Essay.  3 Credits.  

Telling stories is one of the first and most important ways that human beings try to make sense of the world and their experience of it. The narrative art informs fiction and nonfiction alike, is central to the writing of history, anthropology, crime reports and laboratory reports, sports stories and political documentaries. What happened? The answer may be imagined or factual, but it will almost certainly be narrative. This course focuses on the narrative essay, a nonfiction prose form that answers the question of “what happened” in a variety of contexts and aims to make sense not only of what happened but how and why. We will begin by summarizing narrative essays, will move to analyzing them, and in the second half of the course you will write two narrative essays of your own, the first based on a choice of topics and sources, the second of your own design. Authors may include James Baldwin, Annie Dillard, Chang Rae Lee, Danielle Ofri, George Orwell, Richard Rodriguez, Richard Selzer, and Abraham Verghese. You will learn the power of narrative to inform and persuade as you test that power in your own writing.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.141.  Nineteenth Century Narrative and Early Film.  3 Credits.  

This course will situate the birth of the movies within the context of 19th century fiction and visual technology. Filmmakers are likely to include Georges Melies, Sergei Eisenstein, D. W. Griffiths, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, King Vidor, and Rouben Mamoulian; novelists are likely to include Charles Dickens (Christmas Carol or Oliver Twist), Robert Louis Stevenson (Jekyll and Hyde), and perhaps Virginia Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway).

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.142.  Indigenous Science Fiction: (Re)making Worlds.  3 Credits.  

This discussion-based seminar will survey science fiction written by indigenous authors in what are now the United States, Canada, and Australia. We will investigate by what means and to what ends this particular genre has been taken up by indigenous peoples both to reflect on their settler-colonial pasts and presents and to imagine decolonial futures. Texts may include: Leslie Marmon Silko, Almanac of the Dead; William Sanders, "The Undiscovered"; Daniel Heath Justice, The Way of Thorn and Thunder; Blake Hausman, Riding the Trail of Tears; Waubgeshig Rice, Moon of the Crusted Snow; Claire Coleman, Terra Nullius; Tanya Tagaq, Split Tooth. Fulfills the Global and Minority Literatures requirement.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.146.  Detective Fiction.  3 Credits.  

This course will look at the history of English-language detective fiction through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We will pay special attention to the way clues and suspense operate, the role of the reader in figuring out the mystery, and the complicated relationship of the detective with official authority. Authors will likely include some selection of Wilkie Collins, Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Dashiell Hammet, and Raymond Chandler. This class is for non-majors.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.151.  Doubles, Demons, and Dummies: The Literature of the Fantastic.  3 Credits.  

Talking reflections. Dolls with knives. Dancing automatons. They are all part of the strange and dangerous world of the fantastic. This course examines the literature of the fantastic, or what we can refer to as creepy double, demon, and dummy stories. We’ll look at everything from Poe to American Psycho in an attempt to figure out what just happened, why, and how it relates to literary meaning.

Area: Humanities

AS.060.155.  Expository Writing: Introduction to the Research Paper - Controversies in Adolescence.  3 Credits.  

“Introduction to the Research Paper” is designed to introduce more experienced student writers to the fundamental skills of the research process. These include asking research questions, evaluating the usefulness of sources to answer them, synthesizing sources, reading sources critically, and developing arguments that deliver an original thesis. Students will work with a research librarian at the Eisenhower Library, with whom they will learn to navigate traditional databases as well as new media sources. The Research Paper is topic-based and divided into three linked units of instruction. The course culminates with a paper of 10-12 pages that draws upon the cumulative skills of the semester. Each course is capped at ten students and available only to those who have taken “Expository Writing” (060.113/114)

Prerequisite(s): AS.060.113 OR AS.060.114

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.201.  The Nineteenth Century British Novel.  3 Credits.  

Reading major novelists from the nineteenth century including Austen, C. Brontë, Dickens, Eliot, Hardy, and Conrad. We will pay attention to formal conventions, and relation to social and historical context.

Area: Humanities

AS.060.203.  Bible as Literature.  3 Credits.  

This course looks at the ways in which the Bible has and can be read as literature.

Area: Humanities

AS.060.205.  Feminist Fiction: Violence, Sex and Gender.  3 Credits.  

This course will start with passages from Lysistrata and the Book of Judges, and have as a running concern the overlapping structures of violence, race and gender. Novels will include the following pairs: Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea, The Bluest Eye and Bastard Out of Carolina, The Handmaid’s Tale and Octavia Butler’s novella Bloodchild.

Area: Humanities

AS.060.207.  Shakespeare.  3 Credits.  

Reading the major comedies, histories and tragedies alongside the narrative poem “Venus and Adonis” and the sonnets, this survey course considers Shakespeare’s hybrid career as poet and playwright. Pre 1800 course.

Area: Humanities

AS.060.208.  English Literature from Beowulf to Milton.  3 Credits.  

British Literature I is a survey of English writing on the isle of Britain from the seventh to the seventeenth centuries. It traces the formal experimentation in poetry and prose, and in narrative, lyric, and drama, through which that writing eventually became pre-eminent in Britain. It will also attend to the social and cultural circumstances—in the court, in church, and in the evolving public and private spheres—that shaped the many genres that emerged in this rich 1000 years and developed a definition of ‘literature’ itself . Author’s read include Chaucer, Langland, Kempe, Spenser, Shakespeare, Lanyer, Donne Herbert, Marvel, and Milton. Through lectures, class discussion, written responses, and longer essay assignments, students will master the fundamentals of English literary history as well as the techniques of critical reading and writing.

Area: Humanities

AS.060.209.  The Literary History of the Devil to 1800.  3 Credits.  

This course reads major works in European literature before 1800 (give or take) depicting the devil. It examines the history of the various social, cultural and political guises under which the devil appears, and the function that representing radical evil performs, in literature and society. Among our readings will be Dante’s Inferno; Milton’s Paradise Lost; Goethe’s Faust, Part One, and many other major Satanic works.

Area: Humanities

AS.060.210.  British Literature II.  3 Credits.  

This course provides a framework for grasping the dazzling variety and explosive innovation of literature in English during the last quarter-millennium. Attending both to textual details and to historical contexts, we will see how Wordsworth, Austen, Keats, Tennyson, Dickens, Wilde, Woolf, Rushdie, and other writers extend and undo tradition, illuminate their times and places as well as our own, and conspire to bring to us the intense experience distinctive to great literary art.

Area: Humanities

AS.060.211.  How Not to be Afraid of Poetry.  3 Credits.  

What is poetry? And why don't we like it? This course will explore what makes poetry turn ordinary language into something extraordinary. Opening up a range of poetry in English, the course will involve reading poetry aloud, thinking about poetry and its forms, and gaining experience in understanding poetry. Assignments will include attending to details small and large in poems, becoming an expert about a single poet, debating aesthetic issues, and composing short analytical papers about poems. There are two required written assignments, a midterm and a final examination.

Area: Humanities

AS.060.214.  Jane Austen.  3 Credits.  

An in-depth study of Austen’s writing, from her juvenilia through her posthumously published novels, with an occasional glance to movie adaptations. The course will focus on persistent questions about Austen’s relationship to feminism, and issues of gender and sexuality, as well as issues of style and technique.

Area: Humanities

AS.060.216.  Zombies.  3 Credits.  

This lecture survey will attempt to answer why the zombie has become such a fixture in contemporary literature and cinema. We will track this figure across its many incarnations--from its late-eighteenth-century appearance in ethnographic fictions growing out of the modern cultures of racialized slavery in the Americas right up to twenty-first-century Hollywood blockbusters in which the origins of the figure in the cultures of racialized slavery are perhaps not overt yet continue to manifest. What are the implications of the zombie's arc from a particular human being targeted for domination by a sorcerer to a living-dead horde created by radiation or epidemic? "Texts" may include: Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; Edgar Allan Poe, "The Man Who Was Used Up"; H.P. Lovecraft, "Herbert West--Re-Animator"; Zora Neale Hurston, Tell My Horse; Victor Halperin, dir., White Zombie; George Romero, dir., Dead series; Edgar Wright, dir., Shaun of the Dead; Alejandro Brugués, dir., Juan de los Muertos; Colm McCarthy, dir., The Girl with All the Gifts; Colson Whitehead, Zone One; Jordan Peele, dir., Get Out. Fulfills the Global and Minority Literatures requirement.

Area: Humanities

AS.060.219.  American Literature to 1865.  3 Credits.  

A survey course of American literature from contact to the Civil War.

Area: Humanities

AS.060.222.  American Literature, 1865 to today.  3 Credits.  

This course is a survey of major developments in American poetry and narrative fiction from the end of the Civil War to the present day. Authors to be covered may include Mark Twain, Willa Cather, Henry James, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Wallace Stevens, and John Ashbery.

Area: Humanities

AS.060.223.  African American Literature from 1900 to Present.  3 Credits.  

A survey of the major and minor texts written by African Americans during the twentieth century, beginning with Charles Chesnutt’s The Marrow of Tradition and concluding with Toni Morrison’s Beloved.

Area: Humanities

AS.060.232.  Detective Fiction.  3 Credits.  

This lecture will trace the the history of English-language detective fiction through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Why does the figure of the detective appear when it does? How does it change over time, and what can we learn from that? We will pay special attention to the way clues and suspense operate, the role of the reader in figuring out the mystery, and the complicated relationship of the detective with official authority. Authors will likely include some selection of Wilkie Collins, Edgar Allen Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Dashiell Hammet, and Raymond Chandler.

Area: Humanities

AS.060.265.  Nineteenth Century British Novel.  3 Credits.  

Reading major novelists from the nineteenth century including Austen, C. Brontë, Dickens, Eliot, Hardy, and Conrad. We will pay attention to formal conventions, and relation to social and historical context.

Area: Humanities

AS.060.301.  Literary Theory.  3 Credits.  

This course serves as an introduction to a wide range of critical approaches to literature through various canonical theoretical studies of the Book of Genesis.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.304.  Large Novels.  3 Credits.  

This course will look at novels that are not only large in size, but which also think about the meaning and methods of trying to capture huge segments of the world into a piece of art. How much can be fit into a novel? What is gained and what is lost? How large is too large? We will read Charles Dickens's Bleak House, Lev Tolstoy's War and Peace, and Herman Melville's Moby Dick.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.305.  Sir Philip Sidney.  3 Credits.  

