200-Level Courses

Course Descriptions (as of 3 May 2007)
The following course descriptions have been written by individual instructors to provide more detailed information on specific section sthan 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.)

200 A (Reading Literature)
M-Th 8:30
[Techniques and practice in reading and enjoying literature. Examines some of the best works in English and American literature and considers such features of literary meaning as imagery, characterization, narration, and patterning in sound and sense. Emphasis on literature as a source of pleasure and knowledge about human experience.]

200 B (Reading Literature)
M-Th 9:30
In this course we will analyze literary texts from both the modern and postmodern period with some discussion devoted to defining the periods and differentiating modern (1910 c. 1965) from postmodern (1965 and after) thought and works. In addition to three full novels, we will also read several pieces of short fiction. The authors that we will read will include: Joyce, Faulkner, Calvino, Carter, and Borges. Course requirements include active participation, three short papers, and two longer papers. Texts: Joyce, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; Fulkner, Light in August; Calvino, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler; photocopied course packet.

200 C (Reading Literature)
M-Th 11:30
[Techniques and practice in reading and enjoying literature. Examines some of the best works in English and American literature and considers such features of literary meaning as imagery, characterization, narration, and patterning in sound and sense. Emphasis on literature as a source of pleasure and knowledge about human experience.]

200 D (Reading Literature)
M-Th 12:30
E. Chang
Literatures of the Fantastic. Ursula K. Leguin asks in a now famous speech and essay, “Why are Americans afraid of dragons?” Central to her question and her argument about the readings, enjoyment, understanding, and analysis of literature, particularly fantasy and science fiction, is an engagement with the imagination, with other worlds, with our own word, with recovering the value of these things, and with growing up but not outgrowing our desire for the fantastic. She says, “For fantasy is true, of course. It isn’t factual, but it is true. Children know that. Adults know it too, and that is precisely why many of them are afraid of fantasy. They know that its truth challenges, even threatens, all that is false, all that is phony, unnecessary, and trivial in the life they have let themselves be forced into living. They are afraid of dragons, because they are afraid of freedom.” This class will take up Leguin’s fascinating and provocative question and explore a long yet often dismissed or narrowly defined tradition of “fantastic” literature (and other media) including in whole or in excerpt Homer, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Shakespeare, Mary Shelley, H. P. Lovecraft, J. R. R. Tolkien, Allen Ginsberg, Octavia Butler, William Gibson, Nisi Shawl, and J. K. Rowling. Texts: Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring; Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; photocopied course packet.

200 E (Reading Literature)
M-Th 1:30
Novel Adaptations. The objective of this course is to introduce students to the practice of reading literature, particularly the novels of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain. We will spend time developing our close reading skills and discussing the means and terms in which academics interrogate literature. However, our working definition of “literature” will be quite broad as we will also be examining film adaptations of each novel, asking questions such as: What is lost or gained in these novel adaptations? What happens to traditional literary conventions such as setting, narrational point of view, characterization, etc., as novels are transposed onto film? How does the film director’s “play” with literature alter our reader-response to the texts? Course requirements will include a fairly heavy reading and viewing load, weekly e-postings responding to the assigned reading, active in-class participation, discussion leadership responsibilities, two papers (5 – 7 pages in length) that engage both a novel and its film adaptation, and a final exam. Quizzes may be given as necessary. Texts: Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders; Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy; Jane Austen, Emma; Charles Dickens, Great Expectations; photocopied course packet. Films (on reserve at Odegaard Undergraduate Library): Moll Flanders (1996; Dir. Pen Densham); Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story (2005; Dir. Michael Winterbottom); Emma (1996, Dir. Douglas McGrath); Clueless (1995; Dir. Amy Heckerling); Great Expectations (1998, Dir. Alfonso Cuaron).

