Course Offerings - Spring 2016

Undergraduate Course Offerings - Spring 2016





Washington Writing

MW 12:45-2:00 p.m.



This Dean's Seminar will look at writing on Washington, DC, by several authors in the context of pivotal periods in U.S. history:  the Civil War (Frederick Douglass, Walt Whitman, Louisa May Alcott); the Gilded Age (Henry Adams and Mark Twain); the 1920s (Jean Toomer and Willa Cather); the Great Depression and WWII (Langston Hughes and Gore Vidal); and the contemporary period (Edward P. Jones, George Pelecanos).  In addition to reading and discussing a variety of works on Washington, students will explore the history, culture, and visual landscape of the city, through museum visits, walking tours, and on-site research.  Requirements include two essays, several quizzes and questionnaires, a collaborative oral report, and a take-home final exam.  



Remediating Shakespeare

MW 12:45-2:00 p.m.



This seminar in the Dean’s Scholars in Shakespeare program will focus on the construction and afterlife of Shakespeare’s two most popular and influential plays. Both Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet are based on surviving narrative sources. We will study the two plays against the background of these sources for insight into the ways in which Shakespeare, in  “remediating” such narratives, creates new levels of complexity in his characters and exploits the resources of the Elizabethan theater. We will then examine the ways in which the two plays have in turn been remediated in modern cultures around the globe by filmmakers, novelists, visual artists and other participants in the many varieties of modern media.



Introduction to Literary Studies

TR 9:35-10:50 a.m.



This class introduces students to the practices of college-level literary analysis, opening the way to more advanced work in the major and beyond.  We have two main concerns: 1) to identify just how it is that, through its formal properties, a text enacts its seemingly unique literariness; 2) to explain by quoting and interpreting passages in our own critical writing how such moments, as “events of literature,” make meaning.


We assume that, as longstanding students of literature, class members will come to the task with already developed skills for interpreting poetry, fiction, and drama; nevertheless, as is the case with studies in any discipline already familiar to us—biology, say, or mathematics—the point of the course will also be to open ourselves up to new critical and aesthetic responses to literature against the knowledge we already have.  In this way, we advance ourselves in literary criticism in newer, even more professional directions.


The overwhelming activity of the course will be reading individual texts of poetry, fiction, and drama.  We will spend a lot of time on a single novel, poem and play, accounting for the literary activity and meaning of each in our writing and discussions.  Never far from our concerns will be certain theoretical questions English studies pose—in particular, What is literature?  To that end, we will consult the work of scholars and intellectuals on just what it is that constitutes that thing we call literature.  We will also address the matter of literature’s pleasure and how this relates to critical endeavors.  Finally, we will consider how reading is really “reading,” which is to say, how it’s at once a step in the institutional process of literacy and a sign for the vexed activity of interpretation.  We’ll talk about deep, suspicious readings of texts, and surface, “naïve” readings of texts.  We’ll layer our discussions with key terms such as narration, metaphor, and tone, appreciating how the point is less to apply these concepts to works of literary art than to see how such works are in fact staging those phenomena in remarkable ways.



Introduction to Creative Writing

TR 12:45-2:00 p.m.



Intro to Creative Writing exposes students to at least two main genres of writing, normally poetry and prose fiction, with the possibility of exposure to one or two other genres as well (playwriting and/or creative nonfiction). Since each instructor has the freedom to design his or her own section, each section is unique.


In my section this time around, I’ll focus primarily on short fiction and poetry. We’ll be working from two texts: Points of View: An Anthology of Short Stories (Penguin 1995, ed. J. Moffett and K. McElheny), and Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry, 2nd ed., v. 2 (Oxford 2015, ed. C. Nelson), which will provide models to investigate in your role as a reader becoming a writer.


New writing will be expected from every student every week. There will be extensive workshop discussions of student writing, sometimes in small groups. Everyone will share their work with the class for critique, and will participate in the critique of other students’ work. There will be occasional in-class writing exercises as well.


