English Course Descriptions: Fall 2009
Literature and Writing Studies Courses
101 INTRO TO POETRY
English 101 provides students with a foundation in methods of reading and writing essential to an understanding of poetry and, more broadly, to the study of literature. The course addresses the basics of prosody, poetic devices (such as diction, metaphor, image, tone), and major verse forms (such as the sonnet, elegy, ode, ballad, dramatic monologue, free verse). Poems will be selected from a range of literary periods and movements (from the sixteenth to the twentieth century) to reflect both continuity and variation in the history of British and American poetry. Students are required to write twelve to fifteen pages in two or more essays and to take a midterm and a final examination.
102 INTRO TO THE DRAMA
This course examines roughly a dozen plays chosen from major periods of dramatic history from the ancient Greeks to contemporary theatre. Plays are selected to exemplify the nature of comedy, tragedy, and tragicomedy as dramatic modes and to show how the changing conditions of the physical theater affect the nature of theatrical representation. Where possible, lecture and discussion is supplemented by videotaped or filmed excerpts from the plays. Course work usually includes several papers (12-15 pages total) to develop competence in dramatic analysis and either several hour exams or a mid-term exam and a final exam.
TEXTS: A basic anthology containing a selection of plays by such playwrights as Sophocles, Aristophanes, Shakespeare, Molière, Ibsen, Shaw, Miller, Becket, Brecht—supplemented by individual volumes of the instructor’s choice.
103 E INTRO TO FICTION, Griswold. MWF 1
This class is designed to introduce you to the study of literature and literary history at the university level. It will provide you with a basis for understanding the historical role and place of fictional narratives; give you an understanding of the idea of genre; offer ways to think about how social context, reading practices, and popularity contribute to the meaning of fictional works; and help you develop a rich, portable vocabulary to interpret and analyze narrative strategies. Together we’ll consider how the artistic act of seeing one’s world affects form and function in the literature. Course requirements include a midterm, a final exam, and daily or weekly micro-quizzes to spur discussion. Readings will include short stories and novels from various times and places.
104 INTRO TO FILM
Same as CINE 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 also focuses on the study of different genres and styles of films, including documentaries, feminist films, musicals, comedies, and “film noir,” in terms of how they present ideological points of view and/or evoke spectator responses. English 104 is an appropriate prerequisite for English 273(the second half of the English film sequence) and other advanced film courses.
The course presents one ca. 2 hour film program including a feature film per week, shown in a required screening lab on Mondays. Each section meets for two 75-minute lecture-discussion sessions per week. All sections use a substantial introductory textbook and additional reading assignments (essays and book chapters) available on library reserve or in a photocopied reader. Sections are kept small to facilitate the course focus on honing skills in analysis and writing and to enable each student to contribute extensively to the discussions. Regular attendance and participation are crucial in this course. The minimum formal assignments are 12-15 pages of expository writing (often 3 short papers, but some instructors prefer 1 short and 1 long one, and some may assign more writing); a midterm; and a three-hour scheduled final exam; some instructors also give quizzes. On the exams, most instructors give a factual section (identification, brief answer) plus a section of essay questions.
This course earns 3 credit hours and counts as a General Education course in Humanities and the Arts. (Multiple sections)
106 D LITERATURE AND EXPERIENCE, Brubaker. MWF 11
TOPIC: Technologies of Literature
What are books made of? To answer this question, this course will consider the relationship between literature and technology from a variety of perspectives. We will consider the technologies involved in bookmaking; how literary genres and literacy have evolved alongside the development of writing technologies; how different writing technologies—from handwriting, to typewriting, to word-processing—shape the form and content of the author’s work; how the medium through which we read the text (manuscript, paperback, computer, electronic book) influences the readerly experience; and finally, how communication technologies are, in turn, represented in fiction—what perceptions, anxieties, desires and critiques do such technologies inspire?
The reading list will include a diverse range of works such as the Book of Kells, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (General Prologue), selected speeches of Frederick Douglass, Mark Twain’s Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Anthony Trollope’s Telegraph Girl, short stories by Rudyard Kipling, Dorothy West and Dorothy Parker, E.M. Forster and Octavia Butler, selections from Gertrude Stein, Jack Kerouac’s On the Road and Richard Powers’ Galatea 2.2. Course work will include short response papers, a group presentation, two 5-6 page critical essays, a midterm and a final. Through response papers, students will have the opportunity to experiment with reading and writing through various mediums (e.g., typewriter, computer, text-messaging, and electronic book) as a way to better understand their own experiences with reading and writing technologies.
109 INTRO TO FICTION (ADVANCED COMPOSITION)
English 109 (formerly English 103+) 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.
112 LITERATURE OF GLOBAL CULTURE, Sullivan. M 3-4:50; W 3-3:50 Global Studies Initiative Section
Same as CWL 112
Although we take instant communication, the internet, tourism, multinational media, and transnational trade for granted, such forms of globalization come chained to long histories. In this course, we will read books and see films that compel us to see and rethink the history of interconnectedness, confrontation, or interaction in the world. Our writers from England, America, Africa, South Asia, the Middle East, and the Caribbean tell stories that journey away from home towards new encounters, new ways of seeing, and new ways of thinking about our connections with others and with the past. They ask questions about identity, power, nation building, and development in an interdependent global economy. Although all seven courses in the Global Studies program investigate problems of cultural identity, history, politics, and economics, this class focuses on the artistic representation of such concerns. How does the artist teach us to read the world? The thematic problems that inform our novels, poems, and films center on the impact of globalization on cultural and national identity, and on the political interaction between peoples in various stages of development, migration, and diaspora.
Required texts include novels, stories, poems, articles, and films. Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness; Rudyard Kipling, “The Man Who Would be King;” Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart; Caryl Philips, Crossing the River; Bharati Mukherjee, Jasmine; Etel Adnan, Sitt Marie Rose; Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis; Jamaica Kincaid, A Small Place. Films: The Battle of Algiers, Gandhi, Mississippi Masala, The Man who Would be King, and Life and Debt. A course packet with essays, poems, and short stories ( Notes & Quotes Johnstown Center on John Street).
114 BIBLE AS LITERATURE, Layton. MWF 11
same as RLST 101, CWL 111
Themes and literary genres in the Bible, emphasizing content important in Western culture. Contact the Religious Studies Department for more information.
115 INTRO TO ENGLISH LITERATURE
This course is designed to acquaint students with examples of the rich diversity of prose, poetry, and drama written in Great Britain from the medieval through contemporary eras. Works selected will vary from section to section, but instructors usually rely upon a major anthology of British literature, along with a few supplementary paperbacks, for the assigned readings. As a basic introduction to English literature, this course cannot offer a complete chronological survey. 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. Assigned works will include literature written by men and women and will represent a variety of ethnic perspectives.
119 C LITERATURE OF FANTASY, M. Basu. MWF 10
same as CWL 119
This course will demonstrate the development of ‘fantasy’ through a reading of both critical and theoretical documents as well as fictional texts. Moving from science fiction to fairy tale, from horror tale to stories of magic, and from narratives of the supernatural to political parables, the materials for the class will attempt to trace the continuing transformation of what we understand as ‘the fantastic’. In addition to showing how the category changes across time, the course will also endeavor to introduce students to how notions of the fantastic are transformed in different cultural contexts. At the end of this course, students should not only be familiar some symptomatic and some experimental texts of ‘the fantastic’, but also should be able to read, write, and, think about these texts in an insightful manner, concentrating on developing abilities such as close-reading, comparative analysis, and argumentative logic.
199 P UNDERGRADUATE OPEN SEMINAR, S. Camargo. Lect: TUTH 11-12:15; Screening W 2-4:30 Discovery Section
TOPIC: Films of Oz: Australian Cinema 1970-Present
Ockers, Larrikans, and Bushrangers. Aborigines. The Outback. Uluru. Walkabout. Billabongs and digeridoos. Speaking “Strine.” Welcome to Australia: a place of diverse cultures, landscapes, and imaginations.
As a medium-sized film industry Australian film has close historical and cultural connections to British cinema. As an Anglophone film industry that must compete in the world market, Australian film also has to deal directly with the 800-pound gorilla of the film world: Hollywood. The result has been a rich group of films that reflect an effort to carve out a national cinema that can speak to Australians as well as to the rest of the world. Through its films, Australia has taken its place among the top flight of filmmaking countries as well as representing the discourses and anxieties that have shaped its development as an independent nation.
Through our examination of a selection of Australian films, we will try to discover what Australians themselves see as essential about Australian identity; how they represent race, gender, and class; how they define themselves in relation to the geography of their country; how they try to integrate diverse cultures into the fabric of the nation; and how they have tried to express all this through the medium of cinema.
Students will be asked to participate actively in class discussions, make short oral presentations, write a series of short essays, and take a final examination. While previous coursework in cinema studies is a plus, it is not a prerequisite.
200 INTRO TO LITERARY STUDY
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, 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.
TEXTS: Vary according to section.
202 X MEDIEVAL LIT AND CULTURE. MWF 12 Group I
Same as CWL 253, MDVL 201
British and continental authors (including Chaucer) read in modern English.
204 E RENAISSANCE LIT AND CULTURE. MWF 1 Group I
Same as CWL 255
Readings in English and continental literary masterpieces with attention to significant cultural influences.
206 D ENLIGHTENMENT LIT AND CULTURE, Wilcox. MWF 11 Group I
Same as CWL 257
The term “enlightenment,” with its chilly connotations of reason, morals, and decorum, tends to be construed in opposition to the messy business of human life: sex, religion, and death. In this course, we will look at how, in the eighteenth century, enlightenment illuminated these dark corners of human subjectivity in unexpected ways. By reading across a variety of canonical and noncanonical genres and analyzing the rhetorical forms of eighteenth-century thought, we will achieve an understanding of how various literary forms evolved in response to the period’s arguments and uncertainty. By the end of this course, you will be able to read a wide variety of eighteenth-century texts with comprehension and enjoyment and you will understand how those texts depict innovative forms of thought that continue to shape the way we interpret the world. Requirements will include contributions to the course blog, active participation in class discussion (including leading discussion on one of the course readings), two papers, and a take-home final exam.
207 F ROMANTIC LITERATURE AND CULTURE. MWF 2 Group II
Study of literature, philosophy, visual arts, and social criticism of the British Romantic period, with attention to broader cultural issues.
208 Q VICTORIAN LIT AND CULTURE. TUTH 12:30-1:45 Group II
Study of literature, philosophy, visual arts, and social criticism of the British Victorian period, with attention to broader cultural issues.
209 ENGLISH LIT TO 1798, Mohamed. Lect. MW 1; Disc. F 1 & 2
The rubric of this course makes two assumptions. The first is that literature written in England constitutes a coherent tradition. The second is that this coherence is especially apparent in all periods of English history preceding the year 1798. In undertaking this course we must operate within these assumptions. But we do not have to be happy about it. Indeed, we will spend a good deal of the term exposing them to scrutiny: how do the works we study imagine the nation? In what ways do they reflect their own historical moment? How do later authors generate the notion of an English literary tradition by referring to their predecessors? How do they manipulate those predecessors to their own ends? In exploring these questions, we will also pay close attention to the ways in which different genres—poetry, drama, and that young upstart the novel—constitute different cultural engagements.
Assignments will consist of one brief essay, a mid-term examination, a term paper requiring research, and a final examination.
