Fall ‘21 Course Descriptions

200-300 Level Elective Courses

WRITING ELECTIVES

ENGL 200W: Writing about Writing

Prof. Amy Wan, M/W 9:15am-10:30am (course code 38063)

Is writing ever easy? Rather than assuming that some people are born writers and others are not, we will try to answer this question by reading, writing, and thinking about the practice of writing. Composing in several different modalities (which might include video, audio, text, images, or a combination), we will explore how to communicate with a wide variety of audiences. We’ll read about writing, think about writing, and think about its impact on social contexts. We’ll explore topics such as mass writing through technology (e.g. Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok), literacy, and controversies over English-only language policies. We will also study theories about composing to illuminate writerly issues like revision and writer’s block. Whether you’re writing for scholarly audiences or public audiences outside of college, this class is ultimately designed to help you strengthen your writing processes in order to reach the audiences who you want to reach.

This class is online. It meets synchronously during the listed times, with occasional asynchronous work.

ENGL 200W: Writing about Writing

Prof. Lindsey Albracht, M/W 4:30pm-5:45pm (course code 38063)

Is writing ever easy? Rather than assuming that some people are born writers and others are not, we will try to answer this question by reading, writing, and thinking about the practice of writing. Composing in several different modalities (which might include video, audio, text, images, or a combination), we will explore how to communicate with a wide variety of audiences. We’ll read about writing, think about writing, and think about its impact on social contexts. We’ll explore topics such as mass writing through technology (e.g. Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok), literacy, and controversies over English-only language policies. We will also study theories about composing to illuminate writerly issues like revision and writer’s block. Whether you’re writing for scholarly audiences or public audiences outside of college, this class is ultimately designed to help you strengthen your writing processes in order to reach the audiences who you want to reach.

This class is online. It meets synchronously during the listed times, with occasional asynchronous work.

ENGL 210W: Introduction to Creative Writing

*All sections of ENGL 210W are online, and meet synchronously during the listed times

Sect. 1. Prof. Ryan Black, M/W 1:40pm-2:55pm (38132)

Sect. 2. Staff, M/W 3:10pm-4:25pm (38133)

Sect. 3. Prof. Chris Williams, M/W 10:45am-12:00pm (38134)

Sect. 4. Prof. Daniella Dimaggio, T/Th 10:45am-12:00pm (38891)

Sect. 5. Prof. Zachary Mullen, M/W 10:45am-12:00pm (39322)

Sect. 6. Prof. Kara Pernicano, T/Th 4:40pm-5:55pm (39336)

Sect. 67 Prof. Beth Sherman, T/Th 12:15pm-1:30pm (39353)

ENGL 211W: Introduction to Writing Non-Fiction

*All sections of ENGL 211W are online, and meet synchronously during the listed times

Sect. 1. Prof. Francesca Hyatt, M/W 10:45am-12:00pm (39293)

Sect. 2. Prof. Heather Simon, T/Th 12:15pm-1:30pm (39398)

ENGL 301W: Fiction Workshop

TBA, Thu 6:40pm-9:30pm (course code 38135)

TBA

ENGL 303W: Non-Fiction Workshop (Podcasting)

Prof. Jason Tougaw, T/Th 3:10pm-4:25pm (course code 38136)

Podcasting has become a popular and influential medium for creative nonfiction—driving a major resurgence in audio entertainment. In this course, students will learn the fundamentals of podcast creation—including script writing, interview techniques, audio production, distribution, and promotion. Students will have the opportunity to work with the Queens Podcast Lab to develop or produce podcast episodes distributed on all major platforms. As with all creative nonfiction, podcasting involves elements of craft: voice, structure, scene, description, research, and word choice. We will study these elements at work in several influential podcasts and radio shows, including Hanif Abdurraqib’s Lost Notes: 1980, Maria Garcia’s Anything for Selena, Jesse Thorn’s The Turnaround, Shankar Vedanta’s Hidden Brain, Terry Gross’s Fresh Air, The Brian Lehrer Show, Allie Ward’s Ologies, and QC POD (featuring Queens College hosts, including Jason Tougaw).

This course is online. It will meet synchronously during the listed times.

