English

Department Website:
https://www.haverford.edu/english

The English Department offers courses in the literary traditions of the English-speaking world. Students will expand their ability to respond to texts thoughtfully and critically, and to articulate those responses in clear and fluent English. The department aims to develop cultural and media literacy by introducing students to the range of literary traditions, broadly conceived, in the English language, and to familiarize them with major or defining instances of filmic, performative and visual texts.

This discipline prepares interested students for postgraduate work in English and other subjects as well as careers in publishing, law, international business, arts and culture, government and policy, education, healthcare, and more. Our students have been recipients of many prestigious awards, including Fulbright Fellowships and a Rhodes Scholarship, and graduates have gone on to highly selective graduate schools and law schools. Many of our graduates have served in the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps and pursue careers in service and social justice.

English majors who plan to do postgraduate work should know that doctoral programs require a reading knowledge of one or two foreign languages.

Learning Goals

Our courses provide opportunities to:

  • cultivate particular and deep understanding of specific periods, genres, authors, movements, and aesthetic or analytically significant issues.
  • grow into discerning and careful readers responsive to formal, stylistic, and thematic elements of texts, and capable of understanding them as responses to the cultural contexts in which they emerge.
  • develop an interdisciplinary approach to reading literature that crosses borders and makes interesting connections with material and methods in other disciplines and cultures.

Haverford’s Institutional Learning Goals are available on the President’s website, at http://hav.to/learninggoals.

Curriculum

In our curriculum we seek to maintain a working balance between:

  • canons of British, American and global literatures, including African American literature, Asian American literature, Postcolonial literature, South African literature, and Irish literature, and others, and
  • courses inflected by particular theoretical foci, such as performance theory, queer theory, postcolonial theory, trauma theory, media and visual studies, and environmental studies.

Students may receive major credit for one semester of coursework in creative writing. Students who submit a portfolio of work, no later than the end of first term of their junior year, may be admitted to the Creative Writing Concentration.

Up-to-date information about the English Department’s activities and courses, including extended course descriptions and syllabi, is available on the departmental website.

Major Requirements

Admission to the major requires completion of at least two courses, one at the 100 level and 1-2 at the 200 level, by the end of the sophomore year; note: WRPR H150 may be counted as one 200-level course (since its rubrics are in line with 200-level materials).

In total the major requires eleven credits, including a .5 credit tutorial (ENGL H298J) as part of Junior Seminar. Note: ENGL H399F and ENGL H399B  comprises a 1.5 credit course taken over the full senior year.

  • Seven courses at the 100, 200 and 300 levels of which:
    • at least two must be in literature written before 1800;
    • at least two in literature written after 1800;
    • at least one (and no more than two) must be at the 100 level; a minimum of two, preferably three, must be at the 200 level (WRPR 150 counts); and a minimum of two must be at the 300 level.
  • ENGL H298 and ENGL H299, the two-semester Junior Seminar in English
  • ENGL H298J, the .5 credit yearlong Junior Seminar tutorial
  • ENGL H399F (fall) and ENGL H399B (spring) for a total 1.5 credit Senior Conference

Note: The department will give major credit for one semester course in a foreign literature in the original language or for Comparative Literature 200. No more than four major credits will be awarded for work done beyond the Tri- College Consortium, whether abroad or in the U.S. Courses taken in the Bryn Mawr English Department, the Swarthmore English Department, and the U. Penn English Department may also be counted towards the major at Haverford.

Senior Project

Overview

The culminating research experience for our majors is Senior Seminar, ENGL H399. The course carries 1.5 credits and involves two parts: a critical essay based on independent research and reading guided by a faculty mentor; and a comprehensive oral examination that covers the thesis and the coursework the student has done towards the major. Creative Writing concentrators produce, instead of the critical essay, a portfolio of poems or short stories, a novella, or a screenplay accompanied by a foreword or afterword that reflects on their artistic choices and offers an analytic framework within which the work may be understood.

Preparatory Work

English majors take Junior Seminar, a year-long course that considers both major works in the field and critical and theoretical materials in the discipline. This methodological focus, along with an oral exam at the end of the first semester and comprehensive assessment at the end of the second, prepares students for the extended research and oral expectations of Senior Conference. More information on Junior Seminar is available on the department’s website. Students also participate in a workshop conducted by the Writing Program during the spring preceding the senior year: this meeting encourages junior majors to draw upon the coursework they have already undertaken both to identify areas, topics, authors, and critical questions and to begin reading widely in preparation for their thesis.

