A Level English Text Transformation Coursework Columbia

ENGL UN3920 MEDIEVAL ENGLISH TEXTS.4 points.

Prerequisites: the instructor's permission.

(Seminar). Application Instructions: E-mail Professor David Yerkes (dmy1@columbia.edu) with the subject heading "Medieval English Texts." In your message, include basic information: your name, school, major, year of study, and relevant courses taken, along with a brief statement about why you are interested in taking the course. Admitted students should register for the course; they will automatically be placed on a wait list from which the instructor will in due course admit them as spaces become available.

Course NumberSection/Call NumberTimes/LocationInstructorPointsEnrollment
ENGL 3920001/70001M 12:10pm - 2:00pm
612 Philosophy Hall
David Yerkes414/25

ENGL GU4091 Introduction to Old English Language & Literature.3 points.

(Lecture). This class is an introduction to the language and literature of England from around the 8th to the 11th centuries. Because this is predominantly a language class, we will spend much of our class time studying grammar as we learn to translate literary and non-literary texts. While this course provides a general historical framework for the period as it introduces you to the culture of Anglo-Saxon England, it will also take a close look at how each literary work contextualizes (or recontextualizes) relationships between human and divine, body and soul, individual and group, animal and human. We will be using Mitchell and Robinson's An Introduction to Old English, along with other supplements. We will be looking at recent scholarly work in the field and looking at different ways (theoretical, and other) of reading these medieval texts. Requirements: Students will be expected to do assignments for each meeting. The course will involve a mid-term, a final exam, and a final presentation on a Riddle which will also be turned in.

Course NumberSection/Call NumberTimes/LocationInstructorPointsEnrollment
ENGL 4091001/75076T Th 11:40am - 12:55pm
707 Hamilton Hall
Patricia Dailey310/25

ENGL GU4791 Visionary Drama.3 points.

(Lecture). This class is designed to interrogate the genre-boundary that has traditionally separated visionary writings from dramatic ones in the study of English medieval literature. Although this separation has long existed in scholarship, it is deeply problematic, and produces an understanding of the relationship between private devotion and publically performed religious ritual that is untenable, and does considerable violence to our understanding of the medieval imagination. As we will see, notionally "private" visionary writings and notionally "public" dramatic writings have a great deal in common, not just in terms of their overt content, but also in terms of their formal construction, their poetic devices, their favorite rhetorical maneuvers, and their articulated relationship with history and English literature. The works we will read this term are all phenomenally strange, many of them extremely difficult because of their unfamiliarity. For this reason, we will divide the semester into three sections: the first will deal with the famous medieval cycle dramas, which narrate events from the New Testament. The second section will transition to examine three important visionary texts that were written between 1370 and 1430, contemporaneous with the efflorescence of dramatic composition and performance in England, and two late Antique visionary texts that inspired them. The final section of class will turn to examine the so-called "morality plays," which emerge just slightly after the cycle dramas and after the visionary works we will have read. Since all of these works are linguistically challenging, we will work with translations in certain instances (Piers Plowman, Julian of Norwich, Margery Kempe). For all of the other works, we will be reading in Middle English, but you are welcome to consult translations, online summaries, or anything else that helps you get up to speed on what´s going on in the plays. Bear in mind, however, that your midterm and final will be based on the Middle English texts, so you do need to make a serious effort to read them (except in the case of Piers Plowman, which will be in modern English).

Course NumberSection/Call NumberTimes/LocationInstructorPointsEnrollment
ENGL 4791001/76359T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
703 Hamilton Hall
Eleanor Johnson332/54

ENGL UN3992 Call to Adventure: The Lure of Romance from Camelot to Star Wars.4 points.

Immensely popular and highly derided, romance as a genre has captivated audiences for centuries. Romance enchants, seduces, and ensnares its audience with narratives that envision a world that is at once fantastical and familiar, distant and immediate, impossible and yet full of endless possibilities. Over the course of the semester, we will explore romance conventions—such as the quest and venturing out into the unknown, love and desire, honor and chivalry—that persist from the medieval period to the present day, attempting to identify what exactly makes romance so appealing. We will read a wide cross-section of medieval verse romances from the French, German, and English traditions. While some of the texts will be provided for you in translation, we will make a concerted effort to learn Middle English as we examine the various poetic forms of insular romance. Toward the end of the semester, we will turn our attention to post-medieval iterations of the genre in gothic fiction, courtship novel, and romantic comedy.  Assignments include short response papers, in-class presentations, an analytical essay, and a final project on a modern romance text. Application Instructions: E-mail Aaron Robertson (ar3488@columbia.edu) with the subject heading "Romance Seminar Application" In your message, include basic information: your name, school, major, year of study, and relevant courses taken, along with a brief statement about why you are interested in taking the course. Admitted students should register for the course; they will automatically be placed on a wait list from which the instructor will in due course admit them as spaces become available.

Course NumberSection/Call NumberTimes/LocationInstructorPointsEnrollment
ENGL 3992001/62447W 10:10am - 12:00pm
511 Hamilton Hall
Lydia Kertz413/25

ENGL UN3335 Shakespeare I.3 points.

Enrollment is limited to 60.

