Current and Upcoming Courses
ENGL 517: Narratives of Slavery. Monday, 7-9:45. Meets at College of Charleston. Elective. (Simon Lewis)
This course will explore the representation of slavery and the slave trade in the English-speaking Atlantic World, examining texts from Britain, West Africa, the Caribbean and North America. While the focus will be on the fictional narrative in prose and in poetry, we will also be looking at non-fiction (history, autobiography, and polemic) as well as visual representations (historical and contemporary), and music. The specific focus on representations of slavery and the slave trade will enable us to ask probing questions regarding the role of writing in the construction of race and ethnic and national difference, and the centrality of slavery to Euro-American modernity and capitalism. We will also be asking questions about representing the "unspeakable," taste, authenticity, and memory. Texts (ranging from the 18th-century to contemporary) have been selected in such a way as to draw attention both to local experience of slavery in South Carolina as well as to the global reach of the institution. Almost all the writers studied-like Olaudah Equiano-will raise questions about the difficulty of assigning neat identities to the writers and about complicity/resistance. The course asks questions of our own subjectivity and intersectional positionality as readers of this kind of material in contemporary Charleston.
ENGL 517: Old English Language. Monday, 4-6:45. Meets at the College of Charleston. Elective. (Trish Ward)
In this course students will master the essentials of Old English grammar and obtain a reading knowledge of Old English, the form of English spoken and written in Britain from c. 450 to 1100. Students will also read Old English prose and poetry-in the original and in translation-and study it in its historical, cultural, and manuscript contexts. Students earning a B or better in this course will fulfill the language requirement for the MA in English.
ENGL 535: African American Literature. Tuesday, 4-6:45. Meets at The Citadel. Fulfills the American literature requirement. (Licia Hendriks)
This survey course situates the African American literary tradition in a developing domestic and international cultural context, and addresses the ways in which it is (and isn't) a legitimate offshoot of the overarching category of American Literature. Encompassed in the discussions of fourteen full-length texts from the African American canon, topical interests consider how text becomes designated 'ethnic,' how to think and articulate opinions about racially sensitive issues, how the presumption of a preoccupation with race is complicated by class, gender, and sexuality issues, how to read and respond to the narratives composed by black writers, and how to navigate the perpetuation of the art vs. propaganda debate which has raged unceasingly since the first American of African descent set pen to paper and claimed some literary merit for the result. Simultaneously, the course follows the trajectory of African American literary criticism and the resulting assessments of theories of textual interpretation. Expect to encounter writers such as Frederick Douglass, Charles Chesnutt, W.E.B Du Bois, Nella Larsen, Toni Morrison, and August Wilson.
ENGL 555: Literary Criticism. Thursday, 7-9:45. Meets at The Citadel. Elective. (James Leonard)
The 2017 edition of ENGL 555 will consider the following primary questions about our relation to literature:
- What is literature?
- How does literature affect us?
- How can we ascertain the meaning/significance of a work of literature?
- What sorts of commentary are appropriate for the reader/critic?
Following a whirlwind tour, during the first class meeting, of the pre-twentieth-century history of literary theory (with attention to such figures as Plato, Aristotle, Sidney, Johnson, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Arnold, and James), we'll devote the rest of this semester to the dominant critical theories of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries--beginning with the massive critical turning point of formalism/new criticism (T.S. Eliot, Cleanth Brooks) and proceeding to the eventual reactions to it: genre criticism (Northrop Frye) and genetic criticism (E.D. Hirsch). At that point (the 1950s and 1960s), we'll encounter the equally momentous turns away from the strictly internal meaningfulness of the "work," as literary object or as authorial expression, to reader responses's examination of the work/text as meaningful in relation to the reader (Norman Holland) and structuralism's/semiotics' focus on relation to the cultural context (Roland Barthes, Umberto Eco) - leading also to the more psychoanalytically inclined textual examinations of deconstruction (Sigmund Freud, Jacques Derrida), We'll conclude the historical survey with a look at the cultural criticisms that derive their methodologies from the structuralist and deconstructive turns-including Marxist (Terry Eagleton), feminist (Virginia Woolf), African American (S.D. Kapoor), and postcolonial (Homi K. Bhabha). Having then arrived at what we may categorize as the contemporary, we'll read and discuss some of the major recent/current theorists of literary study-such as J. Hillis Miller, Stanley Fish, Annabella Patterson, Stephen Greenblatt, and Myra Jehlen. Readings will be a mixture of critical theory essays and essays that apply critical theory to specific literary works. Exams; at least one oral presentation; and a research project resulting in an essay.
ENGL 562: Advanced Composition. Thursday, 4-6:45. Meets at The Citadel. Elective. (Lauren Rule Maxwell)
English 562 aims to help you become a better writer by challenging you to think critically about the processes of composition, teaching you to adapt your style based on your purpose, and providing you with rhetorical strategies to more effectively convey your ideas. A wide range of writing assignments-including travel essays, grant proposals, scientific writing, and feature articles-will help you develop real-world skills you can use in your studies and apply outside of the classroom.
ENGL 705: Seminar: Schooling American Poetry. Wednesday, 7-9:45. Meets at the College of Charleston. Fulfills the American literature requirement and the seminar requirement. (Anton Vander Zee)
American poets have often been sustained by the power of what poet Robert Creeley would call a “company”—a group of fellow travelers in art and life who share certain core ideas about what poetry might accomplish. At times, the semantics of such assemblages are more martial or political, taking on the language of coalitions and movements, whether avant-garde or rear-guard. At times they suggest an artistic flowering, using the language of poetic renaissance. And at times, they take on the institutional language of a “school.” Whether we are talking about the Imagists or the Symbolists, the Fugitives or the Objectivists, the New Negro or the San Francisco Renaissances, the Black Arts or the Black Mountain movements, the New Formalists or the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets, the New York School or the School of Quietude, the Confessionals or the Beats, the coalitions of CantoMundo or Cave Canem, such assemblages can help poets make sense of themselves, and they help critics organize—both aesthetically and ideologically, in the moment or in retrospect—the explosive growth of American poetry over the past century
In this class, we will take this broader tendency to “school” our diverse American poetries as a point of departure: How did such schools come to be? What do these schools clarify? What do they obscure? Who gets included? And who remains on the outside? And how have anthologies historically functioned as a means of defining and canonizing these schools? In addition to a diverse range of poems from across the twentieth century, readings will include primary sources such as manifestos, poetics essays and historically important anthologies. Our goal will be to become familiar with the most important movements and poets in twentieth century American poetry even as we critically explore how those poetries have been organized, packaged, and schooled.