Announcement of Classes: Fall 2017


Reading and Composition: Eating Bodies

English R1A

Section: 1
Instructor: Diaz, Rosalind
Time: MWF 9-10
Location: 211 Dwinelle


Book List

Conrad, Joseph: Heart of Darkness; Jacobs, Harriet: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl; Marryat, Florence: The Blood of the Vampire

Other Readings and Media

Other texts may include: "A Subtlety," Kara Walker; "We Ate the Birds," Margaret Atwood; "Tales from the Breast," Hiromi Goto; The Blob, dir. Chuck Russell; and other selected films, poems, and short stories.

Description

In this course we will collectively re-think what we think we know about eating bodies. We will build and share nuanced analyses of the many meanings of food, practices of eating, and bodies who eat, as well as bodies who eat other bodies. To guide our exploration, we will consider frameworks from feminist fat studies, postcolonial studies, critical race studies, disability studies, and queer-of-color critique. We will ask: who gets to eat and what do they eat? What counts as “eating”? When is eating understood to be normal, healthy, and wholesome, and when is it represented as excessive, addictive, immoral, disruptive, horrifying, and/or pathological? Whose bodies supply food and sustenance for other bodies? Whose bodies are categorized as parasitic, vampiric, cannibalistic, or otherwise unruly eaters? We will seek out texts (books, but also films, short stories, art installations, and other cultural artifacts) and practice interpretive strategies that help us dig into the strange, complex, and multidimensional meanings of eating bodies. We’ll begin our exploration with a cluster of late-nineteenth-century texts, focusing on the racialized and gendered history of eating bodies in the context of imperialism and slavery. Midway through the course, students (that’s you) will nominate and vote on texts for us to study together. We will develop our critical and analytical skills through reading, writing, and other rhetorical modes that enable exploration, argumentation, and critique. We will work together to tackle the challenge of developing and revising interesting, substantive projects that change over time to reflect our emerging ideas.  


Reading and Composition: The Dust Bowl and the American Cultural Imagination

English R1A

Section: 2
Instructor: Cruz, Frank Eugene
Time: MWF 11-12
Location: 54 Barrows


Book List

Galati, Frank: John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath; Graff, Gerald: They Say/I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing; Rauchway, Eric: The Great Depression and the New Deal: A Very Short Introduction; Steinbeck, John: The Grapes of Wrath

Other Readings and Media

Films: Pare Lorentz, The Plough That Broke the Plains; John Ford, The Grapes of Wrath; Christopher Nolan, Interstellar

Photography: Dorothea Lange, Migrant Mother; Matt Black, The Geography of Poverty

Music: Woody Guthrie, Dust Bowl Ballads; Bruce Springsteen, The Ghost of Tom Joad; Rage Against the Machine, Renegades

Theater: Builders Association, House/Divided (play)

Description

In this course, we will explore the aesthetic forms and social locations of the Dust Bowl and consider the ways in which these forms and locations have echoed in the American cultural imagination since the Great Depression. We will develop your practical fluency in college-level academic writing. In total, you will produce a minimum of 32 pages of writing, including a short diagnostic essay at the beginning of the semester. Full attendance, weekly reading responses, team teaching, writing workshops, and participation in classroom discussion are all required to earn a passing grade in this course.


Reading and Composition: Image and Text

English R1A

Section: 7
Instructor: Clark, Rebecca
Time: TTh 9:30-11
Location: 211 Dwinelle


Book List

Baker, Kyle: Nat Turner; Bechdel, Alison: Fun Home; Clowes, Daniel: Ghost World; Moore, Alan and Gibbons, Dave: Watchmen; Rankine, Claudia: Citizen; Sacco, Joe: Palestine; Tomine, Adrian: Shortcomings;

Recommended: Carson, Anne: Nox

Other Readings and Media

Reader including works by John Keats, William Blake, William Carlos Williams, W.H. Auden, Anne Sexton, Adrienne Rich, Scott McCloud, and others. Film adaptations TBD.

Description

This class will look at a variety of works that combine image and text to tell stories. How, we will ask, do words and images play with, against, or off of one another when we read these hybrid texts? How has their combination helped authors alternately to create fantastical new worlds, document the painfully or playfully quotidian, or navigate very real and frequently traumatic personal and national histories? What special demands do these forms make on their readers? What narrative and thematic possibilities do they open up?

