Courses and Requirements
The goal of Hamilton’s Literature and Creative Writing Department is to help students develop a sophisticated understanding of the role literature plays in the human experience through refining their skills as interpreters of literary texts and as writers, either of literary analysis or of their own creative works.
Each concentration consists of 10 courses: four exploratory courses chosen from among five categories (listed below); one course in creative practice; four focus courses specific to the concentration; and one senior seminar specific to the concentration. For each concentration, at least three courses must be at the 300-level or above. Those courses may be either “exploratory” or “focus” courses. Both concentrations also have a language requirement (see below). Only one 100-level course may be counted toward either concentration; a 100-level course is not required for the concentration. A 100-level course may be counted as either an exploratory course or a focus course.
All concentrators must take four exploratory courses: one each from any four of the categories listed below. A list of the courses in each category can be found on the department webpage.
History (organized around literary or other history)
Theory (highlighting theory and theoretical approaches)
Genre (addressing concepts of genre or genres)
Intermedia (juxtaposing different artistic media)
Identity and Difference (reflecting on cultural/social/political/national categorization)
These categories reflect, but do not exhaust, various ways of conceiving the relationships between texts and thus approaches to literary study. Many departmental courses could appear under several of these categories; in practice, each course’s professor has specified one or two categories as predominant in the class’s design and execution. A course with two category designations may satisfy either category, but not both, in any individual student’s program of study.
To fulfill the college’s Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies requirement, all concentrators must take at least one course identified as Identity and Difference. Such a course in either the student’s exploratory or focus section will satisfy this requirement.
All concentrators in creative writing must take Creative Writing 215 (which has a pre-requisite of a course in literature) as their course in creative practice. Concentrators in Literature may take Creative Writing 215 or a course in another creative practice chosen in consultation with the concentration advisor. If the creative practice course does not involve creating with words, it will not count as one of the 10 courses for the concentration. No student may elect more than one workshop in a given semester.
Courses taken for the concentration should reflect historical and geographical breadth. The department encourages students thinking of pursuing honors or graduate studies in literature to take a course in literary theory.
In addition to their exploratory courses and 215, concentrators in creative writing must take the following four courses as their focus courses: two workshops (304, 305) and two literature courses (204, 206). They must take the Senior Seminar in Creative Writing (419) as their seminar.
Students who by the end of the junior year have completed the three workshops (215, 304, and 305) with distinction (3.7 or above) and have performed with distinction in their concentration courses overall (normally 3.7 or above) will be invited to pursue an honors project and will design, under the supervision of a creative writing professor, a year-long project to be started in the fall of their senior year. The department will recommend for honors students who receive an A- or better on work submitted for honors and who maintain a cumulative average of 3.7 or better in courses taken for the concentration overall and in the workshops calculated separately.
A minor in creative writing consists of five courses: two literature courses in the Literature and Creative Writing department (which may include a 100-level literature course), 215, and either 204 and 304, or 206 and 305.
Students concentrating in literature may not minor in creative writing.
In addition to their exploratory courses and a course in creative practice, concentrators in literature must also:
(a) take four courses together constituting an individually focused area of literary study, developed in consultation with, and approved by, the student’s departmental advisor. A plan for this program must be submitted to the department by the end of the sophomore year. It may be revised. Up to two of these four courses may focus on a related art such as music, dance, visual arts, or film and media studies as long as the four courses together make a coherent program of study.
(b) take at least one 400-level seminar in literature in the department in the senior year.
Candidates for honors in literature must attain a GPA of at least 3.7 in the courses counting toward the concentration, produce a paper of at least 25 pages in a senior seminar and attain a grade of at least A- in the seminar. One of the spring seminars will be a course in research methods that will allow those enrolled (including those pursuing honors) to write independent research papers on topics of their choice. With advisor approval, concentrators in literature may count courses from other departments toward the concentration.
A minor in literature consists of five courses, at least one of which must be at the 300-level or above, chosen from at least four different exploratory categories. The 300-level course must be taken at Hamilton. Students concentrating in creative writing may not minor in literature.
All concentrators must fulfill a language requirement:
1) completion of two courses at the college level in a single language other than the student’s native language (courses taught in a foreign-language department in which class readings and discussions are in English do not count);
— or —
2) completion of 221 and 293 (or equivalent courses in Old English and the history of the English language taken elsewhere and approved for transfer credit);
— or —
3) completion of either 221 or 293 (or equivalent) and a language course in Latin or Greek.
CREDIT/NO CREDIT POLICY
Concentrators may count one 100 or 200 level literature course taken credit/no credit towards the concentration.
Creative writing workshops taken credit / no credit cannot be counted toward the concentration.
Marx, Nietzsche & Freud.
This course is an introductory study of key writings by Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Sigmund Freud, three authors indicating revolution of critical thought in the 19 th and early 20th centuries. The goal of this course is to develop a tool-kit for engaging with Critical Theory and contemporary discourses in the humanities and social sciences. We will investigate historical and philosophical foundations of key concepts such as “interpretation,” “subject,” “history,” “society,” “morality,” and “aesthetics.” Taught in English. No knowledge of German required. Franziska Schweiger.
Courses in Literature
Interpretation and Self-Knowledge.
Interpretation and Self-Knowledge: “Till this moment I never knew myself” In this section, we will look at texts in which characters work to interpret the world in which they live and come to some self-understanding in the process. Reading their stories, we too will face questions of interpretation as we try to make sense of the fictional worlds before us. Texts include Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Dickens’s Great Expectations; a play by Suzan Lori Parks; stories by writers such as Chaucer, Wharton, and Banerjee; and a selection of poems. (Writing-intensive.) (Genre) . Maximum enrollment, 18.
Food in Literature and Film.
Always a necessity and sometimes a luxury, food connects all people to the planet and to one another. This course will explore how authors and filmmakers use food and cooking in their works as a means of exposing complex social relationships, histories, and identities. The list of authors we may read includes Laura Esquivel, Aimee Bender, Isak Dinesen, Franz Kafka, MFK Fisher, Ruth Reichl, and many poets. We will also look at films such as Big Night; Eat, Drink, Man, Woman; and Ratatouille. (Writing-intensive.) (Proseminar.) Prerequisite, Open only to first-year students who have not taken a 100-level course. (Intermedia.) Maximum enrollment, 16. Guttman.
Literature as/of medicine.
Writers from Longinus to Toni Morrison believe that literature itself can heal, that it can make us better, and is itself a kind of medicine. In this course we will examine this idea in poetry, novels, plays, and non-fiction, in the context of representations of the lives of doctors and patients, medical history and theory, and disease. Texts include works by Chaucer, Shakespeare, Mary and Percy Shelley, Kafka, Sontag, Amis, and Gawande. (Writing-intensive.) (Genre) Maximum enrollment, 16. Oerlemans, Onno.
Introduction to the History and Theory of Film.
A general introduction to the wide world of cinema and cinema studies, focusing on crucial films from many cinematic traditions. Topics include the evolution of film from earlier forms of motion picture, the articulation and exploitation of a narrative language for cinema, the development of typical commercial genres, and the appearance of a variety of forms of critical cinema. Focuses on basic film terminology, with the cinematic apparatus and ongoing theoretical conversation about cinema and its audience. (Same as Cinema and Media Studies 120 and Art History 120.) MacDonald.
Literary CSI: Case Studies and Insights.
Through a forensic or close analysis and discussion of selected texts by writers such as John Donne, Shakespeare, Poe, Melville, Edna St Vincent Millay, Dylan Thomas, Toni Morrison, Sonia Sanchez and August Wilson (considered in their contexts), students will acquire the skills necessary for critical thinking and communication of their insights about literature. (Writing-intensive.) (Proseminar.) (Theory or Genre) Open to first-year students only. Maximum enrollment, 16. Odamtten.
Days of a Future Past.
Reading a variety of works that may be described as fantastic or speculative and written by authors from different cultures, we shall discuss and write about these texts in order to develop and improve students'' critical reading, thinking, and writing skills. (Writing-intensive.) (Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies.) (SSIH) Open to first-years and sophomores. Maximum enrollment, 18.
The Literary Animal.
Humans have always been deeply interested in animals, and literature reflects this interest in many ways. We’ll examine the complexity of representing animals in literature by reading poetry, novels, and plays that reflect the human/animal divide, imagine being animal, or use animals as symbols. We’ll also discuss how these texts reveal philosophical and moral issues that arise from our relationships with animals. Texts include Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, London’s Call of the Wild, and Barbara Gowdy’s The White Bone. We’ll also read a range of poetry. (Writing-intensive.) (Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies.) (Proseminar.) (Genre and SSIH) Maximum enrollment, 16. Oerlemans.