Senior Conference

Fall Semester Senior Year:

Students in the Senior Conference propose research topics to faculty consultants and are assigned to a faculty advisor by the middle of the fall semester. Students mark out an area of interest focused on an author, text, genre, theme, or formal feature, familiarize themselves with the major critical voices and debates pertaining to this field, and identify a set of issues that they investigate and analyze in their essays. Students meet each week in groups before moving to individualized meetings with their thesis advisor.

Date Event
September submission of essay topic and preferences for faculty consultant
October description of project, approved by assigned faculty consultant
October meeting with Reference Librarian
November two-page thesis statement due with short bibliography of relevant primary and critical sources
December detailed annotated bibliography

Spring Semester Senior Year:

Students have individual tutorials as they work towards submission of a draft and final thesis. At the end of the spring semester, eight students give presentations of their work over the course of two evenings. One-hour oral examinations are administered during the following week by the thesis advisor, a second reader, and a third examiner over a three- to four-day period.

Date Event
January full outline and 4-5 draft pages of essay due
February completed rough draft due
April final draft of essay due
April abstracts and reflective statements due
April oral exam lists due
April senior presentations to full department
May oral comprehensive examinations with department panel

Additional information about Senior Conference and the Senior Thesis can be found on the department’s website.

Senior Project Learning Goals

The Senior Conference will encourage students to:

  • mark out productive and independent lines of intellectual inquiry.
  • understand theoretical and critical works in the discipline.
  • engage with primary and secondary literature.
  • develop a critical writing voice for article-length work.
  • prepare a bibliography of works for oral examination.
  • hone oral skills of synthesis and dialogue in presentation and exams.
  • reflect in writing and speech about the thesis process.
  • experience scholarship as collaboration: work closely with a faculty advisor and peers on developing the project.
  • define scholarship as process: work through the stages of a research project.

Senior Project Assessment

The department seeks well-written, persuasive essays that advance independent and original arguments about texts. Theses will be based on insightful close readings and deep engagement with relevant critical and background material. The creative thesis option is assayed for the imagination with which particular projects are conceived, control over the medium, inventive play with generic conventions, insight, clarity and beauty of expression, and the capacity for self-reflection as demonstrated in the critical foreword/afterword.

Students are assessed at various stages of the process, described below, both by individual advisors and department faculty as a whole. Final letter grades are decided upon by the full department in careful discussion and consideration of student performance at each stage. Students receive extensive written comments from first reader (faculty mentor) and second reader at the end of the process.

The faculty mentor provides feedback on the following elements prior to the student examination:

  • Preliminary proposal
  • 4-5 pages of preliminary draft
  • Full draft
  • Annotated bibliography

The faculty mentor and department assess the following dimensions of the project as a full group:

  • Quality of Senior Essay
  • Quality of Oral Examination
  • Student Reflective Statement

Requirements for Honors

The department awards honors in English on the basis of performance in coursework within the Tri-College departments, the senior essay and the oral examination conducted at the end of the senior year. The department reserves honors and high honors for distinguished achievement in all three of these areas.

Creative Writing Concentration

Creative Writing courses at Haverford are open to all students. Only a handful of English majors per year, however, are accepted into the Creative Writing Concentration.

The Creative Writing Concentration entails:

  • two courses in creative writing (only one of which is counted toward the major).
  • writing a senior thesis composed of an original creative text (usually poetry, fiction or drama) and a rigorous critical introduction.

Admission to the Concentration:

  • Students interested in completing a Creative Writing Concentration must: 1) have taken or be in the process of taking two college creative writing courses by the spring of their junior year. 2) apply for acceptance to the Concentration by submitting a portfolio of creative work to the Director of Creative Writing in March of junior year.
  • Each portfolio is read closely by the departmental concentration committee. 
  • Admission depends on the number of applicants and the committee’s assessment of whether the work demonstrates a readiness to generate a substantial literary project. 

Concentrations and Interdisciplinary Minors

The English major shares a number of courses with concentrations and minors including Gender and Sexuality Studies, Visual Studies, African and Africana Studies, Peace, Justice and Human Rights, as well as interdisciplinary majors including comparative literature. Students are encouraged to consider exploring these and other cognate areas in relation to the major.

Study Abroad

Students who major in English often study abroad during their junior year. The department urges students choosing between the fall and spring semester abroad to opt for the spring. A small number of majors also study abroad for the full junior year.

Prizes

The department awards up to four prizes annually:

The Terry M. Krieger ‘69 Memorial Prize:
Established by members of his family for the graduating senior demonstrating the greatest achievement in writing during the junior and senior years, to be chosen by the English department.

Newton Prize in English Literature:
A prize established by A. Edward Newton may be awarded annually on the basis of departmental honors in English, provided that the work of the leading candidate, in the judgment of the English department, merits this award.

