Category Archives: Course Information

Registration for Spring 2020 is now open

Registration for spring is open as of this Wednesday morning, 11/6. The servers were overwhelmed for the first hour or so from extraordinary demand, so if you experienced registration issues at that time, that was why. It should be working now. Be sure to register as soon as possible to ensure you get your preferred selection of courses. If you find yourself closed out of a preferred course you can get on the waitlist for that course, but in the meantime should select the next best schedule you can find of what is available. Be sure to check the course descriptions in the post down below. And any creative writers or artists, be sure to check out the call for submissions for the college’s creative journal in the post directly below this one. Any questions or issues with registration, let me know at cloots@mercy.edu.

Semester Begins on 9/4, But Course Sections Now Visible For Fall Semester.

Although the semester doesn’t begin for another two weeks (on Wednesday 9/4) Mercy Online has opened the fall 2019 Blackboard courses to students today (8/21). I’m still not totally sure why this happens or what’s to be gained from it, but please note that professors have no obligation to have their courses ready for student-viewing anytime sooner than the start of our actual semester on 9/4. So prior to 9/4 if you look at your Blackboard courses you might see anything ranging from a default shell which appears unready for fall, to a course that’s been customized and carefully prepared (which would mean hidden from student view for the most part) in preparation for this 8/21 unveiling, to a ramshackle behind-the-scenes look at a course-in-creation that the professor forgot to hide from student view.

The only positives that I imagine could come from unlocking the courses two weeks ahead of the semester is that students might get a look at the book requirements to secure them, and at the first few weeks of reading to get a jump on the reading. But for our MA program you can already see all the book orders in this earlier blog post. And reading ahead is sometimes actually detrimental, because your professor might want to prep you for the readings, contextualize them in a way, during the course of the semester before you encounter them.

Bottom line: classes open on 9/4, and 9/4 is when professors are obligated to have their Blackboard sections sorted. Until then, please be patient with whatever you see in your course shells. Any questions: talk to me at cloots@mercy.edu. I’m here to help.

Book Orders for Fall Courses

Below is a list-in-progress of books required for your fall courses. I will update this throughout the summer whenever I get new book info from the different professors. Your professors will eventually provide their official book orders to the college bookstore but the bookstore only lists the titles, doesn’t reveal information such as edition, ISBN, etc. They do this purposefully I think to try and force you to purchase the books through them. But with the info below you can purchase your books anywhere. Keep in mind that while many of the books below will be expensive if purchased new, you can purchase most of them used for cheap (I use Alibris.com). If you prefer to purchase new books I encourage you to first check into Powell’s or a local bookstore before you purchase from Amazon. You can also check many of these out from a library, if that works better for you.

ENGL 500 Theory
  • Leitch, Vincent B., et al., eds. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, 3rd ed. Norton, 2018. ISBN: 978-0393602951.
ENGL 509 Perspectives on the Essay

One book is required for the 509 course:

  • Jameson, Leslie, and Robert Atwan, editors. Best American Essays 2017. Best American Paper, 2017. ISBN: 054481733.

A recommended (but not required) book that Dr. Keckler suggests as a complement to the required reading is The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present, by Phillip Lopate (ISBN 038542339X).

ENGL 521 Themes and Genres of Medieval Lit
  • Black, Joseph, et al, editors. The Broadview Anthology of British Literature Volume 1: The Medieval Period. 3rd edition, Broadway Press, 2014. ISBN 9781554812028.
ENGL 540 Magic in Lit
  • Aromatico, Andrea. Alchemy: The Great Secret. Translated by Jack Hawkes, Harry N. Abrams, 2000. ISBN: 0810928892.
  • Hesiod. Theogony & Works and Days. Translated by M. L. West. Oxford UP, 1991. ISBN: 9780192817884.
  • Hoffmann, E. T. A. The Golden Pot and Other Tales. Translated by Ritchie Robinson. Oxford UP, 1991. ISBN: 0199552479.
  • Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Scholastic, 1997. ISBN: 0439708184.
  • Sax, Boria. Imaginary Animals: The Monstrous, the Wondrous and the Human. Reaktion Books, 2013. ISBN: 9781780231730.
  • Shakespeare, William. Twelfth Night. Penguin, 2000. ISBN: 9780140714890.
  • Yates, Frances, The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age. New York: Routledge, 2003. ISBN: 0415254094.
ENGL 545 Lit of the Left Bank Paris

