Department Website: http://english.uchicago.edu
Program of Study
The undergraduate program in English Language and Literature provides students with the opportunity to intensively study works of literature originally written in English. Courses address fundamental questions about topics such as the status of literature within culture, the literary history of a period, the achievements of a major author, the defining characteristics of a genre, the politics of interpretation, the formal beauties of individual works, and the methods of literary scholarship and research.
The study of English may be pursued as preparation for graduate work in literature or other disciplines, or as a complement to general education. Students in the English department learn how to ask probing questions of a large body of material; how to formulate, analyze, and judge questions and their answers; and how to present both questions and answers in clear, cogent prose. To the end of cultivating and testing these skills, which are central to virtually any career, each course offered by the department stresses writing.
Although the main focus of the English department is to develop reading, writing, and research skills, the value of bringing a range of disciplinary perspectives to bear on the works studied is also recognized. Besides offering a wide variety of courses in English, the department encourages students to integrate the intellectual concerns of other fields into their study of literature. This is done by permitting up to three courses outside the English department to be counted as part of the major if a student can demonstrate the relevance of these courses to his or her program of study.
Students interested in creative writing who are not majoring in English may complete a minor in English and Creative Writing. Information follows the description of the major.
The Department of English requires a total of 13 courses: 11 courses taken within the Department of English and two language courses or their equivalent, as well as a cluster statement to be submitted by the end of the third week of Spring Quarter of a student’s third year. The program presupposes the completion of the general education requirement in the humanities (or its equivalent), in which basic training is provided in the methods, problems, and disciplines of humanistic study. Because literary study is enriched by some knowledge of other cultural expressions, the major in English requires students to extend their knowledge of a language beyond the level required of all College students.
Two quarters of study at the second-year level in a language other than English (or credit for the equivalent as determined by petition).
Alternatively, students may take two courses in an advanced computer language. Students must submit an Intent Form to inform the department of their plan to use the Computer Science combination in place of the traditional language option. As of Autumn 2013, the following course combinations may be taken to satisfy the language requirement: CMSC 12100-12200 Computer Science with Applications I-II, CMSC 15100-15200 Introduction to Computer Science I-II, or CMSC 16100-16200 Honors Introduction to Computer Science I-II.
Course Distribution Requirements
The major in English requires at least 11 departmental courses. Students may substitute up to three courses from departments outside English with the permission of the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Departmental courses should be distributed among the following:
Early on, students are required to take at least one of our three introductions to a genre (fiction, poetry, or drama), all of which introduce students to techniques for formal analysis and close reading. Alternatively, one course from the "Approaches to Theater" sequence (ENGL 10950 Approaches to Theater I: Ancient to Renaissance or ENGL 10951 Approaches to Theater II: Late 17th Century to the Present) may be taken to fulfill this requirement.
One English "Introduction to" a genre or "Approaches to Theater" course
Because an understanding of literature demands sensitivity to various conventions and genres, students are required to take at least one course in each of the genres of fiction, poetry, and drama (one of these courses may be the gateway course above).
One English course in fiction
One English course in poetry
One English course in drama
Reading and understanding works written in different historical periods require skills and historical information that contemporary works do not require. Students are accordingly asked to study a variety of historical periods in order to develop their abilities as readers, to discover areas of literature that they might not otherwise explore, and to develop their knowledge of literary history. To meet the period requirement in English, students should take at least one course in each of the following:
One English course in literature written before 1650
One English course in literature written between 1650 and 1830
One English course in literature written between 1830 and 1940
One English course in literary or critical theory. Courses fulfilling this requirement are designated in our course listings.
NOTE: Many courses satisfy several requirements. For example, a gateway course could also satisfy a genre requirement, or a course on Chaucer could satisfy the genre requirement for poetry and the pre-1650 requirement. For details about the requirements met by specific courses, students should consult the Undergraduate Program Assistant.
Program Statement and Cluster Requirement
By the end of the third week in Spring Quarter of their third year, students should submit a one-page statement to their departmental advisor and the Undergraduate Program Assistant outlining their interests in the field and designating a “cluster” of at least five courses. With the permission of the Director of Undergraduate Studies, two of these courses may be from departments outside English and may be among the three non-departmental courses that can count toward the major’s course requirements. A cluster is a group of courses that share a conceptual focus; the purpose of the cluster is to help students think about the organization of their program. Students will design a personalized cluster that falls under one of the following four general rubrics: (1) literary and critical theory, (2) form/genre/medium, (3) literature in history, (4) literature and culture(s). Students may include Creative Writing courses within their clusters. See the Department of English website for more information.
Electives to make up a total of 11 courses. These may include:
Junior Seminars, limited to 15 third-year students who have already fulfilled the department’s gateway requirement and taken at least two further English courses, examine different topics and change from year to year. All seminars focus on the analytical, research, and bibliographic skills necessary for producing a substantial seminar paper (around 15–20 pages). They aim to help students prepare the kind of polished writing that some may want to use when applying to graduate school. They are particularly recommended for those wishing to pursue graduate studies in English or those who wish to write a strong critical BA paper.
Seniors-only courses provide fourth-year English majors with the opportunity to examine literary topics in a particularly focused way. These courses may not be offered every year.
BA Project (Optional)
Students who wish to be considered for departmental honors must submit a critical or creative BA project. For honors candidacy, a student must have at least a 3.0 grade point average overall and a 3.5 grade point average in departmental courses (grades received for transfer credit courses are not included in this calculation). A BA Project may take the form of a critical essay, a piece of creative writing, or a mixed media work in which writing is the central element. The student is required to work on an approved topic and to submit a final version to the Director of Undergraduate Studies that has been critiqued by both a faculty advisor and a preceptor and then revised. To be eligible for honors, a student's BA Project must be judged to be of the highest quality by the graduate student preceptor, faculty advisor, and Director of Undergraduate Studies. Completion of a BA project does not guarantee a recommendation for departmental honors. Honors recommendations are made to the Master of the Humanities Collegiate Division by the department and it is the Master of the Humanities Collegiate Division who makes the final decision.
Students who wish to use the BA Project in English to meet the same requirement in another major should discuss their proposals with both Directors of Undergraduate Studies no later than the end of their third year. A consent form is available from their College adviser. It must be completed and returned to their College adviser by the end of Autumn Quarter of the student's year of graduation.
The Critical BA Project
The Critical BA Project may develop from a paper written in an earlier course or from independent research. To do a Critical BA Project, students must fill out a declaration form (available on the English departmental website) by the end of Spring Quarter of their third year. On this form, they identify a faculty field specialist who has agreed to serve as their advisor. Students work on their BA project over three quarters. Early in Autumn Quarter of their fourth year, students will be assigned a graduate student preceptor who will help them think about their project. In Autumn Quarter of their fourth year, students will attend a series of mandatory colloquia led by the preceptors that will prepare them for the advanced research and writing demands of thesis work.
In Winter and Spring Quarters, students will continue to meet with their preceptors and will also consult with their individual faculty advisor. Students will submit a full draft of the BA Project to their preceptor and faculty advisor by the end of the second week of Spring Quarter. By the beginning of the fifth week of Spring Quarter, students submit the final version of their Critical BA Project to their preceptor, faculty advisor, and the Undergraduate Program Assistant.
Students may elect to register for the BA Project Preparation Course (ENGL 29900 Independent BA Paper Preparation) for one quarter credit. Note that the grade for this course is on work toward the BA Project and is normally submitted in Spring Quarter even when the course has been taken in an earlier quarter.
The Creative BA Project
Prerequisites: Students majoring in English who wish to produce a Creative Writing BA Project must take at least two Creative Writing courses in the genre of their BA Project (poetry, fiction, or nonfiction) by the end of their third year. At least one of these courses must be an advanced course, in which the student has earned a B+ or higher.
To do a Creative Writing BA Project, students must fill out a declaration form (available on the English departmental website) by the end of Spring Quarter of their third year. On this form they declare their intent to write a Creative Writing BA Project in a specific genre and list the two Creative Writing courses in the relevant genre that they have taken as prerequisites for doing the BA Project.
