Course Descriptions (as of April 4, 2006)
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.)
200 A (Reading Literature)
This course will explore literary texts that are written in English vernaculars. Most literature is written in the standard English of its period, which invariably conjures up a white educated person. We will explore how, why and to what purpose other, lower status, dialects of English are used, such as those associated with a region, race or class of lesser prestige. The use of vernacular to represent characters or in narrative voice highlights issues of class and race, and is often seen as something of a risk on the part of the author. The majority of the texts for this course will be American, and can be seen as attempts to portray American voices realistically. The final text by Russell Hoban uses dialect to portray a post-apocalyptic Britain, a project which asks questions of language and culture from a much different perspective than the American texts. Coursework will include a demanding reading schedule, participation in discussions and daily class work, a researched group presentation, a mid-term assignment, several reading quizzes, and a longer final essay. Texts: Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; Zora Neal Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God; Junot Diaz, Drown; Russell Hoban, Riddley Walker; photocopied course packet with critical essays; and a film by Anna Deveare Smith.
200 B (Reading Literature)
Arab America and Literary Production. This course takes as its point of departure what it means to read "contemporary Arab American literature." We will explore a range of literary and historical texts in order to ask an array of questions critical to developing complex and engaged reading practices. These questions include: What historical, social, and political conditions have enabled the relatively recent emergence of this category of literary production? What do some if its best-known authors--some of whom identify themselves as Arab American in their works, some who are categorized as Arab American by their readers--thematize in their poetry, novels, and autobiographies? How has the vexed and complex relationship between identity and difference been textually produced? How have textual constructions of race, gender, and sexuality framed the emergence of this category? We will read literary works by Diana Abu-Jaber, Etel Adnan, Kahlil Gibran, Suheir Hammad, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Gregory Orfalea (among others), as well as a range of historical and critical texts on race and ethnicity, popular and legal representations of "Arabness," and the politics and poetics of literary form. Texts: Gregory Orfalea, The Arab Americans: A History; Suheir Hammad, Zaatar Diva; Etel Adnan, In The Heart of the Heart of Another Country; Naomi Shihab Nye, 19 Varieties of Gazelle; Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet; Diana Abu Jaber, Crescent.
200 C (Reading Literature)
The major conceptual undertaking of this course will be to examine narratives which rely on a logic of linearity and development, and which use these dimensions to portray a successful or desirable human experience that is claimed to be universally representative and attainable. Despite such claims, however, we will find that these narratives rely on the exclusion of particular groups (in the case of nineteenth-century Britain, often the working class or colonized peoples) in order to maintain a notion of the rational, knowing subject whose experience comes to represent the universal. While this kind of narrative held considerable authority in Victorian fiction, its power was by no means absolute, and novels of the era grapple with the tensions involved in constructing a dominant narrative of progress and development in vivid, fascinating ways. Thus, it will be our task to explore the various ruptures and contradictions in the novels that we will read, marking not only moments in which the dominant narrative of progress and development is asserted most strongly, but also moments in which it is resisted or undermined. In our conversations and in your writing, you will be expected to give serious thought to what such interruptions mean and what they suggest in their larger historical, political, and social contexts. Please note that if you enroll in the course, you are expected to keep up with all required reading, including the novels and the materials from the course packet. Your reading load will be 150+ pages per week. We will read four novels total (three Victorian novels and one early twentieth century Indian novel). Short response papers will be assigned for each novel. Two longer papers are required, one the first half of the quarter and one at the end of the quarter. Students may choose which novel(s) they will write on for each of the longer papers. Short presentations will also be required, and students should expect to occasionally lead class discussion. Texts: Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone; Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray; Rabindranath Tagore, Gora; photocopied course packet.
200 D (Reading Literature)
The Evolution of the Genre in the 19th-Century Novel. In this course we will read and discuss a variety of developmental currents at work in the 19th-century British novel. We will investigate the compositional, structural, and aesthetic traits that emerge and vanish in the novel’s evolution during the period. Additionally, we will examine the evolution of the genre according to several rubrics – the historical and the domestic, the biographical and the social, the typical and the eccentric. As a word of warning, several of the novels we will read are quite long. Assignments: several short response papers, one longer paper, and a final exam. Texts: Jane Austen, Emma; Charles Dickens, Pickwick Papers; George Eliot, Middlemarch; Sir Walter Scott, Waverly; William Thackeray, Vanity Fair.
