Summer Sessions | Courses | English and Comparative Literature

English and Comparative Literature

The English and Comparative Literature Department has played a significant role in the history of literary study in the United States and abroad since its inception. The summer offerings explore various areas of interest from Shakespeare to Comic Books—there is a topic of interest for all. 

Check the Directory of Classes for the most up-to-date course information.

Summer 2022 Session Information

  • SESSION A (First Half Term) courses are May 23–July 1, 2022
  • SESSION B (Second Half Term) courses are July 5–August 12, 2022
  • SESSION X (Full Term) courses are May 23–August 12, 2022
Courses
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Human Rights in World Literature and Visual Culture
CLEN3682S001 3 points.

This course explores contemporary human rights issues in fiction, nonfiction, and film from Africa, Latin America, South Asia, the Caribbean, and the U.S., as well as humanitarian-inspired art, documentaries, television, and music circulated around the world. When decolonial and indigenous writers and cultural workers decide to represent violence in their countries, they risk reproducing racist stereotypes that permeate international media. And yet, human rights violations tied to war, slavery, sexual violence, religious fundamentalism, and ethnic strife are central features of turbulent national histories—including our own in America. How can twentieth- and twenty-first-century writers from the Global South and beyond undermine the harmful stereotypes and dominant narratives that predetermine their stories in the international public sphere without reproducing stereotypes? To better understand strife abroad, we will take an interdisciplinary feminist approach to the politics of representing human rights. Our readings, paired with options for extracurricular events like film screenings in New York City, will prompt us to reflect critically on the ambivalences surrounding human rights in global culture. We will engage literary representations of historical events ranging from the Holocaust to the Vietnam War and the Rwandan genocide, all the way up to extremism in our present moment. Final projects invite students to reflect on methods for representing human rights through creative writing. This course, which fulfills the University Global Core requirement, as well as English major requirements for prose fiction/narrative and comparative/global literature, will appeal to students of not only literature but also in human rights, history, political science, African studies, law, and gender and sexuality studies.

 

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
CLEN3682S001 001/12074 Session A Tu 01:00 PM–04:10 PM
Th 01:00 PM–04:10 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Nicole Gervasio
3 Registration Block
(no Adds)
(self-man. Wait List)
In-Person
UNIVERSITY WRITING
ENGL1010S001 3 points.

Prerequisites: Non-native English speakers must reach Level 10 in the American Language Program prior to registering for ENGL S1010. University Writing: Contemporary Essays helps undergraduates engage in the conversations that form our intellectual community. By reading and writing about scholarly and popular essays, students learn that writing is a process of continual refinement of ideas. Rather than approaching writing as an innate talent, this course teaches writing as a learned skill. We give special attention to textual analysis, research, and revision practices.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
ENGL1010S001 001/10283 X Summer Session Mo 06:15 PM–07:50 PM
We 06:15 PM–07:50 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Elizabeth Walters
3 Closed for Online Registration
(no Adds or Drops)
In-Person
UNIVERSITY WRITING
ENGL1010S002 3 points.

Prerequisites: Non-native English speakers must reach Level 10 in the American Language Program prior to registering for ENGL S1010. University Writing: Contemporary Essays helps undergraduates engage in the conversations that form our intellectual community. By reading and writing about scholarly and popular essays, students learn that writing is a process of continual refinement of ideas. Rather than approaching writing as an innate talent, this course teaches writing as a learned skill. We give special attention to textual analysis, research, and revision practices.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
ENGL1010S002 002/10284 X Summer Session Mo 01:00 PM–02:35 PM
We 01:00 PM–02:35 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Vanessa Guida
3 Closed for Online Registration
(no Adds or Drops)
In-Person
UNIVERSITY WRITING
ENGL1010S003 3 points.

Prerequisites: Non-native English speakers must reach Level 10 in the American Language Program prior to registering for ENGL S1010. University Writing: Contemporary Essays helps undergraduates engage in the conversations that form our intellectual community. By reading and writing about scholarly and popular essays, students learn that writing is a process of continual refinement of ideas. Rather than approaching writing as an innate talent, this course teaches writing as a learned skill. We give special attention to textual analysis, research, and revision practices.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
ENGL1010S003 003/10285 X Summer Session Tu 01:00 PM–02:35 PM
Th 01:00 PM–02:35 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Austin Mantele
3 Closed for Online Registration
(no Adds or Drops)
In-Person
UNIVERSITY WRITING
ENGL1010S004 3 points.

