Course Descriptions (as of 8 March 2005)
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.)
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)
The Realist Turn: The Postcolonial Literatures of Africa and the Diaspora, and Realist Critique. In this course, we shall be examining texts from Africa and the Diaspora vis-à-vis the category of postcolonialism. The postcolonial experience, whether on the continent or in the Diaspora, provided raw material for writers to engage certain themes (these themes recur frequently in these literatures) that we shall be discussing in this course. Some of these themes are the self, the subject, alienation, fragmentation, wholeness, identity (both communal and personal), and personal agency.
What is the best theoretical model to use to engage such a rich and diverse literary terrain? In Afro-American Poetics: Revisions of Harlem and the Black Aesthetic, Houston Baker attempts to provide just such an answer in its reading of Jean Toomer’s Cane, in his essay, “Journey toward Black Art: Jean Toomer’s Cane.” Baker’s reading of African American literature and his recommendations for how to read the literature though astute have serious limitations. In this course, then, in the attempt to answer the question posed above, we shall read Baker’s text, discuss its strengths and weaknesses, before moving on to engage realist theory, which I will argue provides a model for a more thorough reading of not just African American literature, but those of African literature, and the literature of the English-speaking Caribbean.
Thus, we shall use realist theory to engage the following questions vis-à-vis
the assigned literary texts. What is the self? What is the subject, and how
is it produced? What is alienation, and how is it produced? What is fragmentation,
and how is it produced? What is wholeness, and can the fragmented self achieve
wholeness? What is identity, and how is it produced? What is personal agency?
To engage these questions in a satisfying manner will require a lot of reading
and discussion, so, come prepared to do both. Texts: Chinua
Fall Apart; Merle Hodge, Crick Crack Monkey; Jean Toomer, Cane;
photocopied course packet containing
essays, excerpts from essays, and the ideas of Houston Baker, W. E. B. DuBois,
Frantz Fanon, Roy Bhaskar, Satya Mohanty, Terry Eagleton, Brent R. Henze, and
200 B (Reading Literature)
Postmodern American Misfits. In this course we’ll read about characters who feel alienated in the context of postmodern America. Texts will probably include Barry Gifford’s Wild at Heart, Maxine Hong Kingston’s Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book, Rick Moody’s Purple America, Ricardo Cruz’s Straight Outta Compton, Sherman Alexie’s The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, and Mona Simpson’s Anywhere But Here. We’ll consider the social, cultural and historical context that produced these characters, as well as what specific meaning(s) they embody by the simple fact of their stance outside the prevailing culture. We’ll also discuss the various survival tactics they employ. Course Requirements: Midterm paper, final paper, and weekly reading responses.
200 C (Reading Literature)
Reading Race, Sex, and Class in American Literature. As the title of this section implies, we will pay special attention to race, sex, and class as key elements of historical context and thematic content for each of the texts on our reading list. However, this title is also meant to suggest the primacy of reading to the content and structure of these texts. That is to say, we will be reading texts that foreground interpretive strategies (literal and figurative scenes of reading) and that forcefully attend to the reading practices of their projected or potential readers, making reading – and particularly reading race, sex, and class – central to their content and form. Your work, therefore, will consist in analyzing both the texts themselves and your experiences reading them, as we consider how these texts depict and intervene in the reading of these key terms of identity. Texts: Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson; James Weldon Johnson, The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man; Jamaica Kincaid, A Small Place; Ana Castillo, The Mixquiahuala Letters; Manuel Puig, The Kiss of the Spider Woman; photocopied course packet.
200 D (Reading Literature)
Not in Kansas Anymore. For this course we will read books of fiction, poetry, memoir, and supporting materials. Some themes that surface among these texts consider the overlapping of human and animal worlds, adventure, displacement, social and family dynamics, disorientation, thresholds and change, truth and subterfuge, perspective, adaptation and survival. As an introductory course in reading literature, we will examine a range of features of literary texts, including language choice, imagery, dialogue, plot development, structure, setting , point of view, characterization, etc. Coursework will include a demanding reading schedule, participation in discussions and daily class work, a group presentation, several shorter written assignments and/or quizzes, and a longer final essay. Texts: Keri Hulme, The Bone People; Anne Lamott, Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year; Yann Martel, Life of Pi; Ian McEwan, Atonement; Annie Proulx, The Shipping News; H. G. Wells, The Island of Dr. Moreau; photocopied course packet.
