Summer Quarter 2008 — Undergraduate Course Descriptions


We will read works of fiction to develop interpretive skills based on a close attention to textual detail, an appreciation of context, and an awareness of how literary conventions affect the reader's participation in the creation of meaning. Critical thinking and analytical writing are the means and end of the course. Participation, presentations, and writing are required.
Texts: Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness; Muller, Ways In; Zadie Smith, White
Teeth; Mark Haddon, the curious incident of the dog in the night-time ; Melville, Melville’s Short Novels.

200 B READING LITERATURE (Reading (and Rereading) Hamlet) Gillis-Bridges M-Th 12:00-2:10 10951

Heather: “It's just like Hamlet said, ‘To thine own self, be true.’”
Cher: “Ah, no, uh, Hamlet didn't say that.”
Heather: “I think that I remember Hamlet accurately.”
Cher: “Well, I remember Mel Gibson accurately, and he didn't say that. That Polonius guy did.”

Amy Heckerling, Clueless

Cher Horowitz’s Gibson quotation attests to the way most students remember Shakespeare’s tragedy: via film. In English 200, not only will we examine cinematic and novelistic interpretations, revisions, and expansions of Hamlet, but we will also analyze the play itself. By doing so, we will develop strategies for reading and writing about fictional texts. Throughout the term, we will focus on several approaches to literature and film: close reading, structural and thematic analysis, psychoanalysis, and feminist theory. During the first week, we will develop our own interpretations of Hamlet before moving to other “readings” of the play, including Aki Kaurismäki’s 1987 film Hamlet Goes Business, Laurence Olivier’s 1948 film Hamlet, and John Updike’s novel, Gertrude and Claudius. As we explore the ways other artists have interpreted, recreated, and expanded upon the original text, we will reconsider and revise our own understanding of the play.

English 200 is computer-integrated, with students moving between a wired seminar room and a computer lab during most class meetings. The lab setting allows students to participate in inclusive electronic discussions, view and offer feedback on their peers' work, collaborate on group activities, and conduct web-based research. However, technical savvy is not a course prerequisite; students will receive instruction in all technical tools used in the classroom.

200 C READING LITERATURE ("Placing the Self" in Fiction by Women) Barlow M-Th 10:50-1:00 10952

This course begins from growing critical interest in literary depictions of “place” to ask how and why certain locales are used to express individual and group identities. We’ll read a variety of novels from the twentieth century by American (U.S.) women writers. Recent studies of culture, literature and the environment, and human geography will help us to explore how placed-based constructs, identities, and relationships are relevant to the literature as well as how they might impact contemporary readers. More broadly, the course will introduce you to the primary concerns and methods for critically reading and responding to literature. Because the course is intensive and based on discussion of the readings, active participation will be essential. Expect a substantial reading load, group work, short writing assignments, a mid-term, and a final paper. The following authors will be included in our schedule: Willa Cather, Zora Neale Hurston, Marilynne Robinson, Jamaica Kincaid, Linda Hogan.

207 A INTRO CULTURE ST (Introduction to Cultural Studies) George M-Th 9:40-11:50 10953

In this class, we will become practitioners of cultural criticism, augmenting more traditional ways of interpreting meaning and value in literary texts. This method of reading will allow us to mine the cultural assumptions and myths sometimes deeply embedded in an author’s or filmmaker’s text, relate those assumptions to real-world social contexts, and, finally, decide to what degree the textual representation of that culture invites us to cultivate, critique, or even condemn its frames of reference and mythologies.

By the end of July, then, you should be able to:

• Define the discipline of cultural studies

• “Close read” as well as contextually interpret “literary,” film, and Internet texts from critical and cultural points of view

• Understand the value of employing these dual approaches when reading both traditional and nontraditional (“literary” and ‘popular”) texts--cultural criticism crosses and collapses borders between “literary” and “popular” genres—so-called “high” and “low” arts--validating the study of traditional as well as less traditional forms of aesthetic expression.

