Classes

    Genre Fiction Workshop: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Speculative Fiction, Horror, The Ghost Story, The New Weird

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022
    The course will consist of two halves. In the first hour of each class, we will be doing close readings of an assigned text, with the aim of isolating some concept or aspect of the genre under discussion in order to take bearings for your own. The assigned reading is obligatory. We will look at the convergences and divergences in the various kinds and modes mentioned in the title of the course. We will be thinking of generic topoi, conceptual underpinnings, imagination, style,...
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    Women's voices in Brazilian culture(s)

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022
    In this advanced language and culture course, students will refine their Portuguese language skills as they learn how Brazilian women have overcome prejudice and gender bias and adopted a leading role in the Brazilian culture and society. Through a range of texts (e.g. paintings, songs, movies, short stories, novels, tv shows) students will master complex grammatical structures and build on the communicative competence acquired in previous levels, with a particular emphasis on...
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    LGBT Life Stories

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022
    In this seminar we’ll read a range of classic LGBT life stories (memoirs, journals, diaries, essays, and autobiographies), beginning in the 1800s and ending in the present. We will study them as products of their specific historical moment, paying close attention to changing ideas about race, class, gender, and sexuality. Questions: How do people narrate the story of their identity? What aspects of their life histories do they highlight; what do they censor? How does the “coming...
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    Stories of Gender and Justice

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022
    With gender inequities and biases pervasive within and across cultures worldwide, and the global pandemics of gender-based violence and structural violence further intensified by the Covid-19 pandemic, how have individuals, groups, communities, and nations globally fought for (and against) gender justice? How have struggles against gender injustice intersected and conflicted with struggles against racial, ethnic, environmental, health, LGBTQIA+ and other forms of injustice? Gender...
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    Resistant Masculinity: Evolving Notions of Black Masculinities in U.S. History

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022
    This seminar explores the relationships between gender, race, power, and violence from the foundation of the American republic through the modern era. We will examine scholarly texts and primary sources (memoirs, letters, photographs, illustrations, films, etc.) in order to chart the evolution of racialized masculine ideals across eras, class distinctions, and regions. Moreover, we will discuss how African Americans adhered to and challenged conventional notions of “manhood”...
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    Queer/Medieval

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022
    The / in this course title can suggest a slippage or interchangeability; opposition and polarization; or erotic or romantic friction. This course functions as an introduction to queer theory as an intellectual tool with which to read texts far removed from the political, cultural, and social discourses from which queer theory emerged. We will ask: what can queer theory offer readers of medieval literature in its explorations of gender, sexuality, race, power, narrative, trauma, and...
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    How Sweet is it to be Loved By You: Black Love and the Emotional Politics of Respect

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022
    The word 'love' is almost never used in any portrayal or description of the African American community's daily life in contemporary media and in the social sciences. But love, as a human experience, is central to our understanding of what it means to be a vital member of a culture and society and thus respected, nurtured, etc. This seminar examines the love that difference makes. It is a comprehensive study of the representation of gender, love and sexuality in African American and...
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    Anyone's Germany: Redefining Identity in Contemporary German Fiction

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022
    What does it mean to be German today? Contemporary German society abounds with Grenzüberschreiter of varying kinds: generations who were raised in a divided Germany but came of age in a reunified, globalized Bundesrepublik; communities of multi-generational German nationals whose identities nevertheless inherit the problematic international labor-politics of both the East and the West; voices demanding greater visibility of Germany’s postcolonial legacy and sparking viral debates...
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    Poetry Workshop: Form and Content

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022
    In this workshop, we’ll look closely at the craft-based choices poets make, and track the effects they have upon what we as readers are made to think and feel. How can implementing similar strategies better prepare us to engage the questions making up our own poetic material? We’ll also talk about content. What can poetry reveal about the ways our interior selves are shaped by public realities like race, class, sexuality, injustice and more?
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    The Essay: History and Practice

