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Current Semester’s Courses (Spring 2024)

ENGL 603: Bibliography and Literary Research

English 603 Tuesday 1:00-4:00 pm

Dr. Ira Dworkin

Distribution requirement: Required for MA Students

Bibliography and Literary Research offers an intensive introduction to the theories, methods, and practices of humanities research. Readings and presentations will establish the theoretical underpinnings and practices of bibliography and literary research. The completion of several short projects will provide a solid foundation for future work in the MA and PhD. Learning outcomes include the development of skills needed to find, interpret, use, understand, and engage with information productively and ethically. 

All M.A. Students must take ENGL 603. Ph.D. coursework must include ENGL 603 if the student has taken no comparable course at the M.A. level.

English 604: Post-Digital Textual Materiality

English 604 Wednesday 12:45-3:45 pm

Dr. Shawna Ross

Distribution requirement: One course in theory; One course organized around concepts, issues, or themes

From the proliferation of print-on-demand books and the emergence of a market for online study aids to the painstaking creation of grant-funded digital scholarly editions and the production of audiobooks, the digitization of cultural heritage has caused scholars to rethink the nature of the physical book. How has the materiality of the codex shaped literary canonicity—and does canonicity change when digital texts emerge? What do we know now about the cognitive and aesthetic affordances of paper now that screens have apparently taken over? How has the socioeconomic status of print culture changed in the face of cheap, free, or pirated information? Should archives be located in remote libraries or the cloud? How should born-digital literary texts be preserved? And how should all of these issues shape the future of our individual fields and methodologies? To explore these questions, this course surveys new theories of the book that are informed by New Media Studies and the digital humanities but stubbornly return to the media specificity of print.

ENGL 613: Readings in Early Modern Literature

English 613 Tuesday & Thursday 11:10-12:45 pm

Dr. Kevin O’Sullivan

Distribution Requirement: A course in any literature, pre-1800

This course is designed to offer students a wide-ranging survey of English literature written during the early modern period (which for our purposes will be conceived as beginning with the reign of Henry VII in 1485 and extending through the end of the Interregnum in 1660), with a particular focus on the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras. Throughout the semester, students will read broadly from authors working in three major literary forms—poetry, drama, and prose—and interrogate how these reflect the period of immense social, religious, and political upheaval during which they were composed. Together, we will seek to understand the relationship between these works and the wider culture of textual transmission in which they participated as well as the place of literature in an increasingly varied landscape of intellectual production. Among the authors we will likely encounter are Sir Thomas Wyatt; Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey; Sir Philip Sidney; Edmund Spenser; Anne Locke; Anne Askew; George Gascoigne; Thomas Nashe; Thomas Kyd; Christopher Marlowe; William Shakespeare; Ben Jonson; Elizabeth Cary, Lady Falkland; John Webster; Lady Mary Wroth; Amelia Lanyer; John Donne; and John Milton. 

ENGL 634: Readings in Nineteenth-Century British Literature

English 634 Tuesday 6:00-9:00 pm

Dr. Mary Ann O’Farrell

Distribution Requirement: The major course requirement will be a seminar-length paper, along with other shorter written and/or oral assignments. The course meets the distribution requirement of a class in literature, 1800-the present.

As a readings course in nineteenth-century British literature, this class will offer students the opportunity to read widely in such literature and to become acquainted with major issues in and important critical conversations about the period. Readings will be held together loosely by their relation to the nineteenth-century interest in management (of workers, of households, of communities, of nations, of social forms, of feelings, of characters, of bodies). Our class discussions will unite attention to literary and aesthetic concerns with attention to the social issues and intellectual questions with which nineteenth-century British literature so often engaged. We will also be interested sometimes in nineteenth-century visual culture. 

ENGL 655: Post-Digital Rhetoric

English 655 Monday 12:45-3:45 pm

Dr. Jason Crider

Distribution Requirement: One course in theory

This course contends with rhetorical theory as it now emerges after rhetoric’s “digital turn.”  While there is now a relatively long history of defining (Lanham 1989) or locating (Eyman 2015) “digital rhetoric,” this seminar is less concerned with disciplinary categorizations and more concerned with what rhetoric might mean or do in the era of unavoidable networks. As Casey Boyle, Steph Ceraso, and James J. Brown Jr. (2018) note, the notion of “digital” has become so pervasive and inescapable that digital rhetoric can no longer be considered as just one of countless available means of persuasion, but, alluding to Thomas Rickert (2013) more of an all-encompassing “ambient condition.” This seminar takes as its starting point the notion that digital rhetoric is still very much in a nascent stage; the “post” of “post-digital,” like other historical posts (post-structural, postcolonial, posthuman, etc.) is less a “beyond” or “after” and more a gesture towards recalibration. Or, as Judith Halberstram and Ira Livingston (1995) suggest, perhaps the “post” indicates the “regrettable failure to imagine what’s next.” Students in this course will be expected to complete a series of written responses to the readings, write and rewrite a book review that will be workshopped in class, compose a final seminar paper that engages with major ideas from the course, and actively drive class discussions.

