Fall 2019 Course Descriptions

Fall 2019 Course Descriptions

English 50                            Classical Mythology                                                          (4)   


What did the Greeks and Romans really think about the gods?  How did they envision their interactions with divinities and other powerful forces in their world?  What did they imagine about humans whose exceptional powers elevated them to the special status of hero or heroine?  We will examine how those questions were conveyed in the form of traditional stories in a variety of ancient sources, including literary ones, such as Homer's Odyssey, the dramas of Euripides, and Ovid's Metamorphoses.   We will also examine how many of these myths were represented in Greek and Roman art.  Cross-listed with Classics 50 (44561).

MW 3:00-4:15                                                                                                           Pavlock


English 60                                        Dramatic Action                                                      (4)   


How plays are put together; how they work and what they accomplish.  Examination of how plot, character, aural and visual elements of production combine to form a unified work across genre, styles and periods. Cross-listed with Theater 60 (40310)

MW 10:45-12:00                                                                                                      Ripa


English 90-10                                  Fantastic Austen                                                   (4)   


Although 2017 marks the 200th commemoration of Jane Austen’s death, her fictional work is currently enjoying an extremely unusual afterlife. Fantastic Jane Austen offers a revisionist approach to Regency-era England by exploring the recent rise in fantasy fiction and film adaptations of Austen’s novels. We will consider a number of key questions: What is at the root of our contemporary fascination with fantasy and the macabre? How do these contemporary drives inform Austen’s 19th-century works? Do sea monsters, murder, magic, and zombies draw attention to new fears and desires present in our contemporary society? Alongside literature, we will also examine films that take Austen’s works out of their original racial and geographic contexts with emphases on India, America, and the Caribbean. How effectively do these fantastic films speak to important political issues of neocolonialism, consumer culture, and antislavery advocacy? To end, we will consider how Austen’s work influences the recent spate of fantastic Regency fictions.

Texts will include: Susanna Clarke, The Ladies of Grace Adieu (2006); Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2009); Jane Austen and Ben Winters, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters (2009); Lynn Shepherd, Murder at Mansfield Park (2010); Wayne Josephson, Emma and the Vampires (2010); Mary Robinette Kowal, Shades of Milk and Honey (2011)

Films will include: Amy Heckerling, Clueless (1995); Patricia Rozema, Mansfield Park (1999); Gurinder Chadha, Bride and Prejudice (2004); Burr Steers, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016).

MW 12:10-1:25                                                                                                        Dominique


English 90-11          Contemplative Walking in Literature and Life                       (4)   


As an everyday activity, people walk simply to get from place to place, but walking can acquire experiential and existential significance when it becomes “contemplative”—when it involves reflection, attentiveness, and presence.  During this course, we’ll read and discuss a number of personal narratives and reflective essays about walking, including accounts of trail hiking, day walks in nature, pilgrimages, walks in the city, and aimless wandering.  We’ll read about walking as recovery, ritual, meditation, symbolic action, inspiration, and creative discovery.  Key texts will include Wild (Cheryl Strayed), The Man Who Walked Through Time (Colin Fletcher), Wandering Home (Bill McKibben), and a number of additional essays and stories.  Students will write a series of analytical and personal essays, based on the readings and their own experiences, and will be encouraged to engage in walking and other contemplative activities, both on their own and as a class exercise. 

TR 9:20-10:35                                                                                                          Kroll


English 90-12                        Bethlehem and Beyond                                                 (4)   


Bethlehem was one of early America’s most unusual communities. During much of the eighteenth century, Bethlehem was a racially-integrated and egalitarian town: whites, blacks, and Native Americans lived, worked, and worshiped alongside one another. These men and women didn’t receive wages in exchange for their work: they received food, clothing, housing, education, health care, and elder care. It was a fully communal economy. Everybody lived in large stone dormitories—which still stand on the north side of the river—rather than in private homes. In addition to learning about eighteenth-century Bethlehem and thinking about what this extraordinary Moravian experiment can teach us about today's world, we will examine how the city in which you will live for the next few years remembers (or forgets) its own past. 