202 A (Introduction to English Language and Literature)
MTW 10:30-11:20 (lecture)
(quizzes: Th 11:30, 12:30, 2:30)
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. It will eventually 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 Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Othello, 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: William
Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Othello; photocopied course packet,
including short literary works by Shakespeare, John Donne, Sir Philip Sidney,
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 Literary Terms; Hamilton, Mythology: King James
207 A (Introduction to Cultural Studies)
This course will explore narratives of war and the ways these narratives work to produce racial and gendered identities within and as part of establishing the broader national US culture. This is a course that I hope will help sharpen your critical and intellectual skills, heighten your understanding of the cultural work that popular cultural texts do, and aid you in being a more aware cultural participant. Texts will include a course pack with historical and theoretical articles, a series of novels, including Graham Greene’s The Quiet American, James Michener’s Tales of the South Pacific, John Okada’s No-No Boy, and Chang Rae Lee’s A Gesture Life. In addition, we will be viewing several films in this course including both versions of The Manchurian Candidate, the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific, and the 2002 version of The Quiet American. There will be several short papers, a midterm exam, one long paper (8-10 pages) and possibly a final exam.
207 B (Introduction to Cultural Studies)
Globalization. That we live in a “globalized” world has become a commonplace. From the “Battle in Seattle” to the “world wide web,” from “The Amazing Race” to mad cow disease, global interconnectedness is a dominant theme in contemporary American culture. In this course we will consider globalization as a historical phenomenon and as a discourse – a way of describing the world that not only represents but also intervenes. Turning to a variety of cultural texts, including television, film, and nonfiction in addition to short stories poetry, and novels, we will ask how these different representations of “the global” work in context to variously reinforce, contradict, supplement, or undermine each other. Our goal will be to establish a critical perspective on the ways in which “the global” organizes experience in contemporary culture. Texts: Jamaic Kincaid, A Small Place; Ruth Ozeki, My Year of Meats; Karen Tei Yamashita, Therough The Arc of the Rainforest.
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.) In a mad dash through 1,500 years of Western literature, from Imperial Rome through the Middle Ages to the Early Modern Period, this course will provide a lively introduction to How It All Happened, as seen through the eyes of those who were there. Students will read, discuss, and even perform works both expected and unexpected, lawful and unlawful, beginning with excerpts from 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 major term paper. Texts will include but not be limited to: Apuleius, The Golden Ass; Augustine, Confessions; Waddell, ed., The Desert Fathers; Heaney, trans., Beowulf; Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales; Anonymous, Arden of Faversham; Ben Jonson, Bartholomew Fair. Warning: Some of the reading 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. Non-Majors only, Registration Period 1. (Meets with ENGL 211B, which consists of 5 spaces for new transfer students.)
212 A (Literature of Enlightenment & Revolution)
A broad survey of 18th- and early 19th-century literature – from Enlightenment to Romanticism – that takes into account the major intellectual and cultural forms of the time. Texts from Defoe to Shelley (212B = 5 spaces reserved for new transfer students.) Non-Majors only, Registration Period 1. Texts: Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe; Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels; Voltaire, Candide and Related Writings; Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (1818).
