Course Descriptions (as
of 28 September 2005)
The following course descriptions have been written by individual instructors to provide more detailed information on specific sections than that found in the General Catalog. When individual descriptions are not available, the General Catalog descriptions [in brackets] are used. (Although we try to have as accurate and complete information as possible, this schedule remains subject to change.)
Registration in 200-level English classes is entirely through MyUW. Instructors will have add codes beginning the first day of classes for overloads only. If the instructor chooses not to give overloads, the only way students can enroll in a 200-level English class during the first week will be through MyUW if space is available.
First Week Attendance
Because of heavy demand for many English classes, students who do not attend all reguarly-scheduled meetings during the first week of the quarter may be dropped from their classes by the department. If students are unable to attend at any point during the first week, they should contact their instructors ahead of time. The Department requests that instructors make reasonable accommodations for students with legitimate reasons for being absent; HOWEVER, THE FINAL DECISION RESTS WITH THE INSTRUCTOR AND SPACE IS NOT GUARANTEED FOR ABSENT STUDENTS EVEN IF THEY CONTACT THE INSTRUCTOR IN ADVANCE. (Instructors' phone numbers and e-mail addresses can be obtained by calling the Main English Office, (206) 543-2690 or the Undergraduate Advising Office, (206) 543-2634.)
200 A (Reading Literature)
This course provides an introduction to literature with a variety of readings in both fiction and poetry. We will examine these texts with an aim to generate thoughtful arguments through close, critical reading. One central focus for our critical study will be to locate these literary texts within a particular historical period and to trace the cultural dimensions of their production. We will reflect on the different representations of “evil,” the education and development of the individual, and the role of the artist or, broadly, imagination at work. While exploring these thematic interests in the texts, we will devote ourselves to an appreciation and understanding of what formal elements make fiction and poetry work. In other words, this course will oblige us to inquire what literature is, in the many forms that question may take. Expect active, daily participation, short response papers, one longer essay, a midterm, and a final. Texts: William Shakespeare, The Tempest; Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49; Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried; David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas; course packet.
200 B (Reading Literature)
Serving Modernity: The Roles in/of Literature. This course will read into modern literature’s opposition to tradition. Beginning with Greek definitions and rules for literary aesthetics, we will progress by reading authors who alter our conception of literature, its social purpose, and what inspires it. We trace the provocations that literature incurs, especially in the realm of the mass-culture value systems and against what John Stuart Mill called the “tyranny of the majority.” Romantic leanings toward transcendental perspectives will be re-examined by way of Modernist writings. A pessimistic view will be traced from Arthur Rimbaud and T.S. Eliot into what might be termed a “postmodern condition,” but we will not allow the interchangeability of the terms Romanticism, Modernism, and Postmodernism to limit our view of what writers can do formally to “make it new” and effect change. We will begin with a good deal of poetry. We will end in considering avant-garde literatures, which by their formal innovations (abstraction, absence of style, blending of genres, etc.) reconsider the literary tradition, and offer new perspectives on older objections to what is modernity. Course reader includes selections from William Blake, Emily Dickinson, Ezra Pound, and Gertrude Stein.
200 C (Reading Literature)
Modern Minds: Private Life in 19th- and 20th-Century Literature. In this course, we will examine the role of psychology and representations of mental life in Victorian and modernist literature. Specifically, we will think about the various ways in which authors depict interiority in their work, from the dramatic monologues of Robert Browning to the stream-of-consciousness fictions of Virginia Woolf, and discuss the ability of any literary text to provide a compelling or convincing portrait of something that, in many ways, resists representation. Additionally, we will take up other, equally important questions as the course progresses, discussing, among other things, the relationship between the individual and society (and the often uneasy and highly contested boundary between public and private life), the effects of environmental and spatial conditions upon the mind, and representations of madness in literature. To supplement and contextualize our literary selections, we will also look at several cultural and historical texts from the period, focusing especially on the birth of psychoanalysis, its place in popular culture, and its reception by Victorian and modernist authors. Short works of literary criticism, dealing in some way with either the readings themselves or the themes of the course, will enrich our understanding of the primary material and provide examples of critical writing on literary texts. Texts: R. L. Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness; Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway; Rebecca West, The Return of the Soldier; a selection of Robert Browning’s poems; photocopied course packet, containing selections of literary criticism, psychoanalytic essays, and a variety of historical materials.
