English Literature

NATHALIE ANDERSON, Professor 2
ELIZABETH BOLTON, Professor
NORA JOHNSON, Professor and Chair
PETER J. SCHMIDT, Professor
PHILIP M. WEINSTEIN, Professor 3
CRAIG WILLIAMSON, Professor
RACHEL BUURMA, Associate Professor
ANTHONY FOY, Associate Professor
JILL GLADSTEIN, Associate Professor and Director of Writing Associates Program
BAKIRATHI MANI, Associate Professor
LARA COHEN, Assistant Professor
ERIC SONG, Assistant Professor
SANGINA PATNAIK, Assistant Professor
ELAYNE BROWNE, Visiting Instructor (part time)

5
DALE MEZZACAPPA, Visiting Instructor (part time) 52 Absent on leave, spring 2015.
3 Absent on leave, 2014–2015.
5 Fall 2014.

This department offers courses in English literature, American literature, Native American literature, Anglophone literature, Asian and Asian American literatures, gay and lesbian literatures, drama, film, creative writing, critical theory, and journalism. The departmental curriculum includes the intensive study of works of major writers, major periods of literary history, and the development of literary types; it also provides experience in a variety of critical approaches to literature and dramatic art and explores certain theoretical considerations implicit in literary study, such as the problematics of canon formation and the impact of gender on the creation and reception of literary works.

Students who plan to do graduate work, to follow a course of professional training, or to seek teacher certification in English should see a member of the department for early help in planning their programs, as should students who plan to include work in English literature in a special or cross-disciplinary major, or in a program with a concentration.

Requirements and Recommendations

First-Year Seminars

The English Literature Department offers two kinds of first-year seminars. There are first-year seminars in composition and first-year seminars in literature. ENGL 001F is a first-year seminar in composition (academic writing.) These count as Humanities writing (W) courses but do not count towards a major or minor in English literature. All first-year seminars (both in composition and in literature) are limited to 12 students. First-year seminars in English literature are numbered ENGL 008A-Z and ENGL 009A-Z. These literature seminars are designed to emphasize in-depth study of literary texts from a variety of perspectives, with careful attention to writing and maximum opportunity for class discussion. All first-year seminars in English count as Humanities W courses. Students may take only one first-year seminar in literature from the English Department, but they are welcome to take a first-year seminar in composition and a first-year seminar in English literature.

Core Courses

We also offer core courses (CC), which are especially recommended for first- and second-year students, though they are open to all. CCs pay special attention to one or more of the following: close reading, historical context, secondary (i.e., theoretical or critical) readings, or genre. They are distinguished by their pedagogical emphasis rather than by course topic per se. Students are welcome to take more than one CC.

Students considering a major in English are strongly urged to take a first-year seminar in literature and one or two additional English courses during the sophomore year. Students need at least two graded literature courses from English to apply for the major. A core course or another mid-level English literature course is especially recommended. ENGL 070A–070Kwill not suffice as the second course when applying for a major. ENGL 005 Journalism Workshop does not count toward a major or minor in English literature. Majors and prospective majors should consult a member of the English Department for information about courses in other departments complementary to their work in English; work in foreign languages is especially recommended.

Course Major

The work of a major in course consists of a minimum of nine units of credit in the department including

  • ENGL 099 (taken fall of the senior year, no exceptions),
  • at least three units in literature written before 1830 (such courses are marked with a *),
  • and at least three in literature written after 1830.

Courses marked with a *** may be counted as pre-1830 or post-1830 but not both. First-Year Seminars (ENGL 008 and 009A through Z), creative writing, journalism classes and AP credits do not count as part of the pre- or post-1830 requirement. Creative writing credits and/or a validated AP credit of 4 or 5 in Literature (not “Language”) count towards the credits needed for a major in English Literature; however, ENGL 005 (Journalism) does not.

Course Minor

The work of a minor in course consists of a minimum of five units of literature credit in the department including

  • at least one unit in literature written before 1830 (such courses are marked with a *),
  • and at least one in literature written after 1830.

Courses marked with a *** may be counted as pre-1830 or post-1830 but not both. First-Year Seminars in literature (ENGL 008 and 009 A through Z), creative writing, journalism classes, and an AP credit in Literature do not count as part of the pre- or post-1830 requirement. Creative writing credits and/or a validated AP credit of 4 or 5 in Literature (not “Language”) count towards the credits needed for a minor in English Literature; however, ENGL 005 (Journalism) does not.

Honors Major

Majors in English who seek a degree with honors will, in the spring of their sophomore year, propose for external examination a program consisting of four fields: three in English and one in a minor.

The three preparations in the major (constituting six units of credit) will be constituted as follows:

  • all three preparations will normally be done through seminars (if approved by the department, one preparation may be a thesis or creative writing portfolio);
  • the program must include at least one Group I and one Group II seminar.

Honors majors, as part of their overall work in the department, must meet the general major requirement of 9 credits in English literature, including three units of credit in literature written before 1830 and three units of credit in literature written after 1830. First-year seminars, creative writing, and journalism classes do not count as pre- or post-1830 classes.

Students interested in pursuing honors within a faculty-approved interdisciplinary major, program, or concentration that draws on advanced English courses or seminars should see the chair for early help in planning their programs.

Honors Minor

Minors must do a single, two-credit preparation in the department, normally by means of a seminar (or under special circumstances, a creative writing portfolio); the thesis option is only available to majors.

Minors are required to do a total of at least five units of work in English (including their honors preparation), with at least one pre- and one post-1830 credit. First-year seminars, creative writing, and journalism classes do not count as pre- or post-1830 classes.

Double Majors

Students may, with the department’s permission, pursue a double major either as part of the Course or Honors Program. Double majors must fulfill all the major requirements in both departments.

For a double major in honors, one of the majors is used as the honors major and the other is often used as the honors minor. See the department chair for further details.

