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Spring 2017

Spring 2017 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 Dissertation Supervision click here.

Course listings and room numbers subject to change.


  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
19th C Am Women
Room 3305


Room 3207



Modernist Peace
Room 3305

Distant Reading
Room 3307

Rom & Rapture
Room 3305

Intro Doc Stu
Room 3305

Dreaming Mid Ages
Room 3209

Badiou & Milton

Cult Curr & Crit Turn
Room 3308

Diss Wkshp
Room 3309


Thry Metaphor & Rom Poets

Wordsworth & Eliot
Room 3307

Creole Poetics
Room 4419

James & Stein
Room 5382

Affect, Feeling, Emot
Room 6114

Room 3310A
Davidson & Gillespie
Teach Race and Gender
Room 3207

Aesth, Dec, Modernism
Room 3309

B & A Little Women
Room 3305


ENGL 83500. Siraj Ahmed. Imperialism, Past and Present. Tuesdays 11:45AM-1:45PM. 2/4 credits. [CRN 35327]
A new field, critical university studies, has recently taken shape within the humanities. This field makes the privatization of higher education—the tacit context of critical theory over the past four decades—itself the object of theory at long last. It attempts, in other words, to direct the tools of theory against its own institutional foundation and, in so doing, ensure theory’s immediate relevance to the lives of its practitioners and students. In the process, it hopes also to suggest proposals for educational reform that would break neoliberalism’s hold on the university.

But the research university does not, of course, begin with neoliberalism. It instead emerged and developed in tandem with European empires from the late eighteenth century forward and was designed to serve their needs. If we want to critique the university today, we might need, therefore, to study the genealogy of empire during this time—from, for example, Caribbean plantation colonies then to the American security state today. This class will give critical university studies broader historical and geopolitical perspectives than it usually adopts, placing the history of the university and of empire side-by-side.

In regard to the latter, we might read chapters from Lenin’s Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism, Kiernan’s America, the New Imperialism: From White Settlement to World Hegemony, Amin’s Imperialism and Unequal Development, Callinicos’s Imperialism and Global Political Economy, and Harvey’s A Brief History of Neoliberalism. In regard to the latter, possible texts include parts of Gramsci’s ‘The Problem of the School,’ Clark’s Academic Charisma and the Origins of the Research University, Wilder’s Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities, Bloom and Martin’s ‘Black Studies and Third World Liberation,’ Bourdieu's Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture and Homo Academicus, Spivak’s ‘Marginality in the Teaching Machine,’ Spanos’s The End of Education, Aronowitz’s The Knowledge Factory, Judith Butler’s ‘Academic Norms, Contemporary Challenges’ and ‘Critique, Dissent, Disciplinarity,’ and Newfield’s Unmaking the Public University. Needless to say, we will pay particular attention to how the university is implicated in the novel forms empire takes today as well as the place of literary studies and theory within this conjuncture.

The premise here is that no real reform of the university will be possible until proposals for reform can think beyond the Anglo-American university. This class will thus seek models outside the imperial university that that could potentially influence practices within. Potential texts include pieces from Clastres’ Society against the State, Foucault’s History of Sexuality volumes 2 and 3, Agamben’s The Highest Poverty, Scott’s The Art of Not Being Governed, Robbins’s Intellectuals, Harney & Moten’s The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study, Harvey’s Spaces of Hope, Graeber’s Revolutions in Reverse, and Posnock’s Renunciation: Acts of Abandonment by Writers, Philosophers, and Artists.

The writing assignment for this class should help students fulfill the 12-15 page review essay component of the new Portfolio examination.


ENGL 80700. Glenn Burger. Affect, Feeling, Emotion: The Medieval Turn. Thursdays 4:15PM-6:15PM. 2/4 credits. [CRN 35328]

This course will consider various theoretical frameworks—both contemporary and medieval—useful in discussing the production and management of affect and emotion. It could be said that the Middle Ages invented affective devotion, and the course will begin by focusing on medieval emotional relationships with texts, devotional objects and religious drama concerned with Christ’s passion: for example, “The Wooing of Our Lord,” Richard Rolle’s Meditation, Nicholas Love’s Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ, and lyric laments of The Virgin. We will track the ways that affect in courtly love poetry provided medieval readers with intimate scripts to put inner and outer states of feeling into contact with one another, particularly as the individual perceives herself in relation to (private) desires and (public) pressures. We will examine such texts as Guillaume de Lorris’s Romance of the Rose, Machaut’s Dit de la Fonteinne Amoureuse, Chaucer’s Book of the Duchess, and John Lydgate’s Complaynt of the Loveres Lyfe. We will also examine the crucial role that affect management played in late medieval conduct literature, and we will consider how the production of self-restraint in such texts, particularly within the structures of the married household, helps form emotional communities that allowed emergent social groups new modes of self-identification. We will examine conduct texts such as The Good Wife’s Guide (Le Menagier de Paris) and The Book of the Knight of La Tour Landry, as well as literary texts such as Chaucer’s Legend of Good Women and The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale, as well as Thomas Hoccleve’s Series, and Boccaccio’s, Petrarch’s, and Chaucer’s versions of the Griselda story.