200 D (Reading Literature)
In this course we will be examining novels by British and Indian authors from the first half of the twentieth century, paying close attention to the ways in which the texts we will read narrate the colonial experience. A central theme in our conversations will be the mutually defining relationship between British liberalism and Empire, and the ways in which the very terms of liberalism become interrogated, as well as appropriated in significant ways, by the authors we will read. We will carefully consider the alternative possibilities to the colonial framework suggested by some of the most influential literary figures of the period. In order to supplement our reading of fiction, we will also read relevant historical and theoretical materials. Prior knowledge of British colonization of India is not required. Texts: Rudyard Kipling, Kim; E. M. Forster, A Passage to India; Rabindranath Tagore, The Home and the World; Mulk Raj Anand, Untouchable; photocopied course packet; recommended: Bapsi Sidhwa, Cracking India.
200 E (Reading Literature)
Visions, Apparitions and Politics in Modern Poetry and Theater. Oddly enough, to invoke the "visionary" is to summon the unseen. Visitations, dreams, second sight, divine revelation, spiritual mania, drug-induced hallucination, mental illness, utopianism, progressive politics--the individual manifestations of the "visionary" constitute a broad range of experience. Most modern literature (and the scholarship surrounding it) takes as its subject materiality--the physically visible, the legible, and the scientifically verifiable. In this class, we will play fast and loose with this materialist tradition by exploring the theme of visionary modernism. Beginning with William Blake and his romanticist depictions of heaven and hell, we will progress through the symbolist poetry of Charles Baudelaire and Arthur Rimbaud, the mysticism of W.B. Yeats, the intensely personal revelations of Allen Ginsberg and Sylvia Plath, and the political fantasia of Tony Kushner's two-part play Angels in America. In reading these works of poetry and theater, we will investigate the relationship between mystical, otherworldly imaginings and the real-world political conditions that give rise to them. Texts: Photocopied course packet; Kushner, Angels in America: Millennium Approaches.
202 A (Introduction to the Study of Language and Literature)
MTW 10:30 (lecture; quizzes: Th 11:30, 1:30, 2:30 or 3:30)
This is a gateway course designed for English pre-majors and majors. It introduces critical, historical, and theoretical frameworks important to studying the literature, language, and cultures of English. Concurrent enrollment in ENGL 197 (an Interdisciplinary Writing Program composition course) is mandatory, and will satisfy College and University requirements in English Composition (see time schedule for ENGL 197 sections linked with ENGL 202).
This course is an introduction to contemporary literary study. It will offer an overview of major theories and methods by which literary works have been studied in the past, but will focus special attention on the changes in the discipline since the late 1960s and 1970s with the emergence of structuralism, post-structuralism, and other theoretical considerations of the relation between imaginative literature and culture.
English 202 is designed to prepare the way for further study in literature and language, including attention to issues of reading and interpretation, cultural and historical perspective, and the development of analyses and arguments of texts and critical issues. Beginning in Autumn 2005 it will become a required course for English majors, but carries VLPA distribution credit for any student. Access to the internet is critical for this course, since there will be a website with links to essential materials.
There will be three lectures per week for all students, plus a smaller discussion section, based on reading assignments from the course reader. Reading assignments will consist of short literary selections, including poetry and prose, and critical and theoretical writing to foreground essential issues in literary and cultural study. We will focus special attention on James Joyce's Dubliners, in order to raise and discuss such questions as: What is literature? What is the relation between a literary text and its historical context? How are interpretations developed? What contributes to (or detracts from) their significance or importance? Can they be correct or incorrect? Valid or invalid? What is meant by ‘deconstructing’ a literary work? What is the political significance of literature, and how can it be illuminated? How is the literary involved in our conceptions of people and cultural differences? The overall aim of this course is to acquaint you with a broad sample of fundamental ideas and questions that shape the university level study of literature at the present time.
Grading for this course will be based primarily on short quizzes, one midterm examination, and a final examination covering assigned reading and material presented in class lectures. Class participation is essential. The writing link, English 197, for which a separate grade is assigned, will concentrate intensively on writing and revising essays.
