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Department of English

Course Offerings: Fall 2014

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

Click here for previous semester course descriptions.


ENG 303.0200
Providence CCE

W 7:00-9:45 PM


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. May be repeated once with different director. (Lec. 3, Lab. 2)

ENG 305B.0200
MW 3:30-4:45 PM


Intensive writing and reading workshop for students at the advanced level who have preferably taken at least one previous class in creative writing. Student may repeat ENG 305 for a total of 16 credits but may not repeat the same letter (A, B, C, D)

ENG 305D.0001
Providence CCE
T 7:00-9:45 PM


Intensive writing and reading workshop for students at the advanced level who have preferably taken at least one previous class in creative writing. Student may repeat ENG 305 for a total of 16 credits but may not repeat the same letter (A, B, C, D)

ENG 347.0001
Prof. Martha Elena Rojas
TH 4:00-6:45 PM


Study of literature and culture in the United States during the decades leading to the Civil War (the period also known as the American Renaissance/American Romanticism). (Lec. 3, Project 3)

ENG 363.0200 (Cross-listed as AAF 363)
Prof. Staff
TTH 12:30-1:45 PM


Cross-listed as (ENG), AAF 363. Study of contemporary African American literature by genre, region, or theme, with emphasis on literary traditions, issues, and socio-cultural contexts. (Lec. 3, Project 3)

ENG 367.0001
Providence CCE
M 4:00-6:45PM


Studies in epic literature from Homer to the modern period. Historical emphasis will vary with instructor. (Lec. 3, Project 3)

ENG 368.0200
Prof. Karen Stein
TTH 9:30-10:45PM


Betrayal, jealousy, sibling rivalry, infidelity, theft, murder! The characters in the Bible violate the 10 commandments and then some. These stories have been retold in many versions, and numerous translations, and depicted in TV specials and major motion pictures. Read all about it as we study the bible, the foundational book of western literature. With its tales of passion, of faith and doubt, cowardice and courage, weakness and strength---powerful stories that range over the gamut of all human emotions---the bible has remained a best-seller. Its cadenced language has influenced innumerable authors. Biblical themes resonate throughout our literature. We will read selections from the King James version, mainly from the Old Testament and the psalms, focusing on notable stories and poetry.

Required books: King James version of the Bible Gabel and Wheeler, The Bible as Literature

NOTE: this course counts toward the English major requirement of a course in literature before 1500

ENG 376.0001
TH 4:00-6:45 PM


Notable literary and cultural movements and motifs of the Victorian era. May include prose, poetry, or dramatic works by major authors and their contemporaries. May be repeated once with a different topic. (Lec. 3, Project 3)

ENG 377.0001
Prof. Jennifer Jones
TTH 11:00-12:15 PM


Taking shape in the last third of the eighteenth century and the first third of the nineteenth century, the period of British Romanticism inaugurated the social movements for democratic reform and human rights with which the US remains vitally concerned today. This class gives students the opportunity to study the history of these various movements that continue to shape our own times, from political revolution to abolition discourse to slave revolts to women's rights. We will read a number of different genres, including political treatises, poetry, the novel, and drama. Most pointedly, we will trace how the legacy of human rights controversies are not only represented in literature - prose, poetry, the novel, and drama - but also transformed in and by literature. Finally, we will discover how these literary works might continue to influence our ideals for social change today.

This course satisfies the 1800-1900 historical period requirement OR the 1660-1800 historical period requirement.

ENG 381.001
Professor Davis
TTH 2:00-3:15 PM


Chaucer's Canterbury Tales were an immediate hit. Funny, philosophical, romantic, bawdy, the tales have appealed to audiences, authors, and artists from the fourteenth century to the present. This course will cover the most loved tales as well as their reception from early retellings to artists' renderings, Hollywood films, and recent TV adaptations. We will also have a chance to look at manuscripts, and thus get a sense of what it was like to be one of Chaucer's contemporary readers. Chaucer's work will be read in its original Middle English (although translations are ubiquitous). While the focus of the course is not on Middle English as a language (and Middle English is not difficult), students will receive all the instruction and help they need to achieve reading competency quickly. No experience necessary.

This course fulfills the pre-1500 requirement for the major

ENG 382.0200
Walter Cane
Providence CCE

Th 7:00-9:45 PM


“Had we but world enough and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down, and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love's day..."

