Courses

Courses by semester

Courses for Fall 2021

Complete Cornell University course descriptions are in the Courses of Study .

Course ID Title Offered
ENGL1105 FWS: Writing and Sexual Politics Topics and reading lists vary from section to section, but all will in some way address the subject of sexual politics. Some sections may deal with fiction, poetry, film, or drama, and many include a mix of literary genres. Students will practice close, attentive, and imaginative reading and writing. Consult the John S. Knight Institute Current Courses webpage to access current year offerings, instructors and section descriptions.

Full details for ENGL 1105 - FWS: Writing and Sexual Politics

Fall, Spring.
ENGL1111 FWS: Writing Across Cultures Topics and reading lists vary from section to section, but all will engage in some way with an aspect of culture or subculture. Some sections may deal with fiction, poetry, film, or drama, and many include a mix of literary genres. Students will practice close, attentive, and imaginative reading and writing. Consult the John S. Knight Institute Current Courses webpage to access current year offerings, instructors and section descriptions.

Full details for ENGL 1111 - FWS: Writing Across Cultures

Fall, Spring.
ENGL1120 FWS: Writing and Community Engagement From literature to literacy, comics to archival work, writing can build bridges between campus and communities. Sections vary in topic, and issues may include healthcare, social justice, environmental studies, and others, but all will enable students to work with community partners. Students will learn skills in critical thinking and reflection, writing for specialized and non-specialized audiences, community engagement, and cultural awareness. Consult the John S. Knight Institute Current Courses webpage to access current year offerings, instructors and section descriptions.

Full details for ENGL 1120 - FWS: Writing and Community Engagement

Fall, Spring.
ENGL1130 FWS: Writing the Environment Our human abilities to communicate about nature, the environment, and climate change are challenged by the scale and scope of the topics. This course enables students to read, write, and design forms of communication that engage with the environment, in order to inform, advocate, and to connect with our world. Consult the John S. Knight Institute Current Courses webpage to access current year offerings, instructors and section descriptions.

Full details for ENGL 1130 - FWS: Writing the Environment

Fall, Spring.
ENGL1134 FWS: True Stories How do we understand the reality of others? For that matter, how do we know and understand our own experience? One answer is writing: writing can crystalize lived experience for others. We can record our observations, our thoughts, our feelings and insights and hopes and failures, to communicate them, to understand them. In this course, we will read nonfiction narratives that explore and shape the self and reality, including the personal essay, memoir, autobiography, documentary film, and journalism. We will write essays that explore and explain these complex issues of presenting one's self and others.

Full details for ENGL 1134 - FWS: True Stories

Fall, Spring.
ENGL1140 FWS: Writing Medicine: Stories of Illness and Healing What does it mean to be healthy? How do we describe our pain? Who becomes a physician? The practice of medicine isn't confined to scientific knowledge: it raises difficult questions about culture, identity, and bodies, and the stories we tell about all of these. This course will focus on works of literature and media to think about how medical care changes across time and place, and to explore images and narratives that shape our expectations about illness and health. Short writing assignments and longer essays will develop your critical thinking, strengthen your writing skills, and build your awareness of the complex cultural landscape of medical care.

Full details for ENGL 1140 - FWS: Writing Medicine: Stories of Illness and Healing

Fall, Spring.
ENGL1158 FWS: American Voices Topics and reading lists vary from section to section, but all will engage in some way with an aspect of American culture. Some sections may deal with fiction, poetry, film, or drama, and many include a mix of literary genres. Students will practice close, attentive, and imaginative reading and writing. Consult the John S. Knight Institute Current Courses webpage to access current year offerings, instructors and section descriptions.

Full details for ENGL 1158 - FWS: American Voices

Fall, Spring.
ENGL1160 FWS: Intersections: Race, Writing, and Power How does race inform the way we understand the world around us? How do writers explore their experiences of race and colonialism to challenge conventional notions of nation, citizenship, knowledge, and self? In this class, we engage materials that complicate our ideas of race in order to imagine new forms of identity, social life, and political possibility. We engage with creators who are Black, Brown, Indigenous, People of Color, or from the Global South. The works we study may include podcasts, graphic novels, memoirs, poetry, plays, or films. Writing projects may be critical, creative, or research-based, as we develop our understanding of race and identity and by extension our capacities as writers.

Full details for ENGL 1160 - FWS: Intersections: Race, Writing, and Power

Fall, Spring.
ENGL1167 FWS: Reading Now Reading is experiencing a new revolution in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. We still read paper books, but we also read by scrolling on screen, through search engines, and in images and memes. What kinds of texts are emerging in this new era, and how do we read them? How do writing—and our ways of reading—connect with the urgent topics before us now: technology and social control, truth and media, climate change and apocalypse, identity, equality, and human rights? This course will examine the past twenty years of writing in a variety of genres, printed and/or online, from fiction to memoir to poetry and beyond. As we read, we will explore and discover the forms that our own writing can take in response.

Full details for ENGL 1167 - FWS: Reading Now

Fall, Spring.
ENGL1168 FWS: Cultural Studies From TV news to rock lyrics, from ads to political speeches to productions of Shakespeare, the forms of culture surround us at every moment. In addition to entertaining us or enticing us, they carry implied messages about who we are, what world we live in, and what we should value. Topics and reading lists vary from section to section, but all are built on the assumption that learning to decode these messages is a survival skill in today's media-saturated world and also excellent training for reading literature. Consult the John S. Knight Institute Current Courses webpage to access current year offerings, instructors and section descriptions.

Full details for ENGL 1168 - FWS: Cultural Studies

Fall, Spring.
ENGL1170 FWS: Short Stories What can a short story do that no other art form can do? We all consume and produce stories. To write about how narrative works, both within and against tradition, is to touch the core of identity, the quick of what makes us human. Storytelling informs all writing. Engaging diverse authors, we will practice not only reading sensitively and incisively but also making evidence-based arguments with power and grace, learning the habits of writing, revision, and documentation that allow us to join public or scholarly conversation. We will embrace "shortness" as a compression of meaning to unpack. Our own writing may include close analyses of texts, syntheses that place stories in critical dialogue, and both creative and research-based projects.

