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English Literature Electives for Spring 2016

 

ASIA 100 - Foundations of Asian Studies:  This course offers an introduction to East Asian cultures and civilizations, providing a background on philosophical and religious thought of China, Japan, and Korea, and linking selected elements of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean historical development with global issues today.  Readings: primary and secondary sources from a wide variety of disciplines, including philosophy and religion, literature, the arts, politics, history, popular culture, and contemporary events.  There may be opportunity for one or two optional field trips and on-campus films and workshops. 

Faculty Guest Lecturers include:  Prof. Min Zhou, Languages; Prof. Will Ayton, Music (ret.); Prof. Tad Kugler, Political Science/International RelationsCourse Instructor:  Dr. Roberta Adams, Associate Dean, FCAS.  
Course Meeting Times:  See Spring 2016 COURSE OFFERINGS
 

Note:  ASIA 100 is a requirement for East Asian Studies minors, and an elective for English majors and minors; it is open to everyone.

 

 

ENG 110 - Serpents Swords Symbols and Sustainability:  This course analyzes the historical contexts for shifts in literary attitudes toward the environment from around the world and across time. Using the natural world as a point of departure, students learn the universal language of symbols from ancient cultures to the present, as they document and assess the evolution of the relation between human beings and the natural world, once perceived as reciprocal and interdependent, now distinct and isolated. Students analyze interdisciplinary & cross-cultural literary and visual works that address environment and place and the evolution of the relations between the human and non-human both directly (in non-fiction and natural history) and indirectly (in literature and film).  No prerequisites.  Dr. Deborah Robinson  (drobinson@rwu.edu)  Course Meeting Times:  Spring 2016 On-Line Courses.

 

ENG 290 and 300 (British Literature Survey Courses):  British Literature II & III are both being offered this semester.  You are only required to CHOOSE TWO (2)  from British Literature 1, 2 or 3 to graduate with an English major.  If you take all three, one of them  counts as an elective requirement. If you only take 2, you satisfy the British Literature 1 or 2 requirement (no matter which two you take).   We encourage all English majors to take all three British Literature Survey courses; especialy if you are thinking of applying to graduate school.  British Literature I (BL I)  begins with Beowulf and ends near 1700.  BL II begins near 1700 and ends around 1900.  BL III bridges the 20th and 21st Centuries. 

Course Meeting Times:  See Spring 2016 On-Line Courses.

 

ENG 301 - Contemporary American Literature:  This course explores contemporary American literature in a variety of genres, including texts outside mainstream literature.  This semester's reading selections will include August Wilson's play The Piano Lesson (1990), Joseph Heller's novel Catch-22 (1961), and Truman Capote's creative nonfiction work, In Cold Blood (1966), which is the 2015-16 Birss Memorial Lecture Text.

Professor:  Dr. James Tackach (jtackach@rwu.edu)
Course Meeting Times:  See Spring 2016 On-Line Courses.

 

 

 

 

ENG 430 - Kazuo Ishiguro:  This course focuses on the novels, short stories, and possibly screenplays, of the contemporary Japanese British author Kazuo Ishiguro, widely considered one of the most important authors writing today. His novels have won numerous accolades, among them an OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire); the highest French distinction in the arts, the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres; and the most prestigious British literary award, the Man Booker Prize.  We will examine the intriguing ways in Ishiguro's work simultaneously invites and defies associations with “Englishness” and “Japaneseness” on the levels of both form and content.  We will also pose crucial questions related to notions such as “culture,” “difference,” “the human,” “ethics,” “knowledge,” “the local” vs. “the global” and the categories of contemporary, national, and global literatures.  The course includes a film component, in that we will be considering the ways in which aspects of Japanese film aesthetics have influenced Ishiguro’s writing, and viewing film versions of some of Ishiguro’s work. Course participants will be critically evaluating the changes in storytelling employed in the process of creating films based on literary works.  For example, we will consider in detail some films by the Japanese film director Ozu Yasujirô (e.g., his 1957 masterpiece Tokyo Story).

Instructor:  Dr. Rebecca Karni (rkarni@rwu.edu) GHH 316 ||  Course Meeting Times:  See Spring 2016 On-Line Courses.
Note:  This course  counts as an Elective for the Asian Studies Minor, the Film Studies minor, and as an ENG elective.

