400-Level Courses

Course Descriptions (as of 10 September 2002)
The following course descriptions have been written by individual instructors to provide more detailed information on specific section sthan that found in the General Catalog.  When individual descriptions are not available, the General Catalog descriptions [in brackets] are used. (Although we try to have as accurate and complete information as possible, this schedule remains subject to change.)

452U (Topics in American Literature)
TTh 6:00-8:20 pm
20th-Century American Literature and Identity.  A survey of contemporary 20th-century American literature by authors of different races, classes, and sexual orientations whose texts examine the roles of public education and the mass media in shaping identity.  This class explores how public education and the mass media shape how we see ourselves and our environment.  Through plays, short stories, and novels, we will examine how various 20th-century American authors of different races, classes, and sexual orientations have negotiated the difficulties of finding an individual voice amid images and educational surroundings that can be repressive in their insistence on normalcy.  We will explore the following issues: the role of education and media in shaping identity, the possibilities and limitations of literary self-definition, the function of the literary voice in questioning socially-appointed roles, and the function of normalcy in sustaining hierarchical social and political relations.  (Offered jointly with C LIT 396YA)

471 A (The Composition Process)
TTh 11:30-1:20
[Consideration of psychological and formal elements basic to writing and related forms of nonverbal expression and the critical principles that apply to evaluation.] Add codes available in English Advising office, A-2B Padelford. Text: photocopied course packet.

474 A (Special Topics in English for Teachers)
TTh 2:30-4:20
Writing Center Tutor Training.  This class presents an opportunity for students to expand their writing abilities and to learn how to help others with their writing – while getting paid!  The Dept. of English Writing Center is looking for experienced students to enroll for Autumn 2002.  Students will have the opportunity both to read and write about various approaches to tutoring writing, as well as to practice tutoring through conferencing and observation.  Then, starting in November, students will have the chance to get hands-on experience tutoring in the English Writing Center.  Students will be paid $7.00/hour (more for work-study students) for this tutoring. N.B.: ENGL 474 does not satisfy English major requirements; it functions purely as a general elective toward the 180 total credits required for graduation.  Add codes available in Writing Center, B-12 Padelford.  Interested students should contact Teagan Decker, (206) 685-2876,

479 A (Language Variation and Policy in North America)
TTh 9:30-11:20
Once we establish a working knowledge of the structure and function of language, this course will examine the social, cultural, and economic forces that have led to the emergence of language variation based on region, gender, race, ethnicity, and class.  Special interest will be paid to on-going discussions about the place of bilingualism and bidialectalism in home, community, and school settings.  We will then explore the ways in which both informal and institutionalized forms of linguistic discrimination affect the degrees of access to education, the labor force, and political institutions available to members of various groups in our society.  Finally, in light of the “new immigration” (i.e., the post-1965 immigration of non-European peoples to this country), we will pay special attention to the impact of both the English Only and the English Plus movements on second-language speakers and learners living in the United States. Texts: Rosina Lippi-Green, English with an Accent; Walt Wolfram & Natalie Schilling-Estes, American English.

481 A (Special Studies in Expository Writing)
MW 2:30-3:50
Style.  “Style is an essay’s soul,” write Gary and Glynis Hoffman in Adios, Strunk and White, the form of writing that breathes life into content.  As we move into the visually-oriented, computer literate society of the twenty-first century, writers of all kinds are experimenting with a multitude of styles to capture the uniqueness of their vision in the Millennial Age, and stylistic innovators are complaining that much of what was theorized about “good style” is defunct, without life, without soul.  As a result, style critics continue to redefine style , just as they debate what exactly constitutes “good style” in our time.  This course will look at some past and present notions of “good” styles, consider their relation to various cultural value systems, and apply them to the writing that we and others produce. Course goals include helping you to improve your ability to identify and evaluate elements of style in a rhetorical framework and to extend your own stylistic repertoire, online and off.  Much of the class will be devoted to analyzing theories of good style in relation to a variety of texts (from the style manuals themselves, to imaginative literature, to Web pages) to get at how certain writers craft sentences, phrases, punctuation, fonts, graphics, etc. to convey meaning to a targeted set of readers.  Our analyses will be collective and individual--“group-” and self-reflective; we will discuss and analyze style both in person and online in the English Department’s computer-integrated Mary Gates Hall classrooms that house our course. (Despite the fact that we will be aided considerably by technology,  please be aware that regular classroom attendance and discussion is crucial—this is not a distance-learning class.) Other requirements include short written stylistic analyses, a PowerPoint presentation, and a final. No previous computer experience is necessary--this is not a course in learning to write html.   Printed course texts include the following, but please attend class first before purchasing them:  Strunk & White, Elements of Style; Angell & Heslop, Elements of E-Mail Style; Williams, Style: Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace.