First-year students will be able to submit an annotated bibliography of 15 primary or secondary sources to fulfill part of the course’s writing requirements.


ENGL 89010. Cathy Davidson and Michael Gillespie. Race and Gender Theory in the Undergraduate Classroom. Tuesdays 6:30PM-8:30PM. 2/4 credits. Registration by permission of instructor. Email to request permission. [CRN 35329]

This course is designed as an introduction to core concepts of race, gender, and intersectional theory and as a course in the pedagogy of teaching race, gender, and intersectionality in the introductory undergraduate humanities classroom. We will be reading a number of key texts, largely in the disciplinary areas of film, media, literary studies, American studies, and cultural theory, from the perspective of critical race theory, feminist theory, queer theory, visual culture studies, gender and sexuality theory, and intersectional theory. We will also be reading constructivist, student-centered, activist, engaged pedagogy and learning theory. The course begins from the premise that profound work in race and gender theory occurs in introductory courses throughout the humanities. Introductory courses are among the most challenging to teach and our CUNY graduate students, early in their graduate careers, have sole responsibility for teaching them on the CUNY campuses. This course is specifically designed to supplement the teaching by our graduate students in their current and future role in higher education at CUNY and beyond.

In demographic terms, the drop-out rate is highest in introductory undergraduate courses. In disciplinary terms, introductory courses are where students are most likely to determine a major and to think ahead to whether they wish to pursue graduate school. In intellectual terms, introductory courses create the critical lens through which students view the rest of their learning, in all disciplines, in school and out. Yet, very little pedagogical training in graduate school focuses on methods for engaging students who are encountering race and gender theory for the first time, on how to integrate race and gender theory into a general introductory humanities curriculum, on how to connect the core concepts in an introductory course with a graduate student’s own specialized research, and on how race and gender are interconnected and converge in the terms of intersectionality.

This course will be offered to Graduate Center students by permission of the instructors. First priority will be to GC students currently teaching courses on a CUNY campus, although others not teaching will be admitted if space permits. We will build upon graduate students’ own experiences as teachers and learners. We will have a site on C-Box/Academic Commons for our course and also sites that will link all the undergraduate courses being taught by the graduate students in the course.

If you are a first year English doctoral student, you will be able to customize your work in this course to include in your doctoral Portfolio.

We will also be partnering with Professor Shelly Eversley’s undergraduate course on “Race and Gender Theory” at Baruch College and finding ways that the students in her course can interact with the undergraduate students in the courses that the graduate students are teaching, perhaps building upon a common project such as Professor Eversley’s ongoing digital archive project.

We will focus on such basics as designing syllabi, creating engaged pedagogical exercises, rethinking formative assessment methods, interrogating both the lecture and the standard discussion models used in traditional humanities courses, and in introducing complex and often difficult theory to students in introductory classes.

Both graduate students and the undergraduates they are teaching will be required to publish some of their work in public online forums and to participate in at least one project that offers a public contribution to knowledge.

ENGL 80600. Marc Dolan. Distant Reading: Cultural Systems and The Big Picture. Thursdays 11:45AM-1:45PM. 2/4 credits. [CRN 35330]
This course is a tasting menu of the last few decades of what is now called “distant reading”—criticism that places literary or cultural texts within trees, maps, graphs, or other systemic visualizations.

We will start the semester with a few works by Franco Moretti, the movement’s nominator and frequent poster boy. In appropriately genealogical fashion, we will then move outward to Moretti’s methodological antecedents and descendants (especially the work of the Stanford Media Lab).

Equal attention will be paid to the theory and practice of such criticism. One of the most essential questions before us will be the one that all good theory courses need to confront: what is this particular theory good for, and what it is not good for? In curating the early weeks of the syllabus, I will endeavor to include criticism that considers a fair range of periods, genres, and national literatures. Of course, the real fun will be in fields that have seen less distant reading, because that leaves a more wide open playground for newer scholars.

I should emphasize that this is a course in literary theory, not coding. Students will not be expected to complete a full “distant reading” study in fifteen weeks, but rather to design such a study that might be attempted in the future. The latter part of the semester will be taken up with generating such a detailed project design, thinking about the virtues of different models of distant reading, their relative practicality, utility, and limits. We will be finding questions we want to answer and deciding the best specific ways to go about answering them.

