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English Language & Literature

The Department of English Language and Literature aims to teach all students to write and speak well and to read skillfully, thoughtfully and with pleasure. We offer many courses that stress literary history, influential figures, various theoretical perspectives, linguistic developments and diverse emergent fields. We also offer students opportunities to pursue creative writing of their own.

We expect that our majors will graduate with an understanding of the historical and cultural forces that have shaped literatures in English, from the British Isles and around the world. We want all of our students to learn to wrestle with the complex interpretive challenges that literature poses and to become, in the words of Henry James, people “upon whom nothing is lost.”

Department Updates

Creative Writing Courses

Interested in a creative writing course for the fall semester? Please go to the creative writing section of our website for more information.

Student reading under an autumn tree

About the Department

The purpose of the English major is to develop a critical and historical understanding of the English language and of the literary traditions it has shaped in Britain, in the Americas and throughout the world. During their study of literature at Smith, English majors are also encouraged to take allied courses in classics, other literatures, history, philosophy, religion, art, film and theater.

Getting Started

Most students begin their study of literature at Smith with English 120 or a first-year seminar before proceeding to one of the courses—199, then 200 or 231—that serves as a gateway for the major. First-year students who have an English Literature and Composition AP score of 4 or 5, or a score of 710 on the Critical Reading portion of the SAT, may enter one of the gateway courses in the fall semester. Those first-year students who have taken a gateway course in the fall may, after consultation with the instructor, elect a 200-level class beyond the gateway in the spring.

Student Liaisons

Liaisons are junior or senior Smith English majors who, as their title implies, act to connect undergraduates with faculty in the department. They meet occasionally with the chair to report on student issues or concerns, and they organize social events—parties, film screenings and informal discussions with individual faculty members. English majors and prospective majors are invited to talk to the liaisons about the program, professors, essay writing, the study of literature—or if you just want to chat about books.

Lily Braun-Arnold ’26

I’m an English major on the creative writing track. Although I enjoy any sort of creative writing, I have a special place in my heart for science and speculative fiction, especially if it involves the apocalypse. At Smith, I’ve taken introductory and intermediate fiction writing and I intend to expand that list in the coming semesters. I also enjoy taking a wide range of classes outside the major in order to learn more about the topics I’m interested in writing about (especially in the classics, philosophy and biology departments). Outside of Smith, I recently sold my debut novel to Penguin Random House and have interned at multiple literary agencies over the past couple of summers. I’m also a WOZQ DJ and play trombone in the Smith College Wind Ensemble. I would love to chat about anything publishing-related, about your creative writing projects, or your interests within the English major. You can reach me at lbraunarnold@smith.edu.

Smilla Eihausen ’27J

I am an English major on the literary track intending to minor in Psychology. I recently transferred to Smith from the University of Edinburgh to escape the dreary weather and to explore a larger variety of subjects. Last term, I took a Romanticism course that sparked my interest in Gothic writing, specifically Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and William Blake’s poetry. I was fascinated by the queer and feminist undertones found in many of the works we studied, something I further analyzed in one of my essays, “Queerness in Northanger Abbey.” In the spring, I helped organize an open-mic event called Sweetheart Soirée where students performed any writing related to the concept of “love.” Let me know if you are ever interested in organizing more literary events! I am also very passionate about creative writing and hope to work in an international publishing house one day. In my free time, I like to cook Italian and Thai food, rock climb, and rewatch The Parent Trap. If you have any questions or would like to chat, you can reach me at seihausen@smith.edu.

Requirements & Courses

Goals for Majors in English Language and Literature

We want our students to read literary texts—from an array of traditions, historical periods, and genres—closely, critically, with an alertness to complexity and an openness to pleasure; and we wish them to realize and to articulate the power of those texts as sites for critical thinking, moral and intellectual exploration, and engagement with the world.

Accordingly, students who complete the major in English language and literature should be able to:

  • Understand and be familiar with major movements, authors and expressive traditions of British, American and world literatures in English.
  • Understand literature in relation to historical frameworks, both diachronic (literary history across time, texts in relation to prior texts) and synchronic (texts in their own time, in relation to the contexts that shape an era’s thought and expression).
  • Think cogently about the production of literary meaning, understanding the resources of form and genre and the intellectual power of major critical theories and interpretive methods.
  • Write clear, forceful interpretive arguments, which give voice to a complex understanding of literary texts and marshal evidence carefully and persuasively.
  • Conduct scholarly research in print and electronic formats, citing sources accurately and responsibly—and using that research to enter the critical debates and conversations that texts provoke.
  • Make effective use of oral communication and presentation techniques.
  • Combine, as their careers unfold, close reading, argumentative and evaluative skills, and research into their own longer works of literary analysis.

English Language and Literature Major

The following requirements aim to provide majors with a broad understanding of literatures in English, acquaint them with the key questions and intellectual strategies that shape the discipline of literary study, and offer them the opportunity to work independently at an advanced level.

I. Major in English with a Literary Emphasis
Requirements

At least ten semester courses

  1. Gateway requirement:
    1. ENG 199 to provide foundational methodological training in interpretation
    2. ENG 200 or ENG 231 to provide a foundational understanding of the development of British or American literature from its beginnings
  2.  At least one course wholly devoted to works by Chaucer, Shakespeare or Milton, because their writing has been so crucial to the history of literary study and so generative for later writers
  3. At least one course at the 200 level (or above) with a focus on race/ethnicity as the central category of analysis, because the spread of the British Empire has made English a global language with a rich array of divergent postcolonial literary traditions, and because multiple racial formations in North America have generated different ethnic American and diasporic literatures
  4. At least four additional elective courses
    1. Only one of which may be in creative writing
    2. Only one of which may be a 100-level course (e.g. ENG 125 or one FYS taught by a member of the English Department)
  5. One 300-level seminar in literature as a capstone experience, to encourage students to move toward greater independence and sophistication as they pursue their studies
  6. One of the following additional capstone experiences
    1. A second 300-level seminar in literature
    2. A four-credit special studies course in literature
    3. A relevant four-credit concentration capstone course
    4. An honors thesis, to be completed in the senior year
II. Major in English with a Creative Writing Emphasis
Requirements

At least ten semester courses

  1. Gateway requirement:
    1. ENG 199 to provide foundational methodological training in interpretation.
    2. ENG 200 or ENG 231 to provide a foundational understanding of the development of British or American literature from its beginnings.
  2. At least one course wholly devoted to works by Chaucer, Shakespeare or Milton, because their writing has been crucial to the history of literary study and generative for later writers.
  3. At least one course at the 200 level (or above) with a focus on race/ethnicity as the central category of analysis, because the spread of the British Empire has made English a global language with a rich array of divergent postcolonial literary traditions, and because multiple racial formations in North America have generated different ethnic American and diasporic literatures.
  4. Three writing workshops, two of which must be at the 200 or 300 level.
  5. One additional course in literature at the 200 level or above.
  6. Two capstone experiences: One 300-level seminar in literature and one of the following:
    1. A second 300-level seminar in literature.
    2. An additional writing workshop at the 200- or 300-level.
    3. A four-credit special studies in literature or creative writing.
    4. A relevant four-credit concentration capstone.
    5. An honors thesis in creative writing, to be completed in the senior year.
Major Requirement Details
  • Students are encouraged to take more than the minimum ten courses required for the major.
  • Students are asked to develop a deliberative plan for their major in consultation with their advisers, to be revised and updated every semester.
  • Students may design a special focus within the major by choosing three courses related by genre (such as poetry, fiction, drama), historical period, methodological approach or any other category of interest.
  • Courses that fulfill requirement numbers 3 above include, but are not limited to, ENG, AFR, and WLT offerings in postcolonial, African American, Asian American, Latinx and Native American literatures.
  • One course in a foreign literature, taught in the original language, may count toward the major.
  • While only one course in creative writing may count toward the ten required courses for the literature emphasis, we encourage majors with interests in creative writing to choose additional courses in this area.
  • No course counting toward the major may be taken for an S/U grade.
  • Majors with a creative writing emphasis must take at least six literature courses.
  • We strongly recommend that all students take at least one historical sequence: ENG 200ENG 201ENG 202/ WLT 202ENG 203/ WLT 203; or ENG 231ENG 233.

Preparation for Graduate Study

Students interested in graduate school in English literature would be well advised to take a course in literary theory (ENG 285 or WLT 300) and should be aware that most doctoral programs in English require a reading knowledge of two foreign languages. Students interested in high school teaching would be well advised to take both the English (ENG 200ENG 201) and the American (ENG 231ENG 233) literature surveys and a course in literature in English outside Britain and America. Those considering an MFA program in creative writing would be well advised to take literature courses in their chosen form or forms and to consult with their advisers about building a portfolio of selected writings.

Honors

Applicants to honors must have an average GPA of 3.5 or above in the courses they count toward the major, and an overall GPA of 3.33 or above in all other courses by their junior year. During the senior year they will present a thesis, of which the first complete formal draft will be due by the third week of the second semester. After the readers of the thesis have provided students with their evaluations of this draft, the student will have time to revise their work in response to their suggestions. The final completed version of the thesis will be due after spring vacation, to be followed during April by the student’s oral presentation and discussion of their work. 

English Language and Literature Minor

Requirements

Six courses

  1. Two gateway courses.
    1. ENG 199
    2. ENG 200 or ENG 231
  2. Three additional English courses, chosen in consultation with the minor adviser
    • No more than two may be writing workshops.
    • Only one elective course may be at the 100 level.
  3. One 300-level seminar in literature.

 No course counting toward the minor may be taken for an S/U grade.

Course Information

Most students begin their study of literature at Smith with a first-year seminar, taught by a member of the English Department, before proceeding to one of the courses—ENG 199ENG 200, or ENG 231—that serves as a gateway for the major. First-year students who have an English Literature and Composition AP score of 4 or 5, or a score of 710 on the Critical Reading portion of the SAT, may enter one of the gateway courses in the fall semester. Those first-year students who have taken a gateway course in the fall may, after consultation with the instructor, elect a 200-level class beyond the gateway in the spring.

To assist students in selecting appropriate courses, the department’s offerings are arranged in levels I–V, as indicated and explained below.

Level I: Courses numbered 100–198: Introductory Courses, open to all students.

Level II: Courses numbered 199–249. Open to all sophomores, juniors and seniors, and to qualified first-year students. Fall gateway courses ( ENG 199ENG 200, and ENG 231 ) are open to first-year students with the English Literature and Composition AP score of 4 or 5, or a score of 710 on the Critical Reading portion of the SAT, or by permission of the instructor.
These courses serve as entry points to the major, introductions to the critical, historical and methodological issues and questions that underlie the study of literatures in English.

Level III: Courses numbered 250–299. Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors; first-year students admitted only with the permission of the instructor. Recommended background: at least one English course above the 100 level, or as specified in the course description.

Intermediate/Advanced Creative Writing Courses (above the 100-level) may be repeated for credit only with the permission of the instructor and the chair. For all writing courses above the 100 level, no student is admitted to a section until they have submitted appropriate examples of their work and received permission of the instructor. The deadline for submitting a writing sample is by the last day before registration starts in April for a fall course and the last day before registration starts in November for a spring course. Please contact the department assistant with any questions.

Level IV: 300-level courses, but not seminars. These courses are intended primarily for juniors and seniors who have taken at least two literature courses above the 100-level. Other interested students need the permission of the instructor. 

Level V: Seminars in the English department stand as the capstone experience in the major. They bring students into the public aspects of intellectual life, and the papers they require are not only longer but also different in kind from those in 200-level classes. These papers require a research component in which students engage the published arguments of others, or at least demonstrate an awareness of the ongoing critical conversation their work is entering. But such work proves most useful when most available, and so we also require that students present their thinking in some way to the semi-public sphere of the seminar itself. All students who wish to take a seminar must contact the instructor by the last day of the preregistration period. The instructor selects the students admitted from these applicants. Enrollment limited to 12.