Full details for ENGL 1170 - FWS: Short Stories

Fall, Spring.
ENGL1183 FWS: Word and Image What happens when we adapt books into movies, write fan-fiction about video games, or create poetry about paintings? What happens when we write about one genre as though it were another? We have been writing about images and making images about writing for a long time. In addition to conventional types of art and literature like paintings, novels, or poetry, other forms such as film, video games, exhibitions, and virtual reality offer lively areas for analysis. In this class, we will engage with widely varied cultural forms—including, perhaps, experimental poetry, medieval manuscripts, graphic novels, memoirs, plays, films, podcasts, and more—to develop multiple media literacies as we sharpen our own writing about culture, literature, and art.

Full details for ENGL 1183 - FWS: Word and Image

Fall, Spring.
ENGL1191 FWS: British Literature Topics and reading lists vary from section to section, but all will engage in some way with the subject of British literature. Some sections may deal with fiction, poetry, or drama, and many include a mix of literary genres. Students will practice close, attentive, and imaginative reading and writing. Consult the John S. Knight Institute Current Courses webpage to access current year offerings, instructors and section descriptions.

Full details for ENGL 1191 - FWS: British Literature

Fall, Spring.
ENGL1270 FWS: Writing About Literature Reading lists vary from section to section, but close, attentive, and imaginative reading and writing are central to all. Some sections may deal with fiction, poetry, or drama, or include a mix of literary kinds. By engaging in discussions and working with varied writing assignments, students will explore major modes and genres of English poetry and prose, and may learn about versification techniques, rhetorical strategies, performance as interpretation, and thematic and topical concerns. In the process students will expand the possibilities of their own writing. Sections that invite students to study and write critically about plays or films in a variety of dramatic idioms and cultural traditions may require attendance at screenings or at live productions by the theatre department. All sections are taught by Department of English faculty. Consult the John S. Knight Institute Current Courses webpage to access current year offerings, instructors and section descriptions.

Full details for ENGL 1270 - FWS: Writing About Literature

Fall, Spring, Summer.
ENGL2010 Literatures in English I: From Old English to the New World An introduction to key works of English and American literature for majors and non-majors. Here's a chance to study some of the greatest hits of the literary tradition in a single semester: Beowulf; Arthurian legends; works by Chaucer, Shakespeare, Anne Bradstreet, Ben Franklin, Sageyowatha, Phillis Wheatley. Reading across history and geography allows us to ask big questions about literature and society. How did literature factor in England's transformation from a cultural backwater into a global empire? What role does literature play in disciplining, civilizing, and colonizing subjects? When and how is literature used to delight, resist, and rebel? From our reading, we will create a toolkit of literary terms and techniques. And through a series of exercises, students will get hands-on experience with literary experimentation. The class counts toward the pre-1800 requirement for English majors.

Full details for ENGL 2010 - Literatures in English I: From Old English to the New World

Fall.
ENGL2270 Shakespeare This course aims to give students a good historical and critical grounding in Shakespeare's drama and its central and continuing place in Renaissance culture and beyond. We will read poetry and primarily plays representing the shape of Shakespeare's career as it moves through comedies, histories, tragedies, and a romance.  Specific plays include The Two Gentleman of Verona, Richard II, Henry IV (Part 1), Henry V, Hamlet, Measure for Measure, Othello, Macbeth and The Tempest. We will focus on dramatic forms (genres), Shakespeare's themes, and social and historical contexts. The course combines lectures and hands-on work in weekly discussions.  While we will view some scenes from film adaptations, the main focus is on careful close interaction with the language of the plays. This class counts toward the pre-1800 requirement for English majors.

Full details for ENGL 2270 - Shakespeare

Fall.
ENGL2580 Imagining the Holocaust How is the memory of the Holocaust kept alive by means of the literary and visual imagination? Within the historical context of the Holocaust and how and why it occurred, we shall examine major and widely read Holocaust narratives that have shaped the way we understand and respond to the Holocaust. We also study ethical and psychological issues about how and why people behave in dire circumstances. We shall begin with first-person reminiscences—Wiesel's Night, Levi's Survival at Auschwitz, and The Diary of Anne Frank—before turning to realistic fictions such as Kineally's Schindler's List (and Spielberg's film), Kertesz's Fateless, Kosinski's The Painted Bird, and Ozick's "The Shawl." We shall also read the mythopoeic vision of Schwarz-Bart's The Last of the Just, the illuminating distortions of Epstein's King of the Jews, the Kafkaesque parable of Appelfeld's Badenheim 1939, and the fantastic cartoons of Spiegelman's Maus books.

Full details for ENGL 2580 - Imagining the Holocaust

Fall.
ENGL2603 Toni Morrison's Sula This 7-week session course is intended as a continuation of the series of events that began in 2020 with a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the publication of Toni Morrison's first novel, The Bluest Eye, and continued in the spring of 2021 with a celebration of Morrison's 90th birthday. Sula, Morrison's second novel, is in many ways just as groundbreaking as her first, especially in its focus on female friendship within an African American community. Its title character becomes a powerful pariah in the line of such classic literary figures as Hester Prynne, Isabel Archer, and Lily Bart.  Students will read the novel closely, with attention to its place in Morrison's career and in literary and cultural history.

Full details for ENGL 2603 - Toni Morrison's Sula

Fall.
ENGL2630 Brazil to Brooklyn: Jewish Cultures of the Americas Jewish cultures in the New World are far more diverse than most Americans realize. Some know the history of Ashkenazi (German and Eastern European) Jews, most of whom immigrated to the U.S. between 1880-1920. In addition to Ashkenazi cultures, our course introduces the Sephardi (Spanish/Portuguese), Mizrahi (Arab), Persian, and Ethiopian Jews who have immigrated to the Americas since the 16th century. Students will learn how Jews of all origins have built communities across the Americas, from Jamaica, Bolivia, and Brazil to Mexico, the U.S., and Canada. We will focus on the resources that diverse Jewish communities drew on to face challenges in creating new Jewish American cultures, such as how to navigate assimilation, religious observance, legal discrimination, and gender and sexual reform.

