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

Brooklyn College ImageFall 2017 Courses
*Indicates courses requiring registration permission from Graduate Deputy

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

Description tba.

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

Literature is an institution, in both senses of the word: it is a conservative edifice built by successive generations of artists, critics, and material forces; it is also a refuge for the mad, the outcast, and their assault on tradition, often in the name of saving literature from itself. Reading poetry, drama, and prose fiction, we will explore the dialectic of appropriation and innovation, denunciation and revision, at work in both art and theory. Visiting periods of literary history and schools of literary criticism, we will set them in relation to one another. Students will be asked to write numerous response papers in addition to one midterm close reading essay and a final research essay. Authors may include: Jorge Luis Borges, Pierre Bourdieu, Kamau Brathwaite, Emily Brontë, Ed Dorn, Michel Foucault, Sigmund Freud, Susan Gubar and Sandra Gilbert, Langston Hughes, Henry James, John Keats, Paule Marshall, Alice Notley, William Shakespeare, Victor Shklovsky, Virginia Woolf.

ENGL 7103: Literature of the Middle Ages [Area 1]
Prof. Steel, Mon 6:30-8:10

This course will serve three purposes: it will teach facility in reading a variety of forms of later Middle English, introduce major themes in medieval culture, and consider how literary theory—particularly critical animal theory, ecocriticism, and feminist materialisms (Donna Haraway and Stacy Alaimo, for example)—can enrich our engagement with this, and other, material. Apart from a set of short works in poetry and prose to begin the class, readings will include selections from the Middle English Breton Lays anthology (ed, Laskaya and Salisbury), Robert Henryson’s Testament of Cresseid and Fables, and selections from the Book of Margery Kempe. Course requirements include a translation exam, a presentation and presentation paper, weekly short writing responses, and a final research paper.

ENGL 7201: Early Modern Literature [Area 2]
Prof. Elsky, Wed 6:30-8:10

This course is an introduction to some major works of the sixteenth and seventeenth-centuries, but it could be called “The Early Modern Room of One’s Own.” The course is framed by a consideration of how we live now: the rise today of social media and the popularity of dwellings with  glass walls tell us we are now living in a moment when privacy is being radically redefined. This course looks at a period of enormous social change when the reverse was happening—when literature was embracing privacy as an emerging new ideal lived a singular new invention: the private room.  We will examine how major works of the period are set in domestic spaces divided between the public and the private, between male and female domains, and how these works reflect the striving for a private location of personal expression and intimacy. At the same time, we will also ask what anxieties led literature to transform such settings from the places of self-cultivation, introspection, and intimacy to the illicit places of crime and heinous personal violation. Readings will include the major genres of the era: poetry (Shakespeare, Donne), gendered prose romance (Philip Sidney, Mary Wroth), courtesy books about prescribed behavior for men and women (Castiglione), and drama about domestic violence (John Middleton).  Readings will also include less known women’s diaries of the period (Anne Clifford). There will also be visual material to show changes in the spaces in which people lived, then and now.

ENGL 7320: Seminar: When Did Modernity Begin? [Area 3]
Prof. Welish, Mon 4:30-6:10

This course will treat selected issues by which modern, modernism and modernity define themselves and become the contested sites of knowledge. Although it is sometimes argued that the leading edge of modernism is coincident with Romanticism, another view maintains that modernism defines itself in reaction to Romanticism; this course will consider both positions in literature drawn from the 19th and early 20th centuries and how writing itself expresses these positions. What sentence, phrase and word adequately articulate the aesthetic imagination, ruminative thought, chance and indeterminacy, or the poetry and polemics of the page?  To answer these questions, we read poetry, fiction and plays by Baudelaire, Mallarmé, Hopkins, Flaubert, Pound, Stein, Marinetti, Loy, Mayakovsky, and others. Objectives include defining the idea of modernity in the context of a culturally contested set of terms and as a stylistically determined poetics. For these ends we sample primary literature to discuss topics made innovatively modern through concept and style. Lectures will give the overview of literary history, criticism and theory necessary to situate these writings in modernity and especially modernism. The lecture notes and commentaries you derive from each session will be submitted periodically and these together with a short research paper will yield the grade.

