Course Offerings: Fall 2009

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

CURRENT UPPER-DIVISION UNDERGRADUATE COURSE OFFERINGS:

 


ENG 205.0200
Kate Schapira
M 7:00-9:45 PM
Providence Campus

CREATIVE WRITING: POETRY

In this class, we’ll read a lot of poetry and write a lot of poetry, with an emphasis on the connection and interaction between the poet and everything that’s “not the poet”—what we experience and sense around us. How do our surroundings and our experiences produce and shape our need to write?  How do we transform our responses into writing and give them back to the world that made us want to write them in the first place?

We’ll read work by a number of poets who are interested in these issues. We’ll also create publications, attend and host readings, go on observation walks around Providence and, of course, write.


ENG 300A.0200
Prof. Jerry DeSchepper
TH 9:00-11:45 ÅM, Providence Campus

LITERATURE INTO FILM: DRAMA

This course examines how the highly verbal art of the playwright is transformed into the primarily visual art of the filmmaker.  It will include readings of different types of plays from different periods in history.  Differences in writing, dramatic structures, means of production, staging and performance, and audience expectations for the two mediums will be studied, as well as differences in artistic styles.  We will examine the shared and unique characteristics of the two mediums and their respective forms of narrative, and we will take into account factors of technology, conventions and genres, plus the question of art versus entertainment.

In class screenings of film adaptations of plays will include:  Sophocles’ Antigone; Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew; Chekov’s Uncle Vanya; and Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?


ENG 302.0001
Prof. Jean Walton
TTH 2:00-3:15, T 3:30-5:30 PM

TOPICS IN FILM THEORY AND CRITICISM: MOVIE MANIFESTOS

The last time I taught this course, we were in the pre-revolutionary BUSH era.  But now, the OBAMA era has begun.  WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR POLITICAL CINEMA?

To know about the present, we must ask about the past.  So we will spotlight prominent film directors, theorists, and movements from the U.S.S.R., Europe and the United States who have presented MANIFESTOS about filmmaking, or whose films are themselves REVOLUTIONARY turning points in the art and politics of cinematic history.  Our tour will include the MONTAGE EXPERIMENTS of Dziga Vertov and Sergei Eisenstein in 1920s U.S.S.R; the Italian NEO-REALIST endeavors of De Sica and Rossellini in the 40s and early 50s; the French NEW WAVE films of Truffaut and Godard in the 50s and 60s, Sanders’ and Von Trotta’s FEMINIST INTERVENTIONS in German Cinema of the 1970s and 80s; the more recent ANTI-INDUSTRY experiments of von Trier’s DOGME MANIFESTO group; and Spike Lee’s BRECHTIAN INDICTMENT of racism.  We will follow the relations between aesthetic FORM and POLITICS, giving special attention to debates about editing (montage versus “the long take”), about revolutionary versus “bourgeois” practices, about gender and race politics, about emotional proximity versus distance, about aesthetic versus agitational (“propaganda”) goals of cinema.  May be taken for credit towards English major, Film/media major, or for Gen Ed credit, but not recommended for freshmen. Some films to be included: Strike, Battleship Potemkin, Man with a Movie Camera, Kino-Eye, Rome Open City, Bicycle Thief, 400 Blows, Breathless, Weekend, The Perfect Man, Redupers, Marianne and Juliane, Do the Right Thing, The Five Obstructions, Idioterne.

This course is about cinema over time; in Spring 2010 I zoom in for a close up on one decade only in ENG 304: SCENES FROM THE SEVENTIES.  Consider taking both; this one prepares you well for the next.

ENG 303.0001
George Steele
W 7:00-9:45 PM
Providence Campus

CINEMATIC AUTEURS: WES ANDERSON, MUSIC, AND THE FRENCH NEW WAVE

Intelligent use of pop music? Animation? Primary colors? The font FUTURA BOLD? Characters frequently underwater? Problematic patriarchs? Familial dysfunction? Such recurring themes, motifs, devices, and more trademarks we’re sure to discover together arguably make Wes Anderson a cinematic auteur. 

