Fall 2020 Undergraduate Courses

ALL FALL 2020 COURSES WILL BE TAUGHT ONLINE

Gateway Course Required for the Beginning Major

  Engl 25000
  Introduction to Literary Study

  24985            sec. B                Joshua Wilner                         M, W 9:30 – 10:45am
  24971            sec. E                Daniel Gustafson                    M, W 2:00 – 3:15pm
  25029            sec. G                Laura Hinton                          M, W 5:00 – 6:15pm
  24999            sec. L                Paul Oppenheimer                  T, TH 9:30 – 10:45am
  63793            sec. P                Gordon Thompson                  T, TH 2:00 – 3:15pm
  25014            sec. R                Paul Oppenheimer                  T, TH 3:30 – 4:45pm
  24972            sec. T                Gordon Thompson                  T, TH 6:30 – 7:45pm

This course offers an introduction for beginning English majors to the practices and concepts in the study of literature. We will think carefully about literature as a form of representation – about what literary texts mean as well as how they mean. The course will help students to develop a critical vocabulary and method for reading and writing about literature, as well as introduce them to the cultural contexts and backgrounds of various literary traditions. Our readings will explore a variety of genres and styles – short fiction, the novel, narrative poetry, lyric poetry, and forms of drama. Above all, this is a class in reading and (frequent) writing which will emphasize close reading techniques, interpretive approaches, the making of arguments, and the development of individual critical voices in order to prepare students to succeed in advanced English elective courses.

Literature Courses
200- Level courses

 Please note: These 200-level courses are designed to introduce beginning students to literary history, critical approaches, and formal terminology. They   typically have a minimum of 3-5 shorter assignments, a variety of in-class writing tasks, and assume no prior background in the discipline. For this reason,   majors are not permitted to take more than four (4) 200-level classes.

 Engl 26102
 
Studies in Genre: Novel

 25030                   sec. B                     Robert Higney                      M, W 9:30 – 10:45am

 “I am a novelist, and my goal in writing a novel is to leave the reader not knowing what to think.” –Teju Cole, author of Open City (2013). Novels are at the   center of English-language literary culture and have been for over two hundred years. But why is this the case? Where does the novel as an art form come   from, how has it developed, and how can we approach novels critically and better understand how they affect us? And what exactly is a novel? This course   will begin to answer these questions through a set of novels primarily from the English tradition spanning the 17th century to the present day. The course is   bookended by two very recent works, We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo (2013) and NW by Zadie Smith (2012). In between, we’ll go back to the   origins of the English-language novel, reading Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko (1688) and Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719) to see some of the founding   issues of the form and the historical “rise of the novel.” From the 19th century, we’ll read Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice (1813) with an eye to the   development of the novel’s heroine and Austen’s innovations in narrative style (and watch screen adaptations). Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway returns us to   London in the 20th century, raising questions about how novels represent memory and the passage of time along with violence and mental illness.   Throughout the course, we will work to develop a critical vocabulary for discussing novelistic character, narration, plot structure, themes, symbolism, and   other aspects of the form. And if, at the course’s conclusion, we still aren’t sure what to think about some of the problems the novel form raises, we will   hopefully have made progress in how to think about it.

Engl 26105
Studies in Genre: Tragedy

35441                   sec. C              Daniel Gustafson                        M, W 11:00 – 12:15pm

As a literary genre, tragedy refers to much more than just a sad or catastrophic story. In this course, we will explore the history of tragic forms and ideas in Western literature (mostly in theater and film) and grapple with some important questions: why do people remain drawn to, and even find pleasure in representations of horrific events? Do tragic representations bear a politics, and how have shifting identity politics over time determined who counts as a tragic subject? What is tragedy’s relation to violence and loss, on the one hand, and ritual and communal affirmation on the other? How has tragedy changed to fit the needs of different cultures from its origins in ancient Greece to our contemporary moment and its interests in post-humanism and horror? In addition to reading plays, we will read selections on the history and theory of tragedy in works of philosophy, aesthetics, and critical theory. Possible authors include Sophocles, Euripides, Aristotle, John Ford, Jean Racine, Friedrich Nietzsche, Henrik Ibsen, Raymond Williams, Ayad Akhtar, Caryl Churchill, Suzan-Lori Parks, Sarah Kane, Ari Aster, and Will Eno.

