Literature Courses: Spring 2019


James Joyce's Ulysses | LIT 331.80

Course Photo for James Joyce's Ulysses Instructor: Bruce Hardy
Credits: 3

Delivery Method: Face-to-Face
Days and times: MW 2:00-3:20

Course Description: Ulysses is a novel that informs us about the human condition and introduces us to a unique man, Leopold Bloom, who personifies the meaning of caritas. It is a novel that is a catalyst that encourages us to learn more of the Greeks, the Bible, the medieval scholars, Dante, Milton, Shakespeare, Irish history, and to learn more about literary theory and linguistic theory. It is a novel that connects Homer’s Odyssey with everyday 20th century life in Dublin, Ireland. It speaks to us as a modern novel yet it reminds us of our heritage in classical texts. Ulysses is an inexhaustible literary masterpiece, and is often considered to be the most important literary work of the twentieth century. And, it is often funny.

Changes in the Land: Literature, Nature, Politics | LIT 524

Course Photo for Changes in the Land: Literature, Nature, Politics Instructor: Nancy Cook
Credits: 3

Delivery Method: Face to Face

Course Description: We will spend the semester worrying questions that have challenged geographers, writers, and ecocritics for some time: how do we see environmental change? Is it important to see how land changes under human direction and influence? What are some effects of changes to land forms, flora, fauna, water cycles, etc.? We will look at the ways writers represent such changes, and while the majority will write of the American West, we will range farther, to the Scottish/English borders as we explore how nature and politics intertwine to reshape our landscapes.

Globalization: World Literature, Colonialism, and Global Theory | LIT 522

Course Photo for Globalization: World Literature, Colonialism, and Global Theory Instructor: Katie Kane
Credits: 3

Delivery Method: Face to Face

Course Description: The relationship between literary art and literary studies and the practices and discourses of globalization are the subject matter of this seminar. In the course we will trace the lineage of our contemporary economic, environmental, resource based and cultural world system—to describe globalization in the terms of Immanuel Wallerstein—to the colonial expansion of Europe in the sixteenth century. After exploring the roots of the present in what is (only apparently) the deep past, through the lens of the most important current work in Colonial and Globalization studies we will also the read in the diverse, complex and evolving body of culture that emerges out of and addresses the forces of globalization. English is now a global literary language (the language of global power) and we will read Anglophone authors—established and emergent—in order to gauge the impact of globalization on the lives of human beings.

Intersections: Genre, Hybridity, and Identity | LIT 521

Course Photo for Intersections: Genre, Hybridity, and Identity Instructor: Casey Charles
Credits: 3

Delivery Method: Face to Face
Days and times: T 6:30-9:20

Course Description: I am interested in examining the parameters of genre in relation to the way identity and difference have become sources of literary expression. Classification of types of writing—from poetry to novel to essay (from fiction to nonfiction) may well be related to categories of the self. Gender, ethnicity, religion, class, orientation, nationality (what Bomberg calls the “Who am I” functions of writing) arguably partake of the same kind of ideological foregrounding as the “genre function.” What is the value of Aristotle’s notion of categorization? What are its problems in reference to modes of cultural expression? Against the backdrop of these larger philosophical questions, the course examines a set of exemplary texts—some exploring boundaries through hybridity— that represent identity through use of a various genres, such as memoir, nonfiction, novel, essay, poem, and drama.

Capstone Seminar: The Sea and the Sands | LIT 494

Course Photo for Capstone Seminar: The Sea and the Sands Instructor: Eric Reimer
Credits: 3

Delivery Method: Face to Face
Days and times: W 3:30-6:20

Course Description: This seminar will consider - broadly and diversely, in each case - the ocean and the desert as venues and metaphors for positing some of life’s biggest questions. In addition to thinking about all manner of ontological undoing as occasioned by their presence and role in various works of literature, we will also consider the ocean and the desert as archetypal places of sharing, as sites for the exchange of goods and cultural productions, as fluid, changeable spaces that facilitate communication across cultures and languages, as invitations to realize more accommodating and plural notions of identity, as locations that force us to adjust our understanding of time and space. The course will thus give us the chance to consider problems and raise questions related to nationality, ethnicity, location, identity, and historical memory, while also enjoying literature from an intercultural and transnational perspective.

