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Department of English Language and Literature

Chair

  • Frances Ferguson

Professors

  • Lauren G. Berlant
  • Bill Brown
  • James K. Chandler
  • Maud Ellmann
  • Frances Ferguson
  • Elaine Hadley
  • Loren A. Kruger
  • Josephine McDonagh
  • William J. T. Mitchell
  • Sianne Ngai
  • Joshua Keith Scodel
  • Kenneth W. Warren
  • John Wilkinson

Associate Professors

  • Patrick Jagoda
  • Heather Keenleyside
  • Janice Knight
  • Ellen MacKay
  • John Mark Miller
  • Benjamin Morgan
  • Deborah Lynn Nelson
  • Srikanth Reddy
  • Lawrence Rothfield
  • Lisa C. Ruddick
  • Jennifer Scappettone
  • Eric Slauter

Assistant Professors

  • Adrienne Brown
  • Timothy Campbell
  • Rachel Galvin
  • Edgar Garcia
  • Timothy Harrison
  • John Muse
  • Julie Orlemanski
  • Benjamin Saltzman
  • Zachary Samalin
  • David C. Simon
  • Christopher Taylor
  • Sonali Thakkar

Emeritus Faculty

  • David Bevington
  • Elizabeth Helsinger
  • Richard Allen Strier
  • William Veeder
  • Christina von Nolcken

Postdoctoral Fellows

  • Lucy Alford

Graduate students in English work with a distinguished faculty of critics and scholars to develop their own interests over a broad range of traditional and innovative fields of research. The program aims to attain a wide substantive command of British, American, and other English language literatures. In addition to specializations in the full range of chronologically defined fields, the program includes generous offerings in African American Studies, gender studies, the graphic novel, and cinema and other media studies. Students are also trained in textual studies, editing, literary and cultural history, and a variety of critical theories and methodologies. The interests of both faculty and students often carry through to neighboring disciplines like anthropology, sociology, history, art history, linguistics, and philosophy. The University provides a supportive environment for advanced studies of this kind.
 

The Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

The program leading to the Ph.D. degree aims primarily to prepare students for independent work as teachers, scholars, and critics by developing their abilities to pose and investigate problems in the advanced study of literatures in English and in film. Departmental requirements are designed to lead to the doctorate in five to six years. Course work, the preparation of oral fields examinations, workshops, teaching, and the dissertation introduce students to a variety of textual modes, critical methodologies, and historical/cultural problems; provide extensive practice in research, discussion, argument, and writing; and develop pedagogical skills through supervised teaching. While a student’s progress will be carefully monitored and periodically evaluated by individual advisors and the department, all students will be accepted into the program on the assumption that they will proceed to the Ph.D.

In the first two years of the Ph.D. program, students are required to enroll in six graduate courses each year. All first-year students also participate in a one-quarter colloquium designed to introduce theoretical and practical questions posed by the study of literature (through readings in a range of theoretical and literary texts). In their third year, students will also take a one quarter course in various approaches to the teaching of literature and composition and a one quarter Advanced Writing Workshop.

Note: Students entering with an M.A. degree in English will be asked to complete at least one year of coursework (six courses) plus two additional courses in their second year, participate in the Autumn Quarter colloquium, and take the one quarter course on teaching in either their second or third years.

Students in their third and fourth years will normally teach at least one quarter-long course each year, initially as course assistants in departmental courses for undergraduates, then as instructors in courses of their own design. Students may also be employed as writing tutors, assistants in introductory humanities and social sciences core courses, instructors in the College Writing Program course in expository writing (which provides its own training in the teaching of composition), or as teachers at other area colleges and universities. The department believes that both training and experience in teaching is an important part of the graduate program.

The Degree of Master of Arts

Students seeking a master’s degree should apply to the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities (MAPH), a three-quarter program of interdisciplinary study in a number of areas of interest to students, including literature and film. MAPH permits students to take almost all of their courses in the English Department, sharing classes with students in the Ph.D. program. The resulting degree is equivalent to a master’s in English.  Further details about the MAPH program are available at http://maph.uchicago.edu.

Inquiries

For more information on the department’s programs and requirements, please see the Department of English website at http://english.uchicago.edu or contact the departmental staff at englishsupport@uchicago.edu.

Information on how to apply

The application process for admission and financial aid for all graduate programs in the Humanities is administered through the divisional Office of the Dean of Students. The Application for Admission and Financial Aid, with instructions, deadlines and department specific information is available online at: http://humanities.uchicago.edu/students/admissions.

Questions pertaining to admissions and aid should be directed to humanitiesadmissions@uchicago.edu or (773) 702-1552.

International students must provide evidence of English proficiency by submitting scores from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). (Current minimum scores, etc., are provided with the application.) For more information, please see the Office of International Affairs website at https://internationalaffairs.uchicago.edu, or call them at (773) 702-7752.

English Language & Literature Courses

ENGL 30805. Romantic Fiction and the Historical Novel. 100 Units.

In this course we will examine the emergence of the historical novel in Romantic Britain and situate this genre within a wider expansion of the code of realism that attends to social-historical phenomena and processes in new and enduring ways.  We will organize the course around the particularly influential authorship of Walter Scott and Maria Edgeworth, in part by addressing the competing practices of several oppositional contemporaries.  We will also draw upon a mix of foundational and recent criticism to consider a series of sites where Romantic fiction conceptualizes history with special energy: the subject, the imperial Celtic periphery, the romance, commercial modernity, and the everyday.

