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Literature And Writing Studies Courses
101 INTRO TO POETRY
English 101 provides students with a foundation in the methods of close reading and analysis essential to an understanding of poetry and, more broadly, to the study of literature. Furthermore, it introduces students to the ways we write and make arguments about poetry. The course addresses the basics of prosody, aspects of poetic language (such as diction, metaphor, image, tone), and major verse forms (such as the sonnet, elegy, ode, ballad, dramatic monologue, free verse). In addition to the formal qualities of poetry, students will also study poems from a range of literary periods and movements in order to learn how these formal qualities change and develop over time as well as how poems are both shaped by and, in some cases, even manage to shape their (and perhaps our) world.
Students will write twelve to fifteen pages of interpretation or criticism, spread out over two or more essays, and also take a midterm and a final examination.
102 INTRO TO DRAMA
Covering the history of dramatic form, the major genres, the dramatic traditions of various cultures, and key terms used in the analysis of dramatic works, this course serves as a general introduction to the drama. Reading plays from the ancient Greeks to the contemporary theatre, students will be taught skills in close reading and literary interpretation. But, because drama is written to be performed, students will also be asked to consider how textual meanings might be represented through visual and aural means. Course work usually includes several papers (12-15 pages total), a group performance/ presentation, and either several hour exams or a mid-term exam and a final exam.
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 then focuses on the study of different genres and styles of films, including documentaries, feminist films, westerns, musicals, and melodramas, in terms of how they present ideological points of view and/or fulfill certain wishes of the spectator.
English 104 is an appropriate prerequisite for English /CINE 273 (an intermediate course in film analysis) and other advanced film classes. The course presents one film program including a feature film per week, shown in a required screening lab on Monday afternoon or evening. Each section meets for two 75-minute lecture-discussion sessions per week. All sections use Bordwell and Thompson’s Film Art as an introductory textbook and give additional reading assignments (essays and book chapters) available in a photocopied reader or on library reserve. Sections are designed so that each student contributes extensively in the discussions; attendance and participation are crucial in this course.
The minimum formal assignments are about 12 pages of expository writing (usually in 3 short essays, although some instructors may assign more writing), a midterm, and a three hour final exam; most instructors also give quizzes. On the exams, most instructors give a factual section (identification, brief answer) and a section of essay questions. This course earns 3 credit hours and qualifies as a General Education course in Humanities and the Arts. (Multiple sections)
106 E LITERATURE AND EXPERIENCE, Lyon & Hultquist. MWF 1
TOPIC: Experiencing the Book: Tangible Textuality
The University of Illinois has some of the best literary research resources in the country and you as students have access to them. The purpose of this course is for you to discover the various ways in which books are produced—from original editions to anthologized and digital versions—and to analyze how those version influence the text’s meaning. Classes, many of which will take place in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, will allow you to consider how textual production shapes interpretations of literature. We will be reading, seeing, touching, and analyzing documents as diverse as 300-year-old texts, 19th century editions of Vogue, and MP3 recordings of famous poets. Authors include William Shakespeare, Alexander Pope, Kate Chopin, and Carl Sandburg. Assignments consist of three 3-4 page papers, and a project.
106 P LITERATURE AND EXPERIENCE, Unger. TUTH 11-12:15
TOPIC: Disruptive Bodies: Deviant and Dangerous Embodiments in Literature
What bodies disrupt a culture? Why are some embodiments considered “dangerous?” Why are others considered “normal?” This course will explore representations of deviant bodies in literature to examine larger cultural issues surrounding identity, voice, culture, and representation. Throughout the semester we will analyze texts that represent threatening bodies as ugly, repulsive, and deviant. In so doing, we will discuss how the binary of “normal vs. other” is constructed, and what larger social, historical, and cultural assumptions this binary serves. We will also locate moments where this binary flips, or breaks down completely. Ultimately, the class will examine the role literature plays in discussions of “othering” along categories of gender, race, sexuality, age, nationality, ability, and size. How do literary texts construct bodies? How do these bodies dictate normalcy or otherness? What cultural power do literary representations carry?
Readings will include four short novels (Leslie Feinberg, Stone Butch Blues; Henry James, Daisy Miller; Nella Larsen, Passing; and Edith Wharton, Ethan Frome), one play (Tony Kushner, Angels in America), a series of short stories, and three films (Brokeback Mountain, Angels in America, and Edward Scissorhands). Course requirements include two formal papers, a midterm, a final project, response papers, and well as consistent and thoughtful class participation. Email Mary Unger (email@example.com) with questions.
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.
110 E INTRO LIT STUDY FOR NON-MAJORS, Wood. TUTH 2-3:15
English 110 is a new course designed to introduce non-majors to basic elements of literary study in the principal genres: poetry, drama, and fiction. In the poetry unit (weeks 1-6) we will explore selectively across five centuries of English and American verse, from the wit and eroticism of the Elizabethans to the formal experiments of American modernism. Our text for the drama unit (weeks 7-9) is Shakespeare’s Hamlet; and in the fiction unit (weeks 10-15), we will read Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte before concluding with a selection of short stories by the contemporary writer Alice Munro. The course is not designed as a survey but as an introduction to select major writers, to the formal traditions of Anglo-American literature, and the principles of critical interpretation. Assessment will be in the form of responses, two short essays, and a mid-term and final exam.
115 INTRO TO ENGLISH LITERATURE
This course is designed to acquaint students with examples of the rich diversity of British prose, poetry, and drama. Works selected will vary from section to section, but instructors usually rely upon the Norton Anthology of English Literature, Major Authors Ed., along with a few supplementary paperbacks, for the assigned readings. As a basic introduction to English literature, this course does not offer a complete chronological survey of all or even most major writers. It offers instead a series of literary texts, often thematically related, which appeal to modern readers and at the same time provide interesting insights into the cultural attitudes and values of the periods which produced them.
116 INTRO TO AMERICAN LITERATURE
This course will cover a small sampling of literature written by American authors; the sampling may include essays, narratives, drama, and poems from various periods in American literary history. Texts for reading and discussion will include literature representing a variety of gender and ethnic perspectives.
119 S LITERATURE OF FANTASY, Barrett. TUTH 2-3:15
same as CWL 119
The twin successes of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series and Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy have focused global attention on fantasy narratives. In this course we’ll look at some of the most notable fantasies of the last 125 years (the approximate time frame corresponding to the emergence of fantasy as a distinct literary genre and publishing category). In chronological order, these texts include H. Rider Haggard’s She, Lord Dunsany’s The King of Elfland’s Daughter, Robert E. Howard’s The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian, J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring, Michael Moorcock’s Elric, Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Tombs of Atuan, Emma Bull’s The War for the Oaks, and China Miéville’s The Scar. Reading the works in this sequence will give us a sense of fantasy’s development as a genre. However, it’s also the case that our texts are in thematic dialogue with one another. For example, we’ll talk about Haggard’s representation of “woman” as object versus Le Guin’s interest in one woman as a subject. We’ll see how Moorcock’s Elric functions as a deliberate parody of Howard’s barbarian hero, and we’ll read Mieville’s Scar as a commentary on the Tolkienian quest narrative that dominates modern mass-market fantasy. As you’ll see, these are just a few of the connections to be made between our texts. Assignments will include a number of short reading responses, three papers, and a final exam.
120 D SCIENCE FICTION. MWF 11
Literary and historical study of science fiction from Mary Shelley to Ursula K. LeGuin with particular emphasis on the achievement of science fiction as a literary form in the romance tradition.
199 P UNDERGRADUATE OPEN SEMINAR, S. Camargo. Lect: TUTH 11-11:50; Screening: M 1-3:30
TOPIC: The Films of Steven Spielberg
Hollywood filmmaking has always been the result of compromises between Art and Commerce. The American filmmaker who most embodies the successful negotiation of these two conflicting imperatives is arguably Steven Spielberg. Based on any list that you care to make, Spielberg can be described as the most influential filmmaker who ever lived. As a result, he makes an excellent case study for research into the New Hollywood, the institutionalized mode of U.S. film production that began in the early 1970s.
Making the transition from the Old Hollywood to the New Hollywood resulted in new conceptions of film authorship, new modes of cinematic storytelling, and in new ways of conceiving the relationship between the film and its audience. We will explore all of these areas as we screen and discuss a series of Spielberg’s films, as well as others that influenced him.
While helpful, desirable, and even preferable, previous experience in film analysis is not essential, but active class participation is.
199 CHP UNDERGRADUATE OPEN SEMINAR, Deck. TUTH 11-12:15 Campus Honors Section
TOPIC: Classic 20th Century African American Fiction
A description for this course is not available at this time. A description may be posted here once it’s available.
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 S MEDIEVAL LIT AND CULTURE. TUTH 2-3:15 Group I
same as MDVL 201 & CWL 253
British and continental authors (including Chaucer) read in modern English. Same as CWL 253 and MDVL 201. Prerequisite: Completion of the Composition I requirement.
204 E RENAISSANCE LIT AND CULTURE, Stevens. MWF 1 Group I
same as CWL 255
This course offers an introduction to some of the main themes and concerns of the Renaissance (focusing on the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, in particular England under Elizabeth I and James I). We’ll read a representative sampling of genres (poetry, prose, drama, court masques) from the selected works of such major writers as Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, John Donne, William Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Mary Wroth, George Herbert, and John Milton, in addition to reading less canonical authors. We’ll focus on such issues as early modern notions of authorship and “self-fashioning”; privacy, gender, love, sex, and marriage; religious identity; science and early modern psychology, including conceptions of the body and the passions; and the literary construction of ethnic others.
TEXTS: Course packet; Norton Anthology of English Literature Vol B, The Sixteenth and Early Seventeenth-Century
206 C ENLIGHTENMENT LIT AND CULTURE, Wilcox. MWF 10 Group I
same as CWL 257
The term “enlightenment,” with its chilly connotations of reason, morality, 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 involved new conceptions of the mind and self that illuminated these dark corners of human subjectivity in unexpected, complicated, and contentious ways. By reading across a variety of canonical and noncanonical genres and by closely 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: contributions to the course blog, active participation in class discussion (including leading discussion on one of the course readings), two papers, and a final.
TEXTS: The Longman Anthology of British Literature, vol. 1C; Margaret C. Jacobs, ed. The Enlightenment: A Brief History with Documents; Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders; and Laurence Sterne, A Sentimental Journey.
207 E ROMANTIC LIT AND CULTURE. MWF 1 Group II
Study of literature, philosophy, visual arts, and social criticism of the British Romantic period, with attention to broader cultural issues. Prerequisite: Completion of the Composition I requirement.
208 G VICTORIAN LITERATURE AND CULTURE. MW 3:30-4:45 Group II
Study of literature, philosophy, visual arts, and social criticism of the British Victorian period, with attention to broader cultural issues. Prerequisite: Completion of the Composition I requirement.
209 ENGLISH LIT TO 1798, Perry. Lect: MW 11; Disc: F 11 & 12
This course is supposed to survey a millennium of literature—from Beowulf to the debut of Wordsworth!—in one semester. That is not really possible. So instead of trying to cover some representative sample of everything, we will read carefully a more limited selection of major works in a variety of genres paying close attention to how questions of historical difference can illuminate literary analysis.
This will mean thinking about the emergence and decline of genres (such as epic, tragedy, lyric poetry, or the novel) in relation to changing material conditions and assumptions about the purpose of literature, and it will also mean focusing upon how comparing and contrasting texts from different historical moments can illuminate both the texts themselves and the cultures which produced them. Among the authors we will read will be Anonymous (the most prolific of all early British authors!), Geoffrey Chaucer, Marjery Kempe, Christopher Marlowe, John Milton, Aphra Behn, Samuel Johnson, and Daniel Defoe.
