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Fall 2018

Fall 2018 English Program Course Offerings
For all registration dates and deadlines, see the GC academic calendar.
To view detailed course descriptions click here or click on the faculty name in the grid below.

For the Practicum for English Program students teaching for CUNY click here.

For Dissertation Supervision click here.

Course listings and room numbers subject to change.
  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
11:45-1:45 Alexander
Wrtng World
Room 3307
DiGangi & Fisher
Ren Sex
Intro Doc Stu
House Knowledge
2:00-4:00 McGlynn
Rom Ped
Room 3306
Hobbes to Defoe
Room 3308

Am Lit
Room 3306

Am Aesthetics
4:15-6:15 Chuh
Intro Doc Stu
Room C196.06

Af-Am Lit/Cult
Room 3307
Global South
Room 3306
Women Wrtrs

Room 4422
6:30-8:30 McBeth
Room 3307
Diss Wkshp


ENGL 89000. Tanya Agathocleous. Theories and Fictions of the Archive. Fridays 11:45AM-1:45PM. 2/4 credits. [Class Number 64621]

This course will use a broad range of literary and theoretical writings on archives as a way to think through the implications, methodologies and problems posed by archival research. What counts as an archive and how are archives constituted, imaginatively, materially, and politically? What is their relation to institutions, corporations, and states? What makes archives accessible or inaccessible? How do material archives deal with questions of curation, restoration, preservation and representation? What kinds of affects do archives have and what kinds of affects do we bring to them?

We will focus in particular on nineteenth-century colonial and imperial archives as well as on a range of NYC archives, which we will visit. Final projects will be grounded in original archival research and can take the form of a conventional seminar paper or a digital archive, built individually or collaboratively. Readings will include works by Anjali Arondekar; Walter Benjamin; Jorge Luis Borges; Antoinette Burton; Jacques Derrida; Charles Dickens; Michel Foucault; Paul Fyfe; Meredith Martin; Helena Michie and Robyn Warhol; Claudia Rankine; W. G. Sebald; and Ann Stoler, among others.

ENGL 86800. Meena Alexander. Writing the World: Multiple Modernities, Women and the Archive. Mondays 11:45AM-1:45PM. 2/4 credits. [Class Number 64622]

What might it mean to write the world and in so doing dream of remaking it in the text? How does the notion of modernity play out in the Global South? How  might we make sense of the claims of cultural memory, and inescapable issues of body sexuality and race? In this regard, what are the ethical and aesthetic implications of Bandung (the Asian-African conference of 1955)  documented by Richard Wright in Beyond the Color Curtain: A Report on the Bandung Conference?  Drawing on a range of materials we will explore these and other questions that surface in twentieth and twenty-first century acts of inscription. Issues of gender and the archive, aesthetic form and cultural translation will be key. We will study several women poets of the North American continent and the key questions issues of race and embodiment, setting them by the side of  writers from the global South. Some of the writers we will discuss-- Kamala Das, Joy Harjo, Qurratulain Hyder, Arun Kolatkar, Audre Lorde, Sadat Hasan Manto, Virginia Woolf, A.K. Ramanujan, Claudia Rankine, Adrienne Rich, Richard Wright. We will explore elements of visual culture through the work of two woman artists of  the modern era --the Brazilian painter Tarsila do Amaral and the notion of cultural cannibalism --`Antropofagia’ -- central to the creation of an indigenous modernity; and the Indian-Hungarian painter Amrita Shergill who created her startling `Self Portrait as Tahitian’ (1934) and wrote " Europe belongs to Picasso, Matisse, Braque.... India belongs only to me". Theoretical materials from Agamben, Arondekar, Berlant, Derrida, Djebar, Guha, Kalliney, Merleau-Ponty, the RAQS collective, Spivak, Stoler, and others. Students will be encouraged to bring their own special interests into play and consider archives based in New York City, including the Berg Collection at NYPL and the Morgan Library.The course will be run as a seminar with weekly readings and discussions. One short mid-term paper, based on our evolving discussions and one long final paper. Some course materials will be uploaded onto dropbox. Other texts will be on order at a local bookstore.

Canceled. ENGL 80700. Glenn Burger. Household Knowledges in Later Middle Ages. Thursdays 11:45AM-1:45PM. 2/4 credits. [Class Number 64630] Canceled.

