Course Offerings: Fall 2007
Below is a list of Current Upper-Division Undergraduate Course Offerings and our Current Graduate-Seminar Offerings.
CURRENT UPPER-DIVISION UNDERGRADUATE COURSE OFFERINGS:
Prof. Matthew Frankel
MW 12-1:45 PM
THE SEA IN LITERATURE AND FILM
This course is designed to give students the opportunity to examine the image of the sea in a selection of novels and their respective adaptations to film. Our comparisons will include Melville’s Moby-Dick alongside John Huston’s classic cinematic translation, Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic, and Noah Bombach’s The Squid and the Whale; Victor Fleming’s Oscar-winning Captains Courageous next to the Kipling novel on which it is based; Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea and the film by the same name starring Spencer Tracey and directed by John Sturges; both Patrick O’Brian’s novel Master & Commander as well as Russell Crowe’s big-screen interpretation of Capt. Aubrey; and finally, E. Annie Proulx’s Pulitzer Prize-winning, TheShipping News, and the 2001 movie version of the novel.
Prof. John Leo
MW 2-3:45 PM
CINEMATIC AUTEURS: MARTIN SCORSESE
This course engages critically selected films by Martin Scorsese, from "The Big Shave" (1967) to "The Departed" (2006) and most likely including "Mean Streets," "Taxi Driver" and other films of the 70s, "Raging Bull," "The King of Comedy" and other films of the 80s, and of course the extraordinary output of the 90s and since, such as "Goodfellas," "Cape Fear," "Casino," among others. Scorsese's film art will be profiled against American and international tendencies of filmmaking (institutional and economic contexts, changes in and theorizations of audiences, reception, and genres, and the limits of the concept of auteur), film history, and aesthetics. On the way we will question how key concepts such as gender, genre, narrative and story, visual rhetoric, among others, help construct multiple filmic interpretations and meanings.
Prof. David Rutschman
T Th 11:00-12:15
ADVANCED CREATIVE WRITING: CREATIVE NONFICTION
This course will focus on short fiction. Through reading, writing, discussion, and workshop, we will challenge each other to experiment, to play, to risk, and to grow as writers. I'm particularly interested in developing students' ability to read fiction as artists rather than as academics or historians; to this end, each student will be responsible for helping to shape our reading list - both by sharing their own work, and by selecting work by established writers for us to examine together. My loyalty is to the writing process much more than to the end product. More than anything, I seek to help students discover their processes - their own particular paths to a deep, sustained engagement with the creative life.
Annie Dillard. The Writing Life.
Lewis Hyde. The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property.
Prof. Paul Arakelian
MWF 12:00-12:50, 1:00-1:50
STRUCTURE OF AMERICAN ENGLISH
This course has two different but complementary goals. On the one hand, we will review the grammatical terms and rules, which are used by most grammarians and English teachers to “improve” our written and spoken language. On the other hand, I will introduce you to linguistic concepts and analyses, which will explain why we write and speak the way we do. Between these two poles of judging what we do and admiring how we do it, wavers the stuff of most English courses, literature and composition. So, to ground our discussions of both grammar and linguistics, you will analyze samples of literary and expository texts.
Prof. Paul Arakelian
EVOLUTION OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
In this course we will EXPLORE HOW THE English Language has evolved in the 1000 years from its origins in 600 AD, as a remote North Sea dialect, to its emergence in the Renaissance as a world language. In addition, we will consider how English culture may have influenced language change and how the language may have mirrored cultural values. The majority of class time will be devoted to individual or group exercises and projects which will give you a sense of the sounds and structures of English and the opportunity to make connections between language and culture.