 

Bible in/and LiteratureENG 430: The Bible in/and Literature:  Whether we’re reading Chaucer, Dante, Shakespeare, Faulkner, Hemingway, Dickens, Austen, Bronte, Tolkien, or Rowling, our knowledge of both the Bible and the “Judeo-Christian tradition” directly affects our ability to recognize the artists’ thematic use of biblical allusions. Our course focuses on key Concepts, Stories, Rituals and Symbols, including the origin of Satan, The Last Supper, wedding ceremonies, the seven vices and virtues, Noah’s Ark, the Passion of Christ, the apple, Lilith (image at left) and much more. The course will also orient students to important geographical and historical contexts including Jersusalem, the Land of Canaan, and Babylon as well as the "heretical" gospels, Gnosticism, and the Crusades and much more (see attached flyer). Summer reading is required and will include Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons and The DaVinci Code. Students will also read J.C. Coopers’ An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols. And, of course, The Bible (King James Version).  [Image:  Depiction of Lilith in the Burney Relief]  Instructor:  Professor D. Robinson (drobinson@rwu.edu) GHH 315.  Course Meeting Times:  See Spring 2016 On-Line Courses.


English Literature Electives for Fall 2015

 

J.R.R. TolkienENG 299 - Special Topics:   Magical Women:  While our course title suggests mystery, benevolent supernatural power, perhaps even a bit of playfulness, if we look beneath the surface, we begin to uncover a more nuanced interpretation of “magical women.”  Denotatively, “magic” suggests the use of spells and rituals in seeking or pretending to cause or control events, or govern certain natural or supernatural forces.  Its synonyms, sorcery and witchcraft, imply the use of charms or mysterious, seemingly inexplicable events by exerting extraordinary powers of influence by producing baffling effects or illusions.  Marry “magic” and women in this context; and, quickly, “benevolence” begins to turn to menace.  So in this course, we’ll ask some questions that venture into that darker side:

Where do witches come from?  Where’d the Great Earth Mother go?  Who are the “Furies,” the succubae?  And what’s all this about female gender bifurcation of the virgin-whore variety?  And what’s with this princess-wicked stepmother-fairy godmother triad?  Why are women often judged to be mysterious, often malevolently?  And what does sexuality have to do with all this?   To answer these, and many more questions that this course will raise, we’ll use visual arts; video games; film; music; literature, including myths, fairy tales, and novels.  Some resources might include, along with excerpts of the Bible and the Koran, The Pearl: A Journal of Voluptuous Reading, the Underground Magazine of Victorian England, The Turnip Princess [fairy tales], The Thorn and the Blossom, a Two-sided Love Story [novel], The Sculpture [graphic novel], The Red Tent [novel], and Nine Parts of Desire:  The Hidden World of Islamic Women [journalist’s diary]  This course satisfied a lower-level elective requirement for the Engish major, but is open to all (majors and non-majors) who meet the pre-requisites, or by permission of instructor. English Literature majors must take at least three (3) upper level electives.  ENG/ED majors must take at least two (2) upper level electives.

Professor:  Dr. Deborah Robinson  (drobinson@rwu.edu)  GHH 315
 

 

 

ENG 320 - Reading Global Fiction:  What does it mean to read globally or across national and/or cultural borders in the 21st century? This course explores this question, and the pleasures and challenges involved, in relation to various conceptions of global or world fiction. While earlier definitions of “world literature” were linked to a set of literary masterpieces, more recent revivals of the notion see it as tied inextricably to certain modes of reading, as well as to questions of translation, circulation, and reception that will be central to our discussions. We will consider carefully various ways in which selected fictional works participate in, and reflect on, discourses pertaining to “reading globally” and “world/global fiction,” as well as, more generally, related to “world,” “globe,” “planet,” and “hemisphere” – central to the perspectives from which world/global literature has more recently come to be considered –, thus problematizing these notions.  This course satisfies an upper level English literature elective requirement, but is open to all (majors and non-majors) who meet the pre-requisites, or by permission of instructor.  English Literature majors must take at least three (3) upper level electives.  ENG/ED majors must take at least two (2) upper level electives.

