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Department of English

Course Offerings: Fall 2013

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

CURRENT TOPICS & UPPER-DIVISION UNDERGRADUATE COURSE OFFERINGS:

ENG 260.0001
Prof. Sarah Eron

TTH 11:00 - 12:15 PM

WOMEN AND LITERATURE: AUSTEN AND HER PREDECESSORS

Austen's style has often been described as unique, innovative, like a tradition unto itself. However, we might just as easily place Austen within the context of her eighteenth-century predecessors. Like the women writers who came before her, Austen's style evolved out of a response to a variety of debates in eighteenth-century thought. Such issues as female virtue, gender and the passions, sympathy and feeling, female authorship, spectatorship, and readership became the focal point of many of Austen's novels. Moreover, these social novels of manners and mores found their stylistic, formal roots in eighteenth-century genres. Beneath the well-wrought lines of Austen's prose, we encounter a world of interwoven, eighteenth-century forms. In Austen's narrative structures, such "borrowed" modes as the mock-heroic, the satiric, the sentimental, the theatrical, and the epistolary all evolve into what has come to be known as Austen's "unique" style. By examining Austen's works in light of a tradition of eighteenth-century women's writing, this course will attempt to understand Austen's innovation as part of a larger conversation that begins with Austen's predecessors. The first half of the course will be dedicated to a discussion of Austen's eighteenth-century precursors, the second half to several of Austen's major novels. Authors may include: Aphra Behn, Delarivier Manley, Frances Burney, Charlotte Lennox, Eliza Haywood, Anne Radcliffe, and, of course, Jane Austen.


ENG 265.0001
Staff

MW 3:30 - 4:45 PM

INTRO TO LITERARY GENRES: THE NOVEL

Introduction to the study of the novel.



ENG 302.0200
Staff
TH 9:00-11:45 AM
Providence Campus

TOPICS IN FILM THEORY AND CRITICISM

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. May be repeated for credit when taken with different emphasis.



ENG 303.0200
Kevin Esch
W 7:00-9:45 PM

CINEMATIC AUTEURS

Once regarded as merely a competent craftsman of popular Hollywood thrillers, Alfred Hitchcock has for subsequent generations of cinephiles been recognized as a "master of suspense" and a true auteur in the Hollywood system. This course will examine his British and American films from a number of perspectives—formal analysis, feminist and queer theory, and historical analysis—in order to appreciate not only Hitchcock's importance as a filmmaker, but his essential place in the maturation of film studies itself.



ENG 304.0001
Prof. Jean Walton
MW 2:00-3:15 PM
, 3:30-5:30 PM

FILM GENRES: SCENES FROM THE SEVENTIES

During the seventies, prior periods begin, in a sense, to be syndicated like television reruns. Time seems to slow down. It almost seems as if recent history were being surveyed and cataloged. (Stephen Paul Miller, The Seventies Now: Culture as Surveillance, 30)

This most enigmatic of periods in recent American history, this "un-decade," was an incubator for many of the developments that now define our contemporary political and cultural zeitgeist. (Andreas Hillen, 1973 Nervous Breakdown, 1-2)

This film genres course will sample some of the most interesting movies, directors, and innovations of the decade of the 1970s in the United States. While noting the more salient historical events of the decade (defined in contradictory ways as a bridge between the revolutionary sixties and the reactionary eighties), we will consider how fairly mainstream cinematic texts don't just "represent" the realities from which they emerge, but, indeed, symptomatize them, transform them, recreate them and mediate our experience of them. Students will be expected to acquire a working knowledge of the political, economic, and cultural history of the era, as well as some skills in reading cinematic texts within their historical contexts. Consideration will be paid to how established and emerging directors appropriate and transform such genres as the Docu-drama, Western, Psychological or Political Thriller, Black Action Film, Road Movie, Melodrama, Horror Movie, Romantic Comedy.

This course may be taken as an English Elective, or it may count towards the FLM major.


