Fall 2023

Creative Writing

B3000 Fiction Workshop

Prof. Reiko Rizzuto
Mondays 4:45 – 6:35pm
Section 1FG (9882)
ONLINE

Why do we write?  To see ourselves in the world.  To imagine the stories, the futures, adventures and possibilities that are currently missing in our personal lives, our families, societies, culture and environments. This kind of courageous exploration relies on urgency, heart, vulnerability, revelation: all things that can be difficult to teach and study, but easy to spot on the page. Workshopping, therefore, offers an effective method to consider what makes our fiction work, both in terms of these less-tangible components and also very practical ones.

Your writing is the centerpiece of this class. Students will submit manuscripts for discussion and critique once or twice during the semester, depending on enrollment. Together we will examine how the essential elements of fiction and storytelling in each submission are currently functioning through our understanding of how they affect the experience of the reader and deliver the writer’s intentions. Participation is vital; you will learn as much, if not more, through practicing your analytical reading skills as you will from getting feedback on your own work.  Supplemental texts, prompts and exercises, and suggestions for further reading will be offered on an as needed basis.

Rahna Reiko Rizzuto’s three books include Shadow Child, a mystery/family saga/historical novel set in Hawaii, New York and Japan; her memoir, Hiroshima in the Morning, which moves from the original “Ground Zero” to its echo, the 9/11 terrorist attacks; and her first novel, Why She Left Us, about the Japanese American incarceration camps.  Awards and recognitions include an American Book Award, Grub Street National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Finalist, Asian American Literary Award Finalist, Dayton Literary Peace Prize Nominee, among others. She is also a recipient of the U.S./Japan Creative Artist Fellowship, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. She was Associate Editor of The NuyorAsian Anthology: Asian American Writings About New York City. She has been interviewed widely on motherhood including on The Today Show20/20, and The View. Reiko’s articles on motherhood, Hiroshima, the Japanese incarceration camps and radiation poisoning have been published globally, including in the L.A. TimesGuardian UKCNN Opinion, and Salon, and through the Progressive Media Project and The Huffington Post, and have been anthologized in Mothers Who ThinkBecause I Said So, Nonwhite and Woman, and Topography of War, among others. She was a judge for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction in 2015. She was a professor in the Masters of Creative Writing program at Goddard College for 17 years, and has led numerous writing retreats, including for the Two Trees Writers Collaborative. Reiko is a Hedgebrook alumna, and has taught master classes and at Vortext for Hedgebrook. She is “hapa” (mixed Japanese/Caucasian) and was raised in Hawaii. Her website is www.rahnareikorizzuto.com.

B3000 Fiction Workshop

Prof. Andrew Martin
Wednesdays 4:45 – 6:35pm
Section 3FG (9883)

Over the course of the semester, students will submit two pieces of fiction, either stories or novel excerpts, to be discussed and critiqued by their peers with precision and respect. While there will not be any genre requirements or restrictions, I will encourage you to foreground character, formal design, and psychological truth in whatever form you choose. The goal of this class is to provide you with the tools to both explore and improve your own work and to become an incisive reader and editor of the work of others. Submissions will be a maximum of 25 pages, double-spaced. In addition, short examples of published work will be discussed throughout the semester, focusing on different craft elements such as dialogue, description, and point of view. 

Andrew Martin is the author of the novel Early Work, a New York Times Notable Book of 2018 and finalist for the Cabell First Novelist Prize, and the story collection Cool for America, longlisted for the 2020 Story Prize. His stories and essays have been published frequently in The Paris Review and The New York Review of Books, and he has also contributed stories and essays to Harper’sThe AtlanticMcSweeney’sThe Yale ReviewThe New York Times Book Review and many other publications. The recipient of fellowships from MacDowell and UCross, he has taught fiction writing and criticism at Tufts University, Boston College, The Writer’s Foundry at St. Joseph’s University, The Mountainview MFA at Southern New Hampshire University, and elsewhere. 