Special Major

Designed by the student in consultation with faculty advisers. If English is the central department, students must fulfill most of the regular requirements and have a minimum of 5 English Department credits as part of the special major. At least one of the 5 credits must be a pre-1830 course and one a post-1830 course.

Students must consult with the various departments or programs involved in the special major and have all approve the plan of study. Only one integrative comprehensive exercise is required.

Students may also do a special honors major with four related preparations in different departments.

Major with a Creative Writing Emphasis

Students who want to major in English literature with an emphasis in creative writing—whether course or honors majors—must complete three units of creative writing in addition to the usual departmental requirements of pre- and post-1830 units. The creative writing credits will normally consist of either

  • three workshops (ENGL 070A, B, C, D, E, G, H, or J)

OR

  • two workshops (ENGL 070A, B, C, D, E, G, H, or J) and ENGL 070K, Directed Creative Writing Projects

Students may count towards the program no more than one workshop offered by departments other than English literature. Admission into the program will depend upon the quality of the student’s written work and the availability of faculty to supervise the work. Students who are interested in the program are urged to talk both with the department chair and with one of the department faculty who regularly teach the workshops.

For creative writing projects in the Honors Program, the 2-credit field will normally be defined as a 1-credit workshop (ENGL 070A, 070B, 070C, or 070H) paired with a 1-credit Directed Creative-Writing Project (ENGL 070K). The approximate range of pages to be sent forward to the examiners will be 20 to 30 pages of poetry or 30 to 50 pages of fiction. There will be no written examination for the creative writing project; the student’s portfolio will be sent directly to the examiner, who will then give the student an oral examination during honors week. For purposes of the transcript, the creative writing project will be assigned a grade corresponding to the degree of honors awarded it by the external examiner. Students are advised that such independent writing projects must normally be substantially completed by the end of the fall semester of the senior year as the spring semester is usually the time when the senior honors study essay must be written.

Note: Creative writing and journalism classes do not count as pre- or post-1830 classes. ENGL 070A, 070B, 070C, 070H, and 070K are CR/NC courses (not graded).

For a more detailed description of the English Literature Creative Writing program and its history, see the English Department website or handouts available in the department office.

Thesis/Culminating Exercise

Course Majors

English 099, Senior Course Majors Colloquium, is open only to senior English literature course majors and required for them to take. It offers a structured and supportive environment for students writing their senior essays. The course will feature a mix of literature, criticism, theory, and methodology, plus guest visits by other members of the English Literature Department and possibly others, with the opportunity for students to discuss central issues in the field of literary and cultural history in preparation for their research and writing.

Under some circumstances a course major may elect to write a thesis. See the description under ENGL 098.

Honors Majors

Honors majors will prepare a senior honors essay and take an Honors exam for each of their three English honors preparations.

Students who wish either to write a thesis or pursue a creative writing project under faculty supervision as part of the Honors Program must submit proposals to the department; the number of these ventures the department can sponsor each year is limited. Students who propose creative writing projects will normally be expected to have completed at least one writing workshop as part of, or as a prelude to, the project; the field presented for examination will thus normally consist of a 1-credit workshop plus a 1-credit directed creative writing project. For further information, including deadlines for directed creative writing proposals, see rubric under ENGL 070K.

Application Process Notes for the Major or the Minor

Applications for the major in English literature are considered in the spring of the sophomore year. Each student will, under the guidance of a faculty adviser, present a reasoned plan of study for the last two years. This plan will be submitted to the department and will be the basis of the departmental discussion of the student’s application for a major. The plan will include a list of proposed courses and seminars that will satisfy the requirements for either the Course or Honors Program and a rationale for the program of study.

Such applications are normally considered at a meeting of all department members. Each student is discussed individually. The department has never established a minimum grade point average, nor are certain courses weighted in this discussion more heavily than others. A record of less than satisfactory work in English would certainly give us pause, however, unless it were attributable to circumstances other than academic ability. Students who want to include the English major as part of a double major must have a record of strong work in both majors as well as in other courses.

Students are eligible for seminars in the department regardless of their choice of honors or course majors. Admission to seminars will be based on a student’s prior academic work, her/his ability to interact well in a small class situation, and the shape of the larger course of study articulated in the Sophomore Plan. For oversubscribed seminars, priority will normally be given to honors majors and minors.

The minimum requirement for consideration for the major, minor, or admission to any seminar is the completion of at least two graded courses in English, not counting creative writing workshops. Applications for the major will be deferred until two graded literature courses are completed.

Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate Credit

A maximum of 2 credits may be awarded for combined AP and IB work.

AP Credit

Students will receive credit for AP scores of 4 or 5 in English Lit/Comp which will count both toward graduation and toward the major requirements. AP credit is given for scores of 4 or 5 in English Lang/Comp but count only toward graduation and not toward the major requirements. If students take both exams and receive scores of 4 or 5 they will receive one credit for each exam.

IB Credit

A maximum of one AP Literature credit is given for a score of 6 or 7 on the Higher Level English examination in the International Baccalaureate program. This credit will count both toward graduation and toward the major requirements.

Off-Campus Study and Transfer Credit

Students wishing to study away from Swarthmore should consult with the department chair far enough in advance of such study to effect proper planning of a major or minor. In determining which courses of study will meet department criteria for requirements or credit toward a major or minor, the department will rely both on its experience in evaluating the work of students returning from these programs and on careful examination of course descriptions, syllabi, and schedules. Course credits for literature in English should be approved before you leave, but no course credits are finally awarded until you consult with the department upon your return to Swarthmore.

To find out who the course credits consultant is for English, contact the department chair.

Teacher Certification

English majors may complete the requirements for English certification through a program approved by the State of Pennsylvania. For further information about the relevant set of English and Educational Studies requirements, please refer to the Educational Studies section of the Bulletin.

Life After Swarthmore

Students graduating with a major in English literature often go on to pursue graduate or professional studies or take up a wide variety of positions in the working world where strong reading, writing, and interpretive skills are at a premium—in the public or private sector, in government or in non-government organizations. Many study law, medicine, or journalism. We number among our graduates poets and novelists, social workers and scholars, news writers, broadcast journalists and editors, grant-writers, doctors, and directors.