200 F (Reading Literature)
TTh 12:30-2:20
This course will adopt the most fundamental approach to the matter of “reading literature”: we will read a number of works that have been called “literary” and see what it is they do, why they have been made, and what might be the reason one would spend time reading them. Chances are good that every class participant, including the instructor, has certain preconceived notions about the what, why, and wherefore of literature. Instead of simply reinforcing those assumptions, we’ll try to test them against the texts themselves. To conduct this experiment, we will examine a broad sample pool of works that have been called “literary,” looking for constants and variables. We will begin with readings in one of the oldest textual traditions, namely the lyric poem, considering verses by Sappho, William Shakespeare, John Donne, Christina Rossetti, Robert Browning, Charles Baudelaire, e.e. cummings, T.S. Eliot, Charles Olson, and Bernadette Mayer. In other words, we’ll be going from Ancient Greece to late 20th-century America. As we read, we’ll examine poetic devices such as metaphor, voice, rhyme, and meter, as well as poetic tropes and genres, for their conceptual, aesthetic, and emotional consequences. For the second half of the quarter, the attention will shift to prose, as well as to the last 200 years (for reasons we’ll discuss), beginning with short fiction by Edgar Allan Poe and Herman Melville, moving to Nathaniel West’s novella Miss Lonelyhearts, and ending with an extended examination of Zora Neale Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. We will pay close attention to the strategies of narration, the function of character, and the role of plot, as well as the social, ethical, and philosophical implications of fiction. To aid our inquiry, throughout the quarter we will also examine some key theoretical literature (!) on these topics, testing the claims others have made against our own discoveries.

Students will be asked to participate actively in daily class discussion, prepare an annotated bibliography of secondary material, and give a brief presentation on their final paper. The writing will be divided up into three 2-page critical response essays; students will chose one of these essays to expand into a final 6-8 page paper. Texts: Herman Melville, Bartleby & Benito Cereno; Nathaniel West, Miss Lonelyhearts & the Day of the Locust; Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God; photocopied course packet.

202 A (Introduction to the Study of English Language and Literature)
MWF 10:30 (lecture)
(Quizzes: Wed. 12:30, Thurs. 12:30; Thurs. 2:30; note: concurrent enrollment in ENGL 197 required.)
This course will address the historical, cultural, and critical contexts of literature and literary study by pursuing the following questions: What distinguishes literary from other forms of writing and how are contemporary understandings of literature and authorship linked to the rise of capitalism and nationalism, to the development of new print technologies, and to modern concepts of ”civilization” and “humanity” forged within the contexts of imperialism and colonialism? Thus one concentration of this course will be on the emergence of something called “literature” from within the wider frameworks of modernity. Equally important, we will ask how the establishment of literary study within the modern university, especially the creation of “English” departments and curricula, has shaped the understanding and reception of literature. In this regard, we will consider some of the primary critical approaches that have organized academic literary study: New Criticism, psychoanalysis, post-structuralism, Marxism, as well as some of their most significant intersections and overlays within feminist, Marxist, and postcolonial literary studies. The syllabus remains entirely under construction, but inclusion of the following critical materials is possible: Catherine Belsey, Critical Practice, as well as short selections from Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams, Marx, The German Ideology, Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, Luce Irigaray, This Sex that is Not One, Terry Eagleton, Literary Theory, Gayatri Spivak, The Postcolonial Critic. Literary texts might include Chaucer, selected Canterbury Tales; Hannah Foster, The Coquette; Herman Melville, Benito Cereno; F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Ama Ata Aidoo, Our Sister Killjoy.

