Course Descriptions (as of 18 January 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.) Office, (206) 543-2690 or the Undergraduate Advising Office, (206) 543-2634.)
200 A (Reading Literature)
Writing War in the Twentieth Century. This course will read a variety of modern (and postmodern) poetry, fiction, and drama through the lens of the two world wars. While developing skills in critical reading, we will attempt to untangle the “obscure knot” of modern literature, modern warfare, and the modern world. Texts: Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front; Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway; Rebecca West, The Return of the Soldier; T. S. Eliot (ed. Lawrence Rainey), The Annotated Waste Land with Eliot’s Contemporary Prose; Joseph Heller, Catch-22; Art Spiegelman, Maus, A Survivors Tale: My Father Bleeds History.
200 B (Reading Literature)
Literature and Nation. What does it mean to have a university course entitled “Reading Literature?” We will begin with this question, and suggest that one of the primary rationales for literary education over the last two centuries has been the production and consolidation of distinct national cultures (i.e., Americanness, Britishness, etc.). Accordingly, this course will both serve as an introduction to literary studies, as well as a way of interrogating how literature engages with the ideas of nation, nationalism, and intercultural contact/conflict. How does literature contribute to the idea that a single national culture exists? How do we come to the idea of “the people” that consents to being ruled as a supposedly homogeneous cultural unit? What is a national culture, and what exclusions must be made in order for one to exist? How can literature also serve to contest and disrupt nationalist thought and the exclusions of nation-building? We will explore these questions by reading theories of the “nation,” as well as literary texts from the American, British, and so-called “postcolonial” contexts, including Herman Melville, Jamaica Kincaid, Salman Rushdie, J.M. Coetzee, and Zadie Smith. This is a discussion class, and students should be prepared to come to class everyday having done the reading/writing assignments, and ready to engage in active discussion of the course texts. Texts: Herman Melville, Typee; Jamaicaa Kincaid, A Small Place; Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses; J. M. Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians.
200 C (Reading Literature)
In this course we will read selections of 20th century American Literature. As we read, we will ask ourselves the following questions: “What do the characters desire?” “How are their desires accounted for in the text?” “How do their desires shape the objects they yearn for?” In pursuing these questions, we will pay special attention to social processes of racialization, nationalization, sexualization, and engendering, tracing how these processes intersect, transform, and maintain lines of continuity. To enrich our readings of literary texts, we will also be reading theoretical and historical materials that I have collected in a course packet. This is not a lecture class, so students must come prepared to engage in class discussions. To ensure that everyone keeps up with the readings, I will administer a quiz each day. Other course requirements include: delivering a presentation on a published article of literary criticism; writing a 3-5 page mid-term paper; and writing a 6-8 page final paper. The literature we will read this quarter includes: The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton; The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison; If He Hollers Let Him Go by Chester Himes; Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller; and My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki.
200 D (Reading Literature)
Romanticism and Nature. In this section of ENGL 200 we will be studying texts from the Romantic period, and we will focus on the ways in which writers from this period engage the natural world and its inhabitants. In this time period, authors move beyond mere description and appreciation of Nature toward something more complicated. Many authors self-consciously take up the role as poet in order to express their dynamic relationship to the natural. Some authors are overcome with awe for the most sublime aspects of nature, while others warn against the scientific altering of the world’s natural processes. In many cases, the engagement with “the natural” is, on the surface, a personal relationship with nature, but the author’s preoccupation with nature extends to much larger issues concerning the newly forming ideas of nationhood and aesthetics. Readings will include, but not be limited to, the works of Gray, Blake, Robinson, Coleridge, Wordsworth, both Mary and Percy Bysshe Shelley, Byron, and Keats. Texts: Damrosch, Wolfson, & Manning, eds., The Longman Anthology of British Literature, 2A: The Romantics and Their Contemporaries; Mary Shelley, Frankenstein.
200 E (Reading Literature)
(Note: NOT “W”).
