Course Descriptions (as of 20 December 2005)
The following course descriptions have been written by individual instructors to provide more detailed information on specific sections than that found in the General Catalog. When individual descriptions are not available, the General Catalog descriptions [in brackets] are used. (Although we try to have as accurate and complete information as possible, this schedule remains subject to change.) Office, (206) 543-2690 or the Undergraduate Advising Office, (206) 543-2634.)
200 A (Reading Literature)
“Oh, the Drama!” English 200A will explore the English drama from its politically explosive beginnings in the Middle Ages (The Mystery Plays) to modern plays that question the meaning of drama itself. We will explore the tensions and satisfactions in this most human of all arts and how it works. Some performance will be conducted in the class itself (or somewhere convenient). Opportunities to see live play performances will be seized upon as the occasion arises. There will be a movie or two of particular productions of famous plays (where we will discover the differences between the genres of movie and drama). At points throughout the course the instructor will provide personal examples of how literary research is done, using his own works-in-progress and even doing literary research on the texts as we discuss them. This will be unpublished scholarship, permitting students to see what lies behind the completed essays students read in textbooks and professional journals. Students are encouraged to ask questions at all times. There will be short (1-2 pp) papers required during the course and a 6-8 pp. term paper at the end. Students will be encouraged to do some research of their own for the term paper.
Texts: Lesker, ed., Three Late Medieval Morality Plays; Whitworth, ed., Gammer Gurton’s Needle; George Peele, The Old Wife’s Tale; Martin White, ed., Arden of Feversham; C. Marlowe, Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus: Texts A & B (1604-1616); Shakespeare, I Henry IV; Macbeth; photocopied course packet..
200 B (Reading Literature)
Visions, Apparitions and Politics in Modern Poetry and Theater. Oddly enough, to invoke the "visionary" is to summon the unseen. Visitations, dreams, second sight, divine revelation, spiritual mania, drug-induced hallucination, mental illness, utopianism, progressive politics--the individual manifestations of the "visionary" constitute a broad range of experience. Most modern literature (and the scholarship surrounding it) takes as its subject materiality--the physically visible, the legible, and the scientifically verifiable. In this class, we will play fast and loose with this materialist tradition by exploring the theme of visionary modernism. Beginning with William Blake and his romanticist depictions of heaven and hell, we will progress through the symbolist poetry of Charles Baudelaire and Arthur Rimbaud, the mysticism of W.B. Yeats, the intensely personal revelations of Allen Ginsberg and Sylvia Plath, and the political fantasia of Tony Kushner's two-part play Angels in America. In reading these works of poetry and theater, we will investigate the relationship between mystical, otherworldly imaginings and the real-world political conditions that give rise to them. Texts: Photocopied course pack; Kushner, Angels in America: Millennium Approaches.
200 C (Reading Literature)
Modern Minds: Private Life in 19th- and 20th-Century Literature. In this course, we will examine the role of psychology and representations of mental life in Victorian and modernist literature. Specifically, we will think about the various ways in which authors depict interiority in their work, from the dramatic monologues of Robert Browning to the stream-of-consciousness fictions of Virginia Woolf, and discuss the ability of any literary text to provide a compelling or convincing portrait of something that, in many ways, resists representation. Additionally, we will take up other, equally important questions as the course progresses, discussing, among other things, the relationship between the individual and society (and the often uneasy and highly contested boundary between public and private life), the effects of environmental and spatial conditions upon the mind, and representations of madness in literature. To supplement and contextualize our literary selections, we will also look at several cultural and historical texts from the period, focusing especially on the birth of psychoanalysis, its place in popular culture, and its reception by Victorian and modernist authors. Short works of literary criticism, dealing in some way with either the readings themselves or the themes of the course, will enrich our understanding of the primary material and provide examples of critical writing on literary texts. Texts: R. L. Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness; Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway; Rebecca West, The Return of the Soldier; a selection of Robert Browning’s poems; photocopied course packet, containing selections of literary criticism, psychoanalytic essays, and a variety of historical materials.
