Friday, October 24, 2014

The Gothic Games are Afoot!

The English Department presents a contest for Halloween week, called The Gothic Games.  Guess the answer to each day's literary trivia question, posted on the bulletin board outside the English suite in DS 138.  Enter a drawing to win a prize by placing your answer in the gold box on the reception area desk!  Prizes will be presented at the English Department meeting, next Thursday, October 30th at 11:30 in DS 222.

The Games begin today, with a new question every day through next Thursday--one entry per person per day, please!


Today's question:  What does Roderick Usher hear?

Today's Hint, from Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher":

"Not hear it?  --yes, I hear it, and have heard it.  Long--long--long--many minutes, many hours, many days, have I heard it--yet I dared not--oh, pity me, miserable wretch that I am!  --I dared not--I dared not speak!  We have put her living in the tomb!  Said I not that my senses were acute?  I now tell you that I heard her first feeble movements in the hollow coffin.  I heard them--many, many days ago--yet I dared not--I dared not speak!  And now--to-night--Ethelred--ha ha!  --the breaking of the hermit's door, and the death-cry of the dragon, and the clangour of the shield!  --say, rather, the rending of her coffin, and the grating of the iron hinges of her prison, and her struggles within the copper archway of the vault!  Oh whither shall I fly?  Will she not be here anon?  Is she not hurrying to upbraid me for my haste?  Have I not heard her footsteps on the stair?  Do I not distinguish that heavy and horrible beating of her heart?  Madman!"  --here he sprang furiously to his feet, and shrieked out his syllables, as if in the effort he were giving up his soul--"Madman! I tell you that she now stands without the door!"




Sunday, October 19, 2014

Spring 2015 course offerings


CMP101: English Composition
 
Instructor: Various
Competencies: Communication Skills, Information Literacy, Writing Intensive (primary); Critical Thinking and Creative Problem Solving (secondary)
 
Writing is one of the most important skills you will develop as part of your college degree. Not only is the ability to write crucial to all courses of academic study (and many professions), it also shapes us as thinking individuals in the most profound of ways. To a large extent, writing is thinking, and the ways we write and the purposes we pursue shape our identities – not only as scholars, but as citizens of the modern world. This is true more than ever in the age of the internet, in which so much of our lives is mediated by text, and our ability to read critically and write cogently determines how we can relate to others professionally, commercially, and personally.
            This course introduces and develops the core elements of effective writing at college. The primary emphasis is on developing rhetorical awareness: an understanding of the contexts, purposes, and expectations that govern college-level writing. Within that broad focus, approaches will vary depending on instructor. Some courses may center on an overarching theme or question for analysis. Others may involve reading and writing on a wide range of subjects, or on subjects chosen by students. What all courses share is one fundamental principle: the best way to learn writing is by writing. By the end of this semester, you will have the skills to do so with confidence.
LIT112: Approaches to Literature
 
Instructor: Hamish Dalley
Core Competencies: Communication Skills, Writing Intensive
 
 
 
LIT 112 introduces students to the conventions of analysis in the discipline of English, with an emphasis on the principles of effective literary argumentation. The course focuses on the development of critical thinking, reading, and writing skills and will prepare students to understand the controversies that undergird the criticism of different texts in the Humanities.
 
 
Sample Texts
Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Purple Hibiscus
Alison Bechdel, Fun Home
Stories by V.S. Naipaul and others
Poetry by T.S. Eliot, W.H. Auden, Robert Browning, Judith Wright
Ted Kotcheff (dir.), Wake in Fright


 
LIT 112: Approaches to Literature
 
Learning Community
 
Instructor: Charlie Wesley
Core Competencies: Communication Skills, Writing Intensive
 
This learning community (LC 07) “Literature and Law: The Real and Surreal,” is linked with PSC-223. Works of literature and media representations often present complex depictions of power, the law, and legal issues. While the accuracy of these depictions can be questionable, some aspects of the law are as surreal as anything found in fiction. In this course we'll look at dystopian fiction, legal history, television (such as episodes of Breaking Bad) and case studies to examine important questions about surveillance, freedom of speech, individual liberty, and government power. LIT 112 introduces students to the conventions of analysis in the discipline of English, with an emphasis on the principles of effective literary argumentation. The course focuses on the development of critical thinking, reading, and writing skills and will prepare students to understand the controversies that undergird the criticism of different texts in the Humanities.
 
