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Department of English

Course Offerings: Fall 2011

Below is a list of Current Upper-Division Undergraduate Course Offerings and our Current Graduate-Seminar Offerings.


ENG 302.0001
Stacey Jameson
Th 9:00-11:45 AM
CCE - Providence Campus


Introduction to film theory and criticism. Emphasis on semiotics, auteur theory, psychoanalysis, genre studies, feminist theory, materialist critique, or cultural studies, with focus on range of popular, experimental, and documentary film traditions.

ENG 303.0001
Kevin Esch
W 7:00-9:45 PM
CCE - Providence Campus


Literary study of one or more major directors with a substantial body of work exhibiting recurrent themes and distinctive style (e.g. Hitchcock, Kubrick, Kurasawa). Emphasis will vary.

ENG 304.0001

Professor John Leo
TTH 5:00-6:45
Kingston Campus


This course examines the domestic and international production, distribution and consumption of films and some TV programming during the Cold War across a range of genres, audiences, purposes, and challenging contexts, e.g. reinventing narrative or story-telling traditions, styles and aesthetics in the devastating wake of World War II and the emerging biopolitical "New Order" of the national security state. Genres such as documentary, propaganda, the "history" film (docudrama, reenactment, "national epics") etc.), melodrama (including film noir), combat (war, espionage) film, sci fi and fantasy, crime and so on served multiple purposes in addition to "entertainment," such as the restoration of cultural memory, social commentary or political critique ("de-nazification"), "consciousness-building" (styles of "socialist realism"). Representative media and their historical audiences and contexts are drawn primarily from the US, the former Eastern bloc (Warsaw Pact nations), Western Europe, USSR, and other countries. Films may include The Third Man, Pickup on South Street, Defense of the Realm, Come and See, The Marriage of Maria Braun, Salvador, The Legend of Paul and Paula, Atomic Cafe, Hearts and Minds, The Lives of Others, No Way Out, Parallax View, to mention some classical examples. Other important films would be those banned or censored, e.g. they tell stories critical of the State or are drawn from the social margins of society (petty thieves, hustlers, drug dealers, drifters, “subcultures” [art/experimental, offbeat documentaries]). While the course has no final examination students may expect two or three 4-pp. papers with some research required, and frequent (un)announced quizzes and feedback or short in-class responses (no make-ups provided for absences). Texts TBA, but many readings will be scanned and available in Sakai.

ENG 305.0001
Christopher Mensel
T 7:00-9:45 PM
CCE - Providence Campus


For students with talent and experience in creative writing and a good reading background in screenwriting.

ENG 345.0001

Professor Martha Rojas
TTh 11:00-12:15
Kingston Campus


How did Europeans who first landed in "the new world" make sense of what they found there? This course examines the ways that settlers and colonists made meanings for themselves through a wide and evolving range of cultural expression. We will think, write, and talk about poems, diaries, portraits, novels, plays, gravestones, furniture, landscape paintings and architecture trying, all the while, to understand the pervasive and recurrent tropes of captivity and enslavement in early American writing. The paired figures of captive and captor, and of master and slave provoked questions about the very meaning of liberty, about whom or what authorizes freedom. Slaves to passion, Indian captives, sailors kidnapped at sea, Africans and Native Americans sold into slavery - these figures populate and haunt colonial literary narratives and shape the conventions and the patterns of expression that gave meaning to concepts as various as citizenship, race, nationhood, masculinity, femininity, deviance, normalcy, and selfhood.

ENG 348.0001
Greta Methot
T 7:00-9:45 PM
CCE - Providence Campus


Study of post-Civil War poetry and prose. Readings may include Chesnutt, Chopin, Crane, DuBois, James, Twain, Wharton, and others.

ENG 348.0001

Herbert Perluck
TTh 11:00-12:15
Kingston Campus


A close, in-depth reading, with an emphasis on narrative techniques, of a number of Hawthorne's short stories, or "tales" as he called them, and of a selection of James's longer novella-length creations. In a sense, the course involves a re-reading of what are generally taken to be Hawthorne's moralistic allegories, a reading that will show him to be far more subtle and "modern" a craftsman than is usually understood. The James selections will be seen to be rather Hawthornesque, departures from what has been called that "Jamesian Opaque." Our class discussions may also clarify, without elaborate theoretical definitions, the distinctions in story-telling between fable and tale, allegory and story.

ENG 350.0002
Andrea Yates
W 4:00-6:45
CCE - Providence Campus


Introduction to theories of literature and their application in the analysis of selected texts. Topics may include representation as problematized in works selected from classical to contemporary thought.