Prerequisites: Non-native English speakers must reach Level 10 in the American Language Program prior to registering for ENGL S1010. University Writing: Contemporary Essays helps undergraduates engage in the conversations that form our intellectual community. By reading and writing about scholarly and popular essays, students learn that writing is a process of continual refinement of ideas. Rather than approaching writing as an innate talent, this course teaches writing as a learned skill. We give special attention to textual analysis, research, and revision practices.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
ENGL1010S004 004/10286 X Summer Session Tu 01:00 PM–02:35 PM
Th 01:00 PM–02:35 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Allen Durgin
3 Closed for Online Registration
(no Adds or Drops)
In-Person
SHAKESPEARE
ENGL3233S001 3 points.

This course provides an introduction to Shakespeare through a combination of reading his plays and viewing them in performance. On the one hand, we approach each play as a written, published text: our in-class conversation consist primarily in close analysis of key passages, and, in one class period, we visit Rare Books to examine the earliest printed versions of the plays in light of English Renaissance print technology. On the other hand, we view performances of each assigned play, including the attendance as a group of at least one Shakespeare production on an NYC stage. Our semester’s through line is to trace, from his earliest plays to Hamlet, Shakespeare’s remarkable development of the techniques of characterization that have made generations of both playgoers and readers feel that his dramatis personae are so modern, real, human. We will also devote attention to exploring the value of each play in our present moment and on our local stages. We read 8 plays in all, including Titus Andronicus, Midsummer Night's Dream, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Merchant of Venice, and Hamlet.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
ENGL3233S001 001/10275 Session A Mo 01:00 PM–04:10 PM
We 01:00 PM–04:10 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Molly Murray
Julie Crawford
3 Registration Block
(no Adds)
(self-man. Wait List)
In-Person
WALT WHITMAN AND NEW YORK
ENGL3273S001 3 points.

Walt Whitman was not the first to write about New York. But he was the first of many to let New York write him. By age 43, Whitman had composed most of his best poetry, published three editions of Leaves of Grass, and left New York only twice. How did the second son of an unsuccessful farmer, a grammar school dropout and hack writer become America’s greatest poet? This course offers a response to this perennial mystery of literary scholarship by proposing that “Walt Whitman, a kosmos, of Manhattan the son” was indeed a product of his environment. Coming of age as a writer at the same time the city was emerging as a great metropolis, he received his education and inspiration from New York itself. Course time is equally divided between discussions of Whitman’s antebellum poetry, journalism, and prose (including the newly recovered Life and Adventures of Jack Engle) in their cultural and geographical contexts, and on-site explorations that retread Whitman’s footsteps through Brooklyn and his beloved Mannahatta. Experiential learning is further encouraged through assignments based in archives, museums, and at historic sites throughout the city.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
ENGL3273S001 001/10276 Session B Mo 01:00 PM–04:10 PM
We 01:00 PM–04:10 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Karen Karbiener
3 Registration Block
(no Adds)
(self-man. Wait List)
In-Person
REVOLUTIONS IN TEXT AND TECHNOLOGY
ENGL3376S001 3 points.

New media is nothing new. New media historians trace rich record of the moments when some new textual technology entered the public sphere and provoked responses ranging from widespread anxiety and to revolutionary fervor. We will examine the cultural anxieties that attend new media, stretching from Plato’s Phaedrus—where Socrates warns that the advent of writing will destroy people’s memories—to today, when Nicholas Carr asks “Is Google making us stupid?” The clay tablet, the codex, the printing press, the chalkboard, the telegraph, the typewriter, the pdf, computer coding, and the smart phone have each promised to revolutionize the reading and writing publics, access to power, and even how people think.

This course examines those promises within their historical contexts, through critical study, and using hands-on experiences. For instance, we will study the role of clay tablets in upholding ancient empires at the same time that we craft our own clay tablet texts. We will take notes with ink pens while we study the role of Medieval scribes in spreading Christianity and Islam. We will create ‘zines while studying the Riot Grrl movement. And we will create our own html hypertexts (no prior coding experience required) as we read the earliest hypertext fiction. These hands-on experiences move arguments about the dangers and revelations of writing technologies out of the realm of the hypothetical and into the realm of the experiential.