Students work on their project over three quarters. Early in Autumn Quarter of their fourth year, students will be assigned a graduate student preceptor, who will lead a series of mandatory colloquia over the course of the quarter. In Winter Quarter, students will continue meeting with the graduate preceptor and must also enroll in one of the Creative BA Project Workshops in their genre. Students are not automatically enrolled in a workshop; they must receive the consent of the workshop instructor, who will also serve as their faculty advisor for their Creative BA Project. These workshops are advanced courses limited to eight students and will include not only students majoring in English but also those in Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities (ISHU) and the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities (MAPH) who are producing creative theses. Students will work closely with their faculty advisor and with their peers in the workshops and will receive course credit as well as a final grade for the workshop. Students should be aware that because of the high number of students wishing to write fiction for their BA projects, students will not necessarily get their first choice of workshop instructor and faculty advisor.
In consultation with their faculty advisor and graduate preceptor, students will revise and resubmit a near-final draft of their Creative BA Projects by the end of the second week of Spring Quarter. Students will submit the final version of their Creative BA Project to their preceptor, faculty advisor, and the Undergraduate Program Assistant by the beginning of the fifth week of Spring Quarter. The project will then be evaluated by the faculty advisor, graduate preceptor, and Director of Undergraduate Studies to determine whether the student will be recommended for Honors.
A creative thesis worthy of Honors will demonstrate exceptional artistic excellence and show promise of significant achievement in the future.
Summary of Requirements
The Department of English requires a total of 13 courses: 11 courses taken within the Department of English and two language courses or their equivalent, as well as a cluster statement to be submitted by the end of the third week of Spring Quarter of a student’s third year. By Winter Quarter of their third year, students must also meet with the Undergraduate Program Assistant and submit a worksheet that may be obtained from the English departmental website.
|Two quarters of study at the second-year level in a language other than English||200|
or credit for the equivalent as determined by petition
or two quarters of a computer language by permission of the Director of Undergraduate Studies
|A total of 11 additional English courses is required to meet the distribution requirements of the major (one course may satisfy more than one requirement):||1100|
One English introduction to a genre course or "Approaches to Theater" course
One English course in fiction
One English course in poetry
One English course in drama
One English course in literature written before 1650
One English course in literature written between 1650 and 1830
One English course in literature written between 1830 and 1940
One English course in literary or critical theory
1-7 English electives (may include ENGL 29900)
Cluster statement with five courses
|BA Project (optional)||000|
Courses Outside the Department Taken for Program Credit
A maximum of three courses outside the Department of English may count toward the total number of courses required by the major. Two of these may count toward the student’s “cluster.” The student, after discussion with the Undergraduate Program Assistant or his or her faculty advisor, must submit a petition for course approval to the Director of Undergraduate Studies before taking courses outside the department for credit toward the major. Such courses may be selected from related areas in the University (history, philosophy, religious studies, social sciences, etc.), or they may be taken from a study abroad program.
English courses that originate in Creative Writing (CRWR) may be counted toward the elective requirement without a petition.
Transfer credits for courses taken at another institution are subject to approval by the Director of Undergraduate Studies and are limited to a maximum of five courses. Transferred courses do not contribute to the student's University of Chicago grade point average for the purpose of computing an overall GPA, dean's list, or honors. NOTE: The Office of the Dean of Students in the College must approve the transfer of all courses taken at institutions other than those in which students are enrolled as part of a University sponsored study abroad program. For details, visit Examination Credit and Transfer Credit.
|ENGL 29700||Reading Course||100|
|ENGL 29900||Independent BA Paper Preparation||100|
Upon prior approval by the Director of Undergraduate Studies, undergraduate reading courses (ENGL 29700 Reading Course) may be used to fulfill requirements for the major if they are taken for a quality grade (not P/F) and include a final paper assignment. No student may use more than two courses in the major. Seniors who wish to register for the BA Project Preparation Course (ENGL 29900 Independent BA Paper Preparation) must arrange for appropriate faculty supervision and obtain the permission of the Director of Undergraduate Studies. ENGL 29900 Independent BA Paper Preparation counts as an English elective but not as one of the courses fulfilling distribution requirements for the major.
NOTE: Reading courses are special research opportunities that must be justified by the quality of the proposed plan of study; they also depend upon the availability of faculty supervision. No student can expect a reading course to be arranged automatically. For alternative approaches to preparing a BA Project, see the BA Project section above.
Students majoring in English must receive quality grades (not P/F) in all 13 courses taken to meet the requirements of the program. Non-majors may take English courses for P/F grading with consent of instructor.
Students who wish to major in English should declare an intention to do so as early as possible, ideally before the end of Spring Quarter during their second year. Students who declare the major after their second year must notify the Undergraduate Program Assistant to ensure that departmental advising assignments are arranged. After declaring their intention to major in English to their College advisers, students should arrange a meeting with the Undergraduate Program Assistant in English, who will help students fill out the English Requirements Worksheet (available on the English departmental website). Students should also subscribe to the departmental email list for majors: email@example.com to ensure that they do not miss important communications from the undergraduate office.
Third-year students will be assigned a departmental faculty advisor. Students should meet with their faculty advisor at least twice a year to discuss their academic interests, progress in the major, and long-term career goals. The Undergraduate Program Assistant and Director of Undergraduate Studies are also available to assist students. Students should meet with the Undergraduate Program Assistant early in their final quarter to be sure they have fulfilled all requirements.
The London Program
This program, offered in Autumn Quarter, provides students with an opportunity to study British literature and history in the cultural and political capital of England in the Autumn Quarter. In the ten-week program, students take four courses, three of which are each compressed into approximately three weeks and taught in succession by Chicago faculty. The fourth, project-oriented, course is conducted at a less intensive pace. The program includes a number of field trips (e.g., Cornwall, Bath, Canterbury, Cambridge). The London program is designed for third- and fourth-year students with a strong interest and some course work in British literature and history. English and History courses are pre-approved for use in their respective majors. Applications are available on the University of Chicago's Study Abroad home page (study-abroad.uchicago.edu) and typically are due in mid–Winter Quarter.
Minor Program in English and Creative Writing
Undergraduate students who are not majoring in English may enter a minor program in English and Creative Writing. Students interested in pursuing this option should contact the Program Coordinator for Creative Writing to obtain a minor consent form before the end of the Spring Quarter of the third year of study. Please note that there is no minor solely in English. The minor in English and Creative Writing for non-English majors is the only minor available through the Department of English Language and Literature.
Boldface letters in parentheses after the course descriptions refer to the program requirements that a course fulfills: (A) gateway, (B) fiction, (C) poetry, (D) drama, (E) pre-1650, (F) 1650–1830, (G) 1830–1940, and (H) literary or critical theory.
English Language & Literature Courses
ENGL 10450. Introduction to Poetry: Elegy. 100 Units.
This course will trace the historical course of English poetry through one genre, that of elegy. From Ben Jonson to John Milton, from P. B. Shelley to Frank O’Hara, from Alfred, Lord Tennyson to Walt Whitman, Allen Ginsberg to Denise Riley and Thomas Hardy to Gwendolyn Brooks, elegy has been central to English and American lyric. Its formal variations, its changing objects and modes of address, and its historically and culturally situated diction, allow students to experience the transhistorical resonance of poetic practice and a range of writing suitable to an introduction. (A, C)
Instructor(s): J. Wilkinson Terms Offered: Spring
ENGL 10600. Introduction to Drama. 100 Units.
This course introduces students to key concepts and interpretive tools to read and understand drama both as text and as performance. Students will learn to read plays and performances closely, taking into account form, character, plot and genre, but also staging, acting, spectatorship, and historical conventions. We will also consider how various agents—playwrights, directors, actors, and audiences—generate plays and give them meaning. Essential plays from a range of periods: Sophocles, Shakespeare, Calderon, Kleist, Ibsen, Wilder, Brecht, Beckett, Stoppard, Parks, McCraney. (A, D)
Instructor(s): J. Muse Terms Offered: Not offered 2016-17
ENGL 10706. Introduction to Fiction. 100 Units.