TR 10:45-12:00                                                                                                        Gordon


English 096                          American Childhood                                                         (4)   


This course takes a critical ethnic studies approach to the notion of growing up as an American child by decentering Anglo stories of childhood into a broader Hemispheric concept of American, including North, South, and Central America and U.S. colonies such as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In particular, we will read children's and young adult literature, and graphic novels which depict Latinx, African American, Indigenous, AfroLatinx children coming to consciousness in America. We will also look at how child protagonists negotiate themes of citizenship, race, class, and gender in an American context.  Cross-listed with AAS 96-10(44788) and LAS 96-10(44790).

MW 12:10-1:25                                                                                                        Jimenez


English 098                          Literature and Social Justice                                          (4)   


How do literary writers account for poverty in a land of extreme colonial wealth? How do they espouse the national ideal of freedom in an empire dedicated to slavery? How do they promote social equality in a nation where women are openly considered inferior to men? This course will confront these types of questions as we examine the strategies by which social justice causes such as poverty, prejudice, slavery, and feminism are established and promoted in representative texts from British and American fiction, poetry, music, art and philosophy. We will also use this course as an opportunity to investigate whether literature is an under-utilized space for thinking about the geneses of other contemporary causes associated with social justice. For instance, does the contemporary discourse about gay marriage owe its genesis to a series of lesbian marriages promoted in eighteenth-century fiction and newspapers?

MW 9:20-10:35                                                                                                        Dominique


English 100                              Working with Texts                                                       (4)   


A course to help students to become, through intense practice, independent readers of literary and other kinds of texts; to discern and describe the devices and process by which texts establish meaning; to gain an awareness of the various methods and strategies for reading and interpreting texts; to construct and argue original interpretations; to examine and judge the interpretations of other readers; to write the interpretive essay that supports a distinct position on some literary topic of importance; and to learn to find and assimilate into their own writing appropriate information from university library resources. To be rostered as early as possible in the English major's program.

TR 1:35-2:50                                                                                                            Servitje


English 125              Heroes and Weirdos: British Literature I                               (4)   


Since its beginnings, English literature has grappled with questions of national identity and belonging. What does it mean to belong to a particular culture? Who gets to be part of an “us,” and who gets labeled as an outsider? In this course, we will explore how some of the “heroes” of British literature (e.g. Shakespeare, Milton, Behn, Blake) use both exemplary and oddball characters to define (and sometimes push the boundaries of) an idealized national identity – alongside some “weirdo” lesser-known texts that may completely up-end your expectations of early British literature. Throughout, we’ll pay attention to the relevance of these earlier texts to our present-day understandings of culture, belonging and national identities. Can fulfill British to 1660 or British 1660-1900 requirement.

TR 1:35-2:50                                                                                                            Weissbourd


English 127                          Development of Theatre & Drama I                               (4) 


Historical survey of western theatre and dramatic literature from their origins to the Renaissance.  Cross-listed with Theatre 127 (43521)         

TR 9:20-10:35                                                                                                          Hoelscher


English 142                          Introduction to Writing Poetry                                       (4) 

10(42890) 11(43277)

This poetry workshop is a craft course in which the first priority is the intensive study of versification and prosody.  Through readings and discussions of canonical and contemporary poetry, as well as texts on the craft of poetry; through structured writing experiments and exercises; and through discussions and critiques of original work produced by class participants, the students in this class will seek familiarity and facility with the tools of writing poetry (in particular, rhythm and meter, sound, form, imagery, figurative language, and tone).  

(10) MW 12:10-1:25                                Watts, B.  

11) MW 3:00-4:15                                    Watts, B.