A focus on monsters and the monstrous in literature. Readings will include Beowulf, Frankenstein, Dracula, stories by Poe and Angela Carter, a selection of poems, and the movie Aliens. Throughout the semester, we will question what makes something monstrous and how monsters function in literature and culture. We will also examine how monsters intersect with the categories of gender, race, sexuality and class. (Writing-intensive.) (Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies.) (Proseminar.) (Genre and SSIH) Proseminar open to first-year students only . Maximum enrollment, 16.
Law and Justice, The American Way.
It is assumed that one purpose of law is to seek justice, and the US touts itself as a nation of laws. Yet many American literary texts describe legal decisions and systems that result directly in injustice or allow unjust practices. We will read and questions texts that address the peculiarly American factors that shape law and common notions of justice, including work by Hawthorne, Thoreau, and Baldwin, as well as lesser-known writers who experienced slavery, imprisonment, or internment. (Writing-intensive.) (Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies.) (History or SSIH) Maximum enrollment, 16. Larson.
The Experience of Reading: Books as Stories, Books as Objects.
Consideration not only of stories in books but also the representations of readers and reading within them and about the cultural and physical experience of reading. How have attitudes toward reading changed over time? Works by Bunyan, Franklin, Blake, Austen, Alcott, Stevenson, Haddon, Creech. Workshops using Hamilton’s Rare Book and Book Arts collections and manual printing press. (Writing-intensive.) (Intermedia) Open to first year students only. Maximum enrollment, 18. Thickstun.
Explores literature & film of 3 cultures fascinated by spectacles of revenge: Ancient Greece, Renaissance England, contemporary Hollywood. In these works, murder, mutilation, cannibalism, torture, and rape not only motivate revenge, but become its means. Is this only fitting or a gross paradox? What is the morality of vengeance-taking or its relationship to justice? What are the consequences for the individual and society? Texts include The Oresteia; Medea; The Spanish Tragedy; Titus Andronicus; The Duchess of Malfi; Arden of Faversham; The Crow; Sweeney Todd; Kill Bill. (Writing-intensive.) Intermedia or Genre Maximum enrollment, 16.
The Road Trip in American Literature.
The road trip in American literature and film symbolizes freedom and self-determination. This course examines and deconstructs the mythology of the road trip by asking who gets to share that freedom through critical analysis of how these narratives intersect with race, gender, class, sexuality and ability, as well as with environment. We will discuss canonical texts by authors such as Mark Twain and Jack Kerouac, as well as newer ones by people of color such as Sherman Alexie, Eddy Harris and Jade Chang, and films such as Thelma and Louise and The Fundamentals of Caring. (Writing-intensive.) (Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies.) Theme or SSIH Maximum enrollment, 16. Anne Valente.
An examination of narratives about dreams and of those that use dream-logic to present aspects of waking life. We’ll ask why and how certain stories lend themselves to dreamy forms. We will pair our analysis of literary and cinematic texts with theoretical accounts of dreaming form and function. We will also keep dream journals, in order actively to explore the challenges and the rewards of attempting to convey our solitary dreamscapes to others.(Intermedia) Open to first years only. (Writing-intensive.) Intermedia Maximum enrollment, 18. Benj Widiss.
From artists to utopian dreamers to iconoclastic peasants, the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries are teeming with marginalized people radically reimaging the terms of their own self-identity and rethinking the relationship between selfhood and the larger culture. As an interdisciplinary conversation, this course explores issues in literary, art and cultural history through the study of texts that expose and even help create a changing sense of selfhood in the early modern period. (Writing-intensive.) Intermedia or History Stephen Schillinger.
Literature and/of Empowerment.
Literature has always played important roles in the cultivation of personal, social, and political empowerment. This course explores a range of debates surrounding literature as a means of individual and group empowerment, issues including the cultural politics of representation; the dynamics of different forms of literary address such as testimony, protest, narrative, and abstraction; the construction of personal and group identity and difference; and writing as a tool for self empowerment. (Writing-intensive.) (Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies.) (Proseminar.) (Genre or SSIH) Open to 1st years only. Maximum enrollment, 16.
Echoes and Encores: Repetition in Literature.
An exploration of literary repetitions of different kinds, both within and across texts. How might the repetition of a single detail—an image, a character, even a phrase—yield multiple interpretations? What changes when a story moves from one genre, language, or cultural context to another? How are classics like Shakespeare’s The Tempest or Valmiki’s Ramayana rewritten to speak to contemporary concerns? Considering multiple “tellings” of a single story, we will probe concepts like originality, authenticity, homage, and plagiarism. Work by Chimamanda Adichie, Aimé Césaire, and Junot Díaz. (Writing-intensive.) (Genre, Intermedia) Maximum enrollment, 16. Pavitra Sundar.
“Know thyself." Young people struggled with this injunction long before Hamilton adopted the motto. This course explores how young people in literature—from medieval tales of adventure through 21st c. graphic novels—attempt to define their own identity in relation to their families and societies. We’ll explore how intersections of gender, sexuality, race, and culture come together in the construction of identity. Texts may include anonymous medieval works, as well as novels by Jane Austen, Alison Bechdel, Charles Dickens, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Art Spiegelman. (Writing-intensive.) (Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies.) (Proseminar.) SSIH Maximum enrollment, 16.
Literature and Ethics.
Study of literature as a vehicle for moral and political concerns and of the ways that literature shapes its readers. Special emphasis on popular literature, feminist criticism and the problems raised by censorship and pornography. Selected novels and plays by such writers as Ibsen, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Hemingway, Wright, Highsmith, Doris Lessing, Burgess and others. (Writing-intensive.) (Proseminar.) (Theme) Open to first-year students only. Maximum enrollment, 16.
Literature: What Is It Good For?.
Debates about the value of literature have long been tied to questions about its use. Literature has been praised—and condemned—as a source of pleasure, a medium for the transmission of knowledge, and a vehicle of personal expression. In order to determine why fiction matters, we will examine works that explore the power of literature to shape moral, social, and political realities, including philosophical manifestos, anti-slavery treatises, self-help manuals, and experimental novels. Works by Rousseau, Cugoano, Wollstonecraft, and George Eliot, as well as the film The Servant (1963). (Writing-intensive.) History or Theory Maximum enrollment, 18. Suzanne Taylor.
Shakespeare and Film.
Since the earliest days of silent film, William Shakespeare’s works have been adapted on screen: hundreds of times in diverse settings from the Wild West to medieval Japan. After analyzing four Shakespeare plays, we will turn to film adaptations and their use of the formal elements of film, like editing and mise-en-scene. How have directors around the world re-imagined Shakespeare on screen? What is the effect of combining modern film language with Shakespeare’s language? Texts and film adaptations of Titus Andronicus, Othello, Macbeth, and Much Ado About Nothing. (Writing-intensive.) Intermedia or Genre. Maximum enrollment, 16.
Afrofuturism and Other Dark Matters.
An introductory course primarily engaging the literary and other works of writers and artists concerned with the use of multiple genres and media to critique present-day realities and received partial histories of New World and global life through an Afro-diasporic lens. Emphasis will highlight the transdisciplinarity of these works. Students will read and examine the works of such writers and artists as Sutton Griggs, W. E. B. DuBois, Samuel R Delany, Octavia Butler, Tananarive Due, Vincent D. Smith, Sun Ra, Nalo Hopkinson, Jimi Hendrix, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Janelle Monae. (Writing-intensive.) (Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies.) (Intermedia) Maximum enrollment, 18. Odamtten.
Poetry and Poetics.
This course examines how poems work: how they are constructed, and how they produce meaning, pleasure, and cultural value. We will study poetry in terms of prosody, conventions, history, genre, and reception, with the goal of teaching the essential skills of close reading and contextual interpretation. Readings are primarily from the traditions of poetry written in English. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, For first-years, one course in literature or a 4 or 5 on AP LIT or LANG. No prerequisite for upperclass students. (History or Genre) Not open to senior English or Creative Writing concentrators. Maximum enrollment, 18. The Department.
The Study of the Novel.
Forms of prose fiction since the 18th century. Attention to the primary structural features of the novel and the relations of narrative forms to social and historical contexts. Prerequisite, One course in literature. (History or Genre). No first-year students may elect this course during the fall semester. The Department.
Suffrage and Comics.
