English Courses

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Below, you can find a list of courses from our current semester. To see a full listing of our regular courses, please refer to the college catalog. To see the current and recent course brochures produced by the English Department, please download the pdfs here:

Current English Courses: Fall 2018

ENGL. 155: FYS Men, Manhood, & Culture, Professor Susan Navarette 

This course takes as its subject representations of masculine behavior in contemporary American popular culture, with feature films, documentaries, fiction, and essays constituting course content. The works of writers such as Ernest Hemingway, James Thurber, Margaret Talbot, Judith Butler, and Norah Vincent, and films such as Tarzan the Ape Man (Van Dyke, 1932), Shane (Stevens, 1953), On the Waterfront (Kazan, 1954), The Graduate (Nichols, 1967), Do the Right Thing (Lee 1989), Reservoir Dogs (Tarantino, 1992), and Fight Club (Fincher, 1999) serve as so many “opportunities”—disguised as cultural artifacts—to examine the myths, models, and modes of masculine behavior that are circulated through American popular culture, establishing common conceptions and constructions of men, their manhood, and the competing masculinities that constitute a contemporary sense of what it means to be “a real man”—or, at least, to act like one.

ENGL. 190: Introduction to Literature and Criticism, Professor David Cody

An interdisciplinary seminar in which the primary emphasis is on discussion and the free-wheeling exchange of intriguing ideas, this course is both a seminar open to all first-year students and a “gateway” prerequisite course for English majors. We will be reading, discussing, and writing about a wide range of texts in a number of genres (literary, artistic, and cinematic).  Primary readings will include poems by Andrew Marvell, Robert Browning, Emily Dickinson; short stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Rudyard Kipling and Charlotte Perkins Gilman; engravings by William Hogarth; films by John Ford, Alfred Hitchcock, and Werner Herzog; novels by Vladimir Nabokov and Stanislaw Lem. By semester’s end, engaged and hard-working students will have acquired a valuable critical vocabulary, a degree of familiarity with a number of important literary and critical texts, and an understanding of basic assumptions underlying various critical and scholarly perspectives. Students will write individual papers and work collaboratively on class projects that may include library, museum, and on-line exhibits.  There will be a midterm and a final examination.

ENGL. 250-A: Masculinities, Professor Susan Navarette

This course takes as its subject representations of masculine behavior in contemporary American popular culture, with feature films, documentaries, fiction, and essays constituting course content. The works of writers such as Ernest Hemingway, James Thurber, Margaret Talbot, Judith Butler, and Norah Vincent, and films such as Tarzan the Ape Man (Van Dyke, 1932), Shane (Stevens, 1953), On the Waterfront (Kazan, 1954), The Graduate (Nichols, 1967), Do the Right Thing (Lee 1989), Reservoir Dogs (Tarantino, 1992), and Fight Club (Fincher, 1999) serve as so many “opportunities”—disguised as cultural artifacts—to examine the myths, models, and modes of masculine behavior that are circulated through American popular culture, establishing common conceptions and constructions of men, their manhood, and the competing masculinities that constitute a contemporary sense of what it means to be “a real man”—or, at least, to act like one. 

ENGL. 250-B: Introduction to Media Studies, Professor Umayyah Cable

What is media? How and why should we study media? What role does media play in society and politics? How is media produced? How does media effect our everyday lives? This course defines media as a diverse array of cultural forms, tools, and practices by which information is communicated and circulated. It is through media that people, societies, governments, institutions, and corporations express ideas, information, and creative impulses. Media can be print/textual, visual, televisual, cinematic, aural, musical, digital, and more. This course begins with a brief historical overview of major transformations in media technologies (such as the inventions of: the printing press, motion picture film, etc.) before learning theoretical approaches and methods of analysis. We will learn how to analyze a variety of media forms—print news, cinema, television, music, social media, and more—as well as how the production, reception, and influence of that media effects society, culture, and politics.  

ENGL. 250-D: TiL/The Short Story, Professor David Cody

Although its origin may be traced back to the fables and parables of antiquity, the short story remains the most modern and in many ways the most liberated, imaginative, and unrestrained of literary genres. In this course we will explore short story masterpieces (including satires, manifestos, horror stories, fantasies, “hard-boiled” crime stories, and works of science fiction) by authors both famous and obscure, including Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, Frances Browne, Harriet Prescott Spofford, Henry James, Ambrose Bierce, Charles W. Chesnutt, Mary Wilkins Freeman, Rudyard Kipling, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, H. G. Wells, Jack London, Edith Wharton, H. P. Lovecraft, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James M. Cain, Raymond Chandler, William Faulkner, Jorge Luis Borges, John Updike and Daphne du Maurier. Each student will write two papers and there will be a midterm and a final examination.