English 144-10                    Introduction to Writing Fiction                (4) 

10(44599)  11(43278)         

This class is an introduction to writing fiction—in our case, short stories—for workshop criticism. Over the course of the semester, you’ll get extensive practice in techniques of the craft, including plot development, characterization, perspective, dialogue, setting, and the use of figurative language. Through your commitment to the workshop format, you will also develop your skills as a critical reader of others’ work and of your own. We’ll do a lot of reading and a lot of writing, and by the end of the semester you’ll have portfolio of creative work that you can build on in the future.

(10) TR 1:35-2:50                                                                                                   Watts, S.

(11) TR 3:00-4:15                                                                                                    Watts, S.


English 170                                      Amaranth                                                                  (1)  (40757)                                                                                                                                                    

Amaranth editorial staff.  Students can earn one credit by serving as editors (literary, production, or art) for Lehigh’s literary magazine.  Work includes soliciting and reviewing manuscripts, planning a winter supplement and spring issue, and guiding the magazine through all phases of production.  Editors attend weekly meetings with the faculty advisor.                                                                                                                                   

T 12:10-1:00                                                                                                             Staff


English 198     Getting Graphic: Gender, Comics, and Visual Storytelling        (4)


Superheroes and pop culture characters often get all the attention at ComicCon- but what voices are missing from the flashy posters and cosplay conventions? What happens when comics get serious and the popular gets political? This course seeks to answer these questions as it addresses the graphic novel as a serious medium with its own language of interpretation. It explores the use of the graphic novel in narratives ranging from the personal to the supernatural and asks what the graphic form uniquely adds to discussions of gender issues around the world. From the re-telling of a goddess’s immolation in Sita’s Ramayana to illustrating the narratives of native women in Deer Women, this course equips students for interpreting the personal and the political in the graphic novel while building a portfolio of visual storytelling. No prior experience with art or comic books required.  Cross-listed with WGSS 198-10(44652)


MW 1:35-2:50                                                                                                           Mizin


English 312                                      Film and Cultural Theory                                      (4-3)

10(44600) 11(44601)

This course will consider how film and other cultural texts, such as television, photography, and music create and share meanings. Students will screen films and study a variety of critical approaches to film and media, including Formalism, Marxism, Psychoanalysis, Feminism, Postcolonialism, Critical Race Theory, and Queer Studies. Students will respond to film, photography, and music in critical writing and have the opportunity to produce original film or media projects. Fulfills critical theory requirement for Departmental Honors or an elective requirement.

TR 10:45-12:00                                                                                                        Kramp


English/HMS 315         Neurodiversity and the Literary Imagination                   (4-3)

10(42939) 11(42940)

What can literature tell us about neurodiversity? And what can neurodiversity tell us about literature? In this course we’ll ask these key questions by reading a wide variety of texts—autobiographies by autistic people, stories with autistic characters, and classic literary works. We’ll begin by exploring the concept of neurodiversity, which insists that any notion of a “normal” or correctly functioning brain is a social construct, not a biologically superior reality. Seen from this perspective, neurodifferences are natural variations in the human genome, not impairments or deficits that should be corrected or eradicated. To understand why the neurodiversity movement arose, we’ll begin by closely analyzing relevant cultural materials such as advertising campaigns developed by the Autism Speaks organization. We’ll also explore how theories about language can be useful tools for exposing problems with behavior-based treatments for autism. We’ll then turn to fictional and nonfictional texts, exploring how acts of representation, imagination, and interpretation can enrich our understanding of neurodiversity and its ethical stakes. We’ll ask a series of questions: How do the modes of fiction, drama, and narrative work to shed light on autistic subjectivities or, in some cases, to reproduce dehumanizing stereotypes? How might neurodifferences influence the practice of reading and potentially reshape our understanding of some of the best-known literary works? How can we approach the literary imagination capaciously as a place that encourages different ways of being in the world?

