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URI Providence Campus

English

Sample Course Descriptions


Typical Fall Semester Courses
Typical Spring Semester Courses

This term's English Course Offerings


 

Sample of Fall Semester Course Offerings with Descriptions for English:

ENG 110 - Introduction to Literature

Students will be analyzing literature through reading and discussion of a number of genres derived from a variety of literary cultures. This course strives to improve reading comprehension, writing clarity and analytical skills by introducing the student to three literary genres: short stories, drama, and poetry by national and international authors, playwrights, and poets.  Further, our close readings and our discussions will allow us to witness how significantly literature mirrors our lives.

 

ENG 201 - Principles of Literary Study

This course is designed to introduce English majors to the study of today’s most important critical theories and philosophies and their application to works of literature. In addition, you will read the works of the most prominent writers in each critical theory.

 

ENG 205 - Creative Writing/Fiction

Learn how to hone your craft as a creative writer of fiction in this hands-on class featuring readings, examples of best practices and peer critique.

 

ENG 205 - 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 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, including Basho Matsuo, Osip Mandelstam, Kate Greenstreet, Harryette Mullen and others.  We'll also create publications, attend and host readings, go on "nature walks" around Providence, and, of course, write.

 

ENG 205 - Creative Writing: Fiction/Screenwriting

From in class writing exercises to completion of a short film script, we will explore the process of screenwriting.  To become more literate in the medium, and to better understand the process of going from page to screen we will read and analyze successful screenplays.  We will look at work  by Hollywood writers and Independents alike, and view the results of their labor on the screen.

 

ENG 241 - U.S. Literature Part I

This course examines the early literature of the United States, focusing on works published between the Revolutionary period through the Civil War. The concepts of both "literature" and "nation" were in constant flux during this formative period, and over the course of the semester, we will trace the development of an "American" tradition of letters, exploring the many ways that writing helped shape and challenge understandings of U.S. culture and identity. Texts to be covered will include a wide range of genres, including essays, poems, autobiographies, stories, and novels, and an equally wide range of perspectives, including works by political and revolutionary leaders, women, Native Americans, African Americans, frontier settlers, and European immigrants.

 

ENG 242 - US Literature Part II: America’s “Alter” Egos

Otherness is a recurrent “issue” in the modern world. We face it on an everyday basis and usually take it for granted. Some even go as far as assume that American identity is entirely based on otherness. In this course, we are going to examine how a few significant literary and cinematic pieces from the vast territory of the American post-Civil War era to day construct, represent, challenge, deal with, and bask in “alter” egos, alterity, and “other” related issues. From Philip Nolan’s self-inflicted expulsion and eventual coming to an understanding of what it truly means to be American, as portrayed in Edward Everett Hale’s “The Man Without a Country,” to a disjoined picture of racial and other social tensions in the recently acclaimed Crash, along with a handful of theoretical texts implemented in order to help us acquire some proper vocabulary related to the issues discussed in the texts, the course will offer an overview of some stellar literary and cinematic works in modern American literature along with an insight into a trajectory of the construction and perpetuation of otherness in our culture. Welcome to my “other” course!

 

ENG 243 - The Short Story

This course will offer an overview of the short story genre, examining its origins, its development, and its place in contemporary literature. We will begin by considering the art of storytelling before the emergence of the short story, including the diverse shapes that stories initially took on in the forms of myths and legends, tales and fables, parables and allegories. Proceeding from this foundation, we will consider the modern history of the genre itself, grounded in the innovations of German writers of the nineteenth century, such as Goethe and the Grimm Brothers, and leading to the introduction of the short story into the American literary landscape by Washington Irving. In addition to the historical overview, we will examine the elements of fiction commonly employed in the short story (p[lot, character, setting, point of view, style and voice, symbolism, allegory, and theme) and introduce materials on how best to go about reading, interpreting, and writing critically about short stories, through Reaction and Research Papers, for the academic classroom. Current theories of literary criticism will be discussed. The reading list will include the works of diverse authors highly regarded for their efforts in the genre, from early offerings by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, and Kate Chopin to the work of twentieth century practitioners such as James Joyce, Ralph Ellison, Albert Camus, Flannery O’Connor, Raymond Carver, and Alice Walker – among many others.