Professor:  Dr. Rebecca Karni (rkarni@rwu.edu)
Course Meeting Times:  Tues/Thurs 11:00am - 12:20pm Fall 2015


English Literature Electives for Spring 2015
 

ENG 320 - Global Literatures:  Transnational Spy and Detective Fiction:  This course highlights the increasing number of transnational, minority/ethnic, and postcolonial writers who adapt spy, detective, and crime fiction conventions, often transcending presumed boundaries between popular and high culture. In focusing on issues related to identity, “culture,” ethics, human rights, and knowledge construction, we will examine for example, the figure of the spy or detective as observer, immigrant and/or cultural or social “other.” Authors may include Patrick Chamoiseau, Vikram Chandra, Wilkie Collins, Cristina Garcia-Aguilera, Kazuo Ishiguro, Suki Kim, Natsuo Kirino, Chang-Rae Lee, Mario Vargas Llosa, Gabriel García Márquez, Walter Mosley, Haruki Murakami, Yamyang Norbu (rewriting Sherlock Holmes), Michael Ondaatje, and one or more examples from the recently so successful Scandinavian crime fiction genre.  This course counts as an upper-level elective in the English Literature major.

Professor:  Dr. Rebecca Karni (rkarni@rwu.edu)  GHH 316
Course Meeting Times:  Tues/Friday 2:00 - 3:20pm Spring 2015

 

 

J.R.R. Tolkien

ENG 430 - Special Topics:   J.R.R. Tolkien:  This intertextual course (films and novels)  travels to Middle-earth to meet with Gandalf and Samwise Gamgee, Gollum, Legolas, and a cast of thousands.  We will focus on Tolkien's literary and cultural presence: as an icon of the 1960s ecological movement, as admonisher of war, innovator of genre and character, and as a resource for other fantasy writers. Just as Tolkien borrows from Norse mythology, each new generation of writers has borrowed from Tolkien (e.g., Yoda echoes Elvish Sindarin syntactical structure; likewise C.S. Lewis and J.K. Rowling transform elements from Tolkien).  Readings and films will include The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Tolkien’s Letters, Tree and Leaf, and a wide variety of literary and critical texts.   This course counts as an upper-level elective in the English Literature major.

Professor:  Dr. Deborah Robinson  (drobinson@rwu.edu)  GHH 315
Course Meeting Times: Mon/Thurs 2:00 - 3:20pm Spring 2015

 

ENG 110 - Serpents Swords Symbols and Sustainability:  This course analyzes the historical contexts for shifts in literary attitudes toward the environment from around the world and across time. Using the natural world as a point of departure, students learn the universal language of symbols from ancient cultures to the present, as they document and assess the evolution of the relation between human beings and the natural world, once perceived as reciprocal and interdependent, now distinct and isolated. Students analyze interdisciplinary and cross-cultural literary and visual works that address environment and place and the evolution of the relations between the human and non-human both directly (in non-fiction and natural history) and indirectly (in literature and film). This course counts as a lower-level elective  in the English Literature major.  No prerequisites.

Professor:  Dr. Deborah Robinson  (drobinson@rwu.edu) GHH 315
Course Meeting Times: Tues/Thurs 11:00am - 12:20pm Spring 2015

 

ASIA 100 - Foundations of Asian Studies

CAS 330This introductory course course provides an introduction to the broad historical, cultural, and philosophical events and traditions of this important geopolitical region that includes China, Japan, and Korea among other important states. Students will explore major historical, political, and economic developments, as well as cultural and philosophical underpinnings that characterize the region. The course raises questions about the roles and interactions of Asian countries internationally in the 21st century global context. This course counts as a lower-level elective in the English Literature major.  No prerequisites.
 

Professor:  Dr. Roberta Adams, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs  (radams@rwu.edu) GHH 308B
Course Meeting Times: Tues/Thurs 9:30 - 11:00am Spring 2015

 


English Literature Electives for Fall 2014

 

Title Illustration of Native SonENG 360 - The African American Novel (Studies in Ethnic American Literature):  This upper-level English elective course surveys the rich history of the African American novel from its birth in the 1850s through the end of the 20th cnetury.  The reading list will include the following six novels:

  • The Bondswoman's Narrative (1850s) Hannah Craft
  • The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (1913) James Weldon Johnson
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937) Zora Neale Hurston
  • Native Son (140) Richard Wright
  • Invisible Man (1952) Ralph Ellison
  • Beloved (1987) Toni Morrison

Prerequisites:  ENG 100 (or CW 210 and CW 220), 200-level or above Writing Course
Professor:  Dr. James Tackach (jtackach@rwu.edu) GHH 314
Course Meeting Times:  Thursday only  2:00 - 4:50pm

 

 

Title Illustration of Native Son

ENG 300 - "British" Literature III:  The Postwar Novel:  This course considers the late 20th-century/early 21st-century Britsh novel and examines closely a number of key issues that shaped, as well as contiue to affect, postwar British literature and culure, such as the movement from empire to post-colonialism; the "new internationalism" in British literature; and the role of the most prestigious literay award in Britain, the Man Booker Prize.  We will pay particular attention to the continuously shifting dynaics between the notions of "British," "English," "international," and "globall/world" and the role of the literary marketplace.   

