DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH
100- thru 500-Level Literature
101 D INTRO TO POETRY. MWF 11
English 101 provides students with a foundation in the methods of close reading and analysis essential to an understanding of poetry and, more broadly, to the study of literature. Furthermore, it introduces students to the ways we write and make arguments about poetry. The course addresses the basics of prosody, aspects of poetic language (such as diction, metaphor, image, tone), and major verse forms (such as the sonnet, elegy, ode, ballad, dramatic monologue, free verse). In addition to the formal qualities of poetry, students will also study poems from a range of literary periods and movements in order to learn how these formal qualities change and develop over time as well as how poems are both shaped by and, in some cases, even manage to shape their (and perhaps our) world.
Students will write twelve to fifteen pages of interpretation or criticism, spread out over two or more essays, and also take a midterm and a final examination.
101 S INTRO TO POETRY, Dean. TUTH 2-3:15
English 101 provides students with a foundation in the methods of close reading and analysis essential to an understanding of poetry and, more broadly, to the study of literature. Furthermore, it introduces students to the ways we write and make arguments about poetry. The course addresses the basics of prosody, aspects of poetic language (such as diction, metaphor, image, tone), and major verse forms (such as the sonnet, elegy, ode, ballad, dramatic monologue, free verse). In addition to the formal qualities of poetry, students will also study poems from a range of literary periods and movements in order to learn how these formal qualities change and develop over time as well as how poems are both shaped by and, in some cases, even manage to shape their (and perhaps our) world.
Students will write twelve to fifteen pages of interpretation or criticism, spread out over two or more essays, and also take a midterm and a final examination.
102 P INTRO TO DRAMA, Perry. TUTH 11-12:15
Plays are wonderful to think with: they are short enough to hold in mind, but they usually tell stories that are complexly social in nature and that reflect (at least implicitly) the values and concerns of the societies for which they are produced. And if they are performed, they are themselves communal events. This is a course about understanding drama as a literary form, but in the case of drama it is not possible to separate literary analysis from performance setting and social context. In this class, we will read and discuss a series of mostly well-known comedies and tragedies from the European dramatic tradition, starting in Ancient Greece with Euripides’s Medea (431 BCE) and ending in the 21st Century with Caryl Churchill’s clone play A Number.
In addition to learning how to read and think about fantastic plays by a variety of writers, students should come away from this class with the following: a sense of how (and maybe even why) different forms of comedy work; an understanding of how tragedy as a genre has evolved; a richer sense of the different ways that different cultures imagine the social function of drama; a strong and well-informed understanding of how different kinds of theater spaces and presentational styles relate to and enable different kinds of stories told in different places and times; a concrete sense of the myriad cultural contexts that inform any play as text and as performance script.
103 INTRO TO FICTION
An introduction to the study of literature and literary history at the university level. Explores such topics as: the historical role and place of fictional narratives, the idea of genre, relationships between context and meaning in fictional works. Student will develop a critical vocabulary for interpreting and analyzing narrative strategies. Credit is not given for both ENGL 103 and ENGL 109.
104 INTRO TO FILM
same as MACS 104
The goal of this course is to develop students’ abilities to view films critically and to deepen their understanding of the cinema experience. The course first teaches analysis of narrative strategies, shot properties, mise-en-scène, acting, editing, and the use of sound in films, especially classical Hollywood movies. The course then focuses on the study of different genres and styles of films, including documentaries, feminist films, westerns, musicals, and melodramas, in terms of how they present ideological points of view and/or fulfill certain wishes of the spectator.
English/MACS 104 is an appropriate prerequisite for English /MACS 273 (an intermediate course in film analysis) and other advanced film classes. The course presents one film program including a feature film per week, shown in a required screening lab on Monday afternoon or evening. Each section meets for two 75-minute lecture-discussion sessions per week. All sections use an introductory textbook (most of them assigning Film Experience by Timothy Corrigan and Patricia White, but carefully check the bookstore’s listing of the section letter assigning the text or go to class first). All sections also make additional reading assignments (essays and book chapters), available in a photocopied reader or on library reserve. Sections are designed so that each student contributes extensively in the discussions; attendance and participation are crucial in this course.
The minimum formal assignments are about 12-15 pages of expository writing (usually in 2 or 3 short essays, although some instructors may assign more writing), a midterm, and a three hour final exam; most instructors also give quizzes. On the exams, most instructors give a factual section (identification, brief answer) and a section of essay questions. This course earns 3 credit hours and qualifies as a General Education course in Humanities and the Arts. (Multiple sections)
106 B LITERATURE AND EXPERIENCE, Hutner. MWF 9
TOPIC: The 21st Century American Short Story-Cycle
A story-cycle is one fiction writer’s collection of short stories that intersect, overlap, or connect with each other—at the level of plot, character, or setting—to create a broader and deeper literary reading experience. The story-cycle has always been a part of twentieth-century American literature, but in the twenty-first century, a remarkable array of writers— male and female, mainstream and multicultural—have embraced this genre and adapted their styles to their challenge. Students may have read a few of these writers, but most of their careers are quite recent and will be authors whom students can follow for years to come. (All of our readings have either won or have been finalists for important awards over the last 16 years.) Students get three kinds of reading experience as a result. The first is to read each story in its own context; the second is to see how each story fits into a cycle; the third explores how one cycle can be compared to others and how the genre of the cycle is illuminated. Students can expect a few short papers and hourly exams.
109 INTRO TO FICTION (ADVANCED COMPOSITION)
English 109 is designed to introduce students to the critical analysis of prose fiction. By reading a wide range of short and long fiction across several historical periods, we will examine how such narrative strategies as plot, character, point of view and language construct meaning. Individual instructors will bring a variety of texts and interpretive methods to their courses, but special emphasis will be
placed on concepts and skills central to good literary critical writing.
Course requirements include papers and paper revisions totaling 25-30 pages. Papers are assigned according to the judgment of individual instructors, but will include assignments of various lengths and several opportunities for review and revision.
TEXTS: Readings vary from section to section but always include an anthology of short fiction and three or four novels.
115 INTRO TO ENGLISH LITERATURE
This course is designed to acquaint students with examples of the rich diversity of British prose, poetry, and drama. Works selected will vary from section to section, but instructors usually rely upon the Norton Anthology of English Literature, Major Authors Ed., along with a few supplementary paperbacks, for the assigned readings. As a basic introduction to English literature, this course does not offer a complete chronological survey of all or even most major writers. It offers instead a series of literary texts, often thematically related, which appeal to modern readers and at the same time provide interesting insights into the cultural attitudes and values of the periods which produced them.
116 INTRO TO AMERICAN LITERATURE
This course will cover a small sampling of literature written by American authors; the sampling may include essays, narratives, drama, and poems from various periods in American literary history. Texts for reading and discussion will include literature representing a variety of gender and ethnic perspectives.
119 M LITERATURE OF FANTASY, I. Baron. TUTH 9:30-10:45
same as CWL 119
Harry Potter and More: When Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published in June of 1997, it was largely regarded as a piece of children’s fiction about a ten-year-old orphan boy who discovers he has supernatural powers and goes off to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It seemed nothing more than a charming piece of fantasy lit destined for the shelves of the young adult sections of bookstores and libraries. What then made the Harry Potter novels suddenly transform into a cultural phenomenon that captured the imaginations of both children and adults? Why have these novels become the backbone of a global literary empire? What is the magic behind Harry Potter?
In this course, we’ll explore the mythos of the Harry Potter novels and how they’re steeped in a rich tradition of both canonical British literature. We’ll focus on social justice and examine the political forces that led to the formation of fantasy literature as a separate genre in the UK and what makes British fantasy novels unique. Our excursion into fantasy literature will reveal how these tales became a covert way to explore the inequalities that the Industrial Revolution ignited; a rising entrepreneurial middle class and a permanent urban underclass held in place by rigid policies guided by genetic superiority. We’ll examine fantasy novels as discrete organic political entities that grew into a vast literary network of interlinking commentaries on British social issues such as class, education, social welfare, disability and gender rights, and racial equality.
Students will be expected to engage actively in in the classroom and to write three papers and give oral reports on the historical and political history of the novels we’re studying. Novels include but may not be limited to: The Fellowship of the Rings, The Golden Compass, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows.
120 Q SCIENCE FICTION, Littlefield. TUTH 12:30-1:45
Zombies! Pod People! Martians! Robots! This course will introduce you to science fiction, a genre that expresses some of our culture’s deepest fears, as well as its greatest hopes; that provides creative answers to fundamental questions about the nature of the universe and humans’ place in it; that also warns us about the possible results of our society’s current errors, and forecasts the infinite possibilities open to us. Texts for this course will be drawn from a variety of early and contemporary authors, including Mary Shelley, H.G. Wells, Ray Bradbury, Kate Wilhelm, Margaret Atwood, and Max Brooks. We’ll watch films and TV shows (The Walking Dead), listen to radio broadcasts (War of the Worlds), read some short stories (and a few novels). Our approach will be discussion- and project-based, but will also likely include response papers. No exams!
121 D COMICS AND GRAPHIC NARRATIVES, Barrett. MWF 11
Super/Human: This course introduces students to the academic study of North American comics by focusing on the two dominant genres of the last five decades: the superhero sagas of the mainstream comics industry and the autobiographical memoirs of the alternative comics movement. These two genres are often compared to one another in terms of binary oppositions: posthuman/human, fantastic/mundane, infantile/mature, trash/culture, commercial/artistic, etc. In ENGL 121, we’ll take a less polarized approach to the genres, investigating what Jerry Siegel/Joe Shuster (Action Comics), Steve Ditko/Stan Lee (Amazing Spider-Man), Jack Kirby (OMAC), and Sana Amanat/G. Willow Wilson/Adrian Alphona (Ms. Marvel) can teach us about Harvey Pekar (American Splendor), Art Spiegelman (Maus), Lynda Barry (One Hundred Demons), and Carol Tyler (Soldier’s Heart) and vice versa. Our rapprochement will culminate in Cece Bell’s Newbery Honor-winning El Deafo, a memoir that uses superhero tropes to explore the limits of human (dis)ability. Over the course of the semester, students should expect to not only learn the formal vocabulary of comics but also to master the interpretation of comics at a variety of scales—from the micro (panels, pages, and sequences) to the macro (pamphlets, books, and series). Assignments will include frequent response papers and two exams.
150 CJ BLACK LIT IN AMERICA, Jenkins. TUTH 9:30-10:50 Requirement: REPCIS
same as AFRO 105
Black Literature in America: The Afterlife of Property. Literary critic Saidiya Hartman writes in her 2008 essay “Venus in Two Acts” that “Wrestling with the [enslaved] girl’s claim on the present is a way of naming our time, thinking our present, and envisioning the past which has created it.” In this survey of African American literature from 1746 to the present, structured by Hartman’s conception of the relationship between the past and the present as “the afterlife of property,” we will read a collection of texts that speak to what it has meant to be a black subject in the United States over the past three centuries. How does history inform the way that African American experiences are transformed into literary expression? What links can we as contemporary readers draw between literature that emerges from past sociocultural and political contexts and our present-day understandings of racial (and gender, sexuality, and class) identity? Beginning with slave narratives and considering fiction, drama, poetry, essay, and contemporary film, we will attempt in this class to understand African American literature as a tradition haunted and informed by the fraught history of black bodies in the Americas, continually speaking to and reaching beyond “property” as legacy and inheritance.