Texts: James Joyce, Dubliners; photocopied course
packet, including short literary works by Shakespeare, John Donne, Sir Philip
Williams Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Mary Shelley, Edgar Allen Poe,
and Sylvia Plath. Critical and theoretical works by Plato, Aristotle, Coleridge,
Wordsworth, Karl Marx, A. C. Bradley, T. S. Eliot, I. A. Richards, Virginia
Woolf, Cleanth Brooks, Northrop Frye, Louis Althusser, Rene Girard, Jacques
Derrida, Michel Foucault, Anthony Appiah, Ruth Cowhig, Allen Sinfield, Helen
Gardner, Judith Butler, Eve Sedgewick, Peter Erickson, and Stuart Hall; optional: Adams & Searle, Critical
Theory Since Plato, 3rd ed.; Leitch, et al., eds.,
Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism; Kennedy, Handbook of
Hamilton, Mythology: King James Bible.
207 A (Introduction to Cultural Studies)
Reading Sex and Sexualities. U.S. cultural production has often been fraught with numerous anxieties, regulative forces, and resistances over issues of sex and sexuality. This course introducing Cultural Studies examines how such issues are not straightforwardly reflected or captured in culture, but rather how narrative forms and genres work to constitute the meanings, values, and social intelligibility of particular sexual practices and sexualities. Our analysis of cultural “representations” of sex and sexuality will therefore entail critical readings of the conventions, historical conditions, and strategies of power involved. We will focus in particular on a few novelistic genres, coming out stories, political discourse on the family, mass media portrayals of HIV/AIDS, and popular film. Although sections of this course emphasize issues of particular importance in what is often called “queer” politics, we will be equally concerned to comprehend sex and sexuality as inseparable from, and indeed forged within, broader relations of race, gender and socioeconomic class. Required texts: Patricia Highsmith, The Price of Salt; Louis Chu, Eat a Bowl of Tea; James Baldwin, Go Tell It On the Mountain; Dorothy Allison, Bastard Out of Carolina. A course pack will include additional primary readings as well as seminal criticism and exemplary scholarship in Cultural Studies. Assignments: 3 responses papers, a group presentation, and a final research project. Students should be prepared to adopt a non-moralizing attitude attentive to the many intellectual and political implications of our work.
207 B (Introduction to Cultural Studies)
This course will focus on the interactions of culture and environment--how does cultural identity shape itself out of the natural and built environment; how does the environment limit culture or highlight the aspects that exceed cultural boundaries? We will examine the way nature and environmental issues are presented in cultural discourse, including film, literature, academic articles, public debates and advertising. The class will especially focus on issues of race and environment--how human social structures impact environmental and human health, as well as access to and relationship to natural and built environments. Class work will involve substantial reading and discussion, several short writing assignments, a midterm exam, a class presentation, and a final project in which students will directly analyze a current environmental debate. Texts: Karen Tei Yamashita, Through the Arc of the Rainforest; Yusef Komunyakaa, Magic City.
211 A (Medieval & Renaissance Literature)
As It Was. How did their world appear to them? (Answer: Not at all like our world appears to us.) Through 1500 years of Western literature, from Imperial Rome through the Middle Ages to the Early Modern Period, this course will provide an introduction to How It All Happened, as seen through the eyes of those who were there. Students will read and discuss works both expected and unexpected, lawful and unlawful, beginning with the infamous Satyricon and ending with modern plays from Shakespeare’s own lifetime. We will lay bare the evolution of what we take for granted today. There will be a mid-term, final, and a term paper. Texts will include but not be limited to: Apuleius, The Golden Ass; Heaney, tr., Beowulf; Wright, tr., The Canterbury Tales; Arden of Faversham; Ben Jonson, Bartholomew Fair. Warning: Some of the readings will be obscene. Also: Since the Middle Ages cannot be understood without an understanding of Christianity, you will need to have a Bible or at least a New Testament. (211 B = 5 spaces reserved for new transfer students.)