When we think of the medieval household, other than the rural peasant home, what most likely comes to mind are the great houses and public institutional life of the high nobility or royal family, or the religious communities of enclosed monks or nuns.  Yet by the later Middle Ages, important innovations in domestic space and social organization are taking place in the households established by emergent gentry and bourgeois families.  Organized around “the family business” and the domestic space of the married couple, children, servants, and paid employees, such households intermingle the public and private in new ways, enable innovative uses of domestic space, and encourage experimental modes of self-representation.

This course will explore the cultural ramifications of gentry and bourgeois households in the later Middle Ages, exploring the capacity of late medieval English and French households to serve as the sorters, producers, and purveyors of different types of knowledge.  It considers the ways that men and women process “received” wisdom in different ways, treating, for example, the potential of conduct literature to constrain or to liberate married women. And it examines the interpretative opportunities afforded by the recompilation of popular works of instruction in household manuscripts.

We will begin by considering the importance of “middling” groups of laymen and women in late medieval provincial and urban life, both in terms of the material conditions of their day to day life and their ability (or inability) to fit into received representational models (of gender and sexuality, moral rectitude, civic worth).  We will also consider how the desire of such groups both to reproduce noble patterns of life and to adapt noble styles to new economic and social settings transforms how domestic space is experienced—notably in the hierarchy of value attached to public rooms such as the hall, and more private spaces such as the solar (a kind of semi-private sitting room) and the bedchamber. We will consider how the kinds of embodied cognition valuable in household life transform genre (for example, in texts of private devotion or in the “family” romances made popular by fourteenth and fifteenth-century English translations of French romances).  And we will consider how gender and sexuality is transformed by an attention to “middling” conduct in such tests as Le Menagier de Paris (The Household Book of Paris) and The Knight of La Tour Landry. We will also examine the role played by household collections in constructing bourgeois and gentry readers both as consumers and producers of authoritative knowledge, comparing the bourgeois Menagier with a more “literary” and traditional gentry compilation, Codex Ashmole 61. Finally, we will consider the importance of such household knowledges in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, especially as it relates to the centrality of “the matter of woman” and “middling” agency in that work, and by reference to the Early Modern dramatization of the Griselda story and Milton’s representation of Eve, consider how the late medieval transformation of the status of household knowledges works to solidify modern notions of sovereignty and the self.

Each student will be required to deliver an oral presentation and produce a 15-20 page seminar paper. In lieu of the final seminar paper, students in the first year of the PhD program may produce an annotated bibliography of 15 primary and secondary sources and an 8-10 page conference paper.


ENGL 70000. Kandice Chuh. Introduction to Doctoral Studies in English. Mondays 4:15PM-6:15PM. 4 credits. Restricted to Ph.D. Program in English students only. [Class Number 64649]

This course will seek to address four aspects of graduate studies in English: 1) English studies as a field and discipline; 2) research questions and practices; 3) connections to intellectual communities and networks (i.e. professionalization); and 4) the function of the university. Theoretically, we will examine the boundaries and objects of interest for the field, discussing how they intersect with but also remain distinct from other areas and approaches, and how various theories and methods (formalist, historicist, activist, etc.) define, in sometimes contradictory ways, English studies. Practically, we will discuss how to define objects of inquiry (“texts” and “contexts”) within the field, how to research such objects, how to identify the main debates currently circulating around them, and how to develop new knowledge and innovative ideas and approaches.

ENGL 78100. Mario DiGangi and William Fisher. Renaissance Sex. Tuesdays 11:45AM-1:45PM. 2/4 credits. [Class Number 64633]

