We offer approximately 150 to 200 sections of English courses each long semester and a handful of courses over the summer. All of our courses emphasize analytical reading, critical thinking, effective communication, and the development of various writing styles and skills. Our writing-oriented courses cover a variety of skills and degree requirements for students across the university including Core Curriculum courses, Writing Intensive courses, creative writing, and technical business writing. Our literature courses span across genres, time periods, and areas of study including such topics as: health humanities, digital humanities, linguistics, cultural studies, LGBTQ+ literatures, Latinx literatures, rhetoric, literature and film, African-American literatures, surveys of literary periods, and young adult/children's literature.
For a full listing of English courses and brief descriptions, visit the university’s undergraduate catalog.
Below you will find detailed course descriptions for some of our classes being offered during the fall 2021 semester. While this list is not exhaustive, it is meant to aid students in selecting courses that meet their interests, particularly for our special topics courses which change from semester to semester. Please use the Class Search function in Howdy to see a full list of English and Linguistics classes being offered in fall 2021.
Section 510 taught by Courtney Price
Heroic Journeys - This course will give students the opportunity to apply their written analysis skills to one of the oldest formulas in the world: the heroic journey to the underworld. Students will engage with examples from three genres of texts, including epic poems like Homer's Odyssey and Milton's Paradise Lost, films like Spirited Away and The Matrix, and graphic novels including Neil Gaiman's The Sandman and Batman: The Long Halloween.
Section 517 taught by Hyoung Min Lee
This course aims to enhance your communication skills through the study of literature and to help you acquire tools and skills to discuss and write about literary elements in a persuasive manner. This course will especially focus on reading and understanding several major works of American literature that are characterized as gothic literature or include important “gothic” elements. Throughout the semester, we will be asking ourselves diverse questions about the literary texts, including the question on what makes it possible for us to characterize our readings as gothic. Our course readings will be divided into major issues/themes, primarily the themes of suffering and transgression, representations of clashes between the old and the new in the South, as well as the issue of slavery and its afterlives in America.
Proposed Readings: (Tentative)
Digging Into Literature by Joana Wolfe and Laura Wilder. Bedford/St. Martins, 2016.
As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner. Vintage Paperback, 1991.
Beloved, Toni Morrison. Vintage Paperback, 2004.
Taught by Dr. Emily Johansen
There are a host of things that millennials are accused of killing: golf, home ownership, paper napkins. Yet one thing that millennials have actually been responsible for keeping alive is the publishing industry. Millennials, on average, read more and are more active users of public libraries than any other group of Americans. This would suggest, then, that millennials have much to tell us about how we understand contemporary literature, particularly that published post-2000 as this is when the earliest millennials begin to produce, publish, and read as adults. How, then, do millennial authors and other cultural producers represent their generation and its concerns? How are these books in conversation with early historical periods and/ or texts written by authors of previous generations? In particular, this course will consider the twinned ideas of “flexibility” and “precarity” that have become inescapable themes in millennial life and cultural production. Reading across a variety of genres, we’ll examine the rise of millennial culture in the post-2000 moment. Students should anticipate reading/ viewing material that they may find difficult for a variety of reasons; they are encouraged to look into these texts in advance.
Proposed Readings: Texts under consideration may include selections from the following list: Social Creature, Severance, Fever Dream, Moxyland, Parasite, Lady Bird, Normal People, Insecure, Fleabag, Broad City, Friday Black, The New Me, Sabrina, Imagine Wanting Only This, We are Never Meeting in Real Life, Pretend I’m Dead, Little Fish, Last Night in Nuuk.
Taught by Dr. Donald Dickson
This course will explore selected works of a recognized master of English literature whose plays are still brought to life in many places in the world today. Students will be introduced to a selection of the major plays—including his sonnets, comedies, history plays, and tragedies. In addition to improving your critical reading skills, you will also have the opportunity to improve your writing skills through weekly discussion assignments and essays on exams
Proposed Readings: The Norton Shakespeare: Essential Plays, ed. Stephen Greenblatt. 3rd edition New York: W. W. Norton, 2016. ISBN 9780393938630.
Taught by Dr. Craig Kallendorf
The course: This course introduces some of the masterpieces of western literature, from antiquity to the Renaissance, within their cultural and artistic contexts. Key non-western works will be introduced as well, on the argument that cross-cultural comparisons will be mutually illuminating.