212 A (Literature of Enlightenment & Revolution)
The Enlightenment is an historical period without a fixed date, where Western civilization saw the rise of capitalism, ”the constitution of the bourgeois world, the establishment of the state system, [and] the foundation of modern science with all its correlative techniques” (Foucault, “Critique” 392). In this course we will be tracing its highly problematic and complex legacy. We will read from many of the discourses that were organized and begun during this period under the core ideas of freedom of press/speech (and the creation of the bourgeois public sphere), the relation of science to faith (and the rise of the multitude of scientific disciplines concerned with nature, and all things human), as well as how to govern. As the Enlightenment is transnational, we will read texts from several countries, but our focus will be on colonial America and the literature of the early Republic and the nineteenth century. During the latter part of the course we will be looking at the legacy of the Enlightenment from the perspective of theorists writing during the twentieth century in order to determine what the Enlightenment means to modern philosophy and contemporary society. (212 B = 5 spaces reserved for new transfer students.) Texts: Kramnick, ed., The Portable Enlightenment Reader; Franklin, Autobiography; Brown, Wieland; Shelley, Frankenstein; Melville, The Confidence Man.
213 A (Modern & Postmodern Literature)
“To Jive with Time”: Migration and Modernity in African American and Asian American Literature. This course is an introduction to the literature that emerged from the mass migrations of African Americans and Asian Americans across the domains of the 20th century United States. In particular, we will consider two complex, distinct but related figures of the problems of modernity that arose from the conditions of racialized migration. The first is that of the industrial metropolis, with its signature element, the skyscraper. The second is that of blues/jazz music, arguably the most distinctive aesthetic form that emerged in the 20th century U.S. In the literary texts we will examine, these two figures of migrant modernity serve to organize a series of questions about aesthetic form—about how time and history are graphed onto political geography, inscribed in literary narrative, and conjured in cultural practices—that have urgent political stakes, shaping fundamental categories of access to the modern social order—race, class, nation, gender, and universality. In addition to a significant reading load, this course requires a willingness both to engage closely with the features of specific literary texts and to inquire after the social, political, and historical conditions in which they are produced and circulated. Additionally, this course requires a commitment to collaborative effort; throughout the quarter, students will be asked to share their ideas, in oral discussion and in written work, with the entire class, and to respond thoughtfully and respectfully to the ideas of others. (213 B = 5 spaces reserved for new transfer students.) Texts: Colson Whitehead, The Intuitionist; Toshio Mori, Unfinished Message; Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon; Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God; Claude McKay, Banjo; Gayl Jones, Mosaquito; Nella Larsen, The Complete Fiction of Nella Larsen; Cynthia Kadohata, The Floating World.
225 A (Shakespeare)
[Survey of Shakespeare’s career as dramatist. Study of representative comedies, tragedies, romances, and history plays.] Text: The Complete Pelican Shakespeare.
225 B (Shakespeare)
of plays that have come to be esteemed the supreme achievement of Western literature? What accounts for their enduring popularity on stage, screen and in the classroom? In pursuit of the answers we will hurl ourselves into some of the most famous writings to drip from his quill: the sonnets, two comedies, two tragedies, one history plan and a late romance. Beyond familiarizing students with the basic plotline of the plays, the course will offer strategies for navigating and savoring Shakespeare’s English. Class discussion will center on in-depth analysis of key passages. Lectures and supplementary readings will help situate the plays in the context of the cultural, political and religious turmoil engulfing Elizabethan England. We will also view clips of several film adaptations of Shakespeare to better size up the shadow his legacy casts on our culture today. Texts: Greenblatt, ed., The Norton Shakespeare; optional: Russ McDonald, ed., The Bedford Companion to Shakespeare.
228 A (Englisth Literary Culture: to 1600)
In this class we will read literature from the Middle Ages through the early Renaissance. Our focus will be the magical and the supernatural as it appears in a variety of British texts. We will examine how magical elements are used in a fictional narrative, as well as how the magical and mystical function in more biographical works. Texts: Heaney, tr., Beowulf; photocopied course packet.
229A (English Literary Culture: 1600-1800)
In this course, we will be looking at defiant writers and literary characters from 1600-1800. We will address how these figures rebel against established power structures and deviate from the norm. This will, of course, require defining the ever elusive and nebulous norm through investigations into social, political, and cultural ideologies of this very broad time period. We will begin with a Shakespearean tragedy and end with early Romantic poetry. We will be reading texts by Donne, Milton, Defoe, Coleridge, and others. Issues of power, gender, and sexuality will continue to arise in our discussions about these literary deviants and their sometimes blatant, and other times, dubious rebellions. Texts: Milton, Paradise Lost; Defoe, Moll Flanders; Shakespeare, Othello.