Since the 19th century, editorial cartoons and comics have played a crucial role in illustrating enfranchisement across race and gender. This course examines US suffrage from 1800s magazine and newspaper culture to webcomics. We’ll analyze representations of the 15th and 19th amendments, and how cartoons of Columbia, Uncle Sam, and Wonder Woman shaped depictions of citizenship and voting rights. Digital Humanities projects. Works by Keppler, Brinkley, Robbins, Alcaraz, Knight, and others. Prerequisite, One course in Literature, American studies, or Art History. Intermedia or History Nhora Serrano.
Literacy, Diversity, and Ideas of America.
This course explores the history of literacy in North America through autobiographical accounts of learning to read and the cultural contexts within which learning occurs. Works by Franklin, Douglass, Alcott, Wilder, Angelou, Rodriguez, and Erdrich; selected educational materials, such as primers, the Algonquian Bible, The Columbian Orator, poems educators hoped would create the American Melting Pot, and books targeted at children. Attention to access (or barriers) to reading affected by educational policies and laws, language of instruction, and the growth of libraries. (Writing-intensive.) (Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies.) (History or Identity and Difference) Maximum enrollment, 18.
Modern and Contemporary Chinese Literature: Traditions and Modernities.
Since 1919, Chinese literature has played a decisive role in interactions between tradition and modernity. This course examines the development of Chinese literature against such interactions. Students will familiarize themselves with the most representative modern and contemporary Chinese literary works and gain a broad understanding of many modernity-related issues, including politics, culture, class, labor division, ethnicity, gender and sexuality. All lectures and discussions in English. Requirements: presentations, class discussions, film viewings and a final paper. (Same as East Asian Languages and Literatures 210.)
Readings in World Literature II.
Study of representative texts in world literature from 1800 to the present, including novels, short fiction, and drama. Particular attention paid to the concepts of class, self and society, and they way they are intertwined with forms of narrative and drama. Readings to include works by such writers as Goethe, Balzac, Austen, Chekhov, Kafka, Hagedorn, Roy. (Writing-intensive.) (History) May be taken without 211. Maximum enrollment, 18.
Caribbean Literature in the Crucible.
A critical overview of Caribbean literatures in the light of the complex legacies that have given rise to a body of creative work that seems to constantly fashion and refashion itself. Such literary recasting helps to communicate an intricate history of genocides, survival, exile, resistance, endurance, and outward migrations. Particular attention to writers such as Roger Mias, Martin Carter, George Lamming, Derek Walcott, Patricia Powell, Earl Lovelace, Paule Marshall and Michelle Cliff. (Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies.) Prerequisite, One course in literature. (History or SSIH) (Same as Africana Studies 216.) Odamtten.
Introduction to US Latinx Literatures.
Examines cultural production of representative U.S. Latinx writers primarily from the civil rights movement to present. The course explores Latinx writers’ engagement with language, political status, race, gender, nationality, and generational markers to reveal both the fluidity and instability of the Latinx imaginary. Readings include autobiographical and biographical works, bildungsroman, memoir, historical novel and vignettes in an exploration of the self and one’s relation to collective identity. Taught in English. Not open to seniors. (Same as Hispanic Studies 217.) Maximum enrollment, 20. Ambio, Marissa L.
Literatures of Witness.
Witness literature is testimonial by individuals who have suffered injustice incurred not as a result of what they have done but of what they are, as in Holocaust and slave narrative. We will study this literature and ask how its definition might be adapted to an era that has seen wide growth in systems of police action. We will read classic witness texts, work by political prisoners and by ‘common criminals’: writers who have been convicted for violations of law but also challenge collectively experienced limits on life opportunities, such as those imposed by race, class, and/or gender. Prerequisite, One course in literature. (Theory or Identity and Difference) Larson.
Introduction to Old English.
Exploration of the language, literature and culture of early medieval England, from the Anglo-Saxon invasion through the Norman Conquest. Emphasis on reading and translating Old English prose and poetry, as well as developing an understanding of its cultural context. Culminates with a reading of Beowulf in translation. Offered in alternate years. Prerequisite, One course in literature. (History)
Chaucer: Gender and Genre.
Examines how Chaucer engages and transforms prevailing medieval ideas of gender and genre. Particular emphasis on his constructions of masculinity and femininity in relation to themes of sex, religion, social power and narrative authority. Readings include Troilus and Criseyde and The Canterbury Tales in Middle English, as well as select medieval sources and modern criticism. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one course in literature or AP 4 or 5 in English. (History or Single-Author) Maximum enrollment, 18. Terrell.
Gender and Violence in the Middle Ages.
This course serves as an introduction to the field of Medieval and Renaissance Studies. Drawing on multiple disciplinary perspectives, including those of literature, law, history, and art, we will examine the intersection of ideas about the body, gender, and violence in the European Middle Ages. Readings may include the Bible and early patristic writings; the lives of saints; poems and advice manuals on courtly love; depictions of women in the Crusades; Icelandic sagas; and perspectives on the trial of Joan of Arc. Prerequisite, One 100-level course in literature or history, or AP 4 or 5 in English or history. (Same as History 223 and Medieval and Renaissance Studies 223.) Maximum enrollment, 24. Katherine Terrell and John Eldevik.
Madness, Murder and Mayhem: Nineteenth-Century Russian Literature.
Readings of representative works with emphasis on major literary movements, cultural history, and basic literary devices. Primary texts by Pushkin, Gogol, Turgenev, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, as well as some critical materials. Not open to first year students. (Writing-intensive.) No knowledge of Russian required. (Same as Russian Studies 225.) Maximum enrollment, 18. Bartle.
This course is about developing the reading strategies to not only understand and enjoy Shakespeare’s plays, but to read them in a complicated, critical way. While we will study plays spanning Shakespeare’s career, the course will place a special emphasis on reading the plays attuned to how different genres (tragedy, comedy, romance, pastoral, history) are employed and explored. Additionally, we will read significant, complementary material about the culture and the theatre during Shakespeare’s lifetime. (Genre) (History) Prerequisite, One course in literature. No prerequisite for seniors. (History or Genre) The Department.
Milton’s Paradise Lost in context.
Students will engage Paradise Lost, arguably the greatest epic poem in English, as it explores the nature of heroism, the difference between obedience and servitude, the appropriate use of the environment, the limits of knowledge, and the tension between individual moral agency and traditional ideas of marriage—not to mention space travel, battles between good and evil, and other features of science fiction. Attention to Milton’s other works, including his impassioned defense of freedom of the press, and to other reworkings of the Genesis story. (Writing-intensive.) (Speaking-Intensive.) (Genre or Single-Author) Not open to first-year students. Maximum enrollment, 18. Thickstun.
King Arthur: Myth and History.
The legend of King Arthur and his knights has been appropriated to serve diverse creative and political agendas over the centuries. This course will look at its origins in early Welsh legend, its elaboration by historian Geoffrey of Monmouth, and its flourishing in the English and French literature of the Middle Ages. We will attend to the ways that different groups attempt to appropriate and shape it for their own ends. We will end with a consideration of Arthur’s incarnations in the modern world, from Nazi propaganda to Monty Python. Prerequisite, One course in literature. History, Theme
The course charts a history of Bollywood, India’s mainstream Hindi-language film industry. Although dismissed for its use of melodrama and song-dance sequences, Bollywood has long engaged with other global cinemas and critiqued social, cultural, and political trends. Readings and films span romances about gender and nation like Mother India (1957) and Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1960); the 1970s “angry young man” oeuvre and its later avatars, crime and terrorist films; diasporic family dramas like Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003); and crossover hits like The Lunch Box (2013) that address the globalized present. Prerequisite, A course in literature or film. (History, Genre) Pavitra Sundar.
A hands-on examination of the tradition of very short stories, prose poems, and micro-memoir, including authors such as Lydia Davis, Robert Hass, Yasunari Kawabata, Julio Cortázar, Sejal Shah, Beth Ann Fennelly, Gertrude Stein, Harryette Mullen, and Maggie Nelson. Students will produce their own micro-narratives in the form of broadsides, chapbooks, and matchbooks stories on the letterpress. (Experiential Learning.) Prerequisite, One course in Literature. Intermedia Maximum enrollment, 12. Tina Hall.
Sins and Sinners in Dante’s Inferno.
Why is it that Dante considers fraud to be the most serious type of sin, placing it in the lowest circles of the Inferno? Why are the sins of usury, sodomy and blasphemy linked in Dante’s hierarchy of Hell? This course will provide answers to these questions and an understanding of Dante’s world through a critical reading of the Inferno. (Writing-intensive.) No knowledge of Italian required. (Same as Italian 233.) Maximum enrollment, 18. Sisler.
Field Study of Criminal Justice Reform and Innovation in Sweden.