But what constitutes a cinematic auteur? This course will begin with exploring the theory of the cinematic auteur coming out of the French New Wave movement of the fifties and sixties, enabling us to fully consider as the course progresses not just how or why, but whether Wes Anderson is a cinematic auteur. We won’t just study all of Anderson’s work in great detail (including his full-length stop-animation feature slated to come out during our course), we will study select films of the French New Wave to question in what ways Anderson’s work may echo the movement, not just in terms of auteur theory but style. You will be invited to compare or contrast Anderson’s films with some from the French New Wave, and/or track certain themes, motifs or cinematic devices just within Anderson’s oeuvre. 

One distinct characteristic of Anderson’s films is his arguably clever use of music. Together we will consistently consider this aspect of his work (as well as his French New Wave predecessors’ decisions with regard to film music). We will question how film music (and more generally film sound) creatively works in these films, and how acoustic elements, not just visual ones, can be specific terrain through which we can consider auteur theory. 

Other goals of this course will be to learn and adopt certain film terminology, learn to write effectively about film, and ultimately produce our own theses about Anderson’s work.

Anderson films: Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenebaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Darjeeling Limited, Fantastic Mr. Fox.

French New Wave films: 400 Blows, Breathless, Shoot the Piano Player, masculine feminine, A Woman is a Woman.

A packet of required theoretical readings will consist of excerpts from Cahiers du Cinema, articles on animation, Anahid Kassabian’s work on pop-music in film, and more! 

“This is an adventure”   – Steve Zissou



ENG 304.0001
Rebecca Romanow
M 7:00-9:45 PM

FILM GENRES: EXPLOITATION FILMS: CULT, CAMP AND CINEMATIC SLEAZE

Zombies, Splatter, Scifi, Spaghetti Westerns, Teenpics, Euroflix, and Martial Arts films!! This course examines a variety of domestic and international films that fall within the category of paracinema: teensplotation, blaxploitation, sexploitation, shockploitation, shockumentaries, and the B movie. These films are approached through the close study of critical film theory and cultural critique, examining the constructions and reflections of gender, race, and subjectivity in the social subcultures that are seen to be exploited and the complex international genres that these cinemas share and modify. We will trace the beginnings of exploitation cinema in early Poverty Row films and the productions of Universal Studios up to the re-emergence of the â•?grindhouseâ• aesthetic in the 21st century, raising significant questions and debating
the possibilities concerning the ways in which exploitation cinemas reveal and construct social, cultural and historical realities. Directors include: Dwain Esper, Larry Clark, Roger Corman, Wes Craven, Russ Meyer, Barry Shear, Gordon Parks, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Robert Clouse, Quentin Tarantino, Ed Wood, Jr., Umberto Lenzi, and Todd Haynes.


ENG 305.0001
Prof. Mary Cappello, www.awkwardness.org

TH 4:00-6:45 PM

ADVANCED CREATIVE WRITING: LITERARY NONFICTION

To all burgeoning practitioners of nonfiction forms:

Lyric Essay             Creative Nonfiction            Literary Nonfiction            Experimental Memoir

To what do these phrases refer and what’s happening nowadays to the genre that used to rest easy under the sign of “autobiography,” “biography,” “travel writing,” and “memoir”? What kind of revolution is the ESSAY currently undergoing, and how can your own yen to write nonfiction be informed by its exciting and timely new developments? In what sense can the essay be understood as a workshop for making, breaking, and reinventing order? Is it possible to write anti-confessional memoir in a wholly confessional age? How do we know we’re telling the “truth” in our writing rather than reproducing the most striking clichés of the moment in which we live?

ENGLISH 305: Advanced Creative Writing will introduce you to and tempt you to practice a range of modes represented by the genre: “nonfiction.” I’ll help you to expand the repertoire of your writing practices, take risks at the level of form and content, and find ways to let your writing arrive at unanticipated rather than predictable places. We’ll work at the level of words as entities with complex histories to which we need to be attentive—word “auras,” etymologies, etc, and at all other levels of the production of nonfiction prose—from the rhythms that can be achieved inside a sentence to the matter of narrative, or associational, non-narrative forms or both. There will be no such things as “assignments” but rather “incitements” spun from my own loom and which will lead to the production of numerous experimental and full-bodied pieces that you will compose and present to me in draft form throughout the semester and in more polished form at mid-term and in the final weeks of the semester in portfolios. Students will also be encouraged to develop “writing directives” themselves (again, over and against “assignments”) drawn from the reading that we’ll in concert, engage. The class will be run workshop-style, and students will be expected to be responsible, attentive readers of each other’s work. Reading is as important as writing for any writer and to that end we’ll be both reading and writing nonfiction in-depth. The writers who will serve as inspiration, masters of their form, and provocateurs will include: Lyn Hejinian; Colin Thubron, Lydia Davis, Abigail Thomas, Allison Bechdel, Adam Phillips, David Plante, Robin Hemley, Brett Lott, Bruce Hainley , Susan Sontag, Bia Lowe, James Baldwin, Roland Barthes, Mikhail Epstein, Cynthia Ozick, Sarah Kofman, Natalia Ginzburg, and Osip Mandelstam.