Courses

ENG 112 Reading Contemporary Poetry (2 Credits)

This course offers the opportunity to read contemporary poetry and meet the poets who write it. The course consists of class meetings alternating with public poetry readings by visiting poets. S/U only. Course may be repeated. {L}

Fall, Spring

ENG 125 Colloquium: Introduction to Creative Writing (4 Credits)

This course familiarizes students with key aspects of structure and form in poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction. Students focus in turn on such elements of creative writing as imagery, diction, figurative language, character, setting and plot. Students draft, workshop and revise three pieces of writing over the course of the semester, one each in the genres of poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction. Enrollment limited to 15. {A}{L}

Fall, Spring

ENG 135oi/ WRT 135oi Topics: Introduction to Writing Creative Nonfiction-Outside-In: Finding Story Through Shape (4 Credits)

Offered as ENG 135oi and WRT 135oi. Inspiration is the first question any writer faces. What moves the writer to face the blank page and inspires them to make art out of language? Does a piece of creative nonfiction start with an idea, a question, a story, a sentence? It can be any of those things, but sometimes the most surprising writing comes when one approaches a project a bit sideways, starting not with language or feeling but with shape. This course explores various ways that nonfiction writing can begin with structure—in borrowed forms, as research containers and with deeper structural choices—with reading serving to expand ideas for the possibility of students' own work. This course is also an introduction to the tools and frameworks of the writing class, offering new approaches to generating and refining creative work and building creative community. Prerequisite: One WI course. Enrollment limited to 16. (E)

Spring

ENG 135pt/ WRT 135pt Topics: Introduction to Writing Creative Nonfiction-Writing about Travel, Place and Time (4 Credits)

Writing and reading assignments in this creative nonfiction course will draw from the linked themes of place and travel. You don’t have to be a seasoned traveler to join the course; you can write about any place at all, including home. We’ll also use the Smith campus and Northampton to create travel narratives, and will often work with images and creative walking exercises ("performance writing") in our assignments. You should be prepared to write frequently in class and out, read well, participate in class discussion, and be ready to explore your world with new eyes.Prerequisite: One WI course. Enrollment limited to 16.

Spring, Variable

ENG 135wp/ WRT 135wp Topics: Introduction to Writing Creative Nonfiction-Writing in Words and Pictures (4 Credits)

Offered as ENG 135wp and WRT 135wp. In the 20th century, as literacy rates rose, images disappeared from literature. Pictures were relegated to children’s books; only words were fit for adults. But the situation is changing. The internet and new printing technologies have allowed serious stories to again be told with words and images. This course examines creative nonfiction in graphic novels, hybrid and artist’s books, art labels, zines, digital platforms and more. Students need not be an artist to take this class! Students create word-image memoirs and research-based essays using photos, photocopies, digital images and hand-drawn art. This is a writing course with a visual twist. Prerequisite: One WI course. Enrollment limited to 16.

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 135ws/ WRT 135ws Topics: Introduction to Writing Creative Nonfiction-Writing about the Senses (4 Credits)

Offered as ENG 135ws and WRT 135ws. Sight, sound, touch, smell, taste: Everything humans know is reached through their senses. Humans share a world filtered through a million sensibilities - finding the words to convey what is heard, seen, smelled, tasted and felt is one of the most fundamental skills a writer can develop. In this class, students hone their descriptive powers to go beyond the obvious and uncover language that delights and surprises. Students learn to use one sense to write about another, combine them in powerful metaphors and explore how senses shape the narratives that drive us. Prerequisite: One WI course. Enrollment limited to 16.

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 136/ WRT 136 Journalism: Principles and Practice (4 Credits)

Offered as WRT 136 and ENG 136. In this intellectually rigorous writing class, students learn how to craft compelling "true stories" using the journalist’s tools. They research, report, write, revise, source and share their work—and, through interviewing subjects firsthand, understand how other people see the world. The course considers multiple styles and mediums of journalism, including digital storytelling. Students should focus their attention and effort on academic exposition and argumentation before learning other forms of writing. Prerequisite: One WI course. Enrollment limited to 16.

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 170 History of the English Language (4 Credits)

An introductory exploration of the English language, its history, current areas of change and its future. Related topics such as how dictionaries are made and the structure of the modern publishing industry. Students learn about editing, proofreading and page layout; the course also entails a comprehensive review of grammar and punctuation. WI {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 171/ WLT 272 Composing a Self: Chinese and English Voices (4 Credits)

Offered as ENG 171 and WLT 272. Is the self a story? How do we translate ourselves into multiple personas in different locations and contexts? How do we speak to others with diverse beliefs or ourselves at new times? To learn, students read and compose short texts in Chinese, translate them into English, and consider the art and politics of translation. Working in public-facing genres (memoir, narrative nonfiction, journalism, short stories, social media and multimedia projects), students develop their creative writing in both Chinese and English, as well as understandings of Chinese cultures and of literary and cultural translation. Discussion in Chinese and English. Chinese fluency required. One WI course highly recommended. Enrollment limited to 16. {F}{L}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

ENG 199 Methods of Literary Study (4 Credits)

This course teaches the skills that enable us to read literature with understanding and pleasure. By studying examples from a variety of periods and places, students learn how poetry, prose fiction and drama work, how to interpret them and how to make use of interpretations by others. This course seeks to produce perceptive readers well equipped to take on complex texts. This gateway course for prospective English majors is not recommended for students simply seeking a writing intensive course. Readings in different sections vary, but all involve active discussion and frequent writing. Enrollment limited to 20. WI {L}

Fall, Spring

ENG 200 The English Literary Tradition I (4 Credits)

A selection of the most engaging and influential works of literature written in England before 1800. Some of the earliest survived only by a thread in a single manuscript, many were politically or religiously embattled in their own day, and some were the first of their kind in English. Fights with monsters, dilemmas of chivalry, a storytelling pilgrimage, a Faustian pact with the devil, a taste of the forbidden fruit, epic combat over a lock of hair: these writings remain embedded in our culture and deeply woven into the texture of the English language. Enrollment limited to 20. WI {L}

Fall, Spring

ENG 201 The English Literary Tradition II (4 Credits)

In this course we journey from the Romantics to the Victorians to the Modernists, reading a wide variety of poetry, plays, and novels from the nineteenth century to the twenty-first. We read some of the most important, strange, beautiful, and complex texts of the English literary tradition, while considering the formations and deformations of that tradition, with its inclusions and exclusions, its riches and its costs, its ceaseless attention to and radical deviations from what is past or passing, or to come. Authors may include Blake, Conrad, Dickens, Eliot, Equiano, Keats, Joyce, Rossetti, Tennyson, Walcott, Wilde, Woolf, and Wordsworth. WI {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 202/ WLT 202 Western Classics in Translation I: Homer to Dante (4 Credits)

Offered as ENG 202 and WLT 202. Considers works of literature, mostly from the ancient world, that have had a significant influence over time. May include: epics by Homer and Virgil; tragedies by Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides; Plato’s Symposium; Dante’s Divine Comedy." Enrollment limited to 20. WI {L}

Fall

ENG 203/ WLT 203 Western Classics in Translation II: Renaissance to Modern (4 Credits)

Offered as WLT 203 and ENG 203. Considers works of literature from different linguistic and cultural traditions that have had a significant influence over time. May include Shakespeare, Cervantes, Goethe, Balzac, Tolstoy, Ibsen and others. Enrollment limited to 20. WI {L}

Spring

ENG 206 Intermediate Fiction Writing (4 Credits)

A writer’s workshop that focuses on sharpening and expanding each student’s fiction writing skills, as well as broadening and deepening their understanding of the short and long-form work. Exercises concentrate on generative writing using a range of techniques to feed one's fictional imagination. Students analyze and discuss each other's stories, and examine the writings of established authors. May be repeated. Enrollment limited to 12. Writing sample and instructor permission required. {A}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 207/ HSC 207 The Technology of Reading and Writing (4 Credits)

Offered as ENG 207 and HSC 207. An introductory exploration of the physical forms that knowledge and communication have taken in the West, from ancient oral cultures to modern print-literate culture. The main interest is in discovering how what is said and thought in a culture reflects its available kinds of literacy and media of communication. Discussions to include poetry and memory in oral cultures; the invention of writing; the invention of prose; literature and science in a script culture; the coming of printing; changing concepts of publication, authorship and originality; movements toward standardization in language; and the fundamentally transformative effects of electronic communication. {L}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

ENG 208 Science Fiction? Speculative Fiction? (4 Credits)

Today, most people probably think of science fiction in terms of big-budget movies and TV series. But SF began in print and continues to flourish in novels and stories. SF has promised cheap thrills in inexpensive pulp magazines, and aspired to seriousness between hard covers; it has been the literature of proudly distinctive, and sometimes politically radical, subcultures, yet it has also sought to break into the literary mainstream. This course introduces students to works of SF—considering the forms they take, the conventions they play with, and issues they address—from H.G. Wells to Nnedi Okorafor. Prerequisite: one college-level literature course or equivalent. Recommended for nonmajors. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 210 Old English (4 Credits)

A study of the language of Anglo-Saxon England (ca. 450-1066) and a reading of Old English poems, including The Wanderer and The Dream of the Rood. We also learn the 31-character Anglo-Frisian futhorc and read runic inscriptions on the Franks Casket and Ruthwell Cross. {F}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 211 Beowulf (4 Credits)

A reading of Anglo-Saxon England’s most powerful and significant poem, invoking the world of barbarian Europe after the fall of Rome. {F}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 212 American Poetry and Social Movements (4 Credits)

From the civil rights, countercultural, feminist, gay rights and anti-war movements to Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter, American social movements after World War II have had profound influences on the country's cultural and social terrain. This course puts these movements in conversation with postwar American poetry written by activist women, queer people, pacifists and people of color. Through a close examination of poetry’s social life—its forms, its contexts and its archival remainders—in the U.S., this class raise vital questions about the role that literary aesthetics can play in political life. {L}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

ENG 213 Playing Knights: Chivalry, Romance, Fantasy (4 Credits)

The knight in shining armor has long outlived the medieval chansons de geste in which s/he was born, riding forward into the modern Western, the fantasy novel, even the space opera. This course explores the premodern English chivalric romance alongside its afterlives, asking what has made this imaginary world—with its quests, duels, magicians, hippogriffs, crossdressing, lady knights—perennially entrancing for so many readers. The course considers the genre's standard features, development and influences; the course also explores the many subversions of this tradition and transgressions of its rules. Why was chivalric romance once considered dangerous reading material? What is heroism good for, and what is it less good at? What expectations and norms do these tales perpetuate, and what fantasies do they allow readers to realize? Discussions include: gender, sexuality, class and empire; Arthuriana; chivalry in art and film; cosplay; and YA fiction. Enrollment limited to 30. (E) {L}

Spring

ENG 216 Colloquium: Intermediate Poetry Writing (4 Credits)

In this course students read as writers and write as readers, analyzing the poetic devices and strategies employed in a diverse range of contemporary poetry, gaining practical use of these elements to create a portfolio of original work and developing the skills of critique and revision. In addition, students read and write on craft issues and attend Poetry Center readings and Q&A’s. May be repeated. Enrollment limited to 12. Writing sample and instructor permission required. {A}{L}

Fall, Spring, Annually

ENG 218 Colloquium: Monstrous Mothers (4 Credits)

This course explores the monstrosity of motherhood - the fear, disgust, alienation and confusion of both being a mother and having one. The class discusses literary and cinematic representations of mothers as absent, distant, cruel, ambivalent, irresponsible and deviant, and considers ways motherhood is thought of both as a self-sacrifice and as a necessity. Students also seek new models of care, love and attachment that are dependent neither on the sacrifice of one’s self nor on biological reproduction and that recast mothering as potentially revolutionary. Not open to first years. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 219 Poetry, Gender, and Sexuality, and the Limits of Privacy (4 Credits)

