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Fall 2021

Creative Writing

B3000 Fiction Workshop

Prof. Shay Youngblood
Mondays 6:45 – 8:35pm
Section 1HJ (46490)
ONLINE

The act of writing requires courage and vulnerability especially in these challenging times. What are you passionate about? What keeps you awake at night? This fiction workshop will focus on critiques of your submitted manuscripts. Students will submit once or twice depending on class size during the semester. The discussions will examine the essential elements of fiction and storytelling in your work. During each session there will be some discussion on short assigned readings on craft, voice, language, the business of being a writer and developing and maintaining a creative practice. Assigned readings will include articles on craft, contemporary fiction and excerpts from a range of genres to stretch your imagination and a sense of what is possible in fiction. The goal of the workshop is to support each student as a writer, both your process and development, through writing, reading and the study of craft.

Shay Youngblood is a writer, visual artist, and educator. Author of several novels including Soul Kiss and Black Girl in Paris, collections of short stories and numerous essays, her published plays have been widely produced and her short stories have been performed at Symphony Space and recorded for NPR’s Selected Shorts.  She teaches monthly genre bending writing workshops at Youngblood Arts. Her current projects include a novel, illustrated children’s books, a super hero graphic novel collaboration and a multi-media performance work on architecture, memory and the environment inspired by research in Japan, China and the U.S.
www.shayyoungblood.com

B3000 Fiction Workshop

Prof. Salar Abdoh
Tuesdays 6:45 – 8:35pm
Section 2TU (22832)
ONLINE

This course is a standard graduate workshop. Each  student is expected to submit (depending on class size)  one time or two times during the semester. Submissions can be parts of a novel or short story. I will ask you to submit an additional copy of the critiques that you write for each writer’s work to me as well. My focus in the workshop is entirely on the students’ own pieces. While there is no minimum requirement on the number of pages submitted, there is indeed a maximum. What I pay attention to is the nuts and bolts of the text at hand. My style is not to do paragraph by paragraph edits of a work. Rather, I look at the overall arc of a piece, and address the fundamental elements of fiction within it – pacing, character, voice, dialogue, prose, etc.
Another aspect of my style of workshop is to not be overly intrusive. In other words, I try to work within the context   and formulations that the writer has created; I don’t believe in ‘hard intrusion’ into a writer’s intent, style and execution, unless on very rare occasions it is absolutely called for. Finally, my own focus and area of interest is usually strict realism. In other words, my forte is not experimental fiction, nor have I much read fantasy or children/YA literature.

Salar Abdoh’s latest book (2020) is Out of Mesopotamia.

B3000 Fiction Workshop

Prof. Mark Jay Mirsky
Thursdays 4:45 – 6:35pm
Section 4RS (22903)
ONLINE

The focus of the workshop is on the writing of the individuals in the seminar, not on reading assignments or exercises. The course will try to identify the unique voice of each writer, and encourage students to develop and enrich this voice.
I hope to meet with each student in the class from the beginning of the semester over Zoom in individual sessions and Facebook. If the danger of infection has subsided I will seek meeting in person if students request it. I will discuss possible assignments both in class and in conference, if I feel that individual students are apt to profit from them. All new work handed counts toward the page requirement of sixty pages. All the writing submitted that is written during the semester counts toward this requirement. There are three brief assignments detailed during the first class. that I ask students to complete and send in before the second class.
I will lecture on methods of narrative in the course of the semester both in relation to the manuscripts submitted and in regard to stories and novels that I regard as “classics” of fiction, such as writers of the past, Witold Gombrowicz, Bruno Schulz, the critic, Edmund Wilson, and Robert Creeley, all speaking about what draws them to write, or how they write. Students can submit brief samples of their writing at the beginning of the course (within reasonable limits), and the instructor will respond to them. The instructor will lecture briefly on creative narrative in the course of the semester both in relation to the manuscripts submitted and some of the assigned reading. If the schedule of manuscripts submitted permits it, he will assign and discuss specific texts.
Readings are rotated from year to year bit, the following may be distributed or assigned: “Letter to His Father, and selected short stories by Franz Kafka, Mist by Miguel de Unamuno, “First Love” by Samuel Beckett, Unions by Robert Musil; “Sorrow Acre” by Isak Dinesen; At Swim, Two Birds, by Flann O’Brien, Donald Barthelme’s “A Shower of Gold,”  and other short stories, Go Tell It on the Mountain,  James Baldwin, The Collected Stories of Jorge Luis Borges, Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio, Robert Creeley’s “Mr. Blue,”  Delmore Schwartz’s “In Dreams Begin Responsibilities,” Juan Rulfo’s Pedro Paramo,  The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. Of Mules and Men, Zora Neale Hurston and work of Cynthia Ozick and Flannery O’Connor and  my own fiction.
Students are required to read all the submissions of their fellow students and expected to comment on them in class and in emails circulated to all the members of the class.

The founding editor of Fiction in 1972, with Donald Barthelme, Max and Marianne Frisch, which publishes from offices at The City College, Professor Mark Jay Mirsky is the author of five novels, Thou Worm Jacob, Proceedings of the Rabble, The Red Adam, Puddingstone, and Blue Hill Avenue (listed among the 100 Essential Books of New England—Boston Globe.) He has published a collection of novellas (The Secret Table), as well as five books of criticism and journalism, My Search for the Messiah, The Absent Shakespeare, The Plot in Shakespeare’s Sonnets, Dante, Eros and Kabbalah, and A Mother’s Steps in addition to numerous stories and articles.  He is the editor of the Diaries of Robert Musil, co-editor of the two volume History of Pinsk (Stanford University Press), and Rabbinic Fantasies (Yale University Press).



