Show The Graduate Center Menu

Fall 2019

Fall 2019 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.

Course listings and room numbers subject to change.

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
11:45-1:45 McGlynn
2:00-4:00 Chuh
Il/lib Aes
Rom Rev


4:15-6:15 McBeth
Queer Lit

Text and Image
Diss Workshop

Marvels & Travels
Essay Film
6:30-8:30   Kaye

ENGL 80500. Tanya Agathocleous and Siona Wilson. Decolonizing Gender between Text and Image. [cross-listed with Art History]. Mondays 4:15PM - 6:15PM. 2/4 Credits.
The politics of colonial resistance and egalitarian feminism arose alongside each other and share an overlapping history and vocabulary. The notion of liberation is central to both and in its service the two movements have intersected, interrupted, aided and undermined each other. As feminist postcolonial theorists such as Lila Abu-Lughod and Gayatri Spivak have argued, colonialism has instrumentalized feminism and vice versa. We want to read the historical intersection of feminism and anti-colonialism through the relationship between image and text, with close attention to phenomena such as harem photography, political cartoons, photo albums, and instances of Third Cinema (e.g. The Battle of Algiers). Tracing a long durée from the colonial period to the present, the class will be divided into four sections. Part 1, “Colonial Spectacle,” addresses the intersection of knowledge, display and fantasy in relation to Orientalism, World’s Fair exhibitions and political cartoons. Part 2, “Psychoanalysis, Sexology and Colonialism,” looks at the rise of psychoanalysis and sexology alongside colonial epistemologies and studies particular instances of clinical practice in the colonies (Frantz Fanon, Marcus Hirschfeld and Freud Free Clinics). Part 3, “Insurgency and the Veil,” takes up the role of women in anti-colonial struggles and the ongoing difficulties of attaining political agency when “woman” becomes the symbol of the postcolonial nation state. Part 4, “Sexual Citizenship,” addresses the relationship between sexuality and citizenship in a series of historical and contemporary examples including “pink washing” in Israel. The class is aimed at students with literary, art historical and historical training who seek to deepen their theoretical knowledge of postcolonial and feminist theory and develop new frameworks for analyzing the relationship between image and text.
ENGL 86700. Ammiel Alcalay. Poetic Encounters in the Cold War & Age of Decolonization. Wednesdays 6:30PM - 8:30PM. 2/4 Credits.
In the overwhelmingly monolingual context of English Studies, what tools do we need to process the complex, multilingual and pluri-cultural legacies we inherit? How can we read French theory in translation, for example, without understanding its basis in the question of Algeria? How can we work in archives without considering the destruction of Iraq? While the post-colonial has become a category, what of the process of decolonization, as seen in specific historical, political, cultural, and linguistic contexts, even on the part of members of a dominant group seeking new grounds upon which to stand? When we refer to “native speakers,” how can that concept be processed through the perspective of indigenous peoples? In this class we will explore particular and “thick” contexts that usually fall under terms such as colonialism, decolonization, and indigeneity. Throughout, our concern will be to understand the larger historical, political, and formal contexts in which “translation” occurs.
As a collective class project, we will transcribe a lecture on race and identity (for publication by Lost & Found) by Panamanian born poet Lorenzo Thomas, a graduate of Queens College, Vietnam veteran, and original member of the Umbra Arts Workshop, precursor to the Black Arts Movement.

Texts may include the following:
Siraj Ahmed, The Archaeology of Babel: The Colonial Foundation of the Humanities
Baker & Ismael, Cultural Cleansing in Iraq: Why Museums Were Looted, Libraries Burned, and Academics Murdered
Gordon Brotherston, The Book of the Fourth World
Jody Byrd, The Transit of Empire: Indigenous Critiques of Colonialism
Aimé Césaire, Discourse on Colonialism
Franz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth
Barbara Harlow, Barred: Women, Writing and Political Detention
James D. Le Sueur, Uncivil War: Intellectuals and Identity Politics During the Decolonization of Algeria
Susan Slyomovics, The Performance of Human Rights in Morocco
These may be supplemented with texts by Charles Olson, Muriel Rukeyser, Etel Adnan, Ed Dorn, Adonis, Jack Clarke, Amiri Baraka, Diane di Prima, Assia Djebar, Ed Sanders, Judy Grahn, Miguel Algarin, Gloria Anzaldúa, Leslie Marmon Silko, and others.