Readings may include Seeing it Feelingly: Classic Novels, Autistic Readers, and the Schooling of a No-Good English Professor, Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity; The Reason I Jump; Loud Hands: Autistic People Speaking; Thinking in Pictures; The Heart is a Lonely Hunter; Hoccleve’s Dialogue with a Friend; Bartleby the Scrivener; and All in a Row.  Fulfills 20th- century requirement.  Cross-listed with HMS 315 10(42941)

MW 12:10-1:25                                                                                                        Crassons    


English 318                                      Harlem Renaissance                                            (4-3)

10(42697) 11(43286)

In this overview of the Harlem Renaissance, we will explore the extraordinary flowering of African American literary, artistic and political life in the early 20th century.  We will study masterpieces of African American literature, music, visual art, and political imagination.  We will consider how artists and activists represented the diversity of black life in America and reimagined race relations during the Jim Crow era.  We will learn how novels, poems, paintings, photographs, and musical performances can assist us in realizing the promise of racial equality.   We will read literary works by writers such as Countee Cullen, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Helene Johnson, James Weldon Johnson, Nella Larsen, Claude McKay, Anne Spencer and Jean Toomer.  We will read and discuss major political writings by W. E. B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells, Marcus Garvey and A. Phillip Randolph.  We will also consider developments in the visual arts (including the paintings of Aaron Douglass and Archibald Motley, the photographs of James Van Der Zee and Richard S. Roberts, and the sculpture of Augusta Savage and Sargent Claude Johnson) and in African American music (Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington, James P. Johnson).  This seminar will contribute to the English department’s Literature & Social Justice curriculum, focusing attention on the ways in which the literature and expressive cultures of the Harlem Renaissance contributed distinctively to the African American freedom struggle, and to feminist and socialist movements in the early twentieth century.  Students do not need prior experience in interdisciplinary methods, but they will be expected to explore the connections among varied forms of artistic and political expression.  Fulfills 20th-century requirement.  Cross-listed with AAS 318 10(42583) and AAS 318-11(43287)

TR 1:35-2:50                                                                                                            Moglen


English 372              Victorian Ambivalence: Prose, Poetry, Fiction                      (4-3) 10(44698) 11(44699)

We have a tendency to assume that that the nineteenth century fits neatly in a binary logic of either/or. Furthermore, we tend cast it in a teleological light that suggests it was a progressive stepping stone into our own “evolved” era; or, we characterize it is as foil, in stark contrast to “the way we live now.”  In this class we will question and challenge these assumptions by reading numerous different texts and genre—from novels and poetry, to political and scientific essays—to come to a more complex and nuanced understanding of the period and its cultural forms. Fullfills British 1660-1900 requirement.

TR 9:20-10:35                                                                                                          Servitje


English 377                          American Romanticism                                                    (4-3)

10(44603) 11(44604)

Classic works of American literature such as Moby-Dick, Uncle Tom's Cabin, fiction by Edgar Allan Poe, and poetry by Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson emerged within an aesthetic culture that valued strong emotional reactions and powerful expressions of an author's imagination. They were also written during a time of tremendous social upheaval that witnessed debates over slavery, women's rights, labor, and indigenous sovereignty. Our understanding of how nineteenth-century U.S. literature engaged with these issues has been expanded by other texts from the period, such as Frederick Douglass' and Harriet Jacobs' slave narratives and Lydia Mariah Child's historical novel about Native American life in the early colonies, Hobomok. Taken together, these texts demonstrate how aesthetics and politics came together in a transformative moment of U.S. history.  Fullfills American to 1900 requirement.  Writing Intensive.  Department Approval Required.

