(Descriptions last updated March 6, 2001)
440 A (Special Studies in Literature)
The Novel and the Female Hero. Why does the title of this class talk about a “female hero” of the novel, rather than a “heroine,” and why is she a problem? Some critics use the term “female hero” to distinguish a character who is portrayed as attempting to take active role in creating her own destiny—to be the hero of her own story—rather than as a passive character to whom things happen (a heroine). As we will see, however, in readings from two centuries of English and American novels, the female hero’s attempt to act on her own behalf often brings her into conflict with cultural assumptions, leading her into difficulties either comic (as in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice), tragic as in Toni Morrison’s Beloved), or tragicomic (as in Jeanette Winterson’s Oranges are Not the Only Fruit). While the primary focus will be on the novels themselves, we will also read some literary criticism and theory that addresses the intersection of gender and fiction. Texts: Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice; Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady; Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway; Toni Morrison, Beloved; Jeanette Winterson, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit.
443 A (Poetry: Special Studies)
Poet and critic Rachel Blau DuPlessis distinguishes between poems that revise myths and those that critique and/or create them. In this course, we will pursue her distinction. That is, we will explore how and why poets might both want to imagine new “prototypes” in order to discuss the role of the individual in the creation of social change, and strive to reimagine “archetypes” in order to recreate, rediscover, and appropriate such (“essential”) human experiences as journey, rebirth, and transformation. We will devote our time, first, to examining the notion of “archetype” by way of those poets who explicitly engage such “mythic” figures as Mary, Orpheus, and Cleopatra, and, second, to constructing a notion of “prototype” by way of those poets who explicitly engage social “myths” of gender, race, and sexual orientation. Students should be prepared—indeed, eager—to read a great deal of poetry, and to participate consistently and thoughtfully in class discussions and group presentations. All English majors, creative writers, and experienced poets are welcome. Poets include: H.D., Tupac Shakur, Irene Zimmerman, Adrienne Rich, Walt Whitman, Nikki Giovanni, Bruce Feld, Gregory Orr, Sherry Lazarus Ross, and Robinson Jeffers. Texts: H.D., Helen in Egypt; Irene Zimmerman, Woman Un-Bent; Adrieene Rich, Poetry and Prose; Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass: The Death-Bed Edition; Tupac Shakur, The Rose That Grew from Concrete; Nikki Giovanni, Black Feeling, Black Talk, Black Judgment; Bruce Feld, Cleopatra in the Night and Other Poems; Sherry Lazarus Ross, Seeds of the Pomegranate; Gregory Orr, Orpheus & Eurydice; Robinson Jeffers, Cawdor/Medea: A Long Poem After Euripides.
452 A (Topics in American Literature)
Immigration and American Culture. In this course we will read and analyze a diverse set of literary and non-literary texts written by and about immigrants to the United States. Specifically, we will examine the historical and cultural background of different ethnic and racial groups and discuss how literary responses to the immigrant experiences contribute to, clarify, and perhaps recreate concepts of American people and place. Course requirements include active participation in class discussions, several response papers, an oral presentation, a mid-term exam, and a final, research paper. Texts: Jacob Riis, How the Other Half Lives; Abraham Cahan, Yekl and the Imported Bridegroom; Pietro Di Donato, Christ in Concrete; Willa Cather, O Pioneers!; Carlos Bulosan, America is in the Heart; Fae Myenne Ng, Bone; Ronald Takaki, A Different Mirror.
