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Courses

Literature

COLA-ENGL-210 Literary and Cultural Studies 0504-210

Literary and Cultural Studies Students will study texts selected from traditional literature and contemporary media (including mythology, poetry, story, film, graphic novels, television, and digital literature). Students will analyze these texts from a variety of perspectives and become familiar with the history of debates about literature and/or culture as arenas of human experience.

COLA-ENGL-215 Text & Code N/A

This course examines the innovative combinations of text & code that underpin emerging practices such as electronic literatures, digital games, mobile communication, interactive and locative media, augmented reality, and interactive museum design. Drawing on key concepts of text & code in fields such as literature, linguistics, and creative writing, students will analyze shifting literacies necessary to “read” and understand new media. To encourage multiple perspectives on these pivotal concepts of text & code and their import, the course includes guest lectures by scholars and practitioners in these fields.

COLA-ENGL-301 Art of Poetry 0504-441

The Art of Poetry This course emphasizes the enjoyment and study of poetry with primary attention to major poetry in English. Students will develop (and apply) a good working vocabulary of the concepts and terminology used to discuss and analyze poetry, through close readings of individual poems, lectures on specific poets, and theories of poetics.

COLA-ENGL-302 The Short Story 0504-442

This course focuses on reading and analyzing selected short stories. Students participate in class discussions and write papers to demonstrate close reading and to understand the common themes and unique literary characteristics of the genre. The course also identifies cultural and historical contexts that influenced the authors.

COLA-ENGL-304 Drama and Theater 0504-440

This course examines drama as a genre and theater as a performing art. Intensive study of at least one major playwright or period complements a general survey of drama/theater from ancient Greece to modern Broadway.

COLA-ENGL-305 Auto/Biography 0504-448

Auto/Biography continues to be one of the best-selling genres. Auto/Biography tries to bring literature, history, and cultural studies together. It is about the individual within a larger world. The class asks students to examine various forms of auto/biography and to explore lives lived within cultures, societies, even professions.

COLA-ENGL-315 History of Digital Literature N/A

Since the initial development of the computer, writers have collaborated with programmers, illustrators, and soundscapists to create digital literatures. Following from radical techniques in print literatures such as concrete poetry, Choose Your Own Adventure novels, and reorderable/unbound fictions, digital literatures exploit the potential of digital formats to explore questions of interactivity, readership, authorship, embodiment, and power. In this class, we will learn to analyze and appreciate digital literatures not simply through their content, but also through the relation of content to form, media, programming platforms, and distribution formats. Our consideration of digital literatures will lead us to cell phones, web pages, video games, virtual reality environments, and genome sequencers.

COLA-ENGL-340 Literary Diseases N/A

The course explores the links between narrative, disease, and culture by focusing on works of fiction, drama, film, and non-fiction media that represent disease and illness. As early as ancient Greek drama, diseases have been key metaphors and framing narratives in literature. The course allows students to see how narrative has been an important part of accounting for and analyzing disease both at the individual and epidemiological levels. The course will also allow students to see how diseases are turned into metaphors, and how and why this transformation can we should think critically about such metaphors. Students are encouraged to think critically about how illness is deployed for social and political purposes when, for instance, “infection” is used as a metaphor for immigration or invasion. Students are also encouraged to apply methods of literary and cultural analysis to contemporary phenomena such as representations of health and illness issues in contemporary popular culture and information media.

COLA-ENGL-345 History of Madness N/A

This course will study the changes in definitions, explanations, and depictions of madness as expressed in psychiatric texts, asylum records, novelists, cartoonists, artists, photographers, film-makers–and patient narratives. Certainly, madness has assumed many names and forms: the sacred disease, frenzy, hysteria, mania, melancholy, neurosis, dementia, praecox, schizophrenia, phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder. Those afflicted have been admired, pitied, mocked, hidden from public view, imprisoned, restrained, operated on, hospitalized, counseled, analyzed, and medicated. The brain has long been a source of interest, particularly the disordered brain. This course explores the brain from the history of madness.

