In the Department

  • Dr. Marcela Sulak will be teaching a new course: “American Immigrant Writing." The course introduces students to American literature written from the end of the Civil War to the present that has been produced by immigrants.  We will discuss the concept of national literature, as well as the concept of nation as a narrated construct, identity politics, and individualism. We’ll also consider the mechanisms whereby certain works are canonized into a national narrative and others are passed over.

  • “Documentaries” explores how to create and write about art that is made out
    of news, current events, and topics of social and cultural relevance. We will
    attend in particular to representing voices, events, and phenomena that are
    underrepresented in national, social, and cultural discourse. The course
    introduces student writers to the genre of lyric essay, documentary poetry,
    and researched creative nonfiction/poetry. Students will read various
    examples of contemporary and modern documentary poetry/lyric essays,
    studying their...

  • In Open Your Hand: Teaching as a Jew, Teaching as an American (Rutgers University Press, 2018), Ilana Blumberg explores how civic and religious commitments shape the culture of her humanities classrooms, and argues that there is no education without ethics. When we know what sort of society we seek to build, our teaching practices follow.

     
    In vivid classroom scenes from kindergarten through middle school to the university level, Blumberg conveys the drama of intellectual discovery...
  • Taught by Dr. Dalia Fadila, this course will examine literature written by Arabs of American descent in the United States since the early 20th century. Students will work at analyzing and understanding a range of texts, including novels, essays, poetry, and short stories as well as the different ways they attempt to define Arab American literature as a genre. This course is based on the assumption that understanding the politics of identity, language, gender and culture helps reveal the ways Arab American literature theorizes about itself. Lines of comparison and contrast will be...

  • Prof. Evan Fallenberg will be teaching a new writing course. In this workshop, students will be introduced to the practice of literary translation – which Goethe called "… one of the weightiest and worthiest undertakings in the general concerns of the world" – and experience how texts both define and transcend cultural borders. Each week we will discuss students’ translations of literary works from any language (the language of their choosing) into English, together with essays, stories and published translations, in order to examine the principal...

  • In an interview with the magazine Believer in 2014, the Irish poet, Eavan Boland remarked: “I was a woman in a house in the suburbs, married with two small children. It was a life lived by many women around me, but it was still not named in Irish poetry. I’ve often said, … that when I was young it was easier to have a political murder in a poem than a baby.”

    In this new course, taught by Dr. Karin Berkman, we will consider how women writers actively create a place for their experience in literature. We will examine constructions of femininity in...

  • Dr. Esther Schupak will be teaching a new course that will focus on gendered power relations in Shakespeare's texts. Early feminist criticism often coalesced around the two binaries of viewing Shakespeare’s work as either proto-feminist or unredeemably misogynist, while later feminist work has tended to adopt the narrative of women’s oppression. The limitation of this narrative is not that it is incorrect, but that it is reductive, failing to account for the many subtleties and complexities of Shakespeare’s writing and its interplay with the history of early...

  • Taught by Prof. Sulak, this creative writing workshop is a study of literary genres; what they do, how they work, how to write about them, and how to produce them. The course takes as its guiding principle the idea that genre distinctions are a question of degree, rather than category.  The first Western medical texts, histories and narratives were written in verse form. In Greece, poetic meter was described in dance steps. More recently, verse novels, such as Elizabeth Barrat Browning’s Aurora Leigh 1852, Vikram Seth’s 1986 Golden Gate, and Dereck Walcott’s Omeros (...

  • Did you know that Arabic speaking kids all over the world first acquire a variety of Arabic that is only spoken and does not have any conventional written form? Yet, all Arabic books, including children’s storybooks are written in a different variety of the language called Standard Arabic. This language variety is learnt primarily at school and is remarkably different from the spoken variety in vocabulary and also in phonological, morphological and syntactic structure. It is estimated that only 20% of the words in the spoken lexicon of preschool children exist in an identical form in...

  • South African apartheid sign

    Taught by Dr. Karin Berkman, this course examines South African cultural production between 1948 and 1996, under apartheid rule and in the post-apartheid period. During the course of the semester, the class will read the works of some of South Africa’s most renowned writers, including Alan Paton, Nadine Gordimer, Athol Fugard, Oswald Mtshali, Mongane Wally Serote, Dennis Brutus, Antjie Krog, among others, and analyze diverse literary forms including the novel, the short story, life writing, drama, and poetry. In addition, close attention will be paid to South African film. In order...