B3200 Poetry Workshop

Prof. David Groff
Wednesdays 4:45 – 6:35pm
Section 3FG (9884)

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 books of poetry are Live in Suspense (Trio House Press, 2023),  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 (University of Wisconsin Press, 2013), and Persistent Voices: Poetry by Writers Lost to AIDS (Alyson, 2010).

B3600 Non-Fiction Workshop

Prof. Irvin Weathersby, Jr.
Thursdays 6:45 – 8:35pm
Section 4TU (9881)

During the fall semester, students will submit two manuscripts up to twenty-five pages each, and learn to critique the work of their peers. Students will also explore exemplars of creative nonfiction and discuss the publication process from writing query letters, soliciting representation, and working with publishers. This class will nurture writers looking to expand their understanding of creative non-fiction as it relates to other forms including memoir, narrative non-fiction, feature writing, journalism, the personal essay and others, including fiction and poetic forms. Each of us has a story to tell, and this workshop will give students the tools to determine how their stories will be told.

Irvin Weathersby is the author of In Open Contempt (Viking), a forthcoming memoir-in-essays that mediates on expressions of racism in art, museums, and public spaces in New Orleans and throughout the world. He has written for GuernicaEsquireThe AtlanticEBONY, and other outlets. His work has received funding and support from the Voices of our Nation Arts Foundation, the Professional Staff Congress-City University of New York Research Award, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference where he was named the 2019 Bernard O’Keefe Scholar in Nonfiction. He has earned an MFA in creative writing from The New School, and a master’s in education from Morgan State University. He teaches composition and creative writing at Queensborough Community College.

B3609 Non-Fiction Workshop:
The Memoir

Prof. Emily Raboteau
Mondays 6:45 – 8:35pm
Section 1HJ (9815)

This class is for students already in the process of writing a book-length memoir or memoir-in-essays with a clear concept. It is the first semester of a two-part class that will be continued in the spring (Memoir II).  Students are encouraged to enroll in both semesters to reap the full benefits of a cohort dedicated revising, expanding, workshopping, and editing book-length manuscripts over the course of an entire academic year.

Memoir is about you and your story and yet your reader is coming to the page not for you, but because they expect to learn or understand something about themselves or about the world through your story. This class will help you see your own role in a bigger and more universal human story—no matter what your story might be.

Writing about your own life can feel overwhelming. There’s simply too much material–how do you know what to leave out? And yet at the same time our stories can feel too small, too ordinary. How do we elevate our writing beyond the personal? In this workshop we’ll focus on shaping the material of lived experience into story. We’ll explore the building blocks of narrative prose: scene, structure, reflection, voice and setting. We’ll workshop your entire manuscript. And we’ll discuss problems and opportunities unique to personal writing: fostering vulnerability;  tackling difficult subject matter; incorporating research; avoiding narcissism and solipsism; writing about real people. 

Our primary texts will be your work. We’ll read each other closely and ask useful, generative questions. We’ll also look at some brief excerpts from great essays and memoirs. And we’ll make time for in-class exercises to help you explore new approaches. My goal is for each student to continue the work of writing buoyed by a supportive community.

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, Lessons for Survival, focusing on the intersection of climate change and environmental justice through the lens of motherhood, will be published by Holt. Bylines include The New Yorker, The New York Times, New York Magazine, McSweeney’s, The Guardian, Best American Short Stories, Best American Science Writing, and Best American Travel Writing.

B4501 Special Topics: Screenwriting Workshop

Prof. Marc Palmieri
Mondays 4:45 – 6:35pm
Section 1FG (9885)

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 an assistant professor in the School of Liberal Arts at Mercy College. Credits include: Miramax Films’ Telling You (screenplay), The Thing (webseries: www.theplayis.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, as well as the Global City Review and (Re) An Ideas Journal, 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. His memoir, She Danced With Lightning is published by Post Hill Press (August, 2022). 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 Craft Seminars.

