Current Courses (Fall 2016)
- English Language Courses
- 100-Level Literature Courses
- 200-Level Literature Courses
- 300-Level Literature Courses
- 400-Level Literature Courses
- Creative Writing Courses
- Public and Professional Writing Courses
- Rhetoric Courses
G208 World Englishes
11326 11:15a-12:05p MWF 3cr.
Speakers of English who live in the United States tend to view their English as THE English language, singular and monolithic, despite the dialectal variation within it, despite the fact that it is American English but not the English of England (or Scotland, or Canada), let alone all English, the “best” English, or the most spoken English. English does not “belong” to North Americans — it doesn’t even “belong” to the British, who gave it to subjects throughout their colonies (as has the United States to its colonies and territories). Speakers of formerly colonial English are reluctant to agree that there is one and only one English. Arguably, there are as many Englishes spoken around the world as there are English-speaking cultures, hence the title of this course.
Nearly 500 million people across the globe speak some variety of English as their first language, making English the third largest language by number of native speakers. Some variety of English is an official language in 53 countries, either the majority language or an official language in countries on six continents. English is also an official language of international organizations, such as the United Nations, and serves as a common commercial language worldwide.
The status of English around the world suggests that the world is “shrinking,” that more and more people are “speaking the same language.” Paradoxically, though, this is only possible as English develops more varieties aligned with the historical, cultural, and linguistic situations of particular places and people, most of which are not English in heritage, though they are often formerly (occasionally even currently) colonies, territories, or protectorates of English-speaking countries like England or the United States (once a colony of England, itself). The purpose of this course is to use various Englishes, their structures and histories, in order to explore English-speaking cultures around the world, not in isolation but in relation to one another. We will observe the ways in which local values, political structures, and material culture shape varieties of the “global” language called English.
Our basic text will be English in the World: History, Diversity, Change, edited by Philip Seargeant and Joan Swann (Routledge, 2012), though this will be supplemented in many ways during the term. Members of the course will write two brief essays and both midterm and final examinations, and will participate in designing and delivering a group presentation.
Course Descriptions forthcoming.
L203 Introduction to Drama
3475 1:00p-2:15p MW 3 cr.
Acquaints students with characteristics of drama as a type of literature through the study of representative significant plays. Readings will include plays from several ages and countries.
L204 Introduction to Fiction
Open to majors and minors only.
3487 4:00p-5:15p TR 3 cr.
The aim of this course is to develop your abilities to read and write about fiction analytically as well as emotionally. We will examine how a selection of 19th – 21st century authors work with (and against) various elements of fiction, including plot, conflict, character, point of view, imagery, and intertextuality. We will work on strategies for finding patterns and puzzles in details and pose interesting questions that invite more than one interpretation, lively class discussion, and, finally, your construction of complex claims based on evidence. We will read short stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allen Poe, Flannery O’Connor, and Annie Proulx and novels by Virginia Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway), Toni Morrison (The Bluest Eye), Paul Auster (City of Glass), and Tim O’Brien (In the Lake of the Woods). There will be four microthemes, two longer papers, quizzes, a midterm, and a final exam.
L204 Introduction to Fiction
3476; On-line 3 cr.
Representative works of fiction; structural techniques in the novel. Novels and short stories from several ages and countries.
L204 Introduction to Fiction
CASE A&H 3 cr.
3477 9:05a-9:55a MWF
3478 10:10a-11:00a MWF
3479 12:20p-1:10p MWF
3480 11:15a-12:05p MWF
3481 1:25p-2:15p MWF
3482 2:30p-3:20p MWF
3483 3:35p-4:25p MWF
3484 8:00a-9:15a TR
3485 9:30a-10:45a TR
3486 1:25p-2:15p MWF
3487 4:00p-5:15p TR
3488 2:30p-3:45p TR
3489 5:45p-7:00p TR
10095 4:00p-5:15p TR
Representative works of fiction; structural techniques in the novel. Novels and short stories from several ages and countries.
L205 Introduction to Poetry
3490 1:00p-2:15p TR 3 cr.
Out of the quarrel with others, W.B. Yeats proposes, we make rhetoric; out of the quarrel with ourselves we make poetry. In this course we will explore the special linguistic strategies poets use to render the most invisible dimensions of human experience available to others; we will trace how poems work upon the senses, how they sharpen our awareness by making the familiar strange and the strange familiar, how they seduce us by “resisting the intelligence,” Wallace Stevens writes, “almost successfully.” As we range widely across the long history of poetry in English, we’ll survey varieties of poetic form and consider the kinds of defenses poets have offered for their genre; we’ll also ask how the attitudes, values and judgments of individuals and social groups find distinctive expression in poetic form. Students will amass a critical vocabulary for describing individual poems and for defending their own literary tastes, and will learn to draw on this vocabulary to support elegant analytical arguments about how poems produce meaning and why. Evaluation is likely to be based on several short papers, a mid-term and a final exam, and class participation.
L205 Introduction to Poetry
3491 9:30a-10:45a TR 3 cr.
12545 4:00p-5:15p TR 3 cr.
Kinds, conventions, and elements of poetry in a selection of poems from several historical periods.
L206 Introduction to Prose (Excluding Fiction)
TOPIC: “The Question of the Animal”
12546 11:15a-12:30p TR
This intensive writing course focuses on representations of the animal in nonfiction prose, with particular emphasis on how we understand, imagine, value, and interact with other animals. We will consider how writers over the past century addressed the human/animal divide that historically contrasts the human speaking subject with the (allegedly) mute animal. As we will see, the question of the animal challenges us to confront not only the living animal before us but our own sense of what it means to be human as well. We will read and discuss a range of nonfiction genres, from essays and memoirs to manifestos and philosophical treatises. Our texts may include Aristotle, The History of Animals; Jeremy Bentham, Principles of Morals and Legislation; Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man; Peter Singer, Animal Liberation or Animal Rights?; J.M. Coetzee, The Lives of Animals; Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals; and Mark Doty, Dog Years. Requirements include three essays, an exam, and class participation.
L207 Women and Literature
11329 2:30p-3:45p MW 3 cr.
Focusing on contemporary American literature, this course explores the contributions of women writers. We will read in a wide variety of genres including memoirs, novels, essays, short stories, and graphic texts in our study of the issues that most concern American women writers of the 20th and 21st century. Discussions will highlight questions of sexuality, the relationship between mothers and daughters, female friendship, and the particular struggles women face in work environments. Considerable emphasis will be placed on student participation in class discussions. Texts to be studied include: Toni Morrison’s Sula, Joan Didion’s Play it as it Lays, Clare Messud’s The Woman Upstairs, Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior and Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home among many others.
L208 Topics in English and American Literature & Culture
De Witt Kilgore
TOPIC: "Higher, Faster, Further: Superheroes and American Culture"
13658 1:00p-2:15p TR 3 cr.