This seminar will explore the repertoire of scholarly methods that have been used for understanding sex and sexuality in early modern literature, with an eye to current debates and future directions in the field. We will consider how different theoretical and historical approaches have produced varying accounts of sex as an object of inquiry; we will engage various reading strategies for elucidating sexual meaning in literary and non-literary texts; and we will reflect critically on questions of evidence, language, genre, theatricality, and periodization.
The following kinds of questions will guide our discussions: What are the consequences of emphasizing historical alterity or historical continuity in the study of sex? Are concepts such as sexual identity, subjectivity, or community useful in analyzing early modern modes of eroticism? How was sex itself depicted? Which acts feature regularly in texts from the period, and which appear to have been unknown? How were sex acts and erotic discourses structured by social categories such as race, gender and class? How were phenomena like consent and sexual violence conceptualized? How might the field ultimately move beyond familiar sexual paradigms and taxonomies (i.e., homoeroticism/heteroeroticism) and access alternative forms of erotic knowledge, practice, and relationality in early modern culture? How do particular textual and performative elements (i.e., puns, soliloquies, gestures, costumes, voices, metatheatrical moments, offstage actions) convey or confound sexual meaning?
In addressing these questions, we will be examining a wide range of primary materials, from plays and poetry to court cases and pornography. First, we will be reading a number of canonical literary texts such as Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis and Othello, Marlowe’s Edward II, Barnfield’s The Affectionate Shepherd, Donne’s “Sappho to Philaenis” and the poems of Katherine Philips and Aphra Behn. In addition, we will be exploring “pornographic” texts like Rochester’s Sodom, The School of Venus, Nashe’s Choise of Valentines and other poems featuring dildos like Seignor Dildo’s Adventures in Britain. Finally, we will study an array of non-literary texts including medical treatises (such as John Henry Meibom’s The Use of Flogging in Venereal Affairs and Giles Jacob’s Treatise of Hermaphrodites) and court cases (such as the infamous Castlehaven trial).

ENGL 91000. Carrie Hintz. Dissertation Workshop. Tuesdays 6:30PM-8:30PM. 0 credits. Restricted to Level 2 & 3 Ph.D. Program in English students only. [Class Number 64654]

This seminar will give participants the opportunity to develop and complete their dissertation prospectus and/or draft dissertation chapters.  It will be conducted as a workshop with members reading and commenting on one another’s work under the professor’s guidance.  We will discuss the dissertation as an always-evolving genre as well as practical issues of writing and revision, research and research methods, documentation, presentation, and more.  We will also talk about professionalizing matters including engagement with current scholarly conversations and theoretical discourses, creating conference presentations and scholarly articles as part of the dissertation writing process, and thinking about the dissertation as a draft of a first monograph.


ENGL 86800. Peter Hitchcock. Global South and Decolonization in Literature and Theory. Wednesdays 4:15PM-6:15PM. 2/4 credits. [Class Number 68247]

In 1884 an international conference made Greenwich the locus for the Prime Meridian, basically confirming what the world already knew about the projected centrality and global reach of the British Empire.  The imperial hubris of meridians has been thoroughly decolonized but the world order remains striated by the geopolitics and geocultures of imperial desire.  How does the conceptual framework of the Global South, a discrepant latitude to be sure, challenge and interrogate the deleterious implications of such will to power?  Under actually existing globalization, doesn’t decolonization persist almost everywhere?  Isn’t socioeconomic and cultural hegemony just as discernible beyond the Euramerican axis?  Or, with the “flattening” of the world (Friedman) and occasional attempts to “end” history (Fukuyama) could we not argue that the decolonizing and decolonial instincts of the Global South have been overreached in the last quarter century?  Are we so “woke” with appropriate cosmopolitanism that the cosmopolitics of appropriation have themselves been eclipsed?  Does location decide perspicacity and world view (like the Greenwich Meridian) or is scale itself (particularly space and time) a primary scene of decolonizing literature and theory?  This course will explore how literature and theory imagines the Global South decolonizing.  Linking the Global South to decolonization is not a methodological curiosity but is a powerful heuristic for understanding both the dreams and dead ends of postcolonial projects in the current conjuncture (Smith).  Crucial genealogies of subaltern studies have undermined Eurocentric cartographies of thought and yet some have also been criticized for harboring Western philosophy in that very process.  The invocation of the Global South does not settle such arguments in advance but instead encourages a critique of the cultural logics in play.  While the course will begin with some prime examples of decolonizing the mind from the social sciences (Comaroff, Ness) and philosophy (Dussel), its main aim is to pose the Global South as an imaginary challenge for writers and thinkers, particularly as they broach what has not happened since the victories against imperialism and the formation of postcolonial states (Larsen, Lazarus).  If the Global South is less secure in its spatial coordinates (south of what?) does it not remain counter-hegemonic when it comes to imperial legacies and pretentions, including those of academic disciplines and specific traditions of thought?  How do writers resist the idea decolonization is just another niche market, a world literature as global cultural capital?  While some grounding in both postcolonial and decolonial thought would be useful (we will reference Spivak, Bhambra, and Mignolo in this regard), for the most part course readings will help coordinate postcolonial parameters, meridians that challenge the orthodoxies of latitude and longitude (as in modernity itself).  In this way, a literary and theoretical appreciation of the Global South helps hone vital critical tools in reading the work of decolonization today.  In addition to some of the theory already invoked, we will consider pertinent examples of materialist theory on globalization and, of course, key literary provocations from among Adichie, Hamid, Roy, Vladislavic, Mahajan, Kadare, and Patel.
ENGL 80200. Wayne Koestenbaum. Notebooks and Other Irregular Accountings. Tuesdays 4:15PM-6:15PM. 2/4 credits. [Class Number 64637]