This upper-level English elective course may be taken either as an elective if you have already taken Brit Lit I and Brit Lit II.  If you have not taken Brit Lit I and Brit Lit II, it may substitute for either one of them.  See your advisor if you have any questions about whether to take this as an elective or as a requirement.

Prerequisite:  ENG 100 (or CW 210 and CW 220), any 200-level or above WTNG Course
Professor:  Dr. Rebecca Karni (rkarni@rwu.edu) GHH 316

Course Meeting Times:  Tues/Friday  2:00 - 3:20pm

 


English Literature Electives for Spring 2014

 

Ernest HemingwayENG 299 - The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway:  Ernest Hemingway wrote some splendid novels: The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, The Old Man and the Sea. But most literary critics suggest that this great American writer’s best work can be found in his short fiction, including the Nick Adams stories and short story masterpieces like “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” and “Hills Like White Elephants.” This course will focus on Hemingway the short story writer and feature intensively close readings and active discussions of Hemingway’s best short fiction.
Mon/Thurs 2:00-3:20
Professor James Tackach (jtackach@rwu.edu)  GHH 314
 

 

 

Austen and Film

ENG 430: Austen and Film:  Is it a truth universally acknowledged for readers of Jane Austen that the book is always better than the movie? Or vice versa? Why are so many Austen novels making it to the “big screen”? What is lost (and what is gained) when this happens? The first 2/3 of this course will closely compare two Austen novels against their companion films (drawing on introductory film studies texts) to analyze how narrative, thematic, and/or ideological emphases shift from text to film. The first comparisons will include Pride and Prejudice (the 1813 novel, the 1995 BBC 6 hr miniseries, and the 2005 Kiera Knightly film). The second comparison will include an Austen novel paired with another film (to be chosen by class vote). The final third of the course each student will pair a DIFFERENT novel with its adaptation to produce a thesis driven comparison. The final project for the course will showcase these comparisons university wide. If you love Jane Austen (or simply want to learn more about her novels and the films that translate them), you are more than welcome. This course is reading and writing intensive. (Final paper 10-12 pages.)

Thursdays 5:00 - 8:00pm
Professor:   Meg Case  (mcase@rwu.edu) GHH 312
If you have any questions, please contact mcase@rwu.edu


English Literature Electives for Fall 2013

 

World Short Story

ENG 299 - World Short Story:  The short story is a flexible art form, embraced by writers around the world. In this class, we study the form: what makes a short story? how does an author pack so much into a few pages? And we will read 4-8 stories a week, from the “classics” of the 19th and 20th centuries, to some written in the past ten years. Authors may include Chekhov, Tolstoy, De Maupassant, Rilke, Kafka, Pirandello, Kipling, O. Henry, Joyce, Borges, Lu Xun, Kawabata, Ding Ling, Allende, Garcia Marquez, Mahfouz, Mukherjee, Ha Jin, Murakami, Achebe, Mo Yan, Lahiri, Yoshimoto, Nadiya, Mhute, among many others.

Tues/Thurs 12:30-1:50
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Professor Roberta Adams  (radams@rwu.edu) GHH 308B

 

Global of World NovelENG 320 - The “Global” or “World Novel”: Affect, Ethics, Aesthetics, Politics:  Ever since Johann W. von Goethe proclaimed that the epoch of Weltliteratur (world literature) is at hand, authors, critics, and general readers alike have advocated the “world” or “global novel.” This is especially true for the period of the late 20th and early 21st centuries with its emphasis on globalization in general and the globalizing humanities more particularly. But what exactly does this advocacy for the “world” or “global novel” presuppose and promote? It is tied inextricably to multifaceted questions related to genre, affect, ethics, aesthetics, politics (to name a few), which this course aims to examine.

More than any other genre, the novel has a long-standing history of being both criticized and praised for its perceived political, ethical, social, and aesthetic affinities and affiliations. In reading comparatively late 20th- and early 21st-century novels by Anglophone, Asian American, French/Francophone, German, Japanese, Sinophone, and Indian authors (while also paying attention to the historical development of the notion of “world”/”global novel” and the post-1945 context), we will be considering the particular constellations of these dimensions that globalization has brought about. In so doing, our focus will be on the ways in which the selected authors depict “the global” or “the world” in relation to culture, communities, people, and fictional characters; the never straightforward relationships to “real” “global” or “world” formations that they in this way establish; as well as on the implications that the chosen narrative forms and styles might have for global readerships. We will also examine carefully how notions of the “world”/”global novel” relate to various conceptions of “world,” “globe,” “hemisphere,” and “planet.”

