400-Level Courses

Course Descriptions (as of 23 February 2004)
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.)

Add Codes
English classes, 300-level and above, require instructor permission for registration during Registration Period 3 (beginning the first day of classes). If students have not registered for a class prior to the first day, they should attend the first class meetings and/or contact the instructor to obtain the necessary add codes.

First Week Attendance
Because of heavy demand for many English classes, students who do not attend all reguarly-scheduled meetings during the first week of the quarter may be dropped from their classes by the department. If students are unable to attend at any point during the first week, they should contact their instructors ahead of time. The Department requests that instructors make reasonable accommodations for students with legitimate reasons for being absent; HOWEVER, THE FINAL DECISION RESTS WITH THE INSTRUCTOR AND SPACE IS NOT GUARANTEED FOR ABSENT STUDENTS EVEN IF THEY CONTACT THE INSTRUCTOR IN ADVANCE.  (Instructors' phone numbers and e-mail addresses can be obtained by calling the Main English Office, (206) 543-2690 or the Undergraduate Advising Office, (206) 543-2634.)

Upper Division (400-level) creative writing courses
Admission to 400-level creative writing courses is by instructor permission.  To receive an add code, prospective students must fill out an information form available in the Creative Writing office (B-25 PDL), present copies of their transcripts verifying that they have taken the appropriate prerequisite classes, and turn in a writing sample for instructor screening.

Senior Seminars
ENGL 497 (Honors Senior Seminar) and ENGL 498 (Senior Seminar) are joint-listed courses; students choose which number to sign up for depending on their individual status. ENGL 497 is restricted to senior honors English majors taking the additional senior seminar required for the departmental honors program. Add codes for ENGL 497 are available in the English Advising office, A-2B Padelford. All other senior English majors should sign up for ENGL 498. Neither ENGL 497 nor ENGL 498 can be taken more than once for credit.

471 A (The Composition Process)

TTh 9:30-11:20


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: A-2B PDL. Texts: Joseph Harris, A Teaching Subject: Composition since 1966; Wiley, Gleason & Phelps, Composition in Four Keys: Inquiring into the Field.

478 A (Language and Social Policy)

MW 1:30-3:20


This course examines the great linguistic paradox of our times: that societies dedicate vast resources to language teaching and learning, but are often unable – or unwilling – to remove linguistic barriers to education, employment, and political power. Focusing especially on the spread of English and other international languages, this course examines language policies in a range of contexts worldwide, including Hong Kong, Japan, India, Yugoslavia, Canada, Australia, the United States, and elsewhere. The course will be of interest to students in English, Education, Anthropology, Sociology, Political Science, and languages. Because the course pays particular attention to language policies in education, teachers and future teachers will find the course of special interest. Texts: Tollefson, ed., Language Policies in Education: Critical Issues; Corson, Language Policy in Schools.

483 A (Advanced Verse Writing)

Wed. 3:30-6:20

--to be cancelled as of 2/18--

484 A (Advanced Short Story Writing)

MW 9:30-10:50


Reading and writing very short stories – as a way to understand the underlying structural principles of narrative. http://www.davidshields.com Application, add codes B-25 PDL. Prerequisite: ENGL 384, writing sample. Text: photocopied course packet.

485 U (Novel Writing)

Tues. 4:30-7:10 pm


[Experience in planning, writing, and revising a work of long fiction, whether from the outset, in progress, or in already completed draft.] By permission of instructor only. Applications, add codes B-25 PDL. Prerequisite: ENGL 384 or 484, writing sample. Text: Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilych and Other Stories.

491 A (Internship)

Supervised experience in local businesses and other agencies. Open only to upper-division English majors. Credit/no credit only. Add codes available in English 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. Add codes available in English 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. Add codes available in Creative Writing office, B-25 PDL.

