Great Classes in Spring 2018

Check out these great lecture classes,
each taught by one of our department's award-winning instructors!

British Literary Traditions, Part 1 (Eng. 210-1) with Prof. Kasey Evans

Monday/Wednesday 11-11:50, plus discussion section

This course offers an introduction to the early English literary canon, extending from the late medieval period through the eighteenth century. In addition to gaining a general familiarity with some of the most influential texts of English literature, we will be especially interested in discovering how literary texts construct, engage in, and transform political discourse. What kinds of political interventions are literary texts capable of making? What are the political implications of particular rhetorical strategies and generic choices? How do literary texts encode or allegorize particular political questions? How, at a particular historical moment, does it become possible to ignore or overlook the political projects embedded in these texts? In readings of Chaucer, More, Sidney, Shakespeare, Milton, Behn, and Swift, among others, we will consider how important it is to understand these texts from a political perspective, and wonder why this perspective is so often ignored in favor of psychologizing and subjectivizing readings.

The Bible as Literature (Eng. 220) with Prof. Barbara Newman

MWF 1-1:50, plus discussion section

This course is intended to familiarize literature students with the most influential text in Western culture. No previous acquaintance with the Bible is presupposed. We will consider such questions as the variety of literary genres and strategies in the Bible; the historical situation of its writers; the representation of God as a literary character; recurrent images and themes; the Bible as a Hebrew national epic; the New Testament as a radical reinterpretation of the “Old Testament” (or Hebrew Bible); and the overall narrative as a plot with beginning, middle, and end. Since time will not permit a complete reading, we will concentrate on those books that display the greatest literary interest or influence. From the Torah we will read Genesis, Exodus, and parts of Deuteronomy; from the Prophets, Amos, Jonah, Second Isaiah, and Daniel; and from the Writings, the books of Judges, Ruth, Psalms, and the Song of Songs, along with the saga of King David and portions of the Wisdom literature. In the New Testament, we will read the Gospels according to Matthew, Luke, and John and the book of Revelation. We’ll look more briefly at issues of translation; traditional strategies of interpretation, such as midrash and allegory; and the historical processes involved in constructing the Biblical canon.

American Literary Traditions, Part 2 (Eng. 270-2) with Prof. Julia Stern

Monday/Wednesday 12-12:50, plus discussion section

This course is a survey of American literature from the aftermath of the Civil War to first decade of the twentieth century. The course will take as a cue how writers experimented with 20 Return to Calendar various styles and genres of literature to explore the idea, if not always the realities, of “America.” Our exploration of these writers and their texts will fold into the contexts of social histories about the U.S. and reunification, the rise of capital and the Gilded Age, imperialism, and immigration.

Intro to Asian American Literature (Eng. 275) with Prof. Andrew Leong

Monday/Wednesday 12-12:50, plus discussion section

Asian North Americans are a diverse people with a strange relationship to land: they have been denied citizenship and have been chased from their homes, they have been called “aliens” and thought of as “perpetual foreigners”, they have experienced and maybe perpetrated multiple colonizations of the lands they inhabit, and they are seen as technologically inclined and even robotic. These racialized experiences of place and displacement have been theorized in Asian North American literature and other forms of storytelling. This course will focus on these stories to ask: How have Asian North Americans inhabited the earth through their difference? With topics ranging from citizenship, solidarity, food and resource use, globalization, environmental justice, and the future, these stories will challenge us to think globally as our planet may very well be moving closer to extinction.