English Language and Literature

Linsly-Chittenden Hall, 203.432.2233
M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D.

Jessica Brantley (on leave)

Acting Chair
Marc Robinson 

Directors of Graduate Studies
Catherine Nicholson [F]
Jonathan Kramnick [Sp] (106a LC, 203.432.2226)

Professors Jessica Brantley, Leslie Brisman, David Bromwich, Ardis Butterfield, Jill Campbell, Joe Cleary, Jacqueline Goldsby, Langdon Hammer, Margaret Homans, Cajetan Iheka, Jonathan Kramnick, Lawrence Manley, Stefanie Markovits, Feisal Mohamed, Stephanie Newell, Catherine Nicholson, John Durham Peters, David Quint, Marc Robinson, Caleb Smith, Katie Trumpener, Shane Vogel, Michael Warner, Ruth Bernard Yeazell

Associate Professors Marta Figlerowicz, Jill Richards, Emily Thornbury, R. John Williams

Assistant Professors Anastasia Eccles, Marcel Elias, Ben Glaser, Jonathan Howard, Elleza Kelley, Naomi Levine, Ernest Mitchell, Priyasha Mukhopadhyay, Joseph North, Sunny Xiang

Fields of Study

Fields include English language and literature from Old English to the present, American literature, and Anglophone world literature.

Special Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree

In order to fulfill the basic requirements for the program, a student must:

  1. Complete twelve courses—six courses with at least one grade of Honors and a maximum of one grade of Pass by July 15 following the first year; at least twelve courses with grades of Honors in at least four of these courses and not more than one Pass by July 15 following the second year. One of these twelve courses must be The Teaching of English (ENGL 990). Courses selected must include one course in at least three out of four designated historical periods: medieval, early-modern, eighteenth- and/or nineteenth-century, twentieth- and/or twenty-first-century. Students are also encouraged to take at least one seminar that adds geographic, linguistic, cultural, and/or methodological breadth to their course of study.
  2. Satisfy the language requirement by the end of the second year. Two languages appropriate to the student’s field of specialization, each to be demonstrated by (a) passing a translation exam administered by a Yale language department, at the conclusion of a GSAS Summer Language for Reading course, or (for languages not tested elsewhere at Yale) by the English department; (b) passing an advanced literature course at Yale (graduate or upper-level undergraduate, with director of graduate studies [DGS] approval); or (c) passing both ENGL 500 and ENGL 501.
  3. Pass the oral examination before or as early as possible in the fifth term of residence. The exam consists of questions on four topics, developed by the student in consultation with examiners and subject to approval by the DGS.
  4. Submit a dissertation prospectus, normally by January 15 of the third year.
  5. Teach a minimum of two terms, since the English department considers teaching an integral part of graduate education. In practice, most students teach between four and six terms.
  6. Submit a dissertation.

Upon completion of all predissertation requirements, including the prospectus, students are admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. Admission to candidacy must take place by the end of the third year of study.

Combined Ph.D. Programs

English and African American Studies

The Department of English Language and Literature also offers, in conjunction with the Department of African American Studies, a combined Ph.D. degree in English Language and Literature and African American Studies. For further details, see African American Studies.

English and Early Modern Studies

The Department of English Language and Literature also offers, in conjunction with the Early Modern Studies Program, a combined Ph.D. in English Language and Literature and Early Modern Studies. For further details, see Early Modern Studies.

English and Film and Media Studies

The Department of English Language and Literature also offers, in conjunction with the Film and Media Studies Program, a combined Ph.D. degree in English Language and Literature and Film and Media Studies. For further details, see Film and Media Studies.

English and History of Art

The Department of English Language and Literature also offers, in conjunction with the Department of the History of Art, a combined Ph.D. degree in English Language and Literature and History of Art. The requirements are designed to emphasize the interdisciplinarity of the combined degree program.

