department of english

114 Swan Hall, 60 Upper College Road, Kingston, RI 02881

– Main Office: 401.874.5931 - Graduate Office: 401.874.4663

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English Courses

2015-2016 URI Undergraduate/Graduate Catalog

Spring 2016
Undergraduate Course Offerings

AME 204: Introduction to American Studies
Professor David Faflik
 TTH 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM

LEC: (4 crs.) As the original inter-discipline in the United States, American Studies has long been a forum for serious reflection on the nation’s evolving ideals and identities. The aim of this course is twofold. On the one hand, AME 204 asks you to think long and hard about what the construct we call “America” has meant historically, and what it continues to signify in this very global moment. On the other hand, AME 204 will help train us to be polymath Americanists, expert “readers” of a culture so richly and ambiguously diverse that it requires us to learn to examine the American past, present, and future by employing an assortment of different disciplines. Among others, these disciplines will include history, literature, sociology, political science, environmental science, and popular cultural studies. This course fulfills the gateway course requirement for the new Undergraduate Minor in American Studies.

ENG 245: Introduction to Film Decades
 TTH 3:30 – 4:45
LEC: (4 crs.) Introduction to study of film in cultural context over an historical decade, e.g., Modernism and the Silent Era of the Twenties; Cinema of Wartime in the Forties; Vietnam, Nixon, and the Seventies Blockbuster. May be repeated once with a different emphasis. (Lec. 3, Project 3) (A)

ENG 247: Introduction to Literature of the African Diaspora
Professor Gitahi Gititi
 TTh 12:30 – 1:45

LEC: (4 crs.) Cross-listed as (ENG), AAF 247. Major themes, genres, and motifs of the literatures of Africa and the Americas. Focus on one or more of these regions. Study of black oral and written literatures with emphasis on cultural, historical, political, and socioeconomic contexts. (Lec. 3, Project 3) (A) [D]

ENG 251: British Literature I 
MWF 10:00 – 10:50 

LEC: (4 crs.) Selections from British literature, beginnings to 1798. (Lec. 3, Project 3) (A) (L) [D]

ENG 252: British Literature II 
TTH 12:30 – 1:45
LEC: (4 crs.) Selections from British literature, 1798 to the present. (Lec. 3, Project 3) ENG 251 not required for 252. (A) (L) [D]

ENG 263: Introduction to Literary Genres: The Poem
How to Read a Poem, Or the Neuroscience of Poetry
Professor Sarah Eron MW 2-3:15

LEC: (4 crs.) This course will consider how poetry uses embodied experience to expound various philosophies of the mind. Some of the poets we will study are interested in memory, some in the mental powers of association, some in the projecting and creative forces of the imagination. Others find consciousness in sexual experience or union, in bodily transport, in landscape and external environments, or even in the minds of others. Some poets treat minds as a part of nature’s design; others consider minds responsible for all of the animating, vital movements of nature. What links these poetic representations of the mind over the course of literary history? One overriding principle: that a poem is something felt.

Poetry is about somatic thinking; historically, it has been our literary guide to how the mind maps and relates to the world by way of sensation. Poems use sound and sense to guide us into an emotional experience of their language, triggering our imagination into realizing or reifying an embodied state. This unique art form, we will see, has a long-standing interest in the relationship between mind and body, between text and touch

ENG 265: Introduction to Literary Genres: The Novel
 TTh 2-3:15
LEC: (4 crs.) Introduction to the study of the novel. (Lec. 3, Project 3) (A) [D]

ENG 280: Introduction to Shakespeare
 MWF 1-1:50
 also offered in PROV / CCE TH 7-9:45
LEC: (4 crs.) Introduction to the major plays and poetry of Shakespeare. (Lec. 3, Project 3) (A) (L) [D]

ENG 304: Film Genres
–Scenes from the Seventies
Professor Jean Walton
 T 3:30-4:45 / Th 3:30-7 (also offered in Prov / CCE T 7-9:45)
LEC: (4 crs.)This film genres course will sample some of the most interesting movies, directors, and innovations of the decade of the 1970s in the United States. While noting the more salient historical events of the decade (defined in contradictory ways as a bridge between the revolutionary sixties and the reactionary eighties), we will consider how mainstream cinematic texts don’t just “represent” the realities from which they emerge, but, indeed, symptomatize them, transform them, recreate them and mediate our experience of them. Students will be expected to acquire a working knowledge of the political, economic, and cultural history of the era – as well as some skills in reading cinematic texts within their historical contexts. Consideration will be paid to how established and emerging irectors appropriate and transform such genres as the Docu-drama, Western, Psychological or Political Thriller, Black Action Film, Melodrama, Horror Movie, and War Movie. Credits count toward English or Film/Media major.

