Introductory Undergraduate Courses in Language and Literature
Academic Year 2022-2023, Semester II
All courses carry 4 credits, unless otherwise indicated.
One course numbered CAS EN 121 – 201 and 203 – 215 may count toward the seven additional courses, provided it was taken before or concurrently with EN 220.
Divisional Studies Courses
All of the courses listed below fulfill the Humanities divisional credit in CAS
Encounters: Reading across Time and Space
This new, team-taught course provides an introduction to English literature across the ages. We will stage encounters across time and space between authors working in the English language – from the middle ages to the present, and from England to the Americas and around the globe.
Highlighting canonical and non-canonical texts, we will discuss representative moments in the history of genre, including poetry, drama, travel narrative, autobiography, the novel, film, and performance. Alongside our early works, we will read and view the work of artists and activists from various backgrounds who have responded creatively to texts from literary history, in gestures of homage, repudiation, or ambivalence. These conversations might be direct and explicit or more indirect and allusive. We will also pay special attention to how a later work might influence our understanding of an earlier work. Along with more formal thesis-driven assignments, students will have their own opportunity to speak back to our readings; like the artists and activists on our syllabus, students will be invited to draw on their specific histories and experiences to craft creative encounters with the early works we read. Effective Fall 2022, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU HUB areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Creativity/Innovation, Teamwork/Collaboration.
EN101 A1 Appleford and Lee
TR 11:00a – 12:15p
Reading World Literature
Study of literature in English or English translation — poetry, drama, and prose narrative — outside of British and American traditions. Attention to such topics as cultural self-construction, relationships of historical context to artistic expression, and development of literary forms. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Research and Information Literacy.
MWF 9:05 – 9:55a
Medieval Worlds: Through the Body
“Why all the fuss about the body?” asks medievalist Caroline Walker Bynum. What did it mean to have a body in the Middle Ages? While many modern minds consider the body as a sealed and closed entity – something that contains our organs and emotions – medieval bodies were porous, open, fluid, and textual. The boundaries of the body could stretch back in time, inhabit multiple places, be alive but not quite, and move between earthly corporeality and divinity. These variations of embodiment make the medieval period a particularly crucial moment to explore how bodies are socially, politically, and medically constructed and controlled. In this introduction to medieval literature, we will look to medieval bodies as our point of entry. Drawing on recent work in medieval studies on the body, we will examine how legal, medical, scientific, and religious texts approach the body. We will consider how a Christological vision of a body politic fused itself into medieval political theory and religious persecution. While Christ’s own porous body offered a model for the layperson to emulate, it also was used to divide the social body into parts. Together we will question the differences in how bodies are presented in scientific literature versus bodies in, say, a Vita (a saint’s “life”)? Where did medieval thinkers draw boundaries between celestial, divine, human, animal, and non-vital bodies (if at all)?
Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Historical Consciousness, Teamwork/Collaboration.
EN 122 A1 Goodrich
MWF 12:20 – 1:10p
Jewish Diaspora Literature
How has diaspora shaped Jewish identity, family, and community? How have different generations of Jewish pariahs, travelers, victims, and survivors, translated their experiences into literature? Our course examines novels, memoirs, poetry, and dramatic works written in English, German, Spanish, Yiddish, and Hebrew (and all read in translation). Topics include immigration; patriotism; assimilation; anti-Semitism and self-hatred; translation; memory; and the relevance of the Jewish experience to other diasporic communities. Meets with JS136 and XL236. This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Writing-intensive Course.
EN126 A1 Gillman
Reading American Literature:
Attention to a wide range of literary works and historical and cultural contexts. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS. Effective Fall 2019, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Aesthetic Exploration, The Individual in Community.
EN127 A1 Pickard
MWF 10:10- 11:00a
Introduction to African American Literature
What is the African American literary tradition? How does it change over time? This course is to introduce you to the cultural, political, and historical contexts of the African American experience through readings of literature. We will read poetry, slave narratives, essays and speeches, tales, short stories, and novels, and as we examine these texts, we will consider how culture, politics, and history shape African American literature. Effective Fall 2022, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Writing-Intensive Course, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Critical Thinking. Prerequisites: First-Year Writing Seminar (WR100/120 or equivalent)
EN129 A1 Boelcskevy
MWF 10:10 – 11:00a
Introduction to Fiction
Introduces critical concepts for analyzing works of fiction. Readings in different periods, genres, and traditions, ranging from canonical masterpieces to unheralded literary gems, aimed to cultivate an appetite for the pleasures, and rigors, of narrative art. Topics vary by instructor. This course cannot be taken for credit in addition to the course with the same number that was previously titled “Literary Types: Fiction.” Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Ethical Reasoning.
EN141 A1 Lehofer
MWF 9:05 – 9:55a
Introduction to Poetry
Introduction to the understanding, interpretation, and appreciation of a wide range of poetry. Focus on poetic form, genre, and style, with explorations of cultural and aesthetic contexts. Particular emphasis on close, careful reading and discussion. Topics vary by instructor. This course cannot be taken for credit in addition to the course with the same number that was previously titled “Literary Types: Poetry.” Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS. Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Oral and/or Signed Communication.