Learning outcomes: By the end of the semester, everyone should be able to
• Trace the basic evolution of western culture, from antiquity through about 1600
• Be comfortable discussing and writing about various genres of literature as literature
• Be able to make basic comparisons between western and non-western cultures
Proposed Readings: Major works (generally selections, to keep the assignments of manageable length): Homer's Odyssey, 3 Greek plays, Virgil's Aeneid, Dante's Inferno, Petrarch's poems, Boccaccio's Decameron, Machiavelli's The Prince, Cervantes' Don Quixote, a selection of classical and medieval eastern literature
Taught by Dr. Marian Eide
This course familiarizes students with approximately two and a half centuries of British literary history through a sampling of periods and genres (poetry, novel, drama, short story, letter, and journal). We will be particularly interested in the rise, spread, and decline of the British Empire and the effects of empire on culture and thought. Additionally, we will consider the question of identity and how literature investigates and contributions to identity formation. This lengthy period is one of increasing self-consciousness in literary production and surprising engagement with the history and the politics of the moment. This course is offered in a hybrid format, each week before attending class students will complete assigned reading and 50 additional minutes of preparation in modules posted on CANVAS, which include lectures recorded by the instructor, interviews conducted by the instructor with experts in the field, documentaries providing historical and cultural background, and exercises for credit.
Jane Austen: Mansfield Park Charlotte Brontë: Jane Eyre Caryl Phillips: A Distant Shore Oscar Wilde: The Importance of Being Earnest Samuel Beckett: Waiting for Godot Poetry by William Blake, Samuel Coleridge, William Wordsworth, John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Christina Rosetti, W. B. Yeats, T.S. Eliot Short stories by James Joyce & Virginia Woolf
Introduction to Latinx literature, with emphasis on methods and approaches, historical breadth and context, and the diverse literary traditions of people of Hispanic/Latinx descent in the United States.
This course is an introduction to the study of Latinx literature. The goal of the course is to give you a foundational base for this field of literary studies, which requires basic knowledge of the breadth of Latinx literature (history and context, diverse cultural traditions, genres, themes) and the numerous ways in which scholars in the field approach this literature. We will ask fundamental questions such as “Why Latinx and not Latino/a?” and “What is border theory/literature?”
History and Context
What are the origins of Latinx literatures in the United States? As we will discover, the traditions of Spanish-heritage writing in the Americas have deep roots, and students will read first-hand accounts of the earliest travelers to the land that would someday become the United States. Other historical contexts will include the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848), the experiences of immigrant communities in various parts of the U.S., and civil rights movements in the second half of the 20th century.
Diverse Cultural Traditions
Latinx literary traditions are not one—they are multiple. Latinx peoples of Mexican-, Caribbean-, and Central American descent have produced innovative works of literature that speak within and against mainstream American traditions. Such writers as Américo Paredes, Gloria Anzaldúa, Sandra Cisneros, Achy Obejas, Abraham Rodriguez, Julia Alvarez, Junot Díaz, Angie Cruz, and Hector Tobar will exemplify the diversity of Latinx traditions.
ENGL 262 is a new course for fall or 2021. It revises ENGL 362 so that future versions of ENGL 362 will serve as advanced studies in Latinx Literature and the new ENGL 262 will serve as an introductory course. If you are interested in a minor in Latinx and Mexican American Studies, ENGL 262 is a great place to start. See: https://liberalarts.tamu.edu/ics/about-lmas-studies/.
Taught by Dr. Sara DiCaglio
What is the function of literature in society? Does literature mirror (or reproduce) our world, or is its function something different entirely? This course introduces students to the English major through a focused examination of the topic of reproduction across scales (from human to world, cells to technologies, histories to retellings, printing presses to the cloud). We will look at a variety of genres (contemporary fiction and science fiction, poetry, rhetoric, and film) in order to understand the reproductive function of literature itself, asking questions about biological, material, and historical reproductions.
Because this is an introductory course, students will receive wide view of the major through an examination of literature, rhetoric, and creative writing in order to help students to develop their interests. Moreover, a careful engagement with the writing process--drafting, revising, reviewing, discussing, receiving feedback on, and otherwise reflecting on how writing can both reflect and craft our thinking--is at the heart of this course, and students can expect to come out of the course as more practiced writers better equipped to think about the vast array of choices they face in the writing process. And we'll have fun together (really, I promise!) as we develop into a community of engaged and careful readers and writers.
Proposed Readings: Frankenstein--Mary Shelley; Dawn--Octavia Butler; Beloved--Toni Morrison; Under the Feet of Jesus--Helena Marie Viramontes; The Handmaid's Tale--Margaret Atwood; Revising the Storm--Geffrey Davis
Taught by Dr. Shona Jackson
This course examines how sea exploration has shaped ideas and narratives about culture, society, and identity since the mid 15th century. It will examine how the “new” is discursively re/produced within the ways of seeing, agendas, and economies of European peoples. Students will be asked to think about how narratives of discovery constitute a genre, the tropes and aesthetics of such a genre, as well as the relationship between truth and fiction in this literature. We will examine texts ranging from Columbus’s first letters about the “New World” to contemporary television shows and films such as Stargate SG-1 and Star Trek.