 

COLA-ENGL-374 Games and Literature

Who studies game studies? Are we all, in some way, novices, gamers, and scholars? What kind of intertextuality do we see in video games? Will “game studies” ever be as highly regarded as is critical scholarship on, say, literature? Writing in games can often be hit or miss, so relying on an established story can provide support and allows the medium to evolve to cover more interesting stories than the typical mass-offering affairs. Still, literature and games are fundamentally different media- and as such these differences must be accounted for when mapping literature onto video games. (Sample Syllabus)

COLA-ENGL-375 Storytelling Across Media N/A

This course introduces the basic elements of narrative, reflecting on key concepts in narrative theory such as – story and plot, narration and focalization, characterization, storyspace, and worldmaking – to enhance your understanding of how stories work and your ability to understand how such storytelling strategies convey their meaning and themes. After an initial exploration of storytelling traditions emerging from oral myth and short stories in print, we expand our inquiries into what a narrative is and what it can do by considering what happens to storytelling in graphic novels, digital games, and in recent electronic literature. Reflecting on competing definitions and varieties of narrative, the course raises the overarching question of why how we access, read, write, and circulate stories as a culture matters. Expect to “read” stories in a variety of media, to review basic concepts and conversations drawn from narrative theory, and to creatively experiment with the storytelling strategies we are analyzing in class.

COLA-ENGL-376 Experimental Writing N/A

This course moves from magic to modernity, from monster to machine, to explore the transformative power of experimental writing. Students will play with texts that challenge our usual ways of thinking about the relationship of language to the world: the cultural contexts within which language functions, the conflicts out of which it arises, the aesthetic pleasures with which it is associated, and the purposes – intentional or other – which it serves. Writing experiments can test boundaries and break limits, offering us ways to reconsider and redefine our own experience – social, intellectual, emotional, spiritual.

COLA-ENGL-391 Dangerous Texts N/A

This course will examine how suppression of information has been orchestrated throughout history in different contexts. The process of suppressing information – of people in power attempting to hide images, sounds and words – must itself be viewed in perspective. We must recognize acts of censorship in relation to their social settings, political movements, religious beliefs, cultural expressions and/or personal identities. The texts that we will study were all considered dangerous enough to be banned by governments. They are dangerous because they represent sexuality, race, politics, and religion in ways that challenge the current political/cultural norms of their given culture. What, then, is so dangerous about a fictional representation? What is it that makes a certain work dangerous at a particular time? What is it that makes intellectuals in general and imaginative writers in particular so potent a threat to established power? Do issues like these matter only in totalitarian regimes, or can we learn something about our own society? How do social media technologies complicate discussions of censorship and creativity?

COLA-ENGL-400 Special Topics: Literary and Cultural Studies N/A

A focused, in depth study and analysis of a selected topic in literary and/or cultural studies. Specific topics vary according to faculty assigned.

COLA-ENGL-403 The Novel 0504-443

This course examines the art and process of the novel as a genre of writing through explorations and analysis of its literary form, its themes, its stylistic tendencies, and its diverse social and cultural and historical contexts and aims. Reading a variety of novels from different historical periods and/or cultural contexts, the course identifies defining features of novels, according to different critical traditions, and considers their differing assessments of its origins and of its social and political import. It also introduces and practices literary analysis of novels, using a careful scrutiny of elements of fiction such as plot, point of view, setting, symbol, or theme, to reveal how writers convey meaning and generate specific relations between text and reader and to identify key stylistic tendencies such as realism, sentimenatalism, modernism, and postmodernism.

COLA-ENGL-406 Shakespeare: Tragedy 0504-454

For almost four hundred years Shakespeare's work has stood as a monument to the literary imagination. In this course, we will study Shakespeare's tragedies with a view toward exploring the influence of his work through the ages, as well as addressing questions of canonicity. Through class discussion, interactive activities, and examination of film, students will develop strategies both to investigate the literary and theatrical power of these works as well as to consider their cultural presence in both contemporary American culture and Shakespeare's England. Particular attention will be devoted to literary theory and the variety of interpretation in order to inform readings of the plays.

COLA-ENGL-407 Shakespeare: Comedy 0504-455

Our notions of comedy are considerably different than Shakespeare’s time. Yet, the parameters set forth in his plays continue to influence the way we understand the form. In this course, we will read a selection of Shakespeare’s comedies including some problem plays in order to develop an understanding of genre and its influence. Through class discussion, interactive activities, and examination of films, students will develop strategies both to investigate the literary and theatrical power of these works as well as to consider their cultural presence in both contemporary American culture and Shakespeare's England. Particular attention will be devoted to literary theory and a variety of interpretations that inform readings of the plays.

