Course Descriptions (as of February 24, 1998)
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.)
200A (Reading Literature) W
Reading literature critically does not come "naturally"; it is a product of both training and practice. Many people love reading literature but have difficulty articulating the how and what of why a particular text affects them. This class is designed to help students develop stronger critical reading skills and to enable them to get greater enjoyment out of reading, analyzing and discussing literature. We will read from a broad range of texts--poetry, short fiction and a novel-and discuss the conventions of both literary form and literary interpretation. This course is designed as an introduction to the critical interpretation of literature and is open to students of all interests and backgrounds. Texts: Lauter & Yarborough, eds., Heath Anthology of American Literature, Vol. 2 (2nd ed.); Wharton, House of Mirth.
200 B (Reading Literature) W
200 C (Reading Literature) W
This course will acquaint students with methods of close reading poetry, short stories, and a novel. The majority of the readings will come from the Heath Anthology of American Literature (Vol. 2, 2nd ed.). The novel will be Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner.
200 D (Reading Literature) W
This course will introduce you to reading literature at the college level via poetry, short stories, and a novel. It is my hope that you will walk out of this class at the end of these ten weeks having achieved both a broad-based survey of literature, as well as a higher comfort level when you approach any new piece of literature. The primary goal of this class is to learn how to read language figuratively, rather than merely at face value; to develop techniques for exploring the peculiar characteristics of literary language. Assignments: (1) An in-class midterm, a take-home midterm, an in-class final; (2) one short (under a page) response paper per week; and (3) a short reflective essay on your progress (2-3 pages). Texts: Lauter, ed., Heath Anthology of American Literature, Vol. 2; Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49.
200 U (Reading Literature) W
MW 7-8:50 pm
An introduction to reading and writing about literature at the college level. The course is not designed as an introduction to the English major, though prospective majors might find it rewarding. Its aim, first by a careful reading of poems, short stories, and a novel, and then by careful consideration of what students write about these works, is to make everyone aware not just of the complexity of the works, but also of how much fun and sense of growth can accompany that awareness. Not as much reading, but considerably more writing, than is usual in courses like this one. Those taking the course need not worry much about whether they have the "background" or the "writing skills" for it; what' smost needed is a willingness to work hard and without fear. Texts: Madden, ed., A Pocketful of Poems; Johnson, The Sorcerer's Apprentice; Mukherjee, The Middleman and Other Stories; Morrison, Beloved.
210 A (Literature of the Ancient World)
Readings in ancient Western literature, in translation, of (usually) entire works rather than short snippets, from Gilgamesh to St. Augustine: epics (Homer, Virgil), tragedies (Sophocles, Aeschylus), biblical narratives and poetry (Genesis, Job, Mark), lyric poetry (Sappho, Catullus), etc. Expect substantial reading assignments out of class, daily discussions, a fair amount of in-class writing, and two exams. Some talk about how works, characters, and ideas reappear in literature in English, but most of our emphasis will be on close reading and discussion of ancient works. Texts: Mack, et al., Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces, 6th ed.; Euripides, The Bacchae.
211 A (Medieval and Renaissance Literature)
Lecture: MW 8:30; quizzes: TTh 8:30 or TTh 9:30
Representative texts of Western literature in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, requiring serious consideration of ideas very different from our own. Lecture twice a week and quiz sections twice a week. Text: Wilkie/Hurt, Literature of the Western World, Vol. 1 (fourth edition).
212 A (Literature of Enlightenment and Revolution)
We are still dealing with the political consequences of the 18th century-England's union with Scotland and colonization of Ireland, the revolutions in America and France. What is less well known is that we are dealing with the literary consequences of this eventful century as well. 1700-1800 saw the decline of the heroic couplet and the rise of the novel, the Age of Reason turned into the Age of Sensibility. As we read a wide variety of works from the period, we will work inductively, looking deeply at our texts to see what they can tell us about this changeful and fascinating century. This course will involve heavy reading and writing-two exams and two formal papers. Texts: Stanley Applebaum, ed., English Romantic Poetry: An Anthology; Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary and the Wrongs of Women; William Godwin, Caleb Williams; Samuel Johnson, Rasselas; Alexander Pope, Essay on Man and Other Poems; Samuel Richardson, Pamela; photocopied course packet..