The Writing of Vladimir Nabokov. This course will focus on Russian and American fiction of one of the greatest 20th-century writers, Vladimir Nabokov (1898-1977). Our readings will include two of his earlier novels – Despair (1932; in English, 1966), and Invitation to a Beheading (1936; in English 1959) – and two of his later novels for which he is best known: Pnin and Lolita (both 1956). We will also study his autobiography, Speak, Memory (1951/1967) and read many of his magnificent short stories written throughout his life. All readings and discussion are in English. No pre-requisites. Course requirements will include a take-home midterm (5-7 pp.) and a take-home final (8-11 pp.). With the consent of the instructor, the take-home final can be replaced by a 10-16 pp. paper. (Meets w. RUSS 230A; C LIT 396B; taught by Prof. Galya Diment, Professor of Slavic Languages and Literature.)
202 A (Introduction to English Language & Literature)
MWF 10:30 (lecture); quizzes W 11:30, Th 12:30; Th 2:30)
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 ways they will be expected to think 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 Toni Morrison’s novel, Beloved. Why this novel? This year Beloved was voted by writers and artists as the most important novel in the past twenty years. I want to begin with it to understand what makes such a difficult (in both form and content) novel important. Then we will read some of its literary precursors, including Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, William Wordsworth and other poets. Finally, we will consider some of the literature of modernism (Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse) and postmodernism (Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel, Maus). 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 required writing link, ENGL 197, for which a separate grade is assigned, will concentrate intensively on writing and revising essays. Texts: Toni Morrison, Beloved; William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice; Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse; Art Spiegelman, Maus; Andrew Bennett and Nicholas Royle, ed., Introduction to Literature, Criticism, and Theory; course reading packet. Concurrent enrollment in ENGL 197 required.
205 A (Method, Imagination, & 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. Texts: Ackrill, ed., A New Aristotle Reader; Descartes, Discourse on Method; Shakespeare, The Tempest; Kuhn, Structure of Scientific Revolutions; Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom!; Plato, Dialogues.
207 A (Introduction to Cultural Studies)
[Asks three questions: What is Cultural Studies? How does one read from a Cultural Studies perspective? What is the value of reading this way? Provides historical understanding of Cultural Studies, its terms and its specific way of interpreting a variety of texts, i.e. literature, visual images, music, video, and performance.]
211 A (Medieval and 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. Text: Henry H. Glassie, All Silver and No Brass: An Irish Christmas Mumming; Christopher Marlowe, Complete Plays; Vantuono, ed., Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; Shakespeare, Midsummer Night's Dream; Love's Labour's Lost; Spenser, Poetry.
212 A (Literature of Enlightenment & Revolution)
The objective of this course is to introduce students to a wide range of literature written in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Our grounding theme for the quarter will be the Enlightenment ideals of reason, liberty, empiricism, taste, and curiosity and how these ideals emerge in the literature of the time. Our literary tour will begin in 1660 with the Restoration of Charles II to the English throne and the reopening of the English theaters and will conclude in approximately 1750. While we will be taking multiple approaches to the prose, fiction, and drama of this time period, we will often use feminist and cultural theories to interrogate these texts as we explore questions of sex, class, and gender as portrayed in Enlightenment literature. For the most part this course will focus on British literature, but we will also be examining a few French and Irish authors. Authors you may expect to see on our course syllabus include: John Locke, Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift, Daniel Defoe, John Gay, William Congreve, Susan Centlivre, Mary Astell, Mary Wollstonecraft, Eliza Haywood, and many others. Course requirements will include active class participation, one in-class presentation, a mid-term and final exam, and one seminar paper. Submission of discussion questions or quizzes may be given if necessary to motivate reading and participation. Texts: Lawrence Lipking & James Noggle, eds., The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. C: The Restoration and the 18th Century, 8th ed.; photocopied course packet.