Courtier, theorist, diplomat, soldier, and martyr, Sir Philip Sidney exemplified but also changed the cultural ideals of his Elizabethan moment. Hoping to evaluate Sidney’s extravagant claim that “the poet, lifted up with the vigor of his own invention doth grow, in effect, into another nature”, this course reads Sir Philip Sidney’s innovations across a range of genres: literary theory (“An Apology for Poetry”), poetry (“Astrophel and Stella”), scriptural translation (“The Sidney Psalms”) and prose romance (“The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia”). The course concludes with an examination of his many afterlives as exemplary subject for biography, adaptation, homage and critical argument.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.306.  The Historical Novel.  3 Credits.  

We’re in the middle of dramatic social, technological and political change: how are we to understand it? This course will address this question by studying the historical novel. We’re likely to start by reading Scott’s Waverley and end with contemporary fiction. Throughout our focus will not be on particular historical facts or events but on the idea of history itself, the role of institutions and individuals within it, and the powers and limits of literary narrative.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.307.  Training\Writing Consltn.  1 Credit.  

A one credit course for those undergrads who have been nominated as Writing Center tutors. Permission required.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.308.  The Essay Form and Creative Non-Fiction.  3 Credits.  

We’ll focus on the essay form, with special attention to recent creative non-fiction that responds to art and literature itself. Theoretical, stylistic, and formal issues will all be considered.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.309.  Slavery in Renaissance Literature.  3 Credits.  

Against the backdrop of the rise of the European slave trade, how were slaves represented in early modern English literature? How was the condition of enslavement inflected by emergent nationalism, colonialism and theological constructions of difference? This course puts Renaissance literature into conversation with comparative histories of slavery and critical race theory. Authors include Aristotle, Terence, Epictetus, Christopher Marlowe, William Shakespeare, John Milton, Aphra Behn, Orlando Patterson, Kim Hall, Stephen Greenblatt, Mary Nyquist, Moses Finley and others.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.310.  A Century of Queer Literature.  3 Credits.  

This course is designed to offer a broad, non-exhaustive overview of queer literature written in the past hundred years. Although not every text on the syllabus was published in the U.S., the relation of these works to U.S. LGBTQ culture and politics will be our main interest. Individual weeks are designed to focus on particular facets of queer experience—how place (urban or rural), class stature (wealthy or working class), and race inform what is possible for queer individuals, relationships, and larger communities. Students will be encouraged to pursue their own larger critical questions around queer literary canon formation, but discussions will return to the question of how queer life and literature changes in the transition from the margins to the mainstream. What possibilities and what constrictions emerge as queerness seems to become more legible to larger numbers of people? Other routes of inquiry will address the varying ways these works address the relation between gender and sexuality, and whether there is such a thing as a cohesive queer narrative style or form. While our reading list primarily is composed of shorter works of fiction (usually <200 pages) by lesbian, gay, queer, and trans writers, the syllabus also includes memoir, drama, and poetry.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.311.  Literature in the Age of Mass Incarceration.  3 Credits.  

The United States in 2018 held more than two million people behind bars, and each year it imprisons more people per capita than any other nation in the world. Understood in terms of “mass incarceration,” a “new Jim Crow,” or “carceral capitalism,” scholars and activists have come increasingly to characterize contemporary U.S. society in light of these facts. Despite this, there has been only sporadic attention within literary studies to the prison as a driving force in American literature, even as canonical works in world literature, from Antigone to Les Misérables to Native Son, feature prominent prison plots. This course in American literature aims to examine how writers, both within and beyond the walls of the prison, have responded to the shifting role of incarceration in the U.S. We will read examples of both “prison literature” and literature that thematizes the prison as an institution across the period of explosive growth in imprisoned populations in the U.S. We will ask what kinds of writing—what genres, moods, styles, and forms—emerge from experiences of incarceration and the literary history of its representation. And we will investigate how a focus on the history of the prison might reshape readings in American literature. Finally, we will consider the role of writing and reading in political struggles against racism, militarism, and heteropatriarchy in the U.S. By developing a critical account of the prison through the kaleidoscope of literature, we will look to develop tools to better understand a central feature of contemporary social life in the U.S. Authors covered may include: Chester Himes, Malcolm X, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Audre Lorde, Piper Kerman, Mohamedu Ould Slahi, and Colson Whitehead, among others.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.312.  Bad Mothers: Nineteenth-Century Novels and Contemporary Theories of Maternity.  3 Credits.  

What makes a “bad” mother? Are bad mothers doomed to be bad, or are they produced by their circumstances? Why did so many nineteenth-century texts fixate on the different ways in which maternity could be flawed? This course pursues these questions in order to consider the psychology and politics of motherhood, an identity and a performance that for some has been synonymous with womanhood itself. Even as our primary texts naturalize and idealize motherhood, they encounter again and again maternity’s instability, its undesirability, its pain, its banality, and its failures. To dive into these questions, we will turn to twentieth- and twenty-first century theorists—including Sigmund Freud, Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich, Jacqueline Rose, and bell hooks—for their insights about how individuals and societies think about mothers. Starting with maternal archetypes like the Grimms’ Evil Stepmother and the classical infanticide Medea, our primary texts will include works by Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Thomas Hardy, Virginia Woolf, Amy Tan, and at least one recent film/TV episode (TBD). Assignments include short reflections, one presentation, and one final research paper.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.314.  Social Media Fictions.  3 Credits.  

Writers around the world are now searching for ways to incorporate new modes of social interaction - e.g. Facebook, Twitter, text messaging, and Skype - into their print work. This course explores the various techniques they have adopted for this purpose, with an eye to critically evaluating their implications for narrative structure and its "reality effect." From Teju Cole's very public experiments with the Twitter novel to a Zimbabwean writer's attempt to capture plot turns through SMS, we will discuss the ways in which narrative is helped or hindered by the ubiquity of social media. Writers studied will include Tendai Huchu, Zadie Smith, Jonathan Franzen, and Eben Venter.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.316.  Mapping the Global Metropolis.  3 Credits.  

Cities have long taken on a central role in literature, but much of our reading about urban space is confined to a few Western hubs. And while the city has traditionally been a space for fictional characters to develop into national subjects, much of the most innovative contemporary writing sees the city as a character of its own. This course will address the representational challenges of globalization through fiction and genre-bending memoir about contemporary metropolises that act as its microcosm: Johannesburg, Lagos, Delhi, London, and New York. We will read primary works by Ivan Vladislavic, Chris Abani, Aravind Adiga, Zadie Smith, and Teju Cole, as well as supplementary excerpts from books including Capital, by Rana Dasgupta, Mike Davis’ Planet of Slums, Ato Quayson’s Oxford Street, Accra, and Loren Kruger’s Imagining the Edgy City. Finally, the course will include theoretical readings about globality and representation, such as Fredric Jameson’s essay on “Cognitive Mapping” and Arjun Appadurai’s seminal book Modernity at Large.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.317.  Jane Austen Beyond England.  3 Credits.  

This will be an in-depth study of Austen’s novels with an emphasis on how they have traveled outside of the country of her birth – e.g. to the United States, India, and East Asia—through the work of individuals and the flows of global capitalism. Students will gain perhaps a disorienting sense of what Austen means in different cultures at different historical moments, and conduct individual research to learn more. Knowledge of another language is not necessary but could prove useful. The course will include a field-trip to the Alberta Burke Austen collection at Goucher College.

Prerequisite(s): AS.060.107

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.318.  Contemporary Literature and Climate Change.  3 Credits.  

In this course we will study the ways literary texts have imagined and addressed climate change, from the turn of the 20th century until to day. We will primarily focus on novels, but I will provide non-fictional background reading on the history of how we’ve conceptualized “climate," and we will also read some poetry. We’ll think a lot about genre: how does climate change look in realist fiction? Science fiction? Poetry? Is apocalypse the only framework in which to view it? How do race, gender, class and geopolitics alter writers’ views on climate? Texts will include HG Wells, The Time Machine; Kim Stanley Robinson, New York 2140; Octavia Butler, Parable of The Sower; Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven; Brenda Hillman, Seasonal Works with Letters on Fire; and Allison Cobb, After We All Died. We’ll also draw on the Yale University Press anthology of climate writing, The Future of Nature.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.319.  Introduction to Disability Studies.  3 Credits.  

Disability has historically occupied a very narrow place in our cultural imaginations. In modern times, disability is almost always considered a medical issue. Yet, seemingly able-bodied, normal observers often exhibit a wide range of reactions when they encounter a disabled body. What would happen, therefore, if we shifted our focus away from the medical and toward these aesthetic and affective reactions? What if we focused on the pity, fear, and horror that encountering disability engenders in a so-called normal person? What if we considered normalcy itself as something that is socially constructed? In pursuit of answers to these questions, this course introduces students to the field of disability studies. Through an investigation of how disability is represented across a wide range of different media, the course will challenge students to rethink what they may think they know about culture, embodiment, and the politics of medical categories. Readings for this course may include Cece Bell, Ken Kesey, Virginia Woolf, Jordan Scott, Carson McCullers, Nina Raine, Lennard J. Davis, Ellen Jean Samuels, Tobin Siebers, Anlor Davin, Robert McRuer, Mladen Dolar, Jasbir K. Puar, Melanie Yergeau, Marilyn Wann, and April Herndon.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.320.  Icons of Feminism.  3 Credits.  

This course looks at four crucial figures who have haunted feminist thought and responses to feminism over the centuries. Sappho, known as the first female poet, remains an enigmatic icon of feminine desire and creativity; Antigone, the daughter of Oedipus and the heroine of Sophocles’s play Antigone, still inspires feminist analyses of women’s relationship to law, the state and civil society; and Joan of Arc, the militant maid of Orleans, troubles thinking about women and violence as well as women, religion and spirituality. The last figure is Mary Wollstonecraft, often cited as the first modern feminist. The course will examine literary works written about these iconic figures, as well as contemporary feminist writing about their influence and viability as models for the future of feminism.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.321.  Literature and Anti-Slavery in the Caribbean and Beyond.  3 Credits.  