 

ENG 248 - Afro-American Literature from 1900 to the Present

A critical examination of twentieth-century African-American literature, with emphasis on major issues, movements and trends, including the study of W. E. B. DuBois, the Harlem Renaissance, the civil rights movement, and the black arts movement.

ENG 251 - British Literature Part I

This course presents a survey of British literature from Anglo-Saxon times to the Neo-Classical Age.  Beginning with the Old English epic, BEOWULF, the course looks at works from the Medieval and Renaissance periods and the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.  SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT, THE CANTERBURY TALES, MORTE DARTHUR, medieval and renaissance drama, the poetry of Spenser, Sidney, and Shakespeare, Milton's PARADISE LOST, and Swift's
GULLIVER'S TRAVELS are representative selections.

ENG 260 - Women and Literature


                                                                                   
ENG 303 - Cinematic Auteurs

This course will explore auteur theory in relation to four postmodern directors. French film theorist André Bazin, in his What Is Cinema? (1967) describes the
importance of the director’s construction of a signature or stamp in their body of
work. This signature is then bound to forms of reception, spectatorship, status, and
aesthetic style. We will look at the function of the auteur and their dependence on
the star system in the 1950s to present day, as well as how the auteur and their
filmmaking functions in our current neoliberal system. Weekly screenings include
films by Kubrick, Soderbergh, Wong, and Loach.

 

ENG 304 - The Rise of Film Noir

Film Noir is easily recognizable but difficult to define.  The term refers mainly to those movies made in Hollywood during the 1940’s and 1950’s, that were dark in both thematic content and visual style.  With themes drawn from the world of urban crime and corruption they were peopled by shady and neurotic characters. This course will examine major works of film noir, taking into account the historical/cultural contexts in which they were produced and seen, the earlier influences that shaped them (most notably German Expressionism and the conventions of the American hard-boiled detective novel), and the noir legacy in more recent films (sometimes called Neo-Noir).  In-class screenings and discussions will include films such as: Double Indemnity(1944), Murder My Sweet (1944), Detour (1945), The Stranger (1946), Possessed  (1947), Out of the Past (1947), Body Heat (1981), The Last Seduction  (1994) 

 

ENG 338 - Native American Literature and Postmodern Identity

The purpose of this class is to explore the conflicted subject position of American Indians as represented in popular culture as well as the manner in which American Indians inscribe their own subjectivity in films and literature. Many American hold conflicting and often contradictory images of American Indians. Is the Indian viewed nostalgically as someone whose land was appropriated and his/her culture erased? Is the American Indian a symbol of intuitive wisdom in tune with his/her surroundings and thus seen ultimately as the ‘survivor’ in the twenty-first century? Or are Indians tethered to the stereotypes of primitivism and savagism, displaced into less offensive popular stereotypes?

Our study first will concentrate on the visual representations of Indians as depicted in paintings, photographs, popular cultural images, ethnographic films. Secondly, we will focus on the novels and films made by prominent American Indians. We also will focus on such topics as the different community experiences of American Indians, and the construction and deconstruction of the self in novels/films. Finally, we also attempt to formulate our own definition of what encompasses American Indian literature as well as its placement within the American literary canon.

 

ENG 347 - Antebellum US Literature

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the new nation of the United States of America was still in the process of forging a cultural identity.  In the literary sphere, writers initially tended to imitate familiar British literary forms and genres.  But as the century progressed, a spirit of innovation suffused American literature, as writers increasingly began to experiment with their novels, short stories, and poetry.  This period, known as the American Renaissance, was driven in no small part by the vast increase in American publishing and readership in the early to mid-nineteenth century.  But it was also driven by engagement with the ever-changing and increasingly volatile society in which these writers lived and wrote.  By 1860, American writers had established a diverse, original, and exhilarating canon of work, even as a looming civil war threatened the very foundations of the republic whose literary traditions they were establishing.