This course focuses on the legacy of confessional poetry written by women and queer, trans and nonbinary writers in the US. Frequently misread as self-indulgent, the poets under our purview use radical self-disclosure to trouble the social and legal treatment of gender and sexuality as “private” concerns unworthy of political engagement. In so doing, they resist the universalized heteronormativity of the mainstream confessional tradition and contemporary poetry writ large. Poets studied include Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, Paul Monette, Essex Hemphill, Claudia Rankine, Cameron Awkward-Rich, and Danez Smith. Enrollment limited to 30. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 220 Colloquium: The Voyage Within: The Novel in England from George Eliot to Virginia Woolf (4 Credits)

What it would be like to hear the squirrel’s heartbeat, to open one’s mind fully to the sensations and impressions of the world around us? The image belongs to George Eliot, who in Middlemarch suggested we couldn’t bear it; we would die of a sensory overload, the "roar on the other side of silence." The novelists of the generations that followed tried to live in that roar: to explore the stream of consciousness, to capture the way we make sense of experience and order out of our memory’s chaos. Readings in George Eliot, Henry James, Virginia Woolf and others. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 223 Contemporary American Gothic Literature (4 Credits)

This course traces the emergence of a 21st-century gothic tradition in American writing through texts including novels, films and television shows. We analyze the shifting definitions and cultural work of the Gothic in contemporary American literature in the context of political and cultural events and movements and their relation to such concerns as race, gender, class, sexuality and disability. From the New Mexican desert to the rural south, from New York City, San Francisco and the suburbs of Atlanta to cyberspace, these literary encounters explore an expanse of physical, psychological, intellectual and imagined territory. {A}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 225 Hybrid Genres: Experiments in Literary Form (4 Credits)

This literature course explores texts that experiment with the boundaries of genre and form, or with combining different genres, from documentary poetics to the essay film to the graphic novel memoir. Upsetting the conventional distinctions between word and image, fact and fiction, and poetry and history, these hybrid texts ask us to rethink how form and genre work, and what students might learn from their undoing. Students will respond to the readings with their own hybrid essays. Readings will include texts by Alison Bechdel, William Blake, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Jamaica Kincaid, Maggie Nelson, M. NourbeSe Philip, and Claudia Rankine. {L}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

ENG 228 Children's Literature (4 Credits)

Shapes speak to us. Prose shapes us. From the picture book to the chapter book, we will explore the ways in which literature for children invents the child reading that literature. And we will attempt to break through our natural nostalgia for works we know to rediscover their innovative and experimental nature. In so doing, we will see these works work their magic on themes that will become familiar throughout the semester: identity, nostalgia, interiors and exteriors, authority, independence and dependence and, of course, the nature of wild things. Works may include Peter Rabbit, Where the Wild Things Are, Winnie-the-Pooh, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Secret Garden, The Giver. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 230/ JUD 230 American Jewish Literature (4 Credits)

Offered as JUD 230 and ENG 230. Explores the significant contributions and challenges of Jewish writers and critics to American literature, broadly defined. Topics include the American dream and its discontents; immigrant fiction; literary multilingualism; ethnic satire and humor; crises of the left involving 60s radicalism and Black-Jewish relations; after-effects of the Holocaust. Must Jewish writing remain on the margins, too ethnic for the mainstream yet insufficient for contemporary gatekeepers of diversity? No prerequisites. {H}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 231 Inventing America: Nation, Race, Freedom (4 Credits)

This course focuses on the extraordinary burst of literary creativity that coincided with the emergence of a new American nation. From its conflicted founding episodes to the crisis of the Civil War, American writers interpreted and criticized American life with unmatched imaginative intensity and formal boldness, taking as their particular subject both the promise of freedom implicit in the nation's invention--and the betrayals of that promise: the horrors of slavery, and in the subtler entrapments of orthodox thinking, constricted vision, a self-poisoning psyche, and a repressive or unjust social life. {L}

Fall, Spring, Annually

ENG 232 London Fog: Victorian Secrets, Sensations and Subversions (4 Credits)

The deadly fog that hung over London throughout the 19th century was both a social reality and a pungent metaphor for a metropolis in which it seemed that almost anything could be hidden: secrets, crimes, identities. But sometimes the fog parts--and then comes scandal. We'll begin with Dickens' anatomy of the city in Bleak House; move on to sensation novels by Wilkie Collins and Mary Elizabeth Braddon, which contest and subvert the period's gender roles; look at murder with Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Jekyll; urban bombings with Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent; and end with a neo-Victorian novel by Sarah Waters. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 233 Re-forming America: Region, Race, and Empire (4 Credits)

Re-forming the nation after the Civil War was no easy feat. During the period between 1865 and 1914, how did regions recently at war with one another view America differently? How did people of different races, classes, genders and other identities define their relationship to the nation? What role did empire-building, science and industrialization play in the re-forming of America into the superpower that it would become in the twentieth century? This course engages American writers as they explore these and other questions of meaning, value and power--with an emphasis on writers who shaped, critiqued and stood apart from their rapidly changing society.

ENG 235/ AFR 170 Survey of African American Literature 1746–1900 (4 Credits)

Offered as AFR 170 and ENG 235. An introduction to the themes, issues and questions that shaped the literature of African Americans during its period of origin. Texts include poetry, prose and works of fiction. Writers include Harriet Jacobs, Frances Harper, Charles Chesnutt, Frederick Douglass and Phillis Wheatley. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 236/ AFR 175 African American Literature 1900 to the Present (4 Credits)

Offered as AFR 175 and ENG 236. A survey of the evolution of African American literature during the 20th century. This class builds on the foundations established in AFR 113, Survey of Afro-American Literature 1746 to 1900. Writers include Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison and Paule Marshall. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 237 Colloquium: Environmental Poetry and Ecological Thought (4 Credits)

This course considers how literature represents environmental change and crisis, and shapes our understanding of the natural world. How can poetry provide new ways for thinking through extinction, conservation, and environmental justice? We explore these issues by reading a selection of environmental poetry in conversation with key texts from the environmental humanities. Central to the discussions: the sublime and the aesthetics of landscape and wilderness; garbage and the poetics of waste; the ethics of representing animal and plant life; the relation between landscape, labor, and power; and how eco-poetry intervenes in debates about climate change. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 238 What Jane Austen Read: The 18th-Century Novel (4 Credits)

A study of novels written in England from Aphra Behn to Jane Austen and Walter Scott (1688-1814). Emphasis on the novelists’ narrative models and choices; we conclude by reading several novels by Austen-including one she wrote when 13 years old. {L}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

ENG 239bc Multi-Ethnic American Literature: Borders and Border Crossings (4 Credits)

What terrain—physically, culturally, and emotionally—do American writers inhabit when they write about borders? How might thinking about borders, whether literal or metaphorical ones, complicate the way race, class, and gender inform matters of belonging and citizenship? Using literary and cultural analysis, this course explores what it means to be, become, or refuse to be “American.” Major course themes include ethnic subjects and the American Dream, internment and detainment, and the disputed ownership of land, resources, and persons. Texts studied will include fiction and poetry written by a broad range of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian American writers. Not open to first years. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 241 The Empire Writes Back: Postcolonial Literature (4 Credits)

Introduction to Anglophone fiction, poetry, drama and memoir from Africa, the Caribbean and South Asia in the aftermath of the British empire. Concerns include the cultural and political work of literature in response to histories of colonial and racial dominance; writers' ambivalence towards English linguistic, literary and cultural legacies; ways literature can (re)construct national identities and histories and address dominant notions of race, class, gender and sexuality; women writers' distinctiveness and modes of contesting patriarchal and colonial ideologies; and global diasporas, migration, globalization and U.S. imperialism. Readings include Achebe, Adichie, Aidoo, Dangarembga, Walcott, Cliff, Rushdie, Ghosh, Lahiri, Hamid and others. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 243 The Victorian Novel (4 Credits)

An exploration of the worlds of the Victorian novel, from the city to the country, from the vast reaches of empire to the minute intricacies of the drawing room. Attention to a variety of critical perspectives, with emphasis on issues of narrative form, authorial voice,and the representation of race, class, gender and disability. Novelists will include Brontë,Collins, Dickens, Eliot and Kipling. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 245lc Topics in Reading and Writing Creative Fiction-The Landscapes and Cityscapes of Creative Fiction (4 Credits)

In this course, we explore the constructed worlds made by some wonderful writers and build fictional worlds of our own. The course involves both in-class participation and a great deal of writing:  short stories, worldbuilding exercises, writing about reading. Each week, we read the fiction published in that week's edition of "The New Yorker. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 247 Colloquium: Race, Suburbia, and the post-1945 U.S. Novel (4 Credits)

This course aims to identify, analyze and complicate the dominant narrative of U.S. suburbia vis-à-vis the postwar American novel. While the suburb may evoke a shared sense of tedium, U.S. fiction positions suburbia as "contested terrain," a battleground staging many of the key social, cultural and political shifts of our contemporary age. Reading novels and short stories by writers like Toni Morrison, Hisaye Yamamoto, John Updike, Chang-Rae Lee and Celeste Ng, the class assesses the narrative construction of the suburb as a bastion of white domesticity, as well as the disruption of this narrative through struggles for racial integration. Enrollment limited to 30. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 250 Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (4 Credits)

A study of England's first cosmopolitan poet whose Canterbury Tales offer a chorus of medieval literary voices, while creating a new kind of poetry anticipating modern attitudes and anxieties through colorful, complex characters like the Wife of Bath.Weread these tales closely in Chaucer's Middle English, an expressive idiom, ranging from the funny, sly and ribald to the thoughtful and profound. John Dryden called Chaucer the "father of English poesy," but if so, he was a good one. Later poets laughed with him, wept with him, and then did their own thing, just as he would have wanted. Not open to first year-students. {L}

Fall, Spring, Annually

ENG 256 Shakespeare (4 Credits)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It, Henry IV, Measure for Measure, King Lear, Macbeth, The Tempest and Shakespeare's sonnets. Not open to first-year students. {L}

Fall, Spring, Annually

ENG 257 Shakespeare (4 Credits)

Romeo and Juliet, Richard II, Hamlet, Twelfth Night, Troilus and Cressida, Othello, Antony and Cleopatra, The Winter’s Tale. Not open to first-year students. {L}

Fall, Spring, Annually

ENG 258 Feminist Shakespeare (4 Credits)

Shakespeare has been both celebrated for his strong female roles—from independent heroines like Rosalind to formidable villains like Lady Macbeth—and condemned for the troubling politics of gender, class and race that he stages. Over the past fifty years, feminist scholars, writers and directors have grappled with this apparent contradiction via boundary-breaking criticism, radical imaginative work and transgressive productions of the Bard’s most difficult plays. Students explore what it means to interpret and perform Shakespeare through a feminist lens across eight fiercely debated plays; they also consider a number of Shakespearean adaptations and appropriations. Not open to first-years. (E) {L}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

ENG 260 Milton (4 Credits)

A study of the major poems and selected prose of John Milton, radical and conservative, heretic and defender of the faith, apologist for regicide and advocate of human dignity, committed revolutionary and Renaissance humanist, and a poet of enormous creative power and influence, whose epic, Paradise Lost, changed subsequent English Literature. Not open to first-year students. {L}

Fall, Spring, Annually

ENG 264 Faulkner (4 Credits)

The sustained explosion of Faulkner’s work in the dozen-odd years between The Sound and the Fury and Go Down, Moses has no parallel in American literature. He explored the microtones of consciousness and conducted the most radical of experiments in narrative form. At the same time he relied more heavily on the spoken vernacular than anyone since Mark Twain, and he made his "little postage stamp of native soil" in northern Mississippi stand for the world itself. We read the great novels of his Yoknapatawpha cycle along with a selection of short stories, examining the linked and always problematic issues of race, region and remembrance in terms of the forms that he invented to deal with them. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 271/ GER 271 Imagining Evil (4 Credits)