Possible texts and films


Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
Cormac McCarthy, The Road
Michael Radford, 1984
Shirley Jackson, “The Lottery”


LIT202: World Literature II
Encounters
 
Instructor: Hamish Dalley
Core Competency: Writing Intensive
If we can ever experience “the world,” we usually experience it as an encounter – a moment in which we suddenly become aware of other places, times, or ways of living, and see ourselves from a new perspective. This course traces how our world has come to its current form through a literature of encounters. Beginning in the ancient world with the wanderings of Herodotus (the first anthropologist), we will explore some of the various ways that people have met, conversed, traded, and fought across cultural, linguistic, religious or racial boundaries. This historical survey will include writing from the ancient Mediterranean, Arab middle ages, Mexico at the time of the Conquest, the Black Atlantic of slavery, the teeming metropolises of nineteenth-century Europe—and today. We will learn how encounters have shaped a long history of globalization, and think about how such moments have created a world defined by travel, multiplicity, displacement, and diversity—for better and for worse.
Sample Texts


Herodotus, The Histories
The Arabian Nights
Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vass, The African, Written by Himself
Baudelaire, The Flowers of Evil
Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea
Nadine Gordimer, July’s People
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Thing Around Your Neck


LIT 204: British Literature II

Instructor: Charlie Wesley
 
Core Competencies:
Contextual Integration, Writing Intensive
 
 
 
This course is designed to give the student an understanding and appreciation of the traditions of British literature from the early nineteenth-century Romantic period to the present. Through close and critical reading of selected works, students are acquainted with the various genres and major thematic and philosophical movements in British literature. 
 
Possible texts and films


Angela Carter, Nights at the Circus
Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
Charles Dickens, Hard Times
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
Michael Radford, 1984


LIT213: Contemporary Native American Literature
Instructor: Robert Morace
Learning Community; Core Competency: Communication Skills
 
 
The writing of Native American authors often reflects their cultural experiences. This learning community explores Native American literature, examining many differing Native American cultures, the relationships that tie them together, and their vexed relationships to the Euro-American mainstream and other indigenous marginalized peoples (Canadian First Nations, Australian Aboriginal and New Zealand Maori). How are indigenous cultures alike? How are they different? What does it mean to produce Native American art, including literary art, using the genres and media of the Euro-American society that first removed and then nearly exterminated your ancestors – and then appropriated them as stock figures in westerns (‘Noble Savage,’ or just ruthless savages) or as team mascots (for example, Redskins)? What does it mean to almost always see yourself (mis)represented? What does it mean to represent yourself and others like you? This is a learning community about posing questions and arriving at plausible and persuasive answers drawn from the evidence. As such, it has huge relevance to other cases of center-margin/majority-minority relationships (including sexual, racial, ethnic, religious, and socio-economic).
 
Sample Texts


Sherman Alexie, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven
Louise Erdrich, Love Medicine
LeAnne Howe, Miko Kings: An Indian Baseball Story
Chris Eyre, Smoke Signals


LIT247: Shakespeare in Performance
Learning Community
Shakespeare Onstage: Character and Conflict

Dr. Nancy Marck Cantwell
Competencies: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, Contextual Integration*
What drives Shakespearean characters like Hamlet, Lady Macbeth, and King Lear?  This course will examine the conflicts these and many other famous characters face in three or four key plays, using the literary technique of close reading to understand what makes each one tick.  Our study of the plays will be furthered by understanding more about Shakespeare’s world and the Renaissance cultural values and attitudes reflected in these dramas.  We’ll also investigate problems of both interpretation and staging, looking at aspects of theatre history to see how directors and actors have imagined these characters and their uniquely human predicaments.
 
Readings to include:
Macbeth, Hamlet, King Lear
 
* pending EPC approval


 LIT309:
Film Seminar World Film

Instructor: Robert Morace
Core Competencies: Affective Awareness (primary), Contextual Integration and Communication Skills (secondary); Writing Intensive
This course introduces a variety of notable films from a cross-section of national cinemas, including those of Italy, India, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, England, Mexico, Scotland and Scandinavia. In doing so, the course will enable you to understand film (via our screenings, readings and discussions) as art, as technology, as commodity and as cultural artifact. The course will address the role national cinemas play in specific cultures and as exportable, consumable goods in an increasingly cosmopolitan global economy.