Craft Seminars

B1208 Modernism Fiction

Prof. Mark J. Mirsky
Thursdays 6:45 – 8:35pm
Section 4TU (9816)

What is Post-Modernism? This course will take you into the pages of a magazine founded over fifty years ago in  1972 at the City College of New York, by one of the most prominent American post-modernists, Donald Barthelme, together with Mark J. Mirsky, who will be teaching this course with selections from its over fifty years of publication and 66 issues to date, by such contributors as Nobel Prize winners Samuel Beckett, Knut Hamsun, Heinrich Boll, Gunter Grass, Jose Camilo Cela, Peter Handke, and Primo Levi, international figures of post-modernism Italo Calvino, Silvina Ocampo, Curzio Malaparte, Clarice Lispector, Marguerite Duras, Julio Cortazar, Jorge Luis Borges, Bioy Cesares, Max Frisch, Robert Musil, Manuel Puig, and contemporary American writers Cynthia Ozick, Grace Paley, Gayl Jones, John Barth, Joyce Carol Oates, as well as CCNY creative writing students published in Fiction.

Mark J. Mirsky will share some of his reminiscences of meeting these authors, teach extracts from their contributions to Fiction or books that better represent them, and discuss how the magazine was put together and how the selections were edited to achieve their present form. Students will either write about these authors’ contributions to the magazine or respond to the selections with writing that takes its inspiration from them.

A founding editor of Fiction, Mark Jay Mirsky is the author of five novels: Thou Worm JacobProceedings of the RabbleThe Red Adam, Puddingstone, and Blue Hill Avenue (one of The Boston Globe’s ‘100 Essential Books of New England’). He has published a collection of novellas, The Secret Table, as well as five books of criticism and journalism, on Judaism, Dante, Shakespeare, and other topics. He edited The Diaries of Robert Musil, The History of Pinsk, and Rabbinic Fantasies. His essays and reviews have appeared in The Partisan ReviewThe Massachusetts Review, The Washington Post’s Book World, The Boston Globe, and other places.

This course is also available under Literature.


B1727 Prosody II

Prof. Michelle Valladares
Tuesdays 4:45 – 6:35pm
Section 2RS (11523)

Poetry is what you find
in the dirt in the corner,
overhear on the bus, God
in the details, the only way
To get from here to there
Elizabeth Alexander, Ars Poetica #100

Prosody II (aka poetry bootcamp) is a critical practice class is a further exploration of poetic forms not covered in Prosody.  You will consider the haiku, ghazal, pantoum, American sentence and other forms each week and write your version of that form.   You will use this rigorous study of form to invigorate your own language and poems.  We will use The Making of a Poem, A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms, edited by Mark Strand and Eavan Boland and A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver. This workshop is not limited to poets and no experience writing poetry or having taken prosody is necessary.  Students of all genres are invited to take this class.

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) and other 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, and Ambivalence

Prof. Daia Sofer
Tuesdays 4:45 – 6:35pm
Section 2RS (9897)

This course will examine the plural identities revealed in the works of European, Middle Eastern, and North-African writers of Jewish descent, including Marcel Proust, Giorgio Bassani, Bruno Schulz, Danilo Kiš, Imre Kertész, Eva Hoffman, and Samir Naqqash. 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 close attention to language and 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 students of all backgrounds who wish to deepen their understanding of belonging, memory, and how the past sheds light on the present.

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)—also selected as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, 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.  Her novels have been translated and published in 16 countries.

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.

B2046 Taste of the Archive: Oral History as Praxis

Prof. Janée Moses
Thursdays 4:45 – 6:35pm
Section 4RS (11919)

This seminar, which begins and ends with Brent Hayes Edwards’ essay, “The Taste of the Archive,” bends genre with a simultaneous study of narrative, oral history, and archive to highlight aspects of the past that are “hard to pin down” or elusive. We will explore fiction and non-fiction narratives that deal with issues of race, class, gender, sexuality, and belonging, to highlight contradictory truths that “can’t quite be explained away,” and utilize archival practices in the field of oral history to embrace, rather than bridle, complicated truths about our shared pasts.

