ENGL 293 - Topics in American Literature
Planned Offering: Fall, Winter, Spring
Prerequisite: Completion of the FW requirement. Studies in American literature, supported by attention to historical contexts. Versions of this course may survey several periods or concentrate on a group of works from a short span of time. Students develop their analytical writing skills in a series of short papers. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.
Spring 2015 topic:
ENGL 293-01: Topics in American Literature: American Short Story (4). This course is a study of the evolution of the short story in America from its roots, both domestic and international, tracing the main branches of its development in the 20th century. We also explore more recent permutations of the genre, such as magical realism, new realism, and minimalism. Having gained an appreciation for the history and variety of this distinctly modern genre, we focus our attention on the work of two American masters of the form, contemporaries and erstwhile friends who frequently read and commented on each other’s work—Hemingway and Fitzgerald. We examine how they were influenced by their predecessors and by each other and how each helped to shape the genre. (HL) Oliver
Winter 2015 topics:
ENGL 293-01: Topics in American Literature: Form and Freedom in Modern American Poetry (3). Robert Frost once said that writing free verse is like playing tennis without a net. This course challenges that statement by examining the structure of free verse, from Whitman and Williams through J. Ivy, before considering all the freedom that poets like Frost, Bishop, and Wilbur found in sonnets, villanelles and sestinas. An overview of American lyric poetry from the past 150 years. (HL) Brodie.
ENGL 293-02: Topics in American Literature: Chicana/o or Mexican American Literature (3). This course explores a broad spectrum of the forms and genres of Chicana/o literature produced over the last 30 years, including the political treatise, novel, short story, and poem. Readings, videos and guest speakers discuss the historical and literary contexts of Chicana/o literature, bringing to light the multiple intersections of race, gender, class, and sexuality. The scope of the course covers the foundational texts of Chicana/o literature beginning with Movement-inspired concepts and moving through a sampling of the new terrain being explored by feminists, cultural critics, and queer writers at the beginning of the 21st century. Typical authors featured include Rivera, Rodriguez, Cisneros, Anzaldua, Trujillo, Anaya, Viramontes. (HL) Miranda.
Fall 2014 topic:
ENGL 293-01: Topics in American Literature: Spectatorship and Sexuality (3). How might we come to understand the relationship between image, spectatorship and gender? For the past 40 years, cinema has been a principle terrain upon which feminist debates over representation and identity have emerged. Through a sampling of key films and texts, this course charts those debates. Beginning with the psychoanalytic discussions of the 1970s and ‘80s, we venture through to the postcolonial and “postmodern” responses of the late 1990s and conclude with an extended consideration of femininity in contemporary popular film. Through class discussion and written critique, students are invited to become discerning spectators of their own visual landscapes. (HL) Renault-Steele
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