Course Descriptions (as of 4 January 2000)
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.)
407 A (Special Topics in Cultural Studies)
Techno-Bodies. The socio-historical setting for what I have called “Techno-Bodies” is late twentieth-century America. Some attention will also be paid to influential body technologies from earlier time periods. The course title is intended to signal bodily typologies (elg., scientific classifications of persons according to race and sex) as well as bodily decorations, modifications, and techniques whose particular expressions include: biomedical detection and treatment of “disease,” body-building, dieting and exercise regimes, cyborgs or interfaces between human and machine, “technologies” of sex (e.g., sex therapy, how-to manuals, “pornography,”), cosmetic surgery, gender reassignment, and repro-technologies (e.g., artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization). The course is interdisciplinary; fiction, film, science, law, and criticism are among the disciplines we’ll cover in discussing work on the body. Texts: Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, Part 1; Leslie Feinberg, Stonebutch Blues; William Gibson, Neuromancer; Margaret Atwood, Handmaid’s Tale; photocopied course packet.
430 A (British Writers: Studies in Major Authors)
William Butler Yeats. This seminar will discuss various aspects of W. B. Yeats's literary achievement against the background of modern Irish history and culture. Requirements: midterm, final, research assignment. Texts: Yeats, The Collected Poems, Mythologies, Autobiographies, photocopied course packet including major plays, essays, and background materials.
430 YA (British Writers: Studies in Major Authors)
MW 7-8:50 pm
Charles Dickens. Major works of Charles Dickens, representative of his long and varied career. Additional required readings in Dickens biography and criticism, with some attention to various film adaptations. Student reports and term projects will be based on these secondary readings, but there will be close attention given to the novels and Christmas Book. Evening Degree students only, Registration Period Texts: Dickens, Great Expectations; Hard Times; Tale of Two Cities; Oliver Twist; David Copperfield; A Christmas Carol.
440 A (Special Studies in Literature)
Travel Literature: Romantic to Postmodern. This course will acquaint students with the fascinating but variable form of writing called travel literature. It includes 19th- and 20th-century poetry and fiction related to travel accounts of Africa, South American, Australia and Europe. Travel writing is not one of the established literary genres, yet it has intrigued generations of readers. Therefore this course must attempt to formulate at least some tentative conclusions to the following questions: What is travel writing? What are its boundaries? How does it differ from the travel guide? How does its history reflect the general movements in Western culture over the last two centuries? To what extent are European travel writers’ dealings with foreign cultures and landscapes culturally pre-determined. (Meets w. C LIT 496) Texts: E. M. Forster, Where Angels Fear to Tread; D. H. Lawrence, Twilight in Italy; Paul Theroux, Old Patagonian Express; Sean Condon, Sean and David’s Long Drive; photocopied course packet to include extracts from travel writings by George Gordon Byron, William Wordsworth, Alexander von Humboldt, Henry Haygarth, Henry Kingsley, and Mary Kingsley; recommended: Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness.
442 A (The Novel: Special Studies)
The Rhetoric of Fiction and the Contemporary Novel of Family Dysfunction. “It takes a village to raise a child,” noted Hillary Clinton a few years back, coining what has become perhaps the most sentimental of cultural clichés this century. The novels we will read and analyze over the quarter cut to the core of this popular proverb, their authors intent on exposing uncomfortable truths about the myth of “Family Values.” The village, they contend, does not “raise” so much as it ruins. Course novels—Affliction, Behind the Scenes at the Museum and Housekeeping—take at times a grimly humorous but more often harsh and bitter look at the beleaguered yet still popularly beloved institutions of community and family. Our goal will be to analyze each of these novels to find how their authors portray the plight of the individual struggling to survive in ironically predatory environments. To define each author’s particular outlook on the common theme of familial and communal dysfunction, class members will begin the course by reviewing the critical trends and approaches of Literary Naturalism, Reader-Response and Reception theory, Feminist theory, Psychoanalytic theory, and—foremost—Rhetorical theory. Employing these, we will analyze ways that each author uses fiction (1) to define dominant cultural values and (2) to argue how these standards victimize individuals within the larger community and the smaller family unit. One underlying course premise about all three novelists, despite their differences, is that they attempt to use their fictions to rid readers of socialized sentiment concerning family and community. Course requirements include an openness to considering various and frequently disturbing views of conventional ideology; interest in critical theory and the novel; consistent class attendance; thoughtful vocal participation; literate and persuasive written critiques; and a final examination. Texts: Russell Banks, Affliction; Kate Atkinson, Behind the Scenes at the Museum; Marilyn Robinson, Housekeeping; M. H. Abrams, A Glossary of Literary Terms.
