Ben Railton to Present Visiting Scholar Lecture November 15

This year’s Visiting Scholar Lecture will be held next month when the English Department welcomes Ben Railton, Professor of English and American Studies, Fitchburg State University, who will present a talk entitled “We the People: The 500-Year Battle Over Who Is American.”

Friday, November 15
3:00-4:30 PM
Free and open to the public
Carondelet Symposium
Lally Building, Third Floor
The College of Saint Rose
1009 Madison Avenue
Albany, NY 12203
Facebook event page

Ben Railton is Professor of English Studies and Coordinator of American Studies at Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts. He writes the daily AmericanStudies public scholarly blog, is a prolific public scholarly Tweeter with more than 38680 followers, and is a frequent contributor to websites such as HuffPost, Talking Points Memo, We’re History, the Washington Post’s Made by History blog, and the Saturday Evening Post, for which he has written a biweekly online column since January 2018. Ben Railton is Professor of English Studies and Coordinator of American Studies at Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts. Dr. Railton’s most recent book is We the People: The 500-Year Battle Over Who Is American (Rowan & Littlefield 2019).

Faculty Works in Progress on November 13: Barbara Ungar, Eurie Dahn, and Brian Sweeney

The English Department Faculty Works in Progress afternoon talks continue on Wednesday, November 13 with Barbara Ungar, Eurie Dahn, and Brian Sweeney. The talks begin at 2:40pm in Albertus Hall, Room 305.

Barbara Ungar, Professor of English, will present “Poems from Save Our Ship,” and Eurie Dahn and Brian Sweeney, both Associate Professors of English, will co-present their talk on “Hidden Selves: Mesmerism, Race, and Of One Blood.” The talks will take place Wednesday, November 13, in Albertus 305, 2:40pm.

Bring a lunch! Have some snacks! Q&A follows. For more info, email nesterd at

And mark your calendars for when our Faculty Works in Progress afternoon talks continue in the Spring 2020 semester, when on Wednesday, February 26, we will have two Visiting Assistant Professors of English presenting talks: Vicki Hoskins and Eileen Sperry. Watch this blog and our Facebook page for their talk titles and other details!


Alumni News: Daniella Toosie-Watson

We recently caught up with Daniella Toosie-Watson  (BA English ’15), who gives us an update since graduating from Saint Rose.

What are you up to these days?

I recently graduated from the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan with my MFA. I’m currently on fellowship (the Zell fellowship) with the program as a visiting scholar. I’m also serving as Writer in Residence for the InsideOut Literary Arts Program, which is a Detroit-based organization that teaches poetry in the city’s public schools. I love InsideOut so much! The 4th graders I’ve had the opportunity to work with are miraculous, and brilliant, and funny, and just such gifts. When we were studying metaphor and comparing ourselves to rain, one fourth grader wrote, “I am the rain because it is beautiful when it falls.” Can you believe that came out of her mouth?! When I read that line in class, I literally laid on the floor next to her desk and held her paper to my chest, and the kids were all very confused as to what was happening, ha! Also! Since having graduated from Saint Rose I’ve been published in several journals, including Callaloo, Virginia Quarterly Review, and SLICE Magazine, and my work is forthcoming in the anthology, The BreakBeat Poets Volume 4: LatiNEXT. I’ve also received fellowships and awards from the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, The Watering Hole, and the University of Michigan Hopwood Program.

Do you have any thoughts on your English major, now that you’re out in the real world?

I’m thankful to have been an English major. It’s served me not just academically but has informed the kind of person that I want to be in the world. The arts and humanities are critical for cultivating empathy and the ability to think critically about the world around us and about our proximity to its issues. It’s helped give me the tools to keep myself accountable, and to keep the folks around me accountable. And of course, it’s served me as a poet. The classes I took as an English major coincided with my formative years as a poet and really served my practice.

Way to go, Daniella!

Any news to share with the English Department community? Use the form to share your updates about publications, jobs, fellowships, awards, etc.

ENG 252: Author Aisha Saeed Visiting Albany

Aisha Saeed-1.jpg

One of my professors shared an announcement about an author visiting Albany that I thought a lot of students would be interested in. Author Aisha Saeed will be coming to Albany on Wednesday, November 6th. She is going to be giving a talk at 7 pm at the Albany Public Library on Washington Avenue.

Aisha Saeed is an author of young adult and children’s books. She is going to be a part of The New York State Writers Institute’s “Visiting Writers Series” promoted by The University at Albany. It is an exciting event because Saeed is a New York Times bestselling author and has released Far From Agrabah this year as part of Disney’s Aladdin franchise. Saeed is a great author to have visit Albany because of her contribution to the diverse experiences among members of the community.

