Spring Semester 2014

ENGLISH MAJOR OFFERINGS

Spring 2014

Spring course registration begins November 18, 2013. If you are a junior or senior and need to complete your major requirements, you are strongly advised to register at the first opportunity, or you may find yourself unable to meet graduation requirements.  Please note: ENGW1111/ENGL1111/ENG U111 (or the equivalent) is a prerequisite for all ENGL courses except ENGL 1400.  For the most up-to-date information about course scheduling, go to myNEU and search the spring course offerings by clicking the “Schedule of Classes (Spring 2013)” link.  Please see the English Department Faculty Advisor, Professor Beth Britt, in 409 Holmes (x 5170) e.britt@neu.edu, if you have any questions.

All registration is now done through the Banner Self Service registration system, accessible through the myNEU Web Portal. For detailed instructions on how to use this system, go to http://www.northeastern.edu/registrar/ref-udc-reg-ugd-details.html.

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Introduction to English Studies
(required for major)

ENGL1400: Introduction to English Studies
Green
CRN: 33339
Sequence 3 (10:30-11:35 MWR)

A foundational course required of all English majors.

Does reading literature make you more empathetic? Should an adaptation of a literary work be “faithful” to its original? And by the way–what is literature, anyway? What isn’t?

This class will explore these and other current questions or debates in literary studies.  As we do so, we will read works from a variety of genres (poetry, fiction, graphic fiction, drama, essays), with emphasis on developing skills in close reading of text and on the practice of writing analytical essay.

Literary Backgrounds (required for major)

ENGL2100: Backgrounds to English American Literature
Leslie
CRN: 30103
Sequence 2 (9:15-10:20 MWR)

This course examines Greek, Roman, and Biblical literature in translation as background for literary study. We will trace the emergence and development of some of the principal genres, foundational myths, and literary motifs as they first appear in the western tradition and as they are transformed by the history of their invocation and revision. Readings include, Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Aristophanes, Virgil, Ovid, and selections from the Bible. Requirements will include short weekly writing assignments, a take-home midterm, and a regularly scheduled final exam.

 

Literary Periods
(five courses: three pre-nineteenth-century; one nineteenth-century; 0ne twentieth-century)

ENGL1600: Introduction to Shakespeare
Boeckeler
CRN: 34390
Sequence D (9:50-11:30AM TF)

Fulfills the Pre-nineteenth Century Period Requirement for English majors.

Fulfills the Arts/Humanities Level 1 requirement in the NU Core.

An introduction to Shakespeare’s major plays in every genre, this course emphasizes questions of language and modes of reading as entryways into key themes and topics (e.g., gender, identity, kin/g/ship, desire) within the Bard’s corpus. An initial in-depth study of a single play will provide a foundational knowledge of rhetorical strategies, considerations of performance, thematic development, and historical context that will then shimmer throughout discussions of the other plays. Assignments reinforce reading strategies and offer opportunities to practice elements of Shakespearean rhetoric in your own writing.

 

ENGL4617: 17th Century British Literature
Blessington
CRN: 35984
Sequence E (11:45-1:25 WF)

Fulfills the Pre-nineteenth Century Period Requirement for English majors.

The seventeenth century in England was a great age of lyric poetry and prose. The poets produced poems that are still standards and models for modern poets. We shall examine the context and the techniques of such poets as John Donne, George Herbert, Ben Jonson, Robert Herrick, Richard Crashaw, Henry Vaughan, John Dryden and others. The prose of the era represents a spectrum of experimental styles, Ciceronian, anti-Ciceronian, Baroque, scientific, personal—a handbook of various ways to write. We shall consider selections from Francis Bacon, Robert Burton, Thomas Browne, John Bunyon, Samuel Pepys, and others.

ENGL4663: Early African American Literature
Aljoe
CRN:  35986
Sequence D (9:50-11:30 TF)

Fulfills the Pre-nineteenth Century Period Requirement for English majors.