Taught by Dr. Shawna Ross
Immediately upon its publication in 1847, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre was a bestseller, beloved by critics and readers alike. Since then, retellings of Jane’s story of bildung—of her growth and maturation from a vulnerable orphan to a strong, self-defined, successful adult—have abounded. Why has the story resonated in so many places and at so many different cultural moments and spaces? How does each new historical and cultural context change the way we like to see Jane and understand (or criticize) her decisions? To make our job easier, we will restrict our gaze to adaptations of the novel and the Brontë family that have been created in the 21st century.
This course will introduce you to the English major by first embarking on an intensive close-reading of the original novel before moving to a survey of adaptations, with a focus on popular fiction, particularly horror and young adult fiction. (After all, Jane Eyre was popular when it was published, too! It’s only in the passage of time that we now regard it as capital-L “literature.”) Written assignments include short, regular homework assignments, a close reading paper, a proposal for an adaptation of the novel, and a 6-8 page research paper, which will include multiple component parts to help divide the task into manageable chunks.
Proposed Readings: Jane Eyre (Broadview critical edition); Becoming Jane Eyre (Sheila Kohler); Re Jane (Patricia Park); Jane Steele (Lyndsey Faye); To Walk Invisible (BBC film); Jane Eyre (film, dir. Cary Fukunaga)
Taught by Dr. Joshua DiCaglio
This course introduces the English major by talking about science. The premise is that one of the best ways to understand the powers of rhetoric, literature, and the humanities more broadly is to examine the rhetorical forms arising from science itself--the literary productions that play with its mode of discourse and discoveries, the popular communications that treat science as something to change our perspectives and values, the many forms of writing by which it explains itself, and the political, cultural, and personal disorientations it can induce. Here students will use texts, discourses, and ideas that are supposed to be straightforward and regulated to focus in on the essential role interpretation, communication, and narrative plays in human all activity. We will focus in on some of the most significant but also confusing, ambiguous, tantalizing, and impactful threads of scientific discourse, ranging from nanotechnology to astronomy to ecology. Reading a bit of science itself alongside literature, poetry, popular science, political speeches, films, digital productions, and so on will help us see and work with the many ways that rhetorical productions are always before us, in need of careful study.
Proposed Readings: This class will be set up in 3 units, each separated into three parts consisting of 1) fiction, 2) science (both a sample as presented to a popular audience) , 3) public discourse around the science.
We will have three units, one on Nanotechnology/Computing (with readings from Neal Stephenson, Eric Drexler, and various transhumanists and posthumanists); one on astronomy/evolution (with readings from Darwin, Alexander von Humboldt, Carl Sagan, Teilhard de Chardin, and Sun Ra); and Ecology/Biology (with readings from Lovelock, Margulis and Sagan, Ursula LeGuin, Octavia Butler, Bill McKibben, and Rachel Carson).
Taught by Dr. Apostolos Vasilakis
This course introduces English majors to the field of English Studies. In this course we will study the history and the transformation of the different forces, traditions, and methodologies that have been instrumental in our approach to or understanding of literature. The course will specifically focus on the history of literary criticism and theory from antiquity to the present time, pairing criticism with individual literary texts. During the semester we will see how these theories have been instrumental in how we read, discuss and write about literature.
Proposed Readings: Selections from Vincent B. Leitch’s The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism
Taught by Dr. Ira Dworkin
By examining text and context, the class will consider the ways that diverse literary works enter into conversations with each other and, more widely, with broader cultural archives. Beginning with Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart, students will become acquainted with the many different methodologies scholars use to read, discuss, and write about literature and other cultural texts. What kinds of questions do we ask in the discipline of English Studies, and what approaches and tools do we use to answer those questions? Moreover, we will consider the relevance of English Studies to the wider world within which readers read and writers write. What do the questions and critical methodologies we bring to texts have to offer to the culture at large? Throughout the semester, we will practice the basic skills essential to more advanced study in English: close reading, clear writing, and the formulation of fertile, well-informed research questions.
Proposed Readings: Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart; Elizabeth Acevedo, The Poet X; Nnedi Okorafor, Binti; Claudia Rankine, Citizen; Bertolt Brecht, Mother Courage.
