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    Gen Ed 1165. Superheroes and Power

    Instructor: Stephanie Burt
    Day & Time: TBD

    What’s a hero? What’s a superhero? Who gets to be one, and who decides? Why are superheroes so popular now? What do their stories tell us—casual viewers and devoted readers, fans and non-fans and aspiring writers-- about how power works, about its social, emotional, material and economic dimensions, and about how we represent power in art? This course looks at superheroes, famous and infamous, old and new, in comics, on TV, in movies and novels and poems, as ways to answer questions about how power operates in our society and in others: power and violence, power and persuasion, power and social cohesion, power and disability, power and the sources of the self. You’ll read great and not-so-great superhero and superhero-adjacent stories from Gilgamesh to Wolverine, Wonder Woman to Ms. Marvel by way of John Milton. You’ll learn how to see the shape of a story, how to consider form style, technique in comics and other media. You’ll learn how to look at markets, at states and at the law, at fan communities and fan cultures, at the kinds of power stories and characters exercise in the real world. You’ll discover thinkers from politics, psychology, literary studies, and religion, among them Hannah Arendt, Max Weber, and Rosmarie Garland-Thomson, with something to say about power. You might even create some superheroes yourself. This course will show you not just how to read a set of very complicated, often underrated, influential modern stories, but how to think about power in public, in fiction, and in everyday life: who decides how others live, who decides what’s normal, who gets to make, and who gets to break, the rules.

    English 91R. Supervised Reading and Research

    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...

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    English 360. Teaching the Humanities with New Media: A Poetry in America Practicum

    Instructor: Elisa New
    Day & Time: TBA 
    Course Website
    Humanists of the 21st century are looking at a changed professional landscape.  Major shifts in higher education, and in the college and university job market for humanists, predate the COVID-19 pandemic, but the pandemic has brought these shifts into starker relief--even as it has revealed new opportunities for humanists in the fields of digital learning and educational media production, K-12 education, higher education administration, education policy, and more.  

    Teaching the Humanities with New Media: A Poetry in America Practicum will enable students to experience some of these newer career opportunities by “embedding” as teaching staff (G4+) or Research and Pedagogy Associates (G1-G3) in Poetry in America: The City from Whitman to Hip Hop, a for-credit course being offered to high-school students--most of them from Title I and Title I-eligible schools--across the US and around the world.  This fall’s practicum will provide students an opportunity to gain exposure to, and to build skills in, the world of online education, broadly defined. Poetry of the City (POTC) is offered in partnership with the National Education Equity Lab and with Arizona State University.  The course will be offered under auspices of ASU’s online high school, ASU Digital Prep Digital.

    Students enrolled in the practicum will have official titled roles within the ASU course that may provide them useful credentials for the future.  

    Visit poetryinamerica.org to learn more about Poetry in America and its programs.  To learn more about Poetry in America’s work with high-school learners, read this piece from Harvard Magazine.

    This practicum is open to G1-G3 students in FAS seeking course credit, and to G4 students and above seeking paid teaching work. GSE students in any of the Master’s or PhD programs are welcome to apply, as well as undergraduates planning to pursue teaching careers

    Note: This workshop will be graded as SAT/UNSAT and will count as a graduate course, though not toward the ten seminar requirement.

    English CJK. Poetry Workshop: BIPOC Context and Craft

    Instructor: Joan Naviyuk Kane
    Day & Time: Thursday 12-2:45pm
    Course Website
    This poetry workshop centers the work of BIPOC writers through intensive study of poetry writing and the writing process, focusing on craft techniques of imagery, rhythm, and poetic structure. This workshop will initially focus on the generation of new work but will move toward revision-based instruction and discussion. Each student will have their poems workshopped at least twice per semester. Students are responsible for reading assigned texts, submitting required work for workshop, reading and writing critiques of fellow students’ work, accessing (livestreamed or archived) readings, reading and (writing about) one poem closely each week, and memorizing and recording two poems.