Coursework In years one and two, a student in the combined program will complete sixteen courses: ten seminars in English, including The Teaching of English (ENGL 990) and one course in each of four historical periods (medieval, early modern, eighteenth– and/or nineteenth-century, twentieth– and/or twenty-first century), and six in History of Art, including HSAR 500 and one course outside the student’s core area. Up to two cross-listed seminars may count toward the number in both units, reducing the total number of courses to fourteen.

Languages Two languages pertinent to the student’s field of study, to be determined and by agreement with the advisers and directors of graduate studies. Normally the language requirement will be satisfied by passing a translation exam administered by one of Yale’s language departments. One examination must be passed during the first year of study, the other by the end of the third year.

Qualifying paper History of Art requires a qualifying paper in the spring term of the second year. The paper must demonstrate original research, a logical conceptual structure, stylistic lucidity, and the ability to successfully complete a Ph.D. dissertation. The qualifying paper will be evaluated by two professors from History of Art and one professor from English.

Qualifying examination Written exam: addressing a question or questions having to do with a broad state-of-the-field or historiographic topic. Three hours, closed book, written by hand or on a non-networked computer. Oral exam: given one week after the written exam, covering six fields, including three in English (question periods of twenty minutes each, covering thirty texts each, representing three distinct fields of literary history) and three in History of Art (twenty-five minutes each, fields to be agreed on in advance with advisers and DGS). Exam lists will be developed by the student in consultation with faculty examiners.

Teaching Two years of teaching—one course per term in years three and four—are required: two in English and two in History of Art.

Prospectus The dissertation prospectus must be approved by both English and History of Art. The colloquium will take place in the spring term of the third year of study. The committee will include at least one faculty member from each department. As is implied by its title, the colloquium is not an examination, but a meeting during which the student can present ideas to a faculty committee and receive advice from its members. The colloquium should be jointly chaired by the directors of graduate studies of both departments.

First chapter reading Students will participate in a first chapter reading (also known as a first chapter conference) normally within a year of advancing to candidacy (spring term of year four). The dissertation committee, including faculty members from both departments, will discuss the progress of the student’s work in a seminar-style format.

Dissertation defense The hour-long defense is a serious intellectual conversation between the student and the committee. Present at the defense will be the student’s advisers, committee, and the directors of graduate studies in both English and History of Art; others may be invited to comment after the committee’s questioning is completed.

English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

The Department of English Language and Literature also offers, in conjunction with the Program in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, a combined Ph.D. in English Language and Literature and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. For further details, see Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

Master’s Degrees

M.Phil. Students may declare their intention in the first or second term of the third year to complete an M.Phil. degree instead of the Ph.D. Students must first submit a research proposal and may request a teaching waiver for the term in which they complete the research project, typically in the second term of the third year or the first term of the fourth year. Permission to pursue the M.Phil. en route to the Ph.D., without additional research leave, may be granted by special permission of the DGS and the GSAS Dean's Office.

M.A. (en route to the Ph.D.) Students enrolled in the Ph.D. program may receive the M.A. upon completion of seven courses with at least one grade of Honors and a maximum of one grade of Pass, and the passing of one foreign language.

Terminal Master’s Degree Program Students enrolled in the master’s degree program must complete either seven term courses or six term courses and a special project within the English department. (One or two of these courses may be taken in other departments with approval of the DGS.) There must be at least one grade of Honors, and there may not be more than one grade of Pass. Students must also demonstrate proficiency in one foreign language (as described under Special Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree, above).