Taught by Dr. Donald Dickson
This course will explore some of the major writers of the early modern period, beginning with the greatest lyric poet of the age, John Donne, who charted a new direction by going against the grain in imitating the classical Latin poet Ovid rather than the more contemporary Petrarch. We will then read from a long religious poem by a woman writer, Aemilia Lanyer and the religious poetry of George Herbert. Finally, we will focus on a key event, the English Civil War and Interregnum (1642-1660), by examining the effects of war through two poets in “meditative retreat,” Henry Vaughan (a metaphysical” poet) and Andrew Marvell (a hybrid who is both “metaphysical” and Cavalier).
• John Donne’s Poetry. ed. Donald R. Dickson. New York: Norton, 2007.
• The Poems of Aemilia Lanyer: Salve Deus Rex Judæorum.
• Ben Jonon, Volpone
• George Herbert and the Seventeenth-Century Religious Poets. ed. Mario DiCesare. New York: Norton, 1978
Taught by Dr. Margaret Ezell
When Shakespeare went to the theatre, what did he see? This course will explore the theatrical world of London and the countryside during William Shakespeare’s lifetime (1564-1616) and the decades leading up to the English Civil War and the closing of the London commercial theatres in 1642. We will be reading accounts of performances done at the courts of Queen Elizabeth, King James, and King Charles as well as royal progresses through the great castles they visited. We will be looking at street entertainments in London which were free for all and also the commercial London theaters including The Fortune, The Red Bull, as well as The Globe and more exclusive Blackfriars. We will look behind the scenes at the performers, the costumers, and dramatic companies for whom the plays were written. Some of the dramatists and texts we will be reading may include: Thomas Middleton’s The Revenger’s Tragedy, Thomas Dekker and Thomas Middleton, The Roaring Girl, Christopher Marlowe’s The Tragedy of Dr. Faustus, Ben Jonson’s The Masque of Blackness and Volpone, and the anonymous murder play, Arden of Faversham.
Writing assignments will include two short response papers, one in-class exam, and a longer essay on a play from the period not read in class.
Proposed Readings: Thomas Middleton, Ben Jonson, Christopher Marlowe and others
Section 500 taught by Jungah Kim
This course serves to examine the poetry and prose of major Victorian authors within nineteenth century England. It will particularly be focusing on the theme of “radical Victorian narratives” in which we explore the various types of radical characters that were present within Victorian novels and poetry. The Victorian era was an age of continual transformations and it was not limited to the industrialization and change of religious and moral values, characters too fought against the grain of variant changes as they tried to understand themselves as individuals. As a class, we will critically analyze and write about the charismatic and peculiar nature of Victorian narratives that were present in the wake of radical change in nineteenth century England.
Proposed Readings: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, The Mill on the Floss, Jane Eyre, Daisy Miller, Jude the Obscure, Poems from The Pre-Raphaelites From Rosetti to Ruskin
Taught by Dr. Vanita Reddy
This class introduces students to some examples of “LGBTQ Literature” by questioning the adequacy of the moniker “gay and lesbian literature.” To observe the historical and cultural specificity of such concepts as “gay and lesbian,” “LGBT [etc.],” “straight,” and “heterosexual” we will start by looking at texts produced in times and places that differ, sometimes radically, from what we claim as our own culture(s). Examining texts from primarily the mid-20th century to the present, we will pay particular attention to the ways in which histories of race, migration, and globalization are being negotiated.
We will familiarize ourselves with the texts’ social, geographical, and historical contexts; and also consider how the literary texts are responses to—inventive ways of negotiating—particular historical problems and issues. Material from this course will include written texts and visual culture, such as feature films, documentaries, and online visual media.
Required Texts to be Purchased: James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room (1956); Other Required Readings, available via eCampus: Shyam Selvadurai, “Pigs Can’t Fly” (1996) (eCampus); Cherrie Moraga, Giving up the Ghost (1986) (eCampus)
Films/Visual Media:The Salt Mines (1990), Dirs. Carlos Aparicio and Susana Aikin (available through eCampus by clicking on link to film, or through TAMU Library’s streaming service, Kanopy); Pariah (2011), Dir. Dee Rees (available through eCampus; click on “Mediasite Videos”); Fashion blogs by Alok Menon (links provided on eCampus)
*Additional required course reading will be posted on eCampus.
Taught by Dr. Nandini Bhattacharya
Melting pot or salad bowl, the historic fulcrum of ethnic America is that it’s never a fulcrum, always a kaleidoscope. This course will expand beyond the usual pantheon of ethnicity in America and look at very recent additions to that pot/bowl, such as Asian, African, and European immigrant and diasporic writers, as well as already canonized names.