Full details for ENGL 2630 - Brazil to Brooklyn: Jewish Cultures of the Americas

Fall.
ENGL2650 Introduction to African American Literature This course will introduce students to African American literary traditions in the space that would become North America. From early freedom narratives and poetry to Hip-Hop and film, we will trace a range of artistic conventions and cultural movements while paying close attention to broader historical shifts in American life over the past three centuries. We'll read broadly: poetry, fiction, speculative fiction, newspapers, and the like. We will ask: How do authors create, define, and even exceed a tradition? What are some of the recurring themes and motifs within this tradition? Authors may include: Phillis Wheatley, David Walker, Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, W.E.B. DuBois, Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin, Octavia Butler, Toni Morrison, and Eve Ewing.

Full details for ENGL 2650 - Introduction to African American Literature

Fall.
ENGL2707 Let Me Count the Ways: Poetry and Mathematics Homer and Euclid, Stein and Einstein, manifestos and manifolds, "negative capability" and "imaginary numbers." This seminar exists somewhere in the ampersand between "Arts & Sciences" and will concern the study of numbers, poetic and otherwise. We will consider poets from a range of global traditions as theorists and makers of numerical patterns, and explore mathematical texts for their ludic and literate foundations. With help from diverse ethno-mathematical traditions and contemporary literary/number theorists, we will study, for example, quirky verse constructed around the Fibonacci sequence but also, and more crucially, we will learn how to count on one another as readers.

Full details for ENGL 2707 - Let Me Count the Ways: Poetry and Mathematics

Fall.
ENGL2800 Creative Writing An introductory course in the theory, practice, and reading of fiction, poetry, and allied forms. Both narrative and verse readings are assigned. Students will learn to savor and practice the craft of poetry and narrative writing, developing techniques that inform both. Some class meetings may feature peer review of student work, and instructors may assign writing exercises or prompts.

Full details for ENGL 2800 - Creative Writing

Fall.
ENGL2880 Expository Writing This course offers guidance and an audience for students who wish to gain skill in expository writing—a common term for critical, reflective, investigative, and creative nonfiction. Each section provides a context for writing defined by a form of exposition, a disciplinary area, a practice, or a topic intimately related to the written medium. Course members will read in relevant published material and write and revise their own work regularly, while reviewing and responding to one another's. Students and instructors will confer individually throughout the term. Topics differ for each section.

Full details for ENGL 2880 - Expository Writing

Fall.
ENGL2908 The Aesthetics of Displacement This course analyses autobiographical writings by authors who experienced settler colonialism, forced removals, and historical erasure. The course is intended to help answer questions around voice, indigeneity, and literary resistance in response to settler colonial violence. In its larger scheme, it asks: What are the shared aesthetics and themes of these writings? How do their authors relay generational and personal trauma? What are some of their literary and political interventions? Students will primarily read verse and prose memoirs by American Indian and Palestinian authors. The course takes a comparative turn as it engages with possible intersections between Palestinian and Native stories, especially those that are written within or about turbulent historical moments. Class discussions and assignments will have critical and creative components, and students are expected to write analytical pieces about the readings and fulfill a creative project that requires a more intimate engagement with the class's themes.

Full details for ENGL 2908 - The Aesthetics of Displacement

Fall.
ENGL2971 Reading for the End of Time This course will explore how in the body of world literature humans have construed, narrated, imagined the end of time and of the world and sometimes its new beginning.  Spanning from ancient epic and origin myths through nineteenth century novels and colonial narratives to contemporary science fiction, we will inquire, through our reading: what is a world?  How does the labor of the imagination construct a world or the world and deconstruct or undo worlds?  Readings will range widely across time and world space (with authors such as Hesiod, Balzac, Marquez, Murakami, Alexievich, Bacigalupi) and will include attention to contemporary theories of world literature.

Full details for ENGL 2971 - Reading for the End of Time

Fall.
ENGL3110 Old English In this course, we will read and discuss some of the earliest surviving English poetry and prose. Attention will be paid to (1) learning to read the language in which this literature is written, (2) evaluating the poetry as poetry: its form, structure, style, and varieties of meaning, and (3) seeing what can be learned about the culture of Anglo-Saxon England and about the early Germanic world in general, from an examination of the Old English literary records. We will begin by reading some easy prose and will go on to consider some more challenging heroic, elegiac, and devotional poetry, including an excerpt from the masterpiece Beowulf. The course may also be used as preparation for the sequence ENGL 3120/ENGL 6120. The class counts toward the pre-1800 requirement for English majors.

Full details for ENGL 3110 - Old English

Fall.
ENGL3190 Chaucer Chaucer became known as the "father of English poetry" before he was entirely cold in his grave. Why is what he wrote more than six hundred years ago still riveting for us today? It's not just because he is the granddaddy of this language and its literature; it's because what he wrote was funny, fierce, thoughtful, political, philosophical and, oh yes, notoriously bawdy. We'll read some of Chaucer's brilliant early work, and then dig into his two greatest achievements: the epic Troilus and Crisyede, and The Canterbury Tales, his oft-censored panorama of medieval English life. Chaucer will be read in Middle English, which will prove surprisingly easy and pleasant. The class counts toward the pre-1800 requirement for English majors.

Full details for ENGL 3190 - Chaucer

Fall.
ENGL3245 Evil: The Literary Question of the Human This course is designed to explore the relationship between ethics, politics, and aesthetics through careful attention to literary explorations of the complex problem of evil in a range of literary and visual texts including genres from myth through poetry and drama to painting and film. We will read and study excerpts of works from Aristotle, Augustine, and Thomas Aquinas, through Shakespeare, Cervantes, María de Zayas, Leibniz, Milton, Hieronymous Bosch, and Krzysztof Kieślowski. The recurring questions for us along the way will be about the role of reading and interpretation in relation to the problem of evil and what the philosopher Paul Ricoeur calls the "richness of the real."