This course focuses our attention on American superhero narrative, its history and variety. The superhero is an icon that represents our definitions of freedom and morality, the value of action, what must be defended and who may be punished, the kind of peaceful social order we desire. While we will focus on the iconic characters that define public knowledge of the genre this is also a creator-focused course. This means that we will pay particular attention to the artists and writers whose work has been instrumental in creating this aspect of our culture. We will examine the narrative conventions they establish and the aesthetic challenges they undertake as their medium matures in the decades following World War II. We will also follow how these creators meet market forces and political reality through stories in which their heroes battle through the realities of race, gender, and national identity.
L210 Studies in Popular Literature and Mass Media
TOPIC: "The Poetics of Rap"
30901 9:30a-10:45a TR 3 cr.
This course will explore the most popular form of poetry in America: rap music. We will investigate the ways emcees use traditional poetic forms and devices in an effort to better understand contemporary American poetry and the place (if any) rap lyrics have in the poetic conversation.
This is a complicated discussion, one that requires a general understanding of both poetics and hip hop history. Our study of the history of rap music will be extensive and will include a range of eras and emcees including Gil Scott Heron, Rakim, A Tribe Called Quest, DOOM, and Kendrick Lamar. In order to have to this broad conversation, we will use several texts including Adam Bradley’s Book of Rhymes, John Murillo’s Up Jump The Boogie, Jay-Z’s Decoded and the Yale Anthology of Rap.
Students can expect weekly writing assignments and quizzes as well as three examinations. Please note: The content and language in some rap music can be offensive. If you are easily offended by coarse or suggestive language, you might not want to take this class.
L220 Introduction to Shakespeare
3492 11:15a-12:30p MW 3 cr.
Rapid reading of at least a dozen of Shakespeare’s major plays and poems.
L223 Introduction to Ethnic American Literature
TOPIC: “Through The Wire: Crime and the Mysteries of Identity in American Ethnic Narratives”
10720 9:30a-10:45a TR 3 cr.
In this course we will develop our understanding of American ethnicity through a close study of crime and mystery narratives. In our discussions we’ll consider why mystery novels, television crime drama, and film noir have been especially useful forms for interrogating ethnic group identities and exploring complexities of American history.
Required works (tentative): The Wire, season two (Simon); Clockers (Lee); The Bridge, season one (Reid); Indian Killer (Alexie); The Plague of Doves (Erdrich); and The Intuitionist (Whitehead).
L230 Introduction to Science Fiction
30907 2:30p-3:45p TR 3 cr.
According to Paul Alkon, “Part of the game for readers of science fiction is to infer. . . the principles, whether of physical law, technological practices, or social custom, that govern an imagined world.” By playing this game and comparing the imagined world to our own, readers will achieve, in Alkon’s words, “both heightened awareness of physical or social arrangements in our world that we ordinarily take for granted and a questioning of those arrangements.” This course considers the serious implications of such game-playing in a variety of English-language science fiction literature and film. We will cover a range of common tropes, such as time travel, alien encounters, dystopias, last man scenarios, advanced technology, and artificial intelligence. Our primary texts will be the novels Frankenstein, The War of the Worlds, 1984, The Man in the High Castle, and Oryx and Crake, and the films 2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Blade Runner, Brazil, Primer, and Children of Men. These primary texts will be paired with theory and criticism that will help us analyze science fiction’s logical and formal techniques, rhetorical purposes, ideological engagements, historical development, and relationship to other genres. Evaluation will be based on quizzes, two essays, two exams, and regular participation in class discussion.
L240 Literature and Public Life
TOPIC: "Confession Culture"
10829 1:00p-2:15p TR 3 cr.
America has become a confessing culture, as individuals use social media to disclose more information, and celebrities, politicians, and corporations are increasingly compelled to publicly apologize for bad behavior. In this course, through autobiography, fiction, and real-life cases, we will examine how public performances of confession function narratively and rhetorically—in particular, how they are marked by contradictory intentions in their efforts to admit wrongdoing, express the self, seek forgiveness, and renegotiate social values. We will examine some historical examples of confession, tracing how a classical defense against the accusations of others and religious penance evolved over time into private and public rhetorical and literary performances that accomplish things other than the revelation of truth. We will consider how confessants—public figures, ordinary people, and fictional characters—inform, persuade, and entertain, and why we respond as we do to their truths and deceptions.
Texts will include Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter; Ian McEwan’s Atonement; J.M. Coetzee’s Disgrace; O.J. Simpson/The Goldman Family’s (If) I Did It: Confessions of a Killer; former New Jersey governor James McGreevey’s Confession; and the film The Contender. We will also read excerpts from Plato’s Apology, the confessions of Saint Augustine, Rousseau, and Bill Clinton, as well as some contemporary analyses of confession, including sections of Michel Foucault’s The History of Sexuality, Susan Bauer’s The Art of the Public Grovel, and Alec Wilkinson’s Mr. Apology and Other Essays. Assignments will include quizzes, a comparative analysis paper, a midterm, and a final exam.
L249 Representations of Gender and Sexuality
TOPIC: "Beyond Normal"
33742 9:30a-10:45a TR 3 cr.
This course will introduce a range of literary texts that defy the boundaries of historical gender and sexual norms. Beginning with The Hermaphrodite, a novel by Julia Ward Howe (author of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic”), we will investigate the ways in which nineteenth-century authors negotiated some of the social, medical, and political understandings of femininity, masculinity, and heterosexuality. Readings will be drawn from British and American literature, including works by Oscar Wilde, Radcliffe Hall, James Baldwin, Alison Bechdel, and Maggie Smith, among others. Assignments will include two 4-5 page papers, a midterm and final exam, and regular written postings on Canvas.
L260 Introduction to Advanced Study of Literature
TOPIC: "Beyond Normal"
13451 11:15a-12:30p TR 3 cr.
The goal of this class is to introduce you to strategies for studying literature that foster an attention to language, both literal and figurative; an ability to analyze a variety of genres; an appreciation of the impact of historical contexts; and an awareness of traditional and contemporary literary theories. To meet this goal, we will spend the semester reading and writing about texts representing poetry, fiction, drama, and film that prompt us to explore and perhaps determine for ourselves the most compelling reasons for studying Literature in the first place.
L295 American Film Culture
TOPIC: "A movie is not what it is about, but about how it is about it"
30912 4:00p-5:15p TR 3 cr.
With this intriguing statement, film critic Roger Ebert pushes us to focus on cinematic style. This is indeed what we will do as we study several celebrated Hollywood films. Although we will consider their themes, we will focus above all on their techniques: how they use editing, photography, art design, sound, and performance to create a world. We will analyze how each movie’s style reflects not just the filmmaker’s thinking, but also trends in American history and culture at large. In particular, we will examine how the styles of these films bear upon characteristically American ambitions, obsessions, and fears—all of which will no doubt surface in the fall election season! Another key element of our course will be genre; we will consider the relation of style to various types of cinematic stories, including film noir, the musical, the Western, and the gangster thriller.