Students will also attend and review public readings by book-published authors, and respond in writing to assigned readings, but the primary work of the course will be the weekly original writing assignments, the best of which will be revised for inclusion in an end-of-semester portfolio – the basis for much of a student’s grade in the course.


I do follow a strict attendance policy, carefully explained on the syllabus, since so much of the work in the class is group-based and experiential; classes can’t be made up. Students need to be aware that their earned grade could be lowered quite drastically if they have excessive absences.



Literature and Financial Imagination

MW 12:45-2:00 p.m.




Literature of the Americas

TR 2:20-3:35 p.m.



This course introduces students to literary works across the hemisphere by considering their different, interrelated times, geographies, and languages, from Peru to Baltimore, Haiti to Lower Manhattan, and more.  In this way, the course practices an up-to-date American literary studies, one in which “America” signifies not just the United States, but, within and beyond the territorial boundaries of the U.S., other modalities of knowing, being, and collectivity in the hemisphere—and, indeed, the world.  We will read an array of narratives through such a critical American lens: an early 17th-century account of the Spanish conquest and its aftermath by an indigenous author, an 1880s historical romance of the Anglo invasion of Alta California, and a contemporary novel imagining a post-apocalyptic, zombie-populated New York City, to name just a few.  As we read, we’ll ask how these texts represent the varieties of an alternative America.



Myths of Britain

T 12:45-2:00 p.m.

Cohen, Thompson

Discussion sections:

1330W.30 F 9:35-10:50 a.m.

1330W.31 F 9:35-10:50 a.m.

1330W.32 F 12:45-2:00 p.m.

1330W.33 F 12:45-2:00 p.m.


A course full of monsters, violence, comedy, romance and drama, taught by two popular professors from the English Department. Writing intensive and enjoyable.


Much great English literature turns out not to be so English after all: Beowulf takes place in Scandinavia; King Arthur was a Welsh warlord before he was a legendary English king; and Shakespeare’s Pericles travels the wide world, haunted by shipwreck and loss. “Myths of Britain” looks at the early island within a global frame. We explore literature as a way to imagine collective and individual identities, and as way of escaping their constraints. Among our recurring keywords: heroism, monstrosity, fantasy, nation, race, enjoyment, beauty, possibility, gender, catastrophe, endurance.  


The course focuses on close reading (we do not rush through any of our texts) and teaches you how to compose a persuasive argument using the text as evidence. Class meets once a week for a discussion-propelled lecture given by both professors, and once a week in a small section where attention is given to writing and conversing about the texts.



Shakespeare and Others

TR 9:35-10:50 a.m.





Introduction to English Literature I

TR 12:45-2:00 p.m.




Introduction to English Literature I

TR 11:10-12:25 p.m.




Introduction to English Literature I

TR 11:10-12:25 p.m.


This course introduces students to major texts in the history of medieval and Renaissance literature. We will look at love poetry (the sonnets of Wyatt and Surrey), a hauntingly dark tragedy (Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi), and a gender-bending comedy (Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night) alongside political screeds (the paranoid pronouncements of King James I), popular pamphlets (Greene’s lurid accounts of prostitution, theft, and violence in the London underworld), and philosophical treatises (More’s Utopia, Machiavelli’s Discourses) in order to explore the tensions that characterized the social, religious, and erotic lives of women and men in premodern Europe. We will pay special attention to the ways that premodern writers experienced and imagined the rapid expansion of the market economy and the birth of secular politics.

This course will help you develop a set of close reading skills that are essential for the study and interpretation of literary and historical documents. Not only will we learn how to analyze the formal elements of poetry and prose, we will also test the limits of modern ways of thinking about literature and society.



Introduction to English Literature II

MW 12:45-2:00 p.m.



The French revolution signaled a new start for mankind and many writers agreed with Blake: “I must create a system or be enslaved by another Man’s.”  Each writer develops a unique style for a new age. This WID course deals with major British authors from the French Revolution (1789) to the present: Blake, Wordsworth, Keats, Shelly, and Byron; Tennyson, Browning, and Oscar Wilde; Joyce, Eliot, Virginia Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway), Yeats and Stoppard and others.



