Course Descriptions: Avery Point Campus

Fall 2020

Each semester the faculty for the Department of English provide course descriptions that build upon the University's catalog descriptions. These individually crafted descriptions provide information about variable topics, authors, novels, texts, writing assignments, and whether instructor consent is required to enroll. The details, along with reviewing the advising report, will help students select course options that best meet one's interests and academic requirements.

The following list includes Undergraduate courses that are sequenced after the First-Year Writing requirement and will change each semester.

2000-Level Courses

2100: British Literature I

This course satisfies the following:

  • General Education Requirements: Content Area One (Arts & Humanities)
  • English Major Requirements:
    • 2008-2016 Plans: Section B1 (Survey and Period Courses Before 1800) or F (Elective Courses) and Distribution Requirement 1
    • 2017-2019 Plan: Section B1 (British Literature) or F (Elective Courses) and Distribution Requirement
  • Meets the British Literature requirement for the English Minor
  • Meets one of NEAG’s Secondary Education British Literature Requirements

2100 | MW 11:15 - 12:30 | Sarkar, Debapriya

This course surveys texts and ideas from the early medieval period to the eighteenth century. We will examine a variety of genres – poetry, drama, and prose – across a broad historical period to trace the changing histories and technologies of literary production. A central theme of the course will be the role played by the literary imagination in shaping selves and worlds. We will explore issues of politics, ethics, race, gender, and religion.  And we will follow writers from the court to the country, from the past to the present, and we will ask how these creative forays enabled them to traverse linguistic and national boundaries. Throughout the semester, we will pursue a series of questions in order to trace how ideas and forms evolve across the period of our study: How do authors formulate new models of selfhood in their writings? How do they situate these selves within imagined communities? How do literary writings formulate and disseminate social, political, and ethical ways of being? How does the idea of the “literary” emerge over this time?

2203W: American Literature Since 1880

This course satisfies the following: 

  • General Education Requirement: Content Area One (Arts & Humanities - Literature) and one Writing Competency class
  • English Major Requirements: 
    • 2008-2016 Plans: Section B2 (Survey and Period Courses After 1800) or F (Elective Courses)
    • 2017-2019 Plan: Section B2 (American Literature) or F (Elective Courses)
  • Meets the American Literature requirement for the English Minor
  • Meets one of NEAG's Secondary Education American Literature Requirements

2203W | TuTh 11:00 - 12:15 | Troeger, Rebecca


2409: The Modern Novel

This course satisfies the following:

  • General Education Requirements: Content Area One (Arts & Humanities - Literature)
  • English Major Requirements:
    • 2008-2016 Plans: Section C (Methods) or F (Elective Courses)
    • 2017-2019 Plan: Section C (Genre) or F (Elective Courses)
  • Meets one of NEAG’s Secondary Education Genre Courses requirements
  • Applies toward the Genre category for the Concentration in Creative Writing

2409 | TuTh 3:30 - 4:45 | Rogers, Lynne D.

The class will read six novels dating from the early 20th century to the post 9/11 narrative to acquaint students with both contemporary narrative trends and the interpersonal and social concerns expressed in the modern novel. The readings will include texts within the traditional canon and then move on to more recent literary efforts. By following a linear time line, students will read each text as a separate entity but also examine how the writer inserts their narrative within a wider literary tradition. The class will be looking at a variety of stylistic techniques and thematic explorations in each novel. Topics will include the complexity of human relationships, cross cultural relations and the individual’s relationship to his or her political and social environments.

The readings will also include selected critical articles, available on the university library site and HuskyCT. These secondary articles will provide an introduction to literary criticism pertinent to the texts and to help students formulate their written responses. These articles have been selected to introduce students a range of critical approaches to the modern novel.

Students will be expected to write a 2-3 page, one and a half spaced, essay on the first five novels and take a final exam. The class will be taught in a seminar format.

