ENG 101: Introduction to the Study of English I
Course objectives: The course will introduce students to what has been considered the mainstream tradition of English literature and language. In the case of literature, it will do this through a critical examination of a selection of representative texts in the three major genres from early to modern times. The critical examination will enable students not just to acquire essential facts and information about the texts and figures addressed, but also to understand them in terms of issues, concerns, perspectives and so on that will be of significance in their subsequent pursuit of studies in English. The language component of the course will commence with an introduction to the nature of language, which will orient students towards the study of language as an academic discipline. On that foundation, it will go on to trace in outline some of the major phases of the development of the English language against the background of which the literary genres emerged and grew. It will also attempt to raise awareness of the bases of literary creation in the language and its developing resources.
Poetry: Selections from Traditional Ballads, Geoffrey Chaucer, John Donne, Alexander Pope, William Blake, William wordsworth, Matthew Arnold, William Butler Yeats, T.S. Eliot, and Philip Larkin;
Fiction: A selection from: Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre, Charles Dickens, Great Expectations, George Eliot, AdamBede, E. M. Forster, A Room with a View, James Joyce, Dubliners, Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse, Kazuo Ishiguro, Remains of the Day, and Hanif Kureshi, The Buddha of Suburbia.
Drama: A selection from: William Shakespeare, Othello, Bernard Shaw, Arms and the Man, John Osborne, Look Back in Anger, Harold Pinter, The Dumb Waiter, and Caryl Churchill, Top Girls.
Language: Understanding Language; The Emergence of English and its Development—An Outline; and The Language-Literature Interface.
ENG 102: Introduction to the Study of English II
Course Objectives: This second introductory course aims to lead students in a general way to an awareness of developments in the field of English Studies that have begun to assume increasing prominence within the field--in the process, pushing back its boundaries. The developments include new and different analytical concerns, issues and approaches as well as thematic and stylistic innovations that have extended the creative range of English (both literature and language) and rendered it even more variegated than it already was. They are the consequences of complex dimensions of the socio-historical development of English over the last few centuries, combined with changing perceptions and understandings of things in more recent times. Among the former are the extension of English beyond Britain, and its appropriation and creative deployment by non-British peoples. Included among the latter is the growing recognition of the ways in which English is inextricably implicated in such matters as race, gender, class, and so on.
In the organization and presentation of the content of the course, an “areal” principle will be invoked, to supplement the three-fold principle (the socio-historical, the thematic and, in the case of literature, generic) already applied in the case of the first introductory course. The “areal” approach foregrounds the global spread of English as a result of its ventures abroad, primarily within colonial and/or neo-colonial contexts. This will also facilitate the satisfactory integration of the literature and language components of the course for in both students will be introduced to the diversity in voices and issues because of the spread and deployment of English within different socio-historical and geographical contexts.
Poetry: Selections from Emily Dickinson, Nissim Ezekiel, A K Ramanujan, Gabriel Okara, Wole Soyinka, Lakdas Wikkramasinha, Adrienne Rich, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and A D Hope.
Fiction: A selection from: Raja Rao, Kanthapura, Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart, R K Narayan, The Vendor of Sweets, Ngugi wa’Thiongo, Petals of Blood, Ayi Kwei Armah, The Beautiful Ones are not yet Born, Geroge Lamming, In the Castle of My Skin, V. S. Naipaul, A House for Mr Biswas, Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye, Punyakante Wijenaike, The Waiting Earth, Patrick White, Voss, Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children, Anita Desai, Clear Light of Day, Buchi Emecheta, The Bride Price, Jamaica Kincaid, A Small Place, Bessie Head, Maru, Shyam Selvadurai, Funny Boy, and Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things.
Drama: A selection from: Ernest MacIntyre, Loneliness of a Short Distance Traveler, a selection from Athol Fugard, Tenessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire, Loraine Hansbury, Raisin in the Sun, Amiri Baraka, Dutchman and the Slave, and Wole Soyinka, A Dance of the Forests or The Bacchae of Euripides.
Language: The Place of English in the World, The Emergence of New Englishes, and Some Ideological Loadings of English.
ENG 201: An Introduction to the Structure of the English Language
The course aims to lead students to an understanding of the internal structure of the English language at the levels of its sounds (phonetics and phonology), words (morphology) and sentences (syntax) In the process, it will help students learn the principles and methods of the study of a language as a structured entity. This in turn will enable them to identify and characterize facts of English phonology and grammar in terms of general rules and patterns of organization and so on, testing and evaluating their conclusions as they do so. Throughout, attention will be paid where necessary to distinguishing features of the structure of Lankan English.
Course content: Phonology: Speech Sounds and systems of speech sounds, The transcription of speech sounds, The articulatory bases of phonology, Distinctive features, The classification, distribution and organization of speech sounds, The syllable and syllabic structure, Stress, rhythm and intonation, Grammar: Basic concepts of morphology and syntax, Word formation in English, Word classes in English, Phrase structure, Syntactic constituents, Subordination and co-ordination, The verb, tense, aspect and modality, The noun phrase, Pronouns and pronominal reference, Adjectival and other phrases
ENG 202: English in its Historical Context
The course aims to lead students to an understanding of the development of the English language in dynamic interaction with its socio-historical context within Britain. It is expected that this will help them understand a) the nature of its rich and complex resources, by reference to, among other things, their development in response to challenges of meaning making raised by changes in society, and b) the nature of the variability in the language, by reference to the active correlations of this variability with societal factors, including hierarchically differentiated social relations in the context.
