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Brooklyn College English Department
MA English and MA English Teacher Programs
Fall Semester Courses

Brooklyn College ImageFall 2016 Courses
*Indicates courses requiring registration permission from Graduate Deputy

ENGL 7010: Children’s & Adolescents’ Literature* [For English Education MA]
Prof. D. McKay, Thu 4:30-6:10

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ENGL 7011: Literary Texts & Critical Methods* [For English Education MA]
Prof. J. Entin, Tue 6:30-8:10

This class will explore the ways in which the study of critical methodologies and cultural theory provide tools for the teaching and textual analysis of literature.  Readings will include samples drawn from major theoretical schools (Marxism, formalism, structuralism and post-structuralism, post-colonialism, feminism and queer theory, etc.) and theorists (including Ferdinand de Saussure, Roland Barthes, Judith Butler, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Eve Sedgwick, Homi Bhabha, and others).  The insights and oversights of influential theoretical perspectives will be viewed through select works of 19th- and 20th-century American literature.  Likely assignments include semi-regular blog posts, two papers, a teaching module, and at least one presentation.

ENGL 7101: Canterbury Tales (Area 1)
Prof. N. Masciandaro, Tue 6:30-8:10

Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales begins with “Whan” [when], a word that places what follows in time. And the work ends with the author’s prayer to be among the saved “at the day of doom,” the time when time itself comes to an end. Chaucer’s other works also focus conspicuously on themes related to the experience of time: nostalgia (Former Age), traumatic memory (Anelida and Arcite), textual authority (House of Fame), and historical contingency (Troilus and Criseyde). Starting from the idea that Chaucer is profoundly a ‘poet of time’, this course will study the Canterbury Tales in the context of medieval concepts of time and temporality, paying particular attention to how they address the essential tension between the human experience of temporality, of being in time, and the idea of universal time, or time itself. This tension bears a special relevance to poetic writing as a privileged relation to time, as indicated by Chaucer’s borrowing of Hippocrates’s aphorism (ars longa, vita brevis): “The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne” (Parliament of Fowls). We will trace this tension across the Tales, paying special attention to the themes of historicity, mutability, youth/aging, contingency, the seasons, fortune, newness, fate, eternity, and origin. In doing so, we will also interrogate our own ideas about the nature of time and the temporality of the medieval period. Text: Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, ed. Larry Benson (Wadsworth) [or equivalent full Middle-English text]. Requirements: two commentaries, research proposal, research paper, final exam. 

ENGL 7205: Literature of Long 18th Century (Area 2)
Prof. A. Acosta, Mon 4:30-6:10

Change and volatility are perhaps the two terms that best define the British 18th century.  In this course we will examine the striking cultural and literary contradictions that defined the period that saw a small island become a global military, economic, and cultural empire. This is the century that saw the emergence of London as the largest and most “modern” urban space, a space defined in opposition to what, for many, was rapidly becoming a threatened countryside.  We will look at both the attractive and the ugly sides of the age.  Some of the themes we will discuss are: reason and irrationality; freedom and slavery; cleanliness and dirt; idealism and cynicism.  We will read poetry, fiction, drama, and non-fictional prose.  Some of the principal authors we will look at include: Joseph Addison, Richard Steele, Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift, Eliza Haywood, John Gay, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, George Lillo, Fanny Burney and William Blake.  The class will be centered on a discussion of these texts and therefore there will be a strong focus on class participation.  In addition to the required primary and secondary readings, the students will write discussion questions, a research paper, an annotated bibliography, and sit for a final examination.