In this course, you will be asked to write several short essays of increasing length in order to develop your academic reading and writing skills. We will work on reading critically, posing analytical questions, and crafting and supporting well-reasoned arguments through both these papers and additional in-class exercises. Students will be asked to draft, revise, and peer-review their written assignments over the course of the semester.


Reading and Composition: Re-Visioning the 1960s

English R1B

Section: 1
Instructor: Koerner, Michelle
Time: MWF 10-11
Location: 80 Barrows


Book List

Baldwin, James: The Fire Next Time; Charter, Ann: The Sixties Reader; Perec, George: Things; Pynchon, Thomas: The Crying of Lot 49

Other Readings and Media

Further course materials will be available through bcourses and will likely include: images from Andy Warhol’s Death and Disaster series (1964), George Oppen’s long poem “Of Being Numerous” (1968), Valerie Solanas’s The SCUM Manifesto (1967); Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisted (1965) as well as excerpts from The Black Power Mixtape and Berkeley in the Sixties.

Description

Note the changes in instructor, topic, book list and course description for this section of English R1B (as of Aug 30).

This reading and composition course will explore selected works of literature, music, and visual art produced during the 1960s. Placing emphasis on the relationship between artistic experimentation and emancipatory social movements (both in the United States and internationally), we will ask how innovative practices of language, image, and sound engaged with the more directly political events of the period. How did writers, visual artists, and musicians use their creative work to challenge war, racism, social and economic inequality, sexual violence and gendered discrimination? What role do poetry, music, and visual art play in composing new collectivities and new potentials for social transformation?

In addition to gaining skills in literary and rhetorical analysis, students will strengthen their capacities to make persuasive arguments and to formulate compelling questions to guide their own research. Writing assignments emphasize drafting, revising, and responding to peer-feedback. In addition to several in-class writing exercises, students should expect to write two response essays (3-5 pages) as well as complete a final research project.


Reading and Composition: Blank Generation: The Changing Arts in 1970s New York City

English R1B

Section: 2
Instructor: Alexander, Edward Sterling
Time: MWF 11-12
Location: 80 Barrows


Book List

Ashbery, John: Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror; Berrigan, Ted: The Sonnets; Mayer , Bernadette: Midwinter Day; Reed, Ishmael: Mumbo Jumbo; Waldman, Anne: Fast Speaking Woman

Other Readings and Media

Course reader with writings by Ron Padget, Joe Brainard, Alice Notley, Eileen Myles, Hannah Weiner, Patti Smith, Richard Meltzer, Lester Bangs, Jane Jacobs and others. 

Non-print media: Poetry in Motion (Dir. Ron Mann); Permanent Vacation (Dir. Jim Jarmusch); Bob Dylan: Blood on the Tracks; Miles Davis: On the Corner; No New York (curated by Brian Eno); Public Access Poetry

Description

In the decade of urban decay, energy crisis, deindustrialization, and Watergate, artists of all stripes were thrown back on their own resources, seeking the means and reasons for continuing the avant-garde’s project of cultural revolution after the political defeats of the late 1960s.  In this course we will examine 1970s New York as a time and place of both collapse and reinvention.  Devoting special attention to particular locations that served as vital sites of activity for the remnants of the postwar counterculture—most obviously, the St. Mark’s Poetry Project, the SoHo lofts, Max’s Kansas City, and CBGB—we will examine the shifts and reversals of this era across a variety of media that both exemplify and challenge the category of “literature.”  At a time when academic thought about literature was itself undergoing radical restructuring in the Anglo-American university’s adoption of European literary theory, members of the American literary culture began to migrate into other media such as music, film and television in order to locate new possibilities for their work.  Faced with unprecedented obstacles to their flourishing, artists thus found that their best skill was to become moving targets.  

Since this is an R1B course, students will continue developing the skills in critical reading and essay composition that they began to cultivate in R1A. This time around we will build upon those skills by introducing students to the basics of research methodology as they produce final research papers on a topic of their choice pertaining to the course materials. Students will learn how to locate and cite scholarly articles relevant to their topic of interest. We will continue to work on writing and argumentation skills in a series of in-class exercises, revisions and peer editing workshops.


Reading and Composition: The Cultural Lives of Higher Education

English R1B

Section: 3
Instructor: Greer, Erin
Time: MWF 12-1
Location: 211 Dwinelle


Book List

Coetzee, J.M.: Disgrace; Smith, Zadie: On Beauty; Woolf, Virginia: Three Guineas

Other Readings and Media

Selections from the following theorists and historians will be made available online: Matthew Arnold, Wendy Brown, John Dewey, Immanuel Kant, Achille Mbembe, Fred Moten and Stefano Harney, Nietzsche, Christopher Newfield, Cardinal Newman, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Craig Steven Wilder, and Mary Wollstonecraft.