ENGL 500a / LING 500a / MDVL 665a, Old English IEmily Thornbury

The essentials of the language, some prose readings, and close study of several celebrated Old English poems.
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

ENGL 519b / MDVL 519b / MHHR 500b, Medieval Manuscripts and Literary FormsJessica Brantley

This course investigates the relation between manuscript studies and literary criticism. It includes an introduction to working with medieval manuscripts (no prior experience required) and continues with a series of case studies that examine what thinking about material texts can contribute to scholarship in medieval—or any—literature. Manuscripts to be considered include the Beowulf MS, the St Albans Psalter, the Ellesmere Chaucer, Cotton Nero A.x. (the Gawain MS), the Book of Mergery Kempe, and the manuscript of the N-Town plays.
Th 9:25am-11:15am

ENGL 535a / CPLT 555a / MDVL 535a, Postcolonial Middle AgesMarcel Elias

This course explores the intersections and points of friction between postcolonial studies and medieval studies. We discuss key debates in postcolonialism and medievalists’ contributions to those debates. We also consider postcolonial scholarship that has remained outside the purview of medieval studies. The overall aim is for students, in their written and oral contributions, to expand the parameters of medieval postcolonialism. Works by critics including Edward Said, Homi Bhabha, Leela Gandhi, Lisa Lowe, Robert Young, and Priyamvada Gopal are read alongside medieval romances, crusade and jihād poetry, travel literature, and chronicles.
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

ENGL 578b / EMST 563b, Poetry and Poetics, 1500–1645Catherine Nicholson

Between 1500 and 1645, vernacular verse was reinvented—by poets, pedagogues, literary theorists, publishers, and readers—as a self-conscious and self-authorizing national literary tradition. This seminar explores the celebrated achievements, failed experiments, forgotten controversies, and historical accidents that conspired to make rude rhyme newly legible (and audible) as English poetry.
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

ENGL 695a, The Bible as a LiteratureLeslie Brisman

Study of the Bible as a literature—a collection of works exhibiting a variety of attitudes toward the conflicting claims of tradition and originality, historicity and literariness.
TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm

ENGL 723a / CPLT 646a / EMST 546a / GMAN 646a, Rise of the European NovelRudiger Campe and Katie Trumpener

In the eighteenth century, the novel became a popular literary form in many parts of Europe. Yet now-standard narratives of its “rise” often offer a temporally and linguistically foreshortened view. This seminar examines key early modern novels in a range of European languages, centered on the dialogue between highly influential eighteenth-century British and French novels (Montesquieu, Defoe, Sterne, Diderot, Laclos, Edgeworth). We begin by considering a sixteenth-century Spanish picaresque life history (Lazarillo de Tormes) and Madame de Lafayette’s seventeenth-century secret history of French court intrigue; contemplate a key sentimental Goethe novella; and end with Romantic fiction (an Austen novel, a Kleist novella, Pushkin’s historical novel fragment). These works raise important issues about cultural identity and historical experience, the status of women (including as readers and writers), the nature of society, the vicissitudes of knowledge—and novelistic form. We also examine several major literary-historical accounts of the novel’s generic evolution, audiences, timing, and social function, and historiographical debates about the novel’s rise (contrasting English-language accounts stressing the novel’s putatively British genesis, and alternative accounts sketching a larger European perspective). The course gives special emphasis to the improvisatory, experimental character of early modern novels, as they work to reground fiction in the details and reality of contemporary life. Many epistolary, philosophical, sentimental, and Gothic novels present themselves as collections of “documents”—letters, diaries, travelogues, confessions—carefully assembled, impartially edited, and only incidentally conveying stories as well as information. The seminar explores these novels’ documentary ambitions; their attempt to touch, challenge, and change their readers; and their paradoxical influence on “realist” conventions (from the emergence of omniscient, impersonal narrators to techniques for describing time and place).
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