This course will introduce students to narrative fiction from a variety of time periods, genres, and media, as well as to select works of criticism and theory. We will focus on key elements of narrative form (including voice, characterization, setting, description, plot, etc.), as well as on the uses and pleasures of narrative art. The course aims to help students broaden and deepen their historical knowledge and practical experience of fiction, and to develop analytical tools for reading and writing about it. (A, B)
Instructor(s): H. Keenleyside Terms Offered: Winter
ENGL 10710. Introduction to Fiction: Narrative, Violence, and Justice. 100 Units.
This Gateway course introduces central aspects of the study of narrative by examining how stories depict violence and justice. We will consider both how language represents experience at the limits of articulation (as in intense pain, cruelty, and death), and we’ll analyze how narrative both constructs and undermines models of just violence and lawful punishment. The course will concentrate especially on literary manipulations of point of view: violence, justice, and narrative are all radically perspectival phenomena. Readings will likely include the Binding of Isaac (Genesis 22), Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, and works by Franz Kafka, Jack London, Shirley Jackson, and J.M. Coetzee. (A, B, G)
Instructor(s): J. Orlemanski Terms Offered: Autumn
ENGL 10800. Introduction to Film Analysis. 100 Units.
This course introduces basic concepts of film analysis, which are discussed through examples from different national cinemas, genres, and directorial oeuvres. Along with questions of film technique and style, we consider the notion of the cinema as an institution that comprises an industrial system of production, social and aesthetic norms and codes, and particular modes of reception. Films discussed include works by Hitchcock, Porter, Griffith, Eisenstein, Lang, Renoir, Sternberg, and Welles.
Instructor(s): Staff Terms Offered: Autumn, Winter, Spring
Note(s): Required of students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 10100,ARTH 20000,ARTV 25300
ENGL 10950. Approaches to Theater I: Ancient to Renaissance. 100 Units.
A survey of key concepts and trends in Western and non-Western theater from the ancient Greeks through the Renaissance, the course offers its students tools to understand and interpret dramatic literature and theatrical performance. We will read plays and performances closely, taking into account form, character, plot, and genre, but also staging, acting, spectatorship, and historical conventions. In the process we will ask how various agents—playwrights, directors, performers, and audiences—generate plays and give them meaning, and students will become agents themselves by devising and performing scenes as a parallel mode of interpretation. No experience making theater required. (A, D, E)
Instructor(s): J. Muse Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): TAPS 28402
ENGL 10951. Approaches to Theater II: Late 17th Century to the Present. 100 Units.
A survey of key concepts and trends in Western and non-Western theater from the late seventeenth century to the present, the course offers its students tools to understand and interpret dramatic literature and theatrical performance. We will read plays and performances closely, taking into account form, character, plot, and genre, but also staging, acting, spectatorship, and historical conventions. In the process we will ask how various agents—playwrights, directors, performers, and audiences—generate plays and give them meaning, and students will become agents themselves by devising and performing scenes as a parallel mode of interpretation. No experience making theater required. (A, D, F, G)
Instructor(s): J. Muse Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Approaches to Theater I is not a prerequisite.
Equivalent Course(s): TAPS 28403
ENGL 11004. History of the Novel. 100 Units.
This course approaches the history of the novel through detailed study of at least one masterpiece from each of the last four centuries from the 18th through the 21st. We will also study shorter works of fiction and key works of narrative theory, along with films based on some of the set texts. We’re likely to begin with Choderlos de Laclos’s Dangerous Liaisons (1782), which has inspired dozens of film and television spin-offs; we’ll then move on to the 19th century with works by Austen and Flaubert; to the 20th century with James and Nabokov; and to the 21st century with Tom McCarthy and other writers. Course requirements include two papers and regular Chalk posts, in addition to written exercises in class and participation in discussion sections. (B, F, G)
Instructor(s): M. Ellmann Terms Offered: Autumn
ENGL 13000. Academic and Professional Writing (The Little Red Schoolhouse) 100 Units.
No description available.
Instructor(s): L. McEnerney, K. Cochran, T. Weiner Terms Offered: Winter, Spring
Prerequisite(s): Third- or fourth-year standing
Note(s): This course does not count towards the ISHU program requirements. May be taken for P/F grading by students who are not majoring in English. Materials fee $20.
Equivalent Course(s): ISHU 23000,ENGL 33000
ENGL 14900. Old English. 100 Units.
This course aims to provide the linguistic skills and the historical and cultural perspectives necessary for advanced work on Old English. There will be regular exercises and midterm and final examinations. A second quarter of Old English focusing on Beowulf will be offered to interested students in Spring Quarter 2017 as a reading course.
Instructor(s): C. von Nolcken Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 34900,GRMN 34900,GRMN 23416
ENGL 15500. Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales. 100 Units.
This course is an examination of Chaucer's art as revealed in selections from The Canterbury Tales. Our primary emphasis is on a close reading of individual tales, with particular attention to the intersection of literary form with problems in ethics, politics, gender, and sexuality. (C, E)
Instructor(s): M. Miller Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 25700
ENGL 15600. Medieval English Literature. 100 Units.
This course examines the relations among psychology, ethics, and social theory in fourteenth-century English literature. We pay particular attention to three central preoccupations of the period: sex, the human body, and the ambition of ethical perfection. Readings are drawn from Chaucer, Langland, the Gawain-poet, Gower, penitential literature, and saints' lives. There are also some supplementary readings in the social history of late medieval England. (C, E)
Instructor(s): M. Miller Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): GNSE 15600
ENGL 15850. Revising the Romance. 100 Units.
In this course, we’ll be reading some of the most compelling popular literature of the 14th and 15th centuries: chivalric romances. We’ll discuss the strangeness and unexpected insights of a selection of these texts as they take up issues familiar to us today: problems of gender, ethical concern, and religious belief, among others. (C, E)
Instructor(s): H. Christensen Terms Offered: Autumn
ENGL 16500. Shakespeare I: Histories and Comedies. 100 Units.
This course explores Shakespeare’s histories and comedies. Topics for discussion will include: arguments for the social, political, and moral benefits of theater, as well as for its perniciousness; representations of gender, sexuality, family, and friendship; actors’ and spectators’ experiences of performance; and philosophical theories of laughter, pity, and catharsis. Readings are likely to include Richard II, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, Much Ado about Nothing, As You Like It, and Twelfth Night—as well as a play in which comedy veers into tragedy (Othello) and a film adaptation (Orson Welles’s Chimes at Midnight). (D, E)
Instructor(s): D. Simon Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 21403,TAPS 28405
ENGL 16550. Shakespeare's History Plays. 100 Units.
This course on Shakespeare's English history plays will adopt an unusual stratagem of reading the plays in order of the historical events they depict: that is, starting with King John, who ruled England from 1199 until his death in 1216, down to Henry VIII (1509-47), the father of Queen Elizabeth. The emphasis will be on the great plays, Richard II, Henry IV Parts 1 and II, Henry V, and Richard III. My hope is that this approach will enable us to explore Shakespeare's concept of English history over a large sweep of time. (D, E)
Instructor(s): D. Bevington Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 36550,FNDL 21405,TAPS 16550,TAPS 36550
ENGL 16600. Shakespeare II: Tragedies and Romances. 100 Units.
This course explores some of the major plays in the genres of tragedy and romance in the latter half of Shakespeare’s career. After having examined how Shakespeare develops and deepens the conventions of tragedy in Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Antony and Cleopatra, we will turn our attention to how he complicates and even subverts these conventions in three romances: Cymbeline, The Winter’s Tale, and The Tempest. Throughout, we will treat the plays as literary texts, performance prompts, and historical documents. Section attendance is required. (D, E)
Instructor(s): T. Harrison Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): ENGL 16500 recommended but not required.
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 21404,TAPS 28406
ENGL 17501. Milton. 100 Units.
A study of Milton’s major writings in lyric, epic, tragedy, and political prose, with emphasis upon his evolving sense of his poetic vocation and career in relation to his vision of literary, political, and cosmic history. (C, E, F)
Instructor(s): J. Scodel Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 21201,RLST 25405
ENGL 17515. Seventeenth-Century Verse. 100 Units.
