Academic Writing Courses

Below are the course descriptions for the English courses offered for Fall 2022. Click the course title to read the full description and see the book list for each course. 

EN 1010 Sections

EN 1000 A – WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT? with Professor Mott

This EN1000 course has been designed around analyzing the intimate bonds of love and the permutations of heartbreak. How is love characterized on the fictional page and screen? And what might the lover’s break-up and his/her spiraling into despair teach us about self and how we love? Shakespeare tells us that “love is blind and lovers cannot see the pretty follies that themselves commit” while Facebook offers us even more chaos: “It’s complicated.”

Our plays, short stories, TV series, music videos, and films touch poignantly on those all too human love affairs that sometime work but often times fail. We will consider how desire, betrayal, boredom, jealously and shared history often doom love, turning the lovers’ chances of ‘becoming’ into their ‘(un)becoming’ and their once intimate bond into devastating heartbreak.

The primary goal of this course is to offer intensive practice in writing and reading.

Books:

  • Henrick Ibsen, A Doll's House
  • Short works by Carson McCullers and Hemingway
  • Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag (excerpts)
  • François Truffaut, Jules et Jim
  • Yorgos Lanthimos, The Lobster
  • Derek Cianfrance, Blue Valentine
EN 1000 B – PEOPLE MOVE with Professor Rast

We change homes, schools, jobs or sometimes countries. We leave one neighbourhood, city, region or country for another, and in so doing we confront new habits, traditions, cultures and languages. We move into worlds that welcome, worlds that ignore, worlds that reject, or worlds that show indifference. One place may feel suddenly foreign, while another feels like home. Personal journeys take place during these moves, creating life stories. In this course we will contemplate these life stories and the implications of personal journeys on individual and collective experience and identity. Based on films and readings, we will experiment with academic, journalistic and creative writing, always working towards developing your own voice in written and spoken English.

Books:

  • Kapuscinski, Ryszard. The Shadow of the Sun
  • Otsuka, Julie. When the Emperor was Divine
  • Additional readings and films

EN 1010 Sections

EN 1010A: DISOBEDIENT CHARACTERS with Professor Bellucci

As she disobeys kingly orders to offer her brother a proper burial, Antigone stands out as a paradigmatic example in a series of insubordinate characters who defy authorities. Focusing on such disobedient figures in a variety of contexts, this course explores the literary and political potential of insubordination in world literature through close-reading of dramatic masterpieces and close-watching of recent adaptations.

EN 1010B: FOOD, IDENTITY AND RELATIONSHIPS with Aziz

Food and its rituals operate as cultural signals that shape people’s identities and their concepts of others. In addition to learning correct usage of English for academic writing, this course offers a rich selection of literary texts spanning Homeric hymns, Sufi poetry and contemporary world fiction that explore the complex interplay between food and social relationships. We will focus on how food as a symbol of unity and roots impacts social bonds that shape identity beyond geographical and cultural boundaries.

EN 1010 C – FAMILY MATTERS with Professor Mott

These lines by Leo Tolstoy in Anna Karenina point to the often twisted and always intense connections among family members.   This College Writing course will explore the way different characters respond to the family pressures which alternately define, nourish, and sometimes smother them.  Is the 'happy' family simply a myth?  How important are family heritage and tradition?  And what happens to the ‘happy family’ when alcohol, betrayal, jealousy, sibling rivalry, or desertion/neglect rear their ugly heads?   

Primarily, though, this is a WRITING course, and so writing is what we will do, a lot.  This particular EN1010 has been designed to help you read both literature and films and write critically about them. Our works this semester will include Frankenstein, short works by James Baldwin and Alice Walker and films from Iran, Brazil, France, and the US.

  • Sophocles, Antigone
  • Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah
  • Short stories / films
EN 1010 D – INCLUSION AND QUEERNESS with Professor Dwibedy

Mon/Thurs | 16:55-18:15

In this course we will read several texts through the lenses of inclusion and queerness. The texts we will explore propose new kinds of friendships, empathetic relationships, and creative alliances between each other and with nature. They also suggest new approaches to the connections between author, self, and text. Our critical reading will focus on the language, images, and styles employed to express such novel relationships in literary texts, and through independent research we will gain a contextual understanding of the social and political climate of the time during which texts were written. We will also pay particular attention to the relations between form and content in these texts. How does the inclusion of stories from the margins of gender, society, or history influence the form in which these stories are told? Through our readings we will discover how literary experimentation has enabled a broader range of modes of being in relationship with each other.