(Lecture). This course will cover the histories, comedies, tragedies, and poetry of Shakespeare’s early career. We will examine the cultural and historical conditions that informed Shakespeare’s drama and poetry; in the case of drama, we will also consider the formal constraints and opportunities of the early modern English commercial theater. We will attend to Shakespeare’s biography while considering his work in relation to that of his contemporaries. Ultimately, we will aim to situate the production of Shakespeare’s early career within the highly collaborative, competitive, and experimental theatrical and literary cultures of late sixteenth-century England.

Course NumberSection/Call NumberTimes/LocationInstructorPointsEnrollment
ENGL 3335001/15836T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
601 Fairchild Life Sciences Bldg
Lauren Robertson342/70

ENGL GU4210 Writing Early Modern London.3 points.

(Lecture) This course explores the literature that represented, was created for, and was inspired by the city of London in the early modern period.  It will encourage students to analyze the ways in which literature relates to its geographical, social, cultural, religious and political contexts -- in this case, the very specific contexts provided by a single city in the period from 1500 to 1700. It will cover such topics as London's experience in the Reformation; London's suburban expansion; the Civil War and Restoration; the Great Fire and the subsequent rebuilding; London's government, and relations with the Crown; social issues including immigration, unrest, the place of women, the place of strangers, the plague and prostitution.  The course will highlight the importance of London as the hub of print publication, and as the site for the public theatre -- it will therefore deal predominantly with drama but also draw on prose pamphlets, entries, maps, diaries, prospects and poetic mock-will.

Course NumberSection/Call NumberTimes/LocationInstructorPointsEnrollment
ENGL 4210001/15988M W 8:40am - 9:55am
612 Philosophy Hall
Alan Stewart312/50

ENGL GU4211 Milton in Context.3 points.

(Lecture). This course will look at the major works of John Milton in the context of 17th-century English religious, political and social events. In addition to reading Milton's poems, major prose (including The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, Areopagitica, and The Ready and Easy Way to Establish a Free Commonwealth), and the full texts of Paradise Lost and Sampson Agonistes (the course text will be Orgel and Goldberg, eds. John Milton), we will look at the authors and radicals whose activities and writings helped to provide the contexts for Milton's own: poets and polemicists, sectarians and prophets, revolutionaries and regicides, Diggers and Levelers. Requirements for this course include two short primary research papers (3 pp.) and an exam. Graduate students will also be required to write a seminar paper.

Course NumberSection/Call NumberTimes/LocationInstructorPointsEnrollment
ENGL 4211001/70508T Th 1:10pm - 2:25pm
227 Seeley W. Mudd Building
Julie Crawford331/48

ENGL UN3341 Law and Disorder in Early Modern England.4 points.

This seminar course examines representations of early modern Engish law, primarily on the English Renaissance stage.  We will explore the investigation, prosecution and punishment of crimes including treason, petty treason, adultery, witchcraft, sodomy, rape, and usury in their early modern contexts, and pay attention to the debates surrounding marriage and sumptuary legislation.   Dramatic texts will include works by William Shakespeare, Thomas Heywood, Thomas Dekker, William Rowley, and John Webster; we will also be reading broadsheets, legal documents, statutes, ballads, and real court cases, alongside wide-ranging critical literature. Application instructions: E-mail Professor Stewart (ags2105@COLUMBIA.EDU) with the subject heading "Law and Disorder seminar." In your message, include your name, school, major, year of study, relevant courses taken, and a brief statement about why you are interested in taking t

Course NumberSection/Call NumberTimes/LocationInstructorPointsEnrollment
ENGL 3341001/80946T 8:10am - 10:00am
612 Philosophy Hall
Alan Stewart410/25

ENGL GU4402 Romantic Poetry.3 points.

Open to all undergraduates and graduate students.

(Lecture). This course examines major British poets of the period 1789-1830. We will be focusing especially on the poetry and poetic theory of William Blake, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, and John Keats. We will also be reading essays, reviews, and journal entries by such figures as Robert Southey, William Hazlitt, and Dorothy Wordsworth.

Course NumberSection/Call NumberTimes/LocationInstructorPointsEnrollment
ENGL 4402001/74433T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
517 Hamilton Hall
Erik Gray375/90

ENGL UN3451 Imperialism and Cryptography.4 points.

Prerequisites: the instructor's permission.

(Seminar). This course focuses on plots of empire in the British novel of the 19th and early 20th centuries. It examines not only how empire was represented but also how the novel form gave visibility to the strategies of empire and also showed the tacit purposes, contradictions, and anxieties of British imperialism. The seminar is structured around the themes of: the culture of secrecy; criminality and detection; insurgency, surveillance, and colonial control; circulation and exchange of commodities; messianism and political violence. Specifically, the course will focus on how the culture of secrecy that accompanied imperial expansion defined the tools of literary imagination in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. While most studies of culture and imperialism examine the impact of colonial expansion on the geography of narrative forms, this seminar looks more closely at the language of indirection in English novels and traces metaphors and symbols to imperialism's culture of secrecy. It begins with the simple observation that both colonizers and colonized felt the need to transmit their communications without having their messages intercepted or decoded. Translated into elusive Masonic designs and prophecy (as in Kim), codes of collective action (as in Sign of Four), or extended dream references (as in The Moonstone), the English novel underscores the exchange of information as one of the key activities of British imperialism. Forcing hidden information into the open also affects the ways that colonial ‘otherness' is defined (as in The Beetle). How espionage and detection correlate with impenetrability and interpretation will be one among many themes we will examine in this course. The seminar will supplement courses in the nineteenth-century English novel, imperialism and culture, and race, gender, and empire, as well as provide a broad basis for studies of modernism and symbolism. Readings include Rudyard Kipling, Kim and "Short Stories"; Arthur Conan Doyle's Sign of Four; Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone; Richard Marsh, The Beetle; RL Stevenson, Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; Rider Haggard, She; Haggard, King Solomon's Mines; Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent. Course requirements: One oral presentation; two short papers, each 4-5 pages (double-spaced); and a final paper, 7-10 pages (double-spaced). Application instructions: E-mail Professor Viswanathan (gv6@columbia.edu) with the subject heading "Imperialism and Cryptography seminar." In your message, include basic information: your name, school, major, year of study, and relevant courses taken, along with a brief statement about why you are interested in taking the course.