ENGL: 665 Topics in Cultural/Interdisciplinary Studies

ENGL 665 R 1:00-4:00 pm

Dr. Vanita Reddy

Distribution Requirement: One course organized around concepts, issues, or themes (as opposed to courses organized primarily according to chronological period

This course will begin by surveying a body of scholarship now known as Afro-Asian studies, which has rapidly expanded over the past two decades. Heralded by the recent turn toward comparative racialization, Afro-Asian critiques recuperate legacies of anti-imperial and postcolonial solidarity to promote an oppositional historical consciousness and to provide models for present and future cross-racial alliances. Drawing upon a resulting desire to promote histories of crossings between Asian and African diasporas, scholarship from Vijay Prashad’s path-breaking Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting (2002) to Nico Slate’s more recent Colored Cosmopolitanism (2012) has mobilized cross-cultural and transnational approaches to theorizing Asian and African racial formations. Turning to public archives and the personal collections of political leaders, these studies reveal the deep history of political cross-fertilizations between African and Asian leaders across the twentieth century, including those among Chairman Mao, Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Malcolm X, and Ho Chi Minh. They focus on friendships, such as that of W.E.B. Du Bois and Lala Lajpat Rai, an Indian nationalist who Du Bois proclaimed a “martyr to British intolerance,” and on political strategies of anti-imperialist struggle, such as King’s proclamation of Gandhi as “the guiding light of our technique of nonviolent social change.” The influential 1955 Bandung Conference organized by state leaders of nearly 30 newly independent Asian and African countries has, in particular, functioned as a milestone of Afro- Asian internationalism and coalition. 

The course will also attend to how much of this scholarship upholds a limited model of cross-racial brotherhood, as queer and women’s experiences are marginalized, rendered illegible, or simply elided. These lacunae often reflect the patriarchal views held by the historical and cultural subjects upon which these studies focus. As Yuichiro Onishi acknowledges in his recent Transpacific Antiracism (2013), many prominent twentieth-century public figures engaged with anti-imperial internationalisms “without interrogating the operations of gender and sexual normativity that reified diplomacy and international affairs as spheres of male activity.” In response to these fraternal Afro-Asian formations, much of the reading for this course will serve as an intervention into heteropatriarchal cultures and histories of cross-racial struggle and resistance.

ENGL 669: Topics in African American and Africana Literature

ENGL 669 Friday 12:45-3:45 pm

Dr. Michael Collins

This class will explore the theory and practice of African American and Africana literature, keeping in mind that the fact that African American and Africana literature have been formed in a special crucible of theory because it was not always thought possible that people of African descent could produce literature. Rather than allow themselves to be confined by other people’s historiographies and aesthetics, writers of African descent have often sought to craft either their own counter-historiographies and counter-aesthetics or to write within existing traditions both for the sake of doing so and as a demonstration of equality. In this class, we will explore some of the interrelationships between key texts by American writers and thinkers, and writers and thinkers from elsewhere in the African diaspora, as they make choices between crafting counter-aesthetics and counter [1]historiographies, or carving out a place for themselves within an existing tradition. Possible readings will range from Jean Toomer’s Cane to Aime Cesaire’s Notebook of a Return to the Native Land to Derek Walcott’s Omeros to Henry Louis Gates’ The Signifying Monkey to Chinua Achebe’s A Man of the People to essays by theorists such as Stuart Hall.

ENGL: 683 Introduction to Contemporary Literary Theory 

ENGL 683 Monday 6:00-9:00 pm

Dr. Mikko Tuhkanen

Distribution Requirement: One course in theory (of any kind, including linguistics and rhetoric)

This class introduces students to various discourses of contemporary literary/cultural theory (structuralism, poststructuralism, semiology, psychoanalysis, Cultural Studies, queer theory, afropessimism . . . ) by placing them in their philosophical contexts. The texts will be difficult and plentiful, but with the help of lectures and discussions we are able to explore the aspects of twentieth- and twenty-first-century thought that, for various reasons, that have become important for the work that we do in literature departments. 

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