ENG/CLS 335.01 (RUS 392.01)
Prof. Sona Aronian
INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES IN COMPARATIVE LITERATURE
MASTERPIECES OF RUSSIAN LITERATURE
The Russian author Anton Chekhov (1890-1904) is widely held to be a major influence on the development of modern drama and the short story, including in the English-speaking world. Critics often cite talented short story writers “the Chekhov of the South” (Eudora Welty), “the Chekhov of Canada” (Alice Munro), “the Jewish Chekhov” (Bernard Malamud) and “the Indian Chekhov” (R.K. Narayan). This course will investigate the sources of this influence, first, by analyzing the essential elements of Chekhov’s craft as a short story writer and dramatist; and second, by comparing a series of Chekhov’s work with those of other American and English writers. Among the writers under consideration are Eudora Welty and Raymond Carver, James Joyce and Virginia Woolf. Furthermore, we shall examine his works along with their film adaptations, including “La Petite Lili” (France), “The Country Doctor” (Australia), “Uncle Vanya on 42nd Street” (USA) and “Lady with the Pet Dog” (USSR). In conjunction with the examination of Chekhov’s plays and short stories, we shall read some one-act plays by American playwrights (e.g. Wendy Wasserstein and David Mamet), which are based on Chekhov’s short stories. Our goal is to understand the meaning of the accommodation and interplay of cultures when Chekhovian elements appear in other voices, in other countries, and in other times.
Prof. Gitahi Gititi
T Th 3:30-4:15
NATIVE AMERICAN LITERATURE
This course focuses on multi-genre readings of Native American literatures of the contemporary period. Attention will be paid to the historical, political, social and cultural contexts in which these literatures are produced – to elicit thematics, motifs, moods, tones and formal features that characterize the unique nature of literary creation by indigenous Americans.
Prof. David Rutschman
T Th 12-3:15
ANTEBELLUM US LITERATURE AND CULTURE
In this course we critically examine 19th century U.S. writing, concentrating especially on texts about race, slavery, and freedom. Through reading, writing, and discussion, we will consider how U.S. culture defined itself, and continues to define itself in relation to these issues. I'm particularly interested in how contested ideas (fables, myths) of a uniquely American
identity were imagined and re-imagined in the decades leading up to the Civil War. My hope is that our exploration of this formative time in U.S. history will lead to a deeper understanding of how questions of identity, identification and dis-identificaton continue to shape our literature.
Frederick Douglass. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave,Written by Himself.
Harriet Jacobs. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.
Harriet Beecher Stowe. Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
Prof. Carolyn Betensky
T Th 12:30-1:45
LITERARY THEORY AND CRITICISM: INTRODUCTION TO LITERARY THEORY
In this course, we will read some of the major theoretical texts that inform literary studies today. We will also acquaint ourselves with some of the important nineteenth- and twentieth-century philosophical, linguistic, sociological, psychological and political texts that spurred so much of what has come to be known as “literary” theory.
Prof. Felix Okeke-Ezigbo
T Th 9:30-10:45
AFRICAN AMERICAN LITERARY GENRES
(Other than short story and novel)
The course is a hands-on engagement with some of the notable poetry and drama by African Americans in the post-niggertude era, under the assertive rubric of a burnished Afropolitan aesthetic. Accordingly, our interest shall be focused on soulfulness of quest and audaciousness of utterance, not on the correctness and academicism of grammarians.
Prof. Stephen Barber
T Th 2-3:15
GREEK AND ROMAN DRAMA
The course offers a comprehensive study of Seneca’s drama and the Stoic philosophy from which it draws. His work will be compared to that of his contemporaries as well as to that of his predecessors in order to understand its dramatic innovations.
Prof. Sue Fisher Vaughn
T Th 11-12:15
BRITISH LITERATURE 1660-1800
An exploration of the major trends and some marginalized aspects in English drama, satire, fiction, prose, and poetry of the Restoration and the Eighteenth Century. Close reading and analysis of such writers as Dryden, Congreve, Behn, Pope, Swift, Wollstonecraft, Lady Chudleigh, and Mary Davys will help to provide an understanding of the developments in style as well as in the political and cultural arenas of this pivotal literary period.
The requirements for this course include two short papers, a panel presentation, a mid-semester and a final examination.