Instructor(s): T. Campbell     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Open to advanced undergraduates with consent of instructor.

ENGL 31001. Advanced Writing Workshop. 100 Units.

The Advanced Writing Workshop consists of several workshops led by an English faculty member. Students will take a paper from a previous class and revise it; the revisions will be read by other students in the workshop, along with at least two faculty.

Instructor(s): H. Keenleyside     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): This course is restricted to second- and third-year English Ph.D. students only; other students need consent of instructor.

ENGL 32303. Prosody and Poetic Form: An Introduction to Comparative Metrics. 100 Units.

This class offers (i) an overview of major European systems of versification, with particular attention to their historical development, and (ii) an introduction to the theory of meter. In addition to analyzing the formal properties of verse, we will inquire into their relevance for the articulation of poetic genres and, more broadly, the history of literary (and sub-literary) systems. There will be some emphasis on Graeco-Roman quantitative metrics, its afterlife, and the evolution of Germanic and Slavic syllabo-tonic verse. No prerequisites, but a working knowledge of one European language besides English is strongly recommended.

Instructor(s): Boris Maslov     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CMLT 32303,CLCV 21313,CLAS 31313,SLAV 22303,SLAV 32303,ENGL 22310,GRMN 22314,GRMN 32314,CMLT 22303

ENGL 32311. Transmedia Game. 100 Units.

This experimental course explores the emerging game genre of “transmedia” or “alternate reality” gaming. Transmedia games use the real world as their platform while incorporating text, video, audio, social media, websites, and other forms. We will approach new media theory through the history, aesthetics, and design of transmedia games. Course requirements include weekly blog entry responses to theoretical readings; an analytical midterm paper; and collaborative participation in a single narrative-based transmedia game project. No preexisting technical expertise is required but a background in any of the following areas will help: creative writing, literary or media theory, web design, visual art, computer programming, performance, and game design.

Instructor(s): P. Jagoda     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 25953,ARTV 25401,CMST 25953,CMST 35953,CRWR 26003,CRWR 46003,TAPS 28455

ENGL 32312. Virtual Theaters. 100 Units.

This course probes the nature and limits of theater by exploring a range of theatrical texts whose relation to performances are either partially or fully virtual. Like the works we will read, the course transgresses disciplinary, generic, and temporal boundaries, bringing together from various centuries philosophical dialogues (Plato), closet dramas, novel chapters in dramatic form (Melville’s Moby-Dick, Joyce’s Ulysses), radio drama, nonsense drama, and new media forms that test conventional definitions of theatrical performance: twitter theater, digital theater, algorithmic theater, and transmedia games.

Instructor(s): J. Muse     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): TAPS 32312

ENGL 33000. Academic and Professional Writing (The Little Red Schoolhouse) 100 Units.

No description available.

Instructor(s): L. McEnerney, K. Cochran, T. Weiner     Terms Offered: Winter, Spring
Prerequisite(s): Third- or fourth-year standing
Note(s): This course does not count towards the ISHU program requirements. May be taken for P/F grading by students who are not majoring in English. Materials fee $20.
Equivalent Course(s): ISHU 23000,ENGL 13000

ENGL 34800. Poetics. 100 Units.

In this course, we will study poetry “in the abstract.”  We will study various efforts on the part of philosophers, literary critics, and poets themselves to formulate theories of poetic discourse.  We will examine a range of historical attempts to conceptualize poetry as a particular kind of language practice, from Aristotle to Adorno and beyond.  But we will also question the very project of thinking about “poetics” as opposed to “poetry” or “poems.”  Is it possible to theorize the art form without doing violence to the particularity—and peculiarity—of individual poems themselves?

Instructor(s): S. Reddy     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): MAPH Poetics Core
Equivalent Course(s): MAPH 34800,CRWR 34800

ENGL 34850. T.S. Eliot. 100 Units.

With the major new edition of Eliot's poems by Jim McCue and Christopher Ricks, the new volumes of Eliot's letters, and two separate new editions of Eliot's complete prose, we are in a position to rethink the meanings and force of Eliot's life work. The course will be devoted to careful reading of his poems, essays, plays, and correspondence, with attention to his literary, cultural, and political contexts.

Instructor(s): Rosanna Warren     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 26614,ENGL 26614,SCTH 36014

ENGL 35302. King Arthur in Legend and History. 100 Units.

We will consider the historical origins of the Arthurian Legend and some of the ways in which it has subsequently been reshaped and used in Great Britain. We will concern ourselves first with how the legend was treated in the Middle Ages, most importantly by Geoffrey of Monmouth in the twelfth century and Thomas Malory in the fifteenth. Then we will turn to the extraordinary revival of interest in the legend that started with the Victorians and which has continued almost unabated to the present. In our discussions we will consider such matters as the various political uses that have been made of the legend as well as some of the reasons for its enduring popularity. We will end with a viewing of the 1975 Film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. (B, E)

Instructor(s): C. Von Nolcken     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 15302

ENGL 35509. Psychoanalytic Theory: Freud and Lacan. 100 Units.