ENGL UN3933 Jane Austen.4 points.

Prerequisites: Permission of instructor.

(Seminar). An intensive study of the career of Jane Austen, including important recent criticism. We’ll be especially interested in the relations between narrative form and the social dynamics represented in her fiction. We’ll try to cover all six novels, but we can adjust our pace in response to the interests of seminar members.

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Application instructions: E-mail Prof. Adams (jea2139@columbia.edu) with your name, school, major, year of study, and relevant courses taken, along with a brief statement about why you are interested in taking the course. Admitted students should register for the course; they will automatically be placed on a wait list from which the instructor will in due course admit them as spaces become available.

Course NumberSection/Call NumberTimes/LocationInstructorPointsEnrollment
ENGL 3933001/13314T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
707 Hamilton Hall
James Adams410/25

ENGL UN3946 Movement and Feeling in the 18th Century.4 points.

Prerequisites: the instructor's permission.

Literature, we like to say, moves us. We also say that it makes us feel for others, moved on their behalf. This seminar asks what it means to think of literary experience as both feeling for someone (but whom?) and traveling to someplace (but where?). We will trace the history of this connection between motion and emotion back to the Restoration and eighteenth century, an age of remarkable expansion for the British Empire. Though travel and sentiment are often kept separate in studies of this exuberant period, we will find that British writers working across a range of genres—novels, plays, poems, sermons, journals, and philosophical treatises—frequently drew the two together. Their works raise questions about empire and relocation even as they contribute to a new psychological and textual emphasis on the sympathetic heart. Slaves, prisoners, servants, and political or religious outliers test this emphasis, and we’ll discuss how our authors by turns facilitate and foreclose emotional identification with them.

Course NumberSection/Call NumberTimes/LocationInstructorPointsEnrollment
ENGL 3946001/70656M 12:10pm - 2:00pm
317 Hamilton Hall
Dustin Stewart48/14

ENGL GU4801 History of Novel I.3 points.

(Lecture). When people talk about the “rise” of the novel, where do they imagine it rose from and to? We will read some of eighteenth-century Britain's major canonical fictions alongside short critical selections that provide vocabularies for talking about the techniques of realism and the connections between literature, history and culture; other topics for discussion include identity, sex, families, politics— in short, all the good stuff. 

Course NumberSection/Call NumberTimes/LocationInstructorPointsEnrollment
ENGL 4801001/17650M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
413 Kent Hall
Jenny Davidson326/60

ENGL UN3991 Romantic Margins.4 points.

British literature of the Romantic period, from the late eighteenth to the early nineteenth century, displays a fascination with what is on the margins.  This manifests itself most memorably in the unprecedented focus on socially marginalized figures – the beggars, madmen, abandoned women, and solitary wanderers who populate the pages of Romantic poetry and fiction.  The author too is often figured as an outsider in this period, someone whose authority derives specifically from his or her position of marginality, looking in from the fringes.  Geographically, the peripheries of the island of Great Britain (Wales and especially Scotland) were major sites of literary experimentation in the Romantic era, while the south coast of England attracted particular interest because of the constant threat of invasion from France during these years.  And of course Romantic writers famously exploited textual margins: many of the major literary works of the period make innovative use of footnotes, glosses, and other paratextual apparatus.  This course considers these various aspects of Romantic marginality and the intersections between them.  In addition to the work of more canonical authors (William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Walter Scott, Mary Shelley), we will be reading poems, novels, essays, and letters by writers, especially women, whose work has historically been marginalized.  Application instructions: E-mail Prof. Gray (eg2155@columbia.edu) with your name, school, major, year of study, and relevant courses taken, along with a statement (one paragraph, no more than one page) about why you are interested in taking the course. Please also attach a recent paper from a literature course — or, if this is your first such course, on any humanities subject. (**NOTE: Please do not spend any time or effort worrying about or revising the paper you submit. It will be consulted ONLY if the course is oversubscribed, so please just attach whatever you have.) Admitted students should register for the course; they will automatically be placed on a wait list from which the instructor will in due course admit them as spaces become available.

Course NumberSection/Call NumberTimes/LocationInstructorPointsEnrollment
ENGL 3991001/77646F 12:10pm - 2:00pm
612 Philosophy Hall
Erik Gray49/25

ENGL GU4512 Dickens, Thackeray, Eliot.3 points.