Introduction to American Literature I

TR 12:45-2:00 p.m.





Introduction to American Literature II: Reading American Literature of the Late 19th and 20th Centuries

TR 3:45-5:00 p.m.



In this course, we will focus on the ways that American literature developed from the late 19th   century through the 20th century. We will read texts representative of Realism, Naturalism, Modernism, the Harlem Renaissance, the Beat Movement, and Postmodernism.


We will analyze individual stories and poems within the context of these literary movements. We will also explore their relationships to history. And we will examine the ways in which various writers individually shaped their texts in response to their own intentions, perceptions, and psychologies.


We will use the foundational tools of literary analysis, identifying and interpreting elements such as characterization, prose style, metrical and rhythmic patterns (scansion), imagery, tone, genre, and narration.



Postcolonial Literature and Film II

MW 9:35-10:50 a.m.



For the greater part of the 19th and early 20th centuries, the British Empire colonized and exploited the people, lands and natural resources of large parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East for their own benefit. But even now, almost seventy-five years after most of these countries gained independence, life in the above ex-colonies continues to be threatened by inter-ethnic warfare, political corruption, gendered violence and neo-colonial exploitation. This course asks - How do literatures and films about Asia, Africa and the Middle East sensitize us towards, and protest these different kinds of violence? What stories about conflicts and environmental pollution, corporate land grabs and refugee populations, do they tell us? What kind of human-nature-material encounters shape these stories? To look for answers, we will read novels by Chinua Achebe, Arundhati Roy and Ben Okri, short stories by Nadine Gordimer and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and watch films such as Erin Riklis’ The Lemon Tree and Michael Winterbottom’s In This World. We shall also frame our readings of these texts by engaging with important postcolonial theorists such as Edward Said, Gayatri Chakravarty Spivak, Rob Nixon and Elizabeth DeLoughrey amongst others.




TR 9:35-10:50 a.m.



This WID course is an introduction to literature that deals with comic masterpieces from Chaucer to Tom Stoppard. Representative works: Chaucer’s “Wife of Bath” and Byron’s Don Juan; Shakepeare’s Twelfth Night and As You Like It, Moliere’s Misanthrope and Tartuffe, Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildernstern Are Dead; Voltaire’s Candide, Jane Austen’s Emma; and Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn.  We track common themes—hypocrisy, for instance--and study ways in which the corrective of laughter is applied to serious matters.  Seriousness itself is sometimes seen as a threat to the human spirit.   We need the corrective of laughter—why?



Play Analysis

TR 12:45-2:00 p.m.



This course uses traditional and nontraditional (Aristotelian and non-Aristotelian) approaches to the analysis of dramatic literature, the literary and theatrical techniques used by playwrights. What is the relationship between text and theatrical performance? How do we move words on a page to a fully-realized expression of that text through our approach to character, plot, movement and design?  (Same as TRDA 2240.)



Dramatic Writing

M 3:30-6:00 p.m.



This course is a preparation for all types of dramatic writing.  We study the basics of creating characters and plots.  You will learn to realize that your daily lives are full of drama you can use in your writing.  It is an exciting experience to create your own characters, have them come alive and to tell their stories. The class will involve some early exercises and then you will learn how to structure the stories of your characters. Your work will be presented in class and you will receive feedback from both your colleagues in the class and the professor.  We will read a series of one act plays to examine, as well as a down-to-earth text. This is a practical entry to creative writing, an entertaining study of yourself and your life experience.  



Fiction Writing

TR 9:35-10:50 a.m.



Nothing is more effective in the education of a writer than the simple acts of writing and revision. To that end, we will write two stories, 12-20 pages in length. We will present them to the class and do a significant revision of one of them. Another valuable tool for writers is critiquing and editing the work of classmates. A third valuable tool is reading and explicating the work of established writers with the use of literary models.And finally, listening to established writers read and discuss technique is another essential tool. To that end, students are required to attend three readings on campus or off and write a one page evaluation of each.