200 D (Reading Literature)
In this course we will read a variety of texts in order to examine the act of reading – as textual, visual, and visceral engagement, as cultural process, as a way of making sense of the world. Thinking about reading as an intertextual experience, rather than an isolated (and isolating) activity, will allow us to explore the connections between literary texts and other cultural forms and ways of knowing. In our investigation of different interpretive strategies, we will focus on the theme of “Americanness” and the constructions of race, class, gender, and sexuality as technologies of representation that both fix identities and fail to account for the multiplicity of lived experiences. Course work will include a demanding reading schedule, participation in class discussions and group projects, shorter writing assignments, and a longer final paper. Texts: Stephen Crane, Maggie, A Girl of the Streets; Nella Larsen, Passing; Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita; Ana Castillo, The Mixquiahuala Letters; photocopied course packet.
(Introduction to the Study of English Language and Literature)
MWF 10:30 (lecture)
(discussion sections: Wed. 11:30, Thurs. 12:30, Thurs. 2:30)
NOTE: Concurrent enrollment in ENGL 197 required. (See Time Schedule for specific sections linked to ENGL 202.)
This course is known as a “gateway” course to the English major, which means that it is designed to introduce students to some of the way s that they will be expected to think about and write about literary and cultural texts in their courses. This course will have three principal goals: (1) to introduce students to the methodology of literary analysis, including close reading and some understanding of the various disciplinary questions that shape approaches to reading (for example, what’s cultural studies, or what’s a psychoanalytic approach, or what’s a literary period); (2) to see literature as posing questions about itself (what is an “author”?) and the world (why do our beliefs about identity and society take the shape they do?); and (3) to come to understand the value of literature. In other words, why do we like or even obsessively love certain novels, poems, plays, films, etc., and why do they matter in our world? In order to tackle these issues, we will first consider Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. While some of you have read it before, we will spend a good deal of time understanding it as a work of fiction, as a commentary on history, as a self-conscious reworking of older literature, and as the cause for one of the worst films ever made. Then we will consider its literary precursors, including Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, Wordsworth and other poets. Finally, we will consider some of the literature of the twentieth century (Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse) and even the twenty-first century (Julie Otsuka’s When the Emperor was Divine) . There will be three lectures per week and one discussion section. 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, ENGL 197, for which a separate grade is assigned, will concentrate intensively on writing and revising essays. Texts: Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter: A Case Study In Contemporary Criticism; William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice: Texts and Context; Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse; Julie Otsuka, When the Emperor was Divine.
205 A (Method, Imagination, and Inquiry)
This course is offered as both an English and Comparative History of Ideas course. It offers a rigorous introduction to intellectual history by examining the rich relations between method and imagination, by treating Western intellectual history as overwhelmingly motivated by the idea of inquiry. Selections include literary, philosophical and scientific texts. The reading for the course is demanding, but coherent: each text provides a basis for better understanding the next. Selections include works by Plato, Aristotle, Giordano Bruno, Francis Bacon, Shakespeare, Descartes, Kant, Coleridge, C. S. Peirce, Thomas Kuhn and William Faulkner. The course meets daily; one meeting each week will be in smaller sections to go over reading and writing assignments. There is a take-home mid-term examination, a number of short papers, and a final paper. Offered jointly with CHID 205A.
207 A (Introduction to Cultural Studies)
Reading Sex and Sexualities. U.S. cultural production has often been fraught with numerous anxieties, regulative forces, and resistances over issues of sex and sexuality. This course introducing Cultural Studies examines how such issues are not straightforwardly reflected or captured in culture, but rather how narrative forms and genres work to constitute the meanings, values, and social intelligibility of particular sexual practices and sexualities. Our analysis of cultural “representations” of sex and sexuality will therefore entail critical readings of the conventions, historical conditions, and strategies of power involved. We will focus in particular on a few novelistic genres, coming out stories, political discourse on the family, mass media portrayals of HIV/AIDS, and popular film. Although sections of this course emphasize issues of particular importance in what is often called “queer” politics, we will be equally concerned to comprehend sex and sexuality as inseparable from, and indeed forged within, broader relations of race, gender and socioeconomic class. Required texts: Patricia Highsmith, The Price of Salt; Louis Chu, Eat a Bowl of Tea; James Baldwin, Go Tell It On the Mountain; Dorothy Allison, Bastard Out of Carolina. A course pack will include additional primary readings as well as seminal criticism and exemplary scholarship in Cultural Studies. Assignments: 3 responses papers, a group presentation, and a final research project. Students should be prepared to adopt a non-moralizing attitude attentive to the many intellectual and political implications of our work.