213 B MODERN/POST MOD LITERATURE (Modern & Postmodern Literature) Wacker M-Th 8:30-10:40 10954

This course identifies in modernist literary, visual and political culture, fault lines employed by post-war writers in projects that are sometimes loosely filed under the title of post-modernism, but include post-colonialism, post-structuralism, cultural study and post-humanism. We will read the primary texts closely and contribute individual and group presentations on postwar cultural contexts and competing approaches to defining the period “after” modernism. We will also read in and beyond the English language tradition, ending our course with a work by a work from the Western Balkans depicting a literary life begun at the margins of major traditions and continued in exile.

Major Texts: Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Virginia Woolf, Between the Acts; James Joyce, Dubliners; Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart and Dubravka Ugresic, The Museum of Unconditional Surrender and essays by Achebe, Eliot, Woolf, Jameson, Kincaid, Lyotard and others.

225 A SHAKESPEARE (Shakespeare: Nation and Empire) Mukherjee M-Th 9:40-10:40 10955

In this course, we will read a selection of plays by Shakespeare; central to our concerns will be the impact on English identity of voyages of exploration and trade at the turn of the sixteenth century. We will examine the ways in which Shakespeare's plays reflect and respond to increasing contact with foreigner cultures--be it in America, Asia, or Africa. We will study how increasing awareness of other cultures leads to the elaboration of new notions of identity,sense of place, authority and nationhood. A major thematic thread in the course will be the emergence of ideologies of colonialism and imperialism as
represented in Shakespeare's plays. The latter will be read in dialogue with early modern literary and non-literary accounts of exploration, travel narratives, maps, and ethnographical studies. Requirements: Close attentive reading, regular attendance, participation, three short tests, leading class discussion, two short papers(3-4 pages), and one final research paper (6-8 pages).

More, Utopia (Norton Critical Edition)
Cymbeline (The Norton Shakespeare)
Henry V (Norton (The Norton Shakespeare)
Othello (The Norton Shakespeare)
Antony and Cleopatra (The Norton Shakespeare)
Tempest (The Norton Shakespeare)
A Course Pack

230 A(B ENGL LIT: AFTER 1800 (Poisonous Novels and Their Readers: The Production and Consumption of British Literature, 1800 to present) James M-Th 8:30-10:40

This course offers a fast-paced survey of English literature, 1800--present. We will pay special attention to how writers described their craft in relation to the public, especially as phenomena like mass literacy, mass readership, and mass publication emerged in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Our primary theme will be the novel and its controversial effects on readers: is novel-reading a morally corrupt activity? We’ll read some novels that seriously consider this question and other novels that make fun of it. Much of this course will focus on close-reading the novels themselves, but we will also discuss how each of these works responded to its social, cultural, and political atmosphere. Authors will likely include Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde, Aldous Huxley, Virginia Woolf, and Ian McEwan.

242 A READING FICTION (Family Romances: Reading Intimate Fictions) Harkins M-Th 9:40-11:50 10956

This course will provide an introduction to studies of the novel. Our specific focus throughout will be on “family romances,” fictions that narrate social, political, and economic conflicts as family dramas. Together we will ask: why did emergence of the novel occur alongside the emergence of the nuclear family in the West? What is the “novel,” and which media are included or excluded from it at different times? What is the “family,” and which forms of intimate and domestic life are included or excluded from it at different times? We will focus our discussions on novels and short fiction written in the later nineteenth and twentieth centuries, but we will also engage with critical pieces and visual media to test our understanding of “family romance.”

Required Texts: Nella Larsen, Passing; Junot Diaz, Drown; Fae Myenne Ng, Bone; Jeanette Winterson, Written on the Body. A course reader will contain short stories and critical essays.

242 B READING FICTION (READING FICTION) Peck M-Th 10:50-11:50 10957

Much of the allure of Modernist writing derives from the shifts in both perspective and technique which characterize it. In this course, we'll examine these innovations in light of the social changes that pushed writers (and all artists) of this period to forge new modes of expression. Each of the authors we will study was, in his or her own way, breaking from a narrative tradition they found inadequate for expression of the contemporary human experience. What, exactly, does Modernism reject, and what, if anything, does it affirm in its place? What aspects of this heritage have endured, and with what repercussions?

