ENGL 295 - Spring-Term Seminar in Literary Studies
Prerequisite: Completion of FW requirement. Students in this course study a group of works related by theme, by culture, by topic, by genre, or by the critical approach taken to the texts. Involves field trips, film screenings, service learning, and/or other special projects, as appropriate, in addition to 8-10 hours per week of class meetings. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.
Spring 2018, ENGL 295-01: Video/Games (4). Prerequisite: Completion of FW requirement. Some have called videogames “the art form of the 21st century”; others have denied that they could ever be art at all. Whatever one’s view on their aesthetic possibilities, though, videogames have become ubiquitous, filling our spare moments, providing new and alternate identities, and sparking cultural divides. This course studies and briefly surveys the medium of the videogame, with an emphasis on developing skills in critical and cultural analysis as well as rudimentary game design. This inquiry stretches from the beginnings of the genre in analog (board or card) games and pinball, through the era of early computing and cartridge-based consoles, through to the highly sophisticated always-online formats of the present day. The course ends in the production of one analog (board or card) game, one digital story-game on the Twine platform, and one essay drawing on extensive engagement with a single game text. (HL) Ferguson.
Spring 2018, ENGL 295-02: African-American Poetry (4). Prerequisite: Completion of FW requirement. A study of African-American poetry and poetics, with an emphasis on memory and history. While we focus mainly on 20th- and 21st-century works, the presence of the past is a recurring motif in our readings and conversations. This course culminates in a digital-humanities project about race at Washington and Lee, including text and images of various kinds, but emphasizing literature as a form of history. (HL) Wheeler.
Spring 2018, ENGL 295-03: Transforming Literature: Fan Fiction, Literary Mashups, and Other Canon Fodder (4). Prerequisite: Completion of FW requirement. This course considers ways that people take works of literature, classic or otherwise, and transform them into something new. We read literary works ranging from “The Yellow Wallpaper” to “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” to Sherlock Holmes stories, as well as cartoons, poems, videos and text conversations that remake, remix and transform those literary works. We think about what makes something literature, what makes something fan fiction, and what fan fiction can show us about classic works of literature. We also create our own literary transformations, analyze the role of the Internet in fan culture, and experiment with transformative technologies. (HL) Bufkin.
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