ENG 305A: Advanced Creative Writing – Poetry
Professor Peter Covino TTh 3:30-4:45
LEC: (4 crs.) Intensive writing and reading workshop for students at the advanced level who have preferably taken at least one previous class in creative writing. (Lec. 3, Project 3/Online) Student may repeat ENG 305 for a total of 16 credits but may not repeat the same letter (A, B, C, D).

ENG 305B: Advanced Creative Writing – Fiction
Professor Derek Nikitas TTh 12:30 – 1:45


LEC: (4 crs.) Intensive writing and reading workshop for students at the advanced level who have preferably taken at least one previous class in creative writing. (Lec. 3, Project 3/Online) Student may repeat ENG 305 for a total of 16 credits but may not repeat the same letter (A, B, C, D).

ENG 338: Native American Literature
 MW 3:30-4:45
LEC: (4 crs.) Study of literature written by Native Americans. This course may consider early texts and traditions as well as contemporary works. (Lec. 3, Project 3)

ENG 355: Literature and the Sciences
Professor Naomi Mandel MW 3:30-4:45


LEC: (4 crs.) Study of the representation of scientific themes in literature and/or the relationship between literature and the sciences. (Lec. 3, Project 3) Pre: Junior or senior standing. Enrollment priority given to students majoring in the sciences. (A) (L) [D]

ENG 362: African-American Literary Genres
Professor Gitahi Gititi TTh 9:30-10:45

LEC: (4 crs.) Cross-listed as (ENG), AAF 362. Study of drama and poetry in the continued oral and written heritage of Africa and America, excepting short story and the novel. Focus on Baraka, Bullins, Dunbar, Giovanni, Hughes, and Walker. (Lec. 3, Project 3)

ENG 363: African-American Fiction W 4-6:45 Prov / CCE 

LEC: (4 crs.) Cross-listed as (ENG), AAF 363. Study of formal and thematic developments in the African-American novel and short story. Focus on Baldwin, Chesnutt, Ellison, Gaines, Hurston, Jacobs, Marshall, Morrison, Naylor, Reed, Walker, Wideman, Wilson, and Wright. (Lec. 3, Project 3)

ENG 367: The Epic
Professor Peter Covino TTh 12:30-1:45


LEC: (4 crs.) Studies in epic literature from Homer to the modern period. Historical emphasis will vary with instructor. (Lec. 3, Project 3)

ENG 368: The Bible
 Th 4-6:45 Prov / CCE
LEC: (4 crs.) Introduction to poetry and narrative in the Old Testament and the Apocrypha, primarily in the Authorized (King James) Version. (Lec. 3, Project 3)

ENG 374: British Literature: 1660-1800 – Gothic Fictions
Professor Sarah Eron 
MW 3:30-4:45
LEC: (4 crs.) This course explores the genre of the Gothic in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, looking also at its contemporary assimilation into twentieth-century genres of horror fiction and film. Subtopics include: the natural and the supernatural, reason and the passions, the figure of the wanderer in the Gothic romance, and spaces of enclosure. Some attention will be given to issues of gender and sexuality in the Gothic novel. Authors include: Horace Walpole, Matthew Lewis, Ann Radcliffe, Mary Shelley, and Jane Austen.

ENG 376: Topics in Victorian Literature and Culture –  Model and Alternative Victorian Families
Professor Carolyn Betensky MW 2-3:15
Alongside recent historical and critical studies on the strangeness (to us) of the “typical” Victorian family, this course will consider Victorian kinship patterns as they figure in novels by Emily Bronte, Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, Ellen Wood, George Eliot, and Eliza Lynn Linton. Among the many questions we will ask: what counted as a family for the Victorians? Who could marry, and who could not? What were the expected relations among cousins, sisters, and brothers? What difference did social class make to the way family relations were lived? Were servants members of their employers’ families? Could people we now call gay and lesbian form recognized family units in nineteenth-century Britain? The answers to these questions will likely surprise you – and change your own notions of what a family was, and is.. (Lec. 3, Project 3)

ENG 377: Topics in Romanticism
M 7-9:45 Prov / CCE
LEC: (4 crs.) Notable literary and cultural movements and motifs of Romantic literature and culture. May include prose, poetry, or dramatic works by major Romantic authors and their contemporaries. May be repeated once with a different topic. (Lec. 3, Project 3)