471 YA (The Composition Process)
MW 4:30-6:20 pm
This course, through reading and fieldwork, introduces students to the various approaches that guide the study and teaching of writing. In it, we will explore the different methods of teaching writing that have emerged in the last forty years, ranging from methods for teaching students how to produce texts to methods for assessing these texts. We will also examine the theories that underscore these methods, starting with the emergence of the process movement in the 1960s and then inquiring into its various manifestations (and critiques of these manifestations) in the years since. Along the way, I hope we can begin to think critically about the various practices that inform the teaching of writing, in particular, what values and assumptions guide these practices so that we all can become more self-reflective readers, writers, and teachers. Most of all, though, I would like this course to give us all a chance to think about what it means to teach writing, to develop and share our own goals for teaching writing, and to generate and articulate practices that will help us achieve these goals. Course work will include keeping a reading journal, conducting a brief teaching ethnography, preparing a bibliography and presentation, and creating a teaching portfolio. Add codes in English Advising, A-2-B PDL. Texts: Joseph Harris, A Teaching Subject: Composition Since 1966; Wiley, Gleason & Phelps, Composition in Four Keys: Inquiring into the Field.
481 A (Special Studies in Expository Writing)
Writing HTML. No question, Net writing is technology-driven: every year writers of HTML work with a larger palette of options—ways of controlling the display—and adventurous souls want to try those new powers out. Innovations in technology, however, have been running far ahead of innovations in content and meaning, and so the trying out of the new devices comes off as clever, shallow little demos. We will work through a number of newish devices of dynamic HTML, but always in relation to some pages and uses of those devices. We will read/view pages in class drawn from a list of net.art sites and do readings of them outside of class for posting on the bulletin board. These readings will be both of the Source and techniques used, and the meanings the writer is trying to get out of them. Final projects should fall within the traditional topic areas of English studies: homepages for companies, fraternal organizations, and bands—in fact, homepages generally—are not where we are trying to get to in this course and are not acceptable topics for the final project. Note: “481” means that this is an advanced topics course, not an introduction. If you have never written any HTML, you most probably will need more help than I can give in this course. We will work with preparing graphics for use on the Web; we will not work with Flash. Texts: Musciano & Kennedy, HTML & XHTML: The Definitive Guide; Teague, DHTML & CSS for the World Wide Web: Visual QuickStart Guide.
483 A (Advanced
In this poetry writing workshop we will concentrate on poems of place, landscape, and geography. As Richard Hugo said: the geography of the past shapes the language of the poem. Prerequisite: 383 and instructor permission; add codes in Creative Writing office, B-25 PDL. Students will be asked to fill out an information form and provide a current copy of their transcripts and a writing sample. Text: Field, et al., A New Geography of Poets.
484 A (Advanced
Short Story Writing)
Class will focus on the difference between writing narrative (summary) and scene, on what makes characters “breathe,” on the use of language, on using revealing details, on the role of setting in short stories. This will be done by analyzing stories of class participants and those of accomplished writers. Course requirements: students are expected to read and critique in advance (and in writing) the other students’ manuscripts, and to read the assigned story in the text. Prerequisite: 384 and instructor permission; add codes in Creative Writing office, B-25 PDL. Students will be asked to fill out an information form and provide a current copy of their transcripts and a writing sample. Text: Bill Henderson, ed., The Pushcart Prize 2000.
485 U (Novel
Tues 4:30-7:10 pm
This is not a course for beginning fiction writers. Just as one should never attempt a marathon before training at shorter distances, it is not wise to attempt a novella or novel without some experience in short fiction. It is presumed, then, that you are familiar with the fundamentals of fiction writing, of dramatizing experience, and creating a "fictional moment." For although we will pay attention to all dimensions of fiction, emphasis will be placed on those problems which arise from length--how one orders a longer sequence of events, how one manipulates a large cast of characters, how one retains a sense of unity and identity within the diversity which characterizes most novels. (Note: it is acceptable for this course, and in many cases advisable, to undertake a long story or novella before attempting a full-length novel.) Fiction writing is a serious way of knowing the world, and no time will be squandered on analyzing the purely commercial marketplace, or on how one might reduplicate fiction whose only function is the passing of time or the making of money. Prerequisite: 384 or 484 and instructor permission; add codes in Creative Writing office, B-25 PDL. Students will be asked to fill out an information form and provide a current copy of their transcripts and a writing sample. Text: Winterson, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit.