Course content: The genealogy of English, The development and nature of the word stock of English, An outline of the development of modern English grammar, The development of English prose and the emergence of scientific and academic writing in England, The development of the English dictionary, The orthography of English and the issue of spelling reform, and The emergence of Standard English.
ENG 203: English Across the World
The course aims to help students arrive at an understanding of the nature, forms, roles, implications and so on of the English language in its varied local contexts outside of its original “home country” and in its global context. It is expected that this will enable them to conceptualize the mutual relationship between the language and themselves in terms that would carry meaning for them as post-colonials. Many of the topics covered will use English in Sri Lanka as a basis.
Course content: The spread of English, The genesis of new forms of English, “Older Englishes,” “New Englishes,” and Pidgins and Creoles (a very brief historical and descriptive case study will be done of at least one example of each of these classes—for example, American English, Tok Pisin, Singapore English), “Interference”/”Deviation” or new forms for new meanings?, Standards and norms—the lectal continuum, diglossia, and schizoglossia, The speech community, English and identity, symbiosis, Native user-hood, Intelligibility, The global and internal place and functions of English, English and post-colonial creativity, and The dialectic of English—promise and threat
ENG 204: An Introduction to Chaucer, The Medieval Period and the Period of the Renaissance
The course will attempt to frame, in general terms, the essential background to the emergence of the English literary tradition. It is intended that this will provide a means of understanding the nature of literacy and artistic production in subsequent times, its characteristic concerns, its nations of the forms of creativity, its ideas of norms of judgement and so on. The background will be characterized in terms of the massive alterations that took place in England and across Europe between the time of Chaucer and the period of the Renaissance and its aftermath. A brief sketch will be provided of these changes, which took place in all spheres of life (the historical, the economic, the social, the political, the religious, the philosophical, the intellectual, the educational, the psychological and so on) to usher in the modern order of society. The literary tradition will be treated as emerging out of the responses of creative artistes to the unprecedented challenges of creativity with which the developing new order confronted them.
The course will examine selections from the creative work produced during the period under survey, calling attention to its integral links with dimensions of its socio-historical context, as the means of understanding its nature better. Attention will also be drawn to dimensions of this work that do not sit easy within some familiar notions of the institutionalized mainstream tradition of English literature. These dimensions will themselves be accounted for by reference to features of the socio-historical context.
Course content: The emergence of the modern order of society and its dimensions (including the Reformation and the Renaissance), Selections from Chaucer, who is considered to have inaugurated the mainstream English literary tradition, Other literary and dramatic productions around Chaucer’s time (Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Piers Plowman, John Skelton’s poetry, the Miracle and Morality plays, etc), Trends in drama and theatre from 1500-1586, and the Medieval European background (poetry, art, music, architecture, etc).
ENG 205: A Survey of British Poetry from 1558-1775
Students will be introduced to canonical and representative texts ranging from the early modern to the neo-classical age. The course will emphasize the socio-political and literary-cultural orientations of the periods under survey. It will look at both the continuities and the discontinuities that mark the complex processes involved in the making of British poetry of the period.
Course content: Selections from Sir Thomas Wyatt, Sir Philip Sidney, Shakespeare’s Sonnets, Edumund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, the Elizabethan lyrics; the poetry of John Donne, George Herbert, Andrew Marvell, Henry Vaughan, Richard Crashaw, Amelia Lanyer, Mary Wroth, John Milton, John Dryden, Alexander Pope, and Samuel Johnson.
ENG 206: Elizabethan, Jacobean and Restoration Drama
The fame achieved by Shakespeare, Jonson and Marlowe has obscured the signal contributions made by playwrights like Webster, Tourner, Dekker, Beaumont, Ford and others to the Renaissance theatre in England. They often complemented (and sometimes provided a significant contrast to) the “major” dramatists of the age. Through the examination of selected texts, this course explores the complexity and variety associated with the Elizabethan/Jacobean stage; for instance, “optimism” in The Shoemaker’s Holiday, “brooding cynicism” in The Revenger’s Tragedy, and “pathological violence” in ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore. The course will also introduce students to the characteristics of Restoration drama and explore the factors which made the theatre of this period different from that which preceded it.
In any given year, the instructor may choose to substitute the texts listed below with others from the same period.
Course content: Thomas Kyd: The Spanish Tragedy, Thomas Dekker: The Shoemaker’s Holiday, Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher: The Knight of the Burning Pestle, Cyril Tourner: The Revenger’s Tragedy, Thomas Middleton and William Rowley: The Changeling, John Marston: The Malcontent, John Webster: The Duchess of Malfi, John Ford: ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore, William Congreve: The Way of the World, William Wycherley: The Country Wife, and John Dryden: All for Love
ENG 207: The Eighteenth-Century British Novel
This course will introduce students to the emergence (or what Ian Watt calls the “rise”) of the modern English novel in the 18th Century. Students will be made aware of the socio-economic and political factors that created the conditions for the emergence of the novel in the 18th century, the defining characteristics of the novel as they manifest themselves during this period, and the special contributions of individual writers to the developments in the 18th century novel.