For this course, we will read major texts by Freud and Lacan. Freud readings will include “Beyond the Pleasure Principle,” “Note on a Mystic Writing Pad,” “The Uncanny,” “Jensen’s Gradiva,” the Dora case, and a selection of texts from other works. Lacan readings: “Seminar on the Purloined Letter,” Poe’s “The Purloined Letter,” “God and the Jouissance of the Woman: A love letter,” and parts of the Ecrits. We will also read excerpts from a variety of texts that use the writings of Freud and Lacan for theoretical purposes: Derrida, Sarah Kristeva, Irigaray, Zizek, and others.

Instructor(s): Françoise Meltzer     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 25509,CMLT 25551

ENGL 35700. Sex, Gender, and Sexuality in the Middle Ages. 100 Units.

The field of gender and sexuality in medieval Western Europe is both familiar and exotic. Medieval poetry is fascinated by the paradoxical inner workings of desire, and poetic, theological, and philosophical texts develop sophisticated terms for analyzing it. Feminine agency is at once essential to figurations of sexual difference and a scandal to them. Ethical self-realization gets associated both with abstinence and with orgasmic rapture. This course will examine these and other topics in medieval gender and sexuality through reading a range of materials including poetry, theology, gynecological treatises, hagiography, and mystical writing.

Instructor(s): M. Miller     Terms Offered: Autumn

ENGL 36560. Shakespeare and the Ancient Classical World. 100 Units.

This course is part of the College Course Cluster, The Renaissance. This course will look closely at the plays written by Shakespeare on the ancient classical world: Titus Andronicus, Julius Caesar, Troilus and Cressida, Antony and Cleopatra, Timon of Athens, and Coriolanus, with an emphasis on the second, third, and fourth titles in this list. Why did Shakespeare turn to the ancient classical world for dramatic material, and what did he find there that was not available to him in the Christian world he knew at first hand? What philosophical ideas, experiments in forms of governance, and understanding of the human condition did he discover? In what ways is Shakespeare a different writer and dramatist as a result of his imaginative journey to the world of ancient Greece and Rome? (D, E)

Instructor(s): D. Bevington     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 26560,ENGL 16560

ENGL 36800. Imagining the Audience in Early Modern English Performance. 100 Units.

This course will explore the idea of the audience in early modern England by looking hard at the range and subtlety of its expressions, both from a distance and up close. At the outset, our remit will be digital/philological. We will track the concept of the collectivity across the EEBO corpus, looking for patterns of use and lexical innovation. We will also search the six (non-digitized) volumes of the Catalogue of British Drama. To prepare ourselves to make arguments on the basis of this work, we will consult methodological criticism on literary data mining and gain some hands-on experience with topic modeling, and possibly network visualization.
,The second leg of the course will involve reading works and criticism that not only address and represent, but in some measure also theorize, the audience as collective entity, zone of conduct, mode of encounter, etc. Primary texts will likely include Hamlet, Antony and Cleopatra, Timon of Athens, The Roaring Girl (Middleton and Dekker), Bussy D’Ambois (Chapman) and some court masques, royal entries and mayoral pageants. Non-dramatic works will likely include The Art of the Courtier (Castiglione), The Gull’s Horn-book (Dekker), The Art of English Poesie (Puttenham) and possibly some political tracts and treatises of the interregnum. A few of our dramatic and critical choices will be decided by vote at the start of the quarter.

Instructor(s): E. MacKay     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): TAPS 36800

ENGL 38650. Dickinson's Poetry. 100 Units.

This course will try to give some sense of the range and power of Emily Dickinson's achievement as a poet. We will wrestle with the major issues that the poetry presents, along with its inherent difficulty: its religious content, its erotic content, its treatment of emotions and psychological states. We will reckon with questions of textual instability, but they will not be the focus of the course. A short paper and a longer paper will be required. (C, G)

Instructor(s): R. Strier     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): FNDL 25650,ENGL 25650

ENGL 41750. Poetry and the Other Arts: Pre-Raphaelitism and Aestheticism. 100 Units.

Focusing on Britain in the second half of the nineteenth century, we will examine the intersections between poetry and visual arts (particularly painting and design) and between poetry and song. We'll investigate movements in where these intersections are particularly prominent – Pre-Raphaelitism and Aestheticism – and trace the practices, concepts, and attitudes associated with them from their origins in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, attending also to critical and philosophical writing about sensation and aesthetics and to the often highly critical reception of these movements in later years.

Instructor(s): E. Helsinger     Terms Offered: Winter

ENGL 42350. George Eliot's Fiction and Nonfiction. 100 Units.

This course will examine the works of George Eliot in their intellectual and print contexts. We will look at selected works from across her oeuvre including some of her translations from German, her journalism, short fiction, poetry and novels, as well as letters and journals.   During the course we will emphasize her immersion in contemporary debates by considering her exchanges with friends and associates, people like, for example the writer, George Henry Lewes, the evolutionary philosopher and biologist, Herbert Spencer, feminists such as Barbara Bodichon and Edith Simcox, and legal theorist, Henry Sumner Maine.

Instructor(s): J. McDonagh     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Open to advanced undergraduates with consent of instructor.

ENGL 42918. CDI Seminar: Exploratory Translation. 100 Units.

