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Department of English

Course Offerings: Spring 2012

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 245.0001
staff
MW 4:00 - 5:45 PM

INTRODUCTION TO FILM DECADES  


ENG 302.0200
Staff
T 7:00-9:45 PM
Providence Campus

TOPICS IN FILM THEORY & 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 304.0001
Professor Jean Walton

Lec TTH 2:00-3:15 PM
Lab TTH 3:30-5:30 PM

FILM GENRES

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.  You 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.  Directors to be included will be Wexler, Altman, Pakula, Dixon, Coppola, Lumet, Forbes, De Palma, Ashby.   



ENG 305A.0001
Staff
MW 3:00-4:15 PM

ADVANCED CREATIVE WRITING: POETRY

Intensive writing and reading workshop for students at the advanced level who have preferably taken at least on e previous class in creative writing. 


ENG 305A.0200
Staff
W 4:00-6:45 PM
Providence Campus

ADVANCED CREATIVE WRITING: POETRY

Intensive writing and reading workshop for students at the advanced level who have preferably taken at least on e previous class in creative writing.



ENG 305D.0002
Staff
MW 4:30-5:45 PM

ADVANCED CREATIVE WRITING: SCREEN WRITING

 Intensive writing and reading workshop for students at the advanced level who have preferably taken at least on e previous class in creative writing.


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

NATIVE AMERICAN LITERATURE


ENG 356.0001
Professor Valerie Karno
T 4:00 - 7:00 PM

LITERATURE AND THE LAW


ENG 364.0001
Professor Gitahi Gititi
TTH 9:30-10:45 PM

CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN LITERATURE

Like literature and related disciplines, contemporary African film concerns itself with questions of self-definition and the establishment of an authentic tradition of self-representation. A corollary issue is the creation of African film as both intellectual property and commercial artefact, allied to the larger process of establishing and maintaining political and economic power; the reconstruction of cultural foundations eroded by European colonization. Seen as a more direct tool of communication than many other modalities, film addresses issues of individual and group morality, ethics, social class formation and its consequences, gender disparity, and other problems afflicting post-colonial African states, including the nature of political authority and its legitimization, nation-building, conflict resolution, as well as projections of the present and the future.

ENG 367.0001
Professor Peter Covino
TTH 12:30-1:45 PM

THE EPIC

We will explore the thematic and stylistic interrelationships and the historical legacy of some of the most important literary epics ever written, including Homer’s The Iliad, Virgil’s The Aeneid; Dante’s Inferno, sections of Milton’s Paradise Lost, and the Modernist epic William Carlos Williams’ Paterson. The course will offer an in-depth exploration of various innovations and conventions of the epic—such as epic similes, digressions, catalogues, the use of prayer and invocation, the role of God(s)—and will focus on how and why this originally oral tradition continues to impact us as one of the most sophisticated and challenging literary genres. Students will routinely be asked to offer close readings of key passages in order to explicate moments of textual complexity and interpretive interest. Responses will be supplemented by consideration of important critical theories related to the study of the epic as suggested by Aristotle, Walter Benjamin, Gyorgy Lukacs, Mikhail Bakhtin, Northrop Frye, John Freccero, and Albert Ascoli, among others. When applicable, the enduring influence of the epic in art, film, and in contemporary culture will also be considered. We will devote focused attention to how issues of integrating history, cultural myths, and imaginative discourses are enhanced by poetic strategies and, when appropriate, divergent theories of translation.

ENG 367.0200
Staff
TTH 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 374.0001
Professor Sarah Eron
TTH 11:00-12:15

BRITISH LITERATURE 1660-1800:
THE EMBODIED MIND: REASON AND THE PASSIONS IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY

This course will explore pathologies of feeling in the eighteenth century and what such pathologies meant for the construction of the modern individual. According to eighteenth-century thought, feeling, as a mode of vitality, had the capacity to move, to invigorate us; yet
it also had the potential to overwhelm. In moments of extreme emotional identification, the mind could suffer from delusions of misperception. Such philosophical and physiological assumptions about feeling predated the nineteenth-century invention of psychology and
corresponded with an Enlightenment belief in the mind-body continuum. Is there a danger in feeling too much? How does the mind-body react to objects of sympathy and art, to visions, spectacles and performances? We will look at the relationship between reason and the passions, the mind and the body, in a variety of eighteenth-century works that address the problem of feeling. Readings will be evenly distributed over a variety of genres (plays, poems, novels, and selections from philosophical essays). Authors may include: Lawrence Sterne, Alexander Pope, George Lillo, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Denis Diderot, Adam Smith, Eliza Haywood, Jane Austen, S.T. Coleridge, and William Blake.