Curriculum

The English Department courses are grouped together by historical period, genre, or course level as follows:
001–005 A, B, C, etc.: Academic writing courses and seminars that do not count toward the major
008 and 009 A, B, C, etc.: First-Year Seminars (counted as W courses)
010–096: Advanced courses including core courses
010, 011: Survey Courses in British Literature
014–019: Medieval
020–029: Renaissance and 17th Century
030–039: Restoration, 18th Century, and Romantic
040–049: Victorian to Modern
050–069: American (including African American, Asian American, and Native American)
070 A, B, C, etc.: Creative Writing Workshops
071A, B, C, etc.: Genre Studies
072–079: Comparative Literature/Literature in Translation
080–096: Critical Theory, Film, and Media Studies
097–099: Independent Study and Culminating Exercises
Over 100: Honors Seminars, Theses, etc. (open to juniors and seniors with approval of the department chair only)

001–005: Academic Writing Courses

These courses are writing-intensive courses that count toward graduation credit but not toward the English major. They may not be substituted for a prerequisite course in English.

ENGL 001C. Writing Pedagogy

(Cross-listed as EDUC 001C)
This seminar serves as the gateway into the Writing Associates Fellowship Program. Students are introduced to the theory and pedagogy of composition studies and the concept of reflective practice. The seminar asks students to connect theory with practical experience when assessing how best to engage with different student writers and different forms of academic prose. Students will interact with the complexity of their new positions as peer mentors while learning how to be a professional within this role. Topics covered include: the ethics of peer mentoring, active listening, development of written arguments, learning styles, and conferencing. This course is open only to those selected as WAs. It is a credit/no credit course. Meets distribution requirements but does not count toward the major.
Writing course.
1 credit.
Fall 2014. Gladstein.

ENGL 001D. Writing Tutorial

Students enrolled in ENGL 001F or 001G, in consultation with the professor of these courses, may enroll in the tutorial. Students will set up an individual program to work with the professor on writing for the course or other courses. Students take the tutorial in conjunction with ENGL 001F or ENGL 001G, or they may take it in a subsequent semester.
0.5 credit.
Spring 2015. Staff.

ENGL 001F. First-Year Seminar: Transitions to College Writing

This class, limited to 12, introduces students to the different genres of writing required at the College. Through assignments and class readings students learn what they might need to transition from writing in high school to writing at Swarthmore.
Meets distribution requirements but does not count toward the major. Students may take ENGL 001F and an English Literature first-year seminar (ENGL 008 A-Z and 009A-Z).
Writing course.
1 credit.
Fall 2014 .Staff. Spring 2016. Gladstein.

ENGL 002A. Argument and Rhetoric Across the Disciplines

This course examines the questions of rhetorical analysis in different academic genres. Through the reading of academic journal articles, popular press pieces, and texts on rhetoric and argument, students will both deconstruct and construct academic arguments as they are presented in different disciplines. The course will explore such topics as ethos, pathos, and logos; intended audience and how to use evidence to persuade that audience; what constitutes evidence and how evidence is utilized; the use of numbers to support or respond to an argument.
Meets distribution requirements but does not count toward the major.
Writing course.
1 credit.
Not offered 2014–2015.

ENGL 003A. Independent Study and Directed Reading in Writing Studies

Students who plan an independent study or a directed reading must consult with the appropriate instructor and submit a prospectus for such work before the beginning of the semester during which the study is actually done. The course is available only if a professor is free to supervise the project.
0.5 or 1 credit.
Staff.

ENGL 005. Journalism Workshop

An introduction to news gathering, news writing, and journalism ethics. Students learn the values, skills, and standards crucial to high-quality journalism. They write conventional news stories, narratives, profiles, non-deadline features, trend stories, and point-of-view articles on a beat of their choosing. Guest speakers include award-winning reporters and editors. This course counts as a general humanities credit and as a writing course, but does not count as a credit toward a major or minor in English literature.
Writing course.
1 credit.
Fall 2014. Mezzacappa.

008 and 009: First-Year Seminars In English Literature

These courses are limited to 12 first-year students only. No student may take more than one. All count as Writing courses.

ENGL 009A. First-Year Seminar: Literature and Law

In this course we will explore the forms law and literature take as they work through similar concerns, determining how social systems should function and puzzling over the moments when they don’t. When does fiction appropriate the law’s penchant for articulating rights and defining relationships? And when does the legal imagination draw from literature? We will read works of tragedy, detection, confession and evasion as we sort through these questions, supplementing our conversation with critical legal theory, trauma studies, and case law.
Writing course.
1 credit.
Fall 2014. Patnaik.

ENGL 009D. First-Year Seminar: Nation and Migration

Drawing on novels, short stories and film produced by immigrant writers from South Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean, this course explores the ways in which identity and community is shaped in the modern world. How does the migrant/diasporic writer rewrite the English language to reflect questions of race and power, nationhood and citizenship, and histories of the past and present? Authors include Salman Rushdie, Edwidge Danticat, Chimananda Adichie and Mohsin Hamid.
Writing course.
1 credit.
Spring 2015 and spring 2016. Mani.

ENGL 009E. First-Year Seminar: Narcissus and the History of Reflection

Narcissism seems at once reprehensible and an unavoidable part of personhood. This course investigates how, over the course of many centuries, the story of Narcissus has been reworked as a way to think about process of creative reflection and how we see ourselves in relation to others. At stake are questions of desire, gender, racial identities, and language. Authors include Ovid, Milton, Wilde, Freud, and Fanon; also visual art and film.
Writing course.
1 credit.
Fall 2014. Song.

ENGL 009G. First-Year Seminar: Comedy

This course covers a range of comic dramas and comic performances. It will introduce key theories about comedy as a genre and comic performance as a cultural practice. We will also work intensively on expository writing and revision. Likely texts include films, plays by Plautus, Shakespeare, Behn, Wilde, and Churchill; and materials on minstrelsy, genre theory, gender, and performance studies.
Writing course.
1 credit.
Spring 2015. Johnson.