As I said, it’s a tasting menu. When the semester is done, you should know if you want to come back to Moretti’s and order a full dinner.

ENGL 70000. Duncan Faherty. Introduction to Doctoral Studies in English. Mondays 2:00PM-4:00PM. 4 credits. Restricted to first-year Ph.D. Program in English students. [CRN 35331]

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. Four short essays will constitute the written requirement for this course. The first will require situating your own current research interests in relation to contemporary issues in English studies and university education (this paper is a kind of intellectual autobiography). The second will identify and analyze a current critical essay in terms of its argument, audience, and evidence while explaining its objectives and methods (this paper is also an occasion to think about the editorial visions/practices/constraints of specific sites of publication). The third will propose a research question and annotated bibliography explaining how you plan to use your research and define your own distinctive approach (this paper offers an opportunity to consider how one enters into current conversations in a particular field of study). Your fourth assignment will be to transform a preexisting longer essay into a conference paper, abstract, and brief reflective narrative about the critical choices involved in redrafting, revising, and reimagining.


ENGL 85100. Carrie Hintz. Before and After Little Women. Wednesdays 6:30PM-8:30PM. 2/4 credits. [CRN 35332]
The course begins with precursors to Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women (1868-1869). These will include eighteenth-century writers for children like Maria Edgeworth, Hannah More, and Anna Barbauld and nineteenth-century authors like Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, and Charlotte Yonge. We will read and discuss literary and cultural criticism about Civil War conflict and the abolitionist movement, nineteenth- century gender and sexual identities, race and ethnicity, female ambition, social class, religious affect, charity, and domesticity. We will then consider the literary and cultural afterlife of Little Women, including merchandising, fan fiction, film adaptation, and twenty-first century children’s domestic fiction. Much of the course will be devoted to the development of your own projects and to collectively building a digital project devoted to the novel, its influences, and its afterlife. Whether you love or hate Little Women—or regard it with cool indifference—this could be an opportunity to produce some of the best critical writing of your career to date. First-year students working towards the first exam warmly welcomed.


ENGL 85100. Hildegard Hoeller. “Moving a Nation”: 19th Century American Women Writers, Slavery, Sentiment, and Women’s Rights. Mondays 11:45AM-1:45PM. 2/4 credits. [CRN 35333]

In this course we will explore the development of 19th century American women’s writing and its connection to slavery and women’s rights. The mid-nineteenth century saw an unprecedented amount of women writers producing (predominantly sentimental) texts for the literary market place and carving out careers as writers. The issue of slavery propelled many of those women to redirect their writings to enter the political debate about slavery and to be in dialogue with other female writers emerging from slavery—be it as formerly enslaved persons or slave holders or activists in the cause of abolition. In this course we will discuss how these women writers--enslaved or free, white or black, Southern or Northern, abolitionist or pro-slavery--responded to and represented slavery in their writings. Given the restrictions placed on female expression, these women writers had to negotiate and break discursive and social barriers to voice their political views and to speak about the realities of slavery as they saw them. Often, such representations of slavery were linked to questions of women’s rights. Literarily, these writings have only more recently been –and are still being--rediscovered, recovered, and reevaluated, and many of these texts employ sentimental expression as one tool for ‘moving the nation.’ We will discuss writings by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Lydia Maria Child, Harriet Jacobs, Hannah Crafts, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Caroline Hentz, Harriet Wilson, Mattie Griffith Browne, The Grimke sisters, as well as female slave narratives recovered in the 1930s. We will read recent critical work on these writers and the sentimental tradition as well as the female slave narrative. This course will be ideal to: develop original, publishable work on these writers (many of them still underexplored); understand the history of sentimental writing as a major literary tradition; understand the possibilities and limitations of sentimental expression, particularly its central concept of sympathy; explore female slave narratives; understand the relation between the slave narrative and sentimental writing; examine the critical history of how these writings were excluded from the canon and the feminist efforts it took to bring these texts back to our narrative of American literary history; study more recent critical work on these writers; understand and engage in recovery work of writers of the period. Overall we will be able to explore how women used literature as a way of speaking out about their views on slavery and women’s rights. Assignments will welcome all critical approaches and will allow first-year students to fulfill portfolio requirements.