213 A (Modern & Postmodern Literature)
In this course we will study a variety of fiction and poetry representative of some dominant ideas and practices of modernism and postmodernism. We will examine this literature to learn how artistic production may provide diverse responses to the advent of modernity and how these forms of expression change over the twentieth century. By tracing recurrent themes of social crisis and the individualÂ’s relation to it, the role of the artist, the intersections of popular and literary cultures, and the ever-present force of technological change, this course will allow us some footholds into some key historical influences that shape how we may understand the twentieth century. At the same time, we will read this literature for its enjoyment and to foster an appreciation for how the formal qualities of fiction and poetry work. Expect active daily participation, short response papers, a midterm, and a final. Texts: James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; Virginia Woolf, The Waves; Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire; Don DeLillo, Mao II; Cory Doctorow, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom; photocopied course packet. (213 B = 5 spaces reserved for new transfer students.) Non-Majors only, Registration Period 1.
213 C (Modern & Postmodern Literature)
American Modernism and Postmodernism. In this course we will explore the primary cultural concerns, artistic styles, and thematic trends of American literature during the modern and postmodern periods. This era is linked with sudden shifts in the physical landscapes (particularly the increasing development of urban areas) and economic systems (especially the growth of industrial capitalism) of America that radically alter social experience. We will consider the responses to these changes found in primary literary texts of the time, including poetry, short stories, and novels. Study of concurrent developments in art, film, architecture, and critical theory will provide historical and cultural context for the readings. The requirements for the course will be active participation in daily class discussions, completion of a group project, short written assignments, a mid-term exam, and a final paper. A preliminary list of literary readings includes: T.S. Eliot (poems), William Faulkner (As I Lay Dying), Nella Larsen (Passing), Flannery O’Connor (stories), Leslie Marmon Silko (Ceremony), Don DeLillo (Cosmopolis), and Octavia Butler (Dawn).
213 D (Modern & Postmodern Literature)
In this class, rather than thinking about “modern” and “postmodern” as movements or “isms,” we’ll think about them as concepts and practices. In particular, we’ll take on the concept of “postmodern” as a reading practice – one that problematizes and complicates a text without assuming that there is The Correct Answer to a text. The texts that we will be reading in this class have been ostensibly called “modern” or “postmodern.” Again, without being too concerned about The Correct Answer to what those designations mean – whether they are even viable categories of description, etc., -- we’ll think about the texts’ relationships to the particular concept of modernity that has to do with how individuals are categorized according to their relationships to the state and capital (one’s status as a “productive” citizen). The questions guiding our class will then be: How do the texts construct, challenge, or critique what it means to be a “productive” citizen? What do concepts like “modern” and “postmodern” have to do with citizenship and capitalism? In addition to a course packet containing writing that will ground the theoretically and historically, we will read James Weldon Johnson’s The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby; Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, and Jessica Hagedorn’s Dogeaters. We will also view at leaste one film in this class, Wong Kar-Wai’s Chungking Express. Non-Majors only, Registration Period 1.
225 A (Shakespeare)
Shakespeare and the Politics of the Personal. When we think of politics, we usually imagine power plays on a grand scale: constitutions, laws, leaders and factions, even violent clashes and warfare. However, when considered from the point of view of the drama, politics is nothing more than a series of dialogues and conversations, where human interaction supplies the stage on which politics plays itself out. What this reveals is that matters of the most sweeping importance start out small: just words passing back and forth from one man to another. And man meant just that in Shakespeare’s day, when young men or boys played the female parts – a practice that in no small way affects our task of understanding the way power is negotiated. We will give fairly close consideration to the practice of transvestite acting, a longstanding and highly formalized tradition that used femaleness and the female figure – but not females themselves – to communicate certain ideas, concerns, and anxieties, many of them having very little to do with real women, even though the most formidable figure of the day was a queen, not the kings for whom the history plays are named. We will also read selections from Will in the World by Stephen Greenblatt, one of the foremost Shakespeare scholars and proponents of new historicism, to help us imagine Shakespeare as a person and a professional, and understand how the pressures of his personal circumstances came to bear on the works he produced. As for the plays themselves, we will read two each from the histories, comedies, and tragedies: Richard II, King John, Much Ado About Nothing, Cymbeline, Antony and Cleopatra, and King Lear. With each text we will see to what extent political maneuverings are synonymous with drama itself, for drama and politics have much in common: the all-importance of language in building tension or a sense of peril, where lives hang in the balance and outcomes turn on a single interaction, one false move, or one bad choice. Texts: Greenblatt, Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare; Joy Leslie Gibson, Squeaking Cleopatras: The Elizabethan Boy Player; Shakespeare, Richard II, King John, Much Ado About Nothing, Cymbeline, Antony and Cleopatra, King Lear.