PDFs of many shorter or out of print works will be provided. These will include works by Nancy Cunard, Hilda Doolittle, Richard Wright, Edith Wharton, Frantz Fanon, Zelda Fitzgerald, Janet Flanner, James Baldwin, James Joyce, and Henry Crowder. Students will be required to secure the following books:

  • Baldwin, James. Giovanni’s Room. Vintage, 2013. ISBN: 0345806565. (Or any version will do)
  • Benstock, Shari. Women of the Left Bank: Paris, 1900-1940. U of Texas Press, 1987. ISBN: 0292790406.
  • Breton, Andre. Nadja. Grove Press, 1994. Translated by Richard Howard. ISBN: 0802150268. (Or any version will do)
  • Hemingway, Ernest. A Moveable Feast. Scribner’s. Either edition will do, the original version (ISBN 9780684824994) or the newer “restored” edition (ISBN 9781439182710).
  • Loy, Mina. The Lost Lunar Baedeker: Poems of Mina Loy. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1997. ISBN: 0374525072.
  • Stein, Gertrude. Selected Writings of Gertrude Stein. Vintage, 1990. ISBN: 0679724648. (We’ll specifically be studying The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas within this collection but everything in here is wondrous).
ENGL 560 Contemporary Slave Narratives

PDFs of supplemental scholarly articles will be provided in Blackboard. The following books/films will need to be secured by students:

  • Jacobs, Harriet. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. (This is available for free online here: https://english.hku.hk/staff/kjohnson/PDF/JacobsINCIDENTS1861.pdf; if students want a paper copy, it’s very important to buy this particular edition: ISBN 1503277941).
  • McQueen, Steve (director). 12 Years a Slave. (2013 film; ASIN: B00G4Q3KOC)
  • Northup, Solomon. Twelve Years a Slave. (This is available for free online here: http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/slavery/Twelve_years_a_slave.pdf); if students want a paper copy, it’s very important to buy this particular edition: ISBN 1631680021).
  • Tademy, Lalita. Cane River. ISBN 0446615889
  • Tarantino, Quentin (director). Django Unchained. (2012 film; ASIN: B016YVJUJU)
  • Williams, Sherley Anne. Dessa Rose. ISBN 0062011251.

Info about summer course: ENGL 510 Theory/Practice of Expository Writing

We run on regular cycle two courses that directly involve theory: the 500 Theory of Literary Criticism course required of each student, and the optional 510 Theory and Practice of Expository Writing course that can work to complete either the Writing and Literary Forms requirement or an elective. Dr. Dugan, the professor running 510 this summer, knows from experience that many students aren’t quite sure, even from reading the catalog description of it, what the 510 course will be about. As such he has provided the following write-up to help those considering the class this summer. He writes:

I have had the pleasure of teaching this course several times in past summer semesters, and I have enjoyed it more each time. I hope that you will enjoy it as well, but I do want to provide you with an overview for you to decide if this course will meet your expectations and academic and professional goals.

First, the main text, and the only required one, is Concepts in Composition: Theory and Practice in the Teaching of Writing by Irene Clark, 2nd edition, published by Routledge, 2012 (ISBN 978-0-415-88516-4). It is available from the Mercy Bookstore, which will sell or rent you the text, or from other outlets. There is also an eBook version. This book has eleven chapters, so it fits nicely into our ten-week summer semester [director’s note: summer semesters run on compressed 10-week schedules but require more work each week in order to be equivalent to the regular fall and spring semesters]. The chapters focus on processes, revisions, audience, assessment, and other topics. We will discuss one unit each week.

Second, a recommended text for those interested in literary theory is Critical Theory Today by Lois Tyson, 3rd edition, Routledge, ISBN 978-0415506755. It is available to rent or to buy-new or used- from several sources, and there is an eBook as well.