494 A (Honors Seminar)

MW 10:30-12:20


Stategies of Interpretation: History, Politics, and Form in the Work of W. E. B. Du Bois. “Strategies of Interpretation” introduces English Honors majors to a wide range of methods for interpreting literary texts, analyzing historical and political contexts, and addressing questions of genre, form, and literary value. At the center of our inquiry will be The Souls of Black Folk (1903), the monumental work by the African American writer and activist W. E. B. Du Bois. In order to make meaning of this complex and multifaceted text we will consider the moment in which it was written, other period writings that treat similar issues, criticism written on it both at the turn-of-the-century and more recently, biographical material on Du Bois, and recent theoretical work on race and nation, racism and nationalism. Even as Du Bois remains central to our discussion throughout the quarter, we will always at the same time remain focused on the development of a variety of strategies for interpreting literary texts. In the second part of the course the interpretative tools that we have crafted while reading Souls will be used to produce criticism on other works by Du Bois including his romantic novel, Dark Princess (1928), and his genre-busting assemblage of poetry, autobiography, and polemical essays, Darkwater (1920). The course will conclude with a discussion of the relationship of literary form to political content, and will raise questions about our role as readers and critics in shaping the literary canon and defining literary value. Students will be expected to complete the course by writing original term papers. Add codes A-2B PDL. Honors ENGL majors only. Texts: W. E. B. Du Bois, Souls of Black Folk; Darwater; Dark Princess; photocopied course packet.

496 A (Honors Writing Conference)



Add codes A-2B PDL. Honors majors only.

497/8 A (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)

MW 9:30-11:20



Twenty-First-Century Literature. Where is literature today? The New Economy of the 1990s is history; the internet has lost its luster; we are living in a post-September 11th world of warfare abroad and orange alerts at home. “Postmodernism,” whatever it was, seems to be over, gone the way of deconstruction, poststructuralism, and other late twentieth-century intellectual preoccupations. This seminar will be asking, in open-ended fashion, whether today’s young, innovative writers are offering us a new, meaningful vision of literature and tis place in the world. We will be reading both prose writers (Rabih Alameddine, Mark Danielewski, Dave Eggers, Michelle Tea) and poets (Christian Bök, Kenneth Goldsmith, Susan Howe, Harryette Mullen). http://faculty.washington.edu/bmreed/ 497: Senior honors majors only (add codes A-2B PDL); 498: Senior majors only. Texts: Alameddine, I, the Divine; Bök, Eunoia; Danielewski, House of Leaves; Eggers, A Staggering Work of Heartbreaking Genius; Goldsmith, Soliloquy; Howe, The Midnight; Mullen, Sleeping with the Dictionary; Tea, Valencia.

497/8 B (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)

MW 10:30-12:20



Recent British Fiction. This seminar will offer a reading of six very recent novels from Britain and Ireland. “Very recent” means published within the past three years, and the aim is to give students some sense of the range and quality of contemporary British fiction. Four of the novels are from England, one is from Scotland, and one from Ireland. Two are first novels and the other four are by established writers. Two have postcolonial subjects and another two have wartime settings. Five of them (as it happens) tell stories which are in one way or another about childhood experience. All of them are interesting and challenging novels. They are: Monica Ali’s Brick Lane; Michael Frayn’s Spies; Ian McEwan’s Atonement; V. S. Naipaul’s Half a Life; Ali Smith’s Hotel World; and William Trevor’s The Story of Lucy Gault. 497: Senior honors majors only (add codes A-2B PDL); 498: Senior majors only.

497/8 C (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)

MW 11:30-1:20



Living in Place: Literature and the Environment. Our focus for this course will be upon how literary texts represent environmental issues and why it matters that they be represented in this way. How, that is, does the way in which people imagine the natural world affect who we are? How do our relationships with nature and our relationships with other people intersect? We will consider a range of prose texts, including novels, non-fictional essays and journalism, selected from a variety of historical and cultural settings. Course goals include: 1) developing analytical reading skills appropriate to different kinds of texts, 2) working on how to formulate and sustain critical arguments in writing, 3) exploring the logic and stakes of specific attitudes toward the environment, 4) understanding how environmental issues are linked to other social concerns, and 5) seeing how those linkages are affected by particular historical and cultural conditions.

What will make this class different from most other seminars, though, is that it is part of a collaborative project between UW and a pair of local high schools. We will be trying to devise effective modes of interacting with those other classes and of conveying to them a sense of the kind of work we do at a university like this one. The course will require some individual writing, but a major part of the formal work will involve group research projects, with small groups working on a particular text, investigating its public and critical reception as background for preparing a teaching resource manual for that text. 497: Senior honors majors only (add codes A-2B PDL); 498: Senior majors only. (Meets w. C LIT 496B) Texts include: Robinson Crusoe; Encounters with the Archdruid; Go Down, Moses; Origin of Species (selections); Wild Seed; Desert Solitaire; Ceremony.

