The Junior Seminars in criticism are intended especially for moderated junior literature majors. The seminars will introduce students to current thinking in the field, emphasizing how particular methods and ideas can be employed in linking literary texts to their contexts. Intended too is a deep exploration of writing about literature at some length, in the form of a 20-25 pp. paper, developed over the course of most of the semester.



LIT  3122   

 The Revenge Tragedy

Lianne Habinek

. . W . .

1:30 pm -3:50 pm

OLIN 309


Cross-listed:  Experimental Humanities, Theater & Performance   Vindicta mihi! Clandestine murders, otherworldly revenants, disguise, madness, and a final scene of brutal bloodshed:  these characterize the revenge tragedy, a form of drama extremely popular in Elizabethan and Jacobean England.  Revenge tragedies function not only as a form of social critique - they also speak to the anxieties and wonder that accompanied new modes of understanding the physical world, human emotion, and individual accountability.   We’ll begin by investigating the early modern revenge tragedy’s antecedent, Senecan tragedy, before moving to consider the emergence of the revenge tragedy in its own context during the late-16th and early-17th centuries.  Titles will include: The Spanish Tragedy, The Revenger's Tragedy, Titus Andronicus, 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, The Duchess of Malfi, and The Changeling.  Finally, we shall examine modern instantiations of the genre - such as A History of Violence, Park Chan-Wook's Vengeance Trilogy, Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49, and The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover - to consider how these pieces pay homage to and deviate from their forebears.  This is a Junior Seminar course, so preference will be given to upper college students who have moderated into Languages and Literature.  Class size: 15



LIT  3244   

 Major Currents IN American ThOUGHt

Matthew Mutter

. . W . .

10:10 am -12:30 pm

HEG 201


Cross-listed: American Studies    This course focuses on the trajectory of three strains in American thought and culture: Emersonianism, the Protestant tradition, and the conceptualization of American pluralism.  We will begin by identifying impulses in Emerson’s writing (individualism, self-creation, pragmatism, languages of movement and becoming, aesthetic religion) and examine their development in thinkers like William James, John Dewey, F.S. Fitzgerald, Richard Rorty, and Stanley Cavell, as well as critiques from George Santayana, Joan Scott, and others.  Jonathan Edwards will be the point of departure for the Protestant tradition, and we will trace its concerns (original sin and the tragic sense, the transcendence of justice, the imperatives of ethical reform) through the writings of Jane Addams, William Faulkner, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Martin Luther King, Jr.  We will consider the criticism of this tradition in writers like H.L. Menken, and examine the transference of moral and emotional authority from American Protestantism to the domains of psychoanalysis and social science (Philip Rieff, Norman O. Brown, Margaret Mead).  Finally, beginning with Walt Whitman, we will investigate conceptualizations and critiques of American pluralism and egalitarianism as they develop through the writings of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Randolph Bourne, W.E.B. Du Bois, James Baldwin, Harold Cruse, Betty Friedan, Nancy Chodorow, and others.  Class size: 15



LIT  325   


Dina Ramadan

. T . . .

10:10 am -12:30 pm

OLIN 309


Cross-listed:  American Studies, Experimental Humanities, Human Rights, Middle Eastern Studies  This course takes its provocative title from the American media’s favorite post 9/11 question with regards to the Middle East and the larger Muslim world. However, the intention here is not to try and answer this question but rather to interrogate and problematize it, by examining how this region has been historically produced as an “other” by the West and why such ideas continue to have currency in the contemporary moment. Beginning with 19th century orientalism and European colonialism, this course will trace the development of representations of the “orient” in a range of literary, artistic and cinematic production. Whether it is the licentious sheikh with his exotic harem, the suicide bomber promised seven virgins in the afterlife, or the oil-rich businessman, certain images have dominated the Western imagining of the “Orient.” Through an interdisciplinary approach, we will unpack some of these representations, situating them with a larger historical and political context. We will consider how the region has been gendered and sexualized from Flaubert to “Sex and the City.” We will also consider the ways in which such representations have been internalized and reproduced in the region. Additional themes covered in the course will include travelers and travel writing, biblical landscapes, imagined oil fields, and fatwas and fanatics. Readings will include Edward Said, Edward Lane, Alan Nidel, Ella Shohat and Jack Shaheen.  Class size: 15



LIT  3521   

 ADVANCED Seminar: Mark Twain

Elizabeth Frank

. . W . .

. . . Th .

1:30 pm -2:50 pm

10:10 am -11:30 am

ASP 302


Cross-listed:  American Studies  In this course on one of America’s wittiest and most renowned literary figures, students will read Mark Twain’s major works, including, but not restricted to Innocents Abroad, Roughing It, Life on the Mississippi, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson, Letters from the Earth and The Mysterious Stranger. Individual research and class presentations will result in a 20-25pp. research paper at the end of the semester. Open to moderated students, preferably those who have taken at least one sequence course in American literature. Course work in American Studies is also encouraged. This course is cross-listed with the MAT program for 3+2 students in literature.

Class size: 15