Course Descriptions (as of 4 November 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.)
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
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.
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)
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 from English Advising, A-2B Padelford.
483 A (Advanced Verse Writing)
Intensive study of ways and means of making a poem. Prerequisite: ENGL 383. Add codes from Creative Writing office, B-25 Padelford. No texts.
486 A (Playwriting)
Students will write the equivalent of a half-hour’s stage time, do script-in-hand performances of their own scenes and/or sketches, critique each other’s work, and possibly attend rehearsals of plays in the Drama Department and at ACT. Add codes from Creative Writing office, B-25 Padelford. ENGL majors receive priority.
491 A (Internship)
Supervised experience in local businesses and other agencies. Open only to upper-division English majors. Credit/no credit only. Add codes 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. Instructor codes 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. Instructor codes in Creative Writing office, B-25 PDL.
494 A (Honors Seminar)
Realism in US Literature and Culture, 1861-1920. This seminar will focus us on the rise of a new aesthetic, which we now call realism, in the literature and culture of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The turn toward realism in literature and art was prompted by a number of distinctive political and cultural developments: the national project of racial socio-economic reconstruction and its eventual abandonment; a modern culture of mass reproduction and consumption; the solidification of an urban capitalist labor force and corporate practices; unprecedented waves of immigration, and the possibility of new forms of social mobility cutting across previous or traditional racial, class, and gender lines. In an attempt to recreate this tumultuous and exciting period of change and consternation, we will examine a number of textual and cultural moments and artifacts, running the range from the literary to the visual, from high to low culture. In many respects, this course will ask you to consider the debates of the period that affected literary production as well as the ways in which the developing literature of realism exceeded the boundaries of the literary text. Assignments for this seminar will be challenging, and they will all focus on the production of a final long essay. Required work will include: leading class discussion once a quarter; a response paper (2 pp); an annotated bibliography based on your research of a topic leading toward your final paper; an abstract for your final paper, of 250 words (based on your research); a rough draft of your final paper; and a final long paper (c. 15-20 pp.). ENGL honors students only. Add codes available in English Advising, A-2B PDL.
495 A (Major Conference for Honors in Creative Writing)
Collection of stories or poems, novella, or part of a novel – to be produced over the quarter. Emphasis on revision. Required of and limited to honors senior majors in creative writing emphasis. Add codes available in English Advising, A-2B Padelford. 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. Add codes in English Advising office, A-2B PDL.
497/8 A (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
Ecological Literary Theory and Fiction: Becoming Ecocritical. This seminar is designed to make you conversant in (and excited by) the theories and practices of ecocriticism, an emerging field of literary and cultural studies. Broadly defined, an ecocritical approach to texts asks questions about how the more-than-human other (the natural environment, the built environment, the animal) is represented. Furthermore, such an approach seeks to explore the stakes and consequences of these representations. Although ecocriticism is, fundamentally, an environmentalist orientation, this is not a course in nature appreciation or "nature writing." Rather, it is a course in developing critical frameworks for examining the contours and interpenetrations of what Donna Haraway calls "natureculture." Our reading material for the quarter will be equally distributed between texts primarily theoretical in nature and those primarily literary. We will begin with theory, in particular with essays that attempt to define and describe the methodologies of ecocritical practice, and with essays that introduce you to some of the major trends and concepts that comprise the field. When we turn to our literary texts, I will expect you to employ theoretical concepts from the beginning of the quarter as tools with which to open up and frame your readings. This course is discussion-based. Therefore, a willingness to actively participate -- argue, pose questions, critique the material-is essential. You will write position papers throughout the quarter and will complete an original research project at the end of the quarter. Texts: Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake; Don DeLillo, Cosmopolis; Barbara Gowdy, The White Bone; Linda Hogan, Solar Storms; Terry Tempest Williams, Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place; photocopied course packet.
497/8 B (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
Contemporary Poetry. In this seminar, we will read collections of poetry by various important poets writing today (mostly American), including Louise Glück, Carl Dennis, C.K. Williams, and Adam Zagajewski (who is Polish but often teaches and writes in America, and recently came out with an American volume of new and selected poems). We will also read some prose and theory on poetics, and explore topics in contemporary poetry, and will be visited by some guest poets. This is not a survey course; rather than covering major figures or topics in contemporary poetics, we will read some recent collections by some very good and interesting poets. Sub-themes that connect their work might include fragmentary narrative in lyric form; “lost” loves in postmodernity; and the title of Carl Dennis’s Pulitzer Prize-winning collection, Practical Gods. We’ll discuss though, whether there really are any overarching themes or poetics among these poets, or whether that question is not to the point.
We read deeply for varied reasons, most of them familiar: that we cannot know people profoundly enough; that we need to know ourselves better; that we require knowledge, not just of self and others, but of the way things are. Yet the strongest, most authentic motive for deep reading of the now much-abused traditional canon is the search for a difficult pleasure.–Harold Bloom, How to Read and Why.
