An economist and a humanist, together with professors from the natural sciences, analyze familiar conceptual and policy-relevant issues from viewpoints of their respective disciplines. For example, how do we measure inequality, and at what point does it become problematic (and how do we know)? How then should it be addressed (e.g., tax code, minimum wage)? What...
Instructor: Victoria Wiet Monday & Wednesdays, 3:00-4:15 pm | Location: Sever 103
This course explores how the relatively new cultural form of the novel represented and responded to the new features of social life that characterized nineteenth-century Britain. The nineteenth century was a period of drastic historical change in which the institutions that...
Instructor: Stephanie Burt Day & Time: Mondays & Wednesdays 12:00-3:00pm (EDT) Summer 7-week session | CRN 34505 Limited to 15 students
This course is about writing—and, therefore, reading—many kinds of poetry, including brand new open forms, very old rhymed and metered forms, digital native forms, parodies, and (as Yeats put it) "imitation of great masters." It offers a chance to expand the potential for your own writing, taught mostly in workshop format, as well as a way to find models and allies.
Instructor: Thomas Wisniewski, PhD Lecturer on Comparative Literature Day & Time: Mondays & Wednesdays 3:15–6:15pm (EDT) Summer 7-week session | CRN 33785 Limited to 45 Students
In literature, as in life, humor often takes us by surprise. Why? Laughter, in many ways, is a mystery, and literary criticism has always been more comfortable dealing with tragedy than comedy. Taking comedy seriously, this course provides a broad investigation into the myriad functions of humor (psychological, sociological, philosophical, and dramatic) and explores why what we find...
Instructor: Daniel Donoghue Day & Time: Tuesdays & Thursdays 12-1:15pm Course Website From its obscure origins, over its long history, and with today’s global reach, the English language has meant many things to the people who use it. It also prompts many questions. Why is pronunciation at odds with spelling? What happened to "thou"? What did Shakespeare sound like? How do we know? Why the love/hate relationship with grammar scolds? What about the future of English as a world language? Knowing the fascinating backstory of the language will give you more confidence as a writer; it also sharpens your skills as a reader as you see things you never noticed before. A final promise: geeking out will equip you to win countless arguments with friends, roommates, and family.
Instructor: Gordon Teskey Day & Time: Mondays & Wednesdays 4:30-5:45pm Course Website An introduction to the Bible, which William Blake called 'the great code of art.' The course gives an overview of the biblical writings, of the religions that arose from them, and the arts they inspired: church music, architecture, painting, and poetry. Attention will be given especially to English poetry, from the Old English Genesis to Spenser, Milton, Hopkins, Eliot, Jones, and popular songs. Even for non-religious authors, the Bible is a rich source of images and spiritual energy. Students may create art projects in response to their chosen parts of the Bible.
The Supervising Reading and Research tutorial is a type of student-driven independent study offering individual instruction in subjects of special interest that cannot be studied in regular courses. English 91r is supervised by a member of the English Department faculty. It is a graded course and may not be taken more than twice, and only once for concentration credit. Students must submit a proposal and get approval from the faculty member with whom they wish to work.
Proposed syllabi and faculty approval must be submitted and verified by the English Department Undergraduate Office by the Course Registration Deadline.
Enrollment: Each section is limited to 12 students
Open by application to both undergraduates and graduates. Class lasts 3 hours and includes the study of poetic practice in conjunction with the discussion of student work.
Supplemental Application Information: Please submit a portfolio including a letter of interest, ten poems, and a list of classes (taken at Harvard or elsewhere) that seem to have bearing on your enterprise.
Instructor: Homi Bhabha & Mariano Siskind Wednesday, 3:00-5:00pm Enrollment: Limited to 15 students
By focusing on literary narratives, cultural representations, and critical theories, this course explores ways in which issues related to migration create rich and complex interdisciplinary conversations. How do humanistic disciplines address these issues—human rights, cultural translation, global justice, security, citizenship, social discrimination, biopolitics—and what contributions do they make to the “home” disciplines of migration studies such as law, political science, and sociology? How do migration narratives compel us to revise our concepts of culture, polity, neighborliness, and community? We will explore diverse aspects of migration from existential, ethical, and philosophical perspectives while engaging with specific regional and political histories.
Instructor: Russ Rymer Thursday, 3:00-5:45pm Enrollment: Limited to 12 students
This is a seminar in creative nonfiction writing that will take science and the environment as its subject matter. Students will research and write a series of magazine-style articles about science or scientists, intended for a general readership. Along the way, they will hone their interviewing and research skills and expressive capabilities, while contending with issues of factual accuracy, creative license, authority, and responsibility, along with the basic tenets of longform nonfiction. Ultimately students will explore the ways that hard science and subjective prose are interrelated forms. No prior experience with science is required.
Instructor: Kelly Rich Wednesday, 12:45-2:45pm | Location: TBA
This second-year proseminar has a two-part focus: it introduces students to the craft of scholarly publishing by helping them revise a research paper for publication in a peer-reviewed journal by the end of the course. It thus gives students the tools to begin publishing early in their career. It also introduces students to the growing array of alternative careers in the humanities by exposing them to the work of scholars who are leaders in fields such as editing, curating, and digital humanities.