Poetry Writing

TR 2:20-3:35 p.m.




Intermediate Fiction Writing

MW 2:20-3:35 p.m.



The objective of this course is to develop your ability to write artful and engaging short fiction, as well as to increase your skills as a reader of fiction.  Through the examination of published stories in the anthology that we’ll be using, and through the class’ workshopping of stories that you yourself will be writing, you should gain greater awareness of techniques for developing narrative, characterization, setting and theme.  We will also try to build and sharpen a critical vocabulary that allows you to talk about all these elements with useful precision.



Introduction to Critical Theory

TR 3:45-5:00 p.m.



This survey course introduces students to argumentative writings that are commonly grouped under the hybrid heading “literary theory and cultural criticism.”  On one level, this is a course in the history of ideas.  One can even say that it is a course in the history of one very persistent and knotty philosophical problem: what, if any, is the nature of the relationship between “representation” and “reality?”  Put another way, what if any amount of “truth” can be located in the artistic, linguistic, and especially literary representations that we make of individuals, communities, or the world?  Some more specific versions of this question include: does language bear any relationship to the reality it purports to describe? Is there some “engine” or “spirit” (cf. Marx and Hegel) at the heart of culture that generates art independent of any one artist’s intentions? Do cultural representations of specific groups of people have any mooring in reality, and if not, what autonomous cultural work do these representations do?  Is the very idea of objective reality a misleading fantasy?  We will discuss these and other questions in this class, and students will gain familiarity with trenchant answers as proposed by thinkers from Plato to the Postmodernists.


On another level, this is a course in specific methods that are often deployed in advanced literary and cultural criticism.  Students will gain fluency in the terminology and conceptual frameworks associated with idealism, materialism, Marxist criticism, psychoanalytic criticism, structuralism, post-structuralism, post-colonialism, new historicism as well as critical race, sex, gender, and disability studies.  By mastering the basic contours of these diverse ways of interpreting artistic and cultural phenomena, students will be equipped to pursue more advanced courses in literature, philosophy, history, cultural studies, and even political theory.  In terms of literature in particular, we will also talk at length about advanced conceptions of form, genre, language, and aesthetics.


This course asks that students engage with readings that are short but frequently quite difficult, both linguistically and conceptually.  In addition to the texts on criticism, we will also be reading two works of fiction on which students will demo their new critical knowledge.  This is a WID course, and so students will also do a fair amount of argumentative writing and revision.  Take heart, by supporting each other and working as a group, you will find that the reading and writing are manageable and that there are great intellectual payoffs.




Advanced Poetry Writing

TR 12:45-2:00 p.m.




Fiction Workshop

TR 2:20-3:35



Here is a quote from a letter by Franz Kafka to his schoolmate Oskar Pollak, dated 27 January 1904 (translated by Richard and Clara Winston): 'I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we're reading doesn't wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for? … we need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us.'


In this class we will closely read contemporary and classic short stories and attempt to figure out how, having just words, accomplished authors wield their axes. And then we will take the axe into our own hands. This is high ambition, but it's worth it. There will be an occasional in-class or take-home exercise. The students will write one or two new stories and revise them several times. This is a demanding class.



Topics in Creative Writing

MW 2:20-3:35 p.m.




Contemporary American Memoir

WF 2:20-3:35 p.m.



The course is both a literature course and a creative writing course.  You will examine the structural elements of contemporary American memoir,  and learn the history of the genre. You will also write excerpts of your own memoir, learning the tenets of creative nonfiction as you move forward.   You will focus on structure, persona, voice, characterization, theme, setting and textuality.   You should be prepared to share your own work, both in written form and in oral presentations.



Shakespeare II

TR 11:10-12:25 p.m.