199 CHP UNDERGRAD OPEN SEMINAR, Murison. TUTH 12:30-1:45 Campus Honors
TOPIC: American Literature and the Right to Privacy
Do Americans have a right to privacy? This question has been a central preoccupation of our era. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. NSA collections of phone records. Internet ads tracking and targeting our every purchase. Indeed, it is hard to avoid the question of whether Americans have a right to privacy, and many are now wondering if there is such a thing as “privacy” left at all. This course is bookended by contemporary concerns about the right to privacy as they have come up in current legal decisions, but it returns to the era that made privacy a preeminent right and even a virtue: the nineteenth century. We will consider how a vision of the private life was constructed across the nineteenth century through the literature of the era—particularly in the most popular of genres, the novel. We will also read, alongside this literature, legal decisions on privacy (both then and now) to query further where and how to locate privacy, and how or why to value it. Along with canvassing how these issues come up in our current moment, readings will include Nathaniel Hawthorne, Harriet Jacobs, Herman Melville, Edith Wharton, Henry James, Charles Chesnutt, and Walt Whitman.
199 E UNDERGRAD OPEN SEMINAR. MWF 1
TOPIC: Publishing and Editing
This course is designed for students who anticipate working with or in the trade or academic publishing industry. Topics covered include developmental editing and line editing; proofreading; language usage; intellectual property and permissions; developing a marketing plan; submitting queries; electronic publishing; tables, graphs, images, and page layout. Abundant writing and editing practice will be required.
Required texts will include the Chicago Manual of Style
199 UNDERGRAD OPEN SEMINAR On-Line 2nd 8 week section(s)
TOPIC: Writing To Get That Job (March 14 – May 4, 2016)
Through conceptual development and context-sensitive lessons/assignments, students will:  develop/improve writing skills particularly germane to successfully applying for an internship, a post-baccalaureate job, or an advanced-degree program and  apply those skills to create a polished set of recruiter-ready texts relevant to their career plans and a career-relevant, currently-advertised job/internship/program.
Attending regularly-scheduled, online class meetings is expected of all students because: learning how to successfully apply writing concepts is a skill, and such skills are acquired through ‘enactive’ experiences.
200 E INTRO TO THE STUDY OF LIT, Cole. MWF 1
This course might be called “How to Be an English Major.” It offers tips on how to make the transition from the high-school study of literature to college-level study. The class will read a relatively small number of poems, novels, short stories, and plays, exploring a number of critical approaches to each. Emphasis will be placed on close reading of short passages, the historical contexts of literature, the way genre affects our reading practices, and the criteria for persuasive interpretations. Students will practice their critical skills in a number of short papers and other assignments.
200 M INTRO TO THE STUDY OF LIT, Jones. TUTH 9:30-10:45
What can literature tell us about history, power, the environment, and relationships? How have those forces shaped the production, circulation, and reception of literature? How has the practice of reading changed over time? And how do we even begin to ask interesting questions about the literature we read? This course, which might be called “How to be an English Major,” invites you to engage these questions by joining a variety of debates in literary studies. By reading literary texts alongside works of critical theory and literary criticism, you will begin to understand how critics make meaning out of literature. And by completing a variety of formal and informal writing assignments, you will be empowered to make meaning out of literature for yourself, and to appreciate the keen challenges and even keener pleasures of literary studies. Authors whose works we engage in class may include Karen Yamashita, Charlotte Bronte, Jean Rhys, Wallace Stevens, and others.
200 S INTRO TO THE STUDY OF LIT, Pollock. TUTH 2-3:15
This course is designed to help students develop analytical skills that will be crucial to their success in 300- and 400-level courses in literary and cultural studies. We will spend several weeks on each of the three primary literary genres taught in the English Department—poetry, prose fiction, and drama—paying close attention both to the defining characteristics that distinguish the genres from one another and to the structural elements they have in common. Throughout the semester, we will build up a critical vocabulary for articulating persuasive, detailed, and evidence-based arguments about literary texts, and we will think about interpretation itself as a form of action with political, ethical, and social-historical implications.
Requirements: regular attendance and participation, informal responses, three essays, and a final exam
202 C MEDIEVAL LIT AND CULTURE. MWF 10 Requirement: pre-1800 (Medieval)
Introduction to the diverse literatures and cultures of the global Middle Ages (Approx. 500-1500 CE). Students will read works by medieval authors in Modern English translation, with particular attention to placing works in their historical and material contexts.
204 M RENAISSANCE LIT AND CULTURE, Gray. TUTH 9:30-10:45 Requirement: Pre-1800 (Renaissance)
same as CWL 255
This course offers an introduction to some of the main themes and concerns of the Renaissance, a period known for its religious militancy, its love of classical learning, and its proto-imperialist endeavor. We will explore both what is expectedly strange and oddly familiar in these works, focusing in particular on the way Renaissance texts construct increasingly anxious and complex narratives of gentlemanly gallantry and heroism, set both within a domestic and an imperial scene. We will look at early modern culture's belief in the plasticity of identity, the way it can be molded and shaped to fit an ideal performance of the self. We will also look at the way the literature of the period attempts to direct that self-fashioning, by formulating textual portraits of the new individual and even the new society. Throughout, we will pay close attention to those who are marginalized and excluded by Renaissance ideas and ideals, as well as those who take center stage.
TEXT: The Norton Anthology of English Literature 1b: Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries; Course packet from Notes and Quotes
206 X ENLIGHTENMENT LIT & CULTURE, Cole. MWF 12 Requirement: pre-1800 (Long 18th Century)
same as CWL 257
The Sensuous Century: Sights, Touches, Sounds, Tastes, and Smells: By the end of the eighteenth century, many artists and philosophers considered it a matter of common understanding that sight was the most important of the five senses—indeed, the historical term “Enlightenment” refers to a kind of illumination and thus to human vision. Yet literature during the period 1660-1800, as we shall see, is equally preoccupied with sounds, touches, tastes, and smells. This course explores the “soundscapes” and “smellscapes” of an earlier time, and asks the following questions: under what circumstances did “smell” become associated with the animal, and “sight” with the human? How did genres such as travel writing, comparative anatomy, and political philosophy to this perception? Why did many writers of the eighteenth century resist that view? We will read a wide range of literary texts, including Daniel Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year, the Earl of Rochester’s A Ramble in St. James’s Park, Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko, or The Royal Slave, Jonathan Swift’s “The Lady’s Dressing Room,” and Tobias Smollet’s The Expedition of Humphrey Clinker.
207 P ROMANTIC LIT & CULTURE, Wood. TUTH 11-12:15 Requirement: 1800-1900
Celebrated for their emotional intensity and risk-taking styles, British writers of the Romantic period (1770-1830) loom as the original spokespersons of modernity. They witnessed earth-shattering revolutions in America and France, the birth of industrialization and the modern city, global war and colonial expansion, and the first fierce public debates over the role of women in society and the arts. This course will treat these major themes in the work of Wordsworth, Keats, Shelley, Byron, Austen and others through close study of the literary coteries within which they operated. The Lake Poets, the Godwin-Shelley Circle, and the Cockney School each made distinctive contributions to the extraordinary corpus of British Romanticism, but had in common a stylistic originality and radical politics that set them in bitter opposition to the cultural establishment.
208 P VICTORIAN LIT & CULTURE, Saville. TUTH 11-12:15 Requirement: 1800-1900
Literally, “the Victorian Age” refers to the historical period 1837-1901 when the island nation of Great Britain, under the rule of Queen Victoria, extended its power to become “the Empire on which the sun never sets.” The growth of industrial capitalism and commodity culture in Britain was both a motivation and an effect of imperialism and with it came numerous other cultural changes: a gradual extension of the franchise and the shift of political power from hereditary landowners to the middle class; the rise of the popular press and expansion of the reading public; the construction of radical gender difference with the separation of public and private spheres; challenges to the Established Church by reform, dissent, and freethinking. The literature of this period does not simply reflect these shifts and changes, but actually participates in them, sometimes in spite of itself. Sometimes literature takes an active role in transforming or inventing concepts (such as “Englishness,” “character,” “manliness”). These become powerful tools for the advancement of industrial capitalism; sometimes it attempts to distance itself from commodity culture by emphasizing its status as art; sometimes it censures commodification while at the same time complying with the demands of a market economy. Our task will be to study works of Victorian literature as cultural forms and as social acts with ethical and political weight.
Course requirements will include two critical papers, a mid-term examination, a final examination and a series of in-class quizzes. Our readings will include poetry from such figures as the Brownings, Alfred Tennyson, Matthew Arnold, and Arthur Hugh Clough; a serialized novel, Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens; selections of prose by Harriet Martineau, John Stuart Mill, and Walter Pater; and Oscar Wilde’s satire, The Importance of Being Earnest.
209 AL1 BRITISH LIT TO 1800, Stevens. Lect: MW 11; Disc: Various
This course covers British literature from 0 to 1800. Rather than aiming for coverage, we will read closely a limited set of representative works from different genres from the eighth to the late eighteenth century, including lyric poetry, drama, satire, polemical prose, and amatory fiction. In so doing, we’ll consider how politics, religion, and landscape shaped Britain’s national literature. We’ll attend to the evolution of the English language. We’ll note how scholars use certain historical turning points to justify such boundaries as “medieval,” “early modern,” and “restoration.” We’ll weigh the usefulness of this periodization, as well as the potential problems with it. We will furthermore analyze our emotional engagement with the works we read. What formal qualities, themes, and conventions draw us in—or indeed, estrange us? What’s familiar about the distant past, and what’s alien, unexpected, and surprising?
Expect to encounter such writers as Unknown, Marie de France, and Geoffrey Chaucer; Shakespeare, John Donne, and Andrew Marvell; and William Wycherley, Jonathan Swift, and Eliza Haywood. Expect to visit, so to speak, the preaching cross near Solway firth, in what once was Northumbria; the city of York on the feast of Corpus Christi; the perilous court of King Henry VIII; the Globe theater of Shakespeare and his Chamberlain’s Men; and the dressing room of an eighteenth-century lady. We open with one of the earliest poems in the Old English corpus, the Dream of the Rood. And finally, since according to Coleridge’s own notes the poem came to him in a dream-vision in 1797, we close with Kubla Khan.
210 X BRITISH LIT 1800 TO PRESENT. MWF 12 Requirement: 1800-1900
Historical and critical study of selected works of British literature after 1800 in chronological sequence.
218 S INTRODUCTION TO SHAKESPEARE, L. Newcomb. TUTH 2-3:15 Requirement: pre-1800 (Shakespeare)
This course explores seven Shakespearean plays from a range of dramatic genres, using a variety of approaches. We’ll look especially at the features that made these plays popular in their day: their open staging, their playful language, their laying bare of the period’s familial, national, gender, and racial tensions. We’ll also consider how the meanings of ‘Shakespeare’ proliferate through the constant, sometimes subversive, reinvention of the plays by literary critics, performers, and adapters world-wide. Be ready for proactive discussion, performance experiments, a library visit, and attending at least on Shakespeare play on campus, as well as special events marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death this April. Written assignments include informal writings, focused short papers, a midterm, and a final exam.
TEXTS: (these print editions are required): Greenblatt et al, eds., Shakespeare: Essential Plays (3rd edition, 2015, ISBN 978-0-393-93863-0); McDonald, ed., Bedford Companion to Shakespeare (2nd edition, ISBN 978-0312248802).
245 E THE SHORT STORY. MWF 1
same as CWL 267
Historical and critical study of the short story (American and European) from the early nineteenth century to the present.