As the issues of mass incarceration, judicial and police behavior have come to the fore in American culture and politics, the need for reform and innovation from a comparative perspective has become evident. This field study is designed to provide students with such a perspective through observation and interviews with key actors in Swedish law enforcement, corrections and the courts, during a two-week period from May 27 to June 10, 2017. Larson and Anechiarico (Writing-intensive.) (Proseminar.) Prerequisite, One or more of the following course: Literature 129, 143, 342; Public Policy 251; Government 241, 359; Sociology 223. (Same as Government 236.) Maximum enrollment, 16.
Medieval Women: Writing and Written.
How did medieval women authors engage with a literary tradition that too often, as 14th c. writer Christine de Pizan lamented, declared that "female nature is wholly given up to vice”? Readings from English and French authors including Christine, Marie de France, Margery Kempe, Julian of Norwich, and Geoffrey Chaucer; anonymous tales of women saints, cross-dressing knights, and disobedient wives; “authoritative” writings about women (inc. religious and medical tracts and a manual on courtly love). We will investigate how these texts both created and challenged gender roles in the Middle Ages. Prerequisite, One course in literature; no prior experience with Middle English required. History or Identity and Difference) (Same as Women's and Gender Studies 237.)
Modern Japan: Japanese Culture and Society From A(-Bomb) to (Dragon Ball)Z.
This course explores issues of imperialism, military conflict, pacifism, nuclear victimhood, foreign occupation, national identity, and social responsibility in 19th to 21st-century Japan. Materials include nonfiction, science fiction, poetry, war propaganda, novels, censorship documents, animé, and film. Taught in English. No knowledge of Japanese language or history required. (Same as East Asian Languages and Literatures 239/339.) Omori.
Women writing the self: 1000 years of Japanese autobiographical women’s writing.
This course examines literature by women in Japan from the 9th to the 20th centuries. Women have written about their own feelings and experiences since the Heian period -- we will read diaries, fictional stories, and poetry in which women express their desires, sorrows, joys, and regrets. We will discuss the historical context of the works, what role gender plays in production and consumption of the texts, the nature of autobiographical writing, fiction vs. nonfiction, and other issues. Taught in English. No Japanese knowledge is necessary. Prerequisite, Prerequisite for the 300-level only: Any one course from the following: Literature, Asian Studies or Japanese, or consent of the instructor. Students enrolling in this course at the 300 level will be required to complete an additional project. (Same as East Asian Languages and Literatures 240/340.) John Christopher Kern.
Drama in Dialogue: from Ancient Greece to the 21st Century.
This course explores a broad sampling of dramatic literature, from Ancient Greece to 20th century Nigeria, from medieval China to 19th-century Denmark. We will examine how playwrights in disparate times and cultures engage similar issues—familial ties and revenge, women’s place in society, and the ethics of representation—and the ways that performance is an act of interpretation. Playwrights include: Aristophanes, Junxiang, de la Barca, Shakespeare, Ibsen, Wilde, Stoppard, Hwang, & Soyinka. Prerequisite, One course in literature. (History or Genre)
Tragedy: Then and Now.
How did Greek tragedy work in the city of Athens? Athens was a radical democracy but was based on slave labor and the exclusion of women. How is this implied contradiction displayed in the works of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides? But tragedy also has contemporary life. How do these plays transcend their time of production? An opportunity to examine relations of gods/humans, fate/choice, as well as gender, class/ethnicity and sexuality. Readings to include works by Seneca, Racine, Sartre, O’Neill, Heaney, Fugard. (Genre) (Same as Theatre 244 and Classics 244.)
Modernist Asias / Asian Modernisms.
A survey of the rise of “modern” literature as a global phenomenon across different national contexts (and languages), including the U.S. and Great Britain, China, Japan, and India, with particular attention to the transoceanic flow of ideas and people that helped to make up different literary responses to the spread of global modernity. Works by Ezra Pound, W. B. Yeats, and E. M. Forster; Lu Xun, Hu Shi, and Mu Shi Ying; Tani Joji, Kitasono Katsue, Yokomitsu Ri’ichi, Tanizaki Jun’ichiro, and Edogawa Rampo; Rabindranath Tagore and others. All readings in English (translation). (Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies.) Prerequisite, One course in literature. History, Identity and Difference
Introduction to the History of the Book.
How have books been constructed over time? How does the materiality of a particular book create its cultural meaning? What gets preserved, who has access to information, and who makes those decisions? Focusing on the rich materials in Hamilton’s Special Collections, we will examine book history from all angles: from papyrus scrolls through the modern codex, the book trade, mechanisms for controlling and subverting knowledge, the construction of authorship, the social location of books. We will also use the college letterpress to set type, pull a press, and practice simple book-binding. (Experiential Learning.) Intermedia or History Maximum enrollment, 16. Thickstun and Goodwillie.
Evil in the Age of Enlightenment.
Eighteenth-century men and women of letters were preoccupied with the problem of evil: how can we reconcile the existence of evil with the existence of a benevolent God? If human nature is naturally moral, where do sin and cruelty come from? This course will study literary representations of illness, disaster, malice, and oppression in a range of genres to investigate how Enlightenment writers came to terms with the idea—and the everyday reality—of evil. Readings include Voltaire, Mary Jones, Marquis de Sade, Matthew Lewis, William Godwin, and Mary Shelley. Prerequisite, One course in Literature. Theme, History Suzanne Taylor.
The Matter of Text.
This course will focus on exploring the material conditions of the texts we read and how those conditions affect how we receive and understand those texts. This course will involve hands-on projects ranging from handwritten, to letterpress, to digital typography, along with selected readings on the history and theory of text and typography. Students will be expected to actively explore their own relationships to both reading and writing as they work their way through the various technologies used to produce the written word. Prerequisite, One course in literature. Intermedia Maximum enrollment, 16. Knauer, Thomas.
The Marrow of African-American Literature.
Exploration of how African-Americans, in the face of enslavement, exclusion and terror, produced literature expressing their identities and aspirations. In examining themes such as abduction, separation and resistance, students will assess the inscription of self on the emergent national culture by writers such as Olaudah Equiano, Phillis Wheatley, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Wilson, Frances Harper, Sutton Griggs and Charles Chesnutt. Prerequisite, One course in literature, or consent of instructor. (History or Identity and Difference) Open to sophomores and juniors only. (Same as Africana Studies 255.)
American Literature of the 19th Century.
Survey of representative literary texts in their historical, social and aesthetic contexts. Attention to issues of access to the literary market and the cultural work of literature, particularly in figuring the rise of a distinctly American tradition. Readings from such writers as Cooper, Brown, Poe, Emerson, Whitman, Hawthorne, Melville, Douglass, Dickinson, Jewett, Clemens, Chestnutt and James. Prerequisite, One course in literature. (History or Identity and Difference) Not open to seniors except with permission of the department. The Department.
Study of literary and musical dimensions of operas by major composers from Monteverdi and Mozart to the present. Emphasis on the transformation of independent texts into librettos and the effects of music as it reflects language and dramatic action. Includes such works as Orfeo, The Marriage of Figaro, Otello, The Turn of the Screw and Candide. Prerequisite, two courses in music or two in literature, or one in each field, or consent of instructors. Music 358 has an additional independent project. Registration at the 300-level only with instructor’s permission. (Same as Music 258/358.) Maximum enrollment, 24.
Human Identity and the Natural World.
In the age of climate change and industrialization, our relationship to landscape has often been characterized as contentious and destructive. But how has human language, perception, and identity been shaped – and how is it still being shaped – by the natural world? This course will examine the ways in which human beings still very much originate from their surrounding environments, from deserts and streams to the plants and animals of particular terrains. Readings will include works by Gloria Anzaldua, Terry Tempest Williams, Robin Wall Kimmerer, J. Drew Lanham and David Abram. (Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies.) Prerequisite, A course in literature. Theme or Identity and Difference
Effects of the international modernist movement on the literature of the United States from the beginnings of the 20th century to the 1950s. Attention to authors such as Ellison, Faulkner, Hemingway, Hurston, Stein, and Stevens. (Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies.) Prerequisite, One course in literature, or consent of instructor. (History or Identity and Difference) Not open to first-year students or seniors. Widiss.
Literature and the Environment.
Surveys the history of environmentalist thinking as it has been reflected in literary texts. Examines key ideas of environmentalism and questions of representation, literary value and political relevance. Authors include Thoreau, Faulkner, Abbey, Lopez and Jeffers, as well as a few non-American writers. Texts include memoirs, essays, novels and poems. (Genre or Theme) Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors, and to first-year students with AP 4 or 5 in English.. Oerlemans.