B3200 Poetry Workshop

Prof. David Groff
Thursdays 4:45 – 6:35pm
Section 4RS (22833)
ONLINE

Just as each of us humans has a distinctive voiceprint, so does every poet. In this workshop you’ll be encouraged to define and refine your particular poetic voice. We’ll use the reading aloud of our poems to make observations and insights about them that lead us into the adventure of revision. In class exercises and discussion, we’ll explore ways to liberate the imagination and take poems to the often-startling places they need to go, while writing in both received and organic poetic forms. We will also read poets of diverse nationalities, races, eras, genders, and aesthetics, to discover how we can better value their voices and find inspiration for our own poems.
In addition to writing and revising poems, we will explore where and how to send them out for publication, as part of a larger discussion about the voice of the emerging writer in a complex and rapidly changing American literary culture. Please be ready to submit a poem a week, do assigned reading of work by poets past and present, provide generous written responses to poems by other workshop participants, perform in-class and take-home poetry prompts, present the workshop with a written introduction to a poet you love, and create an end-of-semester chapbook of your poetry. 

David Groff received his MFA from the University of Iowa Writers Workshop. He also has an MA in English and Expository Writing from the University of Iowa. His two books of poetry are Clay (Trio House Press, 2013) and Theory of Devolution (University of Illinois Press, 2002). He has co-edited the anthologies Who’s Yer Daddy?: Gay Writers Celebrate Their Mentors and Forerunners​.

B3600 Non-Fiction Workshop

Prof. Amir Ahmadi
Mondays 4:45 – 6:35pm
Section 1FG (38894)
ONLINE

After centuries of the dominance of the novel, currently the publishing landscape is experiencing a shift towards nonfiction. The genre commonly called “creative nonfiction,” a narrative form that includes personal essay, memoir,
travelogue, etc. is attracting an unprecedented amount of attention. This workshop has two parts. In every class, about the first half an hour we will have a discussion around a published piece. I will distribute them as PDFs at the beginning of the semester and assign one piece per week. You are required
to read the assignment closely and come to the class prepared for discussion. We will read essays by a large variety of authors from all over the world in different genres.
The second part of the class will be run as a standard workshop. Each student submits two times during the
semester, each piece under twenty pages. The submission doesn’t have to be in any specific genre, with one caveat:
the narrative is the ultimate focus of this workshop. We will discuss pieces that tell a story. So academic writing and
certain forms of lyric essay are not among what we cover. I will mostly focus on the ways in which the story is told, the
arc of the narrative, the dialogue, how characters are introduced and developed, and the prose. Students are required to come to the class with the annotated copy of the submitted piece ad an additional letter of general comments and suggestions for improvement.

Amir Arian Ahmadi  has published short stories and essays in The New York Times, New York Review of Books, The Guardian, London Review of Books, Massachusetts Review, Lithub, etc. His first novel is English, Then The Fish Swallowed Him, was published by HarperCollins in 2020. He earned a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the The University of Queensland in Australia, and an MFA in
creative writing from NYU.

B3600 Non-Fiction Workshop

Prof. Roberto Brodsky
Wednesdays 6:45 – 8:35pm
Section 3HJ (46487)
ONLINE

This nonfiction workshop focuses on one of the most powerful, and diverse genres in contemporary writing. What does non-fiction mean? Which distinction shapes facts and fiction in literary construction and structures? What’s the position of the Self and the narrator in non-fiction monologues?  Why and how to choose one subject instead of another? These are some of the critical questions that students will respond in their own works, becoming familiar in practical terms with a wide array of instances encompassing personal memories, political recollections, travelogues, autobiographies, self-fiction, journeys, and diaries, as examples of the many forms of representations containing the genre both in its classic and modern terms. Every week students will read in synchronous-time one excerpt of their work, shared beforehand and receiving comments and observations from their peers during class. Along with this standard workshop model, chapters and exemplary sections from a chosen bibliography will be distributed to feed discussion.

Roberto Brodsky is a Chilean writer with a vast published body of work that includes six novels, scripts of films such as Machuca (2004) and Mi Vida con Carlos (2008), and more than 250 articles, non-fiction pieces, and critical essays. As Ph.D. in Literature, his research and topics of interest lie at the intersection of fiction and politics, memory and oblivion, biography and cultural representations across Literature and Film. He was a Visiting Scholar and Faculty Adjunct at Georgetown University. In 2019 Dr. Brodsky moved to New York City, where he published an extended essay on the poet Enrique Lihn’s countercultural discourses in the 80s during Pinochet’s dictatorship. 

B4501 Special Topics: Screenwriting Workshop

Prof. Marc Palmieri
Mondays 4:45 – 6:35pm
Section 1FG (46489)
ONLINE

The good news is, these days one can move a script from page to screen faster and cheaper than ever before. While the possibility of selling a script to Hollywood is always real (seriously- it does happen), it is exciting and motivating to consider that thanks to how far digital technology has come, seeing one’s own work on the independent film circuit, festivals and the internet can happen without someone giving you lots and lots of money. Students will develop a screenplay for a film, television or the web. All are welcome to work in other variations such as television scripts and web series scripts. We will examine the storytelling possibilities of the form, its advantages and challenges – and no doubt stumble on important things we didn’t expect. Students will also offer critiques and participate in feedback discussions of classmates’ work.

Marc Palmieri has taught dramatic writing in the MFA program at CCNY since 2010, and has taught Modern and Postmodern Drama, Shakespeare, Dramatic Writing for the stage, TV and film, Fiction and other courses for the Undergraduate English Department since 2006. He is a full- time core faculty member in the School of Liberal Arts at Mercy College. Credits include: Miramax Films’ Telling You (screenplay), The Thing (webseries: www.the play is.com), stage plays include Waiting For The Host, Levittown (NY Times Critic’s Pick), The Groundling, Carl The Second and Poor Fellas (all published by Dramatists Play Service). He has published twice in Fiction, and in numerous anthologies for Applause/Limelight Books and Smith & Kraus Inc. His collection of plays for middle schoolers, S(cool) Days, is published by Brooklyn Publishers. Marc is a fully vested member of SAG- AFTRA and Actors Equity.BA Wake Forest, MA, MFA CCNY.​ www.marcpalmieri.com 

This course is also available under Critical Practice.