245 P THE SHORT STORY, Pollock. TUTH 11-12:15
same as CWL 267
A wide-ranging introduction to shorter works of fiction, this course will cover some influential texts from the nineteenth century, as well as a generous selection of stories from the turn of the twentieth century and modernism, but we will spend at least half the semester studying innovative and diverse works produced in the last five decades, often by writers with a complicated or frankly oppositional relationship to these canonical traditions. Along the way, we will consider the role of historical and cultural context in shaping our interpretations of these literary texts, and we will put into practice some key terms drawn from narratology and various schools of critical theory.
Requirements: regular attendance and participation, informal responses, three essays, and a final exam
247 M THE BRITISH NOVEL, Gaedtke. TUTH 9:30-10:45
Doppelgangers, Doubles, and Divided Minds: This course will survey the transformation of the British novel through an analysis of Doppelganger narratives across more than three centuries. We will examine the ways that doubles recur and evolve from eighteenth- and nineteenth-century gothic fictions of rivalry and demonic persecution to the psychological splitting of the mind that manifests in twentieth-century post-Freudian fiction and a contemporary neuronovel. While observing the formal changes that emerge over the course of three centuries, we will also explore the ways that the Doppelganger becomes a way of expressing larger political and ideological divisions that threaten the notion of Britishness as a stable identity. Religious and national identities are often allegorized in the dark, paranoid worlds of Doppelganger novels as personal rivalries and persecutory agents. This course will not only provide an introduction to the British novel but will ask questions about the ways that identity is both grounded in otherness and divided by it. Readings will include works by William Godwin, James Hogg, Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginia Woolf, Rebecca West, Ian McEwan, and others.
250 S THE AMERICAN NOVEL TO 1914, Jones. TUTH 2-:15 Requirement: 1800-1900
Critical study of selected American novels from the late eighteenth century to 1914.
251 S THE AMERICAN NOVEL SINCE 1914. TUTH 2-3:15
Critical study of selected American novels from 1914 to the present.
253 S TOPICS IN LIT AND NEW MEDIA, Byrd. TUTH 2-3:15
TOPIC: Video Games, Digital Texts, and Networked Visions
Despite the fact that video games have been coded, shared, and played for at least 40 years, such games continue to be dismissed as mindless entertainment at best and violent time-wasters at worst. In fact, Roger Ebert went so far as to assert that video games can never be art. And yet, in 2011, the Supreme Court determined that, “like the protected books, plays and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas—and even social messages—through many familiar literary devices (such as characters, dialogue, plot, and music) and through features distinctive to the medium (such as the player’s interaction with the virtual world).” This class will consider the relationship between literature in its emerging new media formats by looking specifically at the shared and divergent narrative strategies that old and new mediums use to construct worlds and tell stories. Over the course of the semester, we will consider the history of material formats, read novels that inspired video games, look at how video game play transforms novels, in addition to considering some of the larger questions emerging from video game studies. What are games and where do they fit within cultural, literary, racial, social, and gender studies? How do technologies and mediums affect access to and experience of story, aesthetics, and design? What are the cultural and social ideas communicated through games and how do the means of their production function within global economies?
255 AL1 SURVEY OF AMERICAN LIT I, Loughran. Lect: MW 12; Disc: Various
The purpose of this course is to introduce you to “early” American literature and to give you some basic cultural literacy about terms, ideas, and events from this period. We will do this by thinking broadly about “American culture” from some of its earliest iterations up until the crackup called the Civil War. By looking at a variety of visual and verbal texts—from paintings, engravings, and maps to slave narratives, novels, poems, autobiographies, essays, and pamphlets—we will try to get to know American culture both through its parts (its poems, essays, and stories) and through our own cohesive reconstruction of these parts into an integrated whole—a story, which we will call, in our class, “American Literature, Part I.” This will thus be a course that will not just introduce you to the basic facts of American cultural history but challenge you to theorize the practice of “literary history”—a particularly powerful form of storytelling that we practice in English departments. To what end, you ask? Take English 255 and find out.
256 D SURVEY OF AMERICAN LIT, II, Freeburg. MWF 11
This course arguably studies the most prolific period of U.S. literature. From the origins of the U.S realist novel to the poetics and poetry of modernism to various postmodern forms of expression, this course surveys major aesthetic shifts and the social history that shapes them. We will focus upon novelists like Henry James and Ralph Ellison, poets like T.S. Eliot and Gwendolyn Brooks, as well as essays by figures such as Gertrude Stein and James Baldwin. Through these authors, their eras and movements, this course will repeatedly return to idea of ‘the human’ in a world said to be beyond humanism. There will be two major papers, a mid-term, a final, and weekly writings.
260 P AFRO-AMERICAN LITERATURE, II, Hunt. TUTH 11-12:15 Requirement: REPCIS
same as AFRO 260, CWL 260
This class will explore the various forms of writing produced by African Americans over the past century. Reading plays, novels, short stories, poems, essays, and songs, we will examine defining texts of the New Negro Movement, the Harlem Renaissance, the Black Arts Movement, modernism, social realism, naturalism, and postmodernism. As we apply and critique the standard timelines and geographic boundaries for these periods and formal tendencies, we will trace how writers connected domestic situations with events occurring around the globe. Thus at heart we will question what the terms “African” and “American” signify in the literature and in what ways they conflict or coalesce. Many scholars have argued that this body of work is largely an emancipationist project in search of a more inclusive society. We will analyze and test this proposition by asking what rhetorical strategies writers have used to transgress or reinforce categories of exclusion, like essentialist identities of race, gender, and sexuality. How did these writers appropriate and challenge the ideals of American democracy that governments exported but failed to fulfill at home? And if they called their readers to live up to these ideals, did these writers subvert or affirm the notion of American exceptionalism? Through these questions you will ultimately come to appreciate how many different kinds of expression comprise twentieth and twenty-first century African American literature. Requirements include active participation in class discussions, group presentations, regular brief reading responses, two formal essays, an exam, and possible pop quizzes.
261 G TOPICS IN LIT & CULTURE, Prendergast. MW 10:30-11:45
TOPIC: The Book of their Generation
On the Road, Jack Kerouac 50s
Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Joan Didion 60s
Roots, Alex Haley 70s
Less than Zero, Bret Easton Ellis 80s
Fight Club, Chuck Palahnuik 90s
These books were all phenomena, lauded for having in some way captured the spirit of their generation. In this course we’ll examine: Why? We’ll think not only about the substance of these stories, but the style. Finally, the class will choose the book students feel speak for their generation, and we will read it together.
Requirements: Midterm, final, and a research paper that uncovers the social reception of one of the books.
261 Q TOPICS IN LIT & CULTURE, Dean. TUTH 12:30-1:45 Requirement: REPCIS
TOPIC: Literature and Sex
This discussion-based class introduces students to the range of ways that sex can be portrayed in literature. We will consider how, after US obscenity law shifted its attention to visual images, writers experimented with a new freedom to discuss this fundamental aspect of the human experience. What can be described in literature that cannot be represented in film? How does literature fit into the history of pornography and should a boundary be drawn between the two? When does sexual explicitness in writing serve a feminist agenda? How do laborers in the sex industry represent their work in writing? What concepts or frameworks do we need to think clearly about literary representations of sex? The course will tackle these questions—and others that students bring to the table—by reading a range of primary texts alongside critical articles by feminist and queer thinkers such as Pat Califia, Samuel Delany, Scott O’Hara, Gayle Rubin, Darieck Scott, and Michael Warner. Regular response papers and a final exam. You do not need to be an English or humanities major to take this course, but you do need to be willing to read books and discuss them with an open mind.
266 AL1 GRIMM’S FAIRY TALES IN CONTEXT, Johnson. Lect: MW 2; Disc: various
same as GER 251, CWL 254
Special attention is paid to the Grimms’ tales in terms of traditional narrative genres, elements of life in early modern Europe, and versions from Italy and France as well as Germany. Course is conducted in English.
268 NS THE HOLOCAUST IN CONTEXT (ACP), Watzke. MWF 10
same as GER 260, CWL 271
Postwar Holocaust Representation in Literature and Film: As the Holocaust recedes into the historical past, our knowledge of it increasingly comes from representations of it in books and films. This course does not focus on the Holocaust as a historical event that remains in the past but instead focuses on how films, books, comic books, and even monuments depict the Holocaust for contemporary audiences. This course will focus on two objectives. First, we will examine the various debates and controversies surrounding the issue of artistic representation of the Holocaust and discuss some of the theoretical and philosophical texts that have formed the core of Holocaust Studies by critics such as James Young and Marianne Hirsch. Second, we will explore the ways in which literature and film, both fictional and documentary, have attempted to represent the events of the Holocaust. We will examine texts from various countries but we will place a particular emphasis on American representations. Central to our investigation will be to question how different times and places affect the way the Holocaust is depicted, what role memory plays, and the problems and limits of language.
270 P AMERICAN FILM GENRES, S. Camargo. TUTH 11-12:50
TOPIC: Crime Films
Crime has figured in our laws and in our literary texts from the earliest days, both as an element in our moral education and as a social problem. It was only in the 1840s, however, that crime became bracketed to mass entertainment. In this course we will look at crime from two perspectives. The first group of films focuses on agents of disorder, professional and nonprofessional criminals alike; the second group on detectives and police, agents of law and order. Through these opposing lenses, we will analyze fictional representations of crime from a range of perspectives: character studies, motivations, victims, detection methods, representations of the police, social impact of crime, class, gender, race, censorship, and spectator address.
Evaluated work will include three medium-length papers and several shorter ones. While experience in film studies is a plus, it is not required for enrollment in this course.
273 S AMERICAN CINEMA SINCE 1950, S. Camargo. TUTH 2-350
same as MACS 273
This course addresses a range of cinematic developments in the context of major transitions in the American film industry and in society from 1950 to the present. Among the trends we will examine are the dominant stylistic and ideological models of classical Hollywood and the shift away from those during the late 1960s; the emergence of the New Hollywood in the 1970s with its generic revisions, stylistic eclecticism, and emphasis on formulaic blockbusters; and the typical Hollywood ways of representing serious social issues such as race and gender.
We will discuss the choices that filmmakers have made and how those choices reflect three primary influences: institutional goals, political aims, and conceptions of the relationship between a film and its spectators. With that last element in mind, a second important goal of this course is to help you to be more aware of ways in which filmmakers invite us to participate in the experience that they have created for us and of what happens to us when we accept that invitation.
Requirements: regular attendance and active participation in class discussion; careful reading of secondary materials; and three medium-length analytic essays. Short response papers and quizzes may be included as well.
274 X LITERATURE AND SOCIETY, Prendergast. MW 12:30-1:45
TOPIC: Disability in Literature
In this course we will take a disability studies approach to popular and canonical works of literature. Portrayals of disability are rampant in literature. We will examine how writers have made use disability to drive narrative, symbolize moral failures, and rationalize experimental style. As we look at more contemporary texts, we will examine the disability rights community’s reaction to, and appropriation of, the portrayal of disabled characters.
Texts include Jane Eyre, Oedipus Rex, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.
280 M WOMEN WRITERS, Bauer. TUTH 9:30-10:45 Requirement: pre-1800 (Renaissance)
same as GWS 280
TOPIC: American Women Writers, 1911-2016
This course examines 20th- and 21st-century US women’s writing in a variety of forms, and our emphasis will be on conceptions of cultural and literary history, including style and social reform. We will focus on how literary works are simultaneously products of one author’s imagination and also participate in a set of historical norms, shaped by the cultural anxieties to which the author, in turn, responds.
This survey of American women’s writing will include the following themes: women and identity, sexuality and social norms, and family and work. We will start with women’s writing in the 1910s and move, decade by decade, into the present. Thus, this class will take a historical and cultural approach to US women’s writing, as well as illuminating various literary methodologies. The reading list will include canonical and noncanonical readings from various genres—poetry, memoir, comedy, radical and conservative novels—in order to demonstrate both formal and thematic concerns in representative women’s texts.