Course content includes: Robinson Crusoe and Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe, Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, Pamela and Clarissa by Samuel Richardson, Joseph Andrews and Tom Jones by Henry Fielding, Roderick Random and Humphrey Clinker by Tobias Smollet, Tristram Shandy and A Sentimental Journey by Laurence Sterne, The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole, The Monk by Matthew Gregory Lewis, The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliff, and Evelina by Fanny Burney
ENG 208: Criticism: Theory and Practice I
This course will include “theoretical” and “practical” components, taught concurrently. The “theoretical” component of the course will introduce students to a) a selection of Greek and Roman literary theorists who have exerted a major influence on post-Renaissance English criticism, and b) the main trends and figures in English criticism and literary theory from the sixteenth to the end of the eighteenth centuries, focussing on both continuities and divergences in the critical theory and practice.
In the practical component of the course, students will explore, through readings of sample texts, the ways in which creative writers exploit linguistic and formal resources available to them to achieve their ends as authors, and familiarize themselves with the multiplicity of styles and rhetorical strategies deployed by writers in the field of English literature.
Course content: Selections from Plato and Aristotle; Horace, On the Art of Poetry, Selections from Renaissance Critical Theory, Selections from John Dryden and Samuel Johnson and Alexander Pope, “An Essay on Criticism”
ENG 209: Cultural Practice and Theory
This objective of this course is to introduce the student to contemporary discourses about literature and cultural practice. The course includes texts from a variety of genres and narratives, including film; non-fictional prose, journalism and other forms of experiments in narrativity; and thereby collapses existing hierarchical distinctions between literature and non-literature together. The student will become familiar with modern and post modern trends/texts and at the same time have a grounding in discursive practices which interrogate and challenge the hegemonies of the canon. Theory will be combined with the practical aspect of critical thinking whereby the student will learn to deploy the different analytical modes learnt in class to examine the ideological and cultural assumptions of the texts. The student will gain experience in handling a wide range of contemporary cultural practice providing her/him with the breadth of knowledge required in a general degree student.
Course content: Colonial and postcolonial discourses; May Yee, “Nei um Lung , ma? (Aren’t you cold?) in Awakening Thunder, Hanif Kureishi, Sammy and Rosie Get Laid (Film), Clifford Geertz, “Deep Play”: Notes on a Balinese Cockfight”, Margaret Salome, “ On Language and Ethnicity” from Food for our Grandmothers, Laila Halaby,“Browner Shades of White” (poem) from Food for our Grandmothers, Gayatri Spivak, “Interview” by Deepika Bahri and Mary Vasudeva in Between the Lines ed Deepika Bahri, Gender Issues; Elaine Showalter “Towards a Feminist Poetics” in Essentials of the Theory of Fiction ed Michael Hoffman, Rajani Thiranagama “No More Tears Sister” The Broken Palmyrah, Connie Fife ed, Selected Poems/passages from the Color of Resistanc, Thelma and Louis/Boys don’t cry (film), Audre Lorde, Selections from Zami a new spelling of my name: a biomythograph, Ideology; Roland Barthes, “Plastic” and “Toys” from Mythologies, Paulo Friere, “Chapter 3” from Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Arjuna Parakrama, Extracts from De-hegemonizing Language Standards, Thiru Kandiah, “Kaduwa”, Michel Focault, Selections from Power/Knowledge or from Discipline and Punish, Media; Satyajit Ray “Those Songs” in Our Films Their Films, Stuart Hall Selections from the Stuart Hall Reader, Mark Crispin Miller “Getting Dirty” and “Cosby Knows Best” in Ways of Reading ed John Bartholomae, Kuch Kuch Hothai or any other popular Indian Film
[*This is a provisional reading list In any given year, the instructor teaching the course may introduce her/his selections relevant to the course]
ENG 301: The English Language and Society
The course will lead students to seek explanations for the inherent variability of language, both across groups and within individual usage, by reference to relevant social factors. Through a study of the patterns of language use and deployment in a range of social situations, students will come to recognise the systematic correlations which exist between linguistic features of the language code and varied societal factors. Such factors will involve, among others, social roles, functions and ends, social differentiation along lines of occupation, class, education, economic background, gender and ethnicity, and so on. The correlations will be characterised in terms of ongoing dynamic processes of self-construction, interaction, negotiation, imposition, contestation, assimilation, acceptance and so on among the individuals/groups involved, many of these at the frontiers of difference that the societal factors define in various situations. As students grow in awareness of how the elements and features of language become a central means of carrying out these processes, they will arrive at a deeper understanding both of language as a variegated social resource and of the society in which it is embedded. Wherever possible, the course will draw its material from the sociolinguistic situation in Sri Lanka.