In this class, we will be reading a variety of works by American writers in the pre-Civil War period.  We’ll be examining some of the key figures in the American Renaissance, and consider the elements of their texts that indicate new developments in American literature.  We’ll also be paying close attention to the way these writers engaged with the intellectual, cultural and historic currents of the day.  In particular, we’ll be thinking about literature’s role in narrating the horrors of slavery, and the ways in which these texts represent the era’s anxieties about the structure and direction of American society.

 

ENG 348 - U.S. Literature and Culture 1865-1914

A study of post civil war effects on poetry and the novel: Whitman, Dickinson, Crane, Clemens, Faulkner, and Cather.

 

ENG 362 - African American Literary Genres

In this course students will study drama and poetry in the continued oral and written heritage of Africa and America.  Students will focus on the works of Baraka, Bullins, Dunbar, Giovanniu, Hughes, and Walker.

 

ENG 366 - Greek and Roman Drama

This course offers reading and interpretation of the classic Greek and Roman Drama and their implication and effect on the neo-classic and modern theatre. Modern plays continue to be influenced by the Greek and Roman styles at a time when the theatre is becoming increasingly more realistic. During the course we will read Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides the three major Greek tragedians, and the Roman playwright Seneca's rendition of the Greek masterpieces.

 

ENG 368 - The Bible

This course on the Bible as literature­-as opposed to Literature of the Bible­-investigates uses of biblical texts by Langland, Milton, the Chester Plays, Mark Twain and contemporary author Robert Coover, who in his fictions makes ample use of passages from both the Old and the New Testament.  Among the questions this course asks will be the relation between the nature of "revelation" and the diversity of its interpretation and recording, i.e., myth-making.
We will explore the richness and diversity of literature through in-depth reading, discussion, and writing about these texts.  Close reading and discussion should give you an understanding and appreciation of fiction in general, and of our writers' use of material from the Bible in particular.  Our focus will be on authorial strategies and themes explored.  History, geography, and ancient myths will be introduced as they impact on the texts at hand.  Furthermore, you will learn the appropriate terminology as tools for textual and critical analysis.  Finally, through this experience you can develop or refine the capacity for self-expression and communication.

 

ENG 378 - Aspects of Postmodernism

In this course we will read contemporary texts and discuss postmodern issues, problems, writing styles, techniques and more,   What is  new about post-modern literature?  What are its concerns?  In what ways does it relate to readers?

In novels and short stories we will examine the postmodern treatment of
concepts such as identity, love, sexuality, work, faith, family, grief, aging, and death.

 

English 383 - Testimonial Modernism: Language, Identity and Trauma

This course examines the ways in which the international modernist novel both participates in and refigures literature of testimony and trauma. We will chart the aesthetic innovation of the first half of the twentieth-century in comparison to both predecessor and future periods and movements and work to develop a coherent and sophisticated understanding of the variety of concerns, styles and issues that come to light through a connection of the concepts of modernism and testimony. Among the questions we will consider are: Can the modernist novel be understood as testimony? What is the specific ability of literature and of fiction to testify to the “truth” of modernism?  Readings will include: Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury; Joyce, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; Musil, Confusions of Young Torless; and Barker, Regeneration.

 

ENG 447 - 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, 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 - Shakespeare

A study of select comedies, tragedies, and romances from his mature period.

 


Sample of Spring Semester Course Offerings with Descriptions for English:

Words Worth Providence

“get your word’s worth”

ENG 110 - Introduction to Literature

This course is an introduction to three major genres of literature: short fiction, poetry, and drama. Its intent is to enhance your understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of these three areas of literature while at the same time acquiring critical reading, thinking, and writing skills.  We will be analyzing literature through reading and discussion of a number of genres derived from a variety of literary cultures.