We'll read works by Hardy, Conrad, Hemingway, Hurston, and Salinger, as well as some literary criticism, to trace the shifts in ideology that characterized the close of the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries in English fiction.

242 C READING FICTION (The Graphic Novel) Simpson M-Th 12:00-2:10 10958

In this course, we will read a range of graphic novels by artist-writers who have helped to make this new form of story-telling worthy of critical and popular attention. Because there is only a slim body of critical work on the graphic novel, it will be largely up to us to develop our own vocabulary and approach. We will need to pay close attention to the aesthetic in these works, including the way in which image and word collaborate. Understand that this is not a lecture course, but one in which student participation is key. Weekly and diverse forms of group work are required of all students and counts toward the final grade, so please be prepared to attend and to talk. Written assignments will include two short close reading exams, and the choice of either a final longer analysis that can be based on one of the two short exams, or a creative graphic narrative drawn and written


281 A INTERMED EXPOS WRIT (Intermediat Expository Writing) Dillon MW 9:40-11:50 10959

What? No readings? No focal issues? No, our subject is writing and how it manages to (or fails to) persuade us. We will begin with a little theory about kinds of rhetorical aims, understanding rhetorical as "attempting to increase the reader's adherence to your point of view on a matter." The assignments in English 281 are designed to give you practice writing papers with four different rhetorical aims. That is, you can choose any topic for the papers, but the paper should be of the type assigned. These terms and concepts will probably be somewhat unfamiliar to you—feel free to keep asking questions until you get an understanding of the assignment you can work with. We will refer to these papers as arguments. They should be of moderate length (roughly five pages typewritten). We will devote some class time to advanced points of mechanics and punctuation and the analysis of style as it functions rhetorically. We will also pay some attention to the function of images in rhetorical writing.



While 281 has no formal prerequisite, this is an intermediate writing course, and instructors expect entering students to know how to formulate claims, integrate evidence, demonstrate awareness of audience, and structure coherent sentences, paragraphs and essays. Thus we strongly encourage students to complete an introductory (100 level) writing course before enrolling in English 281.

281 B INTERMED EXPOS WRIT (Intermediat Expository Writing) Stygall M-Th 12:00-2:10 10960

Catalog Description: Writing papers communicating information and opinion to develop accurate, competent, and effective expression.


While 281 has no formal prerequisite, this is an intermediate writing course, and instructors expect entering students to know how to formulate claims, integrate evidence, demonstrate awareness of audience, and structure coherent sentences, paragraphs and essays. Thus we strongly encourage students to complete an introductory (100 level) writing course before enrolling in English 281.

281 C INTERMED EXPOS WRIT (Intermediat Expository Writing) Taylor M-Th 8:30-10:40 10961

This course will be a workshop for writers. My premise is that there is no better way to improve your writing than to write. Yes, reading helps, grammar helps, talk helps. Assignments and deadlines help. But you must write. I will provide most of the assignments and all of the deadlines. I’ll talk about writing and I’ll assign some reading from current newspapers and magazines. I’ll refer you to good sources for grammar and spelling. But you must write. And you will, at and for and after every meeting. Five weeks later you’ll be better writers.
Outside reading, by way of sources and provocation, will come from current newspapers and magazines. No other texts.


While 281 has no formal prerequisite, this is an intermediate writing course, and instructors expect entering students to know how to formulate claims, integrate evidence, demonstrate awareness of audience, and structure coherent sentences, paragraphs and essays. Thus we strongly encourage students to complete an introductory (100 level) writing course before enrolling in English 281.

283 A BEGIN VERSE WRITING (Beginning Verse Writing) Seong TTh 9:40-11:20 10962

"In this class we'll be reading poetry written in the 20th and 21st Centuries, and producing a wide variety of the latter. We'll read voraciously and put what we read under a microscope, looking at how others (critics and writers) have responded and constructing our own analysis. We'll write fervidly, under constantly varying conditions, to explore the full range of work available to us. Our approach will be like that of a prism, reversed: we'll spend each week on a single color band—a single technique, or form—scrutinizing it and wielding it—and we'll work our way towards fusing these focused investigations into a unified sense of poetry's possibility."