228 A (English 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. (228B = 5 spaces reserved for new transfer students.) Non-Majors only, Registration Period 1. Texts: Beowulf (Norton critical edition); photocopied course packet
229 A (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 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, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Swift, Pope, Walpole, Blake, 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. (229 B = 5 spaces reserved for new transfer students.) Non-Majors only, Registration Period 1. Texts: Abrams, et al., eds., The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. 1B: The 16th/Early 17th C.) and Vol. 1C (Restoration & the 18th C.); Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto; 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. (230B = 5 spaces for new transfers) Non-Majors only, Registration Period 1. 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)
The title of this course, “Reading Fiction,” begs a question you might have been asking yourself as you considered adding it to your schedule (and at 8:30am!): why read fiction at all? When you think about it for more than a couple of minutes, this seemingly simple question breaks up into smaller, yet somehow more complex, parts: What is fiction? What is reading? What value is there in reading something that is, by definition, not true? How should we approach such texts? What can we learn from them? How do they work with and against the ideas and images that shape our lives, and why should we care? This quarter, I have focused our readings on the genre of science fiction, in order to amp up the “not true” element and (hopefully) allow us to focus on the questions of why fiction departs from truth, how it takes us along with it (i.e. how it gets us to “suspend disbelief”), and what its departures from reality might suggest to us. I have selected a range of novels and short stories that present us with characters that defy scientific classification: we’ll meet aliens, mutants, and hybrids—even a “breach” in the space-time continuum that shows selectivity, or “taste.” These figures will challenge us to think beyond our comfortable notions about what it means to be human, “normal,” or even “alive.” Some of the questions we’ll be considering: How do such figures function in a fictional text? What do they challenge their human counterparts to adapt to, or to think differently about? What can we learn through these challenges and adaptations—i.e. what do they challenge us to think differently about? Alongside these fictional texts, we’ll read several theoretical essays about the nature, purpose, and value of fiction—its narrative form, its characteristic tropes and modes, and how to read it or what reading is. As we proceed, we’ll also develop and build on some basic skills that are central to the study of literature:
*Close reading: examining the language and structure of a literary text in order to understand the world view it presents.
*Analysis: making connections among several different literary and theoretical texts, and your own knowledge and experience, in order to draw out the larger implications.
*Writing: presenting your close readings and analysis in a persuasive and engaging written form. I assume that you have a familiarity with basic academic writing—making and supporting claims, and citing sources using MLA guidelines.
242 B (Reading Fiction)
The Figure of the Ethnic Other in American Literature. In this course we will examine ideas of ethnicity and ethnic difference through late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American texts. Students will develop their skills as readers and writers by focusing on literary configurations of ethnicity and ethnic difference in stories that demonstrate a variety of immigrant and ethnic experiences. Issues to be discussed in this class include: the difficulties of recent immigrants in the US, the rites, struggles, contests, and assumed progression of assimilation, and the question of the ethnic that refuses assimilation. We will ask how these configurations fix or interrogate historical and contemporary assumptions about the overlap of race and ethnicity, what constitutes national boundaries, and the nature of “belonging.” To what ends do cultural assumptions about ethnic “others” perpetuate ideals of inclusion and exclusion and how do these ideas aide cultural imaginaries about what nations?
Instructor expects students to keep up with a good deal of reading (40 to 50 pages for each class session.) Pop-quizzes will occur weekly. Two response papers will be 2 to 3 pages of length. Final paper will be 5 to 6 pages in length. For students who wish to increase their scores, rewriting initial drafts is a possibility. Students will be asked to lead one or more classroom discussions, to be prepared for frequent reading quizzes, to complete brief writing assignments and a final paper. Lively and thoughtful in-class participation will account for a substantial portion of each student’s final grade.
