ENGL 394 - Topics in Literature in English since 1900
Credits: 3 in fall or winter, 4 in spring
Prerequisite: Take one English course between 201 and 295, and one between 222 and 299. 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.
Winter 2021, ENGL 394A-01: Topics in Literature in English since 1900: Malcolm X (3). Prerequisite: Take one English course between 201 and 295, and one between 222 and 299. Malcolm X was one of the most significant civil and human rights activists in the world, and yet few among us in the United States remember or acknowledge the fullest scope of his legacy. This class will offer an in-depth study of his literary, cultural, political, and religious impact, from his encounters with his contemporaries (Martin Luther King Jr., James Baldwin, Muhammad Ali, John Lewis, Yuri Kochiyama) to his effect on hip hop culture. Texts will include the Autobiography of Malcolm X, speeches by Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, and other select primary and secondary sources. (HL) Kharputly.
Winter 2021, ENGL 394B-01: Topics in Literature in English since 1900: Environmental Persuasion (3). Prerequisite: Take one English course between 201 and 295, and one between 222 and 299. This course is open to all majors and class years. It fulfills the humanities literature requirement and a humanities course requirement for the major or minor in environmental studies.
How do we resolve major environmental problems? How do we balance the science, economics, public policy, political, ethical, cultural, and other dimensions to create real solutions? Why is this so hard? This course studies strategies of persuasion used by participants in environmental debates to teach students how to enter and win these debates. We study some of the great environmental writers in many genres, look at key historical documents and multimedia works (documentaries, ads, movies, websites), and do some activities involving local leaders and issues. Students write short analytical papers and work on a big project that studies an important environmental debate historically, analyzing who won and why. How do we persuade others to join us in making the changes we want to make? (HL) Smout.
Fall 2020, ENGL 394A-01: Topics in Literature in English since 1900: Southern Fiction Then and Now (3). Prerequisites: One English course between 201 and 295, and one between 222 and 299. In this seminar, students read multiple works by six leading fiction writers to study changes in the American South and its literary expressions over the last century, from about 1920 to the present day. The authors are William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Cormac McCarthy, Lee Smith, Colson Whitehead, and Jesmyn Ward. Their work allows us to focus on such topics as race, class, gender, family, honor, violence, and history in considering whether the South can or should remain a distinctive region and life experience in the global village and the post-modern world. How should the South cope now with its legacy of slavery and segregation? What has changed and what has remained the same? Will the South survive as a region, or get swallowed up into America Everywhere? Who will tell its stories? (HL) Smout.
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