Janée A Moses is an oral historian and Assistant Professor of English at The City College of New York, CUNY, whose research focuses on black expressive practices, gender and sexuality, and oral history from the twentieth to the twenty-first centuries. Her current book project is an intertextual study of black women’s life writing and performances that combines extraordinary pursuits and ordinary experiences to highlight the fullness of their lives. Prior to this appointment, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Carter G. Woodson Institute at the University of Virginia.​

This course is also available under Literature.

B2054 Material Images and Material Texts: 1400-2000

Profs. Ellen Handy and András Kiséry
Wednesdays 5:00 – 7:30pm
Section 3GH (9817)

Note the longer class period and unusual slot! Class taught at the Cohen Library Special Collections Room, 5/201.

This is a collaborative, interdisciplinary class that brings together professors and students from CCNY’s Art and English departments. We will be studying the material objects through which people experienced literary and visual artifacts over the past centuries. The class is organized around hands-on encounters with CCNY’s rare books and works on paper collections: with rare treasures as well as with ephemeral mass products. We will explore technologies that circulated images and texts on paper in North America and Europe before the computer: from medieval manuscripts through the printed books of the hand-press period and early newspapers to modern magazines and journals, and from woodcuts, engravings, and lithographs through various technologies for the reproduction of the photographic image.

We will think about the artistic, intellectual, and political effects of these technologies, about authorship, authenticity, and accuracy, about censorship and circulation. The materials considered will include medieval codexes, literary publications from the age of Shakespeare, political pamphlets from the English Civil war, scientific illustrations from the 17th-19th centuries, Diderot’s Encyclopédie, botanical illustration, African-American journals, popular periodicals and modernist literary magazines, photo books, contemporary artists books and zines, etc.

Ellen Handy is a critic, curator, and art historian, teaching the history of photography and American Art in the Art Department. She is currently writing a book about photography as reproduction of images and texts, and has recently published an article about the embodied viewing of daguerreotypes.

András Kiséry teaches and writes about early modern English literature, book history, and media history. You can find some of his publications on his academia.edu page. He is now researching the media of Shakespeare’s time, and is also preparing an edition of Christopher Marlowe’s works.

This course is also available under Literature.

B3605 The Mechanics of Editing

Prof. Yahdon Israel
Tuesdays 6:45 – 8:35pm
Section 2TU (11918)

“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.

B3608 Craft of Creative Nonfiction

Instructor: Mikael Awake
Mondays 4:45 – 6:35pm
Section 1FG (9886)

Our course takes an interdisciplinary approach to thinking and writing about creative nonfiction. We’ll discuss histories of this artistic-academic genre and concepts of nonfiction writing across traditions, languages, and eras. We’ll read works of cultural criticism, memoir, public scholarship, and reportage, discussing the function of authorial presence, ethics, audience, and style in nonfiction. Our reading list will include books by Saidiya Hartman, Geoff Dyer, Cathy Park Hong, Greg Tate, Svetlana Alexievich, and George M. Johnson. Through discussion of these texts, we will explore and debate interconnected craft concerns and spectrums of understanding which students may apply to their own work. Students will be responsible for periodic reading responses, a self-analysis essay on revision, and a final craft lecture.

Mikael Awake is a black writer and educator of Ethiopian descent. His fiction has appeared in CallalooMcSweeney’s, and Addis Ababa Noir, and his nonfiction has appeared in The New YorkerGQ, and Oxford American. With Daniel R. Day, he co-wrote Dapper Dan: Made in Harlem, a 2019 New York Times bestseller. Currently, he is working on a narrative history of outdoor basketball mecca Rucker Park to be published by Pantheon.

C0862 Teaching of Composition and Literature

Prof. Missy Watson
Thursdays 4:45 – 6:35pm
Section 4RS (11920)

This course prepares graduate students to teach introductory college writing and humanities classes. We will study and practice approaches to teaching composition, course design, instructional strategies, writing assignments, writing assessment, classroom management. We also explore a range of approaches and technologies for teaching and learning in online environments, and we will examine print and online resources for college writing instructors. Additionally, we will consider how to tailor our teaching to best support a wide variety of students—with variable needs, motivations, abilities, and cultural, linguistic, racial, educational, and social backgrounds.