Among the matters dealt with will be: Language variability and its "extra-linguistic" correlates; Accent, dialect, language; Norms, language "centres" and language change; The speech community (problems of definition, networks, convergence, divergence, acts of identity, etc.); Societal bilingualism/multilingualism, diglossia; Variety selection (styles, registers, repertoires) and variety mixing (borrowing, code mixing, code switching); The ethnography of speaking, communicative competence; Cross-cultural communication; Language attitudes, social attitudes; Language and education (including, restricted and elaborated codes, bidialectalism, immersion, etc.); and Language and ethnicity/class/gender/etc.
ENG 302: Applied Linguistics—The Learning and Teaching of Languages
The course will deal with issues of language acquisition, development and teaching, dividing time equally between their theoretical/conceptual and practical/applied dimensions. An overview of some of the major general theoretical approaches to the issues, presented from the specific viewpoints of both the L1 and the L2 learner, will be followed by an introduction to theories of L2 acquisition/learning per se. Against this background, a critical examination of issues related to actual classroom practice will be undertaken. The matters considered here will include, among others, teaching methods, needs analysis, lesson design and so on, which will be recognised to involve also other
educational, pedagogical, psychological and such considerations. All of this will be located within the realities of the Sri Lankan context and with a view to helping students become aware of the nature of certain very complex pedagogical and socio-educational challenges that these realities raise. It is hoped that the course will provide students with the conceptual and practical apparatus needed to properly understand and effectively address these challenges.
Among the matters dealt with will be: General approaches to language acquisition/ development¾behaviourism, the innateness hypothesis, functionalist approaches; Second Language learning¾contrastive analysis, error analysis, interlanguage, the monitor theory, socially-oriented models such as the social psychological model, the socio-educational model and the acculturation model; Issues of ELT practice¾ methods, needs analysis, lesson design and materials development, ESP/EAP; The socio-educational contextualisation of Sri Lankan ELT theory and practice¾problems of ELT in Sri Lanka, socio-psychological factors in Sri Lankan ELT classrooms, theorising bilingual practice in the classroom.
ENG 303: Semantics, Pragmatics and Discourse Analysis
Following a brief introduction to signs, symbols and systems of symbols, the course will deal with the organisation and expression of meaning on the basis of the elements and resources of language, and of their relationships among themselves and with the world outside of language. This will be studied within lexis and grammar in terms of conceptual content and structure. In addition, the making of meaning through the active and interactive use of the elements and resources of language in context, involving often the drawing of inferences, will also be investigated. This will include an examination of the workings of discourse in context. It is expected that all of this will equip the students to scrutinise instances of language use that they encounter, whether in the form of spoken or written texts, against the background of a general, critically aware, understanding of the nature of their semantic workings. They will thus come to recognise how, through its processes of meaning making, language allows its users to construct, affirm, deny, negotiate, even impose particular views of or perspectives on reality. The recognition will be given point by their simultaneously developing awareness of the cultural, ideological and similar concerns and purposes which drive such construction, affirmation and so on, and are served by them.
Among the matters dealt with will be: Signs, symbols, symbol systems; Types of meaning (conceptual, connotative, social, etc.); Reference (specificity, definiteness); Sense and sense relations (semantic components, hyponymy, synonymy, polysemy, oppositeness, etc.); Semantic fields, collocations; Logical relations (entailment, inconsistency, contradiction, tautology, anomaly, presupposition); Utterance meaning, deixis; Speech Acts; The Co-operative Principle (intention, inference, implicature conversational vs. conventional); Discourse¾the ethnography of communication, critical discourse analysis; The politeness principle.
ENG 304: Topics in the Study of Language
This course is meant for students reading English for the General Degree in Arts. It comprises a selection of topics drawn from the language courses that have been designed for the Special Degree in English, although its coverage of most of them will be at a greater degree of generality. Apart from their contribution to a general understanding of certain basic aspects of the English language within our multilingual context, , the topics selected will have applicability in certain careers that the students concerned might choose to go into, for example teaching. Some topics will be concerned with the form and nature of the language code itself, others with dimensions of its contextualised use in society, and yet others will involve both. It is expected that the knowledge that students will acquire from their study of these topics will enable them to respond, in their subsequent encounters with the language in their lives, in an informed, insightful and confident manner.
The course will deal with such matters as the following, among others: The vocabulary of English; The meaning system of English¾an outline; Language in use¾discourse; Conversation and academic language; The social basis of variation in language (style, register, dialect, standard language); Bilingualism/multilingualism; Language planning and management; New Englishes.
ENG 305: Romantic and Victorian Writing
The course aims at introducing students to the two major literary movements/periods of nineteenth century Britain: the Romantic (1798-1832) and the Victorian (1832-1901).
The two literary periods cover, chronologically speaking, the entire spectrum of literary-cultural production in nineteenth century Britain. Two major themes animate the organization and selection of texts/writers for the course: a) the degree to which literary-cultural orientations and output are determined by the “spirit” of an age; b) the ways in which both better- and lesser-known writers may deviate from/register their dissatisfaction with, as well as shore up, the dominant conventions and narratives of their times. At the end of the course, students should not only be conversant with individual texts and writers but have a wider acquaintance with the extra-literary factors that shape the literary visions and choices of writers belonging to this period.