This course provides an introduction to the texts and rhetoric of the movement to abolish slavery in the Caribbean. Our exploration of the literary and discursive patterns that bind the struggle against slavery in this diverse region (including the British West Indies, Cuba, and Haiti) will be guided by several questions. How did the formerly enslaved represent their experiences and level critiques against the slave system? What arguments did abolitionists - black and white, enslaved and free - make against slavery, and how did they imagine emancipation? What techniques do novelists, poets, and other artists use to represent the horrors of slavery and emancipatory struggles? To explore these and other problems, this class focuses on novels, poems, images, films, political treatises and first-person histories produced (mainly) by individuals who had either experienced Caribbean slavery or participated in the network of Transatlantic abolition. These texts to chart a complex journey, from the middle passage and eighteenth-century plantation life to international abolition, resistance to slavery, and the memories of racial slavery. The final section considers how the cultural legacy of Caribbean slavery and antislavery are taken up by artists from the Harlem Renaissance and various anti-colonial movements, and more recently by critics of mass incarceration in the US. Authors include, among others: Olaudah Equiano, Mary Prince, Esteban Montejo, Cirilo Villaverde, Frederick Douglass, Herman Melville, Langston Hughes, Aimé Césaire, and Ava DuVernay (all texts will be available in English).

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.323.  Mind, Body, and Materialist Science in Victorian Literature.  3 Credits.  

What was the relationship between mind and body in Victorian discourses of science? In 1875, William B. Carpenter gave a lecture entitled “Is Man an Automaton?” claiming that the human mind was reducible to material processes that were independent of the higher faculty of the will. Prior to Carpenter, however, nineteenth-century thinkers had already been exploring the possibility of the material foundation of human existence. Was the mind an extension of the body? How could scientific theories explain unknown, hidden domains of the mind? How far could evolutionary science go to challenge the foundation of human existence by locating psychological phenomena in biological life and in physical adaptations to the material environment? To explore these questions, this course examines the discourses of the mind and body in the Victorian era that were shaped by both literary and scientific texts. Starting with the pseudo-scientific discourse of mesmerism, we will examine the growing interest in observing mental life through outward bodily signs. We will then investigate discourses surrounding mental illness, automatic behavior, the unconscious workings of memory, evolutionary and hereditary ideas, and the relationship between human and nonhuman organisms. As we read texts written by Charles Darwin, Herbert Spencer, George Eliot, Wilkie Collins, Thomas Hardy, and Olive Schreiner, we will explore how such scientific discourses challenged traditional notions of dualism, identity, agency, and ethics.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.325.  George Eliot.  3 Credits.  

In this course we will read the major novels (and some essays) by George Eliot, one of the most intellectually engaging of British novelists. Her fiction explores ethical, social, and aesthetic issues concerning sexual politics, the limits of morality, the demands of family, the desperation of skepticism, and the capacities of the novel form. Students should leave the course with a heightened sense of the powers of the novel and the seriousness of its ambitions. Texts are likely to include Adam Bede and The Mill on the Floss, but our focus will be on her two last and most ambitious novels, Middlemarch and Daniel Deronda.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.326.  Shakespeare: The Novel.  3 Credits.  

What if King Lear had been a mother? What if the we thought about Othello through the lens of the holocaust? What if the indigene Caliban was the hero, not the villain? What if Miranda chose Caliban over her European suitor? (The Tempest) Could a modern-day Kate be tricked into marriage and “tamed” (The Taming of the Shrew)? When contemporary novelists rewrite Shakespeare, they pose questions left hanging in the play and bring the plays into our own world. In this course, we will read Shakespeare plays (King Lear, The Tempest, The Taming of the Shrew, Merchant of Venice) along with contemporary novelists that rewrite – and confront -- those plays (Jane Smiley, Caryl Phillips, J. M. Coetzee, Anne Tyler). Students will take up important literary questions about kinds of literature (plays vs novels), the canon, imitation, adaptation, and also address the themes of power, gender and sexuality, family dynamics, authority, colonization and the environment.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.327.  "All Art is Propaganda".  3 Credits.  

This course will explore black literature written as protest. We will examine how, in the face of threats to black life, Frances E.W. Harper, Richard Wright, Amiri Baraka, and others have realized versions of W.E.B. Du Bois’s objective: “all art is propaganda and ever must be, despite the wailing of the purists.”

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.328.  Malcolm and Martin: An Introduction to the Lives and Thought of Two Icons of the Black Freedom Struggle.  3 Credits.  

Using their recorded speeches, written lectures and published writings and drawing from their biographies, this course will explore the important life work of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. We intend to upend traditional conversations about political radicalism and ethnic politics by analyzing these spokesmen associated most indelibly with black nationalism and racial integration, respectively.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.329.  Fantasy and Failure: Inventing Worlds in the English Renaissance.  3 Credits.  

What did the English Renaissance think humans were capable of? What worlds could they build, how far could they travel, and what limits could they transgress? In his Oration on the Dignity of Man, Pico della Mirandola asserted that, in contrast to vegetables, animals, or even angels, “man is granted to have what he chooses, to be what he wills to be.” While Renaissance humanism was enthusiastic about the seemingly limitless abilities of the “Renaissance man,” English literature of the period from roughly 1500-1700 is often more skeptical of this optimism. If humans could activate their divine potential and achieve godlike status, they were still always in danger of regressing into one of the baser states of animality or vegetation. This course examines literary explorations of the ways that individual ambition fails or the ideal society proves unattainable. The course is divided into three units: utopia and early science fiction, theater, and poetry. Topics for discussion may include political ambition, gender inequality, ecological dangers, and Renaissance magic; authors will include Thomas More, Margaret Cavendish, William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Amelia Lanyer, and John Donne, among others.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.330.  Literature and the Environment: 1500-1700.  3 Credits.  

This is an introduction to study of literature and the environment with a focus on early modern literature. During the period 1500-1700, the ground was laid for a modern understanding of the relationship between humans and their environment, and we will explore how literature shaped that relation. Topics and authors may include: Nature v. Nurture (Sidney, Spenser, Shakespeare); Environmental genres (pastoral, georgic, creation stories); Nature v. Civilization (Montaigne, Bacon, Milton); Climate, Extreme Weather, the Little Ice Age (The Tempest, Dekker, Heywood’s Play of the weather); Land management, gardens, forestry, rivers (Marvell, Denham, Herrick, Jonson, Lanyer); Health and plague (Nashe, Defoe, Dekker); Country v. City (Philips). We will take up current discussions in ecocriticism, and students should be ready to engage with some critical reading and theory.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.331.  The Literature of the Atlantic Slavery.  3 Credits.  

This seminar will trace the historical development of the slavery debate in the Atlantic world through examination of key texts from a host of genres and locations—Quaker religious tracts, political documents like the Haitian Declaration of Independence, Cuban antislavery novels, slave narratives, and “classics” of American literature like Melville’s Benito Cereno. We will consider how the institution of Atlantic slavery was variously represented, justified, and criticized, discovering in the process the deep structures of modern slavery discourse.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.333.  God on Trial.  3 Credits.  

This course traces an illustrious literary tradition, spanning centuries, that dramatizes the subjection of a deity to a human legal inquiry. We will especially attend to how and with what implications massive theological and philosophical questions such as the existence and nature of the divine and the meaning of and proper ethical response to suffering are worked out through this very specific representational gambit. Texts may include: The Book of Job; Voltaire, Candide; Herman Melville, Moby-Dick; Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov; Rebecca Harding Davis, Life in the Iron-Mills; Elie Wiesel, The Trial of God; Tony Kushner, Angels in America; Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale; James Morrow, Blameless in Abaddon; OMG: Oh My God! dir. Umesh Shukla; graphic novelists Jonathan Hickman et al., God is Dead.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.335.  Black Satire.  3 Credits.  

In this course, we will explore the use of satire in black literary and artistic traditions. Reading will likely include poems and novels by Paul Laurence Dunbar, George S. Schuyler, Claude McKay, William Melvin Kelly, Ishmael Reed, Fran Ross, Percival Everett, and others. In addition, we will venture into the genres of film (“Get Out”) and visual art (work by Glenn Ligon and Kara Walker, the latter currently on exhibit at the BMA). The politics of satire emerge in these texts particularly through the treatment of racial uplift and respectability ideologies, race relations, the legacies and histories of slavery, visions of utopia and dystopia, and the concept of the “post-racial.” With attention to the historical and cultural conditions under which these works were produced, we will address the ways in which satire can (or cannot) effect change in the world.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.337.  James Joyce's Ulysses.  3 Credits.  

A careful semester-long reading of James Joyce’s masterpeice Ulysses, one of the greatest and most intimidating novels in world literature.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.341.  Milton.  3 Credits.  

This class will study Milton’s poetry and prose across the whole of his writing career, with special attention to Paradise Lost, the great epic poem retelling the story of the fall of humankind. We will consider Milton’s literary background, his contemporary political and social milieu, as well as critical debates that surrounding the poet, who was accused of being ‘of the devil’s party.’ Pre-1800 course.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.342.  Contemporary Novel of Ideas.  3 Credits.  

The novel of ideas is often traced to 18th century French or 19th century Russian writing, but it has come broadly to signify works of robust philosophical contemplation. The inherently slippery term seems to indicate a work in which “form” is subsidiary to “content,” or at least, in which narrative structures adapt to prioritize thought rather than style, image, or even character. But how, exactly, and about what, do novels “think?” In large part, the novel of ideas is now conflated with a rote and recognizable brand of social realism. This course asks what might qualify as a novel of ideas today, both in terms of the novel’s changing relation to geographical space (and thereby the formal spaces in which philosophy might lurk), and of the particular “ideas” it critiques or puts forth. We will read novelists including J.M. Coetzee, Marlene van Niekerk, Jonathan Franzen, Teju Cole, and Ronan Bennett within a longer literary-philosophical tradition, with reference to works such as Candide, War and Peace, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and Kierkegaard’s Diary of a Seducer.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.343.  Marxism and Literature.  3 Credits.  