A study of the major authors and types of seventeenth-century golden short poetry, with special focus on Donne, Jonson, Herbert, Herrick, Philips, and Marvell. (C, E, F)
Instructor(s): J. Scodel Terms Offered: Autumn
ENGL 17516. Religious Lyric in England & America: from Donne to T.S. Eliot. 100 Units.
This course will study five major poets, English and American, who wrote about their personal relation to God, religion, and/or the transcendent. It will treat the poets as writers and as religious thinkers. The approach will be both internal—reading selected poems carefully—and comparative, reading the poets in relation to one another. The course will require a final paper and perhaps a mid-term exercise. (C, E, G)
Instructor(s): R. Strier Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 37516,RLST 27516,RLST 37516
ENGL 17700. Seventeenth Century Literary Culture and the Woman Writer. 100 Units.
This course explores the literary culture of early modern England (and Europe, to a lesser degree) by way of writing by women. We will examine the cultural changes that enabled women to write and survey women’s writing across a diverse range of genres including poetry, prose, letters, and drama. (C, E, F)
Instructor(s): K. Fowler Terms Offered: Winter
ENGL 17813. Writing Subjects: Authorship, Authority, and the 18thC Novel. 100 Units.
This course introduces students to the eighteenth-century novel by considering the relative power and vulnerability attributed to readers and writers. Who got to write novels, and what kind of authority was attached to that writing? We’ll look at a number of eighteenth-century texts (novels by Defoe, Richardson, Sterne, and Burney), as well as J.M. Coetzee’s 1986 Foe, a postcolonial rewriting of works by Defoe. (B, F)
Instructor(s): A. Turner Terms Offered: Autumn
ENGL 17814. Framing the Nation in the Long Eighteenth Century. 100 Units.
How do poetry, fiction, and nonfictional prose of the long eighteenth century engage with the pressures of political union in Britain? What are the effects of increasingly dense narrative framing in eighteenth century works of literature? This course asks these questions and ponders the extent to which their answers are intertwined. (B, F)
Instructor(s): L. Schachter Terms Offered: Spring
ENGL 17950. The Declaration of Independence. 100 Units.
This course explores important intellectual, political, philosophical, legal, economic, social, and religious contexts for the Declaration of Independence. We begin with a consideration of the English Revolution, investigating the texts of the Declaration of Rights of 1689 and Locke’s Second Treatise and their meanings to American revolutionaries. We then consider imperial debates over taxation in the 1760s and 1770s, returning Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography to its original context. Reading Paine’s Common Sense and the letters of Abigail Adams and John Adams we look at the multiple meanings of independence. We study Jefferson’s drafting process, read the Declaration over the shoulders of people on both sides of the Atlantic, and consider clues to contemporary meanings beyond the intentions of Congress. Finally, we briefly engage the post-revolutionary history of the place and meaning of the Declaration in American life. (F)
Instructor(s): E. Slauter Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 27950,HIST 17604,HMRT 17950,LLSO 27950
ENGL 18108. Culture and the Police. 100 Units.
How do cultural products facilitate, abet, and enable the form of social ordering that we call policing? This course will explore the policing function of what modernity calls “culture” by exploring the parallel histories of policing, the emergence of modern police theory, and the rise of the novel. We will focus in particular on how both literature and the police emerge to navigate a series of linked epistemological and political problematics: the relation between particularity and abstraction, the relation between deviance and normalcy, and indeed that of authority as such. While we will focus on texts from the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Atlantic world, students with a broader interest in policing are encouraged to enroll. Readings will include Daniel Defoe, Patrick Colquhoun, Henry Fielding, G.W.F. Hegel, Jane Austen, Louis Althusser, Michel Foucault, D.A. Miller, Michael McKeon, Mary Poovey, and Mark Neocleous. (B, F, H)
Instructor(s): C. Taylor Terms Offered: Winter
ENGL 19204. Experiments in Epic Poetry. 100 Units.
A course devoted to reading in full a small number of Romanticism’s important long narrative poems: Shelley’s Prometheus Unbound, Wordsworth’s The Prelude, Byron’s Don Juan, and Barrett Browning’s Aurora Leigh. We’ll think about the conventions and aims of epic poetry and we’ll ask how (and why) these works reinvent a very old genre.
Instructor(s): A. Chema Terms Offered: Autumn
ENGL 20024. Nabokov's Ada, or Ardor. 100 Units.
Described as a "difficult book [...] filled with 'dense of intertextual allusion'," Ada, Nabokov's last (completed) novel (1969), is also his longest, most puzzling, and, arguably, most rewarding. As one critic has put it, "Aesthetically, intellectually, and even morally, this is a Difficult Book par excellence. It demands a lover’s patience. But sentences like these are our steadfast consolation for submitting to the wiles of Ada." In this course we submit ourselves. (B)
Instructor(s): Malynne Sternstein Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): REES 30024,FNDL 20024,REES 20024
ENGL 20140. London Program: From Industrial City to Financial Center. 100 Units.
Over the last two centuries, London has undergone two “revolutions,” the industrial revolution and the financialization revolution. With these two events as frame, we will explore literary texts that concentrate on regions, neighborhoods, and even streets that have registered these forces. We will explore the concept of gentrification as we think about how literary works depict large-scale transformations. Possible texts: Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist, George Gissing’s The Netherworld, Mike Leigh’s High Hopes, Zadie Smith’s NW, John Lanchester’s Capital. Our study will include guided walks through notable neighborhoods. (B, G, H)
Instructor(s): E. Hadley Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Admission to London Program (study abroad) required.
ENGL 20141. London Program: Theatre, Heritage & Urban Life in London. 100 Units.
In 1956, British elites reluctantly confronted the end of Empire, while ordinary Britons were more concerned about contradictions between promises of affluence and the actual experience of austerity. Also in 1956, a new theatre opened in the as-yet unfashionable frontier of London’s theatre district; the Royal Court saw itself as a vanguard breaking class and gender taboos. These two currents converged in The Entertainer (1957), John Osborne’s play about the post-imperial moment in Britain. We will use this play, its film version, and the theatre and its personnel (including Laurence Olivier who later ran the National Theatre) as a point of departure for studying the dramatic representation of history and urban life in key London sites, including the National’s opening state of the nation play, Weapons of Happiness (1976). The first two weeks of the course also include analyzing current productions at both theatres, along with critical texts on the impact of theatre (on tourism and gentrification, for instance). The third week, depending on shows on offer in 2016, may include one of several other theatres connected to the state of the nation and its transnational inheritance. (D)
Instructor(s): L. Kruger Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Admission to London Program (study abroad) required.
ENGL 20142. London Program: Producing London. 100 Units.
This course, part of the London program, will provide you with a framework for developing a quarter-long research project, enriched by either archival work or fieldwork, that examines some object or aspect of London's cultural past. We will explore the city via a selection of literary and theoretical texts, and through a series of field trips that reflect London's historical economies of circulation. Course readings and discussion are designed to help you contextualize your objects, which need not be textual, within broader accounts of cultural production; topics may include patronage structures, print culture, and media theory. (H)
Instructor(s): S. Kunjummen Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Admission to London Program (study abroad) required.
ENGL 20143. London Program: Archaeological Imagination in English Culture. 100 Units.
As Britain emerged as an imperial power, the concomitant rise of archaeology injected into British culture a series of alternative antiquities: Greek, Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Indian, Celtic. In this course, we will look at some of the ways these various usable pasts were taken up in nineteenth-century English poetry, fiction, art, and institutions, and used to imaginarily channel and refract political, social, and sexual anxieties and desires. Topics may include the Elgin Marbles controversy; Egyptomania; the excavations of Pompeii, Nineveh, and Stonehenge; decadence; the looting of the Old Summer Palace in Beijing; and the archaeologist as spy. Readings may include Keats’s Ode on a Grecian Urn; Shelley’s Ozymandias; Kipling’s The Man Who Would Be King; T. E. Lawrence and Gertrude Bell; and Agatha Christie’s Murder in Mesopotamia. We will probably take field trips to Stonehenge and to the British Museum. (C, F)
Instructor(s): L. Rothfield Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Admission to London Program (study abroad) required.
ENGL 20212. Romantic Natures. 100 Units.
