Fall Optional Content 2012
Optional Content Course Descriptions, Fall 2012
Below you will find the course descriptions for Optional Content courses in the English Department for Fall 2012; 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 to TitanWeb. 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.
Optional Content Fall 2012
Instructor: Pam Gemin
What does "American" mean, especially to young people growing up in our culture? This course will concentrate on the “coming of age” experience as portrayed by a diverse representation of American poets, memoirists, novelists, and filmmakers.
Instructor: Laura Jean Baker
Course Description: In this course we will read an extensive volume of contemporary American short stories with a focus on point-of-view diversity. By living vicariously through more than fifty unique character perspectives, our capacity for empathy and human understanding will be enlarged.
Instructor: Stephen McCabe
Course Description: English 226 will focus on the evolving sense of self that writers explore in fiction, poetry, and non-fiction during the 20th Century. In the class, we’ll consider these changing notions of the self in an effort to understand the historical dynamics that influenced new ways writers discovered to write and think about themselves. In the process of exploring our course readings, we may come to better understand the many ways we define ourselves and others define us, as well as how our time, our sense of place, our communities, and our families influence the way we know ourselves today.
Instructor: Margaret Hostetler
Course Description: Medieval Literature will focus on medieval identities. How did people in various classes and professions in medieval Europe see themselves and carve out identities for themselves? What did it mean to be a knight or a monk or a nun? What did it mean to be considered a heretic or a mystic? How did issues of masculinity and femininity or other sexualities contribute to individual or communal identities? We will look at how those identities are represented and/or hidden in literary works and other types of texts from the 8th century through the 15th. Some texts we will read (either in whole or in part) include: Beowulf, Venerable Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People, The Letters of Abelard and Heloise, Andreas Capellanus's The Art of Courtly Love, Christine de Pizan's writings in defense of women, the Icelandic Laxdaela Saga, the Book of Margery Kempe, The Life of Christina of Markyate, Chaucer's "Pardoner's Tale" and "Prioress's Tale," The Wooing of Our Lord, Chretien's Erec and Enide, the Romance of Silence, and excerpts from various inquisition and trial records of both Cathar and Lollard heretics.
Instructor: Douglas Haynes
Course Description: As writer Pico Iyer observes in his book Sun After Dark, “The Other is everywhere today, not least on our front doorsteps.” This means that we don’t necessarily have to travel long physical distances to encounter foreign people, cultures, ideas, and landscapes. In this course, we’ll seek these encounters primarily through the burgeoning genre of literary nonfiction but also through philosophy, literary criticism, ethnography, images, films, and experiences outside of the classroom. These experiences will provide the basis for writing literary nonfiction of our own in order to better understand foreignness and ourselves as we negotiate this age of unprecedented human mobility.
Instructor: Mijeong Park
Course Description: This class investigates the functions of gender and sexuality in the formation of racial others, focusing on Asian American literature. Most stereotypes of Asian Americans are created under the sharp contrast of “feminine” and “masculine”: hyper-feminine Asian women (such as “Geisha” and “Dragon Lady”), effeminate Asian men (such as “Fu Manchu” and “Un-datable Asian Foreign Student”) and celibate martial art masters (such as “Bruce Lee”). These stereotypes are not only an exaggeration of the public perception, but also a production of racial and sexual politics overshadowing U.S. foreign policies, American history and the Western civilization. We will examine how gender, sexuality, race and the national identity of the United States intersect with Asian American literature. The course also discusses several feminist and postcolonial theories that are closely related to the selected topic for each text.
Instructor: Liz Cannon
Course Description: This course will explore the question of if and how British men and women wrote differently, concentrating on works from 1910-1938. Asking why both content and style may differ, we will look at presentations of British life and of what an artist is, seeing these topics play out in Edwardian novels, modernist poems, and Golden Age Detective Fiction. Authors to be explored may include E. M. Forster, May Sinclair, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, Mina Loy, Dorothy Sayers, and John Dickson Carr.
Instructor: Miriam Schacht
Course Description: This course focuses on Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) literature, 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.
Instructor: Tish Crawford
Course Description: In the course we will explore American Gothic stories by the two authors.
Instructor: Samantha Looker
Instructor: Ron Rindo
Course Description: An intensive examination of Wisconsin’s literary landscape, which features well-known writers such as John Muir, Aldo Leopold, and Thorton Wilder, as well as lesser-known figures such as Anish’nabe storytellers, poet Lorine Niedecker, and fiction writers Susan Engberg and Lorrie Moore. Together, we will read, discuss, and write about the work of several Wisconsin writers, and then students will develop final capstone writing projects focused on Wisconsin writers of their choice.