TEXT: The Longman Anthology of British Literature, ed. David Damrosch and J.H. Dettmar, vol. 1A-C.
210 ENGLISH LIT 1798 TO PRESENT, Wood. Lect. MW 10; Disc. F 9 & 10
In English 210, we read English literature of the modern age from Wordsworth to Virginia Woolf and beyond to the current age of global, multicultural literatures of English. I have divided the course into six separate units, each revolving around a broadly defined theme. In the Romantic Period (1798-1830), we examine the radically personal metaphysics of nature in the poetry of Wordsworth and Coleridge. The second unit is devoted to Keats’ dazzling meditations on art, eroticism, and the poetic self, and to Shelley’s lyric politics. Unit Three shows, in the work of Austen and Byron, how effectively and hilariously the commitment to hyperbolic feeling of these Romantic poets could be satirized. In the long Unit Four, our attention turns to the literature of Queen Victoria’s reign (1837-1901), when the new sciences of geology and biology threatened orthodox Christian understanding of human nature and social institutions, a subject plumbed to metaphysical depths by Tennyson in his poem “In Memoriam.” In the modernist era of Woolf and T. S. Eliot, our fifth unit, literature’s traditional formal and topical boundaries give way to a self-reflexivity and confessional intimacy hitherto unknown, as writers seek to preserve the individuation of experience against the mechanistic and de-personalizing pressures of urban life, the mass media, and global war. The history of British literature of the last two hundred years is inseparable from the history of empire, and in our final unit, we trace the impact of English language and culture on its colonies, and the new literary voices that have emerged from the post-war period of decolonization. Though itself a “shrinking island,” Britain’s post-imperial legacy is apparent in the globalization of its language and a remaking of its literary tradition.
211 X INTRO TO MOD AFRICAN LIT, M. Basu. MWF 12 Group V
same as AFST 210, CWL 210
This course will attempt to express the diversity of a continent through a reading of texts from Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, South Africa, and Sudan. At the same time however, the course will also endeavor to highlight the connections and links between representative writings from different regions of the continent. In demonstrating that all the regions we somewhat loosely group together as ‘modern Africa’ are also congruous in so far as they were all irredeemably transformed by the experience of colonialism, the course will show how the term modern calls for precisely such an inter-textual understanding. At the end of this course however, students should not only be familiar with symptomatic texts of African literature, but also should be able to read, write, and, think about these texts in an insightful manner, concentrating on developing abilities such as close-reading, comparative analysis, and argumentative logic.
213 P MODERNIST LIT AND CULTURE, Thompson. TUTH 11-12:15 Group V
Study of literature, philosophy, visual and performing arts, social criticism, and popular sciences of the Anglo-American Modern period (1880-1920), with attention to broad cultural issues.
218 INTRO TO SHAKESPEARE
English 218 is intended for non-English majors who wish to become more familiar with representative Shakespearean drama. The selection of plays varies from section to section, but each instructor covers eight to ten plays reflecting Shakespeare’s changing interests, themes and developing dramatic skills within the subgenres of comedy, history, tragedy and romance. Required writing includes several short papers, a mid-semester exam (or one or two hour exams) and a final. Any critical edition of Shakespeare’s plays may be assigned.
243 M MODERN DRAMA I. TUTH 9:30-10:45 Group V
same as CWL 265
Ibsen to O’Neill. Same as CWL 265. Prerequisite: Completion of the Composition I requirement.
245 F THE SHORT STORY. MW 2-3:15
same as CWL 267
Historical and critical study of the short story (American and European) from the early nineteenth century to the present.
247 F THE BRITISH NOVEL, Courtemanche. MWF 2 Group II or V
Is a truly free action possible, in a world structured by money, established power, and the inconvenient desires of others? If we could act with complete freedom, would we like the results, or end up isolated and self-centered? Since the Magna Carta, Britain has considered itself to be more free than most other countries of the world, and yet—perhaps because Britain is only a medium-sized island—its society is also a network of dense social obligations. The British novel of the last three centuries forcefully addresses the resulting tensions between individual desire and community responsibility, using wit and satire to create a limited space of social freedom, and the marriage plot to fetishize a single moment of free choice in a materially determined world. This class will also examine what happens when British society interacts with the rest of the world through imperialism and trade, unsettling hierarchies and complicating personal moral choice. We will be reading such texts as Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities, George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss, E. M. Forster’s Howards End, Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, and Hanif Kureishi’s The Buddha of Suburbia. There will be two papers, a midterm and final, and weekly written assignments; be prepared to read up to 200 pages a week.
247 Q THE BRITISH NOVEL, Garrett. TUTH 12:30-1:45 Group II or V
This course will focus on major works of British fiction in the 19th and 20th centuries. Beginning with Austen’s comedy of manners, we will consider how the accommodation it works out between individuality and social constraints is repeatedly renegotiated in the Victorian narratives of Charlotte Brontë, Dickens, and Hardy, the modernist experiments of Joyce and Woolf, and the postmodernism of Rhys. We will be concerned with the ways social history is reflected in these novels, but also with ways the novel itself as a developing cultural institution played a social role as it gained popularity and influence in the 19th century and then turned toward more private aesthetic aims in the 20th. Most of all, we will be concerned with discovering through careful, analytical reading how each novel deploys the resources of narrative form and style to achieve its distinctive effects.
TEXTS: Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice; Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre; Charles Dickens, Great Expectations; Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse; Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea
250 C THE AMERICAN NOVEL TO 1914, Ivy. MWF 10 Group III or V
Looking at a series of American novels from the late eighteenth century through the early twentieth century, we will track changes in American attitudes, politics, cultures, and styles, but most importantly we will explore changes in the way American writers (and readers) have understood the form of the novel itself: its strengths and weaknesses, its artistic and political possibilities, its commercial viability, and its usefulness for exploring issues of local and national concern. To this end, we will rely heavily on close, careful readings of the novels themselves, combined with more expansive discussion of how novels work, the conventions that shape our reading and interpretation of them, and the ways in which they speak of—and to—the world around them. Authors may include Hannah Foster, Edgar Allen Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Henry James, Mark Twain, Jack London, Edith Wharton, and James Weldon Johnson. Requirements include regular participation in class discussions, regular short reading responses, two formal essays, a midterm, and a final.
251 D THE AMERICAN NOVEL SINCE 1914. MWF 11 Group III or V
Critical study of selected American novels from 1914 to the present.
251 M THE AMERICAN NOVEL SINCE 1914, Doherty Mohr. TUTH 9:30-10:45 Group III or V
In this course, we will study physical and psychological dislocation in stories of migration and immigration, expatriation and alienation. We will discuss issues related to American identity, and examine the individual and social values that are exposed when dreams and reality collide. Our historical perspective will allow us to consider the influence of place on individual and cultural identity in an increasingly mobile and global society. Along the fissures and fractures of modern and postmodern life, we may find surprising, transcendent moments that make a difficult journey worthwhile. The reading list includes some of the most influential works of the twentieth century. We will read these works in dialogue with each other, and consider how they relate to the ideological shifts of this turbulent period. I will provide a historical, literary, and cultural context; you will contribute to a collaborative learning environment that includes both personal and critical responses to these works.
Requirements include leading class discussion, two critical essays, and two exams, as well as regular attendance and active participation in class and on Compass.
TEXTS: Willa Cather’s My Antonia (1918), Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises (1926), William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury (1929), Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath (1939), Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me, Ultima (1972), and Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake (2003).
255 SURVEY OF AMERICAN LIT I, Loughran. Lect: MW 11; Disc: F 11 & 12
The purpose of this course is to introduce you to American literature written before the Civil War and to assure that you have basic cultural literacy about terms, ideas, and events that will help you when you enroll in upper level literature courses. Our focus will be fourfold, encompassing specific literary forms, major literary movements, major historical events and problems, and finally the general history of intellectual ideas in this period. We will get at these problems by thinking broadly about “American culture” from 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 this 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 is a course that will thus introduce you not just to the basic facts of American cultural history but that will challenge you to theorize the very practice of “literary history”—which is, in fact, a very special kind of storytelling that we practice in English departments.
Along the way, our readings will range from the short to the long, from the conventional to the idiosyncratic, from commercial blockbusters to very big flops. The syllabus represents authors of different genders, classes, races, and regions, but the course is less devoted to giving equal representation to authors of different backgrounds than to thinking about how representation works to create conditions of inclusion and exclusion across American culture. The “canon” we call “American literature” only exists as a master narrative because of its tendency to include some and to exclude others. This produces an intellectual dilemma for surveyors like ourselves because we cannot reconstruct that which was never allowed to exist nor can any reader ever read everything a culture produces. We can’t fix this problem in an undergraduate survey class, but it is something I invite you to discuss and think about over the course of the semester.
Required texts will include the Norton Anthology of American Literature (Package One: Volumes A and B) and a course packet.
256 P & Q SURVEY OF AMERICAN LIT II, Freeburg. P: TUTH 11-12:15; Q: TUTH 12:30-1:45 Group III
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 William Carlos Williams 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 response papers.
260 AFRO-AMERICAN LITERATURE II, Deck. Lect: MW 12; Disc: F various times Group III or V
same as AFRO 260, CWL 260
This course surveys the essays, fiction, poetry and drama written by African Americans from about 1890 through 1980. We will discuss the Harlem Renaissance, the Great Depression, the decades of the 1940’s and 1950’s, the Black Arts Movement of the 1960’s, and Black Women’s literature of the 1970’s and early 1980’s.
Tentative list of required texts: The Norton Anthology of African American Literature, 2; Hagar’s Daughter by Pauline Hopkins; Black Thunder by Arna Bontemps; and Kindred by Octavia Butler
267 GRIMMS’ FAIRY TALES IN CONTEXT, Jenkins. Lect: MW 10; Disc: F various times
same as GER 250, CWL 250
The Grimms’ tales, the largest and most famous collection of literary folktales, are discussed along with other European tales; these are related to past and present storytelling forms from fable to film. Examination of some of the more common motifs in fairy tales as they relate to political, economic, social, cultural life in early modern and Enlightenment Europe. Focus on several different interpretive approaches to the tales and to literary/cultural products in general. All readings, discussion, and written work in English. Papers and final examination. Prerequisite: None. Satisfies the following requirements: LAS: Literature and the Arts, Western Culture; Campus: Literature and the Arts, Western Culture, Comp II. 3 hours.
268 THE HOLOCAUST IN CONTEXT. Lect: MW 10; Disc: F various times
same as GER 260, CWL 271
Jewish contributions to German Literature from 1200 to the present day. Includes trips to the University Library’s Rare Book Room. Contact the German Department for more information.
273 AMERICAN CINEMA SINCE 1950 Group III or V
same as CINE 273
English 273 Explores key issues in American cinema from 1950 to the present, structured around central problems of film studies (such as authorship, genre, narratology, film style, gender analysis, and the spectacle of violence), contextualizing them within moments of major transition in the American film industry. Viewing and discussion of a major film each week.