200E (Reading Literature)
American Literary Modernism: 1910 – 1940. The modern period in American literature was a time of extensive formal experimentation fueled by social and cultural upheaval. At home or abroad, directly or indirectly, American writers produced texts that dealt with technological advancement, world war, economic depression, racial injustice, sexual identity, gender equality, and the place of the United States within a transnational cultural nexus. In this course, we will study experimental and avant-garde texts in a historically thick context. In other words, we will consider the ways in which the American literature of this era interacts with its historical milieu. We will attempt to answer questions such as the following: Why do so many modernists leave the United States for Western Europe? What are the effects of expatriation on the modernist artist? Why is so much work from this era regarded as difficult? What political role does the author play in modern society? Why do many of these authors adopt polarizing political positions (communism and fascism)? Can experiments in language further the cause of social justice? At the end of the quarter we will spend a week examining some of the ways that postmodern American poets have extended the formal and thematic experimentation of the modernists. We will read poetry by Gertrude Stein, T. S. Sliot, Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, H.D., Laura Riding Jackson, Mina Loy, Wallace Stevens, e. e. cummings, Langston Huges and Louis Zukofsky, among others. Fiction will include Jean Toomer’s Cane, William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, and Djuna Barnes’s Nightwood. Requirements include daily attendance and participation, participation in a group presentation, and three papers (of two, three, and five pages, respectively).
202 A (Introduction to the Study of English)
MWF 10:30-11:20 (lecture; quizzes: Wed. 11:30, Thurs. 12:30, Thurs. 2:30)
Students must also enroll in a section of ENGL 197 linked to ENGL 202 (see Time Schedule for sections, times)
This course provides an introduction to the study of English language, literature and culture at the University of Washington. As a gateway course for English pre-majors and majors, the class will introduce students to diverse critical, historical, and theoretical approaches to English study. Our questions will include: What exactly is literature? Is it different from language? From culture? How do language, literature, and culture relate in the study of “English”? Where does English as a discipline come from, and where might we go from here? Together we will explore these questions in relation to three major texts and their critical and historical contexts: The Merchant of Venice, The Scarlet Letter, and Lucy. Each text will be read carefully in relation to questions of form and genre, theories and methods, and histories and contexts. Along the way we will talk about the rise of English as a field of study and its role in the contemporary University. The course requires three one-hour lecture sessions per week and one one-hour small group discussion session. Students MUST concurrently enroll in English 197, an Interdisciplinary Writing Program course that will also satisfy College and University requirements in English composition. Please see Time Schedule for ENGL 197 sections linked with ENGL 202. Texts: Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter; William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice; Jamaica Kincaid, Lucy; J. A. Cuddon, A Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory; photocopied course reader with poems, additional source materials, and critical selections from Marxist, new historicist, feminist, queer, and critical race studies.
207 A (Introduction to Cultural Studies)
Stuart Hall, cofounder of the Center For Contemporary Cultural Studies at Birmingham, has suggested that “Cultural studies is not one thing… it has never been one thing.” Indeed, many scholars who do “cultural studies” work would agree that it would not be possible to offer an essential definition of this diverse field. Consequently, rather than trying to demarcate a singular cultural studies method, this quarter we will develop a sense of both the diverse methods of inquiry and the diverse cultural texts that matter for those engaged in cultural studies scholarship. Unifying such scholarship, I will suggest, is a desire and commitment to examine the dynamic relationships between cultural practices, social formations, and relations of power.
Our class will begin by briefly tracing the emergence of cultural studies at Birmingham, and then move to develop a working theoretical vocabulary that will ground our principal course thematic: the literary, cinematic, and monumental representations of U.S. colonial projects; and the manner in which such representations may be implicated in, or contesting, the communication and consolidation of an “exceptional” national history and identity.
Students must be prepared to cheerfully embrace a fascinating but demanding
reading load. Moreover, as this is not a lecture class, students will be expected
to be critically engaged on a daily basis. In addition to weekly writing assignments
and a midterm, students will participate in focused group projects, and will,
individually, complete a final project at quarter’s end. In this course
we will engage the work of Antonio Gramsci, Horkheimer and Adorno, Stuart Hall,
Michel Foucault, and Gerald Vizenor, among others. Texts will include a course-reader
and the novel Green Grass, Running Water by Thomas King.