497/8 D (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)

MW 12:30-2:20



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 to 20th centuries, 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 of the course and sets questions about the extent to which we are "made" by what has gone before, whether by 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, its seminar format, and significant writing component. 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 (with clips from BBC video), John Stuart Mill, ch. "Of Individuality" from "On Liberty," Charles Dickens, Great Expectations (with clips from recent film), Lewis Carrol, Alice in Wonderland, Virginia Woolf, "A Room of One's Own," V.S. Naipaul, A House for Mr. Biswas. Secondary historical/critical/theoretical material (short selections, not read by all, covered by presentations) drawn from: Samuel Smiles, Edmund Burke, Matthew Arnold, Barbara Herrnstein-Smith, criticism on Naipaul, Peter Ackroyd). Requirements: on-going seminar discussion plus two presentations (whether leading discussion of a primary text or reporting ona secondary text), 4-5 pp. paper, @10 pp. paper treating more than a single text. If you choose, these can be related, so that the seoncd paper revises and expands upon the first. The above requirements count 25%, 25%, 50%. No final. I am open to adapt assignments to your purposes as you conclude your undergraduate work. Research, discussion, oral presentation, and critical writing (in tight-focus and wider-scope formats) are practical skills you can enhance and lay claim to in 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. 497: Senior honors majors only (add codes A-2B PDL); 498: Senior majors only.

497/8 E (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)

MW 1:30-3:20



Drama on Trial: The Self-Conscious Stage. Our subject is the double meaning (and various shadings) of the subtitle. There is a long tradition in which the theater, distrusting its power of illusion, has been more or less conscious of its reality as theater, and makes a point of it in performance, refusing to be thought of as mere appearance, or misleadingly confused with life. At the same time there has been an emphasis on the idea of the self in the center of the stage, though that gets mixed up with the role of the actor, while the drama itself has been subject to critique, along with the “apparatus of reproduction.” . These tendencies, not mutually exclusive, have become so obsessive and sophisticated in certain advanced forms of theater, that one is likely to find no stage at all in the conventional sense, and sometimes even, no dramatic text. What remains instead is only theater, and instead of a character, only the self or fictions of the self; or in the breaking down and dispersion of the fictions, the appearance in the actor of the absence of a self. Or maybe the actor and audience thinking—as in recent theory, from deconstruction to queer—that the very notion of a self was, ideologically, an aberration of history. We shall discuss that unnerving (or is it promising?) possibility, while reading through, and conceptually staging, a spectrum of modernist and contemporary texts that point to the threatened or disintegrated self, or manifest it, shaking up the theater in the process. Expectations: aside from several short (2-3 pages) essays and a longer (12-15 pages) final paper, an activating presence in seminar discussions; no missing persons, no credit for blank stares. 497: Senior honors majors only (add codes A-2B PDL); 498: Senior majors only. (Meets w. C LIT 496C)

497/8 F (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)

TTh 9:30-11:20



History and the Graphic Novel. Although most of us think of them as serious-minded comic books, the illustrated novel or “graphic novel”, as it has come to be called, often documents significant alternative perspectives on the century’s most traumatic historical events and cultural phenomena. In this course, we will look at the manner in which some of the most celebrated graphic novelists have embroidered a distinct form of narrative, one that mixes documentary or journalistic techniques with the aesthetic concerns and license of the storyteller. Course requirements will include a final long paper project, preceded by an abstract, and a rough draft. 497: Senior honors majors only (add codes A-2B PDL); 498: Senior majors only. Texts: Spiegelman, Maus, A Survivor’s Tale: My Father Bleeds History; Maus II: And Here My Troubles Begin; Okubo, Citizen 13660; Satrapi, Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood; Sacco, Palestine.

497/8 G (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)

TTh 10:30-12:20



Contracts of the Heart: Sacrifice, Gift Economy and Literary Exchange in Coleridge and Wordsworth. In this seminar we will study the literary relationship of Coleridge and Wordsworth who, as one critic remarked, “not only pervasively influenced one another, but did so in a way that challenges ordinary methods of assessments.” We will explore the possibility of deriving from theories of gift exchange and sacrifice a new model of literary influence that would shed light on this remarkably intimate and deeply conflicted relationship.