ENG 363.0001
Professor Gitahi Gititi
TTh 12:30-1:45
Kingston Campus


In this course we will examine the myriad ways in which African American authors have chosen to blur or erase the "color line." We'll begin in the 19th century but most of our attention will be on 20th and 21st century representations of racial passing, performance, hybridity, and ambiguity. Authors will include Charles Chesnutt, James Weldon Johnson, Toni Morrison, Nella Larsen, Danzy Senna, Andrea Lee, and Percival Everett. We'll supplement this reading with critical texts as well. Several formal essays, an oral presentation, and participation in class discussion are required.

ENG 364.0001
Angel Green
T 4:00-6:45
CCE - Providence Campus


Study of contemporary African literature by genre, region, or theme, with emphasis on literary traditions, issues, and socio-cultural contexts.

ENG 367.0001
Rosendo Brito
M 4:00-6:45
CCE - Providence Campus


Studies in epic literature from Homer to the modern period. Historical emphasis will vary with instructor.

ENG 368.0001

Professor Felix Okeke-Ezigbo
TTh 2:00-3:15
Kingston Campus


Giving the “soul that sinneth,” the peace to die the death preordained for it, this course shall not attempt in any wise to proselytize anyone, despite the mounting evidence that a deficiency in spirituality is implicated in the rising waves of sordid pathologies that include the greedy acquisition of vainglorious capital – the Maddoff syndrome? - and the affliction of many a soul by life-controlling problems and grotesque cravings. And so, leaving the dead to bury their dead, this course is anchored instead on the premise that it is very essential for any Western educated person to know the Bible, since it constitutes the foundational epistemology of Western civilization. We focus here on the narratives of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh, Old Testament) from a bifurcated literary perspective, meaning that we shall savor the Bible both as literature and in literature, with a view to educating the students to think critically and imaginatively about the nature of literature - religion and philosophy, too - as a fundamental reaction to and expression of the seeming cyclical futility that is the human condition.

ENG 377.0001

Professor Jennifer Jones
TTh 9:30-10:45 AM
Kingston Campus


In 1968, John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote the song Revolution 1 released on The Beatles (the White Album), which begins like this: “You say you want a revolution / Well  you know / We all want to change the world.”  The relevant question in 2011 is, do people still want to change the world? If so, how and for what end(s); and what, at the end of the day, constitutes “the world” now?  We will examine past revolutionary cultural movements in order to ground our class’s discussion, including the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s and the intellectual and civil unrest in Europe during 1968. We will also examine revolutions that occurred during the 18th Century (and during the Romantic period), including our own — the American Revolution (1775-1783); the French Revolution (1789-1815); the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804); the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries that included major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology; and the rights movements of the late-eighteenth century, including such as civic rights, individual rights, natural rights, and women’s rights. 
This course studies the intellectual underpinnings of what we now consider “the individual” (self-reflective, free thinking, hard working, time efficient, analytical, widely read and socially critical, educated and/or educable) as it manifests in philosophy, economics, poetry, novels, and drama of the late eighteenth and nineteenth century that prioritize the potentialities and disturbance of change, whether positive or negative, and that define the dialectic in which change occurs, spanning such different forms as political revolution, public education, and art/genius.  We will study the ways that the modern individual was defined, among other things, as human; and we will posit the question, what drives relationship between human beings (fellowship, subject hood, citizenship, friendship, love, sympathy, empathy)?; and what drives relationships, or perhaps relationality, among human beings, animals, and nature.  Possible authors under study:  William Godwin, Mary Wollstonecraft, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Jane Austen, Lord Byron, Percy By her Shelley, Mary Shelley. 

ENG 381.0001

Professor Kathleen Davis
TTh 12:30-1:45
Kingston Campus


Romances are long vernacular fictions, among the ancestors of novels, in which young protagonists strive to win love and marry, to display the noble virtues of chivalry and courtliness, or to master other lands while defending their own. Throughout the Middle Ages romances were mainly written as poetry, and did not shift decisively to prose until Sir Thomas Malory’s late
fifteenth-century Death of Arthur. As the predominant genre of courtly literature, romance was an important imaginative space for developing and reconsidering ideologies of identity, sexuality, justice, nation, conquest, faith, and history. Rarely didactic, romances tend to explore social ambiguities, irresolvable problems, the power of affect, and the limits of knowledge. Through their focus on “marvels” — whether in the form of magic rings, powerful fairies, or invisible knights — romances contemplate the relationship between the familiar and the incomprehensible, as well as between rhetorical form and the literary imagination. This course focuses upon influential romance authors, some of whom we know by name — such as Marie de France, Chrétien de Troyes, Chaucer, and Malory — and others of whom we know
only by their poems — such as “the Gawain poet” and “the Sir Orfeo poet.” We will place these authors in their English and continental context and discuss some of their major preoccupations, such as definitions of honor, race, nation, gender, and faith; but we will also consider what it might mean to read and to interpret these stories, which so often take reading and interpretation as their own central problem.