ENGL. 312: Intermediate Poetry Workshop, Professor Bradley Fest

In Intermediate Poetry Workshop, students will read the work of published poets, compose poems of their own, and study poetics (that is, critical writing about poetry). Building upon work students have undertaken in Introduction to Creative Writing, the focus of this class will be honing their craft in a workshop setting by engaging with the “nuts and bolts” of  the techniques, choices, and strategies that will allow students to continue exploring their poetic voice. With contemporary poetry as our subject, we will explore the formal elements necessary for successful poetic composition. In addition to studying the effective use of image, metaphor, line-breaks, sound, shape, and voice in poems, we will also work within both established and invented forms. This focus on form will give us a better understanding of the various writers we will be reading and will help workshop participants to explore the power and necessity of limitation in their own work.  Further, we will discuss a wide range of poets. A writer must develop ways of thinking and talking critically about the work of others and must also appreciate the literary, cultural, and political milieus in which they reside.  Students will read poetry concerned with contemporary issues, as well as the work of such renowned poets as Christian Bök, Carolyn Forché, Ben Lerner, Jill McDonough, and current US poet laureate Tracy K. Smith. Through these readings, students will address broad issues within twenty-first century poetics and about the role and function of poetry at the present time. To be alive in 2018 is to exist in a time of crisis. Given the political, economic, and social realities of our era, many are questioning the value of the arts and humanities (to say nothing of poetry!). One of the contentions of this class is that poetry remains an essential human activity for not only responding to the various crises of contemporaneity, but thinking, imagining, building, and creating a different, better world.

ENGL. 321: Drama to 1850, Professor Mark Shaw

This course is cross-listed on Webadvisor as THEA 321-67: Drama to 1850.  We will explore the foundational works of Western dramatic literature, as well as a few classical works of Asian drama (Chinese and Japanese). We will come to an understanding of why these living documents are important theatrically and socio-historically. In order to increase understanding of those primary dramatic texts, we will also explore theatre history, as well as trace various theoretical concepts over time. Each student will put their new knowledge into practice in a variety of ways including written and oral assignments, group work, exams, and quizzes. There will also be practical performance opportunities for those so inclined (although no performance is required). Required text: The Norton Anthology of Drama, Volume One: Antiquity through the Eighteenth Century.  Our reading will include: Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides,  Aristophanes (Lysistrata), Hrotsvit of Gandersheim, The Wakefield Master, Everyman, Marlowe, Lope de Vega,  Moliere,  Wycherley, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, Lillo, Guan Hanqing, Zeami Motokiyo

ENGL. 329: British Literature Survey: Beginning Through Milton, Professor Lisa Darien

In this course we will read and analyze some of the greatest works of English literature, those that were written in the earliest periods of English literary history beginning with, well, the beginning, and ending with the death of John Milton in the late seventeenth century. We will start by reading a few works in Old English, paying particular attention to Beowulf, the masterpiece of that (or any) era. The Middle English period will be represented by Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and by selections from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. As we move from the medieval to the early modern, we will explore the growth and development of the sonnet and other lyric forms during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. We will also read substantial parts of the two great epics of early English literature: Spenser’s Fairie Queene and Milton’s Paradise Lost. In this class students will also explore the historical and linguistic contexts of these works of literature as well as their formal qualities and their relation to one another. Finally, we will concentrate on learning to understand poetic genres, conventions, and forms as almost all of the works we will read are verse.  Besides the prerequisite noted below, students should be aware that this course is required for all English majors — both those who are concentrating in literature and those concentrating in creative writing — and that it is offered only once a year, in the Fall semester.  NOTE: Completion of any section of ENGL 190, Introduction to Literature and Criticism, with a grade of C or better, is a prerequisite for enrollment in this course.

