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Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences

American Literature

english department

English Electives Offered Spring 2018

ENGL2143 American Literary History III (Spring:3.0)

This course will provide an introductory overview of literature written in America from the First World War to the early 21st century. We will use selected texts to address representative thematic, cultural and literary concerns. In our analysis of primary texts, we will pay close attention to literary techniques as we explore constructions of national identity, governing myths of the American Dream, the influence of changing technology and the development of commodity culture, the place of the family, the significance of space in domestic and urban/rural settings, the construction of narrative subjectivity, and issues of gender, race and class.

Laura Tanner

ENGL2277 Introduction to American Studies (Fall, Spring:3.0) 

This course offers an introduction to the interdisciplinary study of American culture. It is not a survey of American cultural history; rather, we will concentrate on approaches, methods, and themes of interest as we assemble critical skills for making interpretive arguments about aspects of culture in their historical moment. The forms we analyze will include examples from literature, film, painting, music, theater, landscape, and architecture, among others. Members of the American Studies faculty will present guest lectures to highlight various aspects of the field.

Lori Harrison-Kahan

ENGL2482  AFRICAN AMERICAN WRITERS

In The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. Du Bois famously observes that to be black is to serially confront a question: “How does it feel to be a problem?” This course undertakes a survey of African American Literature as an ongoing mediation on the “problem” of being black, from the advent of racial slavery through to its contemporary afterlives. Reading broadly across a black literary tradition spanning four centuries and multiple genres, we will consider how black writers represent the “problem” of being black not merely as an unwelcome condition to be overcome, but an ethical orientation to be embraced over against an anti-black world that is itself a problem.

Jonathan Howard

ENGL3346 Asian American Experience (Spring:3.0)
Satisfies core requirement for: Cultural Diversity. 
This course is a multidisciplinary introduction to the experiences of Asians in the United States. We will draw on history, literature, psychology, sociology, film, fine arts, and popular culture to understand how Asian Americans make, and remake, identities and cultures for themselves. We will explore the diversity and heterogeneity of a racial group that has long had a major, if frequently under-appreciated, impact on American society as a whole. Asian American studies faculty will give guest lectures to the class to share their expertise.
Min Song
In The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. Du Bois famously observes that to be black is to serially confront a question: “How does it feel to be a problem?” This course undertakes a survey of African American Literature as an ongoing mediation on the “problem” of being black, from the advent of racial slavery through to its contemporary afterlives. Reading broadly across a black literary tradition spanning four centuries and multiple genres, we will consider how black writers represent the “problem” of being black not merely as an unwelcome condition to be overcome, but an ethical orientation to be embraced over against an anti-black world that is itself a problem.  
In The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. Du Bois famously observes that to be black is to serially confront a question: “How does it feel to be a problem?” This course undertakes a survey of African American Literature as an ongoing mediation on the “problem” of being black, from the advent of racial slavery through to its contemporary afterlives. Reading broadly across a black literary tradition spanning four centuries and multiple genres, we will consider how black writers represent the “problem” of being black not merely as an unwelcome condition to be overcome, but an ethical orientation to be embraced over against an anti-black world that is itself a problem.  

ENGL3346 Asian American Experience (Spring:3.0)
Satisfies core requirement for: Cultural Diversity. 

This course is a multidisciplinary introduction to the experiences of Asians in the United States. We will draw on history, literature, psychology, sociology, film, fine arts, and popular culture to understand how Asian Americans make, and remake, identities and cultures for themselves. We will explore the diversity and heterogeneity of a racial group that has long had a major, if frequently under-appreciated, impact on American society as a whole. Asian American studies faculty will give guest lectures to the class to share their expertise.

Min Song

UNCP5567 Capstone: Five Heroic Americans (Spring:3.0)
Prerequisites: Seniors only.
Cross Listed with: ENGL4628

Capstone classes may NOT be taken Pass/Fail. You may take only ONE Capstone class before graduation.

This course will examine the writings of two American women and three American men whose intellectual and spiritual gifts have enriched our heritage. We will read: Thoreau’s journals; poems by Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost; essays by Emerson; and selections from Mary Rowlandson’s account of her capture by the Quabog Indians. Students will discuss their observations in light of the Capstone program: relationships; work; civic responsibility; and spirituality.

Fr. Robert Farrell, S.J.

ENGL4011  New South Aesthetics

Beyoncé Knowles’ 2016 audiovisual project, Lemonade, conjures a black southern experience from multiple places and modes—from memories and sounds of New Orleans pre- and post Hurricane Katrina, to the ancestral wisdom of grandmothers passed down through the generations. The course explores how Lemonade flips familiar cultural markers of southern identity into a meditation and manifesto about what it means to be black and southern now. We will ground our readings and discussions with question such as these: What type of South is Lemonade trying to get us to see and hear? What are the feminist frameworks, from Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching Godto filmmaker Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust, that animate Lemonade’s vision? And what exactly does it mean to “get in formation”?

Angela Ards

ENGL4016  Reporting Civil Rights

This course explores first-hand accounts from the front lines of movements to advance social justice, from the 1960s direct-action campaigns that toppled Jim Crow to broader issues such as education and labor, housing and prisons. Sample texts include the following: Reporting Civil Rights, Library of Congress; Common Ground, J. Anthony Lukas; Nickel and Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich; American Hunger, Eli Saslow; Evicted, Matthew Desmond; New Jack, Ted Conover; 13th, dir Ava Duvernay.

Angela Ards

ENGL4626 American Studies Senior Seminar: Studies in American Culture (Fall, Spring:3.0)

Admission by permission of instructor

In this seminar, which also draws on elements of a writing workshop and a course in methodology, we examine selected subjects in American culture: music, landscape, sport, work, childhood, crime, and more. Seeking to develop effective ways to balance storytelling and interpretation, character and argument, we draw on a variety of models for approaching the problem of writing analytically about culture. Authors on the syllabus may include Tom Wolfe, Anne Fadiman, William Finnegan, Jennifer Price, Henry Louis Gates Jr., David Simon, and Edward Burns.

Carlo Rotella

ENGL6003 American Modernisms (Spring:3.0)

This seminar will explore strategies employed by American writers between the first and second world wars to construct the modern subject in a world threatened by literal and metaphorical violence. We will focus on issues including trauma, sexuality, domestic space, technology, popular culture, race, bodies and objects. Along the way we will explore: 13 ways of looking at a blackbird; how to build a coffin in 13 steps; how Chanel No. 5 relates to Wallace Stevens’s poems; the “dream dump” of Hollywood culture; the dark landscapes of modernism (gangsters, waste lands and whorehouses); racial homelessness and exile; the trauma of modern warfare (or, how to get blown up while eating cheese); pregnancy, childbirth and abortion; dirt and desire.

Laura Tanner

AADS3002 Black Nature: Race and Ecology

Cross Listed with: ENGL4017

With a history that includes being drowned in the ocean during the trans-Atlantic slave trade or strung from trees in the American South, African Americans are entangled in nature in incredibly complex and precarious ways. This course is an opportunity to explore African American literary engagements with the natural world, through our readings of slave narratives, fiction, and poetry. Together we will ask: What stories do we tell about nature? How are the stories we are able to tell about nature informed by race? And how do these stories shape our understanding of what it means to be human?

Jonathan Howard

 

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