ENG 376.0001
Professor Carolyn Betensky
TTH 2:00-3:15 PM

TOPICS IN VICTORIAN LITERATURE AND CULTURE

Topics in Victorian Literature:  The Sensation Novel.  Sensation fiction was a genre that hit its peak of popularity in the 1860s.  And popular it was:  full of scandalous goings-on, doublings, impersonations, and hallucinatory experiences, the genre was read avidly by the broadest audience imaginable (and criticized just as energetically by disapproving moral arbiters).   We will be reading some of the most beloved and shocking of these novels with an eye toward recognizing and analyzing the anxieties and fantasies they encode.


ENG 376.0200
Staff
TH 7:00-9:45 PM
Providence Campus

TOPICS IN VICTORIAN LITERATURE AND CULTURE

Study of major trends in late 17th- and 18th-century verse, prose, drama, and fiction by such writers as Milton, Dryden, Behn, Congreve, Pope, Finch, Swift, and Johnson.


ENG 382.0200
Staff
M 7:00-9:45 PM
Providence Campus

TOPICS IN RENAISSANCE LITERATURE

Emphasis on cultural and interdisciplinary issues. (Lec. 3, Project 3) May be repeated once with a different topic.


ENG 385.0001
Professor Dorothy Donnelly
TTH 3:30-4:45 PM

WOMEN WRITERS: EMILY DICKINSONAND ADRIENNE RICH

This course will offer an in-depth study of the poetry of Emily Dickinson and Adrienne Rich. The focus will be on the thematic and stylistic approaches in the works of Dickinson and Rich, and on the historical and social milieu which shaped their methods and themes. One of the important aims of the course will be to explore the contrast between the central themes dealt with in the works of two major American women poets who wrote almost exactly one hundred years apart from each other.

The course will be discussion in format. Requirements include a mid-semester and a final examination, as well as a short critical paper.


ENG 396.0001
Professor Martha Elena Rojas
TTH 3:30-4:45 PM

LITERATURE OF THE SEA: RUMOWICZ SEMINAR
VIEWING THE SEA

Writing about the sea is rife with ocular metaphors. Herman Melville's works alone introduce us to the sailor's eye, the view from the masthead, and a peep at Polynesian life, ways of seeing and looking that emphasize the sense of perspective. In this course we will read literary texts that challenge our sense of perspective, that ask us to view maritime literature from the shore, from ships in an indifferent ocean, and from the point of view of sailors, adventurers, pilots, merchants as well as fugitive slaves. We will grapple with the fiction of Cooper and Melville but also encounter texts like The Life of John Thompson, a slave narrative that recounts escape from re-enslavement by enlisting on a whaling vessel; Whitman's seaside reveries, which record and contemplate the ocean's movements and emblematic power without taking their narrator or the reader out to sea; and Sarah Orne Jewett's novels, set on the Maine coast with characters that include coastal pilots (male and female), retired ship captains, widows of whalers and enterprising female merchants profiting from maritime trade. In addition to printed texts we will be analyzing visual and sonic adaptations such as Matt Kish's Moby-Dick in Pictures: One Drawing for Every Page and Laurie Anderson's Songs and Stories from Moby Dick.


ENG 472.0001
Professor Travis Williams
MW 3:00-4:15 PM

SHAKESPEARE

We will read widely and deeply in the dramatic texts of William Shakespeare, paying particular attention to how close attention to language reveals dramatic experience. When occasion presents itself, we will consider cultural, social, historical, and theatrical matters appropriate to the plays. We will distinguish and explore the connections between literary and dramatic interpretations of play texts. Three essays, online assignments, weekly responses, constant attendance, and vigorous participation are required for success in the course.