ENGL 76000. Richard Kaye. Aestheticism, Decadence, Modernism, 1880-1930. Tuesdays 6:30PM-8:30PM. 2/4 credits. [CRN 35334]

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 second 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 80200. Wayne Koestenbaum. Henry James and Gertrude Stein. Wednesdays 4:15PM-6:15PM. 2/4 credits. [CRN 35335]
Some traits—tastes—these two vastly consequential writers shared:

An appetite for dinner, prepared by others. A fondness for complications. A consciousness moored “in hotel” (not at home, not in proper containers). A different conception of suspense. A habit of standing (or sitting) at odds with common genders. Recalcitrance. Fear of missing the tonal boat. No fear of getting lost. Peculiar digestion. Loosened canals of thought. A concern for good and bad manners. An affection for William James. A sense of the past, its weight. A dictatorial—think “dictation”—approach to text. A theatrical bent. A love of applause. Playing foul ball with marriage. Getting stuck in Europe. Knowing when to make tone and touch a heavy or a light affair. Not suffering fools gladly. Entertaining the possibility of one’s own idiocy, and the illuminations to be found therein. Pointillism. A tropism toward the difficult and the vague.

James and Stein reinvented the sentence. They reinvented consciousness by reinventing the sentence. They reinvented point of view, and viewlessness, and pointlessness, and pointedness.

The syllabus will include—no surprise—works by James and Stein, and nothing else.

Requirements: a substantial essay (due at the end of the semester), an annotated bibliography, and a brief in-class presentation. (First-year students in the Ph.D. English program may fulfill some of the course’s requirements by producing one or more of the Portfolio Examination’s components.)


ENGL 80700. Steven Kruger. Dreaming in the Middle Ages, and After. Tuesdays 2:00PM-4:00PM. 2/4 credits. [CRN 35336]

From Genesis to the Wizard of Oz, from Revelation to Prince’s “1999,” dream experience has been central to Western literary and cultural traditions – whether as inspiration for the literary text or as the object of representation and exploration. Dream visions – texts that frame themselves as dreams – emerge as a particularly noteworthy genre in the Middle Ages, with the Dream of the Rood, visions of heaven and hell, Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun’s Roman de la Rose, Boccaccio’s Corbaccio, Chaucer’s four dream poems, Langland’s Piers Plowman, the anonymous Pearl, and poems by most of the major English poets of the fifteenth century (Lydgate, Douglas, Dunbar, Henryson, James I) all exploiting dream experience as the basis for narrative and lyric expression.

The course will center on medieval dream texts such as these, but we will also consider the Biblical and classical traditions that underlie medieval dream narratives, and we will reach beyond the Middle Ages – to early modern poets like Skelton and Hawes, to Shakespeare, to the Romantics, and to the twentieth century – to consider some of the afterlives of medieval dream vision. (The post-­‐medieval texts taken up will depend in part of the interests of students registered for the course.) We will also read widely in the classical, late-­‐antique, and medieval theories of sleep and dreams (from Aristotle to Macrobius and Augustine to Albertus Magnus), and in modern dream theory (from Freud and Jung to Foucault to contemporary neuroscientific explorations of the dream state).

Students taking the course for 2 credits are expected to do the reading, participate in discussions, and do one oral presentation. Students taking the course for 4 credits will also take on a semester-­‐long project related to the material of the course. 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 (portfolio) 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; 4) a 10‐page conference paper.


ENGL 72400. Richard McCoy. Romance and Rapture. Thursdays 11:45AM-1:45PM. 2/4 credits. [CRN 35337]

From the middle ages through the Renaissance, audiences thrilled to the heroic exploits, ardent loves, and astonishing incidents in narrative, poetic, and dramatic romances. Nevertheless, a backlash began in the Enlightenment, with some, like William Congreve, contending that the “giddy delight” of romance is ultimately supplanted by the recognition that “‘tis all a lye.” Yet its attractions remain irresistible, and many argue, as Northrop Frye does, that its extravagant fabrications constitute the “structural core of all fiction.” This course will analyze the motifs and patterns of romance – quests and episodic detours, intimations of magic and miracle, disguise, duplicity, and discovery, multiple, androgynous identities, and recovery from recurrent loss – as well as the mixed reception of the genre’s blend of absurdity and wonder. We will explore the roots of romance in late antiquity through chivalric adventures of the middle ages to the hybrid creations of the Renaissance, blending allegory, pastoral, epic, and tragicomedy. Readings will include selections from the Homer’s Odyssey and Heliodorus’ Aethiopica, Chrétien de Troyes and Chaucer, Ariosto and Cervantes, Sidney and Spenser as well as plays by Shakespeare, Beaumont, and Fletcher. We will also consider ways in which romance continues to pervade the novel with selections from Austen and Nabokov as well as popular contemporary romance fiction and film. And we will review theoretical discussions of romance from the sixteenth century treatises through Mikhail Bakhtin, Patricia Parker, Margaret Doody, Barbara Fuchs, Janice Radway, and others. Course assignments are designed to fulfill several of the new Portfolio Examination requirements: an annotated bibliography will be required of each student, and every student has the option of submitting either a 15-page research essay, a syllabus with a 1500-word account of a pedagogical approach to assigned texts, or a 10-page conference paper. Each student will be required to make a brief oral presentation on one of the assigned readings.