In addition, students will follow higher education news coverage in the Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed.

Description

The purpose, nature, and structure of higher education in the West are currently undergoing dramatic revision. Tuition is rising steadily at both private and public institutions, as public support for teaching and research shifts; concerns and hopes abound about the potential of Massive Open Online Courses to revolutionize education; and every few months, an Op-Ed appears in a major publication defending the model of a broad humanities education against critics who demand to know what tangible value such education offers for students. In 2015, student demonstrations against administrative attitudes toward alleged racism on campuses across the US––and, simultaneously, South Africa––sparked additional heated debates about the intellectual, political, and personal nature of the spaces in which students live and learn.

Against this backdrop, this course will undertake a rigorous analysis of the ideals and realities of higher education, adopting interpretive lenses from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. With works of philosophy, we will explore the relationship between education, theories of human nature, and social contracts. With works of literature, we will interrogate the relation between higher education and various forms of power and social privilege. We will read contemporary critical essays championing the value of a broad, liberal education, and we will analyze the historical transformation of the organizational structure of universities in the U.S, U.K, and South Africa. In other words, this course integrates literary, historical, and philosophical perspectives to consider the past, present, and possible futures of higher education.

In addition to exploring questions surrounding higher education, students will develop their writing skills, practicing integrating close-readings of literature with research in other disciplines.


Reading and Composition: Endings

English R1B

Section: 5
Instructor: Lesser, Madeline
Time: MWF 2-3
Location: 225 Dwinelle


Book List

McCarthy, Cormac: The Road; Morrison, Toni : Beloved

Other Readings and Media

Note that the texts for this class will be available at University Press Books, on Bancroft Way.

All other readings—poetry, selected criticism, short stories—will be provided in a course reader. 

Description

What’s in an ending?  In this class, we will explore literature about endings: personal endings (elegiac forms), national endings (the end of an era), and apocalyptic endings (the end of the world).  In addition, we will focus our class on the question of how each text ends.  Endings can serve a variety of purposes—as a new beginning, a failure to let go, a neat conclusion.  We will strive to characterize the ending of each text in order to question how formal decisions contribute to its “sense” of an ending.

The goal of R1B is to develop your writing and research skills.  As such, we will pay particular attention to the question often introduced by the ends of our own essays: so what?  How do we determine the context of our arguments?  How do we frame our arguments so as to intervene in a particular critical framework?  You will write and revise two long essays (~8 pages each) over the course of the semester.  You will also be responsible for weekly reading assignments, peer writing reviews, and an ongoing writing journal. 


Reading and Composition: Writing Cuban-America

English R1B

Section: 6
Instructor: Artiz, Ernest T.
Time: MWF 3-4
Location: 50 Barrows


Book List

Cruz, Nilo: Anna in the Tropics; Fraxedes, J. Joaquin: The Lonely Crossing of Juan Cabrera; Garcia, Cristina: Dreaming in Cuban; Hemingway, Ernest: The Old Man and the Sea; Hijuelos, Oscar: The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love

Other Readings and Media

The class will watch selected episodes of I Love Lucy.

Secondary critical texts provided by instructor.

Description

The history of Cubans living in the US is a complicated one, caught between the US’s imperialist wars of the late-19th and early-20th centuries and the Cold War machinations of the first and second worlds. This course will consider the cultural representation of Cubans and Cuba within the US, and, in particular, look to the Cuban-American novel as repository of the divergent and conflicting historical narratives that have produced and been produced by Cuban-Americans. In this way, the generational struggles of Cuban-Americans (and, in particular, the lasting image of the émigré in Cuban-American culture) will be related as a focal point, through which drastically different senses of Cubanidad have come to be represented. This course will look to interrogate a selected set of literature closely alongside Cuban-American scholarship in order to generate specific underlying problematics, questions, and relationships that can be used for student research. This course will emphasize research skills and the construction of complex arguments in composition.


