Courses (No Group)

The following courses are without group designation.

ENGL 5

Reading with Attitude: Introduction to Literary Methods

This course introduces students to various methods for reading literature critically, including close reading, literary theory, practical criticism, and creative writing. By providing an overview of literary interpretation and analysis, this course enables students to look beyond the obvious, to challenge cliched or surface formulations, to, in short, read with attitude. Dist: LIT; WCult: W.  No Course Group assignment.

ENGL 55

Special Topics without Course Group Designation

These courses are offered periodically with varying content: one or more individual writers, a genre, a period, an approach to literature not otherwise provided in the English curriculum.  Requirements will include papers and, at the discretion of the instructor, examinations.  Enrollment is limited to 30. Dist: LIT; WCult: Varies.  No Course Group assignment.

ENGL 55.01

Modern American Women Poets

This course focuses on the emerging counter-tradition, within American modernism and within the larger tradition of poetry in English, of American women poets in the twentieth century. Taking our cue from Adrienne Rich, who ambiguously titles one book of essays On Lies, Secrets and Silences (is she for or against?), we will follow debates about what makes it possible to break previous silences--and to what degree and in what ways it is useful or satisfying to do so. Topics within this discussion will include sexuality, race, illness, literary modes, female literary succession, and relations with the literary tradition. We will read in the work of eight or nine poets and recent critical and theoretical writings, with some attention in the first weeks to important female and male precursors. The syllabus will include such writers as Edna St.Vincent Millay, HD, Gertrude Stein, Elizabeth Bishop, Gwendolyn Brooks, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich, Marilyn Hacker, Louise Gluck, Rita Dove. Dist: LIT; WCult: W.  No Course Group assignment.

ENGL 55.02/QSS 30.02/Math 5/GOV 19.05

Machine Readings: Text Analysis in the Information Age

Library digitization has made millions of books, newspapers, and other printed materials accessible to the public. In this course we will learn how to draw on computational resources to analyze a range of materials, including poetry, novels, science fiction short stories, and personal diaries. We will explore debates about the representation of literary texts as "data" and consider the challenges "machine reading" poses for research in the humanities and how we think about what it means to "read" a text. Through case studies we will reflect critically on the history of the digital humanities (formerly known as humanities computing) and will gain practical experience in text analysis. Dist: LIT.  No Course Group assignment.

ENGL 55.04

Violence and Pleasure in British Drama

This course will read violent theatre from the 17th century beside its modern echoes in the 20th century and then look back again. The course will include texts by John Fletcher, Thomas Middleton, and John Ford, two versions of King Lear (by Wm. Shakespeare and Edward Bond), Sarah Kane’s Blasted, Mark Ravenhill’s Shopping and F***ing, and Philip Ridley’s Mercury Fur. In this way, Violence & Pleasure in British Drama aims to rethink subjectivity across the centuries, examining time, the staging of history, and theatrical images of the body in both pain and pleasure through British drama.  Dist: ART  No Course Group Assignment.

ENGL 55.05

Book Arts Studio Seminar

A studio-based seminar in which students explore the relationship between text, image, and form through letterpress relief printing techniques and the creation of book structures. Lectures and readings will familiarize students with historic and contemporary literature on the book form. Students will study exemplars from the extensive holdings of Rauner Special Collections and the Sherman Art Library in historical hand press and contemporary artists' books. Limited enrollment. Supplemental Course Fee. Dist. ART. No Course Group Assignment.

ENGL 55.06

Reading & Publishing the Literary Magazine

In this practicum, students will learn how to design and curate, and thereafter, how to launch, edit, and promote a literary magazine. Inspired by the example of publications like The Common and n+1, our student magazine may feature reviews, interviews, fiction, poetry, and essays. The course itself offers students instruction and opportunities in journal operations from the editorial process to defining and maintaining the journal and its agenda. Ethical questions of blind review and the diversity of contributors will also be discussed, as well as issues of promotion and social media and the use of other digital tools. Students will gain experience in publication systems, copyediting, professional communications, and marketing. Field trips to other campuses or events to meet with representatives of similar student-run publications will be a means of cultivating not only new ideas but also a developing sense in the students of professionalism and community. Dist: ART; No Course Group assignment.

ENGL 55.07/ARTH 16.24/THEA 10

The Arts of War

Walt Whitman said of the American Civil War: "the real war will never get in the books." This course will raise core questions about how war is remembered and represented through text, performance, and visual culture. Our questions will be anchored in concrete case studies but will also raise far-ranging philosophical, ethical, and historical questions that examine instances of war in relation to the aesthetics of war. Dist: ART or INT. No Course Group assignment.