What’s the difference between cultivating a sensibility and leaving a creative writing workshop with a bag o’ tricks?  How and why might we practice nonfiction in order to put forms of wandering, exploration, and play back into the plodding unfolding of each day and of each form, of each life?


ENG 305.0200
Aaron Tillman
T 7:00-9:45 PM
Providence Campus

ADVANCED CREATIVE WRITING: FICTION

ENG 305––Advanced Creative Writing: Fiction––focuses on creating and refining original works of fiction. We will study the art and craft of making short stories, aiming to deepen our understanding of the process and strengthen our confidence and command over our own writing. This course emphasizes writing, which also means that it emphasizes reading, critique, and discussion. Working closely with practitioners of the short story form, we will cultivate our understanding of the elements of fiction: character, voice, dialogue, setting, plot, point of view, et cetera. Through close readings of a rich assortment of published works––of and about fiction––we will gain insight, inspiration, and a common language with which to examine the craft. Starting with a variety of readings and writing exercises––designed to generate new ideas and enrich existing ideas––we will compose, circulate, discuss, and revise our own fiction. As an upper level English course, students are required to lead two discussions on assigned readings while also working to be active participants in workshops, exercises, and discussions.


ENG 330.0001
Prof. Paul Arakelian
MWF 12:00-12:50
PM

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.



ENG 332.0001
Prof. Paul Arakelian
MWF 11:00-11:50 AM

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 335.0001
Prof. Valerie Karno
M 4:00-6:45 PM

INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES IN COMPOSITION LITERATURE- ECO CRITICISM

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ENG 336.0001
Prof. Paul Arakelian
MWF 1:00-1:50 PM

THE LANGUAGE OF CHILDREN'S LITERATURE

Children's literature has been dismissed as mere fluff and vilified as cultural indoctrination.  In this course we will attempt to determine whether children's literature is just harmless fun or dangerous propaganda by developing a method of analyze the language of literary texts.  We will review those linguistic tools with which critics describe style, and then we will apply those tools to children's texts and ask whether style reveals or reinforces cultural values.  Students will consider in particular books by Dr. Seuss by analyzing their sound patterns, word choice, and sentence structure.


ENG 338.0001
Prof. Gina Valentino
TTH 2:00-3:15 PM

NATIVE AMERICAN LITERATURE

In this course, students will read, watch and analyze American Indian stories with a focus on novels written by Native people in the United States. This course is designed to serve as an introduction to the cannon of Native American Literature—with particular emphasis on texts written during and since the Native American Renaissance. We will proceed through our texts chronologically, reading works by N. Scott Momaday, D’Arcy McNickle, Leslie Marmon Silko, LeAnne Howe, Sherman Alexie, Joy Harjo, and others. We will work toward an understanding of political histories that contextualize this literature, examine stereotypes of Native Americans as well as the sources of those stereotypes, and investigate the ways that “Indianness” has been constructed both for and by Native people. Additionally, we will examine issues of racial and ethnic identities, explore the role of crossbloods and mixedbloods, study connections between “traditional” and/or religious stories to the retelling of contemporary Native narratives, and engage with Native communities’ relationship to place and land (and the related stereotype of the ecological Indian). Topics will include pan-Indianism, war and violence, drug abuse, humor, and, throughout, American Indian survival as it contrasts to the most enduring Native myth of all—that of the vanishing Indian.  