 

ENG 202 - Introduction to Literary Study

Introduction to the study of literature and culture through written responses to and participation in a series of faculty presentations reflecting current critical and creative practices in the discipline.

 

ENG 205B - Introduction to Creative Writing: Fiction

This course offers an introduction to creative fiction writing for beginning writers. We will learn writing techniques by examining the traditional short story and newer forms of literature such as Flash and Micro-fiction. There will be weekly discussions of readings and topics such as character, setting, and suspense. Students will be expected to complete two original works of fiction (short stories or novel chapters) for class discussion, and a final project. Course work will include weekly readings of published literature, class discussion, and written critiques of work written by fellow class members. All students will be expected to present their own work, and participate in weekly writing workshops. The course will also include include writing exercises, which may be read in class, and the completion of a portfolio of your own creative work, and other work you do for the course.

 

ENG 205B - Introduction to Creative Writing: Fiction

We are a community of writers. We read closely and listen carefully as we share our stories in this class. We respect ourselves, that is, all others in the group and the writing with which we are in process. We form a safe and enjoyable space wherein we create, experiment and analyze.

 

ENG 241 - U.S. Literature Part I

This course examines the early literature of the United States, focusing on works published between the Revolutionary period through the Civil War. The concepts of both "literature" and "nation" were in constant flux during this formative period, and over the course of the semester, we will trace the development of an "American" tradition of letters, exploring the many ways that writing helped shape and challenge understandings of U.S. culture and identity. Texts to be covered will include a wide range of genres, including essays, poems, autobiographies, stories, and novels, and an equally wide range of perspectives, including works by political and revolutionary leaders, women, Native Americans, African Americans, frontier settlers, and European immigrants.

 

ENG 242 - U.S. Literature Part II

After introducing a selection of post-Civil War and Modernist writers, this course will concentrate on literary productions of the Postmodern period.  The latter group's achievements came from a reaction against Modernism's exaltation of unity and grand narrative.  We will investigate how Postmodern writers use new literary strategies to rewrite history, to make popular and high culture collide, to let fact meet fiction, and/or engage in technoculture.  Most importantly, though, the focus will be on "a good story, told well."

 

ENG 243 - The Short Story

Students in this course will study the genre of short fiction from its early development in the nineteenth century to its contemporary forms and achievements.  Prototypical works such as the tales of Hawthorne, Poe, and Gogol will make way for the great short stories of realism and modernism at the end of the nineteenth and into the early twentieth century by such authors as Maupassant, Chopin, Chekhov, Joyce, Wharton, Hemingway, and Fitzgerald. The triumph of the genre of short fiction by the mid- and late-twentieth century will be looked at in the stories of such writers as Faulkner, Baldwin,
Cheever, O'Connor, Roth, O'Brien, Carver, and Mason.

 

ENG 243 - The Short Story

This course will offer an overview of the short story genre, examining its origins, its development, and its place in contemporary literature. We will begin by considering the art of storytelling before the emergence of the short story, including the diverse shapes that stories initially took on in the forms of myths and legends, tales and fables, parables and allegories.

Proceeding from this foundation, we will consider the modern history of the genre itself, grounded in the innovations of German writers of the nineteenth century, such as Goethe and the Grimm Brothers, and leading to the introduction of the short story into the American literary landscape by Washington Irving.

In addition to the historical overview, we will examine the elements of fiction commonly employed in the short story (plot, character, setting, point of view, style and voice, symbolism, allegory, and theme) and introduce materials on how best to go about reading, interpreting, and writing critically about short stories, through Reaction and Research Papers, for the academic classroom.  Current theories of literary criticism will be discussed.

The reading list will include the works of diverse authors highly regarded for their efforts in the genre, from early offerings by Edgar Allan Poe and Kate Chopin to the work of twentieth century practitioners such as James Joyce, Ralph Ellison, Flannery O’Connor, Raymond Carver, and Alice Walker—among many others.  Students will also have the opportunity to offer their own ideas for class readings, as well.