284 A BEG SHORT STRY WRIT (Beginning Short Story Writing) Wong M-Th 10:50-12:20 10963

This course is an introduction to the writing of fiction. Students will examine and analyze writing strategies with respect to developing readable and challenging short stories. To that end, students will investigate risks and rewards of constructing a story, telling a story, and managing the elements of fiction, such as character, plot, dialogue, setting, tone, mood, theme, and point of view. Students will write a series of short two-page assignments, critique each other’s work, and lead a discussion of the craft of fiction using work by published authors. Text: George Plimpton, ed., The Paris Review Book: of Heartbreak, Madness, Sex, Love, Betrayal, Outsiders, Intoxication, War, Whimsy, Horrors, God, Death, Dinner, Baseball, Travels, the Art of Writing, and Everything Else in the World Since 1953

284 C BEG SHORT STRY WRIT (Beginning Short Story Writing) Brower M-Th 8:30-10:10 10964

Catalog Description: Introduction to the theory and practice of writing the short story.

284 D BEG SHORT STRY WRIT (Beginning Short Story Writing) Abood TTh 12:00-1:40 10965

Catalog Description: Introduction to the theory and practice of writing the short story.

300 A READING MAJOR TEXTS (“’Twas Here My Summer Paused”: Six Classics Considered) Walker TTh 12:00-2:10 10967

In an 1856 letter to R. W. Emerson, Walt Whitman wrote, “As for me, I love screaming, wrestling, boiling-hot days.” I can’t promise such weather in the coming months, but I can promise literature that addresses (or is set in) summertime. We’ll pass the long days with Shakespeare’s rude mechanicals, Whitman’s roughs, Lewis Carroll’s dormouse,
Emily Dickinson’s Tropic Bride, Virginia Woolf’s flower-seller, and Joan Didion’s hippies. Expect a great deal of reading, writing, and conversation


302 A CRITICAL PRACTICE (Cultural Studies of the Novel: Materialism and Formalism) Harkins M-Th 12:00-2:10 10968

This course provides a follow up to English 202, the Introduction to the English major. It is a practicum of critical methods. This particular 302 will provide in-depth practice in “cultural studies” approaches to the novel. Our focus on cultural studies will include attention to the following methodological questions: what is the “form” in formalist approaches to the novel? What is “materialism” and why would you use it to read novels? What kinds of critical practices – close reading, archive development, historical research – are important to cultural studies methodologies? Does narratology (the study of narrative form) have a role? By the end of the course, students should have a grasp of various approaches to the study of culture and narrative forms. Students will also have been exposed to a range of social and political questions related to cultural studies methodologies, including theories of race, gender, sexuality, and class.

Required Texts: Henry James, Daisy Miller; Jeannette Winterson, The Passion; Caryl Phillips, Crossing the River. A course reader will contain readings in novel theory and criticism.

302 B CRITICAL PRACTICE (The Visual World and Narratives) Simpson M-Th 9:40-11:50 10969

This is a course that gives students practice in reading and writing about theory. In this version, we will focus on theories that explore the relationship between the visual world and narrative. Our readings will range historically, roughly falling within the following 3 areas: the classical aesthetic question of literary representation as imitation; the impact of consumer capitalism on narrative forms; and the recent emergence and influence of popular visual narratives. All readings will be available in a course packet at The Ave Copy Center. Required assignments include: weekly group work; two short close readings of a theoretical pasage; and a longer final argument/essay.

310 A BIBLE AS LITERATURE (The Bible as Literature) Griffith M-Th 8:30-9:30 10970

A rapid study of readings from both the Old and New Testaments, focusing primarily on those parts of the Bible with the most "literary" interest--narratives, poems and philosophy. Students will be expected to attend class regularly, keep up with reading assignments, and take part in open discussion. Written work will consist entirely of a series of in-class essays done in response to study questions handed out in advance.



Catalog Description: Various modern authors, from Wordsworth to the present, in relation to such major thinkers as Kant, Hegel, Darwin, Marx, Nietzsche, Bergson, and Wittgenstein, who have helped create the context and the content of modern literature. Recommended: ENGL 230 or one 300-level course in 19th or 20th century literature.