Focusing on the theory, history and practice of poetic translation, this seminar includes sessions with invited theorists and practitioners from North and South America, Europe, and Asia. Taking translation to be an art of making sense that is transmitted together with a craft of shapes and sequences, we aim to account for social and intellectual pressures influencing translation projects. We deliberately foreground other frameworks beyond “foreign to English” and “olden epochs to modern”—and other methods than the “equivalence of meaning”—in order to aim at a truly general history and theory of translation that might both guide comparative cultural history and enlarge the imaginative resources of translators and readers of translation. In addition to reading and analysis of outside texts spanning such topics as semantic and grammatical interference, gain and loss, bilingualism, self-translation, pidgin, code-switching, translationese, and foreignization vs. nativization, students will be invited to try their hands at a range of tactics, aiming toward a final portfolio of annotated translations.

Instructor(s): J. Scappettone and H. Saussy     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CDIN 42918,CMLT 42918,RLLT 42918,SCTH 42918

ENGL 43704. Poetics of the Joke. 100 Units.

In this course we take a two-fold approach to the question of the comic, approaching it via an extended study of the joke as a micro-narrative form. In the first half of the course we will try to understand the craft and the poetics of jokemaking and joketelling, by looking carefully at the formal features of some exemplary jokes – both good and bad -- of different kinds (oneliners, knock-knocks, shaggy-dogs, etc.), and at variations of these jokes. We will try to define some ways in which jokes make us laugh (or not). In the second half of the course we will broaden the discussion to consider the ethical, ontological, and political implications of joke-telling, taking our point of departure from the ways in which stand-up comedians talk about what they are doing to/with their audiences. For the first half of the course, a primary source will be the film “The Aristocrats”; for the second half of the course, “Talking Funny” (a discussion about stand-up between Seinfeld, Rock, Louis CK, Gervais). Theorists will include Aristotle, Shaftesbury, Barthes, Ted Cohen, Bergson, Freud, Ngai, Zizek.

Instructor(s): L. Rothfield     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Open to advanced undergraduates with consent of instructor

ENGL 44408. Before and After Beckett: Theater and Theory. 100 Units.

Beckett is conventionally typed as the playwright of minimalist scenes of unremitting bleakness, but his experiments with theatre and film echo the irreverent play of popular culture (vaudeville on stage and screen, e.g., Chaplin and Keaton) as well as experimental theatre and modern philosophy, even when there are no direct lines of influence. This course will juxtapose these points of reference with Beckett’s plays and those of his contemporaries (Ionesco, Genet, and others in French; Pinter in English). It will then explore more recent plays that suggest the influence of Beckett by Pinter, Caryl Churchill, and Sarah Kane in English; Albert Jarry and Michel Vinaver in French; as well as the relevance of theorists and philosophers include Barthes, Wittgenstein, and critics writing on specific plays. (D, G)

Instructor(s): L. Kruger     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): PQ: one course in the HUM Core
Equivalent Course(s): CMLT 24408,TAPS 28438,ENGL 24408

ENGL 44500. Brechtian Representations: Theatre, Theory, Cinema. 100 Units.

Brecht is indisputably the most influential playwright in the 20th century, but his influence on film theory and practice and on cultural theory generally is also considerable. In this course we will explore the range and variety of Brecht's own theatre, from the anarchic plays of the 1920's to the agitprop Lehrstück and film esp Kühle Wampe) to the classical parable plays, as well as the work of his heirs in German theatre (Heiner Müller, Peter Weiss) and film (RW Fassbinder, Alexander Kluge), in French film (Jean-Luc Godard, Chris Marker)), film and theatre in Britain (Mike Leigh and Lucy Prebble), and theatre and film in Africa, from South Africa  to Senegal and US (TBA). We will also give due attention to the often unacknowledged impact of Brecht’s theorizing on a range of genres and media on his better known contemporaries Adorno, Benjamin, Lukács as well as on cultural theory elsewhere from the Situationists to digital labor. Requirements: oral presentations; short midterm and final research paper.

Instructor(s): L. Kruger     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Designed for MAPH or PhD.
Equivalent Course(s): CMLT 40800,TAPS 44500,CMST 36200

ENGL 45969. Music and Disability Studies. 100 Units.

This course studies the ways that attitudes toward disability are constructed within a cultural sphere. From the perspective of disability studies, bodies and minds have many kinds of differences, but what is considered “disability” is determined by culture, not given by nature. Music, as well as film, literature, visual art, theatre, and so on, participate in the complex process of constructing and modulating attitudes toward disability. In this course, we will examine the interaction of disability and music in several ways: composers and performers whose creative production is shaped by bodily difference and disability; opera and film characters who embody and stage disability for our consumption; and more abstractly, music whose formal, sonic unfolding seems to engage issues of disability, even in purely instrumental art-pour-l’art works. We will read from the disability studies literature that critiques and theorizes disability themes in literature, film, and visual art, as well as musicology, music theory, and ethnomusicology literature that shows how disability themes are crucial in music. In this interdisciplinary class, students will gain a much more intimate understanding of the ways that attitudes toward abilities and bodies are constructed in art works, as well as be able to think, analyze, critique, write, and create with this understanding in mind. It is not necessary to read music notation for this course.

