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

Spring 2018

ENG 105 – Introduction to Creative Writing
MW 3:00 – 4:15 Professor Peter Covino
LEC: (4 crs.) Introduction to basic principles of reading and writing poetry, fiction, and nonfiction (may also substitute genres to include drama and/or screenwriting).

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
MWF 11:00-11:50 Professor Derek Nikitas
LEC: (4 crs.) Cross-listed as (ENG), CLS 160. Introduction to significant works of world literature.

How can you travel the world without ever boarding an airplane? This semester we’ll tour several continents simply by opening books and immersing ourselves in new worlds and cultures. We’ll seek new experiences inside these imagined worlds, and we’ll encounter exciting new styles of storytelling in film, prose, poetry, graphic novels, and more. As audiences and analysts, we’ll approach some understanding of how an individual author’s creative spirit and native culture can inform her work—and, by extension, we can discover how our own exposure to new and diverse literatures can deepen our own appreciation of literary art and sharpen our own moral and aesthetic sensitivities.

Course texts may include some foundational texts (Middle Eastern, Greek, Chinese) but also contemporary work from Japanese author Haruki Murakami, Indian-American Jhumpa Lahiri, Iranian graphic novelist Marjane Satrapi, Inuit filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk, Nigerian author Chinua Achebe, and more.

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
TuTh 2:00 – 3:15 Andrew Merecicky
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
MW 2:00 – 3:15 Professor Derek Nikitas
(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 205C – Creative Writing: Non-Fiction
MWF 8:00 – 8:50 Talvi Ansel
LEC: (4 crs.)  Writing and analysis of works written by class members and professional writers. This is a creative writing workshop–you will have the opportunity to write essays (personal essays, memoir, literary essays), read essays by established writers, and participate in discussions of classmates’ work. By the end of the semester, you will have written a significant amount of new creative work.   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
TuTh 9:30 – 10:45 Cornelius Murphy
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
TuTh 8:00 – 9:15 Serap Hidir
LEC: (4 crs.) Selections from U.S. literature, beginnings to the mid-19th century.

ENG 242 – U.S. Literature II
MWF 10:00 – 10:50 Dr. Barbara Silliman
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 247 – Introduction to literature of the African Diaspora
TuTh 9:30 – 10:45 Professor Gitahi Gititi
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 252 – British Literature II
TuTh 11:00 – 12:15
LEC: (4 crs.) Selections from British literature, 1798 to the present. ENG 251 not required for 252.

ENG 263 – Introduction to Literary Genres:  The Poem
TuTh 9:30 – 10:45  Professor J. Jennifer Jones
LEC: (4 crs.) Introduction to the study of the poem.

ENG 265 – Introduction to Literary Genres: The Novel
TuTh 12:30 – 1:45 Professor Stephen Barber
LEC: (4 crs.) Introduction to the study of the novel.

ENG 280 – Introduction to Shakespeare
MWF 10:00 – 10:50 Danielle Sanfilippo
LEC: (4 crs.) Introduction to the major plays and poetry of Shakespeare.

ENG 302 – Topics in Film Theory and Criticism:  Making Time in Film Theory
W 4:00 – 6:45 Professor Ryan Trimm
LEC: (4 crs.) This course will survey major issues in film theory: What distinguishes film from other visual arts? How does film relate to other art forms? How should we think of the relationship between viewer and film? What role does the framing of the film image, the editing of shots, the role of sound, the status of the performer play in how we find meaning in a film? Are films necessarily linked to the nations of their setting and production, or are they now truly global? Does the transition to digital force us to rethink all the assumptions associated with the seemingly antiquated technology of “film”? We will pay particular attention to how films construct a sense of time, examining questions of genre, editing, the “reality effect,” and the like.  The course will proceed by pairing major pieces of film criticism/theory by authors such as Christian Metz, Gilles Deleuze, and Laura Mulvey with exemplary films by directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, Michelangelo Antonioni, and Kathryn Bigelow.