ENGL 778b, Sentimentalism and its CriticsAnastasia Eccles

This course explores the long history and enduring force of sentimentalism as a cultural mode, with a particular focus on its complex relationship with its critics. Perhaps the paradigmatic object of aesthetic derision, sentimentalism also has a peculiar tendency to anticipate and feed off its own critique and disavowal. Tracking the entangled careers of sentimentalism and anti-sentimentalism from the “Pamela media event” to recent scholarly debates over the cultural work of sentimentality, we consider its function as a limit case for theories of the aesthetic and as a charged site for thinking about the politics of culture. In the process, we reckon with both the historical specificity of sentimentalism—its distinct trajectories in British, European, and American contexts—and its striking mobility and persistence as a cultural code. How does sentimentalism challenge the period and geographical boundaries that we typically use to organize our objects of study? What opportunities does it present for criticism now? Texts may include works by Jane Austen, Claire de Duras, Olaudah Equiano, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Henry Mackenzie, Samuel Richardson, Charlotte Smith, Laurence Sterne, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Mary Wollstonecraft; and critical writings by Lauren Berlant, Julie Ellison, Saadiya Hartman, Claudia Johnson, and Eve Sedgwick, among others.
Th 9:25am-11:15am

ENGL 804b / CPLT 802b / EALL 804b, Transpacific Performance in the Cold WarRosa van Hensbergen

During the Cold War, interdisciplinary artists were crisscrossing the pacific between Japan and the US, presenting their works in exhibitions, participating in performance festivals, and engaging in experimental collaborations. These crossings and crossovers took place with varying degrees of state involvement as the US government worked to promote its version of American culture abroad. In this course, we discover a series of transpacific performances and events against the backdrop of Cold War cultural politics, from collaborations between Japanese modern dancers and American jazz musicians in the early 60s to immersive works of Japanese video art presented in New York in the 90s. The rare archival and print materials that form an essential component of this course are made available in English. Japanese and other relevant language specialisms are welcome though not required, as are comparative and creative approaches. An aim of this course is to work closely together to produce a publishable or performable piece of work—critical or creative—related to your future research and career ambitions. For those wishing to work with Japanese-language materials, please contact the instructor directly to organize additional Japanese-language workshops.
T 3:30pm-5:20pm

ENGL 830b / HSAR 678b, Portraiture and Character from Hogarth to WoolfRuth Yeazell

Case studies in the visual and verbal representation of persons in Anglo-American painting and fiction, with particular attention to novels that themselves include portraits or address relations between the two media. Novelists tentatively include Henry Fielding, Jane Austen, Henry James, Edith Wharton, Oscar Wilde, and Virginia Woolf. Painters include William Hogarth, Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Lawrence, James McNeill Whistler, John Singer Sargent, and Vanessa Bell. Selected readings in recent theories of fictional character and in the history and theory of portraiture. Whenever possible, we draw on paintings in Yale’s collections.
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

ENGL 886b / AMST 704b / WGSS 704b, War and Everyday LifeSunny Xiang

This course thinks together two spatiotemporal phenomena that appear opposed: war and everyday life. Why is war generally thought of as an exceptional phenomenon, a climactic event that disrupts the quotidian rhythms of the everyday? And why does everyday life so often appear parceled off from war, a placid domestic realm that soldiers depart from and return to? The study of war is often a masculine, muscular endeavor. This course's turn to the methodologies that are guided by feminist, anti-imperialist, and anti-racist critique allows us to better contemplate how militaristic logics shape everyday life and how anti-militarism might be lived at the level of daily practices. This notion of everyday militarisms is both the impetus and the frame for our engagement of the special collections at Yale Library. As an impetus, lived experience of militarism requires us to account for our specific institutional location. What has Yale's role been in war-making and empire-building? How might we analyze our own experiences at Yale and in the historical present with these flashpoints in mind? An attunement to the more quotidian aspects of militarisms also provides an alternate frame for rethinking wartime events that may at the outset seem extraordinary or exceptional. What might it mean to understand nuclear bombs, forced migrations, and environmental disasters as ordinary crises? What do people's day-to-day experience of such crises look like? To approach such questions from different angles and at different scales, we need to consult primary source materials in tandem with an array of interdisciplinary scholarship. Considered together, these course materials help us contemplate why everyday wars tend to go undetected—whether because of new kinds of weapons, war crimes that pass as governance, the time lag of slow violence, or the representational norms of popular culture. Of course, the militarization of daily life looks different depending on one’s geographical, historical, social, and disciplinary orientation. So, even though the course tries to assemble a range of materials and examples, it reflects the instructor's orientation as an Americanist scholar of twentieth-century transpacific culture and politics. But the assessment of everydayness is a matter of perception and perspective in a more general sense as well. How does militarism hide in plain sight, and for whom is it hidden? Throughout the term, the power relations embedded in discerning and analyzing everyday militarisms require us to bring an added layer of critical self-reflection to all our research endeavors.
M 9:25am-11:15am