Instructor(s): Jennifer Iverson     Terms Offered: Spring,TBD
Equivalent Course(s): MUSI 32318,ENGL 25969,TAPS 22318,TAPS 32318,MUSI 22318

ENGL 46550. Fictions of Real Estate. 100 Units.

This class takes as its guiding premise that “a crisis in housing,” as Jack Self and Shumi Bose write “is necessarily a crisis of the juridical category of real estate, which implicates a crisis of democracy, representation, sovereignty and authority; a crisis of dwelling and a crisis of faith in ownership.” If, as Reinhold Martin argues, “real estate governs,” this class will read literature as well as theories, histories, manuals and treatise about real estate, debt, appraisal, and property to consider the ways real estate governs and how narrative facilitates or disrupts its governance in moments of boom, stagnation, and crisis.
,Possible literary texts: William Dean Howells, The Rise of Silas Lapham; Henry James, The Jolly Corner; Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence; Sinclair Lewis, Babbitt; F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby; Ann Petry, The Street; Sloan Gray, Man in the Gray Flannel Suit; Gwendolyn Brooks, Maud Martha; Steven Milhauser, Martin Dressler; Kristin Davis, The Landlord, Richard Ford, Independence Day; Jane Smiley, Good Faith; Colson Whitehead, Apex Hides the Hurt; Angela Flournoy, The Turner House.

Instructor(s): A. Brown     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): Open to advanced undergraduates with consent of instructor.

ENGL 46750. What Was Postcolonial Theory? 100 Units.

Postcolonial theory bears the honor of being a mode of inquiry declared dead many, many times—even by scholars associated with the theory through the early years of its development. This course will provide a critical introduction to postcolonial theory by working through the political and epistemological antagonisms that were at once constitutive of and destructive of postcolonial theory’s coherence. In so doing, we will consider questions pertaining to contemporary politics and economies of institutional knowledge: Why do modes of inquiry rise and fall? If fewer and fewer scholars undertake work under the banner of postcolonial theory today, what forms of knowledge bear the trace of the postcolonial moment? Units will include “Postcolonialism and Third Worldism,” “Postcolonialism and Marxism,” “Postcolonialism and Globalization,” Postcolonialism and World Literature,” “Postcolonialism and Indigeneity,” and more.

Instructor(s): C. Taylor     Terms Offered: Spring

ENGL 46800. The Age of Washington and Du Bois. 100 Units.

The goal of this course will be to examine and understand the literary responses of a small but important set of African American writers to the worsening political, social, and economic situation facing black Americans during the last decade of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th century—a period that his been described as the “nadir” of African American life.

Instructor(s): K. Warren     Terms Offered: Winter

ENGL 46901. Narrative Suspense in European/Russian Lit/Film. 100 Units.

This course examines the nature and creation of suspense in literature and film as an introduction to narrative theory. We will question how and why stories are created, as well as what motivates us to continue reading, watching, and listening to stories. We will explore how particular genres (such as detective stories and thrillers) and the mediums of literature and film influence our understanding of suspense and narrative more broadly. Close readings of primary sources will be supplemented with critical and theoretical readings. Literary readings will include work by John Buchan, Arthur Conan Doyle, Feodor Dostoevsky, Graham Greene, Bohumil Hrabal, and J.M. Coetzee. We will also explore Alfred Hitchcock’s take on 39 Steps and the Czech New Wave manifesto film Pearls of the Deep. With theoretical readings by Roland Barthes, Viktor Shklovsky, Erich Auerbach, Paul Ricoeur, and others.

Instructor(s): Esther Peters     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): HUMA 26901,CMST 35102,ENGL 26901,REES 33137,CMLT 22100,CMST 25102,REES 23137

ENGL 47310. The Matter of Black Lives: Hurston and Wright. 100 Units.

Despite being best known as adversaries—with Richard Wright notoriously accusing Zora Neale Hurston’s writing of being “cloaked in facile sensuality” and Hurston scorning Wright for his “tone deaf” and “grim” stories of “race hatred”—these two writers shared more commonalities than their feud suggests. This course will approach Hurston and Wright not as antagonists but as coworkers experimenting with how to represent something like collective black experience through different literary genres (both turning to autobiography, folklore, novels, short stories, op-eds, literary criticism, screenplays) and in response to social science methodologies (Wright’s faith in sociology vs. Hurston’s career as an anthropologist). In reframing their relationship to one another, this course will also trace a story of the development of African American literature in the early 20th century as refracted through Hurston's and Wright’s varying commitments to representing black life as both a unifying and restrictive categorization. (B, G)

Instructor(s): A. Brown     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 27010

ENGL 47920. The Slaves' Narratives. 100 Units.

As rare first-person accounts of an institution that claimed the lives of millions, slave narratives occupy an important, almost sacred position in the history of American letters. In part, this course will offer a literary history of this genre of writing. We will consider the relationship of the slave narrative to other available genres of life writing: spiritual autobiography, captivity narratives, gallows narratives, and so on. We will consider a host of political problems that the slave narrative raises, such as: What levels of autonomy or agency could black writers hope to achieve in relation to white editors, sponsors, and abolitionist organizations? What is the evidentiary value of these narratives? How do the generic conventions of the slave narrative conscript black subjects into just giving “the facts” to white “philosophers,” as Frederick Douglass would critique, instead of enabling black subjects to theorize slavery and freedom in their own names? At the same time, we will explore print media not typically considered under the rubric of the “slave narrative” to thicken our understanding of black life-making in the shadow of slavery: legal petitions, court testimony, letters, and early novels. (F, G, H)

Instructor(s): C. Taylor     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): ENGL 17920

ENGL 48000. Methods and Issues in Cinema Studies. 100 Units.