213 A (Modern & Postmodern Literature)
This course will be an introduction to literary modernism, focusing especially on the earliest authors and works of the period. By confining our study to texts written during such a brief span of time (about 1900-1922), we will have a unique opportunity to examine modernism in its infancy, and to explore in detail the many revolutions, both aesthetic and cultural, that brought it into being. We will begin by reading a few of the many manifestoes in which modernist authors sought to distinguish themselves from their Victorian predecessors, eager to define their views on art and culture in opposition to the traditions they inherited. Next we will study some of the twentieth century’s most influential poets – including W.B. Yeats, Ezra Pound, H.D., Gertrude Stein, and T.S. Eliot – paying special attention to modernism’s emphases on experimentation, the image and its impression, and poetic impersonality. Finally, we will devote the second half of the course to fiction, reading novels by Joseph Conrad, Ford Madox Ford, and Virginia Woolf, plus a few short stories by James Joyce, and discussing how each of the texts we encounter illustrates different aspects of modernism’s overriding aesthetic, historical, and social concerns. Along the way we’ll consider a variety of other subjects, including but not limited to: the troubled relationship between modernism and tradition, the various artistic movements and groups defined as “modernist” (especially Imagism, Vorticism, and Futurism), the genre of the manifesto, modernism and the avant-garde, and connections between modernist literature and visual art. Other subjects under discussion may include nationalism, violence, urban life, popular culture, and the Great War. Note: much has been made of modernism’s difficulty, and the way in which modernist texts often defy easy interpretation (or even easy reading). While this course will certainly provide you with a solid understanding of the period, many of the texts we read are undeniably difficult, and consequently you will need to be prepared for the challenges and rewards that come with them. We will be moving at a brisk pace, so expect to make a serious time commitment to completing each of the assigned readings. Texts: Gertrude Stein, Tender Buttons; Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim; Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier; Virginia Woolf, Jacob’s Room; Ezra Pound, Selected Poems; photocopied course packet.
213 B (Modern & Postmodern Literature)
Modernism and postmodernism are often characterized by an emphasis on the image and its changing status in representing the self, the body and the social world. In this class we will explore cultural and literary expressions of visuality, as they relate to aesthetic practices and social issues in the 20th century (primarily in the U.S., though we’ll consider the international context, too). What is the relationship between visual practices and textual practices? What do these texts suggest about the capacity of the seeing eye to understand social and cultural formations – and the capacity of visual medias to represent them? How do these texts teach visual practices in ways that both produce and disrupt “normal” way sof seeing? Course work will include a demanding reading schedule, participation in class discussions, occasional short papers and quizzes and a final essay. Texts: Gertrude Stein, Three Lives; William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying; Don Delillo, White Noise; Daniel Clowes, Ghost World; Ana Castillo, So Far From God; photocopied course paced including shorter works and historical and theoretical writings.
225 A (Shakespeare)
In this introductory Shakespeare course we will read a representative survey of his tragedies, comedies, history plays and imaginative romances – with as many sonnets as we can find time for in class. Our focus will be the history of “Shakespeare’s” performances from the composition and production of the works in the context of Elizabethan / Jacobean England through to its cinematic interpretations of Olivier, Branagh, and Zeferelli. Texts: Bevington, ed., The Complete Works of Shakesepeare; Garber, Shakespeare After All.
225 B (Shakespeare)
T Th 9:30-11:20
Shakespearean summer of love. In this introductory Shakespeare course, we’ll read three comedies about love and three tragedies, in addition to as many sonnets as we can find time for. We will explore every dark and every delightful aspect of the lover’s consciousness which Shakespeare sets before us. In so doing, students will gain an understanding of some of the most important and popular plays in the Shakespeare canon, and some of the critical issues involved in the study and enjoyment of Shakespeare. At least one longer essay, several shorter papers, midterm and/or final exam, intensive discussion. Texts: Shakespeare, Four Great Tragedies (Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear, Othello); Twelfh Night, Or, What You Will; A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Love’s Labor’s Lost.