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022
    Matthew Arnold famously said that poetry is, at bottom, “a criticism of life.” But if any literary form is truly a criticism of life, it is the essay. And yet despite the fact that all students write essays, most students rarely study them; bookshops and libraries categorize such work only negatively, by what it is not: “non-fiction.” At the same time, the essay is at present one of the most productive and fertile of literary forms. It is practiced as memoir, reportage, diary,...
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    The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful: The Ethics of Art

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022
    What, if anything, is the relationship between art and morality? Can art be immoral? Or is it a mistake to evaluate a work of art in such terms? Can the moral of a content of a work bear on its aesthetic value, that is, whether it is good art? What of the moral status of artists—does the (im)morality of an artist bear on the success of her work? Should art serve as an instrument of moral education? A force for liberation? A method of unifying people? How do the arts shape who and...
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    Tasting Place: Food and Culture in America

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022
    We often associate specific tastes and foods with particular places, memories, and experiences. What would it mean, then, to center taste in our study of place and culture? How can places be tasted, and tastes be placed? In this class, we explore the relationship between taste and place within American culture, discussing how elements of nation, region, and identity are created, absorbed, and imagined through foods and their represented forms. The word “taste” has multiple meanings...
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    Con Artist Nation: Scams, Schemes, and American Dreams

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2022

    With the popularity of shows like Inventing Anna and The Dropout, 2022 might be called the year of the scammer. Yet contemporary con artists come from a long lineage of carnival barkers, snake oil salesmen, and self-proclaimed miracle workers. This class examines the conditions of American capitalism and political populism that gave way to a society of schemers and dupes. We will consider how exploitation and self-invention were ultimately bound up in issues of class, race, gender, and religion. How did swindlers create or subvert stereotypes in search of profits? Who were imagined as...

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    Elizabeth Bishop and Others

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2023
    This course introduces students to the poetry, literary prose, and artful correspondence of one of the major poets of the twentieth century, considering her innovations in all these genres. We will look at her writing in multiple genres alongside the mid-century shift from ‘closed’ to ‘open’ verse forms, and relate stylistic issues to the intellectual and social changes, and political and historical developments of the period. Bishop’s critique of received ideas about nationality,...
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    The Politics of Personal Writing

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2023
    A long tradition of feminist writing asserts that the personal is political. In this creative writing class, we will critically examine the work of feminist and queer authors such as Dorothy Allison, Roxane Gay, Cathy Park Hong, Audre Lorde, Imani Perry, and Margaret Talusen who use personal experience as a starting point for arguments about class, race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality. Examining how these authors draw on traditions crafted by earlier authors such as James Baldwin...
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    Race, Gender, and Performance

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2023
    Performance surrounds us. We see performances online, in movies and on TV, on the sports field, in the theatre, in activism, and in everyday life. How do these performances produce or disrupt race and gender? This class provides analytical tools by which to answer this question. Texts include works by Anna Deavere Smith, David Henry Hwang, Bertolt Brecht, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, and Judith Butler; topics include AIDS activism, politics of public bathrooms, and weddings....
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    Women's Voices in Asian and Asian American Literature

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2023
    This course introduces students to the writings of both canonical and lesser-known Asian and Asian American women writers. The course especially examines the works by Chinese/ Chinese American, Japanese/ Japanese American, Korean/ Korean American women writers. Moving from the pre-modern to contemporary era, the course will explore a range of women’s voices and experiences as reflected through poetry, fiction, diaries, and epistles. Authors will include Murasaki Shikibu, Li...
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    21st Century Global Feminisms

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2023
    It has been more than 100 years since women gained voting rights in the US and many European countries, more than 70 years since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and China’s state policy of gender equality, 50 years since the transnational Women’s Liberation movement, and over 25 years since the UN Beijing Declaration. Yet, as a group, globally women and girls lag behind men and boys in almost every metric of social and economic power, and systematic nonbinary gender data...
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