ENG 305A – Advanced Creative Writing: Poetry
TuTh 2:00 – 3:15 Professor Mary Cappello
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 305B – Advanced Creative Writing: Fiction
TuTh 12:30 – 1:45  Charles Kell
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 363 – African-American Fiction
TuTh 12:30 – 1:45 Professor Gitahi Gititi
LEC: (4 crs.) This course examines the novel and the short story as vehicles for the articulation of African American experiences in the contemporary period. A close look at tone, content and form may illuminate the development of a specific African American literary tradition, as well as the political, economic, social and cultural conditions that have affected and continue to affect the thematics in, and the conditions of, production of the literature of African-descended peoples in the USA.

ENG 368 – The Bible as Literature
Th 4:00 – 6:45 Beth Leonardo Silva
LEC: (4 crs.) The Bible is perhaps one of the most influential works of literature in human history, but what does it mean to look at the Bible as literature? How does this differ from studying the Bible in Literature? Why should we bother studying it all? Reading through selected chapters from John B. Gabel and Charles B. Wheeler’s The Bible as Literatureselected short stories and excerpts from longer works of literature, and, of course, the Bible itself, we will begin to answer these questions and, hopefully, inspire you to ask many more. 

ENG 376 – Topics in Victorian Literature and Culture:  Victorian Constructions of Race
TuTh 12:30 – 1:45 Professor Carolyn Betensky
LEC: (4 crs.)  What did “race” mean to the Victorians? Probably not what you think. “Race” did not have a stable meaning in the nineteenth century. The term could designate a group of people, a nation or tribe, with a common cultural or linguistic inheritance, or it could mean a category of humans who shared a particular trait. In the earlier part of the century, “race” was an oppositional term used to distinguish some Europeans from the “savage” races; it was often deployed to explain the collective character of the working classes. From mid-century onward, “race” could but did not necessarily imply a biological essence. Some theories contended that all races had originated from a single source, whereas competing theories held that racial difference implied different species. These different understandings and uses of racial categories did not only contradict each other, but they also contradicted themselves internally.This course will examine constructions of race and ethnicity in Victorian literary texts by Thomas Carlyle, Frances Trollope, Charles Dickens, Philip Meadows Taylor, Wilkie Collins, Mary Seacole, Amy Levy, Rudyard Kipling, and George Eliot. We will also read critical essays, as well as anthropological and historical texts.

ENG 387 – Foundational Texts in Modern Gay and Lesbian Culture
TuTh 3:30 – 4:45 Dr. Andrea Yates
LEC:  (4 crs.) Popular culture gave us “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”—which could be interpreted as a celebration of gay identity in the public sphere OR as queer minstrels packaged FOR straight consumers.  In this course, we will read and watch gay-, lesbian-, and trans-authored texts and films to explore the complexity of sexual identity, but also to ask what the QUEER EYE can show us when it is trained, CRITICALLY, on heteronormative culture: hence, Queer Eye ON the Straight World. Beginning with the sensational Oscar Wilde trials, we will read some of the central queer-themed novels of the modernist era (by Wilde, Hall, Allatini), then we’ll take a brisk foray into the forties, fifties, and sixties in the U.S. (Highsmith, Baldwin), then move on to the post-Stonewall era, and see how some more recent authors recall and reassess earlier eras of struggle, both personal and political. Finally, we’ll consider Alison Bechdel’s fabulous graphic memoir, Fun Home, with its meditation on both her own, and her father’s, queerness, and Justin Torres’ We the Animals, about growing up queer in a working-class Latino household.

This course may count as a 20th century period or an upper division elective for the English Major, or as an upper division course toward the Gender and Women’s Studies Major, or as an upper-division course toward the Queer Studies minor. As a Gen Ed course this satisfies either the A3 Humanities or the C3 Diversity and Inclusion outcomes.

ENG 396 – Literature of the Sea: The Rumowicz Seminar
TuTh 12:30 – 1:45 Professor Martha Elena Rojas
LEC: (4 crs.) Studies of maritime literature and culture. Guest lecturers and field trips.

ENG 405 – Creative Writing Capstone
MW 1:00 – 2:15 Professor Peter Covino
LEC:  (4 crs.)