ENGL 7305: The 19th Century Novel (Area 3)
Prof. E. Tremper, Wed 4:30-6:10

From the eighteenth century, when the novel as we know it came into being, tensions created by differences in class among characters were visible and often a driving force of the plot (think of Samuel Richardson’s Pamela).  By the early nineteenth century, when industry had brought wealth to the owners of the means of production–in the Midland cities of Sheffield, where steel and cutlery were manufactured, Manchester (textiles), the towns of Staffordshire (pottery), and the northern coal country, discriminations of caste–between manufacturers and the landed gentry–as well as class were reflected.  Beginning with Austen, we will read novels that reflect the snobbery and ideological stresses created by the sometimes permeable, sometimes impermeable, boundaries of caste and class.  In the later novels, we will read, as well, about the social and economic fallout for, and resistence of, the working classes in the burgeoning population centers of an urbanizing Britain.  We will read Pride and Prejudice (Austen), Shirley (Charlotte Brontë), North and South (Gaskell), Bleak House (Dickens), and Middlemarch (Eliot).  Lastly, we will trespass into the early twentieth century to read D. H. Lawrence’s The Rainbow, which offers acute portraits of transformations of both class and caste, the direct results of industrialization.

ENGL 7420: Seminar: New York & the Novel (Area 4) [Meets at Graduate Center for Worker Education, 25 Broadway, Manhattan]
Prof. E. Alterman, Wed 6:30-8:10

This course attempts to simultaneously investigate a series of great (and good) novels as we interrogate the history of history of New York City they reveal.  Ranging from Henry James to Saul Bellow to Tom Wolfe (with stops at Edith Wharton and Nella Larson, among others, along with way) we will not only read literature for plot structure and biography, but also for the kind of information that lies beneath the formal histories of a given moment and set of individuals. We will map not only the changes in the city itself (and its many interlocking communities) but also the complex interaction between the social milieu, physical environment and historical forces as they act upon both character and author.

CMLT 7430: Comparative Lit of the 20th Century: Proust and His Times (Area 4)
Prof. J. Moser, Wed 6:30-8:10

Proust’s novel, In Search of Lost Time, rich in references and allusions to both past and contemporary history, literature, society, science, art, will serve as the main resource in this course.  Students will read all of Volume I (Swann’s Way) and parts of Volumes 2-6, depicting the era between 1871-1922, touching on the fin-de-siecle, Belle Epoque, and World War I years, a time that one observer described as having witnessed more changes in thirty years than in “all the centuries since Christ.”  Proust’s novel bears witness to these dramatic changes, to the sweeping modernization that radically changed the way people traveled, communicated, dressed, interacted with people different from themselves, lived in and saw the world.  Discussions of the novel will be extended and enriched by readings and discussions of historical, political, philosophical, social, scientific, and artistic currents in turn-of-the-century France.  Requirements include response papers, close textual analyses, and a final research paper.

CMLT 7430: Comparative Lit of the 20th Century: Manifestos (Area 4)
Prof. M. Welish, Mon 4:30-6:10

‪The manifesto seeks to change the current state of affairs by summoning the conditions for a world that ought to be but that does not yet exist. We shall read several manifestos to understand the worlds they would bring about. Some speak through aphorism, others harangue; still others enlist reasoning arguments. By examining the rhetoric of these peculiar documents for their modes of discontent, utopic pronouncements, and ulterior motives, we shall engage the manifesto's political and aesthetic intentions. We concentrate on the question: what do manifestos and ars poetica have in common; how do they differ? We also address the question: why do cultural movements need performative stances in manifestos? Selected from a range of the polemical genre will be: Alexander Pope's "An Essay on Criticism," William Wordsworth's " Preface to Lyrical Ballads"; Elizabeth Cady Stanton et al, "Declaration of Rights and Sentiments," W.E.B. Dubois et al, "The Niagara Declaration of Principles," Alain Locke," The New Negro"; Filippo Marinetti, "The Futurist Manifesto" Ezra Pound, "Vortex"; Andre Breton, "The First Manifesto on Surrealism," Aimé Césaire, "Memorial for Louis Delgrès";Walter Gropius, "Manifesto of the Bauhaus, April 1919," El Lissitzky and Ilya Ehrenberg, editorial in "Objet," LEF Manifesto, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Alexandr Rodchenko, advert-prop. Grades will depend on student lecture notes, commentaries, short research paper and final exam.

