Courses

For undergraduate courses, the distribution requirements that a course fulfills will appear in parenthesis at the end of the description. For courses offered prior to 2018-19, distribution requirements are flagged using the following system: (A) gateway, (B) fiction, (C) poetry, (D) drama, (E) pre-1650, (F) 1650–1830, (G) 1830–1940, and (H) literary or critical theory.

Provisional syllabi for some English courses can be found here. Please note that all syllabi are subject to change.

Students should consult the following list of courses that have been approved to fulfill the new literature in translation option for the undergraduate Foreign Language Requirement. Courses taken prior to 2019-20 or otherwise not on this list must be approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies (Benjamin Morgan).

Dissertation Proseminar

Autumn 2019-2020

53000

Deborah L. Nelson

Required for students in their 4th year of the English Ph.D. program and all English Ph.D. students who have not yet entered candidacy.

Dissertation Proseminar

Winter 2019-2020

53000

Deborah L. Nelson

Required for students in their 4th year of the English Ph.D. program and all English Ph.D. students who have not yet entered candidacy.

The Uses of Fiction: Poetry and Philosophy in Early Modernity

Autumn 2019-2020

53103

Tim Harrison

This course attempts to unpack the ancient quarrel between poetry and philosophy by examining how each discourse draws on the power of poiesis in different ways. We will approach this topic by examining four discourses: first, formal treatments of poetry and poetics from antiquity (Plato, Aristotle) through the late Renaissance (Sidney, Tasso, Milton); second, explicitly fictional thought experiments employed by philosophers (Avicenna, Ibn Tufayl, Descartes, Locke, Condillac); third, poetry explicitly invested in the making of fictional worlds (Spenser, Milton, Cavendish); and fourth, recent scholarship on poetry’s relationship to philosophy (Stanley Rosen, Victoria Kahn, Ayesha Ramachandran, Russ Leo, Guido Mazzoni, and others). (Med/Ren)

On Man: Sociogenesis and Subjectivation

Winter 2019-2020

54104

C. Riley Snorton

In this course, students will read and engage with how “Man” has been conceptualized and critiqued in certain areas of philosophy and critical theory. The class begins with Man’s emergence in colonial contexts, with readings from Frantz Fanon, Homi Bhabha, and Sylvia Wynter. Students will also contend with Man’s intersubjectivity with the “Subject” with readings from Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, Jose Munoz, and Hortense Spillers. Memoirs, novels, and auto-documentary films supplement this courses’ exploration of the genealogies of “Man.” (20th/21st)

Economic Humanities: 19th C British Literature and Inequality

Winter 2019-2020

54308

Elaine Hadley

Do the humanities have a role in thinking inequality? In the nineteenth century, political economy, the precursor to economics, was largely a humanistic method focused on questions of distribution rather than efficiency as is often true today. Recent new work in various fields as well as the resuscitation of political economy itself suggests Humanities may be reinserting itself into the inequality conversation. In this class, we will explore the shift from political economy to economics in the nineteenth century, the methodological revisions it occasioned and, inspired by new multidisciplinary thinking about economics, consider if this earlier moment can still help us think about inequality. We will read the fiction of Dickens, Hardy, Wells, Eliot, the political economy and economics of Smith, Mill, Jevons, Marshall, Veblen and modern theorists Orlean, Yuran, Feher, Nussbaum, Piketty. (18th/19th)

Advanced Writing for Publication Proseminar

Winter 2019-2020

55000

Sianne Ngai

Intended for students in the 5th year of the English Ph.D. program or above, this course will be a venue for revising a significant seminar paper to make it suitable for publication.

Theories of Racial Perception

Winter 2019-2020

55105

Adrienne Brown

We tend to talk about racial perception as a singular and instantaneous act, but it is perhaps better understood as a complex series of procedures involving judgment, reading, rationalization, instinct, and conjecture that normally go undescribed. In this course we will read theory, criticism, and literature considering the varying combinations of techniques, processes, structures, and convictions that allow a subject to believe they are having an experience of race. How have writers variously learned to describe and call into question the mechanics of racial perception? And is imagining the end of racial perception the same as imagining the end of race? Exploring works from a variety of traditions, eras, and genres, we will trace investigations into race’s perception as a color, a lack, a sense, a sound, a shape, a pathology, a habit, a surface, a depth, and a spell.

Job Market Proseminar

Autumn 2019-2020

56000

Julie Orlemanski

Required for students in their 6th year of the program and open to all English Ph.D. students on or preparing for the academic job market.

Job Market Proseminar

Winter 2019-2020

56000

Julie Orlemanski

Required for students in their 6th year of the program and open to all English Ph.D. students on or preparing for the academic job market.

Violence, Trauma, Repair

Spring 2019-2020

56675

Sonali Thakkar; Natcha Nsabimana

This course offers an interdisciplinary encounter with three concepts of abiding interest to scholars in the humanities and humanistic social sciences: violence, trauma, and repair. We begin with theoretical considerations about violence and its role in the founding of new political orders. The second part tackles the question of trauma, a concept that has achieved a remarkable prominence across many disciplines. But this ascendance also brought with it a number of critiques, among them that the concept is often deployed in apolitical and romanticized terms. We take on these critiques by bringing into conversation works from varying contexts: the Rwandan genocide, the Transatlantic Slave Trade, the Holocaust and Apartheid South Africa. The final part focuses on the consequences of violent acts and notions of repair formulated in the language of trauma, suffering and human rights. We ask: What is the operating rationale in this line of thinking about the contemporary world? How has it emerged, and through what kinds of institutions, interventions and techniques does it operate and extend its power across the globe? Consent required: Email Professor Nsabimana a paragraph long description about what you bring and what you hope to get out of this seminar.

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