This course will provide a survey of some of the concepts in Marx’s work, especially those to be found in volume 1 of Capital, that might help us get a clearer sense of 21st-century politics and culture. We will move outward from reading Marx to reading recent and classic texts in the Marxist critical tradition. We will discuss explicitly economic ideas about commodities, surplus value, and concrete and abstract labor, as well as historical and political ideas like “primitive accumulation” and the “uneven and combined development” of nations. We will think about what reading Marx and the Marxist tradition can help us see about colonialism, gender, race, technology, and the environment, as well as how it can clarify the character of economic crises. Toward the end of the term we will turn to literary texts, not necessarily “Marxist” themselves, to help us understand important questions that Marxism cannot tackle by itself, like: who are people, anyway? What do they hope for, when they write? Is there a Marxist idea of beauty, and is it different than everybody else’s? Along with Marx, and anti-colonial, anti-racist and feminist writers in the Marxist tradition, we’ll read work by the novelist NK Jemisin, and the poet Stephanie Young.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.345.  Sympathy and the Machine.  3 Credits.  

Is the rise of the machine eroding human connection? How does literature imagine the place of human connection in a world marked by the rise of the machine? This course thinks about Industrial Age fiction, which swims in a heady mixture that’s part-dream and part-nightmare: Are machines bettering us, are they replacing us, will they miss us?We will look at how nineteenth century British writers tried to come to terms with an increasingly mechanized world: Literature of this time attempts new ways of articulating how machines were reshaping people’s lives, their sense of self, their ideas of love, personal growth, community, and social order. The three novels we will read for this course— Charles Dickens’s Hard Times, Elizabeth Gaskell’s Mary Barton, and George Eliot’s Mill on the Floss—are enmeshed in larger conversations and debates about the machine and the human. Readings of each novel will be paired with surrounding sociological, political, and critical discussions, in order to develop a richer understanding. A Dean's Teaching Fellowship Course.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.346.  The American Romance.  3 Credits.  

Reviewers in the nineteenth century noted that narrative fiction on either side of the Atlantic seemed to be moving in different directions—the social-realist panoramas of Charles Dickens and George Eliot were confronted by the metaphysical puzzle-boxes, allegorical curios, and sentimental interfaces of Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Lydia Maria Child, and Harriet Beecher Stowe. In the period, this divergence was often characterized by reference to a generic or modal distinction between the novel—the very name of which advertised its modernity—and the romance, which was associated with medieval literary traditions. British novelists sensibly confined themselves to representing and anatomizing that which was probable in contemporary social reality, whereas American romancers insisted on violating verisimilitude via flights of fancy (e.g., deathless black cats and white whales), whether out of political activism, aestheticist indulgence, or esoteric exploration. The twofold objective of this course is, first and foremost, simply to engross ourselves with a series of compellingly weird narrative fictions by American writers that self-identify as—and self-consciously theorize—modern romance—a reward in itself; and, second, to trace the history of the romance/novel distinction from early nineteenth-century reviews to contemporary criticism, discovering in the process the cultural work this distinction—and its elision—has been made to do. Primary texts may include: Lydia Maria Child, Hobomok; Catharine Maria Sedgwick, Hope Leslie; Edgar Allan Poe, tales, Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym; Nathaniel Hawthorne, tales, The House of Seven Gables, The Blithedale Romance; Herman Melville, Mardi; Harriet Beecher Stowe, The Minister’s Wooing.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.348.  Virginia Woolf and Bloomsbury.  3 Credits.  

An exploration of the achievements and investments of one of the most influential coteries in the history of Britain. In addition to delving into key fictions by Virginia Woolf, we will examine novels by Leonard Woolf and E. M. Forster, art criticism by Roger Fry and Clive Bell, biographical essays by Lytton Strachey, economic writings by John Maynard Keynes, and poetry by T. S. Eliot.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.349.  Clint Eastwood, Race, and the American Western.  3 Credits.  

Drawing from the body of work reflecting the Hollywood gunfighter and outlaw folk-hero Clint Eastwood, the course will investigate American cinematic representations of slavery (and more specifically its absence), the Civil War and racial formation along the United States’ southwestern frontier in films produced from the 1950s through the contemporary period. A focus on the cultural icon Clint Eastwood enables a close examination of American cinematic fantasies of the frontier, frontier violence and the desire to escape or erase the tensions of race and slavery that have deeply permeated the American cultural consciousness, particularly the creation of American masculine ideals. The course will also take decided note of the national shift from liberal “Great Society Programs” of the 1960s to the conservative “neoliberal” social and cultural ideals in the 1980s and 1990s. Our purpose is to consider the organization and reformation of hegemonic power by way of the complex morality play the western film evokes, typically considering the interstitial geographies between civilization and savagery, belonging and alienation, and metropolitan and colonial outpost. We will privilege in our discussions the contested frontiers of racial dominion. The curriculum is complicated by several significant points of departure from the traditional category of the Hollywood-based American western: a film to frame the question of colonialism and resistance, as well as examples of black cinematic efforts re-drawing boundaries of the racial frontier. (Are they formed at the Caribbean, the easternmost littoral? The postindustrial city? Do they correspond to the romance of organized crime and its fantasy of empire?)

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.352.  John Keats' Guide to City Living.  3 Credits.  

This course will take John Keats’ poems and letter as a guide to London in the 1810’s; from the anatomy theaters of the hospitals where he trained, to the raucous parties and poetry slams of his radical literary friends; from museums and theaters to brothels and sickrooms. Keats’ intensely sensual poems are at once bookish and attuned to his environment: they provide lessons on how to abide in a large urban center. For his writing is intensely urban, even when it ventures far from the gloom of the metropolis. Reading the letters he wrote to his brother on the (then-) frontier in Kentucky, we can find yet another key to how he shaped London. We will look at maps of the city, see where the new housing developments were being constructed as old buildings were torn down, visit the jail where his friend, Leigh Hunt, was incarcerated for ridiculing the Prince Regent, see the theater posters and pamphlets Keats saw, as well as the parks and squares he could not enter. The goal for this course is to learn about Keats’ work, but also to try to reconstruct how his city looked and sounded and felt and what, finally, it meant to the poet. Ideally, the course will collectively create a digitized map of Keats’s London that serves as well as a guide to his poems.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.360.  Politics, History and Autobiography.  3 Credits.  

This is an intensive seminar exploring the political and historical dimensions of personal experience. The class is designed to introduce students to writing critically about their own lives and to understanding the function of autobiographical writing in the lives of black Americans. We function partly as a writers’ workshop and partly as a critical review. The final goal of the seminar is a polished 15-20 page autobiographical essay and a 5-7 page critical review of an autobiography, such as would be found in the New York Review of Books.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.363.  Henry James.  3 Credits.  

This seminar will focus on the novels and short fiction of one of the most brilliant crafters of prose and plot ever to write in English. Extensive attention will be devoted to the intricacies of James’s language; to his transatlantic situation; to his relationship to other authors; and to his place in the histories of literature, criticism, and theory. In a few instances, we will read his work in relation to writing by his brother, the pioneering philosopher and psychologist William James.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.367.  The Fallen Woman in Victorian Literature and Culture.  3 Credits.  

This course aims to trace how Victorian literature and culture created, negotiated, or even contested “the fallen woman,” the stereotype of a woman who transgressed the norms of appropriate sexual conduct. A fallen woman was a figure of illegitimacy: an adulteress, an unmarried mother, a seduced maiden, a prostitute, or even just a woman who didn’t meet the norms of gender and sexuality. Although such a phrase itself has disappeared today, we continue to see similar stereotypes of women in our own cultural imagination. By looking at a range of Victorian fiction, poems, and images, we will trace how representations of the fallen woman created, negotiated, or even contested stereotypes that were circulating around them. Students will read novels that address questions of gender and sexuality in Victorian discourse, including Elizabeth Gaskell’s Ruth, George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss, and George Moore’s Esther Waters. Shorter texts will include Gaskell’s short stories, and poems by Christina Rossetti, Augusta Wester, and Thomas Hardy.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.370.  The Nineteenth Century Novel.  3 Credits.  

In this course we will read some of the most significant–and enjoyable–of nineteenth-century novels, focusing on the questions they presented for their first readers and present for readers today. Our focus will be on the technical means by which the novelists achieve their effects. How do they convey the thoughts and feelings of their characters, for instance? How do they represent the interactions between their characters within broader social environments? How do these novels represent history? How do they represent different genders? By means of what literary devices do they do all this? Our aims in the course will be to understand the fiction of the period and to see how the devices used by these authors to conceive their psychological, ethical and political worlds continue to inform our conception of our world.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.371.  Race and Space.  3 Credits.  

Though we often think of the human fascination with the cosmos and the stars as universal and timeless, it has a history, including a literary one. This becomes especially vivid when we pay attention to the history of race. In this course we will explore the crucial role the cosmos and outer space have played in shaping understandings of emancipatory struggle, past and present.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.372.  "Things of Darkness": Shakespeare and the Legacy of Early Modern Racialization.  3 Credits.  

How and why do Shakespeare's works channel racism and supremacist ideologies? How and why is it that they have also been used for inspiration and aspiration by people of color and thinkers on the political left? This course uses performance history from the Elizabethan moment to the present to explore how early modern topics such as anti-Semitism, bodily monstrosity, blood lineage, colonialism, and religious concession have allowed Shakespeare's plays to function as vehicles for thinking about race across time. Case studies include anti-Semitism in The Merchant of Venice at a time when it was illegal for Jews to be in England; the eighteenth­and nineteenth-century blackface traditions of Othello and the careers of Edmund Kean and Ira Aldridge; Duke Ellington's exploration into Shakespeare in his 1957 jazz album Such Sweet Thunder; and Julie Taymor's 1994 Titus Andronicus, which was optioned and championed by Steve Bannon, former executive chairman of Breitbart News. Each unit of the course features an early modem play, readings about the performance tradition of that play, and an article or book chapter on that play.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.378.  Advanced Introduction to African Literature.  3 Credits.  

This course reaches beyond the much-taught postcolonial African realist canon to explore less-studied, more formally challenging works from across the continent, focusing on long-form prose and poetry. While texts will be clearly placed in an historical context, the emphasis in our readings will be on the inception, evolution, and intermingling of literary genres. How do seminal moments in African literary history complicate our received understandings of periodicity, mimesis, and the relation among selfhood, collectivity, and narration? What possibilities exist for theorizing African literature as a corpus, and what, conversely, are the descriptive and institutional limitations of “African Literature"? Primary texts will include “Ethiopia Unbound” (J.E. Casely Hayford); “Chaka” (Thomas Mofolo); “The Wrath of the Ancestors” (A.C. Jordan); “Song of Lawino” (Okot p’Bitek); and "“The Promised Land” (Grace Ogot), as well as poetry by Shaaban bin Robert and H.I.E. Dhlomo, among others. We’ll pay some attention, too, to critical trends and contextualization.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.380.  Romantic Poetry: Imagining the People.  3 Credits.  