3000-Level Courses

3319: Topics in Postcolonial Studies

This course satisfies the following:

  • General Education Requirements: Content Area Four (Diversity & Multiculturalism - International)
  • English Major Requirements:
    • 2008-2016 Plans: Section C (Methods) or F (Elective Courses) and Distribution Requirement 2
    • 2017-2019 Plan: Section B3 (Anglophone & Postcolonial Literature)
  • Meets NEAG’s Secondary Education International Literature Requirement

3319 | TuTh 5:30 - 6:45 | Rogers, Lynne D.

This seminar format class will be looking at the world wide refugee crisis. We are experiencing the largest global refugee crisis in history today with over with over 6 million refugees from Syria alone.

In this seminar, students will be reading a selection of award winning journalistic accounts starting with Leila Abouzeid’s No Turning Back: Life, Loss, and Hope in Wartime Syria to give students a context to the refugee crisis and then move to a more global focus reading five recent novels that document the refugee experience around the world. The class will also watch several films to help students visualize the conditions and complications of camp life and look at some contemporary artists who are also creatively recording their experience in an effort to create awareness and to witness their painful exodus. Students will explore the difficulties of refugee life as well as the problems posed for the host countries and the ensuing complications of creating a new post traumatic life within a foreign culture.

Students will write three 5-6 page papers using contemporary sources to give them a factual and more nuanced reading of the novels. This class would be of interest to English majors as well as students interested in human rights who want to fulfill a GenED requirement covering a contemporary issue. 

3653: Maritime Literature

This course satisfies the following:

  • English Major Requirements:
    • 2008-2019 Plans: Section F (Elective Courses)

3653 | TuTh 9:30 - 10:45 | Bercaw Edwards, Mary K.

This course will examine the chronological development of a literature wherein the sea functions as physical, psychological, and philosophical setting. We will begin by investigating early uses of the sea in literature and ways in which early works influenced later writings. Through the use of literary theory and maritime history, we will establish the context in which these works were produced. But, above all, we examine closely the works themselves.

Literary genres covered in the course will include poetry, narrative, short stories, and novels. We will study works by Herman Melville, Joseph Conrad, and other lesser-known sea writers. The course will conclude with contemporary poetry written by the Fisher Poets who gather in Astoria, Oregon, each year.

Students must finish the assigned reading prior to class meeting. Grades will be based on completed reading and class participation as well as shorter and longer papers. The class will be a combination of lectures, class discussion, class presentations, films, and field trips.

4000-Level Courses

4965W: Advanced Studies in Early Literature

This course satisfies the following:

  • General Education Requirement: One Writing Competency class
  • English Major Requirements:
    • 2008-2016 Plans: Section E (Advanced Study) or F (Elective Courses) and Distribution Requirement 1
    • 2017-2019 Plans: Section E (Advanced Study) or F (Elective Courses) and the pre-1800 Distribution Requirement

4965W | MW 9:05 - 10:20 | Sarkar, Debapriya 

Early Modern Ecologies
This course examines how sixteenth and seventeenth century literature both reflects and shapes ideas about the environment. By reading texts from a variety of genres, including drama, poetry, prose fiction, travel literature, and essays, we will inquire: how do writers envision the relation of humans to their non-human environs (land, plants, animals, etc.)? How does evolving knowledge about the natural world intersect with ethical, social, and political issues? What responsibility does “literature" have to the “environment”? And how might imaginative writing bring into conversation discourses of environmental, racial, and social justice? We will draw on recent scholarship in the environmental humanities and over the course of the semester, work towards developing a definition of early modern environmental literature.

We will study different scales of ecologies—from the cosmic to the national to the domestic—in order to highlight how various actors (philosophers, poets, dramatists, artisans, etc.) were engaged in “environmental thinking.” Our primary readings will be drawn from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, from Shakespearean drama to Miltonic epic, from lyric poetry to utopian fiction. However we will approach the historically and culturally specific concerns raised by these works through the lens of key theoretical concepts (such as the “anthropocene”) and different strands of eco-criticism (such as ecofeminism and the blue humanities). By juxtaposing Renaissance writing with modern scholarship, the course invites research not only into the pre-modern imagination, but also into the relation of the present to the past we struggle to apprehend.