Beginning with the dazzling style of 1941’s Citizen Kane, we will move chronologically through the following: Double Indemnity, Singin’ in the Rain, On the Waterfront, Rear Window, The Searchers, Imitation of Life (1959 version), The Manchurian Candidate (1962 version), Bonnie and Clyde, Do the Right Thing, and American Splendor. The Monday night sessions will be screenings of these films. You will be required to attend at least five screenings, seeing the other films on your own. The Tuesday-Thursday class will emphasize discussion. Readings will include various articles on our set of films. Required writing will entail some brief, informal reflections; a short paper analyzing a scene (3 pages); and a longer paper (5 pages) on a topic of your own choosing. There will be a final exam.
L306 Middle English Literature
TOPIC: "Dreams and Visions"
30913 11:15a-12:30p TR 3 cr.
From Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz to Inception, dream worlds have become a commonplace of fantasy, sci-fi, and children’s genres. Emphasizing strange and surreal settings, nonchronological temporalities, and impossible possibilities, such dreamscapes sometimes reveal or reflect upon truths about the waking world that cannot easily be communicated in more realistic narratives. Dreams can bend the shape of space and time and blur the boundaries of self and other. In this course, we will read a series of English dream visions from a period in which the genre was even more popular than it is now. These premodern dreams and visions include philosophical meditations, social allegories, spiritual revelations, and courtly visions. As we read and discuss these works, we will consider the psychological and textual elements of dreamscapes, the interpretation of dreams, the authority of knowledge gained in dreams and visions, and the social and political functions of dreams and visions. Course readings include selections from The Consolation of Philosophy, The Romance of the Rose, Chaucer’s dream visions, Pearl, Langland’s Piers Plowman, and Julian of Norwich’s Shewings. Texts will, in most cases, be read in Middle English. Assignments include a short translation project, a dream journal, a final researched project (10-12 pages), two exams, and engaged participation.
L309 Elizabethan Poetry
TOPIC: "The Powers of Beauty"
30915 1:00p-2:15p TR 3 cr.
L309 has traditionally had two aims: first, to promote an understanding of the major genres that characterize Elizabethan poetry, together with the historical and cultural contexts that gave rise to them; secondly, to foster an appreciation of the values, conventions, and techniques in the poetry that represents those major genres. In this section of the course, we will focus explicitly on the nature of male and female beauty as it was conceived and represented in a wide range of Elizabethan texts; we will consider what answers Elizabethan poetry provides to such questions as, how is beauty conceived during Elizabeth’s reign? What are its features? What forms may it take? How is it manifested? What powers does it have? What are its assets? Its limitations? Its temptations? As we pursue answers to questions like these, we will first examine those classical texts that furnished our period with its understanding of beauty and then survey a variety of poems produced during this period within each major genre, including pastoral poetry (e.g., Marlowe’s “The Passionate Shepherd”) and extending to Ovidian-mythological poetry (e.g., Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis), complaints (e.g, Mirror for Magistrates’ Jane Shore), lyrics (including some major and minor sonnet cycles by Sidney, Spenser, and Shakespeare), and concluding with heroic poetry, as exemplified by (at least) Book 1 of Spenser’s Faerie Queene.
L310 Literary History 1: Beginnings Through the Seventeenth Century
13192 1:25p-2:15p MWF 3 cr.
This course is a survey of early English literature, full of exciting stuff, a necessary foundation for reading later literature: it will be a literary adventure — even if you’ve read some of the works before, you won’t have read them in the way we will this term. You may not like everything equally well, but you’ll admire everything we read, appreciate the authors’ literary daring, and learn from their humane insight. Certainly, you should enjoy the course, and I’ll do everything I can to make it enjoyable, but our work is also foundational to the major, and we’ll spend some time on the techniques of reading, the history of literary forms, and other matters that prepare you to be a successful student of literature, with some social, political, ecclesiastical, and intellectual history wherever helpful.
Our texts are The Norton Anthology of English Literature (9/e, 2012), edited by Stephen Greenblatt and others, Volume A: The Middle Ages [ISBN: 9780393912494; Paperback Version: $43.75 (publisher’s price)] and (2) Volume B: The Sixteenth Century and Early Seventeenth Century [ISBN: 9780393912500; Paperback Version: $43.75 (publisher’s price)]. Coursework will include a mix of examinations and essays.
L312 Literary History 2: Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
13193 11:15a-12:05p TR 3 cr.
This course offers a broad overview of British and American literature in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries – an era of empire, industry, and revolution, which produced modern democratic states and modern notions of selfhood. We will explore relationships between character and action, in terms of both cultural conceptions of individual identity and social relations, and formal techniques of characterization and plot, through examples from a range of genres and literary movements. Readings will likely include novels by Jonathan Swift, Herman Melville, Charles Dickens, and Henry James; poems by Alexander Pope, Thomas Gray, William Wordsworth, John Keats, Robert Browning, Alfred Tennyson, Emily Dickinson, and Walt Whitman; and essays and short stories by Samuel Johnson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Arthur Conan Doyle, and H. G. Wells. Evaluation will be based on quizzes, two exams, two short essays, and regular participation in class discussion.
L313 Early Plays of Shakespeare
TOPIC: "Thinking conflict with Shakespeare"
3493 9:30a-10:45a TR 3 cr.
Shakespeare wrote his plays over 450 years ago, and his characters continue to live on the page and stage, in film and other media today, embodying issues that remain vitally relevant in our world today. In studying a number of his plays, we will explore the richness of his language, analyze the characters in light of their social situations and stage conventions, and understand the issues the plays present within their cultural/historical contexts as a basis for comparison with our times. In doing so, we will focus on the ways in which these plays work through conflicts to resolution, or call attention to what remains unresolved. In thinking with Shakespeare we will hopefully develop a historically-distanced perspective from which to reflect on our own ways of addressing conflict both local and global.
Below are learning objectives for this course:
- To cultivate a working knowledge of Shakespeare’s language in relation to the culture he lived in and commented on through his plays.
- To develop a vocabulary of performance practices and stage devices with which to discuss the plays we read in this course.
- To familiarize ourselves with several genres of plays—namely, comedy, tragedy, and history—and the different ways they address issues of conflict, resolution, and violence.
- To analyze and write about the issues that the plays explore and the continued relevance of these issues for our society and world today.
Texts may include: Hamlet, Henry IV part one, The Merchant of Venice, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Taming of the Shrew, and Twelfth Night. In addition to active participation in class discussion, course work will include an oral presentation; 5 short entries (one for each play) for a collaborative Shakespeare chrestomathy; several short writings; a 5-page essay that includes use of secondary sources, and a mid-term and final exam.
L314 Late Plays of Shakespeare
TOPIC: “Revenging and Forgiving in the Later Plays of Shakespeare”
3494 2:30p-3:45p TR 3 cr.
Would you forgive the person who humiliated you in front of the person you love? What about the person who tricked you into believing that your beloved was unfaithful? Or the one who made you so certain of that infidelity that you killed the person you loved?