Perhaps the most influential moment in modern letters, the Romantic period not only straddled the age of democratic revolutions, abolition, mass media and industrialization, it ushered in the modern concept of Literature and its social role. Among the most pressing issues of Romantic poetry were those related to representing, speaking for and speaking to an imaginary creature called The People, not wholly commensurate with that other imaginary creature, The Nation or its Citizens. So for instance, the Ballad revival of the period brought into print the ancient songs of “the folk,” but the movement was riddled with fakes and forgeries. Rising literacy inspired working class poets, women and ethnic minorities to reshape the English language through poetry. Yet at the same moment, literary gentlemen began to produce their own version of a marginalized and dispossessed “people.” All these efforts can be set against a State effort to introduce the first national census, to account for all subjects of the crown. A struggle over who “counts” in the realm of literature clashed with fights over political institutions and the new science of political economy.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.383.  Contemporary Russian Novel in English.  3 Credits.  

Russia is back in the headlines, and its resurgence seems unlikely to waver anytime soon. But while many students are familiar with nineteenth-century novelists like Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, more recent Russian writing is often a mystery. This course approaches contemporary Russia through the careers of its two major living novelists, Vladimir Sorokin and Ludmila Ulitskaya, both of whose work spans the late Soviet period (1980s and 90s) through today. In addition to questions of genre, translation, and contemporary Russian literary culture’s relation to Soviet models, we will consider how Sorokin and Ulitskaya have brokered Russia’s intellectual standing on a world stage. Works studied will include Ulitskaya’s Sonechka, The Funeral Party, and Daniel Stein, Interpreter, and Sorokin’s The Queue, Day of the Oprichnik, and The Blizzard.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.384.  The Contemporary Novel.  3 Credits.  

In the first two decades of the twenty-first century, writers of narrative fiction have been working furiously to keep up with the turbulence that global capitalism has visited on the world — war, political chaos, environmental catastrophe, massive forced migration and displacement — while trying to maintain ties to the techniques of narrative that gave the 19th century reality novel its successes and its prestige. In this course we will read a range of texts, mostly in translation, that stretch and deform those conventions in order to represent the lives and struggles of characters who are caught up in immense historical change. More and more often, novelists are choosing to depict characters drawn from what Marx would have called “surplus populations” — people for whom economic stability and personal safety are out of reach, partly because they are seen as not worth employing (or exploiting). Under these conditions, we will ask, is it only possible to tell tragic stories? What do happy endings look like? What do changes do character development and point of view have to undergo, for instance, to keep up with 21st-century history? Is realism still the best vehicle for telling these stories? Readings will include novels by Sally Rooney, Eduard Louis, Fernanda Melchor, Elena Ferrante, Marlon James, and Manoranjan Byapari, as well as secondary material by Sarah Chihaya, Merve Emre, Katherine Hill, Jill Richards, and the Endnotes collective.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.386.  Reading the American Swamp.  3 Credits.  

The Shape of Water, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Swamp Thing – what is it about the terrain of swamplands that inspires us to dream up hybrid creatures that live within them? This course takes a long view of the American fearful fascination with these amphibious landscapes, from the 18th century to today. In the 19th century especially, swampy landscapes came to evoke anxious fear of revolt and rebellion among white slaveholders while as many as two thousand escaped slaves found shelter and sustenance in the swamp’s mazy topography. Who and what was lurking just beyond the swamp’s wall of vines and veil of mist? Though the swamp of the 20th and 21st centuries retains a sense of dreary, foreboding mystery, a relatively new ecological discourse on swamplands (now called “wetlands”) has emerged calling for protection of the strange and delicate balance of marsh life. The precarity of such ecosystems as the Florida Everglades comes to represent the toll two and a half centuries of environmental plunder has taken on the American landscape. At the same time, the 2016 presidential election saw the reemergence in American political rhetoric of calls to “drain the swamp” of the federal government.By turns, the swamp has represented growth and abundance, stagnation and decay, moral depravity, organic sanctuary, and has played the roles of both harbinger of devastation and safe-haven of the oppressed. At each twist, texts imagining swamplands give us a unique glimpse into the aesthetic, social, and political anxieties and struggles of the moment. This course aims to track these historical shifts and develop an understanding of precisely how and why they occur, all the while asking what it is about swamplands that attracts our deepest worries and our eeriest curiosities.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.387.  Black Empire.  3 Credits.  

This course examines the transnational visions of Black Empire as articulated and framed by black thinkers, writers, and visual artists around the world, roughly between 1850 and 1950. We will consider how both individuals and groups (such as the United Negro Improvement Association) responded to imperialist maneuvers through discourses of Ethiopianism, Pan-Africanism, and anti-colonialism, and how these discourses interacted with one another in surprising ways, ways that reveal the black world’s simultaneous attraction to and rejection of the imperial model in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Our reading will include novels, poems, essays, and critical texts—at least two of which share a title with this course—by W. E. B. Du Bois, Pauline E. Hopkins, Sutton E. Griggs, J. A. Rogers, Langston Hughes, George S. Schuyler, Claude McKay, Brent Hayes Edwards, Paul Gilroy, Wilson Jeremiah Moses, Michelle Ann Stephens, and others.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.388.  Old World/New World Women.  3 Credits.  

The course considers the transatlantic writing of three women in the early modern period, Anne Bradstreet, Aphra Behn, and Phillis Wheatley. We will consider issues of identity, spatiality, religion, commerce, enforced labor, sexuality, race, and gender, along with literary tradition, formal analysis and poetics. We will read a good deal of these early women writers. Foremost in our mind will be the question of how perceptions of space and time are mediated through the global experiences of early modernity.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.389.  Emily Dickinson.  3 Credits.  

Dickinson’s poetry, more than most, has seemed to prompt creativity in others. In the past two decades, especially, poets, writers, critics, and filmmakers have found their own voices in response to hers. We will focus on the formal, aesthetic, historical and gendered aspects of her poetry as we try to understand, and benefit from, this power to elicit response. Exams are unlikely. Instead, expect close attention to your own writing, as we pay close attention to hers.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.390.  Literature and Visual Modernity.  3 Credits.  

This course will study the idea of modernity, a term that has been of continuing use in trying to understand ourselves and our society. We will focus on the major works of prose, poetry, and painting that attempted to come to terms with modernity in the nineteenth century. Texts are likely to include non-fiction prose by Mill, Baudelaire, Darwin, and Benjamin; fiction by Henry James, Conrad, and Vernon Lee; poetry by the Brownings, Tennyson, and Hardy; and paintings (some at the BMA) by D.G. Rossetti, Turner and Cezanne

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.391.  Early American Literature.  3 Credits.  

This course is an introduction to literatures drawn from across the Americas, although primarily the British North American colonies that would eventually become the United States, from first contact in 1492 up through the American wars of independence. Our readings are roughly organized according to chronology and genre. We will think about the adapted and emergent generic forms through which “the New World” was ongoingly invented, including genres like the Indian captivity narrative and the slave narrative that arguably make their debut in world literary history in the Americas during this time frame. We will conclude by attending to the rather late emergence of the novel in American literary history, reading four novels that appeared in the early US national period. The objective of the course is simply to contextualize and analyze a wide array of texts, each of which richly rewards the engaged reader, in order to trace the origins of American literatures. Course texts may include contact narratives (Columbus, Caminha, Smith, Hennepin); conquest narratives (Mather, Las Casas, Poma de Ayala); Indian captivity narratives (Cabeza de Vaca, Rowlandson, Staden); slave narratives (Gronniosaw, Jea, Cugoano); revolutionary polemics (Paine, Bolívar); and the earliest American novels: William Hill Brown, The Power of Sympathy; Hannah Webster Foster, The Coquette; Leonora Sansay, Secret History or, the Horrors of Santo Domingo; Charles Brockden Brown, Arthur Mervyn. Fulfills the pre-1800 requirement.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.392.  Reading Ayn Rand.  3 Credits.  

This course will investigate Ayn Rand, both as a novelist and as an enormously influential thinker. Special attention will be paid to the Soviet and American contexts that produced Rand’s work, as well as her place in a lineage of conservative thought, and the influence she has had on American politics. The approach of this course will be critical, but, I hope, fair. Readings will likely include Anthem and Atlas Shrugged, as well as selections from Rand’s philosophical works: Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal and The Virtue of Selfishness.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.393.  Geoffrey Chaucer: Ribaldry, Romance and Radical Religion.  3 Credits.  

Geoffrey Chaucer is sometimes called the 'father of English literature', but the deftness with which he captured the variety of the human condition, in poetic forms that were each, in themselves, startlingly new, was in so many ways an inheritance too rich for literary tradition to absorb. One reason to return to Chaucer's writing now is to see how funny (and even obscene) verse narrative can be, and how compelling a fourteenth-century love story remains. It is also to open a window onto a culture entirely different from our own but in which the power of language (the role of free speech), the freedom of the individual, the status of women, violent tensions between cultures and ethnicities and the role of religion in civil society were not only topical, but made the more so by Chaucer's powerful political vision and thought. Chaucer is timeless because he wrote so well that he always rewards reading (and the Middle English in which he wrote is very easy to master) but he is always worth reading because reading him is at once so eye-opening and such a pleasure, a way of stretching one's sense of the present by understanding (really understanding) a particular moment in the past. This class will pursue such understanding by paying particular attention to Chaucer's masterpieces, Troilus and Criseyde and The Canterbury Tales. But we will begin with a quick and easy workshop on Chaucer's language, and try to define, along the way, some of the more interesting aspects of his style. Our goal will be to learn to enjoy Chaucer's poetry by reading it carefully enough to take the full measure of what exactly it was about.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.394.  Class Fictions.  3 Credits.  

This seminar investigates one of the central concerns of nineteenth-century fiction: social and economic class. Why did raising oneself from humble beginnings, and falling into poverty, become such familiar stories? And why are they still so familiar today? We will look at how a number of writers approached the topic of class mobility, each with a unique blend of excitement and anxiety. Authors will likely include Jane Austen, Honoré de Balzac (in translation), Charles Dickens, and William Dean Howells. In order to understand our topic better, we will also look at a selection of theoretical work on the nature of class.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.397.  Thomas Pynchon.  3 Credits.  