213 A (Modern and Postmodern Literature)
MW 12:30 (lecture)
Quizzes: MW 1:30 or TTh 12:30 or TTh 1:30
Twentieth-century American dreams and nightmares are the subject of this course: short stories, novels, poetry, film, and political speeches are the texts. Three basic questions will guide our reading of each dream work: (1) What is the vision and how is it expressed? (2) Under what socio-historical conditions is the dream produced and how might they shape its composition? (3) What are the dream work's real life consequences and for whom? (A critical essay, mid-term, and final are required writing assignments.) Texts: Doctorow, Ragtime; Marshall, Brown Girl, Brownstone; Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby; Kenon, Visitation of Spirits; Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God; Kerouac, On the Road.
225 A (Shakespeare) W
Shakespearean Tyrannies. In this course, we will examine a number of Shakespeare's plays through the issue of tyranny: romantic, sexual, cultural, and political. In our inquiry regarding Shakespeare's treatment of tyranny we will ask questions about the subtleties required of playwrights writing under governmental censorship. What are limits to which Shakespeare could interrogate absolute monarchies, gender and class hierarchies, and race relations? What are the ideological limits of such interrogation? We will view several contemporary films of his plays on video. There will be pop quizzes, written responses, two papers, a midterm, and a final. Texts: Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale; Romeo and Juliet; Merchant of Venice; Much Ado About Nothing; Antony and Cleopatra; Kin Lear; Macbeth; Othello; McDonald, The Bedford Companion to Shakespeare.
228 A (English Literary Culture: to 1600)
This course will provide a lively and wide-ranging introduction to the literature of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, an introduction that will endeavor to place texts remote from our modern era in their social and historical contexts. For this iteration of the course, an emphasis will be placed on the fictional "universe" of the women and men of Arthur's court. Students will read and discuss important works of prose and poetry of the early Middle Ages and the Middle English periods, including works by the ancient British author Gildas, the Arthurian legends of Geoffrey of Monmouth and Lawman; the works of Thomas Malory; as well as a selection of non-canonical items, including some neglected, pre-Malory treatments of the legend of King Arthur. There will be a midterm, final, and major term paper. Sophomores only, Registration Period I. Texts: John Morris, Age of Arthur; Rosamund Allen, tr., Lawman: Brut; Lewis Thorpe, tr., Geoffrey of Monmouth: The History of the Kings of Britain; Helen Cooper, ed., Thomas Malory: Le Morte D'Arthur.
229 A (English Literary Culture: 1600-1800)
This course will use selected texts to explore different aspects of the concept "authority," a subject of great concern to the 17th and 18th centuries. By authority I mean not only (or primarily) political authority, but also personal, moral, artistic, familial, and/or professional authority, as well as other kinds. We will be less concerned with the authority of covering the "major works" of the period than with that of investigating a broad cross-section of readings. We will read Paradise Lost, Evelina, and possibly Oroonoko, private letters, the preface to the first English dictionary, some poetry, and a little political philosophy. Requirements include regular attendance and participation, a commitment to the reading load, one or two short papers, and a longer final paper. Texts: Robert DeMaria, ed., British Literature, 1640-1789; Frances Burney, Evelina.
230 A (English Literary Cultur: after 1800)
The course is divided (unevenly) between the Romantics (about 40%) and the Victorians (about 60%). Readings from the Romantics (mainly Wordsworth and Coleridge) will stress ideas about poetry, nature, and the imagination. Selections from the Victorians (mainly Carlyle, Mill, Newman, Arnold, Tennyson) will range beyond aesthetic questions to ethical, philosophical, and socio-political ones. No novels will be assigned. Written work consists of midterm and final examinations and a critical essay. Text: Abrams, et al., eds., Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. 2.