Reading and Composition: After Empires

English R1B

Section: 7
Instructor: Choi, Jeehyun
Time: MW 5-6:30
Location: 279 Dwinelle


Book List

Achebe, Chinua: Things Fall Apart; Aidoo, Ama Ata: Our Sister Killjoy; Diaz, Junot: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao; Hagedorn, Jessica: Dogeaters; Hamid, Mohsin: The Reluctant Fundamentalist; Nguyen, Viet Thanh: The Sympathizer: A Novel; Okada, John: No-No Boy

Description

In this course, we will investigate how literature and literary criticism from the 1950s to today has responded to various forms of imperialism, focusing on how the concerns of "postcolonial" texts change according to temporal and spatial locations. Overview questions that will guide our readings include: What constitutes an empire, and what is its relation to literature and culture? How has postcolonial literature used language and form to resist imperialist initiatives and to represent colonial experiences? What can literature tell us about how colonialism intersects with gender, race, nation, and class? We will read literary texts as well as critical and historical works that explore the ongoing aftermaths of the British, Japanese, and U.S. empires. In particular, the course will tend to a number of texts that evoke the question of American empire and concern the implications of reading—or failing to read—the United States as an imperial power.

As we explore literatures of various parts of the world and their historical contexts, we will develop your fluency in college-level academic writing and refine your research skills. This is a writing-intensive course, and accordingly, we will use our class discussions as platforms to hone your skills in generating original research questions and crafting compelling arguments. You will outline, draft, revise, and workshop papers throughout the course of the semester, producing a substantial research paper at the end of the semester according to your own interests.


Reading and Composition: Re-Visioning the 1960s

English R1B

Section: 8
Instructor: Koerner, Michelle
Time: MW 5-6:30
Location: 80 Barrows


Book List

Baldwin, James: The Fire Next Time; Charter, Ann: The Sixties Reader; Perec, George: Things; Pynchon, Thomas: The Crying of Lot 49

Other Readings and Media

Further course materials will be available through bcourses and will likely include: images from Andy Warhol’s Death and Disaster series(1964), George Oppen’s long poem “Of Being Numerous” (1968), Valerie Solanas’s The SCUM Manifesto (1967); Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisted (1965) as well as excerpts from The Black Power Mixtape and Berkeley in the Sixties.

Description

Note the changes in instructor, topic, book list and course description for this section of English R1B (as of Aug 30).

This reading and composition course will explore selected works of literature, music, and visual art produced during the 1960s. Placing emphasis on the relationship between artistic experimentation and emancipatory social movements (both in the United States and internationally), we will ask how innovative practices of language, image, and sound engaged with the more directly political events of the period. How did writers, visual artists, and musicians use their creative work to challenge war, racism, social and economic inequality, sexual violence and gendered discrimination? What role do poetry, music, and visual art play in composing new collectivities and new potentials for social transformation?

In addition to gaining skills in literary and rhetorical analysis, students will strengthen their capacities to make persuasive arguments and to formulate compelling questions to guide their own research. Writing assignments emphasize drafting, revising, and responding to peer-feedback. In addition to several in-class writing exercises, students should expect to write two response essays (3-5 pages) as well as complete a final research project


Reading and Composition: Technophobia

English R1B

Section: 9
Instructor: Barbour, Andrew John
Time: TTh 8-9:30
Location: 211 Dwinelle


Book List

Butler, Samuel: Erewhon; Powers, Richard: Galatea 2.2; Shelley, Mary: Frankenstein; Čapek, Karel: R.U.R.

Other Readings and Media

A course reader with selections from Coleridge, Hoffman, Kleist, affect theory, and STS

Description

Science fiction often investigates how technology affects human drives and desires. Insofar as thought experiments with non-human forms of intelligence and artificial life are major tropes of the genre, representations of computers and robots in film and literature tend to make us think critically about the very qualities that come to define the human, and what falls outside or threatens the anthropomorphic. How does technology probe the precarity and vulnerability of what we take to be distinctively human qualities and emotions? How do technological narratives hold up a speculative mirror (black or otherwise) to what we take to divide the human from the non-human world? Over the semester, we’ll read major technological narratives alongside contemporary scholarship in affect theory and science and technology studies. You’ll also refine your techniques for innovative writing and research in the humanities and beyond.


Reading and Composition: Narratives of Enlightenment

English R1B

Section: 10
Instructor: Wilson, Evan
Time: TTh 9:30-11
Location: 225 Dwinelle


Book List

Hesse, Hermann: Siddhartha; Pamuk, Orhan: The New Life

Other Readings and Media

A course reader with excerpts from: Ecclesiastes; Augustine, Confessions; Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile; Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass; Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience; Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Adams; John Dewey, Democracy and Education; Paolo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed; Gloria Anzaldua, Borderlands/La Frontera

 

Description

This class explores what it means to be wise, enlightened, or educated. While it will offer no definitive answers to those enormous questions, it will look at how writers in a number of traditions have offered their own answers and written compelling narratives about the process of attaining wisdom. We will read and think comparatively about three related concepts: enlightenment, education, and conversion. What distinguishes them from each other? How does each one, as it’s framed by various writers, demand particular attitudes and ways of behaving from those of us who want to follow these paths? What relevance do such apparently fuzzy or spiritual qualities as “wisdom” or “enlightenment” have for your own college education in 2017?