In this course, our readings encompass almost unimaginable acts of horror and – perhaps equally incomprehensible – more fragile, and much more difficult, attempts to forgive those acts. What does it say about characters, or a society, if they respond to atrocity with vengeance and an escalation of harm? What does it mean if they try to move toward reconciliation? What if they wish to do one but instead turn to the other? Revenge and forgiveness raise a range of questions about memory, self-awareness, and difference; they both illuminate and distort how we see ourselves and others in the world.
By focusing on Shakespeare’s later plays, we will look not at his tragedies closest to (by Shakespeare’s time) old-fashioned revenge tragedy, but instead at a range of genres that address these questions in different ways. We will focus on the literary – the ways that language, image, character, and plot shape a text – but in so doing we will also always be conscious of the ways that literature shapes our expectations and ways of relating to the world.
We will read two tragedies (Othello, King Lear); one comedy (Twelfth Night); and three romances (Cymbeline, The Winter’s Tale, The Tempest), along with relevant criticism. We will also look at Shakespeare’s lasting legacy by considering multiple adaptations of one play (Jeanette Winterson’s The Gap of Time  and Christopher Wheeldon’s The Winter’s Tale ). Requirements for the course will include regular attendance and active participation; one informal writing assignment; two formal papers; a critical or creative presentation; written discussion questions; and a final exam.
L316 Literary History 3: Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries
TOPIC: "The American Century"
13795 12:20p-1:10p MW 3 cr.
The 20th Century was a period of radical change and profound contradiction. From electric street lamps to atomic energy, from the mass production of food to 3D printing, from the first telephone exchange to drone-delivered groceries, technology in the long 20th-century harnessed nature’s power and brought the world--in the form of cheap plastic consumables--to the doorsteps of the “average American,” a figure we have courtesy of that other prototypical product of the American century, statistical demography. In this course, we will consider a range of aesthetic responses to these rapid transformations. We will study fiction, drama, poetry, nonfiction prose, and graphic narrative. We will move quickly in order to survey a variety of writer's movements, but with an eye toward the aesthetic choices of modernist, postmodernist, and contemporary writers. Assessment will be based on two formal short essays, a midterm, and a final.
L317 English Poetry of Early Seventeenth Century
TOPIC: "English Poetry of the Early Seventeenth Century: Beauty and/in the World"
30857 9:30a-10:45a TR 3 cr.
Our sense of a lyric poem as a moment of intense beauty, caught in time, originates in critics’ interpretations of the poems we will study in this class. In the mid-twentieth century, the critics who developed the practice of close reading used seventeenth-century poets such as John Donne to define the characteristics of a lyric poem: the expression of an interior self; the separation between the poetic speaker and the poet; and the sense of a poem as a self-contained world. Aesthetic beauty – the description of a beautiful object, person, or thought; and the beauty of the language used to describe it – sets poems apart from the world, marking them as special.
But poetic language forms part of the world, too, and seventeenth-century poets wrote as part of a vibrant social world transformed by revolutionary changes: England’s shift from a Catholic to a Protestant national church; colonial exploration and expansion; changes in the meanings of sovereignty and citizenship; gender’s challenge to humanist ideas of the individual. In this course, we will consider those historical and cultural contexts not only through the poems and critical readings, but also through visits to the IU Art Museum and the Lilly Library and through participation in Themester events.
We will read poets including John Donne, Ben Jonson, Aemelia Lanyer, and William Shakespeare, as well as relevant criticism. Requirements for the course will include regular attendance and active participation; one informal writing assignment; two formal papers; a presentation; written discussion questions; and a final exam.
L328 Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Drama
32449 On-line 3 cr.
Development of English Drama from Puritan closing of playhouses into the nineteenth century.
L335 Victorian Literature
TOPIC: "Victorian Madness"
30919 2:30p-3:45p MW 3 cr.
In this course we will pursue the theme of “madness” in Victorian fiction, poetry, and prose. We will consider the full range of possibilities for representing madness in the period, from the raving lunatic to the more ordinary (if yet still terrifying) madness of infatuation, jealousy, and obsession. And we will think historically about madness, with readings that provide a context for understanding how ideas of madness changed in this period—a time in which, for instance, madhouses underwent massive reforms (no more chains!)—and in novels and poems that depict married women as under threat of incarceration in madhouses by their husbands. Authors will likely include well-known Victorian novelists such as Charlotte Brontë, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Arthur Conan Doyle, but we will likely also read some lesser known works, such as Charles Reade’s Hard Cash, in which a father commits his (sane!) son to an asylum, and Anthony Trollope’s He Knew He Was Right, which traces the deteriorating mind of a jealous husband (then again, this book is 900 pages long so maybe not); and Victorian poets such as Robert Browning, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Matthew Arnold, the Rosettis, Algernon Swinburne, and John Clare (who was himself committed to an asylum after he started to claim, among other things, that he was Lord Byron).
Course requirements will involve several shorter papers, some close readings of passages from the novels, and one longer final paper. I will not take attendance, but participation is mandatory and will be graded, so be prepared to talk in every class. There will be weekly quizzes that are heavily weighted in terms of the overall grade.
L345 Twentieth-Century British Poetry
13810 4:00p-5:15p TR 3 cr.
In this survey of twentieth-century British and Irish poetry, we will explore some of the most memorable, rapturous, iconoclastic, difficult, innovative poets and poems in the history of English. Tracking the evolution of poetic styles from the twilight of the Victorian period to the present, we will examine how successive generations of British and Irish poets, traumatized by world wars, ethnic and religious conflict, and the contraction of empire, sought to redefine the role of the imagination in a disenchanted century. Though we will situate the poems we read within broad aesthetic movements, within the long history of poetry in English, and within the oeuvres of their makers, our focus will always be on poems as individual works of art. The course will begin with the poetry of Thomas Hardy, W.B. Yeats, T.S. Eliot, World War I poets, and W.H. Auden; later poets are likely to include Philip Larkin, Seamus Heaney, Geoffrey Hill, Paul Muldoon, Eavan Boland, Anne Stevenson, Grace Nichols, Maebhe McGuckian, Carol Ann Duffy, and Caroline Bergvall. Evaluation will be based on two exams, two papers, and class participation.
L347 British Fiction to 1800
TOPIC: "Enlightenment Thought, Gothic Terror"
30921 9:30a-10:45a MW 3 cr.
Thinking vs. unthinking. Consciousness vs. unconsciousness. Ego vs. id. Instruction vs. entertainment. Modernity vs. unmodernity. All of these binaries are rooted in the two dominant cultural and literary movements of eighteenth-century Britain: Enlightenment and Gothicism.
This course seeks to understand the connection between these two profoundly influential movements. Is it simply that Gothic terror represents the polar opposite of Enlightenment thought? Or, rather more radically, might Gothic irrationality be understood as the necessary complement—the dark underside—to Enlightenment reason? We will explore these questions in the context of examining a variety of relevant topics, including (but not confined to) the “rise” of the novel, the decline (?) of the epic, the legacy of Puritanism, the growth of the British empire, the theoretical concept of the “uncanny,” and threat posed by the French Revolution.