230 A (English Literary Culture: After 1800)
Metamorphoses and Modern British Fiction. This class will focus on transformations within and without British literature during a forty-year span: 1886 – 1928. We will read novels by Stevenson, Wilde, Stoker, Woolf and Garnett that take physical and supernatural transformations as a major theme and examine the connections between these metamorphoses and larger changes within literary form and British modernity. Readings will also include criticism and poetry connected to the theme of metamorphosis. Texts: Garnett, Lady Into Fox; Woolf, Orlando; Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray; Stephenson, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; Stoker, Dracula.
242 A (Reading Fiction)
In this course we will take a cultural studies approach to reading twentieth century US fiction in order to examine how literature has been an important site in the production, deployment, dissemination, and contestation of sexuality, race, and nation. That is, we will critically read short stories and novels for two primary reasons: first, to think about how these narrative forms constitute and regulate forms of sexual and racial subjectivity, and national citizenship; and second, to think through (or around) the ideological and disciplinary functions of the literary in order to consider the ways in which literature might be used as a site of critique and resistance. In short, we will understand the literary not as a direct “reflection” of social, cultural, and economic practices, but as a terrain on which these practices are actively generated and contested. To give us some tools to help us locate the historical conditions, discursive forms, and literary practices/conventions that our primary texts are in conversation with, we will supplement our engagements with a few theoretical and non-literary “cultural” texts. While we will partially disaggregate the tripartite thematic of this course in order to have three different primary optics for looking at literary texts, I hope to work against the tendency of some to read them as discreet categories so as to comprehend the immanence of each to the other.
Thus, my primary expectation for students is that written work, group projects, and class discussions actively seek to explain what thinking sex, race, and nation together helps us comprehend that thinking them discreetly cannot. More generally, students will be expected to read text closely and carefully (and often more than once), to complete assignments on time and be active participants in class discussions in spite of the many uncertainties (and, at moments, outright discomforts) that might emerge over the course of the readings, and to actively produce a classroom environment that is at once intellectually rigorous and safe for working out ideas and perspectives that may not yet be fully formed. It goes almost without saying that we will take up some contentious issues that have multiple implications for our political/intellectual projects—an attitude of respect is required at all times.
242 B (Reading Fiction)
This course examines the ideological binary of public/private, with specific attention to the ways this binary was manifested in nineteenth century England in domestic novels (emphasis on home and nation) and adventure fiction (emphasis on empire). We will read Jane Austen, Emily Bronte, Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling, R. L. Stevenson, H. Rider Haggard, and George Orwell. I'm an avid fan of class discussions, both large and small group. I will lecture occasionally, but I expect students to participate actively rather than just absorb (or sleep through) my commentary. You can expect to be reading 150+ pages per week. Requirements include participation in class discussions, at least one class presentation, a midterm exam, periodical response papers, and a final essay (approximately eight pages long). Response papers and the final essay will be graded on the basis of research, original and thoughtful argumentation and analysis, and general writing competency (organization, grammar, diction, spelling, and overall professional appearance). Texts: Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights; Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice; Charles Dickens, The Mystery of Edwin Drood; H. Rider Haggard, She; George Orwell, Burmese Days; John Cucich, ed., Fictions of Empire.
242 C (Reading Fiction)
This course will be about travel literature. The books I'm tentatively assigning are as follows: Margaret Fuller's Summer on the Lakes, Herman Melville's Typee, Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita, Jack Kerouac's On the Road, Carlos Fuentes's The Crystal Frontier. I may be supplementing this with some short stories and critical articles that will be available in a coursepack. I'll be using the broad genre of travel literature to explore a variety of different topics: nature, race, colonization and expansion, consumer culture, immigration, class, sex, fetishism, space, borders, etc. My goal for each of you is that you have the opportunity to have a meaningful and rewarding experience with literature and the broad variety of topics that travel literature opens seems to me to be a way to include as many different interests as possible. Classes will revolve around discussion of the work we are reading at the time. I've never been a big fan of lecturing -- I make no claim to hold the gospel truth regarding anything we read -- so participation by every member of the class in bringing up ideas is encouraged. There will be several (probably 2) 5-7 page papers and a lot of reading responses (probably several every week to make sure that good ideas keep happening) which will be fairly open in terms of topic (they're your responses to what we're reading, after all) and fairly short (c. 2 pages). That and you'll be reading a novel every two weeks or so. Grades will be determined by an average of your papers as well as a participation grade that will be based on the overall quality of your reading responses as well as your contributions to class.