Proposed Readings: Art by Annu Palakunnathu Matthew; Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, Maaza Mengiste's Beneath the Lion's Gaze, Danton Remoto’s Riverrun, Leila Ravani’s Luster, Porochista Khakpour’s Sons and Other Flammable Objects, Amina Formatta’s Happiness, Duniya Mikhail's The War Works Hard, Usha Akella's The Rosary of Latitudes, and others
Taught by Dr. Elizabeth Robinson
This course will explore the history of fairy tales, largely from Europe and the United States, from their oral (traditional) roots to modern re-tellings of traditional tales. Our study will include significant European publications of traditional tales such as those by Straparola & Basile (Italy), Perrault and d’Aulnoy (France), the Brothers Grimm (Germany), Andrew Lang, and Joseph Jacob (England). We will also read selected tales from other countries and cultures. We will explore the way that these tales have been told in various cultures, how they are shaped by their cultures, and how they shape their cultures. We will also discuss the history of their reception through the centuries. We will explore significant historical events surrounding fairy tales, such as the “Frauds on Fairies” argument between Charles Dickens and George Cruikshank. We will read re-tellings of traditional fairy tales through the past 200 years by authors such as Anne Thackeray Ritchie, Angela Carter, Tanith Lee, Roald Dahl, James Thurber, Anne Sexton, Sarah Henderson Hay, and others. We will also read one novel or graphic novel re-telling of a fairy tale (TBA). We will explore how fairy tales have been used in film by film makers such as Disney and Pixar, and in musicals by composers such as Stephen Sondheim (Into the Woods), and how the tales appear in pop culture (music, advertising, etc.). In our exploration of re-tellings, we will be especially interested in how these re-tellings often appropriate fairy tales for specific purposes. Finally, we will contextualize our explorations of fairy tales within the critical conversation surrounding them. We will read critical pieces by Maria Tatar, Jack Zipes, Marina Warner, P. L. Travers, Bruno Bettelheim, Sandra Gilbert & Susan Gubar, and others.
Proposed Readings: Martin Hallett and Barbara Karasek, Folk and Fairy Tales (5th ed.) and Fairy Tales in Popular Culture, additional selected critical readings and fairy tale re-tellings, and a novel TBD
Taught by Dr. Jason Harris
This prose course will focus on writing the novella. We'll be reading several novellas while workshopping sections from our own.
Proposed Readings: Notes from the Underground (Fyodor Dostoevksy), Awakening (Kate Chopin), Uncommon Reader (Alan Bennett), Binti (Nnedi Okorafor), Ballad of Black Tom (Victor LaValle), All Systems Red (Martha Wells), Writing the Novella (Sharon Warner)
Taught by Dr. Anne Morey
More than forty years after his death in 1980, Alfred Hitchcock remains one of the most important figures in the history of cinema, leaving behind a body of work that continues to influence filmmakers and fascinate film scholars. He was one of the first directors whose work was deemed worthy of serious study in the academy, in part because he engaged in one of the earliest, and certainly one of the most successful, efforts at turning his directorial persona into a brand. He worked in three film industries (those of Britain, Germany, and the United States), producing important works from the silent period well into the post-studio era. In addition, he mastered the new medium of television in the mid-1950s and used its radically different aesthetics to reinvent himself as a filmmaker at the age of 61, originating the slasher film with Psycho. Organized as a more or less chronological survey of Alfred Hitchcock’s output, this course will explore the following issues in Hitchcock’s career: his working methods; his collaborative relations with figures such as Alma Reville, David Selznick, Saul Bass, and Bernard Herrmann, as well as his partnerships with stars such as James Stewart, Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Grace Kelly, Kim Novak, and Tippi Hedren; his transitions among production environments, national cinemas, and media; his roles as television impresario, interview subject, and popular icon. This course will use Hitchcock as a lens through which we will explore questions of canon, reputation, influence, the director’s relations to his critics and imitators, and the changing status of film within the academy
Taught by Dr. James Francis
The focus for the class is thematic: examining a brief history of the horror narrative (from written Gothic literature to visual film text). We seek to answer questions regarding what and/or how the evolution and development of the horror narrative teaches us about society, narrative construction, genre, popular culture, and more. Film and literary theory will aid discussions and further knowledge of analysis and critique.
Proposed Readings: Carmilla (Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu), Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus (Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley), Us (Jordan Peele), The Exorcist (William Friedkin), The Brood (David Cronenberg)
Taught by Dr. Marcela Fuentes
In 1968, Kiowa writer N. Scott Momaday's House Made of Dawn was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for American literature. Momaday's award signaled for many the “arrival” of Native authors to the American literary scene and ushered in an unprecedented era of Native literary production widely known as the Native American Renaissance. This survey of Native American literature focuses on first wave through second wave and twenty-first century Native writing. The course includes an array of native self- representation across genres, regions, periods, forms and tribal nations. We will read scholarly articles, short stories, poetry, and novels, as well as view films and other media.