In this seminar, we will read autobiographical, poetic, and quasi-fictional texts that work irregularly, spasmodically, haphazardly, with interruptions, in fragments, in abject states of disassembly, obeying the periodicities of the day, the commute, the mental lapse, the aside, the list, the epistle-without-addressee.  These literary adventures—or accidents—go by many names:  notebook, journal, pillow book, essay, treatise, novel, poem, sketch, letter.  We might hesitate to call them anything in particular;  we might, instead, apologize for their existence, and wish they would shape up.  Or we might feel loyalty toward these wayward creatures;  without wishing to corral them into a category, we might believe that they deserve congregation, that they have chartable and treasurable resemblances, and that they are inspiring models for contemporary composition.
The syllabus is not yet fixed, but possibilities include some of the following, as well as new discoveries yet to be made:  Sei Shonagon (The Pillow Book), Henry David Thoreau (Journals), Alice James (Diary), Robert Walser (A Schoolboy’s Diary), Ludwig Wittgenstein (On Certainty), Rainer Maria Rilke (The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge), Francis Ponge (Soap), Susan Sontag (As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh:  Journals & Notebooks, 1964-1980), Toi Derricotte (The Black Notebooks), Hervé Guibert (Mausoleum of Lovers:  Journals 1976-1991), Julio Cortázar (Cronopios and Famas), David Markson (Vanishing Point), Hélène Cixous (The Writing Notebooks), Friederike Mayröcker (brütt, or The Sighing Gardens), Nicanor Parra (Antipoems), Myung Mi Kim (Dura), Dodie Bellamy (When the Sick Rule the World), Claudia Rankine (Don’t Let Me Be Lonely), Matias Viegener (2500 Random Things About Me Too), Ronaldo V. Wilson (Farther Traveler), Stacy Szymaszek (Journal of Ugly Sites & Other Journals), Harryette Mullen (Urban Tumbleweed), and Lily Hoang (A Bestiary).  Texts not originally written in English we will read in translation.

Each week, students will write a two-page essay, in response to specific assignments. These essays may exercise a notebook’s freedom to engage in irregular accounting.

ENGL 75500. Eric Lott. Readings in African-American Literary/Cultural Criticism. Tuesdays 4:15PM-6:15PM. 2/4 credits. [Class Number 64643]
This seminar will introduce students to some of the more significant recent critical and theoretical trends within the study of African American literature and culture. The course will be run colloquium style, with frequent visiting lecturers and co-instructors in the field. Participants will discuss the formation of Black American identity as it is manipulated, challenged or perhaps even erased within “peculiar” aesthetic, performative, spatial, theoretical, or political contexts. At the same time, the course will examine how African American Studies intersects with and challenges Feminist Studies, Gay and Lesbian Studies, Ethnic Studies, and American Studies. Students will be asked to write several short papers during the course of the semester. They will also do at least one in class presentation. Works we will read include: Christina Sharpe, In the Wake: On Blackness and Being. 2016; Brittney Cooper: Beyond Respectability: The Intellectual Thought of Race Women, 2017; Stuart Hall, The Fateful Triangle: Race, Ethnicity, Nation, 2017; Fred Moten, Black and Blur, 2017; C. Riley Snorton, Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity, 2017; Alexander Weheliye, Habeas Viscus, 2014; Tina Campt, Listening to Images, 2017; Brent Hayes Edwards, Epistrophies: Jazz and the Literary Imagination, 2017; Jennifer Lynn Stoever: The Sonic Color Line: Race and the Cultural Politics of Listening, 2016; and Andre Carrington, Speculative Blackness: The Future of Race in Science Fiction. 2016.

