Announcement of Classes: Summer 2012


Reading & Composition: Unreliable Narrators

English N1A

Section: 1
Session:
Instructor: Xiang, Sunny
Time: MW 10-12
Location: 2038 Valley LSB


Book List

Hamid, Mohsin: The Reluctant Fundamentalist; Ishiguro, Kazuo: An Artist of the Floating World; James, Henry: The Turn of the Screw; Nabokov, Vladimir: Lolita

Other Readings and Media

A course reader

Description

What happens when the teller of a story misleads us? What qualities make for a palatable narrator who we as readers are willing to follow to the end of the book? In this course, we will examine through select twentieth-century novels the conditions that influence our capacity to trust a storyteller. In speculating on the broader effects and implications of a narrator's reliability (or lack thereof!), we will also attempt to complicate our own position as readers.

This course requires you to complete two essays of increasing length. For these papers, you will go through a process of outlining, drafting, editing, and revising to build a repertoire of critical reading and writing skills. You will also be expected to complete short writing assignments and responses.  


Reading & Composition: Racial Metaphors of Global Capitalism

English N1A

Section: 2
Session:
Instructor: Lee, Amy
Time: MW 2-4
Location: 221 Wheeler


Book List

Hacker, Diana: Rules for Writers; Hagedorn, Jessica: Dogeaters; Ng, Fae: Bone; Truong, Monique: The Book of Salt; Yamashita, Karen: Tropic of Orange

Other Readings and Media

Wong Kar-Wai, Chungking Express (1994)

Course Reader

Description

From myths of the Yellow Peril to contemporary discourses on the model minority, representations of Asian American subjects have long been intertwined with metaphors of economic exchange and capitalist excess.  More than simply agents of capitalism, Asian Americans often function as proxies of American capitalist expansion and globalization.  This course will examine the ways in which Asian American literature has traced and challenged this economically-inflected emergence of the Asian American subject.  We will consider the relationship between literary representation and economic representation by paying attention to the use of postmodern aesthetics (characterized by fragmentation, surface aesthetics, commodification, etc.) within Asian American novels to portray the effects of capitalist globalization and racialization on the construction of Asian American subjectivities and spaces.  Topics we will explore may include the transpacific, transatlantic, and hemispheric contexts of Asian American literature, the influences of American military and economic presence in the Asia-Pacific, the relationship between the circulation of commodities and social and linguistic exchange, literary navigations across “spaces of capital,” and the role of race, gender, and sexuality in mediating capitalist and revolutionary desires. 

Students will develop their critical thinking, close-reading, and expository skills through in-class discussions and exercises.  There will be a series of in-class workshops on thesis development, effective argumentation, and the mechanics of essay writing. Students will be expected to write and revise a series of short papers.


Reading & Composition: Destroying Modernity--Ruin and Apocalypse, 1750-2012

English N1A

Section: 3
Session:
Instructor: Cannon, Benjamin Zenas
Time: MW 6-8
Location: 222 Wheeler


Book List

Stoker, Bram: Dracula; Walpole, Horace: The Castle of Otranto

Other Readings and Media

A class reader will contain poems and short fiction by Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Poe, Lovecraft, T.S. Eliot, and others.

Film: Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome

Description

"i know this wont happen...bt i cant wait fr something like this to happen...it sure is thrilling and i'm bored of life!!"                   (Comment  on youtube string for 2012 trailer, 5/8/2012)    

This class will explore the perverse pleasures of ruination in the modern era, from the aesthetics of the ruin in Romantic literature to the pop apocalypses of George Miller and Roland Emmerich. We will consider the multiple potential meanings of ruins--from memento mori to free aesthetic forms, from threatening reminders of our most primitive selves to nostalgic indicators of a better time. Above all, it will ask the question: why do we take such profound pleasure in images that remind us not only of the dead past but also of our own inevitable destruction? 

 


Reading & Composition: Techno-Orientalism

English N1B

Section: 1
Session:
Instructor: Fan, Christopher Tzechung
Time: TTh 10-12
Location: 81 Evans


Book List

Gibson, William: Neuromancer; McHugh, Maureen F.: China Mountain Zhang; Sterling, Bruce: Mirrorshades

Other Readings and Media

A reader will be provided on the class bSpace site in PDF format. We will also be watching a number of films, including the Wachowski brothers' first Matrix film (1999), the pilot episodes for Ronald D. Moore's 2003 Battlestar Galactica reboot, and Joss Whedon's Serenity (2005).

Description

Course Objectives
This course will focus on developing students’ practical fluency with exposition and argumentation, with an emphasis on research skills. A short diagnostic essay will be assigned at the beginning of the semester followed by two progressively longer essays (totaling at least 16 typewritten pages). These will be substantially revised and accompanied by various research activities and exercises.