TEXTS: Norton Anthology of English Literature, Major Authors, Volume A; Three late Medieval Morality Plays, Moll Flanders (Norton Critical Edition)
210 ENGLISH LIT 1798 TO PRESENT, Goodlad. Lect: MW 10; Disc. F 10 & 11
In the more than two hundred years since Europe’s philosophical “Enlightenment,” British literature has been obsessed by the advent of modernity. Haunted by fears of political revolution, economic competition, sexual transformation, technological change, imperial blowback, and the transnational processes that we today call “globalization,” British writing can be regarded in light of the aesthetic, formal, and intellectual experiments brought to bear on modern quandaries that persist today. In this course we will begin with the Romantic movement and journey from there to Victorian literature’s flair for capturing the social, the conscious literary innovations of late-Victorian Aestheticism and of Modernism, and, finally, the refigured map of the postcolonial world. Our approach to sampling this rich terrain will oscillate between broad contexts and close analysis including student participation in the lecture setting. Our main texts will include Pearson-Longman’s Masters of British Literature, Volume B;Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey; Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone, Vernon Lee’s, “Oke of Okehurst” (from Hauntings);Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway; and Hanif Kureishi’s, The Buddha of Suburbia.
213 G MODERNIST LIT AND CULTURE. MW 330-445 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 Shakespeare’s plays and culture. The selection of plays varies from section to section, but each instructor covers about seven or eight plays reflecting Shakespeare’s changing interests, themes and developing dramatic skills. The course illuminates Shakespeare’s engagement with the genres of comedy, history, tragedy, and romance, and the engagement of his plays with the culture of Renaissance England. 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.
218 CHP INTRO TO SHAKESPEARE, L. Newcomb. TUTH 11-12:15 Campus Honors Section
Way before Shakespeare’s plays were literature, they were products of a brand-new entertainment technology, the commercial theater, whose success depended on attracting audiences of diverse classes and educational levels. Hamlet’s famous view that ‘the groundlings” are capable only of “dumbshows and noise” has created the myth that many in Shakespeare’s audience were illiterate. In fact, most residents of Shakespearean London were constantly involved with reading, as buyers, readers, or auditors of the pamphlets, romances, and ballads that flooded its bookstalls. Print, another newfangled technology, had already transformed urban life, and arguably helped ordinary men and women to appreciate the complexity of live drama. So when they weren’t hearing Shakespeare, what were ordinary playgoers buying and reading? How might such popular literature have shaped audiences’ experiences of the plays?
This question once was difficult to explore, because the most popular and cheapest early books survive only in rare and far-flung copies. Today, thanks to the University’s subscriptions to on-line databases, students can read any book printed in Shakespeare’s lifetime—including those most popular books—and view their original page designs and illustrations. In this seminar, we’ll consider a range of popular texts as verbal, visual, and social artifacts that could shape readers’ experiences through their content, material form, and means of distribution. We’ll also read and informally stage seven plays by Shakespeare, especially those that show social mixing in the new marketplace of print—and in the theater itself. Students will then select their favorite examples of popular literature for closer analysis, both in individual research papers and in a collaboratively-built online ‘bookstore’ of Shakespearean popular reading.
242 G POETRY SINCE 1940. MW 3:30-4:45 Group V
English 242 is a survey of English-language poetry written since World War II. With varying emphasis, the course will study a variety of poets as well as the major poetic movements of that period, including the Beats, the New York School, the Black Mountain poets, the Confessional school, the Deep Image poets, the British “Movement” and post-“Movement” poets, the Black Arts movement, Feminist poets, Post-colonial poetry, Language poets, and the current multifarious poetry scene).
244 X MODERN DRAMA II. MWF 12 Group V
same as CWL 266
Pirandello to the present. Same as CWL 266. Prerequisite: Completion of the Composition I requirement.
245 D THE SHORT STORY I. MWF 11
same as CWL 267
Historical and critical study of the short story (American and European) from the early nineteenth century to the present. Same as CWL 267. Prerequisite: Completion of the Composition I requirement.
247 P & Q THE BRITISH NOVEL, Nazar. P: TUTH 11-12:15; Q: TUTH 12:30-1:45 Group II or V
In this course we will trace the development of the British novel over the course of about a century—from the publication in 1811 of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility to that of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando in 1928. The period under survey was the age in which the novel, a relative latecomer on the literary scene, established itself as the foremost literary form of the modern world. In The Rise of the Novel, Ian Watt has argued that the novel’s growing importance as a literary genre rested in its unique ability to represent a distinctively modern human condition, characterized by a shift in authority from God or society to the self-reflective individual as the ultimate arbiter of value. We will take Watt’s thesis about the novel’s modernity as an entry-point into novels from three literary periods: Romantic, Victorian, and Modern. We will ask how novelists from Austen to Woolf portrayed the individual in relation to his or her society, what kind of authority they invested in the individual, and which aspects of the inner life (reason, emotion, imagination) they drew special attention to. Questions of gender are important in this context since women acquired a new kind of centrality in the novel—both as shapers and subjects of the new genre. Does the nineteenth-century novel attribute to women the status of the modern, self-legislating subject? What do we make of the marriage plot of so many nineteenth-century novels? What kinds of changes appear in attitudes towards gender, as well as in the formal features of fiction, as we move from the nineteenth into the twentieth century?
248 M BRIT, AMER & CONTIN FICTION. TUTH 9:30-10:45 Group V
same as CWL 269
Examination of important thematic and structural relationships - influences, parallels, and variations - among selected major works of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; readings chosen from works of Bronte, Hardy, Lawrence, Woolf, James, Faulkner, Bellow, Oates, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Stendhal, Flaubert, Camus, Kafka, Mann, Hesse, Moravia, and Pavese. All works read in English. Same as CWL 269. Prerequisite: Completion of the Composition I requirement.
250 D THE AMERICAN NOVEL TO 1914, Ivy. MWF 11 Group III or V
Using as our touchstones various 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 weakness, 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. Requirements include active class participation, regular reading responses, two longer essays, a midterm and a final.
TEXTS: Hannah Foster, The Coquette; Edgar Allen Poe, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym; Nathaniel Hawthorne, The House of the Seven Gables; Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin; Stephen Crane, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets; Henry James, Daisy Miller; Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth; and James Weldon Johnson, Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man.
251 B THE AMERICAN NOVEL SINCE 1914. MWF 9 Group III or V
Critical study of selected American novels from 1914 to the present. Prerequisite: Completion of the Composition I requirement.
251 C1 THE AMERICAN NOVEL SINCE 1914, Doherty Mohr. MWF 10 Group III or V
In this course, we will study physical and psychological dislocation in stories of migration and immigration, war and expatriation. 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 response papers, two critical essays, and two exams, as well as regular attendance and active participation.
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), Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man (1952), Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me, Ultima (1972), and Bharati Mukherjee’s Jasmine (1989).
255 SURVEY OF AMERICAN LIT I, Loughran. Lect: MW 12; Disc: F 12 & 1
A broad survey of American literature from its origins to the Civil War. Weekly lectures will focus on multiple aspects of US cultural history, with a strong emphasis on conventional literary periodizations (Puritanism, the Enlightenment, Romanticism, Trancendentalism) and genre (the sermon, the slave narrative, the sentimental novel, and so on). Friday discussion sections will focus on close readings of primary texts. Requirements include several exams and writing assignments.
TEXT: Norton Anthology of American Literature, A-B.
256 E SURVEY OF AMERICAN LIT II, Ivy. MWF 1 Group III
This course is designed to chart the history of American literature from the late nineteenth century through to the present day. Through close analysis of a variety of texts, we will explore different periods, forms, genres, and literary and cultural movements. Because literary history and national identity are not fixed entities but are themselves imaginative constructions, ways of reading, a good part of the class will be devoted to thinking about how we write (and rewrite) different histories of American literature: aesthetic, social, political, etc. How do these different histories relate to each other? Your active engagement with the Norton Anthology (a supposed “master list” of texts) and with our syllabus (just one version of the many possible selective lists) will become part of the ongoing project of defining and understanding a national literature. Requirements of the course include active participation, several short reading responses, a group presentation, one shorter and one longer essay, a midterm and a final exam.
TEXT: The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Package 2 (Vols C, D and E), 7th Edition.
267 GRIMMS’ FAIRY TALES IN CONTEXT, Jenkins. Lect: MW 11; Disc: various
same as CWL 250, GER 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.
272 X MINORITY IMAGES IN AMER FILM, Deck. Lect: MW 12-1:50; Screening: TU 7:30-10 p.m. Group V
same as AFRO 272
English 272 explores how a range of films made in the U. S. over the last 80 years (both “Hollywood” movies and independently-produced works) have represented diverse ethnicities and cultures in relation to each other and to dominant American media conventions and social ideals. The course takes a comparative, case study approach to examine how the films shown variously employ racial (and gender) stereotyping narratively and cinematically, what historical and economic circumstances may have yielded those particular films, and what reception the films have found among different audiences, at various times.
273 AMERICAN CINEMA SINCE 1950. Group V
same as CINE 273
This recently redesigned course (previously called “intermediate film studies”) is not a film history course per se , but rather examines how selected films made in the U.S. after World War II realize or engage key concepts such as genre, authorship, narrative, gender analysis, and the spectacle of violence. The course addresses these issues in the production, consumption and study of cinema in the context of major transitions in the American film industry over the latter half of the 20th and into the 21st century. Among those developments are the shift away from the dominant stylistic and ideological models of “classical Hollywood” during the 1960s; the emergence of the “New Hollywood” in the 1970s with its stylistic eclecticism and emphasis on formulaic blockbusters; and the still-developing globalization of contemporary American cinema, in which non-American filmmakers are molding some of the most significant Hollywood productions of the new century.
Required viewing of a feature film each week in a Wed. afternoon (3-5:30) screening lab; the course also requires active discussion, regular attendance, substantial reading from a course packet. and several essays. Prerequisite is a prior college-level film course such as English/Cine 104 or Cine 261 or 262, or permission of the instructor ( firstname.lastname@example.org ).
274 X LITERATURE AND SOCIETY, Garner. MWF 12 Group V
Folklore and the Modern Novel
This course will explore connections between oral traditions and written literature, specifically in the genre of the novel. The following questions will help guide our reading and discussion: Why are literature and folklore typically regarded as separate entities and to what extent are such distinctions useful? How do well-known twentieth- and twenty-first century authors use folklore in their writing and thus participate in folk traditions? In what ways do our own traditions inform our interpretations of the fiction that we read? How are ethical and social issues of fieldwork and folklore collection addressed in recent novels? Readings will include works by authors such as Zora Neale Hurston, Chinua Achebe, Mario Vargas Llosa, Lisa See, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lee Smith, and Louise Erdrich. Requirements will include active class participation, a total of 15 pages of formal writing, weekly informal response papers, two examinations, and a final.
274 F LITERATURE AND SOCIETY, Marsh. MW 2-3:15Group III or V
Literature of Poverty, The Poverty of Literature
In this course, we will focus on answering two questions. First, how have U.S. writers conceived and represented poverty from (roughly) 1865 to the present? Second, how have those writers thought about the relation between literature and poverty? Is literature an aid to social reform or, as the second half of the title of this course implies, merely an exercise in dilettantism? In addition to reading primary literary texts, including fiction, drama, poetry, and reportage, we will also try to understand the prevailing views about poverty in each given period by reading contemporary accounts of why various people thought some people are and remain poor. Our goal will be to understand more about poverty in the United States but also how poverty, whether afflicting writers or their subjects, has been so central to literary practice in the United States. We will write two papers, a shorter one and a longer one, take a midterm and a final, and in groups students will research and give brief presentations on how different historical eras have debated the issue of poverty.