Prof. J. Jennifer Jones
T Th 2-3:15
BRITISH LITERATURE OF THE NINETEENTH-CENTURY: ROMANTICISM AND ITALY
Percy Bysshe Shelley once called Italy the “paradise of exiles,” and British Romantic-era writers such as John Keats, Mary and P.B. Shelley, Lord Byron, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge all lived in Italy as self-imposed exiles for a significant period in their lives. William Wordsworth’s reflections upon his visit to Italy during a walking tour in 1790 resulted in some of the most famous lines he ever wrote — the “crossing the Alps” lines that have become paradigmatic of the Wordsworthian sublime; Wordsworth, following Charlotte Smith, wrote hundreds of sonnets on the Petrarchan model; and both Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy studied the Italian language as adults. But what was their investment in Italy, a culture stereotyped in Britain by the period around 1800 as violent, passionate, sexual, and typically, feminine or effeminate? How has that investment been shaped by their understanding of Italian revolutionary politics, ranging from the secret rights of the Carbonari to the beginnings of the Risorgimento? To what extent was the idealization of Italy shaped by the complex issues of Catholic civil rights in Britain? How can we better understand British Romanticism — generically, culturally, ideologically — by studying the relationship of the major writers to the idea of Italy? Course texts will include Romantic verse, novels by Mary Shelley and Ann Radcliffe, and critical selections.
Prof. Travis Williams
T Th 12:30-1:45
TOPICS IN MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE LITERATURE: RENAISSANCE LYRIC
A survey of representative poems, with most of our attention given to the works of Skelton, Wyatt, Surrey, Gascoigne, Spenser, Sidney, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Raleigh, Jonson, Donne, Herbert, Herrick, Milton, and Marvell. We will consider the development of a distinctive English poetic style and voice, and read in the Renaissance tradition of poetics and some important modern critical arguments about Renaissance lyric. Your work will consist of three essays, several shorter assignments, and a weekly response paper, all of which will require extremely close reading and the development of strategies to write about close reading, including the explications de text and more evaluative forms of criticism and interpretation. All students should have access to a good hard-copy dictionary, such as the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, and everyone will be expected to access on a regular basis URI’s electronic copy of the Oxford English Dictionary.
Prof. Dorothy F. Donnelly
WOMEN WRITERS: DETECTIVE FICTION
The course will examine the important role women writers have played in the re-creation of the mystery genre in the present revival of detective fiction. We will study female detective fiction as a reflection of the constraints on and aspirations of contemporary women and also as a barometer of the issues important to women in modern society. We will examine the changes in female detectives from the late nineteenth century to the present. In addition to the assigned works, you will be asked to read selected critical essays from Feminism in Women’s Detective Fiction.
REQUIRED TEXTS: Feminism in Women’s Detective Fiction, Irons (ed.);A Woman’s Eye, Paretsky (ed.); Murder Must Advertise, Sayers; No Work From Winifred, Cross; An Imperfect Spy, Cross; Blanche on the Lam, Neely. Selected Readings on Library Reserve.
Prof. Jean Walton
T Th 11-12:15
FOUNDATION TEXTS IN MODERN GAY AND LESBIAN CULTURE
An exploration of canonical as well as lesser known novels, memoirs, and films that thematize the hetero-homosexual binary in some fashion from early 20th century to the present. Is the “gay” or “lesbian” novel a special form of the “social problem novel”? How does one’s sexual politics intersect with other forms of politics (e.g. anti-war activism, feminism, anti-racism, etc)? How does the question of sexual identity change over time? How much does the imperative to “confess” determine the itinerary of the novel/film of “sexuality”? What is the relation between the novel and the memoir in gay and lesbian culture? Texts from among such authors as Wilde, Woolf, Forster, Hall, Fitzroy (aka Allatini), Cather, Baldwin, Lorde, Allison, Sedaris, Morrison, Bechdel, Foucault, Sedgwick, Butler; films by Anger, Warhol, Hammer, Friedrich, Haynes.