207 B (Introduction to Cultural Studies)
Tracing Diaspora and Cultural Studies. This reading-intensive course will consider Cultural Studies as a mode of critical inquiry shaped by and enabling diasporic social, cultural, and political formations. Taking the Birmingham School as a point of departure, this contingent cultural studies methodology – with its focus on historical conjuncture, global movements of people and commodities, and complex articulations of difference – will allow us to learn to read cultural production as a site of struggle within the normalizing and mutually constitutive logics of race, nation, and global capitalism. Primary literary texts will include works by Claude McKay, Langston Hughes, June Jordon, Mary Antin, Israel Zangwill, Edward Said, Suheir Hammad, Elmaz Abinader, and David Williams. Recent historical and theoretical works, particularly on cultural studies as a discipline, racial formation, immigration, and diaspora will help thicken our understanding of the conjunctures from which these texts emerge. Students will complete a mid-term exam, a final essay, and a group project, along with other more discrete writing assignments. Texts: Claude McKay, Banjo: A Story Wihtout A Plot; Israel Zangwill, The Melting Pot Drama in Four Acts.
211 A (Medieval & Renaissance Literature)
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 texts from across Europe. 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. This class is focused on reading and discussion, not on long boring lectures. Students must come prepared to discuss the readings. Each student should bring to this class a curiosity about literature and its use of the supernatural, as well as the patience to spend a great deal of time reading. There will be weekly response papers as well as two exams and a final paper. Text: Dante, The Inferno (tr. Ciardi)
212 A (Literature of Enlightenment & Revolution)
We will begin this course with the historical and intellectual phenomenon that is referred to as ‘The Enlightenment,’ or ‘The Age of Reason.’ The French term for this, ‘Les Lumieres’ (literally ‘the lights,’ or ‘light-bringers’), can be seen as a sort of guiding theme, imagistically and otherwise, for our course of investigation into the important motifs of the period as well as for what we will focus on in terms of the sharpest reactions to Enlightenment thought, specifically in the later movement called ‘Romanticism.’ These include: the representative myths of bringing ‘light’ to man as a gesture of liberation, the ways in which man acquires ‘knowledge,’ the process of self-creation, the role of nature in shaping how man sees himself, the ways in which the play of light and shadow (chiaroscuro) is put to use aesthetically, and the notion of the imagination. Throughout, we will attempt to understand better how a sort of movement from Enlightenment to Romanticism gets played out in the literature of the period, and what each of these ‘notions’ finally has to say to one another and to us. This will include a broad range of readings (with some relevant philosophical background material as well) from Plato, Locke, Hobbes, Swift, Voltaire, Rousseau, Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Byron, Percy Shelley, Mary Shelley, DeQuincey, Mill, and perhaps a few other assorted characters, who may or may not make an appearance. Depending on time, we will probably also take a brief look at some of the art of the period as well (Piranesi, Goya, Fuseli, Blake, Turner, etc.) in order to think about Romantic aesthetics in a fuller sense. You should therefore expect a fair amount of poetry in this course that will require close attention and sustained readings. Students should also probably expect to write 2 essays, a midterm and final, short response papers, and memorization of some sort - along with the usual discussion.
213 A (Modern & Postmodern Literature)
“To Jive with Time”: Migration and Modernity in African American and Asian American Literature. This course is an introduction to the literature that emerged from the mass migrations of African Americans and Asians across the domains of the 20th century U.S. In particular, we will consider three complex, distinct but related figures of the problems of modernity that arose from the conditions of racialized migration. The first is that of the industrial metropolis, seemingly the proper location and inevitable destiny of modern life, as figured most prominently by its signature element, the skyscraper. Simultaneously, and by contrast, new ways of imagining and representing rural life emerged, particularly through the figure of the folk, and the distinctive attitudes, practices, and temporal rhythms ascribed to folk culture. But in the circuitous and open-ended movements of racialized migrants between rural and urban areas, fixed notions of origin and destination, city and country, were disrupted and displaced; this more complex and messy conception of migration can be approached through the figure of blues/jazz music, arguably the most distinctive aesthetic form that emerged in the 20th century U.S. In the literary texts we will examine, these figures of migrant modernity serve to organize a series of questions about aesthetic form—about how time and history are graphed onto political geography, inscribed in literary narrative, and conjured in cultural practices—that have urgent political stakes, shaping fundamental categories of access to the modern social order—race, class, nation, gender, and universality. In addition to a significant reading load, this course requires a willingness both to engage closely with the features of specific literary texts and to inquire after the social, political, and historical conditions in which they are produced and circulated. Additionally, this course requires a commitment to collaborative effort; throughout the quarter, students will be asked to share their ideas, in oral discussion and in written work, with the entire class, and to respond thoughtfully and respectfully to the ideas of others. Texts: Nella Larsen, Quicksand and Passing; Toshio Mori, Unfinished Message; Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon; Carlos Bulosan, On Becoming Filipino; Claude McKay, Banjo; Gayl Jones, Mosquito; supplementary readings as required.