Some likely texts, though these will doubtless change before we meet: Rebecca Harding Davis’s “Life in the Iron Mills,” Stephen Crane’s Maggie, A Girl of the Streets, Jacob Riis’s How the Other Half Lives, W.E.B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk, Robert Frost’s North of Boston and other high modern poets (Eliot, Williams), Edith Summers Kelly’s Weeds, some Harlem Renaissance Writers (Hughes, Brown, Hurston), Great Depression-era poetry and song, Tom Kromer’s Waiting for Nothing, Sanora Babb’s Whose Names Are Unknown, Gwendolyn Brooks’s A Street in Bronzeville and other poems, Carlos Bulosan’s America Is in the Heart, Dorothy Allison’s Trash, some more recent texts, and a thousand other things we will have to winnow down into a manageable reading list. For historical background, we will rely on Michael Katz’s In the Shadow of the Poorhouse: A Social History of Welfare in America, as well as other, more historically-specific texts. Feel free to e-mail me (email@example.com) if you have any more questions.
274 CY LITERATURE AND SOCIETY, Yang. TUTH Group III or V
meets with AAS 299 & HIST 296
TOPIC: Black and Asian Workers in US Culture and History
What is the relationship between how African and Asian Americans are thought of as “workers” and how they are thought of as disparate racial minorities? How do our ideas about class and race shape our understanding of what it means to be—or more specifically, who can be—an American worker? In this class, we will tackle these broad questions by thinking about how specific categories such as “black,” “Asian,” and “worker” have been constituted in and through various texts in particular historical moments in American culture. In our reading of these texts, we will engage in a critical analysis that does not assume that the texts are re-presenting reality. Rather, our analysis will focus on how historical and literary representations have shaped and challenged our understanding of “black workers” and “Asian workers” as “real” categories of identity.
We will begin and ground the course by studying the post-emancipation constructions of the black and Asian workers as decidedly different social formations. The goal of this class is not to advocate uncritical notions of sameness but to complicate our sense of coalition and solidarity among the workers across the color line by looking at how differences are perpetually defined, dismantled, and re-defined in culture and history. In the process, the course ultimately seeks to further our understanding of race and class as sites of ongoing negotiations of power in the United States.
The course is organized around five literary texts, which are Charles Chesnutt’s The Marrow of Tradition (1901), Carlos Bulosan’s America Is in the Heart (1946), Chester Himes’s The Lonely Crusade (1947), Chang-rae Lee’s Native Speaker (1995), and Nina Revoyr’s Southland (2003). There will be ample readings paired with each of these texts.
Requirements for this course include active participation in class discussions that fosters a productive learning environment, as well as active engagement with the texts through paper-writing. The writing assignments will consist of at least two short papers, a midterm paper, a final paper, and a final exam.
280 F WOMEN WRITERS, Deck. MW 2-3:15 Group III or V
same as GWS 280
Black American Women Novelists: 1900-1980
Our goal is to develop an understanding of the literary tradition of black women novelists in 20th century United States. Some of the questions addressed this semester are: What are the thematic concerns of these writers? How do these particular writers adapt the novel to reflect the African American cultural experience? What changes are there in the representations of the women characters in each novel over the course of time?
TEXTS: Hagar’s Daughter by Pauline Hopkins, Passing by Nella Larsen, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, The Street by Ann Petry, Maude Martha by Gwendolyn Brooks, Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor and The Color Purple by Alice Walker
280 Q WOMEN WRITERS, Koshy. TUTH 12:30-1:45 Group III or V
same as GWS 280
meets with AAS 299
TOPIC: Asian American Women Writers
This course examines the ways in which the perspectives of race, gender, and sexuality and their interrelationships structure the writing of Asian American women. The popularity of writings by Asian American women and content of the narratives themselves have often been at the center of fierce controversies about cultural nationalism, assimilation, and the boundaries of Asian American identity. While many of these texts attempt to redefine the very meaning of politics by representing women’s lives and subjectivities, the reception of these texts and the debates within they have been framed often circumscribe their meanings in narrower notions of politics. In examining these debates and texts we will then not only read the texts but also think through how texts are read and the burden of representation that shapes the fictions of marginalized writers. We will also examine several other key issues that emerge in the writings of Asian American women: How is Asian American feminist critique different from mainstream feminism? What practices, subjectivities, and visions of community does it depict that fall outside conventional narratives of sexuality and gender in Asian American and mainstream accounts? How are the meanings and spaces of domesticity reimagined in these texts?
281 E WOMEN IN THE LIT IMAGINATION, I. Baron. MWF 1 Group V
same as GWS 281
Chick Lit: Feminism and Post-Feminism
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 F POSTCOLONIAL LIT IN ENGLISH. MW 2-3:15 Group II or V
Examination of selected postcolonial literature, theory, and film as texts that “write back” to dominant European representations of power, identity, gender and the Other. Postcolonial writers, critics and filmmakers studied may include Franz Fanon, Edward Said, Aime Cesaire, Ousmane Sembene, Chinua Achebe, Michelle Cliff, Mahesweta Devi, Buchi Emecheta, Derek Walcott and Marlene Nourbese-Philip. Prerequisite: Completion of the Composition I requirement.
286 M ASIAN AMERICAN LITERATURE, Koshy. TUTH 9:30-10:45 Group III or V
same as AAS 286
This course offers an understanding of the historical emergence of Asian American literature in the twentieth century. It examines the ways in which U. S. relations with Asia over the last century in the contexts of colonialism, semi-colonialism, immigration, and war have shaped representations of Asia and Asians in the United States. This course examines the liminal position of Asians in a national imaginary defined by binary black-white relations, the ways in which Asians have been positioned as invisible minorities, model minorities, and perpetual aliens. How has this paradoxical position as model minority and yellow peril impacted representations of gender, race, and sexuality in Asian American literature? How does Asian American literature offer new perspectives and understandings of race and Americanness in the twentieth century? While the course offers a historical context for reading literature, the focus will be on literary representation—what genres and forms have defined the emergence of Asian American writing; what narrative strategies do Asian American writers adopt in translating their stories to audiences of “insiders” and “outsiders;” what is the relationship between art and politics in minority writing? Some of the recurring themes that appear in Asian American writing are the contradictions of patriotism, intergenerational conflict or transgenerational haunting, the paradoxes of visibility and invisibility; the impossibility of assimilation; the recovery of lost histories; and the intersection of racial and sexual stereotypes.
300 D WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE, Schaffner. MW 11-12:15 Group V
The graphic novel has emerged as both a celebrated and subversive literary form. In this course, we will read and explore a range of graphic novels on personal, political, and historical topics. We will also read theory about the composition and teaching of graphic novels. In our discussions, the visual and typographic elements of the graphic novel will be of particular interest as we work to explore how all literary texts make meaning through visual elements.
Because this is a writing class, students in the course should be prepared to write regularly and in multiple genres including: response papers, reviews, data summaries, a manifesto, and comprehensive critical essays.
300 E WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE, Castro. MWF 1 Group IV
This course explores the work of the United States’ most recent Nobel Laureate for literature. While our primary focus will be on close readings of Toni Morrison’s fiction, we will also read some of her essays, speeches, and interviews, as well as consider her influence as an editor. To contextualize Morrison’s emergence as a novelist in the early 1970s, we will attend to the historical circumstances--the wake of the civil rights movement, the emerging feminist movement, and the Black Power/Black Arts movements--that converged at the inception of what would be a late-twentieth-century boom in African American women’s writing. After cutting our teeth on Morrison’s early works (The Bluest Eye and Sula) as an introduction to her takes on gender, race, and sexuality, we will conduct a sustained analysis of Morrison’s novelistic intervention in questions of collective memory and U.S. history, from Song of Solomon, which poses the problem along familial lines, to her more recent trilogy (Beloved, Jazz, Paradise). Throughout, we will ask, What vision of literature emerges from Morrison’s corpus? What does her work add to our conceptions of American society.
Because this is a writing-intensive class, in addition to taking a midterm and final, students will be asked to write three papers of increasing length which they will revise and resubmit throughout the semester. In addition there will be in-class quizzes and writing workshops to encourage fluency in writing about literature, with particular emphasis on incorporating quoted material, proper citation, and use of secondary sources. Students are encouraged to tackle Morrison’s lengthier work, Paradise, over the winter break.
300 M WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE, Bauer. TUTH 9:30-10:45 Group III or V
20th Century American Women’s Writing
This is a writing-intensive course that examines the tradition of US women’s writing in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Our reading will survey the range of issues that characterize modern American women’s writing, including the political, economic, and social anxieties that underlie women’s experience throughout mid-century, along with the second and third waves of feminist consciousness in the 60s through the 90s. Starting in the 1930s, we will examine women’s writing—decade by decade—to the present, ending with a consideration of US women’s writing in a diverse international context of British, Israeli, and African women’s writing.
Some of the authors we will be reading include Fannie Hurst, Mary McCarthy, Shirley Jackson, Marya Hornbacher, Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, Gwendolyn Brooks, Jeannette Walls, Pat Barker, and Orly Castel-Bloom.
300 P1 WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE, Markley. TUTH 11-12:15 Group V
Science fiction is often treated as though it exists on the margins of serious literature and literary study, and there has always been a good deal of debate since the nineteenth century about its value and significance. This course will explore the history and critical fortunes of science fiction from the work of H.G. Wells and Robert Louis Stevenson in the late 1800s to contemporary films and novels. We will look at the ways in which science fiction has both reflected social, political, and economic concerns in the twentieth century and offered its readers ways to think about possible futures that await the human race. Writers we will read include H.G. Wells, Octavia Butler, Kim Stanley Robinson, Phillip K. Dick, Ursula Le Guin, Ray Bradbury, and, Nicola Griffith. Our aim will be to gain a broad understanding of science fiction as a genre between roughly 1890 and 2007, with particular attention to issues posed by the two world wars, the prospect of nuclear annihilation, social stratification, and ecological disaster. Students will write four short response papers, two longer papers, and take a midterm and final.
300 P2 WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE, Neely. TUTH 11-12:15 Shakespeare Requirement
Twenty First Century Shakespeare
In this course we will explore Shakespeare plays as they are performed, adapted, written and thought about in the twenty-first century in conjunction with the UIUC theater department’s all Shakespeare semester. They will perform Joe Calarco’s Shakespeare’s R&J (which has an all male cast), Henry IV Part I (with an all women cast), and Measure for Measure. We will read all of these plays and several other Shakespeare plays which will likely include The Taming of the Shrew, and at least one other adaptation along with contemporary critical essays. We’ll also see one or more plays, view film clips, and maybe even perform a scene or two. But the main purpose of course will be to enable you to become a more resourceful and creative reader and writer with a repertory of writing strategies at your command. There will be at least 4 short papers, each peer and/or instructor edited and revised, culminating in a longer final paper and final exam. Previous experience of Shakespeare or drama is not required but welcomed and course fulfills Shakespeare requirement.
TEXTS: Gibaldi, MLA Handbook; Calarco’s Shakespeare’s R&J; paperback editions of plays.
300 Q WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE, Underwood. TUTH 12:30-1:45 Group II or V
The Novel in the Romantic Era
Late-eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century novels are not shy. They take on controversial issues; they talk back to critics; they parody other novels. These exchanges dramatize the tensions of British history in the period, including tensions between classes, and between the various nations that were folded into a “United Kingdom.” They also dramatize important turning points in the history of fiction, including the emergence of genres like the gothic and historical novel, and the development of new assumptions about fictional “realism.” As we explore these aspects of literary history, we will practice skills that support advanced critical writing (research skills, integration of sources, and finer points of prose style). Readings will include Sterne, A Sentimental Journey, Radcliffe, The Romance of the Forest, Austen, Northanger Abbey, Godwin, Caleb Williams, Owenson, The Wild Irish Girl, and Scott, Waverley. Frequent informal writing, and three essays, each with several stages of revision.