Books List: 

  • Plato, Symposium   
  • Sappho/Anne Carson, If Not, Winter
  • Oscar Wilde, Picture Of Dorian Gray 
  • Virigina Woolf, Orlando 
  • James Baldwin , Goivanni’s Room
  • Ocean Vuong, On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous
EN 1010E: THE POISONED GIFT & THE ALIENATING COMMODITY with Professor Gunn

This course, like all College Writing courses at AUP, has two objectives. First, it will help you achieve high standards in academic writing, based in the skills in critical reading. We focus on three modes: writing produced under pressure, the skills of rewriting and editing, and the formal production of research papers. We exercise and test those skills around substantial contents: the second aim of the course is to follow a complex network of concepts as it operates and as it mutates in literary texts and other kinds of writing, from Ancient Greece to the present day.  This course will think about the ways in which we value and exchange objects, and about how those social and economic processes define and shape our identities and desires. We’ll concentrate on two models of value and exchange, which have been described as ‘gift-exchange’ and ‘commodity’ systems. Modern experience in the industrial and post-industrial world has seen a replacement of traditional gift-exchange systems by modern commodity systems; but the ideas and values of the gift persist, both as part of our private lives and our visions of civil society, and within the imagination of ecological and political alternatives to contemporary capitalism. Works we will read include Marcel Mauss’s classic work of anthropology, The Gift, and extracts from key works of political economy by Adam Smith and Karl Marx; plays by Euripides and Shakespeare that explore the fatal power of exchange; contemporary poetry that imagines ecological and political alternatives to commodity exchange; and Zola’s great Parisian novel about the rise of the department store, advertising, and the creation of consumer desire, The Ladies’ Paradise.

  • Anon, ‘The Wanderer’
  • Euripides, Medea
  • Shakespeare, Timon of Athens
  • Mauss, The Gift, and selections from Strathern, The Gender of the Gift and Gayle Rubin, ‘The Traffic in Women’
  • Selections from Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, and Marx, Capital
  • A selection of contemporary short texts
  • Juliana Spahr, That Winter the Wolf Came
  • Emile Zola, The Ladies Paradise
EN 1010 F – Empathy and Strangeness with Professor Harding

When we read, we enter a different world, travelling in an unknown country where some things are familiar, others strange and new; our adjustment to this theatre of the real reconstructs our own world, emotionally, morally, politically. Empathy arises in the midst of this strangeness, and we find ourselves (in many senses) in the place of the other. As our contemporary world is more and more violently tested, our course looks at this intensely powerful creative process. We begin with one of the greatest and freshest theatrical representations of emotional exploration, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, reading substantially from the point of view of the actor exploring a role. Xavier de Maistre’s playfully profound conversation with himself in his Voyage Around My Room, written under house arrest in 1790 with no intention of publication, announces the ironic solitude of nineteenth century Romanticism, but speaks volumes to our own experience of lockdown. We enter the surreal, grotesque and poignant world of Russia’s encounter with modernity in Gogol’s tales. We end with three very different, fragmented narratives of life in the twentieth century, from Persian and Japanese explorations of the imaginary and the real, of worlds inner and outer, and somewhere in between, to our final text, a selection of Carver’s short stories, turned into a memorable film by Robert Altman, with which we shall finish our course.

Books:

  • William Shakespeare,Romeo and Juliet
  • Xavier de Maistre, Voyage Around My Room
  • Nikolai Gogol, Collected Tales
  • Katherine Mansfield, The Garden Party and Other Stories
  • Yasunari Kawabata, Palm of the Hand Stories
  • Sadegh Hedayat, Three Drops of Blood
  • Raymond Carver, Short Cuts
EN 1010 G – OVERSTEPPING with Professor Hollinshead-Strick

The works we will read this semester negotiate the boundaries of what is acceptable in the societies and situations they portray. Many of them describe transgressions which are cosmically (and/or personally) destabilizing.  In this course, we will be paying attention to how literature represents and upsets world views. We will consider both the contexts in which it does so and the textual strategies involved in managing readers’ expectations.  Close reading will be encouraged, and we will work extensively on the skills involved in constructing strong academic papers.

