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

Fall 2017

ENG 105 – Introduction to Creative Writing
Professor Derek Nikitas
MW 2:00 – 3:15pm
LEC: 
(4 crs.)  This course introduces students to reading fiction, poetry and drama from the perspective of a creative writer. Discussions of course texts will focus on craft, creative inspiration, and creative influence. Students will frequently write and discuss creative exercises in the three genres and critical responses to course texts.

ENG 110 – Introduction to Literature
Multiple sections available see e-Campus for details.
LEC: (4 crs.) Analysis of literature through reading and discussion of a number of genres derived from a variety of literary cultures. Not available for English major credit.

ENG 160 – Literatures of the World
Multiple sections available see e-Campus for details.
Also available on the Providence Feinstein Campus.
LEC: (4 crs.) Cross-listed as (ENG), CLS 160. Introduction to significant works of world literature.

ENG 201 – Principles of Literary Study
Multiple sections available see e-Campus for details.
Also available on the Providence Feinstein Campus.
LEC: (4 crs.) Introduction to the study of literature through reading and discussion of major methodologies, analytical approaches, and perspectives in literary study. Students will also participate in a series of faculty presentations reflecting current critical and creative practices in the discipline. Restricted to English majors.

ENG 205A – Creative Writing: Poetry
LEC: (4 crs.) Writing and analysis of works written by class members and professional writers. ENG 205A may be offered online. Students may repeat ENG 205 for a total of 16 credits but may not repeat the same letter (A, B, C, D).

ENG 205B – Creative Writing: Fiction
LEC: (4 crs.) Writing and analysis of works written by class members and professional writers.  ENG 205B may be offered online. Students may repeat ENG 205 for a total of 16 credits but may not repeat the same letter (A, B, C, D).

ENG 205C – Creative Writing: Nonfiction
LEC: (4 crs.) Writing and analysis of works written by class members and professional writers. Type of writing varies with instructor.  Students may repeat ENG 205 for a total of 16 credits but may not repeat the same letter (A, B, C, D).

ENG 205D – Creative Writing: Screen Writing
LEC: (4 crs.) Writing and analysis of works written by class members and professional writers.  Students may repeat ENG 205 for a total of 16 credits but may not repeat the same letter (A, B, C, D).

ENG 241 – U.S. Literature I
Also available on the Providence Feinstein Campus.
LEC: (4 crs.) Selections from U.S. literature, beginnings to the mid-19th century.

ENG 242 – U.S. Literature II
LEC: (4 crs.) Selections from U.S. literature, mid-19th century to the present. ENG 241 not required for 242.

ENG 243 – The Short Story
Multiple sections available see e-Campus for details.
LEC: (4 crs.) Critical study of the short story from the early 19th century to the present.

ENG 245 – Introduction to Film Decades
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.

ENG 247 – Introduction to literature of the African Diaspora
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.

ENG 248 – African American Literature from 1900 to the Present
Professor Gitahi Gititi
T/Th 11:00am – 12:15pm

ENG 251 – British Literature I
LEC: (4 crs.) Selections from British literature, beginnings to 1798.

ENG 252 – British Literature II
LEC: (4 crs.) Selections from British literature, 1798 to the present. ENG 251 not required for 252.

ENG 260 – Women and Literature
LEC: (4 crs.) Critical study of selected topics.

ENG 263 – Introduction to Literary Genres: The Poem
LEC: (4 crs.) Introduction to the study of the poem.

ENG 264 – Introduction to Literary Genres:  The Drama
Professor Christine Mok
T/Th 11:00am-12:15pm
LEC: 
(4 crs.)

ENG 265 – Introduction to Literary Genres: The Novel
LEC: (4 crs.) Introduction to the study of the novel.

ENG 300B – Literature Into to Film: Narrative
LEC: (4 crs.) Analysis of themes, techniques, printed and film narratives.

ENG 303 – Cinematic Auteur
LEC: (4 crs.) Literary study of one or more major directors with a substantial body of work exhibiting recurrent themes and distinctive style (e.g. Hitchcock, Kubrick, Kurasawa). Emphasis will vary. May be repeated once with different director.

ENG 305B – Advanced Creative Writing: Fiction
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.  Student may repeat ENG 305 for a total of 16 credits but may not repeat the same letter (A, B, C, D).