Proposed Readings: James Welch (Blackfeet), Winter in the Blood; Louise Erdrich (Ojibwe) The Round House; Tommy Orange(Cheyenne/Arapaho) There, There; Rebecca Roanhorse (Pueblo) Trail of Lightning; Other readings, videos, and supplemental material via Ecampus.
Taught by Dr. Elizabeth Robinson
In this course, we will survey children’s literature from early fairy tale texts through very recently published texts. In our reading of these texts, we will explore
• a variety of genres: picture books, novels, poetry, and fairy tales;
• the nature, characteristics, and purposes of children’s literature, and
• how the works we read are connected to the cultures and time periods in which they were produced and consider how these works both express notions of the nature of child and childhood and how they shape those notions within a culture.
In our explorations, we will apply principles of literary analysis to the texts that we read, but we will not discuss teaching practices or criteria for book selection.
Proposed Readings: This list is subject to change: • Hallett and Karasek, Folk and Fairy Tales, Concise Edition • George MacDonald. The Princess and the Goblin • Beatrix Potter. Peter Rabbit. • Dr. Seuss. The Cat in the Hat. • Brian Selznick, Wonderstruck • Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book • Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden • Mildred Taylor, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry • Kathi Appelt. The Underneath • Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, The War That Saved My Life • Robin Yardi, The Midnight War of Mateo Martinez, Pablo Cartaya, The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora, or Carlos Hernandez, Sal and Gabi Break the Universe
Section 500 Taught by Dr. Kalani Pattison
In this course, we will survey adolescent and young adult literature (YA lit) from the twenty-first and latter half of the twentieth century, though we will briefly discuss well-known older works for context. We will explore: -A variety of forms (novels, short stories, and poems) in the various genres of historical fiction, realistic fiction, fantasy, and science-fiction. -Works by authors from a variety of continents and ethnicities. -How these works both express notions of the nature of adolescence and shape those notions within a culture, paying particular attention to characters’ growth into virtuous, compassionate, wise(r) adults -Conceptions of justice, power, gender, language, and communication. In our explorations, we will apply principles of literary analysis to the texts that we read, and discuss how these texts might appeal to or be read by younger readers, but we will not discuss teaching practices (this is not a course focused on pedagogy). Students will read assigned texts, write brief weekly assignments and longer arguments, complete a creative argument project, and have chances to lead discussion and make presentations.
Proposed Readings: Under the Mesquite by McCall; Purple Hibiscus by Adichie; Feed by Anderson; Jane, Unlimited by Cashore; Nimona by Stevenson; and others!
Taught by Dr. Regina Mills
This course has three units that showcase three (of the many) ways to approach Latinx/e literature. First, we begin with literature based in history: the memoir of Afro-Puerto Rican Jesus Colon and the historical fiction/revenge novel about the Guatemalan Civil War, The Tattooed Soldier by Hector Tobar. While Latinx literature is frequently defined as primarily historical fiction and life writing, this is far from the only genres through which Latinx/e writers write. The second unit will look at Latinx Sci-Fi and Horror through Alex Rivera's futuristic film on immigration and labor, Sleep Dealer and Carmen Maria Machado short story collection, Her Body and Other Parties, which won a Nebula award and pushes us to consider what themes Latinx authors can write on. We end with a unit that looks at diaspora literature and living on (and off) the hyphen (as Gustavo Perez Firmat might say) with a focus on recent Dominican American literature. Thus we end with Angie Cruz's Dominicana and Elizabeth Acevedo's young adult novel in verse, The Poet X. My hope, in this course, is to broaden your sense of what Latinx/e literature talks about, who and what "Latino/a/x/e" even covers, and how this aspect of American literature (and film) experiments with language and form. Latinx/e literature is not a niche field of American literature - I hope you will see that this literature speaks most urgently to the issues facing people throughout the Americas.
Proposed Readings: Primary Texts: Jesus Colon, A Puerto Rican in New York (1961) Hector Tobar, Tattooed Soldier Carmen Maria Machado, Her Body and Other Parties Sleep Dealer (2008, dir. Alex Rivera) Angie Cruz, Dominicana (2019) Elizabeth Acevedo, The Poet X (2018)
Other short stories and selected secondary sources will be provided via Canvas
Section 500 taught by Dr. Jennifer Wollock
The Bible is both a document of faith and an extraordinary work of literature. In this course we study the forms of poetry, storytelling, historical narrative, prophetic speech and song, that make up the Bible in their historical contexts. We look at the history of the Bible itself and the languages in which it was written, from the earliest Hebrew to the Greek of the Christian Scriptures, and at the history of its translation into other languages. We will be reading the full range of biblical genres, using the King James translation, the version most important for the English-speaking world and the development of the English language. No previous study of the Bible is expected or necessary.
