English Literature (minor available)

20th Century African American Women's History

Using both a chronological and topical format, this course will investigate the history, culture, and activism of African American women in the twentieth century through readings of historical texts and articles, autobiography, and oral testimony.  The content of the course includes an exploration of the responses of African American women to racism, sexism, and class and color consciousness within different historical periods.

Combined Section: AFRCNA 0536

Afro-American History 1

This course surveys the history of Afro-Americans from their African origins to their emancipation during the Civil War.

Combined Section: HIST 0670

Climate, Weather, and Literature

This course will examine the intersections between literature and the environment by considering the textual representations of weather and climate.  We will read drama, poetry, fiction, and nonfiction work from the Renaissance to the present, with a focus on literature from the romantics to the twentieth century; readings will include a Shakespeare play, lyric poetry, a canonical novel, and speculative fiction.  We will examine these texts in conjunction with works in the meteorological humanities, which brings together such disciplines as literary criticism, art history, environmental stu

Contemporary Environmental Literature

This course examines the ways in which contemporary writers in English have engaged with the natural environment.  We will read a range of authors, from the 1960s to the present day, to consider how they have looked critically at the human effects on ecosystems, and we will also study the interdisciplinary scholarly field of ecocriticism and its responses to such writings.  Throughout, we will be attentive both to the literary qualities of writings about the environment and to their historical and political contexts.

Representing Adolescence

This course focuses on the question of how adolescence gets represented in a variety of genres, including young adult and children's literature; novels, plays and poetry aimed at adults that take adolescence as a theme; films and television programs; scientific, journalistic, or autobiographical commentaries on the nature of adolescence; and so on. This is one of the core courses for the children's literature certificate program, but all interested students are welcome.


This course studies comedy, both its deep structural patterns and its surface humor.  We will read works from many periods (from the Greeks through the 20th century) and genres to understand the literary and cultural meanings of comedy.

The Gothic Imagination

This course examines the genre of gothic fiction, in Britain and the U.S., From its origins in the late 18th century until the present.

Sexuality and Representation

This course will explore the relations between cultural texts and the shifting conceptualizations and figurations of sexuality and sexual politics over the past 150 years. The main objective of this course will be to understand the necessary but problematic relations between sexuality, cultural expression, and the social.