    Supplemental Application Information: Applicants are requested to submit a maximum of 10 pages of poetry (not more than one poem to a page), and a 2-3 page cover letter in which they may address how long they’ve been writing seriously, what previous study they have done in literary arts, any additional experiences that seem relevant to their application, what type of direct criticism and revision they are seeking from the workshop, craft approaches they would like to know more about, and discussion of any other writers in which the writers’ craft and/or ways in which the writers’ work has served as a model for the applicant’s own literary ambitions.

    Applications due by 11:59 PM ET on 8/19. Apply via Submittable

     

    English 165. Proust, Joyce, Woolf: Aestheticism and Modernism

    Instructor: Philip Fisher
    Day & Time: Mondays & Wednesdays 12-1:15pm 
    Course Website
    Topics include: modernism; aesthetic experience; the life of art; the city; and novelistic form; the moment and memory within temporal experiences. Joyce, Dubliners and Ulysses; Proust, Swann's Way; and Within a Budding Grove; Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse; Kawabata, Snow Country. Writings of Pater, Simmel, T.S. Eliot, and sections from The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon.

    English 177pm. Broadway, 1940–Present

    Instructor: Derek  Miller
    Day & Time: Tuesdays & Thursdays 10:30-11:45am
    Course Website
    Cultural education usually occurs piecemeal: a novel from this period, a poem from that. Cultural works are not, however, truly isolated from each other, but rather appear as artifacts of cultural systems. This course uses cultural works to understand a single cultural system: Broadway since 1940. Comparative analyses of musical and non-musical plays will illuminate how Broadway has changed over the past seventy-five years. We will attend to economic, social, technological, and other transformations in how Broadway makes, markets, and measures its shows. Through our explorations of some of those shows, we will grasp the system’s effects on major dramaturgical strategies including approaches to plot, characterization, and staging. The course thus simultaneously surveys major works of the commercial American theater, narrates a history of Broadway since 1940, and models how to think about the relationship between that history of the Broadway system and the works it produces.

    Gen Ed 1034. Texts in Transition

    Instructors: Ann Blair & Leah Whittington
    Day & Time: Mondays & Wednesdays 3-4:15pm

    We live in a moment of “crisis” around regimes of preservation and loss. As our communication becomes ever more digital— and, therefore, simultaneously more ephemeral and more durable—the attitudes and tools we have for preserving our culture have come to seem less apt than they may have seemed as recently as a generation ago. This course examines how texts have been transmitted from the past to the present, and how we can plan for their survival into the future. We will examine what makes texts durable by considering especially the media by which they are transmitted, the changing cultural attitudes toward their content, and the institutions by which they are preserved. The European Renaissance will provide a central case study. During this period scholars became aware of the loss of ancient texts and strove to recover and restore them insofar as possible. These interests prompted new developments in scholarly conservation techniques which we still value today (philology, libraries, and museums) but also the creation and transmission of new errors, ranging from well-intentioned but overzealous corrections and “improvements” to outright forgeries. What can the Renaissance teach us about how to engage productively with these problems, both as the source of our current attitudes toward preservation and loss, and as a case study of another culture dealing with anxiety over preservation and loss? Ultimately, we hope that students will be able to think productively about how to preserve from the past and the present for the future, while recognizing that all preservation inherently involves some kind of transformation.

    Gen Ed 1167. Climate Crossroads

    Instructors: James G. Anderson & James Engell
    Day & Time: Tuesdays & Thursdays 1:30-2:45pm 

    What one thing is changing everything in your lifetime—and for generations to come? It’s changing what you eat; it’s changing buildings you live in; and it’s changing politics, the arts, and finance. The change is accelerating. This course reveals fundamental alterations that climate disruption is bringing to multiple human activities and natural phenomena.

    The course represents a crossroads in two senses. First, it’s a crossroads of disciplines. Climate change affects science, society, culture, government policy, biodiversity, and environmental justice. To understand it is inherently interdisciplinary and requires standing at the crossroads of several approaches. Second, humanity itself is at a new crossroads. Because global climate is shifting rapidly, this prompts new views of humans in geologic time, as well as new thinking in economics, law, finance, and science. 

    Climate change isn’t just “global warming.” It’s an alteration of conditions on Earth to which all creatures and societies are adjusting. What is the science of climate change? Why can’t understanding and dealing with climate change be confined to science?