This course will investigate the three Victorian novelists who were most successful in imagining how to narrate the new, complex forms of social interaction that emerged most fully in the nineteenth century, and that we live with still.  Their essential questions— how are individuals altered by such facts as credit economies and finance, rapid scientific progress, more fluid class boundaries, technologies of rapid transport and rapid information dispersal (the railroad, telegraphs, newspapers and mass media), imperial rule?— required the large, multiplot, serially-published novel format that was the Victorian period’s primary way of confronting modernity and modern consciousness.  At the heart of the course are the three most notable examples of the genre: Thackeray’s Vanity Fair (1847-8), Dickens’s Little Dorrit (1855-7), and Eliot’s Middlemarch (1871-2).  The recurrent topics of these novels, such as financial fraud, debt, crime, social ambition, class conflict, and the role of women in modernity, will be described in detail, as will the formal solutions— the intertwined set of multiple plots, the analytic narrator, the sketch set-piece— that expressed them.  Our concern throughout, however, will be how these novels imagine the possible shapes of human interaction and human self-consciousness in a society governed above all not by family, or nation, or religion, but by money and its exchange.  We will therefore be looking at these novelists as, in the largest sense, the storytellers of capitalism, intent on finding the right combination of themes and formal means by which to express the shape of the world capitalism creates.

Course NumberSection/Call NumberTimes/LocationInstructorPointsEnrollment
ENGL 4512001/11096T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
516 Hamilton Hall
Nicholas Dames326/54

ENGL GU4628 U.S. Latinx literature.3 points.

This course will focus on Latinx literature in the United States from the mid-twentieth century to the present and provide a historical, literary, and theoretical context for this production. It will examine a wide range of genres, including poetry, memoir, essays, and fiction, with special emphasis on works by Cubans, Dominicans, Mexican-Americans and Puerto Ricans. Among the authors that the course will study are Richard Rodríguez, Esmeralda Santiago, Rudolfo Anaya, Julia Alvarez, Cristina García, Gloria Anzaldúa, and Piri Thomas.

Course NumberSection/Call NumberTimes/LocationInstructorPointsEnrollment
ENGL 4628001/21001T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
603 Hamilton Hall
Frances Negron-Muntaner335/50

CLEN GU4550 Narrative and Human Rights.3 points.

(Lecture). We can't talk about human rights without talking about the forms in which we talk about human rights. This course will study the convergences of the thematics, philosophies, politics, practices, and formal properties of literature and human rights. In particular, it will examine how literary questions of narrative shape (and are shaped by) human rights concerns; how do the forms of stories enable and respond to forms of thought, forms of commitment, forms of being, forms of justice, and forms of violation? How does narrative help us to imagine an international order based on human dignity, rights, and equality? We will read classic literary texts and contemporary writing (both literary and non-literary) and view a number of films and other multimedia projects to think about the relationships between story forms and human rights problematics and practices. Likely literary authors: Roberto Bolaño, Miguel de Cervantes, Assia Djebar, Ariel Dorfman, Slavenka Drakulic, Nuruddin Farah, Janette Turner Hospital, Franz Kafka, Sahar Kalifeh, Sindiwe Magona, Maniza Naqvi, Michael Ondaatje, Alicia Partnoy, Ousmane Sembène, Mark Twain . . . . We will also read theoretical and historical pieces by authors such as Agamben, An-Na'im, Appiah, Arendt, Balibar, Bloch, Chakrabarty, Derrida, Douzinas, Habermas, Harlow, Ignatieff, Laclau and Mouffe, Levinas, Lyotard, Marx, Mutua, Nussbaum, Rorty, Said, Scarry, Soyinka, Spivak, Williams.

Course NumberSection/Call NumberTimes/LocationInstructorPointsEnrollment
CLEN 4550001/16203M W 6:10pm - 7:25pm
310 Fayerweather
Joseph R Slaughter351/90

ENGL GU4635 Science Fiction Poetics.3 points.

(Lecture). "A book of philosophy should in part be a kind of science fiction. How else can one write but of those things which one doesn't know, or knows badly? It is precisely there that we imagine having something to say. We write only at the frontiers of our knowledge, at the border which separates our knowledge from our ignorance and transforms the one into the other." -- Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition.

Course NumberSection/Call NumberTimes/LocationInstructorPointsEnrollment
ENGL 4635001/70174T Th 6:10pm - 7:25pm
413 Kent Hall
Michael Golston347/71

ENTA UN3948 African Drama.4 points.

This seminar is an introduction to writing for the theater by African dramatists, from the mid 20th Century to the present. Assigned readings are mainly major plays by canonical Anglophone writers. Primary texts are read in conversation with secondary readings which introduce major critical debates in the study of African literature and provide cultural and political context. Surveys of African literature typically center the novel. This course instead takes drama as the starting point for engaging key questions about modern African literary production. The major theme of the class is the relationship between work by African dramatists and oppressive social structures. Students are encouraged to reflect on different theories of theater as articulated by African writers.  Readings are organized more or less chronologically around a series of topics. These include the lived experience of colonialism, anti-colonial thought, the emergence of new nation states, neo-colonialism, gender and sexuality, the problem of apartheid, the antiapartheid struggle, transitional justice, human rights and humanitarianism. No specific prior training or expertise in these areas is required.

Course NumberSection/Call NumberTimes/LocationInstructorPointsEnrollment
ENTA 3948001/61446Th 10:10am - 12:00pm
502 Northwest Corner
Elliot Ross412/15

ENGL UN3269 British Literature 1900-1950.3 points.