ENG 347.0001
Prof. Martha Rojas
TTH 12:30-1:45 PM

ANTEBELLUM U.S. LITERATURE
FAKING IT: IMPOSTERS & COUNTERFEITS IN U.S. LITERATURE

This course explores what it is we value in art, literature, persons and things by examining U.S. cultural anxieties about impersonation, forgery, imitation, deceit and disguise. National preoccupations with originality and authenticity inspire texts ranging from the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, The Narrative of Henry Box Brown, and The Life of P. T. Barnum to Herman Melville's The Confidence-Man, Louisa May Alcott's Behind a Mask and Nella Larson's Passing. In these texts "value" emerges not as something that inheres in any aesthetic object but as a provisional assessment resulting from an on-going negotiation between a text and its readers, a performance and its audience. This sense of "face-value" as a state of evaluation, and of "value" as a cultural transaction, a vote of confidence cast in a system devoid of reliable standards of measure, will inform our exploration of people on the make.


ENG 347.0200
staff
T 7:00-9:45 PM

ANTEBELLUM U.S. LITERATURE & CULTURE


ENG 350.0001
Staff
MW 4:00-5:15 PM

LITERARY THEORY AND CRITICISM

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ENG 357.0200
Prof. Valerie Karno
W 4:00-6:45 PM
Providence Campus

LITERATURE AND MEDECINE

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ENG 363.0001
Prof. Stephanie Dunson
TTH 2:00-3:15 PM

AFRICAN-AMERICAN FICTION

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ENG 364.0001
Prof. Gitahi Gititi
TTH 3:30-4:45 PM

CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN LITERATURE

Much, perhaps most, contemporary African literature (i. e., literature by African authors addressing African reality) concerns itself especially with issues and events affecting African societies in the period after their acquisition of independent national status. This by no means implies that this literature does not reach back to the period of European colonial domination of Africa, or the period before European advent on the continent.

As the new nation states emerge, they struggle with issues of self-definition, the process of establishing and maintaining political and economic parity, the reconstruction of cultural foundations eroded by European colonization, and so on. Literature of necessity imaginatively examines issues of individual and group morality, ethics, social class formation, gender disparity, the reconciliation of traditional norms with “modernity,” and other crucial questions.

The small sampling of African texts selected (rather arbitrarily) for this class will be read against a variety of contexts --historical, political, cultural, economic, and linguistic. While the readings are in English translation, an awareness of Africa’s unique linguistic, cultural, and political complexity will be an asset.


ENG 368.0001
Prof. Felix Okeke-Ezigbo
TTH 2:00-3:15 PM

ENG 368.0200
Prof. Felix Okeke-Ezigbo
M 4:00-6:45 PM
Providence Campus

THE BIBLE

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 374.0200
Abbott Ikelar
TH 7:00-9:45 PM
Providence Campus

BRITISH LITERATURE: 1660-1800

The period we’ll consider is book-ended by a restored monarchy and state church at the start, and revolutions—both American and French—at the end.  In between Britain becomes a world power, establishes a solid middle class, and embraces a self-image of exceptional pragmatism and common sense.  It is a progress and a personality not unlike our own.  In English 374 we’ll consider poems, plays, essays and novels of the period, not only on their intrinsic merits, but also insofar as they reflect, encourage or (in many instances) resist the broader developments in British culture.


ENG 375.0001
Prof. Carolyn Betensky
M 4:00-6:45 PM

THE NINETEENTH-CENTURY REALIST NOVEL IN BRITAIN AND FRANCE

In this course, we will read classic realist novels from Britain and France comparatively and in historical context. Besides asking what “realism” means from different aesthetic and theoretical perspectives, the course will consider the contributions of gender, class, and ethnicity to the construction of this venerable genre.


ENG 379
Prof. Naomi Mandel
Thursday 4-6:45

Contemporary Literature: THE EXTREME

In this class we will read contemporary extreme novels from North America, Europe, the Middle and Far East. Novels of the contemporary extreme are set in a world both similar to and different from our own – a hyperreal, often apocalyptic world progressively invaded by popular culture, permeated with technology, and dominated by destruction, a reality in which time and space are zones to be inhabited, not obstacles to be overcome, and in which the subject is composed of fragments, dissected by difference, and evacuated by affect. In this world violence – often the most stable element – operates as ethos.

In the course of the class, we will explore issues of authority, authorship, sexuality, violence, and the nature of the human; nature, technology, the body, its future, and the status of the real.