274 X LITERATURE AND SOCIETY, Ivy. MWF 12 Group V
TOPIC: Crime and Detective Fiction
From the classic drawing rooms of Agatha Christie mysteries to the mean streets of The Shield, from “locked room” mysteries to tales of international intrigue, stories that involve crime, mystery and detection take place in social space: they force us to ask questions about knowledge, identity, power, opportunity, conflict, privilege, alliance, order and disorder. These stories can serve to teach us new ways of reading, new ways of knowing, since the detective figure typically observes details, sifts through the available clues, and ultimately produces a reading of the situation that correctly identifies the central interpretive problem and solves it. On the other hand, detective fiction often depends for its success on our not knowing, not seeing, and may actually require us to suspend our critical and ideological faculties. This course will provide a historical survey of some important developments in modern crime fiction (starting with Poe) but it will also be an investigation into the relationship between the contained (and often very clearly delimited) spaces of the detective story and the larger social world whose problems it may reflect or help to define.
In addition to reading a selection of novels and short stories by writers such as Edgar Allen Poe, Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, John Dickson Carr, Raymond Chandler, Patricia Highsmith, Truman Capote, Ruth Rendell, Sara Paretsky, Walter Mosley, and others, we will also be looking at examples of film and television crime fiction and reading supplementary critical works. Requirements for the course include active participation, a number of short reading responses, participation in online discussion, two longer essays, a midterm and a final. You will also need to be available for several evening film screenings.
275 F AMER INDIANS AND FILM, Warrior. Lect: MW 2; Screening: F 2 Group III or V
same as AIS 275, CINE 275
We will consider the art of filmmaking as Native Americans have practiced it, especially over the past twenty-five years. By looking at various films written, directed and produced by Native people, we will work through various issues that arise both for those who work in this art form and for those who view the product of that work. Of special interest will be discussions of: the extent to which it is possible to talk about the development of an indigenous aesthetic; the role of documentaries and nonfiction films in the history of Native film; the role of commerce in the production of Native films; and, the possibility and/or usefulness of defining what makes Native American film Native American. Filmmakers whose work we will screen and discuss include James Young Deer, Sterlin Harjo, Beverly Singer, Arlene Bowman, Chris Eyre, Victor Masayesva, Jr., Shelley Niro, Zacharias Kunuk, Alanis Obomasawin, Sandy Osawa, Randy Redroad, and Blackhorse Lowe.
280 M WOMEN WRITERS, Bauer. TUTH 9:30-10:45 Group III or V
same as GWS 280
TOPIC: U.S. Women Writers 1910-2009
This course examines 20th-century US women’s writing in a variety of forms insofar as our emphasis will be on conceptions of cultural and literary style. We will focus on how literary works are simultaneously products of one author’s imagination and participate in a set of historical norms, shaped by the cultural anxieties to which the author, in turn, responds; at the same time, we will define the vision of gender animating these works.
Our primary focus will be twentieth- and twenty-first century women’s writing, starting in the 1910s and moving, decade by decade, into the present. This class will take a historical and cultural approach to US women’s writing, as well as illuminating various literary methodologies. The reading list includes canonical and noncanonical readings from various genres—poetry, memoir, romance, novel—in order to demonstrate both formal and thematic concerns in representative women’s texts. Some of the readings include works by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Meridel Le Sueur, Lillian Smith, Shirley Jackson, confessional poets, Marya Hornbacher, and Alison Bechdel.
281 E WOMEN IN THE LIT IMAGINATION, I. Baron. MWF 1 Group V
same as GWS 281
TOPIC: Chick Lit: Feminism and Postfeminism
In 1996, Bridget Jones’s Diary was published in the UK. In this comic best-seller based on Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Helen Fielding reprises the epistolary novel to relate her tales of singleton, Bridget Jones, as she battles bad hair days and badly behaved boyfriends in her small, cluttered flat in London. As we read the diary entries, we see just how difficult it is for Bridget to balance hardcore feminism with the ever-pressing demands on Cosmo culture such as searching for the perfect outfit, the perfect leg wax and the perfect husband. Yet under the comic veneer of Bridget’s personal musings, Fielding uncovers the glass ceiling that postmodern women encounter in a world of constantly shifting gender expectations where attaining CEO status must take second place to finding the right guy, having a large urban estate, and having the obligatory 2.5 children to grace them with the joys of motherhood.
In this course, we’ll explore the genesis of the Chick Lit novel and see why its trendy pink and purple dust jackets dominate the sales of women’s fiction in bookstores all the way from LA to Australia. Next, we’ll examine the two competing theories of feminism and postfeminism and discuss how they relate to women’s issues within the Chick Lit genre. We’ll concentrate on three major units in the course: body image and shopping, dating and working women, and marriage and maternity. Through our readings, we’ll focus on the subject of gender politics in England and America, examining why marriage and motherhood are so venerated in Anglo cultures despite the ever-rising divorce rate, and why for so many women, success in the boardroom is so often equated with failure at home and in the bedroom.
Students are expected to attend and actively participate in the class discussions. Written work includes two 6-8 page papers and one longer final paper. The fictional reading list may include: Bridget Jones’s Diary, Jemima J, Mr. Maybe, Confessions of a Shopaholic, Dating Big Bird, Animal Husbandry, Imaginary Men, The Nanny Diaries and I Don’t Know How She Does It. Students will also be expected to read pieces on cultural feminism and postfeminism.
285 P POSTCOLONIAL LIT IN ENGLISH, Byrd. TUTH 11-12:15 Group II or V
“The imaginary needs praise, as does every living thing,” Mvskoke Creek poet Joy Harjo writes in her poem, “A Postcolonial Tale.” Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak has also described colonialism as violence not only against lands and the physical body, but as a violation of the imagination in which the colonized are forced to reimagine their worlds through that of the colonizers. This class will examine how imagination functions as a site of violence and survival. Beginning with William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, we will trace how the literature of empire constructs the colonial Other within discursive representations and how postcolonial authors and critics have struggled to reimagine their worlds counter to the impositions of empire. Over the course of the semester, we will consider how writers who emerged out of mid-20th century decolonial struggles transform language, arrival, displacement, and indigeneity in their writings as a means to reframe and relocate power. Texts will include work by authors from India, the Caribbean, Africa, New Zealand, the United States, and Hawai‘i and over the course of the semester we will return to questions about what constitutes the “post” within postcolonial, which geographies and histories count as postcolonial, and how collaboration and resistance, cohabitation and exploitation, influence and appropriation collide creatively and provocatively to challenge the ordering of the globe into North and South.
300 D WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE, Barrett. MWF 10 Group V
TOPIC: Legends of Modern Fantasy
While the fantastic has been available to storytellers and writers for millenia, fantasy—as a distinct literary genre and publishing category—is perhaps less than a century old. In this course, we’ll focus on four of the most skilled practitioners of modern fantasy: Robert E. Howard, J. R. R. Tolkien, Ursula K. Le Guin, and China Miéville. Their impact on the genre has been immense: Howard invented sword and sorcery while writing for the pulps of the 1920s and 1930s, Tolkien’s Middle-earth became (for better or for worse) the template for mass-market fantasy worlds, Le Guin’s Earthsea gave women and people of color a place within the genre, and Miéville’s New Weird sensibility pervades the best of twenty-first-century fantasy. In our discussions of their works, we’ll trace fantasy’s emergence and development as a genre. We’ll also explore the narratives’ thematic connections, whether that means comparing Howard’s frequent (but not absolute) representation of women as objects with Le Guin’s interest in individual female subjects or reading Miéville’s novels as anti-pastoral commentaries on Tolkienian quest narratives.
Of course, since ENGL 300 is an Advanced Composition course, we’ll devote substantial time in and out of class to writing as well. On the one hand, we’ll concentrate on interpretative skills: the close reading of texts and the development of argumentative thesis statements. On the other hand, we’ll practice our research abilities, learning to locate, parse, and integrate secondary sources—whether we find those sources in print or online. We will go through these two processes both as individuals (outlining and drafting) and as members of communities (peer review and other forms of revision).
TEXTS: Robert E. Howard, The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian and The Conquering Sword of Conan; J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings; Ursula K. Le Guin, The Earthsea Quartet (A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore, and Tehanu); China Miéville, Perdido Street Station and The Scar; the Seventh Edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers; and a small number of short reading assignments to be provided in handout form.
300 X WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE, Wood. MWF 12 Group V
TOPIC: Lyric Poetry from Shakespeare to Stevens
Lyric poetry, as the signature genre of the “inner life,” has been the expressive vehicle for almost every nameable emotional state: desire and delight, jealousy and fear of death, the experience of consciousness, and the encounter with the social and natural worlds. Lyric poems are also intricate constructs of verbal art designed to resist easy understanding and challenge our most comfortable perceptions. Therefore, they require particular skills in reading. This course focuses on close analysis of lyric poems from four significant periods in the British and American canons: the Elizabethans, Metaphysicals, Romantic poets, and Modern American poetry, 1850-1950. The emphasis of the class will be on poetics, and on formal strategies for producing the richest possible interpretation of individual poems. Scansion, memorization, and recitation feature among the requirements of this course, along with the usual quota of papers and exams. 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 E WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE, Loughran. MWF 1 Group III or V
TOPIC: Past/Present: Violence and Cultural Memory in America
How do we remember and forget parts of our collective past, and what role does literature play in witnessing such events for readers living in subsequent decades and centuries? This course will think about violence and cultural memory in the US, with special emphasis on the historical and collective experiences of colonization, slavery, and civil war in the nineteenth century and their ongoing effects across time. Within this frame, we will be especially interested in thinking about how certain literary forms—like autobiography, lyric poetry, and certain special kinds of narrative emplotment—help to connect the past to the present. To do this, we will explore core critical readings on cultural trauma and memory ranging from Freud’s major work on memory to more recent revisions by the likes of Judith Herman, Dori Laub, Wendy Brown, Judith Butler, and Jonathan Lear. Primary literary texts are likely to include Plenty-coups: Chief of the Crows, Frederick Douglass’ Narrative of the Life of an American Slave, Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno, Walt Whitman’s war poetry and memoirs, and W.E.B. Du Bois’s Souls of Black Folk, as well as more contemporary reconsiderations of the core historical events that structure our reading—including, for example, Toni Morrison’s Beloved. Students will work with a range of genres and materials (including criticism, historiography, poems, novels, stories, engravings, photographs, and film), and though the course will serve as an introduction of sorts to a special kind of discourse called “trauma theory,” students do not need to have a background in either critical theory or history to take the course. Part of our goal will be to learn how to read and use theory to help us think and write about the literature we read, no matter our skill level or background. Emphasis will be on generating arguments and ideas, and all papers will be workshopped. 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 M WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE, Michelson. TUTH 9:30-10:45 Group IV
TOPIC: The Worlds of Mark Twain
In American literary history, no other “major author” covers more ground than Samuel Clemens. Journeyman printer, steamboat pilot, soldier, gold-rush prospector, Wild West reporter and journalist, traveling stand-up comic, pioneering tourist and travel writer, novelist, playwright, inventor, investor, publisher, international celebrity, moral pundit, first-magnitude realist, die-hard romantic—as Mark Twain, Clemens traveled the world, befriending and learning from a Who’s Who of the later nineteenth century. Writing masterpieces and pot-boilers, chasing trends and fads and roving alone into new imaginative territory, his interests were as broad and turbulent as his aspirations. A course in Mark Twain must be a course in an exciting era, and not a claustrophobic reading of a series of texts. Following Sam Clemens through an enormous and dynamic cultural landscape, we will try to see this world through his eyes, while we speculate on his continuing popularity, and his relevance to our own moment.
Because the story of Mark Twain’s life has become a Great American Novel in its own right, we will read and discuss a biography, as well as many works from the 50-year career. We will also sample the work of his friends and rivals on the literary scenes of the later nineteenth century. 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.