ENGL 76000. Jean Mills. Woolf, Lee, Shaw: Modernist Literary Approaches to Peace. Wednesdays 11:45AM-1:45PM. 2/4 credits. [CRN 35348]

This course adopts weak and planetary modernist theoretical approaches (recently deployed by Gayatri Spivak, Susan Standford Friedman, and Paul K. Saint-Amour) reading across space and time from a position that is associative rather than definitional, sometimes probable, partial, and provisional to investigate the complex pacifisms of Virginia Woolf, Vernon Lee (Violet Paget), and George Bernard Shaw, as well as, the many pacifist-others, war-resisters, and political activists in their orbit. Reading from what Gillian Beer called Vernon Lee’s “stylized ballet-satire on slaughter,” Satan the Waster: A Philosophic War Trilogy (1920), Shaw’s Back to Methuselah: A Metabiological Pentateuch (1918-1920), a series of five plays, dismissed by Michael Holroyd as “a masterpiece of wishful thinking,” and Virginia Woolf’s “pacifist manifesto” (Jane Marcus) Three Guineas (1938), our seminar will not only consider “the fiction of war’s punctuality” (Amour), but also add to a discourse on peace, peace-making, and peace building, that has recently sought to historically construct both aesthetic and active resistance to war and act as a counter to the mythologizing of war experience. In addition to Woolf, Lee, and Shaw, we’ll read from Jane Ellen Harrison; Hope Mirrlees; T.S. Eliot; Bertrand Russell; Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson; Clive Bell; Nancy Cunard; Mulk Raj Anand; Claude McKay; and Edna Saint Vincent Millay’s commedia dell’ arte Aria Da Capo (1920), as well as from newly published work in the genre of peace criticism. There will be an emphasis on archival research, both digitally and on site. Requirements: Weekly responses; an oral presentation; final term paper 20-25 pages.


ENGL 87500. Nancy K. Miller. Memoir/Illness/Graphic/Grief. Thursdays 4:15PM-6:15PM. 2/4 credits. [CRN 35338]

“Considering how common illness is, how tremendous the spiritual change that it brings, how astonishing, when the lights of health go down, the undiscovered countries that are then disclosed…it becomes strange indeed that illness has not taken its place with love and battle and jealousy among the prime themes of literature.” Virginia Woolf’s On Being Ill is the first literary work we will read, even if contemporary nonfiction and fiction have long since belied Woolf’s lament. Illness occupies a prominent place in postwar culture, and the seminar will explore the stories of what happens when “the lights of health go down” through a wide range of literary and visual representations of bodily and mental suffering, including AIDS, cancer, depression, and mourning.
Among the writers and artists: Roland Barthes, Simone de Beauvoir, Lucy Grealy, Audre Lorde, Paul Monette, Oliver Sacks, Eve Sedgwick, and Susan Sontag; graphic narratives by Bobby Baker, David B., Miriam Engelberg, David Small, and Nicola Streeten.
The work of the course: weekly responses, one oral presentation, a final paper.


ENGL 82300. Feisal Mohamed. Badiou and Milton. Wednesdays 2:00PM-4:00PM. 2/4 credits. [CRN 35339]

The title of this course creates an unlikely duet. What does the contemporary Maoist and philosopher have to do with the seventeenth-century poet and statesman? In considering them together, we will see how each has an abiding concern with the formation of an enlightened revolutionary subject. For both Badiou and Milton, that concern is necessarily a literary one. Each formulates at key moments the relationship between literary performance and truth, both from the perspective of writer and of audience. Each strongly resists a response to literature that is only aesthetic, arguing for a literary imaginary fundamental to the human experience of liberating universalism. In engaging in this inquiry, we will look not only at Badiou’s philosophical writings, but also his literary criticism and his recently translated tragedy, The Incident at Antioch. Along with Milton’s three major poems—Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes—we will read key works of his radical prose. As a bridge between these two writers, we will spend some time on philosophical treatments of the “event” and on the recent “religious turn,” exploring the work of Giorgio Agamben, Creston Davis, Gilles Deleuze, John Milbank, and Catherine Pickstock.

Assignments on Milton may be used for the pre-1800 component of the Portfolio Examination.

Major texts:
Alain Badiou, Ahmed the Philosopher: Thirty-Four Short Plays for Children and Everyone Else; The Age of the Poets; Ethics; Saint Paul: The Foundation of Universalism; The Incident at Antioch; Rhapsody for the Theatre.