This course will focus on 18th and early 19th century trans-Atlantic (African, American, British, and Caribbean) writing by members of the African Diaspora. Recent archival research and canon reconsideration has revealed the wealth and variety of texts written by black writers during this period. Drawing on this work, we will investigate the ways in which these early Black Atlantic writers engaged with a range of issues such as the nature of the individual subject; the rise of capitalism; the rapid expansion of print culture; the development of the novel; the cultures of neo-classicism, religious sentiment, and the sublime; the rise of nationalism; and of course, the expansion of the institution of slavery. Through reading a variety of texts such as: poetry, speeches, essays, letters, fiction, slave narratives, biographies, and autobiographies—we will not only get a sense of the complexity of Early Black Atlantic literary cultures but also appreciate how these writers created the foundations for various literary traditions across the African Diaspora. Writers may include: Wheatley, Hammon, Marrant, Equiano, Banneker, Walker, Northrup, Smith, Douglass, and Jacobs.

ENGL4664: Topics in 18th C. American Literature: Gender and Empire
Dillon
CRN: 36520
Sequence B: (MW: 2:50-4:35pm)

Fulfills the Pre-nineteenth Century Period Requirement For English majors.

Eighteenth-century American literature is marked by revolution—a revolution concerning not just politics but gender as well. The American Revolution was a signal historical event—one that enabled the new nation of the United States to take shape, but it is too often understood primarily as the story of “founding Fathers” rather than a complex history of empire and nation in the larger Atlantic world.  The longer story of the eighteenth-century U.S. stretches from Europe to Africa to the Caribbean—all locations between which people, commodities, newspapers, literature, and ideas traveled, forming and informing the diasporic culture of early America. Looking to this larger Atlantic world, and the multiple revolutions (American, French, Haitian) occurring there, this class will focus on the way in which gender was a key component of the tectonic changes that shaped the revolutionary eighteenth century.  We will read both critical texts in feminist theory and gender and sexuality studies and literary texts including diaries, captivity narratives, novels, poetry, and slave narratives.  Writers may include Rowlandson, Behn, Morrison, Prince, Foster, Sansay, and Wheatley.

ENGL4627: Topic in 19th Century British Literature: 19th Century Poetry
Trousdale
CRN: 36519
Sequence 3 (MWR 10:30-11:35am)

Fulfills the Nineteenth Century Period Requirement For English majors.

The nineteenth century was a period of intense poetic experimentation. Poets made their works the vehicles for radical philosophy, new forms of narrative, political activism, and heightened emotional experience. At the same time, poetry was a popular form, and the century produced a wealth of light verse and sentimental effusion. This class will examine this rich poetic scene. Major topics will include movements like the late Romantics, the Pre-Raphaelites, and the beginnings of Modernism; the divide between popular and “high” art; the shifting relationship between poetic and religious discourse in the age of Darwin; the place of literature in delineating national history; utopianism; poetic experimentation and the visual arts; women’s authorship; and the poet’s role as public figure. Students will write three analytical papers and give a presentation on historical or literary context. Authors will include Shelley, Keats, Barrett Browning, Browning, Arnold, Hopkins, Hemans, Landon, Tennyson, C. Rossetti, Hardy, Swinburne, Wilde, Housman, Yeats, Gilbert, and Lear.

 

ENGL3100: Anti-Semitism in 20th Century American Literature
Lowenthal
CRN: 36584
Sequence F 1:35-3:15 TF

Fulfills the Twentieth Century Period Requirement For English majors.

Jews have flourished in the welcoming embrace of America, but they have also endured the tragically familiar impact of anti-Semitism.  This course will explore anti-Semitism as it appears in the most important forms of American popular culture – the Hollywood film, the Broadway stage, and the stories, poems, and essays of major Jewish and non-Jewish American writers.  The course will approach the subject of anti-Semitism from a social and historical perspective, buttressed by close readings of individual works of American literature and close analyses of scenes from Hollywood films.  Students will obtain an understanding of the social, psychological and religious foundations of anti-Semitism as it operated in American life and as it continues to operate in the deeper recesses of the contemporary American psyche.

 

ENGL3408: Modern Bestsellers

Goshgarian
CRN: 33341
Sequence D (9:50-11:30 TF)

Fulfills the Twentieth Century Period Requirement For English majors.