TEXTS: will include Mark Twain: Collected Tales, Sketches, Speeches, and Essays, Volume 1: 1852-1890 (Library of America), Collected Tales, Sketches, Speeches and Essays, Volume 2: 1891-1910 (Library of America), Roughing It, Signet Classics Paperback, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Norton Critical), A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (Norton Critical), Pudd’nhead Wilson and Those Extraordinary Twins (Norton Critical), The Mysterious Stranger Manuscripts, ed. William Gibson (California); H. Rider Haggard, Three Adventure Novels (Dover paperback); William Dean Howells, Indian Summer (NYRB paperback)
300 P WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE, M. Camargo. TUTH 11-12:15 Group V
TOPIC: The Literature of Purgatory
Unlike Heaven and Hell, Purgatory was a creation of the medieval imagination. The word “Purgatory” was first used in the late twelfth century, and the official church doctrine on its existence, nature, and function was still developing less than fifty years before Dante devoted the second part of his Divine Comedy to this “third place.” As Dante envisioned it, Purgatory has a special relationship with literary art: Dante and his guide Virgil meet more poets and talk more about poetry in the Purgatorio than in the Inferno or the Paradiso; and that relationship has continued to the present day. We will follow the literary fortunes of Purgatory in early works ranging from Dante’s Purgatorio (ca. 1319) through the Gawain-Poet’s Pearl (late fourteenth century) to Shakespeare’s Hamlet, before turning to modern and contemporary “purgatorial” works by T. S. Eliot (The Waste Land), Samuel Beckett (Waiting for Godot), Seamus Heaney (Station Island), and Paul Auster (The Brooklyn Follies). Course work will emphasize critical writing, including responses to discussion questions on each of the readings and three papers focused on historical research, close reading, and comparative analysis, respectively. The paper that focuses on historical research also will be delivered as an oral presentation. One of the three papers will be revised and expanded into a research paper that serves as the final examination. 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 LITERATURE, Doherty Mohr. TUTH 12:30-1:45 Group III or V
TOPIC: Modernist American Literature
In this course, we will explore various manifestations of American literary modernism in fiction, essays, and poetry. We will address a variety of social influences, including World War I, the “Lost Generation,” increasing opportunities for women, regionalism, urbanization, and the Harlem Renaissance. Our discussions will focus on the self in relation to society, the nation, and the world. To this end, we will consider the representation of psychological states, alienation, dislocation, and a desire for relationship and community across constructed borders.
We will begin by studying the impact of World War I, focusing on Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, and Willa Cather’s One of Ours. We will also explore modernist poetry related to war, such as T.S. Eliot’s “The Hollow Men” and H.D.’s The Walls Do Not Fall. To consider experimentation with poetic form along with social themes, we will read several works by E.E. Cummings, Wallace Stevens, and Mina Loy. The section on regional modernism will include selections from Robert Frost, and William Faulkner’s “Barn Burning.” Finally, to explore the Harlem Renaissance, we will analyze essays by Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, and discuss Nella Larsen’s Passing. Close readings of these texts will develop critical skills and provide inspiration.
Assignments will develop from the writing process: creating questions, finding answers, supporting a thesis, outlining, drafting, providing peer reviews, and pursuing opportunities for revision.
Requirements will include weekly Compass responses, class participation, a midterm, and three essays. 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.
TEXTS: Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises; Willa Cather’s One of Ours; Nella Larsen’s Passing. Poetry and essays will be made available in a course book. Texts and resources related to writing about literature will be recommended in class and available at the campus bookstores and/or through approved websites.
300 S WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE, S. Camargo. TUTH 2-3:15 Group V
TOPIC: Remade in America: Foreign Films in Hollywood Hands
This section of English 300 is designed to offer students interested in film a chance to investigate the commercial and artistic roles that foreign films play in the U.S. filmscape. In addition to studying, applying, and refining the formal elements of the various genres of writing about film (reviews, analytical essays, production histories), we will examine the sorts of challenges that foreign films pose for spectators and for filmmakers. Viewing and discussing films from a range of national traditions and periods and then studying their American remakes will also help us to understand the values and practices of Hollywood’s corporate culture.
Evaluated work will included 25–30 pages of formal writing, some of which will involve small-group work and oral presentations. While helpful, previous experience in film analysis is not essential. 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, Parker. MWF 10
“How to Interpret Literature: An Introduction to Contemporary Critical Theory.” 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.) 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, and reader response. This course prepares students for future literature classes, and more to the point, it helps us understand and question the entire project of critical thinking and reading. Requirements: attendance (which is crucial), probably two papers and several tests. Class time will focus on discussion and more discussion and more discussion, not on lecture. Readings: a modest selection of literary texts and individual works of criticism and theory as well as R. D. Parker, How to Interpret Literature: Critical Theory for Literary and Cultural Studies (2008). 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 X CRITICAL APPROACHES TO LIT, Hansen. MWF 12
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.
301 M CRITICAL APPROACHES TO LIT, Thompson. TUTH 9:30-10:45
This course shall introduce students to a wide array of contemporary critical models for the analysis of literature; it shall do so slowly, clearly, and with examples from literature. But why? Why do it? You’ve said it to yourself before: I read the book, so I know what it means. During the course of the semester we shall learn how to read all over again in a new and improved way; we shall find out what we mean when we say we “deconstructed” something, or when a friend at a football game suggests that there is something seemingly irrevocable yet endlessly contingent at the basis of historical events, narrative frames and desiring machines. Literary theory: it’s not for the faint of heart. 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, Rothberg. TUTH 2-3:15
This course will seek to change the way you think about literature—and about culture in general—by introducing you to the world of literary and cultural theory. We will survey a number of the innovations in critical thinking from the last two centuries and apply them to the analysis of selected literary and cultural texts. Some of the varied questions we will attempt to answer are: What is literature and is literary language different from everyday language? What is an author? How is meaning produced and how does interpretation work? What is the relationship between literature and history? Literature and politics? Literature and sexuality? Why do so many literary critics today talk about issues like race and colonialism? What does the unconscious have to do with literature? How can we apply our training in literary criticism to the analysis of visual culture? In seeking answers to these questions and others, we will consider critical movements such as New Criticism, structuralism, psychoanalysis, Marxism, deconstruction, New Historicism, cultural studies, feminism, queer theory, and postcolonial studies. Literary texts to which we will apply these theories will probably include: Henry James, The Turn of the Screw and selected poetry. A final paper will consider Michael Haneke’s 2005 film Caché (Hidden). Requirements include: a willingness to work through difficult and unfamiliar material, regular class participation and short written responses, three papers, and two exams. 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.
325 S TOPICS IN LGBT LIT AND FILM, Somerville. TUTH 2-3:15 Group III or V
TOPIC: Queer Approaches to African-American Literature
“The sexual question and the racial question have always been entwined, you know.” –- James Baldwin
What happens when we put sexuality and gender, along with race, at the center of our study of African American literature? This course will explore a range of poetry, short stories, novels, and autobiographies by various African American writers (some of whom identified as “lesbian” or “gay,” but many of whom did not). Central to our project will be methods developed in the emerging field of “black queer studies,” which has both drawn from and challenged prevailing assumptions of African American and queer literary studies. How have these writers resisted, reinforced, contested, or appropriated normative cultural constructions of sexuality, race, and desire? What literary strategies have these writers used to respond to sexual norms and stereotypes that have historically been produced (and policed) by systems of slavery, segregation, and racialized violence? To what extent have these African American writers developed specific literary forms to express and imagine alternative models of sexual identity and culture? How might black queer approaches revise our understanding of key moments and models in African American literary study, such as the Harlem Renaissance, the Black Arts Movement, or the Black Atlantic?
We will read works by the following writers: Pauline Hopkins, Nella Larsen, Claude McKay, Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, James Weldon Johnson, Countee Cullen, Jean Toomer, James Baldwin, Lorraine Hansberry, Audre Lorde, June Jordan, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, Samuel Delany, Essex Hemphill, and Thomas Glave. Requirements include several short papers, a class presentation, a midterm exam, and a final exam.
359 N LIT RESPONSES TO THE HOLOCAUST, Hartnett. TUTH 10-11:20 Group V
same as YDSH 320, CWL 320, RLST 320
Literary Responses to the Holocaust examines literature from various authors and countries that address the Nazi genocide. These books will be read and discussed in the context of theories of Holocaust representation, aspects of Holocaust history, and visual arts that attempt to represent the Holocaust. Books include Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America, Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, Charlotte Delbo’s Days and Memory, and other works. This will be a discussion based course and students will be encouraged both to actively participate and to write creatively if they wish.
373 P SPECIAL TOPICS IN FILM STUDIES, Somerville. TUTH 11-12:50 Group V
same as CINE 373
TOPIC: Sexuality and Cinema in the U.S.
Sexuality and cinema have been intertwined from the late nineteenth century to the present, not only through the erotics of the on-screen image, but also through the politics of sexuality in the production and reception of films. Through theoretical and historical readings, this course will consider a range of topics, including theories of spectatorship, theories of desire and fantasy, censorship, intersectional approaches to race and sexuality, the emergence of lesbian and gay identities, the politics of pornography, and queer approaches to cinema, among others. Weekly screenings will include films from a range of historical periods, genres, and production contexts, primarily (but not exclusively) in the U.S.
373 R SPECIAL TOPICS IN FILM STUDIES, Curry. TUTH 1-2:50 Group V
same as CINE 373
TOPIC: Magical Empire: The Disney Phenomenon from Cultural, Artistic and Global Economic Perspectives
Over the 80-plus years of its existence, “Disney” has become a household word not just in the U.S. but also internationally, particularly in recent decades through the global marketing of videos and extension of Disney theme parks abroad. This film/ popular culture topics course will critically explore the distinctive contributions and widespread impact of “Disney” from multiple perspectives: as an artistic and narrative style; an American biography; a key component of media and entertainment industry; a factor in shaping American childhood and social values; an expansionary business model; and a crucial site at which to study textual representation of race, gender, and familial relations. We will examine the representational emphases and cultural, economic and political impact of Disney productions, from early cartoons, animated features, and live-action films to the corporation’s ownership and development of television, video games, and theme parks and model communities. We will also briefly consider models to the Disney corporation, e.g., Dreamworks, and U.S. marketing of Japanese manga and anime (e.g., work from Studio Ghibli).
The central goal is for students to come to know and master critical, historical and theoretical approaches to understanding the global appeal and force of 20th-21st century media and popular cultural forms, with Disney serving as our case study. The course requires extensive reading (two books, a substantial course reader of articles), viewing (some outside class time) and writing. Specifically, each student will present several short responses/field reports, craft two formal synopses of selected readings, and research and write a critical essay (for which an appropriate creative project may substitute, with instructor permission), as well as take a final exam over key points in the materials at the timetable scheduled time in December.
Please note that this course places great emphasis on critical reading, discussion and writing. Note specifically (as the course title “Magical Empire” implies) that it requires students to grapple with some essays and videos that express far-reaching objections to the Disney company’s productions and practices. From past experience in teaching the course, I expect that participants will enjoy as well as learn a lot from the materials under study (many of which certainly show appreciation for Disney) and from each other. However, this course is NOT designed for committed Disney fans who want mostly to review their favorite films and characters and are disinclined to give serious consideration to negative responses to Disney, nor for anyone who would really rather not carefully analyze the “Disney phenomenon.”
