The Department of English Language and Literature is committed to theoretical and historical analysis of literature and culture. Consistently among the most popular classes among MAPH students, English courses cover a broad range of chronological periods, subfields, media, and genres. During their MAPH year, students can choose to pursue all of their coursework within the Department or limit their selection to just a few English courses. Students who take English courses also often enroll in courses in Art History, Cinema and Media Studies, Comparative Literature, Creative Writing, Philosophy, and Theater and Performance Studies.

Selected Faculty

Maud Ellmann

Maud Ellmann

British and European Modernism, Feminism, Psychoanalysis
Patrick Jagoda

Patrick Jagoda

New Media Studies, 20th- and 21st-Century American Literature and Culture

Sample Courses

ENGL 10310 - Theories of Gender and Sexuality ­(Lauren Berlant)
This course’s aim is triple: to engage scenes and concepts central to the interdisciplinary study of gender and sexuality; to provide familiarity with key theoretical anchors for that study; and to provide skills for deriving the theoretical bases of any kind of method.

ENGL 45007 - Assemblage: Inorganic Form (Bill Brown)
This course seeks to develop some significant relation between assemblage as it is understood as an artistic practice that came to thrive in the 20th century and assemblage deployed as an analytic—a master trope within various fields (archaeology, anthropology, human geography, urban and social theory).

ENGL 32706 – Autobiography (Deborah Nelson)
This course will look at experimental autobiographies such as Berryman’s Dream Songs, Lorde’s Zami, Nabokov’s Speak Memory, Millet’s Loony Bin Trip, Hejinian’s My Life, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and Maus. We will ask how these autobiographies shape postmodern theories of identity, as well as how these theories have influenced self-representation.

ENGL 41102 - The Victorian Unconscious (Zach Samalin)
Taking works by Charlotte and Emily Brontë, Charles Dickens, Henry Mayhew, Thomas Hardy, and Henry James as our principle points of departure, this course will consider the ways in which Victorian literature and culture can at once explain and be explained by psychoanalytic theory.

ENGL 46707 - Race and the Human in Anticolonial Thought (Sonali Thakkar)
This course will consider the vexed status of the human—and of the corresponding terms, humanism and humanity—in midcentury anticolonial thought and postwar antiracist discourse, beginning with attempts in literature, philosophy, and in the work of institutions to reconstitute “humanity” as a political and moral constituency after World War Two.

See the English Department course page for additional courses and descriptions.

Recent English Thesis Projects

“Genre Work: Mythopoesis and Manure, John Williams and the West”
Tyler Jagel, MAPH ’10
Advisor: Bill Brown

“Bataille’s Notion of General Economy and the Avant-Garde in American Poetry English”
Eric Powell, MAPH ’11
Advisor: John Wilkinson

“Leaving Middlemarch: The Subversive Power of Sympathy”
Devin Buckley, MAPH ’14
Advisor: Maud Ellmann

“An Empty Hall Echoing: Sound and the Self in William Wells Brown’s Clotel
Lex Nalley, MAPH ’14
Advisor: Lauren Berlant

“‘It’s in the blood I suppose’: Formative Inheritance and the Prostitute’s Daughter in Mrs. Warren’s Profession and A Babe in Bohemia
Anya Metzer, MAPH ’16
Advisor: Elaine Hadley