The Straight Story?: Rethinking the Romance.
A study of the ways in which various forms of sexual desire (overt or closeted) drive the plot of literary works. How is desire constructed? How have authors used, manipulated and resisted the marriage plot for aesthetic and political ends? Special attention to works by gay and lesbian authors. Readings, which include works of theory as well as imaginative texts, to include such authors as Austen, Diderot, Balzac, Zola, Wilde, Baldwin. (Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies.) (Theme or Identity and Difference) (Same as Women's and Gender Studies 278.)
Introduction to Asian American Literature.
Examination of themes, forms, and history of literary production by people of Asian descent in the United States. We will survey translated and English-language works by Asian American writers of varying ethnic affiliations, including Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, Indian, and others. We’ll explore how each writer negotiates a relationship with a particular cultural heritage, as well as confronts the racial, cultural, and political formations of the U.S.. Authors include Maxine Hong Kingston, Carlos Bulosan, John Okada, the Angel Island poets, and others. Prerequisite, One course in literature. (Theory or Identity and Difference) (Same as American Studies 283.) Yao.
Detective Story, Tradition and Experiment.
Survey of a broad range of works, both “popular” and “serious,” showing the continual renewal of the genre through the manipulation of conventional elements to produce new effects and to argue a variety of positions. Includes readings from Sophocles, Dostoevsky, Christie, Faulkner, Hammett, Chandler, Nabokov, Robbe-Grillet, Borges, Butor, Stoppard, Cortázar and others. Prerequisite, One course in literature. Genre
Facing Reality: A History of Documentary Cinema.
The history of cinema as representation and interpretation of "reality," focusing on nonfiction film and video from a variety of periods and geographic locales. Emphasis on the ways in which nonfiction films can subvert viewers'' conventional expectations and their personal security. Forms to be discussed include the city symphony, ethnographic documentary, propaganda, nature film, direct cinema, cinéma vérité, the compilation film and personal documentary. (Same as Art History 290 and Cinema and Media Studies 290.) MacDonald.
The Making of English.
History of the English language from its origins in Old English to its present-day proliferation into World English(es). Particular attention to how the internal development of English (its sound system, syntax, grammar and vocabulary) relates to political and cultural transformations among English-speaking peoples throughout history, and how the English language continues to provoke political and cultural controversy. Offered in alternate years. Prerequisite, One course in literature, or consent of instructor. (Theme) Terrell.
Relationships Gone Bad: 19th century Russian Short Fiction.
Nineteenth-century Russia made its greatest contribution to world literature through the novel--but that golden age was richer than that. Besides lyric poetry and drama, there were numerous short stories and novellas offering the same sexual intensity, psychological insight, and political acuity as the blockbuster works. This half-credit course, centered on stories of failed romance, will examine some of the most striking of them, including works by Pushkin, Gogol, Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Leskov, and Tolstoy. Prerequisite, One course in literature or consent of instructor. This half-credit course ends at Spring Break; it will be graded S/U. It may count toward the Literature major or minor.
Literary CSI: Casebooks.
Through an introduction to literary theory, students will carefully examine and discuss a variety of literary texts by such writers as Toni Morrison, Kazuo Ishiguro, June Jordan, Carolyn Forche, Samuel Beckett, and Athol Fugard. In addition, students will communicate their insights in casebooks that examine the texts from multiple critical perspectives. Prerequisite, One course in literature. (Theory or Theme) Open to first-year and sophomore students only. Odamtten.
Avant Garde: Cinema as Theory and Critique.
A history of alternatives to commercial movies, focusing on surrealist and dadaist film, visual music, psychodrama, direct cinema, the film society movement, personal cinema, the New American Cinema, structuralism, Queer cinema, feminist cinema, minor cinema, recycled cinema and devotional cinema. While conventional entertainment films use the novel, the short story and the stage drama as their primary instigations, experimental and avant-garde films are analogous to music, poetry, painting, sculpture and collage. Not open to first-year students. (Same as Art History 301 and Cinema and Media Studies 301.) MacDonald.
The Rich and the Poor: Market Culture and the Novel in the Age of Empire -- Methods.
In-depth study of how new economic theories and practices in the 18th and 19th centuries shaped and were shaped by the novel form. We examine how novels helped readers adapt to a new commercial society born out of the industrial revolution and British Imperialism. Reading fictional representations of old, new, and hypothetical worlds, we examine how economic and cultural commerce transformed ideas about human nature and, by extension, institutions like education, marriage, and government. Authors may include Defoe, Adam Smith, Captain Cook, Quobna Ottobah Cugoano, Austen, Dickens, and Eliot. (Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies.) Prerequisite, Three courses in Literature or permission of the instructor. SSIH; Theory This will also be a new dept. Methods course, focused on learning disciplinary research. Maximum enrollment, 12. Suzanne Taylor.
Public Play--Performance in England, 1400-1642.
Exploration of changes and continuities across time and genre in stage performance and production in England from the middle ages through Shakespeare, of overlapping political, religious, and social meanings of public play, performance, and spectacle. What is the difference between communal, amateur performance and the commercial London stage? How does perspectival staging redefine the relationship between audience members? How is the role of allegory transformed across centuries? Examination will deepen our understanding not only of dramatic practice, but of dramatic production more broadly. Prerequisite, Three courses in Literature. History or Genre Maximum enrollment, 12.
Ghanaian Literature: From Colony to Post-Colony.
Through a close examination of selected works by West African writers such as Kobina Sekyi, Casely-Hayford, Mabel Dove, Ayi Kwei Armah, Efua Sutherland, Ama Ata Aidoo, Kofi Awoonor, Atukwei Okai, Yaw Asare, Akosua Busia, Kofi Anyidoho and Amma Darko, students will examine how the Slave Castles, the Sankofa Bird and Ananse the Spider have shaped the manner in which Ghanaian writers portray their society. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level course in literature (204, 205, 206 or 264 preferred). (History or Identity and Difference) (Same as Africana Studies 313.) Maximum enrollment, 18.
The New Confessional.
Sylvia Plath said “I, who reportedly write so truthfully about myself, so openly, am not that open.” In this course we’ll trace the ways poets have subverted and expanded our notion of what the confessional poem is, from its 1957 debut, (Robert Lowell’s Still Life) to the 21st century. Readings will include Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich, John Berryman, Ntozake Shange, Sandra Cisneros, Afaa Weaver, Maggie Nelson, Sharon Olds, Judy Jordon, and Ocean Vuong, among others. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, One 200-level course in Literature. Maximum enrollment, 18. Jane Springer.
Literary Theory and Literary Study.
In this course we will explore some of the main developments in literary and cultural "theory" during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Topics may include historicism, formalism, structuralism, deconstruction, Marxism, and feminism, theories of race, nationalism, gender and sexuality, of materiality and the digital culture, ecocriticism and disability theory. (Writing-intensive.) (Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies.) Prerequisite, a 200-level course in literature. (Theory or Identity and Difference) Maximum enrollment, 12. Yao.
Indians, Aliens, Others.
The world is full of strange beings, some from outer space, others close to home. What leaps of imagination must we make to close the physical, cultural, philosophical, and linguistic gulf between “us” and “them”? How might encounters with “others” change our conceptions of self and our habits of thinking, feeling, and sensing? Readings include postcolonial and science-fiction texts by writers (and filmmakers) such as Octavia Butler, Ursula Le Guin, Indra Sinha, and Neill Blomkamp. Theoretical frameworks will span postcolonial, queer, and disability studies. (Writing-intensive.) (Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies.) Prerequisite, A 200-level course in literature. (Theory, SSIH) Maximum enrollment, 18. Pavitra Sundar.
Sankofa: Africana Futures and Beyond.
Sankofa is the “ancient proverbial Akan bird, constantly reaching back into the past even as it flies sky-bound into a future of great expectations” (Anyidoho). Even as colonial fantasies imagine Africa as the incarnation of the past, cultural and political movements in Africa and its Diasporas have found ways to cope with and resist colonial fantasies, imagining Black futures of national and global agendas. Readings and other media by Amos Tutuola, Nnedi Okorafor, Kojo Laing, Octavia Butler, Nalo Hopkinson, Samuel Delany, Steve Barnes, and Nisi Shawl. (Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies.) Prerequisite, 1 200-level course in Literature or Africana Studies. Theory and History (Same as Africana Studies 322.) Odamtten.
Medieval Other Worlds.