207 A (Introduction to Cultural Studies)
M-Th 9:30
A commonplace about cultural studies is that it is “difficult to define.” With that in mind, this course will begin by tracing the emergence and development of various methods and modes of inquiry that may be categorized as cultural studies. We will focus especially on cultural theorists who examine and the way that the production and consumption of U.S. mass media helps create and maintain certain power structures and ideologies, and the possibilities for resistance in this framework (through the use of underground or alternative media, culture jamming, direct political action, political art, consumer boycotts, etc.) With a conceptual vocabulary and a groundwork for analyzing language and discourse in place, we will move on to investigate cultural studies as an academic discipline, with a focus on the political and social goals of cultural studies as a type of critique in the university. We will be discussing the reasons and claims for doing cultural studies in the first place: why do theorists and practitioners believe this kind of work is important? Why do you think it is important intellectual or academic or political work (or not)? As we investigate together the claims cultural studies makes for itself, we will also take a look at the seeming gap between the public’s perception of cultural scholarship, and cultural studies practitioners’ own arguments for their work. Given that many cultural theorists are interested in social justice issues, we will interrogate the possibility for social change within contemporary cultural studies rubrics. We will discuss whether or not studying mass culture (news media in particular) through the lens of cultural studies can also make room for strategizing ways to speak back to, or actively engage with, mass media and mass mediated forms of political discourse. At the end of the course, you will theorize and enact ways of making the institutionalized study and practice of culture more civically engaged.

I consider the classroom to be a participatory public, which requires active engagement from all of us in order to be a productive space. This is not a lecture class. You should be prepared to do a lot of writing, reading, observing, and discussing both in and outside of class, and be able to articulate your goals for the course and for particular assignments we are working on – and I, in return, will be responsive to your individual and collective interests. Your assignments will include weekly postings to a discussion board, two group projects and presentations (one of which will serve as a “midterm” grade), and a number of multi-modal textual projects aimed at various audiences (one of which will serve as the equivalent of a “final exam” project). Texts: Photocopied course pack, which will include excerpted texts from classic cultural studies scholars like Stuart Hall (on the importance of political work in cultural studies), Dick Hebdige (on youth subcultures and power/resistance), Jurgen Habermas (on mass media and the public sphere) and Edward Said (on public intellectuals and the academy). The course pack will also include readings by social theorist Anthony Giddens (on the structure of society and culture and the relationship between society and individuals), Norman Fairclough (on language, power and discourse), and Naomi Klein (on forms of anti-corporate activism). You will also be looking online at a number of cultural studies syllabi and program descriptions, citizen-journalist sites, and mass, corporate media articles.

207 B (Introduction to Cultural Studies)
M-Th 11:30
[Asks three questions: What is Cultural Studies? How does one read from a Cultural Studies perspective? What is the value of reading this way? Provides historical understanding of Cultural Studies, its terms and its specific way of interpreting a variety of texts, i.e. literature, visual images, music, video, and performance.]

211 C (Medieval & Renaissance Literature)
M-Th 8:30
[Introduction to literature from a broadly cultural point of view, focusing on major works that have shaped the development of literary and intellectual traditions from the Middle Ages to the eighteenth century.]

212 A (Literature of Enlightenment & Revolution)
TTh 12:30-2:20
Solitude and Society. As direct heirs of what has been called the “invention of liberty” in the 18th and 19th centuries, we have been obliged to learn new ways of maintaining our individuality in a community made up of millions of other free-wheeling individualists. One strategy, of course, is to go it alone in the style of the fictional Robinson Crusoe and the historical Henry David Thoreau. Another is to design large, well-populated states that require extraordinary coordination even as they try to insure the individual liberty of all members. In this course we will discuss efforts, imagined and real, to reconcile the benefits and liabilities of solitude and society. Lecture, discussion, short essays written in and out of class. Texts: The U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence; Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe; William Wordsworth, The Prelude (selections); Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (selections); R. W. Emerson, “Self-Reliance”; H.D. Thoreau, Walden; John Stuart Mill, On Liberty.

