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

Brooklyn College ImageSpring 2017 Courses

Courses that require registration permission from English Graduate Deputy noted with asterisk*

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

This class attempts to address a number of very complicated questions. First, what do we really mean when we say that we are teaching students “to read”?  Secondly, why does the acquisition of this skill involve “literature”? Thirdly, what is “literature” in the first place, and what does it mean when attached to the descriptive phrase “Children’s and Adolescents”? And lastly, how do the answers to these questions impact the style and content of works written specifically for children and adolescents? Complicating these theoretical questions is one more: how does the implementation of Common Core State Standards influence the way we answer, or even approach, these questions?  This course will survey “Children’s and Adolescents’ Literature” in its broadest sense, from picture books through to writing appropriate for high school students. Using picture books by Seuss, Sendak, and others, we will begin the semester by attempting to identify what the purpose of “reading” and “language arts” instruction is or claims to be; and to propose criteria for judging the success of a work of children’s/YA literature, particularly in light of the Common Core Standards. Following a developmental model, we will look at a variety of works that begin to transition from picture book to middle reader. Finally, we will look at recent developments in YA literature. While we will always and primarily be looking at these texts from a literary-critical perspective, we will not overlook the more pragmatic and practical aspects of using these works as tools in real classrooms, especially as these relate to selecting books using the Common Core Standards and to the idea of multiculturalism in a pluralist society. Students will be expected to regularly attend class, actively engage with the material under discussion, and complete all short homework assignments; to participate in a group assignment that evaluates one the assigned books through the lens of the Common Core Standard; and to submit a 7- to 10-page literary/critical research paper.

ENGL 7011: Literary Texts & Critical Methods* (MA English Education students)
Prof. R. Scott, Mon. 6:30-8:10

This class will explore the ways in which the study of critical methodologies and rhetorical devices provide tools for the teaching and textual analysis of literature.  Readings will include samples drawn from major theoretical schools (psychoanalysis, Marxism, formalism, structuralism and post-structuralism, deconstruction, feminism and queer theory, etc.), and theorists (including Walter Benjamin, Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Anne Anlin Cheng, Eve Sedgwick, and others).  The insights and oversights of influential theoretical perspectives will be viewed through select literary texts of 19th- and 20th-century American literature.  Assignments will include two papers and two presentations.

ENGL 7120: Seminar: Medieval Mystical Literature [Area 1]
Prof. N. Masciandaro, Wed. 6:30-8:10

“Now it is called mystical, that is to say, closed or hidden, because whatever is said in it is left as it were without explanation, completely closed and hidden” (Thomas Gallus, Exposition on the Mystical Theology). This course offers an exploration of medieval mysticism across a variety of contexts and genres, with special attention to principles of hiddenness (e.g. unrepresentability, non-knowledge, darkness, secrecy). Works to be read, in whole or part, include: Pseudo-Dionysius, Divine Names and Mystical Theology; Augustine, On Genesis (Book XII) and Confessions; Bernard of Clairvaux, On the Song of Songs; Bonaventure, Journey of the Mind into God; Richard of St. Victor, Four Degrees of Violent Love; Thomas of Cantimpré, Life of Christina the Astonishing; The Cloud of Unknowing; Julian of Norwich, Shewings; Angela of Foligno, Memorial; Marguerite Porete, Mirror of Simple Souls; Meister Eckhart, Sermons; and Dante’s Paradiso. Requirements: Final Exam, Research Paper, Commentaries. 

ENGL 7204: Shakespeare [Area 2]
Prof. T. Pollard, Tue. 4:30-6:10

As one of the most canonical writers in the English language, Shakespeare is often identified as a figure of authority, establishment, and legitimacy.  His plays, however, are fascinated by questions of illegitimacy, with a particular focus on the problem of illegitimate children.  Many of his plays feature characters described as bastards, and many others feature anxieties about sexual infidelity and its consequences.  This class will explore intersections in Shakespeare’s plays between anxieties about illegitimate children and unauthorized literary production, especially the scandals associated with hybrid literary genres.  Readings will include Much Ado About Nothing, Measure for Measure, Troilus and Cressida, Pericles, Cymbeline, and The Winter’s Tale; assignments will include several short close reading essays and one final term paper.

CMLT 7330: Comp Lit Seminar: Nineteenth Century European Novel [Area 3]
Prof. J. Moser, Mon. 6:30-8:10

This course includes works by such authors as Balzac, Flaubert, Stendhal, Dostoyevsky, Turgenev, and Verga. Discussion of the novels will be extended and enriched by readings and discussions of the social, historical, cultural, philosophical, scientific and artistic currents of the century. We will analyze not only the literary aspects of these novels, but also the place of these works in the intellectual, social and historical context of their times. In addition, each work will be considered through a variety of critical lenses.

CMLT 7430: Comp Lit Seminar: African Literature [Area 4]
Prof. R. King, Tue 6:30-8:10

The predominant images of Africa in literature and media have been created by outsiders.  Yet Africans have been imagining and representing themselves for centuries.  This course will survey the diverse tradition of African literature through texts from countries of different languages, colonial histories, and regions.  It presents an introduction to the major themes of the literature, including colonialism, the conflict of tradition and modernity, and corruption while asking who and what is African?  We will read novels, essays, and short stories, and digital content, and discuss what, other than geographic location, unites African literature.

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 an oral presentation, response papers, a research paper, and a final exam.

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

Perhaps no courses are as crucial to students as English 1010 and English 1012, and teaching writing (which also means teaching critical reading and thinking) can be incredibly rewarding… but also incredibly frustrating. This practicum will prepare you for the rewards and frustrations of composition instruction, while also girding you with strategies, techniques, and actual materials for the classroom. Thus, while this course provides a background in the theories and research undergirding Composition Studies, it will also demand that you apply these theories. You will develop real assignments, lesson plans, units, and a semester-long syllabus. You will evaluate a range of composition readers, such as They Say, I Say and The Brief Bedford Reader. And because all campuses are unique, you will explore the opportunities for research and engagement around Brooklyn College. Working closely with mentors, you will sit in on their composition classes and learn from the classroom setting. By the end of the semester, you will hopefully have the confidence, and the materials, to take your place as a valued instructor in the Composition Program at Brooklyn College, and beyond.

ENGL 7507: Advanced Theories & Practice of Composition* [Area 5]
(MA English Education students)
Prof. J. 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 7603: Introduction to Linguistics [Area 6]
Prof. S. Kresh, Wed. 6:30-8:10

This course provides an introduction to the various aspects of contemporary linguistics by analyzing how sentences are put together from words (syntax), how words and language sounds are structured (morphology and phonology), and the systematic ways in which these convey meaning (semantics). The course will look at variation a cross languages and dialects, and students will investigate the extent to which universal principles underlie what appear to be substantial surface differences among languages. Beyond examining these essential mechanics of language, the course will touch on several broader issues such as: child language acquisition, second language acquisition, and the representation of linguistic knowledge in the brain.  Readings from the course text will introduce the general methodology and basic ideas in each of the core areas and will be accompanied in each case by appropriate exercises and problems. The readings will provide the groundwork for doing the exercises, which we will go over in class. Class participation will be especially important.

ENGL 7800: Introduction to Literary Research*
(MA English students entering final year)
Prof. G. Minter, 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: M.A. Thesis*
MA English students only; pre-requisite ENGL 7800. Students must submit Thesis Title Form via Brooklyn College Portal prior to registration.