This course offers an introduction to ways of reading, writing on, and teaching film. The focus of discussion will range from methods of close analysis and basic concepts of film form, technique and style; through industrial/critical categories of genre and authorship (studios, stars, directors); through aspects of the cinema as a social institution, psycho-sexual apparatus and cultural practice; to the relationship between filmic texts and the historical horizon of production and reception. Films discussed will include works by Griffith, Lang, Hitchcock, Deren, Godard.

Instructor(s): D. Morgan     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): MAPH 33000,CMST 40000

ENGL 48104. Radical Documentary. 100 Units.

This course will examine the nostalgic and utopian impulses of documentary work in a range of genres: prose, poetry, photography, and film. We will be charting the extreme transformations of regional and urban culture that took place over the course of the 20th century as they were expressed—and produced—by works of experimental documentary. We will study sites whose endangered cultural artifacts demanded preservation by civic bodies, asking how efforts to salvage them through art led both to transformations of practices being “preserved” and to the articulation of new modernist aesthetics, as well as sites that compel artists to participate in developing futures by documenting events in an activist vein. We will be attuned to the distressed tempo of articulating a passing present, asking to what extent "the news" participates in history, how the documentation of the present or passing aims to alter the future, and how art oscillates between or blurs these temporalities. We will dwell throughout in the foregrounded or receding mediation of the real by technology and text, asking whether recording constitutes merely an act of preservation, or whether it contributes to a transcribed object/environment’s growth and emergence.

Instructor(s): J. Scappettone     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Open to advanced undergraduates with consent of instructor.

ENGL 48700-48900. History of International Cinema I-II.

This sequence is required of students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies. Taking these courses in sequence is strongly recommended but not required.

ENGL 48700. History of International Cinema I: Silent Era. 100 Units.

This course introduces what was singular about the art and craft of silent film. Its general outline is chronological. We also discuss main national schools and international trends of filmmaking.

Instructor(s): J. Lastra     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Prior or concurrent registration in CMST 10100 required. Required of students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies.
Note(s): This is the first part of a two-quarter course.
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 28500,ARTH 38500,CMLT 22400,CMLT 32400,CMST 48500,ENGL 29300,MAPH 36000,ARTV 20002,CMST 28500

ENGL 48900. History of International Cinema II: Sound Era to 1960. 100 Units.

The center of this course is film style, from the classical scene breakdown to the introduction of deep focus, stylistic experimentation, and technical innovation (sound, wide screen, location shooting). The development of a film culture is also discussed. Texts include Thompson and Bordwell's Film History: An Introduction; and works by Bazin, Belton, Sitney, and Godard. Screenings include films by Hitchcock, Welles, Rossellini, Bresson, Ozu, Antonioni, and Renoir.

Instructor(s): Y. Tsivian     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Prior or concurrent registration in CMST 10100 required. Required of students majoring in Cinema and Media Studies.
Note(s): CMST 28500/48500 strongly recommended
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 28600,ARTH 38600,CMLT 22500,CMLT 32500,CMST 48600,ENGL 29600,MAPH 33700,ARTV 20003,CMST 28600

ENGL 50400. Teaching Undergraduate English (Pedagogy) 100 Units.

This course seeks to provide a setting in which graduate students, prior to their first formal teaching assignment at this institution, can explore some of the elements of classroom teaching of English.  The course, for purposes of focus and with the recognition that not all our students will teach at the graduate level, is intended primarily as an introduction to teaching undergraduate English.  While emphasizing the practical issues of classroom instruction, the class includes theoretical readings on pedagogy, which help the students to reflect on and speak to their practice.  The course will provide significant opportunities in conceptualizing, designing, and running a college-level course in English:  e.g., the opportunity to lead a mock-classroom discussion, to construct a sample syllabus, to grade a common paper.

Instructor(s): H. Keenleyside     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): This course is restricted to second- and third-year English Ph.D. students only; other students need consent of instructor.

ENGL 51000. PhD Colloquium. 100 Units.

This course provides a theoretical and practical introduction to advanced literary studies. Readings are drawn from four modes of inquiry that helped to produce our discipline and that continue to animate scholarship in the present – namely, philology, criticism, aesthetics, and genealogy. In addition, participants will complete several short assignments meant to familiarize them with common skills and practices of literary studies.

Instructor(s): D. Nelson     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): This course is intended for first-year English PhD students only; other interested students need consent of instructor.

ENGL 51502. Medieval Longing: Affect, Aisthesis, Desire. 100 Units.