ENGL 80600. Kandice Chuh. Il/liberal Aesthetics. Mondays 2:00PM - 4:00PM. 2/4 Credits.
This course occasions the study of the relationship between politics and aesthetics.  How and with what effects is that relationship organized by and in service of the liberal-colonial-racial capitalist order that is modernity?  How and with what effects is that relationship elaborated in difference from that order?  We'll spend some time historicizing aesthetics but will emphasize throughout the aesthetic expressions and theorizations of politics and aesthetics emerging out of the intellectual and artistic-literary genealogies that are disidentified with the aesthetics of liberalism.  We'll attend to the role of aesthetic education, as well as those of pleasure and discomfort, as we collectively undertake consideration of the meaningfulness of thinking aesthetics and politics together.  Women of color feminism, queer of color critique, Black studies, ethnic studies, Native American studies, settler colonial and postcolonial critique, and performance studies, constellate to form the center of gravity of this course.  Students should expect a substantial reading load in addition to biweekly short writing assignments.  Students taking the class for 2 credits will fulfill the requirements of the course with those short assignments.  Students taking the class for 4 credits will submit a longer essay or equivalent project at semester's end.  Everyone is expected to be actively engaged and present throughout the course.


ENGL 91000. Duncan Faherty. Dissertation Workshop. Tuesdays 4:15PM - 6:15PM. 0 Credits. Restricted to Level 2 &3 Ph.D. Program in English students.
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 85200. Jonathan Gray. Art and Thought of the 1980s. Wednesdays 11:45AM - 1:45PM. 2/4 Credits.
This course offers an US centric investigation of the intellectual culture of the 1980s a period of societal and political transition marked in part by the moral panic around HIV and AIDs, the Crack epidemic, the deregulation of finance and the continued loss of manufacturing jobs that transformed the nature of work, and the divisive rhetoric and policies of Ronald Reagan administration that exacerbated all of the above. In many ways this period staked out the ground upon which we continue to struggle today. This class will attend to the texts that responded to these realities, which may include discussions around Tom Wolf’s Bonfire of the Vanities and the transformation of New York City into a refuge for capital, Toni Morrison’s Beloved and the intrusion of archive of slavery into contemporary discourse, Brent Easton Ellis’ Less Than Zero and the fetishized decadence of suburbia, Alice Walker’s The Color Purple and the emergence of Black Womanist thought, Tony Kushner’s Angels in America and AIDs activism as masculinist discourse, Marlon Riggs’ Tongues Untied and the precarity of Black Sexuality, Dom DeLillo’s White Noise and the transformation of the University, Tricia Rose’s Black Noise and Hip Hop’s displacement of Rock and Roll, Oliver Stone’s Wall Street and the rise of crony capital, and a review of the Art of protest and perversion (Basquiat, Keith Haring, Andre Serrano and Barbara Kruger). 

ENGL 86600. Peter Hitchcock. Migrations and the Literary: Decolonizing Borders in Theory and Practice. Wednesdays 2:00PM - 4:00PM. 2/4 Credits.
In a lecture at the University of Cape Town in the early Nineties, Edward Said suggested "Our model for academic freedom should [therefore] be the migrant or traveler: for if, in the real world outside the academy, we must needs be ourselves and only ourselves, inside the academy we should be able to discover and travel among other selves, other identities, other varieties of the human adventure." Said's positioning here is complex and not unproblematic but refers simultaneously to his life and politics, to his sense of the world (for which he often used the terms "worldliness" or "circumstantiality"), and to his concern for an academy that had recently been berated by Allan Bloom. Said's understanding of the migrant, or "traveler," is certainly idiosyncratic, yet it opens up a pertinent and prescient argument not just about the place of the migrant in academe, but about the shifting borders of migrancy in the contemporary period. Rather than being an introduction to migration and migration studies (a huge area of research and contention, not least because 1 in 7 people on the planet are currently defined as migrants), this course will consider what Thomas Nail terms "the figure of the migrant," both as a narrative mode and as an eminently postcolonial problematic. Instead of reading the migrant as primarily imperialism and colonialism's signal effect, we will study migrant literature and theory as agential in their own right, as a set of racial, sexual, and gendered provocations about how we think through literary knowledge as decolonization. On the one hand, the salience of Gloria Anzaldua's elaboration of borderlands continues to pick away at any state identity that pivots on exclusion in the name of protection; on the other hand, the intensification of migratory movement, as refugee, as asylum seeker, as exile, as worker, extends her critique in new ways, and both literature and theory grapple with such dynamism. Using specific examples of writing, we will examine migration as an entangled logic of decolonization, one that offers critical terms within border crossing, interdisciplinarity, and aesthetic engagement.

