Built around a two-part survey sequence – E211 & E212 British Literature I & II and E251& E252 American Literature I & II – our British and American Literature courses allow students to study the development of these literary and cultural traditions, while at the same time focus on particular periods and literary movements. Courses include: E208 Canterbury Tales; E231 19th Century British Women’s Novelists; E719 Seminar: Shakespeare/History/Play; E291 Secret Selves: The Fiction of Jewett, Cather, and Wharton; E272 Italy and the American Literary Imagination.
These courses allow students to examine common literary/cultural movements and thematic and stylistic links across national cultures and ethnicities (staple courses include E310 Narratives From Around the World, E207 Medieval Literatures, E338 Magical Realism and the South, and E255 The Jewish Narrative,) as well as to study in depth the specificities of particular national and ethnic literary and film cultures (for example, E373 Italian Literature and Film and E398 Chinese Cinema).
Our curriculum recognizes that developments in the visual arts and design are always part of broader literary and cultural movements and offers a range of courses that directly address this interrelation of literature, popular culture, art and design: courses such as C221 Blake and Hogarth and E287 Divas 101: The African American Tradition are offered on a regular basis. We also regularly offer interdisciplinary courses that are co-taught with faculty in studio departments: such courses include E749 Savage Iconographies: Art, Race and Public Space from Roger Williams to Barack Obama (co-taught with Sculpture); E517 Fleshing: Adornment and Gendering the Human Body (co-taught with Jewelry); and E334 Narrative Flows: Waters of Faith, Identity and Sustenance in the Bengal (co-taught with Landscape Architecture), a course that “focuses on one of the world’s great megacities and the third largest city in India – Kolkata (Calcutta) – at the western edge of the Bengal Delta, and asks how we should honor, conserve and wisely use this vital natural resource when creating sustainable urban lifestyles for the 21st Century.”
Poetry is substantially represented throughout the curriculum, especially in British, European, African-American, and post-colonial literatures. The Beginning and Advanced Poetry Workshops always include a wide range of key texts, contemporary and canonical, American and international, in the English language and in translation. The Department also offers a set of courses in hybrid traditions, including Visual Poetry, Sound Poetry , and Material Poetics, in which students survey the tradition, examine classic examples, and compose new works. Courses in Contemporary Poetry and Digital Poetics similarly combine studio and Humanities methodologies, while focusing specifically on 21st century work.
The challenge of sustainability, the shifting terrain between nature/culture and technology, and the interrelations between environmental and social justice are all critical questions that shape current debates across the fine arts, design and the liberal arts. Our curriculum offers students the opportunity to study these issues from a variety of perspectives. Courses such as E320 Contemporary Ecological Fictions, E280 Narrating Evolution, E503 Theories of Nature/Culture and E715 SEM: Green Cultural Studies: Film are offered on a regular basis.
How do we conceive of the self? How do literary texts shape these conceptions (see, for example, E771 SEM: Novels that Long to be You)? How do the categories of race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality shape our social relations and who we are? How have these categories of identity changed over the centuries and how do literary texts reflect these changes? What literary and cultural texts are associated with marginalized identities, and how do these texts call into question existing stereotypes and power dynamics? Our curriculum provides students with the opportunity to explore these questions by offering courses on race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality and related literary traditions from a variety of different theoretical and historical perspectives. E253 Introduction to African American Literature, E285 Ethnicity and Literature in America, E515 The Nth Race: Introduction to Transraciality (a course that examines the intersection of theories or race and gender) and E289 Thingamijigirl: Objects, Human, Femininity (a course that examines the long-standing connection between femininity and “things”) are all regular offerings.
Built around a two-semester sequence offered every year – E502 Contemporary Critical Theory (Fall semester) and E501 From Literary to Cultural Studies (Spring semester) – our offerings in critical theory expose students to the main questions and forms of inquiry and criticism that shape current cultural debate.
Our electives in this area include courses that survey major dramatic conventions and theatrical movements (E355 Modern Drama, E288 African American Drama, and E743 SEM: Shakespeare/History/Play for example), as well as courses that critically examine forms of performance and their political and cultural resonances (E357 Theatre, Performance, Politics and E704 SEM: Performance or Performativity).
Our sequence of Beginning and Advanced Creative Writing Workshops form the core of our Writing Workshop curriculum: E411 E421 Beginning Poetry Writing Workshop, E421 Advanced Poetry Workshop, E412 Beginning Fiction Writing Workshop, & E422 Advanced Fiction Writing. Each workshop sequence is offered annually, usually on consecutive semesters. We also regularly offer workshops in the following: E401 Creative Writing: A Cross-Genre Studio; E415 Journalism Workshop; E419 Writing For Digital Media; and E424 Uses of the Autobiographical.