ENG 379: Contemporary Literature
Professor Ryan Trimm 
TTh 11-12:15
LEC: (4 crs.) Studies in contemporary literature with an emphasis on cultural and interdisciplinary issues. Movements and emphases may include multiculturalism, culture and technology, globalization, and politics of the body. (Lec. 3, Project 3)

ENG 383: Modernist Literature, 1900-1945
 W 7-9:45 Prov LEC: (4 crs.) Poetry, drama, fiction, and/or nonfiction prose with an emphasis on writers such as Eliot, Faulkner, Hurston, Joyce, Stevens, Yeats, Woolf, and Wright. (Lec. 3, Project 3)

ENG 396: Literature of the Sea:
The Rumowicz Seminar – The Oceanic Nineteenth Century & Its Legacies; or, Racing the Atlantic
Professor Martha Elenas Rojas Th 2-4:45
In this course we will read literature that charts the changing role of the sea in American life, shifting from sail to steam, commerce to recreation, whaling to conservation. Together we will explore how viable it is to speak of a maritime literature, as a body of texts and cultural productions that envision the sea (and what lies beneath, within, and beyond it) as a force to be conquered, confronted, negotiated, explored or simply survived. We will also examine the various ways in which the figure of the sailor or seaman is represented in a maritime canon that includes Olaudah Equiano’s An Interesting Narrative, Richard Henry Dana’s Two Years Before the Mast, Edgar Allan Poe’s The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, Herman Melville’s Moby Dick and Benito Cereno, Mat Johnson’s Pym, the ‘Amistad’ section of Elizabeth Alexanders American Sublime, and Kevin Young’s Ardency. We will read literary texts that challenge our sense of perspective, that ask us to view maritime literature from the shore, from ships in an indifferent ocean, and from the point of view of sailors,adventurers, pilots, merchants as well as captive and fugitive slaves. This seminar features guest lectures, film screenings, and a class trip to New Bedford and/or Mystic Seaport. This course will satisfy the English Department historical period requirement in 1800 to 1900 upon completion and submission of a Curriculum Modification form. Please see Professor Betensky or other English advising staff.

ENG 447: Poetry – Modernity and the Poetics of Imagination: 
Wordsworth and Shelley
Professor Jennifer Jones TTH 12:30 – 1:45 PM
SEM: (4 crs.) This advanced English course will focus on the writings of two influential British Romantic poets, William Wordsworth (1770-1850) and Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822). The period of British Romanticism is broadly defined as the dawn of modernity as we continue to know it today, precipitated by the transformations and displacements associated with industrialization, political revolution, and global war. Romanticism was a period which, like our own, is defined by its concentration on the relative powers and failures of the individual as well as the evolving place of individuals in the larger social world. The works of Wordsworth and Shelley are complementary insofar as their respective poems and poetic theory have not only made enduring contributions to the social, political, and aesthetic discourse of their own era but also continue to exert force on ours.

Poetry is at the heart of the movements for change that define the momentous historical era of British Romanticism. Wordsworth understood poetry as capable of making people stronger and better by training them to perceive the complexities, acknowledge the sufferings, and participate in the transformation of the world in which we all live. Shelley argued passionately on behalf of the centrality of the arts to social policy legislation, calling poets “the unacknowledged legislators of the World.” Both poets devoted their lives to these ideals.
To facilitate a deep and broad understanding of the contributions of Wordsworth and Shelley to humane letters, we will study a wide range of their writings that includes poetry, prose, drama, and translation-work. We will pay attention to such topics as musicality, meter, and rhythm (poetic form); the relationship of philosophy and poetry (ethics); the significance of deep history to modern life (paganism; Platonism; medievalism); the discourse of human rights (politics); the concepts of the beautiful, the sublime, and of taste (aesthetics); and the particularities of idealism and escapism in Romantic art (imagination). Finally, we will meditate on the relationship of the British Romantic era to 21st-century digital culture, paying close attention to literary criticism that foregrounds historical continuities and discontinuities between the Romantics and ourselves. Students will be required to think expansively, read extensively, pursue various types of research, write with discipline and purpose, and recite poetry by heart.