Full details for ENGL 3245 - Evil: The Literary Question of the Human

Fall.
ENGL3360 American Drama and Theatre Explores major American playwrights from 1900 to 1960, introducing students to American theatre as a significant part of modern American cultural history. We will consider the ways in which theatre has contributed to the construction and deconstruction of a national identity. Similarly, we will examine the influence of the American Theatre on and in film. We will pay special attention to the social, political, and aesthetic contexts of the time period and discuss the shifting popularity of dramatic forms, including melodrama, realism, expressionism, absurdism, and the folk play, in the American theatre canon. Authors include O'Neill, Glaspell, Odets, Rice, Hellman, Hughes, Miller, Williams, and Albee, among others.

Full details for ENGL 3360 - American Drama and Theatre

Fall.
ENGL3500 The High Modernist Tradition Critical, historical and interdisciplinary study of major works by Joyce, Woolf, Conrad, Forster, Lawrence, Eliot, Yeats, Wilde, Hardy, and Hopkins. The emphasis will be on the joy of close reading of wonderful, powerful, and innovative individual works, all of which I love to teach. We shall place the authors and works within the context of literary, political, cultural, and intellectual history. The course will seek to define the development of literary modernism (mostly but not exclusively in England), and relate literary modernism in England to that in Europe and America as well as to other intellectual developments. We shall be especially interested in the relationship between modern literature and modern painting and sculpture. Within this course, I work closely with  students as they  select and develop the topics on which they write essays.

Full details for ENGL 3500 - The High Modernist Tradition

Fall.
ENGL3570 Colonized and Colonizer: African and European Writers in Conversation If the lion would tell its story, it would be vastly different from that told from the hunter's perspective. In this course, we will read texts where European and African authors have been in direct conversation, with the hope of developing a deeper understanding of how both the colonizer and colonized understood colonization and resistance – and the contradictions inherent in each. Looking at pairs of writers, such as Mannoni and Fanon, and Achebe and Conrad, we shall try to paint a picture that engages the voices and vulnerabilities of both lion and hunter.

Full details for ENGL 3570 - Colonized and Colonizer: African and European Writers in Conversation

Fall.
ENGL3571 The Modern Irish Writers This is a course on Irish writing of the modern period. In our readings over the semester (which will include some of the twentieth century's greatest literary texts), we will cover the development of Irish writing from the Yeats-led Irish Revival of the century's early years through Joyce's high modernist virtuosity to Bowen's Bloomsbury-inflected fiction to the proto-postmodernisms of O'Brien and Beckett. Along the way we will also examine how Irish modernism raises fundamental questions about such things as: the relation between language and national identity; the nature of modernism's "newness"; colonial, postcolonial, and "semicolonial" culture; the political uses of literature; and the contending forces of cosmopolitanism and nationalism in the modern period.

Full details for ENGL 3571 - The Modern Irish Writers

Fall.
ENGL3591 Kids Rule! Children's Popular Culture How is the figure of the child constructed in popular culture? When and to what degree do children participate in the construction of these representations? This course surveys a variety of contemporary media texts (television, film, and the internet) aimed at children ranging in age from pre-kindergarten to young adults. We explore how these texts seek to construct children as empowered consumers, contesting adult conformity. Our theoretical approach complicates definitions of childhood as a time of innocence and potential victimhood and challenges normative constructions of childhood as a time for establishing "proper" sexual and gender identities. Taking a cultural studies approach, the class will consider the connections between the cultural texts and the realms of advertising, toys, and gaming.

Full details for ENGL 3591 - Kids Rule! Children's Popular Culture

Fall.
ENGL3680 The Art of Telling: Chicanx, Latinx, and AfroLatinx Testimonios Testimonio is a genre of prose that offers eyewitness accounts of world-changing events—from crimes against humanity like forced migration, detention, and genocide to the violence of war, both at home and abroad, often caused by circumstances beyond a person's control. Testimonios are created across geographical, linguistic, and cultural differences, and, subsequently, involve more than one person who records, translates, and shares an eyewitness account with broader audiences. Originating in Latin America, testimonio has become a powerful space for Black, Brown, Native, and Mestiza voices to tell stories that are representative of whole peoples or communities. Because of this, testimonio is questioned and debated for its truth, historical accuracy, and literary quality. We will explore the debates by asking what testimonio does to western constructs of literature. Does testimonio change history, challenge norms, and spark social change? We will answer by reading, listening, viewing, and creating testimonio—experiencing its simultaneous textual, visual, and performative modes.

Full details for ENGL 3680 - The Art of Telling: Chicanx, Latinx, and AfroLatinx Testimonios

Fall.
ENGL3707 Hidden Identities Onscreen From White Chicks to Blackkklansman, American film has often depicted characters who conceal their race or gender, like black male cops "passing" as wealthy white women. This class will examine how Hollywood has depicted race and gender "passing" from the early 20th century to the present. While tracing common themes across films, we will also study the ideological role of passing films: how they thrill audiences by challenging social boundaries and hierarchies, only to reestablish familiar boundaries by the end. We will not treat these films as accurate depictions of real-world passing, but rather as cultural tools that help audiences to manage ideological contradictions about race, gender, sexuality, and class. Students will finish the course by creating their own short films about passing.

Full details for ENGL 3707 - Hidden Identities Onscreen

Fall.
ENGL3717 Trauma and Invention This course will examine modes of invention that emerge from and engage with trauma. We will focus on inventive explorations of different cultural and intersectional experiences. Students will offer critical and creative responses to film (including Get Out by Jordan Peele, Mother of George by Andrew Dosunmu, Moonlight by Barry Jenkins), poetry collections (including Book of Light by Lucille Clifton, Schizophrene by Bhanu Kapil, Zong! By NourbeSe Philip, Explanation of America by Robert Pinsky and The Real Horse by Farid Matuk) and a variety of critical and theoretical essays. We will trace the inventive processes and articulations that arise at the site of trauma and ask what it means to listen and to write at the limits of experience.