Readings include a selection of relevant critical essays as well as novels by Albert Camus, Dai Sijie, Enchi Fumiko, Amitav Ghosh, Kazuo Ishiguro, Chang-Rae Lee, Ruth Ozeki, and W.G. Sebald.

Tues/Fri 2:00 - 3:30
Professor Rebecca Karni (rkarni@rwu.edu) GHH 316

 

Bible in/and Literature

ENG 430: The Bible in/and Literature:  Whether we’re reading Chaucer, Dante, Shakespeare, Faulkner, Hemingway, Dickens, Austen, Bronte, Tolkien, or Rowling, our knowledge of both the Bible and the “Judeo-Christian tradition” directly affects our ability to recognize the artists’ thematic use of biblical allusions. Our course focuses on key Concepts, Stories, Rituals and Symbols, including the origin of Satan, The Last Supper, wedding ceremonies, the seven vices and virtues, Noah’s Ark, the Passion of Christ, the apple, Lilith (image at left) and much more. The course will also orient students to important geographical and historical contexts including Jersusalem, the Land of Canaan, and Babylon as well as the "heretical" gospels, Gnosticism, and the Crusades and much more (see attached flyer). Summer reading is required and will include Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons and The DaVinci Code. Students will also read J.C. Coopers’ An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols. And, of course, The Bible (King James Version).  [Image:  Depiction of Lilith in the Burney Relief]

Thursdays 2:00 to 4:50pm
Professor D. Robinson (drobinson@rwu.edu) GHH 315


English Literature Electives for Spring 2013

 

Good Asian/Bad Asian: Radicals, Outcasts, and ExilesENG 320 - Good Asian/Bad Asian: Radicals, Outcasts, and Exiles:  The globalized discourse of the “Asian Century” has been consecrated by the growing popularity of mainstream cultural forms and media, exemplified by Indian Bollywood, Japanese Anime and Manga, and the Korean Wave from the 1990’s to the present. Mainstream representations of Asian otherness is also illustrated through Hollywood films like Lost in Translation, The Last Samurai, Kill Bill, the upcoming 47 Ronin, as well as through musical productions such as Madam Butterfly and Miss Saigon, among others. While the international visibility of Asia has brought an awareness to its diversity, the question remains whether the cultural forms described above can build what the scholar Longxi Zhang calls the “cultural homogeneity” within the disjunctive spaces of transnational culture or if such conceptions continue to produce racialized depictions and partial truths, what Samir Amin argues symbolizes the “inverted Eurocentrism” operating at the core of globalization.

Keeping in mind the above description, this course will investigate the counter-discourse of Asian otherness in the literature, theory, and film of the 20th/21st centuries through a comparative lens. Some of the key questions this course will address are: What are the predominant ideologies of the “Asian Century” and how do they function in the context of globalized cultural discourse? What is Asian postcoloniality and “Third Worldism?” How does Eurocentric universality, the ideology of globalized capital, continue to shape the locus of struggle for defining Asia beyond its constrained singularity? Finally, how do contrapuntal “readings” re-historicize the limits and possibilities of our understanding of Asian cultural formations and thus pave the way for the recognition of what Gayatri Spivak labels “Other Asias?” Some of the authors we will read are: Lau She, Mahasweta Devi, Arundhati Roy, Nakagami Kenji, Akira Yoshimura, Mulk Raj Anand, Wong Phui Nam, and Carlos Bulosan; theoretical readings by Gayatri Spivak, Rey Chow, Vijay Prashad, Arundhati Roy, Tani Barlow, Trinh T. Minh-ha, and E. San Juan, Jr.; films by Jean-Luc Godard, Bernardo Bertolucci, Itami Juzo, Kang Je-Gyu, Jia Zhangke, and Mira Nair.