225 A (Shakespeare)
“The lunatic, the lover, and the poet / Are of imagination all compact.” So says Theseus at the end of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. For Winter quarter, we will be examining the notions of madness, love, and the poetical figure in the works of Shakespeare. We will read texts that explore altered states of consciousness, the power of sexual jealousy on the psyche, feigned and true insanity, and the implications of these illusions and realities in Shakespeare’s dramas. For those of you who have already signed up for the course under the theme of romance, please do not fret! We will still be focusing much of our discussions on issues that concern the affect of love and the notions of desire and sexuality as offered in Shakespeare’s plays. We will also be working with modes of production, including film and art, and the main goals of the course are to help you learn to decode the language of Shakespeare through close readings and to make you more confident readers of the great Bard. Though the theme of the course has changed somewhat, I assure you that the content will be just as sexy! And of course, as this is a W course, you will be expected to write. Text: David Bevington, ed., The Complete Works of Shakespeare, 5th ed.
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 ever elusive and nebulous norm through investigations into social, political, and cultural ideologies of this very broad time period. We will begin with a Shakespearean tragedy and end with early Romantic poetry. We will be reading texts by Donne, Milton, Defoe, Coleridge, and others. Issues of power, gender, and sexuality will continue to arise in our discussions about these literary deviants and their sometimes blatant, and other times, dubious rebellions.
230 A (English Literary Culture: after 1800)
Imperial Inteimacies: India and England, 1857-1905. 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, 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 colonial relationship between India and Britain. Students 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; Charles Dickens, The Mystery of Edwin Drood; Rudyard Kipling, Kim; John Stuart Mill, The Spirit of the Age; On Liberty; The Subjection of Women; Florence Nightingale, Cassandra; Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain (Roushan Jahan, ed.), Sultana’s Dream: And Selections from the Secluded Ones; photocopied course packet.
242 A (Reading Fiction)
In this course we will take a cultural studies approach to reading twentieth century US fiction in order to examine how literature has been an important site in the production, deployment, dissemination, and contestation of sexuality, race, and nation. That is, we will critically read short stories and novels for two primary reasons: first, to think about how these narrative forms constitute and regulate forms of sexual and racial subjectivity, and national citizenship; and second, to think through (or around) the ideological and disciplinary functions of the literary in order to consider the ways in which literature might be used as a site of critique and resistance. In short, we will understand the literary not as a direct “reflection” of social, cultural, and economic practices, but as a terrain on which these practices are actively generated and contested. To give us some tools to help us locate the historical conditions, discursive forms, and literary practices/conventions that our primary texts are in conversation with, we will supplement our engagements with a few theoretical and non-literary “cultural” texts. While we will partially disaggregate the tripartite thematic of this course in order to have three different primary optics for looking at literary texts, I hope to work against the tendency of some to read them as discreet categories so as to comprehend the immanence of each to the other.