In any given semester, the instructor teaching the course will select a reasonable mix of poets and novelists from the list given below: Romantic Period¾Poetry Selections from William Blake, William Wordsworth, Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Keats, Felicia Hemans, Mary Robinson, Dorothy Wordsworth, Anna Barbauld, etc; Jane Austen, Emma; Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; Walter Scott, Heart of Midlothian. Victorian Period¾Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre; Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights; Charles Dickens, Bleak House; George Eliot, Middlemarch; Poetry Selections from Matthew Arnold, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Gerard Manly Hopkins, etc.; Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d'Urbevilles; Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness.
ENG 306: Developments in Twentieth-Century British Writing
The objective of the course is to introduce students to some of the chief thematic concerns and formal characteristics of twentieth-century British fiction, drama, and poetry by a detailed study of representative writers and texts. It is expected that an overview of twentieth-century British literature will emerge through the course.
The course will examine the impact on the British literature of the period of such literary movements as modernism, imagism and postmodernism on the one hand, and historical developments like the World Wars, the Empire, and urbanization on the other. The course will use a selection from the following authors and texts as a base: W.B. Yeats, T.S. Eliot, W.H. Auden, Philip Larkin, Ted Hughes, George Bernard Shaw, J.M. Synge, Samuel Becket, Harold Pinter, John Osborne, Caryl Churchill; Joseph Conrad, Nostromo, D.H. Lawrence, Women in Love, James Joyce, Ulysses, E.M. Forster, A Passage to India, Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway, John Fowles, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children.
ENG: 307: Criticism—Theory and Practice II
The objective of this course is to introduce the student to the major developments in modern and postmodern literary and sociocultural theory that have greatly contributed to shaping critical thinking today. To this end the student will be introduced to texts that cover a range of ideological and formal approaches. This course will emphasize both the continuities and discontinuities of the western philosophical tradition, its varied sociopolitical contexts, and theories that have challenged its monolithic, canonical and eurocentric structure. The student will also learn to apply these theories intertextually to his/her reading of literary and cultural texts in an attempt to bring theory and practice together.
Texts of survey, summary and explication will be used to structure the course while selections from texts from a significantly primary nature will be brought in whenever necessary to give the student a first hand intimacy with some of the theoretical positions and frameworks. The major topics covered will be from the following areas of critical Theory: Marxist Approaches, Semiotics, Psychoanalysis, Feminism and Gender Theories, Queer Theory, Postcoloniality, Modernism and Postmodernity, Popular Culture. A selection from the following texts will be used as course readings: Terry Eagleton, Literary Theory: An Introduction: Terence Hawkes, Structuralism and Semiotics; Jonathan Culler, “Literary Theory,” in Joseph Gibaldi, Introduction to Scholarship in Modern Languages and Literatures; Rosalind Coward and John Ellis, Language and Materialism: Developments in Semiology and The Theory of the Subjec; Lawrence Grossberg and Cary Nelson, Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture; Patrick Williams and Laura Chrisman, Colonial Discourse and Postcolonial Theory; Deepika Bahri and Mary Vasudeva, Between the Lines: South Asians and Postcoloniality.
ENG 308: Literary Practice and Critical Discourse
The objective of the course is to demonstrate the different ways in which contemporary cultural texts of gender, class, nationality, race and media operate in current contexts. For this purpose, we offer a selection of contemporary discourses, which will enable students to engage critically with textual strategies and cultural issues projected in them. When necessary, contemporary writing will be read in tandem with traditional texts to make their engagement with the issues dynamic, as for example, the proposed readings of Shakespeare.
The material for this course includes different kinds of “texts,” spoken and written, so that different forms such as classical literature, television commercials, films, bestsellers, and formal scholarly prose writings will receive equally serious attention. This course, therefore, marks a departure from the conventional approaches to the study of English Literature. It is expected that the student will be able to gain some experience in the “production” and reception of texts and develop the critical acumen necessary to interpret, critique, and evaluate what is presented as information and knowledge. The course will focus on a selection made from the following material (though in any given year the instructor teaching the course may introduce her/his selections relevant to the course): Postcoloniality: Shakespeare, Othello or The Tempest, Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre, Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea; Culture/Popular Culture: Mark Crispin Miller, “Getting Dirty” and “Cosby Knows Best” and Clifford Geertz, “Deep Play: Notes on a Balinese Cockfight” in Ways of Reading, ed. John Bartholomae, Roland Barthes, “Plastic” and “Toys” from Mythologies; Narratives of Nation: selections from The Stuart Hall Reader, Isaac Julien’s film Fanon, Patricia J. Williams, “Alchemical Notes: Reconstructing Ideals from Deconstructing Rights” in Ways of Reading, ed. John Bartholomae, excerpts from John Okada, No No Boy, Jane Tompkins, “ Indians: Textualism, Morality and the Problem of History,” Michael Roberts, “Ethnicity in Riposte at a Cricket Match: The Past for the Present,” in Exploring Confrontation: Sri Lanka: Politics, Culture and History, Hanif Kureishi, “My Son the Fanatic” from Love in a Blue Time; Gender/Sexuality: selected poems/passages from The Color of Resistance, ed., Connie Fife, the film Some Boys Don’t Cry, selections from bell hooks, From Margin to Center, Holly Hughes, Dress Suits to Hire in A Sourcebook of Feminist Theatre and Performance, ed. Carol Martin; Language and Society: Hoda M. Zaki, “Orientalism in Science Fiction,” Margaret Salome, “On Language and Ethnicity,” Laila Halaby, “Browner Shades of White,” from Food for our Grandmothers,” ed. Joanna Kadi, the film Akhaler Sandaney” by Mrinal Sen.