John Milton, Areopagitica, The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, Lycidas, The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, Samson Agonistes.


Caroline Reitz. Independent Study possible for GC Students. Be in contact with Caroline Reitz for information.

This course will expose students to the rich, interdisciplinary world of Victorian periodicals, but will attempt to limit the chaos of the archive by looking at a few exemplary journals in the Victorian publishing world: Charles Dickens’s weekly Household Words (1850-59) and All the Year Round (1859-70+) and George Newnes’s monthly The Strand Magazine (1891-1950). We will read non-fiction as well as the canonical and non-canonical fiction serialized in these journals, including works by Elizabeth Gaskell, Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle, and H. G. Wells. We will explore questions about seriality (weekly v. monthly) and form (short stories v. serialized novels), the ideological work of creating readerships and house styles, tensions between anonymity and literary celebrity, and reading practices: how did they/do we read across such diversity of forms and, as scholars, how do we interpret an ever-expanding archive?

While the focus is on the Victorian period, students interested in periodicals research in other periods will find the methodological questions relevant to their work. There will be an emphasis on the relationship between genre fiction and periodical form, so students working in genre fiction in other periods might find this useful as well. Finally, we will examine the simultaneous run of Great Expectations in All the Year Round and in Harper’s Weekly, so students interested in transatlantic publishing would also find this relevant.

Assignments will include an in-class presentation (as part of our weekly Periodical Roundtable), weekly participation in our Reading Serially blog, an abstract for a conference paper and the 10-12 page conference paper itself, to be delivered to fellow students at the end of the semester. 2 credit students will do everything but the 10-12 page paper; 4 credit students will fulfill all the requirements. I will work with students to figure out what parts of the course can fulfill elements of the Portfolio Exam.


ENGL 85410. David Reynolds. Cultural Currents in American Literature: Critical Turns, Historical Contexts, and Archival Discoveries. Wednesdays 2:00PM-4:00PM. 2/4 credits. [CRN 35341]

The critical “turns” in recent Americanist scholarship—among them the hemispheric turn, the religious turn, the animal studies turn, the posthuman turn, the disabilities turn, and revised approaches to race and gender—have challenged bygone notions of American exceptionalism and have freshly illuminated the multivalence of the American experience. These issues have implications not only for literary studies but also for American historiography, which has in recent times made a massive “cultural turn,” opening up virtually every historical subject to cultural analysis.  This course considers groupings of American texts, from the seventeenth century to the early twentieth century, organized around five themes: religion and philosophy, race and slavery, gender issues, the city, and revolution. What happens when we juxtapose seventeenth-century Puritan religious writings with later works on religion or philosophy by the likes of Emerson, Hawthorne, and William James? In what ways did antebellum slave narratives and Stowe’s antislavery best-seller Uncle Tom’s Cabin generate debates over race that resonated later in Thomas Dixon’s fiction and W. E. B. Dubois’s The Souls of Black Folk? Is there a continuum in gender-specific devices and themes from the iconoclastic seventeenth-century poet Anne Bradstreet and to nineteenth-century writers like Margaret Fuller, Emily Dickinson, and Kate Chopin? How does urbanization influence the treatment of the American city we compare Brockden Brown’s Arthur Mervyn with antebellum city-mysteries fiction and with a later urban novella like Stephen Crane’s Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, and how does the portrayal of human bodies in such fiction (especially as considered in disability studies) align with shifting commentary on the body politic? How does the trope of revolution, especially as related to the Haitian slave rebellions, develop from Leonora Sansay’s Secret History to Nat Turner’s Confessions, Melville’s “Benito Cereno,” and Stowe’s Dred? We’ll address these and other questions against the background of recent critical turns and of contextual documents unearthed in archives, many of them now digitally available. Among our topics of discussion is the polyvocality of literary texts in dialogic relation to their cultural, social, and political contexts. Requirements include a book review and a term paper.


ENGL 91000. Joan Richardson. Dissertation Workshop. Thursdays 2:00PM-4:00PM. 0 credits. Restricted to Level 2 & 3 students in the Ph.D. Program in English. [CRN 35342]

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.


David Richter. Independent Study possible for GC Students. Be in contact with David Richter for information.

After a brief but respectful glance at early twentieth century narrative theory (Henry James's The Art of Fiction; E.M. Forster's Aspects of the Novel; M.M. Bakhtin's Discourse in the Novel), the course will move to the two most fertile sources of contemporary narratology, Wayne C. Booth's The Rhetoric of Fiction and Gérard Genette's Narrative Discourse: An Essay in Method.