Offered by Visiting Professor John Maerhofer (jmaerhofer@rwu.edu)

 

The Middle Ages

ENG 430 - The Middle Ages: Courtly lovers and mystics, wikked wives and lovesick swains, crooked churchmen and peerless knights—the literature of the Middle Ages contains all these and more. This period, which falls between the decline of the Roman Empire (with the temporary loss of the Classical literature of Greece and Rome) and the new political and artistic forms of the Renaissance, saw the rise of the first really great English writers, of a native English drama, and an intense interchange of ideas between the British Isles and the European continent. This introduction to the literature of the late Middle Ages (c. 1200-1500) in the western world provides a small sample of the wealth of texts from this period, primarily from the British Isles and France. Possible readings include texts from the Arthurian legends (the romances of Chretien de Troyes, the lais of Marie de France, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Malory’s Morte Darthur); some of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and short poems; morality and mystery plays, selections from allegories such as Piers Plowman; women mystics, such as Julian of Norwich and Hildegard of Bingen, and something by Christine de Pisan, the first western woman to support herself by her writings. We’ll look at relationships among religion, art, music, and literature, and get some sense of daily life. Except for Chaucer and the plays, most texts are read in modernized English or in translation.

Tues/Thurs 9:30-10:50
Offered by Professor Roberta Adams


English Literature Electives for Fall 2012

 

 Postcolonial Drama and Film

ENG 320 - Postcolonial Drama and Film: 1962 to the Contemporary Period:  According to Barbara Harlow, “the struggle over the historical and culture record” in the formation of the postcolonial society is equally important to the political resistance against colonialism and the imperialist project. The victory in 1962 by the Front de Libération Nationale in Algeria against French colonialism was not only symbolic of the internationalist breadth of anti-imperialism and nationalist liberation, but also revealed what Vijay Prashad calls the "cultural confidence" of Third World artists, writers, and intellectuals who sought to reform the contours of the postcolony through cultural production. Third World revolutionary discourse was central to the awakening of political consciousness against colonial racism and exploitation in the period of decolonization and continues to influence models of self-determination like the Arab Spring, among other contemporary movements.

Keeping in mind the historico-theoretical framework above, this course will analyze aspects of dramatic works and films from the 1960’s to the contemporary period that document the expanding configurations of postcoloniality and the question of Third World aesthetics and politics. Some of the issues this course intends to address are: theatrical and visual representations of anticolonial resistance and decolonization; Eurocentrism and the formations of cultural imperialism; race and gender in postcolonial/global culture; violence and its systemic relations; the politics of locality and globalization; and the aesthetic and political responses to the “new” imperialism and its ever-increasing hegemony. Among the authors we may read and discuss are: Derek Walcott, Wole Soyinka, Maishe Maponya, Girish Karnad, and Kee Thuan Chye; films by Gillo Pontecorvo, Ousamne Sembene, Hany Abu-Assad, Euzhan Palcy, and Souleymane Cissé; and theoretical texts by Edward Said, Robert Young, Gayatri Spivak, and Frantz Fanon.  Offered by Visiting Professor John Maerhofer
 

 

J.R.R. Tolkien

ENG 430 - J.R.R. Tolkien:  Lately, lonely, misunderstood vampires; Hogwartian wizards; even humble sons of Titans have been satisfying our appetite for "fantasy"! I thought it was time to resurrect little Bilbo Baggins and the Gang!
So-o-o-o . . .

Tolkien’s Back!!! And we’ve got him!
We’ll travel to Middle-earth . . . there to meet with Gandalf and Samwise Gamgee, Gollum and the Ents, Elrond and Shelob, Legolas and . . . a cast of thousands.

 

 

Our intertextual study (films and novels) will focus on:

  1. (Tolkien as a cultural voice: as an icon of the 1960’s American ecological movement, now echoed today in the concept of Sustainability; on his commentary on “the machine” and its horrific consequences on the fate of both the natural world and of human beings; on his admonishment against war; on the nature of the modern hero.
  2. Tolkien as a literary voice: as a resource for other modern and contemporary fantasy writers. Just as Tolkien took from Norse mythology and the Bible, each new generation of writers has taken from him. (Just listen to Yoda speak and you’ll hear echoes of the Elvish Sindarin syntactical structure!!) His dynamic Middle-earth--its imaginary landscapes and maps, its magical characters, its myriad languages—informs both images and themes in the works of his fellow Inkling, C. S. Lewis, and J. K. Rowling as they examine the tension between one’s responsibilities to one’s self and to an ideal greater than that self; the human need for "otherworldliness"; heroic characteristics and their tragic consequences; the eternal war between beneficent and malignant powers; the ideal of the fellowship.

Readings and Films: The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien’s Letters, Tree and Leaf, among other various and sundries . We’ll also view several films.

