Students majoring in literature at Purchase College learn to read texts closely and critically and to understand literature in relation to the social and historical conditions in which it is written and read. The principal focus of the major is British and American literature; the program places these national literatures in an international frame. Thus, students may count toward the major courses in French, Spanish, and other literatures, in translation or in the original language. In addition to courses in traditional literatures, students may take courses in contemporary literature, popular culture, and film. Feminist inquiry, the critical study of race, and other theoretical or interdisciplinary approaches are central to the literature curriculum. In learning to read, write, and think about literature and the world it reflects, inhabits, and creates, students gain valuable preparation for advanced academic study and for the professional world.
Requirements for the Major
A minimum of nine literature courses with a grade of C or higher (at least five at the 3000 or 4000 level, and at least four taken at Purchase College), plus an 8-credit senior project:
- Colloquium I: Studies in Literature
Generally taken in the second year; transfer students who wish to major in literature must complete this course during their first semester at Purchase College.
- Three courses in the literature sequence (courses that emphasize issues of history and period): One each from sequence I (before 1750), II (1750–1900), and III (1900–present)
- Three courses of the student’s choice (Introduction to Literature is strongly recommended for freshmen considering the literature major)
- Colloquium II: Advanced Studies in Literature
- Senior Project Seminar
- Senior Project in Literature
British Culture and Society in the 20th Century
Classics of European Fiction
Contemporary U.S. Literature
Dostoevsky and Tolstoy
Goethe to Kundera
Introduction to African American Literature
Introduction to Shakespeare
Lesbian and Gay Fiction
Literature of the High Middle Ages
Medieval English Literature
Poetry and the Avant-Garde
Renaissance in England
Romanticism I & II
South Asian Literature
Survey of U.S. Literature I & II
The Ancient Epic
The Faust Legends in Literature
The Renaissance in Europe
U.S. Short Story
Women and Film
- Pam Abrams ’81, director of special projects, Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop
- Dante Albertie ’89, director, Lehman Stages, Lehman College, City University of New York
- Julia Bergen ’84, executive director, Fine Arts for Children and Teens, Inc. (FACT), Santa Fe, N.M.
- Figen Bingül ’03, Turkish-English translator
- Iris Bodre ’98, account executive, Guidance In Giving Inc.; author of Living a Lifetime in 625 Days, under the pen name Abigail Suzahns
- Stacey Donovan ’81, award-winning novelist and ghostwriter/editor; www.donovanedits.com
- Samantha Extance ’06, PhD candidate in English and literature, University of Tulsa; book review editor, James Joyce Quarterly; samanthaextance.wordpress.com
- Paul Feldstein ’77, literary agent and publishing consultant; co-owner of the Feldstein Agency
- Nicole K. Felice ’07, JD, City University of New York School of Law; junior assistant district attorney, Suffolk County, N.Y.
- Helene Eisman Fisher ’82, writer and consultant to nonprofits and small businesses; cofounder and president of Say Ah! (www.justsayah.org)
- Bert Fink ’82, senior vice president of communications, Rodgers & Hammerstein: An Imagem Company
- Michael Fonseca ’08, securities lending trader, Timber Hill LLC, a subsidiary of Interactive Brokers Group
- Robin Gunther ’89, PhD, University of Alabama; associate professor of English and chair, Department of Language and Culture, Huntingdon College, Montgomery, Ala.
- Carol L. Howard ’86, PhD, Columbia University; professor and associate dean for faculty, Warren Wilson College, Asheville, N.C.
- Jessica M. Mavaro ’09, manager of records and data, Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum
- Heather Ostman ’92, PhD, Fordham University; assistant professor and assistant chair, English Department, Westchester Community College, Valhalla, N.Y.
- Jody Person ’99, MFA, Rutgers University; director and cofounder, Elixir Productions Theatre Company; faculty member and coordinator of the theatre/dance programs, Mercer County Community College, N.J.
- Deborah Pope ’73, PhD, Graduate Center, City University of New York; executive director, Ezra Jack Keats Foundation
- Tison Pugh ’91, PhD, University of Oregon; professor of English, University of Central Florida
- Daniel J. Rubin ’89, MFA in playwriting, Yale School of Drama; director of marketing and communications, Commodity and Ingredient Hedging LLC, Chicago, Ill.
- Stephanie Silber ’96, cofounder, Home Team Productions (www.hometeamproductions.tv), which has been producing and directing award-winning documentary films, television, and not-for-broadcast projects since 1999
- Sophia Soloway ’07, MA, Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, New York University; sophiemae333.blogspot.com
- Paul Spillenger ’80, PhD, Columbia University; Emmy-nominated documentary film writer, director, and producer; producer, director, and writer at NBC Universal/Peacock Productions
- Megan Stein ’00, MA in fashion design, Drexel University; fashion design certificate, Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne; designer, Dresses at Free People
- Beth (Schoenholtz) Udoma ’86, senior grants editor, Tufts Clinical and Translational Science Institute, Boston, Mass.
- Cara Ungar-Gutierrez ’92, PhD, Miami University; executive director, Oregon Council for the Humanities
For more information, please visit the literature program site.
Updated Dec. 12, 2012
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