-Andrew Marvell, “To His Coy Mistress”

lyric poets

In this course we will cover the lyric poetry of Thomas Wyatt, Edmund Spenser, Philip Sidney, William Shakespeare, John Donne, Henry Vaughan and Andrew Marvell at their best.

This course fulfills the 1500-1660 historical period requirement for the major.


ENG 383.0001
Prof. Jean Walton
MW 2:30-3:45 PM

MODERNIST LITERATURE: Race, Sex, War, and Neurosis

In this advanced-level course on Modernist literature, we'll plunge into the midst of World War I, where women and men were involved on a number of fronts, both at home (in England and the U.S.) and abroad (behind the trenches). Readings will include a novel of the everyday--documenting the life of an independent woman who rejects Victorian mores to support herself as a London dental assistant in the pre-war years (Richardson); then some works written during the war exploring the politics of pacifism and homosexuality (Allatini); the medical phenomena of "shell shock" and "war neurosis" (West, Sassoon, Rivers); and the role of African Americans in wartime (Alice Dunbar Nelson). As we move into the 1920s, we'll examine how writers continued to explore the ramifications of the war for women and men, with a focus on post-war London (Woolf), on a Nebraska farm boy whose life is given meaning by war (Cather), on the horrors experienced by women ambulance drivers (Smith, Hall), on post-war cross-class eroticism (Lawrence). We'll look at documentary footage of the war as well as Charlie Chaplin's comedic rendering of life in the trenches. We will also consider some non-literary texts that give us insight into how the body was conceived as a system of nerves in an increasingly "enervating" world.

ENG 432.0001
Prof. Piotr Skuza
TTH 11:00-12:15 PM


Studies in the history of the English language with a focus on cultural and social context. Attention to the relation between linguistic change and the role of language in cultural and political events. (Lec. 3, Project 3) Not for graduate credit.

ENG 447.0001
Prof. Peter Covino
TTH 2:00-3:15 PM


We will explore the intersections and departures of Avant-garde poetry vis a vis Modernism by mining the seminal text of 20th century world poetry and poetics, Poems for the Millennium, Volume One, by Jerome Rothenberg and Pierre Joris. Our inquiry will focus on the revolutionary contributions of movements and writers of Italian Futurism, Russian Futurism, Dada, Cubism, and Objectivism with special in-depth attention given to Gertrude Stein and William Carlos Williams. In light of the recent groundbreaking, Guggenheim Museum exhibition on Italian Futurism 1909-1944, we'll also explore the paradoxes and political and social inconsistencies that often simultaneously emerged during this era. As this class is also offered with consideration of the department's Read/Write series and related university supported creative writing projects, we'll also focus on two contemporary experimental writers Claudia Keelan; and Joan Houlihan (who'll be visiting the university on Oct. 9, 4-6 pm). In an age of emergent creative manifestos, many of these writers are committed to exploring how language works, with no need to preserve distinctions between prose, drama, poetry, and even visual art. Exploration, invention, playfulness, energy, and provocation become privileged above representation. Students will be encouraged to explore some of their own creative writing as well as complete short critical and response essays, as well as one longer seminar essay.


ENG 451.0200
Prof. Naomi Mandel
TTH 11:00-12:15 PM


From the Coca-Cola and metal music of the 80s to the energy drinks and Electronica of the present day, hacking typically involves long hours sitting still staring at a screen--hardly the stuff of mainstream cinema! For precisely that reason, cinematic representations of hacking are a crucial site for the articulation of cultural anxieties that inform each stage of the computer revolution. This course will trace the rise of hacker culture from its earliest incarnations in the Tech Model Railroad Club of MIT and the Homebrew Computer Club at Stanford to its contemporary forms: the cybercollective Anonymous, Wikileaks, the Snowdon leaks, and global cyberwarfare. We will study cinematic representations of hackers and hacking to identify anxieties about technology, the Cold War, globalization, consumer culture, and the Information Age. With films like Dr. Strangelove, Wargames, Sneakers, The Net, Pirates of Silicon Valley, One Point 0, The Fifth Estate, and Jobs, we will pay special attention to the explosion of interest in hackers that accompanied the widespread availability of the personal computer in the 1980s, the ethos of FOSS (Free Open Source Software) that defined the rise of Linux in the 1990s, and the discourses of demonization—identity theft, cyberbullying, and trolling—that attached to “hacker” with the rise of social media and Web 2.0. We will dwell with the cultural touchstones that inform hacker culture itself: graphic novels, films, and cyberpunk. Finally, we will uncover and define the ethical and political issues that hacker culture incites: identity, privacy, piracy, activism, and the Maker Movement.