Offered as GER 271 and ENG 271. This course explores how artists and thinkers over the centuries have grappled with the presence of evil--how to account for its perpetual recurrence, its ominous power, its mysterious allure. Standing at the junction of literature, philosophy, and religion, the notion of evil reveals much about the development of the autonomous individual, the intersection of morality, freedom and identity, and the confrontation of literary and historical evil. Readings include literary works from Milton, Goethe, Blake, Kleist, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Tolkien, Le Guin; theoretical texts from Augustine, Luther, Nietzsche, Freud, Arendt. Conducted in English. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 273 Colloquium: Bloomsbury and Sexuality (4 Credits)

Members of the Bloomsbury movement led non-normative (what many now call queer) lives. The complexity and openness of their relationships characterized not only the lives but also the major works of fiction, art, design, and critical writings its members produced. "Sex permeated our conversation," Woolf recalls, and in Bloomsbury and Sexuality we’ll explore the far-reaching consequences of this ostensible removal of discursive, social, and sexual inhibition in the spheres of literature, art, and social sciences. The course will draw from the art of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, the writings of E. M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, Radclyffe Hall, Lytton Strachey, John Maynard Keynes and others, along with contemporary queer theory. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 274 The Pleasures of Not Thinking: Romanticism and the Irrational (4 Credits)

Romantic writers were obsessed with uncertainty, ignorance and the irrational, unthinking mind. Concerned with the unusual ideas that surface when one is sleeping or spaced out, absorbed or intoxicated, Romanticism embraced reason’s alternatives: forgetting, fragmentation, stupidity and spontaneous, uncontrollable emotion. From Wordsworth’s suggestion that children are wiser than adults, to Keats’s claim that great writers are capable of remaining uncertain without reaching for fact or reason, Romantic poets and novelists suggested that one has something to learn from not thinking. Students read texts by Austen, Blake, Burke, Coleridge, Cowper, De Quincey, Freud, Kant, Keats, Locke and Rousseau. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 275 Witches, Witchcraft and Witch Hunts (4 Credits)

This course has two central ambitions. First, it introduces themes of magic and witchcraft in (mostly) American literature and film. We work together to figure out how the figure of the witch functions in stories, novels and movies, what witches and witchcraft mean or how they participate in the texts’ ways of making meaning. At the same time, we try to figure out how witches and witchcraft function as loci or displacements of social anxiety--about power, science, gender, class, race and politics. Since the identification of witches and the fear of witchcraft often lead to witch panics, we finally examine the historical and cultural phenomenon of the witch hunt, including both the persecution of persons literally marked as witches and the analogous persecution of persons (Communists, sexual outsiders, etc.) figuratively "hunted" as witches have been. Open to students at all levels, regardless of major. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 278 Asian American Women Writers (4 Credits)

The body of literature written by Asian American women over the past 100 years or so has been recognized as forming a coherent tradition even as it grows and expands to include newcomers and divergent voices under its umbrella. What conditions enabled its emergence? How have the qualities and concerns of this tradition been defined? What makes a text--fiction, poetry, memoir, mixed-genre--central or marginal to the tradition and how do emergent writers take this tradition in new directions? writers to be studied may include Maxine Hong Kingston, Sui Sin Far, Cathy Song, Joy Kogawa, Jessica Hagedorn, Monique Truong, Jhumpa Lahiri, Ruth Ozeki, and more. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 280/ WLT 280 Historical Memory and the Global Novel (4 Credits)

Offered as ENG 280 and WLT 280. This course explores the relationship between history and memory in a series of post-WW2 “global” novels, texts that somehow straddle or transcend national traditions and marketplaces. This course interrogates how art might ethically engage with—or seek refuge from—historical “events” such as colonial and post-colonial violence, total/nuclear war, authoritarian military coups, global terrorism, trans-Atlantic slavery and the Holocaust. Major course themes include the relationship between the personal and the historical, the national and the global, the generational transfer of trauma, feelings of guilt and complicity, and the idea of historical memory itself. {L}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

ENG 282/ AFR 245 The Harlem Renaissance (4 Credits)

Offered as AFR 245 and ENG 282. A study of one of the first cohesive cultural movements in African American history. This class focuses on developments in politics, and civil rights (NAACP, Urban League, UNIA), creative arts (poetry, prose, painting, sculpture) and urban sociology (modernity, the rise of cities). Writers include Zora Neale Hurston, David Levering Lewis, Gloria Hull, Langston Hughes and Nella Larsen among others. Enrollment limited to 40. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 285 Introduction to Contemporary Literary Theory (4 Credits)

What do we do when we read literature? Does the meaning of a text depend on the author’s intention or on how readers read? What counts as a valid interpretation? Who decides? How do some texts get canonized and others forgotten? How does literature function in culture and society? How do changing understandings of language, the unconscious, class, gender, race, history, sexuality or disability affect how we read? "Theory" is "thinking about thinking," questioning common sense, critically examining the categories we use to approach literature or any discursive text. This course introduces some of the most influential questions that have shaped contemporary literary studies. We start with New Criticism but focus on interdisciplinary approaches such as structuralism, poststructuralism, Marxism, psychoanalysis, New Historicism, postcolonialism, feminism, queer, cultural, race and disability studies with some attention to film and film theory. Strongly recommended for students considering graduate work. {L}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

ENG 286 Quee(r) Victoria (4 Credits)

The Victorian period may be less defined by its Queen than by its queers. The Victorians have long been viewed as sexually repressed, but close attention reveals a culture whose inventiveness regarding sexual identity, practice and discourse knew few bounds. This course focuses on complex representations of nonnormative persons and practices in this era, primarily in fiction (including novels by Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Oscar Wilde and contemporary author Sarah Waters). Drawing also from poetry, pornography, theory and memoir, students explore issues and intersections of desire, anxiety, gender, race, empire, class, nationality, childhood, family and forms of embodiment. {L}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

ENG 289 Writing and Making Comics (4 Credits)

This course focuses primarily on writing scripts: pitching, outlining, drafting and editing. The course examines the ways in which politics, current events, race, gender and cultural equality have shaped iconic comics and many of the best works published today. Students will study Marvel and industry standard scripts, but there are multiple ways of creating a script and subsequent comics. Those who write and draw (as opposed to only write or only draw) may have completely different methodologies. Students need not have skills as illustrators. However, students will gain a basic understanding of drawing comics, collaborating with visual artists, and comic book layout and design. Be prepared to draw and write at every class meeting. Enrollment limited to 12. Writing sample and instructor permission required. {A}{L}

Fall, Annually

ENG 290sc Colloquium: Topics in Crafting Creative Nonfiction-Writing about Science (4 Credits)

This is a colloquium in creative nonfiction writing that takes science and the environment as its subject matter. Students research and write a series of magazine-style, general-audience articles about science, scientists and ordinary people affected by such concerns as disease or global warming. Along the way, students hone their interviewing and research skills and expressive capabilities while contending with issues of factual accuracy, creative license, authority responsibility and the basic tenets of longform nonfiction. Ultimately, students explore the ways that hard science and subjective prose are interrelated forms. No prior experience with science or journalism required. Enrollment limited to 12. Instructor permission required. {A}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 294 Writing War (4 Credits)

How is literature created out of loss, beauty out of brutality? Drawing from poetry, novels, and memoirs, this class studies literary representations of war, attending to issues of race, nationality, class, gender and sexuality, experience and memory, trauma and healing, peace. We’ll focus in particular on the extraordinary range of writings spawned from the horrors of the First World War (including works of Virginia Woolf, Wilfred Owen, and Vera Brittain), while also looking to canonical writers (including Homer, Alfred Tennyson, W. H. Auden, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Sylvia Plath), and contemporary poets, such as Yusef Komunyakaa, Solmaz Sharif, and Ocean Vuong. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 295 Colloquium: Advanced Poetry Writing (4 Credits)

Taught by the Grace Hazard Conkling Poet in Residence, this advanced poetry workshop is for students who have developed a passionate relationship with poetry and who have substantial experience in writing poems. Texts are based on the poets who are reading at Smith during the semester, and students gain expertise in reading, writing and critiquing poems. Strongly recommended: ENG 216 or equivalent. Writing sample and instructor permission required. Enrollment limited to 12. {A}{L}

Fall, Spring

ENG 296 Colloquium: Advanced Fiction Writing Workshop (4 Credits)

This course helps more advanced fiction writers improve their skills in a supportive workshop context, which encourages experimentation and attention to craft. The course focuses on technique, close reading and the production of new work. Students submit manuscripts for discussion, receive feedback from peers and revise their work. They keep a process journal and practice mindfulness to cultivate powers of focus and observation. Students read Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose and short fiction by authors in different genres. Prerequisite: ENG 206 or equivalent. Enrollment limited to 12. Writing sample and instructor permission required. {A}{L}

Fall, Spring

ENG 297 Jane Austen: Gender, Feeling and the Novel (4 Credits)

In this class students closely read the novels of Jane Austen, focusing on her innovations in narrative form and style, while putting the novels in the context of early nineteenth-century British literature and culture. The discussions consider how Austen delineates the nuances of feeling, embodiment and attachment, her complex use of the marriage plot and her incisive and often ironic social commentary. At the forefront are issues of gender, power, politics, history, marriage, love and class, and a close and careful attention to narrative form, technique and style. Enrollment limited to 30. {L}

Spring, Alternate Years

ENG 299 Colloquium: Literary Research Methods (4 Credits)

Literary research starts with choosing the lens to investigate a passion-telescope or microscope? Does one want to explore constellations (an array of texts) or atoms (words/themes in a single text)? This course offers advanced literature majors hands-on experience supporting the development of a research project of their choice, including question definition, choice of methodology and critical framework, and evidence evaluation. Potential projects might include developing a special studies or thesis proposal. This is the chance to identify and explore a chosen topic in depth, while mastering widely useful research skills. Prerequisites: ENG 199, ENG 200 and two 200-level literature courses. Enrollment limited to 15. {L}

Fall

ENG 301/ PYX 301 Advanced Poetry Writing: A Capstone (4 Credits)

Offered as PYX 301 and ENG 301. Conceived as the culmination of an undergraduate poet’s work, this course features a rigorous immersion in creative generation and revision. Student poets write a chapbook manuscript with thematic or stylistic cohesion (rather than disparate poems, as in prior workshop settings). For Poetry Concentrators, this course counts as the required Capstone; for English majors in the Creative Writing track, the course counts as an advanced workshop and may count toward the fulfillment of the "capstone experience" requirement. Poetry Concentrators must be enrolled in or have completed the other course requirements for the Concentration. Prerequisite: ENG 295 recommended but not required. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Writing sample and instructor permission required.