ENGL 7501: Introduction to Critical Theory (Area 5)
Prof. A. Vassileva, Wed 4:30-6:10

The course is designed to introduce students to the major developments in the study of literary texts since 1960. It seeks to explore the ways in which theory reconnects literature with other areas of knowledge by investigating the cross-currents between psychoanalysis and literary texts, history and fiction, capitalism and realism, sexuality and writing, and language and other sign systems. We will focus on such approaches to literature as formalism, structuralism, deconstruction, postmodernism, psychoanalysis, Marxism, gender studies, and post-colonialism. The critics we will read include Shklovsky, Propp, Saussure, Barthes, Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze and Guattari, Baudrillard, Freud, Lacan, Marx, Said, Irigaray, and others. In addition to studying theory itself, we will also examine its practical application in the reading of selected literary texts. Requirements include a research paper, final exam, and an oral presentation.

ENGL 7506: Practicum in Teaching College-Level Composition* (Area 5) [For MA English and MFA Creative Writing]
Prof. E. Brooks, Tue 4:30-6:10

Introduces scholarship in the field of composition studies to enable you to use knowledge of developments in composition as you prepare to teach. Students become familiar with scholarly journals and read articles about major theoretical concepts and a variety of topics. Students also become familiar with some textbooks and material available for teaching composition as well as draft a sample syllabus for a composition course. Each class meeting will include discussion of assigned reading and practical applications.  In addition to regular class meetings, once a week students will attend a session of an undergraduate composition course to observe and participate as a tutor-intern.  Once registered for the course, students should email the instructor their availability for the tutor-intership component (

ENGL 7507: Advanced Theories & Practice of Composition* (Area 5) [For English Education MA]
Prof. M. Alikhani, Tue 6:30-8:10

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ENGL 7503: Literature & Society (Area 5)
Prof. R. Viscusi, Mon 6:30-8:10

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ENGL 7601: History of the English Language (Area 6)
Prof. T. Pollard, Tue 4:30-6:10

‪The English language, like the United States, and like Brooklyn in particular, is a crazy quilt of countless languages and cultures.  This course will explore the development of English from its earliest forms to the present day, with an emphasis on the cultural encounters that have kept it in a constant state of mobility and expansion.  We will examine the language’s Anglo-Saxon beginnings and its early evolution in response to encounters with French, Latin, and Greek; we will then go on to explore some of the far-flung shores where England’s colonial and imperial ventures brought the language, and look at what they brought to it in return.  We will consider the distinctive status of American English, the question of when and how neologisms and slang terms become official components of the language, the effects of changing technology on the language, and the status of English as a global phenomenon, alongside the phenomenon of mixed linguistic forms such as Spanglish, Franglais, Danglish, Singlish, Hinglish, Tanglish, and Globish.  Students’ experiences with, and perspectives on, alternate forms of English will be welcomed into discussions.

ENGL 7800: Introduction to Literary Research*
Prof. M. Elsky, Tue 6:30-8:10

The aim of this course is to prepare for the writing of the MA thesis. As an introduction to several major areas of literary research and scholarly procedure, the course will focus on practical techniques of locating and citing primary and secondary sources; use of primary and secondary sources; choosing an approach to the topic of the MA thesis; arriving at a working thesis and manner of proceeding. Assignments will be directed toward a term project (a formal prospectus) on a writer, work, or topic that will be the subject of the student’s MA thesis. The procedure of the course will center around work shopping specific projects undertaken by students in the course. We will also attend to identifying critical approaches that have dominated literary scholarship in recent decades. Forms of criticism will be illustrated with essays chosen by students for their own work.

ENGL 7810: MA Thesis*
Students must submit Thesis Title form to Graduate Deputy before registering.