483 A (Advanced Verse Writing)
TTh 2:30-3:50
Intensive study of ways and means of making a poem.  Prerequisite: ENGL 383, writing sample.  Add codes in Creative Writing office, B-25 PDL. No texts.

484 U (Advanced Short Story Writing)
Tues 4:30-7:10 pm
This is the third and final installment of the short story writing curriculum and as such is designed to further develop students' understanding and practice of fiction writing, with a particular emphasis on revision.  Through a generative process of exercises, readings, discussions, presentations and traditional workshop, students will be expected to write at least three drafts of a story, the first draft and two rewrites.  For more insight into the creative process, class time may be supplemented by one or two field trips to museums and/or author readings.  This class is intended for students who are familiar with the basics of fiction and who are serious about writing the literary short story.  It is not a class in writing genre or commercial fiction.   Prerequisite: ENGL 384; writing sample.  Add codes in Creative Writing office, B-25 Padelford.

491 A (Internship)
Supervised experience in local businesses and other agencies. Open only to upper-division English majors. Credit/no credit only. Prerequisite: 25 credits in English. Add codes, further information in Undergraduate Advising office, A-2-B Padelford (206-543-2634).

492 A (Advanced Expository Writing Conference)
Tutorial arranged by prior mutual agreement between individual student and instructor. Revision of manuscripts is emphasized, but new work may also be undertaken. Instructor codes, further information available in Undergraduate Advising Office, A-2-B Padelford (206-543-2634).

493 A (Advanced Creative Writing Conference)
Tutorial arranged by prior mutual agreement between individual student and instructor.  Revision of manuscripts is emphasized, but new work may also be undertaken. Instructor codes, further information available in Creative Writing office, B-25 Padelford (206-543-9865; open 1-5 daily).

494 A (Honors Seminar)
TTh 1:30-3:20
Loving/Hating/Reading/Fiction.  This is a seminar in the weird pleasures, wild emotions, and secret seductions of reading fiction.  How, exactly, do we “take in” fiction?  How much control does the author have over how the reader feels while reading?  Do we read differently when we’re reading across gender or sexuality or ethnicity?  Why do some readers choose puzzle novels while others prefer loe stories?  Can we love novels if they are about things we hate  How do films “read” stories differently from books?  Do we identify with characters who seem in many ways to be our opposites?  We’ll read modern and contemporary fictions to try to get some tentative answers to these questions.  Discussion will be at the heart of what we do, so come expecting lots of talk and lively differences of opinion.  Texts:  .Italo Calvino, If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler; Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway; Michael Cunningham, The Hours; . Jeannette Winterson, Written on the Body; Thersa Hak Cha, Dictee; Tim O'Brien, In the Lake of the Woods; together with essays about the mysteries of readers and reading. Required of and limited to students in the English Honors program. Add codes in A-2B PDL.

495 A (Honors Writing Conference)
TTh 1:30-3:20
This class will be run as a series of tutorials or independent studies, though we may also meet occasionally as a group, should the students desire to read each other’s work. I see this as a capstone to your study of fiction writing at the University of Washington.  I’ll expect you to produce 30 – 40 pages of writing this quarter, concentrating on revision of stories you have written in earlier classes.  Some new material may also be included.  Add codes in A-2B PDL. No texts.