Dr. Missy Watson is Associate Professor in the CCNY English Department. She serves as the Director of First-Year Writing Program, and she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in composition, pedagogy, language, and literacy. Her research lies at the intersection of composition and second-language writing and revolves around seeking social and racial justice. Her recent publications can be found in the Journal of Basic Writing, Basic Writing e-Journal, Composition Forum, Composition Studies, the Journal of Second Language Writing, and Pedagogy.

This course is also available under
Language and Literacy.





Literature

B1208 Modernism Fiction

Prof. Mark J. Mirsky
Thursdays 6:45 – 8:35pm
Section 4TU (9816)

What is Post-Modernism? This course will take you into the pages of a magazine founded over fifty years ago in  1972 at the City College of New York, by one of the most prominent American post-modernists, Donald Barthelme, together with Mark J. Mirsky, who will be teaching this course with selections from its over fifty years of publication and 66 issues to date, by such contributors as Nobel Prize winners Samuel Beckett, Knut Hamsun, Heinrich Boll, Gunter Grass, Jose Camilo Cela, Peter Handke, and Primo Levi, international figures of post-modernism Italo Calvino, Silvina Ocampo, Curzio Malaparte, Clarice Lispector, Marguerite Duras, Julio Cortazar, Jorge Luis Borges, Bioy Cesares, Max Frisch, Robert Musil, Manuel Puig, and contemporary American writers Cynthia Ozick, Grace Paley, Gayl Jones, John Barth, Joyce Carol Oates, as well as CCNY creative writing students published in Fiction.

Mark J. Mirsky will share some of his reminiscences of meeting these authors, teach extracts from their contributions to Fiction or books that better represent them, and discuss how the magazine was put together and how the selections were edited to achieve their present form. Students will either write about these authors’ contributions to the magazine or respond to the selections with writing that takes its inspiration from them.

A founding editor of Fiction, Mark Jay Mirsky is the author of five novels: Thou Worm JacobProceedings of the RabbleThe Red Adam, Puddingstone, and Blue Hill Avenue (one of The Boston Globe’s ‘100 Essential Books of New England’). He has published a collection of novellas, The Secret Table, as well as five books of criticism and journalism, on Judaism, Dante, Shakespeare, and other topics. He edited The Diaries of Robert Musil, The History of Pinsk, and Rabbinic Fantasies. His essays and reviews have appeared in The Partisan ReviewThe Massachusetts Review, The Washington Post’s Book World, The Boston Globe, and other places.

This course is also available under Craft Seminars.


B1981 Women, Global Film, and Feminist Theory

Prof. Laura Hinton
Mondays 6:45 – 8:35pm
Section 1HJ (9818)

How is the “female” figure portrayed by women or non-binary film directors? Do women “take on” the controlling “masculine” gaze that is the legacy of Hollywood movie-making? Or might women’s “looks” sometimes be gendered quite differently? And what is the role of power in “vision,” spectacle, and cinema viewing practices? These are some of the questions we will be asking in this seminar.

Following the principles of French “auteur” theory, we will study a selection of women’s modern global films from the perspective of a directorial look that creates a coded, visual manipulation of spectacle and narrative. These films will come from various regions of the globe, directed by such women cinema mavericks as Forough Farrokhzad (Iran),Julie Dash (U.S.), Agnes Varda (France), Deepa Mehta (Canada-India), and Maria Luisa Bermberg (Argentina), among others. We will be pairing our weekly cinema viewing and discussions with readings from feminist film theory that has emerged since the 1970s in France, the U.S., and the U.K.