Thus, my primary expectation for students is that written work, group projects, and class discussions actively seek to explain what thinking sex, race, and nation together helps us comprehend that thinking them discreetly cannot. More generally, students will be expected to read text closely and carefully (and often more than once), to complete assignments on time and be active participants in class discussions in spite of the many uncertainties (and, at moments, outright discomforts) that might emerge over the course of the readings, and to actively produce a classroom environment that is at once intellectually rigorous and safe for working out ideas and perspectives that may not yet be fully formed. It goes almost without saying that we will take up some contentious issues that have multiple implications for our political/intellectual projects—an attitude of respect is required at all times. We will read: novels by Gayle Jones, Chester Himes, James Baldwin, and Lawrence Chua; short stories by Gertrude Stein, Achee Obejas, and Junot Diaz; and short essays by Sigmund Freud, Michel Foucault, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Michael Omi and Howard Winant, Ben Anderson, and Aihwa Ong
242 B (Reading Fiction)
Reading Distance and Desire in Modern Fiction. This course centers on twentieth-century fiction and its engagement with the role of the outsider, a position defined not only in terms of narrative technique but through relationships of gender, sexuality, class, nationality, and in one notable case, height. This course might also be titled “The Obscure Object of Modernism’s Desire,” as each of these texts uses either first-person narration or rigorously structured point of view to evoke a dynamic but unsatisfied longing for a desired object. We will explore how representation and memory are made problematic in the modern novel, resulting in an aesthetic that is preoccupied with failure and loss. Students can expect a demanding course in analyzing literary language and structures alongside the relevant social, historical, and philosophical questions in these texts. Be prepared for difficult literary prose and forms as well as the rewards that come from challenging reading. Texts: James Joyce, Dubliners; Rebecca West, The Return of the Soldier; Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway; William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury; Lagerkvist, The Dwarf; Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire.
242 C (Reading Fiction)
Some themes that surface among the novels and stories we will read this quarter include 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: Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time; Keri Hulme, The Bone People; Yann Martel, Life of Pi; Ian McEwan, Atonement; Annie Proulx, The Shipping News; photocopied course packet.
242 D (Reading Fiction)
In this class we will be reading a selection of American texts from the nineteenth century. During the first third of the nineteenth century, there was a growing movement for a literature that could be classified as uniquely American (rather than American imitations of British or European forms). The results throughout the rest of the century, as I hope this class will show, proved to be quite interesting. I’ve selected the texts we’ll be reading – a selection of short stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Moby-Dick by Herman Melville, Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain and The Marrow of Tradition by Charles Chesnutt – because I feel that aside from being highly original works, they also serve to address a variety of topics (race, democracy, class, religion, exploration/expansion, etc.) that were peculiar to America at the time.
242E (Reading Fiction)
T Th 8:30-10:20
Black to the Future. This course introduces students to African-American science fiction, a genre that has been around, but largely unnoticed, since the early 1900s. The fusion of science fiction and black artistic expression is particularly vibrant in black pop culture. Musicians as diverse as Digital Underground, DJ Spooky, Parliament, and Sun Ra, for instance, demonstrate how the motifs of science fiction – including its aliens, spaceships, and cyborgs – have been germane for a black aesthetic that “remixes” the conventions of the dominant culture for its own transformative, often political purposes. In this course we will explore this exciting universe, going where few students have gone before, to trace the presence of black voices in science fiction. Students will study the genre in its literary, filmic, and musical modes. Required readings will include the fiction of Samuel Delany, Steven Barnes, Ishmael Reed; and the theoretical work of Kobena Mercer, Kodwo Eshun, and Paul D. Miller, a/k/a DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid. Films include John Sayles’s “Brother from Another Planet,” and John Akomfrah’s “Last Angel of History.” It is strongly recommended that students begin reading the first novel, Samuel Delany's Dhalgren, before the quarter begins. Essential reading in an introduction to black science fiction, Dhalgren will provide a foundation for the types of questions, concerns, and issues that will emerge later in the course. Texts: Samuel R. Delany, Dhalgren; Steven Barnes, Far Beyond the Stars; Ishnael Reed, Flight to Canada; Paul D. Miller, Rhythm Science.
243 A (Reading Poetry)
The Dissolute and Dissolution: The Shape of Poetry. The main goal of this course is a practical goal: to practice the behaviors of a thoughtful reader in order to better understand the variety of ways poetry signifies. During the quarter, we will trace a genealogy of form in American poetry, following its cycle of composition, decomposition, and recomposition throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. As readers, we will witness the variform guises of the modern poet; we will address both the cultural and the psychological implications each of each poetic stance; and we will interrogate the concepts of freedom, desire, and loss in this menagerie. Course work: several short writing assignments, a classroom presentation, a longer essay, and a final exam. Texts: Jorie Graham, Dream of a Unified Field; Helen Vendler, Part of Nature, Part of Us; Joe Wenderoth, Letters to Wendy’s; Catherine Wing, Enter Invisible, and a substantial course packet.