497/8 A (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
MW 9:30-11:20
Self-Help and Inheritance.  “Self-Help” is the title of a best-selling book from 1859 by Samuel Smiles.  It serves in the title for a course exploring literature in English from the 19th – 20th C., a period that has sharply promoted self-making through “self-help.”  But with this has also come a complication in thinking about inheritance.  Inheritance fills out the title and sets questions for the course about the extent to which we are “made” by what has gone before, whether through family, gender, race, class, national/imperial legacy, or cultural/literary tradition.  The class is designed as an appropriate capstone for seniors completing an English major given its theme and its seminar format.  It provides a forum for reflection on your own educational experience as an interplay between self-help and inheritance.  Primary readings drawn from: Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice or Persuasion (with recent BBC production or film), J. S. Mill, ch. “Of Individuality” from “On Liberty,” Charles Dickens, Great Expectations (with recent film), Lewis Carroll, Alice Through the Looking-Glass, Virginia Woolf, “A Room of One’s Own,” V. S. Naipaul (recent Nobel winner), A House for Mr. Biswas, selection of fictional re-imagining of material (short selections, not read by all) covered by presentations, drawn from: Samuel Smiles, Edmund Burke, Matthew Arnold, Barbara Herrnstein-Smith, critical survey of Naipaul’s controversial reputation, Frederick Jameson on post-modernism, more from Peter Ackroyd, English Music.  Requirements: on-going seminar discussion plus two presentations (whether leading discussion of a primary text or reporting on a secondary text); 4-5 pp. paper; 8-10 pp. paper treating more than a single text.  If you choose, these can be related, so that the second paper revises and expands on the first.  The above requirements count 25%, 25%, 50%.  No final.  I am open to adapt assignments to yoru purposes as you conclude your undergraduate work. Research, discussion, oral presentation, critical writing (in tight focus and more synthesizing formats) are practical skills you can enhance and lay claim to via this course.  Past senior seminars of mine have proved helpful to students for providing the basis of letters of recommendation and writing samples, for purposes of graduate school or other training, or employment.  Texts: Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice; Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass; Charles Dickens, Great Expectations; V. S. Naipaul, A House for Mr. Biswas; Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own; optional: J. S. Mill, On Liberty with The Subjection of Women and Chapters on Socialism.

497/8 B (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
MW 10:30-12:20
The Novels of Roddy Doyle.  Roddy Doyle (b. 1958) is a contemporary Irish writer whose novels of Dublin life have established themselves internationally for their brilliant gifts of language, artistic range, and humanity. Doyle taught high school in North Dublin for fourteen years before writing his first novel, The Commitments (1991), about a ratty and slightly ridiculous group of local kids who form a band to copy American soul music into the ears of Dublin.  Then came two more novels about the same working-class world, The Snapper and The Van.  With his fourth novel Doyle made a startlingly experimental shift to an intensely immediate and disorienting first-person narrative reproducing the consciousness of a ten-year-old boy in Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, which won the Booker Prize.  His next novel, The Woman Who Walked into Doors, belongs in an equally surprising way to a completely different kind of character.  Doyle’s most recent work, A Star Called Henry, is a consciously “big” novel about modern Irish history, pitched on a panoramic scale.  This course will be a close reading of these novels.   Doyle has an ear for language and speech, and a gift for making an expansive world out of a restrictive Dublin, which have led many to see him as the natural successor of Joyce.  He made his reputation first with a loopy kind of urban comedy but in later work shows an equally powerful talent for storytelling from a darker side of experience.  In this course we will have the somewhat unusual opportunity to read and reflect on the whole of an important novelist’s work and career while still very much in progress.  Doyle also has a Dickensian knack for writing novels which are accessible and popular while also artistically challenging and sometimes risky.  That combination of characteristics will be one focus of study in the course.  We will also screen Alan Parker’s film of The Commitments, with a script by Doyle in collaboration, one of the great small-scale music movies ever made.  Texts: Doyle, The Barrytown TrilogyPaddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha;  The Woman Who Walked into Doors; A Star Called Henry.