This survey of British Romantic literary culture will combine canonical texts (with an emphasis on the major poetry) with consideration of the practices and institutions underwriting Romantic engagement with the natural world. We will address foundational and recent critical approaches to the many “natures” of Romanticism. Our contextual materials will engage the art of landscape, an influx of exotic flora, practices of collection and display, the emergent localism and naturalism of Gilbert White, the emergence of geological “deep time,” the (literal) fruits of empire, vegetarianism, and the place of pets. (C, F)
Instructor(s): T. Campbell Terms Offered: Spring
ENGL 20225. Radical Romanticism: Poetry, Piracy, Pornography. 100 Units.
The Romantic period is a moment of convergence between politics and literature, in which piracy and pornography both played a key role. This course will consider what new insights into Romanticism can be gained through consideration of print culture, reading publics, and the political struggle for a free press. (C, F)
Instructor(s): E. Powell Terms Offered: Winter
ENGL 20850. Nonsense Literature. 100 Units.
This course explores the genre of nonsense literature from its Victorian incarnations to the present in authors such as Lewis Carroll, Gertrude Stein, and Angela Carter. We will look at the linguistic, aesthetic, and philosophical aspects of nonsense, but also the situations that provoke nonsense as a response to something overwhelming and incomprehensible. (B, G, H)
Instructor(s): P. McDonald Terms Offered: Winter
ENGL 20906. Romantic Endangerment. 100 Units.
This course investigates the trope of endangerment in Romantic poetry, where it is used to interpret and respond to the sense of rupture that prevailed during a period that's been called “the age of revolutions.” We’ll examine how our primary texts draw analogies between historical, environmental, and civilizational decline (rural depopulation, the “westering” of civilization, millennialism, the extinction of the human species) and narratives of psychological and affective endangerment that give rise to literary preoccupations with aging, the waning of creativity and wonder, and the problem of passionate existence (it wears you out). If world and mind are both endangered, what modes of survival can literature imagine? (C, F)
Instructor(s): A. Chema Terms Offered: Winter
ENGL 21006. Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent: A Simple Tale. 100 Units.
Course centers on Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent: A Simple Tale. Contemporary critics often consider this novel the archetypal fictional work about terrorism, as it is based on the bomb attack that occurred in Greenwich in 1888. The Secret Agent demonstrates, however, much more than its prophetic significance rediscovered after 9/11. Therefore, the course seeks how the novel’s relevance stems in equal measure from Conrad’s interest in a wider political process and his distrust of state power; in particular, the course explores how these forces determine the individual caught in a confining situation. We read The Secret Agent as a political novel, that struggle for solutions defies chaos as well as an imposition of a single ideology or one authorial point of view. Its ambiguities and political antinomies allow for interdisciplinary readings that also present an opportunity to critically overview the established approaches to main Conradian themes. In analyzing the formation of the narrative’s ideology we discuss Conrad’s historical pessimism that demonstrates with sustained irony how capitalism breeds social injustice that, in turn, breeds anarchism. The class also focuses on how the novel exposes duplicity in staging surveillance, terrorism, as well as adjacent forms of violence or sacrifice. Critical texts include several older but still influential readings (Jameson, Eagleton) and the most recent.
Instructor(s): Bożena Shallcross Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): English majors: this course fulfills the Fiction (B) distribution requirement.
Equivalent Course(s): REES 31006,FNDL 21006,ENGL 31006,REES 21006
ENGL 21102. Introduction to Postcolonial Literature and Theory. 100 Units.
This course will introduce students to questions and problems central to postcolonial literary studies. Through novels and theoretical pieces it will explore postcolonialism’s commitment to questioning dominant narratives of knowledge, versions of history, forms of identity and attachment, and versions of modernity centered on the nation. It will also explore experiences of diaspora and migration. (B, H)
Instructor(s): R. Oh Terms Offered: Winter
ENGL 21106. Social Fact/Human Feeling: Documentary Form and American Lit. 100 Units.
This course explores the emergence of the documentary as a literary form in Depression-era America. We will address a wide spectrum of texts that self-consciously navigate tensions between reality and its representations; authors include Jon Dos Passos, Muriel Rukeyser, James Agee, Charles Reznikoff, and Richard Wright. (G)
Instructor(s): I. Becker Terms Offered: Autumn
ENGL 21924. Victorian Death and the Thinking Body. 100 Units.
As biological explanations of consciousness began to supplant belief in an immaterial soul, people living in the Victorian era were left with nothing but their bodies as the source of their thoughts and feelings. Can we use a historicized notion of the body to account for “character” in the Victorian novel? How does the extraordinary prevalence of death in this fiction sharpen our sense of the thinking body, and why does this rationalized body come with so much Gothic potential? (B, G)
Instructor(s): D. Womble Terms Offered: Autumn
ENGL 22404. Mixed Media Modernisms. 100 Units.
This course examines the collisions and collaborations of verbal and visual media in the avant-garde circles of the early 20th century in Britain and France. We will develop a formal vocabulary for discussing visual artworks and hone critical skills in the analysis of temporal and spatial media. An openness to serious play and mental flexibility are a must. We will read poetry, fiction, criticism, and a play, and look—really look—at book arts, collage, painting, sculpture, film, and photography. Artists and authors will include Guillaume Apollinaire, Gertrude Stein, Henri Bergson, George Orwell, Samuel Beckett, Marcel Duchamp, John Heartfield, Walter Benjamin, Robert Capa, Luis Buñuel, Claude Cahun, and Josephine Baker. (G)
Instructor(s): R. Kyne Terms Offered: Autumn
ENGL 22903. Literature of the City: Between Utopia and Dystopia. 100 Units.
This course will explore the material repercussions of built, neglected, and mythologized environments on those who imagine and inhabit them, and the way the literary arts contribute to their shape. We will place the literature of the metropolis into dialogue with the writings and plans of architects and urbanists on the one hand, and activist/occupants on the other. We will study the creation (and sporadic dismantling) of the city from the perspective of its builders and inhabitants—moving swiftly from the nineteenth-century flaneur through Situationism, from the utopian schemes and conceptual architectures of the 1960s and '70s and Occupy movements. A range of cities, visible and invisible, will be under consideration, with Chicago as our immediate case study: students will be required to attend or respond to a major symposium on Gwendolyn Brooks cosponsored by the University in April. In tandem with the reading of literary texts by authors ranging from Djuna Barnes and Virginia Woolf through Italo Calvino and Anne Boyer, we will engage with architectural history and theory, encountering works by figures such as Augustus Pugin, John Ruskin, Daniel Burnham, Le Corbusier, Manfredo Tafuri, Massimo Cacciari, Peter Eisenman, Rem Koolhass, Superstudio, and Pier Vittorio Aureli. (B, G, H)
Instructor(s): J. Scappettone Terms Offered: Winter
ENGL 23350. True Crime. 100 Units.
Beginning first with a history of the genre, the course will focus on the post-45 era beginning with celebrity criminal and writer Caryl Chessman. We will read classics like In Cold Blood, and yes, at 1,000+ pages, The Executioner’s Song, and works of extraordinary commercial success, like Ann Rule’s Stranger Beside Me. We will also most likely look at true crime on the radio and on film. To aid us in our reflections, we will read scholars and critics like Mark Seltzer, Karen Haltunnen, and Janet Malcolm, among others.
Instructor(s): D. Nelson Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 32350
ENGL 23400. Virginia Woolf. 100 Units.
Students read six of Woolf’s major works (fiction and intellectual prose), as well as short works by other modernists. (B, G)
Instructor(s): L. Ruddick Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): GNSE 23400,FNDL 24011
ENGL 24005. A Couple Openended Novels. 100 Units.