William Ellis Scull Prize:
A prize established in 1929 by William Ellis Scull, Class of 1883, is awarded annually to the junior or senior who has shown the greatest achievement in voice and in the articulation of the English language.

Ian Walker Prize:
A prize established in 2002, by friends, family and classmates as a memorial to honor Ian Walker, class of 1950. This prize is awarded to either a junior or senior English major.

Faculty

Kimberly Benston
The Francis B. Gummere Professor of English

Thomas Devaney
Visiting Assistant Professor of English

Stephen Finley
Professor of English

Laura McGrane
Associate Professor of English

Maud McInerney
The Laurie Ann Levin Professor of Comparative Literature; Professor of English; Chair of Comparative Literature

Rajeswari Mohan
Associate Professor of English

Reema Rajbanshi
Visiting Assistant Professor of English

Lindsay Reckson
Assistant Professor of English

Debora Sherman
Assistant Professor of English; Director of Writing Program

Asali Solomon
Associate Professor and Chair of English; Director of Creative Writing

Gustavus Stadler
Professor of English

Sarah Watson
Visiting Assistant Professor of English

Christina Zwarg
Professor of English

Courses

ENGL H110  READING POETRY  (1.0 Credit)

Stephen Finley

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts)

Introduction to the most common types of poetry in English: narrative, dramatic, lyric. The working approach is that of close reading, often word by word, in order to investigate the poetic uses of rhythm and pattern; of sound and music; of appeals to the senses; of allusion to history, art, other literature; of connotation and denotation; and of metaphor.

(Offered: Spring 2021)

ENGL H110B  READING POETRY  (1.0 Credit)

Stephen Finley

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts)

Introduction to the most common types of poetry in English: narrative, dramatic, lyric. The working approach is that of close reading, often word by word, in order to investigate the poetic uses of rhythm and pattern; of sound and music; of appeals to the senses; of allusion to history, art, other literature; of connotation and denotation; and of metaphor.

(Offered: Spring 2021)

ENGL H112  THEORIES OF THE REMIX  (1.0 Credit)

Lindsay Reckson

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts)

This course introduces students to the study of literature through the art of borrowing, sampling, recycling, and remixing. Approaching the remix as a creative/critical practice rather than a fixed genre, we’ll read texts that foreground modes of cultural theft, refuse originality and authenticity as such, and mobilize the remix as an important source of knowledge production.

ENGL H118  THE WESTERN DRAMATIC TRADITION  (1.0 Credit)

Sarah Watson

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts)

An investigation of Western drama through close study of major representative plays. Evolving notions of the dramatic event, from classical to modern and “post-modern” theaters, will be examined in relation to developing ideas of heroism, destiny, social structure, linguistic power, and theatricality itself. Emphasis will be placed on both thematic and structural problems of “play” and on the relation of the text to consequences of performance (e.g., acting, stagecraft, and audience response).

ENGL H120  THE EPIC IN ENGLISH  (1.0 Credit)

Maud McInerney

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts)

An exploration of the long narrative poems that shape the epic tradition in anglophone literature. Readings in classical epic and medieval epic, Milton, Romantic epics and the modern aftermath of epic. Crosslisted: English, Comparative Literature

ENGL H201  CHAUCER  (1.0 Credit)

Sarah Watson

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts)

Course devoted to close reading of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales; secondary readings include critical approaches and brief excerpts from other medieval sources.

ENGL H205  LEGENDS OF ARTHUR  (1.0 Credit)

Maud McInerney

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts)

An exploration of the Arthurian legend, from its earliest versions to most recent retellings. The tradition of Arthurian tales is complex and various, combining Celtic and Christian mythologies. Sometimes called the "matter of Britain" the Arthurian narrative has been critical in establishing national and ethnic identities ever since the Middle Ages. Medival notions of chivalry and courtly love also raise fascinating questions about the conflict between personal and private morality, and about the construction of both identity and gender.

ENGL H209  THIRD WORLD CINEMA: DESIRING FREEDOMS, FREEING DESIRES  (1.0 Credit)

Reema Rajbanshi

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts)

his course explores the central role of film in imagining decolonization and desire as entangled narratives in the Third World. Treating film as a text within specific cinematic traditions, we read for the ways in which Third World artists have interrogated the complex objectives of desiring freedoms and freeing desires for post/colonies.

(Offered: Fall 2020)

ENGL H212  THE BIBLE AND LITERATURE  (1.0 Credit)

Stephen Finley

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts)

A study of the Bible and its diverse genres, including legendary history, law, chronicle, psalm, love-song and dirge, prophecy, gospel, epistle, and eschatology. This study is accompanied by an extremely various collection of literary material, drawn from traditional and contemporary sources, and from several languages (including Hebrew), in order to illustrate the continued life of Biblical narrative and poetry.