300 S WRITING ABOUT LITERATURE, Curry. TUTH 2-3:50 Group V
meets with CINE 395
TOPIC: Screen Adaptations: Transforming the Written Word into Film
The strategies that writers and filmmakers have used in adapting fiction, plays and “real life stories” to the screen is the focus of this new topic for English 300. Most of the films we will study (a number of which students must watch outside of class time) will be feature length narrative films released to cinemas in the U.S. and Britain—but we will also study a few international films (e.g., Japanese, Chinese, Italian) that translate tales and styles across languages and cultural forms and consider the “made for TV” movie which mines newspaper headlines and celebrity stories as source material. The course aims to help students develop theories to analyze and speak and write clearly and persuasively about the production and critical reception of adaptations. We will specifically address questions of whose literary works or biographies get adapted by whom, and in what ways, when and for which anticipated audiences, even as we question the idea of “a singular original” as well as reconsider issues of authorship.
Writing assignments in this course—which fulfills the advanced composition requirement for English majors (and is also appropriate for Cinema studies majors and minors)—will encourage students to approach theories and practices of screen adaptations critically, comparatively, and creatively (one assignment will ask students to draft a mini-screenplay adapting selected source material). Course reading will include two books on screen adaptation and an extensive course packet of critical articles.
301 D CRITICAL APPROACHES TO LIT, Basu. MWF 11
The objective of this course is to help you understand, in a much more critical manner, the relationship between literature and society. That is, we will examine how ideas, styles, poetic expressions, and forms of narration become pertinent to their historical occasion. We will explore how literary works respond to urgent desires, questions, and utopian and realistic quests of their times, like those pertaining to revolution, individual and national liberation, sexuality, morals, race, class, religion, or anti-colonial struggles. The class will concentrate largely on critical literature written during the twentieth century and will be roughly divided into three phases. The first of these will cover the years between the great wars and include works by thinkers like Eric Auerbach, Georg Lukács, William Empson, and Walter Benjamin. The second phase will include some moments from a Western critical tradition broadly grouped under the umbrella terms of structuralism and post-structuralism. We will read Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, and Gilles Deleuze. The third phase will open out, in a more pronounced manner, to questions in the fields of culture studies, feminism, race studies, post-colonialism, and film studies. In this we will study the works of Raymond Williams, Edward Said, Fredric Jameson, and Gayatri Chakravarty-Spivak. The readings will be made available in a course packet that can be purchased from Notes & Quotes at John Street .
We will study these critical works in tandem with a couple of short stories, a few poems, paintings, and possibly one film. Writing requirements will include two tests and two 5-6 page papers.
301 F CRITICAL APPROACHES TO LIT, Byrd. MW 2-3:15
This course will introduce students to some of the key scholars and their theoretical innovations that have shaped contemporary literary and cultural studies. Some of the questions that we will engage over the course of the semester include: As readers, what sorts of concerns do we bring to a literary work? What does it mean to “read” a text? What is the relationship between literature and the larger society the produces it? In what ways does literature respond to, engage, and potentially, elide issues of race, class, sexuality, colonialism, politics, and history? Over the course of the semester, we will trace these questions through critical frameworks such as new criticism, structuralism and poststructuralism, psychoanalysis, Marxism, deconstruction, postmodernism, feminism, queer theory, postcolonialism and indigenous critical theory. Texts may include William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Nella Larson’s Passing, and Mark Danielewski’s House of Leaves in addition to a course packet of primary readings shaping each of those critical frameworks. Requirements include active participation in class discussion, weekly journals, short presentations, two papers, and two exams.
301 M CRITICAL APPROACHES TO LIT, Hansen. TUTH 9:30-10:45
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.
301 Q CRITICAL APPROACHES TO LIT, Rodriguez. TUTH 12:30-1:45
This course aims to reveal the stakes involved in critical interpretation. Starting from the premise that literary texts emerge from distinct social, cultural, and historical contexts and circulate as a result of political, economic, and ideological demands, we will examine an array of theoretical approaches that allow us to assess literature’s capacity to provide evidence, generate meaning, and effect change. Designed as an introductory course to significant critical movements such as structuralism, poststructuralism, psychoanalysis, Marxism, feminism, critical race theory, cultural studies, postcolonial theory, and queer theory, students can expect to become acquainted with representative figures like Saussure, Derrida, Foucault, Freud, Lacan, Marx, Althusser, Benjamin, de Lauretis, Gates, Hall, Bhabha, and Sedgwick. Requirements will include active participation in class, weekly response papers, two 5-6 pp. papers, a midterm, and a final exam.
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 works. 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? 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, Nella Larsen, Passing, and selected poetry. Requirements include: a willingness to work through difficult and unfamiliar material, regular class participation and short written responses, two papers, and at least two exams.
373 R SPECIAL TOPICS IN FILM STUDIES, Capino. Screening: TU 1-250; Lect: TH 1-250
same as CINE 373
This course surveys the diverse and impressive body of work broadly categorized as American independent cinema. We will examine films such as sex, lies & videotape (Steven Soderbergh, 1989) and Shadows (John Cassavetes, 1959), paradigmatic “indie” films of their time, alongside less typical or less successful works, such as Deep Throat (Gerard Damiano, 1972) and Chuck and Buck (Miguel Arteta, 2000). We will also study the competing discourses of “independence,” including critic Annette Insdorf’s claim that independent films “treat inherently American concerns with primarily European style” and filmmaker Jon Jost’s characterization of the 1970s “new American cinema” as the “bastard child of Hollywood, standing at the gates, yearning for intimacy.” Finally, we will think about the stakes of valorizing a corpus of rarefied films as the symbolic conscience of American cinema in the face of Hollywood’s rampaging commercialism and ostensible artistic dearth and moral bankruptcy.
Honors seminars are open to students who enroll in the English Honors program. To register for a seminar, or find out more about the program, see Maureen Airsman in English Building room 200
396 D HONORS SEMINAR I, Trilling. W 11-12:50 Group V
Getting Medieval: From Beowulf to Monty Python
The purpose of this course is twofold: to introduce students to a range of medieval literature and to examine its legacy in the modern era. Since the 19th century, literature tends to use a fetishized notion of “the medieval” as a foil for “the modern”, invoking it either as a Golden Age which critiques the problems of the present, or a pre-Enlightenment epoch of superstition and ignorance. Students will study both medieval literature itself and modern representations of the Middle Ages in an attempt to understand the complex means by which the present approaches the past. We will discover how modern notions of empire, progress, belief, revolution, pacifism, and novelty inform modern attempts to represent—or appropriate—the medieval.
The course will be organized in a seminar format. Students will be responsible for keeping up with assigned readings, preparing an in-class presentation, and engaging in a substantial research project that will include creating an annotated bibliography, an abstract, and multiple drafts of a seminar paper.
396 X1 HONORS SEMINAR I, Mohamed. M 12-1:50 Group I or V
Looking for Samson: Milton’s Dramatic Poem and Its Readers
Current anxiety over terrorism has renewed interest in, and controversy over, John Milton’s Samson Agonistes. In Samson’s climactic slaughter of Philistine nobles, present-day readers have found, as one critic has put it, a ‘chilling’ parallel to the actions of a ‘suicide bomber.’ Since 9/11 the dramatic poem that was never intended to be staged has been performed with unprecedented frequency: there have been seven productions in New York and one in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. It is no wonder; Samson Agonistes invites us to contemplate the issues surrounding religious violence and political resistance so pervasive in our time, and reveals discomforting values in the oeuvre of a major poet what do we make of the fact that Milton’s most human, and most autobiographical, character is a murderous zealot?
This course will study the classical and Renaissance antecedents of Milton’s brief tragedy while engaging theories of tragedy, Reformation resistance theory, critical discussion of Samson Agonistes, and cultural criticism pertaining to the ‘war on terror.’
397 S HONORS SEMINAR II, Esty. TH 2-3:50 Group II or V
Twentieth Century Irish Poetry
Ireland is a small nation, but a giant power in the world of modern poetry -- and for good reason. American and other Anglophone readers have for generations seen Ireland as a kind of poetic fount, a source for some of the most beautiful and gripping lyric language available in English. Why is this true? What kinds of experiences—political, pastoral, literary, sexual, spiritual, domestic, exotic—have inspired the great Irish poets, from W.B. Yeats to Seamus Heaney? In this seminar we will read those two Nobel Prize winners, along with Thomas Kinsella, Eavan Boland, Paul Muldoon, and Mebdh McGuckian. We will also explore some Irish-language poetry in translation (Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill) and consider the influence of the Irish lyric tradition on popular music (Van Morrison, U2, The Pogues, The Cranberries). Among other things, the course will offer an advanced introduction to key terms in poetry and poetics as well as some critical background on the history of the lyric form. During the last 4 weeks of the semester, working in teams of three, members of the seminar will conduct independent research on a contemporary Irish poet. The teams will assign poems for the class to read and lead us in a discussion of them. Graded requirements will also include several short response papers and one longer (10-12) interpretive essay.
398 S HONORS SEMINAR III, Saville. TUTH 2-3:15 Group IV
Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1860) and Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909) – Poets of Private and Public Freedom
If you’ve heard of the Victorian poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning, chances are you’re most familiar with the romantic story of her life: the invalid poet, rescued from an overprotective, domineering British father and swept off to a new life in Italy by her poet-lover, Robert Browning, to whom she wrote such sonnets as “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” You may not know that she was also an outspoken defender of civil liberties both in England and abroad, and you might not have considered how freedom to love the person of your choice might tally with civil rights such as freedom of speech, freedom to vote, and other freedoms enjoyed by citizens of the United States in the twenty-first century. Similarly, if you’ve never heard of Barrett Browning’s admirer, Algernon Charles Swinburne, or the wickedly funny religious parodies, kinky love songs, and polemical political lyrics he created from his vast readings in world literatures, you might also never have considered how exploring other literatures and cultures—as these extraordinary Victorians do—might sharpen your own sense of yourself as an individual with freedoms and obligations, local, national, and global.
In this course, we will study freedoms of body and mind at home and abroad imagined in Barrett Browning’s poems about child labor in British factories, slavery in 1840s America, and the rebellions of Italian patriots against Austrian occupation in the 1850s. We will weigh these against Swinburne’s imaginative challenges to moral despotism in his Anglo-French love stories, and exposure of political despotism in his republican songs. In the course of the semester, we will consider the similarities that arise between Victorian debates about individual, national, and cosmopolitan freedom and contemporary debates about our often conflicting patriotic loyalties and global responsibilities.
402 1U/1G DESCRIPTIVE ENGLISH GRAMMAR, D. Baron. MW 11-12:15
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.
TEXT: Curzan, Anne, and Michael Adams. 2006. How English Works: A Linguistic Introduction. New York: Pearson.
403 2U/2G HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH LANG, Garner. MWF 10 Group V
In this course, we will examine the history of the English language from its Proto-Indo-European origins to the present. At every stage we will be interested in processes of language variation and change. Language cannot be separated from the people who speak it, and our emphasis will fall equally on the formal and social aspects of language history. Course requirements include a series of graded exercises and short writing assignments, two examinations, a paper, and active class participation.