211 A (Medieval & Renaissance Literature)
The Mummers’ Play. The strangest English literature you will ever see. Rather than an overview of a few ‘great works’ of the Medieval and Early Modern era, this course will undertake an intense, focused interrogation of a single entity, the Mummers’ Play, to see where it takes us in the world of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. There will be only one assigned textbook and no course packet. Instead, the course will require active participation from students as the class creates an investigative dossier on the Mummers’ Play. The Mummers’ Play itself defies easy description except to say that it was an annual ritual drama performed by English villagers under conditions of extraordinary secrecy. The course will provide a hands-on experience in how literary research is done, its frustrations and its rewards. You will be encouraged to ask questions at all times. There will a mid-term paper and a final paper. Please note: Make sure that this is the course you wish to take. If your plan is to show up for the first day or two and not to attend after that, you will do badly. The first two or three days of the course should make clear to you whether this is what you really want to be doing. If it isn't, please drop the course and make room for someone who does want to take this course. If your brain is on fire with relentless curiosity, you will do well. Text: Henry H. Glassie, All Silver and No Brass: An Irish Christmas Mumming
212 A (Literature of Enlightenment & Revolution)
This course will attempt to investigate a wide variety of cultural issues - aesthetic, political, philosophical, psychological etc. - that are reflected in the literary works of the 18th and early 19th centuries. We will concern ourselves mostly with English writers and with questions of 'enlightenment' (in all its resonances), though there will also be attention given to a larger European context - especially French thought and its influence. We will look to a broad range of readings (along with some brief relevant philosophical background material) from Plato, Descartes, Locke, Hobbes, Kant, Rousseau, Walpole, Burke, Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Hazlitt, Keats, Byron, Percy Shelley, Mary Shelley, DeQuincey, and perhaps a few others who may or may not make an appearance. You should expect a fair amount of poetry in this course that will require close attention and sustained readings - and of course your interest in such things. You should also probably look to write 2 essays, a midterm and final, short response papers, and memorization of some sort - along with the usual discussion expectations. Participation in this class is important, which means a willingness to read and discuss material on a daily basis, including some difficult texts. Texts: Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; Thomas DeQuincey, Confessions of an English Opium Eater; photocopied course packet.
213 A (Modern & Postmodern Literature)
Encountering the Great Divide. This course serves as an introduction to one of the twentieth century’s most perplexing pairs: modernism and postmodernism. What, exactly, do these terms mean? The difficulty of answering that question is this course’s raison d’être. We will approach this problem by considering and questioning the “Great Divide” between our -isms as a matter of both literary form and historical change, with the goal of tracing connections between the two (form and history as well as modernism and postmodernism). The course consists of fiction, poetry, and film, as well as essential criticism that outlines and defines the field. Throughout the course we will consider literary texts as technologies that, with considerable variation, interact with their cultural and historical moment. Analyzing these texts will mean investigating the manner of their construction, their function, and the underlying principles that are a condition of their existence—in other words, the philosophies and historical situations that govern the production of modernism and postmodernism. Critical texts will include theories of the “Great Divide” by Andreas Huyssen, Jurgen Habermas, and Fredric Jameson; novels by Virginia Woolf, Vladimir Nabokov, and Thomas Pynchon; poetry by T. S. Eliot, H. D., Marianne Moore and others. Films are subject to my whim, but are likely to include some combination of Carl Dreyer’s Passion of Joan of Arc, Chris Marker’s La Jetée, and works by Michel Gondry. Texts: Virginia Woolf, To The Lighthouse; T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land; Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire; Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49.
225 A (Shakespeare)
How did the son of a provincial glove-maker come to write a series of plays trumpeted as 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: the sonnets, two comedies, two tragedies, one history play, and a late romance. Beyond familiarizing students with the basic plotline of the dramas, 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. (Course website: http://staff.washington.edu/tandrew/thebard.html) Texts: Greenblatt, et al., eds., The Norton Shakespeare; optional: McDonald, The Bedford Companion to Shakespeare.
228 A (English Literary Culture: to 1600)
British literary culture in the Middle Ages and the early Renaissance. Our focus will be representations of the body in literature. Discussions will examine three sub-topics: sexuality, gender, and strength/weakness. Readings will range from the medical to the poetic. Texts: Beowulf (Norton critical edition); photocopied course packet.