Readings will include: Stephen Crane’s “Maggie: Girl of the Streets,” Pietro
di Donato’s Christ in Concrete; excerpts from James Farrell’s Studs
Lonigan; excerpts from Sui Sin Far’s Mrs. Spring Fragrance and
Other Writings; Sinclair Lewis’ The Jungle; Arthur Miller’s Focus;
Frank Norris’ McTeague; excerpts from Jacob A. Riis’ How
the Other Half Lives; Anzia Yezierska’s The Bread Givers;
two contextualizing essays by David Roedinger and Matthew Frye Jacobson, and
a course packet. Instructor and course web page: http://staff.washington.edu/mlf/
242 C (Reading Fiction)
Reading Fiction: Fiction and Truth, What responsibility do fiction writers have to the truth? By definition, fiction is the opposite of truth, giving writers free range of expression. Yet readers expect stories that are satisfying, believable and captivating—something which requires a fine balance of realism and invention. Raymond Carver, famous for his stark realism, once said: Just telling it like it is bores me. It really does. People couldn’t possibly read pages of description about the way people really talk, about what really happens in their lives. They’d just snore away, of course, If you look carefully at my stories, I don’t think you’ll find people talking the way people do in real life.
While real life may be a snore, if truth is really stranger than fiction, formulaic plot structures and overused dramatic effects can be just as dull and tired. In this class, we’ll explore how writers use the craft of fiction to tell stories that seem both strange and true, exploring elements of form, structure and language as they influence the reader’s perception of described events. The balance of verity and fiction affects more than just the reader’s level of involvement and engagement with the text, however. Stories provide a neatness and logic that is rarely present in our experience in the moment, and yet it is this insight and hindsight that allows us to make sense of our experiences, such that stories often guide us in our understanding of reality. If fiction has any purpose, then the way that authors present reality matters, because they are laying out the maps that guide us in exploring the vast territory of human experience. How do writers cope with experiences that seem inexpressible, unbelievable, or too horrible or delicate to mold into the neat rise and fall of a traditional plot? Writers are often advised to write what they know, and in this sense the issue of truth in fiction becomes a question of what and how we know. At the deepest level, the readings for this class explore these questions, witnessing the power of that fuzzy area in-between the truth and how we tell it, and illustrating that what we know is both more and less than the simple truth. 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: Tim O'Brien, The Things They Carried; Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Slaughterhouse Five; Sherman Alexis, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven; Mario Vargas Llosa, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter. Photocopied course packet with selections from Ursula K. LeGuin’s Changing Planes, Donald Barthelme “Me and Miss Mandible” “Robert Kennedy Saved from Drowning” “The Dolt” “Eugenie Grandet” “The Schoo.l”
250 C (Introduction to American Literature)
This course will provide a general overview of American literature. It will include texts from the colonial period through the early twentieth century, taking the contested and ever-shifting category of “American-ness” as its central organizing problematic. The course will explore how the slippery categories of race, class, gender, sexuality, and citizenship have been (and continue to be) related to shifting ideas about American identity, values, and culture. In particular, we will investigate how authors in different times and places imagined themselves and their work in relationship to the nation and explore how these literary imaginings both reflected and shaped their worlds. We will begin the course by reading W.E.B. DuBois’s The Souls of Black Folk (1903), which will raise many of the course’s key questions and problems, before returning to a more chronological approach to the course materials. Expect to read a significant amount of literature, write about this literature extensively in both in-class and take-home assignments, and actively discuss it with your peers during our regular class meetings. Non-Majors only, Registration Period 1. Texts: W. E. B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk; Baym, et al., eds, The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Shorter, 6th ed.