EN142 A1 Staff
MWF 11:15a – 12:05p
In the Anglo-American tradition, what do animated toys in children’s literature tell children? What do they reveal about our culture? And how do they shape it? And how have those stories changed from the beginning of the 20th century to the early 21st century? This course centers on
works within children’s literature that depict toy fantasy, toy animism, or, in other words, toys that “come alive.” Beginning with the very end of the 19th century (1883) and following through to the early 21st century (2006), this course explores a range of genres within children’s literature including picture books, middle grade novels, and graphic texts. This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Creativity/Innovation.
EN 150 A1 Panszczyk TR 11:00a – 12:15p
Ethics of Art
Does art make you good? Can it make you bad? How, if at all, does it shape our ideas of moral character, right action, or a just society? Is it enjoyed “for its own sake”? As hedonistic pleasure? Is it a frivolous waste of time and money? A danger that needs to be censored? An expression of human freedom? An outgrowth of religious tradition and instruction? This course will consider how the relationship between art and ethics has been addressed both historically and in our own age. In the first half, we will look at how the relationship was addressed among certain ancient Greeks (Plato), some medieval Christians (Dante), and a selection of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century European and American thinkers (Wollstonecraft, Schiller, Pater, Du Bois). In the second half of the course, we will consider three fraught topics that have engaged the minds of artists, critics, and moral philosophers in our own time: (1) the nature and importance of friendship, as well as its complications and limits; (2) how intellectual disability is envisioned, embodied, and portrayed; (3) how humans have lived in, understood, and often devastated the natural environment. The range of forms the course will explore—philosophical dialogues, argumentative treatises, documentary film, Hollywood dramas, literary fiction, children’s books, popular songs, professional academic philosophy—will force us to ask how we ourselves understand the relationship between beauty and justice, the aesthetically pleasing and the morally good.
Effective Fall 2019, this course fulfills a single unit in the following BU Hub areas: Philosophical Inquiry and Life’s Meanings, Ethical Reasoning.
EN162 A1 Chodat
Lecture MW 10:10 – 11:00a
Discussion A1 F 10:10-11:00a
B1 F 10:10-11:00a
Reading Shakespeare 1
Beginning with his grizzly first tragedy, Titus Andronicus, and ending with the magically enigmatic The Winter’s Tale, we will explore the arc of Shakespeare’s career, reading seven of his plays in the social, political and theatrical contexts of his time. Since Shakespeare’s work cannot be limited to any one moment or place, however, we will also consider how his plays travel across time, space and media by examining the lively performance history and radical appropriations of his texts. Drawing on Boston’s rich theatre culture, we will attend at least one live performance together. For each of the plays we read on the page, we will consider different film adaptations, analyzing how a range of actors, directors and screenwriters have remade Shakespeare in different moments. Finally, we will consider how Shakespeare lives on hundreds of years after his birth through different social media as we examine the afterlife of his works in the digital age. Including tragedies (Titus, Othello and Hamlet), histories (Richard II and Henry IV, Part 1), comedies (Much Ado About Nothing and All’s Well That Ends Well) and a romance (A Winter’s Tale), this class delves into some of literature’s most vicious villains, most intriguing plots, most passionate love affairs and most sharp-witted banter.
Assignments will include two short papers, exams, a performance review and a presentation of an adaptation of Shakespeare from the digital archive (including YouTube, etc.) This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Historical Consciousness, Critical Thinking.
EN163 A1 Murphy
TR 2:00 – 3:15p
The Graphic Novel: Across The Universe
How do readers experience a sense of expansive or compressive time in graphic narratives? What do images say that words cannot? What are the implications of deeper meaning when words and pictures are used in tandem? The simultaneity of the comics page broadens and deepens a story in an instant. Through close reading of early comics as well as modern graphic narratives, with a focus particularly on memoir and nonfiction, students will examine the historical context and authorial decisions within the medium that makes comics a powerful vehicle for storytelling.
Effective Fall 2018, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Digital/Multimedia Expression, Creativity/Innovation.
EN170 A1 Ruliffson
MWF 11:15a – 12:05p
If you were to predict the future based on contemporary fiction, film, and television, you might forecast a world where small bands of survivors cope with the aftermath of planetary disaster as they stand up either to a totalitarian regime or to pure lawlessness. What can we learn about the
nature of narrative if we take these stories seriously? Where does this basic plot come from? What can we learn about the twenty-first century from close-reading these fictions? This is a course on apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic narrative, one that uses the current preoccupation with zombies (The Walking Dead), dystopias (The Hunger Games), and environmental disaster (Odds Against Tomorrow) to introduce students to the techniques of genre analysis (what do these stories hold in common?) and cultural studies (what do these stories mean politically, economically, socially?). In other words, what happens when Katniss Everdeen meets Rick Grimes? This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Ethical Reasoning.
EN180 A1 Otten
MWF 11:00a – 12:15p
Introduction to Literary Studies
Introduction to literary analysis and interpretation. Variable topics. Through frequent writing assignments and discussion, students develop skills in the analysis of literary texts and learn to express their interpretive ideas in correct and persuasive prose. This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Writing-Intensive Course.
EN201 A1 Samblas
MWF 1:25 – 2:15p