ENGL 009H. First-Year Seminar: Portraits of the Artist

We will study a variety of works portraying artists in different cultures and contexts and media. The syllabus will vary each year but may include: Scheherazade as story-teller (Arabian Nights selections), Shakespeare (sonnets), Mozart (the movie Amadeus), Frida Kahlo’s life and work, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony awarding-winning musical In the Heights (2008). Selected background and critical materials will also be assigned.
Writing course.
1 credit.
Fall 2014. Schmidt.

ENGL 009J. First-Year Seminar: Revolution and Revolt

What makes a revolution? How is it won or lost—and who decides? This course investigates the literature of rebellion from the late 18th century’s “Age of Revolution” to the Occupy movement. We will read the works of not only famous revolutionary leaders, but also infamous and obscure ones, including radical abolitionists, communists, anarchists, feminists, student activists, and more, asking how their writing both interprets the memory of previous revolutions and imagines possibilities beyond them.
Writing course.
1 credit.
Fall 2014 and fall 2015. Cohen.

ENGL 009M. First-Year Seminar: Jane Austen, Cultural Critic

We’ll read Austen’s major novels aligned with the 18th century fiction, politics, and philosophy to which she was responding; we’ll also consider recent critical views on Austen and the ways films of the 1990s through the present engaged Austen’s style and social critique.
Writing course.
1 credit.
Fall 2015. Bolton.

ENGL 009Q. First-Year Seminar: Subverting Verses

Once history, biography, fiction, philosophy, and even science could be written in verse without seeming peculiar or affected, but today the line between poetry and prose is sharply drawn. Or is it? This course will examine unconventional forms and uses of poetry—from Seneca’s Oedipus to Dove’s Darker Face of the Earth, from Chaucer’s Tales to Seth’s Golden Gate, from Perelman’s verse essays to Forché’s prose poems—to explore our assumptions about the nature of genre.
Writing course.
1 credit.
Fall 2015. Anderson.

ENGL 009S. First-Year Seminar: Black Liberty/Black Literature

How have African American writers told stories of freedom, and how have they tried to tell them freely? How has the question of freedom shaped the development of, and debates over, an African American literary tradition? Drawing upon fiction, poetry, personal narratives, and critical essays, we will examine freedom as an ongoing problem of form, content, and context in black literature from antebellum slavery to the Harlem Renaissance.
Eligible for BLST credit.
Writing course.
1 credit.
Fall 2014 and spring 2016. Foy.

ENGL 009Z. First-Year Seminar: Close Reading and Its Discontents

We "close read" almost every day, in both the English literature classroom and in everyday life. But what do we really mean when we talk about close reading? And what might it mean for us to reject it? We will study the ways literary critics have read texts as different as John Donne poems, car ads, and Jane Austen novels, practice traditional and experimental forms of reading, and write in several forms.
Writing course.
1 credit.
Fall 2014 and fall 2015. Buurma.

010–099: Advanced Courses

These courses are open to freshmen and sophomores who have taken a writing course from any department on campus and to juniors and seniors without prerequisite.

Core Courses

For fuller descriptions, see the following:
ENGL 010. Core Course: Survey I: Beowulf to Milton*
ENGL 035. Core Course: The Rise of the Novel***
ENGL 040. Core Course: Victorian Literature and Victorian Informatics
ENGL 052A. Core Course: U.S. Fiction, 1900–1950
ENGL 052B. Core Course: U.S. Fiction, 1945 to the Present
ENGL 053. Core Course: Modern American Poetry
ENGL 059. Core Course: 19th Century American Novels
ENGL 061. Core Course: Fictions of Black America
ENGL 071D. Core Course: The Short Story in the U.S.
ENGL 076. Core Course: The World, the Text, and the Critic

014–019: Medieval

ENGL 010. Core Course: Survey I: Beowulf to Milton*

A historical and critical survey of poetry, prose, and drama from Beowulf to Milton. This will include British literature from the following periods: Anglo-Saxon, Middle English, Renaissance, and 17th century.
1 credit.
Fall 2015. Williamson.

ENGL 014. Old English/History of the Language*

(Cross-listed as LING 014)
A study of the origins and development of English—sound, syntax, and meaning—with an initial emphasis on learning Old English. Topics may include writing and speech, changing phonology and morphology, wordplay in Chaucer and Shakespeare, pidgins and creoles, and global English.
This course may be taken without the usual prerequisite course in English; however, it may not serve in the place of a prerequisite for other advanced courses.
Counts as humanities distribution credit under this listing.
1 credit.
Spring 2016. Williamson.

ENGL 016. Chaucer*

Readings in Middle English of most of Chaucer’s poetry with emphasis on The Canterbury Tales and Troilus and Criseyde. The course attempts to place the poetry in a variety of critical and cultural contexts which help to illuminate Chaucer’s art. Medieval cultural readings include Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy, and Andreas Capellanus’ The Art of Courtly Love.
1 credit.
Fall 2014. Williamson.

020–029: Renaissance and 17th Century

ENGL 020. Shakespeare*

Topics in this survey of Shakespeare’s plays, including kingship, comedy and tragedy, family, sexuality, race, performance, language, and the rewriting of history. We will frequently return to the question of theater’s place in early modern England, while also examining the place Shakespeare holds in the cultures we inhabit. The list of plays may include Taming of the Shrew, Henry V, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, Measure for Measure, Hamlet, Othello, Lear, and The Tempest.
1 credit.
Fall 2014. Song. Fall 2015. Johnson.

ENGL 023. Renaissance Sexualities*

The study of sexuality allows us to pose some of the richest historical questions we can ask about subjectivity, the natural, the public, and the private. This course will explore such questions in relation to Renaissance sexuality, examining several sexual categories—the homoerotic, chastity and friendship, marriage, adultery, and incest—in a range of literary and secondary texts.
1 credit.
Fall 2014 and spring 2016. Johnson.