242 D (Reading Fiction)
"How trite and tedious, in contrast, to see oneself as a creature formed by historic events and defined by sociological categories. I am a Jew, an immigrant, half-Pole, half-American. . . . I suffer from certain syndromes because I was fed on stories of the war. . . . At a party given by some old-fashioned Bostonians, I feel that their gracious smiles mask a perfect condescension. . . . I haven’t escaped my past or my circumstances: they constrain me like a corset. . . . " Eva Hoffman, Lost in Translation
This course deals with contemporary fiction (by American and other writers
writing in English) that investigates the question of identity and self-making.
In our analyses we will particularly focus on how social context, race, gender,
ethnicity, play a role in the construction of one’s identity. Our discussion
will also revolve around the questions of the exploration of a woman’s
sense of self and the possibility of an imaginative recovery of a history
(either personal, familial, or national). Our engagement will involve close
reading and class discussion for the purpose of identifying and extending
our responses to literary texts and learning how to read them critically.
Also, we will not only read and write about the texts, but will also try
to identify what sort of different approaches one can take when reading/discussing
literature. Class work will involve writing two papers, a midterm and a final
exam, along with shorter writing assignments and significant class discussion
and participation. Texts: Arundhati Roy, The God of
Small Things; Toni Morrison,
Paradise; Eva Hoffman, Lost in Translation; Gayl Jones, Corregidora; Jhumpa
Namesake; photocopied course packet with selections of theoretical essays.
243 A (Reading Poetry)
In this course we will read, discuss and write about poetry, from traditional to contemporary, formal to free and back again. If you have never delighted in, understood, or felt comfortable working with poetry, here is an opportunity to do just that. An individual poem, or a collection of them, may tell a story, revel in description, provide insight, infuriate, deliver the sudden clarity of a perfect image or sound, or hammer one over the head with meaning, but whatever the result, the potential for various kinds of goodness in poetry is unlimited. We will begin the course with individual poems by different poets as well as essays about poetry and poetics, then read book-length collections by three contemporary poets who are still writing and publishing. Finally, we will consider the newest issue in the annual Best American Poetry series and visit notions of personal preference, publishing, and what poets say about their chosen poems. Coursework will include completion of assigned readings, participation in classroom discussions and group exercises, a class presentation, several shorter writing assignments (both in and out of class) and a longer final essay in draft and revision stages. Texts: Sherman Alexie, One Stick Song; Joanie Mackowski, The Zoo; David Wagoner, The House of Spring; Lehman & Muldoon, eds., Best Americna Poetry 2005; R. S. Gwynn, ed., Poetry: A Longman Pocket Anthology, 4th ed.; photocopied course packet.
250 A (Introduction to American Literature)
Beyond the Pale: Marginal Lives in American Literature. The late Joe Strummer once asserted “the truth is only known by guttersnipes.” While he was thinking in terms of a heavily class-divided 1970s England, we might apply his insight more broadly and ask the question: Do the voices of individuals who are, for whatever reason, “beyond the pale” of mainstream American experience, offer the willing ear a perspective uniquely attuned to differences of race, class, geography, and gender? Drawing from an eclectic selection of shorter postwar American novels, we will pursue this and other questions. How do already marginalized individuals recover and reintegrate after the trauma of war? How do ostensibly normal Americans lose the plot of the suburban melodrama they once called home? What are the consequences, both psychic and social, of pointed exclusion from the community? Is “individuality,” vis-à-vis the larger society, uniquely problematized and performed in 20th century America? Why do some viewpoints circulate vigorously while others go unheard? Other substantial questions will surely arise as we read and discuss the materials at hand. Requirements include: Punctual reading, regular attendance, engagement with class discussion, weekly quizzes, a mid-term paper, short individual presentations, a final paper. Important: Be advised that this is not a lecture class; the emphasis will be on active discussion and the exchange of ideas. Texts: Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye; Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49; Cormac McCarthy, Child of God; Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony; photocopied course packet; other materials to be distributed.