TEXTS: Origins and Development of the English Language; with additional readings on electronic reserve
404 U3/G4 ENGLISH GRAMMAR FOR ESL TEACHERS, Ionin. MWF 11
same as EIL 422
This course is designed to help prospective teachers of English as a Second or Foreign Language (ESL/EFL) enhance their understanding of English grammar and develop pedagogical approaches to teaching English grammar. This course has two main components: (1) instruction in English grammar, with particular emphasis on those areas that present difficulties for ESL students; and (2) development of pedagogical approaches to teaching English grammar. In order to provide practical teaching experience, the course also offers a tutoring practicum where participants tutor ESL students on topics of English grammar that have been covered in the course, using pedagogical materials that are sound in light of current second language acquisition (SLA) theories, research findings, and teaching methodologies.
411 1U/1G CHAUCER, M. Camargo. TUTH 9:30-10:45 Group IV
same as MDVL 411
We will read and discuss most of the Canterbury Tales, with the object of appreciating and enjoying Chaucer’s poetic originality and understanding the literary tradition within which he wrote and the world-picture that he brings to life. Topics that will be emphasized in class discussions include Chaucer’s innovative poetics, his complex engagement with issues of gender and social class, and his place in the major philosophical and political controversies of fourteenth-century England.
419 1U/1G SHAKESPEARE, II, Kay. TUTH 9:30-10:45 Shakespeare Requirement
This class will trace the stages of Shakespeare’s development from mid-career onward, including: 1) the tragic-comic experience of his “problem comedies” like Measure for Measure and All’s Well that Ends Well, where characters must come to terms with the guilt for acts which they intended but never actually committed; 2) his major tragedies (Macbeth, Othello, King Lear), where evil exacts a terrible cost for folly and temptation and self-knowledge is bought only by suffering and loss; and 3) his late romances like The Winter’s Tale or The Tempest, which contrast innocence and experience and connect the cycle of generations to the regeneration of nature and society. We’ll also look at Shakespeare’s Dark Lady Sonnets and at Roman plays like Antony and Cleopatra, where love and manliness are tested in the struggle for empire. There will be regular brief in-class writings on our reading, several medium-length papers involving critical readings, an hour-exam, and a final.
TEXT: The Riverside Shakespeare, revised edition.
419 2U/2G SHAKESPEARE II, L. Newcomb. TUTH 12:30-1:45 Shakespeare Requirement
This course looks at “later Shakespeare,” that is, plays from the second half of Shakespeare’s writing career (1600-1612), as they have produced meaning in the early seventeenth century and beyond. Why did these plays seem urgent in the context of early modern Britain, and why do they remain urgent in many national contexts today? We’ll look at debates sparked by seven plays, among the playwright’s most enduring: Henry V and the ethics of war, Much Ado About Nothing and the instability of sexual bonds; Hamlet and the possible political bite of theatre, Othello and the production of gender and racial differences, The Winter’s Tale and class fantasy, King Lear and problems of sovereignty in the family and nation. We’ll conclude with The Tempest and its re-invention in global debate. Throughout, we’ll note some features that help keep the plays culturally central: the openness of staging that invites new interpretations; the flexible language that makes the plays polyvalent; and the confronting of familial, class, gender, and racial tensions in terms both prescient and ambivalent.
Be ready for proactive discussion, performance experiments, and rigorous written work. Since the value of studying Shakespeare lies not in the texts alone, but also in their continuous, creative reinvention by performers and critics, this course samples several kinds of interpretive practice systematically. We’ll start with close textual analysis, then consider performance choices and film interpretations. By midterm, we’ll be ready to contextualize and question the plays’ social visions through historicist and materialist criticism, and feminist, queer, and race studies. Expect frequent in-class group activities including performance of a scene; three focused short papers; a longer paper involving research (7-9 pp.); and a midterm and final.
TEXTS: Greenblatt et al. eds, Norton Shakespeare (first edition); McDonald, Bedford Companion to Shakespeare; critical articles on e-reserve.
419 3U/3G SHAKESPEARE II, Stevens. MWF 11 Shakespeare Requirement
This course, which joins theater history (what we know about performance in Shakespeare’s time) to close textual analysis, studies seven plays from the latter half of Shakespeare’s career, including some of his most notable tragedies: Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, and King Lear. We’ll also study one “problem” play that seems to defy its categorization as a comedy (Measure for Measure), one late romance (The Tempest), and one lesser-known tragedy (Coriolanus). As we read these plays we’ll situate Shakespeare within a broader political, cultural, and above all theatrical context, reminding ourselves that these plays were intended as scripts for performance and were also conceived and produced under specific economic and material conditions. We will also consider the “afterlives” of these plays, noting how Shakespeare gets revised and rescripted by different generations and cultures.
Evaluation will be based on participation, including a willingness to block scenes in class; one formal in-class performance assignment; one midterm; and finally one short essay (5-6 pages) which will be substantially developed, with instructor suggestions for revision, into a longer final paper involving secondary research (12-15 pages).
This course assumes no prior college-level study in Shakespeare, but English 200 (or 101 and 102) is prerequisite.
TEXTS: Russ McDonald, Bedford Companion to Shakespeare (2nd edition); individual editions of the pays (TBA).
419 4U/4G SHAKESPEARE II, Cole. TUTH 9:30-10:45 Shakespeare Requirement
The second and richer half of Shakespeare’s career is examined through very careful readings of nine plays, each selected for the new things it says about his changing interests and developing dramatic skills. The first nine weeks deal with five of the mature tragedies; discussion centers on the plays themselves, but it will also attempt to relate the plays to one another and to the time in which they were written. This section is followed by several weeks on at least two of the dark comedies (where romance turns sour) and several more on the last two romances (where romance turns philosophical). A sixth-week exam covers the first three plays, a 10-12 page paper on one of the dark comedies is due the tenth week, and the final exam includes only the last six plays.
TEXT: The Riverside Shakespeare, Evans, ed.
419 5U/5G SHAKESPEARE II, Shapiro. TUTH 11-12:15 Shakespeare Requirement
I expect to cover 8-10 of Shakespeare’s later plays, drawn from three categories—problem comedy, tragedy, and romance. I conduct the class by discussion rather than by lecture. There will be a final, plus one or two short papers (c. 5 pp.) and a long paper (c. 12-15 pp.) on an appropriate project (e.g. acting or design for theater students). Students will also participate in workshop productions of one or two short scenes. Approaching the plays as scripts for performance is, I feel, an effective way to understand Shakespeare’s language, imagery, characterizations, and dramaturgy.
TEXT: I recommend the Norton Shakespeare.
421 1U/1G LATER RENAISS POETRY & PROSE, Mohamed. MW 2-3:15 Group I
This course will examine seventeenth-century English writing at crisis points of religious controversy. From the assassination attempt on King James I, to the civil wars and execution of Charles I, to the restoration of monarchy, the religious tumults of the period produce explosive political consequences—and an unprecedented amount of print. We will explore how the concerns of the time reveal themselves in key literary texts of the period, such as the devotional poetry of John Donne and George Herbert and the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes. We will also explore the radical political settlements arising from left-wing Protestantism, including the Levellers’ arguments for universal male suffrage and the Diggers’ proto-communism. Along the way we will also see in our study of the seventeenth century some of the first women poets to be published in England, particularly Lady Mary Wroth, Rachel Speght, and Aemilia Lanyer.
423 1U/1G MILTON, Gray. TUTH 9:30-10:45 Group IV
This course introduces you to one of the greatest British writers—John Milton. Milton was a blind seer, a regicidal prose-writer, and an inspired poet. He also wrote arguably the most ambitious English epic, one that aimed to explain the origins of life itself: Paradise Lost. This class will explore Milton’s prodigious and ostentatiously learned output in the context of his own life and the historical turmoil of the mid-seventeenth century that transformed it. We will focus on the complex issues of religion, gender, and politics he engages, looking at his often contradictory responses to the ideas, literature, and men and women of his time. We will also trace his carefully crafted public image, thinking about Milton’s view of the role of poetry and polemic within a revolutionary historical context.
427 1U/1G LATER 18TH CENTURY LITERATURE, Wilcox. MWF 12 Group I
Later eighteenth-century British literature speaks to our own cultural moment: How do you discern excellence and identify representative works when new media are blurring the boundaries between pop culture and high art? The literature produced between the 1740s and the 1790s emerged from a world in which the literary elite tried to define “British Literature” at the same time that a growing popular market for reading material was challenging those definitions. What counts as literature and why was a pressing question during this time. Answers emerged that have shaped our habits and expectations of reading—but they are not necessarily the same answers we would give today, nor are they answers that the writers and thinkers of the later eighteenth century agreed on. In this course, you will gain first-hand experience in doing literary history as you sample the larger body of literature from which the canonical texts of later eighteenth-century literature were drawn and decide which literary texts from this period warrant scrutiny and why. Working closely with your classmates and instructor, you will create and master a class anthology of selected readings from this period, which will convey the breadth of this period while addressing the themes that most interest you in greater depth. By the end of the semester you will have read a wide variety of late eighteenth-century texts with comprehension, insight, and enjoyment; you will have a well-grounded critical framework for taking part in the ongoing scholarly debate about how to weave these texts 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 the literary past.
Initial course readings will include Laurence Sterne, A Sentimental Journey and a course packet of selected late eighteenth-century poetry and nonfiction prose designed to build skills in comprehending and interpreting the language of the period; subsequent readings will be determined by student interest and made available through e-reserve and ECCO (Eighteenth-Century Collections Online).
Course requirements will include participation on the course blog, two analytical papers, a short project in archival scholarship, and a final.
429 1U/1G 18TH CENTURY FICTION, Pollock. TUTH 11-12:15 Group I or V
“Fictions of Enlightenment.” This course will examine the link between European colonialism and the development of recognizably “modern” fiction during the course of the long eighteenth century—a period commonly referred to as the Enlightenment—in England, France, and the Americas. One of the central tasks in our project this semester will be to understand the significance of travel both as a literal means of disseminating “enlightenment” between cultures, and as a metaphor for describing the developmental trajectory of the self-cultivating individual. Each of the fictions we will read presents us with characters who undertake a movement out of their own cultures—even “out” of themselves—into trans-cultural or inter-cultural spaces where complicated ethical and political dilemmas must be negotiated. Perhaps the most influential legacy of these Enlightenment fictions (or fictions of Enlightenment) has been their implicit formulation of “cosmopolitanism” as a solution to the often violent clash between cultures. The popular narratives we’ll study in this course test the Enlightenment’s cosmopolitan ethos by putting European observers in places as diverse as Africa, Brazil, Persia, Tahiti, and the Caribbean. We will finish by reading some recent philosophical work on the question “What is Enlightenment?” and we will attempt to answer that question ourselves. Texts by Montaigne, Behn, Defoe, Montesquieu, Swift, Montagu, Diderot, Johnson, Voltaire, Equiano, and Kant. Course requirements: regular attendance and participation, three essays, and a final exam.
431 1U/1G ENGLISH ROMANTIC LITERATURE, Wood. TUTH 12:30-1:45 Group II
This course examines the major preoccupations of British Romanticism: nature and the sublime; orientalism and the Gothic; social revolution and reform; the modern, psychologized literary subject; and the death-driven trajectory of the artist-hero from “gladness” to “despondency and madness.” The class will emphasize the broad nature of the Romantic movement, with references to its European context and frequent discussion of romantic art and music. In addition to our study of major figures Wordsworth, Coleridge, Wollstonecraft, Austen, Keats, Shelley, and Byron, the infusion of French revolutionary ideology after 1789—and the violent ambivalence of Britain’s writers toward it—will serve as the cornerstone of a broader historical investigation of this vital and culturally rich period.