 

ENG 251 - British Literature Survey Part I

In the year 400, Britain was a cold, remote outpost of the Roman Empire, beset by barbarian raiders. By the year 1700, Britain had become a stable, modern capitalist state, with a vibrant economy, a powerful military, and colonies in America and the West Indies. (It was, however, still cold.)  An important dimension of this progression was the growth of the English language from a minor Germanic dialect to the versatile and expressive language spoken today.

This class will provide a broad chronological overview of British literature from the post-Roman period through the eighteenth century. Starting with some of the earliest works in Old English, we will read a variety of texts produced by great authors of the medieval, early modern, and Restoration periods. In doing so, we will witness the development of familiar literary forms such as poetry, drama, and the novels. We will also begin to grasp the artistic, cultural and political currents that influenced the production of these works. Our analysis will consider the works’ relationship to the important historical events of the period, without neglecting each text’s considerable artistic merits. Additionally, we will consider the formal and thematic influence these works have had on our own contemporary culture.

 

ENG 252 - British Literature Survey Part II

In order to think critically of the present, we must be able to read critically the past.  This introductory-level course focuses on British literature of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  We will consider the relationships among romanticism, Victorianism, modernism, and postmodernism by reading fiction and poetry closely—in terms of their own forms—and broadly—in light of historical events and cultural questions.

 

ENG 262 - Introduction to Literary Genres: Literary NonFiction

Autobiography: This course will explore and examine autobiographical texts.   What determines the story that one tells about oneself?   What is the reader's role in interpreting autobiography? What can accounts of other lives, in other places, at other times yield us?  We'll reflect on these and many more questions as we read autobiographical writings (long and short). Discussion is very important here. There will be a few quizzes, two or three written responses, and a final paper and/or exam.

 

ENG 280 - Introduction to Shakespeare

A study of pivotal comedies, history plays, and tragedies.

 

ENG300A - 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 includes readings of different types of plays from different periods in history and viewings of their adaptations for film.  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 also look at the shared and unique characteristics of the two mediums and their respective forms of narrative, and we will take into account contextual factors of technology, conventions and genres, and will consider the question of art versus entertainment.  Plays / films to be studies will include such works as Romeo & Juliet, Cyrano de Bergerac, and Death of a Salesman.

 

ENG 304 - Film Genres: World Cinema

Over the last ten years, there has been a significant shift in the theoretical problems and popularity of world cinema, moving beyond its once peripheral labeling by film and English departments. Examples of this can be seen as the University of Leeds established the first masters degree program in world cinema, to a large number of publications on the subject, to scholars from more mainstream fields contributing to the debate of filmmaking from the Third World and newer postcolonial states. In general, these many cultures, film practices and ideologies that determine what is meant by the term world cinema, also seem to challenge our understanding of this global filmmaking. This course will ask what world cinema is by introducing students to the key debates surrounding the different contexts of the term, gathering ideas from the following theorists: Armes, Andrew, Codell, Hill, Lim, Stam, Wayne. We shall also interrogate the ‘West and the Rest’ binarism that continues to launch much critical debate. Comparatively, is the concept of world cinema really working against the Hollywood hegemony, or is it inevitably fused to the rationality of globalization? Likely films that address these issues include: The Motorcycle Diaries (Argentina, 2004), Battle of Algiers (France, Italy and Algeria, 1958), Old Boy (Korea, 2003), Come Back, Africa (South Africa, 1959), Bumming in Beijing (China, 1990), Soy Cuba (Cuba, 1968), Farewell My Concubine (China, 1993), Amores Perros (Mexico, 2000), Sholay (India, 1975), A Time to Love (Iran, 1991).