ENG 309: Postcolonial Theory and Practice I
This course is designed to acquaint students with the theoretical underpinnings of postcolonial literature (previously known as the new literatures in English or Commonwealth Literature) and to demonstrate how these theories find expression in the literatures produced in Africa, Australia and the Caribbean.
Students will be first introduced to key concepts in postcolonial theory, as articulated by theorists, like Frantz Fanon, Edward Said, and Homi Bhabha, and some of the debates and discussions involved in the field of study. Africa, Australia, and the Caribbean are divided by geographical, ethnic and other boundaries, but their shared colonial experience and the diverse means they adopted to resist British hegemony make the literatures of these regions worthy of a comparative analysis. Although considerable space will be given to influential writers whose names have become synonymous with literature in English in Australia, Africa, and the Caribbean, this course will also deal with other, significant voices from these regions that are sometimes overlooked in courses on postcolonialism. The course will include writers such as Chinua Achebe, Buchi Emecheta, Jamaica Kincaid, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, V.S. Naipaul, Wole Soyinka, Derek Walcot and Patrick White, and will prepare students for its companion course, Postcolonial Theory and Critical Practice II, offered in Year 4, which focuses on the literatures of South and South East Asia.
ENG 310: Poetry, Fiction and Drama in English from 1400-1900
This course is specially designed for General Degree students keeping in mind the limited number of English literature courses they will take during their university career and the need therefore to make their introduction to English literary studies as broad and diverse as possible. In this survey-type course, therefore, spanning six centuries, the students will be introduced to the main trends and issues in British and American literature from the 14th to the 19th centuries. The intention is to give the students a broad understanding of the diversity in literary-cultural orientations and socio-political preoccupations among writers belonging to different historical periods, different national locations, and different gender/race/class groupings.
Course content: Geoffrey Chaucer, The Prologue and a Tale from The Canterbury Tales;
John Donne: poetry selections; Eighteenth-Century British Poetry: selections; The 18th Century Novel: Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, Samuel Richardson’s Pamela or Ann Radcliff’s The Mysteries of Udolpho; Nineteenth-Century British and American Writing: a) British writing—poetry selections from John Keats and Gerard Manly Hopkins, novels by Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte and Charles Dickens; b) American writing—poetry selections from Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, the fiction of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Harriet Beacher Stowe, Mark Twain and Kate Chopin, and a slave narrative such as A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas.
ENG 311: Twentieth Century Literature(s) in English
Designed particularly for the General Degree Programme, the main objective of this course is to offer a broad survey of literary texts that are considered essential to any study of twentieth century English Literature. The course will also introduce students to current debates on the issues surrounding the subject of teaching/learning canonical literature.
The texts chosen for this course will be taught not as “repositories of ultimate wisdom,” but as works that are informed by ideologies and values that need to be interrogated for the interests they further and for their relevance to our situation. The course will be based on a combination of the following primary material: selected texts of T.S. Eliot, W.B. Yeats, Philip Larkin, Ted Hughes, D.H. Lawrence, E.M. Forster, Bertolt Brecht; selected authors and texts of African-American Literature; samples of Sri Lankan and Indian poetry and/or fiction; James Joyce, Dubliners, George Bernard Shaw, Pygmalion, John Osborne, Look Back in Anger, Peter Schaffer, Eqqus, John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath, Alice Walker, The Color Purple, Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior, Tennessee Williams, A Street Car Named Desire, Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, A Grain of Wheat, Mahesweta Devi, Stanadayani.
ENG 401: Language, Thought, Culture and Ideology
The course will explore the interrelationship and interaction between language on the one hand and thought, culture, identity and ideology on the other. It will focus on the role of language in fashioning ways of meaning which help construct views of the world as part of a process of defining identity within it and, also, of acting in and on it. It will introduce students to analytical methods and apparatus which will enable the highly complex relations between language, thought, culture and identity to be brought under controlled scrutiny and adequately theorised. Wherever possible, the general theoretical issues will be clarified in relation to Sri Lanka's own multilingual, multicultural realities, including those involving Lankan English. It is expected that the course will enable students to better understand the workings of language within the multicultural realities of their immediate and wider global contexts.
The course will deal with a selection of the following topics: Natural (innately specified, biologically inherited, etc.) vs. conventional (acquired, learned, externally related, etc.); Language and thought¾determinism, relativity, universals, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, colour terminology, kinship terminology; Semantic features/components vs. prototypes; Language and the construction of identity and culture¾the non-static, non-aggregational, non-monolithic nature of culture, types of language communities and types of language, linguistic “conspiracies” and their cognitive/cultural dimensions, boundaries and crossings, inclusions and exclusions, acts of identity, language and socio-cultural praxis (terms of address, language and gender); Languages and cultures in contact¾cognitive pluralism, symbiosis, contestation and negotiation, cross-cultural communication; Dimensions of ideology and power.