Prerequisite: sophomore standing or higher, at least one prior college course in cinema, literature or communication studies, or instructor permission.
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 Maureen Airsman in EB200 for more information about the program, or to register for a seminar.
396 D HONORS SEMINAR I, Goodlad. W 11-1250 Group II or V
TOPIC: Novels Without Borders
This honors seminar explores transnational British literature derived mainly from the nineteenth century, but includes one present-day work for comparison and contrast. By way of accounting for the seeming tension between “transnational” and “British” literature, students will familiarize themselves with recent critical developments in areas such as postcolonial theory, cosmopolitan political theory, and black Atlantic studies. Readings will include British/Atlantic novels such as The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African Written by Himself (1792), Mary Seacole’s Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands (1857), and Wilkie Collins’s Miss Or Mrs? (1871). For contemporary contrast we will read The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing (2006) by M. T. Anderson as a reply to these classic Atlantic works. The second part of the syllabus will focus on imperial and European contexts including Anthony Trollope’s “George Walker at Suez” (1861), Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone (1868), and selections from Vernon Lee’s Hauntings (1890)
396 R HONORS SEMINAR I, Trilling. TH 1-2:50 Group I or V
TOPIC: Monsters and Others in Medieval Literature
Monsters abound in medieval literature just as they do today, and stories of heroes slaying dragons or fighting zombies enliven the narratives of even the earliest vernacular writers. But monsters also play an important role in helping to shape community identities—to indicate to readers what counts as human, how to recognize the others in our midst, and where and why to enforce boundaries between “us” and “them.” In this seminar, we will explore how medieval texts use monsters to help police the boundaries of community identity. Through a range of literary works from Britain, Ireland, and the continent, read in tandem with some theoretical conceptions of monstrosity and identity, we will think about definitions of individual subjectivity, the fear of alterity as the basis for identity, and the abjection of the monstrous within.
Readings (all in translation) could include Beowulf, selections from the Tain, The Letter of Alexander to Aristotle, The Wonders of the East, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, selections from the Arthurian section of the History of the Kings of Britain, the Morte d’Arthur, and a range of literature about the Crusades. Students will be responsible for regular attendance and preparedness, in-class presentations on secondary material, and a substantial research project that will occupy the second half of the course.
398 P1 HONORS SEMINAR III, Nazar. TH 11-12:50 Group IV
TOPIC: Jane Austen and Mary Wollstonecraft
This course brings into focus the work of two of the most important women writers of the Romantic period—the canonical British novelist, Jane Austen, and the pioneering feminist intellectual and novelist, Mary Wollstonecraft. While the lives of the decorous Austen and the unconventional Wollstonecraft could not have been more different, their writings reveal a striking consensus on matters ranging from women’s education to the centrality of justice as a moral and political norm. This course explores their similarities and differences in an effort to understand how liberal and conservative political platforms were delineated during the Romantic period, and what kind of role literature played in these articulations. Readings include Wollstonecraft’s two Vindications and such fictional works as Mary and The Wrongs of Woman, and such novels by Jane Austen as Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Persuasion.
398 P2 HONORS SEMINAR II, Valente. TU 11-12:50 Group IV
TOPIC: James Joyce and the Irish Condition
Until the last seven or eight years James Joyce was read primarily as a cosmopolitan European modernist, as befit his nomadic traversing of the continent (from Padua to Trieste to Rome to Zurich to Trieste again to Paris) and his analogous mobility of aesthetic and stylistic affiliation (from naturalism to realism to impressionism to surrealism to expressionism to the sui generis experimentalism of Finnegans Wake. But the still point in all of this sometimes chaotic stir was the locale of his fictions, the Irish capital, Dublin. And what has become increasingly legible is that the primary concerns of his work are those social and cultural issues current in the Dublin of his time, including questions of ethnic difference, nationalism, and the literary movement which articulated the two most conspicuously, the Irish Renaissance. Our course will take up several of Joyce’s major texts—Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Ulysses, and a selection from Finnegans Wake—to see how they address the Irish question, to what effect, and how that vaunted stylistic versatility may be seen as advancing an ethno-national agenda.
401 1U/1G INTRO TO STUDY OF ENGL LANG, D. Baron. MW 11-12:15
Everything you always wanted to know about the English language but were afraid to ask, this course is an introduction to English linguistics. Topics include the nature of language; how we acquire our first language; the sounds, structures, and meanings of English; the nature of conversation and other forms of scripted and unscripted speech; the relationship of speech to writing; language change; linguistic variety and the development of language standards; the language scene in the US today; English and Englishes around the globe; the nature of literary language; and linguistic stylistics.
Note: no previous study of grammar or linguistics is required for this course (but students with such experience are welcome!)
402 1U/1G DESCRIPTIVE ENGLISH GRAMMAR, D. Baron. MW 9:30-10:45
same as BTW 402
In this course 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.
Attendance: This is a discussion course. Your presence is essential, as is your participation: without both of these elements, as Capt. Renault says to Rick in Casablanca, you will find the conversation a trifle one-sided. Worse than that, excessive absence and poor preparation will affect your final grade.
Assignments: there will be a midterm quiz, a final paper, and a final exam. In addition, each student will sign up for a turn to be part of a “class expert” team. The class expert team will give a brief (ten minute) introduction to the topic of the day (expert days are marked with an asterisk in the syllabus) and ask both factual and open-ended questions to start off the discussion.
The course syllabus, all handouts, and study guides will be posted on the class website: http://www.english.uiuc.edu/-people-/faculty/debaron/402/402.htm
TEXT: Curzan, Anne, and Michael Adams. 2006. How English Works: A Linguistic Introduction. New York: Pearson.
403 1U/1G HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH LANG, C. Wright. MW 12:30-1:45 Group V
This class will examine the English language in its historical development from the earliest attested stages to its current spoken and written forms in the United States, the British Isles, and across the world. We will also learn basic linguistic concepts and descriptive terminology in order to understand English as a manifestation of the principles of human language. We will be considering questions such as these: What are the essential features common to all human languages? To which other languages is English related, and how? When did “English” originate, and how have the language and its literary manifestations changed and developed from (for example) the original Old English of Beowulf to the language of Seamus Heaney’s recent translation of Beowulf? How do lexicographers determine the meanings and reconstruct the histories of English words? What are the distinctive varieties and dialects of modern spoken English? What is your own dialect, and what are its characteristic features? What is “standard English,” and what are the social implications and ideological investments of such a construct?
404 D3/D4 ENGLISH GRAMMAR FOR ESL TEACHERS, Davidson. MWF 2 same a 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. Contact the EIL office for more information.
411 1U/1G CHAUCER, Barrett. TUTH 2-3:15
same as MDVL 411
Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales explore many serious issues: the frightening power of love to turn the world upside-down, the need for women to have a voice of their own, the imminent obsolescence of chivalry, the corrosive force of emergent capital, and the role of faith in an age of heresy and corruption. Of course, the Tales also address such pressing questions as how to get one’s reluctant lover in the sack, how to separate credulous parishioners from their cash, and how to divide a single fart equally among twelve greedy friars. Chaucer’s Tales are a mixture of low comedy and high intent, and this class will serve as a useful introduction to the unfinished masterpiece of this brilliant writer. The course will also present students with the fascinating world of late fourteenth-century England, a society struggling to recover from the demographic disaster that was the Black Death.
ENGL 411 assumes that students have no prior experience in reading Middle English (or in speaking it—something we’ll be sure to practice). We’ll therefore begin by looking at several of Chaucer’s short lyrics, texts that can teach Middle English even as they introduce us to the core concepts animating Chaucer’s poetry. Then we’ll move on to the Tales proper, doing our best to work as many of them into the schedule as we can. Students will be asked to write a few short methods-based assignments as well as a longer term paper (which will combine research into Chaucer’s cultural and historical milieu with a close reading of his poetry). Finally, there will be a mid-term exam (testing your ability to comprehend Middle English) and a final exam (testing your comprehension of the ideas and issues discussed over the course of the semester).
418 1U/1G SHAKESPEARE I, Gray. TUTH 9:30-10:45
This course aims to introduce you to Shakespeare’s early plays, from The Taming of the Shrew to Richard III. We will explore Shakespeare’s growing versatility in range of dramatic genres-comedy, history, and tragedy-and investigate the development of his poetic skill, focusing on language alongside plot and character. We will think about his plays both as historical artifacts produced within a specific context and as living texts that continue to be performed today. The course will therefore intertwine multiple methods for analyzing these texts: we will engage in close reading of Shakespeare’s dramatic verse (which is, after all, poetry); analyze historical background and contemporary critical articles (to situate Shakespeare both within his historical time period and within present day critical debates); and perform key scenes. Throughout, we will focus on the way Shakespeare’s plays foreground the theme of acting and performance in order to explore the overlapping issues of identity and disguise, gender hierarchy and social order, political power and nation-formation.
418 2U/2G SHAKESPEARE I, Cole. TUTH 9:30-10:45
The first half of Shakespeare’s career is examined through careful readings of ten plays, each selected for the new things it tells us concerning his changing interests and developing dramatic skills. Discussion centers on the plays themselves, of course, but it also attempts to relate the plays to one another and to the time in which they were written. The first five weeks, for example, deal with three early plays—the tragedy of Romeo And Juliet, the comedy of Love’s Labor’s Lost, and the history of Richard III—as promises of greater things to come. The next twelve sessions are devoted to tracing the greater historical things—Richard II, I and 2 Henry IV, and Henry V—and during the closing weeks we shall watch LLL turning into the brilliant high comedies of Much Ado, As You Like It, and Twelfth Night. A sixth-week exam covers the first three plays, a paper on Henry V is due the eleventh or twelfth week, and the final exam covers only the last seven plays.
TEXT: The Riverside Shakespeare, G.B. Evans, ed.
418 3U/3G SHAKESPEARE I, Neely. TUTU 11-12:15
The propose of this course is to enable you to read, see, think about, discuss, and write about Shakespeare with increasing skill, resourcefulness, knowledge, and, especially, pleasure. We will read some sonnets and 6-7 plays written in the first half of Shakespeare's career (comedies, tragedies, and histories), plays such as Titus Andronicus, the Merchant of Venice, and Henry IV, part I. We will explore the plays as intricate verbal artworks, as cultural and historical documents, as scripts for performance, and as ideological elements in our culture today. We will read critical essays and period documents, see video clips and enjoy in-class performances in order to explore how Shakespeare represents identity and transformation, courtship and marriage, gender, class and racial/ethnic others, violence and nation-building. Several short analytic assignments, quizzes, a longer paper, a midterm and final and an in-class performance will be required.
TEXTS: The Norton Shakespeare, ed. Stephen Greenblatt et al, or any other reliable modern edition of Shakespeare’s complete works with introductions, notes, and glosses; Bedford Edition of The Taming of the Shrew, ed. Frances Dolan; Readings Packet.
421 1U/1G LATER RENAISS POETRY AND PROSE, Gray. TUTH 11-12:15 Group I
Most literary historians like to claim their period as a turning point, but scholars of seventeenth-century Britain have an edge: in 1649, the English Parliament took the unprecedented step of trying their King for treason and then subjecting him to public execution. This course will introduce you to the generic experiments and formal innovations of some of the most important authors of the period 1600-1670, such as John Donne, Aemilia Lanyer, Ben Jonson, Margaret Cavendish, Andrew Marvell, and John Milton. As we read these authors’ poetry and prose, we will work to establish some of the historically-specific ideas about religion, politics, and gender that dominated early in the seventeenth century—and then watch as these ideas mutate in the context of war violence and revolutionary debate.