ENG 305A.0001
Staff
TTH 12:30-1:45 PM

ADVANCED CREATIVE WRITING: POETRY

Intensive writing and reading workshop for students at the advanced level who have preferably taken at least one previous class in creative writing. 305A Poetry; 305B Fiction; 305C Nonfiction; 305D Screen Writing. In 305C, type of writing varies with instructor. 305A and B may be offered online. Students may repeat for a total of 12 credits but may not repeat the same letter.


ENG 305B.0001
Staff
TTH 2:30-3:45 PM

ADVANCED CREATIVE WRITING: Fiction

Intensive writing and reading workshop for students at the advanced level who have preferably taken at least one previous class in creative writing. 305A Poetry; 305B Fiction; 305C Nonfiction; 305D Screen Writing. In 305C, type of writing varies with instructor. 305A and B may be offered online. Students may repeat for a total of 12 credits but may not repeat the same letter.


ENG 305C.0001
Prof. Mary Cappello
MW 2:30-3:15 PM

ADVANCED CREATIVE WRITING: CREATIVE NONFICTION

The primary aim of this intensive writing course will be to expand the horizons and challenge the assumptions that we have about non-fiction writing through our reading, writing, and workshopping. Students will be encouraged to experiment with form and to widen the repertoire of the subject of their writing. To those ends, we will study and produce prose forms that speak to the new challenges posed by the category: "Creative Non-Fiction." This will include but not be limited to multi-genre writing ("essays" that attempt to bring divergent discourses into the same space -- e.g., scientific and poetic observation; writing that tests the borders of poetry and prose); experimental autobiography (e.g., autobiography that does not presume that language is a transparent vehicle to the self); literary memoir; "autocriticism" (analytic essays that investigate the nature of a reading subject); invented nonfiction forms, to name a few. At the same time that our writing practices will make new truths available to us, we will, given the category of "creative non-fiction," find ourselves inquiring into the nature of truth, the ethics of representing others, the transformative power of memory, and the politics of literary genre. What is a lyric essay? What does it mean to say that an essay is a form for making, breaking, and reinventing order? How can we write memoir that resists the confessional mode? Why would we want to? How can the writing of non-fiction contribute to a collective remembering? What does it mean to be a politically responsible writer? What specific challenges does the digital age pose to our practice? How can each of us assemble our own uncommon archive as wellspring to the writing we produce? Some of the writers whose work we’ll be in dialogue with include: Lyn Hejinian, Lydia Davis, Alison Bechdel, Adam Phillips, Robin Hemley, Susan Sontag, James Baldwin, James Agee, Roland Barthes, Mikhail Epstein, Cynthia Ozick, Sarah Kofman, Maggie Nelson, Claudia Rankine, Natalia Ginzburg, and Osip Mandelstam. Frequent writing experiments and group critiquing sessions will yield substantive, multi-genre mid-term and final portfolios for each student. This course will also be linked to public readings by distinguished visiting writers (the English Department's Read/Write Series), and, if seminar participants are so moved, to public performance of their own work. We will also plug in to numerous non-fictive opportunities as they arise, from film screenings or related exhibits to site-specific fieldwork of students' own choosing and design.


ENG 305D.0200
Staff
T 7:00-9:45 PM
Providence Campus

ADVANCED CREATIVE WRITING: Screenwriting

Intensive writing and reading workshop for students at the advanced level who have preferably taken at least one previous class in creative writing. 305A Poetry; 305B Fiction; 305C Nonfiction; 305D Screen Writing. In 305C, type of writing varies with instructor. 305A and B may be offered online. Students may repeat for a total of 12 credits but may not repeat the same letter.


ENG 348.0200
Staff
T 7:00-9:45 PM

Providence Campus

U.S. LITERATURE AND CULTURE FROM 1865 TO 1914

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



ENG 350.0001
Prof. Ryan Trimm
TTH 11:00-12:15 PM

LITERARY THEORY AND CRITICISM

Introduction to theories of literature and their application in the analysis of selected texts. May be repeated for credit as often as topic changes.


ENG 363.0001
Prof. Gitahi Gititi
TTH 9:30-10:45 PM

AFRICAN-AMERIAN FICTION

Study of formal and thematic developments in the African-American novel and short story. Focus on Baldwin, Chesnutt, Ellison, Gaines, Hurston, Jacobs, Marshall, Morrison, Naylor, Reed, Walker, Wideman, Wilson, and Wright.