Full details for ENGL 3717 - Trauma and Invention

Fall.
ENGL3820 Narrative Writing This course focuses upon the writing of fiction or related narrative forms. May include significant reading and discussion, explorations of form and technique, completion of writing assignments and prompts, and workshop peer review of student work. Many students will choose to write short stories, but excerpts from longer works will also be accepted.

Full details for ENGL 3820 - Narrative Writing

Fall.
ENGL3840 Poetry Writing This course focuses upon the writing of poetry. May include significant reading and discussion, explorations of form and technique, completion of writing assignments and prompts, and workshop peer review of student work.

Full details for ENGL 3840 - Poetry Writing

Fall.
ENGL3920 Introduction to Critical Theory Shortly after the 2016 election, The New Yorker published an article entitled "The Frankfurt School Knew Trump was Coming." This course examines what the Frankfurt School knew by introducing students to Critical Theory, juxtaposing its roots in the 19th century (i.e., Kant, Hegel, Marx, and Freud) with its most prominent manifestation in the 20th century, the Frankfurt School (e.g., Kracauer, Adorno, Benjamin, Marcuse) alongside disparate voices (Arendt) and radical continuations (Davis, Zuboff, Weeks) as they engage with politics, society, culture, and literature (e.g. Brecht and Kafka).   Established in 1920s and continued in exile in the US during WWII, the interdisciplinary circle of scholars comprising the Frankfurt School played a pivotal role in the intellectual developments of post-war American and European social, political, and aesthetic theory: from analyses of authoritarianism and democracy to critiques of capitalism, the entertainment industry, commodity fetishism, and mass society. This introduction to Critical Theory explores both the prescience of these diverse thinkers for today's world ("what they knew") as well as what they perhaps could not anticipate in the 21st century (e.g., developments in technology, economy, political orders), and thus how to critically address these changes today.

Full details for ENGL 3920 - Introduction to Critical Theory

Fall.
ENGL3933 Revisiting Kashmir: A Survey of Literature and Cultures Kashmir occupies a crucial geopolitical position in the South-Asian region. The emphasis on "territorial integrity" in the media on Kashmir, both in South Asia and the West is such that lived reality is subdued completely. This course aims to present various themes and motifs of Kashmiri Literature and the alternative cinema produced in Kashmir with the objective of exploring the long-term processes of culture and literature through which Kashmir has constituted itself. No prior knowledge of Kashmir and its languages or literature is required. In this course, we shall explore a range of texts and authors, from Anglophone writers such as Salam Rushdie and Arundhati Roy to those writing in vernacular such as Akthar Mohi-ud-Din whom we shall read in translation. We shall also analyze films in both Bollywood and alternative cinema. The course builds on paradigms of area studies with an emphasis on linguistic, literary, and visual materials as this helps build a modern archive of cultural forms, trends, and movements in a part of the world saturated with the imagery and discourse of nationalism and political violence.

Full details for ENGL 3933 - Revisiting Kashmir: A Survey of Literature and Cultures

Fall.
ENGL3954 Spoken Word, Hip-Hop Theater, and the Politics of Performance In this course, we will critically examine the production and performance of race, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender through literature and contemporary performance genres such as spoken word, slam poetry, and hip-hop theatre.

Full details for ENGL 3954 - Spoken Word, Hip-Hop Theater, and the Politics of Performance

Fall.
ENGL4020 Literature as Moral Inquiry What can literary works, especially novels, tell us about moral issues? Should they be seen as suggesting a form of moral inquiry similar to the kind of philosophical discussion we get in, say, Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics? Can reading philosophical works in ethics together with novels that deal with similar themes help us understand these themes better? This course is an attempt to answer these questions. We will read selections from Aristotle, Kant, Marx, and Nietzsche, and use these works to help us understand the nature of moral inquiry in novels like Eliot's Middlemarch, Morrison's The Bluest Eye, Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, Conrad's Heart of Darkness, and Achebe's Things Fall Apart. Other writers we will most probably read include Nadine Gordimer, Doris Lessing, and Kazuo Ishiguro.

Full details for ENGL 4020 - Literature as Moral Inquiry

Fall.
ENGL4509 Toni Morrison's Novels In this course, we will engage in close and reflective critical readings of Toni Morrison's eleven novels. Morrison's writing style is characterized by highly distinctive strategies in the development of narrative and in the use of language. As we journey across her body of work as readers, we will examine a range of recurring themes, along with the "love trilogy" on which she focused her repertoire for several years. The course, through a comprehensive, chronological and focused look at Morrison's body of novels, will help students who entirely lack familiarity with it to gain a strong foundation for further research and study. By the end of the course, even students who already know Morrison's work will walk away with a deeper and more nuanced understanding of it. The course will help students to reinforce their skills in reading fiction, and more astute and exacting readers of the novel as a genre.

Full details for ENGL 4509 - Toni Morrison's Novels

Fall.
ENGL4545 Trauma, Encounter and Address Trauma is often conceived as a catastrophic experience that escapes full comprehension. But we may also think of it as a sudden or ongoing experience that fundamentally affects our ability to be heard by, or address, others. What would it mean to rethink the theory of trauma around the collapse of address? We will examine works that engage with individual and collective trauma in its political, cultural, and historical manifestations within and across cultures (and species). We will ask what it means to have one's capacity to address eliminated and how it can be reconstituted through writing and art. The course will include literary, philosophical, literary theoretical, scientific and psychoanalytic texts as well as films from South Africa, Tunisia, Martinique, France, and the US.

Full details for ENGL 4545 - Trauma, Encounter and Address

Fall.
ENGL4560 The Politics and Joy in Black Women's Writing This course will look at how Black women writers negotiated enslavement, Reconstruction, and Jim Crow era segregation while also managing to find avenues of joy, escapism, and a certain kind of freedom through art-making. In addition to reading primary texts by Phillis Wheatley, Hannah Bond, Jessie Redmon Fauset, and others we will also look at critical and theoretical work by Toni Morrison, Saidiyah Hartman, Barbara Fields, and Karen Fields.