ENGL 304: Poetry Workshop

Prof. Ryan Black, Mon 6:40pm-9:30pm (course code 38085)

In The Gazer Within, Larry Levis argues that to “find a subject is also, simultaneously and reflexively, the act and art by which anyone finds himself, or herself.” As a class, we will explore the myriad ways poets discover and sustain generative subjects. Levis goes on to say that if a poet is “lucky, it is to find out how [they] can be filled enough by what is not [them] to use it, to have a subject, and, consequently, to find [themself].” What does it mean to be “filled enough by what is not [you] to use it?” And how might it illuminate what Audre Lorde calls “the skeleton architecture of our lives?” These are just a few of the questions that will prompt our work over the course of the semester.

This course is online. It will meet synchronously during the listed times.

LITERATURE ELECTIVES

ENGL 314: NYC in Speculative Fiction

Prof. Veronica Schanoes, Tue 6:40pm-9:30pm (course code 38086)

New York, New York, it’s a hell of a town, the Bronx is up and the Battery’s down...what if NYC really was magic? In this class, we’ll examine the way that NYC is represented in several contemporary examples of popular genres, including fantasy, science fiction, and thrillers. What is familiar? What is different? How does the city itself become a character? What can writers use speculative fiction to say about the city that could not be said in the same way with realism? Writers may include: N.K. Jemisin, Daniel Jose Older, Kim Stanley Robinson, Colson Whitehead, and Helene Wecker.

This course is online. It meets synchronously 6:40pm-8:00pm on Zoom; all other work will be asynchronous.

ENGL 319: Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Literature: Writing from the American Margins

Prof. Megan Paslawski, M/W 9:15am-10:30am (course code 38088)

This fully-online course explores literature that identifies itself with the margins of American culture, however capaciously defined. Traveling from the disillusionment of the postwar period to recent tales of #resistance, we’ll read in a wide variety of literary genres to map the countercultural and the subcultural alongside/within spaces of dispossession and disenfranchisement. Expect Beat poets, El Movimiento activists, queer liberationists, and Black Panthers as well as less conspicuously affiliated writers who likewise understood their work to be out of tune with the narratives embraced by the mainstream culture of their place and time. To further our analysis, we also will engage with significant theoretical and critical movements of the twentieth and twenty-first century.

This course is online. It will meet synchronously during the listed times.

This course satisfies the “Literature After 1820” Area Elective requirement for the English major.

ENGL 331: Chaucer

Prof. Steve Kruger, M/W 10:45am-12:00pm (course code 38089)

Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales remains a compelling work even more than six centuries after its composition. Presenting a fictional pilgrimage that functions simultaneously as religious devotion and secular entertainment, it sets up a frame into which Chaucer writes an extraordinarily wide range of stories: stories both poetic and prosaic; bawdy and religious; taking on grand themes of empire at one moment and then the petty rivalries of a small town at the next. With the Canterbury Tales at the center of this course, we will learn to read the text in its original Middle English form (and in doing so, we’ll learn a lot about the history of English as a literary and spoken language). We’ll also consider what the poem might teach us about medieval (and specifically fourteenth-century) culture and history, highlighting ways in which modern constructions—of nations, race, religion, gender, sexuality, individual subjectivity—differ from their medieval predecessors. But we’ll also consider how and why Chaucer’s work has remained of deep interest across a long history and how it might speak to us in the twenty-first century. What does it mean to encounter a world that is so different from our own, and yet, of course, still “the same” world? What can we learn from this encounter with difference that might allow us to think about ourselves—our culture, our politics, our identities, our relationship to the earth—in new ways? And might this encounter, even, be productive for a creative movement into the future that, while not replicating anything like the medieval past, nonetheless remains cognizant of how that past, with its violences and its beauties, might help us chart human and earth-bound futures that are less violent and more beautiful.

This course is online. It will meet synchronously during the listed times.

This course satisfies the “Literature Before 1820” Area Elective requirement for the English major.

ENGL 341: Drama of the Restoration and Eighteenth Century

Prof. Ala Alryyes, Wed 6:40pm-9:30pm (course code 38090)

In addition to introducing you to a number of important Restoration and eighteenth-century plays of various types (heroic drama, comic satire, tragicomedy, She-tragedies and affective tragedies), this course will allow us to read (a substantial part of) Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa, one of the most remarkable and influential novels of the eighteenth century, in its own dramatic context. Although we now largely study genres in separate courses, literary kinds were as related then as they are today. Richardson, one of the pioneers of the English novel, admired and was strongly influenced by Restoration drama, both in his characterizations and his fictional representations. For its part, Restoration theatre had a fundamental role in giving form to the Civil War’s political conflicts and the aristocracy’s particular situation after the monarchy’s return. But Restoration and eighteenth-century drama also acted to sentimentalize the hierarchies of politics and power, replacing heroic action with moral action, and in the process preparing the ground for the affective rhetoric of the rising novel.