  • Aeschylus, Oresteia
  • Shakespeare, Macbeth
  • Shelley, Frankenstein
  • Danticat, Everything Inside 
EN 1010 H – THE CREATIVE SELF with Professor Martz

However pleasurable we may find them, the creative arts require discipline, focus, and commitment to achieve excellence. How do people fall in love with their art? What pushes them to make the sacrifices necessary to excel in creative fields? What does it mean to make art if what you want to express with it challenges the values of your community? The texts for this course explore the motivations of artists, dancers, musicians and actors with fiction set in a variety of contexts, from post-war Japan to 19th century Denmark to contemporary Brooklyn, and by a range of creator protagonists including Afro-Caribbean Londoners, Soviet Kyrgyz villagers, and a Hassidic Jew. Readings include Margaret Atwood, Stone Mattress; Zadie Smith, Swing Time; Kazuo Ishiguro, An Artist of the Floating World; Chaim Potok, My Name is Asher Lev; Chingiz Aitmantov, Jamilia, and Kevin Wilson, The Family Fang.

Books:

  • Kazuo Ishiguro, An Artist of the Floating World
  • Chingiz Aitmantov, Jamilia
  • Chaim Potok, My Name is Asher Lev
  • Zadie Smith, Swing Time
EN 1010 I – INTOXICATION with Professor Williams

Throughout literary history, writers have consistently been drawn to intoxication. They have used their work to ponder the temptation of intoxicants, and the altered states of perception they can produce. Writers have also regularly intoxicated themselves to aid the creative process, or to escape the pressure of artistic creation and the monotony of humdrum reality. The intoxicant of choice can take many forms. It can be legal highs: cigarettes, strong coffee and alcohol favoured by the café-frequenting auteur. It can also be drugs (both prescribed and otherwise). Intoxication does not necessarily require substances: adherents report that asceticism and religious fanaticism can create equivalent states. The act of writing itself has also been posited as exhilarating or intoxicating. In turn, the process of reading has been celebrated for its capacity to produce a similar effect.

This course, through close examination of a series of texts from classical antiquity to the present day, will consider how writers have interrogated various ideas of intoxication and explore the relationship between this topic and writing. It will consider the work of writers including Euripides, Zola, Rimbaud, Dostoevsky and Bukowski. The study of intoxication as a theme will lead the class towards the overarching goal of the module: to help students improve their academic writing skills. This will be achieved through a close critical study of the set texts and require students to be practically engaged in class discussions and presentations as well as conducting independent reading, research and writing assessed essays.

Books:

  • Euripides. The Bacchae and Other Plays. London: Penguin, 1973.
  • Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. London: Penguin, 2007.
  • Rimbaud, Arthur. Complete Works. London: HarperPerennial, 2008.
  • Zola, Émile. The Drinking Den. London: Penguin, 2004.
  • Fyodor Dostoevsky, trans. By Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, Notes from Underground. Vintage, 1993.
  • Bukowski, Charles, Factotum. London: Virgin, 2009.
EN 1010 J – IDEAS OF THE OTHER with Professor Tresilian

This course looks at ideas of self and other as these are expressed in selected literary texts. It starts with ideas of otherness, sexual and cultural, as expressed in a major work of ancient Greek tragedy, Euripides’s Medea, before moving on to the representation of cultural and racial otherness in Shakespeare’s Othello, one of the English Renaissance dramatist’s four major tragedies. The course examines how the other or outsider can be seen as at once seductive and disruptive, forcing a reconsideration of hierarchies of sex and power. Longer prose works read in the course, Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe and Stoker’s Dracula, examine the possibilities and anxieties associated with the opening up of the wider world. While Defoe is writing during the heroic phase of early capitalist expansion, his lonely protagonist exploiting and reordering the non-European world, Stoker’s wildly popular horror novel dramatizes late-Victorian anxieties of invasion in lurid and melodramatic terms. Kafka’s The Trial presents a world in which the individual is alienated and alone in the face of a thoroughly modern style of bureaucracy, while Tayeb Salih’s Season of Migration to the North, a Sudanese rewriting of themes from Othello, reverses the gaze of Shakespeare’s play in a twentieth-century tale of otherness at home and abroad.