250 B (Introduction to American Literature)
“In the history of looking, bodies have been ubiquitous storytellers whose fictions have helped fix the face of America and the changing look of those conceived as alien to it.” -- Ardis Cameron, Looking for America.
In this course, we will investigate how literary texts intervene in such a “history
of looking”—dominant ways of seeing, ways of knowing—in order
to produce alternative fictions of American identity. Limiting our scope to
late 19th and 20th century works written inside the continental U.S., we will
explore “Americanness” and the constructions of race, ethnicity,
class, gender and sexuality as technologies of representation that both fix
identities and fail to account for the multiplicities of lived experiences.
Hence, the course will emphasize the close reading of cultural forms, literary
and visual, for how they operate to convey meaning about a range of topics
including the rise of industrialization and consumer capitalism, aesthetics,
publicness and interiority, community, immigration and national belonging.
Course work will include a demanding reading schedule, participation in class
discussion, response papers and quizzes, group presentations, mid-term and
final. Texts: Stephen Crane, “Maggie: A Girl of the Streets”; Kate
Chopin, The Awakening; Nella Larsen, Passing; Jamaica Kincaid, Lucy; Jonathan
Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn; course reader of additional texts.
250 C (Introduction to American Literature)
(Re)producing the Nation. In this course we will investigate how significations of “America(n)” are produced and reproduced through the political, educational, economic, legal, and military apparatuses of the United States. We will read for the ways our examples of American Literature represent, critique, and contribute to these (re)productive projects. And we will gain an understanding of how American Literature, as a body of disciplinary study, has been constituted in the 20th century. Our examples of American Literature include: Pudd’nhead Wilson by Mark Twain; The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison; The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood; and First Indian On the Moon by Sherman Alexie. There will be a course packet with additional historical and theoretical materials. Expect an intense reading schedule with regular quizzes. Participation in class discussions and group presentations required. Term paper final.
257 A (Introduction to Asian-American Literature)
This course will examine the historical currents that necessitated the emergence of Asian American literature, in conjunction with a consideration of the difficulties and possibilities inherent to defining an “Asian Pacific American” literary sensibility. Asian American populations have been deeply impacted by restrictive immigration legislation and American foreign policy, putting its peoples in a unique position for defining Americanness. How do artists with an Asian ancestry challenge a country that ostensibly celebrates diversity yet looks with suspicion on the foreign? The course will include novels, short fiction, theory, and film, beginning in the early twentieth century with the works of Carlos Bulason and ending with contemporary writers such as Brian Roley and Lois-Ann Yamanaka. Texts: John Okada, No-No Boy; Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior; Chang-Rae Lee, Native Speaker; David Henry Hwang, M. Butterfly; Brian Ascalon Roley, American Son; Lois-Ann Yamanaka, Blu's Hanging.
281 A (Intermediate Expository Writing)
[Writing papers communicating information and opinion to develop accurate, competent, and effective expression.] Majors only, Registration Period 1; no freshmen, Registration Periods 1-2.
281 B (Intermediate Expository Writing)
The goal of this class to help students write more effectively, knowingly, and critically in different writing concepts -- what I like to call scenes of writing. This approach teaches students how to become more astute writers, writers who understand how and why to make writing choices as they negotiate among and participate in different scenes. To accomplish this task, we will be looking at one scene in general, the female action genre in cinema and television. I am interested in understanding how this text -- though often criticized for being an empty and vacuous form of entertainment -- reflects various situations -- their readers and writers, purposes, subjects, and settings. In doing so, this class aims to teach students how to gain knowledge of scenes and genres and how to use that knowledge to make more critically informed and effective writing decisions within other scenes outside this topic. I hope that learning such strategies will enable students to write wherever and whenever they need to – in college and throughout their lives. Majors only, Registration Period 1; no freshmen, Registration Periods 1-2. Text: photocopied course packet.