ENGL 026. Allegory and Allegoresis in the English Renaissance*

Allegory designates a mode of writing and of interpreting narratives. The decline of allegory marks a shift from medieval to modern culture, eventually giving way to realism. Yet allegory has never left us, as we continue to read allegorically to some degree. This course turns to the English Renaissance as a literary turning point. Readings from The Faerie Queene, Paradise Lost, and Pilgrim’s Progress; theoretical work by Walter Benjamin, Paul de Man, and others.
1 credit.
Spring 2015. Song.

ENGL 028. Milton*

Study of Milton’s poetry and prose with particular emphasis on Paradise Lost.
1 credit.
Spring 2015. Song.

030–039: Restoration, 18th Century, and Romantic

ENGL 033. The Romantic Sublime

“The essential claim of sublime is that man[sic] can, in speech and feeling, transcend the human” (Weiskel). What does this transcendence look like? How is it achieved? What resources does it offer us, and at what cost? Authors include Burke, Blake, the Wordsworths, Coleridge, Byron, the Shelleys, and Keats.
1 credit.
Fall 2015. Bolton.

ENGL 035. Core Course: The Rise of the Novel***

We will follow development of the novel, from its origins in a multiplicity of diverse literary genres to its Victorian incarnation as a “realist” and middle-class form through its Modernist appropriation as high art and its subsequent return to multi-genre roots. Surveying the main critical narratives of the novel’s “rise” or development, we will also see how the material form of the novel might offer us a counter-narrative to conventional interpretations of the genre’s origins.
1 credit.
Fall 2014 and fall 2015. Buurma.

040–049: Victorian to Modern

ENGL 040. Core Course: Victorian Literature and Victorian Informatics

This mid-level core course offers a survey of canonical Victorian literature through the lens of theories of knowledge organization and the history of information practices. We will read texts by authors like Charlotte Brontë, John Stuart Mill, Charles Darwin, George Eliot, Christina Rossetti, Alfred Tennyson, Oscar Wild, and others. This class will focus on developing techniques of close, middle-distance, and distant reading, with an emphasis on exploring new digital tools for organizing, curating, decomposing, and remaking literary texts.
1 credit.
Fall 2014 and spring 2016. Buurma.

ENGL 046. Tolkien and Pullman and Their Literary Roots***

A study of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and Pullman’s His Dark Materials in the context of their early English sources. For Tolkien, this will include Beowulf, Old English riddles and elegies, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. For Pullman, this will include Biblical stories of the Creation and Fall, Milton’s Paradise Lost, and selected Blake poems. Some film versions will be included.
1 credit.
Spring 2015 and spring 2016. Williamson.

ENGL 048. Contemporary Women’s Poetry

“Merely the private lives of one-half of humanity.” Thus Carolyn Kizer defines the 20th-century revolution through which women poets give voice to the previously unspeakable and explore the political implications of the supposedly personal. This course considers a variety of poetic styles and stances employed by women writing in English today—feminist or womanist, intellectual or experiential, lesbian or straight, and mindful of ethnic heritage or embracing the new through artistic experimentation.
1 credit.
Spring 2016. Anderson.

050–069: American (Including African American, Asian American, and Native American)

ENGL 051. Early American Literature *

This course examines American literature from its earliest recorded oral traditions to the end of the Civil War. “Early American literature” is something of a paradox during a time when definitions of what constituted both “American” and “literature” were hotly debated. Our readings will explore how writers interpreted these concepts across a wide range of genres, including Native American origin stories, exploration and travel writing, slave narratives, political manifestoes, poetry, and novels.
1 credit.
Spring 2015 and spring 2016. Cohen.

ENGL 052A. Core Course: U.S. Fiction, 1900–1950

This course focuses on well-known and newly recognized novelists important for this period: Baum, London, Wharton, Cather, Hemingway, Hurston, Loos, Hammett, McCullers, and Steinbeck. There will be attention to innovations in the novel as a literary form and to the ways in which writers engage with their historical context, particularly regarding issues of immigration, race, community, and redefinitions of gender roles and the meaning of “American.”
1 credit.
Fall 2014. Schmidt.

ENGL 052B. Core Course: U.S. Fiction, 1945 to the Present

Major authors and emerging figures, with attention to innovations in the novel as a literary form and the ways in which writers engage with their historical context, both within the U.S. and globally. The list of authors varies, but may include Eudora Welty, James Agee, Philip Roth, Gish Jen, Lorrie Moore, Sandra Cisneros, Richard Powers, Justin Torres, Gary Shteyngart, Patricia Highsmith, Neil Gaiman (American Gods).
1 credit.
Spring 2015. Schmidt.

ENGL 053. Core Course: Modern American Poetry

An introductory survey of the full range of 20th-century American poetry, but we will commence with Whitman and Dickinson, two key predecessors and enablers. The emphasis will be on particular poets and poems, but a recurrent theme will be poetry’s role in a democracy: is poetry really an esoteric art for the “educated” few, as some imply, or has poetry in the 20th century played a crucial role in shaping both democratic citizens and a sense of democratic culture?
1 credit.
Spring 2015. Schmidt.

ENGL 059. Core Course: 19th Century American Novels

When we think of 19th century American literature, we tend to think of novels: Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans, and so on. But the novel was still a new and somewhat dubious genre in the nineteenth-century U.S., and its identity was not yet settled. In this course, we will read some of the “big” books of the period, but we will try to read them as they might have been read at the time, as experimental controversial works. Texts may include Hawthorne’s The House of the Seven Gables,William Wells Brown’s Clotel, and Helen Hunt Jackson’s Ramona, in addition to those listed above.
1 credit.
Spring 2015. Cohen

ENGL 060. Early African American Print Cultures*

African American literature has traditionally been defined in terms of authorship, but how might we expand this definition to consider editing, illustration, printing, circulation, and reading? And how might this expanded definition change our understanding of the field? This course will examine a wide variety of 18th- and 19th-century African American print culture, including poetry, sermons, manifestos, newspapers, slave narratives, and novels.
Eligible for BLST credit.
1 credit.
Fall 2014. Cohen.