230 A (English Literary Culture: after 1800)
1857 and the period immediately following comprise a complicated moment in the history of the British Empire, thanks to the Indian Sepoy Rebellion, the second Opium War, an economic crisis involving European speculation in American railroads, the advent of “muscular Christianity,” the publication of Darwin’s Origin of the Species (1859), increased emigration to the colonies, the Divorce and Matrimonial Causes Act, and more! In English 230 we will explore the latter half of the nineteenth century with rigorous contextualization (including background readings on ‘liberty,’ women’s rights, evolution, economics, and travel). The literary theme of the course is the invention of the “jewel in the crown”—the Indian subcontinent—in British imagination. While Rudyard Kipling could blithely suggest that “East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,” we will take it upon ourselves to dissolve the east/west binary in our pursuit of knowledge about the Victorian Empire in India. 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). Texts: Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone; Rudyard Kipling, Kim; John Stuart Mill, The Spirit of the Age; On Liberty; The Subjection of Women; Florence Nightingale, Cassandra; Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain, Sultana’s Dream; And Selections from The Secluded Ones.
242 A (Reading Fiction)
“Protest Fictions”: California’s Fractured Landscape. This class will engage the practice of reading literature by keeping two enormous questions in mind. First, what is the relationship between fiction and history? Second, what is the relationship between art and politics? The selected texts share a common setting, which is also largely their subject: rural California. However, reading them chronologically reveals not a uniform history but an ongoing literary argument about the very meaning of the California landscape as it transforms over time, from the U.S. conquest of Mexican land to the reorganization of large landholdings into a system of industrialized agriculture in the decades that followed. These novels also have identifiable, but not necessarily simple or consistent, “agendas.” They can be read as trying to change readers’ minds about particular social problems, though as literature they are not limited to this effort. We’ll take seriously therefore the question of what happens to art when it actively becomes political. In terms of literary history, we can use these novels to start conversations between two canons that are usually read in isolation from each other: Chicano/a literature and canonical (Anglo-) U.S. literature. Particular attention will be placed 1) on race, concentrating on the histories and literary representations of Anglo and Mexican Californians; 2) on gender, asking how characters are created to challenge or reconfirm traditional roles; 3) on class, asking what kinds of criticisms of class hierarchies or the capitalist economic system appear in these novels. These points of focus, coupled with close readings and comparisons between texts, will hopefully encourage us to speculate on the success or failure of each novel’s “protest,” and to posit complicated, tentative answers to the two leading questions mentioned above. Texts: Frank Norris, The Octopus (1901); Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton, The Squatter and the Don (1885); John Steinbeck, In Dubious Battle (1936); Helena Maria Viramontes, Under the Feet of Jesus (1995); photocopied course packet.
242 B (Reading Fiction)
The Modern Novel. In this course, we will focus upon a highly diverse group of primarily English novels that, because of their formal qualities, subject matter, or time of publication, represent the emergence of and significant developments in modern fiction. Beginning with Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, a novel in which practically every character is constantly remarking upon the decay of Victorian society and its displacement by a new, modern sensibility, we will continue through the first half of the 20th Century and examine the radical innovations that take place in the fiction of that period. Some of our concerns will be formal, as we will undoubtedly spend a good deal of time discussing what exactly makes a literary work modern, and how novels as stylistically divergent as, for example, Evelyn Waugh’s satirical A Handful of Dust and Djuna Barnes’s experimental Nightwood can both be placed under the general rubric of “modern fiction.” In addition to such formal concerns, we will also take up several thematic issues, including, but not limited to: dandyism, cosmopolitanism, childhood and adolescence, the role of art in the public sphere, crime and criminality, the burdens of history, and representations of consciousness in literature. Finally, to supplement and contextualize our novels we will also read a number of critical essays that deal in some way with either the themes of the course or the novels themselves. Some of these essays will be taken from the work of contemporary literary critics, deepening our understanding of the novels under discussion while also serving as examples of critical writing on literary texts, while other selections will come from various modern authors (including Joseph Conrad, Henry James, and Virginia Woolf, among others) as they provide their own, often contradictory accounts of what specific (or unspecific) qualities make a novel modern. Students enrolling in the course should be prepared to spend a significant amount of time grappling with the intricacies of what is, in essence, a highly difficult and yet extremely rewarding set of texts. Texts: Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray; James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; E.M. Forster, A Passage to India; Evelyn Waugh, A Handful of Dust; Djuna Barnes, Nightwood; photocopied course packet.