Students may be required to purchase one book of film criticism, and they will need to have access to streaming services to view all films as part of our weekly class assignments. (This may require a credit card or bank card.) All streaming will be done on students’ personal time; seminars will reserved for brief lectures and plenty of group discussion. Requirements include two essays with research, short regular critiques, and an oral presentation. 

Laura Hinton is a poet, literary critic, editor, and a Professor of English. Her poetry books include Ubermutter’s Death Dance and Sisyphus My Love (To Record a Dream in a Bathtub). Her critical books include The Perverse Gaze of Sympathy: Sadomasochistic Sentiments from Clarissa to Rescue 911We Who Love to Be Astonished: Experimental Women’s Writing and Performance Poetics (co-editor) and Jayne Cortez, Adrienne Rich, and the Feminist Superhero (editor). She has read and performed her poetry in venues across the U.S., from Maine to Tucson, California to New York City; and since 2020 she has edited and produced a journal on the topic of hybrid poetics, Chant de la Sirene. At the City College of New York, Professor Hinton teaches feminist and other forms of critical theory, poetics, film and visual studies, and contemporary global literature in English, with an emphasis on women’s poetry.

B1985 Literature of the Diaspora: Belonging, Estrangement, and Ambivalence

Prof. Daia Sofer
Tuesdays 4:45 – 6:35pm
Section 2RS (9897)

This course will examine the plural identities revealed in the works of European, Middle Eastern, and North-African writers of Jewish descent, including Marcel Proust, Giorgio Bassani, Bruno Schulz, Danilo Kiš, Imre Kertész, Eva Hoffman, and Samir Naqqash. 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 close attention to language and 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 students of all backgrounds who wish to deepen their understanding of belonging, memory, and how the past sheds light on the present.

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)—also selected as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, 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.  Her novels have been translated and published in 16 countries.

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 Craft Seminars.


B2046 Taste of the Archive: Oral History as Praxis

Prof. Janée Moses
Thursdays 4:45 – 6:35pm
Section 4RS (11919)

This seminar, which begins and ends with Brent Hayes Edwards’ essay, “The Taste of the Archive,” bends genre with a simultaneous study of narrative, oral history, and archive to highlight aspects of the past that are “hard to pin down” or elusive. We will explore fiction and non-fiction narratives that deal with issues of race, class, gender, sexuality, and belonging, to highlight contradictory truths that “can’t quite be explained away,” and utilize archival practices in the field of oral history to embrace, rather than bridle, complicated truths about our shared pasts.

Janée A Moses is an oral historian and Assistant Professor of English at The City College of New York, CUNY, whose research focuses on black expressive practices, gender and sexuality, and oral history from the twentieth to the twenty-first centuries. Her current book project is an intertextual study of black women’s life writing and performances that combines extraordinary pursuits and ordinary experiences to highlight the fullness of their lives. Prior to this appointment, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Carter G. Woodson Institute at the University of Virginia.​

This course is also available under
Craft Seminars.

B2054 Material Images and Material Texts: 1400-2000

Profs. Ellen Handy and András Kiséry
Wednesdays 5:00 – 7:30pm
Section 3GH (9817)

Note the longer class period and unusual slot! Class taught at the Cohen Library Special Collections Room, 5/201.

This is a collaborative, interdisciplinary class that brings together professors and students from CCNY’s Art and English departments. We will be studying the material objects through which people experienced literary and visual artifacts over the past centuries. The class is organized around hands-on encounters with CCNY’s rare books and works on paper collections: with rare treasures as well as with ephemeral mass products. We will explore technologies that circulated images and texts on paper in North America and Europe before the computer: from medieval manuscripts through the printed books of the hand-press period and early newspapers to modern magazines and journals, and from woodcuts, engravings, and lithographs through various technologies for the reproduction of the photographic image.

We will think about the artistic, intellectual, and political effects of these technologies, about authorship, authenticity, and accuracy, about censorship and circulation. The materials considered will include medieval codexes, literary publications from the age of Shakespeare, political pamphlets from the English Civil war, scientific illustrations from the 17th-19th centuries, Diderot’s Encyclopédie, botanical illustration, African-American journals, popular periodicals and modernist literary magazines, photo books, contemporary artists books and zines, etc.

