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Undergraduate Program

Advanced Seminars


ENG 380-2 Alexander the Great: World Conqueror, Evil Genius, Global Visionary?

Instructor: T. Hahn
CRN: Fall 2021
MW 1525-1640

Alexander of Macedon has been judged (after Jesus Christ) the single most written about figure in world history for the last 2500 years. We will read the judgments of ancient and modern historians, the foundational Greek Romance, and substantive, coordinated portions of its pre-modern re-tellings in Egyptian, Hebrew, Arabic, Persian, Ethiopic, Mongolian, Armenian, French, and English. We will focus on A’s encounters in what is now Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, and how both Easterners and Westerners understood these interactions. We will read modern fictionalizations (often focused on A’s sexuality) by Renault, Mann, and Kazantzakis; we will look (askance) at Oliver Stone’s 2004 blockbuster, Japanese manga & animé series, and a 1941 “Bollywood” style film in which India finally turn back A. The course will continuously engage issues of globalization and cosmopolitanism, conquest and. imperialism, race and colonization, cultural exchange and the contact zone, and Great Man theories of history.

Fulfills the Diversity Requirement.

ENGL 380-3 The Real World of Fiction

Instructor: S. Rajan
CRN: Fall 2021
TR 1400-1515

Why do we think and talk about fictional characters as though they are real even when we know that they are not? It would seem easy to understand how a visual medium like film imitates aspects of our everyday life, but how do novels using nothing but words conjure an entire world in a reader’s mind that feel so real? This course explores these questions and others as it takes up the genre of the realist novel as it developed over the course of the nineteenth century. We will closely read and discuss some of the most exemplary practitioners of the realist novel within the British and Continental tradition, from Jane Austen and Honoré de Balzac to George Eliot.  The course will examine the aesthetics of realism and how realist fiction’s promise to show the reader what the world is like assumed a different form among varied novelists. Students will be exposed to theories of realism, past and present, and will also deepen their understanding of varied canonical novelists.

Open to English Majors in their Junior or Senior year only.