281 Q WOMEN IN THE LIT IMAGINATION, I. Baron. TUTH 12:30-1:45
same as GWS 281
TOPIC: The Fallen Woman
In this course, we’ll trace the genesis of the seduction novel as a vehicle for the conservative social theory behind British and American gender politics. We’ll begin with an examination of the theme of the ruined woman as a bi-cultural warning to any young girl who strays from the straight and narrow heteronormative sexual imperative set in place by hundreds of years of rigid Anglo-Norman patrilineal ideologies.
Moving through the canon of literature focusing on this gendered tale, we’ll examine the fictional evolution of the fallen woman through its multiple iterations in England and America. We’ll explore how Anglo societies collectively viewed the sexually compromised female from the late Georgian period to the postmodernist period as an outcast who must be punished through banishment or death to avoid polluting the rarified air of untarnished women. As we unfurl the interlocking social discourse of these narratives, we’ll deconstruct how the body and the mind of the fallen woman is presented through the cultural dictates of each national identity, each literary period and the gender and sexual orientation of the authors. Ultimately we’ll see whether class differences, racial differences or the enfranchisement of women liberated females from this stigma or whether women today are still marginalized by sexually unsanctioned behaviors.
Requirements include: active attendance and participation, an oral report, two papers and an exam. Texts and films may include: The Duchess, Charlotte Temple, Sense and Sensibility, Pleasantville, The Scarlet Letter, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, The Awakening, After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie, The Great Gatsby, Passing, and Juno.
300 C WRITING ABOUT LIT TEXT & CULTURE, Loughran. MWF 10
TOPIC: Adventures in Posthumanism: (How It Feels To Be a) Human, Animal, Vegetable, Mineral, Machine
How does a hawk (or a cow, or a dog) think? Can a person fall in love with her computer’s operating system? What would it be like to be born a rock, or an eggplant? These are the kinds of questions we’ll think about in this course, as we watch films, read novels and memoirs, play games, and read scholarship together. The humanities have in recent years taken a counterintuitive turn into what is now sometimes called the “post-human” or the “non-human.” This means we find ourselves increasingly interested in trying to think in ways that put human life less at the center of the universe (or at the top of the planetary feeding chain). In the place of the vertical feeding chain, more horizontal relations are imagined among people, animals, extraterrestrial “aliens,” the environment, and artificial intelligences (like Siri, Alexa, and Cortana). Some primary texts we might consider include: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Shelly Jackson’s Patchwork Girl, Spike Jonze’s film Her, AMC’s popular television series The Walking Dead, Helen McDonald’s H is for Hawk, J.M. Coetzee’s The Life of Animals, Michel Faber’s Under the Skin (along with Jonathan Glazer’s film adaption), and a videogame or two (a good candidate would be From Software’s Bloodborne). Secondary reading is likely to include short excerpts from feminist, queer, postcolonial, and “nonhumanist” scholars such as Katherine Hayles, Donna Haraway, Jane Bennett, Eduardo Kohn, Gayatri Spivak, Mel Chen, and others. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.
300 P WRITING ABOUT LIT TEXT & CULTURE, Murison. TUTH 11-12:15
TOPIC: Inventing Privacy in Nineteenth-Century America
“To believe your own thought,” urged Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1841, “to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men,—that is genius.” Emerson’s famous definition of genius is a tall order in any era, but perhaps even more so in our own. How do we find our “private heart,” crowded as we are by others’ voices, as we bounce between Twitter and 24-hour news channels and reality shows? Even more than that, what is a “private heart” and does it even exist in such isolation from the rest of society? We often take for granted that we know what privacy is and what we mean when we invoke the “private,” but as any reasonable sense of it erodes in our era of social media and digital data collection, it might be worthwhile to stop and consider further what it is and whether it has value. To that end, we will return to Emerson’s era—the era in which a language of a “private heart” was built—and follow how literature invoked, constructed, and idealized the private, and how literature and culture, by the end of the century, bequeathed a theory of a “right to privacy” that shaped twentieth-century legal culture. In pursuing these themes, we will read such authors as Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Harriet Jacobs, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Charles Chesnutt, and Henry James. As this is a writing intensive course, we will also explore the pleasures of close reading and archival research, the complex and enabling terms of literary theory, and the construction of analytically strong and stylistically compelling arguments, both for academic work and the writing you will do beyond your academic lives. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.
300 Q WRITING ABOUT LIT TEXT & CULTURE, D. Wright. TUTH 12:30-1:45
TOPIC: Creative Non-Fiction
In this course, we will read a range of autobiographical and biographical writing that can be qualified as “creative” or “literary” non-fiction. We will explore the texts as celebrations of life as well as interrogations of identity. We will also examine the texts as constructed narratives, or as constructed “truth,” investigating the rhetorical strategies employed by the writers to forge their diverse identities on the page. As this is an advanced composition course with a focus on writing about literature, assignments will include three formal papers (7-9 pages) with drafts, multiple shorter response papers, and in-class writing assignments. Students will also do an oral presentation. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.
300 S WRITING ABOUT LIT TEXT & CULTURE, Nazar. TUTH 2-3:15
TOPIC: Sex and Revolution: British Women’s Writing, Mary Wollstonecraft to Jane Austen
All of Europe was spellbound in 1793 when the French revolutionaries marched their king and (some months later) their queen to the guillotine or “national razor” and chopped off their heads. In the ensuing Reign of Terror, some 40,000 “traitors of the revolution” were executed. No nation followed the events in France with greater interest than Britain, France’s close neighbor and oftentimes opponent. The French revolution was greeted with unbridled enthusiasm by British progressives (in its early phases, before the Terror) and with horror by conservatives. Indeed, some of the most important contours of the left-right political divide, as we understand it today, were established in Britain during the 1790s, a decade that saw the publication of landmarks of modern conservatism such as Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790) and of liberalism such as Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man (1791) and Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792). This course considers how British women writers of the period responded to the ideological upheaval generated by the French revolution, and how they transformed the debate about the “rights of man” into a vigorous one about women’s rights—as citizens, moral agents, and members of civil society. Some of the most interesting discussions of women’s place in society and their capacity for self-government were conducted through the medium of literature (as opposed to philosophical and political treatises), and especially the novel, a genre that, in this period, was importantly by, for, and about women. Our readings, therefore, will be primarily literary though we will also examine such key political treatises as Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Novels include Wollstonecraft’s The Wrongs of Woman; or Maria, Mary Hays’s Memoirs of Emma Courtney, and Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.
301 C CRITICAL APPROACHES TO LIT & TEXT, M. Basu. MWF 10
This course will introduce you to some of the most significant contemporary interpretive methods in the study of literary texts. However, it will do so always keeping in mind the primacy of the literary text itself. At the center of the class then, we will have at least two representative literary texts which generated excitement, criticism, and debate in their own times as well as later. With these texts and their times as the ‘stuff’ of our business, we will study such critical movements as new criticism, deconstruction, psychoanalysis, feminist and gender studies, Marxism, new historicism, postcolonial studies, cultural studies, and reader response theory.
As it prepares students for future literature classes, this course helps us understand and question the relations between reading literary texts and thinking critically, and more profoundly perhaps, between reading, criticism, and the practices involved in putting ourselves irrevocably amidst others. This course is required for English literature majors. Most English majors should take English 301 in the second semester of their sophomore year or the first semester of their junior year, but only if they have already taken several literature courses. The most common complaint about this class comes from seniors who regret not taking it sooner. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.
301 D CRITICAL APPROACHES TO LIT & TEXT, Gaedtke. MWF 11
How do we think with literature? What are the roles of the author and the reader in determining what a text means? How do we determine what might be hidden beneath the surface of a text, and is there more to the “surface” than meets the eye? If novels, poems, and plays express unspeakable desires, what do they want? As readers, how should we relate to other cultures and moments in history? What is meant by “Theory?” This course will examine major theoretical and methodological approaches to literary and cultural studies that have evolved over the last few decades. Our readings and discussions will clarify the debates and claims of structuralism, Marxism, deconstruction, psychoanalysis, feminism, queer theory, critical race theory, post-colonial studies, and disability studies. While we consider how these theoretical approaches may be useful for analyzing literature, we will also consider their ideological agendas and test the value and limits of “ideology critique.” Finally, we will determine how best to “use” and engage with theory in our own writing and research as we apply these methods to several short works of literature. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.
301 E CRITICAL APPROACHES TO LIT & TEXT, Parker. MWF 1
“How to Interpret Literature: An Introduction to Contemporary Critical Theory.” This course is required for English literature majors and is best not delayed for too long. Seniors usually regret not taking it sooner. Literature students write, think, and speak literary criticism, and this course sets out to make that process more interesting and—eventually—more fun. In the last half century, critics have repeatedly reinvented literary and cultural criticism in ways that can deeply influence how we interpret what we read and how we understand our daily lives. We will study such critical movements as new criticism, structuralism and narratology, deconstruction and poststructuralism, psychoanalysis, feminism, queer studies, Marxism, new historicism, cultural studies, critical race theory, postcolonial studies, disability studies, and ecocriticism. Expect some difficult reading, but we will work through it together. This course prepares students for future literature classes, and more to the point, it helps us understand and question the world around us and the entire project of critical thinking and reading. Attendance will be crucial, for we learn these concepts both by reading and by working with the concepts together. If you like to stay silent in class, or if you do not attend class regularly, then do not take this section. Class time will focus on discussion, not on lecture, so you need to be there in the room and in the discussion. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.
301 S CRITICAL APPROACHES TO LIT & TEXT, Hansen. TUTH 2-3:15
This course will introduce students to the various issues and debates central to contemporary literary studies. If you have ever wondered why people interpret certain texts, and even certain events and actions, as they do, then this is the course for you. The class will begin by exploring the ways in which three profoundly different thinkers, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud, introduced a peculiarly suspicious form of reading, a way of interrogating texts and the world that looks beneath the surface and doubts that what you see is what you get. We will go on to explore how literary critics in the 20th century worked to map this Modern “hermeneutic of suspicion” onto political, psychological, and philosophical issues that still have an effect on us today. Finally, the course will engage with literature’s relationship to questions of sexual and racial difference, of power, and of technology. Requirements will include active class-participation, weekly journal entries, two short papers, and two exams.
Texts will include Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams, Marx’s The Communist Manifesto, Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals and a Course Packet with essays by critics in the Gender, psychoanalytic, Marxist, and Post-Structuralist traditions. It is strongly recommended that all English and Teaching of English majors take ENGL 300 and ENGL 301 BEFORE taking any other 300- or 400-level courses.
310 Q INTRO TO THE STUDY OF ENGL LANGUAGE, D. Baron. TUTH 12:30-1:45
Unprotected speech: what we can and cannot say or write, and why: The First Amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech,” but although much of our speech is protected, a great deal of it is not. The First Amendment has never protected obscene speech, incitement to violence, fighting words, or falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater, though some of these categories have proved difficult to define. The Amendment strongly protects political speech, but at times during American history it was illegal to criticize the government, and today it’s illegal to conduct any kind of protest on the grounds of the Supreme Court, the principal defender of the First Amendment. Since the earliest days of the Republic, the U.S. mail has protected the letters that we send from snooping eyes. But the same words sent by email, no matter how private they may be to us, are considered public by the law.
This semester, we will study the workings of our language through the lens of protected and unprotected speech and writing: what we can say without fear of legal consequences, and what we can’t. Starting with the murderous attacks on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo last year, we’ll look at the history of censorship, speech bans, and government surveillance of speech. We’ll see how the boundaries between permitted and banned speech shift over time and with context; how advances in technology change the border between public speech and private speech; whether speech codes are desirable or defensible; and how the concept of intellectual property informs and limits what we can do with our words, and with the words of others.