Texts we will discuss:

Arcan. Nelly. Whore. [2001]. Trans. Bruce Benderson. New York: Black Cat, 2005.
Atwood, Margaret. Oryx and Crake. New York: Doubleday, 2003.
Coupland, Douglas. Microserfs. New York: Random House, 1994.
Ellis, Bret Easton. American Psycho. New York: Random House, 1991.
Houellebecq, Michel. The Elementary Particles. [1998]. Trans. Frank Wynne. New York: Random House, 2000.
Rioux, Hélène. Reading Nijinsky. [1995]. Trans. Jonathan Kaplansky. XYZ Publishing: Montreal, 2001.
Castel-Bloom, Orly. Dolly City. 1992. Dalya Bilu, trans. London: Loki Books, 1997.
Cut. Dir. Chan-Wook Park. Three … Extremes. Lion's Gate, 2003.
Oldboy. Dir. Chan-Wook Park. 2003.


ENG 382.0001
Prof. Kathleen Davis
W 4:00-6:45 PM

MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE AUTHORS: ROMANCE POETS

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, and to master other lands while defending their own. Throughout the Middle Ages romances were written as poetry, and did shift to prose until Sir Thomas Malory?fs 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. This course focuses upon the most influential romance authors, some of whom we know by name ?| such as Marie de France, Chre?Ltien de Troyes, Chaucer, and Malory ?| and others of whom we know only by their poems ?| such as ?gthe Gawain poet,?h ?gthe Sir Launfal poet,?h and ?gthe Sir Orfeo poet.?h We will place these authors in their English and continental context, and discuss some of their major preoccupations, such as gender definition, honor, race, nation, law, and faith.


ENG 383.0200
Alex Moffett
T 4:00-6:45 PM
Providence Campus

MODERNIST LITERATURE, 1900-1945



ENG 385.0001
Prof. Dorothy Donnelly
T 4:00-6:45 PM

WOMEN WRITERS: CATHER, O'CONNOR & WELTY

The aim of this course is to examine the fiction of three of America’s most influential women writers, Willa Cather, Flannery O’Connor, and Eudora Welty. The course will focus on an understanding of individual works and will examine the cultural, historical, and aesthetic influences that contributed to the unique characteristics found in the writings of each author. The literature will be supplemented by the reading of selected critical essays on reserve in the library. The course is organized around class discussion and student participation is expected and evaluated.   Requirements include a mid-term and a final examination, as well as a short critical paper.



ENG 446.0001
Prof. Gina Valentino
TTH 3:30-4:45 PM

MODERN DRAMA IN THE UNITED STATES

This course is a critical and historical survey of the development of modern drama in the United States. Plays for this course include The Adding Machine, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, A Raisin In the Sun, Zoot Suit, and Wonderland, among others.

The goals of the course are to:

  • Introduce major forms of modern drama that occurred in the U.S. during the 20th and early 21st centuries.
  • Understand and analyze a play within broader social, philosophical, and historical contexts.
  • Recognize influences of artistic forms on contemporary cultural productions.
  • Identify directional and production choices that constitute an interpretation of a play.
  • Develop personal preferences regarding drama in the U.S.
Along the way, we will map trends in literary criticism, acquire literary terminology in order to speak and write intelligently about drama, and learn from Brecht why it is absolutely crucial to keep one’s passport current.  


ENG 447.0001
Prof. Peter Covino
TTH 3:30-4:45 PM

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, 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 472.0200
Walter Kane
M 7:00-9:45 PM
Providence Campus

SHAKESPEARE

            


ENG 482.0001
Prof. Matt Frankel
MW 5:30-6:45 PM

WHAT IS (THE AMERICAN) ENLIGHTENMENT?: THE PROBLEM OF CRITIQUE IN THE AGE OF REASON

Michel Foucault asserts in the posthumously published essay, “What Is Enlightenment?” (1984), that we “proceed with the analysis of ourselves as beings who are historically determined, to a certain extent, by the Enlightenment.”  This course aims to continue and further conceptualize this “analysis of ourselves” within the still emergent legacy of the Enlightenment period in the United States.  We will proceed with a critical comparison of a collection of these late eighteenth-century texts written and published during the “Age of Reason” in America alongside a cluster of Foucault’s late writings on the determinative features, enduring imperatives, and critical practices of Enlightenment thought.  Readings for the course include Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography, Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia, The Federalist Papers, the poetry of Phillis Wheatley, Olaudah Equiano’s Narrative, and Hannah Foster’s The Coquette, as well as a course reader containing assorted essays, lectures, and interviews by Foucault.