Full details for ENGL 4560 - The Politics and Joy in Black Women's Writing

Fall.
ENGL4630 Rethinking Asian American Literature: Indigeneity, Diaspora, Settler Colonialism What are the limits and possibilities for Asian American longing and belonging? Asian Americans have been variously understood as immigrants, refugees, "forever foreigners," and "model minorities." These ideas emerge from and shape US understandings of nation, empire, rights, and citizenship. Native and Indigenous studies scholars have asked how and whether immigrants—including exploited workers—are complicit with settlement and occupation. In this course we will read Asian American literary texts from the Americas through Asian American and Indigenous cultural critique to consider the overlapping dimensions of militarism, carcerality, racial capitalism, heteropatriarchy, and dispossession in order to learn what comparative and relational approaches can teach us.

Full details for ENGL 4630 - Rethinking Asian American Literature: Indigeneity, Diaspora, Settler Colonialism

Fall.
ENGL4705 Human-Centered Design and Engaged Media What happens when Greta Thunberg tears into the EU? Or Banksy interrupts Disney World? Or Black Lives Matters confronts the justice system? How can we help local communities use media to address their concerns? This course mixes seminar, studio, and field activities to explore community-engaged media through hands-on study of media activism, human centered design, and project-based learning. Students combine cultural analysis and media production to study how artists and activists engage audiences in direct action and civic engagement. We'll draw on fields of performance studies, human-computer interaction, and media theory to study how artists and activists use media to create social engagement. Working as critical design teams, we will work with local schools and community organizations on an on-going civic storytelling project.

Full details for ENGL 4705 - Human-Centered Design and Engaged Media

Fall.
ENGL4801 Advanced Narrative Writing This course is intended for narrative writing students who have completed ENGL 3820 or ENGL 3830 and wish to refine their writing. It may include significant reading and discussion, explorations of form and technique, completion of writing assignments and prompts, and workshop peer review of student work. In addition to the instructor's assigned writing requirements, students may work on longer-form narrative writing projects.

Full details for ENGL 4801 - Advanced Narrative Writing

Fall.
ENGL4910 Honors Seminar I The purpose of the Honors Seminar is to acquaint students with methods of study and research to help them write their senior Honors Essay. However, all interested students are welcome to enroll. The seminar will require a substantial essay that incorporates literary evidence and critical material effectively, and develops an argument. Topics and instructors vary each semester. For Fall 2021 the topic is: American Paranoia.

Full details for ENGL 4910 - Honors Seminar I

Fall.
ENGL4918 American Dream?: Journalism, Politics, and Identity in U.S. Immigration Policy This course examines the journalistic record and political discourse around U.S. immigration policy, in the post 9/11 Bush, Obama, Trump and now Biden administrations, with a particular focus on the contemporary, but in the larger context of the construct of an "American" identity from the 20th century to today. Drawing from the fields of political and social science, history, law, and journalism, the course will engage students in rigorous ethical and academic debate on the social, economic, and geopolitical factors that spur migration; the roles of governance, authority, democracy — including the press — in responding to it and shaping public opinion and policy around it; and the inextricability of those institutions from nativism, xenophobia, and of course, politics. It will require students to conduct research and reporting of their own with primary sources and the very officials, writers and communities who have both shaped and been shaped by the increasingly urgent debate over the "American Dream," in the U.S. and around the world. Immigration isn't stopping. How the U.S. responds will, as it has always done, define what it means to be "American."

Full details for ENGL 4918 - American Dream?: Journalism, Politics, and Identity in U.S. Immigration Policy

Fall.
ENGL4930 Honors Essay Tutorial I Students should secure a thesis advisor by the end of the junior year and should enroll in that faculty member's section of ENGL 4930. Students enrolling in the fall will automatically be enrolled in a discussion section, which will meet a few times throughout the semester and will give students a chance to get together with other honors students to discuss issues pertinent to writing a thesis. Topics will include compiling a critical bibliography and writing a prospectus. Professor Elisha Cohn, the Honors Director in English, will contact students to set up the first meeting time.

Full details for ENGL 4930 - Honors Essay Tutorial I

Fall, Spring.
ENGL4940 Honors Essay Tutorial II This course is the second of a two-part series of courses required for students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in English. The first course in the series is ENGL 4930 Honors Essay Tutorial I.

Full details for ENGL 4940 - Honors Essay Tutorial II

Fall, Spring.
ENGL4950 Independent Study Independent reading course in topics not covered in regularly scheduled courses. Students select a topic in consultation with the faculty member who has agreed to supervise the course work.

Full details for ENGL 4950 - Independent Study

Fall, Spring, Summer.
ENGL4960 Contemporary Poetry and Poetics What gives contemporary poetry and poetics its resonance and value? What are its dominant features, audiences, and purposes? What does 21st-century poetry's textual environment look like, and how does it situate itself among other genres, discourses, disciplines, media? How would we describe its ambient noise and how does that noise shape, inform, inflect its particular concerns and motivated forms? How does contemporary poetry resist, engage, respond to, sound out that noise? How are we to understand its relation to the pivotal cultural, economic, historical, philosophical, political developments of our time? This seminar will explore these and related questions in a wide range of works that open onto the rich interplay of contemporary poetry and poetics with questions of personal and collective identity and language in contexts at once local and global. Poets include Armantrout, Bernstein, Collins, Espada, Gander, Fitterman, Goldsmith, Hong, Osman, Place, Rich, Smith, and Waldrop.

Full details for ENGL 4960 - Contemporary Poetry and Poetics

Fall.
ENGL4965 Female Complaints: Gender in Early Modern Lyric and Modern Theory This course asks how Renaissance lyric poetry (including Petrarch, Labé, Ronsard, Shakespeare, Wroth) negotiates questions of gender through poetic innovation and, just as often, through the use of poetic commonplaces. We will read this poetry in conversation with modern and contemporary theory (including Cixous, Sedgwick, Ngai, Berlant) to help us understand Renaissance lyric's particular fascination with women's bodies. We will ask how male poets' cliché-ridden poems about women offer us ways to think about the persistence and flexibility of misogynist tropes. We will also ask how feminist and queer theory—as well as female poets' responses to their male predecessors and contemporaries—variously diagnose, subvert, and internalize those tropes. For longer description and instructor bio visit the Society for the Humanities website.