All readings will be available on line. Students will be asked to write several short papers on the topics covered, and to participate in a group presentation on one of them.
311 F HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, Russell. MW 2-3:15
There are clear camps when it comes to the English language: For some, it is “the most perfect all-purpose instrument,” “the grandest triumph of the human intellect,” “the lingua franca of the angels,” and, for others, it is “a weapon of war,” “a steamroller,” “the language of the criminal who committed the crime.” It’s the engine of angels or the cudgel of demons. But of course, English is not simply one or the other of these things. Over time, it has been lots of different things to lots of different people. And the purpose of this course will be to explore those uses and users throughout the history of the English language in order to answer the following questions: What is English? What does it look like? Who uses it? Where is it used? What does it mean to use it? Readings for the course will include primary texts (in Old, Middle, Early Modern, and Present Day Englishes) as well as contemporary histories of the language. Coursework will include lectures, discussions, presentations, exams, and short essays. No prior knowledge of historical Englishes or linguistics is necessary.
325 D TOPICS IN LGBT LIT & FILM, Pritchard. MW 11-12:50 Requirement: REPCIS
meets with AAS 390
TOPIC: Queer of Color Film
This course will introduce students to films about and/or directed by queer people of color that have been produced independently or within the mainstream movie industry. The course traces the history of queer of color film from boundary breaking documentaries filmed or released in the mid to late 1980s by Marlon Riggs and Jenny Livingston, to experimental and independent films in the 1990s, and concludes with examining the emergence of a cadre of new queer of color filmmakers from the first decade of the 21st century to the present such as Alice Wu, Rashaad Ernesto Green, Parvez Sharma, Dee Rees, and Sydney Freeland.
Throughout the semester we will explore how each of these films and the filmmakers engage with or disrupt dominant narratives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two-spirit, gender nonconforming and queer people of color. Through this examination we will examine how these directors create a cinematic vocabulary that draws from queer of color life, culture, history, and politics. While the limited amount of time means that the class cannot cover every queer of color film that has been released, the course aims to provide a representative and comprehensive perspective of queer of color film historically and contemporarily. In addition to screening films, students will read scholarly articles and book chapters on queer of color theory, feminist theory, film theory and popular culture in order to learn concepts that will enrich their writing and discussion of the major themes and controversies emerging from each film. A number of reviews of the films screened will also be assigned for reading, since a writing goal for the course is to introduce students to what it means to write a critical review of a cultural text from a position centered on intersectionality.
Though students do not need to have prior knowledge of film theory or queer of color theory and history, it would be helpful if students have taken a previous course in critical race ethnic/cultural studies, LGBTQ studies, feminist and gender studies, or film studies. Overall, students will be expected to do the work required to become thoughtful, informed viewers of queer of color film and readers of related scholarship.
330 X SLAVERY AND IDENTITY, Freeburg. MWF 12 Requirement: REPCIS
This course focuses on slavery, performance, and the idea of black culture from Zora Neal Hurston’s writing on black singing to W.E.B’s historical texts to Saturday Night Live’s (SNL) comedic skits. In addition to these cultural texts we will examine important debates about slavery and black social life from the 1950s to the present as well as visual and performance artists’ responses to these very public conversations about America’s past. By enriching and expanding what counts as social life, self-revelation, and freedom, this course will discuss slavery and black culture beyond abstractions like “resistance” and “power.” We will bring together and analyze materials from literary studies, performance studies, and theories of culture. There will be two essays, a final, and a few small assignments.
373 P SPECIAL TOPICS IN FILM STUDIES, A. Basu. TUTH 11-12:50
same as MACS 373
TOPIC: Bollywood Cinema
In this section of ENGL/MACS 373 we will undertake a critical and historical study of the international media phenomenon known as ‘Bollywood.’ We will see exciting, colorful films and also understand how these texts can be connected to the history, political transformations, and national and regional aspirations in South Asia. We shall critically take a look into matters of form (how exactly are popular Hindi films different from or similar to Hollywood or Japanese films?) and how these narratives respond to shifting realities of post-colonial nation-building, tradition, mythology, modernity, globalization, the country/city divide, and the information revolution. We will analyse how popular Hindi cinema has, over the decades, developed highly elastic and flexible formal devices that can combine epic imaginations drawn from the Ramayana or the Mahabharata with manifold matters of the modern world like space aliens, technology, terrorism, pop culture, American superhero genres, world cinema/world music conventions, and a host of other things. On a broader level, we will attempt to grasp the workings of a major filmic tradition that is culturally different for many of us, but is also, in terms of sheer number of products and population reach, the largest entertainment industry in the world.
Students will be required to participate in a group project, write short response papers and two longer mid-term and final-term papers. There will also be a final examination.
373 R SPECIAL TOPICS IN FILM STUDIES, Soto Crespo. TUTH 1-2:50
same as MACS 373
TOPIC: Documenting America
From hoarders to living wild at the fringes of America, and from unfettered economic ventures to the comic lives of eccentric overachievers, this course examines the language and visual composition of works produced by documentary directors in the United States. We will explore the ways in which documentary filmmaking shapes our image of America in the works of Michael Moore, Errol Morris, Andrew Jarecki and others. Documentary films try to capture a social reality unmediated by fantasy and as such they provide us with a piercing look at who we are. By studying the composition of narrative voice and sequence, the course emphasizes on documentary as a narrative form designed to integrate critical perspectives with social action. This course takes advantage of the many media available for us to expand our appreciation of a multilayered society. Our syllabus includes films, reading assignments, and opportunities to listen to public speakers.
Themes for discussion include: war and its aftermath, the state of the economy, health care, mental illness, poverty, world resources, food production, and the environment.
Attendance at weekly screenings, multiple analytical short essays, a midterm and a final exam, and consistent class participation will be required.
TEXTS: (Selection) Chomsky, Noam, Profit Over People: Neoliberalism & Global Order; Mitchell, W. J. T., Cloning Terror: The War of Images, 9/11 to the Present; Nichols, Bill, 2nd edition, Indiana UP, 2001, Introduction to Documentary.
Documentary Films: (selection) Dylan Avery, Loose Change 9/11: An American Coup (2009. 99 min.); Banksy, Exit Through the Gift Shop, (2010. 87 min.); Marshall Curry, If a Tree Falls, (2011. 85 min.); Josh Fox, Gasland, (2009. 106 min.); James Gandolfini, Alive Day Memories, (2007. 57 min.); Robert Greenwald, Wal-Mart, (2005. 97 min.); Werner Herzog, Into the Abyss, (2012. 107 min.); Andrew Jarecki, Capturing the Friedmans, (2003. 109 min.); Michael Moore, Fahrenheit 9/11, (2004. 122 min.); Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost, Catfish, (2011. 88 min.); Errol Morris, Tabloid, (2010. 88 min.)
378 PG FAIRY TALES AND GENDER FORMATIONS, Gill. TUTH 12:30-1:45
same as GWS 378
Discusses how femininity and gender formation are related through fairy tales. As children grow they are taught the difference between male and female roles. One of the main ways this instruction takes place is through the pleasurable media of fairy tales in books, poems, and more recently, films. Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Beauty and the Best, and the Little Mermaid, among others, will be examined to understand how sexual identity is constructed differently in different cultures, and how issues such as rape and incest are addressed within the narratives. The readings explore the ways that fairy tales work to express psychological reactions to maturation while conditioning both characters and readers to adopt specific social roles in adulthood.
380 F TOPICS IN WRITING STUDIES, Pritchard. MW 2-3:15 Requirement: REPCIS
TOPIC: Black Freedom Movement Rhetorics
This course explores historical and contemporary rhetorics of the freedom and liberation of people in the African diaspora as they emerge from social movements from the 19th century to the present. Merging rhetorical analysis with Black feminist and Black queer theories and epistemologies, the course will note and discuss specific rhetorical strategies people of African descent have employed in speeches, essays, photography, visual and performing arts, popular music and fashion/style, to assert their right and desire to define their life on their own terms and discuss the world as they see and experience it. Among the movements explored will be those for the abolition of slavery, desegregation, secure voting rights, peace and antiwar demonstrations, Black Power, Black Feminist activism, Black LGBTQ activism, anti-apartheid movements, organizing against mass incarceration, and #BlackLivesMatter. These movements for Black Freedom—varied and complex in their own right—will be discussed alongside assigned readings in rhetorical theory, Black feminist and Black queer theory, African American/African diasporic history, Women’s and Gender history, and LGBTQ history. Doing so, students will gain a more complex understanding of Black Freedom Movement Rhetorics that spans time, circumstance, and a diversity of publics.
Though not required, it would be helpful if students have taken a previous course in rhetoric, African American Studies, critical race/ethnic studies, feminist and gender studies, or LGBTQ studies. In sum, students will be expected to do the work required to become critically engaged readers and writers on the topic of the history and theory of Black Freedom Movement Rhetorics.
380 P TOPICS IN WRITING STUDIES, Prior. TUTH 11-12:15
TOPIC: Writing Processes: Theory, Research and Practice
Since the 1950s, there has been a very uneven revolution in the way writing is understood, taught, studied, and practiced. The revolution was announced with the slogan that writing is a process (rather than just products conforming to some standard). The revolution has been uneven for many reasons, but particularly because writing processes have often been imagined and taught in very narrow, traditional and prescriptive ways. This course will engage you in reflecting on, attending carefully to, and playing with your own writing processes as well as giving you insights into the practices of others. We will read a bit of writing studies research and theory to aid in this reflection as well as popular accounts of writing processes for fiction, poetry, science, TV, and other settings.
Courses numbered 396, 397, and 398 are honors seminars. English majors with an overall GPA of 3.33 or greater are eligible to enroll in the honors program. See Angela Smith in EB200 for more information about the program, or to register for a seminar.
396 C HONORS SEMINAR I, D. Wright. W 10-11:50 Requirement: REPCIS
TOPIC: America at the Nadir: Race, Gender and Representation from Twain to Hurston
This course will use a variety of disciplinary approaches to examine cultural production from the Reconstruction through the Harlem Renaissance. We will explore the perceived role, or “place,” of blacks, women and the poor in US society as they were represented in popular forms of expression (literature, film, theater and music) at the turn of the twentieth century, investigating themes such as the use of dialect and representation; “black face” minstrelsy and its legacy; “manifest destiny” and modernity; etc. Authors and texts will include Charles Chesnutt, The Birth of a Nation, Scott Joplin’s ragtime opera Treemonisha, Gertrude Stein, “The Waste Land,” Jean Toomer, Sophie Treadwell, and Gone with the Wind, among others. The criticism and scholarship we read will allow students to understand the larger context of the primary works, bringing historical and socio-political issues to bear on the study of the literature.
396 P HONORS SEMINAR I, Curry. TUTH 11-12:15
TOPIC: Theories of Popular Culture
This newly designed honors seminar will offer a comparative critical overview of significant theories about the workings of popular culture, particularly of popular media, with a focus in the seminar primarily on films, television/internet series, music videos, and the Youtube phenomenon. Through extensive reading, writing, and discussion, we’ll explore long-standing perspectives and recurrent points of contention in popular cultural discourses, such as popular media’s effects on audience/consumers; possible social impact in the public sphere and in domestic spaces; patterns and influence of intertextual references; interplay between fictional and non-fictional representations; and on-going (if somewhat masked) debates about “high” versus “low” cultural traditions (which often embed issues of class, gender, and/or race/ethnicity in questions of “taste” cultures).