Critical Practice

B1959 The Conversation Between Art and Poetry: Poetry-CP

Prof. Michelle Valladares
Tuesdays 4:45 – 6:35pm
Section 2RS (38867)
ONLINE

You don’t need a weatherman
To know which way the wind blows

Bob Dylan

This critical practice will examine the conversation between poets and art including visual arts, music and dance. We will consider the various collaborations and conversations which have inspired movements within poetry. Students will examine how this cross-pollination between disciplines can inspire, strengthen and expand their own poetic influences and writing.
In this spirit students will be asked to write poems, engage in an alternate art form (on whatever level) and pick an artist (dead or alive) and begin a dialogue.  We will read the work of Langston Hughes, Adrienne Rich, John Berger, Audrey Lorde, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Bob Dylan and others. We will examine various schools of poetry; Black Mountain Poets, the New York School Poets, the Beats and Feminist poetics, Language poets, Harlem Renaissance and other groups and movements.  Readings, studio/gallery visits, presentations and an independent studio/research project will be included as part of the coursework.

Michelle Yasmine Valladares is the Director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing and an MFA Lecturer in Poetry.  She is a poet, essayist and an independent film producer.  She is the author of Nortada, the North Wind (Global City Press) and several chapbooks.  She has collaborated on artists books.  Her poems have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She has been published in literary journals and her work has been anthologized in Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia & Beyond, (Norton)andother anthologies. She was awarded “The Poet of the Year”by the Americas Poetry Festival of NY.  She is the poetry editor for Global City Press and has co-produced three award winning independent films.  She received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and her BA from Bryn Mawr College.  You can check out her work at michelleyasminevalladares.com.  Her graduate courses include Poetry Workshop, Prosody and The Conversation between Poetry and Art.

B1985 Literature of the Diaspora: belonging,
estrangement, ambivalence

Prof. Dalia Sofer
Tuesdays 4:45 – 6:35pm
Section 2RS (45159)
ONLINE

This course will examine the plural identities revealed in the works of European, Middle Eastern, and North-African writers of Jewish descent, including Italo Svevo, Giorgio Bassani, Marcel Proust, Georges Perec, Walter Benjamin, Imre Kertész, Danilo Kiš, Bruno Schulz, Eva Hoffman, Fernando Pessoa, Albert Memmi, Naïm Kattan, Samir Naqqash, and Lucette Lagnado. Exploring autobiographical writings as well as works of fiction, we will address the complexities of acculturation, the pervasiveness of estrangement, and ambivalence toward Jewishness. We will pay attention not only to content but also to form, examining how, for many of these writers, innovation was a key aspect of self-expression.
In addition to the readings, students will undertake writing exercises and assignments, and will be asked to submit their work for class discussion.  The course is open to advanced writing students of all backgrounds who wish to deepen their understanding of themselves in relation to the world.

Dalia Sofer is the author of the novels Man of My Time (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020)—a New York Times Editors’ Choice and Notable Book of the Year, and The Septembers of Shiraz (Ecco Press, 2007)—selected as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, published in sixteen countries, winner of the Sami Rohr Choice Award, a finalist for the Jewish Book Award, and longlisted for the Orange Prize and the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.  A recipient of a Whiting Award, the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, the Sirenland Fellowship, and multiple residencies at Yaddo, she has contributed essays and reviews to various publications, including The New York Times Book Review, The LA Review of Books, and The Believer.

This course is also available under Literature.


B2030 The Evidence of Things Unseen: Art, Archives, and Harlem

Prof. William Gibbons
Tuesdays 6:45 – 8:35pm
Section 2TU (46491)
ONLINE

The Evidence of Things Unseen: Art, Archives, and Harlem is a hands-on course exposing students to the practice of archival and academic research.  The course will help students navigate archives and libraries while exploring the cultural, social, and political forces that influenced and defined the Harlem Renaissance and its writers. Students will work with primary and secondary archival materials related to Harlem’s role as an important artistic and political center housed in the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and other Harlem community and cultural organizations.  By the end of the course, students will understand the historical development of the field of archives, current issues, trends, and theories that shape the archival profession​.

Professor William Gibbons is a librarian and an archivist.  He teaches urban policy, library science, and archival research at The City College of New York (CCNY) and is the Curator of Archives & Special Collections in the City College Libraries.
He is a resource on Harlem and helps students and researchers become knowledgeable library users to use libraries and archives to their fullest potential.  His writing and research are focused on curating and preserving evidence of cultural heritage unseen.

This course is also available under Literature.

B2160 On Climate: Environmental Writing

Prof. Emily Raboteau
Mondays 6:45 – 8:35pm
Section 1HJ (38868)
HYBRID

(This course not to be taken by students who previously took it.)

The climate crisis is already changing the way each of us lives and experiences the world. This course will give students a space to reflect on the effects of climate change in their own communities. We’ll explore the science, make connections to New York City, and examine writing from others at the frontlines of the crisis. Students will submit their own chronicles of a world in transition—which can include stories about migration, conflict, ecological loss, man-made disasters, resilience, and solutions. Climate writing is emerging as a genre at a time when the narratives we tell can determine how our planet meets the challenges ahead. And that, in turn, will shape physical, political, social, and cultural environments for ourselves and for generations to come. Students will read and process recent exemplary literary nonfiction on the subject of the climate crisis, and write a research-driven 2,000-4,000 personal essay on the effects of global warming in their communities, to be workshopped by their peers.