Sample Films
Vittorio DeSica’s Bicycle Thieves
Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali
Bruce Beresford’s Breaker Morant
Niki Caro’s Whale Rider
Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon
Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story
Yimou Zhang’s House of Flying Daggers
Lixin Fan’s Last Train Home
Tom Tykver’s Run, Lola, Run
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s The Lives of Others
Guillermo Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth
Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting
Lynne Ramsay’s Ratcatcher
Ingmar Bergman’s Seventh Seal
Niels Arden Oplev’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Stephen Frears’ Dirty Pretty Things
 


 CMP311: Advanced Composition
 
Instructor: Erica Frisicaro-Pawlowski
 
Core Competencies: Communication Skills; Information Literacy. Writing Intensive. Fulfills Research & Presentation requirement.
 
Composition 311 explores how writers compose research in advanced academic settings.  The course offers extensive opportunities for writing, and will develop skills in communication, research, and presentation of original work—fundamental elements of the core curriculum. Because the course focuses on advanced academic research and the transition into writing for the professions, it is designed for students well progressed in their major (Juniors and Seniors).
 
In this course, we will critically examine how writing functions through both theoretical and practical lenses, defining and refining an understanding of what effective writing entails in various contexts.  In addition, we will reflect frequently on the ways in which writing both contributes to and constitutes intellectual projects in which they are engaged. The objectives of the class reflect a central premise: that writing is not only a means of communication, but also a sophisticated, complex, and rigorous process of discovering, shaping, and sharing knowledge. Students who successfully complete the class will be able to analyze, interpret, and respond to new contexts for writing. These are skills you will face in your advanced course work—and beyond.


 




LIT347: Understanding Africa
 
Instructor: Hamish Dalley
Core Competencies: Affective Awareness, Contextual Integration, Communication Skills; Writing Intensive*
Prerequisites: LIT112, or CMP101 with permission of instructor
 
Africa is the second largest continent on earth, in both size and population—home to 53 independent countries and, if you include its vast global diaspora, more than a billion people. Yet it is also one of the most ill-understood corners of the globe, presented by the media as little more than a sum of conflict, poverty, and disease. This course challenges us to think otherwise. We will explore some of the continent’s huge diversity through writing by men and women who live or have lived there. We will read fiction, poetry, film, and drama from the four corners of Africa (and overseas), and we will reflect on what the stories Africans tell reveal about the world—theirs and ours.
 
 


Sample Texts
 


Poetry of the Negritude Movement
Amos Tutuola, The Palmwine Drinkard
Chinua Achebe, Arrow of God
Ngugi wa Thiong’o, I Will Marry When I Want
Stories by Assia Djebar, Nadine Gordimer, and Ama Ata Aidoo
Ahmadou Kourouma, Allah is not Obliged
Athol Fugard, Tsotsi
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah




* pending EPC approval
 


LIT 347: Major Authors
Faulkner,
García Márquez,
and Morrison


 
Instructor: Charlie Wesley
Core Competencies: Affective Awareness, Contextual, Communication Skills, Writing Intensive.
This course offers an in-depth survey of three of the most significant authors in literature. Significant works of fiction by these award-winning authors will be closely examined in relation to their specific history and culture, socio-political positions, national affiliations, critical reception,
and representations in the media. We will also look at minor works, biographical material, nonfiction, and other key documents, and the issue of influence between authors will be discussed.
 
Possible texts


William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom!; “Barn Burning”
Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude; “A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings”
Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye; “Recitatif




LIT 420: Seminar for English Majors
Literature, Criticism, Theory






 
Dr. Nancy Marck Cantwell
Competencies: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, Contextual Integration*
 
As an English major, you have acquired familiarity with what scholars call the canon, a body of literary works judged to be of high quality and lasting value because they reflect on human experience.  You have also probably worked with literary criticism, scholarly writings that explore arguments about the meanings produced when readers interacts with text.  Some criticism offers viewpoints associated with literary theory—a theoretical framework such as feminism, structuralism, or psychoanalysis.  In this course, we will ask how criticism and theory inform our readings of literature, enabling us to see literary works from multiple (sometime contradictory) perspectives.  You will learn to read literature more analytically, as you learn to read criticism more thoroughly through our discussion of various theoretical frameworks.  Whether you are preparing to teach, enter graduate school, or seek a professional career, this course will hone your ability to think critically about a text, produce thoughtful written responses to your reading, and present your ideas clearly in a public forum.