497/8 C (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
MW 12:30-2:20
Race and America.  Here we explore race as a central fact of American life and its literary expression.  Readings range from the 19th-century Huckleberry Finn to the contemporary Meena Alexander.  We will look at the controversies surrounding Twain’s classic, race and the color line as seen by DuBois at the beginning of the last century, and briefly how those problems have played out down to the present.  You will be encouraged to bring your own experience of life to bear on the topic as we trace the often tenuous-seeming links between “literature” and “life.”  Two papers and one class presentation.  Texts:Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn; W.E.B. DuBois, Writings: The Suppression of the African Slave-Trade, The Souls of Black Folk, Dusk of Dawn, Essays, Articles from the Crisis; Nella Larsen, Quicksand and Passing; Carlos Bulosan, America is in the Heart; Meena Alexander, The Shock of Arrival: Reflections on Postcolonial Experience; Manhattan Music.

497/8 D (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
MW 1:30-3:20
C. Fischer
Transgression. This seminar will examine transgression from a literary, philosophical, and religious perspective.  The protagonist(s) of Nabokov's "Lolita" and Cormac McCarthy's "Blood Meridian" violate ethical prohibitions as a means to experience divinity -- with predictably disastrous results.  We will look at the nature of their bad faith from the standpoint of a large theoretical tradition: Hegel, Nietzsche, Bataille, Girard, Foucault, Derrida, and Walter Burkert.  We will also explore the relative merits of poetry's and philosophy's ability to represent experiences which exceed the limits of ethics and rationality.  Course requirements include a number of  short papers, a class presentation, and one long paper.

497/8 E (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
TTh 9:30-11:20
Environmental Imaginations: American Modernism and Nature.  This course will explore encounters with nature in the work of American modernism writers, beginning with Willa Cather’s novel, The Professor’s House, and moving on to look at other modernist poetry and fiction, including William Carlos Williams’ Spring and All, William Faulkner’s “The Bear,” Muriel Rukeyser’s The Book of the Dead, and selections from Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens and Gertrude Stein, as well as related critical and historical materials.  Questions we’ll consider include: What is the relationship between nature and art in a rapidly modernizing world?  How are modern encounters with nature shaped by science and technology, and by the social relations of gender, race, and class? Can we go “back to nature,” and why would we want to?  What kinds of encounters with nature were modernist writers interested in, and how and why do they use experimental literary forms to represent those encounters?  These texts are challenging, and reading them will require time, effort and curiosity on your part.  Some background in studying poetry will be helpful; genuine interest in the topic and in modernist literature is essential.  Expect to be daunted, mystified, and (hopefully) delighted.  Requirements: lost of discussion, a class presentation, response papers, and a longer seminar paper.

497/8 F (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
TTh 10:30-12:20
James Joyce’s Ulysses.  This seminar focuses on James Joyce’s Ulysses as the summit of literary modernism.  To dispel fear of Ulysses, we’ll read the book one episode at a time, familiarizing ourselves with its Irish and European contexts and extensions, tracking the progressive making and unmaking of sense, and reveling in Joyce’s comic transvaluation of all novelistic values (narrative devices, generic conventions, topics, perspectives, styles and humors).  Desiderata: inklings of Joyce’s early work, intimacy with Homer’s Odyssey, interest in sly uses of language.  A portion of each meeting is devoted to the musical “subtext” in Ulysses (Mozart, Verdi, Wagner, Irish street ballads and turn-of-the-century music-hall favorites). Students interested in Joyce’s continental influences (Flaubert, Mallarmé, Ibsen, Wagner) are encouraged to enroll in ENGL 313.  Requirements:  weekly page-long assignments and a course project involving some independent research and resulting in a longer final paper (15 pages). Text: Joyce, Ulysses: The Corrected Text (ed. Gabler).

497/8 G (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
TTh 11:30-1:20
Electronic Essays: Writing with Images on the Web.  A great deal of the course reading will be viewing Web sites that address personal and social issues such as ethnicity and sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration, nuclear arms, pollution/preservation, homelessness, and others which may come to our attention.  We will analyze these sites for technique and critique them for effectiveness.  We will especially be keeping track of how images are used and how linear/nonlinear the site are.  Final projects will be a Web site taking a position on an issue.  Necessary support for writing the HTML will be provided, but it is probably not a good idea to take this course if you have never written a line of HTML.