ENG 383.0001
Professor Stephen Barber
TTh 2:00-3:15
Kingston Campus


This semester's course on modernist literature takes as its impetus the interrelated concerns of Nietzsche, Freud, and modernist novelists to critique, on the one hand, conventional morality and subjectivity, and to invent, on the other hand, new modes of ethical subjectivity. At the heart of our study is a new practice of psychology (to be differentiated from the early psychologies of the nineteenth century) that weds itself to a particular conception of critique and ethics all the while diagnosing the emergence and intensification of forms of fascism across Europe during the first half of the twentieth century. After familiarizing ourselves with the thought of Nietzsche and Freud, we will engage with novelists who wrote with and against these two seminal thinkers. (We will also consider the effects of Darwin and Marx on European modernists.) Among the novelists with whom we will work are André Gide, Franz Kafka, Robert Musil, Virginia Woolf, and Marguerite Yourcenar.

ENG 387.0001
Alexia Kosmider
T 4:00-6:45
CCE - Providence Campus


Study of literary works that trace the origins and on-going definitions of modern homo/heterosexual identities. Selections from writers such as Whitman, Wilde, Proust, Woolf, Lawrence, Gide, Mann, Cather, and Baldwin.

ENG 432.0001

Professor Kathleen Davis
TTh 3:30-4:45
Kingston Campus


This course examines the history of the English language with a focus on language in its cultural and social context. We will develop a picture of English as it functions in the world of people speaking, writing, reading, and using language as a social, political, literary and economic instrument. We will begin by covering the grammatical and theoretical concepts
necessary for analyzing the changing structure of English and its many dialects, and will then treat in detail the English of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as well as the English used in the Americas and elsewhere in the world today.  As we proceed, we will work to understand the relationship between technical aspects of language, such as syntax, phonology, and morphology, and the role of language
in cultural and political events in England, the United States, and around the globe.

ENG 447.0001

Professor Peter Covino
TTh 3:30-4:45
Kingston Campus


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, and 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.

ENG 451.0001
Professor Rebecca Romanow
W 6:00-9:45 PM
Kingston Campus


This fall, ENG 451, which is the study of international film genres, will focus on "The Films of the British Empire." Film premiered in London in 1894, at the height of British imperialism, when Britain ruled one-third of the globe. By 1896, movies were being seen in India, Australia, and Egypt. In many ways, the Empire itself was a source of the spread and development of movies and the film industry. This course will examine the films that emerged from Britain's empire and in its colonized countries, and also at post-Empire films, from 1945-present, focusing on the ways on which the concept of empire is explored, reflected on, subverted, and entangled in films produced in all corners of the world, across more than a century, and throughout the changing role of Britain as an artistic, economic, and world power.

ENG 472.0200
Walter Cane
M 7:00-9:45 PM
CCE-Providence Campus


Studies in Shakespeare's drama and poetry.

ENG 479.0001
Professor Travis Williams
TTh 11:00-12:15
Kingston Campus


We will undertake intense study of the writings of John Milton. The centerpieces of the course will be Paradise Lost and Areopagitica, and we will also likely study some shorter lyrics, Comus, Lycidas, and Samson Agonistes.

ENG 482.0001

Professor Martha Rojas
TTh 3:30-4:45
Kingston Campus


The novelty of the novel coincides that of the new nation. In the wake of the Revolution, writers turn to the novel to work through arguments about the benefits and costs of sovereignty and self-government, political and domestic virtue, female education and the rights and obligations of women, the powers and limits of reason and sentiment, and what the new nation might become. We will also survey recent theoretical and historical accounts of eighteenth-century U.S. literary culture that address topics such as the concept of a deliberating public, the place of feeling in the age of reason, the valorization or denigration of "primitive" peoples, and the development of nationalism and cosmopolitanism. What was the novel — an instrument that inflamed the imagination and led to intellectual and moral ruin, or a vehicle that encouraged literacy, education, even acculturation? We will read novels popular in early America — and their precursors, true histories and captivity narratives — as so-called “useful entertainments,” and as literary and cultural artifacts.