Primary texts will include Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719), Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones (1749), Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto (1764), Matthew Lewis’s The Monk (1796), and Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey (1817). Secondary criticism will include Immanuel Kant’s “What is Enlightenment?,” M. M. Bakhtin’s “Epic and Novel,” Sigmund Freud’s “The Uncanny,” and Susan Sontag’s “Notes on Camp.”
Assignments will include a short essay, a long essay, frequent reading quizzes, and regular class attendance and participation.
L348 Nineteenth-Century British Fiction
TOPIC: "Middlemarch & Portrait of a Lady"
30924 1:00p-2:15p TR 3 cr.
This course will offer a deep immersion in the tradition of the nineteenth-century novel through sustained, careful reading and analysis of two of the greatest long novels both of the period, and of all time: George Eliot’s Middlemarch (1871) and Henry James’s A Portrait of a Lady (1881). Eliot’s Middlemarch is often cited as the single greatest novel in English; most recently, Britain’s The Telegraph put it at #1 (just ahead of Melville’s Moby Dick and Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina) in their list of “100 novels everyone should read.” While is it is a classic of British Victorian literature, Middlemarch has also remained current and urgent for contemporary readers, continually generating new critical responses— including, for example, Rebecca Mead’s popular book My Life in Middlemarch in 2014, described as “a singular, involving story of how a passionate attachment to a great work of literature can shape our lives and help us to read our own histories”. Henry James’s A Portrait of a Lady (1881) is no less beloved or important a novel: it happens to be listed as #4 on that same list in The Telegraph. James’ novel also can be read as a response to Middlemarch and even as a kind of revision of it. The critic George Steiner wrote of Middlemarch and A Portrait of a Lady that “The latter grew out of the former. James’ narrative organization and dramatized psychology are a re-thinking, a comprehensive re-reading of George Eliot’s masterpiece;… a critical act of the first order. The one novel comes to live in and against the other.”
Inspired in part by Steiner’s assessment of The Portrait of a Lady as a “comprehensive re-reading” of Middlemarch, this course’s organization will allow for a sustained reading of the two long novels along with a range of scholarship and criticism, both about these novels in particular, and about the form of the nineteenth-century Anglo-American novel more broadly, as well as one shorter text by each author (probably Eliot’s “A Lifted Veil” and a James story) and some contextual readings that will illuminate the social and cultural contexts of the two authors and their texts. We will also watch selections from the 1994 BBC production of Middlemarch, and Jane Campion’s 1996 film adaptation of A Portrait of a Lady. Although this course will be dedicated to a deep reading of these two masterpieces, it will also use our reading of them as a means to arrive at a broader understanding of the form of the nineteenth-century novel in its period of greatest flourishing. Assignments will probably include a shorter midterm paper and a longer final paper, Canvas discussion postings, and regular in-class reading quizzes that will be worth a significant chunk of the final grade.
L360 American Prose (Excluding Fiction)
30927 11:15a-12:30p MW 3 cr.
Why has memoir become one of the most popular literary genres of the past few decades? This class will examine the development of our “confessional culture” while also charting a historical trajectory of American memoirs from the mid twentieth century to our current moment. We will pay special attention to the differences between memoir, autobiography and creative nonfiction in our study of how the self is represented and transformed on the page. Discussions will highlight the relationship between the narrating “I” and the development of national mythologies that present American identity as defined by specific distinctions of race, class, gender and sexuality. Students will explore various modernist and postmodernist innovations apparent in contemporary memoirs as well as changing conceptions of the self.
L369 Studies in British and American Authors
TOPIC: "Sex and the Contemporary American Novel"
30928 1:00p-2:15p MW 3 cr.
What links the study of sex and the contemporary American novel? Over the course of several months we will answer this question by reading a fascinating variety of literatures that walk us through well-known and neglected works of post-war American literature. These will include genres such as pulp fiction, the travel narrative, the transgender historical novel, middlebrow romance fiction, and the urban gay novel. As we do so we will see how historical events such as McCarthyism, the Stonewall riots, and the HIV/AIDS epidemic impacted the US novel over the last six and a half decades. Readings will cover the justified classics of this era, as well as few unexpected and surprising pieces that will prompt smart discussion. Our texts will include:
L369 Studies in British and American Authors
De Witt Kilgore
TOPIC: "Can It Happen Here? Dystopias and Utopias in Anglo-American Writing"
30929 9:30a-10:45a TR 3 cr.
The past two centuries have seen transformative cultural conflicts around whether democracy, capitalism or socialism should determine the future of everyday life. This course focuses on the political hopes and fears inspired by these dynamic debates as represented in the utopias and dystopias created by American and British writers. Political, social and economic reality is challenged in their work and, sometimes, resolved within the compass of a single story. We will address issues such as the foundation of modern Anglo-American utopianism in the socialism of late nineteenth century; the dystopias that emerged from the political debates around capitalism and socialism, gender and race; the persistence of utopian desire in narratives inspired by new technoscience; and the renewal of utopian thought inspired by the environmentalism of the last quarter of the twentieth century. U/dystopian convention has been particularly versatile as a cultural reservoir for cinema, graphic novels (comics) as well as for fiction.
Authors will likely include William Morris, Edward Bellamy, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Aldous Huxley, and Octavia E. Butler. A substantial secondary literature, providing contexts and critical approaches, will include the work of Tom Moylan, Ernst Bloch, Judith Shklar, and Fredric Jameson.
L371 Critical Practices
13494 11:15a-12:20p MW 3 cr.
This course is designed to acquaint students with the conceptual and historical roots of contemporary critical practice in literary and cultural studies. The course endeavors to teach you HOW to think, but not WHAT to think. We will take an eclectic approach. Our primary category for analysis will be ‘meaning and pleasure’ and we will use these categories to examine a variety of critical and theoretical assumptions about texts and how they mean. While you will gain a sense of the intellectual history of contemporary critical methods, our primary commitment will be to ask questions about the meaning, value, and about the implications of various critical perceptions and aesthetic experiences. At various points throughout the semester, we will engage works of fiction that display a concern with the problematics of meaning and pleasure found in our texts.
L371 Critical Practices
TOPIC: "Good Representation, Bad Representation"
30931 4:00p-5:15p TR 3 cr.
What defines a verbal or visual "representation"? How can, and should, we distinguish representations, signs, and copies from originals, authentic versions, or "the real thing"? Are representations and copies always inferior? Can a representation ever become more valuable, truthful, or meaningful than the thing or idea on which it is based? What makes a representation "bad" or a "misrepresentation"? This course will grapple with such questions, among others, as it considers a series of test cases from the history of criticism, theory, and interpretation, focusing primarily on the 20th century but including some crucial earlier predecessors. Our main test cases will include many (though likely not all) of the following possibilities: Plato and Aristotle on good and bad aesthetic representation; metaphors (Friedrich Nietzsche and Roman Jakobson); dreams as representation (Sigmund Freud); language as a sign (Ferdinand de Saussure); writing as a representation of speech, or vice versa (J.L Austin, Jacques Derrida); gender as performance and representation (Judith Butler); race and ethnicity as representation (Edward Said and Stuart Hall); Jean Baudrillard on simulacra and simulations; Helene Cixous on women’s writing and Laura Mulvey on the male gaze; Pierre Bourdieu on good and bad taste; the technologically-reproduced artwork as secondary copy of the single original (Walter Benjamin).