Prof. Peter Covino
4-6:45 Providence Campus
MODERN POETRY: AVANT-GARDE POETRY
We will consider the revolutionary contributions of such movements and writers of Italian Futurism, Russian Futurism, and Dada, including Marinetti, Klebnikov, Duchamp, Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams and their influence on the contemporary experimental poetics of Ashbery, Bernstein, Susan Howe, Harryette Mullen, among others. Many of these writers are committed to exploring how language works, often with no need to preserve distinctions between prose and poetry and even visual art. Playfulness, energy, exploration, provocation, and invention become privileged above representation. Stein reminds us, after all, that words are tender--as in affectionate, pliable, and malleable--and surprising in and of themselves both etymologically and with regard to sound: “many declarations and more music.” We will learn to hear and see more carefully; and students will be encouraged to explore some of their own creative writing as well as complete critical and response essays.
Prof. Travis Williams
T Th 9:30-10:45
Consistent with its advanced place in the catalog, this course will assume some prior experience with the works of William Shakespeare. Reading one to two plays per week, we will constantly consider the special function of poetry as a dramatic medium, as well as the following topics, variously and severally, when an appropriate opportunity arises for their discussion: life in England in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Shakespeare’s life (including the uses and abuses of biography), the art and technology of making books, the textual complexity of the original editions, and theater practices. Our reading will also include a handful of works by authors intimately associated with Shakespeare and his creative context, including Marlowe, Jonson, Greene, Spenser, Montaigne, Plutarch, Holinshed, Chaucer, and others. You will write three essays, a number of shorter assignments, and a weekly response paper. All students should have access to a good hard-copy dictionary, such as the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, and everyone will be expected to access on a regular basis URI’s electronic copy of the Oxford English Dictionary.
Prof. Martha Rojas
T TH 3:30-4:45
U.S. AUTHORS: JAMES AND WHARTON
This course will focus on James and Wharton as writers of expatriate literature who explore local and regional culture in the United States as much as “the international theme” in Italy, France or England. We will read Wharton’s French Ways and their Meaning and from Henry James’s The American Scene and Italian Hours as well as a selection of their short stories and novels.
Prof. Karen Stein
INTERNSHIP IN ENGLISH
(By Override Only)
These courses offer 3 credits each for successful completion of a supervised internship experience. The courses are designed to provide practical job experience related to your English major. They are intended to help you identify career skills, explore career goals, learn job search techniques and explore a particular work environment.
The first step in this process is to fill out an application for the course(s). Applications are available in the Advising Office, INDP 139. You will be expected to find your own job placement. Lists of possible placements are available at the UYA office in Taft Hall. You may consult with the UYA Program in Taft Hall or with a member of the English Department advising staff for assistance (The UYA Program offers a 15-credit internship). You are expected to work at the placement for 120 hours over the semester (approximately 10 hours/week).
1. A journal of work experience: what you do at your job, what you are learning about office management and politics, how you fit in, what you are learning about your own capabilities and interests.
2. Evaluation by your supervisor at the job site.
3. Your final report.
4. Other class assignments.
Prof. Carolyn Betensky
SENIOR SEMINAR: DIRTY, DISGUSTING, SICK AND EVIL
An eclectic, interdisciplinary, transhistorical, and transcultural journey through literary and theoretical texts, this course considers the different ways we define ourselves by defining what we find repugnant. Among the texts we’ll read: Mary Douglas’s Purity and Dange; William Ian Miller’s Anatomy of Disgust; James Kincaid’s Erotic Innocence; and Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem: On the Banality of Evil.
This course is designed to complete your experience here as an English major by providing you with an opportunity to use the skills and knowledge you have acquired in an intensive project of your own. All students will generate the equivalent of an undergraduate thesis; this will take the form of a research essay or a critical/creative portfolio. Each student will consult with the instructor during the first week of class to propose his/her project and a schedule for completion.
Prof. Naomi Mandel
NARRATIVES OF ABILITY AND DISABILITY
This course will look at stories people tell about bodies: about what the body can do, what it can't, how it enlightens, when it betrays. We will focus on fiction because in fiction, the body's abilities and disabilities are not only a source of insights into diverse experiences and social constructions of marginality and normalcy, but a vehicle for exploring the nature of humanity and its limits. The novels, stories, and films we will encounter in this course will explore what it means to live with an exceptional sense of smell, with a deformed arm, with autism. We will explore the relationship between hurting and healing, visibility and invisibility, human and inhuman. We will meet monsters, cyborgs, barbarians, kleptomaniacs, and hideous men. And we will ask questions like these: Is ability a fiction? Is disability? If so, what are they fictions of? How are our abilities and disabilities the source of knowledge about others and about ourselves? Can we count on our abilities or on our disabilities to lead us to knowledge, to love, to truth? Class open to English majors with a GPA of 3.2 or higher.