Course Description

Since the ‘70s, American perceptions of Asia—especially of Japan and China—have typically been wrapped in anxieties over technology. These anxieties become most obvious in ‘80s science fiction (sf) film and literature: in particular, the genre called “cyberpunk.” While the techno-Orientalism of the ‘80s was weighted more by fears of Japanese technology and takeover of American businesses, in the ‘90s, that weight shifted to a rapidly modernizing China. The argument this course will consider is how this shift has revealed the limitations of cyberpunk as a genre, and how it has produced a new set of aesthetics—what I call “naturalism with Chinese characteristics.” We will explore this question, and techno-Orientalism more broadly, in some really awesome films and books from the ‘70s onward.


Reading & Composition: Fictions of the Human

English N1B

Section: 2
Session:
Instructor: Gaydos, Rebecca
Time: TTh 12-2
Location: 222 Wheeler


Book List

Burroughs, William S.: The Ticket That Exploded; Coetzee, J.M.: The Lives of Animals; Ishiguro, Kazuo: Never Let Me Go

Other Readings and Media

Course Reader

Film: Blade Runner

Description

What constitutes our humanness? Are thinking and language-use uniquely human capacities or can intelligence be attributed to animals and machines? Is it possible to conceive of a timeless definition of the human being, or is human identity periodically reconfigured by historical and technological developments? Against the background of these broad questions, this course will pay close attention to the role that literature plays in investigating the significance of humanness in the 20th and 21st centuries. Topics to be considered include: literary representations of human-animal-machine continuums, cyborg subjectivity, and debates around posthumanism, transhumanism, and prosthetic enhancement.  Rather than simply looking at how literary texts represent these topics thematically, we will focus on how authors engage these issues through formal experimentation.

The primary goal of this course is to improve your academic writing. Students will develop their analytic and argumentative skills—both in writing and verbally through intensive class discussion. The course will culminate with each student producing an 8-10 page research paper.


Reading & Composition: Victorian Sensation

English N1B

Section: 3
Session:
Instructor: Knox, Marisa Palacios
Time: TTh 4-6
Location: 109 Wheeler


Book List

Braddon, Mary: Lady Audley's Secret; Eliot, George: Adam Bede; Wilde, Oscar: Picture of Dorian Gray;

Recommended: MLA Handbook for Writers of Research

Description

The literary genre of the Victorian sensation novel of the 1860s-1870s was defined less by its form and content than by the response it was supposed to engender in its readers. This course aims to explore the significance of physical and psychological sensation in the Victorian period, as it was applied to fiction as well as to related concerns and controversies in science, medicine, crime, education, art, and electoral reform. In addition to the required novels above and excerpts from modern literary scholarship, the class will read numerous articles and excerpts from Victorian periodicals that produce and theorize the shifting category of sensation.

As we read sensational texts, the class will continuously work on developing the ability to write with clear exposition and argumentation. In order to expand and integrate these arguments within a larger intellectual context, students will learn and deploy methods of research through periodic assignments. Students will ultimately apply these practices in writing and revising three papers of increasing length, ranging from three to ten pages.


Reading & Composition: Crossing the Color Line

English N1B

Section: 4
Session:
Instructor: Martinez, Rosa Angelica
Time: TTh 6-8
Location: 222 Wheeler


Book List

Craft, William and Ellen: Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom: or, the Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery; Griffin, John Howard: Black Like Me; Harris, Joseph: Rewriting: How to Do Things With Texts; Johnson, James Weldon: The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man; Larsen, Nella: Passing

Other Readings and Media

A course reader, containing short stories, poems, and critical essays. 

Description

Color, for anyone who uses it, or is used by it, is a most complex, calculated and dangerous phenomenon.

–  James Baldwin

This course will explore the act of racial and gender passing in American literature and culture. Narratives of passing problematize notions of self and other, identity and performance, authenticity and deceit, and complicate and confound definitions of the “real” and the methods or system by which identity is invented. We will examine autobiographical and fictional accounts of crossing the color line that also include cross-dressing, class passing, sexual ambiguity, and the feigning of disability. Through a diverse sample of novels and short stories, including traditional narratives of black-to-white passing (historically prevalent in 19th and 20th century African-American literature) and contemporary works that utilize though transform the trope of passing, this course separates the historical experience from its literary representation on the page, but concentrates on the rhetorics and writerly ways of illustrating the masquerade of race, gender, class, and sexuality.

Along with concentrating on mechanics and style, we will also learn how to read closely and demonstrate exploratory thinking, formulate thoughtful questioning, gather evidence, and organize ideas and claims into well-crafted essays. Over the course of the semester and through a gradual process of outlining, drafting, and revising, you will produce two preliminary essays (4-5 pages), and a final research paper (8-9 pages).