Spring 2015 Course Offerings

I will post the day and time that registration opens for the spring whenever I receive that information. For now, here is a look at the seven courses schedule to run in the spring, along with the professors running them:

ENGL 508: History of Drama in English:
  • Dr. Richard Medoff

This course will study selected dramatic works from the vantage of the cultures of the historical epochs they are embedded in. It will use a chronological approach, beginning with the drama in England: the medieval mystery cycles and morality plays; the emergence of secular drama in the 16th century and earlier 17th century, focusing on the precursors and contemporaries of Shakespeare; Restoration drama; the development of sentimentalism and the adaptation of drama to an increasingly middle class audience in the 18th Century; the closet drama of the Romantic era; 19th-century melodrama in Britain and America; and the emergence of the modern theater in the United Kingdom and the United States. 3 credits.

ENGL 514: James and Lawrence:
  • Dr. Sean Dugan

I have long been interested and intrigued by the question of how one attains personal and social freedom in a society that seems to reward conformity. Is it possible? Or, does one pay a price, social, professional, emotional, for such attempts? Two writers from two different worlds–the American Henry James, the son of a wealthy philosopher, and the English D.H. Lawrence, the son of a coal miner and a factory worker–differ in writing style and subject yet explore the complexities of an industrialized society and personal relationships. We will read novels and short stories by each, including Lawrence’s The Rainbow and Women in Love, James’s The Ambassadors and Portrait of a Lady, as well as selected short stories. We will explore the stylistics, the characterization, and the themes in order to answer the question of how one resolves, if at all, conflicting demands of society’s expectations and the an individual’s quest for an understanding of self and of happiness. 3 credits.

ENGL 515: Sport Literature:
  • Dr. David Kilpatrick
Why do we tell stories about sport? Why does sport so readily offer itself to storytelling? What is sport? What is literature? How do these distinct cultural spheres interact and inform one another?
Sport is arguably the most popular cultural sphere in contemporary society. Sport means so much to so many yet so few have come to terms with the meaning of sport. If sport reveals character (ethos) that is because we make meaning of sport through narrative conventions. While we process sport as literature with the stories we tell, of our heroes and/or ourselves, this mimetic impulse uses narrative to represent and interpret sporting events as well as inspire texts of creative nonfiction and fiction that extend sport beyond the physical action in time and space to the imagined action in the space of literature.
Often sport and literature are viewed as antithetical cultural modes. The ontotheological tradition is grounded in the binary opposition of the spiritual and physical. Consequently, representations of the body and its actions are viewed as a corruptive influence, distracting from spiritual/intellectual concerns. Sport literature challenges this binary, rejecting the dualism of mind and body as reductive and simplistic, rejecting the prejudice of high and low culture. Throughout this course we will consider: What methodologies might sport studies mimic or borrow from literary criticism? Are there unique and/or dominant narrative trends or concerns that appear in literary texts that address sporting subjects? How have representations of sport changed through time? Do certain sports lend themselves more readily to literature than others? Do certain sports inspire certain types of literature? Should sport literature be understood as a distinct genre and how might genre studies facilitate the scholarly engagement with sport literature? 3 credits.
ENGL 521: Themes and Genres of Medieval Literature:
  • Dr. David Fritz

This medieval literature course lays the foundation of the underpinnings of Western society’s literature for centuries after the first utterances of Anglo-Saxon literature became written. This class examines the literature of both women and men from The Book of Marjorie Kempe to The Canterbury Tales. We will see how the influence of the church is seminal in preserving and in perpetuating the literature of this time. That said, medieval literature offers today’s student a foundational knowledge of literature as well as an exploration into oft-neglected authors whose works didn’t make it into the canon. 3 credits.

ENGL 540: Magic in Literature:
  • Dr. Boria Sax

This course examines alchemy, together with related activities that now impress us as “magical,” as a virtually all-inclusive discipline which laid much of the foundation for later literature, art, and science. It looks at the beginnings of alchemy in the ancient world, and how these developed, along with the revival of Classical learning, in the Renaissance. Finally, it looks at the continuing influence of magic in Romantic, Modern, and Post-Modern literature and culture. Readings include works by Hesiod, Ben Johnson, Shakespeare, E. T. A. Hoffmann, J. R. Rowling and others. Textbooks include The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age by Frances Yates. 3 credits.

ENGL 545: Literature of the Left Bank, Paris:
  • Dr. Christopher Loots

This course will examine the people, culture, and modernist writings of the expatriate community of the Parisian Left Bank during the early and mid twentieth century. This will include an exploration of the significance of Sylvia Beach’s Shakespeare & Company bookstore and lending library, and of intellectual and artistic salons such as those of Natalie Barney and Gertrude Stein. The course will additionally consider the doings and writings of expatriate authors moving through or closely associated with the Left Bank’s modernist enterprise: e.g., Edith Wharton, Mina Loy, Ernest Hemingway, Andre Breton, Nancy Cunard, Zelda Fitzgerald, James Joyce, H.D., Janet Flanner, and James Baldwin. An emphasis will be placed on studying the cultural geography of this location which attracted many of the world’s great artists and gave rise to numerous works now considered twentieth century literary masterpieces. In addition to reading primary sources of our authors, we’ll read throughout the semester from Shari Benstock’s Women of the Left Bank: Paris, 1900-1940. 3 credits.

ENGL 560: Afropolitanism:
  • Dr. Donald Morales

The term “Afropolitanism,” a word coined by Taiye Selasi in a 2005 essay, is generally defined as young, well-educated African, and by extension, Caribbean artists with global and multicultural sensibilities who have settled in a number of cosmopolitan capitals in Europe and North America. In the literary world, these artists have produced intriguing works that describe their hybrid status and identity but also defy categorization–Selasi argues, “the practice of categorizing literature by the continent from which its creators come is past its prime at best.” “Afropolitanism,” has also engendered a lot of criticism and controversy. Kenyan writer, Binyavanga Wainaina, labels it an “empty style and culture commodification.” This course tackles the concept of “Afropolitanism” in a variety of ways. In addition to introducing the student to a new generation of African/Caribbean writers–Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie [Americanah], Zadie Smith [On Beauty], Edwidge Danticat [Dew Breaker], Teju Cole [Open City], Taiye Selasi [Ghana Must Go], there is also the opportunity to include transplanted dramatists [Roy Williams, Kwame Kwei-Armah, Debbie Tucker Green, Bola Agbaje] in London who have created a number of powerful dramas around the same subject. 3 credits.