In this course we will investigate what it means to read traditional – and nontraditional – texts in the 21st century to experience “difficult pleasure” – however different that meaning might be from what Harold Bloom intended. Some of what we read will be pleasurable, some frustrating, some even painful. We will read canonical and non-canonical texts in traditional hard copy, but much of our reading will be online and on-screen, against the conventional grain. We will make use of extensive audiovisual capabilities of our English department’s wired classrooms to investigate changes in our textual/sensual engagement and the depth of our cognitive and emotional reactions. We will, for example, listen to narrative texts almost as much as we look at them, and we will test standard reading practices against nonstandard reading experiments, some solo and others communal. In essence ours will be a class that critiques ways of reading in the twenty-first century – in mind, body, spirit. Course methods and requirements include curiosity about reading theory and practice; conducting primary and secondary research about reading literature, both online and off, together as a class and individually in non-classroom locales; writing reflective online journals and sharing results in discussion; attending class regularly – this is not a distance-learning course, despite its in-class experimentation with computer technology. Written requirements include the reflective critical journal, short papers, and a final exam. 497: Honors senior majors only; add codes in English Advising, A-2B PDL; 498: Senior majors only. Texts: Sven Birkerts, The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age; photocopied course packet.
497/8 E (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
James Joyce’s Ulysses. James Joyce once described the “enormous bulk and the more than enormous complexity of my damned monster-novel” as an “epic of two races (Israel-Ireland) and at the same time the cycle of the human body as well as a little story of a day (life).” This senior seminar will spend the quarter closely examining the single day which makes up Ulysses. Students should use the holiday break to familiarize themselves with Dubliners, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and The Odyssey. 497: Honors senior majors only; add codes in English Advising, A-2B PDL; 498: Senior majors only. Texts: James Joyce, Ulysses (Gobler Edition); Stuart Gilbert, James Joyce’s Ulysses.
497/8 F (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
Self-Help and Inheritance. “Self-Help” is the title of a best selling book from 1859 by Samuel Smiles, prototype of “self-help” books of our own day. 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 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: John Stuart Mill, short selection “Of Individuality” from “On Liberty,” Jane Austen, Persuasion, Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre, Rudyard Kipling, Kim, 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, a current “Self-Help” book, Edmund Burke, Matthew Arnold, Barbara Herrnstein-Smith, Homi Bhabha, criticism on Naipaul). Requirements: on-going seminar discussion plus 2 in-class responsibilities (whether leading discussion of a primary text or reporting on a secondary text); @5 pp. paper; @10 pp. paper treating more than a single text. If you choose these can be related, so that the second 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: Honors senior majors only; add codes in English Advising, A-2B PDL; 498: Senior majors only. Texts: Austen, Persuasion; Brontë, Jane Eyre; Kipling, Kim; Naipaul, A House for Mr. Biswas; Woolf, A Room of One’s Own; optional: Mill, On Liberty and Other Writings.
497/8 G (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
If I Can Get a Word In: Narrative Interruptions in Fiction, Poetry, and Beyond. What happens when a writer makes an unexpected appearance in his own work? Sometimes the entrance creates a hiccup, a frisson; other times it breaks open the work (and our hearts) completely. We’ll study such moments in the works of Milan Kundera, Michael Ondaatje, Franz Kafka, Donald Barthelme, Sei Shonagon, A. J. Liebling, Richard Pryor, the Anglo-Saxon poet Deor, and others. Texts: Michael Ondaatje, Coming Through Slaughter Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting; Art Spiegelman, Maus I & II.
497/8 I (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
Order, Disorder, and Civility in the English Renaissance. This senior seminar will read some of the most significant English Renaissance literary texts and consider their recurrent thematizing of order, disorder, and civility. Each text considers, or explores, “how to deal,” how best to order and discipline society and individuals. Beginning with More’s Utopia, we will trace a range of literary responses to a pressing 16th-century concern for ordering society amid changing times. Weekly writing assignments, several short papers, final project. 497: Honors senior majors only; add codes in English Advising, A-2B PDL; 498: Senior majors only. Texts: Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing; Henry IV, Part 1; Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus; Thomas More, Utopia; Sigmunc Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents; Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, Books I-III.
497/8 J (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
Critical Pedagogy and Social Justice. How do we learn about social differences? What are ways social difference issues are taught in various diverse classrooms? As a class we will engage with numerous recent texts (memoir, educational theory, literature, pedagogy and teaching manuals, film, etc.) that speak to such issues, as well as organize individual and group pedagogical projects. Strongly recommended: previous academic coursework on issues of power and privilege and social difference. Texts: Ira Shor, When Students Have Power; Adams, et al., eds., Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice; hooks, Teaching Community; Goodman, World, Class, Women: Global Literatures, Education, and Feminisim; Naples & Bojar, eds., Teaching Feminist Activism. 497: Honors senior majors only; add codes in English Advising, A-2B PDL; 498: Senior majors only.
499A (Independent Study)
Individual study by arrangement with instructor. Add codes in English Advising office, A-2B PDL.