 

ENG 305 - Creative Writing: Poetry

In this class we'll broaden and deepen our understanding of poetry and its possibilities by reading it, writing it, reading about it, writing about it, hearing it, presenting it. Our goals will include considering how we, as poets, fit into the larger context of the world, and how the world shapes us; the power language has, including 'power to' and 'power over'; asking what's relevant, what's risky, what's ethical, and what's clear. Publication and presentation, constraint and challenges, and a possible field trip to New York.
Note: You may enjoy this class even more if you took Introduction to Creative Writing with me in Fall 2007, but it is not a prerequisite.  We will be doing different things.

 

ENG 338 - Native American Literature and Postmodern Identity:

The purpose of this class is to explore the conflicted subject position of American Indians as represented in popular culture as well as the manner in which American Indians inscribe their own subjectivity in films and literature. Many Americans hold conflicting and often contradictory images of American Indians. Is the Indian viewed nostalgically as someone whose land was appropriated and his/her culture erased? Is the American Indian a symbol of intuitive wisdom in tune with his/her surroundings and thus seen ultimately as the ‘survivor’ in the twenty-first century? Or are Indians tethered to the stereotypes of primitivism and savagism, displaced into less offensive popular stereotypes?

Our study first will concentrate on the visual representations of Indians as depicted in paintings, photographs, popular cultural images, ethnographic films. Secondly, we will focus on the novels and films made by prominent American Indians. We also will focus on such topics as the different community experiences of American Indians, and the construction and deconstruction of the self in novels/films. Finally, we also attempt to formulate our own definition of what encompasses American Indian literature as well as its placement within the American literary canon.

 

ENG 348 - US Literature and Culture 1865-1914

In 1865, battered from an arduous and bloody civil war, America faced an uncertain future.  Ongoing racial tensions, an escalating influx of immigrants, a mounting women’s movement, and rabid progress towards urbanization and industrialization made for a turbulent and volatile social landscape.  Such a backdrop provided rich material for America’s authors.  In this course will we read extensively, fiction and non-fiction, to explore post-bellum literary developments and engage with the cultural challenges of the era.  Frequent writing assignments and serious commitment to reading and discussion are essential components of this course.  Authors we will likely encounter include: Horatio Alger, Charles Chesnutt, Kate Chopin, Stephen Crane, W.E.B. Du Bois, Henry James, James Weldon Johnson, Upton Sinclair, Gertrude Stein, and Mark Twain.

 

ENG 367 - The Epic

This course is designed for reading and understanding the structure and interpretation of Greek and Roman Epic poetry. These poetic compositions are some of the earliest forms of writing to survive from a distant past and are considered the best of their genre; they are among the most important documents of Western Civilization. In this course we will study The Iliad and The Odyssey of Homer, and the Roman epic, The Aeneid of Virgil. We will also analyze their correspondence with today’s issues of war and piece, and their effect on the expanding western civilization. We also will explain the composition of the modern Portuguese epics, The Lusiads, of Luis de Camoes and the English epic, Paradise Lost, of John Milton.

 

English 375 - British Literature of the Nineteenth Century

The nineteenth century was an era of extraordinary social change in England.  The industrialization that commenced in the latter half of the previous century accelerated, forever changing both the landscape and the demographics of Britain.  This process helped achieve riches for the “captains of industry” who spearheaded it, but it also generated great social upheaval.  Meanwhile, Britain reached the apex of its imperial power, generating even more wealth for the country.  As both wealth and literacy increased, British men and women read more than ever before, and the publishing world boomed.  Consequently, the era saw the production of many great works of prose and poetry.  The Romanticism of the first part of the century gave way to a new realism, where writers increasingly attempted to represent the changes that were taking place in British society.

In this class, we’ll be reading some of the novels, poetry, and prose of the nineteenth century.  Concentrating primarily on the Victorian age, we’ll be studying how the literature engages with the various social currents of the era, including capitalism, colonialism, industrialization, and evolution.  We’ll also examine popular various literary forms of the time, and consider the development of now familiar literary genres, including the detective story, Gothic horror, and science fiction.  Finally, we’ll be considering how the literature scrutinized the various social mores and pressures of the era.