Ecocritical Theory and Practice | LIT 422

Course Photo for Ecocritical Theory and Practice Instructor: Louise Economides
Credits: 3
Gen Ed Attributes: Diversity (D)
Delivery Method: Face to Face
Days and times: TR 11:00-12:20

Course Description: During the 1990's, "ecocriticism" emerged as a new field of theory with the general goal of analyzing literary representations of nature, animals and humanity's relationship to the more-than-human world. In this survey of the current field of green literary studies, we will cover first, second and third-wave ecocriticism, including deep ecology, ecofeminism, social ecology, queer and postmodern ecologies.

The Gilded Age | LIT 391 02

Course Photo for The Gilded Age Instructor: Nancy Cook
Credits: 3
Gen Ed Attributes: Expressive Arts Course (A) 1700-1900 British or American (C)
Delivery Method: Face to Face
Days and times: TR 3:30-4:50

Course Description: In literary studies, we refer to the period In American literary history between 1870 and 1910 as the period of American Realism and Naturalism. What happens when we call this period “The Gilded Age,” as historians do? This course looks at American literature through the lens of wealth and poverty, making comparisons between the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries on one hand, and on the last 15 years, on the other. . We will put those writers into conversation with historians, artists, journalists, cartoonists, and a few writers from our own moment. In what ways are these two periods similar? How do they differ? What can the 19th and 20th century writers tell us about our own moment? Be prepared to research the period, read a range of work, think imaginatively about the relations between literature and life, and engage in classroom conversations.

James Baldwin | LIT 391 01

Course Photo for James Baldwin Instructor: Bob Baker
Credits: 3
Gen Ed Attributes: Expressive Arts Course (A) Diversity (D)
Delivery Method: Face to Face
Days and times: TR 2:00-3:20

Course Description: James Baldwin (1924-87) is one of the great American writers of the last century. Black, gay, shaped by the Christian religion he broke with as a young man, indebted to the blues tradition, a modernist defender of the distinctive space of art and a politically engaged realist, at once generously receptive and passionately polemical, he is not only an important novelist but also a gifted essayist whose book-length essays on the major issues of the civil rights movement were so influential as to land him on the cover of Time magazine. His essays of the sixties and seventies read like a social and psychological seismograph of these years, engaging as they do a range of debates within the civil rights movement. We will explore his conception of art, his vision of American history, his way of thinking about identity, and his complex and changing responses to the political conflicts of his time.

Science Fiction: Alternate Realities | LIT 370

Course Photo for Science Fiction: Alternate Realities Instructor: Rob Browning
Credits: 3
Gen Ed Attributes: Expressive Arts Course (A) Diversity (D)
Delivery Method: Face to Face
Days and times: MW 2:00-3:20

Course Description: In this class we will study a variety of ways speculative fiction authors can engage us with real-life concerns by way of constructing radically alternate realities. We’ll begin with an overview of the early-modern history of alternate-world literature, paying special attention to Margaret Cavendish’s feminist utopia in The Blazing World (1666). The texts that follow will serve as representatives of major varieties of this kind of speculative fiction--works that play in thought-provoking ways with evolution, history, sexuality and gender, bio-physics, the fourth dimension, linguistics, and alien scenarios of all sorts.

Chaucer | LIT 350 80

Course Photo for Chaucer Instructor: Ashby Kinch
Credits: 3

Delivery Method: Face to Face

Course Description: In this course, students will explore the life and literary production of one of the most interesting and enigmatic figures in the English poetic tradition. As spy, soldier, diplomat, tax officer, minister of the King’s works, and Member of Parliament, Chaucer accumulated an incredible breadth and diversity of social experience, which he shaped, through his unique literary talent, into one of the great works of social imagination: The Canterbury Tales. In addition to critical engagement with the rich variety of Chaucer’s storytelling art, students will be introduced to the manuscript culture in which Chaucer worked.