Along with our reading of these critical and theoretical texts, we will also read and consider certain literary works, art works, and films that treat relevant issues, possibly including Alfred Lord Tennyson's "The Lady of Shalott;" Lewis Carroll's “Jabberwocky”; Henry James' "The Real Thing;" Andy Warhol's paintings; Carl Wilson’s book about singer Celine Dion; Jonathan Lethem on plagiarism, and RiP: A remix manifesto.
These readings will, I think, change the way you think about literature, art, interpretation, and criticism; they will also be challenging and often very difficult, requiring serious attention, re-reading, and reflection. Assignments/requirements will include dedicated class participation along with, probably, four short (2-3-page) papers, a midterm exam, and a final exam that will include both an in-class and a take-home essay component.
L380 Literary Modernism
30936 2:30p-3:45p TR 3 cr.
When Virginia Woolf claimed that the year 1910 marked a change in human character, she noted a fundamental shift in human experience, in self-understanding, and in the possibilities for artistic expression in the early twentieth century. Ezra Pound exhorted his generation to “Make it new!” and writers began the difficult work of tearing down a culture’s way of seeing, reading, and interpreting the world. Fueled by the catastrophe of the first world war, the technological innovations that were changing the texture of everyday life, and the recognition that nothing in the world was stable – not God, not knowledge, not the earth beneath them – modernists forged a literature that would force a new relationship with language itself, and thus with the changing reality of the twentieth century. In this class we’ll study the revolutionary ambition and aesthetic innovations of this remarkable literary movement. We’ll read works by Virginia Woolf, William Faulkner, DH Lawrence, Jean Rhys, TS Eliot, and Nella Larsen, among others. Course evaluation will be based on two papers, reading quizzes, and two exams.
L389 Feminist Literary and Cultural Criticism
TOPIC: “Women and Nature”
13278 2:30p-3:45p MW 3 cr.
“What is a woman?” So asks Simone de Beauvoir in her acclaimed work of feminist philosophy, The Second Sex. “Very simple,” she answers, sarcastically. “She is a womb, an ovary. She is female—this word is sufficient to define her.”
By questioning the biological essentialism of her time, de Beauvoir began an inquiry that continues to this day. Since The Second Sex, feminist philosophers have wrestled with questions of embodiment, biology, science, and the nature of nature and they have pointed out, along the way, the uses to which science and philosophy put sex, gender, race, and reproduction. In this class, we will study a number of schools of thought--including ecofeminism, feminist science studies, queer theory and queer of color critique, disability studies, trans studies, new materialist feminism and Anthropocene feminisms--that respond to essentialist ideas about nature and offer their own alternatives for social and environmental justice. Assessment will be based on a combination of formal and informal writing assignments.
L393 Comics and the Graphic Novel
TOPIC: “The Poetics of Comics”
33581 11:15a-12:30p MW 3 cr.
This course takes seriously the proposition offered by the title: that comics are a form of poetry, that they operate through developed formal and aesthetic principles, and that they therefore may be read and analyzed as literature, according to any meaningful sense of the word. The course follows six topics, suggested within Scott McCloud’s influential textbook Understanding Comics: iconography, the “gutter,” time-frames, lines, words and pictures, and color. Each of these six cardinal topics will be studied next to a work exploring (and sometimes exploding) its dimensions. Thus, Maus I will be paired with the topic of iconography, V for Vendetta with the gutter, Fun Home with the representation of time, and so on.
Our ultimate quest is meaning: how does a line create meaning? How does color mean? How do artists manipulate visual icons to mean? – and so forth. Students are encouraged not to forget what they have learned in other, more conventionally literary classes but, rather, to reflect on the ways by which concepts like poetic meter, narrative point of view, or metaphor might be translated within a visual medium.
Assignments will include 3 medium-length essays, in-class writing assignments, and regular attendance and participation.
L396 African American Literature
TOPIC: "Welcome to the Terrordome: Black Art in Contemporary America"
13263 1:00p-2:15p TR 3 cr.
Exploring music, visual art, film, and literary fiction, we will interrogate the various ways that contemporary African American artists have responded to political events such as the 9/11 attacks, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the drug war, Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters, the 2008 financial collapse, and the Black Lives Matter movement. Our meetings will include discussion of both close analysis of the aesthetic choices artists make to tell their stories and forward their cultural/political arguments. We might begin by asking: can black artists help us understand the consequences of terrorism and war on our imaginations?
Required Works (tentative)
|Beyoncé||Beatty. The Sellout||Lee. 25th Hour|
|Erykah Badu||Laymon. Long Division||Chi-Raq|
|D'Angelo||Morrison. Home||Inside Man|
|Kendrick Lamar||Flournoy. The Turner House||When the Levees Broke|
|Public Enemy||Ward. Salvage the Bones||Thomas, Hank Willis|
|Kanye West||Whitehead. Zone One||Walker, Kara|
400-Level Course Descriptions forthcoming.
L450 Seminar: British and American Authors
TOPIC: "Jane Austen"
13859 11:15a-12:30p MW 3 cr.
In this course we will read all of Jane Austen's major works: Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Persuasion, and Sanditon. Students will also read a variety of criticism on Austen's life and times, her novels, and on the theory and history of the novel genre more broadly. We will probably also have "movie nights" and watch a film version or two, so students who register should have some flexibility in their evening schedules. FYI Jane Austen never was, and is certainly not now, a novelist that only women read. So to the men: go ahead and sign up!
Course requirements will involve several shorter papers, some close readings of passages from the novels and others that deal with literary history and criticism, and one longer final paper. Students will have at least one oral presentation on secondary readings. I will not take attendance, but participation is mandatory and will be graded, so be prepared to talk in every class. There will be weekly quizzes that are heavily weighted in terms of the overall grade.
L460 Seminar: Literary Form, Mode, and Theme
TOPIC: “Utopian Literatures’”
13865 1:00p-2:15p TR 3 cr.
This seminar will investigate the variety of utopian literatures and theories that emerged after Sir Thomas More published Utopia in 1516. In addition to considering how theories of utopianism the variety of ways in which it is understood, we will be pushing against the historical claims that More was the “inventor” of the form by considering some medieval precursors to More’s work, including the Land of Cockaigne, a poem that continued to generate utopian imaginaries into the twentieth century in vastly different cultures, and John Mandeville’s Travels. Our study of utopian literatures will follow a historical trajectory including Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Margaret Cavendish’s Blazing World, Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward, William Morris’s, News from Nowhere, and Margaret Atwood’s, Oryx and Crake. Assignments will include short pieces of writing, oral presentations, and a final research paper.