  • Euripides, Medea and Other Plays
  • Salih, Season of Migration to the North
  • Shakespeare, Othello
  • Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
  • Stoker, Dracula
  • Kafka, The Trial

EN 2020 Sections

EN 2020 A – PERILS OF POWER with Professor Dow

This course explores ideas about the perils and problems of  power in a range of  texts from Renaissance England to Depression-era America. It approaches power from the context of those who are traditionally empowered and those who must learn power. Through the perspectives of those who experience power’s effects and inequities most acutely, we will consider such questions as:  What is power? Where does it originate? How does it differ from “authority,” “right,” and “sovereignty”? What are its effects on race, gender, and class? As we deal with such questions, we will be seeking both perennial and carefully historicized answers to the problems power raises.

Books:

  • William Shakespeare, Hamlet
  • Franz Kafka, The Trial
  • Sherwood Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio
  • Richard Wright, Black Boy
  • Rebecca Harding Davis, Life in the Iron Mills
EN 2020B: HISTORICAL TRAUMAS with Professor Lydic

Can a person, community, or society bear witness to trauma through literary texts? How, why, and with what consequences or ethical limits?  Exploring these broad questions, we will focus on slavery, war, and genocide as historical traumas. Required course texts will engage with multiple periods and cultural locations, including: the Peloponnesian War, eighteenth-century Atlantic slavery, the Shoah, the Bosnian War, the Rwandan Genocide, the Syrian Civil War, and the Russian-Ukrainian War.  

EN 2020 C – NORMALITY & TRANSGRESSION with Professor Harding

Notions of what is normal and what is abnormal are at the heart of our experience of reading, as of our experience of the world. To what extent transgression, the violation of laws, is a necessary component of ‘original’ experience, to what extent it remains outside what we think we desire, or should desire, are central components of the texts on our course. We begin with Homer’s epic of human identity, where transgression metamorphoses into a mode of fate as the human world defines itself in centrifugal translations through time and space, with "powers to draw a man to ruin.” Carroll’s classic exploration of the limits of “normality” in Wonderland, lived through the eyes of a young girl, leads us to the Japanese “heart of things” in one of the world’s great novels of the inner life, Soseki’s Kokoro. We read two English feminist writers on the intensely repressive or liberating experience of transgression, in May Sinclair’s miniature Life and Death of Harriett Frean, and Woolf’s transgender, transhistorical fantasy Orlando. We go to Nigeria, to Amos Tutuola’s tale The Palm Wine Drinkard that scandalized the normalizing literary establishment in the postcolonial transition, and end with the deceptively casual freedoms of the great American poet Frank O’Hara.

  • Homer, The Odyssey
  • Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
  • Natsume Soseki, Kokoro
  • May Sinclair, Life and Death of Harriett Frean
  • Virginia Woolf, Orlando
  • Amos Tutuola, The Palm Wine Drinkard
  • Frank O’Hara, Selected Poems
EN 2020D: HISTORICAL TRAUMAS with Professor Lydic

Can a person, community, or society bear witness to trauma through literary texts? How, why, and with what consequences or ethical limits?  Exploring these broad questions, we will focus on slavery, war, and genocide as historical traumas. Required course texts will engage with multiple periods and cultural locations, including: the Peloponnesian War, eighteenth-century Atlantic slavery, the Shoah, the Bosnian War, the Rwandan Genocide, the Syrian Civil War, and the Russian-Ukrainian War.  

EN 2020E: TIME AND HISTORY with Professor Allen

This course investigates the relation between our perception and understanding of time, our sense of self and our personal and collective histories. We will discuss literature, cinema and works of history that deal implicitly or explicitly with this relation, and that allow us to see how something as basic as our understanding of an ‘hour’ is the result of struggles and conflicts that surpass, and determine, our individual experience.

