ChairC. Harsh
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The Department of English offers courses in two programs of study: (1) literature written in the English language, and (2) English with an emphasis in creative writing. Students may pursue majors and minors in either area.

An English major develops students’ ability to use language effectively and enhances their critical and analytical skills by making them aware of the social and historical context in which writing, in any of its forms, is produced. English study provides an excellent basis for professional programs in law, journalism, publishing, and business as well as for graduate study in literature, creative writing, or the theater.

Students pursuing one of the majors in the department — in English or in English with an emphasis in creative writing — take courses in specified categories described in detail below. There is considerable choice from among the courses that fulfill these requirements, and students should discuss their programs with an adviser in planning a major. English courses also serve as electives for students in other programs. Normally 200-level courses are for first-year and sophomore students; 300-level courses, for sophomores, juniors, and seniors; and 400-level courses, for juniors and seniors. There are a few specified prerequisites for individual courses.

Writing is an important component of coursework. First-year students take English courses because they want to take a course in literature, because they wish to explore English as a possible area of major for their degree, or because they are interested in the program in creative writing.

Students majoring in English literature, as well as those majoring in English with an emphasis in creative writing, are required to take ENGL 200ENGL 201, and a course in postcolonial literatures. 

Courses

 

Works by prominent British writers, from Geoffrey Chaucer in the fourteenth century to Seamus Heaney in the twenty-first. The course emphasizes the development of reading and analytical skills. Required of all majors, normally in their first or sophomore year.

An introduction to American literature exploring the relations among key texts and various contexts, both critical and historical. The course engages a wide range of issues in American literary history, from the age of discovery through the colonial period and Revolution to debates over slavery and race in the decades before and after the Civil War. The diverse authors studied include Anne Bradstreet, Jonathan Edwards, Benjamin Franklin, Ouloudah Equiano, Phillis Wheatley, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Harriet Jacobs, Frederick Douglass, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, and Mark Twain. Required of all majors, normally in the first or sophomore year.

An introduction to significant debates and texts in the field of postcolonial literatures. This course explores how the field engages with questions of race, gender, sexuality, class, caste, and migration. It considers how writers located in the global south or in the West as migrants navigate their spaces when faced with inequality and marginalization. The course examines both the legacies that empires have left and the nature of new empires that are being constructed.

An introduction to literary study focusing on the nature of literary tradition and its relationship to cultural and historical contexts. The rich, varied, and enduring tradition connected with the figure of King Arthur is explored through a consideration of English, French, and Welsh texts written between the early Middle Ages and the 15th century, although some more modern works may also be considered. The course is concerned with (among other topics) how different cultures, historical epochs, and individual authors have adapted Arthurian tradition to meet their own needs and concerns and with what has made Arthurian tradition a compelling source of material for so many different interests right up to the present.

An introduction to the reading and writing of fiction, non-fiction, or poetry. In a given term, the emphasis is determined by the instructor.

An introduction to literary study that focuses on human responses to their environments and ecologies. This course explores representations of relationships between people, places, and animals in American fiction, poetry, and non-fiction from the early American Renaissance to the postmodern period. Questions of how environments are inflected by gender and racial positions, as well as literature’s insights into issues of environmental justice and sustainability, are addressed through works by writers such as Wendell Berry, Charles Chesnutt, Annie Dillard, William Faulkner, bell hooks, Aldo Leopold, Marilynne Robinson, Wallace Stevens, and Jean Toomer.

The Booker Prize is awarded annually to a new novel published in the UK by an author from the UK or a former territory of the British Empire. Recently the prize has also been opened to American authors, a source of great controversy. Students follow the year's Booker Prize proceedings, and the class schedule will be built live alongside developments in the prize season over the course of the fall semester. In addition to analyzing these texts as works of literature, students will dissect the evolving aesthetics and politics of the prize. Why is the Booker a cultural phenomenon in England and what does it mean to consider the former "Empire" through these texts? What roles do the judges, the sponsors, and the British and international reading public have? Students read one novel from the Booker longlist, all six novels on the shortlist, as well as supplementary critical essays relevant to the texts at hand.

An introduction to literary study that focuses on human responses to their environments and ecologies. This course explores representations of relationships between people, places, and animals in American fiction, poetry, and non-fiction from the early American Renaissance to the postmodern period. Questions of how environments are inflected by gender and racial positions, as well as literature’s insights into issues of environmental justice and sustainability, are addressed through works by writers such as Wendell Berry, Charles Chesnutt, Annie Dillard, William Faulkner, bell hooks, Aldo Leopold, Marilynne Robinson, Wallace Stevens, and Jean Toomer.

 

Professor Padilla Rios 

In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Stephen Dedalus states the following about his artistic mission, “I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defense the only arms I allow myself to use -- silence, exile, and cunning.” Modernity can be characterized as a period of increased mobility, exile, migration, and movement all over the globe. How have writers and artists responded to this increased sense of homelessness? Students look at modern fiction through the lens of migration and exile and at modernist writers such as Jean Rhys, as well as more contemporary voices like Michael Ondaatje.Students who successfully complete this seminar will receive course credit for ENGL 207 and satisfy one half of the Human Thought and Expression area of inquiry requirement. 

Javier Padilla is Assistant Professor of English at Colgate University. His current research project, The Poetics of the Instant, examines the work of several 20th century poets, philosophers, artists and thinkers around the discourse of immediacy and temporality—from Bergson and Heidegger's conceptualizations of time, Gaston Bachelard’s poetics of the instant; the post-romantic exploration of time in the poetry of Wallace Stevens, the poetics of temporal subjectivity in Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop; and W.B. Yeats’s and Derek Walcott’s postcolonial explorations of modernity and coloniality: a concept elaborated by philosopher Aníbal Quijano as a critique of Anglo-European temporality and historicism.

Professor Rajasingham 

Justice and Power in Postcolonial Literature 

An introduction to significant debates and texts in the field of postcolonial literatures. Explores how the field engages with questions of race, gender, sexuality, class, caste, and migration. Considers how writers located in the global south or in the West as migrants navigate their spaces when faced with inequality and marginalization. Examines both the legacies that empires have left and the nature of new empires that are being constructed. Fulfills the postcolonial requirement of the English major. Students who successfully complete this seminar will receive credit for ENGL 202 and satisfy one half of the Human Thought and Expression area of inquiry requirement. 

Professor Nimanthi Rajasingham teaches literatures from the global south, such as South Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and the Middle-East, and Immigrant fictions from the US, UK and Canada. My teaching also uses critical race and feminist studies methodologies.

General principles of playwriting. The goal of the course is the creation of a finished work: a one-act play, one act of a longer play, or a complete play. Writing for the theater represents emotional and artistic commitment and intellectual pursuit. As part of the learning process, students tackle the artistic and pragmatic challenges of building methodically from the seeds of inspiration to the crafting of the well-written play. Text analysis investigates classic and modern plays. The class is a first-hand initiation into the vocabulary and technique of collaboration for the development of original material.