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Undergraduate Program

Advanced Seminars


ENG 380 Renaissance Drama

Instructor: R. Kegl
CRN: 81041, Spring 2018
MW 1025-1140

This course focuses on drama written by Shakespeare's contemporaries. Classes center around careful analysis of individual plays. We will discuss the plays’ tragic and comic inflections, depictions of psychological interiority, staging of death, use of props, fascination with sensational and often violent events, and insistent references to contemporary performance practices. We also become familiar with a range of sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century theatrical spaces--their geographical location and physical properties, the composition of their audiences, the training and performance practices of their actors, and the aesthetic, economic and political contexts of their productions.

ENG 380 Problems of Western Civilization

Instructor: D. Bleich
CRN: 24524, Spring 2018
TR 1230-1345

Using literary works, critical commentaries, and historical sources, seminar members will find one or more problems to research in depth. The general themes of the “menu” of issues are domination, hierarchical social organization, and public and domestic violence. Specific topics include pederasty, slavery, censorship, heresy, witch-hunting, androcentrism and misogyny, and war.

ENG 380 Literary Style

Instructor: E. Tawil
CRN: 24762, Fall 2017
W 1650-1930

This seminar will focus on the fascinating but somewhat murky idea of “style” in literature.  Often described as the how rather than the what of writing, the notion of style as a particular feature of literary texts is an attempt describe how different artists can use the same basic materials (for example, the same lexicon, genre conventions, character types, or basic plot points) and yet put these common elements together in a unique way.  This principle of style is easier to recognize than to define.  We know when we are in the presence of a distinctive style (think of famous literary stylists like Ernest Hemingway or William Faulkner), but to define it clearly is a different matter.  In this class, we will look at a broad range of literary examples (from the Renaissance to the twentieth century), as well as some works of criticism that have attempted to theorize style (D.A. Miller’s Jane Austen, or The Secret of Style, Edward Said’s On Late Style among others).  

This course fulfills the advanced seminar requirement for majors in English, but is open to students across the divisions (space permitting).

ENG 380 The Politics of Television

Instructor: J. Burges
CRN: 26310, Fall 2017
TR 1815-1930

In this class, we will explore the politics of television from three primary directions. First, we will look at traditional political programming such as news reporting, debates, morning shows, and late night satire alongside series such as The West Wing, Homeland, Occupied, and Law and Order. Second, we will explore the cultural politics of television, considering how it tackles issues of race, sexuality, and gender directly and indirectly across different genres of television. Finally, we will consider the relationship of television to political economy, asking how television functions as a culture industry; how it makes visible (or not) the relationship between the political and the economic in the stories it tells; and how it narrates class and capitalism in non-fiction and fiction television alike. Priority to junior and senior English majors, and to FMS majors. Email the instructor to inquire about enrollment.