The course will begin with some basic questions. What is migrant literature? Is it a theme, the writer's biography, a state of mind, a form of cultural capital? Are all borders decolonized by crossing them? What about internal migration in the othering of identity? Doesn't migrant literature homogenize as much as differentiate? What if the writer migrates from the norms of migrancy? And what of disciplinary border crossing in readings of the migrant? As we delve deeper into representative literature and theory throughout the term, should we think of genres of literary migration, rather than forms? What makes migrant literature count? Does migrant literature permit the undocumented to document? What does it say about the politics and poetics of translation, and of world literature in the current conjuncture? As you can tell, the course offers several research avenues, but in general the idea is to take migration literature and theory as an opening to postcolonial critique, and to an interdisciplinary understanding of the literary in the world system as such. Readings in literature and theory may include Fanon, Patel, Lowe, Said, Salih, Unnikrishnan, Deleuze, Federici, Sassen, Anzaldua, Benjamin, Luibheid, Bhabha, Mukherjee, Spivak, Farah, Nguyen, and Adichie.


ENGL 76000. Richard Kaye. Aestheticism, Decadence, Modernism, 1880-1930. Tuesdays 6:30PM - 8:30PM. 2/4 Credits.
This class explores the relation between the aestheticist and decadent movements as well as their determination of modernist aesthetics. We will begin with late-nineteenth-century British, American, and French works by Hardy, Wilde, James, and Huysmans. The fin de siècle was a time of pervasive fears and fantasies dominated by such figures as the New Woman, the urban detective, the homosexual bachelor, the Anarchist, the Oriental, the overreaching colonialist, the self-preening aesthete, the vampire, and the femme fatale, the latter reaching an apotheosis in Wilde’s Salome. In the diverse writings of Pater, Olive Schreiner, Vernon Lee, and Wilde, aestheticism emerged as a theoretically coherent and varied movement absorbed in exquisite surfaces, tantalizing ambiguities, and useless artifice. For decadent writers and artists, scientific theories of “degeneration” could be recalibrated as erotically charged, non-teleological experiments, while Freud drew on “decadent” scenarios for his proto-modernist narratives dealing with hysteria and sexual disorder, preeminently in Dora: Fragment of a Case of Hysteria, Women writers, meanwhile, struggled to find a place within the male-defined coteries of aestheticism and decadence, a theme dramatized in Henry James’ tale “The Author of Beltraffio,,” narrated by a decadent acolyte, in which the aestheticist project must be sequestered from female readers, who can only misconstrue its aims as immoral. Yet there were also alliances between male decadents and feminist writers (Wilde promoted Schreiner’s novel The Story of an African Farm because of its bold challenge to realist conventions and depiction of colonialist malaise.)  In France, the woman writer Rachilde publishes Monsieur Venus (1884), a symbolist/decadent novella concerning a dominatrix noblewoman, Raoule, who gradually transforms her working-class lover Jacques into her mistress by emptying him of all his “masculine” traits. 