The class will visit Columbia’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML) and Barnard’s Zine Archive, where we will look at textual artifacts, from ancient papyri to early print and digital texts. Our approach will prepare you to situate the contemporary textual technologies you take for granted (IMs, Twitter, Google Docs, and so on) within the long history of new media. And it will teach those pursuing literary studies, new media studies, and computer science research methods required to examine a text as a technology.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
ENGL3376S001 001/10299 Session A Tu 09:00 AM–12:10 PM
Th 09:00 AM–12:10 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Susan Mendelsohn
3 Registration Block
(no Adds)
(self-man. Wait List)
In-Person
THE EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY NOVEL: GENRE AND HISTORY
ENGL3595S001 3 points.

In the late seventeenth century, a new genre appears across Europe: the novel.  It told the stories – not of the princes and princesses – but of ordinary people on extraordinary voyages, from villages to the Metropolis, from England to Africa and the Americas. In their travels, they encountered not the dragons or giants of romance, but the people and things that made up everyday life in the eighteenth century – country houses and whorehouses, aristocrats and the merchants, pirates and slaves, and a vast array of enticing goods (shoes and coats, silks and ribbons, coffee and opium) produced in early capitalism.

Why does the novel appear?  What role does it play, in personal psychology as well as society?  Can we account for its increasing popularity as well as its transformations across the eighteenth century?  To puzzle these questions, we will place the development of the novel within the history of art, philosophy and science, as well as psychology and literary theory.  Writers include Mme. de La Fayette, Aphra Behn, Daniel Defoe, Eliza Heywood, Henry Fielding, John Cleland, William Godwin, and Jane Austen. Critical readings include selections from Benjamin, Adorno,
Foucault, Elias, Moretti, and others.  Note: we will read primarily novellas (short novels) or selections from longer novels in this course.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
ENGL3595S001 001/10273 Session B Mo 09:00 AM–12:10 PM
We 09:00 AM–12:10 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Ross Hamilton
3 Registration Block
(no Adds)
(self-man. Wait List)
In-Person
ROMANTIC ERA
ENGL3671W001 3 points.

In this lecture, we will read Romantic writers in their intellectual, historical, and political context, with reference to contemporary movements in philosophy, music, and the plastic arts. Authors include Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, P.B. Shelley, Keats, Mary Shelley and Austen. An emphasis not only on close reading of the poetry, but why we do close readings.   If we are successful, we may understand more clearly the afterlife of “romantic” ideas in our present day. 

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
ENGL3671W001 001/10300 Session B Mo 05:30 PM–08:40 PM
We 05:30 PM–08:40 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Ross Hamilton
3 Registration Block
(no Adds)
(self-man. Wait List)
In-Person
"SALLY ROONEY"- AUTHORSHIP IN THE 21ST CENTURY
ENGL3693S001 3 points.

In this seminar, we will study “Sally Rooney.” In so doing, we will talk about the real author of that name: a thirty-year old Irishwoman whose three novels, each set in Ireland and concerning the social and erotic lives of attractive young people of European descent, have achieved remarkable commercial and critical success. We will talk about the pleasures of those texts, as well as their formal and generic features, their language and their relation to literary history.  But we will also discuss the idea and institution named “Sally Rooney,” considering it as what Michel Foucault called an “author function,” or what Pierre Bourdieu dubbed a “space of possibilities” within the literary field.

Our inquiry into “Sally Rooney” will, therefore, also be an inquiry into the meaning of literary authorship in the twenty-first century. Through secondary readings in criticism and theory, we will engage longstanding arguments about the relation between critical interpretation and authorial intention, as well as between social and historical “context” and authorial and aesthetic autonomy. We will examine how patterns of social exclusion — in this case, race — define the digitally-mediated literary field of the present. And we will ask how the rise of social media and online retail have altered ideas and institutions of authorship, audience, and literariness.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
ENGL3693S001 001/10298 Session A Mo 01:00 PM–04:10 PM
We 01:00 PM–04:10 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Matthew Hart
3 Registration Block
(no Adds)
(self-man. Wait List)
In-Person
HARLEM CROSSROADS
ENGL3743S001 3 points.