281 C (Intermediate Expository Writing)
[Writing papers communicating information and opinion to develop accurate, competent, and effective expression.] Majors only, Registration Period 1; no freshmen, Registration Periods 1-2. Text: Kolln, Rhetorical Grammar: Grammatical Choices, Rhetorical Effects.
283 A (Beginning Verse Writing)
This course is an introduction to the art of writing poetry, though experienced poets should also find it useful. The student will be asked to bring his/her own poems into class for critique by peers and also to give close readings and critiques of peers’ poems. The focus is on writing, but in order to become a better poet it is necessary to read widely, and so we will also be reading and discussing many published poems. To enable effective discussions and to give the student more poetic tools, our discussions (and some poem composition assignments) will be in the context of basic poetic elements, including but not limited to imagery, metaphor, metonymy, syntax, diction, tone, rhythm, and meter. Hopefully, we can also make limited but meaningful progress toward answering some essential but complicated questions, such as “What is poetry,” and “What makes a poem?” Majors only, Registration Period 1; no freshmen, Registration Periods 1-2. Texts: to be purchased from Open Door Books; see instructor in class.
283 B (Beginning Verse Writing)
Some poems are written to establish once and for all which month is “cruelest.” Others are about the color of wheelbarrows. Still others look at a city in terms of its fur trade. And at least one poem states, “Someone has cut off my head and punted it.” In this class we will examine wildly divergent poems, from classic to contemporary, banal to bizarre – in order to develop a way of discussing and understanding poetry and poetic techniques that will be useful to us as poets. Imagery, metaphor, metonymy, sound, rhythm, meter, tone, and wordplay will be among the techniques we will deploy in writing and in discussing the work of others. During the quarter you will be required to complete a series of poems, recitations, and critiques, and to participate in class discussions. Majors only, Registration Period 1; no freshmen, Registration Periods 1-2. Text: photocopied course packet.
283 C (Beginning Verse Writing)
Class added 9/16; sln: 3858
This newly added section of ENGL 283 will be taught by distinguished visiting professor Mona Lisa Saloy, Director of Creative Writing at Dillard University in New Orleans. As the UW opens its doors to students affected by Hurricane Katrina, we also welcome with gratitude faculty who bring the unexpected gift of their learning to our campus. Mona Lisa Saloy has been widely published in journals, magazines, and anthologies and has won numerous prestigious awards for both her poetry and her scholarship, including most recently the 2005 T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry. Her scholarship includes important research on the Black Beat poet Bob Kaufman and African-American folklore. This is a rare opportunity for UW students to learn with an eminent poet from one of America's celebrated traditionally black colleges who "writes to speak for those who don't, to learn their lessons, and to celebrate their spirits." Mona Lisa Saloy is a poetic voice of her great city. She writes of her work: "I hope that my work collectively speaks to the life of the people here, in New Orleans, how we are to one another, the way we insinuate culture into every day -- what makes families here unique, not the typical tourist expectation. I also hope this work speaks to years of my attempts at marrying our folk strength into polished verse, resonant with a strong sense of craft, la joi de vivre and rhythms speaking to my African roots." For further information on Professor Saloy, see: http://www.nathanielturner.com/monalisasaloybio.htm and https://tsup.truman.edu/store/ViewBook.aspx?Book=749
284 A (Beginning Short Story Writing)
[Introduction to the theory and practice of writing the short story.] Majors only, Registration Period 1; no freshmen, Registration Periods 1-2.
284 B (Beginning Short Story Writing)
Beginning Short Story Writing provides an introduction to the craft of short fiction by focusing on some of the major elements of successful short stories. These elements include (but may not be limited to): character, plot, voice, imagery, point-of-view, structure, setting, dialog, and theme. This course uses the workshop model to equip students with the critical tools necessary for the creation of original prose fiction and to underscore the social aspects of literary production. Over the course of the quarter, students will write two original short stories for critique in a workshop setting. Students will also read several published pieces of fiction and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of these works in group discussions. At the end of the quarter, students will turn in a portfolio, which will contain all written work for the course, including two short stories (first and revised drafts), written critiques of classmates’ stories, and various short writing exercises. Majors only, Registration Period 1; no freshmen, Registration Periods 1-2. Text: Janet Burroway, Writing Fiction, 6th ed.