W203 Creative Writing
3628 1:00p-2:15p TR
3629 1:00p-2:15p MW
3630 2:30p-3:45p TR
8393 11:15a-12:05p MWF
Fiction and Poetry:
3631 5:45p-7:00p MW
Exploratory course in the writing of poetry and/or fiction.
W301 Writing Fiction
7013 1:00p-2:15p TR 3 cr.
Further exploration in the art of fiction writing. To obtain permission to enroll, submit form at http://www.indiana.edu/~engweb/permissions.shtml.
W301 Writing Fiction
13911 11:15a-12:30p TR 3 cr.
In this course you will not only read and analyze works of writers from the past and the present, including your own colleagues', but also learn to articulate your analytical skills in written critiques and class discussion. More importantly, you will produce your own writing (a total of 45-60 pages, stories of varied lengths), a process which will help you understand, experientially, how various aspects of the story come together to give it organic unity. You will read an anthology of international short fiction, representing a variety of styles and concerns, as well as story collections. Overall, this will be a stimulating course, in which you will be consider and reconsider your own approaches and methods through reading and critiquing and writing.
To obtain permission to enroll, submit form at http://www.indiana.edu/~engweb/permissions.shtml.
W303 Writing Poetry
9625 1:00p-2:15p TR 3 cr.
This upper-level poetry course is designed for up and coming writers of poetry who would like to develop their poetic craft and technique. The class is both discussion and workshop, but our primary emphasis is the generation and revision of poems.
Students will study the work of established poets including Gabrielle Calvocoressi, Terrance Hayes, and Rodney Jones with the intention of integrating contemporary poetic strategies into their own writing. In addition to poetic responses and maintaining a writer's notebook, students are expected to assemble a portfolio that includes at least 8 poems written and revised over the course of the semester.
To obtain permission to enroll, submit the form at http://www.indiana.edu/~engweb/permissions.shtml.
W381 The Craft of Fiction
7317 1:00p-2:15p TR 3 cr.
This is a course in reading and in creative practice. Its goal is to stretch our own repertoires as writers of fiction. We’ll read a number of fictional texts (chiefly short stories), analyze their techniques, and experiment with these methods. Required writing will include several short exercises, both in and outside of class. For a final project, you will be asked to compile and introduce an anthology of stories, including a story of your own that uses strategies we’ve studied.
W403 Advanced Poetry Writing
14758 11:15a-12:30p TR 3 cr.
This course is an advanced undergraduate writing workshop in writing poetry. Students will write and revise twelve to fourteen new poems over the semester as well as complete several readings response papers and experiments with craft, form and content. We will look at contemporary work as well poems from the past. We will read some essays by poets on the art of writing. We will look at the way poets have worked with ancient texts, translation, painting and art, and history. We will focus on the movement of the poem down the page, the line, diction, tone, speaker and subject. There will be lots of generative in-class writing, field trips, walks, museum explorations and listening to music and watching some films. For the final project students will make a hand-made chapbook of their revised poems and write a poetics paper/manifesto. Approval of the instructor is required for admission. We will read four collections of poetry, and a packet of poems and essays.
To obtain permission to enroll, submit form at http://www.indiana.edu/~engweb/permissions.shtml.
W231 Professional Writing Skills
Staff, 3 cr.
9627 8:00a-8:50a MW
3634 8:00a-8:50a MW
3635 9:05a-9:55a MW
3636 9:05a-9:55a MW
3637 12:20p-1:10p MW
10509 12:20p-1:10p MW
3632 12:20p-1:10p MW
3638 1:25p-2:15p MW
3639 1:25p-2:15p MW
10414 2:30p-3:20p MW
10415 3:35p-4:25p MW
9628 3:25p-4:25p MW
3640 4:40p-5:30p MW
9629 4:40p-5:30p MW
3643 8:00a-8:50a TR
3644 9:05a-9:55a TR
10092 10:10a-11:00a TR
3645 1:25p-2:15p TR
3646 3:35p-4:25p TR
3641 6:50p-8:45p W
Designed to develop research and writing skills requisite for most academic and professional activities. Emphasis on methods of research, organization, and writing techniques useful in preparing reviews, critical bibliographies, research and technical reports, proposals, and papers.
W240 Community Service Writing
TOPIC: "Writing in the Streets"
12613 11:15a-12:30p TR 3 cr.
Writing in the Streets invites you to consider the importance of composition work beyond the academy and what it means to “go public” with your writing. Together, we will explore the relationship between writing, civic engagement, and community service, asking questions about what it means to define projects, compose texts, and engage in community-based research with and for others in local spaces. By working directly with agencies and community groups on a social issue that impacts Bloomington, you will develop your skills as a public communicator through writing that truly matters to communities. In other words, the writing that you do in the class will affect real readers, and real readers, in turn, will affect the writing you produce. Thus, this course will appeal most to students across disciplinary majors who are seeking to enhance their writing and research skills in an applied context, including those interested in writing for business and/or non-profits, public health, community literacy, social sciences and the humanities as well as those who wish to consider writing as an ethical, ecological, and social justice-oriented activity.
This is a service learning course that requires a minimum of 20 service hours. Because W240 fulfills an IW requirement, you can expect frequent writings and revisions throughout the course.
W270 Argumentative Writing
32847 4:00p-5:15p TR 3 cr.
Offers instruction and practice in writing argumentative essays about complicated and controversial issues. Focuses on strategies for identifying issues, assessing claims, locating evidence, deciding on a position, and writing papers with clear assertions and convincing arguments.
W280 Literary Editing & Publishing
6110 12:20p-1:10p MWF 3 cr.
Principles of editing and publishing literary writing. Kinds of journals, varieties of formats, introduction to editing and production processes. Possible focus on genre publishing (fiction, poetry, non-fiction prose), grant writing, Web publishing.
W350 Advanced Expository Writing
IW 3 cr.
3648 2:30p-3:45p TR; limited to multilingual speakers
3649 1:00p-2:15p TR
3650 4:00p-5:15p TR; limited to multilingual speakers
12101 3:35p-4:25p MWF; limited to multilingual speakers
15499 11:15a-12:30p TR
Advanced writing course focuses on the interconnected activities of writing and reading, especially the kinds of responding, analyzing, and evaluating that characterize work in many fields in the university.
R209 Topics in Rhetoric and Public Culture
TOPIC: “What Can Rhetoric Teach Us about the 2016 Presidential Election?”
30944 2:30p-3:45p TR 3 cr.
In this course we will explore how concepts from rhetoric—many of them dating back to ancient Greece—can help us interpret and understand the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. Although the word “rhetoric” as it is used today often refers to empty or deceptive speech, rhetoric was for centuries a highly respected course of study that taught speakers and writers how to communicative effectively on multiple topics and in various situations. In this course, then, we will move back and forth between classical understandings of rhetoric and the current presidential campaign. Along with websites, speeches, and articles on the presidential campaign, we will read primary and secondary texts in classical rhetoric, scholarly articles on presidential rhetoric, and past examples of presidential speeches and debates. Students will be expected to monitor the campaign on a daily basis. In addition, students will write two short essays and a seminar paper. A midterm exam on rhetorical theories and concepts will also be required.