Emily Raboteau is a novelist, essayist, and cultural critic.  She is a contributing editor at Orion Magazine, and a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books.  Her last book, Searching for Zion: The Quest for Home in the African Diaspora, won a 2014 American Book Award. She is also the recipient of a 2020 New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Nonfiction Literature Fellowship.  Her next book, Caution: Lessons in Survival, focusing on the intersection of climate change and environmental justice, will be published by Henry Holt, who will also publish her next novel, Endurance. Bylines include The New Yorker, The New York Times, New York Magazine, McSweeney’s, The Guardian, Best American Short Stories, and Best American Travel Writing.​

B3408 CP: Playwriting-
New Play Collaborations

Prof. Kathleen Potts
Fridays 2:00- 5:20pm
Section 5FG (61101)
ONLINE

The prerequisite for this course is B3407 Playwriting Workshop and permission from Prof. Barron.

This class will explore the creative, collaborative process and will be comprised of sets of actors, directors and playwrights who will team up to create a number of original works for the stage. The semester will culminate in a public presentation of the work.
Permission of the department required (please email Chair Rob Barron:  rbarron@ccny.cuny.edu.​)

Dr. Kathleen Potts is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Theatre & Speech, where she teaches courses ranging from Theatre Histories (1, 2, & 3, Musical Theatre, and Women’s Theatre) to Playwriting 1 & 2, Solo Performance, and New Play Collaborations.  A nationally recognized playwright, scholar, and dramaturge, Dr. Potts has earned an MFA from Columbia University’s School of the Arts, a Ph.D. from The Graduate Center, CUNY, and is a full member of the Dramatists Guild. She is the recipient of the highly competitive Eugene O’Neill Playwriting Fellowship and the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival’s Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award.  Most recently, she was honored to receive the CCNY Alumni Association’s Faculty Service Award for 2020.  Her publications include co-authorship of The Professional Actor’s Handbook with Julio Agustin (published by Rowman & Littlefield).  ​


B3605 The Mechanics of Editing

Prof. Yahdon Israel
Wednesdays 4:45 – 6:35pm
Section 3FG (40112)
ONLINE

“Editing,” Robert Gottlieb says, “requires you to be always open, always responding. It is very important not to allow yourself to want the writer to write a certain kind of book.” Though workshops depend largely on the participants’ ability to provide useful insight  about  what they’re reading with possible methods of how to address the issues that arise, because editing is an entirely separate enterprise from writing, writers in workshop often find themselves: (1) not knowing what or how to help fellow writers; or (2) attempting to rewrite the story for the writer. The Mechanics of Editing is a class devoted to providing students with the language, methods and techniques that enable them to effectively workshop their peers’ work, and edit their own.

Yahdon Israel is a Senior editor at Simon Schuster and founder of Literaryswag, a cultural movement that intersects literature and fashion to make books accessible.  He has written for Avidly, The New Inquiry, LitHub, Poets and Writers and Vanity Fair. He teaches creative writing at City College, and hosts the Literaryswag Book Club, a Brooklyn-based subscription service and book club that meets every last Wednesday of the month.


B3607 The Practice of Witness/Writing Resistance

Prof. Asale Angel-Ajani
Thursdays 6:45 – 8:35pm
Section 4TU (45158)
ONLINE

To witness is to see as much as it is to listen, to hold and to be held. In this class we will consider the practice/praxis of witness as, poet Ross Gay reminds us, a “generative act” that “makes the world.” Over the course of this semester we will critically examine the ways in which writers bear witness to both manifestations of brutality as well as beauty as an act of resistance. Expect to read and listen across genre, disciplines and forms. Selected works will include, but are not limited to, Gayl Jones, Audre Lorde, Anna Akhmatova, James Baldwin, Natalie Diaz, Naja Marie Aidt and Dave Chappelle.

Asale Angel-Ajani is the author of Strange Trade, a work of narrative nonfiction about African women drug traffickers in Italy published by Perseus Books and the novel, A Country You Can Leave, forthcoming from MCD+ Farrar, Straus and Giroux. She is completing her third book, a collection of essays entitled, Terror Together: A Personal Compendium of Racial Intimacies. She currently serves as the Director and Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at CCNY.​


B4501 Special Topics: Screenwriting Workshop

Prof. Marc Palmieri
Mondays 4:45 – 6:35pm
Section 1FG (46489)
ONLINE

The good news is, these days one can move a script from page to screen faster and cheaper than ever before. While the possibility of selling a script to Hollywood is always real (seriously- it does happen), it is exciting and motivating to consider that thanks to how far digital technology has come, seeing one’s own work on the independent film circuit, festivals and the internet can happen without someone giving you lots and lots of money. Students will develop a screenplay for a film, television or the web. All are welcome to work in other variations such as television scripts and web series scripts. We will examine the storytelling possibilities of the form, its advantages and challenges – and no doubt stumble on important things we didn’t expect. Students will also offer critiques and participate in feedback discussions of classmates’ work.

Marc Palmieri has taught dramatic writing in the MFA program at CCNY since 2010, and has taught Modern and Postmodern Drama, Shakespeare, Dramatic Writing for the stage, TV and film, Fiction and other courses for the Undergraduate English Department since 2006. He is a full- time core faculty member in the School of Liberal Arts at Mercy College. Credits include: Miramax Films’ Telling You (screenplay), The Thing (webseries: www.the play is.com), stage plays include Waiting For The Host, Levittown (NY Times Critic’s Pick), The Groundling, Carl The Second and Poor Fellas (all published by Dramatists Play Service). He has published twice in Fiction, and in numerous anthologies for Applause/Limelight Books and Smith & Kraus Inc. His collection of plays for middle schoolers, S(cool) Days, is published by Brooklyn Publishers. Marc is a fully vested member of SAG- AFTRA and Actors Equity.BA Wake Forest, MA, MFA CCNY.​ www.marcpalmieri.com 

This course is also available under Creative Writing.