CURRENT GRADUATE-SEMINAR OFFERINGS:
Prof. Stephen Barber
INTRODUCTION TO PROFESSIONAL STUDY I
(1.5 credits, S/U grading system)
Prof. Matt Frankel
M 7-9:45 Providence Campus
STUDIES IN 19TH CENTURY AMERICAN TEXTS:
THE AMERICAN RENAISSANCE REVISITED
F.O. Matthiessen’s groundbreaking book, American Renaissance: Art and Expression in the Age of Emerson and Whitman (1941), did much to establish the “method and scope” of criticism of nineteenth-century American literature for the Cold War era. The work is both a fascinating and, at times, frustrating mixture of formalist poetics and democratic populism, and the approach it advanced has become synonymous with what now is considered the traditionalist defense of classic American literature. This course will revisit Mathiessen’s important study, locating in its latent tensions and overt contradictions many of the terms with which its formulation of a national literary canon has been recently challenged. In addition to AR, reading will include works by Emerson, Thoreau, Melville, Hawthorne, and Whitman, as well as by Stowe, Douglass, and Poe.
Prof. Stephanie Dunson
MAJOR TEXTS FOR THE STUDY OF AMERICAN CULTURE
This course will consider, in part, the history of American Studies, with an eye to the ways in which "America" and "its" history and literature were fashioned. Our main concern, though, will be core texts in American Studies that analyze what America means and has meant. The texts we will be reading take questions of national identity from a broad historical range and from a broad range of materials—from jeremiads of early puritan leaders to hip hop music of current youth culture. And their interest in permeable national borders and mutable national identities has an echo in the permeability of disciplinary boundaries that they assume--which will lead us to considerations of how to conduct interdisciplinary studies. Major texts will include:
Henry Nash Smith, Virgin Land: The American West as Symbol and Myth
Leo Marx, The Machine in the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America
Gloria Anzaldua, Borderlands--La Frontera: The New Mestiza
Annette Kolodny, The Lay of the Land: Metaphor as Experience in American Life and Letters
Ann Douglas, The Feminization of American Culture
Eric Lott, Love and Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class
Elaine Showalter, Hystories
Sacvan Bercovitch, American Jeremiad
M. M. Manring, Slave in a Box: The Strange Career of Aunt Jemima
George Lipsitz, Dangerous Crossroads: Popular Music, Postmodernism and the Poetics of Place
Nicholas E. Tawa, High-Minded and Low-Down: Music in the Lives of Americans, 1800-1861
Amy Kaplan, The Anarchy of Empire in the Making of U.S. Culture
Prof. J. Jennifer Jones
SEMINAR IN HISTORICAL PERIODS: BRITISH ROMANTICISM AND ITALY
Percy Bysshe Shelley once called Italy the “paradise of exiles,” and Romantic-era writers such as John Keats, Mary and P.B. Shelley, Lord Byron, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge all lived in Italy as self-imposed exiles for a significant period in their lives. William Wordsworth’s reflections upon his visit to Italy during a walking tour in 1790 resulted in some of the most famous lines he ever wrote — the “crossing the Alps” lines that have become paradigmatic of the Wordsworthian sublime; Wordsworth, following Charlotte Smith, wrote hundreds of sonnets on the Petrarchan model; and both Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy studied the Italian language as adults. But what was their investment in Italy, a culture stereotyped in Britain by the period around 1800 as violent, passionate, sexual, and typically, feminine or effeminate? How has that investment been shaped by their understanding of Italian revolutionary politics, ranging from the secret rights of the Carbonari to the beginnings of the Risorgimento? To what extent was the idealization of Italy shaped by the complex issues of Catholic civil rights in Britain? How can we better understand British Romanticism — generically, culturally, ideologically — by studying the relationship of the major writers to the idea of Italy? Course texts will include Romantic verse, novels by Mary Shelley and Ann Radcliffe, and critical selections.