ENG 364.0200
Staff
T 4:00-6:45 PM
Providence Campus

CONTEMPERARY AFRICAN LITERATURE

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


ENG 367.0200
Staff
M 4:00-6:45 PM

Providence Campus

THE EPIC

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


ENG 378.0200
Staff
W 4:00-6:45 PM
Providence Campus

ASPECTS OF POSTMODERNSIM

Introduction to major issues and theories of Postmodern Literature and Culture, emphases may include temporality, borders, cyberculture, theories of the image and constructions of subjectivity.


ENG 379.0001
Prof. Naomi Mandel
MW 1:00 - 2:15 PM

CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE: FICTION OF GENERATION X

This class will focus on fiction by and about Generation X, the generation born between 1960-1980. GenXers came of age in a world marked by the collapse of Communism and the ascendency of the New Right, as the discourse of capitalism, the economic function and social significance of the commodity, replaced the commitment to liberal causes that characterized the 60s and 70s. For Generation X, happiness is the product of Prozac, serenity is elicited by Valium, love is haunted by AIDS. Its catchword is "whatever," its anthem "Nevermind." How does Generation X think about identity (in the heyday of "identity politics"), history (with the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the onset of the Gulf War), and violence (before and after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 and the global "war on terror")?
This course officially covers the 1900-present period requirement.


ENG 385.0001
Prof. Stephan Barber
TTH 2:00-3:15 PM

WOMEN WRITERS

Analysis of the poetry, drama, or fiction of women writers. Emphasis on 18th-century, 19th-century, 20th-century, or contemporary authors. May be repeated for credit when taken with different emphasis.



ENG 387.0200
Staff
T 7:00-9:45 PM
Providence Campus

FOUNDATIONAL TEXTS IN MODERN GAY & LESBIAN CULTURE

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



ENG 432.0001
Prof. Kathleen Davis

TTH 11:00-12:15 PM

CULTURAL HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

Course Description: 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 446.0001
Prof. Gina Valentino
MW 2:00-3:15 PM

DRAMA

Intensive studies in Drama. May include special topics in plays, performance, and playwrights. (Seminar) Not for graduate credit.


ENG 469.0001
Prof. Carolyn Betensky
TTH 11:00-12:15 AM

THE NOVEL: NINETEENTH-CENTURY BRITISH NOVELS OF PROTEST AND ENGAGEMENT

This course will consider novels of social (in)justice written in nineteenth-century Britain. Texts may include Elizabeth Gaskell's Mary Barton, Charles Dickens's Hard Times, George Eliot's Felix Holt, the Radical, George Gissing's Eve's Ransom, and H.G. Wells's Island of Dr. Moreau.


ENG 472.0200
Staff
M 7:00-9:45 PM
Providence Campus

SHAKESPEARE

Studies in Shakespeare's drama and poetry. (Seminar) Not for graduate credit.



ENG 482.0001
Prof. Martha Elena Rojas
TTH 11:00-12:15 PM

AMERICAN & US AUTHORS TO 1820:
LITERATURE OF ENLIGHTENMENT AND REVOLUTION

This course examines the cultural history of the Enlightenment in eighteenth and early nineteenth-century America. Through readings of legal, literary, political, religious, scientific, and visual texts, we ask what "enlightenment" meant for various inhabitants and figures of the United States. We will investigate the physical spaces of Enlightenment (clubs, coffeehouses, colleges, churches, salons, libraries, museums, statehouses, and charitable societies) as well as the material manifestations of the "republic of letters" (periodicals, pamphlets, books, prints). We will survey recent theoretical and historical accounts and critiques of the Enlightenment 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 peoples and populations, and the development of nationalism and cosmopolitanism. Authors will include the poets Philip Freneau and Phillis Wheatley; novelists Hannah Foster and Charles Brockden Brown; playwright Susanna Rowson as well as Edmund Burke, J. Hector St. John De Crevecoeur,Olaudah Equiano, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Judith Sargent Murray, Thomas Paine, and Samson Occum.
This course will satisfy the 1660-1800 historical period requirement.