ENG 402: Language Planning and Language Management
Students will be introduced to the academic discipline of language planning (including language management and language policy making) along both its status oriented dimension at macro-sociolinguistic level and its corpus oriented dimension at micro-sociolinguistic level. Through a critical examination of the claims and assumptions on the basis of which language planning is generally taken to be pursued, and in terms of which it is studied and evaluated, they will come to understand how language planning actually works. The claims and assumptions will include those relating to the pre-specified criteria of success (rationality, objectivity, efficiency and so on) that are taken for granted in language planning study. The examination will entail an exploration of the social, historical, ideological, political and other realities of the context in which planning initiatives are irretrievably embedded and which are what determine the nature of the planning measures devised and their workings. Particular attention will be paid to understanding the nature of the specific problems and challenges that the complex realities of multilingual, multicultural post-colonial polities like Sri Lanka raise for language planning, along with their social, educational and other implications. Throughout, the involvement of English in the various language planning measures taken will be borne in mind.
The course will deal with the following matters, among others: Principles of language planning; Status planning and corpus planning and their interrelationship; Language policy and language management - the criteria of decision making and evaluation, language correction and production, implementation; Language policy and nation building; Planning and the roles of languages in multilingual, multicultural settings; Language problems in Sri Lanka and language planning
responses to them; Language education (including second language education) and language planning; The role of English in Sri Lanka's social, educational and other arenas; Language purity, language maintenance, language shift, language death.
ENG 403: Syntactic Theory
Building on what the students have learned from ENG 201 about English as a structured object, this course will attempt to lead them into a more sophisticated understanding of the complex nature of the structure of languages. It will do so by introducing them in outline to three major approaches to the study of language structure which are mutually exclusive, namely, autonomous syntax and the modular conception of language structure, meaning-based syntax, and (a version of) functional grammar. Against a background of a general characterisation of the three approaches, certain core topics or issues in current theoretical syntax will be examined as they manifest themselves in English. The examination will on occasion have a comparative dimension, as, in certain selected instances, the benefits/deficits of understanding that will accrue from the application to them of one or the other of these approaches will be considered. The expectation is that the exercise will: a) help students develop analytical linguistic skills through a hands on experience of different ways of "doing syntax"; and b) raise their awareness of the rich complexity of their object of study, namely human language, which lies at the heart of all human endeavour and activity.
Among the matters which will be addressed are: Grammatical principles and grammatical rules; Grammatical constituency, categorisation, relations (including case); Grammatical processes (movement, control, raising, etc.); Grammatical functions (sentence/clause internal functions, metafunctions, etc.); Clause structure (pro-drop, serial verb constructions, deletion, relativisation, clause complexes, etc.); The structure of groups and phrases (head/modification, etc.); The syntax-semantics interface (syntactic functions and semantic roles, grammar and information structure, etc.); Various specific topics such as quantification, negation , voice, mood and modality, nominalisation, anaphora, cohesion and coherence, etc.; Theorising grammar¾different perspectives and concerns, different practices.
ENG 404: An Outline of Sinhala and Tamil Literature
The course, which will be taught jointly by the staff of the Departments of Sinhala, Tamil, and English, is intended to help students of English locate their study of English meaningfully within the national context, through the acquisition of an understanding of the modes and concerns of literary creation in Sri Lanka.
The course has three parts. The first two parts will, respectively, deal with the development of Sinhala and Tamil literature from classical to modern times. Attention will be paid to the origins of the two literary traditions, and their characteristic content, themes, forms, styles, and so on. Selected works from different periods will be analyzed, with the focus falling on the nature of the responses fashioned by artistes to challenges raised by changing social and other conditions. The third part will bring into interaction what has been learnt in the first two parts with other English literature courses. It will seek to do this through an essentially comparative/contrastive exploration of literary creativity and production in the three traditions which will illuminate both differences and commonalties.
ENG 405: Shakespeare and the Drama of His Time
This course will introduce students to the drama of William Shakespeare and two of his contemporaries who were not covered in ENG 2.4.
Students will examine plays by Shakespeare, Marlowe and Jonson in relation to classifications such as Comedy, Tragedy, Problem Plays, Historical Plays, and Satire. They will also be required to respond to topics like "The 'Outsider' in Shakespeare's Drama," "Poetry of the Theatre," "Women in Elizabethan Drama and Society," and "Is Shakespeare our Contemporary?" The course will, furthermore, explore trends and issues in the interpretation of Shakespeare's plays from Elizabethan times to the present in critical writings and in performance. Students are expected to have a knowledge of the socio-political and cultural background of Shakespeare's time. In cultural terms, the course will acquaint students with the theatrical and acting conventions of the period.
Texts will include Christopher Marlowe, Dr. Faustus and The Jew of Malta; Ben Jonson, Everyman in His Humour and Volpone; William Shakespeare, Richard III, Henry IV Parts I and II, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Twelfth Night, Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, The Winter's Tale and The Tempest.
ENG 406: American Literature
This is a survey course in American Literature that aims at offering students a general introduction, through examination of select texts, to both the literary and extra-literary origins and orientations of the literature under study.