229 A (English Literary Culture: 1600-1800)
“ All the World’s a Stage”: the sentiment echoes throughout early modern England from Jacques’s speech in As You Like It to the motto stitched in the flag that fluttered above the Globe – Totus mundus agit histrionem. In a culture that promoted spectacle and self-display, people found it increasingly difficult to distinguish between theatre and reality. Not coincidentally, drama became the most popular art form and flourished as never before. Shakespeare’s brilliance has unfortunately obscured some of the other jewels of the early modern stage, which we will uncover and burnish back to shimmering: the “blood and rhetoric” school of Kyd, the subversive skepticism of Marlowe, the quixotic citizens’ comedy of Beaumont, and the defiant tragic heroines of Webster and Middleton. Finally, we will also look at a specimen of Restoration Drama, Sheridan’s The School for Scandal, in preparation for the Seattle Shakespeare Company’s upcoming spring production. Beyond familiarizing students with the basic plotlines of the plays, the class will offer strategies for navigating and savoring their highly figurative language. In addition, we will explore how the drama interrogates notions of class, gender, sexuality, and selfhood. No prior experience with drama is necessary; curiosity is the only prerequisite. Course website: http://staff.washington.edu/tandrew/emedrama.html/ Texts: Shakespeare, As You Like It (ed. Dusinberre); Arthur Kinney, ed., Renaissance Drama.
242 A (Reading Fiction)
Introduction to Law and Literature. This class seeks to explore the intersections, contradictions, and collusions of law and literature. Our starting point will be the starting point of many law and literature conversations in academia: we will look at law as literature as well as law in literature. Academic conversations have evolved in a number of different directions in humanities departments and law schools. We will track a few of those conversations, but mainly we will focus on primary texts (works of fiction and a few cases), noticing and interrogating our own reading practices. Thematically we will examine representations of different relationships between individuals/communities and the law. We will read stories in which individuals or communities: laugh at the law; incorporate the law into a utopia or dystopia; subvert the law; or who seem to ignore the law in favor of “norms” or other, seemingly mysterious forms of regulation and discipline. Course work will include a demanding reading schedule, participation in class discussion, response papers and quizzes, a mid-term and a final essay. Texts: Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale; Kafka, The Trial; Marquez, Chronicle of a Death Foretold; Foucault, Discipline and Punish; Morrison, The Bluest Eye; Capote, In Cold Blood; photocopied course reader, including cases as well as reading from current law and literature debates.
242 B (Reading Fiction)
This course will study the conjunction of psychology and the fantastic in three mid-nineteenth century novels. Throughout the course, we will carefully observe how different authors portray the moods, thoughts, emotions, and motivations of their characters in an effort to understand why each turns to the supernatural for supplemental effect. We will trace the authors’ construction of unusual causalities in order to explore the moral, metaphorical, allegorical, structural, and semantic possibilities of those literary elements that resist explanation. Assignments: several response papers, one longer paper, and reading quizzes. Texts: Charlotte Brontë’s Villette, Wilkie Collins’s The oman in White, and Herman Melville’s Pierre, or the Ambiguities, Hawthorne, House of Seven Gables, as well as a packet of readings in literary criticism.
242 C (Reading Fiction)
Reading Woman, Race, and Nation in Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century Indian and British Fiction. The main concept we will be exploring in this class is the articulation of nation and national identity through the figure of woman in British and Indian fiction. As India was a British colony until 1947, considering British and Indian fiction together will necessarily involve an examination of race, class, caste, sexuality, and religion, in addition to our focus on gender. The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are particularly rich for our purposes, since this was a time period during which numerous shifts in national identity and imperialism were taking place in tandem with major changes regarding women, including but not limited to the Married Women’s Property Acts in Britain, as well as debates around purdah and marriage in India. We will explore why the figure of woman became so central to imagining national identity and political possibilities through fiction, in addition to the ways in which counter-imaginings of “woman” and “nation” were formulated.
