English 290mh. Migration and the Humanities: Graduate Seminar

    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.

    English 330. G2 Proseminar

    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

    English 295rb. Everybody Loves Roland: Graduate Seminar

    Instructor: Namwali Serpell
    Tuesday, 12:45-2:45pm | Location: TBA
    Enrollment: Limited to 15

    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.

    English 201. Images, Idolatry and Iconoclasm: Late Medieval to Early Modern: Graduate Seminar

    Instructor: James Simpson
    Monday, 3:00-5:00pm
    Enrollment: Limited to 15 students

    Fear of idolatry is a recurrent feature of Western culture. The Christian image threatens to short-circuit the flow of spirituality between humans and God, just as images of the ancient, pagan gods threaten dangerously to preserve the energies of those lascivious and vengeful deities. And images, whether secular or religious, are always...

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    English 264x. Sensation and Moral Action in Thomas Hardy

    Instructor: Elaine Scarry
    Thursday, 12:45-2:45 pm | Location: TBA
    Enrollment: Limited to 15 students

    Approaches Hardy’s novels, stories, and narrative poems through the language of the senses (hearing, vision, touch) and through moral agency (philosophic essays on “luck” and “action”).

    English 320. G1 Proseminar

    Instructor: Nicholas Watson
    Wednesday, 12:45-2:45pm | Location: TBA

    The first-year proseminar (taken in the spring semester of the first year) introduces students to the theories, methods, and history of English as a discipline, and contemporary debates in English studies. The readings feature classic texts in all fields, drawn from the General Exam list. This first-year proseminar helps students prepare for the General Exam (taken at the beginning of their second year); it gives them a broad knowledge for teaching and writing outside their specialty; and it builds an intellectual and cultural community among first-year students.

    Note: This seminar is only for first year graduate students in the English Department.

    English 231. Divine Comedies: Graduate Seminar

    Instructor: Nicholas Watson
    Tuesday, 9:00-11:00 am | Location: TBA
    Course Website
    ​​​​​​​Enrollment: Limited to 15 students

    A study of four poetic and/or visionary works written 1300-1400: Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy, John of Morigny's Book of Flowers, Julian of Norwich's Revelation of Love, and William Langland's Piers Plowman. We consider the inter-relationship between the poetic and the visionary in light of the categories of "orthodoxy" and "discretion of spirits" during a period when both were fiercely contested.

    Note: This course is open, space permitting, to qualified undergraduates: please show up on the first day or contact Prof. Watson if you are an undergrad who wants to take the course.

    English 282ph. Public Humanities Practicum: Humanities in the High School Classroom

    Instructor: Elisa New
    Day & Time: TBA | Location: 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 Research and Pedagogy Associates 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 semester’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 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 to learn more about Poetry in America and its programs. 

    Note: Jointly offered with Harvard Kennedy School (as SUP-472 Education Equity Through A Solutions-Targeted Lens) and Harvard Graduate School of Education.

    English 287ag. Black Literary Avant-Gardes: Graduate Seminar

    Instructor: Jesse McCarthy
    Thursday, 3:00-5:00pm
    Course Website
    ​​​​​​​Enrollment: Limited to 15

    In his classic manifesto “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain,” Langston Hughes declared that his generation of artists and poets—upstarts coming of age in the roaring twenties—was determined to build what he called “temples for tomorrow.” How should we read that phrase today? Recent debates in Black Studies and in African American Literature over temporality, periodization, affect, and antagonism, suggest that we may not have an adequate theory of the avant-garde, or at least we may need to update the one we inherit from Poggioli (1968). By revisiting the avant-garde, we renew a concept that touches on a wealth of topics of interest to contemporary theoretical and methodological debates: taste, politics, publics and counter-publics, signifying, archives, transnationalism, translation, incompleteness, failure, and the circulation and manipulation of new medias. There are also the classic questions: Who gets to decide what constitutes an "avant-garde" or avant-gardes? What is the relationship between avant-garde artistic movements and political or militant ones? This course will explore all of these themes comparatively, with readings drawn from poems, plays, novels, and films, and we will range widely across the African diaspora, without neglecting important formations in Europe, Asia, the Caribbean, and Latin America.... Read more about English 287ag. Black Literary Avant-Gardes: Graduate Seminar

    English 290eh. The Environmental Humanities: Graduate Seminar

    Instructor: Sarah Dimick
    Tuesday, 12:45-2:45pm | Location: TBA
    Course Website
    ​​​​​​​Enrollment: Limited to 15 students

    This graduate seminar explores core concepts, questions, and methodologies within the environmental humanities. Rather than reading environmental literature and scholarship in isolation, we will trace their entanglements in environmental history, anthropology, philosophy, geography, and other adjacent disciplines.

    The syllabus will be tailored to support the particular interests and pursuits of students in the course, but topics may include animal studies, capitalism and consumption, climate writing, disability and environment, disaster studies, environmental justice literature, environmental racism, extinction discourses, extraction narratives, feminist environmental practices, food sovereignty, hope and pleasure, indigenous environmentalisms, land access, militarized and nuclear environments, natural histories and collections, public health, queer environmentalisms, speculative futures, toxicity, urban environmental life, water rights, or the problematic idea of wilderness.

    As a course designed to advance graduate research and increase fluency in an emerging field of study, assignments in this class will include a conference paper and a review of a book published in the last two years.

    English 297c. Experimental Criticism: Graduate Seminar

    Instructor: Beth Blum
    Wednesday, 12:00-2:00pm
    Course Website
    ​​​​​​​Enrollment: Limited to 15 students

    During a time of rampant, albeit necessary, pre-professionalization, this graduate seminar is meant to both model and inspire academic risk-taking. It offers a selective overview of recent literary criticism that productively transgresses formal, conceptual, and disciplinary norms. Readings may include: Brent Hayes Edwards, Susan Stanford Friedman, Sianne Ngai, Saidiya Hartman, Eric Hayot, Paul Saint-Amour, Paul Stephens & Robert Hardwick Weston, and Wai Chee Dimock, among others.