427 1U/1G LATER 18TH C LITERATURE, Wilcox. MWF 1 Group I
Later eighteenth-century British literature presents a very twenty-first century problem: How do you tell identify literary excellence and representative literary texts when new media are blurring the boundaries between pop culture and high art? To answer this question, we will delve deep into the literary archives of this period and bring forth its undiscovered treasures. The first third of the course will build your skills in reading and comprehending eighteenth-century writing and introduce you to some of its guiding issues and themes. Then, with the instructor’s guidance, you and your classmates will determine which aspects of this literary period most warrant your attention, from its preoccupation with pirates to its arguments about slavery, from its explorations of madness to its bawdy sense of humor, from its depictions of the peasant’s hearth to its travels in the outer reaches of the British colonies. Out of these informed decisions and forays into online full-text databases of eighteenth century literature, the class will select and learn readings that convey the breadth of this period while addressing key themes in greater depth.
By the end of the semester you will be able to read a wide variety of late eighteenth-century texts with comprehension, insight, and enjoyment; you will have a stake in the ongoing debate about how these texts fit into narratives of British literary development; and you will have first-hand knowledge of how scholarly research creates a teachable order out of the chaos of literary history. Course requirements will include participating on the course blog, teaching one class session on your research, an array of writing assignments of varying depth and complexity, and a take-home final exam.
428 1U/1G BRITISH DRAMA 1660-1800, Markley. TUTH 12:30-1:45 Group I or V
This course will cover some of the major works in British drama written between 1660 and 1777. 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 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 of Restoration period (1660-1700) featured the popular and critical success of a number of women dramatists—Aphra Behn, Susan Centlivre, Mary Pix, and Catherine Trotter—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, John Dryden, William Wycherley, Thomas Otway, Thomas Shadwell, William Congreve, John Gay, and Richard Brinsley Sheridan.
435 1U/1G 19TH C BRITISH FICTION, Courtemanche. MWF 12 Group II or V
In the 19th century, British writers took the newly-popular form of the novel and vastly expanded its ambitions, adding cliffhangers, complex moral dilemmas, subtle wit, metaphysical reflections on history, and biting social critique. Many of the novels we’ll be reading are based on a combination of the romance plot (in which a happy marriage solves other problems) and the Bildungsroman plot (in which a young person achieves his or her desires by struggling against a cruel world), but they also play with these generic expectations, leading to sudden new perspectives and surprising twists. Readings will include Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist, William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, short stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, and several critical essays. These novels are tremendously fun to read, but also very long, so be prepared for a great deal of reading. The course will require one close-reading paper, one research paper, a midterm and final, weekly written assignments, and active class participation.
441 1U/1G BRITISH LIT 1900-1930, Mahaffey. TUTH 12:30-1:45 Group II
Modernism presented many different faces in the British Isles. In this course, we will read not only “high” modernist works (by Yeats, Joyce, and Woolf, and Eliot), but also some of the more immediately accessible productions by Lawrence, Rhys, Sylvia Townsend Warner, Forster, the World War I poets, and Elizabeth Bowen. Requirements include one short paper, to be presented orally, a research project that involves investigating modernist journals such as the two edited by Ford Maddox Ford, and examinations.
449 1U/1G AMERICAN LIT 1820-1865, Chai. TUTH 11-12:15 Group III
Some attention to the early Republic, but the main emphasis of this course will be on the American Renaissance. Rather than just survey the standard stuff, however, we’ll explore some less familiar but equally important territory. So we’ll begin with one of Poe’s last and best tales, which is all about the ways we avoid self-knowledge: “The Black Cat.” Next we’ll turn to Hawthorne’s Blithedale Romance, a controversial, explosive treatment of the relationship between the sexes and the psychology of the voyeur. In the decade before the Civil War, slavery is unquestionably the most important issue. But we haven’t yet fully appreciated the radically subversive take on it that emerges from Melville’s “Benito Cereno.” Rather than just portray its evil, Melville gets into what gives it its fascination, which is the real source of its persistent presence in the mid-century scene. Likewise for Frederick Douglass in My Bondage and My Freedom, a later, more mature version of the Narrative of the Life of an American Slave. Slavery deserves to be seen from a female perspective as well. In Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Harriet Jacobs shows that the most dangerous predicament for a female slave comes from emotional involvement with her master. Finally we’ll read an immensely popular bestseller of the period: Maria Cummins’s The Lamplighter. Its study of parent-child relationships, personal origins, and secular religion points to some of the deepest concerns of the decade before the Civil War. In all these texts what we find is a growing awareness of intersubjectivity, the dynamics of that tricky but necessary process by which we get to know each other, which is perhaps the crucial discovery made by the literature of the period.
TEXTS: Poe, selected tales; Hawthorne, The Blithedale Romance; Melville, Bartleby and Benito Cereno; Douglass, My Bondage and My Freedom; Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl; Cummins, The Lamplighter
451 1U/1G AMERICAN LIT 1914-1945, Parker. MWF 1 Group III
This course will sample American poetry and fiction from between the world wars, closely studying a set of individual texts and their roles in literary and cultural tradition. Along the way, we will ponder literary responses to changing gender and race relations, to World War I, the roaring twenties, and the Great Depression. We will also consider the growth of modernism and its revolutions in literary form and 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 famous familiar figures of modern American literature—T. S. Eliot (a selection of poems), Ernest Hemingway (probably short stories), and William Faulkner (possibly Light in August)—as well as 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, Tom Kromer’s Waiting for Nothing, and probably a play, perhaps Ben Hecht and Charles MacCarthur’s The Front Page. (None of these writers or titles is finally decided on, and the list is not complete, but it gives a picture of the course-plan in progress.) Take this course only if you plan to attend class regularly and join actively in class discussion. If you don’t want to speak in class, then take another course. Writing requirements will probably include several papers and a final exam.
455 1U/1G MAJOR AUTHORS, Mohr TUTH 11-12:15 Group IV
TOPIC: Willa Cather
In this course, we will read the major works of Willa Cather, including her well-known novels, O Pioneers! and My Antonia, as well as less familiar but equally important works, such as The Song of the Lark and the Pulitzer Prize-winning One of Ours. Although Cather’s works are associated with the Great Plains, her fictional settings include urban and provincial locales from the southwestern to the northeastern United States. With this in mind, we will consider the intertwining influences of regionalism and cosmopolitanism on her work. We will also explore the significance of different aspects of identity—regional, national, racial, and sexual—to her characterization of settlers and wayfarers of all stripes—immigrants and migrants, farmers and artists, professors and soldiers, in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries.
Requirements include active participation in class discussions, Compass responses, three critical essays, two response papers, and a final take-home exam.
TEXTS: Willa Cather’s Collected Stories, Alexander’s Bridge (1912), O Pioneers! (1913), The Song of the Lark (1915), My Ántonia (1918), One of Ours (1922), The Professor’s House (1925), and Death Comes for the Archbishop (1927). Additional critical readings will be assigned.
455 2U/2G MAJOR AUTHORS, Deck. TUTH 2-3:15 Group IV
TOPIC: Alice Walker and Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison and Alice Walker spear headed the second American Renaissance of Black women writers that began in 1970. Their fiction and essays focus on reclaiming African American history and culture for the black community itself. Toni Morrison’s work is set primarily in the upper Midwest and Alice Walker’s novels are set primarily in the rural south. Yet they each draw on the ideology and aesthetics of African American blues to construct their respective narratives of black life in the United States. In this class we will spend the first week discussing the origins, lyrics and music of the blues that was produced and performed between 1900 and 1929. The remaining weeks will be spent examining traces of the blues in the Morrison and Walker imaginary as evident in the following texts: Morrison, The Bluest Eye, Sula and Song of Solomon; Walker, The Third Life of Grange Copeland, Meridian and The Color Purple. Additional readings will include essays and interviews by each author as well as cultural studies of American blues music. Assignments will include weekly reading responses, two medium-length essays, and a final exam.
455 3U/3G MAJOR AUTHORS, T. Newcomb. TU (film screening); 2:30-5:20; TH 2:30-4:20 Group IV
TOPIC: Taking Aim at Hollywood: John Sayles and Oliver Stone
This Major Authors class examines the careers of two baby-boomer directors who have challenged the Hollywood establishment to create some of the crucial works of American cinema of the past 25 years. One makes films that are quiet, thoughtful, understated, and modestly budgeted; the other makes loud, chaotic, violent, and expensive films. One works comfortably outside the Hollywood money system, the other constantly tests its limits. Although both are firmly on the political left, one’s politics are pragmatic and humane, while the other’s often seem wildly idealistic yet also prone to paranoid cyncism. Despite their many differences, both demonstrate a rare ability, arguably unmatched by any other American director, to use narrative film to develop critical perspectives on complex historical and political issues. We’ll alternate films of Sayles and Stone throughout the semester, seeking to discover the benefits and limitations of each one’s approach to politically engaged auteurist filmmaking. I expect to screen these films, among others: Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, JFK, Nixon (Stone); and The Return of the Secaucas Seven, Matewan, Eight Men Out, Lone Star, and Sunshine State (Sayles). If you don’t see your favorite on this list, you will be able to write essays on films we don’t have time to screen in class.
Each week the class is scheduled to meet for a two-hour discussion session and a mandatory two-hour screening. However, because some films we screen last longer than two hours, you will need to stay past the stated end time in some weeks. In terms of written work, you should anticipate quizzes, short written responses, one oral presentation, three formal essays, and a final exam.
455 4U/4G MAJOR AUTHORS, Underwood. MWF 11 Group IV
TOPIC: Coleridge and Wordsworths
The collaboration between S. T. Coleridge and William Wordsworth was founded on a famously intense friendship. Their first extended conversation impressed Wordsworth so strongly that he immediately moved to live near Coleridge; together they walked the Quantock Hills and planned a book (Lyrical Ballads) that would make supernatural events seem real, while giving “the charm of novelty to things of every day.” Both men, in turn, relied on the sharply-observed journals of William’s sister, Dorothy. This course will explore the works of all three writers, focusing on a darker, uncanny aspect of their sensibility that is revealed most fully in longer works like Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” and Wordsworth’s Prelude. In these writers, things that seem solid and timeless almost always turn out to be drifting, changing with a motion the eye can barely capture. Their lives and friendships can be viewed in a similar way: what looks from a distance like a rural idyll may turn out, on closer inspection, to be a story about travel, continent-spanning war, and restless ambition.
455 A3/A4 MAJOR AUTHORS, Hartnett. TUTH 2-3:20 Group IV
meets with CWL 461
TOPIC: J.M. Coetzee
The Nobel Prize winning South African writer J.M. Coetzee’s work is formally diverse, playing with the epistolary, the aphoristic, and other disjunctive forms. His work is characterized by a bleak aesthetic wherein there is no room for the sentimental, the romantic, or the hopeful. His central characters, whether men or, as is often the case, women, tend to be solitary types who have a great deal of trouble connecting in meaningful ways to other people. Paternity and maternity are equally characterized as highly problematic ventures (either in their presence or in their lack). There is a consistent fascination with the status of the storyteller and the always troubled relationship between the event and the story. A host of recurring themes and metaphors reappear with intense regularity; these include complicity, culpability, witnessing, isolation, iron, dust, ghosts, ashes, angels, shame, disgrace, memory, love, reconciliation, forgetting, and history. The turmoil of apartheid and then post-apartheid South Africa is often intensely interwoven with the inner turmoil suffered by Coetzee’s characters, but the range of historical traumas explored includes colonialism, slavery, the Vietnam War, totalitarianism, the early stirrings of communism in Russia, contemporary terrorism, and the Holocaust.