We will read the following texts (please check the ISBN number to ensure that
you purchase the correct copy, especially since some of our texts are in translation):
Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay’s (or Chatterji’s—this is the
Anglicized version of his name) 1882 novel Anandamath (ISBN #0195178580), Rudyard
Kipling’s 1888 novella The Man Who Would Be King (provided in course
packet), Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain’s 1905 short story “Sultana’s
Dream” (ISBN #0144000032), Rabindranath Tagore’s 1915 novel The
Home and the World (ISBN #0140449868), E.M. Forster’s 1924 novel A
Passage to India (ISBN #0156711427), and Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain’s 1924 novella
Padmarag (same ISBN# as “Sultana’s Dream”) . We will also
read substantial historical and theoretical material, as well as literary criticism
(these will be available in the course packet). Please be prepared for a rigorous
work load if you register for this course, including 150+ pages of reading
a week and mandatory class discussion, as this is not a lecture class. You
will be expected to lead class discussion for one class session, and to participate
in a short group presentation. You can expect short writing assignments designed
to prepare you for the mid-term and final papers; the mid-term paper should
be a 5-7 page literary argument, and the final paper should be an 8-10 page
242 D (Reading Fiction)
Reading Fiction: Narratives of Self-Making. Focusing on a range of twentieth century novelists who write in English, this course will investigate the role of ethnicity and culture in the shaping of an identity. The novels that we will be reading often depict characters caught between multiple worlds. One possible way to look at these narratives is as stories of estrangement and in our analyses we will particularly focus on how different markers, such as cultural background, race, gender, ethnicity, play a role in the construction of the (often hybridized) identity of the characters. As we analyze the course readings, we will also examine our role as readers, looking at how we read and why/how texts shape us. We’ll consider the relevance of both the production of literature and our study of it. Our engagement will involve close reading and class discussion for the purpose of identifying and extending our responses to literary texts and learning how to read them critically. Also, we will not only read and write about the texts, but will also try to identify what sort of different approaches one can take when reading/discussing literature. Class work will involve writing two short response papers and a final paper, along with shorter writing assignments, quizzes and significant class discussion and participation. Texts will include a course packet with selections of theoretical essays and the following novels: Jamaica Kincaid, Lucy; Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon; Zadie Smith, White Teeth; Jhumpa Lahiri, The Namesake.
242 E (Reading Fiction)
Modern and Postmodern Fiction: Response to Nihilism. This course will investigate the terms of nihilism, as they appear implicit in 19th- and 20th-century fictional works, so as to de-mystify a strand of thinking which develops in conjunction with modernity. We will read primarily novelistic writing, with an attention to experiments in narrative form, in an attempt to locate and analyze various responses to Nietzsche’s definition (from Will to Power) of nihilism, including but not limited to: contradictory statement, sarcasm, violence, self-negation, expansion of the subjective notion, humor, the absurd, and meaning-making and community. The range of response will be hinted at by the trans-historical nature and thematic diversity of the selected fiction. Fiction that is conversational, or contains plain-speech prose, will lead us toward our contemporary critique and personal reflection. Texts: Kerouac, On the Road; Nietzsche, Will to Power; Melville, Bartleby & Benito Cereno; Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground; Beckett, Watt; Celine, Journey to the End of Night.
243 A (Reading Poetry)
American Poetry and the Archive. This is an intensive course in poetry and poetics. Focusing on the creative process of a selection of late nineteenth and twentieth century poets, students will gain a larger sense of both the evolution of American verse and methods for historical and material scholarship. In addition to analyzing poetry, in class we will consider the relation between the poems and draft facsimiles, letters, journals, biography, and recent scholarship incorporating these sources. As we read the poetry of Emily Dickinson, T.S. Eliot, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, John Berryman, and others, key thematic ideas will include the form and content of poetry, poetic technique, the role of gender in artistic production, confession and personae, and the historical context. Texts: Emily Dickinson, Final Harvest; T.S. Eliot, The Annotated Waste Land; Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems; Anne Sexton, The Complete Poems; John Berryman, The Dream; photocopied course packet at the Ave Copy Center
250 A (Introduction to American Literature)
Working Through Classic American Literature. To what end do we work? Is one free when he or she works? What do I make when I work, and what is my relationship to what I make? These questions and many more like them are posed by some of the best American writers of the 19th and 20th centuries. Our starting point will be Henry David Thoreau’s inquiry into the nature and necessity of the work Americans spend their lives doing as they attempt to “get a living.” Other writers also interrogate the relationship between work and life, in different ways and with different results. One contemporary literary critic suggests that “work itself resists representation.” We’ll put this claim to the test as we look at different representations of work and workers, and see what kinds of thought, feeling, and artistry goes into them. The readings will include novels and short stories from 19th century writers such as Louisa May Alcott, Elizabeth Keckley, Rebecca Harding Davis, and Herman Melville; 20th century writers like John Steinbeck, Upton Sinclair, and Tillie Olsen; as well as a few theoretical pieces about labor. This class is an introduction to American literature that will produce ideas relevant to our lives at least 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week. Texts: Louisa May Alcott. Work: a Story of Experience; Rebecca Harding Davis, Life in the Iron Mills; Elizabeth Keckley, Behind the Scenes.