242 C (Reading Fiction)
In this class we will cross and re-cross the permeable boundaries between what we call “fiction” and what we call “reality.” We will examine how the texts we read reveal certain “realities” to be “fictions” and certain “fictions” to generate ideological and material effects that structure the ways we experience and perceive “reality.” The group of novels I’ve chosen will allow us to read a number of very real fictions – fictions of race, gender, sexuality and nationality to name a few – within the cultural nexus of the “domestic.” These novels are Pudd’nhead Wilson by Mark Twain; The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton; The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison; The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood; and My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki. We will also be reading historical and theoretical essays from a course packet.
242 D (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 ways that each articulates with 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.
We will read: novels by Frank Norris, Ann Petry, James Baldwin, and Lawrence
Chua; short stories by Gertrude Stein; and short essays by Sigmund Freud, Michel
Foucault, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Michael Omi and Howard Winant, Ben
Anderson, Stuart Hall, and Lisa Lowe
242 E (Reading Fiction)
This course will cover some of the major short story writers of 19th-century America: Hawthorne, Melville, Poe, James, Davis, and Chopin. Through the stories selected, we will be able to examine a variety of themes including (but not limited to) religion, history, genealogy, aesthetics, race, power, landscape, gender, sex, technology and class). Texts: McIntosh, ed., Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Tales; McCall, ed., Melville’s Short Novels; Kate Chopin, The Awakening; Wegelin & Wonham, eds., Tales of Henry James; Rebecca Harding Davis, Life in the Iron Mills; Thompson, ed., The Selected Writings of Edgar Allen Poe.
250 A (Introduction to American Literature)
This course provides an introduction to reading and interpreting literature through the study of many of the defining texts of nineteenth-century America. I have tried to arrange this complex constellation of texts so that we could trace the large-scale cultural productions, political and literary, that began to reconfigure the meanings of human nature as well as humankind’s relationship with and conceptions of nature itself. By the early nineteenth century the systems of knowledge associated with the Enlightenment had done much to empty the natural world and humankind of its previous symbology and meaning. Descartes, and later a succession of philosophers culminating in the nineteenth century with Friedrich Nietzsche, had not only removed the hand of God from the physical world but had declared him dead—effectively gutting institutions, people, and nature of two millennia thought and imagined meanings. This philosophical project left a nihilistic and unthinkable void, or neant, in collective nineteenth-century consciousness. This neant, or occluded “subterranean,” sub-cultural, space, which upon emerging to human eyes was invariably and immediately suppressed, denied, and, ultimately, defined as taboo space. To most nineteenth-century sensibilities this space was horrific and therefore was written over: Romanticism, Transcendentalism, and the Picturesque responded to the pressing cultural need to imbue humankind and the natural world with new definitions and meanings. In this course we will probe 19th century American literature—with a focus on the writings of Poe, Hawthorne, Melville, Emerson and Thoreau,—in order to better understand 19th century concepts of self and the natural world and how these inform political, social and psychological realities well into the present. With these texts in mind we will accomplish the following goals: (1) construct an interpretive framework with which we will conduct effective and informed analyses of the primary texts in question; (2) investigate the larger cultural ramifications that these texts as a group have had on the American imagination and consciousness; (3) formulate complex arguments concerning these writings in an academic essay as well as on the mid-term and final exams; (4) bring to bare scholarly essays specific primary texts in order to see how scholars have dealt with these texts and to broaden our own understanding of and relationship with the ideas expressed within; (5) and finally and ideally begin to reshape re-imagine and deepen our own understanding of what America means.
250 B (Introduction to American Literature)
Mysteries of Blood: Empires and Nations in U.S. Literatures. If to study something called “American literature” is ultimately to ask after the meaning of the adjective—“Who, or what, is ‘American’?”—then the answer, at least in a U.S. classroom, usually begins this way: “Well . . . WE are.” In other words, the presumption is that “American literature” is the expression of a collective subject, a people, which has existed continuously over time. If its composition has changed, sometimes excluding some groups, at other times including them, its essence has nevertheless remained the same -- and this essence is ours, is US. This course will take a different approach. As an introduction to American literatures, it presents a set of texts that do not necessarily agree about what it means to be American, or indeed whether they are, or should be, American. They may suggest that America is a nation that embraces all races and peoples, and that America is an empire that hopes to rule the world; they may identify it as an ideal of justice and inclusion, and as a system of exclusion and conquest; they may take it as the image of a future goal, as the emblem of a present demand, and as a stage to be passed through and left behind. And whatever conclusions they come to, we cannot assume that the conclusion is -- or ought to be -- us.