ENGL 89020. Mark McBeth. Evolutions and Complexities of (Multi) Literacies: Beyond the Simplicity of ABC. Mondays 6:30PM-8:30PM. 2/4 credits. [Class Number 64638]

Literacy is not a minor topic […].  It is the story of the social mind in search of ever further reaches of meaning making in the service of new forms of life and new worlds.  it is the study, as well, of how the ways in which we humans make meaning with technologies create the social and cultural geography of human practices, groups, and institutions, for better and worse.  Gee, James.  Literacy and Education. (135).
As educators attempt to address the context of cultural and linguistic diversity through literacy pedagogy, we hear shrill claims and counterclaims about political correctness, the canon of great literature, grammar, and back-to-basics.  New London Group. "A Pedagogy of Multiliteracies: Designing Social Futures" (61)
Literacy is valuable–and volatile–property. And like other commodities with private and public value, it is a grounds for potential exploitation, injustice, and struggle as well a potential, satisfaction, and reward. Whereever literacy is learned and practiced, these competing interests will always be present. Brandt, Deborah.  Literacy in American Lives.  (2-3).
From the end of the 20th to the beginning of the 21st centuries, the definition of literacy has shifted from a simplistic view of people's reading and writing abilities--their "ABCs"--to a much more nuanced and complex perspective of the many semiotic capabilities and understandings that a person has to have to read, write, speak, interpret, and envision themselves and the world around them.  The word" literacy" itself has turned into "literacies" and that plural noun indicates a multiplicity of complex, interrelated learning challenges, replete with many learning curves, for the contemporary communicator.  
In the mid-1990s, the New London Group began a discourse around the state and future of literacy pedagogy and published "A Pedagogy of Multiliteracies," a manifesto that would broaden the "understanding of literacy and literacy teaching and learning to include negotiating a multiplicity of discourses"; it would take into account "the context of our culturally and linguistically diverse and increasingly globalized societies" and address the variety of burgeoning texts "associated with information and multimedia technologies" (61).
In this course, we will investigate the historical conceptions of literacy as well as the ever-changing meanings of "literacies."  As a means to understand these literate "habitudes," we will examine (and practice) the types of communicating capabilities that make life in the 21st century communicative and habitable.  We will reflect about our own literacy abilities and what they do for us and then consider the types of literacies that our educational institutions, our workplaces, and our own personal pleasures value so that we can make informed decisions about how to promote literacy acquisition in our classrooms.  For the literacy teacher, this course will prepare you to broaden the new horizons of the next generation of composers; for the 21st-century writer, this course will offer you a moment of scholarly pause about your own conceptions, strategies, and "habitudes" of writing.
Required Readings:
Brandt, Deborah.  The Rise of Writing: Redefining Mass Literacy.  Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2015.
_____.  Literacy in American Lives.  New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2001.
Clark, J. Elizabeth.  "The Digital Imperative: Making the Case for a 21st-Century Pedagogy" Computers and Composition 27 (2010): 27-35.
Cook-Gumperz, Jenny. "Literacy and Schooling: An Unchanging Equation?" The Social Construction of Literacy. (Ed.) Jenny Cook-Gumperz.  New York: Cambridge University Press, 1986.
Cope, Bill and Kalantzis.  "'Multiliteracies': New Literacies, New Learning." <>
Freire, Paolo and Macedo, Donaldo.  Literacy: Reading the Word and the World. Westport, CT: Bergin & Garvey, 1987.
Gee, James Paul.  Teaching, Learning, Literacy in Our High-Risk High-Tech World: A Framework for Becoming Human.  New York, NY: Teacher College Press, 2017.
_____.  Literacy and Education.  New York, NY: Routledge, 2015.
New London Group.  "A Pedagogy of Multiliteracies: Designing Social Futures."  Harvard Educational Review 66.1 (Spring 1996): 60-92.
Pritchard, Eric.  Fashioning Lives: Black Queers and the Politics of Literacy.  Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 2016.
ENGL 76000. Mary McGlynn. Globalism, Irrealism, and the Irish Recession​. Monday 2:00PM-4:00PM. 2/4 credits. [Class Number 64639]

Taking as our starting point what the Warwick Research Collective has usefully noted as an ascendant mode of “irrealism” in contemporary fiction, this course will examine literature of the recent global economic crisis. We will consider whether fiction in the neoliberal era bears formal features--generic and stylistic--that shape efforts to address questions of agency and responsibility. We will take one national literature as a test case, that of Ireland, which experienced spectacular collapse of its economy and compliantly cut social services under an austerity program imposed by the European Commission, the IMF, and the European Central Bank. Given this extra-national control of a national economy, as well as a return to high levels of emigration, in addition to an ongoing internal refugee crisis, we will consider whether the national framework has been exhausted, bearing in mind that “there can be no strong cultural materialist assessment of the condition of contemporary Irish writing that does not also attend to the wider literary system into which Irish literature is currently integrated or that does not address some of the more salient changes to that wider system, locally and globally, in recent decades” (Joe Cleary).