250 B (Introduction to American Literature)
This course will cover a series of travel narratives from the 19th and 20th centuries. Some of the topics we’ll be examining through these texts will be colonialism, the role of “discovery” in travel, conceptualizations of space, the problem of mapping space and the genre of travel narrative itself, among others. Texts: Herman Melville, Typee; Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court; Henry David Thoreau, Cape Cod; Jack Kerouac, On the Road; Carlos Fuentes, The Crystal Frontier; supplementary readings to be handed out in class.
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 . . . gutter-snipes.” 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 postwar American short stories and novels, we will pursue this and other questions, such as: 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? In what sense is affluence a bane as well as a blessing? Can one experience exile without leaving “home”? 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. We will consider all such questions in their historical and cultural contexts. Critical perspectives from outside of our classroom will serve as crucial provocations to our own thinking and ongoing inquiries. Be advised that this is not a lecture class: most of our time and energy will be expended on open discussion and on the importation and exchange of ideas. Requirements: Punctual reading, unwavering attendance, engagement with class discussion, weekly quizzes, a mid-term paper, group presentations, a final paper. Texts: Joan Didion, Play It As It Lays; Cormac McCarthy, Child of God; Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye; Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; Dorothy Allison, Two or Three Things I Know for Sure; photocopied course packet (available at Ave Copy Shop, 4141 University); other materials to be distributed in class; recommended: MLA handbook; college-level dictionary
281 A (Intermediate Expository Writing)
Creating Texts, Considering Choices: Collaboration and Presentation in Academic Writing. Welcome to ENGL 281! I am honored to be your writing instructor for the next ten weeks. In this class we will explore various scenes of writing and various writing choices possible in different situations. This includes where we will be writing and learning: sometimes we will be in a traditional classroom for discussion and other activities, sometimes we will be in a computer lab working and collaborating with others on our assignments. Two key elements of this course will be writing workshops and our construction of electronic portfolios. Since half our time will be spent in the computer lab, we will use our time there to write, and share our writing with one another. We will closely read several texts dealing with the sorts of rhetorical and creative choices various writers make, and compare them to the sorts of choices we make in our own writings. Tutors from the writing center will also play an important part in our writing this quarter. Our work will be showcased in e-portfolios (which may include some visual elements) that we will design and add to as the quarter progresses. Your e-portfolios can be an exciting, creative way to highlight all your hard work over the quarter. By writing with tutors and each other, and for your e-portfolios, you will write for – and consider the wants and needs of – a larger audience than just me! Text: Stygall, ed., Reading Context. CIC (Computer Integrated section)
281 B (Intermediate Expository Writing)
Rhetorics of Conspiracy Theories. Building on your previous writing experiences both within and outside academia, this course is designed to provide you with the rhetorical tools to deepen your ability and confidence to create, respond to, and deconstruct arguments, and to use this knowledge to contribute productively to your various public and academic communities. To achieve these goals, this class will draw on genre and rhetorical theory to explore the following questions: what kinds of texts and generic conventions are most appropriate for a given rhetorical situation? What rhetorical moves do “authors” (considered broadly) rely on when trying to persuade an audience? Who has authority to create, respond to, or resist received knowledge, and how is this authority rhetorically constructed? We will be answering these questions by exploring two “conspiracies” currently playing out in public, in various media, and in the academy: the conspiracies surrounding the “events of September 11th” and “Academic Freedom.” We will begin with texts that will provide theoretical frameworks for your writing, and move on to consider the ways that these two highly-visible, contentious debates are framed as conspiracies and, as such, how they are rhetorically constructed and received. Throughout the quarter, you will analyze and produce a number of traditional academic essays as well as alternative texts that respond to the ideas we will be exploring in class. The skills you will develop in this course should enable you to engage more critically and effectively as writers within and outside of the university.