ENG 450G – Performing Race
MW 2:00 – 3:15 Professor Christine Mok
LEC:  (4 crs.)
This course examines the role that race has played in the shaping of theatre, alongside the roles that theatre has played in creating and sustaining cultural conceptions about race (gender, sexuality, class, ethnicity, nationality). Using performance as an entry point into larger critical thinking about performance, difference, identity, authenticity and embodiment, we will analyze plays, while also considering photography, music, television, and film, in the course of a broader conversation about race and theatricality. We will look at how race is constructed or deconstructed, maintained or dismantled onstage, in the wings, and in the streets.

ENG 479 – Renaissance Authors
TuTh 11:00 – 12:15 Professor Travis Williams
SEM: (4 crs.) Paradise Lost
The course will devote itself entirely to the most famous, influential, important, discussed, enjoyable, and perplexing epic poem in the English language: John Milton’s Paradise Lost. We will develop our skills of close reading and survey the secondary criticism of the poem. You will prepare, step-by-step, a research paper on a topic of your choice.

ENG 486 – British Authors:  Romantic Friendship:  William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge
TuTh 12:30 – 1:45  Professor J. Jennifer Jones
SEM: (4 crs.)

This course is designed to deepen your knowledge of literary history and its forms and media through the concentrated study of work by two major English writers –William Wordsworth (1770-1850) and Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834).

As young college graduates amidst the revolutionary fervor of the 1790s, William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge began what would become one of the most consequential and impassioned literary friendships of all time. Coming of age and beginning their writing careers in a historical moment defined by the transformations and displacements associated with political revolution, socio-cultural reformation, industrialization, and global war, Wordsworth and Coleridge worked in what one critic calls “close creative tension” in a period of their lives rich in both personal and literary events.

Evidence of their early collaborations includes the friends’ anonymous publication of the avant-garde collection of poems, Lyrical Ballads in 1798, which opens with Coleridge’s riveting tale of woe at sea, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and closes with Wordsworth’s sublime masterpiece, Tintern Abbey. A young contemporary, William Hazlitt, likened the experimental qualities of this collection to “the turning up of new soil.”   We will study these and many other works that evolve out of this friendship both directly and indirectly, including prose, poetry, and translation-work.

Always attuned to the particularities of the specific texts we read, we will study how the remarkable friendship of these writers affects their respective thought and publications over their lifetimes. We will study how their works helps to define ideals of Romantic politics, aesthetics, and ethics. We will turn to biography to deepen our sense of who these writers were. We will focus on how the study of prosody and rhetoric in English poetry add new layers of complexity to the reading of poetry and poetic theory. We will study writing by Wordsworth and Coleridge’s contemporaries to expand knowledge about the period in which the wrote – the Romantic era (1785-1832) – ranging from philosophical writings on the sublime, travel narratives that explore the idea of the picturesque, and political treatise on the French Revolution. Finally, we will read literary criticism that has influenced the way Wordsworth and Coleridge are read and continue to be valued today.

*This course will satisfy the1800-1900 historical period requirement and can be used for the 1660-1800 requirement through a request for a curricular modification from an English Advisor.



ENG 511 – Introduction to Professional Study II
T 7:00 – 9:45  Professor Kathleen Davis
SEM: (1.5 crs.)  ENG 511 will continue the work of ENG 510, keeping a focus both on discipline-specific academic preparation and on “Next Gen” skills necessary for career flexibility. During this semester we’ll cover topics such as: Attending Conferences; Getting Published; Issues in the Academy; and Writing for the Public. We will also continue our work on digital competency and grant writing.

ENG 601 – Seminar in Creative Writing:  Literary Nonfiction
T 4:00 – 6:45 Professor Mary Cappello
SEM: (3 crs.) In the Spring semester 2018, the emphasis of ENG601 will be on literary nonfiction’s intersection with “documentary” in many senses of that word. We’ll spend the first half of the semester immersing ourselves in the work of documentary filmmakers on campus (Mary Healey and Kendall Moore) while also studying the corpus of Chilean director Patricio Guzmàn alongside work of literary nonfictionists, Maggie Nelson (Jane: A Murder); Valeria Luiselli (Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions); and Julija Šukys (Epistolophilia); the cross-over textual criticism of Dickinson scholar, Marta Werner; and the archivally-driven genealogies of Michel Foucault. The second half of the semester will be devoted to workshopping essays and related documentary projects conceived by members of the class. The seminar anticipates students who do and do not self-identify as “creative writers,” with the hope that graduate students can also, if they so wish, use the knowledge base, practicums, reading, discussion, and workshops either to produce theoretical work in the genre or to develop public-facing multi-modal Humanities projects. From the outset, we’ll pursue the challenges of truth-telling in dark times; the pleasures and pull of the archive; the under-worked faculty of listening (whether it be to the voice of the Other or to our sonic environments); and documents that resist our filing systems. By semester’s end, we will have garnered our own uncommon archive of unanticipated texts and fresh questions in documentary’s name.