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. Further information and add codes in English Undergraduate Advising office, A-2B PDL
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. Prerequisite: permission of program director. Instructor codes in English Undergraduate Advising office, A-2B PDL.
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. Prerequisite: permission of program director. Instructor codes in Creative Writing office, B-25 PDL.
494 A (Honors Seminar)
Writing Revolution: American Writers in the 1960s. The 1960s have become so synonymous with social protest that it hardly seems worth repeating the point here. But what does it mean to say that the sixties defined protest and radicalism in the late twentieth century? What were the philosophical arguments and the political debates about on a deeper level? In this course we study the terms of protest by examining the combined creative and philosophical works of a select group of authors who “wrote revolution” in both fictional and non-fictional pieces. Course readings will probably include the texts listed below as well as a photocopied course packet. We will also see a couple of films relevant to our considerations. For new departmental honors students only; add codes in English Advising Office, A-2-B Padelford. Texts: James Baldwin, Another Country; Thomas Pynchon, Crying of Lot 49; Joan Didion, Slouching Toward Bethlehem; Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle; Oscar Zeta Acosta, The Revolt of the Cockroach People; Thomas Wolfe, Radical Chic; and Mau-mauing the Flak Catchers; Alice Walker, Meridian; photocopied course packet.
495 A (Major Conference for Honors in Creative Writing)
Special projects available to honors students in creative writing. Required of, and limited to, honors students in creative writing. Add codes in English Advising office, A-2-B PDL. No texts.
496 A (Major Conference for Honors)
[Individual study (reading, papers) by arrangement with the instructor. Required of and limited to honors seniors in English.] Honors English majors only. Add codes in English Advising office, A-2-B PDL.
497/8 A (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
The Sublime Experience: Subject and Perceiver. The sublime is an important touchstone concept for understanding changes in emotional and artistic sensibility which were taking place at the end of the eighteenth century in England, and for providing context for the reactions in the century that followed. In this course, we will begin with a philosophical examination of the sublime in the works of Kant and Burke, but we will quickly move on to artistic representations of teh sublime in visual art, poetry and prose. As we move through the nineteenth century, our central questions will be, what place does the sublime have in conventional, respectable Victorian society? And what happens when the sublime, usually manifested by scenes of nature, is instead manifested in a human being? Through this examination of the sublime, we will address such issues as gender differences, religion, and social relations in a developing industrial/capitalist society. 497: Honors Senior Majors only; add codes in A-2-B PDL (English Advising); 498: Senior Majors only. Texts: Thomas Carlye, Sartor Resartus; Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights; Anne Bronte, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall; Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness; Mary Shelley, Frankenstein.
497/8 B (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
Colonial and Post Colonial Writers and Writing from the Archipelago and the Continent. This course will look at Philippine writing under colonialism (Spain, United States) and after with side trips to the cosmopolitan center with Philippine-American writers. 497: Honors Senior Majors only; add codes in A-2-B PDL (English Advising); 498: Senior Majors only. Texts: Jose Rizal, Noli me tangere; N. V. M. Gonzalez, A Season of Grace; Work on the Mountain; Carlos Bulosan, America is in the Heart; F. Sionil Jose, Dusk; Jessica Haggedorn, Dogeaters; Peter Bacho, Cebu.
497/8 C (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
Reproduction, Race, Science, Fiction. New reproductive technologies, biotechnological processes, biogenetic products, research on the human genome, and gestational surrogacy arrangements have irreversibly altered the nature and meaning of human reproduction. This course will examine how the representation of human reproduction in a variety of works of science fiction and theory have reflected and refracted these transformations. We will explore how reproduction has been variously cast as a natural, technological, scientifically rational, and pathological process, and will pay especially close attention to the construction of the relationship that exist among ideas about the reproduction of human populations, racial formations, and national formations. Throughout the quarter we will ask: How have cultural, political, and economic pressures shaped the representation of reproduction in literature and film? How have writers, filmmakers and scholars attempted to contest and/or redefine the meaning(s) of reproduction? How does SF express a particularly forceful reproductive imagination? What can we learn about our historical moment by reading SF? 497: Honors Senior Majors only; add codes in A-2-B PDL (English Advising); 498: Senior Majors only. Texts: Octavia Butler, Bloodchild; Lilith’s Brood; Dorothy Roberts, Killing the Black Body; Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Herland; Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale; Mark Twain, Puddn’head Wilson; Vandana Shiva, Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge.