C0862 The Teaching of Composition and Literature

Prof. Thomas Peele
Wednesdays 4:45 – 6:35pm
Section 3FG (38893)
ONLINE

This course will help to prepare you to teach introductory college writing and humanities classes. We will study approaches to teaching composition, course design, writing assignments, instructional strategies, writing assessment, and classroom management. We also explore a range of approaches and technologies for teaching and learning in online environments, including Blackboard, Academic Commons, Camtasia, and the Office 365 suite of tools. We will also consider the impact that teaching a wide variety of students, with variable needs, motivations, cultural and social backgrounds, and abilities, has on classroom practices and philosophy. We will also examine print and online resources for college writing instructors.

Course Learning Outcomes

Students who complete this course will be able to

  • Develop and write assignments for college students
  • Use Web-based platforms to facilitate teaching and learning
  • Respond to first and second drafts of first-year students’ essays
  • Facilitate college students’ reading development
  • Plan class sessions, organize workshops, and lead discussions
  • Meet the learning and literacy needs of diverse students
  • Use professional resources for college writing instructors

Tom Peele is an Associate Professor in the Department of English and Director of the Teaching and Learning Center. He served as Director of the First-Year Writing Program from 2014-2020 and continues in his appointment as Director of Writing Across the Curriculum. Professor Peele was recently awarded an NEH Grant with co-PI Interim Dean Renata Miller that supports the development of a digital humanities minor at CCNY.

This course is also available under Language and Literacy.



Literature

B0706 Shakespeare’s Tragedies

Prof. Andras Kisery
Thursdays 6:45 – 8:35pm
Section 4TU (38860)
ONLINE

This semester, we will probably be reading William Shakespeare’s Richard III, Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Coriolanus, Antony and Cleopatra, and Cymbeline, as well as Thomas Kyd’s Spanish Tragedy, John Webster’s The White Devil, and Thomas Middleton’s The Changeling. Rather than examining our materials from a single perspective, our intellectual approach will be characterized by poaching and bricolage. We will sample some current as well as old fashioned ways of looking at these texts, and try see how — for example — the history of political thought or network analysis, theories of textual transmission or critical race studies, psychoanalysis or the history of gender and sexuality can illuminate them. Throughout, our primary goal will be to make sense of these complicated, sometimes baffling, sometimes captivating texts.

András Kiséry works on early modern English literature, as well as on book history and media history. His recent publications include Hamlet’s Moment: Drama and Political Knowledge in Early Modern England (2016, paperback 2018), and the 2020 special issue of Shakespeare Studies on “English among the Literatures of Early Modernity.” His current projects are a book about early modern English literature in Europe, another about the early twentieth century beginnings of media studies, and an edition of Christopher Marlowe’s works.


B1210 Haunting Books- mourning and afterlife in literature

Prof. Elazar Elhanan
Mondays 4:45 – 6:35pm
Section 1FG (57170)
ONLINE

In this course we will look at a selection of texts, some very familiar, others rarer, drawn from the Bible and Greek tragedy, Sci-fi and Yiddish modernist ghost stories, French post-structuralism and Polish cinema, in order to examine the writing of grief and the representation of mourning in literature.
We will look at grieving as a social practice, a prescribed behavior that is supposed to achieve certain results and in which one can fail. Grieving is a powerful tool of social control which offers social acceptance and comfort for those who follow the prescriptions,  or exclusion for the rest. Naturally, society’s need to reintegrate the grieving and put boundaries between life and death creates tension between the personal, and often political, reality of unacceptable loss, a tension which leaves people “stuck”, unable to work through their loss.
The interest of this class is in these “stuck” characters, in art that manifestly fails to process, a position that is often viewed as opposition on personal and political grounds to the normalization of loss. We will read a selection of moving and daring texts, in which the failure of be consoled and move on is manifested as a principled resistance. Assisted by Freud’s and Walter Benjamin’s reflections on mourning and melancholia, Judith Butler’s discussion of grievability and Judith/Jack Halberstam ideas on failure, these readings will animate a discussion of what alternative technologies of comfort and what social possibilities come alive when one “fails” to do the work prescribed for mourning.

Readings will include:

  • Genesis: the selling of Josef
  • Sophocles, Antigone
  • Shakespeare: Hamlet
  • George Perec, W, or the Memory of Childhood,
  • Marguerite Duras“The Death of the Young British Pilot”
  • Sholem Aleichem, Motl, Peysi the Cantor’s Son, The Writings of an Orphan Boy
  • S. An-sky, The Dybbuk
  • Krzysztof Kieślowski Three Colours: Blue (1993)

Elazar (Elik) Elhanan is a literary scholar, essayist  and activist. He teaches Hebrew and Yiddish literature in the Jewish studies program, City College New York. Elik received his PhD in Comparative Literature and Middle East studies from Columbia University. He works mainly on modernist poetry and cinema and studies the relations between language and politics, identity and nation-building.  Dr. Elhanan work was published inn various venues in the US, Israel and France, and his book entitled The Path Leading to the Abyss: Hebrew and Yiddish in Yaakov Steinberg’s poetry is forthcoming next year.


B1974 Global Autobiography

Prof. Harold Veeser
Mondays 6:45 – 8:35pm
Section 1HJ (40172)
ONLINE

This course will allow for experiments in criticism and memoir. We will read a sampling of popular memoirs, recovery narratives, ethnic-identity stories, substance-abuse sagas, trauma memoirs, conversion narratives, and coming-of-age stories. We will read a range of memoirs drawn from the Americas and the middle east. By the end of the course, I hope we will have some thoughts as to whether memoirs simply reflect pre-existing conditions, or whether they actually help to shape the personalities, beliefs, and gender norms of societies.