Intensive reading of two major Pynchon novels, along with theories of modernity, postmodernity, etc.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.400.  Billie Holiday’s Baltimore 1870-1960: A Reverse Classroom Journey in the Archives.  3 Credits.  

This course will use the tools of the historical archive to etch a social history of Baltimore during the long Billie Holiday (1915-1959) era from the Reconstruction through post-World War II. Holiday’s remarkable and unique art has earned her the title of the premier jazz singer of all-time, but unknown to most, her voice and experience were strongly shaped by her early life in Baltimore City, the city’s black habitation and migration, its musical culture, its black middle and lower class, its urban density, as well as its cabaret and underworld life. Our task is to examine the city as an unfolding, racializing process, and to glean the evidence from multiple local archival sources to reconstruct some of the rough margins of possibility for the lived experience of Holiday’s grandparents and parents, all born in Baltimore, as well as her own experience as truant, orphan, and sex assault victim in the 1920s. Two questions will occupy our interests intensely. How did the two black communities she lived in extensively evolve from the late 19th through the early 20th centuries? Second, what information can be unearthed about black musical culture--ragtime, marching bands, banjo and fiddle ditties, riverboat music--as it evolved in the post-World War I “jazz” age of sound recording and broadcasting? What was the artist’s relationship to her urban geography? How did it change over space and time? What dimension of shared fate did she have with the community of black Baltimore domestic workers, laborers, artisans, and small business people from the first half of the twentieth century? In what manner did Baltimore’s racial segregation and racism define her life and art? How was her consciousness as a vocal opponent to segregation shaped by her grooming in the city?

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.402.  The Computer in Modern Literature.  3 Credits.  

How have computers, and human interactions with computers, been represented in twentieth- and twenty-first-century literature? How have attitudes toward computers changed over that time? Now most books are written on computers, and many are read on them as well: what traces of these forms of production and consumption can we find in literary texts?

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.405.  Psychoanalysis and Literature.  3 Credits.  

In this course we will read some foundational texts by Sigmund Freud, and pair them with a select group of literary works--Sophocles’ “Oedipus the King” and “Oedipus at Colonus”, William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Purloined Letter”, Wilhelm Jensen’s “Gradiva”—which have inspired psychoanalytic ideas and generations of psychoanalytic literary interpretation.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.406.  Transfiguring the Renaissance.  3 Credits.  

Tracing the poetics of bodily transformation then and now, this course puts early modern literature into dialogue with medical epistemologies of the sexed body and contemporary critical reflections upon transgender experience, embodiment and transition. Early modern texts might include Arthur Golding’s translation of Ovid’s “Metamorphosis”, John Lyly’s “Gallathea”, Francis Beaumont’s “Salmacis and Hermaphroditus”, Ben Jonson’s “Epicoene, or The Silent Woman”, Middleton & Dekker’s “The Roaring Girl” and John Milton’s “Paradise Lost.”

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.501.  Independent Study.  3 Credits.  

Prerequisite(s): You must request Independent Academic Work using the Independent Academic Work form found in Student Self-Service: Registration &gt; Online Forms.

Writing Intensive

AS.060.502.  Independent Study.  0 - 3 Credits.  

Prerequisite(s): You must request Independent Academic Work using the Independent Academic Work form found in Student Self-Service: Registration &gt; Online Forms.

AS.060.505.  Internship - English.  1 Credit.  

Prerequisite(s): You must request Independent Academic Work using the Independent Academic Work form found in Student Self-Service: Registration &gt; Online Forms.

AS.060.506.  Internship-English.  0 - 3 Credits.  

Prerequisite(s): You must request Independent Academic Work using the Independent Academic Work form found in Student Self-Service: Registration &gt; Online Forms.

AS.060.509.  Senior Essay.  3 Credits.  

The English Department offers qualified majors the option of writing a senior essay. This is to be a one-semester project undertaken in the fall of the senior year, resulting in an essay of 30-35 pages. The senior essay counts as a three-credit course which can be applied toward the requirements for the major. Each project will be assigned both an advisor and a second reader. In addition, students writing essays will meet as a group with the Director of Undergraduate Study once or twice in the course of the project. The senior essay option is open to all students with a cumulative GPA of 3.6 or higher in English Department courses at the end of the fall term of their junior year. Project descriptions (generally of one to two pages) and a preliminary bibliography should be submitted to a prospective advisor selected by the student from the core faculty. All proposals must be received at least two weeks prior to the beginning of registration period during the spring term of the junior year. Students should meet with the prospective advisor to discuss the project in general terms before submitting a formal proposal. The advisor will determine whether the proposed project is feasible and worthwhile. Individual faculty need not direct more than one approved senior essay per academic year. Acceptance of a proposal will therefore depend on faculty availability as well as on the strength of the proposal itself. When completed, the senior essay will be judged and graded by the advisor in consultation with the second reader. The senior essay will not be part of the Department’s honors program, which will continue to be based solely on a cumulative GPA of 3.6 in English Department courses.

Prerequisite(s): You must request Independent Academic Work using the Independent Academic Work form found in Student Self-Service: Registration &gt; Online Forms.

Writing Intensive

AS.060.597.  Independent Study.  3 Credits.  

Prerequisite(s): You must request Independent Academic Work using the Independent Academic Work form found in Student Self-Service: Registration &gt; Online Forms.

AS.060.598.  Internship - English.  1 Credit.  

Prerequisite(s): You must request Independent Academic Work using the Independent Academic Work form found in Student Self-Service: Registration &gt; Online Forms.

AS.060.604.  Philology.  

An examination of the many ways (both as old and then 'New', but also as the subject of a key 'return') that 'philology' has been claimed as the master category of literary study. The nuts and bolts of older philological procedures as well as the broadest theoretical claims for the term will be attended to.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.605.  The Decolonial Intellectual.  

A recent resurgence of interest in decolonial theory raises important questions about the relationship between postcolonial literature and the institutions, as well as disciplinary frameworks, by which it’s advanced. From Ngugi wa Thiong’o, to the writers of South Africa’s Drum generation, to the contemporary Afropolitan theorist Achille Mbembe, U.S. universities have been host to many of decolonization’s notable intellectuals. This seminar takes a synthetic approach to understanding the forms and histories by which decolonization has been articulated: we’ll survey fiction, personal and political essays, and “theory” to make sense of the various tensions at decolonization’s core (e.g. territorialization vs. de-territorialization, internationalism vs. cosmopolitanism, or text vs. context). Writers studied will include Frantz Fanon, Lewis Nkosi, Ayi Kwei Armah, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Walter Mignolo, An Yountae, Kwame Nkrumah, Hamid Dabashi, Buchi Emecheta, and Sylvia Wynter, among others.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.607.  Fiction and Doubt After 1888.  

Examines the interrelation between fiction and doubt since the late nineteenth century. Authors may include Ward, Conrad, Joyce, Eliot, Stevens, Woolf, Baldwin, Flannery O’Connor, Ishmael Reed, Sefi Atta, R. O. Kwon.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.608.  The Idea of Tradition.  

The idea of tradition -- of a body from texts from the past that helps explain the genealogy of the present -- is central to literary criticism, and indeed to all of the humanities. But where did we get the idea that the present could be understood best through texts from the past? Can we imagine a humanities without it? This course will look at the development of the idea of tradition in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. We will pay particular attention to the connections between the developing ideas of tradition and the changing forms of literary expression in those periods---particularly the developmental novel. Novelists will likely include Goethe, Scott, Austen, Eliot and James. In terms of theory we will pay particular attention to questions of historicity and presentism in historiography, hermeneutics and Marxist theory. Theorist will likely include Vico, Shaftesbury, Dilthey, Lukacs, Heidegger, Adorno, Horkeheimer, Gadamer, Jauss, Kosseleck, and T.S. Eliot.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.609.  Extreme Criticism.  

“How far can I go?” It is a question (memorably posed by Neil Hertz) of what we might call interpretive tact: what will your readers or listeners accept? How far can you take them with you as you enter into the interpretive possibilities that have come to matter to you, that you believe to be true, meaningful, important, interesting . . . When, eyes slowly unfocusing, do they start drifting away?That most of the critics we read are determinedly tactful is an occasionally dismaying thought. This seminar, by contrast, will engage the issue of interpretive tact by reading critics who might be thought to violate it. I’d like to think about the issue with a collection of interested students. Among the potentially tactless works we might discuss are Stanley Cavell’s essay on King Lear, Laura Kipnis’s Against Love: A Polemic T.J. Clark’s The Sight of Death, Michael Fried’s Flaubert's "Gueuloir," Avita Ronnell’s Telephone Book (or perhaps her less extreme Stupidity), Roland Barthes’ S/Z, Garrett Stewart’s Reading Voices, Franco Morretti’s Distant Reading, Lauren Berlant’s Desire/Love, William Empson’s Seven Types of Ambiguity, Lee Edelman’s No Future, Barbara Johnson’s “Bringing Out D. A. Miller” I’d be open to other suggestions by seminar members.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.612.  Poetry and Poetics After the Linguistic Turn.  

This course is a survey of recent critical work on English-language poetry, mostly North American. Much of the work is by younger scholars. I have chosen to highlight this recent body of writing because I think that, taken together, it signals a shift away from what since the 1980s had been the dominant model for “reading” poetry, which was under the sign of “Theory.” Readings will include work by Jasper Bernes, Joel Nickels, Nadia Nurhussein, Margaret Ronda, Daniel Tiffany, and others.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.613.  American Movement.  

This seminar will examine representations of people in motion in U.S. writing from 1900 to the present. Migration, international and intranational, will be central to our study, but we’ll also consider other forms of travel, transits of authorial and readerly attention, the policing and pleasures of vagrancy, and predicaments of stasis in both primary texts and critical/theoretical work around mobility. Our syllabus is still in process, but authors and directors studied may include Henry James, Anzia Yezierska, Claude McKay, Gertude Stein, Muriel Rukeyser, John Steinbeck, John Ford, Simone de Beauvoir, Victor Villaseñor, Juliana Spahr, and Jayne Anne Phillips.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.614.  Postcolonial/Global/World.  