EN 2020 F – THE UNCANNY with Professor Hobart

Beginning in antiquity, we intend to explore the eternal concept of the uncanny (strangeness, discomfort, unnatural, supernatural) through works of literature. How does the imagination create, recreate, intensify, exaggerate and undo what it might consider un-ordinary, or un-homely, or, rather, uncanny?  Emphasis shall namely be placed on ways in which this concept extends throughout various literary genres including fantastical travels in Ancient philosophy (Lucian, Dialogues), psychoanalytical musings in Renaissance tragedy (Shakespeare, Macbeth) philosophical self-discovery and understanding in the Age of Enlightenment (Diderot, Letter on the Blind), the materializing of multiple psyches (Stevenson, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde), transmutations of mind and body (Kafka, Metamorphosis), and collective evolution in science fiction (Arthur C. Clarke, Childhood’s End). Some emphasis will also be placed on portrayals of the uncanny in the fine arts through the centuries and in film.

 

Books:

  • Lucian, Selected Dialogues
  • Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Macbeth
  •  Robert Louis Stevenson, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Other Tales
  • Franz Kafka, Metamorphosis and Other Stories
  • Arthur C. Clarke, Childhood’s End
  • Denis Diderot, Letter on the Blind
EN 2020 G – QUESTIONING THE SELF with Professor Tresilian

‘What a piece of work is a man. How noble in reason. How infinite in faculty. In form and moving how express and admirable. In action how like an angel. In apprehension how like a god.’ Hamlet’s words from Shakespeare’s play express optimism about human possibilities, ironically placing them in the mouth of one of the dramatist’s most self-conflicted protagonists. This course will look at a range of works with such self-questioning in mind. Who am I? What am I? What kinds of relationship do I have with others? Even with myself?

It starts with Antigone, a work of ancient Greek tragedy having much to say about social and moral bonds. Hamlet introduces the liberal themes of self and society, separating private conscience from public roles and the range of selves presented to others. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, written against the background of the Industrial Revolution in Europe and the growth of the factory system, poses the question of human possibilities anew, this time in terms of scientific discovery. Freud’s Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria and Woolf’s Room of One’s Own present new ways of writing about the self, whether in terms of psychoanalysis or against the background of political and social change, while Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre examines the predicament of the individual in a world characterized by endemic bad faith.

Books:

  • Sophocles, Theban Plays
  • Mary Shelley, Frankenstein.
  • William Shakespeare, Hamlet.
  • Virginia Woolf, A Room Of One's Own.
  • Tayeb Salih, Season of Migration to the North.
  • Sigmund Freud, Complete Psychological Works Volume Seven.
EN 2020 H – ANIMALS with Professor Roy

“Animals are good to think with,” observes the French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss. We will think about concepts like animal/human, nature/culture, body/mind, chaos/order by examining the representation of animals from across a range of contexts and traditions – Hindu and Buddhist folk tales (Panchatantra, Jataka Tales), the Chinese novel Journey to the West (also known as Monkey), Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, and contemporary rewritings of oral Native American animal-trickster myths. Via detours through comparative religion, Darwin, Freud and Lévi-Strauss, we will see how the place we give (or don’t give) to animals creates a structured view of the world based on constructed relations between different forms of life. Ultimately, we will be asking: What makes us human – politically, socially, economically, anthropologically, philosophically, aesthetically? Is the line between human and animal clear-cut? Does “the human” exist?   

Books

  • Vishnusharma, The Panchatantra
  • The Jataka Tales
  • Wu Cheng’en, Journey to the West
  • Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew
  • Thomas King, One Good Story, That One
EN 2020I: UTOPIA with Professor Moss

Human societies have always fantasized about better worlds than the ones currently existing. These radical visions are called “utopias.” But what does utopia look like? Who defines its social, political, visual, and spatial parameters? This course explores utopian visions through works by Plato, More, Cavendish, Marx, Achebe, LeGuin and others.

EN 2020J: UTOPIA with Professor Moss

Human societies have always fantasized about better worlds than the ones currently existing. These radical visions are called “utopias.” But what does utopia look like? Who defines its social, political, visual, and spatial parameters? This course explores utopian visions through works by Plato, More, Cavendish, Marx, Achebe, LeGuin and others.