Engl 27009
Literature of Diversity: Queer Writing from the Caribbean

62924                   sec. F                  Kedon Willis                            M, W 3:30 – 4:45pm
62925                   sec. H                 Kedon Willis                            M, W 6:30 – 7:45pm

The Caribbean culture is famous for its vibrant carnivals, friendly people and dynamic music forms such as reggae and calypso. What’s not as famous or evident is its gay culture. In fact, the Caribbean has garnered a reputation of hostility towards queer lives. Time Magazine even once labeled Jamaica as the most homophobic place on earth. With this idea in mind, what does it mean to be gay and living in the Caribbean? The course uses this question as a call to engage with queer authors within the region or of Caribbean heritage. How do they articulate not just the politics of queer activism but also the reality of queer existence within that geographical space? What local traditions are already embodied as “queer”? Moreover, how does the possibility of ‘queer being’ on a postcolonial island differ from the political concept of queer in North American and Western European contexts? The course will briefly engage with critical texts from the library of North American and European queer thinking before delving into the literature from the region. Furthermore, the course will rely on a variety of genres and media to reflect the incredible political, cultural, and linguistic diversity of the Caribbean space. Possible novels, poems, short stories, music videos, art works and critical essays will include the works of: Audre Lorde (Grenada/Barbados), Nicole Dennis-Benn (Jamaica), Rajiv Mohabir (Guyana), Rita Indiana (The Dominican Republic), Krys (Guadeloupe), Shani Mootoo (Trinidad and Tobago) and Reinaldo Arenas (Cuba). Assignments will include short response papers, a book review and a creative work.

Engl 28000
Introduction to Comparative Literature
Cross-listed with CL 28000

36881                   sec. R               Elazar Elhanan                          T, TH 3:30 – 4:45pm

This course will introduce students to the study of comparative literature. Our approach will be both international and will concentrate on efforts of emerging modern literatures to address questions such as: what is the institution of literature? What makes a national story? What is the relation between literature, ethnography and national liberation? We will examine the connections between the Harlem Renaissance, Latin American modernism and Yiddish avant-garde poetry in order to extend our understanding of literature as a whole, while developing critical reading and writing skills and a shared vocabulary for literary analysis.  In the course we will read a range of different genres and traditions of writing—from poetry and essays to drama and a novel.

Engl 28001
Spirit Possession in Yiddish Literature
Cross-listed with JWST 21200

36877                   sec. P                Elazar Elhanan                          T, TH 2:00 – 3:15pm

According to Jewish belief, the dybbuk is a spirit of a dead person who takes over a living body and speaks from the possessed throat with his or her own voice.  This narrative of possession appears with astonishing regularity in Eastern European Jewish culture from the 17th century onwards.

We will start with the history and narratives of possession and dybbuks, transmigration of souls and demons in Jewish tradition and continue with the discovery of the dybbuk by Jewish ethnographers and anthropologists in the dark woods of Ukraine and Poland in 1880-1920. We will examine how this folklore was turned into one of the most important theater pieces in the history Yiddish theater and we will end our class with the latest apparitions of the dybbuk, who regularly appear on Broadway, in film and novels, in philosophy and political theory, as if this was a ghost that will not be exorcised.

300- Level Courses

Please note: 300-level classes assume some background and prior experience at the 200-level. Students should complete two 200 level courses before embarking on 300 level work; however, they may register for a single 300 level course if they are still completing 200 level requirements. Generally, these classes require two shorter essays and one longer assignment or final paper involving research or reference to secondary materials.

Engl 31172
Jews of Eastern Europe
Cross-listed with JWST 31172

36878                   sec. M                   Elazar Elhanan                      T, TH 11:00 – 12:15pm

The majority of Jewish people lived up until World War II in Eastern Europe. They developed there a unique and specific culture, with a specific language --Yiddish. The Jewish culture of Eastern Europe was destroyed during the war. Surprisingly what is left in memory is the popular image of the Jew as ‘fiddler on the roof’, the sentimental, nostalgic image of a community now gone. This course will explore the culture and the fascinating debate that took place within it on the very nature of modernity and the ways Jews should adapt to it or reject it.

