I've developed classes at Stanford, MIT, Connecticut College, Amherst College, and Yale. Some course titles below link to syllabi. I teach broadly across the history of narrative, with special emphasis on transnational modernism and 20th-century global fiction.
Futurities (Stanford, Autumn 2017)
In literary studies, we have numerous theories for our relationship with literary and historical pasts; we have comparatively few for our relationship with the future. Rather than focusing only on texts that represent or imagine a vision of the future, we focus on the way thinking about the future puts pressure on the present---in the form of ethical responsibility to the future, or as a way of galvanizing action in the present. We also look at specifically literary forms of futurity: the way novels encourage us to anticipate what's next in the plot; the long reception history of texts beyond their own moment. Primary texts range from Shakespeare's sonnets to Joseph Conrad, Octavia Butler, and David Mitchell; topics addressed in secondary sources include examination of queer futurities (Edelman, Muñoz), revolutionary futurities (Howe, Jameson), reception theory (Jauss, Iser), and more.
What was (is?) modernism? (Stanford, Autumn 2016)
An introduction to the stakes of the kinds of periodizing and categorizing questions scholars find themselves asking all the time. This class pairs familiar modernist names with other writers who in various ways might easily be considered as part of the new world of modernist studies: Joseph Conrad and Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Virginia Woolf and Zadie Smith, Henry James and Agatha Christie. What are the possibilities and pitfalls opened up by crossing boundaries of nation, period, and genre?
Narrative and Narrative Theory (Stanford, Winter 2017; Fall 2017)
A required lecture for the major, introducing the history of the novel, the terminology of narrative theory, and examples of narrative forms across media.
Literature and Protest (Stanford, Winter 2018)
A seminar looking at three moments when literature seemed not just to represent social realities, but to intervene in them: 19th century Russia, Civil Rights literature in the USA, and the South African anti-apartheid struggle.
Empire and Revolution: Joseph Conrad and Ngugi wa Thiong'o (Stanford, Winter 2017)
A seminar exploring two of the 20th century's great experimental novelists of empire and politics. Conrad's novels fascinated Ngugi, and this class uses comparison to ask broad questions: what are the political uses of literature? Is the audience of a novel local or global, in its own time or beyond?
The Experience of Narrative (Stanford, Autumn 2016; MIT, Fall 2015)
This advanced seminar juxtaposes novels and TV shows for experiments in the temporalities of reading. First we go slowly through The Wire and Bleak House, episode by episode and installment by installment; then we plunge into Lord Jim and True Detective: binge reading and binge watching. Historically, we compare the end of serial fiction in the early twentieth century to rise of an online streaming norm for television shows today.
Reading Fiction: Aspiring Minds (MIT, Fall 2015)
This is an introduction to the novel as a genre and to college level humanities writing, focusing on novels that address the theme of ambition.
Film and Fiction (MIT, Spring 2016; Connecticut College, Spring 2012)
This class paired novels and films that used similar narrative techniques (e.g., the similar uses of multiple narrators in Absalom, Absalom! and Citizen Kane). We used the comparisons both to isolate form as a topic of discussion, and to test out the different media experiences as models for each analyzing each other: what does it mean, for instance to think of reading as a sequential experience the pace of which you do not control, as in a film?
American Literature 1900-Present (Connecticut College, Spring 2012)
This survey course asked students to consider not just examples of American literature across more than a century, but also what makes given works "American," and how that definition has changed over time.
The Revolutionary Tradition (Amherst College, Fall 2011)
This elective course focused on texts that had heavy intertextual connections to one another: for instance, we read Turgenev's Virgin Soil, as well as James's Princess Casamassima, which resets Turgenev's plot and characters in England; later, we read Stoppard's Coast of Utopia trilogy, which features Turgenev as a character. The course demanded that students think historically and transhistorically at the same time, grappling both with historical context and with the continuing uses of these writers in other times and places.
Reading and Writing the Modern Essay (Yale, Fall 2009)
This creative nonfiction course required students to take apart texts to see how they worked. We read texts in order to learn techniques students might apply in their own work. This was a writing-intensive course: students produced six fully-marked drafts and six final papers.