The field now known as “global Anglophone literature” has emerged from a complicated and rapidly advancing disciplinary lineage. A host of past and present recordings – including postcolonial, Commonwealth, Third World, global, transnational, world, and the Global South – provide a record of the wider profession’s anxieties in relation to non-Western literary traditions. This course prepares graduate students to be able to articulate some of the subtle differences in approach that this nexus of closely related terms may obscure, from the heyday of postcolonial theory in the 1980s and 90s to contemporary subfields like Indian Ocean studies. In addition to key critical texts by theorists including Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak, Franco Moretti, Peter Hallward, and Emily Apter, students will be introduced to some outstanding recent methodologies and critiques from the adjacent body of work on comparative literature.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.616.  Milton.  

A seminar covering the career of John Milton, including all his major poetry and much of his prose. There will be attention to the history of printing, publication and concepts of reading and writing, as well as to current issues and topics within early modern studies that bear on Milton (e.g. materialism, secularization, 'surface' reading, political theology, quantitative vs hermeneutic methods, actor-network theory). As such, the course will also be an introduction to various methods in early modern studies.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.617.  Black Print Culture.  

Students interested in black print culture will engage in intensive archival research, both collaborative and individual, using the Sheridan Library’s Rare Book and Manuscript collections. Texts include poems, printed lectures, pamphlets, novels, periodicals, ephemera, correspondence, etc., alongside relevant critical and theoretical reading.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.619.  Sentimental Reasons.  

Recent work in cognitive approaches to literature have led critics to return to the sentimental novel of the eighteenth-century as a “laboratory,” in Daniel Goss’s words, for the investigation of human emotion. There is no easy “fit” between these literary narratives and the narratives of cognitive science, nor between them and the regnant moral philosophy of the age (built upon the mechanism of human sympathy or upon “nervous” association). There is rather a discomfort that reveals social inequities as well as alternative possibilities for both thinking and feeling. The sentimental mode took hold in the circuits of the Atlantic world. This course will study several sentimental narratives that traveled promiscuously through those circuits: Bernardin de St. Pierre’s Paul and Virginia, Sterne’s Sentimental Journey, Mackenzie’s Man of Feeling; Equiano’s Interesting Narrative; Williams’ Peru; and Brown’s The Power of Sympathy. Alongside these works we will read studies by critics working the seams between affect and cognition, philosophy and literature, rhetoric and science. The course will provide a broad history of the sentimental mode, stretching to reflections on the links between the sentimental and the melodramatic. It will simultaneously attend to the experience of reading for sentiment, to forms of feeling and what those feelings know.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.620.  Thinking with Scale: Frameworks in Early Modernity.  

Concepts include expansion, crowding, data collection, the miniscule, temporality, the planetary and the cosmic in the first age of European mercantile activity and colonial expansion. With readings from world-systems theory and theories of the anthropocene, our case studies will comprise pre-modern English literary texts, including Milton, Paradise Lost, Anne Bradstreet, The Four Monarchies, early modern science (Hooke, Newton), Defoe, The Storm, and early British and colonial American holdings in the Garrett Library. The class will be hands-on, working with material from Special Collections, and will include working towards a digital project (no digital project background necessary).

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.621.  The Cultures of the Sonnet in the English Renaissance.  

This is a course on lyric theory in the Renaissance and as such is a good introduction to early modern literary study. We will take up the early modern form of the sonnet as a test case for the interaction between vernacularity and globalization. We will consider early modern topics including “invention,” “imitation,” and rhetoric, as well as explore formal concerns that are intertwined with political, social, cultural and economic experiences of early modernity. Along with the consideration of the emergence of literatures in new languages and nationalist differentiation, we will also consider mechanization (whether in print or literary trope) that produced both early modern literature and political life in an international system. We will consider such topics as sequence; modes of address; vernacularity and linguistic nationalism; the themes of love v. empire; the social role of the sonnet; the nature and materiality of writing; patronage and circulation; the question of private, occasional, and public poetry; the place of sonnets in manuscript collections; the histories of books; poetic subjectivity and objective thought; and we will also read a good many sonnets, largely in English, through close attention to language, media and transmission histories. Some contemporary literary theory on the sonnet will be introduced, as well as sonnets in European languages other than English, depending on the students’ interests and proclivities. Students will be expected to work in the manuscript and print collections of the Bodleian library to prepare a class report on their chosen topics. The class puts the sonnet in relation to other forms in Renaissance literature and thus should serve as a good survey of the period and its issues.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.624.  Romanticism and the Ends of Affect.  

This seminar will consider both what affect studies have learned from Romanticism and the limits –practical, ethical, intellectual --of reading Romantic poetry within the framework that has been constructed by affect studies over the past two decades. It will provide a general survey of scholarship on affect, of criticism attending to the self-consciously affecting literary experiments of the age, and to primary works by a select number of romantic writers, most probably Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical ballads, Joanna Baillie’s Plays and the letters and poems of John Keats.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.625.  Theory of the Novel.  

This course will look at the development of novel theory from the eighteenth century until the present. Authors will include Scott, Barbauld, Dallas, Lewes, Eliot, James, Shklovsky, Tomashevsky, Jakobson, Bakhtin, Lukács, Auerbach, Barthes, Jameson, Girard, Sedgwick, Moretti, Armstrong, Miller, Hale, Lynch, and Woloch. Novelists will likely include Madame de Lafayette, Austen, Goethe, and Wolfe.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.626.  Reading for Race at the Movies and on TV, in the years 2015-16.  

2015-16 was a radical, decisive two-year period for many things, including film by and about African-Americans. This course seeks to understand this phenomenon through current events, wider aesthetic and historical trends, and the body of critical work devoted to reading filmic representations of cultural and political ideologies. 2015-16 films and TV shows under consideration will include: Moonlight; Creed; Hidden Figures; Fences; Birth of a Nation; Straight Outta Compton; OJ: Made in America; Atlanta; Black-ish; This Is Us; Luke Cage; The People v. OJ Simpson.

AS.060.627.  Poetry and Performance.  

This course will be devoted to the histories and theories of 19th-, 20th-, and 21st-century poetry and performance, beginning with William Wordsworth’s and Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads. Upon hearing the poets read, William Hazlitt remarked that “[t]here is a chaunt in the recitation both of Coleridge and Wordsworth, which acts as a spell upon the hearer, and disarms the judgment.” This early instance of reception history will provide the backdrop for our discussion throughout the semester. Besides Wordsworth and Coleridge, our reading list will include verse, theory, and criticism by Robert Browning, Walt Whitman, T.S. Eliot, James Weldon Johnson, Langston Hughes, William Carlos Williams, Charles Olson, Allen Ginsberg, Norman Pritchard, Amiri Baraka, Tracie Morris, Christian Bök, Lisa Gitelman, Frederich Kittler, Peter Middleton, John M. Picker, Susan Stewart, and others.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.628.  Literature and Human Rights: 1500-1720.  

Today human rights and capabilities are two intertwined concepts. In the early modern period, these were much debated and literature was a key site for the development of these imperfect, variable and contested discourses. Reading literary works from the European tradition, in particular in Europeans' engagement with dissident groups both within and outside Europe, we will explore themes of embodiment, power, risk, vulnerability and the languages and practices of equivalence and domination in the variable discourses of humanitarianism, natural law, and rights in authors including Shakespeare, Grotius, Montaigne, Hobbes, Milton, Behn, Locke, Swift, Montagu and Defoe.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.629.  The History of the Book.  

The course will account for the major transformations in the media used for writing from the scroll to the web as well as the rich account of this history and its theorizations.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.630.  Mapping Frederick Douglass’s Escape: An Historic Maryland Odyssey.  

This course provides an in-depth portrait of the historic Marylander Frederick Douglass, born near Hillsboro in Talbot County, Maryland around 1818, and who successfully escaped slavery in Baltimore in September 1838. We will read Douglass’s three autobiographies and other writings, as well as two biographies of Douglass to understand his importance in American life over time. The course includes three “living classroom” components. At the Douglass/Meyers Museum at Fells Point, Baltimore, students will learn 19th century techniques to build a sailing such as Douglass learned when he worked in the shipyards. Students will tour the Anacostia, DC Frederick Douglass Museum. The course culminates with a sailing trip from Baltimore’s Fells Point to historic St. Michael’s, kayaking along the Tuckahoe and Miles Rivers, and overnight camping on the grounds of a former plantation on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Area: Humanities

AS.060.631.  Tyranny in Early Modern Literature.  

In the Epistle to the Romans, Paul writes: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers: for there is no power but of God: and the powers that be, are ordained of God.” In the wake of such a declaration, what constitutes tyranny? When is resistance to tyranny justified? What forms of recourse are compatible with the Christian obedience enjoined by Paul? How did early modern literature offer a means of leverage, redress and coping with the depredations of “the powers that be”? In search of provisional answers to these questions, this course tracks the representation and rhetorical evaluation of the tyrant figure at the intersection of political philosophy and literature. Political writings by Aristotle, Plato, Marsilius of Padua, Dante, Jean Bodin, James I, John Milton and Hanna Arendt are placed in dialogue with historical and theoretical writing by Greg Walker, Stanley Cavell, Mary Nyquist and Terri Snyder on tyranny, slavery, resistance theory and biopolitics. Literary texts, principally drama and prose romances, will include The Wakefield Master’s “Herod the Great”, Sir Philip Sidney’s “The New Arcadia”, Christopher Marlowe’s “Tamburlaine”, Robert Greene’s “Planetomachia”, William Shakespeare’s “Richard III” and “The Winter’s Tale”, Ben Jonson’s “Sejanus His Fall”, and Elizabeth Cary’s “The Tragedy of Mariam, Fair Queen of Jewry”.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.633.  Biography and African American Subjects from the 19th and 20th Centuries.  

This course will read through contemporary biographical treatments of prominent 19th and 20th century African American writers to explore the prominent ideological predispositions as well as the structure of archival sourcing in the creation of life-writing on black subjects. Students will make research trips to the Library of Congress, the University of Delaware, Morgan State University and other local archives for instruction in research methodology and the collection of primary source materials. Student final projects will use primary archival sources to intervene in debates about the interpretation of historical subjects and historical events.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.634.  Warfare, Welfare, Windrush: Literature in Britain 1935-1965.  