Full details for ENGL 4965 - Female Complaints: Gender in Early Modern Lyric and Modern Theory

Fall.
ENGL6000 Colloquium for Entering Students An introduction to practical and theoretical aspects of graduate English studies, conducted with the help of weekly visitors from the English department. There will be regular short readings and brief presentations, but no formal papers. The colloquium is required for all entering PhD students; MFA students are welcome to attend any sessions that interest them.

Full details for ENGL 6000 - Colloquium for Entering Students

Fall.
ENGL6003 Critical Composition Pedagogies This course explores the theory and practice of composition pedagogy, from the field's early responses to current-traditional rhetoric (CTR) – including process theory, critical pedagogy, and expressivism – to contemporary feminist, queer, working-class, black, brown, and disabled approaches to composition and anti-oppressive writing pedagogy. We will seek to engage as much as test such approaches in our own practice, considering how we are allowed to (and how we might alternatively) compose and teach composition as scholars within the academy today. Integral to such exploration will be projects that ask students to engage with their own experience in the classroom in addition to helping them develop their own rationales in conversation with course readings, projects such as: writing critical reflections, drafting a teaching philosophy statement, designing possible composition activities, and more. As with other composition-focused courses, mutual and intensive feedback will be emphasized.

Full details for ENGL 6003 - Critical Composition Pedagogies

Fall.
ENGL6110 Old English In this course, we will read and discuss some of the earliest surviving English poetry and prose. Attention will be paid to (1) learning to read the language in which this literature is written, (2) evaluating the poetry as poetry: its form, structure, style, and varieties of meaning, and (3) seeing what can be learned about the culture of Anglo-Saxon England and about the early Germanic world in general, from an examination of the Old English literary records. We will begin by reading some easy prose and will go on to consider some more challenging heroic, elegiac, and devotional poetry, including an excerpt from the masterpiece Beowulf. The course may also be used as preparation for the sequence ENGL 3120/ENGL 6120.

Full details for ENGL 6110 - Old English

Fall.
ENGL6145 Race and Gender in the Middle Ages If "the past is a foreign country," is it a country full of oppressed women?  We can, with some smugness, agree that it may have been dreadful to be a woman or sexual minority in the Middle Ages, but it's nowhere near that simple. Also un-simple are medieval notions of race. Scholars long assumed that the European Middle Ages were entirely white and/or that since "race" as a concept hadn't been invented yet, it wasn't an issue. But both racial and gender difference matter tremendously, then as now. Together, we will think about race and gender as imagined at a time before the world we now know came into being, asking what the pre-history of difference might have to do with us and our future.

Full details for ENGL 6145 - Race and Gender in the Middle Ages

Fall.
ENGL6511 The African Diaspora: Theories and Texts Theories and texts of the African Diaspora have become critically important in intellectual, media and popular communities. Among them, Sylvia Wynter is today considered to be one of the leading theorists of the Black experience. As this applies in general to African Diaspora Studies, her work has "revitalized philosophical debates across Black Studies, critical ethnic studies, postcolonial criticism and black feminist theory around both the historical project of decolonization and the ontological status of blackness in the modern world." (Cunningham, 119). This semester's course in African Diaspora Texts and Theories will study all the available works of Wynter (early and late essays, novel, plays, interviews) in relation to a selection of the writers of the Caribbean and larger Black radical intellectual tradition with whom she is in conversation. We will also examine some of the critical responses emanating from her work as well as some of the recently uncovered texts like "Black Metamorphosis."

Full details for ENGL 6511 - The African Diaspora: Theories and Texts

Fall.
ENGL6513 Toni Morrison's Novels Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison received her M.A. in English at Cornell University in 1955.  To study her, in a way, is to gain a deeper understanding of how she journeyed on from her days as a student here to become one of the world's greatest writers, how she has helped to transform world literature, and how she has shaped Cornell's great legacy through the phenomenal one that she has built.  In this course, we will engage in close and reflective critical readings of Toni Morrison's eleven novels.  Morrison's writing style is characterized by highly distinctive strategies in the development of narrative and in the use of language.  As we journey across her body of work as readers, we will examine a range of recurring themes, along with the "love trilogy" on which she focused her repertoire for several years.  The course, through a comprehensive, chronological and focused look at Morrison's body of novels, will help students who entirely lack familiarity with it to gain a strong foundation for further research and study.  By the end of the course, even students who already know Morrison's work will walk away with a deeper and more nuanced critical understanding of it.  The course will help students to reinforce their skills in reading fiction, and help them to become more astute and exacting readers of the novel as a genre.  Morrison's novels have placed her at the vanguard of the globalization of the novel itself, and she is, undisputedly, one the most famous and innovative writers in the world.  Moreover, her thinking is so original and pivotal that her fiction and critical works are absolutely indispensable for all serious students and scholars in fields such as American literature.  Its impact on African American literature is equally vital.  We will focus on reading the repertoire of novels by Morrison, including The Bluest Eye, Sula (1973), Song of Solomon (1977), Tar Baby (1981), Beloved (1987), Jazz (1992), Paradise (1998), Love (2003), A Mercy (2008) Home (2012), and God Help the Child (2014).  We will screen selected scenes from the 1998 film adaptation of her novel Beloved, along with the documentary on Morrison, The Pieces I Am (2019).  

Full details for ENGL 6513 - Toni Morrison's Novels

Fall.
ENGL6625 Indigenous Feminisms Indigenous women, queers, trans- and Two Spirit people have been at the forefront of resistance struggles, most recently at Standing Rock and at Mauna Kea fighting to keep the Thirty Meter Telescope from its summit. Their voices, along with Indigenous queer and feminist scholars, have been working to understand gendered violences, land dispossession, and cultural appropriation. This class will consider how those Indigenous feminist, queer, and Two Spirit scholars have theorized gender, sexuality, race, and colonialism alongside queer and feminist of color critiques toward accountable visions of resistance. We will read works by Indigenous feminist, scholars, and activists from the nineteenth-century to the twenty-first to consider how indigeneity challenges how gender and sexuality are experienced in the context of ongoing settler colonialism.