Thirdly, I a firm believer that learning about theory, composition or literary, is made more valuable when one has a source to write about. Therefore, I will provide weekly non-fiction pieces for you to read. But, if your interests lean more to literature, I am (strongly) recommending that you have a copy of The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald. And, I recommend, less strongly, that you have a copy of The Bluest Eye or Beloved by Toni Morrison. Any edition is  fine.

By now, you may be asking yourself: how does this course really play out online? Allow me to explain.

Each week, you will be assigned a chapter from Concepts in Composition, which we will discuss as a class. Then, you have a choice to apply the teaching of writing concepts to either the non-fiction or one of the novels or the play in the framework of composition theory.

However, if you wish to focus on literary criticism, a chapter from the Tyson book will be assigned and a discussion thread provided.  Tyson analyzes Gatsby from different theoretical perspectives, but she also brings up Morrison, among other authors. If this interests you, the discussion questions will be on the theory and then how to teach the literary theory in conjunction with the composition theory.

If all this sounds complicated, it is not. (At least, I hope it isn’t!) It is planned to allow you to pursue your own interests and your professional need, and to give you choices. As a final note: there will be three short (2-3 pages) essays assigned and one longer (4-6 pages) final paper. Discussions are graded weekly.

ENGL 599 Master’s Thesis Tutorial: How To Enroll

Just a reminder here: Anyone getting close to the end of the MA program needs to start thinking about the ENGL 599 Master’s Thesis Tutorial. Let’s look at some basic points about what it is, what you have to do to enroll in it, and what you do once in it:

  • ENGL 599 counts for three credits, like any other course, and is a requirement for the MA degree. Unlike any other course in the program, 599 is run as a one-on-one tutorial between each student and a chosen professor (mentor).
  • The tutorial is always taken during whatever you intend to be your final semester in the program.
  • During the tutorial you have one responsibility and goal: writing a 25-page thesis paper on a topic of your choice, involving primary and secondary sources that you select, all operating under the guidance of your mentor.
  • To pass the tutorial your thesis paper must receive final approval from your mentor and from a second reader selected from the MA faculty.
  • You enroll in 599 using a different process than for any other course in the MA program:
  1. First, during the semester prior to your final semester, think up a general topic or idea for your thesis and write it down. Your thesis topic can be based on a paper written for another course earlier in the program; you can even use that paper as the first draft for your thesis paper.
  2. Contact any professor teaching in the program and ask the professor if he or she would be your mentor. Include your general topic along with your request. If the professors says yes, you will then work up a more formal thesis proposal with that mentor; If your selected professor cannot mentor you, you can either just ask another professor or can contact the program director at cloots@mercy.edu and a mentor will be assigned.
  3. In the meantime, be aware that all students must take and pass the program’s Comprehensive Exam in the time between the penultimate and ultimate semester in the program. So while you’re developing your thesis proposal with your mentor, also start thinking about the Comp Exam which you must request from the program director upon completing your penultimate semester. Students must complete their Comp Exam before beginning their 599 tutorial.
  4. Once you have developed a formal thesis proposal under the mentor’s guidance, and once the mentor deems it acceptable, the mentor will contact the program director who then opens up an individual 599 section for each student with the mentor as professor. It is therefore impossible to be “closed out” of a 599 as each one is opened on an individual basis. The only way a student who needs to be in ENGL 599 might not get into one is if the student doesn’t do these steps in a timely-enough fashion as to have this all settled by the start of the final semester.

Students Needing ENGL 500 this fall should email cloots@mercy.edu now

ENGL 500 is the MA program’s NY State “core course” which means all students must complete it as a part of their degree requirements. The course runs during each fall semester, and only during each fall semester.

Entrance into the fall 2019 instance of ENGL 500 is going to be by permit-only. Every single student who needs to take 500 this fall will get a seat. Students who need to take the course this fall are those who are on track to graduate prior to the fall 2020 semester but who have not yet completed the course. Once every student who needs the course this fall has been enrolled, we will also give permits to other students interested in taking the course this fall.