In the class’s section part we will explore how the fin outlasted the siècle, maintaining an intense afterlife in the Anglo-American modernist writing of Yeats, James, Eliot, Conrad, Joyce, Lawrence, and Djuna Barnes.  The morbidity, subjectivism, sexual experimentalism, and excesses of literary technique characteristic of 1890s sensibility foment modernist revisions that seek to repress their origins in decadent poetics. Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray, with its hero who cannot "develop," inspires modernist counter-bildungsromanae. We consider Joyce’s Stephen Hero, an early version of Portrait of the Artist as Young Man, arguably a satire of aestheticism as well as a novel with an explicitly Paterian protagonist. The keenly observing, detached bachelor familiar from James also narrates Rilke’s lyrical The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge (arguably the first modernist novel) and that helps to form the paralyzed solitary consciousness of Eliot’s “Prufrock.” Arguably the narrator of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness adopts decadent techniques for his coiled narrative of colonial tragedy.  We will consider, too, Eliot’s absorption in the figure of the Jew as an emblem of a malevolent decadent cosmopolitanism versus Djuna Barnes’ depiction of the decadent Jew in her novel Nightwood as a more positively transformative cultural agent. Our class concludes with James’ The Golden Bowl, a novel of twinned adulteries that is one of James’ most topical, aesthetically difficult, and decadent works of fiction. Among the works we will read: Hardy, Jude the Obscure, Huysmans, Against Nature; Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Salome; Schreiner, Story of an African Farm; Freud, Dora: Analysis of a Fragment of a Case of Hysteria; Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Joyce, Stephen Hero, Yeats, Selected Poems; Lawrence, Selected Short Fiction; Eliot, Selected Poetry; James, The Golden Bowl; Barnes, Nightwood; Showalter, Elaine, ed., Daughters of Decadence.  We will read relevant critical and theoretical texts, including Walter Pater, “Conclusion” to The Renaissance; Arthur Symons, “The Decadent Movement in Literature”; Mario Praz, from The Romantic Agony; George Bataille, from Literature and Evil; Richard Ellmann, “The Uses of Decadence”; Richard Gilman, from Decadence: The Strange Life of an Epithet; Linda Dowling, “The Decadent and The New Woman”; Michael Riffaterre, “Decadent Paradoxes,” Leo Bersani, from The Culture of Redemption; Regenia Gagnier, “Individualism, Decadence, and Globalization,” Vincent Sherrry, from Decadence and the Reinvention of Modernism”; Matthew Potolsky, from The Decadent Republic of Letters.  A mid-term paper as well as a final paper that may be drawn from the mid-term essay. This class can be adapted to parts of the New Portfolio Examination.

ENGL 87400. Wayne Koestenbaum. The Essay Film. Wednesdays 4:15PM - 6:15PM. 2/4 Credits.
This seminar offers a chance to delve into visual works that might be called “essay films.”  A perplexing category;  a fruitful category;  a pretext for flight, for immersion, and for an end to naysaying.  Critic Tim Corrigan argues that “although for many the notion of an essay film remains less than self-explanatory, this particular mode of filmmaking has become more and more recognized as not only a distinctive kind of filmmaking but also, I would insist, as the most vibrant and significant kind of filmmaking in the world today.” (Timothy Corrigan, The Essay Film:  From Montaigne, after Marker, Oxford U. Press, 2011.)  Artists studied will include such unclassifiables as Alain Resnais, Chris Marker, Agnès Varda, Werner Herzog, Marlon Riggs, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Isaac Julien, Jonas Mekas, and Ja’Tovia Gary, among many other possibilities.  We will read some theoretical texts about the literary essay and the essay film:  Georg Lukács, Theodor Adorno, André Bazin, Hito Steyerl, Laura Mulvey, Nora Alter, and others.  As an ancillary aim, the course will consider how essayistic modes of filmmaking cast light on the contemporary practice of the literary essay (Claudia Rankine, Anne Carson, and others).  Students will have the opportunity to write about essay films, and, if desired, to experiment with the making of an essay film.  No auditors.

