Spring Semester Begins Today Wednesday 1/17

Just a reminder here that your spring semester courses begin today (“today” if you’re reading this on Wednesday, January 17th). Everyone should check into their courses asap and preferably before the end of the day in order to see what’s going on in your classes, what’s expected of you this first week and throughout the semester, and to get into the flow of the semester right from go. Have a great semester, everyone.

UPDATED 3/26: Summer and Fall 2018 Schedules & Related Info [change in summer offerings]

Registration will open in early February for both the summer 2018 session and fall 2018 semester. I will update here the specific registration-opening date/time when I learn it. Registering on the morning of the day registration opens is the only way to ensure you get into your preferred courses. This is especially important for students who need to take 500 this fall.

Below I will list the tentative but mostly settled course schedules for summer and fall 2018. Note that students do not have to take courses or maintain matriculation during the optional summer session, and because many students prefer to follow the traditional fall/spring schedule we run a shortened schedule during summers. (Courses most subject to change are listed in blue.)

Fall 2018
  • ENGL 500 Theory (Dr. Vasile)

This is the program’s core course, meaning the course that everyone must take and for which there are no alternative course options. This course runs once each fall semester, so if you’re aiming to graduate at the end of fall 2018, spring 2019, or summer 2019 and have not yet completed 500, you must enroll in this for fall 2018. The next instance of the course will be fall 2019. Here’s the catalog description for the course:

An introduction to major movements and figures of the theory of criticism, the question, “what is literature?” is the primary concern of this course. Such an inquiry necessarily engages other, closely affiliated signifiers such as work/text, writing, reading, interpretation, and signification itself. After brief encounters with ancient antecedents and seminal moderns, influential contemporary approaches to the question concerning literature and its cultural significance are engaged. An assessment of the relative strengths and weaknesses of current trends in the practice of literary criticism, and their theoretical groundwork, is the ultimate objective of this course. 3 credits.

  • ENGL 507 Narrative Strategies in the Novel (Dr. Fritz)

This course will study the novel and various narrative methods used in the novel over the centuries and across the British and American traditions. 3 credits. (Fulfills either the Writing & Literary Forms field requirement or an elective.)

  • ENGL 515 Graphic Novel (Dr. Medoff)

In this course we will explore the ways in which meanings emerge in several celebrated texts of the graphic novel genre, as well as some emerging classics. Our readings of these texts will be informed by a diversity of theoretical perspectives, including visual culture studies, postmodernism and intersectionality. We will interrogate the relationships between the concepts “graphic novel” or “comic book” and “popular culture,” with each of us bringing our lived experiences to our readings and discussions. Through in-depth studies of several primary texts, including Watchmen, Maus, Fun Home, and V for Vendetta, we will learn how graphic novelists use and manipulate historical and contemporary social issues as the building blocks for their art. 3 credits. (Fulfills an elective).

  • ENGL 524 Reason & Imagination (Dr. Sax)

This study of English literature between 1650 and 1850 examines Neoclassicism and Romanticism as two opposed aesthetic and philosophical stances. It traces the political, ideological, and literary roots of Neoclassicism in the English “Glorious Revolution” of 1688, the late seventeenth-century growth of rationalism and empirical science, followed by the flowering of Neoclassicism and then the shift in sensibility that led to the emergence of Romanticism. 3 credits. (Fulfills a Literature Group 1 field requirement or an elective).

  • ENGL 525 Victorian Age in Literature (Dr. Dugan)

This course will explore representative literature and the culture of the Victorian Age ( 1837-1901), a period of exploration, industrialization, empire, and imperialism. The poetry and novels of Tennyson, Carroll, the Brontes, Eliot, Wilde, and others will be approached from a variety of critical approaches. Particular attention will be given to the importance of gender, class, and societal expectations. (Fulfills a Literature Group 1 field requirement or an elective).