Many medieval texts represent the subject’s relation to its constitutive objects as marked by longing, that is by the affective dimension of those objects’ impossibility.  This course will examine the paradigmatic sites of medieval longing, the erotic object and the divine, without assuming that we know what it would mean to describe these sites as distinct or as one.  Readings will be drawn from erotic lyrics, fabliau, courtly love texts, allegory, mystical texts, visionary literature, hagiography, texts of affective piety, and theology.  We will attend to the multiple forms of aisthesis produced by these texts, their ways of generating modes of sensory aliveness, and the range of affects they produce in relation to the longing at their center.  We will also attend to the ontological questions these texts pose, concerning the nature of the subject, of the desire animating it, and of the objects towards which it is (dis)oriented.  Writing for the course will include robust and often collaborative participation in the Chalk site discussion board, the collective production of an annotate critical bibliography, and a final seminar project in the form either of a substantial paper or a conference talk and a proposal for expansion of it into a longer project.

Instructor(s): M. Miller     Terms Offered: Winter

ENGL 53450. Enlightenments and Romanticisms. 100 Units.

This seminar will develop research projects around the topics of Enlightenment(s), nationalisms, and transnationalisms in the Romantic era. Some of the categories for the course will come from traditional faculty psychology (reason, memory, imagination). Some will come from criticism and theory that are sometimes tinged with aesthetic and philosophical ambitions. Our primary emphasis will be on literature, but questions about romanticism in music, the visual arts, and the historical disciplines will be in play. The main focus will fall on English-language literary materials produced in England, Scotland, Ireland, and America, but the course may also engage texts by non-British writers such as Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau, Kant, Herder, Schiller, and the Saint Simonians.

Instructor(s): J. Chandler     Terms Offered: Winter

ENGL 55402. Enlightenment and Revolution in America. 100 Units.

This course explores the impact of ideas on social realities in the age of the American Revolution. Primary and secondary readings in law, literature, history, politics, religion, science, and the arts help us raise and respond to some of the most important questions of recent criticism and historiography: What did “Enlightenment” mean in a colonial context, and how were universal norms institutionalized or ignored in particular settings? How did the political transition from imperial monarchy to a federal republic inform new cultural notions of gender, “race,” and nation? Was the “founding period” an age of reason or an age of feeling, a moment of secularization or of increasing religiosity, a time of individual or of collective liberties? What role did literature and the literary public sphere play in the transformation of politics and the creation of a national identity and culture? And what difference did the Revolution make to the lives of ordinary women and men and to American Indians, Africans, and African-Americans?

Instructor(s): E. Slauter     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): Open to PhD and Law School students only. Permission of instructor required for Law School students.

ENGL 55550. Moving and Being Moved: Mobility and Migration in Modernity. 100 Units.

This course considers the significance of mobility, migration and migrancy in the context of concepts of modernity, and explores some of their legacies.  We will focus mainly on migration in and from Britain from the nineteenth century onwards, and consider, inter alia, how literary and other printed texts intersect with the practices and fantasies of moving and staying still.    Key terms will be emigration and settlement, colonisation and decolonisation, empire, eviction, dispossession, refuge and asylum, and ‘being moved’ in all its senses.   Readings are likely to include works by Walter Scott, Charlotte Brontë, Dickens, George Eliot, Tayeb Salih, and Sanjeev Sahota, T R Malthus, E G Wakefield, Marx, Appadurai, Agamben, Foucault, Paul Gilroy, Thomas Nail and Grégoire Chamayou.

Instructor(s): J. McDonagh     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): Open to MA students.

ENGL 56500. Anthropological Poetics. 100 Units.

This course explores the problematics that congeal when the disciplinary norms of anthropology and literary studies intersect. Since the 1970s, such anthropologists as James Clifford, Nestor Garcia Canclini, Paul Rabinow, and Donna Haraway have coordinated cultural analyses through concepts of representation, narrative, poetic form, and voice. Subsequently, poets and writers of the language school, indigenous background, and the ethnopoetics movement, among others, picked up on this anthropological mode to animate those concepts through anthropological concerns with reflexivity, textual thickness, interdiscursivity, metapragmatics, the posthuman, kinship, and intercultural semiotics. These intersections have overlaid literary objects with a kind of interdisciplinary noise, challenging what a literary object is and, as well, what objects we elect to think of as literature. This course will amplify that noise to trouble disciplinary norms of literary studies--especially the study of poetry and poetics--while also tuning into that trouble as a strategy of interpretation. Final papers will be methodological position pieces, orientating analyses of literary objects within this transdisciplinary flashpoint.

Instructor(s): E. Garcia     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Open to MA students.

ENGL 60301. Space, Place, and Landscape. 100 Units.

This seminar will analyze the concepts of space, place, and landscape across the media (painting, photography, cinema, sculpture, architecture, and garden design, as well as poetic and literary renderings of setting, and "virtual" media-scapes). Key theoretical readings from a variety of disciplines, including geography, art history, literature, and philosophy will be included: Foucault's "Of Other Spaces," Michel de Certeau's concept of heterotopia; Heidegger's "Art and Space"; Gaston Bachelard's The Poetics of Space; Henri Lefebvre's Production of Space; David Harvey's Geography of Difference; Raymond Williams's The Country and the City; Mitchell, Landscape and Power. Topics for discussion will include the concept of the picturesque and the rise of landscape painting in Europe; the landscape garden; place, memory, and identity; sacred sites and holy lands; regional, global, and national landscapes; embodiment and the gendering of space; the genius of place; literary and textual space.
,Course requirements: 2 oral presentations: one on a place (or representation of a place); the other on a critical or theoretical text. Final paper. Preference to PhD students in ENGL / ARTH / CMST / CMLT.