213 A (Modern & Postmodern Literature)
TTh 1:30-3:20
This course will introduce you to literary modernism and give you the opportunity to read some of its most famous texts, such as A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, To the Lighthouse, and The Waste Land. The class will consider the history of modernist writing and its relationship to the major social, technological, and cultural changes of the early twentieth century. One particular emphasis of the class will be on the role of art and the artist in modern life; another will be on how the content and structure of many modernist texts reveal anxiety over emerging new attitudes towards sexuality and gender roles. The reading list includes difficult poems, novels and short stories that are will known for their complexity, daring and innovation. You may find that you will need to read some of them more than once in order to grasp their multi-layered structures of meaning. Texts: James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist; D. H. Lawrence, Selected Stories; Katherine Mansfield, Stories; T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land and Other Poems; Virginia Wolf, To the Lighthouse.

225 A (Shakespeare)
M-Th 8:30
How did the son of a provincial glove-maker write a series 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 spill from his quill: 2 Comedies, 2 Tragedies, a History Play, a Late Romance and a smattering of Sonnets. Beyond familiarizing students with the basic plotline of the dramas, the course will offer strategies for understanding 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. Finally, we will also view clips of several film adaptations of Shakespeare to better size up the shadow his legacy casts on our culture today. Course website: Texts: Greenblatt, et al., eds., The Norton Shakespeare; Russ McDonald, ed., The Bedford Companion to Shakespeare.

229A (English Literary Culture: 1600-1800)
MW 1:30-3:20
A survey of the literature and culture of the 17th and 18th centuries, including such works as Milton’s Paradise Lost (Eve and Satan and bad choices), Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year (fleas and corpses), Pope’s The Rape of the Lock (posh people behaving badly), Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera (trashy people behaving badly), and Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (big people and little people). Discussion of the historical and cultural background, with emphasis on close reading of the texts for understanding and enjoyment. Critical papers, mid-term, final.

230 A (English Literary Culture: After 1800)
M-Th 12:30
[British literature in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Study of literature in its cultural context, with attention to changes in form, content, and style.]

242 A (Reading Fiction)
M-Th 8:30
Migration, Travel and Displacement in British Fiction. The philosopher Augustine was said to have written, "the world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." Although in the current age of technology and mass media the passage of information, ideologies and cultures appears to be an ordinary occurrence, this movement leaves lasting impressions on the beliefs, habits and personalities of people. Fiction has often grappled with such notions through the portrayal of migrants and their experiences in distant lands. During the late 19th and 20th century, many British writers focused on such an exchange of knowledge between England to India. In an attempt to focus the reading of fiction, this course will concentrate on the issues of class, mobility, race, national identity, dislocation, adaptation, colonialism and empire as they are written into British fiction. We will read a variety of texts that comment on, and often contest, the traditional historical and social representations of colonialism of India at this time. Fictional writings will be used to generate critical analysis and discussion so that students can attain a better understanding of the ways in which migration confronts the unknown and the unexpected. . In addition to the reading, students will be responsible for participating in class discussions, composing an analytical midterm and final paper, partaking in a group presentation and completing a variety of short writings and quizzes on the texts. Texts: Students will be reading The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle, Far to Seek by Maud Diver, Passage to India by E.M. Forster, selections from Plain Tales from the Hills by Rudyard Kipling and short stories and essays compiled in a course reader.

242 B (Reading Fiction)
M-Th 12:30
Van Rijswijk
Introduction to Law and Literature. This class seeks to provide students with techniques and practice in reading and critically interpreting fiction. To that end, students will read literary texts with a mind to developing their own close-reading practices. Students will also read works of literary criticism and learn to orient their own critical responses within wider critical conversations. Thematically, we will think about the different ways in which the law regulates relationships between individuals and communities. We will also examine the nature of processes that function within and outside the law (e.g. “norms”), to discipline individuals and communities. Course work will include a demanding reading schedule, participation in class discussion, a mid-term paper and a final paper. Texts: William Faulkner, Sanctuary; Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird; Toni Morrison, Beloved; Foucault, Discipline and Punish and The History of Sexuality: An Introduction (Vol. 1) (excerpts).