Spring

ENG 303ap Seminar: Topics in American Literature-American Poetry in the Age of Emergency (4 Credits)

What is poetry’s role in bearing witness to an age of seemingly unremitting emergency? How can poets represent and respond to ongoing crises such as collapsing public health infrastructure, racialized police brutality, and environmental devastation? Conversely, what is poetry’s relationship to highly mediatized “crisis events” like 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina? Through literary and cultural analysis, this course will explore and historicize the concept of “emergency” in the United States. What is a state of emergency, and who gets to declare it? Moving between shorter, witness-based poems and longform documentary poems, we will consider how poetry can compel us to reimagine the terms upon which crises are rendered socially, politically, and culturally legible. Instructor permission required. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 303qa Seminar: Topics in American Literature-Feminist and Queer Asian American Writing (4 Credits)

What does it mean to be queer, feminist or Asian American at the turn of this century? How do contemporary Asian American writers respond to, resist and re-invent given understandings of gender and sexuality? What is the role of the Asian American literary imagination in the face of war, im/migration, trans- and homophobia, labor exploitation and U.S. militarism? This course will explore these foundational questions through a sustained analysis of feminist and queer Asian American literature: novels, poetry, life-writing and film. Through a mix of scholarly and literary texts, students will examine a range of topics at the intersection of Asian American and gender and sexuality studies: identity and (self) representation, the vestiges of war, diaspora and migration, family and kinship, the hyper- and de-sexualization of Asian Americans, labor, globalization and racial capitalism. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {L}

Fall, Variable

ENG 308im Seminar: One Big Book-Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man from Jim Crow to Black Lives Matter (4 Credits)

Ralph Ellison’s groundbreaking Invisible Man (1952) occupies a central position for thinking about America and the American novel. In this seminar, we will trace Ellison’s influence as a writer and public intellectual, from Jim Crow to Black Lives Matter. We will begin by identifying Invisible Man’s central themes, metaphors, and narrative strategies in the context of the historical moment in which it appeared. We will then look at moments in which Ellison’s novel—and his most important essays—have come to mediate major postwar debates about race, integration, democracy, and art. We will conclude by reading Percival Everett’s Erasure (2001), a contemporary re-writing of Invisible Man. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 309 Seminar: Black Prison Intellectuals (4 Credits)

This course traces the role of black prison writings in the development of American political and legal theory, interrogating theories of intellectualism, including Antonio Gramsci’s notion of traditional and organic intellectuals, and distinctions between categories of criminal and enemy. From 18th-century black captivity narratives and gallows literature through to the work of 20th- and 21st-century thinkers like Malcolm X, Eldridge Cleaver and Angela Davis, this course asks how the incarcerated black intellectual has informed and challenged ideas about nationalism, community and self-formation from the early republic to the present. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 312 Seminar: Seminar: Converts, Criminals and Fugitives: Print Culture of the African Diaspora, 1760–186 (4 Credits)

This seminar explores the varied publications produced by people of the African diaspora in the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, and England--early sermons and conversion narratives, criminal confessions, fugitive slave narratives and the black press. We consider these works in terms of publishing history, editorship (especially women editors), authorship, readership, circulation, advertising, influence, literacy, community building, politics and geography. We examine their engagements with such topics as religion, law economics, emigration, gender, race and temperance. Smith’s manuscript and periodical holdings offer us a treasure trove of source materials. Permission of the instructor is required. Enrollment limited to 12. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 313 Seminar: Literature Under Late Capitalism (4 Credits)

What is the relationship between artistic creation and the economic, social, political and technological conditions broadly associated with late capitalism? How do contemporary artists reckon with increasing economic instability and inequality and the deadening impersonality and inhumanity of the workplace? As capitalism continues to encroach on daily life, what space remains for resistance, for imagining a future that is otherwise, for finding meaning and purpose? By reading key theoretical texts about late capitalism and neoliberalism alongside fictional works such as Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games and Ling Ma’s Severance, this course queries art’s capacity to engage with late capitalist society and produce anti-capitalist critique. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {L}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

ENG 318 Seminar: Topics in American Literature-Race and the Long Poem (4 Credits)

Literary scholar Erica Edwards defines “imperial grammars” as cultural “codes of race, gender and sexuality” influenced by U.S. empire. This course considers how book-length experimental poems trouble these or similar grammars, and how these poems imaginatively conceive of a world outside their constraints. Discussions include legacies of enslavement and colonization, borders and border controls, environmental racism, and stolen lands and histories. The course fosters a shared anti-racist pedagogy by determining what imperial grammars dominate classroom practices—and by collectively determining new practices to write into being. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 323/ AFR 360 Seminar: Toni Morrison (4 Credits)

Offered as AFR 360 and ENG 323. This seminar focuses on Toni Morrison’s literary production. In reading her novels, essays, lectures and interviews, we pay particular attention to three things: her interest in the epic anxieties of American identities; her interest in form, language, and theory; and her study of love. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 333ca Seminar: Topics: A Major Writer in English-Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (4 Credits)

Nigerian American fiction-writer, feminist, and public intellectual Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is well-known for her TED talks, “The Danger of a Single Story” and “We Should All Be Feminists.” She is also internationally acclaimed for her short stories and novels, which have attracted “a new generation of young readers to African literature,” inspired countless young African writers, and prompted much critical scholarship. This course will focus on this brilliant 21st century Anglophone writer’s fiction and non-fiction, and include some recent social media debates. Supplementary readings include postcolonial and feminist theory, history, and literary criticism. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 333ew Seminar: Topics: A Major Writer in English-Edith Wharton (4 Credits)

She was one of the hardest-working and highest paid professional writers of her generation; she was the product of a cushioned life at the upper end of New York Society. Edith Wharton (1862-1937) examined the privileged world into which she was born with an anthropological skepticism, a sardonic dissection of unforgiving social laws and mores, and yet also provided a backwards glance at a vanishing world. A reading of her major work in social and historical context: The House of Mirth, The Custom of the Country, Ethan Frome, Summer, The Age of Innocence and others. Juniors and seniors only. Enrollment limited to 12. Instructor permission only. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 333jl Seminar: Topics: A Major Writer in English-Jhumpa Lahiri (4 Credits)

Indian American writer Jhumpa Lahiri became an overnight star in 1999 with her first short story collection, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Interpreter of Maladies. She has since published many novels, story collections and essays. Internationally acclaimed for her beautifully crafted, deeply moving fiction about migration, love, loss, belonging, unbelonging, home and family, this trilingual twenty-first century writer has already generated an astonishing body of scholarship. This course focuses on Lahiri’s fiction and non-fiction, her themes and techniques, and includes her recent work in translation. The intersectionality of race, ethnicity, gender and class is central to the analysis. Supplementary readings include postcolonial, Asian American and feminist theory, history and literary criticism. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 333jt Seminar: Topics: A Major Writer in English-Tolkien (4 Credits)

J. R. R. Tolkien was an Oxford don and professor of Old and Middle English literature who used fantasy fiction as a technique of moral philosophy and historical analysis, a way of pondering the meaning of human life on earth and the trajectory of human experience through time. We will explore Tolkien’s Middle-earth in The Hobbit (1936), The Lord of the Rings (1965) and The Silmarillion (2001) with special attention to the medieval and early modern sources of Tolkien’s literary imagination as intimated in his essays "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics" (1936) and “On Fairy-Stories” (1947). Juniors and Seniors only. Instructor permission required. Enrollment limited to 12. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 349 Seminar: Literatures of Black Atlantic (4 Credits)

Visiting the colonial West Indies to the modern-day Caribbean, U.S., Canada, U.K., and France, this seminar analyzes the literatures of the Black Atlantic and the development of Black literary and intellectual history from the 19th to the 21st centuries. Some key theoretical frameworks, which will help inform our study of literature emerging from the Black Atlantic, include diaspora, transnationalism, internationalism, and cosmopolitanism. Readings include slave narratives, poetry, novels, films, critical essays, and theory. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 361 Seminar: Poetry of War (4 Credits)

This course studies a range of poetic representations of war. After reviewing some of the writings of Homer, Virgil and Shakespeare that were most influential for British poets of the 19th and 20th centuries, the course moves from Tennyson, Hardy and Kipling to the poets of the first and second world wars (Rupert Brooke, Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon and others). We situate the poetry with relevant historical and theoretical materials, as well as prose responses to war by authors such as Vera Brittain and Virginia Woolf. We end by reading poets who did not see combat (W.B. Yeats, W. H. Auden, Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath) but whose work is nevertheless profoundly concerned with the complex relation of the martial to the lyrical, the destructive to the creative. By permission of the instructor. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 363 Seminar: Race and Environment (4 Credits)

What is the role of literature and culture in the face of global environmental crisis? How do writers, artists, and filmmakers represent the toxic ecologies of a globalized world? And in what ways do the categories of race, gender, class and ability determine one's vulnerability to environmental degradation? Through literacy and cultural analysis, this course explores these questions as they intersect with issues of environmental racism, racialized disablement, neo/colonialism, ecofeminism, food justice, globalization, and urban ecologies. We examine literary and cultural engagement with diverse environmental topics: nuclear waste sites, slum ecologies, petro-capitalism, industrialized food production, and indigenous rights. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 365br Seminar: Topics in 19th-Century Literature-The Brontes (4 Credits)

Students work intensively in this course with the rich variety of literary works produced by Emily Brontë, Charlotte Brontë, Anne Brontë and their shadowy brother Branwell, examining also the remarkable mid-Victorian phenomenon of their household in a remote vicarage.  They were a family blighted beyond measure (all died young and in quick succession) and blessed beyond measure (two of the sisters are among England’s greatest novelists).  Their writings and artworks include explorations of the complexities of childhood, of illicit desire, of money and power, of civility and violence, and of life and death. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {A}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 365fr Seminar: Topics in 19th Century Literature-Frankenstein: The Making of a Monster (4 Credits)

This seminar will explore the creation and afterlife of Frankenstein, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s extraordinary first novel (written at age 19) about monstrosity and the experience of feeling not quite human. We will read Shelley’s novel closely, consider its literary and historical influences (including writing by her parents and friends), and investigate its monstrous legacy (in film adaptations, novels, poems, comics, and popular culture). More than 200 years after it was written, this early science fiction novel continues to speak to our most urgent questions about gender, reproduction, science, technology, race, animality, disability, violence, justice, and belonging. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 384np/ AMS 351np Seminar: Topics in Writing about American Society-Creative Nonfiction Writing through Photography (4 Credits)

Offered as AMS 351np and ENG 384np. A creative nonfiction writing workshop where students improve their writing using photography as muse, guide, foil and inspiration. Students write long, creative nonfiction pieces about current issues in American life using photography as a method for inspiring, analyzing and improving the prose. Students take photos, report and write, applying principles of photography such as point of view, depth of field, focus, flatness and timing to help with the essentials of narrative prose. Stories range from blog posts to profiles to fully realized long form, magazine-style, nonfiction articles. This is not a photography course, and if students' photography improves as a result, that is a happy accident. No prior experience with photography required. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Writing sample and instructor permission required. {A}{L}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 391 Seminar: Contemporary South Asian Writers in English (4 Credits)

This course will explore the rich diversity of late 20th and 21st century literatures written in English and published internationally by award-winning writers of South Asian descent from the U.S, Canada, Britain, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. These transnational writers include established celebrities (Salman Rushdie, Jhumpa Lahiri, Amitav Ghosh, Kiran Desai) and newer stars (Monica Ali, Aravind Adiga, Mohsin Hamid, Kamila Shamsie). Among many questions, we will consider how writers craft new idioms and forms to address multiple audiences in global English, how they explore or foreground emergent concerns of postcolonial societies and of diasporic, migrant, or transnational peoples in a rapidly globalizing but by no means equalizing world. Supplementary readings on postcolonial theory and criticism. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 399 Teaching Literature (4 Credits)

Discussion of poetry, short stories, short novels, essays and drama with particular emphasis on the ways in which one might teach them. Consideration of the uses of writing and the leading of discussion classes. For upper-level undergraduates and graduate students who have an interest in teaching. Juniors, seniors and graduate students only. Enrollment limited to 15. {L}

Fall

ENG 400 Special Studies (1-4 Credits)

Fall, Spring

ENG 580 Graduate Special Studies (4 Credits)

Independent study for graduate students. Admission by permission of the chair.

Fall, Spring

ENG 580D Graduate Special Studies (4-8 Credits)

This is a yearlong course.