Required Texts:

  • Julie Otsuka, The Buddha in the Attic
  • Chris Kraus, I Love Dick
  • Tupac Shakur, The Rose that Grew from Concrete
  • Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts
  • Suad Amiry. Sharon and My Mother-in-Law
  • Mohamed Choukri, For Bread Alone
  • Fatima Mernissi, Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood

H. Aram Veeser is Professor at the City College of New York (English Department) and the CUNY Graduate Center (Middle East and Middle-Eastern American Center). His publications include four volumes he has edited on literary theory and theorists, as well as his own book, Edward Said: The Charisma of Criticism (2010). In addition, he has worked as a journalist and addressed, in print, a nonacademic readership. He has conducted interviews that were published in books and magazines. He has recently published The Rebirth of American Literary Theory and Criticism: Scholars Discuss Intellectual Origins and Turning Points, a book based on original interviews with eighteen contemporary literary theorists. He drew illustrations for the book. A second volume of interviews is now underway. He is also writing his memoir.


B1985 Literature of the Diaspora: belonging,
estrangement, ambivalence

Prof. Dalia Sofer
Tuesdays 4:45 – 6:35pm
Section 2RS (45159)
ONLINE

This course will examine the plural identities revealed in the works of European, Middle Eastern, and North-African writers of Jewish descent, including Italo Svevo, Giorgio Bassani, Marcel Proust, Georges Perec, Walter Benjamin, Imre Kertész, Danilo Kiš, Bruno Schulz, Eva Hoffman, Fernando Pessoa, Albert Memmi, Naïm Kattan, Samir Naqqash, and Lucette Lagnado. Exploring autobiographical writings as well as works of fiction, we will address the complexities of acculturation, the pervasiveness of estrangement, and ambivalence toward Jewishness. We will pay attention not only to content but also to form, examining how, for many of these writers, innovation was a key aspect of self-expression.
In addition to the readings, students will undertake writing exercises and assignments, and will be asked to submit their work for class discussion.  The course is open to advanced writing students of all backgrounds who wish to deepen their understanding of themselves in relation to the world.

Dalia Sofer is the author of the novels Man of My Time (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020)—a New York Times Editors’ Choice and Notable Book of the Year, and The Septembers of Shiraz (Ecco Press, 2007)—selected as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, published in sixteen countries, winner of the Sami Rohr Choice Award, a finalist for the Jewish Book Award, and longlisted for the Orange Prize and the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.  A recipient of a Whiting Award, the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, the Sirenland Fellowship, and multiple residencies at Yaddo, she has contributed essays and reviews to various publications, including The New York Times Book Review, The LA Review of Books, and The Believer.

This course is also available under Critical Practice.

B2030 The Evidence of Things Unseen: Art, Archives, and Harlem

Prof. William Gibbons
Tuesdays 6:45 – 8:35pm
Section 2TU (46491)
ONLINE

The Evidence of Things Unseen: Art, Archives, and Harlem is a hands-on course exposing students to the practice of archival and academic research.  The course will help students navigate archives and libraries while exploring the cultural, social, and political forces that influenced and defined the Harlem Renaissance and its writers. Students will work with primary and secondary archival materials related to Harlem’s role as an important artistic and political center housed in the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and other Harlem community and cultural organizations.  By the end of the course, students will understand the historical development of the field of archives, current issues, trends, and theories that shape the archival profession​.

Professor William Gibbons is a librarian and an archivist.  He teaches urban policy, library science, and archival research at The City College of New York (CCNY) and is the Curator of Archives & Special Collections in the City College Libraries.
He is a resource on Harlem and helps students and researchers become knowledgeable library users to use libraries and archives to their fullest potential.  His writing and research are focused on curating and preserving evidence of cultural heritage unseen.

This course is also available under Critical Practice.


B2055 Modern Literature, Illness, and Medicine

Prof. Keith Gandal
Wednesdays 6:45 – 8:35pm
Section 3HJ (38863)
ONLINE

The meteoric rise of modern medicine that accompanied the “epidemiological transition,” starting in the late 19th century, with its strictly “materialist” approach to health—and its separation from (what is now called) psychology—has greatly transformed the very conception of the human being.  From that period until now, literature has both reflected and contested this modern medical understanding of human illness.  We will consider representations of illness and doctors—and their relation to the medical versions of these—in American works, as well as a couple of European works that were immediately imported to the US, from the 1890s to the present.
This class initiates a new project in literary studies, which will involve discussions usually outside the purview of literature courses: about the nature of the scientific method and the history of science.  This is not the typical course on “Literature and Medicine,” which, even when it focuses on modern literature and medicine, does so in an ahistorical way.  The standard course might, for example, “raise questions about ethical behavior in the face of sickness” (to quote a random course description at another university).  But, as this phrase indicates, it takes “sickness” as a given and doesn’t distinguish between different sorts of sicknesses; in other words, it doesn’t raise questions about the ethics of the modern medical construction of sicknesses themselves.  The treatments of sicknesses that have no cure have a significant social history because our medical ideas about such sicknesses are, by necessity, at an experimental stage, which is to say, they are not scientifically proven—as only a cure is scientific proof.  To take perhaps the most important example, doctors have for centuries recognized cancer, but the conception of the cause of cancer is very different today from what it was even in the late 19th century.
Warning: “Chronic” and “terminal” illness, perhaps especially cancer and now COVID-19 as well, is a troubling subject for many people. It can be a source of fear and post-trauma; a lot of us know people who have died of cancer or COVID; many of us fear it. Fear of cancer is a serious social issue and one we will be discussing; arguably, in fact, the promotion of fear is a major tactic deployed by the medical profession and the American Cancer Society in the management of cancer. This course, by contrast, will not promote fear of cancer or COVID–in fact just the opposite. However, in this class, there is no getting around discussing cancer, heart disease, other chronic illnesses, including autoimmune disorders, and COVID; in fact, such discussions are central to the course.  We can’t shy away from issues because they are disturbing.  So, if you have a problem reading or talking about chronic illness or COVID–which is understandable–you should not take this course.