250 D (Introduction to American Literature)
Contemporary American Literature. This course will focus on literature produced during and after World War II, an event that profoundly shaped the ways Americans thought of themselves and their relations to other countries. In particular, we will explore how we can read themes of race and ethnicity in a historical context, and how literature itself can be read as history. To acquire not only a sense of the shifting terrains of race relations in the US, but also a comparative sense of ethnic relations in this country, we shall chronologically read a diverse body of texts that feature varying ethnic characters: "America is in the Heart" by Carlos Busolan (1943); "Invisible Man" (1947) by Ralph Ellison; "No No Boy" (1957) by John Okada; "Mumbo Jumbo" (1972) by Ishmael Reed; and "How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents" (1992) by Julia Alvarez. Our goal will be to read these texts and their investments in issues of race, gender, and sexuality in a comparative framework that is informed by the complex historical moments that have shaped the narratives. Finally, we also want to think of the ways that narrative form is itself an identity politics in these literatures (especially the latter ones). Requirements: One final paper that students begin during the midterm period. The midterm paper will thus become the beginning point of the final paper, which will be longer, more formal, and show evidence that much thought and time has been put into revision and peer evaluations. Participation will be heavily assessed (all absences, regardless of reason, will impact the final grade), and will include a peer evaluation component. Reading will be verified through pop quizzes. Students will also be asked to present texts to the class. Non-Majors only, Registration Period 1.
250 E (Introduction to American Literature)
American Literary Landscapes: Nature’s Nation? Beginning with Henry David Thoreau’s essay “Walking,” we will examine a diverse range of “literary landscapes” from the mid-nineteenth century to the present in order to gain insight into some of the important developments and key issues in American literature. The texts we wil read highlight and interrogate the physical and social landscapes that shape America and Americans. “Wilderness,” for example, is an especially problematic American literary landscape that has taken on meanings ranging from “Eden” to “wasteland,” and many of our texts will explore this terrain. We will see these utopian and dystopian poles – and a wide range of representational possibilities between them – reappear in literature that portays life in industrial factories, on the frontier farmland, in deserts, in polluted landscapes, and in suburban and urban landscapes. What do these various representations of landscapes say about America? About “nature” and about cities? About privilege and poverty? What does it mean – or not mean – to be an American and to negotiate America’s varied environments? By the end of the quarter, we will have questioned the limitations of the term “nature” and the term “nation” in defining American literature.
“Literary landscape” also serves as an apt metaphor for our approach to studying American literature, for we will look at these texts not in isolation but rather in relation to the others and in conversation with their surrounding historical, cultural, and academic contexts. American literary movements, authors, cultural/historical issues, and academic critiques will be the focus of your group presentations.
Please note that this course is not intended as a survey of all periods of
American literature. Also know that the course is not a lecture course; it
will be demanding both in its reading load and in its requirement that you
take an active and engaged role in our critical exploration of this literature.
Course requirements: 1 – 2 presentations (oral and written), reading
journal, active participation in all discussions and in-class activities, midterm,
final exam. Likely authors and/or texts: Henry David Thoreau, “Walking”;
Rebecca Harding Davis, Life in the Iron Mills; Willa Cather (novel or stories);
Anne Spencer and other poets of the Harlem Renaissance; Muriel Rukeyser, “The
Book of the Dead” (long poem); Faulkner or Hemingway stories; Rachel
Carson, Silent Spring (non-fiction); Edward Abbey; Sherman Alexie (poems);
Cherrie Moraga, Heroes and Saints (play); Don DeLillo (excerpts from White
Noise); Karen Tei Yamashita, Through the Arc of the Rain Forest. Non-Majors
only, Registration Period 1.
281 A MW (Intermediate Expository Writing)
[Writing papers communicating information and opinion to develop accurate, competent, and effective expression.] Majors only, Registration Period 1.
