Spring 2020 Graduate Courses

Graduate Courses in Language and Literature
Academic Year 2019-2020, Semester II

All courses carry 4 credits, unless otherwise indicated.

Spring 2020 Graduate Courses that Fulfill Degree Requirements

For Ph.D. students: while one course may fit multiple categories, it can only be used to satisfy one distribution requirement.

Courses with a (T) count for the Theory Requirement

Theory, Critical Method, History of Criticism: EN606
Medieval Literature – 1660, or History of English Language: EN722
Literature in English, 1660-1860: EN695(T)
Literature in English 1860-present: EN757, EN774(T), EN788(T), EN795(T), EN683(T), EN693(T), EN587(T), EN588(T), EN593, EN594


Graduate Seminars

Race-Thinking in the Middle Ages

The Middle Ages are often pointed to as the era just before the idea of race developed – before the slave trade in the Atlantic, before European colonialism, and before the emergence of scientific racism in the eighteenth century. But, at the same time, the medieval period has played a crucial role in racialized nationalism and the construction of modern white identities. This course examines the locations of medieval race, and the institutions and discourses (religious, economic, political, and literary) that support the concepts and practices of race in the medieval period. We will also examine the ongoing interplay of the past with the present, exploring the survival of medieval thinking about race in postmedieval eras. How does understanding “race-thinking” in the Middle Ages throw new light on race and racism today?  Along with current work on critical race theory, we’ll read essays by medievalists Geraldine Heng, Cord Whittaker, Suzanne Conklin Akbari, Robert Bartlett, Sharon Kinoshita, Stephen Kruger and others; literary works (from The Canterbury TalesTravels of Sir John Mandeville); religious writings (Letters of Heloise and Abelard; sermons of Bernard of Clairvaux); romances (King of TarsRichard Coer de Lion); early drama (Croxton Play of the Sacrament); and early English epic (The Siege of Jerusalem). Various primary theological, devotional, and political writings will provide detailed historical context. Readings will be both in Middle English and modern English translation. Fulfills the Medieval Literature 1660 requirement.

EN722 A1 Appleford

W 11:15 – 1:30p


Faulkner and Modernist Studies

This seminar has two main objectives:  1) a consideration of Faulkner’s principal fiction, with special attention to the ways it imagined modernism and modernity, and 2) an exploration of the burgeoning scholarship in modernist studies as it is exemplified in new work involving Faulkner.  Faulkner remains an exemplary figure in the discourses of modernity: a chronicler of agrarian speculative capitalism; a regionalist negotiating national modernity; an ex-colonial writer addressing histories of labor, racial and gender colonization, sectional domination, and the emancipations of formerly subjected groups; a literary modernist eyeing the rise of technologies of mechanical reproduction (including cinema); a rural witness to environmental abuse and degradation, and so on.  A major goal of this course will be to use Faulkner’s work as a site from which to expand outward into fields of modernist studies that may appeal to students with a variety of interests and expected areas of specialization. Fulfills the Literature in English 1860 – Present requirement.

EN757 A1 Matthews

T 3:30 – 6:15p


Lecture-Performances, Poetic Essays, and Other Generic Monsters

This course examines experimental text-based practices, works between genres, disciplines, and media, and scholarly experiments that combine research, theory, and creative practice. We will, for example, discuss lecture performances, lyric essays, art writing, and works that blend criticism and memoir. Alongside this attention to form, we will consider alternative listening and reading practices, different curatorial, editorial, and pedagogical models, and the politics of such experiments and commitments. Coursework can be equally experimental in format, scope, and mode of presentation. There will be a number of class trips and visits from practitioners who have worked to expand what we might mean by creative criticism or a research-based artistic practice. For their final project, students will be invited to collaboratively organise an evening of talks and performances and/or to curate a print, live, or online exhibition of materials that responds to our syllabus and class discussions. The project will either have to be framed by a critical essay or the entire project could take the form of a poetic essay, a lecture performance, or a podcast. Some writers, critics, artists, cross-genre practitioners covered: Lisa Robertson, Sara Ahmed, Jack Halberstam, Bhanu Kapil, Maureen McLane, Kate Briggs, Hito Steyerl, Gordon Hall, Maria Fusco, Sianne Ngai, Pauline Oliveros, and others. Fulfills the Literature in English 1860 – Present and Theory requirements.