“Bestseller” is an artificial category determined solely by numbers of books sold. However, we will explore some reasons behind the success of recent quality fictional best-selling–i.e., what special fantasies, obsessions, themes, plot lines, characters, action etc. appeal to popular tastes.  The selections will represent a cross-section of mainstream and genres titles—e.g., thriller, mystery, “literary,” etc.–by men and women, some of whom who have become brand names.

Guest bestselling author(s) will visit class. We will also watch and discuss movies made from the works studied in the course.

Student writing: announced quizzes; midterm & final take-home essay exams (7-10 pages each).  Optional critical paper (7-10) pages analyzing a bestselling novel not read in the course.

 

ENGL4674: Modern Poetry
Trousdale
CRN: 36521
Sequence B (2:50-4:30 MW)

Fulfills the Twentieth Century Period Requirement For English majors.

When Ezra Pound called for poets to “make it new,” he wasn’t just referring to poetry: the Modernists wanted nothing less than to reinvent the literary tradition in which they wrote. This course is an intensive study of the beautiful, difficult, and sometimes bizarre poetry written in response to that challenge during the first half of the twentieth century. Discussions will range from geopolitics to metaphysics and back again, frequently within a single poem. Major topics will include tradition and canonicity, World War I, gender and sexuality, experimentalism in verse and in politics, nature poetry, interchanges between Europe and America, and the line between perception and reality. Authors will include Frost, Yeats, Pound, Eliot, HD, Stein, Moore, Williams, Stevens, Hughes, Brown, and Auden. Students will write three papers.

 

ENGL4687: 20th & 21st Century Major Figure: Morrison, Wideman Literature
TuSmith
CRN: 35988
Sequence A (11:45-1:25 MR)

Fulfills the Twentieth Century Period Requirement for English Majors.

“There’s a call-and-response between my writing and Toni Morrison’s,” John Wideman once said in an interview.  As two of the most artistically accomplished and intellectually challenging writers who have garnered major awards over the years, both Morrison and Wideman warrant sustained, in-depth study.  This course covers several of each author’s works (fiction and nonfiction) within the context of US/African American history, culture, and literary criticism.  Graded assignments include brief weekly critical analyses and responses (posted on Blackboard), a class presentation and essay, and a final analytical paper.

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Transhistorical/Transnational Courses
(two required) 

ENGL1500: Survey of British Literature 1
Leslie
CRN: 35976
Sequence 4 (1:35-2:40 MWR)

Fulfills the Arts/Humanities Level 1 requirement in the NU Core

This course surveys the topography of English literature and culture from the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf to Gulliver’s Travels, that is, from around the early 10th century to the 18th century. We will develop a repertoire of  familiar traditions and genres and see how they are revised and reimagined over time. We will also explore the complex intersections of literary texts and their social contexts in a variety of forms, including the connections between courtly love and political rivalry, romance and exploration of the new world, epic and nation building. Course requirements: class participation, weekly quizzes and/or short writing assignments, a midterm essay exam, and a regularly scheduled final exam.

ENGL1502: Survey of American Literature 1
Davis
CRN: 32264
Sequence E (11:45-1:25 WF)

Fulfills the Arts/Humanities Level 1 requirement in the NU Core

This survey course of American literature from the colonial period up to the Civil War will focus on poetry, autobiography, and fiction. In considering literary history through the lens of genre—focusing on each in turn—we’ll be able to weigh different ways of constructing what counts as literature, and how literature speaks in different contexts—colony, revolution, and nation on the brink of war. We will read: poetry by Anne Bradstreet, Edward Taylor, Phyllis Wheatley, Philip Freneau, Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman: autobiographies by Mary Rowlandson, Benjamin Franklin, Henry David Thoreau, Harriet Jacobs, and Frederick Douglass; and fiction by Susannah Rowson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, and Herman Melville. Assignments will include midterm, final exam.