435 1U/1G 19TH C BRITISH FICTION, Garrett. TUTH 2-3:15 Group II or V
The nineteenth century was a period of accelerating social change, driven by such modernizing forces as industrialization, urbanization, and the expansion of the political franchise, means of communication, and literacy. All these factors helped in making the novel the dominant cultural form of the age, the site for staging ideological conflicts and imagining their resolution, for projecting broad panoramas of social relations, probing the subjectivity of individual experience, and struggling to relate those disparate perspectives. The novels we will read display many of the new possibilities writers developed as they tried to meet these challenges: from Austen’s restricted comedy of manners to the large social landscapes of Dickens and Eliot; from the versions of pastoral by Trollope and Hardy to the versions of romance by Shelley, the Brontës, and Conrad. In each case, our approach will be through features of narrative form and craft, seeing how each novelist’s strategies of narration, characterization, and plotting work to produce different visions of and responses to a changing world.
TEXTS: Austen, Pride and Prejudice; Shelley, Frankenstein; C. Brontë, Jane Eyre; E. Brontë, Wuthering Heights; Dickens, Bleak House; Trollope, The Warden; Eliot, Middlemarch; Hardy, Tess of the d’Urbervilles; Conrad, Lord Jim
441 1U/1G BRITISH LIT 1900-1930, Hansen. TUTH 12:30-1:45 Group II
Modernism and Crisis - Virginia Woolf once claimed that, “on or around December 1910, human nature changed.” Of course, much of the literature written in the Britain between 1900 and 1930 betrays a sense that the old ways of making sense of the world seemed to have failed, and the Europe was in the midst of a series of profound political, social, and cultural crises. By evaluating some of the works by W.B. Yeats, Joseph Conrad, E.M. Forster, Dorothy Richardson, James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, Rebecca West, and Woolf herself, we will try to understand these various crises and the long-term effects that they had on British, and subsequently on international, culture. Requirements will include a daily reading journal, two 6-8 page essays, a midterm, a final, and active in-class participation.
451 1U/1G AMERICAN LIT 1914-1945, Parker. TUTH 12:30-1:45 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 (probably Light in August)—as well as work by less canonized or more recently canonized figures, including poetry by Langston Hughes and a selection of Imagist poets, Nella Larsen’s Passing, Dorothy Parker’s short stories, and Anita Loos’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. (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, Courtemanche. TUTH 2-3:15 Group IV
Dickens and the Victorian City
As the writers of Lost are aware, Charles Dickens was a pioneer of the long-form multi-plot narrative that sprawls over different places and times while desperately trying to tie everything together. Dickens’s novels are informed by what was in the 19th century the new experience of living in an unfathomable metropolis, with its surging crowds and solitary alienation. His narratives make the city of London legible through complex mapping strategies in which strangers turn out to be related in every way imaginable: family ties, legal claims, violent accidents, common acquaintances, work contracts, ancient passions, or simple proximity. These novels make you care both about the private realm and the public sphere: they draw you in with melodramatic tales about quirky individuals, and then ambitiously try to make sense of their whole society, attacking religious hypocrisy, political complacency, the ideological delusions of the wealthy, and the petty vanity of established power.
In this class, we will read the (warning: long!) Dickens novels Oliver Twist, Hard Times, Bleak House, and Our Mutual Friend, as well as descriptions of the Victorian city, and of urban mapping in general, by such critics as J. Hillis Miller, Walter Benjamin, Raymond Williams, and Franco Moretti. The course will require one close-reading paper, one longer research paper, a midterm and final, weekly written assignments, and active class participation.
455 2U/2G MAJOR AUTHORS, Garrett. TUTH 11-12:15 Group IV
Marian Evans was a prominent Victorian intellectual before she began writing fiction as George Eliot, and her tales and novels grow as much from her ideas and convictions as from her personal and historical experience. From Scenes of Clerical Life (1857) to Daniel Deronda (1876), she is centrally concerned with the disrupting effects of modernity and modernization, with the loss of the traditional religious beliefs that had grounded moral values and the loss of the traditional pre-industrial way of life that had provided a sense of community. Those concerns lead to her ethical humanism, her efforts to reground values in personal and social obligation, as well as her artistic realism, which was part of her effort to reestablish community by promoting sympathy. “Art is the nearest thing to life,” she wrote; “a mode of amplifying experience and extending our contact with our fellow-men beyond the bounds of our personal lot.” In pursuing those efforts, she wrote some of the greatest and most complex fiction of the nineteenth century, distinguished by both its social and historical scope and its psychological depth, and ranging in style from the enclosed Gothic nightmare of “The Lifted Veil” to the sweeping social panorama of Middlemarch. Following the course of her development will offer us many opportunities to appreciate those artistic achievements as well as to probe the cultural conflicts she tried to resolve.
TEXTS: Selected Essays, Scenes of Clerical Life, Adam Bede, The Mill on the Floss, Silas Marner, “The Lifted Veil,” Middlemarch, Daniel Deronda
455 3U/3G MAJOR AUTHORS, Pollock. TUTH 2-3:15 Group IV
Eliza Haywood and Mary Wollstonecraft
This course will focus on the major writings produced by two of the most widely-read women writers in eighteenth-century England, with the primary goal of understanding the different forms that early feminist discourse could take: what would it have meant to be a “feminist” in the generations after the Glorious Revolution (1689), when Parliament undermined the notion that kings ruled legitimately on the basis of an automatic “divine right,” when the potentially egalitarian political ideals of Locke (and others) suggested that personal industry and merit should enable any person to rise in the world, and when the official end of censorship made it possible for more and more writers to publish and to engage in socially consequential public debate? To give ourselves a broader sense of the cultural contexts within which Haywood and Wollstonecraft developed their influential perspectives on England’s gender system, we’ll begin by reading some of the works of Mary Astell (often referred to as England’s “first feminist”) against the popular tradition of paternalistic conduct-books and essay-periodicals from the 1680s to the 1710s. The second section of the course will situate Haywood’s subversive “amatory fictions” in relation both to Astell’s work and to Samuel Richardson’s moral-realist fiction of the 1740s. Finally, the third section of the course will read Wollstonecraft’s major works (both philosophical and fictional) as critical engagements both with Richardson and with the sentimentalist gender ideologies of Rousseau and Burke. Course requirements: regular attendance and participation, three essays, and a final exam.
455 5U/5G MAJOR AUTHORS, Doherty Mohr. MWF 12 Group IV
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 group discussions, response papers, two critical essays, a midterm, and a final 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 short fiction and critical essays will be assigned.
461 1U/1G TOPICS IN LITERATURE, Courtemanche. TUTH 11-12:15 Group II or V
Pulp Fictions of the 1890’s
In the 1890s, the predominant form of British fiction shifted from the long three-volume novel to the shorter novella meant to appeal to a mass public. This economic development combined with a cultural reaction against the mid-Victorian pieties of respectability and religious duty to produce a series of intense fantastic tales that have been popular for a hundred years, but have not always made it into the literary canon. Many of these stories were deeply sexualized, featuring liberated New Women and male aesthetes as well as magnetic superhumans like Ayesha, Dracula, and Svengali. Others celebrated the primacy of science and the masculine will, jingoistic imperialism, or irrational violence.
We will approach these texts from four different critical angles: tracing philosophical influences through readings from Nietzsche and Freud; historical contextualization including developments in Victorian science and the Woman Question; political criticism using categories derived from contemporary cultural studies; and aesthetic appreciation of the stories' uncanny beauty, narrative innovations, and campy extravagance. Texts will include Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, H. Rider Haggard’s She, Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray, George du Maurier’s Trilby, H. G. Wells’s The Time Machine, Grant Allen’s The Woman who Did, stories by Olive Schreiner and Ada Leverson, and secondary critical readings by figures such as Q.D. Leavis, Janice Radway, and Susan Sontag.
461 2U/2G TOPICS IN LITERATURE, Barrett. TUTH 9:30-10:45 Group I
Medieval English Literature (excluding Chaucer)
Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales is an amazing masterpiece—but it isn’t the be-all and end-all of medieval English literature. Many other great texts were produced in premodern England, and this course is an introduction to several of them. The reading list is divided into three thematic units: “Body and Soul,” “Debate and Vision,” and “Love and War.” In “Body and Soul,” we’ll concentrate on the thirteenth-century Ancrene Wisse, a treatise for female recluses, and the fifteenth-century York Mystery Plays, a cycle of bible pageants staged by male guildsmen. “Debate and Vision” will feature two fourteenth-century visionary texts: William Langland’s Piers Plowman, a wanderer’s quest for justice in a society governed by sin, and the anonymous Pearl, a father’s encounter with the spirit of his dead daughter. The last unit, “Love and War,” reads the twelfth-century Lais of Marie de France against the fifteenth-century Morte Darthur of Sir Thomas Malory—composite texts featuring the interplay of violence and desire. Each unit will also feature a selection of thematically-appropriate Old English poems, allowing us to consider the issues of the course in a longue durée context that defies the traditional period boundary of 1066. Although we will occasionally pause to consider snippets of each text in its original linguistic form, we will stick to Modern English translations for the most part. Assignments will include a number of short reading responses, three papers (one for each unit), and a final exam.
461 A1 TOPICS IN LITERATURE, Hilger. MW 3-4:20 Group V
meets with CWL 450
TOPIC: Gender Benders
This course examines literary texts and other cultural documents (biographies, opera, films) from the seventeenth to the twenty-first century, which all question the gender roles of their time through a representation of characters with unstable, ambivalent, or ambiguous gender identities. We will pay special attention to social and historical contexts and try to understand the function of transvestites, hermaphrodites, castrati and other gender benders in these texts.
In addition to the primary literature, we will read selections from Thomas Laqueur’s Making Sex and Londa Schiebinger’s The Mind Has No Sex? to help us understand how biology and science are used to construct and justify gender identity at various historical moments. This course therefore has particular relevance to current debates about gender and sexual identity, reproductive rights etc.
461 P TOPICS IN LITERATURE, Olsson. TUTH 1-2:20 Group V
meets with SCAN 496
TOPIC: Exile and Literary Modernism
Exile, displacement, and transnational existences are defining features of European avant-garde culture from the late 1800s and onward. Like their counterparts on the continent, Scandinavian writers and artists chose to live abroad and in many cases produced their most important works of art and fiction (often in a new language) during their time in exile. British and French authors from the same time period, like Joseph Conrad and Gérard de Nerval, have been closely associated with the transnational movements of that period. Important works of German literature were being written in Sweden and in the US during WWII, while renowned Swedish film and theatre director Ingmar Bergman went into voluntary exile in Germany in1976. Why? What pattern is to be found amongst these different forms of exile? Why, so it seems, is a change of country and language of decisive importance to the work of art?
Already in classical antiquity, writers were being expelled from their native countries – and this continues even today. But exile might be chosen and voluntary, or forced; it might be an inner or an outer exile. Modern literature, in particular, displays different aspects of exile, and the development of modernist literature is closely related to different forms of exile. The interconnectedness between modernism, emigration, and the internationalization of literature is discussed in this course, as well as the importance of exile for the construction of self and identity, experiments in language and aesthetic renewal. Critical and theoretical key concepts central to the course are inner and outer exile, voluntary and forced exile, modernism, world literature, experiments in language, and the construction of identity.
The course will discuss broadly comparative and European-related aspects of Scandinavian and Swedish modernist literature against a backdrop of Western modernism, from August Strindberg to Samuel Beckett, from Joseph Conrad to Gunnar Ekelöf, and on to J.M.G. Coetzee and Ingmar Bergman. The course will be conducted in seminar format and will be of particular interest to undergraduate students with some background in literary or film studies, as well as to graduate students. All reading, class discussion, and assignments in English.