(Lecture). The beginning of the twentieth century ushered in a feeling of excitement and transformation, a desire to break with the past, and an optimism about how technology would shape the future. At the same time, devastating political and social events contributed to a sense that everything was falling apart, falling into fragments. Modernism was a movement born of crisis and conflict, and its literature struggled to redefine what art could mean in times of anxiety, alienation, or even madness. Writers to include Woolf, Joyce, Eliot, Ford, Rhys.

Course NumberSection/Call NumberTimes/LocationInstructorPointsEnrollment
ENGL 3269001/73357T Th 11:40am - 12:55pm
703 Hamilton Hall
Victoria Rosner321/60

CLEN GU4550 Narrative and Human Rights.3 points.

(Lecture). We can't talk about human rights without talking about the forms in which we talk about human rights. This course will study the convergences of the thematics, philosophies, politics, practices, and formal properties of literature and human rights. In particular, it will examine how literary questions of narrative shape (and are shaped by) human rights concerns; how do the forms of stories enable and respond to forms of thought, forms of commitment, forms of being, forms of justice, and forms of violation? How does narrative help us to imagine an international order based on human dignity, rights, and equality? We will read classic literary texts and contemporary writing (both literary and non-literary) and view a number of films and other multimedia projects to think about the relationships between story forms and human rights problematics and practices. Likely literary authors: Roberto Bolaño, Miguel de Cervantes, Assia Djebar, Ariel Dorfman, Slavenka Drakulic, Nuruddin Farah, Janette Turner Hospital, Franz Kafka, Sahar Kalifeh, Sindiwe Magona, Maniza Naqvi, Michael Ondaatje, Alicia Partnoy, Ousmane Sembène, Mark Twain . . . . We will also read theoretical and historical pieces by authors such as Agamben, An-Na'im, Appiah, Arendt, Balibar, Bloch, Chakrabarty, Derrida, Douzinas, Habermas, Harlow, Ignatieff, Laclau and Mouffe, Levinas, Lyotard, Marx, Mutua, Nussbaum, Rorty, Said, Scarry, Soyinka, Spivak, Williams.

Course NumberSection/Call NumberTimes/LocationInstructorPointsEnrollment
CLEN 4550001/16203M W 6:10pm - 7:25pm
310 Fayerweather
Joseph R Slaughter351/90

ENGL UN3305 Gender and Sexuality in the Irish Novel.4 points.

This course will chart changing attitudes towards gender and sexuality from the nineteenth to the twentieth century in terms of the development of novelistic genres. These genres include marriage plot novels in which the 1800 Act of Union was figured as a marriage between a feminized Ireland and a masculine England, the Big House novel—an Irish variant of the country house novel—pioneered by women writers, the gothic novel by writers like Oscar Wilde, the modernist novels of James Joyce and Elizabeth Bowen, banned books that were silenced by national censorship boards, and finally the queer Irish novel of the late twentieth century. 

Course NumberSection/Call NumberTimes/LocationInstructorPointsEnrollment
ENGL 3305001/22646T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
303 Hamilton Hall
Emily Bloom410/25

ENGL UN3726 Virginia Woolf.4 points.

Six novels and some non-fictional prose: Jacob's Room, Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, Orlando, The Waves, Between the Acts; A Room of One's Own, Three Guineas.  Applications on paper only (not e-mail) in Professor Mendelson's mailbox in 602 Philosophy, with your name, e-mail address, class (2017, 2018, etc.), a brief list of relevant courses that you've taken, and one sentence suggesting why you want to take the course. Attendance at the first class is absolutely required; no one will be admitted who does not attend the first class.

Course NumberSection/Call NumberTimes/LocationInstructorPointsEnrollment
ENGL 3726001/88946Th 10:10am - 12:00pm
612 Philosophy Hall
Edward Mendelson423/25

ENGL GU4619 African-American Literature I.3 points.

(Lecture). This lecture course is intended as the first half of the basic survey in African-American literature. By conducting close readings of selected song lyrics, slave narratives, fiction, poetry, and autobiography, we will focus on major writers in the context of cultural history. In so doing, we will explore the development of the African- American literary tradition. Writers include, but are not limited to, Wheatley, Equiano, Douglass, Jacobs, Harper, Dunbar, Chestnutt, Washington, Du Bois, and Larsen. Course requirements: class attendance, an in-class midterm exam, a five-page paper, and a final exam.

Course NumberSection/Call NumberTimes/LocationInstructorPointsEnrollment
ENGL 4619001/12357M W 10:10am - 11:25am
603 Hamilton Hall
Saidiya Hartman344/60

ENGL GU4604 American Modernism.3 points.

(Lecture). This course surveys cultural responses to the historical, technological, intellectual, and political conditions of modernity in the United States. Spanning the period from the turn of the century to the onset of World War II, we will consider the relationship between key events (U.S. imperialism, immigration, World War I, the Jazz age, the Great Depression); intellectual and scientific developments (the theory of relativity, the popularization of Freudian psychoanalysis, the anthropological concept of culture, the spread of consumer culture, Fordism, the automobile, the birth of cinema, the skyscraper); and cultural production. Assigned readings will include novels, short stories, and contemporary essays. Visual culture--paintings, illustrations, photography, and film--will also play an important role in our investigation of the period. Past syllabus (which will be somewhat revised).

Course NumberSection/Call NumberTimes/LocationInstructorPointsEnrollment
ENGL 4604001/71235T Th 4:10pm - 5:25pm
413 Kent Hall
Ross Posnock329/60

ENGL UN3506 Sexuality in America: Poetic Encounters.4 points.