ENG 305C – Advanced Creative Writing: Nonfiction
Professor Mary Cappello
T/Th 2:00 – 3:15pm
LEC: (4 crs.) The primary aim of this intensive writing course will be to expand the horizons and challenge the assumptions that we have about non-fiction writing through our reading, writing, and workshopping. Students will be encouraged to experiment with form and to widen the repertoire of the subject of their writing. To those ends, we will study and produce prose forms that speak to the new challenges posed by the category: “Creative Non-Fiction.” This will include but not be limited to multi-genre writing (“essays” that attempt to bring divergent discourses into the same space—e.g., scientific and poetic observation; writing that tests the borders of poetry and prose); experimental autobiography (e.g., autobiography that does not presume that language is a transparent vehicle to the self); literary memoir; “autocriticism” (analytic essays that investigate the nature of a reading subject); invented nonfiction forms, to name a few. At the same time that our writing practices will make new truths available to us, we will, given the category of “creative non-fiction,” find ourselves inquiring into the nature of truth, the ethics of representing others, the transformative power of memory, and the politics of literary genre. What is a lyric essay? What does it mean to say that an essay is a form for making, breaking, and reinventing order? How can we write memoir that resists the confessional mode? Why would we want to? How can the writing of non-fiction contribute to a collective remembering? What does it mean to be a politically responsible writer? What specific challenges does the digital age pose to our practice? How can each of us assemble our own uncommon archive as wellspring to the writing we produce? Some of the writers whose work we’ll be in dialogue with include: Lyn Hejinian, Lydia Davis, Alison Bechdel, Adam Phillips, Robin Hemley, Susan Sontag, James Baldwin, James Agee, Roland Barthes, Mikhail Epstein, Cynthia Ozick, Sarah Kofman, Maggie Nelson, Claudia Rankine, Natalia Ginzburg, and Osip Mandelstam. Frequent writing experiments and group critiquing sessions will yield substantive, multi-genre mid-term and final portfolios for each student. This course will also be linked to public readings by distinguished visiting writers (the English Department’s Read/Write Series), and, if seminar participants are so moved, to public performance of their own work. We will also plug in to numerous non-fictive opportunities as they arise, from film screenings or related exhibits to site-specific fieldwork of students’ own choosing and design.

ENG 305D – Advanced Creative Writing: Screenwriting
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. Student may repeat ENG 305 for a total of 16 credits but may not repeat the same letter (A, B, C, D).

ENG 339:  Literary Nonfiction:  Dreamwork
Professor Mary Cappello
T/Th 3:30-4:45pm

“You think you are dreaming the book. You are its dream.”—Edmond Jabès

“In Dreams Begin Responsibilities,” title of a short fiction by Delmore Schwartz

The course will explore those features that distinguish literary nonfiction from straight nonfiction, or journalism, i.e., its play with the uncanny, sur-reality, the unconscious, metamorphosis, linguistic over-determination, and competing forms of “the real.” We will range from notions of dream as they are informed by literary theory and psychoanalysis, to material that exceeds the borders of reason (nightmare), to literary nonfiction’s address of ideology, as in “the American dream.” If all literary production is a kind of dream-work, what are the stakes of singling out literary nonfiction in dream’s name? How do we “interpret” literary nonfiction’s dream? What does the dream ask of the dreamer? What is its mode of address and the terms of its making, its temporality (day or night, waking or sleeping), its duration, its sensory limits (in color or b/w; acoustically or visually)? How does literature as dream-work give us access to the residual, the left-out or the left-over? To the alternative worlds we can sense but not see? To the terms of our desire and of our yearning? Our focus will be on literary texts composed in the late 20th and early 21st centuries mostly of US origin under the aegis of a newly invented category, “literary nonfiction” aka “creative nonfiction.” Texts still TBD though could include the writing of Rebecca Solnit; Lia Purpura; Barbara Ehrenreich; DJ Waldie; Georges Perec, and others. We will also study one or two film texts (most likely either Chilean director, Patricio Guzman’s dream-like political documentaries, The Pearl Button and Nostalgia for the Light) and the singular dreamscapes of filmmakers, The Brothers Quay (e.g., “Unmistaken Hands: Ex Voto FH”). Students will write numerous short thought pieces and riffs throughout the course of the semester; make group presentations; and dabble in literary nonfiction themselves all in preparation for a final, substantive analytic essay on literary nonfiction as dream-work. It is expected that, together, we’ll do a great deal of dreaming.

ENG 345 – Constructing Race in Early America
Professor Martha Rojas
T/Th 2:00-3:15pm

In this course, we will read both historical and literary 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: Landfalls along the North Atlantic, Witchcraft at Salem, King Phillip’s War in Rhode Island, 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. The effect, of course, was never total, and we will study how that slippage and excess de-stabilized this history, which is still being revised. This course will work with the URI Committee for Understanding Slavery in Rhode Island to research the history of Kingston, RI and/or the Rhode Island Historical Society’s collections to provide content for EnCompass: A Digital Archive of Rhode Island History.

