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Optional Content Course Descriptions, Fall 2013

Below you will find the course descriptions for Optional Content courses in the English Department for Fall; additions and updates will be posted as soon as they are made available.

To read all of the course descriptions for the department, go to the current issue of the Undergraduate Bulletin or toTitanWeb. For more information about these courses--or about *any* English courses you are interested in taking--do not hesitate to contact the instructor named in the course listing in TitanWeb, or contact the English office.

Course & Section Number, Course Name: Topic



354/554-001, Studies in Travel, Literature & Culture (OC): Literature and Culture(Expatriate Writers in Paris)

Instructor: Christine Roth

Description:  Gertrude Stein once wrote, "America is my country, and Paris is my hometown."  Indeed, throughout much of the twentieth century, Paris exercised a magnetic attraction upon several generations of artists and intellectuals, large numbers of whom migrated to the French capital from all over the world.  The number of English-speaking expatriates was especially impressive.  In this course, we will study and reflect on the history of British and American expatriate fiction from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century.  Writers on the syllabus may include Arthur Symons, Oscar Wilde, Djuna Barnes, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, Henry Miller, Allen Ginsberg, and William S. Burroughs.  We will ask what characterizes expatriate writing thematically and stylistically; how fiction written in Paris in this period suggests ways of thinking, feeling, judging; and how expat writers' particular backgrounds and interests refract what they have in common.



365/565-001 Modern British Fiction (OC):  Love and War in the Modern British Novel

Instructor:  Stewart Cole

Description: This course will study works that testify to both the shaping influence of war on the British fiction of the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries and the continued prevalence of love stories in the era.  Spanning from the early-twentieth-century beginnings of Modernism to our contemporary moment, and reading works that take both World Wars as well as more domestic conflicts as their historical backdrop, we will examine the ways in which love and war entwine and interpenetrate:  lovers separated by war, the unexpected loves forged amidst war, and even love itself as a kind of war.  Authors to be considered include Joseph Conrad, Virginia Woolf, Ford Madox Ford, D. H. Lawrence, Graham Greene, and Ian McEwan.

English 370/570-001 Native American Literature II (OC):  Ojibwe Literature

Instructor: Miriam Schacht
Course Description: This course  focuses on Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) literatuare, both oral and written, and its relationship to Ojibwe history, culture, and politics.  Anishinaabe stories and tribal histories form the framework for many contemporary authors' stories and poems, and traditional stories are a literary form in their own right.  We will discuss oral storytelling and selections from collections of traditional stories as well as from histories of the Anishinaabe people.  The class will read texts from a wide range of Ojibwe authors in a variety of genres, and examine various critical approaches to these texts.



English 379/579-001 American Poetry

Instructor:  Loren Baybrook

Description:  This course will examine the major poetry of America since 1855, investigating the nation's most significant voices, from Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson to Robert Frost and Elizabeth Bishop.  The course will also study what a "poem" is, how it works, why poetry stands at the center of literary studies, and who or what determines the value of a literary text.  Prerequisite: English 281 or permission from the instructor.



English 387/587-001 Special Topics in Rhetoric: Feminist Approaches to Rhetoric, Writing, and Language

Instructor:  Samantha Looker

Description:  In recent decades, feminist scholars have worked to make women's contributions and perspectives more prominent within writing and language scholarship.  Thanks to feminist rhetorical historians, we're now aware that ancient rhetoric wasn't all Aristotle and Plato (Haven't heard of Aspasia? You will!).  Thanks to feminist linguists, we're conscious of how language features like the masculine generic (using "he" when gender is unknown) and gendered job titles (like steward/stewardess) perpetuate gender inequity in society.  Thanks to feminist writing studies scholars, we're now more aware of how gender affects our ways of writing and learning. This course will examine these and many other ways in which feminist theories and methods have contributed to rhetoric, writing studies, and linguistics.  You don't need to identify as female or feminist to enjoy this course; you just need to be interested in hearing what women have to say. 



English 394/594 -001 Multiethnic Literature: War and Multiethnic Literatures

Instructor:  Mijeong Park

Description:  This course will discuss a series of African American, Asian American, Native American, and Latin American literary works that deal with the Second World War and the Vietnam War experiences.

The Second World war and the Vietnam War have created numerous cultural productions such as novels, essays, memoirs, poetry, plays, films, and TV shows.  In addition, the wars made significant impacts on the social tensions related to class, race, ethnicity, and gender.  And yet, the popular narratives of two wars have not fully accommodated the accounts from many diverse parties and the ideologies of war.

The course aims to examine the issues that are quite absent in the popular narratives of the Second World War and the Vietnam War with the following questions:  What is war?  Can we ever stop war?  How do the wars relate to the building of the United States as a multiethnic nation-state and a global superpower?  How are the wars represented in the popular media?  How have racial/ethnic minorities been involved in each war?  How does each selected work counter the popular memories of the wars?  How does each writer express the unspeakable events?  How do the battlefield experiences resonate to the home fronts?

The reading list includes Joy Kogawa's Obasan, Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony, John A. Williams's Captain Blackman, Lan Cao's Monkey Bridge, and more.  Theoretical works, documentaries, and other visual texts are also used to supplement the readings.  The course requires active class participation, two essays, and one class presentation.



English 481-001  Seminar in English Studies:

Instructor:  Jordan Landry



English 481-002  Seminar in English Studies:

Instructor:  Don Dingledine

Description:  Come spend a semester at sea...without ever leaving campus.  In this section of English 481: Seminar in English Studies, we will devote the semester to studying Herman Melville's Moby-Dick; or, The Whale (1851).  Described as "the unavoidable centerpiece of the American tradition," Moby-Dick permeates our culture, inspiring everyone from graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and playwright Tony Kushner to Led Zeppelin and the founder of Starbucks.  It is a book everyone, especially English majors, should read.  We will explore Melville's commentary on his own age--a time of westward expansion, violent classes over slavery, and a looming civil war--as well as his novel's relevance to our own--Moby-Dick has been used, for example, to frame analyses of the War on Terror and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.


Along with Melville's massive text, we will study a selection of key critical interpretations of Moby-Dick and even recent scientific findings concerning whale cultures, dialects, and brain functions (leading some researchers to conclude that whales "fit the philosophical definition of personhood").  Each student will produce either an analytical or a creative seminar project, a fifteen- to twenty-page  work interpreting or inspired by Moby-Dick.  Students will workshop their projects in class and will be encouraged to share resources with their classmates.  This process will be facilitated by the fact that everyone will be working with the same novel; we will all be in the same boat, you might say.  Close attention will be paid to writing and editing as students draft and revise their seminar projects.  To this end, we will also read Line by Line: How to Edit Your Own Writing, another book all English majors should know.




703-001: Seminar in Criticism

Instructor:  Aaron Dunckel

Description:  This seminar is an intensive study of the contemporary branch of literary and cultural analysis broadly referred to as "ecocriticism."  Beginning with a general inquiry into what ecocriticism is considered to be and to do today, we will study its roots in late 20th-century concerns about the environment and the ways in which critical analysis and literary study more generally ignored or marginalized these concerns.  We'll investigate how ecocriticism carved a niche and began to engage with different kinds of literature and different approaches to the study of literature and culture.  Because the field is still young and the kinds of questions it engages are vast, the goal of the seminar is not only to immerse graduate students in it, but to contribute to its advancement.  Students will develop individual projects throughout the semester and workshop them at several points--these projects will culminate in article-length essays.




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by bushna27 last modified Oct 02, 2013 11:36 AM