In recent years, the literature of the middle of the twentieth century has come into its own. Now recognized as a period of exceptional invention, not merely the weak successor to the great age of high modernism, the 1930s through the 1960s gave us texts that, among other things, offer windows onto the birth of the postwar order. This course will examine challenging, fascinating, sometimes infuriating writing about World War II, the rise of the welfare state, and the “colonization in reverse” that brought the Windrush writers from the Caribbean to England. Authors studied may include Elizabeth Bowen, Anthony Burgess, T.S. Eliot, H.D., Richard Hoggart, George Lamming, Philip Larkin, Marghanita Laski, Sam Selvon, Alan Sillitoe, John Wain, Virginia Woolf, and John Wyndham.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.636.  Settler Colonialism: Theory, History, Literature.  

This seminar offers an introduction to a key concept in contemporary critical theory and literary and cultural studies: settler colonialism, understood as a specific form of colonialism focused on the appropriation of land rather than the exploitation of labor and thereby involving the attempted elimination and replacement of indigenous polities and societies by an invading force. The course will have a dual focus: 1) tracing the theoretical distinction of settler colonialism from other forms of colonialism and tracking the critique implicit in this distinction of dominant forms of leftism that arguably presuppose a settler-colonial frame of reference; 2) tracking the history of what James Belich has called the “Anglo settler revolution” of the nineteenth century and engaging in a comparative analysis of the literatures produced in the course of that revolution in what are now Ireland, the United States, Canada, Australia, and elsewhere in the Pacific. We will especially attend to narrative fictions—often (self-) identified as “romances”—that chronicle settlement and register the temporal disruption of indigenous persistence and resistance. Secondary texts may include: Belich, Replenishing the Earth; Glen Coulthard, Red Skin, White Masks; Aileen Moreton-Robinson, The White Possessive; Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang, “Decolonization is Not a Metaphor”; Patrick Wolfe, Settler Colonialism and the Transformation of Anthropology. Primary texts may include: Charles Brockden Brown, Edgar Huntly; S. Alice Callahan, A Child of the Forest; Marcus Clarke, His Natural Life; Susanna Moodie, Roughing It in the Bush; Herman Melville, Typee; Sydney Owenson, The Wild Irish Girl; Simon Pokagon, Ogimawkwe Mitigwaki (Queen of the Woods); John Richardson, Wacousta or, The Prophecy; Catharine Maria Sedgwick, Hope Leslie; and the FX television series, Taboo.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.637.  Counterfactual Literature.  

This course will focus on the formal, affective, ethical, and conceptual issues associated with forking-path texts—poems, fictions and films that openly offer alternative paths to the experience of individuals.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.638.  Whitman and the Whitmanian.  

This course will take the occasion of the bicentennial of the birth of Walt Whitman as an occasion to think about the legacies of his poetry in American literary history, especially in contemporary poetry. We will read key texts of Whitman’s then move to more recent writing, paying attention to the key scholarship on Whitman from the last few decades, as well as to recent scholarship on poetry that is in dialog with the questions of democracy, capitalism, on the one hand, and form and address, on the other, that have shaped our reading of Whitman and of poetry in the Whitmanian mode.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.639.  The American Renaissance: History of a Field.  

This seminar will provide an intensive introduction to antebellum nineteenth-century U.S. literature by way of tracking a critical formulation foundational to the field of American studies as whole: "the American Renaissance." Coined by F.O. Matthiessen in 1941, "the American Renaissance" initially referred to a canon of five white male writers (Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Henry David Thoreau, and Walt Whitman) alleged to have produced work of distinction in two interrelated senses--the first specifically "American" literature deserving of academic study. We will follow the fortunes of this critical formulation, tracing how some of the authors in Matthiessen's canon have subsequently been reinterpreted and repositioned as well as how "the American Renaissance" canon has been expanded and its very conceptualization contested. Primary authors whose work may be examined include William Apess, William Wells Brown, Lydia Maria Child, Frederick Douglass, Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Hawthorne, Harriet Jacobs, Melville, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and the anonymous author of Xicotencatl. Secondary works may include: Matthiessen, The American Renaissance (1941); Reynolds, Beneath the American Renaissance (1988); Michaels and Pease, The American Renaissance Reconsidered (1989); Crews, "Whose American Renaissance?" (1988); Colacurcio, "The American-Renaissance Renaissance" (1991); Avallone, "What American Renaissance?" (1997); Grossman, Reconstituting the American Renaissance (2003); Brickhouse, Transamerican Literary Relations (2004); Fluck, Romance with America (2009); Hager and Marrs, "Against 1865" (2013).

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.641.  Close Reading, Exhaustive Reading, and the Novel.  

How much can you say about a novel? How much of a novel can a critic interpret? The large scale of the novel form seems to resist the interpretive techniques of literary criticism, which look closely at a small number of textual examples. But what if we tried to read every word of a novel, and see it in all its forms: genre, structure, history, politics, biography, and so on? This seminar will look closely at a small number of Victorian novels (probably Dickens' *David Copperfield* and Eliot's *Daniel Deronda*, subject to change). We will approach these novels through a variety of theroetical lenses. There will be a special emphasis placed on the relations between form, history, and politics. This seminar will also offer students a chance to apply theories of literature and the novel often considered in abstract.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.642.  Reading Capital Now.  

Since the 2008 financial crash, there’s been rising popular consciousness of capitalism’s crisis-bound character and, therefore, its vulnerability. But finance isn’t the only thing that capitalism has brought to a boiling point: for attentive readers of Marx, the mounting climate disaster, the COVID pandemic, and the struggle for Black Lives have only further highlighted the complex interconnections among our energy and food infrastructures, histories of racist and settler-colonial violence, the patriarchal organization of sexuality, and the maintenance of capitalist profitability no matter the social cost. The aim of this seminar is, first, to show how a thorough reading of the first volume of Marx’s Capital goes a long way toward helping us see all these histories and crises as part of a single, many-faceted dynamic, and second, to highlight 20th- and 21st-century Marxist work that takes Marx in new directions, from critiques of racial capitalism, colonialism, and the patriarchy of the wage, to studies of climate crisis and the global recomposition of the labor pool. Along with Marx, we’ll read work by WEB DuBois, James Boggs, Silvia Federici, Thiti Bhattacharya, Jairus Banaji, Nikhil Singh, Andreas Malm, the Endnotes collective, James Parisot, and others.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.643.  Wordsworth: Sympathy for the Multitude.  

This course will read the major writings of William Wordsworth as experiments in tracking feeling between individual and multitude. It will take advantage of two currents in recent criticism to work through the problem of how one feels with and for large numbers. On the one hand, this requires taking up models of sympathy and feeling that depart from those established since the eighteenth century, where models of sympathy relied on a 1-1 relationship between human persons. These alternative models attend to “multitudes,” and thus a different scale of life, human and not (e.g. Spinoza, Virno, Hardt and Negri). On the other hand, reading Wordsworth in this light requires a reconsideration of the art of numbers – that is, poetry – alongside and sometimes in opposition to the science of numbers called political economy.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.644.  Oceanic Studies & the Black Diaspora.  

In this course, we take up Hester Blum’s blunt observation that “the sea is not a metaphor” in order to consider the visions and hopes black writers have associated with the sea, as well as the despair and trauma transatlantic slavery has left “in the wake,” to quote Christina Sharpe.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.647.  Capitalism for Humanists.  

Recent global crises of capital accumulation have obliged both scholarly and journalistic accounts of capitalism to become more sophisticated and comprehensive. This course will be an introduction to some of those accounts. We will approach the problem of describing capital and its dynamics from several angles: conversations about combined and uneven development, about the racialization of enslaved and “surplus” populations; about the forms of social reproduction (often gendered) proximate to the wage; about technological change, robotification, and its implications for the production of capitalist value; about theories of the value-form itself. One aim of this course will be to think about how a better understanding of capital — its history and its mechanics — can make us better scholars of literature, so we will also devote ourselves to assessing the resources and the limits of earlier literary-critical accounts of literature’s relationship to capital accumulation.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.648.  George Eliot.  

George Eliot’s novels have been the focus of some of the most deeply thought criticism of the Victorian period. In this seminar we’ll read a selection of those novels as they have invited the study of topics which may include the theory of the novel and of narrative; aesthetics and continental philosophy; representation and the nature of individuation; sympathy; the history of affect; formalism, politics, and ethics; the novel and emergent sciences. We’ll spend most of our time on Middlemarch and Daniel Deronda, along with her non-fiction prose and some of her translation work of Spinoza and Feuerbach. We’re likely to read criticism by Gallagher, Hertz, Woloch, Plotz, Anderson, and Duncan. Depending on student interest, we may also take up Eliot’s relation to earlier literary figures—Wordsworth being a likely candidate.

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.668.  The Slavery Debate in the Atlantic World.  

This graduate seminar will trace the historical development of the slavery debate in the Atlantic world through examination of key texts from a host of genres and locations—Quaker religious tracts, political documents like the Haitian Declaration of Independence, Cuban antislavery novels, slave narratives, and “classics” of “American” literature like Melville’s Benito Cereno. Our historical investigations into the rhetorical field of anti- and proslavery will be framed by a theoretical interest in political theology. How might critical reflection on sovereignty, recent and not so recent—from Derrida back to Bodin (widely acknowledged as having provided one of the first philosophical defenses of antislavery)—help us recast the intellectual history of the slavery debate and Atlantic radicalism, more generally?

Area: Humanities

Writing Intensive

AS.060.692.  The Enlightenment, Aesthetics and Race.  

This course examines the philosophical interplay between Enlightenment aesthetics and the construction of the concept of race. We will read texts in aesthetics and on human difference by Rousseau, Voltaire, Condorcet, Kant, Herder, Jefferson, Burke, Hume and others, in an attempt to see the points at which reflections on art and notions of human biological hierarchy intersect. Particular attention will be paid to the idea of the sublime as it pertains to early anthropological thought.

Area: Humanities

AS.060.696.  Journal Club.  
AS.060.800.  Independent Study.  

This course is a semester-long independent research course for graduate students. Students will have one-on-one assignments and check-in's with designated faculty throughout the semester.

AS.060.801.  Teaching Practicum.  

Area: Humanities

AS.060.893.  Individual Work.  
AS.060.894.  Independent Reading.  

Area: Humanities

AS.060.895.  Journal Club.