Engl 31175
Italian-Jewish Women Writers
Cross-listed with JWST 31714                              

36879                   sec. P              Corinna Messina-Kociuba           T, TH 2:00 – 3:15pm

This course will explore the work of Italian Jewish women writers and their efforts to construct subjects through autobiographical writings. Students will engage in the reading of authors such as Natalia Ginzburg, Lia Levi, Clara Sereni, and Edith Bruck, among others, and analyze their representations of history, genealogy, trauma, and “self-construction.”

Engl 31717
Film Adaptation
Cross-listed with MCA 31300

55084                   sec. 2LM             Michael Gillespie                    T 9:30 – 1:15pm

This class considers theories and strategies of film adaptation across a variety of films and genres. Rather than measuring these films in terms of their successful fidelity to the source work, the emphasis of the course will address the creative negotiation between film and literature with questions of narrative, genre, historiography, desire, the idea of race, gendered subjectivity, and intertextuality. Students will read original works with in-class screenings of the adaptations. Drawing from critical work across disciplines, the course serves as an opportunity to focus on the aesthetic, cultural, and political properties of film and the art of adaptation. Some of the film adaptation cases studies and ideas might include: Spike Jonze’s Adaptation (2002), Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk (2018), the recent HBO series Watchmen (2019), Lana Lin’s meditation (2019) on Audre Lorde’s The Cancer Journals (1980), film noir, queer cinema, Latin American cinema, the idea of black film, and the work of Stanley Kubrick.                       

Engl 31951
High School in Film and Literature
Cross-listed with MCA 31951

45574                   sec. 1CD            Chester Kozlowski                   M 11:00 – 1:45pm

Cliques, kings and queens, staying late for detention: the hierarchies established in high school resonate throughout our adult lives. This course examines their origins and shifting social motifs by screening movies set in high school and when possible the books from which they are adapted. Films range from the classic (“Blackboard Jungle” 1955) to the lighthearted (“Clueless” 1995) to the dark (“Elephant” 2003) and cast a critical eye on an essential American experience. This is a literature class as well: expect quizzes and term papers.

Engl 34200
Advanced Grammar

25006                   sec. G                     Nicole Treska                       M, W 5:00 – 6:15pm
25022                   sec. S                      Nicole Treska                       T, TH 5:00 – 6:15pm

Advanced Grammar reviews principles of traditional English grammar and usage (parts of speech, sentence structures, punctuation, pronoun/verb form/agreement, etc.) for English majors and minors, especially for those who plan to teach or work as tutors or editors.  It is not a remedial course for non-majors who struggle with writing problems, though many non-majors take it.  There is a custom-published workbook for the course and used copies of it are not allowed.

Engl 35200
Representative British Writers: Middle Ages

35338                   sec. S                   Paul Oppenheimer                  T, TH 5:00 – 6:15pm

A rollicking study of one of the most influential masterpieces of English—actually Middle English—literature, along with one of the most brilliant and entertaining, Chaucer’s unfinished Canterbury Tales presents a collection of bawdy, tragic, sublime, pathetic, romantic, comical, allegorical and occasionally preposterous stories which serve as a gateway to the medieval and modern worlds. Readings will be in Chaucer’s easy-to-grasp-and-learn Middle English, which everyone picks up rapidly enough. Often we shall be examining fundamental relations between the medieval world and our own. Two required papers, the first fairly short, the second somewhat longer. A number of guided readings in class. Text: Larry D. Benson ed. The Riverside Chaucer. 3rd ed.

Engl 35301
Shakespeare I

24991                   sec. D                     Doris Barkin                         M W 12:30 – 1:45pm

This course constitutes a general introduction to Shakespeare’s earlier works, (1590-1600) from a variety of historical, generic, and thematic perspectives. We will consider the development of Shakespeare’s work chronologically as well as through an examination of themes and protagonists from across his plays.  Works will include Two Gentlemen of Verona, Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, Henry IV, Part 1, The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Othello.  We will also read from a selection of the Sonnets written roughly over the same period.  In addition to class discussion and oral presentations, there will be a reading journal, quizzes, and several written assignments.