EN774 A1 Seita

T 12:30 – 3:15p


Transnational Modernism

Drawing on examples from literature, visual arts, and history, this course examines how intercultural dialogue and exchange across national frontiers shaped the development of modernism in the U.S. and the Caribbean. We begin by revisiting the topic of modernist cosmopolitanism, studying the significance of expatriation, the immigrant experience, the Great Migration, and the portrayal of an emerging global culture in works by Henry James, Gertrude Stein, Carl Sandburg, Lewis Hine, and Jean Toomer. Next, we learn about transnationalism, translation, the rise of black internationalism, and the discovery of modernist styles in a New World context. Here, we’ll turn to the writings of Claude McKay (from Jamaica), Aimé Césaire (from Martinique), and Derek Walcott (from St. Lucia), as well as translations of the Haitian author Jacques Roumain (by Langston Hughes) and the Guadeloupean poet St.-John Perse (by T. S. Eliot). During our final sessions, we’ll explore cultural crossings with Asia in works by Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, Richard Wright, Miné Okubo, Ansel Adams, Mitsuye Yamada, and Ha Jin. Fulfills the Literature in English 1860 – Present and Theory requirements.

EN 788 A1 Patterson

R 12:30 – 3:15p


World Literature: Theory and History

In this seminar we will read historical, literary critical, and social theoretical works that help us understand the development of postcolonial and world literatures. We will learn how to contextualize the emergence of global literatures in relation to patterns of unequal economic and political relations. Primary works of fiction by contemporary writers from Asia, Africa, the Caribbean will be discussed alongside theoretical essays by Gayatri Spivak, David Damrosch, Franco Moretti, Pascale Casanova, Roberto Schwarz, The Warwick Collective, Aamir Mufti, Emily Apter, John Darwin, Jurgen Osterhammel, John Furnivall. Fulfills the Literature in English 1860 – Present and Theory requirements.

EN 795 A1 Krishnan

R 3:30 – 6:15p

Undergraduate Courses that May Be Taken for Graduate Credit

Topics in African-American Studies

Topic for Spring 2020: Music and Culture: Race and Sound. (Prerequisite: GRS students only.) It is only recently that sound itself has been identified as a sphere for studying the construction of race. This class focuses on the relationships between music, sound and race, but also on intersections with literature, media, and sexuality. Fulfills the Literature in English 1860 – Present and Theory requirements.

EN 587/AA500 A1 Chude-Sokei

Time TBA


Studies in African-American Literature

Topic for Spring 2020: Tracking Changes in the Twentieth-Century African American Novel: Negotiations of Genre and Gender. Readings of Slave Narratives and Neo Slave Narratives, and the Urban Novel. Authors include Toni Morrison, Octavia Butler, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, and Walter Mosley. Fulfills the Literature in English 1860 – Present and Theory requirements.

EN588 A1 Boelcskevy

R 12:30 – 3:15p


Studies in Comparative Literature

Topic for Spring 2020: An Introduction to Marxist Cultural Criticism.

Starting with foundational Marxist writings about culture (Marx, Lukacs, Gramsci, Althusser, and Adorno), this course examines how key concepts of cultural materialism get reformulated by Jameson, Spivak, Said, Zizek, and other contemporary critics to bear on questions of race, gender, sexuality, colonialism, modernity, and language.

EN590/XL550 A1 Liu

T 3:30 – 6:15p


Studies in Literature and The Arts

Topic for Spring 2020: On The Road in U.S. Literature and Film. This course “puts the geography of the United States in motion” (Nabokov, Lolita) exploring the various motivations for and consequences of taking to the road in classic U.S. literature and films.  Some characters migrate for a specific purpose; some are forced into it; some to relieve boredom or psychological stress.  But the preoccupation with mobility is always complex, combining spiritual, economic, and political aspirations that we will explore in a variety of modern cultural works, including the following Novels (in addition to Lolita) – Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, Capote’s In Cold Blood; Robinson’s Housekeeping—and Films–Ford’s Grapes of Wrath; Hitchcock’s Psycho; 

Lumet’s The Fugitive Kind; Scott’s Thelma and Louise; Pierce, Boys Don’t Cry.