R209 Topics in Rhetoric and Public Culture
32956 1:25p-2:15p MWF 3 cr.
Examines how rhetorical practice shapes public culture. May focus on a medium or mode of rhetorical practice, such as documentary film, social movement, or political speech; a theme or issue, such as race, gender, or democracy; or a particular historical period. Topic varies.
R210 Introduction to Digital Rhetoric
30949 9:30a-10:45a TR 3 cr.
Digital technologies have fully saturated our culture. From smartphones to smart-homes, FitBits to tablets, our everyday lives are digitally infused. My watch tracks my vitals. My Xbox listens to my every word, waiting for a command. My phone tells me when friends are broadcasting their lives or when they have checked-in to a favorite pub or coffee shop. And this digital conditionality, whether positive or negative, has serious implications for who we are, how we communicate, and how we construct real and digital identities. Moreover, it impacts things like how we market ourselves for jobs, what kind of skills we need to be affective digital citizens, or even what kind of affluence we need to have a digital existence. Blogs, podcasts, memes, videos, vines, snap chats, digital resumes, personal websites, and extensive social media platforms have all become standard parts of everyday discourse and with them comes new kinds (or at least new considerations) of rhetorical practices. For example, digital writers now must include an attentiveness to machinic-audiences, ranging from SEO impact to accessibility devices like screen readers. Or, as another example, producing multimedia artifacts requires an orientation toward experience design (the marriage of aesthetics, rhetoric, and function). Both of which suggest that there are simply new considerations critical to one’s success in digital culture and this course will help students understand those considerations and develop introductory multimedia authoring skills.
In more general terms, this course will ask students to consider their relationships to their technologies and to take stock of the ways in which digital culture has impacted their writing, making, and thinking. Along the way, it will introduce key rhetorical concepts—such as audience, rhetorical situation, authorship and authority, ethics, and civic engagement—and situate them in terms of the practices of writing/making in the digital age.
The grade for this course will be determined by a combination of class participation, reading responses, multimedia productions, peer review, and other forms of student-based assessment (particularly in relation to one’s own sense of learning).
Course texts will include (as a representative sample) sections from Morey’s The New Media Writer, Shedroff’s Experience Design 1, and Halbritter’s Mics, Cameras, Symbolic Action.
14761 1:00p-2:15p MW 3 cr.
33429 4:00p-5:15p TR 3 cr.
33430 9:30a-10:45a TR 3 cr.
Motivational appeals in influencing behavior; psychological factors in speaker-audience relationship; contemporary examples of persuasion. Practice in persuasive speaking.
R228 Argumentation and Public Advocacy
14523 1:00p-2:15p TR 3 cr.
Argumentation techniques are powerful tools that can be used for pure self interest and consolidating power or promoting policies that help people and serve the greater good. As we learn about different kinds of rhetorical advocacy you will have the chance to develop your own sense of how you would like to use argumentation as a citizen who is concerned about the common good. You will learn specialized terms to describe how persuasion functions on the surface and deeper levels of public culture. Topics may include presidential campaign rhetoric, mythologies of the American past, how university research establishes credibility, how nationalist identity fosters political change, and the role of emotion in democracy. You will practice argumentation in friendly classroom debates.
R305 Rhetorical Criticism
TOPIC: "Batman as Rhetorical Icon"
30937 4:00p-5:15p TR 3 cr.
Rhetorical criticism is the art of analyzing persuasive texts. For thousands of years, students have learned this art as a part of preparing to become productive participants in civic culture. By analyzing not only the content of public messages but also their form, not only what is said but also how it is said, our goal in this course will be to become more appreciative of the complexity and richness of public texts and more capable of coming to informed judgments about them. Over the course of the semester, we’ll build up a toolbox of terms and concepts drawn from the ancient verbal art of Rhetoric, and we’ll practice using them to write analytical papers. The twin goals of this course are to help you to become a better writer and a more engaged citizen.
Because almost all public texts can be understood as persuasive at least to some extent, almost any public text can be the subject of rhetorical criticism. In this class, we will focus primarily on Batman. Immediately popular when he first appeared in 1939, Batman in all of his many manifestations continues to enjoy a widespread cultural resonance in films, comic books, live-action and animated TV shows, and even political punditry. As such, analyzing the public texts in which he circulates presents a rich opportunity to consider topics including authenticity, duality, ethics, crime, punishment, identity, gender, nationalism, power, race, and justice. Among the questions we will ask are: How might these Bat-texts influence our beliefs or attitudes? How can Batman invite us to share a particular world view? How could these public texts encourage us to prefer some actions over others?
This course fulfills the CASE “Intensive Writing” requirement, as outlined by the College of Arts and Sciences. Accordingly, graded assignments will include a sequence of papers totaling a minimum of 5,000 words, not counting essay exams, journal entries, and other types of informal writing.
There is no textbook for this class; all required materials will be available through Canvas. Please contact Professor Robert Terrill firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
R340 Rhetoric of Social Movements
32950 11:15a-12:30p TR 3 cr.
Introduces rhetorical theories and practices which inform and are informed by the study of social movements. This semester will pay particular attention to recent and current social movements in the United States, including Occupy, the Tea Party, and BlackLivesMatter. Students will choose their own social movement to study and follow through the course of the semester as we learn about the dynamics, organizational structures and strategies of movements, why movements thrive or die, who is attracted to movements and why, and what are the purposes and functions of social movements in the body politic. As a thought experiment, students will imagine themselves as potential strategists, participants, leaders or critics of social movements, and think about the role of engagement and activism in public life as insiders/outsiders, groups/individuals, agitators/collaborators, particularly as these roles affect the fabric of the social and political life of communities and societies.
R355 Public Memory in Communication and Culture
14759 11:15a-12:30p TR 3 cr.
This course takes a rhetorical perspective on the contested nature of public memory in the United States. We will examine what public memory is, how it is perpetuated in societies, how and why it is configured to privilege some historical interpretations over others, and how it is modified over time. Ultimately, this course asks the related questions: How do our public memories shape us as American citizens? How do those memories shape our relationship to ourselves, to others, to the state, the nation, and the world? What are the implications of the personae shaped for us through public memory? We will be especially interested in examining how rhetorics of public memory incline (or disincline) people toward particular kinds of public action. This semester we will examine various media of memory such as museums, popular film, memorials, living history museums, children's toys and collectibles, television, tourist souvenirs, and more.
R396 The Study of Public Advocacy: Feminism and Public Issues
32954 11:15a-12:30p TR 3 cr.
What does “feminism” mean today? Is there a single meaning? This class will examine controversial high-profile public issues such as sexual violence on university campuses, mandatory paid maternity leave, transgender identity and representation, the pink tax, and beauty culture. How do various advocates of feminism respond to these issues and how are those responses influenced by different feminist traditions and priorities? Students will write essays about each issue and do an in-class presentation on a topic chosen in consultation with the instructor.