James Dennis Hoff
James Hoff received his PhD in English and American Studies from the Graduate Center, CUNY in 2012 and joined the English Department at BMCC in 2014. His teaching and research interests range broadly from nineteenth century American romanticism and transatlantic modernism, to modernist culture and contemporary poetics. Professor Hoff has taught courses across CUNY on the emergence of modern literature, nineteenth and twentieth century American poetry, the American renaissance, sex and sexuality in American literature, journalism, and the literature of New York. He has published and has work forthcoming in the CEA Critic, the Wallace Stevens Journal, and Texas Studies in Literature and Language. His current research focuses primarily on the life and work of the American poet Langston Hughes and his relationship with the Communist Party in the 1930s.
Poetry, American Literature, American Intellectual History, John Dewey, Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens
- University of Massachusetts, Amherst, B.A, 2001
- Graduate Center, CUNY, PhD, 2012
- English Composition is the standard freshman writing course. The course introduces students to academic writing. By its conclusion, students will be ready for English 201 and for the writing they will be asked to do in advanced courses across the curriculum. Students completing ENG 101 will have mastered the fundamentals of college-level reading and writing, including developing a thesis-driven response to the writing of others and following the basic conventions of citation and documentation. They will have practiced what Mike Rose calls the "habits of mind" necessary for success in college and in the larger world: summarizing, classifying, comparing, contrasting, and analyzing. Students will be introduced to basic research methods and MLA documentation and complete a research project. Students are required to take a departmental final exam that requires the composition of a 500 word, thesis-driven essay in conversation with two designated texts.
Prerequisite: Pass the CAT-R and CAT-W or Accuplacer tests
- This is a course that builds upon skills introduced in English 101. In this course, literature is the field for the development of critical reading, critical thinking, independent research, and writing skills. Students are introduced to literary criticisms and acquire basic knowledge necessary for the analysis of texts (including literary terms and some literary theory); they gain proficiency in library and internet research; and they hone their skills as readers and writers. Assignments move from close readings of literary texts in a variety of genres to analyses that introduce literary terms and broader contexts, culminating in an independent, documented, thesis-driven research paper. By the conclusion of English 201, students will be prepared for the analytical and research-based writing required in upper-level courses across the curriculum; they will also be prepared for advanced courses in literature.
Prerequisite: ENG 101
- This course covers the basic principles and practices of news reporting and writing. Students are taught to write single-incident news stories, conduct balanced interviews and edit their own copy, employing standard copy editing symbols and format. Emphasis is also given to the theoretical side of journalism with an overview of its history, present legal controls, ethical issues and rapidly expanding technology.
Pre-Requisite: ENG201 or ENG121
- This course acquaints students with the wide range and varied forms of the short story as it developed in America, Europe, and other continents. Readings will include works by male and female authors of different periods and nationalities, and some attention may be paid to the historical development of the short story as a genre, as well as the cultural contexts in which the assigned stories were written.
Pre-Requisite: ENG101 and ENG201 or ENG121
- The goals of this course are to stimulate an appreciation for, and an enjoyment of, poetic masterworks mainly of the 20th century. This course includes critical reading and writing; its approach is an in-depth study of poetry which has universal significance. Writers studied include T.S. Eliot, W.H. Auden, Dylan Thomas, e.e. cummings, Pablo Neruda, Langston Hughes, Theodore Roethke, Gwendolyn Brooks and Sylvia Plath.
- This survey course is independent of English 371, which is not a prerequisite. It covers the principal figures, styles, themes and philosophies represented during three literary periods: the Romantic Era, the Victorian Age and the Twentieth Century. It exposes students to major works of literature including poetry, plays, short stories, novels and essays. It enables students to appreciate the thoughts and contributions of outstanding writers such as Keats, Wordsworth, Tennyson, Browning, Yeats and Eliot, as well as Dickens, Joyce and Lawrence.
- This course presents a global approach to literature by introducing prose, poetry and drama representative of different cultures and historical periods, from the 17th century to the present. Students engage in close readings of individual texts and contextual/comparative analyses. Written and spoken activities are designed to enhance students? appreciation of literature and their awareness of the ways it arises from, shapes, and reflects the world?s cultures.
Research and Projects
Professor Hoff’s current research examines the life and work of the American poet Langston Hughes and his connections to the International Workers Order and the Communist Party, USA. This research is part of a larger project on the life, poetry, and politics of Langston Hughes in the 1930s.
- “‘Ut Pictora Poesis’: Teaching ‘The Lady of Shalott’ and Victorian Visual Culture.” CEA Critic Volume 77, Number 2, July 2015, pp. 223-239 [peer-reviewed]
- “‘Thinking of Your Blue-Shadowed Silk:’ the Strain of Masculine Desire in ‘Peter Quince at the Clavier.’” Wallace Stevens Journal Volume 40, Number 2, Fall 2016, pp. 131-142 [peer-reviewed]
- “Marianne Moore, John Dewey, and the Aesthetics of Animal Life.” Forthcoming in Texas Studies in Literature and Language Volume 61, Number 3, Fall 2019, pp. 311-333 [peer-reviewed]
- “Communist Party of the United States” Forthcoming in Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance. Ed. Venetria K. Patton, Fall 2019, (3,096 words)
Honors, Awards and Affiliations
- Contributing Editor to Left Voice Magazine
- Nominated for BMCC Distinguished Teaching Award, 2019