Full details for ENGL 6625 - Indigenous Feminisms

Fall.
ENGL6655 Contemporary Issues in African American Studies and Literary Criticism This seminar examines foundational and emerging questions and methods in contemporary African American Studies and Literary Criticism. We'll pair foundational and emerging scholarship with key case studies (e.g. literature, drama film, visual arts, movements) to exam points of convergence and tension, as scholars engage with shared texts (e.g., Harriet Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, ) across multiple areas of inquiry (e.g. the environment, gender and sexuality, enslavement and its afterlives, colonialisms) and approaches (print culture, materialisms, critical fabulation, queer of color critique, Black feminist criticism, etc.). What does it mean to study African American literature, history, and culture now?

Full details for ENGL 6655 - Contemporary Issues in African American Studies and Literary Criticism

Fall.
ENGL6685 A.R. Ammons and the Archive "strike the v out of archiv/e and you / have another archie" (Glare). Participants in this seminar will explore the work of the American poet A. R. Ammons (1926-2001) in light of the rich archive of manuscripts, journals, and correspondence held by the Kroch Rare and Manuscripts Library at Cornell, Ammons's academic home for 37 years.  We'll consider Ammons's development from the spare parables of his first book Ommateum to the expansive meditations of long poems like Tape for the Turn of the Year, Sphere, Garbage, and Glare. Our reading of Ammons's poetry will be continuously supplemented with attention to his drafts, letters, and other materials. We'll also consider how the methods of archival research can be transferred to the work of other authors.

Full details for ENGL 6685 - A.R. Ammons and the Archive

Fall.
ENGL6776 Affect Theory This course examines how claims about feeling ground literary theory, with particular emphasis on the consequences of the affective turn in the early 2002s, from therapeutic criticism to the biopolitics of sentiment. How does the work of feeling register in literary form? What evidence is there that feelings are experienced, discussed, or represented in historically and culturally specific ways? When does affect theory turn to literature for evidence? How do competing conceptions of affect contribute to feminist, queer, and critical race theory? We will build genealogies from Deleuze and Sedgwick to more recent work by Terada, Ngai, Berlant, Terada, Schuller, Ahmed, and more. Literary readings will include a few novels (Charlotte Brontë, Sigrid Nunez), and long poems (Anne Carson; Claudia Rankine).

Full details for ENGL 6776 - Affect Theory

Fall.
ENGL6912 Michel Foucault: Sovereignty to BioPolitics This course will explore the ways in which Michel Foucault's oeuvre transitions from a concern with sovereignty to a preoccupation with biopolitics. Foucault's early work (one understands that there is no absolute Foucaultian division into "sovereignty" and "biopolitics"), such as "Madness and Civilization," attends to the structure, the construction and the force of the institution – the birth of asylum, the prison, while his later career takes up the question of, for want of a better term, "political efficiency." That is, Foucault offers a critique of sovereignty insofar as sovereignty is inefficient (neither the sovereign nor sovereign power can be everywhere; certainly not everywhere it needs or wants to be; ubiquity is impossible, even/especially for a project such as sovereignty) while biopower is not. Biopower marks this recognition; in place of sovereignty biopower "devolves" to the individual subject the right, always an intensely political phenomenon, to make decisions about everyday decisions – decisions about health, sexuality, "lifestyle." In tracing the foucaultian trajectory from sovereignty to biopower we will read the major foucaultian texts – "Madness and Civilization," "Birth of the Prison," "History of Sexuality" as well as the various seminars where Foucault works out important issues.

Full details for ENGL 6912 - Michel Foucault: Sovereignty to BioPolitics

Fall.
ENGL7800 MFA Seminar: Poetry The MFA poetry seminar is a required course for MFA poetry students.

Full details for ENGL 7800 - MFA Seminar: Poetry

Fall.
ENGL7801 MFA Seminar: Fiction The MFA fiction seminar is a required course for all MFA fiction students.

Full details for ENGL 7801 - MFA Seminar: Fiction

Fall.
ENGL7920 Prospectus and Dissertation Strategies This workshop will prepare you to research and write your dissertation. We will begin by introducing you to the genre of the dissertation prospectus, including its length and standard contents (such as the central research question/s, methodological approach, scholarly implications, chapter breakdown, and short bibliography).  The seminar will function as a workshop, providing you with in-depth feedback on drafts of your prospectus.  Midway through the workshop each student will have a rough draft of your dissertation prospectus as well as materials that can be used as the basis for grant and fellowship proposals.  In later weeks we will develop more general strategies for researching and writing the dissertation.

Full details for ENGL 7920 - Prospectus and Dissertation Strategies

Fall.
ENGL7940 Directed Study This course gives students the opportunity to work with a selected instructor to pursue special interests or research not treated in regularly scheduled courses. After getting permission of the instructor, students should contact the department to request access to an instructor's section. Enrolled students are required to provide the department with a course description and/or syllabus along with the instructor's approval by the end of the first week of classes.

Full details for ENGL 7940 - Directed Study

Fall, Spring.
ENGL7950 Group Study This course should be used for an independent study in which a small group of students works with one member of the graduate faculty. After getting permission of the instructor, students should contact the department to request access to an instructor's section. Enrolled students are required to provide the department with a course description and/or syllabus along with the instructor's approval by the end of the first week of classes.

Full details for ENGL 7950 - Group Study

Fall, Spring.
ENGL7960 Placement Seminar This seminar will help prepare graduate students for the academic job market. Though students will study sample materials from successful job applicants, much of the seminar will function as a workshop, providing them with in-depth feedback on multiple drafts of their job materials. Interview skills will be practiced in every seminar meeting. The seminar meetings will be supplemented with individual conferences with the placement mentor, and students should also share copies of their job materials with their dissertation committees.

Full details for ENGL 7960 - Placement Seminar

Fall.
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