    Through materials and assignments that address quantitative understanding and qualitative judgment, you’ll learn why it’s unwise to seal the interrelated issues of climate change in separate disciplines; conversely, why it’s necessary to use separate disciplines to acquire the knowledge and applications needed to formulate policy and actions. You’ll learn about climate adaptation (adjusting to changing climate), mitigation (reducing the speed and severity of climate change), and resilience (e.g., recovering from extreme weather events). You’ll discover how careers in many different areas increasingly involve thinking about climate.

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    English 90cp. Contemporary American Plays

    Instructor: Derek Miller
    Day & Time: Thursday 3-5pm
    Course Website

    Enrollment: Limited to 15 students.

    This course examines recent scripted theater by American playwrights. Readings focus on work by historically underrepresented writers, including the wave of award-winning plays by Black writers such as Jackie Sibblies Drury, Michael R. Jackson, Aleshea Harris, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Jeremy O. Harris, and others. We will consider the shape of the American theater, its response and resistance to contemporary social and political movements, and the pandemic's effects on the present and future of American theater.

    English 90lv. Consciousness from Austen to Woolf

    Instructor: James Wood
    Day & Time: Monday 3-5pm 
    Course Website

    Enrollment: Limited to 15 students.

    A look at the complex ways in which writers represent their characters' thought in texts by Austen, Flaubert, James, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Giovanni Verga, and Woolf. More broadly, traces the development of stream-of-consciousness, from Austen's incipient mastery of free indirect style, through Flaubert's more sophisticated use of it, to Woolf's full-blown inner monologues, seeing this development as not merely a fact of English and American literature, but as a phenomenon of world literature and an element of our modernity.

    English 90sm. Speculative Modes: Fiction, Technology, Justice

    Instructor: Janet Zong York
    Day & Time: Tuesday 3-5pm
    Course Website

    Enrollment: Limited to 15 students.

    How do fiction and technology's intersections fuel modes of speculation: the imagining of how things in the world could be? We investigate how different imaginative works question and reinvent our relationships to technology; inspire reflection and action; and ask what alternatives exist to practices that appear inevitable or structures that seem entrenched. Fiction allows us to explore how the design and impact of ubiquitous surveillance, data collection, and artificial intelligence reinforce tacit ideas about power, identity, ethics, labor, and the nature of reality itself. We read short stories, essays, TV episodes, graphic narratives, digital media, datasets, and journalism, in addition to perspectives from studies of design, human-computer interaction, and society and technology. Ursula LeGuin, Ken Liu, N.K. Jemisin, Ted Chiang, Black Mirror, Octavia Butler, Kelly Link, among others. We aim to gain insight into technical processes and cultural narratives, developing our own critical models and projects for speculation.

    English 58. Poets: Keats Isn't Dead: How We Live Romanticism

    Instructor: Vidyan Ravinthiran
    Day & Time: Mondays & Wednesdays 12-1:15pm 
    Course Website

    Enrollment: Limited to 27 students.

    Our thoughts and feelings about identity, self-expression, and the power of the imagination draw on the British Romantic poetry of the Long Eighteenth Century--whether we've read any or not. Focusing on John Keats (his key poems, and his key ideas, about 'negative capability', the 'camelion poet', and so on), this course makes unconventional connections into the twentieth, and twenty-first century. Tracking issues of race, class, gender and sexuality, we'll bounce from Keats into war verse; African-American poetries; world/postcolonial writing; the literature of social class; feminist experimentalism; and constructions of masculinity. Concentrators will learn how to analyze poetry in both closed and open forms.

    English 67C. Migrations: Imagined Climates: Writing in the Wake of Climate Change

    Instructor: Sarah Dimick
    Day & Time: Mondays & Wednesdays 3-4:15pm 
    Course Website

    Enrollment: Limited to 27 students.

    How do novelists and poets and essayists represent climate change? What kinds of futures do they project for our injured and shifting world? Through mysteries, spoken word poetry, science fiction, and other genres, this course confronts the representational challenges presented by planetary environmental crisis. Our focus is on the climate refugee and the myriad migrations and displacements of anthropogenic climate change. We also theorize how—and why—particular writers’ voices become central or peripheral within climate discourse. Authors may include Octavia Butler, Cherie Dimaline, Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner, Barbara Kingsolver, Nathaniel Rich, Elizabeth Rush, Juliana Spahr, and Emily St. John Mandel.