242 C (Reading Fiction)
M-Th 1:30
Factual Fictions and Fictive Facts: Race, Sexuality and Age in U.S. Literature. The general course description for ENGL 242 states that this course will investigate “critical interpretation and meaning in fiction.” To this end, this class will require you to develop and exercise critical thinking skills in order to read fiction as a discursive mode that actively engages in social critique. Our interrogation into the possibilities and limits of reading fiction as social critique will contend with fiction’s putative other: the fact. We will ask: How do we engage literary fiction in such a way as to debate the authority of facticity? How does facticity in fiction come to inform how we determine literary meaning making?

Race, sexuality and age, three specific historical categories of difference, will focus and animate our discussions about fiction. We will begin our inquiry with the question of race, which continues to fuel debates around race’s ‘biological’ and socially ‘constructed’ foundations. Mark Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson (1894), a novel that speaks to the interplay of Enlightenment rationality and racial discourse, will ground our conversation about race as a particularly expansive category of scientific investigation in the late 19th century. From here, we will look at age by turning to the (im)possibility of childhood and literary realism in Henry James’ What Maisie Knew (1897). In this novel, the child’s perspective invites questions about ‘authenticity’ and knowledge production while anticipating some key questions that U.S. based child studies would pursue in the early 1900s. We will also consider how knowledge about the child has been intertwined with gendered racial discourse. To this end, Richard Wright’s Native Son (1940) will anchor our conversations about the intersection of race, sexuality and the child in relation to studies conducted by U.S. urban sociology, which figured the African American family as a national problem. Finally, the fact vs. fiction dialectic will help us discuss the influence of scientific discourse and the power of data in Ruth Ozeki’s My Year of Meats (1998). This contemporary polygeneric novel will help us think about the strategic deployment of fact through documentaries, surveys, ratings and of fiction through narratives of consumption and reproduction that together try to reflect coherent social norms along axes of race, gender, sexuality and age. In addition to reading these novels, you will be required to read primary historical materials, some literary criticism and theoretical essays that will be compiled in a course packet.

242 D (Reading Fiction)
M-Th 2:30
Writers of Fiction: Workmen [sic] or Artists? At the turn of the twentieth century, writers of fiction and literary critics in England and America begin to take an unprecedented interest in the craft of writing novels and short stories. Writers become more and more self-conscious of their choices and how readers perceive and react to their choices. Their deliberation is thought of as demanding, and often the workman, the physical laborer, is specifically invoked by critics. The comparison is telling, not only because it is gendered, but because calls for individual works to be judged according to their writer’s intentions and pretensions – a shift from an emphasis on the beautiful or the moral. Others separate the writer of fiction from the workman: the mental exertion required of writing is really the struggle of an artist. Further, in an era of increasing modernization, many defend the artistry of writing novels and short stories against the threat of mass produced, unoriginal forms of entertainment. For them well-crafted fiction merits a special aesthetic status. Yet later in the twentieth century highbrow art raises suspicions, giving credence to the possibility that fiction can be overworked, too self-conscious and self-serious, and therefore no longer enjoyable. This begs the question of how present – or how absent – writers ought to be in relation to their fictions: are we supposed to admire their craft, or should craft be subtle and secondary? In this course we will look at a series of works of fiction by English and American writers dating from roughly 1890 to 1990 that include author characters and consider the implications of writing as a profession. Because they explore the workman-artist dichotomy in specific historical and social circumstances, these works are not, however, solely stories of young artists’ coming of age. Texts: George Gissing, New Grub Street; Aldous Huxley, Crome Yellow; Iris Murdoch, Under the Net; Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook; Paul Auster, The New York Trilogy; photocopied course packet containing short fiction and criticism (available at Ave Copy).

243 A (Reading Poetry)
M-Th 1:30
[Critical interpretation and meaning in poems. Different examples of poetry representing a variety of types from the medieval to modern periods.]