250 A (Introduction to American Literature)
(Re)producing the Nation. In this course we will investigate how significations of “America(n)” are produced and reproduced through political, educational, economic, and legal institutions, as well as through the practices of everyday life. As we will discover in our readings of literary, theoretical and historical texts, these institutions and practices work to (re)produce “national” subjects whose positions, relative to the nation, are highly variable, hotly contested and historically situated. These subjects are (re)produced largely along lines of race, class, gender and sexuality. We will learn to read the ways race, class, gender and sexuality mutually constitute each other as categories and how they are deployed to (re)produce subjects through coercion and the manufacture of consent. Also, we will learn to read the ways our examples of American Literature represent, critique, and contribute to these (re)productive projects. Our examples of American Literature include: Pudd’nhead Wilson by Mark Twain; The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison; The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood; and My Year of Meats by Ruth L. Ozeki. There will be a course packet with additional historical and theoretical materials. Expect an intense reading schedule with regular quizzes. Participation in class discussions and group presentations required. Term paper final.
250 B (Introduction to American Literature)
Literary New Orleans. Late summer of 2005, New Orleans suffered catastrophic flooding following Hurricane Katrina. The unique place of the “Crescent City” in U.S. history has since been undeniably underscored by questions of race and class stratification, poverty, historical preservation, tragedy and survival. This course examines the literary heritage and special history of New Orleans, with a focus on fiction, poetry, and sketches inspired by this “least American of all American cities.” Students will develop their skills as readers and writers by critically inquiring into competing literary configurations of the city and depictions of the numerous racial and ethnic groups within the city, and by analyzing the crucial nature of race, ethnicity and class in the composition and flavor of New Orleans’ most well-known neighborhoods. Readings will include: Whitman, Twain, Cable, Chopin, Faulkner, Hurston, Bontemps, Tennessee Williams, Hellman, Capote, Percy, Toole, and a course reader. Instructor is a New Orleans evacuee with substantial personal experience in the city and its neighborhoods. Students will be asked to lead one or more classroom discussions, to be active on the E-Post bulletin board, to complete two responses 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. Texts: Kate Chopin, The Awakening; Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi; George Washington Cable, The Grandissimes: A Story of Creole Life; John Miller, et al., eds., New Orleans Stories: Great Writers on the City.
250 C (Introduction to American Literature)
Beyond the Pale: Marginal Lives in American Literature. The late Joe Strummer once asserted “the truth is only known by guttersnipes.” While he was thinking in terms of a heavily class-divided 1970s England, we might apply his insight more broadly and ask the question: Do the voices of individuals who are, for whatever reason, “beyond the pale” of mainstream American experience, offer the willing ear a perspective uniquely attuned to differences of race, class, geography, and gender? Drawing from an eclectic selection of shorter postwar American novels, we will pursue this and other questions. How do already marginalized individuals recover and reintegrate after the trauma of war? How do ostensibly normal Americans lose the plot of the suburban melodrama they once called home? What are the consequences, both psychic and social, of pointed exclusion from the community? Is “individuality,” vis-à-vis the larger society, uniquely problematized and performed in 20th century America? Why do some viewpoints circulate vigorously while others go unheard? Other substantial questions will surely arise as we read and discuss the materials at hand. Requirements: Punctual reading, regular attendance, engagement with class discussion, weekly quizzes, a mid-term paper, short individual presentations, a final paper. Important: Be advised that this is not a lecture class; the emphasis will be on active discussion and the exchange of ideas. Texts: Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye; Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49; Cormac McCarthy, Child of God; Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony; photocopied course packet; other materials to be distributed.
258 A (African American Literature: 1745 – Present)
MW 10:30-12:20, F 10:30-11:20
[A chronological survey of Afro-American literature in all genres from its beginnings to the present day. Emphasizes Afro-American writing as a literary art; the cultural and historical context of Afro-American literary expression, and the aesthetic criteria of Afro-American literature. Offered jointly with AFRAM 214A.]