Ellen Handy is a critic, curator, and art historian, teaching the history of photography and American Art in the Art Department. She is currently writing a book about photography as reproduction of images and texts, and has recently published an article about the embodied viewing of daguerreotypes.

András Kiséry teaches and writes about early modern English literature, book history, and media history. You can find some of his publications on his academia.edu page. He is now researching the media of Shakespeare’s time, and is also preparing an edition of Christopher Marlowe’s works.

This course is also available under
Craft Seminars.

B2198 The Imagery of Race in 19th and 20th Century American Fiction

Prof. Gordon Thompson
Wednesdays 6:45 – 8:35pm
Section 3HJ1 (11922)

As a class on the cultural history of the United States, we will pursue an “intertextual investigation of race in American fiction as reflected in the works of Melville, Twain, Chesnutt, Hemingway, Hurston, Wright, Baldwin, Walker, Morrison, and Ernest Gaines.

As cultural historians (as participants in this class), and according to Leo Marx, we should investigate “the centuries-old accretion of meaning that clings to [America’s] dominant topographical images” and take “a thorough, precise, analytic inventory of the satisfactions [to be] derived from [iconic] features of [its] landscape.” 

The aim of this class, then, would be, in regards to the pastoral retreat from which we will attempt “to sort out the kinds of satisfaction, real and illusory, that are associated with.” Thus, we shall focus on pastoral imagery and read with the purpose to uncover that “centuries-old accretion of meaning” lodged between the lines of text and behind salient elements of the landscape.

Methodologically, the class will proceed by limning the pastoral theories presented by Marx “by which we pay more attention to the subjective and in large measure traditional, aesthetic, or symbolic significance that our culture attaches to images of the external landscape—urban, rural and wild.” Leo Marx, “Pastoral Ideas and City Troubles” (267). 

Dr. Gordon E. Thompson, a Professor of English and African American cultural studies at the City College of New York/CUNY, has degrees in English, African American Studies, and American Studies, from, respectively, the City College of New York and Yale University.  He has taught at institutions such as Stanford and LSU, publishing two books on African American literature, The Assimilationist Impulse in Four African American Narratives and Black Music, Black Poetry.  Along with conference presentations, he has written articles for American LiteratureCallaloo, CLA, and African American Review. In addition to his lectures on classic African American poetry, the art and culture of the Harlem Renaissance, American literature, and the great books of world literature, he is currently researching the life and fiction of James Baldwin, an article on whom is poised for publication in 2023.​ 


Language and Literacy

B6406 Literacy Foundations

Prof. Barbara Gleason
Tuesdays 6:45 – 8:35pm
Section 2TU (11829)
HYBRID

Our course will start with a survey of historical artifacts, writing systems, orthographies, and technologies that introduced reading/writing activities to oral cultures. We’ll examine a variety of early writing systems, including those introduced in Mesopotamia, Mexico, Egypt and China, writing materials, and literate practices, e.g., oral reading, silent reading, collective reading, dramatic performance and scribal labors. Our historical survey will spotlight technologies such as wood block printing in China (9th century) and the printing press in Europe (15th century), which led to a rise of mass reading literacy. Cognitive, social and political consequences of emergent literate practices have been described and debated by scholars whose work we’ll discuss (Walter Ong, Deborah Tannen, Sylvia Scribner and Michael Cole, and Brian Street).   Our focus will then shift to literacy uses and connections among literacy, culture, schooling, work, community, and civic engagement. To this end, we’ll survey contemporary case study, ethnographic and archival research focused on rural literacies, urban literacies, book clubs and reading societies, emergent literacy, low literacy among adults, and adult literacy education, including Paulo Freire’s work as an adult educator, political activist and scholar. Our study of literacy practices in context will also involve a consideration of reasons for literacy being supplanted by literacies, new literacies, digital literacy, multiliteracies and community literacy and to a 21st century turn away from mass reading literacy to mass writing literacy (Deborah Brandt, The Rise of Writing, 2015).  Our class will involve weekly class discussions, guest speakers, a field trip, and independent research on student-selected topics with related class presentations.

