2016-2017 University Catalog 
    Apr 17, 2024  
2016-2017 University Catalog archived

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ENGL 394 - Topics in Literature in English since 1900

Planned Offering: Fall, Winter, Spring
Credits: 3 in fall or winter, 4 in spring

Prerequisite: ENGL 299 or vary with topic. Enrollment limited. A seminar course on literature written in English since 1900 with special emphasis on research and discussion. Student suggestions for topics are welcome. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Spring 2017, ENGL 394-01: Advanced Seminar: Celluloid Shakespeare (4). Prerequisite: ENGL 299. The films adapted from or inspired by William Shakespeare’s plays are a genre unto themselves. We study a selection of films, not focused on their faithfulness to the original playscript, but on the creative choices and meanings of the distinct medium of film. We see how the modern era has transmuted the plays through the lens of contemporary sensibility, politics, and culture—and through this new visual mode of storytelling. This course is very much an exploration of how to interpret and appreciate film broadly, as we learn the concepts and lexicon of film with Shakespeare as our case study. Our methods vary: sometimes we study the play in detail and compare several film versions, or we see a film fresh—without having read the play—to approach it as a work of art on its own terms. We hear reports from students about additional films to expand the repertoire of films we study and enjoy. The films we view range from multiple versions of Hamlet, Macbeth, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, to adaptations of As You Like It, Titus Andronicus, and Henry V, to original Shakespeare-inspired films such as Forbidden Planet, A Thousand Acres, and My Own Private Idaho. (HL) Dobin.

Winter 2017, ENGL 394A-01: Advanced Seminar: Cormac McCarthy (3). Prerequisite: ENGL 299. A study of selected works by one of America’s most renowned post-modern authors, who treats shocking subjects in an inimitable style. McCarthy has developed gradually over the last 60 years from a struggling writer and auto parts worker too poor to buy toothpaste to a number one box office draw, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, eager candidate for the Nobel Prize, and novelist behind a major motion picture. Our key question: Why is McCarthy so famous now? How does he do it? What do his works say to us that we are drawn to hear? (HL) Smout.

Winter 2017, ENGL 394B-01: Advanced Seminar: “Mother of All Women”: Gender in Chicana and Native American Women’s Literature (3). Prerequisite: ENGL 299. This course focuses on the intersection of race and gender as they meet in the lives and identities of Chicana and Native American women through readings of poetry, fiction, memoir and drama that give us materials with which to explore some of the interlocking issues: mother-daughter relationships, cultural/ethnic identity, sexual identity, alternative histories, political activism, gendered violence, economic position, and celebrations of survival. Authors include Linda Hogan, Sandra Cisneros, Gloria Anzaldua, Leslie Marmon Silko, Natalie Diaz, Ire’ne Lara Silva, Ernestine Hayes. (HL) Miranda.

Fall 2016, ENGL 394-01: Advanced Seminar: The African American Historical Novel (3). Prerequisite: ENGL 299. This course examines the ways that African American authors have used the genre of the historical novel to address questions of race, national identity, and America’s fraught historical record.  We read novels ranging from Frederick Douglass’s The Heroic Slave and William Wells Brown’s Clotel through recent works by Tayari Jones, Toni Morrison, and Edward Jones.  Along the way, we consider the critical tools and frameworks best suited to analyzing the genre of the historical novel, as well as the theoretical implications of blending fictional and historical narrative modes.  Possible texts include novels by Frederick Douglass, William Wells Brown, Pauline Hopkins, Margaret Walker, Octavia Butler, Tayari Jones, Toni Morrison, and Edward Jones. (HL) Bufkin.

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