Prof. Ryan Trimm
M 4-6:45 Providence Campus
SEMINAR IN MEDIA: NARRATIVE AND IMAGE
Course will explore the background and ramifications of contemporary opposition of narrative and image. Using representative nineteenth and twentieth century novels and films, the course will explore claim that narrativization has given way to the visual. Theoretical structure will include Lukacs, Jameson, Baudrillard, Lyotard, and Nancy.
Prof. Lee Manion
MEDIEVAL AND EARLY MODERN RELIGIOUS CULTURE
In this course, we will explore the conceptual challenge of the crusade across its various registers—theological, social, economic, penitential, and personal—by focusing on literary representations of the crusade in English texts both during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period. Throughout the semester we will examine how the cultural value of the crusade and its practices remained strong long after any military campaign to Jerusalem became infeasible, and we will consider the implications of the continued ideal and vocabulary of holy violence across the medieval-Renaissance divide.
Medieval texts will include works in Middle English, such as Chaucer’s portrait of the Knight in The Canterbury Tales, anonymous “crusading” romances like Richard Cœur de Lion and The Sowdane of Babylone, and works in translation, such as the crusade chronicle of Fulcher of Chartres and crusade sermons by James of Vitry. Early Modern texts will include Marlowe’s Tamburlaine and Shakespeare’s Othello, as well as shorter readings from John Foxe, Holinshed, Elizabeth I, and James I on the nature or use of the crusade. Some supplementary readings will give us insight into literary discussions of crusade topics such as pilgrimage, the religious vow, and conjugal rights that were refined by this contested devotional practice, while others will reveal how images of the Saracen or Turk played a significant role in the religious and political discourse of medieval and Reformation England.
WRT 512 .01
Prof. Jeremiah Dyehouse
STUDIES IN RHETORICAL THEORY
Designed as an introduction to problems in rhetorical theory and written discourse, this seminar will include readings from classical and later rhetorical traditions, but it will not survey the history of rhetoric. Instead, as a group, we will investigate questions like "Does rhetorical theory articulate perspectives on language, epistemology, and subjectivity distinct from those offered by contemporary critical theory?"; "What purposes have rhetorical theories served?"; and "How is rhetorical theory changing today?"
Many academics treat rhetorical theory as a branch of critical theory. Others, so-called "rhetorical imperialists, colonize disparate intellectual traditions, arguing, "it's all rhetoric." In this seminar, we will seek to understand another position on rhetoric and theory. We will ask: is thinking about rhetoric a distinct intellectual activity, separate from critical theory and also from rhetoric itself?
Readings will be drawn from many sources, including some available only as library reserves. Writing assignments will include response papers, reviews, and a final seminar paper.
WRT/EDC 524 .01
Prof. Libby Miles
HISTORIES AND THEORIES OF TEACHING COMPOSITION
[Catalog description: Traces the origins and influences on current writing instruction, beginning with the composition treatises of the 19th century and concluding with an analysis on contemporary practices. May include archival research.]
This course will function as an introduction to the field of rhetoric & composition, as seen and experienced through different educational contexts. In a slight departure from the course description, we will explore writing theories and pedagogies by moving back and forth between different historical contexts and our current educational practices.
Along the way, we will read about the exigency of the GI Bill and Open Admissions in shaping the field into what it is today. We will go back in time to rural classrooms, to institutions serving historically under-represented populations, to the elite colleges, and to the legacy of the Land Grant. We will pause for a while in the 1980s, grappling with the different iterations of the "process movement," and then we will move into the present to discern what "post-process" has brought to the conversation. We will look at specific activist rhetorics and community literacy programs, each inscribed in particular historical and social moments.
Your written projects in this class will include designing assignment sequences, analyzing educational artifacts, presenting materials during class discussions, composing exploratory short papers from materials found in the National Archives of Composition & Rhetoric, and writing a seminar-length paper at the culmination of the term.
Teaching experience, although not necessary, will be helpful. Learning experience, however, is a must.