Fall, Spring

Crosslisted Courses

AFR 170/ ENG 235 Survey of African American Literature 1746–1900 (4 Credits)

Offered as AFR 170 and ENG 235. An introduction to the themes, issues and questions that shaped the literature of African Americans during its period of origin. Texts include poetry, prose and works of fiction. Writers include Harriet Jacobs, Frances Harper, Charles Chesnutt, Frederick Douglass and Phillis Wheatley. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

AFR 175/ ENG 236 African American Literature 1900 to the Present (4 Credits)

Offered as AFR 175 and ENG 236. A survey of the evolution of African American literature during the 20th century. This class builds on the foundations established in AFR 113, Survey of Afro-American Literature 1746 to 1900. Writers include Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison and Paule Marshall. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

AFR 243 Black Autobiography (4 Credits)

This course examines the U.S. Black autobiographical tradition from the eighteenth century to the present. “Autobiography” is constituted broadly to include slave narratives, memoirs, travelogues, poems, speeches, sketches and essays. The class explores questions of form, genre, publication history, narrative voice, language, audience and other literary markers. Students examine the narratives' socio-political, historical and economic milieus. And students explore the tradition, they consider how Black autobiographers engage Carolyn Rodgers’ meditation-cum-query in, Breakthrough: “How do I put my self on paper/ The way I want to be or am and be/ Not like any one else in this/ Black world but me.”. {H}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

AFR 245/ ENG 282 The Harlem Renaissance (4 Credits)

Offered as AFR 245 and ENG 282. A study of one of the first cohesive cultural movements in African American history. This class focuses on developments in politics, and civil rights (NAACP, Urban League, UNIA), creative arts (poetry, prose, painting, sculpture) and urban sociology (modernity, the rise of cities). Writers include Zora Neale Hurston, David Levering Lewis, Gloria Hull, Langston Hughes and Nella Larsen among others. Enrollment limited to 40. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

AFR 249 Black Women Writers (4 Credits)

How does gender matter in a black context? That is the question this course asks and attempts to answer through an examination of works by such authors as Harriet Jacobs, Frances Harper, Nella Larsen, Zora Hurston, Toni Morrison, Ntozake Shange and Alice Walker. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

AFR 333 Seminar: Writing Blackness- A Calderwood Seminar in Writing for the Public Sphere (4 Credits)

Learn how to bring your  expertise in black history and culture into the public sphere. This Calderwood Seminar challenges students in an intimate workshop setting to grow as writers. Throughout the semester, students will build a writing portfolio that might include op-eds, book reviews, journal article reviews, coverage of public talks, movie reviews, and interviews with Africana studies scholars. Classes will include collaborative editing workshops, guest lectures from expert writers, and activities to build a strong writing foundation. You have learned how to write for college, now learn how to write for life. Prerequisite: At least one course in Africana studies. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and Seniors only. Instructor permission required. WI {H}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

AFR 360/ ENG 323 Seminar: Toni Morrison (4 Credits)

Offered as AFR 360 and ENG 323. This seminar focuses on Toni Morrison’s literary production. In reading her novels, essays, lectures and interviews, we pay particular attention to three things: her interest in the epic anxieties of American identities; her interest in form, language, and theory; and her study of love. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

AMS 351np/ ENG 384np Seminar: Topics in Writing about American Society-Creative Nonfiction Writing through Photography (4 Credits)

Offered as AMS 351np and ENG 384np. A creative nonfiction writing workshop where students improve their writing using photography as muse, guide, foil and inspiration. Students write long, creative nonfiction pieces about current issues in American life using photography as a method for inspiring, analyzing and improving the prose. Students take photos, report and write, applying principles of photography such as point of view, depth of field, focus, flatness and timing to help with the essentials of narrative prose. Stories range from blog posts to profiles to fully realized long form, magazine-style, nonfiction articles. This is not a photography course, and if students' photography improves as a result, that is a happy accident. No prior experience with photography required. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Writing sample and instructor permission required. {A}{L}{S}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 136/ WRT 136 Journalism: Principles and Practice (4 Credits)

Offered as WRT 136 and ENG 136. In this intellectually rigorous writing class, students learn how to craft compelling "true stories" using the journalist’s tools. They research, report, write, revise, source and share their work—and, through interviewing subjects firsthand, understand how other people see the world. The course considers multiple styles and mediums of journalism, including digital storytelling. Students should focus their attention and effort on academic exposition and argumentation before learning other forms of writing. Prerequisite: One WI course. Enrollment limited to 16.

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 171/ WLT 272 Composing a Self: Chinese and English Voices (4 Credits)

Offered as ENG 171 and WLT 272. Is the self a story? How do we translate ourselves into multiple personas in different locations and contexts? How do we speak to others with diverse beliefs or ourselves at new times? To learn, students read and compose short texts in Chinese, translate them into English, and consider the art and politics of translation. Working in public-facing genres (memoir, narrative nonfiction, journalism, short stories, social media and multimedia projects), students develop their creative writing in both Chinese and English, as well as understandings of Chinese cultures and of literary and cultural translation. Discussion in Chinese and English. Chinese fluency required. One WI course highly recommended. Enrollment limited to 16. {F}{L}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

ENG 202/ WLT 202 Western Classics in Translation I: Homer to Dante (4 Credits)

Offered as ENG 202 and WLT 202. Considers works of literature, mostly from the ancient world, that have had a significant influence over time. May include: epics by Homer and Virgil; tragedies by Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides; Plato’s Symposium; Dante’s Divine Comedy." Enrollment limited to 20. WI {L}

Fall

ENG 203/ WLT 203 Western Classics in Translation II: Renaissance to Modern (4 Credits)

Offered as WLT 203 and ENG 203. Considers works of literature from different linguistic and cultural traditions that have had a significant influence over time. May include Shakespeare, Cervantes, Goethe, Balzac, Tolstoy, Ibsen and others. Enrollment limited to 20. WI {L}

Spring

ENG 207/ HSC 207 The Technology of Reading and Writing (4 Credits)

Offered as ENG 207 and HSC 207. An introductory exploration of the physical forms that knowledge and communication have taken in the West, from ancient oral cultures to modern print-literate culture. The main interest is in discovering how what is said and thought in a culture reflects its available kinds of literacy and media of communication. Discussions to include poetry and memory in oral cultures; the invention of writing; the invention of prose; literature and science in a script culture; the coming of printing; changing concepts of publication, authorship and originality; movements toward standardization in language; and the fundamentally transformative effects of electronic communication. {L}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

ENG 230/ JUD 230 American Jewish Literature (4 Credits)

Offered as JUD 230 and ENG 230. Explores the significant contributions and challenges of Jewish writers and critics to American literature, broadly defined. Topics include the American dream and its discontents; immigrant fiction; literary multilingualism; ethnic satire and humor; crises of the left involving 60s radicalism and Black-Jewish relations; after-effects of the Holocaust. Must Jewish writing remain on the margins, too ethnic for the mainstream yet insufficient for contemporary gatekeepers of diversity? No prerequisites. {H}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 271/ GER 271 Imagining Evil (4 Credits)

Offered as GER 271 and ENG 271. This course explores how artists and thinkers over the centuries have grappled with the presence of evil--how to account for its perpetual recurrence, its ominous power, its mysterious allure. Standing at the junction of literature, philosophy, and religion, the notion of evil reveals much about the development of the autonomous individual, the intersection of morality, freedom and identity, and the confrontation of literary and historical evil. Readings include literary works from Milton, Goethe, Blake, Kleist, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Tolkien, Le Guin; theoretical texts from Augustine, Luther, Nietzsche, Freud, Arendt. Conducted in English. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ENG 280/ WLT 280 Historical Memory and the Global Novel (4 Credits)

Offered as ENG 280 and WLT 280. This course explores the relationship between history and memory in a series of post-WW2 “global” novels, texts that somehow straddle or transcend national traditions and marketplaces. This course interrogates how art might ethically engage with—or seek refuge from—historical “events” such as colonial and post-colonial violence, total/nuclear war, authoritarian military coups, global terrorism, trans-Atlantic slavery and the Holocaust. Major course themes include the relationship between the personal and the historical, the national and the global, the generational transfer of trauma, feelings of guilt and complicity, and the idea of historical memory itself. {L}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

ENG 301/ PYX 301 Advanced Poetry Writing: A Capstone (4 Credits)

Offered as PYX 301 and ENG 301. Conceived as the culmination of an undergraduate poet’s work, this course features a rigorous immersion in creative generation and revision. Student poets write a chapbook manuscript with thematic or stylistic cohesion (rather than disparate poems, as in prior workshop settings). For Poetry Concentrators, this course counts as the required Capstone; for English majors in the Creative Writing track, the course counts as an advanced workshop and may count toward the fulfillment of the "capstone experience" requirement. Poetry Concentrators must be enrolled in or have completed the other course requirements for the Concentration. Prerequisite: ENG 295 recommended but not required. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Writing sample and instructor permission required.

Spring

FMS 281 Screenwriting Workshop (4 Credits)

This course provides an overview of the fundamentals of screenwriting. Combining lectures and script analyses, students focus on character development, story structure, conflict and dialogue featured in academy award-winning screenplays. Students begin with three creative story ideas, developing one concept into a full-length screenplay of their own. Through in-class read-throughs and rewrites, students are required to complete ~30 pages of a full-length screenplay with a detailed outline of the entire story. Cannot be taken S/U. Prerequisites: FMS 150 or ARS 162. FMS 150 strongly encouraged. Enrollment limited to 12. Application and instructor permission required. {A}

Fall, Spring, Annually

FYS 128 Ghosts (4 Credits)

This course explores what Toni Morrison in Beloved calls "the living activity of the dead": their ambitions, their desires, their effects. Often returning as figures of memory or history, ghosts raise troubling questions as to what it is they, or we, have to learn. We shall survey a variety of phantasmagorical representations in poems, short stories, novels, films, spiritualist and scientific treatises and spirit photography. This course counts towards the English major. Enrollment limited to 16 first-years. WI

Fall, Spring, Variable

FYS 132 Girls Leaving Home (4 Credits)

This course explores how literary writers from various times and places have addressed the topic of girls leaving home. What are the risks and benefits for young (usually single) women who leave a place of origin, temporarily or permanently, with or without families, to make new lives? What do they flee or seek? How do gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, nationality, class complicate their stories? How is "home" understood or redefined in these narratives? Readings include Shakespeare’s As You Like It, Austen’s Northanger Abbey, and immigrant American narratives The Road from Coorain, The Woman Warrior and Americanah. Our primary methodology is literary analysis. Recommended for students considering the English major. Enrollment limited to 16 first-years. WI {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

FYS 162 Ambition and Adultery: Individualism in the 19th-Century Novel (4 Credits)

This course looks at a series of great 19th-century novels to explore a set of questions about the nature of individual freedom, and of the relation of that freedom--transgression, even--to social order and cohesion. The books are paired--two French, two Russian; two that deal with a woman's adultery, and two that focus on a young man’s ambition--Balzac's Père Goriot; Flaubert's Madame Bovary; Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment; Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. There are some additional readings in history, criticism and political theory. Enrollment limited to 16 first-years. WI

Fall, Spring, Variable

FYS 167 Viking Diaspora (4 Credits)

The Norse colonies of Iceland and Greenland and the attempted settlement of Vinland in North America were the first European societies of the New World, revealing patterns of cultural conflict and adaptation that anticipated British colonization of the mid-Atlantic seaboard seven centuries later. This course compares the strengths and weaknesses of the medieval Icelandic Commonwealth, founded in 930, with the 1787 Constitution of the United States, both political systems facing serious crises within two generations. Sources for these experimental communities are the oral memories of founding families preserved in the later Íslendingasögur (Sagas of Icelanders) of the 13th century. This course counts toward the world literatures, English and medieval studies majors. Enrollment limited to 16 first-years. WI

Fall, Spring, Variable

FYS 168 Damaged Gods: Myth and Religion of the Vikings (4 Credits)

A reading of poems and sagas about the Old Norse gods and their cults during the Viking Age (ca. 800-1100 CE) as these were preserved mainly in Icelandic manuscripts of the 13th century, but also in Arabic, Latin, Old High German and Anglo-Saxon texts and runic inscriptions. We explore the dark world-view and desperate religion of the Vikings from the creation of the world to the end of time, including relations between living and dead, male and female, animals and humans, gods and giants, Æsir and Vanir--a crowded universe of trolls, elves, witches, dwarfs, valkyries, berserks, shapeshifters and various kinds of human being. Enrollment limited to 16 first years. WI

Fall, Spring, Variable

FYS 195 Literary Borders (4 Credits)