 

ENG 379 - Contemporary Literature

Contemporary Reflections: Who am I? What am I? We all ask ourselves these questions at some point in our lives, and their answers have led us to new and sometimes fearsome territories. This course will explore what it means to ask these questions today. How do contemporary authors, film directors, and philosophers reflect on themselves and each other? How do they reflect each other, and what are they reflected in? Is contemporary culture more given to self-reflection than in previous times, and is self-reflection easier or more difficult in an increasingly global and technological world?
Some of the texts and films we will be examining: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro;
The Attack by Yasmina Khadra; My Year of Meats by Ruth L. Ozeki; The Nature of Blood by Caryl Phillips; After Dark by Haruki Murakami; Fight Club (dir. David Flincher); Crash (dir. Paul Haggis). By the end of the course, you will have studied some of the most exciting and important texts in contemporary literature, and in doing so, you should be able to ask – and answer – these questions: Who am I? What am I? How do I know this? And why?

 

ENG 381 - Topics in Medieval and Renaissance Literature:

Marlow and Jonson: A study of Marlowe’s tragedies and Jonson’s comedies. The Elizabethan and Jacobean theater at its best.

 

ENG 385 - Women Writers

Women’s autobiography/fiction/memoirs: Some women write not to go mad. Others write about their experiences traveling alone across the country, looking for their Mexican roots; and still some write about their daughters, mothers, ancestral ghosts, negative body images, sexual fear. This class explores women’s writing and their wide-ranging literary visions through autobiography/fiction/ memoirs, from the early 1930s (the beginning of the first wave of feminist thought represented by Virginia Woolf) to the present (Eve Ensler’s new book), examining a varied range of ethnicities, class statuses, and sexual orientations. The goal of the class is to trace the development of women’s literatures and to ask what female literature is? Is it a distinct language as Kristeva and other French feminists assert? Are there other ways that we can describe the mapping out of women’s language territory and of self through writing?

ENG 387 - Foundational Texts in Modern Gay and Lesbian Culture:

This course is an exploration of canonical and lesser known works that thematize representations of homosexuality in literature from the late 19th through the 20th century. Also at issue will be the hetero-homosexual  binary and the theoretical distinctions between "gay and lesbian" and "queer."
Readings will include theoretical texts by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Michel Foucault, and Judith Butler as well as novels by Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster, Radclyffe Hall and contemporary writers Pat Barker and Alan Hollinghurst.

ENG 399 - Special Topics:  Violence, Myth and Narratives of the American West

This course will explore the way in which the West has been defined, imagined and mythologized, and how that myth has been manipulated, exploited, deflated, and questioned by contemporary American writers.  The course will begin with examinations of the immediate post-civil war period, critically examining myth-making blind-spots, paying close attention to texts which examine not just the culture of the west, but the western landscape, gathering perspectives from marginalized or minority depictions, and moving toward contemporary revisionist narratives, while considering the influence of cinematography and film iconography of this particular terrain.  The course will examine both the romanticism of west, and those violent revisionist texts which seek to both debunk and reaffirm this romanticism.  Texts will include John Muir’s non-fictional account of his travels in the Sierra Nevadas, Charles Portis’s True Grit, Michael Ondaatje’s The Real Life of Billy the Kid, and Leslie Marmon Silko’s Storyteller, a wide selection of stories from contemporary Western and Midwestern writers including Annie Proulix's "Broke Back Mountain" and William Gass's "The Pedersen Kid",  Cormac McCarthy’s _Blood Meridian_, as well as portions of John Ford's filmic Cavalry trilogy.

 

ENG 482 - American Enlightenment Authors

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 "primitive" peoples, and the development of nationalism and cosmopolitanism. Authors will include Charles Brockden Brown, Benjamin Franklin, Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, Royall Tyler, and J. Hector St. John De Crevecoeur.