497/8 D (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
Nineteenth-Century American Literature: Alternative Images of the Nation. We’ll begin by studying efforts to create mainstream, middle-class models of nineteenth-century American life: safely stereotypic visions of national culture and experience promoted through popular "fireside poetry," Currier and Ives engravings, and other art forms. Then we’ll explore, in dramatic contrast, a series of literary texts in which the meaning of America is hazarded into an agitated interplay of perspectives, in which voices excluded from the official cultural mainstream are attended to, and in which otherwise neglected aspects of the historical moment are granted visibility. We’ll be studying the battle between stereotype and underlying social complexity, between the official cultural mainstream and what it would exile to its margins, as this battle is fought in novels and biographies, poems and tales. Readings in Douglass, Fuller, Whittier, Whitman, Thoreau, Melville, Hawthorne, Rebecca Harding Davis, Chopin, and Crane. 497: Honors Senior Majors only; add codes in A-2-B PDL (English Advising); 498: Senior Majors only. Texts: Margaret Fuller, Summer on the Lakes, In 1843; Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave; Henry Thoreau, The Portable Thoreau; Rebecca Harding Davis, Life in the Iron Mills and Other Stories; Kate Chopin, The Awakening and Selected Stories; Stephen Crane, The Portable Stephen Crane: Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Portable Hawthorne.
497/8 E (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
Theories of Americanization. This course will address the questions of “What does it mean to be an American?” and “How does one become an American” by taking these and other questions up in relation to literary, historical, and sociological works centered around turn-of-the-century America. Requirements include class participation, class presentation, several short response papers and a final paper. In addition to listed books, there will also be a course reader. 497: Honors Senior Majors only; add codes in A-2-B PDL (English Advising); 498: Senior Majors only. Texts: Americo Paredes, George Washington Gomez; W.E.B. DuBois, Souls of Black Folk; Abraham Cahan, Yekl; Israel Zangwill, The Melting Pot; James Weldon Johnson, Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man; Charles W. Chesnutt, The Marrow of Tradition; Willa Cather, O Pioneers!; Nella Larsen, Quicksand/Passing; photocopied course packet.
497/8 F (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
Fiction and Freud. Freud is essentially background material: we spend most of our time on a close reading (and re-reading) of two richly complex novels, with particular emphasis on how these anticipate, complicate, and above all dramatize aspects of Freud's thesis. Texts: Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents; E. Bronte, Wuthering Heights; Dickens, Great Expectations.
497/8 G (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
Where the Boys Are: Middle-Class Women and the Marriage Plot, 1816 to Present. This course takes a literary and historical approach to constructions of class, gender, and sexuality and the plotting of “domestic” narratives over nearly 200 years in literature and film. We begin with Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, move to poetry, prose and journalism of the early and mid-Victorian era, read a mid-Victorian “sensation” novel, and a “New Woman” novel from the fin de siècle. Our consideration of twentieth-century courtship and marriage plots concentrates on films from the 1960s (Where the Boys Are), 1970s (An Unmarried Woman), 1980s (Pretty Woman), and 1990s (Sense and Sensibility). This course is especially designed for those who enjoy analyzing literature and film within a cross-disciplinary, theoretical and historiographic frame. Reading requirements are demanding. 497: Honors Senior Majors only; add codes in A-2-B PDL (English Advising); 498: Senior Majors only. Texts: Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility; John Stuart Mill, On Liberty; The Subjection of Women; George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss; Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones’s Diary; photocopied course packet.