The aim of this course is to introduce Coetzee to students and to engage his work on a variety of levels including the literary, political, historical, and emotional terrains covered in his complex texts.
460 1U/1G LIT OF AMERICAN MINORITIES, Reese. MWF 1 Group III or V
meets with AIS 451
TOPIC: Politics of Children’s Literature
Is Little House on the Prairie among your favorite children’s books? Or, perhaps Indian in the Cupboard? What do you recall about the way that American Indians are presented in those or other favorite books from your childhood? In this course, we will examine the ways that Native Americans are represented in children’s literature as we engage the following questions: What do classic and popular children’s books tell us about American Indians? Similarly, what can we say about representations of race, gender, sexual orientation and class in Babar, Little Black Sambo, The Five Chinese Brothers, or Daddy’s Roommate? Seeking answers to such questions requires that children’s books be studied, not as isolated literary texts, but within the larger context of American society. Course readings will address the social and ideological functions of children’s literature, literary and socio-political criticism of selected popular and classic children's books, and book reviews and essays about children’s books by scholars, teachers, librarians, parents, and children.
461 1U/1G TOPICS IN LITERATURE, Valente. TUTH 2-3:15 Group II or V
TOPIC: Irish Boys
A disproportionate number of the best known, best loved, and most important novels of twentieth century Ireland are specimens or parodies of the bildungsroman focusing on the figure of the boy or stripling. As a direct consequence of the emasculating legacy of colonialism in Ireland, these novels have consistently engaged the process of personal growth as a struggle to meet and/or reconcile differently contoured norms of masculine gender performance and accomplishment. At the center of the struggle for self-authorization lies a reckoning with sexual desires and affections, the approved, the forbidden and the illegible. In this course, we will take this reckoning as the primary object of our analysis in order to explore, from both a queer and a psychoanalytic perspective, how sexual self-expression or the assertion of sexual identity connects with and undergirds other modes of individual acculturation and (dis)empowerment.
461 2U/2G TOPICS IN LITERATURE, Hansen. MWF 10
TOPIC: Conspiracy Theory
ENGL 461 section 2U/2G is still pending. If the course is offered, a description will be posted on the English Department website: http://www.english.illinois.edu/undergraduate/courses/
462 1U/1G TOPICS IN MODERN FICTION, Bauer. TUTH 12:30-1:45 Group III or V
TOPIC: Sex Expression and Modern American Fiction
Starting with ideas about American courtship and ending with theories about repression, suppression and sexual consent, this course will define modern love and will debate what we have come to consider American Sex. Our discussions will focus on the nature of intimacy in a consumer culture, as well as ethnic, gendered, and racial challenges to the emerging sexual norms of modern America. Our collective purpose is to discover how “sex expression”—the emerging languages of sexuality and intimacy—replaced both sentimentality and sympathy and took hold in American culture.
This course will ask you to deliver several short oral reports, write bi-weekly response papers and a critical book review, and to research a final project focused on a literary and social history based on the authors we have studied. There will also be a series of in-class writings and assignments; as part of our regular class meetings, we will discuss your writing and peer reviews of it.
Tentative Reading List: Elizabeth Stuart Phelps’s The Silent Partner (1871), Stephen Crane’s Maggie, A Girl of the Streets (1893), Henry James’s In the Cage (1898), “The Beast in the Jungle” (1903) and “The Jolly Corner” (1908), Kate Chopin’s “The Storm” (1898) and Willa Cather’s “Paul’s Case” (1905), Pauline Hopkins’s Of One Blood (1903), Edith Wharton’s Summer (1917), Anzia Yezierska’s Salome of the Tenements (1923), and Anita Loos’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1925).
462 2U/2G TOPICS IN MODERN FICTION, Mehta. TUTH 11:30-12:50 Group V
meets with CWL 441
TOPIC: Deceit, Desire, and the Novel
The subject of this course is the genre of the novel and its concordance with the political and cultural worlds of the bourgeoisie in the 19th and the early 20th century. How did the novel in different stages and ages of capitalist development interact with the reading public? How was sexuality in its normative or deviant forms explored in this genre? What was the relation between public and private spheres? How did the shadow of the lands/colonies/empires far away figure in the narratives? What new elements or rules, if any, were introduced into the scene by the bourgeoisie of colonized societies? These are some of the issues that will be explored in this course.
481 1U/1G COMP THEORY AND PRACTICE. MWF 1
History and theory of written composition; basic rhetorical principles; and guidance and criticism of student writing.
500 R INTRO TO CRITICISM AND RESEARCH, Nazar TH 1-2:50
This course will provide a historical survey of the foundational thinkers, texts, and schools that orient contemporary work in the humanities, from Kant and Hegel to Cultural Studies and Postcolonial Theory. The course will include significant discussion of figures such as: Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Adorno, Barthes, Levi-Strauss, Lacan, Derrida, Foucault, Kristeva, Williams, Hall, Fanon, Said, Spivak, Bhabha, and Butler. Among the topics we will address are: aesthetics, history, the subject, value, power, language, ideology, materiality, gender, sexuality, race, and colonialism. The purpose of this course is to ensure that graduate students receive a rigorous introduction to critical theories and methodologies central to a variety of fields in the humanities and to provide the basis for interdisciplinary conversation and intellectual community among graduate students and faculty members from across the university. Modern Critical Theory will have an unusual format. The course will meet twice a week, once a week in a public session (Tuesdays, 7.30-9pm) that will include graduate students from Lilya Kaganovsky’s Comparative Literature 501 course and once a week in a closed session (Thursdays, 1-2.50pm) limited to registered students. Drawing on the resources of the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory, we will invite to class “guest experts” from around campus (and occasionally from off campus); these guests will visit the public sessions of the seminar and lecture on particular topics throughout the semester.
503 T HISTORIOGRAPHY OF CINEMA, Curry. M 3-5:50
same as CINE 503, CWL 503
This graduate seminar examines practices and trends in writing the history of cinema, thereby offering a meta-historical study focused on how film histories have variously construed their object of study, e.g., as an art form, an industry, a phenomenon of modernity, a cultural artifact, material expression of national character and/or collective social trauma, or site of ideological discourse. The seminar will also consider how cinema histories have articulated with accounts of the origins and developments of other (proliferating) screen media. After initially surveying issues including what stylistic elements and contextual records conventionally get privileged as film historical evidence and which cinematic canons have exercised lasting historigraphic influence, we will engage with “national cinema history” as a persistent, strategic and often productive but also now frequently contested film historiographic approach.
Alongside selected articles, we’ll comparatively read and discuss five books (TBD), each exemplifying a distinctive realization of national cinema historiography. We will view in class at least one feature film relevant to each of five national cinemas on which we focus; students will likely 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 local cinema historical archives (amazing resources on campus and the Internet), and as a final project compile an extensive annotated bibliography that proposes a cogent historigraphic approach to an individual topic formulated in relation to the overarching case study theme of “national cinema histories.”
This seminar is one of two required courses for the Graduate Minor in Cinema Studies. Please go to http://www.cinema.uiuc.edu/gradminor.html to learn more about that minor and then email Richard Leskosky at firstname.lastname@example.org with any remaining question about that program.
505 E WRITING STUDIES I, Mortensen. M 1-2:50
same as CI 563
This course introduces you to Writing Studies and allied fields, with the aim of enabling scholarly inquiry that advances your graduate career. Throughout the semester, you will evaluate claims to disciplinarity that draw variously on ancient traditions (e.g., rhetoric, reaching back some 2,500 years), established institutional practices (e.g., U.S. college composition instruction, dating from the nineteenth century), and contemporary academic activity (e.g., scholarly exchange emergent in twentieth-century studies of rhetoric, composition, communication, information, literacy, language, reading, and writing). You will learn to navigate the print and electronic resources that document knowledge in Writing Studies and allied fields; in doing so, you will gain a sense of the fields’ most pressing questions and the best methods for pursuing answers to them. Seminar discussions, grounded in careful reading of relevant texts, will survey the breadth and depth of scholarship in Writing Studies and allied fields. Your final portfolio will include writing that demonstrates your familiarity with scholarship in Writing Studies and allied fields, and that positions you to make significant contributions to that scholarship.
514 T1 SEMINAR IN MEDIEVAL LITERATURE, Trilling. TH 3-5:20
same as MDVL 514
TOPIC: Medieval Exoticism: Diversity, Hybridity, and Identity in Early Medieval England
Images of alterity abound in early medieval literature, populating both accounts of the unknown East and relatively mundane narratives of the quotidian. Racial and ethnic others appear as characters in battles for national sovereignty and in the legal and religious codes that govern everyday life. Monstrous others also decorate the deluxe illuminated manuscripts in which many of these texts reside. Such representations of alterity help to define the boundaries of the Anglo-Saxon subject, but they do so in a variety of ways on many different levels. In the wondrous narratives of The Letter of Alexander to Aristotle and The Wonders of the East, for example, monstrous bodies distinguish “us” from “them” in explicitly material and visible ways, and exotic locations clarify the geographical borders of “our” familiar territory, while images of the fantastic threaten to burst from the pages of the manuscripts themselves. Closer to home, religious and ethnic differences mark out distinct groups within the borders of the nation and are reinforced through law codes, homilies, and traditional charms and poems. In different texts, alterity can vary in both degree and kind; it can be partial or total, absolute or contingent, fixed or mutable, inherent or adopted. Exploring those variations will help us to plot the development of English identity in the early medieval period. The great diversity of material in this course will allow students to become familiar with a variety of medieval discourses, including literary, legal, historical, religious, and administrative, as well as some of the material culture of the period through manuscript illumination and stonework. Primary texts could include The Letter of Alexander to Aristotle, The Wonders of the East, the Liber monstrorum, selections from Beowulf, the Old English Genesis, and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the homilies of Wulfstan and Ælfric, selected law codes and charters, saints' lives, and popular and occasional literature. Alongside these documents, we will use the theoretical languages of Edward Said, Homi Bhabha, Slavoj Zizek, and Julia Kristeva, coupled with secondary criticism by medievalists, to unpack the operations of alterity along the lines of race, gender, geography, religion, and nationality, and to think about how the differences in how these categories are determined and deployed by medieval texts.
Course requirements will include in-class presentations, an annotated bibliography, and a full-length (20-30 pages) seminar paper. Primary texts will be made available in translation as well as in the original languages (Latin, Old English, etc.) for nonspecialists.