452 A (Topics in American Literature)
Understanding American Culture. In this class we’ll concentrate on the vital cultural-historical-political context of the literature we’ve been studying in our American literature period courses. English 452 will give students a chance to read further than they have in the four areas we’ll cover: race and slavery in America, American religion, consumer capitalism, and gender in America. As a class we’ll read key scholarly works on each of these topics. Each student will select one area for special emphasis and a 10-20 page paper. The course reading will range from selections from Tocqueville’s Democracy in America and Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism to more recent scholarship on our four large topics. We may do some fiction and poetry, but the focus will be on the context the literature emerges from and illuminates. Texts: Wihthrop Jordon, White Over Black; Ronald Takaki, A Different Mirror; Mechal Sobel, The World They Made Together; Reginald Horsman, Race and Manifest Destiny; Max Weber, Protestant Ethic and teh Spirit of Capitalism; Philip Greven, The Protestant Temperament; Thorstein Veblen, Theory of the Leisure Class.
471 A (The Composition Process)
In this course, we will be talking about a number of the theoretical issues and concerns that have emerged over the past thirty years in the field of composition studies, focusing in particular on our everchanging understanding of the act of writing in terms of product, process, and post-process. Along the way, we will find ways to test these theories through practical activities in the classroom so that you can gain insights into what different students experience when they are asked to write and what different teachers and researchers think should go on when students are asked to write. In the long run, the main goal of this course will be to expose you to a range of theoretical ideas, curricular approaches, and pedagogical strategies that various teachers, theorists, and researchers believe are likely to lead to the successful teaching of writing. Your job will be to decide how to position yourself within this constellation of possibilities. Add codes available in English Advising office, A-2-B Padelford. Text: Joseph Harris, A Teaching Subject: Composition Since 1966.
479 A (Language Variation and Policy in North America)
Once we establish a working knowledge of the structure and function of language, this course will examine the social and cultural forces that lead to the emergence of language variation based on region, gender, race, ethnicity, and class. Special interest will be paid to the 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 view of the tremendous impact that the “new immigration” (i.e., the post-1965 immigration of non-European people to this country) has had on almost every aspect of our lives, we will discuss the impact of both the English Only and the English Plus movements on second language speakers and learners living in the United States. Texts: Resina Lippi-Green, English with an Accent: Language, Ideology, and Discrimination in the United States; Walt Wolfram & Natalie Schilling-Estes, American English: Dialects and Variation.
481 A (Special Studies in Expository Writing)
Writing Hypertext for the Net. This course assumes ability to write basic HTML and to move files around from/to Dante accounts. We will spend time browsing and analyzing good “writing” on the Web and discussing issues of the Web as a new medium for writing. Considerable attention will be given to design and use of the graphic side of the medium. We will do group work as well as individual projects. Texts: Musciano and Kennedy, HTML: The Definitive Guide.
483 A (Advanced Verse Writing)
This is an advanced undergraduate poetry workshop in which students will be expected to read the poems of their peers as well as many examples of published poetry in English. Scrupulous attendance and faithful submission of work (amounting to ten new poems over ten weeks, as well as revisions of those poems), along with a certain amount of discernment and goodwill, will be required. Philip Larkin says of talking in bed (IN a poem called "Talking in Bed") that it has to be "not untrue and not unkind." Our obligation in the poetry-workshop setting itself, in which intimate writings are subjected to public scrutiny, can be comprehended in that phrase. Prerequisites: ENGL 383 or equivalent; writing sample. No texts. Add codes available in Creative Writing office, B-25 Padelford, (206) 543-9865.
483B (Advanced Verse Writing)
Intensive study of ways and means of making a poem. No texts. Add codes available in Creative Writing office, B-26 Padelford, (206) 543-9865. Course added 11/10.
484 A (Advanced Short Story Writing)
This workshop class will focus on development of your individual voices as fiction writers and especially on revision. You will draft two stories and take one of these drafts through several revisions, as well as producing a handful of brief exercises. Expect to write a lot, and to read your classmates’ work thoroughly and respond to it with thorough written comments. As this is an advanced class, I’ll expect that you are familiar with the basics of fiction writings and are serious writers. This is NOT a class in genre or commercial fiction (romance, mystery, horror, sci-fi, westerns, etc.). Add codes available in Creative Writing Office, B-25 PDL, (206) 543-9865; prerequisites: ENGL 384 or equivalent and writing sample. No texts.