SUMMARY

  • Registration: 2 Residence Units
  • Advising: 2 meetings per semester between student and assigned advisor
  • Coursework: 8 graded courses (30 points), with grades of B or higher, and which must include:
    • M.A. Seminar (GR5001x), Fall term
    • M.A. Thesis Tutorial (GR5005y), Spring term
    • Three 6000-level seminars
  • M.A. Colloquium on Theory and Method (GR5005x), Fall term [no credit]
  • Seminar Requirement
    • Three 6000-level seminars for M.A. students
    •  One or two 6000-level seminars for Free-Standing M.A. students
  • Distribution of Classes
    • one class from the categories of either medieval or early modern literature
    • one class from the categories of either 18th- & 19th-century or 20th-century literature
  • Submission of M.A. Essay
  • Certification of Proficiency in a Second Language
  • Positive Evaluation

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SEQUENTIAL M.A. VERSUS FREE-STANDING M.A.

M.A. students are either sequential or non-sequential.
Sequential students are admitted as potential candidates for the M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees.
Non-sequential students are admitted as candidates for only the M.A. degree (Free-Standing M.A.).

Free-Standing M.A.students who wish to apply to the M.Phil.-Ph.D. program may file a new application through GSAS Admissions (107 Low). Acceptance is not guaranteed; indeed, it is the rare exception.

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TRANSFER CREDIT AND ADVANCED STANDING

Transfer Credit may be awarded to students who have completed graduate-level coursework at Columbia while not being matriculated in GSAS (i.e., students who have completed classes in the School of Continuing Education). Students who wish to use these credits towards the completion of their degree may transfer no more than 12 points (or 4 classes) and 1 Residence Unit. Classes taken to enhance undergraduate preparation are not transferable.

The Department does not offer advanced standing toward the M.A.

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REGISTRATION

M.A./Ph.D. Students
All sequential M.A.s are expected to complete the degree within one year, which is comprised of two "residence units" (RU), i.e., two semesters of full tuition.

Free-Standing M.A.
Free-Standing M.A. students can do the program on either a full-time or a part-time basis.

Full-Time Registration
Like sequential M.A. students, full-time free-standing M.A.s are expected to complete the degree within one year registering for one "residence unit" per semester.

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PART-TIME REGISTRATION OPTION FOR THE M.A.

Although most free-standing M.A. students attend full-time, they may also obtain the M.A. through part-time study. Part-time students must complete the degree in no more than 4 years, and they must take at least two seminars by the end of the first residence unit.

Part-time M.A. candidates usually register for either a ¼ residence unit (up to two courses) or a ½ residence unit (up to three courses) per term. GSAS requires 2 full residence units - the equivalent of one year of full tuition - for the M.A. degree. Part-time students can also enroll during the summer, when various 4000-level courses are offered. Taking half- or quarter-residence units spreads out cost and time to degree, but ends up costing somewhat more than doing full-time work. (Three-quarter units are not an available option.)

Although part-time students must maintain continuous registration until they receive the degree, students with outside responsibilities may, after their first term, maintain enrollment by paying only the Matriculation and Facilities fee at registration.

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ADVISING

All incoming students are assigned a faculty advisor in the first weeks of the semester. The advisor will continue as advisor through the end of the M.A. program, for free-standing M.A. students, and through the first M.Phil. year, for sequential students.

Advisors should meet in person with their advisees twice per semester, and should be
prepared to respond via e-mail to questions that may come up during summer and winter breaks as students consider their options for the upcoming semester. It is the advisee's responsibility to get in touch with the advisor as questions arise, and to arrange for face-to-face meetings twice per semester, once during registration, once around the middle of the semester or near the end of classes. The first meeting will focus on course selection, while the second meeting gives the advisee a chance to say how things are going generally, to discuss any specific issues or problems that are arising with a course or with the workload overall, and to begin to think ahead to the next term.

While advisees are expected to take the initiative in scheduling meetings, advisors in turn are expected to make it a priority to find time to meet when asked, during office hours when mutually convenient, or otherwise at another time. At least twenty minutes should be blocked out for the two basic meetings each semester. Advisors should not hesitate to be in touch with the DGS, the Associate Director, or the Department Administrator or Graduate Coordinator on any uncertain questions, or when an issue arises that should be brought to the attention of those who are overseeing the graduate program.

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SPECIFIC CLASSES FOR MASTERS STUDENTS

M.A. Seminar (ENGL GR5001x)
This class serves as an introduction to graduate study. Generally, it has a broad
focus on theory and method rather than on a single author or specific strand of theory. Following this broad focus, it also incorporates practical issues such as advanced research methods and ways to make the transition from writing seminar papers to writing articles. Several short assignments are usually given, rather than one long research paper. This class is only available in the Fall Term.

Colloquium on Theory and Method (ENGL GR5005x)
This bi-weekly series of roundtables by different faculty members affords students a chance not only to discuss valuable forms of literary theory, critical methods, and disciplinary issues, but also to meet a wide range of faculty members and leaders in their respective fields. Students should register for this class, but it carries no points nor do students receive a separate letter grade for it. Attendance, however, is mandatory. As with the M.A. Seminar, this class is only available in the Fall Term.