Proposed Readings: The King James Version of the English Bible (any edition)
Taught by Dr. Margaret Ezell
The survey starts with a remarkable and extraordinary person, Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603). By looking at her speeches, letters, and poetry as she out-maneuvered Parliament’s plans that she marry, we will have a starting point to consider the themes of who has power and authority, and how are they used by women, that will continue throughout the course.
We’ll explore the interconnected world of elite aristocratic women’s manuscript writings in the early 17th century, including those by the Countess of Pembroke and her niece Lady Mary Wroth, but we will also read one of the early 17th century’s bestselling print publications by a London housewife, Dorothy Leigh’s The Mother’s Blessing. We will read early proto-feminist writings, part of the querelle des femmes, or “the woman question,” where women actively debated education and social roles and trace the lines of argument that developed through the period.
The work by the women we read disrupt traditional views of literary history about who was reading what and who was writing and why: While many women compiled manuscript volumes of recipes, advice, and devotional writings for their families, Margaret Cavendish, the Duchess of Newcastle, claimed she only wrote for public fame. By the mid-17th century, women writers were producing volumes of fiction, drama, and verse involving natural science and philosophy; by the end of the 17th century Aphra Behn and other “female wits” were writing professionally for cash, creating roles for the new female actresses on the Restoration stage.
Other women writers had more complex agendas, such as Phyllis Wheatley Peters, a slave in Boston and the first known African-American woman poet to publish her poetry, and Unca Eliza Winkfield, supposedly a native American, who was credited a popular novel, The Female American. Finally, we will conclude the survey with the woman whose name is most familiar to modern readers for her proto-feminist writings: Mary Wollstonecraft, author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.
Written assignments, conditions permitting, may include several short response papers, exercises working with manuscript and rare book materials, and an in-class exam.
Proposed Readings: Queen Elizabeth 1, Aemilia Lanyer, Margaret Cavendish, Aphra Behn, Phillis Wheatley Peters, Mary Wollstonecraft
Taught by Dr. Nancy Warren
Catalog Description for Women Writers: History of literature by women in English; emphasis on continuity of ideas and on literary contributions; study of a variety of genres with particular attention to the significance of gender in the racial, social, sexual and cultural contexts of women writing in English.
For these particular sections the course focuses on medieval and early modern texts written by women. As we interrogate the ways in which women participate in literate and literary practices, we will consider such topics as clerical anti-feminism, women's education, mysticism, and romance. Our aim will be to situate texts in their historical and cultural environments as we bring to bear a range of theoretical and critical approaches.
Proposed Readings: Works by Christine de Pizan, Julian of Norwich, Margery Kempe, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Birgitta of Sweden, Grace Mildmay, Aphra Behn, Mary Sidney Herbert, Gertrude More, Margaret Gascoigne, Anna Trapnel
Sections 200 and 500 taught by Dr. Mary Ann O'Farrell
This course will focus on the history and development of the British novel and on the many pleasures to be taken in reading it. We will also consider some preoccupations of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as these are developed in the novels we read. Some of our interests in class discussion and as readers will include: money and marriage, manners and style, publishing and reading practices, bodies and things, majority and minority of character, business and politics, spinsters and bachelors, ways of knowing, work and words, laughter and blushes and tears.
Proposed Readings: Readings are likely to include works by Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Daniel Defoe, Charlotte Bronte, and Wilkie Collins.
Section 500 taught by Dr. Jennifer Wollock
This course explores the English legend of Robin Hood and its legacy from its biblical roots in the story of King David as an outlaw and other historical and fictional stories of outlawed leaders down to the present. Beginning with the historical question of Robin Hood's real existence, we will study the rise of Robin Hood in literature as an English peasant hero, parallel to the rise of King Arthur, in ballads, plays, verse and prose narratives, and film.
Proposed Readings: R. B. Dobson and J. Taylor, Rymes of Robin Hood: An Introduction to the English Outlaw
Taught by Dr. Regina Mills
Theme: Ethnic American Life Writing This course will explore the variety of American experiences and how discourses of social difference (e.g. ethno-racial identity, LGBTQ identity, adoption status), socio-historical events (e.g. Indian Boarding Schools, Vietnam War) and attitudes (e.g. anti-black racism, assimilation) influence the way we live and the way we write. The course's primary texts are life writing (memoirs, autobiographies, and more experimental life narratives). In doing so, we will consider assumptions around American identity and how American history and policy has worked to erase the diversity of American experiences. We will also see how despite efforts to erase certain kinds of people, bodies, cultures, and experiences, Indigenous, Asian American, Black, Latinx, and other marginalized Americans have continued to find ways to show that they exist and their lives matter. We will begin with discussion of life writing studies as a field but also introduce other approaches to literary theory, such as trauma theory, comics studies, folklore, and queer studies.