COLA-ENGL-408 Modern Poetry 0504-460

From Walt Whitman's "barbaric yawp," to Emily Dickinson's "letter to the world that never wrote to me," and Baudelaire's "breath of wind from the wings of madness," Modern Poetry is a body of literature characterized by bold changes in voice, form, and subject matter. This course offers a close examination of poetry of the 19th and 20th centuries, with attention to such things as the role played by technological, historical, and political developments; what it means to be "modern" and how other modern arts movements, for instance, visual arts, music, or film, have influenced poetry.

COLA-ENGL-409 Mythology & Literature 0504-464

This course is a scholarly investigation into the cultural, historical, social, psychological, religious and spiritual, literary and performative dimensions of world myth. It examines different approaches to the study of myth emerging from disciplines such as anthropology, history, literary studies, and psychology. Special attention will be paid to the effect of these narratives on literature and other kinds of cultural texts, past and present. We will also use myth to develop, and critically reflect on, comparative approaches to world cultures.

COLA-ENGL-410 Film Studies 0504-444

Film studies familiarizes students with a number of different critical approaches to film as a narrative and representational art. The course introduces students to the language as well as analytical and critical methodologies of film theory and criticism from early formalist approaches to contemporary considerations of technologies and ideologies alike. Students will be introduced to a selection of these approaches and be asked to apply them to a variety of films selected by the instructor. Additional screening time is recommended.

COLA-ENGL-411 American Literature 0504-400

The course introduces students to American literature by tracing a particular theme through a historical survey of novels, stories, poetry, and drama, as well as non-fiction forms (speeches, autobiographies, essays, etc.). Students will gain a broad understanding of American literary trends. These themes will be broadly conceived, but will also lend themselves to social, cultural, and political questions. These themes may include but are not limited to Horror, Gardens and Machines, Natives and Strangers, Borders, etc.

COLA-ENGL-413 African-American Literature 0504-467

Participants will explore the landscape of African-American literature, and learn of its development throughout the 19th and/or 20th Centuries. From Phyllis Wheatley, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Ida B. Wells to Toni Morrison, from the Harlem Renaissance, and the Black Arts Movements of the 1960s to Hip-Hop this course will explore African-American writers who inspired a civil rights and cultural revolution. Through writing, reading and research, they will grow to understand how, despite legal limits on freedom and social participation imposed because of their color in American society, blacks created styles of verbal and written expressions unique within the American experience and contributed to the shape, growth and development of the nation's literary character.

COLA-ENGL-414 Women's & Gender Studies 0504-480

This course will explore a key theme or critical question as an introduction and line of inquiry into how and why women's and gender studies matter in the contemporary world and in our individual lives. We will use these theoretical lenses to read social, cultural, and artistic texts and cultural practices in a new light. How do cultural texts and practices (such as novels, graphic novels, plastic surgery, in vitro fertilization, music videos, bulimia, facebook, video games, advertising, etc.) encourage us to think about gender, sex, sexuality, race, class, nation, transnation, science, and power? What role do they play in processes of identity formation? What connections can be drawn between women around the world without erasing their distinct differences? How do we put that international perspective on women's and men's lives into practice in our own daily lives?

COLA-ENGL-415 British Literature 0504-474

The course introduces students to British literature by tracing a particular era through a historical survey of canonical, non-canonical, and contemporary novels, stories, poetry, and drama, as well as non-fiction forms (speeches, autobiographies, essays, etc.). Students will gain a broad understanding of literary trends in British literature.

COLA-ENGL-416 Global Literature 0504-435

This course will approach literature as a global phenomenon, considering some of the key historical forces that have been bringing the globe's inhabitants into contact with one another through cultural, aesthetic and commercial expression. We will examine a host of literary, artistic, and popular forms that exist along the conduits and fault-lines of the global world system: possible primary texts include television programs and commercials, film, animation, music, visual art, literature and new media.