M.A. Essay Tutorial (ENGL GR5005y)
This class is for course credit, rather than being an actual class that students attend. It is designed to give the students the time they need to develop a sustained and nuanced argument in the M.A. Essay. The M.A. essay tutorial course will receive the grade assigned by the essay's sponsor. (The sponsor may assign a split grade on the essay itself, as a way of adding nuance for the student and the Committee on Graduate Education (CGE), but should decide on a single grade for the transcript: A, A-, B+, etc.). This class is available in the Spring Term, and in the Summer or Fall Term for part-time students upon request to the Director of Graduate Studies.

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TYPES OF CLASSES

There are two types of graduate classes offered by Columbia's English Department: 4000-level lectures and 6000-level seminars.

4000-level lectures
These courses serve as introductions to the literature of a particular time period (Medieval, Victorian, etc.) or literary movements (Modernism, Psychoanalysis, etc.). 4000-level lectures are offered to both graduate students and upper-year undergraduates. Students are expected to take exams and/or do the shorter pieces of writing assigned by the professor.

6000-level seminars
These courses are open only to graduate students, and involve intensive explorations of special topics, specific authors, or distinct time periods. Students are generally expected to do some writing during the semester and produce a long research paper (typically 20-25 pages) at the end of the course.

Sequential M.A.s must take a total of three 6000-level seminars, while free-standing M.A. students are encouraged to take at least two 6000-level seminars (in addition to the Master's Seminar, G5001x), though the requirement may be filled by a single seminar. This option is intended to give more flexibility for free-standing M.A. students who may wish to do a higher proportion of 4000-level lecture courses, whether because of the subject matter, the instructors, scheduling conflicts, or simply the wish to spend more time reading rather than writing research papers. Free-Standing M.A. students who intend to apply to Ph.D. programs, however, are strongly advised to do the full number of 3 6000-level seminars.

Other Lecture/Seminar Options
If a student cannot get into enough seminars, or simply wishes to do added work in a 4000-level course, a 4000-level course can count for seminar credit, with the instructor's permission. The student and instructor should agree on the writing of a seminar-style research paper (or its equivalent). The instructor should e-mail the Graduate Coordinator to signal agreement to this plan.

Conversely, if a student wants to take more seminars than the minimum needed but not write more research papers, with the instructor's permission the student can take a 6000-level seminar for lecture-course credit, doing the reading, participating in discussion, and doing whatever written work the instructor considers appropriate. The instructor should e-mail the Graduate Coordinator to signal agreement to this plan.

Courses in Other Departments
Students may take relevant courses in other departments, but these courses must be approved by the Associate Director if they are to count toward the degree. Students must submit a brief rationale, the course name, instructor, course description, and syllabus (when it is available). If the course is in addition to those required by the department, no special permission is needed.

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DISTRIBUTION OF CLASSES

During the M.A., students must take at least one course in each of the following categories:

a)  medieval or early modern
b)  18th & 19th century or 20th century

Each year the department draws up a list of courses that fulfill each period requirement. When a course spans two periods, it can count toward whichever period serves as the base for the student's primary written work.

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M.A. ESSAY

The most extended piece of work M.A. students do is the M.A. essay, which develops an extended argument over 25-30 pages in the form of a scholarly article. Most years, some of our M.A. essays in fact go on to be published following revision. Often the M.A. essay is expanded from a fall-term seminar paper, or is written as a more developed version of a paper for a spring-term seminar.

The Associate Director oversees the process of the essay's writing and its evaluation by its sponsor, whom the student consults throughout the process, and by a second reader, who is involved only in reading the finished product. (A third reader is added if there is a substantial divergence between the grades given by the sponsor and second reader.) Students should be sure to attend the fall meeting held by the Associate Director concerning the essay, and should consult the Associate Director as well as their advisor for initial conversations on possible topics and suggestions on good sponsors for them.

Full-time students write the essay during the spring semester, with a tutorial course credit for doing so (even if the essay is also being used as the research paper for a seminar).

Part-time students usually write the essay in their second year, often in the fall semester, so as to have it as a writing sample if they are then applying to Ph.D. programs.

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CERTIFICATION OF PROFICIENCY IN A SECOND LANGUAGE

By the end of the M.A., each student must demonstrate a solid reading ability in a language other than English. We accept in our program any languages that students can show will be relevant for their scholarly work: examples are Continental languages in which much theoretical and scholarly discussion is carried on (French, German, Spanish), classical languages that English-language writers often cite (Greek, Hebrew, Latin), the other literary languages of the British Isles (Irish, Welsh), and languages of major colonial and post-colonial populations closely engaged with England (Arabic, Hindi, Zulu). Any language may be offered, so long as it bears a clear relevance to the candidate's prospective work.

Students arrange the completion of the language requirement with the Graduate Coordinator, who can refer them to the DGS in any cases of uncertainty as to whether a language is appropriate. Our standard for reading ability is the ability to accurately translate a page of literary or critical prose in two hours, using a dictionary.

This standard is measured using one of two methods: language exams or language classes.

Language Exams
Several of the language departments offer periodic "proficiency exams" throughout the year, including within the first 2-3 weeks of the Fall Term. Consult with the Graduate Coordinator for the times. If the language you wish to be examined in is not one offered on a regular basis, you should consult the individual department directly.