Aisha Saeed is a Pakistani-American writer and helped start a nonprofit organization called We Need Diverse Books. The organization’s website says that it aims to advocate “essential changes in the publishing industry to produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people.”

I think a lot of Saint Rose students could benefit from attending this author talk at the Albany Library. It’s also very close to campus and free! It is certainly relevant for any English majors and education majors. Aisha Saeed’s perspective on the positive changes being made in literature will be inspiring to hear since she is one of the authors making an impact. She is an advocate for education and empowerment of females. Her contribution to children’s books with strong female protagonists sends young girls the message that they are worthy and capable of achieving anything in life. For more information about Aisha Saeed and the details about the event, click here for the page that my professor shared with my class.

About the writer: Meghan Tompkins is a junior at The College of Saint Rose who is majoring in Early Childhood Education and Childhood Education.

Spring 2020 English Course Descriptions

For the most up-to-date times and enrollments, check

Winter 2019 Courses

ENG-251-EL1. Flash Nonfiction & Prose Poetry. Nester. ONLINE COURSE
Flash nonfiction, prose poetry, lyric essay: no matter what we call it, writing that combines the qualities of poetry and prose has gained prominence in recent years, winning prizes and even landing on bestseller lists. In this workshop course, we will discuss the traditions and impulses that inform prose poetry, flash nonfiction, and other lyric essay forms, such as the aphorism, braided essay, and collage memoir. We will read and write pieces that experiment with form, embrace fragments and sections, avoid easy or smooth narrative, leap and juxtapose language, and even imitate other forms. Prerequisite: ENG105 or equivalent. (L05)

ENG-260-EL1. Earlier Shakespeare. Sperry. ONLINE COURSE
This course will address, in the context of early modern English society and culture, histories and comedies written during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603).The exploration of Shakespeare’s language and literary devices, of genres, and of theatrical practices will be supplemented by attention to early modern social issues and ideology, as well as to present-day critical trends. (L04)

Spring 2020 Courses

ENG 105. Multiple listings
An introduction to college-level writing and research. Emphasis on informative and persuasive writing and speaking across a range of situations, audiences, and forms. Instruction in substantial research paper. Students must receive a grade of C or better to satisfy this Liberal Education requirement. (L01)

ENG 106.01 Texts and Contexts: Eco-Writing. Ungar. TH 11:15-12:57.
Our environment is threatened in so many ways, and the matter is urgent. This class will be devoted to reading prose and poetry about the natural world, from The Norton Anthology of Nature Writing and the Eco-poetry Anthology. Students will have the opportunity to choose the environmental issue they care most about, to write a research paper and deliver an informative and/or persuasive talk on that subject. Our focus throughout will be on how we can most effectively use our own words, as individuals and in groups, to help preserve our natural world. (L04)

ENG 106.02 Texts and Contexts: Lesbian Literature. Paster-Torres. TH 9:25-11:07.
Introduction to lesbian literature through fiction, poetry, essays, and more. We will explore literature written by, about, and for lesbians. We will examine these writings within their social, political, and cultural contexts, including the intersections of race, class, and gender. Readings may include works by Leslie Feinberg, Virginia Woolf, Nancy Garden, and Alice Walker. (LO4)

ENG 106.03 Texts and Contexts: Ecofeminism. Paster-Torres. TH 11:15-12:57.
Introduction to ecofeminist literature through fiction, poetry, essays, and more. We will explore the origins and theories of ecofeminism; examine women’s connection to the earth and its non-human life; and discuss the relationship between the treatment of our planet and the treatment of its women. Readings may include works by Ursula Le Guin, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, and Margaret Atwood. (LO4)

ENG 106.EL1  Texts and Contexts: Social Commentary in Contemporary Horror Media. T 6:15-8:45.
Horror holds a unique position among genres; its aggressive, often gruesome representation of the world we live in elicits a different kind of pleasure from its viewing audience, and, likewise, presents its commentary on our shared social spaces by means and strategies that differ drastically from other forms of literature. This course will investigate the ways in which contemporary horror film, literature, and media speak to the world, drawing upon formal elements, tropes, and social symbolism to reflect the darker sides of (social) reality back to us. Whether the reckoning of modernity and empirical hubris in Shelley’s Frankenstein or the moral and ethical judgments nascent in Poe’s tales of murder and revenge, the horror story emphasizes the ways in which society thinks and feels, evaluating social positions, forcing a reconsideration of the reality we take for granted, and showing us that what hides under the bed, beneath the floorboards, and out in the darkness will never stay put for long. This course will pivot between the development of an analytical apparatus by which students investigate, research, and articulate the formal functions of the horror text (close-reading and visual analysis) and meditation on what it means to live or die in such horrific worlds as these, the latter unveiling the social, historical, and political implications of the genre’s form. Ultimately, we will consider the way in which horror, past and present, makes use of its visual and literary devices to subvert, reinforce, and/or reimagine social and political agency. One credit of this course is ONLINE. (L04)