281 C (Intermediate Expository Writing)
ENGL 281, the second class in the UW’s expository writing stream, is meant to help you sharpen the skills you acquired in your freshman writing course: academic writing and critical reading. The class will be broken into two sections, each leading to the production of a major essay (6-7 pages). In the first part of the quarter, we will look at several of the approaches scholars have developed in order to help them analyze how texts function within their social environments; we will analyze texts first through rhetorical approaches, then with an eye toward cultural metaphors, and finally through theories of narrative. In the second part of the quarter, we will focus entirely on another one of these approaches: genre theory. In the genre theory section of the course you will analyze a non-literary habituated form of representation (you can choose anything from slave narratives, to business letters, to greeting cards, etc.), explicating the genre’s textual features. You may also, if it is appropriate for your genre, have the opportunity to make emulation a part of your project (e.g., writing your own business letter(s) would help you demonstrate to me your awareness of and facility with the constraints of the genre; however, this would not be appropriate for slave narratives). In addition to the major papers, you should expect weekly homework assignments and/or response papers. Over the course of the quarter, you should also expect at least one quiz, and a group project that includes a presentation. Majors only, Registration Period 1. Text: photocopied course packet.
281 D (Intermediate Expository Writing)
The Place of Emotion in Writing. This intermediate expository writing course is designed for students with previous college-level expository writing experience and offers students an opportunity to further refine their academic writing skills, as well as practice critical thinking and reading. We will look to discourse analysis – including rhetorical and genre analysis – to consider, and learn to rhetorically respond to, a wide variety of texts in a range of writing situations. While we consider the uses of writing in the world, both institutionally and informally, we will also explore the place of emotion(s) in writing. Throughout the quarter we will read a number of expository essays which debate the place of personal experience and emotion in academic writing, as well as engage in ongoing discussion about the ways in which emotion is strategically (dis)placed in a range of writing contexts.
Students should have successfully completed a 100-level composition course
or the equivalent before taking this class. Written work will include several
short response papers and two research papers, of which students will be required
to thoroughly rethink and revise significant portions of their writing. Students
are encouraged to develop their research based on their own interests an disciplines.
In addition, students will develop a group project of their choice such as
a website, a brochure, a report or visual presentation (or an alternative approach)
on a topic related to the course content. Students will also be expected to
contribute in online discussions as part of their class participation requirement.
Majors only, Registration Period 1. Texts: Gail Stygall, Discourse
Studies in Composition; photocopied course packet.
281 E (Intermediate Expository Writing)
Environmental (and Audience) Friendliness: Where Ecocriticism, Literature, and Rhetoric Meet. What do environmentalists, or ecocritics, talk about? Who are they trying to communicate their environmental messages to? And what sorts of literary or rhetorical strategies do they deploy in their research and writing? This course takes a comparative approach to some important issues and texts in contemporary environmental ecological criticism, focusing especially on the question of rhetorical audience identification and accommodation. The course will begin by critically exploring Leslie Marmon Silko’s literary text Ceremony, and several essays from The Ecocriticism Reader. We will then move on to compare and contrast texts that exhibit both literary and scientific generic conventions: Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring and Devra Davis’ When Smoke Ran Like Water. Through research projects, seminars-styled class discussions, critical readings of primary and secondary texts (and a few surprises), we will actively explore the ideas and motives behind what’s at stake for artists and critics in environmental studies. This course is designed, primarily, to give students an introduction to rhetorical analysis of texts. The rhetorical strategies (moves) we critique, as well as actively deploy, will be applicable to writing contexts across the disciplines. Majors only, Registration Period 1. Texts: Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony; Cheryll Glotfelty & Harold Fromm, eds., The Ecocriticism Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology; Rachel Carson, Silent Spring; Craig Waddell, ed., And No Birds Sing: Rhetorical Analyses of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring; Devra Davis, When Smoke Ran Like Water: Tales of Environmental Deception and the Battle Against Pollution.
281 F (Intermediate Expository Writing)
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For: Rhetoric of Text and Image. How do we look for and write about write pictures? What images affect us? Recently, several search engines such as Google and A9 have started to juxtapose their image results with their textual results, and we begin to recognize a difference, a gap, between what we want to find and what results are returned. This class explores that gap, the ways we position, assess and incorporate images in writing. The course will address the relationships between text and images as they are presented in artistic, personal, business, scientific, and political contexts. No previous technical or art knowledge is required for this class.