Instructor(s): W.J.T. Mitchell     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 69200,CMLT 50900,ARTH 48900

ENGL 62950. Milton's Career: Poetics and History. 100 Units.

This course will examine Milton’s major writings in lyric, epic, tragedy, and polemical prose, with particular emphasis upon his evolving sense of poetics and of his poetic career in relation to literary, political, and cosmic history. We will also consider trends in Milton scholarship.

Instructor(s): J. Scodel     Terms Offered: Spring

ENGL 63400. CDI Seminar: From Baroque to Neo-Baroque. 100 Units.

We will take a transatlantic and hemispheric approach to examining the political, epistemological, and aesthetic dimensions of the concept of the Baroque, by reading European and Latin American theory and poetry from three centuries (17th, 20th, 21st). The course is purposefully designed to put modern and early modern texts in constant dialogue. The literary essays of 20th-c. Latin American writers such as Lezama Lima and Alfonso Reyes, for instance, will illuminate the 17th-c. poems of Góngora and Sor Juana, while these will be read in conjunction with those of José Kozer, Luis Felipe Fabre, and Tamara Kamenszain. The remarkable persistence of the Baroque across centuries, geographies, and cultures raises a number of questions. Why has the Baroque not gone out of fashion, but rather, been reborn again and again? How does this apparently recondite mode manage to remain politically relevant and articulate urgent ideas in its moment? How does the Baroque provide poets with a prism through which to explore questions of subjectivity, originality, and capital? How does the connection between the neo-Baroque and antropofagia, the Brazilian notion of cultural cannibalism, play out in poems not only written in Brazil, but also throughout Latin America and in the United States? Although the course will be conducted in English, most of the materials will also be available in Spanish.

Instructor(s): R. Galvin and M. Martinez     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): CDIN 40000,CMLT 40000,SPAN 40017

ENGL 64700. Journalism and the British Novel. 100 Units.

This course seeks to study the mutually constitutive relation between journalism and the novel. In several case studies, it examines the formation of the journalistic version of the man (and woman) of letters, the development of literary criticism in journals, of the rise of the foreign correspondent, and the assumption of the star system of “yellow” journalism late in the nineteenth century—all in relation to developments in the novel. We will read novels by Shepherd, Dickens, Trollope, Gissing and Meredith and a variety of journalism, relying heavily on the “Newspapers of the Nineteenth Century” database.

Instructor(s): E. Hadley     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): Open to MA students.

ENGL 65550. Henry James: Modernity and Style. 100 Units.

A study of this pivotal, fin-de-siècle writer's formal innovations in his effort to elevate the prestige of the novel. We will be focusing on the concept of "late style" as a way to talk about periodization more broadly and issues related to modern intimacy and sexuality. Primary texts will include The Turn of the Screw, The Pupil, The Portrait of a Lady, The Beast in the Jungle, The Awkward Age, and The Golden Bowl; secondary readings will include texts by Robert Pippin, Eve Sedgwick, Franco Moretti, Ian Watt, Theodor Adorno, David Kurnick, Nathan Hensley, Jonathan Flatley, Mark McGurl, and others.

Instructor(s): S. Ngai     Terms Offered: Spring

ENGL 66950. New Journalism & the Nonfiction Novel. 100 Units.

This course will begin with John Hersey’s Hiroshima and end with Joan Didion’s Salvador. The cross-fertilization of the novel with journalism and journalism with the novel constitutes one of the most important developments in US literary production of the post-World War II era. The course will examine the history of such experiments as well as the contemporary pressures, political and aesthetic, that motivated these innovations in storytelling.

Instructor(s): D. Nelson     Terms Offered: Spring

ENGL 67802. Ordinariness: An Introduction. 100 Units.

To encounter the ordinary is to encounter the saturation of predictable life by details vibrating with history while calmed by processes of ongoingness, even when conditions are extreme.  Sometimes those processes are normatively ideological. But the literature suggests that all sorts of explanations are necessary to locate people at the juncture of being historical and feeling simple, ahistorical, transhistorical, beside the point, private, detached, and/or contingent, not held well by any temporality in particular. We will amass and read in a bibliography, beginning with: Hannah Arendt, Walter Benjamin, Stanley Cavell, Michel DeCerteau, Tom Dumm, David Harvey, Henri Lefevbre, Michel Foucault, John Ricco, Kristin Ross, Nadia Serematakis, Georg Simmel, Katie Stewart, Carolyn Steedman, Melodrama, (Hansen/Dyer/Gledhill), Realism (Fisher/Lutz/Howard/Warren). The main aim of this course is to encounter how a stream of thinkers conceives the mediations, affects, built environments, and ideologies of the ordinary, the everyday, the banal, and the taken for granted; we will also inhabit these scenes in aesthetic material derived from recent and contemporary US minimalist fiction (Lydia Davis, Junot Diaz, Charles Johnson, Ben Marcus), but after a few weeks this material will be reshaped by student scholarly interests.  Seminar paper and presentation required.

Instructor(s): L. Berlant     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Open to MA students.