ENGL 061. Core Course: Fictions of Black America

A survey of significant novels and short fiction by African American writers since the Harlem Renaissance. We will examine the textual practices, cultural discourses, and historical developments that have shaped a black literary tradition, paying close attention to the dynamic interaction among artist, culture, and community.
Eligible for BLST credit.
1 credit.
Fall 2014. Foy.

ENGL 062. Classic Black Autobiography

An introduction to African American autobiography, focusing on personal narratives produced in the century between the Emancipation Proclamation and the Civil Rights Act. Emphasizing the significance of autobiography as a practice rather than simply a document, we will consider the textual strategies that black narrators employ, as well as the contextual concerns that shape them.
Eligible for BLST credit.
1 credit.
Spring 2015. Foy.

ENGL 063. Contemporary Black Autobiography

Since 1965, African American autobiography has been characterized by both formal innovation and a thematic concern with the meaning of blackness after the Civil Rights Movement; this course examines these developments. Authors may include Malcolm X, Angela Davis, James Baldwin, John Edgar Wideman, Adrienne Kennedy, and Audre Lorde.
Eligible for BLST credit.
1 credit.
Spring 2016. Foy.

ENGL 064. The New Negro Versus Jim Crow

What is the relationship between the birth of a “New Negro” and the birth of Jim Crow? This advanced course focuses closely on the florescence of African American literature from the late 19th century through the Harlem Renaissance, even as the strictures and structures of Jim Crow hardened.
Eligible for BLST credit.
1 credit.
Fall 2015. Foy.

ENGL 065. Asian American Literature

How does Asian American literature function as the site of key debates about ethnic and national identity? This course explores Asian American cultural production over the past 50 years, beginning with Flower Drum Song (1961), the first Hollywood film starring an all-Asian American cast, and ending with the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri’s short stories. Authors include Maxine Kingston, Chang-Rae Lee, David Henry Hwang, and Theresa Hak-Kyung Cha.
1 credit.
Spring 2015. Mani.

ENGL 068. Black Culture in a “Post-Soul” Era

Since the 1970s, younger generations of African American writers, artists, and intellectuals have struggled over the meaning of Blackness in the wake of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements that preceded them. Supported by a handful of historical and critical studies, we will examine how black novelists, playwrights, and poets in the ‘post-soul’ era have dealt with a complex of shifting and interconnected concerns, including the imperatives of racial representation in a society increasingly driven by mass consumption and global media, the contentious discourses of sexual politics, and the polarization of classes within Black America.
Eligible for BLST credit.
1 credit.
Spring 2015 and spring 2016. Foy.

070: Creative Writing Workshops

Regular creative writing workshops are limited to 12 and require the submission of writing samples in order for students to apply for them. Workshops marked with a # combine a balance of substantial literary analysis of models along with creative writing exercises geared to the models; these workshops are limited to 15 and, do not require the submission of manuscripts. Students may normally take only one workshop at a time. ENGL 070A and 070B may normally be taken only once. Creative writing courses do not count as pre– or post–1830 classes.

ENGL 070A. Poetry Workshop.

This workshop emphasizes each individual’s distinctive voice within the context of contemporary poetics as students work through formal exercises and thematic experiments, reading and commenting on each other’s writing. Attendance at readings required. Limited to 12 students; writing sample due immediately after fall break. Admission and credit determined by instructor.
Graded credit / no credit.
1 credit.
Spring semester each year.
Spring 2015. Williamson. 2016. Anderson.

ENGL 070B. Fiction Workshop

This workshop emphasizes development of character, voice, and narrative structure within the context of contemporary literature. Students work through exercises and prompts, reading and commenting on each other’s writing. Attendance at readings required. Limited to 12 students; writing sample due immediately after fall break. Admission and credit determined by instructor.
Graded credit/no credit.
1 credit.
Spring semester each year.
Spring 2015. Bolton. Spring 2016. Staff.

ENGL 070C. Advanced Poetry Workshop

Poetry books often represent their authors’ conscious statements, made through selection, organization, and graphic presentation. In this workshop, students design and complete their own volumes. Attendance at readings required. Prerequisite: English 070A, 070D, 070E, 070G, or 070J, or similar workshop elsewhere. Limited to 12. Admission and credit determined by instructor.
Graded credit/no credit.
1 credit.
Fall 2014. Anderson.

ENGL 070E. Lyric Encounters

Matthew Arnold called it “a criticism of life”; Dylan Thomas, “a naked vision.” Emily Dickinson, a blow, “If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off.” Students examine lyrics through literary analysis, then shape their own criticisms, visions, cerebral explosions. Attendance at readings required. Pre-requisite: any W course. Limited to15.
1 credit.
Fall 2014. Anderson.

ENGL 070H. Advanced Fiction Writers’ Workshop

Students will experiment with established writers’ methods of illuminating characters and narratives as well as revising to produce polished work. Attendance at readings required. Prerequisite: ENGL 070B or similar workshop elsewhere. Limited to 12. Admission and credit determined by instructor.
Graded credit/no credit.
1 credit.
Fall 2015. Staff.

ENGL 070J. The Poetry Project: Research and Development

Behind the poem’s eloquence, there’s often a structure—scientific, historical, philosophical, literary—supported by focused research. This course examines poetry based on research, and students explore archival resources to write poems suggested by their own researches. Attendance at readings required. Pre-requisite: any W course. Limited to 15.
1 credit.
Fall 2015. Anderson.

ENGL 070K. Directed Creative Writing Projects

Supervised individual work in fiction or poetry for course or Honors students. Candidates submit proposals the semester before the project is undertaken. A limited number of proposals can be accepted. Students must consult with creative writing faculty before applying. See the department's creative writing page for more information.
Graded credit/no credit.
1 credit.
Staff.