Requirements: 30-minute oral presentation + outline, 3 4- to 6-page papers, and a final project.
Offered by Professor Deborah Robinson  (x 3435) or GHH 315.


English Literature Electives for Spring 2012

 

Advanced Literary Theory

ENG 430  Advanced Literary Theory:  This course will help students dissect, dissolve, assimilate, simulate, rearrange, and run circles around the Borgesian Aleph that is literary theory. Reading original texts from early metaphysical thinkers, through the rise of hermeneutics, to the world of post-post-Œs, students will practice seeing through smoke, mapping paradigms, developing comparative regimes, whipping epistemology, questioning canons, uprooting rhizomes, navigating libidinal economies, and generally thinking theory through literature and literature through theory. Course readings include seminal texts of literary theory from Plato to Donna J. Haraway. The first part of the course focuses on classical texts of literary theory. Authors will likely include Plato, Aristotle, Horace, Sir Phillip Sidney, Chladenius, Schleiermacher, Marx. The second part of the course focuses on contemporary theorists, such as Soseki, Althusser, Lyotard, Said, Spivak, Bhabha, Derrida, Bourdieu, Haraway, and Deleuze. Students produce a professional quality final paper working directly with one or more theorists. Bring a pencil.

Offered by Professor Jordan Yamaji Smith (jasmith@rwu.edu)

 

Contemporary American LiteratureENG 301: Contemporary American Literature:  Examines American fiction, poetry, drama, and creative nonfiction of the last half of the 20th and 21st centuries. This course devotes considerable attention to the literary contributions of conemporary women, African Americans, Native Ameircans and oter groups outside the American literary mainstream.

Offered by Profs. J. Tackach from the English Literature program and Renee Soto from the Creative Writing Program

 

 

 

CAS 330

ASIA 100 - Foundations of Asian Studies:  This course is in a separate section of the course catalogue and might be difficult to find under ASIA 100. The five digit catalogue number for registration is 111000

Building on a basis in the history and culture of the region, faculty from across the campus will be invited to provide suggested readings and guest lectures for this course focused on specific themes or issues (e.g., international trade and business, history, culture, and geography of the region, music, dance, theatre, literature, politics, philosophy, etc.). This course provides an introduction to the broad historical, cultural, and philosophical events and traditions of this important geopolitical region that includes China, Japan, and Korea among other important states. Students will explore major historical, political, and economic developments, as well as cultural and philosophical underpinnings that characterize the region. The course raises questions about the roles and interactions of Asian countries internationally in the 21st century global context.

No pre-requisites
Offered by Professor Roberta Adams (Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and English Department Professor)


English Literature Electives for Fall 2011

 

Sports in Lit

ENG 299 Special Topics: Sports in Literature:  CANCELLED.  The best sports literature is only superficially about sports; it's about race relations, environmental issues, issues associated with aging, family relationships. Through the lens of sports literature, this course will examine these universal themes. Required readings will include August Wilson's Fences (baseball), Jason Miller's That Championship Season (basketball), Norman Maclean's A River Runs Through It (fishing) and more.

Monday/Thursday 2:00 to 3:20pm
Offered by Professor James Tackach (jtackach@rwu.edu)  GHH 314

 

Global Lit

ENG 320 Global Literatures: East Asian Modernities:  This course examines the rise of modernity, Westernization, and new forms of regional consciousness in modern to contemporary East Asia. Texts from foundational modern writers such as Lu Xun and Natsume Soseki will help us examine literary responses to the upheavals of large-scale cultural transformation of relatively isolated Asian nations to global players; texts from post-war Japan and Korea and Maoist China help us see how political currents of global capital/consumerism and communism interact with evolving commitments to “tradition”; and contemporary texts by Nobel Laureates such as Oe Kenzaburo and Gao Xingjian, or by cutting edge writers of immigrant crime fiction, femme noir, and postmodernist novels will help us see the most current iterations of East Asian literary responses to global events and thought. The course also builds conceptual connections from literary texts to film, art, anime/manga, and music.
Tuesday/Friday 2:00 to 3:20pm
Offered by Professor Jordan Yamaji Smith
 

 