281 C (Intermediate Expository Writing)
It is important to realize that English 281 is an intermediate expository writing course: you are expected to arrive having thought about and practiced academic writing in a variety of settings. Depending on your strengths, you may need to seek extra help from me and/or writing centers on campus, and I strongly encourage everyone to visit me in office hours to discuss any questions you have. Please keep in mind that I’m here to help and would like to see you do well in this course.
This class will foster a better understanding of writing, as well as many
opportunities to write, by first examining what a text is, how discourse shapes
and is shaped by text, and how texts and discourse work to create rhetorical
situations. This class imagines that rhetorical awareness and understanding
can be fostered by examining real world, everyday texts and by producing both
traditional and innovative arguments about them. Our examination will thus
take us from the traditional notion of text as something written down to the
innovative and perhaps unexpected idea of texts as images, pictures, symbols,
and even film. In some sense, the rhetorical awareness gained by investigating
and producing a variety of rhetorical texts may actually be more transferable
to the work you perform in your different disciplines than would be an approach
that imagines a single “academic essay” exists in the university.
Because you come from different backgrounds and have different goals for your
college career and your professional career once you earn your degrees, it
is important to realize how texts and discourse function differently and take
different rhetorical (and literal) shapes in different disciplines. In the
second half of the course, then, we will bridge our emerging general understanding
of text, discourse, and rhetoric with a more focused examination of the role
texts play in specific academic and professional situations. In other words,
the main goal of this course is to be as practical as possible: I want you
to investigate, analyze, and ultimately learn to write the way people do in
your major, discipline, and (potential) field of interest. Text: photocopied
281 D (Intermediate Expository Writing)
This course will investigate the notion of writing genres by exploring how various types of writing differentially construe peoples and objects in the northwest. While most of the styles of writing that we will look at are not endemic to the northwest (i.e., they are found other places as well), our limiting of the scope of our exploration to texts about peoples and objects in the northwest will provide us with a shared point of reference for entering the notion of genre, a very abstract and fluid concept. While we will read some creative works, most of the texts we will read will be of the non-fiction variety; this is not a “literary genres of the northwest” class. The texts we will read will include the following: native narratives, anthropological tracts, scholarly work in the social and physical sciences, journalism, and a novel. Texts: Jack Hodgins, The Invention of the World; Seaburg & Amoss, eds., Badger and Coyote Were Neighbors.
282 A (Composing for the Web)
Cybertexts: Protocols and Potentialities. Today the audience for web content in privileged societies is growing rapidly, and with technologies that drive popular websites like Blogger, YouTube, CurrentTV, GooglePages, GoogleDocs, and Wikipedia compositions for the World Wide Web have taken forms which emphasize new styles of writing, reading and thinking. This course will focus on the conceptual aspects of composing for the WWW. “Composition” is broadly conceived to include digital images, video and audio content which accompany written text in order to produce what Espen Aarseth calls “cybertexts.” We’ll be learning the basics of HTML, analyzing the protocols and structures of cybertexts, reading scholarly reflections on the nature of the WWW, and producing our own web compositions. The core of the class will be our collective thinking about the implications for both writing and reading that cybertexts and the WWW present, so discussion and collaboration will be an important part of the class. Students will be expected to complete several composing assignments over the course of the quarter, refining basic HTML skills, and creating an individually-authored cybertext on a researched topic that reflects an engagement with the concepts covered in the course. As this course is an introduction, no background in HTML code or any particular programs is required, but some basic familiarity with working in Microsoft Windows environments and internet browsers is strongly recommended.
Finally, in order to avoid potentially hazardous assumptions about this class,
here is what the class is *not* going to be:
1. the course is not a comprehensive tutorial on HTML or other markup languages.
2. the course is not a historical survey of forms of online writing and their development.
3. the course is not a class on blogs or online journalism.
You can view a detailed course page soon at: http://staff.washington.edu/schenold/engl282/ Texts: Elizabeth Castro, HTML for the World Wide Web, 6th ed.; photocopied course packet.