This course will consider two (or in the spirit of openendedness) three novels by modern whatistheterm or postmodern or postpostmodern, openended novels—by writers, all of whom, to some extent, are artistic descendants of James Joyce. One of the novels will be Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. This will be paired (?tripled?, so maybe a trigon not a couple) with the following: White Noise by Don DeLillo and Zazie Dans le Metro by Raymond Queneau. (There were other possibilities: Life: A User’s Manual by George Perec; Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon…). So like but then, the themes of the course will be: the postmodern (?postpostmodern?) dysfunctional family; ecodisaster; depression; prozac and its buddies; addiction and OCD; language: to proscribe (or prescribe) or not; the fear of death; and (natch) the problem of evil in a morally leveled ethical landscape. (B)
Instructor(s): S. Meredith Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 21320
ENGL 24202. Junior Seminar: Romantic Fiction and the Historical Novel. 100 Units.
This course pursues the emergence of modern historical fiction at the moment when the “British novel” first joined the literary canon. We will focus upon a series of sites where Romantic fiction conceptualized history with special energy and complexity (the imperial Celtic periphery, commercial life, the everyday, and the mode of romance) while exploring the intrinsic connections between historical fiction and the idea of literary history. Primary authors will include Jane Austen, Frances Burney, Maria Edgeworth, James Hogg, Walter Scott, and Horace Walpole. As a junior seminar, this course is ideally suited for students interested in developing the skills necessary to write a BA Honors paper or those considering graduate work in English. This course will culminate in a substantial critical paper of your own design. (B, F)
Instructor(s): T. Campbell Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Students must have taken a gateway course as well as two additional courses in the department.
Note(s): For third-year English majors only.
ENGL 24210. Irish Fiction. 100 Units.
This course provides a survey of Irish fiction in its historical context from Maria Edgeworth to Emma Donoghue. We’ll study novels and short stories by some of the following writers: Sheridan Le Fanu, George Moore, Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, Liam O’Flaherty, Kate O’Brien, Elizabeth Bowen, Sean O’Faolain, Frank O’Connor, Samuel Beckett, Mary Lavin, Edna O’Brien, John McGahern, and Patrick McCabe. We’ll also study two films directed by Neil Jordan, The Crying Game (loosely based on Frank O’Connor’s story Guests of the Nation) and The Butcher Boy, based on Patrick McCabe’s novel of the same name. Assignments are likely to include two essays, regular Chalk posts, and joint class presentations. (B, G)
Instructor(s): M. Ellmann Terms Offered: Autumn
ENGL 24260. Anxiety. 100 Units.
The phenomenon of anxiety emerged as one of the leading psychological disorders of the 20th and 21st centuries. Worrying ourselves into the realm of the pathological, we now have a requisite measure of anxiety for every prescribed stage of life. But why are we so anxious? Considering its prevalence in everyday life, the concept and theories of anxiety have been employed surprisingly seldom as a way into film, fiction, and art. In this course we examine the modern origin of contemporary discourses specific to anxiety and their unique manifestation in cultural artifacts. To understand the complex of anxiety in the so-called Western world, we rely on the theories of Søren Kierkegaard, Martin Heidegger, Sigmund Freud, Jacques Lacan, and Alenka Zupančič; fiction by Stoker, Schnitzler, Kafka, and Sebald; and film by Haneke, Kubrick, Ophuls, and Hitchcock. We will also have guest speakers from the fields of clinical psychiatry, geriatric medicine, philosophy, and comparative anthropology.
Instructor(s): M. Sternstein, A. Flannery Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Third- or fourth-year standing
Note(s): English majors: This course fulfills the Theory (H) distribution requirement.
Equivalent Course(s): GRMN 26715,MAPH 36750,BPRO 26750
ENGL 24320. Americans Abroad in the Cold War. 100 Units.
This course examines U.S. fiction and creative nonfiction of the early Cold War that was set abroad, investigating how genre and place mediated domestic political and social anxieties. Texts comprise journalism, essays, travel writing, guidebooks, short stories, and novels by Hershey, Wilson, Steinbeck, Capote, Wright, Baldwin, McCarthy, Highsmith, Bowles, Lederer and Burdick, Bellow, and Burroughs. (B)
Instructor(s): A. Swain Terms Offered: Winter
ENGL 24650. Show and Tell. 100 Units.
This course surveys twentieth-century narrative theories (e.g., narratology, post/structuralism) and the dynamics of authority, readership, and style that they invoke in light of the injunction: Show, don’t tell. Central debates include the status of rhetoric, intention, depth, point of view. Fictional examples are drawn from an American context, primarily post-1945. (B, H)
Instructor(s): R. Bayne Terms Offered: Autumn
ENGL 24810. AfroSF. 100 Units.
Speculative fiction (SF) has long been a key part of African diasporic literary and cultural production. More recently, however, a wide range of African writers and directors have turned to the resources of science fiction and fantasy in order to come to terms with the continent’s changing place in contemporary global modernity. This course examines the place of contemporary African and diasporic science fiction and fantasy within a longer history of both African literature and global SF, asking what the turn to SF offers contemporary African cultural production, and what reading AfroSF can tell us about the shape of our global present. Course materials will include short stories and films by Nnedi Okorafor, Lauren Beukes, Sofia Samatar, Deji Olokutun, Efe Okogu, Waniu Kahiu, Nalo Hopkinson, Samuel Delany and others. (B)
Instructor(s): B. Smith Terms Offered: Spring
ENGL 24812. J.M. Coetzee. 100 Units.
J.M Coetzee is perhaps South Africa’s best-known novelist, not to mention an immensely popular figure in the contemporary world literary canon. But is Coetzee the South African author the same as Coetzee the giant of world literature? In what way does his place in South African literary history inform his reception as an essential part of global literary culture? This course puts Coetzee’s major novels in conversation with some of his key essays and criticism in order to provide students an intensive introduction of his broad and complex body of work. But it also brings Coetzee’s many different writings into dialogue with both some of the scholarship on his oeuvre and recent work on globalization and the production of world literature in order to examine the difference between Coetzee the South African novelist and Coetzee the world literary master. The wager of the course is that a close engagement with Coetzee and his career can develop key insights into the production and circulation of world literature in English as it exists today. (B, H)
Instructor(s): B. Smith Terms Offered: Winter
ENGL 24951. Animals, Ethics, and Religion. 100 Units.
Why are some animals considered food and others objects of religious devotion? Why do we treat dogs like family and kill flies without a second thought? Why do animals appear so frequently as metaphors in our everyday speech? In this course, students will explore these questions by reading texts featuring animals in literature, scripture, and theory, ranging from the Bible, Zora Neale Hurston, and Franz Kafka to Flannery O’Connor and J.M. Coetzee. We will bring these diverse texts together in order to investigate how animals illuminate religious questions about the relationship among humans, animals, and the divine.
Instructor(s): K. Mershon Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Religious Studies majors and minors may petition to have this course counted towards the Constructive Studies requirement rather than the Cultural Studies requirement.,,English majors: this course meets the Fiction (B) distribution requirement.
Equivalent Course(s): RLST 28020
ENGL 25011. Migrations, Refugees, Races. 100 Units.
This MA/BA-level course introduces students to globalization theory, with particular attention to readings that showcase the displacements and migrations that characterize the era of advanced global capitalism. Fleeing economic, social, and climatological collapse, migrants hardly find a second home; they become refugees without refuge. The limits on their flourishing extend far beyond the national borders that they cross in search of livable life. Wherever they go, they are discriminated and psychologically segregated by discourses of race nationalism, discourses in which migrations give rise to races. This course will focus on this process of migrant racialization—all the more pressing in light of current world events—with a curriculum that includes works by Weber, Simmel, Smohalla, Benedict Anderson, Anzaldúa, Appadurai, Brathwaite, Walter Benjamin, Celan, Derrida, Eggers, Ghosh, Le Guin, Glissant, Vine Deloria Jr., Woody Guthrie, Mbembe, Haraway, Tsing, Giddens, Negri and Hardt, Jason Moore, Bhabha, August Wilson, Sterling Brown, Big Bill Broonzy, Jacob Lawrence, Miguel Méndez, Mary Louise Pratt, Momaday, Silko, Canclini, Karen Tei Yamashita, Heise, Gikandi, Schmidt-Camacho, Fields and Fields, Bonilla-Silva, and Massey, in addition to film screenings and field exercises. (H)
Instructor(s): E. Garcia Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 36183,LACS 26183
ENGL 25013. Literature of the Refugee. 100 Units.