ENGL 80700. Steven F. Kruger. Books of Marvels and Travels: The Middle Ages and Beyond. Tuesdays 4:15PM - 6:15PM. 2/4 Credits.  
Medieval European writers like William of Rubruck, John of Piano Carpini, Marco Polo, Mandeville, and Gomes Eanes de Zurara produced an extensive body of travel writing between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries, detailing encounters, actual and imagined, between European travelers and both Asia and Africa. In the first half (or so) of the course, we will read a number of these travel texts, alongside the travel itineraries of non-Christian writers like Benjamin of Tudela and Ibn Battuta. We will consider these texts in relation to recent theoretical and historical work on the construction of Europe and Christendom in relation to their religious, racial, and geopolitical others, and the recent rethinking of how we treat medieval travel texts by such critics as Kim Phillips and Shayne Legassie. In the second half of the course, we will turn in two directions: (1) toward other late-medieval texts, not always conceived of primarily as travel narratives, that nonetheless feature travel and encounter (e.g., The Book of Margery Kempe, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Langland’s Piers Plowman), and (2) toward post-medieval writing that takes up travel and encounter (e.g., Cavendish’s The Blazing World, Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness). With the last group of texts, we will consider how the conventions of medieval travel writing are taken up and transformed in later periods.

Each student will present orally as part of the seminar structure, and each student taking the course for 4.0 credits will write a research paper. Students working in periods other than the medieval can develop projects in their own field related to the course theme. First-year students in the Ph.D. Program in English can use this project to produce one of the four components of the portfolio required for the Program’s first examination: 1) a 12-15-page review essay; 2) an annotated bibliography of 15 primary or secondary sources; 3) a syllabus with a 1500-word account of a pedagogical approach to a text; or 4) a 10-page conference paper. In addition to completing one of these portfolio projects, students will write a brief (1000-1500-word) essay reflecting on the ways in which this project might provide the basis for a longer, research essay.


ENGL 85500. Eric Lott. Racial Hauntologies. Thursdays 4:15PM - 6:15PM. 2/4 Credits.
This course plays with Jacques Derrida’s coinage in Specters of Marx, ontology haunted by a pun on haunting, to propose a course of study or series of case studies in overdetermination itself: the ways racial formation suffuses and delimits other vectors of social dominance.  Race, articulation, and societies structured in dominance give us our marching orders as we examine revealing moments of revolutionary conflict from the U.S. Reconstruction period to the present.  We will take up theoretical coordinates, cultural dossiers, and textual instances of many kinds—forms and formations, bases and superstructures, sudden advances and lockdown retrenchments.  The course will require at least as much attention to social and political theory and debate (Karl Marx, W.E.B. Du Bois, V.N. Vološinov, Angela Davis, Saidiya Hartman, José Muñoz, Tavia Nyong’o, Joshua Clover) as to literary and cultural articulation (Abraham Lincoln, Lucy Parsons, Langston Hughes, Ornette Coleman, Samuel Delany, Arthur Jafa, Carrie Mae Weems, Princess Nokia) as we explore recombinant social formations, riots, strikes, crowds, parties, and utopias and the textual forms that arise from and address them.  Engagements with various kinds of social-activist-intellectual practice is an assumed and built-in aspect of the course.

ENGL 89020. Mark McBeth. Queer Literacy and Its Discontents (or Discovering Oppressive Power Brokers of Education). Mondays 4:15PM - 6:15PM. 2/4 Credits.
In this course, Queer Literacy,  we will focus upon how literacy sponsorships played a role in the dynamic power play between heternormative/homophobic public discourses and queer subject formation,. In "Sponsors of Literacy," Deborah Brandt lists a group of "figures who turned up most typically in people’s memories of literacy learning: older relatives, teachers, priests, supervisors, military officers, editors, influential authors. [These sponsors of literacy,] as we ordinarily think of them, are powerful figures who bankroll events or smooth the way for initiates” (167, emphasis added). For Gay, Lesbian and Trans individuals who lived through the twentieth century, these prevalent figures of sponsorship-- who would presumably “smooth the way for initiates”--in fact, constrained the literacy of queer learners. Ellen Louise Hart has claimed that "the acts of reading and writing are acts of creation, not peripheral but essential to all education and all learning" and, moreover she adds, for LGBTQ students, who navigate through patriarchy, heterosexism, and homophobia, literacy often takes on special roles for their survival ("Literacy and the Lesbian/Gay Learner" 31). The adverse confluence of these societal forces--an intradependent set of discourses that reified each other--kept queer initiates in identificatory check under an unspoken platform of heteronormative literacy sponsorship so that for most of the twentieth century the Queer community could not gain an affirmative foothold of self-worth through the literate practices that normally allow for such growth and development.