In the main part of the course, we will be reading theoretical and applied texts by scholars from the four principal branches of contemporary narrative theory: (1) rhetorical narratology, including Seymour Chatman, James Phelan, Peter Rabinowitz, and me; (2) cognitive narratology, including David Herman, Alan Palmer, Marie-Laure Ryan, and Lisa Zunshine; (3) "unnatural" narratology, adapting narrative theory to experimental, minimally mimetic or anti-mimetic texts, including Jan Alber, Henrik Skov Nielsen, and Brian Richardson; and (4) identity narratology (my shorthand term for theories that view gender/race/national markings as central rather than peripheral to the reading of narratives), including Susan Lanser, Gerald Prince, and Robyn Warhol.

We will be discussing the controversies that arise from these approaches over topics that will include (1) authors, narrators, characters; (2) plot, progression, time; (3) narrative lifeworlds: space, setting, perspective; (4) reception and the reader; (5) ethical values and aesthetic values.

Special topics late in the term may include fictionality as a mode of discourse (very significant this election season); problems of narrative adaptation across media; unreliable film narrative; narrative theory in relation to “distant reading.” Readings will be primarily on BlackBoard; students will work on individual projects that they will present to the class. Students registering for two credits will do a class presentation; students registering for four credits will in addition write a term paper on a topic to be worked out with me. First year students taking 80600 for four credits can substitute elements of the Portfolio---either the 12-15 page review essay or the 10-page conference paper---for the term paper.


Canceled ENGL 84100. Alexander Schlutz. Theory of Metaphor and Romantic Poetics. Mondays 4:15PM-6:15PM. 2/4 credits. [CRN 35344] Canceled
The Romantic claims for the efficacy of poetic language, particularly its ability to affect and change processes of representation, perception, thought, feeling and moral disposition, rest to a large extent on the work of metaphor as the figural principle of change and transformation in language on the one hand, and as the means of “translation” between sign systems and their various cognitive, affective, material and immaterial “outsides” on the other. Contemporary twentieth and twenty-first century theory of metaphor can vindicate the claims of Romantic poetics, since views of metaphor as simply a special case of “deviant” language have by now long been superseded by a recognition – in the discourses of philosophy, linguistics, and theory of mind among others – that metaphorical processes are central, not only to language, but to thought, cognition and the representation of emotion as well. And as clear distinctions between the literal and the figural dissolve, so do the demarcations of philosophical and literary language, in a way that is quite germane to the Romantics’ convictions about the philosophical valencies of poetry. Through discussion of selected contemporary approaches to metaphor, central texts of Romantic poetics, as well as Romantic poetry, this course will interrogate the implications of both continuities and discontinuities between Romantic poetics and contemporary theory of metaphor. First year students may use written work for the class to fulfill the new Portfolio requirement.


ENGL 85500. Barbara Webb. Creole Poetics: Caribbean Fiction and Poetry. Tuesdays 4:15PM-6:15PM. 2/4 credits. [CRN 35345]

This course will trace the evolution of the idea of a Creole poetics in Caribbean writing. Although the primary focus of the course will be the fiction and poetry of the Anglophone Caribbean, we will also read texts by writers from other areas of the region as well as the diasporic communities of North America. Contemporary writing of the Caribbean has no fixed national or geographic boundaries. The writers themselves often reside elsewhere but their fiction and poetry continually invoke Caribbean history and culture. The process of creolization, that difficult transformation of indigenous, African, Asian and European cultures in the Americas is the cultural model that informs the poetics of the texts we will be reading. Beginning with the origins of Caribbean modernism in the 1920s and 1930s, we with discuss Claude McKay’s Banana Bottom (1933) as an early exploration of the problematics of colonialism, migration and cultural self-definition that foreshadows many of the literary concerns in the post-1960s period of decolonization. It is during this later period that Caribbean writers increasingly turn toward the region itself in search of distinctive forms of creative expression. We will discuss their ongoing investigation of the history of the region and the relationship between orality and writing in their experiments with vernacular forms—from folktales and myths to popular music and carnival. We will also examine theories of creolization in the context of contemporary forms of globalization, migration and transculturation. Of particular interest will be the ideas of literary and cultural theorists such as C.L.R James, Édouard Glissant, Antonio Benítez-Rojo, and Sylvia Wynter. Primary texts: Claude McKay, Banana Bottom, Aimé Césaire, Notebook of a Return to My Native Land, Kamau Brathwaite, The Arrivants, Derek Walcott, Omeros, Lorna Goodison, Selected Poems, Michelle Cliff, No Telephone to Heaven, Patricia Powell, The Pagoda, Edwidge Danticat, The Farming of Bones, Junot Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Requirements: Oral presentation and a research paper (12-15 pages). The class will be conducted as a seminar with class discussions of assigned readings and oral presentations each week. Comparative and cross-disciplinary perspectives are welcome. First year students may use written work for the class to fulfill the new Portfolio requirement.