This course examines the imaginative possibilities of the border in literary and visual texts. The class considers how writers portray cultural, national, temporal and linguistic frontiers; how literature embodies the experience of crossing or dwelling within borderlands; how texts reinforce or transgress the boundaries at which readers are positioned; and how writing itself can construct and bridge differences. Reading poems and stories of liminal figures, the class analyzes how the border challenges ideas about place, body, identity, language and text. In encounters with new expressive forms that disrupt the way literature is read, the class explores the edges of language. For a broader picture of the border in the imagination, the class also examines film, music, theatre and other arts. Enrollment limited to 16 first-years. (E) WI {L}

Fall

FYS 198 The Coming Apocalypse (4 Credits)

It’s boom time for the End Times. Millennialists state with confidence that the world’s final hour is approaching: the signs are everywhere, for those who know how to see them. Eschatological scenarios abound, ranging from climate change desolation and nuclear annihilation to alien invasions and zombie uprisings. Every ending also heralds a new beginning, though; every apocalypse gives way to a post- apocalypse. By focusing on apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic stories across a variety of media and genres, this course considers the significance of the human predilection for telling stories about the end of humanity. Enrollment limited to 16 first-years. WI {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

SWG 360 Seminar: Memoir Writing (4 Credits)

How does one write a life, especially if it’s one’s own? This writing workshop addresses the profound complexities, challenges, and pleasures of the genre of the memoir, through intensive reading, discussion, and both analytical and creative writing. Our readings will be drawn from a range of mostly contemporary memoirists with intersectional identity locations—and dislocations—drawing from a range of voices, experiences, and representations, pursuing what the class comes to identify as our own most urgent aesthetic and ethical questions. Our attention will be to craft, both in the memoirs we read and those we write. Writing sample and instructor permission required. Juniors and seniors only. Enrollment limited to 12. {H}{L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

THE 261 Writing for the Theatre I (4 Credits)

The means and methods of the playwright and the writer for television and the cinema. Analysis of the structure and dialogue of a few selected plays. Weekly and biweekly exercises in writing for various media. Goal for beginning playwrights: to draft a one-act play by the end of the semester. Plays by students are considered for staging. Writing sample and instructor permission required. {A}

Fall, Spring

THE 262 Writing for the Theatre II (4 Credits)

Intermediate and advanced script projects. Prerequisite: THE 261. Writing sample and instructor permission required. {A}

Fall, Spring

WLT 205 Contemporary African Literature and Film (4 Credits)

A study of the major writers and diverse literary traditions of Africa, with emphasis on the historical, political, social and cultural contexts of the emergence of writing, reception and consumption. We pay particular attention to several questions: in what contexts did modern African literature emerge? Is the term "African literature" a useful category? How do African writers challenge Western representations of Africa? How do they articulate the crisis of postcoloniality? How do women writers reshape our understanding of gender and the politics of resistance? Writers include Achebe, Ngugi, Dangarembga, Bâ, Ndebele and Aidoo. Films: Tsotsi , Softie and Blood Diamond. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

WLT 240 Imagining Black Freedom: African, Caribbean and African American Literature (4 Credits)

An examination of race, identity, and resistance in African, Caribbean, and African American literatures through the lens of coming-of-age novels. This course will enable students to critically engage the political and aesthetic imperatives of black writing by interrogating the thematics and legacies of slavery, colonialism, and racism. How do writers of Africa and the African diaspora appropriate the Bildungsroman as a literary form in their constructions of identity, freedom, and citizenship? What makes this genre particularly useful for the liberatory project of black imagination? Writers include Ngugi, Dangarembga, Wicomb, Cliff, Kincaid, Morrison and Wright. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

WLT 266md Colloquium: Topics in South African Literature and Film (4 Credits)

A study of South African literature and film with a focus on adaptation of literary texts to the screen. The course pays particular attention to the ways in which the political, economic and cultural forces of colonialism and apartheid have shaped contemporary South African literature and film: for what purposes do South African filmmakers adapt novels, biographies and memoirs to the screen? How do these adaptations help us visualize the relationship between power and violence in apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa? How do race, class, gender, sexuality and ethnicity complicate our understanding racial, political and gender-based violence in South Africa? Enrollment limited to 18. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

WLT 271 Writing in Translation: Bilingualism in the Postcolonial Novel (4 Credits)

A study of bilingualism as a legacy of colonialism, as an expression of exile, and as a means of political and artistic transformation in recent texts from Africa and the Americas. We consider how such writers as Ngugi wa Thiong’o (Kenya), Assia Djebar (Algeria), Patrick Chamoiseau (Martinique) and Edwidge Danticat (Haiti/U.S.) assess the personal and political consequences of writing in the language of a former colonial power, and how they attempt to capture the esthetic and cultural tensions of bilingualism in their work. {L}

Fall, Spring, Variable

WLT 300 Foundations in Contemporary Literature Theory (4 Credits)

This course presents a variety of practices and positions within the field of literary theory. Approaches include structuralism, poststructuralism, psychoanalysis, Marxism, gender and queer studies, cultural studies and postcolonial studies. Emphasis on the theory as well as the practice of these methods: their assumptions about writing and reading and about literature as a cultural formation. Readings include Freud, Lacan, Levi-Strauss, Barthes, Derrida, Foucault, Bakhtin, Gramsci, Bhabba, Butler, Said, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Zizek. The class is of interest to all students who wish to explore a range of approaches and methodologies within the humanities as well to students who plan to go to graduate school in literature programs. Enrollment limited to 25. {L}

Fall

Creative Writing

Interested in creating your own prose or poetry? You can major in English language and literature with a creative writing emphasis.

We offer courses in nonfiction prose as well as writing poetry and fiction at the beginning, intermediate and advanced levels. Other colleges in the Pioneer Valley also offer a wide range of courses in creative writing. At Smith, we also have The Boutelle-Day Poetry Center, an innovative center that brings well-known poets to campus each semester and provides opportunities for students to meet.

Students usually begin with ENG 125, "Introduction to Creative Writing," multiple sections of which are offered every semester. Each section, limited to 15 students, emphasizes drafting, workshopping, and revising; in fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. (Note: these creative writing courses do not satisfy Smith College's Writing Intensive requirement.) ENG 125 prepares students to take our intermediate and advanced creative writing courses, and helps students build a portfolio to submit for those upper-level courses. ENG 125 is open to all students; no writing samples are required.

At the 100-level, we also offer ENG 135,"Introduction to Writing Creative Nonfiction" and ENG 136, "Journalism: Principles and Practice."

Beyond the introductory level, the Smith English Department offers the following intermediate and advanced creative writing courses every year. Some are offered every semester. Each is limited to 12 students, admitted by permission of the instructor. Writing samples are required:

  • ENG 206 Intermediate Fiction Writing
  • ENG 216 Intermediate Poetry Writing
  • ENG 245 Worldbuilding
  • ENG 290 Crafting Creative Nonfiction
  • ENG 295 Advanced Poetry Writing
  • ENG 296 Advanced Fiction Writing
  • ENG/PYX 301 Advanced Poetry Writing: A Capstone
  • ENG 384/AMS 351 Writing About American Society

Many students also take THE 261 and 262 "Writing for the Theater" (in the Theatre department), and FMS 281 "Screenwriting Workshop" (in the Film and Media Studies program). Cross-listed in ENG, THE 261, THE 262, and FMS 281 can be counted among the writing workshops required for the Creative Writing Emphasis in the major.

Creative writing courses above the 100–level can be repeated for credit with the permission of the instructor and of the chair. No more than two courses in creative writing may be taken in any one semester except by permission of the chair.

For consideration into creative writing courses, all work must be submitted no later than the Monday of the week before registration starts. For fall 2024 courses, that means by April 1. 
 
In addition to your writing piece, this application must also be completed and submitted. Please send both to creativewritingapply@smith.com.
 
All submissions must have your name and the course that you are applying for at the top of the page. And all submissions must be sent in Word or PDF form, not shared in Google drive.
 
Below is a partial list of courses that require submissions that will be offered in the fall. More courses will be added before registration starts. You may apply for any of the courses listed here now. You will find out by April 10 which course(s) you were accepted into.
 
The following writing courses for fall 2024 require submissions.
ENG 206 Intermediate Fiction Writing

Allegra Hyde
Wednesdays 7:00-9:30 p.m.

Please submit one short story, 7 to 15 pages. The story should be double spaced, with 12-point type. Any genre of fiction (realistic, historical, sci fi, fantasy, hybrid, etc…), but it should be a stand-alone piece with a beginning, middle, and an end. Please also submit a one-page document that answers these questions: 1) What excites you about your story or what made you want to write it? 2) What questions do you have about your story? 3) What are you hoping to get out of the fiction workshop?
ENG 216 Intermediate Poetry Writing

Arda Collins
Thursdays 1:20-4:00 p.m.

Please submit a writing sample of 4 pages of poems. Please also submit a brief description, a paragraph or two, of something you’ve read that’s had an effect on you. The effect can be positive or negative and the selection truly can be anything: something you read on a cereal box, a great novel, the title of a movie, an odd bit from a newspaper or magazine, a passage from a poem or story.

ENG 289 Making and Writing Comics

Yona Harvey
Tuesdays 1:20-4:00 p.m.

Enrollment is by the instructor’s permission. Please submit a writing sample of no more than 3–4 pages of your strongest poetry, fiction, or nonfiction.  Please also include a brief note explaining 1.) why you would like to enroll in this Writing and Making Comics Workshop and 2.) the most recent comic book, zine, or graphic novel you’ve read that sparked a strong reaction from you, positive or negative.

ENG 295 Advanced Poetry

Tiana Clark
Tuesdays 9:25 a.m -12:05 p.m.

Interested students should submit a writing sample of 3–4 poems (maximum five pages), with a cover note that includes your contact info, your class year, a description of your poetry background (e.g., creative writing and poetry courses taken at Smith or elsewhere), and anything else that might be helpful for the professor to know. Indicate why you would like to take this course as well as some of your favorite contemporary poets. Also, please include your strengths and areas you would like to improve in your poetry. Have you taken a poetry workshop before? If so, please elaborate. (Please note that the class will be expected to attend a minimum of four Smith poet Q&As and readings (usually on Tuesdays at 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.).

ENG 296 Advanced Fiction Writing

Kelly Link
Wednesdays 1:20-4:00 p.m.

Students should submit a short story in any genre, up to 8,000 words in length. It should give the reader a sense of your voice, your ambition, and your interests or obsessions as a writer.

Many distinguished creative writing teachers teach at the other four colleges. We are trying to make our application processes more uniform, but at the moment the best way to get into a class at Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke or the University of Massachusetts is to get in touch with the teacher during the pre-registration period and find out what he or she wants you to do.

Faculty

Heather Abel

English Language & Literature

Lecturer in English Language & Literature

Floyd Cheung

English Language & Literature

Vice President for Equity and Inclusion; Professor of English Language & Literature and American Studies

Tiana Clark

English Language & Literature

Grace Hazard Conkling Writer-in-Residence 2023-24

Arda Collins

English Language & Literature

Lecturer in English Language & Literature

Craig Davis

English Language & Literature

Professor of English Language & Literature

Professor Craig Davis

Matt Donovan

English Language & Literature

Professor of Practice in English Language & Literature and Director of The Boutelle-Day Poetry Center

Matt Donovan

Seamus Dwyer

English Language & Literature

Lecturer in English Language & Literature

Michael Gorra

English Language & Literature

Mary Augusta Jordan Professor of English Language & Literature

Michael Gorra

Tess Grogan

English Language & Literature

Lecturer in English Language & Literature

Ambreen Hai

English Language & Literature

Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities, Professor of English Language & Literature; Department Chair of English Language & Literature

Ambreen Hai

Yona Harvey

English Language & Literature

Tammis Day Professor of Poetry in the Department of English Language and Literature

Allegra Hyde

English Language & Literature

Assistant Professor of English Language & Literature

Jina B. Kim

English Language & Literature

Assistant Professor of English Language & Literature and of the Study of Women & Gender

Jina B. Kim

Daphne Lamothe

Africana Studies

Provost and Dean of the Faculty; Professor of Africana Studies

Kelly Link

English Language & Literature

Elizabeth Drew Professor of English Language and Literature

Kelly Link

Sara London

English Language & Literature

Lecturer in English Language & Literature

Sara London

Art Middleton

English Language & Literature

Lecturer in English Language & Literature

Naomi Miller

English Language & Literature

Professor of English Language & Literature

Naomi Miller

Melissa Parrish

English Language & Literature

Assistant Professor of English Language & Literature

Douglas Lane Patey

English Language & Literature

Sophia Smith Professor of English Language & Literature

Doug Patey

Torleif Persson

English Language & Literature

Lecturer in English Language & Literature

Andrea Stone

English Language & Literature

Associate Professor of English Language & Literature

Andrea Stone

Michael Thurston

English Language & Literature

Helen Means Professor of English Language & Literature

Michael Thurston

Honors in English Language & Literature

Honors Director

Fall 2024: Naomi Miller
Spring 2025: Michael Gorra

Overview

Applicants to honors must have an average GPA of 3.7 or above in the courses they count toward the major, and an overall GPA of 3.5 or above in all other courses by their junior year. During the senior year they will present a thesis, of which the first complete formal draft will be due by the third week of the second semester. After the readers of the thesis have provided students with their evaluations of this draft, the student will have time to revise their work in response to their suggestions. The final completed version of the thesis will be due after spring vacation, to be followed during April by the student’s oral presentation and discussion of their work.