ENG 489.0001
Prof. Ryan Trimm
TTH 11:00-12:15 PM

THE FICTION OF GLOBAL FLOWS

This course will track postcolonial fiction centered on global movements: exile, immigration, guest workers, etc. We will read and discuss novels that chart a sense of self divided by place(s), identities that are mapped by global flows. For that end, we will read fiction by authors such as Salman Rushdie, Kiran Desai, Amitav Ghosh, Ben Okri, Yann Martel, Romesh Gunesekera, and Gautam Malkani. These texts will help us think through issues such as hybridity, the tension between metropole and province, the politics of cultural identity, etc.


CURRENT GRADUATE-SEMINAR OFFERINGS:

ENG 543.0001
Prof. Martha Rojas
R 7:00-9:45 PM

STUDIES IN 19TH CENTURY AMERICAN TEXTS
FAKING IT: IMPOSTERS & COUNTERFEITS IN U.S. LITERATURE

This will course explore what we value in art, literature, persons and things by examining U.S. cultural anxieties about impersonation, forgery, imitation, deceit and disguise. National preoccupations with originality and authenticity inspire texts ranging from the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, The Narrative of Henry Box Brown, and The Life of P. T. Barnum to Herman Melville's The Confidence-Man, Louisa May Alcott's Behind a Mask and Nella Larson's Passing. In these texts "value" emerges not as something that inheres in any aesthetic object but as a provisional assessment resulting from an on-going negotiation between a text and its readers, a performance and its audience. This sense of "face-value" as a state of evaluation, and of "value" as a cultural transaction, a vote of confidence cast in a system devoid of reliable standards of measure, will inform our exploration of people on the make. Since such transactions invariably exploit trust, we will also explore the conventions of personal narrative which themselves blur the line between fact and fiction and ask us to evaluate different kinds of “evidence.” To this end we will read from Catherine Gallagher's "The Rise of Fictionality," Cathy Davidson's chapter on genre and ideology in Revolution and the Word, Ann Fabian's The Unvarnished Truth, and Joan W. Scott’s, "The Evidence of Experience."



ENG 550.0001
Prof. Travis Williams
TH 4:00-6:45 PM

STUDIES IN BRITISH TEXTS BEFORE 1700: SHAKESPEARE

This will be a graduate-level Shakespeare course for everyone, including early modern specialists, those who think they might become specialists, and non-specialists. We will read roughly one play a week (finding time along the way for some sonnets and other poetry) along with representative theories, methods, and criticism. Assignments will include short weekly response papers, some class presentations, and a long final essay.


ENG 555.0200
Prof. Carolyn Betensky
W 7:00-9:45 PM
Providence Campus

STUDIES IN 19TH CENTURY BRITISH TEXTS: READING VICTORIANS READING

This course will consider what Victorians thought they were doing when they -- or other people -- read. Nineteenth-century Britain saw the explosive growth of literacy rates and the even more dramatic expansion of technologies of production and distribution of printed materials. Yet this new readership (especially among women and the potentially unruly working classes) and the relatively sudden abundance and affordability of different and sometimes shocking sorts of literature also made for the flourishing of anxiety, hope, and politically utopian thinking about what it meant to read. Along with Victorian writing on reading, we ourselves will be reading certain Romantic precursors to Victorian theories of reading, as well as twentieth- and twenty-first-century theoretical, critical, and historical texts on the Victorians as readers. We will also read (of course) a good number of the novels the Victorians read, worried, and fantasized about.