Engl 36200
Representative US Writers 20th Century

25001                   sec. T                      Keith Gandal                       T, TH 6:30 – 7:45pm

This course explores American literature during the course of what has been called “the American Century.”  W.E.B. Du Bois declared that the problem of the 20th century would be the problem of race, and we can affirm that claim while adding some supplementary problems that have shaped American literature since 1900: the problems of gender, ethnicity, class, sexuality, and ability.  The course will attempt to revise our traditional understandings of modernist and postmodern literature, based on an examination of America’s internal developments and rise to world prominence with the World Wars.

Tentative Reading List:

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
Katherine Anne Porter, “Pale Horse, Pale Rider” (novella)
Victor Daly, Not Only War (novella)
Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God
Claude Brown, Manchild in the Promised Land
Michael Herr, Dispatches
Toni Morrison, Sula
Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior
Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street
Poetry of T.S. Eliot, Langston Hughes, Wallace Stevens, Gwendolyn Brooks

Engl 36503
Selected Topics in 20th Century and Contemporary Literature: Energy, Infrastructure, and the World of Modern Literature

51590                   sec. C                    Robert Higney                       M, W 11:00 – 12:15pm

Covering the past 200 or so years, we will look at how literature deals with the non-human world: specifically, the sources of energy that have powered human civilization, and the forms of infrastructure like housing, food, sanitation, communication, and transit that sustain our daily lives. We often ask what literature can tell us about human beings, our histories and identities, our relationships to one another, and the social forces like race and gender that shape us and that are expressed in literary texts. Without leaving these issues behind, this class will try to approach literature and literary history from a different angle. What changes, for example, if we read a novel not as the product of “the twentieth century” but of the Age of Oil? What kinds of formal innovations has literature developed to make infrastructure—which we usually ignore until it breaks down—visible, and to show how it makes human life sustainable? How can literature help us rethink the relationships between the natural world and the built world, especially in the city? The historical span of the course may range from the late 18th century to the present; texts may include novels by Mary Shelley, Charles Dickens, H.G. Wells, Virginia Woolf; poems by Harriet Monroe and others; essays and novels by E. M. Forster and Arundhati Roy; contemporary novels like Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go and Namwali Serpell’s The Old Drift. Short writing assignments, a midterm paper and a final research project.

Engl 36506
Selected Topics in 20th Century and Contemporary Literature: Contemporary Women Writers

45595                   sec. D               Kathlene McDonald                   M, W 12:30 – 1:45pm

This course will read explore a diverse set of recent novels, short stories, and essays by women writers that contribute to our sense of the material realities of women's lives within the context of the personal and the political, the domestic and the global.  We will consider the ways in which these writers portray issues such as intimacy, sexuality, home, place, empowerment, and self-invention, as well as how they chronicle migration, illness, loss, violence, division, connection, and success.  Writers may include Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Margaret Atwood, Edwidge Danticat, Bernardine Evaristo, Carolyn Forche, Yaa Gyasi, Jhumpa Lahiri, Sarah Manguso, Toni Morrison, Ann Patchett, and Jeannette Walls.  By reading a diverse spectrum of writers, we'll enlarge our sense of what is possible and what is significant in women's writing today.

Engl 36803
Selected Topics in Life Writing: Oral History

45566                   sec. M                     Destry Sibley                       T, TH 11:00 – 12:15pm

Oral History preserves the memories of individuals and communities who have lived through historical past events. As a methodology of research, it prioritizes the voices of regular, otherwise unknown people; it gives precedence to their experiences and, in so doing, reframes the focus of research. Its practice is both ancient and contemporary; it builds from our oldest technology -- the human voice -- while now utilizing modern recorders and digital devices. In this course we will explore Oral History through multiple lenses. We will read selections of oral histories about American slavery (the Federal Writers’ Project Slave Narrative Collection), the Great Depression (Studs Terkel’s Hard Times), World War II (Svetlana Alexievich’s Last Witnesses), twentieth-century labor struggles (Alessandro Portelli’s They Say in Harlan County), the Pop Art world of the 1960s (Jean Stein and George Plimpton’s Edie), and the Guatemalan Civil War (I, Rigoberta Menchú), among others. We will explore recorded oral history collections, including the Library of Congress’s Civil Rights History Project, the NYPL Schomburg Center’s People’s History of Harlem, and the Hatch-Billops Oral Histories of Black Culture in the archives of CCNY’s own Cohen Library. We will experiment with conducting and recording our own oral history projects. Last, we will consider how oral history has informed contemporary literature, such as Julie Otsuka’s The Buddha in the Attic, George Saunders’s Lincoln in the Bardo, and Valeria Luiselli’s Tell Me How It Ends.  

