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2018 Fall Course Offerings

ENGL 670: The Green 19th Century

Meetings: Monday, 5 – 7:30 pm


This course will be a survey of 19th-century British Literature through an ecocritical lens. The practice of ecocriticism has three main tasks: 1) to read and bring into study works with a focus on the natural world or environmental concerns; 2) to analyze the representation of the natural world in a wide spectrum of texts;  and 3) to explore the historical and cultural construction of the terms “nature” and “natural.”  So in this course we will focus on representations of the natural world and consider how writers and readers of the era understood their relationship to and place in that world.  In so doing, we will scrutinize changing constructions of “nature” and “natural” with the further goal of better understanding how these definitions had broad social implications with respect to scientific inquiry, industrialization, imperialism and gender politics. 


ENGL 670: Gender at the Round Table

Meetings: Tuesday, 5 – 7:30 PM

Dr. Glenn Steinberg

The brotherhood of the Round Table.  Virgins.  Knights in shining armor.  Adultery.  The Holy Grail.  This course explores gender as a central concern in stories about King Arthur from the Middle Ages and 19th century.  Among texts and authors included in the course are The Stanzaic Morte Arthur, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnelle, Sir Thomas Malory, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and Mark Twain.


ENGL 505: Literary Theory

Meetings: Wednesday, 5pm-7:30pm

Professor: Harriet Hustis

An introduction to the scholarly methods necessary for graduate work in literature and to the study of theoretical frameworks important to contemporary literary criticism, including formalism, structuralism, Marxism, deconstruction, feminism, post-colonial studies, cultural studies, new historicism, and psychoanalysis. The course exposes students to the primary texts from which those theoretical frameworks are derived and requires students to critique and construct applications of those theories to specific literary texts.


ENGL 521-01 : Women in Literature

Meetings: Thursday, 5 – 7:30 PM

Professor Piper Williams

This course will primarily, though not exclusively, examine black women’s writing, to explore the ways gender and race interact in their art. We will read narratives, essays and novels from the 19th to the 21st century.  The course is structured thematically, with special attention to thematic threads in the literature of black women writers in the African American Literary Canon.  These thematic units will couple texts in the interest analyzing cross-textual meanings and interpretations offered when considering texts from “different” traditions. For instance we will read Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God (1939) alongside Kate Chopin’s The Awakening (1899). These novels occupy different periods in literary history and different traditions, so that you would find the former in the Norton Anthology of African American Literature and the latter in an anthology of American Women Writers. However, they could both be considered proto-feminist novels, focusing on women’s search for selfhood, a revolt against conformity and a critique of the social norms governing “women’s” sphere.  While cross-racial considerations of gender allow feminists ideologies to transcend difference and mime meaning, the course will pair texts from different races, genres and different cultures to explore, complicate, and re-define “Women in Literature.” While we will use the primary texts to work out the way meaning is shared between “different” texts, the course’s critical lens will focus on what’s called “black feminist theory or criticism.”  This theoretical lens focuses, in part, on the ways “feminism” historically ignores the voices and writing of black women writers and calls for a more complex way of approaching black women’s writing, specifically as well as women’s writing in general.