    English CFF. From Fact to Fiction: Finding & Shaping a Story: Workshop

    Instructor: Claire Messud
    Day & Time: Wednesday 3-5:45pm 
    Enrollment: Limited to 12 students.
    Course Website
    In this course, we will explore the evolution of a story from a factual anecdote or incident to a fictional creation. The aims of the semester are to learn to listen to someone else’s story in interviews, and to endeavor to find, from there, the necessary bones for a fictional narrative. What is most urgent? What is most emotionally affecting? What are the details from an interview that stay with you? And from there: what, from a broader account, is the story you are moved to relate? Once you make that choice, how do you do further research, if necessary? How do you select the point of view, the frame, the characters for your fiction? What are the ethics and responsibilities of these choices?

    In these riven and challenging times, storytelling is vital: learning to listen, to engage, and responsibly to relay what we discover. Each person we encounter is a bearer of wisdom and vast experience; so many urgent stories remain untold. How might we, as fiction writers, address reality, without simply writing about ourselves?

    Several published writers will visit the class to share their experiences of research, and of the relation in their work of fact to invention. We will read published examples of fact-based fiction, and discuss the authors’ choices.

    The first third of the class will involve preparing and conducting interviews with a chosen subject, and sharing those interviews with the class. The second third will involve refining the story’s arc, research and formal decision-making, and writing a first draft. Finally, we will workshop the revised stories that have emerged from this process.

    Supplemental Application Information: Prior experience writing fiction is helpful but not required. Please submit a writing sample of 3-5 pages of fiction, narrative non-fiction, journalism or personal essay, along with an application letter explaining your interest in this course, any writing experience you feel is relevant, and listing examples of work that moves and/or influences you, explaining why it does.

    Applications due by 11:59 PM ET on 8/19. Apply via Submittable

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    English CAC. Writing the Now: The Art of Closeness: Workshop

    Instructor: Laura van den Berg
    Day & Time: Thursday 12-2:45pm 
    Enrollment: Limited to 12 students.
    Course Website
    In Lost Children Archive, Valeria Luiselli writes: “I suppose that documenting things—through the lens of a camera, on paper, or with a sound recording device—is really only a way of contributing one more layer, something like soot, to all the things already sedimented in a collective understanding of the world.” This class will focus on the art of documenting the “now” through prose and how such documentation can work to contribute another layer to the collective understanding. Together we will explore the art of writing from a space of “closeness,” or rendering events/moments in time on the page as they unfold around us. How can closeness deepen intensity and insight? What value can we locate in writing from a place of ongoingness as opposed to in pursuit of resolution? What specific difficulties and questions can closeness introduce?

    In support of this exploration, we will study published prose works that take the shape of diaries; self-portraits; drifts; hybrids of fiction and reportage. The reading list will include work from Ross Gay, Kate Zambreno, Valeria Luiselli, Zadie Smith, and Yuko Tsushima. Students will also undertake exercises designed to encourage experiments with form, perspective, time, observation, and genre (we’ll be reading fiction, nonfiction, and hybrid forms, and students will be invited to write in any or all of those genres). Later in the term, your own stories will serve as the primary text as the focus shifts to workshop and revision.  

    Supplemental Application Information: Please submit 3-5 pages of prose (fiction or nonfiction) and a cover letter. In the cover letter, please describe why you want to study creative writing at this time in your life. Otherwise you are welcome to share whatever information about yourself and your interests that you feel is relevant.  

    Applications due by 11:59 PM ET on 8/19. Apply via Submittable

    English CVB. Fiction Writing

    Instructor: Laura van den Berg 
    Day & Time: Wednesday 12-2:45pm 
    Enrollment: Limited to 12 students. 
    Course Website
    This course will focus on the art of writing fiction. The initial weeks will focus on reading and craft discussion— exploring craft subjects such as structure, time, point-of-view, and landscape—and generating new work through experiments in craft and imagination. Later in the term, your own fiction will serve as the primary text as the focus shifts to workshop critique and, finally, to revision. The syllabus is likely to include work from Helen Oyeyemi, Claire Vaye Watkins, Nam Le, Julio Cortázar, Italo Calvino, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, and Alexander Chee—among others.