MW 9:20-10:35                                                                                                        Whitley


English 441              Race and Empire on the Early Modern Stage                       (3)


Ideologies of race and empire underwent significant transformations in the period between the middle of the sixteenth and the middle of the seventeenth century. This seminar investigates how early modern literature engaged with this fraught cultural moment, with a particular focus on the performance of racial and national identities and cross-cultural encounter for a mass audience on the stage. We will consider issues including: “pure blood” and the racialization of Judaism and Islam; shifts in the meanings attached to blackness brought about by slave trade that increasingly trafficked in peoples from sub-Saharan Africa; English responses to Ottoman Imperial power; and encounters with the so-called “New World.” We will read canonical literary texts by authors including Shakespeare, Marlowe, and Webster, pairing them early modern travel texts and narratives of encounter (Walter Raleigh, Leo Africanus, Columbus). Because Spain has often been understood as a site of origin for modern notions of race, we will also put English texts in dialogue with Spanish works by Cervantes and Lope de Vega (in English translation), among others.  This comparative framework will be particularly useful in exploring (and destabilizing!) our assumptions about the ways in which early modern cultural formations may influence discourses of race and empire today. Our focus will first be on the complicated historical and political networks that influence representations of nation, religion, color and “blood” in early modern literature. We will then consider how this early modern context can inform – and transform – our perspectives on race, nation and empire in our own time.  Department Approval Required.

T 4:25-7:05                                                                                                               Weissbourd


English 471   Letters and Networks in the Transatlantic Eighteenth Century  (3)


We’ll read novels, collections of letters, recent network theory, and histories of communication to explore networks and letters in the transatlantic eighteenth century. Many early novels were novels of letters, which critics celebrated as a form that created an unusually intimate experiences for readers. But letters are also instruments by which individuals, separated geographically, establish and extend networks of “friends” that can be later mobilized for one purpose or another, from social movements to economic projects. Texts will include: Samuel Richardson’s Pamela, Hannah Foster’s The Coquette, Jane Austen’s Emma, and Ignatius Sancho’s Letters.   Department Approval Required.

TR 9:20-10:35                                                                                                          Gordon


English 478                          Gloria Naylor in the Archives                                         (3)


Gloria Naylor’s visionary writing explores the impact of socio-economic injustice, institutionalized racism, and sexism on Black women in the twentieth-century United States. This seminar considers the novels of Gloria Naylor in the context of her archive, which is on loan to Lehigh University. Our guiding question will be: how does the archive inform our understanding of Naylor’s novels and, conversely, how do Naylor’s novels inform an ethical approach to the archive?

Through a sustained focus on Naylor’s novels, seminar participants will reflect broadly on key issues in twentieth-century African-American literature and criticism: Black aesthetic, religious, and philosophical traditions; transnational literary networks; the violence of academic epistemologies; and the enduring legacies of enslavement. In addition to Naylor’s The Women of Brewster PlaceLinden HillsMama Day, and Bailey’s Cafe, we will explore literary influences on her work (from Dante to Shange), Naylor’s unpublished manuscripts and correspondence, and critical responses to her novels. Our reading list for the course will be guided, in part, by the materials in the archive, including the extensive historical and literary research Naylor undertook for each of her novels.

As we read Naylor's novels in the context of the archive, we will consider how archives and records "serve as tools of oppression and liberation," in the words of Michelle Caswell, Ricardo Punzalan, and T-Kay Sangwand. Through discussions of recent scholarly work and existing literary archives as well as hands-on projects, we will engage feminist and anti-racist methodologies in critical archive studies in order to reflect creatively on the archival practices that best serve Naylor’s political, intellectual, and aesthetic vision. Department Approval Required.

