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Upcoming Courses

So many interesting courses this term — how will you choose?

Expanded information about upcoming courses is offered by the professors who will teach them.


LIT 223A
Introduction to Literary Genres
Taught by: Jay Ponteri

More about this course from the instructor:

This term is all about FORM and the basic vocabulary of form.  We will be looking at four genres (fiction, nonfiction, and poetry) for each of their uniquely shaped histories and shared formal qualities. What are the conventions that have defined each literary form through time?  How do authors play with these conventions and stretch the boundaries of form?  How have literary formal conventions shifted through time in response to political/social/cultural influences? The key outcome for this course is: Demonstrate an understanding of literary genres and the vocabulary used for analyzing poetry, fiction, non-fiction, drama, film, and other cultural texts.
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LIT 304E
Literature and Maps
Taught by: Dr. Meg Roland

More about this course from the instructor:

Think of this class as a journey, expressed as a memory, a fantasy, an amble, a political stance, a     dream, a story, an image—with multiple ways of representing movement, place or idea—physical,    metaphysical, philosophical, political or social.  I invite you along on an exploration...

Aspects of our thinking on maps and literature will include imaginary geographies, spatial analysis, maps as art, maps and literary texts, GIS and literary editions, theories of space, globalization.

This class will explore the “language” of maps and the “space” of imaginative literature.  We will study maps from the medieval to the modern periods and ask how maps and literature inform each other, what kinds of symbolic languages are used, and the way that imaginative maps can be found as part of literary texts.  In addition, we will experiment with projects based on Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) to explore how the spatial analysis of maps might be a tool for a different kind of understanding of literary texts and context.
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LIT 305A
Text: Image 
Taught by: Ivonne Saed

More about this course from the instructor:

This course focuses on how the written word and visual expressions interact to create alternative art forms. Rather than either medium acting in the service of the other, we will commit our energies to investigating the conceptual intersections between the two, examining how the properties of one inform the other.
Readings providing cultural and theoretical context will complement the students’ projects and will provide an intellectual background to analyze literary and interdisciplinary works.
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LIT 306E
Digital Humanities and New Media 
Taught by: Dr. Meg Roland

More about this course from the instructor:

This course explores the intersection between computers, digital technology, and the discipline of the humanities. Students will consider how digital tools change the study of literature --especially in terms of online projects, archives, and collaboration.  For an overview, check out the CUNY DH website and The Scholar's Lab to see some of projects that are being developed. Students will produce their own digital project that engages with a literary text. This class will be exploratory--no previous experience needed!
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LIT 352A

Taught by:  Dr. Perrin Kerns

More about this course from the instructor:

This course is less about the specific historical moments the literary texts reference than it is about the larger questions revolving around bearing witness and around storytelling as a response to trauma and as a form of resistance.  However, I do think that this class calls for a bit of a warning statement.  The texts we are going to read this term are difficult both academically and emotionally.  They are texts about historical trauma, about personal witness and about how these experiences are translated into literature.  We will be reading texts and seeing films that bear witness to the Nazi occupation of France, to the Holocaust, to Hiroshima, to disappearance and torture in Latin America, to women’s oppression.   In reading and viewing these texts we too become witnesses, and this can be a complex, and potentially uncomfortable, position for some.  Also, because we are dealing with these texts in the condensed format of a weekend course, there might be an increased intensity to our experience.  Given that warning, I think there is much that we can learn from these texts—about history, trauma, memory, narrative, language and ourselves.
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LIT 370A
Taught by: Dr. Keri Behre

More about this course from the instructor:

In this course, we will undertake a close study of a variety of Shakespeare’s comedies, histories, and tragedies; one romance; and a variety of sonnets. We will pay close attention to genre, historical context, and the ways in which these texts have taken shape culturally. Since one of the course’s major goals is to help you achieve familiarity, comfort with, and appreciation for Shakespeare’s writing, the reading of plays will constitute a significant portion of the course’s work. This will become less intimidating and more rewarding as we progress in the course. Course work will include weekly response papers, individual and collaborative projects, the university’s required WID critical research essay, and a final exam. 
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LIT 384E
Taught by: Dr. Perrin Kerns

More about this course from the instructor:

This course fulfills a Post-1800 PERIOD STUDY requirement for an English major.  It also fulfills the Writing in the Discipline (WID) requirement for English majors. This means that it requires a literary research paper.  See the discussion of the WID below.
It is not possible to study Modern literature or the literary period from 1890-1945 without also spending time thinking about the changes that were taking place in science, technology, economics, politics, and popular culture.   In this class, we will want to frame our reading of the Modernist writers with an understanding of the radical shifts in all these areas that created new ways of thinking about space, time, gender, race, faith, and especially the mediating relationship of language to “reality” and “truth.” (And, we might think about how our own technological changes are radically shifting our sense of identity, language, and reality.)  In response to these changes, Modernist writers undertook experiments with language and form that challenged what they perceived to be dead tropes.   They, in some cases, were intentionally trying to disrupt the reader’s sense of “meaning making.” The Modernists, as T.S.Eliot said, were seeking to “dislocate” language, creating an experience of de-familiarization for their reader.  Thus, many of the texts we read this term are difficult reads.  I only ask that you open yourself up to the difficulty.  You can complain, you can claim to hate some of these writers, but ultimately if you give these texts the time they deserve you will find it well worth it. 
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WR 367A
Writing Seminar I: Poetry 
Taught by: Emily Kendal Frey

More about this course from the instructor:

Poetry means dramatically different things to different people. It is compellingly distinct from ordinary use of language because of the way it presents human experience. To me, a successful poem presents this human bend or urge in an entirely new way, either in content, image, music, thought, or use of language. A poem is exciting when it is the unique product of an individual mind. It is through this individual urge to name, to express, that a poem creates energy. That is not to say that poetry is a free-for-all of individual feeling. Poetry, like all arts, is necessarily in conversation with other poetry; its standards of excellence are defined in relation to every single poem and poet that has come before it. Therefore, exciting poetry demands rigorous work in its crafting. This craft refines expression and allows for more energy in the poem. A great poem seduces a reader into a new experience and through it, transforms their way of thinking.
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WR 450A
Form and Technique
Taught by: Jay Ponteri

More about this course from the instructor:

This seminar emphasizes the conceptual framework in prose (nonfiction and fiction), including discussion of rhetorical strategies, formal elements, and literary theories that illuminate the practice of writing. Though this course incorporates creative exercises, it emphasizes the critical analysis of literary works through writing based on close readings and develops students’ ability to relate the actual practice of a writer to general craft principles in prose. This quarter we focus on voice, point of view, and structure, and all the books we read might be defined (loosely) as fiction with a strong essay impulse or essay that uses a lot of fabrication.
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WR 498A
Senior Thesis
Taught by: Dr. Meg Roland & Dr. Perrin Kerns

More about this course from the instructor:

In addition to producing a work of original scholarship this term, we will also ask you to practice some form of public scholarship in which you translate your scholarship in some way for the general public, perhaps via digital technologies.   This will become a piece of your final presentation portfolio, an assignment that is aimed to help you look outward, past graduation, to the way your English degree will serve your future path.  A panel of alumni will visit us one night to discuss their trajectory post-graduation, as well.
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