The seminar throughout will consider how cogently to theorize, research, and analyze the functions of popular culture across its myriad forms and contexts, also historically, and to effectively assess what counts as sufficient evidence to support a given theory. After some weeks of shared readings and engagement, which will involve student class presentations and short critical writing, each student will choose a specific popular media text or form on which to conduct an individual research/writing project of ca. 10 pages in the latter part of the semester. Expectations include alert attendance at every session, with each student always thoroughly prepared (self-annotated assigned texts at hand in class) to discuss the day’s readings and occasionally assigned out-of-class popular cultural viewings or observations. A few readings will appear as downloadable pdfs through the UIUC library system, but every student should buy/rent/arrange direct personal access to the two required books, Dominic Strinati’s Introduction to Theories of Popular Culture (Routledge, 2nd ed., 2004) and John Storey (editor and introductions), Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: A Reader* (Pearson, 4th ed., 2009). (*The second named is a substantial compilation of key original essays written over the past century about popular culture, not John Storey’s textbook with a similar title, but distinguished by the term “Introduction” in place of “Reader.”)
402 1U/1G DESCRIPTIVE ENGLISH GRAMMAR, D. Baron. TUTH 2:30-3:45
same as BTW 402
This is a course in English linguistics. We will study the English language: how we use it; how it uses us. We will learn and practice techniques for describing English, both its words and sentences and larger elements of discourse in context. We will look at the social, historical, and political forces that shape language and its use. And we will suggest ways to use what we learn about language both in the classroom and in the professional world.
Text: Curzan, Anne, and Michael Adams, How English Works: A Linguistic Introduction, Latest edition.
404 U3/G4 ENGLISH GRAMMAR FOR ESL TEACHERS, Franks. MWF 11
same as EIL 422
Adaptation of modern English grammar to meet the needs of the ESL/EFL teacher, with special emphasis on the development of knowledge and skills that can be used in the analysis of the syntax, lexis and pragmatics of English.
418 1U/1G SHAKESPEARE, L. Newcomb. TUTH 11-12:15 Requirement: pre-1800 (Shakespeare)
This course explores seven Shakespearean plays from a range of dramatic genres. We’ll look especially at the features that made these plays popular in their day: their open staging, their playful language, their laying bare of the period’s familial, national, gender, and racial tensions. We'll also consider how the meanings of ‘Shakespeare’ proliferate through the constant, sometimes subversive, reinvention of the plays by literary critics, performers, and adapters world-wide. That diversity compels us to use multiple interpretive frames to look at the plays: close reading; informal staging; film analysis; feminist, historicist, postcolonial, and queer studies critical approaches. Be ready for proactive discussion, performance experiments, a library visit, and attending at least on Shakespeare play on campus, as well as special events marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death this April. Written assignments include informal writings, two focused short papers, a longer paper based on guided research (7-9 pp.), and a final exam.
TEXTS: (these print editions are required): Greenblatt et al, eds., Shakespeare: Essential Plays (3rd edition, 2015, ISBN 978-0-393-93863-0); McDonald, ed., Bedford Companion to Shakespeare (2nd edition, ISBN 978-0312248802); at least one individual play edition.
423 1U/1G MILTON, Gray. TUTH 12:30-1:45 Requirement: pre-1800 (Renaissance)
This course introduces you to one of the greatest British writers—John Milton. Milton was a blind seer, a regicidal prose-writer, and an inspired poet. He also wrote arguably the most ambitious English epic, one that aimed to explain the origins of life itself: Paradise Lost. This class will explore Milton’s prodigious and ostentatiously learned output in the context of his own life and the historical turmoil of the mid-seventeenth century that transformed it. We will focus on the complex issues of religion, gender, and politics he engages, looking at his often contradictory responses to the ideas, literature, and men and women of his time. We will also trace his carefully crafted public image, thinking about Milton’s view of the role of poetry and polemic within a revolutionary historical context.
428 1U/1G BRITISH DRAMA 1660-1800, Markley. TUTH 9:30-10:45 Requirement: pre-1800 (Long 18th C)
This course will cover some of the major works in British drama written between 1660 and 1720. We will pay particular attention to the social, cultural, political, and economic contexts of theatrical performance, and we will discuss the major issues that find on their way onto the London stage: sexual morality, the role of women in a patrilineal society, and the problems of empire, trade, and colonialism. Because the Restoration period (1660-1700) featured the popular and critical success of women dramatists, notably Aphra Behn and Susan Centlivre, and we will devote a good deal of attention to the ways in which these playwrights appropriated the conventions of the seemingly antifeminist genres of wit comedy. In addition to these women dramatists, we will read and discuss plays by George Etherege, Thomas Southerne, William Wycherley, Thomas Otway, Thomas Shadwell, and William Congreve. There will be two papers of critical analysis, a midterm, and a final examination.
A word of caution (or perhaps inducement): the comedy of the period is often explicitly sexual, and seduction, adultery, and libertine critiques of religion are commonplace. The tragedies we will read include scenes of torture, incest, and general bloodletting.
450 1U/1G AMERICAN LIT 1865-1914, Hutner. MWF 11 Requirement: 1800-1900
This half century represents one of the most exciting eras in all of US literary history, since it addresses how the post-Civil War America struggled to reunify and its search for order amid the demanding challenges of modernization. These struggles included the failure of Reconstruction, which laid the groundwork for racial tension that continues to this day; the influx of immigration, which generated social tensions with which Americans must still face; the rise of industrialization and its legacy of economic booms and collapses, and its long-lasting consequences of income inequality. US novelists and poets addressed all of these concerns and especially gave literary expression to the effects these larger forces exerted on intimate life, the world of close personal relations. Students will also learn about the various movements—artistic and philosophical—designed to address these issues and the ways they prepare us to understand the origins of our contemporary anxieties. Some of the writers whose names are well known to students, like Whitman, Twain, Eliabeth Stuart Phelps and W.E.B. Du Bois; some were celebrated in their day but fell out of critical favor; others are enjoying renewed attention. But all contribute to the complex and dramatic story of the birth of modern America. Students can expect a few short papers and hourly exams.
451 1U/1G AMERICAN LITERATURE 1914-1945, Parker. MWF 10
This course will sample American poetry and fiction from between the world wars, closely studying a set of individual writings and their roles in literary and cultural tradition. Along the way, we will ponder literary responses to changing gender and race relations, World War I, the roaring twenties, and the Great Depression. We will also consider the growth of Modernism and its revolutions in literary form as well as the relation between experiments in literary form and the era’s social and political conservatisms and radicalisms. We will read work by some of the most celebrated writers in American literature—Ernest Hemingway (short stories), William Faulkner (The Sound and the Fury), and T. S. Eliot—as well as equally amazing work by less canonized or more recently canonized writers, including poetry by Langston Hughes and a selection of Imagist poets, Nella Larsen’s Passing, Dorothy Parker’s short stories, Anita Loos’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, James M. Caine’s The Postman Always Rings Twice, Tom Kromer’s Waiting for Nothing, and Carson McCullers’ The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. (These writers and titles provide only a tentative list, but the list gives a picture of the course-plan in progress.) This course offers you the chance to read one of the stunningly great but forbiddingly difficult works in American literature—The Sound and the Fury—in the helpful company of others working it through with you, but be prepared to work hard and read it twice (if you have not read it before), as it makes far more sense on a second reading. Take this course only if you plan to attend class regularly and join actively in class discussion. Know yourself: if you cannot regularly get up to arrive on time and alert for a 10:00 am class, or if you don’t want to speak in class, then do not take this course.
455 1U/1G MAJOR AUTHORS, Hansen. TUTH 12:30-1:45
TOPIC: William Faulkner: The Chaos of The Real
Because no battle is ever won, he said. They are not even fought. The field only reveals to man his own folly and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools.
--William Faulkner, The Sound and The Fury
William Faulkner is one of the most written about novelists of the twentieth-century. Yet, his works contain deeply troubling depictions of African-Americans, of race-relations, and of the plight of female characters in a male-dominated society. In short, for a man whose major fiction was written between 1928-1960, Faulkner has never seemed more relevant. In this course we will explore some of Faulkner’s major fiction in an attempt to understand the political and social valences of his writing, but we will also pay close attention to how Faulkner experiments with prose and storytelling, how he deploys as he also destroys classic modes and genres of the English-language novel. At the heart of Faulkner’s fiction is an abiding fear and a concern for the traumas and tragedies of modern human society. He provides a tragic vision of a world that no longer seems cohere, a world where chaotic desire mixes with prejudice. Put quite simply, Faulkner wrote novels that seem to fail, fragment, and fall apart just as the worldviews that gave birth to and are depicted in those novels fail, fragment, and fall apart. We will endeavor to explore his prose and the chaotic world it depicts. Requirements will include a weekly reading journal, two major exams, two 5 page papers, presentations, and active in-class participation.
Books for the class will include: The Sound and the Fury, Sanctuary, Light In August, Absalom, Absalom!, Go Down Moses, If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem, and The Unvanquished.
455 2U/2G MAJOR AUTHORS, Rodriguez. MW 3-4:50
TOPIC: Junot Diaz
In a relatively short period of time, Junot Díaz has become one the most widely read and recognized Latino writers in the U.S. Focusing on his Pultizer Prize winning novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, his short story collections Drown and This Is How You Lose Her, and a number of his essays and short stories, this course will examine the overlapping concerns of race, sexuality, class, and gender central to Díaz’s work. We will also read essays in the recently published collection of scholarly essays titled Junot Díaz and the Decolonial Imagination to historically and politically contextualize his writing while also examining his intellectual and personal influences, which range from women of color feminism to DC and Marvel Comics.
455 3U/3G MAJOR AUTHORS, Spires. TUTH 2-3:15 Requirement: REPCIS
TOPIC: Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass’s (1818?-1895) career as activist, orator, politician, and writer spanned the better part of the nineteenth century, from slavery to the end of an incomplete Reconstruction. We might say that the narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass is the narrative of the life of democracy and citizenship in the United States, as told by a man who often found himself characterized as an intruder, a fugitive, and an outlaw. “What to the American slave is the Fourth of July?” Douglass famously asked in an 1852 oration. What to such a person are democracy and citizenship, we might ask in turn? How does such a person maintain hope in a world that attempts to strip his humanity at every turn? We will spend time investigating newspapers Douglass edited in the context of a larger American and African American print culture. We will read his fiction and poetry (yes, he wrote poetry, too!), and think about them through the lenses of African American literary history, American Romanticism, and the relation between aesthetics and social movements. And, of course, we will read his speeches and autobiographies. Douglass was a master at self-representation and reinvention. He was a fugitive slave, editor, international literary sensation, Vice Presidential candidate, U.S. ambassador, and expert musician. As such, we might not get a sense of the ‘real’ Douglass by the end of this course, but we will develop a clearer image of the world he inhabited and helped shape. Course requirements include weekly reading journals, two shorter essays, and a final research project.
458 U/G LATINA/O PERFORMANCE, Ruiz. TUTH 3:30-5:50
same as LLS 458
Focuses on Latina/o performances to underscore the relationship between practices of everyday life and acts on stage. Pays particular attention to the material (human) body and bodies of work. Students will critically engage with performance theory and scripts, media works of performances, and theorizations of Latinidad and the body.