 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Davies-Jackson Scholarship & Washington Internship Institute

Graduating seniors are invited to apply for up to two years of study at St. John's College at the University of Cambridge, England through the Davies-Jackson Scholarship.  You must have an exceptional academic record and be the first in your family to graduate from college.  The scholarship, valued at approximately $50,000 is offered annually to support study for a "Cantab Degree," considered the equivalent of an M.A. in the United States.  The deadline for applications is November 1, 2014.  Please contact Dr. Marck for more information.

Reminder: Online applications for the Spring 2015 Washington Internship Institute must be completed by October 24th.  English graduates who have participated found this a valuable experience.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Daily Rituals of Famous Writers

What do Jane Austen, Franz Kafka, and Stephen King have in common?  They all relied/rely on daily
Stephen King writes 2000 words a day, every day.
writing habits to keep moving their projects along to completion.

Read more about these and many other writers in this article on Mason Curry's book, Rituals: How Great Minds Make Time, Find Inspiration, and Get to Work:

http://www.shortlist.com/entertainment/books/the-daily-rituals-of-famous-writers#

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Departmental Meeting this Thursday

Please plan on attending our first departmental meeting of the 2014-15 academic year, this Thursday, September 25th at 11:30 in DS 222.  There will be pizza, introductions of new faculty and our new office suite in DS 138, advice about Advance Registration, and information on internships, and descriptions of new courses offered in Spring 2015.  See you there!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Meet New English Faculty Member Hamish Dalley!

I’ve always taken a deep delight in reading, but my path into teaching World and English literature at Daemen College was a winding one. My first major when I started university as an undergraduate was in anthropology. I wanted to be an archaeologist; to dig things up; to touch history with my hands. That didn’t work out, largely because before the first semester had finished I’d been seduced by my introductory English survey. The lecture theatre for ENG130 at the University of Otago in 2002 was dangerous – it was the kind of place I discovered I didn’t want to leave. Fortunately – for me and for readers everywhere – the truth I found is that we never have to.
                I took a double honours degree in English and History in Dunedin, a small city in the far south of New Zealand which has penguins, albatrosses, and rain. I then spent two years teaching conversational English to adults and elementary-school students in Japan, before starting a PhD in Interdisciplinary Humanities at the Australian National University that eventually morphed into a study of the postcolonial historical novel. My research explores how history and fiction are intertwined: how is knowledge of the past captured in writing? What kind of historical understanding can we achieve by reading novels? How are present-day conflicts reflected in creative writing about the past? In addition to my book on this subject – which focuses on literature from Nigeria, Australia, and New Zealand, I have also published on realism as a literary form, the perception of time in Salman Rushdie and Chinua Achebe’s fiction, and traumatic responses to civil war in Africa. I attended the Institute of World Literature at Harvard in 2013.
                Before moving to Daemen in Fall 2014 I worked as a learning adviser at the ANU’s Academic Skills and Learning Centre. There I developed a fascination with helping students develop their writing skills. I’m looking forward to working here with students in a range of exciting courses that may not involve literally touching history with our hands (though they might…) but will certainly explore some of the ways that literature can take us to worlds – both real and imagined, past, present and future – that we have never have visited before.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Class of 2014 puts best foot forward!

The English Department proudly celebrates the graduation of the Class of 2014--Maverick Cummings, Carolyn Hutchen, Joshua Kraft, Rasheedah Muhammad, Jamie Quinn, Molly Stroka, Thomas Wilkie, and Jenna Wright.  Their future plans promise success, too--to name only two, Maverick goes on to a Master's program at Canisius College and Jamie will begin a teaching job in Florida.
Joshua Kraft, Jenna Wright, Thomas Wilkie, Rasheedah Muhammad, Maverick Cummings, and Jamie Quinn.
Inset: Dr. Peterson and Dr. Marck