English R1B

Reading and Composition: Manufactured Monsters

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
16 Spring 2017 Diaz, Rosalind
TTh 8-9:30 211 Dwinelle

Book List

Le Fanu, Sheridan: Carmilla; Wells, H. G.: The Island of Dr. Moreau


This course investigates monsters—from the stitched-together creatures of The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896) to present-day vampires, werewolves, body snatchers, and other frightening creatures of lore and literature. We will read two short novels (Dr. Moreau and Carmilla), watch the films Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Alien, and read a selection of short stories and articles. The material for this course will also include two student-nominated texts (one book and one film).

The monsters that we will investigate are "manufactured" in more than one sense of the word. Their minds and bodies are stitched together by mad scientists or transformed by a fateful bite, but they are also constructed and created socially. They emerge as monstrous because of the way in which they are portrayed. We will ask: what do a culture's fictional monsters suggest about what that culture fears and reviles? To come to grips with this question, we will practice critical habits of mind and draw on critiques from queer theory, feminism, disability studies, and critical race studies. We will also excavate the histories of particular monsters and consider the specific historical contexts in which they appear and reappear.

Together we will tackle the project and the process of writing a research paper. We will break down this larger project into a series of steps designed to help you build on and expand your existing skills. Topic proposals, drafting, revision, and peer feedback will all be integral to this process. We will focus on developing research skills and on incorporating these source materials into our papers.

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