R 4:25-7:05                                                                                                 Edwards, Foltz


English 479   The Disappearing Center: British/Postcolonial Lit After 1900    (3)


“Things fall apart; the center cannot hold,” Yeats wrote, and his concept of a collapsing center has become a widely accepted metaphor for the disruptions and displacements of modern life since around World War I. Some of these are figured by modern writers as disabling (the loss of a moral center or a sense of spiritual wholeness), while others are generative -- linked to rising movements for social justice and liberation (decolonization; feminism’s displacement of patriarchal authority). Here, we will explore three parallel threads related to decentering in a selection of major texts from the British and Anglophone postcolonial traditions: the failures of various models of nationalism (British, Irish, and Indian) to provide a coherent narrative of imagined community; the alienation of labor under industrial capitalism; and the challenge to patriarchy from 20th-21st century feminisms. Primary texts are liikely to include Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, E.M. Forster’s Howards End, James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things, Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, and Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland. Alongside these works of fiction we will encounter a selection of critical and theoretical arguments in postmodern and postcolonial theory, by figures such as Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Fredric Jameson, and Susan Stanford Friedman. Finally, in connection with The Lowland, we will end the course with an introductory engagement with the emerging field of postcolonial ecocriticism, with writing by Amitav Ghosh and Rob Nixon.   Department Approval Required.

MW 3:00-4:15                                                                                                           Singh


English 481                          Rhetoric & Social Justice                                               (3)


The purpose of this course is to introduce you to the theory and history of rhetoric, particularly in its classical and contemporary iterations, and to provide you with the opportunity to deeply explore the discipline of rhetoric’s long standing engagement with the questions of justice, ethics, and responsibility. Though the texts we will read span some two- thousand years, they share in common a preoccupation with the ways that language and justice are indissociably linked in the question of responsibility. Focused on the productive power of language (what realities language creates over and above what pre-existing phenomena it refers to), the discipline of rhetoric rigorously theorizes the address to the other. From classical to contemporary times it suggests that there is no ‘being’ without ‘being with,’ and so our obligation to others is not simply a moral code we ought to follow, but a fundamental aspect of existence. Tracing these ethical threads through the work of Plato, the Sophists, Aristotle, Derrida, Levinas, and Butler (among others), we will develop versatile conceptual frameworks for and definitions of “justice,” “ethics,” and even “the social.” Because rhetoric is itself a versatile field that deeply engages political, legal, artistic, and educational realms, this class is an ideal place for you to theoretically deepen your understanding of social justice and to enhance your own areas of research in new and intellectually creative ways.  Department Approval Required.

MW 10:45-12:00                                                                                                      Rollins


English 485                          Introduction to Writing Theory                                      (2)


The purpose of this course is to provide you with a theoretical, historical, and disciplinary introduction to important issues in the teaching of college composition, and its goal is to support both your immediate and long-term development as a teacher/scholar. Together we’ll explore some of the myriad ways that writing can be taught, learned, and practiced while learning about the historical development, theoretical underpinnings, and ethical implications of these approaches. Some of our specific topics will include the history and development of the first-year composition course, the process and post-process movements, rhetorical approaches to teaching writing, teaching writing in the digital age, as well as cognitive, expressive, social constructionist, and social justice writing pedagogies. You’ll also have the opportunity to focus on your own professionalization: By the end of the semester, you should be able to place your individual pedagogical practices in the context of the larger debates that constitute composition studies, and you will begin to introduce your teaching philosophy and practice to potential and future colleagues.   Department Approval Required.

M 1:35-2:50                                                                                                              Rollins


English 486                          Teaching Comp:  Practicum                                           (1)


An introduction to teaching writing at Lehigh, this course includes bi-weekly discussion of practical issues and problems in the teaching of freshman composition.  It is required of all new Teaching Fellows in the department.  Department Approval Required.

WF 1:35-2:50                                                                                                            Lotto


English 496                          Introduction to Graduate Studies                                  (1)


This course will introduce students to the pragmatics of graduate school, from the research methods and tools that will inform the development of seminar papers to the expectations and values of our program and discipline. It is designed to support students as they navigate the first semester of graduate coursework, and to give them the opportunity to interact with multiple different faculty members. The course will meet every other week, beginning the first week of the semester, and will culminate in the development of a conference abstract and a preliminary reflection on the avenues for exploration that each student hopes to pursue while in the program.  Department Approval Required.

F 12:10-1:25                                                                                                             Lay