242 A (Reading Fiction) W
Tales of the Dark Side. An introduction to literary language and critical interpretation. Using major short works of 19th- and 20th-century British and Continental fiction, this course will explore the "dark side" of both human nature and our so-called "modern" culture. Lots of reading/discussion, weekly short paper (1-2 pages) and final term essay (5-8 pages). Texts: Shelley, Frankenstein; Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland; de Maupassant, The Horla; Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; Conrad, Heart of Darkness; Kafka, Metamorphosis; Dostoyevsky, The Double.
242 B (Reading Fiction) W
This course is focused around the theme "Constructing the Individual." We will read and write about texts that explore the ways in which the formation of individuality (identity, self) is shaped by some of the major cultural issues that influence both private and public life. We will examine nineteenth- and twentieth-century texts in an effort to consider some of the similarities and differences in the ways that these issues are addressed and represented in the popular fiction of these historical periods. At the same time that we explore the ways that fictional characters confront these issues, we will think about the ways in which fiction writers address these issues through our careful examination of both text and genre construction. In other words, we will consider what the text does, what fiction does, and even what we do as readers. Texts: Warhol, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol; Allison, Bastard Out of Carolina; Naylor, The Women of Brewster Place; Baldwin, "Sonny's Blues"; Brontë, Villette.
242 C (Reading Fiction) W
Wandering around in American Literature. In this course, we will read twentieth-century U.S. writers who use the trope of wandering or motion to address and express some other kinds of dislocation. Sometimes that's a class dislocation, sometimes racial, sometimes psychological, sometimes sexual. Texts: Ellison, Invisible Man; Faulkner, As I Lay Dying; Kerouac, On the Road; Larsen, Quicksand and Passing; Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God; Stein, Three Lives; Tillman, Motion Sickness; Rechy, Cry of Night.
242 U (Reading Fiction) W
TTh 7-8:50 pm
Introduction to fiction. This course will study the contemporary novel as a site for discussions about current American culture. Texts: Russell Banks, Rule of the Bone; Paul Beatty, The White Boy Shuffle; Jessica Hagedorn, Dogeaters; James W. Johnson, Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man; Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49.
243 A (Reading Poetry)
This course will introduce students to the basic elements of reading poetry with insight and perception, and writing about poetry with precision and clarity. We will focus on poetry written in English in the 19th and 20th centuries, attending most closely to poems by Emily Dickinson and Langston Hughes. Texts: Michael Meyer, Poetry: An Introduction, 2nd ed.; Diana Hacker, The Bedford Handbook, 5th ed.
250 A (Introduction to American Literature)
Introduction to American literature and culture--its changing character, its diversity, its dynamism, its negative and positive sides. Our focus will be on a wide range of issues, including the meaning of the American Revolution and the colonial past, American territorial expansion, racism, immigration, friction between the classes, women's rights, varieties of religious experience, the ideology of the "American Dream," the struggle for national union, and the counter-force of particular ethnic and regional loyalties. We'll explore the way American authors have forged powerful art forms to intensify and heighten our awareness of such issues. Texts: Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Portable Hawthorne; Frederick Douglass, The Narrative and Selected Writings; Margaret Fuller, The Essential Margaret Fuller; Emily Dickinson, Final Harvest: Emily Dickinson's Poems; Rebecca Harding Davis, Life in the Iron Mills and Other Stories; Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; F Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby; Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man.