ENG 362: African American Drama
Dr. Gĩtahi Gĩtĩtĩ
T/Th 2:00-3:15

 The course will focus entirely on African American theatre. We will be concerned with the politics of representation and location, paying close attention to the relationship between the historical moment and the dramatic and performance texts. The meaning of the dramatic texts studied will be linked to their significance and potential social effects. Written largely during periods of turbulent social change, the texts chosen provide an opportunity to reflect on the transformative power of theatre. Beginning with a broad overview of the issues and performance traditions impacting African American drama, we will proceed to the major highlights in the evolution of the latter. Notions of race, gender, class, and how these impact the retrieval of black people as speaking subjects will also be examined.

ENG 363 – African-American Fiction
LEC: (4 crs.) Cross-listed as (ENG), AAF 363. This term we will examine the depiction of various manifestations of racial violence, and the use of violence as a theme or metaphor, by African American authors.  Our literary inquiry will intersect with contemporary issues such as the #blacklivesmatter movement and other means of social protest and uprising, the ongoing debates over policing and the American prison industry, and the multiplicity of socio-political factors that perpetuate the criminalization and marginalization of black communities.  We’ll engage with the origins and ethics of black rage and riotous forms of protest, and consider the similarities and differences between #blacklivesmatter and the activism of the U.S. civil rights movement.  Authors will include Langston Hughes, Toni Morrison, Octavia Butler, Richard Wright, and Kekla Magoon.

ENG 367 – The Epic
LEC: (4 crs.) Studies in epic literature from Homer to the modern period. Historical emphasis will vary with instructor.

ENG 376 – Topics in Victorian Literature and Culture
LEC: (4 crs.) Notable literary and cultural movements and motifs of the Victorian era. May include prose, poetry, or dramatic works by major authors and their contemporaries. May be repeated once with a different topic.

ENG 377 – Topics in Romanticism – THE SUBLIME
Professor J Jennifer Jones

TuTh 11:00-12:15
LEC: (4 crs.)  During the Romantic era (1770-1830), which is a period defined most readily by industrialization, political revolution, scientific discovery, and global war, people became obsessed with the idea of the sublime.  Associated with ecstasy, unmatchable greatness, immeasurable power, and a longing for transcendence, the sublime is a wide-ranging aesthetic term associated with peak experience that gives human beings a glimpse of something beyond themselves in art and in nature.  We will study what causes and sustains pleasure in aesthetic experience; how we judge the relative merits, powers, and effects of artworks; how and why taste develops, such that we like some things more than others; and finally, what are the implications of sublime experience when it comes to individuality, character building, social networking, and community.  We will study ancient and modern philosophy, poetry, novels, visual art, music, and film.

ENG 382 – Topics in Renaissance Literature
LEC: (4 crs.) Emphasis on cultural and interdisciplinary issues.  May be repeated once with a different topic.

ENG 383 – Modernist Literature, 1900-1945
Professor Stephen Barber

T/Th 3:30 – 4:45
LEC: (4 crs.)  Among the most experimental and, to this day, influential literary writers of the early 20th-century are Proust, Joyce, Kakfa, Musil, and Woolf, each of whom, in their singular ways, revolutionized their chosen genre of novel. Each of these writers evolved an original conception of the psyche roughly at the same time when psychoanalysts Freud and Klein were publishing their unique visions and models of psychological processes and development. In our study of these novelists, our central preoccupation is to explore this question: how are we to understand literary style in relation to a singular conception of psyche? In the case of each of the novelists we will study, how are we to discern, precisely in their novels, the psychic models upon which their respective styles depend? And in the case of Freud and Klein, we explore the relationship between their models of psyche and the style of their published delivery of these.

Course Bibliography:

Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. [1916]
Kafka, Franz. The Trial. [1925]
Musil, Robert. Selections from: The Man Without Qualities. [1943]
Proust, Marcel. Selections from: In Search of Lost Time: Volume 1. [1913]
Woolf, Virginia. Between the Acts. [1941]
Freud, Sigmund. Selected essays [PDF]
Klein, Melanie. Selected essays [PDF]

ENG 385 / GWS 385 – Women Writers: Home Front, European Front, Women and WWI
Professor Jean Walton

TuTh 2:00-3:30
LEC: (4 crs.) World War I exploded on the European front in 1914; by 1917, the U.S. had started sending material support to its allies abroad, landing thousands of troops on the ground by 1918, before the War “to end all Wars” came to a close in November of 1918. This year (2017) marks the centennial of American involvement in the war. With that in mind, I’ve organized this version of ENG 385 Women Writers as a study in women’s fiction written during or in response to the Great War.