ENGL 889a / AFST 889a / CPLT 889a, Postcolonial EcologiesCajetan Iheka

This seminar examines the intersections of postcolonialism and ecocriticism as well as the tensions between these conceptual nodes, with readings drawn from across the global South. Topics of discussion include colonialism, development, resource extraction, globalization, ecological degradation, nonhuman agency, and indigenous cosmologies. The course is concerned with the narrative strategies affording the illumination of environmental ideas. We begin by engaging with the questions of postcolonial and world literature and return to these throughout the semester as we read primary texts, drawn from Africa, the Caribbean, and Asia. We consider African ecologies in their complexity from colonial through post-colonial times. In the unit on the Caribbean, we take up the transformations of the landscape from slavery, through colonialism, and the contemporary era. Turning to Asian spaces, the seminar explores changes brought about by modernity and globalization as well as the effects on both humans and nonhumans. Readings include the writings of Zakes Mda, Aminatta Forna, Helon Habila, Derek Walcott, Jamaica Kincaid, Ishimure Michiko, and Amitav Ghosh. The course prepares students to respond to key issues in postcolonial ecocriticism and the environmental humanities, analyze the work of the major thinkers in the fields, and examine literary texts and other cultural productions from a postcolonial perspective. Course participants have the option of selecting from a variety of final projects. Students can craft an original essay that analyzes primary text from a postcolonial and/or ecocritical perspective. Such work should aim at producing new insight on a theoretical concept and/or the cultural text. They can also produce an undergraduate syllabus for a course at the intersection of postcolonialism and environmentalism or write a review essay discussing three recent monographs focused on postcolonial ecocriticism.
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

ENGL 899b, American Politics, the Law, and the Culture of Self-GovernmentAnthony Kronman and David Bromwich

This seminar examines arguments about the value and limits of democracy through an intensive study of four historical crises: the constitutional founding; the Civil War and Reconstruction; the long progressive era; the Cold War and mid-century civil rights movement. Readings include major works by Madison, Lincoln, Whitman, Douglass, Du Bois, Bourne, James, and Dewey, as well as contemporary reporting, orthodox and revisionist history, and detailed analysis of some major Supreme Court decisions.
Th 2:10pm-4pm

ENGL 906b / AMST 696b / ER&M 696b / HSHM 782b / RLST 630b / WGSS 696b, Michel Foucault I: The Works, The Interlocutors, The CriticsGreta LaFleur

This graduate-level course presents students with the opportunity to develop a thorough, extensive, and deep (though still not exhaustive!) understanding of the oeuvre of Michel Foucault, and his impact on late-twentieth-century criticism and intellectual history in the United States. Non-francophone and/or U.S. American scholars, as Lynne Huffer has argued, have engaged Foucault’s work unevenly and frequently in a piecemeal way, due to a combination of the overemphasis on The History of Sexuality, Vol 1 (to the exclusion of most of his other major works), and the lack of availability of English translations of most of his writings until the early twenty-first century. This course seeks to correct that trend and to re-introduce Foucault’s works to a generation of graduate students who, on the whole, do not have extensive experience with his oeuvre. In this course, we read almost all of Foucault’s published writings that have been translated into English (which is almost all of them, at this point). We read all of the monographs, and all of the Collège de France lectures, in chronological order. This lightens the reading load; we read a book per week, but the lectures are shorter and generally less dense than the monographs. [The benefit of a single author course is that the more time one spends reading Foucault’s work, the easier reading his work becomes.] We read as many of the essays he published in popular and more widely-circulated media as we can. The goal of the course is to give students both breadth and depth in their understanding of Foucault and his works, and to be able to situate his thinking in relation to the intellectual, social, and political histories of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Alongside Foucault himself, we read Foucault’s mentors, interlocutors, and inheritors (Heidegger, Marx, Blanchot, Canguilhem, Derrida, Barthes, Althusser, Bersani, Hartman, Angela Davis, etc); his critics (Mbembe, Weheliye, Butler, Said, etc.), and scholarship that situates his thought alongside contemporary social movements, including student, Black liberation, prison abolitionist, and anti-psychiatry movements. Instructor permission required.