ENGL 7420: Seminar: Virginia Woolf [Area 4]
Prof. Tremper, Wed 4:30-6:10

Virginia Woolf never stepped into the same novel twice. We will consider her experiments in narrative technique and what she learned from them in six of her novels, from her second, Night and Day (1919), to her last, published posthumously, Between the Acts (1941). We will also read her criticism in The Common Reader: First Series (1925).  In a letter to a friend in 1917, after publishing “The Mark on the Wall”—different from anything she had written before—Woolf wrote: “Its [sic] an absorbing thing (I mean writing is) and its [sic] high time we found some new shapes, don’t you think so?” We will examine, from the perspective of narrative theorists (Gerard Genette, Paul Ricoeur, Erich Auerbach, Edmund Husserl), the variety of her efforts to convey life—“a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end” —as well as how that halo was pierced by the abiding concerns of the world during the turbulent period in which she wrote.

CMLT 7430: Seminar: Memoir and Autobiographical Fiction [Area 4]
Prof. Fairey, Mon 4:30-6:10

This course will focus on two forms of what some call “life writing,” exploring ways select works of memoir and autobiographical fiction are crafted to tell personal stories.   We will look at the narrative strategies of such works as well as our expectations of each genre.  If a work is presented as fiction or nonfiction, how does that shape our response to it and to its author?  What generic conventions come into play?  Is the line between fictional and nonfictional life writing always a clear one?  We will also examine how personal and family narratives might be configured to serve political and aesthetic purposes, intersecting, for example, with history, philosophy, literary criticism, photography, and graphic rendition.  Readings, drawn from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, include works by George Orwell, James Baldwin, Joan Didion, Tobias Wolff, Tim O’Brien, Azar Nafisi, Alison Bechdel, Patti Smith, Maggie Nelson, Susan Faludi, Sally Mann, Sherman Alexie, and Hisham Matar, among other authors.  Course requirements include a weekly response paper, one class presentation, a term paper, and engaged class participation.  Students are encouraged to develop their own creative as well as critical voices. 

ENGL 7501: Introduction to Critical Theory (Area 5)
Prof. Vassileva, Wed 4:30-6:10
This 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 an oral presentation, response papers, a research paper, and a final exam.

ENGL 7506: Practicum in Teaching College-Level Composition* (Area 5) [for MA English and MFA Creative Writing]
Prof. 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.

ENGL 7507: Advanced Theories & Practice of Composition* (Area 5) [for MA English Education]
Prof. Siegel, Thu 6:30-8:10

One of the biggest responsibilities of English teachers is the teaching of writing. How can a teacher help his/her students develop their own writing process, enable them to see their own weaknesses and work on them?  How can a teacher both prepare students for the high stakes tests they have to take and at the same time, aim higher, to the level of expertise required in college? How can students learn to use writing to think and learn? How is work on grammar and conventions integrated into work on content and thinking? These are some of the questions that will be dealt with in this class.  Requirements for the class include: a journal, a literacy autobiography, several other writing assignments and a Writing Teacher/Tutor Portfolio, where students will examine their own (or others’) teaching, follow several of their own students throughout the term, and critique their own teaching of writing.

ENGL 7604: Language, Culture, and Society (Area 6)
Prof. Patkowski, Tue 4:30-6:10

What is a language? What is a dialect? How about a creole (with a focus on Gullah)? Or a pidgin? Do men and women use language differently? What is the place of Ebonics in the classroom? These are among the many questions which are explored in this course, which introduces fundamental sociolinguistic concepts and examines the interaction of language, society, and power.  Texts:  What Is Sociolinguistics? by Van Herk and a reading packet.
Course grade based on: midterm (20%), final (30%), research paper (50%).

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

This course provides an introduction to the theory and practice of scholarly work in literary studies. More specifically, it prepares students for writing the Master's Thesis by guiding them through a series of essential tasks: developing a viable thesis topic, conducting preliminary research and writing, building a bibliography, pursuing an argument, working with an advisor, and writing a polished thesis proposal. Opening weeks will be spent addressing readings in literary criticism and critical theory, analyzing the methods and aims literary study, and (re)acquainting ourselves with the practical elements of literary research. Then students will take turns presenting their research and responding to presentations by their peers.

ENGL 7810: Thesis*

Students who have successfully completed English 7800 may file the Thesis Title Form on BC WebCentral to receive registration permission.