From the spiritual realms of heaven and hell to the supernatural world of fairies, medieval culture was immersed in alternative and transcendent versions of reality. Explores medieval literature’s frequent forays beyond ordinary experience in Middle English works by the Pearl-poet, Chaucer, Malory and Langland, as well as anonymous romance and drama. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level course in literature. Not open to first-year students. (History) Maximum enrollment, 18.
English Renaissance Literature: 1550-1660.
Study of the ways works and writers of this period are "in conversation" with each other on such matters as love, death, religious belief, the human response to the natural world and the role of women (in society and as authors). Readings of poems and other works by such writers as Shakespeare, Spenser, Donne, Herbert and Mary Wroth. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level course in literature. Not open to first-year students. (History or Intermedia) Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors. Maximum enrollment, 18.
Seminar: Jane Austen: Text and Film.
Close reading and discussion of Austen’s six published novels. Attention to questions of genre raised by treatments of the novels in film and television productions. Prerequisite, three courses in literature. (Intermedia or Single-Author) Open to juniors and seniors only. Does not fulfill the senior seminar requirement for the English concentration. Maximum enrollment, 12.
The Romantic Poets.
The Romantic Period in English literary history has long been defined by the work of six male poets: Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Keats, and Byron. We will study their poetry in the context of form, history, and politics, and investigate how their work might be seen to form an ideology or movement. We will also read work by poets such as Barbauld, Clare, Burns, and Hemans, popular in their own day, but thought of as ‘minor’ subsequently, in order to evaluate how questions of gender and literary value inform our sense of what is ‘Romantic’. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level course in literature. (History or Genre) Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Maximum enrollment, 18.
Experimental Women Writers.
This course examines experimental women prose writers of the 20th and 21st centuries. We will consider how historical and cultural forces shape novels and stories by women who are committed to writing counter to tradition. Readings will include work by such authors as Gertrude Stein, Virginia Woolf, Zora Neale Hurston, Marguerite Duras, Kathy Acker, Jeanette Winterson, Carole Maso, Maggie Nelson, Claudia Rankine, Karen Yamashita, and others. We will engage these readings, in part, by creating our own critical experiments. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, One 200-level course in literature. (Identity and Difference, or Theory) Maximum enrollment, 18.
Medieval Women and the Written Word.
How did medieval women authors engage with a literary tradition that too often, as 14th c. writer Christine de Pizan lamented, declared that "female nature is wholly given up to vice”? Readings from English and French authors including Christine, Marie de France, Margery Kempe, Julian of Norwich, and Geoffrey Chaucer; anonymous tales of women saints, cross-dressing knights, and disobedient wives; “authoritative” writings about women (inc. religious and medical tracts and a manual on courtly love). Attention to the origins of these texts as they both create and challenge medieval gender roles. Prerequisite, A 200-level course in literature; no prior experience with Middle English required. History or Identity and Difference (Same as Women's and Gender Studies 337.)
How did Shakespeare respond to national & ethnic difference at “The Globe"; how have later writers from around the globe responded to Shakespeare’s work? We will grapple with some of the darkest material in the Shakespeare corpus—rape, racism, misogyny, colonialism—and the real world violence it represents, then interrogate these plays” appeal to creators from Japan to the Caribbean, from India to New Zealand. If, as some have argued, Shakespeare and the Western canon have been tools of cultural oppression, then how might these global adaptations be read as acts of rebellion or liberation? (Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies.) Prerequisite, 2 courses in literature. Genre, Identity and Difference
Seminar: Booked: Prison Writing.
Prisons have been the settings for scenes of tragedy, comedy, romance and social protest. While aware of this use of the prison as a literary device, we will read writers who have actually suffered incarceration. We will read European texts (e.g Plato, Bobby Sands), post-colonial prison writers (e.g. Chris Abani, Ruth First), and the work of men and women inside the American prison system. (Students who are 21 will visit a class run inside a local prison facility.) Prerequisite, two courses in literature. Maximum enrollment, 12. Larson. Prerequisite, two courses in literature. Maximum enrollment, 12.
Seminar: Written on the Wall: 20th- and 21st-Century American Prison Writing.
The writing of the men and women inside the American prison system constitutes a kind of shadow canon to that of better-known literary artists. We will read broadly in 20th- and 21st-century American prison writing, asking questions about the generic coherence, social and moral import of prisoners'' non-fiction, fiction and poetry. Authors will include Jack London, George Jackson, Assata Shakur, and citizens serving time today. Students who are twenty-one or older will visit a book group inside a state prison. Prerequisite, one 200-level course in literature. (History or Identity and Difference) Not open to first-years. Does not fulfill the senior seminar requirement for ENGL or LIT concentration. (Same as American Studies 342.) Maximum enrollment, 12. Larson.
Seminar: Women Writing Against the Grain.
A comparative investigation of U.S. women writing their own stories through the genre of autobiography in the 19th and 20th centuries. Attention to theoretical and practical questions of ideology, genre, language, audience and reception. Particular focus on women’s self-representation as hegemonic transgression at the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, nationality and ableism. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, One course in Women's Studies and some coursework in comparative literature or literary theory or consent of the instructor. (Same as Women's and Gender Studies 343.) Maximum enrollment, 12. Adair, Vivyan.
The Comedy of Terrors.
Analysis of 19th- and 20th-century works in which stark visions of the human condition are paradoxically presented in comic terms. Emphasis on the techniques by which the apparently contradictory tendencies of humor and terror are fused, and the reasons (psychological, philosophical, political and aesthetic)writers, film-makers and composers have been attracted to this device. Study of texts by writers such as Gogol, Dostoevsky, Kafka, Nabokov, Spark, Himes, and Samarasan; films such as Pulp Fiction; operas such as Strauss’s Salome. Prerequisite, 2 courses in Literature or consent of instructor. (Genre).
Shakespeare and Appropriation.
This class focuses on appropriation as a central condition for considering Shakespeare’s drama. Along with plays by Shakespeare we will study how his plays have been appropriated by others. In addition, we will investigate how Shakespeare considered appropriation and adaptation a prime method of literary production by studying contemporary plays, ancient literature and a diversity other sources that Shakespeare likely considered in his own composition process. In so doing we will see the exchanges and vital engagement Shakespeare shows with his own reading. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, Three courses in Literature. Methods. History or Genre Maximum enrollment, 12. Stephen Schillinger.
Can a secular nation have sacred texts? How do writings achieve that status, and what results? We’ll ask these questions of works dating from before the US’s founding to the current day. We’ll consider how and why groups have taken specific texts as authoritative and how these documents have shaped understandings of what it means to be human, live well, and be American, among other “big questions.” Possible readings include essays, speeches, stories, and poems from the Declaration of Independence and The Book of Mormon to MLK’s "I Have a Dream" and Beyoncé’s performance of “Lift Every Voice.” Prerequisite, Two courses in Literature or Religious Studies, or consent of instructors. History, Theme (Same as Religious Studies 349.) Maximum enrollment, 24. Quincy Newell, Benj Widiss.
Principal trends in Modernist literature written in the United States and the United Kingdom roughly from 1900-45. Examination of the contours of the primary tradition, as well as attention to counter-traditions that evolved alongside the accepted canon. Readings of poems, novels and stories by such writers as Yeats, James, Conrad, Joyce, Woolf, Eliot, Pound, Lewis, Ford, West and Loy will provide the context for understanding the larger trajectory of Modernism together with the opportunity for more detailed consideration of specific individual writers. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level course in literature. (History or Intermedia) Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors. Maximum enrollment, 18.
Women and the Enlightenment.
This course explores women’s relation to the intellectual and political culture of Enlightenment Britain. We will study how warring ideas about the rights of man shaped conceptions and representations of sexual difference and womanhood over the course of the long eighteenth century. Treating “woman” as a historical category will, in turn, help us to better understand the underlying assumptions and consequences of our own thinking about gender. Primary texts by Mary Astell, Mary Wollstonecraft, Austen, and Mme de Stael. Feminist scholarship by Nancy K. Miller, Nancy Armstrong, and Toril Moi. Prerequisite, A 200-level course in literature. History or Theory
Artistry and Adultery: Reading Anton Chekhov.
Few writers flourish in both narrative fiction and theater, but Chekhov was an exception. Arguably the greatest short-story writer in the western canon, he was also the inventor of modern drama and probably the best playwright after Shakespeare. This half-credit course will examine the range of his output—short stories, short novels, and plays—with special attention to his psychologically acute analysis of the fragility of romantic relationships and to the question of whether there is any connection between the innovative formal techniques in his fiction and those in his plays. Prerequisite, A 200-level course in literature. This half-credit course meets August 23 to October 27; it will be graded S/U. It may not count toward any departmental major or minor. Maximum enrollment, 20.