This course satisfies the “Literature Before 1820” Area Elective requirement for the English major.


ENGL 348: Specters of the Early Black Atlantic

Prof. Duncan Faherty, M/W 9:15am-10:30am (course code 38091)

Building on the work of Paul Gilroy’s landmark volume, The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness (1993), this course seeks to map the “Africanist” presence in the formation of long eighteenth-century British and U.S. American literary cultures. In so doing, we will consider the ways in which issues of race, freedom, unfreedom, and personal sovereignty have been and still are the fundamental concerns of circum-Atlantic cultural imagination. By examining how the themes of freedom and individualism have often been cast as central elements of white authored Anglo-American literatures, we will explore how this configuration has in fact always depended upon on a manifestly unfree diasporic African population, a population that “came to serve white authors as embodiments of their own fears and desires.” In so doing, we will also consider the ways in which diasporic African writers responded to this concept of unfreedom as well to questions of diaspora and hybrity. By reading across and between these juxtapositions, we will move to consider how the idea of the Black Atlantic took shape as a critical category and consider what the deployment of this term as marker of classification has for our understanding of what constitutes both English and American literatures more generally.

This course is online. It will meet synchronously during the listed times.

This course satisfies the “Literature Before 1820” Area Elective requirement for the English major.

ENGL 351: Nineteenth-Century American Literature

Prof. Roger Sedarat, M/W 1:40pm-2:55pm (course code 38092)

This online course examines the figurative origins of U.S. writing in the nineteenth century, discovering how American authors unconventionally attempt to obviate foreign predecessors through what the critic Harold Bloom reads as a literature of failure. Light readings from theory, criticism, and historical sources help inform as well as contextualize the reinvention of poetry and fiction in what has become known as the American Renaissance. Particular attention is paid to transnational literary sources beyond the usual western models from Europe as well as the influence of Native American culture and African American slave narratives. Further interests include the application of foundational aspects of Romanticism to contemporary America, from Emerson’s self-reliance in the political ethos of this nation, to the recurring a-historical superficiality in our current technological simulacrum. After sustained practice of a critical methodology developed over the first half of the term, students are encouraged to develop their own projects on the work of a particular author covered in class. 

This course is online. It will meet synchronously during the listed times.

This course satisfies the “Literature After 1820” Area Elective requirement for the English major.

ENGL 355: Post-Emancipation Literature

Prof. Miles Grier, M/W 3:10pm-4:25pm (course code 38093)

In studying early Blues Queens, Angela Davis has claimed that the newfound mobility of freedmen and -women distinguished the decades after Emancipation as years of mobility and sexual choice. Yet, much African American migration was forced, and socioeconomic mobility often quite restricted. How do these historical facts shape the poetry, fiction, and drama of Black writers in the twentieth century? What political solutions and literary experiments do they bring to bear to try to solve the paradoxes of mobility and immobility?

This course is online. It will meet synchronously during the listed times.

This course satisfies the “Global, Ethnic, or Postcolonial Literature” Area Elective requirement for the English major.

ENGL 360: Latinx Childhood

Prof. Bill Orchard, T/Th 5:00pm-6:15pm (course code 38094)

In the heart-wrenching stories of refugee families torn asunder at the US-Mexico border, the Latinx child has emerged a key figure in contemporary political discourse. Although we are often inclined to think of childhood as a universal experience or a time of innocence, childhood is affected by a host of historical, economic, social, political, and cultural factors. In this class, we will examine the experience of Latinx childhood in three ways. First, we will consider the ways in which Latinx coming of age narratives have to rework the conventions of the bildungsroman in order to account for the roles that the race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality play in a Latinx child’s growing understanding of their social roles. Second, we will read recent works in young adult and children’s literature to examine how Latinx childhood is being represented to young readers. Finally, we will consider the various ways in which childhood has been invoked and deployed in contemporary debates in the United States about immigration. Likely works will include Sandra Cisnero’s The House on Mango Street, Nicholasa Mohr’s Nilda, Gilbert Hernandez’s Marble Season, Justin Torres’s We the Animals, Javier Zamora’s Unaccompanied, Valeria Luiselli’s Tell Me How It Ends, Jenny Torres Sanchez’s We Are Not From Here, Juan Felipe Herrera’s Super Cilantro Girl, and the film Coco.  

