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English Department

Course Description

A balanced survey of the Western literary tradition and its backgrounds, from ancient Greece through the Middle Ages. Readings may include classical Greek and Roman epic, drama, and philosophy; selections from the Bible; and medieval poetry, drama, and philosophy.

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Course Description

This course is designed to introduce new majors to tools of professional literary analysis through a set of focused readings.

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Course Description

A multi-genre survey of war and its consequences as represented in classic and contemporary literature with an emphasis on such issues as individual responsibility, leadership, societal values, and military culture.

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Course Description

A study of drama, emphasizing reading, viewing, and analyzing dramatic literature and performance.

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A study in the analysis of poetic form and expression.

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Course Description

A study of the novel and short story with particular emphasis on the conventions, techniques, and innovations in the form.

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Course Description

A study of American, European, and world film in conjunction with relevant literary works.


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Medieval.jpgThe literary and philosophical traditions of Chaucer, the Gawain poet, and other contemporaries, including early and late medieval writers from England and the continent.


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Course Description

Literature and thought of the period bracketed by the two great English epics, Spenser's Faerie Queene and Milton's Paradise Lost.

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Course Description

Literature and culture of the Romantic period in Britain from the 1780s to the 1830s. Readings may include works by such writers as Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Austen, the Shelleys, Byron, and Keats.

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Course Description

A survey of American literature from the Reconstruction through the Gilded Age, emphasizing the rise of realism and naturalism. Readings may include works from such authors as Whitman, Dickinson, Twain, Howells, Crane, Dreiser, Chesnutt, Chopin, James, and Wharton.

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Course Description

A survey of American literature between the wars. Readings may include works by such authors as Stein, Eliot, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Hughes, Hurston, Larsen, O'Neill, Steinbeck, West, and Wright.

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Course Description

A study of a representative sample of Shakespeare's tragedies, histories, and comedies. Readings may also include works by Shakespeare's contemporaries.

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Course Description

An introduction to the writing of prose, poetry, and drama.

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Course Description

A study of advanced methods of presenting information in a wide variety of forms. Assignments may include preparing articles, reports, and military documents. Students may be asked to design and present a persuasive or analytical speech. Back to Top


Course Description

To explore the design of children’s literature in developing the active, critical and relational process that occurs between a reader and a text. To identify what qualifies children’s literature in the way that develops critical thinking at an early age. To explore ethical implications presented by questions that children’s literature raises. Through this course, an attempt will be made to apply theory and critique children’s literature using critical works. Reading and reflecting upon the course material will be assessed through in-class presentations and online responses. Much of the in-class discussion will be directed by questions that are important to us as the classroom community.

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Course Description

This course examines historical periods and aesthetic movements, such as orality and the protest tradition, and major figures in African American literature such as Frederick Douglass, Maya Angelou, and Toni Morrison.

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Course Description

The course concentrates on fiction and non-fiction works about the Latinx experience in the United States. Throughout the semester students will analyze how literature can work as a gateway to explore processes of identity formation through many of its facets, including: class, race, gender, sexuality, and language (among others). Possible authors to be discussed include: Piri Thomas, Rudolfo Anaya, Sandra Cisneros, Cristina Garcia, Junot Diaz and Cristina Henriquez, among many others.

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Course Description

This course serves as an introduction to postcolonial literature and theory. Reading novels, poetry, short stories, and essays from the Global South we will consider some central questions and debates in the field. What are the possibilities and limits of the term “postcolonial”? Moreover, what does literature and culture from and about postcolonial spaces tell us about contemporary global systems and their effects on those who live there. These discussions will lead students to consider the lasting legacies of empire and the lingering uneven realities of globalization.

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Course Description

The eighteenth century has long been called a “neoclassical period” and an “age of enlightenment” – descriptors that ignore the darker and dirtier side of London life. This was a rapidly-growing, modern metropolis, and to inhabit this city was to encounter pickpockets and prostitutes, to smell the densely-populated streets, and to read sensational stories about crimes in the new daily newspapers. This course will investigate the seedy side of London life and its depiction in both eighteenth-century literature and in modern media. We will study highwaymen, libertines, prostitutes, and cross-dressers, asking how English society attempted to define and police what they considered transgressive behaviors. We will study the spaces of London that enabled illicit behaviors – from the pleasure gardens to brothels and molly houses – and the modern institutions that developed to regulate behavior and shape daily life, from the Old Bailey Criminal Court to the Bedlam Madhouse. Moreover, by analyzing recent movies and TV, such as Harlots , The Libertine , Bridgerton , and The Favourite , we will try to understand how in an  (arguably) more socially-progressive era, we establish and interrogate our own values by  adapting and reinterpreting the past.

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Course Description

This course introduces students to the study of foodways by examining the cultural history and meaning of food in America.  We begin by exploring the interconnected ways that food reflects and shapes national, regional, and individual identity by focusing on how region, gender, ethnicity, class, race, religion, the media, global politics, and corporate America affect the food we eat.  Discussing food as a source of both comfort and conflict, we will consider how it defines and separates groups, from individual families to various communities to the nation itself.  Students will examine a variety of sources including cookbooks, recipes, journalism, film, literature, art, photography, and artifacts to develop an understanding of food in American culture.  Midshipmen will also hear from a number of guest lecturers and, with any luck, participate in a series of MOs to important sites (e.g., Julia Child’s Kitchen at the Smithsonian, working historic kitchens in Maryland, and a local organic farm) and, of course, restaurants.

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Course Description

Depending on the critic, the global novel is either to be praised for its world-skipping transnationalism or to be dismissed as a banal form of cosmopolitanism that caters to an exclusively Anglophone audience. In this course, students will examine the emerging narrative mode of the so-called “global novel” in the 21st century, exploring works set across the Global North and South (e.g. China, the UK and Ireland, Nigeria, Syria, the U.S., Mexico, and beyond). The historical development of the novel has long been associated with the formation of the nation-state. What formal devices and techniques do writers turn to when attempting to represent something on the scale of the global? (How) can a single text capture the diverse and uneven experiences of globalization? The course will proceed in roughly three units (as outlined below). The semester will open by offering an overview of foundational texts of novel theory (such as Ian Watt’s Rise of the Novel and Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities ), before discussing more recent interventions in studies of contemporary fiction written in the era of globalization. This first unit’s primary text will be a film: Alexandro Gonzáles Iñárritu’s Babel , which is an example of networked narrative that threads together four separate storylines occurring in different locales across the globe. Unit 2 will examine figures of the global novel, including the flaneur, immigrant, exile, and refugee, in order to compare the different experiences of migration. Unit 3 will focus on understanding the history and processes of globalization that emerged from the 1970s and continue through to the present. This unit’s primary text will be Ling Ma’s Severance , a post-apocalyptic novel that takes a critical stance towards globalization—chiefly how the consumption, leisure, and decadence in the US and Global North depend upon often invisible but pervasive forms of exploitation, sweatshops, and outsourcing in China as elsewhere in the Global South. The final unit takes a different approach and examines the socioeconomic conditions that shape the production and circulation of the global novel, taking as its case study literary superstar Sally Rooney’s Normal People (both novel and television series adaptation).

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