In the process of reading narratives of enlightenment, you’ll also be writing and developing the research skills that help make you a critical citizen and curator of information in our twenty-first-century digital world. Units on analyzing different genres and media, including newspaper articles, scholarly articles, and film, along with frequent chances to write both formally and informally, will help equip you to write a research paper on a topic of your choosing.


Reading and Composition: University Life

English R1B

Section: 11
Instructor: Neal, Allison
Time: TTh 11-12:30
Location: 279 Dwinelle


Book List

Amis, Kingsley: Lucky Jim; Batuman, Elif: The Idiot; DeLillo, Don: White Noise; Smith, Zadie: On Beauty

Other Readings and Media

We will read essays by I.A. Richards, Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren, Mark McGurl, and John Guillory. We will also engage with a vast swath of poetry, including work by Marianne Moore, W.H. Auden, Frank O'Hara, Sylvia Plath, and Adrienne Rich. These materials will be available on bCourses. Please do not purchase course materials before the first day of class.

Description

How have British and American writers formed their work around and inside the university? How does reading and writing literature fit into university life? How do we know whether a piece of fiction or poetry is "academic" or "anti-academic" in style? How does reading as a "student" differ from reading for pleasure? This course will explore the place of English literature within the university system by engaging with a series of post-WWII campus novels and poems. We will also read a number of contemporary treatises that explore the purpose of the humanities within higher education, and we'll ask how the conception of English literature (and its purpose, particularly in relation to Rhetoric and Composition courses) has evolved since 1945.

This class is organized around texts that thematize the academic aspects of literature, but its primary goal is to help you to approach literature both in and out of the university system. Just as literature produces different modes of reception (academic or otherwise), your writing will be characterized by different modes of analytic inquiry. This class will be structured as a workshop and will include peer revision, individual meetings, and in-class discussions of various techniques of essay writing. Students will be responsible for writing two research papers and revisions.


Reading and Composition: The Undiscovered Country

English R1B

Section: 12
Instructor: Lorden, Jennifer A.
Time: TTh 12:30-2
Location: 50 Barrows


Book List

Calvocoressi, Gabrielle: The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart: Poems; Delanty, Greg, ed.: The Word Exchange: Anglo-Saxon Poems in Translation; Faulkner, William: As I Lay Dying; Morrison, Toni: Beloved; Shakespeare, William: Hamlet

Other Readings and Media

Film screening: Sunset Boulevard. (We will be screening this in-class.)

Description

Note the changes in instructor, topic, book list, and course description for this section of English R1B (as of May 30).

The experience of death is one of the most difficult, yet most urgent, to imaginatively represent in literature. Since, of course, no writer can offer a firsthand account of that "undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns," each who seeks to deal with the subject of death must resort to myriad creative strategies to paint a portrait of death that is, so to speak, true to life. This class will approach one category of such representations, those in which a main character or group of characters is dead from the very beginning of the narration. How does the presence of the dead function in a work of literature, and what do these texts suggest about the way death functions in life?

For the purposes of this class, of course, our primary concern will be to develop critical arguments from these texts. You'll share your findings through in-class discussions and writing workshops and discover ways to construct arguments from such disparate genres of writing. You'll write and revise two research papers, in addition to a short initial diagnostic exercise.


Reading and Composition: Visions of the World

English R1B

Section: 13
Instructor: Rajabzadeh, Shokoofeh
Time: TTh 2-3:30
Location: 262 Dwinelle


Book List

Butler , Octavia : Blood Child ; Maalouf, Amin: Leo Africanus ; Rowlandson, Mary: The Sovereignty and Goodness of God; Wilson, G. Willow: Ms. Marvel ; Zitkala-Sa: American Indian Stories, Legends and Other Writings

Description

“To see the Earth as it truly is, small and blue and beautiful in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see ourselves as riders on the Earth together.” – Archibald MacLeish, comment on the “Earthrise” after the Apollo 8 mission.