This class will focus primarily on literary analysis and will use Joanna Wolf and Laura Wilder's Digging into Literature as well as Cathy Birkenstein and Gerald Graff's They Say/I Say as the primary texts for argumentation.
Life Writing Texts: 1. Zitkála-Šá, American Indian Stories (1921) 2. Nicole Chung, All You Can Ever Know (2019) 3. Jesmyn Ward, Men We Reaped (2013) 4. Carmen Maria Machado, In the Dream House (2019) 5. GB Tran, Vietnamerica: A Family’s Journey (2011) Other secondary sources will be provided on Canvas to supplement these texts
Literary Analysis Texts: Joanna Wolf and Laura Wilder's Digging into Literature (Highly Recommended, though selections will be provided on Canvas) They Say/I Say (selections to be provided on Canvas)
Taught by Dr. Katayoun Torabi
Are you interested in how computers affect our understanding and study of cultural heritage: literature, history, art, religion, philosophy, etc.? Do you want to learn how to use open-source software to analyze source material, make arguments, and present your ideas to the public? If so, this cross-listed course is for you. Whether you want to make more engaging class presentations, pursue a career that engages the public online, or develop technical skills that will set you apart, this course will help you do that. You will learn about how computers are used to conduct humanities research and the impact of technology on different fields of study. You will also use digital tools to visualize literary analysis, create digital maps, and analyze social networks.
If this interests you, sign up for DHUM (Digital Humanities)/ENGL/HIST 433 (undergraduate students); DHUM 601 (graduate students). Fall semester 2021. DHUM 601 is a graduate-level course on the list of approved classes for the Digital Humanities Certificate.
Taught by Dr. Marian Eide
If literature is our bid to make sense of complex and extreme experiences, there is hardly more fertile creative ground than the writings of the twentieth century. This period of global trauma produced writing at once saturated in political violence and complicated by the ethics of innovative aesthetic productions. Stretching across genres and around the globe, the course charts a course of aesthetic reconciliation between empathy and evil in the literatures of the twentieth century. Topics include sexual assault, genocide, colonial rule, terrorism, and structural inequality.
Proposed Readings: J. M. Coetzee: Disgrace; Junot Diaz: The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao; Bubacar Boris Diop: Murambi, The Book of Bones; Don Delillo: Point Omega; Arundhati Roy: The God of Small Things; Teju Cole: Open City
Taught by Dr. Nandini Bhattacharya
Global Writing about Pandemics and Civilization
Proposed Readings: Camus, Albert. The Plague.; Saramago, Jose. Blindness; Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway.; Woolf, Virginia. “On Being Ill.”; Viral Modernism.
Section 904 taught by Dr. Mary Ann O'Farrell
This course is designed to offer the manifest pleasures of reading Jane Austen and to help students develop the critical skills with which to examine these pleasures. Our readings will include Austen’s completed novels, as well as critical and biographical readings that raise recurrent issues in thinking about Austen (manners, marriage, families, knowledge, style, the largeness and smallness of worlds). We will also spend some time investigating the formation of Austen as a cultural icon (the kind of writer you find on websites and in games, on tote bags, and in movie theaters with zombies, as well as in the library).
Section 905 taught by Dr. Mikko Tuhkanen
This class introduces students to contemporary theories of “modernity,” with particular emphasis on the claim that when we speak of “Western modernity,” we must speak of it as a “diasporic modernity”—that we must recognize the constitutive role that the African diaspora had, and continues to have, in the formation of our modern world. We approach our topic by focusing on the work of three major thinkers of diasporic modernity: Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and Sylvia Wynter.
Taught by Dr. Vanita Reddy
This 400-level course will examine concepts in feminist theory from an intersectional and transnational perspective.
We will read across a range of humanities and social science fields: literary studies, media studies, visual art, film studies, feminist science studies, philosophy, sociology, cultural anthropology, performance studies, and critical fashion and beauty studies.
Proposed Readings: L. Ayu Saraswati and Barbara Shaw, eds. Feminist and Queer Theory: An Intersectional and Transnational Reader: (Oxford UP, 2020). Additional course readings will be uploaded as PDFs to CANVAS.