ENG 480.0001
Prof. Sarah Eron
TTH 2:00-3:15 PM

BRITISH RESTORATION AND ENLIGHTENMENT AUTHORS:
DANIEL DEFOE: 1660-1731

"The first English author to write without imitating...to create without literary models and to infuse into the creatures of his pen a truly national spirit," James Joyce writes of Daniel Defoe that he "devise[d] for himself an artistic form which is perhaps without precedent." In historical time, Defoe's literary reputation as an innovator in genre is incontrovertible. Yet as an activist, English spy, journalist, merchant, and pamphleteer, Defoe inhabited a rather unstable public persona in the eighteenth-century political imagination. Imprisoned, pilloried, charged with sedition and libel, Defoe gave new meaning to the dangers of exposing political truths and risking all for the sake of social reform. But it is precisely this commitment to personal and social truth that has marked Defoe's iconic literary style, and his novelistic realism might be described as an effort to blend the stark agenda of truth with the fantasies of fiction. Defoe's first novel, Robinson Crusoe, inspires his readers with a Romantic idealism about civilization and selfhood that emerges out of a literary landscape in which, as Virginia Woolf famously writes, "nothing exists but an earthenware pot." Woolf's quotation, nonetheless, finds something transcendent in Defoe's rigid catalogue of the mundane. What she writes of Crusoe might easily be construed as a remark on Defoe himself: "...by means of telling the truth undeviatingly as it appears to him--by being a great artist and forgoing this and daring that in order to give effect to his prime quality, a sense of reality--he comes in the end to make common actions dignified and common objects beautiful."

This course is a survey of Defoe's major works including his novels, Robinson Crusoe, Moll Flanders, Journal of a Plague Year, and Roxanna, and selections from his political writings. Our discussions will consider what is "original" or peculiar about Defoe's narrative style. In addition to examining his innovative literary aesthetic, we will also explore the kinds of social and historical interventions that Defoe's writings attempt to make in the context of European nationalism and the rise of colonial mercantilism. Topics may include: commerce and credit, gender and identity politics, spectacle and the public sphere, essay writing and circulation, eighteenth-century print culture and the rise of religious tolerance, finance and trade, travel and civilization, objects and personhood. Finally, this course will consider both Defoe's literary influences and influence by looking at the writings of his contemporaries and select twentieth-century redactions of his works.




ENG 489.0200
W 7:00-9:45 PM

LITERATURE AND EMPIRE



CURRENT GRADUATE-SEMINAR OFFERINGS:

ENG 510.0001
Prof. Kathleen Davis
TH 7:00-9:45 PM

INTRO TO PROFESSIONAL STUDIES I

Orientation to the major discourses, critical frameworks, and databases constituting graduate research in language and literary studies, including computer-assisted research methodologies.


ENG 514.0001
Prof. Carolyn Betensky
TH 4:00-6:45 PM

HISTORY OF CRITICAL THEORIES

Historical survey of critical theory from antiquity to the present.


ENG 560.0001
Prof. Stephen Barber
T 4:00-6:45 PM

STUDIES IN EUROPEAN TEXTS: ON THE SENILE SUBLIME

The question what is philosophy? can perhaps be posed only late in life, with the arrival of old age and the time for speaking concretely. In fact, the bibliography on the nature of philosophy is very limited. It is a question posed in a moment of quiet restlessness, at midnight, when there is no longer anything to ask. It was asked before; it was always being asked, but too indirectly or obliquely; the question was too artificial, too abstract. Instead of being seized by it, those who asked the question set it out and controlled it in passing. They were not sober enough. There was too much desire to do philosophy to wonder what it was, except as a stylistic exercise.┬áThat point of nonstyle where one can finally say, ‘What is it I have been doing all my life?’ had not been reached.
~Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, What is Philosophy?