485 U (Novel Writing)
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: ENGL 384 or 484 or equivalent, and writing sample. Add codes in Creative Writing office, B-25 Padelford, (206) 543-9865. Text: Jeanette Winterson, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit.
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.
492A (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.
493A (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)
Heloise and Abélard. Peter Abélard was a brilliant theologian and teacher in 12th-century Paris. He fell in love with his equally gifted student Heloise, with savage consequences and a forced separation. This famously tragic romance was described first in a dramatic correspondence between the separated lovers, and their history was retold in many later forms—poetry, fiction, drama. It is a compelling story, and so is the story of the storytelling. We will be reading both—the story as it survives from the words of the lovers themselves, and as reimagined ore revisited in the words of others—from medieval origins through Enlightenment and Romantic culture, and on into modern times. We will study three versions of the story closely for what they can show us about the mind and literary imagination of their period cultures, as well as the many possibilities of interpretation one story text can contain and create: the original letters, where Heloise and Abélard themselves interpret the story they lived, followed by Pope’s great poem Eloisa to Abelard, and Rousseau’s novel Julie, or the New Heloise, with a selection of related material by others who rewrite or reread this story, ourselves included. There will be some library work in both original and critical sources. Text: Radice, ed., The Letters of Abelard and Heloise.
495U (Major Conference for Honors in Creative Writing)
Wed. 4:30-7:10 pm
Special projects available to honors students in creative writing. Required of and limited to honors majors in creative writing. Add codes in Undergraduate Advising office, A-2B PDL.
496A (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 Undergraduate Advising office, A-2B PDL.
497/498 A (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
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 through 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 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—providing a forum for reflection on your own educational experience as an interplay between self-help and inheritance. No better time to undertake this than in the first academic quarter of the new century! Primary readings drawn from: Austen, Pride and Prejudice; Mill, ch. “Of Individuality” from “On Liberty,” Carroll, Alice in Wonderland (with recent TV production), Dickens, Great Expectations (with recent film), Woolf, “A Room of One’s Own,” Naipaul, A House for Mr. Biswas, Ackroyd, English Music (2 ch.). Secondary historical/critical/theoretical material (short selections, not read by all) covered by presentations, drawn from: Samuel Smiles, Edmund Burke, Matthew Arnold, Barbara Hernstein-Smith, colonial/postcolonial criticism on Naipaul, Frederick Jameson, possibly A. S. Byatt. Requirements: on-going seminar discussion plus 2 presentations (whether leading discussions of a primary text or reporting on a secondary one); 4-5 pp. paper, 8-10 pp. paper treating more than a single text. These 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, 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 purpose of graduate school or other training, or employment.Texts: Austen, Pride and Prejudice; Carroll, Through the Looking Glass; Dickens, Great Expectations; Naipaul, A House for Mr. Biswas; Woolf, A Room of One’s Own; optional: Ackroyd, English Music; Mill, On Liberty with The Subjection of Women and Chapters on Socialism.
497/498 B (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
Paris Noir. In this seminar students will study African American intellectual production that generated in Paris after the Second World War. We will consider works such as Richard Wright’s Savage Holiday and White Man Listen! as well as James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room, Chester Himes’s detective novels, Carlene Polite’s The Flagellants and Ollie Harrington’s cartoons. Students will engage notions of national identity, race, including negritude, postcolonialism, and the issues emerging from the first Congress of Black Writers held at the Sorbonne in 1956. In addition to novels, we will consider works by Frantz Fanon, Aime Cesaire and Jean Paul Sartre. Each student will be expected to present a seminar paper and write a final research essay. Texts: Polite, The Flagellants; Baldwin, Giovanni's Room; Wright, Savage Holiday; White Man Listen!: Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks; Fabre, From Harlem to Paris; Himes, A Case of Rape.
497/498 C (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
Specters of Hamlet. This course will consider some psychoanalytic and post/colonial interpretations that have emerged in the wake of Hamlet in the twentieth century. We will begin with Shakespeare’s play, and then go on to read works by Sigmund Freud, Jacques Lacan, Nicolas Abraham and Maria Torok, Ania Loomba, Jacques Derrida (Specters of Marx) and Wulf Sachs (Black Hamlet), and films by Pankaj Butalia (When Hamlet goes to Mizoram) and Mrinal Sen (Genesis). Texts: Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus; Shakespeare, Hamlet; Sach, Black Hamlet; Jones, Hamlet and Oedipus.