ENGL 070L. Creative Writing Outreach

(Cross-listed as EDUC 073)
Where do arts, education and activism meet? In this course students will explore artistic affinities through creative writing activities and consider arts education and advocacy through diverse texts. Students will cultivate skills necessary to becoming Teaching Artists in imaginative writing at the elementary level through coursework as well as through volunteer placement in local schools. Topics covered include: creative curriculum development and presentation, educational climate for grades K–5 and teaching pedagogy.
Limited to 12.
EDUC 014 is required to receive Educational Studies Department credit for this course.
1 credit
Fall 2014. Browne.

071A–Z: Genre Studies

ENGL 071C. The Short Story

As we read widely in the 19th- and 20th-century short story, we’ll focus on technical developments as well as certain recurring preoccupations of the genre: fragmentation and reconstruction, the staging of an encounter between the ordinary and the extraordinary, and the refutation of time and mortality.
1 credit.
Fall 2014. Bolton.

072–079: Comparative Literature/Literature in Translation

ENGL 076. Core Course: The World, the Text, and the Critic

This core course introduces students to critical approaches in contemporary global literatures. We will explore how literature represents the relationship between “the West and the Rest,” and examine our own relation to colonial and postcolonial histories. Novels include White Teeth, The God of Small Things, and Heart of Redness.
1 credit.
Fall 2015. Mani.

ENGL 077. Politics of Solidarity: South Asians in America

How do racial minorities create and inhabit new forms of identity and citizenship? In what ways do changing discourses of multiculturalism reframe and constrain new ethnicities? Surveying a century of migration from the South Asian subcontinent to the United States, we will explore how new forms of political community are shaped by gender, religion, sexuality and class. Readings include: Prashad, Karma of Brown Folk; Shankar, Desi Land; DasGupta, Unruly Immigrants; and Bald, Bengali Harlem.
1 credit.
Spring 2015. Mani.

080–096: Critical Theory, Film, and Media Studies

Please see the film and media studies section for additional course listings.

ENGL 083. On Violence

A dark lexicon emerged out of the 20th century: total war, genocide, and collateral damage were new terms invented to describe “new” versions of atrocity. But does our ability to name violence mean that we understand it any better? This course explores the aesthetic and narrative structures of violence in modern fiction, film, critical theory, and law. Even as we recognize texts as pertaining to distinct modes (modernism, postmodernism, contemporary literature) we will explore how histories of colonialism and racism condition formal innovation.
Eligible for Peace & Conflict Studies credit.
1 credit.
Spring 2015. Patnaik.

ENGL 086. Theory Capstone: Discipline + Culture

(Cross-listed as INTP 091)
What is culture, and what is cultural studies? This course offers answers to both questions by examining what happens when an academic discipline forms around culture. Centering on a key figure - Stuart Hall – we will reconstruct the milieu of radically creative thinkers that formed the Birmingham Center for Contemporary Cultural Studies, including Raymond Williams, Richard Hoggart, Stuart Hall, Dick Hebdige, Catherine Hall, Angela McRobbie, Paul Gilroy, and others as they studied present cultural phenomena like adolescent femininity, punk music, hip-hop, advertising, and subcultures and reshaped the study of the past, from the black Atlantic to the Bengal Renaissance. By examining its major texts, figures and institutions, we will see how twentieth-century cultural studies promised to bring about new connections between academic work and public writing, new kinds of thinking about wealth, value and politics, new constellations of public art and social activism by reconfiguring existing disciplines, centering on new objects of study, and reimaging the role of the scholar.

Throughout the semester, we will pay special attention to ways you may have attended to the idea of culture in your previous and current coursework and independent reading. What perhaps now-unseen relation does the idea of culture, and perhaps the legacy of cultural studies, have to your Swarthmore education as you have known it, and to your life before and after Swarthmore?

Assignments will include both collaborative and individual projects, formal and informal writing, and attendance at some additional lectures. Expect visiting speakers, collaborative projects, comparative and interdisciplinary methodologies, digital methods, and more. 

1 credit.
Spring 2015. Farid Azfar (History), Sagner Buurma (English Literature).

ENGL 089. Race, Gender, Class and Environment

This course explores how ideologies and structures of race, gender, sexuality, and class are embedded in and help shape our perceptions of and actions in the “environment.” Drawing on key social and cultural theories of environmental studies from anthropology, sociology, feminist analysis, and science and technology studies, we will examine some of the ways that differences in culture, power, and knowledge construct the conceptual frameworks and social policies undertaken in relation to the environment.  The course draws on contemporary scholarship and social movement activism (including memoir and autobiography) from diverse national and international contexts. Topics addressed include, for example, ideas/theories of “nature,” toxic exposure and public health, environmental perception and social difference, poverty and natural resource depletion, justice and sustainability, Indigenous environmentalisms, eco-imperialism, and disparate impacts of global climate change.  The course offers students opportunities for community-based learning working in partnership with local organizations.  Possible texts include:  Ruth Ozeki, My Year of Meats, Eli Clare,  Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation, Julie Sze, Noxious New York: The Racial Politics of Urban Health and Environmental Justice, Wangari Maathai, Unbowed: A Memoir, Rob Nixon, Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor, Grace Lee Boggs, The Next American Revolution, Audre Lorde, The Cancer Journals, Ken Saro Wiwa, Silence Would be Treason, Sandra Steingraber, Living Downstream, Janisse Ray, Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, Gloria Anzaldua, Borderlands/La Frontera, Lois Gibbs, My Story, Love Canal, Linda Hogan, Solar Storms, Teri Hein, Atomic Farm Girl.
Cross listed with SOAN 020M.
Eligible for ENVS credit.
Spring 2015. Di Chiro

ENGL 090. Queer Media

(Cross-listed as FMST 046 and GSST 020)
The history of avant-garde and experimental media has been intertwined with that of gender non-conformity and sexual dissidence, and even the most mainstream media forms have been queered by subcultural reception. Challenging Hollywood’s heterosexual presumption and mass media appropriations of lgbt culture, we will examine lgbt aesthetic strategies and modes of address in contexts such as the American and European avant-gardes, AIDS activism, and transnational and diasporan film through the lens of queer theory.
Eligible for INTP credit.
1 credit.
Fall 2014. White.