We will plunge into the midst of the war, where women and men were involved on a number of fronts, both at home (in England, Germany, and the U.S.) and abroad (in the trenches of France).  We’ll begin with a contemporary British writer, Pat Barker, who in 1993 published Regeneration which dramatizes the experience of war neurosis and “shell shock,” a trope we will follow in a number of other texts including Rebecca West’s Return of the Soldier and Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway. We will watch the film version of the German novel by Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front, and follow up with Helen Zenna Smith’s English “reply” to this novel, Not So Quiet…, which offers a journalistic account of female ambulance drivers in France. We’ll explore the politics of pacifism and homosexuality in Despised and Rejected by A.T. Fitzroy (a.k.a. Rose Allatini) and sample a classic lesbian novel featuring more women ambulance drivers (Radcliffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness). We’ll consider a Nebraska farm boy whose life is given meaning by war (Cather’s One of Ours) and also look at African American involvement in the war.

ENG 399 Special Topics: City Mysteries in the Nineteenth Century
Professor David Faflik
T/Th 11:00 am – 12:15pm
This course examines the transatlantic rise in the nineteenth century of the literary genre known as “city mysteries.” Crossing the boundaries of fiction, nonfiction, and journalism, while spanning the urban centers and outposts of the broad north Atlantic, city mysteries heralded a new era of modern urban living, reading, and writing. We will examine the historical origins of this influential literary form, while we submit the form itself — and its cultural functions — to a close and sustained study.

 

ENG 432 – Cultural History of the English Language
Professor Kathleen Davis

TuTh 12:30 – 1:45
LEC: (4 crs.) This course examines the history of the English language with a focus on language in its cultural and social context. We will first develop a picture of English as it functions in the world of people speaking, writing, reading, and using language as a social, political, literary and economic instrument. We will then cover the grammatical and theoretical concepts necessary for analyzing the changing structure of English and its many dialects, and will treat in detail the changes in English from the tenth century to the present, as well as the English used in the Americas and elsewhere in the world today.  As we proceed, we will work to understand the relationship between technical aspects of language, such as syntax, phonology, and morphology, and the role of language in cultural and political events in England, the United States, and around the globe.

ENG 469 – The Novel
Professor James Haile

T/Th 3:30-4:45pm
SEM: (4 crs.)

ENG 472 – Shakespeare
Professor Travis Williams

TuTh 11:00am-12:15pm 
SEM: (4 crs.) This course will develop the skills appropriate to reading and interpreting dramatic texts by William Shakespeare. You will develop advanced competence in textual analysis and cultural interpretations appropriate to the texts. You will think critically about how Shakespeare’s plays engage readers culturally and aesthetically. You will distinguish between and explore the connections between literary and dramatic interpretations of play texts. You will enhance and challenge your understanding of Shakespearean genres and formal structures. You will master the methods of research, argument, and reference. As researchers you will find, assess, and correctly utilize sources drawn from print and electronic media. As writers you will master the ability to write effectively and persuasively in a variety of forms, including the critical essay and the analytic description. We will study about 8 plays. Significant online participation will be required.

ENG 478 – Medieval Authors
T/Th 3:30-4:45

ENG 480 – Jane Austen, Therapist
Professor Sarah Eron

MW 3:30 – 4:45
SEM: (4 crs.)

In her transformative collection, Janeites, Deidre Lynch addresses the social phenomenon of what she calls “Austenmania” by pushing back against Lionel Trilling’s pejorative claim that an “illicit love” of Jane Austen’s works emerged in popular culture when the late twentieth century launched a series of film adaptations based on Austen’s novels. Lynch reclaims meaning from a critical discomfort about the supposed “perversion” of Austen’s writing in the social media when she underscores an important truth about the author’s signature narrative style: Austen herself was deeply cognizant of readership, realism, and reading practices. Novels, Austen well knew, are strange material things that both represent and engage with the world; they solicit feelings of identification and judgment. Books are beloved, Austen suggests, because they possess their own fictional psyches, as well as an enticing power to transform the psychologies of their readers.