From online art exhibits to music videos to government websites to torture
pictures from war, we will use the course readings to assess why images appeal
to specific audiences. We will do a rhetorical analysis of texts in different
genres and analyze what makes certain images problematic while they may produce
sympathetic or empathetic responses. We will evaluate the language associated
with images and how (or if) the words inform our perception of those pictures.
Students are encouraged to develop their research based on their own interests
and disciplines. The course writings include several reflective and critical
essays, which will lead to a final portfolio. In addition, students will develop
a group project of their choice such as a website, brochures, a report or visual
presentation (or an alternative approach) on a topic related to the course
content. In all of the assignments, students will write about the purpose,
evidence, audience and strategies related to their research. Students will
also be expected to contribute in online discussions as part of the class participation
requirement. Course website: http://students.washington.edu/llmichel/engl281f/ Majors only, Registration Period 1. Texts: Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida;
photocopied course packet.
282 A (Composing for the Web)
Web Spaces, New Rhetorics? Do traditional approaches to composing texts suit the new purposes and possibilities of the Internet? What is new about the relationships between people across Web spaces, what rhetorical strategies do new texts and new means of interaction require, and what new meanings are possible? This course approaches Web design primarily as a rhetorical matter involving interpretation, negotiation, and collaboration between composers and readers of web texts. The primary goal will be to build on our existing rhetorical skills to become more resourceful designers of meaning in multimodal contexts – that is, in environments that allow us to compose texts not only of language, but also image, sound, and spatial relations.
In addition to academic and technical work, this course also integrates a required service learning component around which students will design a Web site as their final project. The service learning element of the course provides a rich context for Web design that offers students opportunities to imagine and compose web texts that aren’t limited to the classroom in their scope, purposes, and audiences. In building up to the final project, we will cover the basics of HTML and CSS (the primary languages used to compose web pages) and address some of the social issues involved in human-computer-human interactions. Readings will provide critical framing for our Web designs and help us to think consciously about what is novel about writing for the Web. Througout the quarter we will be analyzing existing Web pages, as well as each others’ Web pages, to think critically about how they make use of convention and variation to respond to their rhetorical contexts and achieve their rhetorical purposes.
No prior experience with HTML or any web-authoring program is required, but
basic familiarity with Windows will be helpful. Text: photocopied course packet.
283 A (Beginning Verse Writing)
Introduction to the ways and means of verse writing. In this class we will explore the craft of writing poems through reading and discussing many contemporary lyric poems, writing response essays to poems, writing original poems, workshop and lecture. Majors only, Registration Period 1. Text: photocopied course packet.
283 B (Beginning Verse Writing)
Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “The poet knows that he speaks adequately, then, only when he speaks somewhat wildly. . . .” In order to say the unsayable, as poetry attempts to do, you must take liberties with the language and let it take liberties with you. In this class we will study a variety of poetic techniques that foster and encourage such liberty. Among other aspects of verse composition, we’ll look at imagery, metaphor, metonymy, rhythm, meter and voice, both in your own writing and in the work of traditional and contemporary poets. During the quarter you will complete a series of poems, recitations, and critiques in which you attempts to implement various techniques to express the unexpressable. Majors only, Registration Period 1.
284 A (Beginning Short Story Writing)
[Introdcution to the theory and practice of writing the short story.] Majors only, Registration Period 1.
284 B (Beginning Short Story Writing)
This class provides an introduction to the craft of short fiction, with a focus on some of the major elements of successful short stories, including how to create effective character, plot, voice, point-of-view, structure, setting, and theme. Over the course of the quarter, students will write two original short stories for critique in the workshop setting. Students will also read published pieces of fiction and classmates’ works-in-progress and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of these works in group discussion. 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. Majors only, Registration Period 1. Text: photocopied course packet, available at Ave Copy Center.