281 A (Intermediate Expository Writing)
Q: What do the following things have in common: Genes, numbers, dreams, noises, sentences, frequencies, land, human beings, melodies, ideas, rights, faces, and names? A: All have been treated as "property" at one time or another. In this class, we'll look at the idea of "property" from a variety of perspectives-historical, cross-cultural, legal, and bio-ethical especially. We'll examine changing attitudes toward land ownership over the past few hundred years, and look at how people can treat abstract or intangible phenomena, such as songs, rights, or radio frequencies, as property. Along the way we'll touch on some unusual recent developments, like the patenting of human genes and of numbers, or Harley-Davidson's efforts to trademark the sound of its motorcycles. Throughout, we'll be trying to answer the big question, "What is 'property'?" This will propose research in one or more different fields, which in turn will become the basis for a final paper. The course is designed to develop skills in academic (argumentative) writing, in particular forming complex descriptive claims, marshalling evidence, addressing counter-arguments, and organizing an argument for maximum effect. Two different citation formats (MLA and APA) are covered. Two essays, one research paper, various short writing assignments. Text: photocopied course packet. (No freshmen, Registration Period 1.)
281 B (Intermediate Expository Writing)
Literature and Medicine. This course explores the literary side of medical science, examining how texts represent illness and (sometimes) its cure. The four topics we will study in sequence are: Illness as Social Metaphor; Illness and Gender Politics; Representing Mental Illness; and Diagnosing the Patient. Students will write a number of short critical essays, as well as a case study of a real or fictional patient. Texts: Susan Sontag, Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and its Metaphors; Richard Selzer, Letters to a Young Doctor; Albert Camus, The Plague; photocopied course packet (No freshmen, Registration Period 1.)
281 C (Intermediate Expository Writing)
[Writing papers communicating information and opinion to develop accurate, competent and effective expression.] No texts.(No freshmen, Registration Period 1.)
281 D (Intermediate Expository Writing)
In this writing course, we'll work on developing complex and interesting arguments that are focused, coherent and persuasive, and on revising and editing your work to achieve greater depth and clarity of ideas. For our course theme, we'll investigate cultural ideas about nature: how social factors such as gender, class, and cultural background affect what we mean by "nature," how we draw the line between nature and culture, and how different writing and reading strategies suggest different ways of imagining, interacting with, or participating in the nonhuman world. Course texts will include articles and films from various scientific, cultural and environmental perspectives. Writing projects will ask you to develop a critical dialogue between the assigned texts, research materials, and your own assumptions about nature. Several short essays and two longer essays will be required, including library and other research, in-class discussion of your drafts, and substantial revision. Text: photocopied course packet. (No freshmen, Registration Period 1.)
281 E (Intermediate Expository Writing)
The Rhetoric of Life Writing. This course is designed as an intermediate-level expository writing class, where the emphasis is on student writing. You will do a great deal of writing in this course. Toward that end, we will be studying a variety of autobiographic prose that details the lives of individuals, some famous and phenomenal, and some relatively unknown before they choose to set their lives down in print. The memoir is gaining a great deal of popularity in contemporary society, for possibly very different reasons that the popularity of the autobiography in years past. We will explore the important social and political reasons behind those differences as we analyze the rhetoric of life writing. Texts: Kathryn Harrison, The Kiss; bell hooks, Bone Black; Connors Lunsford, The Everyday Writer. (No freshmen, Registration Period 1.)
281 F (Intermediate Expository Writing)
This course aims to offer students ways of defining, discussing, and writing about the complex relationship between our personal experiences and the institutions we inhabit. We will use as our test case the university, and we will take the question, "What goes on at UW?" as the jumping-off point for a series of writing projects that vary from the personal to a more analytical paper about the role of the university in contemporary society, from collaborative research to a final position paper. Readings will come from a course packet, which will be made available, and from the students' own research projects. Text: Photocopied course packet. (No freshmen, Registration Period 1.)