Of the forty plays attributed to Shakespeare, fully half are set in areas around the Mediterranean Sea, either in Classical Greece and Rome, in contemporary Italy and Spain, in the Middle East, or on the sea itself.  These include some of the best known, such as The Merchant of Venice, and some of the most problematic, such as Timon of Athens.  As far as we know, Shakespeare never saw any of these places, yet they played a central role in his imagination and that of his audience by providing a culturally freighted yet oddly neutral setting.  How did the imagined Mediterranean come into being for Shakespeare and his contemporaries?  How did the imagined cultural landscape mirror or subvert the world outside the theatre? We will read a selection of the plays and the travel narratives and other writings that formed the imagined Mediterranean in the minds of Shakespeare and his audience and examine the ways in which this imagined world was peculiarly adapted for the theater of the times.  



Shakespeare on Film

MW 2:20-3:35 p.m.




Shakespearean London

TR 11:10-12:25 p.m.



This course includes a study abroad component to England during spring break. In it, students will learn about early modern England through Shakespeare’s plays and his famous journey from Stratford-upon-Avon to London. Interrogating the cultural life of both of these spaces in the seventeenth century, students will study how London came to be a cultural capital in the seventeenth century, as well as study the important role its entertainment industries played in that process. Readings include Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, Cymbeline, Pericles, and The Tempest. Students will then put this knowledge to work during spring break, as we travel as a class to Stratford-upon-Avon and London, England where we’ll see performances by the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford and the Globe Theatre in London, while also visiting the key sites that defined both early modern London and Shakespeare’s life in Stratford-upon-Avon. Trip is not required, but encouraged. Estimated cost of the trip is $2500-3000.

For more information, please contact Holly Dugan ([email protected]).



The Eighteenth Century II

TR 9:35-10:50 a.m.





Imagining Self and Others in Children’s Literature

MW 2:20-3:35 p.m.



What do children's books teach about curiosity, initiative, rebellion, competition, kindness, and compassion?  What do they teach about language, schooling, and national belonging?  How do fairies, mages, and talking animals contribute to the reader's psychic world?  What do we learn from travel and from traveler's tales?  Beginning with classic children's texts from the 19th century and rushing forward to the 21st, we'll consider what Bruno Bettelheim has called "the uses of enchantment" in children's literature.


Beginning in the 19th century, we’ll compare how Carroll, Alcott, and collectors of fairy tales portrayed male and female rebellion in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Little Women, and classic fairy tales.  Introducing the theme of nationalism, we’ll compare how Twain portrayed England, and Burnett portrayed America, in The Prince and Pauper and A Little Princess.  Moving into the 20th century, we’ll ask how English writers portrayed British colonialism and colonial subjects in genre fiction (Conan Doyle’s The Sign of the Four and Kipling’s Kim); how talking animals may represent colonial and postcolonial subjects, or a critique of human-centered perspectives (The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle; The Travels of Babar; Wild Magic); and how children’s books explore anxieties about maternal absence and ambition (Mary Poppins; The Country Bunny; Golden Compass).  Finally, we’ll consider how children’s authors reimagine history from minority perspectives  (Dragonwings; Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation) to reconceptualize the nation.


Recommended Prerequisites:

A 1000-level Creative Writing or English literature course.


Learning objectives:

1.  To know and discuss English and American traditions of classic and contemporary

children's literature, in realist and fantastic modes.

2.  To recognize familiar themes and specifically literary techniques of this tradition.

3.  To read familiar texts closely and critically.

4.  To think and write clearly, analytically, and originally write about children’s literature.



3 papers, one exam, oral presentation, and misc. homework.



Victorian Literature II

TR 12:45-2:00 p.m.



A bold emphasis on foundational great European writers—Nietzsche, Baudelaire and Proust--is used to frame and highlight the distinctive achievements of British writers such as Oscar Wilde and Walter Pater in aestheticism, Swinburne in poetry and Hardy in fiction.  Representative works: The Flowers of Evil (Baudelaire), The Gay Science (Nietzsche), Swann’s Way (Proust),  Tess of the D’Urbervilles (Hardy), The Importance of Being Earnest (Wilde) and The Renaisance (Pater).



American Poetry II: Poetry Explodes in America

TR 9:35-10:50 a.m.