ENGL. 331: Chaucer, Professor Lisa Darien   

Chaucer is one of the great writers in all of world literature. Like Shakespeare, Chaucer wrote a variety of works that have strongly influenced both literature written in English and Western culture more broadly. But unlike Shakespeare, Chaucer is not widely studied today, perhaps because of the perceived distance between Chaucer’s language and culture and ours: a distance that seems to grow with each passing year.  The truth is that Chaucer IS different. Chaucer’s language, Middle English, is hard to comprehend, at least at first. The culture about which he wrote is also very different from ours and must be understood in order to truly appreciate his poetry. So studying Chaucer is not easy. Then why do it? Because Chaucer’s poetry truly is great: it’s profound, it’s funny, it’s profane, it’s beautiful, it’s not to be missed. After a few weeks, you’ll wonder why you ever worried about the language in the first place. And you’ll be glad you took up the challenge to study something different and difficult – after all, isn’t that why you’re here at Hartwick in the first place?  Please note that this is a 300-level course that it is being offered as an Approaches course, meaning we will study the works of Chaucer in Middle English as well as their critical reception. Besides taking exams, students will write a variety of short papers as well as a substantial research paper that employs critical theory. If you have any questions about whether this course would be appropriate for you, please contact Professor Darien (darienl@hartwick.edu)

ENGL. 350: Postcolonial Literature and Culture, Professor Umayyah Cable

The field of postcolonial studies is about understanding the conditions and legacies of colonialism and imperialism. The term “postcolonial” refers not only to formerly colonized people, societies, and places, it also refers to a form of cultural critique which centralizes the legacy and ongoing conditions of colonialism in society and culture today.  In writing on the relationships between culture and power, Edward Said wrote that “culture is a sort of theater where various political and ideological causes engage one another.” As such, this course focuses on cultural productions—literature, film, visual art, performance, etc.— as a site of ideological and political engagement and struggle.  We will primarily examine cultural productions of formerly colonized people and societies, as well as those who continue to endure colonial conditions today. But we will also learn how to apply postcolonial critique to any cultural text—whether produced by the colonizer or the colonized.  At the heart of our inquiry will be an interrogation of the relationship between representation and power. We will begin with a brief overview of how and why the issue of representation is so important to postcolonial studies before delving deep into postcolonial theory and analyzing the work of Arab, African, Asian, Latinx, Native American and Indigenous, as well diasporic and transnational writers, filmmakers, and artists.

ENGL. 375: Contemporary American Literature, Professor Rob Seguin

This course will survey some of the most exciting developments in American literature over the last twenty years or so. These years have seen a surge of creativity outside of the confines of traditional literary fiction, and hence we will be interested in reading works that come from more marginal places on the literary map: science fiction and fantasy, graphic novels, and assorted genre-bending voices from the edges of the mainstream. Writers may include Colson Whitehead, Alison Bechdel, David Foster Wallace, Junot Diaz, Claudia Rankine, Paul Beatty, Kim Stanley Robinson, Charles Yu, David Mazzuchelli, and Jesmyn Ward.

ENGL. 380: MAA: Melville and His World, Professor David Cody        

This course explores the world of Herman Melville, perhaps the greatest of American truth-tellers and literary subversives. Our primary texts include important works by Melville himself (including Typee, Moby-Dick, short stories, essays, and poems) and selected works by relevant precursors, contemporaries, and disciples.  Any student who successfully undertakes the course of reading, analysis, and writing that this enterprise entails will emerge a better reader, analyst, and writer with a deeper understanding of American literature, religion, culture, and philosophy before, during, and since Melville’s day.  Since this is an “Approaches” class, we will also be exploring the received tradition of Melville scholarship relating to the above-mentioned works.  Students will write two papers, and there will be a midterm and final examination.

ENGL. 470: John Ashbery in Context, Professor Bradley Fest

John Ashbery’s passing at the age of ninety in September 2017 occasioned an outpouring of appreciation commemorating his distinguished career. His death reminded many that he was, quite simply, one of the most important United States writers of the last sixty years. In addition to being a prolific, celebrated, and widely-read poet, authoring over two dozen books of poetry, he was a distinguished critic, collagist, playwright, novelist, and teacher whose true impact on American letters is only beginning to be felt. This course will read broadly, selectively, and deeply into his life and work. We will also read Ashbery’s work in context. We will look at French symbolism, surrealism, Wallace Stevens, and other modernist precursors, we will investigate the political, social, historical, and cultural milieu of 1950s Paris and New York from the 1960s–2010s, and we will explore Ashbery’s various and wide-reaching legacies, from the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry of the 1970s and 80s, to the avant-garde movements of the twenty-first century. The course will also focus on important works of literary theory and criticism from the period, including specific readings of Ashbery by some of his most famous critics—Harold Bloom, Marjorie Perloff, and others—and important essays by Jean Baudrillard, Fredric Jameson, and other theorists of the postmodern. Students will actively shape their own reading, writing, and research projects in order to produce an original work of scholarship by semester’s end.

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