497/8 H (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
TTh 11:30-1:20
Imagining the Mediterranean in Early Modern England.  This course will examine English representations of the Mediterranean -- that place in between Europe and Africa, Christianity and Islam, East and West -- in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.  Central questions we will address include: How is England's identity negotiated in relation to Italy, Spain, and Africa?  What is the relationship between literature and empire?  How does early modern England think about "race"?  What is the place of gender in representations of the exotic, on the one hand, and the domestic, on the other?  Strongly recommended: At least one class in sixteenth- or seventeenth-century literature. Texts: Virgil, The Aeneid; Marlowe, Dido, Queen of Carthage; The Jew of Malta; Kyd, The Spanish Tragedy; Shakespeare, Othello; Anthony and Cleopatra; The Tempest; Heywood, The Fair Maid of the West; Massinger, The Renegade.

497/8 I (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
TTh 12:30-2:20
Comics Literature.  Comics have long been considered a low cultural art form.  In this course, students consider comics as a genre worthy of academic attention.  The course offers a whirlwind history of comics: early forms of writing in ancient times, medieval illuminated manuscripts, political satire and caricature, and contemporary comic strips and graphic novels.  The ways in which the interaction of pictures and words produces effects special to this genre will shape student investigations.  Students engage in focused study of a relative explosion of late twentieth-century graphic novels.  Questions of race, class, and gender inform this exploration of a genre that is popularly classified as being a white-boy thing.  Though the texts are in English, Japanese-style comics will be considered by comparison.  Readings include both literary and critical texts.  Assignments include response papers, a creative project and presentation, and a literary research paper.  Texts: McCloud, Understanding Comics; Sacco, Palestine; Spiegelman, Maus I & II; Barry, Cruddy; Dimassa, Complete Hothead Paison; Kelso, Queen of the Black Black; Horrocks, Hicksville; Chabon, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay; Knight, Dances With Sheep: A K Chronicles Compendium; optional: Robbins, From Girls to Grrlz: A History of Women’s Comics from Teens to Zines; Varnum, & Gibbons, eds., The Language of Comics: Word and Image.

497/8 U (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
TTh 7-8:50 pm
The Aesthetics of Multiculturalism.  The advent of a politics of multiculturalism in Canada and the United States over the past few decades has brought overdue attention to literary works by authors outside of the white, anglophone dominant group.  Just as these works unsettle any complacent notions about what it means to be North American, they challenge the universality of aesthetic standards.  In some cases, efforts have been made to develop more appropriate critical frameworks for the reception (and indeed the production) of works by minority authors.  Occasionally, these efforts have involved guidelines that prescribe a certain content or form to authors based on their ethnic heritage: for example, white authors who treat minority themes have been maligned for cultural appropriation, whereas minority authors who do not foreground ethnicity and/or oppression have been seen as co-opted.  The (real or perceived) prescriptiveness of multicultural aesthetics has in turn contributed to a backlash against “political correctness.”  Multiculturalism has also received criticism for underestimating the depth of diversity and for perpetuating the centre/margin model of ethnicity. Whether or not the concept of multiculturalism can support the emergence of more radical or autonomous forms of difference remains to be seen.  Recently, renewed attempts to define aesthetics in a multicultural age have involved a re-engagement with questions of beauty, universality and pluralism.  This course will trace these critical and political developments, exploring both the utility and the limits of multiculturalism for teh study of North American literature.  The reading list will include short stories and poetry, with an emphasis on contemporary work and on the novel.  The discussion-based seminar will rely on active student participation.  In addition to the texts listed, there will be a course packet.  Texts: Mary Frosch, ed., Coming of Age in America: A Multicultural Anthology; Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God; Joy Kogawa, Obasan; Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Dictee; Jeannette Slash Armstrong, Theytus; Michael Ondaatje, In the Skin of a Lion; photocopied course packet.

499A (Independent Study)
Individual study by arrangement with instructor. Prerequisite: permission of director of undergraduate education. Add codes, further information, available in Undergraduate Advising office, A-2-B Padelford (206-543-2634)

to home page
top of page