281 G (Intermediate Expository Writing)
A Family Affair: Race and Nation in America. English 281 is designed to develop and extend skills in critical reading, thinking, and writing acquired in first year composition courses. This section of 281 will focus on the way literary and cultural texts have imagined America as founded on a concept of "family." We will start out by looking at the way American society is figured in the nineteenth century in terms of racial or familial descent. In popular novels, debates going on in the social sciences, political tracts and legal documents, writers were working to define the "nature" of the American political Union and the characteristics of a "real" American in an era of rapid immigration and changing social roles. We will carry this discussion of the American Family into the present day as well, looking at more contemporary texts (again from a variety of fields) in light of the nineteenth-century material, examining what we as a nation have inherited from earlier notions of the American Family. Students will write frequent short papers in response to readings, in addition to three longer analytical papers, the last being an independent research project. Texts: Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin; Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth; photocopied course packet. (No freshmen, Registration Period 1.)
281 H (Intermediate Expository Writing)
News media occupy something of a paradoxical position in this country. Although it's difficult to find anyone who has a good word for "the media," the fact reminas that we get almost all of our news from print and broadcast journalists. Additionally, the sources that most widely report on our dissatisfaction with news media are the media themselves. In this class we'll be viewing recent and ongoing events to discuss a number of questions: What exactly is a news medium? How do media represent and shape our conceptions of the world? Are all media "biased?" How can we analyze the news in a way that moves beyond simple distrust? Text: Neil Postman, How to Watch TV News. (No freshmen, Registration Period 1.)
281I (Intermediate Expository Writing)
Writing Hyper-Text. This is a class in writing hypertext in HTML for posting on the Web. Our interest ranges over four uses of this new medium: for self- and artistic expression; for finding and exchanging information; for advocating positions and debating public issues; for providing instruction. We will have less to say and do with HTML on the Net as a means of advertising and marketing, public relations or recreation. Some sessions will be taught in a computer lab, and we will do a quick "homepage" course if you don't have one yet ("new-weber" and all that) and cover topics including: markup languages (LaTEx, SOML, HTML); DTDs and validation; types of hypertext structures; shaping navigation; style guides and principles of "good HTML"; net search tools; monitoring traffic; inclusion of images and sound (multimedia) (copyright!). In addition to spiffing up your home page, we will work on group projects to create archive sites of general interest and on individual projects as well. You will be able to work from home (via a modem) or another computer lab outside of class (and you will probably want to and need to). See http://weber.u.washingon.edu/~writetxt/ for an indication of how this course went in Summer 1997. (Course added after Time Schedule printed; sln: 7792.) Text: Musciano and Kennedy, HTML: The Definitive Guide. (No freshmen, Registration Period 1.)
281 U (Intermediate Expository Writing)
TTh 7-8:50 pm
This is a writing course in which we will examine matters of "voice" and "style." Through discussion, reading, and of course writing, you will be encouraged to develop your own sense of style. Though writing is the focus, we must have something to write about, and we will be exploring the visual media of painting and film. Text: photocopied course packet. (No freshmen, Registration Period 1.)
283 A (Beginning Verse Writing)
Everyone can write poetry. Whether or not you've written poetry before, this class introduces a variety of timeless tools and strategies to help get poems started, drafted and revised. The course also includes a heavy does of "poetry appreciation." This class is intensive, but it will not be lonely work: this quarter I hope we will enjoy reading and writing as energetic and communal-as well as solitary endeavors. Sophomores and above only, Registration Period 1. Texts: Korvit, In the Palm of Your Hand: The Poet's Portable Workshop; photocopied course packet
283 B (Beginning Verse Writing)
[Intensive study of ways and means of making a poem.] No texts. (Sophomores and above only, Registration Period 1.)
284 A (Beginning Short Story Writing)
Introduction to the craft of writing short fiction. Majors only, Registration Period 1. Text: photocopied course packet.
284 B (Beginning Short Story Writing)
Introduction to the theory and practice of writing the short story. Class time will be divided equally between workshops of student work and exercises designed to sharpen writing technique in five areas crucial to short fiction: character, voice, plot, idea, and image. (English majors only, Registration Period 1.) Text: photocopied course packet.