While NASA was collecting images of Earth as early as the 1940s, it was not until the 1972, when the famous "Blue Marble" photo was released, that the public saw an image of Earth in its entirety. How did this vision of our home from space affect our perception of our world and our place in it? How could this isolated object, so “small and blue and beautiful,” sustain a global community? 

In this class we will interrogate the role that place plays in creating, dividing, and imagining community. How do acts that change inhabitable geographies, such as colonialism, exploitation, and environmental disasters, change the communities formed on that land? How does one's perception of a community change as one physically moves across land, whether traveling, migrating, or making a pilgrimage? How do authors write their characters into, or out of, the communities sustained by the worlds they portray?

The goal of this course is two-fold. Firstly, its aim is to help you develop and strengthen your close reading, critical thinking, use of secondary sources, and research skills as we explore the relationship between people, earth, and our idea or sense of place. And secondly, the course aims to help you develop the ability to craft your analyses into clear and effective academic writing through drafts, revisions, peer-review feedback, and weekly writing exercises.  


Reading and Composition: GLBT and Queer Chicanx/Latinx Literature and Cultural Work

English R1B

Section: 14
Instructor: Trevino, Jason Benjamin
Time: TTh 3:30-5
Location: 89 Dwinelle


Book List

Anzaldúa, Gloria: Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza ; Cuadros, Gil: City of God; Islas, Arturo: The Rain God: A Desert Tale

Other Readings and Media

Other Required Texts (all available in course reader): Short pieces by authors including but not limited to Cherríe Moraga, Jose Estéban Muñoz, Heather Love, Tomás Almaguer, Antonio Viego, Leo Bersani, Mel Chen, Michael Hames-Garcia, Judith Butler, and David Halperin.

Description

In this course, we will read and write about Chicanx/Latinx literatures and cultural productions that explore GLBT and queer themes. In our approaches to the course materials, we will consider the notion of the queer, GLBT, and Chicano text.  What is a queer, Chicano, GLBT text? What is queer, Chicano, and/or GLBT writing? How and to what extent are these identitarian descriptors appropriate to the texts we study? Alongside these questions, we will also consider the interrelationships between art and activism. Can literature “do” activism? How and to what extent? In the types of literature we will be reading, is it even supposed to? What are the costs? These are some of the questions we ask as we read a set of multivalent texts situated within a triangle encompassing the Texas Río Grande Valley, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area.

As we analyze the various methods of research and exposition that our authors employ to convey social and literary meaning, we will work on developing our own methods of research and analysis for effective critical writing. To this end, we will focus throughout the semester on asking precise and significant questions, on identifying useful print and online sources to help us refine and answer these questions, and on translating our research findings into strong scholarly arguments.  The goal of the course is to encourage students to craft compelling questions and arguments that will grow into papers supported by student research.  


Reading and Composition: Genre Trouble

English R1B

Section: 15
Instructor: Ripplinger, Michelle
Time: TTh 5-6:30
Location: 262 Dwinelle


Book List

Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi : Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions; Austen, Jane: Northanger Abbey; Kempe, Margery: The Book of Margery Kempe; Woolf, Virginia: A Room of One's Own

Other Readings and Media

A course reader that may include selections from: Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale,” Julian of Norwich’s Revelation of Love, and Ann Radcliff’s The Mysteries of Udolpho, among others

Films and television may include: Bridget Jones's Diary

Description

This course will examine the complex relationships between gender and literary genre. What social and historical forces have, at various points in time, caused certain genres to be marginalized as “women’s writing” or “chick lit”? How have female authors negotiated the fact that literary activity is often implicitly, or even explicitly, gendered male? In order to get at these questions, we will consider several different historical moments and ask of each how gendered discourse relates to, informs, and perhaps even constitutes an essential component of literary authority. We will situate each literary work in relation to its own moment, but we will also ask how these works, medieval and modern alike, speak to each other. We will wonder, for instance, what the first-personal rhetorical strategies deployed in the late-medieval Book of Margery Kempe—the first autobiography written in English—have to do with the narratological innovations of Victorian women’s popular novels. We will ask how Virginia Woolf and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie each position themselves in relation to predominantly male literary traditions.

We will be thinking a lot about gender and genre, then, but our engagement with these literary works will be guided by an underlying goal, which is to focus on your writing. In order to refine the core skills of critical reading and analytical thinking—essential tools for writing insightful and persuasively argued papers—the course requires two essays and will culminate in a final research project and presentation. A peer-review process will provide added support as we approach the research paper as a cumulative series of distinct and individually manageable steps. By the end of the semester, you will have produced at least thirty-two pages of writing, including both drafts and revisions.