ENGL1700: Survey of World Literature 1
Kelly
CRN:  35977
Sequence B (2:50-4:30 MW)

Fulfills the Arts/Humanities Level 1 requirement in the NU Core

The “medieval” and the “Middle Ages” are decidedly Western European constructs, both temporal and spatial. What of the “rest” of the world? We will read with/in and against the notion of the European medieval by exploring a variety of texts (in translation) across a variety of cultures, including excerpts from John Mandeville’s Travels (England); the Táin Bó Cúailnge (Ireland); La Chanson de Roland (France); El Cantar de Myo Çid (Spain); and excerpts from The Secret History of the Mongols (Mongolia), the Tale of Genji (Japan), The Romance of the Three Kingdoms (China) and the Arabian Nights (India, Persia [modern Iran], Syria and Egypt), and Sundiata (Africa). We will supplement our texts with films and other media based on the readings. Our literary and critical interests include questions of genre (mainly romance and epic), narrative theory (what do modern readers do with pre-modern texts?), and difference (race, gender, class). One theme that dominates these texts is that of the nation and either the founding or dissolution of the nation: we’ll examine how such national narratives functioned then and function now. Fulfills transnational requirement and survey requirement. Requirements: short responses to the readings, two brief papers, and a collaborative project.

 

ENGL3405: Horror Fiction
Goshgarian
CRN: 35982
Sequence F (1:35-3:15 Tu/F)

This course explores English and American horror fiction from Edgar Allan Poe and Bram Stoker (Dracula) to contemporary masters such as Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Clive Barker. Using short stories, novels, and movies, we will examine the evolution of horror fiction and the various themes, techniques, and uses of macabre. Student writing: announced quizzes, midterm & final take-home essay exams (7-10 pages); optional original horror story or critical analysis of some horror work not read in the course (7-10 pages). Occasional bestselling horror author visits.

ENGL3671: Multiethnic Literature of the US
TuSmith
CRN: 35983
Sequence 4 (1:35-2:40 MWR)

This course explores contemporary issues through fiction (short story, novel) and nonfiction (autobiography, memoir) by American writers from distinct ethnic groups (e.g., Native, Asian, African, Latino/a, Jewish, Italian, Irish, Arab).  Using family relationships as common ground among diverse American cultures, the course examines literary representations of the profound social changes that have taken place in the US and abroad.  Each work is studied in-depth, with close attention to its cultural and historical contexts as well as its artistic and formal aspects.  We will also view films and taped interviews in conjunction with the assigned readings.  The course emphasizes classroom discussion and other interactive activities for collaborative learning.   Requirements include substantial reading, brief weekly responses to readings (posted on Blackboard), a midterm exam, and a final paper.

 

Theory and Methods
(one course in Literary Criticism, Linguistics or Rhetoric)

 

ENGL3325: Rhetoric of Law
Britt
CRN: 35978
Sequence F (1:35-3:15 TF)

In 1995, the televised double murder trial of O.J. Simpson brought courtroom rhetoric into the living rooms of millions of viewers. Skillful oral performances — such as defense attorney Johnnie Cochrane’s memorable summation line, “If [the glove] doesn’t fit, you must acquit” — seemed to epitomize rhetoric’s ability to mesmerize the listener, to spin the facts to favor one outcome over another. This ability, decried since the birth of rhetoric over two millennia ago, has prompted many attempts to “get past” the rhetoric, to separate content from form, substance from delivery. Yet scholars in all fields—including law—have begun to believe that words and ideas cannot be neatly or easily separated, that all ideas come from a particular perspective and are conceivable (and expressible) only through language, which is always biased. For the law, this recognition means that rhetoric doesn’t just exist in courtroom oratory; it exists in every piece of legislation, every judicial opinion, and even the very procedures through which law does its work. This recognition also means that the law is always “interested,” reinforcing particular social relations and ways of thinking at the expense of others. Because law “plays on a field of pain and death” (as legal scholar Robert Cover puts it), the relationship between rhetoric and law thus has profound implications for justice. This course explores this relationship. Readings are drawn from ancient and contemporary philosophy and rhetoric, legal studies, and legal practice. Assignments include two papers and a take-home final exam. No prior coursework in rhetoric or law is required.

