New Courses

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Read about new undergraduate courses offered by the Literature Program.

ENGLIT 0612 Literature and Science: This course aims to restore and improve the dialogue between scientific and critical-humanistic ways of understanding the world. It examines the share both ways of knowing have had in shaping our culture and our ideas by studying (and developing critical perspectives on) both scientific and literary texts. Its goal is to produce an understanding of the common history of literature and science. The course usually focuses on a theme, issue, or topic that has historical range and contemporary relevance. Different versions of the course may focus on the social, literary, and scientific attitudes toward death and the dead or the social, literary, and scientific definitions and theories about the “human.” Though works of science fiction may be studied, this is not a course in science fiction. This course should be of particular interest to students in the sciences, students of literature, students of philosophy, and students of history.

ENGLIT 1225 Nineteenth Century African American Literature: This course will cover a wide range of materials, beginning with the late eighteenth-century poetry and prose of authors such as Phillis Wheatley and Olaudah Equiano and ending with Civil War, Reconstruction, or Gilded-age authors such as William Wells Brown, Frances Harper, Pauline Hopkins, Charles Chesnutt, or Paul Laurence Dunbar. The readings for the course will include a variety of different genres of writing (slave narratives, poetry, drama, fictive and non-fictive prose) as well as pay passing attention to the significant African American intellectual and cultural movements that had a role in shaping these various literary productions.

ENGLIT 1230 20th Century African American Literature:  The first half of this course begins by examining some of the major authors from the 1920s who were part of what came to be known as the “New Negro Renaissance” or “Harlem Renaissance,” such as Langston Hughes, Nella Larsen, Countee Cullen, Claude McKay, and Zora Neale Hurston. We will then study a range of Modernist and Naturalist writers of the 1930s and 1940s, such as Richard Wright, Ann Petry, and Gwendolyn Brooks. In the second half of the course, we will focus on several post-WW II Writers that were associated with the civil rights and Black Arts movements, from the 1950s to the 1970s, including such figures as Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Toni Cade Bambara. Finally, we will consider the recent wave of African American writers that emerged with the popularization, in the 1980s, of several new genres of African American literature.

ENGLIT 1610 Computational Methods in the Humanities:  Humanities students often do not realize (or even imagine) that 1) they are capable of learning to write useful and practical computer programs within the course of a semester even if they have no prior background in programming; 2) the ability to write one's own programs can be valuable for scholars in the humanities, especially because commercial software often does not address research needs in the humanities; and 3) practical computer programming, no less than reading, writing, and arithmetic, is a useful skill that is within the reach of any educated person regardless of academic specialization. Upon successful completion of this course students will be able to 1) identify opportunities for the application of computer technology to authentic research problems in the humanities; 2) analyze the structure of texts in the humanities and develop formal representations of those structures; and 3) write original computer programs to conduct research on those?texts.


ENGLIT 1913 Advanced Research in Literature: The student will read most of the literature on which the senior thesis (50–60 pages in length) will be written. The student will also read a significant amount of criticism on those texts, report on the readings to his/her committee members in regular meetings, and submit a minimum of 20 pages of writing toward the Senior Thesis. 

ENGLIT 1914 Senior Honors Thesis: This course culminates in the revised senior thesis of 50–60 pages. During this semester, the student will complete all the reading from the original proposal and all other reading suggested by faculty members. The student will submit writing toward the thesis at regular intervals and a full first draft to committee members, who will ask for revisions for final submission.

Read more about the thesis option>