ENG 106.EL2  Texts and Contexts: Superheroes and the Millennial. Seelow. TR 9:25-10:40.
The film and video game industries has helped reimagine American superheroes for the millennial generation. This course explores the significance superheroes from the transmedia perspective of cinema, television, video games, comics, graphic novels, fan culture, and the web. This course is designed in an innovative game-based format. One credit of this course is ONLINE. (LO4)

ENG 106.EL3 Texts and Contexts: Coming of Age. Fitzsimmons. MW 1:15-2:30
This class will examine selections that explore personal and cultural rituals and rites of passage negotiated on journeys of self-discovery during this transition into adulthood.  The course will include attention to diverse communities, addressing social, political, and historical themes expressed in the works.  We will examine issues of race, gender, and multicultural perspectives. One credit of this course is ONLINE. (LO4)

ENG 106-EL4 Texts and Contexts: Games and Modern Culture. Seelow. TR 1:05-2:20
Games both shape and are shaped by culture. Video games are now the largest form of mass entertainment in the world, but they are also applied to education, health, training and battle readiness. This course will be a combination hands on-discussion/theory-based course on the emergence of modern games from the early 1970s arcade games to contemporary Multiple Massive Online Role-Playing Games. We will explore games through the lens of play theory, culture studies, game studies, psychoanalysis, gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality and formal design. During the course will both play and study a variety of games including board games, card games, mobile, online, console, and virtual reality games. Additionally, the course will discuss games in learning, games for change, games and scientific research, and games for health. It will be also be taught in a gamified fashion. One credit of this course is ONLINE. (LO4)

ENG 114 Introduction to Literary Genres and Traditions.
EL1 MW 11:50-1:05 Chan
EL 2 MW 10:25-11:40 Butler
Introduction to a number of the central concepts and concerns of literary study, with specific attention to genre conventions and interpretive methodologies. Students work across historical eras and cultural traditions to develop the reading, writing, research, and oral communication skills necessary for further literary study. Course intended for English and English: Adolescence Education majors; should be taken as early as possible. Students may not take both ENG 112 and ENG 114.  One credit of this course is ONLINE.

ENG 116 Professional Writing. Laity. ONLINE COURSE.
This course will help students think about writing as a profession as well as an art, to learn how to seek out markets and to develop an adaptive flexibility in their writing styles, while building an online portfolio of work to showcase those skills. This course is fully ONLINE. (L05)

ENG 126 Diverse Voices: Disability Studies. Weiss. MW 4:15-6:00
This course addresses issues of race, class, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc. in literature and/or film. Attention will be given to historical, socio-cultural, and political factors that inform these issues and texts. This course may be taken more than once, provided it addresses a different topic when taken again. Fulfills diversity requirement. (L04)

ENG 126 Diverse Voices: African American Women’s Literature. Jefferson. TH 2:30-3:45
This course addresses issues of race, class, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc. in literature and/or film. Attention will be given to historical, socio-cultural, and political factors that inform these issues and texts. This course may be taken more than once, provided it addresses a different topic when taken again. Fulfills diversity requirement. One Credit of this course is ONLINE. (L04)

ENG 134 Visualising Medieval Lives. Laity. MW 10:25-11:40
A study of literary and historical texts written during the Middle Ages as well as music and even films inspired by the period. Texts are in Modern English translations. Students explore the early contexts and ongoing influence of these tales in written and oral presentations. One Credit of this course is ONLINE. (L04)

ENG 180 Theatre Arts. Hoskins. TR 1:05-2:20
An introduction to drama and the theatre. Course explores theatrical experience from the various points of view of those who participate in it, such as the playwright, director, actors, designers, and audience. Class activities include reading dramatic literature, learning about the theatre, experimenting through performance, and attending dramatic performances. One credit of this course is ONLINE. (L05)

ENG 201 Language and Linguistics. Marlow. ONLINE COURSE.
Introduction to recent developments in language study and to the principles of linguistics. Course examines the structure of the English language including phonology, morphology, semantics, and pragmatics, as well as traditional descriptive, prescriptive, and generative-transformational grammars. Students will engage in guided research, writing, and oral presentations focused on language use in its everyday form and related social variables. This course is fully ONLINE.