460 1U/1G LIT OF AMERICAN MINORITIES, Ruiz. TU 1-2:50 Requirement: REPCIS
meets with LLS 496
TOPIC: Latina/o Dramatists from the 1960s to the Future
How do plays offer readers windows into the world? How does drama create collective belonging by reflecting the world at large? In order to answer these questions, this course will be reading-intensive and discussion-orientated and focus on plays written by Latina/o playwrights. By closely reading dramatic works by María Irene Fornés, Luis Valdez, Cherríe Moraga, Pedro Pietri, Migdalia Cruz, and Nilo Cruz to name just a few, we will pay special attention to how history, time, and space confront one another, and uncover how aesthetics and politics create new worlds in this here and now and in places yet unknown.
461 1U/1G TOPICS IN LITERATURE, Hunt. TUTH 3:00-4:50
2nd 8 week session – March 14 – May 4, 2016
TOPIC: The End of Poverty in African American Literature Requirement: REPCIS
What would it take to eradicate poverty? Or is it here to stay? In this class we will explore the way African American writers have answered these questions in works published throughout the 20th century. Joining the concept of utopia with philosophies of socialism, communism, capitalism, and other economic systems that fail to fit these rubrics, we will examine the challenges writers faced in imagining utopian economies. What literary forms and rhetorical strategies did these authors employ and contest? Given the diversity of the social whole, on what basis would people unite without excluding others—class, race, nationality, or a hybrid category beyond these? How, in other words, did authors negotiate the risk of reducing a diverse society to a single identity or class location? Almost every progressive economic system African Americans have worked to create has faced backlash from governments, vigilantes, employers, and others. How, then, do writers account for that aggression and envision ways of surmounting it? Likewise, what are the potential forms of violence inherent in their own utopias? Finally, how has the attitude toward the idea of utopia evolved over the course of the century? Does “utopia” continue to have a positive ring? Authors include Sutton Griggs, W. E. B. Du Bois, Zora Neale Hurston, George Schuyler, Richard Wright, Lloyd Brown, and Octavia Butler. Secondary readings include selections from Karl Marx, Frederic Jameson, Kojin Karatani, Viviana Zelizer, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri. Requirements include active participation in class discussions, regular brief reading responses, a group presentation, a short essay (6-7 pages), and a final paper (8-10 pages). Graduate students should be expected to write one seminar paper (12-15 pages).
470 1U/1G MODERN AFRICAN FICTION, M. Basu. MWF 1 Requirement: REPCIS
same as AFST 410, CWL 410, FR 410
“Modern African Fiction” endeavors to highlight the connections and links (as well as the disparities) between representative writings from different regions of the African continent. Indeed, the term modern calls for precisely such an inter-textual understanding. After all, the regions we somewhat loosely territorialize as ‘modern Africa’ are also congruous in so far as they were almost all irredeemably transformed by the experience of colonialism. The term ‘modern’ has in fact since then come to be inextricably tied to the distinct twists and turns of the colonial encounter in various parts of Africa. What Simon Gikandi calls “the colonial factor” will therefore be an important entry point into our comprehension of the isomorphisms between the required texts for the course. We will also take the term ‘modern’ seriously in so far as it emerges from a manner of periodization that has had a great deal to do with the novel as a generic form. As we read for the course, we will thus attempt to understand how African writers have kneaded this particular genre to the specificities of their colonial and postcolonial conditions. Given that this course reads modern African fiction in relation to theorizations of colonial and postcolonial conditions in the continent, we will not only concentrate on developing abilities such as close-reading, comparative analysis, and argumentative logic, but will also attempt to broaden the horizons of our interpretation by allowing the close reading of an individual text to be informed by readings of social structures and political-cultural events.
481 1U/1G COMP THEORY AND PRACTICE, McDuffie. MW 2-3:15
In this course, we will investigate writing pedagogy theory and practice primarily focused on future teachers of writing with a consideration of current standards. We will learn about the composition theories that provide a foundation for writing pedagogy, from cornerstone concepts like writing as a process to contemporary research on genre and transfer. We will develop practical approaches for writing instruction, including but not limited to: methods for scaffolding researched and argumentative writing; tactics for addressing language diversity, from second language writing to varieties of American English; strategies for commenting on, evaluating, and assessing student writing; and techniques for teaching digital literacies and teaching with technology. The required work for this course includes weekly readings, reading responses, a philosophy of teaching statement, several lesson plans, teaching demonstrations, and a professional portfolio.
503 T HISTORIOGRAPHY OF CINEMA, Curry. TH 3-5:50
same as MACS 503, CWL 503
This graduate seminar, one of two required courses for the UIUC Graduate Minor in Cinema Studies, explores practices and trends in writing the history of cinema and, by extension, other popular audio-visual media. It thereby offers a meta-historical study focused on how film histories have over the past century variously construed and also shaped their object of study, e.g., as an art form, an industry, a technology, a phenomenon of modernity, a cultural artifact, a site of ideological discourse, and/or material expression of national or ethnic character and/or collective social trauma. While initially critically surveying specific dominant approaches to film history (e.g. focusing on directors as auteurs, on movie stars, on national cinemas, on style and genre, and on issues of exhibition and audience response), this semester’s iteration of the seminar will emphasize in our readings particularly transnational and “sub-national” (e.g., “ethnic” film movements) cinema histories, for the construction and impact of such histories is a site of recent fresh and exciting research. We will to some extent set such trans- and sub-national frameworks for writing histories of media texts in direct contrast to a “national” film historiographic approach. Although national film historiography has proven persistent, politically strategic, and often intellectually productive, many media historians now contest that long dominant approach in light not only of current global media dissemination but also, even more compellingly, of the quite early and far-reaching impact of cinema’s worldwide circulation from its beginnings, as we can now readily learn through copious digitized cinema historical archives.
Alongside additional selected articles, we’ll read and discuss most of two required books, Looking Past the Screen: Case Studies in American Film History and Method, eds. Jon Lewis and Eric Smoodin (Duke University Press, 2007) and Jacqueline Najuma Stewart, Migrating to the Movies: Cinema and Black Urban Modernity (University of California Press 2005). We will view in class several relevant feature films and clips but students will need to watch one or two additional films outside class. Each student will make several written and oral presentations on the readings, films and issues discussed, explore readily available cinema historical archives (amazing resources on campus and the Internet), and as a final project compile an extensive annotated bibliography that proposes a cogent historiographic approach to an individual topic formulated in relation to either transnational or sub-national ethnic cinema histories (e.g., African American film history). That is: you will not write and submit a polished final long essay (of ca. 20 pages) for the seminar, but instead over the last weeks of the semester propose and research and present a polished annotated filmography and bibliography for such an essay. That “pre-writing” for a substantial essay could form the basis for a subsequently drafted essay that you might with further mentoring in a subsequent semester complete and submit for publication (as students in previous seminars making that assignment have very successfully done).
514 G SEMINAR IN MEDIEVAL LIT, C. Wright. M 3-4:50
same as MDVL 514
TOPIC: The World of the Exeter Book
The course will involve close reading of texts from the Exeter Book of Old English poetry. The primary goal is to read as much as possible of the Exeter Book in Old English, with the rest in translation. A major focus throughout will be on how the Exeter Book as an anthology functions as a discursive and meditative world map for its readers. Two worlds are regularly distinguished by the deictic demonstrative pronouns “this” (proximal) and “that” (distal): from the perspective of the reader, “this creation” (gesceaft) is the present world (middangeard), while “that creation” is the “other” or “next” world of heaven and hell. This world has objectively defined centers (Jerusalem, Rome) that are subjectively remote and peripheral for a reader situated in Exeter (or Urbana) but that can be experienced and inhabited imaginatively, as can the celestial and infernal poles of that world. The Exeter Book conducts its readers on a tour of both worlds, dramatizing how the material and spiritual worlds intersect: how Christ transcends their boundaries, and how angels and saints and demons and sinners move through them together. At the same time, the Exeter Book is a discursive and meditative encyclopedia of the human social world (familial, ethnic, and national, secular and spiritual) and of the world of non-human creatures and things (“a large book about all sorts of things,” as it is vaguely but quite accurately described in Leofric’s bequest of his library to Exeter Cathedral). We will be reading the Exeter Book, then, as “global” anthology from an Anglo-Saxon perspective.
Course requirements include a seminar paper and regular contributions to a collaborative taxonomy of the places, beings, and things in the world according to the Exeter Book.
TEXTS: The Exeter Book, ed. G. P. Krapp and E. V. K. Dobbie, The Anglo-Saxon Poetic Records, 3 (New York, 1936); Anglo-Saxon Poetry, trans. S. A. J Bradley (New York, 1982); J. R. Clark Hall, A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary, 4th ed. by H. D. Meritt (1960; repr. Toronto, 1984)
519 T SEMINAR IN SHAKESPEARE, Perry. TH 3-5:50
TOPIC: Shakespeare Studies Now
Because Shakespeare so thoroughly dominates hiring and publishing in early modern English literary studies, scholarship within the Shakespeare industry has expanded to include virtually all methodologies current within literary scholarship. The practice of channeling everything though Shakespeare can have a deleterious effect on our understanding of literary history or early modern culture, but it does mean that Shakespeare studies is today a uniquely broad-based, heterogeneous, and potentially inclusive endeavor. Shakespeare studies as a field has its conventions and its received commonsense—and I hope we will become alert to the implicit limitations that have thus become part of the field’s normative assumptions—but virtually any scholarly focus can find a place within the Shakespeare industry today. Therefore, this seminar will be structured to allow participants to delve, collaboratively, into the affordances of Shakespeare studies as it is practiced now.
Primary texts will consist of a set of selected plays from the Shakespeare canon: they will be chosen because they have been written about often and/or interestingly of late. This reading list will be supplemented each week by recent secondary scholarship (published since, say, 2010) selected by seminar participants (including the professor). Discussion each week will focus, therefore, on what we now write about when we write about Shakespeare, and why. Focal points will emerge, but will be shaped by the interests that students bring with them or discover over the course of the semester.
Students will be encouraged to think over the course of the semester about how their own curiosities, commitments, and preoccupations can relate to contemporary Shakespeare studies. The seminar will be a collaborative choose-your-own-adventure journey through the landscape of contemporary Shakespeare studies.
527 E SEMINAR IN 18TH C LITERATURE, Markley. W 1-2:50
TOPIC: The Cosmopolitan Stage: British Drama 1650-1820
As the dominant mode of public entertainment between 1660 and 1800, the London theater played a critical role in the literature and culture of Britain during the long eighteenth century. To a far greater extent than the domestic novel, the popular stage registered Britain’s changing role in a globalized economy, helping to reshape what we now think of as “modern” national, racial and gender identities. Dozens of well-received plays performed in the period were set in Asia or the Americas, and—in their quest for commercial and critical success—dramatists explored a range of hot-button issues including slavery and the slave trade, the succession crisis of the early 1680s, the colonization of the Americas, and the fate of women trapped in loveless or abusive marriages. As a result, the drama of the period has become an important site for feminist and postcolonial critics who have challenged the assumptions that governed traditional accounts of British drama.
Before the 1720s, British drama (and literature more generally) faced eastward to Asia rather than to the colonies in North America. Highly successful plays were set in the Morocco, China, Persia, the Mughal Empire, Islamic Spain, and Southeast and Central Asia. These plays tended to emphasize the similarities—in terms of race, nobility, and gender norms—between the upper-classes in Britain and their aristocratic counterparts in a variety of Asian (and South American) empires. In these works, we will be able to explore the complex development of British attitudes toward race, colonialism, and empire when Great Britain was still a regional rather than world power. The more overtly imperial, colonialist and racist drama of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, in part, might be seen as a reaction against the cosmopolitan values, assumptions, and complexities of drama between roughly 1660 and 1710.