462 1U/1G TOPICS IN MODERN FICTION, Valente. TUTH 12:30-1:45 Group II or V
This course will examine how characters made marginal by historically conditioned forms of debility—physical, emotional, psychic—are represented during the Modernist period as repositories or battlegrounds of moral authority. The course will focus on three crises of the modern period that produced or exacerbated the damage the characters suffer and render that damage socially emblematic: the fracturing of the Victorian social contract, World War I as the supreme expression of that breakdown, and the period of anomie following the war, the so-called lost generation, who testified not just to the damage incurred but to its eclipse of all prospective standards of value.
Texts include Jude the Obscure, The Secret Agent, Testament of Youth, Return of the Soldier, Nightwood, Handful of Dust, Mrs. Dalloway, Murphy, and Into Torment.
462 2U/2G TOPICS IN MODERN FICTION, Castro. MWF 11 Group V
The Caribbean Novel
In his influential collection of essays, The Pleasures of Exile (1960), Barbadian novelist George Lamming states that for him, there are “just three important events in British Caribbean history”: “the discovery”; “the abolition of slavery and the arrival of the East”; and “the discovery of the novel by West Indians.” Taking Lamming’s assertion of the importance of Caribbean novelistic production seriously, this course offers sustained attention to the work of authors who call this tempest-tossed region, the cradle of the modern Americas, “home.” Hailing from a place whose inhabitants can trace ancestry to Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas, Caribbean writers invite us to reflect on “New World” histories and the societies they have produced. We will ask what the novelistic genre offers these writers, while attending to the particularities of its form and themes in their hands. Most of our texts will be of the twentieth-century and drawn from the English-language tradition, but we will read enough in translation to at least begin to ponder what commonalities exist among islands that have been subject to different European colonial powers (England, Spain, France, Portugal, and Holland). Along the way, we will encounter some Nobel laureates, and many recurring concerns, including the legacies of slavery and colonialism--with particular attention to the role the novel is asked to play in projects of postcolonial historiography, the symbolic weight of the Haitian Revolution, and the nature of “independence.” We will attend to the tropes of diaspora, exile, and migration as well as of negritude, mestizaje/métissaje, hybridity and creolization that emerge from their pages, situating them with respect to Caribbean intellectual traditions. As themselves the products of crossroad and at times roaming cultures, these texts offer a rich opportunity for thinking beyond national borders. We will ask how they help to map our world, in these days of increasing “globalization.” This course would be of particular relevance to students interested in postcolonialism, African diasporic cultures, hemispheric American studies, and transational studies.
Requirements: In addition to careful preparation of the readings and vigorous class participation, students will write short responses, three papers, a midterm, and a final.
TEXTS: Readings will mostly be drawn from among the following: Claude McKay, C.L.R. James, Alejo Carpentier, V.S. Naipaul, Samuel Selvon, George Lamming, Earl Lovelace, Jean Rhys, Maryse Condé, Jamaica Kincaid, Michelle Cliff, Erna Brodber, Caryl Phillips, Junot Diaz, and Edwidge Danticat.
475 1U/1G LIT AND OTHER DISCIPLINES, Littlefield. MW 2-3:15 Group V
Literature and Forensic Science
“The job of a forensic scientist is not one of glamorous celebrity. [ . . .] If Sherlock Holmes, the detective invented by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, worked a shift with us at the Manhattan medical examiner’s office, he might be assigned to pick up trash in the parking lot at Memorial Park...”
~Forensic Science: An Introduction to Scientific and Investigative Techniques
According to contemporary undergraduate textbooks, the forensic sciences suffer from two longstanding associations: glamour and fiction. In the late nineteenth-century, fictional characters such as Sherlock Holmes embodied the mystique of the intuitive detective, able to gather information and solve impossible cases based only on a footprint, a scrap of paper or a strand of human hair; in recent years, the spate of forensic-centered television and film has created a “CSI: effect” on American juries and helped fill the ranks of undergraduates enrolled in forensic science programs at universities around the country. Most forensic textbooks make the obligatory references to Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allen Poe, Daniel DeFoe, and Mark Twain—the literary giants who imagined, foretold, and commentated on the rise of the scientific detective—and, then in the same breath, dismissing fiction as a flawed origin story
In our course we will begin with the opposite assumption: that literature is an essential component in the development of the forensic sciences. Our course will span over a century of fiction, science, and technology that runs through Sherlock Holmes, Edwin Balmer and Philip MacHarg, Mark Twain, Kathy Reichs and many others. We will also read scientific tracts, journal articles, and book selections that provide a window on historical and contemporary forensic practices. Assignments will include several short papers/projects, a presentation, and a final project.
481 COMP THEORY AND PRACTICE, Schaffner. MW 2-3:15
In exploring some of the major theories that inform the teaching of academic writing, we will pay particular attention to the role of innovation in written communication. Can innovation be taught? Should it be? Topics we will explore include: the use of writing as punishment, note passing, cheating, formulaic writing, writing with images, and YouTube composition. Students will be responsible for presenting on a popular film about composition and for writing regular reading response papers.
482 WRITING TECHNOLOGIES, D. Baron. MW 9:30-10:45
same as LIS 482
There is no doubt that the digital revolution has penetrated every aspect of our communication processes. Most of us do all of our writing on keyboards and much of our talking takes place on a cell phone.
These changes in our reading, writing and talking practices have inspired both enthusiasm and fear. Computers are praised as tools for democratizing information and liberating the oppressed, for leveling class and gender distinctions, for expanding the frontiers of knowledge and bringing both enlightenment and a better life to everyone. Yet they are also condemned as tools for controlling information flow, restricting access to knowledge, subjugating the world’s oppressed, increasing the gap between the haves and have-nots, spreading lies, fraud and disinformation, and condemning us all to a life of ignorance and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Do computers really extend our ability to interact with friends and loved ones far away and at the same time prevent us from ever having a real conversation with anyone? Who’s right? Is the computer the biggest thing to hit our intellectual life since the printing press? The most important human invention since the wheel? Or is it a ticket to mindless time-wasting, the vast intellectual wasteland that is fast replacing TV as the new opiate of the masses? Do we need to control computers and impose censorship before they control us and rot the fabric of society, or are they the ultimate liberators, defying controls and freeing everyone to be a writer, a musician, a filmmaker?
Whatever side you come down on, it’s clear that computers are here to stay, that they are changing not just the way we write and talk, but the kinds of writing and speaking we engage in. In addition, they’re changing our notions of public and private communication: the computer brings the outside world to our desktop and laptop, and allows us to emerge from our private cocoons and project our ideas on a global screen. But it also invades our privacy, and allows us to intrude on others who may not welcome our presence. It’s also clear that, despite the impact of computers on our lives, they signal not the last, but only the latest communication technology that we will develop. If speech-to-text capabilities are perfected, for example, the next step in our communication revolution could easily be the elimination of the keyboard entirely and a return to the oral composition that was so prevalent before writing became universal.
In this course, we’ll try to resolve these and other apparent paradoxes that the computer has brought to the fore. We’ll also look closely at the new genres of communication that the digital computer has enabled: email, instant messaging, the blog, the web page, the space pages (MySpace and Facebook), the wiki (Wikipedia), the cell phone video and the whole YouTube phenomenon. By the time the semester is done, new genres we have yet to imagine may be on the scene.
These electronic genres may not be entirely “literary,” but they are conventional forms of writing nonetheless, and because they are soooo successful, they have brought everyday writing into focus more sharply than anything that's preceded them. While we can only look back and guess at the development of earlier genres—the heroic and lyric poems, the novel, the diary, the memo, the drama—we are in the enviable position of being able to watch the new digital genres establish themselves as cultural practices. It’s a little like being present at the birth of stars.
This semester we will examine the impact of the new digital genres on our reading and writing practices and look at ways in which the requirements of readers and writers impact the direction of technology. We’ll look as well at how these genres arise; what their relationships may be to earlier, more traditional genres; how they develop unique conventions and practices; how they self-regulate, moving from freewheeling anarchy toward definable forms and expected behaviors; how they deal with violations of conventional norms; and how new practitioners learn and perfect their art. We’ll consider how the new genres create an aesthetic, a rating system that allows us to determine what counts as a good email, an effective web design, an appropriate Facebook entry, or a blog worth reading.
Like their predecessors, the new genres also pose legal and ethical problems. The novel was initially condemned as trivial, no better than a comic book, or should I say, a manga. Today’s genres are often dismissed as trivial as well: a Delaware court ruled in 2005 that a blog could not be libelous because no one expects to find facts on a blog.
On the other hand, electronic discourse has become both essential and troublesome: many legitimate news and information sources maintain blogs; Google, Yahoo, and MSN.com drew international criticism for agreeing to regulate the content on Chinese web sites and email, and the USA Patriot Act permits the FBI to subpoena web and email records of American citizens; schools have expelled students for blogging and forbidden their participation on MySpace and similar sites. MySpace has recently appointed an overseer to make sure that minors are shielded from inappropriate content. And this year, Cornell University and the University of Illinois joined the list of colleges warning new students of the dangers of Facebook. Yet some schools require teachers to maintain daily blogs and contact parents over email; and employers—even employers like Google—have fired employees for posts on private blogs while at the same time developing corporate blogs to sell their products and services.
Critics worry that digital genres will replace conventional ones—and to some extent their fears are justified: first-class mail is down, replaced by email, and while junk mail continues to fill our real-world mailboxes, spam fills our virtual ones even faster. But the computer has not led to the death of the book: Borders and Barnes & Noble are full of customers, and book sales thrive (though to be sure, bookstore cafés are full of patrons using laptops, possibly ordering cheaper books from Amazon.com). Several novels are written as email exchanges—e-pistolary, if you —and it won't be long before there’s an IM or blog novel as well.
Critics warn that electronic communication is ruining the English language, yet more people than ever are writing more than ever. And skeptics fear that the more time we spend on line, the less we interact with one another face to face; yet a recent survey discovered that Americans use digital communication to maintain deep connections with friends and family, and that face to face interaction actually increases with on-line interaction. We’ll look at these apparent contradictions and try to make sense out of present practice and where it all may be heading.
There will be a number of short essays and exercises, and a longer project tailored to the student’s interest. All readings will be available online.
Copies of the syllabus, handouts, and supplementary readings will be posted on the class web page.
504 A THEORIES OF CINEMA, Kaganovsky. TUTH 3-4:50
same as CINE 504, CWL 504
Seminar on influential theories and accompanying debates about the textual/ extra-textual mechanisms and cultural/ political impact of cinema and related screen media. The course fulfills the theory requirement for the interdisciplinary Graduate Minor in Cinema Studies. This course will provide an advanced introduction to the by-now substantial field of film theory. Equal attention will be given to the classic texts of early and contemporary film theory. We will read the discipline's founding texts (Munsterberg, Belazc, Eisenstein, Eikhenbaum, Kracauer, Benjamin, Bazin) and contemporary theory (Baudry, Metz, Oudard, Mulvey, Heath, Williams, Doane, Silverman, Deleuze, Zizek). In our discussion we will rely on broader categories of subjectivity, spectatorship, and ideology to expand these theoretical parameters. We will screen a number of films in conjunction with the readings in order to develop a common cinematic vocabulary for speaking about film theory.