While this course will focus its analytic attentions on heternormative discourses and the counter-normative measures twentieth-century queers took to upend them, students could (in fact, should also) investigate the primary sources of public media, archival artifacts, and other “traceable” materials to discover how over-deterministic discourses shaped the literacy potentials/capabilities/futures of other marginalized communities.  Participants in this course will visit various archives and special collections around the city. 

Potential Reading List
Brandt, Deborah.  “Sponsors of Literacy.”  College Composition and Communication 49.2 (May 1998): 165 -185.
Butler, Judith. Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex.”  New York, NY: Routledge, 1993.   
Foucault, Michel.  The History of Sexuality, Volume 1:  An Introduction.  New York, NY: Vintage Books, Random House, 1978/1990. Print.
Gee, James Paul.  Literacy and Education.  New York, NY: Routledge, 2015.
Hart, Ellen Louise.  “Literacy and the Lesbian/Gay Learner” The Lesbian in Front of the Classroom: Writings by Lesbian Teachers. (Eds. Sarah-Hope Parmeter and Irene Reti)  Santa Cruz, CA: HerBooks, 1988.  Print.
Minton, Henry L.  Departing from Deviance: A History of Homosexual Rights and Emancipatory Science in America.  Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2002. 
Mortenen, Peter.  “The Work of Illiteracy in the Rhetorical Curriculum.”  Journal of Curriculum Studies 44.6 (2012): 761-786.
Pratt, Mary Louise.  “Arts of the Contact Zone” Profession.  (1991): 33040. 
Pritchard, Eric Parnell.  Fashioning LIves: The Politics of Black Queer Literacy.  Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 2017. 
Terry, Jennifer.  An American Obsession: Science, Medecine, and Homosexuality in Modern Society.  Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1999. 
_____.  “Anxious Slippages between ‘Us’ and ‘Them’: A Brief History of the Scientific Sear for Homosexual Bodies.  Deviant Bodies (Ed. Urla, Jacqueline and Terry, Jennifer). Bloomington, IL: Indiana University Press, 1995. 129-169.
Warner, Michael.  Publics and Counterpublics.  Brooklyn, NY: Zone Books, 2002.
Wilder, Craig Steven. Ebony & Ivy.  New York, NY: Bloomsbury Press, 2013.
ENGL 70000. Mary McGlynn. Introduction to Doctoral Studies in English. Mondays 11:45AM - 1:45PM. 4 Credits. Restricted to first-year Ph.D. Program in English students.
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 70000. Feisal Mohamed. Introduction to Doctoral Studies in English. Thursdays 11:45AM - 1:45PM. 4 Credits. Restricted to first-year Ph.D. Program in English students.
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 81100. Tanya Pollard. Actors, Bodies, and Performance in Early Modern England. Thursdays 2:00PM - 4:00PM. 2/4 Credits.
This course will explore ways that actors, both individually and collectively, shaped the construction of plays in early modern England. How did the members and power dynamics of repertory companies inspire playwrights’ development of characters and plots? What can we learn from accounts of actors in plays and other documents, and how did recognizable bodies interact with prosthetics such as wigs, cosmetics, blackface, and physical deformities? How might factors such as height, build, beards, voices, previous acting parts, and reputations have affected roles, and how did authors and audiences play with conventional practices of crossing lines of gender, race, class, and age? Readings will plays that include Marlowe's Dido and Tamburlaine; Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream, Hamlet, Othello, Anthony and Cleopatra, and Tempest; and Jonson's Alchemist; as well as theatrical documents and scholarship by theater historians, literary critics, and performance theorists.