Engl 37102
Black Poetry and Fiction: Gay Voicings from the Renaissance to the Present

43930                   sec. S                  Gordon Thompson                  T, TH 5:00 – 6:15pm

This course will explore the writings of same gender loving men and women from the Harlem Renaissance to the late 1990s.  As such, we will conduct close readings of texts while seeking out literary tropes that may link these texts to one another—tropes that may link various texts to one another—tropes that speak to issues that go beyond purely gay/queer themes.  The earlier writers explore the difficulty of coming out to themselves; later writers explored self-acceptance and what It means to come out in public.  As time passed the literature explored the difficulty of accepting same-sex desires and practices within such relationships.  These texts, chiefly by male writers, will be supplemented by recent tales by lesbian authors.

400-Level Courses

Please note: 400-level courses are designed for students who have completed at least two classes at the 300-level. Longer essays which involve research and work with secondary materials are typically required at the conclusion of the semester; and students are also expected to demonstrate their familiarity with a range of methodological approaches and critical perspectives.

Engl 45401
Roaring Girls

35427                   sec. L                  Elizabeth Mazzola                   T, TH 9:30 – 10:45am

The writings of early women can be found nearly everywhere, but we have been instructed not to see them, not even to look. Once we start searching, however, the literary tradition in England assumes a very different shape, with women of all classes handling the alphabet in unusual ways, and imagining genres and readers and interpretive practices from utterly new perspectives. We will explore the history of women's writing in England from the 10th through 17th centuries, and also test the premise that later (and more famous) works by Margaret Cavendish, Aphra Behn, Mary Wroth, and Aemilia Lanyer have their origins in the work of their literary foremothers. Other scholarly preconceptions--about how to study manuscripts, how to consider "alternative" literacies, and how to distinguish women's hands from men's--will be tested, too, along with the premise that all women's writing is feminist, or subversive, or roars.

Engl 46401
Modern Literature, Illness and Medicine

35283                   sec. R                      Keith Gandal                       T, TH 3:30 – 4:45pm

Starting in the late 19th century, modern medicine experienced a meteoric rise, based on its development of vaccines that cured ago-old infectious diseases and generated what is called the “epidemiological transition.”  Meanwhile, modern medicine’s “materialist” approach to health—and its separation from (what is now called) psychology—has greatly transformed the very conception of the human being.  From that period until now, literature, which is of course centrally concerned with characters and human experience, has both reflected and contested this modern medical understanding of human illness.  We will consider representations of illness and doctors—and their relation to the medical versions of these—in American works, as well as a couple of European works that were immediately imported to the US, from the 1890s to the present.

This class initiates a new project in literary studies, which will involve discussions usually outside the purview of literature courses: about the nature of the scientific method and the history of science.  This is not the typical course on “Literature and Medicine,” which, even when it focuses on modern literature and medicine, does so in an ahistorical way.  The standard course might, for example, discuss metaphors of sickness or “raise questions about ethical behavior in the face of sickness” (to quote a random course description at another university).  But, as these phrases indicates, the standard course takes “sickness” as a given and doesn’t distinguish between different sorts of sicknesses, between infectious diseases and autoimmune disorders.  In other words, it doesn’t raise questions about the effects and ethics of the modern medical construction of sicknesses themselves.  The treatments of sicknesses that have no cure have a significant social history because our medical ideas about such sicknesses are, by necessity, unscientific, which is to say, they are not scientifically proven—as only a cure is scientific proof.  To take perhaps the most important example, doctors have for centuries recognized cancer, but the conception of the cause of cancer is very different today from what it was even in the late 19th century.