250 A (Introduction to American Literature)
M-Th 8:30
“What is it to be admitted to a museum, to see a myriad of particular things, compared with being shown some star’s surface, some hard matter in its home!. . . Think of our life in nature, —daily to be shown matter, to come in contact with it, —rocks, trees, wind on our cheeks! the solid earth! the actual world! the common sense! Contact! Contact! Who are we? where are we?” — Henry David Thoreau, The Maine Woods

Imagining the American Ground. American writers have long been concerned with the physical matter beneath their feet, be it sand, mud, rock, or concrete pavement. One might be tempted to think that Thoreau’s rapt amazement over dirt reflects a traditional (if eccentric) American obsession with nature, part of the project of legitimating Americans’ connection to the land. But in key moments in Thoreau’s writing, such as the passage quoted above, the land does not abide. The nearness and apparent solidity of “the actual world” quickly gives way to uncertainty, confusion, and flux. In this class, we will take Thoreau’s crisis as our starting point, and track the ways in which U.S. writers have imagined the ground—its layers, the things buried within, and the relics churned up. In the late nineteenth century, developments in anthropology and archeology began to change the way many Americans imagined their connection to particular landscapes and regions, and their relation to the past. In the twentieth century, modernist writers such as Willa Cather, William Carlos Williams, and Wallace Stevens re-imagined their relation to American places, and Post-WWII writers such as Kenneth Rexroth and Robert Smithson used geology to evoke a time scale that dwarfed the history of Euro-American exploration and settlement. Taken together, our readings will explore some of the ways that American literature, from the 1830s to the 1970s, deals with issues of local & national identity, the passage of time, and the (metaphysical) task of understanding the physical world.

In addition to the texts listed below, the course packet may include selections from Thoreau’s Walden and The Maine Woods; Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Nature”; selections from Charles Lyell’s Principles of Geology; poems by Wallace Stevens, Robinson Jeffers, Elizabeth Bishop, and Kenneth Rexroth; and essays by Robert Smithson. Course Goals: (A) to introduce you to a range of American writers through the question of place; (B) to familiarize you with some of the intellectual contexts that informed American literature in the 19th and 20th centuries; and (C) to help you develop your critical thinking and reading skills. Student Responsibilities: daily attendance and active participation, careful reading and critical thinking, class presentations, regular quizzes, plus two essays and a final revision. Texts: W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk; Sarah Orne Jewett, The Country of Pointed Firs and Other Stories; Willa Cather, The Professor’s House; William Carlos Williams, Paterson; plus a photocopied course pack.

250 B (Introduction to American Literature)
M-Th 11:30
Reading American Exceptionalism. In introducing students to the study of “American Literature,” this course sets out to do two things: Problematize the category of American literature, and question how “America” is represented in literature in relation to the planet of which it is a part. There is a long tradition in American thought that views U.S. territorial expansion, plantation slavery, class conflict, and racial violence as aberrations in America’s long march toward pure democracy, formal equality, and universal inclusion. Accordingly, the undemocratic means through which the U.S. has governed various populations have often been understood as fundamentally different from those of its European predecessors, necessary to progress, and thus, exceptional to the seemingly arbitrary and despotic nature of European monarchical and imperialist rule. We will read a selection of novels, stories, journalism, and theoretical texts that in some way engage in this problematic. How has the U.S. been represented as exceptional, and towards what ends? What assumptions do these representations rest upon? How has the idea of the U.S. as “exceptional” been problematized, questioned, and engaged differently by various authors? What historical experiences guide these different understandings of the U.S. and its role in the world? Finally, how does this question of American exceptionalism relate to the category of American literature, and how can we re-read American literature and history in order to discuss and critique the problems of “exceptionalism” that persist today? Texts: Herman Melville, Bartleby and Benito Cereno; Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court; Nella Larsen, Quicksand and Passing; Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X; Toni Morrison, Beloved; Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, or Evening Redness in the West.