We will spend the first four weeks of the quarter studying theories of gift exchange and sacrifice as proposed, among others, by Marcel Mauss, Marshall Sahlins, Georg Simmel, Lewis Hyde and Pierre Bourdieu (on the gift); and by Sigmund Freud, Henri Hubert and Marcel Mauss, René Girard and Georges Bataille (on sacrifice). The next six weeks will be devoted to the study of major poems by Coleridge and Wordsworth in chronological order, showing how the two poets, while desiring to imitate each other, find themselves competing for the same themes and appropriating each other’s subjects. Thus, while early Coleridge wrote successful nature poetry and Wordsworth portrayed moving stories of human suffering in a supernatural setting, after their collaboration on the Lyrical Ballads, Wordsworth turned to the philosophy of the mind’s relationship with nature, while Coleridge started to explore the effects of supernaturalism on the psyche.

Such moments of merging and separation can be profitably viewed through the lens of gift exchange and sacrifice. The gift, for example, generates a number of paradoxes that are relevant to the relationship between Coleridge and Wordsworth, being at once an altruistic model of social interaction, placing value on human bonds above economic or private interests, while at the same time remaining embedded in a self-interested power structure. Gift exchange often secures the privileged position of the donor at the expense of receivers and yet, as Mauss showed, receivers seem to retain “a sort of proprietary right” over everything that belongs to the donor. The gift thus generates the obfuscation of ownership rights and an erasure of the differences between donors and beneficiaries. We will see how Wordsworth and Coleridge, while collaborating early on a single unauthored volume (Lyrical Ballads) and wanting to write the same poem (“The Wanderings of Cain,” “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”), found themselves increasingly asserting “proprietary rights” over the stock of inventions which they initially passed on to each other according to the law of the gift. Wordsworth continued to use Coleridge’s ideas but tried hard to displace Coleridge as a gift-giving source, turning to nature or his private fund of “possessions,” to “Something within, which yet is shared by none” (“Home at Grasmere”). Assignments: A long paper (10-16 pp.), written in two stages and subject to revision; bi-weekly comments on assigned readings; a final exam. 497: Senior honors majors only (add codes A-2B PDL); 498: Senior majors only. Texts: Marcel Mauss, The Gift; Rene Girard, Violence and the Sacred; S. T. Coleridge, Selected Poetry (ed. Beer); Wordsworth, Selected Poetry.

497/8 H (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)

TTh 11:30-1:20



Hard Women Poets. The poet-critic Thom Gunn has grouped the modernist poets Mina Loy, Marianne Moore, and H.D. as “Three Hard Women”; the critic Yvor Winters once said that reading Mina Loy was like moving through granite. Surprisingly, these are terms of approbation. This course will focus on those poets and that premise. We will engage in close reading – intensive textual analysis and forma l criticism – as well as comparative analysis. Students are expected to be present as well as vocal; those who go in fear of dictionaries are not encouraged to attend. We will focus on the work of four hard women poets: Marianne Moore, H.D., Mina Loy, and Dorothy Parker. While our readings will engage the poems individually, we will also explore the issue of difficulty per se., what those difficulties imply in terms of a reading public, and different ideas of hardness. 497: Senior honors majors only (add codes A-2B PDL); 498: Senior majors only. Texts: Marianne Moore, Complete Poems; H.D., Collected Poems; Mina Loy, The Lost Lunar Baedeker; Dorothy Parker, Complete Poems.