ENG 206 Creative Writing. Ungar. TR 4:15-6:00
We will practice self-expression in four genres: fiction, nonfiction, poetry and drama. Class will be conducted largely as a workshop. Weekly prompts will be given, and students will share their work with one another in each class. Our main text will be Imaginative Writing: The Elements of Craft, by Janet Burroway. No prior creative writing experience necessary. A good time will be had by all. (L05)

ENG 206 Creative Writing. Nester. ONLINE COURSE.
An introductory course in creative writing with practice in and critique of fiction, creative nonfiction, drama, and poetry, as well as readings in and discussions of each genre. Recommended for students with any level of creative writing experience. Prerequisite: ENG 105 or equivalent. This course is fully ONLINE. (L05)

ENG 212 Survey of American Literature. Rice.
TR 9:25-11:07
TR 11:15-12:57
Building on ENG 112‘s (or 114’s) emphasis on literary genres and interpretive methods, Survey of American Literature continues to prepare students for literary study at the 300 level. Through the study of a range of texts, students will become better acquainted with significant movements and periods in colonial American and U.S. literary history. Transatlantic and global literary and cultural relations will be explored. English and English Adolescence Education majors are required to take ENG 210, ENG 211 or ENG 212 and are urged to do so in the second year. Prerequisite: ENG 112 or 114.

Continue reading “Spring 2020 English Course Descriptions”

ENG 252: Saint Rose Students Participate in Climate Change Strike

IMG_0829What do you call home? By definition, it’s “the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household”. However, home can be a place, person, object, or anything that makes you feel complete. But all of these things exist upon one thing: Earth.

September 20-27 consisted of what is known as the Global Week for Future. This was a series of international strikes and protests to demand action be taken to address climate change. A record of 7.6 million people, mostly led by youth and students, took to the streets to strike for climate action. All around the world, in cities and villages, big and small, millions joined hands and spoke up in defense of the climate.

The College of Saint Rose students gathered together to prepare for the strike by creating signs and chants. Friday, September 20th, these students joined hands with the University of Albany as well as Albany High School to march all the way to the state Capital and strike together as one. Hundreds more joined, including students from Siena, Skidmore, and Union. As they marched to the Capitol, students chanted things such as “If we’re standing up for our environment, what do we do? STAND UP, FIGHT BACK!”

This is all in an effort to show that overall, through the community and Government, we have the people power necessary to fight climate change and end the era of fossil fuels. According to the NASA website, if climate change persists, the Northeast and Capitol Region will experience heat waves, heavy downpours, sea level rise, growing challenges, and more. It is up to us to fight prevent these results now before it is too late. Saint Rose students and more are doing just that.

About the Writer: Jennifer Moss is a Junior at the College of Saint Rose studying
Communications with a concentration in Public Relations and Advertising.

The Saint Rose Theatre Presents Fun Home

This Friday is opening night for the Saint Rose Theatre production of Fun Home. Come out and support the show.

Fun Home, a musical based on a memoir by Alison Bechdel, in which the author explores her own sexuality, coming out to her parents, and her relationship with her father, who is gay.

The show runs October 25 through 27 and November 1 through 3 in the Campus Theatre, 996A Madison Avenue, Albany. “Fun Home is the beautiful coming out story of Alison Bechdel, and how she finally gained the courage to reveal her authentic self as a gay woman. What makes her journey so tragic is that it is juxtaposed with the story of her father, who spent his entire life struggling to keep his homosexuality masked from the outside world,” said Angela Ryan-Ledtke, instructor of acting at Saint Rose. “The story is told through multiple versions of Alison during key times throughout her life, all interwoven and symbolically pushing forward rather than looking back. She pieces together the relationship with her dad to make sense of his suicide. While she climbed a metaphorical mountain to claim her identity and freedom, her father lost grip with his self-made reality, plunging him toward his untimely death.”

Saint Rose students appearing in the production include:
Helen: Aileen Burke, a political science major from Mount Bethel, Pennsylvania
Medium Alison: Emily Paolicelli, an ASPIRE-English major from Croton-On-Hudson, New York
Bruce: Freddy Quinonez, a music education major from Middletown, New York
Joan: Alma Gonzalez, a music industry major from Chicago, Illinois
Roy/Pete/Mark/Jeremy: John Schwabb, a music performance major from Brooklyn, New York
Alison: Shaunessy Lambert, a music education major from Westfield, Massachusetts
Other members of the cast include:
Small Alison: Olivia Ledtke, a seventh-grade student at The Doane Stuart School
Christian: Teagan Susco, a sixth-grade student at Blue Creek Elementary School
John: Sophia Ledtke, a third-grade student at Abram Lansing Elementary