(Offered: Fall 2020)

ENGL H216  IN THE AMERICA STRAIN: MUSIC IN WRITING 1855-1975  (1.0 Credit)

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts)

The seminar is an investigation of music in American literature. Walt Whitman was immersed in opera; Emily Dickinson was steeped in the hymnbook; Zora Neale Hurston in folksong; Amiri Baraka in the blues and bebop;John Cage in silence. We will explore how poetic music and ‘music’ diverge, but also look at the ways in which music and poetry have fed and inspired each other.

(Offered: Spring 2021)

ENGL H218  PERFORMING GENDER & SEXUALITY  (1.0 Credit)

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts)

Examines how the concept of performance links studies of gender and sexuality to the history of drama. How do playwrights and actors represent / unsettle ideologies of gender identity? How do they perform erotic desire?

ENGL H222  READING AND WRITING PHILADELPHIA  (1.0 Credit)

Thomas Devaney

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts); B: Analysis of the Social World

Philadelphia has been called the Quaker City, the City of Brotherly Love, home of the Leni Lenape, City of Neighborhoods, the Hidden City, and more. The city’s literary history and culture is rough and dark as it is rich and enlightened. From its patricians to its philistines, the course explores Philadelphia through a roster of writers, journalists, civic scribes, Quaker legerdemain, and pamphleteers who charted a number of cultural transformations. Discover how the asymmetrical evolution of Philadelphia, from the 1680s to the present, has informed the character of the city and its diverse residents. The course is a combination in-class lectures and discussion, and self-directed and class-led tours to cultural destinations throughout the city. Six to seven times during the semester, students will seek out new experiences in Philadelphia’s cultural community and visit, research and respond to what they’ve experienced. Course meets in Center City Philadelphia. Prerequisite(s): Priority in registration will be given to students participating in the Philly Program. If you are interested in the Philly Program, you must fill out the application, which is due on Friday, October 26 at 5 pm. This program includes registering for the program’s core course, Philadelphia: Inventing a City (ENGL H222B), and Narrativity and Hip Hop (ENGL B216) or The Politics of the Creative Class in American Cities (POLS H204B). You will be notified by Monday, November 5 if you have been accepted into the program. If applicants exceed the number of spaces in the program, a lottery will be run and you will be notified of the results on Monday, November 5 by 5 pm.

ENGL H225  SHAKESPEARE: THE TRAGIC AND BEYOND  (1.0 Credit)

Kimberly Benston

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts)

An "introductory emphasis" study of the major tragedies and related histories, comedies, and romances, with special reference to the evolution of dramatic form, poetic style, characterization, and ideology as they are shaped by Shakespeare's persistent experimentation with dramas of extravagant will, desire, tyranny, skepticism, and death. Particular attention will be paid to key scenes in an effort to assess both Shakespeare's response to contemporary literary and cultural concerns and the internal reformation of his own craft. Prerequisite(s): First Year Writing

(Offered: Fall 2020)

ENGL H233  TOPICS IN CARIBBEAN LITERATURE: A NEW WAVE  (1.0 Credit)

Asali Solomon

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts); B: Analysis of the Social World

This course will focus on authors of the Caribbean and its diaspora, engaging fiction, theory, memoir, poetry and drama from the mid-twentieth century through the present. Core themes will include migration, class, colonialism, racial identity, gender and sexuality. Crosslisted: English, Africana Studies

ENGL H238  CREATIVE NONFICTION WORKSHOP  (1.0 Credit)

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Creative Expression

In this workshop-centered class, students will learn to generate and revise works of prose nonfiction such as memoir, long-form reporting, intellectual essays and reviews.

ENGL H239  ART AGAINST FASCISM  (1.0 Credit)

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts); B: Analysis of the Social World

The threat of catastrophe forced consciousness in the 1930s to shape itself around an enduring question: how to reconcile art, personality, and intellectual inquiry with political vision and activism. The writers we will study tried to fight rising militarism, totalitarian states, and imperial autocracy with prose and poetry, never sure it was possible to do this, and never conceding that it wasn’t. Could an activist writer rely on beauty, form and rhythm? What about irony and satire? How aware should art be of contemporary issues like appropriation, wokeness, and structures of power? If, as Virginia Woolf puts it, “writing is our fighting?,” is this only a metaphor?