497/8 H (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
“Let’s Play Master and Servant”: Sadomasochism in Literature, Film, Culture, and Theory. This seminar offers an in-depth critical examination of theories, practices, and representations of sadomasochism. Some questions we will take up include: What generates the desire to dominate, control, and degrade, and conversely, the willingness to embrace or eroticize submission and suffering? Does it make sense to speak of an entity “sadomasochism,” or are sadism and masochism fundamentally different phenomena? To what degree is it possible or desirable to generalize paradigms developed to explain sexual sadomasochism onto other aspects of human experience that involve power differentials? If we do generalize these paradigms, what knowledge is gained about power, oppression, gender, race, sexuality, class? To what extent do sado-masochistic fantasy and play participate in and reinforce systems of power, and to what extent do they challenge, mimic, or expose power’s mechanisms? The seminar is suitable for students interested in cross-disciplinary and theoretically inflected examination of literature and culture. Some experience with critical theory is desirable. Be advised that some of the course material is graphic and potentially disturbing. If this is a problem for you, please register for a different course. 497: Honors Senior Majors only; add codes in A-2-B PDL (English Advising); 498: Senior Majors only. Texts: Jessica Benjamin, The Bonds of Love; Gilles Deleuze, Masochism; Jerzy Kosinski, Steps; Charles Dickens, Great Expectations; Lynn Chancer, Sado-masochism in Everyday Life; Mark Thompson, ed., Leatherfolk; Robert Browning, “My Last Duchess” and Other Poems; Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish; Cuck Palahniuk, Fight Club; Pauline Reage, Story of O.
497/8 I (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
America Everyday. This seminar will be devoted to a mundane question: What is it like to live everyday? The focus of the course will be on the literature, films, and theories of everyday life. A survey of Books in Print discovered over 1000 titles containing the word “everyday,” yet it’s clear they don’t agree what the term means. This course isn’t about a definition, but rather about the assumptions we make about the common, the ubiquitous, the mundane. The everyday seems obvious and everywhere, yet it’s also invisible to us. In order to understand the ways in which we use and yet overlook the everyday, the course will be divided into three sections. The first, “Theorizing the Everyday,” will be devoted to the ways theorists (Foucault, Marxists like Henri Lebebvre, and poststructuralists) have come to study the everyday. In addition, we will look at how writers such as Frank O’Hara have used the “everyday” as signposts in their works. The second section, ‘Objects,” will look at how artists and literary theorists—like Roland Barthes, Susan Willis, Lea Cohen, and others—focus our attention on everyday things, including how and what we consume. This section will include discussion of The Bluest Eye, which is about how abstract concepts like race and gender themselves become commodities. The final section, “Everyday Realities,” will look at fictional and visual representations of everyday existence. Included will be Nicholson Baker, the films, Groundhog Day and Smoke, The Truman Show, and so-called “reality”-based TV shows like Survivor. Requirements will include short essays, and one long project on an everyday subject of your choosing. 497: Honors Senior Majors only; add codes in A-2-B PDL (English Advising); 498: Senior Majors only. Texts: Susan Willis, A Primer for Daily Life; Nicholson Baker, Room Temperature; Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye; Roland Barthes, Mythologies; Leah Cohen, Glass, Paper, Beans.