283 A (Beginning Verse Writing)
As a culture, we tend to think of poems as spontaneous effusions, communicated to us by a muse. And though the muse has come to take many different guises – experience, culture, emotion, neurological short-circuit – this conception of the poem is still rather mystical and mystified, and, at best, only partially true. The focus of this course is the missing X of the equation: the tempering of the muse’s raw material with discipline. Our approach, then, will include reading a sampling of poems old and new, turning them this way and that, and shaking them to see what doodads fall out, all in order to develop ways of understanding and discussing poems. We will, simultaneously, apply what we have learned to crafting our own poems, as well as to reading, discussing, and critiquing each others’. The goal is to provide students with a basic toolkit of poetic devices and techniques, an understanding of how to employ these metaphorical wrenches and sonic skill saws (among other things) more effectively, and to pour a concrete foundation for future reading and writing. Recommended Preparation: The best way to prepare for this course is to read. And while reading canonical poets is never a bad idea, becoming familiar with contemporary poetry and poets is also important – after all, you are a contemporary poet. Anthologies of contemporary poetry, such as “The Best American Poetry” series and “Poets of the New Century,” are excellent resources for getting acquainted, as are literary journals, such as Gulf Coast, Poetry Northwest, The American Poetry Review. Last, Open Books (a poetry-only bookstore in Wallingford) is a great place to begin browsing for single-authored collections, and the owners are almost invariably helpful with suggestions. Assignments and Grading: Students are expected to complete a series of poems, recitations, critiques, one presentation, one short (2-3 pages) essay, and to participate in class discussions. Majors only, Registration Period 1. .
283 B (Beginning Verse Writing)
We’ll concentrate each week on a particular aspect of poetry, with readings and discussions to explore that topic followed by a workshop of student work inspired by particular technical and artistic considerations. Substantial reading, writing, revision and memorization are all essential elements of the process. Students will produce portfolios of their own revised work, along with reflective essays on their peers’ writing. Majors only, Registration Period 1.Text: photocopied course packet.
284 A (Beginning Short Story Writing)
By the end of this course, students should have a better understanding of what defines a great contemporary short story and how to craft their own work. While the class will contain discussions about the typical elements of fiction (plot, character, setting, etc.) the real emphasis will be on equipping students with a process for exploring and creating stories on their own. In approaching fiction, perhaps for the first time, students have a fresh perspective on the generative process, and as such will be able to benefit from thinking about the roots from which great prose arises. This course will be held in a class-wide workshop format. Students will submit work to be reviewed by other students and the professor after which the class will discuss the author's work and make suggestions for its improvement. We will also be discussing published stories by professional writers and excerpts from Robert Olen Butler's book on writing "From Where You Dream." The class may also venture outside the classroom to write from experiences in art galleries and natural areas.
The best thing a student can do in order to prepare for this course is read. Familiarizing yourself with modern literary fiction will help you understand the expectations for how to create your own stories. Magazines that publish short fiction include "The New Yorker," "Atlantic Monthly," "Harper's," etc. Prominent anthologies of contemporary authors include "The Best American Short Stories," "Best New American Voices," and many others that are readily available in almost any bookstore. As always, studying the classic works of authors like Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Virginia Wolff, Alice Munro, etc. will surely help as well.
Students will be writing two stories over the course of the quarter and revising one of them. A presentation on one of the stories in the required fiction anthology will also be required. In addition, in-class writing activities, exercises, and responses to other students' stories will also be considered part of the body of work students should produce by the end of the quarter. Evaluation will consist of a response to the written stories, the presentation, and class participation. Course website: http://courses.washington.edu/engl284. Majors only, Registration Period 1. Texts: .Nicholas Delbanco, ed., The Sincerest Form: Writing Fiction by Imitation; Robert Olen Butler, From Where You Dream (ed. Burroway).
284 B (Beginning Short Story Writing)
This class will serve as an introduction to the basic elements of the art of short fiction. Through the reading of previously written works and the creation of our own narratives, we will explore such fundamental topics as plot, character, setting, dialogue, theme, metaphor, image, and point of view. We will use small group workshops to illuminate the relationship between readers and writers: what are the responsibilities that each has to the other? Through workshopping, we will also ask questions of our stories and explore possibilities for future revision. Majors only, Registration Period 1. Text: Ann Charters, The Story and Its Writer.