To explore the cosmopolitan stage of the long eighteenth century, this seminar will analyze a range of successful plays that explore the gendered, racialized, and politico-religious problems of empire, trade, and colonialism. We will read and discuss plays by John Dryden, Elkanah Settle, George Etherege, Aphra Behn, Thomas Southerne, Delariviere Manley, William Wycherley, Susannah Centlivre, Thomas Shadwell, Catherine Trotter, William Congreve, Hannah More, and Richard Cumberland, among others. In addition to several short response papers, students will write a seminar paper on topics of their choosing. There also will be opportunities to do archival work in the Library’s world-class collection of plays by women, notably Aphra Behn, and to investigate attitudes toward race, gender, non-Christian religions, and slavery in primary texts concerned with colonization, the East India trade, and the slave trade.
533 P SEMINAR ROMANTIC LIT, Nazar. TU 11-12:50
TOPIC: Rousseau, Feminism and Romanticism
The two decades following the French revolution of 1789 were a period of remarkable intellectual ferment and ideological contestation in Britain. The “pamphlet war” begun by Edmund Burke’s dyspeptic denunciation of the revolution in Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790), and continued in such rejoinders to Burke as Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Men (1790) and Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man (1791-92), powerfully established the contours of present-day liberalism and conservatism. This seminar brings into focus one of the most far-reaching developments of the 1790s and early 1800s: the emergent feminist discourse of the “rights of woman,” which accompanied the more prominent one of the “rights of man,” and which was developed, in important ways, through the medium of fiction rather than by political or philosophical treatises. More particularly, the seminar considers how a broad spectrum of Romantic women writers engaged questions about women’s rights and duties by engaging the maddeningly paradoxical but fascinating mid-century writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, hailed by the French revolutionaries as a primary intellectual influence on the revolution. Rousseau’s bestselling sentimental novel, Julie or The New Heloise (1761), was especially important to women writers of the later eighteenth century: it was cited/revised/contested in multiple novels by century’s end, including Helen Maria Williams’s Julia (1790), Eliza Fenwick’s Secresy (1795), Mary Hays’s Memoirs of Emma Courtney (1796), Mary Wollstonecraft’s Wrongs of Woman, or Maria (1798), Charlotte Smith’s The Young Philosopher (1798), Jane West’s Tale of the Times (1799), and Elizabeth Hamilton’s Memoirs of Modern Philosophers (1800). We will ask how Rousseau’s claims about female education, sensibility, natural rights, and freedom—as developed in writings including Julie, The Social Contract, and Emile (all three published in 1761-62)—served as a springboard for the Romantic novel and late-century feminism. The seminar will conclude with a discussion of Jane Austen’s outrageously funny juvenilia (written in the 1790s), as well as the more sober Sense and Sensibility (published in 1811 but drafted in the 1790s as an epistolary novel à la Julie), which represent a culmination of post-revolutionary debates about women and their rights.
This seminar is designed to appeal not only to students of the long eighteenth century or of women’s writing but also to anyone interested in the Enlightenment origins of the dominant ideologies of our own time. Rousseau has proven to be one of the most influential figures in the development, at once, of present-day liberalism and totalitarianism. His many paradoxical self-descriptions— philosophe and harbinger of the counter-Enlightenment, contractarian and sentimentalist, “solitary walker” and “proud citizen of Geneva”—have consistently created the strangest of bedfellows amongst his admirers. His writings were also crucial to the development of theory in our profession, serving as a springboard for the work of Jacques Derrida and Paul de Man, among others. Romantic women writers’ response to Rousseau, therefore, began a trend that continues unabated today and that has critical consequences for the future discourses of modernity.
559 R SEMINAR AFRO-AMERICAN LIT, Jenkins. TH 1-2:50
TOPIC: Black and Bourgeois in the Flesh: Class, Sex and the Racial Body
In this course we will examine how African American authors in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries grapple with the question of black class privilege, and particularly with an inherent tension between the racialized excess of embodiment that accrues to notions of “blackness,” and the tendency of privilege to mask or erase the body’s traces. With this ontological dilemma in mind, we will consider how and why African American narratives of the post-Civil Rights era have articulated black bourgeois identity as a problematically embodied state—implicating interraciality’s visible markers as classed signs, but also speaking beyond racial phenotype and its underlying histories, to the ways in which the intersection of “race” and “class” operates viscerally, as corporeal and even libidinal performance. Throughout our study, we will consider how the unique socio-historical circumstances surrounding the “black” body—circumstances that recall Hortense Spillers’ crucial distinction between body and flesh and the latter’s “vestibular” relation to Western culture--inform narrative representations of class, and particularly of class privilege, and speak to their complex relationship to corporeality for black subjects. In exploring how African American class privilege lives “in the flesh,” we will consider, as well, the vulnerability and violability of the black body, and how this vulnerability manifests in particular ways in the post-Civil Rights and “post-racial” moment and relates to the fiscal precariousness of the (post-)postmodern and what Jeffrey Nealon calls “just-in-time capitalism.”
Primary texts will include both fiction and memoir—some possibilities are Toi Derricotte’s The Black Notebooks, Percival Everett’s Erasure, Andrea Lee’s Sarah Phillips, Reginald McKnight’s He Sleeps, Toni Morrison’s Tar Baby, Michael Thomas’s Man Gone Down, and Rebecca Walker’s Black, White, and Jewish, among others—as well as films by Spike Lee and Dee Rees. Critical and theoretical readings will include works by Elizabeth Alexander, Pierre Bourdieu, Judith Butler, Nicole Fleetwood, Sharon Holland, Frederic Jameson, Karyn Lacy, Rupali Mukherjee, Jeffrey Nealon, Naomi Pabst, Darieck Scott, Jared Sexton, Hortense Spillers, Diana Taylor, and Harvey Young. Requirements: participation, weekly discussion-board postings, oral presentation, final seminar paper. Students should read Hortense Spillers’ essay, “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book” in preparation for the first class meeting.
563 E SEMINAR THEMES AND MOVEMENTS, T. Newcomb. M 1-2:50
TOPIC: Modern Literature and the Metropolis
This course will examine how the growth of the industrial metropolis, as both physical space and social environment, shaped the successive emergence of two dominant paradigms of modern literature, realism and modernism. We’ll use work by theorists of urban modernity (Georg Simmel, Walter Benjamin, Marshall Berman, David Harvey) to frame key questions for a cultural history of metropolitan modernity, such as:
• how did material alterations in urban space create new forms of experience, and new interactions among genders, races, classes, nationalities?
• What were the meanings of the changing relationship of work-space to home-space, and public space to private space?
• How did the late-19th-century emergence of metropolitan consumer culture (commodity fetishism, advertising, collecting, market research, conspicuous consumption), inflect modern literature?
We’ll test these questions and others against a variety of literary responses to modernization, concentrating on American texts produced between 1840 and 1940. Among the authors featured will be Poe, Melville, Whitman, Chopin, Crane, Eliot, Millay, McKay, Larsen, Hughes, Williams, and Sandburg.
581 R SEMINAR LITERARY THEORY, Somerville. TU 1-2:50
TOPIC: Queer Theory
This course will trace key moments in the development of the field of queer theory over the past three decades (or so). While one familiar genealogy of queer theory locates its origins in the development of a theory of sexuality (as distinct from theories of gender), a range of queer theorists have instead critiqued any attempt to give exclusive priority to sexuality over other categories of analysis. The full potential of queer theory, it was argued early in the field, is to dislodge “the status of sexual orientation itself as the authentic and centrally governing category of queer practice, thus freeing up queer theory as a way of reconceiving not just the sexual, but the social in general” (Harper, et al., 1997). Still other queer theorists have located the full potential of queer critique in its refusal of the social and political altogether. While we will remain skeptical of origin stories and attentive to the stakes of competing genealogies, our readings will include texts that have been understood as foundational to the field, as well as well as emerging work in areas such as queer indigenous studies and queer disability studies.
582 R TOPICS RESEARCH AND WRITING, Prior. TU 1-2:50
same as CI 565
TOPIC: Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) and Research in Writing
This seminar explores how to engage in theoretically-grounded research on writing practices. It centers on cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT) conceived broadly, with particular attention to the traditions associated with Vygotsky, Luria, Bakhtin, and Voloshionov as well as to related work on situated semiotic activity (e.g., Hanks, Irvine, Goodwin) and on actor-network theories (Latour). Together, these theroies suggest the need for research to trace complex relationships among situated semiotic action, cultural artifacts/practices, genre systems, and writing. In the seminar, we will take up examples of theoretical and empirical work in CHAT as well as of varied research on writing. To examine how to implement CHAT approaches in studies of literate activity, we will do several, informal inquiry activities (practicing in effect how to conduct and analyze research on writing). Finally, each student will explore the application of CHAT approaches to their current or projected research project.
584 G TOPICS DISCOUSRE AND WRITING, Russell. M 3:30-5:20
same as CI 569
TOPIC: Genre Theories and Histories
Genre theory has been around for a long time (maybe forever), and it has found a home in a lot of disciplines (literature, linguistics, rhetoric, film, psychology, computer science, and so on). This course considers how theorists from several different fields have approached the study of kinds, classes, and sorts. If genres aren’t simply sets of texts similar in form and content, what are they? What does it mean to think of a genre as rhetorical and social, cognitive and coercive? How do genres orchestrate not just cultural productions but cultural expectations and relations? Where do genres come from for that matter? This seminar will be particularly interested in theories of genre that take root in historical perspectives, tracing the development of a single genre—the religious treatise, the architecture notebook, the resume, the dissertation, the anthropological monograph, the pastoral poem, the animal autobiography—over time. How do generic patterns (in form, content, situation, exigence, audience, action) take and then shift shape? What prompts a genre to change and how much can it do so before it becomes a different genre? How do genre histories enrich genre theories?
593 G PROFESSIONAL SEMINAR COLLEGE TCHING, Stevens. W 3-4:50
TOPIC: The Teaching of Literature
The aim of this seminar is to prepare graduate students to teach a range of literature courses at the introductory and advanced levels, from surveys to more specialized topics. While the focus of this seminar will be on practical issues related to teaching and course development—including developing sample syllabi and lesson plans as well as a teaching philosophy for use on the job market—we will also read a range of works that reflect on pedagogy more generally. Expect both to participate consistently in class discussion and to read and comment upon your peers’ work.
MDVL 500 E SEMINAR IN MEDIEVAL STUDIES, Barrett. F 1-2:50
TOPIC: Postmodern Plants
Taking its cues from the emerging field of critical plant studies, this course in ecocriticism explores the literary productions of those arbores inversae or “inverted trees” known as medieval men and women. The seminar rejects plant blindness (the zoocentric treatment of vegetal life as backdrop) to focus instead on plants as active agents in the multispecies assemblages of the global Middle Ages. We’ll look at medieval plants from a variety of authors, genres, and cultural traditions: the ash in Marie de France’s Le Fresne, the cherry of Zeami’s Saigyozakura, the holly of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the laurel of Petrarch’s Canzoniere, and the mugwort of the Anglo-Saxon Nine Herbs Charm are just a few of the species we may consider in the course. We’ll also discuss more fantastic plants: e.g., the three-in-one-tree species of the Cross of Christian apocrypha, the vegetable lamb of Mandeville’s Travels, and the barnacle tree of Gerald of Wales. Because this class is aimed at graduate students across the entirety of the Illinois medieval studies program, all texts —including Old and Middle English—will be taught in Modern English translation. (Since we’ll also be reading some key theoretical texts from ecocriticism and critical plant studies, non-medievalists interested in the environmental humanities will also find much of relevance in the seminar.) Students will work with me to develop research paper projects relevant to their academic disciplines and fields of origin.