497/8 J (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar
Extremities of Drama: Revolution, Terror, Apocalypse. “In the destructive element, immerse....” There were times during the twentieth century when Joseph Conrad’s mandate of modernity, its apocalyptic imperative for the artist, seemed more than realized by the sinkhole of history, its atrocities, devastations, and ubiquitous terror. As for the utopian dream of revolution, its recurring scenario—dramaturgically worked out in the eighteenth century: proclamations of human rights disenchanted by the Reign of Terror—is still competing with catastrophe, or the prospect of it, past the millennium. If somehow the dream continues, it is as a counterpoint to apocalyptic thinking, while the revolution awaits its lasting incarnation. It is precisely this counterpoint we shall be studying in the seminar, from perhaps the most brilliant drama ever written on the illusion of revolution, Georg Büchner’s Danton’s Death, through Jean Genet's The Screens--both revolutionary and apocalyptic at once, as it moves from the world of the living to the world of the dead--to Heiner Muller's The Task, in which the Angel of Despair declares: "I am the knife with which the dead man cracks open his coffin." As with the Holocaust drama of Liliane Atlan, which derives a certain sublimity from the Valley of Bones, we shall be reading, then, at the extremities of drama, including plays from the once-incendiary, now-classical repertoire of Expressionism, as well as more contemporary material by Edward Bond, Howard Brenton, Griselda Gambaro, and Jose Rivera. 497: Honors Senior Majors only; add codes in A-2-B PDL (English Advising); 498: Senior Majors only. Texts: Georg Buchner, Complete Plays & Prose; Mel Gordon, ed., Expressionist Texts; Peter Weiss, Marat/Sade; Jean Genet, The Screens; Heiner Muller, Hamletmachine & Other Texts; Liliane Atlan, Theater Pieces: An Anthology; Edward Bond, The Worlds; Lear; Howard Brenton, Magnificence; Romans in Britain; Griselda Gambaro, Information for Foreigners; Jose Rivera, Marisol & Other Plays.
497/8 K (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
White Women’s Writing about the American Frontier. As the mistresses of European immigrants’ frontier households, white women were often charged with the cultural responsibility of bringing order to the so-called “untamed” woods. Yet the frontier itself was also approached as a passive, feminine space, waiting to be taken. In this course we will try to understand how this central dilemma has been treated in works by white women where they attempt to articulate their identities as race and gendered national subjects against the concept of the American frontier and the society that emerged there. Seminar participants will be asked to lead some discussions and write a final 15-page critical essay. Class grade will weigh heavily on the essay, although class participation will also be a major component of the grade. 497: Honors Senior Majors only; add codes in A-2-B PDL (English Advising); 498: Senior Majors only. Texts: Derounian-Stodola, ed., Women’s Indian Captivity Narratives; Sedgwick, Hope Leslie; Kirkland, A New Home, Who’ll Follow?; Child, Hobomok; Jewett, The Country of Pointed Firs; Cather, My Antonia; Proulx, Close Range.
497/8 YA (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
TTh 7-8:50 pm
Modernist Perversion. Narratives of sex and gender deviance proliferated during the modernist period, as writers attempted variously to defend, celebrate, problematize, or explain newly visible forms of erotic difference. This seminar attends primarily to seven fictions perverse not only in topic, but also in form; that is to say, stories that are themselves more than a bit peculiar, queerly askew of the narrative norm, stylistically conforming to their nonconformist subject material. At issue is the extent to which perversity influences formal innovation, what unconventional sexualities and genders have to do with new literary practices. These texts, spanning the period from the 1980s to the 1930s, raise important questions about what it means to be a woman or a man, what counts as obscene, what should or shouldn’t be hidden, what happens when moral judgments become oppressive, and what human freedom means. We will also consider the intersection of our fictions with historically concurrent narratives of feminism, colonialism, and racial otherness. This seminar should be particularly interesting to students of queer studies, gender, and modernism, as well as those with a love for audacity. Although we will analyze Freud’s Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality as imaginative literature, we will also read what are putatively novels as theoretical works. 497: Honors Senior Majors only; add codes in A-2-B PDL (English Advising); 498: Senior Evening Degree Majors only, Registration Period 1; Senior majors only, Registration Period 2. Texts: Djuna Barnes, Nightwood; Sigmund Freud, Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality; André Gide, The Immoralist; Wallace Thurman, Infants of the Spring; Oscar Wild, The Picture of Dorian Gray; Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own; Orlando; photocopied course packet.
499 A (Independent Study)
Individual study by arrangement with instructor. Instructor codes and further information in English Undergraduate Advising office, A-2B Padelford.