497/498 D (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
Constitutional Fictions: The Cultural Jurisprudence of Race, Rights, and Citizenship in Late 19th- and early 20th-Century American Law and Literature. In this class we're going to read some literature, watch a film, and study some law. In these diverse materials, we'll examine the figuration of race, politics, and notions of equity. We'll consider what the different discourses have to say to each other and what role these particular texts have had in shaping our sense of justice and civic virtue. The texts include Plessy v. Ferguson, D. W. Griffith's "The Birth of a Nation," Pauline Hopkins's Contending Forces, and Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn, among others. Senior English majors only. Texts: Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn; Pauline Hopkins, Contending Forces; James Weldon Johnson, The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man; W. E. B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk; Charles Chesnutt, The Marrow of Tradition; Booker T. Washington, Up From Slavery.
497/498 E (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
The Trickster in the Modern Novel. An examination of the myth and use of trickster images in contemporary fiction. How trickster figures are used as key elements in the plot to foreshadow and illuminate events, and to enrich characters and the magical realism of the landscape.Texts: Gabriel Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude; Keri Hulme, The Bone People; Toni Morrison, Tar Baby; Gloria Naylor, Bailey’s Café; Octavia Butler, Kindred.
497/498 F –w/d Sept. 21--
497/498 G (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
The Epic and Modern European Literature. This course will be concerned with the early modern European tradition of the epic genre (Dante and Milton), and the transformations of that tradition in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. (Voltaire, Goethe, Flaubert, Dostoevsky, Mann and Beckett).
497/498 H (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
African American Feminist Epistemology. “To separate [black women] from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone.” So declared the 1954 Supreme Court in Brown vs. …Topeka, banning as unconstitutional “separate but equal” education. This seminar proceeds from this federal case to explore a range of issues related to African American women’s intellectual and academic lives. We will study black feminist epistemology—theories of how African American women learn (and teach); of how preliterate 19th-century black women developed knowledge, then articulated what they knew; of how race, gender, class and sexuality identifications affect learning; of how the complex, gendered dynamics of university classrooms influence learning; and so on. We will also examine the politics of active learning and its relation to contemporary feminist ideologies. This interdisciplinary course combines literary studies with feminist methodologies from such disciplines as History, Philosophy, Education, Women Studies, and Psychology. Moreover, although the formal research paper is a major course requirement, that particular assignment will probably not take the traditional form of researched essays written for English courses. Texts: B. Guy-Sheftall, ed., Words of Fire; A. DuCille, Skin Trade; Gibaldi, ed., MLA Handbook for Writers; Hacker, ed., Bedford Handbook; photocopied course packet.
497 I (Honors Senior Seminar)
Legends of Good Women: Ancient and Medieval. At the end of the fourteenth century the English poet Chaucer produced a collection of narratives he called Cupid’s Saints’ Lives (or Legend of Good Women). This contains stories about ancient women (and their men)—e.g., Cleopatra, Dido, Thisbe, Medea, among others—influenced by medieval hagiographic narrattives (saints’ lives) and by traditions of ‘courtly love.’ The course will examine the traditions—classical, religious, and courstly—in which such collections of women’s lives are told. Readings for the course will start with the Bible (e.g., Ruth, Judith, Esther) and Ovid (Heroides and Metamorphoses). We’ll then turn to some medieval saints’ lives, retellings of Ovid (esp. the Romance of the Rose), Dante’s Vita Nuova, and Christine de Pizan’s Book of the City of Ladies. We’ll then read Chaucer’s Legend and end with Osbern Bokenham’s mid-15th-century ME collection of poetized saints’ lives which were themselves imitative of Chaucer’s ‘Legend.’ Requirments for the course will include participation in discussions, an oral seminar presentation, and a substantial term paper. N.b.: 497 only! NO 498 component; senior English honors students only. Meets w. C LIT 493A. Texts: The New Jerusalem Bible: Standard Edition; Ovid, Heroides (tr. Isbell); Metamorphoses (tr. Melville); DeLorris/DeMeun, Romance of the Rose (tr. Horgan); Dante, Vita Nuova (tr. Musa); Christine de Pizan, Book of the City of Ladies (tr. Richards); Chaucer, Love Visions (tr. Stone); Cazelles, The Lady as Saint; Osbern Bokenham, A Legend of Holy Women (tr. Delany).
497/498 YA (Honors Senior Seminar/Senior Seminar)
TTh 4:30-6:20 (Evening Degree)
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 previous 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 Mad of the West; Massinger, The Renegado.
499 A *Arrange*
Individual study by arrangement with instructor. Instructor codes and further information in English Undergraduate Advising office, A-2B Padelford.