This course examines important books by eleven American poets from throughout the 20th century, who collectively disrupt the continuity and traditions of English-language poetry, starting with the Georgian, even Horatian lyrics of Robert Frost (just before WW I) through the Modernist constructions of T.S. Eliot, William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens, and Langston Hughes, and on through the post-WW II socially-conscious, Confessionalist, and Postmodern poetries of Brooks, Plath, Bishop, Ammons, and Ashbery.


Here are the texts:


Robert Frost, Poems of Robert Frost: A Boy’s Will and North of Boston, Signet Classics, 160 pp.: 978-0451527875

T. S. Eliot, Early Works of T. S. Eliot, CreateSpace Ind. Pub. Platform, 60 pp.: 978-1477595534

W. C. Williams, Spring and All (Facsimile Edition), New Directions, 96 pp.: 978-0811218917

Wallace Stevens, Harmonium, Faber & Faber, 160 pp.: 978-0571207794

Langston Hughes, The Weary Blues, Knopf, 128 pp.: 978-0385352970

Gwendolyn Brooks, The Essential G. B., LOA Am. Poets Project, 200 pp.: 978-1931082877

Allen Ginsberg, Howl and Other Poems, City Lights, 57 pp.: 978-0872860179

Sylvia Plath, Ariel: Perennial Classics Edition, Harper, 128 pp.: 978- 0060931728

John Ashbery, Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, Penguin, 96 pp.: 978-0140586688

A. R. Ammons, Selected Poems, LOA Am. Poets Project, 130 pp. : 978-1931082938

Elizabeth Bishop, Geography III, FSG Classics, 64 pp.: 978-0374530655




American Drama II

TR 2:20-3:35 p.m.



This course surveys the development of contemporary American drama from Edward Albee to Susan-Lori Parks, concentrating on plays that have won the Pulitzer Prize. We read one play each class, viewing clips of films and discussing the historical significance of each play as well as issues of dramatic realization on stage and screen.  Discussion is driven by brief writing assignments on the plays and by student reports. We will also examine the playwrights' ideas behind the plays, considering what role playwrights today feel drama should perform in a free society.



The Short Story

TR 11:10-12:25



This course surveys the development of short fiction in America from Edgar Allan Poe to Edward P. Jones, placing the stories in historical context alongside European and Russian writers such as Tolstoy, Chekhov, Joyce, Kafka, Garcia Marquez, etc. We read two stories each class and one essay on technique or historical significance.  We approach the works in terms of their developing styles (Romanticism, Realism, Modernism, Post-modernism) and in terms of the craft of fiction writing.



Contemporary Drama

MW 12:45-2:00 p.m.



This class is a study of prized contemporary plays.  The plays range from serious comedies like “The Goat or Who is Sylvia,” by Edward Albee to the most serious and disturbing such as “Ruined” by Lynn Nottage.  The class involves creative presentations, visual clips, discussions of the plays and some written dramatic analyses.  You will be asked toward the end of the semester to attend a professional play and to report your experience back to the class.  The play we study are plays written by contemporary American writers.  The goal is that by the end of the semester the student will have a broad overview of American culture as presented by

its best playwrights.



Contemporary American Literature

TR 12:45-2:00 p.m.



In this course, we will explore the “howling” literature of 1950s and 1960s America. Post-World War II America was intent on a return to “normalcy,”which was inevitably defined narrowly.  Those who deviated from the norm—whether in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic class, psychological state, or public and/or private behavior—were ejected from the “normal” center into the margins of society.  Rendered invisible by society, those who were marginalized, notably the Beats, gave themselves voice in the literature of the time, saying “No! in thunder” (in Melville’s prescient words) to the strictures of 1950s and 1960s American society.  

Required Texts: Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room; Ferlinghetti’s A Coney Island of the Mind;  Ginsberg’s Howl;  Kerouac’s On the Road; Kesey’s One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest; Plath’s The Bell Jar and Ariel; Updike’s Rabbit, Run; MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed.



Disabled People and the Holocaust

MW 12:45-2:00 p.m.