Focusing on the politics of literary and performative cultural production while exploring the fashioning of New Negro identity, Harlem Crossroads analyzes Harlem Renaissance-era fiction, poetry, essays, artwork, and music in a cross-cultural, transnational context. Beginning with an exploration of the aesthetic debates and cultural contexts that animated Harlem in 1920s to 1930s, the course will also take up the legacy of Harlem as a location important in creating a “racial” art in/for a diverse, global community comprised of differences in gender, class, sexuality, geographic and national origin.

In summer of 2022, the course will place relations between African American and New Negro cultural production in dialogue with Black European conceptions and experiences of race and belonging by exploring the work and lives of two AfroScandinavian artists in particular: African American and Danish writer Nella Larsen and AfroSwedish hip-hop artist, writer, and activist Jason Diakité. Author of the Harlem Renaissance novels Passing and Quicksand, Larsen dramatized the complexities of belonging in places with start racial regimes that are inflected by gender, sexuality, and geography. Born in the 1970s to interracial American parents in Sweden (his father hails from Harlem) Diakité also grew up between worlds, riding a delicate cultural and racial divide. Diakité and Larsen share the task of unifying a complex system of family roots across continents, ethnicities, classes, colors, and eras; they both yearn for and problematize what it means to come home to Harlem. In June of 2022, Diakité will perform the stage version of his memoir, A Drop of Midnight at Harlem Stage— Diakité will visit the course to discuss his personal and artistic journey and we will also study and see a performance of A Drop of Midnight, in collaboration with Harlem Stage.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
ENGL3743S001 001/10302 Session A Tu 01:00 PM–04:10 PM
Th 01:00 PM–04:10 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Monica Miller
3 Registration Block
(no Adds)
(self-man. Wait List)
In-Person
WHEN AMERICAN TELEVISION BECAME AMERICAN LITERATURE
ENGL3782S001 3 points.

In a 2015 interview with David Simon (creator of The Wire) President Barak Obama offered that The Wire is, "one of the greatest -- not just television shows, but pieces of [American] art in the last couple of decades."  The Wire combines hyperrealism (from a-quasi anthropological capture of syntax and dialect that recalls the language of Langston Hughes and Zora Neal Hurston to a preference for actors who lived “the game” in Baltimore’s inner city) with the reinvention of fundamental American themes (from picaresque individualisms, to coming to terms with the illusory “American dream”, to a fundamental loss of faith in American institutions), and engages in a scathing expose of the shared dysfunction among the bureaucracies (police, courts, public schools etc.) that manage a troubled American inner city.  On a more macro level The Wire humanizes (and therefore vastly problematizes) assumptions about the individual Americans’ who inhabit America’s most dangerous urban environments from gang members to police officers to teachers and even ordinary citizens.

The Wire, of course, did not single-handedly reshape American television. Scholars like Martin Shuster refer to this period of television history as “new television.” That is, the product of new imaginations that felt television had exhausted its normative points of reference, subject matter and narrative technique. Many of the shows from this period sought to reinvent television for interaction with an evolving zeitgeist shaped by shared dissolution with 21st century American life: “I’d been thinking: it’s good to be in a thing from the ground floor, I came too late for that, I know.  But lately I’m getting the feeling I might be in at the end.  That the best is over,” Tony Soprano confides to Dr. Malfi in S1.E1 of the Sopranos.  Series that fall within this rubric include (in chronological order): The Sopranos; The Wire; Deadwood; Madmen; and Breaking Bad.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
ENGL3782S001 001/10439 Session B Tu 01:00 PM–04:10 PM
Th 01:00 PM–04:10 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Ben Alexander
3 Registration Block
(no Adds)
(self-man. Wait List)
In-Person
MODERNISM
ENGL3848S001 3 points.
Our critical examination of the aesthetics of literary modernism will seek out history even in those works of high modernism that have traditionally been viewed as ahistorical. We will take up questions of nationalism, empire, and imperialism apparent in a number of the works. Syllabus: Selected Poems of W.B. Yeats, Conrad's Nostromo, Woolf's The Voyage Out, Rebecca West's Return of the Soldier, T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland, Proust's Remembrance of Things Past, Forster's A Passage to India, Kafka's The Castle, Stein's Tender Buttons, Selected Cantos of Ezra Pound.
Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
ENGL3848S001 001/10274 Session B Tu 01:00 PM–04:10 PM
Th 01:00 PM–04:10 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Georgette Fleischer
3 Registration Block
(no Adds)
(self-man. Wait List)
In-Person
PARADISE LOST
ENGL3851S001 3 points.