ENGL H244  THE NOVEL AND CLIMATE CHANGE: ENVIRONMENTS IN FICTION SINCE 1900  (1.0 Credit)

Staff

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts)

Investigates how the novel creates and interrogates natural environments and how humans shape and are shaped by them in light of current theories of changing climate. Crosslisted: English, Environmental Studies Prerequisite(s): College Writing Requirement

ENGL H247  PLANETARY LINES IN WORLD LITERATURE AND FILM  (1.0 Credit)

Reema Rajbanshi

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts)

Mainly Anglophone eco-fiction, non-fiction, and films from North America, Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Oceania address a human-impacted ecology; course work such as midterm “translation” and hybrid final paper projects encourages students to collaborate across linguistic and disciplinary interests. The question of “world” as universal and “planet” as material are considered, with an emphasis on lines of difference generating worlds in World and material predicaments re-mapping the planet. Cross-listed for English and Visual Arts.

(Offered: Spring 2021)

ENGL H247B  PLANETARY LINES IN WORLD LITERATURE AND FILM  (1.0 Credit)

Reema Rajbanshi

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts)

Mainly Anglophone eco-fiction, non-fiction, and films from North America, Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Oceania address a human-impacted ecology; course work such as midterm “translation” and hybrid final paper projects encourages students to collaborate across linguistic and disciplinary interests. The question of “world” as universal and “planet” as material are considered, with an emphasis on lines of difference generating worlds in World and material predicaments re-mapping the planet. Cross-listed for English and Visual Arts.

(Offered: Spring 2021)

ENGL H248  THE GLOBAL EIGHTEENTH CENTURY: RELIGION, RACE, & REPRESENTATION  (1.0 Credit)

Staff

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts)

Considers representations of religious and racial difference in eighteenth-century Anglophone literature. How do such representations consolidate or resist the discourse of empire? How do literary forms negotiate tensions between local, national, and global identities?

ENGL H253  ENGLISH POETRY FROM TENNYSON TO ELIOT  (1.0 Credit)

Stephen Finley

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts); B: Analysis of the Social World

A study of Tennyson, Christina Rossetti, Browning, Hopkins, Hardy, Owen, and Eliot, from "In Memoriam" (1850) to "Little Gidding" (1942). Poetry will be approached via the visual arts.

(Offered: Spring 2021)

ENGL H254  PRE-RAPHAELITES, AESTHETES AND DECADENTS: GENDER AND SEXUALITY IN THE LATE 19TH CENTURY  (1.0 Credit)

Debora Sherman

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts)

Readings in the discursive formation of the 19th-c. novel that examine the aesthetic, the ethical, the sociopolitical, and the affective as categories of interest and productive cultural investment. Authors will be selected from what may be termed the "long 19th century" and will draw from a list that includes Richardson, Austen, Bronte, Dickens, Eliot, Hardy, and James.

ENGL H258  THE “RISE” OF THE NOVEL  (1.0 Credit)

Staff

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts)

Thanks in large part to Ian Watt’s foundational study, the eighteenth century has become synonymous with the “rise” of the novel as a literary form. This course introduces both the early history of the novel and the tradition of criticism that seeks to explain it. What is a novel, exactly, and what are the cultural conditions that give it definition? What are the stakes of the idea, posited by Watt and then reformulated in several ways over the second half of the twentieth century, that the novel originates in eighteenth-century Britain? Reading fiction by Eliza Haywood, Henry Fielding, and Frances Burney in tandem with modern scholarship, we evaluate the persuasiveness of Watt’s account and of those that build on or respond to it. We also investigate the assumptions underlying the persistent characterization of the eighteenth century as a period of rising action, marked by the emergence of new aesthetic forms and forms of thought. Major assignments include two formal essays (one five to seven pages long, the other eight to 10 pages), a small-group presentation, and a final examination. Students are also assigned grades for their participation and for low-stakes, in-class writing.

ENGL H260  IN THE AMERICAN GRAIN: TRADITIONS IN NORTH AMERICAN LITERATURE  (1.0 Credit)

Christina Zwarg

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts)

The course conceptualizes American literature as a comparative literature whose traditions emerged from certain inalienable forces released as English became the dominant political language of North America. Theories of translation and language. Readings in Derrida, Certeau, Barthes, Shakespeare, Cabeza de Vaca, Behn, Rowlandson, Mather, Wheatly, Equiano, Franklin, Goethe, Nat Turner, Poe. The course concludes with a review of the drifting, searching world aboard Melville’s Pequod in Moby-Dick. Satisfies the pre-1800 requirement.