ENGL 908b / WGSS 908b, Queer and Trans ArchivesJuno Richards

This course offers an introduction to archival theory and methods, with a particular emphasis on the archival turn in queer and trans studies now. Most broadly, we survey major currents in the theorization of the archive, moving through the material afterlives of slavery and colonialism to draw out questions of recovery, reparation, erasure, ephemerality, bureaucracy, and over-abundance. More specifically, the arc of the course branches into three major currents. The first highlights queer and trans authors whose collections are housed in the Beinecke Library, including Richard Bruce Nugent, Langston Hughes, Gertrude Stein, and James Baldwin. The second current turns to queer and trans archives that have been digitized, including a wide range of periodicals, photographs, scrapbooks, and newsletters now available online. Finally, a third current tracks fictional and cinematic works that reimagine or incorporate the archive as an object of knowledge, including Isaac Julien’s Looking for Langston (1989) and Shola von Reinhold’s Lote (2020).
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

ENGL 909a, Literary Criticism NowJonathan Kramnick

This course examines and takes the temperature of the current state of literary studies. It asks, what is at stake in the practice of literary criticism today and what shapes does contemporary criticism take? We look at some recent attempts at synthesis and polemical intervention. We then organize our discussion around treatments of reading, form, medium, experimental criticism, and public criticism.
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

ENGL 920a / CPLT 917a / FILM 601a, Foundations of Film and MediaJohn MacKay

The course sets in place some undergirding for students who want to anchor their film interest to the professional discourse of this field. A coordinated set of topics in film theory is interrupted first by the often discordant voice of history and second by the obtuseness of the films examined each week. Films themselves take the lead in our discussions.
M 9:25am-11:15am, M 7pm-10pm

ENGL 924b / CPLT 568b, Contemporary Marxist and Postcolonial Cultural Theory, 1989–PresentJoe Cleary

An introduction to a selection of key late-twentieth and twenty-first century Marxist and left postcolonial theorists and texts focusing on historical and intellectual exchanges between these critical formations. After the collapse of Soviet Communism in 1989, Marxism and Marxist theory seemed to many to have lost social relevance. Similarly, new debates on “world literature” were taken by some to mark the waning of an earlier more politicized “postcolonial studies.” However, as the Western triumphalism of the post–1989 years receded in the face of multiple international challenges—notably, climate catastrophe, the 2008 financial crisis, increasingly wealth inequality and oligarchic rule, challenges to American unilateralism—Marxist and postcolonial cultural theory have not simply persisted but enjoyed wide new readerships. Focusing on questions of literature and culture in these contexts, this seminar tracks some key debates and influential lines of scholarly development in these fields in the conjuncture between 1989 and the present. Writers discussed may include Perry Anderson, Fredric Jameson, Slavov Žižek, Immanuel Wallerstein, Giovanni Arrighi, Edward Said, Franco Moretti, Pascale Casanova, Katerina Clark, Monica Popescu, Sarah Brouillette, Sianne Ngai, Hal Foster, Peter and Christina Bürger, Jasper Bernes, Peter Osborne, Julian Stallabrass, Rob Nixon, and others.
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

ENGL 935a / AFAM 522a / AMST 721a, The Beautiful Struggle: Blackness, the Archive, and the SpeculativeDaphne Brooks