Warning: “Chronic” and “terminal” illness, perhaps especially cancer, is a troubling subject for many people. It can be a source of fear and post-trauma; a lot of us know people who have had cancer; many of us fear it. Fear of cancer is, in fact, a serious social issue and one we will be discussing.  However, in this class, there is no getting around discussing cancer, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses; in fact, such discussions are central to the course.  We can’t shy away from issues because they are disturbing.  So, if you have a problem reading or talking about chronic illness—which is understandable—you should not take this course.

Tentative Texts:

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper”
Robert Louis Stevenson, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Kate Chopin, The Awakening
Sigmund Freud, Five Lectures on Psycho-Analysis (excerpt)
William Burroughs, Junky
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
Audre Lorde, The Cancer Journals
Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking
Robert Aronowitz, Unnatural History: Breast Cancer and American Society (excerpt)

Capstone Seminars – recommended after 24 credits in the major

These courses are strongly recommended upon completing 24 credits in the major and can only be registered with an English Advisor.

Engl 49022
Douglass and Melville

35287                   sec. 3FG                  Carla Cappetti                    W 3:30 – 5:30pm

In this course we will encounter the writings and explore the relationship of Frederick Douglass and Herman Melville, two titans of nineteenth century American culture.  In their speeches, stories and poems, Douglass and Melville gave voice and visibility to the suffering and the resistance of sailors, slaves and whales.  They also exposed and challenged the ways race and nation were used to justify enslavement and colonization in the early 19th century, lynching and the death penalty in the late 19th century.  Reading Frederick Douglass alongside Herman Melville will enable us to recognize the literary conventions shared by sailors’ stories, fugitive slave narratives and hunting tales.

Creative Writing Courses

Engl 22000
Introduction to Creative Writing

25004                   sec. B                       Doris Barkin                       M, W 9:30 – 10:45am
25005                   sec. C                       Doris Barkin                       M, W 11:00 – 12:15pm

This course presents approaches to discovering, exercising, applying, and learning the processes involved in the practice of creative writing.  Critical reading and written expression are interconnected processes: we will examine our own written work and the work of exemplary writers in fiction, poetry, essay, and nonfiction.  Upon completion of the course, students will demonstrate the ability to write in various genres, forms, styles, and techniques; additionally, students will demonstrate facility in reading literature critically and analytically, and engaging in constructive criticism with the community of writers in the class. As a supplement to work done in class, poetry readings, audio and video recordings, film viewing, and hypertext Web documents and other writing platforms will be used whenever possible.  Finally, the goal of the course is to see language in a revitalized, meaningful way, and to find that creative writing offers great emotional, imaginative, and intellectual pleasure.

24966                   sec. M                     Lyn Di Iorio                         T, TH 11:00 – 12:15pm
25012                   sec. P                      Estha Weiner                        T, TH 2:00 – 3:15pm
24997                   sec. R                     Pamela Laskin                      T, TH 3:30 – 4:45pm

While studying various forms of creative writing, emphasis will be placed on the creative process of writing while encouraging students to find their writing voice.

Engl 22100
Prerequisite: English 22000
Intermediate Creative Writing: Reading as Writers

24984                   sec. E                      Laura Hinton                       M, W 2:00 – 3:15pm
24983                   sec. H                      Laura Hinton                       M, W 6:30 – 7:45pm

This intermediate creative-writing course will be experimental in that it will focus on issues of language and its potential for observing and investigating the mind, the body, perception and the experience of our world—all from the point of view of our own writing practice. We will work in this course to divest ourselves of preconceived ideas about “point of view,” as in authoritarian or moralistic speech (presumed in so much U.S. commercial discourse and “creative writing” expression alike).  Our emphasis will be on “poetics” in the sense that the language we draw from in stating some aspect of our experience is social, shared, but also new—as we engage with our own feel for language and “activate” it in a series of creative “experiments.”  We will treat language as having its own activity on the page and in the mind. We will try to avoid cliché traps, the usual cultural narratives, or expected “points of view” of a “narrator” or “speaker.”