We’re doing this to ensure that students who must have the course this fall do not find themselves shut out of the course.

The first step in this process is for everyone who has not yet completed 500 and who plans to complete their MA degree prior to fall 2020 to email the program director now at cloots@mercy.edu indicating that you need the course. We will begin building a list of all students who need it and will begin entering permits for these students later this spring semester after general registration opens.

Students who do not plan to graduate prior to fall 2020 but who would like a seat in this fall 2019 instance of the course should also email the program director now at cloots@mercy.edu indicating interest. Once all students who need the course this time around have enrolled, we will begin issuing permits to the remaining students in the order that they emailed their request, first come first serve. If anyone has any questions about any of this, contact the director at cloots@mercy.edu.

Important Notice for Students in “Working Women in the USA”

The following book previously required for the Working Women in the USA course is now not a required purchase:

  • Working Women in American Literature 1865-1950, ISBN 9781498546782

Dr. Gogol will still be using that book for the class this semester, but will now be providing scans of relevant sections of it during the semester. This change is due to the unusually high cost of the book, and the valid concerns about the cost raised by a number of students.

Some Books for your spring courses

Below are some of the book orders for the spring courses. Because professors are still in the process of determining their reading lists, you should consider this a list-in-progress. Works listed below are a certainty but more works might be added. Ultimately the syllabus your professors share in class will mark the definitive list, but this here will allow you to start securing at least some of your books ahead of the semester. I will update this list throughout December and January if/as I receive more book info from the different professors. The Mercy College bookstore will list the book orders too, but they purposefully don’t give you specific edition information or ISBN numbers in order to “dissuade” you from buying the books for cheaper elsewhere. Search by the ISBN to ensure you are securing the right edition for your courses. I recommend Alibris for finding inexpensive used copies and Powell’s for fairly-priced new books, but of course you can buy your books anywhere.

505 Transformations of the Epic
  • Beowulf, ISBN 9780451530967
  • The Divine Comedy, ISBN 9780142437223
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh, ISBN 9780140441000
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, ISBN 9780393930252
  • The Iliad, ISBN 9780140275360
  • Nibelungenlied, ISBN 9780140441376
  • Song of Roland, ISBN 9780486422404
514 Sam Shepard
  • Sam Shepard: Seven Plays, ISBN 9780553346114
  • Spy of the First Person, ISBN 9780525521563
  • Fool for Love and Other Plays, ISBN 9780553345902
  • Great Dream of Heaven, ISBN 9780375704529
  • Hawk Moon, 9780933826236
522 Humanism in Renaissance Texts
  • The Cambridge Companion to Renaissance Humanism, ISBN 9780521436243
540 Ulysses

Required:

  • Ulysses, ISBN 9780394743127. This is the single-volume Gabler edition. Dozens of used copies are currently available at Alibris for under $5. Powell’s is selling new copies for $10.50. Almost every edition of Ulysses is different than the others, and so if you have a copy of Ulysses already it will be different than this Gabler edition. Everyone should secure this assigned edition.
  • Ulysses Annotated, ISBN 9780520253971.

Recommended:

  • If you have the time, you’d do well to read A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (and perhaps some or all of Dubliners) before the spring semester begins, but it is not required. The protagonist of Portrait carries over into and plays an essential role in Ulysses so your experience with Ulysses will be fuller if you’ve read Portrait.
542 Classics of African-American Lit.
  • Clybourne Park, ISBN 9780865478688
  • Intimate Apparel, ISBN 9781559362795
  • Sweat, ISBN 9781559365321
  • Jitney, ISBN 9780573627958
  • Venus, ISBN 9780822215677
  • Topdog/Underdog, ISBN 9781559362016
  • Gloria, ISBN 9780822234333
  • A Mercy, ISBN 9780307276766
  • An American Marriage, ISBN 9781616208776
546 Working Women in the US
  • Dr. Breen’s Practice, ISBN 9781981189427
  • Very Much a Lady, ISBN 9781416509592

Recommended but not required (scans of sections of this will be provided as needed during the semester):

  • Working Women in American Literature 1865-1950, ISBN 9781498546782