ENGL 74000. Alan Vardy. Romantic Reveries. Tuesdays 2:00PM - 4:00PM. 2/4 Credits.
This course will explore the various modes of reverie represented by British Romantic writers, including (in no particular order): daydreams, visions (religious and imaginative), ecstasy, nightmares, the unconscious, dreams, waking dreams, rapture, inspiration, hallucinations, madness, imaginative reveries, etc.  In such a conceptual frame, the Romantic canon takes on a slightly different shape.  For example, De Quincey becomes a major figure, and his work will take up a significant portion of our time.  The other giant of this reconfigured field is Coleridge (he coined the term “the unconscious” in its modern sense), and we will consider canonical works like “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” and “Kubla Khan” alongside notebook entries and letters to give us a broad understanding of his contribution.  Other writers we will study include: Mary and Percy Shelley, Byron, Clare, and Barbauld (the reading list will be supplemented during the course).
Familiarity with Freud’s “The Dream-work” from Interpretation of Dreams and/or “The Uncanny” would be helpful, but not necessary.  We’ll look at these texts not as keys to Romantic literary works, but rather the converse.  Broadly speaking, we will explore how Romantic authors influence current critical interest in affective experience from various perspectives: psychoanalysis, cognitive studies, aesthetics, affect theory, etc.


ENGL 84200. Joshua Wilner. Thinking in Pieces: Pascal, Dickinison, Wittgenstein. Tuesdays 11:45AM - 1:45PM. 2/4 Credits.
That the immediate historical and cultural contexts in which Pascal, Dickinson, and Wittgenstein wrote differed widely as did their intellectual and imaginative projects scarcely needs pointing out: Pascal was a mathematician turned religious controversialist in 17th Century France, Dickinson a reclusive 19th Century American poet, and Wittgenstein a Viennese 20th Century philosopher of language who lived much of his adult life in Cambridge. The obvious differences harbor numerous grounds of comparison, however: each lived in a period of acute historical crisis that was intensified in each case by some sense of spiritual crisis and personal asceticism. Each left as his or her primary legacy a posthumous collection of pieces of writing that both call for and resist being gathered into wholes; correlatively, the compositional methods of all three involved processes of assembling and reassembling those pieces of writing - Pascal's bundled pensées; Dickinson's similarly bundled "fascicles" of poems; the fragmentary remarks that Wittgenstein arranged and rearranged in different boxes and manuscripts. For each, the relationship of "inner experience" to the body, to language and to the other is a central question. Each writes and thinks in ways that draw on while radically concentrating the signifying power of everyday language. In each the mathematical imagination - comparing and manipulating quantities, working with proportions, performing calculations, undertaking proofs - plays a central role, though always in the service of demonstrating its limits. Each conducts an on-going dialogue between the voicing of belief and the voicing of doubt. In some cases, a pre-occupation may be shared by two writers that is not by a third: thus, for example, Christianity and the Bible are central to an understanding of Pascal and Dickinson but not (it would seem) of Wittgenstein; the nature of philosophy and scientific thinking are explicit questions for Pascal and Wittgenstein in ways that they are not for Dickinson; fantasies of mental privacy haunt Dickinson and Wittgenstein in ways they do not Pascal (or not as obsessively). In other cases, similar issues surface in each writer in a different way: how does Wittgenstein's emphasis on language-games, for example, relate to Dickinson's serious playing with language, or to Pascal's famous use of probability theory to argue for belief in God as "a good bet" or to his extended meditation on custom and "divertissement"?

Our aim in this course will be to familiarize ourselves with each writer on their own terms while also exploring some of the numerous points and areas of intersection among them, always through careful attention to individual pieces of writing.

Principle readings: Pascal's Pensées, the corpus of Dickinson's poetry, and Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations.

ENGL 79000. Teaching College English: Practicum. 4 credits
Baruch: Wednesdays 12:30PM-2:30PM
Brooklyn: Tuesdays 4:30PM-6:10PM
City: Wednesdays 4:45PM-6:35PM
John Jay: Wednesdays 3:00PM-5:00PM
Medgar Evers: TBA
Queens: Wednesday 10:05AM-11:55AM