Courses Taught & Planned
ENG 222: INTRODUCTION TO DIGITAL HUMANITIES
This course introduces students to key concepts, practices and debates within “digital humanities.” Originally characterized as the use of computers to accomplish the traditional tasks of humanistic criticism, digital humanities was practiced in order to preserve information; to disseminate and store; and to produce accessible editions. In its evolution, however, digital humanities has grown into a self-critical field that notes its own limitations while engaging in the algorithmic analysis of text and images, producing an abundance of archives, and extending race, gender and decolonial critique.
Pictured: Miners of Coltan in Congo. Coltan is a mineral widely used in the electronics industry.
ENG 120: INTRODUCTION TO LITERATURE & CULTURE (POSTCOLONIAL EMPHASIS)
This class analyzes postcolonial texts through the lenses of morality and crime, law and lawlessness, and right and wrong. Students will explore literature’s potential to shape moral principles, taking as a case study the special relationship between morality and the novel. Because novels ask us to sympathize with the main character, they were helpful in establishing the following moral principles and laws: bans on violence, physical abuse and torture; beliefs in the sanctity of the human body; beliefs in self-determination and rights to life; and the notion that suffering in a fellow human is a cause for empathy.
But students also learn that the novel’s account of right and wrong is tied up with a single individual’s perspective—usually the narrator’s or the main character’s. That is, the reader gets only “one side” of the story, not the “full” or objective story. Given that this is the case, we’ll ask: what if our sympathy with the main character leads us to inadvertently condone a heinous crime? How can we be sure that we have been told the truth in a novel, and that characters are as right as they seem?
Pictured: Jean-Léon Gérôme, Whirling Dervishes
ENG 234: SURVEY OF ENGLISH LITERATURE—ROMANTICISM TO PRESENT
This course provides an overview of British literature from the late 18C to the present. Important touchstones include romantic revolutions in lyric poetry (Blake, Wordsworth, Keats); literary realism as a refutation of the romantic attitude (Eliot, Dickens); high modernism in the poetry T. S. Eliot and the prose of Virginia Woolf; and the diasporic Black-British literature of the post-1960s era (Sylvon, Bennett, Smith). By the course’s end, students will be able to position literary production as a form of response to the dilemmas that have characterized Britain after 1785: individual freedom versus communal right; tradition versus modernization; public versus private; and country versus city. We’ll see that, as Britain adapted to historical transformations following from urbanization and technologization, the establishment of global industrial and travel networks, and mass migration and multiculturalism, its literary culture also demonstrated the influence of an expanding and contracting empire.
Pictured: Walter Crane's "Imperial Federation Map of the World," showing the extent of the British empire in 1886
ENG 353: STUDIES IN POSTCOLONIAL LITERATURE
This course explores the literature of the British empire. Reading twentieth- and twenty-first-century texts from Britain, South Asia, the Caribbean and Africa, we examine the relationship between economic conquest and literary form. Students will learn to: identify significant aesthetic characteristics of colonial discourse (i.e., texts written about the native in the Western metropole); appreciate that techniques of appropriation and mimicry helped to initiate postcolonial literature; and describe the evolution of aesthetic forms within the postcolonial canon. Framing literature as an institution capable of shaping moral sentiment and empathy, we examine its contribution to world-historical shifts such as the consolidation of empire--as well as its break-up.
Pictured: Andrew Gilbert's Michael Caine. (Find more information on Gilbert here.)