ENG 328 Modernism


“Make it new!” continues to echo as the mantra of artists and writers of modernism, but what does it mean? This course will examine modernism as a transnational cultural and artistic movement. In doing so, we will interrogate multiple modes of modernism in literature, visual culture and music.


Axelrod, Steven Gould; Camille Roman and Thomas Travisano (ed). The New Anthology of American Poetry: Volume Two: Modernisms, 1900-1950

Additional readings (Available on Moodle):

Bell, Daniel. “Modernism Mummified.” American Quarterly 39.1(1987): 122-132.

Farish, Matthew. “Modern Witnesses: Foreign Correspondents, Geopolitical Vision, and the First World War.” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 26.3(2001): 273-287.

Goldhagen, Sarah William. “Something to Talk About: Modernism, Discourse, Style.” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 64.2 (2005): 144-167.

Huyssen, Andreas. “Geographies of Modernism in a Globalizing World.” New German Critique 100 (2007): 189-207.

Rutsky, R.L. “The Mediation of Technology and Gender: Metropolis, Nazism, Modernism.” New German Critique 60 (1993): 3-32.

Thaine, Marion. “Modernist ‘Homage’ to the ‘Fin de siècle.’” The Yearbook of English Studies 37.1 (2007): 22-40.


Recitations: At the beginning of each class, a randomly selected number of students will have the opportunity to do a recitation, or formal reading of a passage from the day’s reading and provide a response. This assignment allows students to analyze texts through close reading, and increases student reading comprehension as well as participation in class. Recitations are graded credit/no credit.

Commentary: Each student will share a web source and a 250-word explanation of its relationship to scholarly reading. Commentaries will be posted to Moodle. This assignment allows students to identify key issues and debates in modernism and determine the major arguments of scholarly readings and use them to interrogate visual, aural and literary texts. These are graded credit/no credit, but selected submissions may form the basis for class discussion.

Tests: The tests will be open-book and open note, and require answers between a short answer and an essay. These tests provide an opportunity for students to analyze texts through close reading and understand the ways that authors and texts inform one another.

Curations: Students will curate a visual source as a blog post and post it to the class blog, polygrafi. This assignment allows students to analyze images through visual interpretation and understand the ways that images inform one another.

Digital exhibit: Students will create a digital exhibit, consisting of an evidence-based digital essay and a catalog using Prezi, a web presentation tool. This assignment allows students an opportunity to analyze texts and images through close reading and visual interpretation and use scholarly readings to interrogate visual, aural and literary texts.

Presentation: Students will record a tour through their digital exhibit using Screencast-o-matic (a web recording tool). This assignment allows students to understand the ways that authors, texts image and music inform one another and articulate the ways that historical and cultural contexts inform modernism.

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