ENGL 55.08

Neuroscience and the Novel

Over the past few years it has been suggested that since the 1990s there has been a major shift in how novels represent characters and consciousness. This new type of novel has been called the "neuronovel." This course takes up questions at the intersection of psychology, neuroscience, and literary studies to explore this thesis. We'll read contemporary work by neurologists and psychologists (Damasio, Sacks, Gazzaniga, Schacter) as well as their late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century precursors (Freud, James, Brentano, Beard) alongside a wide range of literature that allows us to think about the intersection of race, gender, and sexuality with the universalist claims of various scientific and pseudoscientific accounts of the self. Key literary texts include Shelley, McEwan, Lethem, James, Poe, Woolf, Roth, and Wright. Dist: LIT; WCult: W. No Course Group Assignment.

ENGL 55.09

Hope? How Feelings Shape American Culture

Barack Obama defined hope as a culturally transformative feeling that required “audacity.” Yet scholars have questioned hope’s ability to bring about change, leading Lauren Berlant to speak of “Cruel Optimism.” Hope, Optimism, Audacity, Cruelty: how does affect impact American culture? We will develop frames for thinking historically and analytically about feeling’s influence on class, gender and ethnicity. Students will develop final projects that integrate imagination into an analysis of the questions hope raises. Dist: TMV; WCult: W. No course group assignment.

 

ENGL 55.11

"Hamilton: The Revolution" as a Work of Art

In Hamilton: The Revolution (the book of annotated lyrics and account of the musical’s production), Lin-Manuel Miranda and his collaborators create two frames for their work’s significance. One is the historical American Revolution of the 18th century, which the musical rereads via the figure of the orphan-immigrant; the other references their own musical, which they describe as an act of cultural revolution in its engagement with the racial politics of the early millennium. What does it mean to read revolution as a work of art, and Hamilton as its artistic reinterpretation? In this course, we will develop frames for thinking analytically about Hamilton’s artistic engagement with class, gender and ethnicity in the historic past as well as our own moment. Prerequisites: None. Dist: SOC; WCult: CI. No Course Group assignment.

ENGL 55.13

South African Literature in English

This course will examine works by South African men and women of various ethnicities who have chosen to write in English since the publication of Olive Schreiner's Story of an African Farm in 1883. This richly diverse literature will be tracked through the cultural and political history of South Africa with primary emphasis on the twentieth and twenty-first centuries before and after the fall of Apartheid. Confrontation between black militancy and white oppression characterizes much writing and social interaction in South Africa before the fall of Apartheid, but complex forms of multi-ethnic coexistence and interchange have also been evident since the first white settlement of the country in 1652. Recent work by J.M. Coetzee and Zakes Mda among others explores the difficult, unmapped terrain of post-Apartheid South Africa. Works by the following writers may be included in the course: Olive Schreiner, Solomon Plaatje, Bessie Head, Nadine Gordimer, Zoe Wicomb, Alan Paton, J.M Coetzee, Njabulo Ndebele, Athol Fugard, Nelson Mandela. Dist: LIT; WCult: CI.  No Course Group assignment.

ENGL 55.14/NAS 34

Native American Oral Traditional Literatures

Native American oral tradition constitutes a rich and complex dimension of the American literary heritage. This course will examine a range of oral genres from several time periods and tribal sources. Oral traditions and the textual sources into which they are anthologized provide valuable insights into the nature of human creativity. They are also full of unique hermentical challenges. This course will include some contemporary theoretical approaches to orality and the metaphysics of the voice to unpack some of these questions.  Dist:LIT; WCult:NW. No Course Group assignment.

ENGL 65

Junior Colloquia without Course Group Designation

Limited to 20 students, these courses will vary in content. They are intended to introduce students to advanced research and prepare them for their senior seminars and honors theses. Coursework and instruction will build toward a substantial paper of 12-15 pages of sustained inquiry and with a research component. Recommended prerequisites: two completed English courses, or permission of the instructor. Dist: LIT; WCult: Varies No Course Group assignment.

ENGL 65.01

Walking

Students in this course will circle around a set of deceptively simple questions, all of them framed by an overarching question: What does it mean to walk? Should walking be regarded as a fundamental human activity or as a literary convention carried over into everyday life? Why has walking long been regarded as a vehicle for thought and discourse: a privileged mechanism of knowledge production? Is there a difference between a country walk and a city walk? What is the relationship between walking and time, walking and place? Why should walking have emerged, in certain works of contemporary literature, as a principled rejection of mechanization, modernity, and the capitalist mode of production? And what does walking mean for those who cannot walk? To address these questions, students will read texts by such practitioners and theorists of walking as Thoreau, Walter Benjamin, W. G. Sebald, Rebecca Solnit, Simon Armitage, Robert MacFarlane, Geoff Nicholson, and others. Students will also use their own walks as opportunities for composing works of critical self-reflection, observation, and world-making. DIST: LIT; WCult: W. No course group assignment.

ENGL 75

Senior Seminars without Course Group Designation

Senior Seminars, limited to 12 seniors and juniors, will vary in content.  They will focus students on concentrated discussions and on a final research project of 20-25 pages. Recommended prerequisites: four completed English courses or permission of the instructor. Dist: LIT; WCult: Varies.  No Course Group assignment.