ENGL H265  AFRICAN AMERICAN LITERATURE: BLACK HORROR  (1.0 Credit)

Asali Solomon

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts); B: Analysis of the Social World

This course is an examination of literary and artistic horror by black artists. We will articulate the artistic genre of horror and its tendencies, with a particular focus on representations of racial Otherness and racism. We will also consider particular affinities between horror and modes such as black literary realism and naturalism, attentive to moments which collapse a fear of blackness and the terror associated with being black in America. We will study the work of authors and other artists, including Charles Chestnutt, Gwendolyn Brooks, Chester Himes, Edward P. Jones, Chesya Burke, Nalo Hopkinson, Tanananrive Due, The Geto Boys, Snoop Dogg, Childish Gambino and Jordan Peele. We will also consider white American literary representations of racial otherness and horror in the works of authors such as Edgar Allan Poe and Flannery O’Connor, as well as the 1968 George Romero film “Night of the Living Dead.”

(Offered: Fall 2020)

ENGL H270  PORTRAITS IN BLACK: THE INFLUENCE OF AN EMERGENT AFRICAN-AMERICAN CULTURE  (1.0 Credit)

Christina Zwarg

Division: Humanities

Tools of literary history used to examine the influence of African-American culture in the United States. Focus on the literary events of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Emphasis on the authority of African-American culture for U.S. fictions of democracy.

(Offered: Spring 2021)

ENGL H274  MODERN IRISH LITERATURE  (1.0 Credit)

Debora Sherman

Division: Humanities

Irish literature from Swift to Seamus Heaney, with attention to language as a “fissured terrain” (Eagleton) that reflects the complex geographic violence, political history, and cultural conditions of an often-contested national literature, colonial and post-colonial.

(Offered: Spring 2021)

ENGL H278  CONTEMPORARY WOMEN WRITERS  (1.0 Credit)

Sarah Watson

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts)

Readings in novels, short fiction, poetry, and some non-fictional prose by contemporary women writers. A study of the interrelations between literature written by female authors and the questions, concerns, and debates that characterize contemporary feminsit theory. Readings in Moore, Jordan, Gaitskill, Barry, Rankine, Parks, Ng, Morrison, etc.

ENGL H282  AN ENERGY OF PROFUSION; AN ENERGY OF LINE : THE MODERNIST MOVEMENT, 1900-1920  (1.0 Credit)

Debora Sherman

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts)

ENGL H289  CONTEMPORARY POETRY  (1.0 Credit)

Thomas Devaney

Division: Humanities

This course explores contemporary American poetry from 1950 to 2001 (from Ginsberg to Rankine). The class examines how poets continue a vital inquiry to redefine poetry in relation to culture, history, politics, sound, the body, and language itself. The Beats, the New American Poetry of the 1960s, the New York School, the Black Arts Movement, Feminist poetics, Queer Poetries, Ecopoetics and the Language Poets are read.

(Offered: Fall 2020)

ENGL H291  INTRODUCTION TO CREATIVE WRITING POETRY I  (1.0 Credit)

Thomas Devaney

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Creative Expression

This is a creative writing workshop on poetry. Student work is the focus along with the analysis of a wide variety of poems and poets. Weekly writing prompts will encourage students to widen their scope and develop their craft. Each week students will write poems that respond to other poems and some of the principal genres of poetry. Students will be asked to respond to the works of classmates. A final portfolio of revised poems (10 to 12 pages) is required.

(Offered: Fall 2020)

ENGL H292  POETRY WRITING II  (1.0 Credit)

Thomas Devaney

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Creative Expression

English 292 is an advanced creative writing workshop. The workshop involves both reading and writing poetry. Students will have the opportunity to expand their repertoire by modeling their pieces on the work of various poets including: Susan Howe, Morgan Parker, M.S. Merwin, and Ocean Vuong. We will analyze and investigate issues of form related to entire books and poetry collections. A final portfolio of revised work is required. Prerequisite(s): Writing sample required for consideration. Submit writing sample to Dept. of English in Woodside Cottage.

ENGL H293  INTRODUCTION TO CREATIVE WRITING: FICTION  (1.0 Credit)

Reema Rajbanshi

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Creative Expression

This course is an introduction to the techniques and strategies of fiction writing, with particular emphasis on the short story. Weekly reading assignments will include both anthologized stories and student-generated ones.