Fulfills the Literature in English 1860 – Present requirement.

EN593 A1 Mizruchi

TR 11:00a – 12:15p


Studies in Literature and The Arts

Topic for Spring 2020: Dark Dreams: The Cinema of David Lynch. Intensive study of David Lynch’s works, informed by readings in literature and Freudian psychoanalysis. Topics include: the logic of dreams, forms of evil, the death drive, and small-town America. Weekly screenings. Fulfills the Literature in English 1860 – Present requirement.

EN594 A1 Monk

TR 3:30 – 6:15p


History of Criticism 2

Survey of literary critical perspectives and trends in humanistic theory relevant to literary interpretation from the middle of the twentieth century onward, including formalism, structuralism, post-structuralism, gender studies, new historicism, and post-colonial studies. Frequent writing assignments of various lengths. Fulfills the Theory requirement.

EN606 A1 Matthews

TR 12:30 – 1:45p


Critical Studies in Literature and Ethnicity

Topic for Spring 2020: Multiethnic Women’s Literature in the U.S.

This course will examine multiethnic American women’s literature in terms of changing configurations of female agency and minority voice. This course will focus on both historical and theoretical aspects of multiethnic women’s literature from a wide range of ethnic and racial groups. We will critique the traditional representations of minority women and rediscover the struggles of women of color authors for their voice and identity. In this context, students will read and analyze a diverse range of multiethnic women’s literature that constructs and deconstructs the idea of America through the lenses of race/ethnicity, sexuality, and gender. We will start from indigenous women’s writing and shift our focus towards a transnational scope in multiethnic women’s literature, dealing with globalization, capitalism, and colonialism.

The reading list highlights a diverse range of authors, including Willyce Kim, Zitkala-Sa, Audre Lorde, Gloria E. Anzaldúa, Yoshiko Uchida, Jamaica Kincaid, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in addition to popular culture materials, such as K-pop and Hollywood romantic comedies. Fulfills the Literature in English 1860 – Present and Theory requirements.

EN683 A1 Woo

MWF 11:15a – 12:05p


Critical Studies in Literature and The Arts

Topic for Spring 2020: Media Theory/Media Poetics

Topic for Spring 2020: What is a medium? How do the materials of art bear on its meaning, genre or form?  How have technological media altered our sense of memory, identity and experience? What becomes of the artwork’s originality and expressiveness in an era where automatic processes have come to displace or supplement older forms of making?

This course surveys the major theoretical and philosophical debates of media theory, while also paying close attention to exemplary prose works, experimental poetry and films.  Our goal will be to identify and cultivate conceptual as well as creative ways of addressing media.  We will use a theoretical lens to discuss the experimental forms of poesis that emerge from and respond to our encompassing multimedia environment.  Readings from Heidegger, Derrida, Benjamin, Barthes, Krauss, Hayles, Woolf, Beckett, Carson; with films by Varda, Antonioni, Cronenberg, Frampton, Bill Morrison and more. Fulfills the Literature in English 1860 – Present and Theory requirements.

EN693 A1 Foltz

TR 11:00a – 12:15p


Critical Studies in Literary Topics

Poetic Transformations: Classic to Romantic: Does poetry have the power to effect political change? This class explores possible answers to this question by focusing on poetry written between 1650 and 1820, a time when poetry shaped public discourse and changed worlds.  In addition to studying transformations of old genres like epic, georgic, verse ballads, elegies, and pastorals, we will investigate the emergence of seemingly new forms, like a beggars’ opera in verse, a poetry of the working poor, and a coded poetry of female protest.  Beginning with basic questions such as, “What is poetry and how does it differ from prose?” , we will study  major and minor poets of the long eighteenth century, writing in English, in England, America, and the Anglophone World. Fulfills the Literature in English, 1660 – 1860 and Theory requirements.

EN695 A1 Prince

TR 9:30 – 10:45a