250 C (Introduction to American Literature)
M-Th 2:30
Against Interpretation: The Task of Reading American Literature. In “Against Interpretation” Susan Sontag criticizes a style of engaging works of art that “digs ‘behind’ the text, to find a sub-text which is the true one.” Though polemical at its time of publication in 1964, Sontag’s thesis was not a new one. The history of American literature , in fact, features a tradition of addressing this very “X is really – or, really means –A” style of interpretation. As far back as Nathaniel Hawthorne’s narratives about Puritan society it seems US authors recognized, just as Sontag does, that “interpretation” is a particular problem in America. This class will take up Sontag’s charge and will focus on the theme of interpretation as it appears in US literature from Puritans to the Postmodernists. Surveying major literary works and forms in a basically chronological order, we will attempt to answer the inevitable question, if not interpretation, then what? Due to the nature of our inquiry, participation will be expected regularly and writing assignments will be frequent. Readings will likely include Mather, Edwards, Hawthorne, Poe, Melville, Emerson, Stevens, Eliot, Williams, Stein, Walker and Agee, Pynchon, and Auster. Texts: Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter; Walker and Agee, Let Us Now Praise Famouse Men; Pynchon, Crying of Lot 49; Auster, City of Glass.

257 A (Introduction to Asian-American Literature)
TTh 9:30-11:20
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 David Henry Hwang. 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.

281 A (Intermediate Expository Writing)
MW 8:30-10:20
Food Matters: Writing about Food, Community, Class, and Culture. What are you if, as the common saying goes, you are what you eat? What guides the daily choices we each make about food and the options we believe are available as we make those choices? How and why can we intervene in established patterns and relationships with food? What determines the significance we ascribe to these choices, both individually and due to memberships in our various cultural groups? Gender, class, race and ethnicity, as well as multiple other lenses of community affiliation all come into play in dynamic ways when we take a critical look at something as simple as what we’re eating for dinner tonight, especially when we remember to consider who’s making the meal and where the food actually comes from.

In this course, we will examine and write about how culture connects to food in our everyday lives, on individual and social levels. The goal of the class is to produce multiple genres of writing to analyze the dynamic and recursive interplay of how cultural attitudes about food continually both shape and are shaped by individual choices and habits. The course will look at food (and language about food) in the US as a highly complex and multilayered system involving many interconnected sites of production and consumption. We will begin with highly localized personal glances that extend to global and transnational sites as we trace how and why certain foods are on our plates, and what those foods mean to us and to those who produce them. We will strive to think critically about food and culture, and also to celebrate its significance in our lives, by using creative and analytical approaches to writing. We will generate and reflect in multiple genres and media, including recipes, food journals, restaurant reviews, food-focused autoethnography, and argumentative essays that incorporate research.

281 B (Intermediate Expository Writing)
TTh 9:30-11:20
[Writing papers communicating information and opinion to develop accurate, competent, and effective expression.] (Computer-Integrated section: see

283 A (Beginning Verse Writing)
TTh 9:30-10:50
In this class we’ll be rading poetry written in the 20th and 21st centuries, and producing a wide variety of the latter. We’ll read voraciously and put what we read under a microscope, looking at how others (writers, critics, scholars) have responded and constructing our own analysis. We’ll write fervidly, under constantly varying conditions, to explore the full range of work available to us. Our approach will be like that of a prism, reversed: we’ll spend each week on a single color band – a single technique or form – scrutinizing it and wielding it – and we’ll work our way towards fusing these focused investigations into a unified sense of poetry’s possibility. Majors only, Registration Period 1.

283 B (Beginning Verse Writing)
TTh 3:30-4:50
[Intensive study of the ways and means of making a poem.] Majors only, Registration Period 1.

284 A (Beginning Short Story Writing)
MW 11:30-12:50
[Introduction to the theory and practice of writing the short story.] Majors only, Registration Period 1.

284 B (Beginning Short Story Writing)
TTh 10:30-11:50
[Introduction to the theory and practice of writing the short story.] Majors only, Registration Period 1.

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