This class will focus on John Milton’s 1667 epic poem about the creation of the world and the fall of humanity; Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel about a scientist’s creation of life; and Toni Morrison’s 1997 novel about a small, rural, all-black town in Oklahoma. In addition to the explicit echoes between these books, each work is interested in the relationship between the natural world and human beings; gender difference, relations between the sexes, and the reproduction of human life; and the bases of, and threats to, an ideal society. By reading these three works of art in sequence, we will thus look at how authors engage similar issues in different ways, paying particular attention to the role of of history, nation, genre, politics, literary tradition, and authorial identity. Finally, we will consider the ways in which authors’ revising, refuting, and re-envisioning of “source” texts affects our readings of the “source” texts as much as the new.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
ENGL3851S001 001/10272 Session A Mo 09:00 AM–12:10 PM
We 09:00 AM–12:10 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Julie Crawford
3 Registration Block
(no Adds)
(self-man. Wait List)
In-Person
INDEPENDENT STUDY
ENGL3871S001 4 points.
Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
ENGL3871S001 001/11043 Session A
Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
David Yerkes
4 Registration Block
(no Adds)
(self-man. Wait List)
In-Person
INDEPENDENT STUDY
ENGL3871S002 4 points.
Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
ENGL3871S002 002/12043 Session A
Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
David Yerkes
4 Registration Block
(no Adds)
(self-man. Wait List)
In-Person
INDEPENDENT STUDY
ENGL3871S003 4 points.
Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
ENGL3871S003 003/12044 Session B
Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
David Yerkes
4 Registration Block
(no Adds)
(self-man. Wait List)
In-Person
COMICS: READING THE MEDIUM
ENGL4526S001 3 points.
This course will offer an immersion in both the history and the language of comics, from the newspaper strips through the early comic books to today's graphic novels. Beginning with readings that offer a theoretical framework and an analytical vocabulary, students will examine and discuss the way page layout, panel composition, color, lettering, sound effects, and more help carry and shape the narrative, as soundtracks and shot composition do in film. Readings will include wordless works by Shaun Tan, classic works by Alison Bechdel, as well as many that may be less familiar. Students will analyze the American, Asian, and European approaches to comics. Guest speakers from the comics industry will aid in developing students' analytical skills. Instructor permission is required for registration after 5/28.
Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
ENGL4526S001 001/10269 Session A Mo 05:30 PM–08:40 PM
We 05:30 PM–08:40 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Karen Green
3 Registration Block
(no Adds)
(self-man. Wait List)
In-Person
MADE IN AMER: MAFIA IN CINEMA
ENGL4930S001 3 points.

In this course (whose title is taken from the name of the final episode of The Sopranos) we focus on America’s three greatest practitioners of the so-called “Mafia Movie.” In the first half of the course we examine representations of Mafia in the films of Coppola and Scorsese; in the second half, we perform a comprehensive reading of The Sopranos, a serial that redefined not only the gangster genre, but the aesthetic possibilities of television itself. In addition to our close-readings of the primary cinematic texts, we will pay attention to literary, historical, and anthropological sources on Mafia, both in America and in Italy. In the unit on The Sopranos, we will also consider connections to other contemporary representations of American gangsterism, particularly in the medium of television. Critical avenues privileged will include gender, sexuality, criminal and political economy, poetics of place, internationalism, dialect, plurilingualism and the politics of language, ethnicity and race, diaspora, philosophies of violence, philosophies of power.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
ENGL4930S001 001/10271 Session A Mo 01:00 PM–04:10 PM
We 01:00 PM–04:10 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Stefan Pedatella
3 Registration Block
(no Adds)
(self-man. Wait List)
In-Person
SUPERVISED INDIVIDUAL RSRCH
ENGL4999S001 3 points.
Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
ENGL4999S001 001/13369 Session A
Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Julie Crawford
3 Open for Enrollment
(auto-fill Wait List)
In-Person
INDEPENDENT STUDY
ENGL4999W001 4 points.
Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
ENGL4999W001 001/13370 Session B
Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
David Yerkes
4 Open for Enrollment
(auto-fill Wait List)
In-Person