Junior Seminar (298 and 299) is a yearlong course with a two-semester tutorial (298j) required of all English majors.
Most students take the full course their junior year; those going abroad can opt to take one or two semesters their senior year. Through readings, class discussion, written assignments, and tutorials, students will become familiar with the following:
- A series of texts selected to represent a range and variety of British and American poetry, essays and fiction
- Examples of contemporary critical writing selected to represent critical theory and practice as it has been influenced by linguistics, hermeneutics, history, sociology, psychology and the study of cultural representation
- The concerns and methods of traditional literary criticism
Junior Seminar aims to cultivate in students some sense of the variety of English literature and its criticism, and to introduce students to the activity of criticism as it interacts with literature and as it participates in the intellectual and cultural life of our time. This active criticism will lead students to grasp both the nature of literary convention and tradition and the perspectives that "open up" the canon to a richer diversity of voices and expressive forms.
Generally the two sections of Junior Seminar follow the same syllabus, meeting together occasionally for joint sessions. For the most part, however, the two sections function as independent seminars, with each instructor responsible for a single seminar and writing-critique tutorials for those students. The first semester of Junior Seminar culminates in an oral examination; the second in a written exam covering the full year’s materials.
Junior-Year Preparation for Senior Conference
In the spring semester, students will meet to discuss the senior thesis and how best to prepare for it over the summer following their junior year. Juniors should begin thinking about what authors, texts, genres, theoretical questions, and critical ideas they would like to explore at a deeper and more sustained level. Where possible students should also gather syllabi and texts from all courses in the major to begin preparations for the senior oral examination.