281 A (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). Using the readings as springboards for the writing prompts, this course will investigate several conceptions of the roles that writers and readers perform in the production and transmission of both literary and non-literary texts. That is to say, we will ask the questions, “what exactly is a reader?” and, “What exactly is a writer?” Starting with the traditionalist New Critical conception of writers and readers, we will, through the reading of later Reader-Response and postmodernist theories, attempt to problematize “intuitive” understandings of reading and authorship. (As this course description suggests, the class will be both theory- and reading-heavy.) Your first major paper will develop an argument that converses with these theories of reading and authorship. Building on the theories explored in the first half of the class, we will, in the second half, investigate contemporary theories of hypertext reading and writing. Your second major essay will be a genre analysis of a form of hypertext writing. (This will also allow us to take direct advantage of the computer-integrated classroom we will be in.) In addition to the major papers, you should expect weekly homework assignments and/or response papers. ENGL majors only, Registration Period 1. Texts: Joseph Williams, Style: Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace; photocopied course packet.
281 B (Intermediate Expository Writing)
The goal of this class to help students write more effectively, knowingly, and critically in different writing concepts—what I like to call scenes of writing. This approach teaches students how to become more astute writers, writers who understand how and why to make writing choices as they negotiate among and participate in different scenes. 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.
281 C (Intermediate Expository Writing)
Spacial Stories: Writing as Wandering. This course is intended to further develop your skills as an academic reader and writer. In this class we will look at several modes of writing and art production in order to analyze the way they generate specific arguments (or stories) about the world. In turn, you will generate your own arguments using writing to explore the terrain. To ground our practices, we will be looking at several examples of literary and visual art that deal with issues of space, cities, home, and wandering. Our main texts will be Colson Whitehead’s The Colossus of New York, Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, and Paul Auster’s City of Glass; these will be supplemented by critical reading and visual art available in a photocopied course packet or on reserve. Assignments will include two major essays (with mandatory drafts and peer review), several short responses, and group presentations in addition to active daily participation. ENGL majors only, Registration Period 1.
281 D (Intermediate Expository Writing)
This course is intended for you to further develop your skills as an academic writers. When constructing an academic argument, one of the key issues involved in your work is that of representation. For example, when you write about other people, cultures, or experiences, you claim a certain degree of authority in order to represent those things to your reader. What responsibilities are entailed in claiming such authority? When you write, when you produce knowledge, how is the representation that you create imbricated in larger networks of power. In this course, we will read and write about a few works of fiction from early twentieth-century India. India was a British colony until 1947; therefore, issues of colonialism, imperialism, and questions of race and nation will be a large part of our conversations. We will pay close attention to how British and Indian authors claim narrative authority in their representations, and we will treat with equal critical consciousness our own authorial claims when we write literary papers which represent the experience of colonialism. We will read three novels in the class: Rudyard Kipling’s Kim, Rabindranath Tagore’s The Home and the World, and Bapsi Sidhwa’s Cracking India. Additional readings will be included in a course packet, and film adaptations of all three novels will be available for viewing at the Odegaard Media Center. ENGL majors only, Registration Period 1
282 A (Composing for the Web)
[Introduces the writing of nonfiction narrative and expository pieces for publication on the Web. Analysis and criticism of on-line work.] Text: Elizabeth Castro, HTML for the World Wide Web, 5th ed.
283 A (Beginning Verse Writing)
This course is an introduction to the art of writing poetry, though experienced poets should also find it useful. The student will be asked to bring his/her own poems into class for critique by peers and also to give close readings and critiques of peers’ poems. The focus is on writing, but in order to become a better poet it is necessary to read widely, and so we will also be reading and discussing many published poems. To enable effective discussions and to give the student more poetic tools, our discussions (and 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).
283 B (Beginning Verse Writing)
Some poems are written to establish once and for all which month is “cruelest.” Others are about the color of wheelbarrows. Still others look at a city in terms of its fur trade. And at least one poem states, “Someone has cut off my head and punted it.” In this class we will examine wildly divergent poems, from classic to contemporary, banal to bizarre – in order to develop a way of discussing and understanding poetry and poetic techniques that will be useful to us as poets. Imagery, metaphor, metonymy, sound, rhythm, meter, tone, and wordplay will be among the techniques we will deploy in writing and in discussing the work of others. During the quarter you will be required to complete a series of poems, recitations, and critiques, and to participate in class discussions. Texts: photocopied course packet, plus texts to be available at Open Books. See instructor in class for details.
284 A (Beginning Short Story Writing)
In this beginning short story writing class we'll be learning the basic skill and techniques of fiction through both our own writing and published work. Text: photocopied course packet.
284 B (Beginning Short Story Writing)
[Introduction to the theory and practice of writing the short story.] Text: Photocopied course packet.