This course surveys the recent surge of scholarship on literature and human rights. It gives students with a diverse range of interests the opportunity to consider if and how literary texts raise awareness and have shaped human rights in history. Reading will include Sappho, Nadine Gordimer, Herman Melville, Franz Kafka, Mary Shelley, Hannah Arendt, and Mahmoud Darwish, as well as selection from major documents in human rights philosophy, law, and policy. (B, G, H)
Instructor(s): H. Bakara Terms Offered: Autumn
ENGL 25413. The American West. 100 Units.
This course considers the power of the West as an imagined construct, an ideologically charged and prophetic “direction” in American cultural production. Beginning with Elizabethan dreams of wealth and haven, as well as Revolutionary and Jeffersonian articulations of America’s redemptive role in world politics, we will focus primarily on 19th century novels and paintings of westwarding as an American “Manifest Destiny.” Finally, we will turn to the marketing of the West in dime novels, the Wild West Show, Hollywood films, and contemporary television. Throughout the quarter we will follow out the contemporary challenges posed to boosters of the mythic West. (B, G)
Instructor(s): J. Knight Terms Offered: Autumn
ENGL 25422. American Fortunes. 100 Units.
Getting rich quick is practically synonymous with the American Dream. But while a fortune might alleviate financial hardship, it creates problems of its own. Like our present moment, the turn of the 20th century saw rapid changes in technology and finance generate unprecedented wealth inequality. In this period of rapid urbanization and industrialization, writers explored how rapidly changing financial circumstances might change a person’s life. This course surveys major American novels from the late 19th and early 20th centuries to ask questions like: How does money articulate with social class in the context of American political ideology? How do writers represent the moral status and responsibilities of the wealthy as different from those of the poor? What can literary texts tell us about the world in which they were produced and consumed? Readings will include texts by William Dean Howells, Frank Norris, Theodore Dreiser, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Jessie Redmon Fauset. (B, G)
Instructor(s): K. Kimura Terms Offered: Spring
ENGL 25601. Nineteenth Century American Gothic. 100 Units.
This course will trace the “Gothic” tradition in America from its initial manifestations in Brown and Irving through its first great flowering in the “American Renaissance” era of Poe, Hawthorne, and Melville. We will emphasize questions of methodology as well as practicing close analysis and defining a literary tradition. (G)
Instructor(s): W. Veeder Terms Offered: Autumn
ENGL 25945. Digital Storytelling. 100 Units.
This course investigates the ways that new media have changed contemporary society and the cultural narratives that shape it. We will explore narrative theory through a number of digital or digitally-inflected forms, including cyberpunk fictions, text adventure games, interactive dramas, videogames, virtual worlds, transmedia novels, location-based fictions, and alternate reality games. Our critical study will concern issues such as nonlinear narrative, network aesthetics, and videogame mechanics. Throughout the quarter, our analysis of computational fictions will be haunted by gender, class, race, and other ghosts in the machine. (H)
Instructor(s): P. Jagoda Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 25945
ENGL 25951. American Television: From Broadcast Networks to the Internet. 100 Units.
The idea of electromechanically transmitted moving images dates back to the nineteenth century, and the first technological demonstration of televised moving images took place in the 1920s. While this course touches upon the early history of television, we will focus our attention on the era between the commercialization of television in the United States (in the early 1950s) and the rise of internet-based television via services such as Hulu (in the 2000s). As we will see, the history of television in these years intersects with numerous other media, such as radio, film, video, digital games, and the novel. Alongside a study of the medium of television and its role in American culture, we will attend carefully to the form of TV narrative as it changes from an early episodic format to the complex long-form serial narratives that attained maturity in the 1990s. Through historical, formal, and cultural analyses, we will attempt to make sense of the recent renaissance of television narrative characterized by such serial programs as The Sopranos, The Wire, Breaking Bad, and Mad Men. The course combines theoretical texts with close readings of particular television shows. Requirements include engaged participation in class discussion, weekly blog entries, a mid-term paper, and a substantive final research paper. There will be no exams. (H)
Instructor(s): P. Jagoda Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 25951
ENGL 26250. Richer and Poorer: Income Inequality. 100 Units.
Current political and recent academic debate has centered on income or wealth inequality. Data suggests a rapidly growing divergence between those earners at the bottom and those at the top. This course seeks to place that current concern in conversation with a range of moments in nineteenth and twentieth century history when literature and economics converged on questions of economic inequality. In keeping with recent political economic scholarship by Thomas Piketty, we will be adopting a long historic view and a somewhat wide geographic scale as we explore how economic inequality is represented, measured, assessed, and addressed. Readings will include some of the following literature: Hard Times, Le Pere Goriot, The Jungle, The Time Machine, Native Son, Landscape for a Good Woman, White Tiger; and some of the following economic and political texts: Principles of Political Economy, The Acquisitive Society, The Theory of the Leisure Class, Capital (Marx and Piketty), The Price of Inequality, and Inequality Re-examined. (B, G, H)
Instructor(s): E. Hadley Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 36250
ENGL 26300. The Literature of Disgust, Rabelais to Naked Lunch. 100 Units.
This course will survey a range of literary works which take the disgusting as their principle aesthetic focus, while also providing students with an introduction to core issues and concepts in the history of aesthetic theory, such as the beautiful and the sublime, disinterested judgment and purposive purposelessness, taste and distaste. At the same time, our readings will allow us to explore the ways in which the disgusting has historically been utilized as a way of producing socially critical literature, by representing that which a culture categorically attempts to marginalize, exclude, and expel. Readings will engage with the variety of aesthetic functions that the disgusting has been afforded throughout modern literary history, including the carnivalesque and grotesque in Rabelais and the bawdy and satirical in Swift; revolted Victorian realism and gruesome Zolaesque naturalism; and Sartre’s existential nausea and Kafka’s anxious repulsion; as well as Thomas Bernhard’s experiments with contempt and William Burroughs’ hallucinogenic inversions of pleasure and disgust. Prerequisite: Strong stomach. (F, G, H)
Instructor(s): Z. Samalin Terms Offered: Spring
ENGL 26405. Nineteenth-Century Environmental Thought. 100 Units.
This course examines nineteenth-century Anglophone writing about nature and the environment in the context of our present situation of anthropogenic climate change and biodiversity collapse. If we now live in a world where there is no longer such a thing as “nature” untouched by humans, this is in part as a result of processes of industrialization that were set into motion in the nineteenth century. This course explores some of the ways in which nineteenth-century writers already understood the idea of a “natural environment” to be culturally made, and the forceful literary critiques of industrialization that the period produced. Particular attention will be given to English-language writers beyond Britain and the United States. Authors will include Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens, Olive Schreiner, Toru Dutt, and Sarojini Naidu. (B, G)
Instructor(s): B. Morgan Terms Offered: Winter
ENGL 26950. Race and the U.S. Novel. 100 Units.
This course will focus on intensive readings in major American novels that tackle the question of race and racial difference. Readings will begin in the early twentieth century with Henry James and Charles Chesnutt, move through the interwar period with Richard Wright and Zora Neale Hurston, and conclude with the post-war period with Toni Morrison, Louise Erdrich, and others. The course will include some critical material from major theorists of literature and race, such as Henry Louis Gates. (B, H)
Instructor(s): R. So Terms Offered: Spring
ENGL 27003. Woman/Native. 100 Units.
This course reads works of postcolonial literature and theory in order to consider the entanglements of the figures of “women” and “natives” in colonial as well as postcolonial discourse. We will discuss topics such as the persistent feminization of the profane, degraded, and contagious bodies of colonized natives; representations of women as both the keepers and the victims of “authentic” native culture; the status (symbolic and otherwise) of women in anti-colonial resistance and insurgency; and the psychic pathologies (particularly nervous conditions of anxiety, hysteria, and madness) that appear repeatedly in these works as states to which women and/as natives are especially susceptible. And we will ask whether a theoretical concept such as écriture feminine, which identifies forms of literary production that register the specific traces of female difference, is meaningful in the context of embodied experience that is raced as well as gendered. (B, H)
Instructor(s): S. Thakkar Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CMLT 27003,CRES 27013,GNSE 27003
ENGL 27500. Modernism and the Harlem Renaissance: Issues and Methods. 100 Units.