Since this is the only course on American Literature that Special Degree students will offer during their three-year degree programme, a decision has been made to confine the selections to the nineteenth century and after because it is from this century on that American Literature begins both to take on an identity of its own and to diversify along race, class and gender lines. The selected texts and writers will therefore introduce students to the major literary trends and the socio-political and intellectual history of the periods under study so that they would gain an understanding of the factors, literary and otherwise, that shaped and continue to shape literary-cultural production in the USA.
In any given semester, the instructor teaching the course will select, from the list given below, a mix of nineteenth and twentieth century writers/texts that reflects the diversity in issues, techniques and genres among American writers. Nineteenth century: Poetry Selections from Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman; Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter; Herman Melville, Moby Dick; Frederick Douglas, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas; Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; Kate Chopin, The Awakening; Henry James, Portrait of a Lady. Twentieth century: Poetry Selections from Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, Sylvia Plath, etc,; Eugene O'Neill, Long Day's Journey into Night; F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby; Ernest Hemingway: A Farewell to Arms; William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom!; Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God; Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman; Richard Wright, Native Son; Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire; Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man; James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain; Edward Albee, The Zoo Story; Toni Morrison, Beloved; Amiri Baraka, Dutchman and The Slave; Maxine Hong Kingston, The
ENG 407: Postcolonial Literary Creativity—Theory and Practice II
This course, which has been designed to complement Postcolonial Literary Creativity—Theory and Practice I (PCLC I), will examine the English literature of South and Southeast Asia from essentially the same analytical perspective employed in PCLC I.
Using mainly the theoretical positions studied and developed in PCLC I, the course will investigate such topics and themes as the emergence of canons and counter-canons within South Asian and other Asian literatures in English, the impact on this writing of indigenous literary and theoretical/critical traditions and of bi- and multi-culturalism, and the thematization of ethnicity in this literature. A comparative approach will be taken to the analysis of literary texts throughout the course with a view to demonstrating the differences as well as the commonalities (of provenance, form, and thematic concerns) among South and other Asian English literatures, and beyond this, between these literatures and those studied in PCLC I. The course will use samples from the English literatures of Singapore and Malaysia and a selection from the following texts and authors as a base: Lakdas Wikkramasinha, Jean Arasanayagam, Ernest MacIntyre, Kamala Das, Nissim Ezekiel; Mulk Raj Anand, Untouchable, Raja Rao, The Serpent and the Rope, R.K. Narayan, The Man-Eater of Malgudi, Arundathi Roy, The God of Small Things, James Goonewardene, A Quiet Place, Punyakante Wijenaike, The Waiting Earth, Ediriwira Sarachchandra, Curfew and a Full Moon, Carl Muller, The Jam Fruit Tree.
ENG 408: Topics in Modern and Postmodern Comparative Literature
The course will introduce students to literary and cultural texts that show the salient features of modern literary movements and their social contexts that have had a bearing on the development of modern thought.
The course will emphasize non-English texts, while making reference to English literature wherever possible. The focus on current trends in literature will enable the student to understand the formation of modernity and postmodernity in their global contexts and also to connect the study of literature produced in English to wider socio-political, cultural and philosophical movements. The following is a provisional list of primary texts; in any given year the instructor teaching the course may introduce her/his selections relevant to the course: Stendhal, Scarlet and Black; Balzac, Old Goriot; Tolstoy, War and Peace; Albert Camus, The Outsider; Franz Kafka, The Trial; Henrik Ibsen, Hedda Gabler, and The Wild Duck; August Strindberg, Miss Julie and The Dream Play; Anton Chekov, The Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard; Sergi Eisenstein, Notes of a Film Director; Bertolt Brecht, Mother Courage and The Caucasian Chalk Circle; Walter Benjamin, Illuminations; Samuel Becket, Waiting for Godot; Garcia Lorca, The House of Bernada Alba; Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude; U. Ananthamurthy, Samskara; Nawal el Saadawi, Woman at Point Zero.
ENG 409: Semiotics, Culture and Film
This is an optional course for special degree students. The course is designed to engage students in the interdisciplinary areas of film, theory, discourse and the practice of writing. Focused on writing and reading texts, including film texts, semiotically, the course will introduce and encourage students to look at film as part of a non-literary form that is integral to writing culture. Drawing upon semiotics and hermeneutics, the course will enable students to move out of the narrow framework of text-based approaches and to look at textuality within a national and global framework of everyday cultural and political practice. Students will watch several films in class and read important works of theory related to Screen Studies, Semiotics, and Cultural Theory. The course will contribute to an overall understanding of literature and writing at the disciplinary crossroads today. The films will be from many different genres including European neo-realism, the Hollywood classical narrative, the works of Sergei Eistenstein and the avante=garde and those of modern and postmodern popular and alternative genres from India and Sri Lanka. However, films from other traditions will be included as well, whenever relevant and important. Students will also read underpinning works in film and cultural theory, namely those of Christian Metz, Laura Mulvey, Stuart Hall, Gayatri Spivak, bell hooks, Ella Shohat, Roland Barthes, Bertolt Brecht, and others.