Tentative list of readings:

  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper”
  • Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  • Kate Chopin, The Awakening
  • Sigmund Freud, Five Lectures on Psycho-Analysis
  • Willa Cather, One of Ours (Book IV)
  • Djuna Barnes, Nightwood
  • Katherine Anne Porter, “Pale Horse, Pale Rider” (novella)
  • William Burroughs, Junky
  • Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
  • Norman Cousins, Anatomy of an Illness
  • Audre Lorde, The Cancer Journals
  • Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking
  • Ivan Illich, “Medical Nemesis”
  • Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, Volume 1, An Introduction (excerpt on “biopower”)
  • Robert Aronowitz, Unnatural History: Breast Cancer and American Society (excerpt)

Professor Keith Gandal’s publications have had three foci: urban poverty, war and mobilization, and modern medicine and illness. His books include War Isn’t the Only Hell: A New Reading of World War I American Literature (Johns Hopkins, 2018); The Gun and the Pen: Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner and the Fiction of Mobilization (Oxford, 2008); The Virtues of the Vicious: Jacob Riis, Stephen Crane and the Spectacle of the Slum (Oxford, 1997), as well as the novel Cleveland Anonymous (North Atlantic Books, 2002).


C0851 Harlem Renaissance and the Principle of the Erotic

Prof. Gordon Thompson
Thursdays 4:45 – 6:35pm
Section 4RS (40167)
ONLINE

This class is an interdisciplinary American Culture Studies course, concerned with the mores of Black creative culture. 
Prior to registering for this class, then, please note well: attendees should be prepared to discuss stories and poems alongside elementary issues of music and art—a combination of features that best reveals and privileges the African American attempt at self-definition. 
Also, be prepared to discuss erotic imagery of various kinds that undergird the narratives of the required texts. The erotic: a force behind our need to survive, to have sex and to propagate, but also to be life-sustaining and to induce creativity in general.  This definition lies at the heart of the philosophical dimensions of this course.   We will focus on images and tropes that speak directly to how artists depict the yearn to survive, to propagate, to maintain social relations conducive to the pursuit of happiness.
Coming out of slavery, Blacks had to discover the best means of surviving in a world anathema to their needs as African descendants.  As such, Black culture—its aesthetics—sought to embrace ways of living that challenged or was challenged by European expressivity.  With 300 years of assimilation, Blacks had internalized European aesthetics and in their challenge to it, discovered, as W. E. B. Du Bois would say, a double consciousness.  To a considerable degree, examining the signs of that double consciousness in the creative works of this artistic vanguard represents the overarching theme of this course.
In sum, we will focus on the literature, graphic images, and folk music created by African Americans during and around the period of the Harlem Renaissance—between, that is, WW I and the Great Depression.  Such writers may include Langston Hughes, James Weldon Johnson, and Jamaican-born Claude McKay, Zora Neale Hurston, Wallace Thurman, Nella Larsen, and Jean Toomer; alongside such artists as Aaron Douglas, William Johnson, Augusta Savage, and Palmer Hyden; jazz and Blues musicians such as Bessie Smith and Louis Armstrong, among others.

Professor Thompson has enjoyed a laudable career spanning nearly 30 years of teaching and service at City College, Louisiana State University, and Stanford University. His higher education credentials began with his studies at City College where he attained his B.A. in English in 1979 and was completed upon receiving his Ph. D. at Yale University in 1987. During his 30 years teaching at City College, he served as director of the Black Studies Program, and the Langston Hughes Festival. As professor of African American and American literature in the English Department, he demonstrated a strong publication record that includes two books: The Assimilationist Impulse in Representative African American Narratives (Edwin Mellen Press, 2011); and Black Music, Black Poetry: Genre, Performance, and Authenticity (Ashgate Press, 2014). He has chapters in other books such as Black America [Three Volumes]: A State-By-State Historical Encyclopedia, (co-author, William Gibbons}: edited by Alton Hornsby Jr. (ABC-CLIO, Inc., 2011}; and “Kindred Souls,” chapter in Black Gay Genius, editors, Joseph Beam and Charles Stephens (Vintage Entity Press, 2014).
At City College, he has endeavored to convey to his students the various interconnections between African American fiction, poetry, and biographical writings produced over the last two hundred and fifty years. Such connections are grounded in the culture and history of African Americans foregrounded in the scholarship of the great historian John Blassingame, among others. Professor Thompson also specializes in the various artists associated with the Harlem Renaissance Period, a syllabus he created for the completion of his doctorate degree under the tutelage of Robert Stepto and Henry Louis Gates, et. alia. He introduced the course to the City College community in the early 1990’s and has taught it off and on ever since. Currently, he is taking a great interest in the fiction of James Baldwin with relevant publications expected soon.