497/8 I (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)

TTh 12:30-2:20



Reading at the Limits of the Human: Encounters with Animal, Environmental, and Technological Others. In the introduction to Zoontologies: The Question of the Animal, Gary Wolfe makes a persuasive case for examining the non-human animal as a site of philosophical and ethical challenge to the human. Considering what the animal is, or means, he argues, is “perhaps the central problematic for contemporary culture and theory” (ix). This course takes Wolfe’s proposition seriously. It also exceeds the category of the animal, including the environment and technology as other Others whose relation to the human we might productively investigate. Through examining literary, theoretical, philosophical, filmic, painted, and photographed texts, this course invites you to consider how notions of the “human” are dependent on and troubled by engagements with and disavowals of “non-human” others. The course will be arranged into three interconnected sections – animals, environments, and technologies. In addition to the required texts, films you will be expected to screen during the quarter include: Michael Gondry’s Human Nature; Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, and Errol Morris’ Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control. This course demands active and consistent engagement with the readings, class participation, response papers, and a final original research paper. 497: Senior honors majors only (add codes A-2B PDL); 498: Senior majors only. Texts: Kirsten Bakis, The Lives of the Monster Dogs; Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake; Ruth Ozeki, All Over Creation; Michael Pollan, The Botany of Desire; photocopied course packet with theoretical and other supplementary readings.

497/8 J (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)

TTh 1:30-3:20



Writing on/ about/ from the Border. Borders and bordercrossings figure prominently in contemporary discourse related to postmodernism and globalization, where they allegorize the transgression of limits and the breaking of containments. This generalizing celebratory border discourse is usually non-site specific or references site-specific borders (such as the Mexico-U.S. border) only in passing. What happens if one places generalizing border discourse in conversation with writings which are not just about the border, but actually writing from a specific border, such as the U.S.-Mexico border? The course will explore how texts from the U.S.-Mexico border, especially from the Mexican side, sit oddly against the body of border discourse common in the U.S. context. We will read Chicano/a literature (Gloria Anzaldua, Américo Pareders, Jovita González ) literature by Mexican border writers (Federico Campbell, Rosina Conde, the filmmaker Maria Navaro [El jardin de Eden])and other Mexican and American "national" writers who have turned to the subject of the border (Cormac McCarthy, Carlos Fuentes, Guillermo Gómez-Peña). 497: Senior honors majors only; 498: senior majors only. Texts: Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses; Carlos Fuentes, The Crystal Frontier; Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Warrior for Gringostroika; Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera; Américo Paredes, George Washington Gómez; Jovita González, Caballero; Rosina Conde, Women on the Road, María Novaro (Dir.), El jardín de Edén (The Garden of Eden); Ursula Biemann (Dir.), Performing the Border, photocopied course packet.

497/8 K (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)

MW 10:30-12:20



In this seminar we'll explore modern revisions of four classic texts of the Western canon--Shakespeare's The Tempest, Bronte's Jane Eyre, Conrad's Heart of Darkness, and Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. In addition to the four works, we'll read revisions produced by advocates for colonial and postcolonial cultures in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and the cultures of the African diaspora. Readings from postcolonial and feminist criticism will accompany our discussion of the social, political, and interpretive controversies these works have generated. Grades based on participation (class discussion, response papers) and three five-page papers. (Meets w. C LIT 493, 496A; Comp. Lit majors have priority, Registration Period 1.) 497: Senior honors majors only; 498: senior majors only.

497/8L (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)

TTh 8:30-10:20



Literary Culture and U.S. Neocolonialism. This course examines the relationship of the contemporary novel to the politics and culture of late twentieth-century U.S. Empire. It begins by examining U.S. Empire to be in part a cultural formation that depends on the production and circulation of narratives to describe, authorize and create a will for the exercise of U.S. interventions across the globe. We will center the question of how we might read the contemporary novel in American as a powerful cultural form that may represent, support or challenge narratives of U.S. Empire. Throughout, our framework for reading literature will be historical, transnational and geopolitical. We will focus on the events of the Cold War and decolonization; U.S. wars in Asia; and the economic restructuring of the planet called globalization. We will use our reading to ask broad questions including: How can we connect the political and formal developments of the novel in the United States after 1945 to U.S. global politics? What kind of empire is the U.S. How do international struggles abroad shape representations of American identity at home? How do the internal and global dynamics of empire-building shape culture in the U.S.? The reading list will include Graham Greene, The Quiet American, Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle, Theresa Cha, Dictee, Jessica Hagedorn, Dogeaters, Jamaica Kincaid, A Small Place, and Barbara Kingsolver, Poisonwood Bible. 497: Senior honors majors only (add codes: A-2B PDL); 498: Senior majors only.

499 A (Independent Study)

Individual study by arrangement with instructor. Instrutor codes, A-2B PDL.

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