ENG 482.0001
Staff
T 4:00-6:45 PM

AMERICAN ENLIGHTENMENT AUTHORS


ENG 486.0001
Professor Sarah Eron
TTH 9:30-10:45 PM

BRITISH AUTHORS: 19th CENTURY
WORDSWORTH & ROUSSEAU

This course will begin with a survey of Rousseau's major works. In addition to selections from his philosophic and political essays, we will read in full his novel, Julie ou la Nouvelle Heloise, and his Confessions. Our purpose will be twofold: to understand Rousseau's influence on the English Enlightenment and to read him as a forerunner of British Romanticism. Topics will include: performance and politics, gender and education, theater and spectacle, nature and society, human error and exile. In particular, our examination of the famous autobiographical mode that informed Rousseau's Confessions will open up a space for thinking about Romanticism's relationship to the individual subject. How is Romanticism defined by the act of confession - by an avowal of the self that arises from an admission of human error? Does the concept of the Romantic individual arise from an act of social exile, by a defiance of societal law that embraces nature as its self-affirming alternative? How does the act of wandering inform our sense of being? What is political or performative about Romantic acts of self expression? The second half of the course will take up these questions in light of Wordsworth's poetry as a foundational model for Romantic concepts of the self. In addition to selections from his Lyrical Ballads, we will read Wordsworth's Prelude as a revisionary reimagining of Rousseau's Confessions. Our discussions may include some alternative examples of the Romantic lyric in an attempt to define Romanticism through the lens of Wordsworth and Rousseau's confessional models of Romantic autobiography. Please note: Rousseau's works will be read in English translation; it is important that you purchase the editions provided in the bookstore.


ENG 489.0001
Professor Stephen Barber
M 4:00-6:45 PM

LITERATURE AND EMPIRE


CURRENT GRADUATE-SEMINAR OFFERINGS:

ENG 511.0001
Professor Valerie Karno
T 11:00-1:45 PM

INTRO TO PROFESSIONAL STUDIES II

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


ENG 543.0001
Professor David Faflik
TH 3:00-5:45 PM

STUDIES IN NINETEENTH CENTURY AMERICAN TEXTS:
READING THE ANTEBELLUM CITY

With the appearance in 1941 of scholar F. O. Matthiessen's seminal study *American Renaissance,* critics commonly came to apply the term "Renaissance" to the outpouring of "great" literary works that appeared in the United States during the momentous decade of the 1850s. It is no less common today to see Matthiessen's famous phrase applied in ways that he might not have anticipated. On the one hand, some would extend the term "Renaissance" to the general period of U.S. literary production that occurred from 1820 to 1865, the latter date marking the end of the nation's Civil War. On the other hand, revisionist scholars would expand Matthiessen's influential canon of elite artists to include additional "serious" and alternative "popular" writers whose very presence in or near the American canon must qualify how we define "literature," let alone literary "greatness," at least according to Matthiessen's own formalist terms.

In this spirit of revision, our course revisits the American Renaissance on urban terms. There is little about Renaissance that ostensibly lends itself to such a citified reading. Indeed, Matthiessen's vested aesthetic interest in what he names an "organic" literary form suggests to our minds "country" as much or more as it suggests "city." And yet Matthiessen's Renaissance coincides precisely with the United States' dramatic urban turn during the middle decades of the nineteenth century. We accordingly proceed from the assumption that the U.S. city provided more than a mere backdrop for period literature. Rather, urban America instigated the nation's Renaissance. A complex city helped to shape and sustain a complex Renaissance, even as a vibrant urban diversity laid constant siege to whatever formal organicism (and organic formalism) there was to be found in contemporary letters.

In the spirit of the antebellum city, then, this course examines the emergence of modern, metropolitan literature in the United States at a critical historical stage. Together, we will consider the following this semester:

  1. The various forms and functions of urban American writing from the period.
  2. Alternate urban representational forms, with special emphasis on the physical and visual city.
  3. Theories of "reading" the American metropolis.
  4. The complex connection between urban literature and urban society.
  5. Urban American diversity, as measured by the dynamic relations of race, class, region, gender, and ethnicity that have characterized the American metropolis.

ENG 557.0001
Professor Ryan Trimm
M 7:00 - 9:45 PM

STUDIES IN BRITISH TEXTS AFTER 1900: AFTER EMPIRE, BEYOND NATION

This course will examine contemporary British fiction and film through the shifting frame of the nation. The class will interrogate the association of culture, most especially the narrative form of the novel, with national identity. Culture, a concept of education formulated through the figuration of agriculture and cultivation, has long been associated with the national soil from which it purportedly springs. Such metaphors and naturalizations grow all the more fraught in the context of imperial relations, an exteriority undoing the claims of organic and chthonic national identity. Our consideration of postimperial Britain will thus be concerned with charting gaps and fissures in the negotiation of national identity. We will consider issues such as heritage and the politics of representation of the past, the cultural resonance of form, the loaded question of multiculturalism versus multiethnic, the impact of race on national identity, and the place of the nation after globalization. In addition to the literary historical narratives we will pursue, it will also be vital for us to investigate the topography of debates about the nation itself. We will discuss texts by authors/filmmakers such as Salman Rushdie, Zadie Smith, Caryl Phillips, Peter Ackroyd, Julian Barnes, Kazuo Ishiguro, David Mitchell, Stephen Frears, and Angela Carter. Our conversations will engage with critics/theorists such as Pheng Cheah, Jean-Luc Nancy, Jacques Ranciere, Gayatri Spivak, Benedict Anderson, Etienne Balibar, Simon Gikandi, Ian Baucom, Jed Esty, and Homi Bhabha.