ENGL3339: Topics in Literary Theory: Queer Theory
Mullen
CRN: 35979
Sequence A (11:45-1:25 MR)

This course will introduce students to queer culture and critique from the 1890s to the present.  We will read across a range of literary, historical, scientific and critical texts and will also engage other media notably film and visual arts.  We will examine the emergence of sexuality as an institutional discourse and as a mode of counter discourse.  Students will read works from diverse national traditions, both major and minor figures, as we attempt to both queer the canon and to recuperate lost queer histories.  Authors might include:  Wilde, Woolf, Proust, O’Brien, and Baldwin, along with critics such as Freud, Foucault, Butler, and Berlant.  We will also have the chance to meet contemporary writers and artists.  Requirements include a series of short writing assignments and a longer research paper at the end.

 

ENGL3340: Technologies of Text
Cordell
CRN: 35980

Sequence 3 (10:30-11:35 MWR)

When you hear the word “technology,” you may think of your computer or iPhone. You probably don’t think of the alphabet, the book, or the printing press: but each of these inventions was a technological innovation that changed dramatically how we communicate and perhaps even how we think. Texts are at the heart of most disciplines in the humanities—literature, composition, philosophy, history, religious studies—but this course argues that technology and humanistic study are deeply intertwined. Literature in English, for instance, has developed in tandem—and often in direct response to—the development of new technologies—e.g. moveable type, the steam press, radio, film, television, the internet. Every old media was once new media. Our primary objective in this course will be to develop ideas about how the long history of “new media” might help us better understand modern innovations, including computers and the internet, which continue to shape our understanding of texts and the human beings that write, read, and interpret them. Many of the debates that seem unique to the twenty-first century—over privacy, intellectual property, and textual authority—are but new iterations of familiar battles in the tumultuous history of technology and literature. This course will also be experiential, about making texts as well as reading them. In “humanities lab” sessions students will work with text technologies new and old. These labs may include paper making, setting type and printing on a letterpress, learning to encode in HTML and CSS, and computational analysis of corpora. Note: no previous technical ability is required or expected for this course.

 

LING1150: Introduction to Language and Linguistics

 

Section

CRN

Sequence

Days & Time

Instructor

1

30542

4

1:35-2:40pm MWR

Randall

2

30415

3

10:30-11:35am MWR

Randall

3

32294

3

10:30-11:35am MWR

Painter

4

32517

D

9:50-11:30am TF

Cooper

6

32518

2

9:15-10:20 am MWR

Painter

8

33479

F

1:35-3:15pm TF

Cooper

Fulfills the Arts/Humanities Level 1 requirement in the NU Core

 

Experiental Education (one course required)

ENGL3381: The Writing Process
Lerner
CRN: 34392
Sequence B (2:50-4:30 MW)

The purpose of “Processes of Writing and Tutoring” is three-fold: It is designed to help students reflect on and improve their writing. It is also designed to help students explore and understand the complex processes involved in written composition. Finally, it is designed to prepare students to become writing consultants, whether at the Northeastern Writing Center or at various educational sites, including community literacy agencies and Boston-area public schools (As part of participating in an experiential-learning course, students will be required to spend approximately 3-4 hours per week “experiencing” the act of tutoring writing at partner sites.). As consultants, students will be able to apply the knowledge they are gaining in the course to help other students improve their writing. To accomplish these goals, we will (a) examine what researchers and theorists have said about writing, (b) examine what theorists and practitioners have said about teaching in a conference setting, and (c) observe, examine, and reflect upon our own experience as writers and tutors. Students will produce a literacy narrative, a “remix” of that narrative using digital technologies, conduct primary research on their tutoring sessions, respond to readings and reflect on experiences through blogs, and present in-class activities on the teaching of writing. Required texts will include The Longman Guide to Peer Tutoring and selected articles. ENGL 3381 satisfies the experiential learning and writing-intensive requirement for English majors and is an elective option for Rhetoric minors.