ENG 510/511.0001
Professor Valerie Karno
Kingston Campus

English 510 and 511 introduces students to professional study in English. Meeting bi-weekly, we will cover pertinent practical topics such as how to apply for and present conference papers; the art of the abstract (both for presentations and publication possibilities); applying for grants; getting published; creating trajectories for study and professionalization; preparing for the job market (letters of application; cvs; teaching philosophies); library research at URI and beyond. We will also explore what it means to study the discipline of English, with all of its interconnected parameters (gender studies, hemispheric studies, etc.) Each student will tailor their study in this class to their personal field of choice, adapting the ideas we contemplate to further their critical thinking.

ENG 514.0001

Professor Naomi Mandel
M 7:00-9:45 PM
Kingston Campus


This course will serve as an introduction to and survey of contemporary critical theory. After tracing the development of seminal approaches to mimesis from ancient times to the present day, we will focus on theories of structuralism and post structuralism that have powerfully influenced contemporary critical theory, analyzing the operations of critical theories in writings about gender, ideology and history.

ENG 555.0001

Professor Carolyn Betensky
T 4:00-6:45
Kingston Campus


This course will read "psychological" novels of the Victorian period alongside, through, and against a broad spectrum of contemporaneous theories of the mind, the self, character, and psychiatric clinical practice and diagnosis.  Among the novels we will consider:  Dickens's
Bleak House, Trollope's He Knew He Was Right, Eliot's  Daniel Deronda.

ENG 620.0001

Professor Gina Valentino
T 7:00-9:45 PM
Kingston Campus


On or around 1995 something called "the new economy" was born and entered the U.S. economic and social lexicon. As a phrase, "the new economy" was meant to signal, among other things, the dramatic and historical shift occurring in the United States from a manufacturing based economy to a national economy based on service, technology, and information. Broadly speaking, the new economy was meant to end work (jobs, personal labor, etc) as U.S. citizens knew it. In this course we will examine how complex relationships between work and identity changed in the United States under this new economic regime. This course will offer a selective survey of themes animating critical discourse about work and literature in the contemporary moment. Our discussions will engage (but not be limited to) the following questions: How has the new economy altered characteristics, expectations, and representations of work and workers? What are the connections between the job one performs and social class? Given the American Dream mythos, what does upward mobility look like now and what is its relation to meritocracy, corporate or otherwise? What compels the notable exploration of race and gender in these works? Furthermore, how do our texts understand or even manipulate new notions of economic power? Texts for this course will include works by Thomas Harris, Karen Tei Yamashita, Louis Owens, Colson Whitehead, Luis Rodriguez, and Ana Castillo.

ENG 660.0001
Professer Jennifer Jones
T 1:00-3:45
Kingston Campus


The work of judgment permeates every aspect of academic disciplinary formation, from the texts we value to the methods through which we read them, but it is only when we call the work of judgment into question that we become positioned to think critically about its implications, its effects, and its potentialities. Recently a critic of Jane Austen has written that the Romantic era can be productively anchored in “the tensions and dialectical movement between positions inspired by deep hostility toward ‘critique’ (rather than revolution per se) and equally felt affirmations of its necessity.” This tension and movement is the product of intellectual activity engendered by the Enlightenment and its Counter, at the very center of which is the category of the Romantic individual.  This course will study the philosophical, literary, and critical implications of the category of the individual by focusing on the problem of judgmentin Romantic-era writing (c. 1780-1820).  We will investigate judgment in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics; Kant’s critical philosophy; and Friedrich Schiller’s On Naive and Sentimental Poetry.  We will study rights movements of individuals that rise up with the French revolution and its aftermath in political treatises and literary works by such figures as William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft (Enquiry Concerning Political Justice; Caleb Williams; A Vindication of the Rights of Woman; Maria: Or, The Wrongs of Woman).  We will move forward to the literary work of such figures as William Wordsworth, Charlotte Smith, Mary Darby Robinson, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Jane Austen, and Percy By she Shelley.  And we will attend, throughout, to a transformative critical movement of the past three decades within Romantic studies that foregrounds the limits of individual judgment even as it investigates possible futures, the New Historicism (Marjorie Levinson, Alan Liu, James Chandler, David Simpson, and Ken Johnston, among others).  What is the nature of judgment?  How does individual judgment intersect with civic and domestic virtue? What is the role of imagination in judgment? What is the relation of judgment to the categories of the human and inhuman?   What is the relationship of judgment to persuasion? Politics? Agency? Subjectivity?  Can judgment be taught?  How does judgment establish the grounds and limits of knowledge?  How can judgment aid in moving beyond those grounds and limits?  What is gender-specific about judgment, and how can we bring gender-intelligent thought to it?  In what ways does judgment operate in our study of the past, specifically the Romantic-era past?  In what ways can we put ourselves into productive dialogue with our judgment in/of the past, and how is such a dialogue of critical, creative, political, and ethical significance today?