ENG 605.0001
Professor Peter Covino
TH 7-9:45

SEMINAR IN GENRES:
READINGS IN MID-CENTURY AND CONTEMPORARY POETRY AND POETICS

We will explore some of the most important poetics movements of the mid-twentieth century and trace their legacy to the contemporary moment, beginning with Charles Olson's manifesto "Projective Verse" and his influence on the Beat movement and the New York School, with a closer look at the work of Allen Ginsberg, Diane di Prima, and James Schuyler. The effects of these wide-ranging movements on a world stage will also command our attention vis a vis the rise and opposition to the Neo-Avanguardia in Italy and the emergence of Language poetry and the poetic theory of Charles Bernstein, Lyn Hejinian, and others. Several other world poets and noted critics, both more idiosyncratic and traditional, will also stimulate us further to engage issues of translation theory, and ethnic and race consciousness; we'll read collections by Paul Celan, Adonis, Claire Malroux, and Dennis Brutus, and the literary criticism of Heidegger, Wittgenstein, and Marjorie Perloff. Students will be required to write short response papers, attempt their own creative efforts (if that's an interest), and produce one final seminar paper.


ENG 610.0001
Professor Kathleen Davis
T 4-6:45

SEMINAR IN HISTORICAL PERIODS:
MEDIEVAL LITERATURE AND POSTCOLONIAL STUDIES

Might it seem that medieval literature and postcolonial studies are far removed from one another? That’s what staid histories of Europe, built upon the carefully demarcated periods Medieval-Renaissance-Modern, would have you think. But “the Middle Ages,” like many other periodizations, acquired its defining characteristics and apparent solidity over the course of several centuries (chiefly the 17th through the 19th), in concert with political, economic, nationalist, and territorial efforts that included those of colonialism. Medievalists and postcolonial theorists alike have long recognized that European colonizers established their superiority in temporal terms by mapping colonial lands and peoples as backward in time, as still living in the Middle Ages. Indeed, to an important degree the idea of the Middle Ages issued from the same colonial imaginary that subsumed territory and time to the sphere of its real and desired control.

In this course we’ll examine this history and consider its implications both for postcolonial theory and for reading medieval literature, which had long been received in nationalistic terms.  We’ll read medieval texts (particularly romances) that engage some of the very issues central to colonial and postcolonial studies today, and consider them alongside the work of theorists including Giorgio Agamben, Talal Asad, Alain Badiou, Etienne Balibar, Homi Bhabha, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Partha Chatterjee, Jacques Derrida, Johannes Fabian, Michel Foucault, Paul Gilroy, and Edward Said.


ENG 625.0001
Professor Ashish Chadha
T 7-9:45

SEMINAR IN MEDIA: INDIAN CINEMA AND POSTCOLONIAL MODERNITY

Cinema's metaphoric relationship with modernity has been powerfully fixed in its history. The archive of Euro-American cinemas has been the primary location of the interrogation of this almost hegemonic associative discourse. Not surprisingly within this discursive universe, cinema of the non-western world has been largely marginalized. However recent scholarship on cinemas of the non-western world has produced a distinctive narrative that challenges this discursive framework and has given birth to a nuanced relationship. This course examines one such disruptive relationship - that of postcolonial modernity and cinema. In India, cinema has functioned as a crucial site for both the ontological and epistemological reconfiguration of modernity as a whole nation went to the theatres to see, experience and imagine what it means to be modern. Employing key cinematic texts emerging from the burgeoning Indian film industry in the second half of twentieth century this course examines the question of modernity in light of postcolonial theory. Popular films (by Mehbooh Khan, Karan Johar), art house films (by Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak), political films (by Mirnal Sen, Shayam Benegal) documentaries (by Films Division, Anand Patwardhan) and avant garde films (by Kumar Shahani, Mani Kaul) will be used in this course to comprehend and deconstruct the vexed relationship between cinema, modernity and the postcolony.