English H195A

Upper Division Coursework: Honors Course

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Fall 2006 Langan, Celeste
Langan, Celeste
TTh 12:30-2 305 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Auster, P.: City of Glass : The Graphic Novel ; Culler, J.: Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction; Guillory, J.: Cultural Capital; Muller, J., et al., eds.: The Purloined Poe; a Course Reader


"This course is designed to enable students to undertake a significant research project in the study of literature in English. In the fall semester, we will concentrate largely on two terms in that sentence: �significant� and �literature.� What makes a research question, problem, or project a �significant� one? Does it merely involve choosing to study a �significant� writer or text? (And what makes some writers/texts more significant than others?) Or do new issues and objects emerge as significant in response to different historical conjunctures and intellectual agendas? To what extent can the object itself��literature��be defined within or against these frames? Is literature a narrower or broader category than �writing�? For example, is �poetry� a subset of literature or its epitome? Or, as �spoken word,� does it not belong to the category of �literature� at all? Is it best to see literature itself as a subset of �media�? If so, what is being communicated�information or ideology, feeling or thought, truth or a lie?

Students applying for this class should read Culler�s Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction over the summer. They should also select�provisionally�a writer or text or issue for research. A useful strategy in this selection might be: what writer or text or subject matter has most challenged or cemented my ideas about what literature is and what happens when it is read?

During the fall semester, students will be required to keep a journal recording their responses to the weekly reading, and to participate in a group-designed class. By the end of the semester, students must submit a short essay (7-10 pages) outlining a research project and articulating its significance in relation to the category of �literature.� During the spring semester of this year-long course, students are expected to complete an honors thesis of 40+ pages. Those students working on related issues, periods, genres, or writers will form working groups, which will meet weekly to read each other�s drafts on a rotating basis. Each student will also meet regularly with me and a second faculty advisor with expertise in the student�s chosen area of research. "

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