 

This course is online. It will meet synchronously during the listed times.  

This course satisfies the “Global, Ethnic, or Postcolonial Literature” Area Elective requirement for the English major.

ENGL 367: Modern Irish Literature

Prof. Jeff Cassvan, M/W 1:40pm-2:55pm (course code 38095)

This synchronous online course which meets via Zoom on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1:40 PM to 2:55 PM will provide a thorough introduction to the work of modern Irish writers in the context of Irish history and culture.  In addition to considering important works by W.B. Yeats, J.M. Synge, James Joyce, Seamus Heaney, Nuala ni Dhomhnaill, Paul Muldoon, Eavan Boland and Medbh McGuckian, we will focus on the ways a number of the major trends in literary theory and criticism have been applied to the interpretation of this rich material.

This course is online. It will meet synchronously during the listed times.

This course satisfies the “Global, Ethnic, or Postcolonial Literature” Area Elective requirement for the English major.

ENGL 369: Asian American Literature

Prof. Caroline Hong, T/Th 10:45am-12:00pm (course code 38096)

The term “Asian America” has been and continues to be used by writers, readers, and scholars of Asian American literature. But where or what or who is Asian America? As a construct, it encompasses diverse, and even contested, visions of identity, culture, and community. In this course, we will trace one trajectory in the creation and re-creation of Asian America through literary texts, which we will read within and alongside the historical, political, social, cultural, and economic contexts of their production and reception. The course is organized roughly chronologically to highlight the historical development of Asian American literature, loosely divided into three major phases: “Ambassadorial Literature,” “Movement Literature,” and “Heterogeneity, Hybridity, Multiplicity.” We will discuss some of the major themes, debates, and critical and theoretical approaches of Asian American literary and cultural studies, as well as issues of gender, sexuality, class, (dis)ability, trauma, imperialism, etc., along with race and racism.

This course is online. It will meet synchronously on Thursdays 10:45am-12:00pm via Zoom. The rest of our classwork will be asynchronous via Google Classroom and Twitter.

This course satisfies the “Global, Ethnic, or Postcolonial Literature” Area Elective requirement for the English major.

ENGL 379: The DMZ and its Others

Prof. Seo-Young Chu, M/W 5:00pm-6:15pm (course code 38097)

In our section of English 379, we will explore the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) as an inaccessible dream-scape, a site of conflict, a postcolonial artifact, a tourist destination, an international border, a sanctuary for wildlife, a living injury to the land, a minefield, and a complicated figure of speech. In addition to maps, brochures, souvenirs, photographs, and historical accounts, texts on the syllabus will include DMZ Colony by Don Mee Choi, Y0UNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIESʼs digital narrative “Miss DMZ,” Yong Soon Minʼs visual essay Defining Moments, the film J.S.A., DMZ-American poems by Suji Kwock Kim and Cathy Park Hong, and propaganda from both/all sides of the zone. Topics will encompass translation, war, displacement, nostalgia, globalization, Orientalism, architecture, borderlands, nationhood, theme parks, the "aura" of the DMZ, the future of the DMZ, the relationship of the DMZ to the Korean diaspora, and ways in which studying the Korean DMZ might illuminate similar situations elsewhere throughout the world.

This course is online. It will meet synchronously during the listed times.

This course satisfies the “Global, Ethnic, or Postcolonial Literature” Area Elective requirement for the English major.

ENGL 394W: Writing Multilingualism

Prof. Sara Alvarez, T/Th 1:40pm-2:55pm (course code 38141)

How does multilingualism inform and shape a writer? In this course, we will explore how multilingual authors, like Edwidge Danticat, Min Jin Lee, and Elizabeth Acevedo have tackled the question of writing from a multilingual perspective. We will engage with writers whose U.S. lived experiences exhibit the complexities and joys of immigration and translation, while we interrogate the potential of what evelyn nien-ming ch’ien (who we’ll read here) has come to term as weird english, or the new language of literature. As a class, we will explore how our own voices can come into play with the linguistic, racial, and ethnic liveliness of our New York context, as we carefully attend to the histories and struggles of community written voices that carry the weight of lived experience.

This course is hybrid. The first class meets synchronously online; subsequent classes meet in some combination of in person and synchronous online meetings. Students must be prepared to be physically present in NYC to take this class.