Registration for spring 2023 courses will open on Wednesday 11/2. Usually it begins at 9:00am eastern, but in the past this wasn’t on a timer so it might not open at precisely 9:00am; it will open whenever the registrar starts working and toggles the system on that morning.
The seven courses for the spring are listed below, along with some info about each. 15 seats will be available for each course. Students who find a preferred course full by the time they go to register can attempt to make use of the waitlist feature and hope that a seat opens in a full course (which actually works some of the time); but in the meantime such students will need to select from whatever courses still have seats available.
ENGL 505 Transformations of the Epic (Dr. Sax)
- This course is based on the conception of the epic as an encyclopedic narrative of substantial length featuring a central figure who reflects the values of a particular culture. It will proceed chronologically, studying the taxonomy and transformations of the epic, from its earliest Classical manifestations, through its emergence in Medieval and Renaissance texts, to its incorporation after the Renaissance into modern writing. Fulfills the Writing & Literary Forms requirement or an elective.
ENGL 515 Latino Literature (Dr. Reissig-Vasile) [Unfortunately we had to cancel this course] This course focuses on the literature of Latino/a people living in the United States; a growing and important field of American literature. In this course we will examine texts that make salient the great diversity of literary themes, styles, and social concerns of literary texts written by these Latino/a writers. We will study issues such as gender, race, class, diaspora, bilingualism, violence, and community as raised by the various authors whose work we will be examining in this course. Our readings will focus on short stories, poetry, and novels written by writers from various Latino/a groups, including Chicanos, Puerto Ricans, Cuban Americans, and Dominican Americans. NOTE: This course last ran in spring 2021 as ENGL 560. Anyone who took that instance of the course may not take this ENGL 515 instance of the course. Fulfills an elective by default, but can fulfill a Literature Group 2 requirement if needed.
ENGL 521 Themes & Genres of Medieval Lit (Dr. Fritz)
- This course is designed to cultivate students’ awareness of the themes, genres, and issues related to medieval literature and to the study of medieval literature. Students will explore the major genres of medieval literature, including epics, lays and romances. Fulfills either a Literature Group 1 requirement or an elective.
ENGL 525 Victorian Age in Literature (Dr. Dugan)
- If one were asked to define the timeline of Victorian literature, one might be hard-pressed to do so. As literary genres are fluid, it is hard to determine when the Romantic Period ends and the Victorian Period begins, and when the Victorian Period ends and Modernism begins. Whatever the dates, a defining characteristic of Victorian England would be change, change matched with a belief in progress: societal, religious, economic, and artistic. While some benefited from these changes, others did not. The semester we will look closely at issues that challenge the notions of change and progress, notably the role of women, industrialism, gender roles, and poverty as shown in fiction, poetry, and drama of the Victorian age. Fulfills a Literature Group 1 requirement or an elective.
ENGL 540 Philosophy of Literature (Dr. Fisher)
- This course explores literature through a philosophical lens. Questions we will consider include the nature of literature; as well as the relation between literature and the emotions, between literature and values, and between interpretation and truth. We will as well consider the relation between different forms of literature, for example between fiction and poetry and drama, in both Western and non-Western perspectives. We will consider whether (and how) such contemporary art forms as video games and comix may be thought of as literature. Our explorations will involve reading literature of various sorts alongside writings by contemporary and historical philosophers. No prior coursework or studies in philosophy are required. Fulfills a Literature Group 1 requirement or an elective
ENGL 544 Cyberpunk & Technoculture (Dr. Loots)
- Each instance of ENGL 544 explores different “frontiers” depending on professor specialty. This instance of the course will focus on literature and media that tend to the frontiers of humanity and identity in the age of technoculture (also known as the Information Age, also know as the internet-era, also know as the age of cyberculture). Readings will include “cyberpunk” and other speculative fiction from the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s (e.g. writings of William Gibson, Pat Cadigan, Neal Stephenson, and Melissa Scott); and contemporary writings such as Jia Tolentino’s Trick Mirror and Dave Eggers’ The Circle. Visual media might include episodes of Black Mirror or Mr. Robot; TED talks; and films such as Blade Runner or Ex-Machina. Altogether we will consider, through exploring fiction and essay and film, the implications of humanity’s increasing interweave with cyberculture, technoculture, computer technology, social media, artificial intelligence, online/virtual realities, etc. — with the way that humanity is becoming posthuman or cyborg. Fulfills a Literature Group 2 requirement or an elective.
ENGL 560 Black Theatre, Art, and Power in the Digital Age (Dr. Morales)
- This course explores the growing acceptance of black art, particularly Black theatre, as a force in defining contemporary American culture. In Farah Nayeri’s Takedown: Art and Power in the Digital Age, she writes that “this is not a flash in the pan,” and she wonders how after the success of “exhibitions in major museums of major African American . . . artists, how could we then go back?” Jesse Green, theatre critic for The New York Times, in his article on American theatre titled “The Reformation: The world is changing, and so is the theater,” affirms that because of movements like #MeToo and BLM, theatre is becoming introspective and is now talking “openly about its foundation and continuing inequities . . . . But more than ever, practitioners and critics are asking difficult questions about how we make actors, how we make plays, how we make seasons, how we make money — in short, how we make theater.” Consider the example of such evolution as evidenced by Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu’s play Pass Over. Her play premiered at the Steppenwolf Theatre in 2017 where it was also filmed by Spike Lee. Lee’s film screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 2018. In New York, Pass Over premiered at the Lincoln Center Theatre where it won the 2019 Lortel Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway play. In 2021 it played at the Kiln in London and finally moved to Broadway at the August Wilson Theatre in 2022. It was the first play to open on Broadway after the pandemic shut-down. Pass Over was inspired by the death of Trayvon Martin, the trial of George Zimmerman, and 2016 election of Donald Trump; but stylistically it is in the mold of Beckett’s Waiting for Godot as well as the Book of Exodus. Nwandu offers that: “At the end of the day, I’m writing for the people who want to go on the journey I’m making, and I’m not writing with one race in mind.” This example of Pass Over illustrates the changing dynamics of work/script, of the spaces such drama occupies, of the recognition such drama receives, and of the audiences for whom such drama is intended. The course will focus primarily on drama, but other art forms will be involved and studied. Fulfills a Literature Group 2 requirement or an elective.