 

ENG 605.0001
Prof. Jennifer Jones
W 3:00-5:45 PM

STUDIES IN GENRES: WHAT IS POETRY: LYRIC, AESTHETICS, TEMPORALITY

This course will, first and foremost, give you the opportunity to study the genre of poetry in relation to other, often more familiar, genres, and to study poetics, poetic theory, and aesthetic theory. This course will also provide you the opportunity to study theories of temporality in English creative, critical, and philosophical discourse and to think about it with poetry, particularly the lyric, in mind. Are there non-narrative lines? How long is “the blink of an eye” [Augenblick]? What is the temporality of suspension? Of being moved? Of transport? Of surprise? Of critical activity itself? Is revolution forward-moving or cyclical, or something else still? What is the temporality of the turn, or of return? (When) is temporality immersive? Is it possible to escape temporal consciousness? What is the relation of temporality to spatiality, particularly with regard to fantasies of depth and surface that we associate with literature? This course will take the period around 1800 in European literary production as a focal point. In addition to critical selections that reflect thought on poetry, lyric, and temporality from the 1980s to the present, readings will include such authors as Immanuel Kant, Walter Benjamin, Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Jean-Francois Lyotard, Jean-Luc Nancy, Frederic Jameson, Gayatri Spivak, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Keats, Thomas Hardy, Norman Maclean, and others.



ENG 660.0001
Prof. Karen Stein
M 4:00-6:45 PM

SEMINAR IN SPECIAL TOPICS: TONI MORRISON

Morrison is the first African American woman to win the Nobel Prize in literature. Her novels examine the tangled and complex issues of race, gender, and class in the context of American history, literature, and culture.    

We will read all (or most of) of her novels:  The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, Tar Baby, Beloved, Jazz ,  Paradise, Love, and  A Mercy

Required work: 2 or 3 short papers and a final paper.



ENG 690.0021
Prof. Jean Walton

INDEPENDENT STUDY IN TEACHING FILM AT THE COLLEGE LEVEL

This is a limited enrollment Independent Study group for those graduate students who wish to be trained in teaching film at the college level.  Spaces are limited, so please sign up early.  The Independent Study is designed as follows.  Students will attend lectures, lead some discussion groups, grade small batches of papers, learn how to use online and audio-visual resources, and help with some components of course design as the semester unfolds in my undergraduate large lecture course ENG 302 Topics in Film Theory and Criticism: Movie Manifestos.  We will also find a time when we can meet every other week to discuss pedagogy, student progress in the small discussion groups, grading policies, trouble-shooting, etc.  I will sit in on at least two of your discussion groups during the semester.  By the end of the semester, I will be in a position to write you a letter of recommendation for future film teaching positions, and you will be able to include this training module on your CV. 


HPR 107.0001
Prof. Naomi Mandel
TTH 11:00-12:15 PM

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 insight 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 a deformed arm, with bulemia, with PTSD, with mental impairment. We will ask questions like these: What is an ability? How are our abilities different from our disabilities? 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?


HPR 312.0001
Prof. Travis Williams
TTH 12:30-1:45 PM

HONORS TUTORIAL IN LITERATURE: SCIENCE AND DRAMA

This course will read, discuss, interpret, and research stage plays about science from the Renaissance to today, in cultural, historical, representational, ethical, and rhetorical contexts. We will grapple with fundamental questions such as “what is science?” and “what is drama?”; consider eternal questions about the ethics of scientific research, the technological applications of basic science, and the complexity of scientific identity, discourse, and practice in and as culture and society; and investigate the special power of drama to represent scientific discourse. “Science” for this course will encompass traditional hard sciences (biology, physics, mathematics, astronomy, genetics), related applications (medicine, public health, linguistics, robotics), and pseudo-sciences (alchemy, magic). The course is open to all majors; both humanists and scientists are encouraged to enroll. No special knowledge of science is required. Students must be skilled in normal college-level research and writing, but the subtleties of literary and dramatic analysis, and of literary theory, are not prerequisites. We will review and develop those skills during the course. Class will be conducted entirely as a discussion, and students will be expected to participate vigorously. Students will produce three main assignments: a project proposal, an annotated bibliography, and a final research paper. Each assignment will be accompanied by a presentation to the class. Readings will comprise 7-8 plays and associated cultural documents. The plays we read will be a subset of the following: Auburn, Proof; Brecht, Galileo; ?apek, R. U. R.; Churchill, A Number; Dürrenmatt, The Physicists; Edson, Wit; Frayn, Copenhagen; Ibsen, An Enemy of the People; Jonson, The Alchemist; Lawrence and Lee, Inherit the Wind; Marlowe, Doctor Faustus; Shaw, The Doctor’s Dilemma; Shaw, Pygmalion; Stoppard, Arcadia.



   
 

 

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