ENG 469.001
Prof. Sarah Eron
TTH 3:30-4:45 PM


This course is a survey of the novel at the time of its inception, when the novel was just emerging as a new, literary form. It will seek to answer such questions as: what defines the "novel" as a genre distinct from other, literary prose forms? What is "modern" about the novel and novel reading? How might we think of the novel as a new, literary trend that seeks to portray the modern subject and explore the psychology of the individual? In addition to these attempts at defining what is unique about the novel as a new mode of fictional writing concurrent with the rise of modernity, we will also explore the novel's reliance on popular, early eighteenth-century genres such as: the epistle, the poem, the essay, the epic, and the play. How do these modes contribute to the rise of the novel as a mixed, conglomerate form? This course will consider such topics as sentimentality and satire, modernity and the mock heroic, romance and travel narrative, narrative time and the conditions of realism, nationalism and the British imagination. Authors may include: Daniel Defoe, Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding, Laurence Sterne, Frances Burney, and Eliza Haywood.

Please note: This course satisfies the English major's historical period requirement for 1660-1800.

ENG 472.001
Prof. Travis Williams
MW 2:00-3:15 PM

Also offered on the Providence CCE campus (Tuesdays, 4-6:45 pm).

This course will develop the skills appropriate to reading and interpreting dramatic texts by William Shakespeare. You will develop advanced competence in textual analysis and cultural interpretations appropriate to the texts. You will think critically about how Shakespeare's plays engage readers culturally and aesthetically. You will distinguish between and explore the connections between literary and dramatic interpretations of play texts. You will enhance and challenge your understanding of Shakespearean genres and formal structures. You will master the methods of research, argument, and reference. As researchers you will find, assess, and correctly utilize sources drawn from print and electronic media. As writers you will master the ability to write effectively and persuasively in a variety of forms, including the critical essay and the analytic description. We will study about 8 plays. Significant online participation will be required.

ENG 486.0001
Prof. Carolyn Betensky
TTH 2:30-3:15 PM


This course will read representative works by the great Victorian author Thomas Hardy. The author of numerous novels as well as a significant body of poetry, Hardy was famous not only for the wrenching irony and heartbreaking beauty of his writing but also for his daring representations of sexuality (marital and extra-), unconventional women, class conflict, and human beings hungering for meaningful contact. The texts that guaranteed Hardy the scandalous reception they met are no less challenging today -- and no less gorgeous, either.

This course satisfies the 1800-1900 historical period requirement.


ENG 510.0001
Prof. Kathleen Davis
Select Wednesdays 7-9:45 PM


Orientation to the major discourses, critical frameworks, and databases constituting graduate research in language and literary studies, including computer-assisted research methodologies. (Seminar 1.5) Pre: graduate standing or permission of instructor. S/U grades only.

ENG 514.0001
Prof. Stephen Barber
TH 4:00-6:45 PM


Literary and nonliterary cultural texts, genres, and topics of the Western Hemisphere. May include media; oral, industrial, and popular cultures; critical theory and the analysis of discourses; issues of class, gender, and race.(Lec. 3) Pre: Graduate Standing or permission of instructor.

ENG 543.0001
Prof. David Faflik
TH 7:00-9:45 PM



Over the past thirty years or so, emotion has served as something of a focal point in the broader field of nineteenth-century American literary studies. Both as a literary conceit in its own right, and as the organizing concern of an evolving array of critical approaches – among them reader response criticism and reception theory, to name only a few – “emotional” has been all but synonymous with the “professional” preoccupations within the discipline.

But as much as emotion's been a reliable indicator for the field, it has been from the first a rather unstable one as well. At one stage in the early 1980s we had feelings. Shortly thereafter we had sentiment and sympathy and domesticity, which were joined at the start of the 1990s by an increasing interest in sensation and the still more comprehensive category of affect. Further unsettled now, at the start of the next century, emotion has continued its resonant shifts, signaling in the process where our profession may be said to be headed. Affect has bred aestheticism. Aestheticism’s been countered by various strains of positivism, including new research into materialism and the medical and mathematical sciences. And meanwhile religion’s enjoyed a revival as well, under the general heading of post-secularism. Emotion has never been one thing, let alone a simple thing. Yet it continues to be the moveable benchmark against which our equally variable field continues to measure itself.