  • ENGL 560 Hemingway/Modern Cryptography (Dr. Loots)

This course follows Ernest Hemingway, through his writings, from his early days in Paris to his final moments in Ketchum, Idaho. Readings will include many of his major novels and short stories, and some non-fiction. By exploring Hemingway’s travels and writings we will experience through his eyes the rise of modernity; the unprecedented way that the world changed forever in the early twentieth century; and the relationship of modernism to modernity. We will consider the interrelated effects of Hemingway’s self-engineered celebrity status—as the rugged bearded “macho” world traveler—which coincided precisely with the rise of modern media technology, and exceeded his literary fame even within his lifetime. That is, we will examine how and why Hemingway was the first global celebrity. And we will consider what complex interior aspects Hemingway’s hyper-macho exterior perhaps worked to obscure.

The angle by which we will engage Hemingway’s writings and groundbreaking style is to consider them as written in modernist code. Throughout the semester we will work to decipher Hemingway’s modern crytography so to interpret/intuit what meanings lurk in the writings of this giant of 20th-century American literature, arguably the most influential American writer of all time. (Fulfills a Literature Group 2 field requirement or an elective).

Summer 2018
  • ENGL 510 Theory/Practice of Expository Writing (Dr. Dugan)

The course is especially encouraged for any student who is a teacher or who aspires to teach secondary school or college. The course will address the techniques of expository writing as reflected in academic discourse. Ideally, students will learn the general practices of critical writing, but focus their work in their individual fields of interest. These interests may include feminist approaches, deconstructive approaches, research in culture, education, etc. The course will specifically address techniques of analytic organization, and will consider the pedagogy and andragogy of writing. 3 credits. (Fulfills either the Writing & Literary Forms field requirement or an elective.)

  • ENGL 515 Magical Realism/Latin American Lit  (Dr. Filc)

We’re excited to offer this course run by scholar and writer Dr. Judith Filc. The course will involve a focus on “magical realism” but as Dr. Filc writes: “It won’t be strictly magical realism. We will work on three genres that have been very present in Latin American literature throughout the twentieth century and into the twenty-first – the grotesque, the fantastic, and the chronicle – in relation to magical realism and the so-called Latin American Boom.” (Will fulfill a Literature Group 1 requirement, or a Literature Group 2 requirement, or an elective: whichever each student needs most for their transcript at that point).
3/26: I’m sorry to report that this 515 class will not run due to unforeseen circumstances. Contact cloots@mercy.edu with any questions.

  • ENGL 540 Mastering the Past, Literature and National Myths (Dr. Sax)

Every country likes to see itself as heir of to a glorious past, filled with heroic and ultimately successful struggles against oppression. But the construction of such a narrative always leads to the repression or trivialization of uncomfortable aspects of the past. Important authors of Antiquity such as Homer and Virgil have created national myths, while others such as Sophocles and Euripides have challenged them. If the myths themselves can often serve to rationalize complaisance, injustice and chauvinism, correcting them involves hazards as well. It can reopen old resentments, leave people disoriented, and open the way for other, similarly dangerous illusions. This course will look at the contrasting ways in which modern and contemporary writers have tried to come to terms with the collective past, and will likely include readings by Faulkner (USA), Sebald (Germany), Solzhenitsyn (Russia), Lampedusa (Italy) and Ishiguro (Britain and Japan). Students will endeavor to evaluate their intellectual strategies, especially in the light of current controversies such as whether we should continue to display statues that commemorate dubious legacies. Questions to be addressed will include: Can we ever truly come to terms with the past? Can the brutalities of history ever be redeemed or compensated for? What lessons, if any, can we legitimately learn from history? Are some aspects of history better left forgotten?


And for those who really want to look ahead, here’s a HIGHLY TENTATIVE list of current ideas for the spring 2019 schedule:

  • ENGL 514 Animals in Literature
  • ENGL 507 History of Drama
  • ENGL 522 Humanism in Renaissance Text
  • ENGL 540 James Joyce’s Ulysses
  • ENGL 542 Classics of African American Lit
  • ENGL 546 Working Women’s Literature