Major Figures in Cinema.
Focus on crucial contributors to the wide world of cinema. The work of one, two, or three particular filmmakers, each from a different sector of the geography of cinema, will be examined in detail. Prerequisite, ARTH/CNMS/CPLIT 120; or ARTH/CNMS/CPLIT 290; or ARTH/CNMS/CPLIT 301; or permission of the instructor. (Same as Art History 365 and Cinema and Media Studies 365.) MacDonald.
“The Medium is the Message”: Reading Poetry in Print & Manuscript, 1300-1600.
In this course, we will read medieval and renaissance poetry not in tidy modern editions, but in its original contexts in manuscripts and early print—where doodles cover up transcription errors, love lyrics jostle storeroom inventories, and readers pass judgement in the margins. We will study how books were compiled, annotated, censored and even smuggled, and how these practices shaped literary production and reception. We will not only read Chaucer, Lydgate, Wyatt, Spenser, & others, but will also produce editions and manuscripts of our own to discover: is the medium really the message? Prerequisite, A 200-level course in literature. (History or Genre)
The Hollywood Novel.
A look at novels dealing with or set in Hollywood and at adaptations of novels to film. Students will write short screen adaptations from short fiction and work together as a team (or in teams) on digital video productions of one or more student screenplays. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level literature course on narrative fiction and one of the following: 215, Art 213, 313, 377 or College 300. (Genre or Intermedia) Open to juniors and seniors only. Maximum enrollment, 18.
Contemporary American Fiction.
Study of short stories and novels by authors writing in the past 30 years, such as Barth, Acker, Hawkes, Morrison, DeLillo, Mazza, Wideman, Anaya, Kingston, Proulx. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level course in literature. (Theme or Theory) Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Maximum enrollment, 18.
Africana Literatures and Critical Discourses.
An examination of literature produced by writers of former European colonies in Africa and its Diaspora, with particular attention to literary and theoretical issues, as well as responses to such developments as Negritude, feminism and post-colonialism. Readings will include selected twentieth and twenty-first century writers. Assignments will involve both written and digital work. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one 200-level course in literature. Not open to first-year students. (Theory or Intermedia) Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors. (Same as Africana Studies 376.) Maximum enrollment, 18.
African American Literature Beyond the Edge.
A critical survey of literatures from multiple genres concerned with conjuration, speculation, investigation, transgression or science fiction produced by African-American writers from the 19th century to the present. Includes works by such writers as Chesnutt, Sutton Griggs, W. E. B. Du Bois, Fisher, Chester Himes, Ernest Gaines, Octavia Butler, Walter Mosley, Steve Barnes, Jewelle Gomez, Samuel Delaney, Gayle Jones, Derrick Bell, Paula Woods, Tananarive Due and Nalo Hopkinson. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, One 200-level course in literature. (Genre or Identity and Difference) Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors. (Same as Africana Studies 378.) Maximum enrollment, 18.
Transnational Feminist Frames.
This course looks at the work of (women) filmmakers with South Asian and Iranian ties to ask how contemporary visual culture figures gender and sexuality. It spans national and regional borders to examine contextual and formal challenges artists navigate as they probe the complexity of gendered lives. Amanpour (A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, 2014), Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham, 2002), Makhmalbaf (Blackboards, 2009), and Sumar (Silent Waters, 2003), and others. How do notions of gender, sexuality, and nation shape film form? How might form be used to think anew about such social structures? (Writing-intensive.) (Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies.) Prerequisite, A 200-level course in Literature, Women’s and Gender Studies, or permission of the instructor. Theory, SSIH, and Methods (Same as Women's and Gender Studies 379 and Women's and Gender Studies 379.) Maximum enrollment, 12. Sundar, Pavitra.
Ut Pictura Poesis: Contemporary Graphic Narrative.
An exploration of form and innovation in the rapidly evolving medium of graphic narrative. Includes a study of comics'' development through the 20th century and the myriad experiments in reportage and autobiography, as well as in long-form fiction, that increasingly characterize comics’ endeavor. Readings in contemporary American literature and critical theory consider comics’ shifting social and cultural status, as well as the particular purchase this hybrid representational form has on experience and cognition. Prerequisite, one 200-level course in literature, American studies, art, art history or history. Genre or Theme Benjamin Widiss.
George Eliot: A Serious Woman.
Mary Ann Evans, aka George Eliot, is one of a handful of women writers whose canonical status is undisputed. This course is an in-depth study of Eliot’s writings that pays special attention to the intellectual and cultural debates that informed her work. Investigating how Eliot’s fiction endorses, tweaks, and critiques nineteenth-century ideas about gender, class, science, empire, and aesthetics will help us to understand why writing novels was, for Eliot, a serious artistic and philosophical enterprise. Novels include Romola, Middlemarch, Daniel Deronda, and Impressions of Theophrastus Such. Prerequisite, A 200-level course in literature. Single Author, History
Sex and Class in Modern Drama.
What do sex and money have to do with each other? Everything! Playwrights in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were grappling with how sex and gender were inflected by class. In this half-credit course, we will read plays by mostly male and some female authors, from the early 19th century to mid-twentieth century, from Europe, the UK, and the US. Texts by Buchner, Ibsen, Shaw, Brecht, and Treadwell, among others. Prerequisite, Prerequisite two courses in either theater or literature or one each. Class runs January 22nd to March 15th. This course is a 1/2 credit course. This course will be graded S/U. Maximum enrollment, 16.
Queer/Feminist Literary Theory.
Contemporary feminist and queer theories have a close connection to literature; they emerged from and later transformed literary studies. We will discuss selected theoretical writing, as well as creative texts from the late nineteenth century to the late twentieth century: fiction, plays, and films. Conversations will center around questions of identity and performativity, and the intersections of gender, sexuality, race and class. Readings to be drawn from the following: Oscar Wilde, Radclyffe Hall, James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, E. M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, Tony Kushner, Cherrie Moraga. Prerequisite, At least one course in Literature and/or Women's Studies, or consent of instructor. (Theory or Identity and Difference) (Same as Women's and Gender Studies 391.)
Seminar: Public Play—Performance in England, 1400-1642.
Exploration of changes and continuities across time and genre in stage performance and production in England from the middle ages through Shakespeare, of overlapping political, religious, and social meanings of public play, performance, and spectacle. What is the difference between communal, amateur performance and the commercial London stage? How does perspectival staging redefine the relationship between audience members? How is the role of allegory transformed across centuries? Examination will deepen our understanding not only of dramatic practice, but of dramatic production more broadly. Prerequisite, Three courses in Literature. History or Genre Maximum enrollment, 12.
Truth, Desire, and the Ethics of Representation in the Enlightenment.
In the 18th century, pornography, philosophy, and fiction were regular bedfellows. Enlightenment writers used the pornographic mode—the art of explicit representation—to dissect, scrutinize, and critique the religious and political status quo, to present things both as they are and as they should be. How does a pornographic lens help us to see truths that might otherwise escape us? Who is harmed in this search for truth? Are representations of sex necessarily political? Readings will include Eliza Haywood, John Cleland, Marquis de Sade, Mary Hays, and Matthew Lewis. Prerequisite, three courses in literature. Open to juniors and seniors only. History or Genre Maximum enrollment, 12. Suzanne Taylor.
Seminar: Ambivalent Inheritance: Faulkner across the Americas.
This course will trace lines of influence and revision running from William Faulkner through Latin American writing of the Boom generation to contemporary fiction in the United States. We’ll consider the inheritance of biology and property; of guilt and promises and dreams; and of formal strategies, images, and tropes--and the ways in which negotiating those legacies becomes a means of negotiating the self’s relationship with both society and history. Possible authors: W. Faulkner, G. García Márquez, J. Rulfo, C. Fuentes, J. Donoso, R. Ferré, T. Morrison, J. Eugenides, A. Bender, J.S. Foer Prerequisite, 3 courses in literature. (Theme or History) Maximum enrollment, 12. Widiss, Benjamin.
Seminar: Poems in and out of context.
Poetry in the early modern era circulated in manuscript in particular controlled social contexts. How did poems survive, get into print? What is the difference between reading a poem in manuscript, in a collection, in an anthology? Attention to manuscript circulation, common-place books, and miscellanies, and the role of anthologies in canon formation after. Case studies: the Devonshire manuscript, Sidney and Shakespeare sonnet sequences, collections by Anne Bradstreet, Katherine Philips, and Edward Taylor, among others. Later examples, such as Dickinson, according to student interest. Prerequisite, 3 courses in literature. Maximum enrollment, 12. Thickstun, M.