ENG 484: U.S. Authors Before 1900 – The Writings of Herman Melville
Professor David Faflik TTH 2:00 – 3:15 PM
LEC: (4 crs.) By turns celebrated and then all but forgotten in his own day, Herman Melville is hardly neglected in ours. The American author of Moby-Dick (1851) has long since become a mainstay of a modernist canon, while the romantic writer’s intrepid explorations of questions of race, class, gender, and ethnicity have made him a must-read for students of U.S. culture during the decades before and after the Civil War. We will read widely from Melville’s works, determining for ourselves the formal, historical, and cultural significance of his formidable body of writing. Not the least of our concerns will be Melville’s status as a literary innovator. From the fiction and criticism of his early and middle periods to the poetry and prose experiments of his later years, Melville at once attended to and challenged a whole host of received forms. Course may be repeated once, barring duplication of writers.


Spring 2016
Graduate Course Offerings

ENG 511: Introduction to Professional Study II
Professor Kathleen Davis Select Wednesdays 7:00-9:45 PM
Orientation to the major discourses, critical frameworks, and databases constituting graduate research in language and literary studies, including computer-assisted research methodologies. (1.5 credits)

ENG 601: Seminar in Creative Writing – Literary Nonfiction
Professor Mary Cappello M 4:00-6:45 PM
This seminar in literary nonfiction is open to students who self-define as “creative writers,” those who wish to use the class to discover the “creative writer” within, and also those who wish to use the seminar as a space for theorizing about genre. Together, we’ll explore the changes nonfiction is undergoing as we pay special attention to genre-bending writers (contemporary prose stylists working at the border of nonfiction and fiction, or at the borders of nonfiction and poetry); numerous timely preoccupations of the genre and your place therein (e.g., popular cultural debates around the “truth” of nonfiction); the difference between memoir and autobiography, and between literary nonfiction and journalism. I will introduce you to and tempt you to practice a range of modes so that you might expand the repertoire of your writing practices, take risks at the level of form and content, and find ways to let your writing arrive at unanticipated rather than predictable places. (3 credits)

ENG 605: Seminar in Genres
Professor Stephen Barber W 4:00-6:45 PM
This seminar offers an in-depth study of the history and theory of the novel. Alongside our attention to (accounts of) the novel’s emergence and evolution, we will read the major theorists whose work shapes the current critical field. In addition to reading history, theory, and literary criticism, we will attend to major twentieth century novelists (for example, Proust, Kafka, Musil, James, Woolf, and Rushdie) on the subject of their craft. Finally, we will consider at least two novels, reading with and against the grain of current theoretical views of the genre. (3 credits)

ENG 610: Seminar in Historical Periods – Race in Early America
Professor Martha Elena Rojas T 3:00-6:15 PM
In this course, we will read historical, literary and critical texts to explore how racial categories came into being in New World cultures and how these categories were tested, inhabited, and re-imagined by the human actors they sought to define. Our study will be organized around four early American sites: Landfall in the North Atlantic, the fort at Jamestown, Witchcraft at Salem, and Jefferson’s Virginia. These sites will function as interpretive nodes, connecting narratives that span from Anglo-Indian warfare on the Wabanaki frontier to slave resistance on West Indian plantations. In each place concepts of racial difference were created and concretized as African, Native, and European ways of making meaning collided. We will also attend to the ways in which literary criticism of Early America has recently approached and theorized race through studies of ecology, indigeneity, the atlantic world, and the hemispheric turn.  Literary texts will include Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Crèvecoeur’s Letters of an American Farmer, Brown’s, Clotel, Cesaire’s, A Tempest, Custalow and Daniel’s, The True Story of Pocahontas and Toni Morison’s A Mercy. (3 credits)

ENG 615: Seminar in Authors – William Wordsworth Now and Then
Professor Jennifer Jones TH 4:00-6:45 PM
This course will explore the field of British Romanticism through one of its most influential authors, William Wordsworth (1770-1850) with five goals in mind: (1) to study carefully the complex body of works of this author, which includes poetic theory and criticism in prose; poetry of many forms, including experimental poetry; drama; and translation-work; (2) to study the influence of other major authors on Wordsworth and the reception of his work, such as Charlotte Smith, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Immanuel Kant; (3) to study the scholarship of the field of Romanticism and ancillary fields of inquiry, such as affect studies, literary historicism, and postcolonial studies, that have celebrated and damned Wordsworth in ways that have helped to define the discipline of English in its 100+ year history; (4) to study major historical issues and ideas that influenced Wordsworth’s writings and its reception, such as canon, aesthetics, ethics, prosody, and translation studies; and (5) to examine the important ways that our study of Wordsworth can propel our engagement with the major issues and concerns of the discipline of English today. This seminar will encourage you to connect writers, texts, and issues with which you are already conversant and invested—in any historical period or field of inquiry—with the primary, critical, and satellite works we study on Wordsworth. (3 credits)

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