Our investigation will focus on how fiction of the last decade, leading up to the crisis, during the global recession, and since the so-called recovery engages with, is produced by, and structures a number of themes: 1) American rhetorical and cultural pressures; 2) infrastructure; 3) environmental threats; 4) real estate and speculation; and 5) refugees and displacement. As each of these issues seems to be accompanied by a generic comfort zone--the gothic, the Big House novel, the thriller, we will examine texts of a variety of genres.  We will attend to textual features that link them, namely a heavy reliance on the present tense and a tendency towards various forms of ungrammaticality, including run-ons, fragments, irreconcilable verb tenses, and ​vernacular constructions.

Drawing on the theory of combined and uneven development as an entry into such theoretical contexts as the energy humanities, the risk society, and world literature, our readings will include work by the WReC, Mikhail Bakhtin, Gargi Bhattacharyya, Joe Cleary, Sharae Deckard, Frederic Jameson, Franco Moretti, John Urry, and others. Fictional texts include novels by Ifedinma Dimbo, Anne Enright, Tana French, Mike McCormack, Lisa McInerney, Paul Murray, and Donal Ryan. Particular attention will be paid to the interaction of Irish labouring bodies with American capital in texts by Emma Donoghue, Colum McCann, Joseph O’Connor, and Paul Lynch.
ENGL 88000. Nancy K. Miller. Post-War Women Writers. Thursdays 4:15PM-6:15PM. 2/4 credits. [Class Number 64641]

Virginia Woolf’s Between the Acts was published posthumously in 1941. Beginning here, with the death of this author, we will read the work of women writers who produced essays, novels, and poetry from the war years through the advent of second-wave feminism: Hannah Arendt, Simone de Beauvoir, Carolyn Heilbrun, Julia Kristeva, Audre Lorde, Mary McCarthy, Adrienne Rich, Susan Sontag, Simone Weil, and Virginia Woolf. As intellectual figures and cultural icons, they also have often played an important role in public debate. Of special interest to the seminar will be the relations among these women, who sometimes admired, sometimes detested one another. We will conclude with work by contemporary women writers, including Claudia Rankine and Rebecca Solnit.

Work for the course: one oral presentation, weekly responses, and one term paper, due at the end of the semester.


ENGL 70000. Feisal Mohamed. Introduction to Doctoral Studies in English. Wednesdays 11:45AM-1:45PM. 4 credits. Restricted to Ph.D. Program in English students only. [Class Number 64650]

This course will seek to address four aspects of graduate studies in English: 1) English studies as a field and discipline; 2) research questions and practices; 3) connections to intellectual communities and networks (i.e. professionalization); and 4) the function of the university. Theoretically, we will examine the boundaries and objects of interest for the field, discussing how they intersect with but also remain distinct from other areas and approaches, and how various theories and methods (formalist, historicist, activist, etc.) define, in sometimes contradictory ways, English studies. Practically, we will discuss how to define objects of inquiry (“texts” and “contexts”) within the field, how to research such objects, how to identify the main debates currently circulating around them, and how to develop new knowledge and innovative ideas and approaches.

ENGL 82100. Feisal Mohamed. Land, Liberty, and Slavery from Hobbes to Defoe. Wednesdays 2:00PM-4:00PM. 2/4 credits. [Class Number 64642]

This course will consider together several phenomena often considered separately: the conversion of arable land to pasture, which imposed unprecedented hardships on tenant farmers in early modern England; the central place of property in seventeenth-century English formulations of political liberty; and the rising prevalence, and increasing racialization, of forced labor in the period. Taken together, these radically refigure the relationship between power, space, and subjectivity.
We will read the seminal works of political theory produced in England’s tumultuous seventeenth century, those of Hobbes, Harrington, Filmer, and Locke. These will be connected to larger debates in European political thought on dominium, a right of possession, and imperium, the power to command. We will also explore how transformations of labor and property necessarily exert influence in literature, not only at the level of content but also at that of genre and mode. Along the way, we will essay a detailed accounting of England’s efforts to expand its mercantilist activity to the West and East, goaded by rivalry with other European powers, especially Spain and the Netherlands. In exploring these questions, we will look at material arising from both sides of the Atlantic, as well as work in slavery studies and space studies. Assignments will be a seminar presentation and paper, to be developed into a research paper of 15 double-spaced pages.
Preliminary list of literary texts:
Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan
Anne Bradstreet, The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung up in America
Andrew Marvell, selected poems
James Harrington, Oceana
Sir William Davenant, The Siege of Rhodes
Aphra Behn, Oroonoko
Robert Filmer, Patriarcha
John Locke, Two Treatises of Government
John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress
Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe

ENGL 75000. David Reynolds. The Foundations of American Literature. Wednesdays 2:00PM-4:00PM. 2/4 credits. [Class Number 64646]

American literature cannot be understood without a familiarity with its rich, varied early phase, which extends from the narratives of pre-1600 European explorers of the New World through seventeenth-century Puritan poetry and prose to the eighteenth-century literature of enlightenment, revolution, national founding, and early romanticism.  This course examines this formative period of American literature.  Besides covering the full range of colonial and early federal writings, we probe various critical and theoretical approaches to American literature. Transnational, circumatlantic, and cultural- studies approaches, which have been prominent in recent Americanist criticism, are drawn upon for insights into this literature, much of which is preoccupied with questions of transatlantic exchange, colonialism, and diaspora.   Among the topics considered are encounters between European settlers and ethnic others; ongoing efforts to define America and Americanness in transatlantic and hemispheric contexts;  the culture and aesthetics of New England Puritanism (crucial for understanding later writers such as Emerson, Hawthorne, and Melville); the innovative poetry of Anne Bradstreet and Edward Taylor; the seminal contributions to philosophy and homiletics by Jonathan Edwards; African Americans and slavery, including the earliest known examples of slave narratives; Native American writing, such as the Winnebago trickster cycle and Iroquois creation story; the Indian captivity narrative; women’s writings, such as Judith Sargent Murrary’s feminist prose, Phillis Wheatley’s poetry, and Hannah Foster’s popular novel The Coquette; public and autobiographical writings by the nation’s founders, including Franklin, Jefferson, Paine, and Hamilton.  Course requirements include a term paper and a book review.

ENGL 80200. Joan Richardson. American Aesthetics: Magic Words, Modes of Thought, & Language Games. Thursdays 2:00PM-4:00PM. 2/4 credits. [Class Number 68243​]

Over the course of this term, we will explore the imagination as a region of perception, a perceptual field—what the eminent Islamicist Henri Corbin beautifully called the imaginal. As William James, who described words as “magic,” knew, the processes of/in this field occur as wave actions: words behaving sometimes as particles, sometimes as waves pulsing at varying frequencies. As he learned from Wilhelm von Helmholtz, it is the sound of a word that triggers a wave amplitude containing all the possible meanings/associations an individual has accumulated and from which he/she chooses the meaning appropriate for a particular context or occasion. “The poem is the cry of its occasion,” Wallace Stevens offered. Using a modality I like to call “intellectual sampling,” we will read selections from the usual suspects—William and Henry James, Stevens, Emerson, Emily Dickinson, Susan Howe—plus samples from reading theory and cognitive science. This last group will include Mary Lydon’s “Veduta” and Andy Clark’s “Magic words: how language augments human computation,” both considered as developments from work done early on in the field by I. A. Richards as in How to Read a Page, Alfred North Whitehead in Modes of Thought, and Ludwig Wittgenstein in excerpts from Philosophical Investigations and On Certainty. The method we follow might best be described as practicing exercises in deep reading as deep breathing, elaborating William James’s central insight from “The Place of Affectional Facts in Pure Experience” that “The body is the palmary instance of the ambiguous…its breathing is my thinking.”