We will not constrain ourselves in this course to a study of traditional literary “genres”—these are transformable and ever changing, culturally and historically defined. We will engage together in a number of writing experiments modeled by and/or intellectually informed by assigned literary readings and a critical response to those readings. These readings include pieces by contemporary authors like Langston Hughes, both Amiri and Amina Baraka, Jayne Cortez, Rae Armantrout, Barbara Guest, Claudia Rankine, and several others. Issues of sight and image, sound and performance, reality and experience, and the language that invokes our “experience,” will be our focusing concepts as we work through the literary readings together, and as all participate in student writing workshops.

24967                   sec. P                       Lyn Di Iorio                        T, TH 2:00 – 3:15pm

In this class students will read short stories and discuss short story craft issues such as characterization, perspective, setting, story structure, dialogue and dialogue beats, among other techniques.  Eventually we will also workshop your stories.  Venturing from realism to magical realism and the uncanny, we might read stories by Gina Berriault, Flannery O’Connor, Joyce Carol Oates, Ralph Ellison, Julio Cortázar, Rosario Ferré, Carmen Maria Machado, George Saunders and Junot Díaz.  Collections we might read are Points of View (revised edition) edited by James Moffett and Kenneth McElheny, Strange Pilgrims by Gabriel García Márquez and Krik Krak by Edwidge Danticat.  Self-Editing for Fiction Writers (second edition) by Renni Browne and Dave King will be our go-to book for craft issues.  Students will write two short stories and do one presentation (in tandem with a five-page paper) on a short story read in class.

Engl 23000
Prose Writing Workshop

24968                   sec. D                      Benjamin Swett                   M, W 12:30 – 1:45pm
24988                   sec. E                      Amir Ahmadi                       M, W 2:00 – 3:15pm
25013                   sec. F                      Brendan Costello                  M, W 3:30 – 4:45pm
24969                   sec. M                     Mikhal Dekel                        T, TH 11:00 – 12:15pm
24970                   sec. S                      Cynthia Cruz                        T, TH 5:00 – 6:15pm


In this course prose will be explored through the study of nonfictional works such as critical texts, memoirs and various forms of essay writing. The course will include two major papers assigned. There will be reading and consideration of the strategies of established writers in the genre. Students may also be expected to write and revise several short papers, while receiving critiques from and responding to the works of their peers in the class.

Engl 32000
Prerequisite: English 22100
Workshop in Fiction

53478                   sec. E                 Emily Rosenblatt                     M, W 2:00 – 3:15pm
53479                   sec. G                 Emily Raboteau                       M, W 5:00 – 6:15pm

This workshop is designed for students seeking a launch pad and a community for writing fiction. It is only to be taken by those who have already completed English 220 and 221 -- Intro. and Intermediate Creative Writing. Students will read a range of texts over the course of the semester using the critical vocabulary of the craft. This includes: characterization, point of view, point of entry, dialogue, pace, setting, tone, structure, and ending. There will be regular brief in-class writing exercises during the first half of the semester, as well as longer take-home exercises. In the second half of the semester, students will also read and evaluate each other's submissions in a workshop model that includes writing critiques. ​

24973                   sec. P                     Mark Mirsky                        T, TH 2:00 – 3:15pm 

My focus will be on the writing of the individuals in the class. I will try to identify the unique voice of each writer, and encourage students to develop and enrich this voice. This strategy is based on experiments conducted at Stanford University in the federally funded Voice Project. If I feel that class members are apt to profit from exercises based on specific stories, I will suggest them. Students wishing to explore the experimental and surreal in fiction may find this helpful but they can also explore on their own. Three short exercises are required of all students who are taking a class. All new work that is handed in can count toward the course requirement of thirty-five pages.