There will be a significant reading load for this course, drawn mainly
from the works of black and Asian authors. These texts will raise issues
gender, and sex; of war, violence, and politics; of literary form and of
the writing of history. They will demand the courage to discuss controversial
sometimes painful questions, on which we will not always come to consensus.
The pace of the reading and writing assignments will be brisk. Additionally,
the course will require a commitment to collaborative effort; throughout
the quarter, students will be asked to share their ideas, in oral discussion
in written work, with the entire class, and to respond thoughtfully and
respectfully to the ideas of others. Texts: Octavia Butler, Kindred;
W. E. B. Dubois, The Souls of Black Folk; Darkwater: Voices from Within the Veil;
Nella Larsen, Quicksand; Hisaye Yamamoto, Seventeen Syllables and Other Stories,
Revised and Updated with 4 New Stories; Chester Himes, If He Hollers
Let Him Go;
Cynthia Kadohata, In The Heart of the Valley of Love.
250 C (Introduction to American Literature)
Immigrant Melting Pot or Ethnic Other (Half): The “New American” in American Literature. The figure of the ethnic other. In this course we will examine ideas of ethnic difference through late nineteenth- and 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 center the difficulties of recent immigrants in the US, various processes 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 the national, and the nature of national belonging. To what ends do cultural assumptions (often subterranean) about “others” seek to deploy processes of inclusion and exclusion within a national landscape? Students will be asked to lead one or more classroom discussions, to be active on the E-Post bulletin board, to complete two response papers, a final paper proposal 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 Sui Sin Far’s Mrs. Spring Fragrance and Other Writings, excerpts from James Farrell’s Studs Lonigan, Sinclair Lewis’ The Jungle, Arthur Miller’s Focus, Frank Norris’ McTeague, Anzia Yezierska’s The Bread Givers, Tennesee William’s Streetcar Named Desire and a course packet.
281 A (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. Tips/Words of Warning: (1) I will stray from the written schedule. There will be times, for instance, when I think we need an additional day of instruction before your assignment is due or I may change part of the assignment before passing it out to you. If you are someone who requires a rigid class structure and HW/paper schedule, this class isn't for you. (2) You will be asked to analyze film and television extensively. If you don't have easy access to a tv/vcr and are unwilling to trek to Odegaard, this class is not for you. Similarly, I often require students to use the internet for a variety of multimedia assignments. If you don't have a computer and are unwilling to trek to Odegaard on a regular basis, this class may not be for you as well. (3) You will have to perform research on your own. This includes going to the library in person to search for books, journal articles, etc. on various genres of study. In addition, you will need to make time to meet with your presentation group for at least 2-3 weeks this quarter to select clips, go over articles, plan your presentation, etc.. If you're schedule is completely insane this quarter, such assignments may prove overwhelming. (4) I will take 1-2 weeks to return papers. Since I tend to write extensive commentary on each paper, I often take longer to return papers than most. If you need instant feedback, this delay may prove troublesome to you. (5) I have a strict late homework, paper and portfolio policy. In addition, I will dock your participation points for every day that you miss class or arrive late. If you have a habit of missing class, arriving to class late, and/or not turning in assignments on time, your grade WILL suffer. (6) On the plus side, I am probably the most accessible prof you'll ever meet. You can e-mail, call, or meet with me in person at any time, and you are free to drop by CLUE on the days I'm there for additional assistance as well (which btw, you can do even if you decide to drop this course). In short, if you need assistance, I'm available to help you. (7) I will improve your writing, help you gain a new understanding of genre, and ideally, realize that any topic (even the female action genre) is rich for study. Hopefully the above will help those of you who are on the fence. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org). Assignments will include: daily/weekly HW assignments; two or three 5-7 page papers with required tutor visits; extensive scholarly research on your own; one 45-minute presentation; hour-long conference final. Grades are based on a 400 point scale so that you can track your grade all quarter. If you need further information, please feel free to e-mail me. ENGL majors only, Registration Period 1. Computer-integrated section. Texts: Sherrie Innis, ed., Action Chicks; Martha McCaughey and Neal King, eds., Reel Knockouts; photocopied course packet available at Ave. Copy. No freshmen, Registration Period 1.