Language and Literacy

B6000 Introduction to Language

Prof. Qian Zhang Malkoff
Tuesdays 6:45 – 8:35pm
Section 2TU (40113)
ONLINE

This course will provide an overview of phonology, orthography, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics and discourse analysis, as well as an introductory look at origins, historic contexts, and evolution of selected English words and syntactic structures. A contrast of linguistic features between English and Mandarin Chinese will be offered as an example of language variation. In addition to reading texts by academic writers, we will read excerpts from The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way and Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States, both delightful and informative books by Bill Bryson, American journalist and best-selling author. At the end of this course, students will have gained a comprehensive understanding of core topics studied by linguists (phonetics, morphology, syntax, discourse) and experience with analyzing various forms of language.
We will also explore several questions that have been hotly debated in the field of linguistics and language acquisition: How does first language acquisition differ from second language learning? What are some key factors that support or hinder language acquisition? What are “language errors”? What is the role of error correction in language teaching? What is an “interlanguage” and how does it impact second language acquisition? What do we know about language learning in multilingual communities vs. communities that are primarily monolingual?
Students will write reading responses and participate in class discussion at class meetings and on padlet (collaborative digital bulletin board). They will also conduct independent research that involves applying linguistic topics (presented in course texts) to their own analyses of language–both their own language and language produced by other people. Mid-term assessment will be a series of open-book short essay questions from the textbook and the final will be a research paper involving observing and analyzing language learning experiences of their own and/or others.
Textbook: The Study of Language by George Yule (7th ed., 2020). Most of the excerpted readings will be provided to students free of charge in digital form.

Qian Z. Malkoff has taught basic writing courses, English as a second language and Mandarin Chinese as a native and foreign language at high school, undergraduate and graduate levels for over twenty years. She earned an MA in Language and Literacy from CCNY and  Ph.D.  in English Education, majoring in applied linguistics, from New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development. She currently teaching Chinese language classes at Edward R. Murrow High School, where she has served as the coordinator for the New York State SEAL of Biliteracy program for since 2018.  She has presented her findings on remote teaching vs. in-person teaching at DCLT forum at NYU and has discussed her own teaching of poetry writing in advanced Chinese courses as a speaker at the 2018 International Conference of Chinese Teaching hosted by Columbia University. Her research and teaching interests are mainly in applied linguistics, second language acquisition, project-based learning (PBL), writing strategies and student-centered learning.

B6400 Theories and Models of Literacy

Prof. Barbara Gleason
Thursdays 6:45 – 8:35pm
Section 4TU (38866)
ONLINE

This course provides a variety of perspectives on literacy practices, theory and research.  Starting with a historical perspective, we’ll explore forms of manuscripts, books and writing tools used in the past 1000 years, the shift from scribal literacy to print brought about by invention and use of printing presses, and the transition underway now from text-based print to digital and multimodal communication. Then, we will survey examples of alphabetic, logographic, and syllabic writing systems and consider their influences on readers’ experiences and reading fluency.Well-known models of literacy acquisition will also be discussed:  a cognitive & skills-based model, emergent literacy, a sociocultural framework and an ideological model. In the second half or our course, we will consider literate practices in a variety of social contexts–including rural and urban spaces, home environments, workplaces, schools and libraries. Finally, we will explore possible reasons for why some people experience lifetimes of positive reading/writing experiences while others live through adolescence and adulthood without gaining strong reading and writing competencies.
Digital copies of texts provided to students include “The Physiology of Reading” from Space between Words by Saenger (1997),  “Ch. 1 Prologue to Discovery” in A Short Hx of The Printed Word by Chappell & Bringhurst (1999), “Silent Readers” in A History of Reading by Albert Manguel (1996), Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1845), “Blueprints and Borrowed Letters” in Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond (1999), “Sponsors of Literacy” by Deborah Brandt (CCC 1998), “Reading from Paper Compared to Screens” by Virginia Clinton (J. of Research in Reading Vol. 42, No. 2, 2019), “Composition 2.0: Toward a Multilingual and Multimodal Framework by Steven Fraiberg (CCC, 2010), “Information Literacy in the Digital Age: Myths and Principles of Digital Literacy” by Bernd Becker (in School of Information Student Research Journal, 2018), and “Definition of Literacy in a Digital Age” (NCTE Position Statement, 2019).
Required Texts:
Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 30th Anniversary Edition (2000 Continuum) by Paulo Freire
Other People’s Words: The Cycle of Low Literacy by Victoria Purcell-Gates (Harvard UP, 1995)

Barbara Gleason is Director of the CCNY MA in Language and Literacy, Editor of Basic Writing e-Journal, co-author of The Bedford Bibliography for Teachers of Adults (2014), and co-editor of Composition in Four Keys: Inquiring into a Field (1999) and Cultural Tapestry: Readings for a Pluralistic Society (1992). Her essays on basic writing, program evaluation, college writing curriculum and graduate education have been published in various books and journals, including The Journal of Basic Writing, where–with five contributing authors– she recently published “Forming Adult Educators: The MA in Language & Literacy at CCNY” (JBW Fall 2018).

C0862 The Teaching of Composition and Literature

Prof. Thomas Peele
Wednesdays 4:45 – 6:35pm
Section 3FG (38893)
ONLINE

This course will help to prepare you to teach introductory college writing and humanities classes. We will study approaches to teaching composition, course design, writing assignments, instructional strategies, writing assessment, and classroom management. We also explore a range of approaches and technologies for teaching and learning in online environments, including Blackboard, Academic Commons, Camtasia, and the Office 365 suite of tools. We will also consider the impact that teaching a wide variety of students, with variable needs, motivations, cultural and social backgrounds, and abilities, has on classroom practices and philosophy. We will also examine print and online resources for college writing instructors.

Course Learning Outcomes

Students who complete this course will be able to

  • Develop and write assignments for college students
  • Use Web-based platforms to facilitate teaching and learning
  • Respond to first and second drafts of first-year students’ essays
  • Facilitate college students’ reading development
  • Plan class sessions, organize workshops, and lead discussions
  • Meet the learning and literacy needs of diverse students
  • Use professional resources for college writing instructors

Tom Peele is an Associate Professor in the Department of English and Director of the Teaching and Learning Center. He served as Director of the First-Year Writing Program from 2014-2020 and continues in his appointment as Director of Writing Across the Curriculum. Professor Peele was recently awarded an NEH Grant with co-PI Interim Dean Renata Miller that supports the development of a digital humanities minor at CCNY.

This course is also available under Critical Practice.

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