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).

Nineteenth Century Environmental Thought

Winter 2016-2017

26405

Benjamin Morgan

This course examines nineteenth-century Anglophone writing about nature and the environment in the context of our present situation of anthropogenic climate change and biodiversity collapse. If we now live in a world where there is no longer such thing as “nature” untouched by humans, this is in part as a result of processes of industrialization that were set into motion in the nineteenth century. This course explores some of the ways in which nineteenth-century writers already understood the idea of a “natural environment” to be culturally made, and the forceful literary critiques of industrialization that the period produced. Particular attention will be given to English-language writers beyond Britain and the United States. Authors will include Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens, Olive Schreiner, Toru Dutt, and Sarojini Naidu. (B, G)

Science Fiction: Theories and Origins

Autumn 2016-2017

32550

Benjamin Morgan

This seminar explores the history and theory of science fiction, focusing on the moment of its modern emergence from Jules Verne to H.G. Wells. In historical terms, we will understand the speculative fictions, utopias, and alternative histories of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries as approaching questions posed by the natural and physical sciences: how could one imagine the possibility that humans might degenerate or go extinct, that the sun and earth would someday freeze, that years were to be measured at the scale of millions? We will also explore the political significance of early science fiction, which denaturalized the progress of technology, the organization of labor, and notions of gender, often taking on challenging political questions far more explicitly than the realist novel. As we address these questions, we will examine some of the ways in which literary scholars and cultural critics have developed theories and historical narratives to account for the emergence, formal features, and political significance of science fiction. Literary works may include novels and stories by Samuel Butler, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Jules Verne, H. Rider Haggard, H.G. Wells, Edwin Abbott, Robert Louis Stevenson, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, William Morris, and Edward Bellamy. We will also read work by Fredric Jameson, Darko Suvin, and Raymond Williams. (18th/19th)

Transformations of Style, Genre, Institution: 1750-1850

Autumn 2016-2017

53520

James Chandler

This seminar would explore topics and facilitate research projects in the very long Romantic period reaching back to the age of Sensibility and forward to the emergences of Victorian forms like the three decker novel and the dramatic monologue. Ripe for inclusion in such an overview would be the culture changing novels of Richardson and Sterne, the poetry of sentiment (Grat, Collins, Charlottes, Smith), antiquarian ballad collections, the feminization of the novel (Burney, Smith, Inchbald), the Gothic (Radcliffe, Shelley), various genre-transformations in Romanticism (the conversation poem, the personal eipc, the lyrical ballad), the national tale (Edgeworth and Morgan), the historical novel (Scott and Galt), the major reviews (Edinburgh, Blackwoods, Quarterly), the weeklies (Examiner, London Magazine), and the serialized fiction that leads to the early work of Dickens and Thackeray. The point would not only be to look at processes of transformation of literary styles, genres, and institutions, but to correlate changes on all three levels with attention to larger developments in publishing, readership, demographics, political movements, technology, and overarching structures of thought. (18th/19th)

Climate Change in Literature, Art, and Film

Autumn 2018-2019

12520

Benjamin Morgan

If meteorological data and models show us that climate change is real, art and literature explore what it means for our collective human life. This is the premise of many recent films, novels, and artworks that ask how a changing climate will affect human society. In this course, we will examine the aesthetics of climate change across media, in order to understand how narrative, image, and even sound help us witness a planetary disaster that is often imperceptible. Our approach will be comparative: what kind of story about climate change can a science fiction novel about a dystopian future tell, and how is this story different than, say, that of an art installation made of melting blocks of Arctic ice? Do different media tend to emphasize different aspects of ecological crisis? Readings and discussions will introduce students to some of the ways that humanities scholarship is contributing to climate change research. The syllabus may include Jeff VanderMeer, Annihilation (2014); Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake (2003); John Luther Adams, Become Ocean (2014); George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road (2015); and Amitav Ghosh, The Great Derangement (2016). (Fiction, Theory)

Teaching Undergraduate English (Pedagogy)

Autumn 2018-2019

50400

Benjamin Morgan

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.

Climate Change in Media and Design

Winter 2019-2020

27904

Patrick Jagoda; Benjamin Morgan

If meteorological data and models show us that climate change is real, art and literature explore what it means for our collective human life. This is the premise of many recent films, novels, and artworks that ask how a changing climate will affect human society. In this course, we will examine the aesthetics of climate change across media, in order to understand how narrative, image, and even sound help us witness a planetary disaster that is often imperceptible. Rather than merely analyzing or theorizing various futures, this course will prepare students in hands-on methods of “speculative design” and “critical making.” Each Tuesday, we will study how art and literature draw on the specific capacities of written and visual media to represent climate impacts, and how new humanities research is addressing climate change. Each Thursday, we will participate in short artistic exercises that explore futures of each area. These exercises include future object design, bodymapping and story circles, tabletop gameplay, and serious game design. Throughout the quarter, guest speakers from across the humanities, sciences, and social sciences will visit the class to speak about how their disciplines are working to understand and mitigate climate impacts. The most substantial work of the quarter will be an ambitious multimedia or transmedia project about one of the core course topics to be completed in a team.

Teaching Undergraduate English (Pedagogy)

Autumn 2019-2020

50400

Benjamin Morgan

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.

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