Shakespeare | LIT 327

Course Photo for Shakespeare Instructor: Bob Baker
Credits: 3

Delivery Method: Face to Face
Days and times: TR 12:30-1:50

Course Description: This course will be an introductory study of seven of Shakespeare’s plays. We will begin with a comedy, As You Like It, and end with a romance, The Winter’s Tale, but for the most part we will concentrate on five of Shakespeare’s great tragedies: Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, Macbeth, and Antony and Cleopatra. We will devote much of our time to discussing the things one always wants to discuss in responding to a play: plot, character, theme, mood, figurative pattern, linguistic energy, larger meanings, and broader contexts. We will, too, trace connections among the plays we read, clarify the basic preoccupations expressed in the different genres in which Shakespeare works, and explore the distinctive ways in which Shakespeare represents the self. Above all we will try to understand, from a range of perspectives, what Shakespearean tragedy is all about.

Literary Criticism | LIT 300.01

Course Photo for Literary Criticism Instructor: Casey Charles
Credits: 3

Delivery Method: Face to Face
Days and times: TR 11:00-12:20

Course Description: This course studies the ways that texts are analyzed, understood, and interpreted. Often, we start with an aesthetic appreciation or disapproval of a novel or poem, but literary theory explores the different assumptions that underlie such assessments by examining the methods readers use to grasp what they read, methods that run the gamut from the complexity of metaphor and imagery to the social message of the work. Psychological, social, textual, political--what we read or watch often contains an ideological basis, just as we as readers come to our engagement with literature bringing our own horizons of expectation.

Literary History: Modern British Literature | LIT 236L 80

Course Photo for Literary History: Modern British Literature Instructor: Eric Reimer
Credits: 3

Delivery Method: Face to Face
Days and times: TR 11:00-12:20

Course Description: As an introduction to British literature and a gateway to more specialized study within this field, this course will survey a broad range of poets, novelists, dramatists, and essayists; as it does so, you will become acquainted with the significant characteristics of some of the major British literary-historical periods (Romantic, Victorian, Modern, Contemporary). There is no thematic organization for the course, but throughout the semester we will be considering the changing notions of self, language, and nation, especially as they are pressured by nature, religion, science, and historical trauma.

Literary History: Modern/Postmodern American Literature | LIT 236L

Course Photo for Literary History: Modern/Postmodern American Literature Instructor: Brady Harrison
Credits: 3

Delivery Method: Face to Face
Days and times: TR 2:00-3:20

Course Description: LIT 236 examines a limited number of extraordinary American writers of the Twentieth Century in their historical, cultural, and especially literary contexts. The first half of the course will be dedicated to the Moderns, and in addition to exploring the work of writers such as Ernest Hemingway and Zora Neale Hurston, we’ll study the history of the Modern Age and sound the theories of the intellectuals, scientists, and philosophers who helped shape the zeitgeist. From the Moderns, we’ll turn to the Postmoderns and analyze the work of writers such as Margaret Atwood and Thomas Pynchon and explore the history, thinkers, and energies of post-World War II America.

Literary Criticism | LIT 300

Course Photo for Literary Criticism Instructor: Katie Kane
Credits: 3

Delivery Method: Face-to-face
Days and times: TR 12:30-1:50

Course Description: In this introductory course in literary and cultural theory, we will attempt to explore representative schools of and issues in contemporary criticism (formalism, postmodernism, eco-criticism, postcolonial/colonial criticism/psychoanalytic criticism). We will be working, therefore, to build an analytic and critical vocabulary for the activity of reading select number of texts from the canons of literary criticism and from the canons of Anglo-phone culture. In addition to this “first-principles” objective, however, we will also attempt to engage with such complexities of the current theoretical debate as “the question of the author,” the reconciliation of form and content, the agon of canon formation and canon busting, and, finally, with the crucial issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality.

Additional Details: Throughout the course we will be moving toward our current early twenty-first century moment in which the range and scope of the labor of the literary critic seems—in light of the rise of a host of non-traditional representational and narrative forms—to be both expanding and contracting. Film, video games, the world of the digital, social media, all require the decoding and demystifying work of the engaged critic. A specific focus on Trans Theory and on Critical Race Theory will considering Jack Halberstam’s Trans* a Quick and Quirky Account of Gender Variability along with excerpts from texts such as Maggie Nelson’s Argonauts and alongside such practices as those embedded in Drag shows, both King and Queen, and a reading of Langston Hughes as against and with The Black Panther (2018).