Language Classes
The language requirement can be fulfilled with a grade of B+ or better in an intermediate undergraduate language class designated as proficiency level (for example intermediate French II, but not intermediate French I). A grade of B+ or better in a graduate class whose language of instruction is the language in question can also serve; in both cases the language class must be taken during the student's enrollment in the Columbia graduate program.  NB Before enrolling for the course, email details of the language, and proposed course name, number and instructor to the Coordinator <vek2001@columbia.edu> to ensure that you receive written confirmation from the Director of Graduate Studies that it will satisfy the language requirement.​

Note: "Rapid Reading and Translation" courses (e.g. Spanish 1113, Italian 1204, French 1206) sometimes offer final exams that are identical to that department's language proficiency exam.  If the department offers this kind of final in Rapid Reading courses, and notifies our Graduate Coordinator of the mark of Pass on the exam, the Rapid Reading final exam mark of Pass satisifies the ENCL language proficiency requirement.

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WRITTEN WORK, GRADES, AND EVALUATIONS

Written Work
With the exception of the M.A. essay, which may be developed from a paper originally written for course credit, no written work in the M.A. or the M.Phil. program may be submitted more than once for credit. Students are responsible for avoiding plagiarism and following the Graduate School's general guidelines on academic honesty: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/gsas/rules/chapter-9/pages/honesty/index.html.

Grades
Students and faculty should consider that both the A and the A- are truly positive grades. Grades of A- do not indicate a lack of satisfactory progress, but simply register good work that can be taken a step further in future.

Grades of B+ signal work that raises concerns, and in the case of an M.A. student a pattern of B+ grades would indicate someone who shouldn't go on in the program unless he or she is doing significantly better work in other courses. The rare grade of B signals an active recommendation that the student not go on, or in the case of upper-year students would indicate some difficulties that should be discussed with the DGS. B is the minimum grade for counting a course toward degree requirements.

End-of-the-Year Evaluation
Each spring the faculty members of the Committee on Graduate Education (CGE) meet to evaluate the work of graduating M.A. students and to certify them for graduation. This meeting takes place around May 10, about a week in advance of Commencement; all work must be completed in time for faculty to get in grades by then. For sequential students, the CGE also checks to see that each student has done work of high quality and made satisfactory progress, so as to be admitted into the M.Phil. program. It is our expectation that all sequential students will indeed have done so. The minimum standard as expressed by grades is an A- average both in coursework overall and on the M.A. Essay specifically; satisfactory progress is defined as having completed all coursework and fulfilled the language requirement by the time of the CGE's review.

Extensions can be granted when necessary for health reasons, or in rare instances for other reasons, usually to a specified date such as June 30; anyone who anticipates any difficulty in completing their work on time should speak to the Associate Director and DGS well in advance of the end-of-year review. It is quite unusual for someone not to have made satisfactory progress, but the CGE considers it important for the student as well as the program to identify such cases and face the situation squarely.

Students in the sequential program who are finishing the M.A. year with several incompletes or with an unsatisfactory M.A. essay are not likely to thrive in our M.Phil. program and will be better served by taking time to regroup before continuing on elsewhere. Such cases are infrequent; in most years, all sequential students who apply to continue are admitted into the M.Phil. program.

We strongly discourage graduate students from taking incompletes.  Incompletes are impossible to take in the spring semester of the M.A. year.  In the fall semester of the M.A. year, any student with extraordinary reasons for taking an incomplete must get the permission of both the course instructor and the DGS, and should be aware that incomplete coursework must be made up before classes resume in January.  No incompletes should be taken for the spring semester, if the student is applying to go on into the Ph.D. program. Except in the case of a serious health problem with a doctor's note, incompletes at year-end are viewed as potentially disqualifying a sequential student from admission to the M.Phil.

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DEFERMENT OF ADMISSION

Columbia M.A. students admitted to the M.Phil. program who wish to defer have the option of reapplying for admission the following year. Under special circumstances, a further year's extension may be granted. After two years, admission to the M.Phil. program requires a formal review. No deferral is permitted for students applying to the M.Phil. program from other schools.

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FREE-STANDING M.A. APPLICATION TO PH.D. PROGRAMS

Free-Standing M.A. students who are interested in applying to Ph.D. programs will be invited to a meeting in mid-fall with the Associate Director of Graduate Studies.

End-of-Year Applications
Free-Standing M.A. students can wait until they complete our M.A. and then apply the following fall for a year later. This option has the disadvantage of a year's delay in continuing on to graduate programs for a Ph.D.; it has the advantage that applicants will then have a completed M.A. Essay to use as a writing sample, and the benefit of the full year's maturation of their work and their sense of their interests and the discipline.

Free-Standing M.A. students may apply to Columbia's Ph.D. program, either in mid-year or upon completion of the M.A. They will be treated on the same basis as any applicants currently doing M.A.s elsewhere; doing the M.A. at Columbia neither gives an inside edge nor counts against an applicant. Over the past several years, we have admitted on average about one M.A. student to our M.Phil./Ph.D. program per year, though some years none. The intense competition for places in our sequential program makes it much harder to get in than into our already competitive free-standing M.A. program; in recent years, the department has admitted fewer than 4% of its sequential applicants, as compared to 25% of the free-standing M.A. applicants. The odds at Columbia have meant that most admissions from the free-standing M.A. to the M.Phil. have come following the completion of an outstanding M.A. thesis; free-standing M.A. students also have the option to apply mid-year to less severely competitive programs at other schools.

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