In attempt to interrogate emotion many meanings, while simultaneously charting the discipline’s literal emotional journey during these past three decades, the course “Sense and Sentimentalism in Nineteenth-Century American Literature” surveys a range of writings that will put us in interpretive touch with feelings, whether we define those feelings as fictional, critical, or personal. Along the way we will survey a wide range of relevant scholarship, while reading primary works from such period authors as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Edgar Allan Poe, Margaret Fuller, Susan Warner, George Lippard, Herman Melville, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Emily Dickinson, and Elizabeth Stoddard.

ENG 545.0001
Prof. Valerie Karno
T 4:00-6:45 PM


In this course we will think about how narratives of information are understood and exchanged locally, nationally, and globally. Thinking about the cultural architectures of information, we will ponder large theoretical questions like what is information as we understand it today What cultural formations uphold its recognition, distribution, and reception? We will delve into considerations like how (in America and globally) information impacts our ways of knowing and our complicity in and resistance to networks of influence. We will think about how the digital age has entered us into relationships with machines, and mechanics. We will explore this in several sections: A) How has information impacted the human in the digital era? B) How have narratives of information influenced epistemology and knowledge production? C) Specifically, how is (or is?) information as we conceive of it a gendered construct? D) How do we understand ownership of ourselves and our nation in relation to ownership of information?

Interdisciplinary texts from the course will range from theorists like Mark Poster to Alan Liu, to literary writers from William Gibson to David Foster Wallace, to public film archives.

Assignments will include reflection papers, and a Final Project tailored to your goals.

ENG 570.0001
Prof. Gitahi Gititi
T 7:00-9:45 PM


This course seeks to probe several complex questions regarding the formulation and institutionalization of theory in the “Western” academy, and how theory becomes either an industry or a technology developed in the academy as part of the latter's contribution to its parent/sponsor, the nation-state.
The very term “post-colonial” invokes colonialism/colonization. If that is a logical proposition, then, can it be assumed that there is both a pre-colonial and a colonial time/space, even an anti-colonial attitude or space? What are the forces at work in, and what is the character of, both the colonial/colonizing text and the anti-colonial/decolonizing text? How might one theorize decolonizing impulses in the late capitalist stage?
Does the term”post-colonial texts” imply texts written after colonialism? If so, when and where? Is “post-colonial” synonymous with “neo-colonial”? Indeed, what is the institutional locus of the interest in the so-called post-colonial text? Is this interest co-terminous with cultural imperialism? With academic/intellectual de-fusion of the political?
Is there a relationship between the (highly touted) post-modern and the post-colonial? If so, what does this relationship consist of? How might such a relationship manifest itself in contemporary literary/cultural discourse?

Readings will comprise the theoretical writings of Ania Loomba, Ngûgî wa Thiong’o, Frantz Fanon, Edward Said, Aijaz Ahmad, Homi Bhabha, Abdul JanMohamed and David Lloyd, as well as the fictional works of Thomas King, Werewere Liking, and Gabriel García Márquez.

ENG 610.0001
Prof. Travis Williams
M 4:30-7:15 PM

Seminar in Historical Periods: Hamlet: A Cultural Biography

Perhaps more than any other Shakespeare play, Hamlet has had a "definitional" effect on subsequent culture. By some accounts it is responsible for modernity itself. Additionally, Hamlet is frequently written and spoken about as if it appeared out of nowhere, fully formed and ready for it teleological role. This seminar will pursue the many cultural strands that contradict this view and, frankly, constitute a much more interesting story. Close attention to Hamlet will also provide a useful platform from which to study most of the dimensions of early modern English drama, literature, and culture. Among the topics we will examine are Senecan stoicism and tragedy, Montaignean skepticism, the ethics of revenge, theatre practices and performativity, the problems, procedures, and politics of textual editing, melancholy and early modern and modern theories of psychology, intertextuality and collaborative authorship, and other such topics as we decide we want to pursue. Throughout the semester, in parallel with these investigations, we will conduct a slow, close reading of the play itself, so we can savor and become thoroughly familiar with this "poem unlimited." Assignments will include weekly response papers, a research prospectus, an annotated bibliography, and a long research paper.