321 A CHAUCER (Geoffrey Chaucer the Love Poet: The Early Poems) Rose M-Th 10:50-1:00 10972

This course will have as its matter the major early poems of Chaucer: Troilus and Criseyde, The House of Fame, The Parlement of Foules, and The Book of the Dutchess. The primary focus will be on his masterpiece, the Troilus. A knowledge of Middle English is not a prerequisite, since you will learn the ME of Chaucer soon after starting the course, by reading the first part of Chaucer’s General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales to orient ourselves to the language. In the early poems, Chaucer uses the French poetic tradition, explores the dream-vision genre and Boethian problems extensively, and experiments (as usual) with the limits of his genres and themes. In Troilus he has fashioned a powerful, paradoxical, erotic, doomed love story, whose “consolation” at the end you may find hardly consoling. Required readings include contexts as well as criticism. Quizzes, short papers, final, class report. Emphasis on close reading and class discussion, reading aloud.
Aeneid (any edition) to be read before mid-term

Optional: Some required reading in them. Copies on reserve in the Library and available at the Bookstore.
The Story of Troilus, ed. R.K. Gordon (Toronto: M.A.R.T.) 0802063683
Miller, Robt. P., ed. Chaucer: Sources and Backgrounds. O.U.P. 0195021673
The Cambridge Companion to Chaucer, eds. Jill Mann and Piero Boitani (C.U.P.) 0521894670


323 A SHAKESPEARE TO 1603 (SHAKESPEARE TO 1603) Streitberger M-Th 8:30-10:40 10973

Shakespeare's career as dramatist before 1603 (including Hamlet). Study of history plays, comedies, and tragedies.


324 A SHAKESPEARE AFT 1603 ("Patronage, Print, and Authorship before 1700") Coldewey M-Th 12:00-2:10 10974

In this course we will examine Shakespeare’s later works, including his four great tragedies (Hamlet, Othello, King Lear and Macbeth), plus two of his late romances (The Winter’s Tale, The Tempest). To better understand the tragedies we will be reading the classic “take” on them by A.C. Bradley, and we will be viewing modern films of all the plays to understand how they have been staged in recent times.
Coursework: three quizzes and a class presentation.


346 A STDYS SHORT FICTION (Studies in Short Fiction) George M-Th 12:00-2:10 10981

This class in fiction celebrates the shorter rather than the longer narrative—the reading, writing, and interpretive critique of it.

Ambrose Bierce will be one of the “unpadded” writers whose fiction we will read first. Bierce’s stories are particularly fascinating, especially framed within the contexts of Flannery O’Connor’s and John Gardner’s assumptions about fiction. Over the course of four weeks, we will read stories as a means of investigating what subjects Ambrose Bierce and others cared about and thought they might lose or have lost, and we'll analyze how they crafted "unpadded" narratives with themes and styles that shocked the reading publics--both then and now.

All of the stories we'll read are modern and contemporary, stylistically conventional or experimental. We'll talk about why.

My primary goals of the course include:

*increasing your reading enjoyment of the short story sophisticating your reading practices

*exposing you to a variety of fictional authors, genres, styles, and literary movements

*enhancing your critical abilities, both orally and in writing, to analyze, interpret and evaluate responses to stories

*convincing you that the critical reading of fiction can help immensely in the practical reading and plotting of life

Course print texts include Ann Charters' _The Story and Its Writer_ as well as one or two stories online or otherwise distributed to you.

353 A AMER LIT LATER 19C (Uncanny America) Patterson M-Th 12:00-2:10 10982

In America, the late 19th century saw the emergence of the nation as an economic and cultural power. As Americans looked to a promising future, the city as we know it came into being, the intellectual life was vibrant, and hope for individual accomplishment was bright. And yet the America was haunted. This is a course about the haunting of America, or rather, about the ways in which American literature between 1865 and 1910 held the mirror up to society to reveal its darker realities. Economic optimism was countered by works about poverty, the bright future was haunted by the legacies of the Civil War, and praise for equality was tempered by the writers’ obsession with the ways in which minorities and women were constrained by the very forces that offered such promise. We will use Freud’s famous essay on the uncanny to discuss the various forms of haunting in the period. Included will be real ghost stories by Edith Wharton, Henry James, and Ambrose Bierce, but we will also consider other forms of the uncanny, like the doubling of racial passing in Charles Chesnutt and Mark Twain, and the alienation in city life in Horatio Alger and Stephen Crane. Assignments will include in-class writing assignments and short essays.