In the 1980s, nearly four decades after the formal end of World War II, a group of German and American historians began connecting the genocide of 6 million Jewish (as well as Romany, Russian, and gay) people in the Holocaust to the mass killings of 300,000 disabled people in psychiatric hospitals, clinics, and institutions.  The “euthanasia murders” began in October 1939 nearly a year and a half before the advent of the “final solution” in Nazi death camps.  The research caused a great deal of debate amongst Holocaust scholars due to the fact that medical killings were treated separately from those prosecuted for Nazi war crimes during the Nuremburg trials.  Many believe that physician supervised killings in medical institutions counted as treatment for those classified as “lives unworthy of life” (i.e. those diagnosed with physical, cognitive, and sensory disorders and, in the terms of the time, incapable of productive labor).


This past September, following decades of disability activism, the first state supported memorial to those killed in the T4 program opened in Berlin.  The class will grapple with questions of the relationship of medical murders to Holocaust genocide, the struggle to publically memorialize the T4 killings in Germany, as well as consider how this history affects the lives of German disabled people today.  The highlight of our reflections will be a visit to Berlin during spring break to experience the historical sites about which we have been reading: the Topography of Terror, the Jewish Museum, Otto Weidt’s Blindenwerkstatte, The Wannsee Konferenz Haus, the Brandenburg Gedenkstatte, the Psychiatriemuseum, Sachsenhausen concentration camp, and Bernburg Psychiatric Hospital.  We will also be exposed to the thoughts of German students studying the T4 program, the poetry of disability author, Kenny Fries, Disability Studies scholar Petra Fuchs, German Holocaust historian Robert Parzer, and tour guide Christopher Winter.  Our work will culminate with a collective creative project presented to the Dean’s Scholars in Globalization Council in mid-April.



Ethnicity/Place in American Literature

TR 3:45-5:00 p.m.




Jewish Literature Live

TR 12:45-2:00 p.m.



Jewish Lit Live, now going into its 7th iteration is a unique course funded by GW English Department alum, David Bruce Smith. Students read books of Jewish interest by Jewish  American authors, both established and emerging. After each book is finished, the author comes to class for a dialogue with the students, and in the evening gives a presentation, free and open to the public.  Past visitors have included Michael Chabon, Art Spiegelman, Rebecca Goldstein, Nicole Krauss, E. L. Doctorow,  and a host of others.

This spring's line-up includes:

Jan. 21, 2016:  Annabelle Gurwich, Actor, performer and writer. One of  the first trio of Women selected as nominees, along with Roz Chast, for The Thurber Prize for Humor. Her book is I See you Made an Effort. Evening presentation at 7:30 in MC 310

Thursday, Feb. 4:Peter Slevin, a journalist at Northwestern, whose book is Michelle Obama: A Life.  Evening presentation MC

Thursday, Feb. 18: Aryeh Lev Stollman, a writer and neuro-interventional radiologist at Mt. Sinai Hospital in NYC. His book is The Far Euphrates. Evening presentation mc 301

Thursday, March 3: Judith Viorst, memoirist, poet and  the best selling children's book writer (Alexander and the TerribleHorrible No Good, Very Bad Day.)

Her book is Necessary Losses. Evening presentation MC 307

Thursday, March 24: Mary Morris, The Jazz Palace (Chicago, African Americans and Jews at the time of Prohibition, and the start of Chicago Blues) Evening presentation, MC 301.

Thursday, April 7: Molly Antapol. Her prize-winning book is The Unamericans. Evening, NO ROOM YET.

Tuesday, April 19: Phyllis Rose, finalist for the National Book Award, retired professor of English at Wesleyan. He book is The Shelf, From Leq to Les, about a year she spent reading one entire shelf in the public library. Evening, MC 308

Thursday, April 28: Roz Chast, Prize winning graphic artist from the New Yorker. Her book is  Can't we Talk about Something more Pleasant?  NO ROOM FOR EVENING.



Creative Writing Senior Thesis



Honors Thesis



Independent Study