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

Brooklyn College ImageSpring 2018 Courses

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

ENGL 7010: Children’s & Adolescents’ Literature, D. McKay Thu 4:30-6:10
[For MA English Education students]
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, J. Frydman Tue 6:30-8:10
[For MA English Education students]
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 7102: Chaucer Exclusive of Canterbury Tales, N. Masciandaro Thu 6:30-8:10 [Area 1]
“ . . . and thynketh al nys but a faire, / This world that passeth soone as floures faire” (Troilus and Criseyde). Chaucer’s works show an abiding interest, theoretical and practical, in themes related to the experience of time: primitivist nostalgia (Former Age), traumatic memory (Anelida and Arcite), textual authority (House of Fame), melancholy (Book of the Duchess), historical contingency (Troilus and Criseyde), music (Parliament of Fowls), to name a few. Starting from the idea that Chaucer is profoundly a ‘poet of time’, this course will study his works in the context of medieval concepts of time and temporality, paying particular attention to how they address the essential tension between human time, the time of individual and social life, and universal time or the principle of time itself. As indicated in Chaucer’s borrowing of Hippocrates’s aphorism (ars longa, vita brevis)—“The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne” (Parliament of Fowls)—this tension bears a special relevance to poetic writing as a special relation to time, as an art whose rhythm or measure is all about facing the beautiful mystery, the flower, of time’s nature. (Augustine). Text: Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, ed. Larry Benson (Wadsworth). Requirements: commentaries, research proposal, research paper, final exam.

ENGL 7203: Early Modern Drama Exclusive of Shakespeare, T. Pollard Tue 6:30-8:10 [Area 2]
What were Shakespeare’s contemporaries, friends, and rivals doing while he was writing the plays that went on to dominate the literary canon? Their plays have much in common with his, but are (among other things) frequently more bloody, racy, and generally extravagant. This course will explore some of the popular conventions that attracted large crowds to the period’s commercial playhouses: the severed body parts (including tongues, skulls, and fingers) of revenge tragedy; the con-men and transvestites, male and female alike, who peopled city comedy; colorful drugs such as poisons, beauty potions, and virginity-testing tonics; and the parodies of other plays that showcase competitive and collaborative relationships between playwrights. Readings will include Thomas Kyd, The Spanish Tragedy; Ben Jonson, Volpone; Thomas Middleton, The Revenger’s Tragedy; Frances Beaumont, Knight of the Burning Pestle; Middleton and Thomas Dekker, The Roaring Girl; Jonson, The Alchemist; and Middleton and William Rowley, The Changeling. Regular presentations and short papers will focus on close readings of the plays’ language, and a final paper will develop skills in research, analysis, and writing.

ENGL 7301: 19th Century Literature I, A. Vassileva, Wed 4:30-6:10 [Area 3]
This course examines the origins, development, and distinct manifestations of Romanticism in the European cultural tradition. From the perspective several national literatures (German, Russian, English, and Spanish), we will explore how romantic authors rebelled to subvert the neoclassical reign of intellect and reason, of societal conventions and personal restraint, and built a universe of free thought and emotions, of reverence for nature and the supernatural powers, of faith in love and beauty and worship of imagination. The study of Romanticism will lead us to the notion of literary genre, as we will read romantic works composed in a variety of genres: novel in verse, psychological novel, romantic drama, poetic romance, modern fairy tale, legend, ballad, sonnet, elegy, and ode. The authors we will read include E. T. A. Hoffmann, Ludwig Tieck, Heinrich von Kleist, Alexander Pushkin, Mikhail Lermontov, Nikolai Gogol, Jose Zorrilla, Gustavo Adolfo Becquer, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Keats, and Byron. One exam, a final paper, and an oral presentation required.

ENGL 7303: 19th Century American Literature, G. Minter, Wed 6:30-8:10 [Area 3]
A survey of novels by U.S. authors from the first hundred years of the American republic. READINGS [use of the assigned editions is a requirement of the course]: Wieland, by Charles Brockden Brown (Oxford, ISBN 9780199538775); A New-England Tale, by Catharine Maria Sedgwick (Penguin, ISBN 9780142437124); The Last of the Mohicans, by James Fenimore Cooper (Oxford, ISBN 9780199538195); Moby-Dick, by Herman Melville (Norton, ISBN 9780393972832); The House of the Seven Gables, by Nathaniel Hawthorne (Oxford, ISBN 9780199539123); The Morgesons, by Elizabeth Stoddard (Penguin, ISBN 9780140436518); and The Portrait of a Lady, by Henry James (Oxford, ISBN 9780199217946). ASSIGNMENTS: a final research-based paper; a midterm paper reflecting recent criticism from academic journals relevant to 19th Century American literature; leading of class discussion; participation in the course Blackboard; a biweekly reading journal; and a final exam.

ENGL 7402: 20th Century Poetry, M. Welish, Mon 4:30-6:10 [Area 4]
This course is for those who have studied the modernism of early 20th-century poetry. We shall approach topics in contemporary poetry after World War II as the study of textual strategies. Working with soundscapes, found materials and intertexts, contemporary poets construct a poetics from principles, rules, and procedures.  We shall consider poetics from OULIPO to L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E and beyond-or, at least, elsewhere.  Constructing a poetics from the critique of received ideas, contemporary poets create linguistic mayhem and assume their right to guerrilla activity within, across and against cultural habit.  British poetry and poetics of the Cambridge School and its dialogue with postwar American poetry will feature J.H. Prynne (with Charles Olson and with Clark Coolidge). Assignments will come from some of the following texts: Oulipo Compendium, edited by and Harry Mathews and Alistair Brotchie; The Black Arts Movement, by James Smethurst; The Constructivist Moment by Barrett Watten, A Guide to Poetics Journal: Writing in the expanded field 1982-1998, edited by Lyn Hejinian and Barrett Watten, Boundary 2: American Poetry after 1975, edited by Charles Bernstein. The Totality for Kids, by Joshua Clover, Oxota, by Lyn Hejinian, Sleeping with the Dictionary, by Harryette Mullen, Frame, by Barrett Watten, and On Spec, by Tyrone Williams, and others. Grades will depend on commentaries and their revisions, quizzes and exams. 

