English | Teaching of Literature in College
L503 | 16322 | Schilb


4:00P – 5:15P TR

TOPIC: CONTEMPORARY CONCEPTS OF GENRE

L503 is a great opportunity for graduate students to collaborate
with a faculty member on the design of an undergraduate course, L142
(Introduction to the Study of Writing and Literature).  To be sure,
we will spend much of our fall class developing our own
understanding of our particular topic, Contemporary Concepts of
Genre.  But we will also plan an L142 version of this subject, and
we will then teach the L142 course together in Spring 2006.

“Genre” has been a crucial term for textual study; for literary and
rhetorical theory; for English curricula; and for the teaching of
English.  In pursuing your own particular field(s) of interest,
probably you have referred often to various “genres.” Yet, curiously
enough, not many courses dealing with the very notion of “genre” are
offered these days, either on the graduate or undergraduate level.
Moreover, the term has proven a difficult term to pin down.  Even
now, its possible meanings, applications, and affiliations are
debated.   Therefore, we will examine several contemporary
perspectives on genre, attempting to determine the term’s exact
relevance for our own scholarship and teaching.

We will begin by looking at Aristotle’s Poetics and Rhetoric, since
these texts have become foundational for the study of genre.  Then,
however, we will focus on selections by a wide range of more recent
theorists, such as Ludwig Wittgenstein, Northrop Frye, Ralph Cohen,
Roland Barthes, Fredric Jameson, Mikhail Bakhtin, Tzvetan Todorov,
J. L. Austin, Janice Radway, Adena Rosmarin, Henry Louis Gates,
Marie Rose-Logan, and Robert Pinsky.   We will consider, too,
reflections on genre by theorists who have applied the term to
popular culture, including film.  Also, we will often do genre
analysis of particular literary works, mostly poems and short
stories.  In particular, we will discuss how concepts of  genre can
help our teaching of such works.  Finally, we will develop methods
of teaching undergraduates to write literary criticism, a genre in
itself.

Requirements: To take this course, you must be eligible to teach
L142.   Besides working with your classmates and your instructor on
course design, you will be asked to write a few “microthemes;” a
paper of 5-6 pages; and a final 8-10 page paper that establishes
some  principles of genre analysis you will be teaching our
undergraduates in the spring.