    Supplemental Application Information: Please submit 3-5 pages of prose (fiction or nonfiction) and a cover letter. In the cover letter, please describe why you want to study creative writing at this time in your life. Otherwise you are welcome to share whatever information about yourself and your interests that you feel is relevant.  

    Applications due by 11:59 PM ET on 8/19. Apply via Submittable

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    English CNL. The Novel Lab: Studying Long-Form Narratives in Fiction

    Instructor: Paul Yoon
    Day & Time:
    Section 1: Tuesday 12-245pm 
    Section 2: Tuesday 3-5:45pm
    Enrollment: Limited to 12 students.
    Course Website (Section 1)
    Course Website (Section 2)

    What defines a novel? And what does it mean to read one as a writer? How does a painter consider a painting or a photographer a photo? This readings class will study novels through the point of view of a practicing writer. We will read one novel a week, with the goal of exploring the ways in which long-form narratives are constructed, from chapter to chapter, from one movement to another—that is, the architecture of it. Please note: this is not a workshop. You will not be sharing your work. Consider the class an investigation into all the tools a writer has to create fiction, with the end goal of producing 2 - 3 chapters of the beginning of a novel as your final project.

    Supplemental Application Information: Please submit ONLY a letter. I want to know what your favorite novel is and why; and why of all classes you want to take this one this fall. No writing samples. Again, please note: This is NOT a workshop.

    Applications due by 11:59 PM ET on 8/19. Apply via Submittable

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    English CBF. Breaking Form

    Instructor: Teju Cole
    Day & Time: Wednesday 3-5:45pm 
    Enrollment: Limited to 12 students.
    Course Website
    The tension between the invented and the observed has compelled many writers to break out of inherited forms. How can we productively blur the line between fiction and non-fiction? What are the possibilities for very short narrative pieces? In this prose writing workshop, our thinking will be helped along by a wide variety of authors that, in one way or the other, make it new. Readings include Lydia Davis, Michael Ondaatje, Anne Carson, and Claudia Rankine.

    Supplemental Application Information: Please submit a brief writing sample (3-5 pages of prose: creative nonfiction, journalism, or fiction) and a cover letter describing why you want to take this course in particular. In the cover letter, please mention three books that have positively shaped your sense of literary style.

    Applications due by 11:59 PM ET on 8/19. Apply via Submittable

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    English CHCR. Advanced Poetry

    Instructor: Josh Bell
    Day & Time: Monday 3-5:45pm
    Enrollment: Limited to 12 students. 
    Course Website
    By guided reading, classroom discussion, one-on-one conference, and formal and structural experimentation, members of the Advanced Poetry Workshop will look to hone, deepen, and challenge the development of their poetic inquiry and aesthetic. Students will be required to write and submit one new poem each week and to perform in-depth, weekly critiques of their colleagues’ 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.

    Applications due by 11:59 PM ET on 8/19. Apply via Submittable

    English CTV. Writing for Television: Developing the Pilot

    Instructor: Sam Marks
    Day & Time: Tuesday 12-245pm
    Enrollment: Limited to 12 students.
    Course Website
    This workshop introduces the television pilot with a focus on prestige drama and serialized comedy.  Students will excavate their own voice and explore the structure and execution of pilot writing through a first draft of their own original script. With intensive reading and discussion of student work we will examine elements of TV writing, such as treatments and outlines as well as character, dialogue, tone, plot, and, most importantly, vision.  Over the semester, we’ll turn ideas into worlds and worlds into scripts. 

    Supplemental Application Information: Prior experience in dramatic writing is encouraged, though not necessary. Please submit a 5-10 page writing sample (preferably a play or screenplay, but all genres are acceptable). Also, write a few sentences about one of your favorite televisions shows and why you wish to write for TV.

    Applications due by 11:59 PM ET on 8/19. Apply via Submittable

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