506 R WRITING STUDIES II, Prior. M 1-3:15 Rm 113 EB
same as CI 564
This seminar (for which Writing Studies 1 English 505/C&I 563 is not a prerequisite) aims to foster an in-depth experience of theory, research, and pedagogy in Writing Studies. It introduces textual, cognitive, and cultural-historic approaches to writing in diverse contexts (school, workplace, home, community) and at different levels of development (from pre-school children to adults). The seminar begins with an overview of some of the central contexts/issues that have shaped the field. That overview will be followed by an in-depth examination of two central issues in Writing Studies: process and response. In the 1970s, the emergence of a process approach to writing led to calls for pedagogical reform from kindergarten through college, initiated new lines of research, and, many have argued, allowed the formation of a discipline of rhetoric and writing studies within English departments in the U.S. Process approaches to composing also directed increased attention to the issue of response, which originally appeared as a question of method: how teachers should comment on students' texts. However, the assumptions underlying such practical issues were soon challenged from two directions. First, research on writing processes and response practices in a variety of academic and non-academic settings revealed unanticipated complexities. Second, a confluence of constructive theories of reading, social views of writing, and critical/cultural accounts of social formations destabilized key terms: writer, reader, text, and context. In this seminar, we will trace the development of theories of process and response in Writing Studies; examine the research literature, particularly the growing body of qualitative studies of writing and response; and consider ways of structuring process and response to enhance writing and learning. In addition to active participation in the seminar and regular informal writing, each student will be expected to explore and write on an issue of particular interest in greater depth.
508 F BEOWULF, Trilling. MW 2-3:15
same as MDVL 508
Beowulf has been a foundational text of the English literary canon since J.R.R. Tolkien’s 1936 lecture on “The Monsters and the Critics,” and it formed the bedrock of philological studies long before that. Although most students will have encountered Beowulf in at least one undergraduate literature course, this course offers an opportunity to work with the text in its original language of composition. During the semester, students will work through Beowulf in Old English while also working through the poem’s critical history. Beginning with the landmark Tolkien essay, students will survey a range of Beowulf criticism, from its philological origins to the most recent theoretical reappropriations of the text. We will consider major critical issues such as the dating of Beowulf, its manuscript context, Christian and pagan influences, sources and analogues, historical background, orality and literacy, gender, empire, and canonicity. We will make use of 21st century tools such as The Electronic Beowulf to bring the manuscript into the classroom, and we may even have time to discuss modern reflexes of the poem, such as the Julie Taymor opera Grendel and the new film of Beowulf directed by Robert Zemeckis.
Our primary text will of course be Beowulf itself. Readings will also include a course packet of secondary literature. Students will be responsible for less formal in-class discussions, prepared presentations to the rest of the seminar, and a formal seminar-length paper at the end of the term A reading knowledge of Old English is required for this course; students who have taken “Introduction to Old English” or the equivalent will be adequately prepared. Undergraduates may register with the consent of the instructor.
524 R SEMINAR IN 17TH C LITERATURE, Gray. TH 1-2:50
Violence and Gender in the British Civil Wars
This seminar will address the middle decades of the seventeenth century, when a political imaginary still influenced by the idea of the body as the cohesive, organizing principle of the state collides with the outbreak of civil war, in which individual bodies are experienced as particularly vulnerable, permeable, and subject to violent dismemberment. This collision is clearest at the execution of the King in 1649, whose joined personal and political bodies had traditionally guaranteed the legitimacy and coordinates of what we would call the nation state. However, the regicide is just a particularly spectacular instance of a widespread problem: newsbooks, government publications, polemical pamphlets, and literary texts all struggle to assimilate civil violence, and its pervasive effects, into old and new models of statehood and gender identity. This course will explore the literary response to this crisis in representation, analyzing the way that visions of state and gender formation are challenged by representations of military violence and its effects on the bodies of soldiers and civilians and on the body of the nation. To what extent, we will ask, do mid-century literary representations of violence test the boundaries of competing models of political legitimacy and efficacy? To what extent do they recast traditional gender identities—male and female? Or challenge traditional literary forms? The course will begin with selections from a handful of theoretical and historical texts and at least one classical epic. We will then analyze a range of works from the period 1640-1668 by male and female writers such as John Milton, Andrew Marvell, Abraham Cowley, Lucy Hutchinson, Mary Cary, and Anne Bradstreet.
537 E SEMINAR VICTORIAN LIT, Saville. W 1-2:50
Cosmopolitan Republican Poetics: 1840-1885
Between the 1790s and 1850s, republicanism—an anti-monarchist political movement focused on liberty and equal justice both individual and national—was marginalized in England. Still associated with the violence and anarchy of the French Revolution, republicans were considered “unpatriotic” and “unEnglish.” Only in the late 1840s did English attention to republican movements abroad—such as the establishment of the Second French Republic and its subsequent leadership by Napoleon III, or the Italian Risorgimento resisting Austrian occupation—begin to create common ground between republicans and mainstream liberals in Great Britain as a whole. This produced a vibrant cosmopolitan republican ethos centered in London at a time when both “cosmopolitan” and “republican” were contentious terms.
Framed by the republican-liberal debates over the scope and limits of individual, national, and international liberties, this course will focus on the contribution of poets such as Arthur Hugh Clough, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Algernon Charles Swinburne to public debates about civic duties and freedoms of body and mind both at home and abroad. Using Walt Whitman—to Swinburne “the first poet of Democracy”—as a transatlantic touchstone, our studies will include comparative discussions of the aesthetic challenges involved in creating a distinctively English or American democratic poetics. We will also include considerations of the parallels that arise between such Victorian public debates and our own often conflicted views about patriotic loyalties and global responsibilities.
Our primary texts may include Clough’s Amours de Voyage, and radical political writings (e.g. the Letters of Parepidemus); EBB’s Casa Guidi Windows, Poems Before Congress, “Mother and Poet,” and Letters…to her Sister Arabella; and Swinburne’s, Atalanta in Calydon, Poems and Ballads, Songs Before Sunrise and Tristram of Lyonesse. Critical readings will include the work of current theorists such as Amanda Anderson and Kwame Anthony Appiah on cosmopolitanism; Frank Prochaska and Stephanie Kuduk Weiner on republicanism; as well as numerous Victorian theorists such as John Stuart Mill and Matthew Arnold to name only a few.
553 M SEMINAR LATER AMERICAN LIT, Parker. TUTH 9:30-10:45
TOPIC: American Indian Literature
One course cannot “cover” the enormous chronological, cultural, or generic range of Native American literature, but it can gather a sampling of fascinating works, and it can introduce the fields of American Indian literature and American Indian studies both in themselves and in relation to the larger framework of contemporary American literary study. We will begin with oral tales and the practice and theory of translating and writing down Native American oral literature, looking at both older and newer models. Then we will read two novels from the 1930s: John Joseph Mathews’ Sundown and D’Arcy McNickle’s The Surrounded. In the second half of the semester we will concentrate on fiction and poetry from the great burgeoning of American Indian literature in the last thirty years, including Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony, Louise Erdrich’s Love Medicine, and Thomas King’s Medicine River, as well as poetry by Ray A. Young Bear, Joy Harjo, Erdrich, Chrystos, and Sherman Alexie. Please note that students registered for the class will receive a possibly lengthy reading assignment for the first class at least one week before classes begin. Anyone considering the course is welcome to talk with me before registering (my office is English Building 329). Writing assignments will include your choice of either a) three short-to-medium length papers or b) one short paper followed by a paper that aspires to article scale. Assigned reading will include (tentatively) the novels and poetry listed above, the volumes listed below, and a large amount of additional material. (Students in the class will have the opportunity to prepare a paper for the annual CIC American Indian Studies Consortium Graduate Student Conference, either for 2008 or for 2009.)
TEXTS: Paul Radin, The Trickster: A Study in American Indian Mythology, 1956; Finding the Center: Narrative Poetry of the Zuni Indians, ed. Dennis Tedlock, 1972, 1999; Ray A. Young Bear, Black Eagle Child: The Facepaint Narratives, 1992; R. D. Parker, The Invention of Native American Literature, 2003. Recommended: R. D. Parker, How to Interpret Literature: Critical Theory for Literary and Cultural Studies, 2008.
581 R SEMINAR LITERARY THEORY, Markley. W 1-3:15 Rm 123 EB
TOPIC: Contested Pasts, Alternative Futures: Literature, Science and Ecology
This seminar is devoted to reading and assessing some of the key works by recent thinkers in the postdisciplinary field called (variously) Literature and Science, the Cultural Study of Science, or Science Studies. Our approach this semester has both theoretical and historical dimensions, and it will give us the opportunity to read in-depth some important works that, in various ways, explore humankind's complex relationships to the natural world and our built environments. The theorists we will read come from a range of disciplines (literature, cultural criticism, anthropology, history, sociology, philosophy, and biology) and will be structured within several broad areas in the cultural study of science: biology and gender; ecology; new media; and technoculture and the advent of the “posthuman.” The syllabus will include several novels (by Kim Stanley Robinson, Octavia Butler, and H.G. Wells) as well as critical works (including short selections) by Donna Haraway, Bruno Latour, Michel Serres, Karen Barad, Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Grusin and Jay David Bolter, Marshall McLuhan, and Lynn Margulis.
The writers we will discuss offer us the opportunity to explore two fundamental and often antagonistic responses to “Nature”: the Baconian desire to master the world by exploiting its resources and developing ever-more sophisticated technologies to raise or maintain living standards and the wish to return to a golden age in which human desires and natural resources existed in what we now call ecological balance. Because we will consider a variety of theoretical approaches and literary texts, the seminar will give you the opportunity to write on periods, texts, and literatures of your choosing.
581 T SEMINAR LITERARY THEORY, Valente. TH 3-4:50
Derrida Lyotard Agamben: This is the first of a triptych of courses designed to introduce the graduate students to the history of French Post-Structuralism in a rigorously focused manner. In each course, we will study a key figure in the formation of Post-Structuralism as a discourse of interpretation and the signature concepts whereby he gave that discourse its foundational logic. In the premiere course, that figure will be Jacques Derrida and the concept will be difference, along with its variously nuanced correlatives (dissemination, the supplement, the trace, the hinge, iterability, the spectre etc. As Derrida is quite possibly the most important philosophical thinker since Nietszche, roughly half the course will be devoted to his major works, including Of Grammatology, Dissemination, Specters of Marx, “Signature-Event Context” essays from Writing and Difference and Philosophy on the Margins and others.
In each course we will proceed to a figure who adapted those signature concepts to some more resolutely sociopolitical form of analysis. In the premiere course that figure will be Jean Francois Lyotard, whose masterwork, The Differend, we will read in full, along with essays from The Lyotard Reader and others. We will focus particularly on his concept of the differend and its implications for dominant contemporary trends and agendas such as multiculturalism.
In each course, finally, we will look at the work of an heir of the post-structuralist tradition who is particularly indebted, for his master concepts, to the earlier figures studied. In this course that figure will be Giorgio Agamben and his notion of the exception, as delineated in The Coming Community and Homo Sacer. The importance of this idea to contemporary notions of terror, the enemy, and internment will be examined, with an eye to the prophetic quality of Derridean deconstruction in elaborating their structural inevitability.
Course 2: Lacan, Deleuze, Zizek;
Course 3: Althusser, Foucault, Jameson
593 G PROF SEMINAR COLLEGE TCHG, Loughran. W 3-4:50
TOPIC: The Teaching of Literature
Cynics say that those who can’t do, teach, but in fact a great many things get done in a good classroom. This course is devoted to just these things: conceptualizing courses, building syllabi, delivering lectures, leading discussions, creating assignments, and grading papers. Although we will read some pedagogical theory to get us on our way, our own pedagogical practice will be our primary text, as students in the course do the work of preparing to teach literature by crafting courses, syllabi, and class plans that the seminar will then critique on a week-by-week basis. Seminar members will be asked to produce a teaching philosophy and conceptualize a unique literature course by the end of the semester, and final grades will be based both on how well these tasks were executed and on how actively and effectively feedback was offered from session to session.