ENGL 74000. Alan Vardy. Romantic Pedestrianism: A Seminar in Twelve Walks. Tuesdays 2:00PM-4:00PM. 2/4 credits. [Class Number 64648]

This seminar will explore the subject of Romantic walking in a wide variety of settings, from the familiar “tranquil restoration” offered by Wordsworth’s Lake District to the frenetic confusion of Charles Lamb’s London.  Some of the walks will be well-known like William and Dorothy Wordsworth and Coleridge walking in the Quantock Hills composing Lyrical Ballads and “The Alfoxden Journal”; and others will range from the less-known like the Wordsworths’ 1802 tour of Scotland to the obscure like Coleridge, Robert Southey, the Fricker sisters and Joseph Cottle walking from Chepstow to Tintern Abbey in the twilight and darkness.  We will wander London with De Quincey’s opium-eater, and also descend into the paranoid fantasy of his little-known story “The Household Wreck.”  The final walk will be with contemporary ‘psychogeographer’ Iain Sinclair as he walks the Thames through London in “Up River.”  Throughout the seminar we will discuss cognitive experience, self-reflection, rhetorics of freedom and constraint, the Romantic subject, the country and the city, and any other issues that arise.  We will go on at least one walk during the course of the semester, and every effort will be made to accommodate students who feel unable to walk an entire route.  

Required Texts:
Clare, John          Major Works      Oxford ISBN: 978-0-19-954979-5  $12.89
De Quincey, Thomas       Confessions of an English Opium-Eater and Other Writings Oxford
ISBN: 978-0-19-953793-8  $10.36
Wordsworth, Dorothy    Dorothy Wordsworth, A Longman Cultural Edition Longman
ISBN: 978-0-321-27775-6  $9.50
These three editions are required.  Any edition of Wordsworth’s poems (including “The Prelude”) will do.  Any edition of the Essays of Elia by Charles Lamb will also do; I’ll supplement as necessary.  The Norton Critical Edition of Coleridge’s Poetry and Prose is preferred, but not required.  All prices are from

The rest of the course readings are available on Blackboard.  There are some excellent background books on Romantic pedestrianism: The invention of the countryside : hunting, walking, and ecology in English literature, 1671-1831 by Donna Landry (Palgrave, 2001), Walking, literature, and English culture : the origins and uses of peripatetic in the nineteenth century by Anne Wallace (OUP, 1993), and Romantic writing and pedestrian travel by Robin Jarvis (Macmillan, 1997).  In addition, an excellent book on the politics of landscape is Landscape and ideology : the English rustic tradition, 1740-1860 by Ann Bermingham (California, 1986).  Wanderlust: a History of Walking by Rebecca Solnit (Viking, 2000) provides an excellent general introduction to the subject.

Course Requirements: 4 short papers including one ‘conference abstract’; 9 page conference paper to be delivered at the Class Conference: “Romantic Pedestrianisms”; 15-20 page research paper

ENGL 79000. Teaching College English: Practicum. 4 credits
Baruch: Wednesdays 2:30PM-4:30PM, Lisa Blakenship [Class Number 64615]
Brooklyn: Tuesdays 2:30PM-4:30PM, Elaine Brooks [Class Number 64616]
CSI: Tuesdays 2:30PM-4:30PM, Roseanne Carlo [Class Number 64617]
John Jay: Tuesdays 2:00PM-4:00PM, Mark McBeth [Class Number 64618]
Lehman: Tuesdays 2:00PM-4:00PM, Paula Loscocca [Class Number 64619]
Queens: Tuesdays 10:05AM-11:55AM, Gloria Fisk [Class Number 64620]

Dissertation Supervision

Number Instructor
  Agathocleous Tanya
62762 Alcalay Ammiel
62768 Alexander Meena
  Bowen Barbara
62758 Brenkman John
  Burger Glenn
62780 Chuh Kandice
62773 Dawson Ashley
62764 DiGangi Mario
62777 Di Iorio Lyn
  Dolan Marc
  Elsky Martin
62775 Faherty Duncan
62779  Fisher Will
62782 Gold Matthew
62770 Hintz Carrie
62766 Hitchcock Peter
62774 Hoeller Hildegard
62776  Israel Nico
62772 Kaye Richard
  Kelly William
62761 Koestenbaum Wayne
62760 Kruger Steven
62787 Kynard Carmen
69468 Lott Eric
62781 McBeth Mark
62756 McCoy Richard
62754 Miller Nancy
62785 Mohamed Feisal
  Otte George
  Perl Sondra
62778 Pollard Tanya
62765 Reid-Pharr Robert
62783 Reitz Caroline
62757 Reynolds David
62755 Richardson Joan
  Richter David
  Sargent Michael
  Savran David
62763 Schaffer Talia
62784 Schlutz Alexander
62759 Shor Ira
  Steel Karl
  Tolchin Neal
62769 Vardy Alan
62786 Wan, Amy
  Webb Barbara
62767 Wilner Joshua
67415 Yood Jessica
62771 Yousef Nancy