Jessica Yood. Independent Study possible for GC Students. Be in contact with Jessica Yood for information.

It's a good time to get involved in the field of Rhetoric and Writing. This course shows why and how to do so.
We will survey significant works in the western and non-western rhetorical traditions and workshop innovative research methods in writing studies. Our goal is to get a comprehensive overview of rhetoric, recognize new approaches to studying it, and create publishable texts for participation in the changing field of Writing Studies. Each week we will pair a reading with a research method and writing activity.  For example, one week we will read sections of Aristotle’s Rhetoric and Alex Reid’s “Digital Humanities Now and the Possibilities of a Speculative Digital Rhetoric” and conduct a brief autoethnography of writing in a classroom. Another week we’ll explore Jacqueline Jones Royster’s argument in Traces of a Stream and analyze findings from local archives.
A central resource will be Bizzell and Herzberg’s The Rhetorical Tradition as well as articles from journals such as Enculturation, Present Tense, and Hybrid Pedagogy.  Research methodologies will be explored using scholars’ blogs and digital work. A ten-twelve page essay and a project (text or digital) suitable to the student’s particular interest are required for the course and appropriate for the Portfolio Examination.


ENGL 84200. Nancy Yousef. Wordsworth and George Eliot: Romanticism, Realism, and the Commonplace. Tuesdays 4:15PM-6:15PM. 2/4 credits. [CRN 35347]

In his 1802 “Preface” to the Lyrical Ballads, the most radical aesthetic manifesto of the Romantic era, William Wordsworth famously declared the “language really used by men” to be “far more philosophical” than that typically found in poetry and presented the aim of his work as “making incidents and situations from common life interesting.” This demand for awakened attention to the ordinary and unremarkable is taken up again by George Eliot in the 1850’s as she defines the practice and subject matter of what would come to be called “realism.” Eliot’s defense of her interest in “commonplace things and persons” is aesthetic and ethical at once, linking appreciation of what she calls the “other beauty” of “everyday fellow-men” to forms of recognition and respect. This course will explore the conceptual implications and historical significance of these appeals to the “commonplace” as a crucial, yet neglected site for cultural reflection. In focusing on the two most influential articulations of this idea in the nineteenth century—that of Wordsworth and Eliot—we will also be exploring literary and philosophical preoccupations that traverse the Romantic and Victorian eras, as well as critical strategies that allow us to read across the lines of period and genre that typically separate the poet and novelist. The course will thereby offer an opportunity to investigate methodological approaches to a “long nineteenth century.” Readings of Wordsworth and Eliot will be supplemented by related writings on the topic by their contemporaries (including Coleridge, Scott, Mill, and Lewes), as well as by influential theoretical and philosophical accounts of the “everyday” (especially Wittgenstein, Cavell, de Certeau, and Ranciere). Course requirements: response papers, oral presentation, final seminar paper.

Dissertation Supervision
CRN     Instructor
29335   Agathocleous Tanya
00401   Alcalay Ammiel
00719   Alexander Meena
00078   Bonaparte Felicia
00299   Bowen Barbara
00243   Brenkman John
00148   Brownstein Rachel
00402   Burger Glenn
00137   Caws Mary Ann
13028   Chuh Kandice
01030   Dawson Ashley
00080   Dickstein Morris
00571   DiGangi Mario
10945   Di Iorio Lyn
00758   Dolan Marc
00403   Elsky Martin
01032   Faherty Duncan
25820   Gold Matthew
00890   Hintz Carrie
00581   Hitchcock Peter
01031   Hoeller Hildegard
01088   Israel Nico
00618   Joseph Gerhard
00893   Kaye Richard
00147   Kelly William
00378   Koestenbaum Wayne
00287   Kruger Steven
27972   Lott Eric
18187   McBeth Mark
00167   McCoy Richard
00063   Miller Nancy
29683   Mohamed Feisal
00330   Otte George
00591   Perl Sondra
11199   Pollard Tanya
00577   Reid-Pharr Robert
29333   Reitz Caroline
00221   Reynolds David
00146   Richardson Joan
00388   Richter David
00406   Sargent Michael
00407   Savran David
00408   Schaffer Talia
29400   Schlutz Alexander
00274   Shor Ira
29334   Steel Karl
00135   Tolchin Neal
00889   Vardy Alan
00751   Wallace Michele
00325   Webb Barbara
00688   Wilner Joshua
19628   Yood Jessica
00891   Yousef Nancy