Barbara Gleason is CCNY English Department professor and Director of the MA in Language and Literacy. Her scholarship focuses on basic writing, graduate education, writing curricula, adult literacy education, and writing program evaluation. She published The Bedford Bibliography for Teachers of Adult Learners with Kimme Nuckles in 2014 (Bedford St. Martin), and she is currently co-editing Basic Writing in the 21st Century with Laura Gray Rosendale (Peter Lang, 2024).


B6410 Subversive Literacies: Analyzing QueerThings and Contexts

Prof. Mark McBeth
Wednesdays 4:45 – 6:35pm
Section 3FG (35303)
HYBRID

Have you ever considered how the abilities to read, write, listen, speak, research, and critique the word shape the world in which you live? 

In Subversive Literacies, we will focus upon how literacy has continually played a role in the dynamic power play between normative literacy sponsors and the marginalized voices that both yielded to them but also resisted them. Many marginalized people’s reading and writing have been systemically restricted by institutionally imposed (and often unspoken) regulations: Jim Crow laws, English-only statutes, bathroom legislation, immigration policies, and educational gag orders have all over-determined how people read, write, think, research, and critically identify and express themselves. As a means to conserve and reproduce their own ideologies, potent literacy sponsors have often disenfranchised people’s literacy capabilities rendering their reading, writing, and researching capabilities less powerful.

Yet there is another subversive side of that literate narrative and discourse: marginalized groups use their literacies to resist. Colonial subjects have used literacy aptitudes to resist occupation. African-Americans have used it to countervail racist oppression. Queers have used it to confront and upend homophobia and heteronormativity.  Students have used it to challenge inequitable educational positions and policies. Literacy can be weaponized, but it can also be disarmed.

This course will challenge you to identify and analyze literate primary objects and within them locate your own literate marginalization (or privileges or both); your memories, family lore, and life-long collected memorabilia will provide the inspiration and evidence for your investigations.  Alongside your literacy introspections, we will also learn about the histories, theories, and ideologies concerning literacy and that knowledge will help you position your own story in the larger litanies of literacy. 

Dr. Mark McBeth, Professor of English at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and The Graduate Center/CUNY, investigates the intersections between literacy studies, Queer theory, and normative institutional policies. Over the past two decades, Mark McBeth has taught and administered at the City University of New York. His publications include Teacher Training at Cambridge: The Initiatives of Oscar Browning and Elizabeth Hughes (co-authored with Pam Hirsch, Woburn Press, 2004),  Queer Literacy: Discourses and Discontents (Lexington Books, 2019), and Literacy and Learning in Times of Crisis: Emergent Teaching Through Emergencies (Co-Edited., Frank Cass, 2022). 


C0862 Teaching of Composition and Literature

Prof. Missy Watson
Thursdays 4:45 – 6:35pm
Section 4RS (11920)

This course prepares graduate students to teach introductory college writing and humanities classes. We will study and practice approaches to teaching composition, course design, instructional strategies, writing assignments, writing assessment, classroom management. We also explore a range of approaches and technologies for teaching and learning in online environments, and we will examine print and online resources for college writing instructors. Additionally, we will consider how to tailor our teaching to best support a wide variety of students—with variable needs, motivations, abilities, and cultural, linguistic, racial, educational, and social backgrounds.

Dr. Missy Watson is Associate Professor in the CCNY English Department. She serves as the Director of First-Year Writing Program, and she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in composition, pedagogy, language, and literacy. Her research lies at the intersection of composition and second-language writing and revolves around seeking social and racial justice. Her recent publications can be found in the Journal of Basic Writing, Basic Writing e-Journal, Composition Forum, Composition Studies, the Journal of Second Language Writing, and Pedagogy.

This course is also available under
Craft Seminars.


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