Bible in/and LiteratureENG 430: The Bible in/and Literature:  Whether we’re reading Chaucer, Dante, Shakespeare, Faulkner, Hemingway, Dickens, Austen, Bronte, Tolkien, or Rowling, our knowledge of both the Bible and the “Judeo-Christian tradition” directly affects our ability to recognize the artists’ thematic use of biblical allusions. Our course focuses on key Concepts, Stories, Rituals and Symbols, including the origin of Satan, The Last Supper, wedding ceremonies, the seven vices and virtues, Noah’s Ark, the Passion of Christ, the apple, Lilith (image at left) and much more (see attached flyer). The course will also orient students to important geographical and historical contexts including Jersusalem, the Land of Canaan, and Babylon as well as the "heretical" gospels, Gnosticism, and the Crusades and much more (see attached flyer). Summer reading is required and will include Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons and The DaVinci Code. Students will also read J.C. Coopers’ An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols. And, of course, The Bible (King James Version).
Thursday 2:00 to 4:50pm
Offered by Professor D. Robinson


English Literature Electives for Spring 2011

 

Vampires and Witches

ENG 430:  Vampires and Witches:  In the light of the plethora of recent texts dealing with vampires and witches lately, this course will study several literary examples, searching for cultural meanings. This course will satisfy the ENG elective at the 300 or above level for both ENG and CW majors.

Pre-requisites: WTNG 102 and WTNG 200, junior level standing, or permission of the instructor.

Tuesday 2:00 to 4:50pm
Offered by Professor D. Robinson

 

 

The Rhetoric of Narrative

WTNG 301: The Rhetoric of Narrative Storytelling and the Art of Persuasion:  "Humans," says rhetorician Walter Fisher, "are essentially storytellers." We invent tall tales, recount fables, spin yarns, report news, spread gossip, write autobiographies, share testimony, make films, broadcast rumors, whisper secrets, draft constitutions, and pen novels. In this course, we will explore how such stories shape our personal identities, allow us to identify with one another, and offer us a means of making sense of the world and our lives. Readings will include fables, fairy tales, parables, narratives of political independence, public testimony, literacy narratives, and stories of your own. This course counts as an ENG elective (300 level or above).

Pre-requisites: WTNG 102 and WTNG 200, or permission of the instructor.
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
11:00 to 11:50am
Offered by Assistant Professor James Beitler

 

CAS 330CAS 330 - Foundations of Asian Studies:  Building on a basis in the history and culture of the region, faculty from across the campus will be invited to provide suggested readings and guest lectures for this course focused on specific themes or issues (e.g., international trade and business, history, culture, and geography of the region, music, dance, theatre, literature, politics, philosophy, etc.). This course provides an introduction to the broad historical, cultural, and philosophical events and traditions of this important geopolitical region that includes China, Japan, and Korea among other important states. Students will explore major historical, political, and economic developments, as well as cultural and philosophical underpinnings that characterize the region. The course raises questions about the roles and interactions of Asian countries internationally in the 21st century global context.

No pre-requisites
Mondays and Thursdays
2:00 to 3:20pm
Offered by Professor Debra Mulligan (History/American Studies)
 


English Literature Electives for Fall 2010

 

English Roots

LING 301 - Roots of English:  Have you ever wondered where English came from?  If so, this course is for you.  Witness the birth of your native tongue.

The course follows the changes experienced by the English language, from its roots in Anglo Saxon dialects through its different stages of development, ending with modern British and American English. The content will include phonological, morphological and syntactic changes. (3 credits) 

This course is open to any student interested in historical linguistics and/or the English language. It is designed to tell the story of how English has changed across the centuries and the causes - both historical and linguistic - that have molded modern English.
Tuesday and Friday
2:00 to 3:20pm
Offered by Professor Sandra B. Schreffler
 

 

CAS 330CAS 340 - Foundations of Asian Studies:  Building on a basis in the history and culture of the region, faculty from across the campus will be invited to provide suggested readings and guest lectures for this course focused on specific themes or issues (e.g., international trade and business, history, culture, and geography of the region, music, dance, theatre, literature, politics, philosophy, etc.). This course provides an introduction to the broad historical, cultural, and philosophical events and traditions of this important geopolitical region that includes China, Japan, and Korea among other important states. Students will explore major historical, political, and economic developments, as well as cultural and philosophical underpinnings that characterize the region. The course raises questions about the roles and interactions of Asian countries internationally in the 21st century global context.
Tuesday and Friday
2:00 to 3:20pm
Offered by Professor Debra Mulligan (History/American Studies)
 

 

J.R.R. Tolkien

ENG 430 - J.R.R. Tolkien

Tolkien's back and we've got him!  See Description above.
Tuesday and Thursday
12:30 to 1:50pm
Offered by Professor Deborah Robinson

If you have any questions, please contact Professor Robinson (x 3435) or GHH 315.