537 R SEMINAR VICTORIAN LIT, Goodlad. TU 1-3:15
TOPIC: The Victorian “South”
This graduate seminar explores the geographical and geopolitical abstraction of “the South” in national, regional, and hemispheric contexts in part through study of three specific examples of the construct rendered from the vantage of the Victorian (British) global imaginary. Reading literary works from the turn of the eighteenth century to the turn of the twentieth we will discuss “Southernness” as figured by black Atlantic writers as well as self-consciously liberal (and often un-self-consciously imperial) Britons in Atlantic, European, and South Asian contexts. The “Southernness” we will find variously underwrites visions of world trade, liberalization in Europe (and elsewhere), cosmopolitan or transnational identity, as well as the idea of an imperial civilizing mission. Our literary texts include works by Olaudah Equiano, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Mary Seacole, Wilkie Collins, John Ruskin, George Eliot, George Meredith, and Vernon Lee. Critical readings include Roberto Dainotto’s Europe (In Theory); examples of recent work on cosmopolitanism, internationalism and postcolonial theory; as well as literary criticism by Victorianist scholars such as Elaine Freedgood, Helena Michie, Sharon Marcus and John Plotz.
543 T SEMINAR MOD BRITISH LIT, Mahaffey. TH 3-4:50
TOPIC: Modernism: The Rhetoric and Politics of Enigmatic Language
This course will try to understand the infamous “difficulty” of modernist texts by looking at the riddle or the enigma as subversive in the psychological, pedagogical, and social arenas. We will begin with Joyce’s Dubliners, viewing it in relation to the ancient literary genre of parables and the pedagogy of a Brazilian activitist, Paulo Freire, author of Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Our goal will be to construct a theoretical model for a subversive mode of storytelling that attempts to problematize everyday realities as “limiting situations” that interfere with individual growth and learning. We will look at the Irish colonial situation through Joyce and Yeats, the plight of women through Woolf, the destructive effects of a mercantile society through Eliot (remembering the ease with which an anti-capitalist view may become anti-semitic), the limiting nature of the family through Faulkner, the effects of social and physical limits and inhibitions through Beckett. Our aim will be to figure out the technical means through which modernist authors tried to tell stories that recognized without endorsing limiting prejudices about what is meaningful. Secondarily, we will try to determine the implications of readerly resistance to these innovative but challenging techniques.
547 E SEMINAR EARLIER AMERICAN LIT, Chai. M 1-2:50
TOPIC: American Empire
To understand the dynamics that govern our present American empire, we need to trace these back to their origin. Specifically, I want to look at a moment from mid-19th century cultural history that plays a key role in their formation. The crucial factor in the emergence of an American empire is a new, abstract tendency in the way people think about intersubjectivity: instead of a recognition of otherness, what we find is an impulse to see others instrumentally, as means to some form of self-development. We’ll begin with The Empire City, in which George Lippard tries to address the question of how to represent the urban masses. From there we’ll turn to Hawthorne, whose Blithedale Romance portrays the subtle and complex relation between psychological possession and capital. Fanny Fern in Ruth Hall offers a further development of this theme, but places it self-reflexively within the very profession of authorship itself. Meanwhile, Melville in “Bartleby” shows how capital can lead to a different kind of objectification of otherness. But perhaps the most extreme form of instrumental otherness is slavery. Significantly, both Melville in “Benito Cereno” and Douglass in My Bondage and My Freedom focus on what gives slavery its fascination: the capacity to sublimate otherness into a form of self. Next we’ll see how two well-known European authors of the same period analyze the empire of capital: Theodor Mommsen in his Roman History and Karl Marx in the Grundrisse. Finally, we’ll compare the contemporary treatment by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri in their recent book Empire.
TEXTS: Lippard, The Empire City; Hawthorne, The Blithedale Romance; Fern, Ruth Hall and Other Writings; Melville, Bartleby and Benito Cereno; Douglass, My Bondage and My Freedom; Mommsen, The History of Rome [excerpts]; Marx, Grundrisse [excerpts]; Hardt and Negri, Empire [excerpts]
553 E SEMINAR LATER AMERICAN LIT, Hutner. W 1-2:50
TOPIC: The Seventies
This course will study some of the principal works of fiction in 1970s and to situate them in their historical and cultural contexts. The aim of our study is not only to become more familiar with ’70s fiction, but also to learn further skills as literary historians. Students will also be expected to prepare several at least 3 presentations toward this end. Students will also be expected to prepare a final essay that will be work-shopped and readied for publication.
563 G SEMINAR THEMES AND MOVEMENTS, Nelson. M 3-5:50
TOPIC: The Theory and Practice of Holocaust Poetry
In Survival in Auschwitz holocaust survivor and writer Primo Levi decribes an indicative incident during his first days at the camp. Desperately thirsty, he reached out a window to grasp an icicle. A beefy guard knocked it away. “Warum?” Levi asked. The succinct answer carried a certain uncanny ethical and philosophical depth: “Hier ist kein warum.” Here there is no why. If the question could not be posed in the death camps, can it be posed in poetry instead? Can poetry put forth its humanity in the face of a world where all such values were extinguished?
In 1940 the Hungarian poet Miklós Radnóti (1909-1944) was drafted into a labor battalion along with thousands of his fellow Jews. As the war progressed and Hungary brought its policies into greater compliance with those of its German ally, these labor battalions, brutal from the outset, became increasingly lethal. Beaten and starved, the Jews were now randomly murdered. Radnóti nonetheless transformed the horror into poems and wrote them in a small notebook. On August 29, 1944, nearing the end, he wrote the first of four poems under the title “Razglednicas,” Serbo-Croatian for “picture postcards.” A month later he writes the last of the “Razglednicas” on the back of a cod-liver oil advertizing notice he found discarded. The poem predicts his death: “shot in the neck . . . blood mixed with mud was drying on my ear.” On November 9th he met the fate he had anticipated, but nineteen months later, the war over, his body was distinterred and the blood stained poems recovered. Is it sufficient justification for poetry that his testimony now outlives his executioners?
There is no more severe challenge to the humane aspirations, social functions, and theoretical accounts of poetry than that posed by the holocaust. Leo Haber calls it “pale consolation, dear God of poetry, of justice, of mercy, / of explanations, for the murder of little children.” Adorno famously remarked that to write poetry after Auschwitz was obscene. Yet poetry was written both during the war and after, including anti-Semitic poems produced by the Nazis themselves. In that context we might conclude that the genre was so marked by its demonic uses that its myths of transcendence became a cruel joke. We will examine this whole history—poems written by wartime victims, witnesses, and perpetrators; poems written by later generations seeking to keep the historical memories alive and make the events more real. We will read poems from many different countries, using English language texts but comparing them to the original language texts whenever possible. In some cases multiple translations of individual poems exist. Again, we will compare them. Some translators feel one should find equivalents for Radnoti’s rhymes; others feel that is the worst choice possible.
Although studying holocaust poetry may seem a daunting way to spend a semester, the experience of discussing these poems in a group is actually tremendously restorative. Working through these powerful texts collaboratively, discussing what rhetorical strategies do and do not succeed, interrogating the relationship between the lyric and both history and contemporaneity, gives new importance to a collaborative model of criticism and to the help we can give one another.
Among the poets we will study in detail are Paul Celan, Jacob Glatstein, William Heyen, Dan Pagis, Radnóti, Charles Reznikoff, Nelly Sachs, W. D. Snodgrass, and Abraham Sutzkever. We will also read poems by Brian Daldorph, Jorie Graham, Anthony Hecht, Denise Levertov, Primo Levi, Czeslaw Milosz, János Pilinsky, Robert Pinsky, Sylvia Plath, Hilda Schiff, Anne Sexton, and many others, among them the Yiddish poets Aaron Kramer has translated. For general background we’ll read War and Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust by Doris Bergen. In addition to a selection of poems, each week’s readings will include essays from The Holocaust: Theoretical Readings, edited by Neil Levi and Michael Rothberg. Anthologies we will use include Marguerite Striar, ed. Beyond Lament: Poets of the World Bearing Witness to the Holocaust, Charles Fishman, ed. Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust, Hilda Schiff, ed. Holocaust Poetry, and Aaron Kramer, ed., The Last Lullaby. You may want to get discounted copies of these books in advance from amazon.com or abebooks.com. We will conduct the class as a collective, collaborative project of interpretation and analysis. The seminar does not assume expertise on the holocaust, merely willingness to discuss the relevant issues. Please email me with any questions at email@example.com
581 T2 SEMINAR LITERARY THEORY, Byrd. TH 3:30-5:20
meets with AIS 501
TOPIC: Unsettled Terrains: Theorizing Settler Colonialism and Indigeneity
Within postcolonial theory, scholars often draw distinctions between British formal colonial rule and settler colonialism, establishing the first as the normative process of economic and military domination and the second as a more humane and inevitable process. As a result, the pernicious colonizations of indigenous peoples within deep settler colonies such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States often remain the dark unarticulated given even in theories of decolonial resistance arising from the global south. This class proposes a dialogue of sorts amongst theoretical traditions to interrogate settler colonial “postcolonialities” and the lingering colonialist discourses within postcolonial theory that deconstruct when confronted by indigenous presences. How do theories of colonialism and postcolonialism prioritize certain geographical and historical contexts and in what ways do those theories succeed or fail in addressing indigeneity? How might indigeneity challenge postcolonial theory and how might indigenous scholars reframe those theories to address the ongoing colonizations that continue to define their lands, rights, and sovereignty? Finally, how might the intersection between postcolonial and indigenous critical theories provide new sites for interdisciplinary methods and inquiry?
582 G1 TOPICS RESEARCH AND WRITING, Littlefield. M 3-4:50
same as CI 565
TOPIC: Writing Bodies of Knowledge: Literature and Feminist Science Studies
This course explores how scientists, sciences and technologies envision, create and politicize our bodies. Our focus will be female bodies and feminist perspectives, but this lens also allows us to explore the ways in which men are constituted as subjects and objects of the scientific gaze. We will begin by asking several practical questions: who’s doing science? How are these sciences constituted? We will then work through a series of case studies that address the ways in which female bodies have been used in science and created by scientific discourse. Finally, we will address the ways in which science fiction provides a tool-kit for scientists and theorists interested in challenging traditional relationships between science and the body. Couse work will include a book review, presentation, response papers, and a final research paper.
583 T TOPICS WRIT PEDAGOGY AND DESIGN, M. Camargo. W 3-4:50
same as CI 566
TOPIC: Writing Instruction from Classical Antiquity to Renaissance Humanism
The seminar will trace major developments in the theory and practice of writing pedagogy from the Athenian schools of the fifth century B.C.E. through the Humanist schools of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Among the topics that may be considered are the disciplinary overlaps and oppositions between grammar and rhetoric, the relationship between oral and textual “delivery,” the nature and function of the sequenced elementary exercises known as progymnasmata, imitation and variation as inventional techniques, genre-based pedagogies, Latinity vs. emergent vernacular textuality, and changing social and institutional contexts for writing instruction. Course requirements include participation in class discussion, one or two oral presentations, and an article-length research paper.
593 C PROF SEMINAR COLLEGE TCHG, Nardi. W 10-11:50
TOPIC: The Teaching of Rhetoric
In this course for new TAs teaching composition, we will examine theory, research, and pedagogy in writing studies as well as participants' own experiences in relation to the questions of how and why to teach writing in college. Requirements include reading, active participation in class activities, informal writing, and a final portfolio reflecting on teaching.
TEXTS: A packet of readings.
593 P PROF SEMINAR COLLEGE TCHG. TU 11-12:50
TOPIC: The Teaching of Business and Technical Writing
The professional seminar is designed to prepare graduate students to teach business and technical writing effectively and is required of all graduate students teaching business writing for the first time. The seminar introduces students to the theoretical foundations of business and technical writing and provides an overview of pedagogical approaches to teaching the topic.