In her final writings Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick found herself caught up with the notion of the “senile sublime,” which she characterizes as “more or less intelligible performances by old brilliant people, whether artists, scientists, or intellectuals, where the bare outlines of a creative idiom seem finally to emerge from what had been the obscuring puppy fat of personableness, timeliness, or sometimes even of coherent sense.” Deleuze and Guattari attribute such “gifts” to the “third age”: “There are times when old age produces not eternal youth but a sovereign freedom, a pure necessity in which one enjoys a moment of grace between life and death, and in which all the parts of the machine come together to send into the future a feature that cuts across all ages.” Such accomplishments, he continues, answer to “a question posed in a moment of quiet restlessness, at midnight, when there is no longer anything to ask.”

In this course we will study theorists of the senile sublime or late style, including Theodor Adorno, Edward Said, Deleuze, Guattari, and Sedgwick, as well as those whose final writings “perform” it--among the latter, the late writings of (1) Robert Musil, Marcel Proust, Virginia Woolf, (2) Melanie Klein and Sigmund Freud, and (3) Michel Foucault, Deleuze, and Guattari. Central concerns for all of these thinkers of the senile sublime are the relationship of ethics to critique and art, the relationship of history to the “untimely,” and the preparation for an exit (not from life, but toward life). Accordingly, this course follows these thinkers (in their particular domains of thought) as they respond to that final question of “what is?” (literature, philosophy, ethics, freedom, subjectivity...)



ENG 590.0001
Prof. Gina Valentino
M 4:00-6:45 PM

SELECTED TOPICS: US LITERATURE AND CULTURE AFTER 1945
DESTINY MANIFEST: U.S. CULTURAL GEOGRAPHY SINCE REAGAN

It has been said that the academic rise of cultural studies was a response to the profound need to figure out how Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan came to power. With just enough substance to be true, this supposition invites questions that open out into literature, social policies, and popular culture. Using the Reagan years as a jumping-off point, this course will examine political and cultural legacies of the 1980s. Each week we will track how meaning is generated by and understood within various cultural spaces – from trickle-down economics to the seemingly infinite versions of Blade Runner; from Melanie Griffith's Working Girl shoulder pads to Bill Clinton, America's "first black president."

In the process of examining these legacies, this course will serve as an overview of interdisciplinary methodologies that comprise U.S. cultural studies. Invoking theories of the "sociological imagination," we will consider topics such as political staging and identity formation, criminality and corporate culture, and ghetto narratives and class tourism. Authors and texts for this course include C. L. R. James, George Lipsitz, Barbara Smith, Raymond Williams, Lisa Lowe, bell hooks, American Psycho, The Rag Doll Plagues, and The Smartest Guys in the Room. Yes, we will also talk about The Wire.



ENG 601.0001
Prof. Peter Covino
T 7:00-9:45 PM

CREATIVE WRITING SEMINAR IN POETRY:
DEVELOPING AND EVALUATING A COLLECTION OF POETRY

Poetry as prophetic utterance, as communication of otherness, as sacred fragment and (re-) constituted song...poetry as humorous disjunction, and psychic displacement, as a turning away from the known or quantifiable—as artistic expression that rejects any type of mediation and chronicles, through its sounding, its syllables, and even the silences that which challenges, provokes, and produces available joy and/or haunts us, often simultaneously, or all at once... Students will work arduously to evaluate and write publishable poems and establish a personal theory of poetics by considering principles of thematic and stylistic unity and/or disunity, audience response, and even anti-and ultra-artistic principles. We will consider work written in English and in translation, selected from specific collections of poetry from such canonical writers as Sappho (translated by Ann Carson), Dante, Keats, Rimbaud, Langston Hughes, and more contemporary writers such as Amelia Rosselli, Audre Lorde, Louise Glück, Tim Liu, and Kathleen Ossip. Supplemental theoretical writing about poetics and textual pleasure, and teaching poetry will be culled from Roland Barthes and Joshua Marie Wilkinson's Poets on Teaching: A Sourcebook. New and revised poems and/or frequent short writing responses are required. *Students more interested in scholarly writing may substitute a longer critical essay (15 pp minimum), instead of a manuscript of poems. Advanced poets as well as critical writers of varied interests are encouraged to take this course, which will explore ideas behind how books of poetry are organized.  While the bulk of the workshop will focus on the development and intensive revision of student poems, we will spend focused time appreciating and evaluating strategies for assessing, and arranging a longer manuscript of poetry.