097–099: Independent Study and Culminating Exercises

ENGL 097. Independent Study and Directed Reading

Students who plan an independent study or a directed reading must consult with the appropriate instructor and submit a prospectus before the semester in question. Normally limited to juniors and seniors and available only if a professor is free to supervise the project.
Section 01 for 0.5 credit.
Section 02 for 1 credit.
Staff.

ENGL 098. Senior Thesis

Course majors may pursue a thesis for 1 (40–50 pages) or 2 (80–100 pages) credits. A proposal for the project must be submitted in April of the junior year. Before submitting this proposal, course majors must consult with a prospective faculty supervisor. This work does not replace ENGL 099, required of every course major. Available only if a professor is available to supervise the project.
Section 01 for 1 credit.
Section 02 for 2 credits.
Staff.

ENGL 099. Senior Course Majors Colloquium***

This colloquium is open to senior course majors in English Literature. Focusing on the senior essay required to complete the major, this class features guest lectures by faculty and critical readings on literary theory and methodology. Short writing assignments in this class will build towards the senior essay, as students work in peer-centered environments as well as individually with the instructor. Students will complete their senior essays by the end of the fall semester.
Note: This colloquium may count as either a pre– or a post–1830 credit, depending on the final essay topic. ENGL 099 will be offered for seniors every fall.
1 credit.
Fall 2014. Mani. Fall 2015. Staff.

Seminars

Honors seminars are open to juniors and seniors only and require approval of the department chair. Priority is given to honors majors and minors. Group I (pre-1830) seminars are indicated by an *; all others are Group II (post-1830).

ENGL 101. Shakespeare*

Study of Shakespeare as a dramatist. The emphasis is on the major plays, with a more rapid reading of much of the remainder of the canon. Students are advised to read widely among the plays before entering the seminar. Students who have taken ENGL 020 may take this seminar for 2 credits.
2 credits.
Fall 2014 and spring 2016. Johnson.

ENGL 102. Chaucer and Medieval Literature*

A study of medieval English literature with an emphasis on Chaucer. Texts will include Beowulf, Old English poems, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and Troilus and Criseyde, Margery Kempe’s autobiography, selected mystery plays and Everyman, and Arthurian materials. Some works will be in Middle English; others, in translation.
2 credits.
Fall 2015. Williamson.

ENGL 110. Romanticism*

We’ll read the women poets of the period (Smith, Robinson, Baillie, Wordsworth, Hemans, and L.E.L.) alongside their more famous male contemporaries (Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, and Keats) in order to explore issues of concern to both: formal innovation, colonial expansion, (counter) revolutionary politics.
Eligible for GSST credit.
2 credits.
Spring 2015. Bolton.

ENGL 111. Victorian Literature and Culture

This research-intensive seminar focuses on the Victorian novel as both a genre and a material object in its print cultural context, setting this approach within the broader world of Victorian literature and culture in order to examine the ways in which the novel was both product and producer of its historical moment. Readings include novels by authors like George Eliot, Anthony Trollope, Elizabeth Gaskell, Wilkie Collins, George Meredith, Thomas Hardy, Bram Stoker, and Margaret Oliphant.
2 credits.
Spring 2015 and spring 2016. Buurma.

ENGL 114. Early American Media Culture*

This course borrows some of the methods of new media studies to look anew at the multimedia culture of the 18th- and 19th-century United States. We will study handbills, wampum, daguerreotypes, political cartoons, maps, songbooks, and counterfeit money, as well as literary texts that thematize this rich media culture.
2 credits.
Fall 2015. Cohen.

ENGL 116. American Literature

Our focus this year will be on the long, grand, and problematic tradition of U.S. Southern literature, especially fiction in both comic and tragic modes as it developed after the Civil War to the present.
2 credits.
Fall 2014. Schmidt.

ENGL 117. Theories and Literatures of Globalization

This seminar examines the literary and cultural dimensions of globalization. Pairing novels and short stories by major global writers with ethnographic and historical texts, we will examine the relationship between colonialism and postcolonialism; modernity and globalization; racial formation and the nation-state. By developing a critical engagement with theories of identity and difference, we will explore the ways in which global literatures engender new politics of nationalism, race, and sexuality.
2 credits.
Fall 2014 and spring 2016. Mani.

ENGL 118. Modern Poetry

A study of the poetry and critical prose of Yeats, Eliot, Stevens, and H.D., in an effort to define their differences within the practice of “modernism” and to assess their significance for contemporary poetic practice.
2 credits.
Fall 2015. Anderson.

ENGL 119. Black Cultural Studies

How have black writers both represented and theorized a series of tensions characterizing African American culture since the end of slavery—between past and present, roots and routes, folk and modern, sound and vision, city and country, nation and diaspora, culture and capital, people and power? Motivated by such concerns, this seminar will examine approaches to African American literature that are historical, cultural, and theoretical. Prior work in African American literature and/or Black Studies is recommended.
Eligible for BLST credit.
2 credits.
Fall 2015. Foy.

ENGL 180. Thesis

A major in the Honors Program may, with department permission, elect to write a thesis as a substitute for one seminar. The student must select a topic and submit a plan for department approval no later than the end of the junior year. Normally, the student writes the thesis of 80 to 100 pages, under the direction of a member of the department. The 2-credit thesis project may take place over 1 or 2 semesters.
Section 01 for 1 credit.
Section 02 for 2 credits.
Staff.

ENGL 183. Independent Study

Students may prepare for an honors examination in a field or major figure comparable in literary significance to those offered in the regular seminars. Independent study projects must be approved by the department and supervised by a department member. Deadlines for the receipt of written applications are the second Monday in November and the first Monday in April.
2 credits.
Staff.