This seminar takes its inspiration from concepts and questions centering theories that engage experimental methodological approaches to navigating the opacities of the archive: presumptively “lost” narratives of black life, obscure(d) histories, compromised voices and testimonials, contested (auto)biographies, anonymous testimonies, textual aporias, fabulist documents, confounding marginalia. The scholarly and aesthetic modes by which a range of critics and poets, novelists, dramatists, and historians have grappled with such material have given birth to new analytic lexicons—from Saidiya Hartman’s “critical fabulation” to José Estaban Muñoz’s “ephemera as evidence” to Tavia Nyong’o’s “Afrofabulation.” Such strategies affirm the centrality of speculative thought and invention as vital and urgent forms of epistemic intervention in the hegemony of the archive and open new lines of inquiry in black studies. Our class explores a variety of texts that showcase these new queries and innovations, and we also actively center our efforts from within the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, where a number of sessions are held and where we focus on Beinecke holdings that resonate with units of the course. Various sessions also feature distinguished guest interlocutors via Zoom, who are on hand to discuss the specifics of their research methods and improvisational experimentations in both archival exploration and approaches to their prose and poetic projects.
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

ENGL 947b / AFAM 947b, Black ExistentialismsShane Vogel

This course is an introduction to Black existential thought as it developed in the writing of African American and Afro-Caribbean authors. Existentialism was a historical movement in philosophy and culture typically associated with mid-twentieth-century European intellectuals that asked how individuals constitute themselves within and beyond the given constraints of and possibilities of their situation. But a deep tradition of Black existentialism—or what Lewis R. Gordon calls Africana philosophies of existence—is related to but distinct from the European tradition. Throughout the course we explore key existential concepts such as freedom, authenticity, responsibility, action, struggle, situation, anguish, dread, the gaze, and the Other as they have been imagined in Black diasporic expressive cultures. Some of the questions we ask include: How have Black writers developed existential ideas in novels, poetry, and drama? How does the encounter between European and Africana existentialisms animate the literature of Black freedom struggles in the US and across the colonial and postcolonial world? How does Black existentialism understand the (im)possibility of self-making within a society structured by dominance, and what might an existentialist understanding of Black collectivity look like? How can Black existential thought provide productive opportunities to reevaluate some of the seeming binaries that have shaped conversations in Black studies (in the mid-twentieth century and again today) such as hope/despair, being/nonbeing, humanism/antihumanism, and social life/social death? Why Black existentialism, and why now? Readings include work by Frantz Fanon, Richard Wright, Lorraine Hansberry, Ann Petry, William Melvin Kelley, George Lamming, Jackie Sibblies Drury, Ralph Ellison, Lewis R. Gordon, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Simone de Beauvoir, and others. This is an introductory level seminar, and no previous knowledge of the course content is required.
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

ENGL 957a / AFAM 860a, Ecologies of Black PrintJacqueline Goldsby

A survey of history of the book scholarship germane to African American literature and the ecosystems that have sustained black print cultures over time. Secondary works consider eighteenth- to twenty-first-century black print culture practices, print object production, modes of circulation, consumption, and reception. Students write critical review essays, design research projects, and write fellowship proposals based on archival work at the Beinecke Library, Schomburg Center, and other regional sites (e.g., the Sterling A. Brown papers at Williams College).
M 3:30pm-5:20pm

ENGL 961a, Transformations of the Confession: Secularism, Slavery, SexualityCaleb Smith