355 A CONTEMP AM LIT ("Exiles & Expatriates") Barlow MW 4:30- 10984

(Evening Degree Program)

This course will examine contemporary literature that explores the experience of being exiled "from" or "to" the United States. We will consider: how the process of affiliating with or belonging to a particular place occurs, what it then means to be distanced from one's home or a sense of "home," and how the experience of being in exile or political isolation impacts individuals as well as the social groups, cultural norms, and national boundaries that they seek to alter or escape. Our readings will trace the forms that postmodern literature takes in response to these concerns and questions, especially the methods authors employ to represent history, knowledge, and identity. Class meetings will be based on discussion. Other graded requirements will include critical response papers, a mid-term, and a final essay. The reading list may include the following authors: John Okada, Graham Greene, Philip Roth, Jamaica Kincaid, Marilynne Robinson, and Ruth Ozeki. Some recent literary and cultural theory will guide us, especially excerpts from the work of Benedict Anderson, Linda Hutcheon, and John Carlos Rowe.

355 B CONTEMP AM LIT (National (In)Security) Cummings M-Th 10:50-1:00 13483

This course examines the use of “National Security” to mobilize Americans against identified “enemies of the state” from WWII to the present “war on terrorism.” It pursues this study through fiction, film, social science and other discourses on these and the following historical struggles: the Cold War, African American civil rights, the Vietnam War, LGBT rights, and immigration. Active and informed participation in class discussion, short critical responses to assigned readings, a group project, and a final 8 page critical essay are required. Required reading will include a course packet (short stories and essays) and the following novels: Chester Himes’s If He Hollers Let Him Go and Cotton Comes to Harlem, John Okada’s No No Boy, and Graham Greene’s, The Quiet American.

440 A SPEC STUDIES IN LIT (Special Studies in Literature) Davis MW 7:00-9:10p 13537

(Evening Degree Program)

Catalog Description: Themes and topics offering special approaches to literature.

477 A CHILDREN'S LIT (Children's Literature) Griffith M-Th 10:50-11:50 10988

We'll read and discuss an assortment of fairy tales, other stories and novels for children. Students will be expected to attend class regularly, keep up with reading assignments, and take part in open discussion. Written work will consist entirely of a series of in-class essays done in response to study questions handed out in advance.


478 A LANG & SOCL POLICY (Language and Social Policy) Belic TTh 10:50-1:00 13489

Catalog Description: Examines the relationship between language policy and social organization; the impact of language policy on immigration, education, and access to resources and political institutions; language policy and revolutionary change; language rights.

498 B SENIOR SEMINAR (Negotiating the City) Patterson M-Th 9:40- 10994

What is it like to live in a city? Jonathan Raban says that “living in cities is an art, and we need the vocabulary of art, of style to describe the peculiar relationship between man and material that exists in the continual creative play of urban living.” This course will be about the “arts” of urban living, both as literature depicts it and as we as inhabitants experience it. We will consider the city from two perspectives. First, we will read a variety of literary texts that emerge from the modern city. These will be stories about the new meanings produced by the city (Frank O’Hara’s poems), the new forms of the urban novel (Paul Auster’s City of Glass), and the new ways that people interact there (LeRoi Jones’s The Dutchman and Nella Larson’s Passing). These narratives and poems will be accompanied by readings about the city’s rise and its manifold meanings: Jane Jacobs on the sidewalk, Michel de Certeau on walking in the city, etc. The second aspect of the course will be the students’ own negotiations with the city. In a series of experiential assignments, students will be asked to “read” places and their movements within the urban spaces as corollary to their understanding of the literary texts.

back to schedule

to home page
top of page