ENG 610 – Seminar in Historical Periods:  Cultural Capital and Financial Fictions
M 4:00 – 6:45 Professor Ryan Trimm
SEM: (3 crs.) Walter Benn Michaels associates literary realism with the gold standard, as both suggest symbolic exchange depends on some touchstone of absolute value. Patrick Brantlinger argues modernism established a fund of cultural value for the state, one it was able to draw from in moving to Keynesian “deficit economics.” Postmodernism has not yet received a summative theory associating it with financial shifts but has been linked with a host of socio-economic transformations: the decline of manufacturing in favor of service economies, an emphasis on consumption rather than production, a growing stress on “financialization” such as the stock market rather than traditional economic productivity.  We will examine the rise, fall, and afterlife of postmodernism by considering shifts in national cultural capital, charting these transformations against financial and economic developments.  Central to the course will be considering finance after the millennium: the emphasis on derivatives, the 2007-8 crash, austerity, and the seeming triumph of neoliberalism. Accordingly, we will focus on fiction foregrounding questions of economic and aesthetic/cultural value:  Martin Amis’s Money, John Lanchester’s Capital, Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, Tom McCarthy’s Remainder, J.G. Ballard’s Kingdom Come, Hari Kunzru’s Gods Without Men, Ali Smith’s Autumn, Alan Hollinghurst’s The Sparsholt Affair. The seminar will develop our understanding of value through consideration of critical/theoretical writings by Guy Debord, Fredric Jameson, Patrick Brantlinger, Pierre Bourdieu, David Harvey, Robert Hewison, Tony Bennett, and Barbara Herrnstein Smith.

ENG 620 – Seminar in Critical Theory:  What is Critique?
Th 4:00 – 6:45 Professor Stephen Barber
SEM: (3 crs.) What is “critique”? This seminar casts aside all efforts to approach the question ontologically (“what is…”), favoring instead an historical method that follows the evolution of “critique” both as concept and as practice. We begin with Kant’s characterization of critique as diagnostic. In this conception critique offers a diagnosis of the present, a project subsequently pursued by such thinkers as Nietzsche and Foucault for all their quarrels with Kant. We then pursue the variants of this model as represented in the work of Marx, Freud, Heidegger, Derrida, Spivak and Butler. Our study ends by querying claims of critique’s alleged collapse (it has run out of steam, according to Latour). How and why did “critique” evolve from diagnostic activity to now being the subject of diagnosis (it is paranoid, according to Sedgwick)? What alternative modes of thought emerge from the rejection of critique?

ENG 650 – Seminar in Culture and Discourse: Mimesis
W 4:00 – 6:45 Professor Christine Mok
SEM: (3 crs.)  Imitation. Representation. Expression. From its ancient to contemporary definitions, mimesis names the complicated relationship between life and art, the real and the fictive. This course examines mimeticism as a theoretical puzzle, considering its importance to literature, aesthetics, theatricality and performativity, desire, technological reproducibility, political economies, imperialism, gender, and racial politics. Beginning with Aristotle and Plato, moving through the rise of naturalism and the advent of media like film and photography, we will explore the shifting nature of mimesis and theories of representation in readings that include Auerbach, Said, Foucault, Freud, Benjamin, Baudrillard, Irigaray, Spivak, Fanon, Bhabha, and Rey Chow. In addition, the course will approach articulations of subject and object that are at stake in most considerations of mimesis. We will conclude the semester by considering current debates about mimesis’ relation to new materialism and posthumanism.



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