281 B (Intermediate Expository Writing)
Who Made Whom? Writing the Rhetoric and Ideology of Identity Constructions. When we refer to our university as our alma mater (soul mother) what could that really mean? Or when we say that so and so or such and such has made us the person we are today, what might that mean? We will use rhetorical analysis, or the art of identifying the available means of persuasion in different situations and texts, as a method of studying and writing about texts. For the purposes of this class we will think of people as “texts” under constant construction, reconstruction, and deconstruction. This is a writing course, so the focus of this class will be how and why we (and others) write in various situations: what processes we go through; what personal and social factors encourage what we write about and how we write about it; and what strategies we employ during the intimately interrelated acts (and arts) of writing, from brainstorming, to drafting, to proofreading. Through interactive class discussions and activities, close readings of written, visual, and living texts (people), writing assignments through the quarter, and workshopping each other’s writing on a regular basis (as well as a few surprises!) we will interrogate what identity – and the role of writing texts in our identity constructions – might mean in these hectic and complicated academic and “real” worlds we live in. Text: Gail Stygall, ed., Reading Context. No freshmen, Registration Period 1.
281 C (Intermediate Expository Writing)
Intermediate Expository Writing emphasizes two skills: critical reading and critical writing. This course will help you develop the analytical skills and the close attention to language that contribute to persuasive expository writing and will give you the opportunity to practice several different kinds of writing – from reviews, abstracts, and close reading responses to research summaries. Course readings, writings, and discussion will center on the power of language as means of representation of the self and of the others. Assignments will include a series of short response papers, quizzes, and two longer papers that will develop your skills in analyzing words, metaphors, and language contexts. Text: photocopied course packet.
281 D (Intermediate Expository Writing)
The Rhetoric of Finding Images. This expository writing course explores two guiding questions: how can we find pictures online using search engines, and once the images are located, how do we find meaning in those pictures? The class begins with an introduction to rhetorical analysis with different search engine help pages as well as additional articles related to alternative methods of finding information online; how does one know how to google a picture? In the second half of the course, we will discuss how one finds meaning in images. The course will introduce a selection of pictures from artistic, scientific, political, historical and fantastical sources, and we will discuss the several approaches one could use to read an image. No previous technical or art knowledge is required for this class.
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 short reflective and critical essays that will be revised towards one research paper and one visual project with a reflective essay. 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. Text: photocopied course packet. No freshmen, Registration Period 1.
281E (Intermediate Expository Writing)
Added March 2; sln: 9534
Remembering to Forget. This class is designed to sharpen and refine your ability to read, analyze, and write about literature. The novels we will study this quarter bear deep investments in what critic George Lipsitz refers to as “counter-memory,” or “a way of remembering and forgetting that starts with the local, the immediate, and the personal.” Texts engaging in counter-memory return to the past to find “hidden histories” that have been excluded from dominant historical narratives. Privileging forms of narration that intentionally subordinate objective fact-finding to subjective renderings of past events, these counter-memories can be powerful sites of contestation and historical revision. Texts: Gayl Jones, Corregidora; Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony; Art Spiegelman, Maus: A Survivor’s Tale; My Father Bleeds History / Here My Troubles Began(boxed set); photocopied course packet.
283 A (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. Sophomore, junior ENGL majors only, Registration Period 1.
283 B (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 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?” Text: photocopied course packet (see instructor in class). Sophomore, junior ENGL majors only, Registration Period 1.
284 A (Beginning Short Story Writing)
In this class for beginning writers, we’ll be reading and writing short fiction. You’ll have the chance to study a wide variety of published authors, write two original stories, and share your writing in a workshop setting. Text: photocopied course packet. Sophomore, junior ENGL majors only, Registration Period 1.
284 B (Beginning Short Story Writing)
Welcome to ENGL 284. Beginning Short Story Writing provides an introduction to the craft of short fiction by focusing on the fundamental elements of the contemporary literary short story (no genre fiction). 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 you 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, you will write two original short stories for critique in a workshop setting. You 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, you will turn in a portfolio, which will contain all written work for the course, including two short stories (first and revised drafts), your written critiques of your classmates’ stories, and various short writing exercises. Text: Burroway, Writing Fiction, 6th ed. Sophomore, junior ENGL majors only, Registration Period 1.