The confession is a paradoxical speech act. Confessors are supposed to reveal the inmost secrets of themselves, but at the same time they are known to be performing, according to an established script, for an audience endowed with the capacity to judge and punish them. This seminar takes up the genre of the public confession. We sketch its genealogy from ancient religious styles of truth-telling (The Confessions of St. Augustine) to modern forms of evidence in criminal justice (The Confessions of Nat Turner) while giving special attention to its literary adaptations (The Confessions of an English Opium-Eater). We then explore the transformation of the confession during the nineteenth century under the pressures of secularization, the slavery crisis, and the emerging science of sexuality. Readings may include works by Augustine, Rousseau, De Quincey, Hogg, Poe, Jacobs, Douglass, Plath, Lorde, and Nabokov. Critical and theoretical sources include Nietzsche, Freud, Foucault, Butler, Brooks, Hartman, and Felski. We pursue some of the themes introduced during the annual conference of the English Institute at Yale in 2018, on the theme of “truth-telling.”
Th 1:30pm-3:20pm

ENGL 988b, Literary Production: ProseMeghan O'Rourke

This course provides students an in-depth look into contemporary literary production from all sides of the publishing process: that of the writer, the reader, and the editor. It is grounded in the idea that writing and reading are interconnected practices, as well as the belief that learning to read as an editor will help students become better writers of fiction and nonfiction. The course also teaches students about contemporary literary practices within a deeper historical context of so-called “little magazines,” which have shaped the trajectory of both literary and intellectual history in the United States. Under the instruction of current editors of the newly relaunched Yale Review, and housed at the Review’s offices, this course offers students invaluable hands-on experience at a state-of-the-art literary and cultural magazine from which they emerge as sharper readers and bolder writers and with an introduction to editing skills. Reading as an editor for a magazine  deepens students’ understanding of style, form, aesthetics, and genre. Course conversations and assignments burrow into the specific operations of The Yale Review at the same time that they survey a range of publications from the broader US literary landscape, introducing students to the skills and questions that go into publishing a state-of-the-art cultural magazine in the twenty-first century. They read fiction and nonfiction submissions from our queue, as well as published work by some of the submitting writers; they then discuss which pieces may merit eventual publication and why. They are introduced to the concept of assigning pieces and thinking about how and when public writing and in particular the work of little magazines can add value to an ever-more fast-paced and reactive media landscape. As we teach them about the merits of slow thinking and editing, students follow drafts of pieces as they go through the process of acceptance and editing, offering notes; they also work on a piece of public writing of their own, which they take through a draft and a serious revision process. Weekly course packets of active TYR submissions are provided to students. Additional reading is assigned weekly from The Little Magazine in Contemporary America (University of Chicago), edited by Ian Morris and Joanne Diaz, and A World Out Of Reach: Dispatches from Lockdown (YUP, The Yale Review) edited by Meghan O’Rourke.
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

ENGL 990b, The Teaching of EnglishBenjamin Glaser and Heather Klemann

An introduction to the teaching of literature and of writing with attention to the history of the profession and to current issues in higher education such as the corporatization of the university, the role of the state in higher education, and the precarity of the humanities at the present time. Weekly seminars address a series of issues about teaching: guiding classroom discussion; introducing students to various literary genres; addressing race, class, and gender in the teaching of literature; formulating aims and assignments; grading and commenting on written work; lecturing and serving as a teaching assistant; preparing syllabuses and lesson plans.
T 9:25am-11:15am

ENGL 992a, Advanced PedagogyHeather Klemann

Training for graduate students teaching introductory expository writing. Students plan a course of their own design on a topic of their own choosing, and they then put theories of writing instruction into practice by teaching a writing seminar. Prerequisite: open only to graduate students teaching ENGL 114.

ENGL 993a, Prospectus WorkshopAnastasia Eccles

A workshop in which students develop, draft, revise, and present their dissertation prospectuses, open to all third-year Ph.D. students in English.

ENGL 995a or b, Directed ReadingStaff

Designed to help fill gaps in students’ programs when there are corresponding gaps in the department’s offerings. By arrangement with faculty and with the approval of the DGS.

ENGL 998a and ENGL 999b, Dissertation WorkshopJoseph North

This workshop gathers biweekly, throughout the academic year, to workshop chapters, articles, and prospectuses. It is intended to foster conversations among advanced graduate students across diverse historical and geographic fields. Permission of the instructor is required.