In this course we will examine that period known as the Harlem Renaissance, partly as an exercise in literary criticism and theory, partly as an exercise in literary and intellectual history. Our objectives will be to critique the primary texts from this period and at the same time to assess the efforts of literary scholars to make sense of this moment in the history of American cultural production. (B, G, H)
Instructor(s): K. Warren Terms Offered: Winter
ENGL 27650. Literary Modernism and the Cinema. 100 Units.
The increasing popularity of cinema alternately attracted and alarmed Modernist writers, who looked to the emerging art form both as an inspiration and as a foil for their own work. This course explores the influence that the recording, editing, and exhibition of film had on the literary practices of Modernist writers. We will look at the fiction of such writers as Woolf, Joyce, and Elizabeth Bowen; and at Modernist writers’ essays on the medium. How did cinematic experiences of glamor, temporality, anonymity, and technology affect the experiments of writers who wanted to innovate their own medium? How can the emergence of cinema help us think about literary Modernism's approach to narrative and subjectivity? (G)
Instructor(s): S. Withers Terms Offered: Spring
ENGL 28613. Poetry of the Americas. 100 Units.
This course investigates the long poem or “post-epic” in 20th- and 21st-century North and Latin America. As we test the limits of the term post-epic, we will consider whether it may be applied equally to the heroic tale and the open field poem. How do poets interpret the idea of “the Americas” as lands, nations, and sources of identity in these works, and in what tangled ways do their poetics develop through dialogue across linguistic and geographical distances? Authors may include T. S. Eliot, Pablo Neruda, Derek Walcott, Gwendolyn Brooks, Corky Gonzalez, José Montoya, Vicente Huidobro, Aimé Césaire, M. NourbeSe Philip, Anne Carson, Lisa Robertson, Pedro Pietri, and Urayoán Noel. (C, G)
Instructor(s): R. Galvin Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): AMER 28613,LACS 28613,LACS 38613,ENGL 38613
ENGL 28614. Contemporary Latina/o Poetry. 100 Units.
From Julia de Burgos’s feminist poems of the 1930s to poetry of the Chicano Movement, Nuyorican performance poetry, and contemporary “Avant-Latino” experiments, this course explores the eclectic forms, aesthetics, and political engagements of Latin@ poetry in the 20th and 21st centuries. (C)
Instructor(s): R. Galvin Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): LACS 28614
ENGL 28750. The Beats: Literature and Counterculture. 100 Units.
Beat writers formed one of the earliest, and most publicly engaged, movements in American literary culture of the postwar period. They also captivated American popular culture by redefining the genres, platforms, and technologies of modern literary production, and by making literature the vehicle for an ethics of living that purported to subvert norms of race, gender, and class. This course examines the literary achievement and cultural impact of the Beats in the period spanning the end of World War II and the end of the Vietnam War (1945–75), focusing on the wide breadth of their experimentation with various forms and media (the open-form novel and poem, the modern poetry reading, the spoken word recording), their diverse identities as authors (working-class, female, non-white), and their role in a plurality of social movements (Free Speech, Second-Wave Feminism, Black Power). The course syllabus includes the three authors typically considered the preeminent Beat writers (Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs), but devotes great attention to women and minority writers central to the Beat movement (Diane di Prima, Helen Adam, Amiri Baraka, Bob Kaufman). (C)
Instructor(s): A. Peart Terms Offered: Autumn
ENGL 28816. Scenes of Chicago Housing. 100 Units.
From Jane Addams’s Hull House to the demolition of large public housing projects such as Cabrini Green, Chicago has played an outsized role within the national imagination about how different types of housing past, present, and future have worked or failed to work. This course will explore the narratives told about various forms of dwelling in Chicago in order to tell a broader story about how housing can alternatively make and unmake people and communities, fold or exclude inhabitants from spaces, economies, and social imaginaries. Possible texts include: Henry Blake Fuller, The Cliff Dwellers; Jane Addams, Twenty Years at Hull House; Edna Ferber, So Big; Nella Larsen, Passing; Arthur Meeker, Prairie Avenue; Richard Wright, Twelve Million Black Voices; Nelson Algren, The Man With the Golden Arm; Frank London Brown, Trumbull Park; Gwendolyn Brooks, Maud Martha; Lorraine Hansberry, Raisin in the Sun; Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street; Chris Ware, Building Stories; Audrey Petty, High Rise Stories. (B, G)
Instructor(s): A. Brown Terms Offered: Spring
ENGL 28912. War and Peace. 100 Units.
Tolstoy’s novel is at once a national epic, a treatise on history, a spiritual meditation, and a masterpiece of realism. This course presents a close reading of one of the world’s great novels, and of the criticism that has been devoted to it, including landmark works by Victor Shklovsky, Boris Eikhenbaum, Isaiah Berlin, and George Steiner. (B, G)
Instructor(s): William Nickell Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): REES 30001,CMLT 22301,CMLT 32301,FNDL 27103,HIST 23704,ENGL 32302,REES 20001
ENGL 29300-29600. History of International Cinema I-II.
This sequence is required of students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies. Taking these courses in sequence is strongly recommended but not required.
ENGL 29300. History of International Cinema I: Silent Era. 100 Units.
This course introduces what was singular about the art and craft of silent film. Its general outline is chronological. We also discuss main national schools and international trends of filmmaking.
Instructor(s): T. Gunning Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Prior or concurrent registration in CMST 10100 required. Required of students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies.
Note(s): This is the first part of a two-quarter course.
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 28500,ARTH 38500,ARTV 26500,ARTV 36500,CMLT 22400,CMLT 32400,CMST 48500,ENGL 48700,MAPH 36000,CMST 28500
ENGL 29600. History of International Cinema II: Sound Era to 1960. 100 Units.
The center of this course is film style, from the classical scene breakdown to the introduction of deep focus, stylistic experimentation, and technical innovation (sound, wide screen, location shooting). The development of a film culture is also discussed. Texts include Thompson and Bordwell's Film History: An Introduction; and works by Bazin, Belton, Sitney, and Godard. Screenings include films by Hitchcock, Welles, Rossellini, Bresson, Ozu, Antonioni, and Renoir.
Instructor(s): D. Morgan Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Prior or concurrent registration in CMST 10100 required. Required of students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies.
Note(s): CMST 28500/48500 strongly recommended
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 28600,ARTH 38600,ARTV 26600,CMLT 22500,CMLT 32500,CMST 48600,ENGL 48900,MAPH 33700,CMST 28600
ENGL 29400. Imagining the Present in the Late Twentieth Century. 100 Units.
In this course, students will familiarize themselves with the forces at play in shaping the historical imagination of the end of the second millennium as it was refracted by theory, criticism, journalism, and art. They will also pay attention to the rhetorical and stylistic conventions of writing and making art about historical change and the present. Focusing primarily on the U.S., the course will zoom in on three important nexuses for historical imagining: the afterlives of the social movements loosely associated with the 1960s (e.g., Civil Rights, feminism, the New Left, anti-war activism); the end of the Cold War and the intensification of globalization discourses; and the AIDS crisis. (B, H)
Instructor(s): J. Tremblay Terms Offered: Autumn
ENGL 29700. Reading Course. 100 Units.
An instructor within ENGL agrees to supervise the course and then determines the kind and amount of work to be done. These reading courses must include a final paper assignment to meet requirements for the ENGL major, and students must receive a quality grade. Students may not petition to receive credit for more than two ENGL 29700 courses. A Reading and Research Form, to be obtained from College Advising and signed by the instructor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies, is required.
Terms Offered: Autumn, Winter, Spring
Prerequisite(s): Consent of Director of Undergraduate Studies and instructor.
ENGL 29900. Independent BA Paper Preparation. 100 Units.
Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Course Form, available in the College Advising offices and to be signed by the faculty BA advisor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies. This course may not be counted toward the distribution requirements for the major, but it may be counted as a departmental elective.
Terms Offered: Autumn,Winter,Spring
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor and Director of Undergraduate Studies
Undergraduate Program Assistant
Director of Undergraduate Studies