(Offered: Fall 2020, Spring 2021)

ENGL H294  ADVANCED FICTION WRITING  (1.0 Credit)

Asali Solomon

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Creative Expression

Students in the Advanced Fiction Workshop will not only continue to hone the basic elements of their fiction, including character development, dialogue, plot and prose style, but will focus much of their efforts on revision and the process of "finishing" a story. Prerequisite(s): One fiction writing course or instructor consent, and submission of writing sample to course professor

(Offered: Spring 2021)

ENGL H298  JUNIOR SEMINAR I  (1.0 Credit)

Gustavus Stadler, Rajeswari Mohan

Division: Humanities

Junior seminar comprises of a two part sequence that, through class readings, discussion, and writing tutorials, engage students in a study of (1) a series of texts representing the range and diversity of the historical tradition in British and American literature, and (2) critical theory and practice as it has been influenced by hermeneutics, feminism, psychology, semiology, sociology, and the study of cultural representation, and as it reflects the methods of literary criticism. Prerequisite(s): Only open to English majors

(Offered: Fall 2020)

ENGL H298J  JUNIOR SEMINAR I  (0.5 Credit)

Staff

Division: Humanities

Junior seminar comprises of a two part sequence that, through class readings, discussion, and writing tutorials, engage students in a study of (1) a series of texts representing the range and diversity of the historical tradition in British and American literature, and (2) critical theory and practice as it has been influenced by hermeneutics, feminism, psychology, semiology, sociology, and the study of cultural representation, and as it reflects the methods of literary criticism.

(Offered: Fall 2020)

ENGL H299  JUNIOR SEMINAR II  (1.0 Credit)

Gustavus Stadler, Rajeswari Mohan

Division: Humanities

Part II of the sequence focuses on narrative and its theorization and criticism. Readings include George Eliot's Middlemarch, stories by Henry James and Edgar Allan Poe, and James Joyce's Ulysses. Prerequisite(s): ENGL 298 or instructor consent

(Offered: Spring 2021)

ENGL H309  AGAINST DEATH: OPPOSING CAPITAL PUNISHMENT IN AMERICAN LITERATURE AND CULTURE  (1.0 Credit)

Lindsay Reckson

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts); B: Analysis of the Social World

Advanced inquiry into creative and critical responses to the death penalty in the United States from the 1830s to the 1970s. Our aim is to explore the relationship between art and social protest, and to examine how capital punishment has manifested U.S. histories of race, class, gender, religion, and sexuality. Readings in primary historical materials, literary and cultural analysis, and critical theory. Pre-requisite(s): Freshman writing, plus one 200-level ENG course; or freshman writing plus PEAC101 or PEAC201. Crosslisted: ENGL and PEAC

ENGL H346  NEW(S) MEDIA,PRINT CULTURE  (1.0 Credit)

Laura McGrane

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts)

This course explores a century of critical response and creative media innovation (1670-1770) in relation to questions about form, materiality, circulation, authority, and embodiment across genres. What structures control systems of knowledge and creative production in eighteenth-century Britain and how do these help us think about current incarnations of readership and form today? Our most ambitious texts will be Laurence Sterne’s novel Tristram Shandy—a meditation on experimental fiction, mortality, history, and digression; and Anne Carson's experimental poem Nox. The course is part of the Philadelphia Area Creative Collaboratives initiative and will work closely with poet Anne Carson and Philadelphia theater group Lightning Rod Special. Some performance workshops and travel off campus will be required. Interdisciplinary students welcome. Crosslisted: English, Visual Studies Prerequisite(s): At least one 200-level ENGL course or instructor consent

(Offered: Spring 2021)

ENGL H353  VICTORIAN POVERTY, ECOLOGY, AND PUBLIC HEALTH  (1.0 Credit)

Stephen Finley

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts)

This course will be centered upon the homeless and working poor of the 1840s and 1850s as they are described in the literature and social documents of the period. We focus on the relationship between human destitution and environmental degradation. The course, often simply, is about sewers (or lack thereof) and sewage—about water, contamination, and epidemic disease.

(Offered: Fall 2020)

ENGL H355  LITERATURE AND THEORIES OF THE POSTSECULAR  (1.0 Credit)

Staff

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts)

This course examines such theories of the postsecular in writings by Talal Asad, Tomoko Masuzawa, and Saba Mahmood, among others, as well as in literary touchstones like John Milton’s Samson Agonistes and Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno. Prerequisite(s): Two 200-level English courses or consent of instructor

ENGL H361  TOPICS AFRICAN-AMERICAN LIT: THE NEW BLACK ARTS MOVEMENT, EXPRESSIVE CULTURE AFTER NATIONALISM  (1.0 Credit)

Staff

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts)

This course will begin with an exploration of the literary achievement of the Black Arts Movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s, engaging with its political and cultural context. We will then move into contemporary fiction, poetry, nonfiction, theory and popular culture, articulating the relationship between mainstream artists of the late 20th and 21st century and the ideals of BAM. Prerequisite(s): Two 200-level English courses or instructor consent

(Offered: Spring 2021)