Note: Open to English graduate students only. Prerequisite: For G2+ students
This course is a survey of the work of the literary theorist Roland Barthes. We will read a selection of his eclectic, rangy, and influential writing, alongside responses to it by authors from Derrida to Sontag to Eugenides. We will use this corpus of writing to explore crucial currents in theory, criticism, and fiction from the sixties to today, including authorship, reader response, phenomenology, structuralism and its aftermaths, cultural studies, queer studies, media studies, affect theory, postcritique, and the theory novel.
Instructor: Sam Marks Tuesday, 12:00-2:45pm Enrollment: Limited to 12 students.
This workshop is a continued exploration of writing for the stage, with an eye towards presentation. The semester will culminate in a staged reading of each student's work for the Harvard Playwrights Festival. Each reading will be directed by a professional director. Students will be encouraged to excavate their own voice in playwriting and learn from the final presentation. The class will examine the design of the stage, the playworld, and the page. Students will attempt multiple narrative strategies and dialogue techniques. They will bolster their craft of playwriting through generating short scripts and a completed one act. Readings will include significant contributors to the theatrical form such as Caryl Churchill and Samuel Beckett as well as contemporary dramatists such as Annie Baker, Jackie Sibbles Drury, Branden Jacobs Jenkins, and Jeremy O. Harris.
Supplemental Application Information: Prior experience in writing the dramatic form is strongly encouraged. Please submit a 5-10 page writing sample (preferably a play or screenplay, but all genres are acceptable). Also, please write a few sentences about a significant theatrical experience (a play read or seen) and how it affected you.
Comics and graphic novels, or sequential art, are one of the world’s great storytelling media: we’re going to learn how to read them, how to talk about how they get made and how they work, how to understand—and how to enjoy— some of the kinds of comics and graphic novels (that is, some of the genres) that make up the history of this medium in the modern English-speaking world. That history has three strands, which cross and re-cross, but which need to be understood independently, and we will see all three: short-form strip comics, designed for newspapers beginning in the 1890s and now flourishing on the Web; action-adventure and superhero comics, invented in the late 1930s, transformed in the 1960s and again in the 1980s, usually created by teams, and important to popular culture today; and a third strand beginning with “underground” or “alternative” comics or comix (with an x) in the 1960s and evolving into long form graphic novels, often created by single writer-artists, today. That history comes with visual references, which you will learn to recognize; comics also comes with its own set of theoretical terms, which you’ll learn to use. Comics today share a medium (pictures and usually words in sequence) but belong to several genres: we’ll learn how to talk about them, and how they’ve evolved.You’ll get the chance to make comics, and to figure out how creators collaborate, advocate, distribute, and sometimes even earn a living from the comics they make, but the course will focus on existing comics, from McCay to Bechdel, from Kirby to Ms. Marvel— as events in culture and as works of art.
Instructor: Sarah Dimick Monday & Wednesday, 3:00-4:15pm | Location: TBA
This course considers the relationships between systems of human injustice and environmental issues—including industrial disasters, ocean acidification, and resource extraction. We examine environmental justice writing and artwork with a transnational, interconnected approach. For example, we ask how the Ogoni activist Ken Saro-Wiwa’s writing on oil pipelines in the Niger Delta anticipates Native American protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline. We draw connections between a poem documenting silicosis in the lungs of West Virginian coal miners and a novel portraying the aftermath of the Union Carbide gas leak in Bhopal. We compare a nonfiction account of Kenyan women resisting deforestation and an iPhone app reclaiming public access along the Malibu coast. We explore questions of voice, genre, and narrative, cataloguing the strategies writers and artists use to reach a global audience.
Junior Tutorial Preference Forms will be sent to students the week of 7/6/21. Junior English Concentrators interested in enrolling in English 98r should complete this form or be in touch with Lauren Bimmler.
Instructor: Ellen Song, PhD Lecturere on History and Literature Day & Time: Mondays & Wednesdays 12:00–3:00pm (EDT) Summer 7-week session | CRN 35052 Limited to 25 students
There was an explosion of works by Asian American authors published around the turn of the millennium, an unexpected consequence of the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965, which brought an influx of immigrants from Asia and dramatically altered the demographic composition of the US. This course examines the many different genres and forms of contemporary Asian American fiction...
Instructor: Andrew Warren, PhD Associate of the Department of English and Co-Chair, Seminar in Dialectical Thinking in the Humanities, Mahindra Humanities Center Day & Time: Tuesdays & Thursdays 12:00–3:00pm (EDT) Summer 7-week session | CRN 34817 Limited to 45 students
Writers have long imagined new worlds as a way of changing this one. As Percy Shelley said way back in 1821, creative writers are "the unacknowledged legislators of the world." This course asks how literature depicts and intervenes in the world and models new worlds. It reads works...