The instructor, who a novelist and the editor-in-chief of Fiction, will lecture on narrative in relation to the manuscripts submitted and to stories and novels that he regards as “classics.” If the schedule of manuscripts submitted permits it, he will assign specific texts at times among them possibly  “First Love” by Samuel Beckett, “The Completing of Love” by Robert Musil; “Sorrow Acre” by Isak Dinnesen; The Third Policeman, by Flann O’Brien, “Three Years,” by Anton Chekhov, Nikolai Gogol’s “The Overcoat,” Donald Barthelme’s “Me and Miss Mandible,” Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio, and Delmore Schwartz’s “In Dreams Begin Responsibilities.” Students are urged to read at least one story or book of the instructor either during the semester. and expected read aloud a story of their own twice during the semester. Students are required to read all the submissions of their fellow students and hopefully to respond to them.

Engl 32100
Prerequisite: English 22100
Workshop in Poetry

25021                   sec. R                 Cynthia Cruz                            T, TH 3:30 – 4:45pm

In this Advanced Poetry Workshop serious poets will have the chance to read and discuss poems by contemporary poets while, simultaneously, workshopping their own poems. In weekly class discussions we will carefully examine the works of a number of American 20th and 21st century poets paying close attention to craft choices. In the weekly workshop, we will do much the same: spending time with one another’s work and offering thoughtful and considered feedback to one another. The course will culminate in a final project consisting of a chapbook of poems written and revised during the duration of the term.

Engl 32300
Prerequisite: English 22100
Workshop in Film and Television

35364                   sec. 1EF            Marc Palmieri                           M 2:00 – 4:45pm

We will examine the storytelling possibilities of writing for this highly technical and collaborative art form.  Students will develop a script for the large or small screen – either film, television or webseries, and participate in brief “read-alouds” of portions of the drafts, and feedback discussions of classmates’ work.  Those interested in adapting one of his or her works of fiction, non-fiction or poetry to a screenplay form are encouraged to do so. This process comes with its own interesting set of expectations and strategies and can be an enlightening exercise in the general honing of your story structure.

List of Interdisciplinary Electives that will be counted toward major requirements
Only one literature course offered outside of the English Department will count toward the English major requirement

ASIA 31104: Modern Japanese Literature and Films
BLST 31175: AfroLatina/o Literature
FREN 28300: Literature of Contemporary France
ITAL 28700: Italian Cinema and Literature
ITAL 31901: Italian Jewish Women Writers
PORT 40200: The Cultures and Literatures of Lusophone Africa (also BLST 31912)
SPAN 28100: Masterworks of Spanish Literature
WS 31350: Black Power Women: Autobiography and Biography

Publishing Courses

NOTE: Publishing courses do not count toward English major or minor requirements, but only toward fulfillment of the publishing certificate program, or as general electives. For more information, contact the Director of the program, David Unger at ccnypub@aol.com .

Engl 32501
Introduction to Publishing

24974                   sec. LM              Cherise Fisher                          TU 9:30 – 12:00pm

Introduction to Publishing introduces students to trade books (books for the general consumer) and their publishers. The course is designed to give an overview of the book business--from how manuscripts are made (role of the author, agent and acquiring editor); to how books are made (design, production and distribution of the finished book); to how books are sold (publicity and marketing).

An important aspect of the course is helping students find their potential niche in the publishing business, should they continue on for the Publishing Certificate. The course concludes with how to get a job, stressing resume preparation, writing query letters to publishers, and preparing for interviews. The course aims at inculcating professionalism in students as it prepares them for satisfying careers in book publishing.

Engl 32800
Fundamentals of Copyediting & Proofreading

24975                   sec. TU           Pamela R. Maines                        TH 6:30 – 9:00pm

Students will employ universal copyediting/ proofreading symbols in type-marking a variety of texts including fiction, non-fiction, cookbooks and references.  They will learn design coding; drafting of style sheets; querying; and preparing a manuscript for author review, etc. 

Engl 32801
Legal Issues in Publishing

24976                   sec. ST            Steven Weissman                        TU 5:00 – 7:30pm

A course covering the crucial clauses in an author-publisher contract; intellectual property issues; the First Amendment; general copyright matters; defamation; invasion of privacy; obscenity; and internet copyright issues.

Engl 31003
Independent Study (3 credits)

Students may register for a three-credit independent study that represents an internship in the Publishing field. Permission of the Director of the Publishing Program, David Unger, is required. Please fill out an independent study form with Mr. Unger and submit it to the English Advising Office (NAC 6/219) before registering through an English Advisor.