Capstone Seminar (one course required)

ENGL4710: Junior/Senior Seminar: Nature and the Natural World
Kelly
Section 1, CRN: 30671
Sequence A (11:45-1:25 MR)
Fulfills the Capstone requirement in the NU Core; Fulfills the Writing Intensive in the Major Requirement

To begin with a broad and obvious generalization, humans have always re-presented the natural world back to themselves in imaginative ways, from prehistoric cave paintings all over the world to an Ansel Adams photograph or Audubon print, from a simile in Homer (in which he compares the rush of men in battle to a summer rainstorm) to a Mary Oliver poem about a Cape Cod beach. And scholars have pretty much always noticed, examined, and attempted to explain or interpret the different ways in which the natural world has been represented in the arts. However, studying representations of the natural world (I use this term rather than nature and Nature, capitalized, in order to avoid treating the natural world as an abstraction: it’s real out there) as an academic subject is relatively new. In the first half of this seminar, we will examine a handful of exemplary texts, both fictional (imaginative engagements, directly or indirectly, with the natural world) and non-fictional (that is, writings about nature that take the form of memoir or reportage) while working out an understanding of ecocriticism. Provisional readings: several poems that take the natural world as their subject, from the Middle Ages to the present (a mix of the usual suspects, such as Chaucer, Shakespeare, Wordsworth, and Emerson, as well as other poets, familiar and un-); nature writing by such figures as Thoreau, Muir, and Dillard; some short stories by such writers as Hemingway; Margaret Atwood’s post-apocalyptic Oryx and Crake, and selected writings from the natural sciences—from Darwin to Michael Pollan. We will consider such topics as nature/Nature/“nature”; representation (photography, painting and the plastic arts, film, writing); nature colonized, essentialized, gendered, and commodified (nature as metaphor/simulacrum; as mirror or book); urban/suburban/rural nature; wild/tamed nature; animal/vegetable/mineral/human/post-human; and the pleasures and problems of nature writing. In the second half of the course, students will develop their own projects in which they engage with the natural world: options include, but are not limited to, a traditional seminar paper; a research project grounded in the natural sciences; a multimedia project; a memoir (with scholarly commentary). Requirements: short in-class presentations/responses, a brief paper due at midterm, and a longer project due at the end of the term.

 

ENGL4710: Junior/Senior Seminar: Greek Tragedy
Blessington
Section 2, CRN: 30670
Sequence D (9:50-11:30 TF)
Fulfills the Capstone requirement in the NU Core; Fulfills the Writing Intensive in the Major Requirement

Greek tragedy forges powerful emotion and complexity of thought. Its actions can be the most violent imaginable. Actions that many cultures avoided mentioning publicly the Greeks put on the stage: matricide, patricide, infanticide, incest, madness, suicide, and mutilation. To balance the atrocities and avoid disgust, Greek drama had formal elements that gave aesthetic distance and acceptability to its plots.  Sometimes the plays even ended happily. Such controlled culture shock had an exportability, a clarity, and a relevance that fascinated many later civilizations, including out own.  We shall examine the thought, imagination, poetry, dramatic techniques, ethics, and aesthetics of the major Greek tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides.

Creative Writing

ENGL3372: Creative Writing
Bernstein
CRN: 33117
Sequence 2 (9:15-10:20 MWR)

Creative writing class gives the developing writer an opportunity to practice writing both poetry and prose–particularly the short story.  Features in-class discussion of student work in a workshop atmosphere. Several writing strategies will be explored, and opportunities will be given to revise submissions.

 

ENGL3377: Poetry Workshop
Peterfreund
CRN: 34391
Sequence A (11:45-1:25 MR)

After studying how to write poetry and discussing selected modern and contemporary poems, the class will begin to circulate and comment on student work electronically.  Students must complete at least twelve units of work (one unit equals a complete poem of one page or less), at least half of which must be revised and will form the basis of a student’s grade.  The class itself will be taught in a workshop or seminar format.

ENGL3380: Topics in Writing: Drama
Bernstein
CRN: 35981

Sequence 3 (10:30-11:35 MWR)

In this workshop course, students will strive to attain proficiency in the writing of a one-act play and, subsequently, of a full-length play. Both of these forms will be examined from conception to completion. Students will study prominent examples of both forms, but most of the work in the course will involve the writing itself, extensive revision, and the reviewing of other students’ submissions. If time and scheduling permit, the course will also involve attendance at a publicly presented play.