ENGL H363  TOPICS IN AMERICAN LITERATURE: TRAUMA AND ITS OTHERS  (1.0 Credit)

Christina Zwarg

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts); B: Analysis of the Social World

This course will expose students to recent trauma theory and the segregated traditions of literary history. Thinking about trauma theory before and after Freud, we will look again at authors attempting to bring together (and sometimes keep apart) cultural traditions irrupting into literary form from the late 18th to the early 20th century. We will also explore how forms of satire, comedy, and humor cross wires with traumatic experience. The role of heightened emotional states, including fugue or hypnotic experiences, and the shifting currency of the words "terror,” “freedom,” and “shock” will be part of our focus. Prerequisite(s): two 200-level English courses or instructor consent

(Offered: Fall 2020)

ENGL H364  JOHN BROWN'S BODY: VIOLENCE, NATURAL FANTASY, AND BODIES THAT MATTER  (1.0 Credit)

Christina Zwarg

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts); B: Analysis of the Social World

This course will use the spectacular life and death of John Brown to examine a common set of interests in a diverse set of texts produced across two centuries. These interests include terrorism and the place of violence in the cause of liberty, the relationship of aesthetic value to changing social and political claims, the role of race and gender in the construction of emancipatory rhetoric, and the role of that same rhetoric in the creation (or conservation) of a cultural and national sense of history. Prerequisite(s): Two 200-level English courses or instructor consent.

ENGL H365  TOPICS IN AMERICAN LITERATURE: ROCK, SOUL, AND CULTURAL CRITICISM  (1.0 Credit)

Gustavus Stadler

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts); B: Analysis of the Social World

This seminar will examine the emergence of music writing in the 60s and 70s in the context of contemporaneous struggles in the politics of race, gender, sexuality, and class. Students will also develop their own writing on the politics of pop as a cultural form. Prerequisite(s): Two 200-level English courses or the equivalent

ENGL H373  TOPICS IN BRITISH LIT: BRITISH COOL  (1.0 Credit)

Staff

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts)

Explores a recognizably “British” aesthetic that emerged in the UK and abroad throughout the twentieth century. This course will move beyond the shaken, not stirred, stereotypes to examine the diverse contours of what signifies as “cool” and “British” in our contemporary imaginations, and what such an aesthetic can tell us about our ideas of nationhood and ethnicity, and about the identities of the artists and communities who fashioned it.

ENGL H373B  TOPICS IN BRITISH LIT: BRITISH COOL  (1.0 Credit)

Staff

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts)

Explores a recognizably “British” aesthetic that emerged in the UK and abroad throughout the twentieth century. This course will move beyond the shaken, not stirred, stereotypes to examine the diverse contours of what signifies as “cool” and “British” in our contemporary imaginations, and what such an aesthetic can tell us about our ideas of nationhood and ethnicity, and about the identities of the artists and communities who fashioned it.

ENGL H377  PROBLEMS IN POSTCOLONIAL LITERATURE: VIOLENCE, TERROR, AND IDENTITY  (1.0 Credit)

Rajeswari Mohan

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts); B: Analysis of the Social World

An examination of the rhetorical and narrative strategies adopted by postcolonial texts as they negotiate the aesthetic challenges and political complexities of representing violence and terror. Working with fiction, nonfiction, and film, the course will measure the different effects of realism, magical realism, surrealism, and the grotesque as modes of representing the dialectic of violation and violence. Crosslisted: English, Comparative Literature Prerequisite(s): Two 200-level English courses or instructor consent

ENGL H399B  SENIOR CONFERENCE  (1.0 Credit)

Asali Solomon, Christina Zwarg, Debora Sherman, Gustavus Stadler, Rajeswari Mohan, Stephen Finley

Division: Humanities

Students work closely with a faculty consultant over the course of their senior year in the research and writing of a 25-30 page essay or a piece of creative writing accompanied by a critical preface (for the creative writing concentration). The course culminates in an hour-long oral examination that covers the thesis and coursework done for the major. Prerequisite(s): Limited to senior English majors only

(Offered: Spring 2021)

ENGL H399F  SENIOR CONFERENCE  (0.5 Credit)

Christina Zwarg, Gustavus Stadler, Laura McGrane, Maud McInerney, Rajeswari Mohan, Stephen Finley

Division: Humanities

Senior Thesis work with advisor. Prerequisite(s): Limited to senior English majors

(Offered: Fall 2020)

ENGL H480  INDEPENDENT STUDY  (1.0 Credit)

Lindsay Reckson

Division: Humanities
Domain(s): A: Meaning, Interpretation (Texts); B: Analysis of the Social World

(Offered: Spring 2021)