This course explores concepts of the mind, body, and memory in Austen’s oeuvre. It does so by placing Austen’s works in the philosophical context of her contemporaries. It is not a course about Austen adaptation; nor is it a course about book love, but the cultural phenomena of reading helps us to consider how Austen’s novels engaged with various theories of mind and brain at a time when critiques of Cartesian dualism, the invention of neurology, the emergence of psychology, and debates about consciousness were on the rise. What can Austen’s novels teach us about the relationship between feeling and knowing? How do these novels explore the ethics of intention and the fuzzy distinctions between human conscience and consciousness? These are just some of the questions we will examine in this course as we address the role of minds and bodies, memory and nostalgia, time and environment in Austen’s major works. Reading Austen in this way brings us back to Lynch’s consideration of Austen’s readers – now and then. The history of Austen’s reception is a testament to the fact that her texts have both a mind-altering and a consolatory power.

May be repeated once for a total of 8 credits, barring duplication of writers. Not for graduate credit.

GRADUATE CLASSES

ENG 510 – Introduction to Professional Study I
Professor Kathleen Davis

TBA
SEM: (1.5 crs.) Orientation to the critical frameworks and professional skills important to graduate work in literary and cultural studies, including digital and public humanities. (Seminar 1.5) Pre: graduate standing or permission of instructor. S/U grades only.

ENG 514 – History of Critical Theories
Professor Jean Walton

Th 4:00-6:45pm
LEC: (3 crs.) Since ENG 514 (required for MA and PhD) is meant to cover the history of critical and literary theory as well as serve as an introduction to key theoretical concerns in contemporary literary and cultural studies, our course readings will be organized around some established and some emerging critical concerns (e.g. affect studies, the new materialism, intersectionality, post-coloniality, etc).  Contemporary theoretical texts will be clustered with earlier historical predecessors, and room will be left for reading recommendations arising from students’ own scholarly itineraries.  

ENG 605 – Readings in Mid-Century and Contemporary Poetry and Poetics (meets requirement for U.S. and World Literature 1914-present)
Professor Peter Covino
W 4:00-6:45pm
SEM: (3 crs.) We will explore some of the most important poetic movements of the mid-twentieth century and trace their often dialogic and intertextual influences to the contemporary moment. We’ll pair aesthetic approaches such as Surrealism and the New York School, Objectivism and Hermeticism, and interrogate the Postmodern turn away from new formalist poetry toward such movements as Language Poetry and Post-confessionalism. We’ll explore how these aesthetics manifest or are resisted and transformed in noted poets, such as Aimé Césaire, Paul Celan, George Oppen, and Lorine Niedecker. We’ll likewise consider Charles Olson’s mid-twentieth century manifesto “Projective Verse” and its influences on the poetic and political culture of the day, especially in the work of Muriel Rukeyser and Frank O’Hara. The effects of these wide-ranging poetic trends and movements on a world stage will also command our attention vis à vis the rise and opposition to the Neo-Avanguardia in Italy and the theorization of Language poetry and Conceptual poetry in the work of Charles Bernstein, Lyn Hejinian, and others. Several other world poets, noted philosophers, and literary critics both more idiosyncratic and traditional will stimulate us further to engage issues of linguistic and translation theory; the intersections of poetry, performance, and film; and race, ethnicity and subjectivity. We’ll read collections by Pier Paolo Pasolini, Cecilia Vicuña, C.D. Wright, and Major Jackson (a featured writer at the Ocean State Writing Conference, Oct. 26-28), as well as select essays of literary criticism by Bakhtin, Heidegger, Wittgenstein, Kristeva, Michael Benedikt, and Marjorie Perloff. Students will be required to write short response papers, attempt their own creative efforts (if that’s an interest), and produce one final seminar paper.

ENG 610 – Constructing Race in Early America
T 4:00-6:45pm
Professor Martha Rojas

SEM: (3 crs.) How did race come into being in New World cultures? Within which institutions do racial categories emerge? How were they tested, inhabited, and re-imagined by the human actors they sought to define? This seminar will be organized around four early American sites: Landfalls along the North Atlantic, Witchcraft at Salem, King Phillips War in Rhode Island, 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 and the efforts of diplomats in North Africa. 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 Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia, William Wells Brown’s Clotel: Or, The President’s Daughter, Custalow and Daniel’s, The True Story of Pocahontas and Toni Morison’s A Mercy. This course will work with the URI Committee for Understanding Slavery in Rhode Island to research the history of Kingston, RI and/or the Rhode Island Historical Society’s collections to provide content for EnCompass: A Digital Archive of Rhode Island History.

ENG 620 – Seminar in Culture and Discourse
W 4:00-6:45pm
SEM: (3 crs.) Contrasting theoretical conceptions of culture, discursive practices, hegemony, the public and private spheres, and related concerns; may cross any historical formation or period.

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