Seminar: Muslims, Women and Jews: Alterity and Identity in the Middle Ages.
How did medieval Christians perceive difference and define the boundaries of identity? Study of medieval literature dealing with disenfranchised populations within European Christian society (women and Jews) and those outside its bounds (Muslims). Readings by authors such as Chaucer, Margery Kempe and John Mandeville, as well as anonymous dramas and crusade romances, and modern criticism. Particular consideration of literary and cultural contexts, including sermon stories, histories, medical and legal texts, polemics and religious tracts. Prerequisite, three courses in literature. Open to juniors and seniors only. Maximum enrollment, 12.
Race and Nation in the Middle Ages.
What did race and nation mean in the Middle Ages? We’ll first examine English attempts to establish a unified national identity out of a history of invasion and colonization. We’ll consider the role of Jews in England, as well as examples of Celtic resistance to English imperialism. Then we’ll turn to writing that explores English identity in an international context, to see how real and imagined contact with other cultures—particularly during the Crusades—influences conceptions of nation, race, and identity. Genres include travel writing, drama, romance, and historical narrative. Prerequisite, three courses in literature. Maximum enrollment, 12.
Seminar: James Joyce.
In-depth study of Joyce’s major works in their historical and cultural contexts. Readings include Dubliners and Finnegans Wake, Major emphasis on Ulysses. Prerequisite, three courses in literature. Open to juniors and seniors only. Maximum enrollment, 12. Steven Yao.
Seminar: TransAtlantic Romanticisms.
Exploration of Romantic ideologies in literature (poetry and novels) from England and the United States. Discussion of nationalism, nature, individualism, and imagination as they appear in authors including Wordsworth, Byron, Scott, Cooper, Whitman, Dickinson, and Melville. Attention to the paradox of influence in asserting notions of national identity. Prerequisite, three courses in literature. Open to juniors and seniors only. Maximum enrollment, 12.
What do you do after finishing In Search of Lost Time? The easy choice is to read it again. But for those not ready to take the plunge a second time, this course offers an alternative: the study of a group of works that take on special resonances in the context of Proust. Included will be Nabokov’s Lolita, Hitchcock’s Vertigo, Makine’s Dreams of My Russian Summers, Turgenev’s First Love, Jacqueline Rose’s Albertine, Anne Carson’s Albertine Workout, Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, Goldstein’s The Properties of Light, and others. Prerequisite, CompLit 360 or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 12.
English and Its Discontents.
We will examine the politics of language, focusing on Anglophone contexts, probing colonial histories that underpin the global hegemony of English. How is the hierarchization of tongues marked in the sounds of language, in the valuation or denigration of accents? What do disciplinary formations of literary studies tell us about ongoing struggles over language? How do fields like translation studies, deaf studies, and sound studies complicate the study of English language and literature? Possible texts: Brian Friel’s Translations, Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies, Gloria Anzaldua’s Borderlands. (Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies.) Prerequisite, 3 courses in Literature. Identity and Difference, Theory Maximum enrollment, 12. Pavitra Sundar.
Faulkner and the South.
Faulkner’s major novels, published between the late 1920s and the early 1940s, trace his most impassioned struggle with the legacies of slavery, the enduring hierarchies of gender and class, and the rising specter of industrialization’s destructive force. We’ll explore the series of radical formal innovations Faulkner arrived at in order to convey these stories, and to convey the inextricability of one from the next—both in American society and in individual consciousness. Readings: Light in August, Absalom, Absalom!, Go Down, Moses, and more. Prerequisite, 3 courses in Literature. Maximum enrollment, 12.
Seminar: Major African Writers.
AFRST/LIT 473 Seminar: Major African Writers. A general survey of contemporary African literature, and critical inquiry of selected works by major African writers such as Achebe, Aidoo, Dangarembga, Adiche, Sembene, Soyinka, la Guma and Gordimer. Attention to theoretical and practical questions of ideology, genre, language, gender, class and geographic region to determine the multiple articulations among authors, texts and audiences. Prerequisite, three courses in literature or consent of instructor. Open to juniors and seniors only. (Same as Africana Studies 473/573.) Maximum enrollment, 12. (Social, Structural, and Institutional Hierarchies.) Prerequisite, three courses in literature or consent of instructor. Open to juniors and seniors only. (Same as Africana Studies 473/573.) Maximum enrollment, 12.
Seminar: Major African-American Writers.
An in-depth investigation of selected 20th-century and contemporary works by African-American writers. Focus on the theoretical and practical questions of genre, language, gender, class and ideology to determine the multiple articulations among authors, texts and audiences. Traditional written assignments, critical discussion and digital media coursework in the computer lab are required. Prerequisite, three courses in literature. Open to juniors and seniors only. Maximum enrollment, 12.
Seminar: Independent Projects.
This course provides students pursuing honors in Literature structured support for advanced research. Seminar sessions will explore the conceptual frameworks underlying various approaches to academic criticism, as well as pragmatic matters including research tools and methods, writing and revision strategies, time management, &c. Students will share and critique one another’s drafts. Prerequisite, Permission of the department. Maximum enrollment, 12. Benj Widiss.
Seminar: Independent Projects.
In this seminar, students will pursue independent research projects culminating in a longer paper (25-35 pages)on a topic of their choosing. Seminar sessions will discuss strategies for organizing and drafting a longer paper, time management, the best ways to use research tools, and different ideas about how to revise; later there will be opportunities to share drafts and address issues that arise. Prerequisite, Permission of the department. Maximum enrollment, 12. Thickstun.
Honors Project in Literature.
Independent study for honors candidates in Literature. Prerequisite, Approval of the department. 1/4 credit. Maximum enrollment, 12. The Department.
Courses in Creative Writing
Introductory Poetry and Fiction Workshop.
Introduction to fundamental techniques of fiction and poetry. Regular writing and reading assignments as well as critiques in class. (Proseminar.) Prerequisite, a 100-level writing-intensive course in English or Literature or 204W, 222W, or 227W. Not open to first-year students in the fall. Maximum enrollment, 16. The Department.
Introduction to the techniques of realistic and non-realistic playwriting through a variety of exercises and improvisations, culminating in the writing and staging of a one-act play. (Speaking-Intensive.) Prerequisite, Theatre 100 or Creative Writing 215. While no prior acting experience is required, students participate in staged readings of works. (Same as Theatre 224.) Maximum enrollment, 12. Latrell.
Intermediate Poetry Workshop.
For students whose work and purpose have developed sufficiently to warrant continuing work in poetry. Regular writing and reading assignments as well as critiques in class. Prerequisite, 204 and 215. Maximum enrollment, 16. The Department.
Intermediate Fiction Workshop.
For students whose work and purpose have developed sufficiently to warrant continuing work in fiction. Regular writing and reading assignments as well as critiques in class. Prerequisite, 215 and a 200-level course in literature. Maximum enrollment, 16. The Department.
Creative Non-Fiction Workshop.
For students whose work and purpose in creative writing have developed sufficiently to warrant work in creative non-fiction. We will read memoir, travel/nature writing, and literary journalism by a wide range of authors to provide a context in which to examine the work students generate for the class. Part of our task will be to answer the question: What is creative non-fiction? Through a close examination of the texts we read in class, and the process of both writing and critiquing essays, we will attempt to clarify the sometimes vague definitions of the genre. Prerequisite, one 100-level course in literature or permission of the instructor. (Genre) Maximum enrollment, 16.
Seminar: Creative Writing.
For students whose work and purpose have developed sufficiently to warrant advanced work in fiction or poetry. Students will construct individual projects leading to a final collection of writings in the form of a novella, a series of stories, or a series of poems. Regular writing and reading assignments, as well as critiques in class. Prerequisite, 304 and 305. Open only to senior concentrators and, if there is room, senior minors. Maximum enrollment, 12. Prerequisite, 304 and 305. Open only to senior concentrators and, if there is room, senior minors. Maximum enrollment, 12. The Department.
Honors Project in Creative Writing.
Independent study under the supervision of creative writing faculty, for honors candidates who qualify for and wish to pursue honors in creative writing. Students completing 498 are expected to continue their creative writing honor's project in the spring term by enrolling in 501S. Prerequisite, 215, 304, 305, and permission of Department. Students will be assigned to CW faculty for the project. Maximum enrollment, 8. Tina Hall.
Honors Project in Creative Writing.
Independent study for honors candidates in Creative Writing. Prerequisite, 498S and approval of the department. 1/4 credit .
(from the Hamilton Course Catalogue)