ENGL 7403: 20th Century American Fiction, J. Entin Tue 4:30-6:10 [Area 4]
What and when was modernism? Postmodernism? And what comes after? This course will approach these outsized literary-critical questions by examining American narratives from the last 100 years in which race, capitalism, and dispossession are key concerns. The emphasis will thus be on experimental literary attempts to grapple with capital’s on-going and continually shifting efforts to structure the most intimate aspects of everyday life in a society—the United States—marked by enduring histories of settler-colonialism, slavery, hetero-patriarchy, and white supremacy. How, in other words, have writers deployed the innovative aesthetic techniques associated with modernism and postmodernism to confront the impact of, and resistances to, the intersecting force of capitalism, racism, sexism in the U.S.? As we proceed, we will also think and read across multiple geopolitical and imaginary scales (region, nation, hemisphere and globe) and historical junctures (the Great Depression, the Cold War, the implementation of NAFTA, Hurricane Katrina). Likely authors include Jean Toomer, William Faulkner, Ralph Ellison, Thomas Pynchon, Toni Morrison, Karen Tei Yamashita, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Jesmyn Ward, among others. Along the way, we’ll sample critical theory by Gloria Anzaldua, Christina Sharpe, Fred Jameson, Linda Hutcheon, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Karl Marx, and more.

ENGL 7504*: Literature & Psychoanalytic Criticism, P. Taubman [Area 5]
[Hybrid platform: online/in person]
This course will consider the contributions psychoanalytic theory can make to our understanding of literature, how literature informs that theory, and the relationship of psychoanalysis to teaching English.  The aim of the course is not to psychoanalyze literature, but rather to develop ways to think psychoanalytically about literature and teaching literature. What is the difference? To apply psychoanalysis suggests that psychoanalysis is a kind of meta-language that would enable us to uncover the “true” latent meaning of a text. Such an “application,” sustains the stereotype of the psychoanalyst as a detective who not only finds clues of sex everywhere but actually plants the evidence. Rather than playing psychoanalytic detective, we will be thinking about texts, teaching, and ourselves in relation to texts “through” the ideas offered by Sigmund Freud, Jacques Lacan, Adam Phillips, Julia Kristeva, Slavoj Žižek and Shoshana Felman. And we shall consider those ideas through our readings of selected short stories, novels and films, including Robert Musil'sYoung Torless, D.H. Lawrence's "The Fox," Henry James' Turn of the Screw, James Baldwin's "Going to Meet the Man," Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wall Paper," Edwidge Danticat’s Krik? Krak!, and Alfred Hitchcock's Rope.  Some of the questions we shall address are the following: In what ways is psychoanalysis a distinct kind of reading? How does our own psychic life mingle with the text? Do we put the text on the “couch,” or do texts put us there? How might psychoanalytic theory and literary texts help us think differently about both and about ourselves?

ENGL7506*: Practicum in Teaching College-Level Composition, H. Diehl Tue 4:30-6:10 [Area 5]
[For MA English and MFA Creative Writing students]
This course will introduce scholarship in the field of composition studies to enable you to use knowledge of developments in composition as you prepare to teach. As we read and discuss scholarly articles about major theoretical concepts in composition studies, we will also consider strategies and techniques for the classroom. You will develop assignments, lesson plans, and a syllabus. You will also explore campus resources at Brooklyn College and become familiar with some of the textbooks and material available for teaching composition. Each class meeting will include discussion of assigned readings (with students taking turns leading the discussion) and exercises in practical applications.

ENGL 7507*: Advanced Theories & Practice of Composition, J. Siegel Thu 6:30-8:10
[For MA English Education students]
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: Intro to Linguistics, D. Ronkos Tue 6:30-8:10 [Area 6]
What is language?  Where does it come from?  How do we learn it?  How do we use it?  How is it structured?  These are some of the questions that the field of linguistics – the scientific study of language – aims to answer.  In fact, there are patterns and structures at all level of linguistic representation – from individual sounds to larger words to the longest sentences.  We will investigate how words and sounds are structured (morphology and phonology), how words are put together into sentences (syntax), and the systematic ways in which these convey meaning (semantics). We will also survey a variety of topics such as child language acquisition, second language acquisition, the representation of linguistic knowledge in the brain, dialects and other social and cultural aspects of language, and how spoken, signed, and written language relate to one another.

ENGL 7800*: Intro to Literary Research, R. Scott Mon 6:30-8:10
[For MA English students]
At the conclusion of this course, students will complete a formal thesis proposal that will serve as a blueprint for the Masters thesis.  Assignments designed to guide students toward this goal will also serve as introductions to the principal forms of literary analysis and practical methods of research.  While focusing on the works or writers of their choice, students will become familiar with the uses of primary and secondary sources, the rudiments of textual scholarship, the purposes of bibliographic research, and the recent critical works most relevant to their own projects.  By preparing, presenting, and serving as audience members for reports detailing the progress of individual research projects, students will gain broad exposure to an array of potential methodologies, critical streams, and research strategies. 

ENGL 7810*: Thesis [For MA English students]

MA English students must obtain advisor consent and submit Thesis Title Form via BC Portal.