The college’s official requirements, guidelines and deadlines are available on the class deans website.

Prizes & Awards

The department offers several academic prizes. You do not need to apply for a specific prize, as your work will be eligible for all prizes in the category. You may submit in as many categories as you wish, but only two entries per category (with the exception of single poems, in which you may submit three poems).

Deadline

The submission deadline for 2024–25 prizes is 3:45 p.m. on Monday, April 21st, 2025. You may certainly submit them sooner, but do not re-send a submission once you have submitted it once.

All submissions should be sent to Englishprizes@smith.edu, by the deadline. Please send all submissions in a single email and in the body of the email include the information listed below.

Please send them as PDF or Word Doc files only, and please name each submission with your alias and the category. Example-Emily Dickinson-single poem 1, Emily Dickinson-single poem 2.

Please note: We will accept a maximum of 2 submissions per prize category per student, except for single poems which we will accept 3.

Prizes are divided into five separate categories:

  • Poetry (single)
  • Poetry (group) (linked by theme, subject or form)
  • Fiction
  • Creative Nonfiction
  • Critical Essay

Submission requirements

In order for your work to be considered, the following information must be included on each submission and in the body of your email:

  • a single alias on all of your submissions (do not put your real name on your paper) so the submissions are anonymous
  • the category that you are submitting the paper for (see above)
  • your major and class year
  • your student ID number
  • for a critical essay submission, include the class that the paper was written for
  • for poetry submissions, notify us if the work has been previously published

Anne Bradstreet Prize from the Academy of American Poets
Awarded for the best poem or group of poems by an undergraduate.

  • Helen Marino, ‘24, “Self Portrait, 1988”
     

Elizabeth Babcock Poetry Prize
Awarded for the best poem by an undergraduate. 

  • Isabel Cruz,’24, “Miss Ruthie’s Garden” 

  • Runner-Up: Sofia Catanzaro ‘24, “Letter to my Wuthering Heights” 

  • Runner-Up: Mary-Kate Wilson ‘25, “Thank You”
     

Ethel Olin Corbin Prize
Awarded for the best original poem (preferably blank verse, sonnet or ballad) or informal essay by an undergraduate.

  • Ria de Guzman ‘25, “Abecedarian Conversation with my Dead Mom” 
     

Ruth Forbes Eliot Prize
Awarded for the best poem submitted by a first year or sophomore.

  • Tessa Wheeler ‘27, “Do You Remember a River” 
     

Runner-Up: Grace Pariser ‘27, “In which I notice the reflection of my father in the photograph of the Boston Public Library” 

Rosemary Thomas Poetry Prize
Awarded for the best poem or group of poems.

  • Lila Rutishauser ‘24, “Deer Sculpture, North Carolina, 2019” 

  • Runner-Up: Kirby Wilson ‘25, “Whale Falls are the Hottest Restaurants of the Deep Sea” 

  • Runner-Up: Vivian DeRosa ‘24, “dates with myths & other disasters” 

  • Runner-Up: Emily Judkins ‘24, “Fruit Machine” 
     

Elizabeth Drew Fiction Prize
Awarded for the best fiction written by an undergraduate.

  • Jane MacLaughlin, '24, "The Mistral" 
     

Elizabeth Drew Essay Prize
Awarded for the best classroom essay on a literary subject submitted by an undergraduate in a class taught by a member of the English department.

  • Camille Crossett ‘24, "Mother vs. Monster: Motherhood as a Social Position for Women in
       Edith Wharton's Fiction" 

  • Emily Judkins ‘24, "Tasting Resistance: Queer Diaspora through Food in Fatimah Ashgar & Franny Choi's Poetry" 

 

Elizabeth Drew Memorial Prizes

  • Best honors thesis : Vivian DeRosa ’24, “Horse Girls: An Exploration of Obsession, Power, and the Collective ‘We’” 

  • The best essay on a literary subject submitted by a first year: Maeve Stanford ‘27, "The Ecstasy of Prior Walter: Investigating Sex as Religion in Angels in America
     

Eleanor Cederstrom Prize
Awarded for the best poem by an undergraduate, written in a traditional verse form.

  • Lola Anaya ‘24, “Pantoum to Carry On” 


Helen Kate Furness Prize
Awarded for the best essay on a Shakespearean theme prepared in courses or seminars or honors.

  • Emil Douville Beaudoin ‘24, "Kingly Wombs and Motherly Children: Queer Doom in William Shakespeare's King Lear
     

James T. and Ellen M. Hatfield Memorial Prize
Awarded to a senior majoring in English for the best short story.

  • Grace Huang, '24, "Tender Moments" 
     

Elizabeth Montagu Prize Awarded for the best essay on a literary subject concerning women.

  • Carly Renna ‘26, "Becoming a Woman or Becoming a Lady? Feminine Powers in Abeng" 
     

Gertrude Posner Spencer Prize
Awarded for excellence in writing fiction and nonfiction prose. 

  • Madyson Grant ‘25, “The Juvenile Disease” 

  • Juliet May ‘25, “Plain and Simple Physics” 

  • Kirby Wilson ‘25, “Criminal History” 

  • Amalia Tomas, '26, "An Honest Trade” 

  • Caroline Zouloumian, '25, "The Curve” 

  • Hana Halff, '25, "Sinclair's Push” 

  • Madyson Grant, ’25, “Summer as Lament, Accompanied by Film” 

  • Jada Wordlaw, ’26, no title
     

Emogene Mahony Memorial Prize
Awarded for (a) the best essay on a literary subject written by a first-year student and (b) the best honors thesis.

  • Tessa Wheeler ‘27, "The Perpetual Trial: Narrative Injustice and Cycles of Female Tragedy in The Scarlet Letter

  •  Emil Douville Beaudoin, “Shattering the Imperial Document: Fractured Speech in Contemporary American Experimental Longform Poetry” 
     

Norma M. Leas Memorial Prize
Awarded to a graduating English major for excellence in written English

  • Lily Berkowitz, '24, "Strong Arms"
     

Clara French Memorial Prize
Awarded to a graduating English major who had advanced further in the study of English language and literature.

  • Emily Jinsook Buck, ‘24

  • Emil Douville Beaudoin, ‘24
     

Vernon Harward Prize
Awarded for the best student scholar of Chaucer.

  • Candace Russell ‘26 
     

Mary Augusta Jordan Prize
Awarded for the most original work in prose or poetry by a senior. 

  • Claire Russell ’24, “Red Hot & Sleeping”
     

Elizabeth Wanning Harries Prize
Awarded to a graduating Ada Comstock scholar who has shown academic distinction in the study of literature in any language.

None awarded

Opportunities & Resources

Student working with a writing counselor

The Jacobson Center, on the third floor of Seelye Hall, is at the heart of Smith’s efforts to help faculty to become better teachers and students to become better learners and effective writers. Many English majors have gone to the center for help with papers, and a number have worked for the center as writing assistants.

The center offers students several services including writing counseling; tutoring; and workshops on time management, study skills and other academic issues. Faculty can take advantage of writing and teaching colloquia, a library of materials about teaching and learning, and individual consultation on classroom issues.

Learn More About the Jacobson Center

The Smith College Poetry Center, located in Wright Hall, sponsors a series of readings by established and emerging poets, publishes poetry broadsides, offers prizes, and in other ways acts to promote the reading and writing of poetry at Smith and in the Pioneer Valley.

Learn More About the Poetry Center

One of Smith’s most important resources is the Mortimer Rare Book Collection, part of Special Collections, located on the third floor of Neilson Library. Here are gathered Smith’s holdings—extraordinary in quality and in number, especially for a liberal arts college—of rare books and manuscripts, including many items in English and American literature. There are especially significant collections of writings by Sylvia Plath, Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, and Eudora Welty.

Many faculty members in English hold classes with the curator of rare books using the Mortimer Rare Book Collection or in other ways seek to introduce its holdings to students; the department urges all its students to take advantage of this remarkable resource.

Explore the Mortimer Rare Book Collection

In recent years, faculty members in the department have worked with Neilson Library staff to identify those skills—especially skills in doing research on the Internet and with other electronic media—necessary for work in the major. In the view both of the department and the Neilson librarians, “information literacy” is “the ability to conceptualize what literacy information is needed combined with the skills necessary to locate, evaluate, and use this information effectively and ethically.”

Learn More About the Neilson Library Information Literacy Program

Many Smith English majors spend all or part of their junior years abroad. Most, predictably, have attended universities in England, Scotland or Ireland, but some have chosen Smith’s own programs in Paris, Hamburg, Florence or Geneva, and a few hardy travelers have ventured as far as Australia. With careful planning, English majors are able to apply the credits they earned abroad toward their English department requirements on their return.

Choosing Where to Go

Since the English department publishes no officially recommended list of its own, you should make choices according to your own interests and preferences. First ask yourself some basic questions:

  • Do you plan to be away for one semester or an academic year?
  • Do you want to study only English or an additional subject or subjects?
  • Are you interested in highly traditional institutions like Oxford or St. Andrews or in highly nontraditional ones like East Anglia and Sussex?
  • Do you prefer to be in a big city like London, Edinburgh, Dublin or Sydney? Or would you rather be in the countryside, on an American-style campus, as at York, for example?
  • What about accommodations: university dorm or shared flat?

  • Research about the universities is best done online. Begin with Smith's own study abroad Web site for short descriptions of foreign universities and links to their home pages. Always go to a university's home page for the most current information and to check its regulations, which may vary by department. Go beyond the university's general home page to its English department Web page to get information about programs and offerings; sometimes you will find the name of an English department faculty member who may be consulted by e-mail.
  • Visit the Smith Office for International Study to consult with professional staff and find resources: brochures, reference books and reports from returned Smith students.
  • Talk to your adviser in the English Department for more information.

  • Fill out the requisite forms (available from the Office for International Study). These forms will require you to list specific courses for study abroad.
  • Discuss your plans with your regular departmental adviser. You should choose courses that might fulfill major requirements, that build on coursework you've already completed, that might lead to further coursework on your return and that take advantage of the particular strengths of the university you plan to attend.
  • Get your adviser's approval and signature, as well as that of the department's study abroad adviser.
  • Follow the application deadlines posted atwww.smith.edu/studyabroad.
  • If your course selections change while you're abroad (they frequently do), consult with your departmental adviser by e-mail.

Arrange to transfer your study-abroad credits to Smith. See your major adviser; he or she will determine whether a course taken abroad is reasonably close to a Smith course in its coverage, its assignments and its methods of assessment.

Contact English Language & Literature

105 Pierce Hall
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: 413-585-3302

Administrative Assistant: Jennifer Roberts

For questions regarding the English major, please contact the department chair, Ambreen Hai.