COLA-ENGL-417 Deaf Literature 0504-545

The major focus of this course is on "the image of the deaf and "the deaf experience" as depicted in literature. The course attempts to define "deafness" and the cultural roles it plays in both texts by deaf authors and texts about deaf persons, as well as to examine particular literary forms related to the deaf experience. Thus, attention is also given to studying ASL poetry.

COLA-ENGL-418 Great Authors 0504-425

This course provides an in-depth look at literary giants and the masterpieces of prose or poetry they have created; it's an opportunity to see the role they played both within the context of their own time and within the larger span of literary history. These great authors confront key questions of modernity that continue to occupy us to this day; they ask the question of what it means to be human and explore fundamental human themes. They give us a fresh perspective on the past and on ourselves.

COLA-ENGL-419 Literature and Technology 0504-462

Surveying the rise of computing technologies, information theories, and information economies in the last century, this course considers their impact on literature, culture and knowledge-formation. In particular, we will reflect on topics such as the relations between social and technological transformation, literary print and digital cultures and electronic literature.

COLA-ENGL-420 Science Fiction 0504-482

This course provides a selective survey of science fiction from its antecedents to its foundational texts and through many of its developments in the 20th and 21st centuries. With a variety of authors who exhibit varying intentions and effects, the course approaches these texts as literary form, as cultural artifact, as philosophical speculation, and as scientific and technological imaginary.

COLA-ENGL-421 The Graphic Novel 0504-436

This course charts the development of the graphic novel, examines that history in relation to other media (including literary works, comics, film, and video games), and reflects on how images and writing function in relation to one another. Primary readings will be supplemented with secondary works that address socio-historical contexts, interpretive approaches and the cultural politics of the medium, such as representations of class, race, gender and ethnicity.

COLA-ENGL-422 Maps, Spaces, Places 0504-493

The course takes as its premise that spatial thinking is critically important, particularly in science, engineering, mathematics and technology, the STEM disciplines. Spatial thinking also informs our ability to understand many areas of 21st century culture: travel, tourism, mobility, locative devices, and geospatial information systems. The diverse texts represented in this course are using space as a dynamic context for the making of history and for different organizations of social and communal life. The study begins with a meditation on the language of maps and the practice of mapmaking, exploring the idea that to present a useful picture, an accurate must tell lies, must represent space and “nonspace.” The course develops into an exploration of the ways that mapmaking reinforces various kinds of social networks and the ways we begin to think about mobility across space and place.

COLA-ENGL-425 Global Cinemas N/A

This course introduces students to one or more national or regional motion picture (including video and digital formats) traditions other than North American (Hollywood) film (though even this film tradition can be examined in its global significance). While the rest of the world is exposed to American cinema extensively, we in North America have only recently been exposed to film from China, Latin America, Iran, and other non-Western film traditions. Even European cinema (East and West) remains little understood among mainstream movie audiences. This course increases students' awareness of at least one cinematic tradition beyond that of mainstream North American cinema. Students will become familiar with the aesthetic of a particular national cinema, including its connections with other art forms from the region and elsewhere.

COLA-ENGL-450 Free and Open Source Culture N/A

This course charts the development of the Free Culture movement by examining the changing relationship between authorship and cultural production based on a variety of factors: law, culture, commerce and technology. In particular, we will examine the rise of the concept of the individual author during the last three centuries. Using a variety of historical and theoretical readings, we will note how law and commerce have come to shape the prevailing cultural norms surrounding authorship, while also examining lesser know models of collaborative and distributed authoring practices. This background will inform our study of the rapid social transformations wrought by media technologies in last two centuries, culminating with the challenges and opportunities brought forth by digital media, mobile communications and networked computing. Students will learn about the role of software in highlighting changing authorship practices, facilitating new business and economic models and providing a foundation for conceiving of open source, open access, participatory, peer-to-peer and “Free (as in speech, not beer)” cultures.

 

Creative Writing Awards!

Join us on April 22nd at 4:00PM in the SAU Reading Room for our annual Creative Writing Awards! Writer David Schickler is our guest speaker, along with live readings from our CW award winners...

To submit your work for the CW awards:  https://signatures.submittable.com/submit

David Schickler's web site:  http://www.davidschickler.com/